Review & Swatches: bareMinerals Vision of Light Palette

Holiday sets that provide a complete look from lips to lashes are always so hard for me to resist. The thought of getting such a solid sampling of what a brand has to offer, in addition to a look that's been hand-picked to coordinate perfectly is enough to make me want empty my wallet in a heartbeat. While that might not seem like a significant statement given that most makeup makes me want to empty my wallet, it explains why you're going to see quite a few all-in-one holiday sets here this year. In this blog post, I'm going to be exploring bareMinerals Vision of Light set - an 8-piece collection that promises glowing lips and eyes! Here's what's included:

  • NEW Stroke of Light Highlighter - This highlighter is one of the most beautiful I've tried! It contains ultra-fine shimmer to create a "lit from within" look. It's fantastic when applied directly to the cheek bones, brow bones, and the bridge of your nose, as well as mixed into foundation for an ultra-natural glow.
  • Illuminating Mineral Veil finishing powder - While it might seem too shimmery for a setting powder, this subtle glimmer within this powder provides a healthy glow when used as a setting powder.
  • Celestial Eyecolor (spun sugar) - A light shimmery champagne that can be used wet for more pigmentation.
  • After Dusk Eyecolor (shimmering clove) - A medium chocolate brown perfect for the crease or worn as a liner.
  • Lasting Line Long-Wearing Eyeliner in Eternal Bronze - An automatic liner with a smooth, creamy consistency. Because it took a while to build to a pigmentation I was happy with, this isn't my favorite liner - I think it's the weakest product in the bunch.
  • Daybreak Blush (terracotta pink) - A warm blush that walks the line between medium peach and pink. The sifter within the packaging makes managing such a large amount of loose powder easier.
  • Marvelous Moxie Lipgloss in Stargazer - This is one of the most beautiful lipglosses I've ever tried. The subtle gold shimmer gives the lips some added dimension, while the pink base provides a "your lips but better" hue.
  • Full Tapered Shadow and Blush Brush - While not the most well-crafted brush I've tried, it's definitely functional and can be used to apply nearly every product within the kit. 
  • Sample of Lash Domination 10-in-1 Volumizing Mascara - This is the only sample-sized product within the kit, but it adds a lot if you haven't tried it before. I find this mascara to be fantastic at lengthening lashes while keeping them separated. 

Overall, I think this kit is a winner and one I would recommend to everyone! It creates a beautiful face for just $49 - I think it's well worth it for the highlighter alone!

Review & Swatches: bareMinerals the Magic Act

bareMinerals the Magic Act

Continuing on with the parade of holiday palettes, we have bareMinerals the Magic Act! For just $39, this palette offers 6 eyeshadows, 2 blushes, 1 bronzer, and 1 highlight shade all in an ultra-compact cardboard case with a magnetic closure. The shadows are neutral and flattering, with a nice variety of finishes and hues. While two can be found in a permanent shadow duo, the rest seem to be exclusive with this palette. Likewise, the blushes included are available individually, but the highlight is only available in a duo, and the bronzer is exclusive to this palette. All products are half the size of their typical retail sizes.

Overall, I think this palette is one worth checking out if you love neutral shadows, are looking for a palette that creates a full face on the go, or just want a solid sampling of bareMinerals READY pressed powders. Unlike some holiday sets where the product quality is compromised for the sake of offering a bargain, these perform beautifully to create a complete face. The only downside I could find with this palette was the lack of originality with the shades. Those that already have a lot of neutral shadows might not find this palette particularly inspiring, but it doesn't stop them from being as pretty as they are!

Will you be indulging in the bareMinerals holiday collection?

Makeup Wars: Favorite Perfumes

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In this week's Makeup Wars, we're back with our favorite fragrances - just in time for the changing fall weather! To complement the crisp, cooling air, people tend to prefer sultry, savory, and musky scents. If you're looking for your signature fall fragrance, you're in luck! I tend to prefer those kinds of scents year-round (with a few exceptions), so this is a timely post. Here's a list of my must-have scents:
  • Katy Perry Royal Revolution: With fruity top notes like pomegranate and orange flower, and base notes of soft leather and sandalwood, this is the perfect combination of sweet and savory. It's one of my favorites for a night out!
  • Harvey Prince Yogini: A fragrance I first discovered in a Birchbox, Yogini is a heartier scent with more exotic notes of Egyptian myrrh and golden amber. While some might find this is a fragrance best worn at night, it's one of the longest lasting fragrances I have so it tends to be one I look to for daytime wear.
  • Nest Midnight Fleur: This scent wins the award for most recent discovery. I received this as a 250 point perk from my latest Sephora purchase and immediately fell in love. With "exotic woods, black amber, patchouli, night-blooming jasmine, and vanilla orchid" this scent is only given a three-word description: Sensual. Intoxicating. Bold. I would describe it as nothing less than amazing! The sweetness of the jasmine and vanilla make this a scent I love wearing during the day.  
  • Kai: Just as I included my most recent find, I felt the need to talk about one of my original signature scents - and the only floral perfume that's made the cut! Kai is a fragrant blend of white flowers, but the gardenia note is what stands out most to me. When I was little, my grandma had gardenia bath bubbles that were reserved especially for my visits, so the scent has become a comforting, nostalgic one. 
  • Betsey Johnson Too Too: Beyond the adorable packaging (which was the obvious initial attraction), this is probably the sweetest, fruitiest scent I like. But, while the strawberry and mandarine notes are prominent, the bulgarian rose, sandalwood, patchouli, and vanilla manage to keep this scent more grounded and earthy. 

Do you have a signature scent? Share in the comments below!

Must-Have Makeup Academy Brushes!

More and more readers are letting me know they're seeing Makeup Academy displays at nearby CVS/pharmacies, and having questions about which products I've tried. I've already talked about my favorite Makeup Academy lip and false lash eye products, so this time I'm tackling my must-have brushes!There are quite a few to try and experience, so I thought I would give you a rundown of which brushes I've been loving lately, and how I prefer to use them. Check out the video above to find out how you can try before you buy at your nearest Makeup Academy display, where to get coupons so you can save on your next purchase, and see my favorite brushes from the line in action!

  • Angled Shadow Brush: A tool that makes creating the coveted "outer-v" area of the eye a snap. Just stamp it down where you want your outer boundary and blend!
  • Smudger/Detailer Brush: The perfect choice for precision work in the inner corner, brow bone, or smudging liner, as well as patting precise amounts of shadow on the lid.
  • All Over Shadow Brush: As the name suggests, it's the perfect brush for sweeping shadow across the lid. However, it also doubles as a great way to seamlessly blend shadows into the crease.

  • Angled Foundation Brush: Similar to a traditional foundation brush, this tool allows you to "paint" your foundation on with the added benefit of an angled edge to more precisely apply product in the under eye area, down the nose, and around the lips. Tip: It also makes easy work out of applying cream contour - the shape of the brush does all of the work!
  • Angled Blush Brush: An ideal brush for sweeping powder contour shades into the cheek bones, as well as applying powder blush and highlight to the tops of the cheekbones.
  • Mineral Brush: Another multi-tasker, I like to use the brush to apply setting powder, however it's also fantastic at buffing out powder foundation!
  • Powder Brush: Whether it's allover setting powder, or bronzer, this brush is a great tool for applying a light dusting or products naturally around the face.
You can find Makeup Academy exclusively at CVS/pharmacy - follow them on Facebook and Twitter for more updates, and keep tabs on the latest happenings with the hashtag #MUAatCVS!

Review & Swatches: Urban Decay Vice 3 Palette

'Tis the season to start revving your wish lists! October wasn't halfway over before holiday collections were on the shelves. Naturally, I dove in head first to get a jumpstart on reviews. First up: Urban Decay Vice 3 Palette!

Despite being the third volume within the range, this is my first experience with one of Urban Decay's Vice Palettes. While they have all been incredibly tempting, the've flown off the shelves before I could get my hands on one. This year, I kept my eyes open and snatched it up right away! It turns out, I'm glad I did because the shade range in this palette is fantastic!

In total there are 20 BRAND NEW shadows housed within a hard plastic case, complete with a large mirror and fabric makeup bag! The shades included range not only in color, but also in texture - something Urban Decay has sometimes struggled with. I'm happy to say that there is a great mix of both shimmery and matte shades within this palette - most of which are ultra smooth and creamy. With everything from solid neutrals to seriously hot hues, Vice 3 can manage anything from a natural daytime look to a look fit for a rave! The only outlier I found when it came to shadow quality was the shade Heroine. It's a deep, nearly-matte navy that came off a little chalky and took quite a bit of layering to achieve the pigmentation seen in the pan. It was an unfortunate loss given how beautifully it complemented the deeper shades within the palette.

Despite the letdown with Heroine, you can't beat $60 for 20 Urban Decay shadows! Given the quality of the rest and the luxe feel of the packaging, I think it's safe to say that this palette delivers. Given the wide variety of shades included, it's safe to say that this would be a great gift for many (including yourself)!

Are you indulging in Urban Decay's Vice 3?

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