Tuesday, December 1, 2015

Makeup conspiracy theory- bottomless Becca shimmering skin perfectors

So you know how restaurants advertise bottomless fries or infinity drink refills? I've been thinking (probably Thanksgiving inspired if we're being honest) and I have a makeup conspiracy theory to share - Becca's shimmering skin perfectors are bottomless. I'm not sure how the Becca fairies do such a great job coming over to my house and topping up my SSPs, but I have magically yet to run out despite near everyday use.

I bought the Becca Shimmering Skin Perfector Spotlights set last year (about 14 months ago). The set contained mini SSPs in Pearl, Champagne Gold, and Opal, each with .17oz of product. The full size is ten times larger at 1.7 ounces. I absolutely adore the Becca SSP formula and use one of these shades almost every day.

Based on my photo showing how much I have used over 14 months, I have gone through about half of Pearl, about a third of Champagne Gold and a quarter of Opal. I also have a picture below (shade: Opal) of the typical amount I use on a daily basis - I apply to my cheekbones, inner corner of my eye, lightly on my browbone, and cupid's bow.

By my estimate, if I'm using up about a mini size (.17oz) per year, it would take me around 10 years to finish up a full (1.7oz) size bottle! Assuming I'm gross and don't care about expired products or bacteria, that is a serious commitment to a highlighter. I think I am so used to using up and repurchasing cream base products (concealer, BB cream, foundation) it has been truly baffling to me that I am nowhere near empty on these. Thus, I can only conclude the Becca fairies are coming to my house for free refills :)

I am left with two questions: Why is the full size so gigantic? If you have finished a full size Becca shimmering skin perfector, how did you do that? I would love to know where and how you apply it.

Thursday, November 19, 2015

Show & Tell - My everyday neutral eyeshadow Z palette

I wanted to do a quick show & tell post sharing my everyday neutral eyeshadows I keep in my Z palette. I have a Z palette 4U and I really like the size - it fits a lot of eyeshadow without feeling unwieldy. All of these pans magnetize to the Z palette without needing any extra magnets or magnet tape. I love mixing and matching brands to pull together the shades I use most in a palette, even if there is some wasted empty space. I have a mix of depotted shades from palettes and eyeshadows that are sold as single pans.

In my palette:
  1. Stila In The Know Air, Wind, Desert, Clay, Earth, Rain, Smoke, and Ebony
  2. Revlon Colorstay eyeshadow quad in Coffee Bean, top 2 shades
  3. Too Faced All I Want For Christmas (LE) 
  4. The Balm Nude Tude Stubborn and Standoffish 
  5. Covergirl Cheekers bronzer in Golden Tan (this isn't a great bronzer color for my skintone, but I enjoy it as an eyeshadow)
  6. Inglot 341 and 31
 Do you have an eyeshadow palette for your depotted eyeshadow or shades that come as single pans? What do you keep in yours?

Sunday, November 15, 2015

BESTOPE makeup brushes update

You know how I halfheartedly recommended the knockoff Amazon BESTOPE makeup brushes about six months ago? My original review said the quality is "competitive with the Elf Studio brush line" and that they are "decent for the price". Well, I haven't published a post like this before, but I would like to rescind that.

After intermittent use and washing intervals that could charitably be described as lazy, these brushes have lost function. The large pencil brush (my most used of the set by a long shot) lost so many bristles in the last washing that it is about half its original density. "Shedding" would be a polite euphemism for the amount of hair lost - the sink in my bathroom reminded me of when I used to give my Barbies haircuts.

So, for the record: I now rank BESTOPE as inferior in quality to the Elf Essentials brush line, dramatically inferior in quality to the Elf Studio line, mileage from a full tank of gas behind the Real Techniques line, and a continent behind my beloved Hakuhodo brushes.

So there you go - even for 4 brushes for $5, these are not worth the price. (A slightly happier ending after the jump).

Sunday, November 8, 2015

Book review - Face Paint: The Story of Makeup by Lisa Eldridge

I was so excited when Lisa Eldridge announced her new book I pre-ordered in on Amazon right away. Face Paint: The Story of Makeup shipped to me a few weeks ago and I took my time reading it (as you do with books as beautiful as this one). Note: This is a spoiler free review to help you decide if this book is for you (it is!), not a summary.

As Lisa explained in this video on her YouTube channel, the concept of this book is to tell the story of makeup, from a historical, color story, and business perspective. This is consciously not a how to artistry book or an academic history, which I appreciate.

Longtime blog readers know that my day job is in finance, but you may not know that I earned my BA in History, not business or finance as you might expect. I already knew a little bit about cosmetics history and some of the trends touched upon in the book, but I was pleasantly surprised how many people and stories introduced in the book were new to me. I can't tell you how many times I had to stop reading and tell my (eternally patient) husband "did you know that..." or show him a stunning photograph from the book. The back of the book claims "read this book and you will never look at makeup the same way again" and that is not meaningless dust jacket crap, it is the absolute truth.

Saturday, October 31, 2015

Chikuhodo Z-5 eyeshadow brush review & alternatives

Today's brush review is the Chikuhodo Z-5 100% gray squirrel large eyeshadow brush. As you would expect from the name, the Z-5 is from Chikuhodo's Z series, known for its high quality squirrel hair and shiny black ferrules and handles. The brush also bears the phrase "by Tesshyu", in acknowledgement of Chikuhodo Chairmain Tesshu Takmori. Tesshu Takmori is one of the most well known brush artisans globally and was the founder of Chikuhodo Co, ltd. You can read more about him and the history of Chikuhodo on their website and in this New York Times profile.

I purchased my Z-5 from CD Japan for about $33 (4,000 yen + 320 yen tax in Japan), but prices will vary based on retailer and current currency exchange to yen. You can also purchase the Chikuhodo Z-5 from Beautylish ($44) and Visage USA ($43).

Brush specifics:
  • 100% Gray Squirrel, extremely soft and supple
  • Full length: 135mm (short handle) 
  • Hair length: 16mm, hair thickness approx. 6mm
  • Ferrule width approx. 15mm
  • Large oval brush head footprint with rounded tips and a gentle taper
  • Excellent quality construction - I have used this almost daily for 3 months and washed it several times with no change to the shape and no shedding

Tuesday, October 27, 2015

Urban Decay neutral eyeshadow singles: Sin, Half Baked, Suspect, and Freelove

Today's post is a showcase of my neutral shimmery Urban Decay eyeshadow singles. Singles aren't a great value compared to a palette, but I love the simplicity of having the the exact shade you want without the bulk of a palette or the waste of owning a bunch of shades you won't use. If you are an Ulta Platinum member, they occasionally run a 50% off Urban Decay eyshadow single sale, which is a great price if you are patient enough to wait for a sale.

These singles are .05 oz (1.5 grams) and retail for $19. Like everything on this blog, I bought all of these myself.
I decided to take a different approach with the swatches - Urban Decay shimmer eyeshadows get a bad rap for being fallout prone, loudly metallic, and generally inappropriate for work or school. Certainly some of the micro glitter shades have fallout and the brighter shades aren't corporate friendly, but the smooth shimmery metallic neutral shades are more wearable than you might think.

Seeing as you can find pigmented, opaque swatches of these shades all over the internet, I'm showing these as I wear them most - soft and subtle. For a work or school friendly eye look, I lay down a matte base that matches my skintone (Urban Decay Walk of Shame is a great option), define the crease with a matte cool toned brown (Urban Decay Naked2 rocks), sweep a sheer layer of a shimmery shade all over the lid, and gently pat a lighter shimmery shade on the inner corner. Most of the time I use my fingers for the shimmery shades out of laziness, but brushes also work well. Voila - corporate friendly AND shiny at the same time!

Wednesday, October 21, 2015

PSA: Chikuhodo LE Noel Lumiere & Noel Rose holiday brush sets

Japanese brush brand Chikuhodo has recently released information about their limited edition 2015 holidays brush sets. This year they have two sets available - the Noel Collection Lumiere and the Noel Collection Rose. Chikuhodo makes limited quantities of their LE holiday sets, so if you are interested I recommend pre-ordering quickly. These sets are up on the CD Japan site and the Japanese Chikuhodo site, but I haven't seen them on Visage or Beautylish.

A guide to Sephora holiday 2015 makeup gift value sets (part 2)

photos of sets are from Sephora.com, compiled by me
Welcome to part 2 of my guide to Sephora holiday makeup value gift sets! Please read part 1 for an explanation of my methodology and the first part of the list.  I suspect this post might will be a tedious read, so please go ahead and skim to the sets you are most interested in.

Going from best to worst value, let's get started!

100% + value makeup sets

ARDENCY INN MODSTER Eyeliner Trio - retail $29
  • 3 x 0.04 oz Eyeliners in Black, Coffee, Gold (FS) - $19 value each
  • Stated value - $57
  • Value - $57 (197%) correct value!

Smashbox Try It Kit- Primer Authority - retail $28
  • 0.25 oz Iconic Photo Finish Foundation Primer - $9 value
  • 0.25 oz Hydrating Under Eye Primer - $21.97 value
  • 0.14 oz Photo Finish 24-Hour Shadow Primer - $6.83 value
  • 1 oz Primer Water - $16 value
  • Stated value - $53
  • Value - $53.80 value (192%)

Kat Von D Mi Vida Loca Remix Studded Kiss Lip Set - retail $42
  • 0.10 oz Studded Kiss Lipstick in Gold Blooded (FS) - $21 value
  • 7x 0.04 oz Studded Kiss Lipstick in Noble, Halo, Bachelorette, Sexer, Wolvesmouth, Coven, NaYeon - $8.40 value each
  • Stated value - $91
  • Value - $79.80 (190%)

Monday, October 19, 2015

A guide to Sephora holiday 2015 makeup gift value sets (part 1)

photos of sets are from Sephora.com, compiled by me
I wait every year for holiday gift sets to pick up mini products at a more affordable price. Makeup shoppers know that there are killer deals to be had with holiday value kit releases, but it can be hard to tell which sets are a good deal and which sets feature crappily inflated numbers.

In years past, I have loved Robyn at Brightest Bulb In The Box's value set guides. I wish she would get back to blogging, but in the meantime I decided to pull together the Sephora 2015 holiday makeup value sets and do a Robyn-inspired hard look at the numbers. Not all of these are holiday-specific sets, but they are all available now at Sephora.

I suspect this post might will be a tedious read, so please go ahead and skim to the sets you are most interested in. I have also divided this post into two parts to help with the length- click here to read Part 2!

  • Sets currently available at Sephora (many are also available at other retailers like Ulta, Nordstorm, Macys, etc), pulled from the Sephora Makeup Gift Sets section of the website
  • Makeup value sets (no palettes, skincare, hair, or nails sets)
  • Sets contain items that I can price from products available in the brand's regular line and have the necessary data included in the description
  • I don't credit value for freebie mini brushes and makeup bags. I think most makeup addicts have a crap ton of little applicators, double ended brushes, and shedding glitter makeup bags. Feel free to mentally add value for these items if they would add value for you.
Going from best to worst value, let's get started!

300% + value makeup sets

Tarte Lips For Daze LipSurgence Set - retail $34
  • 3x 0.10 oz LipSurgence matte lip tints in Haze, Craze, Emblaze (FS) - $24 value each
  • 2x 0.10 oz LipSurgence lip tints in Glaze, Praise (FS)- $24 value each
  • Annoyingly rhyming names - -$24.00 value (jk)
  • Stated value - $120
  • Value - $120 (353%) nailed it on the stated value!

Sephora Favorites Superstars - retail $75
  • Beautyblender (FS) - $20 value
  • 0.1 oz Benefit They're Real Mascara - $8 value
  • 0.21 oz Clinique Chubby Stick Sculpting Highlight (FS) - $22 value
  • 0.042 oz Lancome Drama Liqui-pencil Eyeliner in Noir Intense (FS) - $23 value
  • 0.06 oz Laura Mercier Matte Radiance Highlight - $9.23 value
  • 0.16 oz MUFE Step 1 Skin Equalizer Hydrating Primer - $5.76 value
  • 0.05 oz NARS Dual Intensity Eyeshadow in Himalia (FS) - $29 value
  • 1 oz Smashbox Photo Finish Primer Water - $16 value
  • 0.016 oz Stila Stay All Day Waterproof Liquid Eye Liner in Intense Black (FS) - $22 value
  • 0.06 oz Tarte the sculptor contouring face slenderizer in park ave princess - $16 value
  • 0.035 oz Tarte The slenderizer bamboo contouring brush (FS) - similar brushes retail for $34 (note: I don't give credit to mini freebie brushes, but I am counting this one because it is a full size real brush)
  • 0.24 oz Touch in Sol Stretchex Stretch Lash Effect Mascara (FS) - $22 value
  • 0.05 oz Urban Decay Eye shadow in Lounge (FS) - $18 value
  • Stated value - $207
  • Value -  $244.99 (326%) 

Sunday, October 11, 2015

Nude matte cream eyeshadow base comparison

Matte cream eyeshadow bases are handy products to have on call - they act as an eyelid neutralizer, hiding redness and veins, while also serving as a primer. Today I have 4 options to compare for you: the Maybelline Color Tattoo in 250 Nude Pink (LE), MAC Painterly Paint Pot, NYX Eyeshadow Base in 03 Skin Tone, and Milani Shadow Eyez in 10 Almond Cream. Each shade works as a "nude" color on my fair skin, but the shades aren't universal - look for something that matches your skin color and undertone.

Sunday, October 4, 2015

iPhone 6s vs Samsung SL620 point and shoot camera photo test

As a beauty blogger, I spend weekend free time taking pictures of my arm. It's an odd hobby to be sure, but I have been beefing up swatch and product photos on my blog recently. You might have noticed that I have been slowly replacing photos on some of my oldest posts, trying to make sure I have color accurate and high quality photos.

This post is a combination photo test and behind the scenes look at macro and product photography on my blog. I usually use my old Samsung SL 620 point and shoot camera, but can the iPhone 6s replace it?

Taken with an iPhone 6s camera
The fine print: none of the pictures in this post have been edited, except to add a watermark. I took each of these photos in natural light on a windowsill and tried to keep the shots as similar as possible. Everything shown in this post was purchased by me and was not sponsored or sent for PR review.

The Contenders:

1 - iPhone 6s
I have the gold 16gb iPhone 6s, shown in a Speck Mightyshell lilac purple/raisin case. The Speck Mightyshell is the iPhone 6 version, but it fits well as promised. This phone is new to me - no photos from this phone have been shown in a blog post yet, but you can see a few examples on my Instagram.

2 - Samsung SL620
This old school Samsung was purchased by me when my nicer digital camera was stolen from my dorm room years ago. I think it is representative of what you can do with an entry level digital point and shoot. You can see examples of the Samsung in action in posts here and here for reference.

Photo test 1: basic benchmark

This one should be as easy as it gets - I chose three standard makeup brush shapes against a white wall. From left to right, the Koyudo BP010 tapered face brush, the Hakuhodo J5523 eyeshadow blending brush, and the Koyudo BP035 eyeshadow shader brush. Pay special attention to how each camera handles the texture of the brush bristles, the colors of the handles and ferrules, and the depth of focus.

Taken with an iPhone 6s camera
Taken with a Samsung SL620 point and shoot camera
Both cameras do well here, but the wall texture of the iPhone 6s shot is a little distracting. I think both pictures in this round are of sufficient quality to show the products well. A close one, but the Samsung SL620 wins this test.

Monday, September 28, 2015

Just for fun - the fall favorites tag

I thought the fall favorites tag videos by Jaclyn Hill and KathleenLights were fun to watch, so I wanted to do my own blog version! I have been having a great autumn so far - last year it got freakishly cold early and the leaves all froze and turned brown before they could turn colors and fall. This year we are on track for a for real actual fall.

Favorite Candle:  Yankee Candle Balsam Fir. I can't stand the overly sweet 3 wick Bath & Body Works classics, but a fresh woodsy pine is right up my alley.

Favorite Lip Color: Fresh Sugar Lip Treatment in Rose. My lips have been so dry lately and the Fresh tinted balm in rose feels nourishing and protective while giving my lips a pretty flush.

Favorite Drink: Mulled apple cider. My husband mulls apple cider with cinnamon sticks, star anise, cloves, orange peels, and a bunch more spices I can never remember. I adore living with a good cook :)

Favorite Blush: NARS Douceur. NARS, whyyyy did you discontinue this? Pinky, plummy, and nude all in one - so perfect.

Favorite Clothing Item: Scarves. I own enough scarves to wear a different one every day of the month, but I'm sure I still need more.

Favorite Fall Movie: Sleepless in Seattle. So happy and cuddly!

Favorite Fall TV Show: The Voice. I'm still waiting for a magical blind audition this season, but I have faith. Also, I wish they would do a season where they invite back contestants who were robbed in their respective season. I would love to see Toia Jones, Tony Vincent, Patrick Dodd, Dawn & Hawkes, and (of course) Rebekah Samarin back at it.

Sunday, September 27, 2015

Laura Mercier cashmere matte eyeshadow review & swatches

Laura Mercier's matte eyeshadow in Cashmere is the perfect mauve brown defining shade for fall. Laura Mercier singles retail for $24 for .09 oz and I purchased mine from Sephora. Laura Mercier frequently includes Cashmere in palettes (I noticed it in the 2015 Sleek& Chic Eye holiday palette), so you have a good chance of getting your hands on this shade without shelling out for the single.

Wednesday, September 23, 2015

Matte beige eyeshadow mega comparison - Urban Decay Walk of Shame dupes

I have been looking for a dupe of my beloved Urban Decay Walk of Shame eyeshadow for a long, long time. Today I have for you a mega comparison of all of the similar eyeshadow shades in my collection. This post compares Too Faced Fresh Linen, Too Faced All I Want for Christmas (LE), Urban Decay Foxy, Urban Decay Walk of Shame, Wet N Wild Brulee, Stila Wind, Inglot 353 M, Smashbox Vanilla, and Bare Minerals Ahhh.

What I like about WOS

Walk of Shame (WOS) is my perfect all over base lid shade. WOS is a pink toned light vanilla beige that is the perfect match for my skintone. The texture is smooth and silky, forgiving on dry eyelids, and is pigmented. If you want to see more a more detailed description of the formula of WOS, check out my comparison to Wet N Wild Brulee and my review of Urban Decay Naked Basics.

Sunday, September 20, 2015

Koyudo BP 035 pine squirrel shader eye brush review

I bought the Koyudo BP 035 eyeshadow shader brush a little more than two months ago and wanted to share my thoughts. I purchased this brush from CD Japan for 2730 yen, approximately $22 USD. Many pine squirrel eye brushes on the market retail for more than the Koyudos, making this line a contender when looking for relatively affordable brush upgrades and versatile brush shapes. The Koyodo BP 035 is from the oddly named High Class Series, which features black ferrules, white handles, and magenta printing on the handle.

Wednesday, September 16, 2015

My skincare routine for dry, sensitive skin

Today I wanted to share my skincare routine for my very dry, sensitive skin. The main focus of my blog is makeup, but quality skincare leads to your makeup looking its best. A little bit about my skin: I am in my mid 20's, have very dry, sensitive skin and I struggle with both intermittent eczema and acne. I avoid products that are heavily fragranced, contain lots of alcohols, and contain mint and similar herbs, all of which irritate my skin.  Through trial and error over years, I have figured out a routine that works for me - I hope this is helpful if you have similar skin to mine!

My personal skincare philosophy is very simple: (1) maximize moisture, (2) use gentle formulas, and (3) be consistent. Let's get started!

Morning routine
  1. Burt's Bees Radiance Facial Cleanser - this is a light lotion like cleanser that contains hydrating ingredients like safflower oil, jojoba butter, jojoba oil, and glycerin. It is lightly scented but smells fresh. I massage cleanser into my skin gently and remove with lukewarm water to make sure my skin isn't inflamed or red after cleansing. I have used this consistently since 2009 and it always leaves my skin feeling clean but not stripped. 
  2. Clinique Dramatically Different Moisturizing Lotion + - this thin lotion is hydrating but not so emollient that it disturbs makeup. DDML+ has ingredients that help with retaining moisture like mineral oil, glycerin, petroleum, and lanolin. I haven't found anything that works as well under foundation and I have used it for years.
  3. Paula's Choice Barely There Sheer Matte Tint SPF 30 - is a tinted broad spectrum sunscreen with a natural satin finish that works well with makeup. I am a big advocate of using SPF every day (even if my foundation has SPF) to make sure my skin is protected. I have purchased this twice. 
  4. Blistex Deep Renewal Lip Balm - I'm not tied to this particular lip balm, but I use a lip balm every morning as a lip conditioner and primer. I prefer the Fresh Sugar Advanced Lip Therapy, but the Blistex is way way cheaper.

Monday, September 7, 2015

Empties & mini reviews - Skin79, Bite, NARS, Clinique, Essence & more

I love seeing other people's empties, so today I have a bunch of makeup & beauty products that I have used up. I'm not always good about keeping my empties, but I remembered to take a few pictures of these before I tossed them. Let's get started!

Face Products
  • Skin79 Diamond BB cream - this one actually went bad on me after I powered through about a quarter of it and gave up. The Diamond version is very accurately named and made me look reflective in a greasy way instead of glowy in a healthy way. Would not repurchase.
  • Skin79 VIP Gold BB cream - one of my favorite BB creams of all time - natural medium coverage that looks invisible on the skin and lasts all day. This is my 2nd empty VIP Gold, I will definitely repurchase
  • Paula's Choice Barely There Sheer Matte Tint - this tinted sunscreen is a great option for wearing under makeup. I have a full review here if you want to see more, but I will repurchase
  • Essence All About Matt powder - awesome affordable translucent pressed powder. The packaging broke on me but the powder looks invisible on the skin. I didn't feel like using up the outer rim of powder because it is a pain to get even coverage with a brush, but I already repurchased so I felt comfortable saying goodbye to the last remnants.  

Wednesday, September 2, 2015

Liquid lipstick mega price per ounce cost comparison

With all the new liquid lipsticks coming out on the market, I thought it would be helpful to put together a mega price per ounce comparison. It can be hard to figure out which product is a good deal or more expensive than other formulas, so I made a cheat sheet to help you shop.

In this post, I have 27 liquid lipsticks available on the market today with data from Sephora, Ulta, and brands' websites. For each lipstick, I have the full name, retail price in USD, ounces of product in the tube, and the price per ounce, sorted alphabetically by brand. Using price per ounce (PPO) lets us compare apples to apples and find out which liquid lipsticks are a good deal and which ones are more expensive.

Sunday, August 30, 2015

Who owns who? Corporate ownership of global makeup brands

Welcome to my research into corporate ownership of global makeup brands! I have been working on this post for quite awhile - I became interested tracing the corporate ownership chains of color cosmetics brands by researching similar formulas of brands owned by the same corporate umbrella and it snowballed into a huge project.

Why does it matter? My philosophy is that customers and consumers deserve to be informed and that being more informed leads to better decision making. If you have been curious about why certain brands have formulas similar to other brands or how brands change over time, this list will hopefully add some illumination to your buying decisions.

A few notes: 
  1. This post is focused on cosmetics brands, but many corporate owners also hold skincare, haircare, and fragrance brands in their portfolios. Feel free to click through the links I posted and see what other brands a company has in its portfolio!
  2. Most major fashion houses who have cosmetics lines have separated corporate ownership of their cosmetics line, fashion/accessories lines, and their fragrance licenses. Confusing, I know. 
  3. If I left out a brand you are curious about, please leave me a comment and I will do my best to add it!
This list is (to the best of my research) a demonstration of who owns well known global makeup brands. I think a few of them will surprise you! Get a cup of coffee and a snack, this is a long one.

Thursday, August 27, 2015

Is it a dupe? Nars radiant creamy concealer vs. Maybelline fit me concealer

NARS Radiant Creamy Concealer and Maybelline Fit Me Concealer is another one of those internet famous dupes. I see this one everywhere online, from blogs to reddit to YouTube. As the owner of both of those products, I feel compelled to put them to the test.
I have shade Light 2 Vanilla in the NARS Radiant Creamy Concealer ($29, .22oz) and shade #10 Light in the Maybelline Fit Me Concealer ($6.99, .23oz). Vanilla is the second to lightest shade of the NARS (Light 1 Chantilly is much lighter) and the NARS comes in 10 shades. #10 Light is theoretically the lightest shade in the Maybelline Fit Me range of 6 options, but is much darker than Vanilla and is rumored to be darker than shade #15.

Monday, August 24, 2015

Skinfood rose essence tinted lip balm #2 review & swatches

I have a tinted lip balm addiction, and today I bring you swatches and a review of one of my favorite affordable options. The Skinfood rose essence lip balm comes in two variants - #1 is a clear treatment balm and #2 is tinted rosy pink. I bought mine for about $5 on Rose Rose Shop, but the price varies slightly on retailer and currency conversion.

I like this product for natural makeup looks and weekends - tinted rosy pink balms add shine and definition to the lips without the intensity or coverage of a traditional lipstick.

Wednesday, August 19, 2015

Minimalist makeup travel kit + my favorite travel bag

This post is all about my travel makeup essentials, how I pack my makeup for a trip, and the makeup bag I take with me. I have done quite a bit of traveling the last few months, so I wanted to give you a peek at what I take with me.

I have owned my Laura Mercier custom artist portfolio for over a year now and still adore it. It was limited edition and pretty pricey, but I have seen Laura Mercier come out with a few variations so I don't think it is gone forever. As an alternative, you could look at Trish McEvoy or Sonia Kashuk if the Laura Mercier isn't available. I have a full review of the Laura Mercier custom artist porfolio here if you want to see more pictures and how much makeup it can fit.

The makeup case has 4 mesh pockets - 1 large, 2 medium, and 1 small, that are magnetized so they come in and out easily. It also has a zippered brush page with a pocket on the back. Let's take a look at what I packed:

  • Eyeshadow: Smashbox photo op eye trio in filter (mini size from a kit), Urban Decay Sin
  • Primer: Too Faced shadow insurance (mini)
  • Brows / Eyeliner: Anastasia Beverly Hills dipbrow pomade in medium brown (review here)
  • Highlight: Becca Shimmering Skin Perfector Spotlight in Champagne Gold (review here)
  • Lips: Jack Black lip balm in grapefruit, Fresh sugar lip treatment in rose (mini)

Sunday, August 16, 2015

Inglot eyeshadow collection & formula roundup

I have already posted swatches and reviews of my Inglot eyeshadow collection in 3 groups, but I wanted to do a roundup post and share my thoughts of the formula overall.

The Good
  •  Price - $7 per pan is affordable and compared to drugstore eyeshadow formulas is excellent for the price. In the price tier, Inglot competes well against the Wet N Wild Color Icon and Milani Bella formulas. 
  • International availability - Inglot is a Polish company and has broad global availability 
  • Color selection - Inglot has one of the widest color ranges of single eyeshadows on the market, making it a great choice for anyone who wants to find a specific shade 
  • Pigmentation - Each of the shades I have is very pigmented, especially when compared to other stock formulas at a similar price

Friday, August 14, 2015

Inglot Nude Matte Eyeshadows: 373, 359, 349

This post continues my first post on Inglot nude matte eyeshadows with three more: 373, a matte white, 359, a matte light pink, and 349, a matte taupe brown. I paired these shades for this post because they could be used as a face contouring (highlight, blush, and contour) trio for fair skin if you wanted to multi-task. Similarly, these three shades can be paired together as an eye look to add depth and shading.

Product Details:
  • Rectangular pans (can fit 5 across in a Z palette 4U/medium)
  • Pans are magnetized 
  • 2.3 grams / .08 oz of product per pan (for comparison, a MAC eyeshadow pan contains 1.5g)
  • $7 per pan
  • I buy mine on Beautylish because of the palette builder feature on their website, can also be purchased on the Inglot website

Monday, August 10, 2015

My most used eyeshadow palette - Urban Decay Naked Basics

I love seeing reviews and photos of well used and loved makeup products, and today I wanted to share my most used eyeshadow palette ever - Urban Decay's original Naked Basics. The pictures show the proof of use and my most used shades, so let's get started!

On a boring note, Urban Decay Naked Basics retails for $29 for 6 full size (.05 oz) shades. I bought this myself at Ulta a long time ago on the suggestion of my husband. I had overlooked it many times in the display, but luckily it jumped out at him! (A recommendation to other makeup addicts: shopping with non addicts can lead you to see products you might not otherwise)

Friday, August 7, 2015

Hakuhodo K022 round powder brush review & comparisons

Hakuhodo K022 powder brush
I have had the Hakuhodo K022 powder brush for over a year now and wanted to post my thoughts. The K022 is marketed as a powder brush, but I use it most often for bronzer. In the US, you can buy it on the Hakuhodo USA website (not an affiliate link) or in their retail showroom in California for $38.

Tuesday, August 4, 2015

Comparison: NARS Douceur vs NARS Laguna vs NARS Madly

Today I have comparison swatches of my three favorite NARS cheek products - Douceur blush (sadly discontinued), Laguna bronzer, and Madly blush. All three are beautiful nude cheek colors, so let's take a look at the similarities and differences.

NARS blushes retail for $30 for .16 oz and the bronzers retail for $39 for .28 oz. I bought all of these at Sephora with my own money.
L to R: NARS Douceur blush, Laguna bronzer, & Madly blush in indirect natural light 
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