Saturday, May 28, 2011

Sephora Haul

Sephora had a 15% off sale in April. This is a sale that I always look forward to every year, because it always coincides with my birthday, so it was a perfect excuse to get some presents for myself.

The first thing I got was this Sephora's Favorites Sun Safety Kit. I missed out on theirs last year, but this year's seemed even better! This kit contains 11 sun protection products, 1 deluxe sample plus a pink beach tote. This is a great way to try out different brands, and the sizes of each sunscreen is convenient enough to take on summer vacations. The beach tote is light weight and folds into a palm sized bundle, great for taking on shopping trips.
Remember, sun protection is very important!

This Sephora Advanced Airbrush Set is something I really looked forward to getting. I've heard all sorts of great things about Sephora's Airbrush line, so I thought this would be a great start to get introduced to some of the brushes. A lot of times a brush set's brushes are not as good of a quality as their full sized equivalent, but this set is an exception. Every brush in here are super soft and dense, the handles are long (comparable to that of full size) and has a good grip, and none of them have yet to shed a hair.  This is also a great set to take on travel, the brush case is soft and roomy, and probably would fit another brush or two to take along (since this set doesn't have a blush brush).

Powder Brush: even though the bristles look really long, but it's not flimsy at all. It picks up my setting powder nicely. I use it with a light patting motion to apply powder on my face.
Foundation Brush: it is really easy to control, dense and applies creamy products very well.
Concealer Brush: this is the brush I looked forward to using the most, this is very unlike your typical flat concealer brush. It is dome shaped like a mini kabuki. It blends in concealer like a dream and gets the job done as well as you would with fingers, even for under eyes. This brush is so amazing, highly recommend!
Crease Brush: this blends in eyeshadows very well, and is the perfect size for my crease area.
Eyeshadow Brush: I think this brush is best suited for blending in cream eyeshadow, it provides a very even application.
Bliss Love Handler's name drew my attention. I grabbed it since my L'Oreal Sublime Slim was running out and I wanted to see if this would be a comparable product. So far I am liking it! It's also very hydrating for my skin.

I also picked up this Benefit High Brow as a brow highlighter. It is the perfect shade for me. One light sweep under my brow, blend blend, and voila, I look more awake already! It really gives the illusion of a brow lift. Love!

This Laura Mercier Illuminating Tinted Moisturizer is a 100 point deluxe sample. I really love the Laura Mercier Oil Free Tinted Moisturizer, so I wanted to see how this compares. Anyone tried this one before? 

As silly as it sounds, I really look forward to the free birthday gift that Sephora gives out every year, as little and sometimes useless as they were, I like my free goodies :) I really like this year's gift, as it is totally my cup of tea -- I love Philosophy bath products, they have a wide range of yummy scents. This one is in vanilla birthday cake, sounds yummy enough to eat!

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Nail Polishes of the Month -- April

All polishes are applied with 2 coats unless otherwise indicated. Left is taken with either natural light or room light, right is taken with flash.

OPI -- Big Hair...Big Nails

OPI -- Chocolate Moose

OPI -- Dating A Royal

OPI -- Melon of Troy (as base)
LaRosa Crackle Shatter -- Hot Red (crackle top)

OPI -- Significant Other Color
Another angle to show its beautiful yet so difficult to capture duo-chrome.

OPI -- Lincoln Park After Dark

OPI -- Lucky Lucky Lavender

OPI -- Pink Before You Leap (3 coats)

OPI -- Shanghai Shimmer

OPI -- The One That Got Away

Sunday, May 22, 2011

Finish Products in April

✔ Aspirin -- This uncoated Aspirin makes a great aspirin mask. Whenever I remember in the shower (to avoid mess), I'd take a few tablets, add a few drops of water to crush the tablets and apply to my face. The crumbled pills make a great exfoliator as well. Aspirin mask is really a cost effective, travel convenient way to give your skin a quick pick me up.

✔ Clinique Acne Solutions Clarifying Lotion -- Make sure to shake this toner up before using, and if you have dry skin, please skip it, as it is rather strong. For my oily combo skin, it works really well to mattify skin and treat my occasional breakouts. A staple on my vanity.

✔ The Body Shop Vitamin C Skin Booster -- I had high hopes for this product, but sadly it's a no-more-buy for me. Upon application, it makes your skin feel super smooth and...slippery, because yes, it is the yucky silicone that I dislike! While it does have a nice citricy scent, I am not really sure if the vitamin C in this is potent enough to show any improvement on my skin. It also caused me to break out, probably from the silicone that was clogging my pores. I ended up using the rest of the bottle on my body because I'd hate to see it go to waste. 

✔ ELF Eyelid Primer -- This $1 primer is pretty awesome. It doesn't make my eye makeup last as long as my Too Faced or Urban Decay eye primers, but it is a great choice for everyday use.

✔ DermaSilk Tightening Serum 5 Minute Face Lift -- A pretty good face serum, easy to apply and not greasy. Best yet, never caused me any break outs. See my review here.

✔ Fekkai MORE Scalp Purifying Shampoo and Root Nourishing Conditioner -- These were my first Fekkai products, and I really enjoyed using them. Yes they are a bit pricey compared to my normal drugstore shampoos, but you also need less of them each time. This pair made my hair so soft, clean, and volumized. See my brief review here.

✔ Crabtree & Evelyn Rose Water Hand & Body Lotion -- I really enjoy rose scented hands and body products, and this is no exception. I have tried the Crabtree & Evelyn Rosewater hand cream in a metal squeeze tube before and loved it. I think this plastic pump version makes it much easier to use. The texture of the lotion is a bit thinner and easier to spread than the hand cream, a great warm weather body moisturizer.

✔ The Body Shop Hemp Hand Protector -- This hand cream is really nice and moisturizing. Its scent however is really unpleasant, but at least goes away fairly quickly.

✔ Rock & Republic Classic Tinted Primer SPF 20 -- Loved this primer. It has a mousse/whipped texture with a slight tint, it applies really easily, doesn't feel super slippery/silicone on my skin and gets the job done. Unfortunately I think this is really hard to find now as Rock & Republic discontinued their makeup line. If I see this again on sale on HauteLook or something, I will probably repurchase.

✔ Zirh Rejuvenate Anti-Aging Face Cream -- Finished by a joint effort between hubby and I. I actually bought the cream for hubby since Zirh is a men skincare line. But upon trying, I really liked it as well. It is unscented, which is pretty pleasant esp when layering on skincare products, the cream is light and easy to spread.

✔ Zirh Fix Blemish Control Gel -- I completely claimed this one my own after trying it on my pimples and how it magically shrunk in size overnight and dried up. Now I use it as an acne prevention gel whenever I feel there might be some break outs. I apply a thin layer all over my face before moisturizer. It doesn't dry skin up like most acne products, and feels just like a light moisturizer.

✔ DermaSilk Double Chin Firming Facial Contouring Serum -- Double chin be gone! I wish it's that magical. While it did have a firming feeling, but I didn't notice too much of a visible result on myself. Read my review here.

 ✔ L'Oreal Sublime Slim Anti-Cellulite + Smoothing Body Toning Gel -- I really enjoyed using this on my tummy area, it provides a cooling feel upon application, and it is really nice to take this opportunity to give my tummy a quick massage. On the nights that I use this, I do feel that the next morning, my stomach feels tighter, which makes me believe that this product helps to get rid of bloating.

✔ Cake Milk Made Body Frothing Bath & Shower Cream -- Smells SO divine! This shower gel foams up really nicely and fills my entire bathroom with a yummy sweet milky scent that I love so much. I haven't tried this in a bath but on my next bottle, I'll be sure to do that.

Sunday, May 8, 2011

♥ April Favorites ♥

Before end of April becomes end of May, I want to quickly share some of my favorite products that I enjoyed using in the month of April:

♥ Lancome Ageless Minerale Foundation SPF 21 Sunscreen
I like to use mineral foundation when the weather gets warmer, they do a better job at oil controlling for my super oily t-zone. I purchased this Lancome mineral line to try, the kit came with a corrector/primer, a mineral foundation, a setting powder, along with a powder brush that I have been absolutely loving! I chose the shade Natural Beige 30, which was a prefect match for my MAC NC25 skin. This foundation gives me the most amazing glow and evens out my skin very nicely. I love how quick and easy it is to apply mineral foundation in the morning when I'm in a hurry -- swirl, tap and buff, then I'm out of the door.

♥ Naruko Magnolia Brightening and Firming Night Gelly
I purchased a few Naruko Night Gellies from Sasa and this one was my favorite. Unlike some other sleeping masks I've used in the past, this Night Gelly/mask applies so much easier, absorbs into my skin like a regular moisturizer without the stickiness, so I don't have to go to bed worrying about the product getting all over my pillow. The Magnolia line brightens and firms the skin. On days that I did not get a chance to do a sheet or clay mask, I like to put this Night Gelly on before bedtime, it is soothing and relaxing. The magnolia flower scent is heavenly, it brings me to the sweet memories of my weekly visit to grandpa's house as a child, as his house was surrounded by magnolia trees.

♥ Naruko Rose & Snow Fungus Classic Hydrating Night Eye Gelly
The Rose & Snow Fungus line is for hydration of the skin. This eye gelly is very soothing around the eye area and causes no irritation for me. I like to pat in a thick layer of this before bedtime, massage and slowly let it absorb. I feel like it has helped with the fine lines under my eyes, which have been especially bothering me recently because of my allergy and constant rubbing my dry and itchy eyes.

♥ Philosophy Turbo Booster C Powder
The concept of this product is very interesting. It is a little vial packed full of Vitamin C powder. Every morning, I'd take a little scoop of the powder out and mix it with my morning skincare, sometimes my moisturizer, sometimes my serum, and sometimes my toner, depending on my mood. It dissolves very quickly upon mixing and won't leave any white powder residue on the face. I found it to be amazing at helping to brighten the skin and my acne scars have also lightened significantly after continued usage. My skin does feel a tiny bit of tingling when using this product, but I don't mind it, I think of it as the powder working its magic.

I had read somewhere that while Vitamin C is good for your skin because it contains antioxidants and gives your skin a younger, clearer and brighter look, many products with Vitamin C lose its potency significantly as they are exposed to light or mixed with some other ingredients. This powder is pure Vitamin C that will stay stable in its dark colored glass vial until ready to be used. So perhaps that's why this product has worked so well.

♥ Laura Mercier Tinted Moisturizer SPF 20 Oil Free
This is my first Laura Mercier Tinted Moisturizer. I was debating between the regular TM and the Oil Free version and decided on the latter because I have oily T-zone and want to stay as matte as possible throughout the day. I think I made the right choice, this tinted moisturizer is amazing! I use my hands to apply this, it is quick, easy and an instant complexion booster! Since this was an online order, I wasn't sure which shade I really was, and after doing a ton of research, I decided on Sand, which turned out to be a tad dark for me, but it will be a better shade for the summer for sure. For now, since it has a sheer coverage that is buildable, I have been applying a very thin layer, which has worked out great as well.

♥ Ole Henriksen Grease Relief Face Tonic
This toner's name definitely caught my attention -- it is what I've always been looking for, grease relief for the face! I am liking this toner so far. It is non-irritating and non-drying even though it does contain alcohol, for some reason though there is no sting unlike other alcohol-containing toners I have used in the past. The witch hazel scent is quite strong, but I don't mind it too much.

♥ DDF Glycolic 10% Toning Complex
This toner contains Alpha Hydroxy Acid that exfoliates the skin and claims to minimize the appearance of fine lines and visibly decrease the look of pore size. I use this as a once every few day/week treatment in place of my regular toner to help my skin slough off dead skin cells -- it does a great job exfoliating the skin and makes my skin feel softer. It also makes my skin less oily, and is an excellent acne-prevention/treating toner. I don't really recommend this product if you have sensitive skin though, as it is a quite harsh and drying formula. But if you have oily skin that is prone to break-outs, give this a try.

♥ Cake Milk Made Body Hydrating Moisture Milk
I've been loving this as my everyday body moisturizer. It has a very light, non-greasy and fluid like texture that is perfect for the summer. There is no yucky greasy feeling on my skin after using this one. Plus, it smells so yummy too. It is a sweet milky scent with a hint of raspberry. My only complaint is that while the concept of  pump bottle seems to be a great way to spray this on for a light even coverage, the formula is still a bit thick to be pumped through a thin straw. It didn't bother me too much though, I just unscrew the top every time when I use it, and it's been working great anyway. I've already purchased back-ups of this.