5 Tries: NYX Stay Matte Not Flat Powder Foundation

It’s been a while since I’ve done a 5 Tries post, so let me reintroduce the concept. I take an underutilized product from my makeup collection and use it for five days and if possible in five different ways. These posts allow me to use a bit of product up as well as review something that I haven’t touched on recently.

Today’s post is about NYX’s Stay Matte Not Flat Powder Foundation.

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Please excuse the mess on the packaging; the powder tends to get all over the outer rim but the product itself isn’t messy or hard to apply.

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This also comes with a circular makeup sponge, which I like for application but you can also use a brush or beauty blender if that’s your preference.

I’m in the shade 04 Creamy Natural. According to the description Creamy Natural is a shade for porcelain skin with peachy undertones. Personally, I think that’s a great description for my skin tone. The Stay Matte But Not Flat Powder Foundation comes in twenty different shades, so the variety with this line is a definite plus.

Here are five different photos of me using the NYX powder foundation.

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As you can see from my five tries, this foundation is well and truly matte. Any shine you see I put there with highlighter. It’s a medium coverage, well milled powder that doesn’t linger in my smile lines.

I think Creamy Natural is a good shade for my skin, particularly in the cooler months. I don’t tan much, but in the realm of foundations a little bit of sun goes a long way.

I don’t find this powder to be cakey if used on your full face, unless you have acne prone skin. This product does not irritate my skin, but if I already have a few blemishes, the powder clings in a way that draws attention instead of masking the problem areas.

This would be a great compact to keep in your purse (preferably in a makeup bag since the compact is a bit messy) for touch-ups since it takes all the shine and oil out of your skin. I primarily use it as a base and enjoy a fair amount of wear time with this powder.

Price wise, this powder foundation retails for $9.50 on NYX’s website, which for a decent powder foundation is not bad at all.

Pros:

True matte powder–staying powder is decent (5-6 hours)

Can use as a base or as a touch-ups

Soft texture

Under $10

Variety of colors to suit array of skin tones

Cons:

Messy compact

Not great for blemishes–can cake up over blemishes

Personally, I do not own many powder foundations but I have found myself reaching for the Stay Matte Not Flat powder more often after this five tries post. This is a great drugstore powder foundation and I reach for it over my high-end powder from Clinique.

I give the NYX Stay Matte Not Flat Powder Foundation 3 Beauty Bubbles: Suitably Poppable.

Thanks for popping in!

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Favorite Face of 2014

Yes, I do realize it’s 2015 now. But it’s also a great time to reflect on last year’s favorites before diving in and finding the favorites of the new year.

Instead of a straight forward list for this favorites post, I’m going to do a full makeup look and walk you through my favorite products and how I use them: just to do something a little different.

All my favorites on my face.

All my favorites on my face.

So here is the completed look. In 2014, I gravitated more towards warm tones on my eyes and nude or pink shades on my lips. Keep reading to see which products I used where.

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The first thing I do when applying makeup is slather on my Mongongo Lip Conditioner by Jersey Shore Suns. This lip balm claims to be anti-aging and while I can’t confirm or deny its anti-aging powers, I will say that it keeps my lips super hydrated. I like to put this lip balm on first so it has time to soak into my lips.

After that I apply primer. I started using primer regularly in 2014, and while there have been several good ones my favorite is L’Oreal’s Revitalift Miracle Blur Instant Skin Smoother. It has a lush, thick texture that my skin just soaks up. The Miracle Blur minimizes and, well, blurs my pores. I also love that it has SPF 30–living in California sunscreen is a must all year round.

I also apply a small dot of Smashbox’s Photo Finish Hydrating Under Eye Primer under both of my eyes. Typically, I don’t put much makeup under my eyes except for some concealer, so I’m really using this to keep the delicate skin under my eyes hydrated.

Choosing a favorite foundation for 2014 was hard. But when I want my skin to look natural and fresh I turn to Dr. Jart + Black Label Detox BB Beauty Balm. Again, it’s a product with SPF 25, so my skin is doubly protected. This BB cream hides skin imperfections and evens out skin tone in a way that makes you look naturally flawless. It’s a medium coverage product and I find that it lasts all day. It doesn’t crease or cake up on me either. You really don’t need much to cover your whole face so this tiny tube has lasted me a while.

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After foundation, I apply a bit of concealer and my favorite is the Maybelline Instant Age Rewind Eraser for Dark Circles. I believe I use the shade Fair. Essentially everyone who talks about beauty products loves this concealer, so I won’t claim to be reinventing the wheel here by listing it as a favorite. I dab it under my eyes and on any blemishes I may have at the moment. Sometimes I also dab it down the center of my nose to tone down my freckles. I would recommend removing the sponge tip that this concealer comes with–even though it’s super soft, I feel I get better application with my clean fingertips and waste less product.

I don’t set my face with powder everyday, but if I know I’ll be out long or have a special event, I reach for NYX’s HD Studio Photogenic Finishing Powder. It’s a white powder that does a great job at setting whatever foundation or concealer you choose. For this look, I gently patted this finishing powder under my eyes to set the Instant Age Rewind concealer.

Blush was another tough category to choose from, but in the end I went with L’Oreal’s Visible Lift Blush in the shade Rose Gold Lift. It’s a beautiful rosey pink creme blush with a subtle gold micro-shimmer. You can use a stippling brush for a light look like I did here, or you can apply with clean fingertips for a more pigmented cheek.

Bronzer isn’t typically part of my everyday beauty routine, but I promised you a full face. I typically reach for this Boots No 7 Perfectly Bronzed Bronzing Pearls when I want to warm up my face a bit. I try to use a light hand with bronzer since my skin is naturally very fair. Here I just dusted my brush over my forehead, cheeks, and jaw line using the E & 3 method.

I also added a very small amount of highlighter over my cheekbones, for which I used The Balm’s Mary-Lou Manizer. This is another product that gets a lot of love, so I won’t gush but it’s a high-impact champagne colored highlight. For a more diffused effect, I recommend using a small stippling brush.

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So my favorite eye primer is Smashbox’s Photo Finish Lid Primer. It keeps my oily lids in check and also acts a perfect base. If I’m in a hurry, I smack this on and then run a matte shade through my crease. But that is obviously not what happened today…

Before I head into describing the specifics of my eye-look I want to mention my favorite brow product–Clinique’s SuperFine Liner for Brows in the shade Soft Blonde. I usually put my eye primer on and then focus briefly on my brows to give the primer time to set. This soft blonde shade matches my natural brow color perfectly.

I have mentioned this next product in several posts so this shouldn’t surprise anyone, but I blended NYX’s Hot Singles Eye Shadow in Velvet into my crease. Velvet is my go-to crease shade and has been for months. It’s a warm matte brown that works on its own or is an ideal transition shade. I couldn’t do a favorite eye look without it!

Another product that HAD to be mentioned in this post is a ColourPop eye shadow. I had a hard time just picking one, but I went with the shimmery copper shade called Sequin. I patted Sequin all over my lid for this look. ColourPop has been one of my favorite brands for 2014 and I expect that to keep going in 2015.

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My favorite palette of 2014 couldn’t be ignored for this post: The Balm’s Nude ‘tude palette is a go-to for me. Using a very fluffy brush I lightly blended the blackened-red shimmery shade, Silly into my outer v. I also put Sultry into the crease to deepen the look. These shadows are all stunningly pigmented and buttery. It just feels good to put these things on my eyelids.

I also took Stila’s Eye Crayon in Kitten and placed it in my inner corner for a hint of shimmer.

Up close with my eyelid.

Up close with my eyelid.

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For eyeliner I used Jesse’s Girl Cosmetics Liquid Eyeliner in Black on my top lash line and Rimmel’s ScandalEyes Kohl Eyeliner in Nude for my lower waterline. I love the Jesse’s Girl Liquid Eyeliner for smooth application and a matte black finish, while the Nude Rimmel liner is perfect for a subtle widening effect when used on the lower waterline.

Then for a favorite mascara, the easy choice was Benefit’s They’re Real! Mascara. I love that Benefit makes these travel sized tubes available for purchase. This mascara gives me great length and volume with minimal clumping. I will say it’s a tough one to get off, but the formula doesn’t end up on your under eyes either, so it’s a bit of a trade-off.

Swatches from Top to Bottom: NYX's Velvet, ColourPop's Sequin, Silly from the Nude 'tude palette, Seductive from the Nude 'tude palette, Stila's Kitten, Rimmel's ScandalEyes liner in Nude, and Jesse's Girl eye liner

Swatches from Top to Bottom: NYX’s Velvet, ColourPop’s Sequin, Silly from the Nude ‘tude palette, Sultry from the Nude ‘tude palette, Stila’s Kitten, Rimmel’s ScandalEyes liner in Nude, and Jesse’s Girl eye liner.

Here are some better swatches of the products I used on my eyes. Almost to the end here, so stick with me!

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Like I said before, primers were a big part of my 2014, and Too Faced’s Lip Insurance made a noticable difference with my lip products. It helps keep lipsticks in place and it’s become a must have in my daily routine.

Another Rimmel product that is a fabulous basic to have in your arsenal is the Exaggerate Full Colour Lip Liner in Eastend Snob. I can and have worn this shade by itself as a perfect rosy matte lip color. I love how precise this lip liner is and how good it feels on my lips. Big fan.

And finally, the last product is my Revlon Colorburst Balm Stain in Honey. The mint smell is great, as is the staining power of this formula. But I also can count on this product to not dry out my lips. This kind of rose-toned pink has dominated my lip product selection in the past year, and it will be interesting to see if I stick with it for 2015.

A shot in natural lighting of the full look.

A shot in natural lighting of the full look.

Phew! I know that was a long post but thanks for sticking it out with me. I usually don’t wear this much makeup on a day-to-day basis, but it’s always fun to play with your favorite products. Hope you enjoyed my roundup of my favorite beauty products for 2014!

Thanks for popping in!

Happy Haulidays Part 2

If you tuned in for my first Happy Haulidays post, you saw all my fabulous drugstore finds from December. And now I bring you my high-end Hauliday post.

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I was super excited to snag this holiday set from Sephora! Fresh Sugar lip balms are some of the absolute best (but pricey) balms on the market, so these little minis are worth every penny. So far the cherry shade gives a really great red stain and the berry is a toned down purple-pink. Each of these has SPF in it too, which is lovely. So often I forget about needing SPF on my lips but it’s equally important as the rest of your skin!

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This is a new to me product that I received at Christmas, but if you couldn’t tell from above, I’m a big fan of lip balms. The Lip Slip by Sara Happ is beautifully packaged but also light on the lips. I need to play with it more to speak properly to how well it hydrates but I’m excited about this new lip balm!

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I have been pining away for this palette since its release and finally caved when Ulta was having their 20% off sale in December. It felt like a victory to get this palette for less than its retail price. But I love the smokey grays and purples in this Too Faced palette.

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This was an impulse buy in the winding checkout aisle at Sephora (you know that aisle has gotten to you too). I’m a big fan of Dr. Jart + products. I have another of their BB creams in the black bottle. One is a radiance cream and the other is labeled Multi-Action skincare, so we’ll see how these go. But again, hurrah for SPF!

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This was a repurchase for me. I already had a mini Benefit They’re Real mascara that I adore but it’s nearing its end. My lashes get such great volume and shape from this mascara. It’s tricky to get off but that doesn’t bother me for the results I get.

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I bought a couple of Sephora brand products as well. The eye shadow on the left is the shade Hold Me Tight and the cream eye shadow on the right is called Plum Velour. I’ve always been a little intimidated by the red-toned pinks or deep reddish-purple shades because they can make your eyes look bruised if you’re not careful. But since Marsala is the color of the year, I’m giving these shades a chance.

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This is also a Sephora brand lipstick and all I can find on the packaging is Sephora Rouge Shine No 11, so I’m assuming this shade doesn’t have an official name. But it’s a pinky-brown creme lipstick with a hint of glossiness on the lips. A good all year shade.

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The final two items of my Haulidays posts are the Bare Minerals BB 5 in 1 eye shadow in Soft Linen. I got a sample of another shade months ago from ipsy and these eye shadows are amazing. They stay all day with no creasing or fading and provide an excellent base for various eye looks. I wanted a softer toned shade than the one I got in my subscription box and this pale beige is the perfect base for everyday, natural makeup.

The other item is a Sephora eye liner in a sparkly black called Galaxy. What made this shimmer stand out is that it’s blue-green micro-glitter, and it glides on smooth without pulling or scratching. I’m a big fan of the Sephora brand and while it’s pricier than the drugstore it also has a wonderful variety of trendy or classic shades throughout their product ranges, so they’re worth trying out.

There you have it my high-end Haulidays are complete. I hope you all had a pleasant New Year and are already finding new products to love. Let me know if you’d like a review on any of these products in the comments below.

Thanks for popping in!

December Birchbox 2014

This will be my third Birchbox,  and I’m quite pleased with this subscription box so far. Considering that Birchbox is a $10 a month subscription box, I think there is always an interesting variety of items available to subscribers.

December Birchbox 2014

December Birchbox 2014

However, this is a much smaller sample range than in month’s past, which is somewhat disappointing. Some of these products are so small that I cannot honestly tell whether or not they would be an effective addition to my regular products, and that’s a problem. The whole point of subscription boxes is to try new things and see if they work for you. If you only get one or two uses out of a serum or oil then it’s hard to say if buying these expensive full size products are worthwhile. So that’s my rant about sample sizes, but you didn’t come here for that. On to the products!

Rusk Texture Dry Finishing Spray (sample size $3.38)

For a hairspray, this is actually a perfect travel size and is the only product I don’t have a problem with size-wise. Which is truly unfortunate because I don’t typically use hairsprays or texture sprays in my daily routine. My hair is naturally very straight, so I don’t do a lot to it. I will say that the spray on this product is even and smells amazing without being overpowering. A full size can of this spray costs $18, which isn’t terrible for a nice hair spray

Would I buy? No. It smells wonderful but that isn’t enough for me to purchase a product that isn’t important in my life. But if you’re a hairspray kind of person, then I would recommend giving this Rusk texture spray a shot.

Ojon Rare Blend Oil Moisture Therapy (sample size $4.00)

Now for the sample value on this product I’m estimating since I cannot for the life of me find my sample vial, but the full size product is $35 for 45 ml, which makes for a rather pricey sample vial. If I can find the darn thing, I’ll edit the post accordingly.

This is one of the products that frustrated me in terms of size. The sample is very small and though you don’t need much of this oil to rub it over the ends of your hair, the size is still problematic if you have anything other that short hair. Even within such a small vial, the product is beautiful: the pale yellow oil layered over a clear and then turquoise oil. You shake the vial before applying a small bit with your hands to your ends. The blend of Ojon (apparently an oil from the Ojon tree in the rainforest), coconut, aloe vera, and Tahitian monoi oils are supposed to soften and protect your hair. It’s hard to say if it works long-term, but I thought after one use the oil was lightweight and gave my hair a nice shine without looking greasy.

Would I buy? Again, no, but only because it’s not a product I would use regularly, not because it isn’t a good product.

SeaRX Anti-Wrinkle Facial Lift Treatment Serum (sample size $4.00)

The skin care samples are always the hardest to judge in terms of effectiveness. For any skin care product to take full effect you need to be using it regularly for at least four weeks, and sample sizes rarely facilitate long-term use. What I can tell you about this product it that it has a light, fresh, floral smell and goes on clear. The serum soaks into the skin quickly and leaves your skin feeling soft to the touch and refreshed. Personally, I don’t have much in the way of wrinkles but preventative use is always welcome! A full size bottle of this serum would cost you $34, so keep that in mind.

Would I buy? Maybe. Definitely not right now when my need for this kind of product is minimal. But perhaps in a few years I would be willing to invest in a serum I enjoyed.

Lord & Berry Paillettes Eye Pencil in Sparkle Black ($4.50)

This is the tiniest sample of eye-liner I have ever received. So that in and of itself is kind of disappointing. Generally, I adore Lord & Berry cosmetics: they’re a high-end brand but they put out solid quality products in some stunning classic shades. But for me this eye pencil was an absolute bust. The glitter in this eyeliner made application rough and unpleasant as it scratched or tugged at my lids. A full size of this pencil would cost $18, but if you’re in the market for a sparkly black liner might I suggest Rimmel’s Scandaleyes Waterproof Kohl Liner in sparkling black, which should retail for $4.50 at drugstores.

Would I buy? No. Itchy eyelids are not cool.

Manna Kadar LipLocked Priming Gloss Stain in Lucky (sample size $2.88)

Part of me loves this cute itsy-bitsy sample and part of me wishes there was more of it! I love the color–Lucky–a soft mid toned pink that looks very natural on my lips. I’m not sure that the priming and staining claims are 100% true, since I felt the color was mostly gone after a few hours. But the gloss itself feels so smooth and soft on the lips. The formula is packed with Vitamins A and E as well as some natural berry extracts. This is also a paraben-free and cruelty-free product, which I’m always excited to see. My lips feel great after using this product even if it doesn’t stick around for as long as I had hoped.

Would I buy? Maybe. A full-sized lip gloss is $24, so this is one I could see myself getting by using my Birchbox points but not necessarily purchasing with my own money.

That’s it for my December Birchbox! Overall I definitely think I got $10 worth of products but I am not overly thrilled with the size and/or some of the products themselves. The value of this month’s Birchbox is roughly $18.75.

While this isn’t my favorite Birchbox, I have been enjoying this subscription service a lot. If you’d like to give Birchbox a shot, you can use my referral link here or check out my referral links page.

Thanks for popping in!

December Ipsy 2014

The last ipsy bag of 2014 is here! Sorry for the delay in the review. With the holidays and all, reviews have gotten backlogged. But I’m in the midst of catching up, so let’s get into it!

December Ipsy Bag

December Ipsy Bag

The bag is OK, but I like the little detachable ipsy heart zipper pull. What I’m really happy with is the card. I was getting sick of seeing the ipsy stylists on every card. Especially because ipsy’s cards never have any product information on them. I’d love to get a frame for this and hang this ipsy card on my wall since it’s an inspiring sentiment.

At first I wasn’t all that excited for this bag, but as I used the products I realized this is actually a really great bag from ipsy. Maybe one of the better bags I’ve had in months.

Nourish Organic Renewing Eye Cream (*full size* $20+)

Before I get into the description I have some explaining to do on why this is a full-sized product. 1) This product won’t officially be released on the Nourish Organic website until some time later this month 2) Because of this I’m not 100% sure what the price will be, but everything in their facial line is $20 or over, so that’s where I’m pulling price from. Hopefully I can edit this post when the official price is revealed. 3) This sample is the exact size as what a full size will be (.5 fl oz) but does not have the cooling applicator tip, so the value of this sample will be slightly less than whatever the regular product is priced at.

As for the eye cream itself, it’s a nice moisturizing treatment for under-eyes. As with most eye creams, a little bit goes a long way. This sample will last me a good long while. Nourish Organic products are all USDA organic certified and cruelty free too, which is always nice to see in a product. The primary ingredients listed on this sample are avocado oil, argan oil, and shea butter. My only issue with this product is that I smell like a salad after one use; it’s just that faint avocado smell.

Would I buy it? Probably not because of the smell. But if that doesn’t bother you, go for it! It’s a great little eye cream otherwise.

NYX Butter Lip Balm in the shade Marshmallow (*full size* $4)

Always a fan of NYX products. I have one of these already in the shade Parfait, so I was grateful not to get an accidental duplicate. I would say these balms are not quite as moisturizing as the Butter Lip Glosses, but they are fun little balms to carry around in your bag. I’m particularly fond of this Marshmallow shade because it does not have much color payoff. I know, that’s not a typical response, but this shade is great for applying before any lipstick to give your lips a bit of a hydration boost.

Would I buy it? Maybe. Since I now have two I can’t see myself running out anytime soon, but I might if I ever did hit pan.

Pixi by Petra Fairy Dust in shade Brightening Bare (*full size* $15.39)

If you click the link on ipsy’s website, which takes you to the Pixi site, the cost of this product is £10.00. Using a currency converter this product would retail for $15.39 in USD. I quite enjoy this loose pigment though. The shade–Brightening Bare–is a perfect base color for a simple eye look or adds a bit of pop if you wanted to dab it in the center of your lid. The applicator is a small pointed sponge tip, but a much better quality sponge tip than your typical drugstore applicators; this one is more dense which makes it easier to pack the color onto your lids. There is a risk of fallout while you’re applying the pigment but nothing that cannot be lightly swept away by a fan brush or a pinky finger.

Would I buy it? Yes. It’s a nice pigment that doesn’t make my lids look crepey. Calling that a win-win.

450° Blow Out Heat Defense Blow Dry Spray Mini by Sexy Hair (sample size $7.67)

Normally, I am not a fan of receiving hair spray of any kind in subscription boxes because I do next to nothing with my stick straight blonde hair. This heat defense spray gets a pass. I don’t blow dry my hair often but when I do, I worry about heat damage. So far I’ve only used this spray once: lightly spritzing it over my hair, brushing through, and then blowing my hair dry. I’ve found that my hair has a nice shine to it with this spray and, at least with that one use, I did not experience any damage to my hair. A full size Blow Out spray costs $18.95.

Would I buy it? Possibly. Like I said, I don’t use these sorts of products often. But so far I like the results.

Tarte’s Lights, Camera, Lashes 4-in-1 Mascara (sample size $8.30)

Every ipster got a deluxe sample of Tarte’s famed mascara this month, which is really the most exciting part of this bag! Over the holidays, I traveled with this mascara and really enjoyed the formula. I love a good sample size mascara since these are the kinds of products that always dry out before you can properly use them up. The Lights, Camera, Lashes formula gives me fuller, longer looking lashes that enhance my natural curl. I’d say it’s a happy medium between natural looking lashes and falsies. Very impressed with this mascara.

Would I buy it? Yes. The full size is $20, but I could see myself saving up for this. One of the best high-end mascaras I’ve ever tried.

All in all, this is one of the better ipsy bags I have had since starting in April. Ipsy costs $10 a month and the value for December’s glambag is roughly $55.36. I say roughly this time since I’m not 100% sure on the eye cream price and the price of the Pixi product could shift with currency values.

In any event, that is a great value for a $10 a month subscription service! Three full size beauty products and quality brands to boot! If you’d like to give ipsy a shot you can click my referral link here or go investigate my referral links page.

Thanks for popping in!

Happy Haulidays Part 1

I’ll admit it. I went a little nutty with the makeup purchasing. But that’s half the fun during this time of year!

And because I somewhat anticipate there being some more purchases made after Christmas, I have decided to bring you a haul before and a haul after the holidays.

This first part of the will be mostly drugstore finds, and the second part will be more on the high-end scale of things. Sound good?

Onward!

IMG_3227These two beauties have obviously not been cracked open yet, but since some of my mascaras have dried out in the last few months I thought these would be worth trying. I’m really hoping the argan oil formula does nice things for my lashes.

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Not sure what made me pick up the Simple eye make-up remover pads, but I’ve heard good things about the brand. These other two eye shadows were pure impulse buys. This Maybelline Color Tattoo in Tough as Taupe seemed like a good base shade, and I picked up NYX’s Jumbo Eye Pencil in French Fries because of the name. Sometimes a good name is all it takes.

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The Tough as Taupe comes off a bit more gray than I expected, but I’ll have to play with it and see how it works out. French Fries turned out to be a beautiful bronze that I’m really excited about.

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One of elf’s latest releases is these six shadow palettes, and this particular one is Naked, which I figured would be the easiest to play with. I’ve noticed my makeup tastes leaning more towards nude or natural in the past few months. The other elf product I picked up was the Makeup Lock & Seal. I’ve heard it’s comparable to MAC’s Fix-Plus in terms of getting shadows to shine, so I thought I’d give it a shot.

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Look at how beautiful and pigmented these shadows are! They’re also smooth to the touch and feel light on the skin. I’m impressed already.

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I’ve always wanted to try one of the Dream Bouncy blushes from Maybelline, so I picked up this pale purple-pink called Orchid Hush. I don’t have anything like it, and as you’ll see in the pictures below it’s very light. Then I added NYX’s soft matte lip creme in Stockholm to my cart as well. It’s a lovely Terra Cotta color. Then I decided to give some CoverGirl products a shot: the new Colorlicious Lipstick in Honeyed Bloom (my CVS was super picked over but I already want to try more shades here) and then the lipperfection jumbo gloss balm in Blush Twist 210.

From left to right: Orchid Hush, Stockholm, Honeyed Bloom, Blush Twist.

From left to right: Orchid Hush, Stockholm, Honeyed Bloom, Blush Twist.

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I’ve received quite a few dark-colored lip products from subscription boxes in the last few months, so I wanted to find a good dark lip liner. This Milani lip liner in Sugar Plum works really well for any dark toned lip colors. I also wanted to try this rich Milani shade called Black Cherry (on the right) and got equally sucked in by Teddy Bare (on the left).

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On the top here we have Teddy Bare, which is a camel brown color. I was hoping for more of a pinky-brown but this should still look very pretty. Then Black Cherry is in the middle and Sugar Plum is on the bottom.

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I’ve always heard amazing things about Rimmel’s lip colors and these will be the first I have ever tried. We have here the Rimmel Show Off Lip Lacquer in Solstice and the Lasting Finish by Kate in 08.

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These would probably look gorgeous layered over one another! The lip lacquer has a beautiful shine to it too.

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Last batch here, I promise! I picked up three L’Oreal Color Riche lipsticks in Ballerina Shoes, Fairest Nude, and Silverstone. Ballerina Shoes has a frosty tone to its pale pink shade. Fairest Nude is just a stunning nude lip color that I think I’ll get a lot of mileage out of. And the Silverstone is a color I’ve never seen before–a grey toned brown with a hint of pale purple. The unique color caught me off guard and I had to have it.

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The swatches go in the same order as the tubes–Ballerina Shoes, Fairest Nude, and Silverstone.

Phew! Thus ends part one of my Haulidays post! I told you I went a bit nuts at the drugstore! If you’d like to see reviews of any of these products in the future, let me know in the comments below.

Thanks for popping in!

Eye Looks with ColourPop

So after my rave review of the ColourPop shadows and a few friendly recommendations, I decided to show off a couple of eye looks using my latest favorites.

Here are the swatches from my original post to use as a reference for what the shades look like on their own. For this post, I won’t be going in the numerical order listed here though.

Swatches

Swatches

1. Get Lucky

As I mentioned in my original post, my go-to look with is a warm brown shade in the crease (usually, NYX’s Velvet) and then packing the ColourPop shade all over the lid. I’ve done this with all the colors I own, and it always looks good. A very simple eye look: two minutes tops and you’re ready to roll.  The shade I use the most for this look is the metallic gold, Get Lucky.

Perfect for day or evening.

Perfect for day or evening.

Gotta work on my wing skills, this is a bit wonky.

Gotta work on my wing skills, this is a bit wonky.

Truly going day-to-night with your makeup can be a challenge. But I think the above look could transition well, maybe without the winged liner if your work environment was more traditional. The gold is metallic, but can be soft and subtle depending on how you apply it.

2. Hammered

A much darker look for an all over smoky eye.

A much darker look.

An all over green smoked lid.

An all over green smoked lid.

Once again, NYX’s Velvet is in the crease. I used a Maybelline Color Tattoo from their limited edition leather line in Deep Forest as a base, to darken the look up. Then  I packed ColourPop’s Hammered all over the lid as well.  I also ran a shimmery copper shade underneath my lower lashes, which turned out well.

Hammered by itself is really pretty and more of an olive with golden shimmer, so I wanted to try something a little different with it. These ColourPop shadows layer really well, especially with the Color Tattoos.

3. Sequin

For this next look, I used Sequin and the Kat Von D Poetica palette.

I don’t normally go this bold with my eye looks but the darkest shade got a little out of control, so I just went for it. For me, Sequin is one of my more versatile colors because I like warm orange/copper tones for my fair skin and blue eyes to really stand out.

Easily one of the boldest looks I've ever pulled together.

Easily one of the boldest looks I’ve ever pulled together.

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 4. So Quiche

For this next look, I used So Quiche on 2/3 of my lid over a nude base. I gently blended a shade that I’m calling a Fool’s Gold from last year’s Coastal Scents Fall Palette along the outer corner and into the crease. I also ran So Quiche under my lower lash line to create a subtle smokey effect.

More on the subtle side.

More on the subtle side.

5. Liberty

This next look features ColourPop’s Liberty, which is one of their super shock shades. I also used L’Oreal’s 24hr Infallible Eye Shadow in Sultry Smoke. I love using Sultry Smoke in the crease for silver toned eye looks; the blue-ish purple tone to the gray gives any look some added dimension.

Love that silver.

Love that silver.

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I really loved how this one turned out. I feel like an ice queen.

6. BAE

Love the color, hate the name. Last, but not least is ColourPop’s BAE, which looks blue in the pan but pulls very purple on the lid. There is definitely blue microshimmer in this shadow though.

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Purple is a beautiful color on the lid but it can look like a black eye if you’re not careful. So it’s important to include different shades or tones in a purple eye look. I added NYX’s Velvet in the crease and NYX’s Jumbo Eye Pencil in Lavender along the inner corner and under the eye. I also used Sephora’s Jumbo Liner in purple to line the upper lash line.

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You can see the blue microshimmer better in this shot. Of all of the ColourPop shades I own, BAE is the least versatile, but when you find the right look for it, it’s a very pretty shade.

So those are a few different ways you can use ColourPop shadows. I’m constantly playing with them and figuring out new ways to wear them.

Each ColourPop shadow retails for $5, so they’re incredibly affordable. These shadows are also made in the US and are cruelty-free.

After the new year, I’ll probably revisit the brand since I have my eye on some of their holiday shades. Let me know in the comments if that’s something you’d be interested in seeing.

Thanks for popping in!

November Favorites

Sorry this post is a bit late! But as I said in my Pile of Applications post, things are a bit hectic around here. Still, there were some products that managed to stand out from the PhD application craze and make it to my monthly favorites!

 

Quite by accident, my November favorites are color coordinated.

Quite by accident, my November favorites are color coordinated.

 

Too Faced Lip Insurance Lip Primer

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This is a sample size, but I cannot for the life of my remember how I received this sample since I don’t own many Too Faced products. I really enjoy this primer though. Only recently have I been concerned about lip primers in particular. Mostly because fall and winter are the seasons of darker, more matte shades and you want those lippies to stay put! Maybe it’s just me but I also think that this primer has helped seal some moisture into my lips. I notice less drying and chapped lips when I use this lip primer. A full size Lip Insurance primer retails for $19 and when this sample is up I may have to bite the bullet here.

The Balm’s Meet Matt(e) Palette

I got this palette awhile back from a Hautelook sale for $17, but it took me until November to really explore this palette properly. Honestly, having a Hautelook account is worth it for The Balm alone since this palette runs for $34.50 at Nordstroms.

All your matte needs in one.

All your matte needs in one.

All the shades are named after a Matt, which is cute. But the colors themselves are amazing. Buttery soft shadows that blend like a dream. The little brushes that come with the palette will do in a pinch but they’re nothing special.

Left to right: Matt Patel, Matt Schilling, Matt Smith, and Matt Gallagher.

Left to right: Matt Patel, Matt Schilling, Matt Smith, and Matt Gallagher.

The above photo shows some of my favorite shades from the palette. I love the smokey-taupe of Matt Patel, and the dusty emerald of Matt Schilling will be perfect for the upcoming holidays. You can barely see Matt Smith on my hand because it’s such a close match for my skin tone, which is great for those days you want to pretend you’re not wearing makeup. For similar reasons, Matt Gallagher is great crease shade.

Dr. Jart + Black Label Detox BB Beauty Balm

This tiny tube holds one amazing product!

This tiny tube holds one amazing product!

This wee sample came in my first Birchbox, which I did not do a review on because it came so late in the month. This BB cream has blown me away. Such a small amount covers my face and makes my skin look so much healthier. It helps conceal and combat blemishes and evens out skin tone. There is also a 25 SPF in this product, which is ideal for my lifestyle (I never walk out of the house without some level of sunblock on my face). Your skin will look velvety smooth. This balm comes in one universal shade–for my fair skin this blends out beautifully but darker skin tones would have a hard time matching up with this formula I think. A full-size .6 oz tube of this costs $36. Since I’ve gotten at least a half-dozen uses out of this tiny tube and it’s not empty yet, the price point for this BB cream is probably worth it.

Indie Lee Brightening Cleanser

Almost empty.

Almost empty.

As you can see, I am almost out of this sample sized cleanser, which came in an ipsy bag. Luckily, I already have a full-sized bottle of this from a previous PopSugar Must Have box since the product retails for $32. There’s a light strawberry scent to this cleanser that is invigorating. This cleanser is multi-purpose too: you can use it as a make-up remover (and it’s gentle on the eyes too), as a cleanser, or as an exfoliator. I have used this product all three ways and I will say each way is effective, but my favorite way to use it is as a cleanser. I just feel refreshed after using this cleanser.

Real Techniques Stippling Brush

The perfect brush.

The perfect brush.

Up until a year ago I was not that invested in makeup brushes. Boy, has that changed! My brush collection has grown, but my favorite brush is easily this Real Techniques stippling brush. It has a pleasant heft to it and the bristles are soft and densely packed. I use this most often for blush; this brush has cut down on heavy-handed application a.k.a. clown face. When I use this stippling brush it puts on just the right amount of color and gives a stunning airbrushed effect over the cheeks. For $9.99, you need this brush in your life.

And now for my other monthly favorites…

Favorite Film

It should come as no surprise that my favorite film for November is Interstellar. It’s been weeks, but I still return to the idea of that film and turn it around in my mind. A close runner-up though, would be Fury, another film I saw this month that blew me away.

Favorite Book

I think my favorite read from November would have to be The Book Thief.

That wraps up my November favorites. Hope you found something to enjoy!

Thanks for popping in!

Birchbox November 2014

Welcome to my first Birchbox review.

I’ve become a subscription box junkie; not sure when it happened but there’s no denying it! Birchbox is most often compared to ipsy because both boxes are $10 a month. Like ipsy, Birchbox has you take a style quiz before sending out five sample size products with the occasional extra.

This month, Birchbox partnered with RED, a charity that supports the awareness and wellness for AIDS patients. So for every picture of the RED shipper on social media using #shaRED, Birchbox will donate $1.  You can check out my Instagram photo here. I appreciated this as a theme for the box and of Birchbox as a company since November should be a month associated with giving (and not just of the subscription box variety).

November Samples

November Samples

Folle de Joie perfume (sample value $28.82)

A full size bottle of this perfume is 3.4 fl oz and is worth $98. Wow! This sample is about a third of the full size at 1.06 fl oz and has a little spray top.  At first, I wasn’t too impressed with this perfume but as it melded with the oils and chemistry of my skin, I was won over. The brand describes this perfume as a union of Southern California beaches with Parisian streets. I typically don’t care for citrusy scents which is why I wasn’t initially drawn to the perfume, but the notes that slowly come forth–the woodsy florals and hints of leather are more my speed. I couldn’t stop smelling my wrists so I probably looked like a nutcase.

The price of this perfume is a little extreme. So I would really have to save up but I think if I was really determined in the budgeting department, I would actually buy this perfume.

Dr. Brandt Pores No More Vacuum Cleaner (sample value $11.25)

My most consistent skin problem is blackheads. So I was excited about this product. The Dr. Brandt website says that this mask will take out dirt and oil, exfoliate and tighten, as well unclogging pores. You pop this mask on for 5-10 minutes until it turns ice blue and then you wash the product off. After a handful of uses, this mask is alright. It’s hard to say what the long-term effects of this mask would be since it’s a small sample. But the short-term effects are OK, not mind-blowing. The mask cleans out excess dirt well enough but it doesn’t eliminate blackheads all together. I feel as though I get the same effect from pore strips, which are cheaper.

A 1 oz., full size, Vacuum Cleaner mask costs $45, so I don’t think I will be buying a bigger version of this mask.

Fekkai Technician Color Care Luxe Color Masque (sample value $3.95)

I do color my hair, so the repairing qualities of this hair mask are extremely appreciated. Colored hair can go dry and brittle quickly, but this mask’s key ingredient is grapeseed oil which is very nourishing. Grapeseed is the overwhelming scent as well, but it lightly lingers in the hair for a few days, which is nice. I use this masque once a week and massage a dollop through my hair from my ears to the ends. My hair feels revitalized and soft. Very important for those of us who color our hair! A full size, 7 oz. masque will run you $26, which isn’t bad. This sample size is a little over 1.5 oz. so it ends up being a great size sample for a hair product.

I’m not sure if I would buy this but I’ve been happy with it as a sample.

Cynthia Rowley’s Lip Stain in Heartthrob(sample value $3.40)

I love a good red lip, so I was excited to see this in my box. In the tube Heartthrob is a vibrant red, but on the lips it comes off as a reddish pink. It’s still a lovely color, just not what I was expecting. The sample has a doe-foot applicator and the stain goes on evenly. In terms of staying power, this product needs a lip liner and will last for a few hours at full power. It fades gracefully though, which is important. Equally important, is that this product did not dry out my lips. Hurrah! A full size lip stain is valued at $20.

There are other, truer reds out there that I love more, so I don’t think I’ll be buying this lip stain anytime soon.

Mirenesse Secret Weapon iCurl 24Hr Mascara ($4.06)

I had to try this mascara out several times before I knew how to feel about it as a product. The first time it smudged under my eyes after running errands. But every time since, I haven’t had that problem. The curled shape of the wand is nice and helps me coat every lash. The formula dries on the lashes very quickly, but doesn’t clump up if you wanted to add an extra coat. A full size is worth $29: that is a luxury priced mascara, ladies and gents.

If I’m honest, I think I have drugstore mascaras that do the same or better as this Mirenesse, so I don’t think I’ll be buying this one.

Here's a better look at one of the shipper facts.

Here’s a better look at one of the shipper facts.

There was also a bonus product–a sample of Blood Orange Caramel Chocolate–and while it wasn’t for me taste wise I passed it on to my roommate, who said it was delicious.

Total box value $51.48. The high value of the perfume is what pushed this box over the edge. The perfume is also the product I’d be most likely to purchase myself, though it is going to take some saving! Overall, I’m pleased with this month’s Birchbox!

If you’d like to check out Birchbox, click my referral link here or on my referral links page.

Thanks for popping in!

November Ipsy Bag 2014

When I opened my GlamRoom this month, I was a touch disappointed. I just wasn’t that excited about many of my products in my November ipsy bag.  Some of these products were able to change my mind a bit, but others were total failures. After trying these products for a few weeks, here are my first impressions.

Do all girls like glitter? Highly debatable.

Do all girls like glitter? Highly debatable.

Not that big of a fan of the bag this month. It looks like the kind of thing that I used to receive as a young girl that would be filled with lip smackers. Not that those were bad days, but it’s not my style anymore. Oddly enough this bag was designed by Forever 21, which makes the disappointment more intense since I generally enjoy Forever 21 as a brand.

Be a Bombshell Eye Base in Submissive (*full size* $14)

This is one of the products I wasn’t excited about, but was sort of able to change my mind. Ipsy seems to have a Be a Bombshell product in their bags every month. I don’t always get the featured item, but some brand variety would be nice, which is part of why I wasn’t excited.

The color of the eye base is pretty: a light shimmery brown that builds up slightly. Submissive is a good one-shade look or a nice base for a brown-toned eye look, but it is not necessarily doing its job as a base. The formula is similar to Maybelline’s Color Tattoos or elf’s smudge pots, but Submissive does not have the staying power of either of these products. You need primer for this product to stay put, otherwise it will crease or smear. So while I can make it work for me, I would not purchase this again based on my sample experience.

Wonder Lip Paint by J. Cat Beauty in the shade Red Potion (*full size* $4.99)

Each of these little lip paints has a Wonderland theme. And on the J Cat website there seem to be a wide variety of colors. They definitely look like the famed OCC Lip Tars, but this product does not come with a lip brush. I’m lukewarm about this product. I enjoy the minty smell of the lip paint, unfortunately it’s not a smell that stays around. Red Potion is a really dark shade in the tube and can be built up to a deep berry or can read lighter depending on your application: I found this out the hard way.

My first attempt at using this was a disaster. I put a stain on underneath thinking that if the lip paint faded poorly, at least I’d have the stain, which turned out to be very useful. I applied a thick coat Red Potion with a lip brush and the color looked like crusted blood caked onto my lips. On top of that it faded patchy and stuck to any rough spots on my lips. I decided to be brave and give it a second go and the results were a bit better.

Attempt number two.

Attempt number two.

First of all, I used Laura Gellar’s Lip Spackle as a base, which seemed to make a big difference. Then, more importantly I applied the product with my finger and only used a dot of product as big as a grain of rice. This fully covered my lips and the shade came off more like a deep pink. There was less slipping and sliding with less product too. After a few hours there was fading but it looked much less patchy. I’m still not enamoured with this product, but I’m less mad at it. If you’d like to give the lip paints a shot you can get 25% off with code 25JCAT at checkout on their website.

Oil of Morocco Argan Oil Volume Shine Hairspray by Marc Anthony (sample value $1.38)

If someone were to use hairspray regularly, this product would be very exciting to receive and would likely be an ideal travel size item. I, however, do not typically use hairspray and have not cracked this thing open. I’m sure it’s lovely, but this does nothing for me. My hair is very fine and I tend not to do much to it, so there’s no call to use a lot of hairspray in my life. There’s nothing wrong with this, it’s just not for me. So it’s a bit of a letdown. A full size of this product (9 fl oz.) should run you about $8.29 at Walgreens. There was also no discount code for this product.

Starlooks Gem Eye pencil in Ultra Orchid (*full size* $17.00)

This was honestly the worst product in my bag. Which is surprising because Starlooks is a well-respected brand in the beauty world. When I went to swatch this product on my hand, the tip crumbled and fell off. When I went to use this product on my lid, the eyeliner crumbled further. I appreciate creaminess in my beauty products but not the point where they become unusable.

When I got this product onto my lids I was further disappointed. The beautiful, sparkly purple is so freaking creamy that it fails completely as an eyeliner. It smudges and slips even with primed lids. So all its prettiness is wasted. This is easily one of the most maddening products I’ve ever received in a subscription service. I certainly won’t be using this code, but if you’d like 20% off Starlooks use the code IPSY at checkout on their website.

TEMPTU Highlighter in Pink Pearl (sample value $2.75)

Of all the products in my ipsy bag this month, I would say this is the single product that fully won me over. I had never heard of TEMPTU before, but apparently their highlighters are well rated by makeup artists. I don’t use highlighters overmuch, but I think they’re fun to play with now and again. The Pink Pearl shade has a mother of pearl quality to it–the shifting accents of yellow, blue, pink, etc. The formula is slightly watery, which translates to a very subtle look on the sheeks. It’s not shimmery in the usual sense, but it catches the light in a way that makes your skin seem like it glows natuarally. A full size highlighter would run you $27.50 for 1 fl oz, so I don’t think I’ll be purchasing this one. But since it doesn’t take much to give my cheeks a pearlescent glow, I’ll still enjoy this product for a while. If you’d like a TEMPTU highlighter of your very own, use code IPSY at checkout for 25%.

From the top down: TEMPTU highlighter in Pink Pearl, Starlooks Ultra Orchid, Be a Bombshell in Submissive, and J Cat Red Potion.

From the top down: TEMPTU highlighter in Pink Pearl, Starlooks Ultra Orchid, Be a Bombshell in Submissive, and J Cat Red Potion.

You can see with this picture how easily the Starlooks liner smears as well as what a difference it makes blending out Red Potion.

On paper, I should have adored this bag: three full size products from reliable brands with a total November bag value of $40.12. But the quality of the products and how they work for me was just not present in this month’s bag.

I’m really disappointed in this month’s ipsy, and am hoping for a better bag next month.

Thanks for popping in!