Monday, April 18, 2011

Skincare disappointments

I've tried out a lot of new products recently and it figures that for everything I love (Urban Decay's Naked palette, Sephora's Airbrush set) that there would be some less than stellar purchases:

Eve Pearl "salmon" concealer

Some of my favorite YouTube gurus have raved about this product, so I decided to check it out. I do have quite a problem with dark circles under my eyes, so I had very high hopes for this product.

Overall, HUGE disappointment (3/10) (See updated 6/10 review HERE)

Issue 1: Price. After shipping it was $50.62 for 6.2 g.

Issue 2: Availability. When I initially tried to purchase the product, it was sold out and it took weeks for it to become available.

Issue 3: Doesn't work.

The "gel consistency" of the concealer was touted as great to prevent it from caking up under the eye. The orange color is supposed to counteract the dark circles. In use, it was just a mess. It's super orange, which will counteract the dark circles, but it slides around everywhere making it nearly impossible for me to get good coverage for my dark circles. Ditto with trying to cover it with foundation after the fact, any attempt to cover the product just smeared it around so that the areas that needed coverage weren't covered.

Then depending on which guru you're listening to, it's either designed only for women with dark skin or should be used "only with regular concealer over it". Are you kidding? Concealer on top of my concealer?

So many of the YouTube gurus I follow spoke so highly of this product that I really had great expectations for it, but it's just been a huge waste of money.

Origins Vitazing Moisturizer

Again, YouTube gurus raved about the product.  End of the day, it's a tinted moisturizer.  It doesn't have a high enough SPF for me to use it as my regular moisturizer and it doesn't provide enough coverage to double as a foundation.  Total waste of $35, but I picked it up in person at Macy's so at least I didn't have to pay shipping.  (Overall 5/10).

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Liquid Eyeliner - swatches and reviews

Liquid Eyeliner

Hi, my name is indie and I have a problem with liquid eyeliner.  Okay, so truth be told, I don't really think it's a problem, but I fully admit that I love my liquid eyeliner.  I have two daily must haves, moisturizer and eyeliner.

I almost never use pencil liner.  It smudges so easily and wears off and overall is just far more transient a product than liquid eyeliner that I rarely feel the need to use it.  Liquid eyeliner typically goes on nicely, it stays where you put it and you never end up looking like a raccoon at the end of a long day.

I know that a lot of people don't like liquid eyeliner.  They find it difficult to apply and I admit, it is a skill that you have to work at, but it is well worth putting in the work (in my opinion).

I decided to do this post in two sections.  The first is swatches of the liquid liners I currently have and the other will be a review of my favorite liquid eyeliners.

Liner Swatches
As I said above, I'm swatching the liquid liners I currently have in my case.  I use liquid liner a lot and I experiment with different brands and colors a lot, so my current stash is pretty random.  Overall, I prefer liquid liners with a brush applicator but those are next to impossible to find.  I am really not at all crazy about the felt pen liner applicators, but I will say they've been steadily improving.

In the interest of full disclosure, I will say that I usually tend to avoid the drugstore liner brands.  My experience has been that their coverage is often lacking and if it isn't lacking then they tend to be so thick that they flake off halfway through the day.  I'm a snob.  Sue me.

MAC Fluidline in Blacktrack ($15)
Okay, not a liquid eyeliner, this is a gel liner.  But in terms of staying power, it is much more like a liquid liner than a pencil.  The fluidline goes on smooth with good coverage.  It does have a couple of drawbacks from my perspective.  First, once it's on, it's on and it can be difficult to remove.  Second, you have to apply it with a liner brush.  I don't like that simply for the fact that you then have to do something with the brush.  You either have to put it somewhere that you won't accidentally touch it with something else (or you'll have gel liner everywhere) or you have to immediately wash it (I wash the brush at least every other day if I'm using it regularly) and that just wastes the product.  (Overall, 7/10)

Arbonne Liquid Eye Liner, Black, #7822 ($24)
I should have taken a picture of the applicator.  It's strange, a floppy felt applicator that took me a long time to get used to.  The liner has great coverage with no flaking and it comes off relatively easy.  Right now, this is my go-to liner. (9/10)

Stila Liquid Eyeliner
The liner is only available as part of a palette and it's meant to be used with black eyeshadow to set it.  I take it back, apparently you can get the liner from  I'm still less than happy with it.  By itself, the liner is less than stellar.  It's watery with uneven coverage.  If you use it with the black powder to set, it's probably a lot better, but I personally do not have the patience for that.  (Overall, 5/10)

Covergirl Liquid Pencil
This was a drugstore find and I don't know if you can even get it anymore, which is just as well because the product coverage was crap and the applicator is bad. (Overall, 3/10)

Revlon Colorstay Liquid Liner, BlackBrown ($4)
Again, drug store find.  I don't like the felt liner.  The coverage is okay, better than the Covergirl, but still nothing to write home about.  It's cheap, but that's about all it has going for it.  (Overall, 5/10)

Sephora Long Lasting Metallic Eyeliner
originally $10, currently $5 in aubergine and copper
These look like they're on closeout so I suspect Sephora won't be selling them much longer.  The coverage for the aubergine liner is MUCH better than the coverage on the copper liner.  The copper was incredibly watery and might work well as an accent, but definitely not as a liner itself.  (Overall, aubergine 6/10, copper 3/10)

Favorite Liquid Eyeliners

Here are my all time favorite liquid eyeliners:

Vincent Longo Liquid Eyeliner, Black/Brown ($17)
 I LOVE this stuff.  LOVE IT.  It has a brush applicator (SCORE), it goes on silky smooth.  It has great staying power, doesn't smudge, doesn't flake, doesn't run, AND it is really easy to remove at the end of the day.  I want to marry this stuff.  The only problem is that it is so hard to find.  Sephora used to carry it, now they don't.  I've found it on and on, but you can tell it's old stock.  There is a Vincent Longo site and you can buy direct, but the shipping charges don't justify it for me, so sadly I'm currently without a feasible supplier for my beloved product.  (Overall, 9/10 -- just short of perfect because it's so hard to find.)

Vincent Longo Vibrant Eye Waterproof Liner, Moreno ($18.50)
Very, very similar to the regular Vincent Longo eyeliner, but it comes in some really fun colors (bright green, white, bright yellow).  Overall, 9/10 for the same supply issues noted above.

Arbonne Liquid Eye Liner, Black, #7822 ($24)
Fabulous coverage, funky applicator.  Reviewed above.

MAC Fluidline in Blacktrack ($15)

Fabulous, just high maintenance.  Reviewed above.

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

e.l.f. Studio Endless Eyes Pro Mini Eyeshadow Palette – Limited Edition

I have this eternal conundrum.  I love color, absolutely love it.  But it is really difficult to incorporate into my daily makeup routine.  I have a professional management job and while I absolutely covet just about everything from SugarPill (especially the Burning Heart Palette), I have some very serious questions about how much I could really use the products in my daily routine.

So before shelling out the money for SugarPill, I decided to experiment with something much more affordable just to see what I would use and what I wouldn't use.  I understand that the product quality between a discount store product and a high end product is very different, but when you're on a budget, a girl's gotta do what a girl's gotta do.

I will say up front that I love e.l.f.  They are SO affordable that it really allows for a lot of flexibility in terms of trying out new products and colors.  Their quality is a bit hit or miss.  Some of their stuff I absolutely love as much as my far more expensive brands.  But there are also some disappointments - though, for $1, I can deal with quite a bit of disappointment.

When I was at Target a couple of weeks ago, I picked up the e.l.f. Endless Eyes Pro Palette for $5.  Let me say that again, $5.  The Palette has 32 colors and while I do wish they didn't skew so neutral brown/black, there is a good bit of color and for someone like yours truly who has some serious questions about incorporating color into the work environment, this was a great bargain.

The quality of the shadows isn't outstanding and it does seem to vary from color to color, but again, for $5, I'm really not going to complain too much.

I did find an excellent review of this product on YouTube.  This is NOT me, this is NOT my video, but if you're interested, here is Jen (fashionismycrush)'s e.l.f. haul video which contains a review for the Endless Eyes Palette (at the 9:30 mark):
I have played with the colors a little bit so far.  I used this palette and some other green eyeshadow singles by Jane cosmetics to play around with a green look for St. Patrick's Day.  (The lighting sucks, I'm going to have to figure out something else to do for pictures.)
Overall, I am really happy with the value of this palette:  8/10.

(but I still covet SugarPill)

Monday, March 21, 2011

Skincare Routine Pt. 2: Moisturizers

Now, on to the part of my skincare routine that I spend the most time on ... moisturizers.  I have definitely lost count of how many different moisturizers I've tried.  Like I said before, I have incredibly dry skin.  I use an eye cream, a daily moisturizer with SPF and then a more nourishing night cream.

Eye Cream

Arbonne RE9 Advanced Corrective Eye Crème

So Arbonne is just one of those brands.  I got sucked into a "party" at my cousin's house.  I tried a bunch of different products from them and ended up trying out the RE9 Eye Cream.  The skin under my eyes can get real crepe-y, so I was in the market for a cream.  The RE9 is Arbonne's anti-aging line.  The official blurb is "Exclusive blend supports collagen, reducing puffiness and diminishing dark circles"

I've tried the Oil of Olay Regenerist line, which I know is really highly rated and relatively affordable, but I didn't like it at all.  Arbonne is expensive.  .5 fluid oz of the Eye Creme is $55, but I do think it's worth it.

I wear hard contacts and getting stuff in my eyes is a big problem.  My eyes are super sensitive.  The Arbonne Advanced Corrective Eye Creme doesn't bother my contacts at all.  And $55 for half an ounce is expensive, especially when compared to drug store brands, but I have to say I really can't imagine ever using up this whole bottle.  You only need the tiniest amount (I mean teeny tiny, way smaller than the size of a pea).  This stuff is going to last forever.

After a couple weeks of usage, I did notice that my skin did look firmer, less crepe-y.  As for the dark circles, I don't know that it helped a whole lot there, but as far as I'm concerned, that's what concealer is for.

Overall, I like the product a lot.  I'd give it 9/10.

Daily Moisturizer with SPF

Neutrogena Healthy Defense® Daily Moisturizer SPF 50 - Sensitive Skin

I have tried SO many daily moisturizers it makes my head spin.  To be honest, overall I really despise moisturizers with SPF.  So many of them are just incredibly greasy, smelly and make my eyes sting.  There is a daily moisturizer by BioElements that I really liked and used for quite a while.  But it's only SPF 8 (really, why bother?) and it has to be ordered through an aesthetician and it's pricey.  I was paying about $45 for 6 oz. and it took quite a bit per application.

My biggest complaint with moisturizers with SPF is the texture.  Like I said, in my experience they tend to be really greasy.  I have dry skin and I love a good moisturizer, but I really don't want my skin so greasy that my makeup slides right off.

Anyway, here are some of the moisturizers with SPF I've tried recently:
  • Again, the Oil of Olay Regenerist, which I really didn't care for - too greasy.  (5/10)
  • I tried Cetaphil's UVA/UVB Defense with SPF 50.  It was okay.  It's a drug store brand, so it's affordable.  I liked it better than the Olay Regenerist.  It was a little greasier than I would have liked, but it was okay.  It would definitely do in a pinch (7/10).  The packaging was nice, I liked the little pump.  
  • I usually really like Philosophy's moisturizers and I already knew I loved their Hope In A Jar for dry skin (more on that below), so I tried Philosophy's Hope In A Jar with SPF 25.  HORRIBLE. (0/10)  It is actually the only product I've ever returned to a store.  It was expensive - $40.  It was just terrible all around.  It was super greasy.  It was really hard to get out of the container, it just stuck to itself, it was like trying to rub poached egg on my face.  Worst of all, it burned my eyes so bad (yes, I know you're not supposed to get it in your eyes, but on a hot day at the pool, sweat happens).
  • My daily moisturizer at this point is Neutrogena Healthy Defense® Daily Moisturizer SPF 50 - Sensitive Skin.  Again, drug store brand so it's affordable ($13 - 15) and easy to find.  I usually pick mine up at the grocery store.  Like all moisturizers with SPF, it's a little on the greasy side, but less so than the other brands I've tried.  It applies easily and evenly.  I don't have to apply a lot of product.  While I'm careful to keep it away from my eyes, if I do get some in my eye, it's not the end of the world.  It's touted as being "anti-aging", but I suspect that's just the SPF.  The sensitive skin version if fragrance free and it really doesn't clog my pores or cause breakouts.  
Overall, solid product (9/10).

Night Time Moisturizer

Philosophy's Hope In A Jar for Normal to Dry Skin 

I've shopped around for different night time moisturizers, but time and time again I go back to my tried and true, Philosophy's Hope In A Jar for Dry Skin. It is AWESOME.  I love this stuff.  It is creamy, it absorbs well.  It has a really nice smell.  It isn't specifically a night time moisturizer, but it has more than enough staying power to use it as a night cream.

I love it.

Overall 10/10.

And just because I took the pic, here's my overall daily skin care  routine:

Saturday, March 12, 2011

UPDATED: Skincare Routine Pt. 1 Cleanser/Microdermabrasion

So I have all of these product reviews that I have half composed, but I'm thinking maybe I should just begin at the beginning as it were ...

On that note, I give you my skincare routine review.  In the interest of full disclosure, there are two factors that definitely affect the way I review skincare products.  The first is that I have incredibly dry skin.  Even in the middle of summer.  Second is that I have really bad vision and I wear hard contacts (more on that later).

First up ... Cleanser.  

Philosophy Purity Made Simple

I picked up my bottle of Purity Made Simple as part of a Sephora Beauty Insider 500 point gift, so it's a very little bottle.  I like it quite a bit.  My skin is so dry that I usually use a cream cleanser (cheap, Target brand ones usually).  I have tried lots of cleansers, including some really pricey Murad ones, but I didn't like any of them as well as I've liked Purity Made Simple.    I haven't had any issues with the Purity Made Simple cleanser drying my skin at all, which is a small miracle.  It's been great.  It has a really nice scent, no drying.  
Overall, great product 8/10.


DERMADoctor Physical Chemistry

I went to my local Sephora with the intention of picking up more Dr. Brandt's Microdermabrasion.  (Side Note:  My Sephora is terrible about consistently offering products.  I'll go there one week and they have a huge display dedicated to a line and the next week, they don't even carry it in store anymore.  So frustrating!)  As usual, they no longer carried the product in the store .  Anyway, no Dr. Brandt (10/10, AWESOME product).  But the associate suggested I try DERMADoctor.  I'd never heard of it, but she raved about it so much that I picked some up.  The two products are very comparable in terms of size and cost ($75 for just under 2oz.)

Unlike the Dr. Brandt's product (which I still LOVE, btw), the DERMADoctor product needs to be applied to dry skin with dry fingers.  That's not a big issue, but I used the Dr. Brandt's product in the shower, which was convenient.

I found out after the fact that DERMADoctor must have just changed their packaging to include a pump.  The math on this one isn't so hard.  Thick product + exfoliating granules + pump = DISASTER.  I'm not the only one who thinks this.  After looking at the online reviews, the stupid pump is the single biggest complaint by reviewers.

The product itself is really quite nice.  I'm not really prone to breakouts, but I do get them occasionally and the DERMADoctor cleared them up super fast.  Overall, my skin looks really good right now.

My biggest complaint again with this product is the stupid pump, which doesn't work.  The bad pump combined with the fact that you have to use it on dry skin means that I found myself using A LOT more of the DERMADoctor product per application as compared to the Dr. Brandt's.

Bottom line, it's a good product, but at that price point, it needs to be a GREAT product.  Next time I'll be going back to Dr. Brandt's.

Overall, DERMADoctor Physical Chemistry 7/10.

Thursday, March 10, 2011

March 2011: Stila

I'm not sure what the best way is going to be for grouping posts together, but at this point, brand may be easier. It's an experiment. Let's just go with it.

Okay, so that said, let's start with the new Stila products I picked up

First off:

the purrfect cat eye - talking palette

The whole talking part of the talking palette I find to be completely pointless. But as for the palette itself, I LOVE it!!

The colors are great, very springy and subtle while still having plenty of dimension: some matte, some sparkle. The base color is really, really close to my skin tone, but it does have a bit of a shimmer which I like. The lid/highlight is a really great shimmery pink. The crease color is a rosy pink, but I do wish it was a bit darker so it would be more of a contrast with the base and lid colors.

It also comes with a liquid liner, which I haven't tried *cringe*. I will. Liquid liner is an absolute must for me. I have a couple of the Stila smudge sticks and while I think they're fabulous for a pencil liner, they really don't compare to a liquid. So yes, I'm very excited to try the liquid liner and as soon as I do, I will update on that. I also haven't tried the black eyeshadow in the palette as a liner/accent as suggested. I have tried it just as a dark eyeshadow and I quite like it. It's pretty matte with only the hint of a shimmer.

I picked up the palette at my local Sephora and while it wasn't cheap, it has been well worth the money.

Excellent product: 8/10

In addition to the palette, I also picked up:

prime pot waterproof eye shadow primer

I've been on the lookout for a good primer for quite a while. (Admittedly, I haven't tried out MAC's primer or paint pot which seem to be two of the mostly highly recommended primers out there.)

I picked up the Stila Prime Pot in Taffy. Like the palette, I LOVE it! It goes on soooo smooth. The coverage is great - I'm paler than pale. In addition to using it on my eyelids, I also use it under my eyes as a base for my concealer. It works fabulously well. My makeup stays put!

I only have to use the smallest amount.

Excellent product: 10/10
Welcome to Girlie Review, my name is indie!

For the last year or so I have been toying with the idea of creating a blog as a way to keep track of my reviews for makeup, clothing, all things girlie. I finally decided to bite the bullet and do it.

So for those of you who stumble across this blog, I hope this blog is enjoyable.