Things are a little bit crazy for me at the moment. I’m starting classes at a new university (if you’re curious, I’m working on a Bachelor’s of Science in Communication), preparing for a friend’s wedding, which I’m also a bridesmaid in, and doing the bride’s makeup, starting a new job, and to top it all off, I’m in the process of house hunting (stalking them from the bushes and everything*) and getting ready to move. Hence the lack of blog posts recently. I’m trying y’all. I’ve got a few long-awaited reviews in the works and lots of empties posts coming up, I’m just trying to find a way to sneak them in amidst the chaos.
If there’s any sort of theme to this month’s favorites, it’s definitely “get ready in a hurry.” I’ve had to be ready to go with very little time to get ready, especially by my usual standards. I’m notorious for taking forever to get ready, so I’ve been having to change up the way I usually do my makeup. For instance, one of the things I like to do most is to change my look nearly every day. It’s not often that I wear the same combo of eye makeup or lip color two days in a row. I get bored easily and I like change, especially when it comes to makeup. However, in order to adapt to my lack of time, I’ve set aside a few products that work with nearly everything, are fuss-free, and free up more of my time so I can maybe not have to lose sleep to get everything done… yet. I’ve pretty much already resigned myself to the reality that I’ll be sleeping in 2-3 hour chunks throughout the month of September. Ok, I’m done whining now, back to the products.
Disclosure: This post does contain referral links, all of which are clearly marked so you can decide for yourself if you’re comfortable using them. If you do, thanks so much, I really appreciate it!
NARS Lipstick in Dolce Vita
The first of these products is NARS Dolce Vita lipstick. This is the lipstick I reach for if I don’t have time to pick something out or I have no clue what I want to wear. It’s sheer, and it’s close to my natural lip color, so for me it goes with pretty much everything, ever. It goes on smooth, is hydrating, and it’s easy to touch up throughout the day. The downside is that if you have a medium to deep skin tone or have really pigmented lips, it probably won’t show up on you. If you’re pale to light-medium, however, this would be an excellent lipstick for you, especially if you’re looking for an easy, everyday lipstick. I like to build it up with a few layers to make it more opaque.
|Left: One swipe of NARS Dolce Vita Right: Dolce Vita built up ~4 to 5 passes|
The other big change I’ve made to my routine is using just a couple of brushes that can do nearly everything instead of using a specialized brush for each step. I’ve got three brushes to share with you today that I consider to be must-haves for multi-functions.
Makeup Geek Cheek Highlighter Brush
|It’s slightly damp from being spot cleaned with the Garnier Micellar Water, it doesn’t look quite so spiky when it’s completely dry.|
First up, the Makeup Geek Cheek Highlighter Brush. This one is a bit amusing to me because pretty much the only things I don’t use it for are eye makeup and highlighter. For me, this is too big to use for highlighter, but I do love it for blush, concealer, foundation, bronzer, and occasionally setting powder. I’ve pretty much been doing my whole face with this brush because it does a great job of applying and blending products-whether they’re liquid, cream, or powder-without having to change brushes. For my face, it’s the perfect size to apply blush and bronzer without giving me an overly heavy or wide application. It’s also a great brush for stippling on foundation, which I often do. Then, I’ll either blend it in with this brush or my BeautyBlender, and BOOM, done. Even though it’s a smaller brush, it only takes about the same amount of time as a BeautyBlender and doesn’t absorb as much product.
Available at: Makeup Geek
Essence Precise Eyeliner Brush
For my eyes, there are two multi-functional brushes I’ve been reaching for. I’ve previously mentioned the Essence Eyeliner Brush in last year’s year-end favorites, but I’m mentioning it again because it’s a crazy affordable brush that should be in everyone’s collection. It’s a fine tipped eyeliner brush, at a great price ($1.99!! at Ulta), and great quality. I’ve purchased two of these so far, one I use for eyeliner, and the other I use to do my eyebrows with NYX Tame & Frame brow pomade. Despite their low price, I’ve never had any issues with bristles coming out, the ferrule is still completely firm and intact, and all of the writing is still on the brush despite me having washing it numerous times over the 9-12 months I’ve had them. One of the brushes is older than the other because I purchased a second one after realizing how great it was. Despite the age difference (only a couple of months, but still), you can’t see any wear and tear on either of the brushes. The one thing I can see being a negative for some people is the thin, plastic handle. Some people will likely feel that it’s difficult to grip, or may prefer a more weighted handle, but it doesn’t bother me one bit. Excellent brush, excellent price.
OCC Angled Blending Brush
The final brush I wanna talk about today is the OCC 005 Angled Blending Brush. I originally purchased this hoping it would be great for concealer because of the shape, but unfortunately it’s not stiff enough. It is meant to be an eye shadow brush, so I really can’t fault it for that. Ultimately, the shape of this brush is what I love about it. It’s super easy to get into the innermost corner of my eyelids and right up against the lash line because of the narrow tip. The flat angle of the brush also makes it easy to lay down color all over the lid or at the outer corner (although I wouldn’t use it with a shadow that’s prone to fallout, the bristles aren’t dense enough to keep a firm grip on something too loose or powdery). Then I can flip it around and blend that color out, or add a transition, crease, or brow bone color. It diffuses powders really well with very little work, which has been a major plus for me lately. I’ve also used this brush to highlight my cheeks from time to time, although I have a different brush I prefer to use for that. I’m considering purchasing more of OCC’s brushes, so if any of you have any experience with them, please let me know your thoughts good or bad!
|My “assistant” approves of this cruelty-free, vegan brush.|
|Ask me how long I spent trying to photograph a sponge -_-*|
Unpopular opinion: the BeautyBlender Pure is the best BeautyBlender. If you’re experienced with the various colors of BeautyBlenders then you’ve probably realized that they have different textures. I’ve only tried the white and the pink versions, but I can say for sure that there’s a difference between the two. The BeautyBlender Pure was designed with sensitive skin in mind, so it doesn’t contain any dyes. This is one of the things I love about it because it means I don’t end up with a pink sink from all of the dye leaking out, which, if you’re not familiar, does happen with the pink BeautyBlender for several washes. The BeautyBlender Pure is also bouncier and more squishy/soft/fluffy/lightweight whatever you wanna call it. Not only does it feel nicer on my face, I’m happier with the way it applies my foundation. With the original BeautyBlender, I have trouble with foundation looking a little streaky on my nose, but despite using the same foundation, the same thing doesn’t happen with the BeautyBlender Pure. On top of that, I have a theory that the BeautyBlender Pure absorbs less product that the original does, likely due to its slightly different texture. I know a lot of people avoid the BeautyBlender Pure because they think it will get super dirty and will be difficult to get it clean, but with the right cleanser and technique, that’s actually not the case at all. Enter my next favorite for this month, the Sephora Collection Solid Brush Cleaner.
Sephora Solid Brush Cleaner
I received the BeautyBlender Solid Cleanser along with my very first BeautyBlender in a subscription box a couple years ago. When it came time to repurchase the cleanser, I decided to give the less expensive Sephora Collection cleanser a try, especially since they had just come out with a smaller size that was only $8. In my opinion, the less expensive Sephora version works just as well as the BeautyBlender Solid Cleanser. I use it for all of my brushes, and it keeps them all clean and soft. As for my technique for keeping the BB Pure clean, I wet the sponge, swirl it in the Sephora Collection Solid Brush Cleaner, then gently massage the sponge with my fingers and lightly squeeze on the areas where I can clearly see foundation and concealer to work it up from the inner layers of the sponge. It comes right out and my BB looks good as new. One thing I wanna mention, however, is that some foundations come out of BeautyBlenders easier than others. The MAC ProLongwear concealer and Revlon’s ColorStay foundation are two products that I know are especially difficult to get out of a BB. I haven’t used Revlon ColorStay in several years, so I can’t say whether or not the Sephora Collection Solid Brush Cleanser will be able to get that out of a sponge, but I am able to get MAC ProLongwear out by washing it two or three times. The other foundations I use, such as Urban Decay Naked Skin, and Rimmel Lasting Finish come out without an issue. The sponge pictured above has had around 3 months of use. There are two small stains at the top and bottom of the sponge, but other than that, it still looks clean.
Available at: Sephora
Urban Decay Eye Shadow in Sidecar
I’ve been on a no-buy for the last month or so, which means I’ve been rediscovering some old favorites. One of those favorites was Urban Decay Sidecar. I’ve depotted most of my UD shadows, so I’m not sure which palette this was from, but it’s available as a single if it’s something you’re interested in. It’s one of the shadows I’ve been keeping in my “go-to” palette (a few of my favorite shadows in corresponding shades that I’ve been keeping in my Makeup Geek Travel Palette) lately because it’s a mid-tone slightly warm beige that pairs equally well with warm and cool tones. I absolutely adore Urban Decay’s eye shadows, there’s a reason they’re known for having some of the best formulas in the beauty industry. Sidecar is a super smooth beige with silver microshimmer that adds a bit of texture to a look without screaming glitter or creating a fallout nightmare (earlier formulations of this color had a lot of fallout, but I don’t have problems with this one, and I’m pretty sure the problem has been corrected in the singles). I’m probably in the minority here, but for me this is an everyday shadow. I rarely wear entirely matte looks, and I like to make my eyes stand out most days. Sidecar definitely does that for me. As with any of UD’s shadows, this is long-wearing, silky, and pigmented.
Available at: UrbanDecay
Earn points towards future purchases by joining the Beauty Junkies program If you sign up using my referral link, we both get 10 points.
|Left: Swatched with finger, no primer. Middle, top: Swatched with brush over Too Faced Shadow Insurance. Middle, bottom: Swatched with finger over Too Faced Shadow Insurance. Right: Swatched with brush, no primer.|
Estee Lauder Pure Color Lipstick in Tiger Eye
|Left: One pass of Estee Lauder Tiger Eye. Right: Three passes of Estee Lauder Tiger Eye.|
Another gem that had been hiding in my makeup collection was Estee Lauder Tiger Eye. My mom received it as a gift with purchase awhile ago and promptly handed it over to me because there was no way in hell she was gonna wear a shimmery bronze lipstick. Actually, at first, there was no way in hell I was gonna wear a shimmery bronze lipstick either. I’ve tried it on so many times I’ve lost count only to wipe it off after a minute or two because it just didn’t look right. Cut to last month when I had gone through nearly every lipstick in my collection trying to find the right match for the look I was wearing. I tried Tiger Eye as a last resort and immediately wondered why I had ever thought this lipstick didn’t look good on me. It’s gorgeous and completely unlike anything else in my collection. I’ve realized that I’m a sucker for colors like Ofra Miami Fever and ColourPop Taurus (both collabs with KathleenLights), essentially super warm-toned, out-of-the ordinary colors. I think they look amazing with my green eyes and I love the way they add a bit of edginess to a look without having to be bright and colorful. Don’t get me wrong, I love colorful makeup, but I don’t always want to wear bright colors. It’s smooth, pigmented, hydrating, and shimmery goodness, and the peachy bronze is oddly flattering with my green eyes and copper hair. The one thing I dislike about this lipstick is the scent, which is a sweeter version of a granny scent. Other than that, this is a complete win for me. I can’t believe I’ve missed out on so many opportunities to wear this! With metallic lipsticks becoming a trend again, it’s definitely one to consider adding to your collection.
With all of the craziness going on, I’ve been majorly slacking on my skincare. Despite this, I still have three skincare favorites to share with you this month, then we’re done, yipee!
These next two products were sent to me to review last month by 0.8L, but I’m including them in my favorites because I genuinely loved them and plan to repurchase them with my own money. My discussion of these products here is in no way sponsored, nor was I asked to include them in this post for any sort of compensation. I just wanted to let you guys know that I didn’t purchase these products myself in case you feel that could effect my review (I don’t feel that it does, but make your own decision). I’m all about keeping things honest!
Papa Recipe Bombee Honey Sheetmask
The Papa Recipe Bombee Honey mask is one of the most hydrating sheet masks I’ve ever used. Throw in the soft, sweet honey smell and the super thin material, and you’ve got a great mask for dry or cranky skin, or just a nice relaxing sheet mask when you want to do something indulgent for your skin without the hassle of a long routine. These do leave a bit of a sticky honey-ish film behind, so I definitely wouldn’t recommend using these before you have somewhere to be, but if you’re just kickin’ it at home or getting ready for bed, these are amazing.
When you use my referral link, you get 20% off your first purchase at Memebox, and I get a $10 credit.
Ultru I’m Sorry For My Skin Black Mud Mask- Tightening
|Photo from Memebox’s website since I’m currently out of these masks.|
I can’t wait to get my hands on more of these I’m Sorry For My Skin mud masks, especially the black mud mask. It’s not only one of the most interesting and innovative skincare products I’ve ever used, it’s also one of the best performing. If you’re unfamiliar with these masks, they’re sheet masks that have been coated in a mud mask mixture. It makes it much less messy to use a mud mask (though there is a bit of a mess initially as there’s a bit of moisture in the packet) and it’s also much easier to rinse off than a traditional mud mask because as the mask dries, it sticks to the sheet rather than your face. Rinsing a traditional mud mask off is the part that I dread, so for me, this is awesome. The effects are also quite surprising. It made my skin smooth and soft, my pores looked smaller, and there was some serious brightening action going on. So much so that I had to reach out on Twitter to see if anyone else felt like it had made their skin tone look 2 shades lighter or if I was just losing my mind. Turns out, other people have experienced similar results. It’s a temporary effect that’s pretty much gone by morning, but it’s a very noticeable effect for the duration. I loved both the green mud and black mud versions, but the black mud gave me more noticeable results, so I’ll be repurchasing that one for sure.
Garnier SkinActive Micellar Cleansing Water
Finally, a product recommended to me by several of you (you cheeky little enablers): the Garnier Micellar Water. After I mentioned that traditional cleansing was too dying for my skin in the mornings, a few people suggested that I try cleansing with a micellar water in the morning instead of using plain water or water and cleanser. I had a sample of Bioderma from Beautylish, and after using that a couple of times, I found that my skin felt less tight than it did after cleansing with just plain water. I’d heard that Garnier’s micellar water was comparable, and since it’s cheaper, I briefly broke my no-buy to pick up a bottle from Amazon. No regrets, y’all, no regrets. It makes my skin feel so much more comfortable, I feel like my skin is more balanced, my makeup goes on better. I love cleansing with a micellar water in the morning and have absolutely nothing bad to say about this particular micellar water. Thank you so much to everyone that suggested it to me!
If you’re wondering how it removes makeup, I think it definitely does a good job of that as well, though there are some mascaras it doesn’t take off, such as Maybelline Lash Blast Volume, but I’m convinced that mascara could survive the apocalypse, so it really doesn’t surprise me. I still use a 2nd cleanser after it like I nearly always do if I’ve been wearing makeup, (more on how and why I double cleanse here), but I’ve also used it on its own on nights when I was too tired to make it to the sink for a proper cleanse, and it didn’t cause me to breakout or make my skin feel clogged at all. I’d still advise using another cleanser afterwards if you’re removing makeup just be sure that you’re completely removed any residue. Speaking of residue, I know some people feel this cleanser leaves a residue on their face. I can see what they mean, but for me it’s such a slight oilyness that it really doesn’t faze me. My face still feels refreshed and clean after I’ve used it, without feeling stripped at all, which is exactly what I was looking for.
|After one swipe with a cotton ball covered in Garnier Micellar Water|
|After a few more swipes of the cotton ball w/ Garnier Micellar Water|
That’s it for this month’s favorites! What were your favorites this month? I hope everything is going well for you!
*kidding, the roof has a better vantage point