New in #48: What’s in my Mail

REVLON Ultra HD Matte Lipcolour
600 Devotion
Though I was initially very excited about the launch of these, I was pretty disappointed when I heard these aren't actually matte, so I didn't plan to get any, but now that I have one, the fact they are more like lip lacquers doesn't bother me because the formula feels very comfortable on the lips and I'm not that concerned it'll smudge everywhere, though it leaves quite a mark behind when drinking or eating. It feels like someone melted their Ultra HD lipstick, but added even more pigment and reduced the shine factor. The finish is creamy-glossy from the start, but it slowly fades into a slightly shiny formula and it can even look matte after its sufficiently worn off. These again have the most gorgeous scent ever, as they smell like Planica ice cream just like the lipstick versions. Staying power is actually surprisingly good and it lasts several hours on the lips, fading to a very decent stain. Devotion is a medium pinky shade that's in the same colour family as Milani's Darling and if you scroll down, you'll see it on my lips. I'm pleasantly surprised, but I still find these expensive. 
Click2Chic, 12.25 €

L.A. GIRL Pro. Conceal HD Concealer
I got a new brand to explore, since L.A. Girl is now sold in Slovenia. This concealer is mega popular and hyped up everywhere, plus it has a high rating on Makeup Alley, so I had to give it a try. I got the lightest shade Porcelain, which I swatched next to most of my concealers and Essence's get picture ready concealer in 10 is the closest, so light with a pink undertone, but in the packaging is looks a bit orange. It has a good medium to full coverage, but not as good as Collection's or Nars' concealer, but if I layer it, it covers spots decently. It sets fast on the skin to a sort of a matte-satin finish, which I'm surprised about as I read this supposedly creases because it moves. It wears ok, without slipping and emphasising pores, but it doesn't hold oil at all, so I'm pretty shiny at the end of the day. The packaging is almost exactly the same as Rimmel's Match Perfection concealer, so a tube with a brush applicator, but it could be better because that brush isn't terribly good.
Click2Chic, 5 €

L.A. GIRL Matte Flat Finish Pigment Gloss
I've seen swatches of these everywhere, but mostly on Pinterest and any matte liquid lipstick makes my eyes sparkle, so I'm glad I got to try a new one. I picked the lightest shade in the bunch called Dreamy, which I think might be the most popular one and it's actually very similar to Sleek's Birthday Suit (more mauve) and theBalm Committed (more pink). It's that good mix of nude-peachy-mauve and a hint of brown, so it's a very modern shade. The formula is a creamier version of Sleeks at application, but it dries to the same type of finish - very matte with a tendency to feel tight on the lips, if you're sensitive to that. It's also sticky, which some see as a big problem, but unless I don't really press my lips tightly together, I don't notice it for the most part. If I press my lips a lot, it becomes very patchy. It's not the best matte lip cream, but it's not unwearable as long as you're not fussy about it being potentially drying. Sara swatched three shades here.
Click2Chic, 5.51 € 

L.A. GIRL Pro. Setting HD Setting Spray
While I was exploring LA Girl, I came across a good review for this setting spray and I had to put it on the list to try. It's a mini setting mattifying setting spray that promises prolong the wear of makeup and I was actually surprised how well it held up, as at the end of the day, when I was removing makeup the cotton pad had a ton of foundation on it, which usually doesn't happen. It feels wet at application, but dries fast enough, so it actually isn't that different for my other setting spray by Urban Decay. As far as mattifying power goes, I'm still not sure I detect a difference, it definitely doesn't make the skin properly matte like a primer or powder would. It doesn't have any obvious scent. If I feel like it, I'll make an all-day test with pictures of makeup at the end of the day.
Click2Chic, 6.25 €

WET N WILD Proline Felt Tip Eyeliner
This came at such a great time, since most of my liners started rebelling at me and I heard such good things about this one from Emily, so I had high hopes for it. It's a mini liner as it's a few centimetres shorter than others I own, yet it contains the exactly the same amount of products as Stila's (though only a half of Milani's). The nib is classic, medium sized and slightly rounded at the sides and nice for drawing lines, though I feel it could draw a bit sharper flicks (spoiled from Superstar, I admit). The formula is nicely black and matte, the liner draws with ease with no gaps, so basically I really like this and I would put it in my September favourites, but I want to see how it holds up long-term before I label it as a favourite. Staying power is a winner too, as it lasts like my favourite liners, so to the end of the day, it even survived tears, but I did wear WnW's primer under it. Will see how long it lasts before it dries up. Closest I can compare it too is to Essence's in terms of the applicator and to L'Oreal's in terms of the formula.
Click2Chic, 4.49 €

WET N WILD Photofocus Eyeshadow Primer
I only have theBalm's version and this is a thicker, more siliconey primer. You only need a tiny dot of product for both lids, so a tube should last forever and it's a skin tone shade with no shimmer, but I don't notice it covering much of unevenness. So far I can definitely see that it improves staying power of eyeshadows a lot, but it's a type of primer that makes the eyeshadow stick to the lids like glue basically where you put it, so it takes more effort to blend it out if you don't use a skin-like shade on that area before blending (I tend to apply eyeshadow straight on the primer close to the lashes, so it really sticks to it and is intense, but put a skin toned shade in the crease, where the main colour needs to blend out). It makes the eyeshadow more wet looking than theBalm's, which is to be expected considering the difference in formulas. It grew on me quickly.
Click2Chic, 5.99 €

Eyeshadow: L.O.V. THE Glacious Stylo Eyeshadow 910 Bronze Leaf, Eyeliner: Wet n Wild Proline Felt Tip Eyeliner

WET N WILD Coloricon Brow Shape
A Clear Conscience
I don't do brows, I've told that many times, so I'm not an familiar with these type of products, but this is basically a brow wax in a jumbo pen form. It's transparent, so appropriate for everyone and it's very waxy meaning it holds the eyebrows in place. It doesn't leave any visible residue on the eyebrows, but you can feel it's on. It tames the eyebrows, helping them keeping shape, but it doesn't do miracles when it comes to hair that might grow in the other direction in the front. I haven't tried it in combination with a coloured product, since I don't have any.
Click2Chic, 2.49 €

WET N WILD Coloricon blush 
Apri-Cot in the Middle
I heard a lot of good things about Wet n Wild blushes (mostly from Beauty by Emily Fox) and I can see why. Just like I expected, the pigmentation is nice, it applies and blends well. The shade is very peachy, therefore not the best choice for me, as it can look too orange on me (I'd pick Rosy Champagne for me), but it has a great glow. It's got gold shimmer in the style of TheBalm's Mary-Lou, so it's pretty intense. It might be similar to Milani's Luminoso, but I'm not sure.
Click2Chic, 3.99 €

WET N WILD Megaglo Contouring Palette Contour 
Dulce De Leche
I did not plan to get so many contour kits and somehow ended with three in just one month, this one was the latest, but they appear to have their moment in the drugstore ranks. This is an interesting one because both shades are matte, meaning also the highlight side doesn't have shimmer, making it more like a more pigmented setting powder. Both sides are very pigmented, smooth, but swatch slightly chalky, however they apply and blend ok, though I need an extra minute with the contour. The shade of the highlight is slightly yellow, while the contour is a lot warmer than for example Catrice's version and it's more like a hazelnut brown shade, while my skin needs more grey-taupe shades for proper shading (NYX Taupe wins for me). Regardless, it actually didn't look off in pictures, as you'll see in the review, but I don't think I can wear this as a contour for my skin tone. This actually works very differently than described on me - it's a setting powder with coverage/bronzer duo.
Click2Chic, 5.99 €

BEAUTY UK Eyeshadow Collection 
No.7 Naked
A simple nude palette with 10 neutral eyeshadow that are a mix of four shimmers and six matte shades. Pigmentation isn't this palette's forte, especially when matte shades are concerned, though shimmers perform ok. Top row consists of mostly matte light-medium shades that end up very similar on the lids, but the second row is already more promising. The three shimmery shades in the bottom row are nice, but the last two matte are a bit chalky. I prefer to apply these with fingers to get maximum pay-off.
Lič, 6.95 €
Koda BEAUTY-UK vam na Lič prinaša 15% popust na neznižane izdelke Beauty UK do konca oktobra.

BEAUTY UK Ultimate Contour Chubby Stick
No.1 Medium Contour and No.3 Beige Highlight
Contour sticks are all the rage right now, though I haven't heard much about these. There are two versions of the shades and I think I got the lightest contour and the warmest highlighter. The contour is a similar brown shade with some cool undertones like Catrice's Stick duo, it's only a shade lighter, while the highlighter is a beige-gold shade with a similar natural glowy effect as again Catrice's stick. Both are very creamy and easy to blend, and actually they really aren't that different than Catrice's version, so on the pictures they look quite decent. I tried the whole full face contouring with these and I don't find it the best for contouring the nose, but for shading the cheekbones it's ok, however, a bit too warm for my skin. The only thing that I have an issue with is that these feel siliconey greasy to the touch on the skin, so I would use a powder product over them. While Catrice's duo is cheaper, it only contains 3.4 g (it's disappointingly small), these have 6 g each.
You can see this duo on my face in the previous post where I'm showing you the camera.
Lič, 9.95 € (each)

WET N WILD Foundation Brush 
A very classic flat foundation brush. It's not too stiff, but also not very soft and it's thicker than my other such brushes (The Body Shop's and Real Techniques'). It applies foundation ok, but it's not the quickest and you have to fix the streaks by going over them a few times. It feels well-made and the handles are shorter than usual, which is good news for those who wear glasses. It's the best such brush I own, but I'm still not a fan of them. 
Click2Chic, 3.99 €

Eyeshadow: L.O.V. THE Glacious Stylo Eyeshadow 910 Bronze Leaf (over Wnw primer), eyeliner: Wet n Wild Proline Felt Tip Eyeliner, cheeks: Wet n Wild colouricon blush Apri-Cot in the Middle, lips: Revlon Ultra HD Matte Lipcolour 600 Devotion

WET N WILD Powder Brush 
A very soft brush with long bristles, which is definitely foremost a powder brush, but it could be used for a light dusting of bronzer and more pigmented blushes (it works with Wet n Wild's one), I even tried it with a contour powder and it works for a light, diffused look. It's thin in profile, which makes it suited for applying blush and contour, however, it's very soft, meaning it's not for precise application, which is to be expected from a powder brush. It's a nice quality brush for a low price and so far I haven't experienced any shedding. 
Click2Chic, 3.99 €

WET N WILD Eyeshadow Brush 
A very basic blending brush, while I assume they made it as an all-purpose brush, it's not the best for packing colour on the lid because it's too fluffy. It's very soft and but also enough dense for an eye brush, so I use it mostly as a blending brush. It's my favourite out of the three.
Click2Chic, 1.99 €

*All are PR products, some of them selected by me based on my interests and good reviews. No links are affiliate.
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The Friday Forum – September 23

Today, I spent the better part of my morning with Sarah Lavache, one of Bobbi Brown's best Makeup Artists, at an event at Nordstrom Pentagon City organized by Diron Carr, Bobbi Brown's manager there. Sarah spent about an hour working on my face, and I was enormously pleased with the results. She used the Party to Go Lips & Eyes Kit ($42), a palette that I might not have selected before Sarah
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Newbie Tuesday: Did you make facial cleanser? What did you think? (part two)

Let's take a look at a few more comments about the facial cleansers you made last week based on this recipe or this recipe. (If you missed part one of these comments, please click here and see what your fellow readers are saying!) And look for part three shortly, too!

Susan writes: Thank you for the Face Cleanser recipes - I made the recipe for Dry/Sensitive skin. I live in Calgary, so not only am I in a dry climate, but I have dry skin also, so double parched here!
Here is my feedback on the basic recipe (no additives):

How does it feel on your skin? - I really liked how mild it felt. I used it to remove my makeup at the end of the day, and there was no irritation around the eyes, which is really important since I don't like to have to use an eye makeup remover AND a facial cleanser. 

Was the product too thick or too thin? - I found it a bit thick, but that is because my scale jumped from 0 to 2 when adding the Crothix. (time for a new scale!) so I was at the max right away. I will probably put only 1 % in the next batch. 

How was the lather, the foam, the bubbles? - Perfect, actually. I don't like a lot of bubbles on my face. I found it to be a nice, rich, creamy lather, without many bubbles.

How well did it rinse off? I used warm water to cleanse with, and it rinsed off quite well. With the reduced Crothix next batch, it will probably rinse even better!

Skin feel after rinsing off? - Skin felt clean, and smooth. Not tight, but feeling like I will need a moisturizer to follow. 

I have been using Cetaphil in the past because it is mild and rinses off clean. I think this will be a great replacement. I love how easily my makeup rinses off, with no racoon eyes left behind :). Looking forward to adjusting it a bit with some additives!

Susan added this the next day: I modified the recipe for dry skin, and liking the results. To the surfactant phase, I added 3% Polyquat 7 and increased glycerin to 4%. I reduced Crothix to 1%. I like the soft, clean feeling on my face, not dry or tight. I am thinking this is going to be my new favourite facial cleanser! 

Thanks so much for such a detailed comment, Susan! I'm excited that you like it! 

*A quick point of interest if you're using one of these kinds of digital scales and want to measure small amounts. These aren't great for amounts of 5 grams or lower. If you don't want to buy a smaller scale, like this one, my suggestion is to put your container on the scale and just count up the few grams you need.

Stephanie shared her experiences with us in this post: I ended up using a different surfactant for part of mine because of availability issues. Here's what my recipe looked like:

Facial Cleanser 
15g LSB 
5g SLSa
10g cocamidopropyl betaine
5g glycerin
0.5g liquid Germall Plus

10g Aloe Vera liquid 
51.5g distilled water
3g Hydrolyzed oat protein 
.5g Silk peptides
.5g Helichrysum and lavender essential oils

No crothix was necessary, I was happy with the texture of the overall product. I know you don't like essential oils around your face, but helichrysum is alleged to be good for aging skin and lavender is that catch all oil that's good for everything. And they smell nice together, which is the awesome thing. I also made a bottle of this with petitgrain essential oil for my daughter who likes mild citrus and floral scents and she loves it so far! Very gentle, no residue afterwards, but your skin doesn't feel dried out and itchy.

I love your customization of this recipe! (And you're running ahead of us by adding aloe vera!) Isn't this why we're making our own things? I'm curious, though...what kind of SLSa did you use? I ask because the powder thickens beautifully for a few days, and then it can end up as concrete afterwards. 

Julie wrote: I made the facial cleanser for normal skin identical to your recipe and added the polyquat 7 at 3%. The consistency was good the first day then it seemed to have become more liquid the second day. It is normal or am I imagining things? I did not add crotihx just to see what I would get without it. In a pump bottle and distributing in small quantity for the face, I like the consistency. The feeling was nice on my face. My skin felt clean afterward and did not feel tight, but looked a little dry. A little moisturizer was all I needed. I can't wait to try the toner! I was also curious and used the cleanser as a shampoo. I really like the feeling and it rinsed off well. For a shampoo, I would make it thicker so it would not run down between my fingers before I have time to apply it. But otherwise, it was much better than my last try at making shampoo. I really enjoy the newbie series!

Thanks for your thoughts Julie! You're not imagining things: Often times the consistency of our products can changer over the first 48 hours. For surfactant based products, I find the product needs to be at room temperature - which can take a bit if I've had a heated phase - and all the ingredients need to be included before I can see what the consistency might be. Fragrances can change the viscosity dramatically, and often I will fragrance the product today and check it for viscosity tomorrow or even the next day. 

Carol observed: I've modified the dry/sensitive formula by adding the 3% polyquat 7. I'm not noticing a huge difference from the preview I left after the first basic formula. My face feels clean but I find it still needs something more for conditioning/hydrating. I'll be following it up with a great toner and moisturizer so maybe the face wash does not need to be so moisturizing?

Thanks for trying both versions, Carol! I think it's a good idea to have the facial cleanser more moisturizing so skin doesn't feel tight or dry, but you bring up a good point about considering what the next product you use might be. If you're using a toner and/or moisturizer afterwards, then we can save the expensive ingredients for those leave on products and just go for cleansing and hydrating for the face wash.

To reflect on the comments...
If the product is too thick, leave out the Crothix. If it's still too thick, take out some of the thicker surfactant and replace it with water. LSB is a really thick surfactant, as are BSB and disodium laureth sulfoacetate, so you could remove 5% of one of those and add 5% instead and see where you are. In Stephanie's case above, it could be thanks to the aloe vera, which contains electrolytes which can thicken a product. (She's running ahead a few days here, so we'll discuss this more in detail shortly...)

I have a little video about viscosity you can find on my YouTube channel! 

If you don't like this as a facial cleanser, think of using it as a shampoo like Julie did, a body wash, or even a bubble bath. There are tiny differences between each of these products, and one that doesn't work to make your facial skin feel great may make your hair feel amazing!

And we will be designing the next aspect of the recipe with the thought of what products we might use next after cleaning our skin - like a toner, moisturizer, serum, etc. - 

So what do we do from here? We modify the recipe, of course! I'll continue to collect and share your ideas about the facial cleansers you've made and post ideas on how we can modify that original base next Tuesday! Join me tomorrow for more comments! 
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15 Ways To De-Stress

I've had my fair share of stressful days lately - the anticipation of a potential move, heavy workloads, days spent fretting about the future, not to mention my macbook's daily tantrum's... it all adds up (totally blaming mercury being in retrograde throughout most of September too!). I've jotted down a list of simple, fail-safe ways that help me to de-stress, in the hope that it may help you too!

1. Breathe. Take a moment to take three deep breaths. Or try the 4-7-8 breathing technique, LOVE Dr. Weil, he does a great demo of this here.

2. Make a chamomile tea - it's soothing and helps you to relax and unwind.

3. Watch Gilmore Girls, Parks & Rec, or Friends. Anything light and easy that makes you laugh! 

4. Get Moving. Practice a gentle, yoga sequence to clear your mind - try this yoga for stress routine.

5. Learn a little about the stars. 

6. Look up. Looking at the skies, a blanket of stars or watching the sun rise is an instant stress relief for me.

7. Sleep. Or take a nap. Try the This Works Deep Sleep Spray, a divine pillow mist with lavender and chamomile for a dreamy night's sleep. 

8. Write. Treat yourself to some pretty stationery & jot and note down your thoughts, idea's and plans.

9. Do that task you've been putting off, you'll feel SO much better once it's done.

10. Light a luxe, scented candle. The White Company's Autumn Candle is ideal for this time of the year!

11. Tidy up. A clean and clutter free home can do wonders for your stress and productivity levels!

12. Take a trip to Lush, splurge on an uplifting, reassuring pick like The Comforter Bubble Bar, then melt into a long bath, filled with silky soft bubbles.

13. Think, list off and feel grateful for 5 little things that you love and that make you happy, this is my top way to break a downwards spiral - by the time I get to the fifth, I start to feel happier and less stressed. For example, mine right now (& normally always) is... Harry Potter, Christmas, Autumn, My engagement ring, Snow and Lush Intergalactic!

14. Laugh. Watch something really funny, this gets me every.time.

15. Climb into a cosy pair of Asos pyjama's (love these!) make a peppermint hot chocolate and binge watch Harry Potter.
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Edward Bess Threads of Silk Multi-Use Powder

Perhaps you missed it too. Edward Bess's Threads of Silk Multi-Use Powder ($45) was introduced when my mother was very ill. I was not on top of my game this spring. Fortunately, Edward Bess introduces makeup with staying power. If it's great, he doesn't leave it online for a month and then yank it, like some beauty companies do to give the illusion of exclusivity. This skin-perfecting marvel is
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