Sunday, February 28, 2016

Monthly Favorites ::: February 2016

It has been a crazy week at work; insane hours leading to lots of unhealthy meals and lost hrs. of sleep. On top of that, I went to the parlor today to get my eyebrows done and they completely screwed it up! Basically, it has been a stressful week!

But, I have my February Favorites to talk about. So I will stop complaining and let myself loose in the beautiful world of makeup! I started to write Monthly Favorites only from last month and I am so happy that I am sticking to my resolution. I have not been trying a lot of new products, and that has helped me go back to some of my old and forgotten products. Here are all of my February favorites - old and new!!

MAC Satin Lipstick in “Amorous”: I am not a die-hard MAC fan. That may have something to do with the fact that I have not experimented with a ton of MAC products. However, I love every single thing that I have! Sometime last year, I did extensive research on “Best MAC lipsticks on Indian Skin tone” and many recommended this. And I am happy to report that it is very flattering on me. I love the finish; it’s neither overly creamy nor very drying like their matte lipsticks. More than the finish, I LOVE the shade. You may already know that I am a color-craving beauty junkie at heart so it is a bit difficult for me to stick to neutral shades to wear to work every day. So I love this type of atypical nude shades to switch things up at times. This month I have been wearing it constantly. It described as “Loverstruck Cranberry” but I see it as a beautiful neutral deep-mauve shade with a lot of muted purple in it. It is an excellent everyday shade on me with enough spark of color to keep things interesting for me. It gets a bit dry after 6-7 hrs, but, otherwise the staying power is excellent. 

Wayne Goss Brush 05: This is a VERY expensive brush and I don’t think I would buy this at its regular price. I don’t think this brush is not a very important brush to spend so much money on! My pencil brush from Makeup Geek works just fine.  However, having said that I have to admit that now that I have this brush, I have been wearing eyeshadow on my lower lash line very frequently. I got this brush in Lucky Bag 2016 from Beautylish and I can almost see why Wayne Goss brushes are so popular! It’s wonderfully soft and a delight to work with! 

Becca Blushes in “Wild Honey” and “Songbird”: I have these blushes for a long time now and I do wear them a lot with smokey eyes, or on days when I want bronzey-shiney goodness! But this month I remembered that I never wrote a post on these. So I took them out from my drawer and wore it just so I could review! And I am not able to put them down. I have not been wearing a ton of makeup to work this month but I am grabbing for this two interchangeably to get some fast and easy color to my cheeks and make me look alive :-) Becca products have incredible staying power; no need to worry about touching up! Songbird is peach warm nude with a lot of pink in it where as Wild Honey is much more nude! I prefer Songbird just a tiny bit more.

These next two products aren’t technically “monthly favorites” as I have been using them since the latter half of ’15. But I never really noticed or admitted that I really enjoy them!

Too-Faced Chocolate Soleil Bronzer in (Medium to Deep): I bought a small value set from Sephora (reviewed here). I have been using this bronzer every day since then! It’s easier to carry around when I am travelling! And because it’s a travel size product, I feel encouraged to use it up because I know I can finish it soon and move on to the next bronzer without getting bored. As you can see I have hit pan :-)! It’s very matte and the color is not too warm or cool! Great for everyday use, it gives me a very faint hint of warmth and I can really pile it on without risking to look muddy. It fades very gracefully as well! There are definitely some other bronzers in my collection that I like a lot more than this but it’s definitely a strong favorite.

Touch In Sol “Stretchex Stretch Lash Effect Mascara”: It was from a Sephora Favorites Superstars set (reviewed here) during last holiday season. I have been using it ever since and now it is in its last leg! I have to share that I am not a “hard-to-please” critique of mascaras! I love natural lashes; as long as a mascara gives me separate defined lashes and is easy to take off at night, I don’t need a lot for mascaras to impress me. This one does not offer much volume but it gives me a lot of length! I love the brush too, it’s easier to use on my small eyes. It also comes off easy with cotton absorbed in hot water. It has become a bit dry now so it has got a bit difficult to remove but I still love it! :-)

I hope you enjoyed this little round-up of my favorites! You can check out my favorites post here. Tell me what you have been loving this month?


Wednesday, February 17, 2016

Mid-week pampering with my FAVORITE Origins Clear Improvement Active Charcoal Mask!!!

My love affair with “Origins Clear Improvement Active Charcoal Mask” started in Spring of 2014. I did not know much about it then but I got 4 travel size pods for $8 with one of my online orders from Sephora just so I could get to the price point for free shipping.

I tried it for the first time and my skin immediately felt fresh, tighter and clean of impurities. I loved the pod sizes because one of them gave me more than 2 usages and considering I was travelling a lot back then they were great to throw in my bag. After I used up the pods, I finished one or two small free samples from Sephora #frugalAru :-) Anyway, I finally invested in the full-size in one of the VIB sale. I use it once or twice a week depending on my skin condition.  As found in Sephora’s website the active charcoal in it absorbs 100- to 200-times its weight in impurities and the white China Clay draws out impurities and toxins while clearing the skin of excess oil, dirt, pollutants, and other waste materials. The mask is formulated without Parabens, Sulfates and  Phthalates so that is always good :-) It may tingle for few seconds after applying. I often just apply it on my T-zones but when I feel extra congested I apply it on my entire face and it immediately clears up my pores making my skin clean and glowy. I don’t have enough good things to say about this mask.  

I remember this being $25 for 3.4 oz. of product but I saw they have increased the price to $26 :-( That pains me a little bit :-(

If you are looking for similar mask, I highly recommend trying out the travel size pods.if it does not break out then its definitely something that you are going to love it. As for me, I am going to repurchase it over and over.



Saturday, February 13, 2016

Review and Swatches ::: Bobbi Brown Blush in "Sand Pink"

Sometime last year, I was desperately searching for an everyday blush-shade! At that time, I did not have an alarming amount of makeup like I do today :-) I only had NYX crème blush in Rose Petal which still is an absolute favorite product of mine, but I guess I was itching to branch out more and try some high-end products :-) 

During last year’s Beauty Insider sale a Sephora employee applied it on me and I loved the effect. Bobbi Brown is a very classic and elegant brand! They have a ton of awesome products but for some reason I find them a little “meh”! Must be my weird mind! The packaging does not have a spark to me personally and I was never inspired to use it. But for the past few months I have been constantly using to wear to work in rotation with some other blushes and I have been really ENJOYING it. It was actually one of my Beauty Favorites for 2015.

The regular price for this blush for 0.13 oz. of product is now $28 which was $26 when I bought it. The packaging is classic Bobbi Brown! Minimal with the clear lid which makes it easy to see the color. But there is no mirror which disappoints me. It’s a very practical container but if I am paying that much money for a blush, I want a mirror in the compact. You can shop it in NordstromSephora and Macy’s.

Sand Pink” is a dusty-mauve shade. Absolutely perfect on my tan skin; it’s not too obvious but still is very feminine subtle pinky mauvy shade. It is very nicely pigmented and you get the shade to show on your cheeks without needing to be extremely cautious about using a very light hand. It is a matte formula. When I swatch it with my fingers, the texture feels a bit dry and powdery, but when I use it on my face it is really easy and smooth to apply as well as to blend. I have dry skin and I don’t have any problem with the texture. It lasts from 7 am to around 3-3.30 pm which is pretty good. But once I reapply my sunscreen before I head home form office, it completely vanishes; that might be just because of the sunscreen though.

This was my first Bobbi Brown product and I have been loving it so far. It is really a no brainer blush for me to wear to work. But I would also say that even though the product is good and I am getting good use out of it, it does not excite me enough to go out and check other Bobbi Brown products. What are your favorite products from her line?

By the way, Happy Valentine’s Day everyone! Hope you all are having an wonderful time :-)


Thursday, February 11, 2016

Review and Swatches ::: Natasha Denona Eyeshadow 5-pan Palette #01!!!

A couple of days back I reviewed palette #04 of the Natasha Denona 5-pan eyeshadow palette, you can find the review here. I got it in this year’s Lucky Bag from Beautylish. When I got it in the mail, there was a hefty fingernail dent on one of the shades! So, I contacted Beautylish team and they very generously accepted to replace it. These palettes were not available in early January; now they are getting ready to officially launch them and their amazing customer service team reached back to me and gave me an option to choose from any of the 13 palettes available in this range! Thank you so much Beautylish for this absolutely impressive customer care! I did have quite a hard time in choosing the palette that I want :-) There are some excellent color selections and I was particularly torn between #01, #05 and #10.  I finally decided on #01 as I felt this will be the most uncommon addition to my collection. Also, that navy was calling my name! (Side note: I happen to be obsessed with blue eyeshadow!)

These palettes are available at a price of $48 for 5 full-size eyeshadow. All 5 of these are also available in single pans. The single pans cost $25 to $29 for 0.08 oz. of products! So, with this palette there is almost 100 bucks of savings :-) when compared to the price of single shades! Beautylish will launch them soon and you can sign for early access here. Meanwhile you can find it in Natasha Denona website as well.

Packaging-wise I do think they have a lot to improve! Like I said in the previous review, at this price point I don’t expect this type of packaging. It appears quite cheap to be honest! It is a plastic compact with a clear and somewhat flimsy lid; but the material not as sturdy or as elegant-looking as I expected. I am afraid that there are risks of breakage if you travel a lot with this. There is no mirror as well!

Quality and performance wise these are consistent with #04 palette that I reviewed! This #01 palette has 3 different finishes and all of them are quite strongly pigmented! They blend easily and very quickly! They are very creamy in formula but when I swatch them with my finger, they feel a little bit stiff and not as soft as some of the other metallic shades from different brands. But I don’t feel this rigidity or hardness when applied on the eyes. Because of the richness and creaminess in the formula, it does crease ever-so-slightly! With primer, it lasts the 7-8 hrs. if I am in an indoor environment. Overall, the staying power is decent but I would definitely have enjoyed a little stronger wear time.

Anyway, I picked this palette because texture and shade wise this was the most versatile. Here are the shades

86P – Golden Aquamarine: This shade is identified as duo-chrome eyeshadow in Natasha Denona website. It is a very pale turquoise blue and as the name suggests, it has a gold shift to it as well. It is quite an interesting shade. It is definitely not for everyday use but I love it. I wore it on my lower lash line the other day and it stayed the whole day!

01V – Navy: This is the only matte shadow I have from her line. It is a very beautiful deep grey-ish navy blue! It almost looks “black” if you place it in a very concise, small area on your eyelids. You know I love my blues, this one is definitely a little bit different than what I already have from different brands. I have no clue why I am not as excited for this as I hoped to be! But it’s definitely a beautiful shade. The “matte” formula is great too, it is very pigmented, goes on smooth in application and blends in easily. It does have a tiny amount of fall-out; especially if I am putting too much effort in applying it. You have to be a little careful otherwise it can get messy.

80M – Piggy: All these other 3 shades are metallic in finish. This shade is quite similar to “moonstone” from #04 palette. It has a little bit more pink in it. These types of shade tend to appear much more brighter and lighter against my skin tone than it appears on the pan. I do love it but it is not suitable for everyday wear; at least not on me. This had the most fall out among all the ones that I tried from her line.

07M – Graphite: Normally, cool grey is not a personal favorite shade of mine, but I find this shade a lot more interesting than I had expected. It’s a metallic deep grey shade and has some lighter grey sparkle to it. I love to wear it on my outer v-corner. Also it can be very fittingly paired with all the other shades from this palette for some quick eye-looks. It can also be used for a super-quick “all-over-the-lid” type of smokey look! This has been a surprise favorite.

27M – Slate: When I zeroed on this palette, I was pretty sure that Navy will be my most favorite, but surprisingly I think this has been the my most adored and used shade till now! It’s a beautiful deep lavender shade with multi-color sparkle in it. I have been wearing it with Graphite and Navy or on the lower lash line on its own! I absolutely love this shade. It reminds me of “Bewitched” pigment from Makeup Geek; so beautiful.

In the look below I wore all 5 of these shades along with a matte crease shade from IT Cosmetics Naturally Pretty Palette Vol-I. I used navy on my outer v and outer-crease area, Graphite on outer V and slate on the inner lid area, Golden Aquamarine on the lash line and a bit of Piggy on the inner corner as highlight. I love how I was able to use all these seemingly different shades and create a cohesive look. I took 2 hrs of nap after 3-4 hrs of application (hey, it was a Saturday, don’t judge :-) me) and I was so surprised to see that everything was right there where I initially placed. It just bled a little bit on my tear line because I had a very creamy liner on my water-line. Overall, I love the quality of this palette. I have experienced a bit fall out from these shadows which was not an issue with the other palette. But I have to say that I am enjoying this palette a lot more than #04. I am able to mix and match these shades to create different looks; this is important to me as it keeps me interested in a particular palette. 

Under sunlight, look at the glitter :-)
I am having a lot of fun with this palate and I must thank Beautyish for enabling me to try this out. Are you planning to get anything from this line?


Friday, February 5, 2016

Sephora Birthday Gift - 2016!!!

Last year I was so very eager about the free birthday gifts from Sephora. My birthday is in January and I remember ordering my gift online from Sephora on 2nd of January and posting the review (check here) the week after; I was just so excited! I still adore that little set from 2015!

This year, however the situation is completely different. When I first starting coming across pictures of this gift via Instagram in late December, I know that I am going to be disappointed! Here are the main reasons for why I am not as excited as last years,
  • There are no additional gifts for VIB Rouge members this year and that’s really disappointing. As far as I am concerned, “free shipping” is the only real useful perk of being a VIB Rouge as of now!
  • I already have the liner offered here; to be honest if you are a Sephora junkie you already have a few black eyeliners in your collection.
Now, I know that these are free gifts and it is not really “nice” to complain about free stuff :-) Ha ha! Keeping my disappointment aside, I do love the products themselves! Marc Jacobs is a respected brand, a brand from which you can expect great products. These are expensive too! So, I am happy about the fact that Sephora picked this brand to create this set!

Highliner Gel Eye Crayon Eyeliner in “Blacquer”: I have several of these highliners (reviewed here) and I love all of them. “Blacquer” is a jet black shade and it’s amazing. It’s super creamy, intensely pigmented and applies very smoothly! I love wearing it on my waterline and I totally enjoy how black it is! It is one the eyeliner that stays the longest on my waterline. It applies equally easy on waterline or upper lash line as a proper eyeliner. And it is a twist up pencil which is always, always great! The only small complain I have is that because of its creaminess and the thickness of the pencil it’s not great for drawing thin sharp line. Personally, it does not bother me though as I love to wear a thick eyeliner.

Le Marc Lip Crème in “Kiss Kiss Bang Bang”: I think this is one of their best-selling shades. It is such a pretty everyday color. Sephora described it as “baked rose” but there is a hefty amount of soft pink in it. Especially against my skin tone, it appears very pink; I can still wear it for every day. The formula is absolutely amazing. It’s very creamy in formula and quite matte in appearance! Extremely easy to apply and to layer. It is quite opaque and heavy in pigmentation. Even though its matte, it is not drying. I can feel my lips remaining comfortable during the day. It helps if I use a lip balm over it after 6-7 hrs, but my lips don’t horribly crack up if I forgot to do so. The staying power is also impressive. After 12 hrs. of my usual work day I can still see faded but gorgeous stain at the end of the day. This is definitely one of best lipstick formulas in the market.

As you can see, as products these are great and if you have not tried anything from Marc Jacobs I think this is a great little “free” set to start with :-) But, compared to previous years, I am just very disappointed by the curation of this set. By the way, they have a skincare alternative too! This year they have “Rose Face Mask” and “Soy Face Cleanser”. I do have this face mask and I absolutely ENJOY it; especially for these dry winter months.

If you are not a Sephora “Beauty Insider” yet, you can register for free; online or in the stores.  Here is a link to read more detail about these free birthday gifts :-)

Have you already collected your gifts? This is definitely one of the perks of getting older earlier than the rest of you :-)


Tuesday, February 2, 2016

Monthly Favorites ::: January 2016

I am currently watching a ton of “January Favorites” videos in YouTube to unwind from a long, hectic work-day! And I am totally inspired to share my very favorites this month as well! If you are a regular reader of “Discovering Me”, you may already notice that I don’t publish monthly favorites post. I simply feel that I never have enough products to talk about on a monthly basis.

But anyway, here are my January Favorites  :-)

Smashbox Photo Finish Primer Water (1 oz./$16): I have very dry skin! Something like this is always intriguing to me! The name has 'water' in it, so it seems like a gimmicky product at an expensive price. But it really works! I got one last October in this travel size bottle in 2015 Sephora Favorites set (reviewed here) and I have been using it since! I also bought a full-size! I love how it makes my makeup application appear super smooth! No matter how carefully I exfoliate, I always end up with a few dry, flaky patches here and there on my face. Before I apply my foundation, I spritz this on my face, especially on the flaky, dry area. If I want to extend the wear time of my makeup, I spritz it again after I am done applying everything :-) I am absolutely enjoying this product :-)

rms beauty Living Luminizer (5.67 g./$38): Ever since I heard about this luminizer more than two years ago, I have been waiting very patiently to get my hands on it! And now that I finally have this in my collection (courtesy Beautylish Lucky Bag 2016, reviewed here), I cannot stop wearing it :-) It is a certified organic product, so you know it has “good-for-your-skin” ingredients! It gives me such a beautiful, natural, glowy-healthy look and yet, if I want that “va-va-voom” highlighter look, I can definitely build it up to get just that. Also, it stays put the entire day! I will have a detailed review very very soon, but you should know that I am “head over heels” in love with this.

Marc Jacobs Le Marc Lip Creme Lipstick in "Kiss Kiss Bang Bang" (0.12 oz./$30): This mini lipstick is a part of this year's free Birthday gift from Sephora! I love this formula; creamy and opaque, applies smoothly to give even coverage in single swipe and stays almost the whole day. I was mainly wearing it to test it out for review but I grew fond of it and have been wearing it a lot during January. I specially love to wear it on days when I want to look a little more put-together and a little more feminine :-) I will have a detailed post on this gift perk soon!

Viseart Eyeshadow Palette in "04 -Dark Matte": Can you see the sophisticated and synchronized riot of colors in this palette? My heart leaps with joy :-) I bought it during the last Sephora VIB Sale and I am just taking my sweet little time in enjoying this palette without being in a hurry to post a review (I will definitely post one) :-) I can already tell that it is going to be in my yearly favorites as well. I am a color-crazy person at heart and these are some of the exquisite shades that I can easily incorporate in my everyday work-look. The blendability, pigmentation and staying power; basically the overall quality of these shadows is just immaculate. I love every single shade! A detailed review to follow :-)

I truly hope you enjoyed my very first monthly favorites post! I am not sure if this is going to be a regular thing here but I am going to try my very best!

What have you been loving this month?