Sunday, April 13, 2014


For most people, warmer weather means ponytails and halter tops. Though I make use of both when sunshine graces local sidewalks, springtime means principally one thing: new makeup! This year, in particular, has yielded an unusual number of impressive Spring/Summer collections from some of the most buzzed-about names in beauty. Here, you'll find a baker's dozen of beauty bits that have made my lust list. I've included brief descriptions as to why you might want to have each thing knocking around in your makeup bag--simply click on the names to purchase whatever you feel you can't live without. Enjoy!

Spring Wish List 2014

1 // Chanel Rouge Allure Velvet Luminous Matte Lip Color in 40 La Sensuelle, $35
Chanel's lip offerings consistently deliver, but they don't appeal to everyone. For example, I find their Glossimers too sticky, and some of their lipstick formulas too firm in the bullet. This formula has me smitten, and the color is right up my alley. I love it as much as I hate using that expression.

2 // Kat Von D Monarch Eyeshadow Palette, $46
I've heard many good things about Kat Von D palettes, but I've never owned or properly tested any of them, despite the surrounding hype. Since getting sucked into the beauty blogosphere, however, it was only natural for me to get a little giddy upon the very recent release of this beauty (that orange!). I love the packaging, which is a huge plus in my book. If you're at all interested, be sure to check out Monarch's sister palette, Chrysalis, a more colorful variation on the same theme (in all honesty, I like both equally). You can find swatches here. Note: this palette--along with all other Kat Von D products--is a Sephora exclusive.

3 // Ole Henriksen Blue/Black Berry Enzyme Mask, $34
I have yet to try an Ole product that doesn't both perform and smell delicious, which is a good sign if I ever saw (smelled?) one. My favorite of the things I've tried is probably the walnut exfoliating scrub, but I can see my face getting on famously with this enzyme-packed gel mask. The best part? It was formulated for sensitive skin! This is definitely a mask skincare enthusiasts can get excited about.

4 // Yves Saint Laurent Gloss Volupté in 202 Rose Jersey, $32
I really didn't want to like these. The price tag, paired with my crippling phobia of gloss stickiness, gave me courage that I'd be able to resist the allure of the release of YSL's new fleet of glosses, a 27-strong range in three finishes: Pure (shimmer-free), Golden (gold shimmer) and Iridescent (iridescent pearl shimmer). Unfortunately for me, these glosses are quite possibly the most luxurious I've come across; what's more, they feel almost silken on the lips. If it helps, they smell strongly of Starbursts candy. For some, that might be a dealbreaker, but as for me, my lip lust only gets stronger. This color, especially, has me starry-eyed, and I'm not the only one: it's sold out or backordered everywhere I look!

5 // Nars Satin Lip Pencil in Descanso, $25
I've been able to resist the temptation of Nars' famed lip pencils thus far only by merit of their need for a sharpener--Tarte's pencils are great and, being retractable, no product goes to waste. Still, I've got my eye on one of the satin finish offerings from their latest collaboration with Nordstrom, the Final Cut collection. Descanso looks like a creamy, dreamy pinky-coral nude, and all the beauty bloggers I trust who've reviewed it agree. It's a Nordstrom exclusive, but I'm not sure that'll be enough to keep me away for much longer.

6 // Too Faced Chocolate Bar Palette, $49
This one shouldn't come as a surprise. Self-taught beauty bloggers and professional makeup artists alike are huge fans of this palette, and I can see why. To be honest, I would have purchased it already if it weren't for the fact that it's so incredibly similar to a palette I already own, the Lorac PRO. Though, to be fair, I have friends who've made a convincing case for owning both. The formula, shades and arrangement all get high marks in the blogosphere, but Too Faced gets my seal of approval for incorporating the intoxicating cocoa powder used in my favorite bronzer, their Milk Chocolate Soleil. You can find comparison reviews of the two palettes on YouTube, here and here.

7 // By Terry Ombre Blackstar "Color-Fix" Cream Eyeshadow in 14 Blue Obsession, $43
I'm sure some of you think I'm crazy for even entertaining the idea of spending more than forty dollars on a single eyeshadow, but this is a wish list, and luxury beauty products are bound to be on it. Now, I'll be the first to admit that more expensive doesn't necessarily mean better quality--and not just in beauty products, either. By Terry, however, is a different story. Every item practically comes with a satisfaction guarantee simply based on the caliber of ingredients used and, in some cases, the research conducted in search of the technology used in the product. Here, we have a waterproof, extremely comfortable shadow stick that redefines cream eyeshadow. I'd likely do a number of unspeakable things to get my hands on this navy shade.

8 // Shu Uemura Eyelash Curler, $20
Here's another item that shouldn't come as a surprise to those at all versed in the cosmetic world: the Shu curler.If it's good enough for Lisa Eldridge, it's certainly good enough for me. Plus, I've read a sickening number of ode-like reviews insisting that, yes, it really is that good. Currently, I'm using a Sephora Collection curler in a cheerful metallic green, a sturdy stand-in until the fateful day I bite the bullet and purchase one of these iconic curlers for myself.

9 // Kevyn Aucoin The Celestial Powder in Candlelight, $44
An industry standby, Kevyn Aucoin's powder highlight is a favorite of many, most notably including beauty blog Temptalia's Christine. As a total highlighter newb, I opted for Becca's Shimmering Skin Perfector first, a liquid highlighter known as another long-time favorite of the untouchable Ms. Eldridge. Though a bottle of that offers you a ton of great product for three dollars less, those who prefer powders swear by this one, and I'm getting increasingly curious.

10 // By Terry Cellularose Blush Glacé in 1 Rose Melba, $58
If I ever have a moment of weakness long enough to purchase this, it will have been the most I've ever spent on a blush, but with good reason. I've swatched all three colors in By Terry's cream blush range, and this is the shade I liked most. The blush smells faintly of roses, something I actually quite like, but the formula is what makes the product really shine. On the skin, the Blush Glacés look like the natural, youthful flush that every blusher promises to give, minus the disappointment. As I mentioned earlier, if you can stomach the price tag, By Terry delivers. For those of you looking for a slightly more budget friendly option, Hourglass' Ambient Lighting Blushes are my current formula of choice. You can read my review of Dim Infusion here (more reviews coming soon!)

11 // Nars Radiant Creamy Concealer in Chantilly, $29
I could go on and on about the good things I've heard about this concealer, but you'd probably be better off just Googling it yourself. My most notable enablers probably came in the form of Anna from Vivianna Does Makeup and Amelia from Liana Beauty, both from across the pond. Nars promises a radiant, lit-from-within glow without sacrificing any coverage. I was particularly struck by the lightest shade in the lineup, Chantilly, if only because it actually looks like it has the makings of a shade match for my ghostly skin. If you're interested, don't hesitate: Nordstrom is offering 10% off, which we all know won't last forever!

12 // Tom Ford Beauty Lip Color and Lip Color Shines, $48-49
No wish list would feel complete without something from Tom Ford's hideously expensive and heart-wrenchingly gorgeous line of beauty products, and this list is no exception. I'd love to try both the sheerer, more forgiving Lip Color Shines and the opaque Lip Colors, both of which can be purchased in a variety of equally dazzling colors. The one pictured above is of the former variety, in the shade Chastity, but I'm more inclined towards the Lip Colors in Pink Dusk, Indian Rose and Casablanca, at the moment.

13 // Fig + Yarrow Cardamom + Coffee Body Scrub, $48
As a nod to the ever-expanding realm of indie cosmetics and skincare, I've chosen to finish off this list with a promising scrub from a lesser-known brand, Fig + Yarrow. I heard of this scrub from Estée over at Essie Button, and after sizing up the packaging and ingredients for myself, I'm pretty much sold. As for the price, I'm comforted by the fact that Estée was initially scared off by it, too, until she tried it for herself and decided she needed this scrub in her life. Sooner or later, I'll probably convince myself that I need it in mine, too.

Well, that's all for my Spring wish list! I hope you liked it. This is a new feature here on the blog, so if you'd like to see more content like this, please give me a yell in the comments down below. If you're interested in an all-natural and/or indie brand-focused wish list, I can do that, too. We aim to please! 'Til next time,

Katy xx

Thursday, April 10, 2014

Givenchy Ombre Couture Cream Eyeshadow

Hello, everyone! Long time no see! I know, I know, it's all my fault. I've been busy, I've been neglectful. But here I am, alive and, allow me to rephrase. And, well, here I am, alive. Haha! Anyhow, bad jokes aside, I've swatched the new Givenchy shadows to make it up to you.

These guys are a new cream shadow offering from the brand we grew to know and love following their release of that "weird ball thingy" mascara that really put them on the makeup map. There are nine waterproof, long-wearing (Givenchy claims 16 hours, but can't personally attest to this) highly pigmented shades in the current lineup, and one'll set you back $23, a pleasant surprise when you consider Givenchy's competitors (Dior's Fusion Monos cost $30 each, while Chanel's Illusions d'Ombres come in at $36). On Sephora's website, the shadows are also suggested for use as all over bases--for me, MAC's Paint Pots came to mind, as these come in similar packaging. So, without further ado, let's get swatchin'!
The Shades
1 Top Coat Blanc Satin a "top coat" shade intended for use as a highlighter or in conjunction with another shade
2 Beige Mousseline a beige I would classify as a pastel camel color, if that exists
3 Rose Dentelle a dusty rose shade, the most wearable in my opinion of the nine on offer
4 Bleu Sole a rich, indigo-leaning navy, tied for my favorite with Brun Cachemire
5 Taupe Velours a minky taupe, more grey than brown, which was kind of a disappointment
6 Kaki Brocart an army green, I knew this would be a hit and its the only shade currently sold out at Sephora!
7 Gris Organza a deep charcoal, I can see smokey eye lovers reaching for this one a lot
8 Prune Taffetas a lovely violet, still muted enough that it wouldn't overpower a look
9 Brun Cachemire a gorgeous chocolate, perfect for those who can't get enough browns
And another shot of the swatches, this time with flash:
Personally, none of these shades jumped out at me enough to merit purchasing them, but if you feel the need to build your color (or cream shadow) wardrobe, I can see any one of these making a lovely addition. As I mentioned earlier, I didn't get to properly test the wear of the shadows, but they were creamy and applied smoothly to the back of my hand. As you can see, they are certainly pigmented; my only gripe is that they're not entirely consistent throughout the range or even a swipe of the shadow (though I'm sure that could be remedied with a more careful application.) The price point, in my opinion, leaves enough wiggle room for appeal to those who are wary of spending $36 on a shadow single (though I do love the Chanel option.) If you fancy seeing for yourself, you can purchase Givenchy's Ombre Couture Cream Eyeshadows at Sephora, and anywhere Givenchy cosmetics are sold.

If you've sampled these already, please let me know what you think of them, down below!
Katy xx

Monday, March 24, 2014

The Blemish Buster

It's not often that you come across a product that changes your life. It's even less often that someone like me, with skin more sensitive than Ryan Gosling and more temperamental than a terrible two year-old, finds such a product. Well, let me tell you a little somethin' somethin' about Acne Treatment Nighttime from Malin + Goetz.

At bedtime, simply dip a Q-tip all the way to the bottom of the little jar, tap off the excess alcohol, and dab sparingly on your "problem areas" (I hate that expression.) Basically, cover up anything you don't like the looks of with this stuff. In the morning, run excitedly to the mirror (okay, that part is optional) and wash off the cream, which should have since dried to a powdery consistency that may have even flaked off in the night. Et voilà! Whatever the offense(s), you should see enough improvement to lift your spirits and face the day.

The best part? Well, truly, there are three. For starters, this stuff doesn't hurt--it doesn't make sensitive skin retreat into itself like a tortoise, or flake off in scales like a crocodile's. That's because this relies on sulfur rather than something harsher, like the salicylic acid or benzoyl peroxide found in many drugstore zit zappers. Now, even though sulfur is more gentle, boy, does it work. That brings me to the second "best" bit: if your pimple sense is tingling, you can slap on a dot or two of this stuff as a preventative measure. I'm speaking from experience here.

Finally, though half an ounce of the stuff will set you back $22, one jar should keep your blemishes at bay for a good six months--at least, that's how long my first one lasted me, and my second. The one pictured above is my third repurchase. Should I start naming them?

You can find Acne Treatment Nighttime wherever Malin + Goetz is sold, including in their adorable shops all around the world. I purchase mine from Space.NK. It's worth noting that I haven't tried a Malin + Goetz product that I haven't liked, and I love their minimalist-but-colorful packaging. Almost everything smells yummy, too--definitely check out Dark Rum range!

Katy xx

Monday, March 10, 2014

NEW IN // Bobbi Brown Art Sticks

Finally! A chubby pencil to fill the void. Not only does Bobbi Brown's newest lip offering provide a bold answer to the hoards of chubby sticks cropping up on the market, but also a tip of the hat to gals who love lipstick. Count me in!

Bobbi Brown's Art Sticks are masterful multitaskers, not unlike the makeup artist who created them. They're waxy enough to act as useful lipliners, unlike some others I've tried, while still being moisturizing enough to wear comfortably all over the lips. Make no mistake--these guys don't budge. Transfer a bit, maybe, but your lips will be embraced in a semi-matte, satiny finish in your choice of eight shades until you decide to call it a night. I liken the look to Chanel's Rouge Allure Velvets or to Givenchy's Le Rouge Sensuously Mattes (my review on the latter here).

As I mentioned, Bobbi launched this lovely new product in eight shades, all of which I swatched in-store so you don't have to.
And with flash, so you get a sense of how they photograph:
Of course, such beautiful, wearable and on-trend shades are always ready for their close=up!
I immediately gravitated towards Dusty Pink, an unsurprising move considering that pinky nudes are a go-to for my everyday lip look. It is a fabulous, understated everyday pink that would make a lovely MLBB for some people. For my über-pale complexion, Dusty Pink's somewhere between an MLBB and a work-appropriate pink. A bit more dramatic than a true neutral, but not "electric" like its sister shade, Electric Pink. As you might be able to tell from the close-up, the pigmentation is stellar across the board, with one unfortunate exception: Cherrywood. The swatch you see above is after three or four determined passes, as opposed to the breezy swatch-and-go nature of the other shades. I was disappointed, as, I could see Cherrywood having great potential for darker skin tones or porcelain-skinned gals going for a Lorde-y look. Maybe it was just one bad egg...with the track record of the other shades, I'm willing to give it the benefit of the doubt!
Here's the best part: even though the pencil's not retractable like Tarte's and Revlon's offerings, a handy, sturdy sharpener designed especially for the Art Sticks comes with each pencil. No obnoxious "sharpener sold separately" gimmick. Thank goodness!

I have to say, as someone who lines her lips for almost every lipstick application, I am incredibly impressed with this recent release. So impressed, in fact, that I had to run out and buy Electric Pink the day after I purchased Dusty Pink! I've still got my eye on a few others, and I can see these becoming a pretty big hit, so grab 'em while they're hot (and in stock!) I purchased both of mine from Bloomingdale's, but you can also find the Art Sticks online and in stores at Nordstrom, Neiman Marcus, Bobbi Brown (of course) and now--just in time for Chic Week--Sephora, too!

Katy xx

Monday, March 3, 2014

THE REVIEW // Kevyn Aucoin The Essential Mascara

For some of you lucky ducklings, mascara is an option. For most of us, it's an essential.

I have searched far and wide, from this Sephora to that one, in every drugstore and at just about every beauty counter at Neiman's, Bloomies and Saks for the mascara. Well, I'll be damned if it weren't sitting right in front of me the whole time.

Since its release, I have been wedded to Make Up For Ever's Smoky Extravagant mascara. I liken it to their famed Smoky Lash with a little extra somethin' somethin', just a bit more oomph. When I found a few drugstore mascaras that gave me similar results without the $24 price tag, you can imagine my excitement (a drugstore mascara roundup in the works, I promise!) Alas, curses thanks to Kevyn Aucoin, I've fallen back into the expensive mascara rabbit hole.

Now, if you are still reading this, I applaud you. Many were likely scared off at the sight of the first photo, revealing the price of this little beauty: $32. Thirty-two dollars. For mascara. I know. Who did Kevyn, may he rest in beauty, think he is, Tom Ford? More importantly, who does Tom Ford think he is? (More on that later...)
Well, I am here to give my (very reluctant) verdict on this wallet assassin: it's worth it. And as much as it's a whatever-rhymes-with-witch to get off, it's heaven to wear, and easy to apply. The tube is weighty in my hand, a tell-tale sign of a luxurious product, and it sports the classic gradient effect for which the brand is known. The wand is slightly curved--think Dolce & Gabbana Passion Eyes, Maybelline The Falsies Flared or even a more relaxed version of Dior Iconic Overcurl)--and long enough to give each little lash a coat of inky goodness in just one sweep. Two coats offer unbelievable length, luscious volume and a pitch black hue to even the lightest-lashed gals.
As I noted earlier, this stuff is not fun to remove--I don't usually like oil-based eye makeup removers, but I think that this "essential" addition to your stash (if you love mascara, like me) necessitates something like Lancômes Bi-Facil offering. Still, it makes my lashes look so fabulous--even sans eyelash curler--that I think it merits the extra attention. So yeah, my Smoky Extravagant will have to take the backseat for now. There's a new curl in town.

Katy xx

P.S. I appreciate your patience as I churn out new posts for the blog. I don't want to sacrifice quality for quantity, or even consistency, but I do blog as my schedule permits. Recent changes in my personal life and a heavy workload at school haven't lent themselves to a reliable posting schedule, but please know that I am doing my best. Thank you for your support!

Monday, February 17, 2014

THE REVIEW // Givenchy Le Rouge + LORAC On Sale!

Hi there!

As promised, I'm here with a review and swatches of the latest addition to my lipstick hoard collection, Givenchy's Le Rouge! This particular beauty is special, as it's part of the four-piece, limited edition "Le Rouge Intense Color Sensuously Matte" (boy, that's a mouthful!) collection released under the Le Rouge line. From what I understand, the formula is the same, but the packaging is even better than the silky black lambskin donned by the "regular" Le Rouges. Just look at that silvery goodness!
I will note that, while the shade I chose (Rose d'Exception) and one other has a silvered case, the other two in the Sensuously Matte quartet have gilded packaging. Trust me, they are both lookers!

Now, I must admit that this little lippie was not an impulse buy--no, it was quite premeditated. I had been practically salivating over the creamy, long-lasting formula of the Le Rouge family almost since its inception! Unfortunately, the nude offerings in the line didn't cut it for me--neither did the pinks. I was devastated! They were too warm, and the nudes pulled brownish on my icy complexion. Even with that packaging, I couldn't justify $36 for a shade I didn't love. I frowned incessantly, until I came across--could it be?--a pinky, almost a lilac nude (if that's a thing), in the form of Rose d'Exception. Perfection has a number, ladies, and it's 206! Here are some swatches for proof:
Flash, indoor, and natural lighting, respectively. It's not like this shade is brand-new--in fact, I'd swatched it in-store months back, but somehow, that past incarnation of myself could not appreciate Rose d'Exception in all her glory. I'm still shaking my head at past Katy for that one.

Anyhow, in case you were still gawking at the $36 price tag, allow me to wipe away your wallet's tears, because this baby is a worthwhile investment. I admit, I've been lured in by one thing or another and purchased a product (or six) for the wrong reasons, but Givenchy provides the whole package--literally. Apart from its looks, I can assert that Le Rouge outperforms most high-end formulas, and stands proudly on my vanity next to my two other HGs--Guerlain and YSL. It's impossibly creamy, it wears well and, unlike the luxurious case it calls home, it's pretty lightweight on the lips, which is a plus. Here is Rose d'Exception on my lips:
It's a shame that the shade range has remained so limited, but I'm pretty sure that won't stop me from acquiring a playmate for Rosie in the near future. I've had my eye on Magnolia Organza (from the permanent line) for a while, though I think she might feel underdressed next to a companion like this! ;)

The Givenchy Le Rouge Intense Color Sensuously Matte Lipstick collection is exclusive to Sephora. Each of the four shades can be purchased in stores and online.

Katy xx

P.S. If you've been dying to try LORAC's 3D Liquid Lustres, now's your chance! As per the title of this post, check out from now until Thursday for some LORAC goodies at great discounts.

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Primer Problems

Photo via.

Sometimes drugstore makeup works. Sometimes, it works even better than its high-end competitors, and beauty bloggers everywhere announce that such-and-such a product is set to give its more expensive counterpart run for its money. This is not one of those times.

As a blogger, I think that it's important to point out your favorite things to your readers--I've been known to shout my love for certain products from the rooftops, even (Dior Crème de Rose, I'm looking at you)--but I think that it's equally important to let people know when an item disappoints you, particularly if said item has been over-hyped in the media. Such was the case for me upon purchasing Revlon's Photoready Perfecting Primer.

Now, I don't mind dishing out upwards of $50 for a fantastic primer--in fact, my winter HG is Hourglass' No. 28--but I thought it would be nice to try out something that wouldn't make quite such a dent in my wallet. After much research, I settled on Revlon's offering, largely because a wide variety of beauty bloggers who've earned my utmost respect raved about the product. Ten bucks and a trip to CVS later (okay, it was closer to eleven), I had a primer in my pocket and a smile on my face.

I was really quite excited try it, so much so that I even woke up early the next morning because I just couldn't wait any longer. I finished up my morning skincare rituals, slapped on some SPF (as I do every day), and pumped some into my hand. I was ready for some magic to happen. Then I smoothed it onto my face.

This primer pilled worse than one of my grandma's old cashmere sweaters. Now, pilling on those is sentimental and kinda cute, but on my face? Not so much. Quite surprising, considering claims from lovely bloggers like the Muse, who experienced quite the opposite.

My verdict? Skip it. I am not above including drugstore makeup/skincare in my makeup bag--in fact, I'm about ready to declare that my HG mascara by Make Up for Ever has been replaced for almost a quarter of the price--but sometimes, the high-end brands just do it better. Of course, I haven't tried Maybelline's Baby Skin primer...yet.

Katy xx