PHAMExpo 2014 Recap, Haul, and Thoughts

Before I get to my recap of PHAMExpo, I wanted to share this photo I took with Sam and Nic of Pixiwoo. They happened to have a booth there but weren't selling any product. Instead, Sam and Nic had meet and greets throughout the day and it was such an amazing experience. Sam and Nic hugged every single person that met them and were so kind about asking everyone's name, how they were enjoying the show, etc. In contrast to overly produced and hyped up meet and greets (whose goal is to sell you their brushes *cough cough Sigma), it was extremely casual and low-key and made it so enjoyable. They're just as nice in person as they are in video and it's so wonderful to know that people you idolize or appreciate are worth your appreciation.

phamexpo pixiwoo and batalash (2 of 2)

I also wanted a share a photo I took with Samantha of BataLash. She was also very nice and just as beautiful in person.

phamexpo pixiwoo and batalash (1 of 2)

I took a lot of pictures so to condense it down, I put everything into a Picasa album embedded into the post. I have a picture of my haul, and also a few thoughts on the show as a whole and the future direction I'd like for it to go (which you can read after scrolling through the album).

My Haul:

phamexpo recap photos (30 of 30)
This year, I was able to save up and spend a little money on things I've been wanting for ages. I bought five pairs of Koko Lashes, mainly because the styles are so similar or dead-on to House of Lashes eyelashes that I swear they use the same manufacturer.

Next, I got two eyeshadows from Makeup Geek in Beaches and Cream and Vanilla Bean. I wanted to dip my toes into the brand and have been needing some skintone neutrals so I thought these mattes looked the best.

I also got my first Hakuhodo brush. I'll talk more about this in a separate review I've got planned but I can already say that this brush has inspired me to do experiment and play with my eye makeup again. I also got the brush cleaner because I feel paranoid about keeping the brush in good condition.

From L.A. Girl Cosmetics, I got two Pro Conceal concealers and their Glazed Lip Paints. A review is coming up but I'll say that the Pro Conceal concealers are pretty amazing for only ~ $2.00.

Lastly I got a backup of my Anastasia Brow Wiz in Medium Brown (previously Medium Ash) and two free brushes from Real Techniques (their accent and detailer brush).

My Thoughts on the Show:

PHAMExpo happened to be on the same weekend as IMATS London (even though PHAMExpo's date was announced first) which lead to a conflict where many brands were having to pick between a standalone booth at PHAMExpo or IMATS London. Many brands chose to go to IMATS London but have resellers like Nigel's or Naimie's sell a limited selection of their brands.

I do think the decision for brands to dedicate their main resources to IMATS London affected the availability and vibe of the show. As a whole, the crowd felt less frenzied and more low-key. There was breathing room to be had while you walked down the aisles though I'm not sure how vendors may have been affected. Though brands like OCC, Sugarpill, Graftobian, Bdellium, Beauty So Clean, etc. were at the show, only select products from each line were available. OCC for example only had their lip tars and lip pencils whereas I was hoping to try out their airbrush foundation and concealers. Also, very few brands were debuting something new (possibly because their inventory was all at IMATS London!). 

Personally, I was hoping that there would be some vendors selling airbrush foundation (as I've decided to save up for an Iwata system to get into airbrush foundation) but sadly I wasn't able to find any. 

I did appreciate the diversity of some of the speakers (Damone Roberts of course and also Pixiwoo and Sam Fine on Sunday) and the fact that Pixiwoo were present at the show but I think something felt missing and that might have been the presence of the brand owners. Part of the trade show experience for me is being able to see the brand owners and have the potential to talk with them at the show but many were in IMATS London.

I did enjoy the show and shopping there but I'm hoping that for next year, there isn't a date conflict. My friend and fellow beauty blogger Bren and I had a good talk on how the show could improve and our main thought is that it should be pushed back to late summer or maybe early fall. Between IMATS LA in late January, The Makeup Show LA in March, and IMATS London in June, that's a lot of trade shows within 6 months. Though there are shows that continue during the year, there's no show in LA in July or August. 

Either way, I hope that in the future both trade shows can coexist peacefully and the vendors, consumers, and professionals can enjoy the show.

Disclaimer: I received a press pass to attend and cover this show. All opinions are my own and I was not compensated for this post.

Limnit Lipsticks New Collection/Formula Swatches and Review

Press Sample

I'm extremely excited to be posting about the new lipstick colors from Limnit Lipsticks. Limnit Lipsticks is a brand I like due to their unusual colors and vegan formula. They've recently reformulated their lipsticks and released new colors which I'm happy to post swatches of!

I have swatches of eleven of the new colors and two of the older colors. In total, there are eighteen shades to the line.

Limnit Lipsticks Collage finale

Click below to read my thoughts on the new formula, see both lip swatches and full face photos of the lipsticks, and read a shade by shade breakdown. There's also currently a 20% off sale on the website until the 30th (no coupon needed!)

PHAMExpo 2014: Coming This Weekend!


Before I forget, I wanted to mention that I'll be attending PHAMExpo this weekend, June 28th and June 29th! This is the second year that it'll be at the Pasadena Convention Center and I'm extremely excited to attend. I believe tickets are still available for purchase.

It's the same weekend as IMATS London so unfortunately some older staple brands won't be there but there will still be brands available at Nigel's Beauty Emporium (like Sugarpill, OCC, Make Up For Ever), Makeup Geek, Anastasia Beverly Hills, Embryolisse, and Real Techniques (which I'm so excited about!).

If any of you are attending, I hope to see you there!

Question of the Week #3: What would you buy with $100 at Sephora?

Affiliate Links

This week's Question of the Week is all about your Sephora wishlist items. If you had $100 to spend at Sephora (or your respective beauty store if Sephora isn't present in your country), what would you get? (excluding tax of course because that's never fun!) Here are the things I would stock up on:

Question of the Week #3

Anastasia Brow Wiz in Medium Brown (previously Medium Ash). This is my go-to brow product. I really like the skinny tip but I wish more came in the pencil, it seems like I run out much too quickly! $21.00

Benefit Porefessional Mini. I have a lot of enlarged pores and acne scarring on my cheeks so the Porefessional is a godsend step prior to wearing foundation. Thankfully this mini size is available and the price is actually proportional to the full size so you're not paying more for a travel-friendly size. $10.00

Butter London Nail Polish in Scouse. I've rediscovered my Butter London polishes and have really been enjoying the formula in combination with my CND Vinylux topcoat. This royal blue and indigo nail polish (although not your typical summer color) seems right up my alley. $15.00

Josie Maran Coconut Watercolor Cheek Gelee Mini in Poppy Paradise. I've heard a lot of good things about this Cheek Gelee and the formula looks so interesting, I think it's worth a try and I'm happy that it's available in a mini. $13.00

Shiseido Eyelash Curler This is the quintessential eyelash curler if you happen to have a less rounded eye and is said to be especially great for Asian eye shapes (not that other eye shapes can't give it a go). I do like the idea of the Shiseido eyelash curler plus they sell refills of the curler pads (whereas Shu Uemura doesn't!) $19.00

Too Faced La Creme in Bon Bon. There's just something about me and corals for summer and this looks to be a beautiful one. I really like the La Creme formula (I feel like it really sinks into my lips in a good way) so I'd be happy to add another one to my collection. $22.00

Grand Total: $21+$10+$15+$13+$19+$22= $100

If you had just $100 to spend, what would you purchase?

Disclaimer: The links included in this post are affiliate links. This means your use of the link will give me a commission which I use to help support the site. All opinions are my own. 

ipsy Glam Bag June 2014 Overview

I Purchased This Referral Link

Although last month's ipsy Glam Bag was a dud for me, thankfully this month's Glam Bag makes up for it! This month's theme is "Pretty in Paradise" and thankfully is a much more makeup oriented bag. It emphasizes travel-friendly beauty items for the summertime. I am especially pleased this month since I received three full size and two minis. The bag is also very stylish and designed by Rebecca Minkoff.

ipsy june 2014 glambag (1 of 2)

Inside my bag: Be a Bombshell Mascara (full size), Dermadoctor DD Cream (mini), Marc Anthony Dream Waves Beach Spray (mini), Nicka K Shimmer Eyeliner in Green (full size), and NYX Butter Lip Gloss in Eclair (full size).

Swatches of the contents

ipsy june 2014 glambag (2 of 2)

The Be a Bombshell mascara smells like terrible straight from the tube. It reminds me of a sharpie but amped up and just pungent. I was hoping that I wouldn't receive the mascara in the bag since I can't wear nonwaterproof mascaras and though I can usually salvage it by using a waterproof topcoat, the smell is too terrible for me to bother. 

The Dermadoctor DD Cream is just okay but sadly it stays a little dewy to the touch for me to wear throughout the day. I tried the Marc Anthony Dream Waves spray but need a few more tries to see if it'll create waves in my fine, straight hair. I like the Nicka K Shimmer Eyeliner (it's got this unique foam tip) though the formula stains. I like the NYX Butter Lip Gloss but the shade is a little too light to wear on its own, I plan on pairing it with a darker lipstick.

June's ipsy Glam Bag Value: 

Be a Bombshell Mascara (Full Size): 7 grams/.25 oz valued at $15.00
Dermadoctor DD Cream (Mini): 10 mL/.3 oz valued at $9.50
Marc Anthony Dream Waves Beach Spray (Mini): 45 mL/1.52 oz valued at $3.23
Nicka K Shimmer Eyeliner (Full Size): 2.8 grams/.1 oz valued at $4.99
NYX Butter Lip Gloss in Eclair (Full Size): 8 mL/.27 oz valued at $5.00

Total Bag Value: $37.72

Last month's Bag Value: $46.99.

Although technically not a good of a value as last month's bag, I'm much happier with the contents inside (excluding the mascara) and the bag is super cute.

If you'd like to subscribe to the ipsy Glam Bag, feel free to use my referral link which gives me points to redeem in products on the website. Otherwise, feel free to use a nonreferral link!

Serum No. 5 Gild Free NOTD

During the summer, I try to grow my nails out and kick my nail biting habit and thus far I've been pretty successful. What's helped is being out of school (stress causes me to bite my nails!) and trying to consistently paint my nails. I figure the more effort I put into painting my nails, the less likely I'll be to bite them. The polish also acts as a protectant against my extremely peely nails.

Now that I actually have nails, I do want to better show off the first indie nail polish I ever purchased, Gild Free from Serum No. 5 (from their Winter collection, a bit off-season for summer but it's absolutely beautiful). This is one coat of Gild Free over two coats of OPI Alpine Snow. Gild Free is an ivory crelly (cream jelly) with different sizes of gold glitter. Depending on how the base lays over the glitter, it can sometimes look copper to the light.

serum no 5 gild free (1 of 1)

I feel out of the loop when it comes to nail polishes so do you guys have any recommendations for creams, shimmer, and glitter lite polishes from brands you like? I'd love to dip my toes into more indie brands!

Question of the Week #2: Cream, Liquid, or Powder Foundation?

This week's Question of the Week is about Foundations. Are you a cream, liquid, or powder wearer (or maybe even other)? I'm in the market for a new foundation so I'd love to know your current foundation (and your skintype!). 

question of the week 2

I've been trying MAC Prolongwear Foundation (which is a liquid foundation) but sadly the shade I have, NC30 is a tad too orange on my skin. Otherwise I have been wearing a lot of my sadly discontinued MAC Studio Sculpt Concealer (which is a cream) all over my face.

Which foundation type do you favor? Any foundation recommendations to try or stay away from for my normal to oily skin?

3 Ways (and 6 Products) for Cleaning Your Makeup Brushes

For the makeup fanatic, cleaning your makeup brushes is the evil but necessary chore at the end of the day (or week). Being extremely acne-prone, I always have to keep my brushes in pristine condition and here are the ways to keep your brushes clean along with a few product recommendations.
3 ways for cleaning brushes

Method #1 - Dry Cleaning: Hair Donut and Microfiber Cloth

If you need to quickly clean your eyeshadow brushes in between use, you can quickly sweep your brush against a hair donut (the accessory used for topknots) and microfiber cloths. The hair donut is unconventional but trust me when I say that the spongey material is perfect for gripping and cleaning off eyeshadow from your eye brushes. I use this when I'm doing a major swatch post. The microfiber cloth is a more conventional and multipurpose method that's it's easy to keep clean by tossing it into the laundry when it's dirty. Either one are available inexpensively at Dollar Stores or online. 

Method #2 - Spot Cleaning: Cinema Secrets Brush Cleaner and Parian Spirit Brush Cleaner

These are waterless brush cleaner that you can use for quick cleaning and disinfecting. Pair it with the microfiber cloth by spraying your brushes and wiping it through the cloth. Wait a few minutes for it to dry and it's ready to use again! Both the Cinema Secrets and Parian Spirit cleaners work well, the difference is primarily in the color and scent. The Cinema Secrets is tinted blue and scented like vanilla whereas the Parian Spirit is clear and scented like citrus. I prefer the Parian Spirit when spot cleaning white and light colored brushes and the Cinema Secrets for darker haired brushes. Both contain alcohol which will sanitize your brushes making it perfect for professional and consumer use.

Method #3 - Deep Cleaning: Enkore Brush Soap and Liquid Hand Soap.

When it comes to deep cleaning (which I tend to do weekly), before I invested in specific brush soaps, I actually used hand soap! It's gentle and effective on makeup brushes and has never lead to brush shedding. I've switched over primarily to the Enkore Brush Soap. It's a solid brush cleanser with a loofah on the underside for deep cleaning. I prefer the Enkore Brush Soap for my eye, lip, and most face brushes. For foundation brushes, I prefer using the liquid hand soap to for better lather and brush manipulation. Enkore sells a few different types of Brush Soaps but you can trust that all are effective for cleaning.

When it comes to brushes, what's your preferred method of cleaning? Do you stay on top of your brush cleaning?

Question of the Week #1: Favorite Liquid Eyeliner Style?

So I want to try to build more of a conversation on the blog and I think it's good to start by having a Question of the Week. This week's Question is about your favorite liquid eyeliner style. Are you a fan of felt tips? Brush tips? How about calligraphy style tips?

eyeliner styles

My favorite happens to be the calligraphy style tip but unfortunately most liquid liners that come that way usually are plain black or brown. For colored liners, I prefer a brush tip over a felt tip. No matter what, felt tips always just feel really scratchy against my eyelid.

How about you? Which eyeliner styles do you favor?

5 Must Have Eye Brushes for $5.99 or Less

While I was reorganizing my makeup brushes recently, I wanted to share a few favorites of mine that I particularly love for my eye shape and because of its low impact on my wallet! A few of these are only found online or at a trade show but a few are also available at your local Target. I've attached links to where you can purchase them wherever I can.
Five Must have eye brushes

e.l.f. Eyelash and Brow Wand ($1.00 on and in Target Stores)

I'm of the opinion that everyone needs a spoolie brush. If you use brow powder or brow pencil, you need a basic spoolie to soften the look. If you applied too much mascara, you need a spoolie to brush out clumps (and it works better than the metal combs). For $1.00 you can't really go wrong.

Coastal Scents Fluff Pro Blending Fluff ($4.95 on

There are a few vendors selling the same eyeshadow brush but I just listed Coastal Scents because that happened to be where I purchased it from. It's touted to be similar to the MAC 217 but I'm not 100% sure since I don't have the 217. Still though, this is actually one of my favorite brushes for applying and blending out cream eyeshadow and also for applying a transition color between the lid and browbone.

Loew Cornell Maxine's Mop 3/8 inch ($2.19 on

This is a craft store brush and not the softest of the bunch but its shape is very similar to the MAC 239. It's a little fatter than the MAC 239 but the shape makes it good for packing and blending color onto the lid. This does need more conditioning than the rest of the brushes listed but it's still a good brush.

Sonia Kashuk Small Eyeshadow Brush ($4.99 on and in Target Stores)

It's a flat shader brush that's more slender than the Loew Cornell Maxine's Mop and softer. I prefer this when I'm doing a gradient on the eyelid with a lighter color on the inner third to a darker color on the outer third. It's made out of natural hair so it picks up eyeshadow brilliantly and the flat paddle shade means it doesn't fly all over the place.

Sonia Kashuk Bent Eyeliner Brush ($5.99 on and in Target Stores)

Another Sonia Kashuk favorite. I prefer gel and liquid liners over pencils (since it's usually easier for me to get a thinner line), so I'm a big fan of pairing them with this brush. I can get a very thin and precise line and the bend in the brush allows for a more natural grip and arm position.

So how about you? What are your must have eye brushes?

Sephora Collection Cream Lip Stain in Endless Purple: Swatch and Review

I Purchased This Affiliate Link

After Lime Crime came out with their Velvetine liquid to matte lip color, many a brand have jumped on board and released their own version. Sephora's house brand released their rendition with their Cream Lip Stain, available in a multitude of both cream and shimmery shades. I picked up the shade Endless Purple, a deep plum and there does appear to be a dupe for a few of the Lime Crime shades with Sephora's Always Red and Strawberry Kissed.
sephora cream lip stain endless purple 3 (1 of 1)

Where to Purchase: (affiliate link), Sephora stores

Price: $13.00 for .169 oz/ 5.0 mL of product. 
Do they test on animals?: The company does not.
Packaging: The cream lip stain comes in a round tube with a doefoot applicator. The wiper isn't that great since a little too much product comes off onto the doefoot, meaning you have to wipe it off before applying. I noticed that it did cause the product to leak onto the threads. I'd just be careful since it can get a little messy.


As always, the swatch photos were taken in natural daylight with no flash.

sephora collection endless purple


The name of the product is a bit of a misnomer because it's not a cream (it's more liquidy than creamy) and it doesn't actually "stain" your lips in the traditional sense (of imparting color that lasts). It is however a liquid to matte lip color that's opaque in a swipe.

Though opaque, be sure to apply the product evenly otherwise some areas might appear lighter than other places. Personally, I'm someone who's adept at applying liquidy lip products straight from the applicator but I think others might have some difficulty. If you think you might have trouble, consider applying the Cream Lip Stain with a separate lip brush or disposable doefoot applicator for precision.

The product doesn't feel tight or restricted on the lips but does feel a little heavy. It felt slightly tacky initially but felt less tacky over time. I didn't notice it drying out my lips but it didn't feel super moisturized at the end.

Wear Time:

When dry, gently pressing or tapping your lips won't transfer any color but repeatedly patting and pressing will transfer color.

By the 5 hour mark, I noticed that the product was less transfer-proof at the outer edges though the color was still strong and hadn't faded. By the 7 hour mark, there was still no fading but it continued to be less transferproof at the outer edges.

I would agree that it's a longwearing lip color but I wouldn't say that it's completely transfer-proof. Thankfully there was no flaking or fading of the color as I wore it.


If you're looking for a deep plum liquid to matte lip color, you might like the Sephora version! I haven't tried the other shades in the line so I'm not sure if the wear will be similar to this shade.

Disclaimer: I purchased this myself. All opinions are my own. The link marked as an affiliate link gives me a commission based off your use of the link which helps to support the blog. Feel free to use a nonaffiliate link!