May 23, 2016

New in Beauty - Beauty Cravings

Some really cool stuff in the market!! Both in Beauty and Skincare. A few that caught my fancy.

Charlotte Tilbury 'Instant Hollywood False-Lash Effect' Mascara: Look at the name!! Isn't is Awesome enough to catch any make up lover's attention? This is a new offering from the brand and is available at Nordstrom.

BECCA Becca x Jaclyn Hill Champagne Collection Face Palette: One of the most anticipated and much awaited palette in recent times. Becca, Shimmers and Jaclyn Hill are match made in heaven. The palette contains 3 blushes in different finishes and two highlighters. The very infamous Shimmering Skin Perfector™ Pressed highlighter shade in Champagne Pop (soft white gold with pinky peach undertones) and a new one Prosecco Pop (medium warm gold). This is a limited edition palette and the price looks pretty nice too. This will sell out quick! Very quick!!

BECCA Becca x Jaclyn Hill Champagne Collection Eye shadow Palette: There is a new eye shadow palette as well in the collaboration. The colors are warm neutrals.

NAILS INC. Superfood Repair Oil: Honestly, it is the bottle that caught my attention while checking for new products on Sephora website. In my experience all nail oils work the same. Basically, any kind of moisturizing oil does the trick, If is smells good, I am all for it. A horrible smelling nail product is a big NO-NO.

Blithe is a totally new brand for me. I have never used any of their products nor heard anyone talking much about them, but this Blithe Tundra Chaga Pressed Serum appears to be very promising. This Korean product is a blend of Serum and Moisturizer. It is an online product only, so there is no way to actually smell or feel the product. This one is on my 'to buy' list once I finish of all the lotions and potions that I am currently testing or using.

Guerlain Radiance in a Flash Instant Radiance & Tightening: The luxury brand Guerlain has come up with some really cool products in recent months. Their Bronzers are one of the best in the market and so are their Meteorites. This new product is a little confusing for me though. It is a gel, that is to be applied after the moisturizer, for radiance and firming. Unique!

KORRES Golden Krocus Ageless Saffron Elixir Serum: I don't hear many people raving about Korres, but the brand has its own cult followers. They make some real good stuff. With exception of one or two products, everything I have tried from the brand in the past has worked. This new serum is pretty up there in the price as it boasts of having the best saffron in it as an ingredient. Saffron has always been used in ancient times by rich and royals to enhance their beauty. This one claims to correct visible signs of aging.

Kiehl's Since 1851 'Cactus Flower & Tibetan Ginseng' Mist: I really am curious to know the difference between this mist and the In-flight refreshing mist. They both contain Ginseng, cactus flower and pretty much the same ingredients. They both are refreshing, cooling mists.

GLAMGLOW GLOWSTARTER™ Mega Illuminating Moisturizer: After dominating the face mask market, the brand has launched a new Illuminating moisturizer. It is as simple as the name. A multi-tasking product to provide hydration and glow at the same time. I am looking forward for a travel size release.

Any new product that is on your list? Would you be buying the Becca Palette?

Disclaimer: The post contains Affiliate Links

May 18, 2016

Tatcha Luminous Dewy Skin Mist (review)

A travel-friendly spray-on serum for dewy, glowing, luminous skin.

This silky liquid spray-on moisturizer of squalane, red algae, and HADASEI-3™ bioactive complex can be misted anytime for a boost of soothing hydration, resulting in dewy, luminous skin. It contains an anti aging complex of sonically extracted whole plant green tea, rice bran oil, and red algae—a trio of moisturizing and antioxidant ingredients that helps fight free radical attack.

The specially designed pump evenly distributes a lightweight mist that is perfect as a setting spray, instantly softening and smoothing without streaking or disturbing makeup. This spray can also can be used to refresh bare skin or cosmetics throughout the day, without buildup or residue.

Formulated without:
- Parabens
- Sulfates
- Phthalates

This product from Tatcha is definitely a unique one. Tatcha is an expensive Japanese Brand. I have tried a bunch of their products. While some of them are really unique and worth the price tag, a few of them perform just OK for their price and quantity.

Tatcha Luminous Dewy Skin Mist is not a makeup setting spray, but a liquid moisturizing that moisturizes, nourishes and leaves a dewy glow on the face. 

Color: Milky white with very soft iridescence. There are no shimmers, glitter or sparkles.

Texture and Consistency: Thin, light weight, non sticky, non greasy liquid.

Scent: Non detected.

Application: It can be applied both before and after makeup. I usually use it after makeup but for the sake of review I did try a few times before makeup. After makeup, I just spray around 2-4 pumps all over my face and leave it to set. 

Feel and Effect on the Skin: It takes less than a minute for this mist to completely set it. The face looks super hydrated and dewy but not oily. It helps in getting rid of extra powder if any and reduces the cake'y' look that sometimes setting powders leave. It moisturizes the face, giving it a very dewy glow. The 'dewy' part is what makes it different. The product does not just evaporates, but in fact it sets and gives a finished and polished look to the face. 

It also works nice underneath makeup as a base, but I would not prefer all its glow imparting magic to be lost under foundation and other layers of product. 

Packaging: This comes in an elegant glass bottle with purple ombre gradient effect. There is a pump and this is probably the best pump that I have used among any other facial sprays. The nozzle is amazing and it sprays super fine mist. This dispenser/spray is really good.

The product has a light lavender hue. Does not appears on skin though.

Verdict: This is more of a hydrating, soothing and finishing mist. It will set the makeup to give the face that final glow. It is not a 'makeup setting spray' that will necessarily increase the longevity of the makeup. It is not a mattifying product. I have dry skin and it just gives life to my dehydrated skin. Also, it is not uplifting kind of a mist. This is more on the hydrating and nourishing side. This is something that I won't be using on a hot summer afternoon at a beach or on a Disney vacation. I would prefer something more 'refreshing' and 'crisp' mist, if that makes any sense.

A few other facial mists in the market. I am amazed at how many of these I have tried!!!

Disclaimer: The post contains Affiliate Links

May 16, 2016

The Monthly Review - Beauty/Skincare Hits and Misses (April)

The Monthly Review series will feature a mix of products ranging from Skincare, Beauty, Bath and Body, Hair, Nails etc. that I find interesting, magical, unique or just fun to use in that particular month. These products may be recent release or an old discovery. Also, in the series I will mention few products that failed to impress me or just did not work at all.

These months go by so quickly! Very very quickly!! I am so behind schedule when it comes to posting on blog. Spring is the season I work extensively on improving the condition of my garden. Gardening is a new luxury for me. I am enjoying the whole learning and working process. Back to this post.

April is a weird month weather wise in Chicago. Some days are pleasantly warm while some are really, drastically windy and cold. Then we have rains with occasional hail storms. This crazy weather means crazy skin conditions too. Most of my favorites this month were products related to skincare. Well, they always are! I am a skincare junkie or rather I just enjoy taking good care of my skin. 

Clarins Body Oil: I love this oil. It is probably the most thickest oil of the lot that I use for the body. The lightest one being the Nuxe Huile Prodigieuse dry oil. Clarins Oil though thick in texture somehow works beautifully for me during spring season. It is strange because considering how thick it is it would be more apt for winters. I love how it moisturizes. Once I apply it after my bath, I really don't need to apply any moisturizer till next bath. It is a boon for dry skin.

Argan Infinity Cream Intensive Creamy Oil: I love this stuff and I really enjoy using this as foot cream. We are getting our few days of better weather, giving us chance to wear sandals and flip-flops. This creamy oil performs excellent in getting rid of dryness and cracks from the heels and making the feet soft, smooth and beautiful. The product is prone to separating, but a good massage of tube, with lid closed solves the issue. The creamy oil will leave the feet greasy, so it is more like bedtime foot care regimen with socks on and not something I use before going out.

Sunday Riley Tidal Enzyme water cream has been a part of my night time routine for quite some weeks now and I can safely say it performs good. The cream is very gentle in comparison to other two products that I have tried from the brand. The cream definitely brightens the skin over a period of time. It gets rid of dullness in turn revealing a more glowing and bright skin.

Cura Complexion Catalyst Crème: This creme was sent to me by the company for trying and reviewing. It is a wonderful creme for my dry skin. I posted my review on this one recently here. The gentle creme was a good match to the Sunday Riley Tidal Enzyme Cream. They both made my skin really look healthy. Review here.

Pixi Makeup Fixing Mist: This mist is very light weight and non greasy. It hydrates as well as holds makeup in place. Thoroughly enjoying this product and it can be used during the the day as well because it is not dewy or shiny like the Tatcha Mist and does not imparts extra glow or shine.

Charlotte Tilbury Air Brush Flawless Finish' Skin Perfecting Micro-Powder is very unique. It is one of those products that is not noticeable when used all the time, but when stopped using, the difference is clearly noticeable. I have this color in medium. It is very neutral and I was little skeptical that it would be too light for my skin tone. It does not leave any white cast. I use it as finishing powder to set everything at the end. It makes the skin look flawless and very smooth giving this illusion of perfect skin. I just need to post a review soon. 

NYX Butter Lipstick: It is hard to believe that this product is below $5. The texture and formula is comparable to any high end lipsticks. In fact, I find it much better and hydrating than many of the high end stuff that I own. This is not a new product, but I bought is very recently. It is long lasting, smooth and hydrating. Excellent drugstore stuff. 

A few misses:

Fresh Sugar Lip Treatment Sunscreen SPF 15: I have got around 4 tubes of this in different colors lying around. I usually buy these Holiday Sets to try some skincare and the brand always includes one product which is this. As much as I want to love the product, it just peels my lips. I decided to use up whatever I have and unfortunately, it didn't work again this time. Big miss in April!

Alterna Caviar Rapid Repair Spray: I hate to see that this one didn't work for me. I just could not stand the smell of this and also it did nothing for my hair. This is my first fail from Alterna Caviar range. Alterna is my favorite hair care brand. Read my review here. A big miss for April!.

Disclaimer: All opinions are my own based on my personal experience with the products. The post contains Affiliate Links. 

May 12, 2016

BECCA Backlight Priming Filter (review/swatches)

A makeup primer to help blur imperfections and impart a radiant glow.

Backlighting acts as an instant filter, creating a diffused, soft-focused radiance that allows your complexion to catch light for a glowing look. Infused with Becca’s proprietary blend of three unique Filtering Luminescent crushed pearls, this primer achieves a lit-from-within, healthy-looking effect. The lightweight, whipped fluid creates a smooth canvas, while the vitamin E-enriched formula minimizes the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles.

Formulated without
- Parabens
- Sulfates
- Phthalates

When it comes to achieving healthy, glowing, radiant, lit from within skin, Becca Cosmetics have the best products. Nobody does 'highlighting' and 'illuminating' products as lovely as Becca. The Shimmering Skin Perfector both pressed and liquid are absolutely stunning. Becca Backlight Priming Filter is no different. It is a lovely product.

Color: Champagne with pearly finish

Texture and Consistency: Smooth, silky, not to thick nor too thin, lotion.

Scent: It has a light, pleasant scent. The scent is a clean, fresh scent not rose'y' or anything floral. The scent does not lingers on for long.

Application: I apply it before makeup on moisturized skin. Very little amount of product is needed. Too much of it would ruin the over all effect, like leaving a patchy, shiny residue. I dab around few dots all over my face and then with my fingers, I gently spread it all over. I find fingers the best way to apply this one. I try not to massage the product too much. It does not bunch or ball up. It is not slippery either.

Feel and Effect on Skin: The primer sets pretty quickly, so it is better to work fast for a flawless finish. Initially, it is a little tacky, but within an minute it sets and forms this base to work on. The shimmers in the primer are very subtle, so the skin has a glow, which is not a shimmery disco ball glow. I have dry skin and this does not cling to any dry patches if any. The product is moisturizing on its own, but I do moisturize my skin before applying this. It does not makes me look greasy or oily. It does not fills the lines or pores like a silicone based primer, but somehow the skin appears smooth and flawless. It gives life to dull, dry skin.

Packaging: Heavy, frosted glass packaging with a hefty pump. The packaging is not cheap looking.

This is an example of before and after application of Backlight Priming Filter on bare hands. This is a very heavy application.

Verdict: BECCA Backlight Priming Filter works for me. The light champagne shade does not leaves a white cast on my skin tone. I have dry skin, so it does not makes me look greasy or oily. If anything it does, it helps my skin look healthy. Also, I do not wear heavy or full coverage foundation. This is one major reason this primer actually works. The whole radiant glow factor is not lost beneath full and heavy foundation. A light dusting of powder is all that is needed, if I plan to wear it all on its own. The glow is not over the top. It is very subtle to begin with.
A combination of this primer along with a tinted moisturizer is a match made in heaven. It makes me look very natural, does not hides every single blemish or sun spot I have and makes me look flawless but yet human.

Love it! I have to compare it with other primers in same category, like the Dior Glow Maximizer Primer, MAC Strobe Cream, Laura Mercier Foundation Primer - Radiance and COVER FX Illuminating Primer. A big thumbs up in my book.

Disclaimer: The post contains Affiliate Links.

May 10, 2016

CURA Complexion Catalyst Crème - Reveiw

CURA Complexion Catalyst Crème

An innovative, lightweight, regenerative moisturizer that harnesses the potent power of calcium to revitalize skin's youthful appearance. 
Formulated with proprietary RENOVOCEL™ Complex and all-natural active ingredients, this luxurious crème is designed to reduce the signs of aging, promote skin renewal and restore skin's natural radiance. 

Key Ingredients: 
* Calcium promotes skin cell regeneration and is necessary for maintaining the calcium gradient naturally found in youthful, healthy skin
* Camellia sinesis leaf extract inhibits the breakdown of collagen, for younger-looking skin
* Caffeine is a powerful antioxidant and stimulates skin renewal
* Colloidal oatmeal soothes skin while preventing moisture loss
* Hyaluronic acid is the most powerful known moisturizer and keeps skin smooth and soft

Free From: Parabens, sulfates, phthalates, PEGs, mineral oil and gluten.

A little about the ingredients. The cream contains Calcium, which is something I have never used in a cream or for local application. Also, the Camellia sinesis contains good amount of Caffeine, which is an anti-oxidant and the extract is used as Broncodilator in medicine. It would work great with blood circulation on the skin. The Hyaluronic acid and Colloidal oatmeal helps with moisture retention keeping the skin soft, smooth and plump. 

More about the ingredients here and here

Color: White 

Texture and Consistency: Light weight, not too thick nor sticky, dense cream.

Scent: It smells pleasant and is mild. It is very difficult for me to pinpoint the exact scent, but whatever it is, it does not lingers on forever and is very relaxing.

Application: I apply it on clean, dry face. Just a tiny amount is all that is needed. A light massage on face and neck in circular motion is my way of applying. I also use the cream as a base before applying makeup and it just works perfect. 

Feel and Effect on skin: The cream spreads pretty easily. It is not at all sticky or tacky. It is absorbed almost instantly and completely into the skin. The face feels super moisturized, but not greasy or shiny in appearance. This cream did not clog my pores nor made it broke me out. I have been using the cream consistently and it makes the skin look more healthy, plump, smooth and moisturized. the key though is consistent and religious use. Very little amount of product is needed.

Packaging: The full size product comes in a frosted, heavy glass jar with screw top lid. Very sturdy.

Verdict: Recently, I have been using a lot of products that contain enzymes, AHAs and ingredients that act on skin by removing the dead cells and evening out the skin tone. I love to get the glow back, but these kind of products mess with the skin texture. They make it rough and uneven. I try to balance out with a cream that is more gentle and has Hyaluronic acid. The Cura Complexion Catalyst Crème is super gentle and immensely hydrating and moisturizing. I have seen my random dry patches almost disappear. It works good under makeup as well. The foundation goes on smooth, non patchy and even. Does not makes me look greasy or shiny after couple of hours.

This is a good product, but a little expensive. I would think twice before spending on full size jar just to try the product for the first time. Luckily the CURA people offer trial size packs and it is a great way to see whether the product works. Once it works successfully, believe me the price of the creme would look more like an investment and not over expense.

Available at Cura Skincare

Disclaimer: The product was sent to me for free. I did not pay for it. Big thanks to Cura for giving me a chance to try this product. The post is not a paid post and all the opinions are my own, based on my experience with the product. 

May 7, 2016

LORAC Light Source Illuminating Highlighter (Swatches)

Instantly bring luminosity and life to your face with Lorac Light Source Highlighter. These paraben-free, high-pearl highlighters are infused with anti-aging antioxidants and light diffusing, soft focus pigments for a silky-smooth, luminous glow. This illuminating, complexion-enhancing formula can be worn sheer for a soft, natural sheen or layered for a high-shine, dramatic effect. Become a beautiful, sensual source of light with Lorac.

0.21 oz.

I recently got a chance to see and try these new illuminating highlighters. Kohl's is a store that is open till very late at night. I was shopping at a very peaceful, quiet store when I saw these highlighters and I had the whole Lorac counter to myself. I played around with the colors and clicked some pictures.

These come in four shades. The texture was buttery smooth and there were absolutely no sparkle when I blended them. The packaging is beautiful, sleek, sturdy and has a magnetic closure. Very sleek and much better than those old highlighter compacts. The sheen and glow it imparted was very sophisticated and chic. 

LORAC Light Source Illuminating Highlighter in Starlight, Daylight, Twilight, Moonlight (The labels of Daylight and Starlight in this photographs got mixed. Sorry about that)

I cannot comment on the longevity of the product as I don't own them. The colors in the range are

Starlight - White Opal
Daylight - Soft Gold
Twilight - Light Bronze
Moonlight - Pink Pearl

There is something for everyone. 

Have you tried these new LORAC Light Source Illuminating Highlighter

These are available at Ulta, Kohl's, Lorac and Nordstrom

Disclaimer: The post contains Affiliate Links

May 5, 2016

ALTERNA Haircare Caviar Anti-Aging Rapid Repair Spray® (review)

A vitamin-packed spray that helps revitalize hair while adding instant shine and moisture.

This shine spray helps add moisture and vibrancy to hair while combating natural, chemical, and environmental stresses. It can be used as a thermal protectant when applied pre-styling, or as a finishing shine spray for a lustrous look.

Formulated WITHOUT:
- Sulfates
- Phthalates

My experience with Alterna Caviar line of products has been more than amazing. Everything that I have tried from this line has done wonders for my hair, which is very fine and frizzy to begin with.

I picked this product for getting that extra dose of shine and healthy looking hair. In the past I used to love this shine mist from Ojon. I don't know the exact name of that product, as it came in a kit. Currently, I don't see that product anymore on Ulta website, but that shine spray was fantastic. It was holy grail material and I have yet to find something that could replace it. 

Color: Clear

Texture and Consistency: Thin, non sticky, like water

Application: I apply it as a finishing spray after blow drying and styling. Also, I use it on damp hair before using hot tools as a heat protectant. Not necessarily both ways at same time.

Scent/Fragrance: This smells horrible to my nose. It smells like cheap hair sprays, very alcohol and worst part is the scent lingers on for the whole day. It is strange though because every Alterna product I have tried smells very good and every review I read for this product claimed that this one smells great!! Maybe, I got a bad batch or something is wrong with my nose. 

Feel and Effect on the hair: The spray did not weigh my hair down nor it left any residue, which is a good thing. It did not do anything to tame the frizz, but I didn't expect it because that is not what the spray is meant to do. The product did not do anything it claimed. I did not notice any extra shine or added moisture in my hair. The hair just looked 'blah'. 

Packaging: This comes in a frosted, purple plastic bottle with a spray. The nozzle dispenses fine mist and not just squirts the product. The distribution is even. 

Verdict: As much as I hoped this product to replace my beloved Shine mist from Ojon, it failed to deliver the basics. Not only the scent was horrible, it did nothing for my hair. Absolutely nothing! There was no shine, no added moisture, no extra smoothness. 
Maybe the product is not meant for my hair type. But nowhere on the packaging it says 'not for fine, frizzy hair'. Now, I use this as thermal protectant, just to finish off the product.

A thumbs down this was.

Few Alterna products that I have tried 

Disclaimer: The post contains Affiliate Links

May 3, 2016

New in Beauty - Beauty Cravings

A bunch of  'new' and 'not so new' (a week old release is also considered 'old' these days) products that I spotted while browsing. There were many, but the above ones caught my attention.

I think I have seen this product before, but the color in Honey is new. Most probably it won't leave any tint. I love lip oils and recently I picked the YSL Volupté Tint-In-Oil. The product is nice and hydrating, but the tint that it leaves on my lips is really hideous. I would not blame it on the product though. The color choice was mine. Digging the cute applicator of the Clarins Oil.

The moment I read the word 'Glotion' I was like Seriously?? I mean it is a concept that we all have been using. Mixing a liquid illuminating product with lotion and slathering on. Getting it already mixed and ready to use is a good thing. This 'glotion' is just as the name suggests, a glow imparting lotion.

This is a product that I have been hearing about since couple of weeks, all thanks to Makeup artist Lisa Eldridge. This is a sheer tinted lip oil and every single one of these have a unique scent. The applicator is a bouncy cushion and the packaging is super cute! There are many shades I am sure there would be at least few that would give me a more mature tint and not some kiddish pink lip.

Another new offering from the Hourglass brand is a cream product. This is a palette containing cream bronzer, blush and highlighter. The finish is sheer, cream to satin formula. This reminds me so much of the NARS multiple duo that I used to have long back. I am very positive that Hourglass one will not have over the top shimmers in this cream blend. The only question is whether this one palette will show up on all skin tones?

This is a new skincare product. A refreshing, hydrating, watery lotion infused with ginseng for skin that glows with radiance. Do I need anymore reasons to try this out? This one is on wishlist.

This is a new bronzer and it has a unique baked formula. The product promises sun kissed glow. There are 5 colors to compliment different skin tones. The packaging is gorgeous and the pattern is beautiful! The brand has also come out with Givenchy Healthy Glow Highlighter for Strobing. It also has the same lovely packaging.

Hourglass is on roll! They come out with these cool, new, chic products. This Light Correcting Primer is meant to blur, smooth, and perfect the skin for a soft, subtle glow. It sounds amazing, but I can wait to try as I have very many primers to go through.

We have seen this kind of products before. My very first gradient kind of all in one powder was from MAC. I like MAC. They carry some really good staples. Not a fan of endless collections they keep churning though. Back to Kevyn Aucoin Neo Bronzer. There are two shades and the palette is very compact and sleek. Kevyn Aucoin powders are smooth and soft. They don't go on patchy or choppy. Would love to try this one. 

A multitasking, single-step facial-in-a-jar that instantly perfects the appearance of the skin. This is what this mask is. It is a multitasking product, basically targeting every skin issue and working on every skin type. It sounds like it is magic in a jar. I don't know why the term bouncy is used. The brand has good products, not very unique ones. Hopefully, this jar should do the magic. The price is not insanely expensive either. 

These were few new products that I hope to try in coming months. Any new stuff that you are waiting for?

Disclaimer: The post contains Affiliate Links


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