A (teeny-weeny) Sephora haul

Last week my mom and I found ourselves in Sephora, as you do. I had to buy a watch for my brother’s birthday and since Sephora is right next to Nordstrom in our local mall, you know, we had to go in. It would have been rude not to. I was very restrained and only picked up two (count ‘em two!) items. (I did a declutter recently people, so don’t judge me too harshly!).

Just to be clear, I have not started using either of these products yet so I cannot provide any well-informed opinions or insights just yet. With that said, let’s talk about what I bought!

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Hourglass Caution Extreme Lash Mascara (mini) & Bare Minerals Complexion Rescue

BARE MINERALS COMPLEXION RESCUE – Shop here

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Opal, the lightest shade.

I’m very excited to start using this product. I’m really either a tinted moisturizer girl or just a concealer-no foundation girl these days. Very low-maintenance on the base. (Except if I’m going to an event, or I know I will be out for 10-12+ hours in a day. In those cases, I will use my trusty Estee Lauder Double Wear Foundation in very thin layers.)  The Bare Minerals Complexion Rescue has been a pretty popular item since it initially launched (it was an Allure Readers’ Choice Award winner), and it was something that always interested me. I’ve been searching for a cheaper alternative to my beloved Bobbi Brown SPF 25 Tinted Moisturizing Balm (full review here), since that one is so incredibly pricey. Fingers crossed this will be it!

There’s tons of info on this product on Bare Minerals’ site, but this supposedly offers sheer coverage, hydration, SPF protection, and overall clean ingredients without a lot of nasties like mineral oil, parabens, & phthalates.

I like the packaging on this a lot. It’s basically like a squeezy tube, which should prevent mess and control the amount of product that comes out well.

Like a lot of tinted moisturizers though (or BB creams, whatever) the shade selection isn’t very large at all; there are just 16 shades that cater mainly to lighter & medium skintones so that’s disappointing.

I definitely want to do a more in-depth review of this after I’ve used it for a while, so stay tuned for that.

HOURGLASS CAUTION EXTREME LASH MASCARA – Shop here 

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This is a fairly new release from Hourglass, a luxury brand that I love. I’ve been hearing really good things, but to be honest any mascara that says “extreme” on the packaging has got my attention! According to the Hourglass site, this promises extreme volume, length, lift & definition thanks to its “4D Amplifier” brush. No idea what that means, but I’m very into it! I want 4D lashes! I did notice that the bristles on one side seem to be a bit longer than the other, which reminds me a bit of the CoverGirl Super Sizer Mascara. I picked up the mini size for $14.00, but the standard size normally retails for $29.00. I got high hopes for this one!

Have you tried either product from this haul? Have you picked up anything interesting from Sephora recently? I’d love to know!

xo, Erica

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Check out what I recently picked up from Bare Minerals & Hourglass!

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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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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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!

Review: Flower Beauty Lash Warrior Mascara

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

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Image source: Flower Beauty IG

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

PRODUCT DESCRIPTION

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

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

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

Source: Flowerbeauty.com

PRODUCT BENEFITS/CLAIMS

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

*in a clinical test

Source: Flowerbeauty.com

MY LASH PREFERENCES

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

MY THOUGHTS ON…

Flower Beauty Lash Warrior Mascara

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

Rating: 5/5 ⭐️

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

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

Rating: 5/5 ⭐️

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

Rating: 3.5/5 ⭐️

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

Rating: 5/5 ⭐️

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

Rating: 5/5 ⭐️

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

Rating: 5/5 ⭐️

FINAL THOUGHTS

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

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

Xo, Erica

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

 

Ulta haul featuring Urban Decay & Flower Beauty

So I recently found myself in Ulta a few days ago as you do. I was primarily there for the Urban Decay Born to Run Palette. The last time I had gone looking for it at Ulta I was told it was sold out. This was quite soon after the palette launched, so I wasn’t surprised. My spirits were crushed, but I wasn’t surprised. No, I kid you. Like with any other Urban Decay palette launch, I usually wait a bit until the initial craze subsides so units can be restocked. Lo and behold this week my Ulta had several in stock. But of course while I’m there I couldn’t resist perusing the aisles to see if anything else jumped out at me. I was very restrained and grabbed just a few other items, so let’s get into it now.

URBAN DECAY BORN TO RUN EYESHADOW PALETTE – Shop here 

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Outer packaging
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Front of palette

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Wow, this one is really beautiful. From the packaging design, to the sturdiness of the component, to the varied color range, it’s a stunner. As you can see the majority of the shades lean warm, as almost every new palette does these days, but there are a few cooler tones in there towards the right side of the palette. I really appreciate that because you can get a variety of looks that shouldn’t end up looking all the same once applied to the eye. You get a whopping 21 shades, plus a full-size mirror, for $49.00.

I haven’t swatched or even touched all the colors yet, but I couldn’t resist trying a few of them out on my eye just yesterday. I used Weekender (matte) on my lid as a base and packed Smog on top (shimmer); then put a mixture of Still Shot & Riff (both mattes) in my crease and then I smudged Big Sky (shimmer) along my lower lash line. I loved the finished look. My first impression of the application: the mattes blended out very well. The shimmers need something slightly tacky to stick to, like a primer, otherwise they need more building up. I had to go in with my finger with Smog to really pack it on my lid.

I feel this one is begging for an in-depth review but I really need to experiment with all the shades and do some swatches. More TK.

URBAN DECAY 24/7 GLIDE ON EYE PENCIL IN ALKALINE – Shop here 

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You know of my deep love for 24/7 Glide On Eye Pencils already, so I couldn’t resist adding another to my collection. I swatched a bunch in store and ultimately decided on Alkaline, a deep plum. Urban Decay describes it as ‘deep wine’ but you could also call it a berry as well. Supposedly this was part of the Naked Heat Collection along with the palette and Torch, another 24/7 Pencil (which I also have). Ulta has this listed as Limited Edition on their site, but I’m not so sure about that. If anyone has any info, pop it in the comments. Regardless, I’ve never had a liner in this color before so I was immediately drawn to it. It could be particularly lovely going into fall with all the plums, reds, and other rich colors associated with the season. I’m very eager to start using it.

FLOWER BEAUTY LASH WARRIOR MASCARA – Shop here 

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Like I needed another mascara in my life, but in my defense my Essence Volume Stylist Curl & Hold is getting towards the end of its lifespan so I wanted to have another new one on deck. I had seen some of the marketing on Flower’s IG about the Lash Warrior so when I passed by their kiosk I grabbed it. I love the dark, hunter-green packaging that fades into the gold on the lid. No doubt, this mascara makes some bold claims. From the outer packaging you can see that this promises everything from volume, to thickness, to length. I find it’s really difficult for one mascara to do everything perfectly, so I’m definitely intrigued to start testing those claims out. The brush has tiny plastic bristles that slope upwards from the base to the tip. Normally I don’t go for plastic bristles, but I’m always willing to be surprised!

Can I just say as an aside that I’m so happy the Flower Beauty is now carried in Ulta. The line has become a lot more accessible, which is awesome. I don’t have a Walmart around me, and I don’t do a whole lot of makeup shopping online so I never tried anything out until recently. I’ve also noticed that Drew Barrymore has made a greater push on social media recently so I think there’s a lot more buzz about the brand now than there ever was before.

Have you tried any of these products out yet? If so, what do you think? I’d love to know!

Xo, Erica

Snatch or skip? L’Oreal mascaras

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

Just this week I realized I hadn’t written a dedicated mascara post since I started my blog back in May, so let me remedy that right at this moment. I’m a firm believer that you don’t need to spend much money to get a good mascara; you can absolutely get it done on a drugstore budget. There are so many great options available now when you walk into CVS, Walgreens, Walmart or any other lower-cost retailer.

However for every good or great mascara, you’ll find another not-so-great one right next to it. It’s all about sussing out what your mascara preferences are and letting them guide your purchases. For example, my mascara preferences include decent volume, length & a lot of darkness (i.e. how black the product is). I want a “false-lash effect” without false lashes, if that exists. What one person is looking for in a product, another person might avoid, so please keep in mind that lists like this are all subjective. If you love something I don’t, well that’s great cause variety is the spice of life!

This post will focus quite specifically on L’Oreal mascaras, as the title indicates. To keep this short and snappy (hopefully), I’ve narrowed this to only four products: two that I would recommend to snatch, and two that I would say to skip. So let’s get into it. (This might be the start of a little series here on the blog. I’m brainstorming other products and lists atm.)

WHAT TO SNATCH!

*L’Oréal Voluminous X Fiber Mascara with Black Primer

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Image Source: Walgreens

I spoke about my love for this back in my first blog post in May, but I picked this up pretty soon after it first launched. It was garnering good reviews on social media so when I saw the display in Ulta, I grabbed it. At first it seemed too high maintenance to me because of the whole 2-step process. The first end is a lash primer; the second end is a fiber-rich mascara. I never use lash primers normally. They just seem too fussy. But I have to say this formula really wowed me, so much so I was willing to go through both steps. The first end puts a light coating on the lashes and really separates and lengthens. The second end gives a ton of volume as it deposits the fibers over top. I didn’t find it too clumpy either. My tube got old so I had to toss it, but I would happily repurchase this.

*L’Oreal Voluminous Butterfly Sculpt Mascara

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Image source: L’Oreal Paris

This one is so, so, so good in my opinion. I’ve gone through about two tubes and I would definitely repurchase again. It gives me extremely black, separated lashes with tons of length. It makes me look like I have more lashes than I do. I think it all comes back to the wand. It’s a strange one but genius. It’s long and tapers towards the front, which you may think would be awkward to work with but actually it catches all those hard to reach corner lashes. It also has plastic bristles that only cover one side of the wand, which normally I hate but it somehow works here. I wouldn’t say it gives the best volume I’ve ever seen but the length and the fluffiness of the lashes after using this is just awesome.

WHAT TO SKIP!

L’Oreal Voluminous Lash Paradise Mascara

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Image source: eBay

Wow, I know, controversial. It seems like everyone and their mothers and grandmothers go ga-ga for this formula, but I just can’t fully get behind it. I bought this early in its hype when every beauty influencer was saying this was the best drugstore mascara on the market. The brush is very reminiscent of Too Faced’s Better Than Sex Mascara, which I very much enjoyed, so I was eager to try it. At first I remember liking it and even recommending it to my friends, but somewhere around the 1-month mark I just realized it was a mediocre mascara. It’s definitely not horrible by any means, but just nothing memorable to me. It was very black which I loved, but after a while I found the formula to be too thick to the point where my lashes would clump together too much for my liking. It didn’t give me much in the way of length either. It was just meh.

L’Oreal Telescopic Carbon Black Mascara

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Image Source: Look Fantastic

I have not tried the regular L’Oreal Telescopic in the light gold tube, but I was none too impressed by the Carbon Black version. I was hoping it might be similar to the IT Cosmetics Tightline 3-in-1 Black Primer/Eyeliner/Mascara that I loved from years back, but unfortunately it wasn’t. It’s primarily a lengthening mascara with a long wand and plastic bristles. It definitely lengthened but it didn’t separate my lashes like I would have hoped. In some places the formula made my lashes stick together so much that it looked like I had bald patches. Needless to say, I wouldn’t repurchase.

What are your favorite and/or non-favorite mascaras from L’Oreal? I’d love to know!

xo, Erica

Current Mascara Heroes (and those that are unsung)

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

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

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