I’ve been really loving a certain drugstore lip combo recently that I needed to tell you guys about! First off I should say, normally I’m not one to be too fussy with lipstick. Usually I pick one color and just swipe it on. I don’t tend to layer or blend colors into each other or anything like that.
That being said, a few months back I bought one of the ElfMatte Lip Colors in the shade Tea Rose, a very cool-toned greyish-mauve. Now, I hardly ever wear cool lip colors so it was a bit of a risk for me. (I have very pale, cool-toned skin so I tend to veer towards neutral or warmer nudes & pinks to pep up my complexion.) But it was just $3.00 from Harmon so I thought, why the heck not? I’ll figure out a way to wear it, and that’s how this particular lip combo was born.
Essentially what I create when I wear this combo is an ombre effect (i.e. lighter colors seamlessly fading into darker colors to create dimension). I’ll take you now through the steps & products first, and then show you swatches & the finished look!
STEP 1: APPLY RIMMEL EXAGGERATE AUTOMATIC LIP LINER IN ADDICTION TO THE OUTER CORNERS OF THE MOUTH, Line the lips & BLEND
I’m not the biggest fan of lip liners in general as I only have a few in my collection, but this one from Rimmel is awesome! The formula is creamy, ever-so-slightly waxy, yet quite long-wearing. I’d say the color is halfway between pink & brown; very wearable & lovely for everyday. It’s this color that helps blend the cool-tones of the Elf lipstick in with my skin’s undertone; it acts essentially as a barrier.
Step 2: apply ELF MATTE LIP COLOR IN TEA ROSE To the cenTer of lips & blend in
As I mentioned above, this is a very cool-toned, matte lipstick. It’s quite creamy upon first application and pretty long-wearing (although you will have to touch up after a big meal). It’s very easy to apply since the bullet is quite small and it’s a twist-up. (There’s actually a sharpener hidden in the very bottom!) The trick here is not letting this color get too close to the edges of my lips since it clashes with my skin’s undertone; that’s why I need the pinkier liner along the edges.
Step 3: Dab CLINIQUE CHUBBY STICK MOISTURIZING LIP BALM IN WOPPIN’ WATERMELON over the entire mOuth
So this is where it stops being 100% drugstore! I’ve spoken about my love for the CliniqueChubby Sticks on here before, but they really are some of the most moisturizing lip products I’ve ever used. In this case, I use it purely for hydration purposes and not necessarily for any added color. The combo of the Elf & Rimmel matte, long-wearing products can get drying after a few hours on the lips, so I just quickly dab the Clinique over the top and voila, problem solved! You could use of course any lip balm you’d like.
I really like the effect that these three products create together. My lips look defined, more dimensional & a bit more juicy. While on a daily basis, I usually just wear one shade or nothing at all on my lips, I like to do this routine occasionally when I have a bit more time to spare.
What lipstick or lip combo are you loving right now?
As the seasons start to change and the outside temperature starts to dip, invariably my skin will start its journey to ultimate dryness. It will flake, it will peel, it will itch, it will crack; all the bad things. One of the areas on my body that tends to suffer the most, especially in the depths of winter, are my poor lips. The peeling is just on another level people. I know it isn’t just me, so many have this problem throughout the colder months when the air is devoid of any kind of moisture. So what happens when you want or need to wear color on your dry lips but it’s cool or frigid out? Well, you pick a product that packs as much moisture as possible. A product that will provide a cushy barrier between your lips and the dry air; extra points for the product that will also treat your lips at the same time!
I’ve gathered a list of 5 lippies that will make your lips feel beautiful this Autumn-Winter season. A variety of products and price points are represented here so there’s something for everyone. This is less about the particular colors I have in my collection and more about the formulas/finishes of these products. But if you are interested in the colors I’ve included swatches here as well.
Before getting into the list, just a quick note about exfoliation. If you suffer from badly chapped lips like I do in the cooler months, no matter what color product you apply to your lips (balms, lipsticks, glosses, etc) I highly recommend exfoliating beforehand to get a smoother texture. Color will cling to any dry patches or flakes and just look all-around awful. I like to take a paper towel or a little textured cotton pad, wet it well, and very gently rub it back and forth over my lips to get rid of all the dead skin.
CLINIQUE CHUBBY STICK MOISTURIZING LIP COLOUR BALM – Shop here
$18.50 for full size from Clinique.com
paraben-free, phthalate-free, fragrance-free
I’ve been a big fan of the Clinique Chubby Sticks for years and years. If you’ve never used one before, they are automatic (non-sharpening) jumbo pencils or tinted balms that give you a sheer kiss of color while conditioning your lips with mango & shea butter. They’re super comfortable to wear and I love to throw this on before heading out the door. This is definitely a product to toss in your handbag. I would say this has a moderate level of shine once applied to the lips.
There are actually two ranges of Chubby Sticks: the original and the Chubby Stick Intense, which has the same comfy texture as the original but with more color saturation. I used to have Broadest Berry from the Intense range which I absolutely loved, so I would recommend either range really. There are 16 shades available in the original Chubby Stick range and 8 shades available in the Intense range.
Like with the Chubby Stick above, I got the Clinique Pop Lip Colour + Primer as a gift-with-purchase a while back. The packaging on this is much different than the packaging pictured online for this product, so not sure what’s up with that but I’m simply reading the label on the bottom! Apparently this formula has a built in primer which provides smoothness for ease of coverage. I’d definitely agree that it’s a very smooth & creamy lipstick with beautiful color payoff. According to Clinique, it provides hydration for about 8 hours and I would agree with that claim as well. I’d say this gives a little less shine than the Chubby Sticks once applied to the lips. There are 20 shades to choose from in this line. I believe there are 2 other formulas in this range, a matte version and a liquid version, but I haven’t tried either one.
I blogged about this product way back when in this post about my favorite high/low lip combo. The Revlon Ultra HD Gel Lip Color formula contains hyaluronic acid so it’s super, super moisturizing and shiny in finish. Think of it as a gloss but in stick form. I like to layer this over longer-wearing lip products (like discussed in my earlier post) to make them more comfortable or wear it on its own. The color saturation here is quite good as well and the scent is lovely! (Like fruit punch in case you’re curious.) There are 15 shades to choose from in this range.
The Bobbi Brown Crushed Lip Color is probably the most saturated in terms of color payoff from this entire list. The texture on this formula is just beautiful, a cross between an opaque lipstick and a moisturizing balm. This has been formulated with beeswax and vitamins B & C to give a comfortable satin-matte finish with tons of cushy comfort. I would say this probably has the least amount of shine once applied to the lips than all the other products from this list. There are 21 shades to choose from in this range.
Formulated without parabens, phthalates, synthetic fragrance or flavor, gluten, mineral or petroleum oil, talc, Bismuth Oxychloride, Phenoxyethanol.
I spoke about the Clove + Hallow Lip Glazes in this post about my haul from Indie Beauty Expo. For me this is a cross between a lip balm and a gloss. It’s super moisturizing, comfortable and shiny. It’s been formulated with olive oil, jojoba oil and shea butter, so you’re definitely treating your lips as you wear this product. I would imagine this is a great layering formula, just like the aforementioned Revlon product is, but so far I’ve only worn it on its own. The great thing about this product is it’s not sticky at all; it’s just simply hydrating. There are 6 shades to choose from in this range. Trivia fact: in 2017 the Lip Glaze won both a Women’s Health Beauty Award & an Essence Best in Black Beauty Award.
What’s your go-to moisturizing lip product for autumn-winter? I’d love to know!
Even though I live for a good drugstore beauty find, I still have plenty of more luxury beauty products that I frequently indulge in. I love having a mix of high and low-cost items in my stash; it gives you a well-rounded understanding of all the beauty world has to offer. I’ve spoken about plenty of more affordable products here on the blog, so I wanted to take this opportunity to devote an entire post to my luxury beauty faves and tell you why I love them so much. To challenge myself, I picked one item from each category. But of course I slightly cheated here and there, so in some instances I’ve included a runner-up. Without further delay, here we go.
I’ve actually never talked about this product on the blog before, but this is probably the most beautiful foundation I’ve ever used, hands down. Beautiful in terms of both the finish and the texture. What you see pictured above is actually an aerosol can so the product sprays out in the most fine texture you can imagine; this is essentially airbrushed makeup. I preferred to spray it directly onto a damp sponge and then blend it in all over my face. When I first bought this I tried spraying it directly onto my face from the can but that resulted in a horrible mess. The combination of the fine-textured foundation and the damp sponge was total magic; my skin looked glowy, fresh and almost plumper when I applied this. I don’t have this in my collection at the moment since my previous bottle got old and I sadly had to toss it. Even though this is insanely expensive, I would still repurchase it. It’s that good.
*Firstrunner-up: Bobbi Brown SPF 25 Tinted Moisturizing Balm
Too Faced Born This Way Super Coverage Multi-Use Sculpting Concealer – Shop here
I did an entire review on this product which was packed with detailed information so please check that out for photos & swatches. Even though I didn’t find the most ideal shade match for me, I still love this concealer. The application, the coverage level, the longevity, the finish, everything is lovely. I’ve used this as both an undereye concealer and also as a spot corrector all over my face when I don’t want to wear any other base. I’ve never noticed any cakiness or significant cracking (I don’t always set it with a powder either). Great stuff.
*First runner-up: Tarte Shape Tape Concealer
Hourglass Ambient Lighting Palette
You see how much I’ve used of this powder? I have never, repeat never, used a product up or seen as much pan as I have with this palette. I love it that much. Hourglass just knows what they are doing with powders. Typically I take a duo-fiber kabuki brush and swirl it around all three colors/finishes, and then lightly dust it all over my face. It doesn’t look like traditional powder in the slightest; it gives you this beautiful soft-focus finish to your skin with the tiniest bit of sheen. It never looks cakey or dry on me. My mother refers to it as a “veil” and I think she’s onto something.
I know the swatches are hard to see especially on my light skin tone, but there are three different colors and finishes in this palette. Radiant Light is a beautiful pearly cream shade, which you can buy individually as well. Incandescent Light is exclusive to this palette and has the most noticeable shimmer/sparkle to it. And Dim Light is the deepest shade of the three that has the most warmth; it’s a light peachy shade with very fine gold shimmer. You can buy this individually as well.
I spoke about my love for MAC’s Paint Pots back in a much earlier post I did on my favorite cream shadows, which you can check out here. I also have swatches in that post as well that you can reference. But I’ve been using Paint Pots as eye primers for years. They are creamy and blend across the eye very easily. I use the lighter, skin-tone shades (for my complexion) like Painterly and Camel Coat. They have just the right amount of tackiness that powder shadows really cling to well. I wish MAC would bring them out in stick form for even easier application!
When I was making my list for this post, this shade was an absolute no-brainer for me. I’ve been using and enjoying this product for years and years. It applies on the eye like a dream and blends out perfectly with hardly any fallout. And the color! One of my absolute go-to’s. It’s a wonderful mix of gold and olive green, and it has just the right amount of shimmer. This is one of MAC’s Veluxe Pearl finishes. I usually just apply this all over my eyelid, into the crease and smudged along the lower lash line as well; nothing else on the eye apart from lots of black mascara. It’s the nicest daytime-appropriate smokey eye I can think of.
I swatched this alongside my favorite highlighter, which you’ll find below.
Bobbi Brown Long Wear Cream Shadow Sticks – Shop here
I also talked about this product in my favorite cream shadow post, so I won’t stay here long. But these are so easy to use, creamy and they stay on quite well. (You may get a little creasing at the end of the day, but nothing major. If you want to be extra safe, put a primer on underneath.) I just love shadow sticks though, and while you can absolutely find them on a budget in the drugstore, I have yet to find one as creamy as the Bobbi Brown version. They come in loads of colors and finishes, so there’s something for everyone. The two I have are both matte: Taupe and Nude Beach. Check out my earlier post linked above for swatches.
Three things I look for in an eyeliner: 1) goes on creamy; 2) gives me playtime to smudge; 3) sets for the day. The Urban Decay 24/7 Glide On Eyeliners tick all these boxes for me. Of course you can get really good eyeliners in the drugstore; I have a few of them myself. But there’s something about these I absolutely adore and always will. I have them in a variety of colors and finishes; they’re all awesome.
Clinique Bottom Lash Mascara (for bottom lashes) – Shop here
I’m a little high maintenance with mascaras I know. I need two all the time: one for the top lashes and one for the bottom. I can’t deal with smudging mascara, which is what I experienced before I discovered the Clinique product. I wrote about both mascaras in much detail in my very first blog post, which you can read here. The Stila is perfect for those who want dramatic and volumized lashes that are very black; it’s not for those who go for natural mascara looks. The Clinique is specifically made for bottom lashes so the brush is tiny and the formula is perfection; no flaking or smudging in sight. Both are total winners in my book.
Blush is so important in my makeup routine because I’m so fair-skinned. I love nearly all colors of blush from brights to neutrals, but I tend to lean towards more warm tones like pinky-peaches and pinky-reds. I also heavily prefer the finish of creams over powders, so my go-to for years has been the YSL Kiss & Blush which is a dual lip and cheek product. I spoke about my favorite cream blushes in this post which included the YSL product plus swatches. The thing I like most about this product is the staying power. It goes on like a cream-gel hybrid, blends out quite easily (beware of some of the darker colors though) and stains the cheek. I don’t mean stain like you’ll never get it off, but it’s still there in some form at the end of the day. Blush is one of the first makeup products to fade on me so when I find one that actually lasts, it’s a keeper.
*First runner-up: Stila Convertible Color
Becca Shimmering Skin Perfector Liquid Highlighter in Opal – Shop here
I got three Shimmering Skin Perfectors in a set years ago called Spotlights, which included Pearl, Opal and Moonstone in the cream versions. I ditched Moonstone since it was too yellow for my skin tone and hung onto Pearl and Opal. I love the formula on these, but then again who doesn’t love Becca highlighters? They’re some of the best on the market. They’re creamy and blend seamlessly into the skin with the tap of your fingers. And the amount of shimmer is just perfection in my opinion; not overly shiny or obvious in the slightest. If you’re looking for a blingy highlighter, go with the powder version over the cream (or layer both together).
Charlotte Tilbury Matte Revolution Lipstick – Shop here
Although this is a fairly recent addition to my lipstick collection, it’s become my absolute favorite. I wrote about this in my makeup travel bag post, but I find the formula on these lipsticks second to none. Comfortable, easy to swipe across your lips, and with decent staying power. I feel this is more of a semi-matte finish because there’s a generous amount of give when you rub your lips together, although the color gives off no shine. I would happily repurchase again and again for a formula this good.
What are your favorite luxury beauty products? Tell me in the comments, I’d love to know!
I’m off on a short vacation to the beach next week which means some travel makeup packing is in order. The weather has been very hot and humid in NY lately and next week looks to be no different. So I’ll need simple-to-apply cream products in small, lightweight packaging that will layer well and will keep (most of) their intensity through sticky weather. A tall order for any product I know, but it is possible to achieve. Travel sizes or mini’s are ideal of course.
So let’s launch now right into my chosen products.
(This is a post about travel makeup and not SPF, but of course I will be taking loads of SPF with me. I’m partial to Neutrogena as their formulas are great for those with sensitive skin like myself. I typically wear factor 50 or above all over my body and on my face.)
I got this in a Birchbox recently and while it’s marketed as a highlighter, I find it’s way too sparkly for the face. But as a cream shadow it’s beautiful. It’s a water-based product that just glides on the eye and then locks in place. It’s got a lovely pink-champagne tint to it. I have not worn this yet for long hours in the heat so this trip will be a good test. I don’t usually wear heavy or dramatic on vacation so I’ll probably wear this alone during the day for a little shimmer on the eye.
Physician’s Formula Shimmer Strips Custom Eye Enhancing Brown Eyeliner from the Warm Nude Trio – Shop here
I’ve spoken about this eyeliner before in an earlier post, so I won’t stay here long but this is a great affordable dark & chocolatey brown liner that goes on smoothly, allows you a little playtime to smudge if you want, but then sets for long-wear. It comes in a trio with black and copper liners so you won’t be able to buy it alone. But all the colors are awesome. (I used the black liner to death so I had to toss it away not along ago, fyi.) I’ve travelled with this product several times in the past since it’s retractable and very user-friendly.
I got this great travel size as a gift-with-purchase recently. But I’ve been through a few travel sizes of this mascara over the years, plus a full size. Clinique just does mascara really, really well. I love this. The formula is not too thick and coats the lashes very nicely without clumping. It’s got a traditional bristle brush, which is my absolute favorite; it distributes the product evenly throughout the lashes to give a very lengthened appearance.
Packing two mascaras is probably not every person’s idea of makeup downsizing, but this is non-negotiable for me. This mascara never flakes or smudges under my eyes like a lot of others do. And it’s tiny anyway so it doesn’t take up much room in my makeup bag. I’ve been using it for absolute years so it’s a real hero product of mine. I wrote about my love for it in my very first blog post.
Yet another tried, tested and loved product for me. I used to only apply this under more drying bases like the Estee Lauder Double Wear Foundation, as written about in detail here. But now I use it most days as a first step in my face routine. It’s primarily a moisturizer but it has some fine pink pearl that gives a little luminescence to the skin. I definitely wouldn’t say it’s anywhere near a highlighter; it’s extremely subtle. I’ll be taking the mini size with me, as pictured below.
I mentioned this product briefly in my review of the Too Faced Multi-Use Sculpting Concealer, but I picked it up around the same time as the Too Faced and I really like it. It sets nicely without creasing on me, so I won’t have to take a powder. I wouldn’t say it’s overly dry either but keep in mind I only apply as little as I can get away with. The shade I have is the lightest in the whole range so it really helps brighten under my eyes as well. Plus the packaging is lightweight and slim; a win for travel. This is the only coverage product I’ll be taking.
Kiko Cosmetics Velvet Touch Creamy Stick Blush in 02 Golden Peach – Shop here
I’ve spoken about Kiko here and there on the blog, but I discovered the brand in Italy years ago when I used to go there for business. They make great quality products at fairly affordable prices, but in the U.S. they are only available to purchase online. I picked up a few bits to try a while back including this cream stick blush, which is indeed super creamy and easy-peasy to apply with fingers. This particular color has a good deal of peachy shimmer, so it can both blush and highlight my face depending on the placement. It’s got a light texture and natural finish, minus the shimmer. I feel like it doesn’t get enough love from me, so I’m taking it along.
L’Oreal Brow Stylist Plumper Brow Mascara – Shop here
I’ve talked about this in detail in an earlier post. This is my most favorite, top-shelf brow product. I exclusively use brow mascaras now; I haven’t touched a brow pencil in I-don’t-know-how-long. To me this is easy, no-fuss makeup at its best. The brush has just the right amount of product on it, so you’re rarely left with the odd clump that you have to frantically brush out.
Charlotte Tilbury Matte Revolution Lipstick in Pillow Talk – Shop here
This is a fairly recent addition to my rather small lipstick collection, but it instantly has become my go-to shade and texture. This is a iconic shade in the Matte Revolution range, which I can best describe as a soft, medium pink with warm undertones. The unique square-shaped bullet makes application easy and quick. The formula is buildable and offers just the right amount of hydration. It doesn’t become the least bit dry over time either. I wouldn’t call this 100% matte though; perhaps more a semi-matte finish as there is some give when you rub your lips together. It’s just so gorgeous in every way.
Are you taking any interesting vacations before the summer is over? What are your makeup travel essentials? I’d love to know!
If you’ve been keeping up with my blog, you’ll know that cream products are my ultimate preference when it comes to makeup textures. I think creams look the most natural on the skin; they offer softness and dewiness, and as a person with dry skin they provide a certain amount of hydration as well. If you’re oily or have acne, your skin’s chemistry may not agree with creams so powders might be better for you.