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Saturday, March 31, 2012

Too Faced on Hautelook this Monday! (4/2)

Too Faced Cosmetics is on Hautelook again this Wednesday and these are always sales you shouldn't pass up! I have a few reviews of their products, two of which I purchased on hautelook!

Shadow Insurance in Candlelight
Natural Face Kit
Smoky Eye Collection (purchased on Hautelook)
Romantic Eye Collection
Leopard Love Complexion Perfection Palette (puchased on Hautelook)

Happy Shopping!

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Thursday, March 29, 2012

Review & Swatchfest: NYX I Dream of St. Lucia Palette

For as many NYX products as I have tried, I don't think I have ever touched an eyeshadow! Much like the rest of their products, their eyeshadows are praised as being on par with the quality that mid-range brands put out. So, in an action that can only be explained by my obsession with makeup and compulsion to try new things, my first experience will not be with one shadow, but five.

First thing I noticed about this palette was that there are no neutrals to hide behind. Many palettes will incorporate brights in with a more subtle, blendable colors for versatility. St. Lucia is all color and, right off the bat, this might be a turn off to some. If colors are your thing, however, keep on reading!

All of the colors are shimmery, no chunky glitters, but no mattes here either. The pigmentation is great across the board and the textures are soft, smooth, and have minor chalkiness. Overall, it reminds me a lot of Sleek's Acid Palette, which is excellent considering Sleek can't ship the Acid to the US. Without a primer, the vibrancy of the shadows doesn't stick around for more than 3 hours. But, over a primer, it last all day. With colors like these, a primer should be used anyway just to avoid staining the eye lid. The blue in this palette is especially effective at staining the skin, so prep your lids!

There are no color names, but a close approximation from left to right would be a grassy green, sky blue that leans aqua, canary yellow, fuscia, and a vibrant orange. I've said it before, and I'll say it again: bright shadows are hot hot hot this Spring and Summer and at $8.50 for 5 killer brights, you can be in trend and still keep some fun money in your pocket!

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Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Review & Swatchfest: Canmake Candy Wrap Lip in 01 and 05

In doing research on Japanese makeup brands to explore, Canmake was the most raved about drugstore brand by far. Good quality across a wide range of products combined with affordability has made Canmake rave-worthy in the global blogosphere and I got to put these raves to the test with their Canmake Candy Wrap Lip Gloss.

01 - Sugar Love

Sugar Love is an relatively opaque, creamy, baby pink gloss without shimmer. 

05 - Pinkholic Syrup

Pinkholic Syrup (a name lost in translation?) is a darker, opaque, creamy lip gloss without shimmer.

01 on top and 05 on bottom

The wear time on these is average (1-2 hours), but they left my lips feeling moisturized even after they had worn off. I also love that they don't contain any sparkle to speak of. Don't get me wrong,I love me some lip shimmer. But, a cream-finish gloss can make a daytime look feel a little more dressed up. What's more is that it's difficult to find a cream-finish drugstore brand gloss that doesn't sink into lip lines. These stayed picture perfect during their entire wear time. To anyone who can get ahold of them, I highly recommend!

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Review: Sigma Premium Travel Kit

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Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Review: Real Techniques Starter Set

I think it's fair to say that Samantha Chapman's line of brushes have blown up in the beauty blog/vlogosphere, and rightfully so! As an experienced makeup artist and half of the genius behind the Youtube Channel Pixiwoo (she and her sister partner to create brilliant beauty tutorials and generally informative videos), she would know what kind of qualities "essential" brushes should have. I've already reviewed her Core Collection (primarily face brushes) and can safely say that I still pick three out of the four brushes in the set to use over others in my collection every day. Coming from someone with a considerable amount of brushes, that's saying something!

Having told you how much I love the Core Collection, you can probably understand how I was kicking myself for not having purchased the Starter Set at ULTA when I had the opportunity. After I passed them up, I was unable to find them at multiple ULTAs in multiple different states... for months. Luckily, brushes are now available for purchase online, so no more hunting! But enough with the nitty gritty, let's see some brushes!

$18 for 5 brushes!

Not only are the brushes, and their functions, on the back of the packaging, Samantha does tutorials illustrating how to use each and every one!

With a case that bends and folds to display your brushes, it's an asset if you are looking to display your brushes during use or pack them up for travel.

Base Shadow Brush
The base shadow brush takes applying a wash of color to the next level. The shape is perfect for broad strokes and getting in the inner corner alike while the texture is like that of a duo fiber brush.

Deluxe Crease Brush
I knew this would be an immediate favorite because the shape is so unique and versatile, it's great for applying shadow, base, and even concealer.

Accent Brush
The accent brush is similar to many detail brushes I have seen. In my experience it's good for applying precise color to the eyes, specifically beneath the lower lashes (while a larger brush can leave you looking like a raccoon).

Pixel Point Eyeliner Brush
This brush is great for lining the eyes and the apparent duo fiber composition makes the tip much more narrow than the body ad thus great for both thick and thin lines.

Brow Brush
 Despite looking like a typical angled eyeliner brush, the brow brush is much thicker and larger overall. Below is a comparison with an ELF angled liner brush.

Overall this set is stellar and a necessity in everyone's makeup collection. It's great for beginners starting with a minimal amount of brushes because they not only come with tutorials, but each brush is multi-functional and make it easy to get by with just a few brushes. It's also awesome for pros and/or makeup junkies who have an excess of brushes because, again, they are so unique. Each and every one of them is unbelievably soft, synthetic (which makes for easy cleaning), and haven't shed a hair since coming out of the box.

Go get em'.

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Monday, March 26, 2012

blinc on Hautelook Thursday! (3/29)

This is an early bird heads up that the brand blinc will be on Hautelook this Thursday (3/29). I received their tubing mascara in a Birchbox and really enjoyed using it. Not only did it "tube" around my lashes, but it was, overall, a good mascara. While it might be a must-try simply for the novelty of the tubing technology, blinc is one of those brands that some of might not be able to try on a whim, novelty or not. Hautelook events are the perfect time to try these kinds of brands, so take advantage of this sale!

Happy Shopping!

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Review & Swatchfest: Almay Intense i-color Shadow Stick for Brown Eyes

Over Spring break, my sister and I were gabbing over whatever reality show we happened to be indulging in at the time, and a commercial came on for the Almay Intense i-color Shadow Stick. Upon hearing its "crease-proof" claims, we both looked at each other and knew we had to test it out.

Almay Intense i-color Shadow Stick for Brown Eyes

Shimmery Champagne

Blue-tinged green

Well, the good news is that the color is most definitely crease proof! The bad news is that they fail is most every other category. Right off the bat, the champagne color stick fell out of the packaging. Granted this could be an unfortunately chosen product on my part, but I've had this problem with similar products from different brands. So, my hunch is that it's a packaging flaw rather than a poorly chosen product. Next downfall is in the pigmentation. The swatches above took at least 10-15 swipes of each color to achieve the opacity (if you can call it that) above. Now, this isn't necessarily a bad thing for someone looking for a more subtle look. But, it degrades the versatility of the product.

On the upside, the fact that it's crease-proof makes it ideal for a sheer eyeshadow base, but you would have to get over packaging flaws. At around $6 a pop, I would steer clear of these and invest in a NYX eyeshadow base or a Maybelline Eye Tattoo. Both brands provide crease-proof wear with more pigmentation and less paging concerns.

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Review & Swatchfest: Tarte Maracuja Divine Shine Lip Gloss in Blissful

Tarte's newest addition for Spring is a fresh looking lip gloss packed with goodies to make your pucker perkier. Like all Tarte products, they've filled it with ingredients that leave you with lasting beauty like Vitamin C, Vitamin E, and Maracuja oil. But do they really work? Well, see for yourself.

Tarte Maracuja Divine Shine Lip Gloss in Blissful

First off, I love the floral print on the packaging. Not only does it remind me of Spring, but the more I carry it around, the less it feels like a lipgloss and the more it feels like a fashion accessory. So chic!

Unlike many pen-style lips glosses with a built in brush applicator, Tarte's uses a click-button on the end rather than a twist-style to dispense product. There is no difference between the two (that I can perceive), so for now it's just a packaging nuance.

Blissful is a coral, perfect for the Spring, that has medium opacity. It can definitely be layered to achieve more color intensity. The wear time is average for a lip gloss but the sticky factor is exceptionally lower. This is great news for those of us who love to wear our hair down during the windy Spring months!

The way the color sits on the lips makes it look as though I'm wearing a stain with a gloss over rather than a pigmented gloss. Great of those who love a more natural look, but are also lip gloss fans.

The last great thing I want to mention about this gloss is how well it hydrates. As I mentioned before, Tarte products are known for being filled with feel-good ingredients. After this gloss wears off, the Vitamins and Maracuja oils are still working to hydrate your lips. If you aren't prone to dry, flaky lips, this might not mean much to you. But for me, the drastically fluctuating temperatures of Spring wreak havoc on my lips. This gloss kept flakes and cracks at bay.

Pick these up in Sephora, ULTA, or on Tarte's website for $21.

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Sunday, March 25, 2012

Review & Swatchfest: Majolica Majorca Lash Bone Black Fiber Primer & Lash Expander Frame Plus Mascara

Although not a brand widely available in the US, Majolica Majorca has a good reputation among those who have tried their mascara. So good, in fact, that when I was researching Japanese products and brands to have friends who were visiting check out, Majolica Majorca was the blogosphere's overwhelming favorite. After putting it to the test, I can vouch for it's novelty, and even its utility, but there are definitely some features that buyers might want to know before purchasing.

Lash Bone Black Fiber Primer

 If this wand isn't distinct, I don't know what is. Rather than a traditional fiber wand, or even a newer rubberized wand, these are hard plastic with tooth-llike combs. On top of that, both the primer and the mascara are fibrous (as you can see in the picture above) and are meant to lengthen lashes.
Lash Expander Frame Plus

The mascara wand is slightly different than that of the primer in that both sides of the wand have combs; one with finer teeth, and one with broader teeth. The broader teeth serve to apply more product to the lashes while the finer teeth are good for separating.

Lashes Before
Lashes with Primer
Unlike many primers I have used, Majolica Majorca's primer doesn't go on thick. This is a picture of my lashes after 3 coats. Because of this, I'm not convinced it's a necessary step to achieve the length you see below.

Lashes with Primer & Mascara 
While the mascara certainly can lengthen, I wasn't impressed with the curling I saw after my first application. So, I reapplied to my other eye, started closer to the lashes, and held the wand there for a few seconds to lock the "lift" in place. There was definite improvement!

While it might not seem like a huge difference, you can compare the two together below.

"Lifted" lashes on the left, first application on the right
This mascara is definitely for those who seek to lengthen their lashes. Despite having a side with more narrow teeth, I was hard-pressed to get good separation. Overall, my lashes appear fuller, although not as full as other mascaras make them, and I noticed more fullness after my second application (left eye pictured above).

In terms of wear time, this mascara lasts all day and holds lash shape the entire time. At first I was concerned about the tiny fibers getting into my eyes (a cornea scratch waiting to happen!), but they are thoroughly embedded in the formula so there were no rogue fibers.

If your main lash concern is lengthening and holding shape (although no necessarily curl), this duo is fab! If, on the other hand, you are more of a fullness or creating curl kind of girl, you should consider looking elsewhere.

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21 Days of Beauty at ULTA: Week 3

This is the final week of ULTA's 21 Days of Beauty and, I don't know about you, but I feel like I snagged some excellent beauty deals! Here is the line up for this week's beauty bargains:

Sunday (3/25): Benefit's Realness of Concealness Set for $18 (normally $36)
Monday (3/26): Butter London Top & Tails Set for $19 (regularly $25)
Tuesday (3/27): Amazing Cosmetics Large Concealer for $21 (normally $42)
Wednesday (3/28): CARGO Beach Blushes are $15 (normally $30)

Thursday (3/29): 20% off Hydroxatone
Friday (3/30): FREE Deluxe-size Finishing Powder with $25 purchase
Saturday (3/31): Smashbox Primer Set for $14 & BOGO 50% off Philosophy Kiss of Hope Lip Balm

Don't forget the $3.50 off a $10 purchase using this coupon!

Happy Shopping!

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Deal Alert: BaubleBar Buried Bauble

Over the holidays, BaubleBar was doing a cool promotion where, on Fridays, they would discount a piece of jewelry to $10 without marking it so on the site. It was only when you clicked the item that you could see the discount. This little gem was called the Buried Bauble.

Well, Buried Baubles are back every friday with some extra BB goodness along the way. Example: today there is Bauble Buried on the site! The clue: "Weave through our bracelets to find our pick a bit quicker." Here's another hint: you don't have to look far from the first page.

Create an account to receive their emails that announce Buried Baubles (and other deals!).

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Saturday, March 24, 2012

Review & Swatchfest: Dollywink Liquid Eyeliner in Deep Black

The idea of a pen-style liquid liner is so appealing to me. With only one product necessary to achieve anything from a precise line to an artful wing, the number of products needed are minimized and the results are maximized (clearly I'm a science major dating an Industrial Engineer). Unfortunately, much like a real pen, liner pens dry out and many of them do it quickly. On top of that, the pigmentation in some is great when worn alone, but is muddied and falls flat over shadow. Dollywink's Liquid Eyeliner breaks the mold.

Worn over shadows from theBalm's Nude 'Tude Palette
This is by far the best pen-style liquid liner I have tried. While the color range seems limited (Deep Black is the only shade I know of), they do black well. Really well. I was lucky enough to have a friend pick this up for me while in Japan, but US readers can order Dollywink liner online.

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