Sep 22, 2015

KMS California Moist Repair Revival Creme

KMS Moist Repair Revival Creme - Leave-In Cream Conditioner - Review
KMS California Moist Repair Revival Creme ($17) at Ulta

My hair has always been a bit of a touchy subject for me.  Ages back, I had long, thick, borderline good-looking hair, but that was when my mom or granny was in charge of the looking after.  Once it was up to me to mange my hair on my own, things started going downhill.  While the steady decline has stopped at least for now, I still put it through a bit of abuse with blow drying, straightening, and of course, coloring.  To compensate, I love to try out deep conditioning treatments and leave-in conditioners.  The newest addition to my haircare routine is the KMS Moist Repair Revival Creme.  I don't experiment much with haircare brands, but for a while now, I have been using (and loving) the KMS Free Shape Hot Flex Creme, so I didn't mind giving this leave-in conditioner a try.  KMS California products are divided into various categories based on the hair type that the products are best suited for and/or depending on the best use for the product.  The Moist Repair range includes products that are good for dry damaged hair and add moisture to repair the hair.  I have dry hair, and a leave-in creme that promises to restore moisture and make hair much more manageable is always welcome.  Scroll on for my thoughts on this product.

Yves Saint Laurent Rouge Pur Couture The Mats Lipsticks (New - 2015) - Swatches

YSL Yves Saint Laurent Rouge Pur Couture The Mats Lipsticks Swatches - Fall 2015 Makeup
Yves Saint Laurent Rouge Pur Couture The Mats Lipsticks ($36 each) at Sephora

Between the luxe packaging and the creamy, pigmented formula, YSL lipsticks have always been my favorite among the luxury brand lipsticks.  The golden tubes look classy - even to a can't-stand-gold person like me - and I always find some unique shades among the YSL lipsticks.  The YSL Rouge Pur Couture The Mats lipsticks are a newer launch, and as seems to be the trend this fall, this is a creamy matte lipstick.  True to the YSL philosophy, these lipsticks are pure luxury both inside and out.  The formula feels velvety smooth, and the colors are bold and rich.  Here's a look at the swatches of some of the lipsticks from this range.

Lancôme L'Absolu Rouge Définition Demi-Matte Lipstick (Fall 2015) - Swatches

Lancome LAbsolu Rouge Definition DemiMatte Lipstick Fall 2015 Swatches 184 Le Vermillon 388 Le Magenta 385 Le Violet 294 Le Pourpre 195 Le Carmin 285 Le Sepia
Lancome L'Absolu Rouge Definition Demi-Matte Lipsticks ($30.50 each) at Sephora

Lancome L'Absolu Rouge Definition Demi-Matte lipsticks are a new launch from the brand, and as with a lot of the newer fall lipsticks, these too feature rich saturated colors with a soft satin-matte finish.  There are 5 colors available in this range, and all of these are vibrant and opaque, with rich color with just a single swipe.  The formula is smooth, and the finish is a softened matte finish, not a true dry matte.  Lancome claims the formula contains essential oils like jojoba oil for moisturized lips and a light-diffusing gel which provides a gorgeous finish and feels comfortable on the lips.  The lipstick bullet has a pointy shape that is supposed to help with precise application, though of course, I assume it will wear down to a more rounded shape with use.  Here's a look at the swatches.

Sep 11, 2015

Smashbox L.A. Lights Blendable Lip and Cheek Color in Venice Beach Bronze

Smashbox L.A. Lights Blendable Lip Cheek Color Venice Beach Bronze Review
Smashbox L.A. Lights Blendable Cheek and Lip Color - Venice Beach Bronze ($29) at Sephora
Product provided for review

For a while now, the makeup world has been all about strobing - a makeup trend that ditches contouring and relies on highlighter placed strategically over the high points of the face to create a glowing, fresh look and enhanced natural bone structure.  I love the idea of luminous, highlighted skin, but because I have oily-combination skin and a lot of acne marks and visible pores, especially over the cheeks, highlighters don't always work well for me.  The few that do are ones that have low levels of shimmer and have a base color that either matches my skin tone or at least doesn't contrast too much with it.  One such highlighter that I recently got to try is the Smashbox L.A. Lights Blendable Cheek and Lip Color.  This is a multi-tasking lip and cheek color product that gives a natural-looking glow to the skin and, depending on the color, adds a subtle hint of color or a deeper flush.  Available in 5 shades, the color I am reviewing today is a soft shimmery bronze shade - Venice Beach Bronze.  Scroll on for more photos, swatches, and my thoughts on this multi-tasking product.

Sep 10, 2015

YSL Black Opium Eau de Parfum Spray

Perfume Review - YSL Black Opium Eau de Parfum Spray - Fall Winter Fragrance
Black Opium Eau de Parfum Spray by Yves Saint Laurent ($67-$115) at Sephora
Fragrance Notes:  Coffee, orange blossom, cedar wood, patchouli.
Style:  Addictive. Floral. Energetic.

YSL Black Opium launched a while back, but I have been holding off on reviewing it for the cooler fall-autumn months.  We aren't there yet, at least in this part of California, but we do get the occasional cool night, and I have been reaching for warmer and sweeter perfumes.  With rich sweet notes of vanilla mixed in with cedarwood and patchouli, YSL Black Opium might be a bit heavy for some, but this is the sort of perfume that I love wearing during the autumn-winter months and sometimes during the warmer months too.  Designed to reflect the darker, edgier aspect to the perfume, YSL Black Opium is housed in a chunky black bottle that, to me, looks like wet stone, with an uneven texture and a glistening look to it.  I don't particularly care for the design, but it doesn't bother me too much either.

Smashbox Be Legendary Lipstick in Melondrama

Smashbox Be Legendary Lipstick in Melondrama Review Swatches Photos

I was thinking of bringing out the darker eyeshadows and getting back to my usual smokey eye looks, but it looks summer will be around for a few more days.  Temperatures have been hovering around 100, and I don't even want to step out into the balcony to water the plants.  The good thing, though, is I get a bit of extra time to play around with some fun summer colors like the Smashbox Be Legendary Lipstick in Melondrama - a soft orangey shade that's just right for summers.  The Smashbox Be Legendary lipstick range features both creamy and matte shades, and Melondrama is a creamy finish though not very glossy.  Scroll on for photos, swatches, and more.

Orico London Jazzy Ultra Moisturising Hand Lotion

Orico London Jazzy Ultra Moisturising Hand Lotion ($22)
Product provided for review 

I have an obsession with handcare products - lotions, potions, scrubs, you name it, and I would have probably tried it a couple of times already - yet you wouldn't guess that from looking at my hands.  I have dry skin, and for years, I did not have the time (or interest) to look after my hands/feet.  While I have been trying to compensate for all those years of neglect, I still do a lot of cooking-cleaning, household chores, and wash my hands a lot many times through the day.  I use heavier body butters or creams as part of my night-time handcare routine, but through the day, I like to use lighter lotions that are easily absorbed without leaving a greasy mess on everything I touch.  I recently got to try out a new-to-me skincare brand - Orico - and am currently using the Orico Jazzy Ultra-Moisturising Hand Lotion as my daytime hand moisturizer.  Described as "daily hand therapy for city hands," this lightweight moisturizer is packed with organic ingredients like Baobab and Kigelia extracts to soften skin and mandarin and orange essential oils to leave hands smelling great.  Scroll on for more photos and my thoughts on this hand lotion.

Sep 7, 2015

MAC Vamplify Lip Collection (Fall 2015 Makeup) - Lipgloss and Pro Longwear Lip Pencils - Swatches

MAC Vamplify Lipgloss Pencil Collection - Swatches
MAC Vamplify Lip Collection for Fall 2015 at Nordstrom

I don't know if it's because I have been swatching so many new makeup launches this year or if it's just me getting older-wiser, but I have been noticing a lot of similar trends with makeup launches across brands.  This fall, there seems to be a matte lip trend going on with every other brand having a matte version of their lipstick, and as a contrast are the pigmented-saturated lip gloss collections.  MAC Vamplify Lip Collection falls in the latter category.  The collection includes 17 shades of Vamplify lip glosses and 12 new shades of Pro Long Wear Lip Pencils to pair them with.  The lipglosses feature rich pigments, nourishing oils, and claim to last hours on the lips.  They come packaged in slim, long tubes, and the lipgloss applicator wands are slightly angled for better application.  Going by the name, I was expecting the MAC Vamplify Lip Glosses to be dark, vampy colors that are all the rage every fall, so I was quite surprised - and pleasantly so - to see a few lovely neutrals in the range.  Scroll on for swatches.

Sep 5, 2015

Philosophy Purity Made Simple One-Step Facial Cleanser

Philosophy Purity Made Simple One-Step Facial Cleanser Face Wash Review
Philosophy Purity Made Simple One-Step Facial Cleanser ($24/8 fl. oz) at Ulta Beauty
Product provided for review.

I have oily-combination skin that is also somewhat sensitive, so I am very careful with my facial skincare.  I rarely change or add anything new to my carefully selected line-up of products, but when I do want to try something new from a brand, I usually start with a face wash.  It's usually a good indicator for whether I need to bother picking up anything else from the brand.  Most times, face washes aren't as expensive as face creams or serums, so I don't feel too bad if things don't work out either.  My newest skincare product testing has been the Philosophy Purity Made Simple One-Step Facial Cleanser (received courtesy of Ulta Beauty and People StyleWatch).  This simple face wash claims to melt away oil, dirt, and makeup as well as tone and lightly hydrate skin in one easy step, leaving skin feeling clean and comfortably balanced.

I have always been fascinated by Philosophy skincare products, mostly because I first heard about the brand on Oprah, but somehow I have never gotten around to trying anything from the brand.  I love the simple, clean packaging and the positive ideas that inspire Philosophy's skincare line, but does the Purity Made Simple One-Step Facial Cleanser live up to the Philosophy skincare promise?  Read on for my thoughts on the Philosophy Purity Made Simple One-Step Facial Cleanser.

Giorgio Armani Ecstasy Lacquer - Swatches

Giorgio Armani Ecstasy Lacquer ($38 each) at Nordstrom

Giorgio Armani Ecstasy Lacquers are a new makeup launch from the brand and feature a formula that combines the lacquered shine of a lipgloss, comfort of a lipstick, and the lasting power of a stain.  It's innovative technology packs a high concentration of water-soluble pigments to give these lacquer lipglosses vivid color and a long wear time.  The Ecstasy Lacquers also contain glycerin that helps with easy smooth application and keeps lips hydrated.  Because these lipglosses are so concentrated in color pigments, you can either apply them for a sheer effect by dabbing a small amount on the lips and blending it or build up several coats for richer coverage.  Add extra gloss over the center of lower lip for the perfect glossy pout.

Scroll on for swatches of the Giorgio Armani Ecstasy Lacquer lipglosses.

Sep 4, 2015

Buxom Big and Sexy Bold Gel Lipsticks - Swatches

Buxom Big and Sexy Bold Gel Lipsticks ($22 each) at Sephora

I have been seeing a lot of new makeup launches from Buxom Cosmetics, and the Buxom Big and Sexy Bold Gel Lipsticks are the latest from the brand.  Going by my impression of the Buxom Bar eyeshadows, Buxom seems to be coming up with products that feature bright, bold, rich colors and sleeker packaging, and the new Buxom Gel Lipsticks definitely follow the trend.  These lightweight gel lipsticks claim to deliver bold, rich pigment and are available in matte and satin finishes.  There is a wide range of colors to choose from, and the formula boasts a moisturizing finish, with the matte and satin finishes giving a modern bold look.  The packaging is a simple black casing with a magnetic closure (going by reviews I read online), and the shades have cheeky names to go with the bold colors.  Scroll on for swatches.

Stila Convertible Color - Peony

Stila Convertible Color - Peony - Cream Lip-Cheek Blush - Review Swatches
Stila Convertible Color - Peony ($22 at Ulta Beauty)
Product provided for review.

Multi-tasking makeup products are always a favorite with me, especially for travel or carrying around in the bag, and Stila Convertible Colors are a perfect example.  A cream blush and lip color in one, Stila Convertible Colors are sheer cream tints that add a natural glow to the cheeks while giving a soft hint of color to the lips.  The color I am reviewing today is Peony.  I have had a deluxe sample of this for more than a year and recently received a full-size version courtesy of the folks at Ulta Beauty and People Stylewatch.  Scroll on for more photos, swatches, and review.

Sep 3, 2015

Masque Bar by Look Beauty Apricot Sheet Face Mask

Masque Bar by Look Beauty Apricot Sheet Face Mask Review
Masque Bar by Look Beauty Apricot Sheet Face Mask - Available at Amazon and Target
Product provided for review

Sheet masks are having their time in the beauty world now at least here in the US, and with drugstore-budget brands becoming available, a DIY spa day at home is becoming easier than ever.  Masque Bar by Look Beauty is one such brand that makes an affordable version of this Asian-inspired beauty ritual.  Sheet masks are generally cotton or paper masks that are individually packed and come soaked in a lotion/essence that provides moisturizing, brightening, antiaging benefits (depending on the variety of mask used).  I recently got to try out two of the sheet masks by Look Beauty - an Intensive Moisturizing Feetreat Pedi foot mask as well as this Masque Bar by Look Beauty Apricot Face Mask.  Read on for more photos and my thoughts on this sheet face mask.

Too Faced La Creme Color Drenched Lip Cream Lipsticks - Swatches, Review (Nude Beach)

Too Faced La Creme Color Drenched Lip Cream Lipsticks Swatches Review Nude Beach
Wearing Too Faced La Creme Color Drenched Lip Cream in Nude Beach ($22 at Ulta Beauty)
Product provided for review.

As someone who is moderately makeup and beauty obsessed, I dabble around in quite a few makeup brands, but while I try to keep up with new makeup launches I sometimes miss out on trusty old favorites.  Too Faced La Creme Lipsticks are a good example.  These buttery, glossy, creamy lipsticks have been around for a while and are a favorite among a lot of people, but I only got around to trying these very recently.  I received the Too Faced La Creme lipstick in Nude Beach courtesy of the folks at Ulta Beauty and People Style Watch.  A nude-neutral lipstick with a mix of pink and brown tones to it, this is the perfect nude lipstick to pair with the a dark smokey eye that's so popular into fall/winter.  I also got some swatches of the other shades in the Too Faced La Creme Color Drenched Lip Cream lipsticks line-up, so scroll on for review, swatches, and a sneak peek sale alert.

Sep 1, 2015

Dior Addict Hydra-Gel Core Mirror Shine Lipsticks - Swatches (New - Fall 2015)

Dior Addict Hydra-Gel Core Mirror Shine New Lipsticks Swatches Fall 2015 Makeup
Dior Addict Hydra-Gel Core Mirror Shine Lipsticks ($35 each) at Nordstrom
Jennifer Lawrence looks awesome!

I spotted the new Dior Addict lipsticks at my local Nordtrom this weekend.  Labeled as "Hydra-Gel Core Mirror Shine" lipsticks, these lipsticks have a core of moisturizing gel that adds moisture and shine to the lips.  This moisturizing gel is concentrated in a "CD" shape at the center of the lipstick and runs the entire length of the lipstick.  Made up of three different oils, this ultra-moisturizing formula supposedly works like a top coat, giving shine as well as making the color last longer.  I got some swatches to share, but I have to mention, there is some difference in the shade names between the Dior website and sites like Macys or Nordstrom.  I have added in both the names where possible, but if you do notice any errors, please let me know, so I can update the post.  Scroll on for swatches.

5 Reasons to Love Urban Decay Naked Skin Beauty Balm

Urban Decay Naked Skin Beauty Balm Review Photos Swatches
Urban Decay Naked Skin Beauty Balm ($34) at Ulta Beauty
Product provided for review

When it comes to Urban Decay makeup, a lot of the spotlight is taken up by the Naked palettes, but as amazing as they are, there are some gems in the UD makeup range which don't get as much attention as they deserve.  One such product is the Urban Decay Naked Skin Beauty Balm.  I bought my first tube when it first launched a while back, and I have been a fan ever since.  The original version was a single shade, but it is currently available in 3 shades - light, medium (the original shade), and dark.  The packaging is a no-fuss tube, and the product itself is quite thin and light with a slight fragrance to it.  So what gets this tinted moisturizer on my list of must-have makeup products?  Scroll on to find out.