Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Smashbox VIB Cream Eye Liner & Brow Tech Palette & Sephora Brush #42 (Review & Swatches)

Smashbox VIB Cream Eye Liner & Brow Tech Palette
Repurchase: Yes
Price: FREE! (Full Size Cream Eye Liner Palette $32, Brow Tech $24)
Product: 8/10
Packaging: 8.5/10
Value: 10/10
Overall Grade: B
Since Erynn of e.motion in motion was interested in this, I am reviewing the Smashbox Cream Liner & Brow Tech Palette that I got as a VIB freebie from Sephora. This is not the full size version but I’ve seen the full size Cream Eye Liner Palette in stores and it looks about the same size or maybe just a tad smaller -the Brow Tech comes in a trio. In any case, this is a generously sized freebie and came with a deluxe sample of their popular Photo Finish primer complete in a small, clear case.

The Packaging: The sleek, matte black palette is very thin and the same size as a credit card which makes it ideal for travel. Like NARS products, it is prone to fingerprints but wipes clean with a baby wipe or wet nap.

The Product: The Brow Tech is nice. I like that the powders are pigmented and blend easily into my brows. I can see this working for most people as there are 4 natural shades total in the Brow Tech line.
The majority of  the cream eye liners are rich and pigmented. The texture is creamy and smooth –not chalky or flaky at all. However, I ran a “smudge” test on my hand swatches and after just rubbing a finger over all the swatches at once, they smudged easily and the colors faded. "Image", the only shimmery shade, did the best job holding up although it still faded too. I also tried swatching it over some UDDP but it still smudged.
However, it was different when applied. After 6 hours, it hadn't budged at all. (Take note that I do have dry skin so most eye makeup lasts on me all day.) However, since the liner did smudge when I rubbed over it intentionally, I’m sure this wouldn’t last through an afternoon nap –most of my cream liners and liquids don’t.
The Color: The palette contains 1 Brow Tech wax, 3 Brow Tech powders, and 6 Cream Eye Liners.
Brow Tech
1. Taupe- Medium taupe
2. Brunette- Darker brown
3. Blonde- Medium blonde brown
Cream Eye Liner
1. Image- Olive with golden shimmer
2. Thunder- Mossy gray
3. Putty- Medium brown
4. Caviar- True black
5. Picasso- Deep ink blue (slightly sheer)
6. Midnight Brown- Dark chocolate brown

Smashbox Brow Tech above (no flash) from left: Taupe, Brunette, Blonde.
Smashbox Cream Eye Liner (no flash) from left: Image, Thunder, Putty, Caviar, Picasso, Midnight Brown. This pic most closely resembles the actual colors.
Smashbox Cream Eye Liner (no flash) from left: Image, Thunder, Putty, Caviar, Picasso, Midnight Brown. This pic if clearer.
Smashbox Cream Eye Liner (no flash) from left: Image, Thunder, Putty, Caviar, Picasso, Midnight Brown. Here are the liners after the "smudge test."

Overall: The palette offers great variety and is packed in a conveniently sized case. The Brow Tech powders work really well while the liners are overall pretty pigmented with the exception of "Picasso." The only thing is that these might be smudgey for those who have trouble with their eye makeup smudging and fading easily -although it worked fine for me (I wore primer and a base underneath.) It will definitely smudge if you were to rub on it though. Overall, a great palette. I'm thinking about getting one of the full size cream liner palettes but I have way too many liners.

Sephora Collection Professional  Flat Blush Brush #42
Repurchase: Yes
Price: $10 (from $22)
Product: 10/10
Value: 9/10
Overall Grade: A
The Sephora Collection Professional Flat Blush Brush #42 is on sale at Sephora right now for $10 (from $22.) Since there’s not “packaging” and/or “color” for makeup brushes, I skipped right to the “product.” I absolutely love this brush. It’s small, compact, and perfect for at home use or on the go. An extra plus is that the bristles are super soft and don't scratch at my skin. Not including the brush head, the entire handle measures just over 4.5 inches. The widest part of the brush head measure 3 cm and from top to bottom, it measures 3.25 cm.
What Sephora Says.. "This design is flat with a tapered point and contains a lower concentration of bristles, which translates to a higher concentration of color. The naturally versatile shape allows you to easily maneuver across the crevices of the face—and even re-appropriate it as an all-over shadow brush."
What can I use this brush for? Although it’s a blush brush, I can’t see myself using it for blush because it’s too flat. I prefer fluffy blush brushes. I really love it as a contour or bronzer brush –as I usually contour with my bronzer. It’s perfect and fits right into that hollow cheekbone area and makes blending a breeze. I don't see myself using it as an eyeshadow brush (like Sephora suggests) though -it's way too big.
More Pics..

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Nudey Tuesday: Too Faced's New "Naked" Palette (Review & Swatches)

Repurchase: No
Price: $35
Product: 8.5/10
Packaging: 7/10
Value: 8/10
Overall Grade: B
So I've been wanting the Too Faced Naked Eye Soft & Sexy Eye Shadow Collection (what's with the long name??) since it came out. The reason why I didn't get it right away was because I wanted to see reviews first but I haven't been able to locate reviews or swatches anywhere. I decided to just take the plunge and get it -I do wish I'd waited for some reviews. The palette is designed like the other Too Faced palettes (the Natural Eye and Smoky Eye Palettes.) Just a little complaint but the other 2 palettes are only $34. Why did this one get jacked up to $35?
The Packaging: I assumed the palette would be much bigger -like he size of an Urban Decay Book of Shadows palette but it's actually a small, convenient size. I also like that the palette contains little "tutorial cards" to show you 3 different ways to apply the shades. My only gripe about the size is that it's a bit bulky when it doesn't need to be. There's this waste of space "half drawer" under the eyeshadows and all it contains is a dinky little "brush" -the kind that comes with drugstore palettes.
Another thing that I really didn't like is when I opened up the palette for the first time, some of the eyeshadow trays stuck out. I had to push them back down so that they'd lay correctly and "flat." This really hasn't ever happened to me before so I was surprised by this. Also, because the palette is made of a non-shiny cardboard material, it dents easily (if you pushed your nail into it) and stains. I noticed some very minor eyeshadow stains which will likely worsen over time.
My worse complaint is that while the eyeshadows on the left column were fairly large, the middle and right column contained tiny eyeshadow pans. The width of my entire brush head was almost as big as the entire pan.
Other than that, I think the size of the palette is overall convenient and the design is very girly and cute. The tutorial cards add a nice touch too and will be helpful to a beginner and maybe give a pro some fresh ideas.
Here's the palette compared to a MAC eyeshadow single.
Drawer that holds the brush.
The brush has a sponge applicator on one size and a slanted brush on the other.
Here's how some of the eyeshadow pans stuck out.
The product: The palette contains matte and shimmery shades which is nice because we usually see palettes that contain all shimmery eyeshadows. The eyeshadows are good quality -they're smooth and pigmented (even the mattes have good color payoff.) I would say they're better quality than most eyeshadows but aren't as good as say Urban Decay or LORAC. I have no problem applying and blending most of the shades. I also had some fun with the tutorial cards and tried out 2 of the looks last night. Here's what the cards look like..
The Color: I was surprised to see that the palette contained many taupes and greyish shades. When I think "naked", I think more nude-like colors like tan and beige. As I said before, the colors are nice and pigmented. However, there are a few shades that have trouble showing up on my skin -not because they're not pigmented but because they're just so light. In The Buff, Birthday Suit, Pink Cheeks, and Pillow Talk have the most trouble showing up on my medium skin. I was really surprised because I'm not even that dark! I had to really pack on these particular shades because they would just blend in with my skin tone.
1. In The Buff (matte)- Ivory
2. Birthday Suit (shimmer)- Medium beige tan
3. Pink Cheeks (shimmer)- Very pale pink
4. Pillow Talk (shimmer)- Light-medium taupe
5. Satin Sheets (shimmer)- Golden champagne -almost has a rose gold because there's a hint of pink look but way lighter.
6. Lap Dance (shimmer)- Silvery taupe
7. Like A Virgin (matte)- Medium taupe
8. Unmentionables (shimmer)- Greyish taupe
9. Stiletto (matte)- Black

 Too Faced "Naked Palette" (no flash) from left: In The Buff, Birthday Suit, Pink Cheeks, Pillow Talk, Satin Sheets.
 Too Faced "Naked Palette" (no flash) from left: Satin Sheets, Lap Dance, Like A Virgin, Unmentionables, Stiletto.
Too Faced "Naked Palette" (no flash) from left: In The Buff, Birthday Suit, Pink Cheeks, Pillow Talk, Satin Sheets, Lap Dance, Like A Virgin, Unmentionables, Stiletto.

Overall: I think this is a good palette with some really nice neutral shades consisting mainly of different variations of taupe. The quality is good and I'd say go for it if you don't already have neutral shades or taupes. If you already own shades like this, then this is something to skip. The colors are nothing you haven't seen before so save your money for something else. The palette is a bit bulky and the pans have a tendency to "fall out" of their compartments so I'm not sure if this is ideal for travel. However, this is overall a decent palette that would be a nice addition to anyone's collection but only if they don't already have these types of eyeshadow shades.
(Also, darker beauties might want to swatch the eyeshadows before buying because they're really light and had a difficult time showing up on my medium "lightly-tan" skin.)
Where to Buy: Sephora, Too Faced

Monday, June 28, 2010

My 1st Giveaway (What type of giveaway should I hold?) & Sephora Haul

First off, my random Sephora haul! They got everything right except they didn't give me any of the samples I ordered so I got some samples I didn't want.
1. Too Faced Naked Eye Soft & Sexy Eye Shadow Collection
2. Sephora Collection Professional Flat Blush Brush #42
3. CARGO Color Eyeshadow Palette in "Bermuda"
4. Smashbox Mini Cream Eyeliner & Brow Palette
5. Smashbox Photo Finish Primer Deluxe Sample
6. Narciso Rodrigues "For Her" Eau De Toilette Sample
7. Clarins Lift-Minceur High Definition  Body Ligt Sample
8. Per-fekt Beauty Skin Perfection Gel in "Radiant" Sample
Too Faced Naked Eye Soft & Sexy Eye Shadow Collection- I've been looking for reviews and swatches for this for weeks (it's been out for about a month now I think) but haven't been able to find anything so I ordered it myself.
Sephora Collection Professional Flat Blush Brush #42- This brush looks so promising! It's really soft.
Smashbox Mini Cream Eyeliner & Brow Palette and Photo Finish Primer Deluxe Sample- My VIB gift. They ran out of these within the first few hours of the coupon being emailed to Sephora VIBs. Not sure if they re-stocked.

Palette! Didn't want to take the cover off because I'm not sure if I want to keep it or give it away.

CARGO Color Eyeshadow Palette in "Bermuda"- One of the prizes in my upcoming giveaway!

PLEASE Read Me. I need your opinions on how to do the giveaway..

I will be holding a giveaway very soon (could be this week or later in the month since I still need to gather prizes.) I'm not sure whether or not yet to include only my current followers or followers who start following once the giveaway starts. I really want to thank my current followers for reading and following my tiny blog -I know I only have 65 followers but you wouldn't believe how ecstatic I was to even have one! If I do choose to also include new followers who start following the blog once the giveaway starts, I will be giving each follower (who was following the blog before the giveaway) 2 extra entries each.
So why would I give current followers extra 2 entries? Well, I just feel that there are so many people who simply follow a blog just for giveaways and contests. I feel that the winner should be someone who actually reads the blog and follows because they enjoy the blog rather than just because they want to win a prize. There are just so many people who will just stop following bloggers right after the giveaway ends and I think that's so mean! (I by no means think that all people do this, it's just something that's bound to happen.) That's why I want to give current followers more chances to win.
Also, I'm not sure if I should hold a "medium" giveaway right now and then a larger one in the coming months or just wait and do a big fat one in about a month -all at once. What do you think?
So what do you think about blog giveaways and contests in general? What are your likes and dislikes?

Sephora Sweet Steal? Cover FX Setting FX (Review)

Repurchase: No
Price: $8.00 (.22oz/ 6.5g) (.0275oz per $1)
Product: 7/10
Packaging: 8/10
Value: 9/10
Overall Grade: C+
I came across the Cover FX "Setting FX" on a trip to Sephora back in April but finally took the plunge and bought it about a month ago. I figured I could use a translucent setting powder since the one I have is colored -plus it was only 8 bucks!
The Packaging: This is your average clear, plastic powder jar with a screw on top and sifter. The lid is a dark grey with the "Cover FX" written in silver font. What I liked about it was that the jar was compact and wasn't super large like some other powder jars. I've had lots of loose powders" come in jars that were 4 times too big for the amount of product that actually comes with them. This jar was flat and sweet and didn't contain a bunch of unneeded, empty air space.
This really bothered me. When I unwrapped the container and opened it up, there was a hair stuck in between where the sifter tray is container meet (squeeze between the sifter and side of the jar.) Gross! it definitely didn't look used but something happened while packaging was going on.

The Product: This was marked as a $16 value (but only cost $8.) Compared to the "regular" $32 jars of the same stuff (but in different colors), you're getting more product for your buck so this is a sweet deal. (With this, you get .0275oz per dollar. With the full size, you get .0134oz per dollar.)
Onto the product.. The powder felt smooth on my face and didn't cause any irritation. Also, after several times of using it, it did not cause my face to break out. I really liked that the powder didn't alter any of the products I was wearing on my face. I wore bronzer, highlighter, and blush (no foundation) and the powder only toned down the shimmer (from the other products) a little bit. My makeup looked great after I first applied it the powder.
So what made me not like it? Setting powders are supposed to make your makeup last longer. My makeup usually stays on nearly all day without primer and my Evian Spray (to set my makeup.) With this, 4-5 hours later, my face makeup fades. Weird! Only my highlighter sort of stays –but that’s probably because I apply an illuminating cream first and then a highlighter on top.
The Color: On my medium-tannish skin, this was totally translucent even though the shade is listed as being "light." I couldn't swatch it because the powder completely became invisible after I applied it -which is absolutely wonderful for a setting powder.
Overall: Sadly, this didn’t work out for me. I really had high hopes because of the rave reviews on Sephora’s website -maybe it’ll work for others. It’s a shame because the powder is only 8 bucks –a real steal compared to other high end setting powders. I really loved the fact that the powder didn't irritate my skin but the real dealbreaker was that it didn't set my makeup all that well. Setting powders are supposed to help my makeup last, not make it fade away easier. This still gets an average rating though because it's at least felt comfortable on my face and didn't alter the colors of  makeup I was wearing. I'd say give it a try since it's only 8 bucks but as a setting powder, it had the opposite effect on me personally.
Where to Buy: Sephora

IMPORTANT! Please read me! =) On another note, I am currently in the process of updating my grading system. I know that sometimes the grades can seem really off –like the numbers will add up to one grade but the letter grade won’t reflect that. This is because I consider the “product” and “repurchaseabily” (In know that’s not really a word!) to be more important than “value” and “packaging” –which may seem confusing since all 3 categories are rated out of 10. So therefore, I am working out a grading system where “product” will be out of 40 or 30 and “value” and “packaging” grades will be out of 10 or a lesser number –but I don’t have it all figured out yet.
Sorry if the grading of the current (and past) reviews confuses you. I did not want to stop product reviews altogether because of this so I will still be using the old, wonky way until the grading system is updated. When in doubt though, refer to the overall letter grade and “product” rating for the general idea of what I think about a product. Thanks!

Sunday, June 27, 2010

25 Beauty Questions!

25 Beauty Questions Tag (stolen from E.Motion In Motion) She "stole" this from Tee and I decided to steal it from her! I love beauty questions/surveys!

1. Do you apply your foundation with a brush, sponge, or fingers? I used to use a brush but I've been really into using those sponge wedges for the last few months. They seem to do the trick and work best for me personally -but I think it's a waste since I always throw away the sponge after each use. I've heard that you can wash them but I don't like the idea of using stained sponges! =P

2. Do you apply your eyeshadow from light to dark? I never noticed -but light to dark.

3. Do you prime your eyes? Yes! UDPP or TFSI with MAC Paint Pot or Benefit Creaseless Cream on top.

4. Concealer first, or after foundation? Foundation. I've found that when you apply foundation first, you'll sometimes find you don't even need the concealer anymore and if you do, just apply it on top.

5. Go for manicures, or manicure yourself? I stink at giving myself manicures so I like getting my nails done by someone else -I don't do it often though. I do dishes way too often for my nails to even stay in good condition after an expensive manicure. Not worth it for me!

6. Exfoliate lips, face or both? Both but more often my lips than my face. I get lazy to exfoliate my face and have yet to find a good face scrub (for my skin.)
7. On average, how long does it take you to do your makeup? It depends. I have my usual 10 minute routine (mascara, liner, brows, bronzer, highlighter, and gloss/lipstick) and my 30-40 minute routine (same routine plus eyeshadow, liquid liner, and blush.)

8. Do you wear makeup everyday and everywhere? No but I try to. I always have a bunch of new makeup ideas before bed but when I wake up, it's usually too late to do makeup. I probably do my makeup about 3-4 days a week.

9. What release are you most excited about? (Makeup) MAC Venomous Villains!! And the NARS Sephora exclusive limited edition glosses. I need Angelika.

10. What's your weakness? Shoes, purses, clothes, jewelry, eyeshadow, lipstick or other? I used to be really into clotheing and shoes but now it's mainly makeup. I can live without shopping for clothes but makeup, that's a different story. It's hard to go one day without buying makeup or at least looking at it online.

11. Do you whiten your teeth? Nope! ..But I'd be interested in trying.

12. Wax eyebrows, or pluck? Pluck and shave random hairs will my Ardell razor when I'm in a pinch.

13. What do you use to contour? Currently, Prestige Skin Loving Minerals Sun Baked Mineral Bronzing Powder (long name!) I love my KIKO Face Palette for a more natural contour though since the Prestige is shimmery.

14. False lashes, or natural? Natural. I have lots of falsies because I'd love to wear them but I STINK at applying them and don't have the patience to practice and learn.

15. Favourite makeup brand? LORAC, NARS, Smashbox. LORAC is the one that never fails me. For drugstore, Maybelline or Prestige (but they don't have a big display at the stores near me so I don't get to try many of their products! Booo..)

16. Liquid eyeliner, pencil or gel? I prefer liquid over gels and creams and pencil for my waterline/deep between my lashes on my upper lashline.

17. Lipstick, lipgloss or chapstick? Aghh.. All 3. If I had to choose just one though then chapstick because what's the point of gloss and lipstick if your lips are all dry and cracked.
18. Pigments, pressed or cream eyeshadow? Pressed. =)

19. If you had to wear only one thing, excluding foundation; what would it be? I'd say mascara if my brows were naturally dark and thick but brow pencil/cream since they're light and weak looking!

20. Favourite color? Blue and yellow but not together. Makeupwise, then anything nudey!

21. Favourite color combination? Brown and blue or black and blue or pink and green (the colors of my room.) Makeupwise, tans, champagnes, bronzes, and browns.

22. Natural? or Dramatic? (Eye Makeup) Natural. Then I still sort of look like myself without makeup. =P

23. Do you care more for quality or name brand? Quality! There are plenty of good, cheaper brands out there while some name brand products are absolutely horrible.

24. Do you enjoy using face masks? If so which ones? I'd like to! But I rarely ever do because I don't know which to use.

25. What is your current addiction? (example: lipsticks, eyeshadows, earrings) FACE PRODUCTS! Man, it's so bad. I've been obsessing over blushes, bronzers, and highlighters lately.

Have a nice Sunday night! I just got home from a late Father's Day for my grandpa. =)

Saturday, June 26, 2010

Cheeky Lemmings: Wishlist

I go through long periods where I'm totally consumed with certain beauty products. For the last 6 months or so, I've been buying and obsessing over lip products. Before that, it was eyeshadows. Before that, mascaras. Well for the last few weeks or so, it's been cheeky products -particularly bronzers, blushes, and highlighters. This really stinks because they're one of the more expensive types of makeup products! Oh well.. here's what I'm totally lemming for:
1. Shiseido Luminizing Satin Face Color ($30.00) in BE206 (beam gold), RD103 (petal), Shell, Starfish, Medusa.
2. NARS Blush ($26.00) in Gilda (coral), Gina (tangerine), Luster (sheer golden apricot), Sin (berry with gold shimmer).
3. Shu Uemura Glow On Blush ($23.00) in p91 (pearl peachy gold), p53 (pearl golden orange), p42 (pearl shell peach), p47 (pearl medium peach), p45 (pearl vivid peach).
5. Smashbox Bronze Lights ($28.00) in Suntan Matte
6. NARS The Multiple ($38.00) in Copacabana (glistening pearl), Luxor (iridescent pink), Musique (iridescent peach), St. Barts (taupe shimmer).
7. Diorskin Shimmer Star ($44.00) in Amber Diamond
10. Pop Beauty Rose Belle ($28.00)

Friday, June 25, 2010

How To Make A Personalized Rubik's Cube! (Tutorial)

So for Father's Day, I kept asking my dad what he wanted but he said kept saying he already "has everything he wants and needs." I got him a bottle of cologne at first but my mom begged me not to give him yet another bottle of cologne (he has about 3 in the bathroom cabinet waiting to be used!) So for those who need to give a non-beauty related gift to anyone who "has everything," how about a personalized photo Rubik's Cube? I looked online for "personalized photo Rubik's Cubes" but they were all really expensive for something as simple as sticking pictures on a cube.
What you'll need:
1. Rubik's cube
2. Printed photos
3. Ruler
4. Sticker backings (for pictures)/ Sticker machine
5. Pen/ Pencil
6. Scissors


 1. Get your Rubik's Cube.
 2. Peel off all the stickers.
 3. Print your photos in the size of your Rubik's cube. My entire cube was about 2.8 inches on each side so I printed each picture 2.5 inches instead since you have to subtract a little bit off because of the spacing between each square. The spacing will "add" to the size of your picture.
 4. Draw your lines on the back of each picture. Here I drew them on the front but it caused the pen to smear on the picture a bit -plus there were black lines showing. Afterwards, I use a pen to draw the lines on the back side of every picture. The pen was dark enough to show through so I knew where to cut (it showed through the sticker backing too.)
 5. Here's a picture of the "guide" I used. I printed the cube off the computer to the size of my cube.
 6. Slide your pictures through a "sticker machine." If you don't have one, you can use sticker backings.
 7. We have stickers!
 8. Cut over the lines your drew on the back of each picture. I did one picture at a time so that I didn't mix up all the squares.
9. Stick on the stickers. Repeat to each side.

My Finished Product!
Each Side..
 Side 1
 Side 2
 Side 3
Side 4
 Side 5
Side 6

Extra Tip..
I put the Cube in a Sephora Box to let him think I was actually giving him another "beauty gift." He was really surprised!


*Please do not use any pictures from this post as it does contain images of my younger brother and sister. Please ask for permission before using any of my pics. If you'd like to use a photo, please post the link to the blog post containing the picture instead of copying and pasting the picture. I'm sure ya'll  understand. Thanks! =)