January 30, 2011

elf Plumping Lip Glaze

As the name implies, elf's Plumping Lip Glaze is supposed to make your lips look a bit fuller.  The minty flavor did leave my lips tingling but it did not make my lips plump.  Truth be told, I think lip plumpers are a scam because I've never tried one that actually works.  Ha!

But just because it fails as a plumper doesn't mean that we should dismiss this product.

Not at all.  I actually think it's a good lip gloss.  The texture isn't sticky but it's not on the watery side either.  It lasts for about an hour or two, which is not bad at all.  The color I got was Mocha Ice, which comes off as a beautiful sheer copper shade.  I prefer using it alone rather than on top of lipstick.  It gives off a  nice (not obnoxiously shimmery) fresh look.

The website says that this is mint flavored.  It's more like mint cough syrup... pretty disgusting.  Compared to other lip glosses out there, this contains less product.  Then again, considering that this is super affordable something has to give, right?

Although I like the color, I would not buy this again because of the flavor and amount of product.  I think its better to invest in a better gloss.

Have you tried this product?  Do you love it or hate it?

January 29, 2011

Aveeno Daily Moisturizing Lotion with Natural Colloidal Oatmeal

Truth be told, I spend more time on my skincare routine than make up application.  Which is why it struck me as strange that I have not blogged about skincare products as much.  I think it's because when I try something that works, I stick with it.  Well, this year I resolve to explore the other products that are out there and blog about skincare more.

Aveeno Active Naturals Daily Moisturizing Lotion is made with oatmeal which helps soothe the skin.  It does not feel greasy nor watery and the formula is light enough that it gets absorbed into the skin quickly.  After applying, it feels as if there's a protective barrier on my skin that keeps it hydrated.  Whenever I apply this at bedtime, my skin still feels moisturized upon waking up.

You know how your skin tends to get dark because of excessive dryness?  It happens to me from time to time.  After three months of using this twice daily, I noticed that some dark areas were getting lighter.  Proof that my skin is on the road to recovery.  
It has a very faint smell which is probably because of the oatmeal.  Quite pleasant, actually.  Next time I may just experiment by adding some essential oil.

Since I suffer from adult acne, I'm very careful about the products I put on my body.  This is non-comedogenic and true enough, no breakouts in the areas where I apply this.  I read somewhere that it can also be used on the face.  This lotion is gentle enough that I think I'm going to try that.  Let's see how that works.

I've been using this for a year and I love it!  Even when I'm using other lotions, I still keep this in stock and use it at least once a day in dry areas.  Definitely one of the best skincare products in the planet.

January 27, 2011

Meet Orange & more like him

12 years ago, I took home a kitten I found living under the platform in a classroom.  He was scrawny, dirty and his tail was cut.  This is Orange today:

He's loves to cuddle up to people and gets along with all the other cats at home (in total I have 4 adopted felines).  Orange is always walking around, exploring his surroundings.

If you're looking  for a pet, there are a lot out there that are looking for a loving home.  Check out this Saturday's activity, you may just find your perfect match :)

For more information, contact CARA at (0915) 890-5535  or email caraadoption@gmail.com. You may also log on to www.caraphil.org for updates.

P.S. next time, I'll introduce you to the rest of my cat children ;)

January 26, 2011

Laura Mercier Flawless Face Kit (Part 2): Undercover Pot & Tools

In Part 1, I reviewed the Foundation Primer, Tinted Moisturizer SPF 20, Velour Puff and Egg-Shaped Sponge.  

Now it's time to take a look at the Secret Camouflage, Secret Concealer and Translucent Loose Setting Powder (all part of the Undercover Pot), Secret Camouflage Brush  and Camouflage Powder Brush.
Undercover Pot

Lift the lid and you'll find Laura Mercier's Secret Camouflage (left) and Secret Concealer (right).  Twist the cap and you'll see a sifter which dispenses a small amount of  the Oil Free Translucent Powder.  I love the packaging because it has everything you need to conceal without having to carry several products.  It's perfect for traveling.

Secret Camouflage 
This is used to conceal blemishes, scars, shadows around the nose and broken capillaries.  Unlike most concealers that feel heavy on the skin, this one felt like i was barely applying anything.  The fact that it was so light bothered me at first.  I thought I wasn't putting enough product.  But even after adding layers, it still felt the same.  I liked the fact that I did not need to apply any form of color corrector beforehand.  This effectively made the broken capillaries on my cheeks and shadows on my face less noticeable.  As with all concealers, it can never totally erase imperfections, it just lightens.  I would have said this was the perfect concealer except for one heartbreaking detail - it's staying power.  Even if I applied the Primer and Loose Setting Powder that came with this kit, the concealer only lasted for a couple of hours.  Halfway through the work day, it was gone.  I have yet to find something that'll make this product last longer.

Secret Concealer 
The product was made specially for the eye area - it's purpose is to brighten and reduce the appearance of shadows around and under the eye.  Just like Secret Camouflage, this comes in a lightweight formula but more on the gel-cream side.  What's great about this is that you don't need a lot.  A teeny tiny amount is enough to cover the undereye area.  I found that the best way to apply this was to first rub the product between my ring fingers and use a rolling motion.  If your undereye circles aren't that bad, this is perfect.  But if you have serious blueness or shadows, this may not be what you're looking for - it will lighten, but the circles will still be quite obvious.

Translucent Loose Setting Powder 
According to the package, you apply this on top of the concealer and if you wish, your entire face.  This product really does go on transparent, so plus points here!  Just be careful how much of this you put on top of the Secret Concealer - too much will make your undereye area look seriously cakey.   I found that my MAC 224 does a perfect job in distributing this product under my eyes.  For the rest of the face, this is a good finishing powder to have.

Secret Camouflage Brush
I think this did an okay job as a concealer brush.  It picks up just the right amount of product each time.  The bristles look durable (I'll judge after a full year of use). 

It's nice to use on small blemishes and areas of the face.  I didn't like it so much for the undereye and larger areas (like my cheeks) because I felt that it took too much time given how small the tip of this brush is.  Overall, a good brush to have if you don't have a lot to cover up.

Camouflage Powder Brush
This brush was designed to pick up the Translucent Loose Setting Powder and pat on areas where the Secret Camouflage and Secret Concealer was applied.

This was one of the things I did not love coming from this kit.  It did a poor job in picking up and distributing the powder to my face.  Plus I had issues because it would smudge some of my make up off.  I think I'll try using this as a concealer brush for larger areas. Maybe that'll work.

Like I said before, this kit is great if you want to sample Laura Mercier products.  Although the kit will not miraculously make your skin look perfect, it will definitely improve its appearance.

It comes with step by step instructions on how to use everything.  Plus, it includes a really cute cosmetic bag - the body is transparent but the top part comes in the signature Laura Mercier brown color.

January 18, 2011

Badger Healing Balm

Badger is a company that produces USDA Certified Organic and Cruelty-free skincare products.  That alone makes me adore this brand!

Their Healing Balm is made from Extra Virgin Olive Oil, Beeswax, Castor Oil, Aloe Vera and Essential Oils of Birch and Wintergreen.  It's great for folks who have patches of dry, rough and cracked skin. 

In my case, my hands are so dry that sometimes they get a bit flaky.  Badger's balm is one of the products I've been using the last couple of years to help soothe and improve my skin's condition.  It goes on slightly greasy but that goes away quickly because the product gets absorbed into the skin within a few minutes.  I love how my skin feels smoother and softer after I apply this.  It can be a bit difficult to spread because it's in balm (and not cream or lotion) form.  But you don't need a lot for this to work.

I prefer buying the small tin of the Healing Balm so that I can bring it with me anywhere.  I like the fact that the pot doesn't pop open easily so none of the product goes on to my stuff.

Of all the Badger products I've tried, I like the scent of this balm the least.  It has a very faint ointment-like smell.  The good news is, Badger has an unscented version of this balm.  The bad news, it's not available where I live.  Until I find an unscented version at the store or manage to find an online shop that will ship here, I'll continue using the original one.

It's time for me to buy another tin because the one I've been using is about to hit the expiration date.  Good stuff  - definitely worth a try for those who have not had a bit of Badger goodness.

January 15, 2011

Laura Mercier Flawless Face Kit (Part 1): Foundation Primer, Tinted Moisturizer SPF 20 & Tools

A month ago, I blogged about my Laura Mercier haul which included the Flawless Face Kit.  I decided to break this review into two parts and this entry will review the following:  Foundation Primer, Tinted Moisturizer SPF 20, Velour Puff and Egg-Shaped Sponge.

Foundation Primer
Laura Mercier's foundation primer comes in a gel-cream form which makes it extremely light and moisturizing.  I like how my skin was able to absorb this formula because with other primers I've tried, it felt like I was wearing a mask.  Not in this case.  This product made my skin so smooth and even, that it allowed me to apply and blend my foundation effortlessly.  An absolute joy!

I expected my make up to last the whole day because I applied the primer.  Half-way through the day, I noticed that my foundation and concealer already faded.  I wasn't too happy about that since I don't carry around stuff with me to touch-up (except for lipstick).

In terms of oil-control, this product was just average.  My skin did not get any oilier nor did it cause any breakouts.  I usually need to blot within two hours of applying make up and probably two more times within the day.  With this product I just had to blot once, three hours upon application.

Tinted Moisturizer SPF 20
Before you buy this product, check the expiration date at the end of the tube.  I bought my kit in November without checking.  When I finally opened it the following month, I discovered that the tinted moisturizer was going to expire in March.  I had no choice but to use it immediately!

This feels a little bit heavier than the primer, but still light compared to other foundations I've tried.  It works well as a moisturizer and I love the fact that it provides sun protection.

The coverage is light enough to give off a natural look and at the same time effective in making my skin color even out.  I love how my skin glowed with this product - it made it look so healthy!  As a tinted moisturizer, I think this does a great job.

If you have oily skin, I suggest that you check out the oil-free version of this product because the regular tinted moisturizer does nothing when it comes to oil control.  I still had to blot a few times throughout the day.

No breakouts either, which is a huge relief for me since Laura Mercier products are not labeled as non-comedogenic.  I did read some reviews online that report otherwise so you'll have to try it out for yourself.

Egg-Shaped Sponge

In general, I don't like applying my foundation with a sponge because of the amount of product that gets wasted.  It took some time to convince myself to go ahead and give this a try.

Surprise, surprise!  This sponge was pretty compact that it did not absorb too much product.  I've been using the narrow end of the sponge because it makes it easier for me to blend around the more difficult areas, such as the sides of my nose.

I hope I'm able to find a dupe that's just as good.

Velour Puff

Take a good look at the size of the puff compared to the dispenser of the finishing powder.  It's like a cruel joke.  Should I laugh or cry?  

The puff itself is of good quality but how am I supposed to evenly distribute the powder to the puff without making a mess?

For this kit, they should have just provided a mini-brush.

This kit is great if you're trying out Laura Mercier products for the first time.  There's enough product to last you two to three months (with the exception of the finishing powder) which is just enough time to make a sound decision on whether to invest in a full-sized product or not.

Watch out for Part 2 of this review.  I'll be blogging about the Undercover Pot (which consists of Secret Camouflage, Secret Concealer and Translucent Loose Setting Powder), Secret Camouflage Brush  and Camouflage Powder Brush.

January 12, 2011

The Body Shop Lip & Cheek Stain

I only started wearing make up in college and back then, I had the bare minimum - a drugstore brand compact powder, three tubes of lipstick, blush and when I was feeling really fancy, I'd put on liquid eyeliner.  The Body Shop's Lip & Cheek Stain was the very first blush I purchased.

I love that this product looks extremely natural.  I can wear it with just my bare face or with foundation & powder on, either way, I end up with a nice flush of color on my cheeks.  It's sheer enough that it suits any skin tone and is buildable so you can manage just how much color you want.  

Of all the blushes I've owned, this is the one that lasts the whole day - even during those times I've had oily skin.  And when my skin is dehydrated, this doesn't aggravate the condition.  No need for primer!

Some people have a difficult time applying this and I guess it's because  it comes in gel, and not powder, form.  I did too, at the beginning - just keep practicing and it'll be easy in no time.  The trick is to apply a few dots on the apples of your cheeks and blend upwards, using your fingertips.  I've tried other cheek stains and would end up with streaks because it would dry up too quickly.  Not with this product.  It doesn't dry as fast, so you have enough time to blend.  Just keep in mind that gel products get absorbed into the skin real fast - which means, don't take your sweet time either.

The lip stain part, forget it.  It's the complete opposite of how great it is as a blush.  It consistency is too liquid for it to adhere to the lips.  It's drying and looks uneven.  Plus it tastes terrible, like when you lick rust (yeah I did that when I was a kid).  I think The Body Shop should just call this a cheek stain and leave the lip part out - that way, they end up with an excellent product.

Have you tried this product?  Leave a comment, tell me if you love it or hate it.

January 9, 2011

Elianto SunScreen Lip Balm SPF 30

Elianto is a Malaysian company (not Korean, which some people think) with presence in some Asian & Middle Eastern countries.

When it comes to cosmetics, I'm hesitant with unknown brands and go for products that have less chances of irritating my skin.  In this case, I decided to try a few of their lip products and their SunScreen Lip Balm was the first one I opened.  The shade I picked was Raspberry.

I particularly like using this product as a base for my lipstick.  First, I love the fact that this lip balm provides sun protection.  The consistency is waxy (not sticky) which made my lips feel smooth and allowed me to apply lipstick easily. 

On it's own, I like how it enhances the color of my lips without any shine.  For people who don't like flavored lip products, this has a very subtle flavor.  You'll hardly notice it.  What I don't like is that it's not moisturizing at all.  After half an hour, my lips began to feel dry and I needed to re-apply.  But if you have lipstick on top, that shouldn't be a problem.

Will you like it or not?  It depends - do you like using Chapstick?  Because it's pretty much what it is.

January 3, 2011

DIY Lavender Facial Spray

As much as I (and I'm sure you do too) love Evian's Facial Spray, it can get pretty boring and costly at times.  Here's an alternative you can try - it won't hurt the pocket and it's good for your skin too!

Having one handy is a pretty good idea because facial sprays can keep your skin feeling fresh mid-day and provide hydration when needed.  It also helps keep your make up in place throughout the day.  This particular formula contains lavender which helps soothe and heal the skin.  An added bonus, it promotes relaxation and a calm feeling.  Don't we all need this during the work week?

For this spray you'll need the following:

1.  Mineral Water.  A 1/2 liter bottle of Evian costs about Php 50.00.  You won't even need this much .  In this case, I only used 50 ml because of the size of my spray bottle.


2.  An empty spray bottle.  Let's do our share in saving the environment - instead of buying a new one, recycle an old cologne bottle.  Just make sure to wash it well and disinfect.

 3.  Lavender Essential Oil.  Use Essential Oil, not Fragrance Oil because the latter does affect your well-being in any way.  For 50 ml, you will only need 1 drop of oil.  No kidding.  When it comes to essential oils, a little goes a long way and a lot can cause a skin irritation (it's that potent).  Besides, we don't want it to have a strong smell.  It has to be very subtle.  So again, 1 drop per 50 ml will do the trick.  

Keep in mind that not all Essential Oils are recommended for the skin.  You'll need to do some research before you substitute with another oil.  Lavender is safe :)

The first thing you'll want to do is pour the mineral water into your empty container.  Then add a drop of essential oil.  Shake it really well and then add the lavender flowers if you wish.  It's that simple!

Before you spray, always shake the bottle well and hold it about 12 inches from your face when spraying.  When not in use, keep it in your refrigerator.  The spray feels really nice on the skin when the water is cold.  Enjoy!

P.S.  You'll find this recipe all over the place, the lavender flowers are just a personal touch I added.  If you have sensitive skin, always check with your dermatologist first.