Friday, May 31, 2013

Review! Benefit FakeUp Hydrating Crease-Control Concealer

I received a sample of Benefit's FakeUp with a recent Sephora purchase.

Benefit's website says:
Cover-up goes incognito! This hydrating crease-control concealer - with Vitamin E & apple seed extract - hides dark circles & diffuses fine lines for a silky smooth, ultra-natural look. Available in three shades, it’s proven to keep skin hydrated for 6 hours!

First, I tried the Light shade.  I didn't like it because it was too light, and seemed to accentuate my undereye circles. 

Yes, it moisturized, and yes, it looks pretty darn good in photos, but in person, I had that "reverse raccoon" effect going on.  It is worth noting that this concealer photographs extremely well.  My lighting changed, but otherwise, the FakeUp is the only difference between the two photos.  I tried the sample several times (using tape to re-seal the blister pack), and just didn't like it.

I was about to just toss the rest of the sample in the trash, but thought I'd give the Medium shade a try just for giggles.  Whoa, Nelly.

Other than the FakeUp, the only difference of the two is some mascara and I filled in my eyebrows.  I was taking these shots for a different reason, and only realized afterwards the difference the FakeUp made.

The Good:
-Photographs beautifully.
-Moisturizes very nicely, it reminds me of my almond oil.
-The Medium shade blends my undereye area perfectly to the color of the skin on my cheek.
-This concealer works well to help achieve a "dewy" look, if you don't use setting powder.
-Re-applying mid-day plumps the skin back up, helping me look more awake and radiant.

The Bad:
-It does not last all day without a setting powder.  If you use a setting powder, you cannot easily re-apply it, because trying to put something liquidy over something powdery turns into a cakey mess.
 -It costs $24 a tube.  After just reviewing 3 concealers that were all under $8, that's a bit hard to swallow.
-This only comes in three shades. 

Overall, I like this concealer.  It works very well when I wear a tinted moisturizer, and it looks very nice in photos.  However, I have plenty of other concealers, and I feel that this photographs a bit better than it wears in real life.  While I do tend to photograph myself a lot (haha!), I'm not in a rush to buy the full-size product.  If I happened to come across it on sale at 50% off?  I'd definitely buy it.

Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Review! Urban Decay Naked Palette

I finally did it.

Urban Decay's Naked palette has been out for... what, forever?
I finally, finally, talked myself into buying one.

They throw in a little bottle of primer potion, too.  I cannot skip primer if I expect any eyeshadow to neither crease nor fade, and getting a little deluxe sample size is nice.

One pan was not completely filled.  I contacted Urban Decay, and they offered to replace the palette, if I sent it back to them.  It would have cost more in time and postage to replace what amounted to maybe $2 worth of product, so I declined.  So, while the resolution didn't appeal to my practical side, I was happy that they offered a solution.
Here you can see how it is a little short...

But it's obviously not that bad, just bad enough to notice when scrutinizing your brand new, $50 eyeshadow palette.  Again, customer service very promptly offered to replace it if I sent this palette back to them.  Since it was only one pan that was just a little bit short, this didn't really damper my enthusiasm for the palette.  It was more of a surprise that it got past their quality control.

There are countless reviews and tutorials and swatches out there, so I'm not going to re-hash that here.  I've been having a grand time finding tutorials and trying them out.  There are thousands of Naked tutorials out there, and here are a few that I have tried and loved:

BYCELINA - Naked in the Daytime – Makeup Tutorial :)
MakeupByTiffanyD - UD Naked Palette Tutorial: Smokey Natural Bronze
Glam Morena - Tutorial Barely Naked

The tutorials I've linked to are all very natural daytime looks.  However, this palette is not a one trick pony.  You can easily glam it up, just use darker colors in the outer V, and over-emphasize the crease.

I'm pretty sure that just about any combination you can think of has been done, and a tutorial on it has been made.  This palette has been around for a few years now, so makeup artists and makeup junkies have had plenty of time to play with it.

They've also had a lot of time to get bored with it, and you know what?  It is still a favorite.  Knowing that this palette has been around for so long, and that it is still so popular, is what finally convinced me to just bite down hard and buy it.

So, since there are plenty of swatches out there, I'm just going to talk about what I thought.

What do I like?  Just about everything.  The colors are gorgeous.  The brush is very nice.  The primer potion is handy, and big enough to use enough times to know if you like it.  As just about any review you will see says, these shadows are pigmented, smooth, buttery, long wearing, and extremely flattering!

What don't I like?  I don't like the packaging.  I sincerely hate cardboard packaging because it feels flimsy and cheap to me, no matter how thick they make the cardboard.  When I ordered this (and several other Urban Decay palettes), I didn't read the descriptions carefully enough to realize that Urban Decay favors cardboard packaging.  I like metal compacts.  After that, I favor plastic for sturdiness, and then cardboard for biodegradability.  On top of the cardboard, they applied flocking, so the palette feels like suede.  *sighs*  This is going to drive me nuts when it gets used more, and gets dirty.  I hate dirty cosmetic cases.  Grrr.

Well, I needed a solution to house my new palette, and then I remembered a vintage-y easter bunny tin I have.  Luckily, the palette fits inside perfectly!  This solution will keep my palette clean, and protect it from getting dinged up!

Monday, May 27, 2013

Review! SEPHORA COLLECTION - Primal Instincts Eyeshadow Palette

Sephora has a neutral palette with 14 beautiful shades currently retailing at $28.  The Primal Instincts palette has 3 matte shades and 11 shimmer shades.  The shimmers are varying degrees of shimmery-ness, which is awesome to find in a budget-friendly palette.  The colors lasted pretty well all day, with primer.  They are all soft, buttery, and blend easily.  I used a brush to apply them, one stroke across the pan at a time, and did not experience fallout. 

For the most part (except for one shade, the black), the colors are named by color description:  Beige, Sand, Gold, Apricot, Tea Rose, Taupe, Matte Brown, Camel, Bronze, Mahogany, Deep Burgundy, Plum, Steel, Must Have (matte black).  This is the naming convention I prefer.  I hate it when colors are named something other than what they are, because then I have to go find a color description of the shade. 

One really cool thing about this palette is that you can choose any four colors that are next to each other, and apply them starting with the lightest shade at your brow bone, graduating through the colors the closer your get to your lash line.  Put the darkest color at the outer V.  After that, I smudge in some Sormeh in the lash line and sometimes on my waterline, add some mascara, and I'm set.

Using these four colors (Apricot, Tea Rose, Taupe, Matte Brown):
I graduated the colors from lightest to darkest, from the brow bone to the lash line, and got this:

 And again!  The four colors are all light tones, so the dark color is the Sormeh (Beige, Sand, Gold, Apricot).

If you have been looking for a good neutral palette, I would recommend this one.  It has enough variation to create plenty of looks, and is very user-friendly.  This palette is a good stepping stone for the person wanting to venture away from drugstore brands, but isn't quite ready to make the leap to high-end.  At $28, each shade costs $2, which is easily comparable in cost to drugstore eyeshadows.

Friday, May 24, 2013

Review! Concealers as Highlight and Contour Products

I've been trying out the highlight and contour craze.  Basically, you apply a light color foundation or concealer on areas light would hit (mountains), and apply a dark contouring liquid or powder to places that shadows would occur (valleys).

For these tests, I am trying out:
  • Maybeline Cover Stick Concealer in Ivory
  • Covergirl and Olay Concealing Stick in 310 Fair
  • Sonia Kashuk Take Cover Concealing Stick in 19 Dawn
  • MAC Pro Longwear Concealer in NC45

The MAC Pro Longwear Concealer in NC45 was just too dark for me.  Interestingly, it stained my skin.  I plan to go back and get some more shades to try out.  There is a definite benefit to having a concealer that stains the skin, as you are assured at least some level of coverage all day.

On my arm, Sonia Kashuk was too yellow, Covergirl Olay turned pink after a few moments, Maybelline blended right in (top to bottom, MAC, Sonia Kashuk, Covergirl Olay, Maybelline).
On my face, it was an entirely different story.  All of the shades worked on my skin, so it really came down to coverage.

To apply, I used the triangle technique, where I apply it from the inner corner of my eye, underneath the bottom lid, and out towards my temple, then swoop back in aiming towards the middle of my nose, and then up along side my nose.  Then I blended with either a stipple brush, or with my fingers in a patting motion.  I don't recommend using a continuous line of concealer; rather, I suggest dotting it in on.  Otherwise, you may end up with too much product on your face... Remember, you can always add more.

Maybeline Cover Stick Concealer in Ivory was the first one I tried.  I found it easy to apply, blend, and it wore well all day.  This one had the most natural-yet-completely-covered coverage.


Covergirl and Olay Concealing Stick in 310 Fair performed very well also, and felt very moisturizing without creasing or being oily.  This one had the sheerest coverage.



Sonia Kashuk Take Cover Concealing Stick in 19 Dawn was the big surprise.  Because it looked like such a funky shade on my arm, I didn't expect it to look good on my face.  This one had the most complete coverage.


This one completely covered my undereye discoloration, and didn't budge all day.  I recommend moisturizing and priming your skin well before applying this.  I didn't, and you can see where it was pressed into my pores to the right of my nose.  If this happens to you, you can correct it by dabbing a bit of moisturizer there, and then using your stipple brush or your fingers to gently work the product out and smooth it over.

Overall, I am very impressed with these concealers.  I didn't expect them to perform as well as some of my high-end concealers, but I think they did just as well, if not better.  You can get all three of the stick concealers for about $20 total, and I definitely recommend trying out all of them.  All three are in rotation in my makeup bag, and I don't even look when grabbing one for daily use because they all work so well.  If I need full coverage, I do gravitate to the Sonia Kashuk stick.

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Review! Urban Decay Stardust

Urban Decay has Stardust eyeshadow on sale, right now, for $6 each.  Overall, I'd say this is a good deal.  They are usually $20 each.  For most of the 5 colors I tried, I wouldn't pay full price for them.  Diamond Dog is the exception.   It is a wonderful taupe-brown that mimics my own eyelid's natural coloring, taking it just a bit darker than it is naturally. 

These have a lot of glitter in them, but I found that the initial impact of the glitter wasn't very obvious.  Once the pigment wears away, and you are left with more of a wash of color, the glitter stands out more.  This faded color, with more impactful glitter, is the look I prefer.

All of the shadows have iridescent glitter.  However, the iridescent effect is somewhat subtle, and the overtone is silver, with flashes of purple, green and pink.  With primer, the color mostly wore off after 4 hours, but the glitter stayed in place with minimal fallout.  The glitter particles are very fine, and not at all chunky or gritty.  I am a bit disappointed that they used (or seem to have used) the same glitter blend in all of the colors.  It would rather them have tailored each glitter combination to more closely compliment the base color.  Because the glitter is iridescent, it picks up the colors of the shadow around it, so they appear to be color-coordinated when first swatched.  However, after the color faded, I could not detect any difference in glitter from the swatches.

These shadows are advertised as being sheer, and they are.  The colors look very vibrant in the pan, but they don't retain that on the skin.  I really like them for soft, summery looks, because I get the high glitter, without the double-impact of a super-bright color.  However, if you want your color to stick around all day, I would use another eyeshadow underneath these for your base color, and use these to top it off with glitter.

Here are the 5 colors I bought, left to right, top row - Void, Bobby Dazzle, Diamond Dog, bottom row - Moon Spoon, Retrograde.  Urban Decay still has a blue and a green shade available, Atmosphere and Griffith, on their website.
Retrograde is a grape purple:

Moon Spoon is a taupe grey, leaning more towards grey:

Bobby Dazzle is a beautiful light champagne (it is more peachy-gold in real life, the flash washed it out):

Void is a pencil-lead black that looks grey in the pan from all the glitter, but when applied has a darker base:
 And here they are, swatched out, in ambient light

With Flash:

Here is a very quick and easy look, using Diamond Dog all over the lid, and Bobby Dazzle above the crease to the eyebrow, and into the inner corner:

Then I added Charcoal Brown Sormeh to the waterline and lashline and smudged, and added mascara:

And it's a super-easy, super-fast, summery daytime look:
As the day wore on, the colors faded (except for the Sormeh), and the glitter stood out much more.  The glitter is very fine, though, so it really does remind me of stars sparkling, and not like a fairy foofed on my face.  Keep in mind that if you don't use a color base underneath these shadows, The pigment probably won't last all day. 

So, do I recommend them?  Well, I would recommend picking up a few shades while they are on sale for $6.  I think the only color I would replace at full price would be Diamond Dog.