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Saturday, September 27, 2014

Review & Swatches: Sally Hansen Miracle Gel Polish

After mentioning them in a recent favorites video, a few of you asked for a more extensive review of Sally Hansen's new Miracle Gel polishes. In a nutshell, the line is designed to have the longevity and high shine of gel polish, without the need of a lamp. As someone with nails that seem to repel everything, even the best non-gel polish only lasts around 2 days (at best) on me. I'm constantly on the lookout for a polish that can break the record, and these are the real deal!

Each of the 23 shades within the line retails for $7.99 and are formulated to work in conjunction with a top coat that puts the "miracle" in Miracle Gel. While different shades had different caveats (some needed more layers to achieve opacity, and others didn't achieve maximum lasting power), all of the shades lasted far longer than any other polish does on my nails - between 3-6 days. To top it all off, the dry time is no longer than 2-3 minutes - far less than comparable gel top coats, like that from Revlon!

Something else to note about the system is that commenters on the recent favorites video let me know that the top coat within this system also works on other polishes! So grab your essies and your OPI's because your wear time is about to go through the roof. On to the swatches...

BEWARE: Hardcore swatch lovers might cringe at the state of my cuticles. They are fresh off a move, and the cardboard boxes were not kind. You've been warned!
See more pictures after the jump!

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Billion Dollar Brows Best Seller Kit

Billion Dollar Brows Best Sellers

Brows can make or break a look. But despite seeming like one of the more simple processes in your daily makeup routine, there's a whole host of tools and products created specifically to tackle a region that takes up no more than 5% of your face. Billion Dollar Brows is simplifying the process with a kit that puts everything you need for daily brow maintenance in one convenient kit. Launching exclusively at Khols starting in October, this kit contains four of their best sellers, and they've given me a sneak peek! Read on to see what's inside the Best Sellers Kit, and learn how to use them.

Included in this kit is:

Universal Brow Pencil: A dual-ended pencil/spooly that comes in a somewhat universal brown-taupe shade that's easily layered to achieve natural, light strokes, or deeper pigment. The texture has a waxy consistency to help add body and lasting power to brows.
Brow Duo Pencil: A dual-ended concealer/highlighter used to add definitely to the perimeter of the brow, and highlight the brow bone.
Smudge Brush: A brush designed specifically for blending the Brow Duo Pencil with a straight edge that makes achieving crisp, clean brow borders easy.
Brow Gel: The last step to any brow routine so that hairs hold their shape throughout the day.

Typically these would retail for $68 together, but this set is priced at $34.99!

Scroll through the post to see a step-by-step tutorial of how I use this kit. Need help establishing your brow shape? I'm not a fan of cookie-cutter brow stencils, I prefer Billion Dollar Brows Brow Buddy - a tool that works with your facial proportions to determine your personal brow shape. Learn more about how I use it in the video at the bottom of the post!
See more pictures after the jump!

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Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Top Under $5: Fall Products

It's time for a seasonal makeup update! While there are some fantastic high-end finds for fall, you don't have to break the bank to totally transform your look. Here are 5 of my favorite products - and they're all under $5!

Products mentioned: 


Review & Swatches: Essence All About Sunset and Nude Palettes

Essence All About Sunset Palette
Essence is a generally underrated brand that I've been trying to dive deeper into ever since I discovered it during a stroll down the aisles of ULTA. This time around, I'm trying Essence's new All About... palette - a collection of eyeshadow palettes with 4 different themes. In this post, I'm talking about the Essence All About Sunset Palette and the All About Nude Palette.

The sunset palette is just as it sounds with warm, shimmery earth tones that range from a light champagne, to a deep chocolate brown. Contrary to the way it may sound, the Nude palette consists of cool taupes, and a deep plum. While the Sunset palette doesn't offer up a finish other than shimmery, the Nude palette has two shadows that border on a satin finish - great for blending shadows into the crease. All of the shadows in both palettes are shockingly pigmented given that they are $4.99 each, and smooth on very evenly.

The only downside to these palettes will become evident if you are a matte shadow-lover. While there are none to be found, the shimmery finish in both palettes are ultra-smooth and take on more of a metallic finish, rather than being chunky or uneven. Given their price, these are fantastic palettes if you love the colors inside!

See more pictures after the jump!

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Review & Swatches: Rimmel Scandaleyes Eye Shadow Sticks in NEW Limited Edition Shades

Rimmel Scandaleyes Shadow Sticks in Gold Digger, Trespassing Taupe, and Naughty Navy
On a recent trip to ULTA, I stumbled on some brand new, limited edition shades in the Rimmel Scandaleyes Eye Shadow Stick line. At $4.49 for shadow sticks I know I already love, I had to snatch them up before the rest of the pencils in the display were gone! The new shades you'll see hitting shelves near you are:

Gold Digger: A shimmery yellow gold
Trespassing Taupe: A matte medium taupe - great for acting as a flat shadow base!
Naughty Navy: A fantastic blackened navy - perfect for a velvety nighttime eye look.

Each of the shades applied smoothly - unsurprising given my experience with the rest of the line, and lasted crease and fade-free for around 5-6 hours when worn without a shadow base. With a base, they last all day! The texture of these is emollient enough to give you ample time to work with them, and even use them as shadow bases, before they dry down to a powder finish.

Looking for some fun new shades to add to your shadow stick arsenal? These are definitely for you! Make sure you act fast since these are limited edition shades, and the displays only have a few of each shade available. While I've only seen them at ULTA, I think it's safe to say you will probably be able to find at drugstore that sell Rimmel as well. 

What new launches are you loving? Share in the comments below!
See more pictures after the jump!

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Monday, September 22, 2014

Recent Beauty Favorites!

Hello beautiful readers! Sorry for the delay in posts - things got a little hectic! Check out the latest video to get all caught up and hear about some of the makeup favorites I've been loving during the hiatus. I would love to hear about your beauty faves in the comments below, along with your suggestions for upcoming videos!

Products mentioned:

Thursday, September 4, 2014

Review & Swatches: Makeup Geek Vegas Lights Pigment Set

In addition to the Vegas Lights Shadow Palette, Makeup Geek recently released the Vegas light Pigment Collection - loose, shimmery shadows that complement the warm shades within the collection. Included within the shade range is:

Jackpot - A pale shimmery gold
Poker Face - A deep shimmery bronze
Night Life - A cool shimmery medium taupe
Vegas Lights - A warm copper shimmer
Liquid Gold - A bold metallic green-gold

While all of the pigments are beautiful, I have a few favorites among them. Jackpot, Liquid Gold, and Poker Face all have ultra-smooth textures that almost turns into a cream when applie to the lid. It makes for unbelievably pigmented shadows with almost no fallout - the best! Also, each are so multi-dimensional that you can wear them alone and get as much dimension as two or three shadows might provide. The real clincher is their lasting power - I found they lasted crease and fade-free all day when worn un-primed! A girl can't ask for anything more. 

None of the above is to say that I don't like the other two shades within the set - they just have slightly different textures and wear qualities. Night Life is a considerably drier pigment, so it wears like a more traditional pigment without the ultra-smooth texture. Similarly, Vegas Lights almost looks like a glitter because the pigments are drier and less finely milled. Worn foiled, it looks like every other pigment within the collection. Applied dry, and I found that it led to more fallout, and needed more layering to achieve the color intensity I was after. 

The set retails for $33.99 - at $6.99 a shadow, it's not much of a discount, but these shadows are already reasonably priced and well worth it! That being said, if you just see a shadow or two from the set that you like, you won't be missing out on a huge discount if you decide to purchase those alone.

See more pictures after the jump!

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Tuesday, September 2, 2014

MAKEUP WARS: Urban Decay Naked Basics

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Urban Decay Naked Basics

This week's Makeup Wars is another palette challenge! This time, we're creating looks using one of the new matte nude palettes Urban Decay has released: Pulp Fiction, Naked Basics, or Naked Basics 2. Given that I didn't have any, I decided to go with the basic palette that started it all: Urban Decay Naked Basics Palette.

At the time of its launch, the original Naked Basics was Urban Decay's answer to the droves of Naked Palette lovers that were still left wanting matte nudes with the same quality found in the Naked Palette series. I have to say, I think they hit the nail on the head. With 6 shades, the Naked Basics Palette includes a shimmery cream (Venus), matte warm cream (Foxy), neutral matte cream (Walk of Shame), cool medium brown (Naked 2), deep matte coco brown (Faint), and matte black (Crave). Each work together to create both natural and dramatic looks. What's more is that the shades are so neutral-leaning, they work beautifully when used on the face too! Check out the video above to see how I incorporate these shadows into my everyday brow, contour, and highlight routine.

Ultimately, I loved this palette so much that I ended up buying the new Naked Basics 2 just a few days after it came out. Stay tuned for more info on it within the next few days! For a somewhat dramatic eye look using all of the shades within the palette, check out the step-by-step tutorial below. And don't forget to check out all of the looks created, and palettes used, in this week's Makeup Wars!

Urban Decay Naked Basics

See more pictures after the jump!

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Monday, September 1, 2014

Tarte Amazonian Clay Full Coverage Foundation vs. Colored Clay Foundcealer

After a recent review of Tarte's Colored Clay Foundcealer, a few readers and viewers asked about how it compares to some of Tarte's more well known foundations. First up: the Amazonian Clay Full Coverage Foundation

This foundation promises 12-hour full coverage wear, and my shade is Fair Light Honey. While you can find all shades at ULTA for $38, QVC offers a set with a select few shades, along with a kabuki brush for the same price. This is definitely a layer-able foundation that provides medium to full coverage without clinging to dry spots, or accentuating oily areas. Throughout wear, it did a great job at controlling oil and looks nearly 100% in tact at the end of a 10 hour day. The verdict: highly recommend for those that like a nearly full coverage that helps control excess shine.

Compared to the Colored Clay Foundcealer, the Full Coverage Foundation provides more coverage, but lacks the color correcting capabilities - something I noticed most in the dark circles I develop in my undereye area. Additionally, despite claiming to be a 2-in-1 foundation and concealer, it provides lighter coverage than the Tarte's Full Coverage foundation, and didn't do much in the way of controlling shine throughout the day. 

Bottom line: If you're looking for a color-correcting base that provides light to medium coverage, and is best suited for dry or combination skin, the Founcealer is for you. If, on the other hand, you are looking for a full coverage foundation suited for combination to oily skin, the Full Coverage Foundation is your pick!

What's your favorite Tarte foundation?

See more pictures after the jump!

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Review & Swatches: Makeup Geek Vegas Lights Palette

Ever since trying the shadows in the Makeup Geek Ultimate Eyeshadow Palette, I've been in love! The shadows have smooth, silky textures with incredible pigmentation - and at a fraction of the cost of similar shadows ($6 a piece). When Marlena, The Makeup Geek herself, announced that she was debuting a Vegas-inspired shadow and pigment collection, I knew I had to indulge!

With colors that remind me of a hot night, and a desert sunset, the Vegas Lights Palette is overwhelmingly warm. The shades include:

  • Casino - A bold shimmery yellow-gold.
  • Sin City - A shimmery peach-gold duochrome
  • Roulette - A deep shimmery copper
  • Mirage - A satin cream
  • Desert Sand - A warm medium matte brown
  • Bada Bing - A matte chocolate brown base with gold shimmer, and a permanent shade to the Makeup Geek collection

One of the main things that will make people love or leave this palette is just how warm these shadows lean. For the most part, these shadows held up to the Makeup Geek standards I've come to expect - they have tons of pigmentation, smooth textures (even the mattes), and a buildable wear. The only shadow that I wish delivered a little bit more was Bada Bing. The texture was slightly chalky and difficult to build. Given that it's the deepest shade in the palette, this could make or break a dramatic look. Applied over a good base, the color gets a boost, but if you want maximum opacity, reach for a pigmented base to enhance the payoff.

At $36, there isn't a discount when purchasing this palette which was a little surprising. However you are getting 5 completely new shades from the line. Because the quality is definitely there, the main thing people will want to consider is whether this color palette is right for them. Scroll all the way down for a step-by-step tutorial using nearly all of the shadows from the palette!

See more pictures after the jump!

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