Thursday, October 23, 2014

The Elusive LORAC Mega Pro Palette


Whelp, I managed to get my hot little hands on the limited edition, much-coveted LORAC Mega Pro Palette before it sold out online - not because of my savvy online shopping skills (of which I have none), but because my lovely, thoughtful, very generous sis bought an extra one for moi when she ordered hers (sisters are the best!). The Mega Pro was only available through LORAC and Amazon and as of now, the palette is completely sold out on both sites. When I looked at LORAC's Facebook page earlier this week, I read something about additional palettes becoming available on Amazon soon (oh, so vague). That being said, I'll keep my post short and sweetno need to go on and on about a palette that's harder to find than my 8-year-old at bath time. Here are the deets...

The Mega Pro Palette is made up of 32 shadeshalf of which are shimmer and the other, matte. Only four shades are repeats (White, Cream, Black, and Espresso); the other 28 are brand-spankin' new. Overall, the shadow selection is gooda nice set of primarily warm-toned, wearable colors. I can easily say that I'd sport every shade in the palette; there's not an unsavory color in the bunch, a rarity. I also appreciate the simple, easy-to-identify shades: Brown, Deep Teal, Vanilla, Khaki - you get the picture

Here's where my love of the palette goes south. Right off the bat, things were a bust, literally. My sister purchased the palettes from Amazon and when they arrived, they arrived damaged. Two of the shades in my palette were shattered, Vanilla and Smokey Topaz (not that you couldn't guess -my eyeshadow mending skills are horrendous). The palettes were shipped in an envelope without any protective packaging. To be honest I'm shocked that the palettes weren't more banged up. Amazon did provide an apology and a small credit but they weren't able to offer replacements because by that time, the Mega Pro Palettes were sold out. After looking at multiple negative reviews, it's apparent that the person in charge of shipping at Amazon wasn't a makeup lover. Let's just say my sister and I weren't the only ones who got an envelope full of loose eyeshadow powder.

In regards to the product, the texture, pigmentation and blendability of the shadows are hit and miss. A handful of shades are ultra-powdery (White, Mulberry and Blush being the major offenders) making application difficult and messy. Then there are the shades that go on strong, but either blend unevenly or blend into oblivion (you know who you are - Black, Teal, Apricot and Grey). Certain shades, like Lilac, are so sheer that they're barely visible even with a primer. I'd estimate that half of the shades are problematic in some way.

So, do I think the Mega Pro Palette is worth all the fuss? Unfortunately no. Don't get me wrong, it's a perfectly adequate palette with a good variety of lovely shadesI can't get enough of Sienna, Copper and Sandbut it's definitely not worth getting into an Ebay bidding war for. The surge of special edition holiday makeup palettes is just around the corner and I'm sure there will be plenty of gorgeous eyeshadow palettes to choose fromones that are easy to purchase and don't arrive in a sketchy envelope (just sayin').

Friday, October 17, 2014

My Fall/Winter Skincare Routine: Evening

























Every season as the weather cools down, my skin starts to look a bit dry and lackluster. Add a daily dose of Retin-A to the mix and yowza!, my complexion begins to resemble the Sahara. Needless to say, I've had to make a few adjustments to my PM skincare routine. Out are the daily Clarisonic sessions (too drying) and in are the heavy-duty moisturizers. I've retired a few of my regular skincare products for the fall/winter months, instead choosing a selection of more gentle, hydrating formulas. Here's what my new routine looks like:

The Cleanser/Makeup Remover - Yep, I still absolutely love it and nope, I won't stop raving about it; The Body Shop Camomile Sumptuous Cleansing Butter is cemented in my skincare-loving heart. It's going to take one incredible oil-based cleansing dynamo (aka, a small miracle) to sway my loyalty. If you haven't already scooped up a tin, you're missing out. The subtle, pleasant-smelling balm slowly dissolves into an oil as you massage it into your skin. Makeup (even waterproof mascara) literally melts off. A quick rinse with cool water and your face is so fresh, so clean.

The Toner - I was never much of a toner fanthey always left my skin feeling tight and itchy. The Paula's Choice Skin Recovery Enriched Calming Toner does just the opposite. It soothes dry, red skin and is gentle enough to use on eczema, rosacea and around the delicate areas of the eye. The antioxidant-packed formula also helps to diminish wrinkles and repair skin. I've tried a few of the other Paula's Choice toners but this one is my favorite by far. Don't be worried if the texture looks a bit "milky," perfectly normal (or so it says on the website).

The Treatment - Since I'm already using Retin-A in the evenings, I don't use any additional skin-perfecting serums (no need to complicate the process). I do however add a couple drops of the StriVectinLABS High Performance Booster Oil to my moisturizer for a much needed "boost" of vitamins and hydration. It's marketed as a nourishing oil that uses patented skin-strengthening technology. Whelp, that "technology" is effective; my skin looks and feels soft and hydrated. Oh, and the scent is amazing—refreshing and citrus-y.

The Moisturizer - The CeraVe PM Facial Moisturizing Lotion is as basic as it getsfragrance-free, non-irritating, doesn't cause breakouts, and is found at the drugstore. Sounds pretty good, right? My dermatologist recommended it and despite its lack of bells and whistles (cute packaging and clever marketing), this moisturizer works like a charm. Lightweight and easily absorbed, I slather CeraVe on my face every chance I getand at a mere $12 a bottle, I can afford to.

The Lip Balm - ChapStick? Really? Here me out on this one... The ChapStick Hydration Lock may not be the most flashy lip balm around, but it does the trick. Usually by mid-October, my lips are a cracked, peeling mess (sorry - bad visual). Not this year! No sirree. I've been coating my lips with Hydration Lock every night before bed and my pout is in pristine shape. Maybe it's the added CoQ10 or the "hyaluronic filling spheres" (ChapStick is trying so hard), I'm not really sure. Either way my lips and I are happy, and so is my hubby (because we kiss sometimes).

The Water - A mist of Avène Thermal Spring Water before bed may not sound like a necessary step, but let me tell ya... it's a nice, refreshing touch after a long day. But that's not the only time I use it. I'll spritz it on in the mornings after I wash my face, or after I apply my makeup. Sometimes I'll use it in the afternoon if my face is feeling especially dry or even right after applying moisturizer at night (and I might even spray it on the dogs if I'm feeling generous). The fact is, minerals and silica in the formula reduce irritation and help lock in moisture. (And let's be honest, it's fun to use.)

How often do you change your skincare routine?

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Perfect Pairings #2



I'm fairly loyal when it comes to mascara; I rotate between my three fav waterproof formulas, Maybelline The Rocket Volum Express, L'Oréal Telescopic Shocking Extensions and L'Oréal Hydrofuge Voluminous Carbon Black. I may stray now and again but I always end up going back. Well, I've now officially added two newbies to my list and ironically, they're from Maybelline and L'Oréal. And, they go together like nail and polish.

The L'Oréal Miss Manga Voluminous Waterproof and Maybelline Lash Discovery Mini-Brush Waterproof are a mascara match made in heaven. Despite the oddly-shaped brush, Miss Manga glides on easily, creating thick, dramatic lashes. If you're looking for a subtle flutter, this ain't the mascara for you. The formula borders on clumpy, hence the "doll eyes" description on the package, but I don't mind a minor bit of clump-age. I do however mind super thick (spider-esk) bottom lashes, and that's where Lash Discovery comes in. The mascara's teeny-tiny bristles work to coat lower lashes without smudging or transferring. The thin wand is also great at getting to those short inner lashes that the Miss Manga brush can't reach. My lashes have never looked betterintense volume, length, curl and zero flaking. In my eyes, these two are the perfect pair (see how I did that?).
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