Make Up For Ever

Make Up For Ever HD Micro Finishing Powder Review + Photos

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Effectiveness: I had heard many great things about the MUFE HD Finishing Powder, but I admit, I wasn’t sure about it. It’s a white powder (100% pure silica) that goes on transparent. I was doubtful that one simple ingredient could achieve so much hype. However, this powder leaves a smooth finish that’s not cakey; it makes the skin look poreless. In HD photos, as well as the naked eye, the skin looks absolutely perfect. (Although, my skin is generally normal, so I couldn’t effectively test for a reduction of shine). (5/5)

Wear: The smooth finish and poreless look lasted a full 8 hours. (5/5)

Formula: The powder is very finely milled and becomes invisible on the skin (and in pictures), making it work on all skin tones. If you touch your face with this on, you can tell there’s a smooth powder finish, but not in a way that feels “powdery.” It feels like perfected skin. (5/5)

Packaging: I have a 0.0035 oz sample size (came in the Sephora Favorites Glitz & Glam bag). Mine comes with a sifter over the powder, which I’m not sure is included in the sizes available for purchase (I assume it is). Otherwise, the packaging is the same: Clear plastic jar with a black, screw-on lid. The lid screws on well, you never have to worry about the product spilling out. The only thing I dislike about the sample size packaging is that the small cap makes it hard to fit a fluffy powder brush to get the product on the brush (retail sizes shouldn’t have this problem, though, which is why I’m not taking off a point). (5/5)

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Price: Sephora sells two sizes of Finishing Powder, a 0.14 oz mini for $19 USD, and a full, 0.3 oz jar for $34 USD. Thats $135.70 per ounce for the mini, and $113.33 per ounce for the full size. This makes the full size the most cost-effective in the long-run (and I see this being the kind of powder people would want to use every day, and a little goes a long way).I think the turnout is worth the price. people who are on HD film/photo a lot (like beauty Youtubers) would benefit from everyday use of the full size, and those who want something special for a nice occasion can snap up the smaller jar for less than a $20. (5/5)

Wow Factor: I was doubtful at first if pure silica was really worth all the fuss. But the effect this gives is subtle yet noticeable. I love the smooth, poreless texture it gives the skin, and a little goes a long way. I can see this working on all skin tones and lasting a while. However, I don’t think those who are on film/take photos a lot will need it (its not a touch up powder, or one designed for coverage. Too much can make you look ghostly). (4/5)

Overall: It’s a great powder, but it’s also niche. For the average consumer, it’s not a must-have, or even necessary. But for the beauty fanatic (or blogger, or Youtuber), it creates an amazing finish. I don’t think the average woman applying makeup would particularly notice a difference in her skin and wouldn’t get the fuss (or the price). If you’re in front of a camera a lot, I highly recommend it. If you just want something for coverage/to keep your makeup in place/oil down, etc, there are many effective, less expensive alternatives. (4.8) A

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Would I repurchase?
Yes

Availability:
-Sephora
-makeupforever.com

Useful Information:
-This product was purchased by me.
-This product contains no animal products, however, the Make Up For Ever brand is not cruelty free/vegan and still tests on animals.

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Make Up For Ever Smoky Extravagant Mascara Review + Photos

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Effectiveness:
This mascara claims to do it all, claiming that it “add(s) length, volume, and curl.” It didn’t disappoint me! It gives both volume and length (although I found this to be a bit more lengthening). It also stayed curled for the whole 8-hour wear period. It also makes the lashes look nice and dark. I can see why they call it “Smoky Extravagant,” since it would be the perfect accent to a nighttime smoky eye. (5/5)

Wear:
Smoky Extravagant wore flawlessly. It stayed put for a full 8 hours without flaking, smudging,or losing it’s curl. As promised, too. The brand says SE provides “long-lasting wear in one stroke.” (5/5)

Formula:
This is a drier mascara, which I personally prefer, because it doesn’t feel thick, clumpy, or flaky on the lashes. It holds a curl perfectly and stays in place effortlessly. (5/5)

Packaging:
On the exterior, the tube is sturdy black plastic. It doesn’t feel cheap, or overly luxurious. The wand is conical, with a quite wide base and “precision tip.” It’s a bit cumbersome due to it’s size, so I imagine those with small eyes may find it difficult to work with. However, this extreme cone shape works well, since the wider base flares out the outer lashes, and the narrow tip gets close to the inner corner, so every lash gets coated. (4.5/5)

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Price:
This mascara comes in two sizes, the standard (0.23 oz) size, which is $24, and the mini travel size (0.16 oz) size, which is the one I purchased for $12 USD. The full size is $104.34 per ounce, and the travel size is $75 per ounce. This is actually a bit more than similarly priced products (Dior Diorshow is one dollar more, but has 0.15 oz more product, coming out to $65.78 per ounce. That’s cheaper than MUFE SE’s travel size!)

So the price isn’t ideal, but how is the quality for the cost? By now, it’s clear that I love Smoky Extravagant. It’s not my absolute favorite, because the wand makes it tricky to apply (and I have larger eyes.) (4/5)

Wow Factor:
This is a mascara that does what it says it will, excellently. I liked the result I got while wearing it. My lashes looked dark, full, long, and curled all day. The only major drawback is the size of the wand. (4/5)

Overall:
I really enjoyed Smoky Extravagant. I think it’s a great mascara for creating sexy, nighttime lashes. It’s the kind of thing that’s perfect for a party or date night. It makes the lashes look more intense, with that desirable fanned out, winged out shape. If you don’t mind the price, or the cumbersome wand, then I totally recommend it. (4.6) A-

Availability:
-Sephora
-makeupforever.com

Useful Information:
-This product was purchased by me.
-Smoky Extravagant only comes in one shade.
-Make Up For Ever sells it’s products in China.

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September ’14 Haul/First Impressions PART ONE: Sephora

*Forgive me for the webcam photos. I’m saving up for a DSLR, better pics to come!*

I was so, so excited to get these packages in the mail, because I had picked up some things that I had been wanting for a long time. I’ve ordered from Sephora’s site before, but have only previously shopped in-store at Bath and Body Works (and never purchased the kinds of items I did this time around). So, let’s start with Sephora!

The first thing I noticed is that this package was well-insulated, as usual. I appreciate Sephora taking care to make sure the items don’t arrived damaged. The first “products” I saw in the box were my bonus samples, plus an ad card for the store’s Beauty Studio Services.

 

The first sample was for Make Up For Ever’s new Artist Shadow. I wasn’t sure what I was expecting, but I was a bit surprised when I opened up the sample and saw what looked like press-on shadow stickers. However, when I pulled back the protective plastic, I was able to fully swatch the pigment, and was pleasantly surprised by the color payoff (although, I don’t expect less from MUFE). The color samples I received were a shimmery yellow white (I can see this being a beautiful highlight), a standard matte camel (this had the least payoff and is easiest to dupe), and a shimmery warm burgundy (pretty, pigmented, but done before). All three had a soft, smooth feel, and based off the swatch, I’ll definitely be trying these out (I actually almost purchased one in this haul, but decided against it).

The next sample is Philosophy Miracle Worker. This is an “anti-aging moisturizer and salicyclic acid acne treatment.” I’ve been dying to try Philosophy for a long time, but the sample given is very small, so I don’t know how well I’ll be able to get a feel for this product (and I hardly ever use these kinds of samples anyway, although that may change!).

The last sample is Benefit The Porefessional Agent Zero Shine. This is a “mattifying, pore-perfecting” powder. The sample even included a little brush, which was nice, although the full-size or one of your own brushes would probably get more use.

I also picked up Phyto Moisturizing Styling Cream with a promo code, but since I don’t style my hair often, I don’t know how much use this’ll get. It is a hearty sized sample, though, and in functional packaging.

Next are the actual items I bought. The first things I saw in the box were my items from Urban Decay’s Pulp Fiction Collection. I was so looking forward to these! The first thing I noticed was that the palette felt nice and heavy; given the cardboard packaging, I assumed it would feel cheaper. I like that it came encased in a cardboard package of it’s own, detailed with information about the palette and it’s on-screen inspiration. Ingredients and such information are included on the sides of this outer packaging. When I opened it up, the inside of the box was red! I thought that was a chic, nice detail. It also contains a tutorial card for Mia Wallace’s look.

 It opens/closes magnetically, which is secure yet easy to use. The mirror and little brush came sealed in plastic.Once you peel off that plastic, the mirror is surprisingly large and clear, making the compact pretty functional. The brushes are soft and have a metal handle, which is better than I expected, and the bristles are the right size for the pans, so I think they could work on the go, although most (myself included) will likely favor a full-size brush for application. I don’t like how the brand split Furious and Anger, since it’s less shadow and no barrier preventing powder kickup from mixing. All five shades felt soft and smooth, with excellent pigment, although it’s obvious that this is not the most unique palette under the sun. Having said that, I think it’ll appeal to collectors and makeup enthusiasts alike, because the homage to the film and quality are both there.

I had been eyeing the brand’s Revolution lipsticks since their launch, and was so happy when they released one with the PF collection. Upon opening the package, I was pleasantly surprised to see the same red interior, as well as Samuel L. Jackson’s famous quote printed inside. The tube is a sleek, shiny black that’s surprisingly resistant to fingerprints. This has stellar, phenomenal out-of-this-world pigment, the kind that really needs a lip brush to get precisely perfect. Its bold, rich and shiny. Love! It felt less creamy than I expected, but it’s by no means dry, and you really only need a little to get intense payoff.

The next item I grabbed was the BareMinerals Ready quad in The A-List. Immediately I was shocked by how small it was–websites always made it seem much larger! Like the UD palette, this came cased in cardboard, with the shade names and ingredients printed on the back, and also came with a little pamphlet suggesting a look. Thank god for the rubberized packaging on the palette proper–it was cased snugly in the cardboard exterior, and flew out of my hands onto the floor as I tried to get it out. Luckily, nothing broke. The mirror on this compact is also very large and great for functional use. I like that the shadows came with a little plastic protector; I always appreciate touches like that. This palette ranged in smoothness and finish, but all of them had great pigment, even the soft pink shades, which seemed like they could’ve been fussier.

Next, a trio of Kat Von D Studded Kiss Lipsticks! I’ve been lusting after every single one since their debut (sadly, I couldn’t pick up Poe, a stunning navy blue). The packaging on these is total Kat Von D–it perfectly fits her image. These have a nice burgundy interior on the packaging. and the studded shape of the tube feels so badass. These come with a delectable vanilla scent (think MAC). The shades I picked up are Wolvesmouth (metallic berry), Wonderchilde (iridescent neon lilac), and Backstage Bambi (matte vivid hot pink). They all went on the lips easily, although some more than others.

Next, two products I’ve been wanting for as long as I’ve been into makeup: a NARS blush and eyeshadow duo. First, the blush. I decided on Angelika. This shade has silver glitter in it, but I was still a little surpised to see glitter sprinkled on the outside of the compact (wiped off easily though). Upon opening, I noticed the powder is pleasantly scented. This felt a bit drier to the touch than I expected, though I reckon that’s because of the glitter element (which many say gets lost when applied to the cheek anyway). The pigment was lovely and subtle. Can’t wait to wear this on the face!

Now for the duo. I picked up Kauai, which came out with their Spring collection. The pigment in these shades is rich and intense, and each felt so soft. Plus, the purple and gold together will look absolutely beautiful together on the eye. Another product I can’t wait to try out!

Moving on, OCC Lip Tars is a product I’ve tried before and loved, so I couldn’t wait to get my hands on another one. This time, it was the fantastically dark berry shade, Black Dahlia. I’ve never tried dark lipstick before and knew I had to start here. As usual, this one came with a handy brush and a very lovely mint scent. And the pigment, ease of use, and texture where all what I expected–that is, great.

Another brand I’ve loved before is Butter London. I’ve been on the hunt for a fab girly pink polish for a while now, and finally took the plunge with Teddy Girl. Because of work, I don’t get to wear polish as often as I used to, but I can’t wait to swipe this on this weekend. It’s too pretty to resist.

Make Up For Ever is a brand I’ve always loved from afar (having only tried one of their products, an Aqua Cream). As I mentioned, I considered trying one of their new shadows, but considering all the other shadows I bought, I decided against it. But as I was checking out, they suggested I pick up their mascara, Smoky Extravagant. After hearing Elle Fowler rave about the regular Smoky Lash, I knew I had to give it a try. Always fond of a new mascara, I can’t wait to put this baby to great use.

Obviously, I picked up a lot of products I’m eager to try out. But this payed off for me in a major way when I realized I had enough points to cash in for rewards with Sephora’s Beauty Insider program. I settled on three 100-point items.

First, Smashbox Photo Finish Foundation Primer. I’ve been wanting to try both an item from Smashbox and a foundation base, so I knew this was one thing I couldn’t pass up.

Next, Lancome Definicils Mascara. I already l-l-love Hypnose, and expect Definicils to be just as lovely.

And lastly, Too Faced Chocolate Soleil Matte Bronzer in Medium/Deep. Too Faced is another one of those brands I’ve heard loads about and have been fawning over, especially when it comes to this product. It has that great cocoa scent it’s famous for. At first, I thought Medium/Deep might be too dark for me, but upon actually seeing it, I’m not too worried.

I had a great time picking up these items and finally being able to explore new brands and products. Some of these have been on my wishlist for years, so I’m thrilled to finally be able to own them and continue writing reviews and my experiences with different items. See anything you like that I bought? Want to recommend me something? Let me know!

And stay tuned for part 2–Bath and Body Works! medianet_width=’600′; medianet_height= ‘250’; medianet_crid=’228266391′;

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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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′;

A Beginner’s Guide to Eye Products

Following up with my Beginner’s Guide to Lip Products post, is a novice’s introduction to the basic products used on the eyes. This includes primer, shadow, liner, and mascara. Any combination of eye makeup can enhance the face and create an interesting look. That’s the beauty of (eye) makeup–it can range from stunning to simple to fierce to playful. Whatever mood you’re in or person you want to be, you can create and project that image through your cosmetics, and eye makeup has a lot to do with that.

1) Primer: Eye primer is one of those products those outside of the beauty habit don’t really know of, but it’s such an important, useful step. Any shadow can be enhanced with a primer, also called a base, under it. This works by making the shadows more vibrant, decreases problems like creasing and fallout, and helps them last longer. Some provide coverage on the eyelid, others are more invisible. Some are smooth, some are tackier (which helps keep powdery shadow and loose shadows in place).

Urban Decay Primer Potion is a staple in many beauty fans’ collections for it’s ease of use and effectiveness. Another popular choice is Too Faced Shadow Insurance. While the previous two come in tubes, MAC Paint Pots come in small jars and have more color options (both in skin-tone and colorful shades). ELF also makes an affordable drugstore primer.

Image via Beautylish

2) Eyeshadow: A common, popular product among beauty junkies and girls who prefer to stick to the basics alike is eyeshadow. Eyeshadow is a pigment that can subtly or dramatically enhance the eyes. There’s a lot of versatility in the way these products are used, as well as in the formula of the products themselves. There are single shadows, duos, quads, and palettes, as well as pressed, cream, loose, and pigment formulas.
Pressed eyeshadows are powders that are pressed into a pan, making them generally light and easy to travel with. They often can be used wet or dry, and get the best application when used with a brush. There’s a shadow in this form to meet everyone’s needs: matte/frost/shimmer/glitter/satin finishes, ranging from natural to smoky to colorful, sheer to pigment-packed, in every shade of the rainbow at every price point. Be on the lookout for fading, short wear time, or fallout with this formula, though. Wet ‘n’ Wild Trios are some of the best (and affordable) pressed shadows I’ve found at the drugstore, and MAC eyeshadows can’t be beat.
Image via Drugstore

Cream shadows come in an emollient, smooth formula that feels richer (and obviously less dry and more creamy) than powder shadows. There’s still loads of color options with this formula, as well as versatility. This formula can make a great base for sheer powder shadows, and works better than wet powder shadow as an impromptu eyeliner. These shadows are typically housed in glass jars and can be applied with your fingers or a brush. While I love this formula for it’s staying power, beware lesser quality formulas, which can crease or dry out quickly. Maybelline Color Tatoos come in a bold mix of shades, with some softer, skin tones added recently. These wear really well and are quite affordable. For high end shadows, I’m dying to try more of Make Up For Ever’s Aqua Creams.

Image via Drugstore

Loose eyeshadows and pigments are fine powders that boast richer, more vibrant color payoff. They’re not pressed, so they can be more prone to fallout. When worn on the eye, these function much better wet (but a too-wet brush can cause streaky, patchy application!) This formula tends to really sing, with bold color payoff and rich texture. Because of the loose form, these can be reused for other things, such as becoming a lip product when mixed with clear gloss, or nail polish when mixed with clear varnish. This formula has a lot of versatility! I fell in love with indie brand Shiro’s loose shadows, and MAC makes to die for pigments. 
Image via Shiro

3) Eyeliner: Eyeliner is another useful tool in a makeup user’s arsenal. The swipe of liner across the lash line can enhance or alter the eye shape, add definition to the lashes, and add some personality to your look (depending on the color/finish you choose). A flesh tone or white liner on the water line (bottom inner rim of the eye) can make your eyes look bigger and the whites look brighter, helping you look more awake. There are three kinds of eyeliner: pencil, liquid, and gel/cream.
Pencil liner should be soft and creamy enough to draw the line on the delicate skin of the eye without skipping or tugging, but not so smooth that it smudges or has no staying power. Because pencil liners need to be sharpened, there can be some product waste, but this can be avoided by freezing the pencil first. Pencil liners are great for everyday use as they’re easy to use and don’t require any special tools. You can get close to the lash line or make a thicker line and do detailed work. I’ve tried Wet ‘n’ Wild’s liners, but so far, I find that Urban Decay’s range of pencils can’t be beat.
Image via Sephora

Liquid eyeliner is a thin formula that’s brushed on, and housed in a small bottle. This liner has a shiny, very classic look and is great for making a winged, cat-eye shape. However, this formula is also the easiest to mess up and requires patience and a steady hand to nail down. The fine point of a liquid liner’s applicator also make them great for playing with shapes and doing detailed work to your makeup. Because I’m quite bad with liquid liner, I’ve stuck to Wet ‘n’ Wild’s range, but haven’t been disappointed with it’s affordability, ease of use, and color options.
Image via Walgreens

Cream/gel eyeliners are smooth, rich, and my favorite to use. They’re not as convenient as a pencil, since they require a brush to apply, but they’re not nearly as tricky to make shapes with as a liquid. This formula mostly comes housed in jars with screw on lids. They’re creamy and go on like a dream, but can dry out quickly (put the lid back on while you’re applying your liner to prevent this). Ulta’s gel liners are surprisingly good, and I’m eager to try Bobbi Brown’s as well.
Image via Ulta

4) Mascara: Mascara is a special product, because it does different things depending on different women’s needs. That’s probably why it’s one of those well-loved items. Mascara comes in a tube and coats the lashes by applying product with the included wand. Depending on the formula, mascara can make your lashes look more voluminous or longer, as well as tinting and curling them. It’s important to know your bare lashes well, as what works for sparse lashes could cause thick natural lashes to clump, and so on. Whatever your needs, be careful of mascaras that clump, run, or dry out. I love Maybelline mascaras, and Benefit They’re Real! is also very good.
Image via makeup-wholesale

What are your favorite products to use on your eyes?

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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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Pantone’s Color of the Year 2014: Radiant Orchid!

Image via Pantone

It was recently announced via Pantone’s Twitter that 2014’s Color of the Year will be Radiant Orchid! This is very exciting, because purple is one of my favorite colors. I also believe different shades of purple can look beautiful and flattering on every skin tone, and there’s endless ways to wear the shade. And luckily for us cosmetic junkies, there’s iterations of this shade of tremendous quality at all price points. Below are some purple products to get you in the Radiant Orchid spirit (in order of ascending price):
Wet ‘n’ Wild Color Icon 8-Pan Palette in Petal Pusher:

Image via Drugstore

This gorgeous palette comes with a range of purple shades. Stocked at most drugstores, it should be easy to find, and isn’t hard on the wallet, either. $4.99 USD.
Revlon Lip Butter in Gumdrop:

Image via CVS

The famous line of hydrating lipsticks has an adorable lavender shade. Read the review here. $7.49 USD
Essie Nail Polish in Lilacism:

Image via CVS

A darling in the cosmetic world ever since it’s release, Essie’s Lilacism is the perfect light purple shade for the spring time. $8.50 USD.
MAC Lipstick in Heroine:

Image via Allure

I remember this shade selling out in moments after it’s limited-edition release. However, MAC smartly added the popular shade to it’s permanent range, just in time for orchid’s big moment in 2014. $15 USD.
Obsessive Compulsive Cosmetics Lip Tar in Hoochie:

Image via Sephora

OCC’s lip tars are fantastic, especially since they’ve managed to tame the drying effects of the matte formula. The shade Hoochie is bound to get you noticed in style. $18 USD.
Make Up For Ever Powder Blush in Lavender 9:

Image via Sephora

MUFE is a quality brand that I can rely on for unusual shades, like purple blush, in a top notch formula. $21 USD.
NARS Eyeshadow Duo in Jolie Poupee:

Image via Sephora

NARS duos are famous for their exceptional quality and stylish shade pairings. This pretty purple compact is right on trend for next year. $34 USD.
What do you think of Pantone selecting Radiant Orchid as 2014’s Color of the Year? Do you like it better than Emerald (2013) and Tangerine Tango (2012)? What products do you plan on using to rock this shade? Let me know!

Wet ‘n’ Wild, Revlon, and Essie products are available at Drugstores.
MAC products are available at department stores and online at maccosmetics.com
OCC, Make Up For Ever, and NARS products are available at Sephora.

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The Best Makeup for Halloween!

Happy Halloween ladies and gents! This is special time of the year, because it really allows people to be creative with the way they look, whether they want to enhance their natural beauty for a girly, ethereal look, or go for something spooky, dark, or creepy. Halloween gives you a chance to play with special effects, or go for full-on glamour that ordinarily, one may be too shy to try. So to help you beauties put together a fantastic face to go along with your extraordinary costumes, here’s PV’s picks for the best Halloween makeup.

1) Ben Nye


Ben Nye’s line of makeup was founded by a well-respected Hollywood makeup artist, who’s work was often used on camera. This means that the brand’s products are perfect for long wear, and dramatic, larger-than-life looks that work for a holiday like this. The brand’s Special FX Color Wheels, shown above, are all created with a spooky purpose: to give the illusion of being bruised, cut, or burned. They’re the perfect choice for the girl who likes to get into the darker side of Halloween! And the professional quality makeup is considerably affordable, too. Online, these only sell for $11 USD.
2) Kryolan

Image via Kryolan

Kryolan is another amazing brand for creating out-of-this-world effects. While it is another brand created with professional (movie/theatre) intent, they are the only brand I know of that makes a wide variety of products one wouldn’t necessarily think to manufacture. A lot of their special effects products are perfect for this time of year, as well. Take, for example, the Crusty Blood shown above. It’s a latex-based product that dries down to create the illusion of scabbed blood, and comes in 2 shades! This product can easily be pulled off of the skin, but be careful-it’s nearly impossible to get off the clothes.
3) Mehron

Image via Mehron

Another brand that delivers in the special effects department is Mehron. Their products are inexpensive (the Extra Flesh shown above is only $6.95 USD), and easy to use. What’s unique about Mehron is that they have a section on their site dedicated wholly to Halloween makeup! They provide example costumes and list the products used to create the look, followed by detailed instructions.
4) Make Up For Ever

Image via Sephora

And finally, I’d like to recommend Make Up For Ever. While typically considered more of a “beauty brand”-you won’t find many of the special effects products here-the 12 Flash Color Case is perfect for this time of year. This versatile palette can be used on the eyes, cheeks, and lips, and has a mixture of pigmented shades one typically wouldn’t wear in a daytime beauty look-ideal for the occasion! It’s expensive-$99 USD-but I’ve heard nothing but raves about the quality. MUFE is also an excellent brand to look to for creating more girly, enchanting costumes: they’ve got you covered with an excellent array of quality, pigmented, and uniquely-hued shadows, lipsticks, and glitters.
What are you being for Halloween? What products are you using to help create your perfect look?
Ben Nye products can be purchased at camerareadycosmetics.com.
Contact Kryolan to see if there is a distrubuter in your area.
Mehron products are available at their website, mehron.com
Make Up For Ever products are available at cosmetic stores, like Sephora.

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Make Up For Ever Aqua Cream in 01 Anthracite Review

Image via Beautylish

I had recently developed a love for cream products when I was browsing Sephora’s website. After hearing great things about Make Up For Ever’s quality and pigmentation, I decided to take the plunge and try out one of their Aqua Creams, in 01 Anthracite. Surprisingly, the shade is remarkably similar to how it appears in the photo above. It’s a steely, cool, dark grey with subtle shimmer. 
Aqua Creams are multi-purpose, and I tested them in multiple ways: as a cream liner, as a cream eyeshadow, and as an eyeshadow base. Anthracite was also formulated for use on the cheeks, but I didn’t test it for this purpose, as it’s not a color I-or most women, even the bravest of us-would sport there. (I imagine the only circumstances a shade like this would be applied on the face is for a very high fashion photo shoot). 
As a liner, this went on seamlessly, with one dip into the pot being enough to opaquely, evenly cover the whole lash line. Needless to say, I had no issues with dragging/tugging/skipping. The shimmer was noticeable-it twinkled under bright light-and had a nice, metallic sheen. The color seemed so much more nuanced on the lash line. It was absolutely beautiful to look at. Under very close inspection, the base color seemed to have a bluish/greenish tinge-it’s undeniably cool toned. It reminded me vaguely of my beloved Urban Decay Junkie eyeliner, except more steely. It wore flawlessly as well, reaching 8 hours easily, and only wearing off ever so slightly at the inner corner after a grueling 12 hours of wear. This is a one and done formula-it’ll stay put no matter what and look great until you remove it.
As a cream shadow, I was a little less wowed. On the lid, it looks very steely, metallic, and cosmic-the shade is undeniably pretty. However, it creases within seconds of applying, even with primer underneath. In fact, it creases more with primer than without. It also dries really quickly and sticks to wherever it’s placed, which makes blending a hassle (so work quickly). The creasing isn’t a deal-breaker, really, as it’s only noticeable with the eyes closed-looking in a mirror or conversing with someone, no one would be the wiser. But it is a flaw in the formula, so it’s worth pointing out. It wore effortlessly without further problems for over 8 hours.
Finally, as a primer, this is pretty disappointing-it’s not going to replace my Urban Decay Primer Potion any time soon. As a base, Aqua Cream is difficult and dry. Oddly, I had to wait for it to dry before I could effectively apply powder over top. Usually a sticky/tacky base is desired for extra pigment depth and staying power. Aqua Cream, however, somehow “ate” the color when it was still creamy-I tested Urban Decay eyeshadow in Perversion over top-a rich, matte black-and it just vanished from my lid. It was as if I had nothing on my brush. I was able to pack it on after the Aqua Cream had dried, but I found this occurrence bizarre. Also, if you don’t wait for the base to dry first, the shadow over top will crease (if the base is dry, the shadow has no problems with creasing). As I’ve already mentioned, Aqua Cream stays put, so an eyeshadow over it will be difficult to blend. However, it didn’t look any sheerer or less rich compared to the same shadow over UDPP. Around 4 hours of wear, a hint of shadow had migrated to the inner corner of my eye (but was easily wiped away). At 6 hours, I noticed Anthracite’s inherent shimmer peeking through slightly (Perversion is by no means sheer). By 12 hours, the shadow was, admittedly, darker and more opaque than when UDPP was used. However, some of this can be attributed to Anthracite being a similar-toned base. It also doesn’t make up for how fussy it was as a primer-most of us will never be in a situation where we need dark black shadow on for 12 hours straight, anyway.
In all instances, the Aqua Cream was smooth, creamy (at first) and opaque-the texture was a dream to work with, and I needed little product on my brush for the coverage I desired. I’ve had this product for longer than I should’ve, and it still shows no traces of drying out. I found it worked best for me as a liner, hands down. It wasn’t very disappointing as a cream shadow, either-some “hidden” creasing, but a special, lovely color that outweighed the problem. I would not want to go through the trouble of utilizing Anthracite as a shadow base again, though. I also noticed that this had a weird, very off-putting scent. I’m not particular about odors, but this was very unpleasant. I don’t know how to describe the fragrance other than chemical and “gritty.” It’s not noticeable on the eye, however, but you may catch a whiff of it as you dip your brush into the jar.
Aqua Creams come in clear, circular plastic jars with black, screw-on lids. The plastic is sturdier than average, but I was under the impression AQs were housed in glass. The plastic is actually a bonus, not a drawback, though. While it may feel less luxurious, it is by far more travel and drop safe-there’s far less risk that this will shatter or crack. These are flat-topped and easy to store and organize. The size of the container seems to be on the smaller side of medium. 
However, this smallness is strictly limited to the jar size. MUFE Aqua Creams are $23 USD for 0.21 oz of product-which is a heavier fill weight than MAC’s Paint Pots. However, AQs are only marginally more expensive per ounce-a mere 70 cents, to be exact (MUFE rings up to be $109.52, while MAC will cost you $108.82). Paint Pots are more tried and true bases, though-not really designed to be as multipurpose as AQs (although by all means, nothing is stopping anyone from using them in multiple ways), but I wanted to compare relatively similar products. Make Up For Ever is by no means an unheard of brand, it’s considerably rare to see. You won’t see MUFE counters set up in every department store. In fact, MUFE is only carried in one Sephora in my entire state, in a smaller city about 45 minutes away. Your best bet is to shop for them online. Their own site, in fact, redirects buyers to Sephora. MUFE performs animal testing where mandated by law.
AS AN EYELINER:
Color:
5/5
Wear: 5/5
Formula: 5/5
Packaging: 5/5
Price: 5/5
Wow Factor: 5/5
Overall: 5 (A+)

AS A CREAM SHADOW:
Color:
5/5
Wear: 4/5
Formula: 3/5
Packaging: 5/5
Price: 3/5
Wow Factor: 4/5
Overall: 4 (B-)

AS AN EYESHADOW BASE:
Color: 3.5/5
Wear: 4/5
Formula: 2.5/5
Packaging: 5/5
Price: 2/5
Wow Factor: 3/5
Overall: 3.3 (C-)

Combined Scores: 4.1 (B-)
Recommend: Yes, Anthracite performs it’s various purposes considerably well (doing some functions better than others). The color is so pretty, the price for the amount you get is pleasing, and it lasts forever, making it something I feel comfortable recommending to others.
Make Up For Ever products are available exclusively at Sephora.

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