Tuesday, February 28, 2012

How Many Pinkish Lipsticks Can a Girl Have?

This post is dedicated to all the pink lipsticks I currently love and carry...

1) Lancome Rouge In Love in Sweet Embrace (#307)

This light nude pink lipstick has a creamy texture that provides great coverage, moisture and a soft sheen that wears evenly and comfortably. A splendid everyday selection.

Similar to its slightly deeper sister, Palm Springs, Miami features a pale baby pink with some shimmer that borderlines on a very flattering frost. Despite its dryer texture, this lipstick is NOT drying and adds an instant swingy 60's vibe with just one swipe.

At $19, this may be one of the most pocketbook-friendly lipsticks I've procured in a quite awhile. One swipe yields a sheer blue-based baby pink coat, and two provides a decent amount of coverage while still being very shiny. This is moisturizing and quite flattering for a pink that could look daunting in the tube.

4) Makeup Forever Liquid Lip Color in #5 Pearly Pink

I picked this up at the Makeup Forever Boutique on a whim when shopping on Robertson Blvd. a few weekends ago. The MA assured me it was very moisturizing and she wasn't joking--this ultra light pink glides on smoothly and provides a reflective layer that is long lasting and pale without being too white. Not quite a gloss and definitely not a conventional lipstick, this hybrid can be worn alone or over another lip color (looks divine over Lancome #307!)...it simply depends on your mood.

5) YSL Rouge Pur Couture in Blonde Ingenue (#24) and Illamasqua lipstick in Obey (not quite pink but close enough...)

Above: YSL's Rouge Pur Couture in Blonde Ingenue #24 is a light nude pink with semi-full coverage and very subtle shimmer that does not translate as frosty. It is sophisticated, demure and becoming.

Above L-R: Illamasqua's Obey and YSL Rouge Pur Couture in Blonde Ingenue #24 swatched side by side.

Above: Illamasqua's Obey lipstick is an interesting blend of very light pink and coral tones. It offers significant coverage and a matte finish that can be drying if lips are not conditioned prior to application. The color, however, is so unique that it is worth the extra effort.

YSL Glossy Stain in #18--Rose Pastelle

Earlier this month, YSL released their Rouge Pur Couture Glossy Stains online at Sephora, sending the beauty community into a frenzy of curiosity. In light of their limited accessibility, accurate swatches were difficult to come by online.

Since I tend to gravitate towards YSL's lightest offerings (Rouge Volupte #1 Rouge Volupte Pearl #108 and Rouge Pur Couture in Blonde Ingenue), I ordered #18, Rose Pastelle, sight unseen.

Retailing for $32, this oxymoronic hybrid combines the depth of a stain with the sheen of a gloss, creating a lip product chimera, the likes of which we've yet to see up until this point. It has a doe foot applicator which spreads the product onto lips with ease.

#18 is a pale baby pink with a cool, almost lavender undertone that becomes more stain-like over time and a few applications. The formula is weightless...it feels like a light balm, but seems to "set" in a few minutes, much like the Rouge d'Armani line.

Rose Pastelle is definitely the lightest stain I have encountered...above, it is swatched lightly and then more heavily. Note the cool pale baby pink tone and glossy overcoat.

While the glossy element wears off over a couple of hours, it is not as drying as other stains I've experienced. Additionally, even with a light pink, the stain deepens! The image above shows the swatches after they have set (in about 3 minutes) and have been wiped off with a tissue. The stain that #18 produces is subtle but undeniably detectable...I love that it is not a garish hot pink to which most stains on the market default.

But how does it look on the lips one may ask? The image above says it all...#18 is a soft and cool pink with a natural sheen that wears evenly. I recommend this little gem of a science experiment, and, while I do not wear it everyday, I do keep it in rotation in my handbag because it is just so fascinating to apply.

Sunday, February 19, 2012

Foundation Swatch Central!

I never tire of the eternal quest for the quintessential foundation. As a NC 20-25, I gravitate towards a medium to full coverage light foundation with yellow or golden undertones. The foundation needs to be sensitive skin friendly, last most of the day, not oxidize greatly and appear perfecting yet natural. Yes these expectations are lofty, however, in the past year, I have discovered many newer foundations that meet my criteria thereby earning a place in the rotation. The image below (taken in natural daylight) reflects some of my discoveries and if you share my skin tone and foundation, you may find these swatches to be of use, especially because the Edward Bess, D and G, Giorgio Armani and Koh Gen Do foundations are hard to locate unless you live in a major city. I wish you the best on your foundation quest.

Seth Wegter Bags

While I have committed to almost exclusively writing about cosmetics in this blog, there are a few issues outside of the makeup realm that I deem review worthy. One is the topic of purses. I could actually rationalize that even a purse is makeup-related because it is the vessel that carries the cosmetics the I use on a regular basis.

In turn, I would like to bring your attention to www.sethwegter.com. This is the website of Seth Wegter, a Southern California local who designs and hand makes purses, cosmetic pouches and even man bags with class and precision. His W Bag (pictured above) is currently a roomy best-seller. I invite you to peruse his site and behold the wonder...I carry the Sadiella (a tan version is pictured below) and constantly get stopped by strangers when shopping (usually for makeup, I might add) asking who makes my bag and where they can get one. His purses are just that good.

Koh Gen Do Maifanshi Makeup Color Base in Yellow

koh gen do yellow primer

Until the summer of 2011, I had used the Hourglass primer regularly as the base before my foundation...it was smooth and glowy, but didn't do a particularly fine job of controlling oil production or setting makeup. I did, however, appreciate that it was sensitive-skin friendly and easy to purchase at Sephora.

koh gen do yellow primer

I tried the KGD Maifanshi Makeup Color Base in yellow (arduous and lengthy name, I know) in the summer and am now on my second tube. Like many products in the KGD line, a little goes a long way and a single item usually lasts at least six months with daily wear!

At $48, this primer actually costs less than the Hourglass version, and, in my opinion, is much preferred. The yellow tone is designed to diffuse redness, brighten the face, control unevenness and even reduce shine; I am happy to report that this little .88 oz. tube does all this and more.

To apply, I cleanse face with the KGD Spa Water (review found here) and follow with a dab of the KGD All in One Moisture Spa Gel (review found here). Then, I simply squeeze a pea-sized amount of the primer and apply to my whole face, focusing my attention on my forehead, nose and inner cheeks.

koh gen do yellow primer swatch

The texture is smooth and a little dry (though, not to its detriment) and spreads comfortably. I hate the "slimy" feeling that can accompany so many silicone-laden primers (Smashbox, anyone?) so I think the denser, less slippery texture is fantastic (as long as your skin is properly moisturized to start). Once applied, my pores are filled in and my skin looks much more even; to be abundantly clear, the yellow cast (as demonstrated in the image above) is not apparent once the product has been rubbed in.

I notice a difference when I forget to apply this--chiefly, that my makeup does not stay put as well--and so I always apply it. Since I am a third of the way through my second tube, I think it is safe to say that The Koh Gen Do Maifanshi Makeup Color Base in Yellow is a keeper...it controls oil, creates a flawless canvas and also allows me to wear less foundation. Such are the qualities of a primer trifecta.

Koh Gen Do Spa Cleansing Water

This will be a very succinct review of the Koh Gen Do Spa Cleansing Water because a simple product deserves an equally streamlined assessment. I use it twice a day to remove every trace of my makeup (even stubborn mascara and long-lasting black eye liner are are no match for this concoction!).

Comprised of water from the Yumura Hot Springs in Izuma, Japan coupled with a blend of white birch cap, rosemary leaf extract, sage leaf extract, lavender extract, artemisia princeps leaf extract, perilla ocymoides leaf extratc and ginger root, this water is deceptively effective. In all honesty, when I first pumped it onto a cotton round, its surprising lack of obvious texture and scent made me question its ability to truly clean. I couldn't have been more wrong; two pumps of KGD cleansing water removes every last trace of my foundation (currently By Terry's Cover Expert...a review to come), bronzer, blush, highlighter and eye makeup with absolute ease. I don't have to rub or agitate my skin to get a clean palette and am left with a balanced and clear canvas.

It is rather pricy...especially if you are used to spending much less than $52 for cleanser. However, the 480 ml bottle (with pump, pictured above) has lasted me over six months, which definitely puts the cost into a more reasonable perspective. Since ordering this, I have not used any other facial cleansing product (with the exception of the Ivory soap bar that I reserve for showers) and do not plan to deviate from this very efficient liquid.

Koh Gen Do All in One Moisture Spa Gel

I am always on the hunt to simplify my skincare routine and ordered Koh Gen Do's Spa Gel on a whim. Enticed by the multitasking properties purported on the KGD website, this little gem acts as moisturizer, protects against moisture loss and also can serve as a treatment mask (when applied thickly and left on the skin for a while). Blended with the brand's proudly-touted mineral-rich hot spring water (Onsen-sui), it is gel-like in texture and provides all the moisture I need for the day and night.

koh gen do gel

The gel (as seen above) is 3.53 oz. and comes in a jar. It is already quite a generous quantity for $62 and a little goes a long way; I have used this twice daily for two months and have hardly made a dent in it. What is most remarkable about it is the way that it blends into the skin.

koh gen do gel

It is cool to the touch and has absolutely no detectable scent; instead of being slippery or oily, it feels remarkably "clean" in texture and is simply a joy to apply.

The way I apply it is as follows: after cleansing my face with a cotton pad and the KGD Spa Water (a review on this amazing to come!), I scoop a dime-sized amount onto my finger. Then I dab it onto my forehead, both cheeks and chin and then carefully rub it in...it sinks into my skin in less than two seconds and doesn't look the slightest bit oily.

The result is simply comfortable, moisturized skin that looks balanced and feels calm. Although this product does not purport to provide any specific anti-aging benefits, my skin has never looked better. The website does, however, confirm that the Spa Gel contains "97% beautifying ingredients that have moisturization, anti-inflammation, tightening and whitening properties...that is enough for me.

I wholly recommend the KGD All in One Moisture Spa Gel and, when preceded by the KGD Spa Water (reviewed here) and followed by the KGD Maifanshi Color Makeup Base in yellow (review here), my face is perfectly prepped and primed for my foundation.