Review: Juvia’s Place Eyeshadow Palettes

Hi friends!

You may remember I first posted about indie brand Juvia’s Place a few weeks back when they became available in Ulta stores. Well right before that post, my mom and I did a joint order from the Juvia’s Place website since they were having a sale on a few of their eyeshadow palettes at the time. We picked up three palettes in total: The Nubian, The Saharan, & The Warrior. So I’ve been playing with them ever since and now I’m ready to bring my thoughts to the blog!

This is going to be a bit different in form from my previous reviews since this is the first time I’ll be talking about several products in one review. So for each palette I’ll show you swatches, give you my pros & cons, and then my quick final thoughts. Lastly, I’ll show you one look I did per palette.

One note: the ‘Shop now’ links I included below direct you to Ulta. If you’re outside the U.S. or Canada, click the second link in the above paragraph. Juvia’s Place does ship internationally from their warehouse.

Now let’s get into it!

THE NUBIAN PALETTE – Shop here

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Row 1, swatched left to right.
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Row 2, swatched left to right.
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Row 3, swatched left to right
  • $20.00 for 12 shades
  • 1 duo-chrome, 2 metallics, 4 mattes, 5 satins,

Pros

  • Intense pigmentation
  • Smooth application
  • Has longevity (I wore these shadows for around 10 hours with little to no fading)
  • Great price
  • Ulta accessability
  • Lightweight packaging

Cons

  • Tons of fall-out during application
  • Crumbly texture on metallics

Final Thoughts

I really love this palette and would recommend it. If you like neutral-to-warm golds, bronzes & peaches this is the palette for you. I wouldn’t say it’s perhaps the most ‘everyday makeup’ friendly palette out there since it leans more towards shimmers & metallics, but you can certainly get some very wearable daytime looks depending on the shades you choose. I would recommend using your finger to apply the metallic shades (the two shades in the upper right corner of the photo above), or a wet brush; they can be crumbly and a bit messy otherwise. But once they are pushed onto the eye over a primer they cling very well and are gorgeous.

THE SAHARAN PALETTE – Shop here

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Row 1, from bottom to top: Sokoto, Wodaabe, Bororo, Kia.
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Row 2, from bottom to top: Zoya, Iman, Jamila, Senegal
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Row 3, from bottom to top: Chad, Katsina, Lulu, Fula.
  • $20.00 for 12 shades
  • 3 satins, 4 mattes, 5 shimmers

Pros

  • Intense pigmentation
  • Smooth application
  • Has longevity (I wore these shadows for around 10 hours with little to no fading)
  • Great price
  • Ulta accessability
  • Lightweight packaging

Cons

  • Tons of fall-out during application
  • 1 slightly underperforming shade (Kia)

Final Thoughts

I had my eye on this palette for months and I have to say I was the most excited to start using this one out of the three. And I’m happy to report that I love it! I love the bright pops of color that make this palette so unique. (If you’re not into experimenting with color, I’d give this one a pass.) Best of all? The mattes perform just as well as the satins & shimmers. Even though Jamila (the bright orangey matte) swatched poorly on my hand, it applied evenly and smoothly on my lid. As stated above, the only slightly underperforming shade of this whole bunch is Kia, the beautiful greenish shade in the upper right corner. It was a bit crumbly and didn’t layer over mattes well (I tried using it as a liner first). It performs best when you push it over the eye with a brush.

THE WARRIOR PALETTE – Shop here

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Row 1, from top to bottom: Amina, Idia, Mino.
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Row 2, from top to bottom: Ahosi, Moremi, Kano.
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Row 3, from top to bottom: Dahomey, Bakwa, Benin
  • $20.00 for 9 shades
  • 3 mattes, 6 shimmers

Pros

  • Intense pigmentation
  • Smooth application
  • Has longevity (I wore these shadows for about 10 hours with little to no fading)
  • Great price
  • Ulta accessability
  • Lightweight packaging

Cons

  • Tons of fall-out during application
  • Crumbly texture on some shimmers

Final Thoughts

Wow, this palette has some intense color payoff! Out of all the palettes from this post, I remember exclaiming ‘wow!’ a few times during application. Again, I would recommend to use your finger or a wet brush to apply the shimmers onto your eye. They are incredibly soft to the touch and don’t seem to cling to dry brushes very well. Juvia’s Place actually recommends using wet synthetic brushes to apply their satin & shimmer textures, but sorry, I just never do that. So I use my finger instead. Regardless, I love this one too. It’s just so beautiful, the colors and the textures. The mattes perform superbly which for me is always the ultimate test.

THE NUBIAN PALETTE LOOK

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I used the orangey-cranberry shade (second row, third from left) all over my top lid, and the goldy-bronze shade (second row, second from left) smudged under my lower lash line.

THE SAHARAN PALETTE LOOK

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I used Jamila blended all over my lid and into my crease. Look at that pigment! It stayed super bright all day long too.

THE WARRIOR PALETTE LOOK

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I used Amina all over my lid and Moremi on my inner corner for highlight.

Have you tried any of these eyeshadow palettes yet? Or any other Juvia’s Place products? I’d love to know!

Xo, Erica

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Check out my review on The Nubian, The Saharan & The Warrior Palettes from Juvia’s Place!

 

Video: Glossier Boy Brow vs. Benefit Gimme Brow

I’m back with another video for you guys today! This is my most detailed one to date where I compare the Glossier Boy Brow & the Benefit Gimme Brow, two products that are both best-sellers for their respective brands. I hope you enjoy it and it gives you some insight if you’re looking to buy one (or both) of these products.

(To check out the post where I hauled Boy Brow and spoke about my experience in the Glossier NYC showroom, click here.)

I included some photos below the video as a supplement showing you brush comparisons, and how both products look on me after application.

 

One correction: the Benefit Gimme Brow is available in 8 shades, not 6 shades as I stated in the video.

PRODUCT PHOTOS

Glossier Boy Brow in Brown
Glossier Boy Brow in Brown
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Benefit Gimme Brow in shade 3 (mini size from Birchbox)
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Brush comparison
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Benefit Gimme Brow on left side, Glossier Boy Brow on right side. And for those interested, I have ColourPop Super Shock Shadow in Kathleenlights on my eyes with Urban Decay 24/7 Glide On Eye Liner in Alkaline smudged around my upper & lower lash lines. I also have the Clinique Chubby Stick in Super Strawberry on my lips.

Have you tried Boy Brow or Gimme Brow? If so, what did you think? I’d love to know!

xo, Erica

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Compare & contrast 2 very popular brow products

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

My beauty anti-wishlist, October 2018

It’s time for another beauty anti-wishlist today! The first post in September went down so well that I thought I’d do another edition now that we’re in a new calendar month. A lot more launches have come out since my last post, especially a lot of the holiday gift sets. Not everything on this list is part of a gift set, but I believe 3 out of 5 are.

If you haven’t read my first post, my anti-wishlist contains beauty items from recent or upcoming launches that I will not be picking up anytime soon based purely on personal preference. To be clear, I’m not labeling these products as “bad” or “horrible” (I’ve never tried any of them of course); they are just products that I’m not necessarily excited for nor could I see myself getting much use out of. I think it’s good every now and then to talk about the things we don’t want, not to be negative but to make the point that you don’t have to run out and get every new launch out there.

So let’s get into it!

TOO FACED SUGAR COOKIE EYESHADOW PALETTE (LIMITED EDITION) 

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Image source: Allure.com

This is part of Too Faced’s larger holiday gift collection for 2018, and while I think the colors in this palette look beautiful, wearable and are generally up my alley, I already have all these tones in my collection already. Supposedly these shades are all exclusive to this particular palette, and they smell like fresh-baked cookies! I’m sure I’d love the smell and just stand there and sniff the palette for 10 minutes before applying my makeup, but that’s still not gonna make me shell out $26.00 for this. If you are interested for yourself or for a gift, right now this is still in stock on Ulta.com but out of stock on Toofaced.com, so I’d get on it quick. For me, I’ll pass this time.

WET N’ WILD MEGA GLO BODY LUMINIZER

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Image source: Wet n’ Wild Instagram

I believe this product is now available on both wetnwildbeauty.com and walmart.com, and will launch in Walmart stores by mid October. I read an article on Allure.com that said this is the more affordable version of the Fenty Beauty Body Lava, a luminizing product for the body that you can wear on its own or mixed in with a lotion or moisturizer. Um, I never luminize my body nor do I expose a lot of skin even in the summer months, so I would probably get no use out of this product. I do sometimes apply an all-over luminizer like MAC Strobe Cream or my newer fave, The Hollywood Flawless Filter from Charlotte Tilbury, on my face but that’s about it. Pass.

FENTY BEAUTY STUNNA LIP PAINT IN UNINVITED

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Image source: Fenty Beauty Instagram

Speaking of Fenty Beauty, they’ve just brought out new colors of the Stunna Lip Paint, their long-wear matte liquid lipstick, and the majority look beautiful. I have my eye on Uncuffed, the mauve color, which just speaks to me. But I’ll tell you what I’m turning my cheek to, the black color in the shade Uninvited. I’m just not brave or cool enough to wear black on my lips (unless it’s for Halloween maybe?); I don’t even wear black eyeshadow that much unless I’m using it to line my eyes. I don’t do any lip art or anything like that, and mixing lipstick shades just seems too fussy to me. This will probably look striking on others, but I can’t imagine it on my pale-as-printer-paper complexion. Pass.

PUR COSMETICS GRINCH HOLIDAY SET 2018 (LIMITED EDITION)

  • All images are from purcosmetics.com

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Just no, PUR. I’m sorry but none of this 5-piece holiday collection speaks to me (and I love the Grinch!). I assume this collection is coming out in celebration of the new Grinch movie later this year (which I so want to see), but I probably wouldn’t use any of it. The palette looks too big and bulky, and I never use face masks or liquid eyeliners. Oh, and I’m not in the market right now for new face brushes either. Pass.

KAT VON D FETISH BLUSH + HIGHLIGHTER PALETTE (LIMITED EDITION)

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Image source: Kat von D Beauty Instagram

While I am through and through a blush wearer and lover, I hardly use powder textures as much as I once did. This is a cool-looking palette for sure which contains 3 of Kat’s new Everlasting Blushes (a debut for the formula in fact) and 3 Metal Crush Extreme Highlighters (2 of which are exclusive to this palette). I’ve only ever bought one blush palette before. It was a holiday palette from Benefit a few years back, which is still in my collection although I don’t give it much love anymore. It’s just so pretty I can’t stand to part with it, you get me? I just have a few MAC powder blushes now (in singles) along with a cavalry of my much-preferred cream & liquid products. So I’m just not getting another blush palette. Pass.

I’d love to hear your thoughts on these products. Will you be picking anything up from this list? What is on your anti-wishlist this month? I’d love to know!

xo, Erica

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Find out what I won’t be picking up this month and why!

Five moisturizing lippies for Autumn-Winter

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

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Chubby Stick Moisturizing Lip Color Balm in Super Strawberry. This is a mini that was included as a gift-with-purchase.
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Super Strawberry
  • $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.

CLINIQUE POP LIP COLOUR + PRIMER – Shop here 

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Clinique Pop Lip Color + Primer in Bare Pop
  • $19.50 from Clinique.com
  • paraben-free, phthalate-free, fragrance-free

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.

REVLON ULTRA HD GEL LIP COLOR – Shop here

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Revlon Ultra HD Gel Lip Color in HD Sand
  • Between $7.00-$10.00 depending where you buy it

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.

BOBBI BROWN CRUSHED LIP COLOR – Shop here

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Bobbi Brown Crushed Lip Color in Lilac
  • $29.00 from Bobbibrown.com
  • paraben-free, phthlate-free, sulfate-free, sulfite-free, gluten-free

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.

CLOVE + HALLOW LIP GLAZE – Shop here 

Clove + Hallow Lip Glaze in Angelic
Clove + Hallow Lip Glaze in Angelic. This color sheers out as you apply it to the lips so it looks more like a clear gloss with a slight pink tint.
  • $15.00 from cloveandhallow.com
  • Cruelty-free
  • Vegan
  • 99% natural, 64% organic
  • 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!

xo, Erica

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Check out my recommendations for 5 moisturizing lippies that will keep your lips feeling beautiful this Autumn-Winter

Charlotte Tilbury is now in Sephora! My shopping guide.

Charlotte Tilbury is now officially stocked in Sephora! As of today you can get all your favorite goodies or explore the brand online at sephora.com; the products will be in stores tomorrow 9/14. Very exciting stuff. Prior to today you either had to shop on charlottetilbury.com or nordstrom.com if you lived in the U.S. I’ve been a big fan of this line ever since it initially launched, so over the years I’ve curated my own little collection of favorites. As usual, there are also a few items that I think are not worth the purchase. So in celebration of the Sephora launch, I put together a little shopping guide on what to buy and not to buy from Charlotte Tilbury.

Please keep in mind that this is definitely a premium brand, so what I think is worth my money may not be what you think is worth yours. All the products that I recommend below bring something unique to the experience of applying makeup (in my opinion of course).

WHAT TO SNATCH!

Luxury Eyeshadow Palettes – Shop here

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Luxury Palette in The Dolce Vita contains 3 shimmers and 1 finely-milled glitter (the third swatch down). Palette leans warm-toned.
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Luxury Palette in The Rock Chick contains 2 shimmers, 1 matte, and 1 finely-milled glitter (the third swatch down). Palette leans cool-toned.
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Luxury Palette in The Sophisticate, the only fully matte shadow palette in Charlotte’s line. Palette leans neutral to cool-toned.

These eyeshadow palettes were my first loves from Charlotte’s brand. These products date back to her initial launch in 2013 when she released 10 iconic looks. Now they come in about 8 different colorways excluding the new limited edition Pillow Talk Luxury Palette (which is currently out of stock on charlottetilbury.com). The shadows are buttery smooth, blend seamlessly (in every finish!) and keep their color intensity all day; what else can you ask for really? The only thing I’ll say is these are very, very powdery so make sure to tap your brush out a few times before applying. The most special part of each palette is the glitter pigment on the lower left; it’s the most beautiful, finely-milled glitter I’ve ever used. With the exception of The Sophisticate, there’s one in every Luxury Palette. You just use your finger to lightly tap the glitter over your eyelid and it is so incredibly gorgeous. Perfect for a night out or special occasion. These palettes all retail for $53.00 and personally I think they’re worth every penny; I go back to them time and time again.

Lip Cheat Lip Liner in Iconic Nude – Shop here

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Lip Cheat in Iconic Nude

This is actually more of a recommendation from my mother than me! You can’t see the full pencil in this photo but take my word for it she’s whittled this down pretty far. She loves this particular color, Iconic Nude, which is very neutral and goes with a lot of different lipstick shades. (This formula comes in loads of different colors.) I did use the Lip Cheat once on myself and it had this slightly waxy, but very comfortable texture. It reminded me a bit of the MAC Pro-Longwear Lip Pencils but much easier to work with. It lasts quite well on the lips, yet it creates this very soft definition. And at $22.00, it’s one of the more affordable items from Charlotte’s line.

Matte Revolution Lipsticks in Very Victoria & Pillow Talk – Shop here

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Matte Revolution Lipstick in Very Victoria
Charlotte Tilbury Pillow Talk Lipstick
Matte Revolution Lipstick in Pillow Talk
Swatch of Charlotte Tilbury Pillow Talk Lipstick
Matte Revolution Lipstick in Pillow Talk

I’ve talked about my obsession with this formula in a previous blog post, so I’ll be brief here. This is probably the most comfortable, velvety matte lipstick I’ve ever used, hands down. The Tom Ford matte lipsticks are a close second though. And it lasts through eating and drinking quite well; there’s always a soft stain left on my lips at the end of the day. Pillow Talk, a soft, mid-tone pink, is my personal recommendation; Very Victoria, a taupe nude that is almost mauvey, is another recommendation from my mom. At $34.00, again I think this is worth every penny. If you struggle to find a comfortable matte and want to treat yourself, get one of these.

Hollywood Flawless Filter – Shop here

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Hollywood Flawless Filter in Light/Medium

This is my most recent obsession from Charlotte’s line. I heard about this product when it first launched and was totally confused as to what it was, as was the rest of the beauty community. However when my mom decided to buy it she got me a little sample, and boy am I glad she did. It comes in 7 ‘shades’ (the one pictured above is my mom’s), but honestly this isn’t a coverage product in the slightest. This is a liquid glow product that gives you the most beautiful dewy sheen. I usually apply it (in the shade Fair) as you would a highlighter on the high points of my face; sometimes I apply it underneath my base product, over the top of it and sometimes I do a combination of both if I really want serious dew! This is what I’d imagine red carpet makeup to be. It’s not sparkly or glittery at all; it just softens your features ever so slightly. Pure magic. At $44.00 it’s definitely not cheap, but you do get 30 ml of amazing product.

WHAT TO SKIP!

Eyes to Mesmerize Cream Eyeshadow – Shop here 

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Eyes to Mesmerize in Bette

You know by now that I love a good cream eyeshadow. I got this one ages ago in the color Bette (a coppery-bronze), and while it has a lot of things going for it (interesting texture, saturated color pigment, great longevity) I just don’t find myself gravitating towards it in my collection. At $32.00 a pop, I think you can absolutely get cream shadows just as nice and well-performing at a much lower price point. Try Maybelline, Revlon, or ColourPop for a cheaper alternative.

Instant Look in a Palette in Seductive Beauty (discontinued)

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Instant Look in a Palette in Seductive Beauty

I don’t see this particular palette listed anywhere on either Sephora or Charlotte’s website so I think this was limited edition. She’s done a few different versions of this all-in-one palette with slightly different shades (right now you can get the Smokey Eye Beauty version). If you travel a lot or want all your face and eye makeup in one place, this kind of product would be ideal for you. It’s got 3 eyeshadows (labeled 1, 2, 3), 1 bronzer (labeled 4), 2 blushes (labeled 4, 5) and 1 highlight (labeled 7). The quality is definitely very good. However with that being said, I just don’t think it’s necessary, especially at $75.00. If you have a decent-sized makeup collection, you probably have all these products already.

Rock ‘N’ Kohl Eyeliner Pencil in Barbarella Brown – Shop here

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A lot of beauty editors, makeup artists and influencers love this product but it just wasn’t my favorite. I threw mine out a while ago since it got old, so the one pictured here belongs to my mom. She likes it a lot but I couldn’t get on with it. Everyone talks about how creamy it is (and it certainly swatches well), but on me it was stiff and I could never get a good blend. I applied it both over bare skin and over eyeshadow; the result was always the same. This is touted as being so smooth it’s more like a liquid eyeliner than a pencil. Just didn’t find that to be the case. I’ve gotten much more use out of some of my drugstore eye pencils than this $27.00 product.

Are you excited that Charlotte Tilbury is now in Sephora? Will you be picking anything up from the brand? I’d love to know!

xo, Erica

My beauty anti-wishlist, September 2018

Hi friends! Since I’m always talking about the beauty items I either want to pick up or already have in my collection, I thought I’d do something different today and talk briefly about some new or upcoming makeup launches I will not be picking up. An “anti-haul” or “anti-wishlist” if you will. Just a disclaimer: this is not meant to be overly negative in the slightest, nor a knock on any of the brands mentioned here. Shopping for beauty products is entirely subjective stuff. These particular launches just don’t excite me based on my own style preferences; you may be chomping at the bit to get your hands on these. Variety is the spice of life, and all that.

So let’s get into it (in no particular order).

ANASTASIA BEVERLY HILLS NORVINA PALETTE – Shop here

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Image source: allure.com

This is probably the oldest launch of this list, and while the colors are definitely beautiful I just don’t see the hype here. It’s often referred to as a “purple palette” but there’s only three (maybe four if you count the burgundy shade, Passion) purpley shades out of fourteen. The rest are neutrals that I probably already have somewhere in my collection. Think of the Too Faced Sweet Peach Palette which just has two peachy shades out of eighteen, yet it’s referred to as a “peach palette”. I know the quality of ABH shadows tends to be top-notch; I’ve used the beloved Modern Renaissance palette and loved it. I’m just not the biggest fan of purples on me (despite my recent experimentation with the Born to Run Palette); plus I have a few neutral palettes already, so I won’t be picking this one up. I am super curious about Soul though, that periwinkle shade on the bottom left of the palette. If ABH ever releases that as a single, I might hop on it!

JEFFREE STAR COSMETICS LIQUID FROST HIGHLIGHTERS – Shop here

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Image source: makeup.co.nz

While I do prefer a liquid or cream highlighter over a powder (I almost never use powder highlighters), I still won’t be adding this to a future shopping list. At $25.00 for a whopping 30 ml of product, it’s just way too much highlighter for too high a price tag for my liking. I’d rather spend that cash on a nice foundation or concealer. I would never, ever make my way through 30 ml of highlighter unless I was bathing myself in the stuff on a daily basis. I wrote about my feelings surrounding the current highlighter craze way back when I first started my blog. I love a nice, subtle highlight on the cheekbones and on the bridge of the nose, but I’m by no means a glow-freak. Too much highlighter just seems too obvious for everyday life. Not my style so I’ll pass.

FENTY BEAUTY GLOSS BOMB IN DIAMOND MILK – Launches 9/7/18

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Image source: temptalia.com

When I saw this on Fenty’s IG my immediate thought was, nope! Way too cool-toned for me. While I realize that the gloss won’t show up as straight silvery-white on the lips (there’s swatches on Fenty’s IG if you’re interested), I’m much more interested in snatching the original Universal Gloss Bomb since it has a slightly rosy color. Seriously, I’ve been eyeing that one since it first launched. I’m quite cool-toned myself so I have to be a bit careful with cool-toned lip colors for risk of looking dead. I believe this is also launching with a matching highlighter in the shade Diamond Bomb on September 7th in celebration of Fenty’s year anniversary. Sadly, I’m passing on both products.

TOO FACED SUGAR PEACH WET & DRY FACE AND EYE PALETTE – Launches 9/4/18

sugarpeachpalette
Image source: Trendmood

Just recently Too Faced announced that their Peach Collection is expanding to include this palette, plus a peach-scented lip scrub, a lip balm and additional shades in the Peach Kiss lipstick range. Everything launches tomorrow at Sephora and on Too Faced’s site. My mom bought the original Sweet Peach Palette last year and I might have used it once or twice. The scent is delicious and the shadows are good quality, but I’m not overly into the whole scented makeup trend. So when I saw this Sugar Peach Wet & Dry Face and Eye Palette on Trendmood’s IG page, I was just nonplussed. Supposedly this is the first time Too Faced has marketed a palette as being wet/dry but can’t every palette be used wet or dry? I’m not sure which colors are supposed to be eyeshadows or face colors. Everything just looks too shimmery to me. One of the shades looks like it’s got straight glitter in it; you’re supposed to use that on your face? I rarely use shimmery (or glittery) shades on my face, and I have enough shimmery eyeshadows in similar tones as this. I just don’t think I’d get much use out of something like this.

ANYTHING FROM BITE BEAUTY!

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Image source: leapingbunny.org

Oh I wish I could use more products from Bite Beauty! I read that in anticipation of the upcoming holiday season, Bite Beauty would soon be releasing a new collection of their well-loved Amuse Bouche lipsticks. My first and only foray into this brand was the Agave Lip Mask a few years back. Everyone was raving about this product saying it was a game-changer for those with really dry lips. I have dry skin all over my body, and in the winter like a lot of others I get extremely dry, chapped lips. I picked up the mask and used it religiously for almost a year every night. I loved it. It was super thick and extremely moisturzing. But then something horrible happened. I woke up a few weeks before Christmas and my lips was almost double the size, red and inflammed beyond belief. Even the sides of my mouth were cracked, it was disgusting. It didn’t hit me right away what was causing the issue, but it finally became clear after continuing to use the mask that somewhere along the line I must have become highly allergic to some ingredient in it. I’ve been terrified ever since to use anything else from this line.

What do you think about these launches? Will you be picking anything up? I’d love to know!

Xo, Erica

 

 

Makeup that makes me nostalgic

I’m not big on nostalgia. It’s not that I don’t enjoy reminiscing from time to time about great experiences or moments that I’ve had with friends and family. But I generally try to keep looking ahead rather than backwards. While this sentiment refers to a broader life philosophy, let me take this back down to makeup. I found myself watching an old Pixiwoo video a few days ago when all of a sudden I was struck by a feeling of honest-to-goodness nostalgia. Sam whipped out Gilt by Association eyeshadow by MAC, which I believe is now discontinued, and a piece of my makeup past flashed in front of me. It was one of the very first eyeshadows I used in high school, and I couldn’t remember the last time I even thought about it.

It got me thinking, how many other products did I regularly use when I first started wearing makeup that I’ve since forgotten about? How many are actually still on the market now? How many do I still use today? I racked my brain and came up with a nice list of products (sorted by brand) that I’d love to share with you. And in true nostalgic form, each product reminds me of a specific period in my life. I know I missed ‘Throwback Thursday’ with this post but I hope you’ll indulge me anyway.

COVERGIRL

LashBlast Volume Mascara – Shop here

CoverGirl Lashblash Mascara
Image Source: eBay.com

Of course we all know this one is still on the market, but I feel this is definitely a product that has been overshadowed over the years by a million new launches. This was either one of or the first mascaras I used, I can’t remember exactly. I used it in high school for quite a long time and generally enjoyed it. However I stopped using it after my mom told me it was snapping off her eyelashes (!). Yup, you read that right. She had noticed her lashes were getting shorter since using this mascara. It got me so freaked out, I threw mine out and never went back.

Intense ShadowBlast Eyeshadows (discontinued)

CoverGirl Intense Shadow Blast
Image source: popsugar.com.au

I loved these way back when. At one time I had all the colors from the line, which were the three pictured above plus a light olive green shade. They were cream shadows in a tube with a doe-foot applicator; easy to apply, blended perfectly and locked into place all day. I particularly loved the brown shade (of course) which I think was called Brown Bling. It was a true taupe shade, very cool-toned, which made it very work-appropriate. This was a staple in both my work makeup menu and also in my travel makeup bag in the mid to late 2000’s. I remember specifically taking this on so many work trips since it was so easy to apply. But unfortunately CoverGirl discontinued this line a while back and have yet to replace it.

JEMMA KIDD MAKEUP (DISCONTINUED LINE) 

Jemma Kidd Eyeshadows

Jemma Kidd Eyeshadow Palette
Image source: poshmark.com

Remember Jemma Kidd makeup?? This was definitely early in my makeup-wearing days when I only really shopped at either MAC, the drugstore or Target. This was a UK brand that was carried at Target in the U.S. before the entire line was discontinued. I know a lot of UK bloggers and YouTubers were obsessed with her complexion products like foundations and highlighters, but I never really wore face makeup until about six or seven years ago. I had the eye/lip palette pictured above (probably right after college), and I was obsessed with the dark, sparkling blue shade on the lower right-hand side of the top quad. I look at this now and I’m not sure what I was thinking with that shade, but I used to dig my finger in and lightly pat it across my lids. I almost hit pan on that shade too.

MAC

Pro Longwear Lip Pencils – Shop here 

MAC Pro Longwear Lip Pencils
Image source: eBay.co.uk

MAC was the first higher-end makeup brand I ever used because my mom was a big fan of their products. (Spoiler alert: there’s a lot of MAC on this list.) I’ve honestly never been the biggest lipstick/lip liner person. I alternate between really loving lip products and wearing them everyday to hating the feel of any product being on my lips. But when I was first experimenting with lip color after college, of course I went to MAC first. If I was going to wear anything on my lips, I thought, it was going to have to last so I bypassed lipstick at the time and went straight to lip pencils. I still think the Pro Longwear Lip Pencils are a great formula, if not a bit stiff, but I don’t have any in my collection right now. I used to have Staunchly Stylish (a browny nude), In Anticipation (a mid-tone pink), and More to Love (a deep but bright fuschia). Most of the time I would apply these all over my lips as a lipstick.

Prep & Prime Eye BaseShop here for the newer version

MAC Prep + Prime Eye Base
Image source: beautybulletin.com

The Prep & Prime Eye Base (in the compact version) was very first eye primer I ever used. I remember specfically my mother gave it to me and said you should always prime your eyes before using powder shadows to get the best effect. So I do what I’m told and I still prime to this day. I’m not sure if this version exists anymore in the Prep & Prime line, but I’ve linked above to the 24-hr Extend Eye Base in the squeeze tube.

Pro Longwear Paint Pots – Shop here 

MAC Paint Pot in Camel Coat

I’ve talked about my big love for Paint Pots as primers umpteen times on this blog before, so I won’t bore you much longer. But after the Prep & Prime Eye Base, it was Paint Pots for me, and Paint Pots it will likely stay.

Eye Kohl Pencils – Shop here 

MAC Power Kohl Liners

These are real nostalgia products for me. Before I was into face makeup, I was into eye makeup…big time. My eyes were the first feature I really wanted to play up as a teenager and as a young adult. I remember lining my upper and lower lashes with black liner for the first time and thinking I was super cool. The MAC kohl liners weren’t the first liners I ever used, but they were the first liners I really loved. But this was back when I didn’t know much about makeup, so I’d line all over my eyes without setting it with powder, and by half-way through the day I was a panda. I really don’t use kohl liners anymore because of their smudginess, but I’ll always have a fondness for the MAC ones. I used to own Powersurge (a gold), Teddy (a bronze), Smolder (a charcoal-black), and Tarnish (a blackened-green that might be discontinued?).

Powder Eyeshadows in Gilt by Association, Patina, Club & Satin Taupe – Shop here (everything except Gilt by Association) 

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Gilt by Association by MAC

 

MAC Palette with Patina, Club, Satin Taupe highlighted
My MAC palette featuring Patina (P), Club (C), & Satin Taupe (S).
eyeshadowswatches
Swatches from top to bottom: Patina, Club, Satin Taupe, Lola Lola (NARS).

Gilt by Association was a baked eyeshadow with a mineralize finish that had this beautiful marbled effect with gold, black and dark browns. I hardly used eye brushes early in my makeup-wearing days, so I used my fingers to gently tap the shadow all over my lids. It gave me a subtle, shimmering golden-brown effect that I loved at the time. Then I got heavily into MAC singles in the mid-2000’s and eventually created my own palette with my favorites, as pictured above. But I particularly loved, and still love to this day, Patina (a cool-toned golden-pearl shade), Club (a warm brown with green/blue shift), and Satin Taupe (a cool-toned purpley-brown satin shade). Classics.

MAYBELLINE

Dream Bouncy Blush – Shop here

Maybelline Dream Bouncy Blush
Image source: walmart.com

This was one of the first blushes I ever bought when I started wearing blush. I’m not sure exactly how old I was, but most likely I was in my early to mid-20’s. I didn’t want to invest in a high-end blush yet in case I didn’t like the effect, so I went to the drugstore instead. If memory serves, the only reasons I gravitated towards the Dream Bouncy Blushes were the fun colors they came in and the cool-looking texture. I had an apricot shade and a pink shade, but I remember thinking these were kinda crap after a while. But perhaps it was my fault. They have a powder-to-cream kind of formula, so I used my fingers to apply the color to my cheeks but I could barely get anything to show up (and I have fair skin). They hit the trash not too long after purchasing them, but whenever I see them in the drugstore I remember when I first discovered blush.

NARS

Lola Lola Single Eyeshadow (may be discontinued?)

NARS Lola Lola Eyeshadow

This one takes me all the way back to high school. I loved this warm, rusty brown shade just simply applied all over my lid (again, just using my fingers). I never applied shadow underneath my lower lash line when I was teenager; too dramatic. I might have hit pan on the first one I had, but I repurchased it a few years ago. Sadly I couldn’t find this shade on NARS’s website, so perhaps it’s since been discontinued.

REVLON

Lip Butters (discontinued)

Revlon Lip Butter
Image source: walgreens.com

I was heavy into the Lip Butters around 2013-2014. I loved this formula so much that I had three or four of these on the go at one time, and nearly all of them lived in my purse. I would never remember the exact names but I had a fuschia, a red, a nude and a peach at least. If you never owned a Lip Butter, they were basically colored lip balms. Nothing special necessarily, but they had some cling to them so the color lasted a little longer than you’d expect for such a moisturzing formula, which I loved. And they had decent color payoff for being just balms. Revlon discontinued them in the past few years and replaced them with the HD Gel Color line, which is equally as moisturizing.

Which makeup items make you feel nostalgic? 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

urbandecayborntorunlook2
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!
urbandecayborntorunlook1
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

Indie beauty haul from IBE NY 2018

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 + Hallow Lip 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.

mixedindieproducts
Indie products from Clove + Hallow, Kokie, Karma Organic Spa, & Ethique

KARMA HUES NAIL POLISH FROM KARMA ORGANICS SPA – Shop here

karmahuesnailpolish
Karma Hues Nail Polish in Hot Cakes (it says ‘No Toluene, No Formaldehyde, and No DBP” on the front of the bottle).
  • Cruelty-free
  • Vegan
  • Soy-based
  • Non-toxic
  • 7-free natural & organic (free of TPHP, toluene, formaldehyde, DBP (phthalate), camphor, formaldehyde resin, xylene, & parabens)
  • Made in the U.S.A.
  • $9.99/bottle

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.

LUMENE SKINCARE – Main site

Shop here at Target

lumeneproducts

  • Clean formulas
  • Sustainable natural ingredient sourcing
  • No animal testing
  • Vegan
  • 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 

elixirfacialoilhoneybelle
Image source: honeybelleshop.com
  • $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 

clove-hallowlipglaze

  • $15.00 (I paid $12.00 at the booth)
  • Cruelty-free
  • Vegan
  • 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 

LENGTH MASCARA FROM KOKIE – Shop here

kokiebrowpowder
Brow Sculpt Defining Brow Powder in Blonde
kokiemascara
Volume & Length Mascara
  • $7.00/per product
  • Cruelty-free
  • Not natural or organic
  • Available in Rite Aid and Walmart
  • 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 

ethiquesolidshampooconditioner

  • Not sure if they are 100% organic
  • Plastic free
  • Vegan
  • Cruelty free
  • Sustainable
  • 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!

xo, Erica