Wednesday, August 26, 2020

TOWER 28 BEAUTY Bronzino Illuminating Bronzer in "Best Coast" ::: Review & Swatches!!!

I took a month long vacation to visit family back home (in India) in February and I somehow got back into USA just before the world went into lockdown mid-march. So by Mid-May I have been quarantined (and working from home) for about 2 months! Along with the rest of the world, my mind was sad, anxious and obviously my overall mood was very sullen. Early in the lock-down phase, everything was so uncertain, and it made my mind even more anxious. I didn't even want to buy any new makeup which typically helps me to fight sad feelings in normal times. 

I still browsed through Sephora's 'New Arrival' section to see if retail therapy could help. This Bronzino Illuminating Bronzer from Tower 28 Beauty caught my attention for two reasons -

  1. It had such a clean, simple packaging.
  2. It was available at a much reasonable price, especially compared to some unnecessarily expensive bronzers.

I decided to buy it, mainly because the price was very approachable. That purchase did actually really, really help me divert my mind from the negativity and anxiety stemming from the world events and just focus on something positive, something joyful for a change!

It has been 3 months since I got it; I think it's time to gather my thoughts  and talk about it.

Every summer, I buy a bronzer! It is like a little makeup tradition I have built over the years. I am glad I bought Bronzino this year. I have almost used up my beloved RMS Beauty Buriti Bronzer (briefly talked about it in this post), so it was the perfect time to try out a new cream formula.

Shade/Color (I got it in Best Coast): I ordered it online; it took Sephora more than a week to send it my way (it's completely fine in a pandemic world). When I swatched it for the first time, I was a tad bit disappointed! I was apprehensive after looking at the pan and swatching it on my hand; I assumed it would not be a good shade for me. When I looked in the pan, I could see that it has a strong orange-red undertone along with a ton of shimmer. I love a little bit of shimmer and I love a red undertone, but even for someone like me who enjoys these attributes in a bronzer, it felt like it was too much! Atleast at the first glance/swatch! But upon using it a couple of times, and playing with it more, I got over that initial disappointment! Now, after using it almost every time I have been wearing makeup in these last  3 months, I can confidently say that I love the red-undertone - it does really suits my warm medium skin-tone. And yes, the shimmer is a lot, but I use it somewhat carefully and blend it out without any problem!

One other thing - Bronzino comes with only two shade! It is a bronzer, not a foundation product so one shade can cover a bigger range of skin-tone (than a foundation) but it still is not entirely inclusive right? I refuse to believe that two shades of bronzer is enough for the entire skin-tone from pale to ebony skin-tones. I sincerely hope they are working on adding more shades!

Formula:  It's a cream product; I mean you already know that 😂! It's a lovely (cream) formula; very soft and emollient. The formula doesn't have much rigidity to it so it is easy to blend out. I use my fingers to get the product from the pan and pat it down on the specific areas of my face and then, I use a slightly damp beauty blender (the same one I use for my foundation) to blend out the bronzer. I typically apply bronzer in the shape of a 3 around the perimeter of my face. But, I do NOT apply Bronzino on the jawline or right on the extreme end of my forehead near the hairline coz sometimes, in photos  Bronzino can seem a little bit too shimmery and unnatural in those places. I mainly keep it on my forehead (just on the very top of it) and on the cheeks. Oh, and this layers quite nicely on top or under other cream formula. I have used powder bronzer on top of it without any problem.

Tower 28 is a clean beauty and Bronzino is a "Clean at Sephora" product. As found in Sephora -"Clean at Sephora is formulated without a list of over 50 ingredients, including sulfates (SLS and SLES), parabens, phthalates, and more. For the full list, check out the Ingredients tab. It is a Cruelty free, vegan product. (I recommend reading more in Clean products and what you consider to be clean; like a lot of beauty concepts, Clean is also a concept that is not universally defined. What is 'clean' for me, may not be 'clean' by your standard.)

Staying Power: For a cream product, this has decent staying power. Of course, this summer has been different and I haven't been able to test it out for a full active day! For a normal day of mainly staying  at home (with a full face of makeup 😉 and some light-weight activities like walking around the neighbourhood), the bronzino lasts decently throughout the day. After 6-7 hrs, the fierce warmth and red color fades a bit but it leaves behind the shimmer and the shine which by that time melts into my skin to give a melted-down/lived-in bronze-y look and I love that!

Packaging: It comes in a beautiful clear square compact. I love the clean, simple design. There is no mirror- but I am absolutely fine with it. Also, because of the clear packaging I can see the shade which is something I appreciate. It looks sturdy to me, I have only travelled with it once and it hasn't given me any problem. But I have heard that the packaging can be problematic and can mul-function with more usage.

Price & Availability: This will cost you $20 for 0.16 oz (4.5 g). Available in Sephora and Tower 28 Beauty website. Here is a comparison with some other cream bronzer price!

Comparison with RMS Buriti Bronzer: If you follow me in Instagram, you may already know that I love the Buriti Bronzer from RMS Beauty. I have almost used up one full-size of it! This is the only cream bronzer I have used before trying Bronzino. Let's quickly compare both -

They are both different types of bronzer; Buriti Bronzer is a much densely bound cream product; it is still very easy to blend and move around. But it much rich and dense in texture! Whereas Bronzino is a much more softer in consistency; much more emollient. Despite that difference, both bronzers are very easy to blend. Buriti Bronzer has a shimmery finish as well, but it is much more cooler in tone; I do see a bit red in it. Because of it's cooler tone, I can use it to shape my face, to an extent! Bronzino is much more warmer and redder! Buriti Bronzer will cost you $28 for 0.2 oz of product so price per oz, it is slightly more expensive. Both bronzers are "Clean at Sephora" - cruelty-free and clean products. I am not sure if Buriti Bronzer is Vegan or not, but Bronzino is.

OVERALL THOUGHT: To sum it up, I have been really enjoying this bronzer - you can see my three months of use on it in the last picture. I have been using it non-stop for my weekend makeup play sessions - I wear it alone or mix it with some other bronzer, cream or powder bronzers. And I can see myself enjoying this for rest of the summer!

Is there a new bronzer you have been loving this summer?



Saturday, August 8, 2020

JUVIA'S PLACE Mini Masquerade Palette ::: Review & Swatches!!!

Today I am talking about the Mini Masquerade Palette from Juvia's Place.
I have heard about Juvia's Place so much, they have so many palettes with such great color stories! I have always wanted to try at least one palette from them, but everytime I look through the palettes, I get overwhelmed! There is just so many options!  

I got this palette with The Nubian 2 palette in a bundle deal about a month ago! The brutal killing of George Floyd by the police had stirred the nation and that initial charge of change had reached the Beauty Industry as well. Most of us, the beauty consumers were frantically looking for Black Owned Beauty Brands to invest in and to show our support to the black community. (We as consumers should have made this a practice long time ago, but I digress!). Juvia's Place had a sale and the profit were to be donated to Black Lives Matter causes (I now do not recall all the details). But with all that was going on I was emotionally charged, (like a lot of you) and I bought these palettes. I am really glad that I got  a discounted price but also because I got a chance to be a part of a nice initiative. I honestly did not thought a whole lot about which palette and just grabbed the bundle that called out to me at that moment! 
Anyway, onto the review -

Color Story: I think this palette has a beautiful, very cohesive color story. There are two rows of neutral and two rows of vibrant shades. Also, there is a great balance between matte and shimmer shades!

All the colors in the top row speak to me! I love those blues and I love that they included mattes that are colorful! The bottom two rows have 4 mattes, all of them are some version of brown and this is where I find myself wanting some variation in depth and color. Looking at the pans, I can see different aspects of these browns; one is warm, one is more neutral, one has a lot more red in it etc. But when applied on the eyes, these four shades aren't entirely distinguishable from one another. Burkina & Fulani are dangerously similar to each other. Same with Zulu and Ada. I wished they would have made one shade a much deeper brown, and one a few tone lighter. But it is just a thought, and I am not really complaining here. The market is saturated with lighter browns! So, I am okay!

Here are the colors:
Chi (shimmer): This is a Deep Navy. Very Pigmented. Easy to work with. 
Mali (shimmer):  Turquoise Blue. Very Pigmented. Easy to work with. 
Dalia (shimmer): Beautiful Cobalt Blue. Very Pigmented. Easy to work with. 
Zola (shimmer): This is a Deep Sky Blue. Very Pigmented. Easy to work with. 
Makeda (shimmer): This is a gorgeous Royal Purple. Quite Pigmented. Easy to work with. 
Zobo (matte): This is a muted Berry shade. I love the subtleness and muted aspect of this shade. 
Calabar (shimmer): This is also a Berry shade. Very pigmented. Easy to work with.
Bori (matte & shimmer): This is a bright Fuschia with lots of Gold shimmer. I mainly use it as matte.
Gisa (shimmer): This is fantastic Champagne Rose-y shade. It's delight to wear.
Burkina (matte): This is a matte Neutral Brown.  Not very pigmented so had difficulty building it up.
Cairo (matte & shimmer): Deep Orange with lots of Gold shimmers. Another good shade.
Ada (matte): This is a Warm Brown. Not very pigmented so had difficulty building it up.
Dahia (shimmer): I see this as a soft Rose Gold. Very Pigmented. Easy to work with. 
Zulu (matte): Another Warm Brown. Similar to Ada.
Casablanca (shimmer): Very shimmery Bronze-y shade. Quite pigmented. Easy to work with.
Fulani (matte): Another matte Neutral Brown. Very similar to Burkina.

Formula: As I said before, I have heard great things about these eyeshadows. The shimmer shades are definitely upto my expectations. They are VERY pigmented and applies as vibrantly as you see on the pan. I have used a flat liner brush, my fingertip, shadow brush and pencil brush and the shimmer work great with any of these brushes.

The mattes in here looks delicious in the pan and honestly, I was expecting a lot from them. When I use them on the crease or as a wash of color on the lid, they build nicely while still keeping the pigment. But when I want to apply it strategically on a specific area (let's say I want to darken the outer corner on the lid or a very intense lower lashline), I don't get the payoff right away! May be I am spoiled by the quality of my beloved Viseart mattes (and their intense color payoff) but with these I need to work quite a bit to build up the color! Bottom line, the matte neutral applies much lighter on the eyes than they appear on the pan. This could be a great thing for a beginner or for someone who tend to be a little rough with their eyeshadow application. It is a just a tad bit disappointing for me!

Bori and Cairo has matte base with glitters running throughout! And I do love using them on the crease;  they look beautiful when blended. But I have seen the glitters travel to nearby matte shades in the pan. That I do not like. Also, note that the palette comes with the following disclaimer -  'ZoboBoriBurkina, CairoAdaZulu and Casablanca are not intended to use around the immediate eye area', I have used some of these shades in my eye-looks but please make your own decisions.

Staying Power: I almost always wear eye primer. So when I have primer on and I do a full, intense eye-look like the ones I have shared here, the eyeshadows last all day (at least 8-9 hrs). The vibrancy of the pigments starts to slowly fade after 6-7 hrs. But they still stay on! I tried to use one of the brown shade as a thick eyeliner with a primer on! But it did not really impress me. I had to apply a few layers to get the color show vividly and after around 4-5 hours it faded (granted, I was outside doing engineering work for about 1-2 hrs). That was a bit a disappointing to be honest.

PackagingIt's a very colorful palette and the outer package also shows that. I love the bright pink colorful packaging and the beautiful artwork on it. It brightens up my day whenever I use the palette. There is no mirror but that's perfectly fine for me! 

Price & Availability: Juvia's Place products are available at very approachable price and I absolutely enjoy that. This palette is priced regularly at $25 for a total of .84 oz (24 g). But I always see some sale on their website. So, if you look around you will find a sale or coupon and you need not pay full price. That is awesome. You can buy the palette from Juvia's Place website and Ulta Beauty. Also, don't get apprehensive about the "Mini" in the palette name, these pans are quite decently sized!

Additional Random Thought: As I mentioned before, I conduct extensive research before I buy any makeup. Especially if it is from a permanent line. I spend time looking for deal and swatches to get a feel of the products. But because this was a very impromptu purchase, I did not have a clear idea of what to expect. When I got the palette and swatched the shades, I was taken over by an initial sense of let-down

Although the palette has beautiful vibrant shades, they are still commonly found shades.There is royal blue, a teal, a deep purple. One pink! There is no intricacies or uniqueness to these shades! For a makeup enthusiast/(or a hoarder) like me who already have larger collection, these are not going to add any novelty to my collection. That being said, when I actually started to play with the palette I could move on from from my initial bout of disappointment and eventually started to enjoy playing with the palette

Here are the looks. I have summed up my thoughts at the very end.
Overall thought: It is a good, well executed palette with well curated shade range! The 'very approachable' price tag is definitely a huge plus. I can see this as a perfect palette for you if you have a smaller collection and/or if you trying to slowly venture out to colorful eyeshadows. This has all the basic colorful eyeshadow like purple, pink, orange and blues - perfect for you to play with and figure out what you like best. You will definitely get a lot of use out of this palette. And supporting a black-owned brand is always a plus in my eyes!

But I do have to say that, if this was a palette I got early in my makeup journey, I would have loved it way more than I do now. I have been definitely enjoying it for now! I think it's new, so the initial excitement is still there! But only time will tell if I actually reach for these colors over my existing favorite products as time passes. 


Sunday, August 2, 2020

Monthly Favorites ::: June-July 2020

It's been a month and a half since my last 'Monthly Favorites' post! In that post, I talked a bit about how makeup has been a very positive distraction from all the chaos in the world during this quarantine. Well, I am still continuing that habit and during weekends, I am creating full face of makeup looks! It is giving me a lot of chances to test out new products that I have bought as well as get a lot of use out of my stash! I am still having too much fun creating different eye looks, but this month, for some reason not a lot of eye product jumped out at me as my favorite!

Check my Instagram @arrru_t to check out some looks I did with these products!

Anyway, onto the favorites:

Rituel De Fille (RdF) Color Nectar Pigment Balm in "Bloodflower": This is a new product in my collection. See my post here for detailed review! It looks like a very strong red shade on the pan but it has a beautiful sheer-but-buildable translucent formula. I absolutely love this product; it is designed to be used everywhere - eyes, lips, and cheeks. I used it once or twice on the eyes and I loved the edgy vibe of the looks I created but I don't think that will be my main application type. I have been mainly using this as blush and occasionally as a lip-shade!  I love that I can wear it as a wash of color (to look more lively) or I can build up the intensity to make my cheeks look super red and editorial! I love it for summer but it would actually look extra brilliant in winter!

Rituel De Fille The Alchemist HighlighterAlong with Bloodflower I picked up a few things from RdF and this was one of them. I haven't talked about this in depth on the blog yet, but I have absolutely fallen in love with this. This is how RdF describes this product "The Alchemist is the highlighter for your highlighters, a transformative topper for your favorite luminous products. This remarkably radiant, glistening crème product enhances glow, adds a dewy finish and creates mesmerizing iridescent glimmer while maintaining the color of the highlighter beneath."  Based on my experience with this for the past 1.5 months, I completely agree with all the claims. When I first swatched it, my heart sung, for a quite some time. I apply it with my fingers and everytime I swatch it to apply, my heart sings again. And when I take my pictures,for sure, my heart sings again :-) Okay, enough romancing a highlighter, Aru! This is very aptly described as the highlighter for highlighters, it has very visible but very intricate, beautiful glitter particles suspended on an emollient base that feels like solid oil. It melts into the skin like butter, and after a minute or so sets beautifully! And granted I haven't been doing day-long rigorous activities during this quarantine, so I wouldn't know strong is its longevity. But for a simple day in a simple weekend, it did not budge the entire. I also absolutely LOVE to wear it on the eyes, it elevates any eye look I do and gives it a very wet, high fashion vibe. And the glitters does not fall-out throughout the day!

Tower 28 Beauty Bronzino Illuminating Bronzer in Best Coast:  This is another new product, I bought it when we first went into quarantine. I have been using it past 2-3 months and I have really started to love it. When I first got it and swatched it, it came across as a bronzer with ton of shimmer and a very strong red undertone. That was a bit intimidating! But upon application on the face, that feeling went away. Of course, it is very red and very shimmery but it really does compliment all the dewy colorful looks I have been creating! I intend to do a more detailed review and compare it against my beloved cream bronzer - RMS Beauty Buriti Bronzer. But yes, I have been really loving it!

Urban Decay Heavy Metal Glitter Liners in "Midnight Cowboy" & "Spandex": Like I mentioned above, I am still having fun with creating eye-looks. And that has ignited a love for wearing glitters in my looks. I am constantly adding glitters to add some extra oomph to my looks! Naturally, I have been reaching out to these two glitter liners from Urban Decay. I love the longevity, ease of application and the glimmer they add to any look!

Laura Mercier Cavier Stick in Plum: Yes, still lovnig this! I have a feeling that this will appear in my yearly favorites. This is a very a soft eye pencil but has quite the longevity. I have been wearing it on my lashline almost every time I wear eye makeup. It gives my eyes such a sultry look; I love it! Read my review here

Now this product below is just a honorary mention!

Danessa Myricks Beauty Color Fix Cream Color Matte in Primary Red: This is a VERY new product to me, honestly I have only used it once or twice. But this red is a TRUE RED, and that's enough to make me very happy. I will continue to work with this but I have a feeling that it will definitely be a favorite.   

Thank you so much for visiting my blog! Have a good week ahead and I will talk to you very soon!