Sonia Kashuk Brightening Powder | Review

11:51 AM

Happy Tuesday! I realize it's only the second day but I feel like this week is crawling by. Sigh. Today I'm writing a review on a product I got a few weeks ago and have been using regularly ever since.

What it is: a powder
Where: Target stores and the website
Price: $10.39
BTW: Sonia Kashuk is cruelty free!

All I ever talk about is how much I love SK products. I'm aware how annoying it is, sorry ): But my oh my these products are amazing. Packaging, formulation, and price point are always spot on. I've heard that this is a great dupe for the Laura Mercier Secret Brightening Powder. I don't have any proof on this, it's just some information I heard on the blogosphere.

Sonia Kashuk says to "apply this super sheer, silky powder over concealer or as a highlighter to brighten skin for a radiant and refreshed look. The velvety, creamy texture contains properties that moisturize and protect skin against light induced damages. Recommended for all skin types and contains Orchid extract that softens and moisturizes with antiseptic properties." It's only available in the one shade.

The packaging of this product is pretty basic. It comes in a clear screw off container. A sifter keeps most of the product out. Nobody seems to like the packaging for loose powders because they're just kind of messy; personally I don't mind, but I would like to see the old packaging. SK is currently repackaging all their products, and before this product was in this simple container apparently it was in a compact with a mirror and locking mechanism. The powder came with a puff, which I tossed because I don't like applying powders with a puff.

In the jar, this product is totally stark white - a bit shocking, but it sheers to near translucency, leaving a more lightened applied area. You don't look lighter where you put the powder, more just... brighter. This powder is very finely milled; it doesn't settle into fine lines or accentuate any texture flaws. It's got a liiiiiiittle bit of shimmer in the powder. The shimmer particles aren't quite noticeable, but they do produce a very brightening effect on the skin. (I had a lot of trouble capturing the shimmer, sorry!) In combination with the almost-translucency color, the shimmer produces a really nice, healthy glow. SK recommends to apply this as a setting powder over concealer. I don't like using this around the nose because one, it highlights my nose which I am not a fan of, and two, it doesn't really help prevent creasing. I do really like this under the eyes an on the cheekbones because it really lifts the face and makes you look healthy and awake.

If you look at the cap, you can see the shimmer!

The verdict? I think this is a nice powder and good highlighter. It's not for everyone because of the shimmer, but if you're a fan of brightening products I would def check this out.

Thanks for reading! What are your favorite powders? Please let me know, I'm not a big powder fan but I'm looking to expand my boundaries.


Almay Softies | Review

6:49 PM

Hi, everyone! I hope your day's going well. Today was much colder than our pretty mild weekend and I've been shivering all day, despite the fact that before four days ago it was the same weather. Anyways, I'm back with a review today and a relatively new release, the Almay Shadow Softies. Read on!

What it is: Individual eyeshadows
Where: drugstores
Price:: around $4.50
Anything else: Almay has an unclear animal testing policy. The company itself doesn't test on animals, but is owned by Revlon, which does test on animals - however, Almay does third party testing, meaning their products are sold in China (which requires animal testing). However, recently Almay has pulled their products out of China for financial reasons.

These eyeshadows were recently released and I was drawn in by the cute packaging and fun colors. Almay says that "these light as air, whipped powder shadows glide on for a sheer wash of crease-free color with a cushiony soft feel. in 12 shades, 6 mattes and 6 metallics. hypoallergenic, ophthalmologist tested." Today I'll be reviewing Creme Brulee and Smoke.

Packaging is simple and cute - each shade comes in an individual snap-shut Q-shaped packaging. They snap shut securely, so no fear that they'll open and smear around. Personally I don't mind that they're individual; they're very slim and small but I can see why some people could be annoyed by it.

I wanted to talk about the formulation of these shadows. Almay says they're "whipped powder", leaving me to wonder are they powder? Are they cream? Are they mousse? To be perfectly honest, they're just buttery. They're very smooth and soft. A lot of people are saying they have give; if you push down hard enough your finger will make a dent. I think you're pushing down way too hard for your own good. As you can see from the swatches, these are very sheer. They're intentionally sheer, but seriously, why so sheer and barely visible? Any why are they part of the color intense line? These shadows are best applied with fingers. Brushes just can't pick up enough pigment for some reason. 

Creme Brulee is beautiful in the pan. I appears to be a shimmery gold champange with small glitter. I was really looking forward to this shade, but there's no color, basically just a goldish sheen with shimmer and glitter. I was really disappointed by this.

Smoke is slightly better. Smoke is a gray-toned dark brown. It's a matte shadow with specks of shimmer throughout the pan, if you know what I mean. When applied it looks like a dull, slightly shimmery gray. This is pretty applied on the lower lashline because it's so subtle with the use of brush.

These shadows have pretty disappointing wear time. The color fades and creases really quickly, making them kind of useless. My eyelids, while oily, aren't a big oily mess that eat up shadow, but man these shadows were gone in a couple hours. 

Overall? Sorely disappointed. I really wanted to like these, but they're just not very impressive. Do not pick up!


Mini Haul! Some more retail therapy~

2:40 PM

I don't know why I keep shopping, I really don't. I don't even need more stuff. But anyways, I dropped some cash shopping today and I really like reading haul posts, so I figured I'd post some of my stuff! 

I've had my eye on this dry shampoo for a while now, the Dove Refresh+Care Dry Shampoo. It smells very very nice and is colorless! I also got some eyeshadows, the new Almay Softies in Smoke and Creme Brulee, and a Sonia Kashuk Eyeshadow Duo in 20 Diamond Life. I've picked up a NYX Eyeshadow Base in the nude skintone, the Burt's Bees Hydrating Lip Balm, and two Real Techniques Shader brushes.

I also got two pairs of shoes, which I'll be blogging about later this week!

Eye Brights

3:50 PM

Hi there! Today I wanted to write a post about brightening eye products. I suffer from chronic hereditary dark circles and eyes that tend to look sleepy all the time, so I really like using products that make me look awake!

I like using brightening concealers versus the super high coverage ones because I think they look more natural. They just bounce back light and brighten areas more than conceal the dark, you know? I really like the Garnier Skin Renew Anti-Dark Circle Eye Roller concealer, which never creases or looks overconcealed. After concealer, I like to use a brightening powder, the powder of choice being the Sonia Kashuk Brightening Powder, a finely milled powder with very subtle shimmer that brings a lot of light and focus to the orbital bone or wherever applied. I use it under my eyes and on my cheekbones to brighten up the area even more. I also really love using champagne colors on the ball and inner corner of my eyes, my favorite being the browbone color of the Wet n' Wild palette in Walking on Eggshells. Lastly, I pop on a light eyeliner on my lower waterline to brighten them up some more. White is a little too stark, and taupe doesn't do much for my skin tone (it's like the same color haha) so I love the Pixi Extra Eye Bright Liner.

Thanks for reading!


Pixi Lash Line Ink | Review

2:53 PM

Good morning, afternoon, or evening! Question, when do you read your blogs? I read them morning and night. I find it a really relaxing way to start and end the day. Anyways, today I've got a review on a product I got really recently, the Pixi Lash Line Ink.

What it is: liquid eyeliner
Where: Target and online
Price: $14
FYI: Pixi products are not tested on animals

Ever since Emma mentioned this liner, I've been itching to have it. I'm really sick of my usual liquid liner, so I figured I'd pick this up. Pixi is an expensive 'drugstore' brand that generally is overpriced, but good quality products.

Anyways, Pixi claims that this "deep black ink liner applies flawlessly, featuring a waterproof, non-feathering, quick-drying formula. Flexible precision tip makes it easy to apply directly into lash line for extra definition - perfect for a natural look or full-on cat eye." It's formulated without parabens, sulfates and phthalates and is dermatologically approved. It's only available in one shade, Black Silk.

The packaging, as always, is basic but nice. A felt-tip eyeliner in pen form. Pixi products have a minty blue-green packaging, and this pen has it too. The part where your hand holds the pen is slightly hourglass shaped and matte, so you have a good grip on it. The only problem I have with the packaging is that the cap doesn't lock on particularly snugly, so I'm afraid it'll dry out soon. In the meantime, I'm keeping it stored with the pen pointed down to keep the ink near the nub.

As you can see, the nub is very long and comes to a very thin and fine point. It's really easy to create super thin or thicker lines, as shown below. The point makes it great for flicking out the liner for a sexy cat eye or winged liner. 

Look how black it is! Incredible. The nub dispenses product evenly and at a good amount. It dries down super fast, so you could line your eyes and be out the door without worrying about the liner smudging all over your lids. It doesn't smudge or flake off, or go gray at the end. This pen, while advertised as waterproof, isn't quite waterproof on the eyes (on the hands it is... this swatch was still on my hand after two days) - but it is super long lasting. Overall, great formulation!

I highly recommend! I realize it's kind of pricy, but it's really really great.

Manicure Of The Week

2:45 PM

Pardon the polish on my skin... lilac is Sally Hansen's I Lilac You and the mint blue is Essie's Mint Candy Apple. Matte topcoat is Sally Hansen's Big Matte Top Coat.


Smokey Eye Made Easy

2:05 PM

I made a tutorial! As you can tell by the title, it's a smokey eye made easy! I find that smokey eye tutorials are always way too complex, so I thought I'd show you how I do them. It's hella easy.

Step 1: Prime the lids! This step is optional actually, depending on the oilyness of the eyes. I used NYX's HD Eyeshadow Primer

Step 2: Apply the base color. Apply it all over your lid, and try to keep it under the crease, but it doesn't matter if it goes a tad above. I used a brown eyeliner (Pixi Endless Silky Eye Pencil) but you can use whatever you have laying around, whether it be a cream shadow or an eyeliner like me.

Step 3: Smudge out the base color. I use my finger to spread out the shade. You don't have to very neat or perfect about this.

Step 4: Apply a corresponding shade. I used a brown shimmery eyeshadow and an angled crease brush, focusing most of the color near my lash line.

Step 5: Add liner or mascara if you want!

Annnnd then you're done! Easy as 1-2-3. I'm not very happy with the quality of the photographs, but this is my first try and I have many more to come.

out with the old

Out With The Old #3

4:09 PM

Hi guys! I'm back today for another OWTO post. There are only a few products in here today, but I really wanted to talk about an... experience I had.

Kenra Boosting Spray Foam
This is basically a spray (not quite hairspray, but it does hold your style) that volumizes hair. I thought this was a great idea because I have thin, flat hair, and truthfully it did volumize to an extent but oh man the smell. It was so strong. It smelled like apples and lemons, but imagine them shoved up your nose and seeping into your brain. I had to turn on the bathroom fan and air it out just to get rid of the way too strong scent all three times I used this. I just had to toss it. I will not be repurchasing. Especially not for the $17 I got it at at the salon.

Pssssst! Dry Shampoo
A lot of people like this dry shampoo, and rightfully so! It absorbs oil pretty well and hair a light, neutral scent. The only problem I have with this is that it leaves a tad bit of white cast, but otherwise it was great. Really affordable as well! Will not be repurchasing but only because of the white cast.

Garnier Fructis
Since this ran out I've seen a big difference in my hair... it misses this oil. I really liked this! It smelled great, was really good for smoothing and hydrating. I would repurchase, but Garnier is a company that tests on animals, so I won't.

Sephora Triple Action Cleansing Water
I'm still really conflicted about this product. Cleansing waters aren't popular here in the States. This was the first one I ever tried, and I kind of liked it. It left a bit of a stick residue on my skin, but it took off makeup well and I really liked how convenient it was. I might repurchase - we'll see if I find another cleansing water first.

Neutrogena Oil-Free Acne Wash
This is a big favorite among a lot of people, but it just didn't do anything for me. It's not quite empty, but this bottle is really old and only gathering dust so I figured I'd toss it. It's not good at taking off makeup, doesn't foam up at all, smells weird, and honestly I found no difference in my acne. Will not repurchase.

Petal Fresh face mask??
I literally can't find a clue of this existing. I guess the brand has shut down, which makes sense since I bought it in Taiwan (although it's apparently an American brand). Anyways, this was a peel off mask - applies like a gel, peels off. Very cool, but also very high alcohol content. I don't want to be keeping that on my face. Would and can't repurchase.

Yes To Grapefruits Dark Spot Correcting Body Creme
I liked this body butter for the formula, not for dark spot correction. For that latter, it was just kind of useless. However, I did really like the formula. It smelled nice but the scent didn't linger (I prefer that), absorbed in very quickly, and also hydrated pretty well. Really great morning lotion. I may or may not repurchase - when I get rid of my dark spots I def will.

Only one of these products here is empty actually, the rest I just don't use anymore. 

Mineral Essence Foundation in M3
I bought this online, and judging by the only picture and description I thought I'd at least be able to pull this off in the summer. Wrong. This shade was so much darker than my skin tone, and way too orange to be used as a contour as well. Although the powder was finely milled, there was a lot of shimmer in this and I don't think I'll repurchase.

No7 Exquisite Curl Mascara
This tube was actually a repurchase. Although this is a nice mascara that provides a lot of natural looking volume and curl, I don't think I'll repurchase. It's just not enough volume and curl for me. I do recommend for those with more full lashes however, as it never flakes and rarely smudges.

No7 Beautiful Eyebrow Pencil
I originally really liked this pencil... but upon stumbling onto my favorite pencil, I realized that this isn't very good. The overly-waxy and hard pencil didn't last very long at all, and was hard to brush out. Would not repurchase.

Tokidoki Lip Gloss
This brand used to be available at Sephora, but they've stopped stocking them for quite some time now, actually. This gloss had zero pigmentation, despite the tube looking so bright and fun. It was super shiny and smelled good, and I have nothing wrong with the product, it's just old and I never ever used it.

NYX HD Eye Primer
If you'll remember, this was in my haul from last week. That's right, I'm already tossing it. I dropped it this morning and the top snapped right off! This includes the twisty part where the wand goes. Not only did the packaging have a major flaw, I wasn't particularly impressed with this. It made the shadow last a lot longer, but didn't help with creasing at all. If anything, it made my lids even more oily and never seemed to really dry or set.

What the actual fuck? How does that happen?

That's all for today! Thanks for reading~


Sonia Kashuk Velvety Matte Crayon | Review

7:11 PM

Hiiiiii. How're you today? I've got a review on a relatively new (to me) product, but I really wanted to get my thoughts out. Read on!

What it is: a lip crayon
Where: Target stores
Price: $7.59
FYI: SK products are not tested on animals!

I've had my peepers on these guys for ages. It's literally been on my makeup shopping list for six months. I just never really got around to getting any. I totally would'be bought more - but I was running out of time. Damn! I've heard that this line is an exact dupe of the Nars Velvet Matte Lip Pencils. Keep in mind that I don't have anything to prove that theory but they seem like a budget friendly option for the $25 Nars pencils. 

Sonia Kashuk says the "Creamy texture ensures an easy glide on application that will not feel dry on the lips and instantly coats with rich pigmented color. Each of the six mattes shades offer extra long wear to keep your smile looking gorgeous! Contains fig aroma." Out of the six shades, I have Blossomy Nude

Packaging, although simple, is quite nice (like all SK products!). A matte lip crayon that needs to be sharpened. The shade of the pencil is on the bottom. The only problem I have with it is that you lose a lot of product in the process, and because the pencil is jumbo sized you might have problems finding a sharpener. The tip of mine had actually fallen off in the cap and I had to sharpen it completely... what a nightmare.

Blossomy nude is a dark mauve pink. It's a "my lips but better shade". I tend to gravitate toward those because my comfort zone is very tight-knit. Anyways, the formula for this is incredible! Super pigmented, creamy color that glides on without tugging the lips. It wears comfortably and doesn't dry out the lips at all, despite being a pretty matte finish. There's a sliiiiight sheen, but something only you'd notice if you were inspecting the lips. The color lasts a good five hours or so. It does tend to go a bit patchy at the end, so be careful. The color doesn't collect in the corners of the mouth or settle into the creases. 

Highly recommend! Go get yourself some. I'm def going to own the entire range by the time I return from my next Target run.


Clinique Chubby Stick | Review

5:15 PM

These lip balm crayons have taken the beauty world by storm. Seems that every brand has about a million out these days, but I thought I'd take it old school and get one of the original crayons, the infamous Clinique Chubby Stick.

What it is: a tinted lip balm
Where it is: Department stores, online, and Sephora
Price: $17
FYI: Clinique products are tested on animals.

There are a lot of different opinions about this product. Some people love them, some hate them. Clinique claims that this "Super-nourishing balm is loaded with mango and shea butters. Just what dry, delicate lips need to feel comfortably soft and smooth. Sixteen natural-looking lip tints in all, each with a subtle sheen." There are sixteen shades available, I have mine in Super Strawberry.

The packaging is really basic, but pretty nice. A twist up crayon with a corresponding color. This is pretty much the standard packaging. 

Super Strawberry is a dark, slightly berry pink. It's almost the exact color of my lips, making it a great "my lips but better" shade for me. Strangely enough, it's not minty or tingly like the other lip crayons. It has a bit of a synthetic smell, but only if you put the bullet to your nose and whiff deeply. The formula for this is really nice. It's fairly sheer, but intentionally so. It's pretty glossy, giving you slightly hydration - or at least doesn't dry out the lips. It wears really comfortably. It's not one of those lip products where you can feel it on your lips, you know what I mean? Out of this particular shade I get around three hours before I need to reapply, but the color doesn't look patchy or gather at the corners of my mouth like some other products.

All in all, this crayon is nice - it really is - but not worth $17. 

Beauty Tools

5:06 PM

When someone says "beauty tools" the first thing that ever pops into mind are makeup brushes, even though I know the term goes far beyond some brushes. Today I thought I'd show you my small but trusty arsenal of beauty tools. I probably should've waited a few more weeks to do this post (I've got some coming in the mail right now) but I'm really excited to make this post.

Tweezers | Spring Hair Remover | Face Cleansing Pad | Cotton Swabs | Eyelash Curlers | Spoolie

Hair removal. One of the worst things ever, but a necessity for me. I have two things in this category; tweezers and this little spring thing. Tweezers are important, I think for everyone. Not just for beauty... You can also use the pointed ones to dig things out of small spaces (please don't ask... let's just say I go through that a lot). I have a pair of slanted ones here. Everyone says to go for the Tweezerman ones, which I don't have because they're expensive and I have these, but I do hear great things about the Tweezerman ones. Another hair removal item that I find myself reaching for is this spring hair remover. Basically, you roll it up your skin and it plucks the peach fuzz or girlstache out. It's painful, but satisfying and quick. 

These facial pads are so underappreciated. These days everyone's going for Clarisonics and fancy devices but I'm all for these little guys. It's basically a bunch of little silicone feelers/arms/whatever you wanna call them. You squeeze cleanser onto it and then massage your face. It's gentle and helps to really deep cleanse the skin. These are affordable, convenient, and easy to use. I highly recommend for everyone.

Cotton swabs. Remember that creepy girl from Zoey 101 that loved them? I think her name was Stacy. This was an American kids show, if it doesn't make any sense to you and I just seem crazy. Anyways, cotton swabs have a million uses. Apply a spot treatment, clean up eyeliner, smudge out eyeliner, remove makeup, etc. I can't live without them and always have a pack of like 700 lying around.

Eyelash curlers are something that many people think are torture devices. It's really hard to find the pair, but there's one out there for everyone. I'm still on the hunt myself, actually. But anyways, they're necessary for the mascara lover because they really open up the eyes and make mascara look a thousand times better.

Pictured I don't actually have a spoolie, but a brow brush/lash comb duo. I don't really have a preference between the two. Spoolies (or these brush comb duos) are great because you can do a lot with them. Brush out eyebrows, unclump mascara, or even wipe away eyeshadow fallout. They're available everywhere and with every brush set and just an essential to have. 

Let's Talk Photography | Shutter Speed

4:56 PM

Hi, everyone! Today I wanted to write a quick photography post about shutter speed, and what a big difference it can make in photos.

What is shutter speed? Basically, it's the amount of time that the camera's shutter is open for. It can go from half an hour to 1/10000 of a second, which is obviously, a very big difference. Shutter speed is a very flexible thing; a lot depends on the environment and lighting.

As you can see, the different segments in the pictures vary very much in terms of brightness, vibrancy, and colors. One second is significantly brighter than a hundredth of a second.

In terms of product photography, with natural lighting and a steady hand/tripod, the best shutter speed is around 1/10. It's usually better for beginners to let the camera autoadjust the shutter speed, but if the picture appears too bright or contrast too high, a quick turn of the wheel gets you a better picture.


Retail Therapy - A Haul

1:30 PM

I've been feeling a little down from all the test taking I've had to do over the past week, so naturally I cheered myself up with some beauty products. I popped into the drugstore and got my greedy little paws on a few things that I thought I'd share with you. First, I picked up a new cleanser, because I'm almost out of my current one. Yes To Carrots has a new fragrance free line out, so I thought I would try out this new Daily Cream Facial Cleanser. I also picked up a few eye bits and bobs, including the NYX HD Eyeshadow Base, the Pixi Natural Brow Duo (am sorely disappointed by this), the No7 Lash Adapt Mascara, and the Pixi Lash Line Ink. I also got a few Sonia Kashuk products (as always), the Velvety Matte Lip Crayon in Blossomy Nude, and the Brightening Powder. I also snatched up a matte top coat, the Sally Hansen Big Matte Top Coat.

Thanks for reading! Have you bought anything lately?


January Favorites/Recently Loving #6

1:21 PM

Hi, everyone! Happy Lunar New Year, if you celebrate! I've been enjoying all the red envelopes. It's been a while since I did a favorites post, so I thought I'd show you what I've been enjoying lately. I'm still not quite sure if I'm going to do monthly favorites versus recently loving posts... I might just do a mixture of both. Anyways, read on to see what I've been loving!

Sonia Kashuk Tinted Moisturizer
I've been really enjoying this product because it cancels out redness and mild discoloration. It's nice and light and I really like the packaging.

NYX HD Photogenic Concealer
This product is very lovely! It offers medium-to-full coverage, is long lasting when set with powder, and also blends easily into the skin. The only qualm I have with this is that some of the shades have a very pink undertone. This shade (medium) is one of those, but I can surprisingly pull it off. Anyways, this product's paraben free, not tested on animals, and really overall great.

Wet n' Wild Walking On Eggshells palette - the Crease shade
This light, shimmery brown color is a perfect everyday shade! It's so pretty and very easy and quick to just pop on the eyelids. Everybody raves about the formulation of these shadows, so I don't think I need to talk about how buttery and soft they are.

Physician's Formuala Eye Booster 1-in-1 Eyelash Boosting Eyeliner
This is an oldie but a goodie. The calligraphy style applicator gives you a good application process; you can either apply a thick or thin line. This liner is jet-black and doesn't bleed, run, or smudge.

Real Techniques Expert Face Brush
Honestly I wasn't expecting to love this from how small the brush is, but I've really fallen in love with it! The small brush allow me to get into the hard to reach areas of my face, like around my nose or under my eyes. It's super soft, dries quickly, and buffs everything out like a dream!

Ecotools Highlighting Brush from the Essential Eyes Collection
This brush is designed to be a highlighting brush, but I use it as a fluffy brush as it's so fluffy and soft and blends beautifully.

I put up a post dedicated to talking about this jacket. I love it. It's super cute and versatile. It matches my style of clothing, covers my butt so I can wear longer shirts, looks really nice on my short frame, etc. The hood actually stays on really well over my head - a little weird, but hey, I love it.

Other stuff!
Website that sells stickers, posters, sweatshirts, and tshirts! These stickers are made by people and printed by Redbubble, which is great because you can find almost any kind of sticker. There are a lot of fandom ones. Fast, good customer service, good quality stickers, and even give you a 50% discount on orders of five or more stickers!

I adore this app. This is an app that you use when you're feeling stuck in life (hence the name). It helps you get out of your moment and I really like it. This sounds like something a psychiatrist would tell you to get, but I love it. The design99 of the app is also really lovely.

Animal Planet's Too Cute
This is literally a show about cute animals. I'm dying. There are episodes on Netflix, but there are also segments on Youtube. I'm pretty sure I watched them all in one sitting, the show is just so damn cute.

Arrested Development

Maroon 5 "How" and "Don't Know Nothing"
Queen "Bohemian Rhapsody"
O.A.R. "Shattered"
Coldplay "A Rush Of Blood To The Head"

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Hi there, I'm Emily. It's nice to meet you. I'm a beauty blogger who also happens to be very interested in photography/film. Chat with me, let's be friends!