22 December 2011

Lucy Minerals Lucy Light Foundation Review

I'm extra excited to write this review, because, after looking for over a year now, I may have just found my perfect foundation! 


The Company
Lucy Minerals is another great mineral makeup brand.  Annie, the owner, started making mineral foundation to cover her own rosacea and eventually began selling it as well.  What's unique about most of Lucy Minerals' foundations is that they contain an antioxidant blend of Apple Poly® polyphenols, trans-resveratrol, and green coffee bean extract.  You can find more information about the antioxidants on the Lucy Minerals website.  

I've never been a big fan of mineral foundation, just because I've never gotten enough coverage from a mineral foundation to suit my liking.  I'd read lots of good reviews of Lucy Minerals and heard how completely different it was to most mineral foundations, so I decided to order a couple "try it" sizes.  Try it foundations come in 5-gram jars (with sifters) and sell for only $2 each.  

Foundation
Lucy Minerals has several different foundation formulas.  I decided to try the Lucy Light Foundation and ordered samples in light and bisque, which are the two lightest neutral shades.  The 'light' in the name doesn't refer to the coverage, but rather to absence of the antioxidants that are added to most of Lucy's foundations.  My skin has reacted to several foundations in the past, so I went with this formula to avoid any extra ingredients and cut down on the chance of getting any kind of reaction.

Application
Right from the first application, I was very impressed.  You really only need a small amount of foundation to achieve an amazing finish.   One thing to keep in mind is that Lucy's foundations do give a heavier coverage than a lot of other mineral foundations, so you can end up looking cakey if you apply too much, which is why I'd stress the importance of applying multiple light layers over one heavier layer.  First, I stipple on a light layer all over with an Essence of Beauty flat top blender brush.  Then, with a concealer brush, I apply a little extra to any blemishes, discoloration, or anywhere else that needs extra coverage.  Lastly, I go over it again with the blender brush and buff on another thing layer all over.  

Essence of Beauty Blender Brush

Coverage
What I love most about this foundation is the finish it gives.  My skin has been pretty good lately, but the foundation covers any redness or blemishes I have and completely evens out my skin tone.  At the same time, it does not look like I am wearing any makeup!  My biggest pet peeve with foundation is if it's obvious you're wearing it.  Lucy Minerals makes it look like my skin itself is amazing, not like I'm wearing a good foundation.  It has a matte finish, but still leaves my skin looking very healthy and natural. 

Wear
I get about 8 hours of perfect wear with just the foundation.  Around the 8 hour mark, I sometimes start to see a bit of shine come through on my nose or forehead.  It's nothing major, but ideally, I'd like to be able to get a few more hours of wear before having to blot or touch up.  Lucy Minerals recommends using a finishing powder and I have a sample of Silk Naturals' Perfecting Powder that I'm going to try with the foundation next.  Lucy Minerals also makes several of their own finishing powders.

Bottom Line
I'm so glad I didn't give up on mineral foundations before trying Lucy Minerals.  In terms of colours, I was lucky enough to find a perfect match in light, but I do hope they extend the shade range in the future, as it is a little limited.  They are willing to work with you and custom blend a foundation if you fall between two colours, but especially if you have darker skin, you might not find a match.   Another plus is that price-wise, Lucy Minerals is also less expensive than many other brands, at only $12 for the (full size) light formula and $14 for the formulas with added antioxidants.  If you're looking for a new foundation and do find a possible colour match, I highly recommend picking up a sample or two.  I've been using mine for about 3 weeks now and I think I've gone through less than half the sample.  I'll definitely be ordering the full size when I start to run low!


         

13 December 2011

Another iherb Haul

I needed to pick up some conditioner, so I placed another small order with iherb.  Here's what I got:


Organic Excellence Wild Mint Conditioner - I've been using Organic Excellence's shampoo for a few weeks now, but it took me a little longer to run out of conditioner.  I've only used the conditioner a couple times, but so far I like it a lot.

Humphrey's Witch Hazel Astringent - I keep reading about using witch hazel as a toner to minimize the appearance of large pores and I wanted to give it a try, since I've got some larger pores around my nose.  I actually had a ridiculous time trying to find straight witch hazel in stores around here.  All I kept finding was witch hazel toners, which of course contained plenty of other ingredients, so I was really glad to find plain witch hazel on iherb.  That said, I really was not expecting the strong smell this has.  It's apparently perfectly normal for witch hazel and there are tons of tips out there for masking it.  I think I'm going to try mixing some with a couple drops of an essential oil and see how that works.  I'll report back once I've tried it :)

Hurraw! Cinnamon Tinted Lip Balm - I've always heard good things about Hurraw!'s lip balms, so I figured I'd finally give them a try.  The cinnamon is very slightly tinted and smells just like Valentines Day cinnamon hearts. 

Grab Green Fragrance Free Bleach Alternative - I chose this as my freebie this time around.  I've tried natural bleach alternatives before, but they've always needed to be dissolved in warm water before you add them to your wash.  This looks extra simple - first, it's already in pre-measured tablets and second, they don't even need to be unwrapped.  You just throw them into your wash and the pods they are packaged in will supposedly dissolve in either hot or cold water.

I also got these lemon wafer cookies, but they didn't quite make it to the picture taking phase.  They were good while they lasted though! 

Don't forget, if you're new to iherb, you can use ITI429 to get $5 off your first order (affiliate code.)


         

1 December 2011

Honeybee Gardens Truly Natural Lipstick Review

I've suddenly gone a bit crazy wanting to buy loads of lip products.  I have more eye shadows than I'm likely to ever use, but my lip stash is pretty small.  With that in mind, I picked up two Honeybee Gardens lipsticks in Karma and Soft Kiss in my first iherb order.  

Honeybee Gardens has a good range of colours and a variety of finishes - matte, shimmer, frost, and sparkle.  Karma is a light peachy nude and Soft Kiss is a light baby pink.  Both colours are matte, which is actually what first drew me to the brand.  If I were to venture a guess, I'd say that at least half the natural lipsticks I come across are only available in frost or shimmer finishes, so it's awesome that Honeybee Gardens has such a variety.

I did write Honeybee Gardens with an ingredients question before purchasing.  Under 'may contain,' the ingredients on their website list ultramarine blue, which isn't FDA approved for lip use, but when I inquired, I was told that, although it used to be in one colour, that colour has since been discontinued and ultramarine blue is not in any of their current shades.  It would probably be a good idea to update this on their website, but either way, I was happy with the quick response I received.

The lipsticks come in silver tubes with the shade name on the bottom and the Honeybee Gardens logo on the top.  They feel creamy on, but are pretty standard - I don't find them especially moisturizing, but they don't dry out my lips either.  I did find they have a tendency to sink into my lip lines unless I apply a light layer of lip balm underneath, but as long as I do that, they work great.   They have no added scent or flavour. 

Prices vary depending where you purchase.  Direct from Honeybee Gardens, they are $11.99, but I got mine for around $9 on iherb.  I've seen them even cheaper other places online, and I've also seen them as high as $16 in local health food stores.  Honeybee Gardens also sells samples for $0.50.

Now onto the swatches -

Soft Kiss (top) and Karma (bottom)

 
Karma


Soft Kiss

The Bottom Line
I'm really happy with these lipsticks.  They're reasonably priced, work well, and I like both colours I chose.  Soft Kiss is a beautiful baby pink and Karma is a great nude.   I've always struggled with nude lips, but the peachy tones in Karma make it a lot more wearable.  I'm really glad to have both of these in my collection and I wouldn't hesitate to pick up more colours in the future.


If you do end up purchasing from iherb and you're a new customer, you can save $5 off your first order with the code ITI429 (referral code)


         

30 November 2011

November Empties

Maybe it's pure nosiness, but I always love reading other peoples' empties or used it posts.  I've never done one before, but when I realized I was finishing up a bunch of things in a row, I decided I'd go for it this month. 

And, here's what I used up in November......


Young Living Lavender Bath & Shower Gel - I'm sensitive to some scents, and even completely natural ones by a lot of brands bother me.  This is a pretty standard body wash and Young Living's scents are never an issue for me.  They all smell great and this one is perfect if you like straight lavender scents. 

Young Living Lavender Volume Shampoo and Conditioner - These have been my go to shampoo and conditioner for several years.  Unfortunately, they were reformulated a few months ago and the new formula doesn't work for me at all.  I've since switched to Organic Excellence, which I'll be reviewing once I've tested it out a bit longer.

John Masters Organics Firming Eye Gel - This was a sample I got in my Hip Apotheca Discovery Kit.  As I mentioned in that post, I didn't notice much difference in the week the sample lasted, so it isn't something I plan on purchasing right now.

Burt's Bees Lemon Butter Cuticle Cream - I didn't actually use this up, but it is getting the boot this month.  It's a great cuticle cream that smells delicious and works really well at moisturizing and healing dry or cracked cuticles quickly.  I've had mine for a few years and noticed the lemon smell was pretty much gone and it was starting to smell like old-ish oils, so it got the toss.  It isn't something I'll rush to repurchase since I have other products that work just as well, but I might buy it again one day.

Cheeky Cosmetics Eye Shadow Sample in Little Black Dress - I practically never finish eye shadows, even samples, so this was a bit exciting!  It's a matte black that doesn't have the greatest colour payoff dry, but I love using it wet as liner. In fact, foiled, it's what I use most often for black liner.  I already have a full size waiting in the wings.   

Zuzu Luxe Onyx Mascara - My favorite mascara at the moment.  I've gone through many a tube of this and expect I'll go through many more. 

Gabriel Color Mascara - Since this is supposed to be pretty much the same formula as the Zuzu, I figured I'd give it a try.  I don't know if I just got a bad tube or what, but it seemed like it went off after about a month and a half and started smelling really funky.  More details here if you're interested.

Burt's Bees Lip Shimmers in Rhubarb and Merlot - These are another Burt's Bees item that's been hanging around my stash for a few years.  Burt's Bees seems to still makes them, but I don't know if they are the same today as when I purchased mine.  I was able to swatch a couple in store recently and they seemed pretty shimmery without a lot of colour, while Merlot and Rhubarb are both vibrant pinky-reds with a slightly glossy finish, no shimmer, and pigmentation somewhere between a heavily tinted lip balm and a lipstick.  I don't think they make Merlot anymore and Rhubarb was not available in store either, so I don't know if it's the same as the one I have.  If I found Merlot, I might repurchase, otherwise, it's unlikely.


Phew!  And there you have it - my first empties post.  Looking at the list, I feel like I used up a lot actually.  I don't think this will turn into a monthly thing, just because I don't tend to finish too many things in most months, but maybe every now and then I'll do one, assuming I remember to hang on to the empties!


         

25 November 2011

Hip Apotheca Discovery Kit

Hip Apotheca is a new online store that sells natural makeup, hair care, bath and body, and other personal care products.  They opened about a month ago and offered discovery kits for registering and filling out a profile.  My discovery kit came about two weeks ago - three samples, in a cute pink envelope.  Unfortunately, I don't think they are offering these anymore, but I figured it was still worth a blog post to show you what I received.


John Masters Organics Firming Eye Gel
This is the only sample of the three that I've tried so far.  The eye creams I've used in the past have been a lot richer and heavier than this one, which is a pretty thing gel consistency.  As a result, it feels light on the skin and absorbs quickly.  I tend to have moderately dark under eye circles and slight puffiness, both of which the gel noticeably lessened right after application, but unfortunately, after a couple hours, both the darkness and puffiness came back.  The sample was enough for about a week, but I didn't notice any lasting results during that time.  Hip Apotheca sells the full size for $42CAD/$30USD.

John Masters Organics Lavender & Avocado Intensive Conditioner
I haven't had a chance to try this one yet, but I've always heard good things about John Masters' hair care line, so I'm looking forward to it.  A full size is $31CAD/$22USD.

Antipodes Vanilla Pod Hydrating Day Cream
Antipodes is a new brand to me and even though I usually love vanilla scents, I think I'll be passing this on to someone else, as it contains phenoxyethanol, a preservative I do my best to steer clear of.  The full size is $42.50CAD/$48USD.

Pricing
One thing that is a little strange is the price conversions of different products.  My discovery kit shipped from British Columbia, Canada, but Hip Apotheca allows you to shop in either US or Canadian dollars.  I've noticed that while some products are priced the same in both currencies, others are priced higher in one currency or the other.  John Masters products, for example, are more expensive in Canadian dollars, while Antipodes are more expensive in US dollars.  To me, this inconsistent pricing just seems unnecessarily confusing.

The Bottom Line
The discovery kits were a great way to launch the store and I think Hip Apotheca shows a lot of promise.  Right now, they don't carry a ton of different brands, but they seem to be consistently expanding their stock.  Signing up for their newsletter will keep you informed of new products and will also give you access to specials and coupon codes.  


As for me, here are a few things I'm considering ordering from the sale:




         

24 November 2011

Black Friday/Cyber Monday Sales

If you've been reading my blog for long, you probably already know that I'm a big sale shopper.  Here in Canada, Black Friday isn't nearly the huge deal that it is the States, but I'm still not a fan of the crowds on days like this, so I'll be restricting any shopping this weekend to online.  There are tons of companies with amazing sales this weekend.  Here's a list I put together of ones that I'm going to be sure to check out.  In addition to getting great deals on quality products, in shopping these instead of the mall, you'll also be helping support small businesses.


Darling Girl is still in my backlog of companies to review, but Susan's eye shadows are amazing - definitely some of my favourites.  November 24 at 6pm to November 25 at 10pm CST, get 20% off site wide.  Refunds of 20% will be sent by paypal within 24 hours of purchase.  Plus, one in five orders will contain a raffle ticket good for $5 off your next purchase!

Detrivore makes my go to eye shadow primer, not to mention beautiful eye shadows and blushes.  November 24 to 26, get 50% off orders of $20 or more with coupon code 'Black Friday'

I haven't tried anything from Face Naturals, but I keep hearing great things about their products.  November 22 to 25, get 20% off and free shipping with coupon code 'save20.'  Alternately, 'body40,' will get you 40% off body scrubs. 

Lauren Brook Cosmetiques
I've been wanting to try their cream foundation.  Now through December 31, get free shipping on all orders.  You can also get 15% off with coupon code 'sweetholiday11' and all purchases of $50 or more before December 25, will also receive a $10 gift card.

I've been eying Morgana's tinted lip balms since they were released - finally going to order a few to try out! 4 Day Sale begins November 24 at 11:30pm PST.  $2 lip balms in slimline tubes, $5 gel lipsticks, 50% off lip balms in regular tubes and new limited edition glosses, quantity discounts on cream lipsticks, and various other specials.

Persephone Minerals
Persephone makes some of the most gorgeous duochrome shadows I've ever seen.  November 24 to 28, coupon code 'BFMADNESS' will get you 30% off on both Artfire and Etsy.  Orders of more than $30 (after discount) will receive a full size mystical highlight or stardust shimmer powder of your choice.  Orders $31-50 will receive 2 full size mystical highlight or stardust shimmer powders of your choice, and Orders of $51 and up will receive 3 full size mystical highlight or stardust shimmer powders of your choice AND a 25% off code for your next purchase.


Sassy Minerals
You can find my Sassy swatches here.  Sassy is combining websites with their other brand, but until they do so, they are offering 15% off to decrease inventory.  Coupon code will automatically show up in your cart, but you need to submit it to receive the discount.  Not sure how long this will run.

Another of my favorite companies for eye shadows.  You can find my swatches hereNovember 25 to 28, get 30% off orders of $30 or more.

Possibly my favorite all around indie company.  Amazing selection of lip products, not to mention other makeup, skin care and hair care. Not a sale strictly speaking, but 1 in every 20 orders placed between November 19 and December 4 will receive a FULL REFUND.

Sugared Beauty's Happy Face scrub has been calling my name for months.  November 24 to 28, receive a free product of your choice with any purchase of $15 or more.  Up to $15 value!  Make sure to mention what you'd like as your freebie in the notes to seller.

Another company I've been wanting to try for quite a while.  Prices can be a little steep, but November 24 to 28, get 30% off with coupon code 'blackfriday.'  Excludes samples.

My favorite source for Zuzu Luxe/Gabriel products, but they also carry tons of other brands including Alima Pure, Priti NYC, and 100% Pure.  Makeup and more on sale November 24-January 1st


This is in no way a complete list of all the sales going on this weekend.  A few other great lists of this weekend's sales:

If you're celebrating Thanksgiving this weekend, I hope it's great!  And to anyone headed out shopping tomorrow, good luck...you're far braver than me! :)



         

5 November 2011

iHerb Haul (+ a discount code!)

iHerb is a great site that brings together products from hundreds of brands and sells them all at discounted prices.  They sell tons of vitamins and also lots of natural bath and beauty and grocery items.  I placed my first order with them recently and was really excited when it came this week.

Shipping was inexpensive and also very quick.  I think I got a shipping notice within 2 hours of placing my order.  I forgot to take photos before I tore into it, so I don't have pictures of the packaging, but my order came in a box with everything individually sealed in plastic bags.  I especially appreciated this when the shampoo I ordered managed to leak in transit -  because of the way everything was wrapped, the mess was mostly contained and it didn't get on anything else.  Also, when I emailed iHerb about the leaking, they immediately credited me the whole cost of the shampoo - great customer service in my book!

I'm sure I'll do reviews of a lot of these products once I've had the chance to test them out, but in the mean time, I'll leave you with my first impressions of what I got.


Organic Excellence Wild Mint Shampoo - the shampoo I've been using got reformulated recently and the new version just isn't working for me.  I've heard really good things about this one!

Clif Honey Oat Crunch Granola Bars - Canada can be funny sometimes about what it manages to import.  We can get Clif products here, but only from certain product lines.  I've never seen these here before.

Honeybee Gardens Lipstick in Karma and Soft Kiss - I've been meaning to try Honeybee Gardens for a long time now.  These both look like really pretty colours.

Crazy Rumors Lipbalm in Cola - Another company I've heard a lot about.  I'm not crazy about the scent though - it really doesn't smell very much like cola to me. 

Now Foods Vanilla Lipbalm - iHerb lets you pick one free product/sample in every order, and this is what I chose.  I also received a couple other samples as well.

Bottom Line
I'm really happy with my iHerb order.  The combination of great prices, customer service and fast shipping has me already planning my next order :)
 
If you're new to iHerb, you can use the code ITI429 to get $5/$10 off your first order.


         

31 October 2011

SweetPea & Fay Ultra Pigmented Lip Gloss

As I mentioned in the eye shadow post, I was also able to pick up three lip glosses with my Heartsy voucher for SweetPea & Fay. SweetPea & Fay divides their glosses into two categories - ultra pigmented and sheer.  The three I chose, Sailors Delight, Congo Kick, and Miss Lady, were all sold as ultra pigmented.  And they definitely are.  They're also thick and creamy and might be better described as liquid lipsticks, since they're so pigmented and they don't really give any noticeable shine or gloss to my lips.  Don't get me wrong, I really do like them, I'm just not sure gloss is the best category for these! 



Congo Kick - is a really unique shade of lipgloss. It has a mod like feel to it, like it`s straight out of the 1960s.  It`s a really soft peach color that shines when applied.  I'm not sure I get a mod feel from this, but it's a beautiful peach colour! Probably my favourite of the three.

Sailors Delight - Pinup girl inspired, super pigmented hot pink lipgloss.  Not a super hot pink, but it is a nice, wearable bright pink.  Leans a little towards coral on me.  Texture-wise, this one is a bit thicker than the other two.

Miss Lady - is a stunning orangey peach lipgloss. It has hints of sparkle which makes it slightly metallic looking.  I don't see a whole lot of orange or peach in this one.  On me, it's more of a slightly peachy, brownish nude.  That said, I feel like I constantly struggle to find nudes I like on me, and this one is both pretty and wearable.

I never realized how hairy my hand was until I started taking swatch photos like this one, LOL:P                               (L to R) Miss Lady, Congo Kick, Sailors Delight

The Bottom Line
I'm quite happy with these glosses.  They're nicely pigmented and they feel smooth and creamy and leave my lips nicely moisturized.  For $5, you get a generous 8mL of gloss, so they're also great value.  And with SweetPea & Fay's return policy, you really can't go wrong - if you are not happy with a product, you can simply return it for a refund or exchange.  Overall, I'm really pleased with these and I'd be likely to repurchase.  I just wish they had more colours to choose from!

And lest you think I forgot -
I hope everyone's having a spooktacular day!


        

29 October 2011

SweetPea & Fay $1 Haul + Eye Shadow Swatches


I love bargain hunting.  Thrift stores, sales, or just a regular inexpensive find...they all get my heart pounding.  Online bargain hunting can be good fun too, which is how I first came across Heartsy.  If you haven't heard of it, Heartsy is a site that offers deals on handmade items from online sellers.  Similar to sites like Groupon, you buy a voucher which can then be redeemed for some percentage more than the actual purchase price.  SweetPea & Fay was on Heartsy over the summer and being a company I was already interested in trying, I decided to pick up a voucher.  Vouchers were $6 for $17 worth of merchandise, or $27 for VIPs.  I got a $5 credit for voting for SweetPea & Fay's deal initially and it happened to fall in the one month when I had already paid for VIP membership, so I ended up paying only $1 for the $27 voucher!  I'm not sure how much sense that story made, but needless to say it ended up being a fairly epic deal!

I wanted to try out SweetPea & Fay's lip glosses, which happened to be out of stock for a couple months while they found new packaging, I believe, so I only ended up spending my voucher a couple weeks ago.  I was able to pick up 3 full size lip glosses and 17 eye shadow samples ... pretty awesome for $1!  I haven't had a chance to do more than swatch these, so this won't be a review, but on first impressions, while a couple colours did go on slightly patchy, for the most part they applied smoothly and without any issues.  I'm going to do a separate post on the lip glosses, so look for that over the next couple days.  For today, here are the eye shadow swatches - apologies that these photos aren't the best quality.  We haven't had much sun lately and you won't be able to see all the lovely shimmer and sparklies in these as a result :(  Swatches are done dry over Detivore's primer.

Top Row (L to R): Kapow, Bulder Dash, Copper Bird, Kangaroo Prints, Courtesan / Bottom Row (L to R): Love Lies Bleeding, Smithereens, Tom Foolery, Suave Gentleman, British Accent

Top Row (L to R): Courtesan, Scalywag, 93 Phobias, Shrooms / Bottom Row (L to R): British Accent, Moe Madio, Numchucks, Fresh Oil, Atropos

(L to R) Suave Gentleman, British Accent, Moe Madio -- Ergh, fall lighting!  These don't all look the same in real life!
 
(L to R) Fresh Oil (black with blue sparkles), Atropos (black with copper sparkles)

Top Row (L to R): Kapow, Bulder Dash, Copper Bird, Kangaroo Prints, Courtesan, Scalywag, 93 Phobias, Shrooms / Bottom Row (L to R): Love Lies Bleeding, Smithereens, Tom Foolery, Suave Gentleman, British Accent, Moe Madio, Numchucks, Fresh Oil, Atropos


        

27 October 2011

Mascara Comparison: Zuzu Luxe & Gabriel Color

If you've been reading my blog for any length of time, you probably already know that Zuzu Luxe has been my holy grail mascara for a good while now.  I've tried other options, but it's what I've always come back to.  You can find my longer review here, but basically, as natural mascaras go, I've found it's the best in terms of both volume and length, and once it's on, it doesn't budge - I'm talking absolutely no smearing, smudging, or flaking, and it stays on until you wash it off.

Gabriel owns both Gabriel Color and Zuzu Luxe, but back when I first tried Zuzu's mascara, Gabriel Color's mascara was a completely different formula, and for whatever reason, I never tried it.  At some point, Gabriel switched the Gabriel Colour formula over and it's now identical to the Zuzu Luxe one...at least in terms of ingredients.

What I find confusing is that, for all that the ingredients are the same, they must still be different formulas, because they don't perform the same.  In terms of the appearance of your lashes and staying power, both are excellent, but they also have a few key differences.  I mentioned in my original review of Zuzu's mascara that it can sometimes leave your lashes hard and crackly feeling - this is not a problem at all with the Gabriel Color formula, which, as a result, is much more buildable. 

Unfortunately, the Gabriel Color one doesn't seem to last very long.  I always make a note of when I start using a mascara so I know when it's time to toss it, and after using it for less than two months, my Gabriel Color mascara has changed smell and frankly smells a bit funky.  I don't know if I just got a dud tube or something, but at this point, I really don't feel okay using it anymore.  These days, I toss my mascara after 3-4 months, but I've never had this problem with the Zuzu formula, even after as long as 8-10 months.  (Which is terrible and gross, I know.  This was back before I knew all the icky reasons for tossing mascara a lot sooner)

The Bottom Line
It looks like Zuzu Luxe is still my HG mascara.  Like all Gabriel Color products, the mascara is a couple dollars cheaper than the Zuzu one, and I did really like that the Gabriel was more buildable and didn't leave my lashes crunchy, but when paying $15-17 for a mascara, I want something that can make it to the 3 month point without spoiling!


         

5 October 2011

Review: Gabriel Moisturizing Liquid Foundation

I feel like I've been hunting forever for a natural foundation that offers a good colour match AND provides the coverage I want.  If you've been reading my blog for a while, you probably already know that I'm a big fan of both of Gabriel's makeup lines, but I'd never tried either of their foundations.  When I read the Glamorganic Goddess's rave review of Gabriel's Moisturizing Liquid Foundation, I knew I had to give it a try.  She even compared it to her old MAC foundation - high praise indeed!  

I put it to the back of my mind, but remembered just as I was placing my most recent order from White Rabbit Beauty and ordered a sample in the second lightest colour, Soft Beige.  There was a slight mixup with my order that delayed shipping an extra day and Jean from White Rabbit ended up throwing in two extra samples in Rose Beige and Natural Beige to make up for it.  (Talk about great customer service!)

The good news is that Soft Beige is a fantastic match for my skintone - probably the best I've found in any foundation.   In terms of application, I experimented with applying this a few different ways.  I find it's prone to going on a little cakey, even with just the thinnest layer.  What I look for in a foundation is something that makes my skin to look nice, but also not like I'm wearing tons of makeup.  The best way I found to apply this was just with my fingers and then stippling over it with a damp sponge.  This gives a nice, natural, slightly glowy finish.  It also got rid of most of the cakeyness, but up close, I still felt like you could tell I was wearing foundation, as it clung to any hint of dryness on my face.  My skin is normal to oily, so I definitely wasn't expecting that, especially from a foundation that claims to be formulated for dry complexions.

For all that this doesn't make it sound amazing, I probably would have purchased a full size and kept using it, at least until I found something better, if this was my only complaint.  I used this for about a week, and unfortunately, I started breaking out on my cheeks a few days in.  Of course, I can't absolutely say it was the foundation, but I'm definitely leaning that way.  I still have some left from my sample, so I may give it another try in a few weeks, just to be sure, and if I'm wrong (I really hope I am!), I'll update this.  Also keep in mind that I do have sensitive skin - sensitive to the point where I don't wear much face makeup on a day to day basis just because a lot of products make my skin itch so much that I have to wash them off.  So, even though this bothered my skin, if yours tends to be less sensitive, it probably would be fine for you.

The Bottom Line
This foundation was not a good fit for my sensitive skin.   In terms of coverage, because of the cakeyness I experienced, I don't think it's very buildable, but it does give medium coverage.  It also lasts well - on my skin, it lasted all day, even without a powder on top, though you might want to use one if you have oilier skin.  Despite Gabriel's marketing, I'm not sure this is the best foundation for dry skin, but I think it'd be worth at least ordering a sample to try.

Annnnnd I'm still on the lookout for my perfect foundation - if you have any suggestions, I'd love to hear them!


        

1 October 2011

September Favourites

I can't believe I'm actually managing to get my favourites up on time this month!  Honestly, I haven't used a ton of products this month, but here are a few things I've reached for a lot recently: 

September favourites, minus the lotion bar

Running Bug Farm Unscented Organic Shea Butter Lotion Bar
I bought this from Running Bug Farm on Etsy a while back, but originally I found it a little waxier than I wanted it to be, so it ended up being set aside.  With the weather getting colder this month, my cuticles have gotten a bit dry and  I've been using this on them at night.  It's waxier than a liquid lotion or body butter and doesn't really rub in fully, which is why I tend to only use it before bed.  It works amazingly well and when I wake up my cuticles are moisturized and soft again, no matter how dry or cracked they might have started out the night before.  I have the unscented one, so the beeswax smell really comes through, which I love, but they do make these in various scents as well.
Photo from Running Bug Farm -- mine is mostly used up and looking a little mangled
 

Revolution Organics Innocent Lip Gloss  
This is a great baby pink gloss.  It's very sheer, so ends up being a subtle, glossy 'my lips but better' colour.  As a bonus, it moisturizes my lips as well or better than a lip balm.  Seriously, if this was less expensive, I think I'd use it all the time, in place of lip balm!  My only complaint is that there are tiny beads of wax (you can see them in the swatch) that feel a little gritty when this first goes on, but within a minute or two, they melt and it feels smooth on my lips.  In Revolution's defense, this was left out on my front step by the mailman in the middle of last winter and ended up getting partially frozen, which likely is what caused this problem.
 
(L to R)

Silk Naturals Wistaria Butter Cream Lip Glaze
I've said it before and I'm sure I'll say it again, but Silk Naturals makes some of my favourite lip products.  Wistaria is a gorgeous pink with just a hint of purple to it.  On my lips I feel like it looks purpler than it does in the swatch.

(L to R) Darling Girl Sugar Plum, Silk Naturals Shangri-La, B. Koi White Gold, Silk Naturals Wistaria, Revolution Organics Innocent

B. Koi Cosmetics White Gold Eye Shadow
This is the dream highlight shade I never knew I needed.  It's a gorgeous shimmery cream with golden undertones that looks amazing as an inner corner colour.  It seems to fit perfectly no matter what other colours I'm wearing on my eyes.  Applied with a lighter hand, it also works really well for highlighting the cheekbones or other areas of the face - it's a bit shimmery, but overall it's got more of an iridescence and no chunky glitter anywhere in sight.

Darling Girl Cosmetics Sugar Plum Eye Shadow
Sugar Plum is a difficult colour to photograph!  I don't think it looks anything like the swatch on Darling Girl's website and it's only sort of true to how it looks in my swatches.  Darling Girl describes it as a 'metallic slightly pinked purple,' which is definitely true, but I also see a golden iridescence in it.  It works nicely with other pinks and purples and also with golds and browns.

Silk Naturals Shangri-La Eye Shadow
This was a gift with purchase with one of my orders, so unfortunately I don't think it's available to buy.  As you've probably noticed by now, I'm not the best at describing colours, but to me, this looks like a metallic black raspberry or a dark pinky purple shade.  I use it a lot in my outer corner or crease, but with different placement, I think it'd make a beautiful purple smokey eye too.

(L to R) Darling Girl Sugar Plum, Silk Naturals Shangri-La, B. Koi White Gold

And that's all we have for this month - all makeup, save one thing, but that's what really has stood out for me lately! 


         

9 September 2011

Silk Naturals Haul

Silk Naturals has definitely become one of my favorite companies.  They're my top pick for lippies these days and their other products are quickly becoming favorites too!  Orders come really quickly, they have great customer service, and I always feel like I get great value for my money too.  

Here's what I got in my latest order.


Bronzer samples in Malibu Miss and Beach Bunny
I'm still looking for a good bronzer for my pale skin and these look promising.  Malibu Miss is matte, while Beach Bunny has a slight shimmer.

Eye Shadows in Sweet Tea, Cloudberry and Daiquiri
I realized I don't have a lot of neutral eye shadows and was looking for a few more "work friendly" shades.  These three are nice peachy nudes, although Cloudberry and Daiquiri are similar enough that you probably don't need both.  Sweet Tea is a gorgeous peachy/brown and my favorite of the three.  I'll try to get swatches of these (and maybe the rest of my Silk Naturals shadows?) up one day soon. 

Sleep in a Jar Under Eye Concealer in Light Peach
My samples lasted a while, but they did finally run out, which was my original reason for placing this order.  I've reviewed this here - basically, it's my go to undereye concealer.

Vegan Lipstick in Crazy Love
This was a new lip stick released with Silk Natural's Spring lineup.  It's described as a somewhat sheer ruby pink with just a hint of purple, and as the lipstick equivalent of SN's Shrieking Violet liquid lip gloss, which is possibly my all time favorite lip gloss.  The swatch on SN's website is pretty accurate.

Liquid Lip Glosses in Icing and Innocent
I've also seen Innocent compared to SN's Wistaria Butter Cream, which is another of my favorite lip products.  Innocent is a pretty light pink that leans slightly purple, similar to Wistaria, but in the liquid lip gloss formula.  Overall, I think I still prefer Wistaria.  Icing is described as a light pink, but on the lips, it's really more of a clear gloss with gorgeous multi-coloured shimmer.  Really pretty on top of other colours.  One thing worth noting is that Icing has a fairly strong fruity (strawberry?) smell/taste that I'm not a big fan of, while the rest of my SN lippies have a really subtle vanilla scent.

+ Free GWP Eye Shadow in Siesta and free sample of Nekkid Eye Shadow
Silk Naturals always includes a gift with purchase (usually an eye shadow) with all orders over $10 and all orders also come with a free sample.


         

8 September 2011

Review & Swatches: Noella Beauty Works

Over the summer, I was lucky enough to win four Noella Beauty Works eye shadows in a giveaway from the lovely Anne of The Velvet Rose Petal.  So first off, a big thank you to her for sending these my way! :)

Noella Beauty Works is a fairly new company, started in November of 2010.  In spite of their newness, they have a pretty impressive lineup of products - foundation, concealer, bronzer, blush, and eye shadow.  Since I got these from Anne, I can't speak to ordering or Noella's customer service, but I will say that I've only heard positive things.  I haven't had any contact with Jackie, the owner, but she's pretty active on both facebook and twitter, so I imagine it's easy to get in touch with her, should you need to.

The Product
In terms of the actual product, I don't have a whole lot to say!  I'm really liking all four colours I received.  Judging by the ones I have and those I've seen in their store, Noella's colours are beautiful, softer shades.  The colours I got have more of a satin finish on bare skin but over primer they do 'pop' and become more dramatic looking.  They aren't the brightest colours out there, but they're gorgeous and very wearable.  The shadows are super smooth to apply and blend very easily. 

The Colours
Smokey Plum - a medium shade plum with moderate cocoa undertones, perfect for accenting the corners of the upper lids.  Part of the glam collection, high shimmer, but not so much that it can't be paired with casual wear.  This isn't a colour I'd normally choose, but I really like it.  It's a dirty purple with some shimmer, but not really what I'd tend to consider a high shimmer eye shadow.

Milk Chocolate - a light/medium brown with lovely lavender and taupe undertones.  A really nice light brown/taupe on bare skin.  Turns into a slightly metallic, medium brown with copper flashes over primer.

Milk and Honey - a soft, creamy beige with golden shimmer.  Really subtle colour on bare skin, but becomes a more metallic pale gold over primer.

Mango Berry - a summery bright orange with very strong pink undertones.  This was the colour I was most excited about and it didn't disappoint.  A gorgeous soft coral shade.  If you're scared to go for a full on orange or if pink shadows make your eyes look irritated or tired, this is a great colour, halfway between the two.

 
(Top to Bottom) Smokey Plum, Milk Chocolate, Milk and Honey, Mango Berry - Dry, on bare skin
(Top to Bottom) Smokey Plum, Milk Chocolate, Mango Berry, Milk and Honey - Dry, over Detrivore Cosmetics Primer

The Bottom Line
I've been really pleased with the shadows I've tried and would be quick to recommend them.  Noella Beauty Works has a good selection of shades in a variety of finishes (everything from matte to high shimmer) and there are definitely a few more I'm interested in picking up in the future.  I'm not sure how long this special will run for, but if you order soon, Noella is currently offering a free shadow of your choice with any purchase over $10 with the code nbwebsite.


         

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