Saturday, October 31, 2015

Fall Favorites Tag

[Products featured were purchased by me. No affiliate links.]

I was just thinking about doing a favorites post (and ultimately deciding, "No, I'm too lazy,") when Monika tagged me for the "Fall Favorites Tag." This one is always my favorite, so I rallied. Because autumn is my favorite season!

1. Favorite fall candle
Er. I haven't bought any yet this year (and I don't even have matches right now, ha) but in previous years I've loved B&BW Marshmallow Fireside. I also really like the Woodwick candles, because they crackle beautifully - really soothing on a calm, quiet night.

2. Favorite fall lip color

I like a vampy lip as much as the next person, but this year I've been really into MLBB shades. Dior Frimousse was reviewed here, and the gloss is Enchanted Rose from a previous Christmas collection...there's probably something similar in the permanent line, though. I find the glosses to be moisturizing, which is ideal for cooler weather (good thing I have five, ha.). The other lip product I've been loving - that is more on trend for the season - is Etude House's Blackberry Jelly Sugar Lip Tint.

3. Favorite fall drink

Sorry, I'm going to adult it up in here. We made these Cider Bourbon Jam Cocktails from How Sweet It Is last year, and they are insanely good. Need a repeat.

4. Favorite blush
Old photo, cheater cheater!

Uh, yeah. I think blush is my least favorite thing to shop for...*ducks*
I mean, all hail the importance of blush; if I forget it, I often look wan. I still have more than any sane person needs, but I rotate through them all pretty regularly. This is YSL Red Agate, a great terra-cotta with a fabulous texture..which I think has also been discontinued...*ducks again*

5. Favorite clothing item
Express Marled Extreme Circle Hem Tunic in Wild Orchid
Express Scuba Leggings
Sole Society Isani Pumps
Uniqlo Soft Woven Long Sleeve Dress in Dark Green
Joan and David Circa boots (old)

Fall fashion is my favorite! BOOTS, BABY, BOOTS. I post outfits on Instagram, under #pestozestolb. I'm no fashion blogger, but I'm trying to have fun and experiment with different looks. (Fun fact: my home is a shoe-free zone. I have to put them on for the photo, then take them off again, haha. #dork)

6. Favorite nail polish

I'm doing this instead of movie, because I can't really think of an autumnal themed movie and I hate scary shit. I apologize because I buy a lot of limited edition polish, but really, it's more about the color inspiration, right? Also, if you really want a banging fall polish post, you should check out Shannon's annual Halloween roundup.

7. Favorite fall TV show
I don't watch a lot of TV - I don't have one right now, actually. I watch football on my phone and my guilty pleasure is The Voice. I've also been watching The Muppets, although I feel like these days Miss Piggy has absolutely zero redeeming qualities...she used to be a little bit more relatable. Still, I have always loved The Muppets, and contrary to popular belief, there were always adult jokes on the show - we just didn't get them when we were kids. Enough already. (There are adult jokes in older Disney movies, too, you know. Watch them again.)

8. Favorite Thanksgiving dish
I. Love. Thanksgiving. Because, well, food. S. and I usually keep it small (and I'll be flying back for the holiday); I think this year we're going to do a sausage stuffing, cranberry sauce, baked sweet potatoes, and some kind of pumpkin dessert. This one, I think.

9. Favorite Halloween costume
I love Thanksgiving, but am completely indifferent to Halloween. I don't even like chocolate, so cheap candy has no appeal for me. Bah, humbug. (What do you mean, wrong season? Grouchiness is for all seasons, thank you very much.) I do have a Jack Skellington beanie, though. That's like, festive, right?

10. Favorite fall perfume

I have been wearing Diptyque Eau Duelle pretty much daily since I bought it this summer, but the Sephora VIB sale is next week and my birthday is next month know what this means: Tom Ford Tobacco Vanille will finally be mine! Swoon, baby. SWOON.

Need more? Tracy did it, too, and Denise, and of course, Monika, who tagged me. And we need MOAR. Lena, Gaelle, Laura, VB, I'm looking at you! And I would love to tag the southern hemisphere ladies, but I'm afraid they'll look at me funny, ha! You could do a spring version...

Thursday, October 29, 2015

For the Sunny Commute: Dr. Dennis Gross Sheer Mineral Sun Spray SPF 50

[Product was purchased by me. No affiliate links.]

Er, I always end up reviewing sunscreen AFTER summer is over.

Because I'm super timely.

But hey, at least you know I used it during its finest hour, right?

The sun here is intense, and I always worry that the sunscreen I put on in the morning (face) is all gone by the time I leave work at the end of the day. So, I purchased this Dr. Dennis Gross Sheer Mineral Sun Spray SPF 50, intending to use it for my face, neck, arms and hands before I drive home (my commute is anywhere from 30 -60 minutes, depending on traffic). I also use it in the mornings on my arms and hands, if I remember.

This is a mineral spray and comes out white. It rubs in easily; hands are greasy for a little bit afterward, but it goes away quickly. I spray my arms and hands, rub it in, and then spray my hands and pat/press it into my face, as instructed (they don't want you to spray yourself in the face, I guess. Based on my idiot experiences with MAC Fix+, this is prolly good advice).
Single spray.

For arms and legs, it's great. The spray distribution is nice, it rubs in easily, and doesn't feel overwhelmingly thick or greasy afterward. Ace, especially when you're just going to work and don't want full on sport sunscreen gunking up your nice clothes. If you're going hiking, I would stick to the Neutrogena or whatever you like for strenuous outdoor activity.

And for the face, though, I think I want something different for touchups, like this Jane Iredale Powder Me Dry Sunscreen SPF 30, that can be applied over makeup. By the end of the day, I don't really care if my makeup gets messed up when I apply sunscreen over it,'d be nice not to have to rub everything on my face. So I guess I have mixed feelings. I like it, but I don't like it. We don't always have to have a final verdict, right?

It's pricey at $42 (4 oz) but does always seem to be out of stock at Sephora, so I guess it is popular. I do like that it is all mineral (12% zinc oxide) (have you read this piece on how chemical sunscreens are affecting our coral reefs?), and that it is a great everyday sunscreen  - aside from the price. I'm not aware of any other product like this out there, though - something all mineral that can be sprayed in non-aerosol form. Do you know of any?

What do you use for sunscreen reapplication during the day?

Full ingredients:
active: zinc oxide 12%
inactive: ascorbic acid, ascorbic palmitate, biotin, camellia sinensis leaf extract, acetyl PEG/PPG-10/1 dimethicone, cyclopentasiloxane, embolic officials fruit extract, glyceryl isostearate, neopentyl glycol diphetanoate, phenoxyethanol, polyhryxoystearic acid, resveratrol, tocopheryl acetate, ubiquinone, water

Sunday, October 25, 2015

MUFE Ultra HD Foundation Stick in Y315 Sand

[Product was purchased by me.]

I've been sitting on this review forever, but Tracy's review inspired me to get off my ass and edit the photos, ha!

I don't typically wear foundation all over my face every day, but I like to get conceal redness along my jawline, and I also wanted something sunscreen-free that I could wear for photo-heavy occasions (like attending weddings). For a while, I was just using concealer (NARS Creamy Concealer), but I thought I'd give a stick foundation a try, because it's easier to travel with (it doesn't need to go in the clear liquids bag for carry-ons).
Shade: Y315.

I don't own any other Makeup Forever base products, and I didn't want to make a trip to the store, but I managed to pick my shade online - hurray! I purchased Y315; for reference, I wear NARS Creamy Concealer in Custard (which is what I used for comparisons in my swatches), Bare Minerals 03 Buttercream, MAC Mineral Concealer in NC20, DiorSkin Nude BB Cream in 02. You can also see foundations I used to wear (and still match, shadewise), here. When I bought it, it was a *touch* too pale, after I got a lot of sun this summer, but it's starting to look better already in the fall.

In direct sunlight.
The selling point of this for me was that it was supposed to work well over dry skin - it's supposed to be lightweight but still moisturizing, and not emphasize dry patches or other big dry skin no-nos.

And I think it does that. But I'm also a little bit confused. Here, I'll show you. I apply it in stripes and then buff it out with a damp Beauty Blender. I've also tried it with a flat top foundation brush, which is nice, but a little heavier in coverage. Below, I've shown the effect with a Beauty Blender. (All photos are in natural light, although I realized that I am wearing physical sunscreen in the photos below).
My skin has been horrible lately, I do not understand. I thought we were through being drama queens, but I guess we didn't leave that in high school, after all. All photos taken in natural light.
Above, I didn't apply it all over, since I wanted to be able to use this as sort of a "as needed" type of base. You can see where there's a nice golden blotch on my face in the last photo, right? I swear I tried to blend it out forever with the Beauty Blender. Didn't quite work out, no? The effect is a little less obvious with a flat topped brush. BUT, this effect is also only obvious in photos. And once I put on blush and bronzer and whatever else, it isn't as bad, either. Later, I also tried pushing it into the skin like I saw in a youtube video, and that seems to help, rather than blobbing.
Same as the photos above, but after bronzer and the rest of the "full face" type stuff - eyes, brows, etc.
And from the front, same thing.
No weird patchiness obvious here, right? Again, I applied the MUFE stick here mostly along the cheeks/jawline, but I wanted to show you the front view.
So, after that experiment, of course, I tried it as a full face foundation - STRIPES ERRYWHERE.
 It's nice, right? Look how nice. Some of my darker pigmentation spots are still visible, but that's ok. It covers up most of the redness along the jawline and it glows.
Did my brows, eye makeup, and blush, and undereye concealer.

And then a full face, all the makeup shot.
Full face afterward. Also, I used powder. Lipstick is Dior Frimousse.
Sorry, I know this is getting long. Texture-wise, I like it. It's light and doesn't drag, although even with a Beauty Blender you are going to get medium-ish coverage; upon close inspection, you can see more of that "foundation" texture (which some people like, and I don't love). It has a great glow and doesn't seem to break down too much on my dry skin, but like Tracy said, if I want it to stay put and locked in for the full day (which I don't always care about), it's good to use a setting powder. If you have oily skin, I think this one is probably going to be a bit too much. But I love its convenience and the finish (who knew foundation sticks could be so nice? I think they've come a long way!) and it gets a thumbs up from me! I do still use it as spot "concealer," because as I showed above, once you finish the rest of your makeup, it's all seamless anyway. And, last thing to note: when I wore it to a wedding, I skipped sunscreen.

I'd be curious to hear how it compares to, say, the TF or Bobbi Brown stick foundations. Anyone know?

Sunday, October 18, 2015

StriVectin Instant Revitalizing Mask - A Radiance Boost

[Product was gifted from StriVectin. Opinions are all my own. No affiliate links.]

I love when I get to do a StriVectin post, because it means science!

(On the flip side, it also means research, so they take me a while).

The new Instant Revitalizing Mask ($62 for 3 fl. oz) is part of their "brighten and perfect" blue line; this is a 15-minute mask that "restores clarity and immediately illuminates the skin." It contains alpha hydroxy acids (AHAs) from citrus fruits and other sources, tetrahexyldecyl ascorbate (a fat-soluble form of vitamin C), vitamin E, and other ingredients intended to stimulate skin renewal, like yeast extract and amino acids. It also contains StriVectin's patented NIA-114 molecule (a modified form of vitamin B3 that is fat-soluble rather than water-soluble, and therefore possibly more likely to penetrate skin barriers.)

One of the original papers in Experimental Dermatology (full journal reference at the end of the post) by the scientists who created NIA-114, suggests that the use of myristyl nicotinate in conjunction with retinoids mitigates the negative effects that some people experience with retinoid use, while still providing the benefits. So I can see why it would be included in a mask that is intended to brighten and even skin tone through the use of AHAs, which can also be irritating to skin for some people.

It contains bentonite, which is a white clay, which makes it nice as a purifying + brightening all-in-one mask. I apply a thin layer, and it does dry down by the end; I rinse everything off with warm water. It does tingle, and I wouldn't leave it on too long. I do wonder about these masks that are loaded with a bunch of different agents, because how fast do they work? I don't know. But it is a nice mask - they suggested taking a "before" and "after" selfie, so I did. You kind of have to look hard for the results, but I think it improves over time, as well. Below are photos from the the first time I tried it (and I have had some skin issues for the past few months, dealing with the new weather and everything). The "after" photo, while my skin flaws are still obvious, does look a bit more all-over radiant and less sallow, and everything looks a bit tighter. I did find, though, that if I leave it on a little too long (hey, I'm easily distracted and forgetful), I tend to break out on my forehead directly afterward, so...possibly it's a bit too rich for my picky forehead. Who knows? I would suggest being a bit more vigilant.
Since I finished up my Origins Charcoal Mask, I have been using this once a week and it is a nice boost. Like all of their products, it is on the pricy side, but they also do have scientific publications and patents behind them, so I think it depends on what you are looking for in your skincare.

StriVectin has 20% off and free shipping right now on their site, through October 20, 2015.

Jacobson, M. K., Kim, H., Coyle, W. R., Kim, M., Coyle, D. L., Rizer, R. L. and Jacobson, E. L. (2007), Effect of myristyl nicotinate on retinoic acid therapy for facial photodamage. Experimental Dermatology, 16: 927–935. doi: 10.1111/j.1600-0625.2007.00616.x

Friday, October 2, 2015

Collective Sigh of Relief: Revamped Dior Addict in Frimousse

[Product was purchased by me. * was a Sephora GWP, and ** was a gift from the bestie.]

I bought this in Korea, and with the exchange rate, it ended up being *slightly* less than in the US, so  hurray for that. I wanted to buy my mum another lipstick before I left, but I ended up with one for me, know how that goes (I bought a new Dior Addict in Lucky for her).

I don't own a lot of soft, feminine shades, and I decided it could be nice to own one in a comfortable formula. I actually think it's easier to find a budget-friendly red or vampy shade than a "natural" lip color shade, because with lighter colors, it's really easy to tell if the formula is lacking. Frimousse is a delicate peachy pink, with no shimmer (thank goodness).
L-R: Givenchy Le Rouge À Porter 201 Rose Aristocrate*, Dior Frimousse Addict, Laura Mercier Baby Lips**. The Addict is definitely the most comfortable to wear out of the three. I find the Givenchy a little tacky, and LM Baby Lips is more of a traditional creamy lipstick - I included it here for the contrast and color comparison.

I wasn't really worried about the reformulation; lipsticks can stand to be updated every so often, and if it did suck this time, well, I have more than enough lipsticks to last me until it gets reformulated again. It doesn't suck, though, and I like it; it feels a little more moisturizing than the previous iteration (of which I have 2 - Diablotine and Garçonne) - the product seems like it melts onto lips a little more graciously. And I love glossy finishes anyway, but this one has more of a healthy, natural finish than an intended "lipgloss" effect.

I wore Frimousse here, in this olive and peach look, so I am going to cheat and use another photo from that look.
This lipstick is a new fave.
I fall into what I consider the Lena camp when it comes to high-end lipstick - that is, it's worth it to buy a sheer, soft shade if you're going to wear it all the time, and if it's an easy to wear color, then you get to enjoy the formula all the time! That said, the darker shades are just as appealing - I always fall for sheer reds.

For more: See Frimousse (and other shades!) on Lily here (Frimousse is much darker on her).

The only problem I have with the new line is that I can't seem to find any clear breakdown that dictates which shades have which finishes (I don't want one with shimmer; pearl is sometimes okay, but generally, I prefer the glossy, jelly finish Addicts). They retail for $35, and I think if you love the old one, you'll be fine updating with these.