Benefit Watts Up! Review + Swatches


Benefit describes this highlighter as a “luminous champagne,” and I wouldn’t disagree. It’s a soft pink champagne twist-up highlight stick. Is it the most unique color in the world for a highlight? No. Is it a beautiful, luminous, natural highlight that gets the job done well? Absolutely! (4.5/5)

This highlighter wore beautifully for a full 7 hours. By the 8 hour mark, it was a little hard to detect. (4/5)

Watt’s Up! is a stick highlighter that I like to apply directly from the tube. It has just the right consistency to me–it’s firm enough to not break off when you apply it straight from the tube, but not so stiff that you have to press hard to get it to show. It’s creamy and smooth enough that it applies easily, and one pass on the cheekbones or down the nose is all that’s needed. It has shimmer, but in a way that looks very natural when blended. It catches the light beautifully. It also blends like a dream. (5/5)

My version of Watt’s Up! is a mini that came in one of 2014’s Sephora Favorites bundles. The full size comes with a blending sponge on one end, and the mini lacks this. (However I don’t miss it, since it blends perfectly well with the fingers anyway, and the full-size sponge isn’t detachable and hence, not washable, which is a squeamish spot for some). The plastic packaging is durable but not overly luxe, which I think is appropriate for the price range it falls in. The twist-up mechanism is effective and doesn’t feel cheap to me. Benefit is known for it’s kitschy packaging, and I like the shiny exterior this highlighter sports. (5/5)


My mini version contains 0.08 oz of product, where the full size contains 0.33 oz for $30 USD. This comes out to a price per ounce cost of $90.91 (for the full size). This is a little on the pricey side (NARS Illuminator, for example, is also $30 but has a price per ounce of a mere $27.27, and at 1.1 oz, contains more than 3x the amount of product), but will save you more than Urban Decay’s $29 ($145 per ounce) highlighter in the long run.

But what matters more to me than the up-front and long term prices is whether or not either of those costs are worth the money. I admit I don’t have much experience with highlighters, but Watts Up! was a wonderful introduction. I feel like it performs up to par, and it’s a product I reach for over and over again. That makes it worth the price to me. (4.5/5)

Wow Factor:
To me, a great highlighter is luminous yet natural, wears well, applies easily, and helps to bring out the features when used with blush and bronzer for a contour. Watts Up! ticks off all these boxes seamlessly. I love the soft, natural color and think the rosiness will look lovely across all skin tones. Highlighter isn’t something I use in my everyday routine, though, which makes the price a little tough to swallow. (4.5/5)

“Perfect” isn’t a word I use a lot, but I’ll make an exception for Watts Up! It has a beautiful, natural look and ease of use that I love, and a little goes a long way (without having to be too mindful of using a light hand). I believe beauty lovers who rely on highlighters will find the cost doable, given the outstanding performance of the product. I recommend it. (4.6) A-


One pass from the tube on the left, blended out on the right.

Would I repurchase?


Useful Information:
-This product was purchased by me.
-Benefit is not cruelty free (they sell in China)
-Watts Up! only comes in the one standard champagne shade.


Make Up For Ever HD Micro Finishing Powder Review + Photos


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)


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


Would I repurchase?


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.

Urban Decay Perversion Mascara Review + Photos


Effectiveness: Perversion promises to be “lengthening and volumizing.” This description is accurate enough. I found this mascara to be more lengthening than volumizing, but I did notice both results.The results weren’t amazing, but not disappointing, either. (4/5)

Wear: I achieved perfect wear using this mascara. It lasted a full 8 hours looking good as new. It held a curl for the duration of the testing period and the lashes stayed a rich, dark black. (5/5)

Formula: Urban Decay describes Perversion mascara as “ultracreamy,” and I have to agree. This mascara feels really wet. This can lead to some clumps if you rush application. However, the mascara dries down and does not budge (I accidentally rubbed my eye and there wasn’t the tiniest flake or smudge). (4.5/5)

Packaging: The tube is sleek, shiny plastic with stylish lilac lettering. The wand is chubby with bristles that are varied in size. I didn’t find it cumbersome to use, although as with all thicker brushes, it can take some care to get into the tiny baby hairs in the inner corners. (5/5)

Price: I received this as a 100-point perk from Sephora, but the full size is $22 USD for 0.4 oz of product. You can also purchase a travel size for $12 USD. For the full size, it comes out to $55 an ounce, which isn’t terrible. (For comparison, Benefit’s They’re Real! is $2 more expensive and contains 0.1 oz less product).

As always, I weigh in on whether or not I believe a product is worth the price. Perversion delivers on rich color, ease of use, staying power, and doing what it says it will, even if it’s not the most innovative or amazing in the industry. It’s a reliable mascara without any bells and whistles, so I believe it warrants it’s price tag. (5/5)

Wow Factor: I wasn’t blown away by Perversion. I have less expensive mascaras that give better length and volume. However, I wasn’t let down by the product, because it shines in it’s staying power, ability to hold a curl, lack of smudging, and dark, rich color. (3.5/5)

Overall: I enjoy this mascara, but I often find myself reaching for other mascaras. It’s nice and gets the job done well enough, but it didn’t make enough of an impression in length or volume to really stand out to me. (4.5) A-


Useful Information:
-I received this product as a 100-point perk from Sephora.
-Urban Decay is cruelty free, but its parent company, L’Oreal, is not.


Influenster Frostybox Unboxing


I know this post is hella late, and I’m so sorry! The Frostybox was the first Influenster box I’ve received, and I got a ton of awesome products of various types and brands that I’m so excited to try out (and it was all free! Who can argue with that?) This box was diverse and interesting, so let’s get right into it.


The first thing I noticed in my box was this Ecotools Hair brush. I’ve heard great things about the Ecotools line of makeup brushes, but I didn’t know that they made hair brushes! I love that Ecotools utilizes materials like bamboo to create environmentally friendly, sustainable products. The bristles on this brush are quite fanned out, so I initially thought this was a round brush, but to my relief, it’s a regular brush (I’m afraid I’m not so adept at hairstyling and don’t know the best use for a round brush!) The vents on the tool are designed to dry the hair 20% faster, which is a concept I can get behind! I don’t like to blow dry but hate the feeling of wet hair, so this sounds like a perfect solution. This brush retails for $10.99.


The next thing I noticed was this bottle of Rimmel makeup remover. I haven’t tried many RImmel products, but what I love what I’ve experienced from them so far, so I was very excited by this product. It claims to be gentle, remove all kinds of makeup (even waterproof and long-wearing), and is suitable for use for those with sensitive eyes and contact wearers. I always appreciate gentle products, since my skin is very sensitive. I like that it’s much bigger than my other eye makeup removers, too. This retails for $7.49


Next was McCormick Thyme. I was pleasantly surprised by this spice, since I was expecting this box to be exclusively cosmetic items. I love that they included lifestyle things as well! A good, aromatic spice like thyme is handy in the kitchen since it’s versatile and can be used to add flavor to things from breakfast foods to baked goods. I was particularly happy to gift this to my mother during the holidays (and she was thrilled to receive it!). A bottle of McCormick thyme costs $4.79


The next thing to grab my attention was a bag of Redvines Strawberry Fruit Vines Bites. I was curious about this, since I hadn’t heard of the brand or seen something like it before. I haven’t  tried them yet, but they seem like little licorice candies. I’m always a fan of snack foods in boxes, and everyone likes something sweet! These candies are available in stores for $1.29-$1.79.


Continuing on was Celestial Seasonings Candy Cane Lane Decaf Green Tea. I had never tried tea before, but I’ve heard great things about Celestial Seasonings, and the candy cane flavor was cute for the holidays. I brewed this tea and gave it a chance, and enjoyed it very much! The peppermint taste was quite strong, so I wouldn’t recommend it to people who know for sure they don’t like that flavor. But I enjoyed it, and thought it was a great take on plain green tea. The info card that came with the box didn’t list a sales price for this item.


Moving on to Rimmel Scandaleyes Waterproof Kohl Kajal Eyeliner in Black. I was excited for this product! As I said, I love Rimmel, and the look of this product is similar to my beloved Urban Decay 24/7 Glide-On Eye Pencils. I’m going to love trying this out and seeing how well the two compare! This retails for $4.49.


Next is NYC Expert Last Lip Color in Sugar Plum. Some of my first forays into makeup were with NYC (I cringe at the thought of a matching lip gloss and nail polish I picked up in sixth grade). It’s great to see the brand still thriving, and I look forward to trying this product now that I know a bit more of what I’m doing when it comes to cosmetics! I think the color is interesting, and very holiday. This product retails for $1.99.


And finally, the Boots No. 7 Advanced Sachet. This serum is designed to reduce fine lines and make the skin look younger. I haven’t tried it yet, but I’m always interested in sampling new skincare (assuming it’ll be gentle to my skin). Anything that promises to be anti-aging is appealing, but often the formulas for these products are too harsh for my extremely sensitive skin, so I’m interested in seeing how this product works for me. A full-sized version of this product is $22.99.

I also received cupons for the Boots serum and Celestial Seasonings teas, which was a nice bonus! I know I’m so behind on posting this box, but I really enjoyed everything I saw in the box. I can’t wait to really give everything a good try. I have  a long backlog of products, but stay tuned for more in-depth reviews of the products mentioned here!

Did you get a Frostybox beauties? How did you like it? Or better yet, tweet me or leave a comment with a link to your own unboxing/first impressions post or Youtube vid!

(*I received this box and all the products included for free for testing purposes.)

2014 Brand of the Year: Kat Von D!


When I first heard about Kat Von D’s new makeup line with Sephora, I was thrilled! I’ve been a fan of her and her show for a long time, so I was curious how her cosmetics line would perform. I’ve heard good things, and when her Studded Kiss lipstick line debuted, I knew I had to get my hands on some of them! Two of the lippies of hers that I reviewed last year, Wolvesmouth and Backstage Bambi got some of the highest scores of all the products I tried in that time period. Also, Wolvesmouth became one of my favorite lippies, and my go-to product during special occasions. I splurged on a special set of mini lipsticks from the Studded Kiss line during the holidays, and bought a mega palette of her eyeshadows as well, so I look forward to seeing if the brand continues to impress me in 2015.

What brand did the most for you last year, beauties?

Best of Beauty 2014


Another great year of beauty blogging has gone by! These 12 products were the best of the best this year, all scoring an A- or higher. Here they are, categorized by type.

Face Products:


Eye Products:


Lip Products:


I’m glad it was such a great year for lip products, as these are my favorite kind of cosmetics! I also got to try a ton of great brands throughout the year and was very pleased to see some new brands rise to the top of my favorites. I have many products left over from my autumn hauls and the holidays, so there will be plenty more reviews and cosmetic goodness to come on PV in 2015, so stay tuned!

Definicils was the best product I tried last year, having been the only product of all the ones I reviewed to receive a perfect score. Lancome is another brand I haven’t had much experience with, but since I’ve adored every mascara I’ve tried from them, they’re definitely more on my radar.

What products did you love this year, beauties?

NYX Macaron Lippie in Blue Velvet Review + Swatches


NYX describes Blue Velvet as “electric blue.” To me, it’s a cool-toned medium dark aqua blue, with the satin matte finish the brand described. I certainly don’t have a shade like this in my collection, and I think blue lippies in general are hard to find, so I appreciate BV’s uniqueness. (5/5)

This lipstick wore pretty well, only starting to look a bit sheer (up close) at the 5 hour mark. Throughout wear time, BV was comfortable and didn’t dry my lips out. (4.5/5)

This had the same creamy formula as Black Sesame. How smoothly this applies, though, depends on the condition of your lips. Smooth lips = smooth application. My lips were the slightest bit dry when I photographed this, and as you can see below, it caused the lipstick to go on patchy and bunch up in places. I liked that this was fully opaque and dried down more than Black Sesame. It never got tacky, but it didn’t feel too wet, either. Also, this is opaque to a fault. I applied this for just a moment to photograph it, and it left behind a stain and clung to the lips in a ring around the mouth, to the point where a scrub was necessary to remove it. (3/5)

This line of lipsticks skimped on packaging. The black plastic tubes feel cheap, and sometimes the product rattles around inside. Also, the inner tube is clear, which i very low quality looking (as one tube actually somehow had product smeared on the inside of that tube, so I can’t remove it but have to see it). I don’t think the plastic is durable enough to withstand a lot of travel or accidental drops without cracking. They are small enough to store easily, though. (3/5)


As I’ve mentioned before, Macaron Lippies are the most cost-effective per-ounce cosmetic product I’ve ever seen! They’re $6 USD each for 0.16 oz of product (just 3 cents per ounce). But quality is an important part of this aspect of rating a product. I think Blue Velvet is wildly pigmented and unique, and if you have the patience to work with it (conditioning your lips, using a brush for extra precision), then it’s worth it. (4.5/5)

Wow Factor:
I don’t know if I’ve said it enough in this post, but I haven’t seen anything like Blue Velvet. The rarity of a bright blue lippie got my attention! This one was nondrying, felt nice going on, and was comfortable to wear without drying my lips out or fading. However, the temperament of this line of lipsticks is very frustrating (your lips have to be FLAWLESS, or else it’s a mess). (4/5)

There’s a lot to like about Blue Velvet. It’s comfortable, smooth, non-drying, eye catching and utterly unique. It’s also very affordable and great for niche consumers (like cosplayers, or people looking to do a Kesha tutorial on Youtube). Well-moisturized lips are a must, though, and a lip brush would help this go far. It’s not a bad lipstick, if you’re prepared to make the effort to work with it. (4) B-



Useful Information:
-This product was purchased by me.
-There’s 12 shades in the Macaron line.
-Macaron Lippies are cruelty free.

L’Oreal HIP Bright Shadow Duo in Flashy Review + Swatches (DISCONTINUED)


This duo contains a pale, sheer yellow matte and a medium shimmery teal. I was attracted to this duo because it reminded me of the NARS duo in Misfit. While I haven’t tried the NARS duo, I feel like the quality difference is clear. The yellow is nearly transparent, but the teal has medium opacity. Both lacked the “high intensity pigment” this line promises. I thought this would be easy to dupe, but the left shade is paler and more beige than similar hues in my collection. I didn’t have anything close to the teal (but teals in my collection are scarce). (2.5/5)

The longevity of these shadows wasn’t stellar. At the five hour mark, both looked faded (and this was when primer was used. If you dare to go without primer, you’ll only get 2 hours before fading). (3/5)

The yellow shade is so sheer, even with primer, it’s pretty much invisible on my skin (rendering it useless), I imagine it would look chalky on dark skin. The teal has better payoff, but still isn’t opaque, even with primer. The shadows both feel dry to the touch. Both shadows applied easily enough and didn’t look patchy or give me fallout, though. (2.5/5)

These duos come in round black plastic containers with flip top lids that snap shut. There’s also a compartment underneath that pops open, storing a sponge-tip applicator. I really wish they cut the bottom compartment and the applicator, since I never use the tool and the extra space comes open easily and takes up extra space, which means more plastic is needed to make ’em (which is bad from an environmental perspective). The packaging didn’t feel particularly cheap, though. These are easy to store, but I don’t think they’d be crack-proof if you dropped it/during travel. I do like that the pans are separated well, so there’s no powder crossover. (4/5)


I admit, it’s been years since I purchased this (at Target), so the exact price isn’t fresh in my mind. But online estimates put this at around $8,25 USD. The product weight is 0.08 oz, making this duo $103.13 per ounce. That’s a bit pricey for a drugstore product, in my opinion. Of course, getting your money’s worth is just as important as price per ounce, if not moreso! And this duo definitely isn’t worth it. The payoff, even with primer, is too weak. (2/5)

Wow Factor:
It’s rare when a product makes a strong negative impression, but Flashy pulled my attention in a negative way. It’s remarkably sheer (the yellow shade can’t even be salvaged as something you could layer. It’s just invisible). The texture of these shadows is also unpleasantly dry (although not the worst I’ve ever seen). I haven’t reached for this duo much, simply because there just isn’t much that can be done with it. (2/5)

I can’t say I’m too sad to see this line of shadows be discontinued if they all behaved the way Flashy did. The pigment is way too sheer (to the point where it’d be unflattering on any skin tone). The teal was not bad, but still, it was just okay, nothing to rave about and had it’s own opacity issues. The dryness was another dealbreaker for me. (2.7) D+

These duos used to be available at drustores, but since their discontinuation, you can hunt them down on online retailers like Amazon if you really want one.

Useful Information:
-This product was purchased by me.
-These duos are no longer available in stores.
-L’Oreal is famously not cruelty-free.


The lefhand shade was built up about 4 times!

Urban Decay Pulp Fiction Palette Review + Swatches


Urban Decay’s Pulp Fiction Collection was a pretty big deal, as far as I was concerned. I love the movie, and thought the collection was a great way to honor the film’s 20th anniversary. The Pulp Fiction Palette was sort of the gem of the collection, featuring five shadows designed to recreate Mia Wallace’s signature eye look (there’s even a card included giving a brief tutorial).

The five shades in this palette are Righteous (soft pinkish white matte), Tyranny (warm deep tan matte), Vengeance (warm coffee brown semi-matte), Furious (pitch dark inky black matte) and Anger (stark chalk white matte). Many have lamented that this palette is too basic, and it’s true, you’re not gonna find any groundbreaking shades here. Also, the faint sheen in Vengeance gets lost in the eye, making this a basic, all matte palette. (3.5/5)


This wasn’t the best effort UD has ever put out in terms of wear time. Furious looked faded with primer after 4 hours, and I had fallout from Anger by that time as well. At 6 hours, Furious had migrated some onto the lower lash line. Righteous, Tyranny, and Vengeance gave me no problems for a full 8 hours. (4/5)

All five shades apply smoothly, go on opaque, and blend easily, which is great for all-matte textures. However, there were some drawbacks. The sheen on Vengeance gets lost, and has an excessive amount of powder kickup. Furious has the fussiest wear out of all five. Anger disappointed me with fallout. (4/5)

I loved the packaging for this palette. In came in a themed box with the aforementioned tutorial card tucked inside. The palette proper also is decorated to go along with the Pulp Fiction theme, featuring Samuel L. Jackson’s character’s famous quote emblazoned on the front. I also loved that the inside of the box is red. I would’ve liked if the inside of the palette was red too, the black and white camo is a bit tacky. I also don’t like how Furious and Anger are split in half and share a pan. Since these shadows can kick up a bit of powder, those two are easy to cross-contaminate. The palette also holds fingerprints like crazy and the magnetic closure is weak. However, it’s compact enough to store easily and dexterous enough to survive travel (although perhaps not without some dinged corners). (4/5)

IMG_0238     IMG_0240

This palette was originally $34, but has since been reduced to $16 USD. This portions out to about $6.80 per shadow at the full price, which we can all universally agree is by no means costly. The quality is not atrocious, either. If you’re just starting out with makeup or are venturing into neutrals for the first time, this would be a great, cost-effective place to start. (4/5)

Wow Factor:
I did love the Mia Wallace look this palette creates. I also like how there’s enough options to have either a day look or a night look going on. However it’s a really straightforward palette, most people own shadows like this, and they were all essentially one finish. The wear wasn’t perfect with all of them, either. (3.5/5)

It’s a nice starter palette, and a good collector’s item for fans of the film. But it’s not a must-have, and I’m sure there’s many ways to get the same look with other, less expensive, better performing shadows. (3.8) C+


-Now that this is on clearance, it’s only available at

Useful Information:
-This product was purchased by me.
-UD is cruelty-free, their parent company, L’Oreal, is not.

IMG_0241     IMG_0242

Tutorial Tuesday: Festive Plum with OCC


OCC Lip Tars are excellent products, and I was excited to feature one in this week’s tutorial. Since it’s the holiday season, I decided to play up the vampy lip color with festive gold and garnet shadows. I also tried a lot of these products for the first time, and ended up loving how they turned out! So, lets begin!

What You’ll Need:
-Your face essentials (I just used Smashbox BB Cream, Maybelline Mineral Power Concealer, and NYC Smooth Skin Pressed Powder).
-Eyeshadow primer (I used UDPP)
-A pale gold satin shadow (I used the lefthand brow shadow in Wet ‘n’ Wild’s Comfort Zone Palette)
-A shimmery burgundy shadow (I used Glistening Garnet by L’Oreal)
-Matte black eyeliner (I used NARS Larger Than Life in Via Veneto)
-Black mascara (I used Smashbox Full Exposure)
-Soft peach blush (I used NARS Orgasm)
-A dark, glossy berry lip color (I used OCC Lip Tar in Black Dahlia)
-A flat, stiff shader brush like MAC 242 (I used one by Sonia Kashuk)
-A fluffy blending brush (I used MAC’s 217)
-An eyelash curler
-A lip brush (I used the one that came with my Lip Tar)
-A pencil brush or eyeliner brush.

As always, apply your face essentials, brow products, and eye primer.


1) Apply gold shadow all over the lid using your stiff shader brush.


2) Apply burgundy shadow in the crease and outer corner using your fluffy blending brush.


3) Apply the same gold shadow around the tear duct using your pencil brush.


4) Line your upper lash line with a matte black pencil.


5) Curl lashes and apply black mascara.


6) Apply peach blush to the apples of the cheeks and blend outwards towards the temples.


7) Apply vampy lip color using a lip brush for extra precision.

And you’re done! I think this look would be fantastic for all the upcoming holiday parties. Here’s a close up of the finished eye look.


What kind of look and colors are you planning to wear this holiday season beauties? Did you find this review helpful? Let me know!