Friday, March 11, 2016

Bite Beauty High Pigment Pencil | Honey Berry | Swatches + Review

In the 90s, I wore a pearly white lipstick from The Body Shop during the 90s. My lips looked like they were painted with iridescent cellophane wrap. Never mind a dark lip. My lips are already dark and pigmented so I guess I was wanting something different back then. In the beauty and fashion world, the 90s lip is dark, deep and nude. And it has made a comeback. I've only just now had any desire to go down this path for fear of looking ridiculous and outdated, I suppose.

I believe in color harmony so I thought the most logical way to find the best nude lip for my skin tone was to get matched using ColorIQ at Sephora. It was brilliant because I found not just one, but three different colors that I am now completely in love with. For your reference, my ColorIQ number is 3Y06 - meaning I have yellow undertones and my shade is 6. I want to show you my favorite - Bite Beauty's High Pigment Pencil in the color Honey Berry, $24 for 0.09 oz.

This is the most heavenly lip pencil. It glides on smoothly and is relatively moisturizing to my lips. It has a slight waxy scent. The lasting power is about 4 to 6 hours depending on how much I eat or drink. The actual product can be advanced by twisting the colored plastic end so no sharpening needed but you will end up with a blunt tip. But because this applies so easily, I don't think a pointy tip is really necessary.

The color of Honey Berry is described as a "toasted almond shade". It's the most brown out of the other shades in this range. In the sunlight, the brown and orange undertones really stand out. I think the forearm swatches are the most accurate in terms of color.

In direct sunlight:

In indirect light:

The ingredients are mostly natural and organic according to Bite Beauty:
Organic Ricinus Communis (Castor) Seed Oil**, Organic Simmondsia Chinensis (Jojoba) Seed Oil**, Organic Cera Alba (Beeswax)**, Silica*, Organic Argania Spinosa (Argan) Kernel Oil**, Organic Butyrospermum Parkii (Shea) Butter**, Euphorbia Cerifera (Candelilla) Wax*, Organic Copernicia Cerifera (Carnauba) Wax**, Tocopherol*, Natural Flavor*, Trans-Resveratrol*, Vitis Vinefera (Grapeseed) Oil*, Siraitia Grosvenori (Monk Fruit)*. May Contain: Mica (Ci 77019)*, Titanium Dioxide (Ci 77891)*, Iron Oxides (Ci 77491, Ci 77492, Ci 77499)*, Carmine (Ci 75470)*, Fd&C Blue No. 1 (Ci 42090), Fd&C Yellow No. 5 (Ci 19140), Fd&C Yellow No. 6 (Ci 15985), Fd&C Red No. 40 (Ci 16035), D&C Red 6 (Ci 15850), D&C Red 7 (Ci 15850), Manganese Violet (Ci 77742)*. *Natural. **Certified organic.
I also purchased Sephora Collection Cream Lipstick in Charmer 19, $12.50 for 0.14 oz., and Rouge Shine Lipstick in Miss You 10, $12.50 for 0.13 oz.

Charmer is a warm nude with red and orange undertones. Miss You is more sheer, glossy taupe.

In direct sunlight, from L to R, Honey Berry, Charmer, Miss You:

In indirect light, from L to R, Honey Berry, Charmer, Miss You:

I'm so glad that I now have these three nude lipsticks to choose from.

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Inglot Freedom System Eyeshadows | Peach Heaven | Swatches + Review

We are so close to spring here in the midwest. I'm choosing to ignore the 30-degree weather we've been having this past week. I like to stay positive about this sort of thing.

With spring approaching, I can't help but be drawn to bright and vivid colors. How about I just jump right in and show you this too-lovely-for-words palette. Swatches follow.

Clockwise, starting from upper left: 15 Shine, 407 Pearl, 341 Matte, 312 Matte.

Swatches with flash, left to right: 341 Matte, 312 Matte, 407 Pearl, 15 Shine

Swatches without flash, left to right: 341 Matte, 312 Matte, 407 Pearl, 15 Shine

My brief thoughts on each of the shades.

341 Matte: a soft peach-beige in a matte finish. I have NC-20 skin, use MAC Paint Pot in Painterly. I use this color as a crease shade but it is difficult to see and a stand-alone eyeshadow on my skin.

312 Matte: a orange-peach in a matte finish. I picked this shade to act as a inner corner highlight but this shade appears very subtle on my eyelids. I wish I had picked up 397 Pearl for this purpose.

407 Pearl: orange-coral with peachy gold sheen in a pearl finish. This shade leans more gold on my eyelids.

15 Shine: is a fiery orange in a gold frost finish, though it’s not incredibly bright. My favorite shade of the four as it works well in the crease and adds definition.
These shadows are easy to work with. I use my Shiseido eyeshadow brushes to blend the
colors onto my eyelids that have been prepped with MAC Paint Pot in Painterly and Laura Mercier
Translucent Loose Setting Powder. There is little to no fallout if you are gentle with the shadows and the colors themselves are easy to blend and build upon. Another plus, the Freedom System case with a magnetic lid is chic and appeals to the minimalist in me. It just feels so solid in my hands and very well built. Overall, if you have a light to light-medium skin tone, I think these colors would look fantastic on you.

This palette was my first adventure with Inglot and I can't wait to try their other makeup products. If you have any suggestions, please let me know.

A little piece about Inglot from the NY Times:
Inglot is known for its broad range of colors and for creating new ways for cosmetics to be packaged and applied, including using painterlike palettes for eye shadow. Its shops are typically in shopping malls and large department stores. 
Inglot makes its own products, instead of outsourcing manufacturing as some companies do... 

Geurlain Advanced White P.E.A.R.L. Drop Essence | Overpowering fragrance with irritating ingredients

I am constantly on the lookout for new and innovative products that address hyperpigmentation. With higher melanin content in my East Asian skin, dark spots after acne or irritation and uneven splotches of color from sun damage, hyperpigmentation is one of my major skin concerns.

When I saw Geurlain’s Blanc de Perle skincare line, I was intrigued by their proprietary P.E.A.R.L. complex, which, according to their study, demonstrated results after only 2 months (significant lightening of existing dark spots and significant reduction in emerging dark spots). Taking this information with a grain of salt, I purchased the Drop Essence knowing that I could seamlessly incorporate this product after applying La Prarie White Caviar Spot Essence on individual trouble spots and before using LUSH Vanishing Cream.

The product is packaged in a beautifully made glass bottle that is protected from ingredient-degrading sunlight with a white coating. The product can be dispensed using the dropper that is integrated in to the screw cap. Unfortunately, as soon as I opened the bottle, I cringed at the overpowering powdery, floral scent. I don't mind the Guerlain fragrance in general. I use the Météorites powder to finish my makeup. However, with the skincare products I use, I prefer not to have irritating ingredients in them, in this case fragrance and alcohol.

Here's the ingredient list:
Aqua (Water), Dimethicone, Pentylene Glycol, Polymethylsilsesquioxane, Propanediol, Tromethamine, Ascorbyl Glucoside, Glycerin, Polyglycerin-3, Butylene Gycol, Polyglyceryl-10 Isostearate, Alcohol, Lactic Acid, Phenoxyethanol, Sodium Citrate, Parfum (Fragrance), Acrylates/C10-30 Alkyl Acrylate Crosspolymer, Xanthan Gum, Ophiopogon Japonicus Root Extract, Lecithin, Faex (Yeast Extract), Alcaligenes Polysaccharides, Hydrolyzed prunus domestica, Citric Acid, Benzyl salicylate, Helianthus Annuus (Sunflower) Seed Extract, Sophora Angustifolia Root Extract, Geraniol, Hydrolyzed Conchiolin Protein, Sanguisorba Officinalis Root Extract

In terms of application, the product comes out as a medium to light liquid with a milky hue. It absorbs quickly into the skin leaving a coating of light-reflectiveness and a texture that is slightly tacky. The product played well with the rest of my skincare products and routine. Unfortunately, that bothersome smell I was talking about earlier took over an hour to go away (or for me to not notice it).


Essence applied to the back of hand

Overall, if you love the Guerlain fragrance and like the idea of wearing the perfume on your face as part of a skincare routine, this product is for you. I can't speak to the effectiveness of this product but, as with most items geared towards hyperpigmentation, lactic acid and salicylates will, over time, help to even out your skin tone. I find that patience and stamina to maintain your beauty regimen time and time again is the key to getting rid of those pesky dark spots.

Thursday, October 30, 2014

Goodbye to a beloved eyeliner | Elite Paris Matt Liner in Matt Brown | Swatches + Review

For some, it's mascara.  For others, it's lipstick.  For me, if there's one product I do not leave the house without, it's eyeliner.  Eyeliner.  It can be bold or subtle.  It can create a come-hither cat eye or a "I'm awake" look.  With my heavy, hooded eyelids, sparse lashes, and small eyes in general, eyeliner was a game changer for me.  With eyeliner, my eyes actually looked open and attractive in pictures.  My eyes finally stood out under my glasses.  I love eyeliner.

I first discovered eyeliner in high school.  I would always get the same one because I got lucky and the first one I purchased was a fantastic choice - Lineur Intense Felt Tip Liquid Eyeliner from L'Oreal.  It met all the requirements: soft, felt tip, pigmented color, easy to apply, long-lasting, non-irritating, easy to remove.  They also lasted a really long time, especially since I was using the liner every day.

Fast forward to March 2013, when I received my third GlossyBox...

Meet Matt Brown.  He's a keeper.  He's waterproof and long-lasting.  He has a soft, felt-tip applicator that's easy to use and control.  He has a formula that dries quickly and turns into a beautiful, soft matte finish.  His deep and intense brown color complemented my eyes yet could be made to look very natural.  Seriously, this was the eyeliner that I was looking for all along.  Matt Brown was a keeper and I looked high and low to find more of his kind.  Unfortunately, he doesn't exist anymore.  That's right, discontinued.

What is a girl to do?  I had to move on. My Matt Brown was drying up.  I put two drops of Bioderma cleansing water into the liner which gave me a couple of months, but I still needed options.  One day my husband came home with an order from  By chance, he had purchased an item that was on my wish list: Eyeko Visualeyes Liquid Eyeliner in Mocha.  I was hesitant to try it, because how could it possibly be as great as Matt?  Turns out this Eyeko liner is probably the closest dupe I could ever hope to find.

Tip comparison
Left: Eyeko Visualeyes Liquid Eyeliner in Mocha
Right: Elite Paris Matt Liner in Matt Brown

So what's the difference?  Eyeko comes in a sleeker package.  It has a nearly 1 cm long, tapered brush tip.  It has twice the amount of product (0.55 mL versus 2.5mL).  The brown color has a hint of black.  It was made in in Japan and assembled in Korea (Matt was German made).  Most importantly, it's available on the market and easy to buy (, $19).  Who knew, of all people, my husband would be the one bringing home my dream eyeliner?

Above: Swatches in natural light
Left: Elite Paris Matt Liner in Matt Brown
Right: Eyeko Visualeyes Liquid Eyeliner in Mocha

Above: Swatches in direct sunlight
Left: Elite Paris Matt Liner in Matt Brown
Right: Eyeko Visualeyes Liquid Eyeliner in Mocha

Thursday, October 16, 2014

A blacktie palette for a black tie event | Dior Backstage Couture Creations Palette | Swatches

I'm traveling this weekend and that means I have to pack.  While I'm an expert at choosing outfits to bring on a trip, I have a major issue with makeup and skincare products.  It's not that I can't choose, I just end up packing way too much!  I definitely get the gene from my mom.  When I was younger, I remember settling into a hotel room after a long day of sightseeing and seeing her opening a sizeable train case full of travel-sized toners, serums, moisturizers, creams, you name it - she had it.  While it was a mini treasure chest of products right in her lap, it was quite heavy and not very practical.

Today, I want to share a more friendly way to travel with the products you love.  I took one look at this makeup palette and fell in love with the beautiful selection of face, eye, and lip products.

On the left, there is a gorgeous yet subtle golden highlighter that looks luminous on my NC-20 skin.  I use it on my cheekbones, forehead, cupid's bow, brow bone, and down the bridge of my nose.

The blush is very subtle and with my flushed cheeks, it's difficult to see.  That being said, I think it's a versatile, universal soft pink shade that will look great on most skin tones.

The eyeshadows are just delightful.  The top row of shadows are for the "day" look.  The peachy-pale pink shade highlights the inner corners, the shimmery brown is perfect for the crease.  The gold has discernible glitter particles but because it's not concentrated resulting in a subtle sparkle, perfect to emphasize the center of the lid.  I wore this eyeshadow look today and got plenty of complements!

L to R: swatches of highlighter, blush, shimmer shadows x2, "glow look" x2, "smoky look" x2, natural lighting, above

Here are the instructions that were included with the palette.

I wore the daytime look with a mixture of the two pink lip colors included in the palette.  The top color is more glossy and has a small amount of gold shimmer.  The bottom color is more matte and opaque.  I topped it off with my favorite gloss at the moment, the Chantecaille Luminous Gloss in Pink Melon, which is hydrating, long-lasting, and gives the illusion of full, plump lips.

 Swatches of Rouge Dior Nude (L) and Dior Addict Gloss (R), indirect sunlight, above
Rouge Dior Nude: "Smoky Look: enhance your look with Rouge Dior lipstick for a touch of nude color and instant radiance."
- Matte to semi-glossy pink shade
- Long lasting, medium to full pigmentation
-Natural finish
Dior Addict Gloss: "Glow Look: give you lips natural definition and shine with Dior Addict Gloss."
- Light pigmentation
- Some shimmer
- Glossy finish

Chantecaille Luminous Gloss in Pink Melon, above

I have yet to use the night-time look eyeshadows but I am definitely excited to.   I just need a special occasion to go to.   Dinner with the hubby might do!

Do you have a all-in-one makeup palette that you fell in love with at first sight?

The palette details:
- 0.25 oz Diorskin Nude Shimmer illuminating powder
- 0.20 oz Diorblush #830 powder blush
- 6 x 0.04 oz Eye shadows in Light pink base #614, Iridescent Brown Colour # 669, Mono Gold Highlighter #616, Light Grey Base #034, Purple Colour #968, Black Sparkling Liner #085
- 0.04 oz Dior Addict Gloss lip gloss
- 0.04 oz Rouge Dior Nude lipstick in Charnelle #459

Friday, July 18, 2014

Zelens Transformer Instant Renewal Mask

No, this isn't a review for the umpteenth Transformers movie.  It's a mask that talks big game.  Unfortunately, I just was not impressed with it nor its price tag [$195 for 50mL/1.7oz].

The texture is quite different from your run-of-the-mill clay mask.  It's silky, glistening with shimmer particles, and quite transparent.  When first applied, there is a light, tingling sensation, however this dissipates immediately.  I left the mask on for about 20 min. even though the instructions state 15.  Even with the extra 5 minutes, the mask did not appear to dry out.  After rinsing off the mask with a warm, moist cloth, I just couldn't see any difference in my skin.  Perhaps this is a product that needs to be tested for at least one month, but because website claimed that this mask was used on celebrities immediately before red carpet appearances, I was hoping for immediate results.  Also, with "Instant" in the name, could I expect any less?

For now, I will stick with my Fresh Black Tea Instant Perfecting Mask.  Yes, there's the word, "Instant" again.  But this time, it's legit!

Transformer Instant Renewal Mask
Here are the "active" ingredients; I'll let you decide for yourself:

Oxygen complex
"A highly effective synergistic complex of yeast extract, marine glycogen and Vitamin C. Possesses regeneration and repairing properties. It increases oxygen consumption, stimulates energy production in skin cells and reduces the release of harmful free radicals. Oxygen complex helps restore vitality and youthful appearance of the skin."

Bio-energising complex
"A complex containing adenosine 5-triphosphate (ATP), magnesium and brown sea alga called Oarweed (Laminaria digitata). Demonstrates several functions: boosts cellular energy, delivers essential minerals, protects the skin and increases its natural defenses while providing hydration. It has strong revitalizing and invigorating effect."

Enzyme complexion
"Transfomer is powered by two enzymes that stimulate skin renewal: protease and subtilisin. These enzymes increase the cellular turnover and reinforce the skin’s natural renewal ability by allowing dead cells to be removed quickly."

Multi-functional lactobionic acid
"A novel bionic acid derived from naturally occurring lactose (milk sugar). Lactobionic acid enhances cell turnover and causes a measurable increase in skin thickness. It is a potent moisturiser that binds water to form a film on skin providing softness and smoothness. Lactobionic acid is also known for its strong antioxidant properties."

Sesame protein
"Sesame protein demonstrates an immediate tightening and anti-wrinkle effect. This protein also effectively moisturizes the skin."

Seaweed complex
"Nourishes the skin and reinforces the skin’s moisture barrier since it is rich in omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids. Demonstrates also energising, firming and anti-oxidant properties."

Hyaluronic acid
"A key component of connective tissue. Zelens uses a low-molecular weight hyaluronic acid to restore skin moisture, plump the skin and avoid epidermal thinning occurring during aging."

Pearl extract
"An extract from natural pearls containing 16 amino acids, proteins and polysaccharides. Increase skin moisture, enhance skin radiance and improve skin smoothness."

Have you tried this mask?  Should I stick with it?