Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Ulta Haul: Eyes, Foundation & Skincare

This past Saturday was a shopping day for me. Ulta had a great 20% off your entire purchase deal going and I really couldn't resist. There were a couple of items that I had to pick up, and if I'm honest, a couple of impulse buy or two.

I began the journey by picking up a bottle of L'Oreal True Match Lumi Foundation in (N7-8) Classic Tan/Cappuccino. I've heard so many great things about this foundation that I simply had to get a bottle of it for myself. I've been using it for the past few days and so far, I really like it. Dare I say, I think it might be a drugstore dupe for the Laura Mercier Smooth Finish Flawless Fluide Foundation, which is a current favorite.

I also made my way to the NYX display, which I find myself grabbing more and more products from the line because I'm always so stunned by the quality of the products at a bargain price! I ended up grabbing the NYX Liquid Crystal Liner in Crystal Gun Metal for my Halloween costume this Friday and a more long-term use product, the NYX Nude Matte Shadow in Dance With Tides, a beautiful brown however slightly orange-tinted nude that is a perfect transition shade on the lids. I've only been using this for a couple of days, but I already notice that it's in regular rotation during my morning makeup application and the pigmentation is surprisingly stellar for only $4.50!

A spur-of-the-moment purchase that I made was the Anastasia Beverly Hills DipBrow Pomade in Medium Brown. I've wanted to give this a try since I absolutely adore my Anastasia Brow Wiz and figure if I'm going to venture into another brow product, Anastasia is the brand to stick with. I've only dabbled with this product once and oh my goodness, is it pigmented?! A light touch of product is all you need, but I'm sure practice will make perfect when it comes to this item.

I rounded out my jaunt in the aisles of Ulta with a browsing in the skin care sections. I came away with an old standby that I haven't revisited in a while, Philosophy Purity One-Step Facial Cleanser. Also, I picked up a Juice Beauty Green Apple Blemish Clearing Peel, which is something that I've had my eye on for a while.  While my skin is not necessarily blemish-prone, the benefits highlighted are hydration, rejuvenation and evening of texture and I do have some problem areas where texture could improve. I'll report back when I've tested this for a while.

Lastly, you'll also notice that there's a sneaky Laura Gellar mascara that made its way into my bag of purchases. This was a sample that I received because the nice ladies at Ulta were feeling rather generous that day, but hey, I'm not complaining.

So far, so good with all of the purchases, but I'd love to know what's been on your personal beauty wish lists lately. Also, if you'd like to see a thorough review of any products I've mentioned in this haul, let me know!

Monday, October 27, 2014

True Autumn Nail Colors: Zoya Claire

Zoya Claire
Aside from leather jackets, knee high boots, and pumpkin flavored everything, deep and moody nail colors are my favorite way to get into the autumnal spirit. I've been on a quest to find new polishes to add to my fall nail color arsenal to collect beside old faithfuls like OPI's Lincoln Park After Dark.

My first acquisition is Zoya's Claire which is part of their Entice & Ignite Fall 2014 collection. As soon as I saw this polish in the store, I snatched it up and placed it in my shopping bag without hesitation. Claire is a true burgundy color that almost appears slightly brown.  I swear, I've never seen a color like it before because it's so pure and warm without a single hint of shimmer or sparkle. With this shade, what you see is what you get and I couldn't ask for more out of the polish. The finish is opaque, creamy and consistent. Application was super flawless, as I've come to expect from Zoya polishes, no streaks or blotchy pigments will be found here.

There were a couple of additional polishes in the new Entice & Ignite collection that caught my eye, but I only made one more purchase from the line, however, there will be more on that later. What do you think of Zoya's Claire?

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.