Monday, September 30, 2013

Manicure Monday

Two more Turkish polishes for your viewing pleasure! I think there's only one left––I wore it, but neglected to photograph it, so you'll get to see that...eventually. But here's the ones I did snap!

Flormar Duo 2x Chrome DC05
There were a few polishes in this Flormar duochrome line, but this one was by far the most duochrome-y of them all, so it's the one I got. It is exactly the same color/shift (green-to-blue) as in China Glaze Unpredictable, but the formula is better––DC05 is opaque in 2 coats compared to Unpredictable's 3, and it's less prone to brushstrokes, though as a metallic, there are still some. It's pretty and fun, and it cost 4,49 TL, I think (about $2.25).

Sunday, September 29, 2013

Urban Decay Deluxe Palette Quick Review and Swatches

I said I would review this once I had some EOTDs using it, but I have decided to just post this now since it's being discontinued but is still available at Sephora and Urban Decay and I don't know how long it will last. And I have one EOTD, which is something, I guess? (I know y'all stop by for some quality blogging, and I am clearly here to deliver...)

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

30 Days: Day 21

I buckled down and spent the couple hours needed to swatch my eyeshadow collection, in large part for my own benefit, but hey also 30 Days! According to my spreadsheet (you can't go about these things lackadaisically, after all), I have 77 eyeshadows, including cream and those in palettes. Though after doing this swatchathon, I have decided to discard several of them, and if I ever get around to depotting my shadows, yet more may go the way of the dodo. But at this moment in time, here are all of my eyeshadows. Enjoy, I guess?

Guerlain = Guerlain Écrin 4 Couleurs 06 Les Fumés
Inglot = this post
Sleek = Sleek Original i-Divine Palette; numbers are assigned from left to right, top to bottom (1 = top far left, 7 = bottom far left, 5 = top second from right, etc.)
TT = Tarina Tarantino Jewel Eyeshadow Palette Fantastical
theBalm = theBalm Nude 'Tude, which will be reviewed once I can get past my issues with the packaging (or decide to share my rant with the world, whichever ends up happening first)
TF = Too Faced Natural Eye Neutral Eye Shadow Collection
UDD = Urban Decay Deluxe Palette, which will be reviewed once I take some pictures of EOTDs using it
UDR = Urban Decay Rollergirl
WNW CZ = Wet N Wild Comfort Zone
All others will be linked in their respective captions; all labels are from left to right.
All swatches are two layers on primed skin, unless otherwise noted, and all pictures are clickable––I uploaded them full size (not the usual 800 pixels), so you can see more detail.

Inglot 391, Sleek 1, theBalm Serious, UDD Zero
Inglot 391 is by far the most pigmented; that's a single swipe of each shadow. Zero is the only one with shimmers. Sleek 1 and Serious both fared quite poorly, but Serious got mostly opaque with a second layer, while Sleek 1 did not (see below); Zero built up nicely, and I didn't add anything to the Inglot because it was not needed.
poor Sleek.
I rarely use black in my eye looks because it's so dramatic against my pale skin, but I should evidently use Sleek 1 if I don't want to overwhelm myself, ha!

Thursday, September 19, 2013

Graftobian HD Creme Foundation Review and Swatches

I tried these foundations and wrote this up a few months ago but never got around to posting it. Better late than never, though!

The past few months I've been on the hunt for my HG foundation. I have quite pale, very oily, sensitive and acne-prone skin, and I have really weird undertones. It is basically impossible to find a foundation that withstands my oily skin without breaking me out or giving me eczema, and even when I do succeed in that regard (this happens, um, maybe 10% of the time), I fail at finding a shade that's not too dark or pink or light or yellow, because my undertones are impossible to match. In my ongoing search for perfection, I decided to order some samples of Graftobian HD Creme Foundation after hearing good things from Drivel about Frivol, who is similarly light-complected and found a match in Lady Fair. So off to Camera Ready Cosmetics I traipsed, shelling over $3.99 each for little pots of four shades I suspected would work for me and eagerly awaiting their arrival.

left to right: Ivory, Porcelain, Lady Fair, Bombshell

I got samples of Ivory, Porcelain, Lady Fair, and Bombshell; the first 3 were the warm and neutral options from Graftobian's recently introduced super-light shade range, and Bombshell is the formerly-lightest neutral. I considered purchasing the formerly-lightest warm shade Graceful Swan, but thought it would probably be too yellow, since such things usually are. Unfortunately, none of the shades quite worked out for me, though Bombshell came closest––so if you're very pale, you should absolutely check out Graftobian! The fairest of fair shades should work for those who cannot find a match anywhere (which is me, yes, but even I am not that pale). Ivory is the lightest and is a balance of pink and yellow; Porcelain is a smidge darker and more yellow, Lady Fair is a bit darker still and pink, and Bombshell is a good shade darker and primarily pink. Bombshell is the right depth for me, but it is a bit too pink, and being so full coverage, the imperfect shade match is evident when worn.

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

NYX Cream Blush in Hot Pink Quick Review and Swatches

The boy and I stopped off at the Ulta in Salem to pick up a few presents (and because I can't drive near an Ulta and not stop––the nearest one is more than an hour away, and if I happen to be there, you better believe I'm going in) and I decided I could use a cream blush, based on my positive experience with the Beach Tints. I wanted something different from my other blushes, so I decided on NYX Hot Pink, which is the most unoriginally named blush in the history of ever. At least it's accurate, though!
NYX Hot Pink, after a few uses

Monday, September 16, 2013

Manicure Monday

Another Monday, some more manicures!

Color Club Halo Hues Beyond
Another one of the polishes I got from Amanda a few months ago. Like the others, the formula on Beyond is flawless––it could have been a one-coater if I'd been more careful in applying, and it just glides on like butter. No issues over my current base coat (p2 8-in-1, purchased in Berlin), and super holographic. Awesome stuff.

Saturday, September 14, 2013

Skincare Saturday: Chagrin Valley Soap & Salve Soap Bar Selection Reviews

Last week, I blabbed on and on about Chagrin Valley's shampoo bars. This week, I'll be talking about their soap bars!

I tend to prefer liquid shower gels over bar soap for cleansing myself, but I ordered several soap bars from the company in the hopes that they would help my face be less stupid, and as travel-friendly cleansing and shaving aids. I tried a couple of the complexion bars on my face, only to break out horribly, since almost all contain coconut oil, which hates my skin, even saponified. Fortunately, they make a few soaps that don't have coconut oil (in addition to the two discussed below, the Castile is also coconut-free), so I was able to test those on my face. My body is much less persnickety, so I was able to use them all and can now natter about them! A quick note: the complexion bars are designed for use on your face, but that's merely a suggestion––I find they work great on body, and at least one of the soaps that's not deemed a complexion bar would be lovely as a face wash (namely, Olive and Shea).

via Chagrin Valley
Grapeseed Tomato Complexion: This is one without coconut oil and designed for troubled complexions (that's such a nice way of putting it!), and it helps clear pores without irritating skin. The picture on the website (above as well) shows a bar significantly redder than mine, so I think I got part of the old batch that had less tomato; hopefully the new and improved version works just as well, because I really like this bar! It's nice and mild, doesn't strip my face, and doesn't contribute to breakouts. I like using it in the morning as it gives a nice soft, clean base for the day. It does remove makeup, but as it's traditional soap, you do not want to get it near your eyes (not that I speak from experience...), so I prefer to use it in the morning when I have nothing on my eyes, though I have also used it as my post-makeup-removal cleanser. I intend to buy a full size once I go through my current facial cleanser stash (namely, a 12 oz bottle of Purity, ha). $2.70 for 1.5 oz, $7.80 for 7 oz

Ingredients: Grapeseed Oil; Organic Sustainable Palm Oil; Babassu Oil; Virgin Shea Butter; Water; Sunflower Oil; Olive Oil; Sodium Hydroxide*; Canola Oil (Non-GMO); Organic Tomato Juice; Castor Oil; White China Clay; Organic Tomato Paste; Essential Oils of Lavender, Geranium, Palmarosa, Ylang Ylang. *Used during the Saponification Process to turn oil into soap. None remains in the finished product.  

Thursday, September 12, 2013

Guerlain Écrin 4 Couleurs 06 Les Fumés Review and Swatches

I bought this from Tracy during her blog sale for $44 including shipping, which is more than 25% off the full price. It's still rather more than I would normally spend, but I wanted something compact and pretty for the conference. (Ironically, it was so hot that I only did my eye makeup one day out of the 4, but hey, best to be prepared?) Now that I have it, I see myself getting a lot of use out of it for school––between my new hair and the classy eyes this palette creates, I'm gonna get mad respect from my students.
Which is clearly warranted.

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Outtake: Beauty Shopping in Turkey

The boy and I found a store with makeup in Bodrum, a week and a half into our time in Turkey. There were certainly stores before then, but it was the first we actually stumbled upon, and he gamely joined me in my browsing exploits. I picked up a number of nail polishes and swatched a lot of lippies but ended up only buying one (review to come!), but while I was playing the boy took some photos with my camera.
No makeup = ghostly Amy. This face = "this gloss is such a pretty color, but
why does it have to have glitters?!"

Monday, September 9, 2013

Manicure Monday

Wow, 5 posts in 5 days. Don't get used to it, folks––you know it won't last ;) Today, I have a couple of polishes I received from Z for my birthday, as well as another Turkey polish and an OPI.

Butter London The Black Knight
I have wanted this polish since it came out a couple years ago, and Z generously bought it (as well as the Nails Inc, below) for me for my birthday! It was waiting for me when I got home, though my mother had stuck it in her room so I didn't know where it was for the first couple weeks after getting home. Fortunately, it was found and worn and I LOVE IT.
It's a black base with varying sizes of pink/red, yellow, and blue glitter. They dance and shine under the light, and it's so, so beautiful. I found it to be a solid 2 coater, though perhaps if you used thicker coats it could be done in 1. It's very top-coat hungry; I did 3 coats the day I painted my nails, and then another the next day, which made it almost completely smooth. The wear is phenomenal; it lasted a full 4 days on my nails with no tipwear or chipping, and I actually wore it twice in a row since it went well with the dress I wore to the wedding. I am seriously impressed, and now I begrudgingly want to try more Butter London (begrudging because they're expensive, and the British names are stupid for a company based in Seattle). It has taken up residence on the shelf reserved for true love polishes.

Saturday, September 7, 2013

Skincare Saturday: Chagrin Valley Soap & Salve Shampoo Bar Selection Reviews

In preparation for my month abroad, I decided I needed some shampoo bars. I didn't want to pay Lush prices, especially since their bars contain SLS, and a quick Google search led me to Chagrin Valley, purveyors of shampoo and soap bars, among many other bath and body products. I ordered a few generously-sized samples, decided on the shampoo bar I wanted to bring with me, and then evidently never hit the order button, leading to a frantic search for shampoo bars in Eugene. Fortunately, it's a hippie town, so I was able to find one without issue (Camanu Rosemary Nettle, if you're curious), but I really liked the Chagrin Valley stuff in general and thought I should review it! Starting with the shampoo bars today and the soaps I've tried next week.

Solid shampoo is a great choice when traveling, as it's not subject to the TSA's ridiculous 3 oz limit on liquids. It's also nice for hair that doesn't fare well with traditional shampoo ingredients like SLS (sodium laureth/lauryl sulfate) and coco betaine. I have fine, curly hair that I dye, so I try to steer clear of ingredients that strip my hair––there are a number of liquid shampoos/cleansing conditioners that I find work well for me (I can talk about those later if anyone's interested?), but I like shampoo bars for their ease of transport.

One thing to note about solid shampoos, and SLS-free shampoos in general, is that it takes some time for your hair to adjust to them. I started with As I Am Coconut Cleansing Conditioner, a cream from Sally Beauty, which was a nice in-between step, so my shift to shampoo bars was pretty painless, but if you're going straight from traditional shampoos to natural shampoo bars, it could take a couple of weeks before your hair stops being grouchy.

As with normal shampoo, you have to concentrate it at the roots of your hair; I like to rub it around my hairline (face and neck) and up the top of my head, then thoroughly massage it over my scalp, gently spreading it down to the ends of my hair, then thoroughly rinsing. It takes 2-3 minutes for the whole process, as I try to make really sure I've gotten it all out, and if you live in a place with very hard water, shampoo bars might not be the right thing for you, as such water can be ineffective at rinsing it out, leading to limp, coated hair (gross). I luckily live in an area with very soft water (PNW ftw!), but you can check yours here; see also Ida's (Chagrin Valley's founder) discussion and suggestions here. Even in areas with soft water, she suggests doing a baking soda/ACV rinse every month or so, but I'm too lazy for that; instead, I just use a shampoo with SLS every few weeks to get rid of any and all buildup.

Good lord, that's a lot of background. Now, to the reviews!

Friday, September 6, 2013

Fragrance Friday

I got some Solstice Scents samples last week, so they're what I'll be talking about today!

Coquina (Summer Collection; sandalwood, orange blossom, clementine EO, beach sand, plumeria absolute, coconut, ginger EO, sea spray): I brought this with me to LA, and found it fit in perfectly with the palm trees and sun and bleached sand. The orange blossom is pervasive throughout, but fortunately doesn't pull soapy on me as so many do, and the sandalwood-sea spray accord gives it a very driftwood feel, which is softened by the plumeria and coconut, which make it very tropical. Altogether, Coquina is light, happy, sunny, and sandy, but thankfully never trite. I'm by no means a California girl––all the sun and people gives me hives––but Coquina lets me pretend I am, at least for a few hours.

Thursday, September 5, 2013

Shu Uemura Rouge Unlimited BG 935 Review and Swatches

Sorry for my most recent absence! I went down to LA for a wedding of a friend of the boy's, which was lots of fun but didn't leave much time for blogging (or work, but shhhh, don't tell). I'm back at home again, though, and hopefully will be staying put for awhile! Which means more posts for you! Hooray!
So, I know the lipstick marks on the inside of the cap
are gross, but I figure it's good to show you what it
actually looks like after being used! (That, and I'm
too lazy to clean it. You're welcome.)
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