Friday, October 24, 2014

Review: Laura Mercier Smooth Finish Flawless Fluide

Laura Mercier Smooth Finish Flawless Fluide
It's been a while since I've talked about foundations here, so I thought that I should share my numero uno, go-to foundation at the moment. If you've taken a good look at the photo above, no surprise here that it is the Laura Mercier Smooth Finish Flawless Fluide.

This foundation has been out for a few months now and I picked it up mid-summer while in search of a lightweight, no-fuss foundation. I found just that in the Smooth Finish Flawless fluide. The foundation is an oil-free water-based foundation that provides a medium coverage flawless appearance to the skin while blurring subtle imperfections. There's 24 diverse shades to choose from within the line, so no fear for those with unique skin tones, you'll definitely find your match here. I, for one, wear the color Praline and have no complains about the matchup.

Application of the foundation can be a bit tricky, but not for the reasons you might think. It's all about the preparation of the product before it even touches your skin. First, you have to vigorously shake the bottle for a good ten seconds to ensure that the product is completely combined. The packaging gives you a heads up that shaking is necessary because separation is normal for this bi-phased formula. Next, I like to place the product vertically and carefully remove the cap to avoid leakage because it's such a thin formula.
Laura Mercier Smooth Finish Flawless Fluide Review

I use one of two methods to actually apply the foundation:

All Hands: I briefly spoke about this in my brush-free makeup post. The Laura Mercier Smooth Finish Flawless Fluide is ideal for this type of application and even recommended! Just drop two pea-sized amounts of product on your two middle fingers, press your clean middle fingers together with them, then place dots of the product around your face. After that, just massage it in.

Brush On: When I'm in the mood to fuss with a brush, I use a synthetic hair, medium bristle length foundation brush. Using a synthetic hair brush allows for the product to get to your skin rather than soaking into the bristles. Simply place a nickel-sized amount on the back of your hand and lightly dab the brush into the product and swiftly move the product around on the skin.

Both methods have merit, it honestly depends on what I feel like doing that day. Regardless of the application method, the final look of my foundation is always pristine, flawless and consistent. My only gripe about the product is the packaging, however, I feel like that's an easy hurdle to jump over to enjoy such an incredible, lightweight and quality foundation.

If you'd like to take the Laura Mercier Smooth Finish Flawless Fluide for a spin, you can find it at Sephora for $48. Have you tried the Laura Mercier Smooth Finish Flawless Fluide foundation yet? What do you think of the product?

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Red Lips For Every Budget

My name is Amanda, and I'm a lipstick junkie. You may not know this about me, as I'm relatively new to the world of blogging, but I have a soft spot for lipsticks. There's rarely a time that I venture into Sephora and don't come away some type of lip product in my bag of purchases whether the new acquisition is intended  or not. That being said, I wanted to share with you a few favorites, specifically of the "red lip" variety that fit any budget.

There's so much that can be said about a red lip. Many call the look the little black dress of makeup, which I completely agree with, however, many times you'll hear makeup lovers pairing the term "red lip" with attributes like classic, timeless, and vintage and that can scare some women away from venturing into experimenting with the look and also perceiving the red lip as something that you have to shell out high-dollars to attain. I'm here to tell you that this is untrue! While there are great high-dollar red lip products available, it's not a necessity.

As a bona fide lip product fanatic, I've dabbled in my fair share of red lip products coming from drugstores and luxury department store brands. Each lip product, regardless of cost, has a right to hold a place in your makeup bag as your timeless red lip.
red lips for every budget
Following descriptions are counter-clockwise from the top

Revlon Super Lustrous Lipstick, Wine With Everything ($4.99): a quality lipstick that provides gorgeous consistent coverage to the lips while maintaining a creamy and moisturizing finish for a bargain of a price!

Revlon Colorburst, Fire ($6.50): an impeccably pigmented gloss that delivers true as advertised color to the lips and a full-definition pout. If you're going for a long-wear look, I suggest lining the lips with a pencil to help with definition and placement.

Stila Stay All-Day Liquid Lipstick, Beso ($22.00): a long-lasting matte liquid lipstick that dries to a provide a pleasant, barely-there feeling on the lips and doesn't transfer. If you're looking for a bold and true red color, this is going to be your new favorite!

Tom Ford Beauty Lip Color, Scarlet Rouge ($50.00): a lipstick packed with the crème de la crème of ingredients to give your lips the pure and seamless color payoff that you'd expect from a luxury lip item. The top tier elements come together to administer impressive moisturizing benefits that will keep your pout looking supple throughout the day.

Red lips for every budget is not a myth and I hope that you're able to try out a few of my favorites, but I'd love to know, what are some of your red lip recommendations?

Monday, October 20, 2014

Beauty Collection Clear-Out Tips & Makeup Organization

make up organization
From time to time, I like to sift through my makeup collection and toss the items that I don't find myself using anymore or products that have gone out of date. As we transition into autumn, this seemed to be as good a time as any to take care of this beauty task.

My method for approaching a beauty collection clear-out is to:

  • Judge: pick each item up one-by-one and decide how you feel about the product. Ask yourself, does this contribute to my collection? Do I like this product? Does this item mesh well with my skin?
  • Evaluate: the next step is simple. Assess the condition the product. Also, is there a usable amount of product left to justify keeping it?
  • Decide: in the last step, determine if you will keep the product or toss it. A good rule of thumb that I tell myself is "if you haven't used it in the past 9 months, you're probably not going to use it in the next 9 months."
After going through this process for each product, I'm left with a well-organized and easy to visualize makeup collection like this...

makeup organization ideas
Here, I've taken a plastic storage box that easily fits into my makeup storage drawer and placed my foundations, blushers, finishing powders and miscellaneous bulky items inside. I've also laid my coveted eyeshadow palettes in the space off to the side of the storage box so they are easily accessible. 
makeup organization idea
Lastly, I've repurposed used candle containers, cleaned them out and made them into new storage for smaller eyeshadows, mascaras, eyeliners/primers and makeup brushes. The candle containers above are from Bath & Body Works and Target.

What tips and tricks do you have for makeup collection clearouts and organization? Let me know in the comments below.

Friday, October 17, 2014

Review: Boscia Konjac Cleansing Sponge

konjac sponge review

A couple of months ago, I came away from a jaunt in Sephora with the Boscia Konjac Cleansing Sponge. I read an article on Refinery29 earlier in the day detailing the miracles that this nifty little sponge from Japan could do for dull skin, and at the time, my skin was misbehaving with dry texture and uneven tone.

Out of the package, the konjac sponge was stiff to the touch, but became a pliable, soft cushion upon the application of water. The sponge is supposed to be hung to air dry after each use and will be rid of residual dirt or bacteria in the process. I used the sponge diligently every morning and night, but was slightly disappointed when I didn't notice any significant exfoliation of dry patches on my skin from the sponge, nor did I see a radiant or vibrant quality in my skin during the time that I used it.

Unfortunately, I'm chalking the konjac sponge up to be mostly hype. However, lucky for me, I've found the perfect addition to my skincare routine that has delivered the tangible results that I desire.

Have you tried a konjac cleansing sponge? I'd love to hear about your experience.

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

GLOSSYBOX: My Beauty Subscription Box Of Choice

glossybox beauty box

Beauty subscription boxes have been a part of my beauty compilation for years now. I remember hearing about the phenomenon on YouTube and thinking, "I have to get in on that!" I started out with Birchbox, which served its purpose, sending me different items to sample each month, but I found myself wanting more. In my opinion, Birchbox would simply send me different items, they didn't really seem to be items that pertained to my beauty profile, weren't very compelling products and I'd find myself disappointed with the sample sizes, so I went in search of an alternative and quickly landed with GLOSSYBOX.

GLOSSYBOX, while more expensive than Birchbox, has given me everything that I've wanted in a beauty sampling service. I receive a diverse sampling of items in substantial quantity that pertain to my specific skin needs, problem areas, hair type, etc. Also, the products that I've been sent have been bit more luxurious (understatement) than what I was used to previously, which is good news for the product junkie in me but bad news for my wallet.

Nevertheless, it's been quite refreshing and I have to admit, I always get a little giddy each month when I unwrap my latest shipment. I figured since I enjoy the contents so much, why keep it a secret? I'm going to start reviewing the products I received in my monthly boxes here on the blog so that we can all enjoy the fresh products excitement together!

I've just concluded my first six month subscription and am charging ahead into the next, but just to kick off this series, I'd like to revisit my six favorite products for my first six months as a Glossy-member!

glossybox reviews

Skin Inc. Custom Blended Serum: Serums are usually such a mystery to me, but Skin Inc.'s innovative custom blended serum allows you to create a serum specifically for your skin type, environment, stress levels, basically anything and everything that can have an effect on your delicate skin.

Bellápierre Cosmetics Vanilla Pink Super Gloss: this lip gloss is made with natural ingredients and boasts a smooth consistency that is completely absent of stickiness while providing a nourishing quality to your lips. It also smells faintly sweet and adds the slightest bit of plumping without the tingle.

Sisley Paris Black Rose Cream Mask: This could quite possibly be my favorite sample from Glossy thus far. The benefits of this 15-minute mask seem endless! It brightens, plumps and nourishes your skin in one application. I can't explain how soft and supple my skin feels after using this mask. The only downside is that it's rather pricey, so I'm sparingly using the last few bits of my sample before I have to make the decision to purchase!

Malin+Goetz Mojito Lip Balm: I prefer to wear this lip balm during the day after using a good lip scrub. The Mojito Lip Balm lends incredible moisture and what I can only describe as high-definition gloss. I've never encountered a gloss like this before and I love it!

GLAMGLOW® Youthmud® TingleExfoliate Treatment: Okay, truth time. I'd actually tried this product before receiving it in my July box, but was completely ecstatic to have more of this fantastic product. Many people refer to this mask as a "facial in a jar" and for good reason. If you're looking for gentle exfoliation and deep pore cleansing, you'll want to pick up a jar of this, stat.

Obsessive Compulsive Cosmetics 'Black Dahlia' Lip Tar: OCC is a brand that I've heard a lot about, but have yet to try, so finding it tucked away in my September box was nearly heart-stopping (I think I squealed). I was even more pleased when I tried the product. All you need is the tiniest speck of product and you are immediately left with a evenly pigmented, pure bold lip. Better yet, the amount of this sample that I received is enormous! As much as I love it, I seriously doubt I'll be able to make my way through an entire sample.

Those are my favorites, thus far in my six month journey with GLOSSYBOX. I'm looking forward to the next six months of goodies and I hope that you are, too! Watch this space for monthly box updates and let me know what incredible products you've discovered through monthly beauty box subscriptions.

Until next time - XO

Note: This post is NOT sponsored by GLOSSYBOX. All opinions are my own.

Monday, October 13, 2014

All Hands On Deck Makeup Method

I have to be straight with you. I covet the portion of my day where I get to grab a cup of tea, blast an energetic playlist, stand in front of my mirror, wrestle with my hair and apply my makeup. It's my daily ritual for getting ready to face the world and I love it. However, there are some days when I just don't have the privilege of taking my time and I have to dash out of the door pretty fast. In those cases, rather than skipping my primping all together, I expedite the process by opting for a no-brushes make-up look.
no brushes makeup method
hands only makeup application

A no-brushes makeup look is exactly that, no brushes (with the exception of those included with certain products...I'm looking at you mascaras!). Instead of using and dirtying those makeup brushes, simply opt to use your hands. This is a fun way to change up your makeup application if you are pressed for time, don't like shelling out tons of money for makeup brushes or you just want to get back to basics. The key to making this process work for you is:

  1. Use clean hands - we don't want any breakouts!
  2. Keep it simple - don't try to do too much. My philosophy for a beautiful no-brushes makeup look is "less is more."
Simple as that. I decided to use a few easily accessible products out of my stash. My base consists of the Laura Mercier Smooth Finish Flawless Fluid in Praline, a lightweight medium coverage foundation that leaves your skin with a silky satin finish. You can apply this foundation with a brush or just with your hands and the final product is always seamless. Next, I applied a bit of NARS Radiant Creamy Concealer under my eyes and blended it in to provide a bit of brightness. I also grabbed Maybelline's Master Glaze Blush Stick in Make A Mauve for a sultry pop of color on the cheeks. 
no brushes makeup

My eyes were simple enough. I shaped my brows, as usual, with my Anastasia Brow Wiz.  Then, I followed up with Revlon's ColorStay Smoky Shadow Stick in 201 Torch. After, dabbing, blending, building and more blending, I lined my eyes with the Benefit's They're Real Push-Up Liner for slight definition before finishing up with my lash-lengthening obsession, L'Oreal's Voluminous Butterfly mascara in Midnight Black.

To conclude, I applied a bold lip, Aveda's Lipstick in Tanzanite. It's rich, buildable and tastes like blackberries...I really can't get enough of it!

There's something quite theraputic about getting out of your routine and trying something different. I hope that you give this method a try and let me know what are your favorite products to use in your brush-free makeup looks.

Until next time - XO

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

Nude Nail Polish For Darker Skin Tones

As summer comes to a close and we enter into the autumn months, my search for the perfect nude nail polish for my skin tone has become my primary beauty focus. I absolutely adore nude polish everytime I see it on other people, but have failed to find the perfect hue for my skin tone, until now...
nude nail polish for darker skin tones
It is no secret that I am infatuated with Sephora's Formula X nail polish line. I feel like I rave about it at least once a week to a friend, coworker or here on TCC. The line is coming dangerously close to acquiring the "holy grail" beauty item label. So unsurprisingly, I've discovered my neutral nail color within the line.
So what is this rave worthy polish? Formula X - Invincible, an opaque-application, long-lasting, clean nude with pink undertones. I felt drawn to this color for a couple of reasons, one being that it's not a nude in the sense that it completely matches my skin tone because I, personally, don't enjoy that style. And two,  the color is so fresh and versatile and perfect for autumn months when you want something simple on your nails, but can't go for a stark white shade like in the summer. 

This polish is a new favorite of mine because it also tricks the eye into elongating your fingers to make them appear slimmer, longer and more dainty. This was beneficial to me as I feel that I have quite short and stubby fingers! 
neutral nail polish for darker skin tones
In autumn, I habitually stick with deep, moody and romantic color tones, but now that I've found my perfect neutral nail color, I foresee some diversity for my nails this coming season. If you'd like to check Formula X - Invincible out for yourself, you can find it at Sephora.