Monday, 27 October 2014

MAC Pro Longwear Paint Pot in Stormy Pink - Review and Swatch

I hadn't bought a MAC Paint Pot in ages. Shameful really. I saw a tutorial with this colour the other day on you tube and I had a gift card so....I bought it. Stormy Pink is not what I thought it was going to be. I expected something a bit more, well, pink. MAC describes Stormy Pink as being a muted grey purple. I would say that is accurate but there is a lot of beige in this colour too. Each Paint Pot is 5g or 0.17 oz. and it retails for $21 U.S. or $25 Canadian.

I am not sure that I like this colour. I was expecting something more pink like I said. When I wore it, I looked terrible. I looked all bruised up like I was in a fight. I must say that I don't think that I wore it with the right eyeshadow combo so my bad there, but I think it would take every trick in my makeup book for me to pull this colour off. I happened to see my Dad the day I wore this and he told me I looked awful and asked me what had I done to my eyes. So there you have it!

I love Paint Pots in general though. I think this is just not the colour for me. But I will make it work somehow if I can. I love that MAC is still putting them in glass. Yeah MAC! Boo plastic! I always found Paint Pots creased on me in the past. Several months ago a MAC Artist was trying to tell me that they don't crease and I told her that I beg to differ. She told me they are now called Pro Longwear Paint Pots but that they are the same formula as before. I can tell you my friends that this new breed of Paint Pot is not the same formula as before. I decided to experiment and live on the edge so I wore Stormy Pink with no eye primer. I have extremely oily lids and nothing is crease-proof on me unless I wear an eyeshadow primer. Well lo and behold I wore Stormy Pink for 8 hours and no creasing! This must be a new formula and let me say that it is a welcome change!

Okay swatch time! Here they are.

Packaging: 10/10  (glass baby!)   
Pigmentation: 8/10
Easy to Work With: 10/10
Longevity: 10/10
Colour Stays True: 10/10
Texture: 9/10
Price: 8/10
Ingredients: 8/10
Travel Worthy: 7/10 (cap stays on tight but since it is glass it is heavy)
Attractiveness of Product: 1/10
Would I buy this again? A Paint Pot Yes, Stormy Pink NO!
Overall Rating:  9/10 Paint Pots in General but 4/10 Stormy Pink

Thursday, 23 October 2014

Two Products That I Have Changed My Mind About...Sort Of

Wow, these pictures look kind of obscene. I wasn't quite expecting this....sorry

So as some of you might have guessed, I have Josie Maran Argan Lip Treatment and Sigma Beauty Eye Shadow Base in Persuade above. When I did reviews on these two products, I basically slammed them. I was not impressed with them upon first impression and even after several uses of both products, they were found wanting. Since the time of those reviews, I have finished the Josie Maran Argan Lip Treatment (look for it in my empties this month) and I have put a solid dent into the Sigma Beauty Eye Shadow Base in Persuade.

I will be upfront. Neither or these two products will be repurchases, but I believe in giving credit where credit is due and they managed to redeem themselves a bit. One through a weather condition issue (as I expected) and another through a happy accidental discovery.

Here is the link to my original review on Josie Maran Argan Lip Treatment:

Basically, I found that the Josie Maran Lip Treatment slid off of my lips and many mornings after putting it on before bed, I woke up with some seriously chapped lips. I tested this product through this past winter, which was a particularly harsh winter here, and it did not cut the mustard for me. I had to chuck it aside and I debated whether or not to return it to Sephora. I saw some reviews agreeing with my assessment. Yet some bloggers love this stuff. I quickly put two and two together. The bloggers that loved this stuff live in warm climates. I am guessing Josie Maran lives in one too. If she didn't, she would quickly realize that this product is not good enough for a frigid Canadian winter!

Enter Summer 2014. I picked this up and started using it again. Guess what? It did a good job. It didn't slide all over my face (no forced air heating happening in the summer months) too much and I woke up with some still on and my lips moisturized. The jar is still super cute so I will keep it. Bottom line is use this product in the summer months only in cold climates or year around if you live in a warm climate. Don't even think about it if you live in a cold climate during the winter months.

Here is the link to my two reviews (one is on the kit) for the Sigma Beauty Eye Shadow Base in Persuade:

To summarize my review of Persuade, I found it to be watery and thin. I wanted something more opaque like MAC's Painterly Paint Pot. Also, it creased like a bitch! Fast forward a few months since my reviews. I decided to use the stuff up. I took it on an overnight business trip and while I was in my hotel bathroom, I dropped the inner cap on the floor. Yuck! I was in a rush to make a train so I put the inner cap in a Kleenex and tucked it away so that I could wash and sanitize it when I got home. Well Alexis got lazy and left that inner cap in a Kleenex for a few weeks in my go away make up bag...I went to use Persuade (that had not had the inner cap in it for weeks) again and the product had hardened up! It was more opaque and it was no longer sheer and watery. Hooray! I have found it much easier to use since, but it still pales in comparison to Painterly. I have washed the inner cap and do put it back in from time to time.

So there you have it! Please let me know if you liked this type of updated product blog. I don't change my mind about a product often, but when I do, I admit it.

Bits and Bites

  • Wearing MAC Stereo Rose a lot this past couple of weeks
  • I also rediscovered my Bite Pepper lipstick
  • I have a Holiday Set to do a Show and Tell on in the next couple of weeks
  • More palette reviews on the way!

Monday, 20 October 2014

theBalm Smoke Balm Smokey Eye Palette - Review and Swatches

This post was supposed to go up last night, but sadly I only got it done today. Sorry guys!

I recently picked up this small palette for $7.50 U.S. (I think) on Hautelook. It's on Kohl's website for $12 U.S. currently. What a steal! TheBalm's website doesn't appear to be selling it. Strange. I have Set One. There is another similar palette called Set 2 which is more of a nude smokey eye. My set, Set One, is more grey toned and that tends to be my personal preference. The colours I have in Set One are Flame, Spark and Blaze. The total trio is 10.2g or 0.36 oz. which is a very decent amount of product.

Flame is basically a champagne colour. It goes on quite sheer, which is a pity because it is a really lovely colour. I can not stress enough how important it is to wear an eyeshadow base under it so that it pops a bit and looks more opague. I like MAC Painterly Paint Pot underneath it, but anything similar or shimmery would do.

Spark is a grey brown. I really like this colour. It's my kind of brown. Not too warm. It blends beautifully and it is a colour I reach for again and again. It's really nice in the crease or to blend out Blaze.

Blaze reminds me a bit of MAC's Black Tied. It's a sparkly black. It's really nice, easy to work well and the pigmentation is magnificent.

The three colours blend together so well and look awesome as a trio. There are a few looks you could do with this to make it suitable for day or night. I wish I would have bought Set Two. Overall, this set is a fantastic buy. Perfect for travel - I am thinking a weekend get away. The quality of this palette for the price is off the charts. One of my most unexpected finds of 2014 for sure!

Swatch time! Sorry if they are a bit fuzzy, my camera was giving me trouble tonight.

Packaging: 10/10  (sleek, compact, pretty and nice mirror)  
Pigmentation: 8/10 (only Flame is lacking, the other two are 10/10)
Easy to Work With: 10/10
Longevity: 9/10
Colour Stays True: 10/10
Texture: 9/10
Price: 10/10
Ingredients: 9/10
Travel Worthy: 10/10
Attractiveness of Product: 10/10
Would I buy this again? HELL YES
Overall Rating:  9.5/10

Friday, 17 October 2014

deep steep Glossy Smoothing Shampoo - Review

I really wanted to love this shampoo, but alas, I don't. Deep steep products are supposed to be more on the natural side of things and that always appeals to me. Their motto or tagline is "clean, pure, natural". I love the logo. I mean how cute is that little guy? This was my first experience with a deep steep product. I also bought a body lotion which I will review shortly once I have had a chance to try it out.

I bought this for $9.99 Canadian in either Marshalls or Winners. I believe it normally retails for $12.95 U.S. Each tube is 10 oz. or 295ml. Deep steep only appears to have 4 shampoos and of course this is one of them. I was instantly attracted to the name of this shampoo "Glossy Smoothing Shampoo". I mean, who doesn't want nice glossy, smooth hair with brilliant sheen? I do! The tube says it "Reawakens shine and smoothes frizzy unmanageable hair". Sounds good to me!

This shampoo is very liquid. If you open the cap, be prepared for the product to gush out at you. You will loose it all on your shower floor if you are not careful.  The product is pearlized and has a heavy shampoo scent. Can't say I like the scent. The first thing I noticed when I used this is that it tangles my hair up like crazy instantly. I literally have a knotted rat's nest as soon as I work the product in. Combing out my hair afterwards is a total nightmare. I have used this product a number of times, with different conditioners, and the result is always the same. Maybe if I used the deep steep conditioner that goes with this shampoo, I might have better results but I am not so convinced. The little write up on the matching conditioner doesn't say a word about detangling properties.

I would agree that perhaps this shampoo gives my hair some shine and softness but it's no big whoop. I find other shampoos and conditioners do that for me too so I was not overly excited or impressed with this product. As far as taming frizz and fly-aways are concerned, I haven't noticed that this does much, if anything, in that area for me.

Based on my experience with this product I don't think I will likely buy any of their shampoos or conditioners again. I am excited to try the body lotion though so I will let you know how that goes.

Repair for Rough Hair:  5/10
Strength Against Damage:  5/10
Silky Softness:  6/10
Brilliant Shine  6/10
Smoothing:  3/10
Moisture:  7/10
Frizz Control:  3/10
Manageability: 1/10
Tamed Fly-Aways:  4/10
Detangles: 0/10
Smell: 2/10
Price: 8/10
Packaging: 3/10 (product coming flying out of the tube)
Overall Score: 4/10

Bits and Bites
  • I have 3 large palette reviews coming soon and a small palette review
  • The small palette review should be up by the end of the weekend

Wednesday, 15 October 2014

Algenist Complete Eye Renewal Balm - Review

I got a small jar of this awhile back from Sephora as part of a freebie or sample promotion. My jar is 0.23 oz. or 7ml. The full sized jar is 0.5 oz., so hey, I have almost half of a full sized version. Not too shabby. I would like to get the price chit chat out of the way now. It's $81 Canadian or $65 U.S. While I don't overly object to the price in U.S. dollars, I think $81 Canadian is quite steep. I have been using my little jar twice a day for several weeks now and I would say I have maybe 40% left in there. Before I get to my opinion of it, I will repeat Sephora's description of the product verbatim below:

What it is:
A balm for the eye area with the exclusive antiaging ingredient Alguronic Acid.

What it is formulated to do:
This rich yet lightweight balm hydrates and soothes the eye area to decrease puffiness and dark circles. The revolutionary microalgae-based ingredient Alguronic Acid fights visible signs of aging. It joins complementary active ingredients to deliver the appearance of renewal to the eye area.

What it is formulated WITHOUT:
- Parabens
- Sulfates
- Phthalates

What else you need to know:
While pursuing renewable energy solutions, a biotechnology laboratory in San Francisco unexpectedly discovered the powerful properties of Alguronic Acid, the bioactive compound available only in Algenist products.

Research results:
In comparison testing, Alguronic Acid outperformed other well-known active antiaging ingredients, demonstrating superior antiaging benefits. Average results measured following an in vitro test with Alguronic Acid:
- 55% increase in cellular regeneration
- 32% increase in elastin synthesis
- 26% decrease in melanin production

Following a self-assessment of 100 women, within 10 days of daily use:
- 86 % Felt skin density, suppleness, and elasticity was restored
- 93% Felt skin radiance appeared boosted

Within 4 weeks of daily use:
- Deep wrinkles appeared minimized in 78% of subjects.
- Skin appeared noticeably tightened and lifted in 81% of subjects.

Okay, on to my review. This eye balm has very little smell which I think is a good thing. A little of this product goes a long way. I find that it is quite soothing and my eyes sigh and say thank you whenever I apply it. It  hydrates, moisturizes and all of that good stuff. It works well under makeup and on its own at bedtime. It has helped to strengthen the skin under my eye which I need. I have only noticed that it helps my dark circles a little bit. It doesn't work well enough in that area for my taste. I find that my Origins Eye Doctor does a better job for, dare I say it, half of the price.

This is a good eye balm. For $81 though, I would not repurchase. I previously had a jar of the Algenist Overnight Restorative Cream and that was a good product. I would say that the Algenist product line, from my limited exposure, puts out some good stuff. Their prices are quite steep though I think when contrasted to comparable products. I am just glad that I got both of mine free from Sephora.

I am lucky to have no crow's feet nor any noticeable lines around my eyes. As a result, I am afraid I can't say if this product works well on wrinkles or lines in the eye area. I also don't have any bags so I can't really comment on those issues and whether this product works well on them or not.

Packaging: 7/10 
Easy to Work With: 10/10
Moisturizing: 10/10
Texture: 10/10
Gets Rid of Bags: don't know
Price: 2/10
Ingredients: 8/10
Quantity of Product: 7/10 
Travel Worthy: 10/10
Gets Rid of Dark Circles: 4/10 
Strengthens Under Eye Area: 9/10
Would I buy this again? No, because of the price and it doesn't do enough for my dark circles
 Overall Rating: 8/10

Friday, 10 October 2014

Estee Lauder Advanced Night Repair Synchronized Recovery Complex II Serum - Review

Yes, I borrowed this picture from the Estee Lauder website. I own a slew of travel sized bottles and I thought the regular sized bottle, which I don't yet own, would be nicer to show. I have been using this product on and off for the past several months at night. In the beginning, I didn't use it consistently at night because frankly, I didn't see any results. I didn't have any bad results, my skin felt soft and moisturized in the morning but that was it.

As this year wore on, my travel or trial sized bottles of this product started multiplying at a rapid rate (sucked in by damn gift with purchase bags) and one day I decided enough was enough and that I should try using it nightly for a few weeks just to see if something happened and so I could do a proper review of this product. My experience with this product has since been a bit strange, but albeit a good one. Essentially, after using it for a few nights (or was it a couple of weeks) in a row, I started noticing that most mornings my skin looked brighter, clearer, rested, hydrated and a bit glowy. Sounds good, no? I think so. The weird part is that even though I see this result most mornings, I don't see it every morning. Bizarre? I think so.

I find that the longer I use it, the more mornings I notice a difference. I would say currently I am batting 8 or 9 mornings out of 10 I see a visible difference. Some nights I only get 5 or 6 hours sleep and on the morning after those nights, I still see a difference, so that says something. I also think it is helping with a tiny fine line that I have (laugh line). My Origins Plantscription has done an excellent job of minimizing this line and practically erasing it, but I find the Estee Lauder Advanced Night Repair Serum has helped pretty much erase it. It was like the final push the line needed.

My makeup tends to glide on easier after wearing this the night before. You must wash your face though when you wake up as your face may feel a tad greasy. Pillowcases beware! I don't have any dry bits or patches either on my face after using this.

My only wish for this product would be if it would help even out skin tone more (I think it does a little though) and if it helped with the odd blemish, which I don't think it does. Although I have a stash of little bottles that might likely last me well into possibly 2016, I would definitely purchase once my stash runs out. I see Estee Lauder has come out with a new serum that evens out skin tone. Damn, I might have to try that one out too!

As a final note, you need very little of this product to cover your whole face and neck. One tiny travel sized bottle can last me literally 1-2 months if used nightly. The product is $62 U.S. or $72 Canadian for 1 oz. and $92 U.S. or $105 Canadian for 1.7 oz. Worth the money believe it or not.

Packaging: 8/10 
Texture: 10/10
Price: 8/10
Ingredients: 8/10
Travel Worthy: 9/10
Moisturizing: 10/10
Look of Skin: 9/10
Would I buy this again? YES
Overall Rating: 9/10

Saturday, 4 October 2014

tarte Rainforest After Dark Palette - Review, Pictures and Swatches

Today's blog review is on the tarte Rainforest After Dark Palette. It is described as a colored clay eye and cheek palette. The palette contains a blush, highlighter, bronzer and 6 eyeshadows. The highlighter and the bronzer are 0.14 oz. each or 4g each which is a good size. The blush is 6g or 0.21 oz. which is a full sized tarte blush which normally retails for $31 Canadian or $26 U.S. on it own! Each eyeshadow is 1g or 0.035 oz. (x6) which is quite satisfactory. I was shocked at the price of this palette - I thought it was a steal when you compare it to other palettes that are much smaller and go for the same amount of dough or more. It is $46 Canadian or $38 U.S.

I must confess that I almost didn't buy this palette. I usually like most tarte products but the reason I nearly gave this one a pass is because there is a snake on the cover of the packaging. Is that crazy? I hate snakes. I mean it. I have a serious, crippling fear of them. Always have, always will. I had a few scary encounters as a child with a few and I think I am scarred for life. Anyway, bloggers were raving about this palette, the price was good, so I picked it up and I am glad I did. This is a great palette for travel, the quality of the shadows, blush, highlighter and bronzer are fantastic. All of the colours work well together and give you a nice, classic, put together look.

Let's start with the blush. In this palette you get a full sized Amazonian clay blush in the colour Unleashed which is a peachy pink. This colour is phenomenal and I think most people could wear it. It goes amazingly with the bronzer in this palette. Unleashed is long wearing and very complimentary as I said to most skin tones. You can build it up as little or as much as you want. You could wear this colour in any season and pretty much with any outfit or makeup look.

On to the highlighter which is called Champagne. I will say that this is not my favourite highlighter in the world. It gets the job done but it is quite subtle, almost too subtle for my taste. It is universally flattering in colour I think. Personally, I have to build it up on my skin and I don't have that issue with most other highlighters.

Okay, let's talk about the bronzer. I already own this bronzer - Park Avenue Princess. I think I may actually own a few of these as they often come in various sets or palettes that tarte puts out. This is one of my favourite bronzers, if my not my favourite, period. The colour works well with my complexion and it has the most fabulous sheen to it. It's not over the top but it makes you look so healthy and glowy.  I am more than happy to have yet another one of these in my collection. If you like bronzer and even if you don't buy this palette, you have got to check out this bronzer.

Above are the swatches for the bronzer in Park Avenue Princess (top), the blush in Unleashed (middle) and the highlighter in Champagne (bottom).

There are six eyeshadows in Bare to Explore, Make a Mauve, Plum Away with Me, Up to Gold, Tan-gled up in You and Don't Turn A-Brown. My favourites of the group are Make a Mauve, Plum Away With Me, Up to No Gold and Don't Turn A-Brown.

Bare to Explore gets lost on my skin. It is a bit pink but it is still hard to see on me. I would have liked it better if it was more pigmented and maybe more of a satin than the matte that it is. Also, maybe it could have been a shade or two lighter for my taste.

Make a Mauve is gorgeous. I would wear this on it's own or it is a good crease blend out colour.

Plum Away with Me is also too die for. Very pigmented and a gorgeous colour that almost anyone could wear.

Up to Gold is really attractive, super shimmery, very creamy and can be worn on it's own.

Tan-gled up in You is not overly pigmented and also fades into my skin easily. I would have liked to have seen this colour be a bit darker. I think most people would have a hard time getting this eyeshadow to show up on them.

Finally, we have Don't Turn A-Brown. This is a nice, rich brown colour that reminds me of coffee. Very nice.

Overall, I like the eyeshadows. They work well together and they are long lasting. As mentioned, this is an excellent all in one palette for travel and I intend to use it for just that purpose!

Here are the eyeshadow swatches:

Left to right are Bare to Explore, Make a Mauve, Plum Away with Me, Up to Gold, Tan-gled up in You and Don't Turn A-Brown.

Packaging: 10/10  (nice, big mirror and good for travel) 
Pigmentation: 8/10
Easy to Work With: 10/10
Longevity: 8/10
Colour Stays True: 10/10
Texture: 8/10
Price: 10/10
Ingredients: 10/10
Travel Worthy: 10/10
Attractiveness of Product: 10/10
Would I buy this again? YES
Overall Rating:  9.5/10