New In Beauty #1: Before You Shop

It seems like the industry is at an all time high, pushing out products faster than we can even think of buying them. Fully aware of how overwhelming that can be, I thought I’d discuss a selection that stood out to me. As we’re settling into 2018, here’s a little update of where we’re at in beauty.

Releases I’m excited about

/MAKEUP

#1. SHE LISTENED

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Kim Kardashian West decided to release her contour and highlight sticks as single products, without any package deal.

Here’s the deets

Kim Kardashian West had previously released crème highlight and contour sticks in a kit with a dual ended brush/sponge. People were dissatisfied with the low pigmentation, small amount of product and high price.
Some people genuinely enjoyed the formula and its effortless natural sculpt, but the set (and cost thereof) was too much for them. No one seemed to enjoy the brush.

Kim took the critique to heart and released the sticks as individual items, for a price that suddenly sounds much more reasonable. This one is truly a matter of personal preference, but the decision she made was a smart one. It targets a different audience within contouring and is beginner-friendly.

Price

The singles are being sold for a decent $18.

Who’s it for?

The stick creates a very soft and natural look. It’s also quite creamy and not so matte/dry, making it most suitable for drier skin types. Oilier skin types might clash with the formula. The shade range is quite inclusive and the price is comfortable.

An alternative

In a pinch? Try Makeup Revolution or Kiko Milano.

Note: KKW is cruelty free, but I am unsure whether this product is vegan.

#2. BANG FOR YOUR BUCK

Milani completely blew everyone away with these two luxurious palettes at a fair price: the Most Loved Mattes and Bold Obsessions.

Here’s the deets

Most Loved Mattes features 12 mostly neutral matte shades. The palette as a whole leans slightly warm, the darker shades being a bit more bold. It contains a good shade selection for complete looks: base, transition, crease and highlight colors can all be found within the dozen.

This palette is a great alternative to pricier similar palettes like Tarte’s. It offers the possibility to create both everyday looks with the neutrals and more daring looks with the darker shades. It also seems to work for most skin tones.
I personally enjoy the orange and purple shades that bring a pop into the story; it’s a really simple and generic palette but it gets it just right for me.

Its counterpart, Bold Obsessions, has more cool tones. This one features both matte and metallic shades.
The left and top row are some average pretty neutrals, but then we have two stunning gold and copper metallics as well as a pop of burgundy. The right row features two greyish tones and a matte black. Overall, enough ingredients to create some classic eye catching looks.

The way in which these palettes distinguish themselves from the neverending stream of releases is their simplicity and effective minimalism. It’s simple without being boring. The well designed packaging with large mirror is a luxury for the price range and the reviews are pretty unanimous. The quality of pigmentation and blendability are praised all over.

Price

They retail for a friendly $20 per palette of 12 shades.

Who’s it for?

Anyone, beginner to advanced, that feels these shades are flattering and practical. The palettes are travel friendly and good to start a collection with, but not excessive in an established collection.

Note: Milani is cruelty free, but these palettes may contain Carmine.

#3. MUCH WANTED

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Forgive me father for I have sinned. This one I have already ordered myself. It might be hard to get your hands on since it is a limited edition and a popular one at that, but it’s a gem. I’m talking about the NARSissist Wanted palette. 

Here’s the deets

This high end palette has 12 shades in different finishes: matte, satin, metallic and glitter. It’s supposed to be very blushy and sultry, in shades closer to the skin.

NARS has outstanding eyeshadow formulas and these are no exception. I do have to mention the mattes aren’t as crazy intense upon one swipe as, say, Natasha Denona, which is what we tend to expect from shadows nowadays. They’re buildable up to any intensity.
Pink, and especially monochromatic pink, seems to be a theme taking over the warm neutrals. This palette has a nice array of possible looks either within that theme or in a completely different direction thanks to the great variety and contrast. There’s soft nudes, warm tones, pink and dazzling metallics.

Is it worth the splurge? That’s entirely up to you. The most important thing to take into consideration when picking eyeshadow palettes is how the shades work with your skin tone and the way you apply eyeshadow.

Price

You pay a painful $59 for this palette, so make sure you will cherish it forever.

Who’s it for?

Because of the price and exclusivity, I’d say to take another 10 looks before you decide buying this. This is the kind of palette where you really want to be using all 12 shades and cherishing and enjoying it properly. Be realistic to yourself about your usage, your budget and your needs.

An alternative

Brands like Makeup Revolution and Zoeva create palettes that have a really decent balance between price and performance, finding a similar palette in their collection should take no time. You’ll probably get more shades as well. The only tricky thing is getting the different textures; perhaps get together some Makeup Geek singles if that’s your focus.

Note: NARS was a cruelty free brand and hasn’t changed its practices, but did choose to start selling in mainland China. This means that the products are involuntarily subjected to government issued tests involving animals.

#4. MAKING US BLUSH

Just today Urban Decay announced their Backtalk palette.

Here’s the deets

Backtalk is a pink themed palette with 8 eyeshadow shades and 4 cheek shades. It features neutrals and roses for the eyes in different finishes, 3 blushes and a highlighter. The idea is that you get to create a cohesive monochromatic look.

Urban Decay has a quite popular and beloved eyeshadow formula, but their themes and products themselves are probably even more popular. They’ve made true cult classics. I personally can’t put the Naked Heat palette down or shut up about it, to an extent where it’s just embarrassing.

I can’t say much beforehand since we have not seen any swatches or reviews outside the company, but this palette seems promising though targeting a specific audience. It either sparks a trend or stays on the down low.

Price

The palette is planned to launch March 8th and will cost $46.

Who’s it for?

Anyone who is into the color theme and will actually use the cheek products. Urban Decay is a luxury brand, if you’re unsure about using the entirety of it you might want to hold your coins.

An alternative

Zoeva and BH cosmetics have palettes in similar themes you and your wallet might enjoy.

Note: Urban Decay is cruelty free, but this product contains Carmine.

/SKINCARE

#1. A VITAMIN BOOST

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Kiehl’s released a new vitamin C serum in a creamy formula, and it smells like a citrus dream. Vitamin C releases never fail to excite me as there’s still so much to improve and develop. This one is called the Powerful Strength Line Reducing Concentrate.

HERE’S THE DEETS

As I mentioned in my recent skincare wishlist post, vitamin C products hard to formulate. A shame since vitamin C is incredibly potent and beneficial in its pure form. Kiehl’s markets their formula as a line reducing product, and this product had actually been around for years without me noticing it. The reason it’s come to my attention is that they reformulated it to have 12.5% vitamin C, a step up from the 10.5% it had before, and launched a campaign for the reformulation.

Quick little facts about vitamin C: it’s an antioxidant that clears up skin damage, makes your skin radiant, evens out your skin tone and helps prevent signs of aging skin. It’s an all rounder, even helping protect your skin from UV damage. Pure vitamin C is called Ascorbic Acid, it is a water soluble acid that becomes very potent when in water… but then also deteriorates like crazy.
Vitamin C oxidizes and becomes ineffective really easily. Kiehl’s seem to have worked their way around that since they claim their product has a shelf life of a whopping 18 months. (This was mentioned to me by a SA, can’t confirm it right now.) The fact that it’s in a UV proof bottle with a pump also helps extend the durability of the formula.
The ideal concentration of Ascorbic Acid is 10-15% and it is recommended to not go higher than 20%, meaning this serum hits a sweet spot. The low but ideal concentration prevents the Ascorbic Acid from causing unwanted irritation, though the citrus fragrance in turn might be sensitizing. This product contains Hyularonic Acid as an extra boost, a humectant that draws moisture to your skin.

price

Even though it’s definitely not cheap, it’s more affordable than (for example) Drunk Elephant’s popular C Firma serum. A 50ml bottle retails at $62 and 100ml goes for $104, a small but significant step down from the $80 Drunk Elephant charges for 30ml.

Who’s it for?

Anyone who can comfortably afford it, regardless of age/sex/skin type. It’s universally beneficial. The only thing to watch is whether the greasy creamy formula works with your skin.

AN ALTERNATIVE

There’s multiple alternatives out there depending on what you prioritize. Timeless Skin Care has a C E Ferulic formula (20%) that retails for $24.95, COSRX has a 20.5% formula for $27 per 30ml and The Ordinary has multiple formulas at different prices. At a lower concentration of 5% there’s the Klairs Freshly Juiced Vitamin Drop.

Note: Kiehl’s products are sold in mainland China and therefore are subjected to government issued tests involving animals.

#2. A SOLUTION FOR IT ALL

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Glossier surprised us all by creating a concoction of different exfoliating acids. They call it Solution, a very fitting name for a product so helpful.

Here’s the deets

Glossier released a product they call a daily face exfoliator. It has Lactic Acid, Salicylic Acid and Glycolic Acid. They’re AHAs and BHAs, chemical exfoliants that can target skin concerns.

Without making it too complicated: chemical exfoliants remove dead skin cells and buildup within the pores. This prevents pore clogging, and therefore blemishes. It also keeps a new, healthy layer of skin at the surface by shedding all that old gunk immediately. A nice, healthy glow is the result. The acids can also help even out tone and texture, and stimulate collagen production.

Other than the acids there’s aloe and niacinamide to calm, hydrate and further unclog. I have to say I was very impressed with this formula, pleasantly surprised. I haven’t got my hands on it yet but am planning to purchase it soon. There’s just not much to argue about here, they took effective ingredients in a decent formula and priced it reasonably.

Price

$24 is what they ask for this 130ml bottle o’ magic.

Who’s it for?

Anyone who wishes to improve tone, texture and appearance or development of blemishes. Watch out with sensitive skin and UV sensitivity from the product. Don’t overexfoliate and always patch test. Listen to your skin.
I will not list an alternative since the combination of these 3 acids in such a size bottle is hard to beat.

Note: Glossier is cruelty free and this product is vegan.

So, those were my favorites. Are you ready for the releases that bored me? See you soon!

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