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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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!

Clinique Full Potential Lip Gloss

Technically, this is more like ten tries, but the goal and intent of my 5 Tries post is still alive and well here: using up and exploring neglected items in my makeup drawer for review! With that in mind, I bring you Clinique’s Full Potential Lip Glosses.

The Full Potential Lips Glosses in their mini glory!

The Full Potential Lips Glosses in their mini glory!

I bought a pack of dual ended glosses at the duty-free in South Korea last October. So while these were still being sold around this time last year, they are no longer an active part of Clinique’s regular range. However if you like any of the shades here they can still easily be found on Amazon or eBay.

Each of these mini tubes has .07 oz of lip gloss, which makes them great for your purse or for travel. The tiny glosses have a doe foot applicators and you’ll likely have to dip back into the tube to get the best color effect possible. The glosses also have a very faint mint scent, but there is no tingly quality that you usually associate with lip plumpers.

The gloss formula is sticky but not tacky, which is an important distinction for gloss lovers. Personally, the slight stickiness doesn’t bother me. It feels light on the lips.

Average wear time was probably 45 minutes to an hour. Some of these glosses lasted about an hour with the shine diminishing along the way and others felt like they did not stay put on my lips for more than twenty minutes. But I’ll specify which of these is which down below. If you’re eating or drinking do not expect these glosses to stick around, so if you’re wearing them out take the tube with you.

Adding in a Bit of Honey

Adding in a Bit of Honey

For the lip swatches, I decided to use NYX’s butter lipstick in Bit of Honey as a base, and I’m so glad I did this. Bit of Honey is a pale nude shade that neautralized my lips’ natural mauvey tone, which ended up being great for the swatches because the Clinique Full Potential Lip Glosses are almost all sheer with hints of color. If I hadn’t used a light nude shade as a base, I don’t think you would have been able to see some of the colors. Even with Bit of Honey some of these shades do not come through strongly. But you’ll see that in the swatches.

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As you can see, my natural lips shape did not get overly enhanced by these glosses, at least in the plumping department. The ones that did do a bit of extra plumping are pretty obvious in comparison. You can also see what NYX’s Bit of Honey looks like on my lips; just a light subtle nude. I think having Bit of Honey on under these lip glosses also helped keep my lips moisturized, since the Butter Lipstick line is quite nourishing. Anywho, on to the Clinique!

For swatch descriptions, I’m going to talk about what the color looks like in the tube (which I’ll put in italics) and then describe the gloss on the lips.

Double PlumA rich plum toned red. When I first applied this shade it appeared darker and then by the time ten minutes had elapsed and I was ready to take a photo the shade had faded out significantly. I also found this shade to be the most drying.

Mimosa BlossomA warm rose shade.This color came out more mauve on my lips than in the photo, which is a good thing. All of these shades are extremely sheer: sometimes I like that and sometimes I don’t. So the little hint of mauve was welcome.

Cherry Bomb-A bright fuschia. One of the brightest colors in the tube but on the lips this gloss is barely distinguishable from the pale pinks and nudes in the collection.

Play-Full PlumpA soft blue-toned pink. There was next to no color payoff with this shade.

 

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Luscious LilacBarbie pink with a touch of purple. I think I wanted this shade to have just a touch more purple-y pink. This is one of the shades that did not have much color payoff.

Glamour-FullA warm mocha tone in the tube. One of my favorite shades from the pack. It’s a warm nude-brown and has one of the best color payoffs though it is still quite sheer when you consider the color in the tube. I also think this shade did one of the better jobs at plumping.

Sooooo PinkRose-y toned pink. Yes, there are that many “o”s. I checked. This gloss is the truest match from tube to lip. A lovely subtle pink gloss.

Pink AplentyA deep mauve. This shade required a lot of reapplication. You can tell from the swatches that my lips were not as shiny and I took each of these pictures maybe 15 minutes after finishing my makeup to allow the plumping part to do its magic.

Peach PlumpPale peach. On my lips this shade came off more nude with a hint of rose, so I’m not sure why it looks deep pink in all my photos. And of these six swatches, my lips look the fullest. I also felt that this shade left my lips feeling soft, which is not a claim the brand makes in any way, but it was different enough that I made a note about it!

Ripest ApricotWarm tan toned gloss. Another shade that needed a lot of reapplication. But I didn’t mind as much with this shade because I enjoyed the warm tone of the gloss when combined with Bit of Honey.

I had to layer these glosses on thick for there to be any sense of color. Which if you’re not looking for strong pigmentation, then these could be for you. But I found the colors to be a disappointment. The shine on these glosses is good though, and I’d ideally recommend the Full Potential glosses to be used over a lipstick you’re looking to enhance the shine of.

After trying all ten of the Full Potential Lip Glosses my favorite shades were Glamor-Full, Peach Plump, and Ripest Apricot. As a whole, however these glosses are nothing special. I can understand how they didn’t become a long-standing part of Clinique’s line.

I’d give the Clinique Full Potential Lip Glosses 2 beauty bubbles.

Thanks for popping in!

September Must Have Box

Quite by accident I ended up getting flooded by unboxings so I’m going to try to catch up before a new month starts and the cycle begins again. The PopSugar Must Have Box is one of my favorites because of the variety of items you get. There are always some inspiring surprises tucked inside these boxes.

Every month the card with product information tells you what inspired the box. This month it was autumn leaves, long walks, new tunes, back to school, fashion week, and football. All of my favorite things and some central reasons why fall is my favorite season.

So let’s get into the review!

An explosion of goodies!

An explosion of goodies!

Modal Gradation Scarf in Raisin by Tilo Scarves (full size $125)

This scarf is so fancy it has its own long-winded name. And would you look at that price tag? I would never purchase something this extravagant for myself. Ever. But that is why I have PopSugar in my life. This scarf is so soft and ideal for transitioning into fall–not too heavy not too light. I also love the ombre effect and the transition from a dove grey to a rich maroon. This one item covers the price of the box two times over.

Letter C Design Gold Foil Arrow Pencils (full size $5.00)

I only got excited about these pencils when I realized they came with a sharpener. Otherwise I would have been at a loss. I live in a world of pens and mechanical pencils, so these are strangely exciting and slightly nostalgic. I’m particularly looking forward to using them along with this next item…

Rifle Paper Co.’s Garance Dore Assorted Girls Set of Blank Cards (full size $18)

I have come to the realization that I am a proximity friend. Which means I’m great if we’re in the same city but I’m not great at distance. Even in the age of technology when it should be so easy to reach out and say “hi,” I struggle. My Popsugar box has now given me the best excuse to fix that with these little cards. The idea of writing notes and letters appeals to me more than texting does: I’ve saved cards and letters in the past but I rarely go through my old texts and save them. So I’m trying to turn over a new leaf. We’ll see how that goes.

Nicole Miller Stereo Earbuds (full size $20)

I mangled the box trying to get a closer look at these. But I’m kind of disappointed in them. Love the blue color but I am not an earbud person; they make me so uncomfortable. However, I’d like to do a giveaway when I reach my next blogging milestone so I’d like to hold on to these for that. Would that be the kind of thing you’d like to see included in a giveaway?

Oribe’s Superfine Purse Size Hair Spray (full size value $21.50)

Technically this product is full size because it’s marketed as a purse size spray, and that price tag is certainly a full size price. Personally, I don’t have much call for hair spray in my day-to-day life but it’s nice to have a small canister on hand that would work well for travel. Oribe is also a highly respected brand for hair products so I’m dutifully impressed.

Urban Remedy Almond Brownie (full size $6.00) 

I have been hoarding this brownie for when I need a chocolate-y treat. I should probably eat it soon because it would be tragic if I waited too long and wasted a good brownie. Love that it’s got almonds in it and the info card says that it is 100% organic. Cindy Crawford is a brand ambassador, which probably means it’s really good for you because that woman is stunning. There was also a little gift card for $10 off a $50 purchase, which was nice but I’d have to think it was a life changing brownie to go explore that site for $50 worth of merchandise.

There were two special extras in our box this month as well…

Ghiradelli Milk Chocolate Sea Salt & Almond Minis (full size $5.95)

Chocolate heaven. The perfect size Ghirardelli chocolates. One is enough to satisfy a craving without creating an indulgence problem. And the sea salt, almond combo is my new favorite. I would absolutely repurchase these and could not be happier to have them delivered to my freaking door.

Nike $20 Gift Card

If you sign up for a Nike account using the individualized code they give you, you can get a $20 gift card. Cool perk!

Overall, another great box from PopSugar Must Have. I’m always happy with this service, though some months are typically better than others. This September box is one of my favorites, but the #1 spot still belongs to my June box for giving me Emily Giffin’s The One & Only (more books please, PopSugar!).

PopSugar Must Have Boxes cost $39.95 a piece, which is a great value considering that this box’s contents are valued at $221.45.

If you’d like to give this subscription a shot, here is my PopSugar referral link.

September Ipsy Bag 2014

It’s ipsy time again! This month’s theme is Street Style in honor of the glamorous and edgy looks created by fashion week and ipsters everywhere.

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I like the square design and faux silver leather look with its little rivets. It’s a great piece for fall and winter. I could see myself using this as a clutch for an evening out. One of my favorite physical bags in several months.

Infinity Shadow/Crease Duet Brush by Crown Brushes (full size $6.99)

Synthetic fibers, so yay for cruelty-free brushes! Double ended brushes have always mystified me a bit because of the difficulty in storage. This one is much the same. Soft bristles and blends well though.  30 % off any purchase of $25 or more with code CROWNIPSY30.

NYX Hot Singles Eye Shadow in Velvet (full size $4.50)

One of my all time favorite drugstore brands. I will always be happy to see NYX in my ipsy bag. The warm brown shade I received is the ideal crease shade and blends beautifully. Perfect for fall and I think it brings out my blue eyes well too. The coupon for this one was for 30% off their waterproof shadow primer: FALLPROOF.

Don’t Despair, Repair! Deep Conditioning Mask from Briogeo (sample value $4.95)

I wasn’t very excited about this when I saw this in my bag, but the results have changed my mind. First of all, the smell is so light but creates a nice scent cloud. The top note is the sweet almond, which I love. But there’s also some great, nourishing ingredients in this mask like avocado, argon oil, aloe, and essential vitamins. Oh, and its cruelty and gluten-free.

It’s been three days since I last used this and my hair still feels soft and clean. A full size tub of this (5.25 oz) will set you back $26.00, but you don’t need much of it to get the full effects so it would be a good value. I’m considering purchasing but I also have a few other hair products that need to get used up first. So maybe in the future. Just a free shipping code with this one, I probably would have purchased if the code had been better.

Cailyn Art Touch Tinted Lip Gloss in Basic Instinct (full size $19.00)

I wanted to love this product. The name alone made me want to love this gloss. And I’d had luck with Cailyn lippies in past ipsy bags. But at best I find this lip gloss wearable. I won’t be reaching for it regularly. In the tube it looks like a pinky nude but on my lips it reads more like terra-cotta. I do like the applicator which is an oblong sponge instead of a traditional doe foot. This gloss has a very chemical smell to it which is off putting. And the wear-time is poor, maybe 40 minutes max. I’m not giving up on the brand but I’m disappointed with this Cailyn product.

Pacifica 7 Free Nail Polish in Red Red Wine (full size $9.00)

My favorite product this month. Holy cow! I put this on my nails a few days ago and can’t stop staring at them. There has been some chipping but I’m so in love with this color that I’m not even mad at needing to do touch ups. Gorgeous Merlot colored polish that was already quite glossy without a top-coat. I would love to check out more of the Pacifica polishes in the future. Really impressed. For 20% off of any Pacifica purchase use the code FallBeauty at checkout.

Even though I wasn’t happy with the Cailyn lip gloss, this ended up being one of my favorite ipsy bags in months. There were some quality products in here and four out of the five items were full-sized. This month’s $10 bag had a value of $44.44. Very nice!

Here’s my referral link if you’d like to try ipsy.

August Beauty Favorites

Tis that time again! Well, technically, it is past time to talk about what beauty tidbits I loved in August. Most of these were things I have had in my collection for several months but never quite made it into a favorites post. So today these products get their due. Let’s dig in!

August Faves in all their glory.

August Faves in all their glory.

Though it’s not technically a beauty product, this soft, snuggly, lavender blanket has been my favorite random item this month. My grandma bought it for me at Costco as a housewarming present when I couldn’t stop petting the darn thing in the store.

 

So good I don't want to stop!

So good I don’t want to stop!

The Body Shop’s Vitamin E Hydrating Toner ($13.00)

This is one of the only new items in my favorites this month. I bought this in a Body Shop Vitamin E kit for $20.00 at a TJ Maxx and when I couldn’t find my regular toner in the midst of unpacking I turned to this one. I’m actually upset about the prospect of switching back to my former toner now.  This Hydrating Toner has a light, clean scent that I can’t get enough of. My skin feels refreshed after I use it, and this product truly does hydrate my skin. I also appreciate that there is no bite to this toner but it removes oil and makeup with ease. Would highly recommend this product.

 

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Rimmel Exaggerate Full Lip Colour Lip Liner in Eastend Snob 063 ($5.99)

Normally, I have no use for lip liners, but I stumbled upon this shade and decided to give it a go. The universe steered me right that day because this shade is perfection. For me, Eastend Snob is a my lips but better shade. I can wear it alone for a matte look or under a nude color for longer wear. The formula is smooth and doesn’t tug at my lips. The design of the product is simple but gives you more precision: when you twist the product up it comes up at an angle for an always slanted tip. No other lip liner has ever charmed me the way this Rimmel liner has!

 

The unsung hero of any beauty lover.

The unsung hero of any beauty lover.

Sally Hansen Double Duty Base & Top Coat (4.99)

These kinds of products don’t normally get a lot of love in favorites post but I am here to change that today! I used to have a terrible problem with my nails breaking whenever they got to a certain length. My friend, Elyse, suggested using some kind of strengthener and recommended a few from Sally Hansen to me. I have been using this as a base and top coat for months now and my nails seem so much happier. I won’t pretend this product cures all nail ills, but for my needs it has been fabulous. I’ve noticed my nails are less brittle and grow to longer lengths (when I let them) without breaking. And the shine this top coat gives is so glossy. I recently tried returning to my old O.P.I top coat and was terribly disappointed. This base & top coat might just be a holy grail item for me!

 

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O.S.T. Original Pure Vitamin C20 Serum ($24.99)

This is the first serum I’ve ever regularly integrated into my skin care routine. Months ago, back in November I believe, a blogger Suomica (she hasn’t been on in a while for personal reasons but I hope she comes back to the blogging community one day), did a post on this product and I was tempted enough to buy it. I got my bottle from a Korean beauty website called wishtrend.com, and though it took about seven weeks to get to the States, this serum is worth the wait. I put it on every night before bed and my skin soaks it up. It’s supposedly 20% vitamin c and the website claims that it helps firm up skin, evens skin tone, and combats breakouts. As to the firming part, it’s hard to say, since I’m twenty-four and can’t tell if it’s tightening loose skin or not. I will say that my skin has looked brighter and it helps sooth breakouts. It doesn’t remove blackheads entirely, but I can tell when I haven’t been using this serum at night. Love the little apothecary style bottle and glass stopper too.

 

Probably my favorite palette of all time. No joke.

Probably my favorite palette of all time. No joke.

My three favorite shades from the palette. Top to bottom: Selfish, Stand-offish, and Seductive

My three favorite shades from the palette. Top to bottom: Selfish, Stand-offish, and Seductive

The Balm’s Nude ‘Tude Palette ($18.00)

If you’re a makeup fan, you’re probably curious about the price I’m citing here. I got my Nude ‘Tude palette on Hautelook for $18 when it’s regularly $36. This one purchase has justified my Hautelook account. These shadows are so velvety and soft I have to stop myself from randomly touching them and wasting product. My favorite shades are Selfish (silvery taupe), Stand-offish (golden pink), and Seductive (light copper). All of these shadows are blendable and have great pigmentation. This has been my go-to travel palette when I went home in July and then went to my friend’s wedding at the beginning of August. And I love the sassy pin-up girl pans! If you’re looking for a neutral palette, I would highly recommend the Nude ‘Tude palette, even at full price it’s still cheaper than Urban Decay’s Naked Palette (don’t get me wrong, I love that one too but sometimes you have to think of your budget first).

Hope you all enjoyed my beauty favorites for August!

 

e.l.f. Treasure Within Beauty Book

Haven’t you always wanted to be a princess? Be it warrior or fairy or dare I say mermaid? Ladies, e.l.f. has you covered. Fresh off their success with their villain line last fall, e.l.f. has begun creating Disney sanctioned Beauty Books a.k.a. palettes for some of Disney’s princesses.

The first in what I presume will be a series is the Ariel Treasure Within Beauty Book. The Beauty Book comes with nine eye shadows, two bronzers, a lip gloss, and two brushes. All for the wallet friendly price of $10.

My nails conveniently coordinated with the mermaid theme.

My nails conveniently coordinated with the mermaid theme.

I am obsessed with the artwork for this Beauty Book. The black and white sketch is so dreamy and a bit more sensual. All of the e.l.f. Ariel products have similar artwork and it’s very enticing. The collection also has lip gloss, blush and eye shadow, and brush kits that are priced $10 and under. I stopped myself at the Beauty Book because that way I can sample a bit of everything and not get spastic.

The brushes included in the Beauty Book are OK. The eye shadow brush is more versatile but not as good as the e.l.f. studio line of shadow brushes. The little brush for the bronzers is just not the right size or shape for application but other than that it’s an alright brush.

Inside the Beauty Book is a small mirror and a few total look suggestions. I really enjoyed these additions though the looks are a bit extreme for me personally. And the mirror isn’t the best quality but it’s great to have that in the palette for travel purposes. There is also a piece of plastic covering the makeup so if anything breaks or falls out it slightly contains the mess.

Little details like this make the Beauty Books special.

Little details like this make the Beauty Books special.

Nice to have a visual with the instructions.

Nice to have a visual with the instructions.

The shadows themselves feels soft to the touch and all but the purple shade (Seashell) have some level of shimmer to it. I do find it a bit strange that out of nine shades only one is a true matte. They all blend easily, which is a good thing because some of these shades are rather bold. But there are also some nice neutrals in there to balance a look out.

In terms of pigmentation, the best shades are the three in the middle–a shimmery pewter (North Star, a shimmery brown (For Shore), and a slightly shimmery copper (Siren Song). Oddly enough these are the three shades that do not get used in the suggested looks you can see above. The other shades have decent color payoff but you have to build them up or pack them on to get results. The palest shade of the bunch (Sand Dollar) barely shows up, so I’d say use it for a browbone highlight or a base shade to neutralize your lid. You absolutely need primer with these shades, not so much for staying power but more for the color enhancing properties a good primer gives.

The eye shadow brush is now living in my brush jar but here is the rest of the Beauty Book.

The eye shadow brush is now living in my brush jar but here is the rest of the Beauty Book.

And here are some swatches for the eye shadow shades and bronzers. I apologize for the semi-blurry photos! But hopefully you can get a better sense of what these products look like outside of the pan.

From Right to Left We Have: Brilliant Sea, Seashell, Seaweed, Siren Song, For Shore, North Star, Tropical Wave, Coral Reef, and Sand Dollar.

From Right to Left We Have: Brilliant Sea, Seashell, Seaweed, Siren Song, For Shore, North Star, Tropical Wave, Coral Reef, and Sand Dollar.

You can barely see Sand Dollar because it is as pale as I am, but I promise it’s there. Most of these shadow swatches had to have two layers for them to show up well, except for the three in the middle that are the warm neutrals. North Star, For Shore, and Siren Song are my favorite shades in Ariel’s Beauty Book. Together they create a really stunning metallic smoky eye.

I will never in my life be this tan. Ever.

I will never in my life be this tan. Ever.

The top shade of the bronzers is Tan Lines and the middle swatch is Conch Shell. These were one swipe swatches. These bronzers are nicely pigmented and actually blend out beautifully. Perfect for a faux beach glow. I was really scared on Conch Shell but it’s not as intimidating if you buff the color out a bit. Then the lip gloss swatch is true to color and it’s called Go On And Kiss the Girl. How perfect is that product name? Wear-wise it goes on fine but feels a bit sticky and doesn’t last overly long. It’s a nice bubblegum pink but I don’t find the gloss itself to be a major staple in my collection.

Below are my versions of the two suggested looks. I tried to blend out some of the shades more because if you pack these colors on I don’t see these looks as overly wearable.

First is the “Sunset Cruise” look, which is on the right side of the diagram. The green shade, Seaweed, should be dusted onto your brow bone and inner corner. Then blend Seashell, the vibrant purple, into your crease. Apply Brilliant Sea, the bright blue, into the outer 1/3 of your eye.

First off, no. These shades together are a bit much for me because they need to be built up or else they get murky. And once they’re built up they are bright. I’d love e.l.f. to explain to me how Seaweed is a “light eye shadow color” fit for highlighting. But I digress. I blended Seaweed into the crease instead of as a brow bone color. Brilliant Sea went on to my outer 1/3 and then got winged out a bit for flair. And I packed Seashell onto the center of my lid.

You can also see the shade Tan Lines on my cheeks.

You can also see the shade Tan Lines on my cheeks.

Eye close up!

Eye close up!

Clearly I blended the living daylights out of everything because the colors were a bit too club-kid for every day.

Then the second look is called “On the Beach”. You take Sand Dollar, the pale off-white, and apply it to your brow bone and inner corner. The light yellow shade, Coral Reef, goes all over the lid. And then the blue green shade Tropical Wave goes on the outer 1/3 of your eye.  I stayed fairly close to the directions for this one but was disappointed by the poor color payoff on the first two shades.

Well I wouldn't wear this to the beach, but maybe that's just me.

Well I wouldn’t wear this to the beach, but maybe that’s just me.

Overall, I think this is a decent palette/ Beauty Book. The most impressive shades are the center trio, but you can get some lovely looks by playing around with different color combinations. This would make a fun gift for someone who is a Disney fan; I certainly felt pretty cool playing with my princess palette. I’d give Ariel’s Beauty Book 3.5 beauty bubbles. Not bad but not mind-blowing either.

As I mentioned earlier, this Beauty Book and other Ariel themed e.l.f. items can be found at Walgreens or drugstore.com. They’ve already released a Snow White range, which also includes a Beauty Book, so I’m going to wait for my next drugstore.com offer before I purchase. These are limited edition and for their price are worth exploring. I’m a happy Disney dame at the moment and can’t wait to see which princess they pick next.

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?