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Sunday, August 31, 2014

Review: it Cosmetics Brushes for ULTA - Your Must-Have Airbrush Travel Set, Your Multi-Taskers, You're Easy on the Eyes, and Your Face & Eye Essentials


Your Must-Have Airbrush Travel Set
Longtime readers of the blog will know that I don't hide my love of it Cosmetics brushes - they're well made, soft, and effective at applying the right amount of product while achieving a natural finish. So when their collaboration with ULTA hit stores, I knew I would be first in line to try them out! it Brushes for ULTA contains 3 lines of brushes - Airbrush Essentials Collection, live Beauty fully, and the Velvet Luxe Blurring Collection. Additionally, they offer 9 brush sets for those (like me) who are indecisive and live by the mantra "more is better".

While I'll detail what comes in each set below, I want to preface it by giving my overall thoughts on the brushes in these sets. What I typically love about it Cosmetics brushes is how natural their synthetic bristles feel without holding on to product as an animal hair brush would. You get the same beautiful finish, but it makes them far easier to clean. While each of these brushes are synthetic, I noticed a major difference in how the larger face brushes felt. They definitely had a more "synthetic" feel to them, with ultra-smooth bristles that are a little more rigid than I'm used to from it. That being said, they don't perform poorly in the least! It was just an observation I felt was worth sharing given that it's a quality I, and I think many others, love about it's traditional brush line. That being said, these are still very easy to clean, apply product beautifully, and blend product out exactly the way I hoped they would. Additionally, if you find that the texture difference is something you can't get over, there is a set that promises a higher quality performance in the Experience Velvet Blurring 5 Piece Ultimate Luxe Set ($98).

Onto the brush sets! I completely recommend each of these sets, although you certainly don't need them all. What it comes down to is which brushes you find you need most in your daily or travel routine. When in doubt, take a trip to your nearest ULTA and give them a test drive!

Your Must-Have Airbrush Travel Set ($19.50)- With a foundation, powder, and shadow brush, this set has everything for the essentials for a 5-minute face. Use the foundation brush for your liquid base needs, the power brush for anything from setting powder, to blush and bronzer, and the shadow brush for a wash of color all over the lids for a complete look using just 3 brushes. They come together in a compact fabric travel case so you'll always be able to find them on your makeup bag.
Your Multi-Taskers ($48)- For a brush set with everything you could want for both eyes and face, The Multi-Taskers is where it's at! With both a foundation and powder brush, you have your base, setting powder, blush, bronzer, and even highlighter taken care of. The double-ended eye brushes make creating any eye look a piece of cake, and one brush even includes a fluffy domed brush perfect for buffing out concealer. To top it all off, there is a brush with a spooly on one end, and am angled liner/brow brush on the other. This is a set I've already taken traveling and LOVE it!
You're Easy on the Eyes ($28)- For a complete eye set, the Easy on the Eyes set has everything to pat, blend, line, and smudge your way to the perfect eye look - all in two dual-ended brushes. The zip-up travel pouch makes the super compact for travel, but offers enough room to pack some more brushes if needed.
Your Face & Eye Essentials ($30) - For the traveler that doesn't like taking full length brushes to-go, this is a great set. While it doesn't include a foundation brush (unless you use powder foundation), it does have a powder brush perfect for blush, bronzer, and highlight, and smaller brushes ideal for eyes, brows, and concealer. This carrying case offers a loose magnetic closure, with individual slots for each brush.

Stay tuned for a picture tutorial coming with the Your Multi-Taskers set!

See more pictures after the jump!

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Friday, August 29, 2014

Smashbox Full Exposure Palette vs. the Full Exposure Mini





With the recent release of the Smashbox Full Exposure Mini Palette, I finally decided to hop on the Full Exposure band wagon and give both palettes a go for comparison's sake - let's say it's in the name of science! I gotta say, experimentation has a new facet of beauty when you're getting 3X the points on your highly scientific Sephora purchase. But I digress - onto the review!

The full size Full Exposure Palette retails for $49 and includes 14 eyeshadows - 7 shimmery and 7 matte, a travel size Full Exposure Mascara, and a double-ended brush. I held off on purchasing this for as long as I have because every time I would swatch the shadows in-store, the shimmery shadows would seem so powdery and fallout-prone. In reality, they are surprisingly smooth and easy to apply. The matte shadows complement them nicely with buttery textures that apply evenly - no chalkiness. Altogether, the shadows create a palette with both warm and cool neutrals that don't fall too far on either side of the spectrum, making this an ideal palette for most skin tones. Really, the only potential downside some might find with this palette is just how shimmery the shadows are. I would compare them to Urban Decay's micro-glitter shadows, but with far less fallout. Additionally, the shimmers can be used wet for extra intensity, creating what's almost an entirely new set of shadows! Check out the tutorial in the video above for a demo using these shadows both wet and dry.

Now let's talk about the Full Exposure Mini Palette. It comes complete with 8 shadows - 4 shimmer and 4 matte, and is packaged in a thin plastic palette about the size of 10 business cards stacked on top of each other. With an even number of shadows falling on both warm and cool sides, this palette is equally as flattering to a wide range of skin tones as the full size version. At $22 however, you are getting more than half the shadow quantity for less than half the price of the full size version (although you are missing the brush and mascara add-ons). The same shadow quality holds true for this palette as it does for the other, but some of the shades are slightly different. Scroll down to see what I mean!

Ultimately, both palettes are a fantastic value with shadows that flatter most, and perform beautifully. However with as many neutral shadows as I own, I'm inclined to recommend the smaller version - especially to anyone who might be looking for an ultra-compact palette filled with the essentials. Still, those looking to build their neutral shadow from scratch will find the larger Full Exposure Palette to be a huge asset to their collection.

Have you tried either of Smashbox's Full Exposure palettes?

See more pictures after the jump!

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Thursday, August 28, 2014

4 Fall Looks with Makeup Academy




You might see some intriguing new displays popping up at a CVS/ pharmacy store near you, and they mean big things for lip, lash, and brush lovers! Makeup Academy - a makeup brand many might already be familiar with - is creating a collection of brand new lip, false eyelash, and brush offerings completely exclusive to CVS/ pharmacy. They gave me a special peek at some of the new products they've created, so I'm giving you the inside scoop with close-up pictures, swatches, and 4 tutorials featuring my favorite lip and lash combinations for fall. Read on to meet the must-have lip combinations!

See more pictures after the jump!

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Wednesday, August 27, 2014

MAKEUP WARS: Anastasia Maya Mia Palette


Anastasia Maya Mia Palette
This week's Makeup Wars challenge was to come up with a look or two using Anastasia Beverly Hill's brand new Maya Mia Palette! Named after makeup artist and YouTuber Maya Janeska, this palette is full of 10 warm shadows that coordinate to make a tropical-looking shade selection. There's a great mix of mattes and shimmers that range from a light cream to a deep chocolate brown, making an eye look with great depth and dimension a snap. Better still, all of the shades can be used both wet and dry! To show how they performed both ways, I created two looks - one with a little more color, and the other a more traditional smoky eye. Check out the picture tutorials below!

Overall, I was really impressed with the way all of the shadows in this palette performed. While I was a little concerned with how warm many of the shades lean, I'm in love with the way they look when worn! I found they blended easily and seamlessly into each other - even the mattes, which can have a tendency to be extra finicky in application. Not so with this palette. I found each of them to be smooth and finely-milled.

With 10 shades at $29, I think this palette is a fantastic buy whether you enjoy a classic neutral eye, or hints of tropical colors. Given that it's my first adventure with Anastasia shadows, I think I'm hooked!

Check out the tutorials below, and be sure to check out the looks all of the other Makeup Wars babes came up with!

See more pictures after the jump!

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Friday, August 22, 2014

Review & Swatches: Smashbox Be Legendary Lip Lacquers in Coral, Orange Crush, and Legendary


Smashbox Be Legendary Lip Lacquers



Smashbox Be Legendary Lip Lacquer are the new glossy stain on the market. With vibrant pigmentation, and the ability to tint lips, these apply like a high-gloss liquid lipstick, but last like a stain. I picked 3 of 20 shades - an extensive shade range that includes more subdued shades than those you see here, along with those that are even bolder, if you can imagine. Here are the shades I picked up:

Coral: A cream finish peach-coral 
Orange Crush: A bold, opaque orange with orange shimmer
Legendary: A deep cream finish cranberry

Each shade applies smoothly and opaquely with one swipe. The wand has just enough product to get complete coverage without having to go back for more - something that often means going overboard, and over lip lines during application for me. While on, these feel so comfortable and have a lot of slip without being sticky - that translates into minimal wear when eating and drinking! I found the glossy finish for these lasted around two hours with eating and drinking. The stain lasted for another 3 hours or so beyond that! What's more is that unlike other stains, my lips didn't feel deprived of hydration once the glossy finish wore off. No need to incorporate an extra conditioner with these - they do the conditioning themselves with built in Vitamin E! For an all-in-one lipstick, lipgloss, and lip stain, these make the grade and are well worth the $24 they retail for individually!

Something I forgot to mention in the video, but really wanted to given what a natural comparison it is, is how these stack up against the Revlon Moisture Stains. Revlon's have a slightly thinner, more gel-like consistency. With some shades, it takes a little bit of layering to get the pigmentation seen in the packaging, while the Smashbox require one swipe. The Moisture Stains have a distinctly chemical smell (to me) that the Smashbox Lip Lacquers lacked, and they were definitely more drying than the Smashbox lippies. While Smashbox's Lip Lacquers are over double the price of Revlon's, I think you pay for what you get. The Revlon Moisture Stains definitely get the job done, and look great doing it, but they aren't without shortcomings. The only thing you need to worry about with Smashbox's Lip Lacquers is which shade to get!

Speaking of, which shade will you get?
See more pictures after the jump!

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Thursday, August 21, 2014

Review & Demo: Lancome Grandiose Wide-Angle Fan Effect Mascara

Lancome Grandiose Wide-Angle Fan Effect Mascara




Lancome's Grandiose Wide-Angle Effect Mascara is making waves in the beauty world with it's innovative Swan Neck Wand and high impact formula. With so much hype surrounding it, I had to give it a try! 

The intriguing new wand serves not only to make application easier - no more worrying about grazing your nose with the applicator, creating a black, smudgy mess - but also swirl the product around inside the tube when opening and closing the packaging, ensuring the formula is well mixed. So, this funny little wand has some functionality! But does it pass the wear test? In the video above, you can see the wand in action, applying product effectively to both eyes. Once on the lashes, the formula coats them evenly, filling out the base and separating the tips. It also helped curl them considerably (as a reference, I don't curl mine before applying mascara). The real clincher happened when I looked at my lashes 12 hours after applying to find that the formula was fully in tact - not a smudge or flake in site! While you might worry it's hard to remove after that kind of wear time, it's actually very easy to remove. I find I don't even need need makeup remover to get the job done - just my everyday cleanser.

So, not only is the wand practical, but the formula is top notch. Despite the $32 price tag, I would have to say this is a must-try - especially for those who struggle with mascara application. I find there's little to no learning curve, and a huge payoff from the formula. 

Have you tried Lancome's new Grandiose Mascara?

See more pictures after the jump!

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Tuesday, August 19, 2014

August Ipsy Unbagging


At just $10 a month, Ipsy is one of the better monthly subscription services I have subscribed to. In fact, after all that I've tried, it's the only one I'm currently subscribed to! August's theme was Back to School, so in addition to a nice pencil case, there were great basics to make getting ready for class (or work) a piece of cake. See which products came in my bag this month, and don't forget to take advantage of the promo codes!

Products Mentioned & PROMO CODES!

  • Urban Decay Perversion Mascara
  • Jersey Shore Sun Mongongo Lip Conditioner - Get 50% off with code IPSY50
  • Klorane Dry Shampoo - Get 15% off with code IPSYAUG
  • Lord + Berry Kajal Kohl Eye Pencil - Get 25% off with code LAB@14091
  • Manna Kadar Sheer Glo Shimmer Lotion - Get 20% off your purchase and a FREE sample of Liplocked with code IPSY20


From left to right: Tini Beauty Shadow Tint in Ambrosia, Lord + Berry Liner, and Manna Kadar Sheer Glo

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Monday, August 18, 2014

Makeup Wars: $30 Face Challenge





This week on Makeup Wars, we are challenging ourselves to create a $30 face. I've done a few $20 makeup challenges and was surprised to find what a $10 difference can make! Check out what I picked, the look I created, and what all the other Makeup Wars ladies came up with in their posts below!

What I picked:

TOTAL:  $28.50

Get the Look:

  1. Apply Wet n Wild's Coverall Foundation with the UBU Face on Foundation Brush.
  2. Use the sponge applicator included to apply the lightest shadow from the City Color Color Basics Palette to the inner corner, the satin brown to the crease, and using the Concealer Brush apply the shimmering olive to the outer half, and the matte emerald to the outer third of the eyelid. 
  3. Sweep a couple of coats of NYC's Sky Rise Mascara over lashes.
  4. Use the UBU Sponge to press foundation into the undereye area to act as concealer.
  5. Apply the satin brown shadow to the hollows of the cheeks using the UBU Blush Brush
  6. Use your fingers to apply City Color's City Chic Lipstick in Je t' aime to the cheeks.
  7. Apply the lipstick directly to the lips.
  8. DONE!

See more pictures after the jump!

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Review & Swatches: NARS Dual-Intensity Eyeshadows in Subra, Cassiopeia, and Callisto

NARS Dual-Intensity Eyeshadows in Subra, Cassiopeia, and Callisto
Yet another prize from my recent Sephora haul, NARS Dual-Intensity Eyeshadows offer intense pigmentation, 8 hours of wear, and the ability to wear both dry and wet (for more intense pigmentation). I picked up the following 3 shades:

Subra: A black orchid
Cassiopeia: An iridescent electric pink - great for wearing alone, or layered over other shadows as a tranformer. Check out the layered swatches at the bottom of the post!
Callisto: An icy mauve silver

While there wasn't a huge difference in the shadows when swatched wet versus dry, there was a major difference in use. Used dry, these shadows are easily sheered out for a subtle wash of color, or smoky pop. Foiled with a medium, there's no dulling their intensity. What's more: they actually live up to their 8 hour wear claim.

At $29 a piece, these are anything but affordable. But with virtually two finishes per shadow, stellar shadow quality, and such unique shades, it's hard not to recommend picking up a shade or two. If you're having a hard time picking just one or two, NARS recently launched a Dual Intensity Palette that contains 8 nearly-full size shades for $79.

See more pictures after the jump!

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Sunday, August 17, 2014

Review & Swatches: It Cosmetics My Sculpted Face Palette


It Cosmetics My Sculpted Face Palette


For her birthday, my sister asked me for a contour and highlight palette to replace one that she had exhausted. Always in search of the latest and greatest beauty product, I took my search to ULTA, where I stumbled upon the it Cosmetics My Sculpted Face Palette. I knew it was a must-try palette when I had been told by no less than 3 store associates that it was a key product for any face routine on my way to the register! At $38, each shade comes out to $6.33 - a bargain for any it Cosmetics powder. The 6 powders included in this hot little palette are as follows:

Setting Powder - A transparent powder perfect for setting foundation and concealer
Highlighter - A pink pearlescent highlighter with ultra-fine shimmer
Light Bronzing Powder - A matte bronzer perfect for all-over bronzing on light skin tones, and contouring on fair skin tones.
Light-Medium Bronzing Powder - A matte bronzing powder ideal for bronzing medium skin tones, and contouring light skin tones
Medium-Deep Bronzing Powder - A matte bronzing powder ideal for bronzing medium-deep skin tones, and contouring medium skin tones
Deep Bronzing Powder - A matte bronzing powder ideal for bronzing deep skin tones, and contouring deep and medium-deep skin tones.

Each of these powders is buttery smooth, and very pigmented. A little goes a long way with these! While I love the way all of these powders perform, I wish the packaging provided more instruction on use. For a look at how I like to use each shade, check out the video above!

When it comes down to it, I think this palette is the ultimate tool for every contour and highlight routine. The only downside might be just how many skin tones it may flatter. A few of the shades fall on the cooler side, but I just used this palette on two friends who have considerably warmer undertones than me, and it flattered them beautifully! If you find that these don't fall into a range of shades that flatter you, consider looking into the Anastasia Build Your Own Contour Palette. While I can't vouch for the quality as I've never tried any of the bronzers, the replacement pans come in a wider variety of shades that are worth looking into if this contour and highlight format is for you.

Have you tried it Cosmetics My Sculpted Face Palette?
See more pictures after the jump!

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Thursday, August 14, 2014

Top 5 in Under 5: City Color Cosmetics + Bonus Faves





To celebrate the upcoming launch of their new site, City Color Cosmetics sent over some goodies, including new products and shades in addition to an exclusive code for Making Up the Midwest readers to receive 15% off of their entire City Color purchase! I chose some I my favorite products to include in a Top 5 in Under 5 video, but there were so many great products from the bundle they sent that I wanted to share more. Check out the products I chose, along with some swatches down below, and don't forget to use code 14BB4B15 on the city color website to get 15% off through 8.31.2014!

Products Mentioned:


City Color Intense Blush Quad Collection 1

See more pictures after the jump!

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Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Review: Urban Decay Perversion Mascara & Subversion Primer


Perversion Mascara is one of the latest launches to hit shelves from Urban Decay and it promises "Bigger. Blacker. Badder." lashes. A tall order, but one I thought Urban Decay could deliver. The wand is plush and full of ultra-soft fibers to hold a cream formula that falls smack dab in between a wet and dry texture. For me, the texture and the fibers were a lethal combo - the fibers didn't feel like they could effectively build enough product on my lashes, while the formula didn't add enough volume or lengthen as much as I would have liked. While the lasting power was great, I wasn't a huge fan of how Urban Decay's Perversion performed on my lashes - especially not for $22.

The mascara is currently available with a free deluxe size Subversion Mascara Primer, and I'm excited I was able to try it because I ended up loving it more than the mascara itself! Urban Decay's Subversion is a cream primer - it doesn't contain fibers for those that are worried about stray fibers falling into their eyes. The formula has a similar consistency as Perversion Mascara, but it builds much easier to create fuller, longer lashes without affecting the wear time. The before and after in the picture below do all of the talking where performance is concerned with this primer. If there's anything to get from this duo, the primer is it!

Check out the before and after images below, as well as the video for more details about Urban Decay's new formula. 

Have you given Perversion a try yet?


See more pictures after the jump!

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Monday, August 11, 2014

Review & Swatches: Kat Von D Everlasting Liquid Lipstick in Outlaw

Kat Von D Everlasting Liquid Lipstick in Outlaw



Another product from my recent Sephora haul is  Kat Von D's Everlasting Liquid Lipstick - a velveteen lip stain that applies like a liquid lipstick, but dries down to feel like second skin. These retail for $19 individually, and I have the color Outlaw - a deep brick red. 

Kat Von D's line of matte lip stains promises long-wearing, full-coverage wear. I have to say, they deliver! Not only did this stain last for hours on end (approximately 6 with drinking, and minimal eating), but it even held its own through a meal, wearing away only gradually in the center of my top and bottom lips. Comfort can be a huge sticking point with stains, as many can form a kind of shell around the lips, depriving them of moisture, and flaking off for a look that's less than ideal. Not so with the Everlasting Liquid Lipsticks! These wear comfortably - I didn't need to moisturize or treat my lips in between wear, and they gradually fade away instead of flaking. Additionally, I didn't notice the matte texture emphasizing any pre-existing dry patches. 

If you want a long-wearing matte lip stain that keep lips comfortable, yet deeply pigmented, these are for you! With 12 fun shades within the line, the hardest part will be picking one.

See more pictures after the jump!

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Saturday, August 9, 2014

Review: Tarte Colored Clay Foundcealer





While perusing the QVC App, I stumbled across a foundation I had never before seen from Tarte - the Colored Clay Foundcealer. Tempted by what's effectively a 3-in-1 product (color corrector, foundation, and concealer), and the dual-ended brush that comes along with it (for just $35.18), I had to give it a try!

Of the 6 shades in the line, Light suits me best. The product has a near-mousse texture that feels very smooth, yet doesn't take a lot of working with to blend. One layer evened out my skin tone, but didn't completely eliminate the discoloration I typically experience under my eyes, or the redness around an active breakout I had at the time. For more coverage, I use the smaller end of the brush to layer a little more product on my trouble areas. Doing so helped considerably, but didn't completely eliminate the redness around my breakouts. Still, I would say this foundation was effective at evening out my complexion, concealing blemishes, and correcting most discoloration!

Even with layering, I would say this foundation provides medium coverage with a satin finish that developed excess shine with wear throughout the day. I have a combination skin type, and although I wore it without a primer or setting powder, I would recommend using one or the other to those with a combination or oily skin type - especially during the summer months. I experienced most wear in my under eye area, but nothing a good setting powder couldn't fix!

If you want an all-in-one product that provides buildable light-to-medium coverage, and has a satin finish, this is one to pick! The brush it comes with is fantastic in its own right, but coupled with the foundation it makes this set an absolute steal if it meets your needs.

See more pictures after the jump!

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Friday, August 8, 2014

Review & Swatches: Marc Jacobs Twinkle Pop Eye Sticks in Three Shakes and On the Verge

Marc Jacobs Twinkle Pop Eye Sticks in Three Shakes and On the Verge
During Sephora's recent extra points event, I was compelled to dive into some brands that I've been dying to try. Number one on the list: Marc Jacobs Beauty. I've heard such good things about nearly every product in this line, so I had to get in on the action! First on the list: Twinkle Pop Eye Sticks!

What I didn't realize upon purchasing these is that they aren't just new to me, they are new to the Marc Jacobs line entirely! At $28 a pop (get it?) these pencils promise to perform as both luxe cream shadows and liners. Packaged in a sleek metallic pencil-shaped tube that dispenses automatically, they have a tight seal to ensure your product doesn't dry out. I knew I had to try them the moment I tested them in the store and found they not only glided on like buttah, but they have a cooling sensation! When I vocalized this to the friend I was with, the amazing sales associate helping us dropped in and confirmed they do! She mentioned this is invaluable on days when you need a little help soothing, and de-puffing your eye area. Hello, allergy season!

Once I got them home and really put them to the test, my obsession was confirmed. These. Are. Amazing. How amazing? I bought 3 more shades. Once they've smoothed effortlessly on your lids, they last all day. Truly - all day! The before and after picture below illustrates how well these perform over the course of an 11 hour day without priming beforehand, or setting with shadow after. Needless to say, I was impressed. Those with oily or hooded lids will want to take the precaution of priming before, but the fact that these are one-and-done type products was majorly impressive to me, and definitely justified the $28 price tag.

I prefer to apply these directly to the lid, then blend out through the crease with a fluffy synthetic brush, but these could also be applied under or over shadows - as the Sephora's product page mentions. Clearly I'm having a love affair with these, so it's probably not even worth mentioning that I would highly recommend them. But if you haven't dropped into a Sephora recently, I suggest you do to give these a test drive. In the mean time, stay tuned for another video featuring the new shades coming soon!

What have you tried from Marc Jacobs Beauty?
See more pictures after the jump!

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Thursday, August 7, 2014

Review & Demo: Benefit They're Real! Push-Up Liner


Benefit They're Real! Push-Up Liner


Benefit's They're Real! Push-Up Liner has been making waves in the beauty world since its launch, but up until now I had been successful in escaping the "Must. Own. New. Thing!" compulsion. That is until I was visiting my little sister a few weeks ago, and she said it was a I had to have it. You don't have to tell me twice!

Packaged in a plastic pen format, the product is dispensed out of a flexible, angled rubber tip. One "click" of the automatic pen, and you have enough product to completely line one eye - check out the video for a demo! Despite my worries about the irritation a rubber tip could cause to the delicate eye area, I didn't experience any discomfort - it glided right over my lash line. The product flowed freely, and I didn't have any issues with it drying up in the pen tip after a few days without use - no wasted product here. 

While they don't claim it's waterproof, they have results from consumer trials that suggest women find it to be pretty darn budge-proof. They weren't lying! During application the matte black cream smooths on evenly and opaquely, needing very little layering. And it stays on until you are absolutely ready for it to come off. A good remover is a must with this liner!

For those worried about a learning curve, I would like this to using any other pen liner or angled brush. The only difference is there's no need to clean a brush, and you are entirely in control of how much product is dispensed and when.

Worth the $24? I would say so! This skeptic has fallen in love and has fully hopped on the They're Real! bandwagon. Those that love blacker-than-black liner that lasts all day should consider this a must-have, and those that hate juggling brushes and liner pots on-the-go will love how convenient this is.

Are you a They're Real! Push-Up liner convert yet?

See more pictures after the jump!

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Wednesday, August 6, 2014

Review & Swatches: Milani Bella Eyes Gel Powder Eyeshadows

Milani Bella Eyes Gel Powder Eyeshadows


The much anticipated Milani Bella Eyes Gel Powder Eyeshadows are slowly making their way into drugstore shelves, so naturally I'm scouring any nearby drugstores to get my hands on them. After a few weeks of searching, I finally found two sparse displays and took what I could. Curious about what exactly a "gel powder"is? Read on, dear beauty-lover!

Despite the name, these really are just finely-milled shadows with a plush-looking divot in the middle. The shade range is vast with 30 total shades, and offers up both satin and shimmery finishes. At just $3.99 a piece, it was hard to choose the few that I did!

Applied dry and without a primer, these shadows lasted all day without fading or creasing. Impressive! However while they may swatch boldly, they definitely sheer out when applied without the help of a mixing medium. Fortunately, if the pigmentation in the pan is what you're after, just a few spritzes of a setting spray, or a drop of mixing medium, and you are on your way to a bright eye look in no time!

Overall, these shadows are fantastic! So long as you are aware that they don't have a cream consistency (as the word "gel" in the title might suggest, and it takes a mixing medium to get the pigmentation you see in the pan, I think these are fantastic shadows that can provide great quality, versatility, and even a little pop of color to your everyday eye.

See more pictures after the jump!

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Sunday, August 3, 2014

Review & tutorial: Tarte Rainforest After Dark Palette



Given how late and erratic this Midwestern summer has been, the last thing I want to think about is swapping out my summer brights for warm fall hues. It's already August, but I can count the number of days I've gone without a light jacket on both hands. Tarte's new Rainforest After Dark Palette is a sultry seasonal segue that makes coming to terms with the absentee summer a little bit easier to bear. 

With 6 eyeshadows, a full size Amazonian Clay 12 Hour Blush, a large pan of Tarte's Park Ave. Princess Bronzer, and a champagne highlight, this palette is equipped with a face full of makeup. The shades included are:

  • Champagne: A champagne highlight with ultra-fine shimmer
  • Parke Ave. Princess: Tarte's well-known light matte bronzer
  • Unleashed: 12-Hour Amazonian Clay blush with a mauvy-rose hue
  • bare to explore: matte pink beige shadow
  • make a mauve:  satin plum mauve shadow
  • plum away with me: shimmery dark plum shadow
  • up to no gold: metallic gold shadow
  • tan-gled up in you: matte tan shadow
  • don’t turn a-brown: matte chocolate brown shadow

Each of these powders lives up to the quality I've come to expect from Tarte - no matter the texture, each shadow applies smoothly, and with fantastic pigmentation. The same can be said for the face products, but both the blush and bronzer fall on the lighter end of the shade spectrum, making them most suitable for fair, light, and some medium skin tones. Used together, the shades in this palette can create anything from a natural, matte look (demonstrated in the video), to a dramatic nighttime eye (seen in the tutorial below). If neutrals with a mix of plums and pinks are your thing, and you think you will get some good out of the face products in this palette, this is a great palette with a fantastic price tag to match. If, on the other hand, these face products are a tad too light for you, but you adore the color palette, check out the Too Faced Chocolate Bar Palette! It's full of various shadow textures, with a mix of neutrals, plums, and pinks.

Snag the Rainforest After Dark palette for 30% off in Tarte's Friends & Family sale with code FANDF through the end of today (8/4)! Want a chance to win on for yourself? Enter in the Rafflecopter widget below.












Rainforest After Dark Step-by-step

Step 1: Prime Lids
Step 2: Apply Plum Away With Me to the inner corner using a small, precise brush
Step 3: Apply Plum Away With Me to the outer corner, leaving an empty space in the center of the lid.
Step 4: Pat Up To No Gold on the empty space in the center of the lid, blending either side into the plum shadow.
Step 5: Repeat the same patter with each shadow on the lower lash line.
Step 6: Use a fluffy creasy brush to sweep Tan-gled Up With You into the crease, blending the gold and plum together
Step 7: Apply Champagne into the inner corner.
Finish with mascara, and the look is complete!

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Saturday, August 2, 2014

The new cat eye you have to try

Always one for a cat eye, I love seeing new twists on the graphic look. So when this face chart from Mary Kay's Global Makeup Artist Luis Casco hit my inbox, I knew I had to share! While working his magic in the Mary Kay Color Design Studio on Project Runway, Casco created a two-toned geometric cat eye - perfect for amping up a retro look with some modern updates. Check out the tutorial below to find out how to get the look. I know I'll be recreating it for my next night out!

Here's Casco's step-by-step for achieving the look:
  1. Sweep Mary Kay® Mineral Eye Color in Moonstone across lids from lash line to brow bone, then blend Mary Kay® Mineral Eye Color in Driftwood onto creases and under eyes to create depth.
  2.  Apply a thin line of Mary Kay At Play™ Bold Fluid Eyeliner in Blue My Mind from upper inner corners to middle of eyes.
  3. Make eyes pop by lining the rest of the lid with Mary Kay® Gel Eyeliner in Jet Black starting from the upper outer corners.
  4. Finish with two coats of Mary Kay® Ultimate Mascara™ in Black for definition and curl.


Would you rock a two-toned cat eye?

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Friday, August 1, 2014

Top 5 in Under 5: $5 for Summer




Products Mentioned:

  1. Wet n Wild Coloricon Bronzer in Bikini Contest
  2. Essence Silky Touch Blush
  3. Colourpop Super Shock Shadow - check out the second set of shadows here!
  4. Jordana 12 HR Made to Last Liner
  5. Milani Brilliant Shine Gloss