It’s been a few months since my last favorites post, but they’re some of my favorite posts to write. I’ve got some great products to share with you today that I’ve really been loving (including some non-beauty favorites!). Hopefully you’ll love them too!
Anastasia Beverly Hills Modern Renaissance Palette
C’mon, we all saw this one coming, right? I’ve said several times that the Anastasia shadows are my favorite formula, and if you’ve been following me for a while then you’ll know that I’m completely addicted to orange/red/bronze tones. This is a perfect everyday palette for me, I haven’t even touched anything else since I got this (with the exception of dipping into my MAC single in Blanc Type, which is what I pretty much always use on my brow bone). I foresee this being a favorite for a very long time.
The reason I love it, beyond the versatility of the color selection (don’t be intimidated by the orange and red tones, you can work them in in a way that still keeps a mostly neutral look, if that’s your jam), is because the eyeshadows are so freaking pigmented, yet blendable and buildable. I know a lot of people complain that the formula kicks up too much, and it does kick up a lot, so be careful not to use too much pressure when you dip your brush in and to lightly tap off the excess. Personally, I don’t mind the kick up because in my experience shadows that do that tend to blend better, and because I don’t get much fallout from most Anastasia shadows. They probably wouldn’t be the best shadows for a beginner because they do take a little bit of skill to work with. For a beginner, I would recommend something like the Too Faced Chocolate Bar Palette because the shadows practically blend themselves out (they actually blend too much for my liking, to the point where I feel like they’re not intense enough, but that’s personal preference, and not a problem that most beginners are likely to have).
Verb Ghost Oil
I’ve tried Verb’s detangler in the past, and it didn’t work for me at all (to be fair, my hair is giant ball of evil, most hair products don’t help), so when I saw Verb’s Ghost Oil in my November Ipsy bag, I didn’t get my hopes up. Needless to say, I was pretty surprised when adding a couple of drops of this to my hair actually made a huge difference in my ability to brush my hair out (way less tangles!) and made it feel and look healthier. I split my hair in half along my part while it’s still damp, add a dime-sized amount of oil to my hand and rub my palms together, then rub my hands over my hair, being sure to coat all of the layers of my hair, not just the top and bottom. I also keep it about an inch or two away from my roots. Then, I repeat on the other side. Most people probably won’t need to section their hair or use quite so much oil, but I have absurdly thick hair that still requires quite a bit of product even after I chopped off several inches. What can I say, my hair is a problem child. This oil is also lightweight, and has a very light, barely noticeable scent that doesn’t really smell like anything specific. It’s definitely not something that would compete with your perfume or give you a headache. I’ve tried tons of hair oils, but this is by far my favorite.
Urban Decay Primer Potion in Enigma
Enigma is basically the product I’ve needed my whole life. I have super oily eyelids, and Urban Decay’s Primer Potion works significantly better for me than any other primer I’ve tried. What makes Enigma so special is the tint, which is a light beige. It works perfectly to camouflage the veins on my eyelids, which I’ve never been able to achieve with a concealer the way that most people can because my eyelids are so oily. Setting concealer with powder, applying concealer over a primer, nope doesn’t work, creases in 30 minutes. I don’t always want to wear eyeshadow, but the veiny-ness of my eyelids sort of acts like dark circles and makes me look tired and disheveled (I’m probably both, but no one else needs to know that!). Enigma allows me to look more put together without having to wear eyeshadow and keeps my eyelids from getting too oily throughout the day. Sometimes I wear it with eyeshadow, other times I wear it on its own with a little bit of face powder over top to take away some of the tacky feeling. As an added benefit, Urban Decay donates 100% of the purchase price of this product to charity organizations that support women. So far, they’ve donated over 1.28 million dollars!
Cosmo Monster Aqua Gel Sunscreen
I’m surprised I haven’t seen more people talk about this Cosmo Monster sunscreen, it’s a total winner! I hadn’t heard of this brand before, but I was excited to see a sunscreen in the Oily/Combo edition of the September/October Jini Beauty Box. After giving it a try over the past month+, I can honestly say I love this stuff! I’m actually surprised by how much I love it because I typically don’t like gel face products as they tend to feel quite sticky. This one feels like water (hence the “aqua” in the name) and doesn’t leave any sort of sticky or slippery film on the skin. It’s also clear, has a very mild sunscreen smell, and plays well with makeup. It feels so lightweight on my face, just like a moisturizer, but it has an SPF of 50, heck yeah! It’s also only about $10, so budget-friendly too! Like I said, I don’t know why more people don’t talk about this. I have nothing negative to say about it, and have even been reaching for it over my (super) expensive Radical sunscreen. Super glad to have discovered this thanks to Jini Beauty Box!
Too Cool For School Dinoplatz Magic Wand Makeup Remover Swabs
These makeup remover swabs are another awesome find from the September/October Jini Beauty Box. I’d heard of them before but hadn’t gotten around to trying them, until they arrived in my Jini Beauty Box. The way these work is you twist one end of the cotton swab and pull that end off, which releases makeup remover from the stick portion into the cotton portion of the swab. They’re a super easy and convenient way to fix mistakes, especially to clean up winged eyeliner. These would also be great for travel or to keep in your purse. The makeup remover in these is really effective and non-irritating. Love ’em!
Stok Cold Brewed Coffee Shots
These little pods of joy are a life saver. Not literally. Well, maybe a little bit literal if you’ve ever seen me after I’ve been drinking crappy hotel coffee for a few days. Have you ever wished you could amp up the amount of caffeine in your coffee? If you have, you’ll probably fall in love with these. Housed in little pods like the creamer you get at a diner, Stok is a pod of cold-brewed, highly caffeinated black coffee. I found them at my local Smith’s (Kroger in some parts of the country) about a month ago, and since finals were coming up, I threw them into my cart without a second thought. Not only were these great for adding caffeine to my coffee and keeping me sane during finals, they also prevented disaster yesterday morning when the only coffee left in the house was decaf. Decaf coffee, man. Not only is it caffeine-free, it just doesn’t taste right. Thankfully, we were well stocked with Stok, so no one had to go caffeine-free! I’ve also been experimenting with other uses for these. So far I’ve tried adding them to hot cocoa and oatmeal, by subbing a little bit of the water for a pod of Stok. Works great! Adds a tiny bit of coffee flavor (plus caffeine!) without overpowering the other flavors. In the future, I want to try adding them to brownies (if you’ve never tried adding a bit of coffee to your brownies you’re missing out!), protein shakes, and maybe even homemade protein bars. There’s a lot of applications for these beyond adding them to a cup of coffee. I can’t wait to play around with them some more!
Better Oats Oat Revolution Maple & Brown Sugar Oatmeal
This is my favorite oatmeal ever. I’ve actually been eating it for years, but just recently went back to it after awhile without it because I was sick of eating bars for breakfast every day. I hate making breakfast in the morning, if I can’t find something quick and simple, I’m just getting by on coffee until lunch. For this reason, it’s not uncommon for me to reach for something unhealthy for breakfast, but this oatmeal gives me a healthy option that doesn’t require much brain power or effort. I love the way this oatmeal tastes, I love that it has added flax seeds for omega-3s, but most of all I love the measuring cup pouch. After you dump the oatmeal into a bowl, you fill the pouch up to the line with water and dump it into the bowl, no need for a separate measuring cup! Simple enough for my mornings, but so good I eat it for dinner sometimes!
If you workout at home like I do, but are tired of the same boring, overly peppy or bootcamp style workouts that are popular for at-home workouts, try FitnessBlender. I found them years ago and have been working out with their videos ever since. I recently got back into working out after not having the time or space for it for the past two years, and it felt great to come back to their videos. They have over 500 free workouts on their YouTube channel, ranging from beginner to advanced, kickboxing to yoga, and a wide variety of workout formats to keep things from getting boring. They also have workout plans that you can purchase if you’d like someone to do all of the workout planning for you, but they never push you to buy their plans, and all of the videos are completely free. There’s no gimmick to FitnessBlender, and the workouts truly work. In the past I lost quite a bit of weight with FitnessBlender (I never weigh myself, so I don’t have an exact number, but I’d estimate it was 30+ lbs), and their workouts also helped me to significantly increase my endurance and strength. I’m so much healthier thanks to FitnessBlender, and it’s been so great to get to workout with them again. Seriously, I can’t recommend them highly enough, give them a try!
L’Oreal Brow Stylist Plumper Transparent Brow Gel
I hate this brow gel, plain and simple. It’s a total disappointment. Like when your parents tell you they’re getting you a puppy for Christmas, but they come home with some animatronic thing from Toys R’ Us. Yeah, that bad. Sure, it’s clear and it doesn’t flake off in weird white patches that look like dandruff, so it’s got that going for it. But ya know what else it doesn’t have? Hold. Staying power. Things a good brow gel really needs to have. The brush on this is nice and small, but the brow gel itself doesn’t hold my brow hairs in place at all, it just has some weird waxy feel that makes it seem like I put Vaseline on my eyebrows. Not cool, man, not cool. I wasn’t expecting this to be as good as Anastasia brow gel, but c’mon. Even my Essence Make Me Brow (a Benefit Gimme Brow dupe) has better hold than this, and that’s meant more so for adding color and volume to the brows, the hold it just an added bonus. This L’Oreal brow gel isn’t even worth the $6 I paid for it. Pass.
That’s it for this month! What are some of your recent favorites?
Hey friends! As you probably know by now, things have been very hectic for me lately between house hunting, packing, getting ready for a friend’s wedding, and preparing to start at a new school and a new job. Early on in the craziness, I realized that one of the tasks that slows me down the most when I’m trying to get ready is trying to decide which eye shadows I want to wear. I love changing my look up day to day, but realistically, I just don’t have that much time to put into it right now (well, that and I don’t wanna scare our realtor away with one of my glam grunge smoky eye looks, she’s pretty traditional). In order to keep myself from digging through my palettes, I put together an assortment of eye shadows in my Makeup Geek Travel Palette that would allow me to do a range of eye looks and give me everything I needed to accomplish a quick look with just one palette. Today I’ll be sharing my palette with you, as well as the logic behind my choice of shadows. Swatches are at the end of the post!
First up is MAC Blanc Type (Note: I was only able to find this in a compact as of 8/10/16, but when I purchased it back in the spring, it was available as a pro palette refill, not sure why it’s only in the compact now). I finally gave in and purchased a few MAC eye shadows after they dropped the price to $6 for the pro palette refill pans. The few MAC shadows I own were purchased specifically to fill certain gaps in my collection, which is why there are several in this palette. Blanc Type was purchased because I was searching for a matte white shade to use as a brow bone highlight and an all-over base color to tone down the stickiness from my eye primer. I couldn’t seem to find anything that was pigmented enough and applied smoothly, so I caved and grabbed Blanc Type. I’m glad I did because it’s exactly what I was looking for. In comparison to some of the other formulas I’m used to working with (Makeup Geek, Urban Decay, Anastasia Beverly Hills), it’s a lot drier, but it goes on exactly the way I want it to: pigmented enough to hide the discoloration on my eyelids, but not so pigmented that it looks as stark as if I had put White Out on my eyelids. It’s also more of a creamy bone white, which makes it work well for a matte brow bone highlight. I almost never do a look without this eye shadow, so when I was putting my palette together, this was a no-brainer.
Working from left to right, the next shadow is MAC Malt. I purchased this shadow hoping it would be a dupe for one of my all-time favorite ColourPop shades: Bill. Bill and Malt are both pinky beige shades that look extra awesome in the crease if you have green eyes. They’re not exact dupes, Bill has more of a dusty purple undertone that Malt lacks. Malt is also more brown. Both work as neutrals with a little somethin’ extra. As much as I love Bill, I wanted something I could pop into a magnetic palette so I wouldn’t always have to dig through my singles drawer for Bill. I’ve also noticed that the ColourPop formula doesn’t always play well with normal eye shadow formulas, it seems like the ColourPop shadows occasionally develop a satin texture that makes it difficult to blend them with other shadows. Although they’re not identical, I use Malt and Bill in essentially the same way: as a transition or crease color for cool-toned looks, especially with purples and taupes.
Continuing on, we have MAC Soft Brown. Soft Brown is a matte, muted warm brown. You would think this shade would be easily dupe-able, but there’s something about it that puts it in the Goldilocks zone. It’s warm without being too warm, blends easily, and is pigmented without being too bold. I reach for it on a regular basis, especially when I’m doing a more minimal look because the muted brown makes it easy to use as a “one and done” crease color. Even though it leans warm, it’s probably the most neutral matte brown in this palette, which makes it easy to pair with various other shades of brown, copper, and gold.
Next up is Urban Decay Twice Baked, which I depotted from one of my Urban Decay palettes. Twice Baked is a deep, cool-toned satin-finish brown with gold microshimmer, but I treat it as a matte. The microshimmer tends to get swept away when Twice Baked is blended, so I’m able to use it as a crease color without looking like I have glitter in my crease. I believe the formula has been updated since this shadow was made, so there may be a difference in color and/or texture. The texture of this shadow is actually what I love most about it. The pigment isn’t packed as densely into this shade as the typical Urban Decay formula, which makes it much easier to create a diffused look. That’s what earned it a space in this palette. It can be used to easily deepen up the crease or outer-v without having to spend a ton of time blending it out.
Moving on to the next row, we have Makeup Geek Creme Brulee. Creme Brulee is a matte, peachy brown. I use it as a transition when I’m doing warmer looks. It’s actually similar to MAC Soft Brown, but whereas Soft Brown leans pink, Creme Brulee leans orange, and is also a little bit lighter. it may seem odd to have both of these in the same palette, but I use them differently, so for me it makes sense. I use Soft Brown when I want to keep a look neutral, and Creme Brulee when I want to make a look warmer.
Following Creme Brulee is MAC Texture, which has quickly become one of my favorite shadows. Similar to Twice Baked, Texture is a satin-finish eye shadow with gold microshimmer that doesn’t really show up once the shadow is blended out. In comparison to Makeup Geek Creme Brulee, MAC Texture is deeper and more of a true brown with a warm yellow undertone. I love this eye shadow because I can use it as an all over lid color, blend it into the crease and add way too much mascara two coats of mascara and have a one-shadow look that perfectly walks the tightrope between sultry and everyday “pulled together” makeup. I also use this in the crease when I want a neutral gold look, or with copper tones to create a look that really brings out the golden brown flecks in the center of my eyes.
Makeup Geek Cocoa Bear is a warm matte brown that reminds of hot chocolate with a bit of cinnamon mixed in. I mostly use this as a crease color or to deepen my outer corner, sort of like the warm counterpart to Urban Decay Twice Baked. I also love to use this along the lower lash line because the warm tones really make my green eyes stand out. This and the following shadow were also the closest I could get to putting one of my beloved orange eye shadows in this palette and still have it be a neutral, everyday palette.
Now we’re getting to the more fun shadows #glitterbomb4lyfe. Urban Decay Chopper is one of my favorite copper shades, especially because of the silver microglitter. When it comes to makeup, I love mixing metals because I love the contrast. Copper tones like Chopper are even better because they bring out both the green and the gold in my eyes. Chopper + Creme Brulee + Cocoa Bear = heart eyes. Add Estee Lauder Tiger Eye on the lips and the heart eyes of warm-tone loving makeup addicts everywhere will be exploding. It puts the warm tones on its skin.
Now we take a quick jaunt over to the softer shades that I often use to highlight my inner corner. Urban Decay Virgin is a soft white satin that adds a ton of brightness to a look. It also reflects the light nicely without having any shimmer to it, which would be great for people who prefer a soft-focus inner corner highlight. Although I find this shadow kind of boring, it’s a very silky, pigmented shadow that pairs well with nearly any eye look. It could also double as a highlighter on very pale skin. I’ve used it that way a few times when I was in a hurry, but I prefer a stronger, more golden highlight most days.
While the name Missionary sounds boring, this shade from Urban Decay is actually the perfect pale taupe that should be in every neutral eye shadow lover’s collection, which makes it extra tragic that it’s not available as a single. Missionary is a highly reflective satin with gray, silver, and a touch of pale brown. For whatever reason, something about it reminds me of the moon. It doesn’t look like much when it’s swatched, but on the eyes, it’s magic. The reflectiveness of this shadow really opens up the eyes without screaming for attention the way a shimmery or glittery shade does. It enhances the eyes in a very subtle way, very ingenue or “girl next door.” This looks especially beautiful with Malt and a touch of gray-brown, such as Urban Decay Naked2 or Makeup Geek Bedrock right in the outer part of the crease.
This next shadow was featured in my favorites this month, so obviously it’s something I’ve been using a lot recently. Urban Decay Sidecar is an eye shadow that, for whatever reason, I kind of overlooked until recently. Sidecar is like Chopper’s laid back but equally beautiful cousin. Both are satins with silver microglitter, though the microglitter in Sidecar is more subtle because it is smaller and contrasts less with the cool taupe base of Sidecar. I’d pair this with Malt + Twice Baked for a low key glitter addicts anonymous glam look.
Ahh, here we have the magical, glorious, Pink Champagne from Anastasia Beverly Hills. This eye shadow makes me want to sing Lana Del Rey songs to it. If this eye shadow is not on my corpse when it goes up in flames, so help me I will haunt every surviving friend and family member I have (yes, I am going to make someone do my makeup before I’m cremated). This cool-toned pink shimmer/glitter hybrid is quite possibly the prettiest eye shadow in existence, especially if you’re a fan of glittery eye shadows. Seriously, this eye shadow is like “hey, we heard you liked glitter, so we put glitter on your glitter.” ABH calls it a titanium finish, and I definitely agree with that description. It’s like Makeup Geeks foiled eye shadows on steroids. I wear this with some variation of Creme Brulee, Soft Brown, and Texture. I’ll also add in Cocoa Bear and/or Twice Baked for added drama.
Midnight Cowboy Rides Again is the ultimate glitter bomb. There’s absolutely no way of wearing this eye shadow without having flecks of silver glitter all over your face (seriously, even after I clean the fallout off of my face with tape and do my foundation, I still get glitter all over because it rains silver glitter every time I blink), but for me, it’s worth it. It’s been reformulated since I last purchased it, and I actually have the reformulated pan in another palette, but it’s just a slightly less explosive glitter bomb. This eye shadow is in this palette partially because it’s a beautiful, fun, neutral gold that makes my heart happy, and partially because I’m trying to finish off this pan. The same goes for Grifter, which I’ll talk about at the end of this post. I wear MCRA (not to be confused with its less glittery relative, Midnight Cowboy) with any of the matte shades in this palette except for Malt.
On to the final row. Starting with Urban Decay Vert (discontinued), which actually is just in this palette as a space-filler for the most part. Vert is a green duochrome with a subtle blue flash. I used to wear it quite often, but haven’t done so much recently. However, I had a spot left open in my palette and the pan size was right, so I tossed it in here yesterday. I’d wear it with Creme Brulee and Texture on a day when I was craving color, but didn’t have time to dig through the rest of my eye shadows.
Urban Decay Cherry (discontinued) is another classic shade. I use this almost exclusively for highlighting my inner corners, especially when I’m doing a cool-toned look. Cherry is a reflective satin with a hint of pastel pink, and some silver microglitter. Cherry is comparable to Virgin, but Virgin is more neutral, doesn’t contain any microglitter, and is significantly less reflective.
I use Urban Decay Blunt as a golden alternative to Cherry. Similar to Cherry, I find that I never really reach for Blunt as a lid color, just an inner corner highlight. Blunt is a reflective pale gold satin.
The final neutral shade in this palette is Anastasia Beverly Hills Treasure (not available as a single). I use Treasure all over the lid as a less glittery alternative to Midnight Cowboy Rides Again or a more neutral golden alternative to Blunt on the inner corners. It’s slightly more reflective and less yellow than Blunt.
Rounding off the palette, we have Urban Decay Grifter (discontinued). Grifter is a silvery pale purple satin with silver glitter. It’s great for adding a bit of color without being too in-your face, which is why I had to have it in this palette to keep me from dying in a neutral eye shadow induced coma. As I mentioned before, I’m also trying to use this one up because I have another pan of the reformulated version that’s less of a glitterbomb.
That’s it for this palette. It’s not quite my perfect palette since I was limited by purpose, palette size, and pan shape, but it works great for what I need it to at the moment. I hope this post was helpful to you! Let me know which eye shadows you keep in your go-to palette or which eye shadows you reach for the most in the comments down below.
All swatches are done with a flat shader brush. Top row is over Too Faced Shadow Insurance, bottom row is on bare skin.
Left to right: Urban Decay Twice Baked || Makeup Geek Cocoa Bear || MAC Texture || Makeup Geek Creme Brulee || MAC Soft Brown || MAC Malt || Anastasia Beverly Hills Treasure || Urban Decay Blunt || Urban Decay Cherry || Urban Decay Missionary || Urban Decay Virgin || MAC Blanc Type (blends into my skin almost completely)
Left to right: MAC Malt || Anastasia Beverly Hills Treasure|| Urban Decay Blunt || Urban Decay Cherry ||Urban Decay Missionary || Urban Decay Virgin || MAC Blanc Type
Left to right: Urban Decay Twice Baked || Makeup Geek Cocoa Bear || MAC Texture || Makeup Geek Creme Brulee || MAC Soft Brown || MAC Malt || Anastasia Beverly Hills Treasure
Left side over Too Faced Shadow Insurance, right side over bare skin. All swatches done with a flat shader brush.
Top to Bottom: Urban Decay Chopper || Urban Decay Midnight Cowboy Rides Again || Anastasia Beverly Hills Pink Champagne || Urban Decay Sidecar || Urban Decay Grifter* || Urban Decay Vert
*note: There was still brown eye shadow on my brush when I did the bare skin swatch of Grifter, so refer to the left side for accurate color representation
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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
Available at: Amazon | Ulta | Target | Walmart (For my international readers, it’s also available at Boots, Superdrug, and Priceline)
That’s it for this month’s favorites! What were your favorites this month? I hope everything is going well for you!
xx Cristine *kidding, the roof has a better vantage point
Have you ever been digging though your makeup for one product only to get completely distracted by another? That’s what happened here. I was searching for ColourPop’s Hustle, intending to do a warm smokey eye, but then I saw Meow, and, well, ’tis the season for glitter, ain’t it? Meow was one of my very first ColourPop eye shadows, and as a cat-lover I pretty much had to have it. It’s a gorgeous shimmery pink/silver/purple tie dye with loads of silver glitter, which is why I don’t reach for it very often. Holy glitterbomb Batman!
I also wanted to try out one of my new lip colors from Ciaté, which I received for Christmas in a cute little trio of minis. So far, I like it, but it does that thing (I know, I know, very sophisticated term) where it starts to go a little patchy if you smack your lips together, kind of like the NYX Soft Matte Lip Creams sometimes do. The formula is a thick cream similar to the Ofra liquid lipsticks, but I would definitely say that I prefer the Ofra formula because those feel like nothing on the lips and look a little less dry, whereas with the Ciaté formula, you can definitely feel that you have something on your lips. It didn’t feel drying, just a bit heavy. I like it enough that I would probably purchase more shades, but I don’t see it ever replacing Ofra or Jeffree Star as one of my favorite liquid lipstick formulas.
I hope you all had a wonderful weekend!
Urban Decay Primer Potion (Sin)
Urban Decay Cherry
Anastasia Beverly Hills Metallic Plum
Smashbox M3 (Full Exposure Palette)
ColourPop Mixed Tape, Meow [Discontinued]
Kat Von D Tattoo Liner (Trooper)
Maybelline gel liner (Blackest Black)
Benefit Roller Lash
House of Lashes Smokey Muse lashes + HOL lash adhesive
Laura Mercier Foundation Primer Radiance
Laura Mercier Smooth Finish Flawless Fluide (Vanillé)
Maybelline Fit Me Matte + Poreless (112 Natural Ivory)
NARS Radiant Creamy Concealer (Vanilla)
Benefit Erase Paste (Fair)
Benefit Gimme Brow (Light/Medium)
Anastasia Beverly Hills Brow Powder (Medium Brown), Clear Brow Gel
When ColourPop released Girl Power as part of their fall 2015 collection, I had an instant case of heart eyes. C’mon, a vibrant red-orange eye shadow, did you seriously think that wasn’t going to make its way into my collection? I swooped it up soon after it released, and I practically drooled when I swatched it for the first time, yet it’s been sitting in my drawer for the past couple of months because I just couldn’t find the right look to incorporate it into. Last week as I was trying to come up with a way to put a spin on the classic red/green/gold combo we see so often this time of year, I realized that Girl Power was just red enough that it would still complement the green, but just orange enough that it would be a bit out of the ordinary. I’m so pleased with the way this look came out, and I’m already planning another look using Girl Power, it’s freaking gorgeous!
For the eyes, I used Urban Decay Primer Potion as a base, and Makeup Geek Creme Brulee as a transition. Then I layered and blended ColourPop’s Girl Power several times until it came up as high as I wanted it to and there were no harsh lines. Next, I applied an equal mixture of Damaged and Stash from the Urban Decay Vice 2 palette all over the lid up to the crease. I blended these together and used ColourPop Rebel to create a softer transition between the two colors. I also added Makeup Geek Charmed to the center of the eyelid to make it more reflective. For the wing, I used the Anastasia Creme Colour in Jet, and applied a pair of Yue Er Gong Zhu HW-05 lashes (I get these on ebay) using the House of Lashes dark adhesive. I wanted the bottom lash line to be a bit smokey, so I used a combo of Makeup Geek Cocoa Bear, Cherry Cola, Americano, and Creme Brulee. To finish off the eyes, I used a bit of ColourPop XO on the inner corners, then drew a line from the inner corner to about the center of my eyes using Urban Decay liquid eyeliner in the shade Eldorado, tapering it off as it got closer to the center of my eyes.
For the face I used
Maybelline Matte + Poreless shade 112, NARS Radiant Creamy Concealer in Vanilla for the face, and a combination of Benefit Erase Paste and Smashbox BB Cream For Eyes, both in the shade Fair under the eyes. I set it all with the Laura Mercier translucent powder, then used the Physician’s Formula Bronze Booster in Light to Medium to bronze up my face. For my cheeks, I used the Vasanti Himalayas blush and the ColourPop highlighter in Smokin’ Whistles. My brows are Benefit Gimme Brow in Light/Medium, Anastasia clear brow gel, and brow powder in medium brown.
With all of the holiday parties going on over the next couple of weeks, I thought it might be helpful to have a few suggestions on lip options, preferably ones that hold up well through eating and drinking.
From the left: Essence In The Nude, NYX Dolly Pink, Essence Soft Berry, ColourPop Lippie Primer (*cringe* I hate that name), and Essence Wish Me A Rose
Starting off with a good base is important if you want your lipstick to last. My favorite lip liners are by Essence. They’re creamy, pigmented, don’t tug, and they have good staying power. I also feel like they grab onto product better than some other lip liners do. I sometimes wear them on their own, or pop just a little bit of lip balm over top. They’re only $1.49 at Ulta, the only down side to these is that the shade range is quite limited (c’mon Essence, what’s a girl gotta do to get you to make more shades? I need ’em, I’m tell ya!) Shown here in In The Nude (my personal fave), Soft Berry, and Wish Me A Rose.
I also like the NYX Slim Lip Pencils (also available at Ulta, $3.49). These have a much better shade range, so if you’re wearing something out of the ordinary, NYX will be your best bet. Featured: Dolly Pink.
From the top: NYX Dolly Pink, Essence Soft Berry, Essence Wish Me A Rose, Essence In The Nude
My favorite lip primer is this one from ColourPop for $5. Apply it, let it set for a minute or two (this is important!), and it will become slightly tacky. It smooths the lips and holds color in place. This stuff is a savior when my lips are a bit chapped. I’ve gotten into the habit of wearing it almost every time I apply lipstick.
On to the lipsticks!
From left: Urban Decay F-Bomb, NARS Rikugien, Jeffree Star Unicorn Blood, Ofra Miami Fever, Bite Palomino/Violet duo, Urban Decay Bang
With the exception of NARS Rikugien, all of these are either a long-wearing formula, or create a stain on the lips that helps the color to last for hours, even through eating and drinking. I included Rikugien because I wanted to include something for those of you who only like neutral/pinky lipsticks, and paired with the Colourpop lip primer I’ve found that this lasts quite well, in addition to being very easy to touch up. Bonus, if you picked up the Sephora birthday gift this year, you probably already own it.
I tried to include a drugstore option as well, but out of the 15 or so drugstore lipsticks I own, the only one I could soundly recommend in this scenario is the Maybelline Lip Studio Color Blur ($8.99 at Ulta, currently buy one, get one 50% off) as it’s the only one I own that would hold up as long as the others I’ve listed here. I only own the shade Orange Ya Glad, a near dupe for Urban Decay Bang, which is why I didn’t include it in the swatches. Just felt a bit redundant including both, but definitely give that one a go if you’re looking for an orangey-red.
On NC15 skin. From left: NARS Rikugien, Urban Decay F-Bomb, Urban Decay Bang, Bite Palomino, Urban Decay Anarchy, Ofra Miami Fever, Jeffree Star Unicorn Blood
Next up, Urban Decay F-Bomb ($22 at Sephora or Ulta). Personally, this is my perfect red lipstick. I love the formula of the Urban Decay Revolution lipsticks (original formula, in my experience the matte formula slides around a bit more, which is odd, but *shrug*). They’re so incredibly pigmented (all of the UD swatches are only one pass, top to bottom), they’re emollient enough that they don’t dry your lips out, but not so much that they slide around, and all of the ones I’ve included in this post create a stain on the lips, meaning they will last for quite a while and fade evenly so that you don’t end up with an awkward ring around your lips. If you have similar coloring to me and/or want a classic red, try F-Bomb. If you find that most reds look weird on you, try Bang instead. If you want to stand out amidst the sea of reds, go for Anarchy.
Now on to what my friends call my “witchcraft” lipstick, Bite Palomino (available at Sephora in a double-ended mini for $14 or full size for $24) . The story behind this: we were having a birthday party for one of our friends, and over the course of the night, I blew up 20 balloons, ate two cupcakes, plus ate whatever other food we had that night, and was still wearing lipstick when I went home at 2 a.m.. Yup, witchcraft. In the swatches, this looks quite similar to Anarchy, but in person Anarchy is a brighter, almost neon blue-based pink, whereas this is more of a berry shade. Some of the Bite lipsticks tend to slide around, but I’ve never had that problem with this one.
Ofra Miami Fever ($19.90 from Ofra). I could swear Kathleen created this lipstick just for me. As if I’m not already obsessed enough with orange makeup, she went and made this lipstick which is a perfect combination of orange, brown, and a tiny bit of red. It’s basically the lipstick of my dreams in terms of both color and formula. I love the formula of Ofra’s liquid lipsticks because they’re so comfortable you almost feel as if you’re wearing nothing, and they never flake off or give me any of the other problems typically caused by liquid lipsticks. They have a mouse/cream formula which I love because it means that I don’t make a mess and end up with a super liquidy lipstick bleeding out of my lip lines or dripping down my chin. Is it just me who makes that much of a mess with liquid lipsticks? *crickets* Well, then… Anyway, these don’t actually dry down all the way, more like 90%, so they will transfer onto a cup, but through some sort of magic, they still stay on the lips. Seriously, I played beanboozled with this lipstick on and didn’t have to touch up afterwards. This shade is a limited edition collaboration with KathleenLights. As of the writing of this post, it’s still available. If you want it, grab it quick, and use Kathleen’s code for 40% off: kathleen40. The code ends in less than two weeks, so hurry!
If you need a lipstick that won’t transfer onto cups (or people!) Jeffree Star’s Velour Liquid Lipstick is the way to go, and Unicorn Blood ($18, currently only in stock at Beautylish) is a great way to wear something a little different, but still stick to the whole “red is festive” thing. This formula dries completely matte, making it basically budge-proof, the exception being any food that’s super greasy. Despite being completely matte, it still remains very comfortable and doesn’t flake off or dry out the lips. It’s a little bit on the liquidy side, which is why I, Queen of the Messy Lipstick Application, slightly prefer the Ofra formula to this one, but I would still highly recommend these if you’re looking for a matte lipstick. Thanks again to Kelly for recommending this color to me!
So what are you planning on wearing for any upcoming holiday parties? So far, I’m thinking Miami Fever for Christmas Day, Unicorn Blood for my friend’s Christmas party, and Anarchy for New Years Eve. Whatever you choose to wear, I hope you have a great time! Happy holidays!
This post contains no affiliate links and all products were purchased be me with my own money, with the exception of NARS Rikugien, which was a free gift with purchase. Disclosure is cool, yo.