An O.K. Product: NARS Dual-Intensity Blush in Craving (Review)

NARS, to my mind, has always been the cool kid on the block. He’s got the good looks and the “it factor”, but when you dig down deep and get to what’s on the inside — he’s not all he’s cracked up to be. Laura Mercier, on the other hand, is the unassuming, simple girl who happens to pack a punch despite her plain Jane appearances.

François and Laura are the stars of my imagined world of personified makeup (because the token bad boy and sweet girl figures are the bare bones of any clichè story, obvs), but there’s also Bobbi (Brown) — the clean-cut preppy girl who cares way too much following the rules — and Pierre (Guerlain) — the snooty rich, foreign guy who drives a Lambo and vacations at Turks and Caicos in the summer.

Other than Holy Shit I want it all, I want it aaaallll, this is the kind of stuff that I think about when I’m walking through Rustan’s beauty section. I can’t be the only one… so — care to add some character write-ups in the comments section? I’ve thought the whole set through, including “younger” brands like Benefit and MAC, but it should be fun to her how other people view brands, personified. ;)

DSC01867Anyway, yes. I am primarily here today to talk about a NARS product. The NARS Dual-Intensity Blush ($45 / approx. 2,450 Php) is another one of the products that I picked up from my trip to the U.S. in May. I was seriously considering the dual-intensity eyeshadows as well, but for one reason or another I ended up with this bugger instead.

It looks cool, as is always the case with NARS products, but it’s also got a hefty price tag attached. I’m always hesitant to drop money on NARS’s skin products (only the Audacious lipsticks have fully impressed me), but I thought I would take a chance on the dual-intensity products because they’re relatively new and rated pretty well by other bloggers. 

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Sweet Summer Deal: Stila Convertible Color Trio (2015 Limited Edition)

I have to be one of the last persons on Earth to try the Stila Convertible Colors. Everyone knows what they are and it seems that everyone adores them, too. I was looking through reviews on the product before writing this post and I did not stumble across a single one that might be considered negative. Crazy! And can you believe that the Convertible Colors have been InStyle magazine’s “Best Cream Blush” for ten years in a row? Again: crazy!

I didn’t go out with the intention of picking this set up but when I stumbled upon it one day while browsing through Essences at Rockwell, I thought it was a good deal. I guess that just as clichés are clichés for a reason, “cult faves” are cult faves for a reason, too. These are awesome and I wish I had brought them into my life sooner…but better late than never!
P1180656The “Beauty in Bloom” Convertible Color Trio (1,150.00 Php) is a limited edition set for summer that contains three mini Convertible Colors, weighing 2g each as opposed to the full-sized 4.25g Convertible Colors.

The set I chose has the shades Camellia, Peony, and Tulip in it, which are all wearable and “safe” shades. There is also a “Blooming Bright” Convertible Color Trio that has brighter colours, namely Lilium, Petunia, and Hibiscus.

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My Ellana Blush Collection

EBA1It was really only right that I title this post the way I have… of the five available blush duos from Ellana, I have four. I don’t plan on picking up the last one (Flirtation/Fetish) in the near future because it looks a little too light for my skin tone, but I might be tempted to complete the collection one day. For now though, I’m quite happy with these four. You’ve already seen my review of Obsession/Fulfilment, and now I have Bunny/Ecstasy, Kitten/Peach Passion, and Light Roast/Butter Rum Coffee to add to the mix. Got them in Ellana’s awesome new packaging, too! EBA2Ok, so each of these will set you back just 460.00 Php and you essentially get two blushes in one so that’s an awesome deal, in case I need to spell it out for you. They are all extremely soft and pigmented, which is good in a lot of ways but it can also be a bit of a challenge to work with at times. Still, I love the shades Ellana put together and as you’ll see in a bit, these are definitely worth picking up. 

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Breaking the Ban

I thought I should let you guys know… I broke my makeup ban some time in late November. I don’t feel as bad about it as I thought I would, and to explain myself I’ll just have to show you what I got and tell you what price I got them at.

So the story is that my cousin works for the company that handles several large makeup brands in the country. A few times a year, they’re given access to a huge sale on cosmetics. Knowing that I love makeup, she sent me a few photos of the available items together with their sale prices. You already know I was unable to resist. Here’s what I asked her to get me: 

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INSTAIN: New and lust-worthy from theBalm

I was thinking about makeup (hello, when am I not) brands this morning and as I’ve been mulling over a couple of purchases from theBalm, I decided to head over to their website to read some product descriptions. A selection of their products are available locally (inside Beauty Bar) but we don’t really get up-to-date stock here–for example, we finally have Meet Matt(e), but Nude ‘Tude and Meet Matt(e) Naked have not washed up on our shores. The newest addition to our local selection is theBalm’s eyeshadow primer, Put A Lid On It— this is what I’m thinking of trying out soon, as an alternative to the UD shadow primer. That’s what I wanted to look up when I visited their site this morning… and I saw this:

Screen Shot 2013-07-26 at 11.20.37 AMHoly moly. NEW BLUSHES? In adorable vintage Vogue/InStyle (is InStyle that old?) packaging? Each named after fabric patterns and featuring adorable illustrations on theBalm cardboard packaging that I absolutely adore? I. WANT. THEM. ALL.

Immediately started looking at reviews online and it seems that the product was launched in April of this year. Temptalia has reviewed only one shade so far– Argyle — and the formula seems promising! The ones that I have my eyes on are Houndstooth and Pinstripe… and heck, I want the rest of them, too, just like I said!

Screen shot 2013-04-12 at 8.21.13 PMPhoto from The Happy Sloths, a blog that has done a review for each shade already! Click here or on the photo to see that post.

I’m already thinking of ways to get my hands on these blushes as soon as possible… theBalm does ship internationally, but I would have to pay a crazy amount on shipping and customs fees to have them sent here. My mom will be in the US in September, so that’s probably the soonest that I may be able to order these. Sigh. I suppose all good things are worth the wait anyway!

**EDIT: Just saw this! Beaty Bar posted it on Instagram quite some time ago so hopefully I’ll be seeing INSTAIN soon! 

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Review: Milani Baked Blush in “Fantastico Mauve”

Milani Baked Blushes have been around for a while, but as always it’s a lot more difficult to get your hands on certain products if you live in Manila. These have been available on digitaltraincase for a while now, but I never really gave them much thought because I’ve never been a fan of baked eyeshadows and blushes. Recently though they went on a tiny discount (down to 370.00php from 400.oophp) so I thought why not! The reviews are pretty good and they look really pretty, too.Choosing a shade wasn’t difficult–Fantastico Mauve looked like a crazy purple in photos and I had been looking for a purple-toned blush anyway. Another shade called Berry Amore was also purpley, but I saw the craziness of Fantastico Mauve and choosing it just felt right. When I finally set my eyes on the color as it lay in front of me, I knew I made the right decision. I probably overreacted over a blush (a bit!) but it made my eyes go wide and I was giddy for a good 15 minutes after receiving it! It does look a bit like the MAC mineralize blushes [see photo above: the one on the right is MAC “Stratus”]  but it’s even prettier. I did check out the MAC Heavenly Creatures collection in stores and I thought they looked nice, but not anything spectacular.

Milani’s Fantastico Mauve on the other hand is pretty darn amazing, which is why this post is photo-heavy. It felt like I was working with a model who got pretty much every pose right, except for…

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