OCC Matte Lip Tar in Black Dahlia Review + Swatches


OCC describes Black Dahlia as “blackest blackened red.” It’s not a bad description, although those who are intimidated by the shade in the tube need not fear, it’s much more red and wearable that it appears. It’s definitely a vampy wine shade, perfect for these end of the year months, so those craving a dark lip would love this. It’s the kind of red that makes your teeth look whiter. I’ve lusted after this shade for a long time–I don’t have anything like it in my lippie collection (although my range of vampy lipsticks is admittedly sparse). (4.5/5)

Black Dahlia performed well, lasting 7 hours before needing reapplication or removal. While it initially has a glossy sheen, it settles into the promised matte finish at around 3 hours. It also looked slightly less dark, more wine at the 5 hour mark. The formula is stainlike, which helps it last so long and survive through meals. (5/5)

I’ve tried Lip Tars both before and after their packaging makeover, and noticed that the mint scent with these newer Lip Tars is less intense (which is nice–the old formula was so strong it made my whole lipstick drawer smell like mint). The product is thin but not too liquidy, and applies pretty evenly on the mouth. Your lips MUST be in perfect condition, though–any dry patches and the product will cling to them like a magnet, making the overall product look slightly uneven (true with all mattes in my experience). One small bead from the tube is plenty to coat the whole mouth, so use the included lip brush and take your time; precision is important with a shade this bold. However, the product never really dries down and transfers kind of easily. However, it didn’t dry out my mouth further. (4/5)


Lip Tars come in squeeze tubes, with the product dispensed through a very narrow opening in the nozzle. This works well, since a little product goes a long way. The packaging is flexible plastic and houses plenty of product. They store easily, although this is the kind of sensitive product you’d want to store away from heavier items (like foundation bottles) during travel, as Lip Tars could easily get smashed by heavier things during travel. (5/5)

Lip Tars are $18 USD each for 0.33 oz. That’s $54.54 per ounce. For reference, MAC lipsticks are $16 for 0.1 oz ($160 per ounce). This is one of those great instances where you pay a little bit more for a lot more product (more than twice the amount) and get a better long-term value (Lip Tars are more than twice less expensive per ounce).

As always, I consider monetary value as well as whether or not I feel a product gives you your money’s worth. Black Dahlia delivers on both counts. This Lip Tar is long wearing and boldly pigmented, which is what you expect from OCC. (5/5)

Wow Factor:
Black Dahlia grabbed my attention in a positive way! It’s such a bold, perfectly vampy dark lip color. It always impresses me when a lipstick can last through a meal and still look great. I also love the name of the shade. It did bother me how this formula never quite dried down and transferred easily, though. (4/5)

Black Dahlia is a great lipstick that I definitely recommend! It’s perfect for the colder months, helps teeth look whiter, lasts forever, and makes a bold impression. (4.6) A-



Useful Information:
-This product was purchased by me
-OCC products are 100% cruelty-free and vegan

Tutorial: Stormy Skies with Shiro Cosmetics

Hello again beauties! I’ve always wanted to do tutorials on this blog. Now that I finally have a proper camera, I didn’t see a reason to delay! I just ordered the Hobbit Collection from Shiro Cosmetics, a brand famous for it’s fun, geeky collections. I’m already a fan of the brand, so I thought I’d start things off with a tutorial using products from their (now defunct) Notebook Collection (which you can read reviews for here).

Here’s the look I created:


I used my favorite purple, Shinigamiand a gorgeous silvery grey, Heaven Nor Hell on the eyes. I played up the purple with a coordinating liner, and completed the eyes with dark, long lashes. I kept the rest of the face natural and simple, to keep the emphasis on the gorgeous purple color.

Here’s what you need:

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-Your face essentials (foundation, concealer, powder, blush, etc)
-1 shimmery purple and 1 greyish blue loose shadow
-purple eyeliner
-lengthening black mascara
-clear gloss or balm
-a short, fluffy brush (like MAC’s 213. I used ELF Professional Shadow Brush)
-a fluffy blending brush (like MACs 224. I used one from Sonia Kashuk)
-water (or mixing medium, or MAC Fix+)

Lets begin the tutorial!

1) First, apply your face essentials as usual (I used Smashbox Foundation Primer, Maybelline Fit Me! Foundation, Maybelline Mineral Power Concealer, and NYC Smooth Skin pressed powder). If you want, you can wait to do this step after you’ve applied your shadow, especially if your loose eyeshadows are prone to fallout.

2) The great thing about loose eyeshadow is you don’t need a base for them to be pigment-rich. Instead, you just use them wet. Pour a little bit of product into the shadow’s cap, or onto another smooth surface you don’t mind getting a little messy. A little goes a long way!


3) Wet your brush (have a paper towel handy to soak up excess water if you’re dipping it right into the water), and swirl the short fluffy brush into the purple pigment. Apply over the whole lid. Using a dry fluffy blending brush, blend any harsh edges.


4) Spot clean your short fluffy brush (or grab another), re-wet the brush, then swirl it into the grey shadow. Apply to the crease, and blend. You may need to reapply more purple shadow at this point, and blend them together. Dust away any fallout using a large, fluffy face brush.


5) Using purple liner (mine is Urban Decay Ransom), line your waterline. Then, connect the purple liner to the outer corner of your purple shadow, and bring the liner down the lower lash line, about halfway. You can use a short, stiff brush or liner brush to smudge the line, if you like.


6) Curl your lashes, and apply mascara. I used Clinique Lash Power Feathering Mascara. 


And you’re finished with the eyes! Here is a photo of the finished eye look. Apply your face essentials now if you haven’t already.


7) Apply soft, peachy-pink blush to the apples of the cheeks and blend towards the temples. I used MAC Pinch O’ Peach. Finish off the look with clear gloss or a shiny lip balm. I used my favorite balm, Maybelline Baby Lips. 


And you’re done! I love how easy this kind of look is to put together, but with the right, vivid shades, it looks very intense and dramatic. Loose eyeshadows always seem to boast great pigmentation, and when used wet, blend together and apply so seamlessly. Here’s the finished look.


Do you love loose shadows, beauties? Have you ever tried any from Shiro? Any other indie brands/loose shadows I should check out? Let me know!

Too Faced Chocolate Soleil Bronzer in Medium/Deep Review + Swatches


I was so excited to receive Too Faced Chocolate Soleil Bronzer in Medium Deep as a 100-point perk from my last Sephora haul. I’ve heard so many great things about it, and have been in desperate need of a bronzer for a long time.

This bronzer is a soft sepia matte, much lighter than the color of actual milk chocolate. I was a bit concerned that Medium/Deep would be too dark for my fair skin, but it was surprisingly natural looking and subtle (it can look a bit muddy if you go too heavy handed with it, though, so paler ladies be careful). I think it’s dark/buildable enough to work on a decent range of skin tones, although I’m not convinced it will show up well on dark skin. (4.5/5)

I enjoyed a good wear time with this bronzer. It looked perfect until the 6-hour mark, when it began to look a little faded. It was still there, though, and stayed this way for the two more hours I continued testing. (4/5)

I’m really pleased with the formula of this bronzer. It applies smoothly and blends easily, and as mentioned, can be built up somewhat. The texture is really soft and smooth and it doesn’t look fake or cakey on the skin. It also has that famous, delicious chocolate scent. (5/5)

Mine is a sample, so the packaging is a little different. For my version of the product, its a cardboard compact that fits snugly over the plastic pan when you close it. It’s surprisingly sturdy and functional (it’s sealed shut and isn’t gonna pop open), if not immune to some wear and tear around the cardboard edges. The full-size compact looks just as secure and more durable. (5/5)


As mentioned, I scored this sample for free from Sephora as a 100-point perk. The full size is $30 for 0.35 oz of product. That’s $85.71 per ounce (Benefit’s Hoola bronzer is $28 for 0.28, or $100 per ounce, making Chocolate Soleil more cost-effective–more product for less money in the long run). I also think the quality of this bronzer is definitely worth the money–from my experience with it, there’s nothing not to love about it. The texture, finish, staying power are all there. (5/5)

Wow Factor:
This is my first experience with a bronzer, but it definitely left a good impression. I loved the matte finish for contouring my face. That finish really helped the shadows look more believable. It also feels and smells so good, and you get a lot of product, even for a sample. When it comes to what a good bronzer should be, Chocolate Soleil knocks it out of the park. (5/5)

I loved it! I definitely see why everyone in the beauty community is raving about this product. You can count me in amongst the believers: Chocolate Soleil really is a fantastic bronzer. If you’re looking to shape the face or get a glow, this product certainly has you covered. I completely recommend it. (4.75) A


Useful Information:
-I got this product for free by redeeming 100 Points at Sephora
-Too Faced is cruelty free, and Chocolate Soleil is vegan.


October ’14 Ipsy Unboxing/First Impressions


I’ve been wanting to subscribe to beauty boxes for so long. After seeing a ton of unboxings and reviews on Youtube, I decided to try out Ipsy, Michelle Phan’s service, first. I like that each month has a theme (October was “Beauty Candy”), and that you get a cute little makeup bag. The material of the bag was surprisingly nice–I was expecting cheap vinyl, but it could actually double as a clutch or a makeup bag for travel. Another thing I like about Ipsy is that they mix well-known brands with lesser known ones, so you get to try brands and products you may otherwise never have considered or even heard of.


The first product I received was a full size Nicole by OPI nail polish in the shade On A Gilt Trip. Just looking at it in the bottle, it’s a pretty, shimmery pale gold. I think this a timeless kind of shade that can transition through the seasons. I love OPI, so I look forward to trying this sister brand.


Next is Noyah All-Natural Lipstick in Deeply In Mauve. This shade looks dark in the tube, but when swatched, it was actually a pretty, brown-based berry red. It looks like it’ll be really lovely for fall. I detected no scent. I like that this lippie is synthetic-free and not tested on animals.


Next is Skone Tattooed Waterproof Eyeliner. Sadly, I couldn’t find a shade name on the product or on Ipsy’s site. But it’s a medium dark black. Since it has a felt tip applicator, this comes off as more liquid than pencil liner in finish, so it make require the precision and patience of liquid.


Next is Ayres Patagonia Body Butter. I really like the packaging on this product. It has an old-fashioned apothecary feel that I think is really cute. The product itself is a medium-thick white cream that feels a little luxurious, blends in easily and absorbs quickly. It does have a slightly medicinal scent though, from jasmine and rosemary (but it’s not unpleasant or strong). Of all the products I got in my bag this month, this is the one I’m most excited to try.


And finally, Indie Lee Brightening Cleanser. Skincare is not something I’ve tried much of, but my skin is fussy (very sensitive), so I look forward to trying this out. When I “swatched” it, it felt thin, a bit runny, but lathered well without water on the back of my hand and felt nice, so I think it’ll be gentle enough to use on my face. It also has a nice, fruity-sweet smell, exactly like Pez candies!

I’m not at all disappointed with my first Ipsy. I got a good mixture of products to use all over the face. I always love adding new brands and products to my stash, as well. I can’t wait to put these babies to good use. Full reviews coming soon! What did you get in your Glam Bag this month beauties?

Wet ‘n’ Wild Limited Edition Summer 2014 Eyeshadow Trio in Lost My Wristband Review + Swatches

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This is the last of three trios I have from Wet ‘n’ Wild’s 2014 summer collection, which was inspired by the scene at music festivals. I have to say, I had such I high hopes for these, especially Lost My Wristband, but sadly, none of them performed quite as well as I wished.

Of the three I picked up, this one was exciting because of the vibrant looking pastels. However, when I swatched them, they’re all so sheer. What looks like a bright grass green, sunshine yellow, and strawberry ice cream in the pan are actually sheer powders. The green had the most pigment, and could be built up a little, but only to semi-opacity. The yellow was practically invisible even with primer, and the pink, which was meant to be a sheer highlight to begin with, didn’t have a ton of opacity. On top of it, none of these colors are sensationally rare, so I’m sure better quality, more opaque dupes are out there. (2/5)

Not only was this trio weak in pigment, the wear time wasn’t phenomenal either. Even with primer, the shadows just didn’t hold up. The pink was faded after only 3 hours, the yellow was gone completely at 4 hours, and the green was a little faded at the 7 hour mark. (2.5/5)

All three shadows have a pretty soft feel to the touch, but that translates to some notable powder kickup when a brush is used. I didn’t have any issues with fallout, though. The poor pigment and weak longevity really take this score down, though. (3/5)

The packaging is pretty standard for WnW trios: a rectangular plastic compact with a clear lid, unnamed shades, and ingredients/directions on the back. I like that these limited edition versions have white packaging instead of the usual black compact, though. Details like that always make a limited release feel more special to me. The packaging is lightweight and small/thin, so it’s easy to store, but I have trouble with these staying closed occasionally–don’t count on it making it through a trip without some wear and tear. (4/5)

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Like all WnW products, this trio was very affordable at $2.99 USD. But this part of the score always weighs the quality you get as well–the “bang for your buck.” Sure, it’s inexpensive, but the quality is just not there. You can find these shades anywhere else for better quality at a similar price, even from within WnW’s own line. (2/5)

Wow Factor:
Like the other items I tried from the summer collection, Lost My Wristband definitely left an impression, but in a negative way. The pigment and staying power were just so disappointing. (2/5)

The colors look so lovely in the pan, and they’re not horrible. But they definitely need primer to be workable. I don’t see these working well on many skintones (the pastel hues + chalkiness), or for many functions (definitely not a work palette). But a girl who wants something softer for spring/summer or wants to experiment with color without going too bold could find a way to work it into a look. But by and large, it’s not for me, and don’t recommend it to those who love bold, rich colors. 2.6 (D+)


Useful Information:
-This product was purchased by me.
-Wet ‘n’ Wild and it’s parent company are completely cruelty-free and mostly vegan.
-All three shades in Lost My Wristband are matte, so there’s no texture diversity.
-This palette is limited edition, so get it while you can!

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