Saturday, April 11, 2015

March Favorites

I keep running into this problem where I forget about doing a monthly favorites post until around mid-month. By then I figure it's just too late to post one, and I move on. But it's been, like, four months since I've posted a favorites, so this month I decided to follow the idiom that every other blogger uses when she's late on favorites (seriously, why is it so hard to stay on schedule with these??): better late than never. So here's what I've been loving for March (and some of April):

NARS Madly is my go-to blush. If I'm not sure what shade I want to wear, or if I want one that will go with absolutely everything, this is what I reach for. It applies so beautifully, blends easily, and lasts all day. I think I can safely say this is my HG blush. 

Formula X Breathtaking is so appropriately named. It's the most gorgeous neutral I've ever seen, and this picture does not do it justice. It is a baby peachy pink with mini holographic glitter throughout. I find it does take three coats so it doesn't appear streaky, but I seriously can't stop looking at my nails when I have this on. 

I (and I'm sure everybody else) have been obsessing over the Milani Moisture Mattes. The colors and formula are both amazing, but my favorite two of the bunch are Matte Blissful and Matte Orchid. Blissful is a rather unique muted cool-toned pink with lavender tones. Orchid is such a perfect color for summer; it's a bright berry-toned pink. The hardest thing I had to do everyday last month was choose which of these two lippies I would wear.

On my lids, I've pretty much non-stop worn Urban Decay's Laced and Easy Baked. Laced is a matte, light, dusty rose, and I love this as a transition shade. Easy Baked is a shimmery light, pale gold; and I love it all over the lid for a super easy one-and-done look. Both shadows are (of course) super soft and blendable, and as long as I tapped my brush before application, I didn't experience any fallout. 

I also loved Ardency Inn's Hell either all over the lid for a smokey eye, in the crease, or as a liner. This shimmery dark, taupey brown is such a workhorse, and every collection needs a color like this. This shadow is super buttery and pigmented. I definitely want more from this line. 

I have to have a Clarins Instant Light Lip Balm Perfector with me at all times. These are the perfect balm to have on hand as they give a light wash of color while also hydrating the lips. I like to keep Rose at my vanity to either wear alone or under lipstick and My Pink in my purse. 

Unless I want a very specific color, I always turn to NYX Cosmetics Slim Lip Pencils for my random lip liner needs. The formula is creamy enough to apply smoothly and evenly, but not too creamy that it just slides off the lips. My two favorites are Plush Red and Fuchsia as I think they are gorgeous alone or under lipstick. I find Plush Red is perfect under absolutely any red, and Fuchsia is my go-to for any brighter pink lipstick (it matches Milani Matte Orchid perfectly). 

If you'd like an in-depth review/swatches of any of these products, let me know in the comments! What did you love in March?

Saturday, March 21, 2015

5 Liquid Lipsticks You Need To Try

I love a good liquid lipstick. For a date night or when I know I won't have time to touch up my lip color, I always reach for one. They glide right on and provide a flawless application thanks to the doe-foot applicator. They also dry to a flattering matte finish and generally last the longest of any type of lipstick. Now that more and more companies are coming out with their own versions, I thought I'd share five formulas that are worth trying. 

Left to right: Anastasia Beverly Hills Liquid Lipstick in Sweet Talker, Sephora Cream Lip Stain in Always Red, Topshop Beauty Velvet Lips in Velveteen Ribbon, NYX Cosmetics Soft Matte Lip Cream in San Paulo, Hourglass Opaque Rouge Liquid Lipstick in Icon
Anastasia Beverly Hills: This brand has the thinnest consistency, so the lighter colors can go on a little streaky. But the colors really pack a punch. If you're looking for a brighter, bolder lip, this is the brand to try. Full review here

Sephora: This one seems to have a cult following, which is totally understandable. This brighter red would be flattering on just about any skin tone, and this is one of the two longest lasting brands of the bunch. However, it is drying and requires an oil-based remover.

Topshop Beauty: This is definitely the most drying of the bunch. As in, you'll want to prepare your lips days in advance to wear it. And you won't want to wear anything less than an ultra-hydrating balm the day after. But once it's on, it Will. Not. Budge. Seriously. If you need a totally smudge/kiss proof color, this is it. You will need an oil-based makeup remover to take it off. 

NYX Cosmetics: I absolutely adore the SMLCs. I've found these to be the most comfortable of the liquid lipsticks that I've tried, but they also don't last quite as long as the others (although they still last quite a long time). This line also has a beautiful range of colors, and I find them a little easier to pull off than the Anastasia ones because they aren't as bright. Full reviews here and here.

Hourglass: Although this is the most expensive of the bunch, I found it didn't perform any better than the others. The particular shade I have is the perfect blue-red, but I find the applicator a little too flexible. Instead of the traditional doe-foot, this has a paddle-shaped applicator that is flat on both sides and bends to match the curve of your lips. So if that is something you're interested in, you may enjoy this brand for liquid lipsticks. But it just wasn't my thing. 

If I had to pick favorites, I would say try the Anastasia or NYX liquid lipsticks. These two brands have the widest color ranges and are the least drying of the bunch. However if you're looking for staying power over comfort, try Sephora. Oh, and if you're looking for lipsticks in general that won't budge (and to see a few of these bad boys in action), check out this kiss-proof test.

Do you have a favorite liquid lipstick brand or shade?

Monday, March 2, 2015

100% Pure Pomegranate Lipstick Swatches + Review

Left to right: Dandelion, Calendula, Foxglove, Melon, Magnolia, Primrose, Narcissus, Poppy

I recently received the 100% Pure Fruit Pigmented Pomegranate Oil Anti Aging Lipsticks for consideration at another publication where I also write. However, these were just so good, I had to share them here. These lipsticks, as the names of both the company and product imply, are made from all-natural ingredients and even have some skin benefits packed in. 

Each lipstick comes in an aluminum bullet and retails for $25. But before we get on to the colors, I have to say that these are some of the most comfortable lipsticks I have ever worn. They glide on effortlessly will full pigmentation and are hydrating. However, because these have almost a slip to them, you might prefer to wear these with a lip liner if color is prone to traveling on you. And while these might wear off a little faster than say, matte lipsticks, they do leave behind a pretty stain. Here are the eight colors in the current line:  

Left to right: Dandelion, Calendula, Foxglove, Melon, Magnolia, Primrose, Narcissus, Poppy

As you can see, these colors are totally saturated, and have a juicy look to them. And what's better is that they feel juicy on the lips. Even when my lips are a little dry and flaky, these lipsticks don't highlight the dryness. Instead, they correct it.  My lips were actually a little flaky in the swatches below, but I think these lipsticks did a good job of hiding it. 

Dandelion is a bright, light peachy pink. 

Calendula is a peachy brown nude. 

Foxglove is a rosewood. 

Melon is a bright yellow-toned pink. 

Magnolia is a true, mid-tone pink. 

Primrose is a bright, cool-toned dark pink. 

Narcissus is a neutral pink-red. 

Poppy is a neutral red. 

Of these eight shades, my favorites are probably Foxglove and Primrose. I think Foxglove is a universally flattering color that is so easy to wear, and Primrose is just the perfect statement pink lip. (Its darker tone also makes it easier to wear than those Candy Yum Yum type pinks.) 

Of course, all of the colors are gorgeous, and the formula is on point for the whole range, so you really can't go wrong with any of these shades. Have you tried anything from 100% Pure? What do you think? 

Monday, February 2, 2015

Liebster Award... Round 2!

I'm so humbled to have been nominated for another Liebster award, this time from the lovely Michaela at Caela's Blogs. The rules have changed a bit since the last time I did this post, so if you're interested in my original answers, you can read those here. As for the rules this time, they are as follows: 

1.) Thank the person who nominated you
2.) Answer the questions from your nominator
3.) Nominate 11 bloggers who have fewer than 200 followers
4.) Create 11 new questions
5.) Notify your nominees through social media

Michaela's Questions

1. If you could only own three makeup products, what would they be? This is so tough! If this doesn't include tools like eyelash curlers (that would be my #1), I would probably have to say a brow pencil, a mascara, and a bold lipstick.

2. Who's your favorite blogger and YouTuber? My favorite blogger is Christine from Temptalia (I hope her site actually counts as a blog), and my favorite YouTuber is probably Shannon from Shaaanxo. 

3. If you could only use drugstore/high street makeup or high end makeup for the rest of your life, which would you choose? Definitely high end!

4. What's your holy grail beauty product? Just one? Hmmm... if I have to choose just one I'd have to say MAC's Mystery. It's the eyeshadow shade that I use to fill in my brows and it's also a lovely crease/outer corner shade. 

5. In your opinion, what's the best budget beauty product and why? NYX Soft Matte Lip Creams! These lipsticks come in a wide range of shades, smell amazing, have the smoothest application, are fully opaque, dry to a beautiful matte finish, and are comfortable on the lips to boot. Definitely one of my favorite lipstick formulations amongst all the ones I own (and I hoard lipstick). If you're curious about these, I have swatches and reviews here and here

6. What made you want to start blogging? I'd been watching beauty channels on YouTube and reading beauty blogs for a while, and I just loved the atmosphere and how generally supportive those in the beauty community were of one another. I'd also always been very shy about sharing my thoughts in writing, so I thought starting a blog would help me break down some of those insecurities. 

7. What's your favorite food and drink? I definitely take after my mom's side with this answer, but sushi (especially inari and futomaki) and green tea. 

8. If you got to make your own beauty product, what would it be? And what would the packaging be like? If I were to make my own beauty product, it would either be a lipstick or an eyeshadow palette (sorry I can't decide!). The packaging would be slim and sleek yet sturdy. Probably something like halfway between NARS and Marc Jacobs. 

9. Describe your perfect makeup bag. The bag itself would be long enough to accommodate all of my makeup brushes, and have enough compartments so each category of products could have its own little home. It would also be flexible and light enough to travel with yet sturdy enough so I wouldn't worry about anything breaking. As far as contents go, it would hold all of my HG's (whatever those may be at the time) and options if I change my mind on what I want to use. 

10. Do you use fake tan? And if so, what is your favorite? I actually don't use fake tan, and I don't tan as well as I used to so I'm pretty regularly pale. 

11. If you were given £100 to spend on either clothes or makeup, which would you choose? Can I convert this to dollars?? But regardless of the conversion rate, I would probably choose makeup. I'm usually pretty casual with clothing purchases, but I love me some luxury beauty so I'd probably splurge. 

My Nominee (sorry I cheated on this one)

Genevieve from Vievelle

My Questions

1. What is your favorite brand for makeup brushes? 
2. Which season has your favorite general makeup trends? 
3. What is your favorite ice cream flavor? 
4. What is your favorite type of shoe (wedge, bootie, flats, etc.)?
5. Holy grail hair product?
6. If you could only shop one makeup brand for the rest of your life, which would it be?
7. Could you ever be (or are you) vegetarian? 
8. What is your favorite and least favorite color to wear? 
9. Is there a perfume that brings back the happiest memories for you? If so, what is it?
10. Do you prefer to get your nails done, or do them yourself?
11. What is one thing that can always make you smile? 

Thanks again to Michaela for my nomination!

Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Nars & Marc Jacobs Vampy Lipstick Drugstore Dupes + The Perfect Liner Pairs

Now I realize that vampy lipstick season is almost over, but that doesn't mean the love for them stops. I was playing around with my collection the other day (I'm obsessed with darker hues), and realized I had a couple of dupes for my favorite Nars and Marc Jacobs lippies thanks to the NYX Simply Vamp Lip Creams. To find out what they are, and the perfect lip liners to pair with them, keep reading!

Dupe #1: Marc Jacobs Kiss Pop in Smack

Top to bottom: NYX Bewitching & Marc Jacobs Smack

Up first: Marc Jacobs Kiss Pop in Smack ($28) vs. NYX Simply Vamp Lip Cream in Bewitching ($6.50). With these, the NYX one is slightly more purple and cooler in tone whereas the Marc Jacobs one is slightly more brown and warmer. However, this difference is barely noticeable on the lips. And both pair perfectly with NYX Lip Pencil in Plum. 

Left to right: Marc Jacobs Smack & NYX ...

Dupe #2: Nars Audacious Lipstick in Liv

Top to bottom: NYX She Devil & Nars Liv
And my favorite: Nars Audacious Lipstick in Liv ($32) vs. NYX Simply Vamp Lip Cream in She Devil ($6.50). These two are just like the first set in that the NYX one is ever so slightly more purple and cooler in tone whereas the Nars one is slightly more brown and warmer in tone. Again, however, this difference is barely noticeable on the lips. Both pair perfectly with MAC's lip liner in Nightmoth. 

Left to right: Nars Liv & NYX She Devil
Unfortunately, my lighting was not exactly the same in each set of these dupe photos, which also accounts for a slight difference in appearance. But even with these minimal discrepancies, the similarity in color and texture of the NYX Simply Vamp Lip Creams to their higher end counterparts is incredible. Sure, they don't feel as luxurious, but for only about one fifth of the price, I think it's a fair sacrifice. 

What are some of your favorite drugstore dupes?

Wednesday, January 14, 2015

ColourPop Haul, Swatches, and Review

I don't know if you're aware of the hype surrounding this California-based indie makeup brand, but spoiler alert, it's totally worth it. ColourPop sells three different products (Lippie Stix, Lippie Pencils, and Super Shock Shadows) all for just $5 each. I picked up six Lippie Stix, one Lippie Pencil (I'm not huge on lip liner), and seven Super Shock Shadows. And let me tell you: It was not easy to choose so few. Here's what I got:

Left to right: Lippie Stix in Heart On, I <3 This, Lumiere, Frida, Cake, Bound over Bound Lippie Pencil, Bound, and Lippie Pencil in Bound
Lippie Stix come in four different formulas, and I have three of them: Glossy, Satin, and Matte (I'm missing Pearl). All are comfortable on the lips, and none move where they shouldn't. And as you can see, the pigmentation is out-of-this-world. Full, opaque color with all of these babies. Unfortunately, I found out about ColourPop after hauling way too many dark shades for fall/winter, so I was on a mostly-nudes mission. My favorites from the bunch, though, are Heart On, Lumiere, and Bound. As for the liner? I like it on its own, but not so much under the Lippie Stix. The combined texture was just a little too thick on the lips, and I wasn't crazy about the color it created.

Left to right: Super Shock Shadow in Shameless, Lace, Hammered, Cricket, Game Face, So Quiche, and Amaze
Super Shock Shadows come in glitter, metallic, and matte finishes, although I made my orders before the matte formula was released so I don't have any of those. These shadows have the most unique formula I've ever felt, and some of the most unique colors as well. All have a pretty embossed pattern when you first open them, but wear away when you dip a finger or brush in (I prefer applying these with my fingers). They are a bouncy, wet texture but transform into a powder finish. However, the consistency is a bit off in texture from pot to pot. I say pot instead of color because I have read reviews where some people had better or worse color payoff from the exact same shades that I have. My favorites from these are Hammered, Cricket, So Quiche, and Amaze.  

Overall though, for only $5 a pop, you really can't go wrong with these. I think this brand is a great way to experiment with colors you might not usually go for with more expensive brands, and there really are some fantastically unique formulas and colors. Have you tried ColourPop? What do you think? 

Monday, December 29, 2014

Dior Cuir Cannage: Swatches & Review

I purchased this little beauty about a month and a half ago, and have since been putting it to the test. I consistently use mid-high end eyeshadows, so the Dior Cuir Cannage palette was my first foray into luxury eyeshadow. The palette features five warm, darker neutrals in both satin and matte finishes. Dior Cuir Cannage retails for $60. 

This eyeshadow quint includes a purple-toned brown, a champagne, a darkened gold, a blackened plum, and a camel (the only matte in the palette). The camel kicks up some powder when a brush is dipped into it, but none of the shadows feel particularly soft. And while I would have liked a little bit more pigmentation with these shades, they all apply beautifully and are not sheer, patchy, or chalky. 

Although these shades don't swatch all that well, they perform beautifully on the eyes. All are buildable and blendable. The champagne is the perfect highlight color, and the blacked plum is lovely as a liner or smudged in the outer-v. The camel works well in the crease, although it can be slightly too dark if used with a heavy hand. 

There is also nice variety in achievable looks from this palette due to the varying color depths. I like doing a lighter eye with the champagne on the lid, the golden brown in the crease, and the purple-toned brown in the outer-v. A mid-tone eye can be done with the golden brown on the lid, the purple-toned brown in the crease, and the blackened plum in the outer-v. And a nice smokey eye can be achieved using the purple-toned brown on the lid and the blackened plum in the crease for a little definition.  

The only real complaint I have with this palette is that the golden brown color is very similar to the matte camel-- almost identical except for the finish. So while these two blend very well together, since there are only five shades in the palette, I would have preferred a little more distinction between these two shades.  

But overall, I really enjoy this palette, and it has become my new go-to when I want a simple, neutral eye look. What do you think of the Dior Cuir Cannage palette? Do you have a favorite Dior palette?