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!

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

BARE MINERALS COMPLEXION RESCUE – Shop here

baremineralsfront

baremineralsswatches
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 

hourglassmascara

hourglassmascarawand

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

PIN IT!

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

Join me for a makeup declutter!

Hi friends!

I like to keep my makeup collection in check as much as possible. So every 6 months or so I go through my existing stash to see what I have or have not used to make room for newer items. Sometimes I will do it more often, but it really all depends on how much I’ve bought in any given time period.

Here are my main declutter criteria:

a) I haven’t gotten much use out of the item, say within the past 3 or 4 months;

b) it’s in relatively good condition and not horribly old (I’m talking like past 5 or 6 years old);

c) it can be santizied (i.e. no liquids or creams).

If all the above criteria are met, I will take it out of my collection and put it in a “donate” pile to give to friends or family. (I’m still trying to find women’s shelters around me that will take makeup and/or other toiletries.) So I did a little declutter of my stash just recently to make room for some newer purchases, but before I give those items away I thought I’d take you through what I’m parting with. Sound like fun? I hope so, so let’s start!

FACE

benefitpalettefront
Benefit Cheeky Sweet Spot Box o’ Blushes from a limited edition holiday collection
benefitpaletteinterior
Interior of the Box o’ Blushes. Top row from L to R, Dandelion, Bella Bamba, Sugarbomb, Watts Up Cream Highlighter sample. Bottom row from L to R: Hoola Bronzer, Coralista, Rockateur, mini brush.

I actually just referenced this in my beauty anti-wishlist post from last week! After writing that, I got a bit tough with myself. Cute packaging is no reason to hold onto an item that you barely use anymore, so you know what? I’m getting rid of it! I’ve always loved Benefit’s box blushes, and I still do to a certain extent, but I just don’t prefer them anymore. As you can probably see they’ve all been gently used except the Hoola Bronzer which I don’t believe was ever touched. (I do need to toss the little Watts Up sample before I give this away; it’s gotten hard and gross since it’s a cream.)

EYES

eyepalettes
Clockwise: L’Oreal La Palette Nude 1, Sephora Colorful 5 in Mild to Wild Khaki, & NARS duo in Brousse.

The L’Oreal palette was a ‘skip’ in my last Snatch or Skip post on drugstore palettes. It’s nice enough and you can get some pretty good looks with it but I’m just generally underwhelmed, especially for the price. The Sephora & NARS palettes are very nice quality products, but I just don’t reach for them much anymore. Time to move on!

singles-duos
Clockwise: Clinique duo in Like Mink, MAC single in Ricepaper, MAC single in Greensmoke.
greensmoke
MAC single in Greensmoke

I actually didn’t buy this Clinique duo; it was included as a gift-with-purchase. I never used it once, I think because I was just bored when I looked at it. Anyway, that’s my excuse. But Clinique shadows are usually very good quality, so I’m sure it’ll work for someone. Ricepaper from MAC was a little too yellow for me, and Greensmoke just didn’t flatter me although it’s quite lovely when you look at it in the pan.

LIPS

maybellinelipsticks1
Maybelline Super Stay Matte Ink Liquid Lipsticks in shades Dreamer (left) & Loyalist (right).
maybellinelipsticks2
Loyalist (left), Dreamer (right)

I know “no liquids or creams” is one of my declutter rules, but these are quite new and they’ve barely, I mean barely been used. I only used Dreamer once; Loyalist never got used at all except to swatch. I really love the formulas of the Maybelline Super Stay Matte Inks. The deeper mauve-pink shade Lover is one of my all-time favorite drugstore liquid lipsticks. But I had one of those “what was I thinking” moments when I picked up both these shades. They are beautiful colors for sure, but just way too light for me. Dreamer gave me that horrible “butt-hole” look! Sorry I had to! It’s in such contrast to my natural lip color that it looks like I have a ring in the center of my mouth (hence “butt-hole”). So they gotta go!

Have you decluttered anything from your beauty stash recently? I’d love to know!

xo, Erica

PIN IT!

Check out what I’m parting with in my latest decluttering!

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) 

toofacedsugarcookiepalette
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

wetnwildbodyluminizer
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

fentystunnalippaint
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

grinchcollection1

grinchcollection2

grinchcollection3

grinchcollection4

grinchcollection5

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)

katvondfetishpalette
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

PIN IT!

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

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

cloudpaint

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

boybrow

boybrowwand

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

lashslickmascara

lashslickwand

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

glossiershowroom4

glossiershowroom2

glossiershowroom3

glossiershowroom1

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

PIN IT!

Check out what I experienced and what I bought when I went to the Glossier NYC showroom!

Juvia’s Place has launched in Ulta stores!

So…Juvia’s Place is now available to swatch and play in stores at Ulta! Hurray! I’ve been eyeing this brand up for a while now so I’m thrilled that it’s become physically accessible to the public. If you’ve never heard of Juvia’s Place before, I briefly spoke about their backstory in my post about indie brands that I wanted to try. They’ve exploded in the past few years thanks in large part to social media and the glowing reviews they’ve received from influencers and customers alike. They’re primarily known for their high-performing, bright and colorful eyeshadow palettes, but they also stock highlighters, blushes, liquid lipsticks and brushes. All in all it’s a carefully curated roster of products, which is what you’d expect from an indie brand.

Juvia’s Place became available for purchase on Ulta.com back in late July after the official announcement of the partnership hit social media. Just this week their products started appearing in stores, as seen in the endcap image at the top of this post. They announced that they are currently in about 500 Ulta locations; I’m not sure if they plan to expand that any further.

The brand is cruelty-free and mostly vegan (but not 100%).

I have yet to go into my local Ulta and see what they have in store, but I did wander over to Ulta.com. It doesn’t appear that they stock Juvia’s Place entire line, but they definitely do have their most popular items (i.e. the eyeshadow palettes). So I’ll quickly take you through now which products Ulta offers, and which they don’t.

THE PRODUCTS ULTA STOCKS – Shop here

All 11 EYESHADOW PALETTES!

  • range in price from $20-$25 depending on the number of pans/amount of product
  • all palettes appear to be in stock at the time of publishing this post
juviasplacepalettes
Image source: Juvia’s Place Instagram
juviasplacesaharanpalette
Image source: Juvia’s Place Instagram

 

ALL BLUSHES INCLUDING 2 PALETTES & 2 SINGLES

  • palettes are $18 for 6 pans
  • singles are $8
  • all blushes appear to be in stock at the time of publishing this post
juviasplaceblushes
Image source: Juvia’s Place Instagram

 

TWO LOOSE HIGHLIGHTING POWDERS

  • The Nubian Loose Highlighters in shades Nubia & Nefertiti, both $14/each
  • both appear to be in stock at the time of publishing this post
  • Juviasplace.com stocks a total of 4 loose highlighting powders
juviasplacehighlighters
These are all 4 of their loose highlighters but Ulta now stocks just the top two. Image source: Juvia’s Place Instagram

 

THREE LIQUID LIPSTICKS

  • All matte formulations retailing for $12/each in the shades Soil, Afrik & Lulu
  • all three appear to be in stock at the time of publishing this
  • juviasplace.com currently sells 6 matte/metallic liquid lipstick duo’s for $18/each

The liquid lipsticks on Ulta.com are currently not stocked on the Juvia’s Place website at the time of publishing this post. I believe these lipsticks were part of the Afrique collection that launched simultaneously with their Ulta.com launch, so perhaps these shades are exclusive to Ulta but I’m honestly not sure about that.

juviasplacelipsticks

THE PRODUCTS ULTA DOESN’T STOCK

BRUSHES

Juvia’s Place also sells 8 brush sets on their site but Ulta is not stocking any at this time; again, I don’t know if this will change in the future.

juviasplacebrushes
Image source: Juvia’s Place Instagram

A quick PSA: at the time of publishing this post, Juviasplace.com is having a sale on some of their eyeshadow palettes (plus no shipping charge over $35 order within the U.S.). So right now they are cheaper if you order direct from the brand, just FYI. Not sure how long this will last but I wanted to make you aware. My mother and I did a joint order two nights ago and snatched The Saharan Palette, The Nubian Palette, and The Warrior Palette. So excited to finally get my hands on this brand!

Are you excited that Juvia’s Place is now carried in Ulta stores? Will you be picking anything up? I’d love to know!

xo, Erica

PIN IT!

Check out which products Ulta stocks and which products they don’t from this brand

Has CVS brought us the future of drugstore beauty?

I’m not sure about you, but I’ve read up about CVS a lot recently and it certainly seems like they’re taking an aggressive position when it comes to beauty. Last week I spoke about how they’ve partnered with Kiss Products, Inc. to launch the brand Joah Beauty, bringing K-beauty inspired cosmetics into mass retail. Well, it turns out that CVS is broadening its beauty offerings in a big way through at least two other strategic partnerships. Firstly, they’re collaborating with the on-demand, at-home beauty service company Glamsquad to pilot BeautyIRL (IRL stands for “in real life” by the way), an exciting store-within-a-store concept that reimagines what the beauty aisle of CVS could be. And secondly they’ve also partnered with eSalon, the bespoke hair color company, to bring their Allure award-winning custom color kits to the masses.

Each partnership brings more fun, more personalization and more convenience to the beauty-shopping experience which really hasn’t existed at the mass retail level before.

Totally exciting stuff!

If you’re lucky enough to live in Andover, Massachusetts, Stamford, Connecticut or Florida you may have access to one of these BeautyIRL concept stores right now. So far CVS has made it available at just 4 locations in the U.S. (FL got 2, while MA & CT got 1 each), but there are plans to expand the offerings online and to more store locations by 2019. I have my fingers and toes crossed that one will come to NY soon! (However I’m not horribly far from Stamford, so maybe a field trip is in order 😉.)

So what is BeautyIRL exactly? I believe the idea is this: you feel like you’re walking into a stand-alone beauty retailer but in reality you’re simply wandering into the (enhanced) beauty department of your local CVS. It seems there’s a whole bunch of uber cool offerings in these concept spaces. There’s a “trending” section with up-and-coming indie brands; an expanded K-beauty section; more natural and/or organic products; and a whole section where you can shop just beauty mini’s. If that doesn’t excite you already, well get ready! A whole slew of on-demand, personalized beauty services are also on the menu thanks to Glamsquad including consultations, makeovers, blow-out’s, and various skincare services. Also, in massively big news for me, there were will a “Test-and-Play Hygiene Bar” where you can (finally!) sample and touch your favorite drugstore brands. Oh my gosh, are we finally getting drugstore testers???

But CVS is not stopping at just cosmetics & skincare. You can also now get bespoke hair color kits in the new BeautyIRL locations thanks to their partnership with the e-commerce company eSalon. Color consultants will be on-site to match customers to their perfect hair shade and to operate a device that will create and dispense custom shades. The whole hook is making the product available for immediate purchase.

esalondevice
A bespoke color dispensing device from eSalon in a BeautyIRL space. Image source: CEW.org.

The concept of BeautyIRL builds off CVS’s biggest beauty campaign yet, the “Beauty in Real Life” campaign which initiated earlier this spring. All of the beauty promo imagery from this campaign was released with absolutely no retouching or digital manipulation of any kind to foster more realistic beauty standards. It also featured a diverse roster of “real” women (so no models or celebs) to give the campaign a more relatable feel.

AA243B15-5176-4117-BD44-DF2B3FE8CA17
Image source: Allure
cvsbeautymark
The new CVS Beauty Mark which stands for ‘Beauty Unaltered.’ Image source: CVS Instagram

If the BeautyIRL concept is a success for CVS, I think it will mark a definitive change in drugstore & other mass retail beauty shopping. If you read any article about the future of retail there are a few trends that always get discussed: enhanced experience, more product choice, and more personalization. Consumer expectations are shifting and we generally want more of our in-store shopping experience. CVS is attempting to answer to those needs with their new beauty initiatives. I’m excited to see what happens next!

What do you think about CVS’s beauty initiatives? Would you go into a BeautyIRL space if it was in your local CVS? I’d love to know!

xo, Erica

Sources used: Allure, InStyle, Elite Daily, CEW.org. Cover image source: InStyle.

PIN IT!

C3BB96C2-03AC-4845-A144-A839CCA57F4D

 

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

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

cliniquebarepop
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

revlonhdsand
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

bobbibrowncrushed
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

PIN ME!

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

New skincare purchases & bits I’m loving

I haven’t written about skincare yet on here, which is probably a big shocker to a lot of other beauty bloggers. Truth be told I rarely change up my very basic skincare routine of eye cream, serum & moisturizer. Don’t skincare routines seem to be getting longer and more complicated as time goes on? It’s all very confusing to me. At the end of the day I think you should be guided only by what your skin needs and what it’s currently doing, rather than by what the new product releases are. By that rationale, I’m guided by my dry, sometimes flakey skin that needs as much moisture and illumination as possible.

I’m just not the biggest skincare connoisseur. I know what works for me and so I tend to be quite product-loyal (not necessarily brand-loyal). Historically, I’ve used both the Garnier SkinActive Ultra Lift Anti-Wrinkle Firming Eye Cream and the No. 7 Protect & Perfect Intense Advanced Serum for years now. (I was quite late to the party on serums in general; back in the day I just used moisturizer and that was it.) But I can’t resist sometimes changing the product line up. For instance, I will change up moisturizers from time to time. I was a big fan of the Chanel Hydra Beauty Creme for a while but then I discovered the more affordable Clinique Moisture Surge range, which is a firm favorite for life.

With that being said, I have made a few sneaky skincare purchases over the past few months that I wanted to talk to you about now. Some of these products have already become favorites, some I’m still testing, and one I haven’t even tried yet. That is how I’m categorizing them for this post. Let’s get into it!

NEW FAVORITES!

Belif The True Cream Aqua & Moisturizing Bombs – Shop here

beliftruecreammoisturebomb
Belif The True Cream Moisturizing Bomb
beliftruecreamaquabomb
Belif The True Cream Aqua Bomb

I spoke about my newfound love of The True Cream Aqua Bomb (and a little about the Moisturizing Bomb) in my earlier post on beauty mini’s, which was a hit with a lot of you. To recap, I didn’t buy either because I redeemed some of my Reward points on two separate Sephora visits, but I would absolutely buy either formula in the full size. You can buy either the standard size (50 ml for $38) or the mini size (25 ml for $22.00) from Sephora.

Belif is a Korean skincare brand I believe (someone correct me if I’m wrong), that has exploded on social media recently. Their products already have reached cult status like that of Tatcha and Laneige. To that point, The Aqua Bomb and The Moisturizing Bomb are both considered ‘Bestsellers’ on Belif’s website. Everything is formulated without parabens, sulfates, phthalates & synthetic preservatives, synthetic dyes & fragrances, mineral oils or animal byproducts.

When I wrote my earlier post I didn’t realize that Aqua Bomb technically wasn’t formulated for dry skin; it’s more suited to normal, combo or oily skin since it has a very lightweight, gel-cream texture. I still felt it hydrated and plumped my skin quite nicely, however I used it during the very humid NY summer when my skin was probably at its best. I’m just about to finish my mini of the Moisturizing Bomb, which is indeed formulated for dry skin. It’s definitely thicker than the Aqua Bomb and is creamier as well.

BITS I’M TESTING!

Charlotte Tilbury Magic Cream – Shop here

charlottetilburymagiccream

I just recently started using the Magic Cream after getting it at Sephora the day of the Charlotte Tilbury launch (and the day I met Charlotte herself!!). I deliberated for a while before putting this on my wishlist since it’s so darn expensive (50 ml for $100!), but I have to say the Sephora employees really talked me into this. The words “revolutionary” and “life-changing” were thrown around a lot, and while I’d like to say that I’m immune to all that sales mumbo-jumbo, clearly I’m not!

This is a very luxurious, thick cream that feels amazing to apply to your face and smells beautiful. The story is this is the secret weapon product that Charlotte formulated and used on models, clients and celebrities before they walk the red carpet. I think this will be a hero product for me going into the fall and winter months due to its richness. I tend to apply it at night before bedtime but you can also use it prior to makeup as Charlotte often promotes; I have yet to use it in that capacity. This gives a beautiful sheen and a feeling of plumpness to my dry skin. I really like it so far and it hasn’t broken me out at this point, but I’ve only been using it for about a week now.

(UPDATE 10/10/19 – sadly, I will be returning this product to Sephora. About a week after writing this post, I noticed little red bumps on my forehead, around my nose & my chin. I stopped using it for a few days to see if my skin would clear up and it did. Then I used it for about 3 more nights just to double-check and sure enough, the little red bumps came back. Such a bummer!)

On charlottetilbury.com there are 3 sizes available (150 ml, 50 ml, & 15 ml), although Sephora just seems to sell the 50 ml tub. The formula has SPF 15, and is gluten-free, paraben-free, sulfate-free & cruelty-free.

Honey Belle Elixir Rejuvenating Facial Oil – Shop here

honeybelleelixirfacialoil

elixirfacialoiltexture

I spoke about the Elixir Facial Oil and about Honey Belle’s backstory in my earlier post detailing my Indie Beauty Expo haul. At the time of writing that post I still had not received this product in the mail, but since then I have incorporated this into my nightly routine. I hadn’t used a facial oil in ages so I was keen to get on that bandwagon again. I found a way to incorporate this product that didn’t extend the time of my normal routine: I combine it with my moisturizer. So far I’ve only added it to the Moisturizing Bomb from Belif and not the Magic Cream; I think the Magic Cream has enough richness on its own.

The smell of the Elixir is quite strongly herbal and ‘homemade’ but I like it. It gives serious shine and glow to the skin which you would expect from an oil. It doesn’t stay tacky for long and seems to absorb into the skin quite nicely, but keep in mind I’m applying this right after my shower so my pores are ready to drink this stuff up. Is it doing amazing things for my skin? I’m not sure at the moment to be honest, but it’s a lovely product that I like using. As the colder months approach and my skin gets drier, I will probably be able to tell more of a difference.

You can grab either the mini size (15 ml) for $15.00, which is pictured above, or the standard size (56 ml) for $34.00. Very affordable organic skincare.

BITS I HAVEN’T USED YET

Fresh Rose Hydrating Eye Gel Cream – Shop here 

freshroseeyecream

I purchased this just recently and it’s currently waiting its turn behind my latest pot of the Garnier eye cream, which I’m about halfway through at the moment. This smells amazing and as the name would suggest, it’s got a gel cream texture (my favorite). I’m new to Fresh skincare but I have high hopes for this little guy. There’s 15 ml of product in there for $41.00 so it’s definitely not cheap; this is actually my first foray into luxury eye cream. According to Fresh’s site, this is a cooling eye treatment that promises oodles of hydration and illumination. Oh, and ‘30 hours of continuous moisture.’ Cool, sign me up! I’ll have to report back 😉.

Fresh products are primarily made from natural ingredients and are cruelty-free.

Have you tried any of the products on this list? What skincare products are you currently loving or trialing? I’d love to know!

Xo, Erica

F89E920C-01AD-48B9-A6D9-4D78DE1D233E

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

ctdolcevitapalette
Luxury Palette in The Dolce Vita contains 3 shimmers and 1 finely-milled glitter (the third swatch down). Palette leans warm-toned.
ctrockchickpalette
Luxury Palette in The Rock Chick contains 2 shimmers, 1 matte, and 1 finely-milled glitter (the third swatch down). Palette leans cool-toned.
ctsophisticatepalette
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

ctlipliner
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

ctveryvictorialipstick
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

ctflawlessfilter
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 

ctcreamshadowbette
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)

ctlookinapalette
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

ctrocknkohl

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

54B4231D-DFCC-4176-B84A-A3541499D7E8
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

83A8696F-B9AB-48B6-BB20-E8AF98BB31F9
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

CBE74856-6E46-465A-89A2-FB71D254F8BF
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!

BF4480ED-48D3-4194-8B19-99EFA04B24DD
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