Benefit Longwear Powder Shadow – “Thanks A Latte”

This week, I’ve noticed that Benefit has released some new products. However, I was most drawn to the Longwear Powder Shadows and couldn’t resist. And, as usual, I stuck with a safe, neutral color to try out. I’m still on my Benefit kick and am bordering obsessiveness, so I’m trying to exhibit self control as much as possible.

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I’m not going to lie, but longwear eyeshadows are important to me because I don’t use an eyelid primer. I don’t even layer a matching cream shadow underneath, and I just hope that my eye cream, a little foundation, and some powder will help the eyeshadow stay in place. I suppose it helps that my eyelids aren’t oily, and it appears that transferring doesn’t occur for me – luckily. However, this doesn’t mean that my eyeshadow is flawless at all times by any means.

Hence, the importance of longwear products.

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Benefit’s marketing is eye-catching and I love the packaging of this eyeshadow. Although the product range was released with corresponding cream shadows (that are also long lasting) in various shades, I felt less committed to purchasing more shades since I felt the need to test-drive this shadow first. The packaging is cute, the name of the product is cuter, and I like their new formula.

Sephora’s website states that this product is a “powder eye shadow that lasts.” The long-wearing formula is “soft and silky” and comes in “12 wearable shades and three finishes: matte, satin, and sheen.” It’s designed to be used in conjunction with the creaseless cream shadow for extra staying power.

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The formula is smooth and feels very light. Pigmentation seems good on all the colors in this range, except for the skintone, shimmery colors. “Thanks A Latte” is a golden brown that is lighter than it looks in the pan. It’s not a unique and original color by any means, but can be a great treasure for other neutral eyeshadow fiends out there. The texture of the powder is light and blends like a cream on contact. Once swatched, it doesn’t rub off easily — which is pretty good since the product claims to be “longwear.” I’ve noticed that you can build up the intensity of the shade by layering.

Pigmentation is good and the lasting power is good, too. It’s best to use the blending brush like the MAC 217 to apply AND blend this color. I use “Thanks A Latte” as a base, all-over color before adding a darker color for definition in the crease. The color is light, and once applied and blended, provides a golden-brown sheen that is natural and pretty.

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I like this eyeshadow but I probably won’t go out of my way to purchase more from the range. The colors available are pretty standard and since there’s so many option these days, I wouldn’t say that this is a necessity. The color, however, is pretty and I really like using it on natural-makeup days. While it wasn’t anything mind-blowing, I still really like the shade. If you’re looking to expand your neutral collection, I’d recommend this color. If you’re a fan of Benefit products in general, then I’d recommend checking out the new eyeshadow range.

0.11 oz.
Retails for $20.00 USD.
Made in France.

Benefit Watt’s Up! Highlighter

Currently, my highlighter of choice is the Benefit Watt’s Up! Highlighter and I’m totally thrilled to be writing about it.

Previously, I had raved about the NARS The Multiple in “Luxor” — and, while that’s still another favorite of mine, Watt’s Up! is a champagne color that’s golden and pretty. I’d say you need both, but the Watt’s Up! will be more natural color-wise (because it runs more beige-y rather than pink).

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Benefit’s Watt’s Up! is described as a “soft-focus highlighter for [the] face.” The luminous champagne color is a golden, skintone-flattering shade that is pearly and shimmery, without having chunks of glitter in it. The texture of the product is smooth and buttery soft, and melts into the skin on contact and has a powdery finish.

I like to add this on my cheeks and sometimes my eyelids — depending on my mood. But, most of all, I like it because it highlights the face with luminosity and glowy-ness.

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My main, personal dislike is the packaging of the product. I don’t mind cutesy packaging and I probably wouldn’t have cared about it if the lid was more secure. It doesn’t snap on tightly and has come off on more than one occasion in my makeup bag, which totally irritates me.

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The sponge-tipped applicator is completely useless, and if anything, I’d imagine it would wipe away whatever you’ve applied underneath. I apply this product with my fingers or with a brush. It’s easy to blend and very forgiving in all lighting.

Sephora describes this product as a “cream-to-powder highlighter” that “turns up the wattage with a delicate, gorgeous champagne glow. Its smooth application and luminous sheen switches on the ‘wow’ factor for any complexion. Apply it to cheeks and browbones, then sculpt with the soft-glow blender for your perfect gleam.” A little goes a long way with this product.

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This highlighter is fool-proof and easy to use. I find that it’s the missing ingredient when you’re using a more matte/semi-matte foundation/base, because it adds the glow without having to take into consideration oil production. Love. I recommend this product, and yes, I would deem this product worthy of being called a necessity. :)

Made in USA.
0.33 oz
Retails for $30.00 USD.

REVIEW: Rimmel Stay Matte Pressed Powder – Transparent 001

Powders don’t really interest me unless it works like a powder foundation. And, even with those, I’m picky, lol. I’ve been trying out various BB creams and I’ve noticed that they all needed to be set with powder down the t-zone. Normally, I’d use my Chanel loose powder, but lately, I’ve been reaching for my Rimmel Stay Matte Pressed Powder in Transparent 001.

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I purchased mine at Ulta because I had a $3.50 off coupon, so it was a good day to dig into some drugstore products. I’ve noticed that Tanya from Pixi2woo on YouTube had been raving about this powder, so of course, naturally, it was on my mental shopping list! It’s cheap, yet it works great from oily skins or those with oily t-zones, and that’s the best part of it all.

Although, at first, I didn’t expect much from this powder, I discovered that it applies smoothly, blends into my skin without disturbing my makeup, and keeps me shine-free for longer. I still need to blot, but that’s always the case if you’ve been reading my posts for awhile. The difference is that the shine is under control, making my face look less horrid and messy halfway through the day.

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I got my shade in Transparent 001. It doesn’t alter the shade of makeup you’re already wearing, and I don’t find it drying if I do happen to powder my entire face. Since I normally go for the dewy/natural look, I dust this powder lightly down my t-zone (forehead, nose, and chin) and go about my day. I highly recommend this powder for those who need oil control during the day. It’s easy to carry around — even though it doesn’t have a mirror or a proper case, lol. The packaging is quite flimsy and plastic-y, but you really can’t expect much from a product that costs $4.99.

Still — I find it more user friendly than any loose powder (which I use over foundations for special occasions).

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The Rimmel Stay Matte Powder “is an oil-absorbing pressed powder that leaves you with a flawless, shine-free complexion. Helps to minimize the appearance of large pores.” The texture is light and gets the job done without adding any weight to your makeup. It doesn’t get cakey — even as your face is beginning to produce oil throughout the day. I use any fluffy brush (natural or synthetic) to apply this product and have been happy with the results. Perhaps this will be a staple during the summer months for me! :)

Retails for $4.99.
Made in England.

Updated Skincare Routine

Apologies for my brief absence; as many of you may understand, the holiday season is upon us and so is the end of the semester for me. However, I am taking a quick break from writing papers so give you an updated skincare routine post. It’s not much, but I like to keep things simple for the skin.

Because of seasonal changes, I was already looking towards changing my routine. But most importantly, it’s good to be observant and give your skin what it needs. Although my skin tends to continue to be combination throughout the winter months, it tends to be dehydrated despite the oily t-zone. Also, I had recently mishap (probably due to stress) and had a few pimples erupt.

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Because of those conditions that needed to be addressed, I needed hydration that was good for combination skin – which meant I was on the hunt for a non-greasy, lightweight, gel moisturizer; and, I needed some thing heavy-duty and gentle for pigmentation on the skin.

I picked up 2 Vichy skincare items from Ulta.

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Vichy ProEven Total Dark Spot Corrector + Vichy Normaderm Anti-Aging Anti-Imperfection Anti-Wrinkle Resurfacing Care were my great finds a a few months ago. I didn’t know Ulta started carrying Vichy, but I’m a huge fan French skin care so I didn’t even think twice.

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The Vichy ProEven Total Dark Spot Corrector is a product that has incorporated “DeeperCell-Concentrate” to reduce the appearance of dark spots for more even and radiant skin tone. It is dermatologist tested, sensitive skin and allergy tested, and paraben free for those of you who are interested in how it reacts to the skin. It’s soothing and contains Vichy’s “thermal spa water.”

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According to the box: “Vichy introduces the exclusive ‘DeeperCell-Concentrate’ combined with LHA, vitamin C and vitamin E. It acts on all surface layers of the skin and reduces the look of excess melanin.”

“ProEven has a powerful triple-action:
1. Instantly reveals a more radiant glow. Gentle micro-exfoliation to clear melanin-filled dead cells from the skin’s surface, to reveal smoother, newer, skin.
2. Evens skin tone. Reduces the appearance of excess melanin on all surface layers of the skin.
3. Clinically proven, even on stubborn spots.”

I like this treatment. I use it liberally all over my face at night before laying on moisturizer. It’s non-sticky and absorbs quickly. There’s no stinging sensation like some formulas, so I know it’s gentle. It takes roughly 3 weeks to work and be happy about, but it does give you a glow upon application. Of course, when you wash it off in the morning, that’s another story.

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The moisturizer I chose is Vichy Normaderm Anti-Aging Anti-Imperfection Anti-Wrinkle Resurfacing Care. It too contains LHA and vitamin C, but also has glycolic acid in it. This product is targeted for those with 1st signs of aging, which I find to be very age-appropriate for me. It helps with enlarged pores and uneven complexion as well. Perfection.

According to the box: 3 patents pending — “association of 2 peeling effect ingredients — LHA and vitamin C + glycolic acid. Normaderm creates its first anti-wrinkle resurfacing care solution.”

Efficacy: “wrinkles appear smoother, pores are tightened, leaving a more even complexion.” This is sensitive-skin tested, allergy tested, paraben free, and non-comedogenic. As with all Vichy products, this is also :infused with thermal spa water.”

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This is very hydrating but light and non-greasy. It absorbs immediately so I can layer on my sun protection and then move onto foundation, etc. It smells light and pleasant and feels clean on my face because it isn’t heavy. Oil-control is decent; but, I like the added skincare benefits in this product on top of the moisture it provides.

Made in France.

Trusty Drugstore Products

So, it’s already quite obvious I’m a product junkie; and, nothing excites me more than trying new things. In fact, it’s in those moments I’m stalking the internet – YouTube videos and blogs – that I start getting unnecessary ideas into my head. Then before I know it, there I am at various “hot spots” – like, Sephora, Ulta, Target, etc. – and unable to control my growing stash of produts. I’m ashamed, I know.

I’m a firm believer in ‘you get what you pay for’ and have always invested in products and clothing items for their quality. However, realistically speaking, at some point we all come to the realization that quality aside – it’s the brand name we’re actually shelling out our money for. With all this said, I find it interesting that the products that I keep coming back to (after venturing off), or products that I always seem to re-purchase are a few trusty drugstore products.

And, let me just preface this entry by saying that I’m quite hard to please and am insanely picky about various products and their performance. So, when I’m constantly re-purchasing something – it really does mean I really like it. :)

Once a week or so I use a clarifying shampoo and deep condition my hair with a deep conditioner or a hair mask. In between, I like to stick to my Phyto products, but as I’ve said before, I’m picky. Still, ’til this very day, I have been unable to find a good clarifying shampoo that doesn’t dry my hair out – and, in some cases, fancier brands claim to clarify and rid your hair of build up and oil, but it just makes your hair feel more oily! Neutrogena‘s Anti-Residue Shampoo is about $6 and lasts nearly a year for me since I use it so infrequently.

Neutrogena claims that “this is a shampoo treatment that instantly removes up to 95% of dulling residue caused by shampoos, conditioners and styling products.” The product “cleans hair thoroughly and easily rinses away,” and claims that after using this your favorite/regular shampoo will work even better. This shampoo works with all hair types, is non-irritating, and rinses clean. I like that your hair is left clean and refreshened, but not dried out and hard to manage because it’s stiff.

The conditioning treatment I like to use with the shampoo is Neutrogena‘s Triple Moisture Pure Strength Conditioning Treatment. It claims to “transform weak, brittle, extra dry hair into stronger, more resilient hair.” The tube says that the treatment will “reverse damage and strengthen all three layers of the hair strand from the inside and out.” The “naturally derived extracts penetrate deep into the strand to repair the core, while wheat proteins fill in tiny holes in the cuticle, sealing in moisture and reinforcing strands against future damage.” The two products do wonders for my hair; and, all for a little over $10. Not too shabby.

Next, my Neutrogena Eye Makeup Remover and Cetaphil soap are a must-have. Lancome’s Bi-Facil eye makeup remover is pretty awesome, but at nearly $30 for a teeny bottle, I gotta take my business elsewhere. Neutrogena’s eye makeup remover does the job just as well – including removing stubborn waterproof mascara and eyeliner – so for around $7, I’m a happy camper.

Cetaphil soap is what I’m sticking with. Before, I was spending anywhere between $15-$45 on stuff to wash my face with, and to be quite honest, they were either not getting my face clean or the product was breaking me out – which is no good either way, obviously. So after wasting money for awhile, I tried Cetaphil and haven’t looked back since. Yet another awesome product for about $5. Awesome.

And, finally, my all-time favorite mascara that never fails me: L’Oreal Volumious Mascara in Carbon Black (waterproof). It’s great for layering over a lengthening mascara; it gives you a slighty thick-ish and mildly clumpy-look, which I totally love. Even when I’m experimenting with other mascaras and they’re not getting the job done, I bust this baby out and it fixes all my problems.

Sonia Kashuk‘s brush cleaner is awesome and works so much better than MAC’s cleanser. The squirt bottle is user-friendly and doesn’t waste product. Instead of directly dipping your brushes into to cleanser, you wet them first and then spray the cleanser directly onto the bristles. When you rub the bristles in your hand, there’s a rich lather that smells like sweet lavender and you see color dripping away. No need to separately deep-cleanse because this is a two-in-one. Your brushes are clean, sanitized, and super soft.

What are some of your trusty drugstore products?

Haul: Makeup Retail Therapy

Every day is a “haul-iday” in makeup land. What do you guys think? :)

It’s a modest haul and nothing extravagant. But my excuse to myself was: I need to pick up things I need (and while I’m out and about, I’ll just have a look around). In my defense, I really did need more of my trusty Neutrogena eye makeup remover and I really did need my Cetaphil soap. Recently, I randomly switched over from their liquid cleanser to the bar soap one and I’m totally loving Cetaphil in a whole ‘nother way.

My old eyelash curler was the Shu Uemura one – which I’ve been dedicated to for the past 10 years. It’s held up well because I just replaced the rubber pads and I was too stingy to pay the $20 for a stupid eyelash curler, haha. And FINALLY, it was time to part with it because it was just old and I’m ashamed to admit that I hadn’t replaced it this whole time. So after going back and forth with what I wanted to do, I gave into purchasing and new eyelash curler for yet another $20. But I do have to say that I like that it’s a dark gray (but shiny) color; and it’s just nice to have a new tool.

My favorite purchase is the NARS tinted moisturizer. I’ve been drooling over pictures of this product online for months, and even though that sounds totally creepy, I’ve been waiting for it be available in stores. When I was innocently “picking things up that I ‘needed,'” I saw the Sephora sales associate putting them out on display. The testers weren’t even put out yet, so I creeped around the corner pretending to look at other things. When she asked if I needed help with anything, I asked to play with the testers, lol. I know that sounds so obsessive, but she was nice enough to let me color-swatch and I was instantly sold. :)

And, the best part of today is FREE stuff. Actually, it wasn’t totally free since it takes some dollars spent to rack up some major reward points.

I scored the Tarte set for my 500-points Beauty Insider reward. I’ve been saving my points because nothing had appealed to me for months. But I’m glad I saved because I love everything in this set!

This was my free gift at Ulta for the quarterly reward thing. This retails for $20 so it’s not too shabby. I haven’t tried this brand and normally I don’t gofor leave-intreatments. But I’m eager to try it since my hair has been getting super long, so I’ll report back soon.

Here is everything unpackaged and looking pretty. Oh yea, I got a nail polish too. It’s taken me awhile to purchase Butter London polishes because of the price. But I bought the color “Trout Pout” from the Spring line because YouTube made me do it. I’m going to take this baby with me to the nail salon when I go in for a pedicure – woohoo!

Review on the tinted moisturizer will be coming up soon. I’m going to be trying it out for the next few weeks; however, let me just forewarn you that I have ridiculously high expectations for base makeup and I normally don’t even stick with wearing tinted moisturizers unless they totally wow me. I will be comparing this to the famoulsy popular Laura Mercier one. We shall see.

What did you guys buy this weekend?

*Pictures taken using CANON POWERSHOT SD1300 IS DIGITAL ELPH (12.1 Megapixels)