Thursday, January 8, 2015

Swatches and Stuff - January 2015

Hi friends!

Woo Hoo! I am back with another Swatches and Stuff in which I feature products and things I have tried over the last 30 days and give you my honest opinion as to whether to buy it or bash it!

You can watch the full video here, on My Great Challenge 's YouTube Channel:

Here are the items I will review today (though the picture is missing the magazines and has one Revlon eye shadow I did not include for the interest of time):

Let's start:

1. Bliss Soapy Suds, Vanilla + Bergamot

Soapy Suds by Bliss


THIS is an awesome product. First, I love the scent, what a great combo! Vanilla (who does not like that) and Bergamot (think Earl Grey tea) are combined together in this very lavish and silky feeling bubble bath. It feels like a treat to be bathing in this stuff. Mind you, I never actually
used it as a body wash (only as a bath bubble) because I don't want to run out of it too soon. I love it, love the scent and Bliss is also a great company, having tried their Poetic Waxing Kit , I can honestly vouch for them. I am recommending this product. A.


2. Elizabeth Arden Hydra Splash Alcohol - Free Toner:

Hydra-Splash Toner (Normal/Dry Skin)
This is an okay toner for Normal to dry skin. It does the job and there is not much more to say. I use in the evening as I prep my skin for treatment. It smells nice, is not drying, leaves my skin supple and removes all cleanser residue and leftover makeup around my neck. I feel refreshed after using it, but then again, all toners do that. So there is not much special about this one, still, it is a good toner. B. 

3.Lancome 'Exfoliance Radiance' Clarifying Exfoliating Gel:

Lancome 'Exfoliance Radiance'
Like many other Lancome products, this one did not disappoint. It is a good cleanser, more fluid than the Creme Radiance I am used to. Overall, it does a very good job at removing dirt and makeup in preparation for night time treatment (I would not recommend you use scrubs in the morning). It smells delightful, then again, all Lancome products do. A bit pricey ($25 for a tube) bit a little goes a long way so it is actually quite economical. I use it on the nights I give my skin a break from my Clarisonic brush. I would recommend this cleanser if you prefer a gel formula to a cream formula. It does a good job and it is a trusted brand. A.

4.  Estee Lauder 'Instant Intense' Eyeshadow  in Beach Metals:

Estee Lauder Eyeshadow Beach Metals


Estee Lauder makes excellent products, this one is no exception! These are fabulous shadows with great stay on and very little fall-out. However, they are pricey, at $36 for a trio, I can find similar colors (which I did) with other brands. For instance, the Chocolate Bar by Too Faced (below), offers a variety of shades which are very similar with equal quality. 

Chocolate Bar Eye Shadow Collection

Here are some swatches from this Beach Metals palette (they look very different from the palette shown above, which proves to show that internet pictures sometimes do not give justice to actual colors - this palette is more pink than it is orange).

Estee Lauder - Beach metals

And here are the same swatches side by side with colors picked from the Too Faced Chocolate Bar Eye Shadow Collection:

Side by side comparison with the Chocolate Bar

They may not be the exact same dupes but they are close enough. The lesson here is: why pay $36 for 3 shadows when I can pay $49 and have a huge palette that offers similar shades and same results!
That being said, it is still a good palette to have and compact enough for travel. I give it a B+

5. Chanel - Nail Polish in Coup de Coeur # 609:

Image Source

I can't say that I am a "snob" when it comes to make-up and cosmetics, I own very little high brands, not by design, I really cannot afford a lot of it. This Nail Polish is one of those indulgences that makes you feel guilty as you come out of the store. Really, it does! Chanel sells this regular sized bottle for a whooping $27! Now if you think about it, that is the price of three drugstore nail polishes! 
So what do you get for $27?
By far, the best nail polish I have ever tried, both in color and longevity.  This "vernis" stayed on for at least 6 days without chipping or peeling. In fact, all it did was recede a bit at the tip of my nails, otherwise, it was pretty much unscratched and still shiny after almost 6 days. I am not sure what it is that they add to the formula but I can tell you that THIS is one purchase you will not regret! A+

The color is also beautiful (Coup de Coeur) and suits me very well (see the swatch below):

There are a lot of other colors (55) available if you are looking for something more subtle or completely out of this world:

Image Source

6. CoverGirl Full Lash Bloom Mascara :

I don't even know where to begin with this product other than start with the most intense feeling: I hate it!
This is another gimmicky mascara that promesses SOFT and FULL lashes. First, the brush is yet another one of those plastic alien thingy that is meant to be very flexible (as though we push that hard on our mascara that the head brush needs to be flexible). Anyway, the plastic bristles literally poke at your inner lid as you apply a top coat, the stuff hurts AND will burn your eyes, at least it burnt mine.
The formula smells like elmer's glue, the last thing you want to smell near your eyes and it is also dry and clumpy. This is going straight to the trash and I wish I had read or watched other reviews before purchasing. F.

7. CoverGirl Colorliscious LipStick in Spellbound and Ravishing Rose:

Image Source

 So Covergirl came out with yet again another collection of lipsticks that is nothing new and actually very similar to the Lip Perfection family. The texture is the same, they are planning this series at the same time than the Bloom collection, the packaging is the same than all the previous Covergirl lipsticks in the past few years. 
Overall this is a good formula, creamy, not sticky, not drying with good stay on, but what's the point really? The colors are so similar to all their other ones...yet I get suckered into trying a few shades, as I am still in search of that perfect hot pink!

Here is a swatch for you:

I have Spellbound on the left and Ravishing Pink (a frosted lilac pink) on the right. 

Not a big deal, I still like the shades though, but am not rushing to get them all. B. 

8. Almay - Smart Shade Lipstick - Lip Butter in Pink - Light/Medium: 

Almay - Smart Shade Lipstick
 It's not every day that I get excited about a lip balm. I love this one so much, I want to buy every single shades within my skin tone.
Almay is doing something very clever here by displaying the various shades within different skin tone categories, thereby taking the guess work out of it.
For instance, I picked this Pink for Light/Medium skin tones which looks really fresh on me.
The pink for the medium skin tone is a bit darker.
You get the idea, they are color matching for you and I think it is brilliant.
The formula is wonderful, glides on, stays on, smells great, very moisturizing without feeling gooey or sticky even.
LOVE! A+. 

In the swatch below it is on the far right, next to the two Covergirl lipsticks I just reviewed.

So you can see that despite being a balm, it is pretty opaque and will provide good coverage.

9. Email Diamant Red Toothpaste:

Email Diamant Red Toothpaste
What is the big deal about this toothpaste? 
Let me start with the fact that I used it throughout my childhood and young adulthood until I moved to the US and could no longer find it. Mom sends me a tube once in a while and I use it very sparingly. Of course, that was before I realized you can buy it a C.O. Bigelow or Amazon even!

This is a red toothpaste. As a warning to you it will stain your fingers and your sink, but it can be easily washed off.
Because it is red with a blue undertone, it cancels out any yellow in your teeth while tinting your gums (temporarily of course) in a raspberry red color. The result is a fresh and truly sparkling smile. I reserve its use for special events for which I know pictures will be taken. This stuff is amazing!
While pricey for toothpaste ($14.95), when used sparingly, it is an investment for the entire year's worth of camera smiles! Take my word for it....awesome stuff! A+ 

10. Gump's San Francisco Catalog:

Gump's San Francisco

 I discovered this brand via a catalog left in a Doctor's office. I think it took all be 5 minutes into reading it for my SmartPhone to be connected to their website and my ordering my own catalog. This company offers a lot of Asian inspired decorative items as well as clothing and jewelry. It can cost a bundle for some of their best stuff but there are a lot of affordable choices there as well. 
This is my style....a catalog made for me! Finally!


And that covers Swatches and Stuff for the month of January 2015. I hope you enjoyed the reviews and the video.

See you next month!

Thank you so much for reading my blog and watching my YouTube videos! Share the love!

Sophia, NJ

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My Great Challenge
PO Box 402
CEDAR GROVE, NJ 07009-9998

This blog contains affiliate advertising, this is how I support my blog and YouTube Channel.  I was not solicited to advertise for the products mentioned above, all opinions are my own. 

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