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Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Spring & Summer Beauty + $500 Giveaway

My Spring Look

Spring has finally sprung here in the Midwest (for today anyway), which means I'm ready to bust out my warm weather beauty routine! While that might mean making bigger changes, like adding or subtracting products altogether, there are also very easy ways to tweak my beauty routine to match the changing seasons. 
  1. Mattify.  Warmer weather means more sweat.  With this extra "dew" comes a few more steps in my beauty routine. I use a mattifying primer to balance my skin's natural oil production and wick excess oil away so that my makeup stays put even on the hottest days. I choose one that contains a starch to blot oil away so that I can take it on the go and apply as I need it throughout the day. 
  2. Bronze bolder.  I will occasionally fake tan throughout the fall and winter when I want an extra boost - whether it's in color or confidence. In the spring and summer, I want a serious bronze boost to match the other beach babes out there. While I'm not willing to sacrifice my health for the extra pigment, a little lotion never hurt anyone and it's not hard to use Jergen's Natural Glow products to make the transition! I used the same process I described in my last update blog to up my tanning ante. 
  3. Add color. Spring and summer is the time when I can let my inner color fiend run wild. Whether it's via lipstick, eyeshadow, liner, or blush, adding a pop of color is always a 'yes'!
For more detail about how I change up my beauty routine, watch the video below!

Jergens makes it easier than ever to glow with the NEW Natural Glow Moisturizers that provides great color, year-round, without the sunless tanner odor.

Share how natural-looking skin color makes you feel for a chance to win $500!
This is a sponsored conversation written by me on behalf of Jergens. The opinions and text are all mine. Official Sweepstakes Rules 


Review & Swatchfest: NYX Matte Lipstick in Strawberry Daiquiri and Perfect Red

NYX Matte Lipstick in Strawberry Daiquiri and Perfect Red 

As I slowly work my way through my ULTA Haul items, I've finally come to the NYX Matte Lipsticks. After my recent experience with Revlon's ColorStay Ultimate Suede Lipstick, I was interested to see how comparable matte drugstore lipsticks would stack up.

NYX's formula claims to have a rich, velvety smooth texture that glides on leaving a matte, non-glossy finish. I picked the shades Strawberry Daiquiri, a medium peach-leaning nude, and Perfect Red, a blue-based medium-dark red. Despite applying as a matte texture (as opposed to the Revlon which had a balmy finish at first), these lipsticks applied really smoothly. I'm not sure if it was the light color, but Strawberry Daiquiri showed a few more lip flaws than Perfect Red, but overall both flattered lips that more often than not tend to be less than ideal for matte lip products. Additionally, they didn't dry my lips out throughout wear. Speaking of, wear time is where these products really shine. While I can't say they didn't come off on glasses I was drinking out of, there was still plenty of product to remain opaque and true-to-color for up to 4 hours of wear! I didn't eat while testing, but this alone says that these lip products can take you from breakfast to lunch without needing a touch up or barring a few beverages.

For $5.99 (when you don't catch them on sale, as they frequently are), these are 100% worth it! NYX seems to have perfected the matte formula with good wear time and without leaving lips dry. Because the formula is relatively forgiving as far as mattes go, I can see this as being a good lipstick for matte lovers and n00bs alike. As always, for optimal wear you will want to exfoliate and hydrate a few minutes prior to application. I recommend inserting this as the first step in your daily routine so that your lips are fully prepped and hydrated by the time you get to them at the end of your routine. Just make sure to wipe off whatever balm you are using to moisturize to ensure you get the full matte effect of the lipstick!

See more pictures after the jump!

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A Colorful Look for Less

I've been focusing quite a bit on colorful palettes lately. While most have been affordable, none have been from the drugstore. Today I want to share a picture tutorial of a look I created using the Cover Girl Eye Shadow Quad in Tropical Fusion I posted a review on a few days ago. While these shadows aren't as pigmented as some of the other palettes I've mentioned, they clearly get the job done and can add an affordable pop of color to your summer makeup staples.

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INGLOT Palette Giveaway!


Monday, April 29, 2013

Sigma Resort Palette Shadows Available Individually!

Sigma Resort Palette

The shadows in the Sigma Resort Palette are now being sold individually! I reviewed the palette a few weeks ago and couldn't say enough good things about the colorful shadows in the mix, but there were a few neutral shadows I could have left. There is now good news for those of you who said you would think twice about a $42 palette where you didn't love all of the shadows: you can now purchase the shadows individually!

Each of them costs $11 a piece, so if you want more than 4, it's a better deal to buy the palette and get the dual ended eyeliner, blush, and highlighter. But if you just find that you need a Midori, Neela, Papaya (which is apparently Grasp when sold individually), or Moonbean (Luna as an individual) in your life, then this is probably the way to go. In case you were wondering, those are the shades I would call must-haves from this palette!

Happy Shopping!

See more pictures after the jump!


Let's Talk Hair Removal - Getting Smooth for the Summer with Nair!

I don't know about you, but I'm among the fraction who takes a bit of a hiatus from shaving during the winter. While I don't let things get to mountain man status, it's hard to find motivation to shave legs that don't see the light of day for months at a time. That lack of motivation manifests itself on my face too... While swatching some lip products the other day, I found myself staring down a moustache when I went to proof the images. The temporary solution was to quietly turn the contrast down or try and artfully crop around it, but when I stumbled on some unruly brows I knew I need a long-term solution that I could use right away to remedy the problem.

Nair Brazilian Spa Clay Face Wax Strips yields great results for a fraction of the price of a spa. For $5.99, you get 40 wax strips - 10 large, and 10 small pairs - and 4 post-wax wipes. Unlike any other at-home hand-heated wax strips I've tried, Nair Brazilian Clay strips have Perfect Temp™ technology that lets you know when the strips are warm enough to use. Too may times I've not warmed a wax strip up enough and had to redo sensitive areas of my face. Nair strips have a blue logo embossed across the strip that disappears when heated to the right temperature - that also means no risk of burning yourself with wax that's too hot! Just rub the strips between your hands and pull apart when they are ready! The formula also contains mango butter and açai berry to moisturize and purify skin. I personally found that the wax was much smoother and gentler than others I've used, and I'm wondering if those ingredients had a part in it.

Celebrity Makeup Artist Ashunta Sheriff shared her tips for using Nair's Brazilian Spa Clay Face Wax Strips to get the perfect look for summer:

1. "Less is more. A picture perfect look starts with a smooth foundation." Sheriff recommends Nair Brazilian Spa Clay Total Care Face Trio to achieve fresh, clean skin prepped for a light foundation or tinted moisturizer a lighter, more natural look.

2. "Get the Perfect Brows. My favorite part about the wax strips is that they can be cut to create your perfect brow shape." For a precise wax, shape the strips into small strips and place them above, below, and at the starts of the arch to get the right brow for you.

3. "Make Your Eyes Pop. This summer incorporate colored liner into your makeup kit." Bright colors are going to be big this summer, but they draw attention to your eyes. Make sure brows are in top shape with the previous tip!

4. "Get Great Lashes. In three simple steps your lashes will have volume, life and separation for a truly memorable look." Sheriff recommends applying mascara as you would normally, to the underside of the lashes, next to the tops of the lashes, and then wiggling the wand from side to side to achieve maximum lash potential.

5. Waterproof Everything. Prepare for summer showers and heat by switching to waterproof formulas for your mascara, eyeliner, lip liner and cream eye colors. Always set makeup with a waterproof finishing spray to ensure you look great all day!"

Check out the video below where I show you how I'm getting smooth for summer with Nair's Face Wax Strips.

For a girl who does lip swatches on the regular, this has got to go...

Find out more and jump start your journey to smooth summer skin by going to NairLikeNeverBefore.com!


April 2013 Favorites!

Products Mentioned:

Saturday, April 27, 2013

Review & Swatchfest: Rimmel ScandalEyes Eye Shadow Stick in Blamed Blue and Paranoid Purple

Rimmel ScandalEyes Eye Shadow Stick in Blamed Blue and Paranoid Purple

I wasn't over the moon about the first two Rimmel ScandalEyes Shadow Sticks I tried, Witness White and Bad Girl Bronze. They worked well as color bases, but weren't as opaque as other shadow pencils in the drugstore, making them less than ideal as standalone shadows. Still, I knew there were other shades within the line and wanted to give them a shot because there can be, and are almost always are, quality inconsistencies within product lines. This time around, I went for Blamed Blue, a deep, gem-toned turquoise, and Paranoid Purple, a deep, gem-toned grapey purple.

Both shades out-performed Witness White and Bad Girl Bronze by miles! I was shocked to see how pigmented each one was with one swipe. While they are very creamy and smooth when applying, they dry down within 30-45 seconds (giving you plenty of time to work with them) and don't budge once they are down. Set them or don't set them, these pencils don't need a shadow to make them pop or last throughout the day.

For $4.49, these are absolute must-haves from the drugstore! I would still pass on Witness White and Bad Girl Bronze if you are looking for cream shadow-type products, but as color bases they work well. These, on the other hand, are good for it all. I highly recommend them!

See more pictures after the jump!

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Review & Swatchfest: L'Oréal Miss Candy Collection Infallible Eye Shadows in Strawberry Blonde, Cherie Merie, and With a Twist

L'Oréal Infallible Eye Shadows in Strawberry Blonde, Cherie Merie, and With a Twist
L'Oréal has come out with more eye shadows in their Infallible formula line in the latest limited edition Miss Candy Collection for the summer. Because this formula is so raved about (rightfully so), and these are limited edition shades, I wanted to get my thoughts on them out asap in case you come across the display and need to make a decision stat!

The entire collection includes candy colored polishes, polish stickers, glosses, and 4 Infallible shadows. I already have a color similar to a shade called "Dive Right In" - a baby blue - that I got while in Canada, so I stuck to the three other shades: Strawberry Blonde, Cherie Merie, and With a Twist. To give you an idea of how the baby blue jives with the collection as a whole, I've included my dupe (Innocent Turquoise) in the mix. EDIT: Lovely reader Dawn let me know that the blue in this collection is closer to Strawberry Blonde's pigmentation with its iridescence. The swatch I have below is probably too opaque to directly dupe Dive Right In. Sorry, Canadians :(

Strawberry Blonde is a light, iridescent pink that is more like a reflect than a solid shade. Worn over a black base, the pink is majorly amplified.
Cherie Merie is a satin peach shade.
With a Twist is a light/medium purple with a blue iridescence. It looks much more subdued when worn dry, is amplified slightly when wet, and goes completely blue when worn over a black base. A truly interesting shade!

As with all of the Infallible shadows, the formula of each shade is smooth (bordering on a creamy texture), evenly pigmented, long-wearing, and all but Strawberry Blonde is opaque. This pressed pigment style shadow is appealing because it satisfies both the loose pigment and pressed shadow lovers - providing ease of use and versatility without the mess. Ultimately, I'm struggling to find something I don't like about these shadows. The only thing that should effect your purchase are the shades you want!

See more pictures after the jump!

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Friday, April 26, 2013

Watercolor Eye Tutorial

Products Used:


MAKE Cosmetics Aether Collection

MAKE Cosmetics Aether Collection

Yesterday, MAKE Cosmetics launched the Aether Collection - the result of a collaboration between London-based interior and furniture designer Faye Toogood and make-up artist Ayami Nishimura. With a mix of soft, ethereal shades, the collection is said to be "inspired by spirituality, rebalance and ceremony and designed to reflect eternal beauty."

MAKE is a charitable brand that donates 33.3% of the purchase to the We See Beauty Foundation - a non-profit organization that funds women-led cooperatives in the US.

The Aether Collection includes:

·         Matte Eyeshadow ($18) in Sulfur, Warm White, Cool White, Salt Flat, Cement
·         Glitter Eyeshadow ($18) in Quartz, Alabaster
·         Glossing Powder ($22)
·         Face Gloss ($18)
·         Custom Finish Effects ($22) in Matte Dew
·         Skin Illuminator ($28.50) in Skír
·         Luminous Lip Gloss ($18) in Flesh
·         Silk Cream Lipstick ($18) in Deep Flesh
·         Aether Palette ($25) includes five Matte Eyeshadows, two Glitter Eyeshadows and a Silk Cream Lipstick

See more pictures after the jump!


Review & Swatchfest: CoverGirl Eye Shadow Quad in Tropical Fusion

CoverGirl Eye Shadow Quad in Tropical Fusion

CoverGirl's Eye Shadow Quad in Tropical Fusion is one of the few all-color eyeshadow quads I've seen in the drugstore. I purchased it on a recommendation from listeners who suggested I look into cheaper alternatives than the Sigma Resort Palette if I just wanted the colorful side of the palette. For a quad in the $5, I thought it was worth checking out to be able to recommend it to those looking for a (much) cheaper alternative. 

Tropical Fusion contains a satin cobalt blue, satin turquoise, satin peach, and satin chartreuse. It was nice to see that none of these are overwhelmingly shimmery or glittery - a tactic often used to mask poor powder quality among drugstore shadows. Still, I wouldn't say these offer fantastic pigmentation, but they are smooth and all but the cobalt are evenly pigmented. The cobalt is buildable, but comes off as s lightly splotchy at first. Those looking for ultra-pigmented brights might be unsatisfied with this. Luckily, the staying power is good, especially when worn over a primer, so those wanting a fun, colorful addition to their makeup for the summer might enjoy this. 

Overall, the $5 price tag is definitely worth it for those wanting an affordable, accessible way to add a trendy pop of color to your makeup, but I wouldn't recommend it as an alternative to those wanting the vibrant shades in the Resort Palette. Another alternative are palettes like those from BH Cosmetics. They recently came out with California inspired palettes that contain a manageable amount of eyeshadows (for those that are intimidated by the large number in the 88 or 120 palettes, or just feel like they don't need that many shadows) and some face products for as low as $9. 

See more pictures after the jump!

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Thursday, April 25, 2013

Crown Brush on Hautelook Tomorrow!

Crown Brush is back on Hautelook tomorrow! See what I think of the 10 pan blush palette or 15 Piece Pink Brush Set before you buy!

I have some credits that expire May 2nd, so I know I will be purchasing something - what would you recommend?

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butter LONDON Summer Vacation Collection on QVC!

butter LONDON Summer Vacation Collection
Look out butter LONDON lovers! Tomorrow, QVC will have an exclusive set of polishes called the Summer Vacation Collection available for $28. Regular butter LONDON buyers will know that this is a steal ($17 less than retail value)! I have links to reviews and swatches I've done of two of the polishes that will be included and, in case you are wondering, Bobby Dazzler was already deemed a MUST-HAVE from the new summer collection. Do with that what you will.

Polishes Included: 

Happy Shopping!


Subscriber Selects - Revlon ColorStay Ultimate Suede lipstick in Cruise Collection

Mentioned in the video:

NYX Nude on Nude Palette vs Naked Palettes

*I'm planing on doing an update review here on the blog to let you know if/how I wear this without emphasizing dry lips!

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Wednesday, April 24, 2013

NYX Nude on Nude vs. Urban Decay Naked Palettes

NYX Nude on Nude

NYX Nude on Nude, Naked 2, and Naked
I recently reviewed and swatched the NYX Nude on Nude on Nude Palette, and given the striking similarities, I thought it might be fitting to compare it to Urban Decay's Naked and Naked 2 Palettes. Because these palettes collectively have 44 shadows, this post has the potential to get a little hairy. To reduce confusion, and rambling, I'm going to break things down into similarities, differences, give you swatch comparisons of similar shades, and final thoughts. Let's get to it!


  • There are about 4 shades that I would say are close dupes for those in the Naked and Naked 2 Palettes (see swatches below). 
  • All three have a mixture of finishes for those that are looking for more than just an all-matte or all-shimmer palette.


  • Texture. Urban Decay shadows are known for their pigmentation and lasting power. While the NYX shadows are smooth and creamy, there is still a noticeable difference in quality. In that sense, you pay for what you get.
  • NYX's metallic shadows aren't nearly as metallic as UD's. If you are looking for that striking finish, go with Urban Decay. 
  • NYX's palette doesn't venture into the mauve tones Naked does with Toasted and Hustle.
  • NYX's has a few more matte shades, but they don't perform as well as Urban Decay's matte shades.
  • NYX has a mix of warm and cool shadows whereas the Naked Palettes are separated roughly into warm (Naked) and cool (Naked 2).
  • NYX's comes with lip glosses which, if you like them, are a bonus. 

In closing, NYX's Nude on Nude palette is in no way a dupe of either of the Naked palettes or the two combined. While there are a few shadow similarities, NYX's palette is filled primarily with shades that are very different in color, texture, and finish from those found in the Naked Palettes. To those that are looking to exactly (or even half-assedly) dupe each palette for less than a quarter of the price: keep looking. For those that just want a nice, neutral palette that will get the job done well: NYX's Nude on Nude is for you! And to those who already have the Naked Palettes and just want to know if this is another "must-have" neutral palette: you are just here for the swatches and will buy it anyway. Don't act like you aren't. 

Who knew there were so many ways to be nude?
See more pictures after the jump!

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Review & Swatchfest: NYX Nude on Nude Palette

NYX Nude on Nude Palette

NYX Nude on Nude Palette
The NYX Nude on Nude Palette might just be the largest  neutral palette I've come across with 20 shadows AND 10 lip glosses for just $25. The shadows are a mix of textures, with matte, satin, shimmer, and even some glitter, a blend of both warm and cool shadows, and a decent shade selection spanning from light to dark. Like many palettes with large shade selections, there are a few shadows that are less than stellar, with powdery finishes or sparse pigmentation, but then there are shadows that blow those out of the water. Additionally, there are also a few shades that are similar to each other within the palette.

Because there are so many, I won't go through and talk about the quality of individual shadows. Overall, they are much creamier than I expected! Most are smooth, evenly pigmented, opaque or easily built to opacity, and require minimal working (if any) to apply. As usual, there are a few exceptions I found in the light, matte range but, like I said before, it's not unusual to find this in large palettes.

My only small complaint with the shadows in this palette is the lack of super dark shadows. There are a lot in the light to mid range, but even the few grays, blacks, and deep chocolates sheer out relatively quickly when worn. Though definitely not a bad thing for someone who wants a palette for truly natural looks, those who expect 20 shadows to run the complete neutral gamut might find they come up short. This is easily remedied by layering it over a dark base!

The lip glosses aren't the main event in this palette, so I won't dwell too much on them. I think it's great that they are packaged separately from the shadows, so you don't have to worry about fallout ruining the glosses. There was some definite inconsistency in texture across the lip products. The shimmery glosses were much softer and applied more easily, while some of the cream finish were much harder to get out of the pan and build up on the lips. Overall, they aren't terribly sticky, and I was impressed with the payoff of some of the brightly colored shades. None of them lasted longer than 2 hors on the lips. Generally, prefer tube lipstick or glosses for ease of application and portability, so these don't add much value for me. But those that dont mind applying with a lip brush (a small one comes with the palette) and don't necessarily mind reapplying after a few hours might find this is a good addition to this palette.

For $25, I would say this palette is worth it for the shadows alone. While I did find some powderiness with a small few, they are very smooth, creamy, and pigmented for the most part, and provide a nice range of warm and cool shades. You can purchase NYX Nude on Nude from ULTA or the NYX website.

Look for a comparison to Urban Decay's Naked and Naked 2 Palette coming soon!

See more pictures after the jump!

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Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Review & Swatchfest: Maybelline Limited Edition Color Tattoos in Cool Crush, Seashore Frosts, and Waves of White

Maybelline Limited Edition Color Tattoos in Cool Crush, Seashore Frosts, and Waves of White

Maybelline Limited Edition Color Tattoos in Cool Crush, Seashore Frosts, and Waves of White
The recent release of the Limited Edition Color Tattoos from Maybelline might just be the most interesting release to come to drugstore in ages! I only have three of the newest shades, but after seeing just how mesmerizing they are, I'm tempted to get more.

For those unfamiliar with the Color Tattoo line, they are one of the first cream eye shadows with a pigmented, yet truly budge-proof formula to take drugstore by storm. The permanent range of colors includes great basics, like Bad to the Bronze and Bold Gold, but also keeps things interesting with colorful shades like Fierce & Tangy and Edgy Emerald. Still, Maybelline manages to come out with limited edition shades (like those from their fall collection) that wow and awe. This time around, many of the shades are duo chromes, and I don't mean the typical blue-brown duo chrome that everyone and their brother has perfect. These are new, interesting combinations that are sure to become staples in many people's makeup collection.

Waves of White looks like a beautiful pale yellow in the pot and then shocks you when it turns to a cool, pale blue shimmer when swatched.
Cool Frosts is a light lavender shimmer with a pale blue duo chrome similar to the one in Waves of White.
Seashore Frosts has a denim blue base with a medium gold shift that almost has a slight peach tone to it.

All are beautiful, opaque despite being shimmery, have great staying power (both alone and under shadows), and all have the same smooth consistency when applying. Overall, a definite WIN from each shade! If you have even the slightest desire to try these out, snag them if you find them because they won't last long. I think I might even go out in search of mo

See more pictures after the jump!

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Glitzy Prom Nails to Last Through the Night & Beyond!

Red Carpet Manicure Gems & Jewels
I've recently raved about my experience with Red Carpet's at-home gel manicure Pro Kit, but I wanted to actually show you how I combine long-lasting nail polish with the popular nail art trend in a picture tutorial. Inspired by the Red Carpet Manicure Gems & Jewels Kit, I thought I would put a simple, but elegant looking design perfect for prom. Given everything that comes in this kit, this basic design is just the tip of the iceberg, but I wanted to do something that illustrated the basic gel manicure steps while also showing that you can easily get a more intricate design with minimal time and effort. Bonus: everyone wants a fun night like prom to last as long as possible. Now you can take a little glitz from the night with you because this is guaranteed to last a week or more! Read on to see the tutorial...

See more pictures after the jump!

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Monday, April 22, 2013

Review & Swatchfest: Sation Nail Lacquer in Love at First Byte

Sation Nail Lacquer in Love at First Byte
 Sation's Love at First Byte was included in Ipsy's April bag, but will also be in the upcoming 2013 Allure Summer Beauty Box, so I thought I would give a quick review and show you some swatches in case you wanted a sneak peek before purchasing. Described as a "peachy flesh-toned nude", this polish definitely falls into the "natural" end of the shade spectrum. Much like Off the Record Pink , a color that came in last year's Allure box, Love at First Byte has very sheer coverage. While it applied evenly and without streaks after two coats, it took four coats to ensure the whites of my nails were (almost) fully covered. If you tend to prefer sheer polishes, or don't have nail tips that are quite as pigmented, then this won't be an issue for you, but I prefer my polishes to provide completely opaque coverage.

I got just over 2 days of wear from Love at First Byte, which is pretty typical from my nails. If you love the color and the coverage, $5 isn't an awful price! Aside from receiving it in Allure's upcoming Beauty Box, you can purchase this polish from Sation's website. Use code 'IPSY30' to save an additional 20% on your purchase through the end of April!

See more pictures after the jump!

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Review & NOTD: Red Carpet Manicure Pro Kit

Red Carpet Manicure Pro Kit
My experience with gel manicure began and ended with a salon manicure I got over a year ago. While I loved how long it lasted, I think I was lying to myself about just how damaged it left my nails. The deep ridges and brittle texture of my nails kept me from doing anything extreme for a long time. Still, I love the idea of a manicure that lasts longer than two days (the average time I can go chip-free with a normal polish) and maintains a glossy finish the whole time. Enter Red Carpet Manicure.

I recently got the opportunity to try Red Carpet Manicure's Pro Kit and did so with the hope of falling madly in love with the gel manicure craze - one that doesn't seem to be leaving the limelight anytime soon. Read on to see the results...

The Pro Kit comes complete with a prepping and finishing cleanser, 4 polishes essential for the manicure - Prep, Structure, Brilliance, and Revitalize - as well as a colored polish in Red Carpet Reddy, a remover, and a Professional LED light. Despite looking intimidating, the process is relatively easy and only takes about half an hour (and that was my first time!). All in, with three coats, a top coat, and drying time, it takes me that long to do a normal manicure, which brings me to my next point: no drying time. Gel manicure eliminates my least favorite part of the polishing process by curing the polish in 45 second increments rather than an indeterminate amount of time living life as if you don't have fingers.

Just in case you feel like you have to choose between a long-lasting polish gel manicure and the fun  nail art trend that's here to stay, Red Carpet also makes supplementary kits that include polishes, tools, and gems that make partaking in both trends easy as pie. I personally hate putting time and effort into nail art only to have it chip in a day (if it doesn't smudge first), so I was especially stoked to see this! So excited, in fact, that I created a glitzy gel manicure coming up just in time for prom (look for the tutorial tomorrow!).

Removal is a slightly longer process than you might go through with normal polish (unless it's a glitter polish). Using the remover provided with the kit, I soaked small pieces of cotton with it and used tin foil squares wrapped around my finger tips to secure them to my nails for 10 minutes. After I removed the cotton, the polish was thoroughly softened and peeling around the edges, making it easy to lift and peel whatever was left away. No damage whatsoever! While the formula might be just as drying to the cuticle area, I didn't feel that the Red Carpet's formula was nearly as damaging to my nails as salon-grade gel.

The only differences between the Pro and Starter Kit are $20.00 and the kind of LED light you receive - the Starter Kit light is battery operated and lacks the dome covering and salon feel. Regardless of the kit you choose, I can't recommend Red Carpet Gel Manicure enough! The Pro Kit pays for itself with 3 manicures, yet you get so many more than that out of what you are given before you would ever need to repurchase the products included individually. Gel manicure lovers look out because this is a money-saving must-have!

See more pictures after the jump!

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Review & Swatchfest: Burt's Bees 100% Natural Lip Glosses

Burt's Bees 100% Natural Lip Glosses

Burt's Bees Herbal Blemish Stick was the first skin care product I ever used. It was a long-time fixture in my pre-teen and teenage beauty regimen, so I was full of nostalgia and intrigue when a few of Burt's Bees 100% Natural Lip Glosses landed on my swatching table. They've been in the color cosmetics biz long since I graduated from my blemish stick, yet I hadn't ventured beyond their Lip Shimmer prior to now. What a mistake that was!

The line of 100% Natural Lip Glosses is made with sunflower oil - a lip smoothing ingredient that keeps your pout hydrated. With it, and a few other ingredients, the formula of this gloss stays put for a relatively long period of time (about 1.5 - 2 hours without eating or drinking) before I need to reapply, but it lacks the super-sticky that so many glosses have. As a result, it doesn't offer a ton of slip when blotting my lips, but it's not at all uncomfortable, and it definitely delivers on the hydration the sunflower oil promises!

Of the 12 shades within the line, I've tried 7 and feel I have a good idea for how both light and pigmented shades function.

  • Evening Glow is a sheer warm-toned medium red with small gold shimmer. 
  • Autumn Haze is a sheer light champagne with gold shimmer.
  • Fall Foliage is only slightly darker than Autumn Haze in the tube, but nearly identical on the lips.
  • Ruby Moon is a sheer berry gloss with very faint gold shimmer.
  • Ocean Sunrise is a sheer light dusty rose with soft pink shimmer.
  • Nearly Dusk is a sheer medium mauve with subtle light purple shimmer.
  • Starry Night is a sheer deep purple wine.

The darker shades, like Starry Night, Evening Glow, and Ruby Moon, have a tendency to wear slightly unevenly when piled on for maximum pigmentation (seen in the swatches below), but I attribute that to user error. All look beautiful as light, but pigmented washes of color on the lips. Unlike some pigmented glosses, these don't leave unevenly stained lips behind once they are worn off!

While none of the glosses in this line have a scent that I can detect, they have a taste that is sweet, but not overwhelmingly so. I want to say it tastes like honey, but it's so subtle that I can't quite put my finger on it.

Despite carrying a drugstore price tag ($9), the packaging of these feels nice and sturdy and come with a doe foot applicator. Those who hate getting massive amounts of product on the wand at once will love these. Just a small amount comes out and doesn't leave a ton of excess product on the rim - a situation that can then sometimes lead to excess product on your hand, face, and shirt when you aren't careful enough (I not-so-fondly refer to it as "The Case of the Reappearing Lip Gloss").

Overall, these glosses are great for those who truly love sheer washes of glossy pigment on their lips, but also want moisturizing benefits. I found a printable coupon for $1.50 when poking around on their website, so make sure you use it if you are already set on getting some of Burt's 100% Natural Lip Glosses (or any other Burt's Bees lip product)!

See more pictures after the jump!

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Chit Chat Tutorial: Dramatic Winged Liner


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Sunday, April 21, 2013

Review & Swatchfest: butter LONDON 3 Free Nail Lacquer in Bobby Dazzler

butter LONDON 3 Free Nail Lacquer in BIt Faker, Poole, and Bobby Dazzler

butter LONDON 3 Free Nail Lacquer in Bit Faker, Poole, and Bobby Dazzler
butter LONDON 3 Free Nail Lacquer in Bobby Dazzler

A few weeks ago, butter LONDON launched their On Summer Holiday Collection and I was lucky enough to receive three of the six newest shades they launched to ring in the summer: Bit Faker, Poole, and Bobby Dazzler! 

Bobby Dazzler - an opaque silver chrome aptly named for someone who tickles your fancy - is easily my favorite of the three holiday polishes I've tried and the best metallic polish I've ever tried! It looks oddly yellow tinted in the bottle, but is actually a pure silver chrome on the nails. While it isn't completely forgiving on nail ridges, it's handles them better than any other metallic polish I've tried. It's opaque after one coat, but needs two or even three to completely even out the ridges in my nails. It looks stunning and so metallic that it looks a little like aluminium foil - an effect I've only ever seen possible using nail stickers. I would recommend using a fast drying nail oil rather than a top coat to keep from changing the finish from a metallic to a glossy one. 

Given my rave review, it's safe to say I love Bobby Dazzler! It's easily worth the $15 price point and is the one polish I would recommend buying from the collection, if I had to pick only one. You can by polishes from the butter LONDON summer holiday collection from ULTA, Nordstrom, and the butter LONDON website. 

See more pictures after the jump!

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The Allure Beauty Box is Back for Summer!

This Tuesday, Allure will be offering another beauty box for summer and, once again, it's filled to the brim with full-sized makeup, hair, and skin offerings. Rather than paying the over $250 the box is worth, Allure is making the box available for just $39.99! As a veteran Allure beauty box buyer, I can attest to the fact that they go fast, so get them right away on the morning of the 23rd to make sure you snag one.

Note: The link above will NOT work until Tuesday. The URL for the Allure beauty box will be allureaccess.com/summer!

Inside, you will find:

  • Burt's Bees Lip Gloss
  • Butter LONDON 3 Free Nail Lacquer in Bit Faker
  • Cetaphil Daily-Facial Cleanser
  • Clear Scalp & Hair Beauty Therapy Shampoo
  • Clear Scalp & Hair Beauty Therapy Conditioner
  • Dickinson Original Witch Hazel Oil Controlling Towelettes
  • GKHair Leave-In Spray
  • Neutrogena MicroMist Sunless Tanning Spray
  • Neutrogena Oil-Free Moisture SPF 15
  • Neutrogena Ulta-Gentle Daily Cleanser
  • Neutrogena Revitalizing Lip Balm SPF20
  • NEXXUS Youth Renewal Rejuvenating Elixer
  • Not Your Mother's Beach Babe Texturizing Hair Cream
  • PIXI Endless Silky Eye Pen
  • Pureology Color Stylist Supreme Control Maximizing HoldZero Dulling Hairspray
  • Redken control addict 28 high-control hairspray
  • Redken Extreme Anti-Snap Leave-In Treatment
  • Sally Hansen Complete Salon Manicure in Jaded
  • Sally Hansen Salon Manicure Dry & Go Drops
  • Sally Hansen Zero Bumps Bikini Spray
  • Sation Nail Lacquer in Love At First Byte
  • Simple Kind to Eyes, Eye Makeup Remover Pads
  • Suave Professionals Moroccan Infusion Styling Oil
  • TanTowel The Original Self-Tanning Towelette for Face & Body
  • Tresemmé Platinum Strength Strengthening Heat Protect Spray

I mean, really. What's not to love? Happy Shopping!


Review & Swatchfest: butter LONDON 3 Free Nail Lacquer in Poole

butter LONDON 3 Free Nail Lacquer in Bit Faker, Poole, and Bobby Dazzler

butter LONDON 3 Free Nail Lacquer in Bit Faker, Poole, & Bobby Dazzler
butter LONDON 3 Free Nail Lacquer in Poole

A few weeks ago, butter LONDON launched their On Summer Holiday Collection and I was lucky enough to receive three of the six newest shades they launched to ring in the summer: Bit Faker, Poole, and Bobby Dazzler! 

Poole - a seaside resort town - is a dusty pastel blue with a cream finish. It takes the typical summer turquoise and adds a little dimension by taking the bright down a notch. Very seaside chic! I've had mixed experiences with cream finishes from butter LONDON, but I'm really impressed with the way Poole applied! The first coat applied smoothly and evenly. After two coats, the polish is completely opaque, masks texture inconsistencies on my nails, and has a nice, glossy finish without a top coat.

Many find it hard to justify the $15 price point of butter LONDON polishes, but I think Poole is definitely among those that are worth it! The dustiness of the pale blue makes it an interesting shade and the polish quality is great. You can purchase polishes from the On Summer Holiday collection on butter LONDON's website, ULTA, or Nordstrom.

See more pictures after the jump!

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Saturday, April 20, 2013

Review & Swatchfest: butter LONDON 3 Free Nail Lacquer in Bit Faker

butter LONDON 3 Free Nail Lacquer in Bit Faker, Poole, and Bobby Dazzler

butter LONDON 3 Free Nail Lacquer in Bit Faker, Poole, and Bobby Dazzler
butter LONDON 3 Free Nail Lacquer in Bit Faker
A few weeks ago, butter LONDON launched their On Summer Holiday Collection and I was lucky enough to receive three of the six newest shades they launched to ring in the summer: Bit Faker, Poole, and Bobby Dazzler! 
Bit Faker  - a slang term you might earn if you get your tan from a can - is a light chocolate/bronze glitter that reflects light gold. In-keeping with butter LONDON polish quality, Bit Faker is a wonderfully opaque glitter that only requires two coats to achieve full coverage. Worn alone, the finish is slightly dull, but a top coats brings the vibrancy back to the polish. 
One thing I noticed about this polish was how easy it was to remove. Unlike typical glitter polishes, Bit Faker seemed to come off with just a little more working with than a normal polish - not the rubbing and scraping that typically comes with glitter polishes. 
I've had inconsistent experiences with butter LONDON polishes in the past, but Bit Faker definitely falls into the "worth it" category - a matter many find themselves questioning when a polish costs $15. Polishes from this collection can be found on the butter LONDON website, ULTA, and Nordstrom. 

See more pictures after the jump!

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Soft & Colorful with the LORAC GLOgetter Palette!

Get this looking using the LORAC GLOgetter Palette from ULTA! For reviews, swatches, and my thoughts of this palette, check out the blog post!

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More than a POP! - A Colorful Eye Makeup Tutorial

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Friday, April 19, 2013

Review & Swatchfest: Naked Cosmetics Tropical Indulgence Pigment Set

Add captionNaked Cosmetics Tropical Indulgence Pigment Set

I'm obsessed with pigments. With so many uses, they represent the epitome of versatility in the makeup world, and I have an infatuation with multi-use products. Given my over-enthusiasm for pigments, it's no surprise that I own three pigment stacks from Naked Cosmetics - the JavaRainforest, and Ivory stacks. All of the, however, walk a little on the safe side in terms of color. Last time I was at IMATS, I thought I would take advantage of the awesome trade show deal and snag two more stacks - some that were a little more wild.

The Naked Cosmetics Tropical Indulgence Pigment Set contains 6 colorful pigments that really do reflect the colors of the tropics. In the configuration I have, the top shade (TI-02) is a hot magenta with a purple-fuchsia shift, the next down (TI-06) is a blue/green that leans more green, followed by TI-03 -a periwinkle with a light purple shift. Next comes TI-01- a peach-leaning pink with slight gold duo chrome, TI-04 - a periwinkle that lacks the purple TI-03 has, and TI-05 - a blue/green that leans more green and aqua than TI-06.

Each shade is pigmented, smooth, and shimmery although not super bold when worn alone. When mixed with water, however, they shades come to life with pigment and duo chromatic properties that make them interesting. While I like each color, I wish they would have substituted some drastically different colors - like orange or yellow - in for the shades that are similar to each other in order to really give this stack the feel of the tropics (and some variety). But as far as pigments go, I'm just as in love with them now as I was before.

Each of these shades can be worn as an eyeshadow, lip color, nail polish, temporary hair color, body pigment, blush, and more. Individually, these stacks retail for $14.99 a piece. Together, you can get them for $59.99 a stack. While it's definitely a better deal to buy in bulk, one stack is still pretty costly. I recommend purchasing at a trade show if you can. If you can't, however, I woulds till recommend these to die-hard pigment fans or those looking to experiment. If you find that these shades are too bold, but are still interested in pigments, make sure to check out the stacks I mentioned before! Naked Cosmetics pigments can be purchased at the Naked Cosmetics website.

See more pictures after the jump!

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Thursday, April 18, 2013

Review & Swatchfest: LORAC GLOgetter Eye Shadow Palette

LORAC GLOgetter Eye Shadow Palette

In my pursuit of the perfect bright summer shadow palette, I decided to buy the ULTA exclusive  LORAC's GLOgetter Eye Shadow Palette. The palette come with 10 shadows - a mix of neutrals and brights. On the left, starting from the left, there is a medium matte camel, shimmery light camel, shimmery light peach, shimmery aqua blue, and a satin cream color on the bottom. On the right, starting from the left, there is a shimmery medium periwinkle blue, shimmery dusty purple laced with gold, light mint with gold duo chrome, medium grape purple, and shimmery cream on the bottom.

In-keeping with LORAC's shadow quality, each of these is smooth, creamy, applied evenly, and pigmented. The mix between warm neutrals and cool aqua blues makes this very reminiscent of sun, sand, and sea, and thus perfect for summer! The shade range and combination of textures makes this a very versatile palette for those that only want  the occasional pop of color. My only complaint with the range of hues is that it doesn't include anything ultra dark, so I felt like my outer corner and lower lash line felt naked in come looks. Nothing a good liner can't fix, but something to think about for the person that wants a palette to have it all.

That one gripe aside, I think this palette is worth all $20 it cost. It comes to $2 a shadow which is unbeatable considering the quality. If you like the shade range, and are looking for a relatively affordable palette with some bright hues, but don't want to sacrifice quality, this is absolutely for you! the GLOgetter Eye Shadow Palette is exclusive to +ULTA. I'm not sure if it's limited edition, so pick it up while you can!

See more pictures after the jump!

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Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Battle of the Subscription Services - Ipsy, Birchbox, Total Beauty

See reviews & swatches of the Total Beauty Revlon Edition Swatches!

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Review & Swatchfest: NYX Butter Glosses in Éclair, Merengue, Peach Cobbler, Apple Strudel, and Cherry Pie

NYX Butter Glosses in Éclair, Merengue, Peach Cobbler, Apple Strudel, and Cherry Pie
Hot on the lip butter trend, NYX Butter Glosses are a hybrid between a lip gloss and medium coverage cream lip color. Said to provide medium coverage without stickiness, there are 12 shades available and I have 5 to share with you today!

Éclair is a light, dusty mauve, Merengue is a medium berry-tones mauve, Peach Cobbler is a bright peach that almost looks like an orange-red, Apple Strudel is a medium pastel peach, and Cherry Pie is a blue-based red. All are cream textures with a gloss finish - completely without shimmer or sparkle - which is very refreshing. Cream-finish products tend to look a little more polished, but it's hard to find affordable glosses that aren't completely sparkle laden. As promised, each of these provide medium coverage - they give a burst of color to the lips without completely covering natural lip color or texture. Worn alone, they have a slight tendency to appear uneven, but look beautiful (and even) when worn over lipstick or liner.

I noticed these staying in place for around 2+ hours - typical of gloss-type products. The texture provided nice slip without being sticky in the least. Unlike some glosses, when the NYX Butter Glosses wore off, I noticed my lips feeling smooth rather than dry or flaky.

The finish and price is what makes these most appealing and worth checking out. As I mentioned before, it's hard to find semi-opaque glosses that aren't shimmer laden in the drugstore and these manage to balance gloss and color nicely for only $4.99 a piece. You can find these at ULTA Beauty or the NYX Cosmetics website!

See more pictures after the jump!

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Monday, April 15, 2013


Products Mentioned:

Stay tuned for reviews, swatches, and looks using all of these products!

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