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

Hi friends!

Warning: this is going to be a jam-packed post! Remember when I wrote about CVS teaming up with Glamsquad & eSalon to bring us the Beauty IRL store-within-a-store back in September? Well if you don’t you can read my inital post here, but just to recap super quickly: in only 4 select locations across the U.S. CVS is currently piloting an enhanced beauty store experience where they have expanded product offerings, beauty services like blow-out’s, etc (via Glamsquad), and custom hair color mixing (via eSalon). If you want more detailed info make sure to check out my earlier post!

THE EXPERIENCE

Well, I’m lucky enough to live not far from the Stamford, CT test location and last weekend I went! It was beyond awesome. I was like a kid in a candy store, taking photos and walking around exclaiming to myself and to my mother how utterly cool this all was. The standard drugstore brands like Physician’s Formula, Revlon & CoverGirl were definitely there, but there were so many more interesting findings. K-beauty was everywhere. From Peripera, to The Creme Shop, to Peach Slices, to A’Pieu and beyond. There were tons and tons of sheet masks; rows of the stuff. Entire sections of Korean hand & body creams. Also, there were indie brands like Doll 10, Storybook Cosmetics, & Karity too. A total beauty-lovers dream!

Here’s a quick video to give you a feel for the space:

I took a lot of photos of the aisles. I tried to get it all but there was so much it was impossible. The only areas I didn’t encounter were the sections with mini products and the testers, although a very nice CVS beauty consultant told me there were definitely testers there.

And that was just the products. The Glamsquad beauty stand was in the back, next to the custom color-mixing machine from eSalon called “Polly.” I saw one woman getting her hair blown out but that was it. That area seemed to be a bit vacant (just for reference, I went on a Sunday afternoon around 3 p.m.). All in all, I’d say the foot traffic in the area was pretty low. It was just me, my mother and a few other women navigating the aisles. However, the same beauty consultant I had spoken with earlier said they were getting good feedback and good responses overall to the enhanced beauty store.

THE HAUL

Of course I had to pick up a few items 😉. How could I not?? I was very restrained and I got just three things, but I could have grabbed so much more. I really want to go back with my girlfriends soon! I did a quick little video of my haul for Instagram, which you can see down below.

Since filming this, I’ve used all the products mentioned a bit more (or for the first time). My early impressions are that I like all the items I picked up. I can definitely recommend the brow mascara from Peripera; the brush is tiny and it does a great job coating all your brow hairs with little to no clumping. I will need to use the cushion blush & the concealer a little more before I form my final opinions, so stay tuned on those.

You can shop the Tres Cheek Cushion Blush from The Creme Shop in C’est La Peach  here.

You can shop the Speedy Browcara from Peripera here.

You can shop the Truly Yours Full Cover Concealer from Joah Beauty here.

Has anyone gone to a CVS Beauty IRL store yet? Has anyone used any of the products I picked up in my haul? If so, what did you think? I’d love to know!

xo, Erica

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Check out the cool products & services that the new CVS Beauty IRL Store offers!

 

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A night with L’Oreal in NYC

Hi friends!

Something a bit different for today. I had the pleasure of attending an event this past Wednesday night featuring a talk with Jean-Paul Agon, the CEO & Chairman of the L’Oreal Group. If you’re brand new to the beauty scene, L’Oreal is a huge global beauty & fashion empire that owns countless other brands you’re probably very familiar with including Urban Decay, Giorgio Armani, Maybelline, Clarisonic, Essie, Redken, Garnier & Pureology just to name a small fraction.

I bought my ticket for this event back in late summer since I was so intrigued by the theme of the discussion, “Beauty for the New World.” I’m always interested in what industry professionals have to say about the future of beauty. And from the head of L’Oreal no less, so I knew I had to go.

The talk was hosted by the CEW (Cosmetic Executive Women) Organization at The Harmonie Club in NYC. This place was swanky, let me tell you! Right by Central Park on the Upper East Side, I’m sure you get the picture now 😉. It was a 2 1/2 hour event. The first hour was cocktails & hor d’oeuvres (food & service were great but I felt a little awkward since I went to this event solo and didn’t really know anyone), and then the talk and q&a with Jean-Paul filled out the rest of the time slot.

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View from my seat before the talk started.
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It was quite a crowded event.

The first thing I noticed when I sat down in the event space was the massive swag bag on each seat! I felt like I hit the jackpot (even though I kinda paid for it with my ticket price, but moving on)! There was cool stuff from a few L’Oreal brands like IT Cosmetics, Lancome & Kiehl’s. Take a look below.

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A Lancome mini set with the Monsieur Big Mascara & Cils Booster XL Primer. I’ve used the Monsieur Big Mascara before and wasn’t particularly wowed. But I’ll give it another try with the Cils Booster underneath.
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This is a hero moisturizer for a lot of people but I’ve never tried it so I’m excited to start using it going into winter.
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The IT Cosmetics Naturally Pretty Palette. A soft, neutral lovers dream. All shades are matte except for the ‘Transforming’ pearlized shade in the bottom right corner.
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IT Cosmetics brush kit with travel pouch. It came wrapped up like a gift. I started using some of these right away, and wow are they soft & beautiful!
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Lancome gift set box
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La Nuit Tresor Scented Body Lotion, Fragrance & Shower Gel. Not sure I will use any of this so I might save it for a giveaway in the future.

Jean-Paul has been with L’Oreal for 40 years so his perspective on the beauty industry and how it’s changed was very interesting. From the ‘70’s until about 2010 he claimed the way L’Oreal did business didn’t really change much. But then the digital revolution happened and nothing was ever the same. He views the onslaught of technology not as a threat to the beauty business but as an exciting opportunity. For example, the consumer is now at the heart of all products & decisions that are made at L’Oreal, whereas prior to the digital revolution it was products & services that were at the center of decision-making. Throughout his talk he was emphatic on the point that big companies must be ready for change and should try to anticipate it as much as possible. When asked what he hopes his legacy at L’Oreal will be, he said he wanted to be remembered as someone who readied the company for the future as much as possible.

There were some other interesting tidbits I took from the talk. Back in 2001 when Jean-Paul last spoke at a CEW event, an audience member called him out on the fact that L’Oreal was still a “boys club” and had little to no females in high positions of authority. Seventeen years later, things have evolved and now L’Oreal is lauded in the industry for gender equality and pay parity. And when they bought Kiehl’s in 2000 it was a humble $20 million business; news flash it’s now valued at over $1 billion!

What do you think of L’Oreal? Do you like or dislike their products? I’d love to know!

xo, Erica

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Come with me to a special event with the CEO of L’Oreal

 

 

Instagram images that inspired me this week, Vol. 2

As a follow-up to my post from last month, here is another round of cool images from Instagram this week! If you’re not familiar with my first post, it’s a very simple premise: I pick images that I feel are particularly beautiful and/or inspirational in some way, feature them here and tell you why I love them. That’s it. Considering this is a beauty blog and most of the accounts I follow on IG are those of other beauty bloggers, brands, publications, influencers, etc, most of the images are beauty-related (what a surprise?). But I do like throwing in some randoms here and there.

I hope you are as wowed by these images as I am, so let’s get into it!

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Since October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month I think it’s only fitting to include this post from Bobbi Brown in this list. You’ll be hard pressed to find any person or family that hasn’t been touched in some way by this horrible disease, so it’s important to remember what the fight is against. These particular lipsticks are part of Bobbi Brown’s Pinks with a Purpose Lip Color Duo, where they will donate $17 for every $45 Lip Duo purchase to the Breast Cancer Research Foundation. I think that’s awesome.

 

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Two things that drew me to this image: the hues of rose-pink & burgundy and the textures. I loooovveee the whole autumn color palette both in makeup & fashion. Sign me up for more deep pinks, plums, burgundys, golds, warm browns & reds, please.

 

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Don’t you just love all the glitter?? This image stopped me mid-scroll and I knew I had to screenshot it. Between the deep (but still bright) glittery eyes, the sheen on the skin, and the twinkle on the lips, it’s like magic. Of course I know that this has been filtered within an inch of its life, Photoshopped/manipulated, but don’t ruin my fantasy. I still love it anyway for what it is. Plus I really like Dose of Colors; they’re a kick-ass indie brand that does some high-quality products.

 

ohglowygirl

Did I mention already that I love texture? Well I do, so #texturetuesday on IG is a fun day for me. I love almost everything that skincare & beauty blogger @ohglowygirl posts, but these kinds of images are particular favorites of mine. We see so many photos of outer packaging, it’s nice to see what’s going on inside sometimes. I love the overall beigey tone of the photo and how the colors of each product play off each other.

 

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I’ve been following the jewelry brand Ragen Jewels on IG since this summer and their whole aesthetic just speaks to me. They do dainty jewelry very well and their prices are quite affordable to boot. I love the mix of traditional golds & silvers with bright pops of color, like in the piece above. Any image with stacked or layered jewelry catches my eye to be honest. And I’m a sucker for any piece with the ‘evil eye’ design; I have a few already in my collection (although not from this brand…yet). The ‘evil eye’ is a huge design element for this brand, so if you’re into that kind of thing you should really check them out here.

 

ohprettythings

This image is just so gorgeous and luxurious to me, yet it seems somewhat retro at the same time, which I assume is down to the fabulous editing skills of makeup artist Jessica or @Ohuprettythings as she’s known on IG. The play of white and black against each other is great. I love a good flat-lay not only because I’m a product junkie but also because it’s a little voyeuristic to me I guess. I just love to see what others are using, what backgrounds they have, etc; almost a peek into someone’s life. You might think the lighter sitting in the middle is a bit strange and out of place, but it nearly blends in with the rest of the image and it adds something a bit personal IMO.

 

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This image speaks to my girly-girl side. Can you guess why? If you can’t, don’t worry I’ll tell you: pink & purple of course! That’s what immediately drew me in but then the high-shine or gloss on both the eyes and lips is what kept my attention. I’m not bothered either way by the expression on the model’s face; to me it’s all about the colors and textures. I’m a real fan of a glossy editorial-looking eye, and the “broken” quality of this (i.e. the nude eyelid with the gloss up to the browbone) makes the image just more interesting to look at frankly.

 

thebeautyidentity

Remember when I said earlier that autumn colors & tones are kinda my thing? Well now you know why this image from Samantha or @thebeautidentity got me excited! I love the staging of this and the shadows that the light is throwing; the products are perfectly aligned and in focus and it seems like the sun is either rising or setting. I also have that eye palette from Dose of Colors (in Baked Browns) and it’s so incredibly lovely. I must use it more!

 

sezane

This is my random pick, but it was a must. In college I went through a serious James Dean phase and enthusiastically read several books on him, watched all his movies (only 3 sadly) and even some of his early TV work. Anything that I could find either on DVD or on YouTube in the early days. I even did a presentation on his life & work in one of my communications classes. I was obsessed. When I saw this image it brought me right back to that time in my life. Rebel Without a Cause was probably my favorite work of his; it’s just so iconic, isn’t it? Little trivia fact: the actress that played Jerry Seinfeld’s mother on Seinfeld actually dated James Dean in the early ‘50’s before he was famous and even wrote a book about it (which I’ve read of course).

What images have inspired you recently, from Instagram or elsewhere? I’d love to know!

Xo, Erica

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Check out the IG images I’m loving this week!

Mini Glossier haul plus my showroom experience

Well I’ve finally gotten my hands on some Glossier products! If you’re a dedicated reader, you’ll know in the past I’ve lamented the lack of products from this brand in my makeup collection. As luck would have it, about 10 days ago I had some time to spare between meetings in NYC, so I visited their showroom and of course I picked up a few bits to try out. I’d love to share them with you now! I’ve been using 2 out of 3 of the products on and off since then, so I’ll throw in a few brief comments when I can. (I wouldn’t say these products are ready for review though. I’d like to use them a bit more.)

CLOUD PAINT IN DUSK – Shop here

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This was probably the #1 Glossier product on my list to snatch. I’m a cream/liquid blush enthusiast so the Cloud Paint was a must for me. After watching her capsule makeup video series from Harry Makes It Up on YouTube (which I very much recommend), I had a hunch that I would pick up the color Dusk, which is a neutral shade with beige/brown, & orange undertones. I swatched it in the showroom and immediately liked it, so my hunch was confirmed!

The texture is somewhere between a cream and a liquid and it blends like a dream into the skin with the warmth of my fingers. Like most items in the Glossier line, it’s quite sheer for the most part. I find that I have to layer it up a bit in order to get the pigment to last most of the day, but otherwise I’m really liking this product a lot. I’m curious to try this on the lips or on the eyes like Harry did in her series.

BOY BROW IN BROWN – Shop here

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boybrowwand

This is probably one of Glossier’s most famous products, and since I love me a good brow mascara I knew I had to try this out eventually. A few friends of mine told me that this was their brow product of choice as well. It comes in just 4 shades (Clear, Blonde, Brown, Black) and I picked up Brown, which is quite dark on me but it’s workable. The tiny wand on this is very reminiscent of the Gimme Brow from Benefit, if you’re familiar with that. It has little fibers to bulk up the brows and a small comb to groom them into place.

I do like this product so far but it does hold a little too much product for my liking, so I have to make sure to wipe the wand off before applying to my brows. Even then, I feel like you still have to follow it up with a clean spoolie just to get out any extra product. After doing all that, the brows do look lovely though.

LASH SLICK MASCARA – Shop here

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lashslickwand

I have yet to try the Lash Slick Mascara but I’m super curious about this one. Most of the reviews I’ve read or heard say this is a really good mascara for “daytime.” I don’t differentiate between daytime or nighttime mascaras; I want big, long lashes any time of day. To me, “daytime” translates to something natural or more undetectable, so I’m really not sure if this will become a favorite. But I’m committed to trying it anyway because I may be able to build it up to my liking or perhaps I’ll have an epiphany and start to like more “natural” lashes (wouldn’t count on that though).

NYC SHOWROOM

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If you’re going to the Glossier NYC showroom, just be aware that it’s not a place you can just stroll into; you will probably have to wait outside on line first and depending on when and what time you go, the wait may be a while. I went on a Friday afternoon around 4:30ish and luckily I only had to wait 10 minutes outside (phew). To be honest when you see the size of the showroom upstairs, you’ll understand why they have to control the amount of people in the space.

The showroom is in the penthouse (I believe) of 123 Lafayette Street (off Canal St.), and a very nice Glossier employee dressed in a pink boilersuit will escort you up there from the street. For some reason I thought the space was going to be much bigger but really it’s quite compact.

All the products are laid out very nicely to play with and swatch, and you notice right away that there’s no inventory on the floor. What I mean is you can’t grab your own products; you have to make a list of what you want and place your order either with one of the Glossier employees who’s walking around the floor or go up to the cashier. When your order is ready, they call your name and you get that now-famous pink pouch that’s become synonymous with the Glossier brand. You also get a sheet of fun stickers, many of which are now stuck on the back of my phone 😉.

Overall I found the space quite easy to navigate, but it still can get a little congested so you may have to wait to swatch your product of choice until the crowd clears a little. All of the Glossier employees were very nice, helpful and informative. So considering that I barely waited on line outside and on the cashier line to place my order, I’d say I had as pleasant shopping experience as I could.

Have you tried anything from Glossier before? Have you been to one of their showrooms? I’d love to know!

xo, Erica

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Check out what I experienced and what I bought when I went to the Glossier NYC showroom!

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.