Tuesday, 30 June 2015

Urban Decay Primer Potions in Eden and Anti-aging review

When Urban Decay launched at Sephora Poland I picked up two of their iconic products I wasn't entirely new to, but wanted to try out two new variations:  Sin and Anti-Aging. 

I've tried Sin before in a sample form and I quite liked it. This primer is beige tinted and I find it opaque enough to cover the discolouration and veins on my lids without making them look cakey and heavy. 
It works perfectly on my hooded, oily lids. When I wear this primer I experience no eyeshadow creasing or fading for 12 hours of wear time.
However, this product isn't perfect because of its packaging. The product separates in the tube and forms kind of granules, which require careful blending and a leak of some oily substance. I hear they've just launched a new version of their Primer Potions which combine tubes and wands, which might finally be the right solution. I think that in the process of unscrewing the cap the wand will mix the product and guarantee smooth application.

The anti-ageing primer, however, doesn't pose such problems. This is one of the best eyeshadow primers I've used. It does smooth my lid surface indeed, while priming it, enhancing the colour of my eyeshadow and preventing my oilies from creasing my eyeshadows. 
This goes on incredibly well, doesn't separate or crumble.
This is the eyeshadow primer I need in my life and will keep repurchasing every 2or 3 years as this is how long it takes to use a tube of this up with daily use.
This might be a high-end product, but considering the fact that a tiny bit goes a looong way, this is a worthy investment.

Monday, 29 June 2015

Korean goodies: Tonymoly Clean Dew Red Grapefruit Foam Cleanser review

I've been using Korean face cleansers for years now as I like how clean they make my face feel. 90% of Korean foam cleansers, no matter what brand, offer the same thick foam, cleanliness and rubbery sensation on the skin.
The Totymoly Clean Dew Red Grapefruit Foam Cleanser fits within this descriprion, yet is slightly different. 
The consistency of the product is more lightweight and the foam seems less heavy, which my doesn't mean it's less effective.
My face feels super clean after cleansing, but the product isn't as drying as other foam cleansers tend to be. I generally don't mind, but a hydrating cleanser is always appreciated.

What more can I say? 
The tube is very handy, easy to squeeze and open/close and it contains 180 ml of product, which is a lot, compared to the standard 100-120ml tube size. The foam is slightly scented with citrus, but the fragrance isn't strong or long-lasting.

I must say this is one of my favourite foam cleansers. It delivers everything I look for in a cleanser and more. I'm seriously considering repurchasing when the need arises. For the time being I'm still fully stocked up with Memebox goodies.  

Saturday, 27 June 2015

Inglot AMC Brow Liner Gel #12 review & swatches& dupes

Inglot AMC Brow Liner Gel #12

Inglot have just come out with a new brow product that I found irresistible. Their AMC Brow Liner Gels come in a large variety of shades, out of which I picked the second lightest, but might come back for more.
The jar is surprisingly small. It contains 2g of product, while Inglot AMC Eyeliner Gels hold 5.5g of product (see the picture below for reference) and Anastasia Dip Brow Pomade comes with 4g of product (scroll down for comparison).

Inglot AMC Brow Liner Gel #12

My experience with Inglot brow products has been disappointing so far. All the more surprised I am at the outstanding quality of this brow liner. 
As I have said, the liner comes in a tiny little jar with a screw-on lid. The product is called 'gel', but to me this is a brow pomade. It's quite thick and not transparent at all. The manufacturer recommends drawing a line along the bottom of your brow with an angled brush, then filling the brow in with a small, flat tapered brush that resembles a lip brush and then blending everything out with a spoolie.
I personally find my Zoeva brow brush convenient enough both to shape my brows and fill in all sparse areas.   

Inglot AMC Brow Liner Gel #12

#12 is the second lightest shade available and is a light taupe with some khaki undertone. It matches my brow colour as well as my skin and hair tone perfectly well, making my brows look natural, yet well groomed. This product is not only waterproof, but also budgeproof. It lasts all day, until I decide to remove it with an oil-based remover.
This is one of the cream best brow products I've ever used.   

Inglot AMC Brow Liner Gel #12

I never thought that this could be a dupe of Anastasia Dip Brow Pomade in Taupe, but when taking pictures for this review I noticed some undeniable similarity between these two. 

Anastasia Dip Brow Pomade in Taupe (left), Inglot AMC Brow Liner Gel #12 (right)

First of all, as you can see, the shades are almost identical, it seems like the swatch on the right is more pigmented, but I think it's just a heavier swatch. They go on almost exactly the same. The only difference is that Dip Brow's consistency is a bit thicker, but it needs to be said that this product is older and might have gotten harder in time.
The size is obviously different, but even with Inglot being half the size of Anastasia, it's cheaper. And for Europeans it's more widely available.

I prefer Anastasia's drier texture as it gives me more control over the application, but I'm sure Inglot Brow Liner Gel will be just as good in a couple of months' time. 

All in all, I want to say that this is an excellent product. Go and grab it if you're looking for a good brow pomade or a cheaper alternative for more iconic products or perhaps more suitable shade. 

Anastasia Dip Brow Pomade in Taupe (left), Inglot AMC Brow Liner Gel #12 (right)

Friday, 26 June 2015

Korean goodies: Toosowoong Bee Natural Pure Lotion review

I was rather sceptical when I got this cream as it says clearly this is an AC-control treatment. I don't suffer from acne, just occasional breakouts here and there, so I didn't think this was reason enough to reach for acne treatment. What put me off using this product  was my previous experience with such products which tended to be rather drying and harsh, they combated one problem by creating other. 

Toosowoong Bee Natural Pure Lotion couldn't be further away from that image.
The leaflet says naturally derived ingredients like bee venom or galactomyces bifida ferments are meant to soothe and neutralize acne-prone skin.
This lotion has a dense consistency that applies really smoothly and makes my skin feel soft and hydrated in an instant. This cream is not mattifying by any means, but leaves healthy and glowing complexion. For my oily skin I find it too heavy to wear under my make-up, so I either apply this at night or on these days when I don't wear any make-up.
 As for its acne-control properties I don't think it does much to treat anything (did nothing to prevent hormonal breakouts or make them disappear), but I'm sure this would do a great job soothing skin irritation, redness and dryness related to heavy duty acne treatments  without being overly greasy.

I'm really enjoying this cream because of how it makes my skin feel and also because of its convenient and sanitary packaging, and lack of perfume which doesn't make this cream smell synthetic or repulsive.
This is a really good, gentle moiosturiser for all skin types.

Thursday, 25 June 2015

Essie Spring 2015 collection: Flowerista, Blossom Dandy, Petal Pushers and Perennial Chic review

I love mini sets of nail polish. For the price of one polish I have the chance to experiment with colours which I normally wouldn't go for and embrace trends I don't feel particularly attached to. The disadvantage is that such boxes often contain shades which I find unnacteptable and never reach for, even for sampling purposes.
Essie Spring 2015 Collection is one of the best curated sets I've had. I find all of the shades appealing and I feel I'll put them into regular use this summer, but I must admit it was Flowerista that made the selling point. 

Strangely enough, however, I reached for Blossom Dandy first.
Over the past year I acquired a number of mint polishes, except the most famous one which is Essie Mint Candy Apple, and Blossom Dandy turned out to be my absolute favourite. 
In the photo the polish looks much brighter. In reality this is a blue-toned mint shade which may be classified as pastel, but the white base is not that flat and prominent. It's cool-toned, but there's some warmth to is at the same time. I found it super flattering on my nails. 
Two coats mean fully opaque, streak-free colour.  

I painted my nails with Flowerista in the evening and I thought the colour fell short of my expectations.It seemed dark and dull, but the morning light brought out its beauty. This is a shade which is meant to be worn in full sunshine on long summer days. To me it looks like a bright orchid purple, both loud and tame at the same time.
I didn't like the formula at first. The consistency is on the thick side, which combined with the narrow brush, meant more effort during the application. Fortunately the second coat smoothed everything out and made my nails look perfect!
Possible dupe: Maybelline Berry Stain

Gray nails aren't really my thing, but Petal Pushers is a truly amazing shade and I can see myself wearing it quite often. Probably because it's not a flat gray, but there's a purple and blue twist to it, depending on light, which makes it terribly unique. The photo failed to pick the complex nature of this polish.
Again, this is a two-coater with a long, narrow brush.

Perennial chic is my least favourite shade of the bunch. First of all I don't wear nudes on my nails at all, and peach isn't my favourite shade. When I painted my nails in the evening, the shade seemed much cooler and I thought i might want to wear it sometimes, but in the morning light I noticed it was much peachier and too warm for my pale pink skin tone. Wore it for one day and switched to something else.
 I would say it's a perfect nude for an olive skin toned person who needs to comply with an office dress code.  
Two coats were more than enough, but the creme finish of the polish made it look a bit like oil paint on nails.

Wednesday, 24 June 2015

Korean goodies: Benton Snail Bee High Content Steam Cream review

When I got this Benton Snail Bee High Content Steam Cream in my Memebox, there was so much negativity about the brand going on among Korean cosmetics fanatics that I seriously contemplated passing this cream on to somebody else, but then, first of all this was not the product the whole rage was about, and secondly, I thought it unfair to offer someone something I wouldn't use.

So, having waited for about half a year for emotions to cool down, I pulled this cream out of my Korean cosmetics drawer and gave it a go.
My impression is that it neither gave me a terrible allergic reaction or broke me out nor will be remembered as something worth returning to.

The reason why I buy my skincare from as far away as Korea is that I do firmly believe that it's simply better and also different from whatever I can get in my local drugstores. This Benton product is not bad, but it's a miss in both respects.

This cream makes countless claims, about which you can read below, which make it even more difficult to satisfy the user whose expectations are overblown after reading the description.

In my review I'm going to focus on my unprejudiced impressions of the cream after using the whole tube up. 

The first thing you notice is the consistency and the scent. 
The cream is a fairly thick, white substance that doesn't go on as smoothly as other creams do. It's meant to be fragrance -free and there's definitely no perfume added, but the result is that it lays all the chemicals bare and smells synthetic. 
The cream feels heavy at first, but after a short while it absorbs fully and feels sort of matte on my skin. I have oily skin and I can actually exist without face creams at all, so I didn't really mind, but I can't even make any reasonable guesses if drier skin types would find this moisturising at all. I've never tried this under make-up as this it takes too long to absorb, but at night time this starts feeling a bit tight for my liking.
I also expected something of a warming feeling because this product is called a 'steam cream', but nothing like that happened. 
As far as the results are concerned, I didn't notice any. My skin didn't feel more moisturised, plump, comforted, wrinkleless, smooth or whatever else. 

This is probably one of the most disappointing Korean creams I've used. There's nothing about the cream that would justify getting this from Korea  when Polish drugstores are full of better and cheaper products. The only things I liked about the cream were the cardboard packaging and decent English in the description, but that's not enough, is it?

Tuesday, 23 June 2015

Circle lens: Neo Dali Gray review

I wear contact lenses on a daily basis and trust me, there's nothing better than Korean circle lenses. My favourite brand is Geo, but I recently took advantage of a discount offer on Neo Dali Gray lenses and I'm equally satisfied with these.

Neo Dali lenses come, like most Korean lenses, in liquid-filled jars that are a bit hard to open safely.
Dali Grays are grey lenses, clear in the centre, then gradually darkening towards a charcoal grey, almost black limbal ring.
Even though they're only 14.2 in diameter they offer colour and definition and a slight enlargement. They're easy to put on and super comfortable to wear all day long.
They also blend well with my natural eye colour. 

And here's what they look like on me:

Monday, 22 June 2015

Korean goodies: Esthetic House Mayo Pack review

While I really love being offered make-up to try out, I like to choose my hair care myself. That is why hair products in subscription boxes have never been a source of excitement for me. 
Esthetic House Mayo Pack is a mayonnaise-inspired hair mask/conditioner that promises all the goodness of mayonnaise (apparently a hair home remedy I've never heard about) sans the scent.
It claims soft, elastic, moist, nourished, tangle free hair.

What I found out was that the product is indeed fragrance free.
Having read the description, I expected something extraordinary, but the conditioner didn't impress me at all. It didn't smooth out my hair, make it shiny or detangled.
It hardly did anyhting at all.
I'm keeping it for situations when my conditioner runs out sooner than my shampoo but there's nothing I hope for. 
There are way better conditioners in the drugstore than that!

Sunday, 21 June 2015

COVER FX Custom Cover Drops in #N25 review & swatches

Being a make-up fanatic, I couldn't have overlooked the appearance of a new, innovative product on the market, which is the Cover FX Custom Cover Drops.

Basically this is a highly pigmented foundation which instead of being used on its own is to be mixed with anything you choose, to create a customized product. 
This comes in a small vial, equipped with a dropper, which resembles serum foundations that almost every high end brand has in their range these days.
You get only 15ml of product (while a standard foundation bottle contains 30ml), but according to the manufacturer's instructions you only need from 1 to 4 drops for sheer to total coverage. 

The shade variety is amazing, the shades are arranged according to 3 undertones: golden, neutral and pink and range from light to dark shades. The right shade, however, is very tricky to pick online, but I'll elaborate on that later.

So, as usual, let me start the proper review with what I like about this product.
I really enjoy the innovative concept. This product is a suit-all item. It may be mixed with a moisturiser or a foundation that is most appropriate for your skin types.You can also adjust the level of coverage, depending on your skin condition, time of the day or occassion. I basically bought this to mix with my sunscreen to create a high-protection tinted product for the summer and it does its job decently. But what I use this for most often is to create a super moisturising undereye concealer. It tones down the redness without drying the area under my eyes. I find it irreplaceable in those periods when I suffer form excessive dryness under my eyes.
I like the fact that I can use these drops to adjust the shade of my foundation to the current shade of my skin.  The shade I've got, N25, makes my foundations a shade lighter and I'm contemplating getting N35 to make my foundations darker.

Unfortunately I found come aspects of this product a bit disappointing. 
First of all, I found the right shade extremely difficult to choose, basing on online swatches and the manufacturer's descriptions only. My skin tone is fair and pink-toned, I'm NW20 in MAC, slightly darker in the summer, in other cases I usually go for the second lightest shade available. Before I picked my shade, I consulted a number of different websites, read blog reviews, compared swatches and finally went for N25, since I thought this would be most appropriate for the approaching summer. To my surprise N25 turned out to be one of the fairest and most pink-toned shades in my possession. Mixed with an eye cream, this is highly brightening, mixed with a sunscreen, which always tend to be white, this looks super pale. 
If you're neutral to yellow toned I suggest you go for golden undertones as neutral is very definitely pink.

Second, even though I don't need high coverage I ended up using 3-4 drops each time I mixed this with a face cream or a sunscreen as otherwise the coverage was close to none, so the product doesn't live up to its claims in this respect. 

Third, I see no point in using this with a foundation. I suggest getting a good quality foundation which gives you exactly what you need instead of buying a foundation an another pricey product to mix with it.  

What's more, mixed with face creams and sunscreens this didn't fulfil my expectations. Somehow this doesn't mix with some mediums well. What I noticed was that all the pigments were sitting in my pores, while the sunscreen was everywhere else. What's more the whole concoction didn't last on my skin, it broke down within 1-2 hours, even though I was using carefully selected skincare items. The situation was definitely better when I used this with a primer. 

And finally, the packaging is extremely messy. I've got at least 5 other foundations with droppers and I found none of them so messy. The product somehow gets all over the neck of the bottle, drips down the floor etc. and everywhere else. After a couple of uses the whole bottle was smeared with the product. 

All in all, I don't regret getting this product as I've found a couple of good uses for it, but it's not such a marvel as it seemed at first. I can definitely live without it. 

Saturday, 20 June 2015

Korean goodies: Yuri Pibu Parsley Herb Toner review

I've been using this Yuri Pibu Parsley Herb Toner for a couple of weeks now and I must say I'm pretty happy with it. 
When I started using this, I thought it was pure water and didn't do anything. 
However, as time went by I discovered that this toner is highly moisturising, as for a toner, of course. 

The toner is a clear, watery, fragrance-free substance that takes off all make-up residue I carelessly omited on my face and tones it, leaving my skin feeling smooth and hydrated and prepped for further skincare.
The bottle is super convenient. The neck contains a stopper, which prevents too much liquid from coming out, and the plastic the bottle is made of is squeezable, so you ave full control over how much product you use.

The question is whether you need this step in your skincare. I won't answer the question. Either you are a toner person or you aren't. Since I've received a ton of these in my Memeboxes, I use them regularly, but I do admit I haven't noticed any dramatic change in my skin's condition, but they do make me feel pampered, which is probably what it is all about. 

So, to sum up, this is a very nice toner, but I don't know what it does and my skin would probably look just as good without spending $23 on it.

Friday, 19 June 2015

Made in Poland: Pharmaceris T Intense Face Mattifying Cream-Gel review

When I got this Pharmaceris T Intense Mattifying Gel-Cream I didn't like it at first. We were in the midst of the hottest summer ever and I was desperate to find something that would keep my feel matte for at least half an hour and nothing, including Pharmaceris T, did that job. So down the drawer it went to emerge in early spring and become one of my favourite moisturisers.  

Pharmaceris is a Polish dermacosmetics brand, offering about 13 lines of cosmetics for face, hair and body, targetting different concerns like very dry skin, acne, capilaries, baby and mother's skin to name but a few.
Each line is marked with a letter referring to the issue it addresses, which in this case is T (T stands for tradzik, which means acne in Polish).
I don't have acne, but since acne is often associated with sebum production, most cosmetics for acne-prone skin are mattifying at the same time.
This cream comes with a convenient dispenser, which distributes the right amount of product. 
I think the term gel-cream is a bit misleading in case of this cream. I do admit that it looks semi-transparent, but the consistency is on the thicker side. The way it applies reminds me of a primer as it seems to smooth out the texture of my skin, leaving it soft and moisturised. This cream takes a while to absorb and the mattifying result isn't immediate, that's why I didn't like it in the summer (while the cream was absorbing, my sweat ran down my face, making the results of the cream invisible).
In the cooler months of the year the cream does its job very well without making my skin feel dry, tight and dehydrated. This cream is an excellent make-up base for oily skin types.  

If you're ever in Poland and would like to try out something local, I strongly recommend getting a product by Pharmaceris which addresses your skin concerns. All of them are made according to the highest European standards while remaining relatively affordable at the same time (especially for a Western wallet). 

Thursday, 18 June 2015

Korean goodies: Seatree Syn-ake Total Solution review

In case you haven't noticed, let me just say that I love Korean skincare. Becoming a Memebox subscriber meant introduction to a wide range of new ingredients, formulations and concepts.
I've never had a 'solution' before and I'm not sure if it's an equivalent of a serum or a moisturiser, having oily skin means I could use such a product as both, but most often I use this at night, under my moisturiser.

Seatree Syn-ake Total Solution comes in a beautiful milky glass bottle which happens to be right up my alley. It's equipped with a pump which makes using this product simple and hygenic.

The product is a bi-phase substance, so you need to shake the bottle before spraying. The two substances never blend well, however, and look a bit strange. The consistency is kind of slimey, but not unpleasant. It distributes nicely and absorbs well. There's no particular scent to this.

You can read above what this products claims to do. I'm really unsure if it does anything to tackle uneven skin tone or wrinkle problems, but one thing is certain it does make my skin softer and well hydrated without feeling heavy or tacky. On my oily skin this can serve as a super lightweight moisturiser and looks good under make-up even though it displays no mattifying properties.

When I was preparing to write this review I was surprised to see the price. This product feels as if it's way more expensive, for $19 for 100ml it makes an excellent choice for someone looking for a boost of moisture. 

Tuesday, 16 June 2015

Rimmel 60 seconds nail polishes in #300 Glastonberry, #860 Bestival Blue and #855 Too Cool To Tango review & swatches

Last summer I was obsessed with Rimmel 60 seconds nail polishes, especially from their Rita Ora collection. It appears that the cooperation isn't over as they've just released a new summery collection with lovely floral print on the cap. I bought 2 polishes from the Rita Ora collection and one from the regular line. I bought them on offer and paid about £1 for each, the price which is really hard to beat, taking into our consideration the fact that the quality of these polishes is amazing. They come with a wide and flat brush that reminds me of beaver tail. The formula is super pigmented, self-levelling and shiny. One coat is almost fully opaque, I needed to add another one to remove any incidental streaks there might be.
All three of them wore beautifully for 3 days, then I removed them just to try something else out.

I feel these polishes don't get enough love in the blogosphere, but to me they're just perfect. I love everything about them, from the packaging and formula to the shades and price. 

#300 Glastonberry has the most misleading name in the world. There's nothing berry about this shade at all. It's a coral shade with pink undertones.

#860 Bestival blue is a gorgeous periwinkle blue shade with gorgeous shine. This is one of my most favourite nail polishes ever.

#855 Too Cool To Tango is a bright aquamarine shade that leans more minty green than blue. This one stained my fingers when being removed, which I didn't quite like, but otherwise it was fine. This is my shade of choice to wear on my toes.

Korean goodies: Purederm Exfoliating Foot Mask review

I like my feet. I like sandals. I love walking barefoot. I like my feet to look presentable, but I've never had my pedi done by a pro as I find it embarassing to ask someone to remove my calluses etc.
I've always spent a reasonable amount of time soaking, scrubbing and oiling my feet to prevent calluses from forming or to remove those which have already crept in.
I've been using a variety of successful methods that kept problems at bay, but nothing, trust me, nothing is as good as those Korean peeling socks I've recently switched to. 

I've tried a variety of these, all of them by Purederm, they worked slightly differently, but in each case the results were amazing, it was as if I got brand new baby feet!

The ones I'm going to review today are Purederm Exfoliating Foot Mask, which as you can see, comes in a packaging that is made especially for Polish market as it is sold on regular basis in the Polish drugstore chain Hebe and it costs about $7-8. 

What you get inside the sachet is a pair of 'socks' that are made of plastic foil with some fabric soaked in liquid. You're supposed to wear these for 1-1.5 h, then remove, rinse your feet and that's it. During the wear time I didn't feel anything, no tingling or stinging, it felt as if I kept my feet in some alcohol because of the characteristic scent. After rinsing my feet looked as if nothing had happened. 

The results are to be seen 4-7 days after the application, in my case that was more than 7, as far as I can remember. My feet started shedding the skin like a snake. There were bits of dead skin everywhere, on the floor, in my bed, in my socks, in my shoes. During this process you are supposed to let your feet be and refrain from picking or peeling the skin. This took about a week and after that about 90% of my dead skin was gone. My feet looked so pretty and soft, I just couldn't stop looking at them and I must say that the results of this single treatment were truly long-lasting.

This product works wonders. I use it regularly and calluses have no chance to form.
This product has only one major disadvantage. You need to use this well in advance if you want pretty feet before an event, or, like me use this only before and after sandal season cause the sight of your skin peeling and flaking is far more disgusting than the calluses themselves and can scare even those who aren't faint at heart. 

Monday, 15 June 2015

Maybelline Mega Plush Volum' Express mascara review

I wasn't intending to get another mascara, but this one was a freebie added to one of my purchases. 
I didn't really expect much from the Maybelline Mega Plush Volum' Express mascara as I no longer seem to enjoy the line, but since it was a free gift, of course I gave it a go. 

And I must say I didn't like the mascara at all and it went straight to the bin after a couple of times I wore this.
The formula was all right, neither too dry nor too wet, it had a kind of sticky gel consistency that adhered to the lashes well. My mascara was non-waterproof, but it didn't smudge or crumble when worn in ordinary conditions, it was also very easy to remove.

Sounds good, doesn't it?
What turned out to be a real failure for me was the brush. First of all it's too large. While I was sort of able to use it on my top lashes, any attempt to putthe mascara on my bottom ones resulted in a terrible mess. 
What's more the applicator comes on a super flexible wand, which bends in half without much effort and springs back to its initial position with quite some force. I've had a couple of such mascaras before and never liked them, but this one breaks all records. This applicator made it impossible for me to coat my lashes as much as I wanted to and it made the whole process so time-consuming. I'm not looking for mascaras that would turn my morning routine into a stressful and irritating situation. 
That's why, even though the final result was quite decent, I got rid of this mascara in a fit of fury and took a deep breath of relief. 

Sunday, 14 June 2015

Vichy Purete Thermale Beautifying Cleansing Micellar Oil review

I'm a great fan of oil cleansers. I find them an indespensable element of my night time skin care routine. I waer a lot of make-up every day, so a good cleanser is a must. 

This new Vichy Purete Thermale Beautifying Cleansing Micellar Oil is a combination of a micellar solution and an oil cleanser. and indeed, it seems more runny and less oily than some oils I've used, yet it is incredibly effective. I use 2-3 pumps of mildly scented oil all over my face, with particular focus on my eyes, mix with water to create a thin milky lotion, and then rinse and my make-up is gone! I usually double cleanse, though in this case this isn't necessary as this doesn't leave any greasy residue on my skin, nor does it cloud my eyes.

According to the manufscturer, the product is enriched with micelles, vitamin E and camelia oil, but there's no mention of the fact that this is based on mineral oil, which is not only a controversial ingredient, but also a cheap one. I've never had any issues with it and it actually does a lot of good to my skin, but I find it hard to justify the price tag when a product uses one of the cheapest  ingredients in the market.

Vichy Purete Thermale Beautifying Cleansing Micellar Oil costs about PLN67 in pharmacies (PLN47 in Apteka Gemini, where I buy all my dermocosmetics) while my previous oil cleanser, also mineral oil based, Korean I Want Black Knight Deep Cleansing Oil cost PLN45 and my next one, plant oil based The Body Shop, Camomile Silky Cleansing Oil was worth approximately PLN50. As far as the price to the quality of ingredients ratio is concerned, The Body Shop's one represents the best investment, though I can't say anything about the performance yet, as I haven't given it a go.

All in all, this is a very nice product, my reservations are connected with the overblown price tag. 

Saturday, 13 June 2015

On powder contouring: a comprehensive study of face contouring products for pale complexions

Today you're in for a lengthy post. I'm going to review all previously unreviewed powder contouring products in my possession, both palettes and individual products, including those that are originally designed to serve other purposes, but I use them to contour or highlight. I limited my selection to typical highlight and contour palettes or powders, excluding highlight-blush-bronzer palettes.

The products come in order of my preference, though it needs to be emphasized that I like most items here and the highest positions belong to the most varied palettes, just because they're most convenient and practical.

Kat Von D Shade and Light

I hesitated for quite a while which palette should occupy position number one and finally decided Kat Von D Shade and Light is the one. The main reason is that it offers more variety than its runner ups.

Kat Von D Shade and Light

So, what makes this palette so special?
  • It offers 3 matte highlighters, ranging in shades from a pinkish beige (Lucid), through a banana shade (Lyric) to a light peach (Levitation). Unfortunately none of these shades is fair enough to offer some serious highlighting on fair skin like mine, but they serve as nice setting powders.
  • There are also 3 matte bronzing shades. The one on the left (Sombre) is taupey in the undertone, so it's perfect for contouring. The one in the centre (Shadowplay) is a nice bronzer which doesn't lean yellow or orange. The shade on the right (Subconscious) is too dark for me to use on my face, but it has turned out to be one of my favourite matte eyeshadows, which leads me to the next point.
  • All the shades except the peachy highlight appeal to my taste and make a perfect palette of matte eyeshadows. They're pigmented, buttery soft, apply smoothly and blend like a dream.
  • The palette itself is sleek and it contains a large mirror.
The only downside is that the powders are very soft and crumbly. The brush picks up tons of product, which first of all makes it possible to go overboard and secondly, makes the product disappear noticeably from the pan with each use.
Shade and Light is the winner because of its quality, versatility and colour selection.

Kat Von D Shade and Light

Smashbox Step-by Step Contour Kit is a really close runner up.

Smashbox Step-by Step Contour Kit

This palette is smaller, which also makes it easier to store and travel with. It comes in a black compact with a full-sized mirror and there's also a high quality brush attached to it, which I use every day. 

Smashbox Step-by Step Contour Kit

The pans are smaller than MAC blushes (MAC Harmony showed for reference).
The contour shade is very similar to its counterpart in the KVD palette, while the bronzing shade looks like the central one in the KVD palette or the one on the right in the ABH palette. The highlighter is more of a neutral beige, again, blends well with my own skin tone and  doesn't offer much highlighting. This shade doesn't resemble any highlighter shade from the two other aforementioned palettes as it occupies the middle ground between peach and banana. 
All powders are matte. They are drier and not as soft as those in the Shade and Light Palette, but they're more foolproof to use. Applied with the brush provided they make it possible for me to make my face look slimmer without  looking too obvious. The downside of this texture, however, is that it performs better on the cheeks than on the eyes.

On the one hand this palette offers less variety than the six-pan ones, but on the other hand Smashbox has narrowed down the choice to all I ever need. The selection of shades is just perfect.

Smashbox Step-by Step Contour Kit

And the third place belongs to Anastasia Beverly Hills Contour Kit.

Anastasia Beverly Hills Contour Kit

Like Kat Von D Shade and Light palette this one contains 6 pans which are roughly the same size as Smashbox Contour Kit ones. The pans are removable and replaceable.
Similarly to the Shade and Light palette, this comes in a sleek, lightweight cardboard packaging  with a magnetic closure. The palette is smaller in size, but it contains no mirror, which is a serious disadvantage, especially when travelling.
The quality of these powders is similar to that of the Smashbox palette. The powders feel dry and densely packed, really easy to use.

Anastasia Beverly Hills Contour Kit

How does this palette relate to its main competitor, the KVD palette? The peach powder on the right(Vanilla) has weaker peach undertones than its KVD counterpart. The banana powder Banana) is more yellow that the  KVD one.
The one left (Sand) is a shimmery, flesh toned shade. It offers very moderate glow without icy sheen or discoball sparkle. I like having one shimmery powder among all mattes, it makes the palette more versatile.
I like the KVD contour shade more. It's is cooler and more taupe than Java.
The bronzer shade in the middle (Fawn) has no counterpart and it has strong ochre undertones. Not my favourite shade at all.
The last shade (Havana) here is fairly similar to the middle one in KVD palette, but since it's the darkerst shade in the palette I'm subconscoiusly scared to use this, even though it's just the same as the one I use daily from the Shade and Light palette.

Anastasia Beverly Hills Contour Kit

Next up are contour/highlight products sensu stricto, focusing on chiselling the face, not tanning.

Marc Jacobs #INSTAMARC in Mirage

Marc Jacobs #INSTAMARC in Mirage is a gorgeous palette. Not only is the packaging a work of art, but also the product contained is top notch.

Marc Jacobs #INSTAMARC in Mirage

The powder on the left is a light yellow shade which would offer a dramatic highlight on someone of Kim Kardashian's skintone. On me it looks very subtle. It's most similar to the banana powder from ABH.  The one on the right is a cool-toned taupe that doesn't turn muddy or dirty and suits my complexion really well. It's similar to contour powders from Smashbox or KVD, but slightly darker.
The texture of the powder is close to that of the Smashbox palette, it's tightly packed so the brush picks a moderate amount of product without kicking up clouds of powder. A little goes a long way and the risk of ruining your make-up due to excessive use of this product is low.
The powders blend amazingly well and look natural, which is all I'm after. 

Marc Jacobs #INSTAMARC in Mirage

Next come some affordable powders, sold individually to be mixed and matched to create customized palettes. 

Inglot HD Sculpting Powder #503 and #505

The first pair are Inglot HD Sculpting Powders. Texturewise these are very similar to the Kat Von D palette, soft and buttery, also the shades I picked upon the advice of the brand's MUA are strongly reminiscent of 2 shades from the Kat Von D palette.

Inglot HD Sculpting Powder #503 and #505

#503 is a slightly pink-toned light highlight which is a very close dupe of Lucid, perhaps ever so slightly whiter and #505 is similar in tone to Subconscious, but not as dark. It's a very pretty proper brown without ashy, mauve or ochre/mustard undertones. 
This duo makes a perfect highlighting combo for my skintone. The products apply and blend just as well as the KVD powders, their main advantage is low price tag and the fact that you can mix and match the shades and curate your own palettes within their Freedom System. There are two more I'm eyeing, but first I'll need to get a new palette.

Inglot HD Sculpting Powder #503 and #505

Next up is a product which technically is a pressed powder, but because of its fair yellowy shade and ever so slightly shimmery nature this powder makes a perfect highlighter.

Inglot Pressed Powder #403

Inglot HD Pressed Powder in #403 is an excellent powder. It's super finely milled, soft and densely packed. The brush picks the right amount of product which goes on smoothly and offers a highlight which shows even on fair skin. I wouldn't recommend this powder for undereye area or for super dry skin types as this seems to be drying. 

Inglot Pressed Powder #403

The camera failed to pick up the yellow undertone of this powder, the swatch is more reliable in terms of shade than the product in the pan. It's much lighter than the banana shades from Kat Von D and Anastasia contour kits and it's ever so slightly shimmery, but it's still in the same vein.

Inglot Pressed Powder #403

If  the previous product isn't light enough to show on your skin, try Maybelline Fit Me Matte & Poreless which is also technically not a highlighter. When I was ordering this in shade #100 Translucent I thought this would be, well..., translucent. It turned out to be a fairly noticeable off white powder, which I cannot wear all over, but I found out that this is the only matte powder that really shows on my skin.

Maybelline Fit Me Matte and Poreless powder in #100 Translucent

This powder, in spite of its drugstore nature, is a product of superb quality. It's soft and finely milled and never looks cakey. The fact that it helps me control the shine and conceal my pores, which is its another advantage.

Maybelline Fit Me Matte and Poreless powder in #100 Translucent

If you're fair and have difficulty finding a matte highlighting powder, nothing shows up on your skin tone, this is the one for you. I love how it looks, blends and wears. But if you're hoping for a nice translucent powder, do skip this one or choose a flesh-toned shade.

Maybelline Fit Me Matte and Poreless powder in #100 Translucent

And the two final products are the least favourite of mine which I hardly ever reach for and kind of regret buying. 

Sleek Face Contour Kit in Light

There is almost nothing wrong with Sleek Face Contour Kit in Light apart from the fact that I also got a similar trio by the same brand which is exactly the same, apart from the fact that it also contains a blush. I didn't know they were that similar, so I ordered both. I think it's obvious why I reach for the trio more often than for the duo. 

Sleek Face Contour Kit in Light

Objectively speaking, this contour kit is a pretty decent product. It contains highly pigmented, but blendable matte, cool-toned brown contour powder and a frosty light peachy highlight powder, which I don't quite like. It's too chunky-shimmery for my taste and too frosty for my oily skin. 
The bronzer is similar in texture to KVD and Inglot powders, perhaps a bit less crumbly, while the highlighter is very creamy.

I must say a couple of words about the ingenious packaging. It's super sleek, compact, practical. It contains a full-size mirror, the plastic it's made of is sturdy and classy, the powders are in good proportion and size for every brush to fit in.

Sleek Face Contour Kit in Light

I bought L'Oreal Glam Bronze duo on a whim. On the reverse it says it's#101 for blondes in Polish and #102 Brunette Harmony in English, I suppose it's the latter and the Polish sticker has been misplaced, and as you can see it consists of an ivory highlighter and a cool-toned contour powder. The bottom compartment contains a mirror and  a totally useless brush.

The powders are the most tightly packed of the whole bunch. The brush picks up a minimal amount of product, which paradoxically makes it easy to use as it's impossible to go overboard. 

L'Oreal Glam Bronze #102

First of all I don't like the packaging, which is so revealing of the drugstore nature of the product. It's shaky and unstable and the brush rattles in it's compartment. It's also impossible to use the powder and look at the mirror at the same as they come in different sections of the packaging.

L'Oreal Glam Bronze #102

I really hate the highlighter, but the powder is actually pretty good.
The highlighter is an ivory-lean-yellow kind of shade with shimmer and sparkle and what translates onto the skin is mainly the sparkle.
But the bronzer is really nice. It is a rather cool-toned sheer powder which may both serve as a bronzer or contour, however, I prefer it as a former. Similarly to The Body Shop Honey Bronze, this is a nice bronzer for fair complexions in winter. It offers warmth and shape without attempting to make anyone believe you've just returned from St. Tropez. Although there was a time when I was using this powder quite a lot, it shows no signs of being used at all.  

L'Oreal Glam Bronze #102