August Sephora Haul Review

I’m a sucker for a promo, so when I saw Sephora was offering 4x points for VIB Rouge, I went right to the website and started adding things to my cart.  I figured it was a great time to try some things I have been looking at for a while.  Here are my first impressions!
I haven’t tried this yet since I’m still finishing up the Supercleanse (review coming soon), but I love the idea of an oil and cleanser in one.  As you know, I love my cleansing oils!  I’m psyched to try this one.
I had a sample of the Aqua Bomb, the lighter gel-like version of this.  I liked it, but needed more moisture so I thought I’d give this one a try.  I’m just finishing up my current moisturizing, so I’m looking forward to putting this one into the rotation.
I love my compact Becca highlighter, but being Twilight-pale makes it hard to get a true highlight since nothing is really lighter than my skin.  So I thought I’d try the liquid version of the Becca in Pearl.  True to the description, this gives a nice white-pearl finish.
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I also tried one of the new Becca Mineral blush in Flowerchild.
They are very soft for a powder blush, very finely milled.  The color payoff is pretty good, even with one of the lighter shades like the one I have, and it builds very easily.  It’s not the longest wearing, but I like it.  The color looks like a less shimmery Nars Orgasm.
Sans Flash

Sans Flash

With Flash

With Flash

This has one of the most precise applicators I’ve ever seen in a concealer.  This tells me you need very little, which is true.  A small dot really spreads out.  I haven’t put it to the length of wear test yet, but I like the texture and coverage.  I feel like the quantity is so little compared to other liquid concealers, like the Urban Decay Naked; I worried it would run out quickly if you do a lot of spot concealing, but maybe not since you use less.
The Stila Got Inked Cushion eyeliner intrigued me.
I’ve heard of cushion foundations, but this is very unique.  The pot has a sponge-like contraption it in that you press your brush into to dispense the color.  The result it the right amount of color, unlike with many gel liners where you dip straight in and can easily overdo it.  The color is beautiful with a metallic finish (I got the Sapphire), and does no budge when dry.
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Now to the lips.  I went on a bit of a lipstick binge.  I don’t wear a lip color all that often, despite having a drawer full, but I convince myself that’s just because I haven’t found the right one.
This is a super creamy matte, not a dry matte, so major points there!  The color payoff is great and it really holds.  This color is a very nice fuchsia-wine shade.  Definitely bold, but great for this fall’s berry lip trend.
There are so many colors in this formula!  I had a hard time deciding, but narrowed it down to two: Forbidden Berry and Coral Confession.
The first thing you notice is that these definitely are big!  The bullet is huge.  I’m not a fan of this as it’s a recipe for sloppy application.  The cover of the packaging is magnetic though, which I like.   There’s nothing worse than opening your purse to find lipstick smeared all over the inside.  They apply smoothly and give very full color.  The finish is very shiny, almost glossy.  The Coral was a little pastel for me.  The Berry is an almost red, hot pink.  The texture was great.  I loved the way they looked, but they bled like crazy!  I don’t normally have this problem with lip color, but the berry color very quickly migrated into the little nooks and crannies around my mouth, even with concealer used around the edges.  This one definitely needs lips liner and probably primer!
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Next, the Clinique Pop Lip Colour and Primer.  I also got two of these, since I can’t make decisions: Plum Pop and Bare Pop.
The primer and color in one appealed to me since I usually wear primer with my lipstick.  The colors are pretty, fairly neutral, and not as full color as I expected from the primer infused formula.  However, they are super soft and creamy and feel very moisturizing on.  Plum Pop is a very pretty cream color.  Bare Pop has a little shimmer to it.
Finally, I tried one of the NudeStix products.  They get mixed reviews, but I love their spokesmodels and the company philosophy of no fuss beauty.  I got a lip and cheek dual pencil in Soul/Flesh, but I’ve only worn both colors on my lips so far.  I do love the multitasking potential, though.  The colors I chose are a little nude for my taste, but pretty.  I was pleasantly surprised to get such a creamy formula from a pencil!  I don’t know how they do it.  The color went on nicely, but didn’t stay put that long.
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Ulta Haul: Makeup Revolution & Catrice- First Impressions

I can’t resist new products!  I always visit the “New” section of any website when shopping online, so I was very excited to see some products from UK brands Makeup Revolution and Catrice available at Ulta.  The hard part was deciding what to get!  So, I just decided to get a ton of stuff!  I haven’t had a chance to use much of it yet, but I spent some time swatching!

I got a lot of eyeshadow palettes from Makeup Revolution.  They have some great colors, and also make dupes for popular palettes like Naked and the Chocolate Bar.  The metallic shadows swatch bolder.  The matte shadows aren’t chalky, but aren’t as pigmented.  You really have to layer them, and I could see them being a bit crumbly.  I think with primer they will show up better.  The 12 shadow palettes have better pigmentation than the larger palettes.  The matte shadows in the 18 color palettes are very light.  Several of them don’t show up much at all.  All in all, for the cost, they would be great palettes to add to your collection, especially to add some unique colors.  The blushes were more pigmented.  Although I’m not usually a fan of matte blushes, but these do not seem chalky.  The palette gives a good variety of colors.  It also has two shimmery shades that could be layered for a highlight.  They are VERY metallic though, so I would say use sparingly.  The concealer shade range was pretty good.  They are very creamy and swatch well, but I don’t think they are super full coverage.  They also seem too creamy to be long-lasting, but should definitely be set with powder to add staying power.  I’ll give some updates once I get to test drive these.   I did try the Makeup Revolution Vivid Highlighter in the Peach Lights shade, and it is very pretty!  It definitely gives a nice ‘strobe’ effect.

The Catrice products are very popular in the UK and I’ve seen some other good reviews.  Ulta doesn’t carry the variety of products that they do for MUR.  I tried their individual Matte eye shadow, which swatches well.  It’s soft and very pigmented.  I also tried one of their Luminous Lips lipstick in Nude.  It lives up to the name.  The color is a very neutral, slightly pink shade with a high shine, semi-sheer finish.  The Longlasting Waterproof eyeliner also fits its name.  It stayed on well all day without smudging and even resisted eye makeup remover.  The Multi Style Matt Eyeliner is a cool product.  It’s a felt tip liquid liner with a matte finish.  If you turn the pen to the side you get a thin line.  The other way gives a thicker line.  This liner also went on smoothly and stayed on well all day.  It was one of the easier to apply liquid liners I’ve used.  I also bought the Catrice Better Than False Lashes Mascara, but I haven’t had a chance to try it yet.

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Review: NYX Lip Suede Cream Lipsticks

NYX has been teasing us with photos of their offering to the matte liquid lipstick trend, Lip Suedes, for weeks on Instagram and many beauty bloggers have been sharing their excitement as well.  Well, it worked.  I was hooked.   I love NYX’s Soft Matte Lip Creams so I was excited to see how NYX’s new offering to the liquid lipstick game would be.  When I saw NYX’s Instagram post that the Suedes were out, I went right to the website and ordered 5.  I’m not alone, because they quickly sold out online.  I’m not one for crazy lip colors so I got a lot of the basics: Soft Spoken, Tea & Cookies, Vintage, Cherry Skies, and, to branch out, Amethyst.  I don’t know where I’ll wear it, but it was a pretty color.

I couldn’t wait to get them, swatch them and see how they wear!  The first night, I did a marathon try-on session.  First impressions, I like the applicator.  It’s very pointed and allows precision application.  You can easily trace the outline of your lips.  I was surprised that they seemed a bit sheer, as you can see in the pictures.  I really had to layer the color to get a full coverage.  I think the original matte lips creams cover better.  They did dry quickly to a soft matte finish.


Tea & Cookies

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Soft Spoken


Cherry Skies





The next day, I tried on “Soft Spoken” with the NYX lip primer, which I love!  It helps it go on smooth and stay on.  Soft Spoken is a nice neutral, but looked more brown than I thought it would.  With the primer, I still had color holding at the end of 8 hours after eating and drinking all day.  It was a bit faded, but still hanging on without touch ups.

Next, I tried “Vintage,” but sans primer to see how they held up, not so good.  I have noticeable fading and smudging, especially in the center of this lips with eating and drinking.  Also, on me, Vintage was very vampy.  It looked like a very deep purple, not the rich red-brown I thought it would.  Next, I put “Cherry Skies” to the test.  Again, this one was darker than I thought it might be, more of a deep brick-red, but was very pretty.  It seemed to wear a little better than Vintage, but still came off throughout the day.  Reds always have a tendency to stain a bit more.

"Vintage" after a few hours wear

“Vintage” after a few hours wear


"Cherry Skies" after wear

“Cherry Skies” after wear








Overall, the colors are pretty and vibrant.  The finish is a nice matte, but not drying which is great!  A little tacky at first, but that dries down with wear.  I wouldn’t say the Suedes are waterproof as NYX claims.  They do wear longer than your average bullet lipstick, for sure, but not as well as similar liquid matte lip products I’ve tried such as the Kat Von D Everlasting Liquid Lipstick.   They come off on glasses when drinking or smudge if you touch them.  If you’re okay with touching up and cleaning up edges throughout the day, then these are a great bargain.  But I like the original Soft Matte Lip Creams better!  They give better coverage and wear just as better or longer.

Have you tried the new NYX Lip Suedes?  What did you think?  How do they compare to some of your favorite lip products?

Mascara Face-Off: Stila HUGE vs. Urban Decay Perversion

I love a volumizing mascara.  What’s the point of puny lashes?  I’m so excited to see a wave of super-sized mascaras hitting the market!  I loved Urban Decay Perversion when it came out last year, so much so, I bought a second one; something I rarely do with mascara since I’m always trying new ones, but the new Stila Huge Extreme Lash sounds like it poses a threat.

I’ve been using the Urban Decay Perversion mascara for a few months, and liked it a lot.  The formula is a little wet, so I actually like it better when it gets a week or so old as it dries a bit.  It gives insane volume, but it is a bit clumpy.  It’s great to layer with something more lengthening, but gives a dramatic overall lash on its own.  If you like a super-black, thick lash, this is your new favorite mascara.

The Stila is a new arrival, and is much hyped.  They had me at “huge.”  It is a great volumizing mascara.  It doesn’t give a lot of length, but does give soft fullness.  It’s not overly defined, but can get easily spidery if you layer it too much.  It’s good, but not a stand out in any way.  Pretty average volume, average length.  Although I’m not floored, I’m pretty happy with it, except for one thing, it’s a little smudgy!  It gets a little black under my eye throughout the day.  I don’t have that problem with the UD one, and it gives more drama, so the UD wins this battle!



Stila HUGE - a little spidery

Stila HUGE

UD Perversion

UD Perversion

Stila Huge Lash

Stila Huge Lash

UD Perversion

UD Perversion

Unboxing Sephora Haul

I’m a sucker for promotional emails.  Free gifts, discount codes; you’ve got me.  So last week, I received a Sephora email announcing a new 500 point gift.  I spend a good amount at Sephora.  I’m on year two of VIB Rouge, so I have quite a few points in the bank, and for the most part, they stay there because I never really like the gifts.  All the more reason to be excited when I saw a special Clarisonic set!  I quickly headed over to and took a look at the items I had hanging out in my cart.  I poked around on the New Arrivals section, added a couple more things, and checked out.  Two-day lightning shipping, and my box was here.  Here’s the breakdown:

Clinique Chubby Lash Fattening Mascara in Black Honey20150731_13522820150731_07234820150731_135105




The color really drew me to this mascara.  The thought of the classic Black Honey deep burgundy shade in a mascara was intriguing.  The color was very pretty, but had the effect of a brown.  The brush was okay, but it left my lashes pretty “skinny.”  Unfortunately, after a day of wear my eyelids were red and irritated along the lash line.  This one was returned.

Kat Von D Metal Crush Eyeshadow

20150801_192911Sadly, one of the two shades was crushed and crumbled.  I returned it to Sephora only to find they didn’t carry that shade!  Boo hoo.  The one color that remained in tact, Synergy (“a metallic bronze”).  I was hoping for a foiled, high shine finish, given the name and some swatches I’d seen, but no such luck.  It’s a pretty bronze shade, but its not very metallic!  It had a subtle sheen, but wasn’t as bold as I’d hoped.  I feel like the finish would come out more on a deeper skin tone.


BareMinerals Blemish Remedy Concealer

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This concealer comes in an easy to apply crayon form and is packed with natural acne fighting ingredients.  Fortunately, I don’t have to deal with acne very much anymore, but I still get the occasional blemish here and there.  I found this to be a pretty light coverage and was so creamy, it didn’t really stick, but moved around.  Overall, I don’t think it covered very well.  I didn’t use it long enough to speak to the acne benefits because I wasn’t happy with the short term results.  Returned.


Too Faced Born This Way Foundation

I’m not normally a liquid foundation wearer.  I have a long term love affair with mineral foundation and couldn’t imagine wearing anything else.  I like that it’s lightweight and looks natural.  So, when a liquid foundation claimed to do the same, I had to check it out.  I was pleasently surprised it lived up to these claims!  It applies easily, covers well with one layer, and wears well throughout the day, but still manages to look very natural.  I don’t feel heavy, like a mask, or get cakey as you wear it.  I also don’t find that it oxidizes and gets darker, which is excellent.  The only problem that I have with it is it’s a bit yellow.  Even the “Porcelain” shade I got is a little warm-toned.  I’ve heard this criticisim in a lot of other reviews as well, but I’ve also heard there are more shades coming in a couple months!

TooFaced Born This Way after 10 hour wear

TooFaced Born This Way after 10 hour wear

TooFaced Born This Way on the left side

TooFaced Born This Way on the left side

July Subscription Boxes: Ipsy, Popsugar, & Target

I’ve only been doing Ipsy for a few months, but I’m usually not thrilled with the boxes.  I usually get stuff that I don’t really use or have already tried, or it’s been poor quality.  So I was thrilled this month to get a bag that had some pretty great finds.




The Bella Pierre lipstick is not a color I will probably wear, but everything else is great.  The lip balm is super moisturizing.  The Cook Way sea salt spray is pretty good.  A highlighter and eyeshadow is always useful.  And the bronzer!  I’m super fair, so I’m not usually a bronzer person, but this Tarte bronzer is soft and natural.  I would buy the full-size product when I run out.




This month also offered an opportunity for the seasonal Target Beauty Box.  It’s the best $5 you can spend.  You can try some great products that are affordable and easy to purchase if you like them.

20150720_223125This month’s box included an Herbal Essences dry oil spray, a full-sized mascara, hair ties, Yes to Cucumbers wipes, a pumice stone (always handy), a full-sized lip gloss, and fashion tape.  Just one of these products could cost $5, so it’s a great deal.  The only down-side is that the box is only available quarterly and you can’t subscribe.  You just have to be on top of it, and buy one as soon as they are posted.

My last box of the month is the well-curated Popsugar Must Have box.  Here’s a closer look at all of the full-sized products in the box for just $39.



The Good Bean bar


A Henri Bendel cosmetic case


Yes to Blueberries Cleansing Wipes


Sorial card holder


Portable electric toothbrush


Supergoop SPF Setting Mist



Hallmark Signature stationary

My Accutane Journey

I recently completed an 8 month course of the infamous drug, Accutane.  In my mid 20’s, it was like a switch flipped in my body.  My metabolism stopped dead, and I developed severe cystic acne.  Thanks, hormones!  I had never really broken out.  While my friends struggled through our teen years, I used some Neutrogena on the occasional zit and got through, but my luck ran out as an adult.  I went to a dermatologist pretty early on, hoping to get a handle on it quickly.  I went through years of trying different treatments including topical retinol-based products (made me very itchy), oral antibiotics (didn’t work after several courses), spironolactone (supposed to decrease testosterone and balance hormones. It didn’t work for me, and I experienced side-effects), and finally several courses of chemical peels and laser treatments.  I would see short periods of time, up to a year, where my face would improve and be manageable, but then it would come back with a vengeance.  After trying literally everything else, I finally gave in to my derm’s pleas to try Accutane.  I had heard so much negative hype that I was kind of afraid of the side effects, but I couldn’t take it any more.  My only regret is not having done it sooner.
I should preface this by saying I’m not a medical professional, nor is my experience guaranteed to be the same as yours.  With that said, I do recommend it.  Now, it was definitely a pain in the butt.  I had to get lots of blood work, and practically sign my life away before I started.  Due to the side effects, mainly the risk of very severe birth defects if you take it while you’re pregnant, they are very careful to monitor you throughout the process.  Although it was annoying and time-consuming, it gave me comfort to know that they were keeping a close watch.  Some people experience elevated triglyceride  levels so they watch for that, as well as liver function and other basic things.  The most common side effect is dryness, and when I say dry, I don’t mean you need to use a thicker moisturizer in the winter dry.  I mean cracked, bloody nose, scaly rough patches, eczema-like rashes, hair breakage, very chapped lips.  Now, I’m normally a dry skin type, so I’m used to dealing with this, to an extent.  I used extra moisturizer diligently and only used cleansing oil on my face and was fine.  They tell you not to really use anything on your face, and they aren’t kidding.  You have to bench your benzoyls and salicylics.  No peels or other treatments.  No waxing, and not just on your face.  You have to be very gentle with everything you use, or your skin will revolt against you.  It was kind of strange at first to simplify my routine so much, but it was kind of liberating to not have to apply 3 treatments products every night, do masks on a regular basis, and be so cautious about what you put on your face to avoid a potential break out.
The dosage is based on a mathematical formula to ensure you get a certain amount over time based on your weight.  You may get a dose based on a factor of one half, 1.0, or 1.5.  I started out on the 1.0 course, but had delayed results.  It took me awhile to see a significant improvement, so I had to extend my course a few months.  After almost 9 months so chapped lips and twice daily meds, was it worth it?
Yes!  Definitely, yes.  For me, acne wasn’t just esthetic; it was painful!  My face was swollen and irritated.  Not to mention, I work in the beauty industry, and I wasn’t feeling very beautiful.  So now, 9 months later, my lips are recovering and my skin has never looked better.  Now, just to keep it that way.