Wednesday, October 1, 2014

TOP 8 | Best of Urban Decay Cosmetics

Urban Decay has evolved so much as a brand. Their beautiful eyeshadows and 'Naked' theme revolutionized the beauty industry, so to celebrate their re-launch at Nordstrom, I wanted to share my recommendations! I love that Nordstrom is bringing in more and more cutting-edge, modern brands because variety is essential for today's savvy shoppers. Urban Decay offers quality, affordable products that make beauty more fun! Now, I may not reach for these products daily, but this Top 8 edit features what I consider the best of Urban Decay. Hope you find it helpful!

Tuesday, September 30, 2014

September 2014 Favorites [Hits & Misses] feat. Gucci, Charlotte Tilbury, Louboutin, Tom Ford, etc.

September has been a whirlwind of a month! I visited London for the very first time, and I was so busy testing new product launches that I barely had time to reach for old faithfuls. I know lots of you have been curious about Charlotte Tilbury and Gucci, so I focused heavily on those two brands, but I also wanted to include new skin care goodies and updates on recently launched foundations. I know it's a bit of information overload, so I threw in a health and wellness tidbit with my new food obsession — juicing! I have been trying to lose weight slowly and efficiently without sacrificing my sanity, which is why I am loving Pressed Juicery. Last but not least, we can't forget my favorite new nail polishes from Christian Louboutin! I'll be placing an order for more soon, so you can expect swatches in October xo

Products Reviewed:
Charlotte Tilbury Luxury Palettes in The Sophisticate + The Dolce Vita
Charlotte Tilbury Brow Lift Pencil in Cara D
Charlotte Tilbury Lip Lustre in High Society
Gucci Vibrant Lip Lacquer in Exposure
Gucci Moisture-Rich Lipstick in Exposure
Gucci Moisture-Rich Lipstick in Cipria [nude]
Gucci Luxe Finishing Powder in O20
Gucci Shadow Mono in Iconic Copper
Laura Mercier Smooth Finish Flawless Fluide [Tutorial HERE]
Tom Ford Traceless Perfecting Foundation
Pressed Juicery Juice Cleanses + Juices
Louboutin Nail Colors in Lova and Batignolles

Tom Ford Traceless Perfecting Foundation
Gucci Luxe Finishing Powder in O20
Burberry Effortless Brow Pencil in Ash Brown
Charlotte Tilbury Filmstar Bronze and Glow
EM Michelle Phan Scribble Eyeliner in Tattoo Black
Charlotte Tilbury Full Fat Lashes Mascara
Charlotte Tilbury Luxury Palettes in The Sophisticate and The Dolce Vita
Charlotte Tilbury Lip Lustre in High Society
Velour Lashes in Extra Oomph
*Use code RAEVELOUR to get 15% OFF!


Nail Polish:
Gucci Siam Red
Gucci Rosette

Jacket and Tee:
Lululemon Athletica

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Friday, September 26, 2014

Gucci Beauty | First Impressions: Bronzer, Powder, Eyeshadow Mono, Lipstick + Lip Gloss Review

Most of my Gucci Beauty order arrived the other day, so I wanted to share my first impressions with you! I ordered via the Gucci site, but I recommend pre-ordering from Neiman Marcus and Saks Fifth Avenue due to their superior return policies. Gucci only allows returns that are brand new (meaning unopened and in plastic wrapping), meaning that you cannot try or swatch and return. Usually, that would not bother me whatsoever, but considering my experience with some of my order, I will definitely order Gucci products from only Neiman Marcus or Saks moving forward.

The linen paper packaging reminds me of Giorgio Armani's, though the gilded gold lettering on the Gucci boxes has a more luxurious feel. I'm not a fan of the excessive brand labeling and monogramming — since I personally prefer more subtle packaging — but I do think the overall design is in tune with Gucci's designs, target demographic, and buyer preferences.

Let's start with the bad. I was most excited for the lipsticks and the lip gloss, but I was most disappointed by them. The Vibrant Demi-Glaze Lip Lacquer is the worst of my haul. I expected full-pigment color based on the description, but the product has a very sheer, watery formula. The signature 'Blue Chocolate' scent and taste are VILE. Yes, it is so incredibly awful that I had to use the caps lock. I have a terrible sense of smell from having endured a long bout of bronchopneumonia as a child, but I could smell this lip gloss on my lips for a couple hours after removal. I tried my best to leave it on for as long as possible to see if the scent would dissipate, but I could only bear it for a total of 15 minutes. The taste was almost worse than the scent. It felt as though I was drinking a very bad vanilla-based perfume.

The lipsticks are a little more tolerable since the fragrance is not as overpowering, but the taste is unacceptable. The Moisture-Rich formula itself is well executed (creamy and smoothing with moderate coverage), but what a pity.. as such, I will definitely not be ordering any Color-Rich lipsticks.

The bronzer and powder foundation are quite nice. I cannot say that either was a life-changing experience or love at first swipe, but I have only tried them once thus far. The Finishing Powder (pictured above) is more mattifying than I had anticipated, but it should perform well on oily skin. The half-moon brushes included in both powder and bronzer compacts is lovely. The dyed bristles are actually soft, and I would recommend using the brushes for touch-ups. The Golden Glow Bronzer is smooth but not quite as silky as the description boasted, though I love that Carribean Ochre (the lightest of four shades offered) is shimmer-free. I do think it is an affordable alternative to Tom Ford's bronzer, one of my Holy Grail favorites. The best of my haul is undoubtedly the Shadow Mono in Iconic Copper, which is one of the impressive 19 shade lineup. I love the shimmery, slightly metallic finish. It is creamy, semi-sheer yet easily buildable, and wears well on my normal lids even without a primer. I will definitely be ordering several more of these single eyeshadows!

I also ordered a couple Nail Lacquers, but they had to be shipped via ground and will arrive Friday. I will purchase more single eyeshadows as well as duos, so please stay tuned for additional details and swatches. I did not order the Lustrous Glow Foundation since I have been testing one too many liquid foundations recently, but I will do my best to try it sometime this Fall.

NOTE: Please do not remove my watermark and/or repost these copyrighted photos without
my permission. Be respectful of my time and effort in sharing these products. Many thanks.
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Thursday, September 25, 2014

Equitance Hydrating Brightening Cream Review, Photos + Giveaway

The Equitance Hydrating Brightening Cream ($70 USD, 1.4 fl. oz.) is lightweight yet luxurious cream that keeps my skin soft and supple. I adore the subtlety of the fresh scent, and though I can use it day or night, I prefer to use this at night. The rich texture nourishes my skin without clogging my pores, so I layer it over my other Equitance Brightening products like the toner and serum.

The formula contains a patented technology that delivers a blend of brightening ingredients including Linoleic Acid, a natural ingredient extracted from safflower seed oil that has a significant brightening effect. This cream also truly hydrates my skin. As I age, I notice that a basic moisturizer isn't enough. My skin dries out more and more easily, so I am always on the hunt for ultra-light yet luxurious and rich creams to keep my skin comfortable and plump. The Equitance Hydrating Brightening Cream is one of the best I have tried, and it is clinically proven to diminish the appearance of dark spots, so give this multi-tasker a try! 

My favorite Equitance Brightening products are the unique cleanser and toning lotion, with the cream rounding out my Top 3. As much as I enjoy the serum, I think the Hydrating Brightening Cream is just perfect as an evening cream during the hot summer season (plus warm fall for us here in S. California). The bonus is that it truly does make my skin look more even-toned and radiant!

Bottom Line: If you're on the market for a new moisturizer, give the lightweight and efficacious Equitance Hydrating Brightening Cream a try!

If you have a few extra minutes to spare, learn more about the complete Equitance Brightening range in this interview I did with the lovely Dr. Chiu of The Derm Institute. Also, if enter for your chance to win 1 of 10 Equitance Trial Sets. Enjoy! xo

a Rafflecopter giveaway
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