2.01.2016

A Couple of First Aid Beauty Treats

I've tried a handful of products from the First Aid Beauty line, including their Facial Radiance Pads and Ultra Repair Lotion, and I've had great experiences with them all. I decided to pick up a couple things that I'd had my eye on for quite some time, and they've quickly become staples in my beauty routine.
The Ultra Repair Intensive Lip Balm ($20) is the reason I made a pitstop at Sephora. A lot of people rave about the Nuxe Reve de Miel lip balm, but unfortunately, it made my lips peel, so I had to stop using it. This FAB balm has the same thicker texture and ability to lock in my lips' hydration for hours on end as the Nuxe, except my lips remain smooth and supple when I use them. One of the things I think drew people to the Nuxe balm, as well, was that it has a matte finish, unlike a lot of other balms on the market, and this FAB balm also maintains that quality. It's great on its own, during the daytime or overnight, and it works brilliantly under lipstick because it doesn't have much slip to it.

The other product I picked up was the Eye Duty Triple Remedy ($36). It's an eye treatment that I've incorporated into my morning routine, applying it before under eye concealer. I tap the product on with my finger and take my time smoothing it in using the metal applicator before buffing it all in with a concealer brush. It's a product that aims to brighten, depuff and smooth, and I can honestly say it does all three. 

The salmon tint counteracts dark circles to an extent where additional concealer likely wouldn't even be necessary for those with just a bit of darkness under their eyes. For me, I appreciate that it gives an extra, much needed dose of brightness and coverage under my usual concealer. It immediately reminded me of a lighter, more subtle version of the salmon Armani Master Corrector. The metal applicator is responsible for a lot of why I love the product so much, too. It feels incredibly cooling and soothing against the skin (reminiscent of the  old cold-spoon-on-your-eyes-after-a-good-cry trick), and it helps to increase circulation and depuff the area. It instantly makes me look more revitalized and awake than I often feel when I'm applying my makeup at the wee hours of the morning.
I love the no-fuss simplicity behind First Aid Beauty's range, and I couldn't be more impressed with this pair of products. It kind of makes me wonder what other gems must be lurking on the FAB shelves at Sephora...

1.24.2016

New to the Ambient Family: Hourglass Ambient Strobe Lighting Powder + Sculptor

This post contains PR samples
Hourglass makes some of my most cherished powder products in my collection, so forgive me for drooling a lot bit when I saw they had released their new Ambient Strobe Lighting Powders ($38) and Ambient Strobe Light Sculptor ($22) to apply them with. The new range includes four shades, and I am featuring two in today's post: Brilliant and Iridescent.
Brilliant is a pale, beigey yellow gold and Iridescent is a peachy, soft pink. I was afraid that these were going to perform just like any other highlighter, but leave it up to Hourglass to create a product that goes above and beyond. Unlike most highlighters on the market, the Ambient Strobe Lighting Powders have a sheerer base with a combination of fine shimmer and an incredibly sparse amount of micro-glitter particles. Because the base shade has only soft pigmentation, when applied dry, these powders impart the most delicate glow upon the skin - "lit from within," if you will. The unique formula also allows the powders to be used wet, and when a bit of moisture is added into the mix, the pigmentation is turned up a few notches and the overall effect is more dramatic and reflective, yet still very refined. For comparison purposes, when applied wet, these are about as glowy as what was previously the most natural and subtle highlighter in my stash, Kevyn Aucoin The Celestial Powder in Candlelight.

Hourglass Ambient Strobe Lighting Powders in Brilliant (L) and Iridescent, pictured with the Ambient Strobe Light Sculptor
Hourglass Ambient Strobe Lighting Powder in Brilliant

Hourglass Ambient Strobe Lighting Powder in Iridescent

Ambient Strobe Light Sculptor
I like the Ambient Strobe Light Sculptor, but I don't think it's a must-have. The slanted end is meant to contour the high points of the face better, and the bottom  edge has an interesting velvety surface meant for softly blending out the powders (it can be seen in the second photo from the top; the velvety edge looks like a white line at the bottom of the sponge). The sponge comes in handy when applying these powders wet, but I prefer using my usual highlighter brushes for dry application.

Hourglass Ambient Strobe Lighting Powders in Brilliant (dry, wet) and Iridescent (dry, wet)

Wearing Hourglass Ambient Strobe Lighting Powders in Brilliant (top) and Iridescent (applied dry in both photos)
These new strobing powders are the same size as their blushes and have the same finely milled, silky smooth texture as the original Ambient Lighting Powders. I thought for certain Brilliant would be my favorite of the two I have, but after having given them both a fair shot, Iridescent is the one that comes in just a touch ahead. The peachy undertone keeps the primarily pink shade from leaning too cool, and I find that because it has a pink tone to it, it actually looks more cohesive with more of my blush shades and almost elevates the appearance of my cheekbones because it acts as a glowy extension of my cheek color. I'm contemplating adding Euphoric to my collection, as that was the shade that initially struck a chord with me, however, I'm not sure if it will be too dark for my skin tone, so I'll most likely wait for the range to hit stores before making a final decision. 

For now, I can say that Hourglass did not disappoint with these babies. If you've been a fan of the original finishing powders, their bronzers and blushes, then I have no doubt in my mind you'll fall in love with these just the same. If you're looking for a subtle and refined, lit-from-within-glow that allows you to adjust the degree of drama it imparts, I haven't tried a powder that can achieve it quite as effortlessly as these Ambient Strobe Lighting Powders.



Disclosure: These products 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 experiences with the products.

1.21.2016

glo minerals Takes On Valentine's Day

I'm a firm believer that any look can be suitable for Valentine's Day, and after years and years of trial and way too much error, I've finally come to accept that primarily pink-focused looks don't suit me and never will (I'll pass on the pink eyeshadow, thanks). With a selection of some glo minerals products at my fingertips, I'm sharing with you a daytime look that can easily be amped up for nighttime in a pinch, whether you'll be spending Valentine's Day out on a date or just drinking wine with your girlfriends.
I recommend opting for a base with medium coverage so that it doesn't look too heavy in natural daylight but still offers enough coverage to transition into going out. I dusted on just a touch of bronzer to warm up my complexion and added the Blush in Sweet on my cheeks. This peachy-pink shade is shimmer city (surprisingly doesn't emphasize pores though), so it easily handles the job of both cheek color and highlight. On the lips, I decided to keep it natural for day time and applied the Lip Gloss in Taffy, a gorgeous milky peach - LOVE. The formula is moisturizing and completely non-sticky, but it also wears and lasts well and has fantastic pigmentation.

For eyes, I used the Cream Stay Shadow Stick in Gold Blush as a base. These shadow sticks have lighter pigmentation that can be built up to an extent (but not to full opacity), and on my eyelids, they definitely need a primer to stay put. I much prefer using them as a base for my eyeshadow, rather than as a stand-alone eye color. Gold Blush is in the same vein as something like Laura Mercier African Violet, a light-medium purple with golden shimmer; so gorgeous. Then, I used the top row of lighter and warmer neutrals in the Elemental Eye Collection to layer on top, and the hint of purple undertone peeking through paired beautifully with my shimmery brown winged liner. 

I finished off the eyes with the Volumizing Mascara, a product that really surprised me. It has a natural bristle brush that adds volume and doesn't clump, smudge or flake. Although not quite as dramatic as the mascaras I tend to go for, I still the love the more natural, yet defined, lashes it gives me. 

glo minerals Elemental Eye Collection
L to R: Sweet, Gold Blush, Crimson, Taffy
To transform this daytime date look into an evening one that packed a bit more punch, I removed the gloss and applied the Suede Matte Crayon in Crimson, a stunning deep red. These are my favorite matte lip pencils on the market right now. They're pigmented, creamy, non-drying and last for ages. (Case in point: I drank wine and ate cheese, crackers, greasy fries, and a brussel sprout and bacon dish and Crimson did. not. budge.) The shade range is beautiful as well. To finish off the look, I grabbed a highlighter and went to town on my cheeks, inner corner, cupid's bow, and even added a touch onto the center of my lips. Easy peasy.


I like softly smokey eye looks that can be the focus of the look when paired with a natural lip color like Taffy but can also play more of a background role when a va-va-voom lip like Crimson is introduced into the mix. I often think of day-to-night looks as just adding more eyeliner, mascara and maybe a bit of sparkly shadow, but with a kick-ass red lipstick on hand, nothing can transform a look quite as quickly, or with as much drama. 

My favorite products of the bunch are the lip products, by far. This was my first time trying out glo minerals' lip gloss formula, and I'm very impressed. The eyeshadow palette isn't incredibly unique in terms of shade selection, but the shadows are good quality, contain a versatile mix of cool and warmer tones, and the packaging is small and sturdy - perfect for travel.

All in all, I'd say glo minerals has Valentine's Day in the bag.



Disclosure: These products 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 experiences with the products.

1.18.2016

The Sparkle to End All Sparkle: CHANEL Illusion D'Ombre in New Moon

I have a few of the CHANEL Illusion D'Ombre Eyeshadows, and while I've always liked them, I've finally fallen head over heels in love with one particular shade. 
CHANEL Illusion D'Ombre in New Moon is a rosy bronze with amazing multicolored sparkle. When I say it's stunning, I mean ABSOLUTELY RIDICULOUSLY STUNNING. It basically took all the willpower I had to not allow myself to wear this during the work week (it's a bit over the top in a conservative office environment, in my opinion), and the best part of last weekend was being able to whip it out again. I know; I'm a sad human being.

JUST LOOK AT IT!
It's quite pigmented on its own as well, but I still prefer using it as an eyeshadow topper. Here, I have on one of the shades from the BECCA Ombre Rouge Palette all over the lid, and I used my ring finger to tap New Moon on top. Compared to using a brush, applying New Moon with fingers helps retain the most pigment and maximizes the sparkle factor. I swear I heard angels sing when I applied it for the first time.
New Moon was repromoted for the Fall 2015 collection, but it's still available online and in-store at Nordstrom. I cannot stress how much you need this eyeshadow. Yes, I know I'm dramatic....but also, you must buy this and put it on your eyelids as soon as possible. You're welcome.

See you on Saturday, New Moon.

1.16.2016

Too Faced Love Flush Blush Wardrobe


I'm usually not drawn to a lot of Too Faced products because of their cutesy and sometimes bulky packaging; however, receiving a Sephora gift card for Christmas was all it took for the packaging of a certain blush palette to instantly seem more bearable (not to mention, I needed another blush like I needed another leg, but if it's a gift....). Aesthetics aside, I absolutely cannot fault the Too Faced Love Flush Long-Lasting 16-Hour Blush Wardrobe ($36) for what's on the inside. I'll just say now, though, that if blushes typically don't last 16 hours on you, neither will these. Across the board, these are well pigmented and have a good, but not exceptional, wear time (8-10 hours for me). There is a stunning range of wearable blush shades in varying finishes from matte to satin to soft shimmer. I could not agree more with the term 'blush wardrobe.' This palette truly has all you need, in terms of cheek color.

L to R: Love Hangover, Baby Love, I Will Always Love You, How Deep Is Your Love, Justify My Love, Your Love Is King
I'd ummmed and ahhhed over Baby Love for several months but could never justify the purchase of another nude blush. Unsurprisingly, it's one of my favorites in the palette. What came as a surprise to me, however, was how much I adore the other shades, too. Justify My Love, a shade I quickly deemed obviously too cool-toned for me, warms up beautifully on my cheeks and doesn't look too pale or stark against my complexion. Your Love Is King is like the plum blush for beginners. It's pigmented without being overly so, so it's still easy to apply and blend out with much less risk of going overboard. My other favorite in the palette is I Will Always Love You, which is probably also the shade most unique to my collection. It's a shimmery peachy-orange that livens up my complexion in an instant.

Wearing I Will Always Love You
I'm always a sucker for anything that's a good value for money, and seeing as how this palette contains as much product as two full-sized blushes but costs only $10 more than one blush and provides you with all six shades in the range, I think it's a no-brainer. I've been loving incorporating it into my routine each morning, and it's pretty exciting opening up the palette and seeing so many gorgeous shades to choose from, each so different from the next. 


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