December Product Review: Bobbi Brown City Collection – Paris

It’s been awhile since I’ve done a product review and I thought some fancy makeup would be a perfect topic as we head into party season.  This year Bobbi Brown introduced their “City Collections” which featured palettes, eye liners and lipsticks based on New York, London and Paris.

Frankly, they were all amazing, and when I found a great coupon deal online, I decided to splurge and try out a city out for myself.  My budget allowed for one palette and one gel eye liner.

After chatting online via instant message with a Bobbi Brown makeup specialist (which you can do for free) and uploading a photo of myself, I was able to finally decide on the Paris palette and matching gunmetal longwear eye liner.
bobbi-brown-paris-collection

PARIS PALETTE
palette-box
The Description:
“Exclusively for our 25th anniversary, Bobbi introduces a collection of limited edition palettes celebrating three iconic fashion cities. Inspired by Parisians’ effortlessly chic style, the Paris Palette features four shadows in nude and deep gray shades plus the perfect, fresh shade of blush—all in a collectible mirrored compact with an illustration by renowned artist Richard Haines..
Featured in O, The Oprah Magazine (November 2016)”
Cost: $65.00
artwork
To start,  this palette has really beautiful packaging.  I actually don’t mind spending a little more for a product if the packaging is very attractive.  Eyeshadow palettes can have a pretty long shelf-life, so you’ll be looking at that lovely compact for quite some time.  Plus sturdier packaging (as opposed to cardboard) holds up so much better over time.

I have other Bobbi Brown eyeshadows and they are my go to staple, for blendable neutral eyes. They aren’t as pigmented as other shadows (like MUFE) but they are great for creating subtle natural looks and they apply easily.
bobbi-brown-paris-palette
Like my other Bobbi Brown palettes, the shades on this one aren’t super pigmented, but you can build them for more color. When you’re dealing with grey (or really dark) shadow I think that’s a plus.  The palest shade pretty much just blends into my skin.

The darkest shade can be used as an eyeliner, or for setting over a gel eyeliner.

The blush goes on easily and is a surprisingly wearable shade.  It gives a subtly bright pop of color, that makes you look healthy but without looking like you’re wearing a ton of makeup.  I also used it for my eyes to add a little pop to the grey tones and it worked quite well.

My one problem with this palette, is one I have with some other Bobbi Brown ones – staying power.  Even with my sturdier eye primers, the eyeshadows tend to disappear very quickly.  The blush had better staying power and when I used the darker shade to set eyeliner, that seemed to last long as well.

SWATCHES:
(Liner on the far left, then the eyeshadow shades from dark to light, and the blush).
swatches swatches-2
(It’s hard to see, but the lightest shade is swatched right before the blush.)

Verdict:  Like
If the shadows could stay a bit longer for me, this would definitely be a love.  Even so, I like the subtle, sophisticated way these shadows layer.  The shades are timeless and would work on a variety of skin tones.  I was afraid the gray would be too dark for my pale skin, but the colors were chic and not goth at all.

CITY COLLECTION – LONG-WEAR GEL EYELINER – GUNMETAL INK
eyeliner-box
The Description: “A Dark Steel”
Cost: $26.00
Verdict:  Too hard to apply
I have hooded, oily lids so my eye products tend to disintegrate or migrate all over my eyes.  The best luck I have with creating a winged eye look that lasts more than 10 minutes, is to use a gel liner and then set it with eyeshadow.  I have an espresso brown from Laura Mercier that I adore and I really wanted to try out a grey, but Laura Mercier’s color options are severely limited.  This Bobbi Brown one seemed perfect.  The color on this is great, but even with several different types of eyeliner brushes, I found it really hard to apply.  It’s not at all in the same league as the Laura Mercier version. I’ll keep experimenting, but I think I’m just going to have to hold out until Laura Mercier puts out some new shades.
eyeliner
With my coupon code, I got the above plus 5 free samples (see below) for $65.27 (including tax), so I’m still happy with my purchase, even if the eye liner wasn’t a win.
free-gifts
If you love a makeup brand, be sure to shop around to various stores to get the best deals and freebies.  Department stores and brand websites can often give you a lot more bang for your buck than Sephora or Ulta.  They often feature coupon code and freebies you don’t always see in other places.

If you’re interested in the City Collection, the London palette is still available as well and Bobbi Brown is currently offering 6 free minis with purchase.

December 2015 Product Review: Cover FX Custom Cover Drops

For one of my December product reviews, I wanted to talk about Cover FX Custom Cover Drops. I got these several months ago and wanted to play around with them for a while before I finally wrote up my review.

A little about the product: “A revolutionary drop formula of concentrated pigments that allows you to weightlessly transform products in your beauty regimen into your ideal coverage.”
Cover FX Drops

This sounds like magic. Tell me more.

“This innovative formula contains Flash Fusion Technology, so as soon as you drop in and mix with your favorite product, nothing but pure pigment is left behind—allowing you to customize your ideal level of coverage. Blend them with anything liquid to create your desired coverage, including moisturizers, serums, oils, primers, foundations, and tinted moisturizers that are water-, oil-, or silicone-based. Simply adjust your coverage by the number of drops you add. The pigments are coated with lecithin, which is biochemically similar to the skin, to ensure seamless blending, precise control, and the smoothest application.”

Wow. So basically you add these nifty drops to anything you put on your face and it turns it into a foundation. You adjust the coverage by the amount of drops you use. You can see why I was sold on this and had to try it out.

Now I bought these drops for a very specific purpose. I have cool, pink undertones and most products out there have warm, yellow undertones. It is super hard to find foundations, CC creams, BB creams and so on with the right coloring for my skin tone. In particular, my favorite CC cream (It Cosmetics) leans just a touch too warm for my taste.  As soon as I read about these Cover Drops I wanted to use them to adjust my favorite products for a better match to my coloring.
Bottle
I looked for the palest pink option and chose P20.
Label
The product has an odd consistency – it’s both thick and thin at the same time. You really need to give the bottle a good shake to get it right. I didn’t swatch this because it’s not designed to be used alone. This is made to tint other products.

Dropper
This is an item that you really need to play around with in order to get just right. The amount of drops you add, really depends on what product you are starting with. I found that 2 drops into my It Cosmetics CC cream in “Fair” worked really well. It added just enough pink to the shade to match my complexion. It’s also worked well in turning some of my too yellow Korean BB creams into something much more appropriate for my skin tone. You could use these drops in so many ways – particularly if you aren’t a regular foundation wearer. You can add a couple drops to your sunscreen for a light coverage, or into your regular moisturizer. It’s a super easy product to incorporate into your existing routine.

Verdict: Love!
I purchased this from Sephora for $44.00 (plus tax) and it was well worth the money. You use so little of the product that the bottle will last indefinitely. If you are someone who has trouble getting facial products to match your complexion, I highly recommend trying out these Cover Drops. They really allow you to customize all of your products to make them work better for you.

Do you have trouble finding Foundations or CC creams that match your complexion, or do you already have a favorite that works perfectly? (And please share your top picks!)

June Product Review: Grace & Stella Co. Luxurious Foot Peeling Mask & 60% Off Coupon

So the lovely folks at Grace & Stella Co. sent me a Luxurious Foot Peeling Mask to review along with a special link which gets you get 60% off full price.) Grace & Stella also offer a subscription service where you can opt for them to send you a foot peeling mask at specific intervals for a discounted price.

First,  we should find out exactly what this “foot peeling mask” entails.

“Grace & Stella’s Foot Peeling Mask is designed to remove the unsightly, dead skin cells on your feet that build up over time and can contribute to numerous problems associated with the soles of your feet. In many cases, feet become cracked and painful from the accumulation of dead skin….Our scientifically formulated product contains 17 types of natural extracts which exfoliate and moisturize at the same time. The principal ingredient of our Foot Peeling Mask is fruit acid which is very gentle, when compared with other acids. The fruit acid penetrates into the layers of dead skin cells and breaks down the desmosomes which hold the layers together. By this process, skin is undamaged but peels easily away from the fresh layer beneath. After peeling, your feet are reborn just like a baby’s foot, giving you healthy, beautiful feet.”

I’m not sure I want to have a “baby’s foot” but the rest sounds fabulous. My feet get a bit worse for wear during the summer when I’m constantly in flip flops and sandals so I was excited to try this out.
Peeling Mask

So first I washed and dried my feet, then put them inside the plastic booties that came in the package. The product inside felt cool and pretty pleasant. I was worried something called a “peel” would feel harsh or uncomfortable but it was just fine. I left the booties on for an hour. I removed them, washed my feet with soap and cold water and then examined them. They definitely felt softer than when I started. I have sensitive skin and was not irritated at all by the foot peel.  The instructions stated that I’d see dead skin cells continue to peel from 5 to 7 days and could possibly continue to peel for up to two weeks. I definitely noticed more dead skin coming off during the week after.  My feet aren’t weren’t in horrific shape to start with but they definitely improved after the peel.

Verdict: Like at Full Price; Hit with Discount!

Overall, the foot peel did help my feet quite a bit with no irritation to my skin, so I feel like the package delivered on its promise. The only thing that makes this a “like” instead of a “hit” is that the regular cost of this foot peel is $24.95 which is for me quite high. My feet aren’t in horrific shape so I probably wouldn’t be willing to pay that much for one mask unless it was a very special occasion. However, if you follow this link you can get the foot peeling masks for just $9.95. At that price point these are a total hit and I recommend them. You can also get a discount on the price by signing up for Grace & Stella Co’s subscription service.

Do you have trouble with cracked and dry feet? If so, would you be interested in a foot peeling mask?

March Product Review: Benefit Roller Lash

So I told you I had lots of product reviews just waiting for you, so don’t be too surprised that you’re getting another product review for March. If you’re even remotely interested in beauty buzz you’ve probably heard about Benefit’s Roller Lash. Benefit has been hyping this product everywhere with the fancy pants claims about it’s special design that will give your lashes tons of curls.

“The mascara’s innovative Hook ‘n’ Roll™ brush is coated in tiny, soft hooks, which catch onto and lift, curl, and separate each lash instantly. The brush is universal and works with any eye shape or size and varying lash types (it works especially well with short or straight lashes that won’t usually hold a curl). The mascara itself is inky black with a satiny finish, doesn’t smudge or flake, and contains provitamin B5 for lash-conditioning benefits. The result is a dramatic (but not overdone) look that lasts for up to 12 hours. Plus, it’s easy to remove!”

Now I love Benefit and have great experience with the Benefit They’re Real! Mascara , so when HSN sent me a $10 off coupon, I figured I’d use it to gamble on this new product. With free shipping I was able to snag one for $14.00.

Box
I read the directions and Benefit asks you to put the roller at the base of your lashes, wiggle it and then roll it up. Since this has been my technique for all my mascara application since high school, I figured I’d have a good handle on it.
Brush

So how did it measure up?
Tube
Verdict:
Don’t throw away your eyelash curler just yet

So I found that this mascara did absolutely nothing in terms of curling my lashes. The formula was thin and gave that spiderlash look that I loathe. I tried it several times and even used it layered but I still really disliked it. In terms of brush design alone, I find the Mirenesse iCurl Secret Weapon 24 Hour Mascara to be far superior for curling lashes. I loved the curl it gave mine, but unfortunately their formula flakes on me. However, if you don’t have oily lashes like I do, it would probably work great for you. My overall pick for best mascara is It Cosmetic’s Hello Lashes Clinically Proven 5-in-1 Mascara. This formula not only curls your lashes, but thickens them as well and doesn’t budge at all on me. The little ball at the end helps you go back in and get any small lashes you may have missed. I’ve tried a lot of mascaras and it’s still my top pick.

I know a lot of ladies are raving about this mascara so part of it may just be body chemistry, but I’d urge you to find a sample to try first before committing to a full size. Thankfully I only paid $14.00 for this, but for $24.00 it’s really not worth the price.

Have you tried Benefit’s Roller Lash  yet?
If so, was it everything you’d hoped or just a big old disappointment?