Monday, January 12, 2015

Kiko Cosmetics - Haul and First Impressions!

I'd first heard of Kiko Cosmetics on Reddit, where a couple of European Redditors were talking about their Long Lasting Shadow Sticks being a 'dupe' for the Laura Mercier Caviar Sticks. They weren't very talked about, though, because they aren't easily available in the States, and so they aren't very well known.

Kiko Cosmetics is an Italian brand, and is widely available in Europe. They have several storefronts in the European countries, and they also have an online webstore; unfortunately this is also seems to be only limited to the European countries.

So anyway, a while ago I noticed that the UK Kiko website was having a sale, and so I thought it was a good time to try out some of their products. As I mentioned, I had a big hitch - they don't ship to the States! Luckily, a very kind Redditor offered to place the order for me, and then shipped it over.

What did I get? Well...

Kiko Long Lasting Stick Eyeshadow in 04 Golden Chocolate, 05 Rosy Brown, 06 Golden Brown, 21 Passion Fruit, 36 Golden Mauve, 37 Burgundy, 38 Golden Taupe and 39 Dark Taupe.

Kiko Color Fever Eyeshadow Palette in 100 Unexpected Rosy Taupe and 101 Coral Burgundy.

Kiko Water Eyeshadows in 201 Rosy Taupe, 202 Golden Brown, 203 Burgundy, 204 Plum, 205 Chocolate, 206 Pearly Coffee, 207 Sepia, 208 Light Gold, 209 Olive Green, 227 Light Taupe and 228 Taupe.

Kiko Velvet Mat Lipsticks in 607 Passion Red, 609 Cherry Red, 610 Rosy Brown, 611 Autumn Pink and 614 Dark Berry.

Kiko Luscious Cream Lipstick in 512 Plum.

Kiko Ace Of Diamond Lipstick in 34 Active Fuchsia.

The Long Lasting Stick Eyeshadows are extremely pigmented and glide down like butter! They take a little bit of time to set (about a minute) but once they do, they DO. NOT. BUDGE. I had to use two different makeup removers to get the swatches off my hand! They are impressive and I already want more.

The Color Fever Eyeshadow Palettes are wonderful! The shadows are soft, smooth and very pigmented (I'm seeing a recurring theme here!). I really like the shades, although 100 Unexpected Rosy Taupe was not rosy on me at all, and had one true taupe shade. There are no matte shades in either, only satins and shimmery/glittery shades. 101 Coral Burgundy I have fallen in love with, the shades are gorgeous! Mind you, the swatches are on bare skin, each a single pass.

The Water Eyeshadows are just...amazing, and even that feels like an understatement. I'm just... head over heels for these! So smooth, so soft, so silky, so shimmery... they're so beautiful and I just... ugh, I just want them all. Swatches are over bare skin, each a single swipe.

The Velvet Mat Lipsticks have a rose-gold packaging which is absolutely beautiful and feels so luxurious and high end! These are not true mattes, more demi matte in finish. They seemed to drag a little on my skin, but not on my lips, and they are very pigmented. They do leave a stain behind (I took off the lipstick with my Bioderma micellar water and it left a stain behind, but when I use oil to remove the lipstick, there's no stain).

The Luscious Cream Lipsticks have a silver packaging which, again, is gorgeous and really can be mistaken to be from a more expensive brand. This was really smooth and creamy, and goes onto the lips very nicely. I prefer these to the Velvet Mats, and will most likely get a couple more in this formula. These also leave behind a stain.

The Ace Of Diamond lipstick is part of (what I believe) is a limited edition collection. The packaging is a slim, square, gunmetal colored tube, which isn't as nice as the other two. This is supposed to be a demi matte finish, and I'd say that's an accurate description. They're a little drier than the Velvet Mats, and go on a little less easy than the Velvet Mats, but they're not uncomfortable to wear. Again, this left behind a stain.

Overall - Kiko Cosmetics is definitely a brand I'll be purchasing from again. I was impressed with every single thing I bought, and there was nothing that made me feel "Oh I wish I hadn't bought this/spent money on this". If you're able to get your hands on their products, I'd highly recommend you do!

Tuesday, January 6, 2015

Top 14 in 2014; also, hello 2015!

2014 was so last year guys (hur hur hur). Still, with all the ridiculous ups and downs I had, it's a wonder that I managed to graduate! Yes, that's right - I now have a second Master's degree (but no job as yet, mind you sobs uncontrollably.)

I will say that 2014 was the year I really came into my own when it comes to makeup - bridging the gap between "I bought this and it doesn't work because I don't know how to use it" to "I bought this and it doesn't work because it doesn't work for me". While I'm no means at any sort of professional level, I now have the ability to look nice, should I choose to!

That being said, there were some things that really stood out to me in 2014. Unfortunately, some of them were limited edition items, so in those cases I will suggest alternatives, if I can.

Let's get right to it, shall we?

The Brown Girl's list of what rocked her world in 2014

In no particular order of preference we have:

1. Ben Nye Luxury Powder in Banana
2. Clinique Cheek Pop Blush in Ginger Pop
3. Lorac Mega Pro Palette (limited edition)
4. Urban Decay Vice 3 Palette (limited edition)
5. Too Faced Melted Liquified Long Wear Lipstick (the set was limited edition; shades available individually)
6. Beauty Blender
7. theBalm Bahama Mama
8. Houglass Ambient Lighting Powder in Dim Light
9. NARS blush in Almeria (limited edition)
10. Chanel Cream Blush in Chamade
11. Marc Jacobs The Sky Liner Seven Piece Petit Highliner collection (limited edition set still available; shades available individually)
12. Bite Beauty Best Bite Remix (limited edition; shades in the set not available individually, but other shades in the formula available)
13. YSL Baby Doll Kiss and Blush in Rouge Effrontee and Fuchsia Desinvolte
14. Becca Shimmering Skin Perfector Pressed in Champagne Gold (limited edition shade no longer available, but other shades available)

Bite Beauty Best Bite Remix
Bite Beauty makes some of my favorite lip products, and this year's set certainly lives up to the hype! They are creamy, super pigmented and glide on your lips without tugging. They are not transfer-proof, but they do last a good four and a half hours on me, fade evenly, and leave a stain behind. I'm definitely going to be investing in more Bite products in the future!

Ben Nye Luxury Powder in Banana
This was one of those "YouTube/Beauty Bloggers made me buy it" purchase, and I admit at first I was completely baffled as to how to use it. But I soon found it is great for setting my under eye concealer, and giving it a bit of a highlighted look. It's also reasonably good at oil control (though not the best). I now use this exclusively to set my under-eye concealer!

Clinique Cheek Pop Blush in Ginger Pop
I love the Clinique Cheek Pop blushes, and have three of them, but Ginger Pop will always have a place in my heart (or more accurately, on my face). It's a great, natural, everyday sort of blush that can - and will - go with every look you choose to do. The few weeks before my graduation were a blurred rush, and I barely had time to get ready in the morning, but this blush was one of two that would find itself on my face without fail because it never failed to brighten my face up.

Becca Shimmering Skin Perfector Pressed in Champagne Gold
As an oily skinned person with lots of pores, I learnt I was supposed to hate highlighters because they "made my skin look even oilier" or "they emphasized pores and textured skin". Well, halfway through the year I sort of ignored it, and at the first touch of highlighter to cheekbone, fell in love. This shade is a limited edition shade, it's a pale gold that looks fantastic on deeper skinned, warm toned girls but that being said, I love the Becca highlighters. They're subtle, but will really add a lovely glow to your skin - regardless of the natural state of your skin. I do recommend checking them out.

I debated long and hard about whether or not to include these palettes in my favorites list, given that they're limited edition. Unfortunately, I can't help it - these have been my most-reached for palettes ever since I got them, and my other palettes weep silently in the background.

Urban Decay Vice 3 Palette
The continuation in the limited edition Vice series, the Vice 3 palette has a great mix of neutrals and colors in a variety of finishes. Despite some of the very questionable names (Bondage? DTF? Really?) this is a really palette to have. You can easily use this to create a variety of looks, and some of the shades are very appropriate for the 2015 Pantone Color Of The Year (Marsala). Some of the shades seemed to have some fallout when swatching, but on my oily lids, they adhered well, and lasted a full day (over primer) with minimal fading.

I know this was limited edition, but similar shades might be found as single eyeshadows in the Urban Decay line.

Lorac Mega Pro Palette
If the Lorac shadow palettes were Greek Mythology, the Pro Palette 1 would be Zeus, the Pro Palette 2 would be Poseidon, and the Unzipped would be Hades. Which would undoubtedly make the Mega Pro palette Kronos. With that bit of nerdiness aside, the Mega Pro palette is really, really versatile - with 16 matte shades, and 16 shimmer and glitter shades in a range of colors. I will say that it has a lot more neutral shades than I expected, with some of them being in the same color family; but for all that, I would still not give mine up! The shadows are softer than those in the Pro Palettes, so if you have normal or dry skin, using a primer will not only help longevity but will also help with adherence; in my case, given my oily lids, I had no such issue. It's great for softer daytime looks, but it's very easy to amp up the drama should you like.

This again was a limited edition release, but I can suggest and recommend the Pro Palettes. They have some great shades, and the quality of the shadows is actually a bit better than the ones in the Mega Pro (but only by a little bit!)

Marc Jacobs The Sky Liner Set
I received a sample of a Marc Jacobs Highliner Gel Eye Pencil with one of my Sephora orders, and when I used it, I was really, really impressed. I'm not the kind of person to spend $25 on an eyeliner - and truth be told, I don't know what I'm going to do once this set runs out! - but these are impressive. Smooth, highly pigmented and quite creamy, there's no effort involved to get them on the lids. And they have very impressive lasting power - easily a full 10 hours on un-primed lids! The only catch is that some of these have glitter, making them unsuitable for the waterline, and again - $25 for a eyeliner? Augh.

YSL Baby Doll Kiss and Blush [ Fuchsia Desinvolte & Rouge Effrontee]
The only dual-purpose product that actually works for both lips and cheeks! It feels like a velvet-y gel product out of the bottle, but once it's on your lips/cheeks it turns into a creamy powder finish. The finish is matte on both lips and cheeks, and being very pigmented, a little goes a long way. The matte finish is surprisingly flattering on my lips, and looks stellar on the cheeks! It lasts a good 6 hours on my oily skin as a blush, and a good 5 hours on my lips (it did leave behind a slight stain). I highly recommend you try this - it's a really amazing product.

Chanel Cream Blush in Chamade
Chanel cream blushes are my hands-down favorite. I haven't found a cream blush I like better than these! Chamade has been one of my favorite shades in the year - it's a gorgeous red-pink that is very flattering on me, and I think all deeper skintones in general. It's very pigmented, a little goes a long way, but it's easy to blend, and sets to a lovely matte (but not flat) finish. Oh, and the wear time is good, too - 5 hours on me and my oily self!

theBalm Bahama Mama
Despite the fact that it's labelled as a bronzer, Bahama Mama has a slightly cool undertones that make it great for contouring - even on warm skintones. It doesn't come off as ashy, or strange, bu it really does subtly bring out your cheekbones. Unfortunately, I don't think this will work on anyone over NC45, but it's a great bronzer/contour powder for those with light-medium dark skins.

Houglass Ambient Lighting Powder in Dim Light
The Ambient Lighting Powders are one of those products that are either loved or hated. I'm partial to Dim Light - I find that it very subtly brightens my face, especially when I use it over a matte foundation. As a powder, it's good at imparting a subtle glow (for example, when used to set under-eye concealer) but it's not very good at oil control, or even setting a very dewy foundation. It's really meant as a finishing powder (which is its purpose) - to breathe some life back into a face that might otherwise read as too flat. I like mine, and will repurchase if I cannot find an alternative - I've got a few indie products in mind that I hope to purchase and compare to Dim Light in the near future.

Beauty Blender
This was the one product I mocked, and now have to religiously eat humble pie. It's a sponge, yes, an egg shaped sponge, but oh my God what a sponge. Every foundation I have used this with has given me a flawless finish - I don't understand how, or why, but it does. It just gives me this perfect finish... just...I can't explain any more, but you do have to try it to see it for yourself. I might try the Real Techniques sponge to see if it's a 'dupe' for this one, but if not, I will have to repurchase because frankly, I can't see myself without this in my makeup life.

NARS Blush in Almeria
This was part of the Holiday 2014 collection, and it's just a lovely blush. It's a warm toned, reddened, deep tan rose blush that looks so natural on me. Remember how I mentioned that Clinique Ginger Pop was one of two blushes that I wore everyday to brighten my face? Well, Almeria was the other one. It reminds me of NARS Dolce Vita, but better. A similar shade is Illamasqua Allure, but Allure is shimmery while Almeria is matte. I haven't found a better 'dupe' than Allure, but I'll try to.

Too Faced Melted Liquified Long Wear Lipstick
Let's be honest here - I was skeptical of these. They had some huge claims - a gloss, stain and long lasting at the same time? HAH. I wasn't too keen on investing in them, which is why I got the set. The finish isn't glossy (thank heavens!) but a satin, which turns to a matte finish after a few hours. However, they never completely set, so they do transfer. They're quite pigmented, and comfortable to wear, last a good amount of time (5 hours with light snacking and drinking) and leave a stain behind.

And that's it! What do you think of my list? Is there anything you think I've overlooked? What are some of your favorites from last year? Comment below and let me know! 

Thursday, January 1, 2015

Happy New Year!

Here's wishing you a wonderful new year filled with the best things and lots of happiness!

Thank you for spending your time with me - you're all part of the reason 2014 was a great year for me.

Happy New Year to you and yours!

Tuesday, November 4, 2014

Sephora VIB Rouge and VIB Holiday Sale

It's time for the Sephora annual VIB Rouge and VIB sale again! Starting this Thursday (6th November 2014) all VIBs and VIB Rouges can get 20% off their purchase with code GIFTROUGE (for Rouge members) and GIFTVIB (for VIBs).

The sale ends 11th November 2014.

VIB Rouges can check in with their local Sephora stores for an exclusive event to be held on Wednesday, 5th November between 7pm and 9pm.

VIB and VIB Rouges will also be receiving a coupon code for a friend, so if you know someone who's VIB, check with them!

Here are a few things I have my eyes on:

1. Beauty Blender - I think it's time that I pulled the trigger on this and finally get myself one! After hearing so much about it, it's time to test it for myself. This one comes as a set with a mini Beauty Blender Solid Cleanser, which makes it a great deal.

2. Kat Von D Autograph Liner Set - I've heard good things about the KVD liners, and this is a chance to try them out in different colors!

3. Nars Digital World Lip Pencil Coffret - Mini versions of their famous matte and satin pencils? Check. Limited Edition colors? Check. What's not to love?

4. Becca Shimmering Skin Perfector Spotlights - the Becca Shimmering Silk Perfectors are quite well known, and this gives me a chance to try them out, and try out different shades, and actually give me a chance to finish them up!

5. Bite Beauty Mix N' Mingle Set and Singles - a mixture of various Bite Beauty products, including their matte lip pencils, cream lipstick, and lip glosses.

I'm also flirting with the idea of getting the YSL Kiss and Blush, the Naked Basics 2, and a couple of KVD liquid lipsticks. Choices, choices!

What about you? Do you have any plans for the VIB sale? Do any of the holiday sets interest you? Comment below and let me know!

Friday, October 31, 2014

Coastal Scents Revealed 2 Palette Review

I reviewed the first Revealed palette (here), where I thought it was a very nice 'dupe' for the Urban Decay Naked 1 and Naked 2 palettes.

When the Naked 3 came out, everyone ooh'd and ahh'd over the rosey tones of the shades. Soon after, Coastal Scents (among other brands!) came out with their take on the Naked 3 palette - only it's so much more. Where the Naked 3 palette has 12 shades, the Revealed 2 palette has 20 - and, if truth be told, I might actually prefer the Revealed 2 palette just a little bit more than the Naked 2.

The palette, much like the Revealed palette, is made of cardboard. It won't withstand a fall, but it will survive travel (be careful about how you carry it, though!). Now, as far as the shades are concerned, it's clear they have the rose tones similar to the Naked 3, and I've found some similarities between the individual shades, but nothing I can call an outright 'dupe'. That being said, I think it's a lovely palette, and a great complement to the first Revealed palette. Between the two, they form a fantastic set of neutral palettes.

They still haven't named the shades, though, so I'll be using the numbering system like I did with the first palette.

Again, despite the fact that these are rose-tinged shades, there's a nice mix of warm and cool tones in the shades. However, I'd consider these to be slightly more warm toned than cool toned.

Top Row

Shade 1 is a pearly warm toned cream color. It feels smooth and is nicely pigmented.
Shade 2 is a neutral matte white. It's a little on the chalky side but builds up well.
Shade 3 is a shimmery peach-y apricot. It's got good pigmentation.
Shade 4 is a glittery warm toned baby pink. It's rather chunky and produces the most fallout out of all the shades in the palette. It does work well over primer, though.
Shade 5 is a warm toned, shimmery rose shade. It has nice pigmentation.

Shade 6 is a matte, neutral-leaning-cool toned mauve shade. It's surprisingly smooth and not chalky.
Shade 7 is a shimmery, light gold shade. It's got nice pigmentation.
Shade 8 is a shimmery mid-toned pink shade. It feels rather creamy, and is very pigmented.
Shade 9 is a shimmery warm medium brown. It has lovely pigmentation.
Shade 10 is a shimmery light warm bronze. It's nicely pigmented.

Bottom Row

Shade 11 is a matte taupe. It's a little bit on the chalky side but it's still decently pigmented.
Shade 12 is a rose-y bronze shade with a shimmer finish. It has good pigmentation.
Shade 13 is a warm matte red-brown. It's a little bit on the chalky side, but worked fine over primer.
Shade 14 is a pearly warm taupe-y brown. It's got lovely pigmentation.
Shade 15 is a shimmery cool toned taupey bronze. It's very smooth to the touch, and is nicely pigmented.

Shade 16 is a demi-matte taupe. One of my favorite colors in the palette!
Shade 17 is a warm, matte cranberry. It's definitely a gorgeous shade. It's supposed to be a dupe for MAC Cranberry, but since I don't have the MAC version, I can't really compare them.
Shade 18 is a cool toned matte medium brown. It's a little chalky, but makes a great transition shade.
Shade 19 is a matte black with red and gold glitter. It's chalky, and the glitter produces some fallout and the glitter doesn't translate onto the lid, even with primer. It's definitely the most problematic shade in the palette.
Shade 20 is a matte black. It's decently pigmented, and not too chalky.

Onto the swatches!

Okay - Now that we have the swatches, let's talk about the quality, pigmentation and performance!

The quality is similar to that of the first Revealed palette - surprisingly great. They feel smooth and soft, and kick up a little bit of fallout if you dig your brush in, but once you tap the excess off your brush, there's minimal fallout under the eyes. Some of the shades do feel gritty, and the glitter shade was quite problematic, but if you pat on the shadow, and do your eyes first, you shouldn't have too much of an issue using these.

Pigmentation is, again, surprisingly good. The shimmery and pearly shades had the best pigmentation, but even the mattes weren't too bad. All my swatches are NOT done over primer - so that gives you an idea as to how pigmented they are!
The shimmery shades veer slightly into frost territory, but they're still lovely. The mattes are a wee bit chalky, but still easy to use. They work well over primer, and blend out without too much effort.

Over primer, these last a good 8 hours on me with minimal fading, which is par for the course. They're not super long lasting but will take you through a regular workday.

Now, I like this palette over the Naked 3. Why? It's simple - because while the Naked 3 does have a little better pigmentation, and does last a little longer, 2 of the 12 shades are just awful, which, given the price you pay for it, is just frankly terrible and unacceptable. This palette has 2 of the 20 shades which have issues, which isn't bad, especially considering this palette is less than half the price of the Naked palette. It also has a better variety of shades overall, and just seems more complete to me.

So, you know. More shades, good quality, good pigmentation, good performance. What's not to like?

BGMM Rating: A