Thursday, July 30, 2015

Review! | Dior DiorSkin Nude Air Serum Foundation SPF 20 (30 Medium Beige)

Sometimes I find it more challenging to write reviews when I'm head over heels for something and it falls in step instantly as part of my routine like it was always there to begin with.  I feel under equipped to give it it's proper credit somehow.  When it comes to foundations, Dior's DiorSkin Nude Air Serum Foundation SPF20 is so good, I want to serenade it with gems from the original 90210 soundtrack.  Jamie Walters' "How Do You Talk to an Angel?" comes to mind.  "Tell me, tell me, the words to define, the way I feel about someone so fine..."
Nude Air is a delight.  It's so versatile.  The coverage is what you make of it.  Use a damp Beauty Blender for medium, or apply it with finger tips or a brush (I love using the Pixi Full Cover Foundation Brush) for full.  No matter how I apply it, it feels completely weightless.  I often forget I'm wearing foundation, which is why Nude Air has been a constant companion for me this summer.  I'd say it has a natural matte finish.  I haven't used powder once to set it and yet it holds up to heat and humidity like a boss.  Most days, I don't even have to resort to oil blotting sheets or my purse compact.  It always looks as if I've just put it on.
Color-wise, I think 30 Medium Beige is a good match for my NW25 summer skin but it will definitely be too warm and yellow-based for fall and winter when my tan has faded into oblivion.  Luckily, it's available in 8 shades ranging from 10 Ivory to 60 Mocha so finding my cool weather color match shouldn't be too troubling.  The SPF 20 in the foundation has never caused me the dreaded white cast in flash photography, so I think it's a great option for special events.  In fact, I'm planning to wear it to one of my best friends' weddings next month in New York City because I know I can count on it for great coverage and staying power and not worry about flashback.
As far as comparisons to other foundations I've tried, Nude Air reminds me most of another favorite, Maybelline Dream Wonder Fluid-Touch Foundation.  Dior's formula is a little runnier and the dispenser is a true squeeze dropper, where Maybelline's is more of a spatula that has to be wiped onto the back of the hand or a mixing palette prior to application.  Nude Air is a little neater, but overall the formulas and finish are similar and I get great results with both.  As with any serum foundation, shake well before each use to ensure it's mixed and ready to roll.  I like to pinch the dropper a few times to make sure I'm getting the newly mixed foundation into the dispenser.
Bottle longevity-wise, I purchased Nude Air at the end of March and I think I can make it to mid-August before I've used up the bottle.  Four and a half months is pretty good to me, especially since I've used it almost exclusively since I got it.
I know serum foundations can be tricky for people with dry complexions as the thin formulas tend to catch on flakes and dry patches in a not-so-flattering manner.  If you're dry or have dry patches, try Nude Air on and see how it works for you before committing to a full bottle purchase.  If you have combination or oily skin (like me), I think you'll find the thin, breathable formula to be a real peach!  It is so hard to find a foundation that doesn't slide off your face in hot weather when you have oily skin.  Nude Air has been a wonder!

Considering it and need to read ALL OF THE REVIEWS?  Don't miss these!

Cost: $53.00 USD

Sunday, July 26, 2015

FIVE FAVE! | Lip Balms

Ah, lip balms.  My constant companion since childhood.  I still remember the excitement of opening a new Bonne Bell Lip Smacker or swiping on a coat of the refreshingly zingy Blistex Medicated Lip Balm as a little girl.  That being said, I've tried hundreds of lip balms in my life.  The following five have exceeded my expectations and have all been repurchased time and time again.

Bite Beauty Agave Lip Mask
My holy grail, ride-or-die, fave of life.  Agave Lip Mask is a super thick repairing salve.  I use this night and day, and I will re-buy-til-I-die. ;)

Glossier Balm Dotcom 
This is another thick, nutritious balm that lasts overnight.  It's unscented and taste-free, packed with extracts of cupuacu, rice bran and rosemary leaf, and the .5 oz tube lasts eons.

Aquaphor Advanced Therapy Healing Ointment
An absolute multi-use staple.  I'll always be loyal to Aquaphor because it healed the seatbelt bite I got from a car accident several years ago in about 3 days.  It looked like I fell off a skateboard and landed on my chest.  By day 3, it was almost entirely healed.  On day 5: what abrasions? :)

C.O. Bigelow My Favorite Night Balm
SO SMOOOOOTH.  Smells like vanilla cake.  Lasts overnight. What's not to love?  Big thanks to Tiffany for recommending this!

Bobbi Brown Lip Balm
Formulated with wheat germ, avocado and olive oils, this the spirit sister of Dior Crème de Rose.  They're similar in that they're both rose-scented and long-lasting on the lips, but Bobbi's rose scent is softer and less noticeable and the balm itself is creamier.  Oh and it's $8 cheaper than the Dior.

It was really hard for me to narrow this list down to five, and I just can't publish it without mentioning two other loves that are long-standing favorites: MAC Lip Conditioner (Tube) and Nivea Lip Butters (Review).  This post was inspired by Tiffany at Will Work For Makeup who recently shared her favorites.  I tip my hat to Tiffany not only for inspiring me to share my balm loves, but for introducing me to My Favorite Night Balm which quickly ascended through the balm rankings to make my Top Five list!

What are some of your all-time favorite lip balms?

Sunday, July 19, 2015

Collection! | Purple Polishes

I've been slowly working on a little organization project.  I'm grouping my polishes together, painting each color on a nail wheel and writing the names on the back.  This way, I have an at-a-glance inventory of what each polish looks like once it's dry.  I can also just hold the wheel up to my own nail to see what a color looks like on me and pick a polish in a snap.  Swatching the polishes on nail wheels helps me pare down to the colors that really sing to me (Milani Orchidia, you're stunning!) and donate the ones that don't to friends and family.  I thought it might be fun to share my freshly categorized polishes with you along the way!  Purple is definitely one of my absolute favorite polish colors, so I have collected quite a few over the years.  Two coats of polish were applied to each nail, and no base or top coat was used.  Enjoy!

L to R: Sally Hansen Pep-Plum, Maybelline Fuchsia Fever, Revlon Up the Ante, L'Oreal Violette, Essie Splash of Grenadine, Maybelline Lust for Lilac, L'Oreal Hint of Lavender, Chanel Sweet Lilac, Essie Go Ginza, NCLA Let Them Eat Cake, Sally Hansen Grape Gatsby, Milani Orchidia, NCLA Pick Me Up at Melrose Place, Wet n Wild On A Trip, CoverGirl Vio-Last
Grape Gatsby | Orchidia | Pick Me Up at Melrose Place | On A Trip | Vio-Last
Grape Gatsby | Orchidia | Pick Me Up at Melrose Place | On A Trip | Vio-Last 
Splash of Grenadine | Lust for Lilac | Hint of Lavender | Sweet Lilac | Go Ginza | Let Them Eat Cake
Splash of Grenadine | Lust for Lilac | Hint of Lavender | Sweet Lilac | Go Ginza | Let Them Eat Cake
Pep-Plum | Fuchsia Fever | Up the Ante | Violette
Pep-Plum | Fuchsia Fever | Up the Ante | Violette

What color is most heavily represented in your polish stash?

Sunday, July 12, 2015

Review! | Ulta 3-in-1 Beauty Smoothie in Buttercream Cupcake

What's your favorite type of scent for body wash?  The two types I love most are gourmands and super fresh "clean" scents.  After reading Torey / Beauty & Beatitudes' review of Ulta's Buttercream Cupcake Scrub, I decided it was high time I investigated the Ulta house brand's bath and body offerings.
Ulta's 3-in-1 Beauty Smoothies can be used as a body wash, bubble bath, and shampoo, and come in a variety of scents.  The formula contains an antioxidant complex of acai, goji berry and mangosteen super fruits that leave my skin feeling soft and conditioned.  I've used it as a shampoo and it works fine, but I already have a shampoo rotation I love, so I mainly use the Beauty Smoothie as a shower gel.  The Buttercream Cupcake scent is DELICIOUS.  Like showering amidst several dozen fresh baked vanilla cupcakes.  Y'all know my obsession for Bath & Body Works' Vanilla Bean Noel is real, but I'm prepared to say that I prefer Ulta's Buttercream Cupcake!  Plus, I can get Buttercream Cupcake year-round, versus Vanilla Bean Noel which is only available around the holidays.
The other thing I love about Beauty Smoothies?  You get a SOLID amount.  You can choose the 16 ounce size for $12.00 USD or the 24 ounce size for $16.00 USD.  In comparison, Bath & Body Works Shower Gels are 10 ounces for $12.50 USD.  Since I had such a positive experience with Buttercream Cupcake, I picked up Creamy Cocolada, Strawberries & Champagne, and Coconut Lime Cooler during a BOGO sale and love them all.
I have to say a big thanks to Torey.  Without her mention and glowing review of Ulta's Buttercream Cupcake Body Scrub (which I purchased and LOVE), I may have overlooked the bath and shower products from Ulta's house brand.  Long story long, the Ulta 3-in-1 Beauty Smoothies are really nice, luxurious shower enhancers and should definitely be on your radar.

Beauty Influencer’s Sunday Column Vol.11: ​How do you ensure your makeup stay flawless all day?

BISC Vol.11
How do you ensure your makeup stay flawless all day?
BISC Vol.11 Authors
KRISTEN | USA | Glambunctious
In the heat and humidity of summer, my face gets much oilier so my routine is different than in the winter.  I cleanse my face in the morning with a cleanser containing kaolin clay, then I apply a serum foundation if I’m going out. My skin gets the tiny amount of moisture it needs from the foundation and stays pretty shine-free throughout the day. For years I applied moisturizer like all the experts recommend, and I’d wind up mopping oil off my face all day with blotting sheets and powder. My advice: you don’t have to follow “the rules.” Experiment!
MELISSA | Switzerland | Kiss & Make-up
One of my biggest make-up must-haves is a translucent setting powder that I can reapply throughout the day to take away shine and excess oil. Without it my face turns into a total oil slick after a couple of hours and whatever face make-up I applied in the morning will just slide off. To ensure that my eye make-up stays put from AM to PM I make sure that I don’t apply any skincare on my eyelids and I always use a good primer before applying my eyeshadow. As far as lips go I don’t mind touching up during the day, so I don’t really take any special measures there.
RAE | Canada | the Notice: a beauty blog
I’m not one for touchups, so I like to pick only products that (a) basically stay on until you die or (b) still look great as they fade. For base products, that means using only extremely pigmented products (like the Kevin Aucoin Sensual Skin Enhancer or theBalm timeBalm Concealer), using them sparingly, and buffing them REALLY REALLY WELL into the skin, followed by mineral powder concealer (for blemishes) and a setting powder.
For flawless eye makeup, I always wear tubing mascara (currently: Déjàvu Lash Up) and wear only gel or liquid liners.
SHEILA | Canada | Maddy Loves
I have dehydrated skin so I start off with properly moisturizing my skin so that foundation won’t “flake” off. I love using a non-silicone primer such as Make Up For Ever Step 1 Skin Equalizer, followed by my foundation of choice (currently Guerlain Meteorites Baby Glow), topped with a light dusting of Hourglass Ambient Lighting Powder in Dim Light for a bit of glow and oil control. Throughout the day, I blot whenever I feel a bit of oil surfacing, and then I reapply powder if needed. On eyes, I use an eye primer to help eyeshadow stay vibrant, longer.
JAA | Thailand | Hello Jaa
For face, I blot excess shine from my skincare before following with a mattifying primer such as the Hourglass Veil Mineral Primer. Next I apply a long-lasting base using a Beautyblender and really press it in the skin. I always finish everything off with a light dusting of loose powder. For eyes, I prime with a slightly matte eye primer before I do my eye makeup. For lips, I apply a lip liner all over the lips as a base for my lipstick. I also like to keep blotting sheets handy to get rid of excess oil when needed without disturbing my makeup.

[Interested in joining BISC Network? Send your request to jaa*at*]

Wednesday, July 8, 2015

EMPTIES! #8 | June 2015

Here's what I finished in June!

Aveeno Ultra-Calming Makeup Removing Wipes
I used these primarily to wipe off swatches and foundation/concealer from my hands after doing my makeup in the morning.  I didn't like the sticky film it left behind on my skin.  I prefer Huggies!  Wipes, of course.  Not the diapers, lol!

Bite Beauty Agave Lip Mask | Best of 2014 - Lips
You guys know how deep my love for this ultra repairing magic balm goes!  This is probably tube number 4 or 5.  I used some of my birthday gift cards to repurchase 2 of these, so now I have one for my bedside table and one in my purse.  I feel so luxurious. ;)

Boscia Konjac Cleansing Sponge with Deep Hydrating Clay
LOVE!  Konjac cleansing sponges are these amazing little skincare tools that start out hard as a rock. You run them under the faucet like you would with a new kitchen sponge and the konjac, a type of plant root, softens into this pliable, ultra squishy sponge.  Apply your favorite cleanser and massage it into your face using the konjac.  It doubles in size when it's wet and helps deep cleanse the skin without any abrasiveness.  I'm now using a regular Boscia Konjac Cleansing Sponge.  These cost $15 USD at Sephora and last me about 3 months.  Konjac sponges are fabulous, especially if your skin is too sensitive to use cleansing brushes or abrasive wash cloths.

First Aid Beauty 5 Day Ultra Repair Cream Moisture Challenge (Sephora GWP)
This little box of 10 foil packets of FAB's Ultra Repair Cream was one of the best GWPs ever.  It was love at first use!  I'm about to finish my first 2 ounce tube and I've already purchased another.  This cream hydrates deeply without being greasy, and leaves the skin feeling unbelievably silky.  The 6 ounce tub will be mine this fall when daily lotionization is a must.  Right now I'm using this primarily as a hand cream and occasionally on my face.  It's never broken my face out, which amazes me.  You can pick up a 1 ounce foil tube for $6.50 from Sephora.  You will not regret it!
Garnier Clean+ Nourishing Cleansing Oil | Review & Demo
I love this cleansing oil and have repurchased it time after time.  It works beautifully; it leaves my skin hydrated, removes my makeup with ease, and costs $5.99 USD at my local drugstore.  I prefer it to MAC Cleanse-Off Oil and Josie Maran's Argan Cleansing Oil.

Huggies Natural Care Wipes
Simplicity.  These fragrance-free wipes are awesome for cleaning up the hands after applying makeup, or removing the remnants of liner under the eyes after a shower.

L'Oreal Waterproof Miss Manga Mascara
Lovely!  Just like the non-WP Miss Manga, this separates and lengthens beautifully and the natural bristle brush works perfectly for my small eyes.  This lasts through hours of sweating and swimming and doesn't budge.

L'Oreal Miss Manga Rock Mascara
No.  This is a totally different mascara than the OG Miss Manga.  It should have it's own independent name and not be associated with Miss Manga.  Miss Manga Rock has a silicone brush and a mousse-like formula.  It clumped like a mofo on me and the brush deposited WAY too much mascara.
Maybelline Master Shape Brow Pencil 
There's a reason these pencils have been popping up on the blog since 2013: I love them and will repurchase them again and again.  They have a waxy quality which helps coax a little life into my very paltry brow situation and I love the built-in spoolie.  I also love that I can pick one up anywhere and they only cost about $7 bucks (USD).

Maybelline Pumped Up! Colossal Volum' Express Mascara
This used to be such a favorite of mine, but I've had issues with the last few tubes I've bought.  They've all dried out and become almost crumbly in record time.  I prefer L'Oreal Miss Manga as the brush works a bit better for my small eyes and the formula is much more consistent.

Osmia Organics Detox Exfoliating Mask
I loved this powder mask.  It comes with a ceramic bowl and you mix the mask with water, manuka honey or yogurt and apply it to your face.  It's dry in 10-20 minutes.  You splash your face with water and begin massaging it in circular motions to exfoliate as you remove it.  It leaves your skin pink and glowing, and has never caused me to break out.  I've had this bottle since February 2014, so it definitely lasts for many, many masking sessions.  I would definitely repurchase this!

Revlon ColorStay Moisture Stain in Cannes Crush and Shanghai Sizzle | Review
I haven't worn these in awhile and when I opened Shanghai Sizzle, it smelled funny and the texture had changed.  I checked Cannes Crush and it was the same story.  Bidding these adieu!
What have you finished lately?

Sunday, July 5, 2015

Loves & Lemons | June 2015

What is Loves & Lemons?  A compilation of the best - and worst - products that I encountered during the previous month.  Read on to see what I loved and what didn't quite measure up!  Be sure to share your loves and lemons in the comments below!

Bite Beauty Butter Cream Lipstick in Pecan | Review
This beautiful MLBB pink has been in heavy rotation this month.  The ultra creamy formula delivers full opacity without being drying.  A true lip treat!

JASÖN Calming Lavender Body Wash
Such a beautiful, tranquil scent; I look forward to using this every evening.  It soothes the senses and the skin with natural lavender and marigold extracts and nourishes with vitamin E and pro-vitamin B5.  I really do feel like this calms my nerves.  The scent lingers on the skin post-shower in the lightest, loveliest way.  I will definitely be purchasing the matching hand & body lotion A.S.A.P.  Shout out to Hannah / Gold Glitter Diaries for convincing me to buy this dreamy body wash!

NAILS INC. NAILKALE Superfood Base Coat
My mom introduced me to NAILS INC. a few years ago.  She dug their Caviar Top Coat for it's thick, glass-like finish and 45-second dry down.  I decided to try their anti-oxidant rich NAILKALE Superfood Base Coat when it was time for a new bottle of base.  Staining has been a huge problem for me in the past as I lurve my bold blues and reds.  I've been using the Superfood Base Coat for about 3 months now and my problems with staining are OVER. My nails are stronger; no breaking, splitting or peeling.  The Superfood Base Coat is the only thing I've changed in my home manicure routine, so I'm giving it all the cred!

Smith & Cult Birdie Num Num | Review
This polish is gorgeous both in formula and bottle design.  For me, there's nothing more summery than azure blue nail polish to remind me of clear, sunny skies!

Too Faced Semi-Sweet Chocolate Bar
Why I felt like I didn't need this palette when it debuted, I'll never know.  My friend Sarah / Tatt2s and Warpaint sent it to me after she did a major stash decluttering and I've used it nearly every day!  Nougat and Peanut Butter are the most amazing matte crease shades.  I love swiping Pudding or Rum Raisin on my lids and darkening the outer v with Hot Fudge for a super easy brown smoky eye.  Thank you for sending me this gem, Sarah!

Clinique Take the Day Off Cleansing Milk
This slayed my eyes.  I started thinking of it as the Take Your Eyes Off Cleansing Milk.  My eyes burned like a grease fire at Hardee's every time I used this.

Maybelline Eye Studio Master Precise Ink Eyeliner
I can only eke out a blip of a line on my lid before the brush tip runs out of juice.  I've tried getting the brush working on the back of my hand first and it still nets the same results on the lid.  This thing has no flow.  My LORAC Front of the Line PRO Liquid Eyeliner is around 2 years old and flows with perfection.  I bought this to replace the LORAC since it's so old, but the LORAC made the Maybelline look like a complete fool.  What's your favorite pen-style liquid liner?

NARS Audacious Lipstick in Anita | Review
While the shade is lovely and the pigmentation is unstoppable, the dry, powdery texture is just not my cup of tea.

What were your June Loves & Lemons?

Wednesday, July 1, 2015

Review! | Smith & Cult Birdie Num Num Nailed Lacquer

This stunning bottle looks like a couture perfume, but the awesome doesn't end there.  The formula is divine!  Birdie Num Num is an opaque turquoise blue with one coat coverage.  My mom gifted me this little beauty for my birthday last month, and I see it being a gateway polish into more beauties from Smith & Cult.

Fun Fact: Smith & Cult was created by Dineh Mohajer, who also co-created Hard Candy back in the mid-'90s with her sister.  In 1995, Hard Candy Sky nail polish sold out in record time after Clueless's reigning teen queen Alicia Silverstone revealed it was the polish she was wearing on the Late Show with David Letterman. :)

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