This mascara is wonderful! It does not harden at all. My lashes, many coats and many hours later, are still soft and fluttery. Because my lashes remain soft, it doesn't flake at all. It conditions, lengthens, and thickens without any clumpiness.The only cons are that it is not as black/dark as I would like it to be, and it would be nice if it could thicken my lashes more. Itís a great mascara for those wanting a natural, daytime, or office look. It wonít look overdone. But Iíll want to layer it with Prestige My Blackest Lashes for more boldness for a nighttime look. Itís a natural mascara and doesnít contain any parabens, sulfates, phthalates, GMOs, or triclosan. I got it as a part of the Black Tie 6-piece full-size kit at TJ Maxx on clearance for $23. Now, the only problem is how to again buy the mascara for a reduced price. The Cheater mascara sells on theBalmís website and Beauty.com for $18, and in London Drugs (Canada).
Tinted Moisturizer -TheBalm - BalmShelter Tinted Moisturizer
lankika 1/19/2012 9:59:00 PM
This is a great paraben-free tinted moisturizer. It provides a light medium coverage, and blends in well into the skin. You only need a little amount at a time, so the bottle should last a long time. The texture and coverage is not as heavy as Laura Mercierís tinted moisturizer and not as light as Stila Sheer Color Tinted Moisturizer. Btw, both those contain parabens. The only problem is the limited shade range. The Light shade is around NC 15-20, the Light/Medium is around NC 30-35, and the Medium is around NC 37-40. Thatís it, there are no other shades darker or lighter. This is a very limited shade range. I have this in Medium and it works well with my winter skintone. The BalmShelter Medium has more of a yellow undertone. Although it is not enough of a yellow undertone for me, the tinted moisturizer manages to blend in nicely with my skin. However, I doubt I could use this product without looking ashy with my summer tan. Currently the shade Medium is no longer sold on Sephora.com but is sold on TheBalmís website, and I found Medium at London Drugs (Canada). BalmShelter is a 2.25 oz tube for $25, and that alone beats (granted if you can find a shade that matches you) the popular Laura Mercier Tinted Moisturizer which is only 1.5 oz for $42.
I have this concealer in shade Medium, which is listed as being for olive/tan skintones. It works well now with my winter skin color but will be too light to be of use during my summer tan. Although the concealer feels very light, it gives full-coverage. I tossed the sponge and found my fingers to be the best. Itís a bit too pinkish for my golden skintone, so I use a yellow color corrector (Paul Dorf Camouflage) underneath the concealer for under-eye darkness. Although the color isnít an exact match, it blends in well without feeling heavy/cakey. So far it hasn't creased under the eyes and it covered up hyperpigmentation decently. I do wish theBalm carried much more shades, since their darkest shade (Medium/Dark) is too pinkish for my summer skintone, and is barely dark enough for most people. (My constant frustration with cosmetic brands not taking into consideration that people with darker complexions also do want makeup/foundation to match them!)
Lip Gloss -TheBalm - BalmShelter SPF 17 Tinted Gloss
lankika 1/19/2012 5:56:00 PM
I have two of these lip glosses, one in the Girl Next Door (light pink) and the other in Pin Up Girl (sheer cherry red). Both are great versatile shades. One thing in particular I noticed was that both the lip glosses have a way of exfoliating the dead and peeling skin from your lips. The temperature is in the single digits where I am and my lips are constantly dry and peeling, and most lip glosses accentuate this. But theBalm Shelter gloss, as I applied it on my lips, I noticed it pulled up the flaky skin, leaving a smooth canvas in which to apply the gloss on. For this alone, this product deserves 5 stars. Iíve never had a lip gloss that actually exfoliated my lips while doing its job as a lip gloss (providing a light color and shine). Also, it's lightly moisturizng due to the jojoba oil and is paraben-free! (You'd be suprised how many high-end lip glosses contain parabens). I wish I could get more but I refuse to pay full price for makeup, especially lip gloss unless I absolutely must. I bought the Girl Next Door in a TJ Maxx kit for a reduced $15, that came with two Plump Your Puckers (Ruby My Grapefruit and Cocoa my Coconut) and a Staniac in Beauty Queen (which I adore!). The Pin Up Girl was from the Black Tie Kit with 5 other items for a reduced $23. Other than TJ Maxx or Marshalls, you can purchase them on Sephora.com or on theBalmís website. In Canada, I noticed theBalm at London Drugs and Shoppers.
Cover FX is complete lifesaver. It has helped me tremendously after an accident. Over a year ago, I had a biking accident that left me with 48 stitches on my face. After my scars had healed, I wasnít feeling too confident about venturing outside. I had known about Cover FX for some time, but had never bought it for myself because prior the accident, I had great skin and wore minimal foundation. After the accident, I searched high and low for a full-coverage, long-lasting foundation with a shade that would match my hard-to-match skintone. I have strong golden undertones and medium-dark skin. Shade M80 was a great match. Plus it had an SPF of 30, and SPF was mandatory for me, because I needed to prevent my scars from getting darker. I would apply the Cover FX foundation with my fingers and a damp foundation sponge. The texture is really thick and hard, so I would need to warm it up with my fingers. This foundation was the only one I wore post-accident for the first 6 months. I bought 2 of these during that time, since my scarring required a lot to cover. I had never realized until the accident, how psychologically beneficial foundation can be. It wasnít just superficial, I needed a good foundation to help me feel better about myself and to help me recover after a traumatic accident. With good skincare, my scarring became less over time and I no longer needed a full coverage foundation. So the little bit of the foundation I had left, I used as a concealer. This foundation is great for sensitive skin that requires a high SPF, and is great for those who want a true full-coverage foundation. It never caked on me, no matter how much I applied. The shade range is great, although I wish they expanded the M line for darker golden complexions. M80 felt a bit light at times, and B 15-25 were too olive/brownish for me. The only downside is that this foundation is terrible in photos. It gives off a strong white cast because of the high SPF. During the time I was wearing Cover FX, I rarely took photos (because of the scarring), so I didnít have a problem with that. But anytime I had a photo of me taken with this foundation on, my face looked like I had been embalmed! Hope this helps!
Amazing blush! My favorite blush, ever. NARS is pricey but this little blush will last you forever. One little swipe gives a ton of color. Itís so dramatic that I dust it lightly with a fan brush because it picks up way too much color with every blush brush Iíve tried. And the blush matches with everything. Please donít be alarmed by the boldness of the color. If you apply gently with a fan brush, it can give a natural radiant coral flush. And for a more dramatic look, apply with a blush brush and let the true orangey coral shine. As for my favorite way, combine it with some bronzer and it looks like youíve just come back from some warm, tropical place. I even use it as eyeshadow because itís so intense. This color works for most skintones, but particularly if youíre golden tan or darker. It really brings out the tan in your skin. No wonder itís called Taj Mahal. Itís perfect for South Asian beauties. NARS blushes have the power of making you feel sexy. Pair this blush with a dark smoky eye and a natural nude lip, and youíre good to go!
Liquid -Estee Lauder - Double Wear LIGHT Foundation SPF10
lankika 10/21/2011 5:24:00 PM
Wow, this was a pleasant surprise! For only having 5 shades, I was surprised to find that one matched me. Shade 4 has a yellow/ slightly olive undertone that works well with my GGG, Mac C6 skintone. Granted, a stronger yellow undertone would match me better but this is good enough, since a perfect match is rare. I tend to splurge on foundation because itís near impossible to find something to match my strong golden undertones. So when something works, I buy. I noticed on the Estee Lauder website, you can buy a kit with the Double Wear Light foundation, plus the Double Wear concealer, the Skin Tone Perfector, and the foundation brush for $37.50! This is a medium coverage foundation with a dewy finish. It is NOT transfer resistant like the Double Wear foundation, and may not last all day on oilier skins. The look is natural and doesnít cake. I applied with a damp sponge and the effect was a flawless complexion with a natural glow. It doesnít even look like Iím wearing foundation. But for dark circles or pimples, you will need a concealer because this foundation doesnít layer well. Itís great for those with less skin concerns or for minimal makeup girls.
For a fairly pricey mascara, it performs well. It makes my long, naturally curly lashes even more luscious. And I donít even have to layer it with another mascara! It lengthens and thickens, and the brush makes it virtually clump-free. Itís perfect for those who like large mascara wands. Little mascara wands do nothing for my long lashes, and a curved brush is irritating for those with naturally curly lashes. The only downside is that it doesnít last very long. Within a month and half, the tube was already empty. And for $22 a pop, I wasnít going to buy another. So, I saved the brush and stuck it into the Stila Multi- Effect Mascara tube, since I hate Stilaís puny wand but like its formula. So should you get it? Yes, if you can afford it! If not, similar effects can be achieved by layering drugstore mascaras like Prestige My Biggest Lashes, and Prestige My Blackest Lashes.
Eyeliner -Prestige - Total Intensity Eyeliner Deepest Black
lankika 11/2/2010 11:29:00 PM
For less than $5 bucks you can score this amazing, intense black eyeliner. It is the darkest pencil eyeliner I have ever bought/used. It is darker than Revlon luxurious color eyeliner, Urban Decay 24/7, Tarte and Korres pencil eyeliners, and Stila kajal eyeliner. The only con is that it smudges very easily, which works for me because I like that smokey eye look. Even though it can smudge, the color will last all day especially on your waterline. But if you prefer to have absolutely no smudging, I suggest you look towards creme/gel eyeliners, such as Stila smudgepot or my fave Black Radiance continuous creme eyeliner.
This is my absolute favorite mascara! And I have tried numerous mascaras, and plenty of then being high-end and realized that an expensive price tag does not necessary yield good results. Some call this mascara a dupe of DiorShow or YSLFaux Cils but I think Prestige MBL beats them both! YSL is amazing but the brush clumps way too easily and removing product off the brush to clean it (1x a week like instructed on the packaging) only ended up wasting such an expensive ($28!) product. And DiorShow, though it had a wand similar to Prestige's MBL, it clumped all the time and gave me nothing but spider lashes. Now this brush has a big wand that can be a positive for some and a negative for others. Personally, this is the number one thing I look for in a mascara. I have big eyes with very long, moderately thick, and naturally very curly lashes. The wand and mascara formula really help me with volume and a little bit with length, and that's all I really ask for. And it slightly straightens out my lashes (which I know most of you hate) but for those with uber-curly lashes, it's a good thing. It is a pain when your lashes curl up so much that the mascara smears on the bottom of your eyebrow/ top of eyelid. Plus it never clumps! Even towards the tail end of the mascara when I'm just about to toss it, I can still use it without ever clumping.
Lately Iíve been on a hunt for natural cosmetics and Iíve found my answer with Korres. Their whole cosmetics line is Amazing! Iíve been using the Wild Rose moisturizer, mask, and serum for nearly 3 years and it has made a serious difference in brightening up my hyperpigmentation. So when I discovered Korres has a foundation based of the Wild Rose skincare, I had to try it. Wow, this foundation lives up to its name! It even beats my Chanel Teint Innocense, and nothing ever came close to that! It is so smooth and gives me such a wonderful dewy glow, and this is with just one light layer with a stippling brush. The bottle may look small, but it lasts for months since you barely need any product for a medium to full coverage look. And it feels like nothing is on your skin! Plus, it's water-resistant and nearly sweatproof. I worked out with this on, and went to a water aerobics class, and it did not move a bit until I washed it off with a cleanser. I have this in WRF5, which is not available at Sephora.com or their stores. Kind of strange since they have all the other 8 shades except for mine. Maybe it's because WRF5 is very yellow. Yes all the shades have slight yellow undertones, but WRF5 out of all the shades is the most yellow...like Simba yellow. Which is perfect for me since most foundations are usually not yellow enough to complement my skin. So I bought this on the Korres website, and I recommend their website because they have so many free goodies and discounts. So get this foundation if you have normal or dry skin. This is definitely not for oily skin, since it can make your face greasy instead of dewy. And itís always good to set it with a powder. I suggest the Wild Rose Compact Powder. I use shade WRF6 in the powder since I find the powder shades are lighter than their matching foundation shades. And be aware, like other reviewers have mentioned, this foundation is geared towards more olive/golden undertones. If you have more pink or neutral undertones, I suggest their Watermelon Tinted Moisturizer (gives a light to medium coverage) or their Ginger & Vitamins Foundation. However both these options have a very limited color range. Update: Korresusa.com no longer carries the Wild Rose Foundation (as of June 2011), and since Sephora stores and online carry only shades 1-4 and 6-9, I'm left with no option to buy WRF 5.
CrŤme -Chanel - Teint Innocence Cream to Powder Compact Foundation
lankika 12/19/2009 10:29:00 PM
I absolutely adore this product! It is perfect in nearly every way! It can be so expensive, so I try to get it on ebay (from a reputable seller) or on sale at Douglas Cosmetics for less than full price (between $35 to $39). This foundation really goes to show you that price sometimes does equal quality. Tip: Buying a refill of the product, which is definitely full-size, ends up usually being a tad cheaper. I love this product for so many reasons, and I am extremely picky with foundation because I find most makeup doesnít cater to my golden caramel complexion, which I guess in makeup terms is a CCC or GGG. The crŤme to powder is the perfect texture for creating a medium or full coverage look. It is definitely best applied with a brush for a mor fuller coverage, or a damp sponge for a more lighter coverage. Do NOT, I repeat do not, use the sponge applicator it comes with, it wastes way too much product. A good quality foundation brush will ensure you use just the right amount of product, and will end up lasting you at least a good 4-5 months. Now I know that should Chanel expand their shade range but I canít complain much here because their colors just blend perfectly for me. I use the Soft Honey 7.0 for most of year, and the Walnut 8.0 when I have a deep summer tan. Sometimes I do wish they had a shade just in between these two because itís hard to mix the two colors, but you can always finish off with a bronzer or a darker finishing powder if it is a little too light. Both these shades have a strong golden/warm undertone to them so it probably wonít work for those with a more pink/cool undertone. As for its appearance, it gives off a velvety soft, slightly dewy, luminous look. It makes my skin look flawless and beautifully radiant, without looking like I have foundation on. It literally melts into my skin and blends perfectly. Itís like my second skin, if my skin was gorgeous and perfect. Plus it is the only foundation with SPF that does not make my skin have a white-ish cast in photos with flash. It is so perfect that I donít even need a primer. Actually some primers can make this foundation cake on to your skin. I found that only silicone primers like Smashbox Photofinish or Monistat Chaffing Gel work the best, and non-silicone primers made my pores look humongous with this product. As for its staying powerÖit is pretty good for most of the year. It will last all day easily, and I never need to reapply it. But extremely humid summers can make this foundation melt off a bit, and I honestly canít think of any foundation that lasts well when itís 100% humidity outside. By the way, this foundation is not meant for very oily skin or for very dry skin. I have normal, non-acne prone skin that rarely gets irritated by makeup so I canít testify to how it might react for those with perhaps more problematic skin or sensitive skin. It is not a natural makeup and does contain a somewhat strong fragrance, which can be irritating for some. Overall it is amazing and you should at least give it a try next time youíre at Macys, Douglas, Nordstrom, or wherever because itís to die for. The color, texture, staying power, and finish is all amazing. This is definitely one of those few items where price does equal great quality. Plus itís Chanel, and who doesnít want to wear Chanel lol! Edit: Chanel discontinued 7.0 Soft Honey. I'm mourning its loss.
Makeup Brushes -Unlisted Brand - Studio Tools - Eye contour brush
lankika 12/19/2009 6:46:00 AM
This is the best crease brush ever! And it is so cheap, only $1.99 from Target. Occasionally it does lead to a bit of fallout, but it's absolutely amazing for its price!
Eyeliner -Black Radiance - Continuous Creme Eyeliner
lankika 12/18/2009 2:20:00 AM
Amazing creme liner! It goes on so smoothly and the color! I love love the intense charcoal-black kohl effect it gives! I have been searching forever for the deepest black liner I could find and this has got to be it! And absolutely no smudging, creasing, or flaking. It's not waterproof but it does not budge. Only con is that it is a bit difficult to remove, especially if you accidentally get some liner on your fingers or face. And the application tool it comes with works decently in applying the liner. It is not as great as a good eyeliner brush, nevertheless it works well. Lastly, the price won me over forever. I bought this for only $3! Now how often do you buy makeup for only $3? This for me is a rarity. Loreal HIP, Stilla smudge pot, and Laura Mercier eye liner are all nothing compared to the color and price of Black Radiance's Continuous Creme Eyeliner. BtwÖIt is not available at all CVS or Walgreens stores. There are probably a dozen CVS stores and 1 Walgreens (no joke) within a 6 block radius of me, and only a couple carry the Black Radiance Line.
I love makeup sets, and this has got to be my favorite so far. And the pros definitely outweigh the cons. Buy when you can because they sell out fast! PROs Tarte is a brand that uses mostly natural ingredients, which makes the set even better! Most of the eyeshadow colors are well-pigmented, with a few of the matte colors being ehh. My favorite eyeshadows are the shimmery non-matte eyeshadows because they're absolutely beautiful. I pretty much bought the set just for the eyeshadows. The set also includes a bronzer, highlighter, and 4 blushes. The bronzer is a great color that works well with limited skintones. It works great on my golden caramel complexion but it will be too light for my summer darker skintone. The highlighter is a pinky shimmer shade that is gorgeous! It can be used as a highlighter for your cheeks and overall face, or just for highlighting underneath your eyebrows. The 4 blushes are nice colors, with an average staying power. CONs The lipglosses are decent. They range from being extremely sheer to slightly sheer, and not long-lasting so there's little purpose in including them in this kit. Plus, it's not like you can carry the lipglosses around with you to reapply when needed, so large palettes with lipgloss are always pointless. Although if you feel ambitious, remove the lipglosses you like and store in an empty contact case if you want to use it on the go. Lastly, the packing sucks! It will fall apart if you do not store it properly or open it carefully. It is very flimsy. Be extremely careful when traveling with this set.