Monday, 14 April 2014

Zoeva brushes review.

I wanted for the longest time to try the Zoeva brushes and when they launched their new line, I decided to try a couple.



I chose the: 
  • 102 Silk Finish (10,50€)
  • 109 Face Paint (12,50€)
  • 224 Luxe Defined Crease (6,20€)
Shipping costs: 7,50€

First of all, I love them all. They're very soft, work beautifully and wash easily. 

Here are my thoughts on them:

102 Silk Finish: it is quite similar to another brush that I love, the Sephora Mineral Powder brush (that costs about 16€ if I'm not mistaken). It blends everything perfectly, liquid foundation, mineral foundation, blush, bronzer, creams and powders, you name it. It is beyond comparison to the Sigma F82 Round Kabuki that I also own because the Sigma one is too dense and moves the product around.

Here they are:




109 Face Paint: I 'be been looking for a contouring brush for quite some time but the available options (Mac, Illamasqua, Nars) are quite expensive. So, when Zoeva launced this one i decided to give it a try and i'm so happy i did! It has the perfect size, not too big not too small, and i can achieve a sharp contour if i desire so or a more diffused and natural result, for everyday use. It works perfectly with cream and powder products. I have also used it with highlight, blush, even foundation, works like a dream every time. It also washes easily and it doesn't get stained.

224 Luxe Defined Crease: i'm a Mac 217 fanatic (who isn't?) but i find that on my eyes it blends the crease color a little too widely, it reaches quite high and when i want to be more precise it can be a pain in the derrière. Well, this little brush is perfect for this purpose, it allows me to be as precise as I wish. It blends beautifully and it is probably my favorite of the bunch (although they are all my favorites, lol).

Here it is side by side to my Mac 217


I also would like to give Zoeva a great thumbs up for the packaging, because each brush came in its black zip lock plastic pouch and they come very handy if you're a bit OCD like me, I use them to organize all sorts of little things! 



I also got the trifold mirror (8,20€), it is very practical because it stands up on the table but I can also tuck it away when I don't need it.

Next on my wish list:
  • 105 Luxe Highlight
  • 106 Powder
  • 142 Concealer Buffer
  • 235 Contour Shader
Have you tried Zoeva brushes? Any recommendations?

That's it for now,  I hope you are all well and thriving! 

Sunday, 30 March 2014

Magnitone Pulsar: First Impressions

Once upon a time (lol!) I had had a Clarisonic.

I loved it to pieces but, alas, after 3 years of impeccable service, it died, last summer.

Ever since I've been debating whether I should repurchase or not, the main reasons were:

  • What if it was stopped at customs?
  • What if it would malfunction and I would be obliged to return it all the way to USA, then shipped back all the way to Greece, costs to be considered as well?
For these reasons I decided to hold back on repurchasing one and decided to manually wash my face by using a hot cloth/muslin.

Well, my skin was not happy. The funny part is that I don't have major issues apart from a few sunspots and dryness during the colder months.

But, once I stopped using the Clarisonic I noticed that my pores looked larger around my nose and the skin texture on my cheeks was not as smooth as I was used too.

I tried exfoliating a couple of times per week, I tried acid toners, but nothing worked the way I wanted to.

So, when I saw on Hqhair that they had a half price offer on a new cleaning device, the Magnitone Pulsar, "similar" to the clarisonic that was a little more than half the cost of a clarisonic (or even less than that if you consider free shipping vs 20$ or more shipping for the clarisonic), I was really tempted.

I also took into consideration that there was no fear for customs and that if anything happened it should be less time consuming and less costly to ship it to UK than to the USA.

I was also interested in the four different modes (sensitive, exfoliating, pulselift massage, deep cleaning) and it also comes with a second brush for use on the body.

So it goes without saying that when Hqhair send me a coupon (I think 20% off) I jumped on the occasion and purchased it.

When I received it I was unpleasantly surprised by the poor packaging, I've bought much cheaper items from other online shops that were protected by layers of bubble wrap, but Hqhair decided that plain paper was enough for it!


Anyway, the device was safe and sound and after 24 hours of charging it was ready for use!

At this point let me clarify that this is not a review but a first impressions post, I have only used it three times!

First day reaction: I hate it! It makes weird, annoying sounds and splatters tiny droplets of water around!

Second day reaction: woa, it has four different modes! Let's try the exfoliating one!

Third day reaction: well, I think it does work!

Although it is way too soon, I do think that my skin looks smoother, less "textured", it feels softer as well.

Here's some bare skin (lollll!), no makeup, no moisturiser etc, (no filters of course), nothing. 


I also used it on the upper part of my hands, they are usually quite dry and a bit rough, and they became baby soft and smooth.

So, at this point I'm really excited to see the results of continuous use and I'll be back, let's say in a month, to tell you all about it and properly review it.

For now, here are a few photos





Since we are talking about cleaning devices, I was super excited today when I read that Sephora here in Greece will sell the Clarisonic!

If I knew it I would definitely wait and get one, since I've used it for a few years and wholeheartedly recommend it!

That's it for now, I hope you are all well and thriving! 

Sunday, 9 February 2014

Collective Haul!

Oops I did it again (my inner Britney tosses her hair) and I have been using most of them for the past month or so, so it will be first impressions as well (bonus track)!

Cherry culture haul



Nyx jumbo eye pencils in Iced Mocha Milk and Yogurt: since my lids are not especially oily I thought that I could use them alone but they do crease and fade...so, not very happy.  I used them as an eyeshadow base, they fade nonetheless.  For a couple of hours they will stay put though.


Nyx Felt Tip Liner in Jet Black and Liquid Crystal Liner in Crystal Hip

I hardly ever wear black liner (let alone a glitter one!) but I really wanted to try something outside of my comfort zone. The liner is ok but I feel that the tip will dry out in a few weeks and the glitter is transparent so I can use it on top of any eyeshadow, when I want something special (=sparkly).



Red and Taupe blushes: I've been wanting to try Taupe for contouring for the longest time and it really is excellent for this purpose if used with a light hand and thoroughly blended. It is a cool toned brown/grey, perfect for a night out, if you want sky high cheekbones. I also use it as an eyeshadow, on the crease or allover the lid.


Red blush was purchased on a whim and it is ideal for snow white cheeks. It does look scary in the pan but if used extremely lightly it is beautiful.


Another blush I got, this one from Asos, is the Illamasqua Zygomatic and it has a barely there, dusty pink color. It is ideal for smokey eyes or in general when I want my cheeks to be there but subdued.


Nyx Red, Taupe and Illamasqua Zygomatic


All Cosmetics Wholesale haul: Nars is a brand that I really like but I find them rather expensive, so when ACW had a 30% off sales items, I got these Multiples in Luxor (a pinky champaign shimmery highlight) and Laguna (a shimmery light bronze shade). I really like these but again I have to constrain myself or else I will glow but not in a good way (more like, I fell head over heels in a shimmer tub).



Dior Constellation palette: love. If you like smokey, fumée tones you'll definitely enjoy this one. 



Ebay haul: I wanted to try the Hada Labo Super Hyaluronic Acid Moisturising Lotion for ages and I finally got the mini size.  It definitely feels emollient and when I put my moisturiser on top my skin feels supple and well fed, even when it's really cold or windy. I 'll probably purchase the full bottle.


Cure Natural Aqua Gel: this is a mild exfoliating gel/lotion and I had tried a couple of samples beforehand and I really liked it. It seems natural enough, no nasties from what I can tell and it will probably last me quite some time.


That's it for now, I hope you are all well and thriving!

Sunday, 2 February 2014

Winter favorites!

Happy February friends and since we just got really winter-y here in Greece, here are my winter favorites!

First stop skincare because I obviously need all the hydration I can find!


Apivita Aloe Vera mask: recent purchase but I really like it, I'm buying the tube as soon as I finish the sachets.

Apivita Grape mask: I had tried the sachets before and really like the cooling and tightening sensation.

Clarins Hydraquench mask: this tube is almost empty but I 'll probably repurchase, love the fact that I can slap it on allover my face and around eyes and sleep with it on!

Cure Natural Aqua exfoliating Gel: some time ago I purchased a couple of samples on ebay and I recently found the last one in my skincare drawer, tried it again and remember that I really liked it so I got a bottle, on ebay as well. It's effective, gentle and easy to use, full review coming soon!

Now let's get to makeup!

Brows


Mac Veluxe Brow Liner in Strawberry Blonde: staple item in my stash and it fills in gaps beautifully, the pencil also lasts a very long time, unlike my other favorite, Fling, that runs out quickly. I will repurchase unless I find a matching shade in Anastasia brand that everyone raves about!

Benefit Gimme Brow: another staple, I just wish it was not so tiny. I use it over the pencil and makes my brows polished but natural looking.

Eyes


Benefit eyebright: I use it on the waterline when I feel sleepy, it makes me look more awake and perky. It's soft and glides on effortlessly, I just wish it lasted longer...

Benefit They're Real: I won't bore you to death with repeating once more why I love it but, surprise, it's almost empty and I don't have a backup because I have a little sample stash that I must work through first. Shocked, aren't you?

Nyx Bohemian Rhapsody palette: I had quite forgotten this little gem (probably the oldest palette i own, i think i got it back in 2011) but I found it again while I was looking for a pencil in my eye makeup drawer and fallen in love allover again. Easy going, basic shades, mattes and shimmery, highlight, crease and midtone shades, it's all I use in the mornings because it has everything I need.

Dior Constellation palette: the newest gem in my collection and it is ravishing! I can achieve sultry or more natural, fumée looks. LE but still available here,  review coming up!

Face


Nyx Taupe blush: I finally got it and it is as good as everyone says about contouring. It must be used with a light hand though, especially in daytime or else I look like an undead, lol!

Illamasqua Zygomatic blush: first ever Illamasqua purchase and I love it! On me it is a light, cool pink-with a hint of taupey brown - shade that compliments perfectly my winter looks with heavier, smokey eyes and it is a perfect match for the dior palette.

Guerlain Crazy Meteorites Poudre Eclat: you saw this coming, didn't you? I actually prefer this one than the perles version, I'll probably do a review comparing the two if you're interested because I think it's still available here.

Clarins Bronzing Duo in Light: I 'm in perpetual fear of the orange stripped cheeks and this bronzer is my safeguard because it is so subtle and light that I can not over do it, lol!

Mac BB cream: I use it alone when I 'll be out for a few hours or under makeup on working days. It has decent coverage and I see it as a skincare barrier between my skin and my makeup.  I don't know if I 'll repurchase thought because there are a few others I would like to try as well.

Lips


YSL Glossy Stains: #3 & #4

No favorites post of mine is complete without a tube or two of these heaven sent lippies. I will just say that these shades match perfectly my winter face, lol!


Mac Cockney lipstick: when I need something more vibrant I automatically reach for this one because it is sheer yet apparent. If you're timid of the red lip, give it a try.

Clarins Éclat Minute lip balm: no, it's not the most moisturising lipbalm I've ever used but I feel extra posh when I apply it on! Is anyone else weird like that or is it just me? It's very good nonetheless and a handbag staple.

So, these are my current favorites and here's a group photo!


What's your most favorite item this winter, something you reach for constantly?

That's all for now, I hope you are all well and thriving! 

Sunday, 26 January 2014

Beauty Blender! (No, it won't make you Guacamole...)

To me, application of liquid foundations is not a standard routine: sometimes I use my fingers, sometimes a brush, depending solely on what I feel like doing that day.

No matter how I choose to achieve the "perfect" base for the rest of my makeup, it has become a daily habit of mine to bounce a moist beauty blender on top as soon as I put on foundation and concealer.


The reason is that it manages to blend everything seamlessly and provides the perfect bare canvas for the rest.

I have also used it the conventional way, meaning that I applied dots of makeup all over and then used it to spread on my face but I don't actually like it this way for two reasons:
  • I feel that make up just stays on top of my face
  • A lot of product gets absorbed in the sponge which to me is not only wasteful but also makes cleaning it a bit difficult. 
For these reasons, I firstly work the foundation on my face with fingers or a brush and then bounce it on. It's an extra step but to me totally worth it.

I also use it on top of blush or bronzer when I feel that I applied a bit too much, the remainder of foudation on it tones down everything without messing everything up. 

In fact, a lot of times I overdo blush in purpose and I follow up with a few bounces because it takes away the powdery finish and I end up with dewy cheeks, naturally flushed (how cliché, lol!), perfectly diffused, with no visible blush "ends". If you're struggling with blending out blushes etc, this is the perfect tool. 

In conclusion, I don't think that it is a must have tool, especially if you're happy with the way you apply foundation. 

I do think it is a nice to have tool, because it definitely perfects makeup application and it is multitasking, because it can be used with all kinds of cream/liquid products (makeup, concealer, blush, bronzer, highlight etc). 

If you love "diffused" application this is definitely a must.


On the other hand, if you don't want to pay $20 for it, or if you haven't used a sponge like this before and you're not sure if you'll like it or not, I would propose trying out a more affordable alternative. 

The one I have been using before the Beauty Blender is a Hondos Center find by the brand Cosmopolitan. I had never heard of this brand before but I got it on a whim, it was on a stand by the cashiers so I grabbed it while waiting in line.


As you can see it is well loved and quite battered up, so when I was considering repurchasing it I decided to try the "real thing" instead. 

In comparison, I would say they do pretty much the same thing.  The difference is that this one is more dense and doesn't expand in size while the Beauty Blender is more fluffy, soft and tender to my face. 


One thing that is important is that either of these is supposed to be used damp, not wet. I always wet it and then put it on a tissue paper and squeeze it hard before every use.

No matter what you choose, I wouldn't end this post without some maintenance tips and in particular how to clean them because from what I gather it is what most of the users struggle with. 

First of all, it definitely should be washed after every application or after two applications at the most. It is high maintenance without a doubt, or else you end up with a bacteria farm on your hand that goes on your face and it defeats the purpose.  

It also depends on how you use it: if you put foundation on top of it and then on your face it gets more stained because it absorbs more product. If you apply foundation with your hands or a brush and then use it to blend everything together, it absorbs less so it doesn't get much stained. 

Lastly, the reason I chose the Beauty Blender in the Pure (white, or light beige to be accurate) version is that I wanted to be able to see at a glance where and how much dirty it is because it makes cleaning it easier.

Enough blabbing, here's how I clean my sponges:


I start off with a very dirty sponge, (lol) on purpose, and a bowl with lukewarm water and some kind of soap. I have used hand soap, dish soap and I just got an Apivita Propolis soap that I'm excited to try out!


And then I squeeze it in the water/soap mixture.  A lot. It's kind of an excersize.  I also change the water 2/3 times and continue to squeeze until it's clean. 
Most importantly, I don't rub it, only squeeze it. My pink Cosmopolitan is so scarred because I used to rub it up viciously (before I came up with the bowl method).


Here it is, as good as new! The whole process takes me about 2-3 minutes.


What are your thoughts on this kind of sponges? Do you recommend a specific one?

That's it for now, I hope you are all well and thriving! 

Sunday, 19 January 2014

Use it up!

My love for new and sparkling beauty items is known but at the same time I feel that I neglect my not so new but still sparkling stash.

So, I thought to discipline my self - not that it is that difficult - and use up things that are halfway empty.

I also tried to be realistic so, no eyeshadows, no pan powders, blushes etc because I have not hit pan on anything of the kind.

Well, enough talking, here is my "use it up!" little basket.


Mac Strobe: this is the travel size and I use it mixed with my foundation. I love it because it gives life and luminosity to any foundation, it is also ideal to sheer out a dense base, it's like a moisturiser/highlighter hybrid. I will definitely repurchase, probably the lotion because it is fluid and I assume it will mix with my foundation even better.


Chanel Vitalumiere Aqua: I purchased it the summer before last and there was a third left. I should probably throw it away but instead I added a hefty dose of the Estee Lauder Maximum Cover in #11 Very Light and quite some Strobe cream and I ended up with a perfect fair shade that matches me perfectly.  I also like the fact that it has one or two metallic balls in the tube so it mixes up perfectly my hand made concoction (lol!). As for the foundation (before the alchemies described above!) is really lovely, natural looking and lightweight



Sonia Kashuk cream bronzer #41 warm tan: I had never tried a cream bronzer before so before committing to a huge and expensive Chanel Tan de Chanel Bronze Universel I decided to try another, more affordable representative of the genre.  I can't say that I liked this one mainly because it doesn't last at all. Maybe my rendezvous with the Chanel one is unavoidable, if I can find it at a 35% off (fingers crossed!)


Jemma Kidd highlighter in #01 Iced Gold: I was reluctant to use it because I love it but the brand does not exist anymore so I wanted to keep it as long as possible. Crazy huh? Thank god reason finally prevailed so I decided to use it up! Lovely beyond words, but sadly not available any more.  



Dior Diorskin Nude in #020: love it, will definitely repurchase, maybe the compact version (although I should probably finish my MSF natural first!)


Clarins instant smooth primer: well, I can't say that this one rocked my world.  It's supposed to smooth skin texture, I didn't see any difference though.  Not repurchasing.


YSL the infamous lot, the loves of my life, can't live without them, you get the grip: they are the first batch i ever bought and they are more than half gone, so my task is easier. They should actually hit the bin but it is above my powers, the don't smell funny (or funnier than normal, lol!), consistency is ok so I will use them up.


#12, #17, #7, #15


Do you have an absolute favorite that at the same time you have to use it up ?

That's it for now,  I hope you are all well and thriving! 
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