Tuesday, April 30, 2013

FAVORITES! | April 2013

April favorites time!  There were quite a few stand outs this month, so here goes in "ABC order" (that phrase completely takes me back to elementary school!):

Aussie 3 Minute Miracle: I have fine hair, but I have to use conditioner or else I won't be able to get a comb through it after washing.  3 Minute Miracle has been my go-to conditioner for years and I'd say it's definitely my most repurchased beauty item.  It's amazing!  It takes the ends of my hair from a dry, tangled mess into soft, happy, conditioned hair.  It never weighs my hair down, and the tube dispenser is perfection.  Here in Atlanta, I can always find it at local retailers for $3.00 or less!  

The Body Shop Mini Strawberry Body Butter: I love the scent of strawberries, and this little pot of moisturizing dreaminess smells like the real thing.  This body butter lives up to it's claim of absorbing quickly into skin and hydrating for 24 hours.  I'm so happy The Body Shop offers a good selection of their body butters in this smaller size because it's easy to try different scents before committing to the full sized version of the ones you love best.  I'll discuss it more in my full review (soon!), but the customer service I received from The Body Shop was perfection.

Elizabeth Dehn for One Love Organics Vitamin E Active Moisture Eye Balm: Does it get any better than a mega moisturizing balm that lists shea butter as it's first ingredient?  Actually, it does!  This balm also contains fennel, which helps reduce puffiness, along with a variety of vitamins and active antioxidants.  I've used this concentrated balm every morning and every night since I've had it and it's gold!  Full review here.

Huggies Natural Care Wipes Refill:  These packs are the handiest things ever!  Need to quickly clean makeup off your hands?  Huggies!  Need to remove the rest of your eye makeup post-shower?  Huggies!  Need to quickly clean an eyeshadow brush?  Huggies!  The uses are infinite, and their compact size makes them easy to tuck into the shallowest of drawers or cabinets!

Lancome Teint Miracle in shade Buff 4C: Don't let the "Lit-from-Within" descritpion scare you if you have oily skin!  This is my favorite foundation.  It's a truly weightless formula with medium-buildable coverage.  It makes my skin look alive and well without making me look oily.  One of my best friends recently asked me for a foundation rec; she typically wears BB cream but wanted something with a bit more coverage for fancy occasions.  As I went through my mental inventory, this was the first thing that came to mind, and the one I ended up recommending.  It's just SO GOOD.  One tip: shake it up before each use to distribute the bioptic pigments evenly.  

L'Oreal Magic Souffle Blush in Plume:  This blush has the texture of whipped butter in the pot, and it melts into skin like, well...magic.  It goes from a souffle-like cream to a soft powder once you apply it to your cheeks, and the matte color stays locked in place all day like a dream.  Full review and swatches here.

MAC Mineralize Skin Finish Natural in Medium:  Never before has a makeup item made it into my daily routine faster than this!  I've wanted to try it for forever, but I feared it would leave too much of a sheen on my skin.  I'm so happy I decided to give it a whirl because it's everything I look for in a powder.  It sets my makeup perfectly, doesn't make my skin look oily, and it never cakes.  Full review coming soon!

MAC Mineralize Skinfinish Natural in Medium
MUA L1 Lip Brush and F1 Foundation Brush:  These brushes are fantastic!  The lip brush flips back inside it's case to protect the bristles, making it great to toss into your makeup bag.  If you've never used a lip brush, they're great for getting bolder lipsticks (NARS Schiap, I'm looking at you!) in place with more precision than applying them straight from the tube.  The foundation brush is nice and soft, but I'm not a huge fan of using brushes to apply base.  I am, however, quite fond of using this brush to apply face masks!  

Nivea Lip Butter:  AWESOMENESS in an adorable, portable tin!  I love these!  Not too slippery, deeply hydrating, and they never leave that unpleasant buildup on the inside of your lips.

Not Your Mothers Clean Freak Refreshing Dry Shampoo: This stuff smells great and works perfectly to absorb excess oil, allowing me to eek out an extra day between shampoos.  I like to spray a little around my hairline before bed and it really makes a difference the next morning!  It does go on white, but even in my dark brown hair it's completely undetectable after I work it in with my fingers.

Pacifica Lotus Garden Roll-On: The first thing I ever bought from Pacifica was the spray bottle of this perfume, and I loved it so much I later bought the rollerball version so I could keep it in my desk drawer at work.  It smells incredible; like a bushel of madarin oranges and something else I can't quite put my finger on.  It fades fast, like all citrus-based fragrances are prone to do, but this handy (and quite beautiful) rollerball makes for easy touch-ups.

Orly Sec 'N Dry: New favorite top coat!  It really does penetrate the layers of wet polish on your nails to dry them completely within minutes (about two).  It leaves a beautiful, glassy shine without getting gloopy or altering the color on your nails.

Sally Hansen Complete Salon Manicure in Back to the Fuchsia: As you can tell from the old bottle design, I've had this beaut for a few years.  I love the bright pink with a hint of fuchsia microshimmer any time of the year, but especially in the warmer months!  Two coats to full coverage.  Win!

Sally Hansen Hard As Nails Xtreme Wear in Lacey Lilac: This lovely pastel lilac is just one of those colors that screams spring, and you can't beat the quality and long-wearing toughness of the polishes in this line.

Urban Decay Glinda Palette: Oh, how I've wanted this palette!  I was so excited to pick it up at the Sephora VIB sale, but clearly so were a lot of other folks as it sold out online in record time.  Luckily, I was able to pick it up elsewhere and I'm so glad I did.  Eight beautiful eyeshadows, a travel size 24/7 Glide-On Eye Pencil, and a Super-Saturated High Gloss Lip Color?  Yes, please!  The shadows are of the quality I've come to expect from Urban Decay, the liner stays locked in place all day, and the Super-Saturated Lip Color in Glinda is a wonderful MLBB pink that's very comfortable to wear.  Full review with swatches here.

Wet n Wild Color Icon Bronzer SPF 15 in Bikini Contest:  This is the bronzer I'm wearing when people compliment my "tan" or ask me if I've been spending time outside!  I adore the giant pan; you can really swirl a bronzer brush through it without product flying everywhere, and the color is the perfect shade to add a believable sunny tone to my NW 20 skin.

What were some of your favorite April products?

Sunday, April 28, 2013

REVIEW! | MAC Pink Buttercream Pearlmatte Face Powder {Baking Beauties Collection}

MAC Pink Buttercream Pearlmatte Face Powder

Sometimes you just need a treat...and MAC is there for you, boo, with twenty four gorgeous, calorie-free options!  MAC's Baking Beauties collection for Summer 2013 (available now) is a color collection inspired by the artistry of cake decoration.  The collection consists of 2 Loose Glitter Pigments, 5 Pro Longwear Paint Pots, 1 Haute and Naughty Mascara, 4 Lipsticks, 5 Mineralize Tinted Lip Balms, 1 Lustre Drops liquid bronzer, 2 brushes, 3 Nail Lacquers, and 2 Pearlmatte Face Powders.
MAC Summer 2013 Baking Beauties Collection
The Pearlmattes were the two decadent items that made their way home with me, and today I'll be reviewing Pink Buttercream {Click here to see my In for a Treat review}.

MAC Pink Buttercream Pearlmatte Face Powder
I've only just discovered the magic of Pearlmattes during the Archie's Girls collection released earlier this year.  Depending on which shade you choose and the tone of your skin, these can be used as a highlighter, blush, or an all-over face powder to give you a glow.  Pearlmattes are not a permanent member of MAC's line, but they often pop up in limited edition collections and sell out fast!
MAC Pink Buttercream Pearlmatte Face Powder
Pink Buttercream, $30.00 USD for 0.42 oz, is described as a "light silvery pink base with dark pink flowers and periwinkle leaves."  The flowers and leaves are stamped into the powder and go all the way through, while the opalescent white border is an overspray that disappears completely after the first or second use. 
MAC Pink Buttercream Pearlmatte Face Powder
 I personally prefer the powder without the white border.  The first time I used it, the white shimmer overpowered the delicate pink powder and gave my skin an almost frosted finish.  Once the white border wore off after the second use, the powder became a lot more user-friendly in terms of a flattering color on my skin.  The result is a very light pink with a sheen finish that gives my NW 20 skin a soft glow.
MAC Pink Buttercream Pearlmatte Face Powder (NW 20 skin)
Some feel that Pink Buttercream is too light/cool for most skin tones but as a light-medium girl with neutral undertones, I think the coolness of the powder brings a little something fun to the table.  I also think it would look beautiful on darker skin as a highlighter.
MAC Pink Buttercream Pearlmatte Face Powder
MAC Pink Buttercream Pearlmatte Face Powder
Everyone is different, so I'd definitely recommend checking this powder out in person at a MAC counter near you if you're not sure how it will look on you.  You could also find a blogger with a similar skin tone to you if you don't have a MAC counter in your area.  I've tried to do the work for you, but I wasn't able to find anyone with Medium Dark to Deep Dark skin that's reviewed this product.  If you know of someone, let me know in the comments so I can add a link to their post!

Jessica / Beautezine - Fair / Light
Christine / Temptalia - Medium
Karen / Makeup & Beauty Blog - Warm Tan

This is limited edition, so if you want to frost your vanity table with Pink Buttercream, get it soon before it disappears from counters and MAC.com!

My Rating: A
Where to Buy: MAC

Friday, April 26, 2013

REVIEW! | Guerlain Teint Beige Meteorites Powder Compact

Guerlain Pressed Meteorites Powder Compact Shade 02 Teint Beige

If any of my fellow makeup nerds watch Homeland, you didn't miss the fact that the compact Carrie slipped to her informant Lynn Reed (containing the device to download the Prince's phone info, natch!) was a beauty from Guerlain.  The next time I was at Sephora, I spied a smaller version called the Guerlain Meteorites Powder Compact and was impressed by the softness of the powder.

Guerlain describes the Meteorites Powder Compact, $56.00 for 0.23 oz, as "velvety and silky smooth to the touch" and they are absolutely right! The texture of this powder is incredibly velvety and it takes down the shine that accumulates in my t-zone in the afternoon without feeling heavy or cakey.
Guerlain Teint Beige Meteorites Powder Compact
Guerlain Teint Beige Meteorites Powder Compact
Guerlain Meteorites Powder Compact is available in three shades: Teint Rose, Teint Beige, and Teint Dore.  Guerlain says Teint Beige is ideal for "mid-tone complexions", and though I normally land closer to the fair end of the spectrum (MAC NW 20, NARS Deauville), this shade suits my skin perfectly.  Because the coverage isn't heavy, I think this shade could easily suit someone slightly lighter or darker than me, but I'd hit up a counter if you have one nearby to test it out first.  The powder has the trademark Guerlain violet scent that is undetectable after a few minutes on the skin.
Guerlain Teint Beige Meteorites Powder Compact
Though it says it's "illuminating" and "mattifying", I don't see much of sheen on my face after I apply it.
Guerlain Teint Beige Meteorites Powder Compact
Guerlain Teint Beige Meteorites Powder Compact - Full Sun - NW 20 skin
For the price, you do get all the bells and whistles that come with a luxury brand product.  The compact contains an adorable white puff with a pink ribbon "handle" embossed with the company name.  It comes in a black velvet bag, ostensibly to protect it from getting scuffed in your bag.  The pan of powder is embossed with the same floral design found on the top of the compact.  The compact is made of metallic plastic that looks exactly like metal without the weight or the tendency to hold fingerprints, and the pink design on the top is just pretty, plain and simple.
Guerlain Teint Beige Meteorites Powder Compact
Guerlain Teint Beige Meteorites Powder Compact
The coverage is just the right amount for touch-ups, and the size of the compact (it fits in the palm of your hand and it's slimmer than most compacts) make it a perfect purse companion, even when you're carrying your smallest bag.

My Rating: A
Where to Buy: NordstromSephora

What's on your agenda this weekend?  In one year from today, my fiance and I will be getting married and I'm so excited!  It's 10:30 AM now, and in one year, I'll be sipping coffee and getting ready to be Mrs. Kristen Bartholomew by day's end.  I don't think of myself as a super girly girl who lives to discuss napkin colors and taffeta fabric with strangers at Costco, but thinking about marrying my very best friend in the world and celebrating with my very favorite people one year from today has me feeling giddy!  I hope you all have a great weekend!

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

REVIEW! | Vitamin E Active Moisture Eye Balm by Elizabeth Dehn for One Love Organics

Shea butter...I love it.  It banishes dryness like nothing else, and it's the star ingredient in the hand cream I use every night before bed.  After seeing posts from several of my favorite bloggers raving about the amazingness of a new eye product bursting with shea butter called Vitamin E Active Moisture Eye Balm, I was in.

Elizabeth Dehn, founder of BeautyBets.com, partnered with Suzanne LeReoux, co-founder of One Love Organics, to create the ultimate moisturizing line, and I think they've knocked it out of the park!
The Vitamin E Active Moisture Eye Balm, $48.00 for 0.5 oz, is a dense, waterless eye balm packed with vitamins, active antioxidants, pomegranate, eyebright, ginsing, fennel, and, of course, shea butter.  So much so that it's the first listed ingredient!  It is beyond rare to find an active ingredient listed first; it's typically water and/or slip agents.  Not here, people!  It's straight shea butter magic!  The fennel acts as a natural anti-inflammatory to help reduce puffiness, while the pomegranate, eyebright, and ginseng help achieve a more lifted look.
This balm smells so good.  It's like a jubilant fennel fiesta every time you open the jar.

In the a.m., I tap a tiny bit under my eyes to moisturize and reduce the morning puffalumps.  I've noticed my concealer has been going on smoother and not settling into my fine lines like it typically does.  This is thrilling for me, as concealer creasing is basically the norm!  In the evening, I apply it more liberally under my eyes and on any other dry patches on my face.  When I wake up the next morning, the skin around my eyes feels ridiculously soft and smooth.  It can be used anywhere that needs a hydration boost, like rough elbows or your lips.

Though 0.5 oz sounds small, the fact that this balm is so dense and concentrated means a little goes a long way which ensures it'll be a long time before you'll need to repurchase.
The customer service experience I had ordering from One Love Organics was fantastic.  They sent me a thank you email, provided me with a tracking number, the package arrived very quickly and it was packed with care.  They also included a pretty sweet-sized sample of the Vitamin C Active Moisture Serum, which was a really lovely surprise!
I really can't say enough about the Vitamin E Active Moisture Eye Balm by Elizabeth Dehn for One Love Organics!  It's an absolute gem!

Where to Buy: One Love Organics
EDIT: It is now September 1, 2014, and I STILL have easily 2-3 months left of product before it's all gone!  This is incredible!  I use this cream almost every night.  This little pot goes a LONG way!

EDIT #2: Just finished the pot!  It's April 19, 2015!!!

Sunday, April 21, 2013

Sunday Link Love

How was your Sunday?  I spent the afternoon taking pictures of some new products I'll be testing this week, and I can't believe the gorgeousness of this Dior Addict Gloss in Venus!  It's sparkly, non-sticky, unscented, and unflavored - amazing!  Did you pick up anything new this weekend?  I'm getting ready to head out with a couple of gals to see our friend Hilary's new house and have dinner.  I'm so excited!

Melissa from Kiss and Makeup shows you how to achieve the full dark brow look with easy to follow instructions!

Coco at The Beauty Milk talks about the new FTC disclosures for bloggers.

Check out the $20 Lorac GLOgetter palette with Lisa from Swatches and Whatnot // Makeup and Nail Polish

Alison at 10amBeauty breaks down Sephora's fragrance samplers (great deal alert)!

Did you catch Amber from Beauty Junkies Unite on HSN showing off an amazing tan thanks to Beautisol?  She did so well on live TV!  Beautisol seems like a must-have product for those seeking a sun-kissed look without the orange tone and awful smell that accompanies most self-tanners!

WIMB? | Office Edition

Some mornings just don't go your way.  Maybe your alarm didn't go off.  Maybe on your way out of the kitchen, you tripped and dumped the entire contents of your coffee mug down the front of your shirt.  Maybe your kids refused to get dressed or Felix and Fido got into a nasty brawl!  Life is full of surprises and all you can do is expect the unexpected.  There will be days when you're going to need to slap yourself together in record time in the office bathroom or behind the closed door of your office, so I think it's a great idea to keep a backup beauty bag in your desk drawer.  That way, you'll always have it if you need it and you won't have to spend time tossing what you need into a bag and taking it with you to work.  See also: forgetting makeup bag at work...thus causing more trouble for you the next morning when you remember and panic!  Here's what's in mine!

Goody Bobby Pin Storage Pack: 75 pins in a small flip top container = the best $2.50 I've ever spent!

L'Occitane Fleur Chérie Hand Cream: Any hand cream would work, but I'm partial to this one because it hydrates well, sinks in quickly, and smells like freshly washed laundry (one of my all-time favorite scents)!

Chloe Eau de Parfum mini: Though it's certainly not a necessity, having a mini or a rollerball of your favorite perfume is a great mood booster!

Cover Girl AquaSmooth Compact Foundation: This is a medium buildable coverage foundation that starts out as a cream and dries down to a matte powder finish when smoothed over the skin.  The fact that it's not a liquid (which may require a sponge or foundation brush for some) or a powder that could crack and leak all over the inside of your bag is a big plus.  It's sleek size and the included sponge that's tucked neatly away inside make it a great choice for a makeup bag.

Cover Girl Clean Pressed Powder (Normal Skin): It's never a bad idea to have a powder in your arsenal to tamp down the mid-day shine.  I love the clean Noxema scent of this one!

Cover Girl CG Smoothers Concealer: This thick concealer stick gets the job done, whether it's covering dark circles, redness, or blemishes.  The stick form is great because it's highly unlikely to break and leak in your bag.

Cover Girl Cheekers Blush in Pretty Peach: I remain convinced that the Cheekers Blushes are some of the best drugstore blushes out there!  This shade in particular is a nice peachy pink that would be flattering across many skin tones.  It comes with a brush but as you can see I misplaced mine, so I threw a small blush brush into my bag.

Maybelline Lash Discovery Mascara: I've been a fan of this mascara for years because the lash catching mini brush really grabs and coats every lash, which is important if you're as deficient as me in the eyelash department!  This mascara doesn't clump and the skinny brush really allows you to get in close to the lashline without accidentally bumping your eyelid and leaving a mess.

Speaking of makeup messes, though it's not pictured, I always have a travel pack of Huggies Wipes handy at work and at home.  They are SO convenient and great for cleaning foundation off your hands or fixing any makeup mishaps (like mascara smudges)!

Rimmel Exaggerate Waterproof Eye Definer in Sable: This is a great twist-up pencil liner that stays put all day.  You may not have time for 4-step eyes, but liner's quick and has a big impact at defining your eyes.

Jack Black Intense Therapy Lip Balm SPF 25: Everyone needs a lip balm they can count on!  That's my slogan!  For me, Jack Black's my main squeeze. ;)  If you're more of a lipstick or gloss person, it can't hurt to keep a spare of your favorite shade in your work beauty bag.

I also threw in an eyelash curler because my straight lashes are invisible without using one!

What's in your work beauty bag?  What do you reach for most during the work day? 

Thursday, April 18, 2013

REVIEW! |Hard Candy Sky Just Nails Nail Color

Hard Candy Sky Just Nails Nail Color is a very light pastel blue with iridescent blue micro shimmer.  I like how the shimmer gives this color a little dash of pizzazz on the nail! 
Hard Candy Sky Just Nails Nail Color - Flash
Hard Candy Sky Just Nails Nail Color - Flash
Hard Candy Sky Just Nails Nail Color
The formula hung in for five days without showing many signs of wear at all!  The formula was smooth and easy to apply; like most pale polish, the first coat was rather streaky but the coverage was opaque after three coats.  

I remember when this shade was crazy popular back in the 90’s after Alicia Silverstone revealed that she was wearing it on Late Night with David Letterman.  I appreciate the fact that the brand still includes a plastic ring on every polish like they have from the start.  All these years later, this pretty pale blue is still a cult favorite, and it's now available at Walmart for a steal of a price!   

My Rating: A
Disclosure: Purchased
Cost: $4.00
Where to Buy: Walmart

Sunday, April 14, 2013

REVIEW! | MUA Undressed Palette + Undress Me Too Palette

MUA Undressed (black) and Undress Me Too (white) Palettes
Looking for great dupes of Urban Decay's famous Naked and Naked2 palettes for a fraction of the $50 price tag?  These £4.00 (about $6.14 USD/$6.22 CAD) palettes from Makeup Academy (MUA) may be just the ticket!

I first came across MUA palettes whilst perusing FOTD (face of the day) posts on Instagram.  Makeup Academy (MUA) is a quality range of affordable cosmetics sold online and at Superdrug locations in the United Kingdom.  According to the MUA site, "...consumers can buy amazing palettes, foundations and primers all for under £4!"  MUA ships internationally for a flat-rate of £7.95 (about $11.51 USD/$11.66 CAD).

MUA Undressed Palette
The funny thing is, I ordered the Undressed palette by mistake!  I wanted the Undress Me Too palette, known 'round the internets as a fantastic dupe for Urban Decay's Naked2 palette.  I had both palettes in my cart and deleted Undressed at the last minute.  Except I didn't...I deleted Undress Me Too!  When I received Undressed, I checked my order and sure enough, I'd ordered the wrong palette.  The thing is, Undressed was so beautiful, compact, and affordable, I decided to keep it and try out some of the shadows.  I am SO glad I made this mistake because this palette has become an absolute favorite!
MUA Undressed Palette  
MUA Undressed Palette
MUA Undressed Palette
Undressed is a twelve pan palette consisting of neutral colors in matte and shimmer formulas.  For the price, these shadows come out to about .50 cents USD each!  My palette contained two pans of shade 6, a shimmering burnished gold; looks like I should have received shade 5, a dead-ringer for UD's Buck.
MUA Undressed Palette
So...is Undressed really a dupe for the Naked palette?  YES!  I've had my Naked palette for years and Undressed is just as good.  The only difference I've found between Undressed and Naked are Urban Decay's mattes are slightly richer.  That's all, folks! I actually like MUA's shade 12 (blue-gray with a silvery sheen) better than UD Creep.  Worn with primer, these shadows last from dawn til dusk without fading or creasing.  The compact size of the Undressed palette makes it even more of a favorite as it tucks easily into drawers and bags without eating up much space.
MUA Undressed (top), UD Naked (bottom)
MUA Undressed (top), UD Naked (bottom)
Size comparison (Naked, Undressed)
Size comparison (Naked, Undress Me Too, Undressed)
Undress Me Too Palette
Naked Palette
Undress Me Too is a twelve pan neutral palette that contains cooler tones, much like UD's Naked2.  I can't do a side by side comparison for this one though, as I don't own Naked2.  After using Undress Me Too, I don't really see the need to buy Naked2.  Coming from a devoted UD eyeshadow lover, this really speaks to the quality and value of MUA's palettes!  Both palettes come with a double-ended sponge applicator.  The shadows in Undress Me Too all have names listed on the back whereas the shades are labeled by number only on the Undressed palette.
MUA Undress Me Too
MUA Undress Me Too
MUA Undress Me Too
MUA Undress Me Too
MUA Undress Me Too - Swatched on NW 20 skin - Flash
MUA Undress Me Too
With the GBP to USD conversion, these palettes will cost you about $6.00 each.  That's more than a $40.00 savings over the price of the Naked or Naked2 palettes (minus shipping charges).  Plus, MUA frequently has sales on their site that make these palettes even more irresistible.  The day I returned to the site to order the Undress Me Too palette, they had it (and Undressed) on sale for £3, which converted to about $4.60 USD!  For this price, you could own both palettes for under $10.00 (versus Naked and Naked2, which would set you back $100)!

If you like neutrals, you should definitely pick up both Undressed and Undress Me Too.  These palettes are the definition of a quality product at an unbelievably affordable price!

My Rating: A+
Disclosure: Purchased.
Where to Buy: MUA