Buxom Eyeshadow Bar to the Rescue

Buxom Eyeshadow Palette

Have you ever had that first world problem issue where you’re packing for a trip, and your go-to eye look involves three different palettes? You don’t want to bring all three because that’s ridiculous, so you have to settle (or screw it, you just bring all three). Allow me to introduce you to this build-your-own palette from Buxom…

I stopped to swatch these during a recent trip to Sephora, and I can’t tell you how thoroughly impressed I am with the quality of these! Buxom released this build-your-own palette (called the “Eyeshadow Bar“) a little while ago, and I’m surprised I haven’t heard more about these little click-in shadows. They are some of the most pigmented, smoothest, most buttery eyeshadows I’ve ever used. You get a hefty discount if you build the palette all at once, rather than buying single shadows. I had such a hard time choosing – every one of the shades offered here is gorgeous, and I’m pretty sure I swatched 80% of them before picking my six.

I decided to build myself a perfect travel palette, so I picked a mix of warm mattes that make an easy daytime eye (Designer or Die: matte beige, Gimme Gorgeous: matte camel, and Filthy Rich: matte warm brown), as well as three one-wash-wonder shimmers (Gold Status: brass, Mink Magnet: bronze, and Glitz Factor: copper). Sidenote: These are some of the best one-wash shadows I’ve used. They’re so pigmented that they actually look like cream shadows when applied.

The case is sturdy and the shadows snap in securely. Normally, I don’t care about whether a palette has a mirror or not, but in the case that I’m building my perfect travel palette, the big mirror that comes with this one is ideal. This little system is just so handy!

Have y’all tried the Buxom Eyeshadow Bar? What do you think about build-your-own palettes?

Five Favorites: August

Five Favorites: August

I don’t know about you all, but I have had a crazy busy August. Most notably, I got a new job and quit my old one! I couldn’t be more thrilled, but any of you who have gone through this will know: no matter how happy you are about the new job, quitting a job is always extremely stressful. I didn’t get a whole lot of sleep this month, so quick and easy was the name of the beauty game for me.

I spent quite a bit of time laying poolside this month – so much so that I actually had to buy new concealer because my old concealer was far too light. I stuck by an old favorite and went with the NARS Radiant Creamy Concealer in Custard (whereas I’m normally Vanilla). This stuff is awesome. I wore it alone almost every day this month without foundation, so if you splurge on one beauty item, let it be this.

In lieu of foundation, I’ve just been applying a little bronzer and a little highlighter to my cheeks. I received this POPbeauty Bronzer in an Ipsy bag a few months ago, and when paired with a big fluffy brush like the Real Techniques Blush Brush, it gives the perfect glow – not too grey and not too orange. My highlighter of choice these days has been the Jouer’s Highlighter in Tiare, a perfect gold for my warm skin with a tan. I love that it is a pat-it-on-and-go type product.

For the eyes, if I’ve been putting anything on at all, it has been the Kiko Long Lasting Stick Eyeshadow in 05 Rosy Brown. A Kiko shop just popped up near where I live, and I picked this little bargain up on a whim. It’s super blendable and multidimensional – it looks like you spent hours on your makeup when you actually spent seconds.

So there you have it for August! What have you been loving this month?

Four Steps to Covering Dark Undereye Circles (+ Before & After)

How to Cover Dark Undereye CirclesHow to Cover Dark Undereye Circles

I have spent the better part of three years on the hunt for the best way to cover undereye circles, as I have unfortunately dark ones. I’ve tried 20+ different concealers, and I can finally say that I think I’ve found the perfect routine. The secret: a peachy corrector to counteract the purple tones, and a few thin layers rather than caking it on. You can see my undereye circles without makeup in the top left picture above. These photos are unedited so you can see the actual results, although you’ll have to pardon the lighting changes – darn cloudy weather.

Step 1: Put on your foundation. I used a beautyblender sponge to apply Revlon’s Colorstay Foundation for Combination/Oily Skin in the shade 150 Buff. This is my favorite drugstore foundation, and I like that it is pretty liquid-y – great for buffing out evenly. The top right picture is foundation only.

Step 2: Pat a peach/pink based corrector under your eye gently, using your ring finger. I love the Bobbi Brown Corrector in the shade Light Peach. Peach counteracts the purple in my skin. If you have cooler skin and bluer undereye circles, you may want to use one with a slightly less orange base – Bobbi Brown offers these in a range of “Bisque” shades for that as well.

Step 3: Set everything with a translucent powder. Since the corrector is pretty thick, it’s important to set it to ensure that you don’t have a creasing issue later in the day. I used the NARS Light Reflecting Setting Powder, but any will work. You can see the result of just the foundation and the corrector in the bottom left picture.

Step 4: Apply a brightening concealer under the eye and in the corner of the eye socket. Getting that inside corner is the most important part! Nothing brightens up the face like lightening that corner of the eye and nose. I like to buff the NARS Radiant Creamy Concealer in beneath my eye with a small, sort of fluffy concealer/highlight brush like the MUFE #144. It just lightens everything up, and it covers up any of the corrector that looks unusually orange on my skin. I usually set this part separately with translucent powder as well.

You can see the final result in the bottom right picture. Pretty good, right? What do you guys use for concealing undereye circles? I’m always up for new suggestions!

Five to Favor: May

Hanover & Pearl: May Favorites

I have to say that May has been a little bit of a boring month, and ultimately, all that I can remember doing this entire month is working! What a drag. An uninspired life is just not conducive to creativity, so I’m aiming to be a create a little of my own inspiration coming up in June.

I’m all over the board this month with products I haven’t been able to put down – a little hair, a little makeup, a little skin care – but I think the skincare product was my overall favorite this month. GlamGlow SuperMud is everything that everyone makes it out to be; a little harsh, but super effective. My skin just would not quit early in May, and two uses of this mask cleared everything right up. I don’t think I’ll be reaching for this regularly, but it is a great thing to have in your arsenal for those days that are just out of control.

As the weather gets warmer and more humid here in New York, my hair gets bigger and bigger. I got this One ‘n Only Cream-to-Serum Styler in an Allure Beauty Box last year, and I hadn’t even tried it until now. I just run it through my hair before I blow it dry, and I find that it’s fantastic at managing frizz without making your hair feel extremely full of product. I also picked up those adorable H&M Gold Bobby Pins at H&M this month, and I haven’t been able to stop using them. Nothing says “luxe” like unnecessarily cute hair pins.

Last but not least, I couldn’t pick five favorite products without including a few makeup bits. This Sephora Pro Airbrush #55 is my new go-to for foundation. While it does need a little help in the smaller parts of the face, I think it is worth it for how flawless the finish is when you use it. And this cream/powder duo from Tom Ford is so stunning. I have the shade “Naked Bronze,” which includes a glittery gold overlay and a rich bronze cream shadow. I’ve yet to wear this without receiving compliments and questions about what I put on my eyes.

So there you have it! What were your favorites in May?

Neutral Palette #13: Urban Decay Naked 3 Palette

Urban Decay Naked 3

Urban Decay Naked 3

Urban Decay Naked 3 Swatches

You know how some makeup just feels seasonal? Like an oxblood lip for winter, or an orange blush for summer? It is always around this time of year that I pull this rose-gold baby out of the drawer and start getting some use out of her. The apricot-y, peach tones in the Urban Decay Naked 3 Palette always scream spring to me.

The formula is obviously fantastic – the swatches above are just one swipe each. Every shade is super pigmented and blends out easily. I get a lot of use out of Dust, that fifth from the right shimmery pink-copper shade, as it is not easily duped in my collection. I also like Mugshot (shimmery taupe, third from right), and Blackheart (all the way to the right) is my favorite eyeshadow to use wet on an angled brush as an eyeliner, as the glitter in this deep plum looks stellar on the eyes. Plus, the packaging is gorgeous, sturdy, and it comes with a big mirror, making it an all-around high-quality palette.

That being said, this is one of my least used palettes. When I reach for mauves and purples, I use the Laura Mercier Artist Palette much more often. I find that I have to put quite a bit of thought into the rest of my makeup in order to keep these pink shades leaning toward super-flattering-new-neutral rather than go-home-you-have-pneumonia.  I think this palette is a must-have if you have green eyes because you can’t find a better range of shades to make green eyes pop, but if you have warm/golden/olive undertones, it can be a bit challenging to work with.

Do you have the Urban Decay Naked 3 Palette? What do you think?

New In: Beauty Products

New Adds: Beauty Products

I’ve picked up a few good beauty bits over the past few weeks that I wanted to share (what with the Sephora VIB Sale, and a promotion at work that gave me 40% off all cosmetics). I feel like my April makeup habits were all about the eyes, thanks in no small part to the majority of these purchases!

Those of you with a blogger’s eye will notice the Charlotte Tilbury Dolce Vita Palette palette right there in the center. I actually just received this from Beautylish (would highly recommend this website to any US readers), so it hasn’t seen much use yet, but the palette is worth it for that bottom left shade alone. I also picked up the recently re-released Laura Mercier Artist Palette from their Holiday 2013 collection – I love having a palette of mauve-y/purples! I don’t have any thing like it in my current collection.

From MAC, I picked up my first matte nude lipstick in the form of Viva Glam II, a pink-based, lighter nude that I find to be very flattering. And from the MAC is Beauty collection, I grabbed two Fluid Lines: Our Secret, a red-based medium brown with shimmer, and Brassy, a yellow-gold. I also picked up the MAC 266 Brush small angle brush to use with these, and so far so good.

Last but not least, I grabbed one of the Milani Gel Powder Eyeshadows in Bella Navy at my local Duane Reade, and while I’m not quite sure about the ‘gel’ part of the name, I’ve found it to be an excellent shade to pop in the crease when transitioning an eyeshadow look from day to night, and you don’t have time to do a full smokey eye.

What have you picked up lately?

On Display: The Prettiest Packaging

The Prettiest Packaging

While it would be silly to purchase products solely for their packaging (which, of course, I’ve never done…), there is a time and a place to admire a beautifully packaged bit of makeup. Who doesn’t want her dressing table to look luxurious and well-curated?

The Clarins Instant Light Lip Perfecting Gloss comes in a simple plastic tube with a gold cap, but the simplicity is the cutest part! I have three of these, actually (#addicted, I know), and they look great thrown together in a little glass jar with that Sephora + Pantone Color of the Year Marsala Metalshine Eyeliner in Marsala. Rose gold seems to be the color to have this year, and it just doesn’t get prettier than that metallic casing.

I couldn’t write this post without including the obvious: YSL Rouge Volupte Shine Lipstick. I have shade 13 Pink in Paris, and this gold packaging really is lovely. It isn’t quite my style, so I don’t actually have this sitting out, but it is so intricate and sweet that I couldn’t help but include it.

In the way of sleeker packaging, NARS nailed it with their NARS Audacious Lipsticks (I have the shade Audrey). Between the magnetic closure and the brushed metal case, it is the epitome of pure luxury. The YSL Fusion Ink Foundation packaging has a very similar feel, with the chic frosted glass and the logo gold cap.

And lastly, I had to throw in a piece from MAC’s Alluring Aquatics collection from last summer (still available on Amazon for absurd amounts of money). I have the Extra-Dimension Eyeshadow in Sea Worship, which was LE, but is being added to the permanent collection soon! This is, hands-down, the coolest packaging I’ve ever seen. In case you’ve never seen it, it’s a shiny aqua plastic with little beads on it that give it a very realistic just-drenched-with-water effect. I have to give it to MAC – they always nail it with their summer packaging.

What has been your favorite cosmetics packaging so far?

Addicted To: Muted Blush

Muted Blush

I find that I can use a nude-pink muted blush any time of year, with any makeup look, which has obviously caused an unnecessary accumulation of these in my collection. Dark lip, nude lip, no lip products, these always look great and add such a lovely warmth to your face.

The lightest option is the Rimmel Powder Blush in Santa Rose – a lightened, warm rose with a slight shimmer. This blush was all the rage on beauty blogs last year! Rimmel doesn’t sell their blushes in the US, so I tracked this baby down on FeelUnique and ordered it. Totally worth it.

I won’t ramble too much about Tarte’s Amazonian Clay Blush in Exposed, since it’s been written about to death in the beauty world, but it’s a stunning nude-pink that lasts ages when applied. If you haven’t jumped on the bandwagon, go ahead. Jump. You won’t regret it. NARS Douceur is also absolutely lovely, and just ever so slightly more plummy than Exposed, but it was discontinued after I took this picture! I’m excited to see what NARS replaces this classic with!

The most nude of the lot is the Hourglass Ambient Blush in Mood Exposure, a muted, browned mauve, which I have as a part of their blush palette. This is extremely long wearing, and I love the nice radiance it gives when applied. By way of cream options, the Stila Convertible Color in Peony is a slightly dirty warm pink that looks awesome when stippled onto the cheekbones. Bonus: it’s also a great MLBB lip color!

Which blushed are your go-tos?

Scary in the Pan

Scary in the Pan

I feel like this post needs very little introduction – some products are just downright intimidating! But, these 5 have turned out amazingly for me, even though I almost didn’t buy any of these because they look so intense at first glance!

Too Shimmery: The first one didn’t photograph too frighteningly, but theBalm’s Mary Lou-Manizer is mighty shimmery in the pan. In fact, it may be mistaken for a pressed glitter compact, but once applied, this sheers out to a gorgeous champagne glow. I’ve yet to find a highlighter quite as natural looking on a variety of skin tones as this one. I’m always wary of glitter on the lips as well, and the NARS Lip Gloss in Orgasm is packed with shimmer. In fact, this one is hideous when applied opaquely (think Malibu Barbie and high heels at the pool); however, when patted on subtly, it adds a gorgeous, subtly nude sheen to any lipstick (or just to your lips!)

Too Orange: The Bobbi Brown Corrector in Light Peach can also be a bit bizarre-looking in the pan, as it has a very orange undertone, but it cancels out the purple in under-eye circles better than anything I’ve tried. Once you layer it with a little bit of powder, you can’t possibly tell that it is a few shades darker and warmer than my skin. The NYX Powder Blush in Cinnamon is another little orange wonder. This one is neon in the pan, but when applied, it sort of serves as a blush/bronzer combo, warming up the face without being too loud.

Too Dark: I actually just picked up the Clinique Cheek Pop Blush in Cola Pop when it was released a few weeks ago, simply because the color was so intriguing! A burgundy blush? Who buys that? Me, obviously. When applied with a fluffy brush, this blush is a gorgeous, muted, plum – I don’t think I will be using it much in the summer, but I can see myself reaching for it every day next fall and winter!

Have you ever purchased anything that was a bit intimidating in the pan?

(Slightly Delayed) March Favorites

March Favorites

So sorry for the late monthly favorites – things have been pretty busy this month, what with my brand launching at work. Although, it was still bitterly cold in New York for most of March, so I spent quite a few nights in with my cat and Netflix. (No shame, and really no excuse haha)

Given how freezing the weather is, Indeed Lab’s Hydraluron Moisture Serum was an obvious skincare favorite. It itself is not hydrating, but it really harnesses the moisturizing properties of any face lotion. I have been relying on it to keep my skin happy this month! Along the same weather lines, I’ve been relying on my Malin & Goetz Mojito Lip Balm instead of lipstick. I’ve nearly used it up already. If I do reach for a lipstick, it’s been the NARS Velvet Matte Lip Pencil in Dragon Girl, a pinky-red that is a rumored Taylor Swift favorite. It’s super matte, but the formula on this is so forgiving and comfortable.

By way of makeup, I discovered the Kevin Aucoin Sensual Skin Enhancer this month, which I’ve been mixing with my daily lotion to create a great little tinted moisturizer. I have the shade Sx04, which is the right shade, but slightly too yellow for my skintone. It doesn’t bother me too much though, and it makes for a great concealer for my under eye area. How can it be my favorite when it looks entirely new in the photo? Because you need so little product that I can use it over 10 times in a month and still have 99% of the product left. It’s amazing. NARS Blush in Douceur has been a staple of mine all winter as well. It’s a plummy-brown, and it warms up the face in a subtle way (unlike, say, a bronzer). This blush has been discontinued for God-only-knows why, but there are a couple of good dupes for NARS Doucer: try MAC’s Blushbaby, Tarte’s Exposed, Tarina Tarantino’s Neapolitan Lane, or Burberry’s Earthy.

I have one non-beauty favorite this month, and it’s that cute little gold cat case I got for my iPhone! I think it is so cute and unique – I love this bee one too.

What have you been loving this month?

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