Review: Bobbi Brown Long-Wear Gel Liner

If you’ve been following my blog for awhile, you might remember this post in which I compared MAC’s Fluidline gel liner in Blacktrack with a drugstore gel liner from Maybelline. It didn’t really work out so well. I haven’t bothered with drugstore liners since then. But to be honest, I don’t really think Blacktrack is that great either, even though people seem to swear by it.

Recently I started looking into what gel liners my favorite bloggers were loving, and the main one that kept popping up again and again was the Bobbi Brown Long-Wear Gel Eyeliner in Jet Black. I decided to pick it up from Sephora, just in case I hated it so I could return it.

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I took it for a trial run on Tuesday just passed. Tuesdays are pretty long days for me in terms of makeup-wear. I get ready for work around 9am, work 11am – 7pm then I have trivia which usually ends around 10-1030pm. So that is more than 12 hours of makeup wear.

But first – application. I’m not gonna lie; I was impressed with this product from first swipe. I picked up a tiny amount on my Real Techniques Bold Metals 202 Angled Liner Brush and carefully made my first line, following the lower outer lashline in an angled flick. I gasped. It was black, it was dark, it was sharp, it was opaque… ok ok let’s not get too excited. I did the other side, same thing. I made a line nice and close to my lashes along my upper lashline.. still dark black. Not too messy.

Here’s a two-swipe swatch:

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The edges look messy, but I wasn’t as careful as I would be if I was doing it on my eyelid.

This is a comparison of MAC’s Blacktrack (top) and the BB liner:

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The BB is blacker and more opaque. I also noticed while doing these swatches that it was more liquidy, and therefore harder to keep neat and clean.

Ok so, I know what you want to know. How did it look, and how long did it last?

Here’s a pic of my wingy liner look from that day, about 1 hour post application (I was about to leave for work, hence the scrubs):

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When I got home from trivia, I looked at my liner in the mirror. My eyelids were very oily which usually means that my liner is a mess. They were so oily that I could see a dome shaped hole in my lid makeup (which was just some concealer), literally eyelid shaped. But what happened to my liner? Absolutely nothing. Even Ray noticed. Even my friend who was, self-admittedly, 2 wines-on-an-empty-stomach down noticed.

Bottom line, I’m SO impressed with this eyeliner. The MAC liner is getting backburnered, or binned (KonMari style, thanks for your service, Blacktrack). I get the hype. 5 out of 5 stars. You can pick it up for $26 from Sephora, and I recommend you do. You won’t regret it!

Thanks for reading!

F&V

#MaskVember – A Different Sheet Mask Every Sunday: Week 4 – Karuna Clarifying Face Mask (+selfies)

Karuna Clarifying Face Mask

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Skin status prior to application: Clean, dry, no moisturizer.

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Current skin condition: Actually pretty decent, some hormonal pigmentation, slightly dry.

Cost: $8 per mask or $28 for 4. Value is dece if the result is good.

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To use: Unfold mask, place cloth side over face and remove backing. Shift into position making sure all the bits are unfolded. Leave for 20-30 minutes then massage remaining serum into skin.

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During the mask: First off I’ll say that I was annoyed at first with this mask. It’s really wet, though not as wet as the TonyMoly one, and the instructions are bad. They say to position first and then peel the backing paper off but that is straight up bad advice. The backing paper is very stiff, you’re better off getting the basic placement done, peeling the backing away then adjusting the cloth mask. In saying that, once all the bits were in place, it was actually very secure and the different flap sections made the coverage very good. It felt comfortable, though cold, to wear, there was no stinging or anything.

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After: Massaging the serum into my skin felt really nice but as it dried it felt a little bit tight.

2 hours later:  My skin feels nice? I dunno, nothing spectacular, no grand difference in appearance or feel.

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Final verdict: Once again I really think I need to try one of these when I’m having an active breakout. Sorry I can’t give more info!

Well that’s the end of the mask series! It was fun to do, I hope it was helpful.

I thought I’d post some selfies from the last couple of days, I’ve been feeling my makeup lately, nothing special but I felt good.

Strangely I feel that the boost of confidence is from some new clothing purchases I made lately. Just some basics from Old Navy – some chambray shirts that are comfortable and casual and go great with my beloved Uniqlo …jeggings.. I mean, they’re not denim colored but you know what I mean. Pants. Stretchy comfy flattering pants. But anyway, on with the selfies!

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Dark berry/cherry toned reds have been the order of the month so far. Partly because it’s fall and partly because my husband loves these colors on me.

This week I’m going to try to get a post up on Tuesday or Wednesday then I’m off to Chicago for a few days. I’m meeting my beloved mother there, she’s flying from England to meet us, and bringing her amazing partner Dannielle with her so I can FINALLY introduce Dann to my husband, they’ve never met! Mum is then coming back with me to Vermont and we’re gonna hang for a week before I reluctantly send her home on a jet plane. So things might be a little quiet for a week or so while I bask in some maternal love!

Have a great week, teamsters.

Love++
F&V

#MaskVember – A Different Sheet Mask Every Sunday: Week 2 – Dr Jart+ Water Fuse Hydrogel Mask

Dr Jart+ Water Fuse Water-Full Hydrogel Mask

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Skin status prior to application: Clean skin, not moisturized.

Current skin condition: “normal” for me, a little oily in the t-zone, combination, dry-ish because of the weather. A couple of almost-completely-healed pimples in the middle of the eyebrows.

Cost: $9.00 for one mask, $42.00 for 5 masks. Not amazing value, but let’s see the results before we make an official call.

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To use: Remove from packaging, peel film away from mask, place gel-side down onto face in 2 sections (hint: use a mirror). Leave on for 20-30 mins.

During mask: Ok so I want to use this moment to talk about how GREAT this mask is to apply. I loved it. The mask itself is DRY! Let me explain. While it has the film over it, it feels like … felt material? And the other side is glossy stiff paper. Then you peel that part away and on the other side to the felt is a sticky gel, and that’s the part that goes down on your face. This has multiple benefits. Firstly, it’s really clean to apply. You don’t have a drippy, wet, floppy mask to try to position onto your face. Secondly, it sticks beautifully once it’s down. THIRDLY, it makes you feel less cold and wet while it’s on. Hallelujah! One main drawback is that you can’t really reposition it, well you can, but it loses some of its stick. But this is such a small problem really! It’s such a great mask to use. It feels comfortable while it’s on, you don’t have to constantly adjust it and make sure it’s not sliding off. A+ usage factor! Whee! Note: by the end, this was a bit more annoying. The dryness and lack of moisture meant that the stickiness kind of wore off and I had to keep pressing it back onto my face.

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You can see above why I wish I had looked in a mirror to apply it, it’s a bit wonky around the mouth and eye area. Oh well!

After: My face was completely dry. Not uncomfortably, but not like the usual leftover serum to massage in. I added a smidgen of my usual sleep balm and went to bed.

COSDNA Analysis: http://cosdna.com/eng/cosmetic_c505200167.html – no issues at all though some might not love the mineral oil factor.

2 hours later: …. ummm

Confession time: I was mildly tipsy while I did this mask. It was 1am by the time I peeled it off so I went straight to sleep. Sorry!

Next day: My skin feels great! Nothing miraculous (but I never expect miracles), but it felt plump and moisturized and bright and comfortable. Not oily at all, not dry, just comfortable.

Final Verdict: I’m really really impressed with this mask. I think I will try to pick up a few more at some point. It’s a little more expensive than I would like, but I do think it’s a worthwhile cost. The dry, un-soaked, gel style is so pleasant to use compared to the usual sheet mask that’s dripping with product and sliding all over the place. Big fan! Dr Jart+ does it again.

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#MaskVember – A Different Sheet Mask Every Sunday: Week 1 – Tony Moly Rice Mask

So as you can guess from the title, I decided to do a little project for November to motivate myself to get back on board with blogging regularly. Every Saturday night in November I’ll be putting myself through the arduous task of applying a different sheet mask and analyzing the results. Yes, yes I know. I’m a brave soul.

Before I get started, it’s important to note that I do not really believe that one application of a sheet mask can make anything but a superficial difference to the condition of my skin. There’s nothing wrong with that obviously, when my skin feels nice I’m happy, but I just want you to know I’m not expecting miracles here.

There is value in doing things that just feel nice briefly. Self care is really important and what could be better than putting on a sheet mask and relaxing? I painted my nails (loving the CoverGirl Outlast polishes, by the way!) and watched some Netflix, but you could put on some music, lie back and relax (this has the bonus of making the sheet mask lie better on your skin, because gravity). You could do some coloring in your choice of adult coloring book. You could organize your makeup. You could write a blog post. Do whatever you want! But taking time for yourself is key.

Now that that’s all said and done, let’s get started on Week 1.

Tony Moly “I’m Real” Rice Face Sheet Mask – Clear Skin

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Skin status prior to application: Clean skin, not moisturized.

Current skin condition: Normal for me, ie combination – no current active blemishes, texture uneven, large pores, oily t-zone and dry cheeks (I probably should have taken a before photo. Oops!).

Cost: $7.50 for a twin pack, excellent value.

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To use: Remove from package and gently position over cleansed skin. Leave on for 20-30 mins. Remove sheet. Massage remaining serum into skin. Ok!

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During mask: Parts around mouth hole (lol) were very flappy and not very secure, I had to keep smoothing them down onto my face above and below my lips. the rest was very secure

After: Serum is viscous enough to stay on the skin, and slippery enough to provide a nice base for a facial massage (clean hands).

COSDNA analysis: No major issues – http://www.cosdna.com/eng/cosmetic_ce7d191543.html

2 hours later: Skin still feeling very well moisturized, a little tacky to the touch, no dry patches or tight feeling. Night time mask only.

Next day: First impressions were good. My skin felt soft, my forehead and nose were a bit oily but that’s pretty normal for me upon waking up. However, when I looked in the mirror, I had two surface pimples right between my eyebrows. This is a classic place for me to get “reaction” pimples, as opposed to my usual hormonal ones that appear around my chin and jaw, or normal breakouts.

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Confession time: You know how I said this was a twin-pack? Well, I actually used the first of these a couple of months back. And it gave me a couple of small pimples then, too. That’s why I didn’t use the second one for a long time. But then I thought, ok so I bet that was just a once-off, maybe it was from something else! Alas, no.

Final verdict: Nope. Won’t be buying again. And if this is the “clear skin” product, I certainly won’t be trying any of the others in the range either.

Stay tuned for next week, dear readers.

Love+++
F&V

Review / How To: Urban Decay Naked Smoky Palette (+ a Word on Photography Apps)

So wow, hasn’t the internet been blowing up about this palette!? As a smoky eye lover, I was pretty excited when Urban Decay announced it.

However, I really wanted to be sensible about this rather large purchase ($54 at Sephora) so I thought about it carefully. I also wanted to swatch all the colors to see if there were any duds (I have found some UD shades to be really chalky and chunky in the past).

Last Friday I was in Burlington, VT and woke up in my hotel room with a sense of excitement. I knew today was the day. UD Naked Smoky day! I was going to see it in real life and maybe, if we were compatible, it would come home with me. Ahhhh!

Aaanyway, I looked it up online that morning and it looked like the Burlington Sephora didn’t have any in stock which was kind of horrifying but I decided to check it out anyway because I wanted to pick up some of the TooFaced Hangover Primer (which incidentally was NOT in stock). Wouldn’t you know it, when I walked in to the Sephora inside JCPenney the first thing I saw was a beautiful display piled high with light grey, beautiful boxes full of joy and happiness AHHH! Ok calm down Fran *deep breaths*

The SA asked if she could help and I said YES and asked to see the insides of the palette. She presented an open one to me like the precious treasure that it was – with reverence and deference and respectfully downcast eyes. As I swatched the shadows, I got more and more excited. They were gorgeous. Pigmented, smooth, buttery.. you know, I really never understood what that adjective meant with regards to makeup until that moment. But now I do.

Natch, I bought it. And it owns. Allow me to explain.

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So I don’t need to tell you guys about the Urban Decay Naked palette history. Everyone knows they’re the most popular “neutrals” palettes on the planet. This is actually my first one though! I had Naked Basics 2 but I never used it, I wasn’t a huge fan. But this one, I really love. Maybe that’s because I always gravitate towards a more dramatic eye look? Who knows. But anyway, let’s get to the swatchin’.

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Top to bottom: Thirteen, Combust [these are hard to see, they’re both very light], Whiskey, Password, Smolder, Black Market, Dagger, Slanted, Armor, Radar, Dirtysweet, High.

There’s a good mix of matte and shimmer shades here. Black Market is ALMOST matte, it’s got a very very light sheen to it that’s barely there. Password, Whiskey, Combust and Thirteen are all matte. The rest are shimmery. The only one that doesn’t really do it for me is High, it’s a little on the chunky side and therefore needs to be carefully worked with which isn’t really ideal for the inner corner (where I think High would be best used). The rest are just glorious and I love them all.

I have done three looks with this palette so far, I’ll talk them through one by one.

Look 1:

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For this one I laid down a base of Combust over the entire lid up to the browbone using the RT 200 brush (or any large shadow brush), then using the brush that came with the palette (the pointy end – from now on this brush will be called the NS brush) I added some of Armor to the inner corner, leaving the center of the lid bare, then with the other end of the NS brush I added Armor to the outer corner as well. I did this in a couple of layers, building up the color til I had as much pigmentation as I wanted. I also used the pointy end to wrap a little of Armor around under the lower lashline and smudged it out. I then used the blending brush end to blend Armor into Combust, but taking care not to blend too far into the center part of the lid. I then used a flat eyeshadow brush to add Dirtysweet to the center section, really laying down a decent amount of color. Back to the blending brush to blend those two colors at the edges, not completely, just so there were no harsh lines. I made sure that all the colors were nicely blended upwards and out at the outer corner. I added a little bit of Password to the outer corner, as a bit of a transition shade to make sure that Armor blended out smoothly. Then I carefully lined my upper lashline and lower lashline (leaving the center bare again) with the UD Perversion eyeliner but any black eyeliner will do just fine for this – it happens to be my favorite so that’s what I used. I again grabbed the pointy end and smudged that out, added mascara (IT Cosmetics Tightline) then I was done.

The advantage of doing this is that the center of your lid is lighter, meaning that your eyes stay more open looking especially if like me you have small, deep-set eyes. Plus it’s just a really cool effect!

Look 2:

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This one’s obviously a lot darker, and you can already see that it makes my eyes look more closed and small. I don’t really mind, it’s just something to note compared to the first look.

For this I laid down a base of black cream shadow – Maybelline Color Tattoo in Dramatic Black using my fingers and blending out with a MAC 217 just to make sure the colors really stood out and had something to stick to. I then used Password all over the lid fairly lightly then added Smolder over the top, both with the NS blending end, which is a really cool purpleish color. I then picked up some Black Market and blended that in little circles on the outer corner again with the blending end of the NS brush. I used Black Market to wrap around the lower outer lashline as well with the pointy end. I added a little bit of Slanted on the inner corner using the pointy end of the NS brush just to add some reflection and light. I again picked up the UD Perversion liner and lined my upper lashline and lower lashline/waterline, and then used the pointy end to smudge this out and pull a little out for a wing on the outer corner. I used a q-tip to clean up the outside corner,  giving the wing area a little more sharpness. Again with the same mascara and I was done.

Look 3:

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My husband was making me laugh with this – he wouldn’t get out of the background of my selfies! :3

So I toned it down a little for this one, just a little, there’s still some smoke there. I used the RT 200 brush again to do a base of Whiskey over the mobile lid, then used Radar over the whole lid with the blender end. Radar is a really cool reflective warm brown shade, I really like it. I picked up some Armor (probably my favorite shade, it’s a gorgeous cool greyish brown shimmer) for the outer corner to add some more depth then used the same shade to wrap under my outer corner lashline using the pointy end of the NS brush. I added some of Slanted in the inner corner, but it wasn’t really light enough so I also added some High. I own the UD 24/7 liner in Whiskey to match the eyeshadow shade so I used that to lightly line my upper and lower lashline and dragged it out again to form a bit of a wing – though now that I see the close-up pictures on my computer I could have done a better job of that! To finish off I added Thirteen on the browbone just to make sure that was looking all nice and bright.

I tried a new mascara with this look, the fancy one I got with this month’s boxycharm (MDMflow Greater Than Mascara) and lemme tell you, it is garbage. As you can see in the picture it basically does nothing. Not impressed at all. It’s expensive too! Glad I didn’t pay for it because it truly sucks. Boxycharm actually had to send out an email with a set of instructions on how to “prime” it (shake it and pump the wand a lot) but even with doing that, it’s bad. Bad bad bad!

So those are my three looks. The possibilities really are endless with this palette. It’s super versatile. I’m so happy I bought it. I can really see myself getting a lot of use out of this palette!

Now onto another thing I wanted to discuss. I was watching a beauty youtuber the other day as she talked through how she takes her selfies and how she edits them. She said that she relied a lot on an app called FaceTune to make her skin look flawless and get rid of imperfections, and to change the shape of her nose a little bit. This kinda surprised me and I knew I needed to check out this app myself, she was raving about it!

So I checked it out and let me tell you something: this app is evil. This app is the One Ring. It has the potential to be used for good but the point is that most of us don’t have the will to use it that way. I made an example for you guys.

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HOLY SHIT I LOOK AMAZING I NEED THIS APP FOR REAL LIFE

Pretty big difference and about 15 seconds of work. EVIL APP! My husband and I discussed whether it was even ethical to use it for blog pictures. I also talked it through with my dollies (friends on a forum where there’s a makeup/beauty thread) and the same conclusion was reached: that if the product being reviewed is being altered by an app like this, that’s bad and wrong. For example, if I’m reviewing a foundation and I use this app to blend out some imperfections then that’s really dishonest. A few people said that they like my blog BECAUSE I don’t do any of that stuff, I don’t over-edit my images (or really edit them at all tbh but that’s partly because I have no idea how) and they can see how these products look on a real person rather than someone who has ‘shopped their pictures to infinity. Is that to say that I won’t ever use it? No. I might use it to blur out an imperfection that’s unrelated to the product I’m discussing. For example if I do an eye look and have a pimple that is distractingly huge, or if my melasma is really dark, or if I have red marks or little baby hairs around my lip area (because I’m human) and I feel they detract from the lip product I’m reviewing, then I might minimally use this app or a similar one to bring those down a notch or two.

It would be so easy to use this app for every photo I take. My self-esteem is begging me to use it. I wish I could use it for everything and feel “right” about it, but I just don’t.

That is my promise to you, dear readers. I’ll never use an app like this to lie to you or stretch the truth. I’ll never give you unrealistic impressions or expectations about how a product will perform or look. My skin will never be perfect and the better work for me to do is to a) become more okay with that; b) improve my photography skills and c) improve my makeup application skills! I hope we can all learn and grow together.

Don’t judge those makeup bloggers for using apps like FaceTune. It’s so easy to understand why they do it. I get it, and I am sending them all a lot of love in the hope they can one day apply it to themselves, from themselves.

Until next time!

Love++
F&V