Sunday, December 25, 2011

Merry Christmas!

Merry Christmas everyone! Here's hoping you guys got everything that you wanted (or at least something that you wanted) and you have a happy day. I'm off to see if Santa left a tube of Benefit Watt's Up! in my stocking. :)

Friday, December 23, 2011

Swatch Wars! Maybelline Master Drama vs Stila Smudgestick

I feel like everyone loves a good dupe. If not a dupe, then at least a comparable product for less money. Maybelline Master Drama eyeliner quite possibly fits that bill for Stila Smudgestick lovers.

Maybelline Master Drama in Midnight Master on bottom; Stila Smudgestick in Stingray on top.

They're both twist up, non-retractable pencils with ultra smooth, creamy, black eyeliner. Maybelline retails for around $7 and Stila's is $20.

Maybelline (brand new, hence the pointy tip) and Stila (much loved and rounded out).

Maybelline, Maybelline smudged immediately after applying, Stila, Stila smudged immediately after applying.

The Stila side is a little smudgier, which is both a good and bad thing. If you like smudging out your looks, you might like having the extra time with Stila. But if you don't want your eyeliner to move, Maybelline might be the better choice because it seems just the tiniest bit drier of a formula.

Maybelline on left; Stila on right - scrubbed with a dry washcloth about 10 times, back and forth. (And in case anyone notices that the "boxes" look different, I did this experiment twice and the photographs came from different days, just to make sure one day wasn't a fluke over the other).

Bottom line? They're both a win! But for the price, you really can't beat Maybelline. So I'd save the $13 for your everyday black eyeliner. But if you wanted one of Stila's funky colors, then you're going to have to spend a little more.

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Gypsy EOTD

Recently my husband and I had the chance to go to another murder/mystery dinner, only this time our friends were throwing it and we were assigned characters. I was Clair Voyant, a psychic, and was told to dress like a gypsy and wear heavy makeup. So, I did! I was actually going to post a whole FOTD, but the smokey eye and dark berry lips were waaay too much. Overkill, really. I can only have so many pictures haunting me on the internet. :)

So sorry for the weird angle. We were already running late and I just had the hubby snap a quick picture.

  • Too Faced Shadow Insurnace
  • MAC Quarry eyeshadow on lid
  • MAC Copperplate eyeshadow in crease
  • MAC Wedge eyeshadow above crease
  • L'Oreal Lush Raven eyeshadow in outer V
  • MAC Eye Kohl in Smolder
  • Cover Girl Lash Blast in Very Black

Monday, December 19, 2011

Thanksgiving EOTD II

Here's my Thanksgiving look, my EOTD from the Sunday after. :) It doesn't look like it, but I actually used all six colors in the Wet N Wild Baked, Not Fried palette. And I've come to the conclusion that working with wet eyeshadow is weird. It feels weird, it applies weird. But it looks really metallic and pretty, so I guess it's worth it. Right?

  • Wet N Wild Baked, Not Fried palette
  • Wet N Wild Color Icon Eye Pencil in Copper (the one that came with Baked, Not Fried)
  • Clinique High Impact mascara, topped with Cover Girl Lash Blast

Saturday, December 17, 2011

Thanksgiving EOTD

Here's my belated Thanksgiving EOTD. I actually have two, since I had to work on the real holiday. This was my work look. It was a touch more green/purple in person, but I think the flash washed it out a bit.

  • MAC Painterly Paint Pot
  • ELF Natural Palette
  • Revlon ColorStay Eyeliner in Blackberry
  • Clinique High Impact Mascara, topped with Cover Girl Lash Blast

Thursday, December 15, 2011

NYX Champagne & Caviar Palette

If you're in the market for a basic-but-not-boring, wearable eyeshadow palette that won't break the bank, you should definitely check out NYX's 10-color Eyeshadow Palette in Champagne & Caviar. For around $11, you get 10 shimmery/satiny eyeshadows that work well in any color-combination and can easily go from day to night.

The shadows do lean a little warmer, but I think they could honestly work on every skin tone.

Swatch pic numero uno.

Swatch pic numero dos. I took them at two slightly different angles, so hopefully people can get a better idea of what they really look like.

And in case you were wondering, here is NYX Butt Naked over NYX Champagne & Caviar. BN is cooler and has the option of matte shadows (and blushes/bronzer/highlighters), while C&C is just shimmery eyeshadows. I think it's worth having both, but I think it should be obvious by now that I'm a sucker for neutrals.

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Belated Birthday FOTD

And here's my actual birthday FOTD. I had to get my driver's license renewed, so I took a little extra care with this makeup look, too. I mean, I'm going to have the same picture for the next 4-8 years so I want it to look good!

And this is pretty much what my driver's license picture turned out like, too. I couldn't be happier! Plus, I was only at the DMV for a half hour which is practically unheard of.
Sorry for the weird angle. My husband took it while he was lounging on the couch. But I liked that you could see the shimmer/glow.

  • MAC Pro Longwear Concealer in NW15
  • Benefit Powderflage
  • MUFE Full Cover Concealer in 2 (which they might not even make anymore...)
  • Clinique Stay Matte Sheer Pressed Powder in Stay Buff
  • Physicians Formula Happy Booster Powder in Translucent

  • Too Faced Shadow Insurance
  • Maybelline Eye Studio Quad in Copper Chic
  • Stila Smudgestick in Lionfish
  • Cover Girl Lash Blast Volume in Very Black

  • Revlon ColorBurst Lip Butter in Peach Parfait

Sunday, December 11, 2011

Wet N Wild Baked, Not Fried Eyeshadow Palette

I've only tried Wet N Wild once before and it was a disaster, to say the least. August 2007, a month before my wedding, I tried the Sandcastle palette that was all the rage. It could have been a coincidence that I was under a ton of stress for the wedding, but after I tried the Sandcastle eyeshadows, my eyelids turned hot pink and had some kind of reaction. I had to see a dermatologist and get a steroid cream prescribed to get it to go away. Like I said, it could have been a coincidence, but it was enough to scare me into steering clear of Wet N Wild.

Then I saw this palette...
Being the bronze/neutral fiend that I am (and since it's a baked eyeshadow as opposed to a regular, pressed eyeshadow), I figured I would give it a whirl. Especially since it was only $4.99. I heard these were going to be limited edition at Walgreen's, just as a heads up.

The packaging kind of sucks. The clear, plastic lid has to be lifted off and once you take the stuff out of the original box, there's no place to stick/store the mini eyeliner. But look at those colors!

Swatched dry. Not very impressive.

Swatched wet with some tap water. Holy moly! Look at the difference! Same eyeshadows, swatched in the same spot, yet completely different payoff.

The mini eyeliner that comes with it. It's a dark brown with golden shimmer, kind of similar to Stila Smudgestick in Lionfish, actually. It's maybe a little brighter, though. And it went on surprisingly well, very smooth and creamy.

I'll keep you guys posted if I have another blistering reaction. But so far, so good!

Friday, December 9, 2011

EOTD Clinique Victorian Pink

Normally I'm not a fan of pink eyeshadow. Pink blush? Definitely! Pink lipstick? I'm kind of obsessed. But pink eyeshadow...? Who wants to look like a rabbit? Thankfully Clinique's Colour Surge Eyeshadow Duo in Victorian Pink is a soft, pretty alternative to looking like you're ill.

One side is a "pearlized nude pink" while the other is a "dusty rose brown," according to Clinique. It is probably the most subtle pink you'll ever find, but it is a nice alternative to straight up brown and taupe. Plus, I really like the name. You could slap the word "Victorian" on almost anything and I'd probably buy it, being the history nerd that I am (which also explains my obsession with tracking down Sally Hansen's Dorian Gray and Crinoline nail polishes)...

Lid: the "pearlized nude pink"
Crease: the "dusty rose brown"
Eyeliner: Clinique QuickLiner for Eyes in Really Black
Mascara: Cover Girl Lash Blast Volume in Very Black

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Date Night FOTD

Since my husband and I both have November birthdays, we more often than not celebrate them together by doing something fun. Last year we went to see Gabriel Iglesias (hilarious stand up comedian!) and this year I surprised him by taking him to a murder mystery dinner show. So, I decided to go extra fancy with the makeup, even though you can really hardly tell in pictures... :(

Since I used so much more makeup than usual, I'm going to break my products down into "areas" of my face. I hope it makes it easier. :)

  • Clinique Perfectly Real Foundation in 01N
  • MAC Pro Longwear Concealer in NW15
  • Cover Girl Professional Loose Powder in Translucent Fair
  • Benefit Powderflage (under the eyes only)
  • MAC Accentuate Sculpt & Shape Powder
  • Lancome Color Design Blush in Freeze Frame
  • MAC Sheertone Blush in Tenderling
  • Too Faced Shadow Insurance
  • MAC Silver Ring eyeshadow (base color)
  • Lancome The New Black eyeshadow (smoked along lashes)
  • Urban Decay Gunmetal eyeshadow (packed on for more color_
  • MAC Electra eyeshadow (blended upwards)
  • Urban Decay Naked eyeshadow (blended on top of silvers)
  • Urban Decay Virgin eyeshadow (highlight)
  • Urban Decay Sin eyeshadow (inner corner)
  • Urban Decay 24/7 Liner in Zero (base for Lancome eyeshadow)
  • Clinique Brush on Cream Liner in True Black (tightline and waterline)
  • Physician's Formula Eye Booster in Ultra Black (upper lash line)
  • Cover Girl Lash Blast Volume mascara in Very Black
  • Flirt Chickstick lipstick in Obsess

Sunday, December 4, 2011

NYX Butt Naked Palette

"Naked" and "Nude" palettes are still the hot items in makeup, it seems, what with the launch of Urban Decay Naked 2, theBalm Nude 'tude palette and now... NYX Butt "Naked" Eyes - which is kind of misleading, because the palette includes 4 blushes, 2 highlighters and 1 bronzer in addition to the 15 MAC-sized eyeshadows.

The eyeshadows are on top (with a full-sized mirror under the lid) and the blushes slide out from underneath. It kind of sticks a little bit, which is probably because it's new. But I don't really mind because I know it won't open in my makeup bag while traveling.

For those who are disappointed in the lack of cool toned, matte eyeshadows in Urban Decay Naked 2, the NYX palette might be more up your alley. There are 7 matte (and some possibly a satin) colors and 8 shimmery ones. Granted, the pigmentation is lacking in some of the colors, as you'll see in the swatches, but at $20-25* versus $50, and 3 extra eyeshadows plus the face powders, the NYX palette is a better value. *I say $20 because they're on sale right now at Ulta, but they're regular retail is $25.

Of the 4 blushes, 2 are shimmery and 2 are completely matte. The bronzer is a little dark for the uber-pale (like me) and the highlighters are ok. I prefer the champagne color in the center over the peachy/gold on the far right.

1st row of eyeshadows. I know it's hard to tell, but there are actually 5 swatches there. I feel like these would best be used as an all over color to make application smoother or as highlighters (especially the one on the far right) but not necessarily as a color in and of themselves. Unless you wanted a really naked look.

2nd row of eyeshadows. By far my favorite color in the palette is the purplish-gray taupe in the very center. I need to find out of NYX makes this as a single and buy 10. It is that gorgeous.

3rd row of eyeshadows.

Blushes on top, bronzer and highlighters on bottom.

The highlighters up close.

Saturday, December 3, 2011

The DIY Blow-dry

I recently stumbled across a brilliant article on how to blow dry your hair (or do a "blow out" if you want to use fancy salon terms) at home so it looks like a professional's done it without a) costing you money or b) taking up your whole morning.

Beth Janes, from Good Housekeeping, breaks it down, step by step here, on the Life & Beauty Weekly website. Or you can just keep reading. :)

Most of us know what it’s like to leave a hair salon with bouncy, beautiful hair: We walk tall, full of self-confidence.

Then later, when you wash your hair at home, you can’t quite recreate that salon effect with your own two hands and a blow-dryer. You just don’t have the time (or desire) to clip your hair into sections and tend to each one individually.

Fortunately, there are shortcuts to drying your hair at home that don’t take a lot of time and still create a great look. “Busy moms can get that same great hairstyle in less time,” says Paul Labrecque, owner of the Paul Labrecque Salon and Spas in New York City.

So, next time your wet hair is dying for styling, follow Labrecque’s step-by-step guide to a professional blow-dry -- at home.

1. Towel-dry First
After your shower, squeeze the water out of your hair, then wrap it up in a towel. Leave hair wrapped for three to five minutes (while you brush your teeth and get ready). This will remove as much moisture as possible. “When hair is soaked, blow-drying takes three times as long,” says Labrecque. “Plus, excess water can dilute your styling products, making them less effective.”

2. Apply Leave-in Conditioner
“A leave-in is important for all hair types because it prevents frizz, breakage and flyaways while you blow-dry,” says Labrecque. If you have fine or thin hair, pick a spray, which won’t weigh down strands. For thick, curly hair, try a heavier cream. Apply from the mid-length of strands to the ends, then use a wide-tooth comb to thoroughly distribute the conditioner and to smooth tangles.

3. Boost Your Roots
A root-lifting spray delivers body and volume, but it has to reach all roots to do the job. “Most people just spritz the top of their head then wonder why they can’t get volume,” says Labrecque. “At the salon, your stylist applies it everywhere.”

The best application technique: Spritz in layers. First, position the nozzle about 5 inches from the top of your head and spray the roots. Then, separate that top section of hair and hold it straight up and out of the way, which will allow you to spritz the root area underneath. Be sure you spray both sides and the back. Now separate and hold up that section, and spray the roots underneath in the same way. Repeat until you get to the bottom layer. Use your fingertips to massage it in.

4. Flip Your Hair Upside Down
“When you’re short on time, you don’t need to mess with a lot of clips or dry separate sections,” says Labrecque. You can give hair volume by flipping your hair over and drying upside down. “The key is to use your fingers to pull roots away from your scalp,” he says. Continue until all your roots are dry and the rest of hair is mostly dry.

5. Grab a Round Brush
With your hair still flipped over, hold the blow-dryer in one hand and a round boar-bristle brush in the other. Brush through the bottom layers of your hair, from the nape of your neck to the ends as you blow-dry. This continues the job you were doing with your fingers, lifting the roots away from your scalp. “It will create the same fullness and body you get by clipping up and blow-drying individual sections, only it’s faster and easier,” says Labrecque.

The boar bristles of the brush also help polish and smooth your hair’s outer layer to fight frizz. Pick a smaller brush (about 2 inches in diameter) if you have fine hair that needs body, or a bigger one if hair is already thick, says Labrecque.

6. Dry the Middle Layers
With the bottom completely dry, flip your hair right side up. Separate and twist the topmost section of hair -- from the top corners of your forehead up -- into a bun and secure with a clip, exposing the top-middle layers. (When drying upside down, this section is hidden and tends to hold some moisture even after you think hair is completely dry. The moisture can then deflate volume and bounce.)

Take a section of that middle layer, place the brush under its roots and direct the blow-dryer’s air on the area from the top. Slowly brush through hair, pulling it straight out, parallel to the floor, following with the blow-dryer. (Pulling hair downward will flatten it.)

“When you get to the ends with your blow-dryer and brush, rotate the brush with your hand to give the ends a slight curl,” says Labrecque. This helps create the same polished, finished look you see after a salon visit.

Repeat on the adjacent section, the section in back, and the two sections on the other side.

7. Smooth and Finish Hair
Unclip the top section. It should be dry, but quickly use the brush-and-blow-dry technique in step No. 6 to smooth the hair and curl the ends.

Thursday, December 1, 2011

LOTD E.L.F. Miami

E.L.F. (eyes lips face) Super Glossy Lip Shine in Miami is a peachy pink color with a subtle golden shimmer. It feels smooth and creamy, but there is a weird plastic smell to it. It's not my absolute favorite, but it's decent over a lipstick when you just want some extra shine. For a measly $1, you can't beat that.

Nekkid lips.

They look nekkid, but I swear that's Miami over them.

See? It looks really pretty. It just doesn't translate super well on your lips for whatever reason.