Friday, September 30, 2011

RockEye: YSL Faux Cils Volume Effet Mascara Review

I've been buying, testing and reviewing different mascaras here on the blog for a while now, but somehow didn't come up with the idea to compile my reviews into their own little series. So, there it is: 'RockEye' is going to be devoted purely to mascaras. Why? Because 1) I like mascara, 2) I'm still on the search for the Holy Grail, 3) I like cheesy word play, 4) At least now you know how to pronounce my blog's name. There!

This time, I got my hands on a sample tube of a cult classic: YSL Faux Cils Volume Effet in 'Noir Radical', which, as I gather, is their 'blackest black'. This is what Sephora has to say about it: 'Yves Saint Laurent MASCARA VOLUME EFFET FAUX CILS Luxurious Mascara achieves an intense, dramatic lash look in a single stroke, for lashes that stop traffic with the blink of an eye. Its secret is the Triple-Film Complex: a film-coating for intensity, a conditioning film for curve, and a fixing film for long-lasting effectiveness.'.

Top: 1 coat, bottom: 2 coats of YSL Faux Cils.
What I like about it:
- It is, indeed, a true black.
- It seems to grab every lash and defines them nicely.
- It adds both volume and a bit of length to my lashes.
- It doesn't clump much when multiple coats are applied.
- It seems to hold a curl quite well, but is not curling on its own.
- It doesn't make my lashes stiff or crunchy.

What I dislike about it:
- It is scented.
- Its formula is quite dry and heavy.
- It can be tricky to apply as the brush is quite large - I always smear it on my lid.
- It doesn't last! Sadly, this mascara doesn't last well on me. After about 6 hours, it starts flaking and transferring on the lower lid.

Will I purchase the full size? Umm, no. I guess that for $30 I'd really like to get more wear out of my mascara - but I do love what it does for my lashes and can definitely see why it has such a cult following. If you're thinking about trying YSL Faux Cils, Sephora's currently giving deluxe samples with a $25 online order; the coupon code is 'FAUXCILS'.

Have you ever tried YSL Faux Cils?

Monday, September 26, 2011

What's In My Travel Skincare Bag?

... Because I bet you're dying to know - well, maybe not. I will start my discussion of the contents of my travel skincare bag by saying that I love minis; that's probably why I find Birchbox so hard to resist and always look for deluxe sample coupon codes for Sephora. So, the products featured were either part of Birchbox one month or another, or a gift with purchase of some sort.

The above skincare bag was packed for our 5-day vacation in New York this past week. You may recognize the bag from my previous post; I find it a perfect size for a shorter stay and even this excessive amount of stuff fits quite nicely in it.

Let's start with bodycare and fragrance, shall we? I decided to take St. Ives Intensive Healing Body Lotion, also to double as a hand cream - but I haven't used it even once. I was too tired to even think about putting on a body lotion, and as for a hand cream, I had to get one at Duane Reade, because I left this at the hotel and my hands had got unbelievably dry. Fail.

For showering, I took the Korres Mini Showergel in Fig, but to be honest, I'm not a fan of neither the gel itself nor the scent. I also tucked in a little sample of The Body Shop Brazilian Nut Body Scrub; now, this is deliciously fragranced and quite effective, and I'd used up the pot in 2 applications. Last but not least, perfume: my current favorite is Tocca Cleopatra, a beautifully warm and feminine 'floriental' with a touch of fruit. I've been using my sample for at least 2 weeks and it's still going strong!

Now, skincare - can you tell I'm slightly obsessed? For cleansing and removing make-up, I packed Clinique Take The Day Off Makeup Remover and Philosophy Purity, both of which I like, but believe one can find cheaper alternatives of. For fighting pesky flight-induced spots, I took Mario Badescu Special Cucumber Lotion, which I only use on acne-prone areas after cleansing, and the Drying Cream to dab on little buggers overnight.

For every other day maintenance, I chose Yonka Alpha-Complex Wrinkle Defense Retexturizing Gel with AHA, which I will not repurchase for sure, as the stuff smells and looks like liquid glue, as well as Lift Lab Lift & Fix serum, which I can't say anything about just yet. I was also delusional enough to believe I'd have enough time for a mask (100% Pure Brightening Scrub & Mask), but no, no such luck.

I also managed to squeeze a small bottle of shampoo, deodorant and some hair putty in there; for the size of the bag, I definitely championed in the number of products I filled it with. How do you pack your skincare for shorter stays?

Friday, September 23, 2011

Estée Lauder Gift With Purchase at Macy's

Hello lovelies! Just a quick note before work today: there's a great 7-piece GWP (Gift With Purchase) waiting for you at Macy's if you spend over $35 on Estée Lauder products. It's such a great deal, and I also got another full-size lipstick when I made my purchase, so hurry!

Continuing with the steals, I actually got myself a Double Wear Make-up Lesson kit, which retails for $37.50. The set contains a full-size Double Wear Light foundation (choice of 6 shades), a full-size Spotlight Skin Perfector, which is an in-between make-up and skincare product, a mini Double Wear Stay-in-Place Flawless Wear concealer matching your shade of foundation, a foundation brush and a make-up lesson CD (not so great, but might be helpful to absolute beginners).

I haven't tested these products yet (I'm waiting for my tinted moisturizer to run out), but I'm very curious about how these products perform and will definitely let you know once I start using them. I think that for $37.50, it's a great buy, considering that the foundation alone retails for $35. I just love those high-end bundle deals, I wish more brands did them - well, I actually have one more coming, if you want to hear about it.

What deals have you scored recently?

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

My Jewelry Storage

I've always loved coming up with different storage solutions; as a little girl, I had a whole collection of various size and shape boxes I used to store my trinkets (and then, piles upon piles of mess on the floor that my mum would go mad about). I enjoy looking at storage ideas on other blogs, so I thought that maybe you'd like to see how I store my jewelry - before I pluck up the courage to show you my whole vanity table/ dresser.

Here's a sneak peek at my vanity; I'm sorry the photos turned out a bit dark, but I guess that's a common problem in apartments in the Seattle area! The dresser is from Ikea Malm range in the birch veneer finish, the same as the rest of our bedroom furniture. The desk also comes with a glass top, but I didn't like the look of it, so bare wood it is. As you can see, I have the bulk of my jewelry in the shallow vanity drawer.

I hang some of the dangly/tangly necklaces and bangles on the cork pin board above my vanity. You can't see it in the photo, but the board has a white dandelions design that is pretty enough to make me feel sorry about covering it with my cards and photos. I got it at the Container Store about a year ago.

Above are two views of my jewelry drawer from opposing ends. In one end, I keep all of my eyeshadow palettes (see the stack of black palettes on the left in the first photo?), then two transparent acrylic containers filled with necklaces and earrings, a drawer organizer box with bangles and bracelets, pins, hair clips and head bands, and some travel make-up bags and brush cases (top of the second photo). All containers/organizers are from the Container Store.

This is the bigger acrylic container where I keep chunky statement necklaces, glass beads and earrings. I don't have enough space to keep everything laid out so most of my necklaces are layered on top of one another, but I can more or less remember where I keep specific pieces.

This is the smaller container where I keep silver and gold earrings and necklaces (umm, and empty eyeshadow pans for pressing?!), pearls and semi-precious stone bead necklaces. This is probably my most worn jewelry, most days I opt for delicate chain necklaces.

I keep my stud earrings in this small box. I try to pin pairs together so that they're easier to find in the morning. I wear these a lot having short hair now. Dangly earrings with short hair are a big statement!

Lastly, this is the drawer organizer with my bangles and hair accessories. My drawer being very shallow and opening only half way, this box is a bit difficult to access, but I also don't reach for most of these pieces very often - I'm having some trouble trying to figure out how to wear head bands with my current haircut.

And that's it! I also keep my more expensive jewelry in their respective boxes at the back of the drawer. I hope you liked this little tour of my jewelry drawer :) How do you store your jewelry and accessories?

Monday, September 12, 2011

Review: Love Alpha Frozen Jelly Eyeshadow

Love Alpha Frozen Jelly Eyeshadow in Rose Pink is another part of my foray into the world of Asian make-up, and the possibly the weirdest eyeshadow texture I have ever come across; literally, it's a thick jelly. I don't really see the 'frozen' part, but it does feel quite cooling on the skin, and the sparkles look very icy, so maybe that's it?

I find the packaging very cute: the outer box is made of nice satin cardboard with vintage patterns and product description. The jar itself is transparent plastic with a plastic silver cap; a bit over the top, but fun nonetheless. The gel/ jelly eyeshadow inside is a sheer light pink base packed full of fine iridescent glitter, which turns gold, silver, pink and lime green in the light. Pretty!

On the skin, the eyeshadow applies as a wash of glitter particles with no base color and feels slightly tacky to the touch. The glitter seems to stick pretty well so there's minimal fallout, and when applied on bare skin, gives somewhat of a wet look. It also works well both under or on top of a powder eyeshadow.

Overall, I think Love Alpha Frozen Jelly Eyeshadow is an interesting alternative to loose glitters: it sticks well, so there's no need for an additional base/ primer. The glitter is fine enough so that it looks quite subtle, and lasts well on the eyes. What is your favorite glitter eyeshadow, ladies?

Disclaimer: The eyeshadow was provided to me for review consideration by I am not compensated to feature it on my blog nor am I affiliated with the brand. All opinions are my own and 100% honest, as always!

Thursday, September 8, 2011

Overview: Natural Acne Remedies

Do not fret, my dears, I haven't switched to food blogging! This is part deux of my spot treatments overview (check out the first part here), this time focusing on natural acne remedies. Obviously, the list is not exhaustive, these are just some of the things I've tried over the years that did and did not work for me. I hope this helps, most of these ingredients are inexpensive and easily found in any kitchen, so they might be worth a try!

1. Clay (in the photo: Pink Kaolin and Green Bentonite). Clay is a skincare ingredient that has been used for centuries, and for a good reason! It comes in many varieties for different skin types and is mostly added to various commercial face masks, but you can also purchase 100% pure powdered clay and make your own masks, knee packs or spot treatments. The common effect of many kinds of clay is tightening of the pores and smoothing the skin, some also help to deep clean the pores by bringing impurities to the surface. It's definitely an effective product that supports the results of other acne treatments, but I honestly doubt it would get rid of anything more than occassional spot or two on its own. I'll be reviewing a natural clay face mask very soon, so keep your eyes out for that!

2. Essential Oils (in the photo: Simplers Organic Lavender Essential Oil): You've surely heard about the acne-fighting benefits of tea tree essential oil, but there are many more than can help diminish blemishes, e.g. lavender, lemon, clary sage, even patchouli. In my experience, applying undiluted essential oils to the skin is not only unpleasant, but can also end up in a pretty nasty irritation. My favorite way of using essential oils is adding them to other skincare products: my cleansing oil blend, toner or homemade masks. Again, I do think they help fight acne when used in conjunction with other products, but don't make a drastic difference on their own.

3. Neem Oil (in the photo: Allafia Basics Neem Oil): I've already reviewed this product in detail here, but let me sum it up for you: neem oil looks nasty, smells nastier, and doesn't seem to do much for me. I know neem also comes in the form of leaf powder, so if you're considering trying it, that might be a better bet.

4. Plain Yogurt (in the photo: FAGE Total 2% Greek Yogurt): Apart from being yummy and nutritious, yogurt can also be an effective acne treatment; if you want to know why, read Brilliant Farmgirl's post on yogurt face packs. What I like about putting yogurt on my face is that it's so cooling and soothing, and my face looks calmer and more hydrated afterwards (this is why it's also awesome on sunburns). I feel that yogurt helps more with redness than pimples, but I still like this method a lot and use it occassionally.

5. Lemon Juice (or other acidic liquids, like Apple Cider Vinegar): Careful, lovelies! Lemon juice has the pH level just above battery acid and can indeed feel like the latter on your skin (i.e., it BURNS). I completely do not recommend putting undiluted lemon juice on your breakouts, it's painful, makes the blemishes angry, and will probably result in peeling. The citric acid in lemons can help exfoliate your skin, but better use it in conjunction with other ingredients.

6. Honey (in the photo: Wedderspoon Organic 100% Raw Manuka Honey Active 16+): Well, I'll be the first to admit that I love honey in general, but it's also a fantastic skincare ingredient. Honey, especially Manuka honey, has hydrogen peroxide antibacterial properties, on top of being a humectant (moisture-binding ingredient). It does help calm cystic blemishes, as well as heals cracked and dry skin (for example, on the lips). If you haven't tried it already, what are you waiting for?

I hope you enjoyed this little overview of natural acne remedies and maybe found some new ideas to try out. Let me know in the comments below what is your favorite natural acne fighter!

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

$25 Apothica Giftcard Giveaway Winner!

Hello my lovelies, just a quick (and very belated) post today to let you know the winner of my Apothica giveaway! Soo, [drumroll], the winner of $25 Apothica giftcard is...

Number 14: Dee!

Congratulations, Dee! Please check your inbox for an email from me :)

Thanks for participating, everyone! I have to say I was a bit underwhelmed by the number of entries, I'm not sure whether the rules for entering were too complicated (which I have no influence on since they're devised by the sponsor) or is it simply that the blogosphere is saturated already with all the giveaways? Let me know your thoughts in the comments below, I'd love your input! Have a wonderful Tuesday, dears.