Tuesday, September 10, 2019

Lancôme: All About Eyes with Advanced Génifique Yeux, Monsieur Big Mascara, and Le Monochromatique

Your eyes are the window to your soul, as the expression goes, so naturally we're always trying to do everything we can to make them POP. For some of us, that means focusing solely on skincare and sticking to serums or eye creams that will take away the puffiness and keep our skin looking young, while others opt to include colours and lengthening our lashes for the va-va-voom factor. I had the opportunity to try out three products that are designed to do a combination of just that, and I wanted to share my thoughts about them today. Let's jump in!

Products Provided for Free by Influenster in Exchange for My Honest Opinion

Lancôme is a brand many are familiar with after visiting the big stores at the malls with our moms. While my mom wasn't into wearing makeup when I was growing up, I was, so I enjoyed visiting the Lancôme counter, especially to pick up another tube of my then-favorite Définicils mascara. The brand has evolved and changed over the years, and now products can be found at Sephora stores. The brand had admittedly fallen off my radar over the years as my taste in cosmetics has changed, but is has caught my attention once again with these products. Let's get a closer look at each of them.

Advanced Génifique Yeux

The Advanced Génifique Yeux is a lightweight eye serum that works to brighten your eye area- say farewell (and don't let the door kick you in the you-know-what) to dark undereye circles, puffiness, and wrinkles under the eye. The applicator is a metallic bulb engineered for a cooling massage onto the eye area. This serum can be applied under the eyes and to the lashline to fortify your lashes and prevent breakage.

I have only had this serum for just over three weeks to test, and I can see that my eye area is nicely moisturized. While I didn't start out with a lot of eye puffiness, especially in the mornings, the Advanced Génifique Yeux has helped to minimize them. My darker undereye circles also have improved, and I'm looking forward to seeing how my eyes look after the six week mark!

Easy to apply, this serum does take a little longer than some of my other eye products to absorb into the skin by an extra minute or two. I don't mind the extra bit of time as I'm a multi tasker when it comes to getting ready for the day or for bed, but it is still something of note. My eyes and skin are a little sensitive, but I haven't had any issues with this serum. Once absorbed, it leaves the skin with an ever-so-slight tacky sensation. I haven't noticed any issues with makeup application, but please note I follow this step with a sunscreen before moving onto makeup.

Retail: $69.00 for 0.67 Fl. Oz. (20mL)

Monsieur Big Waterproof Mascara

As I mentioned previously, the Lancôme Définicils mascara was a go-to for me, and I actually used it for years when I was wearing makeup about once a week. I stopped using it when makeup became an everyday thing for me and had to switch over to more affordable drugstore brands. Because of previous experience with the brand, I was really looking forward to trying out the Monsieur Big Mascara (Waterproof formula). Sadly, this mascara was a flop for me.

The wand is rather large, and I actually like larger wands for applying mascara on my upper lashes. It is a bit unwieldy for the lower lash line, but it is doable with care and precision. My biggest issue with this mascara was with the bristles. In this photo, you can see the bristles are fairly long. Unfortunately, this mascara formula is a little on the thicker side, and when I remove the wand out of the tube, the bristle length appears to be half the size they actually are. So much product is held by these bristles that you end up with clumpy, spidery-looking eyelashes. This is not a look I personally care for, so that is a big NO from me. Even with scraping as much mascara off the bristles as possible (which, by the way, is more than enough to cover the opening of the tube), I was still left with thick patches on the brush. This meant some of my lashes would look nice and others would have too much mascara and look clumpy. I likely would have enjoyed this mascara had the formula been much thinner to prevent excess product coming out on the brush.

As far as the waterproof claims, I was not a fan. I actually wore this while out in my pool but avoided submersing my head in the water. My face and lashes would still get a little wet, and this mascara was everywhere but my eyelashes in no time. I have had other waterproof mascara hold up better and was shocked by how this performed. Now, I generally don't wear waterproof mascaras, so if this was the only issue I had with this mascara, I wouldn't have minded. Add the thick formula with less than ideal application though, and this is sadly a pass for me.

Retail: $25.00 for 0.33 oz (9.75mL)

Le Monochromatique

If you've been following me for any length of time, you likely know I like to travel light. Makeup is no exception to the rule, and I like to pack items that are multifunctional. When I received Lancôme's Le Monochromatique in the shade Haute Couture, I knew this would fit the bill nicely. The cream-to-powder formula is buildable and can be used on the eyes, cheeks, and lips. This warm burgundy-red hue is a great option for summer and the upcoming fall season.

I like to use brushes when it comes to applying most of my makeup, and this is what I used when applying to my eyes and cheeks. I had found that some of my tried and true brushes did not perform well when it came to using this formula, and the result was patchy, uneven makeup. Once I switched my brushes and modified my technique, I ended up with far better results. This isn't unusual by any means, but if you're used to more powdery eyeshadows and blushes, just keep in mind there is a good chance you'll have to change something to get ideal results.

I have worn this on my lips, and I preferred to apply it with my pinkie finger. While this is a colour I would wear on my eyes and cheeks, this isn't quite my type of red for my lips. I have applied it directly onto bare lips, and the colour payout on me isn't as intense as I was expecting. It does leave a powdery sensation on the lips, and while I didn't find it uncomfortable, it is noticeable. I was afraid it would get uncomfortable if I layered more on for a more intense look, so I kept it light. I still haven;t written this shade off completely when it comes to lip looks, and I think I'll stick to lightly dabbing some on a different lipstick for when I want a metallic look but less of a powder sensation on my lips.

There are currently 10 shades in the Le Monochromatique lineup, 4 of which are available at Sephora.

Retail: $25.00 for 0.13 oz (3.8g)

Here is a look I created while wearing Haute Coutour. I have it on my eyes and cheeks.

Here is a closer look at my eyes. I paired Haute Couture with other eyeshadows with a similar cream-to-powder formula, and they played beautifully together. I also used the Monsieur Big mascara after wiping off as much excess from the brush as possible and following up with a lash separator to help with some of the clumping.

I really enjoyed trying out these Lancôme products! While the mascara did not work for me, the Advanced Génifique Yeux and the Le Monochromatique 3-in-1 in Haute Couture were great products that I will continue to enjoy. If you are in the market for products like these, I would check them out. I will add the major drawback to these is that Lancôme is currently not cruelty-free. Their policy is to test on animals where required by law, and this includes mainland China where they sell. While China has made a step in the direction towards a cruelty-free world when it comes to post-market testing, pre-market animal testing is still in effect. I know this is a deal breaker for some of my readers, so I wanted to be clear on the cruelty-free status of these products.

Do you use Lancôme products? If so, what are your favorites? Do you prefer their skincare, cosmetics, or fragrances? Do you like multi-purpose products like Le Monochromatique? I'd love to hear from you!

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Saturday, September 7, 2019

Highlights from the Beauty Spotlight Team

Summer may still have a little bit of time left on the clock, but I Know all the Words is prepping for fall with some new autumnal shades from Mary Kay. With matte lipsticks and two shadow quads, you can't help but feel seasonal vibes. 

The Beauty & the Box Traveler Deluxe makeup travel kit is perfect to organize and carry ALL your makeup and toiletries whether you’re a beauty enthusiast or a seasoned traveler. Prime Beauty LOVES it! 

Lola's Secret Beauty Blog has a penchant for eco-luxe cruelty-free skincare products, and therefore is very happy to introduce you to Kristina Holey + Marie Veronique Serums! They are worth every cent, and they deliver on their promises– plus they are good for your skin, and the environment. 

Never Say Die Beauty is hosting a giveaway that's perfect for fall. Enter to win iconic Paula's Choice 2% BHA Liquid Exfoliant, the gentle, leave on exfoliator that smooths skin and unclogs and shrinks pores! 

Stacie from The Makeup Obsessed Mom thinks Vitamin C should be part of everyone's anti-aging skincare routine. Read her post to see why. 

Sometimes you need a luxurious skin tool in your life to bring you to the next step. Lisa from Beauty Info Zone has just the apparatus that you'll need and want with the JeNu Ultrasonic Infuser. The difference in her skin makes it well worth the cost. 

Are you looking for ways to make your home more natural? While not all chemicals are bad, sometimes it’s better to look back to nature when it comes to surrounding our lives with products. Jen from Laugh, Love, Contour has delved into the world of essential oils with Simply Earth, and has tested out and reviewed their September soap making-themed recipe box this week. These boxes and the different products you can make with them are sure to be a hit this upcoming holiday season! 

Have you tried the Hourglass Veil Translucent Setting Powder? Erika of Notes from My Dressing Table shares why she loves to use it as an under eye setting powder. Check out her review and how-to to learn more.

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Friday, September 6, 2019

My Raw Chemistry Brings All the Boys to the Yard

Summer is almost over, and that means the cold days of scarves, boots, and snuggling by the fire are almost upon us! Living in Arizona, it's going to be a little while until we're in cold mode, and I'm a little jealous of those of you that can enjoy it soon. Whether you're currently happily tied down with a significant other or still trying to find your perfect partner(s), do I have a post for you!

Press Sample

I had the pleasure of testing out Raw Chemistry's For Her Pheromone Perfume Oil Concentrate, and I wanted to share my thoughts about it. This lab-created pheromone perfume utilizes high concentrations of human grade pheromones that are believed to target men's attraction centers in the brain. The patented blend contains 50mg of pheromones, including Copulins and Estratetraenol.

The Pheromone Perfume Oil Concentrate is packaged in a 15mL bottle with an oil dropper-type cap. The silky smooth formula is dabbed onto the body and absorbed into the skin. Because this is a perfume as well, it is not an unscented pheromone product. I've been unable to locate an official scent description, so unfortunately, I'm severely limited when it comes to pinpointing exact scents. I'll try my best though!

On my skin, the scent starts out sweet and warm with a slight hint of floral. To me, the smell is more vanilla like, almost like cupcakes. Within about 10 minutes of dry down, the vanilla lessens  significantly as the fragrance becomes less warm and the floral scent takes over. A slight spiced musky note appears, although it is subtle and merely accentuates the floral notes. After about an hour, the intensity of the floral notes dissipates, and I am left with a more even blend of sweet, floral muskiness. I have about 5 to 6 hours of wear time until I no longer notice any scent on my skin.

The real question I'm sure you want to know is: does it work?

My answer to that is both YES and NO.

Here's the thing: if someone isn't remotely attracted to you in the first place, this is not going to make someone want to be all over you. This isn't some crazy love potion. While it may be fun and catchy for a blog post title, wearing this perfume oil concentrate has NOT, in fact, brought random men to my house. Thank goodness for that because I do NOT want to be dealing with that kind of creepiness in my life!

My personal opinion is that wearing this perfume oil will make you feel more confident, especially if this scent type suits your taste. You'll walk a little straighter, your head held higher, and you'll be throwing out some major "I'm a bad b*tch" vibes. Maybe you'll be smiling more than usual, or perhaps you'll find yourself acting just a little more flirty yourself, which in turn will receive a similar response from others.

Should you run out and buy this? Or men, should you run out and buy the male equivalent?

Ultimately, that decision is up to you! I don't feel there is enough research on specific pheromones yet to accurately pinpoint which truly work. Perhaps you disagree, and that's ok too! While I don't, I do believe in the placebo effect, so this may have the effect you want. For me, I think the main determining factor in whether or not to purchase this product is if you like the scent itself. Raw Chemistry offers a guarantee, called The Raw Promise, where you will get back 100% of your purchase price, INCLUDING shipping, if you are not completely satisfied.

For only $29.90, you can test it out for yourself!

If you do pick this up and try it, or if you have already tested it out, I would love to hear how it worked for you! Did you meet a significant other while wearing a Raw Chemistry Perfume Oil? Did it bring you and your partner(s) closer together? What are your thoughts on pheromone products in general? I would love to hear from you!

Until next time, dear readers, have a wonderful day!

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Wednesday, September 4, 2019

Want Affordable Sparkled Eyes? Check out the Glo Glitter Eyeshadows by Sistar Cosmetics

With so many cosmetic releases and brands to choose from, it is easy to feel overwhelmed and your bank account a little tight when you are trying to keep up with the latest trends. As a beauty blogger, I definitely understand wanting to pick up all the things as well as having to skip out when it comes to reigning in our beauty budgets. Thankfully, I know I can stretch my dollar a little further with Sistar Cosmetics and still have quality products to enjoy!

Press Sample

I had reviewed several items from the brand earlier this summer, and I am back this evening with their Glo Glitter Eyeshadows. These liquid eyeshadows are reminiscent of the popular Stila variety at only a small fraction of the price.

At the time of this posting, there are currently 7 shade options and a primer to help keep these locked into place. I saw Sistar Cosmetics teasing on their social media earlier today that there will be more shades coming out soon. There are a few gaps I would love to see filled with this formula, so I'm keeping a close eye on their IG page for a future announcement on more colours!

Indoor lighting

This collection of colours are a perfect fit for those hot summer days we've been having lately! As you can see, most fall predominantly in the warm shade category. As a warm-toned girl, that works for me, but I would love to see more cooler options join the product lineup. I have also included a swatch of the primer by itself. The dry down is lighter than my skin tone, but it isn't going to completely cover up a base eyeshadow look like a concealer would, just as an example. Another difference is this primer wears like iron- I have to use a really good makeup remover to get it off! That's not a deal breaker for me, especially since it really does allow the shades of the Glo Glitter Eyeshadows to pop more!


As for the Glo Glitters themselves, I had mixed feelings depending on the shades. While Ambitious, Bright Bronze and 24K had pretty respectable colour payout, I didn't get as much colour or sparkle as I would have liked from the rest. I used the flat doe application direct out of the tube and patted onto my skin for these swatches. The dispersal of the glitters wasn't as even as I would have liked, but this can easily be chalked up to my application technique.

I wanted to go outside my normal comfort zone with these, both in application technique and even shade preference. I opted to use 24K to complete my look.

Because the flat doe-foot applicator is a little on the wide side, I opted to use a bent eyeliner brush to remove the Glo Glitter from the applicator and place onto my eyes. Using this technique gave me more control than the Glo Glitter's applicator would allow, although using the bent liner brush was new for me. While I need to get a little more practice with that, I was quite content with my final look.

I wore this look all day, and I was rather impressed with how well the 24K Glo Glitter stayed in place! There were a couple stray glitter pieces that had fallen either onto my eyelid or under my eye, but that's something I would expect from a glitter product in general. Removal was easy too! I simply soaked a cotton pad with makeup remover, placed it a couple seconds on my closed eye, and wiped away. I then washed off the few remaining stray glitters with the rest of my makeup.

If you are a diehard fan of the Stila Glitter & Glow line, the Glo Glitters by Sistar Cosmetics may leave you wanting more. Just comparing my experience here with the few Stila shades I own, the Sistar isn't quite as pigmented, so you'll have to build up another layer if you like the intense glittery looks.

One major advantage of the Sistar Cosmetics Glo Glitter Eyeshadows is price. While Stila's are priced at $24 per tube, the Glo Glitters are only $8.99 each. Even if you do end up having to add a second layer in some cases to build up the effect, you're still going to save some money with these. I'm not personally a fan of the super blinged out look, so the more subtle effect some of these will give with a single layer is far more my style. The lower price point is also nice for when you want something like this for occasional use or you're trying out a colour you normally wouldn't wear. For only $9, I am happy to jump outside my usual comfort zones!

The Sistar Cosmetic Glo Glitter Eyeshadows are definitely worth checking out and adding into your makeup routines! The colours are beautiful and you can't beat this price tag! The current shade selections will carry you perfectly from summer into fall, but do keep your eye out for an official announcement on new shades! While I have no idea what to expect, I'm hoping to see more cooler options, and I would love to see a few darker shades, especially in a duochrome!

On a slightly different note, Sistar Cosmetics was at Cosmoprof North America this summer, and I did pop by their booth. They had not yet received all of their items for display when I was there, but I did get a peek at some gorgeous metallic lip glosses that should be launching soon. I'm excited to see what all they have coming out!

Have you used any products from Sistar Cosmetics? If so, what have been your favorites? I'd love to hear from you!

Until next time, dear readers, have a wonderful night!

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Monday, September 2, 2019

Simply Earth Keeps Your Home Natural with the September Soap Making Box

Last month, I shared the do-it-yourself essential oil skincare box by Simply Earth, and I am back to share this month's offering: a box geared towards soap making! Before I get into the specific details of this month's box, let me fill you in a little about Simply Earth and why you should support this company whenever you are in the market for essential oils.

Press Sample and Affiliate Links

If you've been purchasing essential oils, or have just looked into buying a bottle or two, you may have already had your mind blown by the price tags on many of them. While it is inevitable that some essential oils are going to be more expensive than others, what if I told you that you could get high quality, pure essential oils at a fraction of the price AND know that you are supporting a company that uses ethical practices and gives back? If these are factors that influence your purchasing decisions, then Simply Earth is the essential oil company you want to subsidize.

Commitment to Quality

You can grow many plants just about anywhere, but it doesn't mean it is good for them. Simply Earth sources their essential oils from plants that are grown in the most ideal environment for each specific plant. Working with the farmers, they then ensure the oils are harvested both safely and fairly via cold-pressing or steam distillation, whichever is ideal for the specific oil and plant. Each batch of essential oils then undergoes Gas Chromatography-Mass Spectrometry (GC/MS) analysis to ensure the final product is high quality before being passed to consumers.

Giving Back to Fight Human Trafficking

Whether we like it or not, human trafficking is a reality for 25 million people globally. Some of these people are victims of sex trafficking while others are involved in labor trafficking. This unfortunately is happening in the United States as well. Simply Earth partners with different organizations and gives 13% of profits from all purchases to an organization that is selected each month. The number 13 was chosen as this is the average age of a person forced into human trafficking. This includes purchases of individual oils from their shop and their Essential Oil Recipe Subscription Box.

Speaking of the Essential Oil Box, let me briefly fill you in on how they work and the get into the details on this month's box. This is a subscription box with two subscription options:

The MONTHLY BOX is $39 per month, and you will receive a box every month.

The QUARTERLY BOX is $45 every three months, and you will receive one box every three months.

There is no additional membership fee for subscribing, and you can skip boxes should you need to save some money or if the specific boxes just don't appeal to you. Each month, the recipe box has a theme to help you decide if it is a good fit for your lifestyle and the previous month's box will give you additional details on what you can expect when it comes to the included essential oils and recipes.

This is what is included in September's Essential Oil Recipe Box:

"Happy Joy" Pure Essential Oil Blend (15mL)
Bay Pure Essential Oil (5mL)
Cajeput Pure Essential Oil (10mL)
Lemongrass Pure Essential Oil (10mL)
Aloe Glycerine Soap Base (3 oz)
Soap Mold
6 Recipe cards
Sticker labels

There isn't enough soap base to make a year's worth of soap by any means, but there is enough to make one of each of the three soap recipes that come with this box. The retail value of the four essential oils found in this box is $40, and the soap base and reusable soap mold really are a bonus. What I really appreciate the most about this box are the added recipes that tell me how I can use my essential oils!

The recipes included in this month's box are:

Flowers and Spice Diffuser Blend
Sugar Scrub Soap Bar
Happy Joy Facial Soap
Flowers, Spice, and Something Nice Soap
Happy Joy Roll On
Lemongrass, Cajeput, and Bay Compress

I had got to get with the program and pick up a diffuser! I love having my home filled with nice smells, and the Happy Joy Essential Oil Blend is just so vibrant and cheery!

In addition to the soap recipes, the Lemongrass, Cajeput, and Bay Compress recipe is going to be a popular recipe around my house. This compress recipe has a multitude of uses, from helping to reduce fevers to relieving pain caused by inflammation. I've already had a nasty cold just a few weeks ago, and with cold and flu season coming up, I'm really going to appreciate this one!

I did get to play with some of the recipes from this box, and I wanted to share my experiences with you. Let's check them out!

Happy Joy Roll On

It really doesn't get much easier than adding a couple drops with a carrier oil in a roll-on! I used the almond oil and a 10mL roll-on bottle that came in my Bonus box, described in full detail here. Those with nut allergies can easily switch to coconut oil, jojoba oil, or grapeseed oil.

The recipe may be simple, but don't underestimate the value of a simple roll-on. This is a handy size with a portability I love! The recipe box comes with a handy sticker sheet, and I cut out this one to attach to my roll on bottle to make it look a little fancier.

Sugar Scrub Soap Bar

Speaking of fancy, these easy to follow soap recipes are both functional and will make you feel a little glamorous. I'm a fan of sugar scrubs, and this is the first I have used in a soap bar format.

The soap base is clear, but my final product is a rich brown due to the cinnamon I opted to add to the mix. The final recipe is a little more coarse than I like on my body overall, but I have been loving using this soap on my feet as an alternate to a pumice stone!

Happy Joy Facial Soap

The Happy Joy Facial Soap recipe is a quick an easy recipe to follow- simply melt the soap base, add in the oil, add some lemon zest if you wish, pour into the mold, and let it solidify. The melting and mixing stage takes about 30 seconds; you're going to spend more time zesting your lemon than getting this soap made!

Once poured into the mold, it takes about 15 minutes for the soap base to fully cool down and solidify. If you're feeling extra eager to use this, or package it up for a gift, you can pop it in the refrigerator to speed up the cooling process. Once cool, the soap pops out of the mild easily.

I'm admittedly not crazy about citrus smells on my face, but I do love having this in my kitchen for hand washing. The lemon zest floating in the base is so pretty as well!

I still have enough glycerine soap base left to make the Flowers, Spice, and Something Nice Soap, but I am holding off on making it until I can decide what I additional goodies I want to add to the mix. I have certainly enjoyed breaking in this box, and I look forward to doing more with the essential oils in the future! Whether you are a DIY kind of person or looking for a unique holiday gift for friends and loved ones that may not always be the easiest to shop for, the Simple Earth Recipe box is definitely going to help you out with the upcoming holiday season!

If you decide to subscribe for the Essential Oils Recipe Box, feel free to use the code LAUGHLOVECONTOURFREE . This code will get you a $40 gift card with your first purchased subscription box and bonus box. Please note that this code is not a discount but an incentive for first time subscribers. It can be used on your next box or a future purchase. These boxes are fantastic for yourself, and the monthly themes makes these a fun gift for friends and family. The holidays will be here soon, and what better way to show you care than giving a handmade gift!

If you decide you're not in the market for an essential oils box but still want to pick up a random oil or two, please consider using my referral link. I don't have any special discount codes to share for this type of purchase, but using my referral link helps to support my blog so I can keep bringing you the great content you enjoy!

Sneak peak at October's Recipe Box!

Now that Labor Day has come, it is the unofficial start to fall. For me, fall is all about the cozy sweaters, fabulous boots, and delicious smells, and apparently Simply Earth agrees. October's box is going to be all about fall candles. It will include oils, bonus items, and recipes for candles, lip balm, an aromatherapy rice bag, a pain relief roll-on, and a Fall-inspired diffuser blend.

Simply Earth is a company that makes it easy to make your home more natural, and I love what this company represents! I hope you're as excited about the soap-making recipe box as I am, and I hope you consider checking them out for all your essential oil needs!

Until next time, dear readers, have a wonderful day!

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