March 31, 2015


This month has flown by, quite possibly due to the fact that, for me, March can be an exciting one. It's my birthday month as well as the beginning of Spring, although you'd never know it here in the Northeast. It's also been a month during which I've encountered a fair few new beauty products, making it extra difficult to narrow it down to just a my pared-down favorites. Of course, I chose products that I grabbed nonstop throughout the month that have landed a permanent place in my routine, for now at least. Talk about beauty addict problems.

A standout new base product made it's way into my life; the BareMinerals Complexion Rescue Tinted Hydrating Gel Cream, full review here. The name is a bit of a confusing one, but it's something that's completely worth a try. The light but diffusing coverage makes you feel like you're wearing nothing at all and really allows the skin to breathe. This is something I'm keeping in my arsenal and definitely know I'll keep reaching for it through the Summer months, as it also boasts a hefty dose of SPF, yet doesn't make me look oily. I also fell back in love with an old favorite blush, the Tarte Amazonian Clay Blush in Exposed. I'm wondering why I ever let this beauty fall by the wayside, as it really is the perfect neutral hue to complement any makeup look. The long lasting and easy to layer formula of these blushes will always hold a place in my heart in general. 

This month I finally put my YSL Volupté Tint-In-Oil in Cherry My Cherie to good use and really enjoyed the moisturizing oil as well as the stain aftermath. I wore a lot of neutral makeup during March (surprise!), so this sheer cherry stained lip added just the perfect amount of color for a daytime look. As for brows, I ran out of my usual brow gel and picked up the L'Oréal Brow Stylist Plumper as a quick replacement, and I won't be turning back. This clear brow gel has given my brows the extra hold they long for without the dreaded crunchy effect. 

In case you haven't heard from literally every other beauty blogger out there, there's a new white nail polish in town. NAILS INC. The New White in Whitehall has been gracing my tips since its purchase and I am loving the creamy non-whiteout white look that this polish has. I'm hoping to pick up the other shades as well now that I know how much I love this reinvented neutral. 

I'm also currently crushing hard on a perfume; there's nothing quite like the Byredo Parfums Gypsy Water in my book. I've tried a few new perfumes as well this month that I'm loving (more on that soon), but there's something so deliciously addictive about Gypsy Water - it must be the mixture of lemon, bergamot, pink pepper, berries, incense, juniper, amber, pine needles, vanilla and sandalwood. Fewf! It's warm and refreshing all at once and makes me feel like a free spirit woods-dweller with long cascading waves and flowers in her hair. A girl can dream, right? 

What beauty products did you love in March?

March 30, 2015


A foundation created specifically for my skin tone and tailored to my desired finish? That's a base trend that I'm willing to get behind. The Prescriptives Custom Blend Foundation has left me wondering how I've gone my entire life without bottle of this stuff by my side. 

Prescriptives has been around for ages, (I personally remember my childhood friends' mothers using their products) but in 2010 became an online only brand, and in 2012 they launched their foundation customization service, Custom Blend, via video chat. I'm sure you're wondering how you can be matched to your ideal foundation when you aren't meeting a specialist face-to-face. You simply set up an appointment to video chat, text, or call to speak to a beauty genius who will, with the help of a makeup-free photo, mix up the perfect shade for your skin tone in your desired level of coverage, finish, and skincare options. Pretty cool, right?

Here's how it works: A base shade level is chosen as the first step - I'm 1, the lightest, and then of course you decide on the coverage level you're looking for. From there, you can choose from a variety of finish options; candlelight, matte, or moisturizing. I personally went for candlelight, as it has a subtle illuminating glow that pretty much eliminates the need for a radiance-boosting powder overtop, as it gives that soft focus look on its' own. Next up come the skincare options, from which you can add two skin-loving infusions based on your skin type. To mine, I added oil-control, and also a serum that brightens, clarifies, and evens. That pretty much hits the nail on the head in terms of what I'm looking for. Last but not least, the beauty genius adds shade extenders to match the undertones in your skin, to ensure that it's not too pink or too yellow, but just right. 

I have to say, I'm beyond happy with the way that my foundation turned out. The beauty genius, Erica, was extremely helpful throughout the customization process, not to mention the finished result truly is the perfect finish and let's just say, I'm no longer struggling to match my foundation. I love the fact that you're given so many options and that the customized formula is also good for your skin. It's great that I'm masking discolorations and all, but now I'm also helping fade them while looking pretty flawless, if I do say so myself. I think I'm addicted

*PR Samples, All opinions are my own.

March 29, 2015


Are you surprised to see yet another concealer popping up around these parts? Probably not. I'm sure you even know my favorites by now...and that means you know how much I've loved the Nars Radiant Creamy Concealer. It's safe to say I've gone through about three or four tubes of the stuff over the past year, and for a product junkie like me that kind of loyalty says a lot about a product. However, recently I had the urge to try something different and picked up a tube of the Urban Decay Naked Skin Concealer. Well, this little tube has gone above and beyond my expectations and here's why it's quickly replaced my old Nars favorite. 

The formula is similar to the Nars concealer, however, it's the slightest bit thinner in consistency making the finish more natural. It's smoothing, weightless, full coverage, and just about covers every bag or blemish without creasing, which my Nars concealer had the tendency to do under my eyes. I love the applicator as well - it's thin, flat, and bendable, which means you're able to get more product out of one dip of the wand making for less wasted concealer! Amen to that. A little bit of this stuff really goes a long way as well, just a quick swipe under the eyes and dotted on blemishes and you're good to go for the entire day as the lasting power is incredible. I have to say, I'm converted, sorry Nars!


March 28, 2015


When it comes to skincare I like mine to be fuss free and effective. But as I get older, I've become more conscious of the products I use and you can be sure I'm always "ingredient checking" my skincare, just as I do my food. Unfortunately, in my experience it can be somewhat difficult to find paraben-free products that work as well as some of my less safe skincare do. I don't want to have to sacrifice my health for beauty, so I'm constantly on the hunt for cleaner alternatives to my cleanser, serum, and moisturizers. 

Enter Tula, a skincare line launched in Fall 2014 exclusively on, developed by Dr. Roshini Raj, a gastroenterologist who believes in the power of living a healthy and balanced lifestyle. Tula is the Sanskrit word for balance, and as such the brand's focus is centered around probiotic technology and a proprietary blend of ingredients that are good not only for your body internally, but also externally. You better believe that I was eager to get started on the Tula regimen, in hopes of falling in love with these good-for-your-skin products that are free from all the nasties!

I have tried my fair share of cleansers, yet not that many have made it past the point of testing and onto another bottle. For me an ideal cleanser will take off my makeup quickly without burning my sensitive eyes and won't leave my skin feeling tight or dry. The Purifying Face Cleanser has all that down and foams up gently, but just enough to remove all of my eye makeup. I find it to be a perfect balance between a gel and cream cleanser as it's super softening and moisturizes my skin, but also takes away the excess grease.

The Illuminating Face Serum makes for an immediate dose of radiance right after cleansing and leaves things feeling fresh and energized. I noticed that this serum has the tiniest bit of luminosity to it as well, so once it sinks in, the skin is left with a really subtle glow. I've been using this for about two weeks as well and already notice that it has lightened any pigmentation and evened out my skin tone overall.

I'm quite picky as far as moisturizers go; I have combination skin that's both extreme ends of the spectrum all at once, so I need hydration that isn't greasy and absorbs completely. The Hydrating Day and Night Cream has really impressed me so far. I love how it has helped to really streamline my routine, as it's very nourishing but sinks into my skin almost immediately after it's been applied which means it can be used at night, or in the morning before makeup. It leaves a smooth and plump feeling to my skin that makes it an excellent primer for my makeup - so much so that I've actually been skipping the stuff!

Of course, applying an eye cream is equally as important as a face cream, considering how delicate the eye area is. I struggle to find one that doesn't create too much slip to use under my concealer for daytime, but the Revitalizing Eye Cream creates a soft and smooth base for applying product. I'll admit, at first I was a bit nervous to try this considering I am sensitive and it has a slight fragrance, but it didn't aggravate my eyes in the least, giving it a big thumbs up from me.

Overall, I've been enjoying incorporating each one of these products into my routine, with the standout being the Illuminating Face Serum. I think that they provide a really great cohesive skincare system that cut down the amount of products needed, and as a bonus, are free from any harsh ingredients. Deep down, it's simple - anything my skin loves, I love

*PR Samples, All opinions are my own.

March 27, 2015


If you're a regular reader of my blog, or heck, even if this is your first time (welcome, by the way!) you'll know that I have to have an assortment of beauty products on hand at all time. While I do carry the odd lipgloss and powder in my bag, in reality I tend to spend the majority of my spare time sitting at my desk editing photos, trolling through blogs, and writing up posts. You better believe that I'm never without an assortment of laptop-side beauty products, for which I'm reaching all day to keep things hydrated, calm, and smelling good. 

Of course, sitting at the computer for hours on end with a cup cups of coffee can leave you feeling particularly parched, so I'm always slathering on a good dose of hand cream. I've been a long time lover of the Aesop Reverence Aromatique Hand Balm as it's rich and has a fresh woodsy scent, but it never leaves my hands with that dreaded greasy film after application. I also tend to get really dry cuticles that can use all the nourishment they can get, so the Essie Apricot Cuticle Oil is an essential for me. I'll forget to apply it unless it's sitting in plain sight, so next to my laptop is the perfect home for a product like this. 

Lip balm is also a must, and while I have a fair few that I alternate between, there is nothing better out there for immediate, and shine-free, relief than the Nuxe Reve de Miel. I have quite a few pots of this orange blossom and honey scented goodness lying around my house and I can't speak highly enough of it. Moisture is obviously a theme here, thanks to the never ending cold weather, and my face is no exception. I keep things dewy with a few spritzes of a toner water every now and again, and the Mario Badescu Facial Spray is perfect for this. The soothing spray smells of roses and the price doesn't leave you feeling like you're quite literally spraying away your money. I'm justified going overboard on it, right?

On the scent side of things, my perfume tends to wear throughout the day, so little sample vials are perfect for a refresh. No surprise here, but I personally love mixing the Jo Malone ones based on my current mood, so I save them up and keep them on my desk at all times! To help me wind down at the end of a long day, I'll roll the This Works: Breathe In oil on pulse points, which comes in their Sleep Kit for an overall calming effect. 

Throw in a fresh floral candle like Diptyque Baies, which is my current seasonal favorite, to create an overall relaxing ambiance and I'll happily work for hours on end

March 26, 2015


Contouring is quite a hot topic lately in the beauty world. I've posted many times about it myself, having even gotten into subtle contouring on a regular basis as a part of my makeup routine. Of course, I like contour of the super quick and subtle variety, no face shape changing stuff over here! I'll try anything that's quick and blendable, that gives me cheekbones and highlights my favorite features. The Smashbox Step-By-Step Contour Stick Trio is like the contouring set for dummies

The shimmer free (thank you, Smashbox!) trio contains three shades; the contour sculpts by adding shadows to the areas you want to recede, the highlight brings features forward, and the bronze creates a smooth transition between shades. The trio was developed to mimic the effect that good lighting has on the face, and makes it super easy to add depth and dimension to enhance features. 

I have to say I'm a fan of the creamy stick formulas, they have a much more workable texture that I think is great for beginners, or those just looking to add slight definition. These will definitely be my contour of choice when it comes to warmer weather sculpting, as I tend to lighten up on the powder products a bit and prefer a more natural look. I can also really appreciate the inclusion of the transitional bronze shade, as sometimes contour products leave stark lines that need tons of blending work. For a lazy girl like me, that's a total deal breaker. This kit kind of does it all for you; a few quick scribbles covers your bronzing, concealing and contour in one.

March 25, 2015


Back when I first got into makeup, one of my favorite brands was undoubtedly Too Faced. I think any young girl would look longingly at their pink packaging and leopard print bronzers and want to have it all, but over the past few years my interest has mostly subsided. I think that now it's the confusing prints and over the top packaging that actually puts me off, but every now and again I hear talk of one of their products and the child in me can't help but wonder about it. 

I'm having a bit of a moment with makeup setting powders lately. Although it's hard to find one that doesn't either change the color of your foundation or look cakey, I think it's safe to say the kill is worth the hunt in this situation. I'd heard talk of the Too Faced Primed and Poreless Pressed Powder previously, but when on a recent beauty shopping trip it was recommended to me again, I knew I had to try it for myself. 

The powder inside is so finely milled that it can be used either under foundation as a primer, over foundation for an airbrushed soft-focus finish, or both. I have to say I'm not particularly sold on it being used before liquid foundation, only because it creates a barrier that's too smooth to help the product adhere to the skin. However, I've been using it to set foundation, and the colorless matte powder creates the most poreless finish I've ever encountered. It only requires the smallest amount as well; one brushstroke creates a flawless look, which also must be why no buildup settles into fine lines or around the nose area. 

I even wore this on bare skin overtop only a bit of concealer on under eye circles and blemishes, and it made my skin look soft and perfected. In a way this powder is like a filter for skin in real life, as it blurs imperfections in harsh light without a single trace of color or shimmer. I think it's safe to say that even on "no makeup days" this powder is going to be very close by my side.

March 24, 2015


While I'll admit to being a bit of a slack in the going out department recently, a few weeks back I went out for my birthday and used a few products that I knew would see me through the night. Just as I have my standard black mini dress and heels, I tend to gravitate toward certain makeup that I know will last me the night and make me look like a much, much more put together version of myself. So listen up, whether you're more of a dinner date type or you prefer a good night of bar hopping, I'm sharing the products that will have you looking both classic and flawless. Trust me, this makeup won't be going anywhere all night. 

Giorgio Armani Luminous Silk is and probably always will be my choice of foundation when it comes to creating a flawless and lasting base. It leaves my skin looking perfected, so much so, that I find I need very minimal concealer. For nights out, I like the Clinique Airbrush Concealer as it gives a luminous under eye area that looks fresh and won't settle into fine lines. I tend to skip powder as I like a bit more glow than I do during the day time, so I reach for the CT Filmstar Bronze and Glow to give me a bit of a bronzed contour and a very luminous highlight. This is the highlighter to use on nights out as it looks intense yet not patchy or glittery, both of which are no go's in my book. 

I'll of course make sure I have perfected brows by using the Anastasia Dipbrow Pomade in Dark Brown for filling in sparse areas, and then giving a good swipe of the L'Oreal Brow Stylist Plumper to set the hairs in place. This ensures no hair will turn out of place and creates a nice frame for the eye makeup, which is my go-to for any night time look. I like to prime my eyes using the Nars Smudge-Proof Eyeshadow Base and then from the Urban Decay Naked Basics Palette, use a bit of the shade Venus all over the lid and the matte taupe shade Naked 2 to define the crease. In my eyes there's nothing more classic than a winged liner look, for which I always use the Kat Von D Tattoo Liner in Trooper, which will not budge until you want it to. Win. 

In my eyes nothing looks sexier, or is a better accessory to an otherwise all black outfit, than a red lip. I refuse to wear anything that has a tendency to migrate if I'm going out, so the MAC Pro Longwear Lip Pencil in Kiss Me Quick creates the perfect outline and ensures things won't move past the lip line. I then like to fill the rest of the lips in with a matte orange-red, like the Stila Stay All Day Liquid Lipstick in Tesoro, a lipstick that I don't need to think twice about throughout the night, and I'm ready to go!

What are your night out makeup essentials?

March 23, 2015


The relationship I have with my eyebrows is quite an unpredictable one. I'm happy with them for a while until they decide to defy me again. They'll either grow too much or too little and then become extremely unruly, moving every which way making me look a bit crazy. And I don't mean crazy in a good, Cara Delevingne sort of way. Of course, over time I've built up a repertoire of products to keep the pesky little things in line, but every so often I find a product that actually sorts out my brows so well that I kind of like them again. That's how I'm feeling with my current no-budge brow routine, consisting of simple products that lock my hairs in place without giving me the dreaded boxy brow look. 

I've fallen back in love with the Anastasia Dipbrow Pomade in Dark Brown, since discovering a new method of use that actually suits me. I had used it when it first landed in my possession until things started looking too stark for my tastes. But lately, I've been loving the more subtle effect it's giving me, thanks to my Nars Angled Eyeliner Brush 47 and an upward stroking motion to create the illusion of small hairs. It's really important that whatever brow products I use stay in place, as I know I've mentioned before there is a small scar in my left eyebrow that needs filling in no matter what. Some serious struggles, right? 

A much more recent discovery for me comes in the form of the L'Oreal Brow Stylist Plumper, a clear brow gel that helps brush through the color for a more natural look and lock things into place. I'm having a serious love affair with this brow gel at the moment; it's unique in the way that it has doesn't look clumpy or stiff, yet adds volume and definition to every single hair and lasts all day. 

What are your picks for natural looking brows that stay in place? 

March 22, 2015


Thinking back on recent makeup posts and looks I've worn in general, there have been quite a few mentions of the word "highlighter." I love a good bit of sheen on the cheekbone, on the cupid's bow, and on the inner corner of the eyes. There really is no better way to induce some life into an otherwise flat makeup look, which to me makes things look more natural and glowy. However, in order to keep things within the realm of natural, the highlighters need to be pretty undetectable and sheeny and with the right amount of shimmer, not glitter. Otherwise, flaws can become more noticeable and makeup looks patchy, which certainly isn't the look I'm going for. These are my top picks when it comes to highlighters that really deliver on the luminescence and not on the glitz. 

The Creamy No Brainers // The RMS Living Luminizer is pretty undetectable as far as makeup in general goes. The all natural, coconut based formula really leaves a nice glossy cheekbone with a hit of sheen, without making things greasy. You can look as closely as you want and you still won't be able to spot any shimmer particles here; if you haven't tried this yet, get it now and thank me later. The Clinique Chubby Stick Sculpting Highlight in Hefty Highlight is a good no-tools required, super subtle twist up highlighter. The cream-to-powder texture essentially becomes one with the skin, and the color is the perfect mother of pearl pink that leans on the icy side of things. It reminds me of Benefit's famous High Beam (an old favorite of mine), but in a much more convenient and much harder to over-do form. My one complaint is that it does seem to disappear over a few hours time - though, the packaging and smooth formula make reapplication no issue at all. 

Liquid Sheen // The Chantecaille Liquid Lumiere is a beautiful liquid rose gold highlight. It delivers more on impact than my previous mentions, but still manages to have ultra-fine shimmer particles - similar to liquid metal. I love this one for nights out as it has some serious staying power and catches the light quite beautifully. If you're looking to mix in a bit of illuminator with your foundation, the Becca Shimmering Skin Perfector in Opal is a gorgeous nude shade with a soft-focus pearlized glow. I quite like the moisturizing formula of this as well, because nobody wants highlighter clinging to dry patches! 

High Power Impact // The best way to really layer on the glow in a more tailored fashion is with powders. You can either graze these buttery smooth powders across cheekbones for a barely-there sheen, or buff them all over the skin for a high-impact shimmer. My favorites are the Kevyn Aucion The Celestial Powder in Candlelight, which gives a opalescent champagne colored sheen, and The Balm Mary Lou Manizer, a honey-hued luminizer that lies a bit more on the eye-catching side of the spectrum. 

Which ones are your favorites? Do you wear highlighter on a daily basis? 

March 21, 2015


Yesterday was the first day of Spring, although you'd never know that with the obscene amounts of snow we had. The question is, will it ever come? But that's another topic for another day. I've been really into color coordinating my lips and cheeks lately, of course in the most subtle way possible with neutral shades. I think it's the perfect way to introduce a bit more color back into my routine without anything coming on too strong, it just looks fresh and pretty. There's nothing about a natural flush and a "MLBB" look that I don't like, and right now I'm finding it hard to stray from these everyday favorites. 

The Tarte Amazonian Clay Blush in Exposed is back at the forefront of my makeup routine and it has me wondering why it ever made it's way off of my vanity and into storage, as it really is the most beautiful barely there flush. I like my everyday blush to mimic the natural color that my cheeks would turn and this does just that, plus adds a nice warmth to the complexion as a bonus. I recently fell in love with a new lip product - watch out CT Lip Cheat, the Lancome 'Shine Lover' Vibrant Shine Lipstick in 212 Twisted Beige is the perfect lip enhancing shade. It's not too brown and not too pink, and somehow manages to last much longer on the lips than your average shine-inducing lip product. You know I love a good moisturizing lip color.

The two of these seem to me like they were made to be worn together. They freshen up any look without interfering with eye makeup and you don't have to worry about color clashing here. I think it's safe to say these are my new color coordinates for Spring. 

March 20, 2015


If there's anything that you need to know about me, it's that I can't stay away from Sephora when it comes to shopping. In passing I feel like I'm powerless against the warm embrace of the store that is beauty-junkie heaven. I guess you could say it's some sort of makeup therapy and every time I go in I leave spending much more than intended with a bagful of goodies. Not that I'm complaining...

Per usual, I went into the store with the sole purpose of repurchasing one item - the Dior Addict Lipstick in Singuliere. It's one of my favorite moisturizing sheer lipstick formulas in a beautiful bubblegum pink color, which I had ran out of at the end of last Summer. No, I didn't need another lipstick, but I do love having more everyday appropriate options when it comes to warm weather brights. 

Unsurprisingly, I then got a bit sidetracked by the new release section, drawn in like a moth to a flame. As my Nars Radiant Creamy Concealer is on its last legs, I decided I *needed* to try out the new Urban Decay Naked Skin Concealer as a replacement. I've only used it a few times so far, but I'm pretty sure it's slightly lighter weight with more coverage than the Nars - yes, really. If you've been shopping lately, you'll have noticed it seems as if contouring has blown up, with just about every major brand throwing their hat in the ring with new releases. I was immediately taken by the shimmer free sticks in the Smashbox Step-By-Step Contour Stick Trio, especially because the shades seemed a bit lighter and less orange than the other cream offerings available. I'm excited to give the whole cream contouring thing a go because I tend to lighten up on powder products come Summer. 

Deciding to cover off on all bases I headed directly for the skincare section, in particular the eye products. I have been using the Kiehl's Creamy Avocado Eye Treatment for some time now, and while I love it's moisturizing properties for night time, I find it to be a bit greasy for morning use. I spotted the Ole Henricksen Ultimate Lift Eye Gel Roll On and knew it would be great for a quick de-puff prior to makeup application. I love eye gels with metal tips, as they tend to work quickly thanks to their ability to cool and soothe. I've already become addicted to this blue gel - it's found a permanent home in my morning routine and layers great under makeup. 

Have you picked up any new products lately?

March 19, 2015


Some occasions don't call for a face full of makeup, and honestly there are just times I feel a bit lazy and want makeup that will make me look presentable, quickly. That's when you'll find me reaching for something with barely-there coverage for a bit of brightening, some color on the lips, and an ever-so-slightly defined eye. Just the right amount of pretty to look good in just about any situation. Ladies, I've got you covered...

The Laura Mercier Oil Free Tinted Moisturizer is most definitely a base that fits the bill when it comes to fresh, comfortable, and most importantly, skin-like coverage. It doesn't dish on oodles of coverage but it definitely evens out the skin tone and is something that works well no matter your skin type. It's moisturizing, yet not get the gist. I don't know about you, but I usually don't look presentable until I've brightened things up under the eye area, and for that I love the Clinique Airbrush Concealer. It's kind of like a more skin-colored version of the YSL Touche Eclat and just a nice overall no-fuss concealer that doesn't crease. 

When I'm wearing a light base and no powder I tend to skimp on blush, but the MAC Cream Color Base in Hush is nice for a touch of peachy color and glow in one. I tap it along the tops of my cheeks and it just delivers on freshness which is all I really need. For the eyes, I'll forgo shadow but oomph up my lash line with a bit of the Burberry Eye Definer in Midnight Brown. It's a great natural ashy brown shade that requires no upkeep whatsoever. I finish things off with a bit of Maybelline Lash Sensational Mascara, my new favorite, and a swipe of Chanel Rouge Coco Lipstick in Cecile - my perfect perky pink lip. 

That's pretty much as minimal as it gets, don't you think? 

March 18, 2015


Being someone who prefers a more natural everyday makeup look, I tend to gravitate toward only the most natural options when it comes to contour products. That being said, a bit of practice, a light hand, and the right tools go a long way when it comes to sculpting model-esque cheekbones on the regular. I've had the Anastasia Contour Kit in my possession for quite some time now, but honestly I was a bit intimidated by all the different shades and what they were for. Armed with my new Rae Morris brushes for blending, I finally gave it a good playing with and am super impressed by the included powders and their results. 

Inside the slim cardboard palette there are six magnetic removable powder pans that can be individually replaced once finished, which almost makes up for the fact that it's seriously lacking a mirror. But, we'll let that slide, because instead Anastasia gives us blendable, pigmented, and long-lasting powders that cover all of our setting, highlighting, and sculpting needs. In terms of shades we have two rows; the top one contains (left to right) Vanilla, Banana, and Sand, a.k.a. the lighter shades in the family. Vanilla is a flesh-toned, shimmer-free highlighting and setting powder, which I quite like using in the center of my face where I generally don't need shimmer emphasizing my pores. For me, it works exceptionally well at locking down the foundation on my nose, which tends to completely dissipate by lunchtime. Banana is a yellow powder, the kind Kim K first showed us how to use, and it's great for setting the under-eye concealer and giving things an additional boost of brightness. As for the glowy highlight, there's Sand, which is subtle thanks to a flesh-toned sheen and contains no golden glitter flecks. It's super finely milled as well, which I appreciate if I'm looking to highlight during the daytime and don't feel like looking like a disco ball. 

That takes us to the bottom row of the palette, which contains the shades Java, Fawn, and Havana. Java and Fawn are the standouts and are contour shades that I use the most. The middle, Fawn, is definitely the cooler of the two, making it the number one choice for me and a good middle-ground between an overly ashy contour and one that's too brown. I don't use Java on it's own, but it works well to deepen Fawn just a hint when used sparingly. Havana is the deepest and warmest shade here, so I don't think it would make the best contour for me, but I do like it as a matte bronzer. One thing's for sure, the longevity is amazing with all six, and I love that there really is something for everyone included. I foresee this being a perfect travel companion as it has so many uses and the matte browns can even work for the eyes. 

I do love a good 6-in-1...

March 17, 2015


I'm the first to admit that, for me, brushes and applicators often get filed under the "boring" tab as far as beauty purchases go. As I've gotten more into makeup, I've come to realize they're tools that truly make all the difference when it comes to application techniques and making the most of all those expensive products. I used to be the girl who used only the included brushes to apply my face makeup, which, let me tell you, resulted in less than natural results and patchy eyeshadow looks. I've since unwillingly shelled out the cash and invested in a few more adult makeup tools which certainly made things easier; but until a recent purchase I've never been wowed by any. The Rae Morris brushes have seriously unlocked a very dangerous (for my wallet) world of expert-made beauty tools. I picked up the Pro Powder Brush, the Deluxe Kabuki, and the Medium Point Shader to fill in some of the gaps in my brush collection. All three brushes are even softer than I could have imagined, and make applying my products an actual dream.

I was definitely a bit hesitant to pick up such an expensive powder brush, but let me tell you, the Pro Powder Brush, is essentially a piece of art. Dramatic, I know. But hear me out - it's made from squirrel hair and gives makeup an instantly airbrushed look. I've been using it to powder my whole face quickly, and it does so without disturbing the rest of my base makeup. I love that the pointed tip can be used to target specific areas, which makes it great for setting under-eye concealer and also applying bronzer. 

Then there's the Deluxe Kabuki, which has quickly become my favorite multi-tasking brush. I've been using it to contour, highlight, apply blush and even set the areas around my nose with powder. Quite honestly, it blows my old favorite Nars Yachiyo Kabuki out of the water in terms of softness and it has maintained a perfect shape even after washing. As for the Medium Point Shader, this brush has gifted me perfectly blended sockets and is an all around amazing blending brush. Think perfectly diffused shadows even when you're using only one shade. 

I'm already lusting after more Rae Morris brushes, it's safe to say I'm hooked

March 16, 2015


Once spring rolls around again, I'm all over the idea of painted nails. During the winter, dark polishes can look a bit worse for wear against my dry, cracked skin. It's probably no surprise to those of you who've read my blog for some time now, but Essie always cracks out some of my absolute favorite pastel shades this time of the year. Whether creamy, or jelly like in texture the colors remind me of Cadbury Eggs and Jelly Beans, my true Easter candy loves. 

Since it seems that my Essie obsession isn't going anywhere anytime soon, I thought I'd show you the shades I can't get enough of right now. From both permanent and newer collections, I've rounded up five of my spring favorites for perky nails. 

On my fingers left to right // Essie Petal Pushers - gray based cornflower blue, Blossom Dandy - minty Tiffany green, Not Just a Pretty Face - a sheer natural pink nude, Absolutely Shore - creamy sea foam green - , Hubby for Dessert - sheer lilac. 

Are you a fan of Essie's pastel shades? What are your favorites? 

March 15, 2015


Fresh skin and springtime go hand and hand in my book. When I think of the warmer months creeping up on us (I wish they'd run) I think of beautiful skin and barely-there bases. In order to ready myself for such light makeup application I've been ramping things up in the skincare department. Where better to start than with a mask that smells of pie and leaves your skin feeling baby-soft? 

The Peter Thomas Roth Pumpkin Enzyme Mask is everything I could ask for in a mask, and more. For me, applying masks makes a big difference in the conditions of my skin, making things smoother and brighter than they'd otherwise be. This one in particular has been doing quite an amazing job of clearing up my skin post "that time of the month" and helping to slough off dead skin cells thanks to double-exfoliating duties. I love how this contains pumpkin enzymes to get the job done in terms of chemical exfoliation, and then gentle aluminum oxide exfoliating particles help to manually polish as well. It really is a do-it-all mask that's all sorts of addicting in terms of both scent and results

Now if you'll excuse me, it's Sunday and I'm back to masking duties and reruns. Have you tried this mask yet?

March 14, 2015


While I'm completely guilty of high-end beauty loving, mascaras have always been something I don't splurge on quite as often. I'm the type of girl who likes to have many mascaras on rotation at once and I've never really found higher-end formulas to be more effective. I tend to go to the drugstore and leave with whatever looks most intriguing to me at the time, whether it's the newest release with the funky brush, or promises of "100 times" amplified lashes. You know the ones. After years of testing the mascara waters, here are the top four that currently float my boat. 
  1. L'Oreal Voluminous Original // This is a classic mascara that I always rely on when I want that soft and natural looking lashes. A "no mascara, mascara" of sorts. It's also great because even the non-waterproof formula actually holds a curl - life-saving stuff I tell you. 
  2. L'Oreal Voluminous Miss Manga // The name really does suit the product. This mascara makes the lashes look cartoon like and I love using it for those long, spidery, night-out appropriate lashes. 
  3. Maybelline The Falsies Volum' Express // This is a fibrous formula that attaches teeny-tiny lash extensions to the ends of your natural set for a bit of extra length. I like that this is so lengthening and multiplying that it'll open your eyes to lashes that you never knew you had. Even better is that it never gets clumpy or crumbly, like some fiber mascaras tend to do. 
  4. Maybelline Lash Sensational // The newest of the bunch and the one I'm wearing in the photo above. This stuff is really awesome at separating and curling the lashes and giving you doll-like lashes. I've heard word that it's also a great dupe for the new Benefit Roller Lash, with a very similarly shaped brush and curling effect. 
What are your favorite drugstore mascara formulas?

March 13, 2015


You've seen it reviewed here and now I'm putting it into action for you. I've been using the Hourglass Modernist Eyeshadow Palette in Exposure a lot lately to put a spin on my everyday eye makeup. That's right, I'm using purple shadows in place of my usual taupes, beiges, and browns if you can imagine. Very unlike me, but I've been loving the subtle difference it makes to my makeup and the buttery texture of the shadows ensure a smooth application. 

For the face I used the Charlotte Tilbury Light Wonder Foundation in the shade 3 and the Nars Radiant Creamy Concealer in Vanilla to cover up bags and blemishes. I set everything with a dusting of the Chanel Natural Finish Loose Powder just to keep it simple and daytime appropriate - nothing too shimmery. For a bit of color that doesn't compete with the rest of the face I love the Tarte Amazonian Clay Blush in the shade Natural Beauty, so that's what I used here. I also tapped a tiny bit of the Kevyn Aucoin Celestial Powder in Candlelight across the tops of my cheeks for some definition and glow. 

On the lips I used a bit of Charlotte Tilbury Lip Cheat in Pink Venus to outline and topped it with her Lip Luster in Portobello Girl. I know, this stuff again right? Sue me, it's the perfect pink combination for my dry winter lips. I promise I'll use something different next, spring is just around the corner after all. 

Now for the part where I don't use the same products I always do. I am adventurous, see? I started the eyes by packing the lightest shade (leftmost) in the palette all over my lids and up to the crease. I then took a bit of the taupey purple shade (middle) and swept it from the outer corner toward the middle, blending the two together before adding the deep violet shade (second from left) to the outer "v". I took a fluffy crease brush and gave the shadows all a nice buffing for a diffused effect, which I like better for a daytime look. Of course, winged liner was necessary here and for that I used the Kat Von D Tattoo Liner in Trooper and topped off my lashes with coats and coats of mascara. 

What do you think of this "new neutral" take on a daytime eye?

March 12, 2015


As a regular user of black liquid liner, I'm always willing to try something new in hopes of making the whole process easier. After years and years of practice, I've become pretty good at applying liquid liner without too many mistakes - but you better believe a pack of pointed cotton buts and micellar water are still close friends of mine. Sometimes steady hands early in the morning just won't happen, no matter how careful you are. There is, however, one eyeliner that stands out among the competition for it's ability to allow even the wonkiest of liner drawers to create a great cat eye. 

The Kat Von D Tattoo Liner in Trooper is without a doubt the best I've ever used. It meets all the criteria that make up the dream eyeliner; the finest pointed tip, the darkest black ink, and the staying power of a tattoo - seriously. Leave it to the queen of permanent body art to create such an amazing liner, right? I really think what makes it stand out among its peers is that it has a synthetic haired tip instead of the usual felt tip, which can dry out quickly and doesn't create as precise of a wing. Trust me, this little pen is worth every penny and will give you the skills of a liquid liner master in no time. 

March 11, 2015


A blush worthy of an entire post, this one is. It's okay, just take a five and stare...

So anyway, back to business. I always have a hard time steering clear of a purchase where new blush releases are involved. It's something about the pink tones and pretty packaging that seem to get the best of me every time. However, having loved the Nars Dual-Intensity Eyeshadows that were released awhile back I was even more keen on giving these blush duos a go. The shade that called out to me most was Fervor, a pretty mix of plum and warm bubblegum pink, of course. Just like the eyeshadows, these blushes are made to be used either damp, for a sheer watercolor-like color, or dry, for a stronger flush. 

I like the idea that the color can really be tailored to suit the intensity level that you prefer. Personally, I wear my blush on the more natural side of the spectrum, so I've been spraying my brush with a bit of rosewater and swirling it through the two shades to create a perfectly balanced, fresh cheek. Though I will say, the shade I picked up really never seems that intense, even when I use my brush dry. The pigment doesn't pick up as easily with these as it did with the eyeshadows, which is what I was hoping for - those had such a beautiful multi-faceted effect. 

I've been using this for about a week and I do really like that it doesn't ever compete with the rest of my makeup and has pretty good staying power. In my opinion, the Nars Dual-Intensity Blush gives a much more transparent and illuminated look than the original Nars blushes do. 

This video here is really great if you'd like to see the different effect the blushes give when applied wet, versus when applied dry. I played around with my technique a bit before figuring out how I like to apply the blush best, and it made all the difference. 

What's your take on this new release from Nars?

March 10, 2015


I'm continuing on in my "Best of Bases" mini-series here, seeing as my previous post, the Light & Natural edition, is one of the most viewed posts on my blog. I've also tried quite a few new bases in recent months and some of them are now serious contenders for the top spots in the category. That is, if they were competing for residency on my face. Foundations are always something I'm drawn to trying out because in terms of makeup, what's more important than flawless skin? Here is a roundup of my current everyday favorites, who they're best suited for, and why I can't get enough of them.


BareMinerals Complexion Rescue (full review here) // This is one of the more unique formulas that I've come across in my recent trials, and it's definitely a good one. If you are the type of person who hates regular, medium-full coverage foundations, but would like a fresh and even complexion with a hit of SPF, this one's for you. Your natural skin will be showing through this, so you can spot conceal as needed. It's a gel-cream hybrid that refreshes and plumps the skin up but dries down to the texture of your natural skin, which I really appreciate. Also a great tinted moisturizer substitute for oily skinned girls thanks to the gel base.

Charlotte Tilbury Light Wonder Foundation // Are you sick of me gushing over CT yet? I love her products, but there have been an obvious few standouts, and to me and this skin perfecting veil is one of the biggest hits. It's light, very fluid, and brings a radiance to the skin without shimmer or shine, which is a must for me. If you're in search of a foundation that's one step up in coverage from a tinted moisturizer with better longevity, you need to try this.


DiorSkin Star Fluid Foundation (full review here) // This is the foundation I always reach for when I'm battling dry skin. Right now,  the shade I have is a tad dark for my wintery-white complexion, but other than that I still think it's a beauty. It's not as high in coverage as you would expect it to be, but I personally think that's what makes it great for dry skin. It blurs out imperfections and gives skin that lit-from-within glow, with a bouncy and fresh feel, and sets to a satiny finish.


NARS All Day Luminous Weightless Foundation (full review here) // A recent release and a great product for those of you looking to achieve a full coverage with a lightweight formula. Like I mentioned in my full review, dry-skinned girls be warned; you're better off to steer clear of this one, as it does have a tendency to cling to dry patches. For my combination skin, however, this is a pretty awesome foundation. It's ultra fluid and serum-like in consistency, but once it sets down it locks in and won't budge, which is definitely a plus if you'd like your base to stay put all day. My advice is to work in sections with this in order to allow more time for blending before it sets down. I love how with this I can use the tiniest amount to create a smooth and perfect skin.


Koh Gen Do Aqua Foundation // I haven't reviewed this one on its own yet, but that doesn't mean I haven't been loving it lately. The shade range is amazing and the color 213 matches the olive undertones in my skin perfectly, which can be hard to find in a lot of foundations. The finish is also seamless and undetectable; it reminds me of a more everyday-friendly version of the Giorgio Armani Luminous Silk, which is another favorite of mine. It's non-greasy, yet moisturizing and has the ability to help fake flawless skin in a more natural and dewy way than most. What makes it a great pick for anyone is that it can either be worn very sheer and only on the areas needed, or it can be built up to achieve the desired level of coverage. Score

March 09, 2015


I am absolutely loving the skin enhancing makeup releases that have launched this year. A naturally perfected complexion is a trend that I can definitely get behind, and I'm sure you'd agree with me on that one. I'm also a firm believer in priming the skin prior to makeup, as a smooth base tends to mean less product is necessary for an even finish, plus more longevity. That's the exact reason I was drawn to the new Make Up For Ever Skin Equalizer Primers, which are looking a lot like the primers of the future. 

I guess you could say the future is now, because these primers go way above the call of duty when it comes to makeup prep work. Not only do they refine and smooth the skin before makeup application, but the range consists of a total of eleven different texture and tone correcting primers, making it a cakewalk to tailor the finish and consistency to your skin type and preferred result. Yes, really. Definitely not your run of the mill one-size-fits-all product, and I happen think that's a beautiful thing, considering we all have different skin types and woes. 

I personally use primers for correcting my skin tone and for a longer lasting makeup, as I find they eliminate the need for too much foundation or additional touch ups throughout the day. Who has time for that? So naturally, I picked up the pale pink radiance primer, which is tailored for yellow-toned fair skin, and so far it's all I've used since. It has a light but fresh scent and feels like you're applying a milky serum to the skin, leaving things feeling comforted and silky-smooth. I love that this brightens things up immediately without a single speck of shimmer involved, similar in a sense to my trusty Chanel Le Blanc de Chanel

I'm definitely into the idea of creating a primer wardrobe with more than one of these and I have my eye on the Nourishing Primer next. What do you think of these next-level primers? 

March 08, 2015


At the beginning of last autumn I cut all my hair off to approximately chin length. It felt so liberating at the time and styling a shaped cut was easier than what I had been used to in the past. If you can imagine, less than two years ago I was a bangs girl. Flash forward to now, about six months later and at least four inches of growth; it's safe to say I'm in the midst of an awkward length hairstyle. 

My 2015 hair goals include no haircuts whatsoever, so having any sort of hair "style" hasn't been an easy feat. On a mission to obtain cool girl hair, with a certain je nais se quoi, while growing things back to style-friendly lengths, I headed straight for a few products I knew could give me just that. Sachajuan is a no-fuss haircare line from Stockholm, whose products always give that effortlessly cool look while maintaining the condition of the hair. My two longtime favorites are the Ocean Mist and the Leave In Conditioner, as they require minimal work but together give your hair a soft, beachy feel without any frizz. I love the texture that the wave spray gives as it accentuates my hair's natural kinks, and it leaves my mop with a style that I thought was unachievable in my current condition. 

Since I'm looking to go as long as possible without having to cut my hair, it's great having reliable products that can give you the look you want with as little heat styling as possible. The long-term effects of the Leave In Conditioner are also something of dreams - after about a month of consistent use it seems as though my split ends have begun to repair themselves and my hair is the shiniest it's been in a long time. The lazy girl's ultimate hair essentials, as I call them, have proven that good hair days are, in fact, ahead. Even though Gisele length is still in the far future - I'll get there one day. 

March 06, 2015


Despite my love of a good bold lip, there are sometimes days when a lot of makeup isn't appropriate or I simply can't be bothered worrying about perfect lipstick. Let's face it - quick runs to the grocery store or eating a whole pizza don't go hand-in-hand with punchy red lips. 

Unfortunately for me I wasn't born with perfectly symmetrical lips, so I definitely benefit from a bit of product no matter the occasion. In that case, it's safe to say that Charlotte Tilbury has got it down when it comes to lipsticks, glosses, and liners that give the "my lips but better" effect. I've been reaching for these products on a very regular basis and find that I literally cannot be without her Lip Cheat Lipliner. I've already gone through two in the shade Pillow Talk and just picked up Pink Venus to try something a little different and a bit more on the pink side. Are you convinced yet?

For an everyday look, I love using the liner overtop a bit of lip balm, specifically the Nuxe Reve de Miel, which together mimic the actual texture of my lips so that things just look a bit smoother, fuller, and more even. Who doesn't want that? If I'm looking for a bit of extra color or shine the Lip Lustre in Blondie and Portobello Girl are firm favorites, as they smell like cupcakes and have amazing staying power for glosses. Then there's the newest addition to my CT lip wardrobe, the K.I.S.S.I.N.G Lipstick in Penelope Pink, which is a perfect tawny pink-nude for pairing with a smokey eye. I love that the formula of the products are all great for textured or dry lips which is what I need right now, not to mention the shade range is on point as far as I'm concerned. 

So these are my everyday lip-staples courtesy of Charlotte Tilbury. Do you have any from her line?

March 05, 2015


In an effort to whip myself back into shape in time for the approaching warmer months, I've been munching on different variations of smoothies and smoothie bowls in place of my usual breakfast, lunch, or snack. I'm sure you've all heard mention of the term "nice cream" before; a yummy banana or frozen fruit-based healthy alternative to ice cream. Well, this is just like that, but a more antioxidant-rich version made from the Brazilian superfood, acai berry. 

These bowls are so tasty that you'll feel like you're having a treat first thing in the morning, the only difference is this is the guilt-free kind. What's even better about these is that you can make them any way you like; topped with fruit and nuts, with granola and coconut, and pretty much anything in between. There are tons of recipes out there, but I've found a way to make these delicious tropical treats quickly enough to enjoy regularly (and trust me, you're going to want to). Here's how I do it....
ACAI SMOOTHIE BOWL: (Makes 2 Servings) 1 cup Unsweetened Almond Milk, 2 Sambazon Acai Berry Superfruit Packs Original Blend, 2 Frozen Bananas.
TOPPING: (For 2 Bowls) 2 TBSP Raw coconut flakes, 1/2 cup granola (any kind you like, mine's homemade), 1 TBSP Chia Seeds, 3 Squares chopped dark chocolate (70% cacao or higher).

Pour the almond milk into a blender and add the acai packs one by one until blended. Don't try to do both at once as your blender may jam. Once smooth, add bananas in similar fashion until blended as well. Don't over-blend the mixture or you'll lose the thick and creamy texture we're aiming for. Next, pour the mixture into a bowl and add the toppings mentioned above, in any order you prefer, or mixed all together. Keep in mind that you can also get creative here, add fruit or nuts to your liking, the above is just the topping I used here. 

I hope you enjoy this recipe and that it helps satisfy your sweet tooth in a healthier way as it did mine. I'd love to hear if you try it out and like it, tag me on Instagram, or comment this post. Bon appétit. 

March 04, 2015


Say hello to the newest addition to the Nars foundation family. I have always loved their base products, which I'm sure you know, thanks to my non-stop raving about the Radiant Creamy Concealer and Pure Radiant Tinted Moisturizer. I also used to be a big fan of the Sheer Glow Foundation, but lately I'm finding that it looks a bit heavier on my skin than I remember. That being said, the Nars All Day Luminous Weightless Foundation couldn't have been released at a better time. Does it last all day? Is it weightless, yet luminous? The name alone gave me no option but to try this out...and can we talk about that matte glass bottle? So good

Gushing aside, Nars introduced this into their line as their first full-coverage, yet lightweight and natural finish foundation. Right off the bat it reminds me most of the Chanel Perfection Lumiere Velvet and the Charlotte Tilbury Light Wonder Foundation, which to me can only be a good thing. It feels like a fluid, oil-free serum and settles down to a satin, almost powdery finish on the skin. If you don't get on with the foundations I mentioned above, or if you have very dry skin, you may want to steer clear of this product altogether, as it will probably cling to dry patches. I have combination skin, so for me this works really well and keeps my skin shine-free but still feeling plumped and radiant. 

This is definitely my favorite of all the Nars foundations so far. I like how although this is full coverage, it becomes one with the skin and allows it to breathe. The wear time with this product really is all day, and I find it's thin enough in consistency that it doesn't settle into fine lines or around the nose. I'm definitely happy I picked up a bottle of this, and I think it could be a contender for my go-to base come warmer months when my t-zone likes to eat my foundation for lunch. Have you tried this foundation yet? What do you think? 

March 03, 2015


A little late to the party on this one, but I thought I'd get back on the monthly favorites bandwagon. I've tried quite a few new products since the new year and many have even made it into my daily routine. Since I can't speak to all of them in one post, I've chosen to touch on the products that stood out to me the most and those that have kept me looking human throughout this ultra-drab month. If you would like to see some other products I tried out in February, you can peek through the "archives" section on the lefthand side of the blog. Wink, wink. But for now, let's talk favorites and hope that the spring weather graces us with its presence soon. *Crosses fingers, toes, and whole body*

One of my standout favorites this month was the Aesop Rejuvenate Body Balm, simply because of the joy this brings me when using it. Sounds simple, I know, but it smells and feels so amazing that it makes your skin forget it's aching for summertime. If there's one thing you add to your shopping list from this month's roundup, let it be this Tangerine, Vanilla, and Sandalwood-scented softening body balm.

Bring on the makeup favorites. My love for the Charlotte Tilbury Light Wonder Foundation has grown strong over this past month and has even taken the place of my usual daily base, Chanel Vitalumiere Aqua. My drab winter skin is thanking me for this and I consider it to be the slightly higher coverage, glowier sister of my Chanel favorite. Topped off with a bit of Clinique's contour and highlight duo, I go from looking Vitamin D deficient, to looking as if I've just come back from somewhere with palm trees. Yes, please. On the eyes, I relied on my By Terry Ombre Blackstar in Misty Rock for the vast majority of the month. It's so easy to apply, doesn't budge once set, and the beautiful foiled effect it gives is something of dreams. I don't think there's anything that could convince me to stop using this - I'm tempted to pick up more shades soon before I use this baby up!

On the cheeks I've been loving the Guerlain Météorites Perles De Blush because it imparts a beautiful rosy glow on the cheeks, which is something I'm in desperate need of these days. I believe this may be a LE item, so if you've had your eye on this I'd recommend scooping it up before it's gone, as it's a lovely product. My lips have been a bit on the dry side still but that hasn't stopped me from abusing my beloved matte lip products. I'm still in love with the Charlotte Tilbury Lip Cheat in Pillowtalk so much so it's even safe to say it's become somewhat of an addiction. I recently picked up the shade Pink Venus as well and am currently giving that one a go as we speak. I also rekindled my love with an old nude lip favorite of mine, the Hourglass Femme Nude Lip Stylo in shade #6, which is a beautiful creamy, yet matte, nude. For a red lip I've been favoring the MAC Pro Longwear Lip Pencil in Kiss Me Quick, as I like being able to draw the color along my lip line and then fill it in. It lasts so long, making it perfect for a night out. Nobody wants to be worrying about their lipstick midway through a martini, do they?
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