Look of the Day – Simply Versatile

Here’s a simple one for any occasion, any season and any time of the day.

Selfie

Products used:

Face:

  • Estee Lauder Matte Perfecting Primer
  • Charlotte Tilbury Light Wonder Perfect Skin Foundation (Medium 6)
  • Becca Aqua Luminous Perfecting Concealer (Fair)
  • NARS Light Reflecting Pressed Setting Powder (Translucent Crystal)
  • Charlotte Tilbury Airbrush Flawless Finish Micro-Powder (2 Medium)

Brows:

  • Anastasia Beverly Hills Brow Wiz (Medium Brown)
  • Anastasia Beverly Hills Dipbrow Pomade (Medium Brown)
  • Anastasia Beverly Hills Clear Brow Gel

Eyes:

  • ZOEVA Smoky Eyeshadow Palette (Sweet Smell – transition & lower lashline, Ashes Awake – lid, Relieve the Moon – brow bone highlight)
  • NYX Lid Lingerie (Night Glow)
  • NYX Slide On Eye Pencil (Jet Black)
  • Urban Decay Perversion Mascara (Black)

Cheeks:

  • Marc Jacobs O!Mega Bronzer Perfect Tan (Tantric)
  • NARS Blush (Goulue)

Highlight:

  • Jouer Powder Highlighter (Rose Quartz)

Lips:

  • NYX Slim Lip Pencil (Pale Pink)
  • MAC Cosmetics Matte Lipstick (Really Me)

Setting Spray:

  • MAC Fix Plus
Advertisements

Color Up: Sugar Maple Honey

It’s been a hot minute since my last Color Up post and I decided to squeeze one just in time to welcome fall! Though I’m not sure at all if fall has started here in SoCal. But anyways, I miss the maple tree I used to have right beside my previous house back in IL. So, this Color Up look is inspired by the beautiful orangey tones of sugar maple!

I’ve also decided to shorten my Color Up post to make it easier to follow as tutorials. Who the hell got time to read lengthy paragraphs when doing makeup, right? So, I hope you like this simple version instead.

The Look

2017-10-06-16-56-19-086_150654645646547335635576

 

The Colors

Image result for abh modern renaissance

(Image source: http://beautypointofview.com/anastasia-beverly-hills-modern-renaissance-palette/)

 

The Application

Our Photos20-001

20171006_144811-001

Screen-Shot-2016-06-20-at-3.58.26-pm

Since I was going for colors inspired by Sugar Maple, I chose the oranges and brown from my Anastasia Beverly Hills Modern Renaissance eyeshadow palette. Started my transition and crease using the lighter burnt orange colors (Raw Sienna & Burnt Orange), and amplifying a true orange on the lid with Realgar. Deepened the outer V with a touch of brown (Cyprus Umber), then went back in with Realgar to intensify the orange on the lid. Pulled the whole eye look together by re-blending the transition and crease colors and applying them onto my lower lashline as well before using Primavera for my inner corners.

And here’s the result:

2017-10-06-16-52-34-651_1507335491385

For the first look, I wanted to go full orangey mode so I went in with my Anastasia Beverly Hills Matte Lipstick in the shade Peachy, a nude sandy peach color.

2017-10-06-16-58-52-558

To get into the deeper shade of fall, I paired the orangey eye look with a chocolate brown lip color using the Anastasia Beverly Hills Lip Gloss in Fudge.

So that’s it for my sugar maple, fall inspired look. Till then, happy autumn!

Basics Baby: My Skincare Routine

“I regret taking such good care of my skin,” said NO ONE ever!

Having good skin is such an asset, and the best defense against premature aging. It may be one of your best investments, and one that you should take seriously. So do I have flawless, amazing skin? Au contraire mon cheri. I’ve had my fair share of skin-related struggles, particularly back when I was in my teens, even till my late twenties. And if you’ve followed my account from the beginning, you’d know that the positive effects of my revamped skincare regime has incentivized me to pen down my very first blog post (https://sitihajaresa.wordpress.com/2016/07/12/basics-baby-the-toner-edition/).

Blackheads, whiteheads, acne, acne scars, you name it all, I’ve had them all. Battling problematic skin has to be one of the most stressful periods of my life, and not to mention that vicious cycle of stress-inducing acne. Despite having a great interest in maintaining a good skincare regime, I realized that I have been looking at the wrong products all along. Alcohol-laden toners and pore-clogging moisturizers are amongst the lineup of skin-irritants I unknowingly slathered onto my face during my phase of oblivion. Now, I take pride in the fact that none of my skincare items contain skin-aggravating ingredients of any type, form or shape and that shows in how my skin has improved over these couple of years.

Now, I wouldn’t dare to claim that my skin is currently problem-free. I do have the occasional hormonal pimple, and blackheads here and there. And my acne do leave blemishes. However, the situation has improved a whole lot. The frequency of imperfections forming on my skin is way less than it was in the past. Inflammation has significantly toned down, and my skin’s reparative ability has improved. Most importantly, my skin now feels well-nourished and healthy, neither too dry nor too oily. And it’s all thanks to the skincare regime I had put together and tested for the past two years. So, if you’re having problems with your skin, you’re not alone. I hope this sharing can help you in one way or another.

Before I go into details of specific steps and products used, let me quickly summarize my skincare philosophy.

  • Only use products that do not contain any skin-irritant and skin-aggravating ingredients.
  • Opt for gentle yet effective products that do what they claim.
  • Products have to be affordable for the long-run.
  • Results must be visible within the time frame stipulated.
  • Routine should not be a hassle.

Skin Type: Combination, blemish-prone skin

AM Skincare Routine

Step 1: Cleanse

Of course the basics to every skincare regime is to cleanse your skin off any dirt, grime and excess oil. Every morning I would cleanse my face using my First Aid Beauty Face Cleanser with Antioxidant Booster. For me this is the perfect cleanser as it is gentle and fragrance-free, yet effective in purifying my face. I cannot tolerate cleansers that give a tight, almost too squeaky clean feel as that gives me the sense that all my natural moisture has been stripped off. FAB’s pH-balanced formula however never leaves my skin too dry or tight, and its powerful botanical antioxidant blend is a great bonus, though such infusion in cleansers particularly does not leave any significant impact on the skin.

Step 2: Exfoliate

This specifically is the most important addition to my skincare routine that changed my skin condition. In the past, I have known exfoliation in its traditional sense i.e. physical exfoliation using a facial scrub of some sort. Two years ago, I was introduced to the amazing world of gentle exfoliants. Formulated to help effectively unclog pores and smoothing skin’s surface, gentle exfoliants exfoliate dead skin in a non-abrasive way that it can be used everyday, even twice daily.

For my AM skincare, I use the CLEAR Extra Strength Anti-Redness Exfoliating Solution with 2% Salicylic Acid from Paula’s Choice Skincare. This gentle exfoliant unclogs pores and has a potent acne-fighting formula that helps to clear pimples and blackheads. The water consistency renders this product weightless on skin and provides light hydration to prevent any flaking or dry spots. The first few times I used this exfoliant, I noticed my imperfections begin to diminish in a couple of weeks. From then on, using this exfoliant truly helps to maintain my skin temperament.

Step 3: Moisturize

Moisturizing is sometimes greatly misunderstood, especially by people with oily skin. Why would I slap on more moisture when my face is already an oil well is the logic. Though this may sound like a skincare cliche, moisturizing is an essential step that should not be overlooked by people of any skin type. The key is to choose the right moisturizer for yourself. Even when your skin is oily, it needs a moisturizer to balance out its sebum secretions. Also, an overly oily complexion can in fact be a sign that your skin is dehydrated, and therefore in dire need of moisture. A quick tip is that oily skin goes very well with gel and water based moisturizers while dry skin benefits from a lotion to a cream type of consistency.

For daytime though, the vital skincare item to NEVER leave out is sunscreen. I choose to make things easy for myself by using a moisturizer containing sunscreen for day. My favorites are all from Paula’s Choice Skincare – the SKIN BALANCING Ultra-Sheer Daily Defense Broad Spectrum SPF 30 (chemical-based), HYDRALIGHT Shine-Free Mineral Complex SPF 30 (mineral-based) and RESIST Super-Light Wrinkle Defense SPF 30 (mineral-based with a light tint). The reason I love PC’s sunscreen moisturizers is that they are light and does not clog pores, yet effective in protecting your skin. They also perform well under makeup. The addition of antioxidants is a great touch to boosting the efficacy of the products. I never go a day without one of these sunscreen moisturizers on my face. Today, my face is free of any hyperpigmentation or sun spots.

And that’s it for daytime skincare, only three products. Since morning is known to be the rush hour, you don’t want to include too many steps or complicate your regime. Just make it quick and simple so that you’ll always follow through with it.

2017-10-05-15-51-55-456

(My skin today, after my AM skincare routine.)

PM Skincare Routine

Step 1: Cleanse

For night time, I prefer to use a slightly stronger cleanser, one I feel removes dirt and any makeup residue much more effectively. Thus, I opt for the CeraVe Foaming Facial Cleanser. Now, don’t mistake what I mean by stronger cleanser to be a harsh cleaning agent. I find the CeraVe to be “stronger” than my First Aid Beauty cleanser due to its good foaming action, which I feel makes it easier to cleanse off any excess impurities on the face. The CeraVe cleanser is ultimately still a gentle, unscented product that cleanses without disrupting the natural protective barrier on your skin. On days where I have makeup on during the day, I would remove it prior using my Garnier SkinActive Micellar Cleansing Water. In cases of long-wearing, water-proof or stubborn makeup, I’ll opt for the Clinique Take The Day Off Cleansing Oil. Then I would proceed with the CeraVe cleanser. I prefer to double cleanse this way to ensure that no potentially pore-clogging makeup residue remains on my skin.

Step 2: Exfoliate

For night time, I prefer to exfoliate my skin with something more hydrating. Especially after a whole day of wearing makeup, my skin tends to feel a little drier than it does in the morning. For the boost of hydration, I first use the RESIST Weightless Advanced Repairing Toner from Paula’s Choice Skincare that rehydrates and lightly moisturizes while renewing skin after cleansing. Applying it with a cotton pad also helps to ensure that all final traces of makeup, if any, are thoroughly removed. Then I go in with my RESIST Daily Pore-Refining Treatment with 2% BHA to gently unclog my pores and naturally exfoliate my skin.

Step 3: Moisturize

As with my AM moisturizers, I do have a variety of options for my night-time moisturizers, all of which are fragrance-free, gentle and non-irritating to skin. If my skin feels quite balanced, I would either use my SKIN BALANCING Invisible Finish Moisture Gel or RESIST Anti-Aging Clear Skin Hydrator, both from Paula’s Choice Skincare. Her moisturizers don’t only feel lightweight on the skin, they too contain an effective dose of antioxidants and skin-restoring ingredients. If my skin leans towards the drier side, I would go for my First Aid Beauty Ultra Repair Hydrating Serum, a water-based gel which key ingredient is hyaluronic acid – a moisture-locking agent that helps to hydrate, plump and nourish the skin. Alternatively, I would use my B-Hydra Intensive Hydration Gel from Drunk Elephant which delivers as good, if not only slightly better hydration and soothing properties to the skin as the FAB serum. However, I do not re-purchase the Drunk Elephant moisturizer as often as it is more expensive than the rest at 52.00 USD.

Step 4: Treatment

Since I do have the luxury of time to indulge in my skincare at night, I would always boost my routine with a targeted form of treatment. Since my concerns are mostly hydration and pore-minimizing, I alternate between a few treatments every day. My favorite concoction is mixing a few drops of Paula’s Choice RESIST C15 Super Booster (with 15% pure vitamin C to help brighten and replenish skin) and her RESIST 10% Niacinamide Booster (helps reduce appearance of enlarged pores, wrinkles and dry skin). For the colder months when my skin feels drier, I would apply a good dose of the RESIST Moisture Renewal Oil Booster, an antioxidant-enriched blend of pure-nourishing plant oils and skin-renewing ceramides. My skin always feels hydrated and rejuvenated after using these booster treatments.

Additional Skincare Routine

These subsequent steps aren’t exactly essentials, but I don’t skip them either as I feel my skin does benefit from them.

Under eyes

I truly dislike wrinkles or fine lines around the eye area, so I try to minimize its appearance by using a daily under-eye product. My go-to is the Clinique Pep-Start Eye Cream, a fragrance-free under-eye moisturizer containing plant-based antioxidants and peptides. For a lighter hydration, I would use the more affordable ELF Eye Refresh. It has a water-light consistency and is infused with pomegranate, rosemary, green tea, cucumber and grape to alleviate under-eye puffiness and sorts.

Mask

Mask is a weekly indulgence for me, serving two purposes – as a purifying treatment and a hydrating treatment. To decongest my pores and remove excess oils, I apply the Clarifying Clay Masque from SkinCeuticals. Only during the colder seasons do I use my Skin Recovery Hydrating Treatment Mask from Paula’s Choice Skincare to replenish my skin and provide it with intense hydration. The latter can in fact be used as an overnight mask if your skin feels extremely tight and dry.

Physical Exfoliation

Despite my daily gentle exfoliation, I still believe in a weekly routine of physically exfoliating my skin. Therefore, on Sundays I would replace my PM cleanser with an exfoliating gel scrub, specifically the Sebium Exfoliating Purifying Gel from Bioderma. My skin instantly feels much softer and smoother, thanks to the instant deep exfoliation.

So, that’s all for my sharing on my skincare routine. A skincare regime is largely personal and highly dependent on your skin type, lifestyle and preferences. So, go for a routine that works for you. Bottom line is to choose products that do not contain any skin irritants including alcohol, witch hazel, certain essential oils and fragrances. Also, practice a little more caution when using natural ingredients such as lemon as though they are natural, the acidity in them can be a little too harsh for certain skin types. So, experiment with what you’d like to incorporate into your skincare routine and if there’s no adverse effects within a week or so, you’re good. So, here’s to healthy skin!

 

Basics Baby: How to curb your spending desires (makeup and more)

Are you a self-diagnosed makeup addict? Do you find yourself spending on a few makeup items every week? And are you a familiar face in the shops or online every time there’s any sort of beauty deals, offers or sale? If you are struggling to restrain your ravenous appetite for more, be it makeup or any other obsession, then this read may be worth your while.

Image result for throwing money to sephora

(Image source: https://www.pinterest.com/rachelbayyy/makeup-quotes/)

Doused in a powerful and magnetic consumerist stream, the typical shopper today is faced with an overzealous and aggressive market. The concepts of purchasing and ownership, especially in the cosmetics industry today are very much geared towards serving a hankering that is born out of curiosity rather than necessity. Every new product piques your interest and begs for your experience and a sense of ownership in a bid to own whatever’s “good” out there. Hence, battling the propensity to continuously purchase something, no matter how small or affordable, just to feed your insatiable desires isn’t the easiest feat in the world. It takes great determination, focus and a hell lot of commitment to shake off that unquenchable urge.

Personally, I am definitely going through this phase to some degree. Though I wouldn’t pronounce myself a makeup addict in the sense of the word, I do fall victim to what I deem to be highly attractive offers and discounts. But with the intense profit-driven marketing strategies, alluring beauty deals seem to be on the table every other day. How do we then not allow ourselves to be entrapped in this whole vicious cycle that unceasingly encourages us to spend, spend and spend?

If you are uncomfortable with your current spending desires and truly wish to overcome it, here are some tips that hopefully you and I can try out together and eventually regain greater control of our purchasing lust. Quick disclaimer, these are some things that I read about and also just think about as I analyzed my own situation, dealing with an insistent impulse to “optimize” sales and offers. These are what I figured should logically minimize what I call “enablers” to your spending desires as well as help you have a much firmer grip of what you already have, what are necessities and what are the kinds of expenditure I would term as throwing hard-earned money to large money-grubbing corporations who seriously do not care if you go bankrupt.

Image result for throwing money to sephora

(Image source: https://memegenerator.net/instance/56147551/di-caprio-throwing-money-sephoras-holiday-sale-got-me-like)

1. Understand what you own

There are countless times when I am either doing my makeup, or re-arranging them that I keep finding “new” things in my vanity that I totally forgot about. And I am constantly making room for new products. If you encounter the same things for whatever your obsession may be even if it’s not makeup, these are signs that you are owning too many things and that you even lost track of what you have.

You need to pause, and take a good look at what you own. Take the time to ascertain what and how much you have, as meticulously as you wish. (https://bemorewithless.com/my-cosmetic-obsession/) suggests calculating the financial worth of your cosmetics, further segmenting it into different categories so that you have a much clearer sense of what you already have. Also, the financial worth of what you already own may also really hit you as to how much you have actually already spent on your obsession. This helps a great deal in deterring you from further spending.

After this exercise, you would most likely realize that you do own all that you need, and much, much, much, much, much more. This is the best time to de-clutter your items, discarding old, expired products, giving away or donating unused products that you never knew existed or returning recent purchases that you realize you do not need (provided they are within the 30-day period for Sephora, 60-day period for ULTA and so on).

2. Set your goals

Once you have a better understanding of what you own, now’s the time to tackle the frequency of your purchases, as well as the amount. You have to be in control here. When and what you purchase shouldn’t be a sole and direct result of an offer advertisement you saw the day before, or a latest release that is the talk of town. Realistically speaking, I’m not asking you to swear off any sort of indulgence especially for new product releases. But what I’m encouraging is for you to be in control of it.

Specifically, draw up a sort of an annual purchase plan. Set the number of times in that particular year that you’d allow yourself to make purchases for that obsession of yours. Go a step further and set a budget for each purchase. There is no one size fits all for this; tailor it to suit your own financial means and goals.

If you truly are a makeup addict for example, you would have had an idea of how often sales occur, and when the best time is to purchase certain products. Keep that in mind when setting your purchasing frequency. For example, I prefer to take advantage of the 25% off deals that occur at year end (Sephora) and I also know that ULTA’s 50% off offers may be worth it. So, in planning my purchase, I would keep in mind these two events and allocate a budget for them.

In my case, I am keeping to four makeup expenditures per year, one per season as I know there would always be attractive seasonal sales. I would then allocate 50 dollars for each purchase. I would allow myself reasonable flexibility i.e. if one of the purchases amount to say 20 dollars, I would allow myself an extra purchase for the amount of 30 dollars, and that would still be aligned with my financial goals. However, if you overspend, then do the right thing by cutting the expenditure allowed for the next purchase. Once you have hit the maximum expenditure allowed for the year, do NOT allow yourself to spend on your obsession anymore for that year. This also ensures that you follow your spending schedule and I highly advise you to spread your purchases over a year instead of doing it all within the first month or so, to prevent that dry spell that will surely kick up the desire again. Plan your schedule in the most feasible and sustainable way.

3. Modify your shopping habits

I notice that I tend to be more impulsive when I buy online as compared to in stores. In stores, I get to test the products and usually that kinda cures my curiosity. I also tend to be more focused on the product quality as I get to see and touch them, and in 99 percent of cases, end up not purchasing anything that I do not plan to. Most, if not all of my trips to shops are based on a list that I have already penned out way before.

When online however, I am highly driven by my curiosity and impulse. I want the product because I want to know how it feels, how it looks in real life. I want the product because I just saw it on the bestsellers page, and it looks kinda interesting, I want to try it. Though I can return it if I end up not liking it, that rarely happens. And I always find a reason to keep my things. So for me, online shopping stimulates my never-ending need for new things because I am sparked by inquisitiveness. Therefore, I make a vow to not shop online, wherever possible. I understand certain products are only sold online, so if the product is a need then of course do it. But I will try to stop window-shopping online, and only go to the shop with a specific list and stick to it.

4. Deactivate your enablers

You may not realize it but there are many things that you constantly engage with, or are a part of, that act as enablers to your insatiable shopping desires. Social media, for one, is the greatest enabler of them all. Specifically for makeup lovers, following the Instagram accounts of Trendmood for example is feeding right into your ravenous appetite for more. Such platforms that serve as alerts to disseminate information on new product releases or beauty deals and offers will not do you any good if you are currently struggling with your addiction. Take that bold move and unfollow them. I am not asking you to unfollow all makeup-related channel or accounts, just those that you know you always fall victim to. This is a key step to healing.

In addition, unsubscribe from all email alerts that will notify you of new product releases and offers. If you want to know of new product releases to consider purchasing, head to the store and check them out for yourselves and if you like the product, make sure they fit into your spending schedule. Also, do not fret if you can’t seem to meet the requirements to renew your Rouge (Sephora) and Platinum (ULTA) membership. Why would you spend a thousand dollars every year just to be a Sephora Rouge member? There’s no real prestige in that, nor are there any rewards or benefits that differ substantially from Beauty Insiders. It’s not worth it. I am going to lose my Rouge membership by end of this year as I didn’t spend enough to get it renewed. But I feel relieved that I don’t have to succumb to this pressure to constantly spend a ridiculous amount every year to gain that title. So, make your peace with it.

5. Adopt a healthier philosophy

Last but not least, take on a new perspective to the things you own. If your obsession is with clothes or bags, there will always be new ones. You can never own them all. There will always be a new style, new materials, new finishes. Same goes with makeup – there will always be a new lipstick shade, a new formula. Every product, every new release WILL make you feel incomplete. Shake off that feeling to own a “complete” makeup collection, or a “complete” shawl collection, “complete” bag collection, what have you. It will NEVER be complete.

Instead of wanting to own a bit of everything, focus on owning a finite number of things. Do this by developing a signature look or style, and stick with a finite number of staple products to achieve this look. Stick to your holy grails, keep using products that work awesome on you, don’t need to mend it if it’s not broken. This is a much healthier approach to consumerism, and not to mention for your bank account.

I am so excited to be practicing what I’ve preached. I can’t wait to be spending on things that are much more necessary and worthwhile like taking up foreign language classes, than on more and more makeup that I clearly do not need. I hope you found these helpful. Feel free to DM me your success stories, if any. Till the next one.

 

Judge Judy: Anastasia Beverly Hills Liquid Lipstick (Stripped)

A bit over a year ago, I did a review on my first Anastasia Beverly Hills liquid lipstick in the shade Pure Hollywood. Had a love-hate relationship with that particular shade. It is a gorgeous nude once it has dried down but the process of applying the lipstick can be a pain. It goes on rather unevenly, and leaves visible streaks but somehow manages to become even after drying down. The finish was more tacky than I wanted it to be and it is neither long-wearing nor transfer-resistant. Pure Hollywood was a part of the first series of liquid lipsticks released by ABH. In spring of last year, ABH released about seven new shades, mostly nudes. I’ve decided to give this new batch a try, hoping for a better formulation, and I finally got to trying another nude that I’ve been eyeing since its release, the shade Stripped.

Image result for anastasia beverly hills stripped

(Image source: https://www.sephora.com/product/liquid-lipstick-P404831?skuId=1790641)

Anastasia Beverly Hills Liquid Lipstick in Stripped:

  • 20.00 USD for 0.11 fl oz
  • An intensely pigmented, full coverage matte lipstick
  • Delivers long-lasting, smear-resistant coverage

Described as a neutral beige nude, this is how the shade Stripped looks on me:

Our Photos18

Review:

Anastasia Beverly Hills Liquid Lipstick in Stripped:

Hands down, this is one of the nicest warm nude shade I own. I’ve always liked my Makeup Geek Plush Lip Creme in the shade Jetsetter, but wished that the shade was slightly lighter, more peach-based than brown-based and that it was a matte instead of a cream version. Then came Anastasia Beverly Hills Liquid Lipstick in Stripped – the very concoction I was envisioning.

A warm peach shade, it seems to be the perfect nude for light to medium skin tone. It may appear more brownish on fair skin and a bit more chalky on very deep skin tones. However, the ABH liquid lipstick collection does have shades that are much lighter than Stripped, as well as colors way deeper than Stripped, but still in the nude range, therefore it wouldn’t be difficult to get your perfect nude from the brand.

Formula-wise, this is definitely way easier to work with than Pure Hollywood. Though the color is lighter, it is not streaky at all upon application. The consistency is also not too tacky, and dries down well. However, as with Pure Hollywood, Stripped also tends to settle in the cracks and crevices of your lips, though not as bad. I achieved the opacity above using only one coat. The product feels weightless on your lips and does not feel drying at all.

As for its long-wear and smear-resistant claim, Stripped performed reasonably well for four hours of wear without any meals, but started to appear patchy after food and after eight hours of wear. However, I did not touch up at all so the end result wasn’t something disappointing.

All in all, I am extremely pleased with the shade Stripped and how it performs. It is definitely a better buy than Pure Hollywood, but of course it depends on the nude shade that you want. If you’re looking for a neutral to cool toned pale mauve, Pure Hollywood’s for you. But if you want something like a neutral to warm toned beige with a better formula, Stripped is the way to go!

VERDICT: Highly Recommended

Holy Grail: Anastasia Beverly Hills Brow Wiz

If I were to pick one makeup-related skill that took me ages to actually get a firm grip on, that would be the brows. Most of us I believe have gone through many distinct brow phases in our lives. From that first moment you decided to pluck your eyebrows, to the ensuing years of over-plucking and thread-like brows shaped like a tadpole, followed by the boxy front, thin yet bold brow, then gearing more towards a high arched softer-colored brow that almost looks unnatural. Oh, doesn’t that just make you cringe?

But for what it’s worth, I do appreciate the experience caring for my brows for now I know better. Over-plucking is a definite no-no. In fact, I spent the last two years growing my brows back to its former glory which I once ditched. Previous plucking experiences have definitely altered the way the brows grow now, but I’m liking it as they are more structured and a lot easier to maintain.

However, I think one of the biggest difference, aside from my own brow grooming and maintenance is the product I use when I want to define my brows. I’ve been using a range of brow pencils, of various tips, colors and finishes and I’d have to say I’ve never been any more satisfied with a brow product that I am with my Anastasia Beverly Hills Brow Wiz. I have used this product for a few months now, and it truly trumps other brow pencils I’ve used before or own. Before I go into further details, here’s a quick look at this amazing product.

Image result for ABH BROW WIZ

(Image source: https://www.sephora.com/product/brow-wiz-P202633?skuId=1804624)

Anastasia Beverly Hills Brow Wiz

  • 21.00 USD for 0.003 oz
  • Ultra-slim, retractable pencil allows precision in creating hair-like strokes
  • Long-wear, smudge-proof formula
  • Glides on effortlessly

To me, the ABH Brow Wiz has truly topped the brow game. Aside from being extremely easy to use, the pigment it dispenses is the perfect amount to create a beautiful brow look. You can definitely build the pigment with a firmer stroke if you want a more opaque brow effect but for a natural look where your brow hairs are still visible, a gentle stroke of the Brow Wiz will give you exactly what you need. Other brow pencils I’ve used tend to produce more pigment, which means you’d have to exercise extra care and caution if you’re going for a soft, natural brow look.

The major problem I’ve always had with previous brow pencils I’ve tried including those from Clinique and Lancome is the fact that the consistency of the product dispensed is too wet that even the gentlest stroke produces a bold result. The Anastasia Beverly Hills Brow Wiz is significantly less waxy and not too dry to a point where it is difficult to get product out. In addition, the ABH Brow Wiz pencil is ultra-slim, making it a breeze to create precise hair-like strokes. If you’re having a lazy makeup day but still wish to keep your brows together, just use the fine tip to fill up all the sparse areas in your brow hairs and you’re good to go. The spooley that comes on the other end of the pencil has sufficient grip to blend the product flawlessly.

I always pair my Brow Wiz with a clear brow gel, just to make sure my hairs are in place. But even if you don’t, the Brow Wiz on its own works commendably well. It can also be used together with other brow products such as brow powder or brow pomades, depending on the style and finish of brow you fancy. In other words, the Brow Wiz is a pretty adaptable product that works and works great, whether used alone, or with other things. If you’re new to brow shaping and defining, I would highly suggest this item. It’s such an effortless product that mistakes, if any are reversible.

Here’s a quick look at how the Anastasia Beverly Hills Brow Wiz looks on me. I am using the shade Medium Brown.

Our Photos17

(Left: ABH Brow Wiz used just to fill in sparse areas without defining brows, using gentle hair-like strokes. Right: ABH Brow Wiz used to outline, define and fill in brows, topped with ABH Clear Brow Gel)

No Thanks (New Releases)

It’s been a hot minute since I did a ‘No Thanks’ post. And I think we’ve been seeing quite a bit of new products, new releases, new cosmetics lines what have we so it’s about time we talk about those that we do not need. So let’s get straight into the list.

Pat McGrath Mothership Eyeshadow Palettes (125.00 USD)

Pat McGrath Unlimited Core | The Permanent Collection for Fall 2017

(Image source: https://www.temptalia.com/pat-mcgrath-unlimited-core-the-permanent-collection-for-fall-2017/)

Pat McGrath’s products are usually those I look on with much awe and admiration, but have never been able to justify purchasing. Just a couple months back, she launched her Luxetrance lipsticks (in the photo above), which to be honest, look very pigmented and of great quality but I never got to buying as I wasn’t specifically into any of the colors. But the drawback for McGrath for me was always the price point. I surely understand her stature; being one of the most influential makeup artists whose works on runways, editorials and advertisements have defined beauty trends but that doesn’t mean that I will throw all my money to get her products just because.

So when I chanced upon Pat McGrath’s announcement on social media of the release of her Mothership Eyeshadow Palettes, I remembered scrolling down to read the details and there it was – the hefty price tag. 125.00 USD for a ten-pan eyeshadow palette is no joke. That’s a lot of money. Now if you’re a Pat McGrath collector, or an eyeshadow palette hoarder then I guess this won’t be an issue. But for a typical consumer like myself, spending that amount of money is a significant moment. Therefore, I need to make sure that forking out those dollar bills is worth every cent.

Unfortunately, I don’t think I will feel good about spending that much on one of these eyeshadow palettes. There are three palettes in this release – Mothership I Subliminal Palette (made up of blues, violets, soft golds and matte neutrals); Mothership II Sublime Palette (consists of coppers, pinks, bronze and matte neutrals); and Mothership III Subversive Palette (includes violets, blues, olives and matte neutrals) – costing 125.00 USD each. From the photos, they do look stunning especially the vibrant diamond-sparkled colors (I’m eyeing the iconic luscious green from the Sublime Palette). The shade selection and curation appears very well conceived, and overall I think it really seems like a very well made palette. However, the price tag is just way beyond what I feel is within reasonable parameters for a typical consumer, especially if you have already owned quite a number of other palettes. Spending 125 dollars on this would obligate me to only use this palette, and not opt for my other palettes merely to justify the expenditure. Am I gonna do that? Hells to the no.

So I’m saying no to Pat McGrath’s mothership series, just because of the price tag. So if money is no issue to you, then this palette might be your best investment yet.

Viseart Golden Hour Eyeshadow Palette (49.00 USD)

Image result for viseart golden hour

(Image source: https://www.temptalia.com/viseart-golden-hour-eyeshadow-palette-for-fall-2017/)

Next in line after McGrath (and possibly Natasha Denona) in terms of price point is Viseart. Their permanent twelve-pan eyeshadows are priced at 80.00 USD and six-pan theory palettes at 45.00 USD but Viseart occasionally brings out smaller, travel-sized or fits-into-purse collections. The previous was the Petit PRO eight-super-tiny-pan eyeshadow palette pegged at 30.00 USD, which I felt was a ridiculous price for the minuscule product you get. This fall, they have just launched the Golden Hour Eyeshadow Palette, a nine-pan warm-neutral palette with matte and metallic finishes. Compared to the tiny Petit PRO, this new launch contains about double the amount of product, and in a superior metal packaging as opposed to Petit PRO’s cardboard exterior. But it launches for 49 dollars.

To be honest, I don’t have as much beef with the pricing for this as with the Pat McGrath shadows. However, the main reason why I still couldn’t justify spending on this product is due to the almost dull and meh shade selection. Nothing in this palette screams new and innovative. These are shades we’ve seen before, shades we own. I just wish they would’ve stepped out of the warm-neutral zone and come up with a more dazzling and vibrant selection that is not easily available in many other palettes. I heard that by end of the year, Viseart might be releasing another nine-pan palette but in a different shade series, so I am looking forward to that but for now, I’m keeping my 49.

LORAC Mega PRO Palette 4 (59.00 USD)

Image result for lorac mega pro 4

(Image source: http://www.loraccosmetics.com/make-up_mega-pro-4.html)

Before I talk about this palette, let me just say that I do love LORAC eyeshadows. My LORAC PRO palette is one my favorite eyeshadow palettes as it has an amazing color selection and the shadow quality is impressively pigmented and incredibly blendable. However, I have never been a fan of the LORAC Mega PRO palettes. I’ve swatched them before, and I just feel that they aren’t as amazing as the standard PRO palettes. On top of that, the mind-boggling color range confuses me. In other words, the Mega PRO palettes do not seem as well thought out as the standard PROs. It’s as if the colors are randomly picked with no clear concept. LORAC Mega PRO wants to be the jack of all trades, but master of none. The palette gives you a lot of colors in the spectrum but nothing wows you. It’s a totally different experience with the standard PRO palettes. The latter seem very professionally curated and manufactured but the former bears none of those attributes. The only people who might like this product may be makeup artists, largely due to the color range. But typical consumers? PASS.

Marc Jacobs Le Marc Liquid Lip Crayon (26.00 USD)

Image result for le marc liquid lip crayon trendmood

(Image source: https://www.instagram.com/p/BY__trRnA42/?taken-by=trendmood1)

For the finale, we’ll shift our attention from eyeshadow palettes to lip colors. And one that will be released at the end of the year is a liquid-in-a-crayon lipstick by Marc Jacobs. Called the Le Marc Liquid Lip Crayon, this product promises long-wear and comfort and comes in ten shades. The crayon concept reminds me a lot of the NARS crayon-pencil lip color thing but apparently this is supposed to be more liquidy, almost like a liquid lipstick type of consistency. While this may appear sleek, and possibly easy to wear, I am just not drawn to any of the shades to be honest. And for 26 dollars, I’d rather get a proper lipstick or liquid lipstick because I am not the most optimistic as to the longwear of this formula. Also, the shades in Marc Jacob’s Le Marc Liquid Lip Creme are more up my alley and they cost only 2 bucks more. For now, sorry Marc Jacobs, maybe next time!

That’s all I have for now. I had wanted to include more, but I didn’t want the post to get too long. But just FYI and I’m gonna keep this brief, I was gonna include the KKW powder contour kit as well. That’s a hell no for me (it’s coming back in stock yet again tomorrow). If you’re looking for a similar type of contour powder product and packaging, go ahead and check out the powder contour palettes by ELF Cosmetics. They’re much much more affordable (6 bucks!) and not a celebrity limited edition kind of bullshit releases. If you want a high quality powder contour product, go with Kat Von D’s Shade and Light Contour Palette. That’s all for now. Till the next one!