December 30, 2009

Introduction to LORAC Eye Shadow

Lorac has an amazing deal in their Everyday Eye Collection. I picked this up about a month ago along with two other colors not in the collection, Persuasion, and Innocence.

Pictured from left to right: Persuasion, Beige, Mesmerize, Joy, Innocence, Cappuccino, Cocoa, Suede, Kiwi, Lush, Jade

*Swatches done over NYX Concealer in a Jar

Beige, Cocoa, and Suede are Matte while the others are between a satin and pearl finish (the camera flash makes the swatches appear more frosty/ shimmery than they are in person). All of these shadows are buttery, blend effortlessly, and look beautiful on the eye. They last all day over a variety of bases (from a NYX Jumbo Pencil to Urban Decay Primer Potion). My favorite shade is Kiwi- it is a beautiful, slightly green mid-tone silver that is gorgeous all over the lid and on the lower lash line by itself. The pots that hold these 26mm, 1.7 gram filled pans in place have a twist- off lid. A de-potting method for these shadows would be the same as the MAC or Smashbox method.

This eye collection came with a calligraphy style pen liner, called Front of the Line, in the shade black. I personally prefer gel liner, and think a pen like this would be best suited for detailed eye or face makeup (for theatre/ photo shoots) as opposed to an everyday liquid liner. I also think that as an individual product, the product is way overpriced at $22.

Lastly, everything came in this very cute makeup bag!

As of today this collection is still available. I HIGHLY recommend picking it up. I have always been a fan of LORAC makeup, but never wanted to give in to an $18 shadow. Now that I have tried these, I can see myself splurging on a LORAC shadow single from time to time. Sometimes spending a little extra for luxurious application is worth it!

December 2, 2009

How to De-pot the Tarte Treasure Chest


*You will not be able to de-pot the lip glosses with this method- only the eye shadows, blushes, hilighter, and bronzer)

In Addition to the Treasure Chest, you will need:
(1) Metal sheet pan covered in aluminum foil. You will also need extra foil for additional "batches" of trays that you'll be baking.
(2) Oven mitts (Silicone Mitts are recommended as the melted plastic does not stick to them).
(3) Toaster oven or conventional Oven, pre-heated to 325 degrees fahrenheit (Make sure your oven light is on so you can see they tray as it is baking. You will remain in the kitchen the entire time the tray is baking, while watching, in order to pull it out at the right time).
(4) Metal utensil to handle the shadows when they are ready to be removed from the melted trays. I recommend using a metal nail file.
(5) A flat work surface upon which you will place the tray
(6) Trivets or a raised, heat resistant component to go underneath the sheet pan if it can not be placed directly on your work surface.
(7) Paper towels or additional aluminum foil to lay the shadows/ blushes on after they are de-potted, until they cool down.

(1) Remove all trays that slide out. Place the lip gloss tray to the side, as this will not be de-potted.
(2) Remove the Tarte ribbon from the tray housing the blushes, etc. by pulling on it firmly.
(3) Remove the matte eye shadow tray by ripping it from the packaging by ripping off all paper and fabric parts (this will be very easy).
(4) Remove the shimmer eye shadow trays from the packaging by ripping off all paper and fabric parts (again, this will be very easy).
(5) You should be left with your square palettes containing the blushes, etc., and the matte eye shadows, as well as two smaller rectangular trays that hold the shimmer eye shadows. Ensure that all of the paper and fabric is removed from the plastic.
(6) After the oven is pre-heated, you will place one tray at a time on the covered baking sheet, with the cosmetic product facing upwards, and place it in the oven for 2-3 minutes, give or take.
(7) Watch the plastic melt. It will begin to curl under or upwards, and you will see the cosmetic pans loosen from their holes. Pull the sheet pan out after the plastic has curled up. If the plastic starts to smoke, remove it immediately.
(8) Using your metal utensil (metal nail file recommended), carefully lift the pans from their pots. This should be effortless. Remove all pans that are easily lifted.
(9) For any pans that do not remove easily, do not force their removal. Place the sheet pan back in the oven for 30 seconds- 1 minute to re-heat the tray, then attempt to remove them on the second try.
(10) Once all pans are removed from the tray, throw away the plastic sheet along with the aluminum foil. Do this while wearing oven mitts; the tray will be hot.
(11) Repeat steps 6-10 for the remaining trays. (The rectangle trays containing the shimmer shadows will be at an awkward angle due to the L-shaped plastic trays, but this will not be an issue- they will bake normally just as the flat trays did).

Once the trays are de-potted and cooled, you can clean the backside of the pans with alcohol to remove the glue residue, and then place a magnet over the back so the pan can be placed in a magnetic palette (such as the MAC palettes, with the plastic inserts removed, or a 28- hole plastic palette, with the foam insert removed, fitted with a piece of galvanized steel on the bottom).

November 28, 2009

An Epiphany, Thanks to MyFavoriteWeapon

OMG! I have a PEAR face shape.

How is it I have made my way through life never hearing this term? I have heard of square, round, oval, and heart, but never "pear". MyFavoriteWeapon told me she believed I had a pear face shape, so I did a google image search and found this:

And here is the advice for pear shaped heads (via

"The pear shaped face is narrow at the temples,forehead and wider at your cheeks and jawline. If you have a pear shaped face, you should highlight your forehead to create the illusion of width and highlight the area under your eyes on top of your cheekbones and also the tip of your chin.You could contour the jawline and your cheeks to minimize the width too. Ps: Your hairstyle plays a part in balancing your face too. Bangs and hair brushed over your temples can add fullness to your upper half of the face."

While I am concerned about hilighting my forehead and making it any bigger than it already is, I do have to say that I will take to heart the advice for my hair style.

Thank you MyFavoriteWeapon! I am now an expert on my own head shape (hehehe!)!

It Had to be Done: De-Potting the Tarte Treasure Chest

Loved the contents.

Hated the packaging.

November 27, 2009

Seeking Your Hair Advice!!!

I need your advice! I really need to cut my hair... I am currently growing out an a-line bob, and I'm trying to decide if I should maintain this look, or do something different entirely!

Things you should know about me and my hair:

(1) My hair is a fairly low priority. I like to have a style that requires little work to maintain and/or style (i.e. if I decide to roll out of bed and do nothing, it doesn't look too horrible).

(2) I enjoy having hair that is long enough to pull back into a ponytail, but am willing part with this convenience when it is short.

(3) My hair isn't colored, so I would say it is in healthy condition, with the exception of the ends (which are a bit heat damaged and ravaged from cutting and thinning my hair myself)

(4) I have mixed texture hair. Some hair is baby fine, while other hairs are more on the coarse side.

(5) My hair is fairly straight, but has a little bit of awkward wave in it if I don't straighten it.

(6) I avoid at all costs blow drying my hair. I maybe do this less than 10 times a year, and only if I have no other option! (I usually wash my hair at night and air dry it).

(7) My hair is pretty thick and I usually feel like stylists never thin it out enough. I actually bought a pair of thinning shears to take some of the weight off, but I'd really prefer a professional take care of this for me, as I have no idea what I am doing when I hack away.

(8) I would like a style that works with my face shape. I think I have somewhere between and round and square face? I feel like I have to be careful to pick a cut that won't make my face look fuller...

With that said, below are some styles I have had in the past. Please give me some suggestions! I am thinking I might want to try bangs again, but I am not sure how that would go with the shorter hair I currently have.

Short A-Line Bob:

In this style, my hair is so short it is hard to style... If not wearing my hair down and straight, I would pin the middle section back, as pictured below (but this gets boring after a while).

Medium Length, with Layers:

Mid Length with Long Layers, Straight with Side- Swept Bangs:

This was my first time wearing bangs since 3rd grade! It definitely took some adjusting. I liked looking different, but I have to say that I hated the obligation of styling my hair every day. I don't think I maintained this style long enough to truly master arranging my bangs, so there definitely days where I felt awkward with the way my hair looked.

Many times (Especially as my bangs grew out) I would slick on a goody headband to avoid doing anything to my hair (you can see my bangs slipping out in the picture below!)

Long (for me!) Hair:

Any advice is welcomed! I am also considering dyeing my hair. But maybe this is a bad idea since I am low maintenance when it comes to my hair? I am kind of sick of the golden hue in my hair- I think I want a more neutral, slightly darker brown...

Thanks in advance for your feedback!

November 14, 2009

ELF Studio Products Review- It is massive!

It seems like ELF releases new products in their Studio Line every day- so I have held off purchasing anything for a while. When I got a good coupon, and had several items I wanted to try, I ordered a ton of stuff! I decided to also review items from past purchases that I have not yet reviewed- so everything you see here is several purchases over time. There are also a few items that I have posted before that I am either recapping or including for purposes of comparison (either in photos or written)...

Of course I had to try the Mineral Infused Face Primer and High Definition Powder...

The packaging for the primer stands out from every other item in the studio line. It features a small white cylinder encapsulated in a larger, clear acrylic cylinder. All of the packaging, including the silver dispenser cap, is plastic. This does not look like it is in the same "family" as the rest of the studio products!

Mineral Infused Face Primer, $6 for .49oz

As you can see, primer is clear. It feels very much like Smashbox's Photo Finish Foundation Primer. The ingredients are a bit different- but the effect is similar. ELF's primer provides that slippery surface we're all accustomed to with this style of primer. This helps to diminish the look of pores, and provides a slick surface that will extend the wear of foundation.
I have used this with Bare Escentuals original and matte foundations, and it performs equally well with both. My foundation glides over the surface of the primer, resulting in a smoother skin surface than I would have achieved had I only used the foundation itself. I have used the primer for three days and have not had any skin reactions or breakouts, so for now I can say this is an inexpensive primer I can recommend trying; however, those who don't like the slippery feel of silicone primers should steer clear of this one.

Concealer Pencil and and Under Eye Concealer and Hilighter

I was excited to try the spot concealer since it contains salicylic acid. I usually have at least one breakout on any given day, so to conceal spots while promoting faster healing time is a definite plus. Unfortunately, as you can see from the swatch below, the color is off for me- much to yellow. I can pull it off if blended well, but ELF should consider revising this shade.

Concealer in Fair-
I was equally excited to try the Concealer and Hilighter. This has been called a "dupe" of the YSL Touche Eclat by some, and I can't deny that this comparison influenced my purchase! Unfortunately, the color is a bit off for me, but I can make it work under my eyes by blending it well. I found that the thin concealer did not provide nearly enough coverage for my under eye circles, so I decided to try it on top of concealer to refresh it, just as one might use Touche Eclat. Initially I felt good about the results, but after a 1/2 hour of wear, the makeup on my lower lash line began to smudge horribly! As for the hilighter side, I was pleasantly surprised at the reasonable level of shimmer/ luminescence this gives. It is fairly patchy when applied, but when blended out, the effect is nice. I applied the hilighter on my brow bone, and to my surprise, it also began to melt down the makeup on my lids! It must have broken down with my body heat and slid down my skin... What a disappointment! Unfortunately I won't repurchase this product, and I can't say that I recommend it. It might be suitable for someone with minimal under eye discoloration, but I would be concerned about the "melting factor" described above...

The hilighter doe foot applicator was red...? Seems a bit weird to me. I thought it had lip product on it, but nothing rubbed off.

Under Eye Concealer and Hilighter Swatch:

Pencil Concealer Swatch:
Swatch of the concealer reveals that it is too yellow for my skin :(

High Definition Powder

The packaging matches it siblings in the Studio Line- black with white labels. The sifter has many holes, so I recommend only cutting off a portion of the sticker sifter to avoid having a plume of powder dispensed every time the puff is removed.
My jar came filled only 1/3 of the way, and while the product may have settled, there is really no way for me to know if I was jipped, short of weighing the product! Oh well.

This white powder can be applied with a brush, or rolled onto the surface of the skin with the included cosmetic puff. I applied this over mineral foundation and it provided a lovely, diffused and fairly matte finish to my skin. I must say that I also tried this on top of my under eye concealer (I use NYX Concealer in a Jar) and the HD Powder was much to drying for this. For this reason I'll only use it on my face.
As far as lasting power- I think this lasts for about 4-6 hours on my combination skin. After that I would need a touch up to retain the finish I achieved when I started. I only used a very tiny amount of the product for my whole face, so I would imagine this lasts quite a long while. I have used this for three days and have had no reactions, so I can happily recommend this product to others. I can't say how it compares to other "HD" powders, but I can say that I like this one and think it is well worth the money.

ELF Studio Blush, $3 for 2.75 grams

Pictured above: Top Left- Mellow Mauve. Top Right- Candid Coral. Bottom Left: Tickled Pink. Bottom Right- Peachy Keen.

The Studio Blush has to be one of my favorite products out of the entire line. The formulation is superior due to a formula that includes Nylon 12- an ingredient provides smoothness (both to the touch and in application) in cosmetic products. This is the reason these blushes are far less powdery/ chalky than other ELF pressed powder products.
Of the four blushes I have, they all have middle of the road pigmentation, with the exception of Tickled Pink, which is sheer and requires more layering to achieve good color payoff. These blushes are easily blended onto the shin, and can be applied sheerly, or layered for more opacity. I wish there were more colors in this range (including a hilighter or bronzer with the same formulation!). Studio Blush is a product I recommend trying. Two other shades that I didn't purchase, Berry Merry, and Blushing Rose, would probably be lovely on medium to deep skin tones, although with a light hand and a kabuki for blending nearby, I would bet they suit lighter complexions just as well.

*Please note error in name; "Cool Coral" is actually "Candid Coral"

Bronzers in Warm and Golden

I like both of these bronzers- but I have to admit that I prefer Golden to Warm! I find that Golden has finer shimmer than Warm, and I can use this one as a nice hilight on my cheek bones, whereas Warm would be too deep in color for my fair complexion. I don't wear warm on my face due to the level of shimmer and darker color, but it is lovely on the deccolte or arms. One of the downfalls of the bronzers is that they are fairly powdery. As you can see from the Warm Bronzer, as it is used the powder breaks down unevenly... While this absolutely doesn't effect how the product wears on the skin, it is a little bit of a turn off. I recommend trying both of the bronzers above. There is also a matte brozer I have yet to try.

Pressed Powders in Porcelain and Almond, $3 for 4.85 grams.

ELF's website states these can be applied wet or dry, although I achieved the same coverage using them either way, so I prefer to use these dry to save myself the hassle of wetting a sponge. This product is extremely powdery- the most powdery of all of the ELF Studio compacts I have tried. That being said, once applied to the skin, the staying power is fairly good. Porcelain, when applied, is still a bit too yellow, so ELF should consider revising the shade (it seems they can't get the shades right for the lightest complexions!); however, applied sheerly, this color works well for my skin. I purchased Almond because I wanted to see if it would work well as a matte bronzer for fair complexions- and I am happy to report that it does. I used this on my neck and decollete as well and noticed very little transfer and fading. Since the shade is darker than my skin, transfer, or fading would have been apparent, but it didn't seem to be a problem with this one.
Because this product only provides light coverage, I would only recommend using it as a finishing powder. For those who have almost perfect skin- this product might be all that you need; however, it may be drying to those with dry skin, so make sure to use a good moisturizer. While I am happy with the results of this product, I am not sure if I will repurchase it again. I can see myself repurchasing Almond for use as a bronzer more than I can see myself repurchasing Porcelain.

ELF Blush/ Bronzer,

ELF Translucent Mattifying Powder

ELF Complexion Perfection

Blush/ Bronzer

I find the Blush/ Bronzer products powdery and hard to work with. I personally dislike shimmer in bronzers, and because this bronzer is so deeply pigmented, it doesn't suit my skin tone without applying this extremely lightly and buffing to the extreme. The same can be said for the blush. I dislike the shimmer, find the product overly pigmented, and feel it requires a lot of effort to blend. Because of how cute this couple looks in the compact, I can see why it would be hard to pass up! For me, it is a product that I don't reach for, and I will not repurchase it.

Translucent Mattifying Powder

The translucent powder is not translucent; in fact, it is almost a little pink when applied to the skin. When applied with the included sponge, it successfully disguises pores and mattifies the skin. One complaint is that this product can look cakey. I would not use this a primary setting powder- only as a touch up powder, and I think that touching up more than once a day will result in a cakey effect. It is worth trying, but may not be suitable for the deepest skin tones. I have a backup of this, and after I finish it, I am not sure if will repurchase it.
Refill sponges are available from Covergirl Cosmetics, and I recommend replacing the sponges after no more than three washes.

Complexion Perfection

I wasn't happy with the finish of the complexion perfection. To me the finish is dry and powdery, and it does nothing for my skin. I wouldn't use this as a setting powder, and the colors are too sheer to provide any real correcting power to disguise skin imperfections. I would recommend passing on this one.

ELF Studio Eyelash Curler, $3
ELF Studio Mini Eyelash Curler, $3

Hmmm... I bought the standard size lash curler to use when traveling. Unfortunately I can tell it is a $3 lash curler. The glide is not smooth at all- I can feel the bars catch as I open and close the mechanism. Pictured below you will note that the metal that comprises the curling part is asymetrical- not something I want to see in a lash curler. Nonetheless, it curls my lashes, but if I had to rely on this as my everyday lash curler, I would most definitely be frustrated! I have heard the $1 lash curler is superior, but I haven't tried it.

As for the mini lash curler... I thought this would be perfect for a few lashes in my inner corner that point straight down! Unfortunately I found that this lash curler simply pinch and pulled out my precious lashes on either side of the curler! The little "curl" that it did provide was not worth the lash torture I experienced.
Personally, I think spending about $10 on a decent lash curler is worth the investment, so I would not recommend either of these.

ELF Studio Eye Shadow in Butter Cream, $3 for 1.75grams

ELF Studio Eye Shadow in Raspberry Truffle, $3 for 1.75grams

I was very disappointed with the first three shadows I purchased (click HERE to see this post) but based on reviews from others, I decided to give these one last try... I am disappointed still. It seems the pigmentation of the darker shades is decent, while the lighter shades barely represent on the skin (even with a good primer). The texture of the shadows is powdery, soft, and a little crumbly. I don't see myself trying these again, and recommend investing more money in a high quality shadow that won't leave you disappointed. This is a good example that sometimes you get what you pay for!

ELF Studio Eye Transformer

ELF Shimmer Palette
(click HERE to see my previous post on the Shimmer Palette, including swatches)

Eye transformer swatched above.

My Eye Transformer arrived with a shattered peachy/golden color, but that is ok with me. This is a great product. The pigmentation isn't magnificent, but it is decent. This reminds me of a quad I had in High School from Victoria's Secret- but that one was much more expensive! These can be worn solo over a flesh colored base, over eye shadows, or on top of colored or dark bases to modify the color. This is a fun product I recommend trying.

Eye Liner and Shadow Stick

Colors from left to right: Brown/ Basic, Green/ Moss, Black/ Smoke, Pearl/Glow

I like the idea of Eye Liner and Shadow Stick, but I think this could be better. The shadow sticks are very hard and require a lot of effort to achieve good color pay off. The Smoke color has the best color payoff. The Liners are very soft and are easy to apply; however, they smudge easily so I recommend setting them with powder for longer wear.

Eyebrow Kit
Shown Above: Light

This is absolutely, positively my favorite product from the studio line. It replaces my Smashbox Brow Tech, which is much more expensive. The compact comes with a brush that I don't recommend using (I recommend a boar bristle brush). I use the colored powdered and the gel wax separately and together, depending on the effect I am trying to achieve. I will repurchase this product again and again.

I wanted to try the new lip products. One I skipped was the Lip Stain, since I am not a fan, but I purchased three others that I thought I would like.

Minty Lip Gloss in Miami
Moisturizing Lip Gloss in Supermodel
Lip Balm SPF 15

Swatches of Miami (Left) and Supermodel (right) reveal very very little pigmentation. These glosses might as well be clear. Both contain subtle shimmer, and as you can see, Miami is ever so slightly more noticeable than Supermodel. These colors, though, are basically identical.

Packaging on the Minty Lip Gloss is poor. The cheap doe foot applicator gets stuck in the stopper, and the black cap comes off of the applicator.

The packaging on the moisturizing Lip Gloss is interesting- there is a plastic clamp at the end. I hope this stays on! If it were to break off in a handbag, what a horrible mess that would make!
Also- note the air bubbles pictured right. Some have complained about this, but I have to say that this does not effect the performance of the gloss.

As for the Minty Lip Gloss- the minty taste is much to sweet for me! Don't get me wrong, I love mint and menthol flavored glosses, but this one is simply off. The gloss also has an apparent fine- grit feel to it. I also find myself dipping and re-dipping into the gloss to get enough product, since the one or two dips does not deposit enough product on my lips. The taste, texture, poor color payoff, and cheap packaging mean I won't be repurchasing this again.
The Moisturizing Lip gloss is extremely sticky, so I imagine this product caters only to a crowd who prefers sticky glosses. There is a very slightly noticeable chemical flavor to the gloss- but not one that I would consider a turn off. Many complain that the clear/ colored gloss do not always dispense evenly, and I can confirm this. I would say it is a non- issue, though, considering the gloss is almost clear anyway. The only benefit of a gloss like this, in my opinion, is that it works well when paired with thin, slippery lipsticks such as the NYX Round Lipsticks. Apply the gloss first, then layer over a cheap lipstick. This will provide a nice cushion and shine to a lipstick that lacks body. And this is the ONLY way I will ever wear this gloss. With that said, I won't be repurchasing it.

Lip Balm SPF 15

The Lip Blam SPF 15 also left me disappointed... And I really wanted to love this. The packaging is awesome. It is made of aluminum that is painted black. The tube is square, with rounded edges. Unfortunately, the formula is waxy, and I don't find it to be particularly moisturizing. I prefer a cheap chapstick to this. I am going to try to keep using it as a prep step while I am applying my makeup, but I would not rely on this as a hydrator for my lips. I like that it has SPF 15, but in order for that to be effective, I would have to constantly reapply this, which I can't bring myself to do! This has a slight minty flavor- think a very toned down version of Burts Bees Lip Balm, which is nice.

ELF Makeup Remover Cleansing Cloths
, $3 for 20 Cloths.

I am not going to lie- I didn't use wipes for makeup removal prior to trying these. My cleanser removes makeup on its own; adding another stop in my routine is something I can't justify! Also, being a fairly environmentally conscious person, throwing away a wipe every day seems wasteful. Still, I wanted to give these a try to see if I could use them on a lazy day when I didn't want to wash my face. What I discovered is that this leaves behind a yucky film that I can't stand! Perhaps this is typical of most cleansing wipes- I don't know- but I didn't like it! I also tried these as a quick clean up for my brushes. I swept dirty brushes over a wipe- and while this did remove a good amount of product, it left behind that same film on my brush fibres that I didn't like.
I won't be repurchasing these.

If you have tried any of these products, I would like your feedback! Everyone is different. Please feel free to share your experiences if you've tried ELF, and if there's something you recommend me trying, let me know!