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 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 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!

5 Tries: Eyes on the Prize Eyeshadow Chubby

After playing with my Ariel Beauty Book from e.l.f., I got it into my head that I wanted to do a regular feature where once or twice a month I take a product from my collection that is being underutilized and try to wear it for five days in five different ways. This system will 1) force me to get more creative with my makeup 2) allow me to use up or at least dent some neglected beauty products and 3) give me a solid reason to write more product reviews.

So for my inaugural 5 Tries post, I selected the Flower Eyes on the Prize Eyeshadow Chubby in Teal We Meet Again. I had not used this product since purchasing it months ago so this is the perfect example of what I’m going for with these posts. I was attracted to the teal color in the store but sitting next to be other shadow sticks in my drawer, the bright blue looked intimidating.

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Flower is a cruelty free beauty brand created by Drew Barrymore. Their mission is to provide high-end quality products at drugstore cost. If you’ve never heard of Flower Beauty before that is because they don’t purchase advertisements in order to keep their costs down for consumers. Case in point, Flower is only sold at Walmart. You can’t even buy anything from the Flower website. The Eyes on the Prize Eyeshadow Chubby has five colors total and retails for $7.98

These eyeshadow chubbies are a cream stick formula, which are really trendy right now. One of the chief claims of the line is that these shadows are very buildable. As you can see by the swatch below, that’s fairly accurate.

From left to right: 3 layers, two layers, 1 layer.

From left to right: 3 layers, two layers, 1 layer.

The packaging led me to believe that this teal shade would lean more blue, but on my hand and lid it shows up more green. I thought that was kind of disappointing because I love a good true teal.

On to the looks I created!

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Day 1: I lightly spread Teal We Meet Again in my crease. This was the first day so my first impulse was to spread the shadow with the stick itself. MISTAKE. Lightly tap this product where you want it to go and then spread with your finger. This product will blend best with your fingers. Later in the day, I noticed some fading as well.

Day 2: I put Stila’s Kitten as a base and then a wash of Teal We Meet Again over the whole lid. Meh. Not my favorite look, but easy.

Day 3: For this look, I created a nude lid and used Teal We Meet Again as a thick liner. I layered the color on for a darker shade as well. Loved the look of this when I first applied and in the picture, but this shadow is a creeper! The color didn’t want to stay put and creeped up my lid  within twenty minutes. And when I went to take my makeup off at night the color stained my lid. At this point I was frustrated with this shadow. I really thought I wouldn’t make it five days and contemplated tossing this shadow.

Day 4: On day 4 I finally figured out how this shadow works best: as a base, with another color layered over it. After the staining scare, I lightly patted this shade over my whole lid and then blended out the color with my finger. Then I used an e.l.f. shadow quad in Nouveau Neutrals to cover Teal We Meet Again. I put the olive-y green over the lid then took the warm tan shade (sorry the individual shades don’t have names) and blended it into my crease. A touch of ice blue in my inner corner completes this look. The colors appeared more intense in real life than in the picture but it was strangely compelling. I felt like I had put “Captain Planet” on my eyelids and was loving it. Great for a night out.

Day 5: I was so excited to be done with this product. But learning my lesson from day 4 I used Teal We Meet Again as a base but used a lighter hand. Then I packed a nude shade over the whole lid to further dull the intensity of this green. To finish the lid off I dusted a gold shade into the crease.

What I learned about Flower’s Teal We Meet Again Eyes on the Prize Eyeshadow Chubby

  • It needs primer underneath and a powder shadow over top to stay put.
  • It does build up nicely, but it will stain your lids in the process.
  • Works best as a base.
  • Use your fingers to blend. Brushes won’t save you.

Honestly, day 4 saved this product from the trash can. I won’t reach for Teal We Meet Again often, but it is good as a base for a vibrant smokey eye.

I’d give this product 2 beauty bubbles.

Unfortunately, my first 5 Tries post was a bit of a negative review but I have some Flower eye shadows with different formulas that are lovely. So don’t let this post deter you from Flower as a brand. Just maybe steer clear of the Eyes on the Prize Eyeshadow Chubbies.

What did you guys think of the 5 Tries post? Should I do more of these?

 

Beauty Battle: Boots No 7 vs. Physician’s Formula Bronzers

Maybe I’m feeling a bit feisty, but the idea of a beauty battle just sounds awesome.

Summer may be fading but we all want to go back to school or work looking like we gave summer our all. So which of these drugstore bronzers would be your best bet? Let’s battle it out!

How adorable is this packaging?

How adorable is this packaging?

In this corner…Physician’s Formula Happy Boosting Glow and Mood Boosting Bronze Illuminating Veil in the shade Light Bronzer $13.99 (I bought mine during one of Ulta’s bogos so I’d hold out for that deal.)

Who wouldn’t want a product with the phrase “happy boosting” in the title? It’s been a long while since I’ve tried any PF products. Some of their packaging has changed but the brand is  just as charming  and quirky as I remember. The pink plastic twist-top container is rather cheery looking and comes with not only a brush but a pink powder puff so you can choose which method you want to use. There is also a mirror inside the compact top, which is always nice. I think the slight bump in price for this product comes from the fancy packaging add-ons.

Hearts of gold and bronze.

Hearts of gold and bronze.

One of the first things you notice about this product is the light scent. I think a lot of PF products have a perfume-y note to them, which doesn’t bother me but it often takes me off guard. The scent of the Happy Booster though is light and pleasant and vaguely floral. The bronzer itself is shimmery and I was afraid it was going to look like a craft project exploded on my face. But the shimmer blends out well and is not too obvious. The heart-shaped beads are in light tones and the color does not build that well. A light glow is as good as it is going to get.  And for some, that might be enough. I will say it’s great for adding subtle dimension to your foundation but I would not call this a contouring friendly product. Unless you bought the other shade, which is Bronzer. Haven’t tried it, but maybe it would work better for a more chiseled cheek look.

This half of my face brought to you by Happy Booster

This half of my face brought to you by Happy Booster.

Expectations are everything when trying a new product. The packaging promised me a glow, and that’s exactly what I get out of this Happy Booster–something subtle. I like this for a quick swish over my cheeks so that I don’t look washed out.

 

And now in this corner…Boots No. 7 Perfectly Bronzed Pearls are $11.99 at Ulta

Simple but chic design.

Simple but chic design.

I first encountered the Boots brand in England when I was studying abroad in Cambridge, but this is my first Boots No. 7 purchase. Right away, I would say the Boots bronzer has a more high-end appearance though it costs less. The container is clear with a metallic-bronze lid that would look quite pretty sitting out on your vanity. The  pearls don’t come with a puff, but there is a foam circlet when you first open the packaging to prevent the beads from breaking. I’ve kept the circlet so that I don’t break the pearls during travel. Also I love that they’re called pearls because it just sounds so classy.

I've always loved a pretty pearl.

I’ve always loved a pretty pearl.

Formula wise, the pearls are in deeper tones and possibly more universally flattering for that reason. (To be fair to PF they also offer a product called Sun Stones that more closely resemble this pigmentation, but I was more attracted to the Happy Booster Packaging.) There is a hint of shimmer but the pearls are much more pigmented. I would say Boots is better for full contour. I only needed a light swirl in the pan to get good color over my cheeks, but if you have darker skin tones, this product also builds up nicely. I even contoured the sides of my nose with this product. At the same time, I don’t feel like the color is too dark for my skin tone.

The Boot-iful other half of my face.

The Boot-iful other half of my face.

I didn’t have a set level of expectations going into using this product and was pleasantly surprised by how well the Bronzed Pearls worked for me.

*****

The reason I wanted to compare these two products is they have a similar price range and are a similar style of product. Each is a small compact-sized container that has shaped bronzed pearls, or in the case of the Physician’s Formula, hearts. The PF also comes with a pink puff and a flat narrow pink brush, both of which are cute but not altogether helpful in makeup application.You swirl your brush over both pearls for a light dusting of bronzer. I use what I call the E&3 method for my bronzer, which is to sweep my brush in an E or 3 shape down my face depending on what side you’re on. If I want to contour any further than that I do so with the E&3 as a base.

The picture here is just a light application in the E&3 style.

Serious face for a serious beauty battle. Right half, Happy Booster. Left Half, Boots Pearls.

Serious face for a serious beauty battle. Right half, Happy Booster. Left Half, Boots Pearls.

So after a grueling beauty battle a victor has emerged…

And the winner is Boots No. 7 Perfectly Bronzed Pearls!

The price is right and the Boots bronzer is going to be a more versatile product for a variety of skin tones. I like the Physician’s Formula Happy Booster and will continue to use it, but I tend to lean towards the Boots.

So what do you think? Did the referee (a.k.a me) make the right call? What’s your favorite bronzer for the end of summer?

Product Fail: Rimmel Exaggerate Undercover Shadow Primer

Rarely do I hate a beauty product. It might languish away in my drawer due to disinterest, but there’s always the hope that it might get rediscovered. But I have some full-blown hate for Rimmel London’s Exaggerate Undercover Shadow Primer. It has utterly failed at its purpose.

Grrrr....product rage.

Grrrr….product rage.

The reason I’m so cranky is that Rimmel is a good drugstore brand. I love their mascaras and eyeliners in particular, so when I saw the Undercover Shadow Primer I thought it would be a natural fit with my collection. False.

This product promises to smooth and prep the lid for 4-7 hour wear and its shimmery white color could be used alone or to enhance your eye shadows. Another feature it stresses is that your color should be smudge proof. All pretty basic things for a primer. Though the 4-7 hour promise is a bit weak considering that my Wet n’ Wild For My Primas (Fergie Collection) Primer lasts me all dang day.

Now finding this primer online is kind of tricky. There are some eBay prices ranging from $4.99-6.99. I honestly cannot remember what I paid for this primer because I got it at Target in store a few months ago, and you cannot even buy this primer online. It’s like the internet knows this product is bad news. And I got seduced by the crisp, white aisles of my local Target. Sigh. Such is life.

Here you can see the pale shimmery white color. it had such potential!

Here you can see the pale shimmery white color. it had such potential!

I was really excited for this primer because the packaging showed a picture of colorful eyelid with and without the primer, and the lid with the primer yielded more vivid colors. Typically when I apply primer, I do my face primer and then my eyes. Then I brush my teeth or go get dressed so that I allow my primers to fully sink in. The Rimmel Undercover Shadow Primer was still tacky after the few minutes it took me to get dressed. So I put on my foundation. After my face was buffed and blended, the primer was no longer tacky but it had already creased and clumped up in the tiny folds of my eyelid. Am I supposed to sit for five minutes with my eyes closed for this thing to do its job? If so, that is incredibly unrealistic. Think of me like a little bear perpetually stumbling out of hibernation; it’s not going to take much to make me want to stumble back into my cave. If you ask me to sit still with my eyes closed in the morning for five minutes, I will fall asleep again.

Still, I smoothed out the primer to the best of my abilities and tried to apply my shadow. The shades looked muddy and did not blend well on the primer (I’ve used those specific colors before and have had no problems). On top of all these problems, the colors barely lasted a few hours before they smeared off my lid. I looked like a wreck. But I was still willing to give this primer a second shot thinking that maybe my application was at fault.

Doe footed disaster.

Doe footed disaster.

Round two with the Rimmel Undercover Shadow Primer was just as frustrating. The primer has a doe-foot applicator, so I will say it applies easily though not necessarily evenly. This time I gave the primer ample time to set, or so I thought. I used different shadows from the day before and tried applying those shadows with a brush. The primer started flaking off. Or maybe pilling is a better word for it. Little balls of primer formed and flaked off my lid as I was trying to brush on shadow. This is one of the weirdest primer experiences I’ve ever had.

After two disastrous attempts I had to call it quits with this Rimmel primer. Not all of a brand’s range can be winners, and this primer is an absolute loser. I hate wasting things that I spend my money on, but this beast is going in the trash.

Has anyone else had trouble with this primer?

 

June Ipsy Bag 2014

Nothing quite brightens my day like seeing that pink bubblewrap envelope from ipsy. This month’s theme is Pretty in Paradise and is all about achieving that gorgeous summer look. I’ve been trying out these products for a few weeks, so here’s my verdict on June’s ipsy bag.

As most of you know, ipsy is a service that for $10 a month sends you 4-5 sample or full size beauty products. Ipsy also provides discounts from many of their monthly products, which is a heady drug for us beauty addicts. In the three months I’ve been an ipsy subscriber I have really enjoyed the service and trying new things. If you’re interested in joining up, use this link here to get started.

June Ipsy Bag

June Ipsy Bag

Every once in a while my inner label whore wants attention, and boy is she happy right now! This month’s ipsy bag was specially designed by Rebecca Minkoff to coordinate with her 2014 summer collection. I can’t afford anything else this woman creates but dang does it feel good to have this little makeup bag. And it’s really adorable. Not too thrilled by the zipper location though; it sometimes makes larger products awkward to fit into the bag. Ipsters also receive 20% off at rebeccaminkoff.com. Super win!

OleHenrikson Truth to Go Wipes ($9.00 for 10 cloth pack): These citrus scented cleansing wipes feel like a luxury item for a somewhat reasonable price. The texture is kind of thick and fluffy for a makeup remover wipe, so I want to call them a cloth. It may seem like a strange distinction but I think it’s one worth making here. With most makeup remover wipes I feel like it’s just step one and I still need to wash my face after. These OleHenrikson wipes/clothes  actually do the full job. I took them on a road trip recently as my only cleansing method, which could have been risky but paid off.  I wouldn’t recommend using only these clothes long term, but for a weekend away or a night where you just want to hit the hay these are perfect. I might repurchase these for travel, because of the ease and small package size, but I can’t really support this price for everyday use. If you’re an ipster you can get 20% off your order if you share your email address though so that might be worth it.

Jessie’s Girl Waterproof Liquid Eyeliner in black ($6.99):  I’ve never used a felt tip eyeliner before, so this was a lot of fun to try. This is the greatest wing-making tool I’ve ever used. The control with this product is amazing. The design of the tip kind of looks like a calligraphy pen, so you can create a super thin line or go thick. It glides on  and then dries quickly. It also lasts all day long and doesn’t even think about smudging. I have to use my strongest makeup remover to get this stuff off at night.  Some liquid eyeliners have a hint of a sheen or a wet look to them, but this Jessie’s Girl liner is a luscious matte. The price on this liner is also lovely. I will definitely be purchasing Jessie’s Girl Liquid Eyeliner again in the future. Ipsters also receive 20% off any purchase at the Jessie’s Girl site.

NYX Butter Gloss in Eclair ($5.00): I’m always excited to try a new NYX product! Like most brands there are some hit or miss items in their range, but the Butter Glosses are almost unanimously beloved. This is my first try with the Butter Glosses and I absolutely buy into the hype. The color I received, Eclair, is a light pink or barely nude. I feel a little bit like Bridgitte Bardot with the shade and high sheen. Overall the gloss is fantastic but doesn’t become sticky with wear. You do need to reapply every few hours–I wouldn’t call this formula longwearing–but your lips will feel plush and moisturized for hours after it wears off. That’s a fair trade to me. And the smell is delicious like vanilla sponge cake. For $5.00 this is worth every penny. I will be getting other shades of this in the near future. Ipsy subscribers will also receive  30% off on NYX stick blush.

Marc Anthony True Professional Dream Waves Beach Spray ($3.79 for travel size. $8.79 for full size): My hair is stick straight and notoriously refuses to hold a curl. So naturally I’ve always wanted glorious waves. I had high hopes for this product, mostly because the phrase “dream waves” are in the title. The bottle says to spray into hair either wet or dry, scrunch your hair for texture and volume, then let dry. Now true to form, my hair refuses to give into my desire to have mermaid locks. However, this ended up being a wonderful volumizer. So while I didn’t get beach waves from this product, I did get fullness and a bit of added body. Dry shampoos have never really worked for me because they tend to make my hair greasier, but this beach spray is a more effective solution for my hair’s needs.  I haven’t used this product often in the last few weeks but I will keep it around for when my hair is looking particularly flat. I would repurchase this product and if you’re an ipsy subscriber you can now get $1.00 off the full size at Walgreens.com

Lash Out Mascara by Be A Bombshell ($15): This is the most expensive product in my ipsy bag?? Kind of disappointing. I have some incredible mascaras from the drugstore that are less expensive and do a better job i.e. L’Oreal Miss Manga, Maybelline the Falsies, or even e.l.f. waterproof  and lengthening mascara. Even after three coats my lashes do not have much added length or volume. It’s a very dry formula, and so it is also prone to flaking. There are few products out there that I truly am disappointed with, but this Lash Out mascara is absolutely one of them. Ipsters can get 30% off purchase and a free Beach Please blush, which is a good deal if I weren’t so upset with this mascara.

Not so much with the killer deals this month, but that’s probably because of the designer makeup bag. Overall, I’d give this bag a 3 out of 5 bubbles (I’m trying this system out. Too corny?). My favorite of the bags so far was April. The value of June’s bag is $39.78, which is the least value I’ve received thus far. But it’s still a worthwhile value and a great service.

Ipsy link: http://www.ipsy.com/r/7zfy

May Empties

I don’t think I ever paid that much attention to what kind of products I go through in a month until adding the empties post to my blog routine. I’m in a phase where I’m rotating through some skin care items, which I am crazy proud of finishing up because it feels like I’ve had them for far too long.

Just to rehash my system for empties I like to think of completed products as Buy Now, Buy Later, or Never Buy Again. I’ll give you my thoughts on each item and then the final verdict. Let’s get to it!

I squeezed every last ounce of toothpaste out of this thing.

I squeezed every last ounce of toothpaste out of this thing.

Colgate Total Zx Pro Shield Plus Sensitivity ($3.87):

I feel a perverse sense of satisfaction whenever I finish a tube of toothpaste. I picked up the Total Zx maybe eight months ago, and now I can’t even find it on the Colgate website. Does anyone know what happened to it? It’s a nice minty toothpaste that left my  mouth feeling professional level clean. There is a warning on the back of the tube that you shouldn’t use it consecutively for more than four weeks because of the strength of the toothpaste…this is maybe why I can’t find it online anymore. But it was a good toothpaste and I think it did some mild whitening.

I’m a die-hard Colgate girl so I’ve already repurchased another Colgate tube but not this specific one. So I’m calling this a Never Buy Again simply because I can’t find it and that warning is ominous.

Best Editing Tool

Best Editing Tool

Almay Lash Care Gentle Eye Makeup Remover Pads ($5.99):

Typically when I remove my makeup, I do it in one fell swoop with either a cold cream or a full face makeup wipe. And I’d like to point out that I didn’t buy this for myself the first time around. My Grandmother got me this product because she liked it so much for travel. What I ended up using (and loving) these pads for are for editing when I apply my makeup for the day. If I got a little too crazy with my eyeliner or contoured too hard, then these pads are my salvation. And when I test new products on the back of my hand or do swatches for the blog, these are quick little erasers. They may be meant for eyes but they work on all kinds and formulas of makeup. This little tube holds 80 makeup remover pads, which for its price is acceptable math for me.

These Almay Makeup Remover Pads earn a Buy Now from me, though I imagine any of the other Almay Makeup Remover Pads (Oil Free, Longwear and Waterproof, and Soothing) would be just as nice.

My go to facial sunblock

My go to facial sunblock

BeautiControl’s Cell Block-C ($30.00):

For most of my life, my mother has been a BeautiControl consultant on and off. If there is one product that company produces that I cannot get enough of, it’s the Cell Block-C. It has an SPF of 20 and is an ideal pre-makeup moisturizer. You don’t need a ton of product to cover your entire face. It’s also great for your no makeup days where you just want a fresh look because it gives a dewy look. The nutrients in the formula also tone your skin and I’ve seen a reduction of the freckles under my eyes. If you have oily skin this might not be your best bet because it takes a few minutes for the product to sink in. But for my combination skin, it’s perfect.

This is definitely a Buy Now for me. I already feel its lack on my bathroom counter and can’t wait for my order to come in.

I honestly thought I'd never finish this bottle of toner.

I honestly thought I’d never finish this bottle of toner.

Neutrogena’s Pore Refining Toner ($6.99):

Sorry for the blurry photo! I have had this bottle of toner since my undergrad. I don’t load my cotton pads with a ton of product so it took me forever to get through this. Excellent toner though. It would easily remove any lingering makeup and I do feel that it helped minimize my pores. It does sting a bit since one of its primary ingredients is alcohol, but it also has some more friendly ingredients like witch hazel extract and peppermint leaf extract. Even though I’ve been branching out lately, Neutrogena is still my go-to skin friendly brand.

When I’ve had a product for a long time, I prefer to try something different. However this product definitely worked for me so I’d call it a Buy Later.

Minty freshness

Minty freshness

Listerine Whitening Plus Restoring Rinse ($7.43 at drugstore.com):

I’m not really sure what to say about this product that you haven’t heard already. I mean, it’s mouthwash. You either prefer the kind with alcohol in it or you don’t. I’ve used other brands like ACT or Crest, but I prefer the whitening power of Listerine. I just feel like my breath is fresher longer even if I have to suffer through the burn of alcohol. And since I’m not going to give up my soda any time soon, the whitening and enamel strengthening thing is kind of vital.

I’ve already got a new bottle of this on my sink, so it’s a Buy Now.

The first eyeliner I ever loved.

The first eyeliner I ever loved.

Neutrogena Nourishing Eyeliner in Brushed Pewter ($7.99):

When I first started using makeup in middle school, eyeliners were such a foreign concept to me. I hated getting up close and personal with my eye line. It wasn’t until college that I got brave enough to give eyeliner a chance, and Neutrogena’s Nourishing Eyeliner was the first one I tried. Because, again, I implicitly trust Neutrogena. Over the years I’ve learned that I prefer cream liners instead of pencils. Occasionally I will use a liquid liner but it’s only when I’m going for a specific look. This product claims to be nourishing, but I honestly couldn’t say if it was or not. It is a nice formula and is excellent for beginners. The end ever comes with a smudger and built-in sharpener.

I’ve already got a replacement for this little fellow because it’s such a perfect everyday liner. Buy Now.

Phew! That’s it for empties this month. Hope you enjoyed this post about products I’ve enjoyed till the end.