Monday, December 17, 2012

Bioderma Sensibio H2O Solution

Alrighty. So I've heard some pretty stellar things about Bioderma on YouTube and in the blogging world, but I was always turned off by the price. It's not cheap, people. I finally had an opportunity to pick up a small travel-sized bottle, without committing to the full-size. Unfortunately, I'm now loving this so much that I get excited about taking off my makeup... like I want to take it off mid-day, just so I can put it on again, only to take it back off...

Shoppers Drug Mart had a bin of these baby-sized 100 mL bottles of the Sensibio H2O solution for $6.95 CDN. Now, I know this probably isn't any sort of 'steal-of-a-deal,' but in the heat of the moment, there was nothing more logical to me than picking up a bottle to try. And while I'm not unhappy with my cleansing routine, I'm not exactly in love with it either.

Bioderma's website claims that this cleanser gently cleanses face and eyes, even removing the most stubborn makeup of all, waterproof mascara. It claims to emulsify impurities on the skin while maintaining the skin's pH balance, to prevent skin from drying out or generally freaking out. Plus, it's fragrance free! Whoooooooot!

A bonus to this cleanser is the fact that you don't have to rinse it off after using it. The website does stress that it is important that you do dry off your skin with a clean towel after use, however. Plus, the solution can be used multiple times a day. Whoot whoot!

The packaging is incredibly well thought out as well. The bottle is fairly heavy duty considering the cheap-o plastic that some facial products come wrapped in. It's a sturdy bottle with a durable cap. When first purchased, there is a safety tab over the cap that prevents someone from sampling or siphoning the product in the store. When opened at home, the cap is very thick and well-made. It clicks shut in a way that makes me feel comfortable with throwing this little bottle in my purse. It's a minimalistic design, but someone put considerable thought into the design overall. The quality of this bottle is heavy and durable, but not

My first impression was one of absolute shock and pleasure. This solution literally broke down all the makeup on my face and removed it with little force or effort. Usually I'm breaking out the elbow grease to get off regular mascara and black eyeshadow, but the Bioderma Sensibio seems to dissolve whatever's sitting on top of my skin within seconds. I don't have to apply pressure to my skin... the makeup literally melts off onto the cotton pad. I find that my generic WalMart brand makeup remover wipes tend to be too dry and a little abrasive to be removing makeup... plus they're freaking ginormous, there's no way to cut them in half and use less of a wipe.

I apply this product to a clean and dry cotton pad. I hold it over my eye makeup for a few seconds before beginning to work it in gentle circles to buff the makeup off of my skin and eyelashes. Sometimes I'll use one cotton pad on each eye, and then one to take off my face makeup. Other times, when I'm wearing less makeup, I'll use one or two pads to clean my whole face.
Applying the damp cotton pad to my eye, and holding for about 20 seconds.
All of this came off without rubbing...
With a little bit of work, this is one eye completely makeup free...
It's even great for tiny touchups while applying your makeup. I use it on a Q-tip under my eyes when there's fall out from black shadow, or if my mascara transfers to my lower lid (I apply concealer and foundation last, so this doesn't tend to be much of a problem). Again, no effort required. One quick sweep of the Q-tip and my makeup is clean, sharp, and ready to rock-and-roll.

I find that this product is incredibly gentle, yet thorough. I always dread taking my makeup off at the end of the day... nothing seems to do enough of the trick. I am always removing the other half of my makeup (that my cleanser/remover left behind) with my toner... But Bioderma Sensibio makes me EXCITED to take off my makeup. Makeup removal is so easy... I don't have to scrub, scratch, tug, pull, or peel to get my mascara, foundation, bronzer, blush, etc. off. It's so fantastic, I seriously cannot get enough of it... I keep monitoring how much is left in my wee bottle, wanting to spare it only for special occasions, but I can't. I HAVE to use it, that's how good it is.

Can you see the difference...?
This makes all the other makeup removers and cleansers I've used in the past look like regular H2O. It knocks everything else out of the ball park.

4.5 out of 5 stars. Heck-to-the-yes.
I just wish it was cheaper... On another note, I'll definitely be picking up one of these babies for my Christmas vac-ay to the USofA...

Let me know: what makeup remover/cleanser do you use? Does it get you excited about taking off your makeup?

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

L'Oreal Voluminous Million Lashes in Carbon Black

I picked this mascara up from Shoppers Drug Mart for about $7 CDN on sale, whoot whoot!

Voluminous® Million Lashes™ Carbon Black
Photo credit:
I did some research on this mascara before I picked it up - knowing full well that about half of the women out there hated it with all their guts, and the other half were madly in love with it. I hoped that I was one of the latter.

This mascara features a flexible silicone wand with spacious bristles. L'Oreal describes the design as a "Clean Sweep System [which] wipes the brush free of clumps" for a clean, defined, voluminous look. It is supposed to be ophthalmologist-tested and allergy-tested. It claims to be clump-free and fragrance-free, as well as safe for contact-lens wearers and those with sensitive eyes.

Oh my, oh my, oh my. How I adored this mascara.

The packaging is tres chic. Who wouldn't want to pull this golden tube of deliciousness out of their makeup bags, I ask you!? This definitely looks more expensive and high-end than any other mascara I've tried. Kudos on the packaging, L'Oreal. I especially love the way the inside of the tube is designed, with the little 'cleaner' feature that pulls excess product off of the brush before you get it out of the tube.

The brush was perfect for getting right in to the base of my lashes, and because of the way the brush was designed, it got just the right amount of product on my lashes - enough to thicken them, but the brush wasn't so gobbed up with product that it couldn't clear away the excess at the same time. This brush is a little bit larger in size - sort of reminiscent of CoverGirl's infamous LashBlast mascara, but with a gentle curve that fits the curve of your natural lashline perfectly. This brush wasn't as torturous as the L'Oreal Clean Definition Telescopic that I loathed with it's razor sharp bristles; still not friendly if you happen to get it too close to your lashline, but not nearly as painful.

The wand also features short bristles mixed in with longer bristles, to lengthen and clear out any clumpage. Ingenious design, I tell you. Brilliant!

The mascara itself has an interesting smell. It's not overwhelming or overpowering, but it's not nice either. Sort of a "peppery-plastic" smell, and yes, you can quote me. I don't know if I notice the scent too much after it's applied, but when you first whip your brush out of the tube, it's sort of a startling discovery - especially when you're not used to smelling anything from your mascara tube.

The formula was thin, but not as thin as other L'Oreal mascaras I've tried. Usually I have to leave my L'Oreal mascaras uncapped for several days before they dry out enough to be usable. Not so with this mascara.

It was pure black. Like the blackest of black mascaras - it made my green eyes pop like you wouldn't imagine.

On the left, 2 coats of the L'Oreal Voluminous Million Lashes mascara.
On the right, my naked lashes.
It volumized my lashes fantastically. But it wasn't clumpy and it didn't make my lashes spidery. I got separation and definition, yet the base of my lashes was dark and thick. Somehow this mascara did exactly what I wanted every mascara in the history of ever to do for my eyeballs.

A comparison of my naked lashes to my lashes with
2 coats of the mascara.
On the top - Left: 2 coats of the mascara, Right: naked lashes
On the bottom: Left: 3 coats of the mascara, Right: 1 coat of the mascara
I never tried curling my lashes with this mascara, but I have no doubt that it would've rocked it up in that category also. I've heard a lot of complaints about this mascara flaking and such, but I never experienced a problem with flaking or transferring. This mascara stayed put on my eyeballses.

BUTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTT.... there's always a but... haha, I said "butt"...

This mascara was no comprendo with my eyeballs. Every night after taking my mascara off, my eyes would itch and water and burn so bad. Sometimes they even itched during the day if so much as a little flake got into my eye... It was maddening, I tell you. I considered that maybe it was just environmental allergies, but as soon as I stopped using this mascara the problem went away. So unfortunate.

And the price is sort of a con as well. If you're buying this mascara full price, expect to pay at least $9 CDN. Depending on where you purchase it, you might be looking as much as $11 or $12 CDN dollars. Ouch. My wallet is crying...

Needless to say, I'm really disappointed. I wanted this to be my holy grail mascara - now it's just taking up space in my drawer, and I'm not really sure what to do with it. Maybe my sister would like to take it for a test drive...

3 out of 5 stars.
A huge part of me wants to give this 5 or 6 stars, just because it is that amazing. But I knocked it down to a 3 because the price I pay in pain and agony just isn't worth any delicious lashes.

Sigh de la sigh. What mascara duds have you tried? I want to know.

Saturday, December 8, 2012

LOTD: Smoky and sultry

Lately, I've been loving simplistic but sexy looks. And by "looks," I am really just referring to the one look I've been wearing non-stop recently.

I've never been a "black" makeup girl - I never really wore black mascara or black shadow. I felt like it looked too unnatural on my eyeballs. And then I discovered this combo...

I even cracked this baby out for my work Christmas party - and I have to say, I am in love with this combo.

I primed my lids with Urban Decay's Primer Potion. I break out my NYX single eyeshadow in White and use an all-over fluffy brush to apply a light dusting of the powder under my brow bone. Then I used NYX's single eyeshadow in Black with my Quo smudger brush to apply the black shadow along my lashline, and then I fade it out in an exaggerated wing. I really buff the lines out to create a gradual fade to the wing, it allows me to have a more exaggerated wing without looking gothic and overdramatic. A new edition to my makeup routine includes curling my lashes, after which I proceed to pile on the mascara - my newest obsession is the Prestige My Blackest Lashes mascara. I finish off with a shimmery white/gold shadow in the inner corner to brighten up and draw attention to my eyes.

For my work Christmas party, I primed my face with Urban Decay Primer Potion (yes, I know it's a eyeshadow primer, but I needed something to hold my foundation in place and I was out of options...) and used my Revlon Whipped Creme Foundation with the foundation brush from Real Techniques all over my face and blended it out. I used Maybelline's Dream Lumi Touch Highlighting Concealer in Radiant (310) under my eyes to cover up my dark circles, and I set everything with Rimmel's Stay Matte Pressed Powder. For bronzer and contour, I utilized what remains of my MAC Matte Bronze Bronzing Powder, and for blush I applied a light wash of MAC's powder blush in Mocha, then a little bit of Benefit's Coralista, and finally a few dabs of Essence's Renesmee Red powder blush.

I kept the lips quick and simple with Strawberry Parfait gloss from Bonne Bell's lipLITES line.

I feel that this look draws a lot of attention to the eyes. The intense black mascara especially draws attention to my green eyes. The smudgy black shadow creates the illusion of thicker lashes, and the winged shape creates the appearance that my eyes are more almond-shaped and lifted up towards my eyebrows. By keeping the blush and the lipgloss simple and muted, it allows all the focus to be on my beauteous green eyeballs.

Don't you wish your eyeballs were as hot as mine? Tee hee.

Monday, December 3, 2012

Revlon ColorStay Whipped Creme Makeup

Hola beateous babes! I'm here with another review on the Revlon ColorStay Whipped Creme foundation. Now you guys know that I raved about the original Revlon ColorStay Liquid Foundation, so I definitely had to give this version a try, especially after reading/seeing the stellar reviews.

Is it just me, or is Revlon putting out a lot of stellar products recently...!?

Each jar contains 23.7 mL (0.8 fl oz) of foundation goodness. It costs anywhere between $15-$20 CDN, though I paid approximately $16 CDN at my local WalMart. Depending on where you want to purchase this product from, you may end up paying almost twenty bucks for one jar - if you're penny-pinching, you might want to check this out at WalMart before you pick it up from somewhere like Shoppers Drug Mart.

I picked this up in 150 Buff, which is the same shade that I use in the original liquid formulation. This foundation is available in 12 shades, ranging from Ivory (being the lightest shade) to Caramel (being the darkest shade). Overall, the variety of shades isn't stellar, but it's definitely respectable considering it's a drugstore line. I find that Revlon has some of the most 'realistic' shades for foundation out of all the drugstore brands. While other brands sell very pink or very yellow shades of makeup, but Revlon seems to have a good collection of yellow-based, pink-based, and neutral-based foundation.

Left: With flash. Right: Without flash.
Left: With flash. Right: Without flash.
I find that the ColorStay Whipped foundation color actually matches my skin tone better than the original ColorStay Liquid foundation. The liquid version tended to be too white on my skin, making me look rather albino - though it's still an awesome shade for me in the dead of winter!

The texture and consistency of this foundation is cray-cray! I've never experienced anything like this before. It's fluffy and light, very mousse-esque, just as Revlon's website describes it. I love and appreciate the light-weightedness of this foundation, as it sits just as lightly on the skin - giving you the illusion that you're not wearing any face makeup at all.
This light and fluffy consistency also allows one to build up the coverage of the foundation with each layer that one applies. You can build this up to full coverage by applying thin layers of foundation - I find that, personally, I can build this up to 'full' coverage within 2 to 3 even applications. One layer of foundation leaves me with a very natural, but flawless finish - one that evens out skin tone and texture in one pass.

The packaging is pretty retardando, not gonna lie. Unfortunately, I can't really think of a better alternative considering the texture and consistency of the foundation itself. The foundation comes packaged in a solid glass jar, very reminiscent of Chanel and L'Oreal foundations. One beauty guru on YouTube commented that you could bludgeon someone to death with the heavy duty glass jar, which I definitely agree with. While the packaging is impractical, it is sleek and very minimalistic. The shade name is featured in a little sticker on the lid of the jar, which makes it incredibly easy to pick out which shade you want to use when (if you're someone who has to own several different shades at one time). I tend to scoop a bit of foundation out of the door with my index finger, and place it on the back of my hand to apply with either a damp sponge or a stippling brush.

Onto application techniques, tally-ho! I've only used two techniques to apply the foundation, considering the strange consistency and awkward packaging: a stippling brush and a damp beauty blender sponge. I initially heard that the best way to apply this foundation was with a stippling brush. So I whipped (haha!!!) out my Real Techniques Stippling Brush, plopped some of the foundation on the back of my hand, and went from the back of my hand and started stippling and buffing this into my skin. I find that using this technique, the finish of the foundation leans more on the full coverage side of things. With a damp sponge, I also stipple this all over my face, but find that this allows a more natural and less opaque finish. I think I prefer the latter technique on a daily basis, when I need less coverage and can get away with a less flawless finish.

The finish of this foundation is matte, but what I'd call a 'natural matte.' It's not shimmery, dewy, or glittery, but it isn't flat either. It looks real and flexible on the skin, "like my skin but better" and not at all mask-like. I do feel that in some areas of my face (under my eyes, on my forehead and cheeks) I need to powder the foundation to keep it from looking too glossy as the day wears on, but I don't find that this foundation exacerbates my oiliness throughout the day the way some foundations can.

I don't find this foundation particularly cakey or heavy on the skin. It can cling to dry and oily patches in an awkward and obvious fashion, which is why I wouldn't recommend this foundation to those with excessively dry or oily skin types. In my case, having combination skin and all, there are some days when I cannot bring myself to put this foundation on - because I know it'll cling to my dry patches too much, or it'll just slide off of my oily areas in a matter of minutes. But most days I find it gives me the perfect amount of coverage, with minimal effort and ease.

The claims that this foundation lasts 24 hours are iffy for me. This definitely has a significant wear time - I can usually wear it anywhere between 6 and 10 hours looking fresh. I still have foundation on my face around 15 hours, but it's definitely looking like it's seen better days. One thing I find incredible is the way in which this foundation wears. Upon first application, I find that this foundation looks a little heavy and somewhat unnatural, but as it wears, it takes on a more natural and even appearance which I love! This includes the way it wears at the end of the day - instead of wearing off in patches, it wears off evenly, slowly revealing more and more of your real skin underneath, but not in an obvious or gross way... BONUS!! Some days, when my skin is more moisturized/oily, I notice the tendency for this foundation to 'slip around' on my skin a little bit more than actually settling. For myself, it's imperative to have as dry and matte of a face as possible before applying the foundation. I think a primer would work wonders for the longevity and application of the Whipped Creme Foundation, but I haven't had any success with primers yet to give you any sort of recommendation on this end :)

All in all, I am really loving my Revlon ColorStay Whipped Creme foundation. There are some aspects of it that I'm not in love with (such as the packaging, the cost, and the way it wears on my oily/dry patches), but overall the pros definitely outweigh the cons.

Rating: 4.5 out of 5 stars.

Tell me: what's your favorite drugstore foundation, and why!?