Video: The neutral blush of dreams

Hi friends!

I’m back with a short video today about my current favorite blush combo. I hope you like it! Full disclosure, I originally filmed this for my Instagram story last week and I didn’t feel like getting my face out that day 😆. Hope you don’t mind that, but I still thought some of you may find this useful. I’ve included a photo of myself below the video so that you may see what the finished effect looks like on my skin, so make sure you scroll down to see that.

 

 

P. S. I can confirm that the full product name on the e.l.f. compact is the Hydrating Aqua Beauty Blush & Bronzer. It’s only $6.00 on their website, so it’s a total steal in my opinion. I spoke about it briefly in a much earlier post on cream blushes. And if you’re interested in the Glossier Cloud Paint, here’s a link to more info. The hype is definitely justified with this product!

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Here is what the combination of the e.l.f. & Glossier products looks like on my skin. Love it!

 

Do you have a favorite blush or blush combo? I’d love to know!

xo, Erica

Review: Urban Decay Born to Run Eyeshadow Palette

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

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

Let’s jump straight into the review.

PRODUCT DESCRIPTION 

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

Cruelty-free formula 

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

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

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

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

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

Source: urbandecay.com

SHADES & SWATCHES

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

Urban Decay Born to Run Palette

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

HOW I APPLY MY EYESHADOW

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

MY THOUGHTS ON…

Urban Decay Born to Run Palette

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

Rating: 5/5 ⭐️

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

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

Rating: 4/5 ⭐️

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

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

Rating: 3.8/5 ⭐️

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

Rating: 5/5 ⭐️

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

Rating: 4.5/5 ⭐️

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

Rating: 5/5 ⭐️

SOME LOOKS I CREATED WITH THE PALETTE

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

FINAL THOUGHTS

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

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

Xo, Erica

Review: Physician’s Formula Butter Bronzer.

I’ve never been a bronzer girl, primarily because I have such pale, cool-toned skin. I’ve always been so frightened it would turn my complexion orange or yellow. But anyone who knows makeup knows that not every bronzer is created equal. Some are cool, some are warm, some are matte, while others are sparkling. In 2018 when there’s so much variation and choice in beauty, I had a feeling deep down that despite my fear of being a walking & talking Cheeto, I could find at least one bronzer that worked for my skin tone.

It’s not that I’ve never experimented with bronzer before. I remember my mother giving me her Tarte Park Ave Princess bronzer to try years and years ago, but to be honest I barely used it. I just didn’t know how to apply it properly. I’d been hearing the hype surrounding the Physician’s Formula Butter Bronzer for ages, but not really listening. Remember, I’m not a bronzer person by nature. But when I found myself in Ulta a few weeks ago (as you do), I passed the Physician’s Formula section and the Butter Bronzer was staring back at me. I remembered reading that it was particularly good for those with lighter skin, so in that moment I decided to snatch it and see if I could make it work.

So like with my other product reviews, let’s get into the product description and benefits. Unfortunately I don’t have any other powder bronzer to compare this to in my collection. But I have been trying out some cream bronzers this year, particularly the one that’s packaged in the duo called Bronzed Pink Beige from e.l.f. (I spoke about the blush in the duo in my top 5 cream blush post here), and the NARS Laguna Liquid Bronzer.

(Source: all quoted text is from Physician’s Formula official website.)

Product description

Available in 4 shades; $14.95 for 0.38 oz. of product

Hypoallergenic; paraben-free; cruelty-free; oil-free; non-comedogenic; dermatologist-approved.

Ultra-luxurious bronzer, infused with Murumuru Butter, delivers a radiant Brazilian goddess glow! Incredibly creamy and soft texture combines the best features of a powder and cream bronzer, to deliver a lit-from-within tropical glow unlike any other.

Infused with a powerful blend of Murumuru Butter, Cupuacu Butter and Tucuma Butter, from the lush and nutrient-rich Amazon.

Product benefits

Packed with essential fatty acids and pro-vitamins that soften, condition and moisturize skin, leaving it silky soft. Ultra-rich bronzer formula instantly melts into skin, sealing-in moisture to deliver instant and lasting hydration. Features ultra-refined pearl and soft-focus pigments that smooth skin texture, brighten skin tone and deliver a gorgeous bronze finish.

How to officially use the product 

Mirror & applicator included. May be worn alone or over makeup. Using sponge applicator, glide over face and neck for a natural-looking tan glow. To accentuate and contour, apply more over cheekbones.

How I use the product

I use my MUA Pro Stippling 015 duo-fiber brush (which might have been discontinued?) to apply this across my cheekbones, around my hairline & chin, and a little across my nose; all the obvious places for bronzing. I also used this as a soft brown wash on my eyelids one day.

My thoughts on…

Packaging/scent: It’s pretty standard Physician’s Formula packaging in that the product acts as the first layer when you open the compact. You then click up the product layer to reveal the mirror and applicator underneath. The applicator is made out of a very strange foam or rubber-like material. It seems completely useless to be honest; I’d say just forget it altogether. The mirror could be useful for on-the-go application. There’s a definite vacation/holiday theme with this product. There are palm leaves on the outside of the packaging, plus it has this textured appearance that I assume is supposed to mimic sand on a beach. It also has this intoxicating scent that’s a cross between coconut & SPF. I absolutely love it. I wouldn’t call the scent particularly strong or offensive and you really can’t smell it once it’s on your face.

Rating: 4.5/5 ⭐️ (due to the applicator misfire)

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Colors/texture: As mentioned earlier in the post, there are 4 shades available in this bronzer collection. The shades are Light Bronzer, Bronzer, Sunkissed Bronzer & Deep Bronzer. I bought the Bronzer shade which I’d describe as definitely more cool-toned than the Sunkissed Bronzer shade, and much lighter in tone than Deep Bronzer. It doesn’t pull orange at all on my skin, so it’s really perfect for someone with my complexion. I didn’t see the Light Bronzer shade at Ulta, so perhaps they were out of stock. Considering the second shade up in the collection is quite light & natural on me, I can’t imagine the color range goes deep enough for darker-toned complexions.

The texture is very smooth to the touch just as Physician’s Formula claims. I’m not sure if it’s necessarily adding or sealing in any hydration on my skin though, but it’s certainly not a dry-feeling powder in the slightest. I can detect very fine bits of shimmer which must be “the ultra-refined pearl”, but you really can’t see them once the product is applied to the skin. You may be able to see the teeny flecks in the photo below.

Rating: 4/5 ⭐️

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Application: When I swirl my brush into the product, it creates a lot of fall-out in the pan so just be careful to tap your brush out well before applying to your face. It definitely applies very smoothly and evenly. I didn’t notice any skipping or patchiness. Believe it or not, the first time I used it I actually went so light-handed that I could barely see it! So it definitely needs building, which I like since I need to be careful with bronzer.

Rating: 5/5 ⭐️

Longevity: When I look at my face at the end of the day after wearing the bronzer for several hours, I can barely detect much color left. So this is really a product that needs refreshing throughout the day to maintain that golden bronze look. I find cream bronzers stick around for much longer than this product. The NARS Laguna Liquid Bronzer (which you can see here) is probably the best I’ve tried so far in terms of longevity.

Rating: 3.5/5 ⭐️

Price: For $14.95 this is not the most inexpensive bronzer at the drugstore. You can tell it’s a solid quality product for sure, but I just wish it was a few bucks cheaper for what it is. Perhaps if Physician’s Formula redid the packaging they could recover a little on the cost and pass the savings onto us. For example, dump the useless applicator and perhaps even the mirror; the product is light and goof-proof enough that you don’t really need a mirror to apply it. Just for perspective, the cream bronzer from e.l.f.’s Bronzed Pink Beige duo, which is effectively $3.00 since the duo is $6.00, goes on like a dream and keeps its color for longer at a much cheaper price than the Butter Bronzer. That all being said, the great thing about the drugstore is that makeup goes on offer quite frequently, so you may be able to get this for cheaper if your timing is right.

Rating: 3.5/5 ⭐️

Final thoughts 

I am very happy I finally found a powder bronzer that suits my very pale complexion so I applaud Physician’s Formula for that. I will definitely continue to use it as both a traditional bronzer and perhaps as an eyeshadow at times. I would recommend it to those like me who have very light to light complexions who are looking for a relatively affordable powder bronzer. I’m really not sure about those with tanned or deeper skin tones using this product. However, I do think I ultimately prefer my cream bronzers to the Butter Bronzer. I just tend to lean more towards creams over powders since I enjoy the finish on my skin much more. So I’m unsure right now if I’d repurchase it.

Are you a fan of the Butter Bronzer or do you think it’s overhyped? I’d love to know!

xo, Erica

How to shop for the right foundation: Understanding skin tone and undertones

Have you heard this lament before? “When I go into a department store or drugstore, I have no idea how to pick the right foundation shade for myself.” All of us have been there. You think you know your foundation shade, you buy a color and then take it home and it looks too light, too dark, or too orange. Please keep in mind and accept that matching is not an exact science. There’s always room for error due to a variety of factors. Skin color and texture can often change up throughout the seasons, so what works in summer on your skin may not work in winter. Artifical lighting in stores is different to natural daylight so what you see in an Ulta or Sephora may look different when you step outside, etc. So it can definitely be tricky and overwhelming, but there are some tips on how to make it easier on yourself which we’ll delve into in this post.

Continue reading “How to shop for the right foundation: Understanding skin tone and undertones”