Tuesday, May 03, 2016

Realher Moisturizing Lipstick (PR Sample)

A few weeks ago, I was contacted by Cindy from Realher to try their Moisturizing Lipstick (12.99 dollars a piece from their site and Amazon). It's hard to hop on to the review without some back stories (in my case, ranting from a confused soul) so let's talk about the brand a bit.

When it comes to marketing a new brand, company would sculpt a certain image for the and market towards women who aspires to look/feel that way. I can't imagine how complex the whole process is as you are coordinating multiple variables and presenting everything before the customers decide that your product is worthy of their time, attention and money (when there are dozens of similar products as the same price point).
Here enters Realher, who decides that makeup should give you confidence and a form of expression (stating the obvious?) without the whole complex brand message/image. They simplified the whole marketing process and came up a line that appeals to different types of millennial women with their empowering...names on the lipsticks.

That's why the two (rather standard) colors I got are I Define Beauty Myself and I am powerful, mauve and wine. To quote them "With each application, you reinforce the words on the quotes until it takes on a new identity." 
Instruction unclear. I am on my eighth swipe and I don't feel powerful yet (I do, however, look like Uncle McDonald already). Should I keep on going or abort mission? Maybe we are not supposed to take their words literally. 

I am clearly not a part of their target demographic so this feels like the lipstick equivalent of inspirational gifs on tumblr.   Even if any one of those self actualizing quotes has an effect on me, I am more likely to just buy the rubber bracelets or as stickers and plaster them everywhere. The good part about the lipsticks is that it's not just empty talk, 20% of the proceed actually goes to American Association of University Women. 

 To me, charity involvement (admittedly respectful)  is never a determining factor for my purchases (the actual products are what I like to pay for). It's mutually beneficial to both the brand and the organization so no complain here. It only bothers me when brands do it mainly for self-promotion and/or the non-profit organization chosen is shady (neither is the cases here).
Now let's just talk lipstick. The packaging for Realher is a black-and-white plastic square tube (white part does get stained). It's chunky for my liking but nonetheless sturdy and easy to store. The actual lipstick rests firmly in the base and doesn't wobble around.  
I Define Beauty Myself is an opaque mauve in a white base. If you like full coverage lipstick with a slightly shiny finish, this would be a great choice for you. The formula is creamy without being slippery and wears very comfortably even on a dry-lips day. It's not a type of color or finish I normally purchase or wear (I prefer semi-sheer with a clear base that blends into my lips) but I can't find fault in it.
I am Powerful is an intense warm wine (this time, in a clear base). My application is blotchy but that's the best I can get (when natural light and free time are scarce). For an intense color like this, it stays on without bleeding or creeping into my lip lines.

Overall: These are lipsticks with great formula that's similar to but better than Maybelline Color Sensational and Rimmel Moisture Renew.  So far, the color selection is very small but it should cover most people's (reads: non lippie addicts') basic need. 

While I don't personally recommend those (I don't wear those colors nor do I love the packaging), I cannot think of any reason to stop you from adding one as your Amazon cart-filler. 

Sunday, May 01, 2016

Lush Shampoo Bar - Montalbano, Jason and the Argan Oil and Goldiva

Lush was a brand I have heard about for a long time but never get to try until last year. To me, it's a hipster take on The Body Shop (in the way that both stores are pseudo-natural/wholesome and able to knock you down with their heavy fragrance when you are just passing by). They seem to have a nice selection of shampoo bars available so I decided to give them a try (since I either get sick of drugstore shampoo and/or most of them give me itchy scalp that's not induced by sodium lauryl sulfate). FYI, all of Lush shampoo bar does contain SLS (the "evil and harsh: detergent) as their primary ingredient so it's not exactly a natural brand.

Montalbano is one of my first picks because the sunny yellow color and it smells like lemon! Well, not fresh lemons but the Glades furniture polish. At least you know they are not skimping on the limonene! 
As you can see from the pictures, my Montalbano looks rather condensed (it's not brittle and remain one piece through out its lifespan). Consider these are handmade, I can't say the texture would be consistent across batches. 

Montalbano smells refreshing and cleanses very well. As a result of the squeaky cleanse, it's gives a clean lift from the root but can get a stripping. The sales associate said that each shampoo bar lasts up to 90 washes and I actually think that they are true given how much foam a swipe yields. By the end of second month or so I would either get sick of the scent or it gets too nasty already (after it has been exposed to the heat and humidity). 

Overall: I like it and might repurchase.
If it weren't for beauty blogs, I would have never picked this up. During one of my link-hopping trips, I learned that Jason and the Argan Oil smells like roses (it's hard to make out the smell once you are inside the store) so I also put it in my paper bag. I love my rosewater and rosy notes so the thought of petal hair was just so dreamy. 

Well, it's one of those YMMV things because I ended up hating this particular scent(with a passion). This one is strong, powdery and very pungent thanks to a sharp fruity note. The first few days I was using it, I thought something was rotting inside my shower and couldn't find the source...

Jason and the Argan Oil has a much drier and brittle texture that not only breaks easily. Once it's dampened,  the white strips of detergent start to look like maggots (doesn't help that the base is pink). On the bright side, this also means that I can actually finish it/flush it away much more easily.

 The cherry on top is how it works: Right after washing my hair with it, my hair feels so soft and airy but a few hours later I would get greasy roots and my scalp would start to itch by the end of day. 

To be fair, the itch is not unique to this formula (many shampoo, American or Japanese drugstore brands do that as well and I still haven't pinpoint the culprit ingredient). Within Lush, Bazilliant does the same thing (minus the softness), at least the orange-soda meets laundry detergent smell was a little more agreeable (as undie detergent).
Goldiva is my favorite of the bunch and very likely a holygrail material. This is actually my third bar since last summer (my first melted in my cupboard/became unsuitable for glamour shot then I couldn't wait to use the second). 

Infused with cocao butter, shea butter, coconut and camellia oils (hence the tendency to melt), it also functions as a conditioner. It took me no time to get used to the oily soap texture (feels much better than washing your hair with powdered detergent actually). While the foam isn't as crazy, it cleanses well (makes my hair soft and glossy) and leaves an exhilarating, lingering jasmine scent and no residue. 

Beside my nose, my scalp also really likes the formula as well. There is no itching or dry flakes so washing daily is no longer a requirement. To retain the integrity of the bar, I break this buttery bar into four pieces and only keeps one in my shower. Each piece would last for weeks anyway.

Overall: I like the idea of these bars as they produce so much less plastic waste (one less bottle to recycle!)and are easy to travel with. The formula are hit or miss but at least I am glad I found one I really like. I only wanted my shampoo to cleanse and smell good and Montalbano and Goldiva do exactly that. 

Tuesday, April 26, 2016

NYX Butter Gloss in Strawberry Cheesecake

 NYX Butter Gloss has been around for quite sometime and I have never gotten it for some reason (because I don't live closed to an Ulta anymore where there had those legit 40% off sale) even though the brand is accessible at CVS and Harmon (none of which is walking distance from where I live). 
Anyway, one day I was browsing at Nordstrom Rack and saw a (sealed) tube of this for 3.25, there was no reason to not pick it up. The shade I went for was a bright creamy orange called Strawberry Cheesecake. I guess this is the color of strawberry mixed with cheddar cheese?
Oops. Suqqu EX-18 is Momosuishou. Murasakisuishou is an 8-color eyeshadow palette that seemed cool at first but started to get on my nerve the more I looked at it. I saw it for 50 bucks on eBay and was like nah-uh Do Not Want...

On the arm NYX strawberry cheesecake is very similar to Almay Apricot Pucker but the difference in texture means that they translate quite distinctly on the lips, at least to me. Almay has a watery texture that dampens the mouth and enhances the red (well, I overload enough for the orange to show) while NYX has that thicker and creamier gel texture that stays better and gives more of a creamy glazed effect. 

I thought the effect it gives is rather similar to Suqqu ex-18 lipstick (momosuishou), which I heavily abused in my review. I mean, that wasn't a bad lipstick at all, it's just an utterly overpriced one that (I had to buy because Selfridges force bundled it with a palette) doesn't look any better than the 5-dollar NYX.
NYX Strawberry Cheesecake (heavily applied because that's what I do). Applies evenly, smoothly and is thick without being gunky or too sticky. It's very similar to Maybelline Color Elixir and actually comparable to the old Revlon Super Lustrous formula in terms of color payoff and wear time (I still like the old Revlon better). 

Overall, I really enjoy using it and can totally see why it was popular (for the same reason how Revlon lippies released 2010-2013 were well loved). I will pick up a few more shade when I see another decent sale.

Saturday, April 23, 2016

L'Oreal Glam Bronze, Milani Metal Matte Luster, NYX and Real Techniques

More collective spy cam from Duane Reade and Harmon
 L'Oreal Glam Bronze for Face and Body
Almost sold out - Milani Metal Matte Luster
A whole display of Burt's Bees Tinted balm 
NYX the Go To Palettes
Close up of the two for eyes and face
The ones for eyeshadow 
Ardell Press on lashes
Real Techniques eyes starter set and brow set 

Cheek and lip set
 Base brush from core collection
Duo Fiber and travel essentials 
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