Sunday, 30 August 2015

Korean goodies: Original Raw Deluxe Kit review

I got this intriguing box of Original Raw deluxe samples in a Memebox and pulled it put this summer to use while travelling.
The box consists of something that I took for a foam cleanser, but it turned out to be a cleanser, but of a different kind. There's also an essence and a sunscreen.

Black Bubble is a black liquid which you apply all over your face and within a minute or so it turns to foam whose bubbles deep cleanse throughout the face. It reminds me of eg. Etude House Magic Bubble o2 Water Peeling Pack. I really like the results of this cleanser's action. My skin is visibly softer and smoother and it's thoroughly cleansed without feeling dry afterwards.

Chan-mool Patting Essence is a jelly-textured essence that promises to brighten, moisturise and tighten up the skin. This essence is to be used instead of a toner and applied in a patting motion. It feels very lightweight on the skin, absorbs easily without any tacky feeling. I feel it preps my skin nicely for further skincare, but is it indespensable? Probably not.

One Stop Combination Cream SPF50+ PA+++ is the product I ike the least. It's a cream that looks like toothpaste, it's white with tiny gray or black specks that do not feel like granules, neither do they turn beige like some BB/CC creams do. The consistency is quite thick and the product feels rather greasy on the face, which doesn't agree with my oily skin type. It might work as a body sunscreen, but I don't go to the beach all that often this year.  

Saturday, 29 August 2015

Kiko Rebel Romantic Fall 2015 review: Reckless Spirit eyeshadow palette and Metallic Shine eyeshadows

Reckless Spirit eyeshadow palette #01 Harmonious Beige

When Kiko offered free shipping on all orders, I thought it was a good opportunity to try out some products from their Fall 2015 Rebel Romantic collection. I kept changing my mind, adding and removing different products from the basket and finally settled for those I was most curious about, a matte eyeshadow palette and two pots of  their Metallic Shine eyeshadows.

Reckless Spirit eyeshadow palette #01 Harmonious Beige

Reckless Spirit eyeshadow palette comes in 4 shades, out of which I chose #01 Harmonious Beige. 
Harmonious Beige comes in a lovely charcoal plastic pan with fan (shell? )motifs embossed on it. There's a mirror and a double-ended sponge tip applicator as well.
The small palette is perfectly curated, all four shades complement each other incredibly well with all of them being neutral towards cool-toned matte shades, ranging from light beige to dark brown. 

Reckless Spirit eyeshadow palette #01 Harmonious Beige

The off-white shade is a lovely browbone shade or a lid colour neutralizer or an all-over base shade to make blending easier.
The beige one makes a good lid colour, but I prefer to use this as a crease shade.
The brown shade is very pretty in the outer corner or as a lid colour.
And the chocolate brown can be used to deepen the look. 

Reckless Spirit eyeshadow palette #01 Harmonious Beige

All four shades are consistently beautifully pigmented. They're soft, but ever so slightly powdery. They blend like a dream and stay put throughout the day (over a primer) in the hottest of weathers and the sweatiest conditions.
This cute little palette is all you need to create a neutral matte look. It's also an alternative for matte base palettes such as Urban Decay Naked Basics, which may be reached for whenever you need a crease shade to help you blend or a matte browbone colour or something dark to intensify your look.

Reckless Spirit eyeshadow palette #01 Harmonious Beige

The Metallic Shine Eyeshadows were a bit of a surprise for me. The description in Polish reads like a contradiction in terms, even for a make-up fanatic like me. It's described as a cream powder formula with metallic finish, which somehow made me believe these were cream eyeshadows. But they turned out to be rather densely packed and kind of creamy shimmery powder eyeshadows locked in cute little jars with the same fan/shell motif imprinted on clear glass.

Metallic Shine Eyeshadows  #03 Strong Chocolate and #06 Dynamic Taupe

I can compare the texture of these two to some more buttery eyeshadows like L'Oreal Infallible or perhaps even more to their Color Riche eyeshadows. They're smooth and they glide on really well, but cream they're not.

Metallic Shine Eyeshadows  #03 Strong Chocolate and #06 Dynamic Taupe

I picked two shades, #03 Strong Chocolate and #06 Dynamic Taupe. Strong Chocolate is a dark, slightly purplish brown and Dynamic Taupe is a not that dynamic pewter shade. The finish of both is shimmery, but not glistening and sparkly enough to be called truly metallic. 
These two look great together, blend well and last all day (over primer) without transferring onto the brow bone, which is always a risk when wearing high shimmer eyeshadows on hooded eyelids. 

Metallic Shine Eyeshadows  #03 Strong Chocolate and #06 Dynamic Taupe

I like them for their classy packaging and shades and general performance, but feel slightly disappointed as I wanted them to be something other than ordinary eyeshadows (which wasn't the manufacturer's promise, just a figment of my imagination).

Metallic Shine Eyeshadows 

Wednesday, 26 August 2015

Korean goodies: Korean brush liners by Y.E.T., Lioele and Etude House review & swatches

I'm very sceptical about felt-tip eyeliner pens. The tip is always dry, drawing a line over eyeshadow may be a tedious process and they are completely dry within a month or two. Fortunately I have found a perfect replacement for them, thanks to my Memeboxes. In one of them I found a pen liner with a brush by a a brand that is completely unfamiliar to me, called Y.E.T. 
Brush liners aren't completely new to me, I in the past used one by Eyeko and Kiko, but the Korean ones differ substantially. The brush is much thinner and there's no click mechanism, which means no excess product forming a drop on the tip. The formula is thin liquid, not paint-like film. All three are waterproof, yet easy to remove by melting, not flaking and peeling off like many western liners do (Lancome, Make Up For Ever, Kiko, Eyeko)   The price point is also incomparably lower, each of these reviewed cost less than $9.

Y.E.T. Catgirl Pen Liner

So, the first Korean liner I've had the opportunity to use is Y.E.T. Catgirl Pen Liner. It amazed me at how thin a line it draws and how effortlessly it applies. You decide whether you want your line super thin or add a few coats more to make it bolder. The colour is a saturated matte black.

Encouraged by this experience, I ordered 2 more of these liners, one by Lioele and one by Etude House.

The Lioele Brush-pen Eyeliner seemed quite disappointing when swatched. Instead of a pitch-black line I was some sort of sheer gray. I didn't mind that much, diversity is the key, but I believe that when I buy something that is supposed to be black, I expect black. However, strangely enough, when applied, this liner looks much darker than when swatched and looks beautiful on my lashline. 

Lioele Brush-pen Eyeliner

Etude House Drawing Show Brush Liner in #BR401 Brown, on the other hand, was love at first sight. I love the shade, how saturated it is and how evenly it applies. I can draw a line with a flick in a single stroke.

Etude House Drawing Show Brush Liner in #BR401 Brown
My conclusion is that there are no better liners than Korean brush liners, the only drawback is that the shade range of most brands is limited to black and perhaps brown.
Lioele (left), Etude House (right)

And here are the lists of ingredients, for those interested:

Tuesday, 25 August 2015

Soleil Tan de Chanel versus Bourjois Bronzing Primer

I'd been thinking about getting Soleil Tan de Chanel for so years and when Sephora 20% off offer coincided with hitting pan on Bourjois Bronzing Primer, which is supposed to be a dupe of the Chanel product, I thought the moment had come and grabbbed one.

Technically this is a bronzing make-up base, but I use it mostly as a cream bronzer. This is a cream product which comes in a huge, flat tub (not particularly space-saving) and looks like a kind of souflee at the first glance. However, the texture is quite surprising. It's not creamy, doesn't melt under your fingers, the brush doesn't dive in the product. It swatches and applies very sheer. The bronzer looks matte, but in fact there's subtle shimmer to it, which offers very discreet glow to the skin.

The shade seems very warm at first, but when its applied and blended, it looks incredibly natural. Even my cool-toned skin looks sun-kissed without being fake (I hope). With a product being so sheer, yet glow-giving, there's no product build-up, which affects the texture of my skin, accentuates or clogs my pores etc.
I've used both sparse, fluffy brushes and more dense, natural-bristled ones with it and all of them worked pretty well.  

Now, the question is whether this is a dupe of Bourjois Bronzing Primer, as many reviewers have suggested. Well, the question is how you define a dupe. I understand a dupe as a product that is exactly the same as far as texture, shade and performance are concerned, except the packaging.

So let's start from the similarities:
  • both come in tubs, though the size of these differs
  • both are cream products, though consistencies are very different.
  • both are warm-toned 
  • both are scented, though Bourjois is way more so and the artificial chocolate smell lingers on for hours

Apart from those superficial similarities, everything else is different. 
Chanel is a thick, dense product, with a consistency of a putty. Bourjois is a silicony mousse, which has very soft texture. As a consequence the Bourjois swatches thicker and seems more pigmented, but it's easy to blend and sheers out without problems, but still the tan is darker. Once dry, the finish is satin to primer-like matte.

Chanel in its dry texture seems not to cling to the brush at all, but in fact it offers nice all over tan. It's so sheer that it doesn't add any texture to my skin and doesn't create product build-up. There's some shimmer to this bronzer, but this barely shows on the skin and translates as healthy glow. 

I think you have already guessed which one I prefer. Bourjois isn't bad at all, after all I did use it up completely, but the method of application was more difficult as the brush picked clots of product, which I first tapped on the back of my hand to get rid of excess product and make it go more evenly. 
And there's this scent. I loved it at first, but when I got Too Faced chocolate bronzers and eyeshadows I realized for fake it was. As time went by the scent didn't evaporate and remained as strong as the day I first opened the tub and lasted on my skin better than many perfumes do.

The only disadvantages of Soleil Tan de Chanel are the price and the shade which is a tad too warm for my complexion, but looks pretty decent when I self-tan.

Monday, 24 August 2015

Garnier Ultra Doux shampoo and conditioner with beer yeast and pomegrenate review

For the past couple of years I've been using mostly high-end hair care, but I've been making frequent diversions towards drugstore products as well. A year or two ago I bought a Garnier Ultra Doux with Provensal herbs, which I liked a lot, so now I picked a volumising duo with beer yeast and pomegrenate for thin, flat hair.
This is the worst shampoo ever. 
A volumising shampoo is so easy to make. Just strip your hair of all moisture, create a tangly mess, make your hair go all frizzy, et voila! This is exactly how this Ultra Doux shampoo works: it transforms your hair into one big dreadlock after a single wash, then you spend an hour trying to comb your hair and during which activity you pull most of it out, and end up with a lacklustre unmanageable near Afro style. The volume is undeniably there, but does it look good?

The conditioner, on the other hand, isn't bad. It does its best to save the day, but nothing can combat the amount of frizz and tangliness the shampoo gives. It's also not very efficient as I need to pack a ton of product on my hair to make it manageable. 

I'm keeping the conditioner and passing the shampoo on to my mum as I suspect this might actually work on her thick, naturally straight and sleek hair. I might also try to wash my brushes with this.

Friday, 21 August 2015

Something Japanese: Shiseido Bio-Performance Super Corrective Eye Cream review

Shiseido eye creams make the very top of my all all-time-favourites list. Before I bought Bio-Performance I took samples of this one and Benefiance from Sephora countless number of times. I liked both of them, but what decided about my choice was definitely the packaging, which in practice turned out to be both an advantage and a vice.

Shiseido Bio-Performance Super Corrective Eye Cream promises to counteract tired look that can be attributed to age. This is supposed to lift eye contours, reduce wrinkles and minimize dark circles.
I'm not so sure about this, but one thing is certain: this cream moisturises the eye area incredibly well and through providing the right level of hydration smoothes out wrinkles and prevents new ones from happening.

The cream has lightweight consistency which applies really well, absorbs fast, and keeps the area moisturised throughout the day or night.

The cream comes in a futuristic golden capsule-like packaging, equipped with a pump, which ensures the right dosage and hygene. 
The problem with this packaging is that it's unnecessarily bulky and there's no way of knowing how much product is left, which gave me fits of panic that I was going to be left without an eye cream and which actually did happen with my new eye cream still in transit. 

Shiseido Bio-Performance is one of the best eye treatments my dry eye area has ever seen. But next time I'll get Benefiance instead, just to compare these two.

Thursday, 20 August 2015

MAC Pro-Longwear Nourishing Waterproof Foundation in NC25 review & swatches

Foundations and self tanners don't last on my skin, that's why I'm always on a hunt for long-wearing skin products. When MAC released their new Pro-Longwear Nourishing Waterproof Foundation I thought it could be something for me. I jumped on MAC bandwagon relatively late and missed the original Pro-Longewar foundation, so no comparison is possible, but I've got the Pro-Longwear concealer, which I like a lot and which made me believe the Pro-Longewar Nourishing Foundation might be the one.    

So, before I go on to my observations, let me tell you something about this foundation. 
First of all, this foundation comes in a tube, which is definitely convenient and travel-friendly, but I personally prefer bottles equipped with pumps. It's also worth noting that the tube contains less product than a standard foundation packaging (25ml vs 30ml respectively). 
The foundation claims to be long-wearing (24h of wear time), waterproof, moisture resistant, seamlessly blendable,  medium to full coverage, weightless and satin as far as finish is concerned. 

Sounds more than perfect for me. But does it really live up to the claims?

Well, not really. 
This foundation isn't easy to use. There's definitely a learning curve involved. 
First of all, this foundation needs to be used in moderation. Any abuse ends up with a mask-like effect, clogged pores and very obvious, non-natural look. You won't believe how many times I ended wiping the foundation off my face and starting all over again. This leads me to a conclusion that this foundation isn't buildable at all and the coverage it offers is medium at most.
The lack of a pump means that I usually squeeze too much out of the tube and either overapply or waste some product. 
 It also doesn't feel weightless, I wouldn't recommend this to those of us who hate to feel foundation on their skins.
The finish perhaps can be described as satin, especially on dry skin, but the thing is that this foundation never dries and remains tacky unless you set it with tons of powder. And I don't like this at all.
This much said, I must do this foundation some justice. I feel it indeed is waterproof and long-wearing, though I can't say anything about the 24-hour wear-time as I haven't had the opportunity to wear it for so long.

The shade I've got is NC25, which is way lighter and less yellow than Studio Fix in NC25 and doesn't seem to oxidate, so bear this in mind when ordering online. Suits my NC20 skin perfectly well, neutralizes all redness in my skin, without looking yellow.

I'm going to be honest here, I spent a lot of time trying to make this foundation work but it wasn't my favourite until I saw this film and thought this technique might be worth giving it a go.

This way of application has changed my way of thinking about this foundation and made the whole world of difference for me. 
When applied over a thin dusting of powder, this foundation is no longer tacky and offers the satin finish I'm after. It lasts all day, even though my oilies do come to the surface. It looks way more natural and doesn't migrate towards my pores. 

Even though I finally forced this to work I don't think this is the best foundation in my stash. With such a wide array of foundations on the market, and so many of them in my own make-up stash, I see no reason why I should use any special tricks or techniques to be able to use a product. Not everyone is make-up obsessed or a pro, an average customer expects something to slap on their face and go and this foundation is a major fail in this respect.  

Wednesday, 19 August 2015

Great cosmetic underdogs:Sephora Metamorphosis exfoliating powder review

Today I'm starting a new series of posts about great products by more or less recognizable brands which for some reasons no one talks about. 
What prompted me to broach the topic of underdogs was the discovery of my Holy Grail exfoliator of all times, which put all other exfoliating methods to question, and which, in spite of its revolutionary nature, is hardly spoken about.

Sephora Metamorphosis Exfoliating Powder is a product similar in its concept to Cover FX Custom Drops. This is a tub of finely milled powder which you sift onto the palms of your hands, mix with water or any cleanser of your choice, rub your hands to create a foam and massage onto your face.
The powder is super fine and it dissolves as you carry on rubbing it on your face. The texture reminds me a bit of washing powder, but it's not as gritty. I've noticed that when used alone this takes more time to dissolve and thus is more effective, but also more abrasive, that's why it is recommended  to use this product this way once a week. However, when mixed with any Korean foam cleanser, which I stick to like crazy, the granules melt quicker and are softer, so this can be used daily.

This powder contains salicylic acid, which is responsible for refining skin's texture, iluminating and smoothing the complexion. My skin feels nice and soft afterwards and I never experienced any irritation. 
The tub is easy to use and very convenient. It contains 40g of product, which will last for a year or more. This product has put the need for any other exfoliating products to question. I'll use up the Korean ones I received in my Memeboxes, but I don't think I'll be buying a face scrub any time soon.
All in all, I love this product and I believe it deserves way more attention than it's currently got. 

Tuesday, 18 August 2015

Bourjois BB Bronzing Cream 8 in 1 rewiew & swatches

Bourjois BB Bronzing Cream 8 in 1 in Hale Clair (light)

I ordered this Bourjois BB Bronzing Cream with one purpose in mind: to add to my winter foundations to adjust the tone for more tan skin. Unfortunately for this purpose this product is quite useless but I like using it nonetheless. 

So what is this product? 
This is a new release for summer 2015, which I suppose is a reformulated version of its older counterpart. The difference between these two seems that the previous one came in a bottle, while the 2015 release is sold in tubes and also the new one comes in 2 shades, instead of one. Mine is Hale Clair (light). 

It says 8 in 1 on the packaging, but I find it hard to figure out what in fact it promises to do. I gather this offers:
  •  flawless skin
  • natural looking tan
  • sun protection of SPF15
  • hydration
  • smudge proof action.
but what are the other three? No idea. 

Bourjois BB Bronzing Cream 8 in 1 in Hale Clair (light)

When I first swatched this product I was taken aback by how dark it was, but luckily it blended out to very sheer golden tint (see pictures above and below). This BB cream feels very silicony, thanks to which it goes on super smooth and blends out really well. This product has hardly any coverage and definitely cannot be used instead of a foundation unless you have perfect skin. This means that it doesn't live up to the claim of flawless skin, but offers very natural tan instead. 

Bourjois BB Bronzing Cream 8 in 1 in Hale Clair (light)

This product seems like it's a melted version of their Delice Bronzing Primer, even the scent is faintly reminiscent of that product, but as if mixed with vanilla and less prominent.
This BB cream looks best when used on top of a foundation of my choice, blended out with fingers. It offers nice summery glow, but nothing over the top. This product can be blended out almost to nothing and built up to adjust to your needs. 

This is a nice products, but I personally can't find any niche this product would cover for me. I prefer bronzers and contour products to sculpt my face, self-tanning for the face to fake some tan and I really don't see where this BB cream fits in. 
As for the reason why I bought this item, I must say it doesn't work at all. It alters the texture of the foundation and is too sheer to darken the shade substantially. 

Monday, 17 August 2015

Made in Poland: On self-tanning products by Bielenda

I've always trusted Polish brands as far as my body care was concerned, and this year I decided to explore a tanning range from Bielenda. The first product that caught my eye and encouraged me to explore the self-tanning range was a product which is unique not only on Polish but also on global market.

Bielenda Argan Bronzer is a product which is similar in concept to Clarins Golden Glow Booster, which I used last year, but while the Clarins is to be used solely when mixed with a moisturiser of your choice, the Bielenda one may be used on its own. 
'What this product is, is tanning drops that you apply on your face for natural golden tan. This product, as I've already said, may be used on its own or mixed with any other medium like a moisturiser or facial oil. I've been using these on their own as I found this method most fuss-free, but all other ways of application are just as effective. 
The first thing you notice is the gorgeous argan oil scent. The drops are thick in consistency and resemble a facial oil, but they absorb super fast, leaving a kind of satin finish. I have oily skin and generally prefer to use such products at night, but even during the day they didn't turn my face into an oil slick.

After using these drops, no matter how many, my skin looks radiant, warm and naturally tan. 

Now, how does this product compare to it's high-end brother? 
Clarins costs at least £19 and smells of alcohol and can only be used with a face cream.
Bielenda sells at approximately £3, smells heavenly and may be used whichever way you like.
Both offer warm glow without looking fake, streaky, patchy, unnaturally orange. Both can be built up, but neither of them will make you look like a member of a different race.

The bottom line is: if you're ever in Poland, get Bielenda Argan Bronzer, you won't be disappointed.

Encouraged by my experience with Argan Bronzer I grabbed another tanning product by Bielenda, their Magic Bronze mousse. I was really curious to try this out cause tanning mousses are my favourite kinds of self-tanners with my favourites being those by St.Tropez and also this kind of formula is totally new on Polish market and hardly any local brand has tried their hands at creating a mousse.

So, let me start with the good things first. 
The foam is very lightweight, smells beautiful, absorbs within seconds. 
The bad things are that the product isn't tinted, which makes it harder to apply evenly and it doesn't tint my body instantly. Compared to St. Tropez, Magic Bronze leaves a more golden tan, which may be pretty on warmer skin tones, but on mine looks less natural.
The shade I picked is light, I should have chosen the dark option as it would require less building up.
The tan lasts only for a couple of days on me, but no tan holds on to my skin, I have to reapply every other day no matter what brand and what it claims to do. 

To summarise, this isn't bad, but St. Tropez remains a winner for me.

And finally, a bronzing body butter, which was a present from my mum. I must admit that I really like this product. It performs its basic skincare function perfectly. It applies smoothly, absorbs fast and moisturises my skin nicely. On top of that it gives my skin this nice golden glow, when used on its own, and helps prolong the fake tan I applied a day or two earlier. 
This product smells nice on its own and doesn't make my body smell like a biscuit the day after.

Sunday, 16 August 2015

MAC matte lipsticks in Mehr, Stone and Whirl review and swatches

I love matte lipsticks by MAC and have recently hauled 3 of them. First I ordered Mehr and then managed to hunt Stone and Whirl from the newly released collection of mattes. I really had high hopes for Whirl and Stone, but it was Mehr which won my heart. 
I'm a fan of MAC Matte formula. I don't have dry lips and they never feel drying or uncomfortable, but I can understand why some people don't like them. I personally love the finish and the fact that they wear for 5-6 hours without eating and with moderate drinking.

The shade is described as dirty blue pink, but to me it's actually a kind of mauvey pink shade which matches my skin tone perfectly, but I suppose it must be flattering for many. This is a shade that hardly anyone talks about and I find it hard to explain. 

The next two come from the new collection of mattes, released globally months after the American launch. Before I was able to make my order, I'd seen tons of swatches of those lipsticks and Whirl and Stone grabbed my attention instantly. I had a suspicion they would be popular, so I literally checked MAC website a couple of times a day and managed to get these two. Two-three hours after they were sold out.

When they arrived I immediately knew there was no way I was going to wear Stone and Whirl was everyone I wanted Stone to be.

Stone is very accurately described on the website as muted grayish taupe brown. I would only add the word dark to the description of a shade, which is beautiful on its own, but on the lips it gives an unnatural, theatrical effect. Twenty years back I might have sported bold and daring goth-like looks and found this lipstick handy, but those times are long gone. 
I also want to say that I really did compare online swatches, including various lip swatches, but neither of them looked THAT dark. 
You may wonder if I regret getting Stone. Partly yes, as it doesn't serve the purpose it was infended for, but I've found some alternative uses for it like wearing it under very pale, nude glosses  or using the lipstick as a cream contouring stick, yes, you heard me right, I contour my face with a lipstick!

I must say that Whirl was also a bit of a surprise as it's described as dirty rose and on everyone's lips and swatches these looked more mauve than brown, but in reality this is a proper brown lipstick. It's not as dark as Stone and obviously there are some more natural reddish undertones to it. It's beautiful on and I can see myself wearing this shade a lot this coming autumn.