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Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Review & Swatches: bareMinerals Vision of Light Palette

Holiday sets that provide a complete look from lips to lashes are always so hard for me to resist. The thought of getting such a solid sampling of what a brand has to offer, in addition to a look that's been hand-picked to coordinate perfectly is enough to make me want empty my wallet in a heartbeat. While that might not seem like a significant statement given that most makeup makes me want to empty my wallet, it explains why you're going to see quite a few all-in-one holiday sets here this year. In this blog post, I'm going to be exploring bareMinerals Vision of Light set - an 8-piece collection that promises glowing lips and eyes! Here's what's included:

  • NEW Stroke of Light Highlighter - This highlighter is one of the most beautiful I've tried! It contains ultra-fine shimmer to create a "lit from within" look. It's fantastic when applied directly to the cheek bones, brow bones, and the bridge of your nose, as well as mixed into foundation for an ultra-natural glow.
  • Illuminating Mineral Veil finishing powder - While it might seem too shimmery for a setting powder, this subtle glimmer within this powder provides a healthy glow when used as a setting powder.
  • Celestial Eyecolor (spun sugar) - A light shimmery champagne that can be used wet for more pigmentation.
  • After Dusk Eyecolor (shimmering clove) - A medium chocolate brown perfect for the crease or worn as a liner.
  • Lasting Line Long-Wearing Eyeliner in Eternal Bronze - An automatic liner with a smooth, creamy consistency. Because it took a while to build to a pigmentation I was happy with, this isn't my favorite liner - I think it's the weakest product in the bunch.
  • Daybreak Blush (terracotta pink) - A warm blush that walks the line between medium peach and pink. The sifter within the packaging makes managing such a large amount of loose powder easier.
  • Marvelous Moxie Lipgloss in Stargazer - This is one of the most beautiful lipglosses I've ever tried. The subtle gold shimmer gives the lips some added dimension, while the pink base provides a "your lips but better" hue.
  • Full Tapered Shadow and Blush Brush - While not the most well-crafted brush I've tried, it's definitely functional and can be used to apply nearly every product within the kit. 
  • Sample of Lash Domination 10-in-1 Volumizing Mascara - This is the only sample-sized product within the kit, but it adds a lot if you haven't tried it before. I find this mascara to be fantastic at lengthening lashes while keeping them separated. 

Overall, I think this kit is a winner and one I would recommend to everyone! It creates a beautiful face for just $49 - I think it's well worth it for the highlighter alone!

See more pictures after the jump!

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Monday, October 27, 2014

Review & Swatches: bareMinerals the Magic Act

bareMinerals the Magic Act

Continuing on with the parade of holiday palettes, we have bareMinerals the Magic Act! For just $39, this palette offers 6 eyeshadows, 2 blushes, 1 bronzer, and 1 highlight shade all in an ultra-compact cardboard case with a magnetic closure. The shadows are neutral and flattering, with a nice variety of finishes and hues. While two can be found in a permanent shadow duo, the rest seem to be exclusive with this palette. Likewise, the blushes included are available individually, but the highlight is only available in a duo, and the bronzer is exclusive to this palette. All products are half the size of their typical retail sizes.

Overall, I think this palette is one worth checking out if you love neutral shadows, are looking for a palette that creates a full face on the go, or just want a solid sampling of bareMinerals READY pressed powders. Unlike some holiday sets where the product quality is compromised for the sake of offering a bargain, these perform beautifully to create a complete face. The only downside I could find with this palette was the lack of originality with the shades. Those that already have a lot of neutral shadows might not find this palette particularly inspiring, but it doesn't stop them from being as pretty as they are!

Will you be indulging in the bareMinerals holiday collection?
See more pictures after the jump!

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Makeup Wars: Favorite Perfumes

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In this week's Makeup Wars, we're back with our favorite fragrances - just in time for the changing fall weather! To complement the crisp, cooling air, people tend to prefer sultry, savory, and musky scents. If you're looking for your signature fall fragrance, you're in luck! I tend to prefer those kinds of scents year-round (with a few exceptions), so this is a timely post. Here's a list of my must-have scents:
  • Katy Perry Royal Revolution: With fruity top notes like pomegranate and orange flower, and base notes of soft leather and sandalwood, this is the perfect combination of sweet and savory. It's one of my favorites for a night out!
  • Harvey Prince Yogini: A fragrance I first discovered in a Birchbox, Yogini is a heartier scent with more exotic notes of Egyptian myrrh and golden amber. While some might find this is a fragrance best worn at night, it's one of the longest lasting fragrances I have so it tends to be one I look to for daytime wear.
  • Nest Midnight Fleur: This scent wins the award for most recent discovery. I received this as a 250 point perk from my latest Sephora purchase and immediately fell in love. With "exotic woods, black amber, patchouli, night-blooming jasmine, and vanilla orchid" this scent is only given a three-word description: Sensual. Intoxicating. Bold. I would describe it as nothing less than amazing! The sweetness of the jasmine and vanilla make this a scent I love wearing during the day.  
  • Kai: Just as I included my most recent find, I felt the need to talk about one of my original signature scents - and the only floral perfume that's made the cut! Kai is a fragrant blend of white flowers, but the gardenia note is what stands out most to me. When I was little, my grandma had gardenia bath bubbles that were reserved especially for my visits, so the scent has become a comforting, nostalgic one. 
  • Betsey Johnson Too Too: Beyond the adorable packaging (which was the obvious initial attraction), this is probably the sweetest, fruitiest scent I like. But, while the strawberry and mandarine notes are prominent, the bulgarian rose, sandalwood, patchouli, and vanilla manage to keep this scent more grounded and earthy. 

Do you have a signature scent? Share in the comments below!


Friday, October 24, 2014

Must-Have Makeup Academy Brushes!

More and more readers are letting me know they're seeing Makeup Academy displays at nearby CVS/pharmacies, and having questions about which products I've tried. I've already talked about my favorite Makeup Academy lip and false lash eye products, so this time I'm tackling my must-have brushes!There are quite a few to try and experience, so I thought I would give you a rundown of which brushes I've been loving lately, and how I prefer to use them. Check out the video above to find out how you can try before you buy at your nearest Makeup Academy display, where to get coupons so you can save on your next purchase, and see my favorite brushes from the line in action!

  • Angled Shadow Brush: A tool that makes creating the coveted "outer-v" area of the eye a snap. Just stamp it down where you want your outer boundary and blend!
  • Smudger/Detailer Brush: The perfect choice for precision work in the inner corner, brow bone, or smudging liner, as well as patting precise amounts of shadow on the lid.
  • All Over Shadow Brush: As the name suggests, it's the perfect brush for sweeping shadow across the lid. However, it also doubles as a great way to seamlessly blend shadows into the crease.

  • Angled Foundation Brush: Similar to a traditional foundation brush, this tool allows you to "paint" your foundation on with the added benefit of an angled edge to more precisely apply product in the under eye area, down the nose, and around the lips. Tip: It also makes easy work out of applying cream contour - the shape of the brush does all of the work!
  • Angled Blush Brush: An ideal brush for sweeping powder contour shades into the cheek bones, as well as applying powder blush and highlight to the tops of the cheekbones.
  • Mineral Brush: Another multi-tasker, I like to use the brush to apply setting powder, however it's also fantastic at buffing out powder foundation!
  • Powder Brush: Whether it's allover setting powder, or bronzer, this brush is a great tool for applying a light dusting or products naturally around the face.
You can find Makeup Academy exclusively at CVS/pharmacy - follow them on Facebook and Twitter for more updates, and keep tabs on the latest happenings with the hashtag #MUAatCVS!

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Thursday, October 23, 2014

Review & Swatches: Urban Decay Vice 3 Palette

'Tis the season to start revving your wish lists! October wasn't halfway over before holiday collections were on the shelves. Naturally, I dove in head first to get a jumpstart on reviews. First up: Urban Decay Vice 3 Palette!

Despite being the third volume within the range, this is my first experience with one of Urban Decay's Vice Palettes. While they have all been incredibly tempting, the've flown off the shelves before I could get my hands on one. This year, I kept my eyes open and snatched it up right away! It turns out, I'm glad I did because the shade range in this palette is fantastic!

In total there are 20 BRAND NEW shadows housed within a hard plastic case, complete with a large mirror and fabric makeup bag! The shades included range not only in color, but also in texture - something Urban Decay has sometimes struggled with. I'm happy to say that there is a great mix of both shimmery and matte shades within this palette - most of which are ultra smooth and creamy. With everything from solid neutrals to seriously hot hues, Vice 3 can manage anything from a natural daytime look to a look fit for a rave! The only outlier I found when it came to shadow quality was the shade Heroine. It's a deep, nearly-matte navy that came off a little chalky and took quite a bit of layering to achieve the pigmentation seen in the pan. It was an unfortunate loss given how beautifully it complemented the deeper shades within the palette.

Despite the letdown with Heroine, you can't beat $60 for 20 Urban Decay shadows! Given the quality of the rest and the luxe feel of the packaging, I think it's safe to say that this palette delivers. Given the wide variety of shades included, it's safe to say that this would be a great gift for many (including yourself)!

Are you indulging in Urban Decay's Vice 3?
See more pictures after the jump!

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Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Review & Swatches: Anastasia Beverly Hills Waterproof Créme Color

I'm a cream makeup fanatic. Provided it eventually dries down, the texture makes for such versatility and more often than not looks as close to "natural" as it gets. Cream foundation, cream blush, cream highlight - you name it, I have it, and probably prefer it to the many powder alternatives within my collection. All that being said, it's really no surprise that when I got the email notifying me of new colors within the Anastasia Waterproof Créme Color, all of the shades managed to make their way into my card within minutes. I never know how this happens. But ultimately I'm glad it did because these shadows are everything I hoped for and more!

There are 7 shades within the range:
  • JET: Blackest black
  • LAVISH: Shimmery deep copper
  • SABLE: Dark chocolate brown
  • GUNMETAL: Shimmery grey
  • EMERALD: Shimmery, rich emerald green
  • AZURE: Shimmery bright blue
  • HONEY: Matte flesh tone

Described as "ultra-pigmented, waterproof color for the eyes that won't crease or smudge," these do (or rather don't do) just that. Once on, these dry down almost immediately and don't move until you want them to. Worn unprimed and unset with powder, these powdered through 10 hours of wear and didn't look any worse for the wear. While some cream shadows can be used as shadow bases, these dry relatively fast so I wouldn't go looking to them if you want a sticky base for powders to cling to. That being said, they will amp up the color of any shadow you lay over top!

Bottom line: you need these créme colors in your life. No matter what you are using them for, you can count on them staying all day with intense pigmentation.

See more pictures after the jump!

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Monday, October 20, 2014

Review & Swatches: NYX Simply Lip Creams

Not over the chubby lip pencil trend? You're in luck! NYX is throwing down in the popular makeup category with their new Simply Lip Cream Collection. Divided into 4 color categories, there are 6 shades within each giving you 24 NEW ways to screw up your holiday budget! At $6.49 a pencil, they won't do too much damage on your pocket book - but I dare you to walk away from browsing with just one shade. You can't! Here are the shades I'm swatching:

  • Enchanted - A light mauve-oink
  • First Base - A pale pink
  • XOXO - A bright coral pink
  • Fairest - A soft cool nude
  • Peaches - A light pink-toned nude
  • Sable - A medium mauve-nude
  • Covet - A deep blackened maroon
  • Enamored - A deep brown-black
  • Seduction - A bright orange-leaning red
  • Russian Roulette - A berry-toned red
  • Knock Out - A brick red
Although NYX says these have a glossy finish, I would say these differentiate themselves from the other drugstore releases because they don't have a balmy or glossy finish. Rather, they are opaque and creamy like a lipstick. The lasting power is pretty stellar at around 4+ hours - even for the nude shades. While they don't necessarily hydrate, I didn't find they dehydrated my lips either. The only downside I found with these shades is that there's some variation when it comes to application. Some shades are easily layered for intense pigmentation and complete opacity, while others come off as streaky. While not an absolute deal breaker, it's something to be aware of when it comes time to buy.

Overall, these are a must-have - catch them while they are buy one get one half off at ULTA for an especially good deal!

What shades have you tried from the NYX Simply Lip Cream Collection?
See more pictures after the jump!

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Friday, October 17, 2014

Review, Swatches, & Comparison: IT Cosmetics Naturally Pretty Celebration Palette

IT Cosmetics Naturally Pretty Celebration Palette

IT Cosmetics Naturally Pretty Palette made a huge splash when it debuted nearly a year ago. With 14 matte shades, and one shimmer "transformer", it promised a ton of versatility along with the quality IT Cosmetics is known for - and it delivered! Needless to say, when I found out they released a limited edition extension of this much-loved palette, I had to give it a try.

The Naturally Pretty Celebration Palette once again offers 14 matte shadows, but they are changing the game up with a shimmery gradient shadow that fades from champagne to gold. While each of the shadows have the same buttery texture and fantastic pigmentation you can expect from IT Cosmetics, there are quite a few shades that are similar between the original version of this palette and the holiday edition. Generally, the shades are cooler in the Celebration palette, but there were quite a few  between the two that I felt were easily duplicated - so many that I don't think it's necessary to own both. Scroll down to see swatches of each similar shade!

Overall, I have to say that I prefer the shade range and packaging of the Naturally Pretty Celebration Palette. Both palettes have excellent shadow quality, but the added versatility the gradient shade provides, and the more streamlined packaging of the Celebration Palette make it the winner of the two. It's Limited Edition, so if it strikes your fancy get it quick!

Want to see just how versatile this palette is? Scroll down to the bottom of the post to see step-by-step tutorials using both neutrals and plums!
See more pictures after the jump!

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Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Makeup for your hair? This is a must-try.

From the time I was teen admiring Lizzie McGuire's funky hairstyles - crimps and all, I've wanted to be able to experiment with temporary hair color without the commitment. The resurgence of stars like Katy Perry and Kelly Osbourne rocking hot hair hues haven't made things any easier! I've tried big trends like hair chalking and using pigments, but nothing seems to leave my hair as pigmented as I want, or last as long as I would like. It all stops with Redken's new Color Rebel Hair Makeup!

They recently sent over two shades for me to try - Rebel Without a Coral, and Purple Riot. I was eager to put them to the test! With cut and dry instructions, application is easy - just twist and apply! You can layer the product for more pigmentation, and once it's dry you're ready to style. I found my hair had a crunchier texture once I let the dye dry, but after a quick brush through it was ready for heat styling. I was blown away by the results! The application was easy, and the color payoff was awesome.

As far as lasting power goes, these are meant to come out with 2 shampoos (depending on how porous your hair is). I personally washed my hair and found the dye was nearly gone - great for the girl who needs her hair back to its original state for the work week. Alternatively, Redken also recommends using their Hair Cleansing Cream or Diamond Oil Shatterproof Shine for immediate removal. With 5 shades in the line, I'm looking forward to trying each one! Because Redken is sold in salons, prices can vary. Check out their salon finder to find one closest to you!

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Monday, October 13, 2014

MAKEUP WARS: Must-Have Shadow Palettes

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In this week's Makeup Wars, we're running through out favorite makeup palettes! As a certified makeup junkie, this was a toughie. Palettes are my weakness, so I've accrued quite the collection. The list could go on, but these are what I consider to be the essentials:
  • Must-Have Customizable Palette: MAKE UP FOR EVER's recently launched their Artist Shadows at Sephora, and they're available in customizable duo and trios. Each and every shadow I've tried (which as of now is 36) is smooth and very pigmented. The trio pictured below contains the shades M-636, ME-512, and ME-310. 
  • Must-Have Travel Palette: For an ultra-compact palette that promises both matte and sparkle finishes, Smashbox Full Exposure Mini Palette is just the ticket. It has all the essentials for a daytime look, or some smoky sparkle for the night.
  • Must-Have Drugstore Palette: Essence All About Nude Palette is a great combination of cool neutrals. The shadows themselves are surprisingly smooth and pigmented given its $4.99 price tag!
  • Must-Have Large Palette: My ultimate all-in-one palette is LORAC's PRO Palette. With 8 matte shades, and 8 shimmer, the pigmentation is unbelievable and the texture of each shadow is a buttery as they come. With shades that range from essential neutrals to flattering gem tones, this is a palette that's great for any occasion!
  • Must-Have Multitasker: Urban Decay's Naked Basics Palette is ideal not only for the quintessential natural, neutral eye, but it also serves as a facial contour, highlight, and brow powder! Follow the link to another Makeup Wars where I demo how to use it as each.
  • Must-Have Singles: Sometimes you can only find the perfect palette by making it yourself. Makeup Geek Shadows and Coastal Scents Shadow Pots allow you to pop individual pans into customizable Z-Palettes so you have the exact shades you need. Check out some of my favorite shades below!

See more pictures after the jump!


Review & Swatches: IT Cosmetics Your Most Radiant You 5 Piece Collection

IT Cosmetics Your Most Radiant You 5 Piece Collection

It Cosmetics has done it again! Known for their product quality, they frequently assemble QVC-exclusive sets that contain their best-sellers and all-time favorites for an unbeatable deal. Your Most Radiant You 5-Piece Collection is their latest collection to be featured as QVC's Today's Special Value on October 14th, so they sent me a sneak peek to share. Check out the video above for a full review and demo, and learn more about the products included below:
  • Celebration Foundation Illumination: A powder foundation with same coverage and lasting power as the original Celebration Foundation, but with a finish that gives the appearance of a lit-from-within glow.
  • Heavenly Luxe Double Airbrush Foundation Brush: A flat top kabuki brush perfect for buffing on foundation.
  • CC+ Radiance Ombre Blush in Je Ne Sais Quoi: A rose-hued blush that fades from a pigmented pink blush, to a pink-tinged highlight. The texture is smooth, and the lasting power is unbelievable! These ombre blushes are exclusive to QVC through the end of 2014.
  • No Tug Waterproof Gel Eyeliner in Black/Brown: A buttery automatic eyeliner with a gel consistency that glides over the lid and waterline. It's easily smudged for an effortless smoky eye, and offers great lasting power on the waterline.
  • Hello! Lashes Extensions Mascara in Black: This fiber-filled version of the original Hello! Lashes formula has a thinner consistency and a wand that's conducive to creating lashes that are lengthened and separated.

Given the product quality, it's no surprise that this set creates a fantastic face! You can get everything inside for $67.50, but stay tuned on October 14th when it's QVC's Today's Special Value.

See more pictures after the jump!

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Saturday, October 11, 2014

WIN IT: LORAC Mega PRO Palette


Friday, October 10, 2014

Review & Demo: Maybelline Brow Drama Sculpting Brow Mascara

Maybelline has hopped on the brow mascara band wagon, giving the typical brow wand a twist with their new Brow Drama Sculpting Brow Mascara! Rather than providing a mini wand, as has been the case with most of the recent brow mascara launches from other brands, Maybelline chose to go with a larger ball brush - a choice than can be a little problematic for those with thinner, more narrow brows. While the brush fit nicely in the thickest part of my brows, it was harder to precisely cover the outer corners of my brows without snagging other hairs in the process. The result: Cara Delevigne brows that needed some filling in. The same will happen if you haven't waxed in a while and have baby fine hairs surrounding your brows.

While the wand isn't ideal, the wear is great! The gel looks very natural - not glossy, and it doesn't make brows feel "crunchy" like so many clear gels can. As the product warmed up throughout the day with the natural fluctuations of my body temperature, I found that it assumed more of a waxy consistency rather than melting right off. It made some some serious all-day wear!

Ultimately, this is a great drugstore option when it comes to brow gels, but those with thinner brows might want to consider using a disposable spooly to apply product.

What's your go-to brow gel?

See more pictures after the jump!

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Thursday, October 9, 2014

Review & Swatches: Coastal Scents Shadow Pots

Thanks to a recent request from a subscriber, I was introduced to Coastal Scents Shadow Pots! Although they are already incredibly affordable at just under $2 a piece ($1.95 to be exact), I managed to find them during a sale at just $0.99 individually. Naturally, I snatched up far more than I should have to get a good sampling of everything the brand has to offer in the way of individual shadows. Unfortunately, many of the matte neutral shades were sold out at the time I was shopping, so I wasn't able to experience those. But, I still managed to get a good idea of what just about every other shimmery, colorful shade is like. Keep scrolling to see swatches!

Overall, I was very impressed with the quality these shadows offer. Nearly all are pigmented, smooth, and offer a fair amount of product for just $1.95. The only shades I wasn't absolutely head over heels for were some of the brighter mattes - their chalkier texture left a little to be desired. Still, with some layering they could get the job done!

In addition to a review, I was asked to do a comparison between Coastal Scents Shadow Pots and Makeup Geek Shadows. I was shocked to find that, while the quality is comparable, there isn't a whole lot of shade overlap! Scroll to the bottom of the post to find the few shades I picked as being the most similar among the many that I own from each collection. It's impressive, and speaks to just how unique each of the shadows from both lines really are!

Do you prefer one line over the other, or do you like to mix and match? Share your thoughts in the comments below!
See more pictures after the jump!

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Tuesday, October 7, 2014

Review & Swatches: Maybelline ColorSensational Creamy Matte Lip Colors

Maybelline Color Sensational Creamy Matte Lip Colors have hit beauty shelves in time for you to get a killer matte lip this fall! I've spent the past few weeks frantically searching for new displays on shelves so I could get my matte fix for the season. Finally, I gave up and just ordered them from ULTA - they are currently offering Buy 1 Get 1 50% off!

I picked up the following shades:

  • Siren in Scarlet: Velvet scarlet red
  • Divine Wine: Deep burgundy 
  • Touch of Spice: Medium mauve
  • Daringly Nude: Blush nude
  • Nude Embrace: Warm light camel
  • Ravishing Rose: Light dusty rose
  • Faint for Fuchsia: Hot pinky purple
Each of these retails for $7.99 and are worth every penny! The pigmentation was fantastic from each shade I tried, and every lip color glided easily on the lips - no tugging. They also managed to provide wear up to 5 hours without drying my lips out! While I definitely wouldn't call them hydrating, I didn't find these emphasized any dry patches my lips already had. Overall, these are absolute must-haves for the chillier months headed my way!

What shades have you tried so far?

See more pictures after the jump!

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Monday, October 6, 2014

Review & Swatches: MAKE UP FOR EVER Artist Shadows

If you caught my initial post on MAKE UP FOR EVER Artist Shadow's, you'll remember I said I had quite a few more up my sleeve. It's time for the big review!

I knew from the moment it launched, I had to have the 30 years. 30 Colors. 30 Artists. Palette. While the palette itself is limited edition, all of the shades are permanent. Each Artist Shadow retails for $21 individually from Sephora, but can be purchased in a duo palette for $34, or a trio for $44. After wearing the shadows in this palette for over a month now, I can easily say that filling a palette couldn't be easier - it's narrowing down the shades you want that will be the real challenge.

The collection of Artist Shadows consists of 5 finishes - Matte, Satin, Shimmer, Metallic, and Diamond. While each of the finishes I have are satiny-smooth, and provide unbelievable pigmentation, I'm most impressed with the Diamond finish. Unlike so many sparkly shadows, the gel powder consistency of these shades keeps the sparkle and pigment in place so fallout is rarely an issue - check out the tutorial where I use D-104 below!

As far as color goes, none of these fall short. From the neutrals to the brights, each of these shadows packs a punch when applied. Something else worth noting is that a few are meant for use on the cheeks - specifically I-746, S-852, S-742, and I-922 among the shades I have. Check out the tutorial below to see how they perform!

Overall, I'm very impressed with the intensity and performance of these powders. While they had a decent lasting power when worn alone, I would recommend wearing a primer to get as much wear as possible.

Scroll on to see each of the shades I have, along with a description of each!
  • I-550 (Olive Gray)
  • M-548 (Pink Gray)
  • M-536 (Milk Tea)
  • M-532 (Sugar Coated Candy)
  • ME-122 (Snow)
  • M-636 (Cappuccino)
  • I-662 (Amber Brown)
  • D-640 (Golden Snake)
  • ME-512 (Golden Beige)
  • D-868 (Crystalline Pink)
  • M-100 (Black)
  • D-104 (Black Diamond)
  • ME-310 (Fir Tree Green)
  • D-320 (Golden Khaki)
  • ME-108 (Steel)
  • ME-624 (Black Gold)
  • M-618 (Espresso)
  • ME-930 (Black Purple)
  • ME-654 (Cauldron)
  • I-606 (Pinky Earth)
  • ME-400 (Buttercup)
  • I-746 (Watermelon)
  • S-852 (Neon Pink)
  • S-742 (Tomato)
  • I-922 (Electric Purple)
  • D-206 (Celestial Blue)
  • I-340 (Acidic Green)
  • ME-304 (Emerald)
  • ME-230 (Peacock Blue)
  • I-220 (Sapphire)
See more pictures after the jump!

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Friday, October 3, 2014

Review: Too Faced Cocoa Powder Foundation

Too Faced Cocoa Powder Foundation

Powder foundation lovers might have their eyes on the Too Faced Cocoa Powder Foundation - a relatively new launch from the brand. As an extension of the well-known Cocoa Powder line, it has the characteristic chocolatey smell and promises medium to full coverage with a matte, shine-absorbing finish. For $34 - it' offering a lot!

Of the 8 shades within the range, I am third from the lightest - a good indicator that this is a great foundation for those with fair skin, and maybe not so much for those with deeper skin tones. Although it does kick up a fair amount of powder during application, the finish is matte rather than chalky, and provides a somewhat soft-focus finish.

Although I easily got somewhat full coverage out of this foundation, I can't say it lasted for as long as I needed it to. After 8 hours of wear throughout a typical low-activity day, I found it was worn away in my most troublesome areas. While that's to be expected with my combination skin, it specifically claims to absorb excess shine so the matte finish continues throughout wear.

Overall, I have to say this isn't the foundation for me - I need more longevity out of my coverage. Something worth noting however is how well this foundation plays with cream and liquid products. Applied over top, cream concealer and liquid highlight don't disturb the powder foundation - something that can't be said for all of the powder foundations I've tried. If you don't mind the lasting power, this foundation definitely has some good qualities about it. Otherwise, I would recommend my Holy Grail powder foundation: IT Cosmetics Celebration Foundation.

See more pictures after the jump!

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Wednesday, October 1, 2014

Review & Swatches: Maybelline Expert Wear Eyeshadow Quads

Maybelline Expert Wear Eyeshadow Quads

While shopping my stash during a recent move, I stumbled across some eyeshadow quads that I have yet to mention, but always jump out at me when I come across them: Maybelline's Expert Wear Eyeshadow Quads. Their bright colors make them stand out among the standard neutrals often seen at the drugstore, but I haven't seen them mentioned very much in the blogging world. Perhaps it's for good reason...

I have three shadow quads to talk about today:
  • Luminous Lilacs: A palette that consists of shimmery pinks, a steely grey, and a deep, vibrant plum.
  • Electric Blue: A quad composed of both subtle and bright blue hues, and a deep matte black.
  • Sandstone Shimmer: A neutral palette that packs a pigmented cranberry color, alongside a warm gold, and an incredibly unique duo-chrome highlight shade.
While the pictures below will do most of the talking, it's safe to say that I was beyond disappointed with Electric Blue, and would have liked to see more pigmentation from Luminous Lilacs. While Sandstone Shimmer was easily the top performer of the 3, each palette had problems with fallout, and pigmentation issues that needed to be remedied by wearing them over a base.

In short, with so many other drugstore shadows that perform better, it's hard to recommend Luminous Lilac and Electric Blue. Sandstone Shimmer definitely needs a shadow primer to get the performance seen below, but it's definitely worth it for the unique highlight shade and deep cranberry. 

Have you tried Maybelline Expert Wear Shadow Quads? Which are your favorites?

See more pictures after the jump!

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Nautral and Artsy with MAKE UP FOR EVER Artist Shadows

Looking for the perfect eyeshadow? Drop what you're doing and listen up! MAKE UP FOR EVER reformulated their eyeshadows to include a creamy gel-powder formula. Their new line of Artist Shadows contains unique 210 shades with 5 different finishes - iridescent, satin, matte, diamond, and metallic, as indicated by the letters that precede the shade number. They sent me a few shades to take for a test drive - check out the looks I created in the video above, and get up close and personal with each of the shadows below. 

Get the Neutral Look: 

  1. Artist Shadows in I 562, M 806, and D 104
  2. Aqua Smoky Extravagant Waterproof Mascara
  3. Mat Velvet+ Foundation in #30
  4. 5 Camouflage Crem Palette in No. 1
  5. Sculpting Kit in No. 1
  6. Aqua Lip in 2C

Get the Artsy Look: 

  1. Artist Shadows in I 585, ME 406, M 608, and D 104
  2. Aqua Smoky Extravagant Waterproof Mascara
  3. Mat Velvet+ Foundation in #30
  4. 5 Camouflage Crem Palette in No. 1
  5. Deeper foundation shade (I'm using a shade from the 11 Foundation Palette)
  6. Aqua Lip in 16C
Individually, these shadows retail for $22, but you can customize duo and trio palettes for $34 and $44 a piece at Sephora.

While I can easily say the Artist Shadow shades MAKE UP FOR EVER provided for each of these looks performs exactly as you might expect from a new and improved formula - no matter the finish, I personally purchased the limited edition 30 Artist Shadow Palette that launched at Sephora a few weeks ago and can confirm that the stellar quality is consistent throughout the rest of the shades I have. Stay tuned for another post coming up that delves more into those shades - you won't be dissapointed!

Have you tried any shades from the MAKE UP FOR EVER Artist Shadow line?
See more pictures after the jump!