February 24, 2016

L'Oreal Infallible® Pro-Matte Gloss Review

When L'Oreal sent me a kit chock full of new products, I just about fainted. L'Oreal has been my favorite drugstore brand since forEVER so I was so excited to give these all a go! Seriously...look at this adorable train case they sent me with all these goodies inside! 

I'll write up separate posts for the other items, but these Infallible Pro Matte Glosses deserved their own post. I'm obsessed.

I wasn't sure what to expect as the title is a bit of an oxymoron. I mean that in a good way...it intrigued me, which is hard to do when it comes to makeup. A matte gloss? Isn't gloss supposed to be shiny? So if it's matte, does that make it more like a liquid lipstick? Is it dry to the touch? Is it sticky? You can imagine how quickly I wanted to get these on my MOUF! 

Here they are in all their glory applied to the back of my hand. The photos pretty much speak for themselves as far as what you're looking at. But here are some pinch points for you:
  • HOLY PIGMENT! These babies are sooooo pigmented! I only needed one pass over my skin to get that much opacity. They are not streaky, goopy, thin, or transparent. 
  • The consistency is somewhere between a gloss and a lipstick. I am a big fan of matte liquid lipsticks because they last a long time, but I'm not keen on how they feel on. These Infallible Matte Glosses were so incredibly cushy and comfortable on my lips. They felt a bit more substantial than a traditional gloss, but they were not heavy in the slightest. 
  • The applicator is a pointed sponge which makes it so easy to be precise (which we all know is a must when working with bright and bold shades). I still recommend using a liner with these particular shades, but if you can't, you can still get pretty darn specific on where you're laying down your color. 
  • The finish is 100% opaque with the slightest sheen. I found that I really liked the finish when I lightly pressed a tissue over my lips after application. I got more of a true matte finish. 
  • They last a realllllly long time. Not quite a lip stain, but damn close. You can rub and rub and rub and you're still going to have color left on your lips. I had to use coconut oil to remove them completely.
Here they are on. Such pretty shades! I honestly don't know which is my favorite! I'm a sucker for neon pink, so "Fuchsia Amnesia" stands out...but check out that "Shanghai Scarlet" and "Rebel Rose"! So chic!

 Shanghai Scarlet (true red with neutral undertones)

 Fuchsia Amnesia (hot pink with blue undertones)

 Rebel Rose (darker mauvey pink)

 Forbidden Rose (deep berry)

Rouge Envy (cooler undertone pinkish red)

Needless to say, after trying these 5 shades, I'm coveting the rest of the line (10 shades total). These are extremely wearable in terms of formula. You can really customize the finish you get with them depending on whether or not you blot (that rhymed)! Here are all of the shades offered. Top row is what I'm wearing in this post, the row below it are the 5 I need to get my mittens on! Have you tried these yet? Which is your favorite color??

February 7, 2016

Luxury Products Worth Shelling Out For

I absolutely love finding a good deal. I also love sharing those deals with you guys. I think there are so many incredible products out there that work so well that don't cost an arm and a leg. Drugstore skincare and cosmetics have come a long way over the past decade. That being said, every so often I like to treat myself and splurge on products that I absolutely know I love and that work 100% of the time for me. Even more fun is when a brand introduces me to a luxe product that I may not have purchased for myself due to price alone, or not being able to justify the cost due to not knowing enough about the product.

I thought it might be a fun follow up to my last post about budget finds, to show you guys a few of my favorite "luxury" items and why I love them. I'll be sure to let you know whether or not I purchased them myself, or if they were provided to me from the brand, just for transparency's sake.

Without further ado...

Let's start with YSL Touche Eclat. Look. There are many many other "concealer pens" out there that mimic the Touche Eclat, but that's where there's no comparison. This isn't a concealer pen so much as it is a radiance pen. Yes, it helps conceal under eye circles and even out skin tone, but it provides a finish so beautiful, smooth, and creamy that I just have not been able to find elsewhere. That goes for drugstore AND department store products. Are there good options out there that are more affordable? Yes, of course. But a true dupe just does not exist. I was introduced to this product when I worked as a YSL Counter Manager, and have repurchased many replacements since then. They have an impressive shade range (I'm no. 2 Ivory and sometimes no. 1 Radiance if I want more of a porcelain doll look to my skin). Anytime you see a ".5" after the number, it has a bit more of a yellow or warm tone to it. So if you hate pinkiness to your complexion products, make sure you choose one with a ".5" after it. Also available at Sephora, YSL, Barney's and Sak's.

Okay this one. THISSSS ONE. I've had some really incredible skincare sent to me since the blog has gained momentum (thank you to everyone who reads this lil thing!) and for the most part, I've been really happy with what I've received. However, this bad boy was sent to me about a month ago, and I really wanted to use it for at least a couple weeks to see how my skin responded. I feel I should preface by saying I don't have many fine lines or wrinkles (thanks, Mom!) but don't write me off just yet. What I'm lacking in wrinkles, I make up for in gigantic pores and uneven texture. We can't win 'em all. Enter StriVectin Multi-Action Restorative Cream. When I first received this, I have to admit, I thought to myself "hmm, another anti-aging skin cream...we'll see how you do...." Well, I stand before you humbled. This cream, I'm convinced, has completely changed the texture, tone, and brightness of my complexion. The consistency is almost a whipped, airy feel, which is a welcomed texture to us oily-skinned gals. It doesn't feel heavy at all on the skin, making it an ideal daily and nightly moisturizer for me. The first morning I woke up after using this, I had NO greasiness to my face (which usually happens on my nose, forehead and chin) but my face also didn't feel tight or dry. After a few days of using this, I decided to incorporate the other skincare product provided to me from StriVectin (the Advanced Retinol Pore Refiner) a while back that I was liking on it's own just fine. Let me tell you something: when used in conjunction with this face cream, the results are amplified tenfold. It's as if they were made for each other. Kind of like the Beyonce and Jay-Z of skincare products. Here's where things get kind of backwards and took me a bit to get used to. You use the Restorative Cream first, and then you apply the Pore Refiner as the last step to your regimen. This seemed strange to me as it seemed like the thicker cream should go on top, but questioning StriVectin on skincare advice is kind of like questioning Donald Trump on how to get the best comb-over. You just trust the experts. It's almost like the Pore Refiner seals in the Restorative Cream. I can't tell you the difference this has made in the size and texture of my pores, especially on my forehead. I feel like my forehead is so smooth I could challenge my 7-month old to a skin-off (those exist right??) I scooched myself over to the StriVectin website and saw that (GASP!) they are offering a FREE deluxe sample of the Multi-Action Restorative Cream (7ml) with any $50 purchase with code: FREEMA. I would be remiss not to mention their Auto Replenishment program also, as it saves you 20% with each order. So do yourself a favor, head over to their site, sign up as an Inner Circle member (it's free), pick something out for $50, then pop FREEMA in at checkout to get a sample of this stuff! You can thank me later.

Moving on to hair care! I feel like there are SO many incredible high-end shampoos and conditioners I could recommend, so for the sake of simplicity, I chose an item that is a game-changer for me. Schwarzkopf BC Bonacure Repair Rescue Sealed Ends. This product is an absolute must have for people who are trying to grow out their hair, and anyone with dry, brittle or split ends. Let me just clarify first, that nothing replaces a good old fashioned trim from a professional when your ends are truly splitting (you can't mistake split ends, if you have 'em, you know). However, if you're like me and your ends are dry and parched from heat styling and trying to stretch my trims as long as possible to get some growth on my hair, then you need this stuff. It comes in a small squeeze bottle because it will last you forevvvvver and the tiniest bit goes a long way. Really. Don't overdo it on this stuff or it will weigh your hair down. And don't think "oh I'll just apply it as a mask to my whole head of hair!" Nah, fam. It's only for your ends. Apply to literally just your ends...as in...no further up than half an inch...when your hair is damp. You can either proceed to blow drying, or you can twist hair up into a loose bun and secure with an ouchless elastic or scrunchy (please though, don't wear the scrunchy out in public. I don't care how many magazines say they're making a comeback #JustNo).

Here's another skincare item that I discovered on my own. Always purchased with my own scrill (le sigh). Clarins Face Treatment Oils are sooooo luxurious. The really neat thing about them, other than the fact that they seriously treat the actual skin instead of just making it soft temporarily, is that there is a formula for each skin type. I typically use the "Lotus" formula, but I'm also a fan of Blue Orchid. These are truly incredible and so lush in the dryer weather. I can't even begin to tell you how lovely the scents are either. Coming from an Aveda background, I fell in love with these at first sniff. Here's a little tip: head over to your local Nordstrom and have one of the Clarins counter gals give you a free sample. It's super easy to "drop" into their little glass sample jars. A little bit goes a long way.

I realllllly geeked out over this next one. Again, not given to me, purchased with my own money. Similar to the hair care topic, there are quite a few luxury or department store foundations that I'm gaga over, but this little miracle in a bottle is my newest obsession. Cover FX Custom Cover Drops. This entire line, if you're not familiar, has complexion products totally nailed. They are killing it in almost every foundation, concealer, and powder they crank out. However, the Custom Cover Drops are truly revolutionary because they can take any old foundation, drugstore or department store, and totally customize it to your needs. These are straight pigment. Ultimate coverage with little to no weight whatsoever. The size of the bottle is really small because you really are going drop by drop as needed. These are NOT designed to be used on their own. You're supposed to use them with other beauty products. They way I like to use mine (I'm color N10) is I first apply my foundation or CC cream to the palm of my hand, then I drop the desired number of drops directly on top of it, then I mix it with my finger until it's totally blended. I then apply with either my BeautyBlender, or my Morphe M439 brush. Another reason these drops are so cool, is not only can you totally adjust your coverage, but if you have multiple foundations that you love that are too light come Spring and Summer when you have a tan, you can buy a deeper color and use it to darken your foundation to match your tanned skin without going out and buying new foundations. Paradoxically you can do the same if you have foundations that are too dark and you need to lighten up with a lighter drop shade. You get the idea. They basically turn us into mad cosmetics scientists! Head over to Sephora to play around with these, figure out your shade, and then you can always order on the Cover FX website and receive 15% off when you sign up for emails!

I'll keep it at these 5 superstars (for now) so as to not overwhelm your wallets! What are some of your favorite higher-end products? Have you tried any of these?
February 4, 2016

Let's Talk About Lipstick's Budget Finds

Let's Talk About Lipstick's Budget Finds

This is kind of a mish mash of items but variety is the spice of life, right? RIGHT? Right. I have a handful of super affordable things that I have been using almost daily lately. Things that have been contributing to my "mom uniform" as I so lovingly call it. Well....if I'm being honest, most days my "mom uniform" consists of really unflattering sweat pants (the kind you wouldn't be caught DEAD in in public), a shirt that is stained with baby food, baby snot, baby spit, etc., no bra because....no doi...hair in a really fugly ponytail that makes me look like a preteen from the early 90s (you know the look) and a totally bare face. But when I have to head out of the house, these are the things I've been wearing/using/loving almost daily lately and they're totally wallet-friendly! Let's go clockwise starting with....

Garnier Micellar Cleansing Water | I hopped on the micellar water train and CHOO CHOO! I am sold. I was thinking "what's the big deal? Isn't it just a gentle toner?" Well...yeah, but it just works so well! I have the basic all-in-one formula (pink cap) that removes makeup/cleanses/refreshes and works for all skin types (including sensitive). They also have one that is supposed to remove waterproof mascara, but it was sold out so I grabbed the last bottle of the other kind. It's selling like hot cakes! There is no scent whatsoever. I apply it to a cotton ball after I'm finished cleansing my skin and this removes all the leftover traces of makeup and gunk left behind. I've also used it to remove any lingering eye makeup that doesn't come off with my cleansing oil. It leaves my skin feeling SO clean, but not tight or dried out. It's the perfect prep for your serums and/or moisturizers.

Linen Blend Boyfriend Tee | I officially own this bitch in like 8 colors. My favorite is this kind of periwinkle/French blue one though. These long-sleeved tees are so comfy and look so cute with jeans. They're kind of a slouchy, boxy cut which I usually stay away from, but these are somehow slimming and hide any leftover baby weight that some of us are trying desperately to shed. They go on sale in-store all the time and I usually stock up on them when they're under $10.

Shea Moisture Rose Cleansing Oil | Nothing new or noteworthy about cleansing oils (check out one of my archive posts HERE if you need some more info). This one was on Target Cartwheel so I thought I'd give her a go. I am a total sucker for anything rose scented or infused. I love it. This one smells so incredible and does a really beautiful job at removing makeup and leaving skin soft and supple and it is a must have for sensitive skin. It turns to kind of a creamy consistency when mixed with water, similar to a cream cleanser.

Wet n Wild Mega Blast Lipsticks | Another item I own about every color of. Lately I've been wearing 24 Carrot Gold which is a punchy orangey/red. Everyone needs to own the color "Cherry Picking" which is gorgeous on literally every single person in the world. They're under $2 and last forevvvvvver.

High Rise Rockstar Skinnies | I have always loved Old Navy's Rockstar fit which works so well for us gals with small waists and ghetto booties and thighs. I have these in dark washes, light washes, distressed, stretch, non-stretch, you name it, I got it. I usually wear the mid-rise style which I still love, but lately I've been really loving their high rise style. They are so flattering and look super cute with a tucked in button down.

TRESemme Botanique Damage Recovery Oil Elixir | This is basically a dry oil that I've been spritzing in my hair after I very lightly towel blot. I only spray it from the mid-shaft down to the ends (leaving it off the roots and scalp) and MY GOOD GOD THE SMELL is like angels were crying tears of joy and caught them in a bottle. I can't even start to tell you how incredible the smell is. It blows anything coconut scented out of the water and I am the biggest coconut superfan in the world so that's saying something. It's super super super lightweight so don't be intimidated about spritzing oil onto your hair if it's fine (which mine is). It doesn't weigh it down at all. Sometimes I loosely twist it up in a loose bun and let my hair air dry, and sometimes I go right ahead and blow dry. Depends on which way the wind is blowin' me.

CoverGirl LashBlast Super Sizer Mascara | I'm on my 4th tube and I am usually a serial mascara bouncer-arounder (that's a very real thing). I'm obsessed with this one.

Not Your Mother's Plump for Joy Thickening Spray | I grabbed this on a whim and I LOVE it. Here's another one that smells sooooooo good! This one you spray into your hand and distribute it evenly from root to tip, which is kind of misleading seeing as they gave it one of those spray nozzles that typically accompanies a root lifting spray. This stuff really plumps up each strand of my hair and after blow drying it looks like I have 2 heads of hair. Last night I worked it through my damp hair and let it air dry and I woke up to the coolest beachy waves this morning!

e.l.f. HD Shimmering Powder | I had been looking for this powder in the banana color as a more economical and easy to find version of my Ben Nye Banana Powder, but as it turns out, the e.l.f. HD Banana Powder is freaking impossible to find! It's always sold out in stores at Target! So instead I thought I'd give this one a shot. It's really pretty! There is the slightest shimmer to it, no chunky glitter, but just enough oomph to give your skin a pretty, reflective finish. It sets under eye concealer really nicely. The only thing I noticed with this is it doesn't have the best staying power (you get what you pay for). But there's quite a bit in the container and a little goes a long way. So if you don't mind touching up with loose powder throughout the day, this would be a great little budget setting powder.

February 3, 2016

Maybelline Dream Velvet Soft Matte Hydrating Foundation Review

Gah! I am so much later in posting my thoughts on this foundation than I said I would. Apologies. I'll keep this relatively short as I have a bunch of things to get up on the blog for you guys.

Maybelline Dream Velvet Soft Matte Hydrating Foundation. It's funny, I was trying to think of the words to describe the consistency of this foundation. Then I flipped it over and read the back and was like "YES! Whipped gel! That's it!" It wasn't as airy as a mousse (which I liked...those tend to get dry on my skin) but it was somehow both much thicker than a cream foundation, but not heavy either. Immediately I could tell this would lay nicely on the skin and kind of "fill in" pores and wrinkles.

You can see how thick it is on my hand here. Almost like whipped buttercream. 

Here's my only bit of criticism: this stuff runs DARK. I picked up shade 15 Ivory and you can see how much darker it is on my skin. I could have stood to go at least a shade lighter. Keep that in mind when shopping for your color. 

I was really impressed with how smooth it came across on my hand and the coverage was truly a medium to full. I'm not sure I would say this is a true matte finish, but the satin to matte finish it left was really lovely. Very natural looking. It looked like....skin! 

Here's another shot of just how dark this color was on my hand in natural light. It actually became even darker on my skin as it oxidized and warmed up. 

All in all I actually really like the finish and coverage of the Maybelline Dream Velvet. I'd say in terms of consistency and finish, it's the polar opposite of the L'Oreal True Match Lumi Cushion that I just tried (which had a thin consistency, dewy finish, still great coverage) but I knew that going in. This foundation gave me that smooth, porcelain doll finish that photographs incredible! I did set just under my eyes, and my t-zone, everywhere else I was able to leave as is. I would definitely re-purchase this one, however, next time I'll be sure to go a shade or two lighter. This will be a fabulous option come Spring when I've (hopefully) got a bit more color, or in the very least, a believable faux tan! Have you guys tried this yet? What are your thoughts? Did you find your regular shade ran a bit dark, too?

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