SLIDER

A Quick Look: Marc Jacobs Le Marc Liquid Lip Crème Review

1.30.2017

Last month I was sent over one of the new Marc Jacobs Le Marc Liquid Lip Crèmes from Influenster to try out. While the color looked atrocious on me, I loved the formula enough to go out and buy another two 😉. As I'm writing this I'm realizing that this is the first item of makeup I've received from Influenster that I've genuinely loved enough to go out and purchase on my own!

This review is the first in what I'm dubbing "the quick look series." In my post last week I briefly chatted about how I wanted to post more in depth reviews, but also didn't want to falter in the actual volume of reviews I published. So I made a compromise with myself. I'm still going to post more in-depth reviews, but I'm also going to be posting these "quick look reviews." As the name implies, they'll be somewhat quicker, shorter reviews but will hopefully still be helpful! This compromise is pretty obvious but I just wanted to point it out so that ya know that I didn't falter on my promise of being more thorough.

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Claims
I'm not even going to try to paraphrase the claims because Sephora already does a great job of it: "a hydrating, eight-hour wear, liquid lipstick in a range of bold, full-coverage nudes."

Price & Size
$28.00 for 0.19 oz/ 3.49 mL

For reference the YSL Vinyl Cream Lip Stains are $36.00 for 0.18 oz, the Giorgio Armani Lip Maestros are $38.00 for 0.22 oz/ 6.6 mL, the Nars Velvet Lip Glides are $26.00 for 0.2 oz/ 5.9147 mL, and the Burberry Liquid Lip Velvets are $34.00 for 0.2 oz/ 6 mL.

Personally I consider Marc Jacobs to be one of the more "affordable" luxury brands (not to say that their makeup is affordable, but rather it is more affordable in comparison to other luxury brands like Chanel, Giorgio Armani, etc.) so I find the price for the amount of product you receive to be acceptable.

Ingredients
Polybutene, Diisostearyl Malate, Dimethicone, Trimethylsiloxyphenyl Dimethicone, Silica Dimethyl Silylate, Bis-Diglyceryl Polyacyladipate-2, Isododecane, Dimethicone/Vinyl Dimethicone Crosspolymer, Trimethylsiloxsilicate, Methoxy PEG-17/Methoxy PEG-11/HDI Isocyanurate Trimer Crosspolymer, Benzyl Benzoate, Fragrance, Theobroma Grandiflorum Seed Butter, Helianthus Annuus Seed Oil (Helianthus Annuus (Sunflower) Seed Oil, Lupinus Albus Seed Extract, Tocopherol. May contain (+/-): Iron Oxides (CI 77491, CI77492, CI 77499), Red 7 Lake (CI 15850), Titanium Dioxide (CI 77891), Yellow 6 Lake (CI 15985).

Packaging
The packaging is gorgeous... but prone to holding onto grubby finger smudges as you may be able to tell from my photos. The tubes are sleek and a heavy, glass like material. I like that they have the little peekaboo spot at the bottom of the tube so you can see what color is in the tube. The packaging feels and looks expensive and is totally on brand for Marc Jacobs. It's 100% a win in my book!

The doe foot applicator is the same one you would find with most higher end liquid lipsticks and lip glosses. It picks up the perfect amount of products so you don't have any weird globs as you're applying it.

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Results
The Marc Jacobs Le Marc Liquid Lip Crèmes are part of a new breed of liquid lipsticks; liquid lipsticks that don't dry down completely matte. When I first heard about them I was a bit afraid that a non-matte finish means there would be some stickiness present, like in the Nyx Lingerie Liquid Lipsticks. But there's none whatsoever.

As I said up above, the lipsticks are very easy to apply thanks to the doe foot applicator. The formula is a bit moussey when it's first applied but it dries down to a comfortable satin finish. The actual lipsticks themselves are verrry pigmented so there are no worries about streakiness or layering up the lipstick. One layer is all you need!

One thing I really appreciated about this lipstick is that there was no strong smell. I know people love the heady faux cupcake smell that accompanies many liquid lipsticks but I hate it. It won't stop me from using a lipstick (as long as the smell dissipates), but I much prefer a formula that doesn't literally stink.

Even though they are a satin finish as opposed to a matte finish, these lipsticks still have a tendency to cling to dry patches on my lips. I don't think the lipsticks are moisturizing per se, but rather they don't dry out my lips as the day goes on. So if I apply them over a balm my lips stay moisturized! I can't say if their 8 hour time claim is true or not because these lipsticks don't hold up that well to food. Like most normal lipsticks, they tend to feather away at the center when I eat something. Unlike normal lipsticks, they lipstick around the edges of my lips don't smudge and wander off onto my chin when I'm eating.

Swatches
I was in bit of a time crunch when I took these swatches so they didn't have time to completely dry down.

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Bottom Line?
Since it's marketed as a line of nudes, I hope that Marc Jacobs expands the color range to include some darker colors. Considering that Marc Jacobs Beauty doesn't have the best history of catering to all ends of the skin tone spectrum (plus the fact that Marc himself said he "doesn't see color") I think this lipstick line is a great opportunity for them to show that they do care about their POC consumers. As a bonus, darker lipsticks appeal to people of all colors so they can't even pull the "there's no demand for dark shades" bs.

Basically I love the formula and would definitely buy more if they released more colors!

Have you tried these Liquid Lip Crèmes or any other non-matte liquid lipsticks? What are your thoughts on them?


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Disclaimer: This post includes products I received from Influenster but as always, all opinions are honestly my own!


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Jelly For Yo Face | Missha Super Aqua Ultra Waterfull Clear Cream Review

1.27.2017

As I mentioned in my October favorites, 2016 favorites, and multiple Instagram posts-- Missha's All Around Safe Block Essence Sun SPF45/PA+++ is one of my skincare staples. In fact it's one of the first K-beauty products I bought. I remember visiting oo35mm in Chinatown last summer and being overwhelmed by Asian skincare galore. After a very quick browse (because I was with my brother + cousin who don't give a crap about skincare plus the store is super tiny, even by NYC standards) I made one single purchase: the Missha sunscreen. And I've never looked back.

And of course I'm the kind of person who would get sentimental about skincare 😅

The whole point of that emotional ramble was to say that when Missha asked if I wanted to try out any of their products, of course I said heck yes! One of the products they sent over is the Super Aqua Ultra Waterfull Clear Cream, which as the name of this post implies, I'll be reviewing today.


Claims
According to the Missha US site this cream moisturizes skin without any stickiness or greasiness. With an oil-free formula, it helps to balance moisture levels and control sebum product. While it isn't explicitly stated, I think it's safe to make the assumption that this cream is targeted towards those with oily skin.

There's also a whole lotta different extracts which are supposed to help moisturize the skin.


Price & Size
$26.00 for 47 mL available via Missha US (& keep your eyes peeled for the 30-40% off sales they run a few times a year on their site!)

Ingredients
Betula Platyphylla Japonica Juice, PEG/PPG-17/6 Copolymer, Glycerin, Dipropylene Glycol, Pentylene Glycol, Adansonia Digitata Seed Extract, Adenium Obesum Leaf Extract, Imperata Cylindrica Root Extract, Pseudoalteromonas Ferment Extract, Water (Glacier Water), Sea Water, Epilobium Fleischeri Extract, Camellia Japonica Flower Extract, Citrus Paradisi (Grapefruit) Fruit Extract, Portulaca Oleracea Extract, Opuntia Ficus-Indica Stem Extract, Orthosiphon Stamineus Leaf Extract, Hydrolyzed Hyaluronic Acid, PEG-32, Ammonium Acryloyldimethyltaurate/VP Copolymer, Butylene Glycol, Bis-PEG-18 Methyl Ether Dimethyl Silane, Octyldodeceth-16, Caprylyl Glycol, Arginine, Sodium Polyacrylate, PVM/MA Copolymer, Polyglutamic Acid, Biosaccharide Gum-1, 1,2-Hexanediol, Maltodextrin, Citric Acid, Carbomer, Xanthan Gum, Disodium EDTA, Phenoxyethanol

The Cos DNA ingredient breakdown found 1 potentially comedogenic ingredient (butylene glycol) and 1 potential irritating ingredient (carbomer.) Both are listed on the bottom half of the ingredient list and both are listed as low hazard ingredients. From my brief googling, it looks like unless you have a specific allergy to those ingredients, it's very unlikely that they will irritate your skin.

There were also a few ingredients which received  a 3 on their safety rating (on a scale of 1 to 9 with 1 being the safest)-- PEG/PPG-17/6 copolymer, PEG-32, Bis-PEG-18 Methyl Ether Dimethyl Silane, and Sodium Polyacrylate. Again I did some brief googling for these ingredients and all of them turned out to be safe in cosmetics.  The only one which received a 4 was Phenoxyethanol which works as a preservative. Even then the research I did on it showed it to be low risk. According to Paula's Choice it's a safe preservative.

Of course if any of these ingredients concern you don't take my word for it, do your own research!


Packaging
As I've gotten more into skincare I've sort of slackened my positioning on jars. For instance if it's a product that contains a sensitive ingredient like vitamin c, then jars would be a no no for me. But if it's something like a simple oil or cream, I really don't mind jars. Honestly I could probably write a short essay on this topic but I'll keep it short: I don't care that this product is packaged in a jar. There isn't any active ingredient (that I know of) that's sensitive to air or light so the jar is fine.

The jar itself is made out of a thick plasticy material. It's got a nice bit of weight to it and hasn't cracked from the few times I accidentally dropped it. It's a light blue see through color that allows you to peer into the jar. Even though you can sort of get a gauge of how much product you've got left with an opaque jar, you never really know until you start hitting the bottom. The clear walls of this jar allow you to know exactly how much you've got left and how close you are to finishing it all up.

My favorite part about the packaging is that it comes with a spatula!! And a long one at that! I usually use the short ones that you can snag from Sephora or most department store cosmetics counters, but sometimes it can be a struggle to reach the end of a larger jar with the teeny tiny spatula.


Texture
I've tried a decent amount of creams and gels and lotions in my skincare journey and I've got to say this has a unique texture. While it looks and feels like a gel, it has the viscosity of a cream when you scoop it out. But the second you start blending it in, it goes right back to acting like a gel and melts so easily.



Smell
Because my Missha sunscreen has such a lovely fragrance to it, I assumed that this cream would too. It doesn't. There's a very faint smell in the jar (which I'm guessing is the smell of birch water which I'll talk about down below) but once I rub it onto my hands or face, it's instantly gone. When I was analyzing the ingredients list I also noticed that there wasn't any "fragrance" listed so the lack of strong scent makes sense!

Results
Before I can talk about the results, I should probably chat about my skin. My skintype is dehydrated and acne prone. Since it's winter, I like having a skincare routine fixed with lots of light layers plus a nourishing moisturizer and sleeping mask (at night) or sunscreen (in the day) to top it all of.

As my skin doesn't get oily in the winter, I can't say if this controls sebum production or not. I can say it does provide moisture without making the skin sticky or greasy.

The first few times I tried it out as a night cream and it simply didn't provide enough moisture for me. While my skin felt moisturized when I went to bed, by the time I woke up I had some flaky patches around my mouth.

Next I tried it as my day cream underneath my sunscreen. Biggest pro is that it wears well underneath my sunscreen (and makeup!) with no piling whatsoever. On the days that I don't wear makeup my skin usually tends to get a bit dry during midday if I'm not wearing a heavier moisturizer. Surprise surprise, with this moisturizer the midday dryness was going strong. Even on days I did wear this under both sunscreen and makeup, I still occasionally got some dryness after 6 or 7 hours  😞

The last way I tested it is in short wear tests. For instance some days I'll decide to come home, remove my makeup, and wait an hour or two to do my skincare routine. It's usually because I have yet to shower or because I'm planning on going somewhere and don't want to go through the whole ordeal twice. On those days I usually use an essence and a light moisturizer to tide myself through the rest of the night until I can do my proper double cleanse and routine. And those are the days that this moisturizer worked for me. For short periods of time this moisturizer keeps the dryness away. My skin is smooth, moisturized, and not sticky-- just like the cream promised!

Basically this cream isn't moisturizing enough for me to wear all through the night or all through the day in the winter. But then again I wasn't expecting it to be. My skin is dehydrated and it needs heavier moisturizer in the winter. This a cream targeted towards people with oily skin and for that I think it would work great! It isn't greasy or oily and literally melts into water when it's applied.

Speaking of water, when I first tried this cream I assumed it had a water base. It doesn't, It actually has a base of Betula Platyphylla Japonica Juice aka birch juice! After some late night googling I read up that birch juice is an up and coming beauty ingredient! I even found another product in my skincare wardrobe that features the ingredient-- hyggee's balance one step facial essence.

According to this post on the Klog (aka e-retailer SokoGlam's blog), birch juice is supposed to help retain moisture and maintain a positive oil-moisture balance. Sounds perfect for oily skin types, right? (Or really all skin types!) It's definitely an ingredient I'll have to keep my eye on and read up on.

Bottom Line
This is a lightweight, fragrance-free, oil-free, denatured alcohol-free moisturizer. It delivers on its promise of moisturizing without leaving skin greasy or sticky. But because it's winter it doesn't deliver the amount of moisture that my skin needs. I'll be retiring this for now but will definitely be bringing it back once summer hits!

It may be replacing clinique's moisture surge as my go to summer moisturizer!


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Disclaimer: This post includes products I received as PR but as always, all opinions are honestly my own!

Maybelline Dream Cushion Fresh Face Liquid Foundation On-the-Go Review + 3 Wear Tests

1.24.2017

The main reason this post is so delayed is because I didn't want to rush and half-ass it. I really want to publish more reviews but also want them to be more in depth but also struggle to find the time to do so. You see my dilemma?

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Claims
As the name implies, this is supposed to be an on-the-go product. According to the Maybelline site, it's a luminous liquid complete coverage foundation that leaves you looking fresh faced and natural.

Maybelline has a BB cushion foundation that's sold in Asia which looks similar but does not have the exact same ingredient list (found here on yettez kiedoodle's blog.) Interestingly, the cushion sold in Asia is made in China whereas the American one is made in Korea!

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Price & Size
$15.99 at Ulta, $13.99 at Target, $12.49 at Harmon's for 0.51 oz/ 14.6 g

Ingredients 
Aqua / Water / Eau, Butylene Glycol Dicaprylate / Dicaprate, Methyl Trimethicone, Dimethicone, Diphenylsiloxy Phenyl Trimethicone, Glycerin, Lauryl PEG-9 Polydimethylsiloxyethyl Dimethicone, Pentylene Glycol, Butylene Glycol, Trisiloxane, PEG-10 Dimethicone, Talc, Magnesium Sulfate, Acrylates / Stearyl Acrylate / Dimethicone Methacrylate Copolymer, Phenoxyethanol, Dimethicone Crosspolymer, Lauroyl Lysine, Ethylhexylglycerin, Disteardimonium Hectorite, Triethoxycaprylylsilane, Ascorbic Acid, Panthenol, Adenosine, Panax Ginseng Root, Disodium EDTA, Tocopherol, Citric Acid. May Contain: CI 77891 / Titanium Dioxide, CI 77491, CI 77492, CI 77499 / Iron Oxides

Packaging
Pretty standard plastic packaging. There is a soft but audible snapping noise you hear when you close both the inner cushion compartment and the outer compartment so you know that you've properly closed the compact. There's also a handy mirror on the inside of the lid.

One thing I really liked is that there was a seal on the outside as well as on the inside over the cushion. As most drugstores don't have testers, some people like to take that as an opportunity to open up products to make their own testers. It ain't cool and it sucks for the store and other consumers. Nobody else is gonna want to buy something that's been dipped into by a stranger's grubby hands. Safe to say that Lucille Bluth said it best.


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Cushion Puff
This is something I can't really comment on as this is only the second cushion foundation I've ever tried. But the puff seemed nice enough to me. It was soft and didn't crack when I bent it.

As far as cleaning the puff goes... DO NOT USE A BEAUTY BLENDER SOLID. The soap will accumulate in the cushion and come out in weird chunky bits and worst of all, your stupid puff won't even be clean. I was so grossed out that I even took photos of it.

But then I cleaned it with the Boscia cleansing oil and all was well.


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Shade Range
While there is definitely room for improvement, this is one of the cushions with the widest color selection. There are 8 shades total ranging from fair to dark. I was able to find the full color range at the displays at Ulta, Walgreens, and Harmon's but the display at Target only had the lighter shades. Maybe it's different at every Target but I noticed that whenever the Target near me has a new foundation range, they never include the darker shades 😑.

I picked it up in the shade 45 medium beige which is basically number 6 in the range (as in there are 2 darker shades and 5 lighter shades.)

Color Accuracy
As there aren't any testers and you can't see the actual cushion color before you buy it, you're pretty much relying on the color on the outside. Of course I can only speak for the one shade I bought but I would say it's pretty accurate. It was a teeny bit too dark and orange for my skintone, but I do think it was the same color as was on the outside of the package.

I wish that Maybelline followed L'oreal's footsteps and numbered the shades by undertone. Then again, perhaps they don't have enough shades to make this distinction.

Coverage
This is a solid medium foundation although if you go in with a very light hand you can make the coverage even sheerer. I guess since I'm new to cushions I have a tendency to push down too hard. Even so I haven't found this foundation to go cakey on me.

If you look at my before and after pictures on the wear tests, you can see that it did a pretty good job at covering up my acne scarring. Some of the darkest scars were still partly visible but I don't mind.

Finish
After reading so many cushion foundation reviews, I was living under the assumption that all cushions are very dewy. But that ain't the truth. This cushion has more of a satin finish. It would definitely work with dry skin. I can't say how well it would work for oily skinned folks but I would guess that with a mattifying primer it could work really well!

Wear Tests
Just a little bit of background: I've got dehydrated, acne-prone skin. Since I've been maintaining a solid skincare routine, it's been pretty normal lately. In all these shots, including the before shots where I'm not wearing any foundation, I am wearing sunscreen so that's why there's a bit of a flashback. I also think my lighting situation (which I'm still getting a hang of) tends to emphasize any hint of oil on my face.

For these wear tests I didn't apply foundation on my T-zone (forehead + nose) because those are areas I generally avoid putting makeup on. I did try putting it on those areas on a different day and as expected, it got all cakey and gross. Note that this also didn't wear very well on the areas where my glasses sit on the bridge of my nose.

Wear Test 1: Hourglass Veil Mineral Primer & Smashbox Photo Finish Primer Water vs. Nothing
Wear Time: 8 hours
Outcome: I had contemplated re-doing this test because the day I shot these photos I went shopping at an outdoor outlet mall. And it was cold. And snowing. So my face was facing a whooole lot more of the elements than it does on a normal day. But then I said fuck it because maybe this would make for an even more legit test. If it can last the snow, it can last anything!

There was definite fading on both sides of my face. I think this was largely because of my scarf constantly wiping against my cheeks. On the side where I didn't wear any primer, I had some of the product start to separate around my mouth and nose but it wasn't too obvious unless you were looking really closely at my face. Despite the fact that my face felt hella dry from being outside in cold, dry weather for so long, I didn't have any dry patches.


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Wear Test 2: Hourglass Veil Mineral Primer vs. Laura Mercier Moisturizing Primer
Wear Time: 7 hours
Outcome: Since this is a water based foundation, I didn't try it over any silicone primers. Also I tend to stay away from silicone primers in the winter to begin with. But I still wanted to give it a try with a more matte/ pore minimizing primer so I tested it with the Hourglass Veil Mineral Primer and compared it to a hydrating primer-- the Laura Mercier Moisturizing Primer.

I had lunch sometime within the testing period and my lipstick rubbed off on my chin meaning that some of the foundation underneath my bottom lip also got rubbed off. Naturally the side with the moisturizing primer was considerably dewier than the side with the pore minimizing primer. Both sides wore really well with minimal fading. My chin is the only place with any real fading, and that's mostly because of my lipstick + my inability to eat food without spilling it on myself.

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Wear Test 3: Set With Hourglass Ambient Lighting Palette & MAC Fix+ vs. Set With Nothing
Wear Time: 10 hours
Outcome: For this test I applied Becca's Backlight Primer all over my face, and then set half my face with the Hourglass Ambient Lighting Palette and Mac Fix+.

Please excuse how haggard I look in the after shot 🙈. It was a long day and part of it was spent outdoors. But regardless, both sides held up pretty well! There is some fading on the side where I didn't set it and you can see some of my discoloration becoming more visible. Basically setting it with powder + setting spray definitely improved the wear, but I don't think it's a necessary step. Since Maybelline markets this as a foundation to-go, I'm glad to see that setting it isn't required for me.

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The bottom line?
This is the first drugstore foundation I've bought in a few years and it did not disappoint! I like the medium coverage and how easy it is to use. It did a good job of covering up my scars and didn't oxidize throughout the day.

When I first heard of cushion foundations I thought they were a bit gimmicky but they really are perfect for quick makeup days. Unlike a beautyblender, you don't have to worry about wetting a cushion before you apply. The one downside is that I have to clean the puff every other use. While I can easily use a foundation brush or beautyblender for a week without cleaning, the puff gets too saturated with foundation rather quickly. Either way, I think this is a good foundation for the price!

One thing I'll have to look out for in the future is how long this takes to dry out. I've heard that the L'oreal Lumi cushion dries within a few months but I hope that isn't the case for this one.

I'm excited to see more and more Western brands come out with cushion foundations. That means those of us with medium, tan, deep, or dark skin tones can finally join in on the cushion fun! Have you tried any cushion foundations? What's your favorite?



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On My Radar | Spring '17 Beauty Releases

1.19.2017

Oh man looking at my editorial calendar makes me sad. I had planned on posting a few reviews by this time of the month but so far have posted a grand total of 1 🙈. But I'm publicly declaring that for the second half of the month I will be whipping out reviews like... a person who reviews lots of things! In the meantime, let's chat about some new and upcoming beauty releases 😏.

(P.s. most of the items in the collage are clickable!)



Farmacy Beauty Green Clean
I've already waxed on about my love for Farmacy Beauty but I don't think I've waxed on about my love of cleansing balms. Either way two of my favorite coming things together are too hard to resist. It sold out back in December but it's now back in stock!

Reading the description of this balm on the Farmacy website has me drooling. The ingredient list includes sunflower and ginger root oil, moringa extracts, and papaya extracts. I don't know anything much about these ingredients but I am excited to research them and give this a go (because yes I purchased it while writing this post.)

 It isn't available at Sephora yet but it is on the Farmacy website.

Kat Von D Pastel Goth Eyeshadow Palette
The packaging, the colors, everything about this palette is so beautiful. I haven't read or watched any reviews yet so I don't have any idea how the shadow quality is but in general KVD shadows seem to be favorably reviewed-- even the limited edition ones. I've yet to buy any KVD eyeshadow palettes and this would make a great first one! But I'm not going to because I still haven't touched the Modern Renaissance Palette that I bought back in November. Yay for self control?

Algenist Splash Hydrating Setting Spray
Hi my name is Sharmili and I'm addicted to mists. There aren't too many setting sprays on the market that aren't laden with alcohol so I'm always excited to spot another one! Not only is this mist alcohol free, it's filled to the brim with all sorts of extracts. (A quick ingredients analysis on cosDNA revealed none of the recognized extracts as irritants.)

I know it's a fallacy to assume that "natural" sounding ingredients are inherently safer and better than synthetically produced/ "sciencey" sounding ingredients buuut I still appreciate the addition of natural ingredients. Perhaps they haven't been as well researched as other synthetic ingredients but sometimes they're on the cusp of something new! In addition, I feel like I'm getting my money's worth with these types of ingredients.

Either way I gave this a quick spritz the last time I was at Sephora and the mist is so fine! Like it's literally a very fine mist. I like.

Sunday Riley U.F.O. Ultra-Clarifying Face Oil
This oil isn't very new but the 0.5 oz bottle is! There's also a 0.5 oz bottle of the Luna oil now available!

I got a sample of this last week from Sephora and I really want to love it... but I don't. It doesn't do anything for my skin and like most oils, it leaves me feeling kinda sticky. It's not surprising since my skin doesn't react well to 99.9% of oils. Oh well.

If you are a fan of this/ have been wanting to try it, the $40 price tag is a whole lot easier to handle than the $80. Plus, oils have a tendency to last a pretty long time so you won't need to worry about re-stocking asap.

Becca First Light Priming Filter
I'm half afraid half entranced by the purple color of this primer. If I'm being honest, I'm not exactly sure how this is different from the original Becca Backlight Priming Filter besides for the fact that it's purple.

But alas, I look forward to reading reviews on this primer and perhaps picking up a sample for myself in store at Sephora 😉

Sunday Riley C.E.O. C + E antiOXIDANT Protect + Repair Moisturizer
I've seen a lot of skepticism over this cream due to the fact that Vitamin C is a difficult ingredient to preserve and this cream comes in an open air jar. Since I'm not chemist I'll leave it up to the experts to figure out the potency of the active ingredients in this cream.

But the way I see skincare is 30% background research, 70% experience. A product could have a sophisticated ingredient list and theoretically work well but end up destroying your moisture barrier. So while I enjoy learning and reading about ingredients, I'm more interested in hearing about how a product works in real life as opposed to in theory.

I was able to snag a free mini of this earlier this month and have used it twice now. It's pretty rich and on the verge of being greasy. My favorite part is its deliciously citrus scent although I can see how that would irritate some people's skin. I'll have to continue using it to see if it offers any long term benefits. 

Chanel Camelia De Chanel Illuminating Powder
This powder was made for Instagram. The embossed rose is absolutely gorgeous 😍

I've been bargaining with myself saying I can either purchase this highlighter or the Drunk Elephant babyfacial and I'm 95% sure I'm going with the Drunk Elephant. While this Chanel highlighter is beautiful, who really needs yet another highlighter? On top of that I prefer a softer, buttery formula. While I haven't seen or swatched this highlighter, their 2014 Chanel Camelia de Plumes Illuminating Powder Highlighter had a hard, baked consistency which didn't appeal to me.

Of course if you love collecting makeup this will be a beautiful addition to your collection!

Nars Soft Matte Complete Concealer
As a lover of all things Nars, I was excited to see a new concealer from them pop up on the Sephora new arrivals page. But if I'm being honest, it seems like a bit of a random reveal? Wand concealers are definitely more trendy but then again matte bases are supposedly going to be big in 2017! I guess it kinda makes sense as they released a new face primer too (although I think that one is more glowy?)

Personally I will be staying away from them since Nars face products tend to break me out. Also, a matte concealer seems like a nightmare to deal with for my dehydrated skin.

Drunk Elephant T.L.C. Sukari Babyfacial
It has taken everything I've got to stop myself from purchasing this baby. There's a good chance that I will cave before the end of the Sephora 2x points promo...

This mask, at home peel, super exfoliator or whatever you want to call it has a 25% concentration of actives as well as a perfect-for-actives pH of 3.5. Drunk Elephant claims it to be an effective exfoliator for all skin types without causing irritation or redness. On top of that, Drunk Elephant always has the most elegant but practical packaging. An opaque, airtight bottle with a pump? It's packaging perfection!

Hourglass Girl Lip Stylo
While I do enjoy the Hourglass products I have... I still think their products are over hyped. Do I love my ambient lighting palette yes? Do I think it's omg amazing and you need to forget about paying for food and rent and go out and buy it? No.

But gosh darn it and I can't help but fall for the hype around these lipsticks. I love the design and the marketing behind the collection. Most "trendy" named beauty products make me cringe while simultaneously rolling my eyes. I would much rather wear a lipstick named "Achiever," "Liberator," or "Visionary" over "Yaaaaaas" or "P*ssy whipped."

Wet N' Wild MegaCushion Matte Lip Cream
Wet N' Wild has been killing it with the new releases. I'll be posting my reviews of their new gel liners and liquid lipsticks (spoiler alert: I love 'em) later this month and have been slowly testing out their concealer and foundation. In addition to all those newbies, they also released a bunch of new cushion products! Of course as a self-proclaimed K-beauty addict they caught my eye.

Out of all their cushions, the lip cushions called to me the most. I haven't been bold enough to try out the gradient lip, partially because I don't have the right tools for it. It seems like this sorta cushion would make the look easier to accomplish.

I do wish they had some more darker or neutral colors but hopefully they'll be released in the future!

J. Cat Compact Cushion Foundation
$18.00 is hella pricey for a drugstore foundation, especially one by such an affordable brand. On the upside, they have the best color range for WOC! I guess I've become so cynical that a part of me wonders if the colors are darker on the website than they are in real life. It's a shame that they're online only because if they were in store I wouldn't be here writing this post, I would be in stores swatching the shit out of these cushions!

Glossier Priming Moisturizer Rich (if you shop through this link you'll get 20% off your first purchase & I'll get a $10 credit for referring you)
If you follow me on Instagram (@sharmtoaster) than ya know that I already caved and bought this guy 🙈. I used it this morning and it smells. so. good. ugh.

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And now it's obvious why I haven't been able to keep my no buy up. Thankfully I can say my low buy is going pretty well... although it's only half way through the month so who knows what's yet to happen.

What are the new beauty releases that have been tempting you?



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How to Brighten Up Your Flatlays for $1

1.17.2017

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Yes I am fully aware how clickbaity the title of this post is, but it's not total clickbait because I'm gonna deliver! Like the flatlay background that I shared on my Insta-stories the other day, this trick is stupidly easy... but hey, it works!

The $1 tool you'll need to brighten up your flatlays is a white foam poster board. That's it, folks. Make sure you get poster board and not poster paper as you will have some difficulty propping up the floppy poster paper.

Once you've got your poster board you need to figure out where to position it to maximize the light.

I'll be using this photo I posted on my Instagram a few days ago for my demo:
Day 12 of @peepingpomeranian's #abnewyearstashchallenge is oils! This is my one lone facial oil since oils and my skin don't tend to get along. Most oils either leave my skin greasy or break me out or both. @nuxe_us's huile prodigieuse multi-usage dry oil is the exception. It's a dry oil that sinks nicely into my skin. My favorite way to use it is to splash a few drops in my moisturizer. One thing to note is that it has a very strong fragrance. Personally I don't mind the scent which I would describe as: expensive 💰I also like that it can be used on my hair! It isn't my favorite hair oil but it gets the job done. If you're interested in it it's on sale for $25 at @ultabeauty at the moment. Also super random but yesterday I bought those arrow paper clips on clearance for $0.50 at @michaelsstores and I didn't realize they would make for perfect photo props 😅
A photo posted by Sharmili (@sharmtoaster) on


Now here are two behind the scenes photos:



As you can tell the addition of the white board brightened up a lot of the shadows. The key is positioning your board directly across from your light source.

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Of course you can also play around with the placement of your board. Placing it directly across from the light source will cause the most dramatic brightening effect but moving it around can create all sorts of different shadows and highlights.

You can even go wild and spend $2 and thus have 2 boards to bounce your light off of!

Side note: I was really tempted to use the words "blogger hacks" in the graphic but buzzfeed has ruined the word hack for me. I never wanna see another hack ever again!

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Sorry for the two super short posts in a row. To be honest I've been feeling a bit of a blogger burnout. At the same time I have so much content I'm excited to share... but I'm not necessarily in the mood to shoot, edit, write, & post. Hopefully I'll get out of my funk soon and get back into the blogging zone!

It doesn't take a genius to figure out that my burnout is partially thanks to my participation in two Instagram skincare challenges! If you're curious to find our more you can check out my Instagram (@sharmtoaster) 😉.



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Christmas In New York

1.13.2017

It's become a bit of a tradition for my family to go into NYC on Christmas Day. We'll usually stop by to see the tree and sometimes grab dinner. This year we ended up having a large feast at home but we still went and saw the tree for about an hour.

While I love the holidays I can be a bit of a grinch when it comes to seeing the tree. As you can imagine it gets very, very crowded and the whole experience is made even worse by the low temperatures. Thankfully this year it wasn't all that cold so my grinch-ness was at a lower level than usual. I didn't even have to wear a proper coat!

My wardrobe is pretty monochromatic but I brought in a bit of the holiday spirit with this khaki green skort I bought this summer. I topped the look off with my favorite jacket of the moment. When I bought a year or two ago I assumed it would be a seasonal trendy item but it's got a lot of consistent wear! I initially bought it because it reminded me of a Mother jacket I had been lusting over. While Urban Outfitters hasn't brought back this jacket, Mother did bring back their original sherpa bomber jacket! It's funny how quick some trend cycles are becoming.

Hope you all have a wonderful weekend!

sweater: COS; similar from Monki via ASOS, Loft
jacket: Urban Outfitters; similar from Mother, Anthropologie, American Eagle (in black)
skort: Ann Taylor
bag: random store in Italy
tights: Hue; similar from Urban Outfitters
boots: Zara; similar from River Island, New Look, Monki, ASOS

lipstick: Wet N' Wild Catsuit Lipstick in "Give Me Mocha" (review coming soon-ish!)
foundation: Lancôme Miracle Cushion Liquid Cushion Compact Foundation
mascara: Dior Diorshow Waterproof Mascara







P.s this is the last weekend to enter my end of Blogmas giveaway! You can find the full giveaway details on the original post and enter on the widget below. Good luck!

a Rafflecopter giveaway
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