Review & Swatches: Makeup Geek Vegas Lights Pigment Set

In addition to the Vegas Lights Shadow Palette, Makeup Geek recently released the Vegas light Pigment Collection - loose, shimmery shadows that complement the warm shades within the collection. Included within the shade range is:

Jackpot - A pale shimmery gold
Poker Face - A deep shimmery bronze
Night Life - A cool shimmery medium taupe
Vegas Lights - A warm copper shimmer
Liquid Gold - A bold metallic green-gold

While all of the pigments are beautiful, I have a few favorites among them. Jackpot, Liquid Gold, and Poker Face all have ultra-smooth textures that almost turns into a cream when applie to the lid. It makes for unbelievably pigmented shadows with almost no fallout - the best! Also, each are so multi-dimensional that you can wear them alone and get as much dimension as two or three shadows might provide. The real clincher is their lasting power - I found they lasted crease and fade-free all day when worn un-primed! A girl can't ask for anything more. 

None of the above is to say that I don't like the other two shades within the set - they just have slightly different textures and wear qualities. Night Life is a considerably drier pigment, so it wears like a more traditional pigment without the ultra-smooth texture. Similarly, Vegas Lights almost looks like a glitter because the pigments are drier and less finely milled. Worn foiled, it looks like every other pigment within the collection. Applied dry, and I found that it led to more fallout, and needed more layering to achieve the color intensity I was after. 

The set retails for $33.99 - at $6.99 a shadow, it's not much of a discount, but these shadows are already reasonably priced and well worth it! That being said, if you just see a shadow or two from the set that you like, you won't be missing out on a huge discount if you decide to purchase those alone.

MAKEUP WARS: Urban Decay Naked Basics

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Urban Decay Naked Basics

This week's Makeup Wars is another palette challenge! This time, we're creating looks using one of the new matte nude palettes Urban Decay has released: Pulp Fiction, Naked Basics, or Naked Basics 2. Given that I didn't have any, I decided to go with the basic palette that started it all: Urban Decay Naked Basics Palette.

At the time of its launch, the original Naked Basics was Urban Decay's answer to the droves of Naked Palette lovers that were still left wanting matte nudes with the same quality found in the Naked Palette series. I have to say, I think they hit the nail on the head. With 6 shades, the Naked Basics Palette includes a shimmery cream (Venus), matte warm cream (Foxy), neutral matte cream (Walk of Shame), cool medium brown (Naked 2), deep matte coco brown (Faint), and matte black (Crave). Each work together to create both natural and dramatic looks. What's more is that the shades are so neutral-leaning, they work beautifully when used on the face too! Check out the video above to see how I incorporate these shadows into my everyday brow, contour, and highlight routine.

Ultimately, I loved this palette so much that I ended up buying the new Naked Basics 2 just a few days after it came out. Stay tuned for more info on it within the next few days! For a somewhat dramatic eye look using all of the shades within the palette, check out the step-by-step tutorial below. And don't forget to check out all of the looks created, and palettes used, in this week's Makeup Wars!

Urban Decay Naked Basics

Taret Amazonian Clay Full Coverage Foundation vs. Colored Clay Foundcealer

After a recent review of Tarte's Colored Clay Foundcealer, a few readers and viewers asked about how it compares to some of Tarte's more well known foundations. First up: the Amazonian Clay Full Coverage Foundation

This foundation promises 12-hour full coverage wear, and my shade is Fair Light Honey. While you can find all shades at ULTA for $38, QVC offers a set with a select few shades, along with a kabuki brush for the same price. This is definitely a layer-able foundation that provides medium to full coverage without clinging to dry spots, or accentuating oily areas. Throughout wear, it did a great job at controlling oil and looks nearly 100% in tact at the end of a 10 hour day. The verdict: highly recommend for those that like a nearly full coverage that helps control excess shine.

Compared to the Colored Clay Foundcealer, the Full Coverage Foundation provides more coverage, but lacks the color correcting capabilities - something I noticed most in the dark circles I develop in my undereye area. Additionally, despite claiming to be a 2-in-1 foundation and concealer, it provides lighter coverage than the Tarte's Full Coverage foundation, and didn't do much in the way of controlling shine throughout the day. 

Bottom line: If you're looking for a color-correcting base that provides light to medium coverage, and is best suited for dry or combination skin, the Founcealer is for you. If, on the other hand, you are looking for a full coverage foundation suited for combination to oily skin, the Full Coverage Foundation is your pick!

What's your favorite Tarte foundation?

Review & Swatches: Makeup Geek Vegas Lights Palette

Ever since trying the shadows in the Makeup Geek Ultimate Eyeshadow Palette, I've been in love! The shadows have smooth, silky textures with incredible pigmentation - and at a fraction of the cost of similar shadows ($6 a piece). When Marlena, The Makeup Geek herself, announced that she was debuting a Vegas-inspired shadow and pigment collection, I knew I had to indulge!

With colors that remind me of a hot night, and a desert sunset, the Vegas Lights Palette is overwhelmingly warm. The shades include:

  • Casino - A bold shimmery yellow-gold.
  • Sin City - A shimmery peach-gold duochrome
  • Roulette - A deep shimmery copper
  • Mirage - A satin cream
  • Desert Sand - A warm medium matte brown
  • Bada Bing - A matte chocolate brown base with gold shimmer, and a permanent shade to the Makeup Geek collection

One of the main things that will make people love or leave this palette is just how warm these shadows lean. For the most part, these shadows held up to the Makeup Geek standards I've come to expect - they have tons of pigmentation, smooth textures (even the mattes), and a buildable wear. The only shadow that I wish delivered a little bit more was Bada Bing. The texture was slightly chalky and difficult to build. Given that it's the deepest shade in the palette, this could make or break a dramatic look. Applied over a good base, the color gets a boost, but if you want maximum opacity, reach for a pigmented base to enhance the payoff.

At $36, there isn't a discount when purchasing this palette which was a little surprising. However you are getting 5 completely new shades from the line. Because the quality is definitely there, the main thing people will want to consider is whether this color palette is right for them. Scroll all the way down for a step-by-step tutorial using nearly all of the shadows from the palette!

Review: it Cosmetics Brushes for ULTA - Your Must-Have Airbrush Travel Set, Your Multi-Taskers, You're Easy on the Eyes, and Your Face & Eye Essentials

Your Must-Have Airbrush Travel Set
Longtime readers of the blog will know that I don't hide my love of it Cosmetics brushes - they're well made, soft, and effective at applying the right amount of product while achieving a natural finish. So when their collaboration with ULTA hit stores, I knew I would be first in line to try them out! it Brushes for ULTA contains 3 lines of brushes - Airbrush Essentials Collection, live Beauty fully, and the Velvet Luxe Blurring Collection. Additionally, they offer 9 brush sets for those (like me) who are indecisive and live by the mantra "more is better".

While I'll detail what comes in each set below, I want to preface it by giving my overall thoughts on the brushes in these sets. What I typically love about it Cosmetics brushes is how natural their synthetic bristles feel without holding on to product as an animal hair brush would. You get the same beautiful finish, but it makes them far easier to clean. While each of these brushes are synthetic, I noticed a major difference in how the larger face brushes felt. They definitely had a more "synthetic" feel to them, with ultra-smooth bristles that are a little more rigid than I'm used to from it. That being said, they don't perform poorly in the least! It was just an observation I felt was worth sharing given that it's a quality I, and I think many others, love about it's traditional brush line. That being said, these are still very easy to clean, apply product beautifully, and blend product out exactly the way I hoped they would. Additionally, if you find that the texture difference is something you can't get over, there is a set that promises a higher quality performance in the Experience Velvet Blurring 5 Piece Ultimate Luxe Set ($98).

Onto the brush sets! I completely recommend each of these sets, although you certainly don't need them all. What it comes down to is which brushes you find you need most in your daily or travel routine. When in doubt, take a trip to your nearest ULTA and give them a test drive!

Your Must-Have Airbrush Travel Set ($19.50)- With a foundation, powder, and shadow brush, this set has everything for the essentials for a 5-minute face. Use the foundation brush for your liquid base needs, the power brush for anything from setting powder, to blush and bronzer, and the shadow brush for a wash of color all over the lids for a complete look using just 3 brushes. They come together in a compact fabric travel case so you'll always be able to find them on your makeup bag.
Your Multi-Taskers ($48)- For a brush set with everything you could want for both eyes and face, The Multi-Taskers is where it's at! With both a foundation and powder brush, you have your base, setting powder, blush, bronzer, and even highlighter taken care of. The double-ended eye brushes make creating any eye look a piece of cake, and one brush even includes a fluffy domed brush perfect for buffing out concealer. To top it all off, there is a brush with a spooly on one end, and am angled liner/brow brush on the other. This is a set I've already taken traveling and LOVE it!
You're Easy on the Eyes ($28)- For a complete eye set, the Easy on the Eyes set has everything to pat, blend, line, and smudge your way to the perfect eye look - all in two dual-ended brushes. The zip-up travel pouch makes the super compact for travel, but offers enough room to pack some more brushes if needed.
Your Face & Eye Essentials ($30) - For the traveler that doesn't like taking full length brushes to-go, this is a great set. While it doesn't include a foundation brush (unless you use powder foundation), it does have a powder brush perfect for blush, bronzer, and highlight, and smaller brushes ideal for eyes, brows, and concealer. This carrying case offers a loose magnetic closure, with individual slots for each brush.

Stay tuned for a picture tutorial coming with the Your Multi-Taskers set!

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