So Over the Overdone Look

imageI almost want to start this post with “back in my day…” I won’t, but I will say a lot has changed in the past few years in the makeup industry.  I attribute a lot of that to the rise of You Tube and Instagram.  Social media has allowed people to connect with other artists and learn techniques faster than ever.  People have quite literally become stars just for posting selfies or videos of themselves applying makeup online.  While this is amazing, it’s created an unreasonable standard for your average person.  Makeup has become all dramatic contouring, strobbing, baking, and cut creases.  Makeup is certainly art, and I love seeing the art expressed, but I constantly hear woman come in asking for contour kits that can’t even pronounce the word, let alone tell me what contouring is.

I’m not trying to makeup-shame anyone.  I just wish more women embraced their natural beauty.  To me, makeup is about having fun, and enhancing your features, not about wearing a mask.  So many of the looks I see today look for heavy and I can’t imagine they feel very good on your face!  Plus, these looks often involve so many products!  What average person has the money or time for that!  I read a blog today about a woman who tried to replicate a look she saw on You Tube, not even a complicated one, but one described as natural.  It took her multiple attempts over 4 hours!  Ain’t nobody got time for that!

Just this weekend, I had a mother and daughter looking for new makeup.  The daughter was 16, and beautiful, but yet she kept talking to me about her flaws and how she needed concealer to cover this or that.  There was nothing to cover.  Her mother sighed repeatedly trying to reassure her she looked great, and asking me to do the same.  The girl told me that all the other girls at school wear a lot of makeup and she thinks they look better than her when they wear it.  The mom then took a seat in my chair, and I heard the same concerns all grown up.  Self-criticism and doubt, talking about how old she looked and what she needed to “fix.”  She thanked me for reassuring her daughter, and I gently reminded her that she was setting an example for her with all the things she was saying about herself.  I couldn’t help, but think that all the images of impossible perfection that wallpaper their feeds.

So ladies, don’t try to be someone you’re not.  If you see a tutorial on someone who looks nothing like you, don’t try to look like that, because you won’t, and that’s okay! You can’t change your facial structure, eye shape or skin tone.  Find elements like the highlight, lip color, or color palette for eyes and incorporate that into your own look, but still be yourself!  You’re already beautiful!


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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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

So Hot Right Now: Countouring

'How Tos' like this are popping up everywhere!

‘How Tos’ like this are popping up everywhere!

If you are a female between the ages of 10 and 100 and have access to any media, social or otherwise, it’s likely you’ve heard of contouring.  Contouring and it’s cousin highlighting are techniques that use different shades of makeup darker and lighter than your skin to add dimension to your face.  The idea is that darker colors give the illusion of  things being more pushed in, like under your cheekbones, and lighter colors bring things out, like tops of cheekbones and the bridge of the nose.  The technique itself has been around for years, but YouTube and Instagram have made it popular (#Contour has over 844,000 tags on Instagram).  It originated with makeup done for photo shoots since it plays off the professional lighting, and maybe it should have stayed in the studio.  The concept is a good one, but people tend to take it too far and apply is universally.   In my opinion, makeup techniques like contouring (and wing eyeliner – stop it!) may be popular, but may not be appropriate for every situation or face shape!  Artists have brought the concept to the masses and on the streets when natural lighting does not necessarily have the same effect.  Also, it involves using three shades of makeup OR MORE. Ain’t nobody got time for that!

Contour gone wrong!

Contour gone wrong!

But apparently people do, and the makeup companies have tried to streamline their contouring routine by creating all in one palettes specifically for contouring.  The original ones, like the popular Anatasia palette, were powder, but cream palettes have emerged as well.  Although the palette may simplify things, you could contour the old fashioned way and just use shades of regular makeup or concealer.  This is likely to give a more natural look than since the tones and textures are matched to you.  Just choose a shade two shades darker and two shades lighter than your foundation.  Palette colors are designed to be one size fits all, but they aren’t always a good match.  For my kit, I selected the NYX Contour palette.  I don’t use it personally day to day, but for special event makeup, it’s a good tool to have.  Out of all the palettes available, I chose this one because it was relatively inexpensive, had 8 colors instead of the 4 or 6 you usually get and the individual shades can be switched out of refilled to customize the palette.