Tuesday, November 7, 2017

Sydney Grace: Fall Bundle 2016 Review

Hello again loves!

I ordered the Fall 2016 bundle of nine shadows to try out the brand Feather River Body (now Sydney Grace) back in the summer, so I have had the shadows in my collection for quite some time now.  As I write this post, I am waiting on another order of two of their bundles to arrive in my mail, so I will have another post coming soon on those.

So let's talk a little about the company.  I discovered Feather River Body on Instagram.  I was scrolling through my feed, and someone had posted some very nice looking swatches and I proceeded to try to find the brand.  According to their Instagram post announcing the new brand name, Sydney Grace, the brand began by selling girl's accessories. The owners had made soaps with their mom while they were growing up, so to expand the brand they began making soaps and other bath products.  Steadily by playing with colorants in the soaps they began to develop and interest in making makeup.  They began selling on Etsy, and eventually opened their own website.  Like I mentioned above the brand changed their name in the last few months to Sydney Grace, apparently a nod to the owner's children and in the transition you may be receiving the old packaging as the new is phased in.

When I decided that I wanted to try the brand, I came across the Fall 2016 bundle of eyeshadows and immediately put it in my cart.  I wanted to gather a decent amount of their eyeshadows to swatch and play with before sharing my opinion.  This bundle contains four pressed pigments, three mattes, and two shimmers.  All of the nine shadows come in the sleeves pictured above, but they come as just the pan.  You will need to buy a palette for these to stick in, otherwise you can leave them in their sleeves.  Sydney Grace offers an extra large palette that you can fill with shadows; however, there are plenty of other places across the internet offering these same magnetic palettes.  All of the shadows are hand pressed, so there are some slight imperfections from pan to pan, but that doesn't bother me.

According to the Sydney Grace website, the Fall 2016 bundle is still available; however, you will have to pre-order it.  The bundle is $34 for nine shadows making each shadow approximately $3.78.  The matte and shimmer shadows are regularly $5 each on the website, and the pressed pigments are $6.  Each shadow is 1.8 grams which works out to this bundle weighing approximately 16.2 grams.

The first four shadows in the bundle are below:

  • Sunset - Matte - "Red Orange" shadow in a 26mm pan.  This shadow is really pigmented and blends out nicely, but I found it works best when using only a small amount at a time.  If you try to blend out too much of it at once, it tends to be a bit difficult to blend.  
  • Blushed - Pressed Pigment - Rose Gold shadow in a 26mm pan.  The finish of this shadow is absolutely gorgeous.  Highly metallic and applies best with a wet brush, a finger, or a foam applicator to keep that foiled finish.  
  • Saturn - Shimmer - "Purple base with a pink shimmer" shadow in a 26mm pan - Purple shadows are so hard to press, so it's not all that surprising that this one will require a bit of building and patience.  This particular shade is a gorgeous purple that doesn't end up being so dark that it looks black like many other purples of this tone.  The color in the pan on this purple is the shade that you can build this shadow to.  
  • Chocolate - Pressed Pigment - This is a warm toned rich brown color in a 26mm pan.  This shadow is listed on the website, and in the bundle on the site as "Chocolate Bar" so I was a little confused trying to find more information on this shade, but if you are looking for it search "Chocolate Bar".  This shade is a staple shadow that I use on the outer half of my lid to deepen that area.  This shadow is not as metallic as the Blushed pressed pigment, so you won't have to worry about using a damp brush or your fingers with this one.  The sheen in this particular shadow is more along the lines of the brand's "shimmer shadows". 

Top to bottom swatches in the above picture: Sunset, Blushed, Saturn, Chocolate (Chocolate Bar)

The next five shadows from the collection are below:

  • Dark Chocolate - Matte - this is a dark matte brown eyeshadow in a 26mm pan.  This is the type of shadow that I like to use as a liner, to set my liner, or just in the outer corner of the eye.  This particular shade, like the others in the collection, only requires a little product.  It's easiest to take just a small amount of the shadow on a brush and build up the color to your desired pigmentation for an easier time blending.  
  • Peach Crush - Matte - I actually couldn't find this on the website; however, it is listed in their Etsy shop in a single 26mm pan and in one other bundle (the "bundle similar to the Just Peachy Matte Palette").  This peach is light enough that I can use it as a very warm transition shade.  I just have to use a small amount on a fluffy blending brush and build the color slowly, but the shade blends out smoothly.  
  • Queen of Hearts - Pressed Pigment - This shade is a gorgeous metallic ruby red shadow in a 26mm pan, and it was the one that caught my eye the most when I opened the package.  The name is absolutely fitting for this shadow, and it is such a smooth formula.  It will blend out smoothly and evenly if you wish to have a less intense shade.  If you want the intensity of the shadow you should apply the color with your fingertip, a foam applicator, or a wet brush.  However, if you are like me and like less intense red shades, you can blend this shade out easily.  
  • Elegance - Shimmer - This shade is a gorgeous cream that is incredibly smooth and silky.  The shadow comes in a 26mm pan, and makes the perfect subtle highlight for the brow or inner corner. 
  • Laura's Memory - Pressed Pigment - "Orange Bronze" shadow in a 26mm pan.  This is such a gorgeous metallic amber color that I reach for often.  The shade really works well on my blue eye, and I really love the metallic sheen this particular shadow gives.  If you want the intense metallic finish it is best used with a wet brush, a finger, or a foam applicator.  If you want a less intense finish, this shadow does blend out nicely.  

Top to bottom swatches in the above picture: (Dark Chocolate, Peach Crush, Queen of Hearts, Elegance, Laura's Memory.

Overall, I am really impressed by these shadows.  They are all more pigmented than some of my high end shadows, and definitely more pigmented than some of the more well known brands in this price range.  Like I mentioned above, the bundle is still listed on the website; however, it is on pre-order for $34.  You can purchase the individual shades; however, you will have to jump back and forth on their website, and the Etsy shop to find all of the shades but if you want them they are there.  The pressed pigments are $6 each, and the shimmers and mattes are $5 each.  The brand has two other pressed shadow bundles listed on the website, and I have ordered both of them so look for more swatches and a review of the brand soon.  

As I mentioned at the end of my previous post I have so many new posts planned, and I am really excited to share them all with you!  As I write this I am waiting on several packages to arrive in the mail, and believe me I will be swatching, playing, and reviewing all of them in the coming months!  I am also planning on doing a weekly, or bi-weekly post of the upcoming releases in the beauty world.  With it being close to Christmas, there are so many things releasing that the posts could get rather lengthy.

Sunday, November 5, 2017

Maple Holistics Tea Tree Shampoo Review

Hey loves!

Today I am going to write about my experience using the Tea Tree shampoo from Maple Holistics, and a little about the company itself.   I don't know if I have ever mentioned my specific hair type on this blog, but if you have seen any photos I have posted of myself, you probably have a pretty good idea.  I have the most unruly thick hair imaginable.  To make matters even worse, my hair is thick, wavy, and I am prone to dandruff.  What a combination!  All of these things run in my family, so it's not surprising that I have the same problems.

Tuesday, July 25, 2017

VII Code T2 Oxygen Eye Cream Review

Hey guys!  

Sorry I have been rather absent lately, I am hoping to get better about posting again since I have several posts planned.  However to get back into the routine of posting, I am going to do a quick review of the VII Code T2 Oxygen Eye Cream.  I was lucky enough to receive the eye cream roughly a month ago, and I have been using it every morning and every evening.  If you have been around my blog for any period of time, you will know that I have reviewed a few other eye creams, but I have to say that this is one of my favorites.  

Prior to using the T2 Oxygen Eye Cream, I had been using the Garnier Nutritioniste Ultra-Lift Anti-Wrinkle Firming Eye Cream, which honestly felt more like a regular moisturizer put into a smaller pot.   In comparison, the T2 Eye Cream feels slightly thicker and overall I found that I only needed the smallest amount for my eyes.  As you can see in the photo above, the actual eye cream pot is rather small, only about 5ml of product is in the package which equals roughly one third of the amount in the Garnier package for comparison.  Even though there is less product in this package, I still have more than half of the product left even after using it morning and night for a complete month.  

As you can see in the photo above, the eye cream comes packaged in a beautiful leather drawstring pouch with an activation strip.  I was confused by the activation strip because the instructions on the package are located on a tab on the pouch and I couldn't find any information about the activation strip.  According to the company's website,  this component called the 'activation strip' is to be used to massage the eye area moistened with the cream to remove dead skin buildup and help the skin to absorb the nutrients in the cream.  After massaging the eye area with the activation strip VII Code suggests using a dotting method to make sure the remaining cream is evenly spread on the eye area.  I personally found that the cream absorbed quickly into the skin, and left no film on the skin which made it ideal for morning application.

The cream is said to minimize the look of fine lines, wrinkles, and crow's feet much like any other eye cream.  I currently don't have a severe case of fine lines and wrinkles, but preventing those are fairly high on my list for a skin care routine.  VII Code also states that the cream is supposed to prevent and correct the look of dark circles and bags under the eyes.  Dark circles and bags under the eyes are definitely huge problems for me these days.  I have so many things going on that I have found that I end up getting less sleep than I really should be.  I have noticed that the area under my eyes has been less puffy, and the dark blue bags have definitely lightened.     

According to VII Code, the cream is infused with evening primrose which is said to boost blood circulation and smooth wrinkles, avocado which delivers antioxidants to the skin, elderberry which contains antioxidants that maintain glowing younger looking skin, and chamomilla recutita which is said to reduce dry flaking and restore suppleness to the skin.  

In short, this eye cream is pretty pricy at $99 for 5ml of product; however, you really don't need to use much in each application so the small pot will last you much longer than expected.  I really have enjoyed using this cream since it absorbs quickly and leaves no obvious residue on the skin.  I honestly feel that the cream has helped with the dark circles that were forming under my eyes before I started using the product.  If you are interested in purchasing the VII Code T2 Oxygen Eye Cream for yourself, you can find it on the VII Code website, or on Amazon (if you have a Prime membership I suggest using Amazon) for the same price.   


*I received the product mentioned above in exchange for an honest, unbiased review.  All opinions are 100% my own.  

Sunday, November 20, 2016

Adore Yourself: Autumn Makeup Trends with Adore Me

Hey guys!

I have another exciting post to share with you guys!  As you probably know by this point, this is my favorite time of year.  I live in the South where this time of year is typically the perfect temperature, and I enjoy playing with various makeup trends this time of year since I know it won't melt off in the heat.  I was incredibly excited when I learned about the campaign with Adore Me.  Adore Me, as many of you probably already know, is an intimates company that is based out of New York.  I know I have seen their website in the past, and I believe I have seen commercials as well.  I was especially interested in their bras and panties page while I was exploring their website, and I must say that there are great options for women of all shapes and sizes!  I was sent the graphic below where the company has come up with a pairing for some of their favorite lingerie sets and beautiful fall makeup looks.  As I was exploring their website I found two sets that are my style, and proceeded to draw inspiration from each one.  Both of my looks are incredibly simple, and can be changed in a variety of ways to suit any situation!

 The first set I was inspired by is the Lidia Push-Up which is a beautiful racerback with black lace.  This set spoke to me because of it's classic simplicity which is something that I really like to do with my makeup looks.

For this first look I pulled shadows from the Lorac Pro 1 palette.  I find myself reaching for this palette every fall (you will see how much of it is gone in just a second).   For this look I decided to go for the classic nude eye.  I started by mixing White and Nude all over the lid and up to the brow to set my primer and prep the lid so the shadows will blend smoothly.  After that I pulled Mauve into the crease (for this look I would have typically used Taupe but it is completely gone).  I blended Mauve out with a fluffy shadow brush to create a really blown out crease.  Then I took Lt. Bronze and concentrated the light golden color on the inner half of the eye.  You could leave the look like that or you could take Sable on the outer half of the lid for the addition of some soft drama like I did.  If you want the look to be even deeper the Lorac palette also contains a deeper brown, Espresso, which you could concentrate on the outer corner of the lid for a little sexier look.  My only advice when using this palette is to tap off your brush after each dip into the pan.  The shadows are so soft that the  brush will pick up a ton of product.  As always be sure that you blend, blend, blend!

As you can see I chose three different lipstick options for this look.   If you are into the nude lips you can pair this look with L'oreal Fairest Nude for the most simple look.  The middle of the three options is the one that I am personally the most comfortable with, and find myself reaching for.  The middle option is for my girls that are into the mauvey nude lip trend.  I used the Kat Von D Everlasting Liquid Lipstick in Lolita.  This lipstick will last you all day as long as you don't top it with a gloss, or eat anything with an oily substance.  The last lipstick I chose is for the ladies that like the bold reds.  Every now and again I really enjoy breaking out these colors, and this NARS Velvet Matte Lip Pencil in Cruella is very comfortable.

I mentioned above that I used the Lorac Pro 1 palette (bottom right)  for my look; however, this look is so neutral that you can really use any neutral palette to achieve the same thing.  The three high end options I have above are the Borghese Eclissare Color Eclipse palette ($55, top left), the Urban Decay Naked 2 palette ($54, bottom left), and the Lorac Pro 1 ($44, bottom right).  You can also achieve the same look with two of my favorite palettes from the drug store, the CoverGirl TruNaked palettes in Goldens and Nudes which retail for around $10 each.  The shadows in these palettes rival the softeness of the Lorac shadows and blend really easily, so I highly recommend them!

The second set that I was inspired by is the Alain Push Up set in this beautiful berry shade.  Personally this shade just screams fall to me, and I love it.  I decided to break out my Covergirl TruNaked palette in Roses to create a nude look that is more on the berry side of the spectrum.

For this look I took the first shade in the palette and placed it on my lid all the way up to the brow bone to set my primer.  This shade has a little shimmer in it, but it's not nearly as strong as shade two which I used on the inner corner and the under the brow as a stronger highlight.  Next I took the third shade and used it in my crease as a soft transitional color.  I used shade five all over the lid as a fun purple shade, and added shade seven on the outer half of the lid and softly under the lower lashes.  Finally I took shade eight and concentrated it on the outer corner of the lid and topped everything off with a purple liner that is nearly black.   

This look is rather subtle; however, if you have blue eyes it will really make your eyes pop.  Again I chose three different lipsticks for this look.  I used L'oreal Fairest Nude again because this lipstick is the perfect shade for nearly every look.  If you are more interested in a mauve toned nude I also chose Essence lipstick in Barely There (middle) which is the perfect compliment to the purple tones of this look without making you look washed out.  Finally for the bold ladies I chose a fun shade that I don't bust out nearly enough, Wet 'n Wild's Ferguson Crest Cabernet from the Fergie line.  This lipstick is supposed to be along the same lines of MAC's Rebel.  I'm one of those girls that is scared of breaking out a full on purple lip, so this particular shade is perfect for me.  It has just enough purple in it to be different from everything in my collection, but it remains on the more berry toned side of the spectrum for me to feel comfortable and I feel like it really brought out the deep purples of the look while making my teeth look white! 

I really don't have that many palettes in my collection that are dedicated to the berry tones since I tend to stick to the more neutral side of the shadows; however, I did manage to dig out a couple options.  The top palette is the Urban Decay Naked 3 palette ($54),  the bottom left palette is the Wet 'n Wild Au Naturel palette in Nude Awakening (under $10), and the bottom right is the CoverGirl TruNudes Roses palette (around $10). 

Like I mentioned above, I love fall makeup and pulling inspiration from the changing of the seasons.  Personally I think the perfect combination is a simple neutral eye, a bold lip, a pair of leather boots, and a cozy blanket scarf!  What are some of your favorite fall combinations?  

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