Clinique Cheek Pops in Heather Pop, Fig Pop, Ginger Pop & Plum Pop

Clinique Cheek Pops ($21) have to be one of my favorite blush formulas. I originally owned only Plum Pop, which I reviewed here, and despite being a powder blush, it's quite different from the other powder blushes on the market. These have medium pigmentation that is very easily buildable to pack a stronger punch, if that's what you're after, and the texture is firm and completely non-powdery. You'll never see any product sitting on top of the skin because it just blends in so incredibly seamlessly, and the finish is like a satin but with a glow. It's not shimmer, but rather a luminosity that you have to see on your skin to truly appreciate.

It took me a surprisingly long time to add another Cheek Pop to my collection, but Ginger Pop eventually found its way in a few weeks ago, and as soon as the eight (!!) new shades were available online at Sephora for VIB Rouge, I made sure to make Heather Pop and Fig Pop mine as well. #noregrets

L to R: Heather Pop, Fig Pop, Ginger Pop, Plum Pop

L to R: Heather PopFig PopGinger PopPlum Pop
Heather Pop is quite similar to Plum Pop, even though they look completely different in their pans. In reality, when worn, Heather Pop is more muted and mauve, whereas Plum Pop is brighter and more cool-toned.

Fig Pop is similar to Ginger Pop (clearly I gravitate towards certain types of shades), but Fig Pop is deeper and a bit more terracotta compared to Ginger Pop, which is lighter and pinker.

All four shades have that gorgeous, luminous sheen that I love about the Cheek Pops that is subtle, yet illuminating. These wear well all day without fading or going patchy, and the formula is a great one for blush newbies because it's easy to control the intensity of the color, and blending is cake.

Wearing Clinique Cheek Pop in Heather Pop

Wearing Clinique Cheek Pop in Fig Pop
I'm elated that Clinique finally added more shades to this range, because the formula was just too good to stop at four. I like the look of Nude Pop and Melon Pop as well, but I think I'll refrain from picking them up until I can swatch them in person as I'm afraid they may be too pale to show up on my complexion, but we'll see. I'd certainly be okay with stopping my collection here as well, simply based on how much I absolutely adore each of the shades I currently own, but you know me - I swear I won't buy something and then it mysteriously shows up either in my bag or on my doorstep somehow. No idea how it happens ;)

Have you tried the Clinique Cheek Pops?


An Incredible Friday Deal: IT Cosmetics CC+ Your Way to Radiant Skin!

I've only tried a few things from IT Cosmetics, but I've been really impressed by the brand thus far. So, when I found an unexpected package on my doorstep containing their CC+ Your Way to Radiant Skin Five-Piece Collection, you could say I was more than a little ecstatic. The collection launched tonight on QVC (click here), and the special price of $59.96 ($172 value!) is only good through the end of the day today, so I had to hurry and make sure I'd tested everything out in time to tell you about them!

The collection contains three new products: Your Skin But Better Anti-Aging Full-Coverage Physical SPF 50 CC+ Cream Illumination, Heavenly Luxe Radiance Wand Brush and Luxe High-Performance Anti-Aging Eye Shadow Trio in Pretty in Spring. It also contains two existing products: Anti-Aging Vitality Face Disc and No-Tug Dual Airbrush Eyeshadow Brush.

One of my two favorites in the set is the Anti-Aging Vitality Face Disc, which includes a matte bronzer, an illuminating powder and a blush stain. All three powders are pigmented, silky smooth, blendable and have incredible lasting power on the skin. The matte bronzer is beautiful and has the perfect amount of warmth to it without pulling orange. The highlighter is a slightly pinky champagne shade that is quite strong, although not overly frosty or metallic, but it looks gorgeous on the high points of the face. The blush is a bright, pinky coral with fine shimmer in the pan, but on the cheeks, it appears to have more of a satin finish. It's fresh and brightening, and I can see myself getting tons of use out of it, especially in spring and summer for a punch of color.

The Luxe High-Performance Anti-Aging Eye Shadow Trio in Pretty in Spring contains a matte mauve-pink, a matte, cool-toned taupe-brown and a shimmery champagne. The shades are smooth, pigmented and blendable, but without primer, I find that these fade on me over the course of a normal working day, although it's worth noting that I don't experience any creasing. It's a basic eyeshadow trio that is good enough, but certainly not a must-have.

Anti-Aging Vitality Face Disco (left three swatches) and Pretty in Spring Eye Shadow Trio (right three swatches)
Would you look at that glowy, luminous shine? Not exactly subtle, but there's no denying the beauty of the highlighter in the Anti-Aging Vitality Face Disc.
I already have and love the original Your Skin But Better Anti-Aging Full-Coverage Physical SPF 50 CC+ Cream, so I was really excited to see they had come out with an illuminating version. I have the shade Medium in both, which is too dark for me at the moment and would best suit NC25-30 skin tones, and compared to the original, the illuminating version is just a touch paler and has silver micro-shimmer throughout, which may not be to everyone's taste. It's definitely detectable on the skin up-close, but I don't find it to appear glittery from a normal distance. Similarly to the original, the formula has medium-full coverage, is equally as easy to apply with brushes, sponge or fingertips, has a hydrating, skincare-like quality on the skin without being greasy, and would suit an array of skin types, from dry to combination. Oily skinned gals may find the formula to be too moisturizing, while normal to combination skins may find that they can even skip their daytime moisturizer when using this. For me, I love the coverage, the healthy, dewy finish, and how it feels like it's nourishing my skin when I wear it.

My second favorite product in the set is their new Heavenly Luxe Radiance Wand Brush. It's meant to be used with bronzing, illuminating and blush shades, although I've been so obsessed with using it for bronzer that I haven't tried it with anything else. Remember how much I said I loved using the IT Brushes for Ulta 225 Complexion Powder Brush for bronzer in this post? Yeah, well, this one has got that beat. It's ridiculously soft and has the perfect dome shape with bristles that are packed just densely enough so that it applies the perfect amount of product every time. It might just be my favorite bronzing brush ever.

The last product in the collection, the No-Tug Dual Airbrush Eyeshadow Brush, has a combo of a flat shader and a fluffy blending brush on one end that's good for both applying color to the lid using the side of the brush and blending color into the crease using the tip, while the opposite end has a stiff, straight edge brush that's dense, but still soft enough to comfortably apply color to the lower lash line without feeling like you're jabbing your eye with a torture device or fluffing powder into your eyeball.

Original CC+ Cream in Medium (left) and Illuminating CC+ Cream in Medium
Wearing all of the products from the IT Cosmetics CC+ Your Way to Radiant Skin Five-Piece Collection
For me, the Anti-Aging Vitality Face Disc, Heavenly Luxe Radiance Wand Brush and Your Skin But Better Anti-Aging Full-Coverage Physical SPF 50 CC+ Cream Illumination comprise the three solid reasons why you should pick up this set. Although the eyeshadow brush and eyeshadow trio are good, but not fantastic, they're kind of like freebies when you consider the price of the set versus the price of each product individually. For example, the face disc and CC+ cream each value at $38, whereas you can get all five pieces in the set for just under $60, if you order today. 

I'm just saying it's a really good deal. Like, really good. And the products are really good, too. Just sayin'.

Click here to be directed to the IT Cosmetics CC+ Your Way to Radiant Skin Five-Piece Collection ($59.96 on 3/27/15 only!) on QVC.

Disclosure: The products in this post were sent to me for consideration for a review. I am not affiliated with the company, nor am I getting paid for this post. The opinions expressed in this post are based solely on my own experience with the products.


A Go-To Work Look

Everyone's idea of a work-appropriate look is going to vary, and I probably wear more makeup than most, simply because I really enjoy makeup (obviously!), but as long as it's nothing too bright, too shimmery/glittery/metallic or too dark/smokey, it's fair game for me.

Lately, this has been my go-to makeup look for work. By Terry Cover Expert has been my foundation of choice since I got it (review here), and Make Up For Ever Pro Finish Powder is my favorite powder for setting just about any foundation for additional longevity and oil-control without a dry or powdery appearance. Nowadays, I pretty much just powder my t-zone and not all over, as my skin doesn't need it anymore. For under-eyes, Tarte Maracuja Creaseless Concealer is still my main squeeze, but I like the additional brightness Maybelline Age Rewind Brightener adds, and the light texture means it doesn't look heavy or cakey on the already thin and delicate eye area.

One of my favorite eyeshadow palettes to use for work, and any time I want a neutral eye look, for that matter, is the Glo Minerals Metallic Smoky Eye Kit* (review here). Despite how unoriginal the shades may appear in the pan, I actually get compliments when I wear them, and the quality is truly what sets them apart.

For a subtle warmth, I reach for my CHANEL Les Beiges Powder in No.20 on a dense bronzing brush, and Kevyn Aucoin The Celestial Powder in Candlelight remains the most work-appropriate highlighter, in my opinion. It makes the glow look like it's naturally occurring and not the result of makeup. A blush that I recently rediscovered is Rimmel Santa Rose. This is one of my must-have drugstore blushes, and it gives a beautiful neutral, rosy pink flush to the cheeks that goes with just about any look.

On my lips is another love from Rimmel - their Exaggerate Lip Liner in Eastend Snob. I've been lining and filling in my lips with this before topping it off with Dior Addict Extreme in Incognito. The color combo is really pretty, and I like that the lip liner has a great texture that glides on but is still long-lasting without being drying.

What is your go-to work look?


Contouring Powders for Light to Medium Skin Tones

Like plenty of other beauty lovers, I'm sure, I've only just added contouring to my regular, everyday makeup routine. Prior to the recent onslaught of contouring powders, creams and palettes on the market, I typically reserved chiseling out my cheekbones for special occasions only. After a long period of really only having one contouring product in my stash (NYX Blush in Taupe $5), I recently added Kevyn Aucoin The Sculpting Powder in Medium ($44) and Alima Pure Contour Powder in Sombra ($20) to my collection, and not to toot my own horn or anything, but I think this trio contains pretty much everything you could ever want or need for light to medium skin tones.

L to R: Kevyn Aucoin The Sculpting Powder in Medium, NYX Blush in Taupe, Alima Pure Contour Powder in Medium
My contouring brush of choice is the Real Techniques Contour Brush. It's soft, doesn't shed and is the perfect size for carving out the cheekbone. Kevyn Aucoin The Sculpting Powder in Medium is the deepest of the three powders, and it's a medium brown with cool, grey-undertones. NYX Blush in Taupe is noticeably more taupe and mauve in comparison, but still very cool-toned. Alima Pure Contour Powder in Sombra is the palest of the three, and it's a cool-toned tan-brown. Notice the common theme here? They're all cool-toned. This is key for any great contouring product, as a natural contour is meant to look like a shadow under your cheekbone, and not a sunlit warmth or radiant glow (like bronzer).

For the longest time, I only owned NYX Taupe, and I thought it was a decent enough powder - soft, medium, buildable pigmentation, and adequately blendable. However, after I tried the powders from Kevyn Aucoin and Alima Pure, those two quickly surpassed NYX on every front. Sure, Taupe is still a fantastic drugstore option, but when you compare the three, Kevyn Aucoin's is much more richly pigmented, blendable and smooth, and Alima Pure's applies more smoothly than NYX's, and Sombra appears much more natural on the skin than Taupe. If I had to rank them, I'd say Kevyn Aucoin comes in at the top with Alima Pure coming in at a close second, and NYX in third place, although it is still a great product, especially for the price.

My method of contouring includes applying the product directly under my cheekbone first, so that the most product is concentrated there, before extending it to my temples and down under my jawline. Occasionally, I will ever so lightly contour the sides of my nose too. Then, blend, blend, blend. For my cheeks, I always blend the product upwards, never downwards. I keep the contour product under my cheekbone only (I extend the contour from my ears to about two to three inches in...I stop around the outside corners of my eyes), and never under the apples of my cheeks.

Wearing Kevyn Aucoin The Sculpting Powder in Medium
If you have a light to medium skin tone, like I do, and you've struggled with contouring and muddy looking skin, give one of these three powders a try. After you have the right product at your fingertips, all it takes is practice, and you'll get there in no time.


Let's Talk: Hyped Products

Whether you write a beauty blog, read a beauty blog, make beauty videos on YouTube or watch them, you've probably experienced hyped products firsthand on more than one occasion. When I first started my blog, hyped products (cough cough MAC) used to suck me in like a riptide. I'd obsess over promo pics and early swatches online, then buy several products from limited edition collections the second they popped up online or in-store, only to find these same products collecting dust in the back of my makeup drawer a few, short months later.

Since then, I've slowly learned to take an editing eye to my wishlist, in order to avoid falling victim to the hype. Though I'm not against PR samples or sponsored posts, I do take these reviews with a grain of salt, depending on who they're from. For example, if I'm looking up reviews for a product and the only ones that pop up are PR samples and from bloggers/vloggers that I'm not as familiar with, I may not buy into them. However, if bloggers whom I respect and trust tell me something is good, I'm much more inclined to believe them, regardless of whether they paid for the product themselves or received it from the company. 

I always try to consider the skin type and general makeup style and preference of the person recommending the product as well, because a product could very well be amazing, but if it's not to your personal taste or formulated for your skin type, you may not enjoy it or get much use out of it. For myself, personally, I like buying makeup to actually use and not to collect, so I try to really consider whether or not I could see myself using a product for months and years to come (I know, I know...expiration dates), or whether it would just become another frivolous purchase.

With that said, what are your thoughts on hyped products? Do you often fall for the hype? How do you avoid it? What was the last product your fell for that left you underwhelmed or disappointed?

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