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Sunday, June 30, 2013

June Favorites & GIVEAWAY!


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Review & Swatches: BH Cosmeticcs Hollywood Palette

BH Cosmeticcs Hollywood Palette

BH Cosmeticcs Hollywood Palette

The BH Cosmetics Hollywood Palette is the most vibrant of the three in the California Makeup Palette Collection. With 16 bold shadows ranging from deep red to bright yellow and lime greens, this palette is not for the faint of heart. As with each of the California Collection Palettes, there is variability when it comes to shadow quality. In fact, I didn't have high hopes for this palette after I swatched it. Some shadows were patchy while others fell down in the pigment department, but when put to use creating a look, many of them surprised me! Ultimately, I was really pleased with the looks I was able to create using them. Still, even the colors that look well when worn took some working with to get just right. Something else to consider when thinking of purchasing this palette is how closely it resembles the Sleek Acid Palette. Banned for sale in the US because of the ingredients, The Acid Palette is coveted by bright lovers. While it's not an exact dupe by any means, it has a lot of the best brights covered.

The face powders in the Hollywood Palette are also the boldest in the trios of palettes. With a light pink blush, a shimmery hot pink blush, a matte warm bronzer, and a cool frosty white, all of the face-sculpting bases covered. Each are smooth, pigmented, apply evenly, and are buildable. The bronzer and highlight also add two more neutral shades to help balance the brights in the palette.

When purchasing from the BH Cosmetics website, the price for the Hollywood Palette can vary, but HaulerDeals consistently offers the lowest price at $9.95. Given the shadow range and quality, I think it's a great price for all the palette has to offer. Whether you are a bright-lover or someone who wants an affordable way to experiment with bright shadows, this palette gets two thumbs up from me!


See more pictures after the jump!

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Saturday, June 29, 2013

Scünci Trend Collection Review & GIVEAWAY



I stopped wearing bits and bows in my hair long ago, leaving them behind for a more volumized or sleek style (well, at least that was always the goal). The headbands and hair clips of yesteryear seemed too young and unappealing for the "grown-up" look I was trying for, so I abandoned the hair accessory aisle (save the essential hair bands and bobby pins) for the makeup... I think we all know where that lead. It wasn't until Scünci recently got in touch with me that I took a second look at some of the things the brand has come to offer since I left the hair aisle behind. This is not your former child-self's Scünci!

They sent me three items from the Trend Collection to try out - the 6-strand Fabric and Bead Mixed Strand Headwrap, Pearl Ponytailer with Chains, and Mixed Pearl/Stone Fashion Bobby Slides and Snap Clips. As you would expect, each of them performs their given function well, but they also add a little touch of interest and sophistication without any extra effort. Rather than a plain, plastic headband, you get something a little more romantic with the 6-Strand Headwrap. When I just want to throw my hair up in a ponytail, I use the Pearl Ponytailer to dress the simple style up a little. When it's not in use, it makes for a nice bracelet too! I'm not one for the new side cornrow trend, but I like silhouette the style creates. To make it my own, I use the snap clips to pull one side of my hair back without just using a plain bobby pin. Never again will the name "Scünci" be synonymous in my mind with pink plastic hair bows!

Scünci also offered to provide my favorite item as a giveaway prize! I can't get over how easy and elegant the headwrap looks, so that was my pick. Use the Rafflecopter widget below to enter to win one! 

Want more? Scünci is also giving away loads of prizes on their Facebook page. Ten entrants will win everything I've shown here along with more from the Trend Collection, No Slip Grip Clips line, hair chalk, and more. Make sure to enter both - the end date for their Facebook giveaway is coming up fast! 




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Friday, June 28, 2013

60 Second Review: City Color Lip Balm in Spice ($2.99 Lip Butter Dupe)

City Color Lip Balm in Spice




City Color Lip Balm in Spice

One Swatch | Two Swatches

City Color Lip Balm in Spice

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Thursday, June 27, 2013

Big PRIMPing with L'Oréal Paris!


Long-time readers will remember when I first talked about Pretty in My Pocket (PRIMP) as a go-to shopping tool, and my exciting news about becoming a Power Primper. Well, now PRIMP has teamed up with L'Oréal Paris to sweeten the deal with perks! Starting on Friday July 12th, Pretty in My Pocket will roll out exclusive mobile L'Oréal Paris coupons at select Manhattan, NYC locations. While this doesn't effect me or, I'm sure, many other readers just yet, nation-wide perks are soon to come in the fall, and you can bet this perk-lover will be the first to let you know when you can start scanning your phones for some killer deals!

In the mean time, L'Oréal has been kind enough to send over some goodies to start their perks off with a bang! You can see a sneak peak above, but make sure to check back in to the blog on July 12th to see the full look I create with them and find out how to get the look for less using the new perk system (as well as where to redeem said perks!). Haven't downloaded Pretty in My Pocket yet? What are you waiting for?! It's a treasure trove of mobile reviews, looks, swatches, and soon-to-be discounts. Start primping now so you're prepared when the perks come to you!



I am worth it! And so are you!







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Target Beauty Box Unboxing


Keep tabs on the Target Style Facebook page to find out when the next box is available!

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Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Review: Schwarzkopf Professional OSiS+ Geltastic Texture


Schwarzkopf Professional OSiS+ Dust It & Geltastic Texture

Given my love affair with OSiS+ Dust It, I was pretty excited to receive Schwarzkopf Professional OSiS+ Geltastic Texture in the most recent Influenster Spring VoxBox. After seeing what Dust It it does to my roots, I'm convinced Schwarzkopf knows their hair. Frequent readers will have heard my complaints of fine, limp hair. I'm constantly looking for products to give it texture and body. Unfortunately, after my excitement subsided, I was a little confused as to how I was supposed to use a gel on my long hair. Luckily, Influenster came to the rescue!

On their tumblr, Influenster put together a full post on tips and tricks for using OSiS products. When it came to Geltastic, they had this to say:

1. Heavenly Hair: To achieve tremendous volume and shine, mix Gelastic 1/4 with 3/4 water and apply the mixture on wet hair from the roots to about midway down the shaft. Then, blow dry the hair in the opposite direction that it naturally lies on the scalp.
2. Smooth Moves: To smooth fly-aways, apply a small amount of Gelastic to a brush or your finger and the lightly coat your style for envy-worthy sleekness.
3. From Stick Straight to Crave-Worthy Curls: Got fine hair that won’t hold a curl? Mix Gelastic with water and apply it to the ends of your hair, scrunch and touch the hair dry, then proceed to curl with your curling iron.
4. Sleek & Slick: Put the slick pony tails of the runway to work on the real way by applying a small amount of Gelastic on a comb and then combing it through wet hair. Not for the indecisive: this style will last all day long.
Until I read this, I never would have thought to mix the product with water before applying. Below are two styles I created with Geltastic - one straight and one curly. When worn straight, I noticed some extra body at the roots and encountered less frizzy-ness. Styled curly, I noticed it was easier to style and the style lasted longer! So far, I've really liked what this has done for my 'do! While I haven't tried it yet, my next move is to incorporate it into a sleek bun.

As far as I know, OSiS+ Geltastic Texture is only available in salons that carry OSiS or Amazon.com for $17.50. If you have trouble getting your styles to stick or like to enhance your hair's natural wave, I recommend this!




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Bronze & Pink Tutorial Using NEW Drugstore Products


Products & Reviews: 


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Review & Swatches: BH Cosmetics Malibu Palette


BH Cosmetics Malibu Palette
The BH Cosmetics California Makeup Palette Collection is a nifty little trio of palettes that contain 16 eyeshadows and 4 blushes. While my review of the BH Cosmetics San Francisco Palette showed that sometimes quality gets sacrificed for a good price, The San Francisco Palette shows us that not all of the palettes in this collection are created equal!

The San Francisco Palette brightens things up with a mix of earth-tones, blues, and yellows. In the mix are also shimmery, satin, and matte shades and nearly all of them bring good things to the table. Some of them are powdery and have consistencies that are less than smooth, but overall the color payoff is good and the shadows are buildable.

The face powders are more pigmented in the Malibu Palette than the San Francisco Palette, making them more suitable for medium and deep skin tones. With two blushes and two highlights, this quad is missing a contour powder, but the quality of the shades present are great! The rose gold was even buildable enough to use in the eye look of the daytime look shown below.

Overall, this palette is well worth the $9.95 I paid from HaulerDeals! While the powders aren't all top notch, it's a bargain if you are willing to work with some of the more finicky shades. You can also find these palette on the BH Cosmetics Website, but the price is variable.

See more pictures after the jump!

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Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Review & Swatches: Maybelline Color Tattoo Pure Pigments in Buff & Tuff, Barely Brazen, Brash Blue, and Black Mystery

Color Tattoo Pure Pigments in Buff & Tuff, Barely Brazen, Brash Blue, and Black Mystery
Time for another round of swatches featuring Maybelline's new Color Tattoo Pure Pigments! I was so impressed with the first round - featuring Improper Copper, Pink Rebel, Forest Fatale, Breaking Bronze, and Wild Gold - that I had to take advantage of the BOGO 50% off Maybelline deal at CVS last week. This time around, I'm equally as impressed with the quality, but there are few surprises in the mix.

Barely Brazen is a shimmery light champagne - similar to stila's Kitten. Buff & Tuff is a medium, neutral, satin sandy brown with chunky gold shimmer. Brash Blue is a vibrant cobalt blue. Black Mystery is a satin black base with light blue shimmer. Both Barely Brazen and Buff & Tuff undergo a more dramatic transformation when applied wet versus dry, whereas Brash Blue and Black Mystery don't show much difference.

As with the previous batch, each of these shades is pigmented, apply evenly, and are finely milled. The glitter fallout was more noticeable with Buff & Tuff and Black Mystery, but because I do foundation last when I'm using pigments, it's not hard to clean up. All shades lasted 10 + hours without fading when worn both wet and dry over a base. One word to the wise when it comes to Brash Blue: it stains! After using makeup remover, I still have pale blue swatch lines on my arms 5 hours later. Make sure to use a primer! While I would have liked to see an all-matte or satin pigment from this bunch, I really can't complain given the quality of the shades available. For $6.99, I recommend every shade I've tried so far!

Color Tattoo Pure Pigments in Buff & Tuff, Barely Brazen, Brash Blue, and Black Mystery

Maybelline Color Tattoo Pure Color Pigment in Barely Brazen

Maybelline Color Tattoo Pure Color Pigment in Buff & Tuff

Maybelline Color Tattoo Pure Color Pigment in in Brash Blue

Maybelline Color Tattoo Pure Color Pigment in Black Mystery

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Monday, June 24, 2013

60 Second Review: Rimmel Scandaleyes Show Off Mascara



Rimmel Scandaleyes Show Off Mascara


PROS:

  • Dry formula (for those that like it)
  • Subtle lash look
  • Ball-tip wand for outer and lower lashes
  • Affordable ($6.99 from ULTA)

CONS:

  • Minor flaking
  • Encountered slight lash wilting
Rimmel Scandaleyes Show Off Mascara

Rimmel Scandaleyes Show Off Mascara - Before

Rimmel Scandaleyes Show Off Mascara - After

Rimmel Scandaleyes Show Off Mascara - After 8 Hours

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Sunday, June 23, 2013

Review & Swatches: Maybelline Color Tattoo Pure Pigments in Improper Copper, Breaking Bronze, Rebel Pink, Wild Gold, and Forest Fatale

Maybelline Color Tattoo Pure Pigments
I'm a pigment fanatic. From MAC to Naked Cosmetics, there are few I don't like. But drugstore pigments are relatively hard to come by. NYX has a an extensive collection, but isn't always as readily accessible as other brands more commonly found in drugstores. Maybelline's latest launch of products fills the void with their New Color Tattoo Pure Pigment line.

With 10 new colors, the Pure Pigment collection spans from neutrals to brights and offers two textures with each - one when applied wet and the other dry. Worn dry, they offer decent pigmentation when worn alone, but are really amped up when paired with a color base. Worn wet with a mixing medium like water or a setting spray, their color and shine gets taken up a notch (or 10). Wild Gold is a shimmer yellow gold, Pink Rebel is a fuchsia with a blue duo chrome that becomes more pronounced when applied wet, Forest Fatale is a shimmery hunter green, Breaking Bronze is a deep shimmery brown, and Improper Copper is a gorgeous peachy gold. All of them are finely milled, smooth, and easy to work with as far as pigments go. As with any loose shadow, there can be some fallout during use, but using them wet, holding a tissue beneath your eye, or applying your foundation last can help lessen the side effects. Despite being shimmery, none of these had massive glitter fallout a la Urban Decay.

Maybelline Color Tattoo Pure Pigments retail for $6.99 - not bad given their quality and how versatile they are. Use a little in a clear nail polish, mix some with a clear lip gloss (although I'm not sure these are technically lip-safe), apply the lighter shades in the collection as a face highlight, or use them as the eye shadows they are. Bottom line: you can absolutely get your money's worth from these pigments, but you have to be willing to work with the.
See more pictures after the jump!

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Friday, June 21, 2013

Review & Swatches: Maybelline Fit Me Shine-Free Foundation

Maybelline Fit Me! Shine-Free Foundation
Maybelline's Fit me! Shine-Free Foundation is a gel stick foundation from the Fit Me Foundation family. Given that there wasn't a whole lot of information to go off of from the packaging or the display, I'm not sure why Maybelline felt compelled to package the formula in a stick form, but as a lover of all things new and shiny, I felt the need to try it!

There are two components to this stick foundation - a "powder core" and a gel exterior. The core is supposedly what provides the anti-shine benefits, while the gel carries all of the pigment. I was a little skeptical prior to using this because, although I haven't used a ton of stick foundations, those that I have  tended toward a drier texture that was hard to blend out. I was happily surprised to find that Maybelline's Fit Me Shine-Free Foundation glided on unbelievably smoothly. After using the stick to apply it directly to my t-zone, cheeks, and chin, I used a Real Techniques Buffing Brush to blend it out.   It didn't take much work to get things looking well-blended and even, and I felt like didn't have to use as much of the stick as I would a liquid foundation to get similar coverage - bonus!

This foundation doesn't cover deep hyperpigmentation, but it absolutely evened out my complexion and even covered minor redness and lessend the discoloration beneath my eyes. I would say it's a light-to-medium coverage foundation. What started as a shine-free finish developed into a more natural (but not at all dewy) finish at the end of 9 hours - still shine-free! The coverage held up most everywhere except my undereye area, where it started wavering slightly. Still, I've had an allergy-prone few days, so I was sure my nose would have shown more signs of wear from constant contact with tissues. I was happy with the results on my combination skin and I can see it working for both moderately dry and oily skin types given that it helps with shine, yet isn't at all drying.

Glowing review aside, why would you want to buy a stick over a liquid? Well, I've found that a stick is much easier to take in my purse for touchups as well as pack for travel without cluttering my TSA-approved liquids bag. Needless to say, if what I've said about this foundation appeals to you, I would say it's worth $9.94!

*EDIT: Carly over at The Science of Chic did a comprehensive video trial and review of this product and had very different results! To get a different perspective, check out her awesome video at the bottom of the post before purchasing!
See more pictures after the jump!

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Thursday, June 20, 2013

Review & Swatches: Maybelline The Falsies Big Eyes


Maybelline The Falsies Big Eyes
Maybelline The Falsies Big Eyes Mascara is a dual-ended mascara with two wands - one built for the top lashes and the other for the bottom - and one formula. While I haven't used the original Falsies mascara, I assume that this one has the same formula.

The brush meant for the top lashes has multidimensional natural bristles (rather than rubber) and a tapered tip. Paired with the formula, I found it provided a fair amount of curl and some good length, but wasn't completely clump-free. The bottom lash wand is long and narrow with evenly distributed spiraling bristles that are perfect for delicately laying product on the lashes so as not to clump them. It also works well to help apply a "priming" layer of mascara to top lashes that I found kept them from clumping less (similar to the it Cosmetics Tightline Mascara) I have larger eyes and didn't have a problem with it, but those with smaller or more narrow eyes might find this wand to be a tad long.

The formula is smack dab in between wet and dry, which allowed for some building that I felt worked really well on my lashes. Once set, it didn't move for anything - no smudging or flaking - yet washed off easily. Supposedly a waterproof formula debuts in July, but I don't see a need for it given how well this performed.

Overall, the formula claims to give you "bigger wide open eyes." Given the before and after below, I think it did its job - although I wouldn't say it looks like I'm wearing falsies. Still, the formula is great and it passed the wear-test with flying colors. For $9.49, I think this mascara is well worth it!

See more pictures after the jump!

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Haul, Review, and Swatches of NEW Maybelline Products!




Products Mentioned (separate review posts to come soon):

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Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Review & Swatches: BH Cosmetics San Francisco Palette


BH Cosmetics California Makeup Palette Collection


BH Cosmetics San Francisco Palette

When the BH Cosmetics California Makeup Collection came out, I was eager to see how each palette weighed in given how much I've loved the Jenni Rivera Palette. There are three sets in the California Collection - the Malibu, Hollywood, and San Francisco Palette - each of which are supposed to embody their namesake with the collection of colors they contain. Each of them contain 16 shadows and 4 face powders with a mix of textures and finishes.

The San Francisco Palette contains primarily cool-toned shadows with a mix of deep matte navy, grays, and plum, along with light gray, mint, and cool-toned taupes. As with any affordable palette that delivers shadows in bulk, there were a few disappointing shades that could have had a better, less chalky texture or been more pigmented. While this palette has some shining star shadows, like the periwinkle an the mint, overall the shadows are a little disappointing. The face powders are smooth, evenly pigmented, and have decent lasting power, but they don't have strong pigmentation, making them great candidates for those with fair complexions.

Overall, this palette isn't awful, but it isn't the best BH has to offer, or even the best among the California Palette Collection. While you can find it for varying prices from the BH Cosmetics websiteHaulerDeals (where I purchased it) consistently prices them at $9.95.



See more pictures after the jump!

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DISCOUNT JUNE: 60 Second Review - CoverGirl Lipslicks Smoochies Lip Balm in #TweetMe

CoverGirl Lipslicks Smoochies Lip Balm in #TweetMe


Pros: 

  • Moisturizing
  • Wears evenly
  • Applies smoothly

Cons:

  • Lightly scented (for those that mind)
  • Not pigmented

Conclusion: As a balm, it functions well, but if you want something pigment I would look to the NYC Applelicious Lip Balms.

See more pictures after the jump!

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Review: Sephora Instant Airbrush Foundation in Light Ivory


Sephora Instant Airbrush Foundation in Light Ivory
After my experience with Dior's Airflash Foundation, I've become obsessed with spray foundations - the finish they provide, and the lasting power you can achieve with them. In an effort to replicate my experience without spending a fortune, I've been trying a few different spray foundations and next on the road to replication is Sephora's Instant Airbrush Foundation. Ladies and gents, we might just have a winner...

Sephora's Instant Airbrush Foundation has an oil and fragrance-free formula that applies smoothly both when sprayed directly on the face as well as when applied with a brush. If you are spraying directly on, make sure to cover your hair because once it dries, it's not going anywhere. The formula is buildable from medium to full coverage and dries to a matte powder finish and really doesn't budge for much of anything throughout the day. The pictures below were taken on a 90 degree day and I do quite a bit of walking too and from work, so it's fair to say this foundation took a beating. Yet, it finished out the day with very minor wear and tear around troublesome areas like my T-zone. Rather than wearing away, I feel like it assumed a more natural finish. Very impressive results from any foundation, let alone one that falls into the spray-application category. Due to the stay-matte nature of this formula, I might suggest those with super dry skin types think twice before purchasing. Still, you can always go to Sephora and have a pro apply it for you to wear around for the day  to test before before you buy.

Aside from the quality, another innovation that makes Sephora's Instant Airbrush Foundation stand out against the rest is that you get three shades in one can. The top swivels so you can apply anything from "light" to "high", making this a great foundation for the winter-spring-summer transition.

While it claims to be a time saving, I don't find that to be the case with this or any spray foundation, but the results and wear far outweigh the time it takes to put on. The only thing I would do differently with this foundation is the spray nozzle - it's a little narrow and reminiscent of a spray paint can. Still, for $20 and the results I saw, my minor complaints end there. One thing those with deeper skin might want to watch out for is that lack of shade range. There are three shades - light, medium, and tan - and I have the lightest and darkest photographed next to each other for comparison.

For those looking for an affordable alternative to Dior's Airflash Foundation, this might just be it. It might be less suited for very dry skin types, but a little moisturizer goes a long way.


See more pictures after the jump!

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June Battle of the Subscription Services: Birchbox & Ipsy




Get your own Birchbox or Ipsy subscription!

Monthly IPSY Codes:

Monday, June 17, 2013

Review & Swatches: City Color Bold Blush Duo in Hot Pink and Soft Pink


City Color Bold Blush Duo in Hot Pink and Soft Pink
City Color's Bold Blush Duo in Hot Pink and Soft Pink is yet another product to be added to the list of hits from the new-to-me brand. Hot Pink fall in the fuchsia family, while soft pink is borderline bubblegum. Both are smooth, evenly pigmented, blend out well, yet are slightly powder. While they don't have stellar staying power when worn alone (not something I do regularly anyway), they wear evenly and fade-free all day when worn over a long-wearing foundation (think Revlon's ColorStay Whipped Foundation). Having two shades together in the palette also works well to provide a little extra versatility when traveling. The $2.99 price tag also makes it a little less heartbreaking if it should break while on the go. That's not to say this isn't a great everyday blush as it's the only blush I've used for the past week, but makeup that travels well is always a plus!

The compact comes in a sleek-looking soft matte black case with a nicely sized mirror I've used to do my makeup many times while traveling. Considering you get quite a bit of good quality product for $2.99, it's safe to say this blush palette is worth it. The coral/peach combo might be the next one with my name on it.


See more pictures after the jump!

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Saturday, June 15, 2013

Review & Swatches: NYC HD Color Trio Eye Shadow in Water Colors

NYC HD Color Trio Eye Shadow in Water Colors
NYC's HD Color Trio Eye Shadow in Water Color is one of two new palettes released with their summer collection. The other trio, Crystal Springs, is a mix of light pink and earth tones while Water Colors offers a pop of aqua.

While I wasn't terribly fond of the lack of contrast between the shades in Crystal Springs, Water Color offers a satin cream, a shimmery light teal, and a shimmery light brown. Together, the color palette is very reminiscent of where the ocean meets the sand - perfect for summer! While this palette doesn't offer up big, bold color, there is a nice variety among the three shades and each of them is smooth, evenly pigmented, buildable to the intensity shown below, and only very slightly powdery. As someone suggested in the comments section of the Crystal Springs palette review, these colors can be doubly intensified by using them over a shadow base like Maybelline's Color Tattoos - a great tip for achieving greater versatility from an affordable palette.

For $2.99, this isn't a bad palette to pick up if you are looking to add subtle color to your everyday eyeshadow look. Just take care to snag it while you can as I think it's limited edition!



See more pictures after the jump!

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Friday, June 14, 2013

Review & Swatchfest: NYC HD Color Trio Eye Shadow in Crystal Springs

 NYC HD Color Trio Eye Shadow in Crystal Springs

This summer, NYC has released a few new products that you will be able to find floating around CVS. At first glance, the display stands out as a departure from the more neutral or natural eyeshadows you will find in the year-round NYC display. There are candy-colored eyeshadows, nail polishes, and lip glosses that just feel like a day at the beach. Still, not all of them might live up to the beach-side fantasy.

NYC's HD Color Trio Shadow in Crystal Springs contains a cool, frosted cream color, a light pink with very subtle gold frost, and a light, frosted sandy brown. Visually, the colors are very pretty together and have the potential to make for a nice, natural albeit slightly colorful look. Once worn, however, they sheer out a great deal. While they are smooth without being overwhelmingly powdery, and they wear evenly, it takes a lot of working with to develop color on the lids as you see in the swatches. At $2.99, I can't be terribly surprised – especially given the reviews I've heard on some of the permanent trios.

Despite not taking a personal liking to this trio, I can see it being a good option for someone who wants a very natural-looking, shimmery palette. If, on the other hand, you want to add some color to your spring and summer makeup, look elsewhere.  

 NYC HD Color Trio Eye Shadow in Crystal Springs

 NYC HD Color Trio Eye Shadow in Crystal Springs

 NYC HD Color Trio Eye Shadow in Crystal Springs

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Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Review: BH Cosmetics 10 Piece Eco Brush Set



BH Cosmetics 10 Piece Eco Brush Set


For as much time as I spend trying and critiquing makeup, I devote only a small fraction thinking about the tools used to apply it. In reality, they play just as big of a role in creating a stellar look as the products do. In an effort to expand my experience with more affordable brushes (as part of Discount June happening on my Youtube Channel), I figured The BH Cosmetics 10 Piece Eco Brush Set would be a wise place to start.

The Eco Brush Set is made of recycled aluminium and synthetic bristles, and includes a Powder Brush, Angled Blush Brush, Foundation Brush, Blending Brush, Contour Blending Brush, Smudge Brush, Flat Shadow Brush, Angled Shadow Brush, Flat Eyeliner Brush, Lip/Concealer Brush. None of them shed and all are very soft - almost too soft! The brushes are so smooth that it was difficult to pick up enough product. It took a few times going back into the product with nearly all of the brushes to build up what some brushes can do in one go around. Those that love soft brushes and prefer to layer, will love this!

As a collection, this set has it all - including a brush roll! You can apply everything from foundation to brows, eyes, and even lips using just the brushes from this kit. There are a few eye brushes in different shapes that allow anything from a natural look to a smoked out one. I found these performed particularly well with cream products because they can apply them without diffusing them too quickly. 

Overall, this set has it all for someone who likes to use cream products or slowly layer pressed powder products. Those that love soft, smooth bristles and are looking to build an affordable starter brush set might enjoy these as well. The BH Cosmetics 10 Piece Eco Brush Set is available both on the BH Cosmetics website and HaulerDeals. I ordered through HaulerDeals because it was cheaper at the time ($15.95), but do some research prior to purchasing because prices and deals change relatively frequently on their site.  

What's your favorite affordable brush brand?

See more pictures after the jump!

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Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Review & Swatches: City Color Matte Lipstick in Ultra Pink


City Color Matte Lipstick in Ultra Pink

My recent experiences with the eyeshadows and primers from City Color Beauty had me eager to see what kind of quality their other products had to offer. Of the few they sent me, I knew the City Color Matte Lipstick in Ultra Pink and its hot hue, was next on the list. Ultra Pink is a super-opaque fuchsia. Once warmed up against the skin, it applies almost fully opaque in one coat, without pulling at the lips, making it very easy to layer for long-lasting wear. It feels very smooth and creamy, despite having a matte-finish. While I wouldn't say it's hydrating, it definitely isn't drying and it didn't emphasize my slightly dry, flaky lips when I wore it - a rarity among matte lip colors. 

I applied this before going out to dinner, and after 4 hours of eating, drinking, and chatting, there was still a light, even stain across my entire lips. As I said, my lips didn't feel any more moisturized afterward, but it didn't make my lips any more dry which is saying something given that it's a matte lipstick!

Not convinced yet? City Color's Matte Lipstick is only $1.99. For less than $2, you can have a matte lip color with a quality that rivals so many other brands - from drugstore and beyond. I not only have big plans for this lip color this summer, but also plan on ordering more shades from the line - they are that good!

See more pictures after the jump!

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Monday, June 10, 2013

Review: Real Techniques Duo-Fiber Collection


Real Techniques Duo-Fiber Collection

Real Techniques, Samantha Chapman's brush brand, has come out with a limited-edition duo-fiber collection that consists of three brushes! My love for the Real Techniques Eye Starter Set and Core Collection have been no secret since I purchased my first set almost 2 years ago, so it only seemed natural to give these ago when they came out. 

As with all of the Real Techniques brushes I use, this trio is made of synthetic taklon fiber, making them great for cream and liquid products. The brushes are soft and smooth, yet not so soft that they don't pick up product well, and I have to notice shedding - both with the duo-fiber brushes and with ANY of the brushes I've used. All of the brushes feel well-made and have the perfect mix of fibers so you get an effective ratio of long-to- short fibers. 
  • The Duo-Fiber Face Brush is similar to a small rounded all-over face brush. It's great for pressed and loose setting powders, as well as cream or liquid bronzer, blush, and even foundation. 
  • The Duo-Fiber Contour Brush is is smaller version of the face brush, but functions better to apply product over a more narrow area. 
  • The Duo-Fiber Eye Brush is a duo-fiber version of a small domed shadow brush. It's great for blending shadow, laying down a crease color, and Samantha even suggests applying concealer with it. While I found the fibers too long and the brush too narrow to apply concealer the way I like in my undereye area, it's create for laying down cream contour down the sides of the nose!

Real Techniques brushes can be purchased in ULTA stores or online for $19.99 and are included in the "20% off any one item" coupons that have been floating around recently, making these only $16. A steal? I think so. You just have to get them before this limited edition set is gone! Shopping tip: these can be tricky to find in busier ULTA stores (I had to go back to mine multiple times before they were back in-stock). Save yourself the trouble and order online if these are real must-haves for you. 

See more pictures after the jump!

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Sunday, June 9, 2013

DISCOUNT JUNE: Drugstore Contour Routine


Products Used:


  • City Color Blush/Bronzer Duo in Waikiki
  • Rimmel Natural Bronzer in Sun Light
  • Wet n Wild Blush in Pearlescent Pink
  • Wet n Wild Bronzer in Reserve Your Cabana


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Saturday, June 8, 2013

Review & Swatches: City Color Special Effect Bright Eye Color Palette in Dark Room


City Color Special Effect Bright Eye Color Palette in Dark Room
The City Color Special Effect Bright Eye Color Palette in Dark Room is a 10-color eyeshadow palette that consists of Naked Palette-esque neutrals. The difference? $45. While the shadows aren't quite comparable in quality, it's an impressive palette to come from a brand that's new to me.

Aside from the matte black, all of the shadows have either a satin or shimmery finish, butt here is still a nice variety to please those who don't want a shimmer bomb on their eyelids. They can be slightly powdery, but overall they are smooth and pigmented. I was expecting the matte black to be unimpressive, but it was surprisingly pigmented when put to use in the look below.

For $4.99, this is a must-have for the neutral lover! You get both warm and cool staple shades - like cream-colored highlights, mid-tone browns, and a matte black - but you also get some universally flattering plum hues to add some interest. While I thought the narrow pans would be irritating, I really didn't notice them posing much of an issue, and they keep the palette nice and compact.
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Review & Swatchfest: NYC Sweet Splash Gloss Sticks in Mango Punch, Pink Spark, and Revived Berry


NYC Sweet Splash Gloss Sticks in Mango Punch, Pink Spark, and Revived Berry
NEW on drugstore shelves, the NYC Sweet Splash Gloss Sticks - lip balms in chubby pencil form - are out for a limited time in three shades! Mango Punch is a sheer light peach, Pink Spark is a medium pink, and Revived Berry is a deeper berry/plum with a slight brown undertone.

All of the Gloss Stick have a borderline-glossy sheen, and wear very smoothly on the lips, but don't provide much moisture. Lips feel very smooth with wear, but once they have worn off (less than an hour with eating and drinking - as with most balms) my lips felt dry. That being said, I wouldn't call these "drying", I just don't think they added anything to the health of my lips besides a nice sheen and some subtle, but buildable pigment. Speaking of pigment, swatching these made me nervous that there wouldn't be much to speak of. I was pleasantly surprised when Pink Spark and Revived Berry were easily layered to build up nice, even pigmentation. Mango Punch got a little milky and sank into lines when I tried this, but it's still do-able. Given the short wear-time, I don't these will last longer than a month or two. After one day of use, I had already used Revived Berry down to the plastic opening. At $3.99, I don't think anyone is purchasing these as a long-time investment, but it's good to know they go quickly if you want to get 2 of your fave shade while you can find them!

Although some might not, I like the chubby stick packaging. Although there is no fastener, the cap feels secure and doesn't pop off, and the automatic packaging twists smoothly to dispense product.

Overall, these are cute new summertime products! If you are looking for a fortifying lip balm, go elsewhere. These are a fun, balmy pops of color - great to add to a 5 minute summer makeup routine and reapply without a mirror. You can find them in limited edition display stands at drugstore like CVS and Walgreens!

Have you tried NYC Sweet Splash Gloss Sticks?

See more pictures after the jump!

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Thursday, June 6, 2013

Review & Swatches: City Color Shadow Primer in Nude


City Color Shadow Primer in Nude
Like similar eye primers, City Color's Shadow Primer is meant to "act as a base to prevent creasing." Unlike similar products, however, this primer promises an unusually low price tag paired with a consistency much like that of Urban Decay's well-known primer potion. That being said, I immediately had to put it to the test!

As one of two shades, Nude is meant to intensify shadows while maintaining their hue. Pearl (not pictured) intensifies shadows while adding a shimmery sheen. Much like Urban Decay's original Primer Potion, City Color's Shadow Primer in Nude has a thinner texture with a sheer, matte flesh-toned finish. Once applied, it smoothed out thinly and evenly and slowly transformed into a stickier texture before drying down completely after about 30 seconds. f

While I definitely noticed it intensifying shadow shades, I also noticed some fading over the course of 8 hours. Creasing went nearly unnoticeable, but given a few more hours, I think it would have progressed. I also want to note that during this wear test, I was experiencing particularly dry, allergy eyes that cause more eye touching/rubbing than usual. Still, for only $2.99 a pop, I can't complain at the results seen below. While I don't think it's strong enough to stand the test of a truly oily lid, it passed the standard-wear test (meant only to last over the course of a work-day) on my combination skin, and would probably function well on dry-skinned folks too. At the very least, it definitely intensified the appearance of my shadows, which is exactly what it claims to do. In terms of how it stacks up to UD's Primer Potion, it's not a dupe, but at almost 7 times cheaper with just 4 times less product, it's a bargain hunter in need of a primer's dream!

See more pictures after the jump!

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Wednesday, June 5, 2013

Review & Swatches: Rimmel Apocalips Show Off Lip Lacquer in Luna, Stellar, Apocaliptic, Big Bang

Rimmel Apocalips Show Off Lip Lacquer in Luna, Stellar, Apocaliptic, Big Bang
After their much anticipated arrival, the Rimmel Show Off Lip Lacquers have finally made it to the US! I spotted these buy one get one half off at Walgreens which was perfect since simply choosing 1 of 14 shades would have proven a near-impossible task.

I picked up Luna - a mid-tone peach, Stellar - a hot coral, Apocaliptic - a bright bubblegum pink, and Big Bang - a blue-based red. All three have similar thick, creamy consistencies that reach full opacity with one swipe. It's hard pin these to one category, but I would best classify them as liquid lipsticks. They pack the rich intensity of a lipstick into one swipe, yet are as smooth and creamy as a lip gloss (but not sticky in the least). During the wear-test, I found that the glossy finish lasted surprisingly long at around 2 hours and only started to wear away after a cup of coffee. Still, after one cup, the full color was still present and the finish had only slightly worn away. A bottle of water and lunch later, the product was completely worn away from my lips, but the deeper shades left a stain. The formula is neither moisturizing nor drying. If you find your lips naturally need a little extra moisture, I've worn these with lip balm applied underneath and found that it didn't effect the wear time - bonus! There is a definitively fruity scent to the formula, but no taste that I could detect.

The packaging is sleek with the black, craggy cap and bright end. The doe-foot applicator is standard among glosses, but precise enough to achieve the application seen below.

For $4.99, I can see what all of the fuss is about! The pigmentation is stellar and the wear-time was surprisingly good despite no sign of a long-wearing claim. If the finish and texture appeals to you, I think these are well worth it. Find them fast because I'm not sure if these are limited edition or not!


See more pictures after the jump!

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Review & Comparison: CoverGirl Clump Crusher Extensions Mascara

CoverGirl Clump Crusher Extensions Mascara


PROS:

  • Flake-free
  • Smudge-free
  • Natural-looking on lower lashes
  • No clumps
  • Lengthening

CONS:

  • Fibers didn't add anything

Conclusions: For $8.99 at drugstores, it's a good mascara. You don't need it if you already own the original Clump Crusher formula. Check out my review to the original CoverGirl Clump Crusher formula!

See more pictures after the jump!

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Monday, June 3, 2013

60 Second Review: Physician's Formula Baked Collection Wet/Dry Eyeshadow in Baked Oatmeal

Physician's Formula Baked Collection Wet/Dry Eyeshadow in Baked Oatmeal




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