Sunday, October 30, 2011

Urban Decay Naked Palette Eyeshadow Swatches and Dupes

Since its first release back in summer 2010,Urban Decay Naked Palette, a palette featuring 12 neutral eyeshadow in buttery smooth texture, has been immensely popular among beauty junkie of all ages. I think it is a very versatile palette with quite a few interesting shades but I wasn't in a mood shelling out 50 bucks for a palette (when I only love one shade in it, the deep taupe name Darkhorse). After doing a little bit of digging in my stash, here is what I found...

Thursday, October 27, 2011

NYC Lip Gloss in Rose Kiss

From last fall's Berry Bloom Collection, NYC Rose Lip Gloss an interesting lip gloss and lip color in one. The reason I call this product interesting is that, while it holds a solid texture and decent pigmentation, the gloss gets mashed out and becomes very fluid the moment I lay my brush on its surface (which means it took me a grand total of one use to ruin the floral relief). When viewed as a lipstick, the slippery cream often travels outside the lip boundary or get wiped off easily. For a lip gloss, the pigmented and slightly frosty formula just sits on my lips, feeling mask-like without plumping / filling up my lip lines. I do like the particular shade I got, Rose Kiss (medium mauve pink with silver shimmer) but the formula is pretty much the worst of both worlds.
Rosy glosses side by side: NYC Liquid Lip Shine Midtown Mulberry, Rose Kiss and L'Oreal Colour Juice Lip Gloss in Cherry on Top . Rose Kiss is the only unscented one and my least favorite of the bunch.
NYC Rose Kiss on Lips  (after I gave it a few minutes to smooth out)  

P.S. The texture of this is actually very similar to the lip colors found in elf Beauty Book Lip palette, which includes 12 lip colors, a flimsy brush and a lip pencil for five bucks and always ends up in clearance. I guess it's nice to have these kind of cheap thrills if you want an assortment of shades to play with but to me, the texture (of both NYC and elf) are so unwearable that both purchases are just waste of money.

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Sinful Color Lip Gloss and Neutrogena Microdermabrasion System

Spotted at Walgreens, now Sinful Colors is having a mini makeup range with (so far) added lip gloss and existing nail art supplies. The color of the glosses are uninteresting but the display is still worth a look as all of their nail polishes are a dollar each this week.
Neutrogena just released a Microdermabrasion System  priced at 22 dollars.

Monday, October 24, 2011

Wet n Wild Color Icon Baked and Matte Eyeshadow Palette

Spotted at Walgreens, Wet n Wild released an all-matte eyeshadow called " I love Matte", retailing for 4.99 dollars. The matte palette from their permanent line-up is also under the same display (which is buy one get one half off this week).
Also on the display are the three limited edition Color Icon baked Eyeshadow palette (with a bonus eyeliner pencil), which is also priced at 4.99.

New Lip Balm Flavors from Nivea and Burt's Bees

 Beside Mint and Mineral (the third from top row), it seems that Nivea also added a yummy (sounding) new balm called berry swirl (last one from bottom row). The lip balm retails for around $3.5 and it has a lid with slanted top and fruit (looks like peaches to me) prints on them.
 Burt's Bees also released a new lip balm featuring kokum butter. I am not a fan of the silver tube but I (always) like their drawing on the paper part of the packaging

Saturday, October 22, 2011

Nutra Nail Gel Perfect Polish and Elos Plant Stem Cells Skincare Range

Spotted at ULTA,  Nutra Nail Gel Perfect ($11.5) seems to be a liquid nail color that dries within 5 minute, giving you an at-home gel nail experience and extra hard finish, it also comes with pot of remover.
There is also a new skincare range called Elos, featuring some plant stem cell gimmicks. The product prices range from 14 to 25 dollars.

Friday, October 21, 2011

L'Oreal Voluminous False Fiber Lashes Mascara

L'Oreal Voluminous False Fiber Lashes Mascara should be around for a while now (when I saw it a month ago in Walgreens, the store employee was in close proximity so I didn't take any picture of the display). It seems the first of the poster featuring Gwen Stephani, who has been a spoke person for the brand since spring of 2011.

New Aveeno Skin Care and Body Care Products

I don't usually pay much attention to the body care section of drugstore (or Aveeno the brand in general) but it seems that they have introduced several new items, all with pretty cute illustration on the bottles.
Body Washes (priced at 6.99 dollars) and body lotions (8.49 dollars)
New packaging for the positively radiant scrub, moisturizer and a squeegee eye brightener
Some body lotion and moisturizing cream for eczema

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Urban Decay 24/7 Eyeshadow Pencil Swatches (An Update)

I have swatched these Urban Decay 24/7 Eyeshadow Pencils back in February in Sephora but it seems that ULTA carries a slightly different stock (with more neutrals) so here is a little update. Again, these pencils are smooth to the touch, very pigmented and long-wearing and interestingly, I was able to remove them with a drugstore cleanser (without any rubbing or scratching)...More about the cleanser later as I want to give it a longer trial (so far, I have been loving it).

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Revlon Continuous Coral Colorstay Mineral Lip Glaze

Revlon Colorstay Mineral Lip Glaze in Continuous Coral is yet another coral purchase from the brand ( How can you say no when you have a 2 dollar off coupon to use on a 75% off item?). This slightly reddish orange-coral liquid lip color has a ton of golden shimmer, a strange scent and a pasty formula that stays on lips for hours but never quite settles into a smooth finish. On my normal-to-bad lips days, the mineral lip glaze has a tendency to stick to dry flakes or the top-most part of the lips (leaving the crevices uncovered), I am OK with that though, as it's still reasonably comfortable to wear (for a long-wearing lip color) and this particular shade is rather unique and simply beautiful.
Mabelline Coral Crush, Revlon Continuous Coral, Coral Reef and Maybelline Coral Lustre
Revlon Colorstay Mineral Lip Glaze Continuous Coral on a particularly good lips day

Saturday, October 15, 2011

Garnier Nutritionist Moisture Rescue Lightweight UV Lotion

Fall is finally around the corner (I guess I have said it a few times but this time I am a few days, I will be able to ditch the athletic shorts for a change...or maybe just add tight/legging underneath, like what I usually do.) so it's time to be a sunscreen-slacker and use SPF lotion instead!
Garnier Moisture Rescue Lightweight UV lotion is one of the three items in their Moisture Rescue Range , which was out last fall. The light lotion offers SPF15, a light (but not runny) texture, soft, slightly soapy cucumber scent and a decent amount of moisture that is quite enough for my normal skin during drier seasons and not really needed for summer.It does what it's supposed to do, giving my skin a lightweight moisture, so I guess this is the end of review? 

Anyway, the SPF 15 in this is a little bit of a joke, back in early July I wore it outdoor for a 30-minute morning walk and when I got home, my face was three shades darker. Keeping it for fall seems to be a good decision...

Friday, October 14, 2011

Anna Sui 15th Anniversary Furniture and Curtain

Don't be too excited, because the Anna Sui 15th Anniversary Furniture (Limited Edition at Isetan) , at 8190 yens,  including a mirrored futon with a pair of heels and a hand bag (attached to the whole piece?) , is doll sized instead. On a happier note, the futon also double up as a jewelry holder so this piece is both collectable and functional.

For me, I do like little doll sized item (as for actual dolls, a whole different story...) since they look intricate and are much easier to photography...Sometimes, to have photographed is to have (at least for me, since I don't take good care of stuff I own anyway).
Here are some human-sized curtain if you feel like dressing up your room a little. The curtains are 21000 yens 9 for the long one, and 15750 yens for the short ones...I think I much prefer spending 200 dollars on jade than curtain. Purple floral fabrics aren't that hard to find anyway...

P.S. Photos are from the November issue of Vivi magazine.

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

MAC Matte Powder Blush - A Bite of an Apple

MAC Matte Powder Blush in A bite of an Apple (As for the cracks on the compact, let's just say "never underestimate the weight of textbooks")is an delightful mix of coral, pink and red (totally reminds me of the packaging of EOS lip balm in Summer Fruit),  many bloggers considered it as one of the best items from the Disney Venomous Villain collection from last fall and I was certainly early in the game by picking it up the Monday after it was released (it just took me forever to review = =).
A Bite of an Apple is the first matte MAC blush,or the first non mineralize one I have ever tried and I am glad to say that it certainly won't be the last. The blush itself is very firmly pressed (no dusty blush pan!) silky to the touch and extremely pigmented that very little product is needed to achieve that flush from within.Overall: It's so good that I don't even know what else to say.

For people who missed out A Bite of an Apple, here are some very similar shades that will give you pretty much the same coral-pink-red flush. (Of course, the evil-Bay is always there if you have some extra cash to burn). 

La Femme blush on rouge in Coral
Cargo powder blush in Key Largo 
Milani Mineral Blush in Mai Tai
Rock and Republic in X-rated 
Sula Blush in Girl Next Door 

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

The Colors of Dragonfly - Easy Breezy DIY

To make these earrings, here is all you need: Sterling hooks, natural turquoise chips, carnelian beads (from Micheal's) and black nylon thread (available at Hobby Lobby), which is knotted at the bottom then burned with candle to secure the knot, as nylon melts when exposed to heat. I personally prefer nylon crochet thread over silver wire for bead works since they are more affordable, stronger and more mistake-proof...If you make mistake or just don't like your specific design, you can just cut it off and do it over.
Here is where I get my inspiration from, taken 2-3 days before I made the earrings: A dragonfly with turquoise eyes/tail and an orange belly. (Mental note to self: Need to save up for a telephoto lens, the point-and-shoot is washing out too much colors...)
Unrelated to the post, here is a lip combo I have been enjoying lately: Maybelline Coral Lustre lipstick (I hope you are not sick of me mentioning it) and Sephora Summer Crush lip gloss are perfect together! I have also been using coral blushes a lot lately and I am also lemming for more...Maybe Milani Corallina?

Monday, October 10, 2011

Estee Lauder Soft Matte Bronzer in Bronze Goddess

This little compact of Estee Lauder Soft Matte Bronzer was a  GWP (generously sized)mini given by a friend. I reckon it doesn't hurt to review it since the shade is also available for purchase in full size. Anyway, I am not sure what they are heading with this kind of packaging. Lone star state Texas or is it the national flag of Vietnam?
The bronzer is a dusty peachy brown with bronze-gold shimmer (I am not sure why would they call it matte as the shimmer is both obvious in the ban and when swatched). The bronzer is decently pigmented but quite firmly pressed so that you need a fluffy brush to actually get enough product. I find it a little bit too glittery to be used allover face but the peachy undertone it has makes it a pretty decent blush, it almost reminds me of a lighter version of Jane Blushing Baby Doll or a slightly peachier (less golden) version of Nars Luster.
Bronze Goddess swatched on skin. Overall: It's a freebie with decent quality but I personally find the package design a little off-putting, I wish they would revamp the whole range someday, as I have heard some pretty good things about their lipsticks.

Organix Nourishing Coconut Milk Shampoo Moroccan Argan Oil Conditioner

While I am not a fan of Pseudo-organic/natural brands and their misleading name and claims, I can't help but get attached to the haircare (now there is even a skincare range) brand Organix. What can I say? They look cute (like a penguin!) , feel good (with slightly textured bottle) and all smell yummy, who can say no to that?

Anyway, after having tried the mint (returned it as I couldn't stand the overly sweet smell), passion fruit guava, pomegranate and mandarin, now I am ready for warmer, deeper scent now the weather is cooling down a teeny tiny bit.
Anyway, here is a short review of the haircare products I am using at the moment- Organix Nourishing Coconut Milk Shampoo and Moroccan Argan Oil conditioner.The shampoo has their usual jelly-runny/snot-like texture, a sweet coconut (not 100% natural but still quite enjoyable) scent that lingers better that other fruity variations. It cleanses and rinses reasonably well without being too stripping or irritating (works like most shampoo without Sodium Laureth Sulfate), which is all I need in a bottle of shampoo. 

As for the conditioner (which I started to use again so I don't have to pull out the tangle by force) , I don't think there is anything special about it. The yellow colored cream is not creamy to start with, and while it does what a conditioner is supposed to do (detangle, duh...Do you really think that it will repair hair shaft, a cell structure that's dead to start with?),  it doesn't have any other benefit of making my hair sleek or soft (so what is the dimethicone for? Clogging up my pores?). My least favorite part about this would be the fragrance, it smells like musky cologne, a scent that I associate with douche bags (Alright, I know I kind of talk/act like one, but do I want to smell like one as well?) ...
Ingredient list of the two products - As you can see, the actual fruit extract are so far down the list (for the shampoo,the coconut extract comes way after the formaldehyde-releasing preservative DMDM Hydantoin) so if you actually getting any result as their claims, it's probably just placebo effect.

P.S. I would probably still buy another bottle (my next would be the brown one) of this shampoo when I run out, since they are SLS-free, reasonably prized (when you wait for a sale, clip coupon and hunt for these value-sized big bottles) and get my hair cleaned.

Saturday, October 08, 2011

Revlon Pink Crystal Super Lustrous Lip Balm

The Super Lustrous Lip Balm was a summer release by Revlon (better late than never), while the whole range is not as well-loved as their other lip products (because 2 of the 3 available shades are practically clear), I do appreciate how much effort they put into the packaging: Not only the plastic used is tough and feels substantial, there is also a usable lip brush for you to dig the product out, which can be pushed back into the lid-compartment.
Pink Crystal is bright borderline-fuchsia pink with silver shimmer and a semi-hard, waxy kind of texture. While the finish is nothing worth mentioning. The color goes on like a semi-sheer (or semi-opaque if you are an optimist) raspberry and settles into an understated sheen (thanks to its mediocre texture ) , the sheen goes well with the somewhat bold color.
Revlon Pink Crystal Super Lustrous Lip Balm by itself (I avoided direct sunlight so you can see the abundant silver shimmer)
Revlon Pink Crystal with YSL Provocative Pink Rouge Volupte (this lipstick always makes my lips wrinkle up...)

Jade Pendant - Lotus Seed Pod

While lotus flower is very popular in Chinese visual and literary art (or Asian culture in general), the seed bed of the plant, lotus seed pod, is also commonly depicted in painting and carve work. As the prolific fruit symbolizes fertility (not quite compliance with China's current one-child policy but well) simply looks cute.
This particular piece is carved out of white nephrite jade originated from Tsing Hai (a northwestern part of China) , the jade from there is usually a little see-trough/watery, and almost glass-like. (When it comes to nephrite jade, the more opaque, the whiter and more rice-cake like the better. The standard is opposite to how jadeite is evaluated.)

Friday, October 07, 2011

Sneak Peek and Birthday Shout-Out

Lately, I have been a little sick of my "natural colorful" (aka overkill) picture theme and in order to freshen things up,  here is a black and white one, inspired by Mattias Inks. No, not the style. I mean that looking at his pictures reminds me of the two sketchbooks I got a few months ago  for God knows why. (Apparently, I will buy whatever junk in the store that's on sale...)
Here is a sneak peak of what the upcoming Citrine's Blog posts will be about: Jade (the few weird-looking pieces on center to lower left) and other accessories, Maybelline lipstick (that took forever to finish reviewing, because lately I have been preferring blushes instead), some brushes, hair care, some cheek products, lip glosses... You know, the usual stuff. And in case you wonder, the bunny silhouette was a failed attempt at drawing a thumb-up sign and the bling-bling rose on lower left is supposed to be an Anna Sui compact (but I ran out of space).

Enough with the sneak peak and let's get down to business. Today (Oct. 7th), I have a birthday shout out for the oh-so-bad@$$ Vladimir Putin, Yo-Yo Ma and our dear Piano Prince(ss) Yundi Li, who was the first Chinese, and youngest person to ever win the International Chopin Competition. Always compared to Lang Lang, Li is generally considered the "Soft-spoken, expressive, serious, low-key"one. For the non-Chinese speaking Yundi fans, here are some pictures of him from Chinese media (since he is allover the press, for matters unrelated to classical music)...
Picture via Weibo, courtesy of "Circle of Fashionable Men" 
Magazine Shot for Men's Uno - "Li Yundi's Musical Life - Poetic Style and Perseverance"- Perseverance means playing of the same recital program over and over and over again?  *Coughs*
Yundi Primping for Chinese Harper's Baazar- Bobbi Brown should expect a sale increase in China, thanks to his giggly fans (Who go "Oh my prince, you are wonderful! You look like Kimura Takuya!You are the perfect Chopin interpreter..." no matter how many wrong notes he hits, within a 10-sec time frame. )

You need to stop putting on makeup and start practicing, biatch...

Wednesday, October 05, 2011

Too Faced Beautiful Dreamer Makeup Collection Swatches

Are you ready for Christmas yet? If you are, Too Faced is there for you, with their holiday 2011 collection called Beautiful Dreamer - for 46 dollars, you will get a Lashgasm mascara, a mini eyeshadow primer, a gloss, an eyeshadow quad and a blush/bronzer duo, housed in a plastic makeup case.
The four eyeshadow all have silky texture and decent pigmentation. Teddy Bear is a matte brown with a tint of gray. Blonde Ambition is a delicate semi-sheer metallic taupe that I like quite a bit. Totally Toasted is a slight grayish shimmery brown. Satin Sheet looks medium-to-pale pink in the pan, it ended up looking champagne on my hand (I re-swatched twice to make sure it wasn't contaminated from other shadow).
Pink Swan lip gloss is a glittery pale pink that doesn't give much color. Full Bloom Blush in Whose is your Poppy is (yet another) peachy pink with golden shimmer. Sun Bunny Bronzer in light is a golden bronze that doesn't appear too muddy.

Overall: I think is a decent deal but it's still not gotta-get-it kind of special.

Tuesday, October 04, 2011

Maybelline Lots of Lashes Mascara and Nivea Lip Care

Some new-ish products spotted at Walgreens - Maybelline Lots of Lashes Mascara with a teardrop shaped wand. I would stay away from it if the formula is anything like the original Great Lash.
Nivea a Kiss of Shine lip care has a new slimmer/taller packaging, beside the new squeegee lip care, there is also a new stick balm in baby blue tube called Mint and Mineral. Nivea lip care products are currently 2 for 4 dollars at Walgreen in case you want to give them a try. I personally really like the strawberry one, shown on the right (click here for my review and swatch).

Innisfree Natural Essential Moisture Mask

What does summer-autumn transition means to you? To me, it means chapped and bloody (I am a peeler) lips, hairballs (I actually shed like a dog all year round) and last year jeans going on extra-skinny/tight (I blame it on summer shorts, which gave me too much spare space to gather fat). Since change of season tends to also bring some skin issues, I reckon it would be the perfect time to finishing the reviews on skincare product that have been piling up in my dashboard.
Innisfree (A Korean company known for their skincare range) Essential Moisture Mask are paper/sheet mask housed in an adorable, slightly textured pouches. Supposedly,  the different packaging means different plant essence (Mugwort, Pine, Pomegranate and Acai berry. Beside Mugwort, which has a fresh herbal scent. The smell of the other three are a bit too artificial/sweet for my liking) targeting different skin problem. I can't read Korean (and I think the percentage of so called plant extract are too trivial to make a noticeable difference anyway) so I will just talk about them as a whole. 

Compared to the Beauty Friends sheet mask, Innisfree Essential Moisture mask contains less essence (the liquid part) and a thinner sheet that fits and stays on face better (but it also breaks apart easily). After the normal waiting time, which is about 20 minutes, most liquid gets absorbed and/or partially evaporates so you might be a little disappointing if you are the person who like the half used up mask to wipe your limbs.

Whenever I use the Innisfree mask, it feels light, refreshing and replenishing (perfect for calming down inflamed skin due to excessive picking) without being too nourishing. I can't say if it actually have any long term effect as I can get that kind of refreshing sensation by putting cold teabags on my face anyway. 

Overall: It feels really good when I use it (and for some strange reason it's almost addictive). Anyway, I personally don't think sheet mask is an essential steps in ones skincare routine (given that you cleanse and moisturize/hydrate well and use sunscreen regularly) so this isn't a must-have.

P.S. I got it from my roommate so I have no clue how much it cost and where it's sold.

Sunday, October 02, 2011

Neutrogena Pure & Free Sunblock SPF 50

Neutrogena Pure & Free Daily Sunblock SPF 50 is the "natural" version of their favorably-reviewed (and best selling? Since I couldn't find that in CVS when I ran out my first tube) Ultra Sheer Liquid Daily Sunscreen. If you actually read through the ingredients/fine print, you will find out that this particular formula is called "Pure & Free" not because the bottle of liquid is "pure, natural and totally good for you". What they really mean is that the sunscreen contains 5% Titanium Oxide and 3% Zinc Oxide as the active ingredients and that (as a matter of fact), TiO and ZnO are naturally occurred. The bottle of liquid as a whole is, as natural as Pamela Anderson's chest.

While both the Ultra Sheer and Pure & Free Daily Sunblock are in liquid form (not that common for American sunscreen in the drugstore price range) and packaged similarly. The two actually feel and work quite different on the skin. 
Scent - The original Ultra Sheer is scented and has that...Neutrogena sunscreen smell. Pure & Free contains no fragrance but the ingredients give it a pulled rubber band/ rubber-undergone-friction/car tire smell, which is quite unpleasant but will go away (more like your nose will get used to it) after a month or so. OK, it smells pretty horrible.

Color - Both first appears white when dotted on and while Ultra Sheer blends away invisibly. Pure & Free sunblock, which is more of a bleached paper white (the kind with a bluish tinge) leaves a pretty obvious white cast that looks ridiculous by itself (with my summer tan), underneath makeup (it makes any concealer appears extra-yellow), underneath powder (makes powder blush/bronzer blotchy) and when I perspire (just imagine white sweat)...

Texture -  Pure and Free is more watery to the touch and it dries to a matte, completely dry (frosted glass like) touch. This might be good for some but on my normal skin (with the help of its white tint) it accentuates dry flakes that I didn't know existed and isn't that good of a base when I want to put makeup on top...

Formula - While I enjoy using the original Ultra Sheer formula, sometime it stings when it gets too close to my eye area and when my skin gets extra sensitive (Which is something I experience with all Neutrogena products containing the Helioplex, their own blend of several different chemical sunscreens). There is no sting, or other physical pain associated with the Pure & Free formula when it's equally effective preventing major sun damage. 

However, when I use this particular sunscreen several days in a roll, I tend to get a big bumpy pimple on my face that takes days to go away (And I can't find other culprit as this is the only thing I use...remember I said makeup looks horrible with it?) that now I only use it on my arms instead.

Overall: Neutrogena Pure & Free sunblock is perfect for people with extremely pale and sensitive skin (or those of you who like going for the Geisha-look). I actually don't hate it completely, as it's not the worst in the market.
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