A tour of my beauty mini’s

Over the past month or so I seem to have accumulated a nice little collection of beauty mini’s from various Sephora trips (I need to stay away now for quite a while, pray for me), and from my Birchbox subscription. I think mini’s are genius. They are such a good way to sample various products and brands; they’re less expensive and take up way less room in your collection than regular-sized products would. Most of the time now when I go into Sephora I go straight to the mini section near the registers. You can shop nearly every category in mini-size there from makeup, to skincare, haircare, bodycare and fragrance. And if you subscribe to any beauty box service, you’ll know that every month you get a curated collection of mini beauty products based on your preferences. I used to get Glossybox back in the day but switched over to Birchbox a few years back.

I thought I’d take you on a little tour of my current mini beauty collection since I’m really enjoying several items at the moment. This post is somewhere between a haul and a review. I’ve used and loved some of these products, while I still need to try others; others are just meh so far. Let’s get into it.

BIRCHBOX MINI’S 

Lise Watier Hydraforce BB Cream – Shop here 

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Swatch of the Lise Watier Hydraforce BB Cream in Light/Medium
  • Mini = 0.23 fl. oz; full size = 1.18 fl. oz. for $40.00

I received this last month and have used it a few times since. I love a good BB cream since I’m a light-coverage girl. I’m always willing to try a new one. This is definitely super light in terms of texture (it’s almost runny) and coverage, but honestly it’s just OK in my opinion. It’s got a subtle yet lovely scent, but I don’t find it offers much moisture, glowiness or anything particularly special to my skin. I was sent the darkest shade (Light/Medium) which isn’t very dark at all as you can see from the swatch photo above. Take a quick look at the Birchbox website and you’ll see it only comes in 3 shades. So if you have a deeper skin tone this will probably look ashy on you. I’ll continue to use this so as not to waste it, but I wouldn’t purchase the full size.

Peek Beauty Metalimatte Naturally Quick Drying Blush in Aboo – Shop here

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Swatch of Peek Beauty Blush in Aboo
  • Mini = 0.05 oz.; full size = 0.24 oz. (?) for $22.00

Got this a few months ago and have used it on and off ever since. You know I love a good cream blush and the cute sliding-tin packaging on this one got me from the start. I love how Birchbox really reps small indie brands like this. Peek is all about semi-sheer, weightless textures and this blush definitely embodies that makeup philosophy. The product is very creamy and layers on the skin quite nicely. The color is super natural (like a light peachy-pink) so if you want to see decent payoff you have to build it up a bit. However you get a nice glow from the peachy-golden pearl. While the website says this color is out of stock, it appears you can still order it. It’s also not clear to me from looking at the site just how big or how much product you get in the full size. I sincerely hope that what I consider the “mini” is not the actual full-size! But I did find a review of a few other Peek products on rougebeka.com that said most products in the line had 0.24 oz. I do like this product and will continue to use it, but probably wouldn’t purchase the full size; there’s other cream blushes I love more.

Winky Lux Disco Kitten Gloss in Groovy – Shop here

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Swatch of Disco Kitten Gloss in Groovy
  • Mini = 0.05 oz.; full size = can’t find product weight but retails for $14.00

This came in August’s Birchbox and I immediately became obsessed with it for obvious reasons. Look at that sparkle and the weird green color! I hopped onto my IG (@weareglamerus) and did a quick little video showing the product, so please head over there if you want to see it, or scroll up this page to my IG roll. I’ve never tried anything from Winky Lux before but I remember seeing all those photos of the clear lipsticks with the mini flowers in them. This gloss is one of those self-adjusting products that changes color depending your body’s chemistry, so don’t worry the bright green color goes away! On me this turns into a bright, cool-tone pink. It’s got a ton of shine with hardly any stickiness or grittiness from the glitter. It also has decent staying power on the lips, but just know that as the gloss wears down the glitter gets more and more noticeable. I think this is a fun product and the gloss is super comfy, but the pink is a little bright for me so I’m not sure if I’d purchase the full size.

Smashbox Photo Finish Radiance Primer – Shop here

  • Mini = 0.25 fl. oz.; full size = 1 fl. oz. for $39.00

I’ve been milking this little guy for months now. I’m not one for face primers because I never felt I needed one, but when I saw the words “radiance” and “hyaluronic acid” I became intrigued. Smashbox describes this as a primer/highlighter hybrid and I completely agree. It’s got a slight golden, almost reddish tint when you first squirt it out of the tube but don’t be alarmed, it does dull down when applied to the skin. What you’re left with is a subtle golden sheen to your skin. I usually apply a tiny amount to my T-zone before my base and then sometimes I even tap a small amount over the high points of my face for a little extra sheen. I like it a lot, and it does seem to lengthen the hold of my base. I was a bad blogger and completely forgot to swatch/photograph this, so I apologize but I’m sure you can find swatches elsewhere online. I would purchase this in the full size.

SEPHORA MINI’S

Belif The True Cream Aqua Bomb – Shop here

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  • Mini = 25 mL for $22.00; full size = 50 mL for $38.00

Before using this I hadn’t had an amazing skincare discovery since I first tried the Clinique Moisture Surge line years ago. I didn’t purchase the Aqua Bomb per se. I used my Sephora rewards points at the checkout, but you can buy either the standard or the mini size on Sephora’s website. Wow, I totally loved this! It has this lovely gel-cream texture, which is quite similar to the Clinique Moisture Surge actually. It sinks quickly into the skin, leaves almost no tack but gives this wonderful hydrated, almost plump feeling to the skin. Plus it has this subtle fresh smell that I think is delicious. I finished the whole thing and promptly got a mini of The True Cream Moisturizing Bomb on my next trip to Sephora (again with my rewards points). While I love the Moisturizing Bomb too, I think my heart belongs to the Aqua Bomb; I prefer the texture more. Would absolutely buy it in the full size!

Milk Makeup Holographic Stick in Supernova – Shop here 

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Swatch of Milk Makeup Holographic Stick in Supernova
  • Mini = 0.25 oz. for $14.00; full size = 1 oz. for $28.00

I’ve been wanting to try more products from Milk Makeup forever, since I love the whole vibe of easy-to-use, no-fuss stick makeup. I recently bought my mom the Matte Bronzer in Baked and she absolutely loves it. I’ve tried one of their Eye Pigments but that was it before I got this. I jumped when I saw this little Holographic Stick since I love a cool-tone highlight. It comes in two other shades, but they definitely wouldn’t match my skin tone. The texture on this is almost balmy. It goes on quite smooth, blends very nicely and even layers over powder without much issue. It gives a subtle sheen of a duo-chrome purple/blue, so if you’re into intense sparkle then keep moving. I’ve used and applied this in a number of ways. I’ve layered it both under my base and on top of on the high points of my face; I’ve applied it both straight onto the skin from the stick and from my fingers. I wouldn’t say it’s got the best payoff, but I’m not one for intense highlighters. I’d say I like it a lot, but I don’t necessarily love it. I’d repurchase in the mini size, not the full size.

Natasha Denona Mini Lila Eyeshadow Palette – Shop here

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Swatches from top to bottom: Poison Berry (fuchsia matte), Blue Dahlia (purple with blue duo-chrome sparkle), Raisin (burgundy matte), Linen (champagne metallic), Flint (sandy matte).
  • Mini = 0.8 g for $25.00; full size = $129.00 for 15 shadows

I’ve been dying to try Natasha Denona shadows since the line initially launched, but I’ve always been deterred by the huge palette sizes and the huge price tags. So when I spotted this new Mini Lila Eyeshadow Palette at Sephora, I snatched it up immediately. Supposedly this is an “extension” of the larger Lila Palette with five brand-new shades not included in the 15-pan palette. I have not tried this yet on my eyes since I’m currently testing the Urban Decay Born to Run Palette, but the swatches on this were a-maz-ing. Soft, smooth, no tugging or skipping and with no eye primer underneath. The mattes actually seemed softer and even more pigmented than the shimmers, which blows my mind. I cannot wait to try this out after my other testing is done so I’ll report back. I have high hopes!

Have you tried any interesting beauty mini’s lately? I’d love to know!

xo, Erica

 

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My favorite luxe beauty products

This post contains affiliate links (denoted with an asterisk), which means I earn a small commission if/when you click through to purchase. Regardless, these are my honest opinions. I do not recommend products I do not love or use myself.

Even though I live for a good drugstore beauty find, I still have plenty of more luxury beauty products that I frequently indulge in. I love having a mix of high and low-cost items in my stash; it gives you a well-rounded understanding of all the beauty world has to offer. I’ve spoken about plenty of more affordable products here on the blog, so I wanted to take this opportunity to devote an entire post to my luxury beauty faves and tell you why I love them so much. To challenge myself, I picked one item from each category. But of course I slightly cheated here and there, so in some instances I’ve included a runner-up. Without further delay, here we go.

FOUNDATION

Dior AirflashShop here

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Image Source: Feelunique.com

I’ve actually never talked about this product on the blog before, but this is probably the most beautiful foundation I’ve ever used, hands down. Beautiful in terms of both the finish and the texture. What you see pictured above is actually an aerosol can so the product sprays out in the most fine texture you can imagine; this is essentially airbrushed makeup. I preferred to spray it directly onto a damp sponge and then blend it in all over my face. When I first bought this I tried spraying it directly onto my face from the can but that resulted in a horrible mess. The combination of the fine-textured foundation and the damp sponge was total magic; my skin looked glowy, fresh and almost plumper when I applied this. I don’t have this in my collection at the moment since my previous bottle got old and I sadly had to toss it. Even though this is insanely expensive, I would still repurchase it. It’s that good.

*First runner-up: Bobbi Brown SPF 25 Tinted Moisturizing Balm

CONCEALER

Too Faced Born This Way Super Coverage Multi-Use Sculpting Concealer – Shop here

I did an entire review on this product which was packed with detailed information so please check that out for photos & swatches. Even though I didn’t find the most ideal shade match for me, I still love this concealer. The application, the coverage level, the longevity, the finish, everything is lovely. I’ve used this as both an undereye concealer and also as a spot corrector all over my face when I don’t want to wear any other base. I’ve never noticed any cakiness or significant cracking (I don’t always set it with a powder either). Great stuff.

*First runner-up: Tarte Shape Tape Concealer

POWDER

*Hourglass Ambient Lighting Palette

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You see how much I’ve used of this powder? I have never, repeat never, used a product up or seen as much pan as I have with this palette. I love it that much. Hourglass just knows what they are doing with powders. Typically I take a duo-fiber kabuki brush and swirl it around all three colors/finishes, and then lightly dust it all over my face. It doesn’t look like traditional powder in the slightest; it gives you this beautiful soft-focus finish to your skin with the tiniest bit of sheen. It never looks cakey or dry on me. My mother refers to it as a “veil” and I think she’s onto something.

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From L to R: Radiant Light, Incandescent Light, Dim Light.

I know the swatches are hard to see especially on my light skin tone, but there are three different colors and finishes in this palette. Radiant Light is a beautiful pearly cream shade, which you can buy individually as well. Incandescent Light is exclusive to this palette and has the most noticeable shimmer/sparkle to it. And Dim Light is the deepest shade of the three that has the most warmth; it’s a light peachy shade with very fine gold shimmer. You can buy this individually as well.

EYE PRIMER

MAC Pro-Longwear Paint Pots – Shop here 

I spoke about my love for MAC’s Paint Pots back in a much earlier post I did on my favorite cream shadows, which you can check out here. I also have swatches in that post as well that you can reference. But I’ve been using Paint Pots as eye primers for years. They are creamy and blend across the eye very easily. I use the lighter, skin-tone shades (for my complexion) like Painterly and Camel Coat. They have just the right amount of tackiness that powder shadows really cling to well. I wish MAC would bring them out in stick form for even easier application!

EYESHADOW (POWDER) 

MAC Sumptuous Olive – Shop here

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When I was making my list for this post, this shade was an absolute no-brainer for me. I’ve been using and enjoying this product for years and years. It applies on the eye like a dream and blends out perfectly with hardly any fallout. And the color! One of my absolute go-to’s. It’s a wonderful mix of gold and olive green, and it has just the right amount of shimmer. This is one of MAC’s Veluxe Pearl finishes. I usually just apply this all over my eyelid, into the crease and smudged along the lower lash line as well; nothing else on the eye apart from lots of black mascara. It’s the nicest daytime-appropriate smokey eye I can think of.

I swatched this alongside my favorite highlighter, which you’ll find below.

EYESHADOW (CREAM) 

Bobbi Brown Long Wear Cream Shadow Sticks – Shop here 

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Bobbi Brown Shadow Stick in Taupe

I also talked about this product in my favorite cream shadow post, so I won’t stay here long. But these are so easy to use, creamy and they stay on quite well. (You may get a little creasing at the end of the day, but nothing major. If you want to be extra safe, put a primer on underneath.) I just love shadow sticks though, and while you can absolutely find them on a budget in the drugstore, I have yet to find one as creamy as the Bobbi Brown version. They come in loads of colors and finishes, so there’s something for everyone. The two I have are both matte: Taupe and Nude Beach. Check out my earlier post linked above for swatches.

EYELINER

Urban Decay 24/7 Glide On Eyeliners – Shop here 

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Three things I look for in an eyeliner: 1) goes on creamy; 2) gives me playtime to smudge; 3) sets for the day. The Urban Decay 24/7 Glide On Eyeliners tick all these boxes for me. Of course you can get really good eyeliners in the drugstore; I have a few of them myself. But there’s something about these I absolutely adore and always will. I have them in a variety of colors and finishes; they’re all awesome.

MASCARA 

*Stila HUGE Extreme Lash Mascara in Black (for upper lashes);

Clinique Bottom Lash Mascara (for bottom lashes) – Shop here 

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Image Source: Cult Beauty

I’m a little high maintenance with mascaras I know. I need two all the time: one for the top lashes and one for the bottom. I can’t deal with smudging mascara, which is what I experienced before I discovered the Clinique product. I wrote about both mascaras in much detail in my very first blog post, which you can read here. The Stila is perfect for those who want dramatic and volumized lashes that are very black; it’s not for those who go for natural mascara looks. The Clinique is specifically made for bottom lashes so the brush is tiny and the formula is perfection; no flaking or smudging in sight. Both are total winners in my book.

*First runner-up: Lancome’s Hypnose Drama Mascara

BLUSH

YSL Baby Doll Kiss & Blush – Shop here 

Blush is so important in my makeup routine because I’m so fair-skinned. I love nearly all colors of blush from brights to neutrals, but I tend to lean towards more warm tones like pinky-peaches and pinky-reds. I also heavily prefer the finish of creams over powders, so my go-to for years has been the YSL Kiss & Blush which is a dual lip and cheek product. I spoke about my favorite cream blushes in this post which included the YSL product plus swatches. The thing I like most about this product is the staying power. It goes on like a cream-gel hybrid, blends out quite easily (beware of some of the darker colors though) and stains the cheek. I don’t mean stain like you’ll never get it off, but it’s still there in some form at the end of the day. Blush is one of the first makeup products to fade on me so when I find one that actually lasts, it’s a keeper.

*First runner-up: Stila Convertible Color

HIGHLIGHTER

*BECCA Shimmering Skin Perfector – Opal

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From L to R: Becca Shimmering Skin Perfector in Opal, MAC Sumptuous Olive eyeshadow.

I got three Shimmering Skin Perfectors in a set years ago called Spotlights, which included Pearl, Opal and Moonstone in the cream versions. I ditched Moonstone since it was too yellow for my skin tone and hung onto Pearl and Opal. I love the formula on these, but then again who doesn’t love Becca highlighters? They’re some of the best on the market. They’re creamy and blend seamlessly into the skin with the tap of your fingers. And the amount of shimmer is just perfection in my opinion; not overly shiny or obvious in the slightest. If you’re looking for a blingy highlighter, go with the powder version over the cream (or layer both together).

LIPSTICK

Charlotte Tilbury Matte Revolution Lipstick – Shop here 

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Charlotte Tilbury Matte Revolution Lipstick in Pillow Talk

Although this is a fairly recent addition to my lipstick collection, it’s become my absolute favorite. I wrote about this in my makeup travel bag post, but I find the formula on these lipsticks second to none. Comfortable, easy to swipe across your lips, and with decent staying power. I feel this is more of a semi-matte finish because there’s a generous amount of give when you rub your lips together, although the color gives off no shine. I would happily repurchase again and again for a formula this good.

What are your favorite luxury beauty products? Tell me in the comments, I’d love to know!

xo, Erica

Top 5 cream blushes you need in your collection

If you’ve been keeping up with my blog, you’ll know that cream products are my ultimate preference when it comes to makeup textures. I think creams look the most natural on the skin; they offer softness and dewiness, and as a person with dry skin they provide a certain amount of hydration as well. If you’re oily or have acne, your skin’s chemistry may not agree with creams so powders might be better for you.

Continue reading “Top 5 cream blushes you need in your collection”

What is worth your coins? A shopping guide to affordable brow mascaras

I love brow mascaras. They’re really the only thing I use on my brows now. I used to exclusively use the Anastasia Brow Wiz pencil but I honestly can say I haven’t touched it in years at this point. I would say my brows are of average thickness without too many gaps, and quite long. So I find all I need or want is to brush a tinted mascara through them a few times to get added thickness, color and lift. If you have to completely reshape your brows on the daily or you don’t have many hairs at all, you’ll most likely need a pencil in addition to a brow mascara to achieve your desired effect.

Continue reading “What is worth your coins? A shopping guide to affordable brow mascaras”

Does the drugstore square up? By Terry vs. Kiko

Who doesn’t love a lower-cost alternative to a high-end product? If you can find the same (or similar enough) color, texture & quality for less money, why splash the cash? I have to admit I found this particular dupe almost by accident. I’ve owned both of these cream shadow sticks for quite a while without really noticing their similarities, until one day it dawned on me. (If you’d like to read more about my favorite cream shadows, click here.) I swatched them side by side and sure enough the color and texture looked identical to my eye. But was the quality the same? Investigation was needed!

Continue reading “Does the drugstore square up? By Terry vs. Kiko”

My high/low lip combo of the moment

I absolutely love a nude-colored lip. It’s my usual go-to now when I want to look a little more done up. (Most days I wear nothing at all on my lips, which I guess is a true nude lip!) Even a few years ago I was a little more adventurous with lip colors; I was partial to bright pinks and berries primarily. But these days, it’s nudes, nudes, nudes, particularly either brownish or pinky nudes, like MAC’s Twig or Flower Beauty’s Honey Nude. I think the shift happened when I started dying my hair red in 2012. True pinks just seemed to clash with the warmth of my hair color.

Continue reading “My high/low lip combo of the moment”

Current Mascara Heroes (and those that are unsung)

Mascara is an essential in my makeup menu. Even if I wear nothing else on my face, I have to at least put mascara on. It’s completely transformational and gives the eyes – no matter the shape – that little bit of needed definition. Your eyes look instantly wider and brighter. My preferred lash look is intensely black, volumized and separated.

Mascara is an essential in my makeup menu. Even if I wear nothing else on my face, I have to at least put mascara on. It’s completely transformational and gives the eyes – no matter the shape – that little bit of needed definition. Your eyes look instantly wider and brighter. My preferred lash look is intensely black, volumized and separated. I really have no time for brown mascaras or for those that look overtly “natural” on the lashes. To me this defeats the very purpose of the product. I love the look of completely pared down makeup everywhere else on the face but with dark, dramatic lashes to add that point of interest.

Continue reading “Current Mascara Heroes (and those that are unsung)”