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Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Too Faced Retractable Kabuki Brush

Hi everyone! I wanted to do a post on my Too Faced Retractable Kabuki Brush today! I've had this brush for at least four or five years and it's still going strong! It is such a fantastic multitasker for face products!

Too Faced calls the bristles on this brush "teddy bear hair" meaning it's cruelty free and easy to clean. The bristles are ridiculously soft and easily blend every product I've used with it. My main reason for getting this brush was to use with my mineral makeup--especially for  those lazy days where I don't feel like putting on my makeup but want my skin to look presentable. I love using it all over with my Laura Mercier mineral makeup and it also works amazingly well with Mac's Mineralized Skinfinish Natural.

The kabuki is extremely dense and the bristles are really packed together--which makes it really ideal for blending and covering with mineral makeup (or powder foundation) all over the face. Because of this, I don't think it would make the best candidate for blending bronzer. I always seem to overdo it personally when I use this brush because it's able to pick up and deposit so much product.

Aside from it's adorable pink packaging, it's the perfect brush to throw into your bag for touchups because it's retractable. I just think this is a fantastic brush and I know I'll never need any other kabuki brush besides this one. Before discovering tinted moisturizers and liquid foundation, I used to only wear loose mineral makeup. I tried all kinds of kabuki brushes from Sephora to apply my foundation and pretty much disliked all of them. So many of them were scratchy and didn't blend well. I was so thrilled when I found this one! One not so great thing about this brush (but it's not bad either), is that because it's so dense it does take a really long time to dry after washing it--just make sure you don't need it for a day :)

I believe they've changed the packaging on the new one, but it's still pink and has the same, soft "teddy bear hair."You can get it at Sephora for $32 here! Pricey, but worth it after trying so many of these brushes that didn't work for me. I've also had this one for years (must be going on 5 now) and it's in great shape!!

Have you tried this brush before? What is your go to for powder/mineral foundation products!?

Thursday, September 27, 2012

Recent Empties!

Hi everyone! I wanted to do a post on some products I've finished the last few months. Most of the products mentioned are definitely some of my favorite items and it's no surprise I've repurchased a few of them already! I love the feeling you get from using up a product--it really feels like I got my money's worth!! :)
Sorry about the camera phone quality! 
Chanel Vitalumiere Aqua: This is definitely my "holy grail" foundation! I seriously love it so much. For such a lightweight, glowy foundation, it covers amazingly well and evens my skintone out flawlessly. It looks so natural. I have oily/combination skin--I set my tzone with a powder and lately have been setting it with an Urban Decay setting spray and it helps it last all day. I just love it and would recommend everyone give it a try--especially those who like natural looking coverage and a dewy finish. It's wonderful. My bottle lasted a good four and a half months---definitely repurchasing as soon as I finish some other foundation samples I'm working through!

Paula's Choice Lip and Body Treatment Balm: Best. Lip. Balm. Ever. (Kristina if you're reading this, THANK YOU!) My lips have never felt so amazingly smooth and hydrated. I apply it every night before bed, every morning when I wake up, and throughout the day. I have already repurchased and will definitely be stocking up the next time they are on sale on the Paula's Choice website!

Nars Rue Bonaparte Eyeliner: For my NC25(ish) skintone, this color is the perfect nude for the waterline. It covers redness around the eye and makes me look more awake! I think this is a great eyeliner to try if you want a bright eyed look--especially if you've tried a white eyeliner pencil and found it to be a bit too intense. The nude is perfect. I have already repurchased!

Laura Mercier full blown mascara sample: I've been using this once in a while over the last few months and while I am a huge fan of Laura Mercier products, I don't think this mascara is particularly special. I definitely prefer my Covergirl mascaras from CVS. The length it gave was nice but it didn't give as much volume as I'd like. It also became flaky after a few hours. I liked carrying the mini mascara in my purse to have for touchups or if I'm in a rush and don't have time to apply at home. Overall, not something I would purchase and am glad it was a free sample!

Cerave Hydrating Cleanser: After using Bliss Fabulous Foaming Facewash for nearly 3 years (and one of those years with a clarisonic), I felt like I needed a change. My oily/combo skin was feeling oilier in the tzone and dryer in the cheeks and I felt like my cleanser was not doing much for me. I had read great things about Cerave skincare products so I decided to give it a shot! I absolutely love this cleanser! With my clarisonic, it removes all traces of makeup and leaves my skin feeling clean and supple. My cheeks don't feel dry and tight like they used to feel after washing my face. I was initially afraid of the "hydrating" aspect, as I do have an oily tzone--but I personally think this cleanser would suit many skintypes, especially oily skin that feels dehydrated. Love it and have already repurchased!

What are some products you've used up recently?! Let me know in the comments!

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Dewy and Smokey

Hello!!! I've got a smokey eye look for you today! I received some Anastasia goodies from their upcoming Holiday collection to review for my blog and figured I would play around and do a look with the colors in the palette! I'll be posting a review soon but I must say it does include some great colors for a smokey eye!

Yves Saint Laurent Le Teint Touche Eclat (got a huge sample of this from Sephora! Still deciding if I like the finish--it's very, vvery dewy but does provide nice coverage!)
Laura Mercier Secret Camouflage
Laura Mercier Translucent powder
Garnier Anti-Dark Circle Eye Roller Concealer
Tarte Park Avenue Princess Bronzer
Tarte Amazonian Clay Blush in Exposed
Anastasia Brow Powder in Brunette
Anastasia Clear Brow Gel

Mac Painterly Paint Pot
Anastasia Eyeshadows from Want You To Want Me Holiday Kit: Graphicts all over lid, Iron On in Outer-V & lower lashline, Members Only in crease, & a touch of Ziggy in the crease
(^^review on this coming very soon!)
Mac Brule to highlight brow bone
Anastasia Liquid Eyeliner in Jet
Urban Decay 24/7 Eyeliner in Zero
Covergirl Lashblast (orange tube)

Anastasia Hydrafull Gloss in Moi from the Kisses On My List Kit

Hope you like this look! Also, are there any liquid eyeliner experts reading? I received the liquid eyeliner in the Anastasia kit and am completely awful at applying it! I am much quicker and more precise using a brush with my gel eyeliner--getting a perfect wing with liquid is a mystery to me!! For this look I lined my eyes with it but then smudged it out with eyeshadow since it wasn't pefectly straight lol! Got any tips ladies!? :)

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Becca Shimmering Skin Perfector in Pearl

Although my skin can be on the oiler side most days, I have never favored a matte look. I LOVE the look of dewy skin and because of that I have always loved using highlighters. I've always been a lover of powder highlighters and hadn't really delved into the world of liquid highlighters. When I saw makeup artist Lisa Eldridge use the Becca Shimmering Skin Perfector in one of her youtube videos, it immediately caught my attention. The glow it gave was so beautiful and ethereal--I had to get my hands on it! 

Firstly, the packaging is great--you get 50ml of highlighter and because you only need the tiniest amount, this bottle is basically going to last forever. It has a pump applicator. I find half a pump is more than enough product for both cheeks!

Now for the product, I am in love. It blends so effortlessly into the skin and imparts such a beautiful, healthy glow. It is not glittery at all--it has a beautiful pearly sheen that manages to be glowy & dewy without looking greasy or shiny. It also contains SPF25 which is an added bonus! Although it's a water based product, it does feel slightly sticky for a few moments until it sinks into the skin.

I've tried applying it a few different ways and my favorite is definitely applying and blending it in with my fingers using a tapping motion. I found that it didn't blend as well when I used a brush (to each their own! I always see Lisa use a brush but I couldn't get the hang of it!). Although I mainly use it for just a cheek highlight, you can also mix a very tiny drop of it with your foundation to give a glow all over. I'm weary of doing this because of my tendency to get oily in my tzone, but I bet this would work well for those with dry skin! Pearl makes my skin look incredibly polished and luminous, I just adore this product.

Pearl is blended on the bottom part of my arm! Wish it showed up better but the sheen in person is gorgeous!
At $41 this product is certainly not cheap. However, it is priced pretty well for the huge amount of product. Also, Becca products are now available at Sephora, so it's much easier to get your hands on it! If you are looking for something to really give your skin that radiant, healthy sheen, I think one of Becca's Shimmering Skin Perfectors would be the perfect choice. Pearl is great for light to medium skin tones but they have some other colors that would suit darker tones as well.

So far I have one FOTD HERE where I am wearing Pearl but I will definitely be uploading more soon!

Have you tried any of the Becca Shimmering Skin Perfectors? I would love to get my hands on some of the other colors!

Sunday, September 16, 2012

Candles Galore!!

So today's post isn't makeup related at all, but I couldn't resist showing you some candles I bought at Bath and Body works. Autumn is my absolute favorite season--when I saw that the new Fall candle collection had debuted at B&BW, I had to go check everything out! I hope you are candle fans as well--I love the coziness they bring to a room and the fall scents they have are to die for! I included the description of each candle as described by Bath and Body Works on their we go!
Apologies for the iphone quality--I need to buy new batteries for my camera!
Leaves 3 Wick CandleLike an afternoon spent playing in a pile of freshly fallen leaves, this fragrance embodies all the richness of the season and features a medley of ripe delicious apples, red berries and golden nectar. If you could get just one candle to sum up the smell of fall, get this one. Unlike the name, it doesn't smell likes leaves; it smells like a blend of spices, berries, vanilla, cider, honey, etc. It's a very cozy scent yet it's not heavy or overwhelming. It is the smell of fall packed in a jar. Get this one now!!

Marshmallow Fireside 3 Wick Candle: Celebrate the changing season with a warm blend of marshmallows, smoldering woods and creamy vanilla reminiscent of a cozy evening 'round the bonfire. This one is in a tie with Leaves for favorite candle ever (do I sound obsessed? Maybe..) It's a very subtle, comforting scent. It's warm, woodsy and slightly musky but it has the touch of sweetness from marshmallow to offset it. You need to smell this one to understand how unique and delicious it is!! I'll admit, every time I walk by it at home I HAVE to sniff it! lol!! This is probably one I will be repurchasing before they disappear from stores in Spring since it can be used all year!

Pumpkin Cupcake 3 Wick CandleBring the bakery home with a cozy concoction of spiced pumpkin cupcake, rich buttercream and frosted ginger. This smell is yummmyyy. Out of all the pumpkin scents they had this year, this one was my favorite and surprisingly, the least sweet. It was also the most pumpkin-y. Some of the other ones smelled too much like caramel or cinnamon or apple--in other words, they would be so sweet they may give me a headache. This one is a sugary but I can really smell the ginger and pumpkin in it! Definitely recommend trying this one too!

French Baguette Mini Candle: Celebrate a traditional Parisian treasure with the delicious fragrance of a crisp, golden, fresh-baked baguette! actually got this one and the Apple Crumble one below for free from various promotions B&BW has had. French Baguette smells exactly like you think it would--delicious, fresh bread! It's a candle I wasn't expecting to like much, but it smells so so good and subtle. I love lighting it in the kitchen :) I don't usually love scents that smell strongly of food (it just makes me hungry! lol!) but this one is fantastic!

Apple Crumble Mini Candle: Enjoy a scrumptious fall treat with our inviting blend of baked Granny Smith and McIntosh apples topped with sweet vanilla crumble. Apple Crumble on the other hand is a stronger, sweeter smelling candle. It will probably take me a while to go through it--I don't burn sweet scents for a very long time or else they'll give me a headache. It smells like freshly baked apple pie. I would rather eat it than just smell it to be honest lol!

When I bought them, the three wick candles were 2 for $20--then each candle after that is $10. Also, just a reminder if you don't already know, you can get $10 off your purchase if you take a quick survey mentioned at the bottom of a receipt--quick and easy way to save some money! They always have some sort of promotion going on, whether it's on certain candles or other skincare items, so you can get some great new scents for a steal! Basically, I looooove these fall scented candles! I've been using them everyday since I got them and it makes me want the colder weather to get to the East Coast even quicker! I love Fall!

Have you tried any of these candles? Anyone else excited for Fall to get here!?

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Essie Fiji

Hey everyone! I thought I'd share another iphone photo of my manicure for the week! Essie Fiji has been a favorite of mine all summer! It's a perfectly opaque baby pink!

Two or Three coats needed--I think I used two here and I did experience some slight chipping on day 3. Not as good as my Zoya wear time but I love this color so much I don't mind touching up!

What have you been wearing on your nails? Have you tried Fiji!?

Friday, August 31, 2012

Anastasia Beverly Hills She Wears It Well Palette

Today I wanted to show you a palette I've been playing around with a lot the past month! It's the Anastasia Beverly Hills She Wears It Well Palette. If you are a lover of neutrals like I am, definitely keep reading! 
The packaging sturdy black faux alligator skin design. I love that it isn't bulky like some other palettes I've seen--it's thin and simple! There is also a decent sized mirror on the inside of the lid!
Also included were some large flash carsds with all sorts of looks you can create from the palette. The cards aren't included with the palette but I may do some looks from them in some future posts if you're interested. I think it would have been nice if they included smaller versions of these cards with the palette!
Neutral loveliness! As you can see a majority of the colors are on the shimmery side while the colors on the right are a matte formula (with the exception of the pink which has a bit of shimmer!) The palette also includes a double sided brush which I forgot to photograph properly. To be honest, I usually ignore any type of mini brush that is included in eyeshadow palettes as I find they don't perform very well. However with this one, I do like one side of it--it has a very soft pencil brush that is actually useable! Other than that, be prepared to use your own brushes to get the most out of this palette!

From left to right: Trophy, Glow, Latte, Foxy, Sunset
These are all in the shimmer category--they are not gritty at all and contain no chunky flecks of glitter!
From left to right: Frosting, Onyx, Almond, Toffee
The last three are all matte! Onyx and Toffee are paricularly smooth and pigmented for a matte formula. They're not quite as buttery as my Inglot mattes (which I adore) but I think the formula on these are great nevertheless! I actually wish they included more matte colors in this palette! Only thing I am disappointed with is Almond--I wish it was a tiny bit more pigmented. I really have to pack it on to make it show up on my skin!

I always wear a primer under my eyeshadows, so I can't comment on the wear time alone, but these shadows held up wonderfully and lasted all day for me! I'm really impressed by the formula--although they can be a little bit powdery when getting the eyeshadow on the brush (especially the shimmer shades) they do blend easily very easily and are nicely pigmented! One thing I wish they changed was the large amount of "sunset" in the center. It's a lovely champagne color and would be flattering on a lot of skin tones, but I wish they would have made it the same size as the rest of the eyeshadows and instead, added a 10th color (maybe a matte taupe or something instead!?) Other than that I love it!

Overall, I think this palette is a fantastic buy! At $34 you are getting 9 pigmented eyeshadows that are varied enough to give you all sorts of different looks. You could easily use this palette for everyday neutral colors or use the darker colors like Onyx or Foxy to give you a more dramatic look. I also think that unlike the original Urban Decay Naked Palette which mostly flatters a warmer skin tone, the colors on this palette will flatter a huge variety of skin tones--both cool and warm.

You can get this palette instore or online at Sephora and Anastasia! If you want to get your hands on this palette, definitely do it quickly--I was told that this palette would only be available for purchase for three more weeks!

What do you think about the She Wears It Well Palette? Are you a fan of the neutral/nude/naked eyeshadow craze!? I know I am! :)

Disclaimer:  The product was sent to me by Anastasia Beverly Hills PR to review for free. I am not affiliated with Anastasia Beverly Hills, nor am I paid at all to endorse their products. My views are completely honest and influenced by my personal experience only. 

Saturday, August 25, 2012

Tarte Exposed Amazonian Clay Blush

It's been a long time since I posted about the first Tarte Amazonian Clay Blush I got (Amused) so I figured it's time to show you one of my all time favorite blushes from the same line: Tarte Exposed.

As you can see it's very well loved. I'm not at all surprised to see that the design is quickly fading away from all the use it's getting. Exposed is a soft netural brown/pink/rose. It gives the nicest, most natural glow on the cheeks. It is the blush I reach for when I either don't know what to wear or want my skin to look very natural and flushed. It is definitely my favorite everyday blush and I use it multiple times every week.
Tarte Exposed on left, Nars Deep Throat on right
As you can see from the above swatches, Exposed definitely has more rose and brown undertones in comparison to Nars Deep Throat which is a slightly shimmery peachy pink. It is also a matte blush---it's very smooth and blends easily onto the cheeks. The pigmentation is also fantastic and you only need to get a touch of it on your brush. Just like in my initial post on the amazonian clay blushes, I can't attest to the 12 hour wear time as I usually don't have my makeup on for that long!! It lasts as long as I need it to and it certainly stays on my cheeks until the end of my day.

I really can't say enough good things about this blush. I was initially put off by the color when I first swatched it---I thought it came across as too brown and muddy. However, once applied to the cheeks it gives such a subtle rosy glow. This color should definitely be on your list if you're in need of an effortless, everyday blush!

What's your go-to everyday blush? Have you tried any of Tarte's amazonian clay blushes?t

Monday, August 20, 2012

Zoya Kotori

I took a quick picture on my iphone so I could show you the lovely Zoya Kotori! This color is AMAZING--a sparkling jewel toned blue/teal.
Sorry for the iphone quality image! Took it on the go :)
Sorry, I have really ugly nails! My only problem with Kotori is that it is actually quite sheer for the first two coats. Three coats (which is what I used in the photo) is perfection. I would assume that you could get away with one or two coats if you paint Kotori over a black nail polish though. The staying power was excellent, I didn't experience any chipping until day 5 or 6!

Feel free to check out the Share the Love program Zoya has and more importantly, all the Zoya nail polish swatches I've posted in this post HERE!

I'm usually not a blue nail person but Kotori has really won me over! What do you think?

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Purple and Orange Sorbet

The other day I saw a picture of a girl wearing orange and purple eyeshadow paired together. I thought this was such an unusual, yet pretty combination and decided to recreate it! Taking time to blend the colors softly made the look nice and wearable. I hope you're not sick of Inglot 407 yet since it was in my last fotd but I just can't get enough of it!! Hope you like it! :)

Inglot 407 on lid, Inglot 325 in crease, dark side of Hourglass Exhibition in outer-v and Mac Phloof to highlight inner corner and browbone

Chanel Vitalumiere Aqua
Laura Mercier Secret Camouflage
Laura Mercier Translucent powder
Bobbi Brown Corrector
Mac Harmony Blush to contour
Rock & Republic Blush in Bedroom
Mac Refined Mineralized Skin Finish
Anastasia Brow Powder in Brunette

Mac Painterly Paint Pot
Inglot 407 & 325 (orangey/gold & bright purple, see inglot swatches here)
Dark side of Hourglass Exhibition (see review here)
Mac Phloof
Bobbi Brown Gel Eyeliner in Black Ink
Covergirl Lashblast (orange tube)

YSL Glossy Stain #12

What unusual eyeshadow combination have you been loving lately?! Let me know and I'll give it a try!

Friday, August 10, 2012

Korres Pomegranate Lip Butter

Here's a short but sweet review on the Korres Pomegranate Lip Butter! I've had this product for a few years now and have been using it a lot lately for a sheer, comfortable lip color!

The Korres lip butters are tinted lip balms that have a really nice, glossy finish. They are a really nice formula and according to, they are formulated without:
- Parabens
- Sulfates
- Synthetic Fragrances
- Petrochemicals
- Phthalates
- GMOs
- Triclosan

They also contain shea butter and rice wax, along with other natural oils to hydrate and smooth your lips. I LOVE the way they feel when you first apply it to your lips, but personally, I don't feel any long term moisturizing effects--your lips feel nice and smooth when the lip butter is on your lips, but once it wears off, that feeling doesn't linger. Thus, lots of reapplications are needed or I wear a heavier lip balm underneath! I do still love it because the sheer color it gives is so pretty--and they DO feel incredibly soft on the lips :) Check out my post here where I'm wearing it!

The smell is nice and fruity, but not overpowering. I really love the Pomegranate shade--it is an extremely flattering strawberry pink. The only other negative for the lip butters is the packaging--the little pot that it comes in (although really, really cute) can be unhygienic and is not the best when you're on the go. I do love carrying them in my purse, but i just have to make sure I can clean my hands before and after applying. I believe they come in stick form now but I haven't tried them yet!

If you want a tinted, glossy lip balm that will keep your lips soft during the day, this is a really nice choice. As long as you don't expect any healing or long term benefits, you will love it. They retail for $12 at and come in other great colors. I usually wait for a sale to snag them up! :)
However, if healing dry, chapped lips is your main concern, pass on the Korres butters as there are definitely better options out there (such as Jack Black lip balms or Paula's Choice lip balm).

Any Korres Lip Butter fans out there!? What do you think?

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Smoked Orange Eyes for Summer

Hi everyone! Firstly I wanted to apologize for the infrequent posts this past month! I started a new p/t job and just found myself having less and less time to devote to my blog. I feel like I'm finally settled into things now so you'll definitely see more posts coming up!! This is a look I've been doing a lot lately--the gold/orange Inglot eyeshadow makes me feel extra summery! :) As usual with my orange toned looks, I am always drawn to chocolatey yumminess of Nars Galapagos to warm the shadow up even more!

Inglot 407 on lid, UD Virgin to highlight, UD Buck in crease, Nars Galapagos in outer-v

Chanel Vitalumiere Aqua in B20
Laura Mercier Secret Camouflage
Laura Mercier Translucent powder
Maybelline Dream Lumi Touch Highlighting Concealer
Mac Harmony Blush to contour
Bobbi Brown Cabo Coral Pot Rouge
Becca Shimmering Skin Perfector in Pearl
Anastasia Brow Powder in Brunette

Mac Painterly Paint Pot
Inglot 407 (an amazing, pearly coral/orange with gold shimmer)
Urban Decay Buck, Naked, & Virgin (from Naked 1 Palette)
Nars Galapagos
Bobbi Brown Gel Eyeliner in Chocolate Shimmer Ink
Covergirl Lashblast (orange tube)

Korres Pomegranate Lip Butter

Hope you like this look! Let me know what kinds of looks or colors you'd like to see in the future--I need new ideas!!!

Saturday, August 4, 2012

Anastasia Lash Genius Waterproof Topcoat

As we go into the hottest month of summer, I'm sure many of you will be spending as much time as you can outside--time to take advantage of the weather before it's gone! I for one am not a huge fan of piling on makeup when it's hot outside--hence my lack of FOTD's the last month! There are a few exceptions though--aside from my skincare and sunscreen, I like to slap on a tinted moisturizer, add some blush, and as always, a few coats of mascara so my eyes look slightly defined. That's where Anastasia's Lash Genius has really been a lifesaver for me.

As someone with very oily lids, mascara in hot weather is almost always a huge no! It will smear or flake off within a few hours and I'm left with a mess. I know there is always the waterproof mascara route, but I have never been a fan of it--I find everything about them to be too harsh. I hate the process of removing my makeup already and every waterproof mascara I've tried takes forever to remove! I also haven't found a formula I like--most are too clumpy and don't actually stay waterproof throughout the day. I just don't think they are worth the hassle! This is why I was ridiculously excited when Anastasia asked me to try out the Lash Genius! It's a clear, waterproof topcoat that you can apply directly over your favorite mascara!

They claim that it "instantly waterproofs, refreshes, and protects any mascara all day, without the typical drying or clumping. It's advanced, lightweight formula glides on smooth, dries quickly, and gives your lashes a touchable soft lacquer finish that lasts all day" It is also fragrance free and paraben free! I have to say, their claim is absolutely true. I have gone to the beach wearing Lash Genius and I've also spent countless hours outside in the heat wearing it--I absolutely love it. It's easy to apply, my lashes feel soft, and it actually works! No mascara migration at all! I am also a fan of it because I have a watery right eye--at least my mascara won't come off now lol! I have used a few different makeup removers on it and they've all worked brilliantly. It comes off easily and I don't have to scrub at my eyes to remove it.

The best part is that it doesn't interfere with your favorite mascara. I've applied it over a few of my favorite Covergirl mascaras that provide my ideal darkness, length and volume and Lash Genius never affected the formula. It's as if I didn't put anything extra over my original mascara. You can also use Lash Genius over false lashes, but falsies are a rarity for me ( I think I own one pair lol!) so I can't comment on how that works!

The only con to this product is really the price. At $21 it sounds a bit pricey, but you are definitely getting your money's worth. It seriously works and I can't think of anything as effective on the market. If you hate waterproof mascara like me or feel too bare faced to go without mascara on days when you'll be by the pool, I think Lash Genius would be a fantastic purchase for you! I definitely recommend it!

Lash genius retails for $21 and can be purchased from Sephora (or or online from Anastasia Beverly Hills! Let me know what you think of Lash Genius--is this something you would try? Do you have any waterproof mascaras you like or do you avoid them like me!?

Disclaimer:  The product was sent to me by Anastasia Beverly Hills PR to review for free. I am not affiliated with Anastasia Beverly Hills, nor am I paid at all to endorse their products. My views are completely honest and influenced by my personal experience only. 

Thursday, August 2, 2012

Illamasqua Lover Blush

Illamasqua Lover is a blush that I've had forever and used repeatedly in my past FOTD's. I just recently realized I hadn't devoted a post to it! It's is a beautiful bright apricot-peach blush. I'm completely obsessed with it and own nothing like it! Here it is:

I really like Illamaqua's packaging. It's simple but sturdy. The top part of the case (forgot to photograph) is clear so you can see what color you're picking up, unlike the popular Nars packaging. There is a ton of product, .14 oz, so it's going to take forever to hit pan on it!

The powder itself is very fine milled, blends effortlessly and feels weightless on the skin. It is also incredibly pigmented! It took me a while to learn how to apply this blush properly so I didn't look like a clown! One bounce of a fluffy brush into the blush is all you need--you don't need to dig your brush into it or swirl it around--if you do you'll pick up way too much product. One more thing about most of the Illamasqua powder blushes is that they are a matte formula so there is no glitter or anything in them (except 2 of them I believe!). They blend so nicely and look so smooth so there is no risk of chalkiness.

Isn't that color fantastic? It's really the perfect peach color. I can see it being flattering on all skin types however those who are cool toned may have a tough time pulling off the orange undertones in Lover. I think I swatched it a bit too heavily in the above photo but you can see how subtle it is in some of my past FOTD's when it's really blended onto the cheek (see here & here & here). As you can see from all the fotd's, I wear this blush A LOT! lol! Just have a light hand and make sure to use a fluffy brush to disperse and blend it onto the cheek. I can guarantee you'll be seeing it in many future posts as it's one of my favorite warm weather blushes!

You can get Illamasqua at Sephora stores in the USA and it retails for $24.

What are your favorite peach blushes?! Have you tried Illamasqua products before? I have two blushes from them but am curious about many of their other products!

Sunday, July 22, 2012

Real Techniques: Blush & Setting Powder Brushes

Hey everyone! I wanted to do a quick post on some brushes I've been using for a while now--the Real Techniques setting powder brush & blush brush! Real Techniques is a synthetic and cruelty-free brush line that was designed by Samantha Chapman of Pixiwoo (if you haven't checked out their youtube channel, do it! They're fantastic!). I have a handful of their brushes and so far, I really love using them. 

Setting Powder Brush: This fluffly little brush is a really useful and unique shaped brush to have. At first, it was so tiny I wasn't really sure I would get much use out of it. I was very wrong! I use it for blending concealer under the eyes, setting my concealer under my eyes and around my nose, and also applying and blending cream products like cream blushes or highlighters. I absolutely love that it has a full tapered head so it can fit under the eyes perfectly. Retails for $7.99 at Ulta.

Blush Brush: This was the first Real Techniques brush I ever bought--last year I believe. It is a wonderfully soft and fluffy domed brush that has turned out to be a fabulous multitasker. I prefer my Hakuhodo Yachiyo blush brush for my daily blush application however I really love the Real Techniques blush brush for days where I want a softer application. I use this brush with my Nars Exhibit A blush (a VERY bright, pigmented orangey red). Just one tap in the pan and it applies the blush very subtly. I think the head is a little too big for specific blush application though. I also find myself using this for bronzer application (the tapered tip is great for defining the cheekbones) and for my translucent powder! Retails for $8.99 at Ulta.

One negative I have is for the blush brush. If you look at the picture above, you can see the matte black finish at the bottom of my handle is starting to chip off. For a $9 brush I don't really mind, especially because it works so well--however I wish it did not start to wear down so soon after owning it (I've had it less than a year). Oh well!

Other than that, I really, really love both of these Real Techniques brushes--I find myself reaching for them on a daily basis. They are both soft, dense, and they blend and apply products easily. Definitely make sure to check them out on the Real Techniques website and at Ulta! If you do buy them from Ulta don't forget to use a coupon for an even more amazing deal!

What do you think about these brushes? Do you have any? I have a few more brushes from the line that I really love, would you be interested in some more brush reviews?

Thursday, July 12, 2012

Mac Lady Danger: Queen of the warm reds

I have had my eye on Mac's Lady Danger lipstick for a looooooong time. It was continually out of stock at the Mac stores near me and is not available at department store counters. I always prefer to shop in store so I can swatch it to see how it will look on my skintone--so the obsessive shopper in me HAD to see it in person!! I finally got my hands on it and it is undeniable love.

Lady Danger is an incredibly pigmented, opaque, matte shade. It's a beautiful red-orange--it's definitely a different look than the Mac Runaway Red I posted about a while ago. Whenever I look at it I can't help but think of old hollywood glamour--pairing a bold red lip with cat eye liner. This is my first matte lipstick from Mac and I was very pleased that it didn't dry my lips out at all. I don't own many matte lipsticks as I usually prefer a more moisturizing, glossy finish--however the matte finish really makes the shade last longer and the bold lip looks so much more eye-catching in this finish. I just have to make sure my lips are exfoliated and smooth before wearing it!

Here's some other lipsticks to compare it to...
Mac Runaway Red, Revlon Candy Apple Lip Butter, Mac Lady Danger, Mac Morange
I threw Mac Runaway into the mix so you could see how different the blue-base in Runaway Red looks in comparison to the warm orange tones in Lady Danger. Both beautiful reds and both completely different! It's nice to have both a cool and warm option for red lipsticks.
Revlon Colorburst Lip Butter in Candy Apple is a warm red but not nearly opaque--it's a glossy more sheer formula. It's also not as intense on the lips nor as warm.
I was afraid Mac Morange and Lady Danger would be too similar but they're actually completely different--sadly my camera is failing to capture just how different. Lady Danger is a red with a coral/orange undertone while Mac Morange is straightforward orange! In person it's much lighter than Lady Danger (I'm so frustrated my camera failed to pick that up. The Lady Danger swatch is pretty accurate but Morange is really much more orange--no red tones in there at all). They're both very bold and perfect lip colors for summer--just wear with confidence ;)

I am so in love with Lady Danger. I'm surprised at how brave I have become---a year ago I would have run away from a color so bright, but now I can't resist it! Here's a FOTD I did with it!

What's your go-to bright lipstick when you feel like wearing a bold lip!??

Friday, June 29, 2012

Nars Night Clubbing Eyeshadow

I've always been a Nars eyeshadow fanatic--although expensive, I think the quality is wonderful and many of their shades are very unique. Because of the price I usually stick to trading for Nars shadows, buying from a blogsale, or waiting for a sale from Nars or Sephora! I got my hands on Nars Night Clubbing a few months ago and it is definitely one of my favorite colors period. 

Night Clubbing is a rich black infused with golden shimmer. As with most instances when you combine black and gold, the result is a dark olive color--a color I'm sure you are sick of hearing me yap about as it's my current favorite color lol!!

The color payoff is really amazing--one swipe and you get more than enough rich color on your brush (or finger). I also love that the gold shimmer in it is so visible. The shimmer doesn't even disappear when you blend the eyeshadow. Here's the beautifulllll swatch:

Ugh. So. Gorgeous.
As with all my other Nars eyeshadows, the formula is fantastic and smooth and it blends amazingly well--especially for an eyeshadow having little gold shimmers. My one complaint is that you can definitely experience some fallout if youre not careful. Make sure to dip your eyeshadow into the pan with a light touch and tap the excess eyeshadow off (I prefer to tap it on a finger or my arm). I usually don't have an issue when I remember to do this.  My favorite way to wear Nars Night Clubbing is in the outer-v to smoke out a look or all over the lid as a very, very dramatic smokey eye! It also looks beautiful applied wet as liner. Lastly, Nars shadows tend to crease on my oily eyelids if I don't wear a primer--I love to use Mac Painterly Paint Pot or Nars Smudge-proof eyeshadow base as primer!

I used Night Clubbing in the outer-v HERE. I think it pairs beautifully with green eyeshadows because of the olive tinge it gets from the gold shimmers over black base.

What do you think of Nars Night Clubbing!? Do you like little shimmers in your eyeshadow?!

Sunday, June 17, 2012

Anastasia Beverly Hills See & Be Seen Kit!

Hey everyone! I have a really exciting limited edition kit from Anastasia Beverly Hills to show you today! I am a huge fan of the Anastasia's brow products--I love the brow powder. I use "Brunette" nearly every day to fill in my brows. I am just thrilled that they wanted me to try out some of their other products!! I wasn't quite sure what to expect since I hadn't tried any of their makeup products before. I was pleasantly surprised--the quality is really impressive! This particular kit is called See and Be Seen!

 The kit comes with an eyeshadow duo, two lipglosses, and a tinted brow gel!

On Set Illumin8 Eyeshadow Duo
On Set Illumin8 Eyeshadow Duo: The color on the left is a shimmering peachy apricot while the right side is a very warm orangey bronze. The colors are seriously gorgeous!! I was also pleasantly surprised to find that I do not own anything similar to them (look below at my comparison swatches!). They are silky smooth, blend easily, and are very pigmented in just one swipe. I can see using the color on the left really often as I think its a perfect lid color for warmer looks. I have to be really careful with the bronzey orange gold on the right when I am not tan though! Since it pulls so warm, I have to make sure I load up on mascara and eyeliner--colors that turn more orange on me can make my eyes look tired or bloodshot. As you can see below, I only used a touch of the right side in my outer-lid to add some warmth. I think both colors would look particularly flattering on blue and green eyes too! Lastly (and most importantly to me) these eyeshadows lasted wonderfully over my primer. I tried them on separate occasions with both a Mac Paint Pot & my Nars Primer and the eyeshadow lasted all day without creasing! This is always the test since my eyelids are oily and I need my eyeshadow to stay crease free! Overall, fantastic quality and perfect colors for a summery neutral eye look!

Here's an eye look I did using the Illumin8 eyeshadow duo!
Left Side of "Illumin8" on lid, Right Side of "Illumin8" on outer-v & lower lashline, Mac Wedge in crease & Nars Galapagos to define outer-v & lower lashline. Bobbi Brown Gel Eyeliner in chocolate shimmer ink.
Now onto the glosses & brow gel!
Plastic, Heiress, Caramel Brow Gel
Caramel Tinted Brow Gel: This is a product that I was most excited about trying when Anastasia Beverly Hills approached me. I started using a brow gel fairly recently for days where I want a touch of definition. I've been using the Revlon Brow Fantasy brow gel (it also comes with a pencil on one end, but I bought it for the gel!) and I really love using it--so I know I am a fan of using brow gels before even testing this. Unfortunately, I don't think I will be able to get much use out of this Anastasia brow gel because it's the wrong color for me! Caramel is a light-medium golden, shimmering brown. I tried it around my house and I love the formula and pigmentation, however this color is definitely better suited for someone with dark blonde or very light brown hair. I was also glad to see that the shimmer you can see in the swatch does not translate to the eyebrow. I love the fact that it didn't leave my brows crunchy or hard--something I noticed my Revlon one is guilty of sometimes. I would love to give this brow gel another go but in darker, less warm brown color!

Hydrafull Glosses: Plastic is a bright Barbie pink while Heiress is a medium coral-pink. Both are incredibly pigmented, creamy, & very bright! I absolutely love the formula--they are so glossy and moisturizing, yet they don't feel heavy. They feel amazing on the lips. I thought they were just normal lipglosses, but they have incredible staying power for a gloss! The glossiness lasts for a couple of hours (give or take 3-4) and after that, they leave a really lovely, even stain on the lips for a long time after that. I actually fell asleep with Heiress on the other night and I woke up after 8 hours with perfectly stained lips!! Crazy! They also didn't feel dry at all. Huge thumbs up to this lipgloss formula--I love them!! Heiress is already a staple in my purse! This is definitely a product I would repurchase!

Here's a quick look at the lipgloss applicator:

The lipgloss applicator is quite interesting. It's a sort of plastic stick or paddle that you can scoop the product out with. It actually reminds me of a plastic version of the Revlon Colorburst Lipgloss applicator (see HERE). I definitely prefer my Mac & Revlon lipgloss applicators--I found the plastic applicator wasn't the easiest tool to evenly distribute the product. I'm not too fussy with packaging so this isn't a big deal breaker for me since I think the lipgloss formula is amazing.--it still works fine and would be ideal if you prefer to use a lip brush instead.

Here's some comparison swatches!!
Anastasia Plastic, Revlon Hot Pink, Anastasia Heiress, Revlon Strawberry, Anastasia Caramel Brow Gel, Revlon Brunette brow fantasy, Left side of Illumin8, Mac Mythology, Right side of Illumin8, Mac Woodwinked
In the glosses, I found two incredibly close colors in the Revlon Colorburst Lip Gloss line! As you can see Hot Pink and Strawberry are nearly identical in color to the Anastasia colors, however the Revlon ones contain a bit of shimmer while the Anastasia glosses are cremes. I do love my Revlon glosses to bits but I think the Anastasia formula feels creamier, moisturizing and is also more opaque on the lips. Also, once the glossiness fades away, you get a stain that lasts hours longer. Once the Revlon lip glosses fade, they are completely gone from your lips. I like to layer the Revlon glosses over lipsticks while the Anastasia ones can stand on their own without a color underneath since they are so pigmented. If you have both those colors though then the Anastasia onces probably aren't a must have for you since the colors are so similar! I also swatched my Revlon Brow Fantasy brow gel to show you the difference in color--mine is much darker, less warm, and just generally better suited for my brow color! I definitely want to try a different color in the brow gel since the Anastasia formula is so nice and has more pigment to it.  As you can see from the swatches, I couldn't find a dupe in my eyeshadow collection for either of the Anastasia eyeshadows!

This set retails for $44 (with a value of $80) and you can purchase it on the Anastasia Beverly Hills website or at Sephora! For the value, I think it is a fantastic set of products and a nice way to try out the line. I was really impressed with the quality and pigmentation of the lipglosses and eyeshadows--that alone justifies the price of the set to me. I also like that the packaging was simple, yet cute. The only negative is that I wish the set came with different shades of the tinted brow gel--or even a clear one to make it wearable for all types of hair colors! This kit came out in May and will only be available for a limited time--so make sure to grab it quickly if this kit is something you'd like to try!

What do you think of the See and Be Seen kit? Would you wear these colors?

Disclaimer:  The product was sent to me by Anastasia Beverly Hills PR to review for free. I am not affiliated with Anastasia Beverly Hills, nor am I paid at all to endorse their products. My views are completely honest and influenced by my personal experience only. 

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

May Favorites!

Once again it's been quite a while since I've done a monthly favorites post! And I'm late! My apologies! I've been changing up my foundation routine the last month and trying out some new products! Here's a few of my favorite products from the month of May...

Chanel Vitalumiere Aqua Foundation: I. Love. This. Foundation. I will definitely be dedicating a post to it in the near future. But just so you know, I think its amazing. I have been a die hard fan of the Laura Mercier Oil Free Tinted Moisturizer in Nude for a while now, and I honestly think I like this Chanel foundation a tiny bit more (shocking I know!).  I think the color match (my color is B20) is a slightly better match for my skin (when I have no tan) and the formula is really amazing with my combo/oily skin. My skin is WAY less oily at the end of the day and it looks undetectable. It also gives a bit more coverage than the Laura Mercier's tinted moisturizer--so I use it when I want my skin to look flawless. I still love my Laura Mercier but I do find myself reaching for this foundation way more at the moment! It's nice to have a few different foundation options :)

Revlon Just Bitten Kissable Balm Stains: I technically got these in mid May but they are already in constant rotation--I use them all the time! I have been keeping Rendezvous in my purse so I've been wearing that one quite a lot. It's a gorgeous orangey-coral shade! Check out my swatches here! I think they're a fantastic new product from Revlon!

Essie Fiji: I have been on the hunt for an opaque baby pink for a very long time. It seems like many baby pinks on the market are on the sheerer side so it's taken me forever to find a color like this! It's the most perfect milky, pale pink--because it's opaque it really stands out against my skin tone. The formula is pretty good. It's a little streaky but 3 generous coats yielded perfect nails. It does chip quicker than my beloved Zoya polishes, but the color is so beautiful I don't mind! I'll do a NOTD soon! :)

Inglot AMC 30: This has been my most used Inglot eyeshadow! It's one that I acquired back in April (after I posted my Inglot eyeshadow swatches here)and I use this shadow ALL the time! It's amazing on the inner tearduct, on the browbone, and as a lid color. This is seriously a must have eyeshadow from Inglot!!! It's a shimmery gold champagne--I know there are tons of colors that have that same color description, but there's really something special about this one. I have gotten a couple more eyeshadows since I last posted my original Inglot swatches so do let me know if you'd like to see the new additions--I'll make sure to swatch them for you!

Hakuhodo Large Pointed Yachiyo Brush: This has become my absolute favorite brush to apply blush with. The brush is not only beautiful looking, but it applies and diffuses even the most pigmented blush effortlessly. I have a few bold blush colors that have a new life to them thanks to this brush! I use it everyday--I really want to buy a second one so I can alternate when one is dirty because my Mac 116 just doesn't cut it anymore compared to this one!!

I hope you liked my monthly favorites! Let me know if you've tried any of mine and let me know what your May favorites were!! :)

Saturday, June 9, 2012

theBalm Hot Mama & Pinky Coral Blush Swatches

What is it about shimmery pinky-coral blushes that is so amazing??? The first blush I ever had was Nars Orgasm--I was (and still am) obsessed with the beautiful and flattering coral/pink/gold sheen it would give my cheeks. Since then I've acquired quite a few more blushes in a similar hue. theBalm Hot Mama is quite possibly my favorite one out of all the pinky corals I have!!

theBalm packaging is so frickin adorable. I also like that it's thin so you're not wasting packaging! There is a magnetic closure as well.

theBalm's Hot Mama blush is described as "A true all-in-one essential: sexy shadow, striking blush, subtle highlighter, and light-reflecting lip finisher tucked inside a go-anywhere compact." It is a warm coral with a touch of golden shimmer and a touch of pink as well. The color is not only amazing and pigmented but the texture is really incredible--it's so buttery, making it very easy to apply & blend. The blush also lasts all day for me. I really think any skin tone can pull this color off!! I especially love to wear this one in the summer when my skin is a bit tanner and I favor more of a shimmery cheek.

L-R Nars Orgasm, theBalm Hot Mama, Benefit Coralista, Mac Springsheen
Nars Orgasm has more pink in the base color and the texture is not as buttery as the others. I also think the gold shimmer running through Orgasm is a bit chunkier. I seriously love my Nars blushes, but I have to say, Orgasm's texture is grittier than all my other ones! Very weird since all the other ones are lovely. Benefit Coralista is lighter and I found it to be a less pigmented as well. Mac Springsheen is most similar, however I much prefer the texture and longevity of Hot Mama---Springsheen tends to fade much sooner on my cheeks. 

I believe Hot Mama retails for $19 but if you're in the US, definitely make sure you check your local TJMaxx & Marshalls---I was able to find it for under $10, making it an even more incredible deal. Hautelook also has theBalm on there every once and a while. I seriously think this blush is gorgeous and gives the most incredible glow to your cheeks. I can't say enough good things about it. If you have been dying to try the ever popular Nars Orgasm, definitely give Hot Mama a try--I much prefer the texture and definitely the lower price point!!

What do you think of thebalm Hot Mama? Is this the kind of blush color you'd wear? Do you have a favorite coral pink? :)


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