The Versatile Ones - 1 Step Brushes

8:36 PM

I'm not a big brush gal. I much prefer my good-ol fingers and sponge, because those two easily washable tools can cover pretty much my entire face. However lately I've been warming up to brushes, although I still prefer ones that are extremely versatile for the lazy ass I am.

I have three (well, four - I forgot to photograph one) brushes to talk about. The first is the oh-so-famous Real Techniques Expert Face Brush. Everybody that uses this brush loves it. I honestly wasn't expecting to love this brush when I got it - it just seemed so damn small for my face. It's a tad bit bigger than the first joint of my thumb. This dense, stiff but extremely soft brush can do everything. It buffs cream products out to perfection, is fairly decent at applying and blending liquids, and also can be used to pack on powder. I use this brush for applying cream concealer and cream blush as well. Another great brush is the Ecotools Retractable Kabuki Brush. This travel friendly kabuki is actually the perfect size for applying powder products - not too big, not too small. Perfect for buffing in powder foundation or application of powder blushes. This brush is so soft that sometimes I just like to run my fingers through it. I'm not crazy, I promise. The e.l.f. Small Stipple Brush is another wonderful multitasking brush. This small stipple brush is really wonderful for light application of products. I recommend you pick up any kind of stipple brush because they give quite light and very natural looking finishes, whether it be for powder or cream products. The very last face tool I'm going to talk about is the famous egg-shaped sponge. I honestly cannot believe I forgot to photograph my sponge in with this bunch, but I do really love it. Mine was some random knock-off of the Beauty Blender, but Sonia Kashuk makes a great alternative to the BB. These sponges are good for everything, and they give the most amazing finish. Use a dabbing and bouncing motion with them and you are given a natural, blended out look but with the coverage of the product you applied with. They're great for cream and liquid products and should be washed daily. (I wash mine when I'm in the shower - I use the leftover face wash on my face scrubber pad)

I have three types of eye tools to talk about. These are the brands I recommend, but really these brushes are essentials for everyone, no matter from what brand. One brush you should invest in for sure is a fluffy brush. These brushes are designed for light eyeshadow application and seamless blending, but they can also be used to gently blend out concealer in delicate areas of the face like the undereyes or corners of the nose. Here I have the Ecotools Highlighting brush, which is a really wonderful little fluffy brush. Really nice to apply an overly pigmented shadow. Another brush must-have is an angled brush. Why are these good to have, you ask? They're quite good for filling in eyebrows and lashline action (gel liner application, lining the lower lashline, etc). Here I have the e.l.f. Angled Brush, which has like three annoying splayed hairs. I had another one but the head came off of the handle and then I lost it, haha. If you're gonna go for this brush, be weary because e.l.f. brushes are extremely hit and miss, no two seem to be the same. Lastly, you should have a spoolie for brushing through lashes and brows.

Thanks for reading! What are your most versatile brushes?

The Repurposers

10:13 PM

Do you ever get a product and it just sucks at what it's supposed to do? I usually don't like to toss products (I find it a big waste) so I always find a way to repurpose and reuse a product in a different way. These are products that were disappointing at what they're marketed to do, but good at other things. Read on!

Yes To Cucumbers Daily Calming Moisturizer SPF 30
I wanted to love this. So desperately. I ignored all the negative reviews when I bought it because it just seemed so good on paper! I mean, a good moisturizer with a gentle SPF meant for sensitive skin? An air-free packaging with a pump? Sounds really good in theory. The problem with this stuff is that it's super white. It leaves your face at least two shades lighter than usual. Now this wouldn't be a problem for those who apply foundation afterwards, but I'm not a fan of wearing foundation daily. I like to use this on my neck instead, especially on the back of the neck. You don't really think about applying sunscreen to the back of the neck, but it's really crucial! I have a family member who developed skin cancer on the back of her neck, and this woman is an avid sunscreen lover.

Sonia Kashuk Chic Luminosity Blush/Bronzer Duo in Glimmer
There's nothing formulated wrong with this at all - it's just that the bronzer is so metallic and warm that it can't be used on the face at all. The formula of this is baked, making it perfect for multitasking, so I can use it on my eyes. I make sure to apply a good primer beforehand to prevent creasing, but it's really pretty on the eyes.

Pixi Extra Eye Bright Liner
The concept of this is great, a brightening liner for the waterline. In my review  I was pretty partial about it, but I haven't really used on my waterline since then because the product is just too hard and application is really hard to make smooth. I actually find that this is a wonderful brow highlight - the lavander pink makes a really natural highlight shade.

Mario Badescu Ceramide Eye Gel
I got a sample of this back in December, and although I really love the texture of this product, it just takes forever and a half to sink in. Instead of waiting that long on my eyes, I like to apply this to my cuticles. Eye creams contain a lot of nutrients and good ingredients that your cuticles will love as well (so if you ever have an eye cream that you don't get on with and can't take it back use it on your cuticles).

Ecotools Angled Crease Brush
This brush is part of the Essential Eye Kit - and don't get me wrong, it's a great angled crease brush, just not good for me specifically. I have quite small lid space and very flat eyes, so I don't have much of a prominent crease to start with. Applying a color with this brush is enough to apply shadow all over my lid and plenty above as well. I actually really like to contour my nose with this bad boy; the shape makes it really simple to do and its short handle also lets me get close to the mirror, which is something that I find oddly important.

Thanks for reading! Do you have any repurposed products?

The Secret to Smooth-Ass Lips

6:07 PM

I have dry lips. My boyfriend has dry lips. My best friends has dry lips. One of my buds has eczema on his lips. I have shared these long hoarded secrets with them and they've all seen massive improvements. Today I'm gonna share them with you.

Drink up. Your lips are one of the first places to show and feel dehydration. Whenever your lips are starting to feel a little dry and chapped you should reach for your water bottle.

Don't over balm. Once every few hours is fine - don't reapply whenever the balm wears off; lip balm isn't always made to sit on your lips for hours and hours, it's designed to sink into your lips. Certain lip balms (medicated, menthol-y) contain addictives that keep you reaching for those tingly balms. Don't overuse them. Check out this article if you want to read more on lip balm addiction.

Exfoliate every now and then. There's an idea that lips naturally exfoliate every 28 days, but you don't want chapped lips for a month. I try to exfoliate them every other day, but usually it turns out to be twice a week. 

Oil-based balm, not wax. Wax balms are great for locking in moisture, not providing it. Balms like EOS or Burt's Bees should be applied after an oily balm to lock in that moisture. After all, what's that wax gonna keep in if there's nothing to keep in? Look for ingredients like shea butter, jojoba seed oil, honey, and glycerin. Petrolatum (aka petroleum jelly) is okay but you shouldn't rely entirely on it (meaning don't use Vaseline as a lip balm).

I've got a handful of products and things that are my favorite for dry lips. I know I've been tooting CO Bigelow's Rose Salve for some time now, but it hasn't even made the list because these are just so great.

Here I have a DIY lip scrub; I'll give you the recipe later, so read on for that. I also have two very wonderful lip balms, both from CO Bigelow. One is the Lemon Lip Balm - and I'm not sure if you know this about me but I f***ing love lemons - even the name is incredible. This sweet lemon lip balm melts into a more oily balm as soon as it's swiped onto the lips. It works to hydrate the lips and tastes amazing as well. The next balm is their aptly named My Favorite Night Balm, which is an "8 hour over night recovery." This thick balm applies scentfree, thickly, and smoothly. When I wake up in the morning I can still feel the balm on it; it's really good at repairing super dried and chapped lips.

So now onto the scrub. This is a really basic recipe; use equal parts of olive oil, coconut oil, honey, brown and white sugar (I have organic sugar which isn't white but no difference). Personally, I like my scrubs more solid than liquid, so I used more coconut oil than olive oil. Combine the ingredients in a jar or old lip balm pot, and there ya go!

Thanks for reading! Do you get chapped lips?

boots botanics

Boots Botanics Mineral Eye Color - Golden Brown | Review

5:44 PM

Hi guys! Today I have a review on a product that's been making cameos on my blog. I've actually had this product for months, but I just never talked about it.

What it is: an eyeshadow quad
Where: Target stores and online
Price: $7.99
BTW: This product was not tested on animals.

I love me some neutrals. Neutral colors are easier for me to work with on my flat eyes; they make application a lot easier, so I tend to gravitate towards neutrals over pops of colors. This little quad is always in stock at my Target, so even if you can't find it online there's a chance you can find it in-store.

Boots says that "this multi-shade eye color is smooth, long-lasting and crease resistant. With Chamomile, it helps soothe and care for the delicate skin around the eyes." There are four palettes available, and as you can tell from the intro, mine is in Golden Brown, one of the two more neutral palettes.

The packaging is very simple and compact; a snap shut palette holds four small pans of product. The packaging snaps shut soundly, so you have no worries about it popping open and making a mess everywhere. There's a pretty leaf pattern embedded into the shadows.

There are four shades in this palette, a shimmery warm brown, a sparkly gold, a shimmering peachy champagne color, and a dark matte brown. The only one of these that isn't well pigmented is shade 2, the gold - I think it's because there's too much shimmer in it. Otherwise, the shades are wonderful. They blend very well and are extremely versatile shades. Shade 1 and 3 are lovely one-step eyeshadow looks, just sweep them over the lid and you look amazing already. Shade 4, the matte, isn't the slightest bit chalky and blends well. These shadows last all day, but on their own they're not particularly crease resistant. I would definitely recommend a primer.

Thanks for reading! Do you have a favorite neutral eyeshadow quad? I'd love to know(:

Natural Looking Makeup

6:23 PM

I've not been feeling well these days. I've got a bad head cold and along with the fact that I feel and sound terrible, I look awful as well. My skin is dry and red, there are dry patches everywhere, and along with that my period's next week so I've been breaking out. I've been using these products often over the last couple weeks to make me look and feel better, but they don't make it look as if I'm wearing makeup - my favorite combo.

I've been using the Neutrogena Healthy Skin Enhancer. There's a review coming up on this tinted moisturizer but it cancels out discoloration and makes me look more alive then my current zombie face. Alongside that, I've been popping on the Sonia Kashuk Hidden Agenda Concealer Palette, a nifty little palette that contains the perfect combinations of concealers. One neutralizing shade around my nose, one darker concealer on top of the neutralizer and on scars and blemishes, one lighter concealer under my eyes, and a setting powder make my face look instantly more alive, awake, and not ill.

I love eyebrows and I would never leave my house without them, but sometimes I don't like looking like I have them filled in. The Pixi Natural Brow Duo truly gives a natural brow look - it gives your brows shape without looking like they've been drawn on. The neutral brow shade could work on so many hair colors - after all, it works with my soft black hair.

I'm not a big blush gal but I've been using it almost daily because it perks up my dull ass complexion. I really enjoy the Sonia Kashuk Creme Blush in Blossom because this natural shade makes me look more vibrant without looking like I'm wearing blush.

If you weren't aware, lashes are not an essential for me. I find that they just don't do much for me - it's my own fault, my eyelashes are stubby, short, and straight. However, I've been reaching for the Elizabeth Arden Ceramide Mascara lately purely because I adore the natural look and it makes me feel like an expert because I can pop it on quickly without making a mess. This mascara tends to smudge, but I've been really careful when using it. 

One final product - lip color. The Pixi Tinted Brilliant Balm in Unique Pink adjusts to the pH balance of your lips, creating your own unique lip color. This is lovely because it nourishes while giving you your very own shade of light, natural pink.

Thanks for reading! Do you have any go-to products for when you aren't feeling well?


NYX HD Photogenic Concealer | Review

8:25 PM

What it is: liquid concealer
Where: Ulta stores and online
Price: $5
BTW: NYX is cruelty free!

Before I'd ordered this I was considering it for a while. I don't generally buy face makeup online; I find swatches and descriptions unreliable because I'm still quite unsure what my undertone is and pictures can appear different on screens. So honestly, I took a bit of a wild guess and just hoped it would match. I've heard whispers that this is a little bit like the NARS Radiant Concealer.

NYX says that "this lightweight cover-up obscures imperfections, discoloration and under eye circles, without ever looking cakey or obvious. Little wonder the Concealer Wand is one of our best-sellers. The concentrated, emollient-rich formula goes on like a dream, and creates medium to heavy coverage." There are eleven shades available, including three correcting shades. I have mine in Meduim.

Packaging is pretty standard and nothing special; it comes in a doe-foot applicator. I don't like to apply this directly on my face, but rather I scrape some off on the back of my hand. I find this not only warms the product up but lets me control exactly how much I want and need, not to mention that it's much more hygenic.

So! Medium is described on the website as "medium beige with olive undertones." So far, warm, neutral and cool tones haven't worked seamlessly on me so I figured I'd give olive a go. But this undertone isn't exactly olive, it has a light to medium shade that has a peachy pink undertone. Not particularly unflattering, and nothing that somebody else would notice, but regardless I can see it and it irks me. I mean, it works but it just bothers me, you know? But let's talk about the formula. Spoiler alert: it's great. This creamy, lightweight concealer blends like a dream, leaving full coverage where applied. It doesn't look like concealer, more like skin. When properly set with a powder this lasts all day, but you have to be careful to let it set on its own first before applying a powder. This is great for blemishes and scars, but I wouldn't recommend it around the eyes or nose because it tends to settle into fine lines. Not exactly crease, but sink into the skin where there's space to sink in, if I'm making sense. But other than that, this is a great concealer for the face. 

These photos are a little blurry and out of focus but you can clearly see that it makes my chin scars look nonexistent!

So what's the final verdict? This is a really good concealer, but be wary around the eyes and make sure the shade matches you.

Thanks for reading! Have you tried this concealer?

How would you like to know what I smell like?

8:11 PM

I have three signature scents. I don't like to switch up my perfumes, so I really just stick to these three. The Body Shop's Dreams Unlimited is a great, fresh scent that yells spring and early summer. I find the scent of it really uplifting; it's zingy and citrus-y and just generally fresh. Now this next perfume is something I got for Christmas and I've been wearing this exclusively since then; The Face Shop's Soul Promise Ring is a nice scent that smells like jasmine tea. I think it's really relaxing and makes me think of sweaters and cuddles. This last perfume is True Religion's Love Hope Denim, a sugary sweet scent that is borderline sickly, but I really like it!

Those are my signature scents! What are your favorite perfumes?


Skincare Products That I've Been Using | #2

7:37 PM

It's been a few months since my last one of these, and I've cut down on quite a few products. In the morning, I wash my face with the Yes to Carrots Fragrance Free Daily Cream Facial Cleanser, which is really nourishing and hydrating. It's a great winter staple, but I think I might put it away simply because it's getting a bit warmer these days. 

After cleansing, I apply my moisturizers. My eye cream is the same as last time - the nice and lightweight Burt's Bees Sensitive Eye Cream. This eye cream contains cotton extract and is lightly moisturizing but doesn't aggravate my milia. The moisturizer I use in the morning is the H20+ Face Oasis Hydrating Treatment, which has such a nice, clean scent and awesome gel texture. 

At night, I remove my makeup. I've run out of the lovely Sephora makeup remover that was in my last installment of this, and I've been too lazy to go and get another one so lately I've been using coconut oil to remove my makeup. It eats through makeup and also conditions my lashes and dry patches. 

After that, I hop into the shower and wash my face then. I've been using the Eclos Facial Cleanser Skin Prep, which is a really nice foaming cleanser that gently cleanses the skin deeply and washes away makeup. This product is pH balanced and gentle, making it great for all skintypes.  I would really love this if it weren't for the weird-ass smell, which is almost gingery.

Of course, after that I tone with the Neutrogena Alcohol-Free Toner. I'm indifferent about this; it gets the job done and I like the scent, I suppose. I apply this with my fingers because I feel like I get more use of the product this way, plus it feels really nice.

The final step of this is to pop on my nighttime moisturizer, which is the Yes to Cucumbers Calming Night Cream. This spreads easily over the face and absorbs in quickly. It has a soothing scent of cucumbers and chamomile, which is perfect for nighttime.

I've cut out a spot treatment simply because I don't get spots very often anymore these days. I can tell there will be a reckoning on my face soon though. Twice a week I make my own scrub from this recipe, which uses green tea, honey, and rice flour.

Thanks for reading! What products do you use?


Sonia Kashuk Eye Couture Eye on Neutral Matte Palette | Review

6:28 PM

Hi, all! Today I've got a rewrite of an old review, specifically on my beloved SK Eye On Neutral Palette! The pictures are so crappy; lighting was super weird today. I tried to adjust it as best as I could but to no avail ): Read on to get a detailed, in-depth review with swatches!

What it is: a 12 color eyeshadow palette
Where: Target stores + online
Price: $20
BTW: SK does not test on animals!

Sonia Kashuk says that "the formulas have are extremely blendable with a velvety soft touch and superior color release." The shadows are paraben and fragrance free. This palette has three shades available; one is a 'limited edition' that I've seen around for at least seven months, one is this matte palette, and the other is the shimmery sister of this palette. 

Packaging is small, plain, and functional. It comes in a small snap shut palette with twelve smallish pans of totally matte shadow. The formulation of these shadows varies a lot from shadow to shadow. They swatch very pigmented but blend out sheerly, which I love (makes it hard for me to go overboard). Without a primer they last up fairly well, but do tend to crease a bit. Lasting power and crease resistance increases significantly with the use of one. This palette contains a wide variety of shades, from a peach to a black, making it perfect for travel. Read on for individual color and formula descriptions.

This picture is so damn blurry. I'm so sorry!
1: Nearly-white cream. Kicks up powder in the pan. Neither dry nor buttery.
2. Light beige. Perfect for a base color to even out eyelids. Dry formula.
3. Peachy light beige. Also good for base color for warmer tones. Dryish formula.

4. Yellow toned peach. Fantastic formulation; buttery and smooth.
5. Pink toned peach. Also very buttery and soft!
6. Light taupe. Great for a contour shade for warmer toned pale gales! Super smooth and buttery. 

7. Warmed toned medium brown; it's almost bricky. Dry formulation.
8. Neutral medium to dark brown. Really great brow color. Buttery and smooth formula!
9. Neutral dark brown. Also good for eyebrows. Buttery and soft.

10. Slightly warm toned taupe. Soft and buttery!
11. Appears gray on the pan and on the fingers, but when applied has a slight brown undertone. Hard and dry formula.
12. Black-ass black. Soft as a baby's butt!

Final verdict: really great budget palette. The formula differences and almost overblendibility might annoy some people, but I don't mind. This palette is a must have for matte lovers, and really great for traveling. I highly recommend!

Shades of Mauve

7:26 PM

I'm not a big fan of lipstick. I know, it's an atrocity. I just don't think many flatter my odd skin and undertone, but I do think that mauves look really good on me. The few lipsticks I have that I like are mauve toned, and I wanted to talk about them.

Clinique's Chubby Stick is a great, glossy lip color that can be slapped on without looking. Super Strawberry is a slightly berry-toned mauve that is a great natural lip color. It goes with everything and I just really like the crayon packaging of it.

Sonia Kashuk's Velevety Matte Lip Crayon have tonnes of natural colors, there's probably one for everyone! This color is like a brighter shade of my natural lip color. It wears really comfortably and is so pigmented. 

NYX's Soft Matte Lip Cream in San Paulo is the most vibrant of the bunch. It's so incredibly pigmented that I often like to tone it down by applying it with a finger dipped in a lip balm. This super matte lip color lasts really well on the lips, although it does tend to accentuate any dry flakes, if anybody is interested.

The Elizabeth Arden Exceptional Lipstick in Breathless is something I don't really mention that much, but is an everyday staple for me. This lightweight and creamy lipstick dries down to a semi-matte finish and the color is spot on - a perfect my lips but better!

Thanks for reading! What are your favorite lip colors?


Sonia Kashuk Eyeshadow Duo in Diamond Life | Review

8:44 PM

What's cookin', good lookin'? So today I wanted to get a review out for you. I've hit blogger's block and everything I write I hate, which is why lately I haven't been posting as frequently. But today I saw a Sonia Kashuk Spring Makeup commercial (so puuuumped) and it reminded me to finish writing this post, a review of one of her duos.

What it is: an eyeshadow duo
Where: Target stores
BTW: SK products are not tested on animals!

I probably should've photographed this before I used it... bad blogger whoops. Anyways, I've had my eye on these shadows for a while. I have another SK palette, and it's amazing so I thought I would invest in one of these. 

Sonia Kashuk says that these shadows "blend combinations together for beautifully contoured and captivating lids. Creaminess adherence and color pureness allows for a high impact buildable coverage that won't crease. " There are 8 shades available (I believe the spring lineup has some more shades coming out!) and I'm reviewing Diamond Life.

So the packaging is super basic, but as always, very nice. It's quite small (I totally forgot to put something down in comparison) but it's about the size of a small post-it. It has a magnetic closure, which is fairly strong so it won't fly open in your makeup bag.

As you can see, Diamond Life consists of a greigey taupe and a glittery warm toned silver. All the pictures make this duo to be a lot prettier than expected. Not to say that it's not lovely - it is - but I expected a champagne shimmer and a matte light brown instead of these colors. The formulation of the matte is incredible, very buttery and smooth. The glittery color isn't amazing; it's a little chunky and causes fallout. As you can see from the swatches, the glittery one isn't very pigmented either, I think because it's just so packed full of shimmer that the base color doesn't really have a chance to show through. The matte shade is pigmented, but it's not far off from my skintone so it appears a little washed out on me. As for lasting power? These are very nice, but I wouldn't call them great. They definitively do require a primer for creasing, but they last pretty well on their own.

Final verdict: nice eyeshadows, especially for the price point. I would recommend if you like one of the duo's colors!

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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!