New Sephora Cream Lip Stain Shades!

It was just a matter of time before I grabbed myself a Sephora Cream Lip Stain or two ($13), especially considering how much more affordable they are compared to other liquid lipsticks on the market. I'd taken a gander at the range before, but none of the shades ever appealed to me, besides Always Red (the most talked about shade in the line), but since I wasn't on the market at the time for another classic red, I skipped out on these time and time again. However, Sephora recently  gave the whole shade range a much needed makeover, and now it's chock-full of both wearable and bold shades. I'm not certain on this, but I believe Always Red and Strawberry Kissed are the only old shades that remain.
Top row, L to R: Watermelon Slice, Mandarin Muse, African Violet, Marvelous Mauve, Blackberry Sorbet, Polished Purple
Bottom row, L to R: Always Red, Peach Tart, Strawberry Kissed, Coral Crush, (missing Infinite Rose), Pink Souffle, Cherry Blossom, Whipped Blush

I picked up African Violet initially, before returning a few days later to grab Pink Souffle because I was so impressed by the formula. The Cream Lip Stain formula ($13) is a liquid lipstick that is quite watery straight from the tube, but it dries very quickly into a completely matte finish. I don't find that it actually stains your lips; it's just that the product doesn't budge at all. As long as I don't eat anything greasy or oily, these last on me for a solid 5-6 hours before starting to gently wear away from the inside of the lips. The doe-foot applicator is just like any other, but I find that it's so easy to achieve a quick and precise application, likely due to a combination of the applicator and the formula's opaque pigmentation. Unlike some other liquid lipstick formulas, these don't feather or bleed on me at all, and they feel only minimally drying, especially considering how matte the finish is.

African Violet is a blue-toned purple with just enough pink in it to make it wearable. I love how bright it is without being completely over the top. It applies perfectly in one coat. I LOVE this one.

Pink Souffle is a medium, warm-toned pink. It's a great everyday, work-appropriate shade. This one applies a tad bit streaky initially, but it can easily be smoothed over with the applicator or by pressing your lips together.
Unlike the Bite Beauty Cashmere Lip Creams ($28) and the Armani Lip Maestros ($33), both of which I adore, the Sephora Cream Lip Stains ($13) don't feather at all, but they are slightly less comfortable to wear for extended periods of time. Compared to the Bourjois Rouge Edition Velvets ($17), these are more matte, and they apply much better. I'd say these are most comparable to the Kat Von D Everlasting Love Liquid Lipsticks ($20), except cheaper (note: Sephora's contains 0.169 oz, while the others contain between 0.2-0.23 oz).

So, all in all, what everyone says about these babies is true. These are fantastic liquid lipsticks for a fraction of the cost of comparable high-end options, and with the new shade range, there's bound to be at least a few shades that will appeal to everyone. I highly recommend these - just remember to invest in a cleansing oil or oil-based makeup remover, because that's the only way these are coming off your lips!


One Thing to Absolutely Avoid When Overdrawing Your Lips

Overdrawn lips seem to be having a moment right now. To be honest, I rarely used to wear lip liner, but even I've managed to jump on the bandwagon. Personally, I'm into a more subtle lip enhancement with my liner, but even if you tend to prefer something more dramatic, here's one tip to avoid from the get-go if you want to keep your pout looking believable.
Photo 1 // Bare lips

Photo 2 // Subtly overdrawn
I used MAC Cremestick Liner in Pink Treat to first line my lips around its natural edge before using slow and controlled motions to gradually extend the line just a touch above my top lip and a touch below my bottom lip. I also slightly rounded out each side of my top lip, to further enhance the illusion of volume. Then, I filled in most my lip with the pencil and topped it off with MAC Lipstick in Angel.

Photo 3 // Avoid at all costs!
I've seen quite a few overdrawn lips on Instagram lately that didn't look much different from this, believe it or not. The issue with it, and the reason why it immediately looks clown-like rather than pouty, is simply due to the extension of the lip liner past the outer corners of the mouth. 

See how different photo 2 looks from photo 3? If you look at anyone with naturally full lips, you'll notice that their top and/or bottom lip is where all the volume is - not the corners. By overdrawing the corners, your lips go from Angelina Jolie to The Joker within seconds, and nobody wants that. So, remember to concentrate the liner on the top and bottom lips, keep the corners looking crisp by leaving them be, and you'll be faking an illusion of a fuller pout in no time.


MAC Rediscoveries

I think a lot of us remember a time when we were borderline obsessed with all things MAC, and stalking the website or driving first thing in the morning to your nearest MAC counter to secure certain limited edition pieces from the latest collection was all too familiar. I've more or less moved on from that phase of my makeup life, but I've recently been enjoying some old favorites I've rediscovered.
I don't own too many MAC eyeshadows anymore, but Era and Wedge have always hung around because they're just so easy. They're very similar in tone and as a result, I don't typically wear them together, but Era is slightly lighter and has a touch of subdued shimmer, while Wedge is matte. I like Era as a lid shade with a darker shade through the crease, while Wedge is a great crease shade for very natural looks, but it's also fantastic for blending out a smokey eye.

I really dislike the MAC Lipglass formula, in general, mainly due to its stickiness. I've also had bad experiences with certain shades in the past that liked to form a ring around the inside of my lips (not cute). However, when worn over a lip balm, the stickiness is taken down several notches, making it much more tolerable. I've been wearing Splashing lately (limited edition from an old collection), and it's a really pretty goes-with-everything pink that complements pink lipsticks, livens up nude ones, but is equally as pretty on its own.

In terms of throw-on lip shades that I often keep in my handbag for easy touch-ups, Angel has been a more than pleasant rediscovery. In my mind, I somehow remembered it being more cool-toned or frosty than it really is. I applied it one day out of the blue, ogled my perfectly wearable baby pink lips in the mirror, and the rest is history.

My last rediscovery is Well Dressed blush. Every time I look at it, I think, "No way this will suit me," but then it always does. It reminds me of NARS Sex Fantasy in the sense that it's quite cool-toned in the pan, but because it can easily be blended and sheered out, it allows just enough of your skin color and natural flush to peek through to make it work. It doesn't look icy or bubblegum-y on my cheeks at all.


Charlotte Tilbury Fallen Angel Luxury Palette

Do you see this gorgeousness? Swoooon. I got my first taste of Charlotte Tilbury via her stunning limited edition luxury palette, Fallen Angel ($65), and she's a beauty, for sure. It was also my first time ordering from Beautylish.com, and I was extremely impressed. Firstly, I received $10 off my order of $50+ because I was a first time buyer. Then, I received shipping confirmation less than half an hour after placing my order, and of course, I thought, "No way it's already shipped." But, when I was able to track my package online after a few hours, I could see that it really had been shipped out after about an hour or two. I received my package two days later, and not only was it well packaged, but there was a handwritten note welcoming me to Beautylish. It's the little things.

Anyway, back to Fallen Angel. The packaging is simple, yet chic, and this particular palette has gold stars all over the case as well as star detailing imprinted into the shadows themselves. On the back, there is a guide on how to utilize each shade (prime, enhance, pop and smoke), although I think you could really do whatever you want.

The Fallen Angel Luxury Palette includes a beige, taupe, bronze and soft black. Sure, the shades don't sound exciting, but sometimes you just need the staple shades in a kick-ass formula, you know? The first three are all slightly frosty and metallic, while the black has a much more muted sheen (it comes off closer to a matte to me than anything). I was actually expecting this palette to be more cool-toned than it really is. The bronze is very obviously reddened and warm, but the taupe ended up being more of a brown taupe than a silvery taupe like I'd initially thought, which is great, because silver looks gross on me. I'm also starting to realize the usefulness of having a black shade in a palette, whether it's to deepen your day look into night, or just to set your liner. It's safe to say this palette marked my revival of the smokey eye.

These shadows are unlike the existing Charlotte Tilbury eyeshadow formula in that they can be used wet or dry, where using it wet yields more intensity. I have yet to try them on a dampened brush, simply because I find they already perform so well dry that there is no need.

I've heard people compare the texture of these shadows to that of a gelee, such as the powder gelee blushes and eyeshadows by Estee Lauder. I have never tested out a gelee formulation myself, so I can't say whether or not I agree. Regardless, these shadows are ultra smooth and not at all lacking in the pigmentation department. They apply and blend beautifully. They also feel more tightly packed than most powder eyeshadows to me, and as a result, they're not powdery and don't produce much fallout, if any.

Swatched dry
Here, I'm wearing the lightest shade on the inner half of my lid, the taupe shade on the outer half, the bronze shade through the crease, and I used the black shade to darken up the crease and outer v. It had been far too long since I'd worn a smokey eye, and I was surprised by how much I loved this look.

As a lover of palettes and having all of the shades I adore in one place, I'm over the moon with the addition of Fallen Angel to my collection. Overall, I'd say if you already have nice quality dupes of every shade (which is entirely possible, as none of the shades are very unique), you could pass on this palette. However, I do think the quality and shade combination is worth the price tag, and I don't regret for a second snatching up this limited edition beauty before it's gone for good.


Some of my Favorite Budget Brushes

When it comes to brushes, a higher price tag does not always equate to better quality. Most of the brushes I reach for on a daily basis are on the more affordable end of the spectrum, and many of them outperform my high-end brushes from MAC, NARS, etc. These are some of my favorite budget brushes that I would recommend to anyone on the market for soft, non-shedding brushes, whether you're actually on a tight budget or not.
Left column, from top to bottom: Real Techniques Buffing Brush, Fine Liner Brush, Domed Shadow Brush, Contour Brush, Multi-Task Brush, Expert Face Brush // Right column, from top to bottom: EcoTools Retractable Kabuki Brush, Domed Bronzer Brush, Bamboo Powder Brush, elf Blush Brush
Real Techniques // I own quite a few Real Techniques brushes, and I love most of the ones I have (the Stippling Brush was great at first, but then it started shedding and losing brush hairs like crazy, so I tossed it). In terms of face brushes, the Buffing Brush is a favorite for applying liquid foundation, the Contour Brush is the perfect size for contouring, but it's also great for applying blush and highlighter (both from the Core Collection $18), I love the Multi-Task Brush for working powder foundation into the skin or dusting on bronzer, and the Expert Face Brush ($9) is my go-to for cream blush application. For eyes, the Domed Shadow Brush from the Travel Essentials set ($18) is like the love child of a flat shader brush and a crease brush. I use the sides to pack color onto the lid and the tip to gently blend shadow into the crease. Their Fine Liner Brush ($6) is super tiny and although perhaps not ideal for newbies, it's perfect for precise gel or cream liner application, especially when a flick is involved.

EcoTools // I only have a few EcoTools brushes, but they're staples in my routine. I often keep the Retractable Kabuki Brush ($8) in my handbag to apply powder touch-ups on the go. I love the Domed Bronzer Brush ($10) in conjunction with some of my less pigmented or lighter bronzers, as it really packs on the product but still blends it out well, and the Bamboo Powder Brush ($8) is what I use on a daily basis with my setting powder.

elf // I used to have a lot of elf brushes when I was first starting with makeup, because they're just so darn affordable. While they're not all fantastic from what I remember, the Blush Brush ($3) is great for patting on blush, and the tip can double for highlighter application too. It's quite small, but as a result, it gives me control over where my blush goes.

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