New in: Clarins Instant Light Concealer

If there’s one thing I’ll be looking for forever, beauty-wise, it’s the perfect under eye concealer. I’ve been pretty happy with the Nars Radiant Creamy Concealer in the past, but as it goes with true beauty addicts, you always think that there must be something better out there.

After seeing this product pop up in a few YouTube videos (especially those by ViviannaDoesMakeup, who is usually the culprit for making me want things), I decided to give the Clarins Instant Light Concealer a try.

Clarins Instant Light Concealer

I chose the lightest shade 01, which is always the case with my super pale complexion, but it struck me as weird that a huge beauty company like Clarins would only offer three shades of this in total.

Lacking shade-range aside, the product itself comes in a sleek and easy-to-use tube, which I find the most hygienic for these kinds of products. You also get a huge amount of concealer, which will probably last forever, so I think it’s great value for money (for example, this is three times the product in comparison with the Nars Concealer and the packaging isn’t much heftier at all).

While all of this sounds great, it’s really what’s inside that counts, and I’m glad to report that this concealer actually delivers. It’s nice and hydrating, which is great for the under eye area. Now the coverage isn’t full-on but extremely buildable, so with a few layers I can get a perfected but natural finish. I usually set this with a powder, so I can’t say much about creasing, but it stays on quite well when in other cases, concealer tends to be the first thing to vanish from my face.

I also use this on blemishes or pigmentation around my face, since I don’t have to worry about getting bacteria on any applicator. I would definitely recommend this if you’re in the market for a new concealer, as I really cannot fault this product.

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Smashbox Hydrating Undereye Primer

One issue that truly divides the beauty blogger scene into two camps are primers. While some people deem them unnecessary, they are complete essentials for others. I however, sit somewhere in the middle.

I do like a face primer, because my skin is truly of the combination kind and I find that a good priming base prevents oils from coming through and creates more of an even canvas for my base. The same goes for eye primers, but when I heard of the Smashbox Hydrating Undereye Primer, I was doubtful to say the least.

Smashbox Hydrating Undereye Primer

Now as you can see, I have used a good bit of this primer and to be honest, I still don’t know how I feel about it. The formula is nice and hydrating without feeling to slippery or silicone-y. It also provides a nice base for my concealer to go on and since my under-eye circles are one of my main concerns when it comes to make-up, I do like the idea of giving to concealer something to stick to.

Smashbox Primer

But in the year or so that I’ve used this, I cannot say that it has truly changed the application of any under-eye products and I think it’s more down to the concealers and powders I use that my concealing efforts remain somewhat intact throughout the day. In fact, I actually found that using my Kiehl’s Micro-Blur provided much more of a visible smoothing effect than the Smashbox offering.

So would I repurchase? Probably not. It’s a nice idea in concept, but the product didn’t really deliver. I would rather put my money towards a nice, hydrating concealer with good coverage (more on that on Friday).

Recently #5

The first few weeks of the new year have been a time of re-grouping and getting back into work mode. I have declared 2015 the year of ‘making things happen’ and I am definitely not alone in this mindset.

So while I was trying to focus on tasks ahead and getting back into the swing of things, this is what my life consisted of recently:

Moleskine Star Wars Weekly Planner 2015

Getting organized. I have made it a bit of a tradition in the past years to get a Moleskine Star Wars Weekly Planer as the new year approaches. This is my third year using one of these and my nerdy self LOVES it. Aside from the cool design, these planners are an absolute classic for notetaking and organizing, so I keep them with me always.

Burger and Fries

Going with my gut. My life is a perpetual struggle between indulgence and self-control, but I’ve decided that 2015 is not going to be a year of denying myself nice things. I do try to eat consciously and with nutritional value in mind, but every once in a while, treating myself is the way to go. Case in point: this delicious burger, which was an absolute mess to eat.

Curls

Finding my style. I have been known to experiment with different (extreme) styles in the past, but this year, I am trying to embrace my instincts and find a simple and concise look that I am really comfortable with. So instead of maybe trying to fry my hair into stick straight submission, I will make an effort to  rock my natural curls/waves more. It will definitely be better for my damaged hair and probably a lot better for the soul as well.

 

 

Body Shop Cleansing Oil

When it comes to make-up removal, I am probably a lifelong devotee to Bioderma – it’s easy, quick and non-offensive. But for the last few weeks, a different product has reigned supreme in my bathroom.

The Body Shop Camomile Silky Cleansing Oil has been raved about on tons of beauty blogs, and this one will be no different. I have used and loved make-up removing oils in the past (if you’re willing to splurge, the MAC Cleanse-Off Oil is amazing), but this one has been surprisingly great, especially when considering the budget price-point.

Body Shop Cleansing Oil

 

The oil has a nice viscous formula that doesn’t drip all over the place, making it easy to work into the face and break up all the make-up. While it does have a subtle floral fragrance, it won’t sting your eyes or react on the skin – at least it doesn’t on mine.

My choice method of removal is a warm damp washcloth (as is with all of my cleansers), which prevents any residue on the face and makes it feel incredibly soft and nourished. In times of need – or laziness –  however, I have just rinsed this off and it doesn’t leave an oily film then, either.

I would recommend using a second cleanser afterwards, as this is merely a make-up remover and I think that my skin really benefits from another thorough cleanse, but all in all, I do love this product and will definitely repurchase.

Bumble & Bumble Pret-a-Powder

I’ve been looking for a hair product that plumps up my fine hair and de-greases it on the first (and sometimes second) day post-wash. I know it’s a lot to ask from a single product, but I think I may just have found a worthy candidate.

Bumble and Bumble Pret-a-Powder

The Bumble & Bumble Prêt-à-Powder found its way into my shopping basket a while ago and has really become a staple in my routine. At first though, I really didn’t get along with it. Since it’s not a spray-on dry shampoo, you need to sprinkle a little bit into the roots and then massage it in. On my first try, nothing happened. The powder didn’t leave a chalky finish, but it also did not add any volume or texture.

The key with this hair powder is to let it sit in the roots before working it in, so that it has a chance to really soak up any oils. Now, I usually section off my hair and sprinkle it in before doing my make-up and by the time I’m done, I work it in with my fingertips and voila – voluminous hair that (almost) looks like it’s freshly washed.

Pret-a-Powder

It also adds a nice amount of texture, which is always welcome since my hair is perpetually fluffy. The only gripe I have is that the small nozzle does get clogged up from time to time, but with a few taps on the countertop, this is a problem that’s easily remedied.

This is probably one of the most effective dry shampoos that I have used and I think I do like it better than most sprays. In the future, I also might just try to leave it in my hair overnight, in order to create a bit more volume, but so far, the sprinkle, wait, and shake-method really seems to do the trick.

Music Monday #2: Perfume Genius – Too Bright

One of my most recent additions to my record collection has been Perfume Genius‘ newest release Too Bright. 

Perfume Genius

Now it actually hasn’t been that long since I heard about singer/songwriter Mike Hadreas’s main project, but I have fallen for his music fast. I became interested in checking this album out when I saw a review on Anthony Fantano’s YouTube channel The Needle Drop, in which he rated Too Bright as one of his favorites of 2014.

I have to say, I completely agree with Anthony, and this album has been on (very) heavy rotation since Christmas. The music verges between soft, sad, energetic, and angry and therefore displays such an extensive range of emotion that it seems fitting for every mood.

I love the slower, more silent piano parts that Mike Hadreas is known for, but some of the more heavy, electronic pieces really hit home for me. There’s a reverence and urgency in his music that completely captures the listener and establishes an emotional connection that is really unique.

As I am a sucker for a good 80’s-sounding tune, one of my favorite songs is Fool, which has also made an appearance in my monthly playlist for January.

But I also love the softer I Decline, No Good, Too Bright, and especially All Along, which sound so amazingly fragile, intricate, and emotional that I could listen to these songs for hours (and have done so).

Queen and Longpig are some of the more heavily produced songs that have really caught my attention, and while they still purvey the essential Perfume Genius sound, I do love their beats and overall feel.

So if you are looking for a highly emotional and versatile album to listen to, I highly recommend checking out Too Bright and the entire back catalog of Perfume Genius’ work.

Love/Hate: MAC 109

One of my oldest and most well used tools in my collection is my MAC 109 brush.

MAC 109

On the MAC website it is called the ‘Small Contour Brush’ but for me it is my first choice for blush application. The size and shape of this brush makes for a precise blush application, which I like. It blends the product easily and ensure that the cheeks never look clownish or overdone.

MAC 109 Close Up

However, not all is well with this brush. My biggest gripe with the 109 is that even after years of use, it sheds like no other when I wash it. Now this hasn’t compromised the density or shape of the brush just yet (I don’t even know how this is possible) but it is kind of disheartening when such an expensive brush doesn’t appear to hold up very well. It’s also not the softest brush out there and since the market has become much more saturated with well-constructed brushes, especially in the lower-price sector, it seems like the MAC brushes (or this one at least) aren’t really up to date anymore.

I am not sure if there’s any comparable dupes to this brush out on the market, but I do like it very much and would like to find something similar that holds up a little better. Please send any recommendations my way!