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

IT Cosmetics CC+ Eye Concealer Review

IT Cosmetics, although a new player in the beauty world, earned itself a very good name for creating high-coverage products and often with a skincare/anti-aging twist. Hearing how full-coverage their products are, being able to cover rosacea, and any discoloration to produce a perfect even finish skin tone, I decided that this is the perfect brand to try concealer from. I can’t say that I have terrible under-eye circles but to create that perfect flawless look, something full coverage is what I was looking for.

Great things were said to me about the Bye Bye Under-Eye Concealer but I thought maybe this would be too thick for me and instead I tried the above featured CC+ Eye concealer (retailing for $29 in Ulta). This is promised to be a medium-full coverage concealer with SPF 50 that is great for covering under-eye circles as well as having tons of anti-aging ingredients that are supposed to be good for you. Trying it in store, under that harsh full flash lighting, I though this was one of the best concealers I’ve seen, it looked natural but well-covering, it didn’t crease or cake, overall it seemed the best…but I think I spoke too soon.

My General Thoughts

I give products plenty of chance to show themselves in the best light, even adjusting my skincare routine so that the concealer sits perfectly. Unfortunately, this product separates and moves way too much. It is very hydrating but the coverage isn’t as good as I felt it was before, the overall quality was just alright. What I hated most in this product was because this is said to be an “illuminating” concealer as well, they put some light reflecting pigments in it too so it basically makes you look like you have glitter under your eyes. This is something I don’t prefer, nor does anyone else I could imagine.

Doing some further research on the product, IT Cosmetics included a lot of citrus extract into this. probably to boost brightness (hence a citrusy fragrance) which unfortunately can be irritating to some. I wasn’t bothered by this, but I still want my readers to know and be cautious in case they were wondering about this product.

Some other complaints that go out to the brand as a whole is while I’ve tried other IT concealer openconcealers from them and did like them, they have the stupidest design for the concealers that are messy and inconvenient to use. This one has one of those tube eye cream metal ends meant to cool and lift the under eye area, which I guess is good for an under-eye cream but I don’t think this is at all beneficial for a cosmetic product where application matters way more. The Bye-Bye Under Eye concealer just has a squeeze tube which you’re supposed to squeeze on your finger or brush which is a huge let down since the product is great but now is a mess to use. Another thing I don’t like about their company is that the products are made in China. For some of these things I don’t really care, but seeing as this goes so close to my eyes and I’m sorry I really can’t know the quality and conditions the products are being prepared in, it makes me very wary of the safety of this product. Most brands manufacture their products in other parts of the world and I would just first like to know if the factories and everything are safe and regulated. Those are just a few thoughts on how IT Cosmetics could improve their game.

Thanks so much for reading, I returned this product and exchanged it for Tarte’s Shape Tape concealer so stay tuned to hear my reviews and thoughts on that new cult classic.

My Top 5 Eye Liners

I am a die-hard liner fan. If I could have only one makeup look for the rest of my life, without second thought it would be winged eye liner. So you best believe that when it comes to my eyeliner, I take it very seriously and have tried a bunch. Here is a compilation of my top 5 favorites in order to achieve a winged cat-eye look!

1. Nyx Collection Noir Liquid liner ($7)

Surprisingly enough, although this is a drugstore product it is my absolute favorite and I feel like despite everything I tried afterwards, nothing will truly compare to this. The little brush at the end makes for highly precise application and the actual formula of the liquid liner is pretty opaque which is what I strive for. Overall, I’d say it wears well too and is fairly water-proof.nyx liner

2. Lancôme Artliner ($30.50)

My second favorite is a way pricier liner that I got as a gift and although I didn’t expect to love it, I do. The reason for my skepticism is because I’ve tried many felt tip liners and although they are said to be great for beginners and are supposedly easy to use, I found them pretty imprecise. However, this one moves really well and does deliver a good line, my only issue is that is wears off super easy. Another issue that I find is something if the little felt tip isn’t soaked in the product, it will erase the line you already drew. So its very easy to mess up because it does get erased quick and is not water-proof.lancome artliner

3. MAC Liquidlast Liner ($21)

Again, another great liner I got as a gift, and while I feel this should be the most professional choice, I can’t say its been my favorite to use. Its certainly long-lasting, but the formula is less liquidy and has a thicker consistency. I find it a bit difficult to apply and not as precise as the Nyx liner I listed at the very top. My biggest complaint about this liner is that because it is so thick, first of all its hard to fix mistakes since nothing will take it off except some serious bi-phase makeup remover, but also because of thickness once it gets on your lashes it is impossible to take it off and it creates a clumped effect. I get that this is one heavy-duty liner but I don’t think it needs to feel so thick.mac liner

4. Anastasia Beverly Hills Waterproof Crème Color ($18)

This is a recently acquired liner for me and I bought it because I used to love the MAC gel liner and wanted to revamp my old look. I gotta say, this is also super heavy duty ad doesn’t budge at all. The only thing I have to say is because it is a gel, it seems like you can’t have that much control over the product,  but generally I’m usually pretty happy with the results. Its not as expensive as most other high end gel liners that I checked out but its still really good, creamy and applies evenly.abh liner

5. Kat von D Tattoo Liner ($20)

I’m going to say this is a great liner especially for beginners who are only starting to master liner. The little brush-tip marker is very easy to use and pretty clean. The formula is long-lasting but not entirely smudge/water-proof. Personally, my biggest concern with this is that the formula of the liner itself isn’t what I’d like it to be. Even though I shake it well, it still comes off slightly transparent. Since I strive for a sharp and vivid lined look, the pigmentation on this product doesn’t exactly cut for me.Kat-Von-D-Tattoo-Liner-Cover

 

Garnier BB Cream for Oily/Combo Skin

Generally speaking, in my makeup ‘career’, I find myself liking to gravitate towards makeup with a skincare twist on it. This meaning that BB creams are generally perfect for me. I have tried a lot in my lifetime, from regular drugstore stuff to the high end brands, and my favorite by far has been the Garnier Skinactive BB cream.

I’ve had the pleasure of trying this product in its old version as well as the new. In fact, I was a big user with the old formula but trying the new one, I loved it even more and was pleasantly surprised.

And while I did like the old formula, I feel that the new is a significantly improved version of the old one, with a liquid texture, fuller buildable coverage, water-proof, no fragrance, SPF 20 and non-oxidizing. It really is like a super lightweight foundation but one that also does something for the skin. The best way to put it is that it seems to provide serious high-end pay off for a pretty drugstore price (usually retailing for around $15).

Although this is meant to help out people with combo/oily skin, I still feel like it gives a nice dewy finish (not something all people with oily skin strive for), however depending on if you choose to use a primer and what kind of primer before application, it also changes the effect of the product. The only drawback for this BB cream is that it does unfortunately settle into fine lines no matter what you use with it. I’ve used it with smoothing primers and blur sticks, sadly all my efforts were for naught and there is still a slight gathering of product which you can see in my smile lines. If fine lines are not a problem for you, then in my opinion this cream is 100% for you, because otherwise anyone should love this with how it goes on and wears.

IMG_6848

You can see this product in its full effect in the image because prior to taking the picture I did go swimming and my little sister successfully splashed me all over -> causing me lots of stress that it ruined the makeup 😦

In addition, there is also a formula specially for dry skin that also has some anti-aging properties. My advice is: in terms of BB cream, stay away from high-end brands because I’ve tried lots, but none have been as good as this one and give such a great coverage being so inexpensive and also good for you.

P.S. I got a great question in the comments asking what would make this product apply evenly, and my suggestion is since its so liquidy, use a brush like a flat kabuki (I use Sigma F80) which will help it spread super nice and then blending it out with a beauty blender. Also check out her blog because its so good!! http://thepurplepanda.net/