Thursday, February 28, 2013

Review! Benefit They're Real Mascara

I've been trying our Benefit's They're Real! mascara for several weeks now.  It took me a while to get used to the plastic spiky wand, but eventually I got the hang of it.

When I first started using it, I didn't think it gave a very "false lashes" look.  But, as the formula started to dry in the tube, it started going on thicker (naturally).  Once that happened, it gave a really nice, full look.  After another week, the formula started to dry out, and it became very clumpy.  I added a few drops of boiled water (still hot) to the tube, swished the wand around in there, and it came out nicely thick without any clumps.  The photos in the review are of this last stage.



After, cleaned up (it seems no matter how hard I try, I get mascara somewhere on my face) and with eyeshadow:

Both eyes:
Full face!

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Tutorial! Kat Von D True Romance Eyeshadow Palette in "Saint" - Brown Smoky Eye

I recently picked up Kat Von D's True Romance Eyeshadow Palette in "Saint".  You can see the review here.  I did a very basic, daytime, brown smokey eye.

To start off, here is just my bare lid. 
Next, put an eyeshadow primer all over the lid, from lashline to eyebrows.  You can put some below your lower lashline too, if you like.  My primer has a very white cast to it.  I outlined the area I applied primer in red, below:

3 - Using a brush, apply Heavens as shown:

4 -  Now some Pray For Me:

5 - Then Sunny:

6 - Blend!  Blend some more! 

7 - Add Caravaggio to the upper and lower lash line.  Push it into the base of your lashes.  Make sure you get the outer corner of your eyes really well.

8 - Now, take the Caravaggio up a little higher on your upper lid, starting where your lashes start.  Gradually increase the height, and if you want to continue upwards once you reach the outer corner, you can (that is what I did).

9 - Now add Puro Amor Eye Pencil all around the base of the lashes, and on the top and bottom waterline.  Avoid the lid area at the inner corner where there aren't any eyelashes (we want that area to stay light), and try to make the line smaller the closer you get to the inner corner.

 10 - Add mascara.

11 - Add more Heavens from the brow bone, to the inner corner, and sweeping down to the under-eye area.  Keep adding until it is bright enough for you.  I am quite pale, and my primer is white, so you can't really see the color here.  In person, all you can see is the pearl finish.  That is what a highlighter is supposed to do, though, just highlight and not spotlight.  This goes in the large swath on the right side of the photo.  Add some Pray For Me to the lower lash line, from the far outer corner to just where the bottom lashes stop.  Blend the Pray For Me with the Caravaggio already there, try to make a subtle transition from the dark on the lashline to the lighter brown on the bottom.  A few swipes from side to side should do it.  This goes in the small area on the left, under the eye.

12 - Apply concealer under the eye.  I cover a larger area than I was able to capture here, but just use it where, and if, you need it.  If you don't need it, then skip this step.

13 - Done!  Well, almost.  I realized after I took this picture that I wasn't quite even on both sides.  I added a bit more Caravaggio to the left side crease, and blended the left side some more.
 Ok, NOW it's done!

Full Face!  I took these pics in natural light.  My eyes are very sensitive to sunlight, so it's taking all my concentration to not squint.  Hence, no smiling and the kind of angry expression:

Monday, February 25, 2013

Review! Kat Von D True Romance Eyeshadow Palette in "Saint"

This neutral palette by Kat Von D begins my foray into nude, neutral, "natural" eye shadows.  I recently cleaned out my makeup stash, and ended up with not a lot of eyeshadow.  Much of the old makeup I threw out was just that... old.  I have this thing against throwing stuff away that is still usable.  Fortunately, this blog lets me justify to myself getting rid of the old stuff to make way for the new.  I kept most of my Bare Minerals, Make Up For Ever, Merle Norman, and Aveda, as well as a few random pans of this and that.  Hmm.  It still sounds like a lot, but believe me, I threw a lot out.

Ok, so that let me go on the hunt for some new shadows.  I bought some online, and some from Sephora.  I bought this palette at Sephora.  First, I judged the eyeshadow by the color, texture, creaminess (as much as a powder can be creamy), quantity, pigmentation, and finish.  All of that can be done with a simple swatching.  Second, they lived or died by their packaging.  I passed over several eyeshadow palettes that I just loved, because they were packaged in cheap plastic or cardboard containers.  I need my makeup containers to be sturdy, easy to clean, and able to be packed for travel.  Cardboard and flimsy plastic (not hard plastic, which is fine) won't cut it.

The True Romance eye shadow palettes are in very sturdy metal containers.  They have a nicely sized mirror inside, and come with an eyeliner.  The compact comes packaged in a box, which opens like an evening bag.  It was kind of cool to open it, as most boxes are just "open one end and slide it out" type boxes.
I love the box so much that I'm keeping the compact in there for now.
Here are the eyeshadows, and the one cheap thing about the compact... the hinge.  That sucker is pretty wimpy.  It's just a basic spring hinge, and all it does is keep you from closing the compact too quickly.  After all the detail they put into the rest of the compact, I would have rather seen a piano hinge used.  But, oh-well.  I don't think these palettes are meant to be re-usable, so I'll overlook that detail.

The shadows themselves are beautiful.  The formula is creamy, soft, easily blendable, and nicely pigmented.  They are all pearlized or shimmers except for one, and the colors left to right are:
  • Heavens (subtle shimmer)
  • Enjoy The Silence (shimmer)
  • <3 (glitter)
  • Downtown (shimmer)
  • Sunny (shimmer)
  • Pray For Me (shimmer)
  • Bookworm (glitter)
  • Caravaggio (matte)
I took the photo in indoor lighting, and at a funny angle, because when light hits the shimmers, they really light up.  To that end, I think that Heavens is really the only highlight color in the palette (on my complexion, anyway) because when I used Enjoy The Silence as a highlight color, it was too shimmery.  I don't mind, because I have a few other eyeshadows that I like to use for highlighting.  But, if you are the type who buys one palette, uses it up, and then buys another, it may be something for you to consider.
For this swatch, I used cotton swabs to apply the eyeshadow to my arm.  I wanted to be sure that I didn't mix the pigments at all.  I applied them over eyeshadow primer, right now I'm using Merle Norman's Eye Shadow Base.  This base is sticky when first applied, so it grabs onto glitter very well.  It does have an ivory cast to it, so much so that when I applied "Heavens" over it, the color on my arm was still very similar, but now had sparkle in it.  It did not seem to affect the eyeshadow's color, other than keeping them true to pan.

Except for Caravaggio and Bookworm, the colors went on beautifully, smooth and consistent.  Caravaggio and Bookworm were patchy.  I applied more and rubbed it around with the cotton swab, and eventually got them evened out.  I did NOT have this problem when the colors were on my eyelid, but that may have been because these shades tend to be crease and liner colors, so they weren't hitting as big of an area, and they were very close to other colors which may have helped their blend-ability, AND I use a eyeshadow brushes when applying to my eyes.  I tried out the colors on my eyes before I swatched them on my arm, and I did not notice any patchiness until I swatched them on my arm.

The color wears all day on me.  
Also included is a mini eye pencil, Puro Amor Black Autograph Pencil.  I think it's pretty big for a "mini", and didn't realize it wasn't considered full size until I looked closer at the box for the descriptions.  I could have done without the pencil, because I don't favor eye pencils.  I use my Sormeh for that purpose, so I kind of wish they would have included a brush instead.  I did use the eye pencil, and while it stayed just fine on my lashline lid, it did not stay on my waterline.  In fact, it started breaking up before I got the pictures done.  Within 2 hours, it was completely gone from my waterline, so I re-lined my eyes with Charcoal Brown Sormeh.

Next up, I have a tutorial for using the palette!

Thursday, February 21, 2013

Review! Benefit Coralista Face Powder

Benefit has some nifty little kits, which basically are deluxe sample packs of their most popular items.  I love this type of kit, because I get just enough product to test, and if I love it I get several weeks worth of product, but if I don't love it I don't feel bad about wasting money on it.  So, I picked of a few kits, one of them is Coral my World.  Right now Sephora has them for $12.  This kit comes with 0.1oz of CORALista blush, and 0.13oz Sunbeam highlighter.
Here is the kit unboxed:
CORALista is, as the name implies, a pretty coral color with gold glitter.  You can't see the gold glitter once it it out of the pan.  I didn't see a single speck of glitter on my cheeks.  My camera washed out the color, even though I am now using a much better camera for these photos.  I'm thinking I'll end up needing a light box before this is all over...  Anyway, the blush:
It is silky and smooth.  The color is very light and natural on me.  However, I don't like powder blushes.  I feel like they sit on top of my skin and don't really blend in like a cream or gel blush does.  The first time I wore this, I ended up applying some cream blush over the top of it because I felt like it made my face look powdery.

So, why did I buy a powder blush when I don't like powder blushes?  Because I've never bothered to buy a higher-end blush before.  Seriously.  I mean, come on, why would I?  If none of the drugstore blushes ever made me even remotely happy, then why plunk down an even bigger chunk of money for something that might not work for me?  Enter the kit.  I figured I could try out two products for about what a higher-end drugstore blush would cost, and I could see if these blushes were any better. 

Ok, so I tried it the first time, didn't like it, and was feeling pretty re-affirmed in my opinion of not liking powder blushes, and feeling glad that I never bothered to spend my money on an expensive brand.  BUT, I don't like giving a review based off of one use, because opinions can easily change over time as a user adapts to the product, or some novelty wears off and the product's flaws become more noticeable.

So, in that spirit, I tried again.  I took pictures this time.

Bare Face (wow, that is one weird looking picture... oh well!):
 I did my "3-2-1" foundation to just do a quick look.  That's 3 pumps of Elizabeth Arden Skin Illuminating Complex, 2 pumps of Lancome La Base Pro primer, and 1 decent sized dollop of Laura Mercier Illuminating Tinted Moisturizer.  To note, when I want more coverage, I substitute a dollop of regular foundation and a pea sized amount of BB cream in the place of the tinted moisturizer.
Here is what that looks like before I blend it all together:

Blend well and apply.  Yes, I put my primer on the same time I put on my foundation.  I've found that it drastically reduces the appearance of pores, and makes my foundation glide over my skin even better:
While waiting for that to set, mess around with eyebrows, highlighting, lipliner, and lastly undereye concealer:
Okey-dokey, now for the cheeks!
First, no blush:
Next, one light coat:
One more light coat:
 Blend, blend, blend:
It still looked patchy/powdery/cakey to me, although the camera didn't capture it very well:
But it looked just fine from a distance:
And I liked it better once it "melted" into the foundation and lost that powdery thing.  I also tried using it as an eyeshadow, and it looked pretty, but extremely subtle.  I'm thinking I found my true undertone color, because this stuff just about disappears on me.  Oh, and I added some mascara.:
Everything about this blush is subtle.  I thought I put a medium amount of blush on the brush, but it didn't show up very brightly.  Then again, it does seem to be the exact shade my cheeks are naturally, so it just kind of extended the pink up along my entire cheekbone.  Your results will, of course, vary.

The camera didn't capture it well, but this blush gives a very, very subtle golden sheen.  The sheen it gives is beautiful.    If only this came in a cream!!!  The effect this blush gives is so pretty, and it isn't overwhelming.  It's a perfect daytime blush color, and would be great for outdoors occasions where you want to wear some makeup, but not look like you are trying too hard.

I'll keep on using this, and I'll update this post if I find a way to wear it that makes me think powdered blushes might work for me.