Tuesday, July 21, 2015

Japanese brush haul - Chikuhodo & Koyudo first impressions

I recently made a brush order from CD Japan to try out some new Japanese makeup brushes. Previously, my Japanese brush experience has solely been based on my Hakuhodo brushes, and I thought it was time to expand my horizons. Like Hakuhodo, Chikuhodo and Koyudo brushes are made by hand using traditional calligraphy brush techniques near Kumano, Japan. 

Brushes L to R: Koyudo BP 010, Koyudo powder brush, Koyudo BP 035, Chikuhodo Z-5
These brushes are brand new to me and I quickly snapped these pictures with my phone after I unwrapped my package. Stay tuned for higher quality pictures and comparisons to other brushes in my collection. 

I ordered from CD Japan and chose to ship internationally with FedEx. Everything was packed well and shipped quickly. 

Brushes L to R: Koyudo BP 035, Chikuhodo Z-5, Koyudo powder brush, Koyudo BP 010 

Friday, July 17, 2015

Jordana Easyliner for Eyes automatic eyeliner pencil - Khaki & Coffee Bean

I love trying out affordable retractable eyeliner pencils, so I picked up 2 Jordana Easyliner for Eyes eyeliners last time I was at Walgreens. I chose Coffee Bean, a matte dark brown, and Khaki, a cool toned grey. These retail for $2.49 each.

  • Affordable automatic eyeliner pencil option
  • Pretty good color selection (no nude shade)
  • Emollient enough to apply smoothly, waxy enough to stay put
  • Easy to tightline with - doesn't clump up in the lashes
  • Transfer to the lower lashline after 6-8 hours of wear (mild to moderate)
  • I don't live close to a Walgreens (have to stop in when I visit my mom)

Wednesday, July 15, 2015

NEWBEAUTY Amazon promo code for prime day - my picks

Hi guys! Today only (7/15/2015) Amazon is offering a promo code for select luxury beauty makeup,  brushes, skincare, and other beauty items for Prime Day. Prime members can use the code NEWBEAUTY once for 35% off. You can click here to see the items available for this promotion (not an affiliate link, just a deal junkie).

There are quite a few things available and you can only use the code once, so I wanted to share my picks:

1. Real Techniques Starter Set - $6.72

The Real Techniques Starter Set (not an affiliate link) includes the base shadow brush, deluxe crease brush, accent brush, fine liner brush, brow brush, and case. Amazon has it for $10.34 regular price, which comes out to $6.72 with the promo code. Considering Ulta has it for $17.99, it is a pretty great deal.

2. Real Techniques Travel Essentials Set - $7.27

The Real Techniques Travel Essentials Set (not an affiliate link) includes the essential foundation brush, multi task brush, domed shadow brush, and a case. Amazon has it for $11.19 regular price, which comes out to $7.27 with the 35% off promo code. Ulta also sells this set for $17.99.

Tuesday, July 14, 2015

Anastasia Beverly Hills medium brown brow product comparison

I own and love several Anastasia Beverly Hills brow products, and using them has made me interested in trying out the rest of the ABH brow line. Shopping online poses a tricky question - are all of the Medium Brown shades the same color? I love my Medium Brown dipbrow pomade, but is it the same shade as the Brow Wiz in Medium Brown / Medium Ash?

Last time I was at Ulta, I swatched the 4 ABH brow products in Medium Brown to find out.

Left to right: Anastasia Beverly Hills Brow Wiz Medium Brown / Medium Ash, Brow Powder Duo Medium Brown, Perfect Brow Pencil Medium Brown, Dipbrow Pomade Medium Brown

Thursday, July 9, 2015

News: Cover Girl, Max Factor, and Dolce & Gabbana sold to Coty

Big news in the business world today - Coty Inc is buying Proctor & Gamble's beauty business for $12.5 billion. Coty Inc. is buying Cover Girl, Max Factor, and Dolce & Gabbana makeup and fragrance from P&G, as well as other hair care and color, fragrance, and hair styling brands.

All in, Coty Inc. is buying 43 brands from Proctor & Gamble: 

Wella Professionals (and its sub-brands), Sebastian Professional, Clairol Professional, Sassoon Professional, Nioxin, SP (System Professional), Koleston, Soft Color, Color Charm, Wellaton, Natural Instincts, Nice & Easy, VS Salonist, VS ProSeries Color, Londa/Kadus, Miss Clairol, L’image, Bellady, Blondor, Welloxon, Shockwaves, New Wave, Design, Silvikrin, Wellaflex, Forte, Wella Styling, Wella Trend, Balsam Color, Hugo Boss, Dolce & Gabbana, Gucci, Lacoste, bruno banani, Christina Aguilera, Escada, Gabriela Sabatini, James Bond 007, Mexx, Stella McCartney, Alexander McQueen, Max Factor and Covergirl. (List from Market Watch)

Coty already owns many beauty & makeup brands, including designer fragrances like Marc Jacobs and Chloe, nail brands OPI and Sally Hansen, skincare brand Philosophy and makeup brands Rimmel, New York Color (NYC), and Bourjois. Coty also has an eponymous house brand, well known for their Airspun Loose Powder. For a full list of the brands owned by Coty, check out their website.

After this transaction, Coty will be the #1 largest global perfume maker and the #3 largest global cosmetics maker (behind L'Oreal at #1 and Estee Lauder at #2). If you are curious about the transaction details, you can read more at Reuters, the Houston Chronicle, and the Wall Street Journal.

I'm interested to see what happens to Cover Girl and Max Factor products, especially if we will start seeing similar releases and formulations between Cover Girl and Rimmel. It is interesting that Cover Girl's best products (IMO) are their mascaras and foundations, while Rimmel's best products (IMO) are lipsticks, bronzer, and eyeliner. I guess we will see what happens!

Don't buy the Urban Decay Naked Smoky palette on Ebay

Just don't, guys. Whenever Urban Decay comes out with a new Naked palette (like this year's Naked Smoky), I have a giggle at all of the internet knockoffs. Then I remember that there are plenty of well meaning people out there spending their hard earned money on overpriced pre orders and dangerous counterfeits, and it makes me want to write this post.
Authentic Urban Decay Naked Smoky palette picture - don't get fooled by a counterfeit!

Urban Decay Naked Smoky is coming out on the Urban Decay website on July 8, 2015, online at Ulta on July 12, and in stores July 16. Other authorized retailers like Sephora and department stores will likely have similar timelines to Ulta. The palette is $54, contains 12 .05oz shades, and is in the permanent line.

Why you shouldn't buy Urban Decay Naked Smoky on Ebay: 

1. Expensive pre orders are a waste of money. Over retail price pre orders are flooding Ebay right now, with prices up to double retail. Many of these don't ship for a month or more! If you live in the US, save your money and wait another week or two to purchase from an authorized retailer that will get you your palette faster. Plus, you know it will be real.

Wednesday, July 8, 2015

How to save money buying makeup on Amazon

I admit, I'm pretty proud of myself for this killer deal I got on Amazon - I got the Cover Girl Clump Crusher Extensions mascara for free! Amazon has stepped up their makeup & beauty selling game lately, with adding a luxury beauty section, a Korean beauty section, and offering more coupons. I can't resist browsing for makeup deals on Amazon as an add on to what is already in my cart.

So, here is how I got this mascara for so cheap:
  1. Shop around on prices. Cover Girl mascaras are $7.99 at my Ulta. Amazon had the Cover Girl Clump Crusher Extensions in Very Black for $4.89 - already a huge savings! Plus, free shipping as an add on item (you have to buy $25 of stuff).
  2. Check for coupons. Amazon offers makeup coupons! (not an affiliate link, just really effing excited about coupons) FYI, I have Amazon Prime and some coupons are only available to Prime members. They change pretty regularly, but as I am writing this, you can get: $3.00 off a Cover Girl mascara, $3.00 off a Cover Girl Outlast foundation, $1.00 off or 25% off select Tom's of Maine lip products, $3.00 off a Olay ProX or Regenerist product, 15% off select Burt's Bees products, and more. 
  3. Clip coupons. Below each coupon, you can click "clip coupon" and it automatically takes the amount off at checkout. 
  4. Stack any other rewards. I have my Discover card saved on my Amazon account, so I can use my Discover card cash back bonus to check out on Amazon. I like to use my 1% cashback bonus money for online shopping because it feels like a reward. I used cash back bonus on the remaining $1.89 and the mascara was effectively free!

Monday, July 6, 2015

An open letter to Urban Decay: please release a single of Walk of Shame (WOS) eyeshadow

Dear Urban Decay intern who might hopefully find this,

I adore my Urban Decay Naked Basics palette and I have hit some serious pan on my beloved Walk of Shame eyeshadow. WOS is easily my most used shade in the palette - I use it as an all over eyelid base shade to neutralize my lids and make blending easier. WOS is the perfect beige for my skintone and the formula is absolutely dreamy.

Like many makeup addicts that have come before me, I checked your website to see if you sell WOS in a single pan and was disapointed. What really twisted the knife though was seeing that you used to sell a Walk of Shame single when you first released the 6 pan customizable palettes.

So, I'm begging you UD, please sell the WOS single again!

Let's be honest, this can benefit both of us. I can buy the eyeshadow I love and will happily pay the price - $18 for .05 oz ($360/ounce!). You can get me to pay that price, which is more per ounce than in the palette - $29 for 6 .05 oz shades ($96/ounce). Me = happy, you = killer profit margins!

So whaddaya say Urban Decay? Will you please just take my money?

xoxo - AM

Friday, July 3, 2015

Summer makeup favorites 2015

Photo credit: New Old Stock, a vintage copyright free photo site curated by Cole Townsend
Go to look: light coverage matte base, bronzer on the perimeter of my face and cheekbones, a touch of pearl highlight on my cheekbones, subtle satin pink or nude eyeshadow, no eyeliner, tons of mascara. I feel like everyone is all about dewy skin, but I have been loving a more natural matte finish with strategically placed satin highlight.

Products I'm using all the time: Skin79 Hot Pink BB Cream, Too Faced Milk Chocolate Soleil bronzer, Hourglass Dim Infusion blush, Anastasia Beverly Hills Dipbrow Pomade in Medium Brown, Bare Minerals satin eyeshadows in Enjoy (ready formula) and Vanilla Sugar (loose formula), Essence All About Matt powder compact

Products I'm not using: I've been toning down my concealer and skipping full coverage concealing on pigmentation and dark circles. I also haven't reached for lipstick in foreverrrr.

Scent: Issey Miyake, L'Eau d'Issey

Lust list: Urban Decay eyeshadow singles (Sin and Half Baked), the whole Clinique moisture surge line, more shades of the YSL glossy stains (Brun Cachemire, Rouge Vintage, a fun bright shade), and a setting spray with SPF

I'm reading: The Malazan Book of the Fallen series by Steven Erikson, currently in the middle of book 8

Current gripe: why does everyone hate Nick so much on the Bachelorette? I don't get it.

Excited for: going to a rodeo for the 4th of July!
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