Wednesday, 30 September 2015

Max Factor Smokey Eye Drama Kit in #01 Opulent Nudes and #02 Lavish Onyx review & swatches

Max Factor Smokey Eye Drama Kit in #01 Opulent Nudes

Max Factor have recently come out with their new eyeshadow quads. Smokey Eye Drama mini palettes come in about 6 varieries, ranging from neutrals to purples and blues, offering a variety of different finishes. The dark matte browns on the right are also recommended as brow powders, though I haven't worn them as such as they're obviously too dark for me.

I succumbed to the temptation and got one, taking advantage of a 50% off offer, and returned for more as soon as possible, though the first quad cannot be beaten. Before I go on to discuss each shade, let me briefly review these two in terms of pros and cons. 

Great, wearable shades
Great pigmentation
Great blendability
Long Lasting
Soft and buttery
Comparable to higher-shelf products

Packaging quality: cheap plastic, breakable
Packging design: unimaginative and impractical, the horizontal strips too narrow to fit in any brush
Price is way too high for a drugstore product. Max Factor is supposed to be the same brand as Covergirl in America, but Covergirl seems much more affordable. 

Max Factor Smokey Eye Drama Kit in #01 Opulent Nudes
#01 Opulent Nudesis a surprising product in the drugstore world as it is a selection of neutrals that contains mostly matte or almost matte products. 
The ivory shade on the right looks matte, but upon a closer inspection in direct sunlight you can notice some microshimmer in it that adds dimension and glow, but no shine.
The horizontal stripe on top is a lovely shimmery proper taupe which leans neither cool nor warm.
The shade below it is a slightly darker matte taupe that makes an outstanding crease colour. 
And finally there's a matte dark brown shade which tends to overblend a bit, but nothing major, this happens a lot when layering mattes over mattes.

All in all this is a beautifully curated palette which contains neutral to cool shades that suit my complexion perfectly.   

Max Factor Smokey Eye Drama Kit in #01 Opulent Nudes

#02 Lavish Onyx seems pretty similar to Opulent Nudes but the major difference are the finishes of the eyeshadows. 

Max Factor Smokey Eye Drama Kit in #02 Lavish Onyx

The shade on the left is a very shimmery off-white shade which has a sort of pressed microglitter texture to it. Although it's buttery and smooth and adheres to my skin very well, the pigment particles are more loosely packed than in the other two shimmery eyeshadows.
The horizontal stripe on top is very similar to the one in the previous palette, but it seems to me a tiny bit warmer.
The one below it is a gorgeous shimmery charcoal with slight blue undertone to it.  
and on the right end of the palette we find a matte dark brown which is looks exactly like the one in the Opulent Nudes palette to me. 

I suppose having these two palettes doesn't make much sense as they're so repetitive, but I fell in love with the charcoal shade and I just couldn't resist. If I were to choose between the two, my choice would obviously be Opulent Nudes Nonetheless, I'm going to grab more of these when they go on offer. 

Max Factor Smokey Eye Drama Kit in #02 Lavish Onyx

Monday, 28 September 2015

Urban Decay Matte Revolution Lipsticks in Stark Naked and After Dark Review & Swatches

Urban Decay Matte Revolution Lipstick

 I love matte lipsticks in the autumn and wouldn't miss the opportunity to try out another one. I ordered 2 Urban Decay Matte Revolution Lipsticks as soon as they appeared on the website, but it took them a while to arrive here as they were lost in transit and unfortunately 1993 was no longer available to be re-shipped, so I picked Stark Naked instead. So here I am, owning Stark Naked and After Dark and still hunting 1993, mainly because I'm terribly sentimental about that year.

Urban Decay Matte Revolution Lipstick in Stark Naked

But first things first. The lipstick, which shares its name with a similar Charlotte Tilbury product, comes in a lovely shimmery black metal tube. The formula of these is amazing with its creamy nature and super saturated colour. They're very definitely matte, but apply like a dream without dragging or skipping. They wear perfectly well for hours without drying my lips or causing any discomfort whatsoever. I've got a ton of matte lipsticks, but I find it hard to compare them to anything. They're somewhere inbetween the satiny lipsticks like Chanel Rouge Allure Velvet or the new Estee Lauder Pure Color Envy Matte and the powdery dry, but long-lasting MAC Matte formulas.  

Urban Decay Matte Revolution Lipstick in Stark Naked

Stark Naked, just as I suspected, is not the right shade for me. Beautiful as it is, the peachy-beige nude, is not flattering for my skin type at all. I stray away from these shades, but the swatches online were kind of confusing and I really hoped this would work for me. I think this is a gorgeous shades for women with light olive complexions.

Urban Decay Matte Revolution Lipstick in After Dark

After dark, however, is an amazing shade and I believe this one would suit a variety of skin tones, the only condition is that you need to dare to be different. After Dark is such a unique shade. It's a berry shade with some purple microshimmer which translates onto the lips as a kind of purple sheen, that's why many people categorise this lipstick as a plum shade. This lipstick is not for the faint-hearted nude lip lovers. It's bold, it's cheeky, it attracts more attention than any red colour as people are attracted by its brightness and puzzled by its impossible-to-define shade.

Urban Decay Matte Revolution Lipstick in After Dark

One thing I want to mention is that this lipstick calls for a lip liner, but it's really hard to find a matching one. I'm using a magenta eyeliner by a Korean brand Shara Shara (picture below), but it's not a perfect match. 
Nonetheless, I love these new Urban Decay lipsticks and I'm going to get 2 more without any doubt. 

Urban Decay Matte Revolution Lipstick in After Dark

Shara Shara Pantone eyeliner 

Thursday, 24 September 2015

Made in Poland: AA Oil Infusion micellar gel and eye cream review

I've recently started experimenting with Polish drugstore brands and I'vew discovered that a lot of them have actually improved since they were first launched and failed to impress me. 
AA is a brand that has been on the market for at least 20 years and has received a strong position in the sector of inexpensive skincare. 
While the price tag remains affordable, they seem to have been paying very careful attention to Western trends and devoted themselves to research and innovation. 

What pushed me to make a purchase was the newly released Oil Infusion line, from which I picked two most interesting products.
The first one is an oil-infused micellar gel. This is like a cross between a micellar water and a bi-phase make-up remover. This is a fragrance-free gel which is easy to dispense in a controlled way. Like all micellar waters, this serves me to wipe eyeshadow fallout from under my eyes and I think it performs in this respect really well. As for removing waterproof mascara this can't beat an oil cleanser. 
Will this replace my micellar waters? No. The reason is quite simple, this does not soak a cotton pad, just stays on the surface. When I want to use the reverse side of a cotton pad I need to reapply product. With liquids this step is unnecessary.  

The product I really, really liked is the eye cream. There's rocket science involved in the production of this eye cream which retails for about $5. If you speak Polish you can read the descriprion below, I'm not going to translate the whole scientific jargon which no one really understands, but the ingredients are really good, considering the price point. 

This is probably the best drugstore eye cream I've ever used. The formula is lightweight and silky, it glides on effortlessly. The cream absorbs well while leaving the area well moisturised during the day. It didn't make my wrinkles disappear, but it provided the comfort that dry undereye needs. I felt it really quenched my skin's thirst.
I believe this is a great affordable choice and will definitely repurchase.


Wednesday, 23 September 2015

Marc Jacobs Re(marca)ble Foundation in #26 Medium Bisque review & swatches

Marc Jacobs Re(marc)able Foundation #26 Medium Bisque

I'm a foundation junkie. Of course I can find excuses like the never-ending quest to find the perfect one, but the truth is that I like foundation. So whenever some new foundation concept appears I need to see what it is like and whether it works for me. 

Marc Jacobs Re(marc)able Foundation #26 Medium Bisque

The new Marc Jacobs Re(Marc)able foundation looks like a serum foundation, which almost every brand is coming out with. Nothing could be further from the truth. Although it comes is a glass jar with an applicator that looks like a dropper, but actually is a glass ball-tipped wand, this foundation is packed with pigments and offers coverage that is hard to beat. The manufacturer recommends making no more than 4 dots: on your cheeks, forhead and chin and blending that out and adding more product if the need arises.

Marc Jacobs Re(marc)able Foundation #26 Medium Bisque

This is definitely not a foolproof foundation that you slap on and go. I wouldn't recommend this for beginners or people who don't like playing with make-up. There's definitely a learning curve involved and you won't do without a foundation brush.
The manufacturer recommends applying this foundation over their new coconut water-infused primer. I don't have that primer, but I can see the point. The consistency of this foundation is thick and pasty. The foundation dries within seconds and therefore is very hard to blend. I would suggest doing one cheek at a time. Another thing, don't overapply. If you do you'll end up with a horrible mask-like face, also be careful with powders, try to avoid them in general as the same thing will happen.
If I had dry or combo skin, I'd stay away from Marc Jacobs Re(marc)able foundation as it will accentuate every single dry skin, spot or patch.

Marc Jacobs Re(marc)able Foundation #26 Medium Bisque

once you've mastered the application technique, once you're prepped and primed your skin, you will get the most amazing, flawless finish ever. 3-4 tiny drops of this foundation will offer full coverage, matte finish and a hold that lasts all day. 
The foundation does migrate towards my pores somewhat, remain matte just as long as other foundations do and transfer onto my mobile like nobody's business, but when I just casually glance at myself in the mirror, even 12 hours after the application I'm amazed at how good my skin looks.

Another thing is that it adapts to the skin tone really well. I went for a rather dark shade for my skin tone, which is #26 Bisque Medium, choosing a foundation in the peak of summer season is never a good idea, but it blends in surprisingly well and doesn't look dark at all.

Some people may complain about the non-hygenic applicator, but I can't be bothered. I actually quite like it, even though it makes the bottle mouth messy. 

If I were to compare this thing it would be Cover FX Custom Cover Drops, but the difference is that the Cover FX product is not meant to be used alone and obviously the amount is also different.

I reach for this foundation regularly on long days at work and it serves my purpose well. It's not perfect, but it's really, really, really good.

Monday, 21 September 2015

Vita Liberata Luxury Tan 2-3 week tan mousse in Medium review

I love foam self-tanners with St. Tropez being my all time favourite brand. Having found my holy grail doesn't mean I don't make any diversions, just to check if there's something even holier.
Vita Liberata Luxury Tan tempted me with the promise of 2-3 week tan, which is quite impossible, considering the natural process of skin exfoliation and also taking into account the fact that fake tan doesn't last on me.

Let me start with first impressions. The mitt attached to my set is horrible. First of all it's a kind of nonsensical mini size as it doesn't cover the whole palm of my hand and protect it from staining and secondly the seam is so hard that it scratches in a very unpleasant or even dangerous manner. 

The shade of the mousse is different than the olive toned St. Tropez. It's got a red undertone which theoretically should suit my natural skin tone better, but it looks a bit sun burned instead of sun tanned.

The good things about this products are that when I apply this using according to the instructions above and get highly noticeable tan within hours. 
The product is tinted, which allows smooth and even application.
It dries within seconds.
The tan is so strong that building it up is a risky business. The shade is acceptable, but as I've said, I prefer warmer, olive tones. 
The biscuity scent is reduced to a minimum.
Fades evenly.

Unfortunately there are also some drawbacks. 
I don't think this locks in moisture and hydrates for 72 hours, I would actually say that quite the contrary, it makes my normal skin feel dry.
And of course the 2-3 week claim is more than absurd. This tan is almost completely gone after 3-4 showers. I went on a week's holiday without any fake tan and hoped this product would sort the issue of tanning out, but I returned from my holiday much paler than before, which shouldn't be the case when you go on holiday, should it?  

I got my travel-size foam to try out, tested it and gladly returned to my trusty St. Tropez. 

Friday, 18 September 2015

Bourjois Air Mat foundation in #02 Vanilla review and swatches

Bourjois Air Mat foundation

Bourjois have recently come out with a new foundation which made my ears perk up as its intended for my skin type. The brand has an outstanding track record as regards foundations. Their Healthy Mix constantly figures among everyone's favourites, I also liked their Happy Light a lot, but the only problem was that they didn't target my skin concerns. So when I saw their brand new release in Rossmann, I grabbed it without hesitation.

The claims behind this foundations are:

  • air-light formula
  • perfect coverage
  • flawless complexion
  • shine-free complexion with no mask effect
  • undetectable finish
  • 24h hold.

Bourjois Air Mat foundation #02 Vanilla
Unfortunately, this foundation fell short of the claims and turned out to be a very old-fashioned matte foundation that we used back in the '90s and which made everyone hate matte skin afterwards. I do agree that this offers quite a coverage, medium at least, but not buildable at all. The foundation is rather thick and super fast-drying, so you need to be quick when blending and also I would recommend doing one part of your face at the time. This sets to a matte, powdery finish which accentuates every dry flake and every line, even those I never knew I had, but now I know, thanks to Bourjois Air Mat. Generally I want to say that this ages my skin by at least 10 years in an instant. The foundation feels rather tight and you certainly do feel that you're wearing foundation. It's also not undetectable as the powdery finish verges on cake-face and is rather noticeable. The 24h hold claim is also ridiculous as on my oily skin the matte finish lasts for 3-4 hours and then my oilies break through with all their might and make the foundation slide on my face and disappear from my nose and cheeks.

I also believe that the price tag is quite steep for a drugstore foundation, the regular price is twice higher than, say Maybelline Better Skin.

And two more things you need to know before you decide whether this foundation is worthy of your attention. The first is that it's rather heavily scented (I like fragranced foundations, but this scent doesn't appeal to my taste) and the shade range is rather limited. The shade I picked is 02 Vanilla, which is very yellow and rather dark, but it blends surprisingly well and still matches my post-summer skin tone, but in winter I would have to go a shade lighter. Hypothetically, of course, as I'm sure you've already guessed that I'm not going to repurchase.

I'm not throwing this away as I believe this could be a good medium to mix with dewier foundations, but I haven't experimwented with it yet.

Thursday, 17 September 2015

Korean goodies: Pureplus Acai Berry Magic Bubble foam cleanser review

I've said it before and I'll say it again: I'm a big fan of Korean foam cleansers, but I'm not loyal to any brand as most of them have the same properties, what differenciates them is the scent, size, price or brand. They usually contain some fancy ingredients that are supposed to do a world of good to my skin, but let's be honest, they're cleansers and stay in contact with the skin for less than a minute so I don't really expect them to do anything apart from leaving my skin clean.

Pureplus Acai Berry Magic Bubble came in one of my Memeboxes. It claims to be packed with berries which work as anti oxidants and improve the condition of the skin.
Like all other Korean foam cleansers, this is a thick pearlescent cream, in this case it's slightly purple tinted, which turns into intense foam when massaged and mixed with a drop of water. What I noticed about this cleanser is that it works pretty well, but doesn't leave my skin as stripped of moisture as other Korean bubble cleansers do, so this might be a good choice for drier skin types. 

What I don't like about this cleanser is the artificial berry scent, which I find quite sickening. 

It's a good product, but not my holy grail. I'll use this up, but it won't be missed when it's gone.

Wednesday, 16 September 2015

Ole Henriksen Pure Truth Melting Cleanser review

Curiosity killed the cat. 
I'd tried oil and solid cleansers, but never a melting gel cleanser so when I was taking advantage of a 3 for 2 offer for Ole Henriksen I just couldn't resist adding Pure Truth Melting Cleanser to the cart.
When it arrived, it looked promising. 
The jar contained an orange-coloured gel, which faintly smelled of oranges.
 According to the description, this not only melts the most stubborn make-up, but also leaves the skin moisturised and pampered due to the content of Vitamin C, rose hips, cherry seed oils pamper.
What you do is massage the product into the skin to melt away the make-up and impurities and then rinse with warm water. And here comes the trouble. This product doesn't rinse. It clings to my skin like melted glue and makes it feel super greasy. While dry skin types may enjoy this sensation they might associate it with comfort and hydration, I feel like my face turns to something tacky, grease-covered and I can't wait to wash this off with my foam cleanser, but surprise surprise even foam cleansers cannot break down the oilies on the surface on my skin. What's more I'm not certain as to whether this is successful at melting down my make up, especially mascara, but also foundation. Each time I use this cleanser, I've got panda eyes and my foundation can be seen on a cotton pad when I apply my toner. 

So, this is a big no no for me. It's heavy, greasy and inefficient. 

Tuesday, 15 September 2015

Ole Henriksen Total Truth Eye Creme SPF15 review

Attracted to the brand by consistently good reviews, I took advantage of a buy 2 get 1 free offer and purchased three items from Ole Henriksen. The first product that caught my attention was their Total Truth eye cream SPF15. I'm a sucker for good, emolient eye creams and I want them to contain sunscreen as eye area is as wrinkle-prone as any other area of the face, if not more so, and for some reason unknown hardly any eye cream contain any SPF. 

The cream contains Omega 3 extacts to nourish and hydrate the area and reduce the appearance of fine lines while micro algae and tri-peptide 5 help strengthen and firm.
I've been using the cream for over a month now and I've used up less than a third. The product has very thick consistency that applies best when gently tapping instead of smearing as it doesn't seem to melt upon contact with the skin. The product absorbs surprisingly quickly and leaves the area well moisturised for long, long hours. I'm not sure whether this is thanks to this cream or other treatments I've been using, but I feel my eye area has been looking better. 

The unquestionable advantages of the cream are its hydrating, smoothing and nourishing properties and a decent SPF but its thickness and heaviness may deter some users, especially the younger ones. I like this cream a lot, but I won't repurchase as I believe there are better options for this sort of money.

Sunday, 13 September 2015

The Body Shop Italian Summer Fig EDT review

The Body Shop have recently repackaged and reformulated their fragrance line and added Italian Summer Fig to their range. This release has coincided with my craving for a fig scent, with Diptyque Philosykos being my primary target. The price point of Diptyque plus the fact that I would need to order that online and pay shipping charge restrained me and now I have found a perfect dupe in The Body Shop. 

I no longer have a sample of Philosykos and am unable to compare them side by side, but the Italian Summer Fig represents all I remember about Philosykos and all I longed for in a fig scent.

It's sweet and crisp at the same time. It's warm. It's unique. It escapes all classifications and comparisons. It's not for everyone. 

The only disadvantage is that this scent doesn't last on my skin long, but I experienced exactly the same when wearing Diptyque, so I attribute this to the perishable nature of this type of scent.

Anyway, for a fraction of price I got 50ml of what I'd been longing for and am perfectly happy with that.

Kerastase Densifique Bain Densite, Masque Densite and Densimorphose review

Kerastase Densifique is a relatively new line from the high-end offspring of L'Oreal. The info behind it is a bit confusing. Many websites gave me an impression that this was some kind of product that counteracts hair loss or stimulates hair geowth, but on the packaging itself there's no mention of that. The products are a thickening shampoo and conditioner. 

Bain Densite makes my hair feel voluminous when being washed, but also very tangly. This is one of those hair products that add volume by stripping your hair of all moisture and oiliness, which is a very successful method, but leaves hair rough and crisp, impossible to comb through. 
It smells gorgeous, like some sort of high-end perfume, which adds to the pleasure of using the product. Unfortunately the packaging is highly inconvenient. I hate the process of unscrewing the lid, even though it looks great and luxurious in the bathroom.

The shampoo leaves my hair so tangly and rough that it begs for a conditioner. Masque Densite is very difficult to use in the shower as it comes in a tub with a lid, which obviously gets full of water if your're not careful. The other thing is that you do need to leave it on for at least a minute or so to have any smoothing effect on your hair. It does help the situation a bit and my hair becomes more manageable.

All in all I have mixed feelings about this product. It does actually add volume to my hair and makes it smell nice, but I expect much more from such an expensice product.

Densifique Densimorphose foam is actually really nice. It adds volume and texture without making my hair crisp and dry. It works, but again, there's nothing that unusual about the product that would justify the price tag. I like it, but won't repurchase.

Friday, 11 September 2015

Cetaphil Derma Control moisturiser SPF30 review

I have oily skin so anything that promises oil control makes my ears perk up. Cetaphil Derma Control moisturiser SPF30 targets acne and oily skin while offering sun protection.
When I first used this, it seemed very thick and emolient. I seriously doubted its oil control properties, but to my great surprise, once it fully absorbed and set, the cream made a great make-up base and sunscreen in one. The cream offers comfortable matte finish and long-term oil control. It also makes my skin feel as if it was primed with a smoothing primer. It has no perfume, which doesn't mean its completely fragrance-free. 
I paid less than $10 for a whopping amount of moisturiser with sunscreen which comes on a convenient bottle with a pump. What else could I ask for? Will probably repurchase next summer.   

Thursday, 10 September 2015

Maybelline Color Tattoo Creamy Mattes in #91 Creme De Rose review & dupes & swatches

Maybelline Poland has recently broadened the Color Tattoo colour range, introducing shades which have been available in the US for over a year now. I picked the one which I hadn't ordered from e-bay, namely #91Creme De Rose.

The shade is a very pale matte, rosy beige, which, when blended, is very similar to my natural skin colour. When brand new, this eyeshadow is creamy and rather soft, blends well without accentuating dry patches, though my experience tells me that Maybelline mattes dry out much faster than their shimmers.

The shade is a perfect neutraliser to tone down any discolouration on my eyelids and prep my eyelids before I apply powder eyeshadows. I've got some promininet and very noticeable veins and redness on my lids and this does a great job concealing them. 

Used as an eyeshadow base, this cream product prolongs wear time and enhances eyeshadow performance. 

This shade looked strangely familiar to me, so I rummaged through my stash and pulled out my beloved MAC Paint Pot in Painterly. Maybelline Color Tattoo in Creme De Rose is a perfect dupe for the aforementioned product by MAC. The only difference is that MAC is creamier and easier to apply and blend and it withstands the process of drying over time, but it's more expensive and less accessible, so if you're on a budget I strongly recommend Creme De Rose.

Wednesday, 9 September 2015

L'Oreal False Lash Superstar mascara review

Today I'm going to review a mascara which turned out to be a total fail in my opinion. 
L'Oreal False Lash Superstar is a double-ended mascara which consists of a white primer on one end and mascara on the other. Why did I get the mascara? I don't know. I don't like all those double-ended mascaras or brow products as the packaging makes the application harder and discourages me from using the product. Although the product was doomed to fail from the very begginning I was lured by the promise of false lashes. And the packaging didn't turn out to be a major disadvantage of the product at all.

The white primer is actually very nice. It coats my lashes evenly and obvoiusly adds volume, but nothing out of the ordinary or nothing that a good couple of coats of a good mascara wouldnt't do. And then, it's white, so I need to be careful to coat my lashes with mascara precisely not to sport white patches on my lashes. 

The mascara part, however, is probably one of the worst mascara formula and wand combinations ever.
The curved applicator made of natural bristles isn't easy to use at all. I have no idea which side of the curve to use. Theoretically it should go parallel to my lids, but it clings to my primer, skips instead of gliding, tangles in my lashes. If I rotate the applicator and  use the highest point of the curve I kind of point-apply, which is tedious and time -consuming, but more precise.
The the gooey and sticky formula is horrible and the application is awful, but this isn't the worst thing about this mascara. The thing that makes me hate this is that it transfers like hell. The mascara ends up everywhere around: under my eyes, on my brow bone (this makes me believe that I actually have fairly long lashes). 

The only reason why I'm keeping this mascara is to use the primer part, but the mascara end offers nothing but disappointment and just cannot be trusted. Who wants panda eyes?