Caudalie Vinosource S.O.S. Morning Eye Rescue

The Caudalie Vinosource S.O.S. Morning Eye Rescue has been a morning staple of mine recently and I wanted to share it with you all. Previously, I wrote about the Clarins Eye Contour Gel which was great — but, unfortunately, it appeared that the formula was great for eyeshadow application but not really for hydration needed for the winter. I exchanged it for the Caudalie Vinosource S.O.S. Morning Eye Rescue and I’m very pleased, indeed. While hydration is a major factor during the winter season, I find it interesting that the texture of the cream is so light even though it’s not a gel like the Clarins Eye Contour Gel.

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There’s not a lot of eye creams that are designed for the morning. Even out of the ones that are specifically designed for the mornings, it’s difficult to find a formula that’s both eye makeup friendly and hydration (without being oily or sticky) worthy. It’s a tall order, I suppose. However, the Caudalie Vinosource S.O.S. Morning Eye Rescue is an “eye cream to de-puff, soothe, and brighten tired eyes” specifically in the morning before makeup application. In this case, texture and formula are key. This treatment “quenches and soothes the eye area upon application, leaving eye contours looking rested, fresh, and naturally glowing. It hydrates, soothes, and de-puffs with antioxidant polyphenols, moisturizing grape water, and calming white tea extract.”

I noticed that a little bit goes a long ways and the application is both smooth and hydrating. While the formula is a cream, it absorbs quickly and dries down matte — making eye makeup application easy. Also, I noticed that my eye area was well hydrated throughout the day (even in the winter). I did notice that my eyeliner smudged a little more than usual, but since I don’t wear eyeliner everyday, I’ve decided it may not be a big issue. I recommend the Caudalie Vinosource S.O.S. Morning Eye Rescue for its de-puffing and soothing capabilities, and because it doesn’t interfere with makeup application like other eye creams.

Made in France.
Retails for $34.00 USD.

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NARS Single Eye Shadow in “Blondie”

I’m a big fan of NARS and their eye shadows. Their shadows are great to have in your collection because the colors are unique — even if they don’t look special in the pan initially. I own several that I try to put in regular rotation, even though, I admit sometimes they go unnoticed when I’m playing with other colors/brands. Recently, I came across some eye makeup looks catered towards neutral lovers in a Japanese fashion magazine. The shade that seemed to be used multiple times was the NARS Single Eye Shadow in “Blondie”. Naturally, I just had to see this and swatch this in person.

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Upon first glance, this shade looks like nothing special — almost like one of those filler shades in palettes. In fact, even when you swatch it, it seems like a shade that you could pass up. However, in natural light, this shade is the most flattering for the lid as an all-over base color, contour color, and even eyebrow color. While the tone of this color comes off as a flat matte, there’s something about this shade that comes to life once in contact with skin. For me, I like this color best when I pair it alone with some winged eyeliner. For fancy makeup, I like to use this when I apply a smokey eye to blend the harsh darker colors along the crease. Even in neutral looks, the shade is great to contour the crease — giving your lid a subtle definition that you would otherwise be missing.

For those with blonde, medium blonde, dirty, and even light brunette hairs, this shade would make such a flattering eyebrow color as well. For me, since my hair is a medium brown color, this shade is too light. But, in a pinch, I’ve made it work when used in conjunction with a darker eyebrow pencil. This shade is worth getting to experiment with; and, comes in handy as the ultimate blending shade.

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NARS shadows are smooth and buttery — almost creamy, even though they’re powder products. The pigmentation is insane, so it’s best to use a light hand and a good blending brush when applying to the eyelid. I recommend NARS products in general; and, would recommend the shadows as well. The Duo Eyeshadows are definitely worth looking into for the price. Other NARS products I would recommend are the Pure Radiant Tinted Moisturizer, the Sheer Glow Foundation, and the Satin Lip Pencils.

Made in Canada.
Retails for $24.00 USD.

REVIEW: Real Techniques Limited Edition Duo Fiber Collection

I’ve raved about Real Techniques brushes on the blog ever since their release in the United States. While the Limited Edition Duo Fiber Collection has been out for months now, I’m just now getting around to being interested in them! As with all the brushes in the line, the Duo Fiber Collection seems to have received great reviews online, for sure.

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I like the white and black handles and packaging, and it goes well with the duo fiber bristles as well. Upon opening the packaging, there’s a strong plastic-y smell (kind of like rubber flip flops). Before use, wash them really good and let them dry completely.

For $20, you get three brushes. The Duo-Fiber Face Brush is perfect for a lightweight application of powder or highlighter. It’s also great for blending over-done blush as well. It’s big and fluffy, but not as dense and tightly packed as the Real Techniques Blush Brush. That’s why it’s good for portion control and applying powder products sheerly onto the skin. The Duo-Fiber Contour Brush is great for controlled contouring and sculpting. The size is perfect for under the cheekbones along the sides of your nose. Personally, I like to use this to add highlighter to my skin after I’ve applied my base makeup and blush. The Duo-Fiber Eye Brush is good for adding finishing touches to the eyes and for blending colors out that have produced a harsh line/edge. It’s perfect for doing the “windshield wiper motion” along the lids.

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Even if you own the other Real Techniques basic brushes, this Limited Edition Duo Fiber Collection is worth looking into — simply because these brushes “allow you to create soft layers [and] add texture. In general, the brushes are perfect for “building color from light to dense” and can add definition as well. I’d recommend this collection and suggest taking advantage of the holiday sales going on right now at Ulta!

Retails for $19.99 USD.

Face of the Day for Gloomy Winter Weather

Now that Texas has transitioned into winter-mode, I’ve seen more gloomy and cloudy days here the last few weeks. It’s hard to feel inspired when it’s cold outside and it gets dark earlier, but I try to keep things interesting by adding some glow to my complexion. For me, I “shopped my stash” and put some items back into rotation like my NARS Illuminator and Bobbi Brown BB Cream.

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NARS Illuminator in “Copacabana” and Bobbi Brown BB Cream Broad Spectrum SPF 35 in Extra Light
Mixing the NARS Illuminator in “Copacabana” with the Bobbi Brown BB Cream gave me the perfect amount of both coverage and dewiness, without risking looking glittery or oily/shiny. I forgot about how much I really loved the Bobbi Brown BB Cream, so it was nice falling back in love with it.

Dior Addict Lipstick in “Diorissime” 249
The Dior Addict Lipstick in “Diorissime” isn’t a new product and I recently reviewed it as well. However, the subtle brightness is perfect for gloomy days because it reminds me that at least my lips feel and look pretty, lol. Even when I wear this without lip balm underneath, I have perfectly hydrated lips in the winter so that’s one less thing to worry about.

MAC Powder Blush in “Pink Swoon”
Occasionally, I’ll take a break from MAC’s “Well Dressed” and I venture off and try a different shade of blush. “Pink Swoon” has been a recent favorite of mine and goes really well with the Dior Addict Lipstick in “Diorissime” — the perfect amount of brightness and subtleness. I tend to reach for this blush when I need something a little different and interesting.

Real Techniques Expert Face Brush
My trusty Real Techniques Expert Face Brush is great for applying any base product. The Bobbi Brown BB Cream is very creamy and a small dollop goes a long ways. The Expert Face Brush blends the product out beautifully and seamlessly within seconds, which is perfect for busy mornings when I can’t be bothered.

What are you wearing this winter? What about on gloomy days?

Shu Uemura Whitefficient Clear Brightening Gentle Cleansing Oil

I stock up on Shu Uemura cleansing oils whenever they have deals on their website. I don’t mind investing in them because the large 450 mL bottle lasts nearly a year for me, so I take online deals very seriously. This time around, I wanted to try some of the other formulas, so I chose the Whitefficient Clear Brightening Gentle Cleansing Oil and the Ultime8 Sublime Beauty Cleansing Oil (but more on that one later).

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The Whitefficient Clear Brightening Gentle Cleansing Oil is designed for “dull skin complexion[s] [in need of] removing melanin-filled dead cells.” As “the first step in brightening care,” this particular cleansing oil is “fortified with the Ultimate Removal System–[Shu Uemura’s] latest development.” The “lightly textured formula effectively removes accumulated melanin and heavy make-up.” As with all cleansing oils, you apply this directly to your dry face with dry hands. After massaging the product over your skin, you add water to emulsify the product. I rinse again with warm water, and then move onto using a cleanser with my Clarisonic.

This brightening cleansing oil “contains an innovative combination of Mito-White Complex and Vitamin C to help prevent the accumulation of melanin deep within.” Normally, I don’t pay that much attention to brightening cleansers because the effects are temporary. However, this cleansing oil seems to help my skin remain brightened in a healthy way. I can’t say for sure that the “advnaced technology” is providing significant results; but, my skin does look clarified and brightened and feels refreshed. After makeup removal and cleansing, I have an even-toned complexion that looks clean, bright, and healthy. Unfortunately, I did notice that I don’t get the same effects when I use something else, but it doesn’t bother me that much. I invest in cleansing oils for their makeup removal abilities and not so much for the brightening effect — that’s just an added bonus. :)

Made in Japan.
Retails for $81.00 USD for 450 mL.
Retails for $38.00 USD for 150 mL.

REVIEW: YSL Top Secrets All-In-One BB Cream Skintone Corrector in “Clear”

Recently, I watched a Korean beauty channel where the YSL Top Secrets All-In-One BB Cream Skintone Corrector was used and felt compelled to purchase it. No surprise there, lol. As part of the Top Secrets range, the YSL Top Secrets All-In-One BB Cream Skintone Corrector is designed to create luminous, clear-looking skin that’s flawless, moisturized, and uniform in tone. As with all BB creams, this is the usual claim. However, this BB cream’s “multifunctional formula create[s] a youthful-looking complexion” by incorporating the benefits of Touche Eclat’s highlighting abilities that helps the skin look healthy and plump.

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The multi-action formula uses a “chromatic filter to conceal and instantly correct the appearance of uneven skintone and imperfections (pores, dark spots, redness).” For radiance, much like the Touche Eclat, a “soft focus micro-reflecting mother of pearls [is incorporated] to bring instantly anti-dull complexion efficiency and a luminous radiance for smooth skin with a natural finish.” For hydration, the “high-performing hydrating complex” moisturizes and keeps the skin fresh, while SPF 25 helps to protect the skin from the sun.

The shade I chose is “clear,” which looks like a pink-gray tone on the skin initially. Once blended, however, the formula turns translucent, hence the name “clear.” The finish is truly beautiful — just healthy, even-toned skin that’s poreless and spotless. While it’s recommend that foundation can be layered on over this, I like it as is, so I just dust some powder along my t-zone and call it a day. The texture of this BB cream is smooth and feels soft on the skin; and, it’s easy to blend in with a synthetic buffing brush. So far, this has been my go-to skin/base product for the last two weeks! :)

Contains 1.3 oz.
Made in France.
Retails for $50.00 USD.

Benefit Eye Bright

Lately, I’ve been really into creating the bright eye effect. While it isn’t for the purpose of concealing undereye circles or bags, I’ve been obsessed with highlighting around the eyes for a more wide-eyed, awake look. Using products like the Trish McEvoy Instant Eye Lift Concealer or the Benefit Ooh La Lift help tremendously — but, I feel like those products are good at hiding problem areas or helping them look better. The Benefit Eye Bright is more for brightening the looks of your eyes.

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Benefit describes this product as a “nap in a stick” because it claims to incorporate a “pop of pink” to brighten your eyes. As a “pink perk-me-up stick,” it can be used on your lids, under your eyes, and most importantly, the corners of your eyes to give you an overall awake and healthy appearance. For me, I use this before my eye makeup — concentrating it on my inner and outer corners of my eyes. I blend it in and the pinky tone disappears instantly. Its effects are subtle, which I like because I don’t want stark whiteness anywhere on my face. It’s surprisingly effective even though it looks like it doesn’t do much!

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I’m not sure how this will work for medium-toned and dark-toned gals, but I think since the product disappears well, anyone will be able to use it. In other reviews I’ve read, some people were applying this to their cheekbones for highlighting, and also using it under the brows for a lifted effect. Others were using it on their cupid’s bow, down the bridge of their nose, and even filling in their waterlines as well. Either way, I find that this product is incredibly versatile and seems to do what it claims. I notice a difference when I forget to use this product, so it must be doing something. :)

Retails for $20.00 USD.
Made in Germany.

REVIEW: Real Techniques Miracle Complexion Sponge

I’m a big fan of Real Techniques products in general, and you can find them in the U.S. at Ulta. My all-time favorite foundation/base makeup brushes are the Expert Face Brush and the Stippling Brush. Both are high quality and budget-friendly — and, combined with regular Ulta coupons, this range of brushes is great for beginner and makeup experts alike. For me, as a makeup enthusiast, I like having multiple Real Techniques brushes on hand because they’re easy to use, easily accessible, and perform well for the price.

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Recently, I purchased the Miracle Complexion Sponge due to reviews online. It’s compared to the highly coveted and highly raved about Beauty Blender. Other than the massive price difference, both sponges perform well; but, I’d have to say that I prefer the Real Techniques Miracle Complexion Sponge.

This sponge is a “3-in-1 multi-functional makeup sponge [that has] rounded sides” to blend larger, small, and contoured areas of the face. The “precision tip covers blemishes/imperfections and the flat edge contours around the eyes and the nose, leaving you with a complexion that’s smooth, enhanced and gorgeous.” It sounds promising and claims to flawlessly apply your makeup, just like the Beauty Blender. A major perk for the Miracle Complexion Sponge is its unique shape.

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As the product description explains — the rounded parts of the sponge are perfect for stippling and dabbing foundation over the larger parts of the face, such as the cheeks and forehead. I’ve noticed that a swiping motion works just as well on larger areas. The slanted edge is perfect for the sides of the nose and the flat area where the sides of your nose meets the cheeks. This part of the sponge is excellent for the the chin as well. The pointed end and the flat edges are great for the contoured areas of the face, such as the nose and under the eyes. For absolute precision, the pointed tip can be used to add concealer to spots and pigmented areas of the face.

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The Real Techniques Miracle Complexion Sponge is excellent for those who prefer using a sponge for base makeup application. Your makeup goes on so smoothly and softly, with no indication of foundation demarcation or sponge marks like others sponges. It blends liquid and creamy formulas onto the skin so beautifully and quickly. And, more importantly, I appreciate that the sponge doesn’t soak up all your valuable makeup. A little bit of makeup goes a long way with this form of application. While the Beauty Blends requires to be damp, the Miracle Complexion Sponge seems to do just fine dry. The quality of the sponge is just bouncy enough for flexibility, and sturdy enough that it doesn’t feel like it’s going to peel and flake away.

It’s a great alternative to the Beauty Blender, and it’s eco-friendly since you can continue to re-use the sponge for months before replacing it. Also, for $5.99, it definitely beats the price of a $20 Beauty Blender for sure. For me, I find brushes more useful; however, I’ve found that the Miracle Complexion Sponge is great for blending in cream blush and adding concealer to the skin. View Michele1218’s review of the Real Techniques Miracle Complexion Sponge for a video review! :)

Retails for $5.99 at Ulta Beauty.
Made in China.

NARS Guy Bourdin Holiday Collection Limited Edition Blush in “Day Dream”

Don’t be shocked, but I don’t own any NARS blushes. Yes. You’ve read that correct. Years ago, when “Orgasm” was a hot-seller from NARS, I jumped on the band wagon because it was such a popular and highly sought after blush shade. When I got it, I was unimpressed, felt that it was like a million other shades I owned, and it was just too glittery for my liking. I kept it around for another few years without ever using it again, and eventually, I threw it out when I moved. I didn’t miss it and never looked back — so, to me, it wasn’t a loss.

Fast forward another few years, and here we are with the exclusive limited edition Guy Bourdin holiday collection at Sephora. I’ve glanced at this shade for a few weeks without my heart strings being tugged until last week. Much to my surprise, the shade “Day Dream” is a pretty, soft peachy pink with a nice sheen — no glitter or shimmer. It swatched beautifully so I decided to give NARS blushes another try.

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So, who’s Guy Bourdin? Well, according to Sephora, this “limited-edition shade of high-intensity blush [was] inspired by legendary fashion photographer Guy Bourdin.” NARS claims that they are the “ultimate authority in blush,” offering the “industry’s most iconic shades for cheeks.” For the most part, I think I could agree — when browsing the colors available in person, they do carry unique shades that surprisingly flatter the skin; and, NARS blushes are known to be highly pigmented.Take a look at all the shades available at Sephora.

The color “Day Dream” is pretty and flatters my ivory/fair skin tone. The peachy pink shade leans a bit more pink, but the hints of peachiness brings warmth to the tone against my cheeks. While I own many pink blushes of various undertones, I don’t tend to be swayed by peachy-pink colors unless they’re lip colors. For whatever reason, “Day Dream” really seems to work for me — giving me a warm flush of color, while providing a subtle glowiness without sparkles and shimmer. The texture is buttery soft and pigmentation is just right — not too stark and not too light. The formula is long-lasting (even through sweat).

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I’d recommend the Guy Bourdin Holiday Collection Limited Edition Blush in “Day Dream” and I think it’s worth re-visiting NARS blushes in general. I’m sure for the real blush lovers out there, NARS blushes are collectible items. For me, I can’t say that I’m all that convinced that they are the best on the market, but so many people swear by them, obviously their reputation stands for a reason! I’d consider going back and looking at other trademark shades like “Sin,” but for my liking, I may look at “Gaeity” and “Desire” next. What about you?

Read more about the NARS Guy Bourdin Holiday Collection 2013 here at Makeup Stash.

Made in Canada.
Retails for $29.00 USD.

Dior Addict Lipstick in “Singulière 465”

Ok, I really didn’t need another Dior Addict Lipstick, but I had to have this sheer bubblegum pink shade. My newest Dior purchase is the Dior Addict Lipstick in “Singulière 465” and I have absolutely no regrets at all. :) Much like my reviews for shades “Diorissime 249”, “Charmante 437”, and the Dior Addict Extreme #336 in “Saint Tropez”, the formula, texture, and color equals amazing.

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The shade “Singulière 465” is a bright bubblegum pink, but applies smooth and sheer. At first, I wondered if it was going to be too pink. However, the brightness is just the right amount and really seems to brighten my skin tone and teeth. It’s a fun color to have and I don’t regret it at all. There’s no shimmer or glitter in this shade, but seems to keep the lips shiny looking in its own special way. Dior Addict Lipsticks are worth collecting and I recommend the shade “Singulière 465” for sure.

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I think this color would suit anyone and seems to flatter a variety of undertones. Initially, the shade it bright in the tube — however, it sheers out beautifully without compromising the color — which I find is usually the case for many Dior Addict Lipsticks. I find that this is probably the reason why so many of the shades in the range are so wearable (despite what they may look like in the tube).

Made in France.
Retails for $31.00 USD.