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Samplepalooza: Day 2–Smashbox Photo Finish Lid Primer and Befine Daily Moisturizer with SPF 15

Sorry, sorry, I know I’ve been neglecting you.  Got all caught up in having fun and then time just got away from me.

On Day 2, R gave me her sample tube of Smashbox Photo Finish Lid Primer because it made her break out and she knew I was going on a beauty sampling bender.

Smashbox Photo Finish Lid Primer

Love it! I actually like this much more than the over-hyped Urban Decay Eden Primer Potion I bought earlier this year. Easier to apply thanks to its wand applicator, and smoother than the PP. I’m sold on the Smashbox lid primer!

My next sample was Befine Skin Care’s Daily Moisturizer with SPF15.

Befine food skincare Daily Moisturizer with SPF 15

Moisturizers with sunscreen and sunblock in them almost always make me break out in horrible zits, so I approached this product with some trepidation.  In the end, I found this was a little on the heavy side for me, especially since it was still summer at the time, but I can see myself using it in the winter when I need a more oomph in the moisturizing department. I like that it’s a natural, no added fragrance product.

I know I bitch about it all the time but I hate hate hate heavily perfumed facial products.  It’s one thing if a face product is lightly scented as a result of its ingredients but I don’t get why cosmetics companies continue to add perfume to already-scented lotions and potions. I’m looking at YOU, Garnier!

Anyhow, I’m impressed with both of today’s samples.

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Eylure Naturalites Natural Volume #020 Fake Eyelashes

I attended a wedding in LA last month and decided to do my errands a few days before my departure and to test run my makeup at the same time.  For me, that means BB cream (which I use as foundation), eye lid primer, eyebrow powder, eyeshadow, blush, lipstick, gloss, and… false lashes.  Before then, I’d never successfully applied them let alone worn them out in public.

My lashes are hard to work with.  For one thing, my eyelids hood over and push the lashes down, making my lashes look super stubby.  And because the lids hood over, they also make proper fake lash placement really tricky. Sigh.

Another issue I have with falsies is that on me, they LOOK fake.  Every set of fakies I’ve purchased just don’t look right on me.  Maybe it’s because I’m not used to seeing long thick lashes on myself?

But on this day, I was determined to try again.  I found lashes by Eylure Naturalites that didn’t look intimidating and had a thin strip, which for me meant I wouldn’t have to pile on the eyeliner.  They looked like they would be a subtle enhancement to my eyes which was exactly the effect I wanted.  I also felt like the #2os were a good way to ease into fake lashes before graduating to the va-va-voom ones later.

I primed my lids with EyesLipsFace’s eye lid primer, applied the copper cream gel liner from Physician’s Formula, and curled my lashes, applied mascara, curled again, and picked up the Eylure Naturalites #020 lashes, which came with a wee tube of glue, the kind that has a tiny plastic applicator tip so you can just draw the glue along the strip.  Did I mention the strip base is really thin?  The benefit to this is it’s lighter than typical fake lashes and is a little more comfortable to wear.  The downside:  getting the glue onto the base was a bit of a challenge for me. I wish I’d thought to use a toothpick instead of the applicator because I got glue on the lashes.  My hands are just not very steady.  Good thing I’m not a brain surgeon.

Common advice is to let the glue dry a bit before sticking the lashes onto your eyes, which makes sense if you’re a seasoned falsie user.  Because I’m a rube, I wanted the extra few seconds to be able to position the lash strip just where I wanted it in case I stuck it on crookedly.  So I applied the glue, waited a second as my nod to conventional wisdom, and put that sucker on my eyelid.  I’m glad I didn’t wait for the glue to dry first because just as I’d expected, I had to re-position the lash strip a couple of times. Once I got them on, I went back over the base with more eye liner (and getting a little on the lashes while I was at it :(), curled the lashes so they’d all blend together, and stepped back to look at the results.

Wow, what a difference these lashes made!  My eyes are normally very small and using even these subtle fake lashes made them look larger and more awake.  I wasn’t able to wear my glasses with the lashes on (because the lashes kept brushing up against the lenses) but who the heck cares when you look that nice?!

Later in the day, maybe about six or so hours after I’d applied the lashes, I noticed they were coming off! The glue that came with them doesn’t last very long, yet wouldn’t come off my eyelids!  Really disappointing.

The day of the wedding, I recreated the look (using lash glue by Duo this time) and asked my BFF if he thought my lashes looked funny.  Until that moment, he hadn’t even realized I was wearing false lashes and approvingly commented that they looked like they were my own.

I’m really impressed with these Eylure Naturalite Natural Volume lashes.  Lightweight, subtle but yet present, I plan to buy a few more sets of the #20s but I won’t be using the glue that comes with it.  Maybe I’ll even get brave enough to try the thicker-volume ones!

Photo source: madamemadeline.com

Physician’s Formula Shimmer Strips Custom Eye Enhancing Gel CreamLiner for Brown Eyes

I’ve always been a little wary about wearing eyeliner, especially the gel/liquid kind. I’ve seen way too many women (and some men) wander about town with some very heavily lined eyes. I don’t think it’s very attractive. But then I think, “Well what the hell do I know? I don’t wear it so maybe this is the newest trend and I’m just an old fuddy-duddy!”

Honestly, though, I think there’s got to be a happy medium here. Eyeliner need not be thick enough to be seen from space, nor does it need to be so subtle that you might as well not wear any at all.

One of the issues I have with eye makeup in general is its tendency to smudge and smear all over my cheeks. Even the kind that claims not to do those things are let-downs. I think a lot of my problem is that my skin is super oily. That oil creeps its way to my lash line and breaks down whatever stuff is holding my eye makeup onto my face. I’m assuming this greasiness in addition to my naturally high body temperature is what melts my eyeliner off. No scientific research to back this up, just a supposition on my part.

Enter Physician’s Formula Shimmer Strips Custom Eye Enhancing Gel Cream Liner for Brown Eyes. It’s a trio of gel cream eye liners that are meant to accentuate and flatter us brown-eyed gals and includes black, dark brown, and purple gels in a clever interlocking set that remind me of Legos. So cute! I’ve been really digging purple lately and this collection appeared in my periphery just in time.

I also bought the Physician’s Formula Shimmer Strips Custom Eye Enhancing Gel Cream Liner Glam Collection for Brown Eyes, which includes pots of gel creams in gold, bronze, and metallic black, though I don’t think there’s any difference between this pot of black and the one that came with the first trio.

Both sets come with a rounded eyeliner brush that I didn’t love; it was just a little too floppy and I felt like I couldn’t control it very well, though that could very well be because of my lack of skills.

I must have been a Lakers fan in a past life because I’m in love with the purple/gold combo, and they are the colors I use the most often, though I really adore all the colors. This gel cream liner glides onto the lash line with no dragging, dries quickly (which means you need to move fast if you want to smudge it a little to avoid a harsh line) and with an eyelid primer (which I’ll talk about in another post), it stays on for HOURS, yet comes off easily with a little baby shampoo (a hint I got from one of my invisible forum friends–what would I do without them?). The Glam collection is quite shimmery but as I wear glasses, I want to brighten up my eyes a bit more so they don’t get lost behind the frames, and brighter colors help with this.

The brown is not much different from black

I have to caution you on one thing: the brush bristles will dry very stiffly if you leave any product on it, and it will hurt the next time you use the brush, so it’s important to rinse and wipe it off after each use of this cream liner. I think it’s a good habit to get into anyway, and it’s not a big deal to me, but it might be to you.

Overall, I adore this product, its ease of use and the gorgeous colors!

ecoTools Bamboo 6-Piece Eye Brush set/Japonesque Travel Retractable Lip

Imported from www.littlelotusblossom.wordpress.com

As I put the NYX Nude on Nude palette into my shopping cart, I knew I was going to have to buy an eye makeup brush because whatever tool was included in the palette was very unlikely to be of much use (and I was right).  I also didn’t want to spend a ton of money on it because… well, because I didn’t know if I was going to be using eye shadow on a long-term basis and if I got tired of doing eye makeup, I didn’t want to have spent tons on it.

I went into the purchase knowing not to expect excellent-quality brushes considering the amount of money I wanted to spend.  I chose the ecoTools Bamboo 6-Piece Eye Brush set for $7 on Amazon (which is also where I purchased the NYX palette) based on the ratings it got.

When the package arrived, I discovered that the brushes are travel-sized.  I don’t know why I didn’t realize this when I bought it–after all, it comes in a travel case!  Duh.  I’ve since realized that I like the compactness of this set, but people looking for makeup brushes that are more substantial may be disappointed.

The largest brush is about five inches long while the tri-fold hemp/cotton case (there’s a mirror on one panel) measures about 6 x 3 inches when folded up.  The cruelty-free bristles are soft but not silky, and each brush handle is labeled with its intended use!  I’ve mostly been using the two smallest  brushes and haven’t the foggiest how to use the larger ones, especially the one marked Crease.  I mean, I don’t have a crease in my eyelids but even if I did, I’m not sure what using such a large brush is meant to achieve when an eyelid crease is so slim.  I have so much to learn!

Overall, I think this set is a pretty good buy for an eye makeup beginner.

As for lip brushes, I’d bought one from Clinique maybe 15 years ago; after a few years, the cap wouldn’t stay on, and surprisingly, Clinique allowed me to exchange it for a new one.  After a while, I got lazy and stopped using lipstick altogether and neglected my lip brush.  Which got all cruddy and gross over the years.  I could have put some elbow grease into cleaning it but decided I no longer wanted to deal with the possibility of losing a separate lip brush cap.  So this time, I looked for a retractable brush.

photo from Amazon.com

I settled on the Japonesque Travel Retractable Lip Brush in silver and boy do I love it!  No cap to keep track of, the brush length is long enough to get a good application but not so long that it’s ineffectual, and the handle feels sturdy.  It fits nicely in my makeup bag, which was an issue with the Clinique lip brush. It’s definitely a keeper!

I’d love to hear from more experienced people about these or other makeup brush brands they’d recommend and why!

NYX Nude on Nude Palette

Imported from www.littlelotusblossom.wordpress.com

I am a total neophyte when it comes to eyeshadows.   I blame it on having monolids (eyelids that have no crease) and growing up in the garish blue eyeshadow era also known as the 1980s, though if I’m really honest with myself, my aversion to eye shadow is based primarily on my lack of makeup skills.  Though having no crease in my lids does complicate matters a little because there aren’t any visual guidelines for where and how to apply shadow without looking like a Dynasty reject.

In any case, I never learned how to apply eye shadow, and my few failed attempts at its application have made me very wary.   I checked out some YouTube videos and discovered Jen from FrmHeadtoToe.com.  I heart that girl not just because she has skills (I think she’s a freelance makeup artist?) but because like me, she is a monolidded Asian; she makes eye makeup look so easy.

Based on Jen’s recommendation of NYX eye shadows, I bought their Nude on Nude palette to start my makeup journey.  It’s supposed to be similar to Urban Decay’s Naked palette, only with lip colors included.  I’m actually quite pleased with this product.  The shadows are nicely pigmented and blend really well, and I’ve taken to using some of the shades as eyeliner.  I also really appreciate that only about half the palette is made up of shimmery colors.  Eye shadow for grownups!

I still shy away from using the darker shades on my lids because I haven’t yet mastered application techniques–I look like a raccoon that got punched in the face.  But I love that I have 20 shades to play with and I feel confident that I’ll eventually get it right.

The lip colors are a little less exciting for me–I feel like I have to use a ton of product to cover my lips.  The colors are quite pretty, though I can’t tell which are supposed to be lip glosses and which are meant to be opaque or if they’re all supposed to be opaque.

The only things I dislike about NYX’s Nude on Nude palette are the included applicators.  Completely useless; I tossed them out and bought my own brushes (which I’ll talk about next time).

Bottom line:  I love this palette and would recommend it to anyone in search of a well-priced quality eyeshadow palette, and especially to someone looking for a mix of both shimmery/glittery and matte shadows.  It’s nice to know the 80s won’t be calling me and demanding the return of their eye makeup!