NORDSTROM - Choose your free gift with $75 Shiseido purchase

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Updates + Sneak Peek of My Next Giveaway (valued up to $185)

Hey beauties! I recently noticed that I reached over 1,000 followers and I want to thank each and every one of you who spend your time to read my blog. Your support means alot to me and it inspires me to write better and to deliver better quality photos. 

Also, I know that some of you guys do not like following me through blogger. So, I created a Google Plus account and a Facebook page. You can also follow me on Bloglovin' or subscribe to my RSS Feed. I also have a Twitter account, which will be for beauty related news. So, check it out if you want updates on coupon deals, sales, hauls and beauty rants or if you just want to chit chat. =) I also posted a TINY preview of my next giveaway prize (valued up to $185). =D

Hope you all have a wonderful and lovely day! ^_^

Sunday, March 25, 2012

Too Faced 2012 Coupon Code: 20% OFF Entire Site (NO Minimum Purchase)


Too Faced just launched their 2012 Summer Collection, which includes a new lighter shade of their popular Chocolate Soleil Bronzer (review & swatches). The original Chocolate Soleil Bronzer is the best matte bronzer that I've tried for my NC30/35 skin tone. It doesn't make my face oompa loompa orange and it doesn't contain any shimmers. However, those that found the original shade to be too dark or muddy should give Milk Chocolate Soleil a try instead. Also, Too Faced is offering a free deluxe sample of the Chocolate Soleil Bronzer when you purchase anything from their new Summer Collection and 20% OFF entire site. Enter coupon code svintage12 at checkout. Plus, receive free shipping on any $50 order or more.


*affiliate link

Saturday, March 24, 2012

Review + Swatches: Mark All the Highlights Soft Glow Illuminator

(Direct Sunlight)  

Mark's All the Highlights Soft Glow Illuminator makes me drool and that alone is a good enough reason to buy it. =) Plus, it was only $16 at Avon and shipping was free!



(Indoor Lighting)

Pros:
  • silky texture
  • can be used on eyes or face
  • easy to pick up the shades individually with an eyeshadow brush
  • gives the cheeks a glowy finish
  • easily blendable and buildable
  • lasts at least 14 hours on cheeks and brow bone
  • does not crease when used on the eyes with a primer
  • no chunky glitters

Cons:
  • not available in stores
  • the color of the butterfly has a pink overspray that disappears after 2 brush swipes
  • peachy pink shade has fallouts during application when used as an eyeshadow
  • starts fading after 6 hours when worn on the lids and used as an eyeshadow, even with a primer (I have oily lids.)

(Direct Sunlight) 

(Indoor Lighting) 

The compact has a full size mirror and is thick, but still small enough to be travel friendly. Unfortunately, the color of the butterfly is just a pink overspray, which is easily brushed away with 2 swipes. Underneath it are 4 different shades, including a light beige champagne, peachy pink, mauvey beige, and mauvey purple. They all have a satin finish, except for the peachy pink shade, which has a shimmery finish. 

First, I tried using the product as eyeshadows and the pigmentation was decent when used with a primer underneath and when layered. The texture of these eyeshadows feel silky and it's easy to pick up the colors individually with a brush. They also blend easily. I didn't experience any fallouts during application, except with the peachy pink shade, which doesn't really bother me because I usually apply my eye makeup before my foundation. So, I can easily wipe away the mess.

The 1st and 3rd strip can be used to highlight the brow bone or inner tear duct. The 2nd strip can be used as an all over the lid color and although the 4th strip is sheer, it still works well as a subtle crease color. They did not crease and lasted at least 6 hours on my oily lids before they started fading. However, when used as a brow highlight, they lasted at least 14 hours. 

When I swirled my Inglot 4SS brush (full review) all over the compact and applied the product onto my cheekbones, it looked too mauvey and purple. However, when I sweeped my brush across just the top 3 shades, it gave my cheekbones a glowy finish with a hint of a mauvey undertone, which looked flattering and still suitable for daytime use. It also builds up easily and can be layered for a more high sheen and frosty finish that's perfect for nights out. The best part is that it lasts at least 14 hours on my cheeks when worn over foundation + setting powder and it does not contain any chunky glitters.


(All Shades Swirled Together + Heavily Swatched)

Bottom Line: If you're looking for a versatile highlighter at a friendly price, then the Mark All the Highlights Soft Glow Illuminator is just the product for you. It brightens up the eyes and leaves a dewy sheen on the cheeks without the glittery mess.

Note: The Mark All the Highlights Soft Glow Illuminator contains 9.1g of product and is available at Avon for $16.

Have you tried Mark's All the Highlights Soft Glow Illuminator?

Friday, March 23, 2012

Philosophy 2012 Coupon Code: Sweet $16 and under Sale


Philosophy is having a Sweet 16 sale* today only! Select Philosophy favorites will be on sale for $16 and under. There is no promo code necessary to redeem this offer. Also, receive free shipping on any $50 purchase or more.

*affiliate link

Thursday, March 22, 2012

Review + Swatches: Pop Beauty Butterfly Bronze Blush Duo Compact in Sunblossom


Hey beauties! I'm so excited to share with you all my first Pop Beauty purchase (and it won't be my last)! If you've been a long time follower of my blog, then you know I'm a huge sucker for pretty packaging. So, I just had to get my hands on the Pop Beauty Butterfly Bronze Blush Duo Compact in Sunblossom. Whew! That was a mouthful. =D




Pros:
  • silky texture
  • applies smoothly
  • blends easily
  • not too sheer or too pigmented
  • lasts at least 14 hours
  • contains alot of product
  • slim compact

Cons:
  • compact may be too big for travel (I personally don't mind the size and I wouldn't want to travel with this anyways because it's too gorgeous and I'm afraid I may lose it or break it.)

Left: Pop Beauty Butterfly Compact
Right: MAC Flower Fantasy Compact

This face powder is made up of half bronzer and half blush that work together to warm up and brighten the skin. The compact has a full size mirror and is huge compared to the standard compact, such as MAC's Flower Fantasy Face Powder (review + swatches). I doubt you will be able to hit pan on it because it contains a hefty amount of product and the embossed butterfly design is simply too gorgeous and cute to use.   


The bronzer trio is not too dark or too light for my NC30/35 skin tone. When I swirl my brush over the 3 shades and apply it on my cheeks, it translates into a peachy-honey tan color that warms up my skin and acts as a blush for me as well. The blush trio gives me a rosy pink tint and brightens up my complexion. Both the bronzer and blush shades leave a glowy sheen to the skin and they both have a beautiful satin finish that's neither frosty nor matte, which is perfect for either daytime or nighttime use. 


The texture feels silky smooth and the pigmentation is not too sheer or too pigmented. It just applies the perfect amount of product when I use my Studio Gear #13 brush (full review) or my Japonesque blush brush (mini review) and it blends easily. Also, both shades last at least 14 hours on my cheeks without fading when worn over liquid foundation + setting powder.  


(Heavy Swatch)

Bottom Line:
 
The price point is reasonable, you get a hefty amount of product and the quality is amazing. You need to run out the door and grab this compact ASAP, especially if you want your cheeks to look fresh and glowy, while still looking natural. I can't believe I've never tried their products until now!

Note: The Pop Beauty Butterfly Bronze Blush Duo Compact in Sunblossom is available at beauty.com, Nordstrom and Ulta for $26. The diameter of the compact measures 4.5 inches and each side of the compact contains 12.48g of product. 

What are some of your Pop Beauty must-haves?

*This post contains affiliate links. None of the products mentioned are sponsored.

Friday, March 16, 2012

Review + Comparison: Sonia Kashuk Dense Blush Powder Brush



Sonia Kashuk recently launched her Spring 2012 collection with a few new brushes added to the line. I didn't hesistate to get the Dense Blush Powder brush because her black handle brushes never fail to amaze me. 



Pros:
  • feels teddy bear soft when I run my fingers through the bristles & when I use it in a buffing motion
  • bristles are dense & firm
  • able to reach into all crevices of the face
  • ideal for applying mineral foundation and for buffing out over-applied products
  • great for contouring and applying sheer or regular pigmented blushes/bronzers
  • price is affordable
  • no dye bleeding
  • no funky smell after a few washes
  • dries within 6 hours
  • easy to wash when used with powder products
  • shedding has stopped after a week of use

Cons:
  • feels prickly when used in a tapping motion
  • too dense for applying a light dusting of setting powder and highly pigmented blushes


MAC Gareth Pugh 182 Brush $60 (full review): The Sonia Kashuk Dense Blush Powder brush is just as soft as the MAC 182 brush, which is ideal for applying setting powder and mineral/powder foundation if you want light coverage. However, the Sonia Kashuk brush is a more suitable option if you want better coverage since the bristles are slightly more densely packed(Note: The denser the brush, the more coverage you'll get.) I also find that it offers better control and can get into the small crevices of the face better since the head is smaller.

MAC 109 Brush $34 (full review): The Sonia Kashuk Dense Blush Powder brush feels just as soft, but is slightly more dense than the MAC 109. However, I find that the MAC 109 is still dense enough for contouring. Moreover, it fits perfectly in the hollow of my cheeks and offers better precision because it has a smaller head. However, the Sonia Kashuk version is a more affordable option.

Sonia Kashuk Large Domed Eyeshadow Brush $9.99 (mini review): This is ideal for applying highlight on the browbone and for blending harsh lines. The Sonia Kashuk Dense Blush Powder brush is more suitable for face application.


The Sonia Kashuk Dense Blush Powder brush is ideal for applying mineral/powder foundation because the bristles are densely packed and fits well into the crevices of the face. The firmness and the size of the head also makes it suitable for contouring and for buffing out over-applied products

However, the brush is not ideal for applying highly pigmented blushes because it's simply too dense and it will place a concentrated amount of product onto the cheek area; thus, making it difficult to blend out. It is also too dense for applying a light dusting of setting powder. 

When I use the brush for sheer blushes, it picks up the product very well and disperses evenly onto my cheek area. However, when I use it to apply regular pigmented blushes, it takes a little more work and technique. I find that I must tap the product onto my cheek area first and then blend upwards towards my hair line. If I just sweep the product without tapping it onto my cheek area, then it ends up looking blotchy. Also, please keep in mind that the brush feels a little prickly when I use it in a tapping motion. However, the bristles feels soft and not scratchy at all when I run my fingers through it and when I use it in a buffing motion.

As for maintenance, it's really easy to clean when used with powder products and dries within 6 hours. I did experience some shedding during the first week, but it has stopped shedding after a few washes. (This brush is made from natural bristles; therefore, it is not ideal for applying liquid/cream products. It will shed non-stop and like crazy if you do.) 


Bottom Line: I highly recommend grabbing the Sonia Kashuk Dense Blush Powder brush for buffing powder products, such as mineral/powder foundation, sheer blushes and bronzers because the bristles feel so soft and dense. It is also a more affordable option as a contouring brush, compared to the MAC 109. Overall, the quality of the Sonia Kashuk brush is well worth the price tag.

Note: The Sonia Kashuk Dense Blush Powder brush measures 7.25 inches and is available at Target for $17.99.

Which Sonia Kashuk brushes have you tried and love?

Update: I just purchased another Sonia Kashuk Dense Blush Powder brush and the newer one is less dense than the original one. It also feels slightly softer and does not feel prickly when used in a tapping motion. I find that the newer one is more suitable for applying setting powder, regular pigmented blushes and bronzers, while the older one is more suitable for buffing out over-applied products and for applying mineral foundation & sheer blushes. 

This post contains affiliate links. None of the products mentioned are sponsored.

Thursday, March 15, 2012

Review + Comparison: Mac & Marcel Wanders 187 Duo Fiber Brush (2012 Limited Edition Version)


MAC collaborated with Dutch designer Marcel Wanders in 2010 and they're back together again for Spring 2012. I wasn't going to get anything from this collection because the packaging didn't really interest me. Moreover, I've tried the 187 brush that came out in the first Marcel Wanders collection (full review) and it was not as dense as my original 187 brush (full review). However, someone mentioned on a beauty forum that the bristles of the 187 brush in this collection is dyed with a special coloring and I was immediately sold. Yes, I always fall victim to marketing ploys, especially when products have pretty packaging and are limited edition.


MAC & Marcel Wanders 187 Duo Fiber Brush 
(2012 Limited Edition Version)

Pros:
  • bristles are dense, firm and soft
  • does not shed when used with powder products or when stippling liquid products
  • no dye bleeding
  • no funky smell after a few washes
  • dries within 7 hours
  • ideal for stippling liquid foundation
  • great for applying highly pigmented powder products
  • easy to wash when used with powder products

Cons:
  • price may not be in everyone's range
  • takes at least 2 washes for all the liquid/cream product to get out
  • head is a little bit wide to work around the small crevices of the face
  • handle is a little bit long


Sephora Professionnel Platinum #44 Stippling Brush $35 (full review): The bristles do not feel scratchy and are slightly more densely packed, but not as wide or as soft as the 2012 Marcel Wanders brush. In terms of performance, I prefer the Sephora brush for stippling liquid foundation because it's firmer and has a smaller head, which gives me better control during application.

MAC 187 Duo Fibre Brush $42 (full review): The 2012 Marcel Wanders brush is a little bit softer, denser and firmer than the permanent version of the MAC 187 brush. However, the permanent version has a shorter handle and a smaller head, which makes it easier to reach the small crevices of the face when stippling liquid foundation. (The Mac 187 brush that I'm referring to is the old version. The new version from the permanent line (review) is flimsier and not ideal for stippling liquid foundation.) Regardless, I still prefer the 2012 Marcel Wanders version because it's firmer, which gives me better control during application .  


The density of the brush is the most important factor when choosing a stippling brush. The firmer the brush, the better control you'll have when applying foundation. Therefore, I was really disappointed with the 2010 Marcel Wanders brush (full review). It was just too flimsy for stippling liquid foundation.  

Marcel Wanders revamped the brush and came back with a denser version for the MAC Spring 2012 collection. The duo fiber brush is a mix of white synthetic bristles and natural bristles that are dyed grey, which reminds me of a Siberian Husky. (The stock photo on MAC's website is incorrect and shows the natural bristles to be black.) The design of the handle is the same as the 2010 version, except the 2012 version has a chrome-finished wooden handle and does not look cheap.

The 2012 Marcel Wanders brush is soft, but dense and firm, which makes stippling liquid foundation a breeze. I love that it gives me an airbrushed finish. However, because the head of the brush is a little bit wide, it's difficult to work around the small crevices of the face. Therefore, I recommend stippling your foundation first before applying your eye makeup. (Also, do not stipple and swirl any liquid product, such as foundation with a duo fiber brush because the foundation will come in contact with the bottom part of the bristles where the natural fibers are, and that will cause the brush to shed. If you only stipple with a duo fiber brush, which is its intended use, then it will give you an airbrush finish & there will be no shedding whatsoever because the foundation will only be in contact with the white synthetic fibers.)

This brush is also ideal for applying highly pigmented blushes because the white synthetic bristles lightly pick up product and disperse evenly onto the cheek area. I only wish that the length of the handle was a little bit shorter because it tends to hit the mirror when I get too close to it. As for maintenance, it's super easy to clean when used with powder products. However, when used with liquid/cream products, it takes at least 2 washes to get all the product out. It is important to note that I have to do this with all my other foundation brushes 


Bottom Line: The Sephora #44 brush costs $35 and performs just as well as the 2012 Marcel Wanders brush, which costs an arm and a leg $80. However, the pretty packaging and the special dyed goat hairs are well worth the price tag for me, personally. (I could just dye the hairs of my original 187 brush and save $80, but it's just not the same!)

Note: The 2012 MAC & Marcel Wanders 187 brush (limited edition) measures 8.5 inches in total length and is available at Nordstrom for $80.

Did you grab anything from the MAC & Marcel Wanders 2012 Collection?

*This post contains affiliate links. None of the products mentioned are sponsored.

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Benefit Coupon Code 2012: Free Deluxe POREfessional Primer ($10 value)



Benefit is offering a free deluxe sample of the POREfessional primer (7.5ml)* with any $35 order plus free shipping on orders over $50. Enter coupon code PROBALM at checkout. Offer expires March 19, 2012. 

According to Benefit, the primer:
  • quickly minimize the appearance of pores & fine lines for smoother-than-smooth skin
  • can be applied alone, under or over makeup
  • is translucent and oil-free  
  • helps makeup stay put
  • contains a Vitamin E derivative, known to protect skin from free radicals

*affiliate link

Review + Swatches: Maybelline Color Tattoo 24HR Cream Gel Eyeshadow

Top Left to Right: 05 Too Cool, 45 Bold Gold, 35 Tough as Taupe
Bottom Left to Right: 25 Bad to the Bronze, 30 Pomegranate Punk, 15 Audacious Asphalt

The Maybelline Color Tattoo 24HR Cream Gel eyeshadows* have received quite a lot of attention in the blogging sphere, but I was hesitant on testing them because I have oily lids. I'm so glad that I tried these because they definitely changed my mind about drugstore products. Budget beauty brands have come a long way and now offer better quality, while still maintaining a friendly price. =)

Top Left to Right: 05 Too Cool, 45 Bold Gold, 35 Tough as Taupe
Bottom Left to Right: 25 Bad to the Bronze, 30 Pomegranate Punk, 15 Audacious Asphalt

Pros:
  • texture feels creamy
  • blends easily
  • good color payoff
  • doesn't crease or fade
  • lasts at least 16 hours
  • no fallouts during blending (matte shade)
  • applies smoothly and doesn't tug the skin during application
  • no chunky glitter
  • affordable price

Cons:
  • minor fallouts during blending (Too Cool, Bold Gold, Pomegranate Punk & Audacious Asphalt)
  • Too Cool, Bold Gold, Pomegranate Punk & Audacious Asphalt contain tiny specks of sparkles

Left to Right: 05 Too Cool, 45 Bold Gold, 35 Tough as Taupe


Too Cool is a shimmery bright white shade with tiny specks of sparkles.

Bold Gold is a shimmery antique gold shade with tiny specks of sparkles. The color is too yellow and dirty looking for my NC30/35 skin tone. However, if you found MAC Woodwinked or Urban Decay Half Baked to be too orange on your skin tone, then I recommend using Bold Gold as a base because it makes both colors appear less warm.

Tough as Taupe is a mauvey grey shade with a matte finish.

Left to Right: 25 Bad to the Bronze, 30 Pomegranate Punk, 15 Audacious Asphalt


Bad to the Bronze has a shimmery taupey sheen with a bronze base shade. This is my favorite shade of the bunch because it compliments my skin tone very well when worn alone or as a base for powder eyeshadows. Also, it's perfect for an "everyday, neutral eye look."

Pomegranate Punk is a shimmery burgundy shade with tiny specks of sparkles.

Audacious Asphalt is a shimmery silver grey shade that leans a little blue on my NC30/35 skin tone. It also has tiny specks of sparkles.


Packaging: Each eyeshadow is sealed with a plastic wrapper and is packaged in a glass jar, which is sturdy and not cheap-looking at all, even though the black screw-top lids are made of plastic. The jars are transparent and give a clear view of the product inside, which makes them distinctive from one another when you store them upside down. (Also, when you store them upside down, the moisture settles towards the surface. So, the product doesn't dry out as quickly.) The only "mistake" that Maybelline did was labeling the name of the shades on the lid instead of the bottom of the jar, which could cause the lids to be mismatched, especially if you bought all 10 shades. However, it was very easy to guess the color and it didn't take me long to figure out which lid goes where.



Application: None of these eyeshadows tug the skin during application; however, the matte shade applies the smoothest, regardless of the type of tool that is used. The shimmery shades apply less smooth when used with a synthetic brush, such as the Royal & Langnickel BC411 brush (mini review). I find that they apply more smoothly and evenly when used with a finger, but the pigmentation is not as intense as when used with a brush. I still prefer to use a synthetic brush because it's more sanitary, it gives me better control and I get better color payoff. (I don't recommend using a brush with natural bristles to apply the cream eyeshadows because they will apply very patchy. Also, do not over apply them or they will "cake and crack.")

These eyeshadows give me ample time to blend before they completely dry and set. Here are the following steps that I take to ensure a perfect application:
  1. apply product on left eye (using a synthetic brush)
  2. apply product on right eye (using a synthetic brush)
  3. blend left eye
  4. blend right eye
It's not rocket science, but I find that when I blend immediately after applying, the product fades away and if I wait too long, it becomes really difficult to blend. So, just follow those 4 simple steps that I mentioned above and blending will be a breeze. Unfortunately, there will be some minor fallouts when you start blending Too Cool, Bold Gold, Pomegranate Punk & Audacious Asphalt because they contain tiny specks of sparkles. However, the mess can be easily wiped away if you apply your eye makeup before your foundation. .

As for lasting power, I don't dare to test these eyeshadows for 24 hours because it may irritate my skin. However, I did test them on my oily lids for 16 hours and they didn't fade or crease when used with a primer, without a primer or with powder eyeshadows over them.




Bottom Line: Too Cool, Bold Gold, Pomegranate Punk & Audacious Asphalt have tiny specks of sparkles; however, I don't mind them because they are not gritty, chunky glitters. Although they may not be appropriate for the office, I would still wear them at the club, mall, or even at the park. I highly recommend checking them out, especially if you plan on using them as a base because they intensify the color of powder eyeshadows and the lasting power is amazing. Hopefully, Maybelline has plans to expand their color range and will release some more neutral matte shades in the future.

Note: Each Maybelline Color Tattoo 24HR Cream Gel eyeshadow contains 4g of product and is available at UltaTarget and drugstore.com for around $6. 


Which Maybelline cream eyeshadow is your favorite?

*This post contains affiliate links. None of the products mentioned are sponsored.
 
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