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Struggling through life as much as the next young girl in her early twenties. I have a lot of love for my city, Nashville. I like traveling, late night phone calls, and eating.

Friday, April 25, 2014

NYX "Stay Matte but Not Flat" Foundation REVIEW + Swatches!

Honestly, I picked up this foundation on pure impulse. Usually I do a little research beforehand so I know what I'm getting myself into. I had heard emilynoel83 from YouTube talk about how much she loved using the Stay Matte, Not Flat powder foundation, and while I was at Ulta, I was just about to reach for this powder to try it out for myself, but the liquid foundation caught my eye. I thought, "Well, if the powder foundation has good reviews, the liquid should be pretty good too." Right?

From the name, I had the understanding that this foundation should have a demi-matte finish, which is my favorite finish for foundation. I have very oily skin, so I prefer a matte look, but I hate that unnatural, "makeup-face" look that completely matte foundations and powders can give you.

I'm very oily, but I get the occasional dry patches on my cheeks and around my nose from time to time, but it's not enough to say that my skin is combination. I'm pretty much oily all the time, so in my experience it's been difficult to find a foundation that can withstand a full day's wear. My oils seep through most foundations at about the 4-hour mark. I was hoping this NYX foundation could hold up and be a suitable everyday foundation.

There are only five shades available, and I purchased the color Nude, which is the second lightest shade. The first shade is called Ivory, but if I'm able to wear the second shade up, Ivory must not be that light. The shade range is as follows: Ivory, Nude, Cream Natural, Soft Beige, and Medium Beige.



(This lighting is kind of yellow, but I took these so you could see the packaging)

Here are some comparison swatches. 
Just for a reference, I am about an NC30 in MAC colors. I would say I'm actually a tiny bit lighter than NC30, but not enough to be NC25.

Lancome Teint Idole 24 HR Ultra in 250W Bisque is on top.
Chanel Vita Lumiere Aqua in 40 Beige (summer color) is on the bottom.

Natural Lighting
From the photos, you can see that the Lancome 250W Bisque looks the most neutral out of all the colors, but it the Lancome definitely has a yellow lean. The NYX foundation has a touch of peach in it, but is still a warm, yellow toned foundation. As mentioned above, Chanel VLA Beige 40 was a summer color of mine, and this one definitely leans orange/tan.

With Flash

Here is a picture of my bare face. Right now, my skin is in pretty good condition, but I do have redness around the nose and some unevenness in tone on my cheeks. 





Here is my face with one coat of foundation. Much better, right?


I used a flat top kabuki brush to buff in this foundation. This NYX foundation is a true medium coverage foundation, which I happen to like. The packaging says it is full coverage and can be achieved by layering. I had one dry patch on my cheek that isn't visible in this photo, and unfortunately this foundation clung to it, making it pretty noticeable. This is a common problem with many matte foundations, and this one did not overcome that obstacle.

Another issue I noticed with this foundation that I thought was quite strange was that it took longer to set compared to other matte foundations. Because of this quality, this foundation is prone to streakiness when applied with a brush. As much as I tried to smooth out the foundation, it just didn't look very good on my nose. The packaging also mentions that this formula is oil-free and water based, so it's weird to me that it took so long to set. But after it set, it did leave a nice demi-matte finish as I expected.

Here's a picture for a flash photo test (with brows/eyes, no blush or powder):


This foundation has no SPF, and actually photographs quite nicely! As you can see, it's not completely matte from the light that is bouncing off my cheeks.

I wore this foundation several times so that I could get a solid idea of how this wears on my oily skin. I have to say, it's really not that long-lasting. It transfers easily, and when my oils seep through, it starts breaking down all over my T-zone. And when I say breaking down, it's like you can see the foundation starting to separate when it reacts with my skin's oils. It also oxidizes, but just slightly. The color doesn't darken to a completely different shade.


THE GOOD: The NYX Stay Matte But Not Flat foundation looks beautiful in photos. It has good coverage with just one application. 

THE BAD: For a matte foundation that is marketed toward oily skin, it doesn't really work well at all. 

This product is most suited for those with normal skin who prefer the matte look. It's best applied with a damp sponge such as a Beauty Blender, and can be worn daily or as a special occasion type of foundation due to its good photographic qualities. 

The NYX Stay Matte But Not Flat Foundation can be purchased for $7.49 at Ulta.

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

NARS Lipstick - Fire Down Below: REVIEW and Swatches!

I think back in 2010 when I first started getting into makeup, I was completely infatuated with NARS everything. Their sleek packaging and color palettes captured my attention, so when I was searching for the perfect brick-red lipstick, I went straight to NARS and came across Shanghai Express--a color Sephora.com describes as a semi-matte warm brick-red, and I knew I had to have it. I wanted to buy it for years, but never brought myself to buy it because it never landed high on my list of priorities. I would always go into the store and swatch the lipstick, then regretfully walk away from it.

Recently, Sephora had their 15% off coupon, and I decided that I absolutely needed to kill the urge to buy the item I'd been pining over for years. I was telling myself, "Just buy it already!" I marched into the store, went straight to the NARS section, I found Shanghai Express,

but.... 

Then I saw Fire Down Below right beside it, and it looked so dark and vampy, and just beautiful. I had to swatch it too. Shanghai Express is truly a brick red, but I think I enjoyed the darker warm red tone of Fire Down Below even more, so once again, I skipped out on my first NARS lipstick love and bought Fire Down Below instead.

I think that when I first had the obsession for Shanghai Express, I probably didn't think that I could pull off a darker color than that, but since I've experimented more with makeup, I know what works for me and what doesn't work. Fire Down Below just ended up being a color more unique to me and one I wanted more in my collection.

Shanghai Express--I will come for you eventually, so don't worry!


Natural lighting
With flash--looks so dramatic!
Since I didn't buy Shanghai Express, I took photographs next to two other red lipsticks with very different tones, so you can see the extremity of the deep, "true blood red" color that it really is.

The one on the left is Napoleon Perdis Aphrodite.
The one on the right is Smashbox Mandarin.

NP Aphrodite is a rich red color with a slight blue lean, and Smashbox Mandarin is true to its name, a mandarin red color with orange hues.

As you can see, Fire Down Below is a very deep color, and super unique.
Natural lighting

With flash: You can really see the true undertones here.


On the arm swatches, NP Aphrodite is on the bottom, and Smashbox Mandarin is on the top.

Natural lighting

With flash

With flash, different angle
For the actual formula of the lipstick, I do enjoy it as well. When swatching, the NARS lipstick doesn't glide on as nicely or as full-on as the NP lipstick, but that can be attributed to its semi-matte formula, whereas the NP is a creme formula. The NARS lipstick takes a only couple of strokes to get a full-on color, but I think its buildable quality makes this dark color easy to apply.



As with any dark color, the lips should be properly exfoliated and hydrated before application. It's especially important for this particular color because you need to apply multiple layers of this lipstick, so the color will cling to dry patches. This is also a lipstick that will pair well with a coordinating lip liner.

Since it is a semi-matte formula, it'll last longer than a regular creme lipstick--not that it advertises long-wearing qualities. The absolute best thing about this lipstick is that it doesn't dry out my lips! Usually any type of matte lipstick makes my lips flake off, but I don't find that problem at all with this formula, as long as I prep my lips well. It is a very comfortable formula to wear.

NARS Fire Down below is a beautiful, vampy color. Although we're getting into spring and summer, I still think a color like this could be worn on a classy night out. If you haven't, you should definitely give it a swatch.

You can find NARS Fire Down Below for $26 here.



Until next time!
xoxo,

Caterina

Sunday, June 2, 2013

The Body Shop Oil-Free Balancing Foundation Review

So I received this foundation last week and I'd like to give my honest review on it.

This foundation is oil-free with a matte finish, said to be suitable for oily skin types.


I got the shade 04, suitable for light/medium skin tones.

This is a heavy fresh swatch for reference next to Chanel Vita Lumiere Aqua in Beige 40. TBS is on the top and Chanel VLA is on the bottom.


This is after the heavy swatch set a little bit. Clearly, they both oxidize. And actually, the Chanel Beige 40 is a bit dark for me. It was matched for me last summer when I was darker, so The Body Shop foundation in 04 is actually a great match for me at the moment.


Here I am, makeup-less. As you can see, there is redness around the nose, and I have some red spots on my cheeks.


After trial and error, I found that the best way to apply this foundation is with a damp sponge. This is after one pump of foundation was blended evenly across my face. As you can see, the redness around my nose is gone.


The small pimples on my cheek have also been concealed, however I'm not sure that you can tell, but it has clung to areas around my nose. I also found that this foundation dries down to matte, but not SUPER matte finish. It also has a tendency to cling to each and every dry spot on your face, which is why I went for the damp sponge application when I applied the foundation.


As long as you aren't looking super up close to my face, it actually leaves a very nice, natural finish. It doesn't look cakey overall. This is after I had applied my eye makeup, so there is no setting powder, blush, or bronzer.


I tested it out with flash photography. This foundation has SPF 15 so I was curious to see if it'd flashback or not. And the flashback effect is ever so slight, but my face looks a tad bit light. Also, the light is bouncing off my cheeks, so it doesn't look matte in flash photography.


And how did it wear throughout the day? I'm VERY oily, and although this foundation is oil-free, it did not prevent my face from becoming as oily as it usually is. I had to blot twice. Something I also noticed is that this foundation is easily transferrable, meaning it will probably wipe off on your boyfriend's shirt when you snuggle your face in his white shirt--or any colored shirt for that matter (besides black, obvs.). 

So how do I feel overall about this foundation? Meh. The color match is good, but it doesn't seem to be versatile in that the only way I can make this look good is by damp sponge. I don't absolutely hate this foundation. I can still wear it, but I'd just have to prep my skin with a good moisturizer, primer, De-Slick spray, and setting powder. What I mean is, it's "workable" for everyday use. 
If you like matte foundations and your skin is pretty good and free of dry patches, I say go for it, but don't expect this to be a miracle or HG product. 


HELLOOO~ Face of the day.

Oh well hi there everyone. So it's definitely been a while since I have updated my blog. But you know how it goes when you have work and school... -sigh- It's hard to keep up. Well it's summer now and although I have to work all the time I will still try my hardest to be consistent in posting. I honestly really enjoy blogging, but I never motivate myself enough to do it continuously. I'm trying to change that now.

Anyhow, I just wanted to start with a quick post of my face for the day. Every day I like to switch it up with what I use. I hardly ever wear the same look twice in a row.

Today for work I just wanted to sport a bronze/brown eye look that was slightly smokey, yet subtle.


The pictures make the colors look pretty neutral and a little on the cool side, but really it was much warmer looking in person. The base color is actually a warm peachy-gold color, but it looks quite nude in the photos. I even used a red eyeshadow (NYX Rust) to subtly blend the color into my skin, but I guess it's not coming across on camera. Gotta find a way around that. :/



I just paired the look with some natural looking lashes I bought from HK.
And the lipcolor I'm using is Burt's Bees lip shimmer in Nutmeg. I didn't think I'd like this tinted lip balm, but it actually is natural looking and flattering on my skin tone!


And no, I did not fill in my brows crooked--they grow differently on each side. I try my best to even them out, but it's just way more noticeable on camera. In person it isn't so bad!


But I tried to do something different by using a cream stick blusher instead of a powder. It gives a natural flush, but I usually don't use them because I'm really oily. However, this particular blush stick is like a cream-to-powder almost and dries down on my skin.

I just want to say that I have re-discovered my love of Chanel Vita Lumiere Aqua foundation. It looks so natural and blends in SO well!

I hope I am able to post more on here. As you can see, I'm getting into the swing of things here. I didn't realize how different the pictures looked on my computer screen than what I looked like in real life (color wise) so I'll definitely be working on it. :)

Thursday, March 1, 2012

Neutral Brown Eye

Oh gosh! Sorry it's been so long since I've posted. I forgot to buy batteries for my camera for a while, and once I bought them I became extremely busy. But here I am! I just wanted to share a quick photo of my current eye makeup. It's simple and neutral. Completely my style. I just paired this look with a pair of natural falsies.


Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Nail Color at the Moment! - e.l.f. Metal Madness

Here's a nail polish called Metal Madness I got in my recent e.l.f. haul. I love it so much for it being a $2 nail polish! It's a gunmetal grey color with glitter particles that have that rainbow-like shine. The glitter can make the surface uneven and rough, but I top all my nail polishes off with a nice, thick coat of Seche Vite, so it's all good after that! Although I do admit that I need to find a new top coat, since this one seems to make my polish shrink, as you can clearly see, making my mediocre application look even worse. This polish reached full opacity after two coats. Personally, I really like it. What do you think?



Monday, January 16, 2012

e.l.f. haul -- Coming Soon!

Hey guys, I just wanted to do a quick update. My camera is currently dead, so I haven't been able to photograph anything, but I should be getting batteries soon! I recently bought a bunch of brushes from e.l.f., so be on the lookout for that!

-Caterina