August 29, 2014

The ULTIMATE Makeup Dupe Has Arrived

In the spirit of saving y'all some money, I was thinking of penning a Labor Day Sale post of all different kinds beauty deals and sales. However, any Google search will spit out the results for you. So, I figured I hadn't done a "splurge vs. steal" or "dupes" post in a while and this is a perfect time, right?! Right. So buckle up, ladies and germs. This is a good one. Some of these dupes will straight up BLOW YA HAIR BACK Pauly D style (if you don't get that reference, get thee to Netflix and prepare yourself for greatness).

I tried keeping my list to around 5 comparisons, but as I was perusing this site, I found about FOURTEEN dupes right off the top of my head. This line is a London based company and they are getting some seriously RAVE reviews around town. If you YouTube "Makeup Revolution" you can see some pretty great comparison videos as well as swatches and hauls. The pigmentation on these shadows and blushes are unreal for the price. I think I'm in love. Make sure when you visit the dupe site, that you pay attention to your currency type. If you are living in the US, you will need to adjust your currency to USD (duh) which you can do if you click on the solid gray bar towards the top of the website right underneath the categories. Shipping (for "standard world" without tracking will set you back around $13, but when you see the prices, you won't mind...I mean...highly pigmented lipsticks for under $2?!?! Yeah....I know). Their site accepts PayPal which is kind of cool for those folks who are into secure payment methods.

Here. We. Go. High end will be on top along with respective link, dupe will be below it (with its link above it's photo).




Make sure you pop over to YouTube to check out some of these reviews. As soon as I get back from Hawaii, I plan on grabbing quite a bit and I'll make sure to either do a video for you guys, or at least some swatch comparisons. This is a great way to experiment with some products that you're unsure if you'll like or not before you spend the money on the high-end version (perfect example would be the Urban Decay Electric Palette since those are some seriously intense shades). Try out the dupe version to see if it's something you can't live without and then treat yourself with the luxury line.
August 14, 2014

How to Do a Beauty Detox at Home

Beauty Detox

I don't know about cha'all, but I am READY for Fall. Truth be told, I was ready on June 1st. I have never been a fan of Summer. I hate heat. I am not a fan of the sun. Humidity makes me want to kick things. I hate most Summer fashion. Did I mention I'm not a fan of the sun? I know that doesn't make me popular, but oh well. It is what it is. Once Summer starts nearing an end, the "back to school" ads start running on t.v. and school clothes catalogs start rolling in, I get a little nostalgic for that new school year prepping I did as a kid. There was something so exciting and fresh about starting a new school year. Everything is bright and shiny and new! School clothes, a new haircut, new shoes, new binders and pens and paper and notepads....ahhhh I can still smell the aisles of the office supply store!

Well, that ship has SAILED. I haven't been anticipating "back to school" for myself in longer than I care to admit. But there is one tradition I still look forward to at the end of Summer and I call it my "Beauty Detox". A time when I take a long, hard look in the mirror and assess the damage done from the sun and elements as well as the late nights and early mornings (damn you, bright orb in the sky for waking me before I'm good and ready!)

It's time to bust out those lighted magnifying mirrors, ladies! Shit is about to get R E A L. Try as I may to shellac myself in sunscreen, take good care of my nails and protect my tresses from salt water, UV rays and styling products, there is always some major damage control to be done to "shed" my body of a few months of bad decisions. Get ready to slough off some dead skin, rejuvenate those parched strands, moisturize those over-polished nail beds and hydrate that sexy bod of yours.....we're in full-on detoxification mode....and I promise, you'll thank me when we're finished. We'll start with the face and work our way around, shall we?

YSL Natural Action Exfoliator I fell in love with this stuff when I was working for YSL. There's a bit of a learning curve to it, but once you get the hang of it, you'll be obsessed. It has a thick, honey-like consistency and you apply it to dry skin. It goes from an oil-like consistency (upon contact with the skin) and changes to a milk-like consistency when it's ready to remove. You can either rinse off or tissue off if you're dry. Natural fruit acids, sugars and ultrafine oils slough off old skin cells and leave your face feeling like a baby's rear.
Boscia Luminizing Black Mask I love Boscia facial masks. And I really love a good peel-off mask. Nothing makes you feel like you're literally shedding your skin more than peeling off the thin, dried layer of mask and seeing little dry skin flakes stuck to it. The mineral rich clay draws out impurities while the antioxidants brightens and firms. 
Philosophy 'Take a Deep Breath' Energizing Oxygen Gel Cream I love love love this moisturizer. The name pretty much sums up what it does. Oil-free, detoxifying, super hydrating but still lightweight and non-greasy. It's pretty much perfect.

Fresh Seaberry Exfoliating Soap I first used this soap when I was at a fancy hotel and I was an instant fan. It's triple milled so it's extremely luxurious, but the seaberry and the exfoliating beads in it buffs away dull, dead skin. It's kind of like a loofah, a cleanser and a moisturizer all wrapped up in a convenient bar of soap. This is perfect for sloughing off all that scaly skin left over from too much sun exposure, but it won't strip you of all your moisture.
Alpha Hydrox AHA Wipes I have been a fan of the Alpha Hydrox line for years. It checks off two of my favorite product qualities: effective and affordable. I've been using their nighttime moisturizer for years and I always wake up with the nicest glow. I included these guys in the "body" category, but they could have also been included in the "face" category. I put them here because they are an incredible little secret weapon to keeping your neck and décolletage looking young and wrinkle and sun spot-free. They're wipes that are saturated in a 14% AHA solution, so here's the deal: they're pretty intense. Meaning, you're going to feel things when you use them. Namely, some tingling. You only want to use these weekly or else you are going to get irritated. If you have super sensitive skin, you can "rinse" with water (5-15 minutes after using) to "neutralize" your skin's pH. They're fabulous for lightening sun spots on the chest area. If you find they're too harsh for you, you can use them on your heels and elbows to get rid of rough patches and scaly skin!
AromaSoapLab Sore Muscle Foaming Bath Salts I do Zumba with the lovely gal that makes these. She makes the most amazing soaps and soaks and scrubs. All of her products are handmade with no animal testing, no parabens, no mineral oil, no sodium laurel sulphate and no phosphates as well as being all vegan. I am OBSESSED with her Sea Mud Tea Tree Mint Facial Scrub. I swear it looked like I used a Biore strip on my nose after I used it. It's AMAZING for unclogging your pores. Anyhoo, her bath salts removes toxins and lactic acid build up as well as relieving sore muscles. Also amazing is her Pink Sugar Olive Oil Soap and her Anise Mint Charcoal Olive Oil Soap. They rinse so clean with no residue and they smell good enough to eat (but please resist that urge).
PeterThomasRoth Mega-Rich Body Lotion Fancy packaging? No. Amazing moisturizer? YES. I am a Peter Thomas Roth fan to the fullest. Their products work. No frills, just great quality stuff here.

Bumble & bumble Sunday Shampoo I included two different shampoos in this category because this one is only meant to be used on a weekly basis (any more than that and it'll be too stripping). This stuff is GREAT for removing product residue and hard water minerals. Also a great shampoo for infrequent hair washers.
Abba Detox Shampoo  Not only is this a great shampoo for removing heavy buildup and impurities, but their Pro Quinoa Complex contains quinoa, barley and soy proteins which rescue damaged hair fibers so it won't strip the hair of its moisture.
Redken Extreme Anti-Snap Every woman should own Anti-Snap. I just can't say enough good things about it. A protein rich formula that fortifies the damaged area of hair and helps reduce breakage. Contains ceramides and fruit acids for added strength and shine. This is a MUST HAVE for dry, damaged, split ends in between trims. It's like a big, tall, glass of water for your hair. And it smells diviiiiiiiiiine.
Nature Made Fish Oil Adult Gummies Okay this one is kind of unconventional. I've always taken a fish oil supplement, and I'm sure it was doing everything it was supposed to be doing for me on the inside (heart health for the WIN!) but it wasn't until I started taking these babies in gummy form that I noticed my scalp and hairline were noticeably less itchy, dry and flaky. Seriously, it's like all my scalp issues disappeared after I started taking these. Buy them, eat them, love them.

Nails, hands and feet 
CND Solar Oil Similar to the Redken Anti-Snap, I really believe everyone should own a bottle (or three) of Solar Oil. It's not affectionately called "a manicure in a bottle" for nothin'! Seriously, this stuff is the JAM for dry, brittle, peeling nails. Got dry, hardened cuticles? Boom, this is your stuff. A handy tip (PUN!) that was given to me at a very young age by a manicurist is to massage some Solar Oil into your nails every night (even if you have polish on) and it will add elasticity to your manicure keeping it from cracking and peeling. 
Deborah Lippmann Rich Girl Hand Cream It kind of pains me a little (okay a lot) to be recommending a $28 hand lotion, BUT, in the words of my homeboy Ferris Bueller "It is so choice!" Honestly, this hand cream is like the Bentley of hand creams. If dropping 30 bones on hand lotion isn't an option for you (you're not alone) here is another favorite that is much more wallet-friendly: Neutrogena Fast Absorbing Hand Cream.
Emjoi Micro-Pedi My mom discovered this little gem while shopping at Costco one day. She brought it home, used it, and then went and bought one for me as well as my sister-in-law. It does some SERIOUS heavy lifting in the callous removing department. I'm not kidding. I hate wearing shoes and walk around barefoot most of the time, resulting in some less-than-sightly looking heels. This thing makes it look and feel like I had a professional pedicure every time I use it. You can find the replacement refill rollers on Amazon as well. After a summer of running around barefoot on the beach or pavement or your backyard, this little guy will be your best friend. Also makes a great gift idea for your girlfriends (just don't forget to include some cute bottles of nail polish to go with!)

Now that you have all your products lined up, get thee to your bathroom, lock the doors, turn on your Spotify channel of choice, and start from the top down! You can thank me later when you've removed 5 pounds of dead skin and split ends!

Also, don't forget to head over to Simply Classic to enter her contest! She's giving away an Urban Decay Naked3 palette, a Clarisonic Mia, a J. Crew gift card, a Deborah Lippmann pack of polishes, and a Jouer beauty pack! Awesome goodies!
August 5, 2014

Drugstore Beauty Products I Would NOT Buy Again

Drugstore Beauty Products I Would NOT Buy Again

How's that for a straightforward title, eh?! I want to put on my "nice girl" hat for a second here *starts digging around...hang on...* THERE! I knew I had it lying around here somewhere, nevermind that it's a bit dusty. Okay, now that we're playing nice, I want to preface this post by saying PLEASE don't be offended if you see one of your favorite products listed here. It's nothing personal at all. What I have included in my Beauty Graveyard (a.k.a. where beauty products go to die) are just things that simply did not work for ME. It does not mean they are garbage and it especially does not mean they are crappy quality (except for the e.l.f. concealer...that's just pure TRASH and I promise there are better affordable products out there that actually work). I had high hopes for some of these guys (namely, the L'Oreal Visible Lift foundation and the NYX Baked Blush) but truth be told, I was severely disappointed. And you guessed it...I'm going to tell you why! So refresh your beverage of choice, kick back, and peep some cold, hard TRUTH.

Up & Up Renewal Cleanser | I picked this up on a whim. It's supposed to be the generic version of Olay Regenerist Regenerating Cream Cleanser (Pack of 3). I have never used either of them before picking up the cheap version and I just plain didn't like anything about it. The scent was off-putting (smells like flowers and sour breath), the consistency was too creamy and it left a gross film on my skin even after multiple attempts to remove it. Who knows, maybe it would work great for very dry skin in the colder, Winter months. But for someone with combination skin in the Summer? PASS!

COVERGIRL Bombshell Volume Mascara | If you read my blog regularly, you may remember a certain tar-like mascara that inspired THIS POST. Feel free to read why I think this mascara was formulated by Satan himself. I know he's sitting down there laughing at all the poor women trying to remove this shit at night.

NYX Super Fat Eye Marker | I really wanted to love this one, dang it! I love a good, thick, black lined eye. I thought for sure this one would do the trick. It wasn't awful right out of the gate, but it dried out SO quickly in the marker-like pen and it faded on my eyelid after only a few hours, even WITH a primer.

Revlon Customeyes Shadow | How cute do these look?! I mean, I bought this eyeshadow because they look like tiny little patches of sweaters! That's where the love story ends, folks. The pigment was pure garbage. I practically had to use a jack-hammer to get anything up out of the pan and onto my shadow brush. Once applied, the colors somehow all looked the same...which is surprising, seeing that to the naked eye, there is such a variation of shade ranges.

REVLON Photoready Airbrush Mousse | I was really bummed this didn't work for me. As you all know, I'm a HUGE fan of Revlon ColorStay Foundation (I use shade '180 Sand Beige') and I use it almost daily. I assumed the Photoready mousse would be a cool and different texture to keep around for when I wanted a bit lighter coverage and more of an airbrushed look. I found it worked best when you apply a dollop to your palm (it comes out like hair mousse from the 80s which with makeup, is a way for makeup companies to give you less product and hike the price up) and apply with a foundation brush. This applied streaky (no matter HOW I applied it), coverage was sub-par and it felt wet for too long. If I apply a water based foundation, I eventually want it to set. This one did not. Majorly gimmicky.

Aveeno Positively Radiant Tinted Moisturizer | This one wasn't the WORST thing that ever happened to me, but it wasn't the best, either. It was much too dark (even the lightest shade) and it just felt heavy and silicone-like on my skin. I wouldn't be opposed to keeping this one around for my neck and chest for sun protection and to even out those areas. But it was just too heavy for my face.

N.Y.C Smooth Skin Perfect Primer No Color | You know how they say it's better to hate something as opposed to being indifferent towards it, because hate requires an effort...? Well, I'm indifferent towards this primer. I don't hate it because that would require me to make an effort. It was was just an extra step with NO payoff. It looks pretty when you squirt it into your hands. It's white and pearlescent and shimmery without being glittery. It feels kind of "cool" on the skin. But it literally disappears when you apply foundation over it. It doesn't give foundation any staying power, it doesn't fill fine lines and wrinkles, it doesn't give a dewy look to the skin like it says it will. It just literally evaporates. Primer is meant to make all your complexion dreams come true, and this one won't.

NYX Cosmetics Baked Blush in Spanish Rose | Okay. Hear me out on this one. I wouldn't say I'll never buy this blush again, but I won't buy this particular color again. Is it pretty on? Yes. It's a beautiful, cool-toned pink with a slight shimmer, but it takes A LOT of elbow grease to get the product onto your brush. The whole point of baked shadows and blushes is so that you get an insanely pigmented color payoff with minimal effort. This one missed the mark. Once you DO get enough product onto your brush to see it, it is pretty. However, there are WAY better baked blushes out there for your money. I will try a few other colors of this blush to see if maybe I got a dud. I'm not quite ready to give up yet! Here are my favorite baked blushes: Milani Baked Powder Blush, Tigi Cosmetics Glow Blush Lovely - Pack of 2, and MAC Mineralize Blush (fave colors 'New Romance' and 'Petal Power').

Revlon ColorStay Shadow Links | These little individual pans of shadow click or "link" together so you can pick and choose your shades to make your own personal palette of colors. Great concept, horrible product. Exact same problem as the aforementioned Revlon shadow up above. Not worth your time.

e.l.f. Lip Stain | You get what you pay for here. Dries out in the container almost instantly. Does not feel good on the lips (drying, almost burning sensation) and the color is not represented well once on. As Michael Scott would say..."Doesn't translate."

Almay Wake-Up Liquid Makeup | Poor Almay. They just can't seem to get it together in the foundation department. Well, their makeup just isn't the best as a whole, come to think of it. I grabbed this foundation because it was on a major sale at Target. It's not good. Zero coverage, zero staying power, weird smell (and not because it went bad, it was just.....weird). I immediately threw it in the trash.

L'Oreal Paris Visible Lift Blur Foundation | Out of everything listed here, I'm most disappointed about this one. The Visible Lift line from L'Oreal has many different products in it (different foundations, concealers, blushes, etc.) and I REALLY love their L'Oreal Paris Visible Lift Serum Absolute Concealer. I read so many good things about this foundation online and LOVE L'Oreal products, but this one fell flat. I really hate it. I was hoping it would give me a semi-matte finish and medium coverage. I found that right out of the tube, the consistency seems promising, and the coverage initially wasn't bad. But I didn't get more than 3 hours out of it (maybe less) before I started turning into a major grease slick. I'm not typically that oily or greasy and I felt like this stuff was literally melting off my face. This might work well for dryer skin types that tend to feel super tight after they apply foundation, but for me, it was a major disappointment.

NYX Eye Shadow Base Primer | This is another one I'm just kind of "meh" about. It wasn't horrible, but I'd rather spend a little extra and get a good lid primer that doesn't budge. This particular NYX lid primer comes in white (which is what I have), white pearl, and skin tone. I bought white because I wanted to "white wash" my lids to get my more vibrant shadows to pop. While it did help me achieve that, it just didn't hold everything in place like I had hoped it would. I will be going back to my NARS Smudge Proof Eyeshadow Base because, well, it's just the best.

Rimmel Stay Matte Primer | I was surprised I didn't like this one. I was actually kind of impressed with the foundation from this line so I thought the primer would be good, too. It didn't start off bad. After applied, I had the "matte" finish I was expecting before I applied my foundation. However, after only a couple hours, it seemed to settle into my pores and I was SUPER shiny (even with a finishing powder on). Bottom line: I just really disliked how my foundation reacted to this primer. It was not matte and smooth as it should have been. Again, you get what you pay for in this case. Try Smashbox Photo Finish Targeted Pore and Line Primer if you need an oil-controlling primer that will help hide pores. It's amazing.

e.l.f. Studio Complete Coverage Concealer | Where do I even start. There's just not even enough time in the day to list all the things wrong with this crap. I'll try my hardest to keep it short(ish). Color is chalky. Consistency is horrible to blend, cakey on the skin, yet...somehow doesn't cover imperfections. Settles into pores and fine lines, makes skin appear sallow. Are you getting the gist yet? If you see this guy in the drugstore, turn and RUN in the opposite direction. He'll only break your heart.

Ulta Mineral Powder Foundation | This was another letdown. I read incredible things about this in online reviews. Sadly, it didn't blow my skirt up. I'm not a huge fan of powder mineral foundation, but I bought this to use as a loos finishing powder over the top of my foundation. The first day I wasn't sure what to think, but the more I used it, the more I realized it didn't blend well AT ALL, even when I used my biggest, fluffiest powder brush and tried a light dusting. I tried my kabuki brush, no bueno. I tried using it as actual powder foundation...didn't like that either. It had a very slight luminosity to it which would be pretty if it sat well on the skin, just didn't deliver. I wonder if it just wasn't as finely milled as what I'm used to. Luckily I got it on sale.

I'm sure over the years of wearing makeup, I could come up with just about a billion other items I'd consider "duds" but these were the few that came to mind. I'm always curious...what products do you hate? Or what haven't you been impressed with? Shout it out in the comments if you get a chance! Maybe you'll save someone the disappointment!
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