Cover Girl

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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Sweet Makeup for Valentine’s Day!

Valentine’s Day tends to bring several things to mind: flowers, sweets, and hearts. Whether you’re coupled up this holiday or celebrating your own fierceness, makeup brands have plenty of goodies to treat yourself to that match the romantic theme. To get you lovelies in the holiday spirit, I thought I’d share the sugariest, rosiest cosmetic delights to make your holiday a little sweeter. Consider it my gift to you, Valentines! xoxo

Flowers:

Image via Walgreens

1) Milani Illuminating Face Powder ($9.79 USD) 
These blushes/highlighters are embossed with a girly rose pattern, making the pan as pretty as the color on your cheeks. There’s also talk of Milani repromoting their limited-edition Coming Up Roses blushers, which feature one large rose print, versus the small several blooms seen in the Illuminating Face Powders.
Image via Beautylish

2) Flower Beauty
This line of cosmetics was founded by Drew Barrymore and is available exclusively at Wal-Mart. I love both Drew and cosmetics (obviously!) so I’m dying to try things from this line. The Kiss Stick High-Shine Lipstick (pictured above) range looks sleek for drugstore, and all the shades are named after flowers (the one shown is Morning Glory). The line is fully-developed, with products for face, eyes, lips, and nails. Let me know if you’ve tried anything from this range and what you thought of it!
Also check out: Benefit Dandelion ($28), Benefit Posietint ($30), Bobbi Brown Long-Wear Cream Shadow in Cool Lilac ($24), Bobbi Brown Shimmer Brick in Rose ($42), Bobbi Brown Lip Color in Carnation/Rose, ($25 each), Clinique Cheek Pop ($21), Dior Rosy Glow Healthy Glow Awakening Blush in Petal ($44), Dior Dior Addict Gloss in Bed of Roses ($29.50), Guerlain Rouge Automatique in Cherry Blossom ($36), Lancome Rouge in Love Lipcolor in Roses in Love ($28.50), L’Oreal Colour Riche Extraordinary Lip Color in Rose Melody ($9.99), MAC Eyeshadow in Beautiful Iris ($15), MAC Lipstick in Fleur D’Coral, Yves Saint Laurent Rouge Volupte in Rose Culte ($35)
Sweets:
Image via Fragrantica

1) Vera Wang Princess ($45-75 USD)
Who doesn’t want to smell delicious on date night? This fragrance is my favorite scent, very feminine and sweet, without being overpowering. The tasty notes in this scent make it perfect for a romantic occasion like V-Day. Ulta’s site claims the tasty top notes in this scent are water lily, lady apple, mandarin meringue, and golden apricot skin, followed by pink guava, Tahitian flower, wild tuberose, and dark chocolate, then finally pink frosting accord, precious amber, forbidden woods, royal musk captive, and chiffon vanilla. Say it with me: “Yum!” I’d still recommend this to those that don’t like food scents, as the floral in this notes water down any food flavors, so the fragrance smells quite balanced.
Image via Drugstore
2) Revlon Lip Butters ($7.49 USD each)
Like most beauty bloggers, I’ve sung the praises of these cute little lippies. And now I recommend them one more time. Valentine’s Day is the perfect time to sport a girly lip color, and this line has you covered, no matter what your confident-lip-look is (for me, it’s pink, so I adore Cupcake, pictured above). Not only is every shade in the line named after a sweet dessert or fresh fruit, but the hydrating formula will keep your lips kissable ’til the end of the night.
Also check out: Benefit Lollitint ($30), Benefit Sugarbomb ($28), Bobbi Brown Shimmer Brick in Nectar ($42), Bobbie Brown Lip Color in Brownie/Blackberry ($25 each), Clinique Almost Lipstick in Black Honey ($15), Cover Girl Eye Enhancers 4-Kit Shadows in Sugar Coated ($5.99), Fresh Sugar Lip Treatment ($22.50), Lancome L’Absolu Rouge in Champagne ($30), Lancome Rouge in Love Lipcolor in Pink Bonbon ($28.50) Lavanilla Fragrances ($19-58), Make Up For Ever Eyeshadow in Espresso ($21), MAC Eyeshadow in Blackberry ($15), MAC Lipstick in Candy Yum Yum ($16), Philosophy Cinnamon Buns Shampoo/Shower Gel/Bubble Bath ($17), Too Faced The Chocolate Eyeshadow Palette ($49), Too Faced La Creme Lipsticks ($22 each), Urban Decay Eyeshadow in Vanilla ($18), Yves Saint Laurent Rouge Volupte in Peach Passion ($35) 
Hearts:
Image via Sephora

1) Too Faced Sweethearts Perfect Flush Blush ($30 USD)
These blushes have made a splash since they appeared in the beauty blogosphere. I haven’t had a chance to try them, but the tri-hued powders look large enough to use separately or swirled together. Either way, the powder looks adorable, not just for the candy colors, but in the sweet heart-shaped tin, too.
Image via Sephora

2) Illamasqua Nail Varnish in Throb ($17 USD)
For me, Illamasqua’s bread and butter product is their nail varnish line. Why not coat your nails in fierce, classic red this holiday? This lacquer line is on the pricey side, but this heart-hued red is the perfect accent to your romantic date look. 
Also check out: Cover Girl Lip Perfection Lipstick in Sweetheart ($6.99), Cover Girl Eye Enhancers 4-Kit Shadows in Pure Romance ($5.99), Edward Bess Ultra Slick Lipstick in Tender Love ($32), Illamasqua Powder Blusher in Lover ($26), Illamasqua Cream Blusher in Crush ($26), Kat Von D Everlasting Blush in Heartagram ($25), Kat Von D Shade Shifter Eyeshadow in Love Letter ($16), Kat Von D Everlasting Love Liquid Lipstick in L.U.V. ($19), Kat Von D Foiled Love Lipstick in Valentine ($19), Lancome Rouge in Love Lipcolor in Sequence of Love ($28.50), MAC Eyeshadow in Parfait Amour ($15), MAC Lipstick in Amorous ($16), NARS Blush in Amour ($30), Philosophy My Heart to Yours Shampoo/Shower Gel/Bubble Bath ($17)

What are you planning to rock this Valentine’s Day? Let me know!

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Maybelline The Falsies Mascara in Very Black Review

Image via Allure

I had heard lots about Maybelline The Falsies mascara, so when I finally got my hands on it for my birthday, I was excited to see what all the fuss was about. While it doesn’t live up to the “false lash” claim, I was surprised by what good things this mascara had to offer. 
Color:

The packaging touts the formula as being “very black.” It darkened up my naturally brown lashes and looked distinctly black, not sooty or grayish. It’s not a stark, matte black; it has a richer dimension. (5/5)


Wear:

This mascara certainly passed this test! It lasted all day (8 hours) without clumping or drooping. The curl held the entire time, and the lashes remained fanned out and separated. It didn’t flake, run, or smudge, either. (5/5)


Formula:

The Falsies is designed to be a volumizing mascara. While I did notice fatter, longer lashes, the results in both categories were slight (and not as dramatic as Colossal Lash). If you’re really after the look of false lashes in a tube, this product won’t deliver. However, what stood out to me in a very positive way was how separating this mascara is. Each lash looked neat, combed through, and defined, and remained that way throughout the wear time. It also holds a curl (from a lash curler) nicely. Unfortunately, this is the only mascara so far that has a scent that I don’t like. It has a bizarre bitter element to it that’s not pleasant, but also not strong or noticeable unless you deliberately sniff the tube. It feels like a drier mascara (think Cover Girl Lashblast), but layers like a very wet mascara (meaning, it clumps to high heaven–best to wear this one on it’s own). (3.5/5)


Packaging:

While the purple and blue color scheme is cute, I noticed that the tube feels lighter and cheaper than Colossal Lash does. The wand is flimsy and a bit large. But the spoon shape really hugs each of the lashes, coating them with an even layer of product, and separates them into a nice fanned out shape. It also reaches those tiny baby hairs in the inner corner somewhat easily. (4/5)


Price:

This mascara retails for $6.99 USD. This is equally priced to Maybelline’s other mascaras, and for drugstore, it’s a little on the less-expensive side (popular formulas Cover Girl Lashblast and L’Oreal Voluminous Million Lashes are both $8.99). So for what you get for the price (a nice, natural daytime mascara with excellent definition), I don’t think the Falsies is a bad investment. But if you’d like to notice a bit more of a difference in your lashes, I’d spend the $7 on a nice drugstore lippie instead and spend the few extra dollars and purchase a more “dramatic” mascara instead. (Often, Maybelline is buy one get one half off at Ulta, so if you’re on the fence with this product like I was, you can snag it at an even lower value). (3/5)


Wow Factor:

The real beauty of this mascara lies in it’s separating prowess, it’s curl definition, and staying power. However, (apart from the waterproof claim, which may have lended to the excellent wear), this product didn’t capitalize on those high points–it was marketed as being dramatically volumizing, giving the look of fake lashes, and it just doesn’t do that. In fact, it looks the opposite of false–it appears very natural and everyday, the kind of thing to rake on in a rush and rely on to look neat and presentable. Of course that’s not bad, it’s just not what the consumer would expect from looking at the product, which makes it a bit of a disappointment. (3/5)


Overall: 

I would recommend this mascara to someone looking for an easy, “good enough” mascara that they can use again and again. It wears phenomenally and lends superior separation to each lash. But it doesn’t layer well, so it’s just about impossible to get the dramatic effect of false lashes with this alone. It’s good to pick up on a half off sale but I don’t think I’d pay full price for it. Since it’s so difficult to layer with, and I prefer length to volume, I don’t believe I’ll be repurchasing once I use this up. If one was stuck between the two, I would easily recommend Colossal Lash over the Falsies, any day. (3.9) C+

Maybelline products are available at drugstores, and specialty stores like Ulta.

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Holiday FOTDs!

So, as many people know, it was recently Christmas! And what that often means is a series of social get-togethers, where even the tamer cosmetics fans are in the spirit to break out some glitz and glitter. Always a fan of color, here’s what I rocked on Christmas Eve and the main event, respectively.
Christmas Eve FOTD:

This is my own photo.


-Avon Brow Pencil
Wet ‘n’ Wild 8-Pan Palette in “Blue Had Me At Hello”
Urban Decay 24/7 Glide-On Eye Pencil in Radium
-Maybelline the Falsies Mascara
Benefit They’re Real! Mascara
Christmas Day FOTD:

This is my own photo.


-Wet ‘n’ Wild 8-Pan Palette in “I Heart Matte”
-Urban Decay 24/7 Glide-On Eye Pencil in Perversion

What products did you wear over the Holidays? Did you keep it natural, or did you add some glitz to your look this year?

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Birthday FOTD

Yesterday (the 13th) was my birthday! I was super excited because, even though it happens every year, special occasion makeup just feels nicer. So, I thought I would share with you the products I used to create my birthday face.

This is my own photo.

I started with L’Oreal Visible Lift Foundation in the shade 143 Soft Ivory. My mother had kindly gifted me a package of makeup sponges, and I was excited to use one to apply the product. I pumped a bit of foundation on the back of my hand, and then dabbed the sponge into the product. I applied it to my face starting in the nose and forehead and spreading outwards.
I’m a chronic night owl, and covered up my (severely) dark circles with Maybelline Mineral Power Natural Perfecting Concealer in the shade Ivory. I dotted this onto my undereye area with the wand that is included, and blended it with my cosmetic sponge by gently pressing it into the skin, and then outwards.
I set my face makeup with N.Y.C. Smooth Skin Pressed Face Powder in Transluscent. This is one of the only products I’ve hit pan on! It’s a nice, effective mattifying powder that doesn’t get cakey and goes on sheerly.

I’ve had this sample of Urban Decay Primer Potion in the original packaging forever, and it’s just about run it’s course. Thankfully I have a backup! But this packaging came with a wand-type applicator, which I used to spread the product onto my lid. I blended it into the crease, up to the browbone, and along the lower lashline with a finger.

Wet ‘n’ Wild eyeshadows have been getting a lot of hype lately, and rightfully so. These trios and palettes are great for newbies, because the shades come with where to apply the product engraved into the powder. But as always, there are no rules in makeup, so I did things a little differently. I used the soft pink browbone shade in the Silent Treatment Trio all over my lid. It was the perfect daytime shade. I used the eyelid shade to darken up my crease for a very pretty end result. I used the matte white shade from the much loved I Heart Matte Palette as a browbone highlight. 

I curled my lashes and applied a coat of Covergirl Lashblast mascara, in the shade Brown. I wanted to keep my eyes somewhat soft, as I was going for a strong lip. This mascara adds a nice, rich tint to the lashes and thickens them up without being over the top.

For a matching pop of color, I decided at the last minute to line my lower lashline with Urban Decay 24/7 Glide-On Eye Pencil in Woodstock. This is a bright, funky shade of hot pink liner that isn’t for the weak!

I swirled MAC’s Pinch ‘O Peach blush onto my cheeks and blended out towards the temples. I felt like this powder really gave me a subtle yet pretty “just in from the outdoors” look.

And the finishing touch was a swipe of MAC’s Girl About Town lipstick. This shade is an amplified creme formula, which means it goes on opaquely with lots of creamy pigment. This shade is bright and fun, wore comfortably, and had a nice, very soft sheen. The sheen didn’t last all day, but after a busy day of shopping and a dinner, I still had a nice stain on the lips with out too much drying damage. I recommend the formula if you haven’t tried it yet!

I also filled in and shaped my brows with my Avon pencil, which isn’t pictured here. Taking the time to shade your brows really adds to a look, I think. At first I wasn’t so sure, but after trying it a few times, I’m definitely a brow believer!

What do you think of these products? What kind of looks do you like to do for special occasions? medianet_width=’600′; medianet_height= ‘250’; medianet_crid=’228266391′;

Civilization: Arabia

Next in my Civiliaztion V series is Arabia! The Arabian Peninsula is a diverse land, with a special blend of old and new. Many of the cities and countries in the Peninsula have varied cuisine, geography, and culture.

 Islam is a common religion throughout the land, especially in the holy city of Mecca, in Saudi Arabia. Polish brand Inglot made a big splash in this community, by creating a breathable nail polish. Inglot’s O2M Nail Enamel allows water and air to pass through the polish into the nail-this is important to those who practice Islam, as it is required to wash the arms and hands (including the nails) before praying. This halal formula comes in 70 colors.

Image via Inglot Cosmetics

Much of the climate in Arabia is dry and hot, with little rainfall. There is also expansive desert terrain. There are a few cosmetics who’s names are in the same vein. For example, there’s Cover Girl’s natural, nude shadow, the Eye Enhancers 3-Kit Shadow in Shimmering Sands, as well as Beyonce’s Heat to get the temperature rising.
 
Images via Target and Fragrantica.

The petroleum (oil) trade is a very large part of the Arabian economy. The sooty liquid has been an inspiration for use on the eyes for years. Take, for example, Urban Decay’s 24/7 Glide-On Eye Pencil in Oil Slick, a black pencil with silver glitter and it’s matching Eyeshadow (also named Oil Slick, a matte black base with silver micro-glitter). 
Images via Sephora


Inglot polishes are available online at inglotcosmetics.com
Cover Girl products are sold at drugstores, and mass-retailers like Ulta.
Beyonce’s Heat is available at drugstores, such as Walgreen’s.
Urban Decay products can be bought at specialty stores, like Sephora.

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Colors of the Rainbow Tag!

So, lately there’s been a tag going around youtube called The Colors of the Rainbow Tag. I’d what it is about this one in particular, but I’m loving this tag! So I’m taking it upon myself to do it. For those who don’t know, the tag requires that you include your favorite products, whether they’re beauty items, or fashion pieces, or a candle, whatever, in a way that corresponds with the colors. You have to include all the colors of the rainbow (roygbiv), as well as pink and multicolor. So let’s begin!

RED:

MAC Lipstick in Ruby Woo

Image via MAC Cosmetics

This lipstick is popular and very well known for a reason. The pigment is rich, it wears and wears and doesn’t quit, and is more or less universally flattering. It has a matte finish and can be ever so slightly drying. It’s also not the cheapest option at $15 USD, but the quality and pigment is definitely worth it. (Read PV’s review here).
Cover Girl Lip Perfection in Flame
Image via Beautylish

This is another great, classic red lip color. While Flame is more drying and wears less long than Ruby Woo, it’s very affordable at half the price ($6.99 USD).Flame is bright and slightly pinky-toned. It feels very creamy going on and the color is phenomenal. (Read PV’s review here).
Shiro Cosmetics Eyeshadow in Goron Ruby
Image via Shiro Cosmetics

I know I’m totally cheating by including three for just red, but I had to! Shiro sent me a sample of Goron Ruby with my order of The Notebook Collection. It is much, much redder than it appears in the photo. It’s a great, bright red that looks stunning foiled. I appreciate this color, as most brands shy away from this type of shade on the eyes!
ORANGE:

Essie Nail Polish in Braziliant
Image via Ebay

Braziliant was a popular shade when it came out in Essie’s Braziliant Collection in 2011. It’s a beautiful molten orange that borders on metallic. It’s definitely pigment-rich and warm toned. The formula is smooth and the wear is great, as well.
YELLOW:

Maybelline Colossal Volum’Express Mascara
Image via Beautylish

So the product itself isn’t yellow, but the packaging is, so it still counts! 🙂 This is my favorite mascara. The formula makes my lashes look rich and dark. It also thickens them up like crazy and adds an impressive amount of volume. I think the bright packaging is cute, and I like that you get such good quality at an affordable price ($6.99 USD). The wand is a little wide, though. (Read PV’s review here).
GREEN:

Urban Decay 24/7 Glide-On Eye Pencil in Junkie
Image via Sephora

This is far and away my favorite eyeliner in my favorite formula. Junkie has a gorgeous jade color with dimensional, to die for gold shimmer. I can’t sing it’s praises enough! It looks absolutely stunning both on the lash line and waterline, and wears well on both. The pigment is strong and the shade is unique. If this ever were to be discontinued, I would die.
BLUE:

Urban Decay Eyeshadow in Mary Jane
Image via Polyvore

This eyeshadow is a beautiful steely, light blue with a frosty texture that results in a gorgeous sheen. The pigment is crazy and the luminescent effect is strong, even when the powder is used dry (it looks equally awesome foiled!) Sadly, this shade and the old formula was discontinued 😦
INDIGO:
Wet ‘n’ Wild Blue Had Me At Hello Palette

Image via Beautylish
Sadly, this is literally the only indigo beauty product I own :/ This is a great palette for blue shadow fiends, as it comes with a good mixture of shades. There is a lovely indigo hue included as well (the righthand crease shade). The whole palette is decent quality, and includes 8 shades for only $4.99 USD
VIOLET/PURPLE:

Shiro Cosmetics Eyeshadow in Shinigami

Image via Shiro Cosmetics

It looks blue in the photo, but Shinigami is unmistakably purple, and a gorgeous one at that. It’s a cool-toned medium purple with silver glitter. It looks soft dry, but like most loose shadows, once it’s foiled or used with mixing medium, it really comes to life and looks completely stunning. Since Shiro is an indie brand, the shadows are hand-made, cruelty-free, and affordable (the full size is a meager $5 USD).
PINK:

MAC Viva Glam Gaga I Lipstick

Image via Beautylish

It’s common knowledge that I have a deep love affair with pink lipstick, and this is the lippie that started it. While the formula wasn’t out of this world, I have a nostalgic heart, so it’s still my favorite. VGG is a great, cool-toned baby pink. What I really liked about this formula was how glossy and wet it looked-it translates into beautiful photographs. (Read PV’s review here).
MULTICOLOR:

Ulta 77-Piece Collection

Image via propertyroom

Of all the palettes I own (including UD ones), this one from Ulta is by far the best. Some of the items (like the brushes) are complete misses. However, the never-ending assortment of shadows made me fall in love. There’s a color in here for every look one could possibly want to create, from sleek, casual daytime looks to sultry eyes for a night out. The pigment on these ranges from good to ah-may-zing, there’s hardly a disappointment in the bunch. There’s also several blushes, a bronzer and highlighter, and a few glosses. The potted glosses are a risk for cross-contamination, and it’s hard to get the pigment to show up on them, but the one’s that come in tubes are great quality. Also, I’ve scarcely seen better quality gel liners. The six included here are all boldy pigmented, easy to use, creamy, and long-lasting. L-l-love!
So I thought this tag was really fun, and I’ve been enjoying watching people’s videos describing and showing their fave rainbow products. I hope this takes off a bit in the blogosphere, as I think it’s a really enjoyable, informative tag to both do and see. I’d love to read anyone’s post if they feel like doing it! But for technicality, I tag:
Thanks for reading guys! If you do this, have fun with it and please let me know!

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Rant and Rave: Makeup Snobs

A few weeks ago, I was on Tumblr and I came across a post by a fellow beauty blogger. This woman was fuming over “the glorification of drugstore makeup.” When someone asked her to elaborate, she went on to say, essentially, that drugstore makeup isn’t as good as high end brands, because they’re never used in runway shows and if you ask all the youtube gurus, all their favorite products are high end. This is such a silly way of thinking, for several reasons.

First of all, this woman-a textbook “makeup snob”-is straight-up wrong. In terms of fashion, the designer usually collaborates with a specific cosmetic brand to create all the looks for the show. While MAC and NARS definitely make featured appearances every season, so do Maybelline and Revlon. Here’s a play-by-play, for reference:

  • Cover Girl: Bottega Veneta (S/S 12), Gucci (S/S 12)
  • L’Oreal: Project Runway (F/W 13)
  • Maybelline: Catherine Malandrino (F/W 11), Betsey Johnson (F/W 11), Max Azria (F/W 11), Cynthia Rowley (F/W 11), Carlos Miele (F/W 11), Vivienne Tam (F/W 11, S/S 12), BCBG Max Azria (F/W 11, S/S 12), DKNY (F/W 11 S/S 12), Custo Barcelona (F/W 11 S/S 12) Bibhu Mohapatra (S/S 12),Wes Gordon (S/S 12), Libertine (S/S 12), L.A.M.B. (S/S 12), Richard Chai Love (F/W 13), Rachel Zoe (F/W 13)
  • NYX: Nicholas K (F/W 13)
  • Revlon: Luca Luca (F/W 11), Rag & Bone (F/W 12), Preen (F/W 12), Oscar de la Renta (F/W 12), Vivienne Tam (F/W 12), KaufmanFranco (F/W 13)
So yeah, that Fit Me! Foundation everyone seems to hate? It was on the runway. Ditto for the Dream Bouncy blushes that some whine aren’t pigmented enough. Many expensive brands are also owned by ho-hum drugstore brands. For example, L’Oreal owns Kerastase, Redken, Shu Uemura, Stella McCartney, Clarisonic, Urban Decay, Lancome, Yves Saint Laurent, Giorgio Armani, and Kiehls, among others. So when you’re giving your money to an expensive brand, thinking you’re so high and mighty, you’re profiting the creators of drugstore makeup as well, so you’re not as elite as you think. Also, because a brand can own a high-end and drugstore product, they can frequently create less-expensive dupes in their cheaper ranges (like Armani’s Ombre shadows vs. L’Oreal’s new Infallible shadows). 
Also, please keep in mind that legendary makeup artist Pat McGrath frequently uses less-expensive cosmetics when working the runway (she did the glam eyes at Gucci in 2012), or when she works with equally impressive photographer Steven Meisel. She is a wonderful example of following your own interests and instincts, as she creates beautiful work frequently using affordable cosmetics (and often applying them with her fingers(!)-something a snob would never do). 
Which leads me to my next point. Just because Allthatglitters21, Xsparkage, or Michelle Phan claim a product is amazing and they love it DOES NOT MEAN IT IS GOOD OR WORTH BUYING. This is one of the most frustrating things to me in the cosmetic industry. Please keep in mind that those women (and men) on Youtube are just regular people giving their opinions. Sure, while some of their must-have, holy grail products come from department stores, they could recreate their flawless looks without them. That’s because those individuals have talent, they practice, and experiment. If someone waved a wand and made everything over $10 in their makeup kits disappear, guess what? They’d still be able to pull of quality looks, because makeup is just the medium. It is the artist that brings a look to life. 
So please, think for yourself! If everyone says your favorite colors don’t look good with your eyes, wear them anyway! If someone thinks your bold lips or layered mascara is “too much,” forget them! It’s your face-your canvas-to create on and do whatever you want with. I feel really sorry for people who are too caught up in brand, image, cost, and popularity to do what they truly want with their lives, including the way they express themselves through makeup. So please do some introspection, think about what it is you like, and just go for it. 
That’s not to say that everything in the drugstore is amazing. Some products have limited color options, or the formula is drying, or not pigmented or long-lasting. These are valid cosmetic concerns. However, those problems can appear in products you get at Nordstrom to. There is a difference between being a smart shopper and a snob. A smart shopper will buy a product based on the quality and how it fits her needs. A snob will purchase the more expensive product without doing any research about quality, (or because so and so on Youtube said it was her favorite), and can end up with something less than fantastic for a higher cost. 
I’ve always believed makeup was about making oneself feel good. Yes, it feels good to own nice or expensive things. But as I’ve stated with cosmetics, quality is not always reflected in the price tag, be it high or low. I encourage everyone to purchase pretty, effective, quality cosmetics that assist them in creating their looks or their art. This is a friendly reminder that quality can come from the drugstore (I’ve found excellent MAC dupes there). 
Stay true to yourself, be a smart shopper, and don’t be a snob. 🙂 

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Civilization: America

I have been playing so much of Sid Meier’s Civilization V that it’s almost embarrassing. I’ve had a slump on PV lately-no one wants to post just reviews-so the game got me thinking. I’ve decided to compose a series of posts representing as many of the civs  as possible, showcasing each culture’s contribution to the cosmetic world and highlighting important women in the societies’ (and likely cosmetic) history.

Going in alphabetical order, the first playable Civilization is America. Being a native, this seems like a rather disappointing place to start-after all, many forget that the country is still a baby (less than 250 years old). However, in that time, our culture has developed something rather iconic: Hollywood. And if there’s anything as memorable as the movie-making city, it’s undoubtedly the Golden Age of Film. It was here that the “classic, ’40’s pinup look” was born. Who can argue with Marilyn Monroe’s cat-eye liner and bold red lips?

Image via Biography

But predating Marilyn’s pervasive beauty was Rita Hayworth. Amusingly, the star was literally a bombshell-one of her pinup posters (designed to boost soldier morale in WWII) was plastered over the first atom bomb, which was being tested on the Pacific island of Bikini Atoll in 1946. Not long after this, Hayworth introduced the “bikini” swimsuit to the public. Talk about a marketing strategy!
Image via Freeinfosociety

This gorgeous look has been recreated for nearly as long as it’s inception. There are countless bloggers and Youtubers recreating this simple, but lovely, styling. Apart from the obvious eyes and lips, soft, flouncy pin curls, well-groomed eyebrows, and full, dramatic lashes were integral to the silver screen siren’s image. Urban Decay’s 24/7 Waterproof Liquid Eyeliner ($19 USD) is great for achieving the precise line this look often has (Wet ‘n’ Wild makes a great, glossy liner that’s also very easy to use and is only a dollar-read PV’s review of it here). A glossy finish to a red lip adds a sensuality that was common during this time period. Chanel’s Rouge Allure Luminous Intense Lip Colour looks like an excellent choice (it retails for $34 USD). MAC’s Ruby Woo ($15 USD) is a great matte choice (PV has also reviewed this, readable here). 
Images via Sephora and Nordstrom

But American cosmetics did not stagnate after the ’50’s. Calvin Klein released his first fragrance in 1981, and still finds strong success and popularity with his scents. But he isn’t the only one. Many American brands not only hold their own with sophisticated, refined cosmetics from Europe, but are staple suppliers of beauty products worldwide. Benefit, Bobbi Brown, LORAC, Smashbox, Stila, and Urban Decay all call the US home. Drugstores proudly showcase many homegrown brands, such as Almay, Cover Girl, Maybelline, Revlon, and Wet ‘n’ Wild. Also, America is gaining some indie cred-NYX, Lime Crime, and Sugarpill are all based in California. 
Speaking of which, the California Girl look has also become well-known over the years. Popularized in the ’70s by Charlie’s Angel Farrah Fawcett, the summery look has lasted long enough for native Katy Perry to pen a hit song about the breed (although I’d say her image scarcely matches the stereotype!). With suunny blonde streaks in her famously feathered hair, a bright smile, a bronzy tan, and an iconic red swimsuit, Farrah almost singlehandedly ushered in the beachy look. 
Image via Wikipedia

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A Beginner’s Guide to Lip Products.

I absolutely love lip products. This sounds like a simple sentiment, but before I was a makeup junkie (those dark, old days from long ago), I always was more visually attracted to eye makeup. Fierce shadow/liner/lashes combinations are still to die for, but bright, bold lips have earned an equally special place in my heart. (Well, some more than others.) In this Beginner’s Guide, I’m going to introduce the different cosmetic items intended for the lips, and make a few recommendations.

On a spectrum from most to least basic, there is:

1) Lip Balm: Even the women with the most simple, basic makeup routines tend to reach for lip balm. In fact, I’d say women who otherwise forgo makeup completely probably use balm regularly. Many balms are made with beeswax. The wax is designed to provide a barrier over the lips, sealing in moisture and preventing outside irritants, such as wind or cold temperature, from drying out the lips even further. A common misconception is that balm actually restores moisture to the mouth. This is not true; Balm simply prevents further dehydration of the lips. This explains the need for continuous reapplication in the case of severely dry lips. Over the years, balms have developed to include sunscreen benefits, as well as tints, flavors, and much cuter packaging.

Chapstick was the first to market lip balm in the 1880s and remains popular today. Burt’s Bees and Carmex are also classic balm brands. Lip Smackers are filled with deliciously-scented and wondefully flavored childhood nostaliga. In recent years, EOS’ spherical balms and Maybelline’s Baby Lips have become very popular. I highly recommend the latter, despite it’s higher-than-average price. The packaging is adorable, and there is a generous amount of product included. Baby :Lips smell great, and feel very emollient on the mouth.

Image via Beautylish

2) Lip Gloss: Gloss is another product that most of us are familiar with, often beginning our makeup-loving careers with some (in hindsight) pretty horrible frosty/glittery ones in our early teens. Gloss is designed, as the name implies, to add a glossy sheen to the mouth. Various finishes have developed over time, including the aforementioned glittery and frosty looks. But there are simpler textures; often times, gloss just adds various degrees of shiny pigment. The most basic lip glosses are clear. They can range from this to completely opaque, some include shimmer, others do not. They’re a versatile product suiting a variety of needs. That, plus the toned-down look of a gloss (compared to more pigment-rich lipstick) tends to make them popular with teenagers attending school. Lip gloss can be packaged in hard plastic tubes with screw-on caps that reveal (often doe-foot applicator) wands, or softer, squeeze-tube products that are designed to be applied directly on the mouth. Using a lip brush is also an option when it comes to applying this type of product.  Gloss ranges in texture, from tackier (think MAC) to milkier (think NARS).
MAC Tinted Lipglass, NARS lip gloss, Lancome Juicy Tubes, and OCC Lip Tars are established, popular picks when it comes to this type of product. However, there are some great drugstore lip glosses. Maybelline Color Sensational and Revlon Super Lustrous lip glosses are both affordable, easily-accessible, and great quality.
Image via Beautylish

3) Lip Stain: Stains are long-wearing products that leave a subtler color than lipstick (but stronger, and matter, than gloss). These tend to come in pencil forms and can be “drawn” onto the lips. However, alternative formulas, such as liquid stains, also exist. These can sometimes fly under a beauty junkie’s radar, as they seem less popular and have an unfortunate reputation for being drying. The length of wear, without sacrificing color, makes this type of product great for busier, or less “fussy” women, who don’t have time or the desire to reapply their makeup throughout the day. Stains are also great for dinner dates, since they’re more transfer-proof and won’t dissolve throughout the meal or kiss off. While stains do have a softer finish than lipstick, they’re not all matte; some stains retain a nice, subtle sheen. 
Tarte Lipsurgence is a popular high-end stain. Benefit Benetint, which comes in a nail polish-like screw-top container with a brush applicator, is also well-known and often used. Recently, Revlon Just Bitten Lip Stain was released in drugstores and is doing quite well. Unfortunately, I have zero experience with stains, and can’t make a personal recommendation.
Image via Beautylish

4) Lip Liner: Lip liner, unfortunately, always seemed like a product for old people to me. As my cosmetic knowledge grew, I realized that this helpful tool was useful to others, not just grandmas going to bingo. Liner, often wax-based, is designed to provide a base for lipstick/gloss. This base keeps the overlaying product from unflattering bleeding and feathering, giving lip color a precise shape. Also, when used to fill in the entire mouth (as opposed to outlining the lip shape), liner provides a long-wearing hint of color that can outlast lipstick or gloss, reducing the need to reapply as the top layer of color fades (since the matching liner underneath will remain). Liners come in a variety of hues, designed to match popular lipstick shades (think pink, red, and nude color families). However, there are also clear lip liners, which act as sheer primers for the lips, while retaining the anti-bleeding benefits. 
MAC pencils are quite popular, and Too Faced Perfect Lips are highly rated online as well. On the more affordable end, Rimmel 1000 Kisses Stay On Lip Liner has left a positive impression on me. Unfortunately, I also have no experience with liner this far. 😦
Image via Beautylish

5) Lipstick: Probably the most well-known and iconic of lip products, lipsticks are my absolute favorite thing to wear on the mouth. I love the color range of lipsticks (I’m a total sucker for pinks!), as well as the pigment and sheen variation of different brands. It’s the versatility of this product that makes it such a staple and well-loved item for many women. Sheerer nude shades are very professional-looking, reds are classic and bold, pinks are playful and feminine, etc. Bolder colors, such as purple (in all it’s varieties-plum, lilac, violet) and browns have been having their time in the sun lately as well. There is a finish for every woman’s needs as well. Matte (no shimmer/glitter/sheen, just pure, bold color) are strong, fun, and many women say, empowering (but this long-wearing formula can, unfortunately, be drying). Frost finishes are metallic, bold and modern. Glaze-like lipsticks have a glossy sheen, but compromise pigment (these tend to be sheer, varying from gloss mostly in texture). Cream lipsticks are the standard, providing solid pigment with a subtle shine, applying smoothly to the lips. Your troubles with a lipstick can depend on the brand and formula. Some lesser quality lippies can settle into lip lines, bunch up on themselves, bleed/feather, transfer, be too sheer (or too pigmented), or dry out the lips over time, making them appear cracked and flaky. While most come in twist-up tubes, liquid lipsticks and lipstick pencils exist as well.
MAC, every beauty junkie’s gateway drug, makes wonderful lipsticks in a large variety of shades and formulas. However, lippies are one item that drugstore brands have been knocking out of the park lately. Cover Girl Lip Perfection, Revlon Colorburst Lip Butter, Maybelline Color Sensational Lip Color, and Revlon Super Lustrous Lipstick are all great, affordable, and accessible. 
Image via Beautylish

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