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!

Thursday, July 3, 2014

Battle of the Pore-Cleansing Masks

I have oily skin. Sigh. Which means I know a thing or two about blackheads. So I wanted to do a little comparison of the three products I've been using lately to clear out my pores. Here we go...

Biore Deep Cleansing Pore Strips ($7/8 strips): I have been using these for years. There are very few products that I love enough to repurchase since I love trying new things, but this is easily one of them. Come to think of it, this might be my most-repurchased item ever. I love this for those days when I just need some immediate gratification. With these, it's only 10 minutes before I can see all the little devils that have been ripped out of my nose (I know this might sound gross, but it's a great feeling). These strips are also made for the forehead, cheeks, and chin. If I could only have one blackhead-clearing treatment, this would be it. 

Mario Badescu Silver Powder ($12): This is one of the messier products I've ever used. As the name implies, this starts out as a powder. To use it, water is added so that it turns into a paste, and this is what is applied to the face. However, once this starts to dry, it turns back into a powder, and will start to flake and fall off the face. I don't notice any significant reduction of blackheads when I use this, but my pores do feel tighter. And there is always a thin layer of white powder all over my countertop whenever I use this. I won't repurchase this anytime soon. 

Origins Clear Improvement charcoal mask ($24/3.4 fl.oz.): I love a good charcoal mask. It tightens my pores, helps with oil production, and can be used as a spot treatment. This mask does all of those things. Again, I can't see that many blackheads have been removed, but it does treat the other symptoms of oily skin. When I use this as a spot treatment, zits don't disappear overnight, but they do slightly reduce. So is this a holy-grail mask? No. But it's a pretty good one. I'll still probably try different masks over repurchasing this, though. 

What are your favorite masks for oily skin?

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

My Picks: Favorite Products

I had a request to do a post on my favorite products from each category of makeup, and some categories were tougher than others. I didn't include categories where I don't have a go-to, because I didn't want to talk about products that I don't truly love and recommend. But there were also some categories where I couldn't pick just one product. 
Laura Geller Balance N' Brighten Foundation: Because I have oily skin and prefer sheer-medium coverage, I love a good powder foundation. This one is baked, and so has the creamiest consistency I've experienced from a powder foundation. It has build-able coverage and looks beautiful on the skin.

Hourglass Ambient Lighting Palette: If I had to choose a range of powders, it would be these. And if I had to choose a single one, it would be Dim Light. This blurs imperfections and gives skin such a beautiful, glow-y finish. 

Tarte Amazonian Clay 12 Hour Blush: I love the Tarte blushes, and still reach for my Off the Cuff palette almost daily (sorry to include a LE!) My favorites are Darling (the peachy, middle color) and Dollface (the right-most blush). Darling goes perfectly with just about any look, and Dollface (a permanent color!) gives that perfect, brisk-weather flush. 

Too Faced Chocolate Soleil Bronzer: I love a good, matte bronzer, and as you might already know, this one smells like chocolate! Because this is matte and not too orange in tone, I like to use this as a contour powder in addition to a bronzer. 

Anastasia Brow Wiz: I usually like a powder to fill in my brows, but this pencil has me a changed woman. I can change the depth of the color depending on how much pressure I use, and I really enjoy the Spoolie brush on the other end. If I'm traveling, this is easily my brow-product pick since I can completely do my brows with just this. 

Lorac Pro Palette: This is my pick for an eyeshadow palette. It has everything I need to do any complete eye look. With a variety of neutrals in both matte and shimmer finishes, I can't go wrong. But if I were to choose my favorite single eyeshadow, it would be...

MAC Eyeshadow in Sable: This is the bottom-left shadow in my MAC palette. This is a purple-toned brown with a shimmer finish. I love the way it looks with brown eyes. And I think this color is complex enough that if I pack it all over my lid and buff it into my crease, I can get a complete look with just this one shadow.  

Lorac Front of the Line Pro: I prefer liquid liner, and this is my favorite. It has a skinny brush-tip and rich-black color. This makes it easy to achieve the perfect winged liner.

Clinique High Impact Mascara: I like my mascara to have it all: volume, length, and curl. This one delivers. I like this better than Diorshow and Benefit's They're Real, so if you like either of those, try this (it's at least $6 cheaper!).  

MAC Lipstick in Rebel and Viva Glam V: I love MAC lipsticks, but these two are my favorites. Rebel (Satin finish) is the perfect pop of color during any season (but I particularly love it during Fall), and Viva Glam V (Lustre finish) is a great my-lips-but-better shade. 

NYX Soft Matte Lip Cream in Morocco, Ibiza, Antwerp, and Zurich: Because I couldn't choose just one lippie favorite, I had to include these too. These are inexpensive, deliver opaque, long-lasting color, and smell great. For swatches and a more in-depth review, see this post and this post

I know I cheated on some of these, but if you could only pick one product from each category, what would you choose? Let me know in the comments below!

Thursday, June 19, 2014

Products that Banish Body Acne

In the world of beauty, perhaps one of the most frustrating things is acne; especially when it shows up on your body. Well I've had my share of skin demons, so here are some of the products that I've used to help tackle them. None of these products will stain clothes. 
The Sprays: spray a thin layer onto clean skin
Neutrogena Body Clear Body Spray ($8): If you know that your acne responds well to salicylic acid, this is a good one to try. It has 0.5% salicylic acid, sprays very evenly in a fine mist, and smells pretty good to boot. It's one of the most inexpensive body-acne sprays out there, and it sprays upside-down which is really handy.

Murad Clarifying Body Spray ($37): If salicylic acid alone just doesn't cut it, the Murad body spray might work better for you. In addition to the 0.5% salicylic acid, this spray also contains glycolic acid which is a good exfoliant for acne-prone skin. Since my skin doesn't really respond to salicylic acid, this worked better for me than the Neutrogena one, but still didn't completely clear me up.   
The Toner: soak a cotton ball and wipe over affected areas repeatedly until cotton ball remains clean
Mario Badescu Special Cleansing Lotion "O" ($15): This is a toner with only six ingredients: Water, Boric Acid, Isopropyl Alcohol, Camphor, Benzoin Gum, and Hydrolyzed Yeast Protein. I had never heard of any of these ingredients being particularly helpful with acne before, so I didn't really know what to expect, but this stuff works amazingly. It's pretty crazy how much dirt remains on the skin even after washing. This made me feel like my skin was actually clean. I liked this better than the sprays as it almost completely cleared me up. However, I still had some stubborn bumps that just wouldn't go away. 
The Soaps: wash affected areas daily
Mario Badescu A.H.A. Botanical Body Soap ($8): Let me just start by saying I really enjoy the Mario Badescu line. This particular wash takes a different route with exfoliation. Instead of the typical acids, it has papaya and grapefruit extracts. It also has oat protein to help calm skin. Although the previously-mentioned products all helped me at some point, this is what I'm currently using and loving. I use this in conjunction with the next product, and while I still get the occasional zit, together, these have basically cleared me up.

Clean & Clear Continuous Control Acne Cleanser ($7): This is marketed for the face, but I love it as a body wash. This has 10% benzoyl peroxide, and if your skin is stubborn with salicylic acid, this might be what it needs to put acne in its place. As I mentioned, I like to use this with the Mario Badescu Body Soap. I alternate which soap I use each day, and what I do is wash affected areas with this as my very last step before I get out of the shower. Using this as a last step ensures that residue from other products does not clog my pores.
The Topical: apply a thin layer to cleaned, affected areas
Neosporin ($5): I know you might be thinking that Neosporin is just for cuts and scrapes, but this is a general antibiotic, and acne is usually caused by bacteria. Therefore, this could help clear up acne, but it is important to use this as a spot treatment. This is because, in addition to the antibiotics, petroleum jelly is also an ingredient, and this could clog pores if used on a larger surface area. 

If you want to combine products, you could follow The Soaps with The Topical. However, I wouldn't recommend following The Soaps with The Sprays or The Toner unless you have already been trying one or the other for a while. And if you do decide to combine products from the first three categories, make sure to follow up with an oil-free moisturizer so as not to dry out your skin. 

Are there any products you love for battling body acne?

Friday, June 13, 2014

Baby Oil Gel as Shaving Cream: Does it Work?

I'd been seeing on Pinterest that shaving with baby oil, especially baby oil gel, is supposed to be a game-changer. Well I was intrigued enough to give it a go, and frankly, this does not work better than shaving cream (or conditioner, or just plain-old-soap). To find out why not, keep reading. 
First of all, the consistency of this is surprisingly solid. I know it's a gel, but it is thicker than shaving cream when it first comes out (before it gets foamy). And since I was expecting more oil than gel, this was sort of a mini, superficial letdown. To test it out the first time, I used this on one leg and shower gel on the other. 

The first actual letdown with this product is the nature of what it is. This is an oil, and as we know, oil and water do not mix. Therefore, the shaving process becomes a lot longer when using this product. The oil gel builds up in the razor, clogging it, and it cannot simply be rinsed off. I needed hot water with heavy pressure and soap to clean my razor out after every couple strokes. It took significantly longer (at least twice as long) to shave my leg using this product than the soap I used on the other. And when I did get the oil out of my razor, I had to make sure to wash it off of the floor of my tub (it didn't easily wash down the drain like other shower-product residue).  

The second letdown with this product is that the oil doesn't absorb into the skin. Rather, it just sits on top. I can't even tell you if it would absorb after a certain amount of time, because I only lasted four hours before needing to wipe it off my legs; I couldn't stand the shiny, greasiness any longer. And while my legs did feel conditioned, they did not feel any more moisturized than when I simply use lotion after shaving. 

The final letdown was that it did not provide me with a closer shave than the soap I used on my other leg. My hair grew back at the same rate on both legs. 

I mentioned that these were the results I found after the first time I tested it. I did try a second time using it on both legs, and found that points one and two remained the same (I'm sure three was also still the same, but I can't officially say that since I didn't have a control).

So overall, this product was just a giant letdown. I can't even use it as an aftershave-lotion replacement because it doesn't absorb. If you have tried this as a shaving gel and it works for you, please let me know how you use it. For now, I'll stick to my EOS shave cream.