Month: May 2014

Top 5: Urban Decay Eyeshadows

Between two palettes and a single, I’ve tried tons of UD shadows. Admittedly, my palettes are Book of Shadows, opposed to the Naked series which everyone seems to love. I’ve been less than thrilled my experiences with the brand’s shadow, but there are some real winners that I’ve tried. Here are my top 5 favorite Urban Decay shadows:

Image via Sephora

1) Maui Wowie: I’ve said it so many times, but I will almost always pick bold, bright colors over neutral shades (almost). But Maui Wowie totally changed my opinion–it’s a beautiful gold shade that plays up my hazel eyes well. But no matter your eye color, MW is still one of my top choices. It’s a champagne more than a 24K gold, goes on opaquely and with good pigmentation and texture, and wore all day (8 hours) without fallout. I like it best as an inner corner highlight.
Image via Sephora

2) Rockstar: I’ve sung the praises of this gorgeous smoky brown-purple on the blog many times. It’s a gorgeous color that’s pretty pigmented but can be built up. It feels soft and smooth, and applies without fallout, but there is some fading over the wear time.
Image via Sephora

3) Last Call: This is a gorgeous plummy pink. Like most great UD shadows, it feels soft and smooth and applies without fallout, but there is some fading towards the end of the day. Pinks can look a bit harsh on the lid (I feared this one would be evocative of a black eye), but its actually so lovely and vibrant.
Image via Sephora

4) Smog: Another neutral that really surprised me. Smog is a gorgeous sepia bronze with shimmer. This shadow is a bit stiffer than others, but by no means dry. It applied without fallout, too. It had incredible wear–12 hours, with slight fading around just the edges at the 4 hour mark. 
Image via Amazon

5) Mary Jane: This shadow is a beautiful silvery sky blue with a frost finish. It’s pigment rich with high texture and blends well. It looks lovely on, but has a bit of wear and tear throughout the day (migrating and fading). There was no fallout and has a smooth feel, but as lovely as this shadow is, it’s no longer available for purchase. 
So there you have it, the top 5 UD shadows from my experience. Have you tried any of these? Which of UD’s shadows are your favorite? Which would you recommend? Let me know!

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Urban Decay Eyeshadow in Mary Jane (DISCONTINUED)

Image via Amazon

**Unfortunately, my camera is broken! Since money is tight right now, I don’t know when I’ll be able to get a new one. Personal images/swatches will be up ASAP, but that could take a while. I’m so sorry for and disappointed by this inconvenience. Thank you beauties for being patient with me in the meantime.

Blue eyeshadow is a double edged sword for me, because on the one hand, I tend to find the shades so beautiful in the pan, but on the other hand, they can be difficult for me to wear. Urban Decay’s Mary Jane strikes a great balance.
Color:
 It’s a pigmented frosty sky blue. The shadow goes on 90% opaque over bare lids, and flawlessly opaque with primer (a base brings out the frost finish as well). This shade is so lovely, and plays well with warm toned shades as well as similar hues. (5/5)

Wear:
The wear was great but not excellent. If you never go without primer, then this shadow will have you covered for over 8 hours with a flawless, freshly-applied look. However, if you’re in a rush and need to slap on some color, this will show some wear and tear: after 5 hours, the color migrated around the tear duct, looked a bit faded after 6 hours and was noticeably faded by 8. (4/5)

Formula:

This shadow was part of Urban Decay’s old formula, which I actually prefer. It feels so smooth and soft. Even a swatch gives full pigmentation with a high textured finish. There was some powder kickup with the brush, but the shadow was not powdery to apply. There was no fallout, and it blended like a dream without sheering out. This shadow could also be used wet for extra oomph. (5/5)


Packaging:

I don’t have any experience with UD’s new pans, but I quite liked the old version. It was a sturdy plastic that didn’t feel too heavy (or cheap) with a flip-top lid, a clear window to see the shade within, and the color name stamped on the bottom. The shadows are small enough to store easily and feel secure enough to not take any damage during travelling. (5/5)


Price:

This shadow contains 0.05 oz of product, which is on par with other brands. It was $18 USD when I bought it (making it $360 an ounce, $60 more per ounce than MAC). For the beauty junkie, this is a pretty reasonable cost, especially given the quality (which is top notch). However, Mary Jane is discontinued, which means if you’re desperate to get your hands on it, reliable sellers on sites like Amazon and Ebay know they can jack up the price (I saw this shadow going  for 99 British pounds!). Be very careful of resellers who are out to make a large profit off of a shade’s rarity. But the score reflects the shade’s intended sticker price, in relation to my perceived value/quality of the product. (5/5)


Wow Factor:
Sky blues aren’t uncommon at any price point. But Mary Jane is special with it’s opacity, pigmentation, and high texture. I think that’s what sets it apart and really makes it worth a second look. When foiled, it can be so dramatic, which I love. When dry, it looks soft enough for a bold day look (if that makes sense!) It works all over the lid or as a pop of color on the lash line. It looks great with a ton of other colors as well. (4.5/5)

Overall:

This was one of UD’s better shadows and I’d totally recommend it to anyone who happens to have it buried away in their stash somewhere. It’s pigmented, opaque, versatile, flattering, and such good quality. I’ll never understand why UD cut it from their lineup! (4.75) A

Useful Information:
-This shadow is no longer available at official retailers.
-This shade was purchased by me.
-Urban Decay uses cruelty-free/vegan practices, but their parent company, L’Oreal, does not.

Check out Sephora to browse UD’s current eyeshadow shade range! medianet_width=’600′; medianet_height= ‘250’; medianet_crid=’228266391′;

MAC Eyeshadow in Star Violet Review + Swatches + Dupes

This is my own photo.

MAC Eyeshadows are easily my favorite on the market. Star Violet was the first one I picked up, but it wasn’t quite love at first swatch. I spent hours (yes) at the MAC counter looking for a bold, unique shade (not a “natural, nude makeup look” kind of girl), and finally settled on this baby after seeing it’s burgundy flash gold. Buuuuut, when I got home, I initially found it a dupe for Urban Decay’s Last Call. (They’re actually not that similar). So I didn’t use it for a while. However, like all MAC shadows I’ve tried, the quality is great and it’s actually a really lovely shade.
Color:

MAC describes this shade as a “pinky-brown plum.” This description isn’t bad. The warmth and sheen in this shadow is more golden than brown, which sounds dirtier than this shade is. Its more burgundy than plum, which brings to mind a cooler, purpler shade. Star Violet is distinctly not purple/plum/brown. I feel comfortable labeling this shade “rose gold.” Without a base, this shadow is a soft, warm rose gold. Over primer, the pinky rosiness is more pronounced, making it look true to pan. (4/5)


This is my own photo.
Wear:

SV went on opaquely with and without a base, and gave me no application issues, like fallout, patchiness, or creasing. It wore very well, lasting six hours before I had any issues (at that point, I had some sparkle fallout, both when a base was used and without a base). By the 8th hour, there was some minor fading. (4/5)


Formula:

Star Violet is in the veluxe pearl finish, which promises to be “vibrantly toned, velvety soft, shimmeringly metallic,” and “overlaid with high-shine pearl.” This was an apt description, and the shadow made good on all claims. This definitely has a reflective finish. The powder feels soft and smooth to the touch. There’s a little bit of powder kickup when a brush is used, but this isn’t much and doesn’t translate to powderiness on the lid. The product blends easily without sheering out. (4.5/5)


Packaging:

SV comes in standard MAC packaging–a metal pan in a small, circular black plastic case with a flip-top lid and clear window to see the shade inside. The brand is emblazoned across the clear window and the product name and texture is on the bottom. The packaging feels sturdy but light–nothing luxurious or shatter-proof if you were to accidentally drop it. While the size is small enough to travel with, the pan is large enough to use easily. This packaging is functional (easy to store/travel with/use) but also economical: I like that there’s no unnecessary plastic used, just enough to surround the product. (5/5)


This is my own photo.
Price:

MAC shadows are $15 USD each, and contain 0.05 oz of product ($300 per ounce). While the brand is slightly more affordable per ounce than comparatively priced brands, I realize that the cost is still out of a lot of consumers’ price range. As I often state, MAC makes good quality products, so if you love the shade, splurge. (5/5)


Wow Factor:

I was impressed by this shadow’s complexity, it’s deep pinkish base with gold duochrome. It really plays well in the light. It’s excellent quality, pigment rich, soft, applies like a dream and wears great. However, it’s not the most unique shade on the market, didn’t hit the ideal mark with wear time, and had a little bit of fallout. Great, but not perfect. (4/5)


Overall:

This is a great shadow that I’d recommend. I think Star Violet has versatility: the pinkiness playing up cool, fair skin, and the rich pigment and gold warmth would work well on deeper, warmer complexions. There’s enough product to last awhile, the texture, opacity, wear time, and application are all great. (4.4) B+


Availability:

MAC is available at department stores, and online at their website.

Useful Information:

-MAC does not test on animals unless “where mandated by law.”
-MAC products are not vegan (and include ingredients like beeswax, carmine, and lanolin).
-MAC is a brand that gives back! Their Back 2 MAC program offers you a free lipstick if you return six empty product containers they can reuse for environmental friendliness. There’s also the MAC AIDS Fund, which donates 100% of the sale price of their Viva Glam products to improve the lives of those struggling with HIV/AIDS worldwide.

Dupes:
-L’Oreal Infallible Eyeshadow in Glistening Garnet
 (slightly lighter, less gold reflection, less expensive, closest dupe.)

Urban Decay Eyeshadow in Last Call (cooler, pinker, less gold, more expensive.)
Shiro Loose Eyeshadow in Heart Attack (Richer, bluer, cooler, no gold/duochrome, silver/blue glitter, cruelty free, vegan, less expensive. Best used wet. The powder looks like it could be a dupe for Star Violet, but actually isn’t. Don’t be fooled!)

This is my own photo.

What do you think of this shade? My makeup stash is pretty small for a beauty junkie, and I was able to pull out 3-4 dupes. Those with larger collections probably have more. Know a dupe I missed? Love the shade? Hate it? Let me know!

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ELF Studio Blush in Pink Passion Review + Swatches

This is my own photo.

Back when I was marathoning Annie Jaffrey’s Youtube videos, she mentioned loving ELF’s Studio Blush in Pink Passion. I’m embarrassed to admit how tiny my blush collection is, and I was craving a baby pink hue for my cheeks. So when I had some leftover cash from a Christmas gift card, I picked this up at my local Target. 
Color:

Some have compared Pink Passion to NARS’ Desire. (I’ve never tried a NARS blush–I know, I’m totally missing out–so I can’t vouch for that on experience). Pink Passion is a cool blue-toned bright pink. This is supposed to be sheer, but actually packs a pigmented punch. You don’t need an exceptionally light hand, but fair skinned ladies like myself should be careful with this, since it can look sunburnish if used too heavily. (4/5)


Wear:

This blush made it through a whole day looking freshly applied. I know it’s a skin sin, but I touch my face a lot, and even so, this didn’t rub off or look uneven/faded/patchy by the end of the day. (5/5)


Formula:

The powder feels a bit dry to the touch, but doesn’t kick up much powder when a brush is used or apply poorly on the face. The pigment is strong, but it blends so-so, so be careful with how much you use and where you place it–you may not be able to soften it as much as you’d like. (3.5/5)


Packaging:

For drugstore, the packaging is pretty impressive. It’s a sturdier plastic (not full-on rubberized) with a small mirror inside and a small see-through window. It feels more weighty than other drugstore compacts. I think they were going for the NARS vibe with the square black packaging, but it does look chic than more expensive than it actually is. I don’t think this kind of compact is shatter-proof if you drop it, though. Also, my blush came with a small plastic insert protecting the powder inside, which was ultimately throwaway, but I thought it was a nice touch. (4.5/5)

This is my own photo.

Price:
Something I really loved about this blush was the price. ELF doesn’t always hit it out of the park, but for $3 USD, I was willing to take a risk and try this product. Not only is the face value of this product cheaper than most drugstore and high end competitors, it’s price per ounce is clearly cheaper too. (ELF studio blushes are $17.85 per ounce, vs. $100 per ounce for MAC and $187.50 for NARS). Plus, this line of blushes is a little more weight (.168 oz vs. .16 oz) than it’s more expensive competitor. (5/5)


Wow Factor:

Ultimately, I wasn’t as enamored with this blush as I thought I would be. It’s a bit dry and difficult to blend once you place it down. But it’s affordable, a good size, and has great pigmentation. It’s definitely one of the brighter, more opaque blush formulas I’ve seen on the drugstore market. (3.5)


Overall:

I like this blush and would recommend it. I admittedly don’t reach for it very often, because once I tried the more opaque baby doll cheek I’d been longing for, I immediately wanted to go back to my sheerer blush (live and learn!) But for those who love pigmented, affordable blush, this will definitely deliver. (4.25) B


Availability:

ELF products are available at Target, K-Mart and via their website.

Useful Information:

-Try a soft, fluffy brush to sheer out the product, and gradually build up pigmentation from there.
-ELF products are cruelty free and not tested on animals. Most ELF products are vegan, except for a few containing beeswax.

This is my own photo.

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Get the Look: Elizabeth Olsen’s Godzilla Premier Makeup

Image via Glamour

Elizabeth Olsen has been on the rise in the acting world lately. She looked lovely at The Met Gala earlier this month, and looked equally lovely at the premier of Godzilla last week. Makeup artist Kate Lee used mostly Chanel makeup to create Elizabeth’s gorgeous, soft look. Here are the exact products (all prices in USD):
  • Perfection Lumiere Long-Wear Flawless Fluid Makeup SPF 15 in Beige 30 ($57, Nordstrom)
  •  Les 4 Ombres Quadra Eyeshadow in Eclosion ($59, Nordstrom)
  • Reflets D’Ete De Chanel Illusion D’Ombre Long Wear Luminous Eyeshadow in New Moon ($36, Nordstrom)
  • Anastasia Tinted Brow Gel in Caramel ($22, Ulta)
  • Le Blush Creme De Chanel in Cheeky and Destiny ($38 each, Nordstrom)
  • Make Up For Ever Uplight Face Luminizer Gel ($29, Sephora)
  • Rouge Coco Shine Hydrating Sheer Lip Shine in Synopsis ($35, Nordstrom)
Total Face Cost: $314

What do you think of Elizabeth’s elegant Godzilla premier look? Let me know!

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Face of the Day 05

This is my own photo.

Perhaps this is a bit gauche, but when I’m unsure of what makeup to wear, I’ll take inspiration from my clothes. Since I had a sliver of green showing, I decide to play up that shade with my cosmetics. (This tactic gave me an excuse to wear my favorite eyeliner as well.) So here are the 11 products I wore today:
And here’s the finished product:
This is my own photo.

What makeup did you wear today?

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A Beginner’s Guide to: Sick Day Makeup

I was so sick last week it was unbelievable. My sinuses were raging and I didn’t even want to get out of bed. Fortunately I work from home, so I was privileged to curl up under the covers and ride it out. But I know many women aren’t so fortunate, and have work/school responsibilities to keep up with. I felt too weak to even paint my nails, but it got me thinking. Some people probably don’t want to go completely bare-faced, even when they’re feeling under the weather, but need products that won’t compete with their symptoms. So here’s what I came up with, the top makeup products to wear when you’re sick.

For dry, flaky skin/chapped lips:

Image via Unilever

…try petroleum jelly. I’ve relied on this stuff as my go-to cure-all for these symptoms since I was a kid (way before I was a beauty addict). The product goes on thinly and doesn’t feel oily, but provides a strong barrier to keep in hydration and stop the flaking. It works quicker and most effectively for chapped lips than any balm I’ve tried. This is usually the only product I bother with when I’m sick, since you can just slick it on and look and feel somewhat better pretty much right away. If you want color on your cheeks, try a cream blush, which is less likely to look patchy over dry spots than powder.
For dull, tired looking skin:
Image via Sephora

…try a BB cream or tinted moisturizer. I feel like the skin perhaps shows signs of sickness the most. You can just tell by the pale, lifeless complexion when someone is feeling under the weather. But the thing is, most traditional foundations, even light ones, suddenly feel too heavy when you’re ill. A very light BB cream/tinted moisturizer is good for counteracting that, since it feels nearly weightless and doesn’t add too much coverage to the skin. It adds just enough oomph to brighten up and even out the skin.
For itchy, watery eyes:
Image via Overstock

…try waterproof mascara. Mascara opens up the eye and makes you look more awake. And obviously, waterproof won’t run when your eyes act up. Avoid eyeshadow, since the powder can crumble into your eyes and cause further irritation. If you must have some color on your lids, stick with creams, which are more likely to stay where you put them. Also, avoid liner on the waterline, again to prevent making your eyes worse.
If you must have lip color, use something slick with a cream finish, like Revlon Lip Butters. These may bunch over your dry spots, but they feel light on the mouth and may offer a little moisture. Avoid matte lippies or stain formulas, which are too harsh and will only dry out your mouth more.
Do you wear makeup when you’re sick? Let me know!

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2014 Met Gala Roundup: Lupita Nyong’o Makeup + Fashion

Image via Glamour

Since breaking out on the scene this year, I’ve covered pretty much all of Lupita Nyong’o’s amazing red carpet looks. Her style is my favorite, so naturally, I was majorly excited to see what she would surprise us with at the Met Gala on May 5th. Always favoring the bold, Lupita’s look definitely left an impression! Her purple shadow complimented her green dress well, without competing with it. The creative look was customized for her by longtime makeup artist Nick Barose. Nick used almost exclusively Lancome products for the big night. Here’s exactly what they were (all prices are in USD):
  • Advanced Genifique Youth Activating Concentrate ($104, Sephora)
  • La Base Pro Perfecting Makeup Primer ($42, Sephora)
  • Teint Idole Ultra 24H Foundation in 500 Suede ($45.50, Sephora)
  • Aquatique Waterproof EyeColour Base ($26, Macy’s)
  • Color Design Sensational Effects Eye Shadow in Miss Sweetheart ($20, Nordstrom)
  • Hypnose Custom Volume Mascara in Black ($27.50, Sephora)
  • Le Crayon Poudre Brow Powder Pencil ($26, Nordstrom)
  • Armani Maestro Fusion Blush in 300 ($52, Nordstrom)
  • Armani Cheek Fabric Blush in 509 ($46, Nordstrom)
  • Le Lipstique LipColouring Stick With Brush in Sheer Chocolate ($25, Sephora)
  • L’Absolu Rouge in Bordeaux ($30, Sephora)
Total Face Cost: $444

Image via UsMagazine

As for her fashion, I’m disappointed to say this was Lupita’s first miss for me. I love a bold look, but I felt her brown and green Prada flapper dress looked like a fish net that got caught in the jungle. I was so sad; her dress was the worst of the night to me. There are positives to the dress, though. At least she went for it, versus the other stars who looked pretty but played it way too safe. I appreciate when celebs take a fashion risk, even if it doesn’t pay off. Lupita’s dress had lots of detail and great movement. The headpiece looked a little much with the already busy dress, but I loved the matching green shoes and bag. Lupita completed her look with Cartier jewelry. 
What do you think of Lupita’s bold Met Gala look? Let me know!

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2014 Met Gala Roundup: Emma Stone Makeup + Fashion

Image via makeupforlife


Emma Stone kept things casual for the 2014 Met Gala, both with her makeup and her outfit. She looked rosy from head to toe, with loosely braided red hair, a two-tone pink dress, and fresh makeup. Acclaimed makeup artist Rachel Goodwin created this look for Emma’s big night, using a mix of Chanel and Revlon cosmetics. Here are the exact makeup products she used (all prices are in US dollars):

  • Chanel Le Jour De Chanel Resynchronizing Skincare ($85, Nordstrom)
  • Chanel Perfection Lumiere Velvet Smooth Effect Makeup SPF 15 in Beige 30 ($45, Nordstrom)
  • Revlon PhotoReady Skinlights Face Illuminator in Peach Light ($12.99, Ulta)
  • Chanel Illusion D’Ombre Long Wear Luminous Eyeshadow in Illusoire and New Moon ($36 each, Nordstrom)
  • Revlon ColorStay Eyeliner in Topaz ($7.99, Ulta)
  • Revlon Bold Lacquer Mascara ($7.99, Walgreens)
  • Chanel Crayon Sourcils Sculpting Eyebrow Pencil in Brun Naturel ($29, Nordstrom)
  • Revlon ColorStay Just Bitten Kissable Balm Stain in Cherish ($8.99, Ulta)
  • Chanel Aqua Crayon Lip Colour Stick in Rosewood ($29, Nordstrom)
  • Revlon Nail Enamel in Diamond Texture ($4.99, Ulta)
Total Face Cost: $302.95

Image via sheknows

Emma was outfitted in a Thakoon dress for the big night. She completed the look with chic Miu Miu heels, a cute clutch from Tod’s, and jewelry from Graziela Gems and EF Collection. Thakoon is one of my favorite designers, but I don’t know if this is the best pick for an event as big and detail-oriented as the Met Gala. I liked the play on color, but the shape, color, and crop top all seem a little homemade prom dress to me. This was honestly one of my least favorite looks of the event. 
What do you think of Emma’s Met Gala look? Let me know!

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2014 Met Gala Roundup: Marion Cotillard Makeup + Fashion

Image via womenworld

French beauty Marion Cotillard knocked it out of the park last Monday at the Met Gala, accentuating her natural loveliness with classic, glamorous makeup. Makeup artist Christophe Danchaud created this look for her, relying exclusively on Hourglass products. Here are the exact products she wore (all prices in USD):
  • No. 28 Primer Serum ($65, Sephora)
  • Veil Fluid Makeup in No. 5 ($60, Sephora)
  • Hidden Corrective Concealer in Pearl ($32, Sephora)
  • Ambient Lighting Palette using the Dim Light shade ($58, Sephora)
  • Visionaire Eye Shadow Duo in Exhibition topped with gold pigment ($38, Sephora)
  • Film Noir Full Spectrum Mascara ($28, Sephora)
  • Ambient Lighting Blush in Radiant Magenta ($35, Sephora)
  • Panoramic Long Wear Lip Liner in Raven ($28, Sephora)
  • Femme Rouge Velvet Creme Lipstick in Rave and Muse ($30 each, Sephora)
Total Face Cost: $404

Image via Sheknows

Marion looked head-to-toe beautiful in her quirky, cute navy Dior Haute Couture dress. I loved that she played up the theme a bit more than other starlets, and in an unexpected way: she used bolder color, and the folds and detailing really were a nod to the couturier the event was honoring. Her eye-catching shoes were also by Dior Haute Couture (not wholly surprising, since she’s a face of the brand!). Her jewelry, including her unique one earring, were by Chopard. Marion looks radiant and confidant, and appropriate for the theme, without losing her personality. She didn’t play it safe, and I really love that. It’s not the most theatrical dress at the event, but for me, it’s still a total success. 
What do you think of Marion’s creative look? Let me know!

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