Monday, March 31, 2014

March 2014 Empties!

Can you believe it is already almost April? Me either! I am so excited for April though, mostly because it is my birthday month! So expect some surprises coming your way from PrettyPandaMakeup!
monthly empties post
So, what did I use up this month?
1. Up & Up Daily Cleansing Cloths (30 count) $5.99 for 60 (I used one of two packs): I have been buying these for a while...mostly because they are the cheapest I can find. I only use them for swatching and quick clean up that way. They are a bit too rough for my face. I will probably get more the next time I am at Target.
2. Cetaphil Gentle Skin Cleansing Cloths (10 count sample back with a larger pack at $6.99): Love these for my face. They do not make me break out and get off my foundation nicely. They do nothing for eye makeup though, but I don't expect them to. 
3. Clear Scalp & Hair Therapy Nourishing Shampoo (sample from PinchMe but regular size is $5.99): Love this and it has definitely stopped breakage in my hair in the 7 days it claims. Granted, my hair is healthier because I recently cut it, but even when I used it before the big chop, it helped. I might consider buying the full size, but I am more interested in trying the hair mask and conditioner as well.
4. Too Faced Primed and Poreless Skin Smoothing Face Primer (small size from Beauty Blogger Darlings set, but regular is $30). This lasted me a good two months with daily use and I used a lot. I like this and it works well, but I have so many other primers to get through to repurchase right now.
5. Too Faced Shadow Insurance (small size from Beauty Blogger Darlings set, but regular is $20): One of my favorite eye primers. This lasted me three months with daily use. A little goes a long way. I will wait to repurchase this one once I have gone through other eye primer samples.
6. Clarisonic Acne Brush Head ($25): Always change your brush heads every three months! And the time has come! I love the acne brush head, but I bought the sensitive skin one to try next, just because my skin has been a bit dry.

7. Benefit They're Real Mascara Deluxe Sample (full size is $23): Still in my top five favorite mascaras ever!
What did you use up this month?
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Sunday, March 30, 2014

Studio Gear Hydrating CC Cream SPF 20 in Linen: Swatches, Thoughts, and Review

This is my first CC Cream ever! So, naturally, I was so excited to try it when I received the Studio Gear Hydrating CC Cream in Linen for testing purposes through Brandbacker.
 I am already familiar with and like Studio Gear, and because the weather is starting to warm up in California, a CC Cream would be a nice break from foundation on the weekends.
Studio Gear Hydrating CC Cream SPF 20 in Linen retails for $34 (again, my sample was powered by Brandbacker).
There are three shades: Linen, Natural, and Wheat. Linen is the lightest and this also has an SPF of 20.
Here is a little bit about the product:
"Hydrating CC Cream transforms and enhances your complexion in an incredibly light, smooth formula. This foundation simultaneously fights aging, retains moisture, and covers and treats blemishes with a non-oily, perfectly radiant finish".

Key Benefits:

"Prevents fine lines and wrinkles with collagen-building ingredients
Restores skin elasticity by promoting moisture retention
Brightens and illuminates skin with a non-oily, complete coverage application".

Do I agree with these claims made by Studio Gear? Yes...I do...from what I have tested so far.

This CC Cream is very hydrating and my skin feels good, but not oily, when wearing it, which is great because my t-zone is prone to being oily. It is also radiant and has that light, smooth formula . I do feel my skin is illuminated, but the coverage is very very light for me. It does not cover my acne well.

If you have a flawless face, this is all you need, but I needed to set this with a bit of powder to have more coverage, which is fine, because it is still lighter than foundation!

I cannot comment on the treating of acne or the preventing of fine lines and wrinkles because I have not tested it long enough to see long term results. However, I can say it has not aggravated any blemishes of mine further.

This is the first stage of the CC Cream--- (and this is about enough for a full face): Goes on white with little granules in it that produce the color.

Above it is smoothed out and rubbed in half way.

Sorry the picture is a bit blurry, but the tone is accurate. This is the CC Cream on my skin. Matches my skin well (maybe a bit too yellow right now, but will be perfect in summer---keep in mind I am VERY fair) and as you can see it minimizes redness but does not fully cover acne. You can layer on problem areas, but the overall effect is just dewy, healthy skin.

I can be into that...I need to let go of my fear of people seeing my skin anyway. Maybe Studio Gear CC Cream will help me with that!

Overall: Great product...and for my first CC Cream, I am surprised at how much I like it. It does smell like sunscreen, which does not bother me. Also, if you are very fair, like me...this is a good summer product but may be too dark for winter skin. Everyone else...go for it!

Want one for yourself...check it out at Studio Gear's website!

To help you try it out...or anything else from Studio Gear, the brand and Brandbacker has given me a discount code for you guys!

Reader Discount: 10% Off
Reader Discount Code: bloggercc

Happy CC-ing!

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Influenster UniVoxBox 2014 Review

Class is in session over here at PrettyPandaMakeup with the Influenster UniVoxBox! I was so excited that this came just in time for the start of my second quarter of the Spring!
Let me make a note right now that I DID NOT receive the Red Rose Real Tea that everyone else got. No idea, maybe they just made a mistake or something, but I was excited to try it out. I will probably still buy it! Image below for your reference:

But lets talk about what I did get!

Playtex Sport Fresh Balance Tampons (16 for about $6): They work, 'nuff said! I like them for yoga and zumba classes, especially. Easy to throw in a gym bag or any bag and are really cute haha!

Pilot Acroball Pure White Pen (they come in a pack of all the pretty colors for about $12): I received the sunny yellow one. I was actually hoping it would write in that color...but its just black. However, I love it! Writes smoothly and very spring-y.

Next up is the imPress Press-On Manicure in It Girl, which is a pretty metallic purple ($5.99): These work really well but I did need to trim my long nails to make them fit. I do find the sizes are a bit small, so if you have really wide nail beds, you will probably hate these. These stay on up to four days for me, but usually I take them off after two or three because I like to polish my nails all the time. These are great for special events...and no dry time!

Now for the NYC Expert Last Lipstick in Forever Fuchsia ($2.85): I love this color! It is so bright, applies easily and lasts about 3 hours on me. It does have the typical 'lipstick' smell but for the price and color, I can overlook that.

So great for Spring! And I like applying this before class to give me a perk-me-up!

I think I can give my signature red a short break for this pink!

Last, but not least, is the Rimmel Stay Matte Foundation in Light Porcelain ($5.00): I picked this up a while ago, tested it, and took it back because it was too dark (it was the shade Light Ivory). However, the geniuses at Influenster sent me Light Porcelain, which I have not previously seen at my local Ulta. It is the lightest shade in the line and it works amazingly on me! It has fair/pink undertones.

This color is almost too light for me, but since this foundation (in my previous experience as well) oxidizes almost a half a shade darker nearly immediately, it is a perfect match. Thanks Influenster matchers! I love the airy-mousse formula of this! Really easy to apply and very full coverage.

Even the dollop show above is a bit too much. A little goes a long way! I will have a more extensive review up soon in another addition of the 'Fair Foundation Files'.

Thanks Influenster for the UniVoxBox and all these essentials for school! Woohoo! 

"I received these products complimentary from Influenster for testing purposes."

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Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Clinique Cheek Pop in Peach Pop: Swatches and Review

Spring is in the air, and I had to pick up one of the most talked about blushes---Clinique Cheek Pop in Peach Pop!
Clinique Cheek Pop in Peach Pop
 I picked up 02 Peach Pop ($21) because it is more unique to my stash than the other colors. I only have a few peach blushes and this is different from all of them. I seriously have nothing like it and I love it!
Clinique Cheek Pop in Peach Pop

And how can we ignore the awesome embossed flower and adorable clear casing? So fresh! Love it Clinique. 

Clinique Cheek Pop in Peach Pop

The color is pigmented, but still buildable. What I mean by this is that you aren't going to dip into this and then have instant clown cheeks. The luminosity to these blushes keep them fresh but don't emphasize pores either.

Clinique Cheek Pop in Peach Pop

The peach in this blush isn't too apparent, but it balances out the pink hues just enough to brighten up your complexion in a new way without looking too editorial.

Clinique Cheek Pop in Peach Pop

I am wearing one dip into the pan on both of my cheeks above. I just wanted a light wash of color, but Clinique Cheek Pops can provide this and more of a full opacity look. I am so in love with this blush!

Do you own it? Love it? Need it? Do tell!

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Sunday, March 23, 2014

The Fair Foundation Files: Lorac Natural Performance Foundation in NP 1 Porcelain

Welcome to another installment of the 'Fair Foundation Files'.

I have been testing Lorac's Natural Performance Foundation in the lightest shade, NP 1 Porcelain

Lorac natural performance foundation

So, what does this contender have going for it?

  • $36 for 6ml
  • Fragrance Free/Oil Free/Paraben Free
  • Premiere Olive Leaf Extract, Vitamin A, and Xyleine (An ingredient that includes active papaya and lemon extracts).
  • Skin-like finish
  • Great for sensitive skin
  • Travel friendly pump, more on this later
  • Medium-full buildable coverage

Lorac natural performance foundation

I was first drawn to this foundation because it had a neutral porcelain shade, which I needed. I also liked that it was fragrance free (and really is).

Lorac natural performance foundation

Let's talk about this pump. I normally am a little wary of pumps because they can break, dispense too much product, or just generally be annoying. This pump? Perfection. One pump dispenses what you see on my hand. I use about two and a half of these for almost full coverage, but really, it is a small amount. I like how it pumps out less and you can build instead of the opposite where you waste.

The other awesome this is that one twist to the right pops up the pump. One twist left sinks the pump back down into the cap creating a leak-free, travel friendly foundation. Awesome!

Lorac natural performance foundation

This is that pump above spread out lightly so you can get a feel for the consistency. It is light but creamy and very, very pale.

Lorac natural performance foundation

And here is that same amount blended in. My skin but better and slightly luminous. I would actually call this a demi-matte, as that is how it appears on my face.

Ready for the full-face swatch?

Lorac natural performance foundation

No other makeup besides the Lorac Natural Performance Foundation. Oh, and the debut of my new hair (although I didn't blow-dry it or anything today...those pictures will come later!)

I love how fresh and like skin this looks, and it matches my coloring perfectly!

How I apply:

  • Fingers! These are your best bet. I just find that the texture, which is almost tinted moisturizer like, but obviously heavier coverage, just works well and smooths onto my skin easily with the heat of my fingers.
  • Sponge (BB/Real Technique blender etc): Does an okay job, but sheers it out too much for my liking.
  • Foundation brush (flat or round): Don't waste your time with this method. Pretty ineffective.

So, what's the verdict then?

  • Feels great/weightless on my skin.
  • Does not oxidize on me, and keeps my oil relatively at bay.
  • Looks like the texture of my skin.
  • Wear time is all day (15+) hours with a primer...but still good wear (6/7 hours looking great) without.
  • Great color match.
  • Travels well!
  • Not the easiest to apply, mostly because I hate using my fingers.

Overall: This gives me stunning skin as long as I put in the effort. My sensitive skin does not flare up and I don't have to worry about itching or it feeling heavy. This has been a staple in my routine and will continue to be!

Will you be checking out Lorac Natural Performance Foundation?

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Friday, March 21, 2014

Let's Talk Eye Care

Besides a neck cream, I also needed an eye cream. I have been using Clinique's All About Eyes, but wanted something to ease and prevent fine lines...sadly, I have a few already. So, I looked into Neutrogena Healthy Skin Eye Cream ($11.99). As far as drugstore brands go, I trust Neutrogena. They have science that makes sense; I like that.

One of the main draws for me for this eye cream was that it deals with the three things I need: fine lines, moisture, and firmness. It is also fragrance free, which was a must for me, as my eyes are very sensitive.

One of my favorite things about this eye cream is the applicator. Instead of just a tip, the tip flares out, which creates a perfect dollop of product every time. At least that is what I experience the benefit to be, but if you know why else you would want an applicator like this, let me know!

A dollop of this size is perfect for both under eyes and outer upper lids (I place a bit on my browbones as well). It also wears beautifully under makeup and does not irritate anything. I have been using this for two weeks and my fine lines around my eyes are starting to become a bit blurry, but the real noticeable difference is in the moisture level of my under eye.

Do I think this is a HG eye cream? No. But it does what it says for my younger eyes and I hope it continues to impress me down the road.

Here are my tips for healthy eyes:

1. Don't rub! If you have allergies, get eye drops, or try and soothe them in another way (take off your makeup/cool compress) because that rubbing creates fine lines! Trust me, I have major allergies and was a eye rubber up until recently.

2. Remove makeup gently. Plan ahead so that you do not feel the need to scrub at your eyelids because you are in a hurry. Also, use waterproof makeup remover, or a dual-phase product. Gently press the product on a cotton pad against your eye and gently massage. Don't force the issue!

3. Sunscreen and sunglasses---enough said!

4. Careful what you put on your eyes and how you apply it. Seriously ladies and gentlemen, we are above buying scratchy no-name eyeliners. That stuff is not good for that delicate tissue! Be careful and don't use anything that tugs or pulls.

5. Eye cream. Whether it be this one or your own favorite, find one now and pat it on twice daily. Your future self will thank you!

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Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Olay Fresh Effects Dew Over! Hydrating Gel Moisturizer: Review

With each passing day, I become more and more obsessed with skin care. I have a Clinique regimen that works well, but I needed a couple of extras, so I checked out {Dew Over!} from the Olay Fresh Effects line. I loved their Long Live Moisture lotion but ran out of it. Honestly, I was looking for a neck cream, and this was marked specifically for face and neck, while others weren't. But does that even matter? Who knows... Anyway, I don't need a heavy lifting or sculpting neck cream at 23, but I wanted something that would moisturize.

olay fresh effects dew over moisturizer

Olay has really nailed their young-fresh-teen/early 20's target market with this line. The packaging is cool and the products that I have tried work well for my skin needs.

olay fresh effects dew over moisturizer

{Dew Over!} Hydrating Gel Moisturizer retails for $12.99, but those handy $3.50 off Ulta coupons brought this down to under $10, which is a more reasonable price for what I wanted this for.

So, {Dew Over!} claims to give 24 hour hydration---well, I wouldn't go that far. When I used it on face and neck I felt comfortable for about 15 hours, then parts of my face (outer cheeks, around the nose) got a bit dry. But at that point I am getting ready for bed. Really, I hate the whole 24 hour marketing one stays awake that long except in zombie apocalypses/movies/both at the same time. I have combo/dry skin that is blemish prone.

This also claims to be oil free and not clog pores---I agree with this, so far, so good. No breakouts from use.

It is formulated with powder to keep oil at bay and leave a breathable finish----am I less oily?, not so much. To me, this is a pretty heavy moisturizer, so I like to use it on only my neck and only at night after the testing rounds. It was a bit too much for my face---couldn't fully quench the dry parts for the whole day (as I said, around the 15 hour mark) but made my oily bits need blotting. However, the point with this is to have dewy, glowy skin, which this provides.

Confused yet? Well, this is a confusing product, which is why it is just okay overall...trying to excel at too on...

olay fresh effects dew over moisturizer

This is a little pot of blue tinted cream and it has a strong smell, which is why I have settled to only use it on my neck. It works wonderfully there, rubbed into my upper shoulders and chest when it gets hot (and it is getting hot already in Cali!) and it leaves me feeling refreshed. I like the smell, but it is a bit too much to put on my face, granted I am sensitive to some scents near my eyes.

The scent is honeysuckle and white tea, which is yummy, but is very overwhelming to me. Try and sniff this if you can before you buy!

dew over olay fresh effects

This sinks into skin rapidly, which I really like. And a little goes a long way!

Water and glycerin are the first two ingredients in this, so I do like that this is water based, but it has some 'cones. However, after a few days of use on my face, I did not experience a breakout (and usually one would occur within the same day).

Overall, I like {Dew Over!} for a quick, refreshing neck cream that will keep me moisturized. It is half the purpose, but not the whole purpose, so I only recommend this if you are looking for a simple neck cream. As a face cream, the scent is too strong for me to wear it, but try it for yourself! That is why this product is only meh for me. I will use it up, but I won't repurchase.

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Revlon Highlighting Palette in Rose Glow: Review and Swatches

I was gifted this little palette by my mom, who thought it looked just like a Bobbi Brown Shimmer Brick...but was about $30 less at only $10.99. Score.
I do not buy many Revlon cosmetics, and usually shimmer and pink and highlighter all together make me want to run and hide, but I gave it a shot.

Here are all the shades swatched individually. I like how there is a definite highlight, three blush colors, and a contour if you want to use them separately. This shot was taken without flash.

(With flash) Some are more shimmery than others, and all kick up quite a bit of dust, which I don't mind...they blend smoothly on the cheeks but do pack a lot of pigment if you can get past the shimmer. I also use these as shadows and they work lovely that way.

However, the showstopper for me was blending all of the shades together. You get a true rose gold glow and it is seriously gorgeous!

For this look on my cheeks, I used all the colors swirled together on the apple of my cheek, the darkest shade as a light contour along my cheekbones and a touch of the cream shade on the top of my cheek. Yes, the shimmer does emphasize my already large pores but I am over it. You only notice it if you get close!

Overall, Revlon Highlighting Palette in Rose Glow turned out to be a product I didn't know I needed/could make so many uses out of! If you like a lot of glow and shimmer, this is a three in one product that will lead you into summer.

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Tuesday, March 18, 2014

NYX Butter Lipstick in Mary Janes: Swatches and Review

When I was doing my #28daysoflippies challenge on Instagram, my friend and fellow blogger Meesha at Strawberry Hearts Chocolate Darts (psstt...go follow her!) suggested I get NYX Butter Lipstick in 'Mary Janes' ($5.99)...and I tried...but unfortunately, all of my local NYX carriers were sold out, until recently.
I finally got my hands on this gem and I was so eager to try it out!

Funny story, so I was messing around on Photoshop and now my picture looks like this, but with lipstick instead of a cat:

I crack myself up haha.

Anyway, Mary Janes is a slightly deeper true red. Because of the creaminess, it makes your lips look full and this is easy to wear. Make sure to line your lips or use an invisible lip liner because the creaminess causes it to migrate a bit.

The above picture is one, rather light, swipe on my lips. This baby is very pigmented and fun to wear. I am so glad I added it to my red collection because of the formula alone.

Pucker up! I can't wait to expand my NYX Butter Lipstick collection further!

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