SLIDER

Deciem the Ordinary Niacinamide Serum | One Month Review With Before & After Photos

10.31.2016

If you also enjoy spending way too time reading about skincare on the interwebs, chances are you've probably heard of Deciem and their newest brand, the Ordinary. If you have no idea what I'm talking about, the Ordinary is the newest skincare brand launched by the parent company Deciem. Their approach to skincare is to produce familiar and effective skincare products at reasonable prices.

Almost everything in the Ordinary line retails for less than $10, and they offer free US shipping on purchases over $25. They have various outposts around the globe so there's also international shipping!

What I appreciate about the Ordinary line is not only are they so affordable, but each product has a targeted purpose and ingredient list. Soo many skincare products claim to do x, y, and z and as a result contain tiny amounts of active ingredients which aren't always effective. Today I'm reviewing the Niacinamide serum which includes 10% niacinamide and 1% zinc PCA.

Bonus! If you're interested in Glossier's the supers but are looking for something more affordable, check out the Ordinary. Super pure is similar to this serum, super bounce is similar to their HA serum (which I'm also currently testing out), and super glow is similar to a variety of Vitamin C products (you can read their Vitamin C guide here.)

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Price & Size
$5.90 for 30 mL+ of serum. According to the brand, 30 mL of product would reach the top of the label but mine was way past that point so they are totally generous with the amount given. I've been using this for about a month and a half now so I would venture to guess one bottle would last about 3 months depending on how much and how often you use it.

Packaging
The packaging is very simplistic and clinical which is totally on brand for Deciem and the Ordinary. Considering the price tag of the serum, I'm very impressed with the bottle. It's made of a heavy, frosted glass-like material and is topped off with a rubber dropper. The dropper picks up and distributes the serum very easily.

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Formulation
As you can (hopefully) tell from the photos, the serum is a clear color and it has a runny viscosity to it. When I apply the proper amount, it absorbs nicely into my skin without making it feel tight or sticky.

But if I apply to much it can take some time to sink in and leave a sticky, white-ish residue. It's not too much of a big deal because it doesn't cause any adverse reactions (aka no clogged pores/ breakouts.) The only negatives are that it's a bit difficult to layer my moisturizer on top and I'm wasting excess product.

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Ingredients
Aqua (Water), Niacinamide, Zinc PCA, Tamarindus Indica Seed Gum, Pentylene Glycol, Carrageenan, Acacia Senegal Gum, Xanthan Gum, PPG-26-Buteth-26, PEG-40 Hydrogenated Castor Oil, Ethoxydiglycol, Phenoxyethanol, Chlorphenesin

Claims
The Ordinary website doesn't make too many outright claims but does suggest using Niacinamide in a brightening routine. On the box the serum came in, it says that this serum regulates sebum and visibly minimizes pores.

Let's get a little nerdy 
I have to admit I never thought I would be browsing Google Scholar for fun but somehow I spent 2 hours Sunday night reading about the effects of topical Niacinamide. As a result this section was originally 4 paragraphs long but I cut it out because a) the longer I talk, the greater the chances are I say something incorrect and b) this isn't a science blog and a lot of the info I mentioned was extraneous.

If you are interested in reading up about niacinamide, I recommend this article which succinctly summarizes the various potential benefits of niacinamide with a manageable amount of sciencey jargon. If you aren't into reading sciencey skincare stuff for fun, here are some of the findings on the effects of niacinamide from various in vivo and in vitro experiments:
  • -Niacinamide can stimulate ceramide synthesis and improve the skin barrier
  • -Niacinamide can stimulate collagen synthesis in aging cells
  • -Niacinamide can aid in fading hyperpigmentation 
  • -Niacinamide can have an anti-inflammatory effect on acne
  • -Niacinamide can cause a reduction in sebum production
  • -Niacinamide can improve the texture of aging skin
Suffice it to say, niacinamide has a crap ton of promising uses! It's no wonder it's such a popular skincare ingredient. 

Some bumps along the road
I wish I could say that I tested this serum in a totally controlled environment, but let's be real, that's impossible.

I have dehydrated, acne prone skin and things only get worse as it gets colder and subsequently drier outside. On top of that, I realized that the Nars tinted moisturizer that I used all through last winter did not agree with my skin and would cause breakouts if I wore it for more than 2 or 3 hours. And that didn't even stop me from using it occasionally because finding a new base product is a pain. The icing on the shit-cake was that I ran out of all three of my chemical exfoliants at the same time which means that instead of exfoliating my usual once or twice a day, I was exfoliating 2 to 3 times a week. And of course I can't forget that Aunt Flo came around and gifted me with some angry, hormonal breakouts.

Basically, there were various outside forces also at play affecting my skin negatively throughout the last month.

How much & how often
It took my some time to figure out how much to use, but ultimately I realized 3 to 4 drops was sufficient to cover my cheeks aka my problem areas. Since the serum didn't layer well under my sunscreen, I applied it every night under a ceramide cream + sleeping pack.

Results
So I initially bought this because I thought it would help in fading my acne scars. Unfortunately I don't think it had much effect in that department. I also can't say that it made my pores any smaller, but I don't think anything can do that permanently cause your pores are your pores. But all is not lost because I did see improvements in the texture of my skin!

I'm still figuring out how to photograph close ups of my face so please pardon the less than stellar photos.

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As you can see, I was not joking around when I said my face went through the ringer last month. While there are new acne scars that need healing, I would say the overall texture of my face has improved. Those stubborn closed comedones (skin colored bumps) have been plaguing me for as long as I can remember. Last year when I began using AHAs I saw an improvement in them, but it has sort of leveled off. After introducing this niacinamide serum, I saw another marked improvement.


Overall I'm really happy in the results! I'm going to continue using the serum and will add in the Ordinary's Alpha Arbutin serum which I've read is more effective at fighting acne scarring. I've also restocked on my chemical exfoliants so hopefully I can keep any new breakouts at bay. I'll check in in one month to report how my skin is doing with the two serums!



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Lazy Yet Chic | How to Wear Palazzo Pants This Fall

10.28.2016

Printed palazzo pants are something I typically equate with summer attire. Colorful sandals, slinky crop tops, and bright bathing suits are all usual companions to printed palazzo pants. But like virtually every other piece of summer clothing, they too can be easily transitioned into your fall wardrobe.

My personal key to transitioning pieces is to make sure that only one piece is out of season. For example in this look the pants are my summery piece but the cropped sweater, burgundy fedora, and berry lipstick are all very fall.

This particular pair of palazzo pants were a present from my cousin who bought them while visiting India in July. I didn't get a chance to wear them during summer but I have been wearing them nonstop over the past month! And a confession? It's not only because they're stylish, but also because they're basically glorified sweatpants. Drawstring waist, loose legs, and a comfy material are some of the most important tenets of sweatpants and palazzo pants fulfill all three!


cropped sweater: brandy melville; similar via: missguided, urban outfitters
palazzo pants: India; similar via: asos, nordstrom bp, bcbgenration, forever 21, & more below
sneakers: converse; also available via: amazon, urban outfitters
wool fedora: forever 21; similar via asos, barney's
lipstick: scarlet empress; also available via bloomingdales, saks, sephora

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Here are some more palazzo pant options perfect for fall!


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Buying Affordable Asian Beauty Products Online | Yamibuy Review + Haul

10.25.2016

It seems even when I create a content calendar for myself to follow, I like to make things harder for myself by making last minute changes. But what can I say, my Yamibuy order came in yesterday afternoon and I was too excited not to post about it! Plus they currently have a sale going on which ends on the 28th so my impulsiveness is totally justified. That's my story and I'm stickin' to it.

As a newbie to the world of Asian beauty, I'm in awe at the immense number of online shops out there. It seems like a new one is popping up each week! Since I've placed a few orders at various retailers over the past month, I thought I would do reviews on my experience with each retailer. Hopefully over time this can turn into a helpful, little series that also lets me rationalize purchasing a too many things from too many places.

If you do decide to order from here, you can use my referral link for $5 off. They also currently have a 12% off promo on all beauty products with the code "Fall88." Which seems to be over :( If you have a student email address you can still get 10% off by following the directions on this page!

Basics
Yamibuy a California based company focused on selling Asian goods in the US (no international shipping atm.) Not only do they sell beauty products but they also sell medicine, baby products, snacks and some really creepy looking sex toys.

Pricing
I'm not familiar with every single product in the Yamibuy beauty sections but from what I saw, I would say they have competitive pricing. Personally I only bought masks and all those were cheaper than most of the other online retailers I checked out. For example I bought two Tea Tree Leaders masks, plus got one free, plus got 12% off which lowered the price from $2 per mask to $1.17 per mask. Most places that sell individual Leaders masks sell them for $2.50+. At Ulta they're $5 a pop!

In addition, Yamibuy also offer free shipping on orders over $35 and I just made the cut-off with a $35.82 order.

Shipping
I placed my order on the 17th, it shipped on the 18th via UPS Ground, and it arrived on my doorstep on the 24th. All in all the whole process took a week and I'm impressed!

As far my thoughts on the actual physical shipping, they could have gone with a bigger box but nothing was damaged so I'm okay with it. They also bubble wrapped the jelly masks to assure they were safe. One thing I noticed they didn't include was an invoice. This isn't a huge issue since I don't plan on returning anything and everything in my order arrived safely but it's something I would have liked to have just in case.

Selection
What prompted me to Yamibuy in the first place was their collection of Annie's Way jelly masks (which I'll talk about further down.) But once I got there I was super impressed with their overall selection. Not only do they have a variety of Korean beauty products and sheet masks, but they also carry Japanese and Taiwanese beauty brands! Some of the most popular ones I recognized were Annie's Way, My Beauty Diary, My Scheming, Lovemore, and Naruko.

Samples
From my perusal of r/AsianBeauty, it seems that most online Asian beauty retailers are notorious for their generous samples. Unfortunately my Yamibuy order did not come with any samples but I can't say I minded because I'm honestly overloaded with samples.

Now onto the good stuff...
Here's what I bought!




Annie's Way Aloe Anti-Acne Jelly Mask (250 mL) x 2
Exp: ??? (I'm sleuthing it out) Price paid: $6.82/ mask; also available via amazon with prime shipping and yesstyle

This was the product that led me to Yamibuy in the first place. It's a wash off jelly face mask that's supposed to hydrate your skin but also help soothe acne. My skin has been very dehydrated lately but I still have a bunch of skin texture issues so I'm happy to find a product that addresses both problems.

At the time I bought this they were having a BOGO offer so I got two for the price of one. After I use it a couple times, I hope to review it here on le blog and do a giveaway with the other one!




Annie's Way Snail Repairing Jelly Mask (40 mL)
Exp: 10/12/2017 Price paid: $2.20; also available via beautibi
Annie's Way Arbutin + Hyaluronic Acid Hydrating Jelly Mask (40 mL)
Exp: 10/12/2017 Price paid: $2.20

These are two variations of the full size jelly masks I bought which I bought because I'm curious to see if I get varied results from different "flavors" of the line. (Side note: the 40 mL version of the aloe mask has a picture of a Hermione inspired character! So cute!)

I can't read Chinese characters (thank you to a lovely redittor for the head's up!)  Taiwanese (or whatever language I'm assuming is Taiwanese) but one of the few lines of English on the Snail Repairing mask says "come on bad boy" multiple times and I love it. What better packaging is there than a flying old lady dressed in fancy clothes saying "come on bad boy."



Leaders Insolution TeaTree Relaxing Renewal Mask x 3
Exp: 03/01/2017 Price paid: $1.17/ mask; also available via amazon in 10 pack & singles via ulta
Leaders Insolution AC Clear Treatment Mask x 3
Exp: 03/01/2017 Price paid: $1.17/ mask; also available via amazon in 10 pack & singles via ulta

From all the sheet masks I've tried so far (which isn't many), Leaders Insolution have been my favorite. They're soaked in generous amounts of essence and sit nice and flat on my face. While they each have a host of claims, I bought them because I hope they aid calming down my acne and smoothing the overall texture of my face.

I do wish that they had later expiration dates but I can work with 4 months.



Leaders Insolution Vita Brightening Renewal Mask x 3
Exp: 04/23/2017 Price paid: $1.17/ mask; also available via amazon in 10 pack & singles
Leaders Insolution Illuminating Treatment Mask x 3
Exp: 01/21/2018 Price paid: $1.17/ mask; also available via amazon in 10 pack & singles

Since Yamibuy had a buy 2 get 1 free deal going on with Leaders masks, I decided to give their Vita Brightening and Illuminating masks a try. The second worst part of acne are the scars that it leaves behind which never. seem. to go. away. why. I've been slowly adding actives and serums to my routine to aid with said scarring, but sheet masks are a great way to see temporary but instant results.

Again, like the TeaTree and AC Clear mask, I do wish the Vita Brightening mask had a later expiration date but I mask enough to finish them by the end of next April.




AM Piggy Head Ali Shan Green Tea Purifying Mask
Exp: 02/23/2019 Price paid: $0.88; also available via beautibi 
AM Piggy Head Sun Moon Lake Black Tea Instant Repairing Mask
Exp: 03/22/2019 Price paid: $0.88; also available via beautibi 

I don't know much about these AM sheet masks but the creepy yet cute "piggy heads" on the packaging drew me in. I've also never tried any Taiwanese sheet masks so curiosity had me add these to my cart. Plus I was just under the $35 free threshold and these pulled me over.



SNP Gentle Girl Mask Pack- No.2 Lover Boy
Exp: 04/26/2018 Price paid: $1.93; also available via amazon in 10 pack 

This mask has a mustache on it and that's why I bought it. The end.

As you can tell, I'm not the most rational consumer and packaging easily pulls me in, especially when a product is only a dollar or two. (Bonus: when you search for this mask on the Yamibuy website that's when you'll be disturbed by some weird sex toys.)

While you can't get this specific mask at Ulta, Ulta does sell a whole bunch of super cute SNP animal masks. They've got an otter, a panda, a cat, and a few more here.




And that's all I bought! Even though it was a lot stuff, it was a pretty good deal for $35. It averaged out to $1.82 per item which is a steal!

What are your favorite stores to buy Asian beauty products?

PSA: If you're interested in Leaders masks, they're currently on Hautelook until the end of the week! The 7 wonders sets are a great deal since they're hard to find on sale at Ulta. Also, Hautelook ships to Canada and Australia!



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Weekend Edit

10.23.2016

Evolution of Smooth SPF Lip Balm

Like I mentioned in my W.I.N beauty kit unboxing post, I've been really into K-beauty lately. And one of the principles of K-beauty is always prep your face with sunscreen! Thanks to a few trips to the dermatologist as a teen, applying sunscreen to my face every morning is a habit for me. But what K-beauty made me realize is that I was missing two major parts of my face! Lips and eyes!

While I haven't found an eye sunscreen yet, I have found my perfect lip sunscreen last week on a quick Target run. Evolution of Smooth's lip balm comes in a ton of flavors but I went with lemon drop because it came with SPF 15. It's super lightweight and wears so well underneath lipstick and lip glosses. Plus, isn't the packaging just the cutest?!

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Full Frontal with Samantha Bee

I've been watching a lot of late night television lately, but my newest favorite is Late Night with Samantha Bee. She is hilarious and has really good zingers as well as a kick-ass blazer wardrobe. And now I want a kick-ass blazer wardrobe.

You can watch clips from her show on youtube here.

Drummer Boy Jacket

I don't think I can justify spending $150 on a novelty jacket from Zara but I'm reallllly tempted to. Ever since Coldplay's Viva La Vida tour, I've wanted a military drummer boy style jacket, but of course they aren't so easy to come by. For now I'm keeping my fingers crossed that the jacket stays in stock until Black Friday.





PR Tips from an Insider

Since I've gotten my blogging mojo back, I've also been reading more blogs lately. One of my absolute favorite reads this week was by blogger Sophie Black. In her post she talks about why and how smaller bloggers can reach out to brands and PR companies. It was such an informative and helpful read I figured most of the people reading this post would find it useful too!

You can read it here on her blog.

Autumn Inspo

It's weird to think about all the blogs that initially inspired me to start blogging...because I don't really follow any of them anymore. One of the exceptions is Blair of Atlantic Pacific. I was catching up on her blog this week and fell in love with two of her recent-ish looks. Isn't her style simply perfect?







*Disclaimer: This post was sponsored by EOS but as always all thoughts are my own.




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Attention Hogging Statement Boots

10.21.2016

My shoe game was so weak this summer. Nothing really caught my eye so I stuck to my trusty birkenstocks and lace up sandals from summers past. But now that fall is here, I'm ready to wear allll the boots-- ankle boots, velvet boots, biker boots, over the knee boots, you name it I'll wear it.

The one pair of boots that have been on mind since last year are the dark floral printed "midnight garden" Valentino boots. While searching for an image of the boots I came across the current collection which I think I love even more.



Holy space balls you guys, they're so beautiful. If I had 2k lying around those boots would be on my feet ASAP. I could wear a literal trash bag with them and I would still feel fab because those boots are that out of this world.

But onto more practical options.



1. urban outfitters 2. topshop 3. jeffrey campbell 4. topshop 5. dolce vita 6. jeffrey campbell 7. jeffrey campbell 8. jeffrey campbell 9. topshop 10. topshop 11. zara

The world of printed boots is an endless one and while I won't be buying a pair of Valentinos this winter, at least there are a crap ton of lot more affordable options out there. And as I'm half asleep typing this post, I'm very close to purchasing those black topshop floral printed ones because not only are they cute, they're also under $75, and I'm also very susceptible to late night shopping (and oops, it's done!)




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A New K-Beauty Box: What is Next (W.I.N.) Beauty Kit | October Unboxing

10.19.2016

Even though subscription boxes have been super popular over the past few years, I never was really into them. But lately I've been reading a lot of beauty subreddits and K-beauty blogs so I've kind of been sucked into wanting to try aaaaaall the Asian beauty-focused subscription boxes.

There are a whole slew of them but I ultimately subscribed to What is Next Beauty Kit because it was one of the cheaper options and I liked the look of their instagram.

For $14 a month (including shipping) you receive 5-6 different Asian beauty products, with at least one full sized product. In addition you also get a makeup bag and a info card with product descriptions and tips. Before subscribing to any beauty box I thought those little info cards (you can read it here) were useless but now I see the light! Especially in a box which many products don't have much English descriptions, that little info card can be a lifesaver.

At the time of this post they only ship to the US aaaaaand they currently have a waitlist. But if you're interested in subscribing to them I say join the waitlist or follow them on instagram or both!

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Holika holika Aloe 99% Soothing Gel- 55 mL
Full size available via memebox, amazon, and wal-mart

Value: $1.76 (based on 250 mL for $8)

Ingredients: Aloe Barbadensis Leaf Juice, Nelumbium Speciosum Flower Extract, Centella Asiatica Extract, Bambusa Vulgaris Extract, Cucumis Sativus (Cucumber) Fruit Extract, Zea Mays (Corn) Leaf Extract, Brassica Oleracea Capitata (Cabbage) Leaf Extract, Citrullus Lanatus (Watermelon) Fruit Extract, PEG-60 Hydrogenated Castor Oil, Sodium Polyacrylate, Carbomer, Triethanolamine, Fragrance, Phenoxyethanol

I've never tried any sort of aloe gel before and I'm not sure how this is different from the aloe gels that you can buy at your local drugstore. But from the reviews I've read of this product there does seem to be something about it that makes it better than the ones you could pick up at CVS. Perhaps it's all the different plant extracts added to it?

I haven't tried it on my face yet but I have used it on my hands. It has a very strong aloe smell that does take some time to dissipate, but I don't mind since I enjoy the smell. Once you start blending it in, it has a really nice, light, water consistency that just sinks into the skin.

Packaging wise I think it's super adorable. It's a simple squeezey dispenser which I don't love but don't hate either.

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Etude House Tint My Brows Gel in Shade #1: Brown- 5 g
Available via amazon, etude house 

Value: $6.25- $11.00 (full size product; price varies by retailer)

Ingredients: Water, Alcohol, Butylene glycol, Polyvinyl alcohol, Dihydroxyacetone, PVP, 1,2-hexanediol, Yellow 6 (CI 15985), Polysorbate 80, Sodium Chloride, Fragrance, Phenoxyethanol, Red 33 (CI 17200), Citric Acid, Blue 1 (CI 42090), Disodium EDTA, Camellia Sinensis Leaf Extract, Tocopheryl Acetate, Helianthus Annuus (Sunflower) Extract, Lilium Tigrinum Extract, Hamamelis Virginiana (Witch Hazel) Leaf Extract, Centella Asiatica Extract

A few months ago eyebrow tints and lip tints seemed to be one of those youtube fads. I quickly got irritated by some of the videos because I couldn't stand the whole "oooh, what is this weird, exotic Asian product that I'm othering for clicks and views. I'm not going to do any research about it but that won't stop me from complaining that it didn't work."

Anyways, I am excited to give it a go! I also need to add in that I love that it came with a little seal. Sealed beauty products are the bomb.


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Etude House One Shot Morning Gel Cleanser- 25 mL
Available via amazon, etude house

Value: $1.46 (based on $11.70 for 200 mL)

IngredientsWater, Dipropylene Glycol, Glycerin, Alcohol, Peg-6 Caprylic/Capric Glycerides, Ammonium Acryloyldimethyltaurate/Vp Copolymer,Polysorbate 20, Citrus Aurantium Dulcis (Orange) Fruit Extract(47.99Ppm), Citrus Medica Limonum (Lemon) Fruit Extract (8Ppm), Citrus Paradisi (Grapefruit) Fruit Extract(4.99Ppm), Actinidia Chinensis (Kiwi) Fruit Extract, Vaccinium Myrtillus Fruit/Leaf Extract, Saccharum Officinarum (Sugar Cane) Extract, Acer Saccharum (Sugar Maple) Extract, Rubus Idaeus (Raspberry) Fruit Extract, Prunus Armeniaca (Apricot) Kernel Extract, Disodium Edta, Disodium Cocoamphodiacetate, Sodium Chloride, Acrylates/C10-30 Alkyl Acrylate Crosspolymer, Ethylhexylglycerin, Phenoxyethanol, Fragrance

For some unknown reason I have a proclivity for collecting cleansers and now I have another one to add to my stash. Unfortunately this one has alcohol as the 4th ingredient which does have a tendency to dry/ irritate my skin. Since it will only been on my face for a minute or two, hopefully that isn't the case.

Not only is the packaging so cute but it also smells so fresh! Since it contains all those cirtusy extracts, it has a very warm, orangey smell. It's also pH balanced according to the Etude House site. With a pH of 5.5, it's in that perfect slightly acidic range so it won't destroy your acid mantle (and if you have no idea what I'm talking about check out this blogger's post.)

3W Clinic Fresh Royal Jelly Sheet Mask
Box of 10 available via amazon

Value: $1.02 (based on 10 masks for $10.15)

Ingredients: Water, Butylene Glycol, Glycerin, Alcohol, Sodium Hyaluronate, Polysorbate 60, Cetyl Ethylhexanoate, Sorbitan sesquioleate, PEG-60 Hydrogenated Castor Oil, Phenoxyethanol, Methylparaben, Allantoin, Royal Jelly Extract, Disodium EDTA, Perfume (Ingredient list copied from this blog)

I've turned into a total sheet mask fiend (as you'll see in a future post) so of course I was happy to find a sheet mask in the box. But again, I'm a bit disappointed to see alcohol on the ingredient list. On a positive note, I've never tried any 3W masks or any masks with Royal Jelly so I'm excited to try something new!

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Unt Color Naked Truth CC Cream Spf 36/ PA++- 0.20 oz
Available via unt cosmetics, amazon

Value: $4.14 (based on $29 for 1.4 oz)

IngredientsActive Ingredients: Ethylhexyl Methoxycinnamate 6.5%(W/W) Titanium Dioxide 4.52%(W/W) Zinc Oxide 3.5%(W/W) Other Ingredients: Water, Cyclopentasiloxane, Glycerin, Cyclomethicone, Cetyl PEG/PPG-10/1 Dimethicone, Butylene Glycol Dicaprylate/Dicaprate, Sorbitan Sesquioleate, Arbutin, Hexyl Laurate, Sodium Chloride, Dimethicone Copolyol, Disteardimonium Hectorite, Magnesium Aluminum Silicate, Dimethicone, Alumina, Silica, CI 77492, Phenoxyethanol, CI 77491, Mica, PEG-10 Dimethicone Crosspolymer, Dimethicone/Vinyl Dimethicone Crosspolymer, Perfume, Silica Dimethyl Silylate, Polyester-1, CI 77499, Butylene Glycol, Ascorbyl Tetraisopalmitate, Vaccinium Angustifolium Fruit Extract, Citrus Medica Limonum Fruit Extract.

I'm a bit skeptical about one shade fits all sort of products, especially since many Asian beauty brands don't cater towards my skin tone. Perhaps I'll give this away or perhaps I'll give it a try. I'm not sure yet.

This product also has a seal and as you know, sealed beauty products are the bomb.






Makeup Bag
The bag featured in this box was the biggest bummer of them all. It was just soooo... ugly. Usually I don't really care about complimentary makeup bags because I have about a million of them, but a part of the reason I subbed to this box was because the bags featured on their instagram were so adorable (like the ones in this photo.)

On the plus side, it is made of a heavier padded material and has a sturdy zipper. Even if it isn't cute, at least it's functional!

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Overall I am excited to try out many of the products, like the eyebrow tint and the aloe gel, but I am a bit disappointed in the value of the box. Of course there are also some things not factored into that value like the makeup bag, the shipping, and the value of curating these specific products.

Since they are a new company, I think I'll stick around for a while longer to see what they come up with. Hopefully their November box is a bigger hit!

Are you also subscribed to W.I.N beauty kit? Or are you subscribed to any other Asian beauty box? I'm contemplating subscribing to another one so I would love to hear your thoughts!



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hudson square

10.17.2016

I know global warming is terrible and all that jazz; but since we're destroying our planet anyways we might as well enjoy the side-effects while we can.

If you're also on the east coast, you probably already know that we're having some record-breaking weather this week. It's time to squeeze in those last few warm weather outfits while you can!


cordury overall dress: urban outfitters; similar by target, h&m, asos
t-shirt: h&m conscious
suede over the knee boots: stuart weitzman; also available via neimans, saks, bloomingdales; affordable options by marc fisher, dolce vita, urban outfittersvery volatile (under $100), asos (under $75), and even more in the widget down below
sunglasses: illesteva







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Introducing Ser Lorac MegaPro the Third | Lorac MegaPro Palette 3 First Impressions + Swatches

10.14.2016

When the first Lorac MegaPro palette came out, I had no idea what it really was but impulse purchased it when it randomly came in stock on Amazon at 3 AM. Two years later and I was awaiting the MegaPro 3's arrival ever since the first spoiler shots were shared on Lorac's snapchat. Oh how the times have changed.

All the earthy and rosey shades in the palette were calling out my name and I'd like to think it was fate that I bought this palette. I've had it for about a week and a half now and have used it a half a dozen times so here are my first impressions on the palette!

Lorac Mega Pro Palette 3, holiday 2016 palettes, 2016 limited edition makeup


Lorac Mega Pro Palette 3, Lorac MegaPro 3, Lorac MP3, Lorac Mega Pro 3 review, Lorac 2016 Holiday palette



Price
$59.00 USD; Sold Exclusively at Ulta (You can buy it here)


Size
The palette contains a total of 0.45 oz/ 12.8 grams of product and with 32 shades, that means there's 0.014 oz/ 0.40 grams of each color.


Packaging
The palette is made out of cardboard and covered in a white, matte, rubberized material with pretty, rose gold font. But the pretty doesn't last long because it's white and your fingerprints will make it grimy after the first few uses.


Overall Formulation
The formulation of the eyeshadows is the same as the other Lorac palette I own (the original MegaPro) and Lorac palettes that I've swatched (Pro 1 and Pro 2). The matte shades have a soft, powdery (in a good way) feeling to them. The shimmers are sooo... rich and buttery and delicious. I'm fully aware it sounds like I'm describing a croissant and not an eyeshadow palette but damn, they're just that good.

The downsides to the softness in both the matte and shimmer formulations is that they are powdery AF. I make sure to do my eyeshadow before I apply my face makeup because the fallout will get everywhere. I took a few shots of what my palette looked like after taking brush swatches of every shade and it was a hot, powdery mess.





Pigmentation
Most of the shades in this palette have excellent pigmentation. Those that don't have opaque pigmentation at first swipe are easily buildable.


Blendability
Honestly, out of all the eyeshadows I own (which I admit are not a lot), I find Lorac's shadows the easiest to blend. Better than Urban Decay, Wet N' Wild, Coastal Scents, MAC, the Balm, Nars-- Lorac tops 'em all. Tan and Pecan have become my go to transition/ crease shades and they blend so naturally and beautifully. I'm obsessed.


Lasting-Ability
Last Saturday I wore a look using this palette from 8:30 A.M. to about 10:00 P.M (over the Too Faced shadow insurance.) I should also mention that it was humid as hell, that I spent a few hours standing in front of an open door, and that I have occasionally oily eyelids. All that said, I wasn't disappointed. There was some creasing on the inner corners of my eye and the color had faded on the center of my lid where my eye was the greasiest. But overall my eyeshadow looked good! I prolly should have taken a photo of it but alas, I washed my face the second I got home.

So basically, this shit lasts all day long (over primer.)


Color Selection
While I'm a fan of the colors in the palette in general, there are some annoying redundancies. The shades Walnut and Vintage, Maple and Bark, Pink Creme and Crepe are a bit repetitive and unnecessary. Amongst the shimmer shades, there are colors that look like redundancies but have different undertones when swatched so I don't find them as annoying.. For instance Cava and Tulle look very similar in pan but on the skin one is pink and one is gold.

As a whole I also wish they included more "medium" shades. The first two rows of colors are basically unusable to many WOC. There's sort of a jump from light shades to deeper, smokey shades. I wish they would have condensed the first three columns and introduced some more medium shades to make it more wearable for a wider audience.

Also as a personal affront, I haaaate that they had to include black. It seems like such a waste since black eyeshadows are in basically in every. single. Lorac. palette ever to have been created. Even if this was someone's first eyeshadow purchase, I doubt they would be missing out on a black (and if they were it's an easy shade to find.) It seems like such a waste when they could have inserted a deep purple, green, red, or basically any other freakin' color besides from black. But that's just me aka a girl who never wears black eyeshadow ever.


Versatility
I may not be the best person to comment on versatility because like I said, I'm an eyeshadow beginner. The looks that I'm most comfortable with feature 1, 2, or at most 3 shadows. For me, I find that the palette allows for great versatility! I can wear a warm pinky-brown look (my current fav), a green look, a bronzey look, a matte neutral look, a cool silver look, a metallic red look, the list goes on. So if you're also a beginner, I think this palette holds a lot of potential! If you're someone who's more experienced with eyeshadows, I still think there's versatility in the palette for you--at least there is according to the half dozen reviews I've read/ watched for this palette.

In addition, the fact that the palette is half matte and half shimmer shades means you don't need to worry about reaching for another palette for a complete look. Sometimes I like doing an all matte look and the MegaPro palettes are the only singular palettes I own that allow me to do that.


Who is this palette for?
If you're someone who already owns some neutrals palettes, especially the the Urban Decay Naked 3 or Lorac Pro 3 palette, this palette will probably be redundant to you. If you're not a fan of Lorac's eyeshadow formula, it goes without saying that you probably won't like this palette. If you're looking for a mid-range palette that offers both neutral and wearable colors then this is a great fit for you! If you don't own any of the Lorac Pro palettes but wanted one, then this is also a great fit for you!

Swatches
First row first half from left to right: pink creme, tan, pecan, walnut

First row second half from left to right: dusty mauve, violet gray, eggplant, dark navy


Second row first half from left to right: crepe, toffee, mist, vintage


Second row second half from left to right: hickory, maple, bark, jet black


Third row first half from left to right: snow, cava, cider, bellini


Third row second half from left to right: brown sugar, sequoia, glacier, deep fog


Fourth row first half from left to right: tulle, pink bronze, rust, rose quartz


Fourth row second half from left to right: olive, dark roast, pomegranate, licorice



And just for kicks here's all 32 shades swatched at the same time with a $1 elf brush (sorry for the iPhone pics; I couldn't get the exposure right with my camera.)





Ingredients
You can click on the photo to open in in another tab and enlarge it.





That's it folks! If you purchased this palette or want to purchase this palette, I would love to hear your thoughts on it. Also, what other holiday palettes are you guys loving/ craving?


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