Sunday Riley U.F.O Clarifying Face Oil | Review

As someone who’s been battling periodic breakouts for most of my adult life, you best believe I’ve tried everything, and I still have some naïve hopes in me that someday I will find that holy grail product that prevent breakouts for good.

In my spare time, I enjoy perusing the Sephora website and checking out all their new features, and one new one was a sort of “skincare customizer” where you pick out what you’re struggling with and they recommend products that should help you with whatever issues you’re experiencing. I’m already using anti-acne cleansers and spot treatments and while they do work, I guess I wanted something to truly clear my skin of all those nasty pimples. And that’s when they recommended this face oil from Sunday Riley.

I read up on the reviews and was instantly won over with the “OMG I freaking love this product its a holy grail I’ve been battling cystic acne for years and this totally helped” so I thought why not. The full size product costs $40 but luckily, the face oil was offered as one of the Beauty Insider point perks and so I confidently used my 100 points to get a little vial of this goodness.

First off, the smell of this oil is ridiculous! When you first apply it, I feel like there’s a strong whiff of either basil or oregano…either way the very first few seconds you smell like pizza. Once that first fragrance dissipates, you get this planty smell which to anyone who grew up in the USA, will 100% remind you of kindergarten. It smells like either some crayons we had or something but it is totally the smell of kindergarten according to everyone I let smell this and what’s worse is that the smell literally doesn’t go away.

Despite this, I still believed this would end my breakout woes, its a medicated dry oil to clear congested pores and breakouts so I’ve used this for about 5 days. On day 4 I noticed new breakouts forming, like the deep, painful type of zit that won’t just go away with a quick pop.

Its at that moment that I felt this product is totally a hoax and won’t actually help with your congested skin. Not to mention, it feels very heavy which if you already have oily skin, you might want something to feel light and refreshing, and the amount of salicylic acid in this is a joke, 1.5% is nothing and I don’t think it could actually help clear anything.

So, I’m really happy I got to try this as a sample, the vial would probably actually last around 2 weeks with consistent use and now I know not to go and spend money on this expensive face oil which doesn’t actually work.

Let me know what products you use to keep breakouts at bay!

 

Renewed Hope in a Jar Moisturizer | Review

To so many people, this item is a skincare staple, and ironically though I’ve worked with the company for so long, a few initial bad experiences really kept me away from this product until recently.

Based on philosophy’s original best selling Hope in a Jar moisturizer, the Renewed version features glycolic acid to renew and brighten the skin as well as to provide light, daily exfoliation, while the hyaluronic acid binds water molecules to the skin and gives all day hydration. There is a small concoction of natural extracts, but I would say the active ingredients are all of those acids which will give you the most results.

Now the reason why I really wasn’t a fan of this product was because when I applied it, it always pilled, not matter what I tried to do. Later on I learned that because of the exfoliators present in the cream, it might just mean that your skin needs to be exfoliated and all of those little pilled up balls are dead skin. I’m not entirely sure how true that is, I know that its still not something people want so I suggest using a gentle daily exfoliator before applying it because it will still exfoliate, but there won’t be any pilling.

After returning to this product, my skin felt refreshed, smoother, hydrated, but not greasy like I often feel after a moisturizer. It absorbs so quickly! It is oil-free and there are options for dry skin and with SPF 30. All in all, I’m really stunned by this number and now understand how come everyone loses their mind over Renewed Hope in a Jar.

My word of advice is if your skin is dry you might find this not hydrating enough. While its good for really light hydration, you still might feel dehydrated towards the end of the day in which case I’d suggest trying something else or using a more hydrating toner under it for perfect balance. But for my combination skin, I felt like my whole face was refreshed and not dry, not oily but just right so I will certainly keep using this moisturizer.

Pretty Vulgar the Feathers | Mascara & Brand Review

Hi everyone!!

A new brand that hit Sephora a few months ago has been Pretty Vulgar, and as your dutiful reporter, I went and researched the brand a bit more because its always fun to try something new, but it can be a daunting and nerve-wracking task.

So according to the site, its a brand created by beauty-industry veterans and its heavily inspired on vintage items, not strictly makeup necessarily but just vintage things that are now part of the past. They’re inspiration and vision is to celebrate real people, the perfectly imperfect and the contraditctions we all have, hence the name. They’re cruelty free and are formulated without nasties like phthalates, sulfates and parabens which is also good to know. Since they are a pretty new line, they don’t have that many products, especially not at Sephora where its an online exclusive for now (they will probably start selling it in stores once they see that its doing well and people are legitimately interested).

My take on the brand

To me the brand message and just branding as a whole is a very interesting concept, because its how you market a company and product that play a huge role in its success/failure. So here, I definitely feel the whole vintage vibe, products are named after old-timey stuff like eyeliner called “the Ink” in a little old-fashioned ink well and so on. The packaging is very heavy in that antique-esque department and I must say that the packaging is among the prettiest I’ve seen. It is so elegant and so pretty which actually brings me to my next point.

I don’t know about you, but something about this brand really reminds me of Too Faced. Not exactly, but for all this time Too Faced was that notorious brand with elegant script writing, delicate floral designs, as well as a bit of vulgarity (ehem ehem, “Better than Sex”). In fact, Too Faced owner Jarrod Blandino accredited the name of the company to the fact that many of his clients were two-faced in many ways, also called contradictory. Am I the only one who doesn’t think this is pretty shady?

But a brand is nothing without the quality of its offered products so let’s move on to the Review…

First off, the packaging is to die for. The tube looks like a gold birdcage and there’s a little bird perched at the top. While the looks of this mascara are so cute, at the end of the day, product performance matters so much more to me.

This mascara is meant to be curling, lengthening and volume-boosting, so pretty much what we all desire from a mascara. The brush tip is with actual bristles, not plastic ones which I noticed plays a huge role for how a mascara functions. The formula is okay, but it does dry looking almost powdery and gives you that obvious mascara look, with what I wouldn’t call clumping but its just not my favorite.

My overall verdict for this mascara is that it isn’t bad, but at the same time there are so many fantastic mascaras like Benefit’s “They’re Real” so since the price point is the same (both are $24), I just feel like for that price you could get something much better, then again mascaras are highly based on preference. I just feel like in this case, your money goes straight to the packaging, and the actual important aspects of a mascara are kind of forgotten.

As for the brand, I’m certainly not blown out of the water from how impressive it is, that is for now. I would still like to try their other stuff such as face makeup and some other things because it just seems so upsetting to have such adorable stuff and have the quality just be meh.

Lorac LA Collection: Santa Monica Palette Review

Lorac recently launched a stunning collection inspired by the city of angels – LA!! And to me, for very personal reasons, Southern California and specifically the Los Angeles area is the most special and close-to-heart place on this planet for very personal reasons that maybe someday I will share. Obviously, when I saw this cute little collection I felt like I needed to get at least just one, plus they are fairly affordable. $24 for 4 eye shadow shades in a generous amount and a blush and highlighter is definitely on the more affordable side (of course it’s still high-end, but I think for a product like this it was totally worth it).

In the collection, they have a palette for Santa Monica, Venice Beach, DTLA, Malibu and Beverly Hills. They all have pretty neutral shades inspired by the place they’re named after. The reason I loved them so much was because while yes you can possibly find similar shades in other palettes, it gives you a sentimental experience purchasing one. At least it was for me and I would say the most special places in that wonderful state to me are Malibu, Santa Monica, and Beverly Hills. I got Santa Monica because I thought the shades would suit me best but also because now every time I open this little palette, it brings me back to the happiest days of my life.

Knowing that the shadows are coming from Lorac, I can rest assured that the quality will be superb. I didn’t experience any fallout and the colors are super pigmented as well as blendable. There’s two shimmery shades and two matte shades so its perfect for creating a nice subtle everyday look. What I usually do is use the matte light shade in “Farmer’s Market” to highlight my brow bone, then apply the lighter shimmery shade in “Promenade” on my lid, and use the color “Bungalow” as a crease shade. Also, I’ve recently begun to sweep the silvery shade in “Twilight Tide” along my bottom lash line for that nice contrasting pop of color. What I love is that even though there’s only four eye shadows, you could build it up to a more dramatic look too, like enhancing the outer V with the silver shade to build depth or using just the two matte shades for a very subtle, natural look. Its such a compact palette and yet houses a good amount of variety so its perfect for travel if you don’t want to take a bunch of stuff with you.

Plus the highlight and blush shades on the right are really impressive, the highlighter gives a fairly good glow and the peach toned blush is fabulous for giving a very natural blush.

All in all, I love this palette, I’m so happy I made the investment because while it is high-end, you get a good amount of product and with superb quality. Plus, the different palettes in the collection are also intended for different looks, like say more trendy and dramatic, or fun and bubbly, so I’d say there’s a pretty good amount of options for everyone and what you like. And finally, I just love the SoCal themes, I think when you purchase a palette it doesn’t have to just be a palette, it could also be reminiscence like it is for me.

Are there any products you’ve purchased for sentimental reasons? Leave your thoughts down below!!

The little photostrip above was taken on the Santa Monica Pier. 

Glossier Wow-der Review

First and foremost, I’d like to apologize for not posting for a while, for some odd reason I haven’t been feeling very up to it, I guess I was lacking inspiration.

However, I was still thinking about my dear Valhalla, and I wanted to write about new products that have recently hit the market so that my readers can stay informed about all the innovations that have come out.

I’ve been itching to get my hands on a brand new product by Glossier called their Wow-der (“Its not powder”). I’ve seen this circulating around YouTube and the makeup guru Jackie Aina partnered with the brand to pretty much show it before it got released and educate her viewers about this allegedly revolutionary item. I’ve never before used Glossier products, but from seeing their other stuff, I take it that this is a new wave brand similar to Milk Makeup and The Ordinary. They focus more on natural beauty, and have a youthful, quirky je-ne-sais-quoi about them. Anyways, back to the not-powder itself…

What it is

The Wowder ($35) in essence is nothing at all special, it is simply a setting powder but in a container with mesh film over it to protect from spillage which is what commonly occurs with loose powders. According to the company itself, the Wowder is supposed to be unlike any other setting powder, which usually leave the skin looking flat and chalky. The formula is supposed to be incredibly light and finely milled, therefore it should fill in fine lines and pores, as well as absorb excess oils better than the regular stuff. It comes with a fluffy powder brush, which to me seems a bit too small to really use, plus nowadays most people apply those kinds of loose powders by pressing them into the skin with a makeup sponge, so thanks for the brush, will I use it? I’ll probably figure out what to do with this.

What I can say is that they have a fairly wide range of color, the shade I ordered was light/medium but the other available shades are dark/deep and rich. I know one of the issues people had with powders like Laura Mercier’s Translucent powder was that they only had a light shade and while everyone used it since it was translucent a darker shade definitely had a better look on people with darker skin so this wide range I’m sure is much appreciated.

Now the YouTubers that I’ve been watching (since it was a sponsored product), tried to use the powder to the max, using it under foundation, over and just a million different ways. I purchased it with the notion of it being a setting powder, and being a traditionalist Capricorn, that’s exactly how I intend to use it.

Personal experience

I’ve tried a few translucent powders in my time, for a while my favorite was the Makeup Forever High Definition powder (which also has the mesh barrier), then I transitioned to Laura Mercier’s so going into this trial, naturally I’ll be comparing it to those powders.

So after priming my face and applying my foundation and concealer, I dipped my wet sponge applicator several times into the mesh cover and right off the bat, my one concern is that it doesn’t pick up a lot of product because of this mesh material. It takes some serious dipping and swirling to pick up something. And mind you, I don’t bake my under-eye concealer so its not like after one use, half my jar is gone. I have nothing against this practice, I’m just pretty satisfied with how my makeup looks with using a normal amount of powder and just pressing it in. But with this mesh sifter, dang is it impossible to get even that amount, so forget about it if you do like to bake.

Anyways, after getting a decent amount of product out and pressing it into my under-eye, I must say I’m not really satisfied with how it applied and how it looked. I felt that the area under my eyes was certainly looking dry, as opposed to the Laura Mercier powder which gives it a nice matte finish but stays looking natural and all in all pretty flawless. It did prevent creasing fairly well, but the last offense was looking kind of dark on me. The Laura Mercier powder seems to almost brighten my under-eye, possibly because the powder itself is a lighter shade, but this one just looked dark and that’s exactly what we’re trying to avoid.

wowder face

However, compared to Makeup Forever’s loose powder, I will still reach for either the Wowder or Laura Mercier powder because they do have that flesh tone, while the MUFE’s is white so on the skin it does show up with a gray flashback.

Generally, I can’t say I’m crazy disappointed with the Wowder, but I think calling it this otherworldly powder that doesn’t even deserve to be called a powder is stretching it. Its as good as any other powder, and though the Laura Mercier one is more expensive, its only $3 more so I would say make that investment and enjoy the Laura Mercier rather than go out of your way to try this gimmick. In truth, that’s exactly what it is, a gimmick. The mesh covering is totally unnecessary because although the process is cleaner, its more frustrating to pick up the right amount of product needed to cover what you need.

Thanks so much for tuning in, and let me know what’s your favorite setting powder that you’ve used?

-Valhalla

 

Kevyn Aucoin Celestial Highlighting Powder Review

I know people say that trends and fads come and go, but I do feel that some discoveries especially in the makeup world change the name of the game forever and can stick around pretty permanently. One such fad is highlighting. Originally a component of contouring and altering the shape of your face, highlighting is the technique used to bring a certain feature more to your forefront and accentuate it. While the average makeup enthusiast may think that Kim Kardashian West was the person that popularized contouring, it was actually around for quite a time and very popular in the drag community, as well as occasionally used by celeb makeup artists. But, the person who really gave this a name was Kevyn Aucoin, a makeup artist with many celebrity clients during the 90s and who is also famous for writing the book Making Faces. This makeup artist is largely responsible for making contouring popular and giving his clients perfect sculpted makeup.

Therefore, when my time came to look for a good highlighter I thought who better to turn to than the master himself – Kevyn Aucoin. I wasn’t looking for anything overly glittery and something that would look more realistic. The Celestial Highlighting Powder retails for $44 and is now available in 3 different shades, I will be reviewing it in the shade ‘Candlelight’.

The review

As much as I wanted to see the good in this product, I must say that after months of ka finger swatchattempts and use, I’m a little disappointed with this product. Actually, a lot disappointed. First off, the product is incredibly dry and chalky. I loathe the feeling of highlighter being more so piled on to the face rather than seamlessly blending in and giving that glowy look. The way this one looks after dusting it on to the apples of your cheeks, nose, and cupids bow is incredibly subtle, like barely there at all. I want to say the best way to describe this is pearly, but even cultured pearls have a way better incandescent shine than this powder. And I’m well aware that I said I wanted something not so glittery but I really do feel I wanted something to look dewy and radiant, not dry and powdery.

In addition, this product is super pricy and you only get 3 grams (0.11 oz.) worth of highlighter!! Looking on the Sephora site now, any other highlighter will give you at least 3 times that amount and often for the same or lower price. Considering that, it feels like you were definitely fooled into buying something more for the name than for the actual product.

This is in no way meant to disrespect Kevyn Aucoin, he passed away in 2002 and the brand was founded pretty recently. It is said to be based on his principles and vision but I just don’t feel like it does the man justice. I do want to see what his other products are like so maybe I will try them out later.

Over all take: Hard pass for anyone looking for more of a glow. I’m not saying you want glitter on your face but I feel there are lots of better products for a similar price that give you more of product and more payoff too. I think the only time you would like this product is if you want something super subtle, and I mean you look like you’re not wearing anything at all.

ka on face

Drunk Elephant Peekee and Juju Cleansing Bars Review

Yet again, another brand that I’ve been dying to get my hands on but I’ve just been too afraid to because of the intimidating price point is Drunk Elephant. This brand is also fairly new to the Sephora collection of skincare but so far it has been enjoying a lot of good responses. Seeing as I am perpetually in the search of a good cleanser, I decided to check out theirs (also because its usually the cheapest product a skincare line has) and I was pleasantly surprised by all the raving reviews about their facial cleansing bars called Peekee and Juju. I did purchase these two as a travel size duo which I absolutely love because I got the best of both worlds (rather than racking my brain to decide which one is more suitable for me) plus for a really affordable price; $18 for two rather than $28 for one full size.

Without further ado, lets get started on the review shall we?

Peekee Bar

Reading up online, this appears to be the one more suitable for all skin types. This white bar once activated with a little water gives off a very gentle, milky texture that once you start to massage onto the skin actually feels very soft and almost hydrating. Initially, after first rinsing it off my skin does feel softer and hydrated however that feeling does fade after some minutes and my skin tends to feel slightly dry and tight, needing more moisture. Overall, this is targeted to help all skin types to balance the skin and tone it which I can vouch for. While I did like this one and how it felt on the skin, I think dry skin types will be able to appreciate this much better. As for the ingredients, blueberry extract and honey are very power anti-inflammatory agents for the skin that help soothe and the rest of the ingredients included in this bar are also very natural and nothing really negative that could potentially harm the skin. Really good job on this one D.E.!!

Juju Bar

This gray bar is tailored to better suit oily/combination skin types to help cleanse the skin of impurities. Activating it with water, it right away produces more suds and it does have what is said to be a mild exfoliation but to me it feels a bit more serious than mild. I think this is the bar that is more perfect for me because I do have oilier skin as well as some blemishes and I feel like this bar helps get rid of and stabilize my skin way more than the other one. The ingredients in this bar are a clay which is supposed to help heal the skin, bamboo powder which gives that exfoliating grit, and a super food blend to help heal the blemishes and acting up for the skin. I think this certainly helped get rid of my blemishes and continued use would surely make things better. Again, I love how natural everything is here and I like how I see these natural ingredients working to improve my skin. While I adore how soft and nurturing the Peekee bar feels on my skin (as opposed to the grit from this bar), I find that it gives way more of a result so I think that once I use it up this is the bar I’d repurchase even the full size from.

Overall, I’m super stoked about these cleansers, I think both are great and its wonderful that there are options for different skin types. The only thing is I find that bar cleansers are in a sense harder to use because you’re not supposed to apply them directly to the skin but whatevuh…sometimes you just have to struggle for these good products to work for you.