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 BeautyIRL 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!
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’sFormula, Revlon & CoverGirl were definitely there, but there were so many more interesting findings. K-beauty was everywhere. From Peripera, to TheCremeShop, to PeachSlices, 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 Doll10, StorybookCosmetics, & Karity too. A total beauty-lovers dream!
Here’s a quick video to give you a feel for the space:
I took alot 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.
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 TresCheekCushionBlush from TheCremeShop in C’estLaPeachhere.
You can shop the SpeedyBrowcara from Periperahere.
You can shop the TrulyYoursFullCoverConcealer from JoahBeautyhere.
Has anyone gone to a CVSBeautyIRL 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!
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.
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.
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, theconsumerisnowattheheartofallproducts&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 bigcompaniesmustbereadyforchange 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 someonewhoreadiedthecompanyforthefuture 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!
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!
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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!
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!
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.)
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.
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.
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).
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!
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.
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.
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.
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.)
This is by far the meatiest category in Joah’s range: 21 products in total consisting primarily of cosmetics and a few skincare items.
2 foundations (liquid, cushion)
1 BB cream
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.
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.
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.
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!
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.
Let’s get to the products now! They are launching 13 makeup and skincare products (one bodycare), all under $25.00 each.
Wake Up Pen available in 2 shades (Pearl & Peach), $18.00 each
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.
Big Reveal Mask available in 2 types (Brighten & Detox), $16.00 each
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
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
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.
Pure Stick Deodorant available in 2 scents (Rose, Citrus Tea), $12.00 each
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.
Soft Glow Highlighter available in 2 shades (Cosmic Jasper, Gold Charge), $18.00 each
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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!
Happy Friday! To transition us gently into weekend mode, I thought I’d do something a bit different today. I’d like to share with you all some of the Instagram images in the beauty category that stopped me in my tracks this week and made me go, wow! I find these all to be visually striking images in different ways depending on the personality behind the account (hopefully this will make more sense later). I gathered a nice mix of images from social media influencers, YouTubers, makeup brands, beauty editors and bloggers. To be honest I could have picked so many more than I did, but I decided to cut it off at 9 images. I’d love to periodically do posts like this in the future; perhaps they won’t always be beauty-related either. I like the idea of sharing beautiful images that perhaps will introduce you to accounts you didn’t know of or follow before.
I’m going to try to keep my commentary to a minimum here so the images do most of the talking but I’ll let you know along the way just why I think these particular images are noteworthy and who is behind the account.
I’ve been following the Korean makeup brand 3CE or 3 Concept Eyes on Instagram for a while now. I love almost all the imagery they put up mainly because it seems to focus more on beautiful, luxurious skin rather than dramatic eye looks. Also their reverse-ombre lip looks, a huge Korean makeup trend with the highest concentration of pigment towards the center of the lips, are just so gorgeous. Look at how dark that lipstick is in the tube but how soft it looks on the lips.
OK this is not beauty related, but just look at that rainbow! Alessandra Steinherr has been the Beauty Director of Glamour Magazine for the past decade and is a recent beauty blogger as well. She regularly posts interesting content and does lives quite frequently so if you’re not following her already, I recommend doing so.
Byrdie is a great destination for all things beauty, lifestyle and wellness and their Instagram is always on point. For some reason I find myself gravitating more towards their posts on nails and manicures. In my dreams I’d get a manicure like the one pictured in this image. How beautiful, elegant and fairytale is this? And may I say, I appreciate the shorter nails. I think this would take on a whole different vibe if the nails pictured here were longer.
This image is like Instagram perfection, isn’t it? Eman does great glam looks on YouTube if you haven’t heard of her before. I think the element that really struck me about this particular image was the different tones of blue used on her eyes. Even though her skin and lips looks flawless here, the focus is still all on those colorful, smokey eyes. Gorgeous.
I love, love, love the makeup artist Katie Jane Hughes. Not just her style but her whole makeup philosophy is appealing to me. Just look at the caption on this image and you’ll get an idea of what I’m talking about. She’s extremely active on Instagram and does lives and videos almost every day, sometimes multiple times a day. Her focus is often on juicy, healthy-looking skin and she shares helpful tips on both skincare and makeup application especially for hooded eyes. She’s definitely one to follow.
I still haven’t tried anything from Glossier yet (tear), but I’ve known for the longest time that the first product I’m likely to buy will be the Cloud Paint. It’s just so me! Easy-to-use cream, sheer blush that looks natural on the skin? Sign me up. I just have so many cream blushes at the moment, I can’t justify the purchase right now. Instead I’ll satisfy myself with looking at cool images like this.
I actually first discovered beauty and lifestyle blogger Priyanka Patel from Glamour & Giggles on Pinterest before I followed her on Instagram. Her blog is awesome, excellent recommendations and product reviews. I love the staging of this particular image. Everything about it is striking to me. The black and white of the Sephora bags against the pale pink color of the chair. And those cool makeup organizers and brush holders in the background. Even the tissue paper looks perfectly staged!
I couldn’t not include an image from makeup artist Sam Chapman, aka one-half of Pixiwoo on YouTube. I’ve been watching her videos and tutorials since 2011; she’s one of the reasons I really got into makeup in fact. Like Katie Jane Hughes, her makeup philosophy is the primary reason I respect her. She often incorporates broken or disheveled elements into her makeup to give it a more authentic and relatable feel. I feel like this image gives both glam and understated vibes at the same time, which is awesome.
I love everything that skincare and beauty blogger Melanie at Overglow Edit does pretty much. I adore the aesthetic and overall vibe of both her Instagram feed and her blog. She kills it at snapping and editing her product overlays, and giving us little tidbits of info on the skincare she’s using. I’m not much of a skincare blogger since I rarely change up my very simple routine (although I did incorporate a new product just recently), so I enjoy hearing what others who much more knowledgeable, like her, have to say. I could have picked any image from her feed to feature here honestly, so I just picked one of her more recent posts. I love the pairing of the books & the greenery with the beauty products.
What images from Instagram or elsewhere have inspired you recently? Beauty or otherwise? I’d love to know!
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 + HallowLip 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.
KARMA HUES NAIL POLISH FROM KARMA ORGANICS SPA – Shop here
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.
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
$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
$15.00 (I paid $12.00 at the booth)
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
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
Not sure if they are 100% organic
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!
By this point so much has been said and written about how Fenty Beauty changed the makeup game in 2017. And with good reason. The launch of their Pro Filt’r Soft Matte Longwear Foundation in 40 shades is now widely considered a hallmark moment in beauty. It sent an unequivocal message to the larger community of brands, corporations, and advertisers that coverage products should be formulated, produced, and distributed equally for all skin tones. To highlight this point further, Fenty produced an equal 10 shades per skin tone category (light, medium, tan, deep) for the grand total of 40 shades. The bottom line: no one (or nearly no one) felt left behind this time.
While the concept of 40 foundation shades wasn’t invented by Rihanna or Fenty (heritage and pro brands like Estee Lauder and Make Up For Ever, respectively, have historically produced extensive foundation lines with upwards of 35 to 40 shades), they were the first to successfully market or call out said concept. The Pro Filt’r launch awakened and revived the dialogue between brands and frustrated consumers who felt systematically excluded from certain segments of the beauty industry.
It’s a conversation that’s now clearly here to stay.
The issue of companies not producing enough shades for either the very lightest skin tones, or in most cases the darkest skin tones, isn’t confined to just a few brands nor is it confined to just one segment of the makeup industry. Truthfully it’s been an issue across the board from luxury/high-end, to more middle-market brands, and in the drugstore. Drugstore brands have been particularly notorious for this in the past. Historically they’ve crammed most of their foundation & concealer shades into narrow buckets, and produced ranges of perhaps 10-15 shades that have left a lot of the makeup-wearing population out in the dark. (Off the top of my head Wet n’ Wild Photo Focus Concealer comes to mind. Really poor selection of shades.)
But the tide is certainly shifting since the Fenty launch. More consumers, more influencers, and more thought-leaders in the beauty community are speaking up and demanding more of companies and brands not only in regards to product ranges but also in regards to marketing imagery. They want to know that brands are formulating products not for just for those with light to medium skin tones. They want to see more people with medium to darker to deepest skin tones in beauty ads and campaigns. Quite simply, they want to be represented; they want to be included.
While 2018 started off on the wrong foot with the Tarte Shape Tape Foundation fiasco, I feel that this has been the year of inclusive foundation launches as both high-end and drugstore brands work to either mimic Fenty’s approach or best it. Below I’ve compiled just a few of the stand-out foundation launches that we’ve seen so far in 2018. These launches offer a broader range of shades that are more equally distributed from fair to deep skin tones.
Just a few things to note. Firstly, this is not an exhaustive list (plus the year isn’t over anyway). Secondly, this is not meant to be a traditional review of these foundations, especially since I’ve never tried any of them personally. This is just a commentary on how the heightened conversation around inclusivity in makeup has influenced recent product launches.
BEAUTY BAKERIE CAKE MIX DEMI-MATTE FOUNDATION – Shop here
30 shades total ranging from fair to deep
Like Fenty, Beauty Bakerie brought out an equal amount shades across skin tone categories for their widely celebrated Cake Mix Foundation launch back in April (their magic number is 5). While they launched a lesser amount of shades total than Fenty did, they spread their line across a slightly broader category range; meaning 5 fair, 5 light, 5 medium, 5 tan, 5 dark, and 5 deep shades. As a black-owned indie brand that’s gaining massive traction on social media, Beauty Bakerie took it one step further and reversed the standard convention of listing shades from lightest to darkest; their range is listed darkest to lightest. It’s subtle, but it’s brimming with meaning and significance at the same time.
NARS NATURAL RADIANT LONGWEAR FOUNDATION – Shop here
33 shades total ranging from fair to deep
While this launch from NARS may not have the most equal distribution across skin tones, it’s much more wide-ranging in comparison to some of their earlier launches like the Sheer Glow Foundation (20 shades) and the Luminous Weightless Foundation (also 20 shades), with more undertones represented as well.
DIOR BACKSTAGE FACE AND BODY FOUNDATION – Shop here
40 shades total ranging from fair to deepest
This is Dior’s most recent foundation launch inspired by makeup artist secrets and backstage beauty, that includes what they call “16 intensities” and 6 undertones within a total of 40 shades (the magic number now). Looking at the visual above, it’s undoubtedly an impressive range. And if you take a quick peek at the other Dior complexion products currently on the market, the Backstage Face and Body is much more expansive in comparison. Diorskin Forever stands at 24 shades with significantly less variety in dark/deep skin tones.
Of all the visuals included in this post, this one holds the most weight to me. Look at that color range! Truly impressive. And Cover FX really wants you to know that too. If you scroll through their Instagram feed and take a look at the marketing on this product, the messaging is all to do with the vastness of the shade and undertone range (“ your perfect match awaits”) (“foundation for all”).
COVERGIRL TRUBLEND MATTE MADE FOUNDATION – Shop here
40 shades total ranging from porcelain to deep
CoverGirl made news this year with one of the largest drugstore foundation offerings after Maybelline’s expansion of the Fit Me range in 2017. The TruBlend Matte Made Foundation comes in at the magical 40 shade-number, making it broader than even L’Oreal’s True Match range. At less than $10 a bottle for both TruBlend and Fit Me, it’s reassuring to consumers of all skin tones that the more affordable brands are taking the issue of shade range seriously.
COLOURPOP NO FILTER NATURAL MATTE FOUNDATION – Shop here
42 shades total ranging from fair to deep-dark
Finally, ColourPop. With the largest offering of this entire list, the new No Filter Natural Matte Foundation comes in at a bulky 42 shades which are distributed equally amongst 6 skin tone categories, ranging from fair to deep-dark. This is another visual that has both great aesthetic and emotional impact when you stop to think just how many options ColourPop is offering to its customers at an extremely affordable price ($12/bottle). If any brand could best Fenty’s range, it would be ColourPop; a brand that has immense community, marketing and financial power within the industry and an extremely quick turn-around to market.
What is your opinion on inclusiveness in beauty? Do you think it’s at a good place now or do we have some distance to go still? Would love to hear your thoughts and opinions.