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

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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!

5 Popular Makeup Products that Didn't Work Out (for Me)

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I talk a lot about products that I enjoy on the blog but I think it's worth mentioning products that didn't work out for me. It's also worth talking about hyped up or popular products that just didn't agree with me for one reason or another. 

5 popular products didnt work out
The first is the Anastasia Dipbrow. My fellow bloggers Alyson and Krissy have heard me lamenting about this product for days while I was at The Makeup Show LA. Sadly while it seems to agree with most people, its formula doesn't agree with me. It's difficult to use in my opinion because you have to pick up the tiniest amount. It melted and was easily wiped away on me after only a few hours. Not cool.

The next is the Make Up For Ever Aqua Liner in #11. While I adored the variety of colors available in the line, I didn't like removing the liner. It kept breaking off in shards as I removed it and overall was a painful experience.

The next is the Smashbox Photo Finish Foundation Primer - Light. I had hopes for this because it mentions being perfect for oily acne prone skin (which is what I have) but despite being primarily water based, it's also got silicone so it doesn't fare well with my water based or silicone based foundations. The primer didn't end up helping with oiliness or longevity. 

The next is the Tarte Lipsurgence pencils. I've tried a few but it smells like minty pencil bark to me (because it's got a very woody/herbal quality to the mint) so it was very unwearable to me, despite the colors and finishes available.

Lastly is  the Wet n Wild Mega Last Liquid Lip Color. This is a liquid to matte lip color that I had such high hopes for because it had been the only drugstore liquid to matte product at the time. Sadly the product didn't work out for me because it kept flaking from my lips so I'd get red flakes on my teeth as I wore it. 

How about you? Share any products you've used that didn't work out in the comments! 

Question of the Week #8: What's Your Favorite Mascara?

This week's Question of the Week is all about mascara. What's your favorite (or current favorite) mascara? I had mentioned my current favorite in my June Favorites post (but it bears repeating) and it's the Maybelline Falsies Waterproof Mascara. The mascara is fabulous for me when it comes to lengthening and adding volume and thankfully without the clumps.
question of the week 8

What's your favorite or current favorite mascara? Be sure to answer in the comments!

ipsy Glam Bag july 2014 Overview and Swatches

I Purchased This Referral Link

I was really pleased with last month's Glam Bag but it seems like the pendulum is swinging back towards the dark side because I feel lukewarm about this month's bag. This month's theme is "Sensationally Sunkissed" and emphasizes products that you can use while in the sun and by the pool side. This month's bag is pink with a scalloped edge but I can't help but think that it looks like a ravioli. In this month's bag I received two full size and three mini items.

ipsy july bag (3 of 3)

Inside my bag: Bare Escentuals 5 in 1 BB Advanced Performance Cream Eyeshadow (mini), Clear Clinic Laboratories Vanished Clear Spot Treatment (mini), Elizabeth Mott Tints & Sass in Cherry (full size), Hang Ten Dark Tanning Oil (mini), and Nailtini Nail Polish in Mango Rita (full size).

This month, the algorithm for ipsyMatch must have ignored my quiz because I got tanning and acne products in my bag. I'm not into tanning products with such a low SPF and I don't prefer getting such small samples of acne products, especially one in such an unhygienic packaging and with so much alcohol (the first ingredient is actually rubbing alcohol and it smells like rubbing alcohol)

I was hoping to get a full size of the Bare Escentuals Cream Eyeshadow but got a mini in the shade Divine Wine. In the tube, it looks like a deep grey plum and it initially applies like that on the skin. I noticed that as it dried, this shimmer was peeking through and when I rubbed my skin, this beautiful green highlight came out. I don't know if that's supposed to happen but it added a lot of depth to what I thought was a boring eyeshadow.

I didn't bother using the Clear Clinic Spot Treatment because I have no interest in dabbing rubbing alcohol on my skin to clear up my acne or the Hang Ten Dark Tanning Oil because SPF 8 is a joke. The Elizabeth Mott Tints & Sass is similar to the Benefit Benetint but has better packaging since it's in a spill-proof bottle with a doe foot applicator. 

Here's a FOTD using the Tints & Sass and Bare Escentuals Cream Eyeshadow.

ipsy july bag (1 of 3)

I also wanted to show the Nailtini Nail Polish. I wasn't fond of the Nailtini nail polish. I thought that the long wand combined with a thinner polish meant that no matter how much I wiped off the brush tip, the polish would just flow down from the top of the wand.

ipsy july bag (2 of 3)

July's ipsy Glam Bag Value: 

Bare Escentuals 5 in 1 BB Advanced Performance Cream Eyeshadow (Mini): 1 mL/.03 oz valued at $6.00
Clear Clinic Laboratories Vanished Clear Spot Treatment (Mini): 2 mL valued at $9.33
Elizabeth Mott Tints & Sass in Cherry (Full Size): 10 grams/ .35 oz valued at $22.99
Hang Ten Tanning Oil (Mini): 1 oz valued at $1.50
Nailtini Nail Polish (Full Size): .5 oz valued at $13.00

Total Bag Value: $52.82

Last month's Bag Value: $37.72.

Compared to last month's bag, this was a much better value (since the Elizabeth Mott Tints & is worth so much) but I felt that the products inside this bag ignored my preferences and included the tanning and acne products I didn't want. I'm still going to subscribe for next month's bag but I hope there are better picks inside.

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!

L.A. Girl Glazed Lip Paint in Blushing: Swatch and Review

While I was at PHAMExpo, I came across these L.A. Girl Glazed Lip Paints at Lady Moss's booth. They've been getting so much love (in part due to their striking similarity to the Too Faced Melted Lipsticks) coupled with the $3.25 price tag at the show, I picked one up. I was waffling on which color to purchase until I also saw Alyson/The Gloss Menagerie and another person swatching Blushing, a bright pink mauve. All three of us had very different skin tones (Alyson being paler and the other person being much tanner than I was) yet the color was so so flattering on each. That cinched it for me so I picked up Blushing. 
la girl glazed lip paint 2 (1 of 1)

Where to Purchase: L.A Girl, ikatehouse, Lady Moss,

Price: $2.99-$4.00 for .40 oz/12mL of product (price varies depending on the vendor)
Do they test on animals?: The company does not.
Packaging: The Glazed Lip Paint comes in a small squeeze tube with a plastic slant tip applicator.


As always, the swatch photos were taken in natural daylight with no flash. I applied one coat of the Glazed Lip Paint using a doefoot applicator.

la girl glazed lip paint 2


The Glazed Lip Paints are a shiny pigmented gloss. These apply best with a doe foot applicator since it can really work the product into your lips. Using a lip brush made it apply a little too unevenly, especially around the edges of my lips. This didn't dry out my lips.

Although these keep getting compared to the Too Faced Melted Lipsticks, the comparison isn't apt. The Too Faced Melted Lipsticks are creamier, more like a liquid creamy lipstick. These have been compared to the OCC Lip Tars too but while they share similarities, the formulas aren't the same either. Despite the similar liquidy texture and peppermint scent, the Lip tars are more pigmented and dry down matte (which gives a longer wear time) whereas the Glazed Lip Paints stay fairly glossy. 

Wear Time:

I can get about 3 hours of good wear and after that it started fading from my inner lip outward.


I like the colors in the line and how it didn't dry out my lips but I do wish the packaging was different since the slanted applicator applies too much from the tube. I wholeheartedly recommend applying it with a doefoot applicator. The wear time is also typical for a lipgloss/glossy product like this. I really love the shade Blushing because I do believe it's a universal color that anyone can wear. I'd say it's worth trying one out since it's so inexpensive but just don't forget the doe foot applicator. 

Disclaimer: I purchased this myself. All opinions are my own and I wasn't compensated for this post.

Question of the Week #7: Natural or Synthetic Hair Makeup Brushes?

This week's Question of the Week is about makeup brushes. Do you prefer using brushes that have synthetic fibers or are you into natural hair brushes?

Synthetic haired brushes are usually recommended for liquids and creams and natural haired brushes are usually recommended for powders though I personally don't stick to that rule. I generally prefer natural haired brushes because of the reduced dry time, general softness, and I tend to work more with powders than I do creams and liquids.

Question of the Week #7

Photos courtesy of Real Techniques and Nordstrom

If you had to pick, which would you choose? Synthetic or Natural Hair Brushes?

5 Must-Haves from Milani Cosmetics

I Purchased This

I've been doing a lot more makeup looks lately (which I'll eventually post on here) and realized that while I've done a lot of reviews, it'd be really handy to write about overall brand recommendations on the blog. One of the best and most consistent drugstore brands is Milani and I'll be talking about my personal 5 must-haves from them. I'll eventually be covering my picks from other drugstore, mid-end, and indie brands!

Milani is available at CVS and also

5 must haves from milani

Photos courtesy of Milani Cosmetics

Brow Shaping Clear Wax

When I was still using eyebrow powder for filling in my eyebrows, this brow shaping clear wax was a must-have as a primer. The powder and the wax would sort of mix together and form a light pomade onto my brows. I've switched over to a heavier brow gel so I am not using this as much but if you're searching for a product just to give hold to your brows or as a primer before using eyebrow powder, you'll like this! This is valued at $4.49. 

Easyliner for Lips

Although retractable liners don't come with as much product as liners that you can sharpen, I still tend to prefer them since they can be creamier to use. I happen to like these Easyliners for that purpose, creamy while still being pigmented and I don't have to deal with the mess of a sharpener. These are valued at $4.99

Color Statement Lipsticks 

Although these lipsticks are what I consider must-haves from the line, I will be honest and say that the smell gets to me (it's an artificial watermelon scent). If you can get over the scents, you'd be hard pressed to find any lipsticks in such a wide range of colors and textures in the drugstore. These are creamy and don't drag on the lips. They are valued at $5.49 each. 

Eyeshadow Primer

In my opinion, there's no better drugstore primer out there. The formula is similar to Too Faced Shadow Insurance in performance and feel but there's no separation problem like with the TF Shadow Insurance. It does a great job at preventing creasing on my eyelids and doesn't impair blending of pressed or loose eyeshadows. For only $6.49 it's worth a try (plus the packaging is an excellent squeeze tube that hasn't exploded on me).

Baked Blushes

The baked blushes have a wonderful texture with lots of payoff. Unfortunately my favorite shade by them is discontinued but there are other wonderful shades in the line. I will say that the downside to the line is that the colors are primarily shimmery but there are two mattes available if you're not into shimmer like I am. These are valued at $7.99 each.

Do you have any picks from Milani that I didn't list here? What do you like from the brand?

Disclaimer: I purchased the products mentioned in this post. All opinions are my own. I wasn't compensated for this post.

NYX Cosmetics Eyebrow Gel Swatch and Review

I Purchased This

NYX has been on a roll lately with their product releases with and this Eyebrow Gel was something I was really interested in, especially since I was disappointed in the Anastasia Dipbrow. It's starting to become a hot summer in Southern California so I definitely need something to wear on the brows.
nyx eyebrow gel review (4 of 4)

The Eyebrow Gel is touted as being waterproof, long-wearing, and smudge-proof. It comes in five colors, Blonde, Chocolate, Brunette, Espresso, and Black. I chose to get Brunette because Chocolate appeared too red-toned and Espresso too dark.

Here are swatches of the five colors so you can decide which to get.

nyx eyebrow gel review (1 of 4)

Where to Purchase: Ulta stores,
Price: $6.99 for .34 oz/10mL
Do they test on animals?: The company does not.
Packaging: The Eyebrow Gel comes in a squeeze tube with a nozzle tip.


Unlike the other colors in the line which were more a thicker cream, Brunette was slightly runnier. You can get both a dramatic look and a natural look to the brow depending on how you apply it. For a dramatic look you can use a brush and for a more natural look, you can apply it with a spoolie for great hold without the bold look.

When using a brush, I preferred wiping my brush over the nozzle tip and then applying it onto my brow. When using a spoolie, I squeezed a little product onto the back of my hand and ran the spoolie through it to pick up minimal product. 

In either case, you have to work quickly though because it dries down within 15-20 seconds. 

Some people will make comparisons to Make Up For Ever's Aqua Brow and while I do own the Aqua Brow, I have the one prior to their vamp of the shades and potentially the formula so I'm not able to make a real comparison.  


Brunette is more of a neutral to neutral cool brown. It doesn't run too red on my skin tone.

The swatch photos below were taken in natural daylight with no flash.

Here's a swatch of it applied with a brush which is good if you want a more defined or dramatic look.

nyx eyebrow gel review (3 of 4)

Here's a swatch of it applied with a spoolie which is good if you want a more natural look. If you don't have a natural brow, this method of application may not be for you.

nyx eyebrow gel review (2 of 4)

Wear Time:

After 8 hours later on a hot day and through a nap, my eyebrow was still there with no discernible fading. I was very pleased with the wear time; although it wasn't completely smudge proof by the end of the 8 hours, it took me a lot of effort to actually smudge off my brow. I consider it mostly smudge proof and definitely long-wearing. This will be perfect for the summer months!


I was skeptical at first but I'm very pleased with my results. Even on a hot day, my eyebrow lasted extremely well. I like that you can get either a dramatic or natural look depending on how you apply it. If you're more of a beginner or want that natural look, the spoolie method might be the way to go. If you are more experienced wanting a defined look, use a brush. I'd say that the biggest negatives are the quick dry time and the limited range of colors. If you can work quickly and find the right shade (or mix the shades), I think you'll really like this!

What are your currently using on your brows now? Any thoughts on potentially switching to the NYX Eyebrow Gel?

Disclosure: I purchased this Eyebrow Gel myself. I was not compensated for this post and all opinions are my own.

Question of the Week #5: Current Favorite Summer Lip Color?

This week's Question of the Week is about your current favorite summer lip color. My pick is the Sonia Kashuk Shine Luxe Lip Color in Sheer Melon. It's a lightweight lipstick/lip balm hybrid with fairly good wear time and is moisturizing on. Sheer Melon is a light coral/pink that's got sheer to moderate coverage. Feel free to read my full review here.
question of the week 5

Photo courtesy of Sonia Kashuk.

What's your current favorite summer lip color?

June 2014 Beauty and Other Favorites!

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I really enjoy reading Favorites posts from bloggers (and also watching Favorites videos from vloggers) so I thought I'd contribute my personal favorites from this month. This month's favorites consisted of some new discoveries and some rediscovered loves.

june 2014 beauty and other favorites

CND Vinylux Top Coat (affiliate link)

I first learned about the Vinylux system at ISSE Long Beach. The Vinylux system consists of a Weekly Nail Polish and Weekly Top Coat used together, no base coat required. The Topcoat is supposed to harden and build strength from exposure to natural light over time.

Although they recommend using the Vinylux nail polishes, I've been a rebel and have been using it with my regular polishes. I've gotten some pretty great results with the polish (as long as I cap my tips) with my polish lasting about four to five days though I do notice the shine diminishing by the end of that time. It isn't a fast drying top coat as the polish still needs a few minutes to fully dry but I'm happy with the results of the longevity.

DHC Cleansing Oil (affiliate link)

I've been using this for a few weeks now and plan on writing a full review but I can say now that this is my new favorite cleanser, especially for the summer months. It's been heavily touted by Arabelle and I was able to get my hands on a bottle to try out. I'm very happy with it, it balances out my oily forehead but doesn't make me too oily on the rest of my face. It's $$ but proving to be worth the cost. Heavy full coverage foundation ain't got nothing against this cleansing oil.

Fresh Brown Sugar Eau de Parfum (affiliate link)

When it comes to perfumes, I'm pretty simplistic. I usually prefer perfume oils because I'm often able to get one to two note scents but I've been a fan of the Fresh Brown Sugar because to me, it smells exactly like the Fresh Sugar Lip Balms. I've tried the regular Fresh Sugar perfume but I feel like it doesn't smell quite like the lip balms as Brown Sugar does. It doesn't have a super strong silage but I do need to keep wearing and smelling.

Maybelline Falsies Waterproof Mascara

I love the look this mascara gives me. I keep straying and trying other mascaras but I still return to this one. This gives me length and volume but it always smells off even when the tube is new.

Strawberry Chapstick

Lastly, an oldie but a goodie. I got this Chapstick from Alyson after she went through a cleanup of her stash and it made me remember how much I missed it. It's got a slight pink tint and is a basic staple for less than $2.00.

What have been your favorites that you used in June?

Question of the Week #4: Favorite Drugstore Powder Eyeshadow?

This week's Question of the Week is on your Favorite Drugstore Powder Eyeshadow. If I have to pick, I'd say the L'oreal Infallible Eyeshadows. Reasonably priced with a wide variety of colors, it's got a unique pressed texture that somehow manages to feel creamy and makes for easily application with either your fingers or a brush. I own three and they're my favorite when I want both incredible pigmentation that also sheers out wonderfully.
question of the week 4
So what's your favorite drugstore powder eyeshadow? Be sure to answer in the comments!