Friday, August 29, 2014

Let's Get Crafty! - DIY Gel Blush

I know this post is a tad late in the day, and my apologies for that. I meant to put it up sooner, but I've been busy cleaning the house as we're having guests over for the Labor Day weekend.

So I decided to veer off the course of reviews and into the world of DIY (do it yourself). Why, you might ask? Well, I had a bunch of things that were either 1. things I did not use, or 2. did not work for me, or 3. I had duplicates of (it happens, okay?). I didn't want to throw them away, so I decided to try to re-purpose them. And that got me thinking...

A while ago, everyone and their baby sister was raving about the Monistat Chafing Relief Powder Gel as a 'dupe' for the Smashbox Photo Finish Primer. I succumbed, and bought it, only to discover it did nothing for me. I was disappointed, and relegated it to the back of a drawer, never to see the light of day again.

The thing is, I did like the finish. It gives a soft, satin-y finish, and because it goes from gel to a powder finish, it spreads easily and is quite light. That gave me an idea - why not try to use it to make a gel blush?

The reason I opted for a blush was because I'm a huge fan of the Revlon Colorburst Matte Balm in Sultry. I love the color, so much so I have (ahem) three of them! I've been wanting a blush with a similar color, but I haven't really found anything like that... when Eureka! why not use it as a blush.

And so the idea was born!

Let's get started -

Step One - Gather all the necessary items.

What you will need:

- Monistat Chafing Relief powder gel (you can replace this with a silicone primer)
- Isopropyl alcohol (or ethyl alcohol)
- A clean, empty jar
- Toothpicks
- Your lipstick of choice

Step two - clean and sanitize everything!

I washed the jar with hot water and soap, and let it air dry. I then added some isopropyl alcohol, swirled it around the jar and the lid, and emptied it out. I let the jar and the lid dry again. The alcohol helps sanitize the jar (fun fact - alcohol essentially breaks down bacterial cell walls, meaning that the entire cell then ruptures, and the bacteria die. A 70% alcohol solution is best, but if you're using anything higher than that, I like to repeat the process twice. Try to avoid using any alcohol solution less than 70% as it won't be as effective in sterilization!)

Step three - Get your lipstick ready.

Twist up the lipstick. Decide how much of it you want to add into the blush. The more you add, the more pigmented your blush will be! I have brown skin, so I can get away with more pigmentation, so I'm going to use all the bullet that's seen in the picture.

Step four - Cut the lipstick into the jar.

I like to use a sanitized toothpick to cut into the bullet (dip the toothpick into the alcohol, and let it dry). You can, of course, choose anything else to cut it - just make sure it's sanitized! Before cutting the lipstick, I also like to sanitize the lipstick itself - I spray the bullet with alcohol, then I wipe off the outer layer with a clean tissue.

Step five - We're change states...

... from solid to liquid, that is (sorry, I couldn't resist!) Melt down the lipstick in the microwave. I used a glass jar, so I just popped it into the microwave and set it for one minute (I don't know the power setting, I'm afraid - you can try it in 30-second installments till it melts, which is what I did). Once it's melted, take it out carefully!

If you're not using a glass jar, use a small microwavable cup to melt the lipstick, then pour the liquid into the tin you're going to be using (again, be sure to sanitize the cup!)

Step six - Let's get mixing!

Add about a 1/2 teaspoon to 3/4 teaspoon of the Monistat gel/silicone primer to the liquid, depending on the amount of lipstick you used. Take a sanitized toothpick, and mix the melted color into the primer. Take your time here, and be thorough - if you don't mix well, you could end up with little grainy bits (which is the lipstick that's clumped together and solidified). It's also important to ensure your lipstick is completely liquid before you mix!

Step seven - Mix well, and freeze to obtain the final product!

Keep mixing till everything is one smooth mixture (if you get grainy bits like those in the picture above, you need to keep mixing. If it still doesn't mix completely, you'll need to put it into the microwave again, to melt the lipstick 'grains')

Once you're done mixing, and it looks smooth and creamy, put it into the freezer for about 15 minutes.

Step eight - Ta da! You're done!

Your customized gel blush is now ready to use!

So, how does it work?

As you can see from the swatches, it's not as intense as the lipstick. It looks 'creamy' and softer, while still being the same shade.

It also blends out very smoothly and very easily. The best part is that you can use this over foundation, or over powder, without disturbing the rest of your makeup!

I'm quite pleased with how it turned out. I still have quite a bit of the Monistat left, but now I'm excited, because that gives me a chance to create more blushes!

P.S - this blush, thanks to its silicone nature, has a certain amount of pore-blurring activity, so that's a bonus!

What do you think? Will you be trying this out? Have you ever gone down the DIY route for makeup?

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Lakme Eyeconic Kajal Review

I'm fairly sure that y'all must know by now I went on a bit of a shopping spree when I was in India on vacation. Being an eyeliner fanatic (I find it very difficult to go without it!) I had to try these out first.

Lakme is an Indian company that's been around for... well, for as long as I can remember! My mother used to wear their kajal back in the days I roamed around in diapers (from what she's told me). It's also the 'safe' brand, i.e if you're a kid starting out in the world of makeup, chances are someone's going to direct you to a Lakme counter.

Still, with the plethora of choices available in the Indian market today, how does this brand hold it's own?

The packaging is your standard, plastic, mechanical-pencil packaging. The liner itself is retractable (thank heavens! I have several Stila ones that are impossible to twist down) and the twist mechanism works smoothly. The top of the liner is sharpened to a point, but it doesn't come with a sharpener for when the tip is worn down.

The name of the color is written on the little strip at the bottom. This is inconvenient, because, with the exception of the white on, the others all look the same, and there is no way to distinguish one color from the other except for reading the 'tag' at the bottom. Not a huge deal, but some amount of color-coordination would have been helpful.

There are six shades available in this range: Black, Brown, Grey, Green, Blue, and White. I have here four of the six shades with me.

The shades I have are:

  • Grey
  • Brown
  • White
  • Green

White is a stark white (you can barely see it on the sheet!). It's soft and surprisingly smooth and creamy, and glides on easily, even in the waterline.

Brown is a standard deep expresso brown. This is also smooth, and doesn't tug at the eyelid. It goes on well in the waterline, pretty pigmented, without requiring multiple swipes (two to three swipes will be more than enough).

Grey is a warm toned grey with a hint of blue in it. I like using grey for those days when I don't want something as intense as black, and this is a great substitute. The warmness of the color means that it doesn't look very stark against my skin. This is, like the others, smooth and creamy, and glides on the eyelid without tugging.

Green is a deep teal. It's a nice way to add a dash of color to any eye look, and looks particularly fetching when worn with bronzes and golds. I expected this to be more of a forest green, and was a little surprised because it came out teal, but I'm a fan of teal liners so I wasn't too disappointed. If you're looking for a true green liner, though, you might want to skip this. The formula on this one was on par with the others.

Coming to performance, this liner claims to be waterproof, smudgeproof, and is supposed to last up to 10 hours. It is waterproof, and smudgeproof, even on my oily lids, which came as a very pleasant surprise. As to the 10 hour wear claim, it did last a good amount of time on my lash line - 9 hours with minimal fading - but on the waterline it was shorter lived, lasting about 6 hours. It also did smudge a little bit when I wore it on the waterline, and I don't have particularly wet/watering eyes.

Formula wise, they are a good formula - they aren't as smooth or as creamy as, say, the Urban Decay liners, or even the Too Faced liners, but for the price point (they are on par with drugstore makeup) they are fantastic.

Overall, I do highly recommend these liners, and I'm pretty sure were I given the chance and the opportunity to repurchase them, I would!

BGMM Rating: A

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Changes to blogging schedule.

Hey everyone!

I've been having issues of late with the current blogging schedule - primarily because I'd like to test out the products I'm reviewing, and trying to post every day gives me less time to actually try products for their wear and tear. As you can imagine, I've been lagging behind on posting because of this. Factor in classes and my work schedule, and it becomes even more difficult!

As a result, I'm going to be changing my post schedule to every Monday, Wednesday and Friday.

This will give me a chance to give you better content, without putting as much stress on me.

Thanks for understanding! Let me know in the comments if there's anything in particular you'd like me to post about.



Monday, August 25, 2014

Lorac coming out with PRO MEGA palette soon!

I'm squealing in excitement because I cannot WAIT for this! Lorac is coming out with a mega version of their famous Pro palettes, called the Pro Mega palette. According to Beauty Logic Blog on Instagram, the palette will be out in November!

Prepare your wallets!

Photo credit: Beauty Logic Blog Instagram
What do you think? Are you as excited as I am?

*Edit - I've been told that the actual source of the picture is Beauty Logic Blog on Instagram. I've updated this post to give the correct source! :)

bareMinerals READY blush review

You ever come across a brand, are unimpressed by it's offerings, then you see something from the brand that others have raved about, decide to try it, fall in love with it, and then decide to try something else from the same brand, only this time around you aren't as impressed?

Welcome to my dealings with bareMinerals.

bareMinerals are actually a well-known mineral makeup brand. This means most of their makeup is available as loose powder. I say 'most' because they do have some pressed versions (and a liquid foundation out earlier this year, but that's another matter).

If you've been following me for a while, you know that the bareMinerals READY eyeshadow formula is one of my favorites (see reviews here and here). It only seemed natural for me to try out other products under the READY (i.e, pressed) formulation.

To wrap up my views in a nutshell - these are nice, but not without hiccups.

The packaging is made of a black, rubber-like material, very similar to NARS.. As you can see, despite me handling them with care, they pick up fingerprints. And dust. I'm fairly sure if you dropped these into Game of Thrones, they'd be able to pick up the Iron Throne just as easily.

They are, however, sturdy, and if you drop them onto carpet, they won't break/shatter (not that I talk from personal experience or anything...). This also means they're good to travel with.

bareMinerals READY blushes in The Thrill, The One, The Turn On.

The READY blushes, I've noticed, have a very love-lust-romance theme going on. For example, there's 'The Aphrodisiac', ' The Tease', 'The Indecent Proposal', and so on. I'm not sure if it's because the folks over at bareMinerals associate blushing with naughty activities, but I can assure them I blush because I'm embarrassed (shoutout to Mr. D., the only teacher who managed to turn me into a beetroot!) The shades I have are:

  • The Thrill
  • The One
  • The Turn On
(FYI, if you're in a committed relationship, or are married, and try to get your SO to wear 'The One' with you, it's not going to work. Just a heads up.)

I'm a little miffed because the pan size does not reflect the packaging size. Why is there so much waste of packaging? And why are the pan sizes like this? It's so hard to get a blush brush into them! *grumble*. But yes, the pan size does make it a little difficult to get your blush brush in (I use the Real Techniques blush brush, and an It Cosmetics blush brush, and it was difficult to maneuver both into the pan). In a way, the pan size makes it very difficult to overload your brush with the product, which is good, but since the product itself isn't highly pigmented (more on that later), this makes it a bad thing.

bareMinerals READY blush in The Thrill

The Thrill is a warm-toned peachy, apricot-y blush with a hint of pink. This is a satin blush, with no shimmer or glitter in it. It's a lovely shade, and reminds me a little of Illamasqua's Lover blush. It's a great blush for fair skins, but deeper skins can layer and build up the color. Very deep skins might want to skip this.

bareMinerals READY blush in The One

The One is a dusty rose pink blush with neutral tones, leaning slightly warm. This is a satin blush, but has a slight sheen to it (no shimmer or glitter though!). It's a great everyday blush for a lot of people. It does have to be built up though, as it isn't quite as pigmented as I'd like it to be. It's a little stiff, and not very easy to blend out.

bareMinerals READY blush in The Turn On

The Turn On is a bubblegum-y blue-toned fuchsia pink. This is a matte blush, and has no shimmer in it.This is the cool-toned blush among the three, and is also the most pigmented. Despite it being cool, it can be worn by a lot of people. It reminds me of NARS Mata Hari, but the formula isn't as stiff to me.

Let's talk shop, shall we? So, these blushes have the same READY formula as the shadows, but they feel quite different. They are soft powders, and are smooth and silky to the touch, but for whatever reason, it's difficult to apply them from the pan to your face. As you can see from the swatches, they're not very pigmented, which is both a good and a bad thing - it's good if you're fair, as you can't overdo the blush, but for deeper skins, building up the color is needed. Speaking of blending, these do require some amount of effort in buffing out - I think it's because my oily skin adhered to the blush, thus taking more energy in blending it out.

That being said, they are still a lovely formula, and I do like the colors, and I have been reaching for them. I like how it gives me a very natural flush (look at the blended swatches!). I don't mind building up the color, as I find it gives me more control over how much I apply.

It lasts for about four and a half hours on me, after which my oily skin seems to swallow it up, which isn't uncommon.

Overall, a good, above-average blush that does have its issues, but nevertheless, a good buy.

BGMM Rating: B

Friday, August 22, 2014

Zoya summer sale!

Calling all nail polish fanatics out there! Zoya is having a BOGO sale on select summer shades, running now through till the 24th of August!! Check it out if you've been wanting to add some new shades to your stash here!

Happy hauling!

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

MAC A Novel Romance Collection - Preview

MAC A Novel Romance debuted on the MAC website on Thursday (August 14th) and will be available in-store on the 21st! I got a few pieces from the collection, and they arrived today.

This means I haven't had the time to completely review them, of course, but I'm going to leave you with a few photos and swatches!
MAC A Novel Romance

MAC A Novel Romance

MAC A Novel Romance

Yield To Love, Heart's Aflame, Lingering Kiss
Yield To Love, Heart's Aflame, Lingering Kiss

Animal Instincts, Fun Ending

Yield To Love, Heart's Aflame, Lingering Kiss

Animal Instincts, Fun Ending
I really like the lipsticks - such lovely Fall colors! Lingering Kiss is a little scary, because it's quite deep and dark, but I'm looking forward to finding ways to wear it.

As for the blushes, Animal Instincts is a little bit of a let down - it's a little hard in texture. I'll have to see if using a scratchy brush to take the top layer off helps. Fun Ending is lovely, though - the texture is perfection!
I do like the color of Animal Instincts better, though, and I'm going to see if using it with a brush helps application.

The lipsticks did leave a stain after taking them off, so they look to be quite long wearing. How long they wear will still have to be tested.

The MAC A Novel Romance Collection includes two blushes, six lipsticks, five lipglasses seven new fluidline eye pencils, three eyeshadow quads, eight electric cool eyeshadow singles, a mascara, and six nail lacquers.

What do you think about this collection? Does anything from the collection catch your eye?

Monday, August 18, 2014

Milani Color Statement Lipstick Review

I still remember the first lipstick I came across... it was way back in the early '90s (oh man, I am so dating myself by saying that!) and my mom (who's a makeup minimalist, ironically, with a daughter like me) had just gotten a lipstick. Me, being young and curious, of course had to try it... and I did, with disastrous results (for the lipstick, of course).

Still, I remember how funky it smelt - not very appealing at all - and it didn't feel quite so nice, y'know? But that's how 'drugstore' lipsticks were back in the day. Not anymore - today all the major brands have massively stepped up their game with the result that even smaller brands have to put out a good product if they want a piece of the market.

Such is the case with the Milani Color Statement lipsticks. You might love or hate the packaging, but you'd be hard pressed to out-and-out hate the product inside!

Let's talk about the packaging first. The lipsticks are housed in a golden tube, which is made of plastic. Nevertheless, it feels quite sturdy in the hand. A point to note is that the casing is a fingerprint magnet, but it isn't as bad as, say Nars.

The bottom of the tube has a colored end, on which is printed both the shade name and the shade number. The color at the end is similar to the actual color of the lipstick, which makes it super easy to locate which shade you want.

Milani has 30 of these lipsticks available, with another 6 shades out in the Spring of 2014. They also come in a variety of finishes - cream, matte, pearl and vinyl. I have five shades, namely:
  • Red Label
  • Plumrose
  • Best Red
  • Flamingo Pose
  • Sweet Nectar
L-R: Plumrose, Best Red, Flamingo Pose, Sweet Nectar, Red Label

L-R: Plumrose, Best Red, Flamingo Pose, Sweet Nectar, Red Label

L-R: Plumrose, Best Red, Flamingo Pose, Sweet Nectar, Red Label
Plumrose (cream finish) is a deep pink with just a hint of plum in it. It's a gorgeous shade that glides onto lips very easily, without any tugging or pulling. It's completely opaque in one swipe. It's not drying at all, and wears very comfortably on the lips.

Best Red (matte finish) is a true, blue-based red. Despite it being called a matte, it's more a semi-matte. It is a little on the dry side, but nothing uncomfortable, other than requiring a teensy bit more pressure to apply. On swipe yields almost complete opacity. It's also quite comfortably on the lips, and doesn't cause your lips to dry out.

Flamingo Pose (cream finish) is a bright coral pink that's almost on the neon side! It's definitely a summer shade, and one that never fails to lift up your mood. It applies very smoothly, and a single pass over the lips results in full color. It's very comfortable to wear, and doesn't dry out the lips.

Sweet Nectar (cream finish) is a bright, true orange. It applies with ease, and is completely opaque on the lips. It's a very comfy formula, and while it doesn't add moisture to your lips, it doesn't dry them out either.

Red Label (cream finish) is a neutral red, which some people might find leans a little on the warm side. It's a red that will definitely suit everybody! It glides over the lips, wears comfortable, and isn't drying at all.

Wear time on these is good, averaging about four and a half hours. The deeper shades (all of the ones I have) also leave a light stain as they wear off, and they fade evenly.

They are scented, with a light fruity scent. It takes a second to disappear, and after that isn't noticeable at all. However, if you're not a fan of perfumed products, you might want to test out this one.

The formula on these is wonderful, and really, if you packaged these better, took out the scent, you could easily pass them off as a higher-end product! I like the ones I have so much so that between testing these and typing this review out, I've picked up a few more shades.

Overall, I'm genuinely pleased with these, and think that they're well worth having in your arsenal. Given the plethora of choices available, I'm fairly sure you could find a color that's for you!

BGMM Rating: A-

Saturday, August 16, 2014

Sephora Holiday 2014 Exclusive Sets Preview!

As an avid Redditor, I came across a post recently that had me drooling and my heart pounding away!  Someone stumbled across Beautezine's Instagram and was kind enough to share some of the upcoming holiday sets that Sephora will be (might be?) coming out with!

Photo credits: Beautezine Instagram

Photo credits: Beautezine Instagram

Photo credits: Beautezine Instagram
Photo credits: Beautezine Instagram

Photo credits: Beautezine Instagram

Photo credits: Beautezine Instagram

Photo credits: Beautezine Instagram

I'm SO excited for the Marc Jacobs lip set, and the Kat Von D lip set! I'm also intensely interested in the Too Faced palette. This just goes to show that Holiday 2014 is going to have a great lineup of sets and kits from all the major brands, and I for one cannot wait to see what everyone comes out with!

What brand are you looking forward to? Do any of these sets have you interested? What do you think about holiday sets in general? Comment below and let me know!

Friday, August 15, 2014

Brown Girl Makeup Musings' Vacation Loot - just how much shopping did I do in India? [Picture heavy]

I am, as you're all aware of by now, a huge sucker for makeup. Still, I'd like to think that I've become a little more... aware(?) in what I purchase.

I asked for all your suggestions before I left, and did quite a bit of homework, too. The end result was... uhhh, there's no pleasant way of saying this - the end result was more than I expected. Nevertheless, I'm hugely pleased with every single thing I have, and can't wait to start testing them out!

A few things to note - I'm very hesitant to call this a haul, because one of the things I was determined to do was to only look at things that were only available in India. Secondly, I read through quite a few reviews about these products, and they were all picked out after considerable thought. Thirdly, if it seems excessive, it's because I picked out products that I intend to last me for a good amount of time.

Lastly, not all of my loot was from India, but more on that later. For now, let's move on to what I got, shall we?

The entire shopping! On the right are Sephora samples.
As you can see, there's quite a bit, and it ranges from face, to cheeks, to eyes, lips and nails. So, pretty much everything, really.

Let's take a closer look!

Street Wear is a brand from Revlon that's available in India. It's very competitively priced, and is targeted towards the school and college-going crowd. I was totally taken in with the very cute packaging, and picked up some nail polishes and some lipsticks. Other pieces in the collection included powder contacts, and eye pencils. I was interested in the powder compact, but unfortunately it wasn't available in my shade. Bummer.

That's a MaxFactor cream blush on the left, courtesy of Shrutilaya!

I was so excited to get my hands on some Bourjois! I've been dying to try products from this brand for a long, long time. While some of their products were available, their newest releases weren't, and neither were their cream blushes. Still, I managed to pick up the Healthy Mix foundation and the Happy Light foundation, and the CC cream is mine thanks to Shrutilaya (remember the Great Makeup Exchange?). I also got my hands on their Color Boost lip crayons.

 I was super psyched by the Maybelline Color Show Glitter Mania nail polishes. They're just so gorgeous to look at, and on the nails.

Also, I finally got my hands on the Maybelline BB stick. I've heard good things about how it works well with oily skin, and I'm really, really looking forward to trying it!! (I'm probably going to overuse that phrase, but bear with me).

The Maybelline Bold Mattes are Asia exclusives, and when I got a chance to test them out, I fell in love with all the five shades in the range, and so I... ummmm.... got them all. I haven't had a chance to fully test out wear time, but I can tell you these feel lovely on the lips!

Ever since Aishwarya Rai was photographed wearing the L'Oreal Color Riche Moist Mat in Lincoln Rose, these lipsticks have been selling like hotcakes! I managed to get three shades, but I was truly gutted to miss out on Lincoln Rose, which was a shade I'd been lusting after. These were on the expensive side, though, so I'm happy with the ones I have!

Finally, we come to the brand I was most curious about. The Colorbar brand states that it's a US brand, but it isn't actually available in the States. Strange, yes? Still, I'd read about their I-glide eyeliners being dupes of the Urban Decay liners, and I was so excited when I noted that their Take Me As I Am lipcolors very, very closely resembled the Bobbi Brown Art Sticks! I had also heard good things about their Matte lipsticks. I'm so piqued about these and can't wait to use them!

In addition to my India shopping, I was given the chance to pick out some products from Sephora for my birthday. These were shipped to my apartment, and I only got to see them once I landed (essentially, yesterday).

This is so appealing to me - the limited edition Tarte Rainforest After Dark Colored Clay Eye & Cheek Palette! I haven't played around with this baby yet, but you bet your britches I'll be diving into this like Marie Antoinette dove into her cake!

I'm a huge, huge fan of the Urban Decay Glide-On eye pencils, and these travel-sized ones are so cute! Smoke looks like a great alternative to traditional black liner, and I love how navy liner looks on my deep brown-black eyes.

Bite lipsticks have an enormous reputation and with good reason! These are reputed to have a wonderful formula, and also are supposed to be fairly long-lasting. I'm all agog over testing them out!

The best part about shopping at Sephora are the samples! The samples I got (combined with promo codes) are:

  • Versace Yellow Diamond
  • Victor & Rolf Spicebomb
  • Desigual Fun
  • Elizabeth and James Nirvana White
  • Ole Henriksen Sheer Transformation
  • Sephora brand Super Regenerating Oil-Serum
  • Givenchy Le Rouge in Rose Dressing (how awesome is this???!!!!!)
  • Hourglass Mineral Veil
  • Fresh Sugar Lip Polish
  • Fresh Sugar Advanced Lip Therapy
  • Fresh Sugar Shine Lip Treatment
  • Boscia Tsubaki Cleansing Oil-Gel
  • Marc Jacobs Hyperliner
  • Make Up For Ever Birthday Gift set - includes a lipstick, mascara and eyeliner
That (almost) about wraps it up! I'm expecting a very special package on Monday. I don't want to give anything away, but it's basically my birthday gift to myself :)

Phew! You made it to the end! So, what do you think? Do you have any of these products? What do you think about the products I picked out? What would you have splurged - or saved - on? Comment below and let me know!