Month: March 2014

Happy Spring with Butter London!

Today is the first day of Spring! I couldn’t be happier, as the winter has been particularly nasty. I can’t wait for it to warm up. To get in the seasonal mood, I coated my nails with the perfect segue into spring shade, Butter London’s Sprog. The formula is divine, 3-free and smooth as, well, butter! What shades are you rocking to get you in the mood for spring?

This is my own photo.

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Rimmel London Glam’Eyes Quad Eyeshadow in Afternoon Tea Review + Swatches

Image via Kmart

Anyone who knows me knows I love my bright colors. I’d much rather experiment with my look than play it safe. Which is why I was so surprised I fell in love with this Rimmel shadow quad in Afternoon Tea, a set of four, wearable, daytime colors.

On the back of the package, Rimmel assigned each shade a number. 1 is the left shade, a cool, semi-sheer champagne with a satin finish. This one is the most “shimmery”, but it’s not a true shimmer finish. This looked very natural on the lid, almost like my real skin but without the veins and redness peeking through. 2 is the right-hand shade, a warm, chocolate brown with a satin finish. This was one of the more pigmented shades in the quad. 3 is the bottom shade, and probably my favorite. It’s a matte camel brown that goes on very light. It’s not sheer or patchy, it’s just not as intense as it looks. It makes for the perfect natural brow highlight–it adds so much lift and polish to the eyes. The last shade, 4, the top shade, is a cool matte dark brown that was also quite pigmented. So not the most unique shades, but reliable go-tos. (4/5)


All four shades wore well. After 7 hours (with primer), shades 2 and 4 looked a bit faded. Without primer, all four shades looked faded at this point, with the 2nd shade showing signs of wearing off as early as 2 hours. (4/5)


I thought all four shades were good quality for drugstore. None were too dry and none had fallout. The 2nd shade had some powder kickup in the pan, but it wasn’t powdery on the lid. However, the 2nd shade in particular blended like a dream (none were hard to blend, though). The 4th shade was quite pigmented, so it’s better to use a bit of a lighter hand, but I’ll always take more pigment than less any day! (4.5/5)


The shades come in triangular pans in a black plastic compact that includes a sponge tipped applicator. The packaging is average, doesn’t feel too cheap but is nothing luxurious. It feels durable enough to not crack during travel and isn’t too large that it becomes cumbersome to store. My only gripe is that the pans are a bit small; an average-sized brush easily takes up the whole pan, so you have to rub a bit awkwardly to get the shadow on there. (4/5)


I got mine at Ulta for $5.99 USD. The quad contains 0.15 oz of shadow. An average single shadow is  0.05 oz of product, so you’re getting a bit less (less than 0.04 oz) in each pan. However, you’re paying about $1.50 for each shade, and these are quality, go-to shadows that we tend to get a lot of use out of. I definitely think the price is a bargain, even despite the slightly lesser product weight. (You’re getting less but paying less, so it cancels out). (5/5)

Wow Factor:

As I’ve mentioned, I love my bright colors, but I was stunned by how much I loved this quad. The effortlessness is there, which is what makes it such an easy go-to. Shade 1 looks so natural on my skin, shade 3 is such a perfect highlight, and I imagine it’ll work great for those who like to use a shade like this to help blend two other colors as well. Shades 2 and 4 are on the more pigmented side, and have different undertones and depth, so it doesn’t feel like two boring, basic browns. Sure it’s dupeable, but I do agree everyone needs a good daytime palette on-hand, and I think I’ve found mine. (4/5)

Useful Information:

-Rimmel and it’s parent company do not test on animals, except where mandated by law.
-Rimmel products are available at drugstores and Ulta.


I adore this quad and think it’s great and useful. Darker skin tones may find it a bit too light, so I don’t think it’s universal. But if you think the shades work for you, I recommend trying it. They’re affordable, easy to find, good quality, wear well, and have you covered for most settings (the look they suggest on the back of the palette is great for daytime-school or work-but a little extra of the brown shades and you’ve got yourself a nighttime eye). But the pans are small, there’s a little less product than normal, and it didn’t quite make it all the way with wear or uniqueness. 4.2 (B)

Sorry for the low quality!

This is my own photo.

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Gorgeous Greens on St. Patrick’s Day

Green is my favorite color, so I love when an occasion, like St. Patty’s Day, comes around, spurring others to join in on my love for the shade, too. If you want to get into the holiday spirit but aren’t sure where to start, here are my recs (last year I gave a solo shout out to Urban Decay’s Kush eyeshadow. You can read the review here).

1) China Glaze Four Leaf Clover:

Image via mkbeautyclub

The real thing looks much greener than in the picture above. It’s a true, kelly green, perfect for the holiday. It’s the exact shade one thinks of when they think of St. Patrick’s Day, making it the perfect polish for the celebrations. It’s also nearly opaque in one coat and applies like a dream.
2) Urban Decay 24-7 Glide-On Eye Pencil in Junkie:
Image via Sephora

Of all the products I reviewed last year, this one was far and away my favorite. It was also one of the few items to receive a perfect score! UD describes Junkie as a teal, but it’s not, it’s more of a lovely, jade green. I think it’ll be lovely on many skin types, as the rich jewel tone is lovely, but the gold shimmer in it will warm it up on warmer skin tones. This pencil is festive, high quality, and will last you the night.
These are my favorite greens in my collection, but let me know what you’re wearing tonight! If you’re going out, please be safe and responsible. Cheers!

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Beauty Snapshot: Estee Lauder

Image via nymag

Who: Estee & Joseph Lauder
What: A mid-range, mature, fully-developed line of cosmetics, skincare, and fragrances.
Where: Manhattan, New York
When: 1946
Estee Lauder might seem like a brand that’s known for their exceptional fragrances, but their cosmetics deserve a second look. Countless times I’ve seen Double Wear Stay In Place Liquid Makeup recommended to those looking for a great, full-coverage base. Also, despite being (on the high end of) mid-range, their packaging is elegant and expensive looking, all glass bottles and gold detailing.
Image via Nordstrom

The brand has also had some famous beauties representing their products, including Paulina Porizkova, Elizabeth Hurley, Anja Rubik, Gwenyth Paltrow, and Constance Jablonski (shown in the ad above).
Estee Lauder products are available on their website and in department stores like Nordstrom.

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PV’s 1st Birthday!

Today marks my first year as a beauty blogger! I couldn’t be more thrilled. I’ve had so many fun experiences working on this blog, such as going through my old products and rediscovering old loves, profiling beautiful celebrities who do good and look good, peeking into celeb’s makeup bags, and connecting with other bloggers on Bloglovin and Twitter. Unfortunately, I don’t have the means to do a giveaway, but I still want to take the time to personally thank each and every one of you who’ve read or commented on my posts, followed on Bloglovin, Twitter, or Tumblr, or otherwise reached out to me. I love what I do on this blog and appreciate everyone who takes the time to participate by reading along!

I look forward to posting more, interacting with all of you, and continuing more years of fun blogging! Thanks again so much for making the past year so much fun and so meaningful.

Julia @ Peak Volume medianet_width=’600′; medianet_height= ‘250’; medianet_crid=’228266391′;

Beauty Babe: Troian Bellisario

I love, love, love Troian Bellisario. I admit, I’m addicted to Pretty Little Liars, where Troian (pronounced troy-in) plays smart, perfectionist Spencer Hastings. But it’s not just her likable character on the show that draws people to her. She’s just as endearing out of character. In the February issue of Seventeen this year, she bravely opened up about her struggles with an eating disorder and self-harm that she experienced in high school. She’s incredibly humble and grateful to her fans about their support of her on PLL, but she also asks them to take their support a bit further, by reaching out to the Bright Students, Big Ideas campaign on the site donorschoose. Donations to the site help fund education topics that students really want, such as providing copies of To Kill A Mockingbird to an 8th grade class in the Bronx, and microscopes for a 7th grade science class in Detroit.

When it comes to her personal look, Troain has stated that she prefers a more natural look, although she did mention in Seventeen that she loves “piling on my black eyeliner.” She’s been spotted wearing MAC Liquid Eyeliner in Boot Black on the red carpet. Like all the PLL girls, who’s fashionable looks on the show are clothes the audience can actually wear, Troian’s cosmetics are reasonably priced (and often beauty fan favorites) as well: Urban Decay Complexion Primer Potion, Benefit Dandelion Blush, MAKE UP FOR EVER HD  Mirco Finish Powder, and MAC Lipstick. medianet_width=’600′; medianet_height= ‘250’; medianet_crid=’228266391′;

ELF Hypershine Lip Gloss in Fairy Review

Image via Allure

ELF is a brand I admittedly overlook. But my mother picked this gloss up for me, so naturally I gave it a shot. I was pleasantly surprised with how it turned out!

This Hypershine gloss is in the shade Fairy. On my (more pigmented) lips, it showed up as a sheer, pinky-peach with nearly imperceptible shimmer. It’s not super-unique (although I don’t think it was meant to be), and with it’s sheerness, you may have something like this already. I’m not a big gloss person, though, so I do like reaching for this on natural days or when I want to balance out a colorful eye (3/5)


Glosses in general aren’t very long-wearing, and the sheerer ones tend to fade even quicker. But despite it’s thin opacity, Fairy lasted a good two and a half hours on me (and still felt a bit residual at this point). The gloss looked shiny for a full hour, but after that, the glossiness began to wean, though. (4.5/5)


This gloss has a thicker, tackier formula. It’s not as thick as MAC Lipglass, but just a notch below. Despite this, it went on very smoothly and didn’t settle into lip lines. The product claims to have a “wet, glasslike shine” and “beautiful, sheer, wearable color.” I found it delivered fully on both! This definitely packs a lot of shine, so if you favor a glossy look more than opacity, this will be right up your alley. (5/5)


Hypershine glosses come packaged in a twist-up pen with an attached, synthetic brush-on applicator. The bristles feel synthetic, but not plasticky, and they’re much more dense than I expected. I did like the way the brush bristles applied the gloss on the lips–the clicking keeps you from applying too much. A lot of people don’t like this type of packaging, though, because the applicator is tough to clean. (4/5)

These glosses contain 0.05 oz of product, which is pretty tiny compared to average glosses (MAC’s, for example, contain 0.17 oz–that’s more than 3x the amount in this gloss!). I think this is because of the packaging style. However, these only cost $1 USD, so if you go through it quickly, it’s not a big deal to replace. (4/5)

Wow Factor:
I can’t say I was impressed much by anything in this gloss. Don’t get me wrong, I really like it. It’s just there’s nothing unusual about Fairy that makes me stop and say “I’ve never seen anything like this before!” or “I don’t have anything like this!” It’s good, it’s fine, but it’s nothing special. (3/5)

Useful Information:

-ELF products are hypoallergenic and noncomodogenic.
-ELF products are cruelty-free and vegan (with no animal derivatives).
-This product is an Allure Best of Beauty Award winner!


I like this gloss much better than the score lets on! It’s one of those things where I never would’ve picked it up on my own, but I’m not unhappy that I have it. It’s very subtle and natural looking, and I think it’s good quality for the price. It just isn’t amazing or too original, and easily dupeable. (3.9) C+


ELF products are available at super-stores, like Target, and online at
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2014 Academy Awards Roundup: Naomi Watts Makeup + Fashion

Image via Glamour

Seasoned actress Naomi Watts looked stunning and classically beautiful at the Academy Awards on March 2nd. Alongside Samuel L. Jackson, the actress presented awards for Best Costume Design (to Catherine Martin for the Great Gatsby) and Best Makeup and Hairstyling (to Adruitha Lee and Robin Mathews for Dallas Buyers Club).
Makeup artist Matthew VanLeeuwen used a mix of luxe products to create Naomi’s lovely evening look. Here’s what they are:

-Giorgio Armani Crema Nera Extrema Serum ($150 USD, Nordstrom)

-Giorgio Armani Maestro Fusion Cream Compact Foundation ($64 USD, Nordstrom)
-Lancome Le Correcteur Pro ($48.51 USD, Selfridges)
-Lancome Color Design 5 Pan Eyeshadow Palette in Plum Splendor ($50 USD, Sephora)
-Lancome Le Crayon Kohl in Black Coffee ($26 USD, Sephora)
-Lancome Cils Booster XL ($24.50 USD, Sephora)
-Lancome Hypnose Mascara ($27.50 USD, Sephora)
-Giorgio Armani Sheer Blush in #10 ($44 USD, Nordstrom)
-Giorgio Armani Smooth Silk Lip Pencil in #7 ($30 USD, Nordstrom)
-Giorgio Armani Rouge Ecstasy Lipstick in Scarlatto ($34 USD, Nordstrom)
Total Face Cost: $498.51 USD.

To let her classic makeup take center stage, Naomi dressed in a chic white gown from Calvin Klein (her shoes were from the label as well). She accessorized with a bag and jewelry from Bulgari.

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2014 Academy Awards Roundup: Jenna Dewan-Tatum Makeup + Fashion

Image via Theluxuryspot

The Academy Awards brought out some stunning makeup and fashion looks, even from celebs you might not necessarily expect. For example, Jenna Dewan-Tatum looked lovely in a champagne hued dress and softly smoldering makeup, even though she’s been keeping a low profile since rocking her baby bump at last year’s awards. 
The 33-year-old’s makeup was done by makeup artist Jake Bailey, who used a mix of high end and inexpensive cosmetics to create Jenna’s sexy evening look. Here are the details:

-Sjal Cellular Renewal Cream ($155 USD, Amazon)
-Estee Lauder Double Wear Stay In Place Liquid Makeup ($37 USD, Nordstrom)
-Avon True Color Eyeshadow Quad in Mocha Latte ($9.32 USD, Amazon)
-Urban Decay 24/7 Glide-On Eye Pencil (color not specified, $20 USD, Sephora)
-Avon Mega Effects Mascara ($10 USD, Avon)
-Mark Chic Frills Powder Blush ($14 USD, Avon)

-Chanel Jardin de Camelias Illuminating Powder ($70 USD, Chanel)
-Avon Ultra Color Absolute Lipstick in Creamy Melon ($9 USD, Avon)
Total Face Cost: $324.32 USD

Jenna let her smoldering makeup take the spotlight by wearing a soft, feminine nude gown by Reem Acra.

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2014 Academy Awards Roundup: Jessica Biel Makeup + Fashion

Image via Eonline

Jessica Biel looked gorgeous in simple, light makeup and Veronica Lake-like waves at the 86th Academy Awards on Sunday. The actress presented awards for Best Original Score to Steven Price and Best Original Song to Kristen Anderson-Lopez and Robert Lopez alongside Jamie Foxx. 
Many celebs stick with one brand when doing award show makeup, but Jessica’s makeup artist, Kayleen McAdams, used a mixture of products. Here’s what they are:

-Kiehl’s Ultra Facial Cream Intense Hydration ($26.50 USD, Kiehl’s)
-Kiehl’s Creamy Eye Treatment With Avocado ($28.50 USD, Kiehl’s)
-CK One Color 3-In-1 Face Makeup ($30 USD, Ulta)
-CK One Color 3-In-1 Concealer Pen ($20 USD, Ulta)
-Charlotte Tillbury Filmstar Bronze & Glow ($81.91 USD, Selfridges)
-CK One Color Cream + Powder Blush Duo in Breath ($25 USD, Ulta)
-CK One Color Cream + Powder Bronzer Duo in Deeply Bronzed (used on the eyes, $25 USD, Ulta)
-CK One Color Powder Eyeshadow in Expose and Evolved ($15 USD each, Ulta)
-CK One Color Volumizing Mascara ($18 USD, Ulta)

-Kiehl’s Facial Fuel No-Shine Moisturizing Lip Balm ($9 USD, Kiehl’s )
-Tarte LipSurgence Matte Lip Tint in Lucky ($24 USD, Sephora)
Total Face Cost: $317.91 USD

Jessica furthered her soft, ethereal look with a lovely light-hued dress and bag from Chanel, as well as Manolo Blahnik heels and Tiffany jewelry.

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