The drugstore brow gel you need in your life!

Hi friends!

So I discovered this awesome drugstore brow gel from Ardell that’s been rocking my world recently. So of course I have to tell you guys about it, cause you all need this stat! (Just kidding, but you know what I mean. I hope.) It’s the Brow Confidential Brow Duo, and just as the name would imply, this is a dual product: one end has a powder, the other end has a clear brow gel. To be completely honest, I could ditch the powder side but the gel…the gel, people. Well, it’s the best.

I picked this up from one of my favorite spots to shop for makeup lately, Sally Beauty. They’ve been killing it with their beauty offerings recently! First it was the COL-LAB eye palettes, now it’s this Ardell brow gel. To boot, Ardell is very modestly priced and this gel was no exception: only $8.99.

Read this: My Sally Beauty haul featuring COL-LAB!

Flatlay with Brow Confidential Brow Duo in Medium Brown

THE GEL

So you probably want to know by now, why I think this is the best brow gel I’ve ever tried. It’s very simple: it holds my brow hairs in place 100%. Ain’t nothing getting these guys down until you want to remove your makeup. All the other drugstore brow gels I’ve ever used only do a half-assed job in the hold department.

The brush is extremely thin and has just the right amount of product on it. No clumps or anything. The gel is clear as the whole idea is to use the powder first to bulk up your brows, and then comb the gel through to hold them in place.

Since I really don’t use the powder much (I’ll get into that in a sec), I like to brush my brow hairs straight up with this gel to make them appear bigger. And I let them dry completely without running a clean spoolie through them. Once they’re dry, you’re good to go and you won’t get any white crispies throughout the day. Added bonus!

Gel brush on the Brow Confidential Brow Duo from Ardell
Look at how thin that brush is! P.S. my gel has turned a bit brown since I often layer this over other tinted brow products.

THE POWDER

Full disclosure: I’ve only used the powder end of this product once, maybe twice. There are two reasons that it’s not my favorite. Firstly, I choose the wrong color (which is really my fault). Medium Brown is unfortunately much darker than I thought it was going to be. I’m not used to seeing myself with dark brows, so I looked a bit angry when I had this on (in my opinion).

Ardell only offers 4 color choices, so I should have gone with Taupe, the lightest color in the range, but hindsight is always 20/20. The darker shades must be really dark if Medium Brown was dark, so just be forewarned.

The second reason I haven’t gotten on with the powder is it just gets everywhere. When you unscrew the nib and take it out of tube, powder flies everywhere. And there’s a decent amount of fall-out on your face after you apply it to your brows. And keep in mind I do my brows as the very last step in my routine, so the powder falls down onto my base. Very annoying.

Powder nib of the Brow Confidential Brow Duo from Ardell in Medium Brown
The powder nib. It carries too much product in my opinion and gets everywhere.

So the moral of this story is, I really, really, really like one-half of this brow duo. I’ve finally found the product that gives me that brushed-up editorial brow-kinda look. Going forward, I will look into purchasing just a brow gel from them and not the duo, since I’m not using this product to its fullest potential. But you may be able to use the powder more than me. (I’m going to try it a few more times to see if I can fall in love with it or not.)

You can shop this product and others at Sally Beauty here.

Have you ever tried the Brow Confidential Brow Duo? What are your favorite brow products? I’d love to know!

Xo, Erica

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I recently discovered this drugstore brow gel from Ardell Beauty...and I think I finally found thee one! Read this post for more info!
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I customized my own CoverGirl lipstick!

Hi friends!

This post is just a bit of fun. Yes, I am talking about CoverGirl again today, but, but! I just went back to the NYC store with a friend (I warned you I would), and I totally missed this very exciting opportunity the first time I went in December: to customize my own CoverGirl lipstick packaging!

Read this: I went to the new CoverGirl flagship store in NYC!

So I was on the upstairs floor, and was casually speaking with a salesperson about the Exhibitionist Lipstick range. I was swatching away, deciding which color & finish to get (there are 3 finishes, by the way, Cream, Demi-Matte & Metallic). Then she says to me, you know you can customize your packaging for any of the Exhibitionist lipsticks for an extra $6.00. Immediately, I was sold! She led me back to a computer where you pick your shade of choice, and then design one side of the lipstick case with stickers & decals. I was like a kid in a candy store, lemme tell you!

MY CUSTOMIZED PACKAGING

My customized CoverGirl lipstick packaging
My personalized packaging, including decals of a pretzel, a heart, xo’s, my name, eye lashes & ‘New York.’

Of course I had to pick the most juvenile packaging design, but what the hell?! I was having fun! I really wanted to include so many more decals but as you can see, the space I was working with was quite small. I had to include my name, just because, and I chose a few other decals that were fun & colorful. I didn’t really have a strategy here or an overarching message behind the images I chose. It just wasn’t that deep 😉.

As I said earlier, the customization was an extra $6.00; the total cost for my lipstick was then $13.99 before tax. Not too bad, in my opinion.

So once you’re done customizing your CoverGirl lipstick, you proceed to the cashier to pay and submit your order. They tell you the lipstick will be ready in about 15 minutes, but for some reason mine took longer. My friend and I actually left the store and were walking around outside, waiting to get the email that my order was ready. After almost 45 minutes with no email, we went back and my lipstick was there waiting. Not sure why they didn’t notify me as stated, so I suggest putting your order in before you finish shopping (as weird as that sounds).

MY COLOR CHOICE

I believe this is my first (traditional) CoverGirl lipstick purchase. I did own a shade or two from the Outlast All-Day Lip Color range years ago, which was my first liquid lipstick ever. (They are not kidding around with that formula! It. Stays. On. All. Day.) After swatching a few shades from the Exhibitionist range, I ultimately decided on Sultry Sienna, a mid-tone rosy pink shade with a little brown.

Sultry Sienna Exhibitionist Lipstick from CoverGirl
I had to turn the flash on on my camera due to low light, so the color of the lipstick looks a bit darker than it is IRL.

It’s a beautiful cream finish lipstick that’s super hydrating and comfy to wear. Do I have shades like this in my collection already? Um, you bet (see: Charlotte Tilbury Pillow Talk; see: Flower Beauty Honey Nude; see: MAC Twig), but I can’t help myself! This is the kind of shade I wear all the time so I naturally gravitate to it; it’s truly a MLBB (my lips but better) kinda shade.

Read this: A drugstore dupe for Charlotte Tilbury’s Pillow Talk Lipstick?

CoverGirl Exhibitionist Lipstick in Sultry Sienna applied to the lips
Sultry Sienna Exhibitionist Lipstick applied on lips, in natural light. The rest of my face is bare (as if you couldn’t tell already!).

I believe this service is only available at the NYC store. I looked to see if you could do this online, but it doesn’t appear you can. So if you’re in the area or are visiting the city, this is such a fun thing to do either for yourself or as a present for someone else.

How would you personalize your own lipstick case if you could? I’d love to know!

Xo, Erica

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This was so much fun! Check out the customized packaging I designed for my latest CoverGirl lipstick purchase! Only available at the NYC flagship store.

The (95%) drugstore lip combo I’m crushing on

Hi friends!

I’ve been really loving a certain drugstore lip combo recently that I needed to tell you guys about! First off I should say, normally I’m not one to be too fussy with lipstick. Usually I pick one color and just swipe it on. I don’t tend to layer or blend colors into each other or anything like that.

That being said, a few months back I bought one of the Elf Matte Lip Colors in the shade Tea Rose, a very cool-toned greyish-mauve. Now, I hardly ever wear cool lip colors so it was a bit of a risk for me. (I have very pale, cool-toned skin so I tend to veer towards neutral or warmer nudes & pinks to pep up my complexion.) But it was just $3.00 from Harmon so I thought, why the heck not? I’ll figure out a way to wear it, and that’s how this particular lip combo was born.

Essentially what I create when I wear this combo is an ombre effect (i.e. lighter colors seamlessly fading into darker colors to create dimension). I’ll take you now through the steps & products first, and then show you swatches & the finished look!

STEP 1: APPLY RIMMEL EXAGGERATE AUTOMATIC LIP LINER IN ADDICTION TO THE OUTER CORNERS OF THE MOUTH, Line the lips & BLEND

Rimmel Exaggerate Lip Liner in Addiction

I’m not the biggest fan of lip liners in general as I only have a few in my collection, but this one from Rimmel is awesome! The formula is creamy, ever-so-slightly waxy, yet quite long-wearing. I’d say the color is halfway between pink & brown; very wearable & lovely for everyday. It’s this color that helps blend the cool-tones of the Elf lipstick in with my skin’s undertone; it acts essentially as a barrier.

Buy this product here.

Step 2: apply ELF MATTE LIP COLOR IN TEA ROSE To the cenTer of lips & blend in

Elf Matte Lip Color in Tea Rose

As I mentioned above, this is a very cool-toned, matte lipstick. It’s quite creamy upon first application and pretty long-wearing (although you will have to touch up after a big meal). It’s very easy to apply since the bullet is quite small and it’s a twist-up. (There’s actually a sharpener hidden in the very bottom!) The trick here is not letting this color get too close to the edges of my lips since it clashes with my skin’s undertone; that’s why I need the pinkier liner along the edges.

Buy this product here.

Step 3: Dab CLINIQUE CHUBBY STICK MOISTURIZING LIP BALM IN WOPPIN’ WATERMELON over the entire mOuth

Clinique Chubby Stick Moisturizing Lip Balm in Woppin’ Watermelon

So this is where it stops being 100% drugstore! I’ve spoken about my love for the Clinique Chubby Sticks on here before, but they really are some of the most moisturizing lip products I’ve ever used. In this case, I use it purely for hydration purposes and not necessarily for any added color. The combo of the Elf & Rimmel matte, long-wearing products can get drying after a few hours on the lips, so I just quickly dab the Clinique over the top and voila, problem solved! You could use of course any lip balm you’d like.

Buy this product here.

SWATCHES

Swatches of (L to R): Clinique Chubby Stick Moisturizing Lip Balm in Woppin Watermelon, Elf Matte Lip Color in Tea Rose, & Rimmel Exaggerate Lip Liner in Addiction

FINISHED LOOK

I really like the effect that these three products create together. My lips look defined, more dimensional & a bit more juicy. While on a daily basis, I usually just wear one shade or nothing at all on my lips, I like to do this routine occasionally when I have a bit more time to spare.

Wearing Elf Matte Lip Color in Tea Rose in the center of my lips, Rimmel Exaggerate Lip Liner in the outer corners, & Clinique Chubby Stick in Woppin Watermelon layered on top
My (almost) drugstore lip combo, after application in natural light.
Lip look featuring Rimmel Exaggerate Lip Liner in Addiction, Elf Matte Lip Color in Tea Rose, & Clinique Chubby Stick in Woppin Watermelon
Extreme close-up (sorry!) in natural light for more detail.

What lipstick or lip combo are you loving right now?

Catch up on some of my other lip posts!

Maybelline’s new Made For All Lipstick Collection

Video: Mini review of the new Glossier Generation G Lipsticks

Video: Winky Lux Disco Lip Gloss

Xo, Erica

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I’m currently loving this drugstore lip combination with bits from Rimmel, Elf & (a little) Clinique

I went to the new CoverGirl flagship store in NYC!

Hi friends!

If you didn’t know, CoverGirl recently opened their first stand-alone store in NYC. I first heard about this back in the spring, and I got so incredibly excited. As a self-described “super-fan” of drugstore beauty, I feel I haven’t tried as many products from CoverGirl over the years than I have from, say, L’Oreal or Elf. They were one of the first makeup brands, along with MAC, that I ever used as teenager, but I got distracted along the way and lost touch with their products. They’ve been in the news a lot lately since they became certified cruelty-free, making them the largest cosmetics brand to do so. So now is the perfect time to get inspired by CoverGirl again!

The 2-level, 10,000 sq. ft. store stands at the corner of 48th Street and 7th Avenue, right in the heart of Times Square. From what I could spy online, they opened to the public back on Black Friday.

When I walked in, I saw rows and rows of product, testers (thank goodness and finally!!) and loads of merch. Everything from makeup bags, stationary, hoodies, active wear, cell phone cases, water bottles, beanies, you name it. All branded with the CoverGirl logo.

Supposedly there’s a bunch of interactive stuff there like glam stations where you can virtually “apply” makeup to check for colors, but to be honest I must have breezed right over those! I was on sensory overload a bit and my attention was on the products & the merch.

On a side note, I felt I had the store all to myself for most of the visit, which was awesome! No fighting through crowds or waiting to swatch a product. (I was there at a slightly odd time during the week.) Also, the staff was overall very sweet and helpful which made for a pleasant shopping experience.

So you’re probably wondering by now, what did you snatch while you were there? Well, I have a quick little story for ya.

Three out of the seven items I’m going to show you below I got for free, and here’s why. When I was on the second floor checking out the Cheekers Blushes, a couple of CoverGirl marketers approached me and asked me a few questions about the Clean Liquid Foundation. (I’ve never tried the stuff before, by the way.) What did I think of the bottle? What did I think of the word “clean”? Stuff like that. In exchange for my time, they rewarded me with a free bottle of the Clean Liquid Foundation. Score! They also slipped in two of the Katy Kat glitters for nothing.

(On a side note, I have no idea what to do with the Katy Kat glitters. They are not approved for use around the eyes…so where do I apply them? Any suggestions?)

So besides the free items, I got an adorable CoverGirl beanie hat (don’t judge me, I couldn’t resist), good ‘ole Shimmering Sands Eyeshadow Kit which has been in the CoverGirl line-up forever (my mother specially requested this), and the Exhibitionist Lip Liner in In The Nude. I’ve already started using the lip liner, and I really like the texture and longevity. After I use the foundation for a while, I’ll bring you guys a thorough review.

If you’re in the NYC area or are coming for a visit and you like CoverGirl products, I’d definitely recommend stopping by the store. There’s a lot to see, touch and try on. I’ll definitely be returning sometime soon myself!

Exterior of the CoverGirl NYC store

Are you a fan of CoverGirl products? Are you excited about their first stand-alone store? I’d love to know!

xo, Erica

SIMILAR POSTS

I went to a CVS Beauty IRL Store & here’s my haul!

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Want a peek inside the new CoverGirl store in NYC? Read this!


Maybelline’s new Made For All Lipstick Collection

Hi friends!

I’m shifting gears away from the festive holiday posts today, and looking towards the New Year. Specifically to Maybelline’s next lipstick launch, the Made For All collection. This is a small range of 7 lip shades in matte & satin finishes that have been created to compliment every skin tone. It’s a pretty bold claim, but very intriguing nonetheless. Maybelline calls this their “universal lipstick shade collection” that has been “obsessively tested on 50 diverse skin tones.”

I recently spotted this collection in one of my local CVS stores, but from what I’ve spied online this range doesn’t officially launch until January. (I bet this is in the process of being rolled out to stores right now, and my CVS was one of the early recipients.) That being said, you can order the shades from Maybelline online right now by clicking here.

There are reds, pinks, mauves and one terracotta shade called Spice For You that I was immediately drawn to. It reminds me of the color of pumpkin pie, and those beautiful burnt autumn colors. I’ve never had a shade like it in my collection, so of course I had to pick it up!

Let’s look at the full shade range.

Made for All Lipstick in Fuchsia for You
Image source: Elle.com
Made For All in Mauve For You
Image source: Elle.com
Made For All in Pink for You
Image source: Elle.com
Made For All in Ruby for You
Image source: Elle.com
Made For All in Plum For You
Image source: Elle.com
Made For All in Red For You
Image source: Elle.com
Made For All in Spice For You
Image source: Elle.com

I think it’s a pretty well-rounded range of brights, deeps & neutrals considering its size. It is missing one nude or beige shade, but I realize that might have been completely intentional since the range is supposed to be universal. One person’s nude is another person’s deep when you take skin tone into account. So one universal nude probably doesn’t exist.

Spice For You Lipstick
Spice For You Lipstick from Maybelline

The packaging is quite standard for a Maybelline lipstick, so there’s nothing too interesting there, but the texture is very nice. Spice For You is a satin finish that’s wonderfully moisturizing & gives off a decent amount of shine. The color goes on quite boldly if you apply straight from the bullet, but I prefer wearing it as a stain. So here’s what I do: I take my middle finger and gently rub it across the top of the lipstick bullet, and then I just dab the color onto my lips. It gives a much softer effect, like you’ve been wearing it for a few hours already. I’ve really enjoyed wearing this lipstick so far.

Spice For You Lipstick (swatched)
A closer look at Spice For You Lipstick. Swatched to show full opacity.
Spice For You Lipstick (applied as stain on lips)
Spice For You Lipstick applied as stain on the lips.

What do you think of the idea of a “universal” lipstick range? Do you think it’s a gimmick? To be honest, I’m a bit skeptical that all 7 shades could suit a whole spectrum of skin tones perfectly. After all, just like skin tones, lipsticks usually have undertones that suit some people over others. But, what do I know? I’ll leave you with this article from Elle where three editors with three different skin tones try the lipsticks from this range. The results are quite interesting!

Are you excited for this new launch from Maybelline? I’d love to know!

Xo, Erica

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Check out the new lipstick range that claims to universal for all skin tones!