Tuesday, September 30, 2014

September Makeup Favorites

This month, I have been loving a natural look with defined brows, bold (er) blush, and lots of mascara. I've been hanging on to summer and skipping eyeliner most days and keeping it easy with a minimal matte nude eye.

I wanted to round up what I have been reaching for most this month and share! Not every category of product is included here - I wanted to show you what I have been truly loving this month, day in & day out.

Sunday, September 28, 2014

Top 3 Favorite Neutral / MLBB Drugstore Lipliners

I wanted to share my top 3 favorite drugstore MLBB (my lips but better) neutral pink lip liners. Neutral pink shades are the ultimate in versatility - perfect for everyday makeup, adding definition to nude lipsticks, and adding dimension to berry lipsticks. Even better, each of these is under $5!

Without further ado, my top 3:
  • NYX Lipliner Pencil - #860 Peekaboo Neutral
  • Milani Color Statement Lipliner - #03 Nude
  • Jordana Easyliner For Lips - Tawny 

Friday, September 26, 2014

Hakuhodo J521 Eyeliner Brush (D1 Flat) review

Hakuhodo's J 521 eyeliner brush has the smallest brush head in my collection, but is one of the most useful on a daily basis. This brush is designed for very controlled thin eyeliner placement, making it perfect for tightlining. Tightlining looks incredibly natural and adds subtle definition to the eye by placing product in between the upper lashes. This brush makes tightlining effortless and leaves you with fuller looking lashes and a defined eye. I bought mine from the Hakuhodo USA website for $14.

Brush Details:
  • Price - $14
  • Dimensions - Full Length: 132.3mm, Hair Length: 2.3mm, Thickness: 1.3mm
  • Handle - Wood
  • Ferrule - Nickel, Brass/Silver
  • Hair - Natural (Horse)

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

NYX HD Concealer Wand in Green review & swatches

Have you ever wished for a 'mint chip ice cream green' concealer? Perhaps a pastel pistachio? Me either. Read on for a tragic story of a promising product led astray by an odd undertone.

NYX HD Concealer Wand in Green (CW12) is described as a "pastel green" that will "reduce the appearance of redness." This is a sound idea according to basic color theory, so I figured I would give a green concealer a shot. I have quite a bit of redness around my nose, a little acne scarring on my cheeks, and a few active breakouts. This normally costs about $5 at Ulta, but I bought mine on a 40% off sale.

Monday, September 22, 2014

Giorgio Armani Luminous Silk Foundation - Shade 02 review & swatches

While searching for the perfect wedding foundation, I kept coming across glowing reviews of Giorgio Armani Luminous Silk. Review after review promised I would love the natural skin look, effortless glow, and photo friendly formula. After a few weeks of deliberation, I placed my order at Nordstrom. Luminous Silk retails for $62 for one ounce, which tops my personal "most expensive foundation ever purchased" list.

I chose shade No. 02, the lightest shade on Nordstrom's website. Confession: I have never been to an Armani counter, so I'm not sure if Nordstrom's website carries all of the shades available. Shade 02 turned out to be a very good match for my very fair skin and works with my cool undertones despite having a little yellow. The undertone of the foundation is neutral-yellow, which works for masking my natural redness.

Sunday, September 21, 2014

Milani Baked Blush in 05 Luminoso review & swatches

Milani's baked blush in Luminoso is stunning golden peach shade that leaves a healthy glow on the cheeks. I reach for Luminoso on the regular all the time in the spring and summer. Like all of the other Milani baked blushes I have tried (I reviewed the line here), Luminoso is pigmented and complex. I bought mine at CVS for $8.49.

Luminoso accomplishes something that is difficult to execute well - it is a full color blush that packs pigment without overwhelming fair skin. I have no trouble buffing this blush into my skin and find that it is equally beautiful in a saturated or diffused application.

Saturday, September 20, 2014

NARS Douceur Blush (nude pink) review & swatches

You have probably walked right past Douceur at a NARS counter. Compared to all of the beautiful shiny colors in the NARS blush range, Douceur could easily be mistaken as a nobody. In the pan, Douceur is a dull, matte nude tan pink. On your face, Douceur is pure magic - a neutral, goes with anything complexion boosting blush. If you have never tried a nude blush, you are missing out. I bought mine at Sephora for $29.

When I first bought this, I didn't talk about it for a long time because I didn't know how to say the name. Douceur is pronounced "doo-sir" (roughly), is of French origin, and means sweetness. Compared to racy NARS blush names like Orgasm, Deep Throat, Sex Fantasy, and the like, Douceur is a welcome change of pace. Douceur can also mean a bribe (presumably in a "sweeten the deal" type of usage), so its not a completely innocent name, but it is refreshing to own a NARS blush I can tell my mom about.

Friday, September 19, 2014

Wet N Wild Color Icon Trio in Walking on Eggshells 380B review & swatches

Wet N Wild's color icon eyeshadow formula is famous on beauty blogs for being superior to other drugstore alternatives, and for good reason. Walking on Eggshells is my favorite Wet N Wild color icon trio in the regular line - the neutral satin finish shadows work well together for a quick eyeshadow look. I bought mine for $2.99 at CVS.

  • "Browbone" - neutral toned cream, satin
  • "Crease" - warm toned medium brown, satin
  • "Eyelid" - neutral toned soft ballet pink, satin 

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

NYX Eyeshadow Primer Base 03 Skin Tone review & swatches

NYX Eyeshadow Base in #3 Skin Tone (ESB03) was one of the first products I purchased when I started looking for eyeshadow bases / primers that would even out my lid color and mask visible veins. NYX Eyeshadow Base is an emollient cream base product that promises to act as a primer and concealer for your lids in one. The product also comes in two other color options - white (01) and white pearl (02). I bought mine for $6.99 at Ulta.

Skin Tone is the type of product name that makes me rage a little inside - "skin tone" is not one color! (This shade is likely a good match for light to medium skin) I apply this by patting a little bit of product onto my lids and it blends into my fair skintone well with a sheer application, but I don't think the shade is as important when used as a true base shadow because you will be layering product on top of it.

Monday, September 15, 2014

My Favorite Drugstore Blush Formula - Milani Baked Blush

Milani Baked Blush is the classic drugstore tale of a great product hidden in unfortunate packaging. Milani's Baked Blush line contains an impressive 8 shades (plus a 9th - a medium bronzer) with a surprising amount of shade complexity. Of the 8, 6 are satin or shimmery and 2 are matte. These blushes cost $8.49 for .12 oz (3.5 grams) of product.

I have 3 shades: 07 Fantastico Mauve, 03 Berry Amore, and 05 Luminoso. (Separate swatch posts to come!)

  • #7 Fantastico Mauve is a shimmery red leaning berry with golden and bronze veining
  • #3 Berry Amore is a shimmery warm bronze rose with golden and bronze veining
  • #5 Luminoso is a satin warm peach with a hint of pink that comes off with a sheen on the cheeks (note: Luminoso is not a NARS Orgasm blush dupe - the Milani blush that was similar to Orgasm was called Luminous and is discontinued)

Thursday, September 11, 2014

Bare Minerals 5 in 1 BB Cream Shadow Candlelit Peach review & swatches

Let's get this off the table right away - the name of this product is ridiculous. "Bare Minerals 5 in 1 BB Advanced Performance Cream Eyeshadow" Seriously, they jumped on that BB bandwagon hard. Okay, let's move past that. The new Bare Minerals cream shadow is supposed to be a longwearing primer cream shadow, similar in claims to a Mac Paint Pot but in a more liquid form. I have shade Candlelit Peach, which came in the Bare Minerals Multi Tasking Stars kit (review here) and is sold on the Bare Minerals site. This product retails for $18 for a .1 ounce tube.

Candlelit peach is very accurately named. The shade is a warm toned creamy peach with a matte base and a little shimmer. The product doesn't have a pearl effect or any luminescence in the base formula, but has an odd spattering of shimmer particles suspended in a flat matte base. From a distance, the shimmer doesn't appear unless it hits the light and it shows as a satin finish. Up close, however, the sparkle particles are apparent.

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Empties & Mini Reviews - Too Faced, NYX, Elf, Bare Minerals, Jack Black

I was inspired to share some empties today after doing an end of summer collection purge. All of the empty products below are *actually* makeup & beauty products. Anyone else get angry about body scrub and candle empties? Let's check out what I used up recently:

  • NYX Butter Gloss in Creme Brulee (BLG 05)
  • e.l.f. Essential Wet Gloss Lash & Brow Clear mascara
  • Jack Black Intense Therapy Lip Balm in Grapefruit & Ginger and Lemon & Chamomile
  • Too Faced Shadow Insurance
  • Bare Minerals Lash Domination mascara (black)
 Let's get into the mini reviews:

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

Hakuhodo B 5521 BkSL Pointed Highlight Brush Review

The Hakuhodo B5521 BkSl brush is a small tapered egg shaped brush that comes to a gentle point at the top of the brush head. This brush is listed on the manufacturer's website as a highlight brush, but is also perfect for contouring, powdering small areas, and precise blush placement. I purchased this brush on the Hakuhodo USA website for $35. All of the brush pictures in this post were taken after about two months of daily use with multiple washings.

Brush Details:
  • Price - $35
  • Dimensions - Full Length: 169mm, Hair Length: 33.0mm, Thickness: 13.0mm
  • Handle - Wood
  • Ferrule - Nickel, Brass/Silver
  • Hair - Natural (Blue Squirrel, Goat / Sokoho)

Monday, September 8, 2014

Makeup Forever HD powder DIY dupe? TKB Trading Silica Microspheres & 30g Jar review

I was really curious about translucent HD powders, but I wasn't ready to shell out $34 for Makeup Forever's Microfinish HD powder. Instead, I bought generic silica microspheres and an empty 30 gram jar from TKB trading to see if HD powders are worth the hype. I bought 1 ounce of silica microspheres for $4.95 and a 30 gram jar with sifter for $.90.

HD Powders
HD powders are very fine powders that are supposed to be invisible on the skin. Many on the market, like the ever popular Makeup Forever HD and the elf studio HD, are silica based and translucent. Loose HD powders are great for applying a thin layer of powder over the face before applying foundation (a la Wayne Goss), setting foundation without adding extra coverage, and touching up during the day. Silica powders are notoriously bad for flash photography, so I recommend staying away from them for special events.

The Makeup Forever HD powder ($34) is comprised of silica microspheres and the elf studio HD powder ($6) is comprised of silica microspheres and fillers. I would like to note that not all silica microspheres are created equal - as with all powders, there are different particle sizes and some are more finely milled than others.

Sunday, September 7, 2014

Etude House Lovely Cookie Blusher #6 Grapefruit Jelly / #3 Raspberry Tarte review & swatches

The Etude House Lovely Cookie Blusher line was one of the first Korean makeup products that sucked me into Asian beauty shopping. Each blush is packaged in a cute round bubble compact with a powder puff. I purchased shade 6, Grapefruit Jelly, and shade 3, Raspberry Tarte.

The Lovely Cookie blusher compacts are very cute as well as functional. The frosted bubble top is round enough to hold the puff, but isn't too hard to store. The compact height is similar to a Milani baked blush. The bottom of each compact is the the color of the product inside, making it easy to grab the shade you want the first time. I love the little bow on the puff, but I do prefer a brush for application.

Saturday, September 6, 2014

It Cosmetics Brushes for Ulta - No. 217 Angled Liner / Brow [review]

I can't help myself when I see a new brush line! I picked up a brush from the new It Cosmetics for Ulta line the other day and wanted to share pictures and my thoughts so far. I chose # 217, which is a synthetic angled liner and brow brush with a silver handle and ferrule. Angled brushes are a must have for me and I use them daily for tightlining and filling in my brows.

Brush Details:

  • Price - $16
  • Location - Ulta exclusive, made by It Cosmetics
  • Collection - Live Beauty Fully
  • Hair - Synthetic
  • Ferrule & Handle - Unknown material, feels light, maybe aluminum?
  • Length - 6.25 inches total length, brush head is .25 inches at the longest
  • Extras - Comes with a plastic protector cap for travel

Friday, September 5, 2014

Lorac Haul: Peach Blush, Star Quality, Serenity, & Pewter Eyeshadow swatches

I wanted to share my Lorac haul from the VIP sale page - I got their blush in Peach and single eyeshadows in Star Quality, Serenity, and Pewter. Lorac offers free shipping on orders of any size which makes it so easy to sneak sale items into your shopping cart. I was so excited about my order that I took pictures quickly right out of the box! Pardon my dirty windowsill :)

Thursday, September 4, 2014

Is it a dupe? NYX Butter Lipstick in Pops vs. Urban Decay Revolution Lipstick in Rush

My most worn lipsticks are my lips but better (MLBB) shades because they even out my lips while adding natural color. I love mid tone rosy pinks with a hint of mauve- anyone else buy the same color again and again? When I added NYX's Butter Lipstick in Pops to my collection, I realized it was similar to my beloved Urban Decay Revolution lipstick in Rush.

Wednesday, September 3, 2014

Urban Decay Freelove Single Eyeshadow review & swatches

Urban Decay's eyeshadow single in Freelove is the perfect warm peachy coral. I get lots of wear with this in the spring and summer when I want a peachy pink pop. Urban Decay singles retail for $18 for 1.5 grams / .05 ounces of product, which comes out to $360 per ounce.

Built up, freelove looks more pink, but sheered out the shade looks more orange. Freelove has an understated shimmery finish that contains light and dimension without glittery fallout or a metallic finish. I find freelove to be surprisingly versatile because it looks so different worn sheerly than worn at full opacity. You wouldn't know it by looking at the pan, but a light wash of freelove on the lid looks fresh and natural with a satin finish. I wear matte eyeshadows about 80% of the time, but this sheers out to a satin finish that looks subdued and not too shiny. Built up, you can easily achieve a brighter more shimmery look that really pops. I adore this formula - easy to blend and a smooth texture.

Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Inglot Gel Eyeliner # 89 Brown and # 77 Black review & swatches

Inglot's AMC matte eyeliner gel is one of my favorite formulas with a friendly price tag. I bought two shades - #89, a warm dark brown, and #77, a true black, on Beautylish.

Inglot is a Polish company and has a strong presence around the world, so these products are pretty easy to track down. I bought very traditional colors, but the line contains 22 shades so there is something for everyone! Inglot gel liners are a great value - 5.5 grams / .19 oz for $12, which comes out to $63.16 per ounce. By comparison, Bobbi Brown's gel eyeliner goes for $24 for .1oz ($240 per ounce), Mac Fluidline costs $16 for .1oz ($160 per ounce), and Maybelline Eye Studio Lasting Drama gel eyeliner goes for $9.99 for .1oz ($99.90 per ounce). Inglot's pot of gel eyeliner comes with almost double the amount of product most gel eyeliners have at a reasonable price. Plus, their color selection rocks!

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