Monday, July 20, 2020

RITUEL DE FILLE Color Nectar Pigment Balm in Bloodflower ::: Review & Swatches!!

Lately I have been obsessed with the color RED! I have always loved it! I especially love wearing deep shades of red in my outfits! I have been told it that RED makes me look brighter and happier! I also love a bright, bold red lip for the same reason.  But my love for red in makeup never expanded beyond lip shades.

(PS: review starts after the next pic below) 

Over the quarantine months, something changed and now I am absolutely obsessed with all kind of red products - eyeshadow, eyeliner  or anything other than lipstick that I can slather on my face! My research for cool red makeup items was going on in full swing! 

Meanwhile, one terrible night in May, George Floyd from Minneapolis lost his life to police brutality! We all know what followed was one of the biggest civil uprising in recent history of the times! Uprising that demanded much needed changes regarding racial inequality and injustice that black community faces in the society. This is a fight that has been fought from a long time and it is a fight that we still need to keep fighting! The waves of changes reached beauty industry as well; among many things, beauty brands were hold accountable for their business practices; practices that are not diverse and intentionally (or unintentionally) hurt black community. There was a lot of unrest going on and I, personally thought this was a much needed unrest'!

About a week later, Rituel De Fille (RdF) announced the launch of their newest (at that time) product in a very unique fashion. 

The product I am talking about is the "Color Nectar Pigment Balm"! RdF was supposed to produce the very first batch of this product to be distributed as PR among Beauty Influencers. But instead, they made this batch available to everyone to buy! Additionally, 100% of profits from this first batch of sale were to be donated to Black Lives Matter, the ACLU Foundation & LGBTQ Freedom Fund. Excerpt from their IG page -

"Pride's revolutionary start, protesting police brutality and abuse of power, has never felt as close to us during our lifetimes as now. White supremacy is the brother to all forms of deadly bigotry, and we believe it is our duty to defend black lives, LGBTQ+ lives, and the lives of every member of our society. None of us are free until we are all free, and none of us are safe until we are all safe. 
However, there are many other voices more important than ours to listen to right now, and we want to put everything we have behind taking tangible action in pursuit of justice, rather than just making statements of support. We have been asking ourselves, as a small indie beauty brand, what we can do to meaningfully help right now. After careful discussion and consideration, this is what we have as our next action:
For the first time ever, we are releasing information on an upcoming Moon Drop in advance, in the interest of doing the most good possible.
On July 31, we will be launching an entirely new product category that we have had in development for over a year, Color Nectar Pigment Balm, in 5 vibrant new shades. In preparation for the launch, we'd produced a batch of each shade for PR. We've decided instead to make this first production run available to everyone, and for June's Moon Drop, you will have advance access to our upcoming launch.⠀
Most importantly: until they sell out, we will donate 100% of profits from the new Color Nectar Pigment Balm colors across donations to Black Lives Matter, the ACLU Foundation, and the LGBTQ Freedom Fund.⠀
We believe that these organizations are doing essential work on a national scale to promote justice, fight for civil liberties, and battle against LGBTQ overincarceration."

I was drawn in to the fact that they were participating in a measurable way in the fight for justice. Not with a performative blank black square in IG but with quantifiable actions. And then I saw this shade called Bloodflower; MY MY! It's a blood red shade and it's STUNNING! It immediately pulled at my heart strings which was already longing for all these red hues! I had to get it, I HAD TO! And I  greatly appreciated the cause behind it; so that was an added bonus. (Gentle reminder: You don't need to buy makeup to donate to a cause! I do however appreciate if my beauty purchase can contribute to someone somewhere, even if it is in a small scale.)  

RTF as a brand is inspired by the magical side of natural ingredients and the ritualistic ceremonial power of pigment. It is founded by three sisters Katherine Ranos, Caroline Ranos and Michelle Ranos who are accomplished in their own artistic field. To me RTF comes across as quite an unique brand. Their product shades are stunning; they are bold and has such intricacies to them! And they have such a way with words when they are describing their products! (It makes sense as Katherine is a writer). I absolutely love it. Overall, I am basically enjoying the whole aesthetic and vibe of this brand. They have quite a few eye, lip and face products like highlighters and blushes - all of them are in such mesmerising shades. Their 'Ethereal Veil Conceal and Cover' concealers only have 12 shades which I think have varied depth, but I still do think they could explore possibilities of adding more variation and more shades. 

Oh, one more thing I love about the brand is that they are 100% cruelty free brand and are certified by Leaping Bunny and PETA. This is what I found in their website - "We never test our finished products on animals, nor do we outsource any manner of animal testing to any other company. We only source raw ingredients that are never tested on animals. We do not sell our products in any market that requires animal testing." I greatly appreciate that clarity as I am very slowly trying to move towards a cruelty free collection. And I love a brand which is absolutely transparent on their cruelty free status. 

Now that all of that prelude is over, let's talk about the Nectar Balms. After all, that is why you are here, right?

RdF describes the Color Nectar Pigment Balms as "Color Nectar Pigment Balm is a range of perfectly translucent yet stunningly vibrant shades inspired by sweet flowers in bloom, the wild lure of pollinators, glistening honey, and the hum of the hive. These are ambrosial formulas with an irresistible jelly texture and finish." I mean 👀!! It sounds so beautiful right? I know it may sound almost too good and fancy to be true.  Translucent, jelly texture and finish in stunningly vibrant shades! Believe it or not, that's actually is the perfect description of the product. 

Anyway, I have been using the balm for about a month, very regularly. Let's try to share my thoughts!

Shade: The shade I have is Bloodflower and it is is a beautiful deep red. It looks quite intense on the pan but it actually has a brilliant, buildable 'translucent' formula. So, you can wear a wash of color to look more lively or you can build it up to make your cheeks look super red (I explain it more in the next paragraph). I love it for summer but I think it would look extra brilliant in winter. They have four other gorgeous shades! I am proud of myself that I did not pick up more! 😀  

Formula, Quality & Staying Power: Like the name says it is a balm but it does not feel waxy! I have used cheek products that were called 'balm' and was too waxy to be applied on the face! The Nectar Balm has a very light formula but it is full of pigment; this allows me to wear it either as a wash of color or I can build it up to create an intense look. Layering with this is so, so easy! These are meant to be worn on the eyes, lips or cheek or wherever your heart desires. As you can see below, I have worn it on my eyes, cheeks and lips! It turned out to be a sophisticated monochromatic red look and I absolutely loved it. It made me feel soft but also bold - and my heart is definitely happy using 'red' all over my face! You know what I mean! 

So, can you actually wear this all over your face?

On the Cheeks: I will be honest, I am mainly using it on my cheeks. And I have cheeks that has a ton of pores and incredible amount of blemishes left behind from previous acnes! 😊 So, I always need to be very careful about my cheek products. This balm blends out perfectly. Sometimes, I use pore filling primer underneath, but I can easily wear it directly on top of foundation or on over bare, moisturized skin. I use my fingertips to apply it and if needed I use my beauty blender to blend out the edges.

Wearing RdF Bloodflower on Lips, Cheeks & Eyes


I even layer it over or under other blush formulas. It plays so nicely! What surprised me was it's  staying power. It is quite long lasting! Granted, I have not been going out much these days! When I am wearing this for my weekend makeup play looks, I am mostly staying indoors except for long walks around the neighbourhood. It has been quite hot and humid out here! But I can still see the blush on my cheeks at the end of the day. See the photos below for more information.

This is after 5.5 hours of wear and a nap

This is at the end of the 10 hrs of wear
One day, I wore it on my cheeks for a quick site visit that lasted about 2 hrs. It was a hot day and I had my face mask on. But when I got home, I was surprised to see it still hanging on. I have also worn it for another outdoor site visit that lasted 6 hours. I was wearing a face shield, safety glasses, hard hat and of course, a face mask. Throughout that 6 hours, I had to drive between buildings - so I had to keep taking the face shield, hard hat and mask off when I was driving! It also involved at least an hour of walk outside and another hour in a dusty document room with the mask on! Needless to say the blush was gone by the time I got home! I expected that!

Wearing Bloodflower as blush on top of bare moisturized skin
This is after 2 hrs of site visit (I am an Engineer 😃)

Wearing Bloodflower as blush over foundation 

Wearing Bloodflower as blush over foundation and layered it with a pink powder blush
On the Lips: I have never used a product that's marketed as 'lip & cheek duo' on my lips. I try once but I never like the formula on my lips, something about how the texture typically feels on my lips. And I never wear it again on my lips. But I am loving this balm on the lips as well. It is lovely because of it's much light texture! The color does not get as intense as you see on the pan; that would have been stunning but I can definitely layer it to make it more noticeable. And I typically do top it with a clear balm. 

One thing to note here is that, because of the balm-y texture, it might settle into your fine lines of your lips or into your cheeks if you have big pores! It does that on me a little bit (you can see it in the pictures), but I don't really mind it! Is that weird? I like how it makes me feel natural & fresh but still gives me the satisfaction of playing with color.  
On the Eyes: is so gorgeous on the eyes! Such a pretty, pretty look. In the motd below, I built it up with two layers and I loved the effect. It immediately creased because it is a cream/jelly texture after all! I completely I expected that. But throughout the day, that sheer wash of color was there; and I thoroughly loved that! I have worn it once or twice on my eyes till now, but I don't think that will be my main application.

Wearing Bloodflower on Eyes, Lips & Cheeks
Wearing Bloodflower on Eyes, Lips & Cheeks

Price: This will cost you $24 for a total of 0.11 oz (3.2g) of product. Their regular blush formula (Inner Glow Creme Pigment) will cost you $29 for 0.13 oz (3.8g). The compact size looks smaller and significantly cuter though. 😍  

Availability: This will officially launch on August 3, 2020 at 12pm Pacific Time on their website. This is what I can collect from their website and IG handle when I published this post. I know that some of RdF products are available on some other websites like Credo, Detox Market etc. I am not really sure if this going to be available anywhere other than their website.

Packaging: It comes in a precious little compact which reminds me of Becca blush & highlighters. It has a mirror and the label on the pack of the compact is red, which I would hope color coordinates with the shade so that if you have two or more shades it is easier to differentiate. It's simple effective packaging. The balm also smells a tad bit aromatice, for lack of a better word. I happen to enjoy it. It is not strong and it does not linger. 

If you cannot already tell, I am really enjoying this product! Quite a lot! I think it would have been a staple for my everyday makeup if I needed to go to work (to the office that is, rather than working from home for the pandemic)! I am very sure that I will continue to wear it, especially on my cheeks and lips. We will see if it becomes a long-time favorite! I have an idea that it might!

I am contemplating to pick up more shades when they officially launch. But I really do not need another blush or lip-shade! My apologies for such a long review, but hey I love to write a lot about products, especially products that I love & enjoy!


Thursday, July 9, 2020

Birchbox Exclusive Limited-Edition Set: CLEAN BEAUTY 2.0

Hello everyone,

Today, I am talking about a limited-edition value set from Birchbox. If you don't know me, hi :-)! My name is Aru :-) & I adore value sets! And when it comes to value sets, Birchbox does an amazing job at curating wonderful and cost effective sets. This was probably my 3rd or 4th limited edition sets from them. With every box I have bought from them, I have discovered new products. Products from familiar brands or even new brands that I have now grown very fond of! I check their website from time to time to see if they have good sets. They offer a lot of limited-edition sets! I have a large collection of products so if it contains products I have already tried, it does not interest me much. But every now and then, I find great sets that really intrigue  me.

Clean Beauty 2.0  is one such set they have available right now on their website. As the name suggest, it is curated with products from clean, conscious beauty brands. From their website - "This box helps you separate effective, clean beauty products from the pack. After evaluating ingredient lists, we created a new clean beauty framework you can understand (none of these products contain parabens, phthalates, sulfates, formaldehydes, and more)". 

I am not 100% clean beauty user/blogger but I like to try to use more clean products, and this was giving me a lot of products at a good value. I bought their "How to Hygge" box (reviewed here) last year and I really found little gems of products in that box. So, I had to get this :-)

Here are all the products and a nifty little table breaking down the price point. The set is priced at $65 so as you can see, this whole set is already quite cost effective.  :-) and I had a 20% off coupon.

Let's talk about the makeup products as I have been already using them almost regularly in my routine. 

ILIA BEAUTY Color Block High Impact Lipstick in Rosette: I am a huge fan of Ilia's Lip Conditioners. I got introduced to them when I received one in a previous Birchbox Limited Edition Box a long time ago (reviewed here)! Anyway, this is first time I tried their 'lipstick'. I love it! The shade is very light-hued rose color and it appears as a very light nude on my lips. I can make it work, but if it was a just tad bit darker it would have been a better shade of nude on me. I know these sets are mainly designed with shades that will cater to the majority of people. I do like to mix it with other shades to custom made different lip-shades.

KOSAS Color & Light Palette - Creme in Velvet Melon: Cream products has made a big comeback this summer! I am really loving this trend and seems like everyone is talking about Kosas as a brand! They have a beautiful bronzer in a beautiful packaging - that immediately catches my attention! Anyway, this is their creme blush and highlighter duo. The creme formula is quite light-weight and emollient. It is easy to apply using my fingertips. However the blush shade is a tad bit light on my skin-tone for wearing it alone - instead I am using it more as a base layer and topping it with a powder blush from my collection. It is helping me get more longevity from my other blushes. What is more interesting is that they offer a High Intensity version for all their blush shades; I think that's pretty cool. I believe the Intense Version for Velvet Melon would have been a tad bit more suitable for my skintone.

The highlighter is also nice, it applies quite easily with the fingertips. Towards the end of the day, I could see that it has fade away but leaving behind that 'highlighter' look! The highlighter is punchy - by which I mean that when you wear it, it shows up as makeup. Unlike RMS Beauty Living Luminizer which melts into my skin and gives that glass skin effect. I love highlighter so I don't mind looking like I am wearing makeup :-). I will keep using this product. 

Wearing Ilia 'Rosette" on the lips, Velvet Melon as blush & highlight

Wearing Ilia 'Rosette" on the lips, Velvet Melon as blush & highlight

FACE HELLO The Modern Makeup Remover - Original: I have tried this for 3-4 times for makeup removal & I did not enjoy it. It was a tad bit harsh on my skin and I had to keep using it again and again to get my eye makeup totally removed. Granted, I wore heavy eyelooks for those few times. But overall, this is not for makeup removal for me. What I have loving this for is to remove my skincare wash-off masks. There are some clay masks that are quite time consuming to wash off with just water.,And this is really making the washing off process faster for me. 

AFTERSPA Mini Jade Facial Roller: This is so cute and so tiny! If and when we can travel again, this will be easier to carry it rather then my Mount Lai Roller. I think the full-size weights a little bit heavier and for that it feels a bit more effective. But I am still glad to have this! 

FRENCH GIRL Rose Lip Polish: I have used it a few times now! It has some scruby bits but they are quite smooth and I love that it is not scratchy at all! It works as a lip exfoliator and it kept my lip hydrated till the next morning. But I will have to see how it behaves when it is winter; that is when my lips get really dehydrated and scaly. 

OSEA  Ocean Cleanser: I have heard so many good things about this cleanser. I have not used it yet but I am really excited to try. I mean, look at the beautiful, minimalistic packaging.

DERMA E Hydrating Night Cream: Another product that I am excited to try. I love that most of this products show the expiry date on the package itself. I really appreciative that.

PAI Rosehip BioRegenerate Oil: Oh well, guess what, another product I am excited to try. I have not used it yet but this is a cult favorite product. I always wanted to try it but because of the high price I never really bought it. This a deluxe size but I think it still have enough product for me to test and develop an opinion.

FIG+YARROW  Night Nutrient Booster Serum: Now, this is a brand that I have not really heard much about. But, I am always down to trying out new skincare serums.

PHILIP KINSLEY  Elasticizer Deep Conditioning Treatment: I have been meaning to try this but I keep forgetting to use this every time I wash my hair. But I love trying out conditioner and for my hair this, will probably last one or two usage.

TYPE: A The Achiever: I don't really use deodorant. I don't need to - yes, I said it. I am blessed to have trouble free pits lol! So, I am not really sure if I will get much use out of this.

Overall, I am very happy with the set. I look forward to use the rest of the products and love at least a few of them. If you are looking for some clean/conscious products, this could be a great set to try out!