October's Default Favorites

It's been a long time since I've done a favorites post, but seeing as how I moved in October and had to use the same select few products for most of the month while the rest of my collection was packed away, I think it makes sense that these kind of became my default favorites. I made sure when I picked which products to put in my makeup bag that they were products that would suit plenty of different looks, so that I wouldn't feel restricted or grow tired of them too quickly. I have to say, I did good.
The MAC Studio Waterweight SPF 30 Foundation is, without a doubt, the star of my October favorites. I think I used this every single day for three weeks straight, with the exception of an evening wedding I went to where I wore a longer wearing foundation without SPF. I reviewed the foundation here, but basically, it's glowy, healthy looking skin in a bottle.

Ever since hitting pan on my Dior bronzer a few weeks ago, I've been determined to use it more so that I can actually finish up a makeup product at some point in the foreseeable future, but every few days or so, I always find myself itching for the Hourglass Luminous Light Ambient Lighting Bronzer. I just love the healthy bronzed glow this adds to my complexion. It might actually be my favorite bronzer of 2015. For blush, October was all about CHANEL Joues Contraste in Alezane. This baby is beautiful. The coppery rose shade is sculpting and makes for the perfect autumn blush. I don't see myself growing tired of this one any time soon.

I set aside two eyeshadow palettes for use during this transition period, but the Make Up For Ever Artist Palette Volume 1 Nudes You Need was the one I reached for the most. The center and right shades in the middle and bottom rows comprise four stunning eyeshadow options that are perfect for my lazy one-eyeshadow looks. When I have a few minutes to spare in the morning, I like to spend it on a bit of winged liner. The Sephora Collection Long-Lasting 12Hr Wear Eye Liner was my favorite, despite having three liquid liners in my makeup bag to choose from. It has a super inky black, matte finish, and it stays on all day without budging, so long as it doesn't come into contact with water. Water is its nemesis and will make it smear like a mofo. Don't ask me how I know.

Lastly, my lip favorite of the month was a rediscovery: BUXOM Full-Bodied Lip Gloss in Mwah, a shimmery mauve. It's in the same color family as MAC Plushglass in Ample Pink and BUXOM Big & Sexy Bold Gel Lipstick in Rebel Rose, and although it's a bit tacky, the BUXOM lipgloss formula is still one of my favorites.

So, yeah, I guess you could call these my default favorites, but I actually enjoyed using products from a small selection each morning and found it cut out a lot of the guesswork that comes with having too much to choose from, therefore saving time too. Maybe there really is something to the whole 'capsule makeup collection' idea?


Mix and Match Priming

A few years ago, when my skin was very oily and acne-prone, an oil-controlling primer was my best friend. I used one all over my face before foundation just about everyday, and even then, I'd have to blot every other hour or so. Fast forward a few years, and with age, my skin has calmed down a bit. My t-zone still gets quite shiny, but the rest of my face often tiptoes the line between normal and a bit dry and dehydrated, depending on the season and the other skincare products I'm currently using. In order to accommodate my current combination skin type, rather than my previous oily one, I've grown quite fond of what I call 'mix and match priming.'

For my t-zone, my face primer of choice is the Smashbox Photo Finish Foundation Primer ($36). I really liked the Hourglass Veil Mineral Primer ($52) as well, but the Smashbox has more oil-control for me. It's a silicone-based primer that diminishes the look of pores and smooths over the skin's surface in addition to managing oil production throughout the day and increasing the wear time of whichever foundation I pair with it.

When the rest of my face is feeling normal and balanced, I don't apply any additional primer. When it's feeling a bit dry, either due to a change in the weather or the addition of a new skincare product (for example, when I first started using a retinol cream), the Too Faced Hangover Replenishing Face Primer ($32) is a fantastic hydrating, yet lightweight, primer option. It sinks in quickly and helps create a healthy and supple base. I was afraid a hydrating primer would be too heavy for my skin, perhaps even decreasing the wear time of my foundation or causing clogged pores or breakouts, but that wasn't the case at all. This is a great one if you have issues with foundation clinging on to dry patches or dry skin that makes foundation go on patchy and difficult to blend. The light and fresh coconut scent is just the cherry on top.

I don't use a primer everyday, but if I need my makeup to last longer than a normal working day (happy hour, anyone?), or if I think either my skin or foundation could benefit from some oil-control or an extra dose of hydration, I know I can always rely on these two.


Charlotte Tilbury Matte Revolution Lipstick in Very Victoria

If you follow me on snapchat (username willwrkfrmakeup), you'll already know the gem I stumbled across the other day while at Nordstrom in search of the NEST Pumpkin Chai Candle - a Charlotte Tilbury counter. Basically, my eyes lit up and I may or may not have done a little mental squeal when I saw it. The only thing I've tried from her brand is the Fallen Angel Palette, which I LOVE, but I hadn't gotten around to dabbling in her other offerings yet. Being able to see everything in person and swatch to my heart's content helped rectify that situation in no time.
After covering the back of my hand in swatches, I picked up two products, one of which is the Matte Revolution Lipstick in the shade Very Victoria ($32), a mauvey brown-nude. Although it appears gold in the photo above, the packaging is actually a stunning rose gold. At the counter, Very Victoria almost looked like it contained micro-shimmer that set it apart from other nudes, without taking away from its matte finish. When I swatched it at home the next day, however, I think the shimmer I thought I saw was actually a very subtle sheen than actual shimmer. 

Very Victoria glides on without tugging at the lips and has a velvety satin finish. Unlike some matte lipstick formulas, this one isn't heavy or paint-like, and it doesn't make the lips look dry or parched. While the formula itself doesn't provide hydration, I find it comfortable to wear and non-drying, and the lasting power is average. The formula accurately claims to be buildable, and I can swipe on a few layers to achieve mostly opaque coverage without it feeling heavy.
Wearing Charlotte Tilbury Matte Revolution Lipstick in Very Victoria
People have deemed the Matte Revolution Lipstick formula one of their favorite matte formulas, and although I'm not quite sure I'm ready to make the same declaration, I can certainly understand the appeal. It's a great formula with gorgeous packaging to boot.


BITE Beauty Best Bite Rewind

I'm trying to play it cool with all the holiday releases, but the second I heard rumblings about the BITE Beauty Best Bite Rewind set, I knew I had to have it. I'm a big fan of their Matte Creme Lip Crayon formula, which has more of satin finish than a true matte one and boasts strong pigmentation and a long wear time that is hydrating and comfortable. The set includes four shades (three of which are new) that range from nude to vampy, making it the perfect mini lip wardrobe. The red tin case that houses the crayons is really cute, too.

Best Bite Rewind ($25) includes Cafe, a peachy-pink nude, Torte, a medium-toned rose, Coulis, a red with a hint of pink undertone, and Aubergine, a purple berry and the only pre-existing shade in the set. I've been getting a ton of wear out of Cafe lately, and I like pairing it with a nude liner to define my lip shape, since on its own, it can look a bit pale on me. My other favorite is Aubergine - surprise, surprise. It's a gorgeous shade for fall and winter, and it's deep and vampy without being intimidating. Coulis is a beautiful red that would suit anyone, while I'm still trying to find ways to make Torte work on me. I often find medium and deeper roses a bit aging on me, but I find I prefer Torte when topped with a bit of nude gloss.

L to R: Cafe, Torte, Coulis and Aubergine
Top to bottom: Cafe, Torte, Coulis and Aubergine
Seeing as the set is a $55 value but costs just a dollar more than a full-sized Matte Creme Lip Crayon, I think Best Bite Rewind is a no-brainer. It's a welcome addition to any matte lip lover's collection, but it would make a great gift as well.


A Must-Try: MAC Studio Waterweight SPF 30 Foundation

I've tried MAC face powders in the past, but the MAC Studio Waterweight SPF 30 Foundation is my first liquid foundation from them. I tend to equate their foundations with being heavy and higher coverage, so they didn't appeal to me. Even when this foundation was released, I had my reservations based on my less than positive experience with another serum foundation. However, I decided to throw caution to the wind, and if you follow me on snapchat, you'll already know this, but I LOVE this foundation. Borderline obsessed.

The MAC comes in a frosted glass bottle with a pipette dropper. The packaging, while chic, scares me because it wasn't long ago that I accidentally knocked over my similarly-packaged Armani Maestro Liquid Summer Bronzer and spent a long while shampooing the carpet, as a result. Fun times were had. In addition to having to take extra care with the bottle in order to not spill or knock it over while open, it's also not ideal for traveling, due to the weight and fragile nature of the bottle.

Pipette dropper
I have shade NC25, and it's a touch light on me but will be the perfect match soon, as the color I've acquired over the summer continues to fade. Although it says it can also be applied with fingers or a sponge, I've been dotting the foundation around my face and buffing it in with a foundation brush. With one coat, the foundation has light coverage that evens out my skin tone and takes the edge off of blemishes, but doesn't truly cover them. One of the things that really surprised me was how seamlessly the coverage can be built up. After applying the first layer, I sometimes buff in a second layer just where I need additional coverage (usually around my nose or on small blemishes), and it never looks heavy or cakey. It's impossible to tell there's more product there than there is in other areas. The foundation is featherlight, and it truly feels like nothing on the skin. It would be perfect for those who hate the sometimes heavy or constricting feel of foundation on their skin.

The finish is absolutely stunning. Although the foundation dries down, the finish stays glowy. There's no dewiness or shimmer; it's just a gorgeous, illuminating glow. On my combination skin, I have to powder my t-zone is order to prevent my natural oils from adding to the foundation's glow and looking greasy later on, but I think dry to normal skin types could get away without powder. Despite the finish, the foundation doesn't break down or settle into my pores at all, and it lasts all day. And, as a cherry on top, unlike my experience with NARS All Day Luminous Foundation, I'm happy to report this one doesn't cling to my dry patches!

Bare skin (L) and one layer of foundation
One layer (L); Second layer used to build up coverage on t-zone only 
Wearing MAC Studio Waterweight SPF 30 Foundation in NC25

Since getting it, I haven't been able to get myself to use any other foundation. I seriously love this stuff. It's the perfect daytime foundation for everyday wear. It has light coverage that can seamlessly be built-up to medium-full, SPF 30 and a finish that makes the skin look healthy and radiant. Oily skin types may find that this foundation, especially when mixed with their skin's natural oils, looks too shiny on them. For all other skin types, however, you have to try this.


Hourglass Arch Brow Sculpting Pencils in Ash and Soft Brunette

I've heard a lot of great things about the Hourglass Arch Brow Sculpting Pencil ($32), but since it's quite difficult for me to find eyebrow pencils that are a good match for my hair color, I wasn't ready to take a risk and splurge for it just yet. Luckily, Hourglass recently expanded on their shade range to include nine shades total, and they sent me two of their pencils in the shades Ash and Soft Brunette.

Hourglass Arch Brow Sculpting Pencil in Soft Brunette
Hourglass Arch Brow Sculpting Pencil in Ash
Soft Brunette is described as "light to medium cool brown," and Ash is "gray/dark brown with cool undertones." If I've learned anything during my trial and error period with eyebrow products, it is that warm tones look completely unnatural on me. Also, although my natural hair color is black, because I have very little natural brow hairs and have to fill in most of my brow shape, nothing screams "drawn-on brows" quite like black or very dark brown brow pencils. For me, cool medium to dark browns are the way to go, so Soft Brunette and Ash were perfect for me.

Convenient spoolie brush on the opposite end of the pencil
Hourglass Arch Brow Sculpting Pencil in Ash (L) and Soft Brunette
The larger, angled shape of the Hourglass Arch Brow Sculpting Pencil took a bit of getting used to for me, since my usual brow pencil is a traditional pencil shape. I tend to hold it so that the tip is sideways, and although it's quite large, after a bit of practice, I found I was able to fill in my brows faster and with less strokes than I could with a normal pencil. I've only used Ash so far, but I think Soft Brunette could work well for me, too. It's a touch lighter and more cool-toned compared to Ash. The formula itself is fantastic. My eyebrows are still completely intact at the end of a long day, and I never experience my brows looking like they've melted off, which is all I could ask for with my oil-prone skin.

Because my brow hairs are so faint and sparse, they do look quite drawn on after I fill them in initially, so I use a tinted brow gel to brush through them. This softens the pigmentation of the brow pencil a bit, makes the edges softer and more diffused and adds texture to my brows.

Wearing Hourglass Arch Brow Sculpting Pencil in Ash (right); natural brow (left)
Hourglass Arch Brow Sculpting Pencil in Ash by itself (top) and brushed through with brow gel (bottom)
All in all, I'm a big fan of the Hourglass Arch Brow Sculpting Pencil. I love how natural Ash looks against my complexion and hair color, and the long-wearing formula is a great one. The only reason I could see someone not appreciating this pencil is if they're looking to draw on individual hairs. Since the pencil is quite large, it's better suited for filling in brows than for intricate, detail work.

P.S. I've started snapchatting! You can follow me at 'willwrkfrmakeup' if you want. I sometimes post little haul or mini-review videos over there :)

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.
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