This review covers 4 shades of the E.L.F. HD Blushes; Superstar, Diva, Encore and Showstopper. As a reference, I'm NC40, which is a tricky tone. I need pigmented blushes, but natural looking shades. This can be a tricky combination. Not enough pigment washes me out and makes my complexion look dull. Too much pigment looks wrong as well. You might think that too much pigment just needs to be blended down, but there is not enough blending in the world to take some shades down. I also have to be careful with these because they have to be carefully applied and I don't always have time for all that. The ELF HD blushes seem to be just right. The colors are vibrant and very well pigmented and the dispenser provides just enough product to make a healthy looking blush. Wow. The only shade I will be passing on is Showstopper, which is a very very vibrant berry, extremely intense. It will look just right on on my NC50 friend. You cannot beat the quality and thought put into these for the price point. The formulation applies very smoothly, the packaging is clean and compact and best of all dispenses just what you need without worry of introducing germs and bacteria into the bottle. Huge yay.
Bronzers -L'Oreal - True Match Super Blendable Bronze Glow
Quilley 10/5/2012 8:57:00 PM
This product got by me! How I don't know. I see that most of the reviews here are 2009, lol. Wow. I don't know why L'Oreal didn't work on reformulating this product because (IMO) with a little bit more tweaking, it could have been a winner. The complaints I've read about this product here on MUA and on other sites are mostly valid. Yes, it is thin and watery. Yes, it looks very "Chunky" shimmer wise in the bottle. Yes, the bottle is smaller than the foundation. I intentionally waited almost a week before reviewing this so that I could be absolutely sure that these things were not true for *me*. I'm NC40 MAC. I wear W6 Sun Beige in the foundation by the same brand. It is my HG foundation without question. It looks like L'Oreal formulated the bronzers to coordinate with the foundations for the entire range, which was pretty smart. I chose the two closest to my foundation shade which were W4-5 Medium Bronze and W6-7-8 Deep Bronze. Next I tried them two ways. One over foundation, just across the tops of the cheekbones. The other way was mixed with the foundation. After shaking extremely well, what looks like chunky glitter is actually beautiful shimmer. It gives just enough bronze to make me "glow" without looking ashy or washed out or super glittery. As for managing the watery formula without making a mess, I tip the bottle on the back of my (clean) hand. Then tip it back again. No waste. Another way to manage it is to just use what gathers in the top of the bottle after you shake it up. Perfect amount. I mixed this with my foundation on the back of my hand. I use almost equal amounts, apply with a finger, dot on my face, then blend with an ELF foundation brush (the one with the white tips). It looks really beautiful. I tried it without a finishing powder and with. I suppose the reason for the smaller bottle is that you really don't need the same amount as you do your foundation. From what I understand about shimmers, they are meant to enhance and "bring up" the color, not act as smoothing out the tones of the skin. Again, imo. Without a finishing powder, the makeup and shimmer fade. With a finishing powder, it stays perfectly. I'm not sure why others found this artificial looking, but we all know that what works for one girl does not necessarily work for another. Lots of factors involved here. I'm just happy I found it in time before it disappeared forever! I paid $3.00 and bought the two shades. I am thrilled with the product. In addition to what I already said, it is loaded with antioxidants like Vit. E. No breakouts and I am very clog-prone. This is a winner and imo it should have never gone away.
Styling Products -Frederic Fekkai - Fekkai Glossing Cream
Quilley 9/13/2012 8:58:00 PM
This review is for Fekkai Glossing Cream, not to be confused with the Frederic Fekkai Olive Oil Glossing Cream, which dried out my hair. Wow, this one is so different and emollient. I received a large sample of this from Sephora and am over the moon with what it does once applied. I'd just colored my hair and somehow I didn't get the exact results I expected. Probably because I used other conditioners along with the one in the box (a big no, no in my case!) which resulted in less than smooth shiny hair. My normal application of Argan Oil and Skinny did not do the trick this time, so I grabbed this on a whim. I ws shocked at how well it worked; smooth silky hair, shiny, sleek. My little 0.3 fl. oz. is not going to last long so I'm already looking to purchase a larger size. As a reference, my hair is "multi ethnic" and is basically 4 types of hair on one head. This along with a nice hot flat iron makes all four types smooth out perfectly in one pass. It's been hours since I applied 2 pea-sized amounts (I have a LOT) of hair and I can't say enough good things about this.
Naturelle is just that. Kind of a tannish/peach. Since I'm NC40 this gives me a barely there type of look, maybe a very pale peach. The beauty of this is that when used with a bronzer, it looks beautiful. Lighter in shade than what bronzer I use (think BB in Medium) it makes subtly sculpted cheek. I also use this with a bit of highlighter for a defined, but natural looking cheek. I'm NC40 as a reference.
Perfect pink for NC40 skin imo. It's pigmented enough so that it shows up, not so much so that it looks clownish. I like this with a bronzer below and a shimmer above with this on just the apples of the cheeks. It makes me look happy and fresh and I love that. Yay!
I have mixed feelings about this blush. It's really best suited for lighter skin tones and not medium toned complexions. It's a beautiful shade, however there is so much gold/pale peach in it that if just won't show up on my (golden beige) skin tone. The great thing about LM is that you can buy small pots of things @ $2.50 US which is not a lot for the amount of product you get. I wish this particular shade had been named differently; there is nothing "juicy" about it. I will be passing this on to my neighbor who is quite fair in complexion.
I've not much more to add than to what has already been reviewed here. A little goes a long way as this is one of the more pigmented blushes in the LaFemme Line. I'm not sure I would classify this as a watermelon; imo it is more of a deep rose with subtle shimmer. On the skin it looks like you have just come in from a very cold day or that you are blushing your head off. It works very nicely with NC40/42 skin tones. It reminds me of the MAC Blush Hidden Treasure. This is one of the few blushes I would wear without a shimmer or a bronzer. It's got enough personality all its' own.
LaFemme is such a great deal for the price point and this blush is just irresistible! I'm NC40 as a reference, which means I'm 1/2 beige, 1/2 gold, so a lot of blushes look "off" imo. They are either too pigmented or not pigmented enough or they have too much gold shimmer. Well these are so basic that there IS no shimmer! They are just simple pots of powdered blush that go in evenly and smoothly. The Peach looks extremely natural, almost as if I am wearing nothing, which works as a neutral for me. I still add a bit of shimmer on top and bronzer below and it is just perfect. I wanted to wait a week or two before posting since this product does have ingredients that can aggravate sensitive skin, ie talc and mineral oil. So far no breakouts! The casing is so basic and old fashioned looking; no bells or whistles just a good quality product and a very fair price.
Bath Treatments -Aura Cacia - Protecting Sesame Oil
Quilley 9/6/2012 7:59:00 PM
Sesame oil is being heralded as "The queen of oils" for the skin here in this article. Thought this was interesting reading. http://www.youthingstrategies.com/qualities.htm All I knew is that the oil is branded by Neutrogena was expensive and had a very odd smell that turned me off. So I read the attached article and started looking at alternative brands with no fragrance and that had a lower price point. The Aura Cacia brand does not only practice sustainability, they test all oils using the new gas chromatography/mass spectrometry (GC/MS) -- that insures the highest quality oils available. They also offer oils that are certified organic. These details were not as important to me back in the day, but because MUA and working with food scientists irl, I'm just more aware of what I put in and on my body. I figure if my biggest organ is my skin, if it's protecting me from elements, etc. I'd better help it stay healthy. I also think this can be accomplished without spending tons of money. I use the sesame oil right after a shower while the skin is still wet. A few drops go a long way. My skin is super dry and this gives me a head start to sealing in moisture before I apply my regular body lotion or cream. Even on dry skin, it makes my skin feel really silky and soft and leaves a nice sheen. This brand has no odor and includes Vitamin E, another nourishing oil for the skin. I paid under $4.00 US for 4 fluid ounces. I feel good knowing that the oil is pure and simple and best of all does what it is supposed to do. It does not interfere with perfumes and absorbs quickly so that I can get dressed without fear of the oil transferring unto my clothes.
Mascara -Estee Lauder - Double Wear Zero Smudge Lengthening Mascara
Quilley 9/2/2012 11:34:00 AM
Holy Grail Status for me! No smudging, no flaking, can be applied quickly, can be taken off with just about any remover. EL, thank you for getting this right. The brush is a little long (don't get that part, the human eye is only so wide, lol) but I'm not mad! It also does a fair job of thickening, IF you use the "wiggle at the roots" trick when applying. The nicest thing of all about this mascara is the fact that if can be applied quickly and there's no need for multiple coats. It goes in smoothly, stays in without flaking or smudging. This means I can depend on it and that's one less thing to worry about. Yay!
Mascara -Jordana - Best Lash Extreme Volumizing Mascara
Quilley 9/2/2012 11:29:00 AM
I "had" to have this after all the MUA raves. It was sold out at my local brick & mortar shops, so I purchased a few tubes via Amazon. $2.00 US. The brush & formula remind me a bit of Georgio Armani's Eyes to Kill. It's got a good, dense black tint, yet the formula is (if applied in thin, even layers) very buildable. Both mascaras smell the same - both have an odd sort of smell that somehow reminds me of lawnmower fuel or something you would smell at a motor shop. I wonder what that's about? :>/ Also this was a bit easier to remove than the GA Eyes to Kill. The same results can be had with any oil-based remover. I did try a regular facial cleanser to see if I could get it all off, but had to cleanse twice. One big difference between this and GA is that the Jordana washes off very easily with a proper make-up remover ie Clinique's Take The Day off Balm. Taking off GA Mascara is a difficult task - especially at the end of the day when I'm tired and want to get cleaned up as fast as possible. The other nice thing about this (besides the price point) is that I can see that it is loaded with extending fibers. The fibers are not too long, which means my lashes didn't go all wonky once the product was applied, however the fibers DO add a fair amount of fullness to the lashes - especially if you do the "wiggle at the roots" move. GA does not have these fibers. Finally the smudge test. No smudges! I applied about three coats in very thin layers, letting the lashes dry between layers. I went 0 hours and not a smudge or flake in site. This is probably my favorite thing about this mascara. One less thing to worry about. Would I apply this when I need to get out of the door in a hurry? No. It does take more time (imo) to apply. Is it worth it? Yes. Update: This made my lashes too brittle to wear every day. They are like rock hard cement, which makes me sad. I may try wearing a lotion based primer first, but I wanted to add this update because I'm afraid of my lashes drying out too much or getting damaged from harsh mascaras.
Bronzers -Unlisted Brand - FACE Atelier Pro Ultra Sheer #2
Quilley 8/30/2012 7:49:00 PM
It's really hard to categorize this...it's a liquid highlighter. It reminds me a lot of the Georgio Armani liquid highlighters, however this is dispensed in smaller amounts and the pump mechanism is of higher quality than the GA. #2 is a pale pink pearl and it is gorgeous. One tiny drop applied with a brush meant for highlighting is perfect. I just apply it over my foundation, along the tops of the cheekbones, above the bronzer and alongside the blush and blend it all out. Note: It does have a lot of silicone in it, which is probably to increase the spreadability and shine. I'm not quite sure how my skin will react since I am sensitive to certain silicones. I will report an update if I break out. I had to look twice when i applied it because it's so glossy, and prominent as a highlighter. I supposed this is based on the fact that the line (at least from what I have read) is really made for stage and screen (like MAC) and that Madonna uses the line exclusively on tour. (ha, ha, not sure if I believe that one). It comes in Opal, Champagne, Peach and Bronze and samples can be ordered at the FA website for $1.00 US.I cannot wait to try the Peach and Bronze to see how well they work with my skin tone. Full sizes retail $45.00
Lip Gloss -Sue Devitt - Mini Stars Palette in Vega
Quilley 8/30/2012 7:36:00 PM
I'm excited to review this product because it's all of the best things in a tiny little case and it still has a mirror! The glosses are all in the pink/red family, are very smooth on the lips, no grit at all, lots of shine and give the look of happiness and health. NC40/42's are a tricky skin tone imo. Too little pigment means looking kind of outdated. Too much pigment is just...well, too much. This falls somewhere in between as a pigmented gloss. It stays put, no stickiness or migrating into the corners of the mouth. I can see these shades worn by themselves as well as over pink or red lipsticks. Best of all they can be applied with a fingertip and slipped into an evening bag or the pockets of my jeans if need be. Yes, this is a high end product with a high price point, however it meets everything I could want in a sheer gloss, so yays all around.
This review is for Alima's Mineral Blush in Sospiro, which means "sigh" in Italian. It's sort of fitting because it is sort of sigh worthy. As a reference, I'm NC40/42 toned skin, which I like to describe as half gold/half beige. Too much gold does not show up on me, too little makes me look washed out. This is perfect because it's a deep pink shot through with fine silver shimmer, but not too much that the pink is lost. I can't really comment on price, as this was a gift, however I have purchased Alima products in the past and think that they are fairly priced for the amount of product that you get. I may end up pressing this blush because I find powders messy - especially when I am in a hurry. Finding blushes that give me the look I want (fresh, young, glowing) is a challenge because so many blushes are either too light or too dark, too much pigment or not enough pigment, too ashy in some cases. I like bronzer types for the reason and this fits right in. I would almost classify this as a pink bronzer. I've been wearing it all summer long and can't wait to see how it looks in the winter when I have less sun exposure and go back to NC40. I'm hoping to try this with a pink lip and a white eye when it gets really cold. It's just a gorgeous shade for us "goldens" and is truly different looking.
Makeup Brushes -Unlisted Brand - Royal and Langnickel Brushes
Quilley 8/29/2012 9:13:00 PM
Thanks to an awesome MUA'er here, my brush collection is nearly complete. I cannot believe my blessing of one brush in particular - the Royal and Langnickel BC166 Silk Synthetic Contour Brush. I had no idea what is was used for so I had to look it up. It's for precise application of cream blush, which is exactly what I needed - only I didn't know it, lol. The brush is soft and silky feeling and the handle is perfect. The synthetic fibers are cut on an angle, so all I have to do is brush them across a stick or cream blush and I can brush color exactly where I wanted to on my cheekbones. The brush is so precise that as soon as I started applying it my cheekbones popped out with color that I had never seem before. Normally I had been applying cream blush with my fingers, doing all sorts of tapping motions, which never deposited color exactly where I needed it. So I'd been staying away from cream blushes for this reason. I even gave a lot of my cream and liquid blushes away because I found that powder was just easier. Now that I have the correct tool, I plan to start buying creme blushes again. It's pretty much become my favorite now.