Friday, January 17, 2014

Pixi Eye Glow Cube Palette: Review And Swatches

Today I'll review a neutral palette from Pixi for you.

I bought this palette during my trip to US in the summer 2013, so I've been using it since then. I think I bought it in Target. When I thought of Pixi as the brand itself, knowing it is sort of a more expensive drugstore makeup, I didn't expect anything over the top from this palette in terms of quality. However, I've been interested in trying something from that brand for a long time and when I saw this palette in one of the drugstores in San Francisco it instantly appealed to me and I decided to buy it. I must say I'm quite pleased with my purchase. I'm enjoying this palette.

This palette is available online from the Pixi site here http://www.pixibeauty.co.uk/makeup/eyes/eye-glow-cube (if you're in UK or Europe) or here http://www.pixibeauty.com/makeup/eyes/eye-glow-cube (if you're in the US). The cost is 18 GBP/$28.

Here are the pictures of the palette and the swatches.

Pixi Eye Glow Cube Palette

Packaging

Nothing super-fancy here. The packaging of the palette is a typical Pixi style, very girly, maybe even slightly teen-age-y. It has little pixies printed on the transparent top plastic lid. The palette looks very compact and quite sturdy. Even though it is plastic it shuts nicely with a click and is just overall well-made. The eye-shadows are in the top pan and the base colors are in the second drawer that also pulls out and in nicely. It makes a good palette for travelling.

The Palette


Now on to the palette itself. The palette consists of 16 shimmery shades + 2 eye shadow base colors. Ok, it is official that all the shades are shimmery but in real life one of the shades has sort of a satin finish with such subtle shimmer that it almost appears matte on the lids, so you could count it as a matte one just for a relief if your soul still desires some mattes. Also one of the 2 base colors is also matte, completely, and the other one is shimmery, so you could say the palette has 2 mattes (1 being almost undetectably satin).

This is how the shadows look from 2 different angles to better see the colors.


Pixi Eye Glow Cube Palette (eye shadows)

Pixi Eye Glow Cube Palette (eye shadows)

Here are the swatches of the eye shadows. They don't have the names so I swatched them as they appear in the palette.






The pictures don't do enough justice (too bright direct lightning, I think) as the colors are beautiful and surprisingly well-pigmented. The are also consistently pigmented.

I'll start by saying that this is an all-shimmer-shades palette as the name implies, so if you are a matte lover or are looking for a variety of finishes in a palette this is definitely NOT for you, but if you love your shimmers just like me, you'll most likely find it to be a lovely little palette.

The selection of colors is very nice. This is what I call "not boring" interesting neutrals. They are not just your plane beiges and browns. Each color has a character and its distinctive hue. It has campaign-butter-type colors, light beiges and bronzy shades, rose-golds, taupes, a lilac and a peach shade, browns, greenish brown, deep-browns, burgundies, plumish/purple-ish shades. The spectrum ranges from very light colors good for highlighting to medium to very dark ones for a liner and a smoky eye. I also feel like a lot of the shades, especially mid-tones are beautiful enough in themselves to make a pretty one eye shadow look. In this sense I feel like this palette is complete enough in case you don't feel intimidated by wearing all shimmery shades. By the way, the shimmer in these shades is not too shimmery if I can say so. It looks beautiful and very wearable on the eyes. I've seen much heavier disco-ball shimmers. These aren't like this. These are very wearable and pretty even in an all shimmery look. So with that being said the variety here is endless.

Here are the base colors and their swatches.


Pixi Eye Glow Cube Palette (base colors)




The shimmery base isn't as shimmery as it appears on the swatch (the light just hit it in this picture) and the matte base is just similar to my skin tone and therefore doesn't show up as well in the picture as it does in reality.

A few more things to note about this palette: you can wear these shadows wet or dry (but I think you can do this with any eye shadows nowadays really), they are a little powdery (or maybe I'm just spoiled with super-pigmented, super-creamy and smooth textures like theBalm shadows) but they don't produce much fallout if you tap off the excess, maybe just a tiny bit but nothing you can't live with at all. They are buildable and easy to blend. They wear ok but do fade a little after about half or two-thirds of the day without a primer, but a good primer does help the staying power. Overall, a pretty decent quality. I'm totally enjoying this palette.

My rating by category (out of 10, 10 being the highest score):

  • versatility - 9 (only because it doesn't have mattes, but it's a 10 for a shimmer lover)
  • product quality (pigmentation, blendability, staying power etc.) - 8
  • packaging - 9
  • travel-friendliness - 9 (only because it doesn't have a mirror, which can be essential for some people in a travel palette)
Hope, this review was useful. Thank you for taking your time. I really appreciate it.

Disclaimer: all these products were purchased by me and I wasn't paid for a review.

Birthday Card for My Mom

This is the promised randomness :). Just sharing a little something I made for my Mom's birthday, which was on December 15th. I rarely get to make a hand-made card, so when I do it makes me very happy. I love making them, but with my busy lifestyle I hardly ever have time for it, maybe just a couple of times a year, although I wish I could make them more often. It is such an enjoyable and fun thing.

See the pictures below. Please, forgive the lighting, but it's all I have.





Wayne Goss Makeup Brushes: Review

Have you ever thought about how would the makeup brushes of your dream look like? What they would be like in quality, shape, size, look, feel and usage? I know I have. Quite often actually. And I kept searching for them not even hoping to get them in a set, but maybe at least individually. Well, guess what? I found them! They are designed by Wayne Goss, a well-known YouTuber and a very talented makeup artist. And they indeed are the perfect brushes for me.

Now let's get on to the review.

The whole line of brushes consists of 8 brushes in total, which make The Collection, plus 1 more Limited Edition Christmas Holiday Brush. You can buy each brush separately or in a collection.

The brushes are available here http://www.beautylish.com/products?q=wayne+goss for the US and here http://www.love-makeup.co.uk/wayne-goss-m-106.html for the rest of the world. The collection costs $210/140 GBP and the LE Christmas brush costs $85/50 GBP.

This is how they look.


That's the box, in which they came. Beautiful, isn't it?

The Collection + Limited Edition Christmas Holiday Brush

Wayne Goss The Collection + Limited Edition Christmas Holiday Brush

Wayne Goss The Collection
Description of The Collection (from http://www.love-makeup.co.uk/):
"The complete set of all 8 brushes, Wayne Goss The Collection.
The Collection is artisan hand crafted, made in Japan.  Each brush has been designed for a versatile shape and crafted with ultra soft hair."

These brushes are cruelty free. I also know from Wayne's videos that it takes around 30 people to make 1 brush. None of the hairs were cut or dyed. The only brush that was colored in black just to match the other brushes from the collection was the LE Christmas Holiday Brush. That's the overview of all the official information I know. By the way, Wayne Goss tells about how to use each brush and just more information on them in his tutorials on his YouTube channel http://www.youtube.com/user/gossmakeupartist.

Overall these brushes look very luxurious. They are gorgeous! Beautiful sleek design in black color, short handles (so handy for traveling and just holding in one's hand; thank you, Wayne), small tapered heads (no useless flat brushes) that are just the perfect size and do all the job for you, super soft bristles (I heard people saying they were comparable to Hakuhodo brushes, some even said these were even a tad bit softer - OMG! How amazing is that?), and I mean SUPER soft, just pure gorgeousness and enjoyment. Also the selection and the shape of the brushes, which due to their shape and size turn out to be awesome multi-taskers, make for the perfect and absolutely complete collection. You won't need any other brush at all. The quality is outstanding, very nicely made. Just look at them! Oh, it's pure joy just to look at them, leave alone using them!

Let's get a closer look at these wonderful babies. Each brush in the collection has a number (1 to 8) except for the LE one, which doesn't (it's the largest one, you can't mistake it for any other brush), the name of Wayne Goss and Japan printed on them. One little detail that I really-really like: the ferrules of the brushes are black and shiny exactly as the handles and that makes them look very chic.


Wayne Goss Brush 1

Brush 1
Description:
"A unique angled cut duo fibre face brush. Soft on the skin and blends any foundation product and creme blush to a flawless finish.
Use: Foundation, Powder, Liquid, Cream, Mineral, Blush
Hair: Goat & Synthetic Fibre
Handle: Black Gloss Wood
Characteristics: Angled, Cut, Creating Two Different Lengths For Application"

It's small enough to get into the contours and all the tricky places of the face. It could also be good for contouring with cream products.

I personally don't quite like this brush for foundations. I can put them on with it, of course. But as for me it looks too streaky, and the brush isn't dense enough to do the blending and buffing in to the extent I prefer (my favorite one for this is a Real Techniques Expert Face brush - http://www.iherb.com/Real-Techniques-by-Samantha-Chapman-Your-Base-Flawless-Expert-Face-Brush/42482). So I don't think it's quite as universal as expected by design and claimed.

However, I do think it's a great brush and find it really handy especially for cream blushes. It is the perfect size and density for the best application and blending of them, so I love it.


Wayne Goss Brush 2

Brush 2
Description:
"A soft as silk lightly tapered powder brush.  Its unique shape makes it large enough for powdering and mineral foundation, the gentle taper makes it the just the right size for contour, highlight and blush.
Use: Powder, Highlighter, Contouring, Blusher, Bronzer, Mineral Foundation
Hair: Squirrel
Handle: Black Gloss Wood
Characteristics: Ultra Soft, Lightly Pointed."

This brush is so soft it almost makes me want to use more powder products just to enjoy its softness. The size of it is great for strategic powdering. Overall, I feel like Mr. Goss did such a great job creating smaller brushes versus standard or larger ones, because you can always achieve the same result with a small brush as with a big one, but you can do more with it versus the big one.


Wayne Goss Brush 3 Large Crease

Brush 3
Description:
"Ultra soft lightly pointed crease brush, designed for depositing and blending through the crease and creating a quick wash of colour.  Its size makes it ideal for contouring the nose, highlighting and precision powdering.
Use: Eyeshadow, Crease, Contouring Nose, Highlighting, Under Eye Bags, Powdering, Blending
Hair: Squirrel
Handle: Black Gloss Wood
Characteristics: Very Soft, Lightly Pointed"

This is the first eye brush of the collection. As for the eyes, it is perfect for a quick one swipe of color all over the lid. The brush looks big but it's tip is actually so nicely tapered that it can also be used to put and blend color in the crease, particularly if you have big eyes or, let's say, not small eyes. I personally like to use it as a blending brush or to put the color all over the lid.


Wayne Goss Brush 4 Medium Crease

Brush 4
Description:
"Ultra soft lightly pointed crease brush, designed for depositing and blending through the crease and creating a quick wash of colour.
Use: Eyeshadow, Crease, Contouring Nose, Highlighting, Under Eye Bags, Powdering, Blending
Hair: Squirrel
Handle: Black Gloss Wood
Characteristics: Very Soft, Lightly Pointed"

This brush is a smaller version of brush #3 crease brush, what else can I say. It does all the same job as #3 but in even smaller areas and in even more precise way. For me and my eye size and shape it is the perfect crease brush. It is lovely and literally does all the job for you, fits the crease just amazingly and puts and blends the color and the same time.


Wayne Goss Brush 5 Small Crease

Brush 5
Description:
"Small lightly pointed crease brush, designed for small eyes and perfect for creating a defined cut crease on any eye shape or size.
Use: Eyeshadow, Crease, Contouring Nose, Highlighting, Under Eye Bags, Smokey Eye, Blending
Hair: Squirrel
Handle: Black Gloss Wood
Characteristics: Ultra Soft, Lightly Pointed"

It is the smallest version of those #3 and #4 blending brushes and simply provides the most precise work on your eyes or elsewhere. I actually like to use it sort of as a pencil brush even though it's technically not, but that's how I'm using it and I love it. The fact that such a small baby can be so soft makes it feel like heaven.


Wayne Goss Brush 6 Blending

Brush 6
Description:
"Lightly rounded blending brush perfectly shaped to take you from subtle wash of colour to smokey with ease.
Use: Eyeshadow, Crease, Contouring , Highlighting, Blending, Concealer, Powdering
Hair: Squirrel
Handle: Black Gloss Wood
Characteristics: Ultra Soft, Lightly Rounded."

This eye-shadow brush reminds the world-famous Mac 217 brush, only it's a softer and a bit thinner version of it. It would also make a nice concealer brush for putting the concealer by patting it on and then maybe slightly blending it but not over-blending. As for me, I like those round tapered blending type brushes (#3 and #4) better for actual blending, but this one is really handy for putting the color on the lid, especially if I want more intensity.


Wayne Goss Brush 7 Lip

Brush 7
Description:
"A little multi tasking super star, a firm lip brush to enable more control of application. It doubles up as a smudge brush for the upper and lower lash line.
Use: Lips, Concealer, Eyeshadow, Brows, Eyeliner, Micro highlighting, Under Eye Bags.
Hair: Natural
Handle: Black Gloss Wood
Characteristics: Firm, Round Taped Tip."

Such a nice and comfortable brush. Indeed, a great one for lips. I assume will be equally great for smudging, lining the eyes and doing the brows, although I've only used it as a lip brush, and it's really great for that. I actually didn't expect it to be so good on the lips.


Wayne Goss Brush 8 Liner

Brush 8
Description:
"Use: Liner, Push Liner, Highlighting Lips, Contouring Lips, Brows, Micro Highlighting, Under Eye Bags.
Hair: Natural
Handle: Black Gloss Wood
Characteristics: Firm, Precise, Square Tip"

That's the tiniest brush I've ever seen and own. AMAZING for tight-lining, lining the eyes and filling the brows. When you tight-line with it, it is literally invisible to the eye but yet gives that defined and bushy-thick-lashed effect. I didn't believe it could be undetectable until I tried but it's true. For the brows you can actually draw hairs with it: it's THAT thin. Fabulous!

Just a quick note about all the eye brushes from this collection in particular. I know, I've mentioned it many times already, but they are incredibly soft. I'm only saying this because it is quite an easy thing to find a soft face brush, and we expect that and sort of make our conclusion about softness based on how soft the face brushes are in a certain line, at least some people tend to do so. Somehow, I think from production stand-point it is more difficult to make a small brush soft than it is to make a large one so. So it is much harder to find super soft eye brushes, even though the skin on our eye-lids is more sensitive and logically requires even more softness and love than the skin on our face. The skin on our face is a little thicker and can be more tolerant (not to say, we can use harsh brushes though :) ). So, with that being said, you can be sure these eye brushes are really soft and gentle and don't pull or move the skin on your eye-lids at all.


Limited edition Christmas face brush (it has no number)

Limited Edition Christmas Face Brush
Description:
"Produced as a limited edition for Christmas 2013, Wayne has created a large powder brush.  Lightly tapered and silky soft on the skin, it will also deliver a seamless blend for bronzer and blush.
Hair type: Goat
Note: With any coloured natural hair brush, some bleeding of colour should be expected in the first few washes."

This is the largest brush of the whole range, although it is still not super large. It is just perfect. I love using it for any face powder products really. It's nice for powdering, contouring, blush, brozer, highlighter. I can do almost anything on my face with it. However, I feel that this brush isn't as soft as the other brushes, say, #2 brush, maybe because it was dyed and the bristles hardened just a tad bit. I don't know. BUT it is still very-very-very soft. I'm only saying it for the note, and only in comparison to other brushes, which are amazingly soft.

Too bad it is a LE brush. I wish Wayne would include it in The Collection or just make it permanent, because I think that it concludes the collection beautifully making it just PERFECTION.

Bottom line, if you still didn't get it :), I lOVE these brushes. They are my dream brushes.

My rating by category (out of 10, 10 being the highest score):
  • versatility (brush heads shape and size, multi-purpose usage, completeness of the set etc.) - 10
  • product quality (sturdiness, softness, ease of use and washing etc.) - 10
  • design (look and feel, ease of use etc.) - 10
  • travel-friendliness (size, compactness and completeness) - 10
Thank you for taking the time to read this. Have a great day and observe and mark the beauty.

Disclaimer: all these products were purchased by me and I wasn't paid for a review.

Sunday, January 12, 2014

Too Faced A Few of My Favorite Things Palette: Review And Swatches

This was one of those holiday palettes I really longed for. It was already unavailable anywhere when I got it from Amazon, super overpriced, of course. It used to be available at Sephora but sold out really quickly. Anyway, let's get straight to beauty business.

The set includes:
  • A Few of My Favorite Things palette
  • A How-To Glamour Guide with 4 different looks inside the palette
  • A Lip Injection Color Bomb! in Bee Sting
  • A Better Than Sex Mascara
  • A clutch/makeup bag that holds all these products

One small note here. I didn't get the mascara for some reason, instead I got 2 Lip Injections and never got my mascara. Apparently the seller wasn't very thoughtful of her customers, but that's a different story. Anyway, I can't review the mascara as I don't have it.

Here are a few pictures of the products from different angles in daylight (it was a cloudy day though). Sorry for the quality of the pictures, but at this point I'm just using what I have to take them so hopefully having those pictures is better than no pictures at all.


A Few of My Favorite Things Set from Too Faced

Lip Injection Color Bomb! in Bee Sting

A Few of My Favorite Things Eye Shadow And Face Palette

A Few of My Favorite Things Eye Shadow And Face Palette

Packaging


I'll start with the packaging. I think it is beautiful. The clutch is very well-made and the colors are super pretty. I can see myself actually using it as a clutch in the summer or as a makeup bag.

The packaging of the palette itself is a typical palette-type cardboard but very sturdy and easy to clean. Reminds me of a book when closed. It has a magnetic closure and a plastic divider inside the palette to keep the face products from messing up with the eye shadows.

I really like the packaging for how compact it is. There are so many full-sized products in it and yet it is so thin and sleek and travel-friendly. As to the aesthetic aspect of it, the print is the same as on the clutch with pink and gold zigzag stripes. All cuteness. Just great job, Too Faced! The names of the shades are really cute too, they just put a Christmas smile on your face as you use them :).

One thing I do lack in the palette is a mirror, but I understand that there was very little space there considering the number of products included. However, I think that even a small mirror in the pocket where the booklet is, maybe right behind the booklet, would satisfy those who need a mirror. I know I would definitely appreciate it. Nevertheless, I think the packaging is gorgeous.

The Palette


Now to the palette itself. It contains 20 eye shadows, 2 blushes and 2 bronzers. Here are a few closer looks and swatches.


First 2 rows as they appear in the palette:
Snowflakes, Whiskers on Kittens, Chocolate Milk, Moon on Their Wings, Dark Chocolate, Cream Colored Ponies, Honey Honey, Buche de Noel, Evergreen, Blue Satin Sashes

Second 2 rows as they appear in the palette:
Coquet, Taffy, Crisp Apple Strudel, Woolen Mittens, Soiree, Tinsel, Bluff, Ooh la Orchid, Party Time, Pure Glam



Face products as they appear in the palette:
Raindrops on Roses, Chocolate Soleil, Melt into Spring, Sun Bunny

The first thing that struck me is the selection of colors which are ALL absolutely gorgeous. It is such a rare thing when I like every single shade in the palette and this time it is the case. You've got a great number of neutrals here as well as some dark shades for a smokey look and some very beautiful unique jewel-toned colors, which are bright enough for color lovers but yet all wearable. It's got everything for a neutral girl and for a color-loving girl or for such a girl like me who just wants it all in a palette :).

The eye-shadows offer a variety of finishes:
  • there are 5 completely matte basic shades, that allow you to create a complete neutral matte look, plus 1 kind of semi-matte shade (Taffy - very beautiful), which could easily be used as a matte shade or along the side of the matte shades. There are some great blending colors in this group as well. The only matte shade that wasn't as pigmented as it looks in the palette is Ooh la Orchid. You have to build it up quite a bit to get the desired intensity.
  • there are 8 metallic/pearly shades
  • 4 shades that look matte but with very tiny sparkles 
  • and 2 straight glittery shades (Moon on Their Wings and Party Time), which are absolutely gorgeous, but a bit flaky and can produce some fall-out. Nothing you can't work around with a good primer and by tapping of the excess and generally using a light hand. 
Seriously, what more could you ask for in terms of finishes? It's amazing! In terms of pigmentation, overall it is quite good with the exception of 1 shade that is not as vivid (Ooh la Orchid) and glittery shades that are just a bit flaky but still very beautiful. The shadows blend easily. In terms of staying power, it is good, but without a primer they do fade a little by the end of the day. But again nothing you can't fix with a good primer.

By the way, the booklet with the looks is quite nice too. I've tried 3 of the 4 looks suggested and they all turned out really beautiful, which I didn't expect (I don't usually follow those things), since I just tried it mostly out of interest to find out if they're helpful at all or not. I was pleasantly surprised.

The face products are also very smartly selected providing 1 matte and 1 shimmery blush, as well as 1 matte and 1 two-toned shimmery bronzer. All of these are amazing in color, pigmentation, finish and staying power.

Lip Product


Now comes the hard part. I was really disappointed with the lip product. I saw in different reviews that it stings and that for many people it causes such a reaction that they just can't wear it, and I honestly thought that those people were just... mmm... beauty snobs, let's put it that way... I was determined to make it work for me and love it because I liked the color (very nice universally pretty peachy-nude color that would suit most people), so I tried it.


Lip Injection Color Bomb! in Bee Sting


I cannot even explain to you what a horrible allergic reaction it caused me. I had never had such a reaction to any beauty product in my whole life. My lips started stinging and then literally hurting in just a few minutes, the color was very soon gone and instead I had incredibly swollen dark-pink hot (I mean the temperature here) lips that looked horrific and hurt so badly I could hardly move them and talk. I thought it should have gone away in a while but it remained like this all the time I could hold it on my lips (about 30-40 mins) and about 1+ more hour after I removed the product not wanting to suffer any more. It was a total shock to me.

A bit later still determined to somehow make it work for me I tried it over a lip balm in a very light application. It was ok, still stinging a bit but easily bearable, although because of the light application the color was almost undetectable, so I'm not a fan of this product at all. In fact, I don't know who can handle wearing it.

Can't talk about the mascara as I didn't get it, but heard very different reviews about it: some really loved it and raved about it and some didn't really find it to be anything special.

Conclusion


Overall, I'm in love with this palette. It has a little bit of everything for everybody. I feel like there was a lot of love a thought put into creating this palette. I don't care much about the lip product and mascara, although I really wanted to try the mascara, but the palette itself was totally worth getting, so if anyone still has a chance to somehow get a hold of it I would totally recommend it.

My rating by category (out of 10, 10 being the highest score):

  • versatility - 10
  • product quality (pigmentation, blendability, staying power etc.) - 8
  • packaging - 10
  • travel-friendliness - 9 (only because for some people it might be too big in perimeter to travel with, but as for me, it is still 10 :) ).
Thank you for reading till the end of this post. Have a great day and try to focus on the beautiful things you observe.

Disclaimer: all these products were purchased by me and I wasn't paid for a review.