Friday, September 23, 2016

Getting Cold Weather Ready with Neal's Yard Remedies Rehydrating Rose Facial Oil

[Product was provided by PR for review. All opinions are my own. No affiliate links.]
Every winter, I forget about rotating in heavier duty skincare items until it's too late - winter hits full force, and I'm left trying to repair wrecked, dry flaky skin. Never goes well.


(Because uh, the PR beauties are on top of it.)

Regardless. Here I am, all prepared, and you will be, too! Consider this your PSA. While you're tromping in the leaves (like Dennison, he LOVES tromping in the leaves!), and embracing beautiful, beautiful autumn, remember..
(I don't even watch GoT.)

While it's still fairly warm and humid here, winters can be brutal, and I want to be prepared in advance this year. I like to layer a facial oil in colder weather, and I've always gotten on with rose oils and ingredients in skincare, so I was really excited about the Neal's Yard Remedies Rehydrating Rose Facial Oil ($40 for 1.01 fl oz). It's targeted toward normal skin (they have an Orange Flower version that's targeted toward dry skin), but even though my skin usually tends toward the dry side, I don't feel like it's lacking. Of course, it is still warm here.

It has a pretty trim ingredient list: Vitis Vinifera (Grape) Seed Oil*, Corylus Avellana (Hazelnut) Seed Oil*+, Oenothera Biennis (Evening Primrose) Oil*, Rosa Damascena Flower Oil, Rosa Damascena Flower Wax, Pogostemon Cablin Leaf Oil*, Pelargonium Graveolens Flower Oil*, Citral, Citronellol, Eugenol, Farnesol, Geraniol, Limonene, Linalool.

It's also labeled 99% organic, with other designations here on the product page (it's vegan and cruelty-free, for those of you who have those requirements). I don't shop exclusively cruelty free, but I appreciate the effort very much, and am trying to support those brands more. And, you guys, Neal's Yard Remedies has some great information on their website about ingredient transparency, what it means for them to be "99% organic," the role of "functional ingredients" (like emulsifiers), the certifications processes they adhere to...and they call out the emptiness of labels like "chemical-free." It's worth reading.

As for the product itself, I really like it and see it being a permanent addition to my regimen. The "damask rose" oil is meant to be rich in antioxidants and vitamins, and none of the carriers or additions here break me out. The scent is a pleasant herbal that doesn't linger (though it is strong initially, but that's to be expected, and I rather like these kinds of scents). The dropper packaging is sanitary and functional, with a dark glass bottle to prevent photo-degradation of the oil, and all of the packages have a bottling date. I apply 2-3 drops of the oil after serum and before my night cream moisturizer, for an extra bit of oomph, and my skin is really soft and smooth in the morning, a difference I noticed almost immediately after I started using it. I don't prefer oils for daytime use, because they can interfere with makeup application. At night, I can live with the feeling - it's initially oily upon application, as you might expect, but sinks in and the residue isn't really noticeable after a short period.

I'm really pleased with my first foray into Neal's Yard Remedies, and I'm looking through the rest of their line for other skincare products I might enjoy. The one thing I will mention, however is that in the US, you have to order through a "consultant" on their website, and I believe the consultant gets a commission. This kind of thing gives me the heebie jeebies, so I'm not sure how to feel about it. What do you think? Have you tried anything from Neal's Yard Remedies? What are your favorite winter skincare additions?

Thursday, September 15, 2016

Clinique Pink Honey - A GWP Surprise

[Product was a gwp sample.]

Yeah, it's the equivalent of dogs/cats playing with the box it came in rather than the toy itself.

I ordered some skincare or something from Sephora, and one of the GWP promos was for a mini Clinique Almost Lipstick in Pink Honey. Wearable, soft pinks are the lip color family that I'm more or less lacking (this other blushing pink is a great addition, but different in texture & finish), so I figured what the hell.

Yeah, I like it.
It's pretty sheer, but emollient and actually feels rather moisturizing.

I had an Almost Lipstick before (which seems to have been discontinued); that one had a much harder texture, a bit waxy, and you could always feel it on lips. This one has a much softer texture that melds onto lips - more like a balm - and has a healthy, natural finish. There's a bit of shine, but it's not a gloss, you know?

I think it's super easy to throw on for casual days, because it's not strongly pigmented, and doesn't lean too cool or warm, so it won't clash with your blush or eye makeup in unpredictable ways. I'm also just really loving it with a simple, pared down look: clean skin, barely there eye shadow with liner and mascara, pink blush (like the FOTD here).

I'm halfway through the mini, so maybe later I might buy the full size. I'm also thinking about getting the original Black Honey, just because I've never owned it and it seems to be a classic for good reason. I wonder if the formula is the same for that? Does anyone own both? 

Thursday, September 8, 2016

Ilia Fall 2016: Classic Casual Lipsticks

[Products were provided by PR for review. All opinions are my own; no affiliate links.]
We went apple picking on the Saturday of Labor Day weekend; it was still warm and summery, but apparently this is the time for the Honey Crisp variety - my favorite! We came home with 21 lbs of apples. Some have been turned into breads, and apple crisp, and a pie is in the works. Baking with fall flavors has definitely put me in the mood, even though we've hit the 90s (F) again this week, and Ilia Beauty arrived just in time. These lipsticks are gorgeous. They're iterations of classic shades - a rosy, natural pink, a sophisticated mauve pink, and a drop dead brick red.
L-R: The Brides, Madam Mina, Lucy's Party

The three Fall 2016 lipstick releases are The Brides, Madam Mina, and Lucy's Party. They're housed in Ilia Beauty's signature recycled aluminum cases, and have a faint vanilla-esque "lipstick" smell. They have a waxier, harder texture and can drag a little at first, but once the bullet warms up a bit against lips, they wear beautifully. These are all shimmer-free. I call them "classic casual" because they have a really natural finish (they call it "semi-matte," but I think it's more of a semi-satin), which makes them great for both casual dates or dress-to-impress moments.

The Brides is a pretty, rosy pink - that classic "MLBB" shade, with the same "natural satin" finish that most of Ilia's other lipsticks have (see my review of Ink Pot here). It mimics your lips' natural texture - that's the best way I can describe it. Not shiny, not matte, not creamy or juicy. I'm really a fan, because I think it's hard to find this balance in other brands. The Brides is a touch on the dry side, but still comfortable to wear. Color wise, it's a classic shade that brightens my face and helps nail that "barely there but polished" look I've been partial to lately. Leans warm, but it's not too bright.
Wearing The Brides.
Next up is Madam Mina. I apologize for not being able to capture similar lighting across these photos. It would be a great nude for those with deeper skin tones - it's a rosy mauve that doesn't pull gray or too brown, thankfully. I feel like these kinds of shades age me, so I don't wear them too often, but it's nice to have a "grown-up pink" sometimes.
Wearing Madam Mina.
The last one is Lucy's Party, which is, of course, a classic red. It looks deeper in the bullet than it applies (on me, at least), and it has that same "natural satin" finish, though it's perhaps a little glossier than the other two. On me, it's a true red - not too warm, not too cool. It starts off sheer, but a couple swipes will get the color you see here. I think the harder texture of the lipstick also lends itself to only applying in thin layers. Having prepped lips can help (I like Nuxe's lip contour). I think there are a lot of great reds out there, and we all know I have a ton, but the finish, as I mentioned, is what I think sets these apart. They look and feel very modern.
Wearing Lucy's Party. Ilia Beauty 99 Red Balloons is a little more opaque, and darker.

These will retail for $26, I believe, and launch in mid-September on Ilia Beauty's website. I've waxed poetic about their Multi-sticks (here, here, and here), and I appreciate the vision of the brand. They are cruelty-free, made with USDA-certified organic products at percentages listed in ingredient labels, and are refreshingly transparent about what they are and are not (there is a way to filter by "vegan" on their shop page, and their certifications are here). I think efforts like these lend credence to smaller businesses and those looking for organic alternatives to mainstream makeup have really solid options these days.

Wednesday, September 7, 2016

Inspired By: Dior Fall 2016

In my Dior Skyline post, I said that I was rather in love with the Dior 2016 Fall promo photo, despite not being interested in any of the other makeup items. I haven't done an editorial-style FOTD in a long time, so I'm very rusty (and let's face it, there weren't that many skills kicking around here anyway!), but I wanted to give it a go.
[image source]
Here's the promo photo. The model has all kinds of things going for her, like apple-slicing cheekbones, and a makeup artist who knows what s/he is doing. DETAILS.

I used products that I had, and didn't try to exactly replicate the look, so much as just...tried to incorporate the over shapes and color palette. I could've blended a lot more, but I apparently forgot how, so there it is.

Makeup used:

I shared this on Instagram, but I figured maybe it warranted a full post. 
I want that model's jacket. Also, I talked about this lip combo here.
Right, so that's enough photos of my face. I wanted to try it again, to emphasize more of the blue smudged along the lash line, but I try to save FOTDs for days when I'm not leaving the house, and there have been precious few of those lately - there's always errands to run on the weekends, aren't there? Still, it got me in the mood for experimenting with looks again! 

What's the latest thing that got you inspired, makeup-wise? 


Monday, September 5, 2016

Scents of the Week: Mainstream Edition

[Products were gwp samples.]

Perfume posts are my absolute favorite to write. My other "scents of the week" posts are catalogued here. Obviously, I'm not very consistent with them, but if I smell something too briefly, I'll just tweet about it, instead. I'm not always looking for a new scent, but if I happen to find one, well...serendipity is a thing, right? And no, I'm not talking about that cheesy rom-com. Perfume is true love, man.

These are a handful of more mainstream scents that I've sniffed recently - not enough for a full week, but hey. I kind of liked them all, more than I thought I would, but each of them has something that prevents me from loving them. And with this collection of full bottles (plus CB I Hate Perfume A Memory of Kindness, recently acquired at Arielle Shoshana), it has to be love. Also, I'm getting tired of musk (all of this week's scents were musky). Sometimes it's well done, and sometimes it's like that scratchy itch at the back of your throat.

Sunday: Dolce & Gabbana Light Blue, edt
Sicilian Citron, Bluebell, Granny Smith Apple, Jasmine Sambac, Bamboo, White Rose, Cedarwood, Amber, Musk.
[image source]
I know people who love this, but after a few indifferent sniffs at the counters, I'd never bothered to try it. I got a sample in a recent order, though, and decided, what the hell - I never hated it, might as well. It's an inoffensive summer scent - bright, watery but not aquatic, with a crisp musk that is not scratchy or acidic. I get a sparkly, fruity clean that never gets particularly sugary or synthetic. I don't think any note stands out - rather, they're a fizzy bouquet, like an infused water drink. At edt strength, it doesn't last on me at all, and I'm not a huge fan of this particular cedarwood-musk clean finish, but I can see why so many people rely on this as their summer standby.

Tuesday: Carven Le Parfum, edp
Neroli, Mandarin Blossom, White Hyacinth, Jasmine, Ylang Ylang, Sweet Pea, White Sandalwood, Precious Wood Harmony. 
[image source]
I was never interested in smelling this, despite the pretty bottle, so I was actually pleasantly surprised when I gave my gwp sample a sniff. It's bright, pretty, clean, feminine - everything you'd expect from this fashion house, this bottle, and this blushing color of juice, ha. I get mostly fruity sweet pea, kept in check with the clean lines of neroli and sandalwood. It's fruitier and sweeter than I thought it would be, but not syrupy; it's like a flute of champagne. But, where this brief love affairs ends for me, is the spritzy patchouli ending (no, it's not in the notes, but I swear it is there). It seems a bit too generic and predictable, and I'm not a patchouli fan.

Wednesday: 3 D&G L'Imperatrice, edt
Rhubarb, Red Currant, Juicy Kiwi Accord, Pink Cyclamen, Fresh Watermelon Accord, Musky Notes, Sandalwood, Grapefruit Wood
[image source]
If this lasted longer than five minutes on me, I would buy it in a heartbeat. The tart fruits are sweet, and juicy, but not in a syrupy, berry way (I dislike berries in perfume). It smells like candied apples to me, and the ending is just some vague woodsy musk that keeps it from being too sweet or linear but is otherwise not noticeable. And sometimes that's fine. I mean, if you wanna show off your colorful, patterned top, you can pair it with a classic pair of jeans or a black pencil skirt, right? Sometimes the base notes detract from the head notes, if I don't like the combination, and that's not the case here. It's not strong and despite the pink cyclamen, not floral. AND I LIKE IT. But it's gone within seconds, no matter how much I put on. I mean, I could dump a whole bottle on my head, I guess, but that's not very budget-friendly, is it? I'm still searching for apple. Sweet Anthem's Black Queen convinced me that I could love apple (its caramel apple-oakmoss combination is to die for. I really regret not buying a bottle). Maybe CB I Hate Perfume's Gathering Apples? Has anyone tried it?

Friday: Prada Luna Rossa Sport, edt
Lavender, Ginger, Juniper Berries, Tonka Beans, Vanilla. 
[image source]
I got S a sample of this with a Sephora order at some point. Sometimes I try the scents I hand him, especially if they smell particularly good on him. They never smell as good on me, though. This one is no exception. On me, it just fits the stereotype of a "sport" splash juice: fuzzy, traditionally "cologne"-esque lavender, with the additional heat of ginger, and the vanilla-tonka bean base gives it some body. It just kind of reminds me of S when he hasn't shaved for a day or two - that spicy scratchiness and a masculine musk. I mean, I like it on him (not so strongly lavender, a little sweeter, more balanced), but for myself, I have a lavender that I love more. I scrubbed this one off.

So that was more like "scents of half the week," I guess. But, exploring Arielle's beautiful store has gotten me in the mood again, and when we got to NYC again next month I'm definitely going to stop in CB I Hate Perfume's Brooklyn studio. And Le Labo, in SoHo. If you're interested, I'll do a post on our visit to Arielle Shoshana, and the scents we explored. What scents have you been dabbling in lately? Anything new for the change of seasons? Or, if the seasons don't change where you are, what motivates you to change up your scents?