Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Summer Picks: Bronzers!

While packing my makeup the other day (more on that laterrrr), I realized I had still not done a my-favorite-bronzers post yet! Now, before I start I will like to preface this by saying I am NOT a fan of the harsh or obnoxious bronzer style which seems to be uber-popular nowadays. I see it on YouTube all the time where bronzer is used like a heavy contour powder or applied very heavily where it's easily detectable. Not my cuppa' tea, ahem.

The bronzers I typically like are subtle, buildable, possibly sheer and can double as semi-contourers because of the light and subtle pigment payoff. There are a few bronzers here which do require a light hand but I work in layers and dust most off so it doesn't matter either way to me. And my skin tone remains an NC20-25ish through out the year, so that should help those of similar coloring.

The bronzer that introduced me to the world of bronzing was NARS' Bronzing Powder in Laguna ($34/0.28oz) bronzer. Prior to discovering this, I had made the mistake of using a VERY opaque/matte brown powder (which was obviously meant for contouring) and that experience scarred me from wanting to try bronzers forUVUH. I would be envious of girls on YouTube who could could make it work effortlessly. I either credited their skills or choice of brush. Until...I used this. I immediately figured out why so many people love this. The thing about Laguna is that it's a great beginner's bronzer because of how easy it is to work with.

It'a cool-toned bronzer w/ a bronze/green undertone which makes it fool-proof to work with. This mimics a great bronzey-glow on very fair to medium complexions. Because it's not stark, this would work great for fair skins (NC10-15) all the way to NC35-ish. If you are any darker, NARS does make Casino which is more red-toned than green. Another thing, I have heard people complaining about how shimmery it is but personally I have not experienced anything of the sort. Upon closer inspection, I could spot some shimmer but it doesn't transfer onto the skin in my case. This was also the product which made bronzers seem waaaaay less intimidating to work with. They are now a staple and I have to thank this bronzer for it. Is it my favorite bronzer? No, because I have moved on to other formulation and brands but I do keep a mini in my purse knowing I can always go back to it. And since it's NARS' bestseller, if I am to change my mind I could always pick up another since it's in no danger of ever being discontinued. Now if only NARS would stop increasing their prices ever year, Grrr. =_=

Discontinued reminds me: why do companies change things which clearly do not need to be changed?! Case in point: Edward Bess' Ultra Luminous Bronzer in 01 Daydream ($48/0.25oz). This now comes packaged in a rectangular compact with a useless brush but with .30oz of product. It's priced at $45 but the lower price tag + more product comes with a slight price of (aside from the impractical packaging) the quality no longer being the same. It's also now manufactured in Taiwan whereas the original round packaged one was made in the USA. I have heard that the packaging is made in Taiwan but the product is made/assembled in Italy. Not sure but the formulation has definitely changed and NOT for the better.

That being said, the round packaged bronzer in Daydream (pictured) is AH-mazing. It's the most smoothest, softest and superbly -long lasting out of the entire bunch. The color is described as a "subtle tan" and although it does contain shimmer, I have a feeling it's not floating around in the entire formula but rather just on the top layer or so. If you look at the bottom of the pan where you see more usage, you'll see that the pan is basically matte. Working with this is a dream and it's matte-ish but with a satin finish and the best part is that does NOT look stark, even if the swatch suggests otherwise. I almost hesitate to you use this because it took me a while to hunt down this alone. One of my favorite bronzers, period. But a huge downside is that the newer version simply does not compare. It's not nearly as smooth or velvety feeling. I have heard people suggest the Giorgio Armani Sheer Bronzer #1 to be quite similar in texture/color but I'll have to swatch that in person to find out. A huge let down that the formula was changed but if you can still find this or swap for it, I highly recommend you grab one (give me a heads up, too >.<). 

A bronzer I DO find similar in color (but not texture) is the Lancôme's Poudre Elephant Teint ($37/0.35oz) a.k.a THE Elephant bronzer a.k.a The Prettiest Pressed Powder EVURRRR. 

This was a limited edition product from the Fall 2008 Maharani Jewels collection and I am a sucker for anything South Asian themed, particularly when involving peacocks, elephants and tigers. This blush-bronzer-highlighter trio had a golden shimmer overspray once upon a time but beneath is a matte subtle set of colors. I find the bronzer in this to be particularly subtle and great for a slight hint of color. It's not very pigmented but that actually works out pretty well considering it can be swirled together to make a blush (the color comes out to a warm red-strawberry color --gorgeous!) so to have a very pigmented brown would make it look rather muddy. I don't reach for this often (do you not see that darling little elephant?!) but when I do, I find I have all the cheek products I could need in one compact. The white-pink powder makes for a great subtle setting powder or even a matte highlighter and the red makes an amazing blush for the summer. The bronzer adds the right amount of color without looking stark or obnoxious. A winner in my books. 

Something for when I do want a hint of color and some fine shimmer, I reach for the Laura Geller Blush-N-Brighten in Honey Dipped ($29.50/0.32 oz). It's laced with a frostiness but because it's quite soft it can double as a highlighter when going for a no-blush-just-bronzer look. I actually got this via Birchbox last summer and it's been a summer favorite ever since. 

Sparkly lava... *_*

The color is a brown tawny with hints of of peach in it (as seen in the closeup) and another way to use this through out the year is on the eyes! It makes a great crease or all-over-the-lid color and blends out beautifully. I think I'm going to try and create a 2/3 of a face by using this on both the eyes and cheeks and seeing how that combo compliments the other. I remember seeing a video of Laura Geller use the Blush-N-Brighten as a multipurpose product by taking a small blush brush and using that to apply a bit of product on both the eyes AND cheeks. Eyes and cheeks in unison is somehow always a pretty look, especially when working with peaches or pinks and I promise, not all of them make the eyes look tired! Also, the Blush-n-Brightens are similar to MAC's Mineralized Skinfinishes but I find the Blush-N-Brightens to have a superior formula, with much less glitter and frost. Honey Dipped in particular is a lot less glittery than its other siblings and I say that as someone who HATES the look of visible chunks of glitter all over the face.

Now for a bronzer which not only doubles as a blush but also is a SUPERB bronzer for the uber-pale skins: Dior's Diorskin Healthy Glow Summer Powder in 001 Aurora ($46/0.35oz). This had been my hugest lemming for the longest time because OF COURSE I found out about it way after it had done its course of being a Limited Edition item from the 2011 Summer collection =_=. Luckily, I was able to get someone to sell me a back up they had (Haiii, Ruthless Conviction) for a good, but slightly marked up, price but all's fair in the case of huge lemmings, no? 

I love this bronzer because of how well this works on my skin! I have used this as a blush because of the peach laced (in this case, literally!) in with the bronze. It has slight shimmer but is a satin when swatched. It still imparts a beautiful glow but also adds a hint of color, much like that of a nude blush. This works excellent with heavy eyes or bold lips, especially with red lips, because the peach in this compliment reds so well! If you can find this somehow, please give it a try! The formula is excellent and buttery smooth without being too delicate or prone to cracking or breaking. Oh, and if you get a reaction from products containing ethylexyl palmitate, I'd do a swatch test or avoid this. 

And now, for that adorable little pot in the center. That little pot contains Rouge Bunny Rouge's Bronzing Glow Liquid in "As if It Were Summer Still' (50ml) which retails for $99.26 on Zuneta.com with conversation rates or $72 on Beautyhabit.com. The one pictured is a pot from Zuneta.com because it's notoriously always out of stock or sells immediately during the 20% and I had been wanting to try it for ages! It comes packaged in a beautiful bottle like this:

More so targeted for the seasoned makeup lover than a complete beginner, it is described by Rouge Bunny Rouge as "liquid-enchantment-in-a-bottle to polish your skin to a natural, even and radiant blissed-out halo of warmth. Containing Hyaluronic Acid and a mix of Triglycerides to moisturise and smooth the skin and Grape Seed Oil restores the elasticity of the skin. It is anti-oxidant with the addition of Vitamin E, nourishes with Lime-tree Blossom Extract while Jojoba Oil protects against dehydration." It is a cool-toned bronze color with slight gold micro-particles which translates to "sheen" on the skin. 

Is it me or does that look like tonsils? Uvula if you want to get technical....

They suggest you mix it in with foundation, primer or your moisturizer and apply it that way. You can also apply it ALL over the face (it is really that transparent and subtle) or mix it in with a highlighter and apply it on TOP of a highlighter. Of course, mixing it in with foundation (to darken or deepen the color for a more bronzed effect) or even body lotion to apply on the arms, legs and décolletage area. Basically, you can use this for anything and everything. And because it's a gel-like consistency it feels refreshing and just glides on making it very easy to work with. 

Unfortunately, I couldn't experiment with it beyond just using it as a bronzer due to the size BUT I found that a tiiiiiny drop on a synthetic brush (think Real Technique's Essential Foundation Brush) brushed on the areas a bronzer typically is applied to (I follow the 3B method) looked beyond natural and subtle. I was honestly a little blown away by how actually effective it is in delivering what it says. I also like to follow up afterwards with a bronze highlighter like Rouge Bunny Rouge's liquid illuminator in Sea of Showers (a full review coming soon) or Dior's Amber Diamond. I have never used anything like this and WILL be picking up a full bottle very soon.

Monday, June 11, 2012

"Evil Math"

Considering the fact that there are a ton of eyeshadow and blush out there to choose from, some factors that determine the good from the bad are a) quality and b) value per gram. I know when I was starting out with makeup it never occurred to me to check the value-per-gram but I realize now what a difference it can make. Of course, not all things of good value will be of superb quality but it's interesting to see whether some of our favorite products are of good value or just...well, rip-offs.

A few things that are surprising once you start looking at makeup from a per-gram perspective is that not everything drugstore/mid-range is exactly "inexpensive", in fact many high-end brands end up turning out to be a better value than their less-expensive/mid-range counterparts. Another realization: loose pigments and cream shadows, although more amount is probably needed per application, end up being cheaper in the long run.

Amanda (Ms. Spookydeuce to you >=D) of the blog Imported Megami (she also makes wonderfully-quirky videos on YouTube) compiled this list of Evil Math for both eyeshadows and blush and was kind enough to let me use it for my blog.

Perhaps I'll compile a spreadsheet of all this later but hope this helps put things into perspective:


  • Addiction by Ayako eyeshadow ¥2100 (税込 – with tax)/1.2 grams -> ¥1750/g -> $22.42/g with current exchange rate
  • Benefit Creasless Cream Eyeshadow $19/4.5 grams -> $4.22/g
  • Bobbi Brown Metallic Eyeshadow $20/2.8 grams -> $7.14/g
  • Bobbi Brown Shimmer Wash Eyeshadow $20/2.8 grams -> $7.14/g
  • Bobbi Brown regular eyeshadow $20/2.5 grams -> $8/g
  • Chanel Illusion d’Ombre $36/4 grams -> $9/g
  • Chanel Ombre Essentielle $28.50/2 grams -> $14.25/g
  • Chantecaille $30/2.5 grams -> $12/g
  • Ellis Faas $36/2.5 mL -> $14.40/mL
  • Guerlain single eyeshadow $36/3.4 grams -> $10.59/g
  • Hourglass eyeshadow duos $38/3 grams -> $12.67/g
  • Illamasqua Powder Eyeshadow $20/2 grams -> $10/g
  • Inglot $12/2.5 grams -> $4.80/g
  • Lancome Color Design Sensational Eyeshadow $18/1.3 grams -> $13.85/g
  • Laura Mercier $22/2.6 grams -> $8.46/g
  • Le Metier de Beaute True Color Eyeshadow $30/3.8 grams -> $7.89/g
  • MAC eyeshadow $15/1.5 grams -> $10/g
  • MAC pigments $20/4.5 g -> $4.44/g
  • MAC refill pan $11.50/1.5 grams -> $7.67/g
  • Make Up For Ever Aqua Cream $22/6 grams -> $3.67/g
  • Make Up For Ever Diamond Shadow $20/2.5 grams -> $8/g
  • Make Up For Ever eyeshadow $19/2.4 grams -> $7.92/g
  • NARS duo eyeshadow $33/4 grams or $16.50/2 grams -> $8.25/g
  • NARS single eyeshadow $23/2.2 grams -> $10.45/g
  • Rouge Bunny Rouge singles £18.33/2.4 grams -> £7.64/g -> $11.97/g with current exchange rate
  • Rock and Republic $28 (retail price)/3 grams -> $9.33/g
  • Shiseido Luminizing Satin Eye Color $25/2 grams -> $12.50/g
  • Shiseido Luminizing Satin Eye Color Trio $33/3 grams -> $11/g
  • Shiseido Shimmering Cream Eye Color $25/6 grams -> $4.17/g
  • Shu Uemura $15/1.5 grams -> $10/g
  • Stila $18/2.6 grams -> $6.92/g
  • Sugarpill Loose Eyeshadow $12/5 grams -> $2.40/g
  • Sugarpill Pressed Eyeshadow $12/4 grams -> $3/g
  • The Balm Shady Lady Eyeshadow $16/3.4 grams -> $4.71/g
  • Urban Decay Deluxe $18/2.5 grams -> $7.20/g
  • Urban Decay regular $17/1.5 grams -> $11.33/g
  • Wet 'N' Wild singles $2/1.7 grams or $3/1.7 grams -> $1.17/g and $1.76/g respectively


  • Addiction by Ayako powder blush ¥2940 (税込 – with tax)/3.9 grams -> ¥754/g -> $9.66/g with current exchange rate
  • Benefit boxes $28/8 grams -> $3.50/g
  • Besame Crimson Cream Rouge $22/7.5 grams -> $2.93/g
  • Bobbi Brown Pot Rouge $24/3.7 grams -> $6.49/g
  • Bobbi Brown Shimmer Brick $39/10.3 grams -> $3.79/g
  • Bobbi Brown blush $24/3.7 grams -> $6.49/g
  • Burberry $42/7 grams -> $6/g
  • Cargo $26/8.9 grams -> $2.92/g
  • Chanel Joues Contraste $43/4 grams -> $10.75/g
  • Hourglass Aura Cheek Stains $45/8 mL -> $5.63/mL
  • Illamasqua Powder/Cream Blusher $24/4 grams -> $6/g
  • Lancome Blush Subtil $29.50/4 grams -> $7.38/g
  • Lorac $20/2.7 grams -> $7.41/g
  • MAC My Paradise blush $28/12 grams -> $2.33/g
  • MAC VV beauty powders $25/10 grams (Are these really that huge? I've never seen one.) -> $2.55/g
  • MAC blush $19.50/6 grams -> $3.25/g
  • MAC blush refill pan $16.50/6 grams -> $2.75/g
  • Make Up For Ever HD Microfinish Blush $25/9.8 mL -> $2.55/mL
  • Make Up For Ever Powder Blush $19/5.5 grams -> $3.45/g
  • NARS Danmari palette $65/3.5 g x 6 -> $3.10/g
  • NARS Powder Blush $27/4.5 grams -> $6/g
  • Rouge Bunny Rouge £20.75 (after UK VAT is removed)/3.5 grams -> £5.93/g -> $9.32/g with current exchange rate
  • Rock and Republic $40 (retail price)/9 grams -> $4.44/g
  • Shiseido Luminizing Satin Face Color $30/6.5 grams -> $4.62/g
  • Shu Uemura $18/2.3 grams -> $7.83/g
  • Sleek $6.50/8 grams -> $.81/g
  • Tarte Amazonian Clay $25/5.6 g - $4.46/g
  • The Balm Cabana/Down/Frat Boy $21/8.5 grams -> $2.47/g
  • The Balm Hot Mama $19/7.08 grams -> $2.68/g
  • Urban Decay Afterglow Glide On Cheek Tint $24/4 grams -> $6/g
  • Urban Decay Powder blushes $17 (retail price)/3.8 grams -> $4.47/g

Follow Vintage Gulab!

A quick note:
I got a question regarding following this blog and "why I had disabled it" and it turns out, the "Follow" button was indeed not accessible until you manually entered the link and...err, you get it. =_= I was under the impression that the Follow button was on the top bar but it is no longer there for some reason. (?!)

So, to make it easier for this blog to be followed via Google Friend Connect, I added a simple "Follow" button (minus the little box displaying pictures of all followers to keep it minimal and subtle, ahem) on the right-side which will allow you to stay updated with any new posts and other happenings here on Vintage Gulab. Also linked are Pinterest and Bloglovin'.

Thank you and a cheer for (hopefully) an exiting week ahead. *\o/* 

Saturday, June 9, 2012

Recent Haulage

This month was an UBER-productive month for brushes. Nearly every lemming got slayed/fulfilled and although a lot has to do with the fact that I'm moving all the way across the globe to another continent (more on that later), I'm getting panicked I may not have the luxury of having literally every brand at my fingertips here in the United States. The move also is responsible for the delay in frequent updates BUT once I settle into the new place, this summer's mission is to be as consistent as possible with the blog.

The new additions are mostly brushes (I was totally on a brush kick this whole past month). I had been meaning to "upgrade" some of my brushes and I finally made that Hakuhodo order I mentioned earlier. Along with a Shu Uemura order. As well as a Chikuhodo one. Ahem.

I''ll go into further detail regarding each and every brush but here is an overview.

Notice the trend? I think I am slowly developing a soft-spot for everything Japanese.

1.  TATCHA Aburatorigami blotting papers 
2. Hakuhodo K020 Brush
3. Hakuhodo B103.(I forgot to include the K007 brush!)
4. Chikuhodo Z-2 Brush
5. Shu Uemura 5R 
6. Shu Uemura 10 Natural 
7. Shu Uemura 8HR
8. Shu Uemura 14 Synthetic 
9. Shu Uemura deluxe sample of cleansing oil (GWP)
10. Shiseido trio in 'Fire'.

Not shown: Hakuhodo K007 Brush and Shiseido trio in 'Opera' 

L - R: Shu 5R, Shu 10N, Shu 8HR, Shu 14 Synthetic, Haku B103BkSL, Haku K020, (forgot to include Haku K007!) and Chiku Z-2
I had an issue with this trio the first time I ordered it because look at how it arrived...</3

Luckily, I was able to order another off Nordstrom immediately: 

Fire trio

1. NARS Pleasures of Paris palette
2. Illamasqua Cream Blush in 'Promise'
3. Stila Convertible Color in Rose
4. Rouge Bunny Rouge 'Sea of Showers' liquid illuminator
5. Paul & Joe Face Color Powder in #101
6. MUFE Aqua Cream in '#16 Pink Beige'
7-8. Flirt Eyeshadow Mousse
9. Benefit Creaseless Cream Shadow in 'Skinny Jeans'
10. Chanel Illusion d'Ombre in 'Illusoire'

Details, prices, swatches and thorough reviews to follow!