EM Cosmetics Fine Liner Brow Pencil Review

Hoping I’m not too late to the party, Michelle Phan has launched another product for EM Cosmetics! I was so excited try these because as some of you may know, I love the products that she has put out since revamping EM Cosmetics (See my reviews here and here). This time it’s for brows! Here’s my full review on the EM Cosmetics Fine Liner Brow Pencil!

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What is the EM Cosmetics Fine Liner Brow Pencil?

The Fine Liner Brow Pencil is part of EM Cosmetics Brow ID Collection – which includes the fine liner brow pencil, the micro-fluff sculpting, and brow cream. The last two, I really am not used to using so I don’t think my review on those would be valid. I have been using brow pencils though, so I figured it would be good for me to compare the ones I’ve been using to this one.

Their website boasts that the Fine Liner Brow Pencil has a buildable formula, and has an oval shaped pencil which will help with mimicking the look of brow hairs. It also states that it is cruelty free.

Now let me just say that for me, brows are the hardest to do when it comes to make up. So I’m still a noob when it comes to applying brows. However, I do find that I have more control with thinner brow pencils than thicker ones.

The Packaging

I bought 2 Fine Liner Brow Pencils – one in light taupe and one in brunette. It didn’t come in the usual box that I’m used to, but with such tiny products, it’s good to know that EM Cosmetics isn’t being wasteful. It came in a black padded envelope, wrapped in black tissue paper as always.

The boxes for each Fine Liner Brow Pencil are rectangular, much like boxes for their lip products – only a bit thinner. It’s sleek, simple and classic.

Once you take out the pencils from the boxes, they are white with black trimmings and gold letterings. Cute! You get the pencil on one side, and the spoolie on the other side. 

 

Time to Try Them On!

Ok, so I typically like to go pretty light on my brows so I’ve only tried the Light Taupe. But as I don’t have a range of colors because momma don’t have the funds, I am going to let you know now that swatches are not going to be on this review.

Here are my befores and afters!  Gimme a break!

 

The Review

I figure the best way to review this is to compare my experience with other brow pencils. Before this, my holy grail was Benefit’s “Precisely, My Brow Pencil Ultra Fine Shape & Define” Pencil. 

The Amount of Product and Price

EM Cosmetics’ Fine Liner Brow Pencil has 0.001 oz of product for $18.00. Compared to Benefit which has 0.002 oz of product for $24.00. 

The Tip

EM Cosmetics has an oval tip, while Benefit’s Brow pencil has a circular tip. The oval tip helps with filling in the brows, but also helps to create the hair-like strokes depending on which angle you choose to use.

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The Formula

The formula of the Fine Liner Brow Pencil is also nice – similar to Benefit’s in that it’s not too soft, and is pretty buildable. As you can see in the pictures, the light taupe is pretty pigmented and I was able to build it up nicely to cover the patches of my eyebrow that was not there.

The Staying Power

I had it on for about 4-5 hours the day I tried it out. And I must add that I don’t usually touch my brow area, so it stayed on pretty well. It doesn’t say on the website that it’s long lasting, but it definitely stayed on pretty long.

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The Bottom Line

To be perfectly honest, I didn’t see much difference between my last favorite and the Fine Liner Brow Pencil. Benefit has twice the amount of product but EM cosmetics is 3/4 the price (so technically Benefit is cheaper).

So at this point, it’s really just really your preference. For me, I like to support Michelle Phan’s brand. But I’m also pretty practical. So I may stick to the “cheaper” alternative but will definitely not say no if I ever get them in the mail… Just saying.

 

Thanks for reading and have a great rest of the day!!

 

(All gifs are from giphy.com)

Clarisonic Product Review

A couple of months ago, I wrote a blog that talked about the things I wished people told me about pregnancy and post-pregnancy. There were many other things that I forgot to add on there, but one of the things I’ve been struggling with lately is acne-proned skin. Yay for motherhood! Not only do our whole body change, our hormones have to also join in on the fun. I was breaking out all the time! I wanted to do something different from my normal routine that could help me – enter Clarisonic.

Before I get started, I have to go with the whole “this is not sponsored” thing. So, this review is not sponsored in any way, nor am I affiliated with anything I mention in this blog.

Ok, back to our regularly scheduled program.

Before I had kids, I was lucky enough to never really experience breakouts. I had a pimple or two here and there, but it usually went away after a couple of days or so. My nightly routine consisted of mild soap and water, toner, and then lotion. If I had a break out, I would use Avon Clearskin Blackhead Eliminating Daily Astringent for spot treatment. That would be it and my face would be clear of acne.

Here I am before kids (that’s my cousin’s baby I’m holding):

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Only wearing eye makeup

After Ella (my first), my skin was a little more prone to acne but it got really worse after Isaac (my second). Before, I would get some pimples right before my period, but after Isaac, I found no pattern as to when I would get acne. My forehead, near my nose and chin would be where the pimples would pop up. Classic “T-zone” I guess.

The first pic is after Ella – see chin area. The next pic is after Isaac, see forehead, cheeks, and under the nose area.

For whatever reason, the hormonal change caused my skin to either get dryer or oilier (is that even a word???). So that’s when I decided I needed to change up my routine.  I’ve heard about Clarisonic before but I didn’t really look into it until after I started having more skin problems.

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What is Clarisonic?

Clarisonic is a brand that sells mostly skin cleansing tools and tools that improve your skin. Supposedly, the website claims it is the #1 dermatologist recommended skincare tool.

From what I can tell from their website, there are a couple of different bases that come with many different attachments to either cleanse, uplift, or even put on makeup.

For my purpose, I chose the Clarisonic Mia 2 with the cleanser attachments because I had to get my skin under control. The website states that “Clarisonic cleanses so thoroughly yet gently,” and to “cleanse daily to fight excess oil and acne.”

Where to Buy it?

Clarisonic has their own website, or you can get in stores like Sephora and other makeup places I’m sure.

I got mine from Sephora because they had a deal that it would come with TATCHA one-step Camelia Cleansing Oil.

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I bought the Mia 2 Facial Cleaning Brush. It came with 2 brush heads – the Deep Pore Brush Head and the Radiance Cleansing Brush head. I also bought the Acne Cleansing Brush Head because that was mainly the reason I was buying it for. The hardness or softness of the bristles are the differences between the brushes. They also have one for really sensitive skin if that is your skin type.

I also bought the Clarisonic Pore and Blemish Gel Cleanser because acne. Okaaaaay?

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Nightly Routine

Ok, so if I wore make up during the day, I started off using the TATCHA one-step Camelia Cleansing Oil. Then I used a makeup wipe to wipe off all the make up. The cleansing oil really helped because it broke down all the makeup so I didn’t have to rub my face too hard to get the make up off. (Oh just in case you wanted to know, I use the Neutrogena Make Up Wipes).

Then I would use the Mia 2 with any of the cleansing brush heads (damp) with the Pore and Blemish Gel Cleanser.

After that, I would use a toner (Neutrogena for me), then lather my face up with lotion. I used Cetaphil because I have sensitive skin.

Results

How did it feel?

The first time I used the Mia 2, I did feel like my face was cleaner. How did I know? Before the Mia 2, I always applied the toner with cotton on my face and there would always be residue on the cotton after I wiped my face. After the Mia 2, I found that the cotton didn’t have that residue anymore. My face just also felt very refreshed afterwards. I mean I wasn’t mad at it.

This was after the first wash so of course, no changes.

Did you feel any changes in your skin after a while?

I did notice that my skin felt tighter and dryer. Because I have eczema, I realized that I definitely have to lather on lotion after I cleaned it with Mia 2 because otherwise, my skin would be so dry.

Did you see any changes?

After the first two months, I noticed that I wasn’t breaking out as much as before. I did still break out a little when it was nearing my period but I’ll take that over breaking out all year long.

However, by the third month, I realized I started breaking out again. I read on the site that you are supposed to switch brush heads every 3 months. But me being a cheapo tried to find hacks on the internet so I didn’t have to. I read that boiling the brush heads helped make them last longer. So I did.

I also decided to just use the  brush head with the softest bristles (the radiance cleansing brush). I know I have sensitive skin so I wanted to see if that made the difference. Sure enough, my pimples started to go away again. Here are some of the side by side comparison if you’re interested.

March (when I started), April,  May, and then now:

HA! I did not mean for my shirts to match when I took these photos.. but oh well. So as you can see, in May, my skin cleared up a bit.. but the last pic shows me right before my time of the month so I did have a bit of a breakout on my forehead. The rest of the face, I was ok with though!

Would I recommend this product?

To be honest, I don’t know if it’s Clarisonic that helped decrease the occurrence of my breakouts or if it was because of the actual change in cleansing my skin (adding the gel cleanser and the cleansing oil in my routine) that did the job.

What I can say is that the Clarisonic Mia 2 definitely does the job in cleaning my face. I never see residue on the cotton anymore after applying the toner. So it does make me feel better knowing that my face is clean before I go to bed.

The fact that it did dry out my skin more was a problem that could be solved by just putting more lotion on my face afterwards and I was ok with that.

I think I would recommend this product if you feel like your nightly routine isn’t enough to clean your face.

I would not recommend this if you have overly dry skin though, as it could irritate your skin more. There are other cleansers out there that are even more gentle than the Clarisonic, so I would go for those if you have really really sensitive skin. But I haven’t tried them. I’ve just heard from friends who have sensitive skin.

Overall, I did like the Clarisonic. I am going to continue to use it daily unless I’m trying out other skincare products. Next on my list, the 10 step Korean Beauty regimen! Ha.. stay tuned for that one! =)

Thanks for reading and hope you have a great rest of the day!

(all gifs are from giphy.com)

 

To Air Fry or Not to Air Fry: An Air Fryer Review

That’s the question these days. I’ve seen so many advertisements on these things that I just had to try one for myself! A healthier way to fry? Yes please! Less grease equals less mess? Yes please! A new kitchen gadget? YES PLEASE. I am a sucker for new kitchen gadgets. Do I use all of them? I mean, I don’t have to tell you everything right? Right now, we talkin’ about the air fryer! So back to the title: to air fry or not to air fry?

What is it?

It’s basically another way you can get the crispiness of fried foods without all the grease that comes with fried foods. There is supposedly something called “rapid air technology” that will cook your food evenly and get it crispy without all the grease that you soak fried foods in. Air Fryer is the new thing I guess.

What we got

Affiliate Link: Yes, there will be affiliate links below from which I can make money off of. Mama gotta pay the bills. Whether you click on it or not is totally up to you though! No pressure!

After much research, Andrew decided to buy the GoWise USA Air Fryer. It got 4 stars on Amazon and it was not as expensive as other ones that we saw.

This particular air fyer has 8 presets from which you can choose from depending on what you want to cook – fries, chicken, steak, etc. But you can also just set this manually if you don’t trust the presets.  This one is 5.8 quartz so fairly large, however, it’s not too heavy which is always a good thing for a shrimp like me. And it comes with a recipe book that will get you started right away!

What We’ve Cooked So Far

We’ve made fish tacos and compared it to frying on the stove.  The picture on the left is from frying the fix on a stove top, and the one on the right is from the air fryer. The fish from the air fryer was definitely less greasy and more evenly cooked. The fish on the stove top lost some of it’s form (crumbled), and is visibly greasier (note transparency of the paper towel).

We’ve also made fried dumplings. The picture on the left is from the stove top. The one on the middle is from the air fryer. We found that the dumplings from the air fryer had a more even, crispier texture on the outside than the ones from fried on the stove top. It was also, unsurprisingly, less greasy. As for what’s on the inside – see third picture below. The cross section of the dumpling from the air fryer is on the left. As you can see, it’s not much different from the stove top one.

Chicken wings! We made the Honey Lime Chicken Wings from the recipe book that it came with. They turned out pretty well. Skin was crispy and the meat was juicy.

We’ve also made sweet potato fries, and regular fries, as well as reheated baked chicken from the night before. I didn’t take pictures of those because we ate them too fast. Oops. But putting them in the air fryer definitely made the outer part of the foods crispier.

Pros and Cons

Pros:
– Foods are crispier, and has a more even texture
– No need for preheating in most dishes. You just turn it on and it’s ready
– Easy to clean. No grease splatters to wipe outside of the fryer (unlike the stove top)
– Less oil needed, so depending on what you cook, it may be healthier for you than using a deep fryer, or even stove top frying
– Great for reheating if you don’t like to use the microwave. It’s quicker than using the oven.

Cons:
– Size of the basket. You can’t cook much at one time because of the size of the basket. Fries are ok but once you get to the bigger surface areas, you have to cook it at even layer on the basket. For the chicken wings, we could only cook 7-8 wings at a time.
– Size of the air fyer. It’s pretty cumbersome to just keep on your counter if you’re only going to use it once in a while. You will have no room for anything else.
– Sometimes, foods are just tastier with grease! Am I right?

Conclusion

OK, so the answer to the question is it depends. Nothing can replace the awesome greasy goodness of fried foods. That’s just the way it is. However, if you do want a healthier option that can still give you some of the crispy-ness of fried foods, the air fryer is the way to go. I have yet to bake in it though so I can’t say much on baked goods. It claims that it’s pretty awesome at baking but who knows. Maybe I will update this review if ever I get around to baking with it =).

Thanks for reading and have an awesome rest of the day!