This is a nice no-frills everyday moisturizer for very oily, acne-sensitive skin. I'm on my second tube. I purchase this on the FeelUnique website for just under USD$10 (50ml). This is a clear, colorless, odorless gel that comes in a standing squeeze tube. Completely oil-free. I use this daily under my sunscreen/makeup (for over a year now), and it has never broken me out. I especially love it during the warmer months because once absorbed, it feels so light, like it's not even there, but still gives me that much-needed moisture I still need (I live in a desert climate). This does not contain SPF. It absorbs pretty easily; I do notice a little bit of a sticky feeling a few seconds after it's applied, but when I give it a minute to "set," that stickiness does go away and my skin just feels smooth. If you have combination or dry skin, this probably won't be enough moisture for you by itself (especially during cooler months). My skin becomes more combination during the winter (drier on my cheeks, T-zone still quite oily), and with the very dry air I find that this falls just a tiny bit short of what I need on my cheeks, in terms of moisture (I will keep holding on to this though, because I'm moving to a more humid climate soon! -- will update on that). I have no issues with the packaging. I like that you can stand it up with the cap at the bottom to ensure that every last bit of product comes out. Overall, I am quite happy with this moisturizer. Recommended for people with oily, sensitive skin. It's so gentle, it's affordable and it doesn't have extra unnecessary ingredients. A good find!
This is one of my "my-cheeks-but-better" blushes. It's like a combination blush/bronzer/maybe even contour for those with very fair skin. I would describe the color as a warm, mid-tone beige/brown-pink, leaning slightly more towards beige/brown. I think it adds such a nice bit of warmth and shape to the cheeks without looking like you're obviously wearing blush, and it doesn't look so brown where it's screaming 'bronzer' either (I am NC20-25). Some days I use it as a more subtle contour on my cheek bones. The finish isn't completely matte -- there is a slight sheen to it, but not obviously glittery or iridescent. I like it because it makes the skin look healthy and natural, as opposed to being matte and making the skin look completely "flat." People with darker skin tones will have a harder time picking up the color, but the finish is very nice -- I think it might even make a nice highlighter. There's no smell to it. Long-lasting, and it doesn't change color throughout the day. I love the packaging -- the full size comes in a sifter jar, but you can rotate the cover so that the holes are closed. Very travel-friendly. An interesting, versatile color. Will be my go-to for spring/summer.
Makeup Brushes -E.L.F. - Studio Mineral Powder Brush
PaperAlias 4/1/2013 7:27:00 PM
This is one of my favorite face brushes because it is so versatile. It's a medium-sized dome-shaped brush (Click CONTINUE to see size comparison). Great for powder foundation and finishing powders, but the size also makes it good for more precise areas, like the cheeks. It's nice for getting into those areas that other giant face brushes can't, like around the nose. I use this brush for applying mineral makeup, finishing powders, blush, powder highlighter and contour colors. Very soft bristles. It's easy to clean and the bristles don't bleed when washed. It maintains its shape very well, and it does not shed. Looks great for a $3 brush -- nice sleek black handle. I highly recommend this brush. It's great for a lot of different uses. I might just have to buy another one since I use it so much. Excellent bargain.
Eye Shadow -Maybelline - Color Tattoo 24hr Cream Gel Shadow in Tough as Taupe
PaperAlias 3/24/2013 3:37:00 AM
This is a matte, cool grayish taupe cream shadow. This one seems to be a bit drier than the Color Tattoos I have with shimmer (Bad to the Bronze and Audacious Asphalt), so it's a little harder for me to blend with fingers (a brush makes it a little easier). I like to use this to define my crease or outer corner, as a lid color for a smokey eye, or as a base for powder shadows in a similar color family. This will crease on me after a few hours without a primer, but on primed lids this stays put all day. When I heard about this I thought it could replace my MAC Paint Pot in "Quite Natural" but this shade is much cooler. Very gray; it doesn't look as flattering on my warm skin tone all by itself, but I think it's a nice transition color and base color. Fairly inexpensive; USD$6-$9. No scent. Lovely glass jar packaging. I think the quality is good for a drug store product. I think I would repurchase again because I like using it with other shadows.
I love this! It has been my go-to shadow for a couple of months now. It's a beautiful warm brown-bronze with gold shimmer. The shimmer isn't like flecks of glitter though; more like a frost/metallic sheen. The consistency is creamy (despite being densely packed in the jar) and very easy to blend (brushes and fingers). The first layer goes on a bit sheer but you can very easily build it up to a more opaque, more intensely-shimmery finish. I think it makes a nice base for other warm/taupe powder shadows too. It doesn't feel wet, greasy or sticky on my eyelids. Without a primer, this does crease on me after a few hours (I have oily, hooded lids) but on primed skin, this does not budge. I think it looks so lovely by itself with some mascara; like if you want a nice, simple sheen and warm wash of color on your eyelids for an everyday look. Great packaging. Similar to more expensive brands; round glass jar with a black screw top. It closes tightly and securely; the product doesn't seem to be drying out at all. I think the price is very good for the quality. I see it anywhere between USD$7 - $9. I'm excited to try some of the newer colors. If you're a fan of MAC Paint Pots, you should give these a try. Highly recommended!
I usually use witch hazel as a toner, but during the winter months, it can be too drying, even for my oily skin. But this toner is absolutely perfect for that time of year for me. I wasn't sure why this was called a "lotion" since it's a clear liquid, but I can now understand since it's actually quite moisturizing for what it is. It doesn't leave my skin feeling tight and dry. It leaves no residue or lingering scent behind. Never thought I'd be able to find a moisturizing toner. It's a clear, greenish liquid. Nice clean scent. All-natural. One of my favorite things about Mario Badescu products is the no-frills ingredients list. Most of their products (if not all) contain only a handful of ingredients. No dyes or perfumes. I have a tendency to break out once in a while, but this doesn't create any problems for me. I use it twice a day, morning and night. $15 for an 8 oz. bottle -- goes all the way up to a big 32 oz. size (I recommend signing up on their website because you can get a $10 gift certificate on your birthday every year. Nice!). This is a great toner for people with dry, acne-prone skin. It's very gentle and doesn't leave you feeling completely stripped of moisture. Highly recommended.
Treatments -Unlisted Brand - Uguisu No Fun (Powdered Nightingale Droppings)
PaperAlias 2/26/2013 12:01:00 AM
Uguisu no fun is the Japanese term for powdered nightingale droppings. I read about how it's been used as a very powerful (yet gentle) exfoliating and anti-aging ingredient in Japanese skin care for centuries so I thought: Why not! I bought a 26g bottle from a Japanese seller on eBay for just under $20. I've seen the same bottle elsewhere on the web in Japanese beauty stores anywhere between $20 to $30, so shop around. Yes, this is bird poop (actually warbler poop; similar bird, they don't harvest from nightingales anymore). It has been dried and pulverized into a powder and then sanitized under ultraviolet light. So it's completely sterile and free from bacteria. It's a light beige color with a little bit of a musky smell (fortunately this does not linger after removing it). This particular brand has a bit of talc added to it too. Its exfoliating and moisturizing properties are attributed to its high urea content. It can be used in a number of ways; as a scrub, a mask, a face wash. I like to use it as a mask/scrub combo. I would call my skin "oily" but lately during the cooler months it has been pretty dehydrated and dull. I mix 1 part droppings with 2 parts rice bran powder and enough warm water to form a spreadable paste (I like it on the runnier side because it's easier to spread). I apply it with a flat brush and let it dry for about 30 minutes. It does tighten like a clay mask. Once dried, I soften the mask with water and then massage it into my skin to exfoliate for about 10-15 seconds before rinsing off completely. I love the way my skin feels afterward! My face feels super clean, very smooth, and not irritated at all. The skin doesn't feel dry and there is no residual redness. Pores do look less noticeable. The skin just looks very calm, clean and bright. I have yet to see how well it works on active acne though. I want to see how well this powder works with other ingredients, like clay or honey. If you love natural skin care and enjoy DIY masks, I think this is worth looking into. Very effective and so gentle.
I really like this BB cream. I'm oily and acne prone so I often skip any kind of base makeup and just go with concealer, but this BB cream works really well for me and looks very natural. I bought the shade Ivory. This is a Korean BB cream. It costs $12 on Abbamart(dot com) -- there is also a Korean Abbamart site. I don't know of anywhere offline you can get this in the US. You get 1.7 fluid oz. Very limited color selection; it only comes in two shades, Ivory and Medium (warm undertones). I am NC20 and Ivory blends nicely with my coloring. It has an SPF of 36 so it does look a little bit lighter when I apply it but I find that the slight overcast does go away after a few minutes. I don't use nearly as much of this stuff as I do actual sunscreen, so I have to apply a regular sunscreen before application to ensure full sun protection. I like the consistency; not runny even though it is water-based, not too thick -- it's easy to blend. This is a light to medium coverage BB cream. I like that it feels like I have nothing on; my skin feels like "it can breathe." It doesn't transfer or oxidize. It doesn't have that gray cast that a lot of Asian BB creams seem to have. It's more yellow-based. I prefer applying it with my fingers but I think you can get a little bit more coverage applying it with a brush. This will not cover everything. It works great at evening out areas with some redness, but for active blemishes or dark spots, you will need to supplement with a concealer or find something with a higher coverage. It has no noticeable smell; fragrance-free. This doesn't break me out. It's oil-free. I also like that it contains arbutin; a natural lightening ingredient (and by lightening I don't mean "whitening"; it will help lighten unwanted pigmentation like from old acne, but won't whiten your natural skin color). It doesn't contain any acne-fighting ingredients, so I don't think it can do anything to heal blemishes. I don't have many lines or wrinkles so I can't attest to its wrinkle-fighting claims. It does not irritate my skin at all. This doesn't do anything for oil-control despite the built-in primer claim; I do need to set it with a powder. However, it does seem to have decent lasting power even after oil starts shining through. It doesn't feel particularly moisturizing; it will accentuate dryness so moisturize beforehand. I like the packaging a lot. It's a sleek gray squeeze tube that you can stand up, and the small opening makes it easy to control how much product you dispense. The writing on the back is all in Korean so you will have to consult the website for more specific description details if you can't understand it. Overall, I'm very pleased with this BB cream. If you're looking for an inexpensive authentic Asian BB cream that feels light, is acne-friendly, with SPF and skincare benefits, you may like this. But if you have tan to dark skin and/or need full coverage, there may be more suitable products out there.
Misc Beauty Tools -Unlisted Brand - Eye Charm - Double Eyelid Tape
PaperAlias 2/21/2013 3:47:00 PM
I have one monolid and one natural double eyelid and I wanted to make my eyes look more even so I have been using this as a "training tape" to make my monolid a double (it's almost a year now since I started). I use the Eye Charm tapes (pink packaging) in "Slim" for a small crease. This worked very well for me, but I will say that this is going to be hit-or-miss with everyone. This tape does not work well with eyeshadow. The product description on some sites claim you can easily put makeup over this, but you can't. It looks very noticeable. The tape itself has a dotted texture and it is not completely transparent like clear packing tape. I didn't wear much eye makeup when I started using this (I didn't like the way it looked with my uneven eyelids) but since I was creating a very low crease on the eye, I have actually been able to get away with wearing this by itself during the day almost everyday without it looking obvious. The upper part of the lid hangs over it just enough to cover the tape but still create a crease like the one on my natural double eyelid eye. If you want to make a bigger crease, you will need the "Regular" size, but note that a bigger piece of tape will be more noticeable. I would also wear these every night. If you plan on wearing this daily (or nightly) as a training tape, you have to be consistent in changing them and applying clean ones. And you have to be careful when removing them; eye makeup remover will reduce tugging. Too much pulling will eventually make the skin look droopier over time. So handle your lids with care! The package does come with a little plastic two-prong "fork" to help you find your crease and determine where to place the tape. I've only had to use it the first time I started using this. After a while you can get a better idea of where exactly the tape needs to go, but the fork's there if you need it. These are super inexpensive. I've gotten mine off of eBay for just a few dollars per packet (shipping included), with 40 pairs per pack. I think you can find these on Amazon too. My monolid is now able to stay a double lid without the tape and my eyes look much more even now. And I can wear eye makeup without feeling self-conscious! I do want to continue using this for another few months for good measure though. I really do like these, but as I said, it will not be for everyone, depending on individual eye shapes and whatnot. But if you do find that these kinds of tapes and eye lid glue don't work for you, I recommend those special "eyelid fibers" to try (I think AB Mezical and Mezaik are some popular brands; may be a bit more expensive). They work similarly to the tape, but instead of a full strip of tape, you get a very thin, clear piece of sticky fiber you apply at the crease. Much less noticeable if you want to make larger creases, and I think easier to work with if you want to apply eye makeup too.
This is one of those products that everyone should have in their medicine cabinet because it is so versatile and useful. It's great for moisturizing super dry areas like elbows, knees, heels, knuckles, lips, etc. I have also used it to condition my eyelashes at bedtime and to tame my eyebrows. Recently I started using it at night time to enhance my regular eye cream. After I wash my face, I apply my eye cream and then I add a very, very thin layer of Vaseline over it. It's very emollient and rich so you don't need much at all. Just enough to make the skin a little bit shiny is good for me. I only have a couple very fine lines under my eyes (I am 26) but after sleeping with some Vaseline on, the skin does look a little plumper and smoother the next morning. The lines are less noticeable and the skin feels so soft. It really helps seal moisture in the skin. Makes under eye concealer blend in so smoothly. Better results than any eye cream I have used consistently all by itself. I don't apply any to my upper lids because they're usually on the oilier side anyway. Great product. Also very inexpensive and available almost anywhere. Glad I found another use for it.
Toners -Mario Badescu - Facial Spray with Aloe, Herbs, and Rosewater
PaperAlias 7/3/2012 3:08:00 AM
Although I do not consider this an "essential" in my skincare routine, it is a great skincare treat for those that need an extra pick-me-up or layer of moisture, or for those looking for an inexpensive setting spray for their makeup. I live out in the desert and the air is dry all year round, so I figured this might be a handy product to have around, especially now that it's summertime. It is a pinkish rose-scented liquid that comes in a mist spray bottle. Packaging is very nice. I've had no issues with the nozzle clogging or spraying in weird ways. It delivers a very fine mist. The only thing I was really concerned about before trying this was the rose smell. And coming from someone who isn't particularly fond of floral scents, this spray doesn't bother me at all. In fact, I kind of like the smell. It's light, and it's doesn't linger for too long. I have oily skin, but it still does feel dehydrated in this climate, and this is perfect because it adds a light layer of moisture without making me feel greasy. And I'm acne prone too, and it doesn't irritate my skin or break it out. Very gentle. However, if you have very dry skin, this definitely isn't going to be enough by itself. I wish these came in travel sizes because this would be perfect as a carry-on moisturizer on an airplane (but not big deal... just buy a small atomizer spray bottle). Instead of having to carry around a cream you have to rub on, you can just reapply this quickly whenever needed (and over makeup too). As I said before, not a skincare must-have, but still a very nice product. Highly recommended.
This looks similar to Circe in the tube at first, but Honey is just a bit warmer. So if you tried Circe and thought it looked a little too gray or cool, this may be a much better alternative. It's a warm fleshy beige nude. Not too orange, but still warm enough to not make me look like I have no lips. For reference I am NC20-25 yellow undertones, Asian. I was thinking about getting the MAC Viva Glam Gaga 2 lipstick but saw on a blog swatch that this was a pretty close dupe, so I opted for the Nyx Honey instead. The formula is creamy with good pigmentation, similar to Circe's finish. No shimmer or frost. No weird smell. I like that its buildable to a completely opaque look. Lasting power is as long as any other regular drugstore lipstick in my opinion. It does tend to accentuate any flakiness so I always exfoliate and apply balm before application. Very inexpensive; $.99 to around $5 depending where you buy. If you're on the hunt for a good nude lipstick, this one is worth a shot. Nice quality and super cheap.
I have sleepy-looking hooded eyelids, and this is a great eyeliner for the waterline to help my eyes look wider and more awake without looking so obvious. It is a fleshy apricot color and the consistency of the pencil was much creamier than I expected. No shimmer or shine. Glides onto the waterline beautifully. It doesn't tug at my skin or apply "spotty." I like to do about two applications since I have oily lids. It definitely doesn't look as opaque by the end of an 8-hour day, but most of it is still there. Sometimes I'll dab some in my inner corners or my lower lash line and blend for extra highlights. This pencil is a little bit expensive. I think Sephora has it was $18 but I got mine on Amazon for $14. I think this is a much better and more natural looking alternative to stark-white pencils. Highly recommended.
This is a great little quick fix for stubborn, painful angry zits, whether it's a pimple that just won't seem to budge or a spot that you've been obsessively picking and squeezing. I had an annoying breakout near the corner of my mouth and over the past week I've been using different spot treatments to get the darn thing to shrink, or at least come to a head. I've used benzoyl peroxide, a sulfur mask, tea tree oil, salicylic acid, and bentonite clay. Needless to say that after a few days my pimple looked very dry, red, and flaky. I decided to give my skin a little break and try some Neosporin ointment to soothe the irritation. I did this right before bed and covered the spot with a Bandaid. By next morning, the swelling had gone down quite a bit, and the skin around the zit looked smoother. I was pleasantly surprised! I did it again the following night, to see more improvement the following morning. Less swollen, less red, softer skin. By this time, the breakout was much easier to cover with makeup. While the ointment yielded wonderful results, I DO NOT consider this a long-term solution for acne sufferers. As other reviewers have mentioned, long-term use could do more harm than good, causing the skin to become resistant to antibiotics and make it difficult to fight off infections in the future. Yikes. There's a reason this isn't marketed as a regular skincare treatment. For me, this is a once-in-a-while last resort / emergency fix. It kills bacteria, moisturizes, and heals the skin very quickly. So while I can see how this is a miracle product for a lot of people, it's still important to consider its long-term effects. I do recommend it as a quick fix every now and then, but for something you can use everyday all over your face, stick to products that are specifically for acne.
I'm someone who usually doesn't like to wear eyeshadow, but I really like this product. This is my first MAC PP and I do plan on getting more. For reference, I have oily, hooded eyelids (I know... a perfect recipe for creasing!). Initially, I wanted a long-lasting cream shadow to create nice warm smokey brown eyes. I bought this on the MAC website for $17.50 (excluding tax) with free shipping. It comes in a little glass jar with a black screw-top lid. The color looks like a matte medium chocolate brown. No sheen, no glitter, nothing. No smell either. First time using it, I applied it with my fingertips. The formula was a bit drier than I expected, and it was a little tough to blend. Most of the product would end up staying on my fingertips, and once it dries, it doesn't budge. I also noticed some of it would "bunch" and collect into little dry bits (it almost looked like dirt). But I wasn't ready to give up yet; I knew it was going to take some experimentation to get this to work right for me. So I decided to find a brush to use this with, and now it goes on and blends SO MUCH MORE EASILY! (I use the ELF Studio Angled Contour Brush). It applies so beautifully, and much more quickly now. I get that lovely smokey brown effect that I wanted. I just apply this all over the upper and lower lid, add mascara, and I'm good to go. First time I used this, I didn't use a primer, just to see how it would hold up, and it did crease pretty badly by the end of the day (as I said, I have oily, hooded lids). But with a primer, it lasted much longer. Doesn't bleed, or slide around, or fade. Doesn't feel greasy. And I love how it doesn't feel like I have anything on my eyes at all. Very nice formula. It's a nice versatile brown color. You can use it as a shadow, brow color, and eyeliner. A bit expensive, yes, but when I run out, I'll replace it in a heartbeat. If you find that it doesn't apply smoothly or looks blotchy at first, I definitely recommend trying out different brushes and experimenting with application. It can be a tricky product, but I still recommend it.