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Friday, May 31, 2013

Crown Brush on Hautelook TODAY!

Crown Brush fanatics: look alive for today's Hautelook event!  I would recommend both the 10 Pan Palette or the Hautelook Exclusive 15 Piece Brush Set. While I haven't had a chance to review it, I purchased a double ended brush set that I'm really happy with as well. I hope to have my thought on it up later this weekend, but until then happy shopping!

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Thursday, May 30, 2013

Review & Swatches: L'Oréal Nail Color in Royalty Invented & New Money

L'Oréal Nail Color in Royalty Invented & New Money

Look out bright polish lovers! Although Royalty Reinvented and New Money are permanent to the L'Oréal Nail Color line, I only recently picked them up in a CVS haul brought on by some coupon and sale incentives.

Royalty Reinvented is a creamy medium lavender while New Money is a cream-finish lime green. While there are exceptions with a few nails, both polishes are nearly opaque in two coats on my nails and dry down with a super-glossy finish. While there was minimal streaking with both on the first coat, both evened out by the second. Average chip-free wear time for me is about 2 days - about as long as any regular polish on my nails.

Overall, I like the way both of these shades wear and think they will be particularly well-used this summer with bright nails making it big as far as trends go.

Which would you wear - lime or lavender. Better yet, which are you - New Money or Royalty Reinvented?

See more pictures after the jump!

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Summer Fashion Haul

Wednesday, May 29, 2013

NOTD: Polished Chrome French Mani

Today's nail of the day includes a combination of Broadway imPRESS Press on Nails in Casting Call and the matte top coat and shimmery top coat from the Kiss Top Coat Trio to create a subtle french manicure. I've praised imPRESS nails before, so I won't talk too much about the nails themselves, but I will say that this picture was taken 5 days after application and they are still going strong... need I say more?

What's on your nails?

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Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Review & Swatches: Almay Color + Care Liquid Lip Balms in Cantaloupe, Rosy Lipped, and Apple A Day

Almay Liquid Lip Balms in Cantaloupe, Rosy Lipped, and Apple A Day

It seems like Revlon Lip Butters opened a can of worms when they released their lip products that can moisturize like a balm, shine like a gloss, and provide some pigment.The Almay Color + Care Liquid Lip Balms are a recent nod to to the glossy tinted balm trend with a line of 10 glosses that promise to combine the "conditioners of your lip balm with the shine and flirty color of your favorite gloss."

Canteloupe is a creamy medium peach, Rosy Lipped is a creamy light taupe, and Apple A Day is a creamy warm red. None are as pigmented when applied as they are in the tube and they tend to wear unevenly when layered for extra pigmentation. Each of these is meant to be worn as a sheer wash of color on the lips. To that end, I wouldn't recommend investing in more than two of these - one from the light end of the spectrum and one from the dark - since the variance in pigmentation is relatively minimal.

With nourishing ingredients like Vitamin E and avocado, this glossy balm promises to leave lips 2X more moisturized than before application. While they are very smooth and don't dehydrate lips, I didn't notice any of them providing a substantial moisture boost to my lips. As most balms or glosses do, I found these lasted about 1.5-2 hours before they were completely worn off.

Each of these glosses retail fro $5.99. While I don't see them as excelling in any one area, those that want a nice, subtle color with a slightly glossy sheen might enjoy these. The lack of shimmer makes them a great basic for the office, but I wouldn't look to these for pigmentation, staying power, or much moisture.

Have you tried Almay's Liquid Lip Balms? Are you loving them or leaving them?
See more pictures after the jump!

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Monday, May 27, 2013

60 Second Review: NYC Applelicious Glossy Balm in Big Apple Red

NYC Applelicious Glossy Balm in Big Apple Red

NYC Applelicious Glossy Balm in Big Apple Red

NYC Applelicious Glossy Balm in Big Apple Red

NYC Applelicious Glossy Balm in Big Apple Red

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CVS Steal of the Week! (5/27)

Thought I would share a quick bit about some things I picked up at the +CVS Beauty Club using this week's discounts and coupons! In order to snag the same deal, you must be enrolled in the ExtraCare Rewards program, and it can't hurt to be a part of the Beauty Club as well - for every $50 you spend on cosmetics, you receive $5 in ExtraBucks to spend.

This week, I received coupons for $2 off any Revlon purchase and $5 off any purchase of two Almay products. Additionally, you can receive $4 ExtraBucks Rewards off a Revlon purchase of $10 or more and Almay is Buy One Get One 50% off! With that in mind, I purchased a Revlon Cream blush for $13.29 and two Almay Liquid Lip Balms at $5.99 a piece. After applying the savings, the total went from $25 to $13.27, which doesn't include the $4 ExtraBucks I received from making a Revlon purchase over $10. $17 net savings!

What great deals are you finding at the drugstore this week?


Sunday, May 26, 2013

Review & Swatchfest: Physician's Formula Matte Collection Quad Eye Shadow in Canyon Classics

Physician's Formula Matte Collection Quad Eye Shadow in Canyon Classics
With all of the praise floating around the internet for the Physician's Formula Matte Collection Eye Shadow Quad, I decided it was on the must-have list when I came across a brand-wide sale CVS was having. Similar to Urban Decay's Naked Basics Palette, the Matte Collection Quad in Canyon Classics contains an all-matte selection of eyeshadows, but with two less shadows and $20 off the price tag. I had to see if it was worth the comparison!

For $6.99, Canyon Classics comes with a light cream shade, two nearly indiscernable medium cool camel shades - one leans a little cooler than the other, and a dark gray. I'm not ecstatic that the two mid-tone shades are so close in appearance, but overall the shadow sin the quad combine to create anything from a natural to a subtly smoky look. Despite being slightly powdery, all of the shadows are nicely pigmented and smooth - something not often seen in affordable matte drugstore shadows! These shadows are great for creating a complete all-matte look great for the office, filling in brows, blending out crease colors in eye looks, and using as a facial highlight and contour for neutral to cool skin tones. Although it might not be the Naked Basics to a T, it's very versatile and significantly easier on the wallet.

Although there are three matte quads from Physician's Formula, CVS only carries Canyon Classics. ULTA, however, carries all three!

See more pictures after the jump!

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Ultimate Battle of the Subscription Services

Each month I have a Battle of the Subscription Services between Birchbox and Ipsy, but over the past two years, I've actually been trying quite a few others to see what makes each one so different than the next. After much trial and error, I'm finally here to give you a list that lays out the features and highlights of each one so that you can make the best choice for you when wading through the populous sea of subscriptions.

Birchbox: For $10 a month, you receive 5-6 deluxe-sized samples based on your beauty profile (although I'm not sure how closely they adhere to it). For every product from your box that you review, you receive 10 points in the Birchbox store. For every 100 points you accrue, you receive $10 to spend on full sized products in the Birchbox store. They also have a robust social media community where you are given the opportunity to interact with Birchbox staffers and participate in contests. This service is for the true beauty sampler. If you want a mix of travel sized hair, skin, scent, nail, and makeup products each month, Birchbox is for you!

Ipsy:  For $10 a month, you receive 4-5 products that vary from deluxe sample sizes to full sizes from both new and well-known brands and consistently add up to a value many times the cost of the service. Each month you get exclusive discount codes for each of the brands in your bag. Ipsy has an online community where you can create looks surrounding no they themes for a chance to win prizes from featured brands. They tend to stick more closely to full-size color cosmetics and fragrances so this service would be for the subscriber that wants to switch up their makeup routine.

Beauty Box 5: For $12 a month, Beauty Box 5 offers a mix of sample and full sized products from lesser known brands like MICA, blinc, and Makeup Geek. The mix includes both cosmetics and skin care, amd you receive discounts for featured brands each month. While every subscriber receives the same products, color selection will vary according to a beauty profile you fill out upon subscribing. This is a good service for someone looking for a mix of full sized and samples sized products from lesser-known brands (that still have great quality)! 

Little Black Bag: For a mix of accessories, jewelry, shoes, and beauty, look to Little Black Bag for  monthly dose of it all. They recently revamped their membership program so that it's a little different than the video below describes, but it retained many of the same characteristics. Each month, you get to pick one of three items that go in your bag - the price for your bag now varies depending on the item you pick whereas before all of them were $49.95. Once you choose the item to purchase or "open" your bag, you will get to see the rest of the products inside. Once opened, you can trade items you don't want for others you are more interested in with other members on the site. You have until the 5th of each month to skip your bag without getting charged. If you haven't skipped by the 5th, you will receive a merchandise credit of $9.95 to spend on your next bag. The selection of beauty products in this service is primarily hair care so this would be a great service for fashion and hair lovers!

Le Tote: A newer subscription service to the market, Le Tote is all about the fashion. Each month you get 3 clothing items and 2 accessories hand picked to fit your style for $49 a month. Fill out your style profile and provide your measurements to get the right clothing for you and send it all back in a pre-paid box whenever you want. While this is the one service out of all those in the post that I haven't tried, it's the only affordable one I've found that provides multiple articles of both clothing and accessories. When it comes down to it, each item will only cost $10 to use for as long as you would like.

Blush.com: For $24.95 a month, you can receive a box that promises at least over $100 in makeup, hair, and skincare products curated from the experts at Blush.com. While the price tag is just over double what you might pay for Birchbox or Ipsy, you are virtually guaranteed a few full-sized product as well as a few sample-sized, so it ends up being worth well over what you pay. Those that like a great value, love mystery, and enjoy a mix of hair and skin care, nail products, and cosmetics will like this service!

Sample Society: A collaboration between Allure Magazine and BeautyBar.com, Sample Society promises 5 deluxe-sized hair, skin, and makeup products each month from higher-end brands that services like Ipsy or Birchbox typically include. This $15 box also includes a $15 gift card to use on $50 purchases that contain products from brands included in that month's box as well as a booklet filled with tips and tricks from the editors of Allure. This is great for those that prefer sample sizes from high-end brands like By Terry, Dermalogica, and Diptyque and know they will get some use out of the monthly gift card.

RocksBox: Get three pieces of jewelry based on your style profile delivered to your doorstep each month for $19.99. Rocksbox lets you keep each piece for 60 days after you receive them and provides prepaid postage to send them back. If you like any of the pieces you received that month, you can purchase them for a lowered membership price. If you didn't like what you received, you can provide feedback so that your selection gets better each month! Post a picture of your swag on social media (#rocksbox) to get a $5 purchase credit or refer a friend that makes a purchase to earn $25! Check out my Rocksbox review!

Saturday, May 25, 2013

Simple, Cheap, & Easy: NYX Smokey Eye Tutorial

Products Used:


Friday, May 24, 2013

Subscription Service Review: RockBox

At my core, I'm a makeup girl. I feel comfortable sitting down to play, pairing unsuspecting products together to create new looks. But something I've always admired in others is the ability to do the same with fashion. As a result, I've been trying to broaden my horizons into clothing (check the Fashion Rewind) and jewelry. Enter Rocksbox.

I was introduced to RocksBox via iFabbo - an international blogging community - and thought I would give it a go given my recent fashion endeavors. Rocksbox is a monthly subscription service that uses your taste profile to send three pieces of designer jewelry to your doorstep for you to keep for up to 60 days. If you like what you receive, you can keep it for a reduced membership price. If not, you can send them back with prepaid postage and receive three new pieces the following month. Every month you can give feedback on each piece of jewelry so that you get items that are more suited to your style the following month.

While I know roughly the kind of jewelry I would pick out of a lineup if given a chance, I'm always open to being surprised and discovering new pieces that might complement my style better, so I enjoyed not quite knowing what I was going to get. First upRobyn Rhodes Rocco Necklace in Blue and Silver ($94). This trio of medium size gems lays nicely just below my clavicle, but rarely stays with the gems facing forward. Next is the Loren Hope Clara Bracelet ($65) - a mix between a rustic wire bracelet and a tennis bracelet. I love the way this looks and lays, but I'm still not sure it's my style (but I'm still playing with it! Last are the Isharya Mirror Gems Small Splash Earring ($98). These are my favorite of the bunch. I love a good statement earring and even though these might be too glitzy for some to wear in a daytime look, I adore them. While I don't have any shots of these pieces in action for the post, you can follow my Instagram to see them incorporated into outfits of the day in the future.

For $19.99 a month, I think this is a fabulous service for someone who loves to experiment with their jewelry style. You can play with good quality jewelry without committing to something you aren't sure about. Rockbox also has a referral program that allows you to earn $25 worth of purchase credit when someone uses your link to sign up. Additionally, you get a $5 credit for posting a pic on twitter or Instagram when you use #RocksBox in the caption. Bonus: you can currently use the code FABB to receive 50% off a three month subscription.

What's your take on a monthly jewelry subscription?
See more pictures after the jump!

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Thursday, May 23, 2013

Review & Swatchfest: Skylark Wild & Free Mini Nail Lacquer Set by Elle & Blair

Skylark Wild & Free Mini Nail Lacquer Set by Elle & Blair 

Skylark Wild & Free Mini Nail Lacquer Set by Elle & Blair 
Ever since they came out with the their first palette, I've been dying to try products from the Skylark Collection by Elle & Blair. Blush.com's Mystery Beauty Box featured it as the prime product in their May box, so I decided it was time to try! The Skylark Mini Nail Lacquer Set comes with 4 polishes "inspired buy the hottest trends of 2013." Together this set looks overwhelmingly springy with pale pastels paired with hot hues, but what it ultimately comes down to is how the polishes perform! Let's discuss.

Dream Catcher is a light lavender, Sea Glass is a pale turquoise, B-Days in Cabo is a hot bubblegum pink, and Jelly Shot is a hot coral. The texture of the polishes are on the thicker side and dry relatively quickly which, while great for a quick mani, can mean streaks if you don't work fast enough. The good news is that they are all opaque with two coats, but they are a little unforgiving on nail ridges so make sure you buff them out before applying. Also, given that these dry down to a satin finish, you have to apply a top coat to make them glossy. I'm sure many already do this, but any mani minimalists will want to take note. The brush is on the long and skinny side - something to keep in mind if you have a preference. I got about two days of chip-free wear from these polishes which might sounds short to some, but it's the standard for my nails.

I think I will get quite a bit of wear out of these for the summer given how on trend they are, but I'm not sure I would pay $29 for them ($7.25 a bottle). At .3 oz a bottle, they are only .05 oz less than the likes of JulieG but cost $4.25 more - just as a means of comparison. Still, if you can snag them in the Blush.com Mystery Beauty Box, the entire collection costs $24.95 for the subscription plus you get a few other full sized goodies to go along with them. In that case, I think it's worth it!

Have you tried Skylark Nail Lacquer?

See more pictures after the jump!

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Wednesday, May 22, 2013

LORAC on Hautelook tomorrow!

LORAC Cosmetics is going to be on Hautelook tomorrow! I don't have any of the items pictured (and most likely available in the sale tomorrow), but I have tried quite a few shadow palettes form LORAC - namely the GLOgetter Palette and PRO Palette - and can attest to the great shadow quality. I would expect any shadows in the sale tomorrow to be on par. The only other products I've tried from the brand are the Lips With Benefits Glosses in the shades Chris and Nick which are a little steep at $18 a piece, but would be more reasonable purchases should they appear in the sale tomorrow.

Happy Shopping!

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May 2013 Blush.com Mystery Beauty Box Unboxing

Blush.com's Mystery Beauty Box is $24.95 for a recurring monthly subscription and $34.95 to purchase to try it once. You are guaranteed $100 worth of expertly curated products in each box along with free shipping and a gift with every purchase.

Have you tried the Blush.com Mystery Beauty Box?

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Monday, May 20, 2013

Review & Swatches: Etude House Dear My Blooming Eyes Palette in Pink

Etude House Dear My Blooming Eyes Palette in Pink
Of all of the Etude House products I've tried, this is my first time with using their eyeshadows! Etude House Dear My Blooming Eyes Palette in Pink (PK001) is a quad that might just be as cute as they come. It contains a light golden champagne, pale shimmery pink, medium cool brown, and deep grey with a shimmery that's slightly purple and complements the pink in the palette well. Coming from someone who loves her shimmer, even I was a little hesitant to wear this to work. While they aren't glittery, there is some chunky shimmer happening here without any matte or satin shadows to balance them out. The light brown comes close to a satin finish and serves as a good crease and transition shade.

Finishes aside, the shadows perform well. They feel smooth, blend seamlessly, have buildable pigmentation, and work well together as a color palette to create anything from a natural (albeit shimmery) look to a smokier nighttime eye.

The compact is plastic, but sturdy, contains a nice big mirror, and is cute right down to the bow on the clasp. As with all of the Etude House products, I love that it looks like they paid as much attention to the packaging as they did to the product. For those who like the ultra pink and girly look, it makes for a nice vanity piece or purse candy. You have to love some chunky shimmer to be into this palette because there is not a matte (or satin) shadow in sight.

At $14.32 from KollectionK, it walks the line between drugstore and mid-range makeup. While I can't say it has shadow combination is completely unlike something you might actually find in a drugstore palette, they are far more shimmery than any drugstore quad I can think of, and the texture and finish are consistently good from shadow to shadow which is sometimes hard to find in that price bracket. What it comes down to is whether or not you like the looks of these shadows because the quality is there!

See more pictures after the jump!

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5K Giveaway!


Sunday, May 19, 2013

Review & Swatchfest: NYX Smokey Eye Palette

NYX Smokey Eye Palette

The NYX Smokey Eye Palette is the more dramatic alternative to the 6-pan Natural Eyeshadow Palette. While I wasn't terribly impressed with the shadows in the latter, the Smokey Palette offers better quality and a little more variety.

From the left, the palette includes a grey with silver glitter, a matte black, a soft deep plum, a deep denim blue, a satin bronze, and a sating white. All of the shadows are smooth, and all but the glittery shadow apply evenly. Unfortunately, the blue and purple left a lot to be desired when it comes to color payoff. Packed over a white base, they perform slightly better, but take a little more work to get them to reach the pan color. The glittery shadow works well as a top coat of sorts to add some pizzazz to the color underneath, but it takes a little working with to get it completely opaque. I was happy to see that they balanced this palette with two lighter shades - one of which is a brown tone. Running a soft brown through the crease of a smoky look can help blend everything out and soften the look without taking away the edge of the smokiness.

This palette isn't superb, but at $6.99 I think it would be a great, inexpensive purchase for someone who wants to dabble in the art of the smoky eye. It's balanced well with both deep, smoky shades and light highlight and blending colors, so it's just a matter of whether you like the color combination and don't mind working with a few of the shades to get maximum color payoff. Using a white eyeshadow base like the NYX White Shadow Base can help the shadows not only stick, but enhance the pigmentation.

Have you tried the Smokey Eye Palette?

See more pictures after the jump!

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Saturday, May 18, 2013

Review, Swatches & Dupes: CoverGirl Flamed Out Shadow Pots and Shadow Pencils

See more pictures after the jump!

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Review & Swatchfest: NYX Natural Eye Palette

NYX Natural Eye Palette
Adding to the wealth of neutral, natural eye palettes, NYX Natural Eye Palette contains 6 pans of subtle shades. Starting on the left, there is a light matte cream, light golden shimmer, light matte camel, light satin brown, light sating taupe, and dark matte blackened brown. While it looks like there is going to some major range from the lightest to darkest shade, all except the deepest shade turn out to be very light and subtle when both swatched and worn. All of the shades are very smooth, but very hard to build. What you swatch is what you get and on my light skin tone, I was hard-pressed to get 2 of the shades to even show up. 

In terms of shadow quality, this palette is great. But when it comes to having a variety of shades, it palette falls short. When I tried to create a look, it was hard to tell a difference between all of the lighter shades on my lid. Not even the shimmery shade stands out when worn. While that might make this a true "natural" palette, I think there is a way NYX could have differentiated the shades enough to ensure variety yet stay true to the palette name. Still, this isn't an awful palette for those that want super subtle crease colors or a light wash of shadow across the lid. 

At $6.99, the NYX Natural Eye Palette isn't terribly expensive, so if you wanted to try it for yourself it wouldn't break the bank. Just keep in mind that it might not provide the same spectrum of shades on the lid as it does in the pan. 

Have you tried this palette? Are you loving it or leaving it?

See more pictures after the jump!

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Friday, May 17, 2013

Review & Swatchfest: Physicians Formula Eye Booster 2-in-1 Lash Boosting Eyeliner + Serum

Physicians Formula Eye Booster 2-in-1 Lash Boosting Eyeliner + Serum

After running out of my beloved Dollywink Eyeliner - a Japanese pen liner with a calligraphy tip available only online in the US - I was on a mission to find a replacement that was more accessible. After voicing my loss in my latest empties video, I had loads of people recommend the Physicians Formula Eye Booster 2-in-1 Lash Boosting Eyeliner + Serum.

Available in Black, Brown, and Ultra Black, Eye Booster typically retails for $10.99 at drugstore like Walgreens, CVS, and ULTA. Accessibility: check! The pen tip is calligraphy style and looks nearly identical to Dollywink's. Calligraphy tip: double check! For those wondering, the alternatives to a calligraphy tip includes felt tip or brush tip. Calligraphy tips are composed of multiple small fibers that come together to a narrow point, making them very flexible and easy to manipulate along the lash line.

The formula is smooth without being too watery and lasts all day (and then some). It also promises a built in lash-boosting serum! There are no drug claims, but Physician's Formula has clinical claims that say women noticed a difference in their lashes in as little as two weeks. I haven't used it long enough, or steadily enough to expect results, I'm skeptical as to whether or not I will at all. Still, lash growth or not, I'm unbelievably happy with the formula, the packaging, and the availability.

If you are looking for a pen liner, I can't recommend this one enough. In addition to how easy it is to get your hands on, there are regular sales that make it even more affordable.

See more pictures after the jump!

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Review: NEW CoverGirl Clean Whipped Creme Foundation


  • Evened out skin tone.
  • Provided a natural satin finish without being drying.
  • Developed minimal shine on combination skin.
  • Didn't wear unevenly throughout the day.
  • At $6, it's affordable.


  • Narrow shade range.
  • Not a full coverage whipped foundation, for those that want it.
  • Did notice some wear at the end of 8 hours, so it's not as long-wearing as some foundations.

See more pictures after the jump!


Thursday, May 16, 2013

BH Cosmetics on Hautelook tomorrow!

BH Cosmetics is going to be on Hautelook tomorrow! As with any brand I've tried, I thought I would round up the reviews I've done of the products so you can get a feel for what you might want to purchase or avoid when the time comes. In this case, I can't tell you to avoid much because I would highly recommend all of the BH Cosmetics Gel Eyeliners I've tried, as well as the Jenni Rivera Palette. The only word of warning I have is to make sure you check the BH Cosmetics website before purchasing because sometimes you will find that a product is marked down cheaper there than on Hautelook.

Happy Shopping!

BH Cosmetics Gel Liners

BH Cosmetics Jenni Rivera Palette

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Review & Swatchfest: Maybelline Color Tattoo in Inked in Pink & Silver Strike

Maybelline Color Tattoos in Inked in Pink & Silver Strike

I am so late to the Color Tattoo Metal party, but I didn't jump on them initially because I knew they would be a permanent fixture to the Maybelline Color Tattoo cream shadow line. Finally, a BOGO 50% off deal happening at CVS this week (and ULTA too) and my curiosity to try Inked in Pink got the best of me and I bit the bullet.

Inked in Pink is a cool, pale pink with a super fine frost that gives it its metallic sheen. Silver Strike is like a liquid silver (very similar to the silver in MAKE UP FOR EVER's Flash Palette) and a unique cream drugstore product given how often affordable products with a metallic finish tend to have course, chunky metallic glitter (I'm looking at you, Bold Gold). Both are easy to apply, creamy, and opaque at first pass, making them perfect as both standalone cream eyeshadows or eyeshadow bases. As with the rest of the Color Tattoo line, once dry, these don't budge until you are ready for them to. I don't typically have oily lids, so I don't prime my eyes beforehand, but those with excessively oily lids might want to. At $6.99 a piece, they are must-haves for the quality if you love the shades.

See more pictures after the jump!

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Battle of the Subscription Services - May 2013 Birchbox & Ipsy

Referral Links

Blush.com Mystery Box

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Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Review & Swatchfest: Revlon Lash Potion Waterproof Volume & Length Mascara in Blackest Black

Revlon Lash Potion Waterproof Volume & Length Mascara

Revlon's newest mascara promises to cast a spell on your lashes, guaranteeing both length and volume. Lash Potion by Grow Luscious claims to have a formula that strengthens with proteins, amino acids, and essential vitamins. The Illusionist Wand is a fiber wand sectioned into six parts with alternating fiber height for "clump-free length".

The formula is on the drier side, but not so much that it clumps or is ineffective in the least. Blackest Black is as it sounds and really emphasizes lashes with its pigment. Whether it was the wand or the formula, I'm happy to say that despite having a drier formula, Lash Potion left my lashes relatively clump free - even when layering. While I noticed a difference between one coat and two, I didn't between two and three (which is why it's not pictured below). While it's not the most lengthening mascara I've tried, it did a good job at improving both length and thickness in one. I didn't intend to get the waterproof formula, but I'm glad I did since it stays all day without flaking or running, but isn't impossible to remove. I didn't even need eye makeup remover! Needless to say, it's a very gentle formula.

To reiterate, I wouldn't say this mascara is the most lengthening or the most thickening, it did a good job at improving my lashes in both categories and I wouldn't call it a "natural" mascara by any means. If you like the results (and I do!), I would recommend it for you - even the waterproof formula for the upcoming summer months. I found mine

See more pictures after the jump!

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Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Review & Swatchfest: Limited Edition Maybelline Color Tattoos in Icy Mint and Shady Shores

Limited Edition Maybelline Color Tattoos in Icy Mint and Shady Shores
 Despite being limited edition, Maybelline's new Color Tattoos are still hitting shelves, so I wanted to share this in case you were still waiting on stores near you. I've already reviewed the shades Cool Crush, Seashore Frosts, and Waves of White, but was so intrigued that I had to see what the other shades had in store.

While those that I previously mentioned are two-toned and very multifaceted, you can take Icy Mint and Shady Shores more at face value. Icy Mint is a frosted soft mint that's leans more on the wearable side because of its taupe undertones. Shady Shores is a warm, soft yellow base with a cool subtly-green frost running through it. While not as extreme as some of  the other shades, it has the same two-toned frosted quality as the shades I reviewed in the first post. Shady Shores is more opaque in two layers, where it took Icy Mint a little more working with to get the swatch seen below. When put to use, Icy Mint comes off a little more sheer on the lid, but can be built more easily using a flat concealer-type brush. Both shades have the signature lasting power Color Tattoos are known for.

Overall, these shades are consistent with the quality of the Color Tattoo line, so it will just come down to the colors you want. Icy Mint is one where you might need to build it to get the opaque pigmentation of a cream eyeshadow, but it can be done. For $7, it's worth snatching up the shades you know you want when you see them!

See more pictures after the jump!

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Monday, May 13, 2013

Purple & Taupe Metallic Smoky Eye Tutorial

Products Used:


Friday, May 10, 2013

Review & Demo: AeroMinerale Hydrating Makeup Mist

You can find it at ULTA for $14.99, or on the AeroMinerale website for $19.99 with $5 off coupon!





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Thursday, May 9, 2013

Review & Swatchfest: Secret Agent Beauty Secret Lip Affair in Pretty Pink Provocateur

Secret Agent Beauty Secret Lip Affair in Pretty Pink Provocateur 

Secret Agent Beauty has two lip lines: Kiss-Kiss Rendezvous and Secret Lip Affair. They also have an awesome ambigram for a logo, but that's neither here nor there. I've already reviewed a shade from the Kiss-Kiss Rendezvous line - lip products that fall more into the "treatment" category for their ingredients like peptides and collagen. Now it's time to delve into the Secret Lip Agent side of things and see what their lip glosses are like.

Described, as a "Level 2 Plumping Gloss", Secret Lip Affair glosses contain Aloe, Vitamin E, and a next-level plumping agent: Peppermint. Aloe and Vitamin E will nourish and moisturize lips, naturally making them fuller (like a grape versus a raisin), but peppermint will actually irritate lips to give them a bee-stung look. If you are used to plumping lip glosses, this formula will feel no different, but it's definitely obvious that peppermint is in the mix. The peppermint is also evident in the taste, but not so much in the scent. Instead it smells sweet, but not like any food or flower I can place - definitely not bad though! The texture is smooth and non-sticky, as well as thinner than most glosses.

Pretty Pink Provocateur is a subtly shimmery, brown-based pink that is relatively opaque, but turns out to be a "my lips but better" color on me so you can't really tell. Still, I really like the color and, believe it or not, have yet to find a lipgloss shade like that - most are too dark, too sparkly, too clear, etc. The color and texture of the gloss itself doesn't last long, but the minty effect and moisturizing benefits do.

Secret Lip Affair in Pretty Pink Provocateur retails for $16 in the old packaging on the Birchbox website, or $18 in the new packaging on Secret Agent Beauty's Facebook page.

See more pictures after the jump!

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Review & Swatchfest: Secret Agent Beauty Kiss-Kiss Rendezvous in Agent Lips Galore

Secret Agent Beauty Kiss-Kiss Rendezvous in Agent Lips Galore and Secret Lip Affair in Pretty Pink Provocateur

Secret Agent Beauty - the only brand I know of with an awesome ambigram for a logo - is one I was introduced to via Birchbox. Although I'm not sure of the shade, I received a travel sized plumping lip gloss and loved it used of it. Needless to say, I was excited to get to try more of their newly repackaged line!

Secret Agent Beauty has two lip lines: Kiss Kiss Rendezvous and Secret Lip Affair. The former falls more into the lip treatment category, and contain problem solvers like collagen and peptides, while the latter seem like they are lip products meant to be worn out and about.

Kiss-Kiss Rendezvous in Agent Lips Galore is a sheer gloss that is infused with peptides to prompt the production of collagen and aloe to moisturize. Despite having a shimmery gold appearance in the packaging, it wear completely clear and glossy - great news for those that dislike blatant shimmer and sparkle. It smells like strawberry candy, but only slightly tastes like it and has a super-smooth consistency so it glides on lips. While there is definitely no stickiness here, that also means it's not super long lasting - it's easily worn away from food and drink, but I also noticed that it partially absorbs into my lips, leaving them nicely hydrated. Secret Beauty Agent recommends wearing it alone or over other products, but because of the short wear time and good-for-you ingredients, I like to keep it with me at all times as a nice "default" lip product to wear instead of a clear balm.

In general, it's a nice clear gloss to wear alone or over other lip shades to add texture. I'm not sure it boosted my lip volume, but I have somewhat fuller lips to begin with. It's a great moisturizing alternative to a balm, if you are looking for that! You can purchase (what looks like) the old packaging from Birchbox for $16 or the new packaging for $18 on the Secret Agent Beauty Facebook Page.

See more pictures after the jump!

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Wednesday, May 8, 2013

Review & Swatchfest: L'Oreal Miss Candy Collection Colour Riche leGloss in Mint Ice

Add captionL'Oreal Miss Candy Collection Colour Riche leGloss in Mint Ice

When I initially reviewed the L'Oréal Miss Candy Collection Infallible Eyeshadows, I included a picture of the display. From that, I found that quite a few people had questions about the minty green lip gloss also out with the collection. Is it opaque? Is it wearable? Always looking for a good excuse to try the latest and greatest, I got it and have to share it with you today!

L'Oréal's Colour Riche leGloss in Mint Ice is actually a clear gloss that has hyperfine iridescent mint green shimmer suspended evenly throughout. It applies sheer and provides a subtle iridescent frost to the lips that I probably wouldn't identify as being a mint color if I hadn't seen the packaging from which it came. The pigment isn't very buildable, but I'm guessing that many won't care. If the look of it worn alone isn't for you, I find that it provides a nice dimension when worn over lip liners or sticks as well. The plastic applicator makes it easy to mix and match since there isn't a doe-foot to worry about gunking up with other product.

This is my first experience with L'Oréal's leGloss formula and I was pleasantly surprised with the texture. Despite having obvious, homogeneous particulate in it, it's super smooth and creamy. For a gloss, it has a smoother, more buttery texture than a sticky one. I also loved the vanilla scent - very much like taking a whiff of a cake shop (delish!). 

For a $6 gloss, I think shade is worth picking up if you like the effect it provides. While it isn't super bold and bright, it provides a slight twist that not many other drugstore glosses can with its subtly minty iridescence. If this looks appealing to you, grab it while you can because I think it's limited edition!

See more pictures after the jump!

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Drugstore Haul!

Products Mentioned:


Monday, May 6, 2013

My Beauty Graveyard - Part 3

Steals of the Week!


Gel Nail Update: Using Regular Polish

In case it hasn't been readily evident from recent posts, I'm obsessed with at-home gel manicure. I've done a gel manicure kit review, as well as a pictorial and a tutorial, so I won't get too into the nitty gritty here. Instead, I'm going to talk about a little subscriber-inspired experiment I did using regular nail polish. When I created my latest manicure using the Red Carpet Manicure's Pro Kit, the shade Paparazzied, and the Platinum Ice Gem & Jewels Kit, I swapped in butter LONDON's Bobby Dazzler on one nail. In a nutshell, regular nail polish works! Instead of drying when exposed to UV light, you will have to wait for the polish to air dry, making nail art a little trickier. However once the Brilliance coat is on, it acts like a normal, long-lasting gel manicure. In short, if you want to extend the life of your manicure with normal nail polish, investing in a gel manicure kit might be worth it!


Sunday, May 5, 2013

Review & Swatchfest: Naked Cosmetics Twilight Collection

Naked Cosmetics Twilight Collection 
Regular readers of the blog will know from previous posts about Naked Cosmetics of my love for pigments and their many uses, so I won't get into the nitty gritty here. Instead I'm going to focus on the Naked Cosmetics Twilight Pigment Collection - a set of six pigments that are similar to the Ivory stack in the way they transform over a dark base.

01 is a shimmery light taupe when used dry, but contains light gold shimmer that become more evident when layered over a black base.
02 is a sheer, pale blue when worn dry and becomes more opaque when used wet. The baby blue shimmer within the pigment becomes bolder when used over a dark base.
03 is a sheer dusty mauve when worn dry, a pinker, more opaque shade with a grey duochrome when used wet, and a bright, shimmery pink when layered over a black base.
04 is a sheer emerald green shimmer with a grey base color when used dry. It transforms into a bolder green shimmer with a grey duochrome when used wet, and bold shimmery emerald when worn over a black base.
05 is a blue-purple shimmer with a dark grey base that applies sheer when worn dry. The shimmer appears more blue when applied dry and almost completely blue when worn over black.
06 is a black with a frosty silver that applies sheer when dry, opaque when wet, and appears much more frosted and silver when worn over black.

Overall, the pigment quality within this stack is consistent with the rest of Naked Cosmetics pigmentes. It will come down to, as always, whether or not you like this particular cluster. The pigments are unique and extra versatile given their split personality when worn over a black base. Those that like subtle daytime colors that can really be played up at night or for special occasions will definitely love these! Matte lovers will have to beware though as this stack is a shimmer-laden paradise.

See more pictures after the jump!

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Friday, May 3, 2013

DIY Ombre Gel Manicure!

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Thursday, May 2, 2013

Review, Swatchfest, & Comparison: Rimmel ScandalEyes Waterproof Gel Eyeliner in Blackest Black

Rimmel ScandalEyes Waterproof Gel Eyeliner

Ever since I initially tried the Revlon ColorStay Creme Gel Eyeliner, I've seen similarly packaged liners pop up both in the drugstores and high end brands like Laura GellerRimmel ScandalEyes Waterproof Gel Eyeliner in Blackest Black is similarly packaged but is about $3 less than Revlon's. While the gap in cost isn't huge, that $3 could buy a lipstick from the likes of Wet n Wild, so I thought it might be worth it to try it out and compare the two!

Rimmel's liner boasts a waterproof formula and to make its point, the packaging says it lasts not 24, but 25 hours! It glides on smoothly, opaquely, and has a slightly glossy finish at first. After about a minute, the finish turns to a matte one and the liner is set for the day. Seriously - even on my watery eye it didn't budge. While I'm not crazy about the brush applicator it comes with, it will definitely do in a pinch. Just make sure you wipe it off before placing it back in the gnome cap and don't forget to clean it with brush cleaner about once a week if you use it regularly. 

While it seemed like it would be completely different in texture to Revlon's Creme Gel Liner, Rimmel's ScandalEyes Waterproof Gel Eyeliner is comparable both in packaging and wear time. In fact, after a full day, I noticed Rimmel's staying more bold and opaque than Revlon's. I also liked how wide the opening to Rimmel's liner was in comparison to Revlon's - it makes it easier to get product out with a brush. Overall, Rimmel's liner functions just as well as Revlon's and is $3 cheaper. As long as you don't mind that it takes about a minute to fully dry, there is no reason not to go for it! 

See more pictures after the jump!

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My Spring Exfoliation Routine

Bioelements Quick Refiner & Dry Brush
Over the past few months, I've shared my self-tanning routine going into spring and summer. But there is a lot that goes on behind the scenes to prep for a faux glow, and I would argue that it's almost as important as the tanning itself. That's right, I'm talking about exfoliation!

For those of you who might not know, I am an intern for Bioelements. In my time working there, I've become familiar with more means of exfoliation (among many other skincare processes) than I ever knew existed. As a result, I've come up with what seems to be an ideal exfoliation combo and schedule to help maintain a streak-free, evenly wearing faux tan. On a related note, working for a skin care company has also driven home the importance of getting your tan from a can/bottle and NOT from the sun or a tanning bed, but I digress.

Let's start with the face. My go-to facial exfoliant is Quick Refiner - a leave-on gel that uses a combination of Alpha Hydroxy Acids (AHAs) and Beta Hydroxy Acids (BHAs) to chemically exfoliate. Because AHAs can make skin more sensitive to sunlight, I like to apply it at night so I can avoid sunlight directly after application. Coincidentally, I also prefer to apply self-tanner to my face at night so it has as much time to penetrate my skin, and develop, as possible before I go washing it off first thing when I wake up. The combo is perfect! The gel evenly exfoliates skin all over my face so it's primed for the tanner.

For self-tanning the rest of my body, I rely on daily (well, I try to do it daily) dry brushing. I've been neck deep in beauty blogging for almost two years and only recently started seeing the benefits of dry brushing pop up in various articles. I'm kicking myself for not having tried it sooner because it not only provides relatively quick all-over exfoliation, but it also touts a few detoxing properties too. I'll Dry Brush before I hop in the shower so that when I step out, I'm ready to apply self-tan lotion that way my skin reaps both the moisturizing and tanning benefits. A word to those with sensitive skin: don't dry brush legs on the same day you shave. Shaving exfoliates too so a double dose of skin sloughing might irritate your skin. If I find my knees or elbows are super scaly and need some extra TLC, I'll apply some Quick Refiner to them to make sure self-tanner doesn't get concentrated in either place. Few things have looked weirder on me than having orange knees and elbows. (Oh yeah -  it happened.)

Do you have a self-tan exfoliation routine?


Wednesday, May 1, 2013

$20 Makeup Challenge is Back!

Products Used:


Sigma Mother's Day Beauty Box

Today I want to let you know about an interesting gift idea I just spotted on the Sigma Facebook page! For what I assume is a limited time, Sigma Beauty has created a Mother's Day Beauty Box that includes a nice sampling of products from the brand. For $45 (or $36 with the code MOTHERSDAY), you receive an angled eye brush (E40), Eye Shadow Base in Provoke, and eyeshadows in Notre Dame and Publicize. It looks like a nice mix of natural looking shades for the makeup-loving mom, so I thought I would share!

Take an extra 10% off any purchase with May's discount code: RSR2013