Monday, January 25, 2016

Tatcha Silken Pore Perfecting Sunscreen SPF35

[Product was provided by Tatcha for review. No affiliate links.]

My go-to facial sunscreen for a while has been an all-physical formula from Neutrogena, which was a good, budget-friendly alternative to the Clarins UV Plus HP Broad Spectrum sunscreen. However, as Lena mentioned, the two recent bottles I bought have been gritty; I'm not sure whether they reformulated it, or what, but I've given up with it for now.

Fortunately, at that time, Tatcha sent over their new Silken Pore Perfecting Sunscreen SPF35 ($68). It's taken me a while to try it, because I am really slow with incorporating new skincare, but yes - this has become my go-to. It's lovely.

The formula is 15% zinc oxide and 5% octisalate, one of the few chemical sunscreens that doesn't appear to break me out (hurray!). The one thing is that my personal preference for sunscreen is for all-physical formulas, and I wish they had made one like that; here the inclusion of zinc oxide (which offers both UVA and UVB protection, hence broad spectrum) means that it will still probably flash white, but octisalate isn't broad spectrum (it's a UVB filter) though I suppose it adds protection while helping maintain a spreadable formula (too much zinc oxide can make it pasty or gritty, as mentioned with the Neutrogena above). I'm not a cosmetic chemist, so you can take all of that with a grain of salt!

The texture is on the thicker side, and it's lightly scented and still retains some of that "sunscreen" smell - but barely, and it is gone by the time you apply. I apply sunscreen last, after the rest of my skincare; it is easy to apply and does seem to smooth out my skin without having the heavy silicone feel of traditional primers.

I know I was just talking about budget skincare items, but this sunscreen/makeup prep combo falls in a slightly different category for me, I think because it has a more noticeable effect, and the dual-purpose isn't as easily substituted with another product. (I've used Clinique's City Block and Super City Block in the past, and liked them, but they definitely were a little more greasy and not quite as lightweight, as well as tinted, which can make them a little less universal or versatile). Also, I don't know, I always smile a little when opening Tatcha packaging - it's always so lovely.

Tatcha's products are luxurious and this sunscreen is also meant to offer skincare benefits. I love that they offer trial sizes ($13 for 10 mL), and include full ingredients lists on their website. They also ship fast, based on the time that I did order directly from their site. My other favorite is the Tatcha Polished Gentle Rice Enzyme Powder, which I use a few times a week for exfoliation. I think I also want to try their Brightening Serum.

What are your Tatcha favorites? What's your go-to sunscreen?

Saturday, January 23, 2016

FOTD: Inspired by Adriana Lima


(Read: I am snowed in and I have nothing else to do.)

In all seriousness, though, I actually have been feeling a little more creative about makeup lately. I think the winter break helps - I also had a massive cold, so I spent a couple of weeks without any makeup on. There were a few days where I wished I could just stand under some magic beam and instantly have my face put on for work, but now I'm feeling a little better.

Instagram is a great place for finding quick inspiration, and I often screenshot photos on my phone and keep them for later. This isn't a particularly difficult one, but the always-stunning Adriana Lima really sells that matte fuchsia lip, so I had to try it.
Photo: Adriana Lima's Instagram
It's simple - dewy, clean skin, lots of mascara and some black liner, brows, a hint of pink blush, and a strong lip (can't replicate those stunning baby blues, though!).

Packed on the mascara. Even tried putting it on the lower lashes, which, er, I don't think I'd do again. But I love this mascara - L'Oreal Voluminous Butterfly (non-wp), Midnight Black. Have gone through several tubes - it's a fiber mascara.
Products used:
Shiseido BE213 trio (middle shade)
Smashbox Limitless Liquid Liner
L'Oreal Brow Stylist Plumper in Medium/Dark
L'Oreal Voluminous Butterfly Mascara, Midnight Black
Bare Minerals Complexion Rescue Tinted Hydrating Gel Cream, 03 Buttercream
Hourglass Ambient Lighting Palette, Incandescent Light
MAC Prolongwear Concealer, NW25
Diorblush Cheek Creme in Capri
NARS Carthage Pure Matte Lipstick

I usually pull out the neon lip shades around this time of year, anyway, because I'm tired of gloom and doom and gray, so I was already feeling this. Here are some of my other favorite neons.

L-R: NARS Carthage, Maybelline Electric Orange, MAC Lady Danger, Maybelline Vivid Rose, MAC Toxic Tale.
Swatches in same order as above, top to bottom.

What's your favorite winter look? If you're on the lower east coast of the US, I hope you're staying safe and warm!

Sunday, January 17, 2016

Budget-Friendly Skincare Basics

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


It's me.

(I couldn't help it.)

But really, how are you? Did you have a nice holiday? My brother came up to visit with us for Christmas, which was really nice. We did some wine tasting and just relaxed, played a lot of board games (some of our favorites: Ticket to Ride, Smash Up, Carcassonne, and some of the ones listed here, as well), and made great food. I squeezed in a lot of fluffy cuddles with my dogs - and put them in the Christmas boxes, much to their dismay. (Follow me on Instagram! There are fluffy photos!)

I thought this drugstore skin post would be a good one to share, as a lot of people are always re-examining budgets at this time of year. In 2015, I rearranged some of the emphasis in my skincare products, investing more in pricier serums and turning back to drugstore brands for moisturizers. The Neutrogena Hydro Boost Gel-Cream for Extra-Dry Skin has become my moisturizer of choice - I just bought a second jar.

It's moisturizing without being heavy or greasy, and since I've been relying on serums for extra hydration, anti-aging and spot-correcting, all I want out of my moisturizer is some good, solid...moisturizing. This delivers. It's regularly priced at about $17.99 (1.7 oz), but it often goes on sale and I usually scoop it up around the $11-14 mark.

Just about ready to open the new jar.

I have a couple of plastic spatulas lying around from other jarred products, so while I don't love moisturizers in a jar, I've become less fussy about it. I just use a plastic spatula and there we go.

For all-over body moisturizing, I love Palmer's Daily Skin Therapy ($5.29 at Target). It's thick enough for winter without being greasy, and it's easy to rub into my skin. I store it upside down, because it can kind of become difficult to shake out (and the bottle is hard to squeeze), but otherwise, no complaints. Also, um, I don't like the smell (or, er, taste) of real chocolate, but this one smells a LOT like Too Faced's chocolate bronzers (see?) and it is delicioso. Another one I'm going to pick up again.

The last thing is one that I forgot to take a photo of, but it's the Aveeno Skin Relief Hand Cream (usually around $4-7, right now it's $4.84 at Target). S and I both like this one a lot, as it moisturizes well (you feel like it's actually doing something), but also does not leave your hands feel greasy or slippery - a total deal-breaker, as we spend all of our time at work typing or writing, and I hate feeling like I'm leaving a film a slug. NO SLUGS. At night, I use the Hand Chemistry cream, but that one is definitely a little more silicone in feel, and while the residue is ok at night before I go to bed, I couldn't deal with that throughout the day.

Ok, so, a roundup of three budget-friendly products isn't bad, right? These aren't mind-blowing or brand-spanking new or whatever, but they're new to me and reliable, and have been incorporated into my routine, so I thought they were worth sharing, in case you're in the market for one of these types of products. Anyway, drop me a line - how are you doing? Did you have any shift of priorities in 2015? 

Sunday, December 13, 2015

Sunday Sessions: IV

(What is a Sunday Session?)

Er, the last one I did was in September. But it's madness around here, guys. I apologize for not dropping in to catch up with everyone on their own blogs, but hopefully I will get a chance to at least say "hi" and chat with everyone on Twitter during the holiday season!


loving (beauty):
I haven't done a favorites post in years, it feels like, so here's my attempt. I bought the Hourglass palette a couple of months ago, and while I have reservations about the company's marketing practices, I have to say that they do powders damn well. Also, I've been using only cream blushes lately, because they seem so much easier to blend out in a rush, and have concluded that I could probably get rid of all of my powders (except MAC Stratus!). For eyes, I've been playing with color (MJ Siren) occasionally, but otherwise relying on easy neutrals; you know, the YSL palettes are actually quite good - I'm surprised I don't hear more about them. Finally, the Marc Jacobs Blacquer mini was a GWP from a Sephora order, and I really like it. It's definitely waterproof - it rubs off, rather than smears off, and that can be annoying in its own way, but if smearing is your problem - try this bad boy.

Invisible Cities, by Italo Calvino (this translation is by William Weaver). It's a bunch of beautiful vignettes situated as an exchange between Kublai Khan and Marco Polo. I love poetic prose and fantastic realism like this; this is on loan from a friend, and I wish I had more time to appreciate it. Only partially through so far - hoping to finish it soon.

on repeat:
Chris Stapleton: Traveller. I love country music (although I'm less enamored with the generic dudebro trucks-girlsgirlsgirls-SODRUNK aspect *cough Luke Bryan cough*), and this album is good.  He and Justin Timberlake were gold at the CMAs.


One of S.'s aunts passed away last year after a battle with breast cancer. She used to send us Hallmark Keepsake ornaments every year, and I decided to keep collecting them in thankful memory of her. I bought two this year (one is from 2014, since I didn't think to buy one last year), which fall in theme with the rest of our ornaments - we have a lot of cooking/baking ones, dogs, and cartoons...perfectly sums us up, I think. I also like collecting handmade ones from craft fairs, but I love the personalizable aspect of these - and they are classics, aren't they?
The other thing I've been hoarding is Uni-ball Signo pens (0.38 mm). My boss stole one of mine after he saw how fine the point was and how smooth the gel was...and then he bought a ton of his own, ha. You'll be a convert, too! I write a lot as I record notes of things that I learn and that I try at work, and for me, it makes a huge difference to have comfortable, reliable pens.

I hope everyone is staying healthy and happy! Last push toward the end of the year, go go go! Let me know how you're doing. What are your recent reads, favorite albums, holiday traditions?

Monday, November 16, 2015

My Perfume "Wardrobe" Pt II: Everything Else

[Products were purchased by me, or gifts from friends. One was a free Sephora perk. No affiliate links.]

Find Part I: Bottles, here.

Ok, here are travel and mini fragrances (including indie selections, which are often available in smaller sizes). The size of the hoard is a bit embarrassing, to be honest, but I do frequently wear most of these as well (I wear perfume daily, unless I have a headache or otherwise don't feel like it). Links to reviews where applicable. I grouped them by brand where I could, just for some sort of organizational scheme.

Atelier Cologne Orange Sanguine
I have a travel spray (part of a set that S bought me as a gift), and redeemed some Sephora points for a mini splash bottle, because I really like this one. It's not razzle-dazzle amazing, but it has the best genuine orange note that I have come across thus far. It is so real, like you just cut into the peel of the fruit, and the citrus scent crackles to life. The sandalwood and amber woods keep it a bit spicier, rather than sending it down the well-trodden citrus-clean route; this is one of my favorites, actually, and I find it easy to wear.
notes: Blood Orange, Bitter Orange, Jasmine, Geranium, Amber Woods, Tonka Beans, Sandalwood. 

Atelier Cologne Vanille Insensée
I don't really like oak moss, but since I fell in love with Sweet Anthem's Black Queen, this has sort of grown on me. The vanilla-oakmoss combination does still kind of have a spiced, tart caramel-apple tinge (due to the lime + coriander, I imagine) to it, and since Sweet Anthem has sadly shuttered its doors, I will have to wear this to fill the gap. Also, the little blurb is really romantic (on Sephora's site).
notes: Lime, Cedrat, Coriander, Jasmine, Vetiver, Oak Moss, Vanilla, Oak Wood, Amber. 

Atelier Cologne Grand Néroli
This one smells like Fruity Pebbles. Yep, the cereal. That is all. It's a little reminiscent of Orange Sanguine, but it doesn't have the draw of that great, real orange note, and the cereal's weird. I don't wear this that often, but sometimes you wanna smell like childhood, I guess (or I guess I do, ha), so I kept it from the set.
notes: Orange Blossom Flower, Herbs, Musk, Vanilla. 

L'Occitane Verviene EdT
L'Occitane scents don't last very long at me at all (even accounting for the EdT formulations), and this is no exception. Still, I like the fresh, zesty verbena + geranium scent, especially in the summer, and if it were stronger, it'd prolly give me a headache, anyway (verbena sometimes does that to me). This is a 20 mL bottle that I don't think is available any more.
notes: lemon, orange, verbena, petit grain, rose, geranium

L'Occitane Vanille & Narcisse
This is a little splash bottle that I bought as part of a La Collection de Grasse mini 4-bottle set; I've used up 2/4 (Jasmin & Bergamot, Thé Vert & Bigarade), and will not go near the Magnolia & Mûre, so this is the last that I've got. It's a stronger, richer, spicy "floriental," so I don't wear it that often, but I'll have to pull it out again this winter - it does much better for me in cooler weather.
notes: blackcurrant, bergamot, narcissus, gardenia, vanilla, tonka bean
These are all tiny bottles! So much cute. The E&J is a rollerball.

Philosophy Amazing Grace
A simple classic. No frills, just clean musk - slightly floral, mostly clean, spritzy and inoffensive. I have a tiny 0.5 oz bottle because I like it just enough to have on hand.
notes: Bergamot, muguet Blossoms, musk. 

Elizabeth and James Nirvana Black
This was a Sephora perk, and is a rollerball. I don't like Nirvana White at all, but I quite like this one - especially for sexy date nights. Violet is rather mercurial on me, and I don't normally like sandalwood much, either, but this combination is killer - sweet, sexy, sultry. I think this one is more feminine than other similar scents. 
notes: Violet, Sandalwood, Vanilla. 

Jo Malone Vanilla & Anise
A bit of a panic - have they discontinued this? I have the tiniest bottle (part of a gift set), and the tiniest drop left, and I always thought I would buy a full bottle when I finished this, but now I find that it has a much diminished presence in online shops. Eek. It's a great spritzy vanilla, and anise, guys, I love it.
notes: star anise, purple vanilla orchid, vanilla bourbon

Jo Malone Red Roses
A cautionary tale: I overdosed on rose somehow (and this was the only rose perfume I had, ha) and now I cannot wear anything that is predominantly rose. Maybe it's this really green rose combination that turned me off (it can be a bit sour). I don't know. I would hand this off to someone if I knew anyone near me who would take it! It's languishing.
notes: lemon, scarlet velvet rose, honeycomb

The rest of my smaller bottles are from Sweet Anthem (which can no longer be purchased), Solstice Scents, and Haus of Gloi - some of them are perfume oils or solid perfumes, and many were limited edition, so I'll just link previous reviews here.

Haus of Gloi Earl Grey
Solstice Scents Snowshoe Pass (my annual winter favorite)
Sweet Anthem Lizie, Joan, Edith, Lucille, Fox

All right! Scent journey, over. I wish more companies offered smaller sizes (Atelier Colognes is great about that, actually), because those of us with, er, diverse collections don't need to buy big hulking bottles, you know? And, of course, travel sprays are easier to, you know, travel with, so that's always nice. I don't love rollerballs, because the application method does change the scent experience, but I know they do have their fans. What's your favorite mini perfume style - solid, spray, rollerball? Do you prefer full bottles, or do you buy mini versions when you can?