Monday, April 21, 2014

Review on Sephora + Pantone Universe Elemental Energy Eye Shadow Palette

Hi Everyone!

Today I am reviewing the Sephora + Pantone Universe Elemental Energy Eye Shadow Palette!

I received this amazing palette from a friend for New Years!

What do I think of this product?
I like the diversity of color in this palette. I am not that much of a color person, but for certain occasions when I need color, the colors here have a good variety and can be used for many looks. I also really like the large amount of brown and neutral shades which are great for everyday makeup, brown smokey eyes, and as contouring or blending shades.
All of the eyeshadows are well pigmented and are easy to apply and blend. The matte colors take a little more time and work to blend but they still work very well.
I do wish that there was a black in this palette. If I wanted to line my eyelashes with a dark color or use a very dark color for the crease of my eye or the outer "V" of my eye for more depth, I would use a black or a very very dark brown or navy shadow. There is unfortunately no really really dark brown or navy shadow. =(
Of all the colors I use the browns the most. In the lower right quadrant there is a light-medium cool matte brown color and that is my favorite for an overall wash over my eyes. I can even make it into a smoky day look!
I also really like the shimmery reddish bronze on the bottom right quadrant and the shimmery peach pink and gold orange shadows in the top right quadrant. These are warm shades that bring some life into my eyes and are great for highlighting my eyes in a smoky look.
Other than that, I don't use any of the green or blue shadows. They are not really my style and I find them hard to use for a natural day look, which is what I go for everyday.
Other than the colors, let's talk about the design of the palette. I think this is an interesting design. The cover is a piece of plastic which is held in place by 4 magnets in the corners. The magnets are strong and hold well. You can slide the plastic cover to the side to get colors and hold the palette at the same time or you can just take the cover off. My cover gets scratched and dirty quite easily and so does the white palette holding all the colors. I don't really mind. Tells me I'm using it. =P
One thing that may be problematic for me is that the palette is pretty large and the lid is not sealable. There is no clasp or lock to hold it firmly in place and its large size makes it bulky and difficult to travel with. I never take this palette out, it always stays at home. Since it is not that portable, I am not sure if I will bring it to the East Coast with me. I do not want the lid sliding off or any of the shadows to get damaged and fall out (and make a mess).
This is not a palette I would consider a necessity. More like if you want to have some fun with colors and you want to spend some extra cash.
If I was buying a palette I would not get this one since I don't use 5 out of the 16 colors, rarely ever use 4 colors (light purple, yellow, matte cream and matte light tan) and only use 7 out of the 16 colors. So I use less than half of the palette on a daily basis, which price wise, is not worth it to me. It is also not firmly sealed and it's large size makes it difficult to travel with, can't even bring it in the car to do last minute makeup. So I am further limited in my use of this palette because it is difficult to carry around.
I have heard that many people liked this palette and the colors are very pretty. Which is true, the colors are pretty and the quality of the eyeshadows are great. But I like to take into consideration which colors I will use and how often I can use them.

Here are some swatches: 
Please look at the picture of the palette above, you can see that my swatches for each quadrant go clockwise from left to right.

Overall you can see that many of these colors are very pigmented. There are a couple of matte ones in the upper left quadrant that do not seem to be able to blend easily, I'm not sure how they are on the eyes since I don't use those 2 particular shades at all for daily wear.

Do I recommend this product?
If you do not mind the price and want to have some fun with makeup, I think this is a good product to try. But if you are a person who doesn't use colorful eyeshadows that often, or likes to travel around a lot and may need to carry makeup with you, I suggest to look at other alternatives.

I hope that this review was helpful to you! Feel free to ask any questions or comment in the comment box below!
I am sorry for not posting as much, recently the products that I review take me more time to use and judge them. I hope that is okay. >.<
Thank you for reading and I will see you later!

Sunday, April 13, 2014

Let's Talk =)

Hi Guys!

How have you been?

The weather is finally warming up (feels like summer here) and getting sunnier! And everyone is getting into a frenzy of shopping and tanning XP.

I'm sure you have noticed that I have not been posting much lately, actually nearly only once a week!
And I would like to explain to you why and I hope that my explanation is reasonable and that you understand my situation.

You probably know that I recently graduated from UCSD and I have been hired as Staff. And life should be so much easier now that I have graduated and having no classes.......sorry, no, not really. =P

My work hours are 20 hours per week, not including the hours I spend for research which can range from 5 to 15 hours per week.
I still work in the hospital in the ICU and I shadow doctors in the ER for 8 to 10 hours each week.
And that is where most of my times goes toward =/

Also, I am studying for the mCAT exam. I am retaking it to get a better score and it is my number one priority now so I will even put work aside for this because the mCAT is important for my career and basically result of rest of life. =P

My skincare and makeup routines have become very stable and set. I understand what my skin needs, what it likes and the products that work well for my skin. Once a while I will buy something new to try to treat a skin problem but other than that, I am very happy with most of my skincare and makeup products now. I don't feel the need to buy more stuff if I don't really need it.
If my skin does change or react to something, of course I will try new things. But on a day-to-day basis, I stick to my staple products until I run out and either get the same thing or try something new for fun.
As a  result, I don't have that many new things to try and I don't have much things to review. =(

Please also keep in mind that I am not making money in the 100,000s and I do not have the luxury of buying makeup just to try, just for fun, or just because. =P I am not a professional makeup "guru" or artist and I don't have something like youtube to fund my skincare and makeup hobbies (though that would be awesome haha). I also don't have the luxury of having lots of hauls, like clothing or makeup hauls or even seasonal hauls. I personally think if you are one of those high school kids who have a closet just for your makeup and you are not paying for it...there is something wrong with you....yeah...go and get a job or do something with your life.

I also haven't been doing much outfit or fashion videos because I recently decided to break into a beautiful pair of stilettos which have resulted in some nice ugly blisters on my ankles and heels and I will need to wait for those to recover before I can even wear shoes again....

I will be going back to be a student. I received many acceptances into well known pre-medical master programs and I have chosen one. =)
Not telling you yet where it is, but it is on the East Coast. Which means I will be moving....which means....I can't bring a lot of stuff with me....which means....I can't buy that much stuff at the moment. It is very costly shipping stuff and I would like to keep the cost down because my parents are paying for me. =)

I'm sure once I have settled down, the new environment and weather of the east coast won't work as well with my regular skincare products for the drier coastal area of southern California, and I am bound to probably break out and start trying new things. But until then I am relatively much more thrifty and cautious about buying things. This includes, clothes, skincare, and makeup. I will not be buying much until I move. And once I start breaking out and dealing with the weather and humidity, then I will go for new and different products. That is when you can start looking forward to my reviews. XP

I will review the rest of the products I have to tell you about! But after that I may veer towards a different direction. Probably talking more about the methods of skincare (instead of just products) or more on fashion, health, exercise etc. We shall see! XD

I hope that this rambling thing has made some sense to you. =P
Thank you so much for reading! I really appreciate those of you who have stayed with me for so long =)
See you soon!

Saturday, April 12, 2014

Review on It Cosmetics "Bye Bye Redness" Correcting Cream!

Hi Everyone!

I hope you are doing well!

Today I am reviewing It Cosmetics "Bye Bye Redness" Correcting Cream
This product can be found online or at Ulta for about $32. It contains 11mL or 0.37 oz.
It is said to neutralize and conceal redness and blemishes on the skin from rosacea, capillaries, spots, sun damage, etc. It is said to not crease or crack and is supposed to be infused with "anti-aging Peptides, Collagen, Colloidal Oatmeal, Hyaluronic Acid, Aloe and Avocado" (personally I don't believe that stuff). It is also said to blend easily and last all day.

What do I think of this product?
I generally consider my skin to be relatively problem free, but I do have redness on my cheeks, and around my nose and mouth which I would like to conceal for certain occasions.
I swatched this at my nearby Ulta and it looked really dark on my skin. I felt that it was too dark for me. However, I tried it on my dark circles and it appeared to blend well with my skin tone and looked fine. I also saw many positive reviews on the product so I bought it. It is a little pricy but I suppose it is cheaper than many high end correcting creams and foundations and in the end I believed it was worth it for me.
This product is smooth, creamy and very pigmented, a little goes a long way, and I really mean a little! I can dab my finger into this and it can cover up my entire face! It does not irritate my skin. I would say it is a light to medium coverage. It does not feel sticky or heavy and is buildable but if you overuse the product your face will look cakey. It dries to more of a powder finish so for those with dry skin I recommend to make sure your face is well moisturized before applying this product. I also recommend a light exfoliation the night before to make sure your skin is as smooth as possible to allow the product to stay on better.
I have used this with a beauty blender sponge and the results are great! It covers well and lasts almost the entire day, fades away a little at the end. However, I do find that it easily creases around the corners of my nose and my mouth without a primer. With a primer, I do not have creasing around the nose, but I still have creasing around my mouth and it does tend to get a little cakey around my nose near the end of the day. But on my cheeks they look beautiful! My face will get a little oily and shiny, but that doesn't really bother me, happens to me all the time and I just blot it away.
My favorite use for this product is actually on my under eyes for my dark circles! XP I really think this is a great under eye concealer! I tried It Cosmetics' concealers in stores but they were too heavy and sticky for me. However, this one is great for my dark circles! I just need to make sure to use as little as possible so it doesn't look cakey. The finish is beautiful, I don't need to add powder and it does not crease and lasts all day! I apply with my fingers but I blend it out with a small blending brush. Using my fingers to blend the product still works well, but leaves more of a cakey finish than a brush. I also don't need to use a primer underneath my eyes! It is quite long lasting =)
I have not tried using a brush to apply and blend it onto my face, but I think a damp sponge works best in distributing the thinnest layer of product and making sure your skin doesn't look too powdery when the product dries.

Note: I do not use concealers, foundations, BB creams, or any tinted cream on a daily basis. It is not my thing and I probably only do it for special occasions. Therefore, it takes me a long time to see how a product works for me. Because of my infrequent use, I cannot tell you if this product breaks me out or not. That's how little I use it, like maybe once a month. I do conceal my dark circles more often (maybe a few times a month) for certain occasions or if I stayed up way too late the night before, but that is it. Therefore, I will continue to update this post as I use this product to let you know of any changes or thoughts. (Also, when I even have one pimple on my skin, I refuse to use any sort of concealer or foundation to allow it to heal as quickly and easily as possible)

Do I recommend this product?
If you are looking for a way to cover up your redness, spots, blotches, and even out your complexion I recommend this product (if the price is okay with you)! It is great for concealing redness! Just make sure your face is well moisturized before hand so it won't make any dry patches show.

Thank you for reading this review! I hope that it was helpful =). Let me know if you have any questions or comments in the comment box below.

See you later!

Sunday, April 6, 2014

Review on Anastasia's Bold & Beautiful Kit!

Hi everyone!

Back from spring break! Andddd....into real life? haha, but I haven't had a real spring break for the past couple of years anyway, still working in my research lab everyday and working at the hospital =P. Welcome to the real world, yay! (and taxes haha)
I'm sorry for not posting recently, I have been hired as UCSD staff so my workload and responsibility has definitely increased and it took a bit of time to sort my schedule out. I hope you understand! >.<

Today I am reviewing Anastasia's Bold & Beautiful Kit
(not sure if you noticed, but the brow pomade and powder positions are switched in this picture compared to the one below...not sure why that is, but my brow set is like the picture below)
I bought it on sale for $14 on Anastasia's website.

This eyebrow and eyeshadow palette comes in 2 compacts or "volumes":
- Vol. 1 "Bold Brows"
- Vol. 2 "Beautiful Eyes"

What do I think of this product?
Overall I like this product and use it quite often, especially the brow makeup. I also got it for a significantly cheaper price that made it all the more worth it. =P

Vol. 1 "Bold Brows"
(not my photo, but shows the colors the best)
This was my first time trying Anastasia's new brow pomade. I am not sure what version or color it is because they don't have a color for it for the description. Just says "Pomade" =P, so, compared to the full size versions I don't know which one it is. It is on the darker side though and matches my hair color pretty well.
Initially, I really really liked the pomade, I thought it was perfect. Don't get me wrong, I still like it, and I use it every day because it is still really good. However, I have found something may need some improvement. I also use the pomade everyday, because unlike the full size pomades, it does not have a cap or lid that seals the product. Therefore, it will dry out faster than the full size pomade. I am not sure when it will dry out. So far I have been using it for the past few months, almost everyday, and it seems good. The consistency is still even and soft. I think just recently it has become a little more sticky in the texture but not something I can't work with haha.
The pomade is a long lasting product and does not smear or melt. It lasts pretty well all day, by the end of the day, it does fade a little bit, but I'm fine with that, it will look a little more natural that way. What I did notice that for filling in the sparse areas of my eyebrows, the product is not as pigmented and does not apply as easily compared to applying on to brow hairs. When there are more brow hairs, it sticks on well and is pretty pigmented. However, it is not as pigmented when there are less hairs, which is the skin area. I don't mind it that much, because I usually apply the powder on it to help it darken. But it would definitely save me time if it was more pigmented on the skin so I don't have to do the extra step.
The powder is good. It is an ash-brown color and it suites my eyebrows well. Works just as well as any Anastasia eyebrow powder. =)
I really bought this set for the brow brush. I love that the brush is a dual end with a spoolie! Travel size and travel friendly! It works beautifully and I love it!
The tweezers I have not used yet. I'm sure they are decent. I just have eyebrow tweezers already that work pretty well (from Tweezerman), so I haven't felt the need to try it.
The only problem I have with this palette is that is it hard to get the dual brush and the tweezer out of the palette. The indentation where they sit, is too deep to be picked out with finger and I need to flip over the palette every single time I need something. This also sucks because flipping the palette causes both items to fall out, which is a hassle since I only use the dual brow brush and I need to put back the tweezers every single time....=___=

Here are a couple swatches of the pomade and brow powder:

Vol. 2 "Beautiful Eyes"
(not my photo, but shows the colors the best)
This is an eyeshadow palette. It comes with its own brush, which isn't too bad for being a palette brush. I don't use it just because I have better brushes available to me. But if I am traveling or I need a brush in a hurry, I think this will do the job well enough.

It has 4 shades, from left to right:
- a matte light champagne color
- a shimmery pink color
- a light brown-beige color with gold shimmer
- a black color with gold and red shimmer (I'm not sure about the red, but it looks kind of red)

The matte light peach color is great for a natural look. I can highlight my brow bone, the inner corner of my eyes, and the ball of my eyelid. It is not very pigmented but it is decent.
The shimmer pink has soft shimmers in it, so it does not reflect light that strongly. It is a soft and feminine eyeshadow that is decently pigmented as well.
The light brown with gold shimmer is the least pigmented of them all. I can't really tell the difference when I apply it onto my eyes. But I suppose it is great for natural looks, especially if you just want to cover up the blood vessels and veins on your eyes, or improve the complexion.
The black with gold and red shimmer is very very pigmented. It is strong, I was so surprised because all the others are not that strong. This is great for lining my eyes or I can use it to darken my makeup for a night look. However, it is really strong and I need to be careful if I am using it on the outer corners of my eyes or in my crease. I can see the sparkles on swatches but on my eyes, they're not that noticeable, so it looks just black, but I don't mind.

Here are a few swatches of the eyeshadows:

 All of the photos from top to bottom are in the same order. From top to bottom first is the matte light champagne color, next is the shimmery peach/pink color, after that is the light brown with the gold flecks, and the last is the black with the red/gold sparkles.

Do I recommend this set?
For the price that I got it, I definitely recommend this product! It is a great way to try out the brow pomade to see if it works for you without spending more money buying the full size item. It is a great travel essential for eyebrows and everyday makeup and is light, small, and portable. I would bring my own brushes for the eyeshadow though. The one that comes with the palette isn't bad and the bristles are soft, I just don't like the shapes of the brushes (don't work for me).
I don't think this is sold on Anastasia's website anymore but I'm sure it can be found elsewhere online or in stores. I believe I saw it selling at Ulta at one point, but I haven't checked back to see if it is still there.

So I hope you like this review and it was helpful to you =). Thank you for being so patient with me. X) Feel free to comment and ask any questions in the comment box below!
I will see you soon! Thank you for reading!

UPDATE: 05/14/14
I have not finished the pomade yet, I am probably about halfway done. Currently the formula has become a little drier (because of lack of a sealed lid) and stickier. I can still work with it but I just need to blend it more. Also, it makes my eyebrow hairs very pigmented, but does not give my skin (sparse brow areas) the same amount of pigmentation. Therefore, the color intensity is not as strong and it is somewhat noticeable. I have mentioned this before, but after some time and maybe because the pomade is starting to dry out, the difference is starting to become more and more apparent.

UPDATE: 06/28/14
I have basically finished the pomade. And my final thoughts are, I will not repurchase it.
This is because of 2 things:
1) The full size pomade is probably too much for me. I will end up not being able to finish it before it starts drying out. I hate to waste products and money. When it starts drying out, it will start making my eyebrow hairs darker than my skin (where the spares areas that I need to fill). I know the full size comes in a glass jar with weight so that after you close the lid, you let it sit upside-down to prevent air from leaking in. However, I feel that may not be enough.
2) The pomade leaves a residue on my eyebrow brushes that make it difficult to wash off. It kind of leaves an oil behind that makes the bristles sticky and stick together, not dry, soft, and fluffy. I do use special brush soap/shampoo to wash my brushes, but it takes at least 2 or 3 washes to fully get rid of the product. But this is kind of annoying, since I like to use my brushes for multiple things. What if I felt like using powder instead of pomade? Well, I would have to wash and dry 2-3 times before I could use the same brush for powder. I also have a feeling that long term use of a brush with pomade will leave the residue permanently, and I don't like that either.
3) I possibly have found something that I like a lot better and am currently trying it out now. Will review in the near future! =)