Sunday, March 25, 2012

RAVE: Illamasqua Skin Base "Informal" Review

This will be more of an informal review, since I won't go into extreme depth/details with the Illamasqua Skin Base Foundation and I won't be providing any foundation swatches. I might do an actual full in-depth review later in the future. However, I just wanted to let you guys know about this fantastic and amazing foundation! The Illamasqua Skin Base Foundation is gorgeous! It is everything I want in a foundation and more! It has great medium-full coverage and it has such a natural satin finish. Even though it has high coverage, it does not look cakey or feel/look heavy at all! It is long lasting! The shade range is incredible! It photographs beautifully and I can not say enough great things about this foundation!  The Illamasqua Skin Base Foundation use to be only available in the UK and through the Illamasqua website, however it is now at Sephora and through the Sephora website! Yay!  I would highly recommend for you to check this foundation out at a Sephora that carries Illamasqua. <3

Friday, March 23, 2012

Real Techniques by Samantha Chapman Brushes Review

Real Techniques by Samantha Chapman Brushes

I LOVE Real Techniques by Samantha Chapman brushes! Ever since Sam (one-half of pixiwoo) launched her makeup brush line, I have been using them and loving them every time I do my makeup. The majority of the time that I am applying my makeup, the makeup brushes that I use are mainly the Real Techniques brushes. I do have other brushes from MAC, EcoTools, Sonia Kashuk, ect. but the Real Techniques brushes work so amazingly for the price. Not to mention that the design of the brushes are so cute! The brushes that I own from Real Techniques are from the Core Collection Set, Travel Essentials Set, the Stippling Brush, the Foundation Brush, and the Blush Brush. All the brushes are very affordable and the brush line ranges from $6-$18, including the brush sets. All the brushes are made with hand-cut taklon bristles, an aluminum handle, and a flat bottom for your brushes to stand up! The brushes are color coordinated where the gold brushes are for base makeup, the pink brushes are for face/cheek products, and the purple brushes are for the eyes! Even though the brushes may look like they are dual fibered they are not, only the tips of the bristles are white, which actually makes it easier to see how much product is on the brush and how much you are applying to your face. The brush cleaner that I use is the MAC Brush Cleanser and I find that these brushes are the easiest to clean out of all of my other brushes. 

Real Techniques Core Collection Set
The Core Collection Set comes with four brushes and the panoramic brush case. I actually have 3/4 of the brushes and I will explain the reason later on in my review. The four brushes that comes in this set are the buffing brush, detailer brush, contour brush, and pointed foundation brush. The Core Collection Set retails for $17.99 USD. 

Buffing Brush
The buffing brush is my favorite brush out of all the brushes in this set and it works amazingly to buff on liquid or powder foundation. It buffs in liquid foundation flawlessly and it does an amazing job to buff in powder foundation to its highest coverage without ever looking cakey! This brush also does an amazing job for contouring, cream blushes, or to buff out any harsh edges. Unfortunately, out of all the Real Techniques brushes that I own this is the one that shed, a lot. One side of the brush completely just had chunks of the bristles falling out. Chunks of hair! I actually didn't use the brush for a while, since the bristles just kept falling out in chunks, however it eventually came to a point where it stopped, so I fortunately can now use it normally again. The shape on the side has changed and flatten a bit, but it still works just as perfectly as before. I have not heard this happen to anyone before, so I'm pretty sure I just got a dud, but it still is a fantastic brush and I would buy the whole Core Collection Set just for this brush again!

Contour Brush
The contour brush tapers out nicely and is the perfect size to highlight or contour your face. For some people, the brush head maybe too small to contour the face, however I find it perfect for precision contouring. It gets the bronzer exactly where I want to sculpt my face. I also love it for highlighting my face, since it is the perfect size to placing highlighter on the cheekbones. 
Pointed Foundation Brush
The pointed foundation brush is great, but not for foundation. It is way too small and thin to apply foundation effectively, however it is really good to apply concealer under the eyes or on large areas of the face. It is pointed enough to get around the nose and to really get in the inner corner of the eyes to put concealer and to apply the concealer under the eyes quickly as well. Great concealer brush, bad foundation brush. 
Detailer Brush (Image Credit)

Unfortunately, I do not currently have the detailer brush to show an actual picture for you guys because I gave it away to a friend, however I did used it before and I do know how it performs. The detailer brush is very tiny and is great for pin point concealing and to apply lip products. I personally don't do pin point concealing or usually apply my lip products using a brush, so I gave it away to my friend. The brush has good precision though and is great for the uses that I stated. 

Travel Essentials Set
The Travel Essentials Set comes with three brushes and the panoramic brush case. The three brushes that comes in this set are the essential foundation brush, domed shadow brush, and the multi task brush. The Travel Essentials Set retails for $17.99 USD. 

Essential Foundation Brush
The essential foundation brush is slightly better for foundation than the pointed foundation brush, however I still find it too small to apply foundation quickly enough. The essential foundation brush is thicker, so it does apply foundation better, but it would take too long to apply foundation to the whole face because the size is so small. If you have the time to work the foundation all over the face with this brush, then it can be good for foundation, but I would still suggest using it for the same uses as the pointed foundation brush. 

Domed Shadow Brush
I really like how this shadow brush is not completely flat, but not completely domed/rounded shaped as well. The shape of the brush allows me to apply shadow on the eyes and blend out eyeshadow as well. I actually like this brush better for applying concealer, rather than eyeshadow for me, since I have small eyes. If I were to use this as an eyeshadow brush, then I would just use it to apply one eyeshadow all over the lids or to blend out eyeshadow, but I mainly use this to apply concealer. I find that this brush applies and buffs out concealer under the eyes really well. 

Multi Task Brush
My favorite brush out of the whole Travel Essentials Set! I actually bought the whole set just for this brush alone and I really like it! It is so soft and fluffy! It really is a great multi-tasking brush, since it has various uses for face makeup. It is great for blush, bronzer, and powder! I really like to use it for blush mainly, since it is the perfect size! Not too big, not too small. Perfect size to apply blush and blend it out!

Individual Real Techniques Brushes
The brushes that are individually sold from Real Techniques varies in prices and the brushes that I have are the foundation brush ($7.99 USD), blush brush ($8.99 USD), and stippling brush ($9.99 USD). 

Foundation Brush
The foundation brush is big and thick enough to apply foundation very well! This brush would be great for anyone that likes to apply their foundation the standard way by using a flat synthetic foundation brush. This foundation brush is angled, so it is great to get around the nose and around areas that are usually hard to apply foundation around. You will get the highest coverage out of your liquid foundation with this angled and flat foundation brush. 

Brush Brush
Some people love this for blush, but it is way too big to apply blush precisely on my face. However, I absolutely love this brush for powder all over the face or for bronzer. I actually use this brush every single day to apply powder to my face. It is domed shaped when you regularly use it, however it does taper to a point! I usually squeeze the brush a bit and it tapers to a perfect point for me to apply bronzer on the areas of my face that naturally hits the sun. I really love the shape of this brush and would definitely purchase another one!

Stippling Brush
The stippling brush is absolutely my favorite brush to apply liquid foundation. It is really an "airbrushing" brush! The finish I get is so flawless and I find that I don't waste product with this brush at all. It does what a stippling brush should do! The difference between this stippling brush and the generic stippling brush is that the bristles are short and compacted together. I find that the generic stippling brushes, like the MAC 187, has bristles that are too long and "floppy", which results in major brush streaks with the foundation on your face! Since the Real Techniques stippling brush has bristles that are dense and short enough, I find that when I stipple my foundation on and then start to buff it out using this brush, it buffs the foundation in perfectly! I find this stippling brush lovely for foundation and it will give you a more airbrush finish with your makeup. This brush also works really well for cream blushes. 

Panoramic Brush Case

The panoramic brush case only comes in the brush sets and is not sold separately. I think the idea behind the panoramic brush case is very nice, however I don't find it very effective. First off, there are slots to put 6 brushes in the case, however it can only really hold three or four, depending what brushes you put in it. It just does not have enough room to put in many brushes and close it properly. Secondly, you can't have the case propped up on your desk/table and then easily take or put the brushes back in its elastic loop every single time you are doing your makeup. The elastic loops on the case are very strong, so you would have to stop what you are doing and use your hands to push the brush back into the loops. It is just a slight hassle that is not very convenient. Thirdly, the only good thing that I can see from having this case is nicely displaying six of your Real Techniques brushes when you are not using them, or you are going out of town and only need to take three or four brushes. 

Slight General Problems with the Brushes
I find that the words can rub and come off sometimes on the brushes and since the brush handle is made of aluminum, they can have dents. However, I have only had those problems on two or three of the brushes. 

Again, I LOVE Real Techniques by Samantha Chapman brushes! They are affordable, great quality, and great design! If you love makeup and you use makeup brushes, you need to get the Real Techniques by Samantha Chapman brushes! If you guys have any questions, feel free to comment down below! Thank you so much for reading!

-Lily <3

Disclaimer: I am not affiliated in anyway to Real Techniques or Samantha Chapman. I bought the Real Techniques by Samantha Chapman brushes with my own money and I am just another huge fan of pixiwoo. =]

Thursday, March 22, 2012

LUSH Cosmetic Warrior Mask Review

I know everybody love LUSH for their bath products, however I actually am not a big fan of LUSH bath products. *cue audience gasp* Yes, I know. However, I do love their skincare products! I love skincare that is made of natural ingredients! One of the products that I really like is their masks, because I love masks and masks made out of natural ingredients are mainly the only ones I use for my face. I have tried two LUSH masks already, and the Cosmetic Warrior is my second one. The first mask was the Cupcake mask and I loved it! Unfortunately, I do not feel the same way about Cosmetic Warrior.

Many people actually like Cosmetic Warrior rather than Cupcake, however that is not the case for me. I felt that the Cosmetic Warrior mask was just too drying and slightly harsh on my skin. I actually thought this mask would be perfect for me, since I have very oily/acne-prone skin. However, I think the tea tree oil and garlic was just too harsh for me and my face would always feel very drying when I removed the mask with warm water. I felt that the mask actually made my blemishes worse, than make them better. The Cosmetic Warrior mask would go on very creamy, however it was annoying to pick off the big chunks of garlic that was in the mask. The smell is also very horrendous! I hate the smell of this mask! The smell of garlic, tea tree oil, and various other ingredients is not pleasant!

For me, the Cosmetic Warrior mask was too strong, however I think for other people it could be just right to do a good job. As for the Cupcake mask, it could be too gentle for some people, but I thought it worked amazingly and it really helped me with my blemishes. The Cupcake mask is like clay and has a nice chocolate and mint smell. My face felt really soft when I removed the mask with warm water and it really helped clear away my blemishes. Overall, I would definitely not repurchase LUSH Cosmetic Warrior mask again, but just because it doesn't work for me, doesn't mean it won't work for other people. I think that if you don't have sensitive skin, then this could be good for you. If you have sensitive skin, then I would recommend the LUSH Cupcake mask.

Monday, March 19, 2012

Laura Mercier Secret Camouflage Concealer in SC-2 Review

I have been using the Laura Mercier Secret Camouflage Concealer for awhile now and I can understand why this concealer is amazing and why some people dislike this concealer as well. I'm going to start with the good points of this concealer. I absolutely love that it comes with so much product and that there are two concealers! The bigger pan is the concealer with the yellow undertone and the smaller pan contains a peachy undertone concealer, which is great for canceling out blue/purple undertones in dark circles. It is also great to mix the two concealers to get the perfect shade, if you get tan in the summer or get fairer in the winter. The reason that I think that many makeup artists love this concealer duo is because it is great at concealing imperfections while still looking very natural and just like skin, however that is only if you know how to work with this concealer. This is where I get into the bad points of this concealer. 

The formulation of this concealer is very unique in that it is a dry formulation. The formulation allows it to look natural on the skin, ONLY if you work with the concealer to the natural warmth of your skin. When you first take the product out and apply it to your skin it will feel and be like a dry powder/cream consistency, but then you have to take the time and pat it into your skin. Once it is melted into your skin, it covers many acne scars and imperfections very well. So yes, the results can be very good, but realistically not many of us have the time and patience in the morning to work with makeup. Most women want something that is quick and easy! I find that if I don't work with the concealer, then it will end up looking slightly cakey and the coverage won't be as good. 

Overall, if you have the time and patience to work with the Laura Mercier Secret Camouflage Concealer, then you will get a concealer that will conceal acne scars, pigmentation, ect. very well while still looking very natural. However, if you want something quick and easy, this will probably not be the concealer for you. I'm probably not going to repurchase this, since I have other concealers that I would prefer over this one, but for the mean time it works as a great concealer for when I have the time to conceal all my acne scars and pigmentation. 

YSL Volupte Sheer Candy in #2 Dewy Papaya

I have recently gotten the Yves Saint Laurent Volupte Sheer Candy in #2 Dewy Papaya in a swap and I absolutely love it! However, I would never purchase this. The way I see this product is that it is a lip balm, that gives a glossy finish, in a lipstick form. The reason I say that I absolutely love this product is that I love the way it looks and feels on my lips! It is great at moisturizing your lips and it gives your lips a very natural glossy finish. The finish is actually very similar to the Clarins Instant Light Lip Perfector! I also find that this product last a good amount of time on the lips. Of course, I can not forget the delicious and amazing scent (and taste) of the Yves Saint Laurent lip products! I can not stop smelling this lip product! It smells soooo delicious! It smells just like melon candy! 

So yes, it does feel, look, and smell amazing, however it is definitely not worth the $30 for this lip product. The main reason is that it goes on clear! There is almost no tint to this product at all, it is clear! I would probably have to swipe this product on my lips 20 times to get the peachy tint out of this product. The Yves Saint Laurent Volupte Sheer Candy are luxurious and smells fantastic, however the formulation of the product is not worth the $30! I would rather go purchase the Clarins Instant Light Lip Perfector, which are just as good (and better!) as the Yves Saint Laurent Volupte Sheer Candy.

Sunday, March 18, 2012

NEW Sonia Kashuk Brushes Review + Buffing Brushes Comparison

Bottom Picture (left to right): Sonia Kashuk Synthetic Buffing Brush, Sonia Kashuk Dense Blush/Powder Brush, Real Techniques by Samantha Chapman Buffing Brush, Sephora #45 Mineral Powder Brush

I love makeup (of course, this is a beauty blog) and that means I love makeup brushes as well! Many people have different preferences as to how they apply their makeup. Some people want to be as minimal as possible and use the least amount of brushes as they can, along with using their fingers as well. However, I am not that kind of person. Well, that is not necessarily true, since I do love to use my fingers for foundation sometimes and I think it is one of the best tools for makeup application, but I am just that kind of person that loves having different brushes that do different things! One of my favorite types of makeup brush is the dome-shaped buffing brush. I believe these kinds of brushes are so versatile and are amazing for foundation and various other things. I have four dome-shaped buffing brushes. Surprisingly, and unfortunately, the MAC 109 is not one of them, however I think one of my four brushes can be a similar dupe to the MAC 109! I did do a review on the two Sonia Kashuk brushes that I have on my personal blog, however I will post it again here for you guys to read. The review was written on March 9, 2012. 

Today, I will rave about two NEW Sonia Kashuk brushes that are fantastic! Not only are they fantastic, but they could possibly be good dupes for higher-end brushes! The brushes I am talking about are the Sonia Kashuk Synthetic Buffing Brush ($12.99) and Dense Blush/Powder Brush ($17.99).
I was browsing through Target today and I notice that Sonia Kashuk did some remodeling! The slight changes that I saw were that Sonia Kashuk has a few new, and very unique, brushes and that the prices have change slightly. The prices are slightly cheaper than they were before, so I would highly recommend for you to go to your local Target and check the Sonia Kashuk area out! Anyway, back to the brushes!
I’m going to tell you about the Sonia Kashuk Dense Blush/Powder Brush first and it is the brush with the black handle. First off, I love the design of the handle, because it allows the brush to fit very nicely in my hands and I feel like I have a lot of control of my makeup application. When I first saw this brush I immediately thought that it was so similar to the MAC 109 Brush! Now, I don’t have the MAC 109 brush myself, but I do know that the shape of the brush is almost the same. However, I do know that the MAC 109 is a little bit softer and definitely more dense, than the Sonia Kashuk Dense Blush/Powder Brush. The use of this brush is pretty self-explanatory, but when I use this brush for powder and blush, I think it works amazingly! The brush is the perfect size and density for applying and blending out blush and it applied powder really nicely to the areas where I wanted a little bit more coverage. I can also see this brush working very well for bronzer and contouring.
I think the Sonia Kashuk Dense Blush/Powder Brush is amazing, but I was the most surprise by the performance of the Sonia Kashuk Synthetic Buffing Brush! I was blown away! I honestly thought that this brush was going to apply foundation the same way as my Real Techniques Buffing Brush but I was so wrong! Not only did my foundation blended in so well, but this brush did it so quickly! I can honestly say that I did my whole face of foundation in around 10 seconds! No lie! This brush is like magic! While I find that my Real Techniques Buffing Brush works really well for really liquidy/runny foundations, I find that the Sonia Kashuk Synthetic Buffing Brush works extremely well for thick foundations. I used it with my BB Cream and I honestly have never applied BB Cream in an easier way before using this brush! Also, if you know how thick BB Creams can get, my BB Cream is really thick! The Sonia Kashuk Synthetic Buffing Brush is very soft and dense enough to truly buff in your foundation! Of course, anyone can use this brush for other things as well, like powder, bronzer, blush, ect. Now, the brush that this brush kind of reminds me of is the Sephora #55 Airbrush Brush. Now, I also don’t have the Sephora #55 Airbrush Brush, however I know that the Sephora brush claims to give an airbrush finish and the concept of the two brushes are the same. The Sonia Kashuk brush also claims to give an airbrush finish and to buff in cream/liquid products very nicely in circular motions. I’m not saying that the Sonia Kashuk Synthetic Buffing Brush is a dupe to the Sephora #55 Airbrush Brush. I’m saying that the Sonia Kashuk can be an alternative to the Sephora brush, if you are on a budget.

Now on to the mini comparison review of all the four dome-shaped buffing brushes! The four dome-shaped buffing brushes that I have are the Sonia Kashuk Synthetic Buffing Brush, Sonia Kashuk Dense Blush/Powder Brush, Real Techniques by Samantha Chapman Buffing Brush, and Sephora #45 Mineral Powder Brush. All of the brushes are made up of synthetic hair, except the Sonia Kashuk Dense Blush/Powder Brush. All of the brushes are great for buffing out your makeup, however these are the uses that I like to use each brush for: 
Sonia Kashuk Synthetic Buffing Brush: I find that this brush is mainly good for thick cream/liquid foundations, like BB Creams. 
Sonia Kashuk Dense Blush/Powder Brush: Great for blush & bronzer! Powder as well when I want more coverage on specific areas of my face! I like to use this for powder products, but not cream products.

Real Techniques by Samantha Chapman Buffing Brush: AMAZING for liquid foundations that are very "liquidy" and great for mineral/powder foundation! Great for liquid, cream, and powder!!!

Sephora #45 Mineral Powder Brush: The best for mineral and powder foundation for when I want the highest coverage! This brush is good for liquid foundation as well, however it is not amazing, since I do find that a lot of the product gets wasted because of the density of the synthetic bristles.

Do you need all of these four dome-shaped buffing brushes? Of course not! I could probably just have the Real Techniques by Samantha Chapman Buffing Brush and use it for every aspect of my makeup application for face products, but I am just the type of person that likes to have a collection of makeup brushes for different things. Overall, all of these brushes are amazing multi-tasking brushes that are great for foundation, powder, blush, bronzer, and/or buffing out your makeup! I really hope you guys find this review and comparison helpful! Let me know if you guys have any questions or comments! Thank you!

- Lily <3

My Favorite Youtubers

Alex is such a sophisticated and successful woman! I admire her so much and she has impeccable taste!
  • ttsandra <3
Sandra is not only my favorite Youtuber, but she is also my favorite blogger! I always get so excited when I see that she posted a new video or blog post up. Sandra just seems so nice and genuine! She not only has impeccable taste as well, but she is also very intelligent! I honestly always love everything that she recommends and love as well. 
  • zoella280390 <3
Zoe is so adorable! She is such a cute and bubbly girl! I think her blog is absolutely fantastic! Zoe is gorgeous, so nice, and has a great sense of humor!
  • pixi2woo
Tanya is probably the most optimistic and bubbly person on Youtube! Of course her makeup tutorials are amazing, but she is such a happy person all the time! I love how Tanya is so energetic and just brightens up everything!
  • pixiwoo
Sam and Nic are great sisters and they are amazing professional makeup artists! I would love to meet them one day!
  • lisaeldridgedotcom
Lisa Eldridge is a professional makeup artist and I love that she does makeup tutorials, because I gain so much from watching her videos and her videos are always so interesting!
  • FleurDeForce
Fleur is amazing! I honestly wish I can know Fleur in real life, because she seems like such a genuine person that is very relatable! I love that she lives in the countryside in England and she has such a cute family with her boyfriend, Woof, and her cats!
  • ThePersianbabe
I honestly have never seen such a mature and sophisticated 18 year old my whole life! Barbara is so mature and I love her taste in makeup!
  • Secretsgirl10
Ally has great taste and she reminds me of Victoria Beckham!
  • RAEview
I love that Rachel is an intelligent and articulate women that is able to review and give great information through her videos! Her videos are so informative and she has impeccable taste in makeup. 
  • xclosetoreal
She is so gorgeous and so cute! I always enjoy watching her videos!
  • missglamorazzi
Ingrid is like an American Fleur. Enough said. lmao! xD
  • ViviannaDoesMakeup <3
Vivianna does a great job at her videos and her blog is really amazing! I think her experience/education in PR really makes her a really great beauty blogger. 
  • JennaMarbles
Jenna is like my friend in real life and she is hilarious. Enough said. lol
  • simonandmartina
I love South Korea and Simon and Martina gives me my Korean "fix". That sounds so weird! lol
  • charlieissocoollike
Charlie is British, cool, funny, and cute! =]

<3 = Youtube Channel & Blog Favorite!

Hello + Products I'm Currently Using!

Welcome to my new beauty blog! Some of you guys may already know me from my personal blog on Tumblr, and some of you guys might have just stumbled upon my new beauty blog! My name is Lily and I have been a makeup lover for almost 5 years already! This beauty blog will just be a blog where I can share my favorite makeup products, do makeup reviews, and talk about other beauty related things! I wanted to keep it simple for my first post, so I am just going to share with you guys the current beauty products that I have been loving and using currently!

Shampoo: Organix Brazilian Keratin Therapy Shampoo

Conditioner: Organix Brazilian Keratin Therapy Conditioner

Cleanser: Obagi Nu-Derm Gentle Cleanser

Toner: Obagi Nu-Derm Toner

Facial Moisturizer: Christian Dior Hydra Life Skin Perfect Pore Refining Perfecting Moisturizer. This is amazing and an absolute life saver! LOVE!

Primer: I don't currently use a primer daily, but for long days or night outs, I love the MUFE HD Primer or Smashbox Photo Finish Light Primer.

Foundation: I switch my foundations around a lot, but I'm currently loving NARS Sheer Glow in Santa Fe.

Foundation Brush: I don't use one. Fingers!

Concealer: Laura Mercier Secret Camouflage in SC-2.

Powder: Lancome Dual Finish Powder in Matte Buff II

Blusher: MAC Melba Blush

Bronzer: Benefit Hoola! Best matte bronzer!

Highlighter: Hard Candy Honeymoon Blush

Eyeshadow Base: Urban Decay Primer Potion! Forever and always!

Eyeshadows: MAC All That Glitters and MAC Sable

Eyeliner: Milani Eye Tech Extreme Liquid Eyeliner in Black

Curler: Shu Uemura

Mascara: L'Oreal Voluminous Million Lashes in Black

Lipstick: YSL Volupte Sheer Candy in #2 Dewy Papaya

Lipgloss: Clarins Instant Light Lip Perfector in Rose Shimmer

- Lily <3