Monday, November 30, 2015

November Favorites

Once again, we are at the end of a year. It's crazy that December is tomorrow. Since I'm graduating in May, I feel like time is moving way too fast for me to handle. It was pretty temperate for a New England winter a couple of weeks ago but starting yesterday, it's become freezing. There was no shortage of favorites this month, so here we go!

Breakups to Makeup Bag. Look how cute this is! I love the gold metallic writing and obviously inside there are a slew of my favorite things inside when I use it. It holds a decent amount and is very durable. It's made of vegan leather which makes it even better!
Ciate Olivia Palermo Smokey Suedes Eyeshadow Palette. Ciate, which used to just do nail products, launched a makeup line this year. And for the holidays, they have an ultra-luxe makeup collection in collab with Olivia Palermo. This eyeshadow palette is gorgeous. Most shades are shimmery, which are my favorites. There are some nudes, a dark green shade, and deep plum shade which are perfect for creating a smokey eye. It's slim and compact for travel, so it makes a perfect holiday gift for the eyeshadow lover in your life.
Revlon Ultra HD Matte Lipcolor in Sultry. It wouldn't be a favorites without a liquid lipstick right? Revlon launched these at the drugstore about a month and a half ago and I'm obsessed. They're the best drugstore liquid lipstick I've found--they do dry down matte and last a long time. I love this pinky nude color and wish they had more MLBB colors (I'm not a fan of the brighter shades).
Rimmel The Only 1 Lipstick in It's a Keeper and Naughty Nude. Rimmel always releases their new products in the UK and then they slowly trickle to the US. I got these from Feel Unique and love them. They have more of a lip balm texture, but with the pigmentation and lasting color of a lipstick. There are a ton of shades and Feel Unique usually does offers on them as well.
Hylamide Hydration BoosterGlow Booster, and Eye Serum. I had heard a little about the Hylamide Range but was super excited when I saw it at CVS (currently on sale for BOGO 50% off). I've been using the glow serum in the morning to add radiance to my skin and the re-hydration serum at night to add hydration (duh). I use the eye serum morning and night and I'm very impressed with how it hydrates and slightly diminishes my under-eye circle. It's relatively affordable skincare that delivers high-end results.

Friday, November 27, 2015

Urban Decay Gwen Stefani Palette

Happy Black Friday! I'm writing this post on Thanksgiving but hopefully by the time this goes up, I'll have a new computer. I usually do most of my shopping online but my computer is on its last legs. Best Buy is having amazing deals on Macbooks, so I'm waking up at 6:30 am (which would have already happened. It's weird writing to the future). But I digress, on to the product review!

Unless you've been living under a rock, if you care even a little about makeup, you know that Gwen Stefani collaborated with Urban Decay to create a limited-edition palette of her favorite shades. It launched on Urban on Sunday and was available to Sephora VIB Rouge just on Tuesday, which is when I picked it up. It's launching online and in-stores for everyone in Ulta and Sephora on 12/1, so you don't have to wait long to get your hands on it.

The Urban Decay Gwen Stefani Palette features 15 eyeshadows, which are all a decent size. I have a few individual UD eyeshadows but most of them I own are in the Naked Palettes. This palette is obviously more square, and comes housed in a beautiful black and gold case that Gwen designed herself. It's very sturdy and has a large mirror. I'm taking the shade descriptions straight from the Sephora website, as I'm horrible at describing them myself.

"This palette contains: 
- 15 x 0.04 oz Eye shadow in Blonde (pale beige/pink iridescent shift), Bathwater (pale beige with gold pearl), Skimp (pale nude satin), Steady (medium rose/metallic gold shift), Punk (reddish brown matte), Baby (cool metallic rose), Anaheim (light taupe-brown matte), Stark (nude-pink matte), Zone (medium brown matte), Serious (smoky gray with iridescent floating pearl), Pop (pale coral with iridescent sparkle), Harajuku (metallic blue-pink/iridescent micro-shimmer), Danger (deep metallic royal blue/blue micro-sparkle), 1987 (bright metallic yellow-gold), Blackout (blackest black matte)"

There are actually a fair amount of matte shades, which are the smoothest of them. A few of the glitter shades are a bit chunky but nothing horrible. I was intimidated by the bright pink shade but as you can see in the swatches, it's a lot lighter than I thought. The navy blue and gold shades are some of my favorite, as they're so unique and pigmented. Overall, I think there are a great variety of shadows and you can do a neutral or more smoky look. This is a must for fans of UD and Gwen Stefani. I'd love to see more celebrity collaborations in the future!

I hope those who celebrate Thanksgiving enjoyed their day and are taking advantage of the amazing sales this weekend! Have you tried this palette or are you thinking of buying it? Let me know!

Monday, November 23, 2015

Kiko Cosmic Starlets Collection

Kiko is without a doubt one of my favorite affordable makeup brands. It used to only be available in Europe but over the summer, they launched an online store and a few retail locations. Their limited editions are especially fantastic, and I had been waiting for a new one to launch since it had been a few months. Just last week, the limited edition holiday Cosmic Starlets collection launched. There are a variety of giftsets, from lip and nail polish duos to some fragrances. I ordered a few of the items online, so here are my first impressions.

Moon Dust Face Powder in Mysterious Pink and Fairy Mauve. Baked blushes/highlighters are one of my weaknesses. This collection in general is slightly more expensive for Kiko, but as you can see above, you get quite a lot of product. The collection features red futuristic packaging, and I'm very impressed by these two products. They are pigmented, finely milled, and don't emphasize pores. I was impressed with how easily they were able to blend into my skin, and both colors are perfect for winter.
Shining Star Lip Lacquer in Cool Mauve. Although it looks like a nail polish, this is actually a lip gloss! It's a gorgeous MLBB nude with a hint of shimmer and it's so moisturizing. It's enriched with Vitamin E, which helps dry lips (perfect for winter). There is no intense taste or scent to it, which makes it a great find for those who are sensitive to certain scents. I wish they had more than four shades or I would certainly get more!
Temptress Lip Set in Misty Rose. I guess since this has the name "Rose" I expected it to be more, well, rosy. It's quite nude and very light compared to what I normally wear. The other colors were a bit too bold for me. I like the lip liner better, as I think the lip shade might be too light. Fortunately, it's sheer enough that one layer makes it a more wearable shade for me. It might be a good base to a lipgloss though. If you like light peach nude shades, this one is for you.

L-R: Mysterious Pink, Fairy Mauve, Misty Rose Lipliner, Misty Rose Lipstick, Cool Mauve

I know this collection is incredibly new to the US, but I highly recommend the blushes and lip lacquers! Have you tried anything from it?

Friday, November 20, 2015

Tarte Tarteist Contour Palette First Impressions

By now, I'm kind of sick of seeing the contour palette trend everywhere. I feel like I'm pretty satisfied with the ones I do own, but that all changed when news of this new Tarte Tarteist Contour Palette popped up all over my social media. I've used one Tarte bronzer and have been pretty impressed, so I was definitely curious with this one. In addition to this new palette for spring, Tarte has released a gorgeous new eyeshadow palette (on my Holiday list) and brush. Currently, this palette is only available for Sephora VIB Rouge/VIB members but should be launching for the general public soon. Let's take a look!

I love the packaging. A circular compact is new and fresh, plus it's slim enough for travel and the mirror is huge. Shade 1 is a light highlight that doesn't have any shimmer but can be used to brighten. Shade 2 is a yellow correcting powder that I especially love to set undereye concealer. Shades 3 and 4 are contouring shades that can be used for a variety of skintones--obviously shade 4 is the darker one, so creates a more defined contour. I love that they've included a blush shade "Accentuate" that's a rosy plummy shade, so you can really do your whole face with this. The center shade is called "Glow" which is a shimmer highlight, although it doesn't really show up on my skin. Those who like a very subtle highlight might like this, but it's my least favorite shade of the palette.

L-R: Glow, Highlight, Correct, Contour-Soft, Contour-Deep, Accentuate

I've only worn this once, but I think if you're a beginner at contouring, or want a palette that you can use to finish your whole face, this one is for you. Fortunately, I'm lucky to have access to VIB Rouge products ahead of time, but I know it can be disappointing for those who aren't a part of it. The availably is really my only complaint about the product, so it's a winner in my book!

Monday, November 16, 2015

Tom Ford Highlighting Duo Dupe

Is it just me, or is there nothing better than finding a good dupe? I am obsessed with highlighters and use any excuse to get my hands on one. I recently got this one on the left from Vasanti and noticed it was quite similar to the super duper expensive Tom Ford Illuminating Duo.

Tom Ford Skin Illuminating Powder Duo. Tom Ford is crazy expensive--their products are extremely luxurious but are usually not worth it. This is the second item I have purchased from him, and I know, it's ridiculously priced. But this was a summer splurge and something I can use for a very, very long time. Each highlighter is quite large, as I find that sometimes when you buy duos they are smaller than normal. The packaging is only the best from Tom Ford--sturdy yet slim enough for travel with a large mirror. The top cream shade is softly illuminating and not frosty at all. The bottom shade is more of a golden champagne that would show up wonderfully on dark skin tones, or fairer skin tones can use it with a lighter hand. They melt into skin seamlessly, giving you a glow that doesn't look like sweat. The top shade is supposed to give a "luminous glow of daylight" and the bottom shade "is like the romantic illusion of candlelight".

Vansanti See The Light Powder Duo. Upon first impression, obviously there is less product (what you would typically expect from a powder duo). But $29 compared to $80 makes it worth it, as these are still sizable enough that your brush can pick up each shade individually. These aren't as creamy as the Tom Ford duo, and even from the swatches on my arm, you can see they don't sink into the skin as effortlessly. But they aren't chalky or pore-emphasizing, so they're still quite good. The white shade is more similar, and maybe even more pigmented. The gold shade is certainly more gold as opposed to a pinky-champagne undertone. They're still natural and a much more affordable option if you live highlighter duos.

L-R: Tom Ford Top Shade and Bottom Shade, Vasanti Top Shade and Bottom Shade

Overall, although the Tom Ford is a luxurious product unlike any other, the Vasanti Duo is a much more affordable alternative. I would say if you want to splurge for an amazing product, go for the Tom Ford one now as it's limited edition and sold out almost everywhere. But if you don't care about spending as much and still want a nice highlight duo, the Vasanti one will not disappoint.

Friday, November 13, 2015

Need a New Lip Favorite?

Holiday season launches are coming at us full force. It seems like every other day I find out about a new makeup launch and I cannot resist, especially lip products since they are on the less expensive end of things. I had been anticipating a few of these launches for a little while, so saved up for those. Here are the six I've recently acquired and whether you loved nudes or reds, I'm sure you'll find a new favorite in one of them.

Jeffree Star Androgyny and Doll Parts. I've never tried a Jeffree Star liquid lipstick, although I've heard good things. It was mostly because the colors were a bit too crazy for me, but when I saw these limited edition holiday shade launches, they looked a lot more up my alley. I'm obsessed with Androgyny, which is unfortunately sold out--it's a beautiful mauve shade with a hint of plum. Doll Parts is pulling really pink in my swatch below, and although it isn't as bright as it is below, it's still a little out of my comfort zone. I prefer to apply this one more sparingly.
Dose of Colors Bare With Me and Brick. Dose of Colors are a great brand (I love the Kylie Jenner-esque shade Stone) and was excited when these launched. Bare With Me is a brand new neutral shade, while Brick is a returning deep wine shade. They don't have a tacky feel and have pretty good lasting time, although I think the Jeffree Star ones last a bit longer.
Smith & Cult The Shining Lip Lacquer in Now Kitsch and One Word Chorus. Although Smith & Cult are known for their nail polishes (which I've never tried because nail polishes are one item I don't believe are worth splurging on), their lip glosses are a fairly new launch. They have a variety of shades and as you can see below, there is decent pigmentation. Of course, since they are a gloss, they do apply more sheer and are more moisturizing than a liquid lipstick. This means they don't last as long but I love the color selection and shine they have once on the lips.

L-R: Androgyny, Now Kith, Barely There, Doll Parts, Brick, One Word Chorus

With the holidays only a month and a half away (where has the time gone?), it's time to treat yourself with a new lippie. Whether you're more of a liquid lipstick or gloss person, hopefully one of these shades entices you and becomes your new favorite. Let me know if you've tried anything from any of these lines!

Monday, November 9, 2015


As I'm coming up on a year and a half of working with my blog, I thought it was time to do some reflections. I started this blog as a way to fill some time at a job that (fortunately) allowed me to pretty much do whatever I wanted. I was able to post everyday, although I didn't have many followers. As time passed, I was able to find the blogs I consistently read and build relationships with other bloggers.

It's hard to get motivated to write during the school year. It's not that I'm overwhelmed with work, but sometimes I feel like "Who's even reading my blog?" "Why does it matter?". Although I've missed a few days, I try pretty consistently to post Mondays and Fridays. Sometimes I put a lot of effort into the posts, whereas others I can bang out in ten minutes. I've also been traveling a lot this semester, which makes it harder to write posts.

I admire full-time bloggers who have turned their passions into careers. Unfortunately, I'm still not at a stage where brands are wanting to work with me and send me products. This means that I spend a lot of money on beauty products. Sometimes they are for the blog, and mostly I'm just influenced by other people. I wish that I could spend more time on this blog and have partnerships with brands, but unfortunately that just hasn't happened. The makeup community in Vermont is dismal, so writing these posts and talking to others is my way of staying connected.

I enjoy writing more personal pieces, and sometimes want to pour my heart out into the internet, but I'm a lot more of a private person in that sense. Although I know some of my friends read these pieces, a lot of people I don't know read them as well (but if I'm being honest, maybe it's the people I know who read these that I don't want knowing personal information). And that's just not the main audience that reads these.

Do I know what I'm doing when I graduate in about 6 months? Do I have any idea where I want to live? The answer to both of these is a resounding no. I have so many ideas and things I want out of life, but as John Lennon says, "Life happens when we're busy making plans". So I'm slowly accepting that although soon I will begin applying to a bunch of jobs that I've already spent time looking for, I realize that where I live is less important than finding a satisfying job. This will 99% not be the job I stick with, but after having moved over 6 times in the past four years with just as many job shifts, I'm ready for some stability. After living in Vermont for four years, I know I need and crave a bigger city.

Sorry for the randomness of my post, but if you've been following my blog for a while, I thought you would like to stay somewhat updated in my life and where I'm at right now. And if you don't care, I'm surprised you even made it this far and more makeup posts will be coming up soon.

Friday, November 6, 2015

Intro to H&M Beauty

If I'm not mistaken, pretty much the entire community was blown away by H & M's gigantic new 700-piece beauty line. Everything is under $15 and there's a huge variety of products. I took the plunge and bought a few things online, but then when I visited my sister in Washington DC, they had the actual displays. It was like a mini Sephora. I know only certain stores have the actual displays, so it's worth a call to your local one to see if they got it. I purchased some of these items as a gift for a friend, but she was kind enough to let me include them in the first impressions before I gave them to her.

Pressed Powder Blush in Deep Brown and Tawny Peach. These have a nice satin matte finish--they aren't super super matte but there's no shimmer at all. I picked up two neutral shades and the brown shade could even be used as a very light contour.
Perfectionist Finishing Powder in Ivory. For some reason, I can't find the color I got online (they are out of a few things) but this is a soft, lightweight powder that reminds me of a slightly fuller coverage Charlotte Tilbury powder.
Natural Bronzer in Solar Flair. For only $10, the packaging is so minimalist chic that I really admire what they've done. This powder is soft and the most natural/cool toned bronzer of the four.
Concealer Pen in Vanilla Ivory. This isn't quite the Touche Eclat dupe I was hoping for, as it settles into fine lines a bit more, but is still a worthy contender. I chose the peachy shade to counteract dark circles.
Concealer Palette in Light/Medium. I love these concealer kits with multiple shades, as I often do my friends' makeup and these work for a variety of skintones and needs. I was very impressed with this one's creamy consistency.
Liquid Eyeliner. Although this is a nice jet deep black shade, I wish I had picked up the pen version as I find brush ones harder to maneuver. The plus is that they do often have a deeper application of the actual product.
Aubergine Dream Eyeshadow Palette. Unfortunately none of the eyeshadow palettes are online, but they had a great selection of at least six or seven. I chose the more purple shade, as that's one of my favorite wearable colors. Most of the colors are decently pigmented and last all day.
*I haven't actually worn any of the lip formulas for an extended period of time yet, so can only give first impressions.
So Cocoa Cream Lipstick. Vampy lips are perfect for fall, especially in a hydrating medium/full coverage cream formula.
Lip Pencil in Au Natural and Choc Therapy. Pinky neutral lipliners are one of my weakness, especially since they're usually one of the more inexpensive items in a collection. Au Natural reminds me of Charlotte Tilbury's Pillowtalk and they're both non-drying.
Cream Lip Stain in Storyteller. I guess this different than a liquid lipstick as it dries down to more of a stain? I also picked up a liquid lipstick, so I'll have to test out the formula differences.
Lush Lip Vinyl in Chic Chock. Oops didn't realize that they even have three types of liquid lip formulas--a lip vinyl, lipstick, and stain. This one is more magenta than Storyteller.
Lip Cream in Screen Siren. I picked up this color because it's a bit out of my comfort zone--it's a slightly darker red but definitely more bold than what I'm used to.

Unfortunately, it looks like they are sold out of a lot of products online, especially the lip ones. Hopefully they restock soon but it's definitely worth a look in store if you are fortunate to live near one. Let me know if you want any in-depth reviews/swatches of any products, but based on first impressions, I'm quite impressed. It's hard to find an affordable brand with a variety of colors/products with great packaging and H&M does it all.

Monday, November 2, 2015

New York Haul (Kiko, Ulta, And More)

Two weeks ago, I went on an unexpected weekend trip to New York with my boyfriend. Although the reason for the trip was not under the best circumstances, he knows I love makeup and was so kind as to tag along as I scoured beauty stores. I'll show you what I got at various stores, with some old favorites and new discoveries of places to shop. I've only used the products maybe once or twice, so I'll be giving short reviews (otherwise this post would be a novel), but let me know if you want to see more in-depth reviews of anything.

On our way there, we stopped at an Ulta in Albany. I love Ulta because there are none super close to my house, and their online service is not the best, so I always enjoy going to the stores.

Essence Long Lasting Cool Nude Lipstick. I think Essence lipsticks are great for the price, and this new cool mauve shade was calling my name.
Essence Soo Glow! Cream Highlight. For some reason, I can't find this on the Ulta website, which is why I was surprised when I saw it on the display. I'm a sucker for highlighters and you can't beat a $4 cream-to-powder one.
Essence Mosaic Compact Powder. I thought this was a bronzer, but it swatches more like a highlight. It's so sheer that it could be used as an all-over powder, but it is pretty shimmery, so watch out for that.
NYX Highlight and Contour Palette. 8 different shades for less than $30? I've found NYX products to be generally good quality, but so far the bronzers are out-performing the highlighters.
Laura Geller Inkcredible 5 Piece Eyeliner Set. This one grabbed me right by the cash register. You get 5 full-sized eyeliners for less than $30, and there's a great shade variety with all of them super long lasting on the waterline.

Our next endeavor was the Palisades Mall, where I was finally able to go to a Kiko store for the first time and also discover Korean makeup/skin brand Skinfood. The associate Lucy was very helpful and friendly, and even threw in two free black honey masks (which are amazing). Unfortunately they don't have an online website so I've tried to find the items on Amazon.

Rebel Bouncy Blush in Treasure Rose. This is my favorite limited collection I've seen in a while, so I wanted to pick up a few more things in the gorgeous rose gold packaging. This isn't really a spongy blush but does have a softer texture.
Bronzer Powder in 102. Again, I'm so impressed with how inexpensive yet good quality their products are. This isn't anything super special, but I just wanted a slightly shimmery darker bronzer.
Intensely Lavish Lipstick in 02 Mauve. Another product from the Rebel Romantic collection that I already own in another shade and love the creamy, hydrating formula.
Soft Touch Blush in 105 Dark Rose. Okay now this was a total impulse buy--I was just so happy to be in Kiko I was grabbing things left and right. But it's a solid blush that wears pretty well and is a darker neutral color.
Pencil Lip Gloss in 12. (See above explanation except it's a lip pencil not a blush).

Skinfood Salmon Dark Circle Concealer. I can't get enough of products that will help me cover up my dark circles, so this salmon-shade works wonders before I apply concealer.
Rose Essence Blusher. A very creamy blush that sinks into skin. I got a more coral shade that seemed scary when I swatched it but actually blended to be one of the less intense colors.
Skinfood Black Bean Lip Pencil 03. I had no idea this lip pencil contained black bean extracts, or what that even does, but it's a rosy-peach retractable lip liner.

Lastly, in a mall near my boyfriend's house, we discovered a random makeup store called Flormar. They started in Italy and are relatively new to the US. The store reminded me of MAC, but with Kiko pricing. I don't think you can order directly from the store online, but there are a few of them around, so I recommend checking it out.
Puffy Eyeshadow in Lily Fields. I couldn't even find this on the english website. The packaging is so big that originally I thought it was a highlighter (similar size to MAC Mineralize Skinfinishes), so I gravitated towards the glowy champagne color.
Terracotta Blush in 44. I'm a sucker for anything baked, and these are definitely dupes for the MAC Mineralize Baked Blushes or Laura Geller ones.

I know that was a lot, so thank you for sticking with me if you've read all the way to the bottom!