Saturday, August 1, 2015

Scents of the Week: July 26-31

[All were received as GWP samples or gifts; no affiliate links.]

Happy August! Funnily enough, the last time I did a "Scents of the Week" was almost exactly a year ago (the first is here). I've been a little better about not collecting samples (or trying them instantly and making a decision then and there), so this is the first time I've amassed enough for a proper post. Here we go.

Sunday: Maison Martin Margiela Lazy Sunday Morning edt
Aldehydes, Pear, Lily of the Valley, Iris, Rose Absolue, Orange Flower, White Musk, Indian Patchouli Oil, Ambrette Seeds Absolute. 
[source]
When I sprayed this on paper, it was a snoozefest. Clean, white musk, linen, blah blah. I sprayed it on myself, though, and was instantly horrified. Holy mother of Patchouli. Kind of berry sweet, synthetic, and discordantly one-note patchouli on me - reminds me of those retro fragrance sachets on a hotel pillow, well-intentioned but ill-received. You know, before they realized fragrance sensitivity was a thing. And that maybe not everyone wants their pillow bathed in patchouli. Do I seem fixated? A bit. I think there are other concoctions that smell like this, for far less $ (in fact, YSL Parisienne is vinyl-berry-patchouli on me) and for me, it doesn't evoke a clean, lazy Sunday spent lounging in bed at all. Patchouli. *shudders* I will concede that my skin seems to draw any and all sweetness out of fragrances, especially with patchouli mixes.

Monday: Ralph Lauren Romance edp
Sungoddess Rose, Marigold, Ginger, Chamomile Oil, Yellow Freesia, White Violet, Lotus Flower, Day Lily, Patchouli, Oakmoss, Musk.
[source]

I do not know what a "sungoddess rose" is - do not ask. This ends up smelling cleaner on me than Lazy Sunday Morning. Also, I remember marigolds smelling a bit dirty, and while I get that in the opening (marigold-chamomile), too quickly it all just becomes clean musk. I mean, it's a softened, romantic musk, with just a hint of ginger, but...it's kind of boring, and generic - like the soap in the bathroom of a nice restaurant/boutique. Disappointing, as I know this is a classic, and I usually like Ralph Lauren fragrances (Double Black in the men's line is one of my favorites on S.).

Tuesday: Tocca Florence edp
Italian Bergamot, Grapefruit Leaves, Green Pear, Apple, Ivory Gardenia, Crushed Violet Petals, Jasmine, Tuberose, Blue Iris, Blonde Wood, White Musk.
Many Tocca scents come in mini sprays!
[source]
Florence starts out beautifully. It's a bit candy sweet at the opening, but definitely a fresh, just-bloomed green gardenia at its heart - beautifully mellow, buttery, and green. Gardenia is a hard flower to capture (my mum grew them when I was a kid - they're exquisite, but they don't translate well into scent). But as it wears a bit more, it starts to fray at the edges, as if the petals started bruising. It becomes a little too clean (musk! cursed musk!). Still haven't found a Tocca I liked enough to purchase, even the little bottle. And I don't want for buttery white florals (I'm going to do a full bottle post soon, actually...and maybe one for the in-between travel sizes I have, as well, and then we can all agree that I never need more perfume, ever).

Wednesday: Hermès Le Jardin de Monsieur Li edt
Jasmine, Watery Notes, Kumquat, Grassy Notes. 
[source]

Argh, so frustrating. I like Hermès scents a lot, but they never last on me (I guess that edt is a killer). This one is no exception. It's gorgeous - uncomplicated, and really, this is the kind of "clean" scent that I like - not a hint of musk to be found. It's exactly like breathing in the clean air of some Monsieur Li's garden, serene and calm, the faint breeze causing just a single ripple to echo across the pond. Everything is there, but diluted, in a good way. A hint of floral, a hint of kumquat - like a fruit infused water. Delicious, and perfect for summer, but on me, it's gone within the hour.

Thursday: Penhaligon's Orange Blossom edt (sample from Lizbob)
Neroli, violet leaf, bergamot, citron, cardamom, pink pepper, Calabrian orange, orange blossom absolute, Egyptian jasmine absolute, tuberose, rose, peach blossom, orchid, sandalwood, Virginian cedar, white musk and vanilla.
[source]

Bertrand Dutrafour is the perfumer behind this (I've tried his L'Artisan Piment Brûlant, which very nearly killed me, and S. wears L'Artisan Méchant Loup well, but I don't), and, er, like those two, this one doesn't agree with me personally. Obviously he has it out for my skin chemistry - Orange Blossom smells like cough syrup on me. The cloying, sticky, grape-orange-something that was a relief as a kid but horrifying as an adult. I wish it was more neroli, less tuberose. Actually makes me think of L'Artisan La Chasse aux Papillons, though that is a much lighter, graceful spin on the tuberose + orange blossom combo, and I prefer it.

Friday: Calypso St. Barth Bellini edt (another Lizbob sample)
apple, pineapple, grapefruit, orange, white peach, coconut, frangipani, cassis, freesia, jasmine, orange flower, white musk, amber, sandalwood 
[source]

Um, sorry, guys, I couldn't, not even for you. I opened it without thinking, and nearly cried. I hate peach scents. My sample of Burberry Body flew into the trash so quickly, you don't even know. From what I could remember as I hastily closed it again, I could smell coconut, which is usually appealing to me. But otherwise, nope. Big fat nope.

And then I ran out of samples. What have you been dabbling in lately? Any new fragrance discoveries? 

Tuesday, July 28, 2015

Review: The Face Shop Rice Water Bright Light Cleansing Oil

[Product was purchased by me; no affiliate links.]

Super duper quick post, because people were interested in it when I posted this on Instagram. I ran out of my last cleansing oil and didn't feel like shelling out for Shu Uemura again, so I picked this up on Amazon (I paid $10.20); it's Korean brand The Face Shop's Rice Water Bright Cleansing Light Oil.

(Incidentally, I realized that there is a store near me now, but I've never been there).

I pump a little bit into dry hands and massage onto a dry face, then rinse off with water (usually as I hop into the shower at the end of the day). The texture is more watery than Shu Uemura or Tatcha, and it has a light scent, bright scent.

It doesn't do the best job of removing liquid eyeliner (I use Smashbox, which is waterproof). I keep the Neutrogena eye makeup remover around for heavy makeup days, but if you're used to Shu Uemura (which is a pro at removing stubborn eye makeup), it's an added step to use a separate eye makeup remover. Again, not a deal breaker for me, but it depends on what you are used to. I think it does decently daily, so long as I take care to massage my eye area gently to remove the liner. Everything else seems to come off well, but I don't wear a full face of foundation daily, either.

The biggest point, though, is: if you don't double cleanse (I do, with Neutrogena after my shower, to also remove residue from conditioner, etc.), I don't know how you'd fare with this one - I definitely feel like there's still something on my face afterward. On the one hand, it's definitely not drying (it's supposed to be hydrating, so that's fine). On the other hand, it doesn't really feel like a serum or something that has been purposely applied; it just feels like everything hasn't been washed off. Since I double cleanse, I don't care - nothing remains after washing with the Neutrogena, which is pretty gentle.

I think this retails for $13 (5 oz) at actual The Face Shop retailers (US), and I did get it a few dollars cheaper on Amazon. It's easy to pump a little too much out, but once I figured out how much I needed, I was able to control it and I think it's a decent price. I probably would repurchase it (although Clinique also has a cleansing oil that I might want to try instead).

Any favorites from The Face Shop?

Wednesday, July 22, 2015

Vampy Lips Again, Inspired By: Bae Doona

[Products used in the look were purchased by me, except *, which was a GWP, and **, which was a gift from a friend.]
Bae Doona, a Korean actress.
[source]
I posted this on my Instagram a few weeks ago, after I had finished watching Sense8 and curiously googled Doona - she's badass in Sense8, and I'd never watched any of her K-dramas (since I don't watch Kdramas, actually). As soon as I saw this, though, I started plotting a vampy lip look again - yes, in the middle of summer - because, hello, gorgeous.

I don't have a lipstick exactly this shade (although after a swatching session at MAC, I think Hangup, Media, and Dark Side are all similar, with Dark Side being a bit redder than the other two). I actually dabbled in shades that I owned already, though, and came up with something close - if not a bit more plum. I previewed this look on Instagram, but tweaked it a bit for this post. I think I might like the first version better than today's, ha, but such is life.
The Instagram version. For this one, I just used concealer (MAC Pro-longwear under eyes, NARS Creamy Concealer in spots) as a base; the rest of the makeup is the same, although I like the more minimalist eye shadow treatment here.

MAC Stratus is one of my favorite blushes of all time, and I think it goes great with vampy lipsticks - it's a perfect flush of color that balances out the deeper look, but doesn't clash or overwhelm. It's similar to whatever she's wearing above. I kept the clean eyes (a nude-plum eye combo, winged liner and mascara), and full brows.
Apologies for the non-glamorous clothing, ha. Sundays are relax/gym days.
I applied Dior's clear lipliner around the edges of my lips, and then just sort of patted MAC Fashion Revival (LE, matte) on my lips. I smudged that out with my pinky, and then patted Living Legend (LE, matte) only toward the center of my lips. Then I smudged that out as well, and then lightly ran Diorkiss over everything to blend it all nicely, cleaning up with the Dior liner around the edges as necessary. It's more of a fluid process - just apply, blend, touch it up, and see where it's at. It is inconvenient to carry more than one tube of lipstick to touch up the color, though, so I might just go pick up MAC Hangup after all.
Diorkiss, Fashion Revival, Living Legend

Products used (linked to reviews where possible):
bareMinerals Complexion Rescue Hydrating Gel Cream in 03 Buttercream
MAC Pro-longwear Concealer in NW25
L'Oreal Brow Stylist Plumper in Medium/Dark
Laura Mercier Amethyst Caviar Stick
MAC Moleskin**
Smashbox Limitless Liquid Liner
L'Oreal Voluminous Butterfly Mascara, Blackest Black
MAC Stratus Mineralize Blush
Dior Universal Contour Lipliner
MAC Fashion Revival, Living Legend blended with Dior Addict in DiorKiss*

Ok. I think I got the vampy lipstick craving out of my system, ha. Back to summer brights (actually, I wear clear lip blam most of the time...it's a nice, clean, neutral look). Mixing the three lip colors was a successful art experiment here, I think, but it's a bit of a pain to carry around more than one lipstick for touch-ups.

Do you mix your lipsticks to create new shades? If you do, do you then carry all of them throughout the day?

Sunday, July 19, 2015

Dewy-Finish Foundation Alert: bareMinerals Complexion Rescue Tinted Hydrating Gel Cream Review

[Product was purchased by me, and there are no affiliate links here.]

My preference is for my base makeup to have a dewy-finish, and although I don't wear foundation daily anymore, it's nice to have something on hand for days when you want more coverage - for example, if you want to do a clean, barely-there look with bold red lips, and need to minimize any redness you might have. Having dry skin, I also try to avoid anything that touts "matte finish" or "oil-control," and actually, I want something hydrating. The bareMinerals Complexion Rescue Tinted Hydrating Gel Cream rather fits that bill.
Moderately priced at $29 for 1.18 oz.

I don't really care if foundation has sunscreen in it (and actually, I prefer it without, since I use an all-mineral sunscreen daily, and a lot of chemical sunscreens seem to break me out, plus I think foundation is more versatile without, as you can use it for flash-photography events), but if it has to have it, I prefer physical sunscreens. This one is SPF 30 with 6.2% titanium dioxide (full ingredients here). It is definitely a cream versus a liquid, and squeezes out in discrete blobs, rather than trickling out in a runny mess - the packaging suits.
On the left, I have moisturizer, serum, sunscreen and eye cream on. On the right, I just applied the bareMinerals thing.

And here it is! I wear 03 Buttercream, which is a yellow shade. I tried 02 Vanilla, which they say is "neutral," but it was still too pink for me. This one suits much better. You can see that it doesn't fully cover freckles or spots, but it makes everything look more even and less blotchy. It looks a bit matte in this photo, but it definitely is dewy in person. I also often spritz a bit of MAC Fix+ just to keep it that way. I apply with fingers to a freshly moisturized face; I find the Beauty Blender eats too much of this one, and sheers it out too much, as well. Fingers works fine, and that's actually what the back of the tube instructs (see above photo).

Here's a comparison with NARS Creamy Concealer in Custard (which is what I normally wear daily to just cover up a bit of redness - I apply with the wand and then blend out with a damp Beauty Blender). The bareMinerals cream (gel, whatever) is a touch more yellow, but both meld nicely into my skin and don't look out of place or unnatural.

This is supposed to be a "BB, CC and tinted moisturizer" all in one (which, to me, means it's a tinted moisturizer, since that's what I categorize all of those things as, especially in their non-Asian beauty brand manifestations), and supposed to improve skin hydration over time. Like I said, I don't wear foundation daily anymore, so I can't speak to that, but it's nice to have a tinted moisturizer on hand, and I like this one a lot. Compared to my other tinted moisturizer (the Diorskin Nude BB Cream), this one is more hydrating and has a dewier finish. It does have a limited shade range (10), but since it is not full coverage, I think there is a bit of leeway, and it also addresses different undertones. However, it is, as many brands are, unfortunately skewed heavily to fairer skintones, and I don't know how deep the darkest shade is. Finally, of course, I think this one is targeted to those with drier skin (a relief to me, after the recent popularity of those oil-serum-mattifying products, which sound lovely, but are not for me).

Friday, July 10, 2015

Current Cleansers and a Deep Cleanser Option for Dry Skin

[Products were purchased by me, except * which was a press sample, **, which was a GWP, and ***, which was a gift from a friend.]

I know, you're thinking, "What, after weeks of silence, you're trying to tempt us back with CLEANSERS? PFT."

Erm, well, in my defense, cleansers are important. Also, as someone with dry skin, it's hard to find a deep-cleaning cleanser that isn't stripping or intended for oily skin. But I think I found one, so I thought it'd be helpful to share. The rest of these are staples, and I linked to reviews where possible.

After years of pretty temperate skin, I got a new job and moved across the country, underwent various other environmental changes, (more pollution here, the effects of the climate changes through the road trip, etc.,) and pissed my skin off. I broke out in odd places. Uncool.

The problem was, though, that my skin is still dry and fairly sensitive, and a lot of acne cleansers and treatments assume that anyone who is dealing with acne must have oily, robust skin. Nope. Not true. Takes all kinds!

My general evening routine consists of a cleansing oil to remove makeup and sunscreen (I rotate through them - favorites include Shu Uemura and Tatcha, although my next one is this), followed by the Neutrogena Ultra Gentle Hydrating Cleanser in the "creamy formula." This Neutrogena cleanser is so much nicer than the hideous orange classic that JLH raved over years ago. It's pretty simple and non-drying, and doesn't irritate my skin, but it still gets rid of any residue left over from the cleansing oil (or shampoo/conditioner after I shower). It's also about $8-12, depending on the store and the sale, so it is going to be a staple.

Once or twice a week, I exfoliate with either the Clarisonic Mia 2*** and a cleanser (Neutrogena or the First Aid Beauty pictured, which I'll talk about below), or with the Tatcha Polished Gentle Rice Enzyme Powder*. I'll also use the Clarisonic if I actually wore a full-face foundation during the day, which is getting to be rarer and rarer; if I wore full foundation every day, I would not use the Clarisonic every day.

That's the normal routine, but the recent change of location meant dealing with tons of humidity, sweat, and air pollution that I haven't dealt with in years, so I wanted to add something with a little more oomph to the 1-2x week slot, to get a little more deep cleansing. I dug out this trial-sized First Aid Beauty Skin Rescue Deep Cleanser with Red Clay** that I had gotten with some Sephora promotion a while back.

First Aid Beauty products are hit or miss with me; I love their Oatmeal Mask and Ultra Repair Cream, but actively disliked their lip balm, normal cleanser, and those cursed FAB Radiance Pads that everyone seems to love. So, I was wary about this one, thinking it might be too intense, but actually, it's quite nice. It feels like more of a deep cleanse without being stripping; my skin still feels soft and supple afterward, and some of the sweat/dirty skin-related breakouts calmed down. I've used it on its own and with the Clarisonic, and both methods are fine. If you have dry skin but are looking for something a little more clarifying, this might be one to try.

Lastly, I have been more active on Instagram and Twitter than on the blog lately, since it is easy to snap quick photos or fire off thoughts (140 characters or less!) at any given time, but all of my extra time has been spent catching up on statistics and R, reading scientific journals, or actively not spending time on the computer, as I use it so much for work. Please pop in and say hi! I miss reading blogs and catching up with everyone. I've also been trying to take some fashion snaps and report back on the food scene here in my new city, which is always fun. Have a great weekend!