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Thursday, May 9, 2013

Real Techniques Limited Edition DuoFiber Collection

I'm going to assume if you're reading this blog that you all know about Samantha Chapman's Real Techniques makeup brushes by now! Since they came out, the brushes have pretty much taken the makeup/beauty community by storm. They are budget friendly and excellent quality and I use at least one or two real techniques brushes every time I sit down to do my makeup. I was very excited when I heard that a new limited edition set of brushes came out--of course I had to find them!
The set is, as you can see, all duofiber--these types of brushes are typically used to give a lighter application of products. In this case though, they're not completely since both bristles are synthetic. It comes with a face brush, contour brush, and eye brush. I think the limited edition design is nice and simple, just like the rest of the Real Techniques line.

All three brushes are extremely soft.
Face brush: not densely packed at all so it's not great for packing on product. It is nice for a light dusting of setting powder though and the softest of the three brushes. I tried using it to blend foundation and it was way too floppy and just could not blend it. It's also a bit too big for blush (for my cheeks!).
Contour brush: more sturdy and dense than the face brush. I actually really like this for both powder and cream blush--it deposits just the right amount of color and blends nicely.
Eye brush: I am kind of a blending brush junkie, so I always love to have fluffy tapered blending brushes in my collection. This one is a nice one for blending eyeshadow in the crease and also blending out cream eyeshdaow. I did find it was a tad too prickly to blend under eye concealer with though.

Here's a few comparisons to some of the brushes already in the Real Techniques line.

First the face brush compared to the blush brush:
Duo-Fiber Face brush on the left and Blush brush on the right
As you can see, the blush brush is much more densely packed and is dome shaped. I prefer the blush brush overall just because I love the shape and find it to be completely multipurpose--I use it for blush, bronzer, and setting powder. The duo fiber face brush is flatter and I feel the shape lends itself mainly to setting powder (for me personally!) I have more info on the blush brush HERE.

Now the contour brush vs. the regular contour brush:
Duo-Fiber Contour brush on left and Contour brush on right
The regular contour brush is bit bigger and slightly more domed. I think they are pretty interchangeable, though I think I do prefer the duo-fiber one. The new one works cream blush into the skin perfectly and it picks up the perfect amount of blush thanks to the different bristles.

Lastly I compared the Mac 286 (which is another double fibered blending brush) with the new real techniques eye brush, since I don't really own many Real Techniques eye brushes to compare it to.
Mac 286 on left and Duo-Fiber eye brush on right
The Mac 286 is a bit fluffier, which I prefer when blending eyeshadow since it diffuses the color a bit more. On the whole though it's a nice brush for getting precise color into the crease or blending the edges of cream eyeshadow! It's always a good one to have on hand. For concealer, I much prefer blending it out with the Real Techniques Setting brush HERE.

Overall I'm pretty happy with the brushes. My favorite is definitely the contour brush--I've been getting more into cream blush and highlighter and this brush just picks up and applies the right amount. I imagine it would work nicely for a chiseled cheek bone contour but I usually prefer to contour with a bigger brush (like the blush brush or a Mac 138). I also think the eye brush is a good one to have if you wear eyeshadow--I love having these type of brushes around since I use them so much when doing my eye makeup.
I do have to say I was a bit disappointed with the face brush. When I first saw it, I thought the shape looked like the old Sephora 55 pro airbrush brush, which I LOVE for foundation--but this Real Techniques one is much too floppy to use for much of anything besides setting powder or a light dusting of bronzer all over the face. I think it would be better if the brush bristles were a bit more dense.

This limited edition set is apparently only available for a year. So you have a pretty long time to decide if you want to pick them up or not! They retail for $19.99 and I bought them at Ulta. The bargain hunter in me got them for probably half off thanks to a promotion that was happening plus Ulta coupons--so it really turns out to be a great deal in the end. If you are in need of some new makeup brushes for lightweight, buildable application, then you my want to check these out. Overall though, i don't think it's a must-have set if you already have brushes you like simply because I am not crazy about the face brush. Because of that, I'd only recommend getting them if you are not paying full price! :)

What do you think about this limited edition collection?? Are these brushes you would want in your makeup bag?

Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Laura Mercier Translucent Loose Setting Powder

Laura Mercier Translucent Loose Setting Powder has been one of my favorite face products for such a longggg time. It's probably been over three years.  It is a product that I use literally every single day.

The texture is wonderfully silky, fine milled, and smooth. It feels very natural on the skin. Although it says translucent I do believe it might be a little too light for darker skin tones; the color of "translucent" is a light yellow toned cream. For light to medium skin tones it is brightening and won't leave a white cast.

It controls shine on my t-zone without looking cakey and it sets my makeup beautifully for the day, making sure my oily skin does not peak through. It has a semi-matte finish which is perfect if you like your makeup to look glowy. To apply I take a nice, big fluffy brush, dip it in the cap and then concentrate most of the powder on my nose, chin, and forehead-- then do a light dusting on my cheeks. This sets my makeup but does not overly mattify--although if you do like an all matte look, a more dense application would definitely give you that finish. I really have nothing bad to say about it except that it is on the pricier side.

I buy my powder from Sephora or, it retails for $35! It's pricey in comparison to other face powders but I absolutely love the effect it has on the skin and I can easily make the powder last over a year since you don't need to use a lot of it.

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Disappointing Product: Nivea Lip Butter

Hey guys! Today I wanted to do a quick review on a product I was pretty disappointed in. I am one of those people who does a lot of research before making any type of purchase. It's pretty much an obsession--I spend a ton of time looking up reviews, videos, swatches, and always get samples when I can (especially if it's a high end product). It might be over the top but on the whole I almost always end up with products I don't regret buying. This one slipped through the cracks! My disappointing product for today is the Nivea Lip Butter in Vanilla & Macadamia Kiss.

The Nivea lip butters have been very hyped by bloggers and vloggers alike since they came out two or three months ago. What first intrigued me was the fact that they are called lip butters. With that title I would assume they are super moisturizing. Also, the tins look so irresistibly cute and the flavors sound delicious. Plus, they are easy to find at the drugstore and cheap!

The best thing about the lip butters is the smell--my vanilla & macadamia kiss one smells so amazing I wish I could eat it. That's about the only positive aspect it has going for it. Firstly, this lip butter leaves a white cast on the lips which can be quite unflattering--it's definitely a lip product I just use at home. Most disappointing about it: I don't get any hydration or moisture relief despite it's creamy, buttery consistency. It feels nice on the lips when you first apply it but disappears rather quickly (like within 20 minutes) and does not leave my lips feeling any better. I'm definitely not one who suffers from extremely dry lips--they can get a little bit chapped if I neglect them but overall they're not in terrible shape. So I can really only recommend these if you don't experience ANY dryness whatsoever and just want something to use that smells good. If your lips do get a little dry like most people, go for something else..

With so many amazing lip balms and moisturizers on the market, this one to me is a waste of money. I bought mine (with my own money) at a CVS--depending where you buy yours I believe they are between $3-5. Even though they are cheap I would honestly put that money towards a better product like the Paula's Choice Lip treatment or the Jack Black Lip Balms. It's really a shame because they look adorable in their little tins and smell great.

What's your favorite lip balm at the moment!? Are there any products you've bought lately that haven't worked out for you??

Sunday, April 14, 2013

Bobbi Brown Gel Eyeliner Forest Shimmer Ink

Today I wanted to show you another Bobbi Brown Gel Eyeliner that I have been a fan of for a few months now. I previously talked about how much I love the Black Ink color HERE. I think Bobbi Brown's gel eyeliners are such a fantastic product--I wish I could collect them all!

Forest Shimmer Ink is a sooty dark olivey green with subtle gold shimmer. It is such a stunning color! I personally love wearing it with green, brown, gold, and cream eyeshadows or just on it's own. It's very versatile for a green eyeliner because the brown/olive undertones helps make it more neutral and wearable.

Pigmentation is excellent--it's completely opaque and the shimmer stays on to give a lovely effect on the eyes. Texture is creamy and smooth so it applies very easily with all types of eyeliner brushes. I personally have extremely good wear time with Bobbi Brown gel eyeliners both on the lid and on the waterline. They last all day on me until I remove it at night. Another plus is the packaging. The lids screw on very tight so they don't dry out. My last pot of gel eyeliner lasted three and a half years and was creamy until the day I finished it!

I believe the Bobbi Brown Gel Eyeliners retail for $23--sadly since I lasted posted about my Black Ink liner (here) the price has gone up $2. I found mine at a Macy's counter and I know they sell it at Nordstrom as well. I don't believe you can buy this shade at Sephora since they don't have the full range available. It is definitely on the pricey side but I think it is worth it--the pot lasts forever, the shade is unique, and the wear time can't be beaten (for me at least!).

Would you wear a olive eyeliner like Forest Shimmer Ink? Have you tried Bobbi Brown Gel Eyeliners!?

Monday, April 8, 2013

Subtle Green FOTD

Lately this has become one of my go to looks. In the last few years green has become one of my favorite colors--which is shocking because I was always a purple girl growing up! As you may know from reading my blog, I'm usually a scaredy cat with very bright color--pairing colors with neutrals is always my favorite thing to do. Today I used a khaki color on the lid with a neutral brown in the crease--the perfect way to wear colors if you want something more subtle. This time I added a touch of Inglot 333 to the outer-v to give it even more of a green tinge! Hope you like it!

Laura Mercier caviar stick Khaki on lid, Urban Decay Naked in crease, Inglot 333 in outer-v. Also a touch of Laura Mercier caviar stick in Sugar Frost right on the tearduct!
Kept the rest of my makeup dewy and natural...and of course, messy hair! :)

Laura Mercier Foundation Primer
YSL Le Teint Touche Eclat B30
Laura Mercier Secret Camouflage
Laura Mercier Translucent Powder
Too Faced Chocolate Soleil bronzer (I just hit pan on this! See my review here!)
Bobbi Brown Pot Rouge in Cabo Coral
Benefit Watts Up on cheekbones (from the Sephora birthday gift)
Anastasia Bold & Beautiful Brow Kit

Mac Painterly Paint Pot
Laura Mercier Caviar Stick in Khaki & Sugar Frost
Urban Decay Naked eyeshadow from Naked 1 Palette
Inglot 333matte
Rimmel Scandaleyes Nude Eyeliner
Benefit They're Real Mascara (also from the Sephora birthday gift!)
Laura Mercier Cake Eyeliner in Black Ebony (to tightline)

NEW Revlon Lip Butter in Juicy Papaya (I just bought this, will review soon!)

Do you find yourself wearing colors that are more neutral or bright? Do you have any recent favorite color combinations? I don't think I will ever get sick of greens and browns together! :)

Friday, April 5, 2013

Estee Lauder Pure Color Blush: Lover's Blush

Estee Lauder has certainly been making a comeback in the makeup world ever since makeup artist Tom Pecheux became the creative genius behind Estee Lauder's pure color lines. They have come out with a number of exciting products--more pigmented eyeshadows, new lipsticks, colored mascaras, etc. Last year, Estee Lauder's blush line was completely revamped into the Pure Color Blush line we know now. Their blushes are definitely giving blush frontrunners like Nars, Mac, & Illamasqua a run for their money! I've been using the shade "Lover's Blush" a lot recently.
They're housed in a large gold compact and contain a mini brush for touchups. I personally don't like when companies include mini brushes--I usually find the quality to be quite useless and it just takes up space in the compact. I've just kept mine in there unused. The blush size is quite generous, you get .25oz. For the exact same price of $28, you only get .16oz in a Nars blush. Something to think about there! I remember when Nars blushes were much less than they are now and the were same size! Don't get me wrong, I still love my Nars blushes!!

Here's a swatch of the color:

Lover's Blush is a warm peachy, rose shade with bits of gold throughout. The gold is definitely not a gritty, chunky glitter--it's a very, very subtle gold shimmer. This shade would be particularly flattering on warmer skintones. The color is absolutely perfect for giving you a soft, glowy look and because it's not a strong color it can go well with so many different looks. It's become one of my go-to blushes when I want a dewy but natural cheek. You can see me wearing it in this FOTD!!

The Pure Color blush line is heavily pigmented yet also very buildable if you use a light touch. Just a tap in the pan is perfect for the first layer of blush. The texture is soft and powdery, making it easy and quick to blend. As always with blushes, the most important is how long it lasts. I'm happy to report that it lasts all day--a solid 6-7 hours for me and my combo/oily skin!

I really don't have negatives to say about this blush. I think the quality is wonderful and you can see for yourself in person that the shade range is great if you're looking for a wearable color. Many of them are variations on pinks, roses, and peaches. I hope in the future that they come out with more punchy, bold shades, I'd be all over those! Only major negative is the pricetag of $28--though because of the large size it will probably last forever!

What do you think of Lover's blush? Have you tried any makeup from Estee Lauder? I have been using their Advanced Night Repair Serum for a while now and also have a tube of Double Wear Light foundation I need to start using--the serum is incredible, I love it!

Saturday, March 30, 2013

Bronze Eyeshadow Swatches: Mac Tempting, Urban Decay Smog, Nars Kalahari, & Inglot

If I had to choose a favorite eyeshadow color to use, my favorite would most definitely be a shimmery bronzey brown. Call me boring when there are so many vibrant colors to choose from, but I can't help it! I absolutely love a shimmery chocolate smokey eye more than anything else. I think brown is flattering on all eye colors and it can be made subtle enough for daytime or dramatic for evening. I just hit pan on two bronze colors in my eyeshadow collection so I thought I'd do some comparison swatches for you before I finish them up!

Inglot 409 on the left, Nars Kalahari on the top, Urban Decay Smog in the middle and Mac Tempting (with the huge bit of pan showing!) on the right!
Comparison swatches! L-R Inglot 409, Urban Decay Smog, Mac Tempting, Nars Kalahari
From Left to right:
Inglot 409 pearl: This bronze has a bit more red warmth to it, especially compared to Urban Decay Smog and is a bit darker--though I do think it's similar on the lid. Both 409 and  Kalahari are a little bit rosier and don't have as much of a golden undertone as Smog & Tempting. Inglot makes a bunch of gorgeous bronzey colors--I think #406 (which I don't have) might be more similar to Smog. I love this one and the texture and pigmentation, like most Inglot eyeshadows, is amazing.
Urban Decay Smog: This one is probably my favorite one and the ultimate bronze in my opinion! The texture is incredibly soft and buttery. It also has the most gold tones to it which I find utterly flattering on the eyes. As you can see I've hit pan on this one in the Naked 1 Palette--I'll definitely be repurchasing a single in the future!
Mac Tempting: This was actually one of the first Mac eyeshadows I ever got, back in my teens! Out of all of them, this probably has the grittiest texture--it blends well but it isn't as buttery smooth or as pigmented like the others. Once I finish this one I won't repurchase, just because I have others I prefer. It's very similar to Urban Decay's Smog so I'd definitely recommend skipping this one and going for Smog if you have to choose between the two.
Nars Kalahari (left side): This is a gold, rosey bronze and also the most shimmery of the bunch.  Now that I'm looking at it, it actually looks like a lighter version of Inglot 409 undertone wise! The texture is so soft and really makes a beautiful lid color.

That's all for today! I hope these swatches are helpful if you are in the market for a pretty bronzey brown eyeshadow! I love them all though Urban Decay Smog is my favorite with Inglot 409 and Kalahari in a tie for second place!

Do you have a lot of one color in your makeup collection? Any other bronze eyeshadow lovers out there!? What's your favorite!?

Sunday, March 24, 2013

Clean Rosegold Inspired Makeup

So lately I have been pretty obsessed with Laura Mercier products even more than usual, especially... Caviar Sticks! They are such a creamy and easy to apply product and best of all, they last all day on my lids! I do still wear primer so eyeshadow really doesn't budge, but without it the caviar sticks still last well for a few hours. I also have a very watery right eye that has caused many nightmares when applying eye makeup. I constantly have to retouch the inner corner of my eye (even when I wear primer) because the eyeshadow doesn't last in that one spot when my eye acts up. The Caviar Sticks miraculously stay put in that area! I love them! Todays' look was done with a newly released Laura Mercier Caviar Stick called Rosegold!

Laura Mercier Caviar stick in Rosegold all over lid, Mac Star Violet in outer-v, Mac Wedge in crease

Laura Mercier Foundation Primer
YSL Le Teint Touche Eclat B30
Laura Mercier Secret Camouflage
Bobbi Brown Corrector
Maybelline Dream Matte Powder
Too Faced Chocolate Soleil bronzer (I just hit pan on this! See my review here!)
Tarte Amazonian Clay Blush in Natural Beauty
Becca Shimmering Skin Perfecter in Pearl on cheekbones
Anastasia Bold & Beautiful Brow Kit

Nars Smudgeproof Eyeshadow Base
Laura Mercier Caviar Stick in Rosegold
Mac Star Violet, Mac Wedge
Rimmel Scandaleyes Nude Eyeliner
Estee Lauder Sumptuous Mascara (still hate it. can't wait until I finish it lol!)
Laura Mercier Cake Eyeliner in Black Ebony (to tightline)
Bobbi Brown Gel Eyeliner (winged liner on the lid)

Mac Shyshine Lipstick
Anastasia Roxanne Lipgloss (see review here)

Hope you like this look! Rosegold is such nice color, I really think it can be flattering on all types of skin tones. Also, I apologize for such a repetative list of face products--I am pretty obsessed with the Becca highlighter, Laura Mercier primer & concealer, and YSL foundation--lately these are the products I've been using every single day! What are your favorite makeup products lately!?

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Too Faced Chocolate Soleil Bronzer

Guys, I finally hit pan on a bronzer I've had for a few years now! I've been using Too Faced Chocolate Soleil Matte Bronzer for a long time now!!
See the tiny bit of metal pan in the middle!? Since I took this picture it's even bigger! :)
Firstly, I have to say this is the best smelling makeup product I own. It smells delicious, just like chocolate! I think it contains actual cocoa powder too. The scent is initially strong but the smell doesn't linger on the skin (therefore you can wear perfume and it won't interfere and you won't smell like a chocolate bar all day). 

Chocolate Soleil is such a fantastic bronzer. It's matte and is not so warm toned that it turns orange on the skin--making it very easy to bronze up your skin in a natural way. Because there's no sparkle or shimmer it's easy to use as a contour or all over the face. For my skin tone I think the color is great, though I would definitely recommend more pale skin tones try their new milk chocolate soleil, a lighter version that came out this past year. It is really, really pigmented so you don't have to swirl your brush in it--just tap and apply! It also blends sooo nicely.

Packaging is nice and sturdy--as you can see it does get pretty dusty, but I've had this for at least 3 years now so it's gone through a lot!

Too Faced Chocolate Soleil Bronzer now retails for $29.00, you can buy it from Too Faced or from Sephora. It's pricey but it has lasted me a long time and has a wonderful texture and color!

There's so many nice bronzers on the market--what's your favorite?! Have you tried chocolate soleil?

Sunday, March 17, 2013

Recent Empties!!

Hey everyone!
So I've been accumulating a bunch of empty products lately that I thought I'd share with you. These are all products that I've finished in the past few months, probably since January. A bunch of these products are favorites of mine that I have most likely mentioned on my blog before, so I'll be brief. I also had a couple products that I was happy to get rid of--I'll let you know why!

Lots of Skincare Empties!

Cerave PM Moisturizer: This has been my favorite face moisturizer for about 8 or 9 months now. I started using Cerave PM because my combo/oily skin felt very dehydrated (even in the warmer months). I've tried a handful of expensive moisturizers from Sephora and this one is definitely my favorite and it's affordable at the drugstore. This moisturizer really keeps my skin hydrated throughout the day without making me look greasy. I use it every day and night. I've gone through 3 of these already and will continue to buy it!

Bioderma Crealine H20: Officially my holy grail makeup remover. I had wanted to try Bioderma ever since I saw Lisa Eldridge rave about it on her youtube channel. Only problem is it is not readily available in the United States. After wanting to try it for nearly a year I finally ordered some off of Amazon. I am so glad I did!! It is amazing at removing every single bit of eye makeup, including stubborn mascara--and no rubbing needed! I also use Bioderma on my face (after wiping with a makeup wipe) to make sure every bit of face makeup is removed. Ever since I started using Bioderma, I have really noticed a significant decline in any blemishes, most likely because my makeup is being properly removed. I wish it was sold in the US--I may try some other cleansing waters just because Bioderma is more annoying to get ahold of. If you can get your hands on it, it is a wonderful product.

Bliss Lid & Lash Makeup Remover: This stuff took soooooo long to use up and I am FINALLY rid of it. I hated it. I bought it a long time ago based on the recommendation of a Sephora sales associate. Never again! It did an awful job of removing my eye makeup and my eyes always felt irritated after because I would end up rubbing them to get the makeup off. If it ever got in my eyes it stung too. I will never, ever buy this stuff again and would recommend staying clear from it.

Paula's Choice Skin Perfecting 2% BHA Liquid: I'm going to have to wait and do a full post on this product because I have so much love for it. If I had to choose my all time favorite product in the entire world, it would hands down, without a doubt be this one. It completely transformed my skin. I never had nice skin before--it was always filled with bits of acne and was uneven and dull. This stuff is beautiful skin in a bottle. I will make sure to do a full post on it soon!

Fresh Sugar Lip Balm: I got this free from Sephora as part of their birthday gift last year. It has a nice lemony scent but it is certainly nothing special. My lips felt hydrated and smooth but that feeling only lasted when it was generously applied to the lips. I know many people really love these, but I was severely unimpressed and am glad it was a freebie!

Paula's Choice LIp & Body Treatment Balm: This lip balm was mentioned in September in my last "recent empties" post! You can read about it here! Best lip balm I have ever tried--keeps them soft long after it has worn off. I can't be without this stuff!

Makeup Empties!

Maybelline Full & Soft Mascara: I had resisted trying this mascara for such a long time. It seemed like every beauty blogger, youtuber, and their mother was obsessed with this stuff. Well now I can see why. It gives you such fluttery lashes: amazing length and a good amount of volume when layered. Unlike Lashblast which can easily look dramatic in two coats, Full & Soft manages to look very natural no matter how much you put on. I loved this mascara and I will definitely repurchase it!

Covergirl Lashblast Volume Mascara: I'm sorry, you are probably sick of seeing Covergirl Lashblast on every single page of my blog, but I am obsessed with it. It makes my lashes look so voluminous, long & dramatic. I used to only wear this mascara but now I actually think this one can be a little bit intense for daytime so I save it for nighttime or to pair with smokey eyes. Maybelline Full & Soft is now my choice for daytime. It's still my favorite mascara ever and if you haven't tried it, get off the computer and go buy a tube!!!

Lancome Hypnose Drama: I feel like I am always let down by expensive mascaras, which is one of the reasons why I only use samples and never buy them. Hypnose Drama gave decent length but didn't really give much volume to my lashes. I just didn't think it did anything special for me. I thought the spiral-y brush was interesting but it was seriously prickly if I ever missed my lashes and hit my eyelid lol! Verdict: SO glad it was a free sample and that I did not waste my money on it!

Laura Mercier Oil Free Tinted Moisturizer: Okay, I just searched through my blog and seriously cannot believe I have not done a full post on this product! It is one of my absolute favorite products ever and is loved by so many people (including my best friends--HEY BOHREE!!!). Great coverage, feels lovely, good match for my skintone (I wear Nude) and just an all around essential product. I've already repurchased and will continue to do so!

What are some products that you recently finished up? Any disappointing products? Let me know in the comments below!

Thursday, March 14, 2013

Follow Beauties In Bloom!

Hey everyone!

This is a heads up to all of my followers who use Google Reader! I just found out that Google Reader is going to be shut down in a few months. As far as I can tell the internet is in an uproar over it! Thankfully there's many different sites you can use to keep track of your blogs, so I thought I'd let you know now so you can switch over before you lose the blogs you follow.

When I first started my blog I used Google Reader but decided to switch to Bloglovin' after playing with their interface. I personally find it very easy to use and it allows me to organize the blogs I follow in a simple, neat way. I also love the Bloglovin' iPhone app! Bloglovin' also has an import option so it'll be easy for those of you who use Google Reader to transfer your blogs! I've also heard that Hello Cotton is another popular site used to keep track of blogs. I'm sure there are other sites you can use but these are just two popular ones!

Feel free to use the links below if you would like to keep following Beauties In Bloom!

Follow on Bloglovin'

Follow on Hello Cotton

Additionally, if you are a twitter user you can follow me on twitter! I always tweet when there's a new blog post!

What do you use to follow your favorite blogs??

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Real Techniques Expert Face Brush

Ever since Real Techniques brushes came out they have taken the cosmetic world by storm. Real Techniques has managed to make great quality makeup brushes available at super affordable prices. They're also 100% cruelty free! I have a couple of her brushes and I love them all. The Expert Face Brush just may be my favorite of the bunch--it has become my go-to for applying foundation!
I've tried all types of foundation brushes--flat ones, stippling brushes, fluffy ones, etc. This one is the best. It is a sort of paddle shape but instead of being flat like a typical foundation brush, it's rounded and thick--making it perfect for buffing in foundation too. The bristles are incredibly soft, but because of the density it is also very firm. It blends my tinted moisturizers and liquid foundations like a dream and leaves my skin with an airbrushed finish. I usually dot my foundation all over my skin with my fingers and then I use the expert face brush to blend. It's just fantastic and makes blending foundation so, so effortless. If I were to recommend one foundation brush from the drugstore or from Sephora, I would definitely say to try this one first.

I also wanted to mention that it cleans very easily and it hasn't shed any hairs either. I wash it with a few drops of Dr. Bronners soap--works like a dream! I've had this brush for almost a year now and so far the handle has not started to peel like the handle of my blush brush (check out that review HERE).

I found mine at Ulta for $8.99--and as always there are coupons available all the time so it works out to be an even better deal. I've seen Real Techniques brushes pop up in a lot more locations recently--Bed Bath & Beyond, beauty supply stores, etc.

What do you think about the Expert Face Brush? Do you have any favorite Real Techniques brushes? I'm dying to try more and would love to hear your thoughts on other ones you like!

Friday, March 8, 2013

Natural Looking Birthday Makeup!

Hey everyone! I celebrated my birthday over the weekend and was able to take a few shots of my makeup before I headed out the door. I just went out with my boyfriend, a few friends and some family.It was pretty laid back day and I didn't want to wear any over the top makeup. I did a light gold eye and defined by tightlining. I absolutely love this technique! It makes my lashes look much thicker but still natural!
If you haven't heard of it, tightlining is basically a way to line the eye by wiggling in a long wear eyeliner product into the lashlines (not the waterline!) to really thicken the lashes. It really helps to enhance and define the eye without having to line the waterline or do a more obvious line next to your lashes. I still smudged some eyeshadow along my lashlines, but tightlining has become my new favorite technique! I've been using Laura Mercier Cake eyeliner--it's so easy to apply and doesn't budge!

Laura Mercier Sandglow Caviar Stick on lid, Urban Decay buck in crease, Smog on lower lashline, and creep along upper lashline

Laura Mercier Foundation Primer
Laura Mercier Oil Free Tinted Moisturizer
YSL Le Teint Touche Eclat B30 (a tiny bit on cheeks for extra coverage)
Laura Mercier Secret Camouflage
Garnier Anti-Dark Circle Eye Rollerball
Sonia Kashuk brightening powder under eyes
Maybelline Dream Matte Powder
Illamasqua Lover Blush
Becca Shimmering Skin Perfecter in Pearl on cheekbones
Anastasia Bold & Beautiful Brow Kit

Nars Smudgeproof Eyeshadow Base
Mac femme fi, brow highlight
Laura Mercier Caviar Stick in Sand Glow
Urban Decay Naked Palette: Buck, Creep, Smog
Rimmel Scandaleyes nude eyeliner
Laura Mercier Cake eyeliner in black ebony
Benefit They're Real Mascara

YSl Glossy Stain #12

What are your go to products for a natural look? I feel like I have such a long list of products, but the overall effect doesn't look heavy in person!

Tuesday, March 5, 2013

Zoya Jules

I know I know, yet another Zoya polish! What can I say, I'm obsessed! Anyway, today's nail polish is the beautiful Zoya Jules!

Don't mind the terrible cuticles, I was in a rush! haha!

Jules is a shimmering gray tinged champagne taupey color. A somewhat vague description, but it is definitely special. It's neutral enough to be subtle but still unique and shimmery to make it interesting! It was great in two coats though I could have done with a thin third coat. Formula is excellent as usual, not too thick, not too thin.

Thoughts on Zoya Jules? As always don't forget about the share the love rewards program (you can read about HERE) and to check out their facebook page for special deals!

Friday, March 1, 2013

Nars Rue Bonaparte Vs. Rimmel Scandaleyes Nude Eyeliner

Today I have a battle of the nude eyeliners!! For nearly a year, Nars Rue Bonaparte has been a staple in my makeup bag. Nars Rue Bonaparte is a creamy, nude colored eyeliner pencil. I have loved using a nude color on the waterline. I used to use black on the waterline all the time but dark colors on the waterline can actually make eyes look smaller. I still love using black, especially with smokier eyes but I have found that nude is a wonderful alternative. Nude eyeliner covers up any pink on the waterline that can make you look tired and makes your eyes look much more wide eyed and open.

Nars Rue Bonaparte has a wonderfully creamy texture and is the perfect soft matte nude color to make eyes look bright. I already used up one pencil completely and am currently working through a second one--that's how much I love the effect! So when Rimmel came out with their new Scandaleyes waterproof eyeliners, I was ecstatic to hear that they came out with a nude color! After watching THIS video from makeup artist Josh Collier, I KNEW I had to try them. The idea of finding a drugstore dupe that performs better than a high end product always gets me excited ;)

As you can see in the picture below, Rimmel Scandaleyes on the left is the slightest bit darker however they both have the same eye opening effect on the eyes. For my skin tone I can wear either but if you have a lighter skin tone than me, Nars Rue Bonaparte may be more flattering.

Left, Rimmel Scandaleeyes Right, Nars Rue Bonaparte
In terms of wear time, I have to say Rimmel absolutely takes the win! Nars Rue Bonaparte looks so nice on the eyes but it never lasted as long as I wanted on my waterline. Rue Bonaparte's wear time was always the one critique. It probably lasts 3 hours until it wears off and I have to reapply. Rimmel on the other hand lasts all day, at least double the wear time of Nars. I am so impressed!! I also think the Rimmel texture is the slightest bit softer, which is always a plus when rubbing a pencil on the waterline.

The only thing I would change about Rimmel Scandaleyes is that they have to be sharpened by a pencil sharpener. The Nars pencil has a twist up mechanism and a tiny sharpener on the back of it. I much prefer that method since less product is wasted and it's just easier for me that way.

If you'd like to see them in action, here's some FOTD's with Rimmel Scandaleyes: 1 & 2. Here's two with Nars Rue Bonaparte: 1 & 2

Price wise, Nars Rue Bonaparte retails for $24 and Rimmel Scandaleyes is around $5 at drugstores. If you've been wanting to try a nude eyeliner, definitely try Rimmel's first! I think Rimmel is the superior product and much, much more affordable!! I am looking forward to trying out the other Scandaleyes colors--if the texture and wear time are the same as the nude one then I don't see any reason to try more expensive eyeliners. I'll be finishing up my Nars Rue Bonaparte, but after that I don't see a reason to repurchase it now that there is such a fantastic dupe! I promise you won't be disappointed!

Have you tried a nude eyeliner on the waterline? How about the new Rimmel Scandaleyes eyeliners??

Monday, February 25, 2013

Berry All Over Monochromatic Look

Hey guys! For todays FOTD I ended up with a pretty monochromatic look all in the berry color family! Berry blush, lips, and eyes! I started out playing with Laura Mercier Caviar Stick in Amethyst, a warm mauve color with gold shimmer--it sort of inspired the rest of the products I used!

Laura Mercier Amethyst all over lids, Mac Brown Down in outer-v & crease, Inglot amc shine 30 to highlight browbone

Laura Mercier Foundation Primer
YSL Le Teint Touche Eclat B30
Laura Mercier Secret Camouflage
Garnier Anti-Dark Circle Eye Rollerball
Maybelline Dream Matte Powder
Too Faced Chocolate Soleil bronzer
Nars Sin Blush
Becca Shimmering Skin Perfecter in Pearl on cheekbones
Anastasia Bold & Beautiful Brow Kit

Nars Smudgeproof Eyeshadow Base
Laura Mercier Caviar Stick in Amethyst
Mac Brown Down
Sephora Collection 12HR wear liquid eyeliner in Glitter Brown
Estee Lauder Sumptuous Mascara (HATED this mascara. Luckily it was a free mini gift with purchase! lol!)

Revlon Lip Butter in Berry Smoothie

I hope you like this look! Do you ever do monochromatic looks that use mainly one kind of color? I'm getting a haircut tomorrow so next time you see me my locks will be much more tame! lol!

Friday, February 22, 2013

Anastasia Beverly Hills Bold & Beautiful Kit

Today I thought I'd show you the Anastasia Beverly Hills Spring 2013 offering, the Bold and Beautiful Kit! If you like neutral shades and defined, groomed brows then this would be a great kit to check out.

Very nice, simple packaging presented like a two box set--one set is for the brows, the second is for the eyes. I love that the palettes are nice and thin but I do think there is a lot of empty cardboard space. If they made them even smaller it would be even more convenient for travel.

The brow set comes with a waxy brown shade on the left and a cool toned ashy taupe brow powder. The pomade holds the brows in really nicely, does not come out too dark and is lightly pigmented so it is buildable--i think if your brows are not too light or too dark it would work nicely. The brow gel works a bit better for holding very unruly brows in place, but if you only need a little bit of hold, the pomade is perfect! I really like the powder too--I thought it might be a little too cool toned but in combination with the pomade (which is slightly warmer) it works really well with my brow color! I LOVE the mini set of tweezers. They work great and are super easy to travel with! Lastly there is the angled brush with a spoolie that does the job well.
L-R eyeshadows, then Nars Mekong, then the brow pomade and powder 
The eyeshadow set comes with 4 shades. They don't have specific names but it has: a light matte nude/peach, a shimmery peachy, a medium brown with subtle gold glitter (the glitter didn't translate on the eye), and lastly a very, very dark cocoa brown with copper colored glitter. I thought the peach color could be a little bit more pigmented (like Inglot 407!) since it applied more sheerly on the eye. The last shade is incredibly pigmented and when I saw the color I immediately thought of Nars Mekong.  As you can see in the above photo, the Anastasia color is a much more blackened brown and I looove it! I think it's a nice combination of colors--they fit very nicely together though it would have been nice if they included another cooler color (since the peachy color is so warm and many people may not like orange tones on the eyes!). The pigmentation is nice, but not the most buttery I've ever tried. The standout for me is definitely the rich, sparkly blackened cocoa brown color! I can't say it is the most unique eyeshadow palette, but if you don't have colors like these already it would be a nice addition to your collection!

The set is $36 and available now at Nordstrom, & Anastasia but will be available at Sephora and Ulta soon! I think this kit is a great buy, especially if you love brows and neutrals. What would be even better is if you could buy just one half of the kit for half the price--mostly because I am in love with the brow kit and have been using it nonstop! I have too many eyeshadows for my own good!

What do you think of the Bold & Beautiful Kit?! Is this something you would use?

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. 

Sunday, February 17, 2013

New L'oreal Colour Caresse Shine Stains Review

Hi everyone! You may know from my post about YSL Glossy stains (HERE) that they are my absolute favorite lip product. I love everything about them--the staying power, the formula, the colors...The only thing I hate is the high price point. At $32 per glossy stain, they don't come cheap. So I was completely ecstatic when it was rumored that the new L'oreal Colour Caresse Shine Stains were a possible dupe for them! I picked up 4 for way less than the price of one glossy stain. I thought I'd share some swatches and my thoughts on them with you!

L-R: Endless Red, Coral Tattoo, Pink Resistance, Berry Persistant
The gold packaging is really nice--obviously not as luxurious looking as the YSL glossy stains, but I do like the packaging. I really like that you can see the color on the side as well. In the photo below you can see that the applicator is quite similar too. They both have a slightly pointed padded doefoot applicator. The YSL ones is a bit more angular so it does allow you to be more precise when applying--but the L'oreal one is easy enough to use as well.
The similar applicators side by side
Formula wise, I think the L'oreal ones are very close! They both have that watery consistency that gets tacky after a few moments on the lips. Pigmentation wise the YSL ones are definitely more pigmented and saturated in color on the first swipe while the L'oreal ones take at least two to four layers on the lips to build up the pigmentation. In comparison to YSL, the glossy stains did last longer and they also looked glossier for longer too.You can see in the swatches below that I chose three brighter colors and one light peachy, pink color---Pink Resistance took more layering than the others and did not stain for as long. The bright colors did last a really long time on my lips, especially Coral Tattoo. When looking at the L'oreal ones, since there is such an array of colors, I would definitely recommend going for the brighter colors since they stain better--I've read that the light, pale colors are sheerer and do not stain nearly as well.

Some more pronounced differences I noticed: the L'oreal ones make my lips feel a bit dryer than the YSL ones do. I actually don't have an issue with the YSL ones at all--but the L'oreal ones are a little drying for me. Lucky for me I am a lip balm addict so I always have them on me--I always apply a generous amount to my lips after the L'oreal shine stains wear off. Additionally, the smells are slightly different. They both smell like versions of boozy fruit to me--but the L'oreal ones smell much stronger and more floral--and not as good in my opinion. It does disappear after a while and while i'm not usually a picky scent person, I can definitely say it's not my favorite. One last noticeable difference: I noticed the stain that is left behind by the L'oreal glosses looked a little patchy as it faded away, something the YSL stains do not do. For the first 2 hours though, the L'oreal ones look great!
L-R: YSL GS #9, L'oreal Endless Red, YSL GS #12, L'oreal Coral Tattoo, L'oreal Pink Resistance, L'oreal Berry Persistant
The colors I got were:
190 Endless Red: a bright neutral leaning warm red. This color is a fantastic dupe for YSL Glossy Stain #9, with YSL leaning slightly more warm.
188 Coral Tattoo: a bright orange. I thought it would be a little more similar to YSL glossy stain #12 when swatched but they're completely different. #12 is a pinky coral wheras L'oreal is straightforward orange. I wonder how similar it would be to Glossy Stain #8 though!?
183 Pink Resistance: a light peachy pink--a nice everyday color but it is on the sheerer side in comparison to the brighter colors--you do have to layer it more to show up. Also, it's not quite pink like the name says--it definitely turns coral on me!
186 Berry Persistent: a dark purple that dries down to a vampy purple/wine color on the lips

One thing I really like about having the L'oreal dupes available is that I can try out colors that I don't want to pay the YSL prices for. I like that I can try colors like Coral Tattoo and Berry Persistant (two colors that I love but don't wear as often as pinks and reds and corals) at a low price point. I would feel guilty splurging on YSL counterparts if I knew I wasn't going to wear the colors as often and get my money's worth.

Ever since I got the YSL glossy stains I really have been wearing them nonstop. They are my favorite lip formula to wear and I know I will get more in the future. L'oreal is great, but I honestly I do prefer my YSL ones. The formula wears slightly longer, is more comfortable and less drying on the lips, and the pigmentation in general is a bit better.  That being said, I do really appreciate the L'oreal Colour Caresse shine stains. I think they are an excellent dupe and it will allow many people who are weary of the $32 YSL price tag to try out a fantastic and unique lip formula. If I were to look at the L'oreal product alone without comparing it to YSL I would still say it's an exceptional drugstore product. There is a bit of truth to "you get what you pay for"--it is not an identical dupe, but for the low price, you shouldn't expect it to be the exact same. Both are worth checking out!

You can find the L'oreal Colour Caresse Shine Stains at any drugstore--and because of that, you can probably find them on a promotion too! Let me know what you think in the comments--have you tried the Colour Caresse Shine Stains and YSL glossy stains?? What are your thoughts on how they compare??

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Maybelline Color Tattoo in Bad to the Bronze

Ever since I got my first Maybelline Color Tattoos back in February of last year (see my initial review HERE!) I have added a few more to my collection. I love using them alone as a wash of color or as a colored base for my powder eyeshadows. One of my favorite colors I have gotten is one I'm showing you today-- Bad to the Bronze! It is such a nice shimmery neutral, I find myself using it all the time!

As I mentioned before, these don't quite last like tattoos on my eyelids. They crease awfully on their own but work amazing over an eyeshadow primer! Keep in mind they may not crease for you--I just have annoyingly oily eyelids :) The texture on this one is creamy and very blendable---I actually find it to be the best texture (the creamiest!) of all the tattoos I own.

The color is a taupey-bronze. It is not like a traditional bronze with warm, golden undertones. It is more of a taupe with a hint of bronze. I love the color and think it would be flattering on sooo many skin tones! I seriously can't get enough of it--it looks beautiful on its own and I use it all the time under neutral looks.

I believe they retail for around $6 but you will have to check your local drugstores for exact prices. As always, you can always get a good deal at drugstores through frequent sales and various reward programs (hello CVS Extracare bucks!!).

Have you tried the Maybelline color tattoos? I am becoming more and more impressed by Maybelline products lately! I have a powder and a mascara I have tried recently and I love them both!


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