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.

8.19.2015

Cue the Heart-Eyed Emojis: CHANEL Joues Contraste Powder Blush in Alezane


I'm trying really hard nowadays not to buy makeup that isn't unique to my collection. I've never been one for owning tons of dupes anyway, so unless a product truly stands out to me, I try to pass on it, reminding myself how many products end up getting sold in a blog sale when I realize they're just more of the same. But then CHANEL Alezane from their Fall 2015 collection happened.

CHANEL Joues Contraste Powder Blush in Alezane
CHANEL Joues Contraste Powder Blush in Alezane is a coppery rose with golden shimmer. The more swatches and reviews I saw online of Alezane, the more unique I realized it was. I kept trying to use my method of deferring unnecessary purchases that I discussed in my Satiating Makeup Cravings post, but I didn't really have any blushes that were similar.

Alezane is smooth, but not powdery, and it has good pigmentation without being over-the-top and difficult to use. It has golden shimmer that is somewhat sparsely distributed throughout the blush, so it doesn't come across sparkly on the cheeks at all. The shade itself is incredibly flattering in the summer on a more tanned complexion, but it's also one I see looking gorgeous in the fall, too, with its warm, copper tones. It's the only blush I brought with me when I visited Vancouver, BC this past weekend, and I never missed any of my other blushes. It's beautiful.

Below are blushes in my collection I thought might be similar, but turns out, they're not.

L to R: Tarte Exposed, Benefit Rockateur, CHANEL Alezane, Clinique Fig Pop
Wearing CHANEL Joues Contraste Powder Blush in Alezane
So far, in terms of 2015 blush releases, CHANEL Alezane is the one to beat.


8.17.2015

The Dreamiest Drugstore Cleanser


It must have been a combination of the pretty, robin's egg blue packaging and the catchy name that caught my eye, but it was more than enough for Pacifica Sea Foam Complete Face Wash to earn a spot in my Target shopping basket. A glance at the claims to remove makeup and cleanse and tone, all while being sulfate-free, non-drying, and chock-full of ingredients like coconut water, sea algae complex and antioxidants, and it's pretty clear this was something special.

Pacifica Sea Foam Complete Face Wash ($10.99) has an interesting consistency that is somewhere between an oil and a gel. It's advised to be applied to damp skin, but I've also applied it to dry skin to remove my makeup, before introducing water into the mix, and it works just as well that way, too. Although not as potent a makeup remover as a cleansing oil, this one's makeup removing abilities are quite strong, nonetheless (waterproof mascara still needs some outside help). I love using it morning and night as a second cleanse, and it leaves my skin feeling plump, soft and gently hydrated, despite being a foaming cleanser. Stripping, this is not. It also has the most delicious, tropical, coconut scent that is, quite literally, mouth-watering.

I first tried this in a travel set and after a single use, I was so head-over-heels in love with it that I went back for the full-size. And when I couldn't find it because someone had purchased the lone tube that I'd seen in-store just the day before, I went to another Target specifically to hunt it down. So yeah, you could say I'm a fan of this stuff. It's a drugstore gem.


8.06.2015

ColourPop Cosmetics Super Shock Cheeks

In addition to Nillionaire Super Shock Shadow and two Lippie Stix in Rocket and Scandy, the rest of my ColourPop Cosmetics order consisted of four Super Shock Cheek products - two highlighters and two blushes.

The two Super Shock Cheek blushes ($8) I got were Fruit Stand, a bright red with a touch of orange, and Between the Sheets, a neutral dusky pink. I'd heard mostly good things about their blushes, with the occasional "they're difficult to blend" reviews thrown in, too. The formula on these is almost like Play-Doh. They're a little spongey, but drier than a mousse or cream product. I use my fingers to apply them (I've heard a stippling brush works too) and have found that you have to work quickly to get them blended in before they dry down completely and don't budge. Because of the slightly drier, dough-like texture, I do find them to be somewhat difficult to blend out (they tend to tug a bit at my skin as I'm using my fingers to blend), and although the end result can look quite nice, it's not as seamless of a finish, compared to other blushes. Both are matte.

ColourPop Cosmetics Super Shock Cheeks in Fruit Stand (bottom/left) and Between the Sheets

I also got the Super Shock Cheek highlighters ($8) in Highly Waisted, a bronzed peach with lavender shimmer, and Monster, an opalescent pink-lavender. Both are these are beautiful. I expected the formula of the blushes and highlighters to be the same, but based on the four I have, the blushes definitely have a different texture compared to the highlighters, and that's a good thing. Whereas the blushes almost felt like Play-doh, the highlighters are silky smooth to the touch and feel much more like a silicone-based cream product. I can use my fingers to gently tap the product onto the tops of my cheekbones to blend it out, whereas I almost have to rub my cheeks to get the blush to blend.

Pictures really don't do Highly Waisted or Monster justice. They look completely uninteresting in their pans, but once you swatch them - omg. The shimmer and iridescence have to be seen in real life, because they're gorgeous.

ColourPop Cosmetics Super Shock Cheeks in Highly Waisted (left) and Monster
ColourPop Cosmetics Super Shock Cheek in Highly Waisted

ColourPop Cosmetics Super Shock Cheek in Monster

L to R: 
ColourPop Cosmetics Lippie Stix in Rocket and Scandy;
Super Shock Cheeks in Highly Waisted, Monster, Between the Sheets and Fruit Stand;
Super Shock Shadow in Nillinaire

Wearing Fruit Stand and Highly Waisted
Overall, I like the blushes (mostly because I like the shades I chose), but I don't love them. There are plenty of superior blush formulas out there to choose from. The highlighters, however, are unique shades that are really beautiful, and they're easy to apply.


8.05.2015

The Latest in Buildable Lip Color: Laura Mercier Lip Parfait Creamy Colourbalm

In terms of lipsticks, I've been more into matte and satin finishes in recent months, but I always seem to have a soft spot for products that promise hydration and comfort, which explains why Laura Mercier's newest lipstick release, the Lip Parfait Creamy Colourbalm (spelled with a 'u' because Laura Mercier spells it that way :), caught my attention.

Laura Mercier Lip Parfait Creamy Colourbalm ($25) boasts "the comfort of a balm and the shine of a gloss" and "succulent color." These lightly vanilla-scented balms have a thinner texture than say, the Revlon Lip Butters, but they're just as moisturizing and comfortable to wear, and with a comparable shine factor. They're also surprisingly pigmented.

Cherries Jubilee applied sheerly (top) and full-on (bottom)
I have Cherries Jubilee, a red raspberry. When I want a daytime, subdued lip, I dab it onto my lips and press my lips together a few times for the perfect sheer wash of color. The balmy formula makes it easy to spread the pigment without ever needing to use fingers. When applied full-on, Cherries Jubilee achieves opaque coverage in two layers. This is my favorite way to wear it. It's definitely my kind of shade. The color is so easily buildable, making it fantastic for keeping in your handbag to transform a day look into night.


As with most bold lip shades in thin, balm formulations, Cherries Jubilee does have a tendency to bleed a little bit on me. To prevent this, I've been using a clear lip liner to line my lips beforehand, and that's been working really well (I'll talk about that one in another post). I prefer it over a matching colored lip liner, which can sometimes make the lips look too perfect and precise, taking away from the effortless appeal of colored balms.

I wouldn't say there's necessarily anything revolutionary about Laura Mercier's newest lipstick formula, but I have been enjoying wearing Cherries Jubilee, nonetheless, as I find the color really beautiful. The shade range, in general, has a lot of nice options to choose from.


8.02.2015

Satiating Makeup Cravings

I got rid of a lot of makeup this past week that had just been sitting around unloved. Some ended up in my blog sale, but most just got tossed out because it was so old or simply wasn't worth the hassle of selling. Considering how much it pained me to see so much money and product go to waste as a result of my overbuying and hoarding of makeup, I was surprised when I found myself, just days later, lusting after even more products.

That's one of the pitfalls of beauty blogging. You're constantly surrounded by videos and posts about new collections, formulations and shades that updating an ongoing beauty wishlist becomes second nature. When I sit back and actually think about it, I realize it's not normal or healthy. I know I have more makeup than I'll ever need or be able to use up, and yet, I always want more. Luckily, I've found something that's been helping to satiate my constant makeup cravings, even if just temporarily.

When I find myself lusting after a particular product, I first try to think of a product I already own that is similar, whether it's the shade, formulation, etc. Then, I force myself to put that product into my daily rotation (often times, I realize it's a product I either had forgotten I owned or hadn't used in a while). If, after using my own, similar product for a while, I find that I still want the new one I originally put on my wishlist, then I'll go back and reconsider. But, so far, I've found that shopping my own stash and using similar products I already own has been doing a great job of curbing some of my excessive beauty cravings.

Wishlist Item #1 :: Too Faced Born This Way Foundation
Similar Item :: several foundations in my collection
I've been hearing so many good things about the new Too Faced foundation, and it's difficult not to be pulled in by reviews raving about how seamless it looks on the skin. However, I had to remind myself that I already own quite a few foundations that I love, including Physicians Formula Nude Wear Touch of Glow Foundation, By Terry Cover Expert and Armani Luminous Silk. It's not that these are necessarily dupes for the Too Faced foundation, but using and appreciating them have made me realize I have no need for another foundation in my collection right now.

Wishlist Item #2 :: Stila Got Inked Cushion Eye Liner in Copper Ink
Similar Item :: L'Oreal Infallible Lacquer Liner in Bronze
For this one, it wasn't necessarily the interesting cushion concept of the Stila liner that I was after, but rather the gorgeous, shimmering copper shade. I envisioned creating the most beautiful winged liner with it. Luckily, I found a similar type of eyeliner shade in my stash, albeit not quite as dazzling or eye-catching, and in gel form, which is fine.

Wishlist Item #3 :: Stila Aqua Glow Watercolor Blush
Similar Item :: Josie Maran Coconut Watercolor Cheek Gelee in Poppy Paradise
I've swatched the new Stila blushes a few times in-store, and to be honest, they seemed a bit too sheer for my taste, but I think it was all the raves online that made me continue to lust after one. I rediscovered my Josie Maran blush, which has a different consistency in the pot but a similar sheer, watercolor effect on the skin, and I decided I'm content showing it some love for now, instead of adding another one to my stash.

Wishlist Item #4 :: Marc Jacobs Enamored Hi-Shine Lip Lacquer in Pretty Thing
Similar Item :: MAC Cremesheen Glass in Boy Bait
Marc Jacobs Pretty Thing almost became one of those spur-of-the-moment purchases when I was in Sephora a few weeks ago. I just felt like buying something, and Pretty Thing looked like a really pretty pinky-nude gloss. I was able to talk myself out of it at the last minute (I wish I'd do that more often), reminding myself I have other nude glosses in my collection already, including MAC Boy Bait. Seeing as how I'm coming to the end of my tube, I may be able to justify a nude gloss purchase once I'm out, but only once I'm out.

L to R: L'Oreal Bronze, Josie Maran Poppy Paradise and MAC Boy Bait

8.01.2015

Blog Sale

Happy Saturday! Just dropping in to say that I've just put up a blog sale in hopes of finding new homes for some great products I'd been hoarding in my stash. I did a makeup clear-out this past week, and although I do love a lot of the products I put in the sale, they're just not getting used and loved enough by me. Please stop by and score yourself a bargain!

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