Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Lorac Pro Eye Palette - Full Review and Mini Tutorials

About a week ago, I posted about my first thoughts on the Lorac Pro Palette and today I am back with a full review and a few examples of looks that I have created with the palette over the past week.  I will start with a quick description of the palette and the shades that are contained in it (in case anyone missed the original post) and then get into my thoughts on each shade and how I used them.  Let's see how this new eye shadow palette review format goes...

"Go PRO with the LORAC PRO Palette! Created by celebrity makeup artist Carol Shaw, this PRO artistry palette is packed with 8 Shimmer and 8 Matte Eye Shadows in all the shades you need to create the hottest looks straight from the Red Carpet. LORAC’S velvety-smooth shadows are infused with soothing botanicals and are ultra-pigmented to perform wet or dry so you can shade, shadow, line and define your eyes, just like a PRO.", states the Lorac website.

The shades contained the Lorac Pro Palette are...

- White (Matte),
- Cream (Matte)
- Taupe (Matte)
- Lt. Pink (Matte)
- Mauve (Matte)
- Sable (Matte)
- Espresso (Matte)
- Black (Matte)
- Nude (Shimmer)
- Champagne (Sparkle)
- Gold (Shimmer)
- Lt. Bronze (Shimmer)
- Pewter (Shimmer)
- Garnet (Shimmer)
- Deep Purple (Shimmer)
- Slate (Shimmer)

I used all of these shades with the Lorac Behind the Scene Eye Primer (separate review posted last week) and I am quite happy with this overall palette.  This palette will work for those that are beginners at makeup and will also work equally well for those who are more advanced with their makeup application.  As I stated in the first review, this formula is much softer and more powdery than I am used to working with and it did take some getting used to over the past few days.  I started by dipping into these shades too hard with my brush and I wasn't all that happy with my first look.  I found some reviews on this palette and was advised about the soft formula and how to best use them on my eyes.

We will start with my thoughts on the Matte shades, the Matte shades in this palette are some of the softest mattes that I have ever worked with and I love how well these shades blend on the eyes.  Mattes tend to  be stiffer formulas and are usually harder to work with then satins or shimmers but I had no issues at all with this palette.  White and Cream look exactly alike on my pale skin and are the shades that I use all over my eye area to set down my eye primer.  I use Lt. Pink in exactly the same fashion and see very little difference between any of these three shades on my pale skin.  Taupe and Mauve are the shades that I tend to use with a fluffy brush in my crease, they function as my transition shades and blend well when used with a light hand.  I initially started with Taupe as the transition in my first look and I went in with too much on my brush and created a very patchy look that I couldn't blend out but quickly changed this the next time and really liked how well they blended out.  Sable and Expresso are the two deepest matte browns in this palette and I use them all over the lid to create a deep, smoky look or to deepen the outer corner of my eye looks.  Black is a nicely pigmented black shade and I would use it only to create a smoky eye or smudged into the top lashes as a liner.  I do find that it is a bit too soft to create a more defined liner look with it but I haven't tried wetting my brush before trying this technique.

The Shimmer shades work best when applied with either a finger or a small synthetic brush (I really like ones that came in the second and third Naked palettes).  Nude and Champagne both apply nicely when tapped onto the lid with the finger, they have medium color payoff but tend to look exactly alike when applied to the lid.  Gold is a show stopper, this is one of the truest and most beautiful gold shades that I own and the texture is perfection.  Lt Bronze and Pewter are both medium toned browns infused with shimmer.  Pewter is darker when applied to the lid and works best with a synthetic brush.  Lt Bronze can be used with a finger and is the more wearable shade of the two.  I use these shades when creating a copper eye look.  Garnet applies exactly like all the over shimmers but looks more red on my eyes than copper, I don't love this shade and I would only use it in very specific eye looks.  Deep Purple and Slate are best used right on the lid with a synthetic brush and I only use them on the lid in more smoky eye looks.  I love that all of the Shimmers perform exactly the same and the formula varies very little from shade to shade.

I have created a few easy eye looks with White, Cream, or Lt. Pink all over the eye area and then blending Taupe or Mauve into the crease and then any other shade on the lid.  I have started all of the looks that I have created with this palette with the above shades and then varied what shades/how many shades I apply on the lid.  Sable and Expresso are usually used on the lower lash line and on the outer lid area to create depth.  I can use any of the shimmers all over the lid or on the inner area of the lid.  My favorite looks are Cream, Taupe, and Gold or Pewter all over the lid.

I love that I can easily create a variety of looks from this palette and that all the shadows perform very well on the lids.  I can quickly create a work friendly look with my favorite combinations listed above and then add Expresso or Sable to quickly change the look before going out at night.  I am glad that I bought this palette and I know that I will be using it a lot now that I own it.  I can see why many people consider to this to be their "Go To" palette as it performs well and can easily create a beautiful eye look.  My only issue with this palette is that several of the shades look exactly the same when applied to the eyes and I have created several looks using different shades and then they all blend together and look alike.  I love that the shadows blend so well but I do find that they do tend to sometimes blend so well that I can't see differences between the shades I have used.  The lasting power (when used with primer) is about eight hours and I have seen that the shades tend to quickly fade away after that.  I wouldn't use these shadows without a primer as I think that they wouldn't show up very well and would flake off within a few hours.  Gold is my favorite shade in the palette and I think that I will use through the shades on the left side of the palette well before I use through any of the deeper toned hues.

photo courtesy of Lorac

Monday, December 30, 2013

Fresh Seaberry Exfoliating Soap

I have been spending much more time than usual at the Fresh counter in my local Sephora and I have been picking more and more items up from this company than I ever have before.  I have quickly become addicted to their face masks and I now want to pick up their face oil once I finish up my current bottle of Josie Maran Argan Oil.  One of my last purchases from Fresh was a highly rated bar soap and one that I have been loving for my dry winter skin.  I have always had dry skin on my body every winter but this has been a rather harsh winter so far and my skin has had far more dry patches than normal.  I normally used shower gels (or a rare bar soap) from Bath and Body Works or LUSH and I tend to look to very few other companies for body products.  I decided to branch out a bit and try a body product from a company that has been producing some of my favorite face products so far.

Fresh has a pretty large line of body products and I will need to order more of these in the coming months.  I started with a bar soap that multiple sales associates at Sephora recommended to me for helping to treat and soothe very dry winter skin.  The Fresh Seaberry Exfoliating Soap is just one product in their range of bar soaps and I am ready to pick up another bar of this product as soon as I run out of it.  I don't know that I will be using this product all throughout the year and I am sure that I will go back to my favorite Bath and Body Works shower gels once spring comes.  I have been using this bar soap every morning for the past few days and I have been very impressed so far.

"A triple-milled soap that gently buffs away dry, dull skin while cleansing the body to reveal a smooth complexion.  Seaberry Exfoliating Soap gently buffs away dry, dull skin while cleansing the body to even skin tone and reveal a radiant glow. The nourishing formula is fortified with seaberry oil, a powerful antioxidant rich in omegas that restores and softens the skin. Natural exfoliants of cranberry, bamboo, and bitter orange help diminish dehydrated skin, while shea butter nourishes and hydrates. Triple-milled to last longer, it produces a rich, non-drying lather for a luxurious cleansing experience.", states the Sephora website.

The website also provides a quick story about the history of this ingredient (as it does for nearly every Fresh product), "The story of seaberry: “When I was two, living in a small town in East Siberia, I tipped over a pot of boiling water and burned my arm. The doctor treated me with a pasty orange salve that I later learned was seaberry oil. Native to Siberia, this restorative oil has been used for generations as a natural cure.”—Lev Glazman, Fresh Co-founder".  High quality ingredients are very important to Fresh as a brand and they are known for providing all kinds of background about their products and the active ingredients contained in them.

I have been using this bar soap only in the morning and keeping with my traditional routine of Bath and Body Works shower gels and body moisturizers at night.  I like this product in the morning because it smells very fresh and helps me to wake up in the shower.  It also gently scrubs off the dead skin and leaves hydrating ingredients in its place.  I love that this bar soap rinses clean and leaves no residue on the skin, a great feeling for before I get dressed and go to work.  I really don't have any cons about this product and I will be purchasing another bar of it once my current bar runs out.  It seems like Fresh has more shower gels than bar soaps so I will check many of those out once the weather starts to warm up and my skin is a bit less dry overall.

photo courtesy of Fresh

Sunday, December 29, 2013

MAC Blot Powder/Pressed

I have been testing out new staples for the past few weeks and I have found a powder that has occupied a permanent place in my purse every since I first used it.  I am talking about the MAC Blot Powder (pressed version).  I may have dry skin but I always like to have some combination of a pressed powder and blotting papers in my purse.  I use a small amount of a loose powder on my face to set my makeup every morning but I find that my forehead and nose tend to get somewhat shiny throughout the day and I like to keep products with me that can quickly correct this issue.  I don't even remember what the last pressed powder that I reviewed on this blog was, I go through them so slowly and I just finished up a small powder that was so old that the writing had worn off the top of the compact by the time that I was finally done with it.  At this rate, the MAC Blot Power should last me for at least another year or two...

MAC has been one of my favorite brands recently and I have been picking up items for myself nearly every single time that I visited the counter to pick up gifts this past holiday season.  I was trying to remain practical with many of these purchases and I picked up some face items and an extra tube of the Opulash Mascara.  One of my biggest beauty goals for next year is to more brands and I need to try and look for other brands that can perform as well as MAC but this will not kick off for a few more days and it seems like my blog is on MAC overboard right now.

The MAC website provides the following description of the Blot Powder/Pressed, "A unique, oil-controlling pressed powder that sets foundation and finishes the face while adding minimal colour and texture.  For use in professional situations and for frequent touch-ups on set or throughout the day.  Provides a very sheer, matte-looking finish."

This powder is currently available in four shades and is a part of the permanent MAC product line.  I use the shade "Light", this is the palest shade and the only one that suits me.  The powder is very sheer and that is the only reason that can use "Light", if this product was more pigmented then I would need an even paler shade.

I usually use this powder only to touch up during the day, I apply a very little bit of it to my forehead and nose around lunchtime and my skin remains matte through the rest of the day.  I tried this product to set my face in the morning (instead of my usual loose powder) and it works equally well for this purpose but I just prefer to use loose formulas in the morning and then touch up with a pressed formula.  There is nothing special about this product and I can't say that it is an outstanding product but it works nicely and I would recommend it to someone looking for a good touch up powder.  I find that there are very little differences in between most pressed powder formulas and there is very little variation in between formulas/brands.  I would repurchase this product however it will take me a long time to use it up and I will probably want to try and review a different product by the time that I have gotten through this whole compact...

photo courtesy of MAC

Saturday, December 28, 2013

MAC Magnetic Nude

Earlier today we looked at the Punk Couture collection from MAC and now we are looking at the last of the new collections that were released on Boxing Day.  This collection is named Magnetic Nude and this is the one that I found the most exciting when I quickly looked at the preview of the two color collections a few days ago.  This one promises to be the polar opposite of Punk Couture, I found a few products that will be awesome for getting dressed up and going out and this collection will give me some shades to add to my core makeup collection and great shades to swear by.  At the beginning of every new year, I always look for new neutral shades to add to my line up, this is the time of the year that I look for new Holy Grails and then add more seasonal shades once the spring collections start coming out.

As I stated in the earlier paragraph, I am very excited about the Magnetic Nude collection and I am looking forward to finding quite a few new pieces when I look at it.  I am hopeful that I find a few of the following: several neutral shades of eye shadow that I can wear with ones that I already own, a great nude lipstick/lip gloss shade that will work with any eye makeup look, and a neutral nail polish that I can wear in between bright and dark shades.  I have been wearing reds on my nails since Thanksgiving and I need a change of pace for my manicures.

"Ignite your inner magnetism, as glimmering metallics and natural nudes redefine winter opulence. Skin is radiant in soft peachy nudes, fine golds and sheer pearls. Smoky eyes get a metallic effect, shaded with grey mauve, deep copper and iridescent pink. Flushed nudes lend a subtle yet sexy polish, in cool pink and coral Extra Dimension Blush, and pale, creamy shades for lips create a look that's naturally magnetic.", states the MAC website to describe the collection.  I am so excited for this collection and I am envisioning some great metallic nude eye makeup right now!

The Magnetic Nude collection from MAC!

Extra Dimension Eye Shadow - A liquid-powder Eye Shadow with prismatic reflections in ten shimmering tints. Impact ranges from sheer crystallized light to a highly polished metallic effect. Lasts up to 6 hours.
- A Natural Flirt - iridescent light pink
- Sweet Heat - soft peach pink
- Platinum Love - bright clean silver
- Amorous Alloy - deep terracotta copper
- Silver Dawn - dirty gray mauve

Fluidline - Ultra-smooth, Fluidline's gel formula provides the precision of a liquid liner with a silkier, softer finish. Goes on “foolproof” with a brush in an easy dip-and-stroke action. Long-wearing. Smudge-proof. Lines up in a rich array of colours and finishes. Brush sold separately.
- Chilled - frosted white gold
- It's Physical - brown with purple pearl
- Our Secret - metallic brown with red pearl

Opulash - Superlative style & state-of-the-art science merge. A new formula in a more saturated intense black with extra-volumization, expansion & curl delivered dramatically with our most bodacious brush yet. Lasts 15 hours!
- Bad, Bad Black - black

Lipstick - Colour plus texture for the lips. Stands out on the runway. Simmers on the street! What made M·A·C famous.
- Close Contact - creamy peach
- Sensual Sparks - dirty cool caramel
- Morning Rose - soft cool rose
- Carnal Instinct - deep brick red with gold pearl

Tinted Lipglass - A unique lip gloss available in a wide variety of colours that can create a high gloss, glass-like finish or a subtle sheen. Designed to be worn on its own, over Lip Pencil or Lipstick, Tinted Lipglass is the perfect product for creating shine that lasts. It's pigmented, very shiny and can impart subtle or dramatic colour. It contains Jojoba Oil to help soften and condition the lips. Tinted Lipglass is packaged in a convenient bottle with a sponge tip applicator that provides a quick, smooth, even application.
- A Quiet Roar - creamy off white
- Oh My Darling - pale yellow pink
- Overspiced - dirty muted coral
- Hell Bound - brick red with gold pearl
- Steel Kiss - dirty mauve with green pearl

Extra Dimension Blush - A liquid-powder blush with prismatic reflections in five shimmering shades. Impact ranges from sheer crystallized light to a highly polished metallic effect. Lasts up to 6 hours.
- At Dusk - midtone rose
- Autoerotique - dirty coral rose
- Pleasure Model - soft terracotta with pearl

Extra Dimension Skinfinish - A liquid-powder highlighter with prismatic reflections that sculpts, highlights and models the face. The cool, creamy near-fluid formula creates a luminous, well-defined finish. Wears 10 hours.
- Superb - soft peachy nude with multi-dimensional shimmer
- Magnetic Appeal - medium tan with fine gold sheen
- Fairly Precious - peach with dimensional pearly sheen

235 Split Fibre All Over Eye Brush - Subtle or sizzling, edgy or elegant, this split fibre brush allows you to create the eye look you're longing for with its signature blend of goat hair & synthetic fibres.

128 Split Fibre Cheek Brush - Designed for exceptional Blush application, this split fibre brush delivers a soft, diffused look with its unique combination of natural & synthetic fibers.

I have a lot of choices in this collection and this will contain some of my top picks for shopping in the New Year!  I will not go to the mall again until after the new year begins, at that point it should be calmed down from after the holidays and I should actually be able to look around without facing a mob of shoppers.  I might order a few pieces from this collection online right away and then check out the rest of them at the counter when I head out...

My favorite piece of this collection is one of the Lipstick shades, Morning Rose is a soft, cool rose that will be perfect for creating the My-Lips-But-Better look with my skin tone.  I will be able to wear this shade for the rest of the winter and then well into the spring and then pick up again next fall.  This will be a great addition to my lipstick collection and it is my first choice for the whole collection and my first choice from all the new MAC collections.  I can skip over the rest of the Lipstick shades and then move right over to the Lipglass.  I want the Hell Bound shade, this brick red will be very nice for getting dressed up or in a professional environment.  The other shade that I really want from the Lipglass line is the Oh My Darling shade, this neutral pink will work well with everything that I own and I can see myself going through this tube very rapidly.  The lip products are the ones that I would be ordering early because they are ones that I must have and I have used enough MAC lip shades to know that I will love these.

Moving over to the eye makeup part of this collection...  I have already picked up and played with Urban Decay's Naked 3, I will be putting this palette aside for warmer weather and I am sure that the nudes in this collection's palette will work well with and the other Naked palettes.  This new palette is made up of rose gold shades so I am already looking for shades from other companies that will work with this new set of hues.  I want A Natural Flirt, Amorous Alloy, and Sweet Heat to wear with the new shades and to mix with the hues that I already own.  This is a great collection for me to find more eye makeup shades.  I love the Opulash formula and I am considering picking up another tube of this product for when I run out of mascara.

The last piece that I really like is one that I want to see at the counter first, the Extra Dimension Blush in the rose hue is really pretty however I am wary of any blush from MAC that has shimmer in it.  MAC can go too heavy on the shimmer for face products so I must try this one at the counter first and then decide.  If the shimmer is faint, this blush will be a great choice for me but if the shimmer is too heavy then I will be skipping over it.

This is by far my favorite of the new collections and the one that I will be spending the most money on, I will be ordering some of the best products online soon and then will be visiting the counters in the new year to try the rest of the items out.  Now we can start looking forward to seeing what MAC brings out for spring!

photo courtesy of Nordstrom

MAC Punk Couture

Punk Couture is the first of the two full color collections from MAC to be released yesterday and is the one that looks to be the most relevant to many of the trends that I have been seeing in beauty and fashion magazines over the past two months.  The punk looks that have been all over the runways the past few months are often too much for me to pull off and I have not been dabbling in any of these looks nor have I any plans to.  I know that this collection will excite a lot of ladies but I doubt that I will find many items for myself in it.  I have much higher hopes for the Magnetic Nudes collection that was also released yesterday...

This collection contains bright shades for eyes, lips, and nails...I might find a new lip hue or nail polish shade from this collection so I still might be able to pick up some items from this collection.  I think that I would be more likely to buy new nail polishes from this collection but I will check out every single product and see what I find that might work for me and my beauty style.

The MAC website provides an overall description of the collection.  "Introducing daring new shades for eyes, lips and nails inspired by punk's rebel spirit and revolutionary impact on high fashion. Eye Shadow x 4 blends and builds fierce eyes while vibrant neon Pigments instigate a chaos of colour. Deep tones of matte Lipstick attract all the right attention in Hautecore, Studded Kiss and Instigator, while the gleam of Jet Boy and No Apologies Cremesheen Glass shimmers with golden and purple pearl. Black-as-night cream and teal green lacquer nails in pure, polished punk."  Teal Nail Lacquer might be right up my alley this winter...

Here is the Punk Couture collection!

Punk Couture: Eye Shadow x 4 - An Eye Shadow Quad in four shades: light taupe mauve, rich blackened plum, silvered violet with gold, and intense black. The highly pigmented powder formula applies evenly, blends and builds beautifully.
- All Races - light cool taupe mauve (Matte)
- Idol Eyes - silvered violet with gold (Lustre)
- Magic Moor - rich blackened plum with pearl (Veluxe Pearl)
- Carbon - intense black (Matte)

Pigment - Pigment is a highly concentrated loose colour powder that contains ingredients to help it adhere to the skin. Create a subtle wash of colour or an intense effect. Does not streak or cake. Easy to blend and long-lasting. Please note: Pigments are sold by weight not volume. Containers can appear to be less than full due to settling of the product.
- True Chartreuse - rich flat chartreuse green
- Neo-Orange - intense neon salmon
- Magenta Madness - intense neon blue pink

Haute and Naughty Too Black Lash - Our two-in-one mascara in an intense carbon black. Creamy, velvety, lightweight formula sweeps up lashes and coats from root-to-tip. The dual-wiper system customizes your lash style: naturally defined or powerfully dramatic.

Penultimate Eye Liner - A liquid pen-style liner that provides the ultimate precise, bold line in a rich, deep carbon black shade. Goes on fluidly, in one steady stroke, to style any fashion of eye line.
- Rapidblack - true black

Eye Kohl - A soft-on pencil liner that lines, defines and shades the eyes with rich colour and a silky-smooth, matte/pearl finish. Ophthalmologist tested.
- Smolder - intense black

Lipstick - Colour plus texture for the lips. Stands out on the runway. Simmers on the street! What made M·A·C famous.
- Studded Kiss - dark oxblood red
- Instigator - deep blackened plum
- Punk Couture - deep blackened grape
- Hautecore - true matte black

Cremesheen Glass - A lip finish that fuses the creamy, sheen-filled nature of Cremesheen Lipstick with the shine of M∙A∙C Lipglass. Soft, comfortable, non-sticky. Applies with a doe-foot applicator. Use as a top layer to its namesake Lipstick or on its own.
- Jet Boy - sheer black with gold pearl
- No Apologies - sheer black with pinkish purple pearl
- Dark Outsider - creamy true black

Nail Lacquer - Revolutionary new high gloss formula. Three long-wearing finishes - Cream, Sheer, and Frosted. Visibly different. Provides no-streak/no-chip finish. Contains conditioners and UV protection. Go hi-lacquer!
- Impassioned - bright warm pink
- Formidable - teal green with pink multi changing pearl
- Nocturnelle - black as night black

I love the Nail Lacquer in Formidable, this teal with the pink pearl is simply amazing and I must order a bottle of this shade.  I have nothing like this shade in my collection and I have never seen anything like this hue before.  I have a feeling that this shade will sell out instantly and I cannot wait to get to the counter and I will order this one online later tonight.  Already I am seeing that many of the lip shades are completely sold out and I don't want to miss out on this nail polish too. 

The Nail Lacquer is the only shade that I must own from this collection but I actually like a few more items from it than I thought that I would.  The Eye Shadow x 4 would not be an everyday look for me but I would like to own it and I would use it when getting dressed up and going out at night.  Idol Eyes is a very unique shade and one that I would like to add to my collection.  I already own the Eye Kohl in Smolder and only use it when going out so I certainly don't need another one, I am actually out of my Penultimate formula so I am considering buying another tube or trying another liquid eye liner form from MAC.  The last item that I would like from this collection is a Lipstick shade, Studded Kiss is the only shade that I would be able to pull off from this collection.  All of the others are black hues or has a black tint to them and I would never be able to pull them off.  I am slightly sad because I love the Cremesheen formula and always want to add more of these glosses to my collection.

Two collections from Boxing Day down and one left!

photo courtesy of MAC

Friday, December 27, 2013

Fitness Friday - Side Lunges

I had stated right at the end of finals season that one of my goals over winter break was to visit the gym more and try new exercises with every visit.  I had featured lunges on one of my previous Fitness Fridays and today we are looking at another variation on the traditional lunge.  Side lunges are a move that I have been trying out since the beginning of winter break and one that I am finally beginning to improve at.

I pulled all of the information on this exercise from the Pop Sugar website and I have included detailed steps to follow when performing this exercise.  "Side lunges offer a new take on regular lunges. They allow you to work your hips, glutes and thighs a bit differently than traditional squats and lunges while still targeting the major muscles of the lower body. They offer a really good workout and are friendly on the knees, reducing the risk of injury. First, start with your body weight. Once you get the movement down, add dumbbells for more of a challenge. "

Here is how to do them:

- Holding a pair of dumbbells, stand with your feet and knees together.
- Take a large step with your right foot to the right side and lunge toward the floor.
- Make sure your right knee does not extend past your toes and keep your left leg relatively straight.
- Push off through your right foot to return to the start to complete one.
- Do three sets of 10 on each side.

I am still doing these side lunges without weights and I have to keep my hands on my waist to try and remain stable.  I find it hardest to remain stable when doing these and I have fallen over many times already over the past two weeks.  I can feel these in my thighs the next day but they are starting to get easier and I have finally worked up to the 3 sets of ten on each side!

photo courtesy Pop Sugar

Thursday, December 26, 2013

MAC Huggable Lipcolour

The day after Christmas (or Boxing Day for those in the UK and Canada) is a huge day for MAC, they release new collections on this day every single year and they are often among the best ones of the whole year.  In years past, these collections have contained products and shades that would work well all throughout the year and have often become colors in the permanent MAC line up.  The first one that comes to mind is All Ages, All Races, All Sexes (or something to this effect) that was released several years ago and became an instant class for the line.  I am looking forward to seeing what MAC has up their sleeve this year!

Three new collections have come out today and we will start looking at them immediately.  I am in the mood for some new shades of blush and lip gloss that I can add to my permanent line up of products and that would work well with many of the products that I already own.  MAC has brought out two full color collections and then one that introduces a new lipstick formula...the lipstick collection is where we will start because all of you know my love of MAC Lipstick formulas and I get very excited to try new ones out as soon as I can!  I have been rotating back and forth in between the Urban Decay Revolution and the Too Faced La Crème lipsticks and I am ready to revisit some MAC formulas.

The new Lipstick formula is named Huggable and the packaging looks exactly like that of the Sheen Supreme formula that I love to pieces and count among my overall favorite lipstick formulas.  I will be checking shades out and trying this formula as soon as I can get to the counter again!

The MAC website provides the following description of the new formula, "When it comes to gorgeous lips, don't compromise shine for colour. You can have it all in a new formula inspired by Asian trends, hugging your lips in 12 hues that stay bright and luminous for up to six hours. Featuring an array of creamy emollients, Huggable Lipcolour provides a lasting, glossy finish that leaves lips smooth and sculpted."

Huggable Lipcolour - A new high-shine formula featuring an array of creamy emollients, providing a lasting, glossy finish that leaves lips smooth and sculpted. A unique gel base allows each shade to smooth effortlessly onto the skin, with a feather-light finish giving immediate moisture, lasting up to six hours.
- Touche - light beige cream
- Fresh and Frisky - soft neutral peach cream
- Fashion Force - cool coral cream
- Lovebeam - midtonal warm pink cream
- Cherry Glaze - orange red cream
- Feeling Amorous? - midtonal fuchsia cream
- What A Feeling! - midtonal cool pink cream
- Out for Passion - soft warm rose cream
- Red Necessity - deep warm wine cream
- Commotion - deep cool plum cream
- Rusty - deep auburn cream
- Rich Marron - midtonal nude cream

This formula sounds very similar to Sheen Supreme; it combines moisture, color, and shine all together to create a wonderful formula that performs on all levels.  This one has the potential to be another MAC favorite of mine.  My early favorite shade is What A Feeling!, I love this cool pink and I will save this one for the beginning of spring.  Bubblegum pink lip shades are favorites of mine in the spring and this one will be a valuable addition to my collection!  Red Necessity is a shade that I would wear right now and so is Touche.  Touche is a great nude and I would wear this shade all year long, I could see this one being a prime addition to my line up and working with almost all of the makeup that I already own.  I have been using nudes a lot lately and I always want more nude shades.

I will be trying this new lipstick formula the next time that I head over to the MAC counter and I am confident that I will walk away with several new shades in this new formula.  I will report back on what my findings are and I would appreciate any comments from those who have already tried this one out.

photo courtesy of MAC

Wednesday, December 25, 2013

The Year Ahead...

Merry Christmas everyone!  I have decided to take some time today and look to the future of this blog.  We have already started to look at the collections for next spring and we will keep this coverage up over the next few weeks.  In addition to my traditional product reviews and collection posts, I will be featuring some different brands this year on my blog.

Earlier this month, I made a list of brands that I feel that I don't own many products from and want to learn more about.  I will pick one brand for each month and we will look at some background on the brand and highlight a few of their best selling products.  In addition, I will be ordering five of their best-selling/top rated products each month and I will be reviewing them on the blog.  I feel that I have been using and loving the same brands over the past few years and I want to see what I have been missing.  As much as I love MAC and Urban Decay, I need to expand my horizons for my makeup and skincare and discover new loves.

First in the Brand of the Month series is...Bobbi Brown!

Tuesday, December 24, 2013

Lorac Behind The Scenes Eye Shadow Primer

I have been testing out the Lorac Pro Eye Shadow Palette over the past few days and I decided to test the matching eye shadow primer that came along with it.  I was in need of a new eye shadow primer to begin with and it was just easier for me to test this formula right along with the eye shadow palette.  As many of you already know, my favorite eye shadow primer is the original formula from Urban Decay and there are very few other formulas that I would repurchase over that one.  The Lorac formula is yet another one that will be following that trend, it is a nice eye shadow primer but not one that I would grab over the Urban Decay...

"Get Lorac's Behind The Scenes Eye Shadow Primer and all eyes will be on you! This gentle, lightweight, oil, fragrance and paraben-free formula keeps your eye shadow picture-perfect from daytime to Prime Time. Created by Celebrity Makeup artist Carol Shaw to be used Behind The Scenes on photo shoots and on the Red Carpet, this unique eye shadow primer easily glides on for crease-resistant, silky-smooth color that lasts!", states the Lorac website.

I will start off my review by stating that this is a good product, it is not the best primer but I didn't find any major faults with it.  I said above that I tend to find that most eye shadow primers fall into this category and there is nothing wrong with these primers but nothing can hold a candle to Urban Decay Primer Potion.

The Behind The Scenes Eye Shadow Primer has a light lotion texture and quickly absorbs into the skin on my eyelids without leaving any type of sticky residue.  I like that the squeeze tube allows me to control how much product I use and I will not be wasting any of this primer due to a doe foot applicator, the packaging is much nicer than many of the primers from other brands.  The primer keeps my eye shadow from fading and creasing for about six hours but I have found that most eye shadow formulas that I have used it with so far will start to fade soon after that and I will have slight creasing on my lids at the end of the day.  I have found that the tube is the best aspect of this product and I would love to see more brands bring out eye primers with this type of tube.

I have gotten better results with this product when I use it with matte or satin shadows but it tends to produce fall out when used with glitter-infused formulas.  Again, I have found that result with nearly every eye primer formula (expect the Urban Decay) and I can't say that this product is bad.  I find it to be a good but quite average eye shadow primer and one that I will not be repurchasing when I need another primer.  I am still testing out the palette that this came with and I will have my full review within the next few days.

photo courtesy of Lorac

Monday, December 23, 2013

Marc Jacobs Beauty Lip Lock Moisture Balm

Lip balm is one of the few products that I have a hard time paying a lot of money for.  I use lip balm all the time and I go through tubes of lip balm faster than any other makeup product.  I keep one tube next to my bed and a separate tube in my purse, I am always trying new formulas but I feel like I keep coming back to either Burt's Bees or the C.O. Bigelow Mentha Matte formulas.  I have often wondered how different the formulas can really be between the lowest and highest ends of the lip balm range but I couldn't bring myself to buy any of the very high end formulas since I burn through every tube very quickly.  Would a more expensive be made with "better" ingredients and therefore would it be more effective in hydration and protection?

I have dry, chapped lips all throughout the year and my love of matte lipsticks make the problem even worse.  My lips tend to get even worse in the cooler months and they will get to a point where I can't wear lipstick for more than one or two days in a row.  This issue will not end until the end of March so this is the best time of the year for me to try any type of new lip balm formulas.  I have often wanted to try a really luxurious lip balm but could never bring myself to spend the money on this type of product.  Lips cannot hang onto moisture as they have no oil glands in them so lip balms need to be reapplied every few hours to maintain moisture level, there are no ingredients that will "cure" this issue and therefore I would need to use every type of lip balm at the same rapid rate.

With my last Sephora order, they were offering a deluxe sample of the Marc Jacobs Beauty lip balm as one of the Point Perks and I decided that this would be a great time for me to see how luxury lip balms perform.  "A buttery, rich lip balm with SPF 18 that locks in hydration.  Meet the ultimate makeout accessory—the addictive and refreshing minty flavor will keep you coming back for more. With nature’s best exotic oils and butters like andiroba, buriti, shea, and avocado, this moisture balm is too good not to share. Indulge. Hydrate. Repeat.  Broad spectrum SPF 18 protects lips from harmful UV rays which are the number one cause of premature skin aging, leading to skin discoloration, loss of elasticity, and the appearance of fine lines.", states the Sephora website when describing the Marc Jacobs Beauty Lip Lock Moisture Balm.

The active ingredients in this product are as follows: Andiroba, Buriti, Blackcurrant Seed, Meadowfoam Seed, Jojoba Seed Oils, Shea, and Avocado Butters.   This ingredients "provide immediate, locked-in hydration".  This product also contains Momordica Grosvenoir: Exotic natural sweetener known as the longevity fruit, "providing antioxidants, polysaccharides, and glycoprotein".

This lip balm feels heavenly when it is applied, it is soft and glides on the lips.  The texture is creamy, not oily, and is one of the best feeling lip balms that I have ever used.  I can see why this lip balm feels like a little luxury to those who purchase it, It hydrates like a dream and leaves my lips feeling soft and smooth.  The Marc Jacbos formulas feel nicer than either of my go-to lip balms when applied and when on the lips.

I was sold on this product until I drank coffee and ate breakfast with this product on my lips.  Every morning, I try to apply lip balm with my morning skincare routine and then let it sink into my lips before makeup application.  I usually lose most of the product that hasn't sunk in once I drink coffee and eat my toast and this product performed exactly like every other formula in that regard.  I have to reapply the Marc Jacobs formula just as much as I have to reapply my Burt's Bees and C.O. Bigelow formulas and therefore I don't really see the point in purchasing a full size of this product.

I have come to the conclusion that this is a lovely formula but it lasts just as long as every other lip balm and needs to be reapplied just as often.  I have burned through nearly half of my deluxe sample in about a week and I would need to repurchase tubes of this product all the time.  I mostly won't be ordering any of these in the full size but I will take the time to check out every Marc Jacobs Beauty set released in the next year to see if I can score more tubes of this product while trying other products from this company out.

photo courtesy of Sephora

Sunday, December 22, 2013

Lorac Pro Eye Shadow Palette

I have just started to play around with one of the most hyped palettes in the beauty industry, the Lorac Pro Eye Shadow Palette came out in the summer of 2012 and became an instant hit.  I have never tried anything from Lorac before and skipped over this palette for quite a long time.  I have been seeing this palette used in all kinds of eye looks on YouTube and I went back and forth on ordering it for a weeks now.  I decided to order it when I received an early Christmas gift in the form of an Ulta gift card.  The palette just came in the mail yesterday morning so this post will contain the descriptions and photos that Lorac has provided on their website and an overall first impression of the palette.

I will be following this post up with a full review and then provide some examples of eye looks that I have created already with this palette.  I feel that I will need about a week in order to try enough shades for a full review and I believe that I will continue to follow this type of review pattern when I pick up new eye shadow palettes.  Does anyone have any type of feedback or requests on what they would like to see in the upcoming follow up posts on the Lorac Pro palette?

We will start with what expectations Lorac has set up for this palette.  "Go PRO with the LORAC PRO Palette! Created by celebrity makeup artist Carol Shaw, this PRO artistry palette is packed with 8 Shimmer and 8 Matte Eye Shadows in all the shades you need to create the hottest looks straight from the Red Carpet. LORAC’S velvety-smooth shadows are infused with soothing botanicals and are ultra-pigmented to perform wet or dry so you can shade, shadow, line and define your eyes, just like a PRO.", states the Lorac website.

One thing that I find very unique about this palette is that the shades are labeled only by the actual color name, Lorac breaks from the trend of creating cute names to name shades in palettes and I think that I might prefer this type of naming system.

The shades contained in the Lorac Pro Eye Shadow Palette...

- White (Matte),
- Cream (Matte)
- Taupe (Matte)
- Lt. Pink (Matte)
- Mauve (Matte)
- Sable (Matte)
- Espresso (Matte)
- Black (Matte)
- Nude (Shimmer)
- Champagne (Sparkle)
- Gold (Shimmer)
- Lt. Bronze (Shimmer)
- Pewter (Shimmer)
- Garnet (Shimmer)
- Deep Purple (Shimmer)
- Slate (Shimmer)

I originally skipped over this palette because the shades look very basic, I still feel that there is nothing unique about these shades and the overall color scheme of this palette.  Lorac Pro is a very good palette for someone that is just getting into makeup but there are few shades in this palette that I do not own already.  I bought this palette only because I kept watching and reading reviews of this very unique eye shadow formula, this formula is rumored to be very soft and very easy to blend.  I have only swatched this palette so far but I am impressed with how soft these shades are and how easy they blended when I took a brush to the swatches.

I find the shimmers to be the prettiest shades in this palette but I am the most interested in the matte shades.  Matte formulas tend to be drier and harder to blend and these mattes seem soft and very easy to work with.  I would not have bought this palette if I had not seen so many raves about the matte shades and I have far fewer mattes than I do shimmers.  We will see how these shades apply and work together in the coming days and I will be following up in about a week as to what I find when I really begin to work with this palette.

photo courtesy of Lorac

Saturday, December 21, 2013

Philosophy Pure Grace

There is less than one week until Christmas and I am spending this whole weekend trying to pretend that the holiday doesn't exist.  I have everything done to prepare for the holiday so I have decided to hit the gym this weekend and start to think ahead toward what types of products that I will want to start picking up when the spring collections hit us full force.  I am going to start making some decisions as to what I would like to change about this blog in the new year and how I plan to start rolling them out next month.  We are far into the holiday season that I am tired of anything having to do with the merriment and I want to start looking ahead into the future.

I started by spending some time digging through my perfume collection and trying to decide if there are any holes in the line up.  I have been seeing a lack of fresh fragrances that can be worn in all kinds of situations and I went to a Sephora near me early this morning.  I remembered how much I used to love Philosophy's Amazing Grace fragrance and that this is one of the few fragrances that I ever completely used up and then went out and repurchased a new bottle.  I finished up my last bottle in the early fall months and I was considering ordering another bottle for the spring months.

Amazing Grace was typically the fragrance that I turned to when I was looking to wear a clean, fresh fragrance and the lack of the fragrance is leaving a large hole in my collection.  I thought about this fragrance this morning when I was walking into Sephora and I headed right over to the Philosophy section of this store.  I had a bottle of Amazing Grace in my hand when I decided to spray a few other fragrances from this company on my kind.  Pure Grace is the fragrance that caught my attention and this is the fragrance that I walked out with a bottle of.

"Pure. Crisp. Clean. Pure Grace represents clean, modern simplicity. It is a universal scent that will change the way you feel about fragrance. Pure, crisp, and infinitely clean, the fragrance opens with a veil of water lily for subtle freshness. The heart has the simple, modern tones of leafy greens and lasting frosted musk brings for a refreshing, modern finish.", states the Sephora website.

The major notes of Pure Grace are: Bergamot, Water Lily, Lavender, Jasmine, Cool Greens, Musk.

This fragrance is great for when I need a break from my normal floral fragrance lineup.  The floral notes are very subtle in Pure Grace and is light enough to be worn all throughout the year.  This is one of the few jasmine fragrances that I would be able to wear during the hottest days of the summer.  This fragrance reminds me more of a clean "laundry" type of fragrance.  If I close my eyes while wearing this fragrance, I think about fresh laundry drying outside during the summer.

I will wear this fragrance here and there during the winter months but it will become more of a staple in my line up once the warmer weather hits.  My biggest issue with this fragrance is the lack of lasting power.  This is a complaint that I have had with nearly every single Philosophy fragrance that I have used and I find that I tend to use through them like water as I am re-applying them.  I am considering picking up a rollerball in this fragrance and keeping it in my bag with me once the weather warms up enough for me to start wearing it to work.

photo courtesy of Sephora

Friday, December 20, 2013

Fitness Friday - Bananas

I have decided to highlight one of my diet staples and favorite fruits in today's Fitness Friday.  I eat a banana every morning for breakfast and this is one of the few fruits that I can easily get all throughout the year, I usually change my diet with the changing of the seasons but bananas are a staple of mine and I wanted to highlight the health benefits they offer.  I have eaten a banana every single day since college and this is a practice that I plan to continue for many years to come.  I will admit that I sometimes enjoy a frozen banana covered in milk chocolate and peanuts but we are going to ignore that fact for now...

I found some details about the health benefits of bananas from livescience.com and I am glad that I have been in the habit of eating bananas for so long.

"The curvy yellow fruits are high in "potassium and pectin, a form of fiber," said Laura Flores, a San Diego-based nutritionist. They can also be a good way to get magnesium and vitamins C and B6. "Bananas are high in antioxidants, which can provide protection from free radicals, which we come into contact with every day, from the sunlight to the lotion you put on your skin,"

"Bananas are known to reduce swelling, protect against developing type-2 diabetes, aid in weight loss, strengthen the nervous system and help with production of white blood cells, all due to the high level of vitamin B6 that bananas contain."

The website also lists the following benefits of this fruit...

- Bananas are good for your heart. They are packed with potassium, a mineral electrolyte that keeps electricity flowing throughout your body, which is required to keep your heart beating. Bananas' high potassium and low sodium content may also help protect your cardiovascular system against high blood pressure, according to the FDA.

- Bananas can be helpful in overcoming depression "due to high levels of tryptophan, which the body converts to serotonin, the mood-elevating brain neurotransmitter". Plus, vitamin B6 can help you sleep well, and magnesium helps to relax muscles.

- Bananas are high in fiber, which can help keep you regular. One banana can provide nearly 10 percent of your daily fiber requirement. Vitamin B6 can also help protect against Type 2 Diabetes and aid in weight loss. In general, bananas are a great weight loss food because they taste sweet and are filling, which helps curb cravings. They also help sustain blood sugar levels during workouts.

- Bananas may not be overflowing with calcium, but they are still helpful in keeping bones strong.  According to a 2009 article in the Journal of Physiology and Biochemistry, bananas contain an abundance of fructooligosaccharides. These are nondigestive carbohydrates that encourage digestive-friendly priobotics and enhance the body's ability to absorb calcium.

The article goes on to further state that people should eat no more than two bananas per day.  Excessive amounts can cause sleepiness and headaches.  They also contain a higher amount of sugar than most other fruits and this could quickly cause damage to teeth (if proper oral hygiene is not in place).

Bananas are a staple part of my diet in the morning, they are easy to find and can be purchased any time of the year.  A banana at breakfast helps hold me over until lunch and kills many cravings for mid morning Starbucks snacks...

photo courtesy of Google

Thursday, December 19, 2013

Benefit Rockateur Powder Blush

I have been on a blush collecting kick lately, I have been loving both the Josie Maran Cheek Gel and Tarte Amazonian Clay formulas over the past few months.  I have been collecting a bunch of shades from both of these formulas since the end of the summer and I decided that I needed to branch out and find more formulas to collect.  Benefit is a company known for their award-winning blush formulas and I have liked their Dandelion shade for years.  I was at Sephora the other night and was browsing for new blush formulas and shades when I was shown the newest product from that company.  Rockateur is the newest blush from Benefit and has been sold out ever since its release late last summer.  I had high hopes for this product however this shade is just not for me...

"A provocative rose gold cheek powder.  This rockin’ rose gold cheek powder gives a famously provocative flush that turns heads on stage and off. The crowd will go wild for its sexy faceted design, accented in luxe gold. The angled brush gives rich, show-stopping payoff every time.", states the Sephora's website.  Rockateur is the same great Benefit boxed blush formula however this is just not the shade for me.

Rockateur contains two versions of the rose gold shade in the box, the middle of the product is more of a deep rose matte hue while the outside rim of the product is a shimmery rose gold shade.  The Sephora associate showed me two ways to wear this product but we just couldn't really get it to work well with my skin tone.  We first tried to apply the matte part of the product on my cheekbones and then used the shimmery finish as a topper right on the highest points on my cheekbones.  The second way that we tried it was by swirling the blush brush all over the whole product to mix the two hues and then apply that to my cheekbones,

The first method of application was the better one for me, I loved this when we used the matte hue and I would have been willing to purchase it if the whole product was this shade.  The little bit used to highlight my cheekbones would look pretty with a bronzer in the summer months but seemed to be a bit too much for normal wear.  The second method didn't work at all, I would have only worn the shades mixed together when going out at night.  I would rarely ever use it in this fashion and I don't think that I would use it enough in the first method to both with purchasing this product.

I did like the matte hue in the middle of it, if this product would have been 75% of that shade then this would have been a great purchase for me.  However there is much more of the shimmer product contained in this product and I would spend more time trying to avoid the shimmer around the edges rather than ever using it.  I would rather try and find this shade in a matte finish from another brand and then look for a rose gold highlight to use where the Sephora associate applied the shimmer part of this product.  I am not a fan of shimmery blushes and I just tend to avoid shades with this finish.

I do love Benefit blushes but Rockateur is just not the shade for me...

photo courtesy of Sephora

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Prada Candy

I have decided to treat myself to a new fragrance for the holiday season and I picked one that even surprised me.  I had been testing new fragrances since early last month and there was one fragrance that I fell in love with and could not get out of my head.  My fragrance of choice was Prada Candy, a warm gourmand designed in the fashion that I usually tend to avoid.  I rarely wear warm gourmands and I grabbed the tester of this fragrance as an afterthought.  I had smelled the bottle of this fragrance when it was first released and I decided from the initial whiff that this wasn't a fragrance that I would normally gravitate to.  I prefer florals and oriental fragrances and rarely stray into the world of the sweet gourmand notes.  I still have a bottle of Jessica Simpson Fancy left and I only wear this fragrance once or twice a season, the caramel notes appeal to me but I tend to get sick of it after a few uses and then I put it aside.  The last fragrance that I thought I needed to add to my collection was another gourmand.

When I first smelled the tester, Prada Candy reminded me exactly of that fragrance.  I found the fragrance attractive but decided that it was one that I would rarely ever wear and passed over it.  I tried it out on my skin a few weeks ago for the first time and I began to change my mind on the fragrance.  I liked it more and more while wearing it and I kept trying it on each time that I went to Sephora until I decided to order it for myself several days ago.

The Sephora website provides the following fragrance description and notes contained in it.  "Prada Candy is a fragrance with a novel olfactory balance combining exceptionally high-quality ingredients in excessive proportions. Magnified by white musks, noble benzoin comes together with a modern caramel accord to give the fragrance a truly unique signature.  Prada Candy is impossible to ignore. Its packaging is bold, unconventional, and pop, yet luxurious materials make it sophisticated and timeless. A band of shocking pink saffiano hugs the top of the bottle, inspired by vintage flacons, and bearing the refined Prada logo in sleek gold lettering. The pump, perched on its golden neck like a shiny black half-moon, is the striking finale to the bottle."

The notes of the fragrance are: White Musks, Benzoin, Caramel Accord.

Candy is a fragrance that starts out very strong, I initially didn't feel like I would ever wear this fragrance based on how smells at this point.  It smells exactly like Jessica Simpson Fancy for the first 30 minutes of wear and then the strong caramel note starts to fade off and Candy begins to smell like a gourmand that is much easier to wear on a daily basis.  Once this fragrance fully develops, it smells like a wearable combination of the gourmand and musk notes.  Candy is much lighter than Fancy and can actually be worn in a professional environment, I have never found Fancy to be fully appropriate for this type of environment.  Candy allows me to wear this type of gourmand on a more daily basis and it is a very nice change from the florals that I am always wearing.  This fragrance has about five to six hours of wear and gets lighter throughout the day, some reviews dislike this aspect of the fragrance but it appealed to me since it allows me to wear this type of fragrance in a professional environment.

I finally decided to order a bottle of this fragrance and I have been wearing it nearly every single day since.  I also love the bottle, the bright pink detailing on it looks very attractive on my bureau and it makes me happy to look at it each morning.  I found a new fragrance love and I will be wearing it all the way until the spring months.

photo courtesy of Sephora

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Too Faced Spring 2014 Collection - Haute Chocolate

There are less than two weeks until Christmas and the first spring makeup collection has been released very early this morning.  It is still a bit too early for me to start shopping this collection but I am excited to start getting some ideas of what products that I will want to put on my spring shopping list.  Too Faced is the brand that has released their spring collection online today and it will be released to the Sephora and Ulta websites by the end of the month.  The company's website was barely functioning this afternoon when I tried to log on and look at the new products, it seems to be up and functioning at this point however quite a few of the products are already sold out.  I know that Too Faced will restock all of these products on their website and then there will be many more places to order them by the end of the month so I was not in rush to try and get these products before anyone else...

This collection is quite small and there doesn't seem to be a theme that ties these color products together.  That being said, the name of this collection is "Haute Chocolate" and it seems that the new chocolate-inspired eye shadow palette is the hero product of this collection and I am quite sure that it will sell out very quickly.  I am excited about the new eye shadow palette released by this company but the blush and lipstick shades aren't really doing anything for me.  I have been loving the Tarte Amazonian Clay blushes so I am not really in the market for a brand new blush formula.  The new lipstick shades are in one of my least favorite formulas so I certainly won't be ordering any of these...

The Too Faced Spring 2014 collection...

Chocolate Bar Eye Shadow Palette - The Chocolate Bar experience begins as soon as you open the palette and the smell of sweet chocolate envelops you. The eye shadows are pigmented with pure, antioxidant-rich cocoa powder and includes 16 matte and shimmer shades of natural browns, delicate pinks and luscious plums. Includes our signature how-to Glamour Guide with three looks to get you started.  Too Faced Co-Founder and Creative Director Jerrod Blandino was inspired to combine the power of antioxidant-rich cocoa powder and makeup while having a chocolate facial and learning about the benefits of cocoa at a Hawaiian spa. Based on this inspiration we created our best-selling bronzer Chocolate Soleil and have now added the Chocolate Bar Eye Shadow Palette.
- Gilded Ganache - deep chocolate brown satin
- Milk Chocolate - medium brown matte
- Black Forrest Truffle - deep warm plum shimmer
- Triple Fudge - deep warm chocolate brown shimmer
- Salted Caramel - deep cool brown matte
- Marzipan - warm medium brown matte
- Semi-Sweet - medium champagne shimmer
- Strawberry Bon Bon - pale pink satin
- Candied Violet - bright violet purple satin
- Amaretto - medium warm brown shimmer
- Hazelnut - medium neutral brown shimmer
- Crème Brulee - medum warm gold shimmer
- Haute Chocolate - deep chocolate brown matte
- Cherry Cordial - deep plum satin
- White Chocolate - cool champagne matte
- Champagne Truffle - cool champagne shimmer

Sweethearts Perfect Flush Blush - Choose from four no-fail color palette blushes to take the guesswork out of creating a sweet, romantic flush. In each baked, heart shaped blush there are three individual color swatches. The baking process and multiple colors create dimensional color to provide the look of younger, brighter, healthier skin. It’s like having Hollywood lighting wherever you go.  Blend all three swatches together for one universal shade or use each swatch individually for a custom color.
- Peach Beach - shimmering peach/rosy pink/shimmering light golden bronze
- Something About Berry - shimmering mauve pink/golden peach/shimmering magenta pink

La Crème Color Drenched Lipstick - There’s a reason why beauty editors, bloggers, and millions of social media fans are obsessed with La Crème Color Drenched Lipstick: it’s a completely unique, super-luxe combination of creamy color and intense hydration for unprecedented ultra-comfortable wear.  White Lotus Flower Extract is a sought-after antioxidant that contains hydrating, soothing, and lip-conditioning properties.  Power Peptides are known to stimulate collagen and aid in the appearance of smoother lips.  Creamy, one-swipe formula.
- Bon Bon - pink papaya
- Jelly Bean - raspberry red
- Lollipop - violet with orchid shimmer
- Pink Chocolate - berry brown
- Taffy - pink marshmallow nude

I think that the only product that I will order from this collection is the eye shadow palette, I can see that it is already sold out on the Too Faced website and I will need to wait for a few weeks to come back into stock.  This is one of the very few eye shadow palettes that I can see myself using all the time and creating all kinds of different eye looks from it.  I love all the neutrals in it and I would like to mix the purple hues into a few looks this winter. 

I have never tried this blush formula but it does not sound like my cup of tea.  I do not really like blush shades with a shimmer finish and I will be skipping over all of the shades in this formula.  I don't feel that I need to comment on the La Crème Lipsticks, I reviewed this formula a few days ago and this might be one of my least favorite products that I have tried lately.  I could barely keep this formula on my lips in the neutral hues and there is no way that I would try this formula in any type of deep or bold hue.

photo courtesy of Too Faced

Monday, December 16, 2013

Beautyblender Liquid Blendercleanser

Today we are looking at a product that I never would have purchased on its own and I am so glad that I was able to try it through a Glossybox that I received this fall.  Glossybox has been the only reason that I have gotten a full introduction to the Beautyblender brand and the big reason that I have fallen for the hype around this product.  I have been obsessed with using Beautyblenders since I first received one several months ago in my Glossybox and I started replacing it nearly once a month. This is quite an expensive habit but one that I willingly paid for as I just love how these sponges apply my liquid foundations.

In one of my last Glossyboxes, I received another product from the Beautyblender company that I have just started using.  I will admit that I tossed the cleanser aside when I first received it and didn't see why I needed this product.  I typically cleaned my brushes and Beautyblenders with shampoo and this method has been working for me for years.  The shampoo cleans my brushes very nicely but I was never very happy with how much seemed to be left in my Beautyblenders and I would simply replace them every few washings.  I was happy with this method until I got bored the other day and tried out this special cleanser that I received.

I found this product on the Sephora website and this is where I will be ordering it from once I go to buy another bottle.  "A sponge and brush cleanser that’s free of dyes and skin irritants.  This cleanser supports the integrity of the beautyblender® as it removes excess residue and germs for a clean makeup application. The cleanser’s soothing soy-based, low-suds formula breaks down rapidly making it earth-friendly, while the light lavender scent makes it fun to use.", states that company's website. 

I was bored last Saturday during the snowstorm and I decided to play with some new products.  I had originally washed my brushes and Beautyblender that morning.  I found this product in my makeup collection and decided to wash my Beautyblender again with it and see if it works better than my shampoo method.  I expected that I would reap little to no additional benefits from this cleanser and I was actually prepared to write a negative review of this brush cleaner.  One usage of this cleanser showed me that I was quite wrong and that there is a point to owning this product.

I used this cleanser on a freshly cleaned and dried Beautyblender, I expected little to no additional product to come out during the cleaning.  I fully saturated the sponge with warm water and then worked a small amount of the product into my Beautyblender.  It created a rich foam and excess foundation started pouring out of my "clean" sponge, I literally couldn't believe how much product came out of my "clean" sponge.  After one usage, the sponge looked nearly brand new and I couldn't believe that it took my so long to try this product out. 

I needed so little of this cleanser to achieve results and therefore my deluxe sample will last me for at least two or three more months.  I will be ordering a few size from Sephora once this is used up and this is the only product that I will be using to clean my Beautyblenders.  This product will pretty much pay for itself as I should be able to really space out the amount of time in between purchasing brand new Beautyblenders.

photo courtesy of Sephora

Sunday, December 15, 2013

Too Faced La Creme Lip Cream

The Too Faced spring collection will be arriving on their website in the beginning of this week and therefore I have decided to write my review of this Too Faced lipstick before this collection arrives on the website.  The website has always crashed with the initial releases of the spring and fall collections so I wanted to get this review done while I have their website up and functioning.  Once their website has come back up after the initial launch, I will start my spring collection coverage with Too Faced.  I ordered two of the Too Faced La Crème lipsticks several weeks ago and have been putting them to test since Thanksgiving and I am now ready to review this formula.

This lipstick formula was an instant hit since it's first release last year and many shades of this product are often sold out at Sephora and Ulta.  Many ladies consider this lipstick to be one of their favorite cream formulas and it is now a cult favorite product from this company.  I will state very early in the review that this is NOT my favorite lipstick formula and I will not be buying any more tubes after I use up what I purchased.

We are going to start with the product description and shades from the Too Faced website.  "Indulge your lips with rich creamy color, drenched with luscious, hydrating moisturizers including white lotus flower and power peptides.  Moisture has never been so pretty!  16 Must-Have Colors: Something for every fashion and mood in sought-after shades for each color family: nudes, spices, pinks, and reds.  Lotus Flower Extract: Hydrating, soothing, and lip-conditioning with environmental protection provided by anti-oxidants.  Power Peptides: Conditioning, smoothing, and firming for delicate lip area.  Indulgent color: Saturated, one-swipe formulas drench lips with sexy, pure color."

The shades that are found in this formula are...

- Naughty Nude - chestnut
- Naked Dolly- satin pink
- Nude Beach - nude peach
- In The Buff - warm beige
- Spice Spice Baby - pinky brown
- Cinnamon Kiss - spiced brown
- Honey Bear - toasted mauve
- Sweet Maple - plum brown
- Marshmallow Bunny - marshmellow pink
- Razzle Dazzle Rose - pink rose
- Juicy Melons - pink coral
- Fuchsia Shock - fuchsia pink
- I Want Candy - raspberry rose
- Coral Fire - coral red
- Stiletto Red - classic red
- Divine Wine - Bordeaux

I started with buying both Naked Dolly and Marshmallow Bunny, I wanted to start with nude and neutral pink lipstick shades from this product in order to start working with the formula.  I had originally planned to then order more of the saturated shades; I had my eyes on Razzle Dazzle Rose, I Want Candy, and Stiletto Red but I quickly decided against purchasing more shades once I started to work with this formula.

I am going to start with why I didn't like this formula and how my wear testing of these shades went.  I was looking for a creamy lipstick that was easy to wear and hydrating on the lips, I had a picture in my head of these being a more hydrating version of the Urban Decay Revolution Lipsticks that I have been loving the past few months.  The La Crème Lipsticks are not at all like those in formula and they reminded me very much of the MAC Sheen Supreme Lipsticks that I loved so much last spring.  If I would have know this fact, my initial wear tests probably would have gone better...

I will be the first to admit that I didn't plan out the initial wear test and I should not have done my first impression on a Monday morning while getting ready for work.  I decided to grab Naked Dolly instead of my usual Urban Decay Revolution Lipstick in Naked, the shades look similar in the package and I was expecting them to be very similar on the lips.  I will also admit that I did not properly exfoliate my lips as I have found that I usually can skip this step with the Urban Decay formula.  I should not have skipped the exfoliation step and I should never test new products out on a Monday morning...

The initial application was quite nice, it applied smoothly and felt very creamy and hydrating.  I was very happy with my first impression but this happiness quickly wore off in the morning hours.  Naked Dolly is a nude pink that looks very wearable.  My first huge issue with this formula occurred when I looked in the mirror once I got to work.  I noticed that my lips had a golden shimmer cast in certain lights and I went back to look up the product description again, I wondered how I had missed the detail about a shimmer finish when first looking at the product.  It turns out that this fact is never mentioned in the product description but has been noted by quite a few people that reviewed the product on the Sephora and Too Faced websites.  I felt like I had been mislead a bit because I don't think that I would have purchased this product if I would have known that the majority of the shades contain shimmer.

My biggest issue with the wear on the first day is how the lipstick behaved over the first few hours of wear.  The shimmer particles clung to the dry patches on my lips, creating a clumpy appearance to my lips.  I dabbed a drop of coffee off my mouth and the formula smeared all over the place, ruining my overall lip look.  After several hours, I was so disgusted with the product that I wiped it all off and just applied a clear balm to get through the rest of the work day.  I tried the Marshmallow Bunny shade once I got home and saw that it has a silver shimmer finish to it.  At this point, I was ready to return both tubes and never try this formula again.

I forced myself to give this product a second test before deciding that I couldn't stand it.  The next morning, I exfoliated my lips well in the shower and prepped my lips the way that I would when getting ready to wear a bright shade of the Stila Stay All Day Lipstick.  The application and wear of this product was much improved after exfoliation, the initial application was smooth and it stayed smooth much longer throughout the day.  I did add a touch of lip balm before reapplying this product after lunch and this helped the formula stay smooth throughout the rest of the day.  Once I got home, I did the same test with the other shade and obtained the same results.

Due to my issues with the more neutral shades of this formula, I decided against buying the rose and red shades that I initially liked.  I can only see the issues with this formula being even worse with a more pigmented shade and I wouldn't want to wear a formula that moves around so much in a shade that will be even more evident when it smears.

Overall, this is probably one of my biggest product fails in the past few months.  I was expecting a pigmented creamy lipstick and received a cream formula filled with shimmer.  I can make this formula work with a bit more effort than I was expecting and I will keep both of these tubes and use them up over the next few months.  I prefer more of a matte finish lipstick and I won't be buying any more shades in this formula...

photo courtesy of Too Faced

Saturday, December 14, 2013

Spring 2014 Runway Trends

I have decided that we are going to check out the upcoming beauty trends that we will be seeing all over the place in the coming months.  I finished up my holiday collection coverage the other week and I am ready to see what collections and products will be making up the bulk of spring makeup shopping.  It is snowing like crazy today and I need to think about something other than cold and snow, it might be very early to start deciding on what trends I will be loving this spring but I need a distraction from thinking about all the shoveling that I will need to do this weekend.

I have already started to see pictures of the Too Faced spring collection and that collection will actually be releasing on their website early next week.  This company is always the earliest but I am sure that several companies will have their spring collections out by the week after Christmas and we will then go full swing into the newest beauty products that will be arriving in the next month or two.

Allure has always published the spring and fall runway trends and this is the article that I have traditionally used to review what trends we will be seeing each season.  This spring will be no different and I am using the Allure article about the biggest runway trends from the December issue of this magazine.  They have highlighted the top nine hair and makeup trends from the runways, I have found this article to be the best source of the trends that we will be shopping from in the coming weeks.  I am also going to start picking the trends that I will be following this spring season and starting to get ideas of what products that I will need to add to my collection (and what products I already own that will work well).

Allure's top trends for the upcoming spring season!

The Rumpled Braid - The trick to creating the textured plaits at Alberta Ferretti was scrunching first: Hairstylist Guido misted the volumizing spray all over damp hair, then scrunched as he blew the hair dry using a diffuser.  Then he curled the top layer, combed through the resulting waves with his fingers, and teased the crown before weaving a classic braid at the neck.

Romantic Ponytail - Guido called the ribboned hair at Nina Ricci "simple and feminine".  We call it one of the most elegant ponytails we've seen.  He secured the low ponytail with a black elastic, then tied a ribbon in a bow to conceal the band.  The ponytails stayed intact, even after one model was almost wrestled off the runway by a protestor who stormed the show.

Casual-Cool Bun - To keep the chignon at Celine from looking like something you'd wear to ballet class, Guido ran his fingers through the top of the hair to add a little volume and brushed the sides to keep them flat.  Once the hair was twisted into a knot and pinned, he used a lightweight hair spray to smooth flyaways and make sure it was clean, not crunchy.

Hottest Lip Color: Orange - Orange is the new red.  And pink.  And any other lipstick shade you might think about reaching for.  "Right now it just feels cooler than red, " said makeup artist Gucci Westman, echoing the sentiments of pretty much every other pro.  Creamy, matte, neon, or pastel - every single orange looked fresh and strong.

Metallic Smoky Eyes - Whoever said not to mix metals clearly never saw how sexy gold, bronze, and copper can look together.  Case in point: the glimmering smoky eyes at Gucci, which combined all three hues into one beautifully burnished halo.

Messy Updos - The most beautiful updos were the ones that looked a little (or a lot) unkempt.  To create them at Michael Kors, hairstylist Orlando Pita curled random sections, then sprinkled in texturizing powder before twisting and pinning the hair into a haphazard chignon, letting pieces fall out along the way.  At Rochas, hairstylist Eugene Souleiman achieved "multitextured, chaotic-yet-beautiful twists" with beach spray, furiously brushing out sections of hair that had been curled, crimped, and straightened.  "It's a bad hair day gone right," he said.

Gold Fever - Makeup artists and hairstylists glided everything in sight.  (No, really, you should see our notebook.)  "For 15 years I've done metallic looks in blues, yellows, and greens," said Pat McGrath.  "This season, when designers asked for metallic makeup, they wanted it to look more sophisticated."

Gilt-y Pleasure - We first spotted this Sylvain Le Hen barrette at the Jason Wu show - and soon after on several editors.  Stylist Kate Young found the clips at Colette in Paris and gave them to hairstylist Odile Gilbert, who snapped them on the models' low, sleek ponytails.  "It looks graphic and elegant," said Gilbert.  "The rose gold is my favorite".

Artsy Eyes - Talk about works of art: At Derek Lam, makeup artist Tom Pecheux created cubelike cat eyes, referencing sculptor Donald Judd.  At Celine, makeup artist Dick Page drew "surrealist" brows.  McGrath looked to street art when she airbrushed graffiti-style scribbles across the brow bones at Prada, and at Chanel, Philips made miniature abstract paintings by brushing rainbow-colored theatrical paint around the eyes, framed with black lines across the lids and brows.

There are five new hairstylists that we will be seeing all over this place this spring season and I am quite fond of the Romantic Ponytail.  This look will work well in many different situations and I will be able to wear it to work if I change out the type of ribbon used in the look.  The Gilt-y Pleasure style will also be a favorite of mine this spring, this look will be easier for me to wear in a professional environment.  I will be looking for a few different styles of gilded barrettes and ponytail holders and I will be wearing this look all through the spring and summer.

I am not a fan of the orange lip look and I will be skipping over this.  I have never liked or looked good in peach or orange hues so I will be sticking to my classic pink and red lip looks.  I like both the metallic and the gilded eye looks that were all over the runways and I will be working with these looks to make them more friendly for the professional environment.  The Artsy Eye look is probably not for me, I don't think that I have the skills to create these types of looks and I don't know that I like them enough to spend a lot of time learning how to create them.

I will be adding more hair styling products to my shopping list and I am excited to see some new eye shadow palettes.  I am a bit on the fence about what lip products I will/won't need for spring since I am not going to be adapting the orange lip hues that promise to rule the collections.

photo courtesy of Google

Friday, December 13, 2013

Fitness Friday - Supported Shoulderstand

Today is another Fitness Friday that will be focusing on yoga poses, I feel that many of my Fitness Friday posts have been all about yoga and I know that many more will be about yoga.  One of the most exciting parts of the semester end was signing up for a few more yoga classes over the next few weeks and knowing that I will have some time to start up a home practice.  One of my goals over this vacation is to create a special night flow that I can use before going to bed at night.  I will post that flow once I have come with the pose sequence.

Today's yoga pose is the first inversion that I ever tried, Supported Shoulderstand is the pose that starts most students' experience with inversions.  I still struggle with an unsupported version of this pose, so we will look at the supported modification of the pose.  This pose can easily become unsupported by pulling the blankets away and using no support on the shoulders. 

Yoga Journal provides details on the pose and the steps to follow in order to safely start working up into Shoulderstand. 

- Fold two or more firm blankets into rectangles measuring about 1 foot by 2 feet, and stack them on top of each other.  You can place a sticky mat over the blankets to help the upper arms stay in place while in the pose.  Then lie on the blankets with your shoulders supported (and parallel to one of the longer edges) and your head on the floor.  Lay your arms on the floor alongside your torso, and bend your knees and set your feet against the floor with the heels close to the sitting bones.  Exhale, press your arms against the floor, and push your feet away from the floor, drawing your thighs into the front torso.

- Continue to lift by curling the pelvis and then back the torso away from the floor, so that your knees come toward your face.  Stretch your arms out parallel to the edge of the blanket and turn them outward so the fingers press against the floor (and the thumbs point behind you).  Bend your elbows and draw them toward each other.  Lay the backs of your upper arms on the blanket and spread your palms against the back of your torso.  Raise your pelvis over your shoulders, so that the torso is relatively perpendicular to the floor.  Walk your hands up your back (toward the floor) without letting your elbows slide too much wider than shoulder width.

- Inhale and lift your bent knees toward the ceiling, bringing your thighs in line with your torso and hanging the heels down by your buttocks.  Press your tailbone toward your pubis and turn the upper thighs inward slightly.  Finally inhale and straighten the knees, pressing the heels up toward the ceiling.  When the backs of the legs are fully lengthened, lift the balls of the big toes so the inner legs are slightly longer than the outer. 

- Soften the throat and tongue.  Firm the shoulder blades against the back, and move the sternum toward the chin.  Your forehead should be relatively parallel to the floor, your chin perpendicular.  Press the backs of your upper arms and tops of your shoulders actively into the blanket support, and try to lift the upper spine away from the floor.  Gaze softly at your chin.

- As a beginning practitioner, stay in the pose for about 30 seconds.  Gradually add 5 to 10 seconds to your stay everyday or until you can comfortably hold the pose for 3 minutes.  Then continue for 3 minutes each day for a week or two, until you feel relatively comfortable in this pose.  Again gradually and 5 to 10 seconds onto your stay until you can comfortably hold the pose for 5 minutes.  To come down, exhale, bend your knees into your torso again, and roll your back torso slowly and carefully onto the floor, keeping the back of your head on the floor.

Supported Shoulderstand is usually the first inversion that a yoga teacher will start to work their students into.  I will say that I fell out of this pose many times before my teacher decided that I was going to learn this pose in a different way.  The only way that I could learn how to straighten up correctly was to do this pose with my feet against a wall.  Once I mastered being able to hold that for 3 minutes, I then worked on doing this pose with the blanket supports and holding it for a minute.  I have worked up to holding the pose for three minutes and I am still working on holding it for longer.

I have yet to try this pose in the unsupported fashion and I will be working up to this in the next few weeks.  I plan to use this winter break to practice yoga as much as possible...while pushing myself at the gym.  I have four weeks until class starts again...time to use it wisely!

photo courtesy of YogaJournal.com