Friday, 18 November 2016

Max Factor Excess Intensity Longwear Eyeliner #02 review & swatches

I like bright blues during the summer. I wear a ton of blue eyeshadows or neutrals with a blue liner for a pop of colour. My tend to favour royal and cobalt shades, but a nice turquoise also tickles my fancy from time to time.

I had high expectations for my Max Factor Excess Intensity Longwear Eyeliner as it swatches beautifully. It glides on perfectly well, seems soft and is incredibly pigmented. It's a shimmety turquoise shade with silver microsparkles (not as noticeable as glitter, yet lightreflecting). However, it doesn't live up to my expectations. It doesn't apply as nicely on the lid, over eyeshadows as on the back of my hand. This liner drags my skin, doesn't produce a smooth, crisp line and seems harder than it actually is. I use this on bare skin, my bottom lashline and it seems to go on much more smoothly. 
I must admit that this is a waterproof eyeliner and once applied it doesn't go anywhere for the longer part of the day, but overall I believe there are way better liners out there and I'm not going to explore the line further. 

Thursday, 4 August 2016

Korean goodies: I belivyu Powder Wash Vitamin Face Cleanser review

I love Korean skincare cause the manufacturers never fail to surprise. 
Today I want to review I belivyu Powder Wash Vitamin Face Cleanser. Powder cleanser? Yup, no mistake here. 
My first question was about the point of this innovation. Aren't gels and lotions good enough? Yes, they are, but I did notice a selling point in a powder wash, even though I don't think I'm going to explore more powder wash options.

So what you get is something that looks and feels like washing powder. You mix it in the palms of your hands with a drop of water and once you start massaging your face the granules start to melt and produce foam. The product is easy to rinse, doesn't leave any residue and makes my skin feel soft and simply clean.

The product turned out to be a massive positive surprise for me. The granules do some kind of mild exfoliation job and what's more, contrary to what you might expect from a powder, this product feels far less drying on my skin than gel cleansers. I even dare say that my oily skin felt properly moisturised and didn't ask for a face cream.

The packaging is really pretty. It's a milk glass bottle with a cork which looks lovely in the bathroom, but can be messy and it's less convenient than, say, a bottle with a pump.

I don't travel often by plane, but if I did, especially with hand luggage only, I would go for this cleanser each time I travelled as powder products can be taken on board without any limitations, and this is the greatest selling point for this kind of product in my opinion.

The product contains vitamins, granol particles, papaine enzymes, macadamia and olive oils.

Tuesday, 28 June 2016

Korean goodies: Croquis Alight Pact review

Having oily skin makes me stay away from in-your-face highlighter on occassions other than photoshoots, for obvious reasons. However, I do like to brighten certain areas of my face for a more youthful kind of look. This is where low-end and drugstore, tossed-by-beauty gurus products come in handy.

One of my favourite highlighters of all time is my Croquis Alight Pact. This Korean product comes in a beautiful and classy matte gold compact while the powder itself bears a polka dot embossed pattern. The dots are gold, pink and baby blue, but their shade does not translate onto the skin. 
Alight Pact is a very subtle highlighter for those of us with pale skin tones and those who don't feel confident wearing highlighters and prefer a discreet sheen instead of metallic glow. 
This is a great product to wear at work or on every day basis. It boosts my confidence, makes my skin glow, but never accentuates my pores nor makes me look sweaty or oil slick. Thumbs up from me!

Friday, 20 May 2016

MAC Pro Longwear Powder Pressed review

Living in close proximity to a MAC store means that I no longer need to purchase their products online and every now and then can venture in and satisfy myself with something new.

The reason why I got my new Pro Longwear Powder Pressed is that I have oily skin and this powder was highly recommended for my skin type by a number of bloggers who have the same skin concerns and whose judgement I trust. 

I quite liked the packaging and the dry texture of the powder seemed very promising, but I must say this is no holy grail of mine. 
The powder is very dry and stony hard. The brush doesn't pick excessive amount of product, which is good, but I really need to dig hard to pick anything at all. 
I don't quite like what this powder looks like on my skin. It does mattify, without any doubt, but it also makes dry patches miraculously appear on my face and generally sits quite unnaturally on the surface without blending in.

I would be prepared to accept this fact if it kept my face matte for longer thaqn other powders do, but unfortunately my oilies break through as quickly as they do when I use other powders.

This  powder lacks any comparative advantage over other smilar products. Apart from being a product by a cult brand, it fails to deliver good quality product, lasting results, innovative packaging and a sense of luxury.

Monday, 2 May 2016

Korean goodies: Unni Recipe Vitamin Recharger Mist and Essence review

My Korean supplies are running low, but I've still got some in my stash which for some reason unknown I treasured particularly much and saved them for a rainy day. Call me weird, but since my childhood I was unable to use my favourite products right away, I enjoyed having them more than actually using. 

I can't remember what made me believe the Unni Recipe Vitamin Recharger Mist and Essence would be particularly good. I suppose it was the packaging and the fact that I could use them simultaneously to enhance the results. 
Both products claim to do the same thing, which is to brighten and recharge dull skin due to the fact that both milky brown bottles are packed brimful with vitamins, citrus extracts and niacinamide, but neither of them has done anything noticeable to my skin.

I was instantly disappointed with the mist as the pump sprayed the liquid in huge droplets, which actually ruined my makeup or hair. I changed the pump, to no avail, which made me realise that it's not always the pump, but also the substance sprayed which have influence on how fine the mist is. 
Apart from the fact that all applicators I've used spurt tons of product on my face, I haven't noticed anything life changing when using the mist.

The essence is somewhat nicer. It's a clear, gel-like substance which applies well without being sticky or overly glowy on my face. It adds moisture to my skin and combines well with slightly less moisturising creams. But I certainly wouldn't recommend this product as a soothing wonder to restore comfort of dry skin. I don't think this has made my skin brighter, more youthful and less dull. It's all right, but not a must-have.

Monday, 25 April 2016

Korean goodies: Skinfood Tomato Whitening Toner review

Skinfood was the first Korean brand I've used and I feel strongly sentimental about it, so my reviews might tend to be a bit partial in the brand's favour. However, in spite of my strong desire to like their Tomato Whitening Toner, I don't think it did anything to my skin. 

It promises to brighten the skin, reduce redness and acne scarring, soften and condition the skin, prevent premature aging. Contains tomato extract, vitamin c and anti-oxidants, but no alcohol or parabens.

What I can say is that it comes in a nice bottle, though the screw-on cap is a bit impractical. The toner has a very nice, subtle scent. It's not drying, but I don't feel it's particularly moisturising either. It was a pleasure to use it every night and morming, but to I really need to take this extra step if I don't see any results? Of course not. Used this up, but I see no point in repurchasing. Dear Me by Enprani remains unbeatable.

Sunday, 17 April 2016

Stila Perfectly Poreless Putty Perfector versus Unni Recipe foundation (Korean)

This review is long overdue. The thing is that I'm in two minds about this product and I go to and fro from loving to hating it.
Stila Perfectly Poreless Putty Perfector is an innovative product, yet I noticed that months before its release I received in one of my Memeboxes its Korean dupe, which received no love or hype from Korean beauty fans and went completely unnoticed. I never meant to review that product, though I quite liked it myself, however now I think a comparison would be more than appropriate.

The products which are the subject of this review are extremely similar, the only differences being the colour and size of the packaging(Unni is slightly bulkier), the shade and the price ($39 for Stila versus $24 for Unni).  

So what are they? It's easier to describe them in terms of what they are not. They are not cushion foundations, nor are they powder or cream ones. The texture is weird, the product is moldable and thicker and more powdery than cream products.
In both cases the product comes in a compact equipped with a mirror, a non-porous sponge and a protective shield which houses the sponge and protects the product from drying.

I'm in two minds about this product. On the one hand, if applied sparingly this product can make my skin look perfect. The coverage is medium at most and it's not buildable at all, but this foundation feels as if it was mixed with a smoothing and pore minimising primer which blurs all imperfections. My oily skin looks matte and the finish is on the powdery side, so I can apply bronzers or blushes without powdering my face first.

However, this is not a foolproof product. If you apply a bit too much, you'll end up with a cakey face. Think Japanese theatrical make-up kind of thing. Another thing is that it's totally unforgiving if you have any dry patches. I have really oily skin and I didn't realise I had any until I used any of these products.

While I really do enjoy the finish for an hour or so, my skin feels as if it was suffocating underneath and starts to produce incredible amount of sebum, which in turn breaks the foundation down and makes it melt, so you might have guessed already, it's not terribly long lasting.

The best use for these foundations is in my case to carry one of them in my handbag and use for touch-ups on the go, just like those of us do with cushion products.

I like these products overall, but I don't recommend buying them as I don't know who they are good for. Dry-skinned ladies should stay away from this kind of product for sure, oily skins would notice a severe melt-down and possible breakouts. 
Buying a product just for touch-ups is a little bit of an expensive whim, but if you can afford it, why not give this weird product a go? 

Tuesday, 22 March 2016

Korean goodies: Migabee Bee Venom & Honey Cream review

I love honey and all bee-related products immediately attract my attention. 
According to the product description Migabee Bee Venom and Honey Cream is rich in bee venom, propolis, honey and royal jelly. Couldn't have beed better, huh? It's supposed to moisturise, soothe, brighten and treat fine lines.

The cream has a weird, slightly muddy colour and a sort of natural smell, which makes me feel this indeed is
packed with all the natural goodness.
The consistency is lightweight, almost gel-like. The cream absorbs instantly, making my skin feel tight, which is good for my oily skin and enlarged pores, but I'm really not sure whether dry skin types would enjoy it. This is a lovely day cream for my skin type, but it doesn't seem moisturising and nourishing enough at night time. The manufacturer recommends mixing this cream with a couple of drops of ampoule or facial oil to create an overnight pack. I do so, and this concoction gives me lovely, smooth skin in the morning, but I have my reservations about products which need something else to give them a push and make them work. A good cream should do wonders on its own, shouldn't it?

All in all, if you have oily skin and are looking for a day moisturiser, you won't regret this purchase.

Friday, 18 March 2016

Smashbox Double Exposure Eyeshadow Palette: review and swatches

I was partly disappointed with the Smashbox Double Exposure palette predecessor(Full Exposire) when it was released a couple of years back, nonetheless its younger sister lured me with its selection of sultry purples and blues and the possibility to vary the eyeshadows intensity by applying them wet.

The palette,  made of rubberised cardboard, which tends to attract dust, contains 14 eyeshadows and a double-ended brush, which is actually really good. The names of the shadows appear on the bottom of the palette and there's also a leaflet which informs us how the colour changes when mixed with water. There's also a manual which tells us how to apply eyeshadows on eyes of different shapes.
I found out that I prefer to use these eyeshadows dry, they blended well and offered sultry, but saturated wash of colour. Applied wet, they looked more intense, but turned patchy and kind of clumpy.
I'm definitely more attracted to the left side of the palette as pinky peaches and warm browns aren't really my cup of tea.

Here's a more thorough analysis of the palette and my rating:

1. Self sufficiency: The palette definitely is self-sufficient.
 2. Variety of shades: There's a whole varitey of shades, ranging from neutrals to purples and blues.
3. Variety of finishes: Not only are there sparkles, shimmers and mattes, but also they change their intensity when applied with a wet brush.
4. Variety of looks is unlimited. You can get your a basic, neutral looks and also get a pop of colour without getting overboard. 
5. Pigmentation varies, but it isn't bad at all. And of course it increases when the eyeshadows are applied wet.
6. Uniqueness: This palette is unique in terms of  the colour selection, though I must say that some of them are very similar. What's more it's the quite rare wet & dry formula. 
7. Performance: The quality of the eyeshadows differs. The mattes and sparkles tend to be dry and chalky, but others perform really well.  
8. Packaging is nice and handy, not too heavy to travel with, though there's a risk of incidental opening. I love the brush, which does work like professional brushes do.
9. Availability: Sephora, online 
10. Value for money: This palette isn't cheap by any means, but it's a great value for money, considering what you get.

Tuesday, 15 March 2016

Max Factor Lipstick in Burnt Caramel #745 review & swatches

I'm generally a red lip fan, but I believe every woman needs a selection of nudes for everyday occassions, when intimidating other people with your strong and dominant character embodied in a red lip might not be a good idea (think parents' meeting, think grocery shopping in a village shop). 

The thing with the nudes is that what suits others and is raved about by beauty bloggers may not be your cup of tea. With my pink complexion I struggle hard to find the right shade for me. Those that go well with my skin tone are beiges or browns with pink or mauve undertone. Max Factor  lipstick in #745 Burnt Caramel is one of such shades. 

This drugstore lipstick comes in a classy matte gold packaging with a base that reveals the shade, so if you have more of those lipsticks you can easily pick the shade you want. The bullet is embossed with the company logo, which looks adorable and high-end.

The lipstick is super creamy and offers wonderful coverage. It feels comfortable and moisturising on the lips. The finish is kind of satin, but when applied over a lip liner it looks almost matte.

It's a beautiful, high quality lipstick for about a half of Sephora prices. 

Sunday, 28 February 2016

Korean goodies: Osho Whitening Cream review

I don't know much about this Osho Whitening Cream. The leaflet says it whitens the skin due to presence of high concentrates of  rice bran extracts. After experimenting with this cream for a while I must say that it whitens strongly, but temporarily as if it was not rice bran extract, but rice powder that was the main whitening ingredient. 

The note on the packaging said that this is a day/night cream, so I slapped on a considerable amount on my face before going to bed and scared Mr Hubby with what he believed was my new take on Halloween make-up. This thing looks as if you've smeared toothpaste onto your face. Of course I wiped this off cause no one wants to sleep with white make-up on their faces and was about to dump this vile thing, but the beautiful white pears spoke to me and I resisted the strong temptation to part with this cream.

The next morning I used it in less than a moderate amount and it actually did work. I would never recommend wearing it on its own as it makes your face unnaturally white. I'm pale and this turns me white, and I can't even imagine what it would look like on darker skinned people. But this makes a nice base for my make-up, it even brightens the undereye area nicely. 

I don't think this is a particularly good quality cream. When I used a larger amount it felt heavy and pasty on my skin and turned it greasy. When I just patted on a small dollop, I felt it didn't  moisturise enough.

I will use this up, but I don't like it. I'm not sure who this is for. Too heavy for oily skin, too drying for dry, turns pale complexions white, darker and olive toned would most probably look ashy. This is a day cream with strong white cast, but has no SPF at all. 

It looks like the only thing I like about this cream is the packaging.

Wednesday, 24 February 2016

Korean goodies: Yni Picture Eyeliner review

Being masters of caligraphy, Asian people know how to make a felt tip liner best. As a Memebox addict I got a number of unbranded products which surprised me with their quality and stayed with me until today. One of such products is this Yni Picture Eyeliner.

This represents a weird concept of an eyeliner, which is not unknown to the Western market, as years back it was intoduced by some highend brand like Lancome or Stila. What we get is a tip which looks like a pitchfork and can be used in multiple ways. It was designed for beginners in the art of make-up who struggle to make a line straight. The tip is meant to be some kind of dotting tool that will fill in the lashline without the need to draw a line at all.
However, if you just drag this tip along the lashline, it'll give you a beautiful, opaque black, straight line, the width of which will depend on the angle at which you hold the pen. 

This tip is not my favourite, I find the conventional ones more faff-free, but the overall result is undeniably pretty and I keep returning to this pen quite regularly. 
But what I like about this eyeliner the most is that it resists the passage of time and is just as good as new. My European drugstore liners dry out within months, if not weeks, and this one goes on beautifully in spite of the fact that I've had it for good couple of years.

Wednesday, 10 February 2016

Elemis Pro-Collagen Advanced Treatment review

I have undereye wrinkles and I willingly reach for different concoctions that promise to reverse the damage that time has made to my skin.
My latest pick was Elemis ProCollagen Advanced Eye Treatment. I went for this one because the reviews were good and collagen products, say what you may about how useless collagen is in skin care, have always done a world of good for me. 
The product comes in a classy, but not fancy flat gray bottle, which definitely protects the product from sun rays, but it also makes it impossible to tell how much product is left. The cap contains a glass dropper, which helps you carefully measure a drop or two of this precious liquid. 
The serum has a consistency that is half way between water and gel and it's also sort of cloudy. It distributes nicely under the eyes, leaves a kind of film and doesn't feel tight even if I forget to follow this with an eye cream.

I'm writing this review after having used this thing religiously day by day in conjunction with various high quality eye creams and I must say that while it was a pleasure to pamper myself with a product which I consider luxury, I must say that the entire bottle of this serum did not iron out my wrinkles and I don't notice any difference now that I've stopped using this. Let me rephrase that, Elemis Pro-Collagen Advanced Eye Treatment proved itself to be a totally unnecessary addition to my skincare routine and quite a lot of money wasted.

Monday, 8 February 2016

Make Up For Ever Ultra HD Invisible Cover Concealer in R30 review & swatches

I'm always on the lookeout for a concealer which would work on my dry undereye, so when I heard of the new Ultra HD Concealer by Make Up For Ever I thought I'd give it a go.
Here's what it claims to do:

Rare as it is in the make-up industry, all the claims are true. This concealer hides imperfections and brightens the eye area , feels comfortable and doesnt turn dry or cakey during the day. The consistency is super smooth, applies like a dream and blends incredibly well. It offers medium coverage, which is just enough for my needs.
The shade I got after being mismatched by a Sephora consultant (R30) is not brightening nor highlighting, but it blends in with my foundations seamlessly, but if I were to repurchase, I'd go for a lighter and more yellow shade.

The product comes in a convenient squeezy tube. The size of the tube made me suspicious of the amount of product and indeed it contains 7ml of product only, which is less than a half of a standard eye cream tube, but then I compared the amount to some more bulky concealers (eg. Urban Decay Naked, 5 ml) and discovered that this actually presents a good value for money. 

Now, why am I not raving about my newly found holy grail concealer?
The thing is that this concealer never sets and remains wet and tacky all the time and it makes my mascara smudge badly and thus ruins my makeup.

This concealer is too good to be ditched, so I kept experimenting with it and figured out the perfect way to use this. I mix it with my Urban Decay Naked Skin concealer, which is too drying and too pale for me on its own, but blended with my MUFE Ultra HD concealer it achieves the desired consistency and comfort, while making the Ultra HD one set beautifully without the need to use powder on top. And my mascara doesn't melt any more.  

Saturday, 6 February 2016

Korean goodies: Nature's Friend SaeHaneul Eye & Nourishing Cream review

I loved my Memeboxes because they were always full of surprises, the ridiculous ones and those that offered incredible quality and value for money.  Nature's Friend SaeHaneul Eye & Nourishing Cream is one of such amazing finds. Made by an unknown brand which clearly has never had any intention of going international as apart from simple slogans they placed no information about the product in English, the cream turns out to be one of the best I've ever used. And trust me, I'm an eye cream connoisseur. 

The info card doesn't say much about the cream. Free from all the cosmetic baddies like parabens or mineral oil etc. this cream contains extracts of 10 organic plants to promote skin regeneration and youthful appearance.
My experience shows that this cream offers an incredible boost of moisture under my eyes, which smooths out my fine lines and the result lasts all day. This cream has a lovely consistency which goes on smoothly and leaves a kind of slippery film on my skin throughout the day, which I believe prevents the return of dryness. 
This cream works beautifully under concealers, which tend to leave my undereye parched and dry.
What's more the convenient squeezy tube contains 40 ml of product while normally eye creams are sold in 15ml containers.

Words cannot express how much I love this cream and I've already started worrying what I'll do without it. I'm pretty sure it'll be hard to find a proper replacement. 

Sunday, 31 January 2016

Bourjois Colorband eyeshadow stick in Mauve Baroque review & swatches

I love cream eyeshadows in pencil form, so I thought I'd try what Bourjois had to offer. Their Colorband 2-in-1 eyeshadow crayons have received a number of enthusiastic reviews, so I picked the shade Mauve Baroque to try out. 

What I love about this crayon is the brownish purple shade with some kind of silvery sheen, its softness and budge-proof formula. 
However, in the swatches of other bloggers the colour looked way more pigmented and intense. A single swatch is sheer, almost transparent, needs building up a lot to achieve a wash of colour. 
I mostly use cream eyeshadows as bases for my powder eyeshadows, so I don't really mind, but if I intended to use this on its own, I would be bit disappointed.  
Under powder eyeshadow, this crayon performs exceptionally well. It enhances the colour and makes eyeshadows last.
 It's a good option if you don't want to invest in higher end products, but if I were to choose I'd go for similarly priced automatic pencils by Kiko, which are way better pigmented.

Thursday, 28 January 2016

Max Factor Velvet Volume False Lash Effect mascara review

I must say I'm a big fan of Max Factor mascaras, so I was super excited to reach for their new offering Velvet Volume False Lash Effect mascara. The name promises exactly what I need and, given my experience with Max Factor mascaras, I was more than certain I would get fluttery, voluminous lashes, but none of that actually happened. 
The oversized wand with its sparse, prickly plastic bristles disposes hardly any mascara in one go. To make my lashes stand out a bit more I need to add coat after coat, which I don't really have the time to do in the morning, and nonetheless the result is never good enough.
The mascara is perfect for those of us who are into no make-up looks, very natural, separated lashes, for me it was a waste of money. 
End of story.