June 30, 2014
JUNE MAKEUP FAVORITES

JUNE MAKEUP FAVORITES



You know what time it is, don't you? The last day of June is upon us and let's just say this month has spared me no time to even catch my breath. It has flown by and been a super busy one, which has landed me in a bit of a routine in terms of my makeup for the first time in quite a while. The months prior I have definitely found myself trying out lots of different bits, reaching for different bases more days out of the week than not, and testing lots of new products. With so much to do though, I have found what I'm loving right now in the warmer months and have had these few products on rotation, switching it up on the weekends.

Since it is the Summer (finally) I have been taking advantage of the lighter base offerings and letting my skin breathe through a bit. My skin has been in great condition thanks to a certain few skincare items worthy of a mention soon, so I am letting my natural glow shine through more than I would normally. I have been reaching for the Jouer Matte Moisture Tint on most days because it has a decent amount of coverage and is the only tinted moisturizer that gives me a matte and long lasting finish, which is what I look for during the week. On the weekends, on the other hand, my base of choice has been the Chanel Les Beiges All-In-One Healthy Glow Fluid which I would describe as a dewy and hydrating light-coverage foundation. The Chanel base contains a skincare complex including hyaluronic acid, which leaves the skin super moisturized and plump - so if you're an oily skinned gal I would recommend skipping your morning moisturizer prior to using this. To cut down on the shiny finish just a bit I have been dusting the Chanel Les Beiges Healthy Glow Powder along my t-zone and cheeks, which also gives an extra bit of staying power. It will come as no surprise that I have been using my Nars Pro-Prime Smudgeproof Eyeshadow Base almost everyday now - as I love that it doesn't give the chalky finish that some others do - making it a great basic product for everyday wear. Something new I have been loving has made its way into my everyday brow routine: it's the NYX Eyebrow Marker, which is a cheapie alternative to other expensive markers that, for me and my super-dark brows, do the exact same thing. I like how precise you can be with brow markers, the only down-side to them is that the lack of wax in the product makes them not-so-waterproof. That's okay…we have other products for that.

For eyes, this month, I have to admit I have been stuck in a neutral and bronzed lid rut. For my skin tone this is the shade that is the most 'swipe n' go' worthy and my oily lids tend to respond best to creamy formulas during the warmer months. My two most used would have to be the By Terry Ombre Blackstar in Misty Rock, which is a icy bronzed plum and the Chanel Illusion D'Ombres in Mirage, a rusty multi-dimensional metallic brown. For super lazy days I have been using my Naked Basics palette, paying special attention to the shade Naked 2 for just a sheer wash of lid-defining color. Another item worthy of mention is the Nars Eye Paint in Baalbek which is a blackened bronze that I have been obsessed with using as an eyeliner in conjunction with the Nars #47 Angled Eyeliner Brush for a super thin and perfectly defined line.

Because I have been stuck in an eyeshadow rut this month I was compensating for that by using more pink toned lip and cheek products for a bit of a healthy glow. I really love the look of muted and glowy pinks with shimmering bronzed lids as it looks so radiant and effortless. For daytime lips I have fallen back in love with my Nars Sheer Lipstick in Dolce Vita, which is one of the closest lipstick shades I have found to my natural lip color in a sheer and moisturizing formula. I used to wear this almost everyday, and now I remember why - I will not be putting this one away again! One I love to reach for to give me a summery coral pink lip is the Dior Addict Fluid Stick in the shade Rieuse - a glossy lip color with incredible staying power and possibly the best lip product packaging ever. A true pink, Nars Satin Lip Pencil in Villa Lante, is having its moment in the spotlight this month. Described as a 'cherry blossom pink' by Nars, I find that this can be worn sheer with a slick of gloss for a perky everyday pink, or layered up for a full on Pepto pink pout. I can't forget to touch on the cheek category this month as I am getting back into wearing blush on a daily basis, and the Jouer Tint in Honeysuckle has been on my cheeks more than any other product. It is a non-sticky cream blush in a honeyed pink shade that I think would be suitable for most skin tones. Little bonus - the color also looks awesome on the lips so this is a great product for travel.

What products have you guys been loving this month? Do we share any favorites? 
June 27, 2014
THE MAC EYE-BRUSH KIT

THE MAC EYE-BRUSH KIT



Brush newbs, unite. I put off buying myself proper brushes for the longest time; it was the section of the makeup counter that I would always avoid. I would buy endless eyeshadows and blushes, and in my mind, why would I purchase a brush when I could add another shade to the stash for the same amount of money? But ladies, if you have a similar affliction, listen up - why are we investing in so many products that we improperly use because we neglect to buy the right tools? I am telling you, firsthand, I have been turned to the brush side. After all, an artist is nothing without her paint brushes…

The eye category is where I have seen the biggest improvement in application due to my latest brush investments. Naturally, after hours slumped over my laptop watching the likes of Lisa Eldrige and Charlotte Tilbury dust their way to perfect 'natural' smokey eyes with the help of their MAC 217 brushes, it was at the top of my list. This brush is the ultimate blending and shading tool for cream or powder eye products and is the best for defining that outer 'v' when you are smoking things up a bit. Once you get your hands on this you will not want to be without it again. If you only want to invest in one brush, look no further, as this baby can essentially do it all (and pick up quite a lot of pigment) as long as you practice up on your skills a bit. I have already picked up a second, and a third is on the list, because having an extra clean brush lying around has been quite the lifesaver if I don't have the time to wash and let dry my other. 

After some additional blog perusing I settled on three other brushes to help me keep my blending skills in check. The MAC 228 brush is the mini shader, and is used for a more precise shading result if you are working with creamy or emollient products. If you want uber blended lids, a defined crease, and a seamlessly airbrushed shadow application, then MAC 224 brush is for you. I think that this is my second most used brush next to the 217; ever since I picked mine up I have relied on it for blending and it works like a dream. The last one I snatched up was the MAC 239 eye shader brush whose soft and dense bristles allow you to pack on the pigment prior to blending. If you have any loose high-pigment products that you aren't sure how to work with (nightmares of fallout scaring you away), then this is for you. 

What eye brushes do you guys use to shade your shadow and blend to perfect airbrushed lids? 
June 26, 2014
TOM FORD LIP COLOR SPANISH PINK

TOM FORD LIP COLOR SPANISH PINK


Can we just all gather around and ogle at the beauties that are Tom Ford lipsticks? Take a moment….
So now that that's over with, I wanted to introduce to you this new little friend of mine. These lip colors are encased in sleek mahogany (and gold!) packaging and oh, produce that smooth clicking sound when they are  closed; it's safe to say it's love. Me and Tom are starting this new affair off on the right foot, might I add. I have held off on buying one of these for some time and as you can see, I finally caved. But, I pat myself on the back for lasting this long - and now I wish I hadn't. To tell you the truth I am such a sucker for good marketing that I actually picked this color up to take with me on an upcoming trip I am taking. Yes, you guessed right - I'm heading off to Spain. 

I used to get to travel a bit more often and now with a full time 'grown-up' job, I can't quite steal away as many vacation days as I could during my college years. Oh, the good old days. I am leaving three weeks from today and have to say I am getting very excited, and partially because I love packing up my beauty bits. So anyway, I digress; but let us not forget the reason why we are here. Tom Ford Spanish Pink Lip Color is perhaps the most perfect slightly peachy muted pink-nude (quite a mouthful) shade of lipstick that I am yet to come across. It smells amazing, like cocoa butter and vanilla, is incredibly soft and moisturizing on the lips yet has some definite staying power as opposed to some other smooth lippies I own. It is not quite as glossy as, say, a Chanel Rouge Coco Shine lipstick, but it packs a much more creamy punch and I found one slick lasted about 3-4 hours before fading at all. Although a bit pricier than I would like it to be, it is definitely a nice treat and Tom does bring it in the quality category. This color is perfect for my trip - and for Summer, with just the right amount of muted coral to make it seasonally appropriate.

Have you guys ever tried the Tom Ford lip colors? If so, which color - I am looking into which shade to get my hands on next! 
June 24, 2014
UNDETECTABLE FULL COVERAGE FOUNDATIONS

UNDETECTABLE FULL COVERAGE FOUNDATIONS


So you want some fuller coverage, eh? It's okay to admit…we all look for something that can give us a more flawless look now and again. It seems sometimes we are brainwashed into believing that only bases that contain the words 'healthy, sheer, or moisturizer' in their titles are worthy of slapping on, but that is not the case. What about those days when 'sheer' just isn't going to cut it and, well, you just need to look as close to damn perfect as possible? We all have our reasons for days like that, and through trial and error I have arrived at three that flawlessly cover, mattify, and induce drool worthy  complexion goodness. 

Diorskin Forever Flawless Perfection Wear Makeup // A hefty SPF 25 and skincare induced fluid that provides a flawless second skin finish that leans on the more matte side of things. In my personal experience this is one that can be layered up to really hide everything, but I like to use it sheered out and stippled into the skin with a Beauty Blender (cheaters guide to perfect skin). I would recommend this one to the oiler skinned gals who are looking for a long lasting foundation to even things out while keeping an overall nice balance.

Bobbi Brown Long-Wear Even Finish Foundation // This is a gel based foundation infused with Glycerin and Shea Butter to ensure that the skin stays looking dewy and fresh all day, while providing medium to full coverage. I would say this is one of the more dewy long-lasting foundations that I have come across, making it a great day time option, as it blends in with the skin instead of resting on top - which tends to make things look cakey. In my opinion, it wears very comfortably and feels similar to the finish of a tinted moisturizer (with more staying power), and boasts a nice SPF 15. I find that I can really sheer this out when I'm having a good skin day which is great, and the shade Sand is what I gravitate toward in any of Bobbi's products, which is my perfect match, and this product stays true to that as well. 

Giorgio Armani Luminous Silk Foundation // I am not the first, nor will I be the last to tell you how amazing this foundation is. To me, the finish mimics the feeling of my natural skin almost to the tee, sitting somewhere between matte and dewy and giving pretty much the exact amount of coverage you want. Yep, I mean that - it can be blended in with fingers or a trusty Beauty Blender for an everyday natural coverage, or swept on with a foundation brush for heftier, 'night-out' appropriate coverage. The staying power is there with a silky smooth complexion that lasts, not to mention it contains no SPF making it an event favorite of celeb makeup artists. Not that I have any paparazzi on my tail, but hey. The shade range is amazing (21 options) and I have found my exact match in shade #4, which is a rarity for me. Yes, it's the priciest of the bunch - but, I have had mine for months and have yet to even use enough to see a gap. 

Have you guys tried any of these foundations? Do you reach for anything other than this when you want a fuller coverage finish? 
June 22, 2014
EXTRA CARE SUNDAYS

EXTRA CARE SUNDAYS


I don't know about you guys, but for me Sundays are all about taking a bit of extra time to care for myself. I tend to grab some of my favorite products that I don't use on an everyday basis, and take them with me to the bath. I start the process off by grabbing whatever book I'm currently reading, light up my candle of choice, which is Diptyque Ambre, to aid in relaxation and add a bit of ambience. I then fill up my tub and while the water is still running I throw in either some bath salts, oils, or a bath bomb. Right now I am loving the Lush Floating Island Luxury Bath Melt, as you only need to use about a third of this for a creamy luxurious bath. Before I get into the tub I coat my face in a pore cleansing mask and the Kiehl's Rare Earth Deep Pore Cleansing Mask is my favorite because it isn't one of those that bring out problems that didn't exist beforehand, if you know what I mean. This one is super softening and gives you a nice, deep clean that you can really feel. After ten minutes or so, I wash my mask off and let my skin breathe for a moment while treating my scalp and hair to the Lush Big Shampoo - a volumizing shampoo with actual sea salt flakes suspended in a gel like substance that lathers up really nicely and smells amazing. I then use the L'Occitane Shower Oil as my body wash for an extra dose of moisture and for it's delicious scent - it reminds me of an almond marzipan dessert I loved while in Sicily - I'm sorry if I'm arousing your sweet tooth! Before I get out of the bath I will apply my second mask, one to help slough off the dead skin cells and give a boost of glow, like the Elemis Papaya Enzyme Peel. If only I had the time to do this more than once a week...

What do you guys do to wind down on Sundays and enjoy a bit of at home R&R?
June 20, 2014
FIVE THINGS YOU NEED TO BE A SUNBATHING BEAUTY

FIVE THINGS YOU NEED TO BE A SUNBATHING BEAUTY


It just so happens that I have this lovely sunshine laden Friday off from work, and the first thing I thought to do was jaunt over to my lake house to get some fresh air and downtime. Whenever I am going to be outside and there is the possibility of my makeup getting wet, or better yet, soaked - I am very careful as to what products I reach for. There are very few items that I can dab on that don't run the risk of streaming down my cheeks when met with the spray of lake water, but I have cobbled together a few that I have found to be trusty in such conditions. 

For the base, after I use my usual sunscreen, I reach for something with light coverage and a bit of extra SPF, like the Tarte BB Tinted Treatment 12 Hour Primer. While on the tin this is labeled as a primer, the shade 'Light' works to give me just enough coverage - acting as a pore smoothing tinted moisturizer of sorts. If you need a bit of extra concealer, say, you have a spot that needs covering, I recommend pinpoint concealing with the Kevyn Aucoin Sensual Skin Enhancer, as this stuff is known for its uber long lasting ways. When I'm out in the sun for an extended amount of time I don't normally use any additional powder products like blush or highlighter, as they run the risk of looking cakey and smeary, and I don't want to have to worry about my makeup. Ain't nobody got time for that and all...

I tend to lay off eye makeup more than anything because who wants extra heaps of eyeliner or shadow when there is potential for that disastrous skunk eye look? Not me. So the eyes only get attention in the lash department and that is with a bit of a curl and a slick of my trusty Maybelline Full 'N Soft Waterproof mascara that holds a curl like a dream. To finish off the look I like to paint my pucker with something sheer and pink or peach toned, like this YSL Volupte Sheer Candy in #9 Cool Guava. Now that I have the whole no makeup, makeup 'beach-proof edition' thing down pat I can enjoy my day in the sun. What products do you guys tend to reach for for sun-proof beauty?
June 19, 2014
SO YOU'RE LOOKING FOR A CHEAP MASCARA...

SO YOU'RE LOOKING FOR A CHEAP MASCARA...


Girls, I've got you covered. The one makeup category where I don't feel like I have to make sacrifices to get a bargain is mascara (and occasionally lip products). In fact, I pretty much prefer drugstore mascaras entirely; seeing as I go through them so fast or they dry up before I get the chance to, I don't feel like it's worth it to spend $30.00 per tube. After years of testing and pilfering the aisles of my local CVS for mascaras that tick all the boxes, I have pulled together a roundup of lash-sorting wands that produce whatever result floats your boat.

For Waterproof Lashes // Maybelline's Full 'N Soft Waterproof mascara combs through lashes, giving volume at the root courtesy of its big bristled wand and separates lashes for a natural look. This magic potion will not budge or flake off if you are looking for a good one to wear to the beach or pool, and best of all, holds a curl like nobody's business.

For Voluminous Lashes // L'Oreal Paris Mega Volume Miss Manga mascara gives the look of super thick, voluminous doll-like lashes. I personally love how the wiggly wand can be moved around so that you can really get the product right down to the roots. It also can be layered up for a very spidery lash look, but upon first application there aren't any clumps which, for me, is a bonus.

For Natural Lashes // Covergirl Professional Natural Lash Clear mascara is the one I tend to grab either for the beach or to use as a primer for a separating and lengthening effect. This is a hypoallergenic clear mascara that gives the look of glossy yet slightly defined lashes and works great as a brow gel too. Who doesn't love a good two-in-one?

For Lengthy Lashes // L'Oreal Telescopic Shocking Extensions mascara is probably my most used and repurchased drug store mascara of all time. I love the plastic bristles as they comb through and separate each last for the ultimate lengthening effect. What I also love about this is that it the brush never picks up too much product which helps in terms of preventing clumps and depositing just the right amount on each lash. I use multiple coats of this when I want my lashes super long and defined, and still no clumps or flakes in sight!

The best part - you can purchase any of these for under $10, now that's a beauty steal.
June 18, 2014
TRAVEL NAKED

TRAVEL NAKED


Ohhh Urban Decay. Back in middle school when most girls were whispering about boys and chattering about what color rubber bands to change their braces to, my makeup obsession was in its birthing stage. It all started when my dad would travel to Paris for work and bring me home these little Sephora 'Girl' brand makeup palettes and bath goodies. The next phase was Urban Decay; I was obsessed with their coin shaped eyeshadows and the silver glitters from my favorite shade Midnight Cowboy graced my under-eye area for most of the eighth grade. Damn you, fallout...

Needless to say, Urban Decay has grown up quite a lot since those days, and I like to think my taste in makeup has as well. Ever since the launch of their first Naked palette, I am happy to say that I have fallen back in love with an old favorite brand. The continuation of their Naked line has the products reaching cult status and I have recently added a few new pieces to my collection. After much hesitation I finally decided to grab myself a Naked Basics Palette, and let me tell you I am happy I did. A buttery smooth outer package and six creamy, uber blendable matte nudes inside, have me reaching for this little guy on an everyday basis. My favorite shades are 'Faint' for some real crease-definition and 'Virgin' for inner corner and brow bone highlight. 

The newest addition to the Naked range is the Naked Flushed Palette, and this was one I wasn't going to pass up. I am on a blush kick as of late - and a palette that contains a bronzer and blush shade that I will actually use, not to mention a bonus highlight? Count me in. Not only are the shades gorgeously wearable but the compact is amazing for on-the-go or even just streamlining your everyday routine. If I'm not mistaken, taking your blush brush across all three of these and dusting onto cheeks could have you looking  bit 'golden goddess'. In a nutshell, these are essential additions to any makeup lovers stash that will no doubt receive a whole lot of love. What I am most excited about these for, though, are their slim and travel-friendly packaging. I don't want to plan too far in advance, but in a little under a month I am going on a long-awaited vacation, and these will come in super handy. I think I might be traveling 'Naked' this time I venture off...
June 17, 2014
ONE BAG: ALL YOU NEED THIS SUMMER

ONE BAG: ALL YOU NEED THIS SUMMER


Summer, of all seasons, is the one to embrace your natural everything and rock a minimal makeup look. Being a self proclaimed makeup lover (I feel that this is an understatement), I find it hard to narrow down my items for no reason other than that I have so many that I love. It's honestly a shame that I don't have more faces because they would be outfitted with quite a nice bunch of oft' neglected products. However, lately, I have been going back and forth a lot to my lake house on the weekends and I just can't justify bringing the entire contents of my Muji with me. Emptying out that bad boy would also leave me with quite an organizational task upon return home, but I digress... 

Being somewhere low key on the weekends, and mostly outside in the sun, has forced me to finally cobble together a pretty minimal makeup bag that still leaves no category to be missed. Lately I am entranced by the power of minimalism and how beautiful a blob of a light base looks with minimal eye makeup, some color on the lips and cheeks, and of course slatherings of mascara. Now let's look at what I'm working with for my summer weekend 'essentials' of sorts. 

For Face // Of course, this is the category I spend the most time perfecting, especially when I am not using too much else on my eyes or lips. I have really been loving using the Chanel Les Beiges All-In- One Healthy Glow Fluid lately; the fluid texture is perfecting and provides all the coverage I need for the weekend, with a little punch of SPF. The reason I chose this is because it is virtually undetectable outside (yes I checked in a mirror) and forms a second skin like coverage without being either too dewy or too matteAny bags or blemishes that need extra coverage get a slap of my, you guessed it, Nars Radiant Creamy Concealer. The final step to skin perfection is something a little different than my usual choice of a setting powder. I have been dusting on a healthy dose of color, thanks to my Diorskin Nude Tan Healthy Glow Enhancing Powder, on my cheeks, forehead, and center of my nose to avoid looking too ghostly out in the sun. The color of this bronzer is so perfect for paler skinned gals and the added peachy tones in there give just the right amount of flush to the cheeks. 

For Eyes // Whether or not I'm using a shadow, I pretty much always start my eyes with my Nars Pro Prime Eyeshadow Base because it prevents my lids from looking too oily. In terms of shadow bases I like the Nars one best because it isn't too heavy and is colorless, so isn't a dead giveaway. I tend to gravitate toward bronzy shades for my eyes and the Chanel Illusiom D'Ombre in the shade Mirage, a new summer offering from the brand, is perfect for a no-fuss eye look. I pat this luminous shade on with my fingers and give my lashes a few coats of the Bobbi Brown Smokey Eye Mascara. Just because it's better to be safe than sorry, I always toss a black or brown liner in my bag, and in this case it's the Nars Larger Than Life Long-Wear Eyeliner in Via Veneto.   

For Lips // Aside from the couple (20) lip products that take up permanent residency in my handbag, one I make sure to grab for the weekend is the Nars Lipgloss in Salamanca*. If you only want to bring one lip product, this is a good one for its versatility, and can be worn either sheer or built up for a much bolder pucker option. 

What are your favorite products this summer? Do any of these beauties make it into your summer makeup bag?
June 14, 2014
A GLOW GETTING BASE COMBINATION

A GLOW GETTING BASE COMBINATION


It's no secret that a dollop of the Nars Sheer Glow foundation results in a shimmer free yet luminous, fresh look. I tend to use this foundation alone and not even need much else, other than a swipe of the Nars Radiant Creamy Concealer under the eyes for good measure. This past week my eye has been drawn to the Nars Hot Sand Illuminator*, and naturally I've been trying to find different ways to work an illuminating product into my everyday routine. I love a good illuminator, but my makeup mantra tends to be on the more natural side of things, so it can be hard to find ones that don't have chunks of glitter in them. 

Surprise, surprise Nars does it again (do they make anything that I don't like?) and this is one beaut of a product. It is a gel based product that has no large sparkles, just a hefty dose of lit from within glow. I have been amping up my usual Sheer Glow base with a half-pea size drop of the Hot Sand Illuminator, and I don't think I will be turning back. The combination results in a glowing and youthful look not too far off from that of the Jouer Luminizing Moisture tint, but slightly more natural. I like that this one doesn't have sparkles and even in the daylight it isn't too much of a giveaway. This is the perfect duo of products to use on a vacation or holiday because it creates a light, dewy, and flawless look. Take my recommendation and you too will look exactly as if you are coming back from an island getaway, well-rested and refreshed. 

Do you guys use either of these products, or perhaps, both? Let me know your thoughts!
June 13, 2014
SUPER MATTE

SUPER MATTE



I'm sure you are all familiar with the infamous Makeup Forever HD Microfinish Powder. You know the one - the one that ended Angelina Jolie's makeup artist's career, and I'm sure that of many others. I personally don't mind the silky white formula, it doesn't look cakey at all, suits all skin tones, and does the job of making pores look pretty much invisible. The only downfall of the stuff, in my opinion, is that dreaded white-cast it gives when a camera flashes, so I wouldn't recommend wearing it to the clubs. However, for us normal people who aren't caught in the crossfire of paparazzi bulbs flashing, it works pretty well. 

A pretty recent discovery is the sister to the HD powder - say hello to your new loose powder best friend, the Makeup Forever Super Matte Loose Powder. This is a very similar textured powder, minus the Casper and plus some additional mattifying goodness. What I really love about this is that while it is translucent, it also has a hint of nude color to it so that you don't run the risk of looking at all chalky. Another bonus is, it does exactly what it says on the tin. When Make Up Forever say 'super matte' they mean business. It does the job so well that I find it even cuts the grease in the oiliest of tinted moisturizers. I have been loving using this to set my makeup, especially when I want something that lasts well and looks super natural. With the Super Matte there is no shimmer in sight and the result has everyone fooled, no tell tale powder signs here. A quick dusting of this over my light weekend base is just the ticket... 
June 11, 2014
SKINCARE TO MINIMIZE MAKEUP

SKINCARE TO MINIMIZE MAKEUP


I don't need to tell you twice that I love using makeup on a daily basis; it is without doubt the most enjoyable part of my morning and almost therapeutic in a sense. The only thing is, that I don't want to need to wear it. I guess it's all somewhat of a paradox - it's nice to have the option of using makeup when you have a problem area that needs covering, but it's much better used as a way to add a little paint on the ol' barn, and not as spackle. Although I never go a day without at least some mascara, if I were for some reason, to not be able to use anything, I wouldn't feel uncomfortable in my own skin. What I'm getting at here is that there are ways to minimize the 'need' for too much makeup, whether they be health or skincare related, and you should be taking advantage of them.

I am here to tell you about these wonder-products that I dub the 'in-betweens'. While these two offerings from Origins are mainly skincare, I find that they prep your skin so well with added brighteners and tints that a small dab of foundation and minimal concealer become enough for a radiant complexion. Origins GinZing Refreshing Eye Cream is a pearlescent, light weight eye cream that contains caffeine, light-reflecting particles, and ginseng to restore radiance to the under eye area. While I'm not entirely sure if the ingredients in this are potent enough to help with long term problems and aging; this stuff is great for mornings you can't seem to shake your case of puffy eyes. 

For the rest of your face, there is the wonder that is the VitaZing SPF 15 Energy Boosting Moisturizer. Similar to the eye cream, I am not quite sure if this will result in miracles for your skin in the long run, although moisturizing regularly will do you wonders. But, what I do know is that a little of this stuff wakes up your skin, developing from a white fluid cream to a hint of tint that matches your skin tone perfectly. It also provides an essential hit of SPF and antioxidant potent Mangosteen which helps protect from harsh environmental factors. I would recommend this to anyone struggling to find a good daily SPF, as this is moisturizing enough for dry skin but gentle for those with combination. But, like I said, this is an amazing product that I often use as a skincare/makeup primer so that I barely need any foundation at all - it does most of the work for me. 

Smog-face sufferers (you know who you are - NYC) keep your eyes peeled for this one…it really adds a boost of protection from all the nasties. 
June 10, 2014
BOLD AND BRIGHT

BOLD AND BRIGHT



Something I love to take full advantage of when the weather gets nicer is the option of wearing a bold lip. Although it seems so high maintenance, it can be quite a laid back look when paired with very minimal makeup on the rest of the face. My favorite way to wear a bright lip color is with a dose of perfecting and glowy foundation, some concealer to top up any problem areas, a dab of illuminator on cheekbones, a swipe of matte brown shadow and lashings of mascara. The result is a flawless, "oh I just rolled out of bed and slapped this lipstick on" look. Here are some of my bold favorites that are on rotation as of late…

Corals & Oranges // My favorite matte option in the orange category is Hourglass Opaque Rouge Liquid Lipstick in Riviera, it looks great with a tan and stays put all day. For a candy orange with a glossy finish I have been reaching for MAC Sheen Supreme Lipstick in Korean Candy. I love this one as it's super moisturizing and you can either wear it sheer with a bit of balm under it for a lower maintenance lip, or you can apply it with a lip brush for heavier pigmentation. Another favorite is the Dior Addict Extreme Lipstick in 639 Riviera which is a punchy coral shade in a sheer gel-like formula. I love this as it is the most wearable of the bunch and is much more muted on the lips than in the tube due to its consistency, which, I personally like having around as a daytime Summer color. 

Pinks & Reds // For a truer than true red lip color that will not budge I have been grabbing the Sephora Collection Cream Lip Stain in 01 Always Red. I love this for many reasons but mainly it's a reasonable price, it's matte but not too drying, and once you apply it - it will not go anywhere until you physically remove it. So really, this is the perfect red to wear any time and is especially awesome for dinners out when you don't want your lipstick transferring onto the rim of your wine glass (I can't be the only one thinking of that?). When it comes to hot pink, my all time favorite is Nars Schiap, which leans almost flourescent. This shade is seriously flattering on everyone I have ever seen wear it, and comes in a semi-matte formula for the perfect finish. Another to try is the Bite Beauty High Pigment Pencil in Quince, which is not as bright as Schiap, but equally as bold. I would describe this as a deep berry-rose shade that looks amazing with a swipe of bronze on the lids, and the texture is super rich and pigmented. The latest discovery of the bunch is Sephora Lustre Matte Long-Wear Lip Color in Mulberry, and I like this one best for night time. It is a super pigmented matte pink-wine shade that doesn't dry out right away. I actually find it is hard to pinpoint the formula, it almost feels creamy and whipped, but I like this because it doesn't dry out your lips or show any cracks. 

What are your favorite bold shades for summer? Any particular formulas that float your boat?
June 09, 2014
THE REVIEW: BUMBLE AND BUMBLE INVISIBLE OIL

THE REVIEW: BUMBLE AND BUMBLE INVISIBLE OIL


Let me tell you right off the bat, I am a minimalist in my use of hair styling products. I have very thick hair that when slicked with too many heavy products begins to look flat and oily. On the other hand, my ends tend to get dry and somewhat frizzy as a result of my (at best) bi-annual haircuts. My haircare routine pretty much consists of an everyday wash, which unfortunately, is a must for me or I run the risk of rocking a grease-laden mane come day two. 

The only hair products I tend to use loyally on a daily basis live in the softening and texturizing categories. I picked up a bottle of the Bumble and Bumble Hairdresser's Invisible Oil back when it first came out and have used it on rotation with my beloved MoroccanOil Treatment ever since. Post shower, I pump some of the oil into my palms, warm it up in my hands and then finger-comb it through my mid to end lengths for smoothness and manageability. I find this to be a lightweight and lightly scented oil that is quickly absorbed and leaves behind no sticky residues, especially when used on damp hair. What I like about the B&B as opposed to the MoroccanOil is that it also has UVA/UVB Protection to aid in protecting hair color from fading in the sun, which can be a real pain come summer. 

With my love for the Hairdresser's Invisible Oil growing you can imagine my excitement when I was handed a sample of the latest release from Bumble and Bumble: their Hairdresser's Invisible Oil Primer. At first, I was a bit confused as to what the exact purpose of this was, as I often am with hair 'primer' products. I don't normally see the need for an extra step in the haircare routine that doesn't do anything entirely new, but I must say, this product has really impressed me. I used up the entire sample-sized spritzer within days and found myself running to my local Sephora on a mission to pick up the full size. 
This heavenly scented milky concoction contains the same combination of oils that make up the Invisible Oil, but oddly enough I find this version even more nourishing than the concentrated one. I have been misting this through my damp strands and then proceeding to style my hair as usual, and I really notice a difference in terms of heat protection, style longevity, and overall softness. I find that when using this my hair has more volume than normal which is hard to come by in a softening product, so this one is definitely a keeper. It is super simple to use and I love that it acts as a detangling spray; all you need to do it spritz and comb through. 

The Verdict // The scent lasts all day, my hair is softer and seemingly in better condition than when using just an oil, and my style lasts much longer than when I don't use a 'primer', so I'm eating my words. For even softer, shinier results, rub a pump of the Invisible Oil through the very bottoms. You won't be seeing any frizz around here...
June 08, 2014
NARS REVAMPS THEIR GLOSSES

NARS REVAMPS THEIR GLOSSES



...and they're even more amazing than ever before! Who else remembers the days of a smokey eye and a slick of Nars Turkish Delight on the lips a la Kim Kardashian? I remember Nars as some of the very first high-end lipglosses that I owned and loved using. Every time I got my hands on some birthday or babysitting money, a mall trip was in order so I could add a few glosses to my collection. The only issue I ever remember having with the Nars glosses was the slightly paint-like scent that they had. Well, guess what? Nars revamped their gloss line and although they kept some of their cult classic shades, they have added some punchier and bolder options to the range, all sans funky scent. 

I can't express enough how much I love the new glosses, they are a bit more moisturizing with higher pigmentation, and leave a slight stain after wearing away. I have been testing two shades from the range that are new, and loving both of them. The first is Nars Lipgloss in Salamanca*, a perfect coral flamingo pink that washes over sheer and can be built up to be more intense and bold. I love this color worn sheer right now but can see it being even more amazing  layered on and paired with a tan and bronzed lid. The second shade I got my hands on was Nars Lipgloss in Sixties Fan*, a wine-pomegranite shade that can look more fruity and sheer swiped once, or deeper and richer if you use a heavier hand. Both of these have no scent and are super hydrating and pigmented, making them nice options to have with you at all times. I find these both to be great as more wearable bold lip colors and will definitely be toting them around with me this Summer! Nars does it again...

Have you guys tried any shades from the Nars lipgloss range? What are your favorites?
June 06, 2014
NOT JUST ANOTHER MAKEUP BAG

NOT JUST ANOTHER MAKEUP BAG


Confession time: I hoard makeup bags like nobody's business. Big bags, train cases, mesh travel pouches, see through bags; you name it, I have one (or more). I think that my justification has always been the amount of nice makeup I own. How can I have all that makeup and nowhere cute to store it? All I can say is I'm a neat freak and refuse to toss products into my handbag without a proper home, so they're always stored in a pouch of their own. Countless makeup bags later and I have yet to be impressed with their 'store inside my handbag' abilities, they're either too large, not sturdy enough, too small - well, you get the gist.

A couple weeks back I was eyeing up this Marc by Marc Jacobs bag while shopping, and of course felt too guilty to take it home with me (who needs 30 makeup bags, ya know?). I kept thinking about it because of its perfect size and adorable pattern - it is small enough to fit in almost any of my bags (not clutches, obviously) but manages to fit more essentials than are even essential. My boyfriend then surprised me with it and I had to play a bit of show and tell, as I have found my makeup bag match! I love the shape and depth of this, it is slender enough to fit anywhere I could want it to and holds enough for a long weekend away. It is a member of the 'coated canvas' family of bag offerings from MJ, which is why I thought it was so perfect - I can't tell you how many bags I have with mascara and powder stains that will not come out. This one is only a wipe away from being perfectly cleaned, which gives it major bonus points from an OCD sufferer like myself. lf you fancy getting one of your own you can find something similar here.

Any makeup bag musts that you carry everywhere with you? I must know...
June 05, 2014
THE DAILY FACE #3

THE DAILY FACE #3



After running through items that are new, exciting, and all of that fun stuff, I thought I might give you a look at some of the types of products I reach for on an everyday(ish) basis. I don't always have time for a ten product base, nor the need for all that makeup, but I do like to have options. On weekends especially, I tend to go for a natural barely-there makeup look, ya know, keeping things somewhat simple and not too high maintenance. The weekends are for enjoying, relaxing, and not for spending three hours drawing scary looking eyebrows and shading a cut crease smokey eye (for me, at least). If you're going out that night, on the other hand…might I suggest a matte bold lip?

Every girl should have products readily available that are easy to grab, slap on, and go. Having stocks of products is great fun, but when it's time to get down to business it makes it much easier to know which products you really "need" to make yourself look like refreshed and polished. I have a few bases I reach for, but when my skin is in good condition, one that I love using recently is the Diorskin Nude BB Creme. I normally don't like BB creams, but I saw this one in a tutorial on Lisa Eldridge's channel and thought it looked a bit more high coverage and less orange than most. Girls, Lisa Eldridge would never steer us wrong, and with this one she couldn't have been more right. This base looks sheer, melts into skin, but somehow covers almost everything while managing to contain those added skincare benefits of a BB cream. I then use some of my beloved Nars Radiant Creamy Concealer in the shade Vanilla on any areas I seem to need extra coverage, i.e. bags and blemishes, on which it stays put all day. To keep from looking too flat I sweep some of the Bobbi Brown Blush in Nectar II, which looks so awakening and slightly carves cheekbones too which I don't see much of in normal blushes. Bonus!

For a quick and fool-proof eye I tend to grab a dark brown, slightly shimmery liner, like the Urban Decay 24/7 Glide On Eye Pencil in Roach. Instead of drawing a harsh or precise line, I sort of just smudge it along the upper lash line and blend it out with my finger for results similar to a cream shadow stick. Something that I love using when I go light on the eye makeup is the Bobbi Brown Smokey Eye Mascara, as it contains kohl pigments that add a bit of a smokey drama and defines the lashes so well. A quick slick of the rosey pink beauty that is the YSL Rouge Volupte Shine in shade 13 Pink in Paris on the lips, and we're off!

What products would you say are musts in your 'daily face' edit? Are there things that you reach for on an everyday basis or do you like to switch it up?
June 04, 2014
AN EVERYDAY BRONZE

AN EVERYDAY BRONZE


Can we take a moment to bask in the glory that is the Diorskin Nude Tan Healthy Glow Enhancing Powder with its sleek and classic Cannage compact? Ahhh, okay. So anyways, I do love a good tan now and then but ever since we had the longest Winter of all time I have learned to embrace pale skin, and weirdly enough, have grown to love it. I gave up intentionally sunbathing and pretty much all forms of tanning a few years ago after I left a tanning salon with a horrible burn my freshman year in college. I guess at the time I thought that cocooning myself in a skin-torching bed was an okay idea because, well, everyone was doing it - yay for conformity! (sense my sarcasm)

With my tanning days far behind me, I find that it is now a rare occurrence for me to wear bronzer. I used to go through loads of my beloved Benefit Hula and Nars Laguna bronzers (I still love them!) but lately I'm struggling a bit in the golden goddess department. That was until a stroll through the beauty counters of Nordstrom where I caught myself gawking at this offering from Dior. The woman at the counter caught me mid-swatch and kindly offered to give me a proper application. Now, usually makeup application in a department store and all its fluorescent lit glory has me running from the place no bags in hand, which is why I tend to not test some things there. To my own pleasant surprise, this bronzer gave me the perfect amount of peachy tan color on my cheeks and forehead, and was just enough to eliminate the ghostly look I had walked in the store with. The coverage is healthy looking and buildable and would even suit me as an illuminating powder if, on the off chance, I did get a tan. 

Since I brought this beauty home I have been dusting it lightly across the areas I would usually get a tan, topped with a bit of blush on the apples of my cheeks. This is definitely a winner and something to keep in mind for when you want to treat yourself, which girl, you deserve. 
June 03, 2014
SMOKED OUT WITH TWO PRODUCTS

SMOKED OUT WITH TWO PRODUCTS



Rarely in mornings do I have time for fancy schmancy eye makeup, nor do I like the look of a "prom" eye while at work. I do, however, use a wash of color on my lids on a daily basis to define my eyes and make me look more polished. One of my favorite looks that I think complement everyone, is a no-fuss smokey shadow look using just one or two shadows in a neutral type shade blended imperfectly onto the lid. Think the Olsen twins' makeup, not a Kim Kardashian smokey eye using thirty products per lid. Ain't nobody got time for that! 

In order to help achieve this in the same time it takes for you to brew your morning cup, may I recommend you a cheat, or two? Lately I have been loving cream shadow sticks, as I mentioned in my May favorites post yesterday, for their ease of use and their multidimensional results. What I find works best is to start the entire face by doing the brows, then applying a shadow primer, and then smudging my stick of choice, ByTerry Ombre Blackstar in Misty Rock along the lid. I then go in with a MAC 217 (best blending brush ever?) and just use small circular motions to blend out any harsh lines into the crease until the transition appears seamless. Be sure to do the blending directly after applying the product, as it is super creamy but sets to a no-budge finish and will not move. To finish off with some definition and something that ties it all together, I swipe the Nars Larger than Life Long-Wear Eyeliner in Bourbon Street, a beautiful muted purple along my water line and super close along my top lash line. Grab a pencil brush to blend the upper liner in, curl and coat those lashes and voila! I'd say this is one of those looks that might be almost too easy…I think this is my new go-to of the moment. 

Would you wear this look on a daily basis? Do you have any tips for a quick 'lived in' eye look?

June 02, 2014
MAY MAKEUP FAVORITES

MAY MAKEUP FAVORITES



It's that time of the month again - the beginning of June and the commencement of my May favorites. I have to say May has been a month of a few new acquisitions, but I have also found myself reaching back into my stash to retry some old forgotten products. Lately I have found that I love anything base related more than any other category, while I also have been finding some really great new releases in the lip product category. I just feel that no look is complete without a flawless-skinned base, so I have been mastering my foundation technique and finding the best types for my skin and the season. 

In terms of base this month I have been reaching for the Bobbi Brown Long Wear Even Finish Foundation (fewf, outta breath!) almost every day of the week. I find this so long lasting which is why I tend to wear it during my long weekdays. My only complaint comes with mornings when I hit the snooze button a few too many times, on which I will stay away from it as it requires a bit more blending than some of my lighter coverage bases. I have found one way to combat this though - I work some Clarins Instant Light Radiance Boosting Complexion Base with my fingers into my skin beforehand. This is a champagne colored base that comes out looking a bit like a foundation but leaves a glow, light coverage, and diffuses imperfections. Prepping my skin before going in with the foundation means much less product is needed, therefore not nearly as much blending. To set all of this I have been dusting my MAC Mineralize Skin Finish Natural in the shade Light around my t-zone - I always go back to using this powder - it's just so good! The final step to my base involves the Jouer Tint in Honeysuckle, which I have only had for about half the month, but since it's purchase I haven't put it down. This is a creamy stain for lips and cheeks, which I normally stay away from because often times they are sticky or greasy, but this one is neither of those. This is the perfect shimmer-free color that adds a life like flush to cheeks. 

Ahh, the fun part - lips! May has brought flowers, of course, but also a hefty dose of new lip products. On an everyday basis I have been dipping into my Dior Addict Fluidstick in Whisper Beige, a perfect neutral pigmented gloss that doesn't upset the balance of color when I go for a heavier eye look. For a lighter gloss with a sheer wash of color, I reach for the Yves Saint Laurent Gloss Volupte in 103 Opium Persan. This shade leans almost tangerine, which I find uplifting, but I would definitely pick up another shade as it is light and comfortable to wear on the lips with the lightest hint of shimmer. In terms of lipstick, I can't stop picking up the Chanel Rouge Coco Shine in the shade Flirt. It is the perfect peach shade for everyday; glossy with just the right amount of color and an extra dose of nourishment. 

In the eye department I have been going for cream shadow sticks more as of late. In the warmer months I tend to experience much more shadow slippage, even after applying a primer, so these formulas work the best. They do not budge - at all. My favorites of the moment are Bobbi Brown Cream Shadow Stick in Golden Bronze (shade is self explanatory, I think...) and the ByTerry Ombre Blackstar in Misty Rock, a multitonal slate-purple. There are some exceptions for shadows that always last on my lids, no matter the season, and those tend to come from MAC and Nars. No surprise, right? Both brands are amazing, and while my MAC palette 'show and tell' will be saved for another post, I can tell you that my favorite from Nars is easily Kalahari, a duo that contains shades of warm gold and cocoa that can be worn alone, together, or in the crease in conjunction with one of the aforementioned cream shadow sticks. 

Did you have any experience with the products I mentioned, or do you have your own favorites that you could recommend me to try? 
June 01, 2014
RMS LIVING LUMINIZER

RMS LIVING LUMINIZER



Sometimes there are products that deserve an entire post devoted to their glorious beautifying ways. In this case, it's the RMS Living Luminizer, a plant oil based illuminator that adds the glow without the glitter. This stuff makes skin look the way it should, bright and perfected, not at all flat and chalky. There is nothing I hate more than a glittering highlighter that looks like I rolled in craft glitter, and I have to say a good majority of highlighting products I have tried do just that. 

I like that this is an organic product because to me that means there can be no plastic pieces of shimmering mess, just good old light bringing oil. I am not exactly sure what they put in there to make it give just the slightest luminescence, but I have to say - this stuff is just plain gorgeous dabbed on the tops of cheekbones and used as an inner corner highlight. If you are on the hunt for a product that gives you that lit-from-within glow, well, your search is over.

How do you guys feel about this product? Have you tried it before?