Jan 31, 2013

Review/Swatches: Urban Decay Naked Basics Palette

I had the pleasure of finding the Urban Decay Naked Basics Palette under my tree this past Christmas. This little palette was Urban Decay's answer to the many cries for more matte choices in the Naked palette series.

For some reason, I have always been somewhat afraid of matte eye shadows. I always thought they would be difficult to blend and that they would just look bad on me. Well this palette has reinforced something I have heard many times in my life: don't make assumptions because you will be proven wrong at some point.

The Urban Decay Naked Basics palette features six eye shadows that either have a matte or satin finish.

The colors in this palette are: Venus (satin vanilla), Foxy (matte cream), W.O.S. or Walk of Shame (matte beige), Naked 2 (matte brownish taupe), Faint (matte medium brown with some warmth), and Crave (matte black).

I think this palette is perfect for somebody concerned about wearing work-appropriate makeup (however, not all places of employment are equal, so what is acceptable in one place will be unacceptable in another). I also recommend this if you need something to just carry in your makeup bag. It's a great size and has most of the colors I would absolutely need. I will say that for the sake of variety, I'd still probably take other palettes with me, but for the bare minimum, this is great.

To the left are some swatches of each color (Venus, Foxy, Walk of Shame, Naked 2, Faint, and then Crave).

The bottom line is that I highly recommend this palette. I don't think everybody will see it as a necessary addition to their collection, but I am pleased to have it since I can throw it in my bag if I need to do my makeup on the go (the Naked 1 and Naked 2 palettes would be great for travel, but they are way bigger than the bags I typically carry). The colors of the eye shadows work well together  If you're worried, I would suggest looking at it in person.

You can buy this for $27 anywhere Urban Decay is sold.

Is this a must-have or optional for you?

(Edit: it's my 100th blog post! How exciting is that?)

Jan 30, 2013

Update: Dairy-Free Challenge

It has been over a month since my last post regarding my attempt to go dairy-free. I'll be blunt: I failed within the first week and I know exactly why

I tried both coconut milk and almond milk. I will say that I love the way they taste alone and with things like cereal, but my issue lies within the fact that nothing can replace dairy milk in my coffee. I even tried a non-dairy coffee creamer. It was okay, but it wasn't milk. However, I have greatly reduced my intake of dairy and am hoping to completely eliminate dairy eventually. When it comes to changing a habit, baby steps are a must.

I have also increased how much water I drink and I'm trying to cut back on processed foods as well. My goals are not solely because of my skin. I really want a healthier lifestyle. I'm curious: what do you do to stay healthy? Also, what counts as "healthy" for you? Most people have their own definition of what it means to be healthy, so I'm curious to know what you think.

I'm not sure what else I can say in this post, so I'll end it here. I hope you've been having a great week!

Jan 22, 2013

Review: Jane Iredale Magic Mitt

In my search for the "right" minimalist approach to my skin care, I have tried quite a few different products. One thing I have struggled to find is a way to completely remove my makeup without irritating my skin in the process. Another goal of mine is to find products that are budget-friendly. In my opinion, it's not very budget-friendly to spend $6 per month on makeup removing wipes because they irritate my skin and I have yet to find a brand that doesn't feel absolutely greasy on my skin. Oh, and a lot of makeup removing wipes are heavily fragranced, which tends to give me headaches.

Enter the Jane Iredale Magic Mitt. I have read about this item before, but naturally I was curious about how well it would actually work. I didn't understand how a piece of microfiber cloth and a little bit of water could remove all of my face and eye makeup. Spoiler alert: it did its job and it did it well. I did use toner after removing my makeup and there were no remnants of my makeup on the cotton pad after I used my toner, which isn't something I can say after using most makeup removing towelettes.

I am not sure how the Magic Mitt works with waterproof mascara because it has always been such a hassle to remove that I just avoid it completely (plus my mascara hardly ever smudges on me).

I just drench the Magic Mitt in warm water (it works best if it is completely saturated in water) and use it the same way I use makeup removing towelettes. Once I think I have most of my makeup off, I use the other side of the Magic Mitt to get off anything I might have missed. I wash it with Dr. Bronner's Magic Soap (liquid version), squeeze out the excess water, and hang it up to dry. It really doesn't take long for the mitt to dry. I haven't really timed it, but it is always dry before I even go to bed.

Now I will show you all a side-by-side comparison of the Magic Mitt and the cleansing towelettes I was using before I got the Magic Mitt.

Product Name Jane Iredale Magic Mitt Burt's Bees Sensitive Cleansing Towelettes

Price $15 $6
How Long It Lasts I have read very different opinions on this detail. Some people have found that it will last 3 months (this is the smallest number I have seen) and other people have had the same mitt for over a year. I have only used this for a couple of weeks, so I can't say how long it will actually last. I will, however, post a follow up review once I find myself needing a new one. If you use one towelette every day, one package will last you a month. However, when I used these they didn't remove all of my makeup, so I would need more than one type of makeup remover in order to effectively remove my makeup.

Pros: doesn't irritate my skin, removes makeup entirely, will be great for travel, and it dries quickly after washing.
Cons: you have to hand wash it after every use. If you throw it in the washing machine it will likely destroy the mitt and cause the texture to become very rough (I don't know this from personal experience, but I read tons of reviews before trying it).

Bottom line: I highly recommend trying this out, especially if you find other forms of makeup removal to be irritating to your skin. I still have breakouts, but my skin looks and feels healthier overall.

You should be able to find this in most places where Jane Iredale is sold (but don't quote me on that since I have only been to one place that sells Jane Iredale products) or online.

*Note: as of right now, it costs more to buy it from Amazon or Ebay, so my personal recommendation is to buy it elsewhere. Here are some places you can find it online for its retail price: Jane IredaleNordstrom, Dermstore, and Beauty.com

If you have any questions, feel free to leave them below and I will answer them to the best of my ability! If I can get a good enough setup, I will try to record a demonstration of how this works on my YouTube channel.

FTC: The Jane Iredale Magic Mitt was sent to me for review. I was not compensated for this review and everything said in this review is of my own opinion.

Jan 21, 2013

Review: J.R. Liggett's Bar Shampoo

Have you ever had a moment where you were sure you did something, but then some time later (be it a few minutes or a few months), you realize you didn't do anything at all? Yeah, I honestly thought I had written a review on the J.R. Liggett's shampoos I featured in my iHerb haul a few months back, but it seems that all I did was snap a few pictures on my phone. Lovely ;)

I have the original formula and the herbal formula. The original formula is sitting in a soap dish at my mom and dad's house and the herbal formula is within walking distance. I've tried both formulas enough times to know how I feel about them.

I love the idea that these are meant to be used without conditioner and can supposedly last as long as a 24 ounce bottle of shampoo. Each bar is 3.5 ounces, so just imagine how much space that saves! Honestly it's pretty obvious that I am always determined to find the ultimate way to utilize my space efficiently, whether it's in the bathroom or elsewhere.

Although the J.R. Liggett's shampoos are (sort of) marketed as a shampoo and conditioner in one, I have noticed other reviews mention that they use these to clean their body as well. It makes a lot of sense considering the ingredients are similar to other natural bar soaps I have seen.

The formulas for both shampoos are very similar, but I do find myself preferring the herbal formula over the original even though the only additions seem to be rosemary, lavender, and cedarwood. Overall my hair just felt better with the use of the herbal formula. Neither made my hair feel stripped, but the original version left my hair a little more tangled than usual.

I love that these cost less than $7 (they are about $4 if you order them at Vitacost). I love that the packaging is minimal (it's just paper that can be recycled) and that the bar dries quickly.

Ingredients (Original): Olive oil, coconut oil, castor oil, fresh pure New Hampshire spring water, sodium hydroxide (a binder) and essential oils for fragrance.

Ingredients (Herbal): Olive oil, coconut oil, castor oil, fresh pure New Hampshire spring water, sodium hydroxide (a binder), rosemary-lavender-cedarwood and other essential oils for fragrance.

I would love to try the other formulas because they are supposed to be more moisturizing than the ones I picked up. For now, these are being used as weekly clarifying shampoos and an all-over soap. If you tend to be low-maintenance with your hair or if you want to feel good about what you are putting on your hair, I highly recommend trying one of these. For now, I am using a liquid shampoo again because I have accumulated too many for this single head ;)

Edit (October 2013): I'm nearly ready to re-enter the world of solid shampoo! Well, not quite. I have a few bottles of shampoo/conditioner that are 25% full or less. Once I place my Christmas Vitacost order, I will be selecting one or two different bars to try out. I still want to try the Chagrin Valley shampoo bars, but these are a little more accessible as I can find some of them at Whole Foods.

Jan 19, 2013

Beauty at Home: Cleansers

Facial cleansers have always been the biggest disappointment of any skin care item I've used. They always cause an imbalance to my skin (some cleansers have made my skin very dry, others have made it very oily - no matter what my skin would still break out), the ingredients are always questionable, and I feel as if I am just paying to use a product that doesn't even help my skin in the long run.

So, what are the alternatives?
  • Water-only method: I am sure that somebody who comes across this post will have heard of the water-only cleansing method because a lot of people I know don't even use facial cleansers and their skin looks fine. There is an even more extreme version of this called the caveman regimen, which entails not letting water touch your face for at least a month in order to "fix" your face's acid mantle. I'm not brave enough to try the caveman regimen, but I do only rinse my face with water in the mornings now and my skin hasn't gotten dry at all this winter. Another way of doing the water-only method is to use a microfiber washcloth or something like the Jane Iredale Magic Mitt for extra exfoliation (which I will be reviewing once I've tested it for another week or so).
  • Oil cleansing method: this is another popular alternative to commercial facial cleansers. It is common to mix castor oil with a carrier oil (such as olive, grapeseed, jojoba, almond, and so on), rub it on the face for a few minutes, and then take a washcloth and drench it in water that is as hot as you can stand and steam your face with the washcloth to remove the oil. This is a longer process and can be irritating to very sensitive skin because of the rubbing and temperature of the water, but a lot of people notice a small difference immediately and a significant difference within a few weeks. I have tried this on several occasions and I think it is nice, but I have yet to find a carrier oil that I like on my skin. Even people with oily and acne-prone skin can use this method. The trick is to find the right oil for your own specific skin type and also to steam your face enough times to remove the oil. People with dry skin seem to prefer leaving some of the oil on the skin.
  • Honey: this is one of my favorite methods to cleanse my face. I will remove my makeup and pat my face dry, and then rub honey on my dry face. I let it soak in for as long as I can (since I shower in the morning, I do this at night). I do not recommend the honey you will typically find in grocery stores because from my understanding, the honey commonly found at grocery stores is heated above a certain temperature, which kills the antibacterial properties of the honey. I recommend raw honey (which can be found online or at a health food store and should usually cost less than $10 for a huge jar) or manuka honey (can also be found online or at a health food store, but manuka honey is expensive - the cheapest I have found was $20 for a tiny jar). Honey has antibacterial properties and also softens my skin.
  • Baking Soda: I use this as an exfoliant either mixed with water or honey. It can be abrasive, so I don't recommend that you use it every day. Baking soda is inexpensive and can be used for a lot of different things.
  • Oatmeal: I only recently tried this out of curiosity. I had heard from a few different sources (Bubzbeauty included) that oatmeal is soothing and moisturizing to the skin. I've noticed that it is also a gentle exfoliant. The downside to using oatmeal is that it is probably the messiest out of all the ingredients I have mentioned.
Good skin care is not the ultimate end to every skin problem. If you have acne and want to get rid of it, the very best thing to do is to eat better (and better is a very broad term, but my suggestion is to eat lots of fresh fruits and vegetables), exercise to get your lymphatic system working properly (so your body can eliminate toxins), to drink plenty of water (also to eliminate toxins), and also to use products that won't aggravate the problem at hand. In my experience, acne products do not work beyond treating what is on the surface. The idea is to get to the root of the problem and go from there. I'll be honest: I'm still working on it to this day.

When it comes to taking care of your skin, my recommendation is to be gentle no matter what you do and when you try a new routine, stick with it for at least a month or two so you can see the full effects of what you choose to use. Start with the basics and then slowly add things into your routine so what you do will fit your personal needs.

What do you cleanse your face with?

Jan 18, 2013

NOTD: January 18 (China Glaze Ruby Pumps)

Here's a short post for today! It's just the nail polish I've chosen to wear today: China Glaze Ruby Pumps! It was a staple of mine during December, but I think the color itself can help you get over the infamous "January blues."

I will post a little warning: I am the worst at painting my nails. I have an unsteady hand and I didn't even start wearing nail polish regularly until 2012. However, I just wish that my camera could capture how amazing the color looks in person. That being said, here it is (click on the pictures to enlarge)

Jan 15, 2013

Makeup Collection: Lips

I have mentioned in the past that I am not as much of a fan of lip products as I am of eye or face makeup. However, the right lip color can really pull a look together, so I try not to underestimate the power of lip products. I think this is my least impressive portion of my makeup collection, so I'll try to get through it quickly.

Here are my lip treatments, lip balms, lip stains, and lipsticks (and a wild Stila Lip Glaze).

At the very top of the picture there is the C.O. Bigelow Mentha Lip Buffer.

For some reason, I have five Lip Smackers. The flavors I have are Barq's Root Beer, Coca Cola, Sprite, Cotton Candy, and Vanilla.

As for real/standard lipsticks, I only have three at school with me. The first is by Revlon and it is the Super Lustrous Lipstick in Wink For Pink (616), which has a pearl finish. The other two I have are both from Wet 'N Wild. I have the colors 968 (Pinkerbell) and 901B. The last product in the row is a Maybelline Color Sensational Pop Stick (from Summer/Fall 2011) in Pink Lollipop.

In the next row I have a Stila Lip Glaze in Guava (I'm not sure why I included it in this picture... it is a lip gloss, after all). Following that is my only Revlon Just Bitten Kissable Balm Stain in Honey.

Next I have... a "few" Maybelline Baby Lips lip balms: Pink Wink, Coral Crush, Peach Kiss, Twinkle, Pink Punch, Cherry Me, and Peppermint.

Finally (at least for this picture) are my Revlon Lip Butters. Since my review a few months back, I've bought two more. The colors I have are Pink Truffle, Cherry Tart, Strawberry Shortcake, Sugar Plum, and Sweet Tart.

Not pictured: Burt's Bees Honey lip balm, Mox Botanicals Lip Butter (Pomegranate & Fig), Benefit Posietint, Benefit Benetint, my NYX round lipsticks, and a Revlon Colorstay lip gloss.

These are all of my lip glosses. I have the Revlon called the Super Lustrous Lip Gloss in Pink Pursuit, Urban Decay Lip Junkie in Naked.

I have quite a few miniature tubes of the Bare Minerals Moxie Lip Glosses. The colors I have are: Hot Ticket, Socialite, Gutsy, Fashionably Late, Rebel, and two of Dare Devil (one came in one of my beauty subscription services and the others came in the Bare Minerals holiday collection).

Now, for the three lip glosses that are hanging around the others... I have the Mirenesse Lip Bomb in 9, the MyGlam Glam Gloss in 1, and the Be a Bombshell Lip Gloss in Hot Mess.

I have 4 products by C.O. Bigelow: the Mentha Lip Shines in Vanillamint, Bubblemint, and Peppermint Mocha. I also have the Mentha Lip Tint in Plum Mint. Finally, I have the Jane Sparkle Gloss in Sparkle Pink.

That concludes this edition of my makeup collection. I'll probably do this again sometime in the distant future. Feel free to share a link to your makeup collection below! (or any of the other posts from this series, really)

Jan 14, 2013

Makeup Collection: Eyes

Eye makeup is something I tend to love, but I also stay within a certain comfort zone. Most of what I have won't be a surprise to anybody who has read my blog for a while. That being said, I still hope this is an enjoyable read.

Eye Shadow Primers:
Eye shadow primers are something that I consider to be essential, but I haven't found one that doesn't work for me, so I haven't ventured too much. I only have Too Faced Shadow Insurance in Candlelight (I have a sample size that has lasted forever - I'm not joking, I've used it at least 20 times), the full sized version of Too Faced Shadow Insurance in Candlelight, and of course, Urban Decay Primer Potion (Original). I have Urban Decay Primer Potion in the old packaging because when the new packaging was being released, I got this in a package of two for a pretty good price. I used the first tube for a long time (by the way, I didn't even finish it... it started smelling weird and I will probably feature it in my next "empties" post if I remember to.

But anyway, these are the primers I have (I also have the Mirabella Prime for eyes and face, but I don't plan to use it on my eyes).

Brow Products:
I am very low-maintenance with my brows. Sure, I cold take the extra minute to fill them in, but on an every day basis, it just isn't necessary. I have the Chella Eyebrow Defining Gel (which I got in a monthly subscription box) and the Maybelline Mastershape by EyeStudio in Deep Brown.

Eye Shadows:
And so begins the longest part of my post: eye shadows!

I have two L'Oreal Infallible eye shadows: Bronzed Taupe and Pink Sapphire.

I've gone a bit crazy with the Maybelline Color Tattoos. I have five: Audacious Asphalt, Tough as Taupe, Bad to the Bronze, Barely Beige, and Rich Mahogany. Of course I really want to try out some of the new releases, but I will wait as long as I possibly can to do so because of my spending ban.
Now for most of my palettes! I have the Too Faced Romantic Eye Palette, Too Faced Naked Eye Palette, Urban Decay Naked Basics, NYX 10 Color Eyeshadow Palette in Champagne and Caviar (now called Caviar and Bubbles, I believe), and the Urban Decay Naked 2 Palette. Clearly I love neutrals a little too much.
Here is a palette I have mentioned many times in the past: Too Faced Glamour to Go.

I also have the NYX Butt Naked Eyes palette, but for some reason or another it was impossible to get a decent picture of the actual palette this time around.
Here are my drugstore trios/quads/palettes/whatever you'd like to call them. I have three by Wet N Wild: Sweet as Candy, Silent Treatment, and Walking on Eggshells.

I also have tried two of the Revlon Colorstay Eye Shadow Quads. I have Siren and Embellish (which was released fairly recently, if I'm not mistaken)

The final item is a face and eye product, but I hate this on my face, so I have designated it for my eyes. It is the Physicians Formula Shimmer Strips Custom Bronzer, Blush, and Eye Shadow in the shade Riviera Strip/Sand Bronzer.
Next up is my two loose eye shadows. Both of these came in the MyGlam/Ipsy bag at some point. I have the NYX Ultra Pearl Mania in 02 Pearl and the Salty Cosmetics Loose Luxury Mineral Eye Shadow in Glama-ZOID.
Ah, now for the Z Palette. I'll be honest: mine looks pretty terrible because of all the exposed magnets and just lack of real organization, but these are all eye shadows I want to finish up, so I have to just deal with it. I will be listing these from the top row to the bottom row, so here it goes:

I have the Covergirl Cafe Au Lait trio followed by the Covergirl trio in Smoke Alarm.

Next I have the four eye shadows from the Stila Garden Bliss Palette (from two years ago, I believe). I also have The Balm's Meet Matte in Matt Batali at the end of row 2.

In row 3, there is the Covergirl quad in Fairytale and the Mark eye shadow in Stellar.

The last row has a random bronze eye shadow from Mirabella, the ELF Brightening Eye Shadow Quad in Brownstone, and a Mark eyeshadow in Glitterati.

To the left are some eyeliners that I have either received with the purchase of another product or in a beauty subscription box. I have the Be a Bombshell Liquid Eyeliner in Onyx, Rimmel Soft Kohl Kajal Eye Liner Pencil in Jet Black, and the Starlet eyeliner in All I Want is Peace, Love, and Chocolate.

The Stila Smudge Crayon is technically not only an eyeliner, but also a cream eye shadow. It really depends on the color you use. I have two full-sized ones (Antique and Rose) and three mini-sized ones (Black, Umber, and Smoke).
I've raved about the Revlon Colorstay eyeliners before - one color in particular. Here are the colors I have: Charcoal, Teal, Black, and Blackberry.
Here are my Urban Decay 24/7 Glide-on Eye Pencils. I have mixed feelings about these, as I have said before, but I do think that the pigmentation is impressive. I have two in Zero, and then I also have Demolition, Underground, and Bourbon. I have all of these in the smaller size.
Here is every mascara I own. I'm very strict about throwing mascara away every three months, so at the rate I genuinely use mascara, I think I have a little too much (I won't need to buy any until sometime in March). I have two samples: (The Balm What's Your Type? Mascara in The Body Builder and Perfekt Lash Perfection Gel) and I also have three full-sized mascaras: Rimmel Extra WOW Lash in Extreme Black, Rimmel Scandaleyes Lycra Flex in Extreme Black, and Model Co Fibre Lashxtend in Extreme Black (I got this in a Birchbox, I think).

My other palettes (inside)
NYX "Butt Naked" Eyes (inside) - by the way, the sponge applicators do not make life easier with this particular product. Just thought I would let you all know.
Too Faced Glamour to Go (inside) - how have I not hit pan on the  top right one? It's my favorite sparkly eye shadow ever! This picture does not do the color justice.
So those were are all of my eye products! If you want me to review or swatch anything that I haven't already, just let me know.

Jan 11, 2013

Makeup Collection: Face

As I believe I have mentioned before, I tend to buy an excess of face products. This is because my skin... well, to be honest, it isn't a pretty sight most days. Lately I've calmed down on the excessive purchasing of face products (and not just because of "project minimize") and although I do have a lengthy list of products I really want to try, I will hopefully refrain from purchasing what I do not need. Although most of my collection is with me at school, there are a few items I always leave at home with the assumption that I won't bring my makeup home with me. This never happens, but as it is, I don't actually have the space for the few other products that are sitting in my acrylic storage unit at home (actually, I did an experiment and discovered that I could fit it all in a Birchbox).

I won't be reviewing things that I mention because part of the purpose of this collection post is to show you what I have so I can actually review something that has been requested. As you've probably noticed, I just review what I am using and move on to the next item. I will also link to any reviews I have already posted, so hopefully that is helpful.

Once again I am rambling and telling you more than you probably needed to know, so here is my collection!

Base Products (primer, foundation/BB cream, powder, etc):

I am not big on using face primers. To me, they are just an added step that I have personally never thought of as necessary because I've never found one I loved. Both primers I have are sample sizes, so I really need to just use them up so it's not taking up the space. I have the Mirabella Prime (which is for face and eyes) and a sample of Lancome La Base Pro (which I got at Sephora as a 100 point perk, I believe). Both of these are silicone-based. If I ever do buy another primer, I really want to try any of the Korres primers or the Tarte BB Tinted Treatment (which is a tinted primer).

Foundation/BB Cream/Tinted Moisturizer:

Foundation has always been my favorite, yet least favorite thing to buy. I love how my skin looks with a good foundation, but the frustration of finding a foundation that matches my skin and doesn't irritate it is pure torture. That might be a slight exaggeration, but I've spent more money on foundations in my lifetime than I have spent on anything else... and I still have nothing that is perfect for my needs.

But, I digress. I currently have the L'Oreal Youth Code BB Cream in Light, Shiseido Dual Balancing Foundation in Very Light Ivory (I 00), and Clinique Acne Solutions in Fresh Alabaster (01).

Not Pictured: Estee Lauder Double Wear in Ecru and Too Faced Tinted Beauty Balm in Vanilla Glow

Powder (including a powder foundation):

Powders are another thing I can't get enough of. My skin is oily and I generally like most of the powders I buy. I tend to buy pressed powders more often than loose powders because they aren't as messy and make traveling easier.

The powders I have are: NYC Smooth Skin Pressed Face Powder in Translucent, Maybelline Dream Matte Powder in Cream (Light 4-5), Neutrogena SkinClearing Mineral Powder in Classic Ivory (10), Neutrogena Mineral Sheers Powder Foundation in Classic Ivory (10), Covergirl Clean Oil Control Pressed Powder in Classic Ivory (510), and Mario Badescu Special Healing Powder (more of a skin treatment, but it is a powder and I do use it on top of blemishes when I'm not wearing much makeup).

Not Pictured: Maybelline Fit Me Pressed Powder in Porcelain (110), Bare Minerals Mineral Veil, and Bare Minerals Matte foundation in Fairly Light.


I get lazy with concealer. I usually only use concealer under my eyes, but if I have a particularly nasty pimple or if I have an occasion where I want my skin to look great, then I will take the time to cover it up.

I think a lot of people either own or have tried MAC Studio Finish Concealer at some point (I have shade NC15). I also have Revlon Photoready Concealer in Fair (I'm not sure why I am including this because I probably have a few days worth left) and I have the Rimmel Match Perfection 2-in-1 Concealer & Highlighter in Fair (125).

I do like the concealers I have, but eventually I would love to try something new just because that is how I am. Besides, this blog would get quite boring if I never tried anything new. (So it totally makes sense that I'm limiting myself to 12 unnecessary beauty-related purchases this year, right? ;)

Blushes, Bronzers, and Highlighters:

I finally got two Z-palettes! One is specifically for face products and the other is for eye products. So let's give this overview in columns (so the left column will be listed from top to bottom, the middle column will be listed from top to bottom, and the right column will be listed from top to bottom). By the way, don't worry about the gunk on the bottom (from the glue that Covergirl uses for their palettes). I cleaned it off after taking pictures, of course! ;)

Left column: Benefit Bella Bamba, Benefit Dandelion, and The Balm Mary Lou-Manizer

Middle column: Covergirl Cheekers Deep Plum, Covergirl Cheekers Natural Rose, and a poor cracked blush from the Stila Garden palette.

Right column: Mark Blush in Star Glo, Mark Blush in Kitten Glow, and Mark Bronzer in Golden Glo.

Next up are my only blush singles in the original packaging. I have the MAC Mineralize Blush in Hand-Finish, which is really old and was limited edition back in 2009 (I think). I'm not proud of the fact that I am not even close to finishing it, but when it comes to powder products, I plan to keep it until it actually seems to be going bad.

I also have the NYX Rouge Cream Blush in Boho Chic. Finally, I have the Sula Natural Blush in My Little Secret.
The next products I have are all by Benefit: Posietint, High Beam, and Benetint. I got these a long time ago, but as I said for the MAC blush, until it seems to have expired, I'll probably hang on to these. I am not proud of the fact that I've struggled to even remember to use these products.
There has been a lot of buzz about the Wet N Wild products in recent years. I believe the Wet N Wild Color Icon Bronzers were released around this time last year. I only have Reserve Your Cabana because I am not a big fan of bronzer as it is, and this is really more of a highlighting product... even for my fair skin.
And finally, my blushes and bronzers that come in palettes specifically for face and eye makeup! I have the Too Faced Glamour to Go palette and the NYX Butt "Naked" Eyes palette, both of which I have talked about a lot on here.

And that is every single bit of face makeup I own. If you have any questions, I will be more than happy to answer them below.

Jan 7, 2013

Coming Soon: My Makeup Collection!

I feel like almost every beauty blogger or vlogger posts their makeup collection at some point in time. Last year I posted three separate videos devoted to showing every product in my makeup collection. Well, a lot has changed since then. I will be writing a series dedicated to my makeup collection so you can request swatches or even reviews on anything you might be curious about.

I won't be focusing on storage since I have written about that in the past (herehere) and nothing has really changed there. I also know that my collection is pretty small if you compare it to a lot of other beauty bloggers and vloggers, but I think my collection is just the right size for my needs.

I am not sure if there is anything else about my upcoming series, so I'll end this post here. Have a great week!

Update (January 15): the series is complete! Here are the links:

  1. Face
  2. Eyes
  3. Lips

Jan 5, 2013

Review: L'Oreal Youth Code BB Cream Illuminator

The BB cream rage does not seem to be dying down any time soon. I've tried a few already: some from the drugstore and some high end. I've found hits and misses from both ends of the spectrum. Overall, most are really just tinted moisturizers with a different name. Is the L'Oreal Youth Code BB Cream Illuminator an exception? Read on to find out!

This product comes in two shades: Light and Medium. The bottle contains 2.5 fluid ounces of product (quite generous, in my opinion). This BB cream contains broad spectrum SPF 15. The product comes in a silver tube that is honestly quite messy with distribution. Below are the promises on the package:
  • Evens skin tone (with a hint of color)
  • Illuminates
  • Perfects texture
  • Moisturizes (24 hours)
  • Corrects (listed on the front, but it is not explained on the bulleted list on the back)
  • Helps protect against future damage if used as directed
Within the first use, it promises that your complexion will appear more luminous and have an even finish. Within one week, your skin should appear smoother and softer, and within two weeks your imperfections should be reduced without makeup and texture should be refined.

Whew! The package makes some bold claims.

The first complaint I have is the color range. Yes, the product itself is sheer, but it comes in two shades. I say L'Oreal needs to add at least three more to the mix (Fair, Medium/Deep, and Deep) before this product can work for more than a few people. Light is borderline orange on my fair skin.

My second complaint is that this stuff is loaded with fragrance. This could be because (from what I have read) this product is essentially the same thing as the Garnier BB cream. I haven't tried Garnier's product, so I personally cannot say if they feel or smell the same, but I've seen videos and read reviews saying this is the same with the exception of the SPF (Garnier's is not broad spectrum). I believe L'Oreal owns Garnier, so this doesn't surprise me. By the way, if Garnier's formula was too greasy for you, you might be in luck! They are releasing a version for combination to oily skin. But this is a review for L'Oreal's BB cream, so I'll stop talking about Garnier.

My mom actually used this (in the shade Medium) for about three months before I got around to trying this and she raved about it, so my hopes were high (after all, what has usually worked for my mom works for me). My mom used it instead of foundation some days and under her Bare Minerals foundation on other days.

Like I said above, the lightest shade available is too dark for my skin. The coverage is very sheer, so that makes it less of an issue, but it is just an annoyance for me because it was yet another face product that didn't match me. Since it has a more "glowy" finish, I always felt the need to set it with powder. Since I am trying to use fewer products in my routine, this can be a good or bad thing. I don't need moisturizer when I am using this, so I don't have to apply any before using it (this can also be because I have changed my skin care routine and barely even bother to moisturize any more). Since I don't get much sun exposure (especially in the winter), the SPF is useful too.  But it would be great if I didn't need to set it with powder. I'm just not in love with the finish of this product. I've actually come to realize that BB creams just might not be for me. I love powder foundations. I tend to reach for them more often since they don't require much thought or effort to apply. I've had great liquid foundations, but I always gravitate toward the powder foundations when I am shopping for foundations.

Rambling aside, I think this is an average product, but when you take the price into account ($17 in a lot of stores), it's just not worth it for what I need.

How do you feel about BB creams? I was really excited about them at first, but as I said before, I'm over it now.

Jan 4, 2013

My Top 12 Products of 2012

I haven't written a favorites post for a long time because I've been working toward my goal of finishing more products and buying less. However, there are quite a few products that I've fallen in love with and can see myself buying again once I run out. These things are in no particular order, but let's get to it!

  1. LaVanila Pure Vanilla Perfume: I have this in the small rollerball form and it has become my favorite fragrance ever. I don't wear it every day because I want to save it for special occasions, but I can see myself buying this again and again. The notes are: Madagascar vanilla, Freesia, Patchouli, Heliotrope, and Tonka Bean. You can buy the rollerball form for $19 at Sephora.
  2. My Too Faced Palettes: I have three different palettes, the Naked Eyes palette, the Romantic Eyes palette, and the Glamour to Go palette. I personally love all of them and constantly find myself using them. My most used of the three is definitely the Glamour to Go palette.
  3. NYX Butt Naked Eyes Palette: I didn't use this as much as I wanted to (since I have about five other neutral palettes), but I fell in love with it over Thanksgiving break. I love having all the blushes and eye shadows I need in one place.
  4. Revlon Colorstay Eyeliners: These aren't necessarily a new discovery for me, but I did "rediscover" them this year when I was in search of a smudge-proof eyeliner. These can run dry, but they work well once you know how to work with them. Blackberry is my personal favorite.
  5. Maybelline Color Tattoo's: I think a lot of people already know about these and if you've read my blog for any amount of time you'll know that I love these. My favorite color is Barely Beige, which was limited edition, but a similar shade has been released in the 2013 metals collection.
  6. Desert Essence Tea Tree Oil Skin Ointment: I had an allergic reaction to something I was trying to finish up a couple of months ago. This really helped my skin. Tea Tree Oil is supposed to help with cuts, burns, and acne. I've never noticed whether or not Tea Tree Oil really helps my acne, but this product really soothed my skin irritation.
  7. Clinique Acne Solutions Liquid Makeup: I wear the shade Fresh Alabaster in this. I don't think I have ever mentioned this on here, but I always used it when I was "between" my other foundations that I have finished this year and I've come to realize that it is actually my favorite foundation that I've used this year. It doesn't actually treat my breakouts as far as I have noticed, but it also doesn't break me out and it is the closest match I'll ever find from a Clinique face product. Actually, I wish they had a lighter shade. It would probably be perfect.
  8. Mario Badescu Special Healing Powder: I use this when I don't wear other makeup and I've been really happy with it. It calms my skin and seems to work well. It comes in a huge container and I don't use much, so I feel like I'm never going to finish it.
  9. Sally Hansen Complete Care Extra Moisturizing 4-in-1 Treatment: This is a nice base and top coat. It's the only one I have used this year.
  10. OPI Nail Lacquer in Just Spotted the Lizard: This is from the Spiderman collection and it is probably the most interesting color I've bought this year. I won't even begin to attempt to describe the color, but it does remind me of a lizard.
  11. China Glaze Nail Lacquer in Smoke and Ashes: I'll admit that I loved the Hunger Games and I was really excited when China Glaze released a nail polish collection dedicated to the movie release. Smoke and Ashes looks boring, but if you look carefully it has greenish blue shimmer in it (forgive me if my description is subpar... I am terrible at describing scents and colors).
  12. Tangle Teezer: My hair is very prone to tangles, so this has been a miracle for my hair. I'm so happy that I tried it and I hope to buy a couple more soon so I don't have to remember to take it back and forth with me when I am going home for a weekend.
I didn't really have any lip favorites in 2012 because I don't usually go crazy over lip products (although you'd never believe it if you could see my collection). What were your favorite products in 2012?

Jan 2, 2013

Review: Neutrogena Mineral Sheers Powder Foundation

I know I have posted a mini-review on this product at some point in the past, but I think that it actually warrants a full post because of how much I like it.

I remember that when I started wearing makeup, mineral makeup was still very popular. However, it seems to me that a lot of people have either gone back to their liquid foundations or embraced the BB cream trend.

I've been using the Neutrogena Mineral Sheers Powder Foundation (SPF 20) off and on for the past few months (shade: Classic Ivory) and for a drugstore powder foundation, this is amazing!

I have spent a lot of time and money trying to find a foundation that matches my fair skin, lasts all day, and doesn't break me out. Well, I can say that this product blends into my skin nicely, lasts a few hours (I would say five or six... not as long as I would like, but longer than some), and I never experience any new breakouts from wearing this alone. As you can see from the pictures, I have hit pan on the foundation - I actually hit pan during my Thanksgiving break and I've used this almost every day I have worn makeup since then.

There is one thing, though... I have a problem with the ingredients. Since I will be buying less makeup in 2013, I have already decided that I want to replace the products I finish with paraben-free makeup. This foundation is not paraben free, so therefore I will not repurchase it. I like this product, but I don't like its ingredients. I'd also like to mention that since the use of parabens in skin care and makeup is a personal preference, I won't judge anybody for choosing not to eliminate them.

I do recommend this if you have sensitive skin and are not avoiding parabens because it gives a beautiful (semi-matte) finish. Even though it is a powder foundation, I wouldn't describe it as powdery or cakey. I don't know how this would look on drier skin types, but I do know it doesn't emphasize any dry patches on my face from the winter cold.

I do not recommend this if you have darker skin. There are only eight shades and the darkest one is Tan, which seriously limits who can try this foundation. Come on, cosmetic companies. You know better than this...

Alright, so aside from that little miniature rant, I really liked this foundation and I will be sad to finish it. This costs around $12 at drugstores, but it is worth the money (and it is even better if you can get it on sale).

What is your go-to foundation right now?