Saturday, January 30, 2016

January 2016 Favorites!

The first month of the year is already almost over, which means we are going full steam ahead into 2016 whether I like it or not! It's been a whirlwind of a month personally, and time seems to be just slipping right past me. But now it's time for another favorites roundup of the beauty products I've been loving this month!

First off, I've been loving this super awesome adult coloring book, Lost Ocean by Johanna Basford,  I got for Christmas which is all the rage right now, and for once I've been ahead of the trend for years! I've always have had some sort of coloring book on hand to de-stress and use as a mindfulness activity when life gets too overwhelming (perks of working in the mental health field, you learn awesome coping skills). This one has stunning pictures in it, and I can't wait to fill up the pages with color.

I also ordered my first Z-Palette, another favorite for the month. I depotted my Benefit blushes from my Sweet Cheeks set, Wet n' Wild single shadows and a few other loose shadows I had lying around. It's nice having these items out of bulky packaging and makes storing a dream. Love it!

Revlon Colorstay Foundation has been my favorite foundation for ages, but now it's even better! You guys, it has a PUMP NOW!!! Life can't get any better. Getting the right amount of foundation onto my hand is now easier than ever and is a million times less messy than pouring it out of the bottle. YASSSS. For primer, I've been liking using my sample of Smashbox Photo Finish Primer. People either love it or hate it, and it really depends on if you like clear, silicone primers or not. I do, but I can't use them everyday or it clogs my pores leading to breakouts. This one creates a smooth canvas for my makeup and I love how silky it feels on my skin. I've been alternating this with my Nivea Post Shave Balm all month!

I've talked about the e.l.f HD Undereye Setting Powder before, and I've liked it but the one draw back was tiny flecks of glitter that kind of turned me off of using it. Recently, they reformulated it and now there isn't any glitter whatsoever! Just the lightweight, silky, powder that instantly brightens my undereye while setting my concealer to minimize creasing. I think it's been said to be a dupe for the Laura Mercier Secret Brighting Powder, but I haven't tried it yet to find out since it's so spendy. The e.l.f one comes in a cute, tiny jar and is only $3! I highly recommend picking it up.

I was surprised by my last favorite, the Colour Pop Shadow in Puppy Love. I picked this up with my most recent Colour Pop order, and wasn't so sure of how I felt about it when I first swatched it. It wasn't as opaque as my other shadows, and to be honest I was a little let down by it. But when I used it on my eyes, holy cow I was in love with how it looked! It gave a beautiful, peachy pink sheen to my lids that seems to pair well with any makeup look. It definitely is not in-your-face color, but is beyond perfect for everyday, more natural eye looks that I've worn to work several times. It has quickly become one of my favorite go-to looks for when I need to get ready fast in the morning.

There you have it, my first beauty favorites for January 2016! 

What have your favorites been so far?



Saturday, January 23, 2016

January 2016 Boxycharm Unboxing! #EyesOn2016

My Boxycharm has arrived! It's my last subscription box to show up usually, so this marks the end of this months round of unboxing posts. It's funny, because this months theme is Eyes on 2016 which is similar to Ipsys eye focused bag. Enough blabbing though, let's dig in to see what charmers got this month!

The big ticket item in this months box is the new Coastal Scents Revealed Smoky Palette, which looks eerily similar to the Urban Decay Naked Smoky Palette on packaging alone. This one is filled with 20 smoky shades ranging from browns, blues, purples and a few bronzey golds. The colors are gorgeous, but like with most Revealed palettes, the shadow quality is hit or miss. Some are nicely pigmented, smooth and buttery while others are chalky and pigment is practically non existent. The card says its a $40 value, but it's always "sale" priced at $20 on the website. This still isn't a bad product to get in a $21 box!

The next bigger item is a Royal & Langnickel Brush Set [R]evolution, which comes with 3 eye synthetic brushes! It includes a BX-80 Detail brush, BX-90 Crease brush and BX-95 Smudger brush. These brushes look and feel nice, but I just wish the bristles were a little softer and fluffier because they feel a little stiff and slippery and don't seem like they would hold pigment or blend out well. But I'll definitely give them a shot!

The last two items I got was a full-size Ardency Inn Modster Smooth Ride Super Charged Eyeliner in Lilac and Blinc Mascara Amplified.  I was so shocked that I got the Modster eyeliner because Ardency Inn is NOT cheap, and I've heard nothing but incredible things about it. Plus, it's in a gorgeous lilac color! So excited to try this out. The Blinc mascara is interesting because it's a 'tubing' mascara which apparently coats the lashes in a way that creates little tubes which makes it extra buildable. The thought of tiny tubes on my lashes kinda weirds me out yet intrigues me at the same time so I'll let you all know what I think of it!

That concludes this unboxing! As usual, I'm pretty impressed with Boxycharm and I am in love with the eyeliner, which is $19 alone. This box is such a steal at $21 a month for 4-5 full size items. Unfortunately, this will be my last Boxycharm for a while because I'm starting to tighten up my budget (stupid car problems ruining my makeup purchases). I still will have my Ipsy and Birchbox though for now, so hopefully I can subscribe again soon!

Let me know what you thought of this months box!



Thursday, January 21, 2016

How To Deal With Difficult Skin

To say my skin is unpredictable and finicky is an understatement. I've had sensitive skin ever since I was a child; constantly getting weird rashes, breakouts and eczema in various places on my body. When it comes to my face, I used to never think of it as being sensitive because getting my acne treated was my number one priority at the time. Now I am beginning to figure out what works best for not only  keeping my skin clear, but healthy looking.

When I was in my teens I struggled with moderate acne and oily skin like most. Mixed with my other skin issues like eczema (thankfully not on my face), I had a heck of a time getting it under control, and pretty much making every mistake you could along the way. I would wash my face too often or not enough, not properly moisturizing and used some of the harshest treatments I could find which almost always tended to make matters worse. My skin was a hot mess.

As I got older, I got much better about having a good, consistent skin care routine and taking allergy meds to help combat my other skin issues. I noticed my skin started calming down some as well and has gone from straight oily to more oily/combo with occasional flakiness in some areas. But I almost always had some sort of breakout happening. It wasn't until I realized that I had oily, acne-prone sensitive skin that I started rethinking my whole skin care routine entirely. Instead of using facial cleansers and toners that are specifically targeted for acne, I started using ones geared toward sensitive skin that usually had more natural ingredients. Totally was a game changer for me.

So if you have skin like me, take a look at what products I've been using that seem to be working for me lately!

I've learned the hard way that removing my makeup completely at the end of the day is crucial to achieving better looking skin. Having clogged pores is a one way ticket to breakouts! To help remove all of my makeup, I love using The Body Shop Sumptuous Camomile Cleansing Balm as my first step to remove the majority of it and Garnier Skin Active Micellar Water to remove mascara residue and foundation still left over. Both of these are gentle and don't break me out which is great!

Micellar waters are all the rage right now, and can be used to remove makeup and cleanse at the same time, but I am staunch believer in using actual cleansers. Right now I'm really enjoying my Simple Moisturizing Facial Wash because it doesn't completely dry me out and seems to agree with my skin. CeraVe on the other hand, broke me out like crazy which was super disappointing because I heard amazing things about it. Next, I want to retry Cetaphil because it's been years since I last used it and don't remember how it worked for me.

I then follow up with a toner, one that again isn't too harsh. The Botanics Shine Away Mattifying Toner is nice because it gets rid of excess oil without sucking the life out of my skin.

After my skin is properly cleansed and toned, I usually use one of my 'flavor of the month' serums I get from my subscription boxes. Using serums in my skin care routine is relatively new to me, so I'm still experimenting with what works for my skin. At the moment I'm trying  a sample of the Avene Hydrance Opitmale Hydrating Serum and I like it so far. But I would love to find a serum at an affordable, drugstore price so suggestions are welcomed! Serums have really made a difference in my skin being brighter, more hydrated and healthy looking. My favorite moisturizer I've used for years has been the Up & Up Dual Effects Moisturizer because it's oil-free, lightweight and has a tiny amount of salicylic acid to help fight blemishes. I use it morning and night.

I've also been trying to incorporate eye creams each night to help with my sweet designer eyebags that crease like a mofo with my concealer. Right now this Pur-Lisse Blue Lotus 4-in-1 Eye Adore Serum has been a nice addition to my regimen. Don't forget the lips either! Mine tend to be on the dry, chapped side almost always so a nightly lip balm, like the Smith's Minted Rose Lip Balm, is necessary for me. With this routine I've got now, my breakouts have been minimal (with the majority being hormonal breakouts) with more days being almost completely clear than ever! My skin also just looks better; more hydrated, brighter and more even.

 Besides just using the right products that work for you on your skin, it's equally important to take care of your skin from the inside by eating right, exercising and drinking LOTS of water. I can't stress this enough; I can totally tell the difference in my skin when I eat crappy for a few days. Sunscreen is also super important, which I admit that I'm not always the most consistent with but it's something I'm trying hard to work on.

I hope this was helpful for those like me trying to figure out how to deal with difficult skin!

What are some of your favorite skin care products?



Monday, January 18, 2016

January 2016 Birchbox Unboxing!

Lately I've been loving my Birchbox, and I was super excited to see what I got this month. Unlike my other subscription boxes, I can't get a sneak peek of the exact contents of my box. This month's actual box was so cool because it came with stickers to customize the outside with what subscribers wanted the new year to be about. Naturally, I put all the stickers on it immediately; I just love me some stickers. So let's take a gander at what I received this month!

The biggest items in the box was a sample of the R+Co Death Valley Dry Shampoo and amika Bombshell Blowout Spray. R+Co products aren't cheap and I've tried a few items before and loved them, so I'm sure this dry shampoo will be great. I think I've gotten this blowout spray before, and I liked it well enough. They definitely help fight frizz!

The two makeup items I got was an Eyeko Fat Liquid Liner and TONYMOLY Delight Tony Tint in Red. The liquid liner is a felt tip liner, and it's a pretty thick tip so I can imagine trying to make small lines rather difficult on my already, small hooded eyes. But I'll give it a go regardless! The lip tint is your typical gelish, red lip tint that stains your lips. When I swatched it, and after letting it sit for maybe 30 seconds it stained the heck out of my skin! Which is good news for the lasting power, but I'm not sure how I feel about lip tints like this because they tend to look like I just don't know how to eat a red popsicle. If I want to wear red I typically just wear a lipstick, but I'll try this out, maybe under a gloss.

The last item I got was a sample of the Embryolisse Lait-Creme Concentre, a moisturizer. On the description card this says it makes a great moisturizer for prepping the skin for foundation, so I'm definitely going to use it in the morning before makeup! I love getting moisturizers in my boxes, so I'm always happy to receive items like this. 

Overall, this box was good! I didn't get any perfume samples, and I didn't get a typical wooden eyeliner this time! Whooo! I'm excited to try the dry shampoo and moisturizer the most.

What did you get in your box?



Sunday, January 17, 2016

Ipsy January 2016 Unboxing! #AllEyesOnYou

My first subscription box for 2016 showed up, and it was my Ipsy! I'm excited to see what's in store for Ipsy this year, but for now let's find out what my January 2016 bag brings me! This month's theme is All Eyes On You, which I think means that this month's bag is going to be centered around the eyes. I actually think that's a neat idea, so let's take a look...

The bag is eeehhh, but I'm excited for the products in it! I was most excited about the Hikari Cream Metallic Pigment in Mink at first, because it looks SO similar to my beloved L'Oreal Infallible shadows. But when I went to swatch it, it immediately felt a whole lot drier and not as buttery as I was expecting, and the pigmentation was surprisingly missing. The color is beautiful though, like a pinkish taupe, so for that reason I'm going to try to work with it. 

I was also stoked about getting what looks like a full size theBalm Mr. Write (Now) in Jac, a beautiful bronze eyeliner! This feels pretty cream upon swatching it, and when I tried to wipe it off it didn't budge at all and I had to scrub it off! So that's pretty cool.

Top: Mr. Write (Now) in Jac, Bottom: Hikari Mink
I also got a full-size Jelly Pong Pong Fairy Lashes Mascara. I just got a Jelly Pong Pong product last month in my Boxycharm, so I'm excited to try their mascara! It looks like a basic, natural fiber wand but we'll see how the formulas is.

The last products I got is the Hey Honey Open Your Eyes Eye Contour Lifting Fluid and Lasting Smiles Lip Balm in Peppermint Creme. I'm always happy with eye creams and serums because even these sample sizes last me a long time, so I never have to spend a dime one them! This one seems fairly thin in consistency, which I prefer to a thicker cream. The lip balm looks like one you would get free at a doctors office so I was not expecting much from it, but I was surprised at how moisturizing it is! Way better than an EOS, so I'll be throwing this in my purse ASAP. Also, proceeds of this lip balm go towards children who need cleft lip surgery, which is so great! 

I'm actually pretty pleased with this months bag! I liked pretty much everything, except I was disappointed with the eye shadow and I'll have to try out the mascara. 

What did you get in your bag?



Thursday, January 14, 2016

Colour Pop Haul #2

Hey everyone! I'm a huge Kathleen Lights fan from Youtube, and when I saw that she collaborated with Colour Pop a second time to produce another quad called Where The Night Is, I was so excited! But when I found out that shadows from both of her quads are now being sold individually, I lost my damn mind. Naturally, I had to have them. Here is a look at my recent Colour Pop order!

I ordered 5 shadows, with 4 of the Super Shock Shadows from the Kathleen Lights collabs, and a Blush. Three of the shadows, called Telepathy, Porter and Weenie are from her newest collection. One shadow aptly named KathleenLights, is from her original quad, Where The Light Is. I'm so happy that the option to mix and match and to buy separately is finally available!

As always, the Colour Pop formula never disappoints and these shadows are as amazingly pigmented as expected. Telepathy is an ultra-metallic gold with a green undertone, Porter is a metallic burgundy with flecks of gold glitter, Weenie is a pearlized rose gold, and KathleenLights is a pearlized warm copper. All of these shadows just spoke to me on a spiritual level, I mean C'MON! Just look at these beauties (Clearly I've already dug into a few of them!). I decided on swapping out Midnight with KathleenLights because I find these shadows excel at being pops of color and shine on the lid, and the color of this shadow just suited my personal preference for warm shadows better than the original shadow in the quad.

Fantastic job Kathleen!

The other shadow I bought is called Puppy Love, a pearlized duo chrome peachy pink/gold shade, All the proceeds go to the Best Friends Animal Society to help with the NKLA effort to end shelter killlings, which is an awesome cause! It's a little sheerer than expected, but still a beautiful wash of metallic color for all over the lid or in the inner corner for added brightness. I bet this would make a bomb highlight on the cheeks too...

I love me blush in Birthday Suit, and I just knew I had to pick up another blush. I chose Cruel Intentions, described as a matte warm rose, which is like a step darker than Birthday Suit and bit more vibrant. When I first used this I went a little H.A.M and picked up waaaay too much leaving me looking a little clownish because this stuff packs some serious pigment! So just a warning, a little goes a long way. Thank god these blend easily and I was able to fix it. I recommend using a synthetic stippling brush with these because I found they apply the best that way.

Colour Pop produces such quality makeup for crazy affordable prices. The shadows are only $5 a piece and blush is $8, but is almost double the size of the shadows. I also want to try their new liners eventually!

I HIGHLY recommend these shadows, and pretty much all Colour Pop products because of the range of products, colors and the innovative gel/cream to powder formula they use so if you haven't tried these before, get 'em now!



Sunday, January 10, 2016

Products I Used Up #2

December was a crazy month for me, as it was for most with the holidays, being out of town and visiting with relatives so the list of products I finished is actually reasonable! Here are a few of my empties from the month of December!

Two of the staples in my shower I always have on hand is my Up & Up Body Wash in Grapefruit and Macadamia Oil Flawless Cleansing Conditioner. The body wash has salicylic acid in it and exfoliating beads to help with body acne flare ups I sometimes get. It smells really great too! The Macadamia Oil Cleansing Conditioner I use about twice a week and it's so amazing; it cleanses and conditions my hair in one step, leaving my hair clean, shiny, and moisturized. It also does cut down on dry time for my hair, which is incredible. I find this periodically on Hautelook discounted because this is usually around $32. Yikes.

Skin care products I finished this month is the The Body Shop Tea Tree Skin Clearing Toner, The Body Shop Camomile Cleansing Oil and a sample of Shiseido Ultimune Power Infusing Concentrate. The toner is pretty good, but it was a little drying for my skin and was difficult to mix the 'sediment' at the bottom. I'm still on the hunt for a good toner, so I'm open to suggestions!

 The cleansing oil gets the job done fabulously; it removes and breaks down my makeup in no time. It's real messy though, which is not my favorite. The pump also tends to shoot the oil out, and get everywhere. I definitely prefer the solid version, the cleansing balm way better! As for the Shisiedo serum, I'm pretty sure the last drops I used were mixed with tears because I was so sad when this ran out. It's helllla expensive, so I won't be repurchasing. 

The only two makeup items I used up was my favorite NYX HD Studio Photogenic Finishing Powder and a sample of the Eyeko Black Magic Mascara. The finishing powder is a white, finely milled powder I use to set all of my makeup at the end to fill in pores and make sure everything is blended. It feels so soft and makes my makeup look flawless! I definitely enjoyed this mascara while I had it and gave me nice volume and definition, but I probably won't repurchase it because the drugstore does mascara so well.

Well that's all folks! What did you finish in December? 



Thursday, January 7, 2016

Lime Crime Venus: The Grunge Palette

There has been quite the controversy around Lime Crime in the beauty community, and I believe it stems from the data breach a while ago leading to many avoiding the brand. A few weeks ago Lime Crime was discounted on Hautelook, and I just couldn't help myself because I've been really interested in the Venus Palette but a little nervous ordering from their website. Yay for Hautelook!

Let's take a look!

The palette contains 8 shadows in varying shades of reds and a few somewhat neutral shades, which is intended to recreate the 90's grunge looks but with a fresh, modern spin. This palette is definitely not for those who do not do well with warm shades (I'm talking straight reds) and who are looking for a neutral palette because it's certainly bold! 

Personally I love warm shades, but I knew this was not a palette I would be reaching for everyday because reds can be hard to pull off for fear of looking like I've contracted pink eye. BUT, I did want more options for unique neutrals with pops of color for more dramatic looks.

...and I just loved the packaging. I LOVE mythology, so it was a must have for me on that alone. I took a Greek Mythology class in college and adored it, hence me still hanging onto the text book. :)

Venus: a satin marsala 
Shell: pearlescent pink shimmer
Aura: pearlescent white gold shimmer
Creation: warm, rusty brown matte
Icon: dark brown matte
Rebirth: peachy pink matte
Divine: taupey grey matte
Muse: burgundy red matte

Seriously though, the formula is so amazing. It's so pigmented, buttery smooth and blends really nicely. The great thing about this palette is that you can create a more natural look for the everyday with over half these shades! I've used Divine and Creation in the crease, Icon to darken up the outer v, and Aura or Shell all over the lid for a softer, daytime appropriate look and I loved the way it turned out! I've yet to experiment with the red shades, but I'm looking forward to trying them out!

This palette typically runs for about $32 dollars (I think they dropped the price since the whole scandal thing and it used to be abut $42; steep for 8 shadows) but I got it for under $20! Obviously, this is not for everyone, but if you like color or just looking for a different palette to add to your collection I say this is a winner. The shadow quality is great and is not another run of the mill nude palette. If you are weary of ordering off of Lime Crime, check Hautelook periodically or Amazon to see if it's being sold. If you are boycotting the brand; you do you, it's your choice!

What are your thoughts on this palette or Lime Crime in general?



Sunday, January 3, 2016

December 2015 Favorites!

It's insane to me that another year has passed and we are now into the new year! A lot of my beauty favorites for the month of December are tried and true products that never lead me astray, with the addition of some new products I've fallen in  love with. 

The makeup I've been loving includes my HG foundation, Revlon Colorstay. It's a thicker foundation for sure, but it has flawless coverage with a satin finish that LASTS on my oily skin and even looks better as it wears throughout the day. My favorite concealer for my under eyes is the Maybelline Age Rewind Dark Circle Eraser in Brightening. It brightens, conceals and blends beautifully. 

My go-to primer has been the Nivea Men Sensitive Post-Shave Balm. I've raved about this in a previous post, and it's simply amazing for keeping my foundation looking great all day! Colour Pop Blush in Birthday Suit is one of those blushes that I put on and I wonder why I choose to wear any other blush. It has a beautiful satin finish, looks so natural and packs a pigmented punch yet blends seamlessly with the rest of my makeup. As for my highlight, I've actually have opted for a more subtle glow and have been using my Wet n' Wild Reserve Your Cabana to achieve that. It's even nice to set my concealer with if my undereye area is looking a bit on the dry side.

I've tried what feels like a million mascaras lately, and every time I find myself missing my Maybelline Volum'Express The Rocket Mascara. It curls, volumizes, lengthens and separates my lashes and has a rubber wand which I prefer. Now I'm cheating with including my Too Faced Chocolate Bar Palette since I got it towards the end of the month, but I've used it every day since. It's a beautiful, versatile palette with a range of shades and finishes. Definitely worth it!

For my skin care favorites, I've been loving my Smith's Minted Rose Lip Balm to help sooth my dry, chapped lips from the frigid cold weather. I wear this every night before bed and most mornings instead of a lip color because it's slightly tinted too. The Body Shop Camomile Sumptuous Cleansing Butter is amazing for removing my makeup, including waterproof makeup. It feels so silky and smooth when I message it onto my face, and is not as messy as a cleansing oil. My last favorite is the Garnier Skin Active Micellar Cleansing Water, which I use after I use my cleansing butter to really make sure my makeup is completely removed. I also use it in the morning to cleanse my face! It's cheap, effective and finally available in U.S drugstores! 

That's it for my last favorites of 2015, and I can't wait to see what is in store for me in 2016. :)



Saturday, January 2, 2016

Treat Yo' Self! Too Faced Chocolate Bar

I've been wanting this palette for SO LONG. I've swatched it a dozen times in stores, watched numerous tutorials on it and added it to my cart so many times I've lost count. I've never followed through though, and convinced myself I didn't actually need it, it's a lot of money, I already have a million palettes blah blah blah. But I finally took the plunge and bought the Too Faced Chocolate Bar Palette as a gift for myself this Christmas!

I know, I know, I'm late to the party on this, but this palette is totally worth the $49 price tag. It has 16 buttery smooth shadows in various finishes. IT SMELLS SO GOOD. I'm seriously obsessed with the delicious chocolate smell of these shadows. 

This is a great palette for those who love your neutrals with little pops of color mixed in. The matte shades are fantastic for the crease and the shade Salted Caramel is the perfect transition shade. The shimmery metallic shades, my favorites being Marzipan, Creme Brulee and Champagne Truffle, are great for all over lid colors.

White Chocolate is a good skin toned cream shadow for setting your eyeshadow base for easier blending or a subtle brow bone highlight. Cherry Cordial and Candied Violet are your purple pops of color that pair beautifully with these chocolate browns. Once blended out though the intensity of the color is toned down quite a bit, so you really have to build up the color to get what you see in the pan.

My only gripe with these eyeshadows is the staying power. At the end of the day, I have a lot of creasing and the high shine impact of the shimmery shadows especially are gone regardless of the eye primer I use. This is probably due to the fact that these shadows are so soft and buttery, making blending a dream but compromising the staying power a bit. Overall though I love this palette and I'm so glad I finally bought it. I definitely pulled a Spongebob with this palette...

What did you treat yo' self to this holiday season?




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