Sunday, October 26, 2014

Products I've Hit Pan On/Empty Products #1

Is it just me, or is hitting pan or using up a product really exciting? I own a ton of products, so when I hit pan or the bottom of a jar, I know it's a product I really like. It means I have reached for that product more than the others sitting next to it. I've recently hit pan or used up some products which are clear winners, and here they are!

NARS Blush in Orgasm

I mean, is there anyone who doesn't love this blush? It is possibly the most universally flattering color of all time. It is the perfect combination of peach and pink with the most subtle of gold shimmer. Whether you are cool or warm, this color will flatter you. If you are older and nervous about shimmer, the shimmer is so subtle that it will not draw attention to lines or unevenness, and the formulation is fantastic. It goes on very smooth, which is great for all skin types, even dry, because it will not cling to dry patches. It is also very pigmented, but very buildable and blendable.

First Aid Beauty 5 in 1 Face Cream SPF 30

This is my favorite face cream ever. I knew that even before I actually used it up. Mine has had so much love that the label has all but chipped off. It feels so instantly soothing on my dry, sensitive skin. It is rather thick, but it actually gets absorbed and doesn't feel heavy. A lot of face creams are either too thin and don't moisturize enough, or too thick and feel like they are a heavy paste just sitting on your skin, not getting absorbed. This is neither of those. It also has SPF 30, which I always look for, but it does not have that gross smell that some SPF products can have.

stila Eyeshadow in Kitten 

This is the most universal eyeshadow ever. Period. It is a gorgeous, slightly pinkish champagne shade with shimmer. The packaging has changed since I bought mine, but the fabulous shade has not. When you are wearing a dark eye, this is the perfect highlight shade. When you are wearing a light eye, this is the perfect lid shade, and when you don't feel like wearing much of any eye, this is the perfect "wake me up" all over shade. It also will not give you a lot of fallout, which is nice (and rare) for a shimmery shade.

tarte Maracuja C-Brighter Eye Treatment

I am normally skeptical when makeup brands come out with skincare. However, I love tarte's cosmetics so when offered a sample of their eye cream, I jumped. And now, I'm loving it. It is a great balance of moisturizing well, but not being so thick that you can't use it under concealer. Some heavy eye creams cause concealer to crease when you layer them, and this is not one of those. It is light enough to use during the day, but also moisturizing enough to use at night. It has a very clean, refreshing scent, and a little goes a long way. I rarely finish a sample I receive, and not only did I finish this one, but I actually intend to buy a jar now. That says it all.

benefit cosmetics Hellow Flawless! 

I love this powder. It is medium coverage with a slightly matte finish. It is so smooth and creamy for a powder, that it never clings to my dry patches, and it is super blendable. It is also wonderful for mid-day touch ups because you can layer it over your foundation without it looking cakey because it is so smooth. The formula makes it great for setting foundation, mid-day blotting, or for light coverage on a day you don't want to wear foundation. I also love using it over a tinted moisturizer or BB Cream to set it and up the coverage just a bit.

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Did bareMinerals start bothering your face?? Here is the answer!!

bareMinerals - bareMinerals Original Foundation Broad Spectrum SPF 15

I LOVED bareMinerals Original Foundation. For years. And then, it started really bothering my face. I mean really bothering, as in itchy, burning, red, irritated, and uncomfortable. I have known other people to say the same thing. They loved bareMinerals for years, wore it regularly, loved the formula, and then boom, it started irritating their face. If you experienced a similar phenomenon, I have found the answer...REPLACE YOUR BRUSH!!! It's not the makeup, it's the brush you are applying it with. The makeup formula didn't change, your skin didn't transform overnight (but it does change and I'll discuss that in a minute), the brush simply got worn out. All of that swirl, tap, buff action, especially over a few years of use, wore the end of those bristles right out. They are now damaged and frayed. Just think of your bristles having split ends, and then imagine buffing that all over your face. No wonder your skin is irritated! I was determined to figure out why it was suddenly bothering me, and when I replaced my brush, it stopped. Honestly, I felt kind of dumb for how long it took me to figure out something so simple and now so seemingly obvious. When replacing your brush, there are a handful to choose from. Here are my faves:

Full Flawless Face Brush

This brush has longer, less dense, fluffy bristles. This means it will give you light coverage on the first application and will allow you to continue building coverage until you reach the level you desire. This brush is very versatile because it enables you to apply one very sheer application, or build up to medium or even very full coverage if you keep applying. If you don't like full coverage, if you like to be able to have full control over your level of coverage, or if your preference for level of coverage varies, you will like this brush the best.

 Handy Buki Brush

This brush has shorter, more densely packed bristles. This means that it will provide more coverage. You can still build the coverage up, but each application will provide a higher level of coverage than with the brush above. If you like medium to full coverage, you'll like this brush better because you will achieve the same level of coverage with fewer applications. It has a little less versatility than the brush above, but if you are a person who rarely, if ever, wants light coverage, that lesser versatility is not only okay, it is more convenient.

 Soft Focus Brush

This brush has the most loosely packed, fluffiest bristles of the three, which means it will provide the lightest coverage of all. Unlike the other two, I would say this brush should not be used by anyone who wants and likes full coverage because it is so fine that it can be difficult to build up to that level. However, if you like very sheer coverage, or you find that the first brush is still too much coverage, this is your brush. You can also build up to medium coverage with this brush, and the fact that each application with this brush is very sheer, makes this the ideal brush for touch ups. This provides the ideal sheer touch up throughout the day, providing a nice retouch without looking like you have too many layers on.

Now, to get back to how your skin changes, and how that changes the foundations you like...

Like I said, I LOVED bareMinerals. I loved bareMinerals for the smooth, airbrushed finish, for the never cakey, but full coverage, for the ability to reapply it later in the day over what you already have on and still not have cake face, for it being gentle on my sensitive skin, for it never leaving me looking too dry or too shiny. But my skin changed over the amount of time it took me to replace my brush, and it got much drier. I still like bareMinerals, sometimes. I like it on days I don't want to wear much makeup, or in very humid weather, but I do have to say that it worked much better when I was greasier. I use it infrequently now (I'm back to my first love, liquid) because I find that it accentuates my dry patches, looking cakey or flaky. It just doesn't seem to provide that flawlessly smooth finish it used to when my skin had more oil. My preference for finish has changed too, which might be part of why my love affair ended. I used to love the mostly matte finish, especially to keep oil at bay, but as I got drier my preference for finishes got dewier and dewier, leaving bareMineras, shall we say, "in the dust"?

And on that bad pun, I hope this was helpful to anyone who's experience or opinion of bareMinerals has changed. I will be discussing my new favorite foundations in a post soon.

What do you think? Did you experience this? Do you still like it? Did you ever? Let me know!

Monday, October 20, 2014

My Favorite Mascaras

Mascara is my favorite beauty product. I feel like there is no faster way to look awake than to swipe on mascara. If I only had 5 minutes to get out the door and was only able to use one product, it would be mascara. I also find it interesting how whenever I meet someone who's not a beauty junkie, or who only wears the most minimal makeup, mascara is usually the product they use. I will be doing my favorites of other beauty products that I love as well (my other two "can't live withouts" being foundation and brows), but mascara is my number one love, and seems to have most mass appeal, so let's start there.

I feel like some mascaras I try, I just keep swiping and swiping and no color gets deposited. These mascaras have instant impact. In one swipe you will see bold color, volume, and length. That's not to say I don't continue applying 12 more coats (I just love it!), but a few will do. I also feel like some mascaras work great on top lashes, but not the bottom, and the reverse. These work great on both. In my opinion, these are the best mascaras out there, the ones I tell people to try, and the ones I continue to re-buy. I have broken them down into the best high end mascaras and the best drugstore mascaras, so no matter what your price range you can find one (or several) you love too.

High End Picks

1) Benefit Cosmetics They're Real!

Yes, everyone hypes about this mascara, and yes there is a reason why. The dual shaped plastic brush is shaped like a traditional brush, but also has a ball on the end. I like to swipe it horizontally first to really coat my lashes, and then hold it vertically and use the ball to really separate those lashes. Holding it this way and using the ball end really helps you get into those inner and outer corners that can be hard to get to.

2) Too Faced Better Than Sex

The name says it all. The hourglass shaped bristle brush grabs lashes and coats them instantly. Even though I love applying 12 coats, I don't with this because after just a few, I have all the color and [clumpless] volume I want. I love the formulation of this one. It's so volumizing and the brush is so loaded with product that you just look at it and think you're going to get clumps, but you will quickly find you are very, very wrong.

3) Lancome Hypnose Drama

This is the mascara I reach for the most, and ironically I feel like no one ever talks about this one. It is an amazing smoky black color and the S-shaped bristle brush grabs and wraps lashes amazingly. It will give you lots of color and volume payoff in just a couple of strokes, but it also builds beautifully, making it amazingly versatile and able to provide subtle definition, or big, bold, falsie rival lashes depending on how many coats you apply. I keep using the word "amazing", but it is.

4) tarte Gifted Amazonian clay smart mascara

This is the most traditionally shaped brush of all my picks. First, I love the wooden packaging, so cute. But the mascara itself is great too. This brush coats lashes well, but the formulation is sooo nice. It's a very hydrating formula that almost feels like you applied conditioner to your lashes. For anyone who hates the brittle, stiff feeling some mascaras can give you, this is the answer!

Drugstore Picks

5) L'Oreal Voluminous Butterfly Mascara

This one looks kind of scary at first, not going to lie. However, once you actually attempt swiping the V-shaped plastic brush through your lashes, you will find that it is not only very easy to do, but works very well too. It gives the best definition and separation I have ever seen, while still giving volume and great length. The V-shaped brush also means you will get a fanned-out effect which really opens up the eyes.

6) L'Oreal Voluminous Miss Manga

I talked about this in my September Favorites and I'm still loving it. This will definitely be a staple. I love that the wand is flexible so you can really wiggle back and forth to get all the volume you want without getting clumpy or all your lashes stuck together. The brush is tapered and longer than most brushes, which makes it super easy to get into the inner and outer corners and get those lashes that are sometimes hard to reach.

7) Maybelline Volum' Express The Falsies Mascara

This is my favorite drugstore mascara, and another one that I feel like no one talks about.  A "Hidden Gem" if you will. I love that this comes in a Carbon Black shade, which is an extremely rich, dark, bold black. This mascara doesn't feel like it's gripping your lashes, but the curved brush coats them wonderfully in one coat, and it is very buildable. You can keep swiping for bigger, bolder, blacker lashes, and clumps just won't appear. I'm wearing it today and had to include a pic to show you how bold this one is. Even without liner to make my lashes look even bolder, just the mascara itself is intense in the best way possible.

8) Maybelline Pumped Up! Colossal Volum' Express

I wasn't sure how I felt about this the first few times I tried it, and then I started loving it. It definitely wraps lashes and builds quickly, which makes it perfect for days that you are in a hurry, or for people who only apply a couple of coats. I had to learn not to apply as many coats as I usually do because it started getting clumpy, but once I restrained myself, it looked great! It has a sort of egg or football (where did I get that?) shaped brush, which makes it another one great for getting in corners. The brush is also very dense, which provides that instant bold look (and what can tend to clump if you go too far). Took me a few tries, but now one I have repurchased many times.

Thursday, October 16, 2014

Current Obsession: Purple Lips

I am LOVING purple lips lately. They are just so much fun, a little more unexpected and I'm loving purples of every shade and texture for fall. Some people might be nervous to try a purple lip, but it is a color that flatters most people, and there is a shade, finish, and formula for everyone.

L-R above=top to bottom below

Maybelline New York Color Sensational Vivids Lipcolor in Brazen Berry




Too Faced Melted Liquified Long Wear Lipcolor in Melted Violet




MAC Lipstick in Heroine


NYX Cosmetics Butter Gloss in Raspberry Tart



Bite Beauty Matte Cream Lip Crayon in Grape (This brand is exclusively at Sephora. They recently revamped the Matte Cream Lip Crayons and the website no longer has Grape, but I checked this week and the stores do.)


Maybelline Color Elixir Lip Color in Vision in Violet



Make Up For Ever Rouge Artist Intense in 49-Satin Blueberry

Monday, October 13, 2014

Look of the Day: Quick and Easy Everyday Neutral

The best thing about a  neutral look is its versatility. Whether you are running off to class and want to look more awake, or heading into the most conservative of offices, this look will appear appropriate, polished, awake, and ready for anything. This look is not only versatile, but quick and easy, making it great for those mornings when you would rather sleep a few extra minutes than smoke out your eyes (it does happen), times when you're running late, or if you just don't like to fuss. This will also be great for beginners and those who do not like the full face of makeup look. And for those who do like to wear more makeup, you won't feel naked or underdone in this. Again, versatility.It's also a fantastic day to night look. Use some tinted lip balm for 9 to 5, then add a little more drama with a swipe of a deeper lipstick and rock the look again from 5 to 9! It was dark and rainy today so my hair is a disaster and the best lighting was in the office...


  1. As always, start by moisturizing your face.
  2. Apply a stroke of neutral cream eyeshadow across your lower lid. Blend out with your finger so that the entire lid and crease are covered and buffed out. 
  3. Buff a matte warm brown powder shadow into and just above the crease with a fluffy brush and windshield wiper motions.
  4. Apply tinted moisturizer all over the face with a buffing brush.
  5. Place concealer under your eyes in an inverted triangle and blend out with a smaller buffing brush.
  6. Set your concealer with a light reflecting powder just over the area you applied concealer (If you are on the normal to oily side you may want to also set your T-zone. I am on the dry to normal side so I only set my concealer to keep it from creasing/moving.).
  7. Apply blush and bronzer. With this natural of a look, I prefer to just add some warmth instead of heavy contouring.
  8. Apply a bronze/warm brown eyeliner to the top and bottom lashes. Create a slight wing on the top to open up the eyes, then smudge out the bottom line just a bit with a flat smudger brush. I prefer to use a soft pencil formula because it easily creates both the smooth line on top and smudges easily on the bottom.
  9. Curl your lashes and apply mascara to the top and bottom lashes.
  10. Pop on some colored lip balm and you're good to go!

Products Used

  1. bareminerals 5 in 1 BB Advanced Performance Cream Eyeshadow in Soft Linen here.
  2. MAC Cosmetics Eye Shadow in Saddle here, with Sigma E40 Tapered Blending Brush here; These are sold online only. Here is a similar one, but twice the price.
  3. NARS Pure Radiant Tinted Moisturizer [I used Alaska] here, with Real Techniques Expert Face Brush here
  4. Maybelline Fit Me Concealer [I used Fair] here, with Sephora Collection Pro Airbrush Concealer Brush here 
  5. MAC Cosmetics Shaping Powder Pro Palette in Emphasize here; This is a MAC Pro product. Anyone can buy them, but you do have to order online. Otherwise, you can find a similar one here
  6. NARS Blush in Orgasm here with Eco Tools Bamboo Blush Brush here
  7. Benefit Cosmetics Hoola bronzer here with Too Faced Kabuki Brush here
  8. Marc Jacobs Beauty Highliner Gel Eye Crayon in Brown(Out) here 
  9. Sephora Collection Classic Must Have Smudge Brush here
  10. Anastasia Beverly Hills DIPBROW Pomade [I used Blonde] here
  11. Lancôme HYPNÔSE DRAMA Instant Full Body Volume Mascara in Excessive Black here
  12. Fresh Sugar Lip Treatment in Tulip here

What other types of looks do you guys want to see? Would you prefer videos??

Wednesday, October 8, 2014

Best Styling Products for Naturally Curly Hair

All curly girls have one thing in common, a closet full of hair products...most of which you've used twice, didn't like, and have been sitting there for years. In an effort to save you money, space, and bad hair days, I filtered through my closet and will tell you the best styling products for naturally curly hair. Getting your best curls is first about what you use, but it's also about how you style it. I will be making another how-to style your curly hair tutorial in another post. For now, I broke down the best styling products for natural curls and explained what result you will get with different types of curls.

1. Products to Enhance Your Natural Curl

These products will help your natural curls curl. If you have wavy or loose curls, they will encourage the curls and make you more bouncy. If you are already springy, they will work with that to define and smooth your springs. These will give your curls control without crunch.
1. Dove Style+Care Nourishing Curls Whipped Cream Mousse here
2. got2b kinky curling mousse (packaging and name have changed a bit since I bought mine) here
3. Shea Moisture Coconut & Hibiscus Frizz-Free Curl Mousse here
4. Garnier curl sculpting Cream Gel here
5. DevaCurl Light Defining Gel here
6. L'Oreal EverCurl Scultp & Hold Cream Gel here

2. Products to Loosen/Relax Your Natural Curl

These products will help your natural curls calm down and relax. If you have wavy or loose curls, you may find these to make your hair too straight, unless a very loose wave is what you are going for. If you are springy, these will help elongate your curls, relaxing them into beachy waves (think Kate Hudson) or loose curls. They will tame frizz and help your curls loosen and lengthen without weighing them down.
1. Carol's Daughter Hair Milk Original Leave-In Moisturizer here
2. Not Your Mother's Kinky Moves Curl Defining Hair Cream here
3. Shea Moisture Coconut & Hibiscus Curl & Style Milk here
4. Miss Jessie's Pillow Soft Curls here
5. Redken curvaceous ringlet perfecting lotion here
6. L'Oreal EverCurl Hydracharge Leave-In Cream (I would call this a dupe for #5. It is practically identical in every way, except half the price) here

3. Products to Refresh/Reactivate Your Curls

After you have used one of the products above, you may want a boost. These products will give you the finishing touch you are looking for, either to curl up a spot that didn't cooperate while drying, or for some extra curling and smoothing power. These are also fantastic for second (or third, or fourth, etc.) day hair. I love spritzing these on in the morning on the days I don't wash my hair i.e. the majority of the week. They smooth everything back out, recurl the spot that it might be obvious you slept on, and just wake your curls back up for another day of bounce.
1. DevaCurl Mist-er Right here 
2. Curly Sexy Hair Curl Reactivator  here
3. Carol's Daughter Hair Milk Refresher Spray here
4. got2b kinkier curling spray gel here
Clearly I have favorite brands, and through all my research I think these are the best products out there for naturally curly hair. I will do another post on how to style naturally curly hair soon with before and afters. I also like experimenting with cocktails of multiple products to achieve exactly the effect I want. What do my fellow curly girls think? Have you tried these, do you have other recommendations?

Monday, October 6, 2014

September Favorites

 1. bareMinerals 5 in 1 BB Advanced Performance Cream Eyeshadow here.  I have tried several cream eyeshadows and this is by far the best. It comes in five neutral but very pigmented shades and the texture is pefection. Most cream eyeshadows are either super sheer, greasy and crease, or too thick to blend or buff out, forcing you to have harsh lines. This, is not. It is a very buildable, blendable, buffable, cream to powder texture that won't fade or crease for hours.

2. eos Lip Balm in Vanilla Mint here. I have always loved the feel of eos lip balms, and the shape is just so cute. Most of their flavors are totally yummy, but I am addicted to this vanilla mint. I love anything vanilla or mint, and together they are amazing! I love how moisturizing, but not thick or sticky these balms are, and every time I apply this flavor, I literally want to eat my lips they smell so delicious.

3. Mario Badescu Facial Spray with Aloe, Herbs and Rosewater here. I have really been getting into facial sprays lately, they just feel so good! I love spraying it on after I apply moisturizers, after I apply makeup, and throughout the day. This one also smells good, but not like perfume on your face, and most facial products that have scent really irritate my sensitive skin but with this, not only does the scent not bother me, but the other properties actually calm my sensitivity.

4. NARS Radiant Creamy Concealer here. I know everyone talks about how much they love this, but there is a reason why, it's amazing. Like the name says, it's just so creamy. It feels and looks good going on and doesn't crease, move, or fade. Best of all, for porcelain gals like me who want a concealer lighter than their foundation for the triangle of light, the lightest shade of this is actually light enough (rejoice now)!! I own two shades, one to highlight and one to conceal, and both are flawless.

5. L'Oreal Voluminous Miss Manga mascara here. Mega Volume should be my middle name, I can't get enough on my lashes, and this mascara delivers it, and without clumps. I love the flexible wand and the pointed brush which really allows you to get into those inner corners without getting it all over your face. The brush grabs and wraps lashes smoothly. It's also a rather long brush which cuts down on strokes, and the Blackest Black shade, really is. Definitely a new favorite.

6. beautyblender here. We all love the original, and it now has a little sister, which is ideal for concealer. I love buffing my concealer with a damp beautyblender, but it can be a little big to get into that inner corner, and this is the answer. It is so tiny and so great for detail. I also like it for contouring with cream products, as it can really precisely get under that cheek bone and carve it out. It is the "perfect for precision" version of the much loved original.

Thursday, October 2, 2014

How to Create Your Own Lip Color
plus Review of Rose Hill by Jaclyn Hill with Gerard Cosmetics

Ever wished you owned more lipsticks than you already do? Stupid question, I know. Well the easiest way to instantly multiply the collection you already own is to buy a few lip pencils. Putting a non-matching pencil under the lipstick can create a whole new color, giving you the option of the color itself, or different varieties of it that you create yourself. Below, I will demonstrate using my current favorite lip product, Rose Hill, created by Jaclyn Hill with Gerard Cosmetics (I'll talk about why it's my current fave too).
Here are swatches of what I used. On the left, is Rose Hill, here. To the right are the three pencils I used to create other colors. L-R: Rimmel London Exaggerate Full Colour Lip Liner in Innocent (total dupe for the Bite Beauty Contour Lip Liner in Cashew), here; Mac Lip Pencil in Magenta, here; and Rimmel London Lasting Finish 1000 Kisses Stay On Lip Liner Pencil in Cherry Kiss, here.

Now, for the demonstration:

Rose Hill by itself

Rimmel London Exaggerate Full Colour Lip Liner in Innocent under Rose Hill

adding a nude brown pencil really mutes out the color and creates a beautiful neutral

Mac Lip Pencil in Magenta under Rose Hill

adding a neon pink pencil really brightens the color

Rimmel London Lasting Finish 1000 Kisses Stay On Lip Liner Pencil in Cherry Kiss under Rose Hill

adding a burgundy pencil really deepens the color (this must have been my favorite since I couldn't help smiling)

Just by filling in your lips with a pencil under your lipstick, you can create a whole new lip color. My favorite thing about this method is that I can use these same three pencils with every lipstick I own, multiplying not just this one lip color, but every other color in my collection...I now have four times the collection just by buying three pencils!

 And now, why I love Rose Hill so much. First, it's freaking pigmented! The tube is deceiving because it looks like a gloss, but look at the swatch and the lip pic above, this stuff is pigmented! The finish is shiny like a gloss, but not an outdated, super mirror finish. The formulation is equally amazing. The texture is thick, but in a good way, not in that "I can't talk because my lips keep sticking together" kind of way. It's a smooth, not goopy, creamy texture. It lasts a very long time, so you won't need to reapply often, but you will want to because it feels so good, and because the color is a GORGEOUS, universally flattering, perfect shade of rose pink. And can we talk about the packaging? GENIUS! The tube has a mirror on one side of it, and there are lights inside the cap that shine down to the doe foot applicator (below). You can literally whip this tube out any time, any place, and apply it flawlessly. So not only will you want to reapply it constantly, but nothing will stop you!
Speaking of packaging, I've already ordered my second tube because I'm so in love, and they both came with different packaging (above). Both still have the mirror and light like all of Gerard's glosses do. I love the gold cap with the GC on it, so chic. It is not in stores unfortunately, but you can buy it here, and there are several coupon codes from different artists. My two favorites are "Jaclyn" and "Mannymua", both will get you 25% off. You can also create your own packages which will bring down the price of each product even before the discount code. This is an amazing lip product, but you can now take any lip product you love and multiply it!

What do you guys think? Have you tried this? What are some of your favorite combinations?