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Saturday, May 30, 2015

ELF Beautifully Bare Collection Reviews

ELF's Beautifully Bare Collection is out and selling like crazy. Because it looks like all of these products are limited edition, I wanted to get my review out there ASAP! Formulated to help you achieve that "no makeup" makeup look so many are after - especially as the weather warms up, most of these product will stand up to the heat and humidity of Summer. Find out what I think of them below:

Beautifully Bare Foundation Serum- This super-light and slightly watery foundation takes quite a bit of buffing to completely blend into the skin. But once it does, the result is an even complexion that still manages to retain natural features - like freckles and discoloration. The texture is so feather-light that it's easy to forget you're wearing anything at all! Given how watery this formula was, I was convinced it would melt right off my face. I'm pleased to say that it stood up to my combination skin! By the end of the day, the foundation was relatively in tact, and had only developed a slight dewiness that I actually like! If you're a fan of a natural-looking, lightweight foundation, this is one you'll want to check out. 

Beautifully Bare Blending Brush - ELF has a solid history of producing great brushes, so I was eager to try this one. The unique fan shape and dense bristles make this brush a multi-tasker at its best - I love it for applying foundation, under-eye concealer, powder, bronzer, blush (in fact, I used it to apply the cream blushes within the Beautifully Bare collection), and highlight. After giving it a few washings, I was pleased with how little it shed (which was actually not at all - yay!). This is the hands-down must-have in this collection, so get it while you can!

Beautifully Bare Cream Blush - Unlike so many cream blushes, these truly dry down to a powder finish. Cream blushes will often claim to set completely, only to leave you with a dewy, or "sticky" finish that transfers to everything. I'm happy to say that's not the case with these, however the pigmentation and wear time left a little to be desired. Medium to deep skin tones might find that these aren't buildable enough to make the cut, and I found it hard to get them to last more than 6 hours. Of all the products in this collection, these aren't bad, but they're not my favorite. 

Beautifully Bare Lash Tint - Those that love IT Cosmetics Tightline mascara are going to love this one! The ultra-thin wand makes it easy for applying mascara close to the lash line, and mimic the appearance of liner along your waterline (a technique known as "tightlining"). But ELF's brush is slightly different in that the longer bristles can hold enough product to achieve a full application from root to tip. The result is lashes that are lengthened and defined, yet very natural looking. The wear time of this mascara is stellar. I didn't experience any flaking or smudging - even through the crazy rain and humidity we've been having here in Austin!

Beautifully Bare Defining Mascara - This mascara has a more traditional wand with a slightly tapered, and angled tip to help get smaller lashes in the inner corner, or along the lower lash line. Despite promising definition, I found that mascara added more volume to my lashes, making them seem extra light an fluttery. It made my lashes look slightly different than (although just as natural as) the Bare Lash Tint did, and it has a similar wear quality to boot. Ultimately, both provide very natural-looking lashes, so which one you choose will all depend on the look you're trying to achieve. 

Will you be picking up anything from ELF's Beautifully Bare Collection?

See more pictures after the jump!

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Wednesday, May 27, 2015

$20 Summer Makeup Look

A ton of new makeup products have launched since the $20 makeup challenge went around, so I thought it might be time to breath new life into it. Here's my $20 summer look - tell me which products you would use in the comments!

Products mentioned:

  • NYC City Proof Waterproof Eye Shadow
  • ELF Studio Blush Palette in Dark
  • Jordana Best Lash Extreme Volume Mascara
  • Wet n Wild Coverall Concealer
  • City Color City Chic Lip Liner in Salmon
  • Essence Long Lasting Lipstick in Cotton Candy 


Tuesday, May 26, 2015

May Ipsy Unbagging | Jetsetter

Another month, another Ipsy bag! This month the theme is Jetsetter, and Ipsy has tried to pack everything you might need into your carryon. Whenever I'm paring down my subscription services, I always keep Ipsy because I feel like they give the best value for the money - this month was no exception!

Here's what's inside:

  • Breakups to Makeup bag | Get 20% off breakupstomakeup.com with code IPSY20: These clever bags can retail for $30-$40 a piece, so this was an incredible value!
  • BelláPierre Cosmetics Waterproof Mineral Gel Eyeliner | Get 15% off bellapierre.com with code IPSYMAY2015: This liner was definitely the dark horse of this month's bag. I expected it to be just another black liner, but it's actually an amazingly smooth, pigmented, inky black gel liner in a pencil format, and it retails for $14.99! See it in use in the video above.
  • The Organic Pharmacy Double Rose Rejuvenating Face Cream | Get 10% off TheOrganicPharmacy.com with code IPSY2015: This is one product I wasn't so crazy about. The formula seems a little too rich for my combo skin, but it's a little hard to tell when the sample size will only get you through about a week. 
  • Urban Decay Glide on Lip Pencil in Ozone: While I'm not a fan of this petite anti-feathering lip pencil (a $15 value), I really appreciated the lip gloss samples that came along with it! I've been curious about Urban Decay's new lip glosses. It turns out they are amazing! I'll definitely be waiting for a sale to snatch a few more up. 
  • Oscar Blandi Pronto Dry Shampoo: This came just in the nick of time as I've just run out of the Nuance texturizer I've been using. While it definitely delivers on the "no white residue" claim, I don't think it gives my hair as much body as other dry shampoos do. It really is designed to wick excess moisture away from the roots and nothing more. On the upside, it smells amazing so it's a great fragrance refresher for second day hair!
  • Luxie Beauty Tapered Blending Eye Brush 229 | Get 30% off at luxiebeauty.com with code ipsy30: This is the second Luxie beauty brush I've tried through Ipsy, and I continue to be impressed. The bristles are soft and dense, and this brush in particular is great for applying cream products all over the eyes as a wash of color, or buffing matte shadows into the crease for a flawlessly blended eye. 
Overall, two thumbs up for this month's bag! What did you get in your monthly subscription services in May?


Monday, May 25, 2015

Makeup Wars: Summer Glow-Getters

In this week's Makeup Wars, we're talking about our favorite ways to get a summer glow. While that could include your favorite self-tanners, bronzers, or even skin care techniques, I'm focusing on my absolute favorite: highlighters. While there are always the golden oldies I've mentioned (like my top 5 drugstore highlighters), there are also some new products that deserve a spot in your summer makeup routine.

Top Summer Glow-Getters:

  1. BECCA Shimmering Skin Perfector Press in Moonstone: These cult classics live up the the hype! For a highlight powder that's ultra-fine for a natural, but intense glow, all of these are perfection. While #2 on this list seems to be the most popular, Moonstone is worth a mention for those who want a yellow-tones champagne highlight. 
  2. BECCA Shimmering Skin Perfector Press in Opal: For the same high-impact glow with a peach twist, Opal is the shade to reach for.  
  3. BECCA Shimmering Skin Perfector Spotlight in Pearl: If liquid is your thing, BECCA makes some that are amazing as well. I recommend getting the spotlight trio to try multiple shades (although only Pearl is pictured). 
  4. Colourpop Highlighter in Wisp: Although new, these highlighters quickly made my list of favorites for their buttery smooth texture and intense pigmentation.
  5. Charlotte Tilbury Wonderglow: For a truly lit-from-within glow, this illuminating primer will make your complexion look smooth, flawless, and glowing.
  6. ELF Studio Baked Blush in Pinktastic: You don't have to spend big for a serious glow. ELF's $3 bake blush packs some serious highlight for a glow that keeps going. 
  7. City Color Glowing Complexion Illuminating Cream: Liquid highlight lovers won't want to miss this budget friendly buy. The champagne pink glow makes it perfect for wearing over top of your makeup, mixed in with your foundation, and even worn along your collarbones. 
  8. Artist Couture Diamond Glow Powder in Gold Digger: For an over-the-top gold goddess glow, this is the highlighter I reach for. 
  9. Hard Candy Glow All The Way Ombre Blush in Punch: This finely milled pink-toned highlight comes with a super pigmented blush to match!
  10. NARS Dual-Intensity Blush in Craving: While not all of the duos contain a highlight, Craving has one that's soft, slightly iridescent, and very natural-looking, with a satin bronzer to match!
What are your favorite summer glow-getters?


Thursday, May 21, 2015

20% off at Tarte for Memorial Day weekend!

In case the upcoming long weekend didn't have you excited enough, the Memorial Day sales have begun! Tarte just announced their 20% off sale when you use code SPLASH, so I wanted to share some of the products that I would recommend, and point you in the direction of some comparisons and reviews:
Will you be picking anything up from the sale?

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Review & Swatches: Colourpop Highlighters

Like everyone else and their mother, I'm crazy about Colourpop right now. I'm still not over the unique gel-to-powder formula and crazy pigmentation I fell in love with when I tried my first Colourpop shadows (or even my next round of Colourpop swatches, for that matter). When they recently came out with a collection of highlighters - my all-time favorite cosmetics category, my heart skipped a beat (and my wallet wept). Actually, the most shocking part of all this is not as is suggested by the "Super Shock Cheek" title these hold, but the amount of self restraint I showed when purchasing. Out of the 16 shades available, I ended up getting the following 4:

  • Monster: An iridescent lilac highlight
  • Teasecake: A soft dusty rose
  • Wisp: A shimmering champagne 
  • Avalon: An illuminating bronze
Despite my self restraint, I immediately regretting not getting more of these after I swatched them. They have the same cushiony texture as their shadow cousins, and sheer out beautifully to create an unbelievably natural "lit from within" glow. These highlighters are built for endurance with pigment that lasts all day. Spring is quickly turning to Summer here in Texas, and each of these have lasted through excess "glistening" throughout the day. 

Because of the distinct texture these have, the #1 question people have is "Which tool should I use to apply them?" I prefer a dense kabuki brush that will pick up the right amount of product, while also diffusing the highlight effectively. Some of my favorites are the larger brushes from the BH Cosmetics Sculpt and Blend Set.

With highlighters that apply flawlessly and last throughout the day, what else do you need? More. You need more of them. My advice to you: get your hands on some of these, and don't hold back. 

Monster | Teasecake | Wisp | Avalon

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Wednesday, May 20, 2015

Review & Swatches: Charlotte Tilbury Eyes to Mesmerise in Marie Antoinette

Charlotte Tilbury Eyes to Mesmerise in Marie Antoinette

Just in time for Summer, Charlotte Tilbury has launched a collection of long-lasting cream shadows called Eyes to Mesmerise. Each shade is named after the iconic woman it represents - I have the oyster gold hue created for Marie Antoinette. These shadows were created to be a part of Charlotte's "One-Minute No-Mirror Makeup Revolution", and they couldn't be more perfect for the job.

Despite being called a cream shadow, each of these is closer to a mousse texture that perfectly lends itself to easy blending. Although it dries quickly, there's plenty of time to work with it so it blends easily over the lid and through the crease. Marie Antoinette is very multifaceted, so it could be worn all on its own (something I've been doing in the past few videos), or you can use it as a shadow base and layer powder over it.

When it comes to wear time, these don't disappoint. After a full day of wear in Texas heat and humidity, these remained beautifully in tact without creasing or fading. Talk about a warm-weather must-have!

While the $32 price tag is steep, these are the easiest cream shadows I've used - and they have the lasting power to boot. With 5 more shades available in the line, I plan on saving up for a few more - namely Cleopatra and Veruschka!

You can buy these on the Charlotte Tilbury website or at Nordstrom. If you can, I recommend getting to a counter at Nordstrom to give them a try for yourself. But beware: it will be love at first swatch.

See more pictures after the jump!

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Beauty Desk Sneak Peek Vol. 1

With so many beauty products and so little time, it's hard to share everything that comes across my beauty desk. I'm making it easier to showcase the latest and greatest in makeup with a new little feature called Beauty Desk Sneak Peek. Here, I'll share close-ups, swatches, and preliminary thoughts of some of the products I'm hauling, and new press samples I've received. If you want to know more about a certain product, or see it put to use in a tutorial, be sure to let me know in the comments below!

What's on my beauty desk:

  • A Rouge Bunny Rouge haul: I've been coveting this brand ever since I started blogging. But, between the price tag and availability, I've hesitated to pull the trigger. Finally, I took advantage of a sale on Hautelook and bought a solid sampling of products. Some of those that I'm most excited about are the pressed powder, highlight powder, and lipstick. One letdown (primarily for the packaging) is the pigment. Although the product itself is beautiful, the packaging is cumbersome, and does't close securely - a huge deterrent for loose powder product. 
  • Makeup Geek Foiled Eyeshadows: Given how much I loved Marlena's first batch of foiled shadows, I couldn't resist picking up 4 of the 10 newest shades. To complement those already in my collection, I bought Day Dreamer (light purple lilac), Starry Eyed (light pink champagne), Masquerade (warm medium plum), and Charmed (light, silvery olive). After they arrived, and I was able to play with them, I immediately regretted not getting the entire collection! These are just a amazing as the original foiled shadows, and a must for anyone wanting to experiment with the liquid metal shadow finish that's becoming crazy popular. 
  • Borghese Makeup: This new-to-me brand sent over a selection of their eyeshadow palettes and blushes, and I have to say I'm impressed! The packaging is slim and compact, yet still feels sturdy - and the product performs beautifully. The shadows are smooth, very pigmented, and grouped together to create well-coordinated palettes. The blushes are also smooth, and contain enough shimmer to give the appearance of a satin finish, and provide a flawless finish to the cheeks. Overall a great introduction to a new brand!
What's on your beauty desk?
See more pictures after the jump!


Tuesday, May 19, 2015

Review & Swatches: Hard Candy Fierce Effects Daring Lip Gloss

Hard Candy has had some top notch launches as of late. So, when I spotted their new Fierce Effects daring lip glosses while strolling in Walmart, I knew I needed to see if these followed suit. Here are the shades I grabbed:

Make Me Blush: a light rosy pink with a milky finish
Plum Diva: a deep plum with medium coverage
Daredevil: a bold, opaque blue-based red
Contraband: a sheer tangerine

The theme with these glosses seems to be high shine with (mostly) complete opacity. I'm glad I picked up a variety of shades because there's some inconsistency in the way each wears. For instance, Daredevil (my absolute favorite pick from the line) is completely opaque, while Plum Diva has an abundance of pigment that tends to lay unevenly after about 5 minutes of wear, and Contraband is surprisingly sheer.

These are a gel-based gloss, so the consistency is ultra-smooth, and very light. But the thin texture can also lead to a lot of movement throughout wear, and a lot of feathering - an absolute no-no when it comes to bold lip shades. In the video below, you can see just how much these move after less than an hour of wear - and that's with a primer!

While I love the high-shine finish, I can't get past how quickly these move, and how easily they feather. I find I'm constantly looking for a mirror to make sure these haven't left me with a smudged mess around my mouth. If you love the way these look, and have a secret to keep gloss in place, I highly recommend Daredevil. The lacquered finish and intense pigmentation are so unique - especially for a $5 gloss. But you have to be prepared to touch up frequently to ensure it stays in place. 

Make Me Blush | Plum Diva | Daredevil | Contraband

See more pictures after the jump!

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Tuesday, May 5, 2015

All about extensions + 2 Summer hairstyles!

I don't think my apathy toward my fine, flat, lackluster hair comes as a surprise to anyone. I rarely blog about my favorite hair products or styles because, no matter what, my hair manages to fall flat - literally. Lately, however, I've become OBSESSED with a solution that guarantees great hair. Every. Single. Time. The secret: extensions! To be more specific, these are the two items I've been loving:

Beauty Works 20" Deluxe Clip In Extensions: These are three-weft extensions that offer a little bit of extra volume, and a lot of length. With one three-clip weft, and two four-clip wefts, I find I only have to wear two of the three to get the look I want, but I can throw the third in for extra drama. Made with natural Remy hair, these can be cut, dyed, and styled exactly as you would your natural hair - which makes them easy to seamlessly incorporate in with your natural hair when styling. As far as extensions go, these are some of the lightest I've worn - great for those who tend to get headaches after a day of hair extensions pulling at your scalp!

Beauty Works Double Volume Glamorous Curl Hair Piece: Up until now, I had never worn a hair piece. After learning how simple and easy application can be for such major length and volume payoff, it's hard to go a day without it! This particular piece is synthetic, so it's a little less versatile when it comes to cutting or coloring, but don't put your curling iron away just yet - it can be heat styled!

Watch the video below to learn more about the extensions and hair piece I'm loving, and find out how I like to style them for Summer!

Do you have a secret for great hair? Share it in the comments below!


Monday, May 4, 2015

Electric Mint Tutorial: From Day to Play

Hey, guys! This was such a fun tutorial to film. It was a little out of the ordinary for my channel, but I wanted to go all out because it's my entry into the 2015 NYX FACE AWARDS! I've always wanted to enter, and am finally biting the bullet. Wish me luck! 

If you're not about to wear a wig, or contour with pink blush, you can always change this look up by altering the liner shade. Keep the lid simple and matte, and choose a white liner that peeks out over black for a mod adaptation. The possibilities are endless! Even if this doesn't immediately look like something you could pull of, remember: makeup is all about having fun, and trying something new. Set aside some time to play!

What are your favorite colors to play up for Summer?