Mascara -Shu Uemura - Precise Volume Mascara Waterproof
GraceQ 12/7/2009 11:48:00 AM
I haven't written a review for a very long time, but this product is SOOOO WONDERFUL that I had to write a quick praise for it! This mascara holds your eyelash curl (my straight asian eyelashes can't hold a curl with non-waterproof mascara), does NOT flake at all (I'm a contact lens wearer that constantly suffers from eye makeup falling into my eyes), and does NOT clump! The brush is slim, and very precise so you can even do your bottom lashes with no clumping. And yes it does build volume! I usually have to put 3-5 coats to make it as thick as I like, but the hold, the non-clumping, and non-flaking nature of this mascara makes it THE BEST! I stocked up with 4 more tubes during the after-Thanksgiving sale at Shu Umera (normal price = $23/tube, but I got 20% off). I'm recommending it to every asian girl I know (and others too :))!
Foundations -Make Up For Ever - HD High Definition Foundation
GraceQ 12/27/2008 10:24:00 PM
Overall, this is a great foundation... it gives medium coverage without feeling heavy on my skin, and though I love the semi-matte finish (no need to top off my look with loose powder), its a bit too drying for my skin right now in the winter. I think it would be perfect for the oilier summer months though. I am NC 30-35 and I found shade 120 a bit too light, and 123 is much more yellow and a bit darker. I ended up getting the 123. The foundation has average wear on my face (~4 hours) before touching up is required.
Tinted Moisturizer -Laura Mercier - Tinted Moisturizer SPF 20 - Illuminating
GraceQ 9/12/2008 11:57:00 PM
I've always wanted to like the LM tinted moisturizer since it has a reputation for being one of the best out there, but the original formula did not have a color that matched my NC30-35 skin tone (nude was too light; sand was too dark). So when I found the new illuminating tinted moisturizer in natural radiance, I found it to be a perfect match. It gives me a very dewy moist look and soaks in pretty well into my dry skin. I usually have to blot with an oil-blotting paper within an hour of application, but its still a great medium-coverage everyday foundation (yes, foundation; its quite thick to be considered a "tinted moisturizer" in my opinion). Overall, love the product... will be buying another one when I run out.
Cleansers -Jan Marini - Bioglycolic Facial Cleanser
GraceQ 6/11/2008 11:51:00 AM
I love this cleanser! I got this in a swap after reading the good reviews and it did not disappoint! I have relatively dry/combo skin, and I was severely breaking out at the time I started using this. My breakouts cleared up within a few days and I haven't gotten ANY since. The product itself is very mild on my skin and it doesn't feel tight or dry, I use about 1/2-1 squirt on my damp face in the mornings and night and just let it sit on my face for a few mins before rinsing off (I haven't tried it as a makeup remover, as I prefer a cleansing oil). I can't rave about it more... I'm going to get another bottle and try some other products from this line!
Loose Powders -Make Up For Ever - HD High Definition Loose Powder
GraceQ 6/5/2008 7:29:00 PM
I bought this product after reading all the good reviews and I was very disappointed for many reasons: 1. The powder was very expensive for the small quantity ($30 for only 0.35 oz) 2. The powder actually seemed to enhance my flaws and make my skin look worse!! 3. The powder is VERY finely milled, so its quite easy to accidentally inhale the particles... be careful out there! (you'd think I would know better since I'm a chemist and I've worked with silica powder (the main component) a million times!) I returned the item... not worth it to me at all.
I got this color as a part of their Mediterranean Sun Color Collection Kit (limited edition) and its frighteningly bright cherry red, but goes on very sheer and looks like, well, like you ate some cherries! (sheer red) Like the other shades I have (#33 and #25), this one is very moisturizing, long lasting with a mild taste that disappears quickly. Its kind of a bright shade but its nice for when you want to give color to bronzed skin or if you want one bold color on your face.
After reading all the lovely reviews of this product, I finally found it at the Sephora in San Fransisco and looking at the color, I thought "what??"... the color was a flat (no shimmer) pinkey-nude. I don't tend to like flat colors, so I was skeptical, but after trying it out, its not bad! Its a very wearable nude shade. But between #25 and #33 (which is very similar in color and does have shimmer), I prefer #33.
Lip Gloss -Korres - Cherry Full Colour Gloss in 33
GraceQ 5/22/2008 7:51:00 PM
Lovely shimmery beige nude color that gives your lips a "better than natural" look. Its moisturizing and long-lasting, but not sticky and the taste is mild and goes away almost immediately. I also have #25 (flat nudey-pink) and #54 (bright berry) and this one is great for everyday wear.
I have the economic white-handled version of this brush, and I bought it a long time ago (is that why my experience with this brush seems to differ so much from everyone else's?). I find that the brush sheds A LOT and the bristles get muddied up with product after only 2-3 uses (I use it to apply loose powder). I'm really not happy with it, so I'm looking for a new one.
Makeup Brushes -Sonia Kashuk - Synthetic Flat Top Multipurpose Brush
GraceQ 5/20/2008 1:37:00 PM
I agree with the other reviewers about this brush! Its a unique, high quality synthetic brush that can be used for blush/bronzer or even powder. Thebrush consists of short, fat bristles nestled together to forms a flat top that is a little larger than a quarter. The flat top makes it ideal to pick up an even amount of color/powder. I use it for my blush and bronzer. The brush is fantastically soft, good quality (no hairs falling out!) with an ergonomic handle (which I really don't care for). Overall, good bargain brush at $15 from Target.
Cleansers -Philosophy - the microdelivery exfoliating wash
GraceQ 5/20/2008 1:33:00 PM
After reading reviews about this product, I went out and got this face cleanser and I wasn't impressed. First of all, its basically nano-sized (very very fine) granules in a solution of glorified water. It doesn't foam or add any emollients that would help with the removal of makeup, so I really only see it as a gentle scrub. It made my skin feel smooth, but I like multi-tasking products, and this one is more of a unitasker. I would rather use Murad's AHA/BHA wash scrub or PTR products that have the scrub benefit + some chemical exfoliants.
Eye Shadow -Mally Beauty - Mally Beauty City Chick Smokey Eye Kit - Brownstone
GraceQ 5/16/2008 7:10:00 PM
I bought the kit in Plum Chelsea first since I love wearing purples, but I also need neutral browns, so this palette fits the bill. But still, it doesn't wow me the way Plum Chelsea does. First of all, the lightest e/s shade is quite white (compared to the champagne color found in Plum Chelsea) so its good for the brow bone, but I wouldn't use it all over. The medium brown shade is a bit shimmery, a bit coppery, but very wearable. The darkest brown shade is a matte medium brown, which I use for my brows. The "primer" and separate eyeliner (black) are the same as in the Plum Chelsea kit (both eh, so so... I like my Urban Decay Potion Primer and MAC technakhol for their longevity). Overall, I'll keep this kit around for the brow color and in case I'm feeling very "brown", but otherwise, I wouldn't buy another brownstone kit.
Foundations -Giorgio Armani - Designer Sculpting Cream Foundation
GraceQ 5/16/2008 6:49:00 PM
I really love this foundation, which is good for medium-high coverage. Keep in mind that the color shade #s run lighter (I used to use a 5.5 in LSF, but I use a 7 for this one; for reference, I am MAC NC30-35). First of all, the color selection is great. Secondly, the coverage is thick enough to cover most flaws, except for my scars, and I can use it as an undereye concealer. The texture is wonderful for my combo-dry skin, and it blends beautifully without leaving skin oily or dry... its just flawless and dewy. Add a light dusting of powder and I'm ready to apply color makeup. I bought a foundation brush b/c it allows me to maximize the product with less waste. I also spooned out the foundation into smaller travel sized containers which I use regularly. Its expensive, but one jar will give me ~6 mo. of flawless skin, so I think its worth it!!
Pressed Powders -Tarte - Provocateur Mineral Powder
GraceQ 5/16/2008 6:36:00 PM
Overall, not a bad pressed powder. I bought this in light, which looked too light for my NC30-35 skin, but knowing that powders set darker (esp. mineral powders), I grabbed the lightest one and its a little paler than I would typically pick, but I add some bronzer and its ok (I wish they had a shade between light and medium). The package is a cute dark purple magnetic case, but the powder pot actually falls out quite easily (-1 lippie). I also don't really care for the dual compartment (powder on top, sponge on bottom) because with the magnetic clasp, it gets kinda clumsy (or maybe that's just me! Still, -1 lippie). As for the powder itself, it gives a lovely matte finish w/o caking (like sooo many mineral powders) or over-drying (I have combination-dry skin). So for a mineral powder, its quite light and can be used as a finishing powder over foundation w/o being excessively heavy. The matteness doesn't last too long for my t-zone, so I have to reapply 2-3 times throughout the day, but it doesn't cake or flake, so I don't mind.
My new razor-cut short A-line shag required some hold and my stylist recommended the Matte Gum from OSIS's Mess Up line because it doesn't look greasy on my dark hair. I like the smell and the moldability of the product. I use a generous quarter-size amount on my short hair so my jar will run out fast. I can spike or revive volume just by running my hands through my hair throughout the day. The cons is that my hair always has a tacky feel but I guess that's the sacrifice you have to make if you want texturized hair!