Review: Flower Beauty Lash Warrior Mascara

So you may remember that I hauled the Lash Warrior Mascara from Flower Beauty in the same post as the Urban Decay Born to Run Palette back in the summer. Since Flower became available at Ulta I’d been keen to try more products from the line, so I settled on Lash Warrior since it was a fairly new launch for them. As you can probably tell from the name, the marketing around this product is all about being a fighter, a warrior and looking as fierce as possible. The message is, if you use this mascara you will have a warrior’s confidence thanks to your fierce lashes. Pure fluff but that’s marketing for you 😉. Check out the promo video with Drew Barrymore here to get a better sense of what I’m talking about, or one of the IG visuals below.

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Image source: Flower Beauty IG

This mascara gets 4.5/5 stars on Ulta so it definitely has a following. I read a review on Makeupalley that said this is a dupe for the Benefit They’re Real Mascara. It’s been a long while since I used that mascara so I cannot directly comment on that, but take it for what you will. I’ve been using Lash Warrior fairly steadily for over a month (in Fiercest Black which is now currently out of stock on Ulta.com) so I’d love to bring my review to you guys now. My first ever solo mascara review, here we go!

PRODUCT DESCRIPTION

  • $11.00 Flower | $9.99 Ulta | $8.98 Walmart
  • Comes in 3 shades (Fierce Brown, Fierce Black, Fiercest Black)
  • Cruelty-free formula

Now lashes go fierce with +150% full blown volume and extreme length for your mightiest lash look yet!

Our exclusive Spiked Warrior brush catches every lash and coats them from root to tip for super charged, dramatic volume. 360 degree spiked bristles combat clumps on every angle for unimaginable definition. The result is fiercely volumized lashes with statement making length & definition.

Source: Flowerbeauty.com

PRODUCT BENEFITS/CLAIMS

  • +150%* fierce, full blown volume
  • 100%* saw dramatic thickness
  • +88%* extreme length

*in a clinical test

Source: Flowerbeauty.com

MY LASH PREFERENCES

I’m a mascara freak; it’s my desert island product. If I could literally take one product with me anywhere, it would have to be mascara. I like my lashes to be dramatically defined, long and volumized. “Naturally defined” means nothing to me. I could spend minutes just piling coat after coat of mascara on my lashes if I have the time. And my mascaras have to be very black. I do use colored mascaras occasionally, but 99% of the time I use richly black formulas. I just feel like my eyes need that definition.

MY THOUGHTS ON…

Flower Beauty Lash Warrior Mascara

Packaging: For what it’s worth I really like the packaging of this mascara. It’s quite lightweight and sleek-looking, but I love the dark hunter-green body fading into the gold handle. Just very striking-looking. The only slight drawback I’d mention is the component seems to scratch quite easily; some scratches I noticed as soon as I took it out of its plastic outer packaging in fact. It’s not a big deal at all to me (I’m more concerned with what’s going on inside) but perhaps that would annoy some of you. So keep this in mind if you plan on throwing this in and out of your handbag.

Rating: 5/5 ⭐️

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Application & wand: I could tell right away that this mascara was going to be easy to use. It just grips onto your lashes right away and combs through them perfectly with almost no clumpiness. Some mascara formulas are just clump-city and after a few coats it looks like you have only 3 or 4 lashes; not cute. That’s not the case here, it’s very user-friendly. The formula doesn’t get everywhere during application and it doesn’t dry too quickly so you’re able to build up coats quite nicely.

The wand here is plastic with spiky bristles and it curves upwards from the root to the tip (both the wand and the length of the bristles curve upwards). I’m assuming this is why it grips onto the lashes so well. I’m not sure about the “360 degree” spiked bristles that Flower is talking about though; there are no bristles on the very tip (like with They’re Real), just on 4 sides.

Rating: 5/5 ⭐️

Volume & thickness: Because this formula is easily buildable, you can get a decent amount of volume with it if you have the patience to stand there and layer and layer. It doesn’t instantly volumize in the least on me, I have to work more to get that drama. So I wouldn’t say this gives the best or the most volume or thickness of any mascara I’ve used before. My beloved Stila Huge Lash is instantly more dramatic and thickening than this one. I’d say this gives above average volume/thickness (certainly not “150% fierce, full-blown volume” though – not really sure what that means anyway.)

Rating: 3.5/5 ⭐️

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Length: Without a doubt this formula is wonderful for lengthening. I particularly like to build up the length in the middle of my eye right above my iris to give my eyes a wider appearance. It doesn’t take as much work to build up length as it does for the volume, so that I appreciated. Again, I think this comes down to the construction of the wand, the bristles, and that upwards curve that makes combing through the lashes so simple and easy.

Rating: 5/5 ⭐️

Longevity: I have no problem at all with smudging or flakiness here, however you should know that I don’t apply this formula to my lower lashes. I only ever use the Clinique Bottom Lash Mascara for that purpose. To be truthful though I hardly ever have problems with smudgy mascara on my eyes even though they are hooded. I think it’s because my skin is just so bone dry most of the time! Right now there’s no waterproof formula available in the Lash Warrior range, so if you only wear waterproof you probably won’t be satisfied with this. But on me this formula is very long-wearing.

Rating: 5/5 ⭐️

Price: Depending on where you buy this mascara, you can get a price as low as $9.00 at Walmart or as high as $11 directly from Flower. Either way it’s very affordable, so I take no issues with the price. Yes of course you can get cheaper from say Wet n’ Wild or Maybelline, but for the quality I think the price here is very fair.

Rating: 5/5 ⭐️

FINAL THOUGHTS

While not every claim on the front packaging turned out to be true for me, I do think the Lash Warrior Mascara from Flower Beauty is a good quality purchase if you’re in the market for a new mascara. It lenghens beautifully, is buildable and can achieve decent volume and thickness if you don’t mind working for it a bit. While I’ll continue to use it happily until the formula dries out, I probably won’t repurchase it (at least not right away) since, a) it hasn’t become a holy grail item like the Stila Huge Lash or the L’Oreal Voluminous Butterfly Sculpt, and b) I’m addicted to trying new mascaras all the time to find the absolute best 😊.

Have you tried the Lash Warrior Mascara or do you want to? What’s your holy grail mascara? I’d love to know!

Xo, Erica

Check out my review of Lash Warrior, an affordable mascara from Flower Beauty!

 

Joah Beauty has launched at CVS Pharmacy!

Joah Beauty, the new makeup line from Kiss Products, Inc, has launched exclusively at CVS Pharmacy in the U.S. You may know Kiss from their extensive nail offerings including nail care products, nail art & jewelry, and at-home salon-style treatments. (Not to mention fake lashes, cosmetics and haircare.) Well, they’ve partnered with CVS to bring the high-grade formulations typically associated with K-beauty skincare to color cosmetics with Joah Beauty. Hence, the tagline “K-beauty inspired.” Joah (which in Korean translates to “I like it” apparently) is not completely brand-spanking new; it became available on CVS.com by mid-summer, I believe, and is now in the process of being rolled out to over 4,000 CVS locations around the country.

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Joah Beauty endcap at one of my local CVS’s

CVS is no stranger to the K-beauty trend in America. They stock brands like Holika Holika, Peripera (another new offering), and Peach Slices, just to name a few. Target has definitely up’d their K-beauty game as well. The skincare aisle in my local CVS became flooded particularly with Korean sheet masks just a few years ago. They seem to be adding more & more K-beauty products all the time now.

Joah Beauty offers affordable products across the following categories: eyes, lips, face, brows & brushes. The whole line ranges in price from around $3.00 to $16.00. Their vibe is fun, carefree and very feminine (leaning heavily towards girly). True to the whole K-beauty vibe, their packaging and naming system is super cute and colorful. When I started picking up some of the products, I noticed that the packaging itself is not overly weighty at all. Everything is quite lightweight and to be honest a little bit cheap-feeling. (But this stuff isn’t very expensive so there you go.)

This is a very big launch so instead of taking you through each and every item like I did last week with Ohii Beauty, I’ll take you briefly through each product category and give you some commentary. I haven’t tried the majoritiy of this line yet so I cannot speak to overall quality, but I did recently purchase the Large Powder Brush and one of the matte gel lipsticks called I’m Your Jelly Bae in the shade Honey.

EYESShop here

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I’m So Fly Felt Tip Liquid Eyeliner available in 2 shades for $7.99. Image source: Joah Beauty Instagram.

In this category there are:

  • 2 eyeshadow palettes (average price $9.99)
  • 6 eyeliners (average price $7.99)
  • 4 mascaras  (average price $7.99)

As you can probably tell, the broadest offering in this category by far is eyeliner. They’ve got everything from brush-tip to ink pens to gels to jumbo liquid pens. Whatever your eyeliner preference is, I’m sure they’ve got you covered! Both eyeshadow palettes have 6-pans each and come in very natural, wearable color schemes (Bare & Unveiled). At $9.99 though they’re by no means the cheapest option at the drugstore so hopefully the quality is great.

LIPSShop here

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Mirror Mirror Lip Gloss available in 6 shades for $4.99. Image source: Joah Beauty Instagram.
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Wat-a-matte Matte Liquid Lipstick available in 10 shades for $6.99. Image source: Joah Beauty Instagram.
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I’m Your Jelly Bae Matte Gel Lipstick available in 10 shades for $5.99. Image source: Joah Beauty Instagram.
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I’m Your Jelly Bae Matte Gel Lipstick in Honey

I feel like Joah’s lip category is quite broad as well. There are 8 total offerings with an average price of $5.00-$6.00 in a variety of different finishes and textures including:

  • Lip gloss (6 shades)
  • Matte liquid lipstick (10 shades)
  • Matte gel lipstick (10 shades)
  • Satin liquid lipstick (10 shades)
  • Lip stain (6 shades)
  • Lip liner (6 shades)
  • Tinted lip balm (4 shades)
  • Matte velvet lipstick (10 shades)

I do feel like there’s something for everyone here, and their shade ranges are quite nice too. As mentioned earlier, I picked up one of the I’m Your Jelly Bae lipsticks because the name just intrigued me so much. What’s a matte gel lipstick?? I’ll give you my first impression super quick.

When I applied it the formula went on smoothly and immediately felt like nothing on my lips. It turns from a creamy consistency to a velvety, almost powdery finish quite quickly. I don’t know, I like the weightlessness for sure but it seemed quite dry to me. I ended up putting my more moisturizing Revlon HD Gel Lipcolor over top for some give. I may use the Jelly Bae as a long-wearing base for a more hydrating product going forward (especially going into the colder months), but this definitely isn’t my ideal formulation. (Oh, Honey is great color if you love beige nudes.)

FACE – Shop here

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Truly Yours Natural Finish Foundation Drop available in 8 shades for $8.99. Image source: Joah Beauty Instagram.
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Truly Yours BB Radiant Beauty Balm available in 4 shades for $8.99. Image source: Joah Beauty Instagram.
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Selfie Ready Setting Powder available in Translucent & 2 other shades for $8.99. Image source: Joah Beauty Instagram.
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Be My Everything Cream Contour Kit with 8 skintone shades plus 3 color correctors for $15.99. Image source: Joah Beauty Instagram.

This is by far the meatiest category in Joah’s range: 21 products in total consisting primarily of cosmetics and a few skincare items.

There are:

  • 2 foundations (liquid, cushion)
  • 1 BB cream
  • 2 concealers
  • 4 primers
  • 1 blush/bronzer palette
  • 1 highlighting palette
  • 1 powder contour palette
  • 1 cream contour palette
  • Setting powder (3 shades)
  • 2 setting sprays
  • 3 peel-off face masks
  • 2 makeup removing products

Right off the bat after perusing the endcap, I noticed that the coverage products offered only a very narrow shade selection. The Truly Yours Natural Finish Foundation Drop only comes in 8 shades, while the Angel Cake Cushion Foundation comes in a puny 3 shades. And there are only 11 shades between the two concealers. So I’d say there’s a fat chance you’d find your perfect match from this range, especially since there are no testers available. A bit disappointing for a new launch to say the least; hopefully the range will be expanded in the future. However there are many other face products to shop from.

BROWSShop here

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Brow Down to Me Precision Brow Pencil available in 6 shades for $8.99. Image source: Joah Beauty Instagram.

This is a much narrower category for Joah with just 5 products total and an average price of $8.00. They are all brow pencils (one also has a brow mascara built into it), with the exception of one clear brow gel. No pomades, powders or mousses available (yet). I’d predict this category may expand in the future to include colored brow mascaras or brow kits perhaps.

BRUSHESShop here

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Large Powder Brush for $5.99

Last category here, and again this is a narrow one with just 5 offerings and an average price of $6.00. I also predict this category will expand eventually simply because it’s so small and there’s so far you can go with brushes.

There are:

  • 1 brow brush
  • 1 eye brush
  • 3 face brushes (foundation, powder, fan)

As mentioned earlier, I picked up the Large Powder Brush. When I took it out of its plastic packaging I noted the softness of the bristles and the weightlessness of the handle. It didn’t appear to shed at all but I really won’t be able to tell until I start using and washing it. I have a preference for drugstore brushes so I’m excited to start using this for my powder blushes and bronzer. Fingers crossed it’s good quality!

What do you think of this new brand? Will you be picking anything up? I’d love to know!

Xo, Erica

Joah Beauty has launched at CVS Pharmacy! Find out about the new and affordable K-beauty inspired cosmetics line.

 

New brand alert! Ohii Beauty launches today*

Exciting news! Ohii Beauty, the new makeup line from lifestyle retailer Urban Outfitters (UO), has launched today both online and in UO stores in North America*! (It will be available in Europe by October, according to the brand.) If you follow beauty news closely, articles announcing the line and teasing the products started popping up in places like Cosmopolitan and Refinery29 in late August. (Ohii’s Instagram account debuted a mere two or so weeks ago.) UO is no stranger to beauty. It’s carried makeup and skincare products from brands like Benefit, bh Cosmetics, Truly Organic and Embryolisse for years now, but this is their first in-house beauty brand.

Just a disclaimer, I have limited information on these products. I do know the entire product line is cruelty-free and vegan. There wasn’t much copy available online, and the Ohii website was pretty bare leading up to the launch. Everything I have has been gathered from either Ohii or UO’s respective Instagram accounts. They pre-launched the entire line at a pop-up store in NYC this past weekend, but I sadly couldn’t make it there.

*All the products are available for sale on UO’s site, click here.

So in this post I will simply be running you through the product list, and letting you know what I’m most interested in picking up. To be clear I have not tried anything from this line yet. I got my inspiration for this post idea from Mimi over at Blushy Darling, who comments on new or upcoming launches every week on her blog.

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Image source: Ohii Instagram

Let’s get to the products now! They are launching 13 makeup and skincare products (one bodycare), all under $25.00 each. 

SKINCARE/MAKEUP

Wake Up Pen available in 2 shades (Pearl & Peach), $18.00 each

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Image source: Ohii Instagram story

This product is stumping me. I can’t make out exactly what it is. From the above description it seems like it would be some kind of skincare/makeup hybrid, so I’m putting it in a category of its own. It’s an undereye treatment that color corrects but when it’s swatched, it looks quite shimmery. Hmmm, see what I mean? I can’t imagine putting something shimmery under my eyes, but I am definitely intrigued by it so this is a maybe.

SKINCARE

Big Reveal Mask available in 2 types (Brighten & Detox), $16.00 each

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Image source: Revelist

I’m trying to get more into masks these days, but preferably sheet masks since I have a few floating around the house. The Ohii ones are specifically peel-off masks. I tend to have a really simple skincare routine so I don’t have oodles of new products rotating in and out of my daily menu. I’m personally more interested in moisturizers and serums. I’ll pass on this one.

2-in-1 Clay Cream Cleanser Wash, $14.00

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Image source: Revelist

See my note directly above. I’ll pass on this one too.

Daydream Hand Cream available in 3 scents (Almond, Citrus Tea, Rose), $10.00 each

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Image source: Urban Outfitters Instagram

I’m definitely interested in this hand cream, especially now going into the cooler months. I usually just pick up either Vaseline or Gold Bond hand creams from the drugstore. I keep one in my handbag for on-the-go application and another on my night table for bedtime application. I really like the price point on this; I just don’t see the rationale behind expensively priced hand creams. This is a want from me, preferably in the Almond scent.

BODYCARE

Pure Stick Deodorant available in 2 scents (Rose, Citrus Tea), $12.00 each

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This may be shocking to some of you but I actually don’t use deodorant and never have. Luckily I’ve hardly ever been told that I smell, and I live with some pretty honest people who would inform me if I did. I also don’t have a problem with excessive sweating, so I guess I just never got in the habit of using deodorants. I’m more into using perfumes and fragrances to impart a fresh scent before I leave the house. So this is a pass from me.

MAKEUP

Soft Glow Highlighter available in 2 shades (Cosmic Jasper, Gold Charge), $18.00 each

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Soft Glow Highlighter in Cosmic Jasper. Image source: Revelist

I’m not sure if this is a cream, powder, or some kind of hybrid texture. With highlighters it’s all about the texture for me. If it’s powder, I’m not into it and it would be a pass, but if it’s cream I’d be a bit more interested. With my complexion I’d definitely go for Cosmic Jasper since I usually favor icy to pink-colored highlighters. (Gold Charge is a much deeper option for darker complexions.) I rarely buy single highlighter pans so this is one I’d like to swatch or feel in-store before making my final decision. This is a maybe from me.

Glass Powder, $20.00

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Image source: Revelist

There’s only one face powder in this range so I assume it must be a translucent setting powder. I’m not huge on setting my makeup since I have dry skin. With that being said, I am pretty loyal to the Rimmel Stay Matte Powder for setting my concealer which is much cheaper than this. I’m going to pass here.

Magic Hair Wand, $12.00

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Image source: Revelist

Ohii claims this is a multi-use product for both hair and brows. For instance, you can tame “flyaways” by simply brushing it through your hair when it’s in an updo or use it to groom your brows and hold them in place. Quite simply though, it’s a clear brow gel; I’m not so sure about the whole brushing “flyaways” part. I much prefer colored brow mascaras over clear gels, so until Ohii brings those to their product line I’m not interested. Pass.

Eyeshadow Palettes available in 2 colorways (Treasure, Magic Hour), $24.00 each

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Eyeshadow Palette in Treasure. Image source: Revelist
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Eyeshadow Palette in Magic Hour. Image source: Revelist.

As you can see, these shadow palettes have 10 pans each and offer one more colorful option (Treasure) and one more muted option (Magic Hour). From photos I’ve seen, it looks like Treasure has about 4 mattes with 6 shimmers, and Magic Hour looks entirely shimmery. Who isn’t excited by a new shadow palette? But my collection is just so chock-a-block with palettes that I love at the moment that I can’t justify yet another purchase right now. So sadly this is a pass for me right now, but I would in the future like to try the Magic Hour Palette.

Skinny Mascara available in one color, $16.00

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Image source: Revelist

If a mascara comes in one color, I assume it’s gotta be black right? The wand on this mascara is quite skinny as the name would lead you to believe (you can get a closer look in the banner image to this post), which makes me think it must be great for lengthening and separating. Because I have an obsession with trying new mascaras, this is definitely a want. The price is pretty fair as well.

True Matte Lip available in 6 shades (Supreme, Self, Star, Hero, Icon, Ego), $16.00 each

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Image source: Revelist

Since this is a liquid lipstick with the name ‘True Matte’, I assume it’s a long-wear formula that dries completely down. I don’t know the claim on the amount of wear obviously, but Ohii featured a customer’s IG story on their page wherein she said that she had been wearing one of the True Mattes for hours without much wear down. Take that for what you will. I feel most beauty lovers know by now if they’re still into matte liquid lipsticks or not. Personally I feel like my penchant for them is on the wane, so I’ll probably pass on this one. I’m much more into traditional lipsticks these days.

Gummy Gloss available in 3 shades (Golden Charge, Rose Quartz, Opaline Dream), $16.00 each

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Gummy Gloss in Golden Charge. Image source: Revelist

Although I am starting to get back into glosses very, very slowly, when I saw these swatched on Ohii’s IG story they looked a little too glittery for my liking. A pass from me.

Lip Jelly available in 3 flavors (Mint Scents, Agave, Rose), $18.00 each

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Image source: Ohii Instagram
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Image source: Urban Outfitters Instagram story

If you read my beauty anti-wishlist blog post, you’ll know my fear of lip balms, lip mositurizers and lip masks after my fiasco with Bite Beauty’s Agave Lip Mask. It might be an irrational fear from a third-party perspective, but it’s very, very rational in my mind! And one of them is called Agave…I don’t think so. Pass from me. Plus $18.00 for such a little guy? Seems excessive.

What do you think about this launch? Will you be purchasing anything? I’d love to know!

xo, Erica

My beauty anti-wishlist, September 2018

Hi friends! Since I’m always talking about the beauty items I either want to pick up or already have in my collection, I thought I’d do something different today and talk briefly about some new or upcoming makeup launches I will not be picking up. An “anti-haul” or “anti-wishlist” if you will. Just a disclaimer: this is not meant to be overly negative in the slightest, nor a knock on any of the brands mentioned here. Shopping for beauty products is entirely subjective stuff. These particular launches just don’t excite me based on my own style preferences; you may be chomping at the bit to get your hands on these. Variety is the spice of life, and all that.

So let’s get into it (in no particular order).

ANASTASIA BEVERLY HILLS NORVINA PALETTE – Shop here

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Image source: allure.com

This is probably the oldest launch of this list, and while the colors are definitely beautiful I just don’t see the hype here. It’s often referred to as a “purple palette” but there’s only three (maybe four if you count the burgundy shade, Passion) purpley shades out of fourteen. The rest are neutrals that I probably already have somewhere in my collection. Think of the Too Faced Sweet Peach Palette which just has two peachy shades out of eighteen, yet it’s referred to as a “peach palette”. I know the quality of ABH shadows tends to be top-notch; I’ve used the beloved Modern Renaissance palette and loved it. I’m just not the biggest fan of purples on me (despite my recent experimentation with the Born to Run Palette); plus I have a few neutral palettes already, so I won’t be picking this one up. I am super curious about Soul though, that periwinkle shade on the bottom left of the palette. If ABH ever releases that as a single, I might hop on it!

JEFFREE STAR COSMETICS LIQUID FROST HIGHLIGHTERS – Shop here

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Image source: makeup.co.nz

While I do prefer a liquid or cream highlighter over a powder (I almost never use powder highlighters), I still won’t be adding this to a future shopping list. At $25.00 for a whopping 30 ml of product, it’s just way too much highlighter for too high a price tag for my liking. I’d rather spend that cash on a nice foundation or concealer. I would never, ever make my way through 30 ml of highlighter unless I was bathing myself in the stuff on a daily basis. I wrote about my feelings surrounding the current highlighter craze way back when I first started my blog. I love a nice, subtle highlight on the cheekbones and on the bridge of the nose, but I’m by no means a glow-freak. Too much highlighter just seems too obvious for everyday life. Not my style so I’ll pass.

FENTY BEAUTY GLOSS BOMB IN DIAMOND MILK – Launches 9/7/18

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Image source: temptalia.com

When I saw this on Fenty’s IG my immediate thought was, nope! Way too cool-toned for me. While I realize that the gloss won’t show up as straight silvery-white on the lips (there’s swatches on Fenty’s IG if you’re interested), I’m much more interested in snatching the original Universal Gloss Bomb since it has a slightly rosy color. Seriously, I’ve been eyeing that one since it first launched. I’m quite cool-toned myself so I have to be a bit careful with cool-toned lip colors for risk of looking dead. I believe this is also launching with a matching highlighter in the shade Diamond Bomb on September 7th in celebration of Fenty’s year anniversary. Sadly, I’m passing on both products.

TOO FACED SUGAR PEACH WET & DRY FACE AND EYE PALETTE – Launches 9/4/18

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Image source: Trendmood

Just recently Too Faced announced that their Peach Collection is expanding to include this palette, plus a peach-scented lip scrub, a lip balm and additional shades in the Peach Kiss lipstick range. Everything launches tomorrow at Sephora and on Too Faced’s site. My mom bought the original Sweet Peach Palette last year and I might have used it once or twice. The scent is delicious and the shadows are good quality, but I’m not overly into the whole scented makeup trend. So when I saw this Sugar Peach Wet & Dry Face and Eye Palette on Trendmood’s IG page, I was just nonplussed. Supposedly this is the first time Too Faced has marketed a palette as being wet/dry but can’t every palette be used wet or dry? I’m not sure which colors are supposed to be eyeshadows or face colors. Everything just looks too shimmery to me. One of the shades looks like it’s got straight glitter in it; you’re supposed to use that on your face? I rarely use shimmery (or glittery) shades on my face, and I have enough shimmery eyeshadows in similar tones as this. I just don’t think I’d get much use out of something like this.

ANYTHING FROM BITE BEAUTY!

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Image source: leapingbunny.org

Oh I wish I could use more products from Bite Beauty! I read that in anticipation of the upcoming holiday season, Bite Beauty would soon be releasing a new collection of their well-loved Amuse Bouche lipsticks. My first and only foray into this brand was the Agave Lip Mask a few years back. Everyone was raving about this product saying it was a game-changer for those with really dry lips. I have dry skin all over my body, and in the winter like a lot of others I get extremely dry, chapped lips. I picked up the mask and used it religiously for almost a year every night. I loved it. It was super thick and extremely moisturzing. But then something horrible happened. I woke up a few weeks before Christmas and my lips was almost double the size, red and inflammed beyond belief. Even the sides of my mouth were cracked, it was disgusting. It didn’t hit me right away what was causing the issue, but it finally became clear after continuing to use the mask that somewhere along the line I must have become highly allergic to some ingredient in it. I’ve been terrified ever since to use anything else from this line.

What do you think about these launches? Will you be picking anything up? I’d love to know!

Xo, Erica

 

 

Makeup that makes me nostalgic

I’m not big on nostalgia. It’s not that I don’t enjoy reminiscing from time to time about great experiences or moments that I’ve had with friends and family. But I generally try to keep looking ahead rather than backwards. While this sentiment refers to a broader life philosophy, let me take this back down to makeup. I found myself watching an old Pixiwoo video a few days ago when all of a sudden I was struck by a feeling of honest-to-goodness nostalgia. Sam whipped out Gilt by Association eyeshadow by MAC, which I believe is now discontinued, and a piece of my makeup past flashed in front of me. It was one of the very first eyeshadows I used in high school, and I couldn’t remember the last time I even thought about it.

It got me thinking, how many other products did I regularly use when I first started wearing makeup that I’ve since forgotten about? How many are actually still on the market now? How many do I still use today? I racked my brain and came up with a nice list of products (sorted by brand) that I’d love to share with you. And in true nostalgic form, each product reminds me of a specific period in my life. I know I missed ‘Throwback Thursday’ with this post but I hope you’ll indulge me anyway.

COVERGIRL

LashBlast Volume Mascara – Shop here

CoverGirl Lashblash Mascara
Image Source: eBay.com

Of course we all know this one is still on the market, but I feel this is definitely a product that has been overshadowed over the years by a million new launches. This was either one of or the first mascaras I used, I can’t remember exactly. I used it in high school for quite a long time and generally enjoyed it. However I stopped using it after my mom told me it was snapping off her eyelashes (!). Yup, you read that right. She had noticed her lashes were getting shorter since using this mascara. It got me so freaked out, I threw mine out and never went back.

Intense ShadowBlast Eyeshadows (discontinued)

CoverGirl Intense Shadow Blast
Image source: popsugar.com.au

I loved these way back when. At one time I had all the colors from the line, which were the three pictured above plus a light olive green shade. They were cream shadows in a tube with a doe-foot applicator; easy to apply, blended perfectly and locked into place all day. I particularly loved the brown shade (of course) which I think was called Brown Bling. It was a true taupe shade, very cool-toned, which made it very work-appropriate. This was a staple in both my work makeup menu and also in my travel makeup bag in the mid to late 2000’s. I remember specifically taking this on so many work trips since it was so easy to apply. But unfortunately CoverGirl discontinued this line a while back and have yet to replace it.

JEMMA KIDD MAKEUP (DISCONTINUED LINE) 

Jemma Kidd Eyeshadows

Jemma Kidd Eyeshadow Palette
Image source: poshmark.com

Remember Jemma Kidd makeup?? This was definitely early in my makeup-wearing days when I only really shopped at either MAC, the drugstore or Target. This was a UK brand that was carried at Target in the U.S. before the entire line was discontinued. I know a lot of UK bloggers and YouTubers were obsessed with her complexion products like foundations and highlighters, but I never really wore face makeup until about six or seven years ago. I had the eye/lip palette pictured above (probably right after college), and I was obsessed with the dark, sparkling blue shade on the lower right-hand side of the top quad. I look at this now and I’m not sure what I was thinking with that shade, but I used to dig my finger in and lightly pat it across my lids. I almost hit pan on that shade too.

MAC

Pro Longwear Lip Pencils – Shop here 

MAC Pro Longwear Lip Pencils
Image source: eBay.co.uk

MAC was the first higher-end makeup brand I ever used because my mom was a big fan of their products. (Spoiler alert: there’s a lot of MAC on this list.) I’ve honestly never been the biggest lipstick/lip liner person. I alternate between really loving lip products and wearing them everyday to hating the feel of any product being on my lips. But when I was first experimenting with lip color after college, of course I went to MAC first. If I was going to wear anything on my lips, I thought, it was going to have to last so I bypassed lipstick at the time and went straight to lip pencils. I still think the Pro Longwear Lip Pencils are a great formula, if not a bit stiff, but I don’t have any in my collection right now. I used to have Staunchly Stylish (a browny nude), In Anticipation (a mid-tone pink), and More to Love (a deep but bright fuschia). Most of the time I would apply these all over my lips as a lipstick.

Prep & Prime Eye BaseShop here for the newer version

MAC Prep + Prime Eye Base
Image source: beautybulletin.com

The Prep & Prime Eye Base (in the compact version) was very first eye primer I ever used. I remember specfically my mother gave it to me and said you should always prime your eyes before using powder shadows to get the best effect. So I do what I’m told and I still prime to this day. I’m not sure if this version exists anymore in the Prep & Prime line, but I’ve linked above to the 24-hr Extend Eye Base in the squeeze tube.

Pro Longwear Paint Pots – Shop here 

MAC Paint Pot in Camel Coat

I’ve talked about my big love for Paint Pots as primers umpteen times on this blog before, so I won’t bore you much longer. But after the Prep & Prime Eye Base, it was Paint Pots for me, and Paint Pots it will likely stay.

Eye Kohl Pencils – Shop here 

MAC Power Kohl Liners

These are real nostalgia products for me. Before I was into face makeup, I was into eye makeup…big time. My eyes were the first feature I really wanted to play up as a teenager and as a young adult. I remember lining my upper and lower lashes with black liner for the first time and thinking I was super cool. The MAC kohl liners weren’t the first liners I ever used, but they were the first liners I really loved. But this was back when I didn’t know much about makeup, so I’d line all over my eyes without setting it with powder, and by half-way through the day I was a panda. I really don’t use kohl liners anymore because of their smudginess, but I’ll always have a fondness for the MAC ones. I used to own Powersurge (a gold), Teddy (a bronze), Smolder (a charcoal-black), and Tarnish (a blackened-green that might be discontinued?).

Powder Eyeshadows in Gilt by Association, Patina, Club & Satin Taupe – Shop here (everything except Gilt by Association) 

C002564A-4D25-44B9-93A8-C17C72961921
Gilt by Association by MAC

 

MAC Palette with Patina, Club, Satin Taupe highlighted
My MAC palette featuring Patina (P), Club (C), & Satin Taupe (S).
eyeshadowswatches
Swatches from top to bottom: Patina, Club, Satin Taupe, Lola Lola (NARS).

Gilt by Association was a baked eyeshadow with a mineralize finish that had this beautiful marbled effect with gold, black and dark browns. I hardly used eye brushes early in my makeup-wearing days, so I used my fingers to gently tap the shadow all over my lids. It gave me a subtle, shimmering golden-brown effect that I loved at the time. Then I got heavily into MAC singles in the mid-2000’s and eventually created my own palette with my favorites, as pictured above. But I particularly loved, and still love to this day, Patina (a cool-toned golden-pearl shade), Club (a warm brown with green/blue shift), and Satin Taupe (a cool-toned purpley-brown satin shade). Classics.

MAYBELLINE

Dream Bouncy Blush – Shop here

Maybelline Dream Bouncy Blush
Image source: walmart.com

This was one of the first blushes I ever bought when I started wearing blush. I’m not sure exactly how old I was, but most likely I was in my early to mid-20’s. I didn’t want to invest in a high-end blush yet in case I didn’t like the effect, so I went to the drugstore instead. If memory serves, the only reasons I gravitated towards the Dream Bouncy Blushes were the fun colors they came in and the cool-looking texture. I had an apricot shade and a pink shade, but I remember thinking these were kinda crap after a while. But perhaps it was my fault. They have a powder-to-cream kind of formula, so I used my fingers to apply the color to my cheeks but I could barely get anything to show up (and I have fair skin). They hit the trash not too long after purchasing them, but whenever I see them in the drugstore I remember when I first discovered blush.

NARS

Lola Lola Single Eyeshadow (may be discontinued?)

NARS Lola Lola Eyeshadow

This one takes me all the way back to high school. I loved this warm, rusty brown shade just simply applied all over my lid (again, just using my fingers). I never applied shadow underneath my lower lash line when I was teenager; too dramatic. I might have hit pan on the first one I had, but I repurchased it a few years ago. Sadly I couldn’t find this shade on NARS’s website, so perhaps it’s since been discontinued.

REVLON

Lip Butters (discontinued)

Revlon Lip Butter
Image source: walgreens.com

I was heavy into the Lip Butters around 2013-2014. I loved this formula so much that I had three or four of these on the go at one time, and nearly all of them lived in my purse. I would never remember the exact names but I had a fuschia, a red, a nude and a peach at least. If you never owned a Lip Butter, they were basically colored lip balms. Nothing special necessarily, but they had some cling to them so the color lasted a little longer than you’d expect for such a moisturzing formula, which I loved. And they had decent color payoff for being just balms. Revlon discontinued them in the past few years and replaced them with the HD Gel Color line, which is equally as moisturizing.

Which makeup items make you feel nostalgic? I’d love to know!

Xo, Erica

 

Review: Urban Decay Born to Run Eyeshadow Palette

You could say that anytime Urban Decay launches a palette, it’s big news in the beauty world. If Urban Decay knows anything, they know palettes. The release of the original Naked Palette in 2010 was a watershed moment in the beauty community created in part by the burgeoning social media scene of the time when new platforms and influencers were gaining popularity. While we were all shocked by the recent news regarding this iconic product (UD decided to discontinue the palette), we can assuage our grief by diving into exciting newer releases.

The Born to Run Palette is just this kind of release. It recently launched this summer and had all those in the beauty community talking. I was really wowed by the color range when I first saw the press images: lots of bright tones alongside some neutral, everyday shades. The theme of the palette is travel and jet-setting; having all the necessary shades you need in one place plus some fun pops of color. UD’s shadows tend to be very high-performing, so I wasn’t surprised when nearly all the reviews were glowing. I hauled this palette a while back, which I’ll link to here, but it took two trips to Ulta to finally get my mitts on this (it was sold out in one location).

Let’s jump straight into the review.

PRODUCT DESCRIPTION 

21 eyeshadow shades for $49.00 (0.42 oz total; 0.02 oz per shadow)

Cruelty-free formula 

Born To Run Eyeshadow Palette offers endless escapes in one travel-ready package. With 21 shades and a full-size mirror, it lets you choose your own adventure.

If you find yourself packing multiple kits for one look, our Born To Run Eyeshadow Palette is your globe-trotting go-to.

When it’s time to grab your carry-on and dash off to the next big adventure, you’ll want to pack light. Enter Born To Run, an all-in-one eyeshadow palette that has everything you need to create neutral looks, add in pops of color and play with brights, no matter where you’re going. With 21 of-the-moment shades—from jewel tones and modern neutrals to more colorful shadows—you’ve got every possible eye look covered in one sleek kit. Made from our mind-blowing formula that gives each shade its velvety texture, rich color and blendability, Born To Run’s Eyeshadow shades hold tightly onto pigment that stays put.

Got a conference in Dallas where you need to look like a boss? Create subtle definition with creamy, light neutrals like Breakaway and Weekender en route (using the palette’s full-size mirror, of course). Or, blend Baja, a burnt orange matte, into the lids and smudge Accelerate, a reddish copper metallic, into the crease for a sunset-hued smoky eye that mirrors the view on your road trip through the Mojave Desert. If you’re dancing until daybreak in Prague, put a twist on the traditional cat-eye look and smudge Guilt Trip, a smoky purple shimmer, into the lash line to create an imperfect wing.

Can’t decide which awe-inspiring shade to swipe on next? No matter which shades you try, we designed them all to be universally flattering for any skin tone and any lifestyle. Whether you’re a total road warrior, a weekend escapist or a staycationer—this one palette has everything you need when you’re Born To Run.

Source: urbandecay.com

SHADES & SWATCHES

  • BREAKAWAY (warm ivory shimmer)
  • STRANDED (pale rose gold with tonal micro-shimmer)
  • BLAZE (light metallic peach with pink shift)
  • WEEKENDER (light neutral beige matte)
  • STILL SHOT (bright peach matte)
  • RIFF (brown-nude matte with floating micro-sparkle)
  • GOOD AS GONE (deep brown satin with iridescent micro-shimmer)
  • HELL RIDE (deep fuchsia matte)
  • BAJA (burnt orange matte)
  • ACCELERATE (reddish copper metallic)
  • GUILT TRIP (smoky purple shimmer)
  • IGNITE (rose gold metallic)
  • SMOG (deep coppery bronze shimmer)
  • WANDERLUST (forest green with gold micro-shimmer)
  • WILDHEART (bright fuchsia satin)
  • PUNK (red-brown matte)
  • DOUBLE LIFE (metallic rust)
  • JET (black satin with deep shimmering purple shift)
  • DRIFT (charcoal satin with tonal micro-sparkle)
  • RADIO (deep emerald satin)
  • BIG SKY (frosted green shimmer with iridescent micro-sparkle)

Urban Decay Born to Run Palette

urbandecayborntorunrow1
Top to bottom: Breakaway, Stranded, Blaze, Weekender, Still Shot, Riff, Good as Gone.
urbandecayborntorunrow2
From top to bottom: Hell Ride, Baja, Accelerate, Guilt Trip, Ignite, Smog, Wanderlust.
urbandecayborntorunrow3
Top to bottom: Wildheart, Punk, Double Life, Jet, Drift, Radio, Big Sky.

HOW I APPLY MY EYESHADOW

I’ve written extensively on how to apply eyeshadow in an earlier post, which includes tips and photos/information on the brushes I typically use. I always use a tacky eye primer (my favorite is MAC Paint Pot in either Painterly or Camel Coat) as a base first so the powders have something to grab onto. I recommend using a primer especially if you have oily eyelids, or if you don’t want your shadows to crease or fade throughout the day. I typically use generous, fluffy brushes (e.g. MAC 217) to apply my shadows since I prefer blown-out and softly defined looks on me. Smaller, detailed brushes (e.g. MAC 219) are specifically for upper/lower lash definition only. I usually don’t switch brushes when I use different finishes, like matte or shimmer, as others might.

MY THOUGHTS ON…

Urban Decay Born to Run Palette

Packaging: As you can see from the photo above, the packaging design is a collage of travel snapshots from different locations around the world, which I think is super cool-looking. The palette itself is quite sturdy without being too bulky or overweight. There’s also a nice, generous mirror inside which you would expect for a travel palette. However just keep in mind it’s not the smallest palette around. Certainly the UD Naked Basics Palettes are much more compact and in my opinion more travel-friendly than Born to Run, at least from UD’s line. It really all depends what you want out of your travel palette. If you want neutrals in a small format, go with something like the Naked Basics. If you want variety both in color & finish, Born to Run is perfect. I didn’t buy this palette with the intent of traveling with it, so the format doesn’t matter to me either way.

Rating: 5/5 ⭐️

Color range: This is what drove me to buy this palette in the first place. I love the color story here; the brights and metallics alongside the more neutral shades. You can go in a variety of different directions in terms of looks and I love that. The pitfall with some more neutral palettes is that you can end up creating the same look over and over again. This won’t happen here, so I applaud UD for that. There are 6 mattes, 6 shimmers, 3 metallics, and 6 satins. According to Blushy Darling’s review, the only shades that are not original to this palette are Smog and Punk. My favorite shades are Stranded (shimmer), Blaze (shimmer), Still Shot (matte), Riff (matte), Accelerate (metallic), Ignite (metallic), Wanderlust (shimmer), Radio (satin) and Big Sky (shimmer). Fun fact: Blaze is like a warmer version of MAC’s Patina shadow.

I still have one gripe though. While I love the colors in this palette, I do think it’s missing perhaps one more neutral, mid-tone matte shade. I found I kept having to go back to Riff for my crease shade. Weekender was too light and both Good As Gone and Punk were way too intense for that purpose. So in my opinion UD went a little too dark and provided a few too many liner shades for my liking.

Rating: 4/5 ⭐️

Application: I used every shadow in this palette in some form throughout the last few weeks and I can say that almost every color applies smoothly and evenly on the eyes with the exception of a couple. I thought I’d break it down my texture below.

  • Shimmers & Metallics: they are extremely creamy to the touch and they apply and blend out the absolute best on the eyes.
  • Satins: they are semi-creamy to the touch and apply/blend quite smoothly and evenly.
  • Mattes: they take a bit more work applying and blending on the eyes to get an even finish. They are definitely more dry to the touch. The worst performing shade of the entire palette is Hell Ride, the beautiful deep plum-berry matte from the second row. I LOVE the color, but try putting it in your crease and you’ll be sorely disappointed. It’s choppy as all hell and grabs at certain places, doesn’t want to blend in others, and is generally quite difficult to work with. It’s best packed onto the lid with a flat brush. The second shade I had trouble with is Still Shot, one of my faves. It was a bit patchy so I had to use my finger to pack color onto my lid, but honestly it wasn’t nearly as problematic as Hell Ride and in the end I still got it to work.

Rating: 3.8/5 ⭐️

Pigmentation: Without a doubt, the pigmentation on every shade in this palette is top-notch. I hope you can see that from the swatch photos above. The dark shades are dark from first swipe, the brights are bright from first swipe, etc. You don’t need to keep digging in again and again to get full color payoff, which is what we’ve come to expect from UD shadows.

Rating: 5/5 ⭐️

Longevity: Overall these shadows perform very well and keep their pigmentation over time. I did notice two issues after about 10 hours of wear. First, a little creasing with the matte shades and second, some fading of any of the purple shades (Wildheart, Hell Ride, & Guilt Trip) but only if I applied them to the lower lash line. I wouldn’t consider either one of these a major problem though considering the length of wear time.

Rating: 4.5/5 ⭐️

Price: This palette is $49.00 for 21 shadows, or about $2.33/shadow. The total product weight is 0.42 oz. or 0.02 oz./shadow, which to be honest seems quite low. However when you compare it against the Naked 3 Palette where you get considerably less shades (12), but more product per shadow (0.05 oz.) for more money ($54.00), it doesn’t seem so unreasonable. Or the Lorac Pro Palette where you pay less money ($44) but get less shades (16) for the same amount of product per shadow as Born to Run (0.02 oz.), again it doesn’t seem so unreasonable. You’re getting a lot of shades after all, the vast majority of which are perfectly workable, lovely textures that you can create beautiful looks with (with the exception of Hell Ride). Therefore I think the price is perfectly fine.

Rating: 5/5 ⭐️

SOME LOOKS I CREATED WITH THE PALETTE

urbandecayborntorunlook2
Look # 1: I used Guilt Trip on the top lid and into the crease, and smudged Hell Ride underneath my lower lash line. Super simple. Loved it!
urbandecayborntorunlook1
Look #2: I blended Stranded onto my top lid and into my crease, and smudged Big Sky underneath my lower lash line. Again, super simple. I particularly loved this look, but the photo doesn’t do the colors justice, especially Big Sky which is gorgeous.

FINAL THOUGHTS

Overall I think this is a beautiful palette that I would recommend to those who really love eyeshadow and who love experimenting with different looks. I think it wouldn’t be the right fit for someone who craves the same kind of look everyday (nothing wrong with that of course). The pigmentation and longevity are definitely there, but just keep in mind that application can be tricky with some of the mattes, and when I say that I’m referring predominantly to Hell Ride. If UD would replace that shade with one mid-tone crease color, the palette would be absolutely divine! But at the end of the day you’re getting a lot of good quality shades for a reasonable price point.

Have you tried the Born to Run Palette yet? If so, what did you think? I’d love to know!

Xo, Erica

Indie beauty haul from IBE NY 2018

Welcome to the final post in my IBE (Indie Beauty Expo) 2-part blog series. The first post was an introduction to the Expo, and now I give you a peek into my tote bag to see the products I picked up while I was there. I also wanted to talk a bit about the respective brands and about the owners themselves, since I had the pleasure of meeting and speaking to a few of them. Just a note, I have not yet started using any these products with the exception of the Clove + Hallow Lip Glaze, so this post is more of a traditional haul. And lastly as I touched on in my last post, most of the indies present at the Expo were all-natural & organic-cerified brands. As I go through my list I will make a note of those that do not meet these criteria so you’re aware.

mixedindieproducts
Indie products from Clove + Hallow, Kokie, Karma Organic Spa, & Ethique

KARMA HUES NAIL POLISH FROM KARMA ORGANICS SPA – Shop here

karmahuesnailpolish
Karma Hues Nail Polish in Hot Cakes (it says ‘No Toluene, No Formaldehyde, and No DBP” on the front of the bottle).
  • Cruelty-free
  • Vegan
  • Soy-based
  • Non-toxic
  • 7-free natural & organic (free of TPHP, toluene, formaldehyde, DBP (phthalate), camphor, formaldehyde resin, xylene, & parabens)
  • Made in the U.S.A.
  • $9.99/bottle

This was the first booth I was attracted to mainly because they had rows and rows of beautifully colored nail polishes surrounding the whole stand. I wasn’t even in the market for nail polish but there I was picking up every other bottle and saying yes, please show me how this looks on the nails to one of the associates working the booth. I love neutrals against my pale skin tone so I settled on Planet Earth, a muted olive green, for me and Hot Cakes (pictured above), a pale, cool-toned pink, for my mom. Normally each bottle retails for $9.99, but they were offering a 3-for-$20 booth special so I also got a gel top coat. I also walked away with samples of their nail polish remover that’s formulated with soybean oil & lavender. I believe there’s two other types of removers on their site as well.

Karma Hues Nail Polish originates from Karma Organics Spa, which has 2 locations in New Jersey (Ridgewood & Englewood). You can book in to have manicures, pedicures, waxings, facials and massages. Along with selling over 100 different colors/finishes of Karma Hues, they also retail essential oils, and a few skincare items. But it’s clear that Karma Hues is their main offering based on how vast the line is. Owner Nausil Zaheer and his wife were present at the booth, and they both couldn’t have been nicer. They thanked me profusely after my purchase, which left me with a good feeling.

LUMENE SKINCARE – Main site

Shop here at Target

lumeneproducts

  • Clean formulas
  • Sustainable natural ingredient sourcing
  • No animal testing
  • Vegan
  • Skincare products contain between 80%-99% natural ingredients

I’d only just recently heard about the Finnish brand Lumene through Inthefrow on YouTube when I spotted their stand at the Expo. I believe they are more well known for their skincare products, but they also offer a pretty extensive makeup collection consisting of everything from tinted skin serums, to eye primers, to lip glosses and mascaras, to liquid blushes and highlighters. The makeup is ‘skincare-infused’ as I was told by an associate at the stand. The liquid blushes and highlighters are what initially drew me in to the stand. The packaging was beautiful and luxe but still very understated, and this applies across the brand.

If you take one look at their website you’ll notice that Arctic spring water is the key ingredient in nearly all of their products; they claim that the water used comes from the natural springs in Lapland, the northermost, subarctic region of Finland. The Finnish or Nordic heritage of the brand plays a huge part in their story. How they formulate and source their products is all dictated by the natural landscape and resources of Finland.

I would have at least bought the liquid blush on the spot after I tried it on my hand (it felt beautiful on my skin), but it turns out they weren’t retailing at the Expo; they were just handing out samples. This was disappointing because I felt they lost out not only on my sale, but that of others. Instead the associate handed me a bunch of skincare samples, which I am keen to try. Lumene is stocked in the U.S. in Target stores and online, and in CVS stores and online. Their prices are quite affordable which is awesome. Additionally, Feelunique.com will also ship into the U.S.

ELIXIR ORGANIC FACIAL OIL FROM HONEY BELLE – Shop here 

elixirfacialoilhoneybelle
Image source: honeybelleshop.com
  • $15.00 for mini (15 ml), or $34.00 for standard (56 ml)
  • Clean, natural, organic products made in small batches in micro-factory in CA
  • Their mission: “GENERATE HEALTH AND SELF-CONFIDENCE IN INDIVIDUALS BY PRODUCING CLEAN, GREEN, AND HIGHLY-EFFECTIVE PRODUCTS. WE BELIEVE IN COMPASSION, AND MAKING A DIFFERENCE IN THE COMMUNITY.”
  • Fun fact: Honey Belle’s loofah soaps are now stocked in Ulta to rave reviews.

I was drawn into Honey Belle’s stand by the cool and sleek-looking packaging of their skincare products. Additionally I noticed an entire row of facial rollers used from different stones. Everyone seems to talk about this tool now and I was curious to hear the pitch on it. I ended up speaking with Calvin Hang, who is one-half of the team behind the brand. He was quite easy to speak with and held a lot of authority on the product line. I’ve been in the market for a good facial oil for a while now, so he sold me on the Elixir Facial Oil which I purchased in the mini size (15ml). (They were offering a 30% discount at the booth (I believe), so I only paid a little over $15.00 which included the shipping charge from CA.) It’s made with organic hempseed and grapefruit oils and it’s supposed to improve elasticity, hydrate, and enhance luster for all skin types. They only had limited quantities of each product at the booth, so they have to ship my order. Fingers crossed this won’t take too long.

Honey Belle was started by two young 20-something entrepreneurs, Iris Cherng and Calvin Hang, who saw a hole in the natural/organic skincare industry. They wanted to offer lush, organic skincare that was also affordable. The inspiration and formulation behind each product stems from a certain skin issue like eczema or psoriasis, for instance. Cherng, who developed psoriasis herself, comes from a family of holistic doctors so she has a real basis of knowledge surrounding natural products.

LIP GLAZE IN ANGELIC FROM CLOVE + HALLOW – Shop here 

clove-hallowlipglaze

  • $15.00 (I paid $12.00 at the booth)
  • Cruelty-free
  • Vegan
  • Made in the U.S.A.
  • Not 100% natural or organic
  • The Clean15™ Guarantee: No cheap toxic fillers or unnecessary fluff. Just the good stuff, delivered in 15 or fewer ingredients per base formula.
  • Formulated without parabens, phthalates, synthetic fragrance or flavor, gluten, mineral or petroleum oil, talc, Bismuth Oxychloride, Phenoxyethanol.

Again, I was drawn into the Clove + Hallow booth by the sleek and modern-looking packaging of the products. This is primarily a cosmetics line because the founder, Sarah Biggers, is a professional makeup artist. It’s quite a small edited line of complexion, lips, and makeup removers/cleansers but you can really tell how much thought and care has been put into them. I initially swatched the concealer but I really don’t need another coverage product in my life right now, so I shifted over to the lip products. There were lipsticks, liquid lips, and lip glosses (called Lip Glaze); they all looked beautiful and the textures very nourishing. I feel like I’m getting more curious about glosses ever since trying on that Winky Lux gloss from my mini’s collection, so I swatched a few of the Lip Glazes, but ultimately settled on Angelic, a beautiful and extremely wearable medium pink. I wore this last week and it was very comfortable, shiny and lasted a surprisingly long time for a gloss. And it wasn’t sticky, hallelujah! They are formulated with olive oil, jojoba oil & shea butter.

Sarah story behind founding the brand is quite powerful. She suffered a debilitating illness years ago and as a result turned to holistic medicines and treatments to cure herself. This turned into a lifestyle mantra of removing toxic and potentially harmful substances, so as a makeup artist she craved clean yet affordable cosmetics. When she couldn’t find them, she decided to create them. You can read more about her story here. I met and spoke to Sarah for a bit at the booth. She was kind and couldn’t have been more helpful, and the same goes for the rest of the staff with her. They probably had the best customer service of all the booths I went to.

BROW SCULPT DEFINING BROW POWDER & VOLUME FROM KOKIE – Shop here 

LENGTH MASCARA FROM KOKIE – Shop here

kokiebrowpowder
Brow Sculpt Defining Brow Powder in Blonde
kokiemascara
Volume & Length Mascara
  • $7.00/per product
  • Cruelty-free
  • Not natural or organic
  • Available in Rite Aid and Walmart
  • Fun fact: the name of the brand derives from the Korean word for elephant, that’s why there’s a little elephant in the logo.

I had heard of Kokie through Tati (Glamlife Guru) on YouTube, but since I don’t have a Rite Aid or Walmart near me I never got the chance to try anything. I had to make 2 laps around the pier in order to play with Kokie’s products; they were swamped with people when I first passed by. They didn’t have a booth, they had a glorified end-cap full of products. The associate told me that everything was 50%, which is all I needed to hear!

I found myself in front of the brow section when I spotted the Brow Sculpt Defining Brow Powder. I’ve exclusively been a brow mascara girl for ages now, but that didn’t stop me from snatching this. It’s one of those products that has a thin wand or nib full of powder that you drag across your brows to fill in gaps. I’ve seen very mixed reviews on products like this, so we’ll see how this goes. I did swatch it while I was there; the powder is matte and seemed to be quite long-lasting on my hand. There’s 4 colors available and I picked up Blonde. I also grabbed their Volume & Length Mascara which the associate said was one of their best-selling items. I’m always looking for volume and length from my mascaras and the look of the wand is very promising here.

PINKALICIOUS SOLID SHAMPOO FROM ETHIQUE Shop here 

WONDERBAR SOLID CONDITIONER FROM ETHIQUE – Shop here 

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  • Not sure if they are 100% organic
  • Plastic free
  • Vegan
  • Cruelty free
  • Sustainable
  • Palm oil free

Full disclosure: I stopped by Ethique’s booth towards the end of my Expo visit purely because they had commented on one of my IG photos earlier in the day. They were situated right by the front of the event space, and I noticed very quickly that all their products were bars. Nothing in bottles or squeeze tubes. That’s because the company was founded around the principle of zero-waste and ridding the (beauty) world of unnecessary plastic waste. It was started in 2012 by young female biochemist Brienne West, a native of New Zealand, who formulated the hair, face and body products out of her lab by removing water from her favorite bath and body products. You can read more about her story here. The company estimates they have now eliminated over 400k plastic bottles from ending up in landfills by making solid products. They hope to reach 1 million plastic bottles in the next few years.

Instead of full-size bars the booth was well-stocked with smaller sample sizes. I picked up Pinkalicious, a solid shampoo bar best for normal hair, and Wonderbar, a solid conditioner best for normal-oily hair. Unfortunately the samples didn’t have much detail on the front as to what products were best for what hair type. Now I wish that I had picked up The Guardian instead of Wonderbar, as it’s formulated specifically for dry/frizzy hair like mine. The bars are formulated with coconut oil and shea butter and are equivalent of 3 to 5 bottles of their liquid counterparts. I was told by an associate at the booth that these bars typically last for months.

What do you think of this haul? Would you have picked up any of these items too? I’d love to know!

xo, Erica

 

The future is cool & clean: Indie Beauty Expo NY 2018

If you don’t follow me on IG, first off you should (my handle is @weareglamerus), and secondly you wouldn’t know that I’ve been barking my head off for the past few days about attending Indie Beauty Expo (IBE). If you’ve never heard of IBE before, it provides a major platform to smaller, independent beauty brands from around the world to connect with buyers, press and consumers mainly through their large-scale expos. The expos (or conventions) travel around the U.S. and Europe, but luckily for me it was in NYC this past week. I believe the next expo will be in London this October, so I’ll link the website here if you’re interested in looking up the exact info.

Below you’ll find IBE’s mission statement taken directly from their website.

IBE’s mission is to provide a platform to recognize, showcase and celebrate independent beauty brands and to support the growth and success of the entrepreneurs behind them

I’m going to talk about the Expo in 2 parts here on the blog. In this first post I’ll give a general overview of IBE, share a few photos and some takeaways. In my next post I’ll talk more in depth about the products I picked up while I was there and the brands I interacted with. So consider this an introduction of sorts.

I booked my General Admission ticket in early July for $39.00, which included a tote bag and discounts on products sold at the Expo. Conversely I could have booked a VIP Admission ticket for $195.00, which included everything from the General Admission ticket plus tons of samples ready for me in my tote bag. (And those bags looked bulky! So now of course I regret being cheap, but oh well.) I believe ticket prices change depending on the location of the expo and various other factors, so don’t take my quotes above as categorical.

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IBENY was held at Pier 36 in the Lower East Side right on the East River. It was a 2-day event that was open to the public on the first night for about 4 hours (‘Shop Indie’), and to trade professionals, buyers and press on the second day (‘Trade Indie’). Over 200 skincare, cosmetics, haircare, bodycare, wellness and personal hygiene brands were in attendance; you can check the full exhibitor list here. Most of these brands I had never heard of before, and this was exactly why I wanted to attend the event. I dedicated an entire post not too long ago as to why I think indie beauty is important, which I’ll link to here. I’m really proud of that post so please go check it out.

There was no line to get into the event space thankfully so check-in was a breeze. I was handed my black, branded tote, a map of the space and sent on my way. I felt the space was quite easy to navigate as I was making laps around each and every aisle and crevice of the pier. There was definitely more skincare brands there than anything else, I’d say. I noticed quite soon upon entering that most of the cosmetics brands like Ellis Faas and Kokie, for instance, got very easily swamped with passers-by, so I had to make several laps before I could come back to play with the products. But there was considerably less cosmetics at this particular expo so that’s probably why.

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The biggest takeaway for me was that independent beauty is really at the forefront of the clean/green/natural (whatever you want to call it) movement. Walking around the pier, the buzzwords I saw and heard were “organic,” “natural,” “vegan,” “plant-based,” and “cruelty-free.” As more and more consumers become concerned not only with what they put in their bodies, but also what they put on their bodies, indie beauty will continue to flourish more and more. I think this really has to do with the level of transparency that indie brands have with their customers. A lot of these brands hand-create their products in small batches, so they know exactly what’s in them and how to market them effectively. And many of the brand founders created these product lines to initially solve skin or health issues of their own or that of a family member. There were a lot of very interesting stories behind the brands, which I’ll get into more in my next post.

I took a short video clip of inside the event space which you can check out over on my IG (again, the handle is @weareglamerus, or scroll up to my IG roll on this page).

Has anyone attended IBE in the past? Do you have any indie beauty products that you’d recommend? I’d love to know!

xo, Erica

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Snatch or skip? Drugstore eye palettes

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.

Time for another edition of ‘Snatch or Skip’! I spoke about some of the best and the not-so-great mascaras from L’Oreal a few posts ago, which you can read here. This time I’m delving into drugstore eyeshadow palettes.

Drugstore shadows have come such a long way in terms of quality. When my mom was discovering makeup in the 70’s the quality of lower-cost brands, like say Wet n’ Wild, were absolute crap. Affordable makeup was almost laughable for a long time. Even when I was in high school I feel it was nowhere near as good as it is now. Can we say drugstore makeup is at its peak now? I don’t know, but it does seem like most of the palettes coming out of CVS, Walgreens, Target, Rite Aid and other low-cost retailers around the world are pretty darn awesome. And the bar just keeps getting higher and higher. So here are my most favorite palettes in terms of quality and price, and a few that I think are either overpriced or just poor quality.

(One note I’d like to make here first in an effort not to sound like a broken record. All palettes mentioned here with exception of the e.l.f. Mad for Mattes are very powdery. Make sure to tap the excess pigment off your brush very well before applying to your eye.)

WHAT TO SNATCH!

*Milani Everyday Eyes Palette in Bare Necessities

$10.79 @ CVS.com;

$11.00 @ milanicosmetics.com

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This one is so lovely. The pigmentation, blendability, longevity, everything is nearly perfect. These Milani palettes come in 8 different colorways but I only have Bare Necessities. This one definitely leans warmer but they do have more neutral, cooler and even more colorful versions in the line; I’ve heard they’re all awesome.

In this palette you have 2 mattes, 1 shimmer, 2 metallics and 1 light-shimmer (for lack of a better description). All of the shadows are top-notch in my opinion with the exception of the light-shimmer, which is the cream shade pictured on the right-hand side of the first photo & the bottom swatch of the second photo. This shade seems to be a totally different texture to the other shimmers & metallics, and can be a bit chunky and flakey. Other than that, this palette is a must-have!

e.l.f. Cosmetics Mad for Matte Palettes in Nude Mood & Summer Breeze

$10.00 @ elfcosmetics.com, target.com & ultabeauty.com

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Nude Mood
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Swatches of Nude Mood
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Summer Breeze
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Swatches of Summer Breeze

It used to be difficult to find good quality matte shadows at a drugstore price level. Everything was shimmer, shimmer, shimmer. So when e.l.f. came out with the Mad for Matte line I knew those days were behind us. They immediately got rave reviews online and in social media, but for some reason I held off on trying them until earlier this year. I can’t imagine not having them in my collection now. Across the board from texture, application, and color payoff, these palettes get high marks. The application of these shadows is really the most impressive element. We all know how stubborn some matte shadows can be. But these don’t skip or become patchy or have too much fallout. And you get 10 quality shades for only $10.00. Bravo e.l.f.!

I first picked up Nude Mood, which is wonderful for everyday natural looks using either warmer or cooler tones. Although I wish they could have offered a few more contrasting shades towards the deeper end of the palette (some of those browns are very, very similar), I do think it’s a palette that anyone can use quite easily. I then got Summer Breeze because I was attracted to all those beautiful plums & rose tones. This is probably my favorite out of the two since I find each color to be quite unique.

*Wet n’ Wild Comfort Zone Palette

$4.99 @ ultabeauty.com & wetnwildbeaty.com

Wet n’ Wild Comfort Zone Palette

I just did a whole in-depth review on this palette which I’ll link to here, so I won’t stay on this too long. (If you’d like to see swatches from the palette please go to my earlier post.) But as the most affordable palette from this whole list, the quality really blows me away on both the mattes and the shimmers. Soft, smooth textures that apply easily with little hassle. Bright, bold colors that last on the eyes for hours and hours. When Wet n’ Wild delivers such solid product on such little coin, it makes it difficult to reconcile spending more money on more pricey drugstore palettes. My mom recently bought Rose in the Air, which gives everyone in the beauty community Anastasia Modern Renaissance vibes. She loves it, which means I’ll have to try it soon too 😉.

Sonia Kashuk Eye on Neutrals #2 Matte Palette 

$14.39 as a bundle with the #3 Shimmer Palette on overstock.com

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RIP Sonia Kashuk makeup, I really loved you. It looks like only her brushes, makeup bags and other accessories are now available at Target. However I did a little snooping online and it appears Overstock has some inventory on this palette. I included the link above so if you’re interested, hop on it! Or if you’re looking for a “shop my stash” moment, crack this one out. I used to own several Sonia Kashuk eye palettes actually: the quads, the Eye On Neutrals #3 Shimmer Palette, and of course the Eye On Neutrals #2 Matte Palette. I loved each and every one of them dearly. The quality is totally there. The shades are smooth as all hell, apply perfectly and stay on the eye all day. And this goes for both the shimmers and mattes.

I really don’t remember how much I originally paid for this palette, but I do remember that Sonia Kashuk was on the higher-end of drugstore in terms of price. I still pull the #2 Matte Palette out quite frequently since I love it so much. Actually I used this palette on the day of my graduation from business school in May. If you cannot get your hands on this guy, go with the e.l.f. Mad for Matte in Nude Mood; the colors are quite similar.

WHAT TO SKIP!

L’Oreal La Palette Nude 1

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So this one is difficult. I actually love the colors and the tones. The mattes are quite lovely too, pigmented and easy to apply. But the shimmers are extremely lackluster and fade rather quickly. Keep in mind the shimmers to mattes ratio is 7:3. And the palette is $20.00 (!). Really L’Oreal? It’s completely overpriced for the quality you’re getting. The swatches don’t look half bad but you never know the full story until you apply to the eye. While I can get very pretty looks using this palette, I just can’t fully get behind it. No thanks.

Maybelline The Nudes Eye Shadow Palette & The Blushed Nudes Eye Shadow Palette

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Image source: Walmart
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Image source: Walmart

To be honest, I have yet to find any Maybelline eye palettes that I can get behind. (However, I haven’t tried any of their newer releases yet like those City Mini Palettes. Are those good? Feel free to send any recommendations my way cause I’m always looking to be enabled!) I don’t have these Nudes Palettes anymore in my collection since they were so inconsistent and generally poor quality. Out of 12 shades I found maybe 5 or 6 of them would actually be usable.

What are your favorite and least favorite drugstore eye palettes? I’d love to know!

Xo, Erica

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