4.28.2014

Red lips for the win

I kinda, sorta, really liked my makeup the other night. My friends and I were getting ready to go out and I had my heart set on doing a smokey eye, but then we got a memo to all wear a red lip (apparently we were having a high school BFF moment). I don't know about you, but smokey eyes paired with red lips can be dangerous territory, especially with the heavier eye I was planning. I often take the easy route when wearing a red lip and just slick on a quick cat-eye (fail-safe combo), but I just wanted something more, you know? The red, in this case, was picked out by you guys on Instagram (thank you!) - MAC Viva Glam I, a classic, deep red.

I ended up doing a bronze eye with subtle winged liner, and I thought it complemented Viva Glam I perfectly - it was just enough without being overpowering. I wore Dior Météore all over the lid with Burberry Almond through the crease for definition, and I patted on a bit of Clinique At Dusk just on the center of the lid to reflect the light. Although normally a die-hard liquid liner fan, I went with Clinique Brush-On Cream Liner this time. Seriously impressed by how mine still hasn't dried out after all this time....probably growing some rare, resistant bacteria by now, but the important point is that it hasn't dried out. 

For my base, I wore Armani Luminous Silk in 3.5 with MUFE Pro Finish Powder in #120 to set everything and add extra coverage. I love that it never looks cakey. I busted out some bronzer for the first time in a long while - Dior Honey Matte - and went with Rouge Bunny Rouge Delicata for a subtle blush option. I may have gone a touch overboard with the highlighter (theBalm Mary-Lou Manizer), but I justified it because it was a going-out look :) I also added some Mary-Lou in the inner corners of my eyes.

Also, for anyone who's curious, I use Shu Uemura Hard Formula Brow Pencil in Stone Grey. I've received a few compliments on my brows lately, which is seriously awesome, because sometimes they just looked utterly jacked up beyond repair, but they seem to be behaving lately, which I appreciate. 

What's your favorite way to wear a red lip?


4.27.2014

Osmia Organics Body Oils

I love a lot of products from Osmia Organics, but their body oils are among my favorites. The oils are comprised of eleven oils, nine of which are certified organic. They are meant to be applied to wet skin, as this allows the oil to spread much more easily and requires less oil overall. I slather it on immediately post-shower and allow it five or so minutes to dry down. Once dry, my skin feels unimaginably soft and supple and remains in this state all day. It doesn't transfer onto clothing at all. Available in seven intoxicating scents, as well as unscented, my personal favorite among the four I've tried (Light, Stream, Sunset and Forest) is Light

Flower - "The scent is floral and earthy, and instantly soothes the senses, bringing a feeling of timeless femininity."

Forest - "Precious ambrette seed oil and invigorating evergreen oils provide a clean, green scent - excellent for use when you are completely run down and need a little boost."

Light - "Fresh lemongrass is the first note, with a wisp of sweet ylang and just a touch of balsam of Peru."

Night - "Made with organic essential oils of lavender, roman chamomile, and wild atlas cedar, all of which may have a soporific (zzzzzz....) effect."

Stream - "Formulated with essential oils designed to help relieve water retention (such as organic geranium and jumper berry), this oil is especially comforting during the "bloated" days of the month, and smells incredible."

Sunset - "Organic vanilla and jasmine extracts combine for a warm, feminine scent that lasts all day on your skin. The quiet spice of coriander, and the lift of Italian bergamot make this oil anything but plain vanilla."

Water Lily - "It [vetiver] is a deeply calming and grounding oil - sweet, rich, and sensual. Wild-harvested juniper oil and ginger lily add a gentle spice, and lift the vetiver up to meet them."

These are completely unlike other body lotions and moisturizers I've tried in the past. The scents are earthy and empowering, and when I first started using them, I was pleasantly surprised by the fact that my skin didn't feel oily or greasy at all - just hydrated and soothed. In the winter, when my skin is drier than dry, I often have to layer a heavier body moisturizer on top of an Osmia oil for good measure, but during the rest of the year, my skin is happy and content with just the daily dose of oil.

The Osmia Organics Body Oils are available in two sizes: 2 oz. bottle with a screw top (ranging from $20-30, depending on the scent; $18 for unscented) and a 7.5 oz. bottle with a pump (ranging from $65-85, depending on the scent; $60 for unscented). They're a bit pricey, but if you're someone who likes to indulge in luxe body care, these are absolutely worth every penny.


ingredients [*=certified organic ingredient]

caprylic/capric triglyceride (fractionated coconut oil), simmondsia chinensis (jojoba) oil*, aleurites molaccana (kukui) oil, prunus amygdalus (sweet almond) oil*, rosa rubiginosa (rosehips) seed oil*, cannabis sativa (hemp) seed oil*, persea gratissima (avocado) oil*, borago officinalis (borage) seed oil*, oenothera biennis (evening primrose) oil*, hippophae rhamnoides (sea buckthorn berry) CO2 extract*, rosmarinus officinalis (rosemary) CO2 extract*


4.21.2014

Spring Pout

Switching up your lip color is one of the easiest ways to transition your look into different seasons. I love me some bright corals in the summer, berries and vampy shades in the fall, holiday-ready reds in the winter, but for spring, I'm all about the peaches and pinks.

Clockwise from left:
Dior Addict Lipstick in Singuliere
Maybelline Color Elixir in Radiant Raspberry
Maybelline Color Whisper in Peach Punch
MAC Lipstick in Flamingo

L to R: Singuliere, Radiant Raspberry, Peach Punch and Flamingo

Top to bottom: Singuliere, Radiant Raspberry, Peach Punch and Flamingo


Dior Singuliere is an old favorite. Fact: I even have a back-up. It's one of the few blue-toned, bubblegum pinks that actually suits me and doesn't make me look like a wannabe Barbie. It's an Addict formula, so it's sheer but can be built up to medium opacity, and it has the feel of a lip balm.

Maybelline Radiant Raspberry and Peach Punch are both new (and I think limited edition) for summer, as a part of the Bleached Neons collection. Radiant Raspberry is such a stunning shade, although it strikes me more as a watermelon than a raspberry. I was pleasantly surprised to find that it looks even more beautiful on the lips than it does in the tube. It's bright, but not too bright, you know? Peach Punch is your standard peach, and I appreciate that it's more wearable and less orange on the lips since the slightly sheerer Color Whisper formula allows some of your natural lip color to peek through. 

MAC Flamingo is a beautiful, muted pinky coral. It's a lustre formula and was originally released as a limited edition shade, but MAC is bringing it back soon (it's currently listed as "coming soon" on their site). It's one of those shades that makeup fanatics tend to go crazy for, and rightfully so. I remember wearing this a ton last spring and summer, and I'm happy to have it back in the rotation.

What lip shades do you tend to gravitate towards in the spring?


4.20.2014

My Favorite Look This Week #9

I was having a good brow day today, and that in and of itself is enough to automatically make this my favorite look of the week.

I mentioned in my last The Monday Post that I've been using MUFE F&B Foundation again recently (I wear shade #20). Its water-based, gel texture creates a light coverage base that feels weightless on the skin. I've been using my Shiseido Perfect Foundation Brush to buff it in. Once it dries down and sets, it doesn't budge. It's been a while since I've talked about this one on the ol' blog, but here's my review of it from way back when, if you're interested.

Continuing on the MUFE train, I've also been loving their new-ish HD blushes. I reviewed #335 Fawn here, but I've also added #315 Peach Beige to my collection since then. It's a peachy tan with a hint of rose. It reminds me a lot of MAC Blushcreme in Pleasureful, actually, but I can't compare the two since I sold Pleasureful in a blog sale. I'm loving the formula of these - they're super easy to apply and last so well on the skin.

On my eyes, I used the Stila In the Know palette. I have on a mixture of Desert and Clay on the lid and Driftwood in the crease and on my lower lash line. I've been forgoing tightlining lately, as I find that every liner I use smudges like a mofo onto my contacts now (I recently switched contact lens types, so I blame them). 

Surprise, surprise - on my lips, I'm wearing a Lancôme Lip Lover. Because I love them. I have three now, by the way (here's my original review of the formula). Today, I wore shade 314 Casse NoisetteI love how moisturizing and non-sticky the formula is, and the pigmentation really can't be beat, considering it's still technically a lip gloss. You may not be able to tell, but the color you see in these photos is all gloss - it's pretty much opaque on me. Unlike other milky nude glosses, Casse Noisette fills in lip lines rather than settling in them, and it creates an overall smooth and plump lip. The shade itself is a pinky caramel...definitely not too nude for light to medium skin tones.


Hope everyone is having a great weekend!

4.19.2014

One Love Organics Active Moisture Vitamin B Enzyme Cleansing Oil & Makeup Remover

Ever since my first experience with Shu Uemura Fresh Cleansing Oil many years ago, I've been an avid cleansing oil fan, particularly when used for removing makeup. My loyalty to that oil lasted through several large bottles before curiosity finally got the best of me. With blogger after blogger singing the praises of the One Love Organics Active Moisture Vitamin B Enzyme Cleansing Oil & Makeup Remover and my new found interest in natural and organic brands, it was inevitable that I'd end up jumping on the bandwagon. 
The One Love Organics Active Moisture Vitamin B Enzyme Cleansing Oil & Makeup Remover is more viscous than the Shu Uemura Fresh Cleansing Oil, and as a result, the risk of losing product due to it seeping between your fingers into the sink before your hands are able to reach your face is significantly decreased. I massage two pumps of the oil over my dry face and neck before incorporating a bit of water into the mix to emulsify it. All traces of makeup dissolve on contact, with the slight exception of only waterproof mascara. I find that it removes waterproof formulas satisfactorily, just not with quite the same ease as the Shu.

What makes this oil different is that it contains papain, a fruit enzyme present in papaya that provides gentle exfoliation, and vitamin B to detoxify and tone the skin. It's a hydrating formula that never strips the skin, nor does it leave behind any residue that could clog pores. Unlike other cleansing oils, I actually enjoy using the Active Moisture Vitamin B Enzyme Cleansing Oil & Makeup Remover for cleansing as well. I often reach for it when I have no makeup to remove, simply because I love how soft and content it leaves my skin. I think all skin types, from dry to oily, will fall in love with this formula all the same.

Hands down, my favorite part about this oil? The scent of fresh, juicy pineapple.

One Love Organics Active Moisture Vitamin B Enzyme Cleansing Oil & Makeup Remover is available from the Eco Diva Beauty for $38.


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4.15.2014

Let's Talk: Negative Reviews

Negative reviews are kind of a touchy subject. Bloggers often get criticized for only posting positive reviews or talking about products they enjoy, despite many readers expressing interest in hearing about the less than impressive products as well.

For me, I certainly prefer writing positive reviews, simply because it's much more fun spreading the love than sharing disappointment; however, as an avid blog reader, I also understand the need for negative reviews, as they can often help guide one's purchases. 

The way I decide whether or not I'm going to crunch out a negative review or mention in a post is to consider whether or not there's a lot of hype surrounding the product. If there is, I will likely talk about it because, chances are, people are interested in reading about it, one way or another. If it's a product that is lesser known or flying under the radar anyway, I'll usually just let it go, as I figure there's probably a reason not many people are talking about it.

I'm curious what your thoughts are on negative reviews. Do you like to write them? Read them?


4.14.2014

The Monday Post #10

Monday is by far the gloomiest day of the week for me, followed by Sunday simply because it precedes Monday. Hopefully, The Monday Post will give you some beauty inspiration and help you get through the week! 


Favorite beauty read/viewing: I dare you not to lust after these two new Dior powders after reading this post on Mostly Sunny. So. much. gorgeousness.

Beauty goal: Fact: I'm not a hair person. I mean, I like for my hair to look good, but I'm so lazy when it comes to maintenance beyond just simple washing that most often, I let it air dry using no product at all and call it a day. As a result, it should come as no surprise that my hair often looks flat, lifeless and limp. My goal will be to do something to it just once a week, whether it be curling, blow drying for volume, or using product for texture. For crying out lout, anything would be better than what I'm doing now (or rather, not doing). Let the Tiffany vs. laziness battle begin.

Product Rediscovery: Before Diorskin Nude BB Creme and Hourglass Immaculate Foundation, there was MUFE Face & Body Foundation. It was a favorite of mine for a long time, and I've been loving it again on good skin days. I use concealer to cover up any problem areas as needed, but the sheerer coverage of the foundation means that the rest of my skin can still show through. This foundation is the epitome of a natural finish.

Beauty lust: So, I don't have anything from Tom Ford, and for the most part, I'm okay with that; however, there is one TF product that my collection needs, and I will quite literally throw a hissy fit if it doesn't find its way to me soon, and that product is the Cocoa Mirage Eyeshadow Quad. I've yet to hear someone utter a negative thought on this palette. Do you have it? If so, do I need it?

Most looking forward to: Job hunting. No, seriously. It makes me nervous but excited at the same time. I can't wait to finally be done with schooling and move on with the rest of my life!


Hope you all have a great week!

4.13.2014

Dupes or not?

Sometimes when I swatch something and notice how similar it seems to another product in my collection, I make a mental note to compare the two later on. All too often, however, I realize months later that the idea completely escaped me at some point and I never got around to doing it. Here are three comparisons that are long overdue...

Comparison 1
Giorgio Armani Lip Maestro in 401
MAC Lipstick in Lady Danger

Comparison 2
Hourglass Ambient Lighting Blush in Dim Infusion
Milani Baked Blush in Luminoso

Comparison 3
NYX Xtreme Lip Cream in Strawberry Jam
BITE Beauty Cashmere Lip Cream in Sancerre

L to R:
Armani 401
MAC Lady Danger
Hourglass Dim Infusion
Milani Luminoso
NYX Strawberry Jam
BITE Beauty Sancerre

:: 1 :: Armani 401 and Lady Danger are nearly identical, with the only difference being that 401 is slightly more orange. Lady Danger is matte, and 401 is a velvet finish that is nearly matte once dry. I prefer the Armani as I find the formula infinitely more comfortable to wear compared to MAC's matte lipstick formula.

:: 2 :: Shade-wise, Dim Infusion and Luminoso are very similar. The latter has a base that is just a pinch darker and pinker; however, the most obvious difference between the two is Dim Infusion's satin finish versus Luminoso's shimmery one.

:: 3 :: Finish-wise, Strawberry Jam and Sancerre are very similar, both drying down to velvet, nearly matte finishes. Strawberry Jam is pinker, while Sancerre has more red, although the difference is less apparent on the lips. In terms of formula, I much prefer BITE's offering, as the color is more long-wearing and much more comfortable on the lips.

I know the mere usage of the term 'dupe' often gets some people worked up, so I'd rather not deem these as being as such or not. Hopefully, these comparisons will allow you to decide for yourself :)


4.08.2014

Surprise! theBalm Cindy-Lou Manizer Giveaway

Remember my review of theBalm Cindy-Lou Manizer a little while ago? Does peachy-pink with an unexpected lavender shift ring a bell? If not, you can read my review here :) Luckily for one of my readers, I bought an extra to give away!

Good luck! :)

4.06.2014

A cream blush formula that will appeal to the masses

I'm typically not a fan of cream to powder formulas, but Make Up For Ever HD Blush is an exception. Their newest blush formula 'combines the second-skin look of a cream with the ease of a powder,' and there's not a single fault I can find with it. Available in 16 shades, I went for the one shade I felt would be unique to my collection.
Make Up For Ever HD Blush in 335 Fawn is a tawny pinky-brown. I'm a big fan of the 'goes with everything' blushes, and this shade offers an incredibly natural flush that suits any look, and the brown base helps to create a soft contoured look as well.

Swatched below in different lighting situations
In terms of finish, HD Blush boasts 'no visible texture,' and I agree wholeheartedly with its claim. Even upon close inspection of the skin, you see only the color and never the actual product sitting atop the surface, if that makes sense. It has neither a dewy finish, nor a true matte one; a skin-like finish is the best way I can describe it.

Although the formula is technically a cream-to-powder, it's unlike other formulas I've tried in the past in that it continues to blend smoothly like a cream until you let up, never blending away into that horrible dry, powdery texture towards the end. (I apply mine with the Real Techniques Expert Face Brush, by the way.) It lasts all day on me and blends just as flawlessly over a liquid base as it does over a powdered one. 

Wearing HD Blush in 335 Fawn
The only people I can think of that may not appreciate the HD Blush formula are those who favor cream blushes with a dewy finish, and even then, these might surprise you. Everyone else - you need at least one.

Thanks for the recommendation, Tracy! :)

Make Up For Ever HD Blush is available from Sephora for $26.


4.05.2014

A Rosy Outlook

Rose is one of those shades in makeup that will never go out of style. While I've often thought of rose lipsticks and blushes as a more 'mature' color choice, I've come to learn that there are so many different variations on the shade that you're bound to find one that works for your skin tone, age range and occasion. This post is dedicated to a few of my favorites.
Clockwise from left:
CHANEL Rose Initiale
Dior Cherie Bow
Milani Romantic Rose
Revlon Teak Rose
Givenchy Rose Dressing
Too Faced Razzle Dazzle Rose
Lancôme Beige Adage

Surprisingly, I don't own very many rosy blushes. The two I have are CHANEL Joues Contraste in Rose Initiale and Milani Romantic Rose. The former is a fresh petal pink, while the latter is a rosy nude. I've been wearing Rose Initiale quite a lot lately, and I particularly like that the pigmentation is medium but buildable, allowing me to control the brightness according to my mood. Romantic Rose is one of those 'goes with everything' shades that you can't go wrong with.

In terms of lip options, rose is a theme that continues to run rampant in my collection. Dior Addict Extreme in Cherie Bow and Lancôme Lip Lover in 332 Beige Adage are neutral, medium rose shades with a touch of nude. Both are everyday staples for me. Too Faced Razzle Dazzle Rose is a bright, blue-toned medium pink that's beautiful in the spring and for transitioning into summer. Givenchy Le Rouge in Rose Dressing is a pinky coral that provides the perfect amount of color while still being suitable for daytime wear. Revlon Super Lustrous Lipstick in Teak Rose is a shade that can border on matronly worn on its own, so I prefer to dab it on with my finger and top it off with a nude gloss.


4.04.2014

Make Up For Ever Pro Finish Multi-Use Powder Foundation

The last time I remember using a true powder foundation, it was during a time in my life when signs of cake-face often went unnoticed, allowing skin to breathe was overrated, and MAC was my drug of choice. Yup, it was MAC Studio Fix Powder Foundation. Nowadays, I prefer to err on the side of natural, rather than overdone, and having said that, I never thought a powder foundation would ever appeal to me again.
I randomly had an itch to try out a base of the powder variety again a few months ago after having omitted one from my routine for a few years. After reading some reviews and swatching and comparing several different options in-store, I picked up Make Up For Ever Pro Finish Multi-Use Powder Foundation. I kind of eyeballed the shade I thought would best match me and was lucky that #120 Neutral Ivory is spot-on.

Having used it now for several months, I can honestly say this powder is fantastic. I didn't expect to enjoy it as much as I do. It has buildable coverage that ranges from medium to full, depending on what brush you use to apply it (it comes with a sponge whose existence I completely ignore). 

The 'multi-use' aspect of this powder is that it can be used as a sheer, satin finish foundation, a full-coverage, matte finish foundation, or as a setting powder. MUFE suggests applying the powder with a damp sponge for the sheer coverage option, although I have yet to try out that method. I most like to use the Real Techniques Multi-tasking Brush to buff in the powder over my concealer, and I find that this achieves a beautiful, medium coverage, soft matte finish. If it's a setting powder I'm after, I switch to a fluffy powder brush and dust it over only my most shine-prone areas. 


Wearing Pro Finish Powder Foundation in 120 over concealer

The finish is, surprisingly, very natural and never cakey or powdery. It doesn't even look like a powder on my skin. It also has great longevity, offering oil-control where it's needed without clinging to dry patches elsewhere. It's a powder that I think would work on a variety of skin types, from slightly dry to oily.


Make Up For Ever Pro Finish Multi-Use Powder Foundation is available from Sephora for $36.


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