Best of Indie Reader's Choice Award Series - Voting Time!

After many hours spent compiling and cross-referencing responses, it's time to cast your votes in the Best of Indie Reader's Choice Award Series! I've set up a Google Form as usual and you can vote in as many or as few categories as you'd like. Voting ends in two weeks on January 12th and the winner (and top three) of each category will be announced soon after.

The nominees are listed in random order to ensure that no brand receives any ballot order effects. 

Companies: Feel free to "campaign" if you'd like to by linking to the blog post but no spamming please! There's no true "prize" for winning other than a badge (which I'm hoping will be done soon) and the knowledge that the indie community supports your company and your products! 



I've also linked to all the companies nominated below to show my support. If you found any brands you were intrigued by, feel free to check them out. I tried to do my best to include all brands but if your brand was nominated and not included in the list below, feel free to leave a comment. Some of the shops are closed for the holidays but will reopen in January (in time for you to shop!)

Disclaimer: I haven't shopped at all of the stores listed so do not take the fact that they're listed below as an endorsement. The companies listed were crowdsourced from the nominees. Some companies will be listed in multiple places due to selling beauty, bath and body, and/or perfume.


Indie Beauty Companies

A-England
AFK Cosmetics
Aromaleigh Cosmetics
Aromi Beauty
Baroque Cosmetics
Beauty Bar Baby
Blackbird Cosmetics
Blanche Neige Cosmetics
Chinovi Cosmetics
Cirque Colors
Contrary Polish
Corvus Cosmetics
Darling Girl Cosmetics
Dawn Eyes Cosmetics
Detrivore
Digital Nails
Dolly's Polish
Dreamworld Hermetica
Eccentric Cosmetics
Emerald and Ash 
Esoteric Aesthetic
Femme Fatale Cosmetics
Fierce Magenta
Fyrinnae Cosmetics
Geek Chic Cosmetics
Girly Bits Cosmetics
Glamour Doll Eyes
Glory Boon
Hare Polish
Hello Waffle Cosmetics
ILNP
Impulse Cosmetics
Innocent + Twisted Alchemy
Kae Q
KBShimmer
Kiss My Sass
Life's Entropy
Limnit Lipsticks
Liquid Sky Lacquer
Little Sparrow
Lucky 13 Lacquer
Lucy Minerals
Lunatick Cosmetic Labs
Meow Cosmetics
Morgana Cryptoria
My Beauty Addiction
My Pretty Zombie
Native War Paints
Nayll
Notoriously Morbid
Octopus Party
Parlo Cosmetics
Performance Colors
Portland Black Lipstick Company
Powder Perfect
Pretty Zombie Cosmetics
Pumpkin & Poppy
Rainbow Honey
Shiro Cosmetics
Silk Naturals
Spectrum Cosmetics
SweetPea and Fay
Ten Three Labs
The All Natural Face
Tilt/Shift Cosmetics
Victorian Disco Cosmetics
Violet Voss

Indie Bath and Body Companies


Indie Perfume Companies


Thanks for taking time to vote (if you did) and be sure to support some of the great indies that were nominated!

Best of Indie - Reader's Choice Awards Nomination Period

Hi everyone!

For the holiday season, I wanted to do a Reader's Choice Awards series specifically for indie brands. There are tons out there that focus on mainstream cosmetic brands but there really isn't one specifically for indie brands.

The way I have it set up is that you can nominate your favorite indie brands and indie products, with a focus on handcrafted products. This means that brands like OCC, Sugarpill, and Makeupgeek wouldn't be applicable since their products are not manufactured in house by the owner. That's not bad of course (especially on the scale that they operate), but I'm wanting to focus on the smaller, handcrafted brands.

The nomination period starts now until the 26th (or until nominations peter out). After the nomination period, I'll compile the results and let everyone vote on the brands and products for another two weeks. After everyone votes, I'll announce the top three winners for each category and will hopefully have it up by January 12th. By then, most indie shops will have returned from their winter hibernation and you'll all have new shops to purchase from!

All nominated brands will be included as long as they handcraft their products, I won't be including them if they utilize a lab to manufacture their products. For ease, I've generated a Google Form that you can use. Feel free to fill out as few or as many categories as you'd like. There's no real "prize" to the award but I do hope this gives many brands the opportunity to get the adoration that they so richly deserve! The focus is primarily on makeup brands but there are a few categories for handcrafted perfume and bath and body products.

If there's a category you'd like to see added during the nomination period, please leave me a comment and if enough people want to add it, I'll be sure to edit the Google Doc. I'm focusing on specific products and not colors at this point. The complete results will not be public as I don't want to hurt the feelings of brands who may not have received an expected number of votes. I will include all brands in the nomination period (again, excluding brands that utilize a lab).

Colourpop Lippie Stix in Flawless - Swatch and Review

I Purchased This

When I got my two Supershock Eyeshadows (swatches and review here), I also picked up a Lippie Stix in the shade Flawless. Flawless looked so beautiful as a red-violet and I was so intrigued considering it was only $5. It also looked hella slick and it's been so worth the $5.

colourpop flawless lippie stix product photo (1 of 3)

Where to Purchase: Colourpop
Price: $5.00 for 1.0 grams/ .0352 oz of lipstick
Do they test on animals?: The company does not.
Packaging: The lipstick comes in a white plastic twist up tube with a holographic label. The packaging is similar to what you might get with an eyeshadow pencil, it actually reminds me of the old MAC Shadesticks. The bullet has an angled tip. 

colourpop flawless lippie stix product photo (3 of 3)

Keep in mind that the price is proportional to the amount of product you get. It's about 1/3-1/2 the size of a regular lipstick so $5 is pretty reasonable. I also like the packaging since the bullet has an edge and is slim enough that you can apply it without needing to use a lip brush. It's very travel-friendly since it's got such a slim profile.

Flawless is described as a "deep red violet in a satin finish".

Click here to see my swatch and read how I feel about the formula!

Q-Tips Holiday Glam Look and Beauty Cleanup Tips

Sponsored

Today I've partnered with Q-Tips to share my Q-Tips Holiday Glam look and also tips for after you've done your beauty look. Creating a beauty look involves not only the creation but also the refinement at the end. If you need to sharpen up your look, Q-tips® Precision Tips™ and makeup remover are an economical way of cleaning up makeup messes without the need to use up a whole makeup wipe. You can also use q-tips to clean up your nails too so it's incredibly multi-purpose so you're covered from head to toe!
Q-tips Holiday Glam Look

Here are the ways I use q-tips to complete up my beauty look:

Eyes: Inner Corner Cleanup

I use a Q-tips Precision Tip to create a clean edge and to make sure my eyeshadow starts and ends exactly where I want it to. After I've applied the eyeshadow all over my eyelid and on my inner corner, I use the q-tip to clean up the shape and make sure it doesn't look messy. It also helps to clean up any eyeshadow fallout. Eye look complete!

Lips: Red Lipstick Cleanup

During the holiday season, everyone whips out the red and dark lip colors but these can be particularly unforgiving around the lip line. A lip brush can only do so much if you've got unsteady hands. After applying a red lipstick, I use some makeup remover or concealer around the edge to get a clean line. Red lip look complete!

Nails: Nail Polish Cleanup

Like red lipstick, red nail polish often comes out for the winter season. Reds can be unforgiving when the nail polish floods your cuticles or the sides of your nails. It's hard for me to cover my whole nail so I'm always cleaning up afterwards. I also did a nail look combining a gold foil nail polish with a red creme nail polish. I dabbed on some of the gold using a piece of plastic wrap to get a slightly marbled look.


q tips campaign 3 (1 of 2)

and here's my final look. Eyes, Lips, and Nails all put together for a party!


q tips campaign 3 (2 of 2)

I hope my look inspires you when you're gearing up to do your makeup for a holiday party or gathering! Neatness counts and the details really do matter. Feel free to visit Q-Tips' Instagram for lots of inspiration and Holiday Glam looks!

Disclosure: I was compensated by Q-tips to create this post. All opinions are my own. 

Black Friday/Cyber Monday Sales Wishlist, Picks, and Recommendations: Indie Beauty Version!

In light of the numerous Black Friday sales list, I wanted to personalize my list a bit by sharing not only my wishlist but also my sales picks and recommendations specifically for indie cosmetics. Not only are a few brands having a fabulous sale, many are also releasing a few new products too! My picks are shown below. If you're looking for a more comprehensive list, feel free to check out Phyrra's list and this list on reddit.

Darling Girl Cosmetics

Part One: Flash Sales on Saturday 11/29/14, they will be 15 - 30 minutes each and will be starting at 25% of which is the highest discount I’ve ever offered and tapering down to 10%. You will have to keep an eye on our Facebook page as this is where the announcements for the flash sales will be.

Part 2: Black Friday event will be a 20% sale on gift certificates, so if you buy one for $25 you will be issued one for $30 etc. on up to $100. The catch you won’t be able to use these until the shop opens up in January

My Picks: Santa's Sneaky Sleigh Liquid Stardust (their take on the LORAC Liquid Lustres), Kerfluffle Pucker Paint (their liquid to matte lip color)


Indigo Bananas

20% off sale starting 11/28 9AM EST through Monday 12/1 9pm PST. Code is PAINTITBLACK. Code not applicable for Limited Edition items.

My Pick: Putting on the Ritz Nail Polish

Life's Entropy Cosmetics

Starts 11/28/14 12:00AM EST to 12/1/14 11:59PM PST. Orders below $25 get 10% off. Orders above $25 get 20% off. New product releases include a brow pomade, their reformulated foundation elixir, and limited edition lipsticks.

My Picks: Light Brown or Medium Brown Brow Theory Pomade (whichever is ashier), Milky Way Lipstick (the color is supposed to be a dupe for MAC Soar and the formula is supposed to be a dupe for the NARS Audacious lipsticks


Limnit Lipsticks

Sale beginning Black Friday and running through Cyber Monday. Everything will be marked 20% off, and the first 100 orders will receive a free lipstick sample.

My Picks: I don't plan on picking anything up from the sale since I already have most of the colors but I can recommend Abracadabra, Castle in the Sky, and Olly Olly Oxen Free. (Swatches herehere)

Silk Naturals

Starting now-December 5th. Use code cyberweek14 for 5% off and through Dec. 1 you can get a special double-stack eye duo with a $20 purchase.

My Picks: Their Kisser Slickers and Eyeshadows

Sugarpill Cosmetics (affiliate link)

TBA but it's usually a % off your order!

My Picks: Any of their palette or loose eyeshadows. I particularly love Goldilux!


theBalm Cosmetics

50% off Cyber Monday Sale from December 1st-December 2nd.

My Picks: Any of their eyeshadow palettes and their Instain Blushes


Are there any particular sales you're interested in?

Disclaimer: The links marked as an affiliate link give me a commission based off your use of the link when you make a purchase. Feel free to use a nonaffiliate link!

    Sunny's Body Products Hand Care Product & Scent Review

    As I started growing my nails out for keeps this summer, I started to realize how important it is to maintain well-kept cuticles and moisturized hands overall. I've tried out a few different brands and was recommended to try out Sunny's Body Products (previously 365 Days of Polish) for its extensive scent options and multiple product lines.

    I purchased a sampler pack of five of their hand care products which included a full size cuticle oil, full size intensive cuticle therapy, a full size of the miracle cuticle balm, a mini of their hand scrub, and a mini of their hand butter (previously hand cream) for $17.00. It'd retail for $22.00 if you purchased them all separately. They also have a monthly subscription sampler box available too if you'd like to get a collection each month.
    sunny's body products main photo (1 of 1)

    I'll talk about all five products separately along with the corresponding scents.

    Colourpop Super Shock Shadows - Swatches and Review

    I Purchased This

    Today's post is on Colourpop's Super Shock Shadows, which have been getting tons of love from my fellow beauty bloggers due to the pigmented formula and unbelievable price tag (they're only $5.00 each!). I saw swatches of a few of them on Phyrra's blog (feel free to read here) and decided to pick up two colors in Get Lucky and Girly. They're also a local California company so I'm happy to support them (especially since it means I get my order faster!)

    These are touted as "long wearing cream eyeshadows with an elastic texture".

    colourpop super shock eyeshadows 2 (1 of 3)

    Click to read more!

    Essie Jiggle Hi, Jiggle Low Nail Polish - Swatch & Review

    Now that Halloween is over, I can start to get into the Christmas spirit. Today's nail polish is from Essie's Winter Collection and wins the prize for having a ridiculous name despite the actual prettiness of the color. It's described as a molten gold but to me it's a silver-gold foil with subtle bronze/gold flecks to break up the monotony. It's a color that will look more silver or more gold depending on the lighting. This was opaque in two coats and easy to apply. I thought it might be streaky due to the metallic finish but thankfully it's not.


    essie jiggle high jiggle low swatch4 (1 of 1)

    essie jiggle high jiggle low swatch3 (1 of 1)

    The rest of Essie's Winter Collection is forgettable so I'd just recommend picking up just this color.


    What's your current manicure color? 

    Sinful Colors Prosecco Nail Polish - Swatch & Review

    This Sinful Colors Nail Polish has been the talk of one of the nail polish groups I've in. I'm such a sucker for anything hyped up so I went searching for it. I finally found it for Rite Aid and it was only $1.99.

    Prosecco is a medium grey with a hint of brown/taupe (which reminds me of putty) with a beautiful gold glass fleck shimmer through out. It is a little thin so it took three coats to get opaque though I could have gone for four coats.

    sinful colors prosecco 8 (1 of 2)


    sinful colors prosecco 8 (2 of 2)

    Does it live up to the hype? For me it totally does. It might seem like a blah grey/brown with gold shimmer but there's something about the color that makes me think it's more expensive than it actually was. Sinful Colors often goes on sale so you may be able to catch it for only $.99. 

    If you find this color in stores, definitely pick it up!

    NCLA Nail Wraps Review + Two Week Wear Results

    Press Sample

    Nail wraps and nail stickers have been really popular lately due to the general ease of application and minimal fuss to get a beautiful nail design. I received a sample of the NCLA Nail Wraps from the House of Hollywood collection and the sample had 12 wraps with a nail file.

    These nail wraps aren't made of polish so you don't have to worry about them drying out in the packaging over time.


    ncla product photos (1 of 2)

    Where to Purchase: NCLA
    Price: $16.00-$18.00 for 26 nail stickers, enough for 2 applications according to the company.
    Do they test on animals?: The company does not.
    Packaging: The Nail Wraps come on a sheet incased in plastic. You peel off the nail stickers via the tabbed end. It was a bit fiddly to get the sticker off at first so I had to bend the paper to lift the tabbed edge so I could peel it off without ripping.


    ncla product photos (2 of 2)

    Application: 

    Prior to applying the nail wraps, you're supposed to apply a coat of clear nail polish, let it dry, then apply to the nail. I think your wear time will depend on the clear nail polish you use; I chose to apply a layer of Nailtek II Intensive Therapy which dries a little sticky. I think the stickiness really helped the nail wrap adhere.

    Overall, the hardest part was trying to figure out the right size. I went through three wraps before figuring out the correct size for my finger. The problem is that it's difficult to see the edge of the nail wrap so you're guessing as you peel it off. I did figure out that they do have wraps for even my most slender pinkie finger but I didn't want to go through the three wraps to figure it out.

    Removing the excess was easy; I made sure to pull the extra over my free edge and used the included nail file to file off the rest. It only took a few files for the excess to come off. However I did notice that some of my free edge was not fully covered by the wrap.

    Wear Time

    Here how my nails looked on Day 1, prior to putting a topcoat on the nail wrap. After I put the top coat on, I noticed some wrinkling at the top part of the nail (which you'll see in the after picture). 

    zoya dove notd 2

    Here's how my nails looked after two weeks. There's some obvious nail growth and wear at the free edge. Despite the wrinkling towards the cuticle, the sticker didn't keep peeling or lifting even through copious applications of cuticle oil.

    ncla wear test 2 weeks 3 (1 of 1)

    Removal:

    One of the big cons to the product is that since it's not made out of nail polish, you have to peel it off your nail to remove it which can damage the nail underneath. However, you can ease product removal by "melting down" the wrap with acetone. Once I rubbed a little acetone on the wrap, it softened and made it easy for me to remove with little to no damage to my nail.

    Conclusion:

    Although more expensive than most nail stickers/wraps on the market, $16 for two applications means each manicure costs about $8 and I was personally able to wear it for two weeks. However your mileage may vary of course and I've read of other people experiencing only a few days wear. 

    NCLA is unique because of the collaborations they do with different fashion houses and brands so you can get designs themed around them. I also got two compliments over the two weeks that I wore the nail wraps and I hardly ever get anyone to notice my nails. I think if there's a design you like that you can't replicate through typical nail art methods, the NCLA nail wraps are worth considering!

    Disclaimer: I received a sample of the NCLA Nail Wraps through attending an event. All opinions are my own. I was not paid or compensated to write this post.

    LORAC Mega Pro Palette Collaborative Giveaway

    If you've been following the news on the LORAC MegaPro Palette, you'll know that it went on sale then immediately sold out after two days on both LORAC's website and on Amazon. Amazon is supposedly receiving another order but who knows if anyone will actually get their hands on it. A few of my fellow beauty bloggers and I teamed up to give away one of the coveted palettes so be sure to enter for a chance to win.

    This ends on October 27th so get your entries in until then!
    lorac pro picture


    LORAC Mega Pro

    Charlotte Tilbury Colour Chameleon Eyeshadow Pencil in Amber Haze: Swatch and Review

    I Purchased This Affiliate Link

    Oh how I am such a stan for Charlotte Tilbury and her makeup line. When it launched months ago in the UK, I waited patiently for it to come to the US (since I was not going to pay exorbitant amounts in UK shipping). It's launched on Beautylish and after swatching the line, I bought the Colour Chameleon Eyeshadow Pencil in Amber Haze. Although the color selections are set up as Day/Night for different eye colors, I picked my selection based on the color that I liked the most.

    charlotte tilbury colour chameleon amber haze (1 of 2)

    More details, swatches, and the results of my 10-hour wear test will be available under the cut!

    Zoya Dove + NCLA House of Hollywood Accent Nail Wrap NOTD

    Gift Press Sample

    Today's Nails of the Day features Zoya Dove (aptly named because it's a dove grey) paired with an accent NCLA Nail Wrap from the House of Hollywood Collection. Maybe it's because my Zoya was a mini but I thought the formula was watery and sheerish, it took four coats to get to full opacity.

    The NCLA Nail Wrap was a bit of a pain to apply, mainly because it was difficult for me to figure out which size fit me best. Thankfully now I know that the wraps come in sizes small enough for my slender nails. Once applied and sealed with a top coat, I only noticed a slight wrinkle at my cuticle, and none at the free edge. It was also super easy to file off the excess. I'm going to continue wearing the nail wraps to see how long it'll last on my nails.

    zoya dove notd (1 of 1)

    I've been super busy with clinic, work, and school and it's definitely taken a toll on the blog but I'm glad that doing my nails is a nice way to relax. I hope you have a great Friday/Weekend! 

    Available Now: Sugarpill Cosmetics Sparkle Baby Palette/Singles

    Affiliate Links

    The long awaited Sugarpill Sparkle Baby Collection is finally available online! It's a collection of four eyeshadow colors: Kitten Parade, Candycrush, Frostine, and Hotsy Totsy. FYI, Hotsy Totsy is NOT vegan. Unfortunately Sugarpill has yet to come out with an entirely vegan palette so here's hoping that the next palette will be vegan!



    Screen Shot 2014-10-01 at 3.04.33 PM

    sugarpill sparkle baby

    Here are swatches of the colors along with a comparison. From left to right: Dollypop, Hotsy Totsy, Candycrush, Frostine, Paperdoll, and Kitten Parade. I also have a full length post on Kitten Parade if you'd like to read it.


    Sugarpill Sparkle Baby Palette


    Do you plan on getting anything from the collection?

    Disclaimer: The post contains affiliate links. This means that I get a commission based off your use of the link if you decide to make a purchase. Feel free to use a nonaffiliate link!

    Swatch and Review: Butter London The Full Monty

    Today I have a swatch and review post of Butter London's The Full Monty. The Full Monty is a beautiful light gold foil. I bought this and Champers during Ulta's 21 Days of Beauty promotion, where you could get two Butter London polishes for $15 (they're normally $15 each).

    I used three coats for the swatch. I could have gotten away with two coats if I was careful but I preferred how opaque it was at three coats. Normally I don't bother with polishes that are three coaters but I love the formula for this color because it dries very quickly (without a top coat), is never goopy, and levels well. I applied three coats and took a nap about an hour afterwards and didn't encounter any sheet marks.

    butter london the full monty 3 (1 of 2)

    I prefer purchasing my Butter London's on sale or with a gift card (and that happened to be both for me) so despite the $15, I adore my polishes.

    Do you own any Butter London polishes or is the price point a little much for you?

    Charlotte Tilbury Makeup Line: Event Preview with Swatches, Photos, and Thoughts

    On Sunday, I had the pleasure of taking a study break to drive down to Santa Monica to preview and swatch Charlotte Tilbury's makeup line thanks to Beautylish. I have been extremely excited for the launch of Charlotte Tilbury ever since it was released and have waited patiently for it to come to the US.

    charlotte tilbury photos

    In the post, I have included swatches of a few products, written my thoughts on some, and included a look using one of the Blushers and three of the Lip Products.

    Since the post is a long one, I've put everything behind a read more tag!

    August 2014 Rocksbox Photos and Thoughts

    I Purchased This

    Today I wanted to steer away from makeup for the day to talk about this subscription and rental service for jewelry, Rocksbox (referral link). For $19, you get three pieces of jewelry to wear and you can return them for another set as many times as you want during the month. You can also purchase the pieces you receive in your box for 20% off.

    I'm usually unadventurous with my jewelry so I appreciate the ability to try out jewelry and then return it when I'm done! I received a three month subscription so I'll be trying it out for three months and reassessing whether I will stay subscribed.

    Since I don't have my ears pierced and have very slender wrists, I opted to stick with rings and necklaces but wasn't sure how restricted the selection would be. Thankfully I got three stylish pieces that I'd actually wear!


    August 2014 Rocksbox (1 of 4)

    The first piece is a necklace from House of Harlow. It retails for $75 and Rocksbox members can purchase it for $60.

    August 2014 Rocksbox (3 of 4)

    The necklace in the picture is coming off more blue than it actually is, it's more robin's egg blue like in the first picture. I really liked the color of the necklace but I did find that the silver beads in between the blue pieces made it a little difficult for the necklace to lie flat against my skin.

    The second piece is a necklace from Urban Gem . It retails for $50 and Rocksbox members can get it for $40.

    August 2014 Rocksbox (4 of 4)

    The necklace is coming off super bright but the stones are more color accurate in the first picture. The stones in the picture are beveled and the different facets catch the light in a pretty way. I liked the chain of this necklace a lot better than the House of Harlow necklace.

    The last piece is a midi ring from Gordana, it retails for $25 and Rocksbox members can purchase it for $20. Midi rings are actually supposed to go on your knuckle but since I have slender fingers, they work perfectly as regular rings. The ring is a spiral gold and is delicately stylish!

    (The nail polish is Butter London Wallis) 

    August 2014 Rocksbox (2 of 4)

    I liked the contents for this first month's Rocksbox! I'll be reviewing the next two months' boxes and decide whether I'll subscribe.

    If you'd like to sign up, feel free to use my referral link to get a month of the box for free! (I get $25 in referral credit).


    Would you ever sign up for a jewelry subscription service like this?

    Disclaimer: I received a three month subscription courtesy of the brand. All opinions are my own, I wasn't paid for this review.

    New Layout, Upcoming School Year, and Blog Status

    Hi everyone!

    As you may have noticed if you visit the blog home page or from the picture, I got a new layout. I wanted a cleaner and minimal layout so I decided on this one. I'm really happy with the change and hopefully everything is working well. If there are any broken links or broken widgets, feel free to email me (by clicking the Contact Me/PR tab in the navigation bar) and I can fix them!
    Screen Shot 2014-08-20 at 2.42.12 PM

    I wanted to mention that I'm starting school again (year two of my three-year program! I'm 1/3 of the way to a Master's Degree!!). This Fall semester is going to be busy between working as a graduate assistant, taking two clinics, and taking two classes. I've got a lot of posts that I've been working on which I'll hopefully get up soon. After those posts run out, I don't want to say I'll be going on the h-word (h i a t u s) because every time I say it, I end up not sticking to it. So I'll say I'll get posts in when I can but I'll definitely not be sticking to a schedule. Feel free to follow me on Instagram and Twitter where I'll be more active.

    If you're going to be starting school soon too, I wish you luck for the upcoming semester!!

    Introduction to Life's Entropy: Eyeshadow Swatches and Review

    I Purchased This 

    I'm so excited to be posting about this new indie company, Life's Entropy. Life's Entropy was started by fellow blogger turned entrepreneur, Jane. Her blog is/was fantastic and her company is a great evolution of her blog (which is archived here). As part of a blogger set, I tried out one full size and six samples of their eyeshadows. The eyeshadows have a wonderful duochrome/shift to them and are incredibly beautiful on the eyes. I find these to be quite pigmented but as with all loose eyeshadows, I prefer wearing them with a primer. You can also wear these over a glitter fixative like Darling Girl's Glitter Glue or Fyrinnae's Pixie Epoxy for the strongest duo chrome effect. I also got a few other products (including a contour stick and lip tar facsimile) which I hope to review soon!


    life's entropy eyeshadows (1 of 1)

    Where to Purchase: Life's Entropy

    Price: $1.50 for 1/4 tsp sample, $6.00 for a full size containing 2.0 grams.
    Do they test on animals?: The company does not.
    Packaging: The samples come in a plastic ziploc bag and the full size eyeshadows come in a five gram jar (sifter optional) plus a paper box.

    As always, the eyeshadows were swatched dry over a primer (Too Faced Shadow Insurance) and the photos were taken in natural daylight.


    Lifes entropy haul and swatches part 1

    Astral Imprisonment: Shimmery dark green with a medium green shift. I am such a sucker for a green duochrome. This will be fantastic to use in a smokey eye.

    Dismember: Cool toned pinky beige with a red shift. On me, it was difficult to see the red shift, more of the satin beige came out instead. I'd recommend a glitter fixative for this shade.

    Exorcism: Medium purple with a green shift. This is a color combination that a lot of indies have already done but it doesn't mean that it's not beautiful. The base color is super pretty in combination with the green duochrome.

    Lifes entropy haul and swatches part 2

    Monkey Business: Shimmery medium golden brown with a strong gold shift.  The gold shift is really coming out in my photos. It's a nice eyeshadow, not my favorite but I do think it's a shade that can pull more or less brown depending on your skin tone.

    Owl Always Love You: Shimmer reddish silver grey with a strong silver-gold shift. Out of all the shades I got, this has to be my favorite. In the swatch I think you see more of the gold shift but there's also a tinge of pink that I see. This looks fantastic over a glitter adhesive.

    Shadow Walk: Shimmery reddish dark brown with gold shift and sparkle. In addition to the gold, I also see pink and green shimmers to the eyeshadow.  It may seem like a typical dark brown but it's not due to the intense amount of sparkle to it.

    Turtle-ly Wicked: Semi-shimmery medium olive green with a strong gold shift. In all honesty, I got this eyeshadow because I have a tortoise.  It is a really beautiful deep mossy green with a gold shift. The base green is a little satin/matte and the gold adds nice depth to the eyeshadow.

    Formula: 


    The eyeshadows have carnauba wax added to them which helps make it less powdery and easier to apply onto the lid. I found them all to be fairly pigmented without primer and the duochrome effect still shows through. If you'd like to get a stronger duochrome look, you can apply the eyeshadow over a glitter fixative.


    Conclusion:


    I'm pretty pleased with my eyeshadows from the brand. I like the duochrome nature of the eyeshadows plus it seems like they have a nice range of neutrals with some bright colors. They do offer samples so it can be very economical to try the brand out. Turtle-ly Wicked, Shadow Walk, and Owl Always Love You were my three favorites from the set.


    Are there any colors from this set or from the brand that catches your eye?

    Disclaimer: I purchased these eyeshadows myself with a blogger discount. All opinions are my own. I was not compensated for this review.

    Question of the Week #10: Liquid, Gel, or Pencil Eyeliner?

    This week's Question of the Week is all about eyeliner! Which eyeliner type do you prefer: liquid, gel, or pencil? 

    question of the week 10
    Photos courtesy of Sephora.com

    Although all three types have their merits, my hooded eyelids prefer liquid eyeliners. Gel and pencil eyeliners are usually wax-based which sadly can transfer onto my eyelid unless I'm careful and use eyeshadow primer and eyeshadow. Liquid eyeliners on the other hand are fab and can last throughout the whole day for me with minimal fussing.

    How about you? Which type of eyeliner do you prefer?

    July 2014 Beauty Favorites

    I Purchased This Affiliate/Referral Link

    Another month has gone by and I'm that much closer to starting school again (summer has passed by so quickly!). This month's beauty favorites have been focusing on the basics, my eyebrows, skin, and my lashes with a bit in for my nails. I've been teetering away from bright colors as the summer wanes away and want to focus on getting a clean polished look. 
    july 2014 favorites

    Benefit Porefessional (Affiliate)

    With the summer season, my oily skin has been doing a number on my pores. I've been using the Porefessional recently to act as a primer over foundation and to obscure the acne scarring and pores. If you have any enlarged pores on your skin, you definitely need to check this out. I prefer this under foundation because it somehow breaks down whatever foundation I have underneath.

    Butter London The Old Bill

    The Old Bill is a classic copper nail polish with a hint of bronze to it. The shade really differs depending on the lighting. Combining this with the CND Vinylux Top Coat means I can get a week's worth of wear without chipping.

    NYX Eyebrow Gel in Blonde and Brunette. 

    I purchased Brunette first (review here) and then decided to pick up Blonde later to mix in with Brunette. I like mixing half and half of both shades to get a lighter ashy brown. It's a bit high maintenance but I love the look and wear that the eyebrow gel gives me.

    Koko Lashes in Koko

    I discovered Koko Lashes from a facebook group catering to makeup artists and makeup enthusiasts. Someone mentioned that Koko Lashes were/are very similar to the lashes by House of Lashes and when I went to PHAMExpo, I encountered them at LadyMoss. I got a few different pairs but my favorite pair is the Koko style (which I swear is similar or the same style as the House of Lashes Pixie Luxe) and best thing was that these only retail for $5.99.

    Paula's Choice 2% BHA Gel (affiliate link)


    Again with the oily skin troubles. I was previously using an AHA product to deal with some post-acne pigmentation but the summer exacerbated my acne so I decided to transition over to a BHA gel. I had heard such great reviews for the Paula's Choice BHA Gel plus it's the right pH (always vital when looking for skincare) and my skin has been positively glowing. 


    These were all my favorites for July, what were some products that you loved during the month?

    Disclaimer: The Paula's Choice link is a referral link that gives you $10 off your order and $10 for me if you decide to use it. The Benefit link is an affiliate link that gives me commission based off your use of the link. Feel free to use a nonreferral link!

    DHC Deep Cleansing Oil Review

    Press Sample Affiliate Link

    The One Oil to Rule Them All, that's probably the best way to describe the DHC Deep Cleansing Oil. A little dramatic (and perhaps Tolkien would not appreciate my appropriation of one of his most famous lines), but this Cleansing Oil is extremely popular and well-loved for a good reason and count me in as one of the fans.

    I mentioned this cleansing oil ages ago in my June Favorites and decided to give extra time to review it and give my thoughts. I've been wearing makeup more often now (before this, extra sleep was more of a priority during the school year) and so I've had to take more effort to make sure it's removed. This does the job easily and without any extra effort.



    dhc cleansing oil
    Where to Purchase: DHCcare.com (affiliate)
    Price: $28.00 for 6.7 oz
    Do they test on animals?: The company does not.
    Packaging: The cleansing oil comes in a plastic bottle with a pump.

    Formula:


    This is perfect for removing makeup and cleansing my skin without stripping or overdrying it. It rinses off cleanly and I personally don't feel the need to follow up with another cleanser. I also appreciate that I can use this to remove eye makeup without worrying about foggy vision and stinging eyes. Previously, I was a user of the Kose Softymo Cleansing Oil and while I would use it to remove eye makeup, I had to be careful lest it get into my eyes and I'd have to wait a few seconds for my vision to clear. If you've ever tried using straight up olive oil to remove your makeup and got it into your eyes, you'll know what I mean. 


    I have no such problems with the DHC Deep Cleansing Oil because of the combo of olive oil and its emulsifiers (the ingredients used to mix the water and oil together for easier rinsing off) that helps prevent it. One pump (sometimes just a half), and it's enough to clean my face.


    If you're not familiar with cleansing oils, here's how you use it: Start with a dry face and apply the cleansing oil straight onto your dry skin. Rub to break up and makeup on your face and wet your hands. Slowly massage your wet hands onto your face until the oil starts emulsifying with the water turning white. Then proceed to rinse off the white mixture.


    Conclusion:


    Since using it, I've noticed that my skin doesn't feel stripped or overdried, it doesn't make my skin more oily, and it hasn't caused me to break out. I feel like it's been helping my skin remain free of acne! Skincare can be a fickle thing but if you're looking for a cleansing oil, you can't do wrong with the DHC Deep Cleansing Oil. I'm already planning on getting another bottle once this one runs out (which it won't for a while!). It is a little expensive but completely worth it in my opinion!



    When it comes to cleansers, have you ever tried a cleansing oil? If so, do you have a favorite?

    Disclaimer: I received this product for consideration by the company. All opinions are my own and I am not being paid for this review. The link marked with an affiliate link gives me a commission based off your use of the link, feel free to use a nonaffiliate link!


    Hakuhodo G5526 Eye Shadow Brush Review/Comparison to MAC 226

    I Purchased This 

    For two years now (ever since I first saw them at The Makeup Show LA 2012), I've been hemming and hawing over Hakuhodo brushes. They are the creme de la creme of makeup brushes but each time I went to a show, I would end up chickening out. Well this year at PHAMExpo, I made a decision and got myself one Hakuhodo brush, the G5526BkSL.

    The G5526BkSL is part of the G series, which contain brushes that are usually a mix of black blue-squirrel and goat hair (which is why it's denoted with BkSL) though the G5526BkS has horse hair bristles. The G5526BkSL was only $20.00 and in the grand scheme of brushes, it's actually not as expensive as you might think.

    I was in between the G5526BkSL and the J242G (which looks similar to the MAC 239), but decided on the G5526BkSL because I couldn't pass up on a brush that looked so close to my beloved MAC 226. While I adore the shape of the MAC 226, it's just not as soft as MAC brushes usually are and I wanted the Hakuhodo version without the scratchiness. I do own both brushes so I'll review the G5526 first then compare it to the MAC 226.

    The handle is black and sleek but unfortunately the name or number isn't embossed on the brush, just the brand's name.

    The G5526's shape is unique because it's the result of crossing a pencil brush and a fluffy blending brush. The top of the bristles comes to a soft point which allows you to apply eyeshadow in the crease with precision or use the edges to widely blend out a crease color. I prefer using the tip of the brush for drawing out the beginning of a cut crease and using the sides of the brush to blend out the edges. I've also been able to use the sides of the brush to pack on eyeshadow onto my lid.


    hakuhodo eye brush (1 of 1)

    Here's a comparison to the original MAC 226. I say original because the rereleases of the brush have never quite lived up to the first release. The G5526BkSL has a similar shape but the MAC 226 comes to a sharper point and has a less rounded shape overall but the MAC bristles are much more scratchy. The Hakuhodo brush on the other hand is extremely soft, the bristles feel luxurious on my eyes and it makes for such a wonderful application.


    hakuhodo brushes (4 of 4)

    In summation, I'm extremely pleased with the brush. The brand and the brush live up to the hype in my opinion. I've been able to use the brush in my crease and to apply eyeshadow on my eyelid. It's been brilliant for the smokey eyes I've been preferring lately and can be a great pick for anyone seeking the dual purposes of the precision of a pencil brush and the blendability of a fluffy brush.

    Do you own any Hakuhodo brushes or any similar brushes? Do you think you might invest in one?

    Disclaimer: I purchased this brush myself. All opinions are my own. I'm not being compensated for this post.

    Question of the Week #9: Foundation Brush, Sponge, or Other?

    I Purchased This Affiliate Link

    This week's Question of the Week is on foundation application. Do you use a brush, a sponge, or something else like your fingers? Feel free to share in the comments!

    question of the week #9

    For me, I'm on the Beauty Blender bandwagon. I know $20 is a lot to spend on a sponge but dang I've really been enjoying applying foundation with it. I have applied liquids and creams both while the sponge is damp or dry and like both methods so far. It's a big investment for sure but it is worth a try. I would suggest you get the black pro sponge though, the pink stains like no other!


    Monochromatic Monday Series: Grey/Brown FOTD

    When I was rifling through my weird lipstick stash (comprised of many jars and tubes of unconventional and unique lipstick colors), I felt inspired to try to do a new series (the operative word being try) where I will create a makeup look around a single color for eyes, lips, and nails. I want to use this to encourage the comfort level of people who own weird colors like this but may be reluctant to show them off. I have a lot of Limnit Lipsticks in weird colors so I'll be using a lot of them in this series and I'll also be including lip colors from other brands (including OCC Lip Tars). I'll be posting on Monday's but not every Monday (to avoid being monotonous!)

    The first in the series is around the Limnit Lipsticks Lipstick in Goodness Graycious, which is a mixture of a clay brown with a deep grey. The eyeshadow paired with it is the Bare Escentuals 5 in 1 BB Cream in Divine Wine that despite the name, isn't a wine color. It's more of a pottery clay grey/brown that also pairs well with the nail polish which is China Glaze Channelesque. 


    Grey/brown lipstick might not be for everyone, but it's just as unconventional as purple lipstick and that's been on trend lately.


    monochromatic monday 1 (1 of 1)

    Thanks for reading! I hope I'll be on track to continue this series!