Thursday, October 9, 2014

Lancôme Grandiose Mascara Review

This review is long overdo, but that means that I have had over a month testing this mascara and finally have my thoughts in order.

 Lancôme Grandiose mascara has a hefty price tag at $32. Is it worth it? Let's find out.

What It Claims
  • Swan neck to get to all lashes and make them bigger and fanned out
  • Deep black color
  • Long-lasting
  • Easy removal
  • Lasts for four months in tube instead of the usual three

 First of all, the tube is gorgeous. It has been written about so many times by bloggers that I won't bore you, but it is a joy to use every morning and fits very comfortably in my hand.

To me, the wand is a bit shorter than most mascara wands because of the unique Swan Neck curve to it. But I do not think this is a gimmick. It takes a bit of a learning curve to use, but once you find your groove, you really can coat every lash and fan them out.

It has a really gorgeous, rich black color, holds curl fairly well for about 7 hours on me, and creates good length and volume. Is it the best my lashes have looked? No. But almost...

Why this is worth it to me
  • Stays all day and does not smudge (have worn in extreme heat and very rainy London 12 hour days)
  • Non-irritating and removes easily
  • My lashes look special and really good. Not too over the top, but more stand-out than average
  • I have not reached for another mascara to 'switch things up'

Therefore, $32 is worth it for me at this time. 32/4 = $8, which is what I normally spend on mascara per month anyway (having three-five drugstore mascaras that I switch between).

If you want to be loyal to one mascara, this is a good bang for your buck and I really do love it on my lashes. I think I will still look for my HG mascara, but for the next three months, this will be my one!

Have you tried it? Thoughts?

 photo panda-sig_zps4a356226.jpg

Thursday, September 25, 2014

My First British Makeup Purchase: Barry M Cor Balmy

  Hello there!

Contrary to belief, no one actually says 'Cor Blimey' in England, but I did find this adorable Barry M balm called 'Cor Balmy', which was too cute to resist. For the equivalent of $5.70, this balm can be yours. Do I think the price is a but high? Yeah, but London is one of the most expensive cities in the world!

This is the Barry M version of the Maybelline Baby Lips, but I think they moisturize better actually. Since being in London, even in the fair weather, my lips are getting more chapped, and this works better than the Babylips I brought along, so I am really glad I made this purchase. There are a few different shades, but I got the orange/coral called 'Trouble and Strife"

The outside of the balm is the color and the inside circle is clear and made of Jojoba and Shea for extra moisture. This is my first experience with the brand Barry M, but I think the packaging is fun and this lasted on my lips for 3 hours (and still felt moisturized), even after drinking water. 

 Overall, it is just a lip balm, but the relevant packaging and the moisture factor made it something that I am glad I have in my bag while trekking around the city.

Have you tried Barry M? 

 photo panda-sig_zps4a356226.jpg

Tuesday, September 2, 2014

One Direction Makeup: Take Me Home Collection

*Press Sample from BrandBacker*
Hey everyone! You have probably seen these kits floating around on different blogs, but I just received the One Direction Box Makeup Set in the variation Take Me Home, which is out now, and retails for $28.50 at Macy's and Dillard's.
Granted, I am not the target audience for this kit, but for the purposes of this review, I will keep on my beauty blogger hat and put on my One-Directioner fangirl hat (which is made up).
First of all, I was impressed with the packaging. The tin is metal and has a brick pattern on it. There is a plastic sleeve with a picture of all of the boys and their autographs. Upon opening the kit, everything is boxed neatly and there is a look card that can help with makeup application.
For the price, there is a fair amount of makeup. You get a Stencil kit with 5 different patterns, a nail polish, a lipstick, a lip gloss, an eye shadow palette, a mascara, and a eye pencil!

Last First Kiss: This is the lipstick. It is a creamy light sheer pink. It is less pigmented than I expected from the bullet and is housed in a square case embossed with the brick pattern. It has a light, sweet smell but only lasts about an hour.

Kiss You: This is my favorite product from the kit. It is a UV gloss which glows under black light (perfect for teen parties? What do those young ones do these days? Haha) but is a very pretty orange with yellow and blue sparkles. Cool!

I Wish: A chubby eye pencil. This is VERY creamy, which I like but also don't. It is a chocolate brown with no shimmer. Unfortunately, it is a bit too creamy and needs to be set with a powder for it to work on my oily lids.

This is the eye shadow palette, which includes 4 shadows and 1 cream shadow. 

Back For You: This is a matte cream color. It is a little chalky, but blends nicely on the eye.
Change My Mind: My favorite color in the set! It is a peach with shimmer that has nice pigmentation.
C'Mon C'Mon: Is a gray/dark taupe that is a nice blending shade
Little Things: Lacked pigmentation. A miss for me
Take Me Home: This is a cream glitter that is gold and a bit patchy, but younger makeup lovers will find this fun. I am a bit over the glitter thing now.

The Little Black Dress Mascara: (cute name!) has a slightly off-putting smell. I wasn't going to put it on my lashes, but decided to throw caution to the wind because I like this brush. No negative reaction or anything. Nice dark color and good separation but nothing spectacular. Will probably throw this out just because of the smell.

I do like the natural look it gave to my lashes though! 

The stencils are meant to be used with the cream shadow stick, but I find it too creamy to get nice lines. These are fun if you want to look like Ke$ha or whatever.

I love the way the eye shadows look and the lip gloss is in my rotation now.


From my perspective, the set was hit or miss. I think it is MUCH better quality makeup than I expected and the packaging was cute. There is a lot of fun stuff to play with.

From a parent buying this for my kid's perspective: This is a great set (particularly the Take Me Home coloring which is more neutral. There is a blue set that is more out there). The eye shadows are impossible to overdo, the lip products are easy to wear, and there are fun extras along with the packaging. Mostly good quality that I would feel fine with my child wearing.

From a One Directioner perspective: I would want this SO BAD. One of every color. The packaging is collectable, I like how everything has a fun name (which you don't even see in some high end brands) that fans can relate to the songs, and the stencils would be fun to mess around with. A great holiday gift for sure!

What do you think of the One Direction "Take Me Home" Kit?

Check it out here!!

 photo panda-sig_zps4a356226.jpg

Monday, September 1, 2014

Exuviance #PeelChallenge

*Powered By BrandBacker*
Sometimes brands send you things. And sometimes they aren't what they told you they would send. Brandbacker was going to send me the Exuviance Illumination Duo, but instead I received two samples of their Performance Peel with the Evening Restorative Complex, which is in the Illumination Duo.
Regardless, I was really excited to try the peels, but because I am leaving so soon on my big adventure and didn't want my face to accidentally react badly to a peel, I tried it on my hands first. Let me walk you through the process.
This peel is supposed to be extremely gentle and Exuviance is a brand that I trust, so I wasn't too worried, but I have always stuck by the rule of the patch test, which is what I did on my hand with one pack.

The first pack is the Activator Pad, which is a small circular pad drenched in the solution. You apply to clean dry skin and you can leave on up to ten minutes or until you see any irritation. I left mine on for five.

Then apply Step 2, the Neutralizer Pad, on top of the wet Activator Pad solution. This solution is more watery, and you should immediately rinse with water after rubbing this in. 

Here is the peel on my hand. My skin got a bit red but nothing hurt or stung.

I then applied the Evening Restorative Complex, which is supposed to soothe and improve skin texture and appearance. It is light and soaks into the skin quickly with a light almost aloe fragrance.

Here is my hand after rubbing in the Restorative Complex. Now I can't stop touching my hands! They are so so soft and hydrated and I had no negative reaction to this peel, so I am going to have a spa day and use it on my face for a nice glow. 

According to Exuviance, this peel can be used daily because it is that gentle and it retails for $52. It is definitely something I will look into when I see my skin starting to get more fine lines because I love the immediate results!

*Update* Have successfully used on face with fab results!!

And Exuviance is now carried at Ulta, or you can buy direct Here!

Have you taken the #PeelChallenge?

 photo panda-sig_zps4a356226.jpg

Sunday, August 31, 2014

Flirt! Plushious Liquid Velvet Lipcolor: Swatches and Review

*Product gifted to me by a lovely friend*
I haven't tried Flirt! Cosmetics, which are found at Khol's. I think I may have had a lip gloss from them years ago, but not anything after they reformulated their line. 
The Plushious Liquid Velvet Lipcolor formula is non-sticky and thinner than I would have thought. 

The shade So Naughty is a deep raspberry color in the swatch, but is slightly lighter on the lips. It has a yummy sweet scent and normally retails for almost $14 (why is Flirt! so expensive??) but is on sale for $6.75 right now, which is a perfect price-point.

This color is a great everyday color and I really like the feeling of it on my lips. It wears well for about 4-5 hours before requiring a touch up and fades well. I am pretty impressed with my first foray into Flirt! and I find myself reaching for this often in my purse.

Have you tried out Flirt! since they apparently re-invented themselves?

 photo panda-sig_zps4a356226.jpg

Thursday, August 28, 2014

Sephora Rouge Infusion in Red Essence

The Sephora Rouge Infusion is a product that has been catching my eye for a while, and now you can get it as a 100 point bonus!! (Which I suggest you do!) And in a brilliant red shade no less!

The 100 point perk is a mini tube, but the original tube retails for $14 for .152oz of product. It has a doe foot wand and comes in 12 different colors.

This is supposed to be a weightless formula leaves a stain. It also claims, as per Sephora's website that "In a test of 23 voluntary participants, 100% claimed that the color was intense".

I'm sorry Sephora, but obviously. I mean, what does that even mean? And 23 people isn't very convincing...but I digress.

This has a gel like slip to it and is very lightweight. The color is buildable without caking or getting patchy in this particular color.

I love the color of this. It is a slightly deeper red than the classic cherry red and will be great for the fall. It does stain, doesn't get on my teeth, is moderately transfer proof, and lasts about 5 hours with drinking.

Overall, I am really digging this formula and shade, even if I think Sephora is a bit silly. :)

 photo panda-sig_zps4a356226.jpg

Sunday, August 17, 2014

NYX Lip Primer: Quick Review

I love the idea of universal lip liners, but sometimes I can't be bothered to sit there and really line my lips. This is why NYX Lip Primer in Nude has become a must have cheap thrill in my makeup bag.

These are a relatively new product from NYX and come in two shades: Nude (pictured above) and Deep Nude. However, the Nude is practically colorless and works like an invisible lip liner that can be applied more like a creamy lip pencil. It saves me time and sometimes even a look in the mirror on the go because it covers the whole lip surface with little effort and won't tug or pull.

After the first use, which seemed to get rid of the 'film' I am finding so many products have now, this turns into a creamy almost-balm that smooths onto your lips, takes out just a bit of color from them (which makes your lip product of choice more true to color) and primes.

 This is a twist up product and retails for $7. I have tried it with a number of lipsticks: UD Revolution, Lancome, Rimmel, Maybelline, and NYX so far, and it extends the wear by at least two hours. It also helped make my tricky matte Lorac lipsticks easier to wear!

This swatch shows a large patch of slightly pinky, but otherwise colorless, primer. It melts into the skin and onto the lips and is very comfortable. This isn't a miracle product, but when I can turn 4 hour wear into 6-7 hour wear with minimized feathering/running, I am happy. Especially since it means no trying to line my lips, a skill which I do not have.

Do you have a favorite lip primer?

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

The Fair Foundation Files: L'Oreal Visible Lift Blur Foundation

Another installation of the Fair Foundation Files! This time I have a drugstore foundation to show you, albeit it is on the higher end of the scale where price is concerned. 

L'Oreal Visible Lift Blur Foundation in Light Ivory

The Lowdown
  • $14.99 for 1.3oz
  • Blurs lines, wrinkles, and uneven texture
  • Anti-Aging benefits of 'Visible Lift' complex
  • Nice range of shades, but not many for darker skin tones (12 shades total)
  • Lightweight
  • Light/medium buildable coverage
Light Ivory

The texture of this is very thin and it does blend easily, but that is mostly because it is full of silicones. You really only need this much (dime size) to cover your face. It is light to medium coverage but can be layered easily.

Here is a swatch of the foundation half blended to show you the texture. It blends nicely but does slip around a bit. Make sure to set with some type of powder for the best results!

L'Oreal Visible Lift Blur Foundation in Light Ivory

Here is the fully blended foundation. It does not oxidize on me and lasts longer than most of my foundations, about 12 hours with only getting slightly oily at around 2pm. A quick blot fixes that up, but I have to blot with any foundation. 

L'Oreal Visible Lift Blur Foundation in Light Ivory

 Here is my face with only the L'Oreal Visible Lift Foundation in Light Ivory on and the L'Oreal Blur Blush on the cheek closest to the camera (review coming soon). 

This works very well with a sponge, which I highly recommend using it to apply!


  • Lasts 12 hours without primer
  • Buildable coverage
  • Makes my skin look very airbrushed
  • Sunscreen
  • Doesn't oxidize
  • Didn't break me out

  • Doesn't give me enough coverage to cover my acne scars, even with layering
  • Smells like fake tanner when you apply
  • Loaded with silicones

Overall: The only real turn off for me with this foundation is the smell. It has that almond-y fake tan smell but that only lasts during application. I was surprised that even with two weeks of use and no primer that it did not break me out even though it has a slick/silicone/primer feel. The shade didn't oxidize and it is definitely now in my foundation rotation!

Are you liking the new L'Oreal Blur line of products?

 photo panda-sig_zps4a356226.jpg

Monday, August 11, 2014

Better Than...Not Much Actually

I may be exaggerating a bit with this title, but I am not in the camp that thinks the Too Faced Better Than Sex Mascara is anything to write home about.

 But if you have tried it and it worked for your lashes...head's up: Ulta is selling a full size and a deluxe size pack for $23! (shown above)

 The pink tube is cute, I get that, and the brush is kinda cool (meant to mimic the curves of a woman and supposedly based on Marilyn Monroe's curves), but I was really hoping for a new HG mascara.

It is great to see that the brushes for the full size and the deluxe are the same. There is nothing worse than running into a deluxe size that has a slightly 'off' brush. The handle is really weighty and I like the feel of it in my hands. Usually I shy away from curvy, gimmicky brushes but this one fits nicely against the eye.

 This smears horribly on the upper lashline (as you can see in this picture). The color is very black, which is great, but it does the same thing any Covergirl mascara has done for me---slightly thicken and darken. It starts to flake on me after 9 hours and it does not hold a curl.

Sadly, Better Than Sex wasn't even 'Good Enough' for me.

Have you tried this mascara?

 photo panda-sig_zps4a356226.jpg