NARS

NARS Duo in Kauai Review + Swatches + Dupes

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Color:
NARS describes the colors as “gold lame” and “iridescent smoky orchid.” That description is spot on: the left shade is a rich, warm metallic gold, and the right shade is a cool, shimmery grey-based plum. Neither of these shades is the most unique. Urban Decay Maui Wowie is slightly yellower, but similar to the gold. As for the purple, Urban Decay Gravity is similar. However, the gold is lushly pigmented, with the metallic effect coming through. The purple is semi opaque, but even with primer, it needs to be built up a bit. (3.5/5)

Wear:
When it comes to wear, the gold was excellent, lasting a full 8 hours looking flawless. The purple didn’t do as well: it only made it 5 hours before it looked faded (even with primer). (4/5)

Formula:
The gold applies soft, smooth and opaque, even without primer, and has great textural intensity (the foiled effect, naturally, looks enhanced over a base). However, it was a pain with fallout, the kind of shadow where you’d want to apply your face makeup afterwards to avoid looking glittery on the cheeks. The purple also went on smoothly and blended easily, and didn’t suffer from fallout. But, the pigment wasn’t as intense as I’d have liked, and needed to be built up. (3.5/5)

Packaging:
The duo comes in traditional NARS rubberized packaging with a great full-size mirror included. The rubber texture is great for absorbing impact from a fall or during travel. Also, the compact is sleek and thin, and stays secure when shut, making it easy to store. It also has that nice feel you expect from more expensive products. The two pans of shadow have a nice distance between them, and they don’t kick up much product to begin with, so there isn’t much worry of powder crossover. However, this kind of rubber packaging is prone to showing fingerprints. (4.5/5)

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Price:
A NARS duo is $35 USD, and contains 0.14 oz of product. That’s $250 an ounce. (Comparatively, one MAC shadow is $15 for 0.05 oz, which is $300 per ounce.) This is another great example of spending a little more to get more (in this case, 2 shades instead of one, with 0.9 oz more product), and having it add up to less money in the long run.

In terms of quality, it’s not the best, but it doesn’t do so poorly that I’d say it isn’t worth the money. The gold is fabulous and the fallout can be contained. The purple could’ve been improved a bit more. But the shades work so well together and look fabulous enough that I’d say $35 isn’t an outrageous cost, especially if you don’t already have something similar. (4/5)

Wow Factor:
If it isn’t clear by now, the gold definitely grabbed my attention in a positive way. The metallic, high shine finish is lovely and sets it apart from the other golds I own. The purple has been done before, but I like the rich smokiness and how it pairs well with the brighter gold. Yellow and purple are complimentary colors, so it’s not the most unique combination, but I like the way Kauai turned out. (3.5/5)

Overall:
Kauai is a rich, plush looking duo that draws the eye. It looks lovely in the pan and on the lid. However, there were some technical issues (fallout and lack of vibrancy) that disappointed me. My makeup collection is not super large, but still I was able to find dupes for both shades. If you like the shades and don’t mind working with their respective difficulties, go for it. However, there are cheaper options available if you like the effect and not the price tag. (3.8) C+

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Useful Information:
-This product was purchased by me.
-NARS is cruelty free, but their parent company, Shiseido, is not.

Availability:
-narscosmetics.com
-Sephora
-Nordstrom
-ASOS
-Barney’s
-Macy

NARS Blush in Angelika Review + Swatches

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I’ve wanted to try NARS blushes for a long time. So when I went on my September Sephora haul, I knew I had to grab one of these.  I originally wanted to try the shade Gaiety, but after trying ELF Studio Blush in Pink Passion, I realized I prefer less bright pinks on my cheeks. So I settled on Angelika instead.

Color:
The brand describes this shade as simply “cotton candy.” I saw it as more of a cool, mid-tone strawberry pink with silver sparkles. It looks so soft, natural, and girly. However, it can be built up. When built up, the color is more intense and true to pan, and the sparkles become apparent. However, the sparkles aren’t gaudy, they catch the light in a really soft, pretty way. (5/5)

Wear:
Once I applied this blush, it stayed put. It wore effortlessly for 8 full hours, until I removed it that night. It didn’t fade or show any signs of letting up. Impressive! (5/5)

Formula:
I see the hype around NARS blushes now, all of it is true. They really are so finally milled and full of pigment. You can wear them soft and natural, or they can be built up for more intensity. Angelika gives a subtle, lifelike flush to the cheeks that looks like its coming from within. It doesn’t even look like a powder at all. (5/5)

Packaging:
One of the things NARS is famous for is it’s sleek, rubberized packaging. I like that the rubber packaging makes the product resistant to breakage in case of a drop. However, it also shows fingerprints like a mess! (They’re easy to wipe off with a cloth, though.) The compact is thin, minimal, and chic, yet has the feel a more expensive brand should give. It also doesn’t waste plastic, which I love: the inside of the compact is all mirror, and the pan of product is huge. The compact is concise enough to store easily and I reckon these can hold up well to travel. (5/5)

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Price:
One NARS blush retails for $30 USD. That’s certainly not a price everyone can palate.The compact contains 0.16 oz of product, which is $187.50 per ounce. Not exactly cheap. But comparatively, it’s not that bad: you could spend the same amount on 2 MAC eyeshadows and get less product (.10 oz) for more money per ounce ($300). Food for thought! When it comes to product quality per price, which is what I base the score on, I say NARS is worthy of the hefty cost, for the amount you get, the fine texture, and seamless look on the skin. (4.5/5)

Wow Factor:
I had high expectations for this blush, and was not disappointed. All of my expectations were met. It has amazing pigment that can be worn soft or heavy. It looks so smooth and radiant on the skin. Its soft to the touch and there’s a lot of product to last you. (5/5)

Overall:
I loved this blush. It gave me a gorgeous doll-like appearance. The quality couldn’t be beat. I think the versatile pigment would make it workable on a large range of skin tones, from light to deep. It looks so lovely on the skin that it’s now my go-to blush. (4.9) A+

Availability:
-narscosmetics.com
-Sephora
-Nordstrom
-Bloomingdale’s
-Barney’s
-Saks Fifth Avenue
-Neiman Marcus
-Macy’s

Useful Information:
-This product was purchased by me.
-NARS is cruelty free, although some of their products contain animal derivatives, like lanolin.
-NARS’ parent company, Shiseido, is NOT cruelty free.

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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′;

Model Monday: Abbey Lee Kershaw

Image via FashionGoneRogue

Abbey Lee Kershaw is steadily becoming a bigger and bigger name in the fashion industry. The Australian beauty with exquisite bone structure has worked with some of the best of the best in fashion, from top photographers to major designers and prominent magazines. Abbey has walked for Alexander McQueen, Alexander Wang, Anna Sui, Chanel, D&G, Fendi, Gucci, Oscar de la Renta, Rodarte, Versace, and Victoria’s Secret, among others. She’s done campaigns for Gucci, Rag & Bone, Versace X H&M, and Yves Saint Laurent, to name a few. Some of the covers she’s done include I-D, Numero, V, W, as well as Australian, German, Japanese, Korean, and Russian Vouge. She’s been shot by top photographers like Hedi Slimane, Mario Testino,  Mert & Marcus, and Terry Richardson.
It’s easy to understand why the classic beauty has done beauty campaigns for CK One Color, Gucci, and Versace. In 2011 she was shot by Mario Testino to represent Versace’s Yellow Diamond fragrance. She looked absolutely radiant in Summer 2012 for Gucci’s Flora fragrance ad, then appeared alongside an all-star cast to shoot the CK ad for Fall 2012.

All images via Fashion Gone Rogue

The natural beauty clearly knows her features need little enhancement, so she prefers the more simple route, choosing to show off one feature at a time. She’s also consistant–she’s been using Lush’s skincare products for 10 years. Abbey believes in the importance of natural products, which explains her love of Lush as well as Burt’s Bees SPF Lip Balm. But she doesn’t mind less natural products, either–she adores NARS Lip Pencil in Jungle Red, and nurtures her hair with Kerastase shampoo and conditioner. 
Keep your eyes peeled for more Abbey: the photogenic Aussie is preparing to debut on the silver screen! Already a fan of Abbey’s? Let me know who you think I should feature next Monday!

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2014 Met Gala Roundup: Blake Lively Makeup + Fashion

Image via Popsugar

The Met Gala is, in my opinion, the biggest night in fashion. It’s definitely my favorite! This year, the theme was Charles James: Beyond Fashion, honoring the couturier and the attention to detail, elegance, and shape in his designs. While I was disappointed with a lot of the looks on this year’s red carpet (I found them too simple for the theme), the makeup is another story.
Blake Lively sported a classically glamorous face and waves to compliment her softly-colored dress. I think her makeup is lovely–it coordinates with the gown without being matchy-matchy. Her makeup artist, Elaine Offers, nodded to the event’s theme using NARS and Kevyn Aucoin products. Here are the exact makeup products Blake wore to the Met Gala (all prices are in US dollars):
  • Kevyn Aucoin The Liquid Airbrush Foundation in #10 and #13 ($45 each, Nordstrom)
  • Kevyn Aucoin The Precision Brow Pencil in Warm Blonde ($26, Nordstrom)
  • NARS Eye Paint in Baalbek ($25, Sephora)
  • NARS Dual Intensity Eyeshadow in Subra (new for Summer ’14, not yet released)
  • Kevyn Aucoin The Curling Mascara ($28 USD, Nordstrom)
  • NARS Lipliner Pencil in Salsa ($22, Sephora)
Total Face Cost: (at least) $191


As for the fashion, I thought Blake made an excellent choice. She wore a Gucci gown to the event. I think the dress really flattered her feminine figure, which was accentuated by her gorgeous pinup waves. The soft champagne color didn’t overwhelm the chic shape of the gown. For me, the “cape” detail is what makes her outfit extra special. It plays up her beautiful height, and the way it drapes behind her is elegant and appeals to the event’s detail-oriented theme. Blake’s husband, Ryan Renolds, wore Gucci as well.
What do you think of Blake’s statuesque, regal look? Let me know!

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How-to: Do a Full Face Without Brushes

You might be wondering, “why on Earth would anyone want to do their makeup without brushes?” While it’s true that quality cosmetics brushes are worthwhile investments, some people just don’t have the interest, time, or means to do so. Or maybe you’re travelling, and–worst-case scenario, you’re travel makeup bag gets lost and you need to restock on a few functional products.

There’s an upside to this unconventional cosmetic practice: creams can be multipurpose (just make sure your products are safe for use on the eyes, lips, and cheeks before trying–not all products can go everywhere). Using a few key products can lend to a full face (and without those brushes and powders, it can save a ton of space in your travel makeup bag, and wallet, too).

So, here’s PV’s guide to getting a full face, without a brush in sight (feel free to skip steps that don’t apply to/interest you as necessary).

1) Foundation.

           
Images via Drugstore and Sephora

Fortunately, foundation is one of those products that is often applied with the fingers already. Pump or dab a small amount onto the back of your hand, then use your fingers to apply to the face, starting with where you want the most coverage and blending outwards. I love L’Oreal Visible Lift Absolute Serum Foundation ($14.99 USD), but I’m dying to try Laura Mercier Silk Creme Foundation ($45 USD) as well.

2) Concealer.

             
Images via Beautylish and Sephora

Concealer is another one of those products that is commonly blended out with the fingers, and most come with built-in applicators. In fact, I’d say it’s more difficult to find one without an applicator! So with this step, apply concealer to any problem areas (acne, undereye circles, etc) as needed and dab with a finger to gently blend. I rely on my Maybelline Mineral Power Natural Perfecting Concealer, (about $6.94 USD) but Yves Saint Laurent’s Touche Eclait ($41 USD) is a popular choice.
3) Eyeshadow.
Images via Drugstore and Nordstrom

Many people worry about applying cream shadow to their lids due to fear that it will crease. However, there are many cream shadows on the market that are tried and true. They wear so well, in fact, that many use specific brands’ cream shadows as a primer for their powders, they’re that resilient against creasing! I love Maybelline Color Tattoos ($6.99 USD), but MAC Pro Longwear Paint Pots are an industry standard and fan favorite ($20 USD). Use your ring finger (or a cotton swab, if you’re concerned about contaiminating the pot) to grab product, then dab onto the center of the eyelid and blend outwards. 
(Psst, Maybelline’s Too Cool Color Tattoo is sheer enough to be lightly worn as a face/brow highlighter too!)
4) Blush.

Images via Maybelline and Sephora

Cream blushes add an especially lovely flush to the face because the warmth from your fingers melts the color a little bit, helping it flawlessly adhere to your skin. These products tend to run sheerer, too, so they translate to really lovely color on the face. Simply swirl your finger into the product, swirl onto the cheek, and blend outwards. I think Maybelline Dream Bouncy Blush ($7.99 USD) isn’t bad, and Tarte Cheek Stain ($30 USD) looks great.
5) Then apply liner, mascara, and lipstick/gloss as usual!
Or, if you’re really strapped for time/cash/patience, use multipurpose products!
Images via Sephora

Cosmetics brands know they have consumers with busy lives who want no-fuss products that will still help create the looks they want. NARS The Multiple ($39 USD) is ideal for this kind of person. A cream to powder product that’s safe for use on the eyes, cheeks, and lips, the Multiple is multipurpose color packed in a functional stick that’s easy and convenient to travel with. The shade range is impressive, too, so one of these babies in a darker shade could function as your bronzer for extra sculpting. Benefit Benetit ($30 USD) is also up this alley, with a bottle of color with a brush-on applicator that enhances both cheeks and lips. 

What do you think? Would you ever forego your makeup brushes?

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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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NARS Spring 2014 Collection

Image via musingsofamuse

NARS recently unveiled their beautiful new collection for the springtime. I’m happy to see a brand that doesn’t shy away from color–too many play it safe with done-before neutrals. But for this season, NARS was feeling tropical, bold colors. And not a moment too soon–I’m beginning to be over the freezing Midwest snow!
The ten-piece collection is dominated by duos: two Eyeshadow Duos (China Seas and Kauai), two Larger Than Life Long-Wear Eyeliners (Khao San Road and Puerta del Sol), two Nail Polishes (Wind Dancer and Dovima), two Larger Than Life Lipglosses (Annees and Bimini), and lastly, a Satin Lip Pencil (Timanfaya) and a Multiple (Na Pali Coast). 
While the hues are a mix of warm and cool tones, I think it’s safe to say that this collection isn’t for the weak. Even the lightest looking shades seemingly pack a pigmented punch. Although if you are a more natural kind of girl, but don’t have the heart to skip this collection, I’d recommend either the Multiple or one of the glosses. The Multiple, while frosty looking, could be used as a lip product or a mild highlight, and both glosses promise to be sheer.
But for those who crave color, NARS’ Spring collection won’t disappoint. The collection is packed with bold blue, green, and red. And you can remain on-trend with this collection, since both shadow duos and the Annees gloss are rocking Pantone’s 2014 Color of the Year–Radiant Orchid. 
What do you think of NARS’ new collection? Will you be trying anything from this line?

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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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Back to School Makeup

It’s that time of year again, when makeup needs to simple and quick to help students achieve a fresh-faced look on early mornings. The great thing about this sort of makeup is that it’s easy to customize: if you have trouble-free skin, skip foundation. If you have soft, pigmented lips, skip a lip color. It fits all women (we’ve all been there), all races, and all budgets. And generally, back to school makeup is limitless: if you want a little color or want to experiment with a new technique, this is a place without rules that’ll allow you to go for it (given you don’t hold yourself back by caring what others think-which you shouldn’t!)

(P.S., all of these images are via Beautylish)

So, let’s get started. First, the face. Foundation helps with achieving a smooth, fresh, awake look, but can vary widely depending on your needs. Whatever you choose, it should feel light and comfortable on the skin for a full day of wear. I like Maybelline Fit Me! Foundation for sheer coverage, while Revlon Colorstay is a popular drugstore option that covers a bit more. Depending on the condition of your skin, concealer may be an even more important step than foundation, as it does more to achieve the awake glow by hiding dark circles and redness. Amazing Cosmetics Amazing Concealer is a full-coverage option in 20 shades. Truthfully, any setting powder that doesn’t cake will help you stay matte and get the job done. MAC Prep + Prime Transparent Finishing Powder remains a popular choice.

For eyes, a simple color wash/highlight adds life to the face and helps you look more awake. Urban Decay Naked Basics has great neutral options for a serious student. Wet ‘n’ Wild makes great trios in soft shades of color that are good quality for those who want to experiment with hues that are a little more bold. Black or brown liner is a great and common choice-Urban Decay 24/7 Glide-On Eye Pencils are still the best of the best. Any mascara that you love will work for class; my favorite is Maybelline Colossal Volum’Express.

And the finishing touches: blush is another one of those whatever-you-like products that will work well for school. Powder, cream, pink, peach, coral, shimmery, matte, whatever. NARS Blush is arguably what the brand does best, but the drugstore is full of awesome picks; I’ve heard great things about Wet ‘n’ Wild’s in particular. For lips, you can have a bit of fun, especially in high school. I like Revlon Super Lustrous Lip Gloss for sheer, fun color. If you prefer a more natural look, Maybelline Baby Lips balm instantly makes your lips look better, while adding a nice, natural shine.

Finally, if you’re really in a rush, don’t forget time savers! A dark shadow can be used wet in place of liner, a soft, shimmery shadow can also be used as a cheek highlighter, and multipurpose products, like NARS The Multiple can be used on the eyes, cheeks, and lips (in a pinch, any cream product can generally be used the same way-make sure they’re eye/lip safe first!).
 

What did you wear on your first day back to school?

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