9.03.2015

Chiseling Out Those Cheekbones with glo minerals

Although I enjoy contouring, I felt overwhelmed by the six and eight-pan contouring palettes on the market. Truthfully, I think those are better suited for makeup artists than simply another makeup wearer, such as myself. When glo minerals released their four-pan palette earlier this week, I had high hopes this one could be juuuuust right.

glo minerals Contour Kit in Medium to Dark
glo minerals Contour Kit ($36) comes in two shade palettes: Fair to Light and Medium to Dark. I wasn't sure which would be better suited to my light/medium complexion, but I was sent the Medium to Dark palette, and it's perfect. It includes two highlight shades, a matte, pale yellow and a pearly champagne beige, and two matte contour shades, a cool taupe and a warm terracotta brown. The contour shades are both very pigmented but still blendable, while the matte highlight shade is more easy to sheer out (a good thing, in this case) and doesn't look chalky, and the shimmery highlight can tend to appear a bit chunky in the pan and heavy swatch, but rest assured, it blends into the skin seamlessly.

I've always wanted to try a banana powder, so I was ecstatic to see one in this kit. I've been using it to set my under-eye concealer, and its subtle brightening properties make me instantly appear more awake and wide-eyed. The pale yellow keeps it from appearing too stark or artificial. The shimmery highlight is beautiful. Especially since I have a warmer, yellow-undertoned complexion, the beige tones in the highlight really complement my skin tone. 

The cool-toned taupe contour is an ideal contouring shade, in my opinion. Cool tones always look the most natural in the hollows of the cheeks because it mimics the look of a shadow. This one blends in easily, and it's not too light or too dark. The warm brown contour isn't one I like to use for contouring, to be honest. It's far too warm for that purpose, and it's quite dark on me. I prefer using it as a bronzer, but since it's quite deep and very pigmented, I like taking it on a stippling brush to diffuse the color. A little goes a long way with that one.

With the release of the Contour Kits, glo minerals also released their new Contour/Highlight Brush ($29). This is my first brush from the brand, and I was not disappointed. The bristles are soft, and I haven't experienced any shedding. One side of the brush is somewhat flat and tapered, and I like to use it to apply my highlight by gently patting on the color where I want it, then using subtle swiping motions to blend it out. The tip is also great for contouring smaller areas, such as my nose. The brush on the opposite end is rounded and has the perfect density bristles for applying contour powder and general blending. It's not so fluffy that it completely sheers out the pigment, but it's also not so dense that it's unable to blend. The size of the brush is perfect for fitting into the hollows of the cheeks, as well.

glo minerals Contour/Highlight Brush
Wearing the glo minerals Contour Kit in Medium to Dark
Above, I used the matte highlight powder to set my under-eye concealer, the shimmery highlight on the tops of my cheekbones and the matte contour in the hollows of my cheeks. 

This kit is kind of awesome for travelling. Despite being labeled as highlight and contour shades, for me, I find that I also have an under-eye setting/brightening powder and a bronzer in the mix, too. 

To celebrate the new release, for a limited time, if you purchase a Contour Kit, you can receive a Contour/Highlight Brush for free with code CONTOUR15.



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.

8.27.2015

When Bad Names Happen to Good Lipsticks: Buxom Big & Sexy Bold Gel Lipstick in Rebel Rose


Luckily for the Buxom Big & Sexy Bold Gel Lipstick and its cringe-worthy name, the phrase "Big & Sexy" is nowhere to be seen on the packaging itself, so I can almost let it slide. Lord knows I didn't need another lipstick, but Rebel Rose just stood out to me when I swatched it, and I can't say I regret the purchase one bit.

Buxom Big & Sexy Bold Gel Lipstick in Rebel Rose ($22) is a rosy mauve and definitely within the realm of shades I tend to gravitate towards for an everyday, my-lips-but-better kind of lip. The Big & Sexy Bold Gel Lipstick range includes two finishes, matte and satin, and Rebel Rose is in the satin category. It's creamy and generously pigmented, and there's a healthy sheen in the finish for the first two to three hours or so before it settles into a true satin. Despite being a creamy formula with subtle shine initially, Rebel Rose actually lasts a surprisingly long time on me and fades evenly throughout the course of a day and after meals. The satin finish that develops after the initial few hours seems to almost stain the lips, without settling into lip lines. It's also moisturizing and very comfortable to wear, and it has a delicious vanilla cupcake scent that is subtle and not overwhelming. The packaging is plastic with a magnetic closure and BUXOM embossed on the side.

Wearing Buxom Rebel Rose
I've been wearing Rebel Rose non-stop since I got it. Kind of obsessed. I haven't tried any of the matte shades on my lips, but Sinful Cinnamon looked particularly gorgeous when swatched on the back of my hand.

8.26.2015

Facial Sun Protection, Four Ways

I know summer's almost over, but that doesn't mean we can't focus on a product that should really be used year-round: sunscreen. Listen, I'm definitely not perfect and I still don't remember to use sun protection on my face every single day, but I try. Luckily, there are so many different forms of sunscreen on the market right now that there's bound to be at least one that you'll take a liking to, thus increasing the chances you'll incorporate it into your everyday routine.
The Setting Spray ::
I received Supergoop! Defense Refresh Setting Mist with Rosemary SPF 50* ($28) in a recent POPSUGAR Must-Have Box*, and it was by far the product I was most excited to try. Online reviews indicate that some have had issues with faulty spray nozzles, but I haven't had any issues. It's a slightly heavier spray than what would be ideal for a setting spray, in my opinion, but it's not so strong where there's product dripping down and disrupting my makeup either. There's quite a strong scent of alcohol upon initial spritz, but it dries down quickly into a soothing rosemary scent, and it has a cooling effect on the skin. In addition to providing sun protection, it actually does set my makeup and mattify as well. I love how it performs, but I question whether a mist truly covers and protects every inch of my face as effectively as a product in which I apply directly onto my skin with my fingers.

The Oil ::
I've had this mini bottle of Supergoop! Sun-Defying Sunscreen Oil with Meadowfoam SPF 50 ($34 for full-size) for about a year now and should probably get rid of it, but I still really like it. It can definitely look greasy on the skin if you apply too much, but it has a really lovely dewy, glistening effect if you apply just the right amount. The only problem is, in order for it to truly protect the skin, I think one would have to apply an amount that would likely leave the skin looking greasy. For that reason and because it's water resistant, I prefer using this one on pool or beach days, aka non-makeup wearing days.

The Cream or Lotion ::
I debated on whether to show the Clarins UV Plus Anti-Pollution Sunscreen SPF 50* ($42) or the glo therapeutics Solar Shade SPF 50* ($34) sunscreen for this category, but ultimately, I decided on glo, simply because a lot of people already seem to know about the Clarins one. Although this one by glo therapeutics is thicker than the Clarins (which is basically a runny liquid) and feels a bit heavier on the skin initially, once it sinks in, the effect is the same. It gives the skin a slight sheen but is non-greasy, and it makes my skin feel hydrated and nourished. There is a subtle white cast upon initial application that disappears after a few minutes, once the product is completely absorbed.

The Primer ::
I previously thought I would have preferred primers without SPF, because I normally associate wearing a primer with perhaps a special occasion or night out where flash photography might take place, but assuming you already have a good primer without SPF for those instances, having one on hand with some sun protection, like the Murad Invisiblur Perfecting Shield SPF 30* ($65), is fantastic for everyday wear. This one is a silicone-based primer that smooths skin's surface, reduces the appearance of pores, helps control oil and increases the longevity of my makeup, all while offering a healthy dose of SPF, too. I love this.

How do you know which formulation is right for you? For me, I like having the oil on hand for pool or beach days. The cream or lotion option, especially one that moisturizes and nourishes the skin like the glo therapeutics one, is great for the cooler months and for generally drier skin types, while the oil-controlling primer variety is a godsend in the warmer months and for oily and combo skin types. The setting spray is a great one to carry around to refresh your makeup while also quickly reapplying sun protection throughout the day. My personal favorite of the bunch is Murad Invisiblur.

Don't forget, if you order from the glo minerals/therapeutics site, you can get 10% off with code WORK4MAKEUP :)

*PR samples


Disclosure: The products denoted with (*) were either sent to me for consideration for a review or given to me as a gift. Besides being a POPSUGAR Select Blogger, I am not affiliated with any of these companies, nor am I getting paid for this post. The opinions expressed in this post are based solely on my own experiences with the products.

8.24.2015

Affordable and Wearable Color-Blocking Makeup Look

I've always been a fan of color-blocking in fashion. When done tastefully, it comes across as simple and chic with just the right amount of pop and liveliness in the color combination. When it comes to makeup looks, however, it can be a bit more difficult to master, especially for neutral-lovers such as myself, but I thought it would be fun to put together an easy and wearable color-blocking look, using all affordable drugstore products from Walgreens, that would be perfect for dabbling in a potential fall makeup trend.

As with color-blocking in fashion, I like it best when it focuses on classic techniques, with the colors bringing the fun aspect. I wanted to focus my look on a sleek, sparkling sapphire winged liner, and I used pinky-coral tones to color-block. The gorgeous liner is Circa Vivid Vinyl Eye Lining Fluid in Blue Topaz. It's in between a sapphire and a navy, and it's beautiful. The longer brush applicator takes a bit of practice due to its flimsier nature, but I got the hang of it pretty quickly. It helps to lay down the brush horizontally and drag it along the lash line to place the pigment down, rather than attempt to draw a line. In terms of longevity, it lasted all day without budging, while still washing off easily.

For the pinky-coral tones to offset the blue, I first swirled my brush in all the shades of the No7 Perfectly Bronzed Mosaic Bronzer and used a healthy dose of it to warm up my complexion before dipping a smaller blush brush into the pink and coral sections and applying it to the apples of my cheeks. On my eyes, I used the Circa Color Saturated Eye Crayon in Sparkling Citrine as a neutral, subtle champagne base and dusted some of the brown shades from the bronzer into my crease and blended a touch of the coral above my crease for a subtle flush of color. I tend to gravitate toward warmer tone on my eyes, so I quite like how it turned out. I brushed through my lashes with the No7 Lash Impact Intense Volume Control Mascara, but unfortunately, it wasn't quite volumizing enough for me, because I have incredibly sparse lashes. However, it still offers good separation, adds some volume, is buildable without getting clumpy and doesn't smudge.

To finish off, I applied Essie Come Here!, a bright coral creme, on my nails and Circa Lustrous Shine Lip Polish in Satin Blush on my lips. Come Here! has been a summer favorite of mine for the past two years and counting, and Satin Blush is a shimmery petal pink that would suit just about anyone. It has a feminine, floral scent, and the formula is cushiony, is non-sticky and offers medium pigmentation. I love the longer doe-foot applicator, too.

Circa Vivid Vinyl Eye Lining Fluid in Blue Topaz
L to R: Circa Color Saturated Eye Crayon in Sparkling CitrineCirca Vivid Vinyl Eye Lining Fluid in Blue TopazCirca Lustrous Shine Lip Polish in Satin BlushNo7 Perfectly Bronzed Mosaic Bronzer
Despite incorporating a trend that could be striking and over-the-top, especially when executed on the runways, my look turned out subtle and wearable, which is perfect for me. The focus is definitely on the clean, sapphire winged liner, but the flushes of coral really brighten it up and make it more fun, too. 

This was my first experience with Circa products, and I have to say I'm impressed. The liner is beautiful, the eye crayon is blendable and long-wearing and the lip gloss feels moisturizing and plush on the lips. 

Disclosure: This post was sponsored by Walgreens through their partnership with POPSUGAR Select. While I was compensated to write a post about Walgreens Beauty, all opinions are my own.

8.22.2015

Some of My Favorite Brushes from IT Cosmetics

After dipping my feet into IT Cosmetics Brushes for Ulta a while back with the No.225 Complexion Powder Brush and No.227 Flawless Blush Brush (read about my initial experience here), I was lucky enough to be sent an array of their other brushes to test out. Prior to this, I'd been using a lot of Sigma brushes that weren't holding up so well anymore, as well as some MAC brushes, some of which I think are both overpriced and overrated, including the MAC 109 and 129. So, suffice it to say I was ready for some newness in the brush department, and the lot from IT Cosmetics did not disappoint. Here are my favorites:
:: No.14 Heavenly Luxe Radiance Wand
This one came in the CC+ Your Way to Radiant Skin! Five-Piece Collection, and out of all the brushes in this post, this one is probably my favorite of my favorites. It's the best bronzer brush ever. It has a rounded, dome shape with medium density bristles, so it just applies the perfect amount of product every time, and it blends it out so easily. I love this one.

When I'm not using a sponge or fingers to apply my foundation, I'm using this. It has a flattened shape that fits around different areas of the face a bit better than a normal round brush, and the soft bristles make it quick and easy to buff in liquid foundation. And because it's not nearly as dense as kabuki-type brushes, it also doesn't eat up all of the product either.

This brush is great for doing exactly what its name suggests. It's denser and smaller than a MAC 217, so it does a good job of depositing more precise and concentrated color into the crease, and while it can blend out shadows pretty well, too, I tend to prefer slightly fluffier brushes for that.

This brush looks like a larger version of the No.105 Airbrush Blending Crease brush. Previously, my concealer brush of choice was the Sephora #57 Pro Airbrush Concealer Brush, which is much more dense, but I haven't reached for that brush once since giving this one a go. This one is fluffier and so much better at feathering out the edges of your concealer to make the application appear as seamless as possible. I use it daily with my BECCA Ultimate Coverage Concealing Creme. This brush is  a gem.

This brush is tapered and quite long, which means the bristles are not too densely packed, making it ideal for gently applying setting powder, without disturbing the rest of your makeup. I also used to use it for bronzer, before being introduced to the No.14 Heavenly Luxe Radiance Wand, and it's good for that as well, although I prefer the latter.

I don't often wear mineral powder foundation, but when I do, this brush is my everything. It's dense, without being too dense that it can't effectively blend anything, and it just buffs in finely-milled powder foundation so well. I use it to apply other powders, too, like my MUFE Pro Finish Multi-Use Powder Foundation, when I want to wear them as foundations, rather than as setting powders.

No.102 Airbrush Smoothing Foundation
In my experience, all of the IT Cosmetics brushes are super soft and non-shedding, and believe me, I've had my share of experiences with scratchy brushes, and it's no fun. These wash well and retain their shape. When it comes to makeup brushes, although there are also great drugstore options (read my post here), sometimes it's worth it to invest in some nice quality ones too, and these definitely fit the bill.

*PR samples


Disclosure: The products denoted with (*) 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.
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