Archive for 2011

review: dr. jart+ silver label rejuvenating bb cream spf35 pa++

Korean actresses always look so flawless. So when it became known that one of their secrets was BB cream, Asian women went crazy for it hoping that they too could have flawless skin. Korean BB cream has for the last few years been touted as the end-all and be-all of all base makeup in Asia. Most are marketed as supposedly multitasking products that provide skincare benefits such as anti-aging and whitening, SPF, hydration, and good coverage all which can be had for a rather decent price (this can vary greatly as I've seen one for over $100US, but I've seen some for as low as $20US). There are so many brands to choose from in Korea, each brand making a plethora of different BB creams that promise to do different things. I won't go too much detail on the product genre as there is already so much information out there reported by other wonderful beauty bloggers especially since I have not tried many BB creams: a mere six. I treat BB cream like any other base makeup. I still make sure I moisturize, and if the provided SPF is less than 30 I will apply my own separate sunscreen before I apply the BB cream. I make sure I remove every last bit of it from my face before I go to bed.

The rest of the world is starting to jump on the popular BB cream bandwagon. A few Japanese companies like Kanebo have come out with their versions of BB cream. Western companies like MAC, Dior, Lancome, and Boscia have as well. I've been intrigued by the idea of western brands doing their own take on BB creams, and I hope to be able to try them out some day. Dr. Jart+ is actually a Korean brand that made the jump over to the US with two of their BB creams. The one I am reviewing is NOT available at Sephora. I bought the Silver Label BB cream (50ml) for $38US at a little local store called Cosmeland (if you are in SoCal, it is inside the Puente Hills Mall. I know. Random, right?). They do have an online site, which I haven't looked around much or bought from. It's far easier to go to the actual store for me. There may be other online stores that might sell it for a little less. I just checked, and they sell it for the same price.

The color of the packaging corresponds to its name. It has nice and simple packaging overall. The squeeze tube is very convenient for dispensing product. I prefer it this way as with a pump I tend to get more product than I can use so I feel more wasteful.

The Dr. Jart+ Silver Label BB cream embodies most of the features I expect out of a Korean BB cream. It's a medium to high coverage cream with a semi-matte finish. The texture is kind of thick, but a little goes a long way. I use maybe a small pea-sized amount for my whole face, blending it into areas that I think need the most help first. It evens out my redness quite well, conceals my broken capillaries, and brightens my skin tone a bit. I usually don't try to conceal zits because I feel it only makes it worse when I do. It helps my under-eye area, but I don't think it can replace a good under-eye concealer. It has 35 SPF PA++, which I think is good enough if I'm just going to work. This BB cream is supposed to help control oil, but I'm not sure if I can say it's super effective at that. I have an oily T-zone that will get oily no matter what I use after a few hours. But at least I can say that this doesn't make it worse. I blot my chin and T-zone at around 4-5 hours after initial application in the morning.

Three swatches of it in this photo (all with approximately the same amount of product). First is an unblended dollop, second is spread thinly to show texture, and the third is completely blended into the skin (it's difficult to see, but it's there!).

I can't speak for the skincare benefits it promises such as whitening and anti-aging. I simply haven't used it long enough, but I'm going to venture a guess that I won't notice much of a difference. Like many Korean BB creams, it comes in only one color, which I think can work for NC15/20 (not sure if it will work for someone darker than that). It looks a little dark in the unblended swatches on my skin, but as you can see in the photo above, it blends into my skin quite well. I have not found this BB cream to oxidize on me, which is great cause nothing says sexy like an orange face with pale arms and legs amirite?!

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I know I sound like a broken record, but I'm just getting burnt out from work (work + commute really.. I lump those two together because I carpool with a kindhearted yet extremely irritating coworker. He has always been kind to me, but 2-3 hours in traffic with him is most definitely work). I don't know how some bloggers are able to juggle work, working out, kids, pets, significant others, social networking, and blog regularly! I don't have all those things, and I still can't handle it! You are all so amazing! :) When I get home from work, I'm just exhausted. My brain is too numb from dealing with impossibly stupid asshats all day. Sometimes I wonder if maybe blogging just isn't for me, or if I should just suspend blogging until I actually had time and energy for it. I suppose you can say I'm on hiatus for now until I decide. Thank you for being patient with me. I'll be around on Twitter once in a while, and I will try to keep up on reading all the wonderful beauty blogs I follow because you know.. you can't keep me away from makeup. NO WAY NO HOW! ♥

review: rescue beauty lounge nail polish in starfish-patrick

I'm a very low-key nail girl. My girlfriends think I'm a strange creature because I've only gotten a manicure once in my life. I just never had the need since I played piano for most of my young life. When I got older, I had chem labs with acetone to worry about. This results with me being in my late 20's and unable to wield a friggin' nail file. I only know how to cut my nails short.. and I do mean SHORT. Only a sliver of white showing. I'm clueless on how to shape my nails, and I gave up trying a while ago. Also, I'm just plain lazy, but if I weren't so lazy and in New York, I'd definitely go to Rescue Beauty Lounge to hang with Ji (while having my nails done obvi). However, since I am geographically challenged, I did the next best thing.. bought her stuff online! Like always, I'm late to the party so other bloggers have already ooh'd and ahh'd at RBL polishes so I'll make this post quick.

I had been staring at RBL's site for some time. It seems like I do this often for things I can't see/touch before I buy. I finally bit the bullet and bought quite a few polishes. For the moment, my favorite of the RBL polishes I bought is Starfish-Patrick, which is why I chose to try it first. It's got that adorable kinda juicy soft peachy-pink thing going on. Ji's description of "if your nails could blush" is dead-on. I only went with one coat of polish (because I am lazy and impatient) so the nail line is still visible, which does not bother me, but go for two coats if you want more opacity. I used the RBL Treatment Set with this polish, but I want to save talking about the set for another post because I want to see how it plays with other polishes first. The consistency of Starfish-Patrick was just right. It wasn't overly thin or gloopy, making for easy application. Drying time is decent as well with the RBL top coat, but not as quickly as I'm used to with the Seche Vite top coat. These photos were taken maybe a day after application. It's now been about a week with very minor tip wear despite the abuse my nails get from my day to day. In terms of price, RBL is kinda in the high-end range at $18US each (compare to Chanel at $25US), but I think it's worth it for the quality. Do I like RBL more than my favorite Chanel polishes? I don't know if I'm ready to say that. It's pretty high on the list so far though!

To close, here is a picture of my new RBL polish army sans Starfish-Patrick and the Treatment Set.

review: rouge bunny rouge eyeshadows

Pardon the dust on the boxes. Not quite sure how they got so dingy looking.

Rouge Bunny Rouge is a high quality Russian cosmetics brand. I haven't yet had the pleasure of trying most of their products as they are only available to me via Zuneta and are expensive, but I think I found a new brand to love. I got my Zuneta haul in January and started this post in March. I just never finished it until recently (because I'm a total slacker like that). A lot of posts have been made on RBR lately so my post will probably be boring.

RBR's most popular product (judging by the number of posts on beauty blogs I've seen) is their eyeshadows. So that is where I started. Zuneta had a sale code at the time so I took this opportunity to buy a few things, which I will get to in future posts.

Solstice Halcyon is kind of a darker beige-taupe (if that even makes sense..) to my eye. I'm really awful at describing colors so I don't know why I try sometimes. Hopefully you'll see what I mean through my photos. Zuneta describes it as a "semi-matte mauve beige". This is one of my go-to neutrals appropriate for work or for when I don't feel like trying too hard.

Delicate Hummingbird is a gorgeous color. It's somewhere between purple and taupe (at least to me). Zuneta describes this color as a "cold, dusky sugar-frosted plum iridescent with pink shimmer". I don't really think it is shimmery, but it does have a pretty sheen. This was the shadow that drew me to RBR in the first place. I obsessed over it a little bit like how I did for LMdB's Corinthian. And like Corinthian, I adore the color, but I find myself not reaching for it as much as a softer neutral like Solstice Halcyon or LMdB's Jojo.

Both shadows are pigmented and smooth. I always have to use an eyelid primer because of my oily lids, so I can't speak for their claim of "extended 8-hour wear". But I personally get over 10 hours of no-creasing with a primer like UDPP. The packaging is simple, yet whimsical. At the price of about $28US, RBR shadows are not cheap. However, I think they live up to the hype and are thus worthwhile to get. The only bad thing about these shadows is how difficult they are to find and purchase. I like Zuneta a lot, but I wish I could easily find RBR at Sephora to play with.

Are you tired of my eyeshadow reviews yet? I promise I'll have other things to blog about. Although.. I really do love eyeshadows..

review: rain diva eyeshadow quad in legends

Remember that Rock & Republic cosmetics counter in the Aria Hotel/Casino (Las Vegas) I told you all about? Well, I was right. They were clearing stock so that counter is gone now. In its place is now a brand called Rain, which originates from Sin City itself.

I wanted to see what this brand was all about so I swatched up a storm. Thinking back, I should have taken photos of that. I rarely take photos at cosmetic counters because I feel self-conscious doing it. It makes me appreciate Karlasugar's work that much more! Back on point.. I bought their Diva Eyeshadow Quad in Legends. I did buy a few other things just to try, which I will eventually post reviews for when I can. The MUA at the counter told me that Rain cosmetics was inspired by Vegas and made for Vegas. It's supposed to be long-lasting makeup that can stand up to the rigors of Vegas nightlife and the desert heat.

I'm kind of.. ehh about the blue, metallic quilted packaging. I'll give it that it's unique. Most of their products have similar packaging.

The shadows are very pigmented and smooth. Is it possible to be too pigmented..? I don't know, but that white shadow is crazy pigmented. Legends is all satin finish according to their website, but the charcoal and white shadows feel more matte to me. The colors aren't terribly unique (smoky eye material), but I actually didn't have these colors in my stash at the time. Also, I liked this combination more than the others they offered. I always need to use a eyelid primer, so I can't offer much of an opinion on the long-lasting claims.

I think that it's a decent eyeshadow quad for the price of $38US. The bad thing is that most of the locations that sell their products are in Vegas (all are listed on their site) so it's not easy to get to a counter. However, you can buy direct @ Rain. I think I will revisit this counter the next time I'm in Vegas just to see if maybe I missed something or if I will change my opinion on some of their other shadows.

review: jill stuart jewel crystal eyes in 102 amazonite dazzle

Jill Stuart is one of those brands that I know I probably shouldn't like as much as I do. Their blushes are great, but I have such limited use for all the other glittery products. I know this, and yet I can't help but pine for their new releases anyway. I told myself that I wouldn't purchase another JS eyeshadow palette unless the colors are really unique. I've stayed true to my word.. until I laid eyes on 102 Amazonite Dazzle. I thought this was one of the most interesting JS palettes I've seen. I don't think they've done anything remotely similar before, and so I had to have it.

Amazonite Dazzle is limited edition and part of the Dreamy Garden Collection (Spring 2011) exclusive to Hong Kong and Taiwan. The packaging is slightly different for this palette. There are butterflies across the front. I don't hate butterflies, but I thought JS packaging design was princessy and kiddie enough without them. I've talked about it previously.. JS packaging really grew on me so I don't mind it now, but I do not prefer it.

The colors in this palette are rather atypical as far as JS palettes go. Those two middle colors are soooo pretty. I'm happy to say that these shadows are not super shimmery. They are still a little shimmery (especially the first color on the left) since it wouldn't be JS without some shimmer, but it's a lot more subdued in this quad. The texture, while improved from my last palette, still isn't what I hoped it would be. There is a touch of fall-out so I'd suggest using a eyeshadow primer (as I've done in the swatch photo) to help the shadows stick and to bring out the color.

This cost me $390HK, which is about $51US. The only online store I could find that carried this quad was Yesstyle with some markup.

Special thanks to Jennifer!!

notd: dior electric tropics catwalk duo in aloha

I'm usually a color-safe girl. My wardrobe colors mainly consist of grey, black, white, and cream. In terms of makeup, I get bouts of courage now and then so I have a few more "out there" colors in eyeshadows and nail polishes. "Out there" for me that is. I was ready to pass on the Dior Electric Tropics Catwalk Duo nail polishes when I first saw them popping up on other blogs because I had decided long ago that fluorescent anything was definitely NOT for me. Then out of curiosity, I stopped at a Dior counter at Saks and did a swipe or two on my nails (while the BF grimanced at the colors lol). Needless to say, I went home with Aloha (Paradise was sadly out of stock).

I got home a little earlier than normal today so I rushed to take photos, but I guess I didn't rush enough because my light faded fast. So the color of the polish didn't come out as vibrantly in these photos as I hoped. Pictured is one coat of Aloha and one coat of the Dior Top Coat. The instructions say to use two coats of polish, but I'm too lazy for that lol. Aloha's formula is very good. It applies very smoothly and is decently pigmented. I was surprised at how quickly it dried with the Dior Top Coat. I'm not sure how long-lasting it is. I've only had this polish on for a couple hours and I'm already getting tip-wear. Although, to be fair, I'm rather hard on my nails. It's probably too late to get my hands on Paradise, but if I can find it I'd definitely get that one too!

Okay, so.. I'm supposed to be on a makeup-buy-ban. I lasted around maybe two weeks before I caved to get some limited edition items that I knew were going to be gone soon. But here is the reason for my ban..

My single most expensive purchase ever..

My very first Chanel. I'm terrified because I think I'm addicted.

review: shu uemura uv under base mousse in bb beige

updated: 6/05/11

I didn't really get a chance to play with shu uemura products before they pulled out of US department stores. So I can't say that I'm really familiar with the brand outside of their very popular eyelash curler. The Sakura Collection by Mika Minagawa for shu uemura came out this spring, and I was immediately intrigued by the BB Beige UV Under Base Mousse. Normally, the shu uemura Under Base UV Mousse is meant to be a primer. Shades Beige and Pink are permanent, while BB Beige is limited edition. I have not tried the others so I cannot compare, but according to other bloggers, BB Beige is different in that it can be worn on its own like a BB cream.

This is not like any BB cream I've ever seen or tried. The product is packaged and dispensed almost like a hair mousse. You have to shake it up (something will sound like it's rattling around inside), and it comes out as a light, fine foam. I just pat this gently all over my face with my fingers, blending as I go. A little goes a long way so be careful not to dispense too much. I feel like you gotta work fast to blend it in the skin cause it seems to dry down quickly to a matte finish. It gives light coverage although I guess you can layer it (I don't like to do this with base makeup though). It smooths and evens out my skin nicely, but it will not cover things like blemishes so you may need additional concealer for that. I have tried this with and without setting powder. I don't feel like there is a huge difference with or without?? I have to blot after about 4-5 hours either way, which is pretty typical for me, but I find that this breaks down the slightest bit towards the end of my work day (depends on how dry or how hot the office is). I'm not sure I'd recommend BB Beige for anyone darker than NC25. I'm kind of in between NC15 and NC20 right now so it works for me. It doesn't oxidize on me, meaning it doesn't get darker or turn orange. It has SPF 30 PA+++, which is adequate for work days or days I don't plan to be out in the sun much.

I suppose the name makes it easy to want to associate it to BB creams, but I hesitate to call this product a BB cream. I don't think its coverage is comparable to the actual BB creams I've tried. It's not moisturizing for my combination skin, so I would have to make sure I moisturize well before I use this otherwise I get dry patches. I think it would be better if treated as a light foundation or maybe like its siblings, a primer.

If you're interested in this product, I don't know of any online store that carries it. It would be handy to have a connection in Asia to help you get it. Otherwise, there's always eBay. The cost should be around $45US. If you want it, I would advise trying to get it soon because it is limited edition. Otherwise, shu uemura is coming out with the Face Architect Sheer Refining Mousse Foundation. You can read more details about it here @ the make-up blogette. It's most likely a different formula, but it looks really similar to the UV Under Base.

Special thanks to Jennifer!

review: kanebo lunasol party coffret 2010

I had this post in the works for a long, long time. Had the photos done and everything months ago! I've been so busy and distracted, but I finally got around to polishing it up. It's only.. four or five months late.. lol. Sorry about that! I had contemplated scrapping this review, but I really liked this coffret so I posted it anyway. 2010's Kanebo Lunasol Party Coffret reaffirmed for me why I was so right to be so enamored with the brand. In my opinion, it blew away 2009's coffret (see my review here).

The pouch or clutch the set came with is made of a soft material. The slight ruching detail and soft creamy color with pale gold fleck is really cute. As you can see, there is a little pocket inside and the lining is a soft gold. I think this pouch is much better looking than last year's. I imagine I could actually use it as a clutch if I wanted to.

2010 Party Coffret includes a mascara, lip gloss, blush, and an eyeshadow palette. I found everything in this set to be very usable making it a really good value!

Lunasol Party Eyes 2010 in EX01 Sheer Gold Beige Brown. This palette is unique to this coffret, though you may find this "style" in other color combinations in Lunasol's Aurorized Eyes line.

As always, the star of any Lunasol coffret is the eyeshadow palette. Their eyeshadows are very nice hence their popularity, but they are not the best if what you're looking for is intense pigmentation. From my experience (as limited as it is), Japanese eyeshadows tend to be more subtle. Others may describe them as being sheer. They also tend to be shimmery. This Lunasol palette is no exception, but I find that it's still very wearable. It has nice neutral shades that aren't overly shimmery unless you use that center shade, which is a glitter-bomb. I avoid this one, but the rest are quite lovely! The packaging is the brand's usual copper unlike last year's shimmery white.

Lunasol Color Cheeks in EX01 Sheer Gold Beige Pink. Sorry about these photos. My light sucked when I took them. So it was hard to make the colors show on camera. I may retake these when I have the time.

The runner-up star of this coffret is the blush. The compact is adorable. I don't have other Lunasol blushes for reference, but I believe it's smaller than the usual blush packaging because they left the brush out. However, the blush pan itself is still full-sized. The blended color is a pretty soft pink with tiny golden shimmers. You can barely see the shimmers on the face, but it gives you a soft glow. For the swatch photos, I swatched each color individually first, then did a blended swatch in the last photo. The pan photo is pretty awful so I apologize for that.

Lunasol Full Glamour Gloss N in EX18 Sheer Gold Beige Pink.

The lip gloss is a nice sheer pink with some fine gold shimmer. It's nothing super special in my opinion, but nonetheless it's a very wearable color. The formula is decent as far as lipglosses go. It's not sticky but doesn't have too much slip. I used to be a lipgloss only girl, but I wear lipsticks almost exclusively now. I'm not certain if this is a full-sized product.

Lunasol High Stylized Mascara N in 01 Clear Black.

I usually go for a very natural look for my lashes so I think this mascara isn't bad. The brush has very short bristles, and the mascara formula has fibers for lengthening although I'm not sure you can see that in the photo above. It hasn't clumped or flaked on me. The only bad thing that I've noticed so far is my lashes droop a little (lose curl) after wearing the mascara for a couple hours.

If you want this coffret, I'm sorry to say that I'm not really sure if it's still available. I got mine from Imomoko in December 2010, but they don't list it any more. If you can still find it, I think this would be a very good set to pick up if you're new to Lunasol and is interested in trying it out. It was $106US when I bought it.

Phew. Finally got that done! I have soooo many things I still need to write about and show you guys! I just gotta buckle down and do it. I'm also considering changing the layout/theme of the blog, but.. one thing at a time I guess. :) Enjoy Mother's Day with your families, everyone!

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