Monday, August 25, 2014

Studio Gear's Invincible Gel/Cream Eyeliner is Actually Pretty Invincible

In a recent haul, I picked up this eyeliner from Studio Gear, and I've been using it pretty frequently ever since. I tend to cycle through my eyeliner formulas, so it's been a while since I've used a good gel. I've also been on a neutral kick recently, so this blue color was a nice and well-needed change (that I think would look gorgeous with any eye color). The formula is super smooth and creamy, and glides easily onto the lids. The pigmentation is out-of-this-world, and it can be used as a liner or base/shadow for a smokey look. (Hint: This is a perfect match for the color "Slate" in the Lorac Pro Palette.)  

But my favorite part of this liner? The staying power. My eyelids will make an oil-slick out of the best-claimed products. Maybelline 24hr Color Tattoos? More like 2-4 hours on these lids. But this product does not smudge, budge, or transfer once it sets. The swatches below actually needed makeup-remover at the end of the day. All the hand-washing I did between applying the liner in the morning until the time I went to bed did nothing to disrupt that gorgeous color (and I wash my hands a lot). Overall, this product is a total winner. It retails for $16 at studiogearcosmetics.com

Top: Applied with Sonia Kashuk Bent Liner Brush; Bottom: Applied with finger


That's MAC's Expensive Pink on my lids and Creme d'Nude on my lips.

What are your favorite eyeliner formulas? Let me know in the comments!

Monday, August 18, 2014

NC and Tokyo do NYC

My cousin came to visit from Japan (yes, I'm half Japanese) last week, and we had a little rendezvous in good ole NYC. She's a super-awesome fashion designer, so between the two of us, we had a very fashion&beauty-filled weekend. Here are some highlights of our trip, and let me go ahead and apologize for the photo quality (I only took pics on my phone).  
It does exist! I saw this little beauty in the airport and just had to snap a pic. I mean, a Benefit vending machine? Why are these not everywhere? 

Of course we had to stop by a MAC and get our makeups did. Shout out to our artist, Julie, who was the sh*t. 
...And a Sephora. I'd never been to a free-standing one before. Swoon 
We also hit the FIT Museum and saw a gorgeous exhibition on lingerie. I really wish we were allowed to take pics in the exhibit because there were some stunning pieces. 
Zach Braff on Broadway? What? This show is awesome. Highly recommend. 
Yeah, yeah we had to do a tourist-y pic. But it was right outside our hotel so it would've been silly not to, right? 

Anyway, New York was a trip. I'll probably have a couple haul posts coming soon as a result. Have you done any traveling this summer? Let me know below!

Thursday, August 7, 2014

Benefit Gimme Brow Gives As Long As I Provide

I should come clean. I get lazy in the summer. Like really lazy. On the days I even do my makeup, it's usually just lashes, brows, and lips. And as much as I love my brow powders and pencils, they take just enough work that my laziness can't deal. 

Enter Benefit's Gimme Brow. This is a tinted, fiber gel that is supposed to add color, fullness, and keep brows in place. It comes in two colors: Light/Medium and Medium/Deep, and retails for $22. And although I probably wouldn't use this product when I want defined brows, it is perfect for lazy days.



Left: Anastasia Brow Wiz in Brunette, Right: Benefit Gimme Brow in Medium/Deep

It might be a little hard to tell from the picture, but Gimme Brow in Medium/Deep is actually about a shade darker and slightly cooler in tone compared to Brunette. Brunette is a good match for me, but Medium/Deep can be slightly too dark in certain lighting. So for you ladies (or gents) with eyebrow colors that aren't particularly light or dark, you might not find that either of the two color options fit perfectly. 

Before & After








Although the color is ever-so-slightly dark for me, Gimme Brow does fill my brows in nicely and quickly while also holding them in place. However, I do have somewhat thick and long brows, so I'm wondering how effective this product is on shorter, sparser brows. 

As you can see in the picture below, the front end of my left brow (right side in the picture) is relatively sparse. However, Gimme Brow doesn't do much to fill that in. It seems to work its magic only on the denser parts of my brows. 

Of course, there's the option of filling in brows with a pencil/powder first and then setting with Gimme Brow. I like the sound of this option, but I think it comes with guidelines. The first is the color of your brows/hair. Since my brows are significantly darker than my hair, I think opaquely filling them in with two products will just make them look too bold/harsh. The second is the thickness of your brows. The thicker your brows are, the more Gimme Brow will adhere. So basically, if you have more natural thickness, you'll have a higher potential for getting bushy brows than those with sparser brows. But of course, if these looks are what you're going for, then Gimme Brow would be a great product to use.


Gimme Brow on both brows

Even after a week of using Gimme Brow, though, I had a little trouble determining my feelings toward this product. So, I had to break out the pro/con list: 

Pros

  • Adds color
  • Adds fullness where there is enough brow for the product to cling to
  • Keeps brows in place all day
  • Easy & quick application

Cons

  • Only 2 color options
  • Doesn't fully fill in sparse areas
  • Cannot easily make clean lines or provide definition 
  • Might be too much layered over a brow pencil

For me, this product seems to just be a lazy-girl staple. When I want my brows to be defined and a little more even, I will definitely still reach for my Brow Wiz first. But on the days when I just can't be bothered, I will always reach for Gimme Brow. 

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

HAUL: Ulta, Mac, Hautelook


Well I've been doing a little shopping the past couple of weeks, and I finally got my hands on some cult products. 

From Ulta, I picked up the Urban Decay Naked Basics palette and All Nighter setting spray, Benefit's Gimme Brow, and Studio Gear's Invincible Gel Eyeliner. I've never had any of these products before, but am really excited to try them. As you can probably tell from the picture above, I've already dug into the eyeliner. I must say, it is a gorgeous color (I got it in Lapis), and it is lovely to use as well. 

From MAC, I picked up two lipsticks in Plumful and Creme d'Nude. I've also tried these already and especially love Plumful--it's such a flattering, easy-to-wear color. 

Lastly, from Hautelook, I picked up Too Faced's La Creme Lipstick in Loganberry and Cinnamon Kiss. I can't resist a new lipstick, so I've already tried these as well. I love the colors, but I haven't worn them long enough to determine if I like the formula. 

I'll probably be reviewing a few, if not all, of these products, but be sure to let me know in the comments if there's anything in particular you'd like to see reviewed.  

Have you tried any of these products? What do you think of them? 

Monday, July 21, 2014

Urban Decay Perversion Mascara Review


 I'm a little bit of a mascara junkie, so I was excited to hear Urban Decay was releasing a new one. I got my paws on a sample of Perversion, which UD claims to be "Bigger. Blacker. Badder." Perversion retails for $22, and currently comes with a sample of Subversion, a lash primer.

First off, I love the brush on this mascara. I'm all about a larger brush, and this one behaves so well. It deposits mascara evenly on my lashes and not at all on my eyelids. Also, the color really is as richly black as described. And finally, here's a mascara that you can open and love immediately without having to wait a week for it to dry out some (that is, if you prefer drier formulas like I do). 
Left: Bare lashes; Right: 1 coat top and bottom lashes
 After one coat, I could tell that Perversion definitely added length, and I love how rich the black color is. However, I didn't notice too much in the way of volume increase. 
Left: Bare lashes; Right: 2 coats top and bottom lashes














Now I don't normally wear two coats of mascara, but with Perversion, the second coat actually made a difference without going clumpy. It was with this second coat that I got the volume along with the length. I'm very pleased and impressed with the amount of separation the brush offers, even with added coats. 

The only thing this mascara left me wanting was some curl/lift. With the second coat, I did notice the weight made some of the curl fall. However, this wasn't too noticeable.

Compared to some popular mascaras, I have to say I like Perversion better than Tarte's Lights, Camera, Flashes, which I reviewed here. However, this is only because I prefer the brush on Perversion. I think both of these mascaras give the same look with one coat, and the only difference with two is that Perversion doesn't clump as much. 

I also like this better than Benefit's They're Real. Although I like the look one coat of They're Real gives better than one coat of Perversion, two coats of Perversion gives me that statement look that I go to They're Real for. But the real reason is the removal. The extra manpower I have to bring in to get They're Real off my lashes pretty much deters me from wanting to use it in the first place. Perversion actually washes off with just water.  

As much as I like this mascara though, I still prefer my HG, Clinique High Impact. 

So: 
Bigger? With two coats, yes.
Blacker? Definitely.
Badder? I'll leave that up to you to decide.

♥Miki

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

How To: Natural and Subtle Cut-Crease

I love the way a super glamorous cut-crease looks, but sometimes they're a little dramatic for everyday wear. So I wanted to do a really simple, everyday cut-crease. This look is quite soft and natural, and I used only the Lorac Pro Palette to create it.

If you don't have the Lorac Pro Palette, any matte eyeshadows in a white, cream, light brown, medium brown, and dark brown, along with a shimmer champagne shadow will do. 

1. Prime the eyelids. 
2. Place a piece of tape from the outer corner of the eye, and line it up with the outer corner of the eyebrow.
3. Take Taupe on a fluffy, crease brush, and blend it through the crease
4. Take Sable on a pencil brush, and draw a line just above the natural crease. Start from the outside and work in, so the darkest and thickest part of the line is the outer-most part of the cut. The line will get softer and lighter towards the inner part of the eye. 
5. Take Cream on a flat shader brush, and pat it all over the lid.  
6. Go back with Taupe and Sable as needed to darken the crease and cut, respectively to taste. 
7. Take Espresso on an angled liner brush, and draw a small wing so that it meets the cut. (Remember there's tape along the edge of the eye, so this will take care of forming the outer part of the wing.)
8. Take White on a flat shader brush, and pat this across the brow bone as a highlight. 
9. Take a little bit of Nude on the Pinky finger, and tap this on the center of the lid (right above the pupil if you're looking straight ahead) to highlight. 
10. Don't forget to remove the tape! 

I wanted to keep this look super daytime, so I didn't apply anything to my lower lash-line. All I added was a little mascara to my upper lashes, a little Tarte blush in Dollface, and I dabbed on a little bit of MAC's Creme d'Nude on the lips. 

If you wanted to take this look from day to night, all you would need to do is darken and intensify the crease and cut, smudge Espresso along the lower lash-line, and add mascara to the lower lashes. Of course, you could also pair this look with a bolder lip. Since the eye colors are all quite neutral, just about any bold lip will look good with this eye-look. 

Hope you enjoyed this look!

♥Miki

Thursday, July 10, 2014

Top 5 Pink-Brown Lip Picks

I love a good pink-brown lipstick. Those MLBB (my lips but better) type shades are just so easy to wear, and they're really universally flattering too. I've included a variety of this shade, and I think all five will look good on just about any skin tone. 
Top to bottom: NYX B52, MAC Twig, L'Oreal Toasted Almond, Bite Beauty Musk, and MAC Viva Glam V
 When I'm not quite sure what lipstick I want to wear, or just want something that will look good with any eye-look, I always reach for MAC's Viva Glam V. This is a Lustre finish, so it is somewhat sheer, but the color can be built up. This has gold glitter in it, but feels quite smooth and almost moisturizing on the lips. 

 Bite Beauty's Musk is my perfect MLBB shade. The color payoff is similar to MAC's Lustre formulas, so it is somewhat sheer, but can be built up. This is one of the smoothest and most lightweight lipsticks I've ever used. This does not have any shimmer in it, and has a creamy finish. This is also moisturizing on the lips. 

 L'Oreal's Toasted Almond is slightly more brown than pink compared to the rest of the shades. The color payoff is more opaque than the previous two colors, but not as opaque as the following two. This also does not have any shimmer in it, and has a slightly glossy finish. This is not moisturizing for me, but also non-drying. 

I'm so in love with MAC's Twig. This is a Satin, my favorite finish from MAC. But aside from the formula (which goes on creamy, dries to a demi-matte, and is non-drying), look at that color! I think this is the perfect everyday autumn-color. It provides a beautiful wash of color when dabbed on, but can be built up to full opacity. Swoon














My last pick is NYX's B52. This is their creamy lipstick formula, and it is very true to name. This can be applied in the same manner as Twig in that lightly, it provides a wash of color, but can be built up to full opacity. This does not have any shimmer and feels almost moisturizing on the lips. Again, this is a great autumn/winter color.

What are your favorite MLBB colors? Let me know in the comments!