Faking the Bronzed Glow

Mary Kay recently sent me a few of their products to replicate a faux tan look their Global Makeup Artist, Luis Casco, created on Project Runway a few weeks ago, and since I was a complete virgin when it came to Mary Kay products, I thought it would also be a great opportunity to try out a few bits and document my foray into the brand.

I had the opportunity to try out Mary Kay's Translucent Powder, Bronzing Powders in Light-Medium and Medium-Dark, as well as their Mineral Cheek Color in Shy Blush.
L to R: Bronzing Powders in Light-Medium, Medium-Dark, Mineral Cheek Color in Shy Blush
After applying my usual base, I lightly dusted the Translucent Powder ($16) onto my t-zone to negate any shine that may tend to peek through throughout the day. It's light and finely-milled, and it blended in and looked completely invisible on the skin. It set my foundation well and provided a fair amount of oil-control, but definitely not enough for those with true oily skin, in my opinion. Unfortunately, I have yet to wear it while taking flash photography, so I cannot speak to whether or not it causes flashback, similarly to Make Up For Ever HD Powder.

I then took a large stippling brush and applied the Bronzing Powder in Medium-Dark ($18) in the classic 3 shape on both sides of my face (forehead, cheekbones, jawline) and used the Light-Medium shade to blur out the edges of the darker bronzer, as well as act as a golden highlight. Now, let me warn you, these bronzers are shimmery! Not a glitter-type of shimmer, but borderline frosty/metallic. Applying with a dense brush would likely bring out this finish even more, but I thought the stippling brush method diffused the product enough where it didn't seem too over the top. In terms of shades, Medium-Dark is best for skintones NC30 and darker, while Light-Medium would probably best suite NC20 and lighter; it's the awkward NC20-30 range that may find it more difficult choosing a shade. Light-Medium actually looks more like a dark highlighter to me than it does a bronzer.

Lastly, I applied the Mineral Cheek Color in Shy Blush ($12). It's a NARS Orgasm-type of shade (peachy-pink with golden shimmer), except Shy Blush is less red compared to Orgasm, the latter often leaving me looking like I might suffer from rosacea. Like the bronzers, Shy Blush's shimmer is borderline frosty, which may or may not be your cup of tea. The finish is almost wet looking, initially, which I actually didn't mind as I found it quite pretty, but as the day went on, I found the finish started emphasizing my pores a bit more than I'd like.

All of the powders feel silky smooth to the touch, blend easily with minimal effort, and have medium, buildable pigmentation.

Have you tried Mary Kay? Any must-have products I should try?

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 experience with the products.


Budget Blushes

Blush is one of those products that I feel the drugstore hasn't quite nailed yet. In general, I find most high-end blushes to be superior to drugstore blushes, but that doesn't mean there aren't a few budget-friendly gems out there too - you just have to search more carefully for them. Luckily for you, I've done the dirty work for you. Here are four of the best blushes the drugstore has to offer.
L to R: Palladio Matte Blush in Toasted Apricot, Rimmel Lasting Finish Blush in Santa Rose, Physician Formula Happy Booster Blush in Warm, Milani Baked Blush in Luminoso

Palladio is a brand I don't believe I've tried before, but considering how small the selection of matte blush formulas is at the drugstore, I decided to give this one a go, hoping it would actually be worth my while, against all odds. It definitely was. Their Matte Blush in the shade Toasted Apricot is exactly that - a warm, rusty apricot shade. It's bold enough for summer, but also has a richness that's gorgeous in the fall, as well. It's surprisingly non-chalky, and although it does take a bit of effort to blend, the result is worth it. I love how it warms up my complexion. 

Rimmel Lasting Finish Blush in Santa Rose looks like a boring, paler than pale pink in the pan, but on the cheeks, it transforms into a gorgeous dusty pink that's neither too bright, nor too muted. It has a similar effect as Tarte Exposed one me, except lighter. It's a surprisingly flattering blush and one of those suits-any-look kind of shades.

Clockwise from top left: Toasted Apricot, Santa Rose, Luminoso, Warm

Physician Formula Happy Booster Blush in Warm is a light-medium coral-peach with a bit of shimmer. I like that you have the option of controlling how much color you want, simply by choosing whether or not to swirl your brush in the bright orange heart (I typically swirl through all of the colors). It's not scarily pigmented, yet, it can easily be built up as well.

Milani Baked Blush in Luminoso has been a long-time favorite of mine. It's a shimmery peach that would flatter just about anyone. I've used it on friends and family, and they've all looked radiant and glowing in it. It's ridiculously flattering. It has shimmer, but the perfect amount that would never settle into pores or look glittery or over the top. The quality of Luminoso is actually on par with (if not superior to) many of its high-end counterparts.

Swatches, L to R: Toasted Apricot, Santa Rose, Warm, Luminoso

Wearing Palladio Matte Blush in Toasted Apricot
If I could only recommend one? Without a doubt, Milani Luminoso.


My Fall Lip Wardrobe

It was tough narrowing down my favorite lip colors for fall, but I finally think I have the perfect selection of five shades that will comprise my fall lip wardrobe.
1 // Bobbi Brown Creamy Matte Lip Color in Nude
I love, love, LOVE the Bobbi Brown Creamy Matte Lip Color formula - it's smooth, non-drying and incredibly long-lasting with one swipe, opaque pigmentation. Nude is a medium, rosy-brown nude with a warmth and richness that makes it the ideal fall/winter nude for me.

2 // CHANEL Rouge Coco in Satin 
Satin is a rose with a hint of coral undertone. It's definitely one of the more "grown-up" and sophisticated shades in my collection; in other words, it has the potential to make me look a bit too mature, if I don't wear it correctly. When done right (i.e. worn with fresh skin and not too much else), it can be incredibly chic.

3 // Maybelline Color Sensational Creamy Matte Lip Color in Touch of Spice
I didn't even realize these lipsticks had the same name as the Bobbi Brown ones, but anyway, these have a silicone-y feeling on the lips (light, glides on effortlessly, almost powder-like finish), and while the formula doesn't last nearly as long as the Bobbi Brown one, it's still a great drugstore option. Touch of Spice is the quintessential autumn shade - a rich rose with a hint of brown, and oddly enough, I find it looks very much like BB Nude and CHANEL Satin mixed together.

4 // MAC Lipstick in Rebel
Rebel is the lipstick that has shown up in almost every blogger's fall lip post I've seen so far, and rightfully so. It's a striking and gorgeous plum-berry shade that is the perfect mix of purple and pink. It has a satin finish that is long-lasting, yet not drying on my lips. It's been a consistent favorite of mine for years now!

5 // Bobbi Brown Creamy Matte Lip Color in Crushed Plum
Last is my second Bobbi Brown Creamy Matte (I told you I loved the formula!), and Crushed Plum is a beautiful, rich maroon. I expected it to be a bit more purple, based on the name alone, but the second it touched my lips, I couldn't help but fall head over heels in love with it. It's sexy and vampy, but not overly so, and I still feel myself wearing it out of the house.

[Side note: Blogger seems to want to change the colors of these swatches for some reason. This swatch photo looks quite different from the actual photo I uploaded...not sure why.]

Wearing Bobbi Brown Crushed Plum
Although I know I'll wear other lip products as well this season (let's be real here), if push came to shove, these five are all I'd really need. Nude is ideal for daytime, Rebel and Crushed Plum would be my night out picks, and Satin and Touch of Spice would fill the void of everything in between.

What lipsticks are in your fall lip wardrobe?


Olay Fresh Effects {Soak Up The Sun Protection!} Lightweight Moisturizing Sunscreen

Looking back, one of my biggest beauty regrets from my teenage years was not taking better care of my skin. I used products that stripped, rather than nourished, my skin, and spending hours lying on the beach, basking in the harmful rays of the sun, was far from being a rarity. Fast forward ten years or so, I've definitely learned from careless ways, and I now make it a point to encourage my teenage sister to learn from my mistakes.

Although we are incredibly different in many ways, when it comes to views on the importance of skincare, my sister reminds me so much of myself at her age. And since she just recently started a new school year, it was the perfect opportunity to take advantage of a clean slate and start implementing new and improved skincare practices, especially since she was already looking for ways to transition her relaxed, summer routine into a more structured and efficient morning routine for school. In my opinion, step one should always be making sure you cleanse your skin twice a day, using the right cleanser for your skin type, but step two is definitely focused on sun protection. That's where Olay Fresh Effects {Soak Up The Sun Protection!} Lightweight Moisturizing Sunscreen comes in to play.

Olay Fresh Effects {Soak Up The Sun Protection!} Lightweight Moisturizing Sunscreen has broad spectrum SPF 15, which I think is ideal for everyday use. Remember, sun damage still occurs in the fall and winter months, even if it isn't warm or sunny out, but especially in places like southern California, where I'm from, where it's sunny nearly year-around. Since both UVA and UVB rays are harmful to the skin (UVA causes aging and wrinkles, while UVB causes skin to burn), it's important that a sunscreen protects against both types; in other words, broad spectrum protection. This one has four different ingredients to protect against the sun, and together, they help block both UVA and UVB rays.

{Soak Up The Sun Protection!} boasts a barely there feel, which I can attest to. Its consistency is neither too thick, nor too thin, and it spreads easily across my skin, absorbs instantly and leaves no residue. Whereas some sunscreens can often be so thick that it feels as though it sits on top of the skin, leaving a white cast, this one truly looks and feels weightless. It doesn't get greasy or oily throughout the day either, and it wears beautifully under makeup. 

Though lightweight, I love that it's still moisturizing enough on its own to be used in place of my daytime moisturizer. Those with oily/combination to normal skin types will likely feel the same. This also makes it ideal for teens, like my sister, who 1) may have oily or acne-prone complexions, and 2) are unlikely to reach for a moisturizer and a sunscreen, especially on early mornings, getting ready for school. It also has honeysuckle and white tea essences, which, if you haven't already deduced by now, means that it smells absolutely incredible --- light, crisp and floral

Overall, I think the Olay Fresh Effects {Soak Up The Sun Protection!} Lightweight Moisturizing Sunscreen SPF15 is a great facial sunscreen for everyday wear, and it can also do double-duty for some as a lightweight moisturizer. The fact that it's affordable and smells nice is just the cherry on top!

Olay Fresh Effects {Soak Up The Sun Protection!} Lightweight Moisturizing Sunscreen is available from drugstores and retails for around $13 for 75 mL/2.5 fl.oz.

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


Wearing Monochrome: The Rosy Nude

I find monochrome outfits incredibly chic and pulled together, whether it's white, black, or another variation of a neutral. The idea of not having to think too deeply into what matches or goes together, simply because a shade will never clash with itself, really appeals to me, so I decided to bring it to life, in the form of my makeup. And since I've been having a bit of a moment with rose-undertoned nudes lately, choosing the predominant shade to work with was a no-brainer.
Conveniently enough, while digging through my stash, I found exactly two eyeshadows, two blushes and two lipsticks that fit the bill:
  • Too Faced Eyeshadow in Push-Up (center shade in 'Natural Eyes' palette)
  • NARS Eyeshadow in Kalahari (top far right shade in 'And God Created the Woman' palette)
  • Tarte Amazonian Clay Blush in Exposed
  • NARS Blush in Douceur
  • Bobbi Brown Creamy Matte Lip Color in Nude
  • MAC Lipstick in Patisserie

Push-Up and Kalahari are quite similar, with the former being slightly more rosy and red-toned. Compared to Exposed, Douceur is just slightly more brown-tinged, although they look nearly identical on me once applied. Among the three pairings, the differences between Nude and Patisserie are the greatest. Nude is a rich, rosy 90's-esque brown (the formula is basically matte lipstick perfection to me, by the way), while Patisserie is the sheerer, paler and pinker cousin --- think a beginner version of Nude.

I kept my monochromatic look quite simple, wearing a soft wash of Too Faced Push-Up all over my lid and on the lower lash line, NARS Douceur dusted across my cheeks with my trusty e.l.f. blush brush (best $3 I've ever spent, brush-wise!), and Bobbi Brown Nude applied straight from the bullet, sans liner. 

I think if you're wanting to dabble in a monochromatic makeup look, neutrals are probably your best bet (an all purple look might be a bit much, if you know what I mean). Also, keeping the overall look more on the simple side keeps it from feeling overly matchy matchy (save the coordinating eyeliner, colored mascara and highlighter for another day). Now, looking back, I realized I unintentionally and unknowingly wore bronze monochrome looks pretty much all summer long!

Would you wear a monochromatic makeup look?


In Honor of Breast Cancer Awareness Month...

Breast cancer is a disease that has had a huge impact on my life, affecting three women in my family, including my mom. You can read my story here. So, since October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month and is all about raising awareness about the disease and money to help fund research into finding a cure, I thought I'd compile a short list of fun things you could buy that would give back to the cause at the same time.

This set includes four 0.14 oz lip glosses (for reference, full-size is 0.24 oz) in the shades Pretty Pink, Pink Tulle, Bright Lilac and Soiree Pink. Bobbi Brown will donate $12 from the purchase of every collection to The Breast Cancer Research Foundation.

This soap boasts such ingredients as organic buttermilk powder and bitter orange and palmarosa essential oils, all topped off with organic rose petals. If that doesn't scream luxury and decadence, I don't know what does. Osmia Organics will donate $1 for the purchase of every pink Osmia product made in October, including the Milky Rose Soap, towards breast cancer research.

This collection includes a Pure Color Long Lasting Lipstick in Dream Pink, two Pure Color Nail Lacquers in Blushing Lilac and Berry Hot, all encased in a pink clutch. 20% of all purchases of this collection made between August 2014 through June 2015 will be donated to The Breast Cancer Research Foundation.

A Nordstrom-exclusive, this handmade pink candle holder was created in honor of Evelyn Lauder, the founder of The Breast Cancer Research Foundation. 10% of sales will be donated to the foundation.

This dry shampoo, style extender and volumizer, a favorite among many, was packaged with a pretty pink lid to support breast cancer awareness. $5 from the purchase of each bottle will be donated to The Breast Cancer Research Foundation.

Albeit a splurge, I'm sure, this gorgeous piece of jewelry is the ultimate breast cancer awareness purchase, one that would make a great gift, particularly for a special woman in your life who also happens to be a survivor of this disease. 20% of sales will be donated towards breast cancer initiatives.

Want to just donate instead? You can do that here, on Susan G. Komen, a non-profit breast cancer organization.

Lastly, thank you so much to everyone who left me positive and encouraging comments on my last post. I really appreciate it!

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