Sunday, May 31, 2015

Vita Liberata Self-Tanning Night Moisture Mask (and Science!)

[Product was provided by PR for review. All opinions are my own. Disclosure here. No affiliated links.]

Finally! A review that wasn't scheduled in advance. I wouldn't say I'm caught up here on work and adjusting to my new place, but I wanted to share this with you, anyway, and I needed a break from reading about spin physics.

I've always been wary about self-tanning products, mostly because I am afraid of being orange and I don't mind being pale. Also, I was afraid self-tanning creams would stain everything or apply unevenly, making me blotchy and multi-colored. Fortunately, my experience with Vita Liberata's Self-Tanning Night Moisture Mask has only been positive.

I know it's summer now and everyone wants to be beautifully bronzed, but I also think this is a great product for the winter, when you have had ZERO sunshine and just want your glow back. I use a SPF 50 product on my face everyday, and various other strengths on the rest of my body, so in general, my face becomes paler than the rest of me. I thought this tanning mask might help even that all out so I wouldn't be pulling that bald eagle look when I go out in tank tops this summer.

The mask itself is a lightly, citrus/clean smelling cream. It rubs into skin nicely. I did a patch test on my wrist, first, because that's the thing to do.

That is after one night - you can definitely see where the tanning mask was applied. Nice, right? I was pleasantly surprised - it gave me a realistic, sunkissed shade. It's also not too orange, and even though I wasn't particularly meticulous about rubbing it in evenly (the cream runs in colorlessly, so you can't really tell where you've rubbed it in), it didn't look uneven or blotchy or runny. So I went ahead and applied it to my face the next night - the instructions say to apply it to a cleansed, bare face (and décolletage). I didn't follow up with any other products. I didn't notice any staining on my pillow the next morning - thumbs up (this makes sense, if you read the science blurb below).
Bare face, a day after an application. It's really subtle, but I can definitely tell a difference. Sorry that I don't have shots to compare, but really, it's hard to tell - it's much more obvious in the wrist shot. Also, I wasn't about to apply some to only half my face. I don't love you guys that much, ha!

I do think it did a nice job of adding a subtle warmth to my face, easing up the winter pallor and making my redness less obvious because of the overall blending of skintone color. I didn't use it on successive nights, because I tried that on my wrist and it didn't seem to darken the shade too much, and I would rather resume my usual night routine full of various creams and serums. The tan fades from my wrist in about 5-6 days, so if you wanted to keep it consistent, you could reapply the night mask once a week.

In addition to the self-tanning aspect, the mask is also supposed to deliver hydration (via their HyH2O technology) and anti-aging benefits. Since I've only used it a few times thus far, I can't speak to the anti-aging claims, but my face felt comfortable the morning after application - there wasn't any evidence that I had skipped my usual slew of products and just applied this. My skin was still soft, not dry. I don't think this would substitute for your hard-core moisturizing masks, but it's not drying or greasy, as I have heard some self-tanners can be. Here are the ingredients.
The coloring ingredient is dihydroxyacetone. Tocopherol is vitamin E, and sunflower (helianthus annuus - think of Helios!) seed oil contains vitamins A, C, and D. Cera alba is beeswax. Glycerin is a humectant. You can also see shea butter (butyrospermum parkii), another moisturizer.

For the curious, self-tanning products like this rely on the reaction of dihydroxyacetone (a simple sugar); dihydroxyacetone reacts with the keratin proteins (which make up the outer layer of your skin, hair, and nails) to produce melanoidins, which are pigmented molecules. This reaction of the sugar (dihydroxyacetone) plus amino acids (which is what proteins are made of) is called the Maillard reaction, the same process responsible for the browning color of bread and steak (although that proceeds faster at higher temperatures, which thankfully we do not require here).

Since it's a chemical reaction rather than a physical tint, I imagine it would work successfully on various skintones, but I have only tested it on myself, so you might want to check it out for yourself. It can be purchased for $45 at Vita Liberata or at Sephora. I enjoyed it much more than I expected! Definitely keeping this one around, especially for the colder months.

Thursday, May 28, 2015

More Sheers: Urban Decay Sheer Revolution Lipstick in Shame

[I'm on the east coast! But this is still a previously scheduled post - I'm trying to get my feet under me here in the new place.]

[Product was a sample GWP].

I showed Ladyflower here and reported that it didn't feel super comfortable. I figured since I didn't have much else to do (besides, erm, pack), I might as well go through the others and see if any of them were any better, texture-wise. The next one I tried was Shame.

It's a plummy berry; I swatched it above with Dior Lucky Addict Extreme (a bright pink on me) to show how much more plum/berry UD Sheer Shame is. Compared to Ladyflower, Shame's formula has a little more slip and makes it more comfortable for me to wear. It's in the vampy family of shades, but the sheerness makes it less dramatic. I like it, and although the color is not something I particularly need (got lots of sheer pink/fuchsias), it gives me hope that some of the other ones in the line might be winners for that ultimate everyday sheer lipstick with a comfortable formula.
On eyes: MJ Enigma palette (1, 6, 7) and L'Oreal Voluminous Butterfly mascara.

Here it is on my face. I wore it with a hat.

Also, I love when Dennison is in my photos. Or Sheeba, although she doesn't hang out with me as much (she's S.'s shadow). I miss both of them, as they're still with S.

So I haven't written these off, I guess, although I don't think either of the remaining shades in my little sample card are going to be the MLBB shade I'm looking for. Ah, well. I still want to know what they look like, ha! What's your favorite MLBB sheer shade in a moisturizing formula?

Sunday, May 17, 2015

A Summery Look with MAC Pander Me + Dior Angélique Beige

[I'm on the east coast! But this is still a previously scheduled post - I'm trying to get my feet under me here in the new place. But I am definitely reading comments! They help me feel like I'm still connected, ha.]

I wanted to do a summery kind of neutral look after watching one of the great Lisa's videos (I also wanted to buy a dozen new products afterward, as well, but never mind that). I wasn't trying to mimic her version (although I do want to try that at some point, as well), especially as I'm not a massive fan of contouring and I'm rubbish at it. Instead, there were just points I wanted to focus on: taking care to conceal spots and redness on skin, adding a touch of shimmer to eyes, bronzer + highlighter action, and the kind of nude lip I don't usually rock - sort of a peachy terracotta (not a concealer nude or a MLBB shade).

I used a damp beauty blender to apply MAC Prolongwear Concealer under eyes (NW25) and NARS Radiant Creamy Concealer (Custard); I really like using the beauty blender even for just concealer actually, as it creates a rather seamless, dewy finish. I did my brows while I waited for that to set, and then fluffed bronzer (Armani Sun Fabric 400) in a rough approximation of that "3" shape people are always going on about. Then I applied highlighter (Laura Mercier Rose Rendezvous) in all the usual places: nose bridge, cupid's bow, along cheekbones, forehead (which you can't even see).

Eyes are the gold and copper shades from the Marc Jacobs Siren palette, finished with Smashbox Limitless Liquid liner and no mascara because I'm a lazy bum. Lips are MAC Pander Me (it was an LE matte shade; I think Kinda Sexy would do, or Velvet Teddy for something a bit pinker and darker) under Dior Angélique Beige. I liked this lip combo more than I thought I would! Would do for a work safe look, I think (with less tequila sunrise eyes, of course).

Is summer here yet? Do you often mix lip shades? My mom does it all the time, but I'm usually not that creative.

Tuesday, May 12, 2015

Urban Decay Sheer Revolution Lipstick in Ladyflower

[I'm on the east coast! HOLLA. But this is still a previously scheduled post - I'm trying to get my feet under me here in the new place.]

[Product was a gwp sample.]
Ok, so let's just stop here for a moment and collectively roll our eyes at the shade names. Ladyflower, yeah, no more objectifying women and idolizing virginity and innocence. And Walk of Shame...let's just stop shaming sex and the sex-related decisions that adults make. I know UD tries to be all risqué, and I'm not offended by references to sex - but these are hardly progressive. And yeah, they're just names. And it's just branding, hm?

Is it cheating to go through my sample packet for my scheduled posts? All of my makeup was packed in sealed boxes, you guys. All I had was a lip brush and a sample packet. I WIELD THEM BRAVELY.

(I know what you are thinking: Lazy Larie has a lip brush?)

Yes, yes she does. (Only because Lily gave it to me, ha!).

I am kind of confused by the marketing for these. The back of the sample packet tells me I can get the primer clear pencil and the corresponding colored lip pencil, and use them under this (or get the matching non-sheer lipstick!). All of which...makes it less...sheer?
Swatched it with the other plummy pink I have. Marc Jacobs Kiss Kiss Bang Bang has more of a creamy, satin finish, though, and is more red.

Whatever. I think they're more "jelly" finish shades vs. traditional sheers (as Lily and Kristen have said). All that aside (also ignoring its eye-roll-inducing shade name), Ladyflower isn't bad, but I love the color and finish more than the texture. It is a plum pink that's very wearable and brightens my face. I've been rueing the lack of office-friendly sheer lip shades in my hobbit hole lately; I think it would be easy to just throw on in the morning with the usual basic neutral face (like this or this).
Wearing Urban Decay Sheer Revolution lipstick in Ladyflower.

But it is a bit tacky and I don't feel like the glossy appearance translates into a hydrating or really moisturizing texture. Sometimes the little sample daub isn't as indicative of how the tube ($22) performs, though. Does anyone have one of these? What do you think about them? Or, what's your favorite sheer lipstick line?

Saturday, May 9, 2015

Doubled Winged Liner: Blue + Black

[This is a scheduled post. We're on the road! I will have access to email, etc., though, so I will see your comments. Thanks for reading!]

The double winged eye: I've done this before (cue giggling at old photos), but I figured the blog could use an updated version of that post, as I do still wear this look from time to time.
On eyes: YSL Afrique, Smashbox Limitless Liquid Liner, Sephora Pool Party (also used here and here).

Basically, you line your upper lashline with black liquid liner (need tips?) - I prefer black liquid liner here because the effect is sharp and crisp. Also, there isn't any creamy gel or other different texture to gunk up the colored liquid liner that comes next.
After lining with black, go above the black line with the colored liner (I used Sephora Pool Party), as shown above. You'll probably want to extend the color liner a little further in both directions, as you can see above.

When my lopsided eyes are open normally, you can't really see the stacked liner, but using a black liner near the lashline helps retain the eye definition (especially if you don't want to use mascara; I did, here, miraculously) and contrasts better with the colored liner over it. I often do this with a black liquid liner and a colored pencil (like the Sephora pencils), as well - it's not as crucial for the colored component to be liquid.

These are old photos...this look was for this year's Super Bowl! (I still don't want to talk about it, ok?)

What fun eye looks do you like to do with colored liners? What are your favorite colored liners? I hear great things about the Marc Jacobs ones, but I don't wear colors often enough to shell out so much $ for them - the Sephora ones are my current favorites and are just $13.

Thursday, May 7, 2015

Five Reds for All of Your Moods (and Faces)

[This is a scheduled post. We're on the road! I will have access to email, etc., though, so I will see your comments. Thanks for reading!]

[All of these products were purchased by me.]
From top, clockwise: NARS Mascate Pure Matte, Rouge Dior in Trafalgar, Rouge d'Armani 400, Maybelline Color Elixir in Signature Scarlet, MAC Lady Danger.

Red lip products are kind of the powerhouses of the beauty world, in my opinion (well, of colored cosmetics. Foundation and concealer are pretty badass). Red lipstick is iconic, and many makeup lovers covet the perfect shade.

Or, erm, five.

I picked five of my favorite reds, that suit a variety of moods and occasions, and complement different looks. I picked permanent shades, in case you had a hankering for any of these. Reds are great for many occasions, and whenever summer comes around I always reach for them more often - it's easy to dial down the makeup in the summer (so hot!) and throwing on a red lip can make all the difference on an otherwise minimalist face.

I know, from the swatches above, it looks like Lady Danger and Trafalgar should be considered orange, but they're definitely orange-red - it's more apparent in face shots.

MAC Lady Danger (#ladiesdanger) is a matte, totally bright and always selfie-worthy. It's a femme fatale shade. It is BOSS. It can make teeth look yellow, though, and your lips will definitely need a moisturizing balm after removal at the end of the day.

Rouge Dior Trafalgar (844) is a sophisticate. It's glossy and smooth, and the wear time is incredible. In the summer, I prefer warmer reds, and this is perfect for a classic look with a winged eye. It is similar in color to Lady Danger, but the style is very different. Works with a tee and jeans, works with your fabulous black dress.

Rouge d'Armani 400 is a true red. It has the shiniest, most beautiful gel-like finish, and doesn't lean too orange or blue.

NARS Mascate is what I like to call my "super model" lipstick. It's hot, you guys. It's a matte, deep red that lasts and lasts. MAC Dubonnet is brighter and glossier. Laura Mercier Mink is much lighter. It's more on the vampy side and I tend to wear it more in the fall/winter than the warmer months.

Maybelline Color Elixir Signature Scarlet is a pigmented, creamy gloss. Worn alone, it is more of a juicy, sheer red that can unfortunately bleed along lip lines after a while. I think I might try wearing clear lip liner under it (my favorite is the Dior Universal one, but I think Urban Decay and L'Oreal also make some) to prevent that. But worn alone, it's a nice toe in the water for those who aren't totally on board with red. You could also wear it over a red lipliner or over a red lipstick for added sass and gloss.

I have pretty much stopped buying red lipstick (because, um, this isn't the extent of the Larie red lip product collection), and am happy with the variety that I do already have. What are your favorite reds? Do you think one red suits all occasions, or do you have a variety, as well?

Monday, May 4, 2015

Sweet Anthem Enchanted Fragrances

[Samples were provided by Sweet Anthem for review.]

Sweet Anthem perfumes make up a nice portion of my perfume stash - there is a lot of variety in the range, and I love reading about the inspiration behind many of the scents. Plus, it's a Seattle-based perfumery, and that city is near and dear to my heart. I was excited to hear that Meredith put out a new "Enchanted" collection, with four scents inspired by fairy tales and familiar stories: Briar Rose, Snow White, Black Queen, and Red Queen.

Briar Rose: tomato leaf, rose otto, beeswax, white amber
"Hidden behind a rose-covered castle lies a sleeping beauty, waiting for true love's kiss. Sultry beeswax, a waxy rose otto, bright tomato leaf, and white amber to soften the cursed affair."

I had to try this one first, because beeswax and tomato leaf are two of my favorite perfume notes (see my reviews of Sweet Anthem Joan, Edith, Lizie, Fox), and I was not disappointed. Sleeping Beauty has never been my favorite fairy tale, but this perfume showcases a wildness of spirit in Briar Rose that I had never imagined before. It opens with green tomato leaf, hinting at ripeness, but it is most definitely a beeswax scent; the combination of beeswax + rose otto gives it a tart apple juiciness, which is completely enticing. Any prince who passed by and caught this in the air would stop and peer into the castle's hazy depths, seeking the spark of life that must exist amidst the dust and thorns. White amber rounds it out - the slab the princess rests on, its stones smooth with time. It's a great spring-to-fall scent - youthful but refined.

Black Queen: apple, linden blossom, oakmoss, tonka bean
"Overly obsessed with her apple orchard and being the fairest in the land. A dark, green blend of apple, melon-y linden blossom, damp oakmoss, smoky tonka bean."

I approached this one warily. I love tonka bean and linden blossom, but I am usually not a fan of apple or oakmoss (I know, I said that the perceived apple in Briar Rose above was enticing, but that's a bit of an anomaly for me). It's like the proffered apple of the fairy tale - tempting, but still suspicious. On first sniff, I definitely got caramel apple and oakmoss, but I courageously dabbed some on, and oh, this may be my favorite way to wear oakmoss. The tonka bean + oakmoss combination is soft and smokey; the apple and linden blossom form a beautiful facade over darker intentions. It's an ancient orchard and a secret dungeon, moss and must and smoke and just one mirror. Black Queen was an unexpected love for me - welcome to the dark side.

Red Queen: cardamom, fig, white pepper, honey, rose, leather
"A familiar face returns to finish what she started. All smoke and leather, a drunken rose, ripe fig, white pepper."

Full disclosure: I overdosed on rose perfumes two or three years ago, and can't really bear to wear them anymore. I wore Red Queen only once, but I did let it develop on my skin over a few hours. It is an aged rose with a spicy leather heart; the honey + fig add balance rather than stickiness. If you're tired of the ingenue, sparkling roses, this one might speak to you.

Snow White: petit grain, osmanthus, white musk, vetiver
"The fairest of them all, or so sayeth a magic mirror. Bright green petit grain, apricot-tinged osmanthus blossoms, on a base of sheer, woodsy vetiver."

This one is not at all sweet. It is a clean, tangy, gauzy sort of scent - pure of heart. As you might guess, Snow White isn't one of my star heroines either, and likewise, none of the notes are my go-tos in a fragrance. It is an artfully balanced blend, though - there is just enough vetiver to keep it from floating away, but the base notes still preserve the transparent and innocent character of the fragrance. This one's for those who like green, lively, effervescent scents.

I hope we see more explorations of fairy tales in the future, but this is a very satisfying start. There is something for everyone (although, ok, if you prefer woodsy orientals or traditionally more masculine scents, you may not find something here. Even though Black Queen has the fougère tonka bean + oakmoss base, the caramel apple sweetness may appeal to more gourmand tastes). All four can be purchased at Sweet Anthem (individually or in sets, in EdP and solid form) - you can even get a sampler set!

Saturday, May 2, 2015

Esqido Mink Lashes + Pink Lips for Summer Weddings

[Product was provided by PR for review.]

I've had fun playing with Esqido mink lashes before, and I went over my application process here. I know we all don't believe it, but it's true - practice does make perfect, and while it used to take me an embarrassingly long (and painful) time to get false lashes on, now, I can pretty much do it in one or two tries. The Sephora tool definitely helps.

This time I have Miss Dolly for you - it's a 3/5 volume set, with deliberately spaced hairs of different lengths. They are really easy to trim because the hairs don't reach the ends, but I think the spaced distribution of strands makes this one a bit more prone to fall-out - this is the only pair I've used that shed on the first go. I was sad (poor mink hairs!), because this may be my favorite pair yet.

I thought I would do a fun, spunky look with a bright, matte lip (NARS Carthage) and a winged eye. This is something I might wear to attend a summer wedding - especially an outdoor event!

I don't usually bother with eye liner when I wear false lashes, as the band is black and the lush lashes make all the difference, but this time the cat eye was part of the look. Miss Dolly is really flared and I feel like they are even more curled than other pairs I've had - it's a really amazing, eye-opening look, and because the lashes are curled upward a lot, they don't obscure my vision much.
Wearing Esqido mink lashes in Miss Dolly.

Using liquid liner with this look also helps give you a guide - where to apply the lash on your lashline to keep it even. It also helps lengthen the look and tie it all together.
Wearing Esqido Miss Dolly.

Ugh, yes. My favorite pair. It's not overwhelming (the mixed hair lengths help with that), and that curl.

Other makeup used for this look:
Bare Minerals Complexion Rescue Tinted Hydrating Gel Cream in 03 Buttercream
NARS Radiant Creamy Concealer in Custard
MAC Prolongwear Concealer in NW25
Laura Mercier Rose Rendezvous
Diorblush Cheek Creme in Capri
L'Oreal Brow Stylist Plumper in Medium to Dark
Marc Jacobs The Enigma palette (1, 5, 6)
Smashbox Limitless Liquid Liner
NARS Carthage

I think if you wanted to tone it down, you could also blot Carthage and wear a more nondescript pink over it (like this, with Dior Diorkiss Addict).
On lips: Dior Addict in Diorkiss over blotted NARS Carthage.


(But seriously. Carthage.)

Either way, they're totally gorgeous lashes - you can get them here, with free US & UK shipping (international shipping is free for orders over $50).

(P.S. Can we talk about the ridiculously long name for the Bare Minerals thing? It's a tinted moisturizer. A good one. I can talk about it later if you want, but I'm gonna give it a nickname or something. How about, the Bare Minerals BOB? Stewart? Patrick? I don't know. Cast your vote. But I'm not having it with "Bare Minerals Complexion Rescue Tinted Hydrating Gel Cream." Gel cream? Seriously. Whatever. I flutter my lashes at you.)