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Makeup Goals For 2016

4 Jan

It seems like every month on this blog I get farther and farther away from my initial goal: books and makeup. The books are going stronger than ever before, but it’s no secret that I’ve dipped off the makeup front significantly. It’s not that I don’t have anything to blog about: it’s that I have too much! I get absolutely overwhelmed when coming up with post ideas. I want to swatch all my highlighters, but I have so many that I’d have to break it up into multiple posts. Do I do it by indie/drugstore/mid-high end? Powder, cream, and liquid? Maybe by color (gold, white, pink/rose, purple, peach, blue…)? And then there’s the time I’d have to dedicate to swatching 150+ highlighters (yes, I know, I have too many). And that’s just highlighter! What about blush? Eyeshadow? A collection post? Perfume comparisons by scent type? It makes me anxious just thinking about it! I get too overwhelmed to even do posts on new collections.

But this year I really want to focus on using what I have rather than acquiring new things. If I think of it as swatching for myself (aka “oh, I’d really love to have picture comparisons of all my highlighters”) it becomes a bit easier to think about! And if I think about how I’d want it organized for convenience rather than how some amorphous audience would want it, the choice is clear: by color. It’s still a huge undertaking, and I’ll probably start with smaller projects (bronzer, indie lip products, liquid lipstick), but it seems like a mountain I can climb rather than one that will kill me on the ascent.

Speaking of using up my collection, this also means cleaning out things I don’t need. Yes, decluttering! I’m never going to be one of those people who empties out 50% of their blush and gets rid of 20 palettes (the thought alone hurts my heart!) but I want to get things that I don’t use/have gone bad/don’t work for me out of my collection. Do I need that dried-out eyeliner I’ve had since I was 16? No! To start out my “I’m actually going to declutter” resolution, I’ve started with a problem area for me: mascaras.

I am a mascara hoarder. It’s embarrassing to admit how old some of the ones I regularly use are (3 years! what the hell self!). I have a bunch of untouched minis and I plan to get into rotating them out every 3 months like I’m supposed to. I’ve left myself 2 open full size (1 high end, 1 drugstore) and 4 open minis to work through for the next 3 months, mainly to acclimate myself to 1 mascara at a time rather than a different one every day. After that? They’re all getting tossed (aside from Bad Gal Plum, which is unuseable but I keep for sentimental value).

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See all that mascara? I was using ALL of that. Like, rotating every day for half a month before I repeated. That’s not good at all! I have long, thick lashes so most mascaras do a great job at giving me volume + length. It doesn’t take much. So from now on, I will have 1 drugstore full size and 1 high-end/mid-end mini open at a time (because I like to layer). That’s IT. No buying more minis before I run out of the ones in my stash, either, and they should last a full year.

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And that’s what I am keeping! Top row is opened and will get tossed in 3 months, bottom is all my unopened minis + primers. Which I am going to start using, because why not? I have them and they were free.

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Then I got a little destash-happy and cleaned out some more stuff! The face wash & moisturizer are ancient, and I’m never going to use them. They’re also organic (aka “who needs preservatives?”) and have started to smell off. Why was I hanging on to them? Who knows, but they’re gone now. Same thing for the scrub: I actually love(d) it, but I was hoarding it and now it’s gone funky. I’d rather use up things I love and have experienced & enjoyed them than let them go bad and have the product wasted. The mask burned my face pretty badly, so I don’t even know why I kept that around…

Dupe Hunting: Shiro’s Cake

18 Nov

As you probably know, Shiro is discontinuing their Randomly Generated collection. It wasn’t one of their most popular overall, but unfortunately it contains one of their most beloved colors: Cake, a pearly white with a red shift. It’s a great multi-purpose product, because it’s just as good as a highlight as it is as a shadow. It’s also pretty much impossible to find a highlighter with a red shift, so Cake is a coveted product. And, after December 31st, it will be no more. So what’s a Cake-loving girl to do? Go dupe hunting! I sifted through all my shadows and found 4 shades in the same family. Anyway, let’s get on to the swatches!

[UPDATE] Apparently Cake will NOT be leaving us forever! Well, this formula will be: Caitlin will be reformulating it and adding it to the sandbox next year. She says it will be an improved version, so I can’t wait to see it!

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[all swatches applied dry over bare skin]

From top to bottom we have:

Shiro’s Cake: The original! Cake has a sheer neutral-white base and a very strong true red shift. It’s also glittery: I hadn’t worn it in a while and in my mind it was a satin finish, but there are definite sparkles going on. [Buy here]

Dawn Eyes’ Alena: Alena is superficially similar to Cake. It has a shift in the same family, but the base color is golden white instead of Cake’s pure cream. It’s also much more of a satin finish, lacking the sparkles of Cake. Personally, I find Alena a lot more wearable as a highlight color though it’s not a perfect dupe. [Buy here]

Dawn Eyes’ Early AM Vineyard: This Dawn Eyes color is a lot closer to Cake. It’s just a sparkly, and the base color is nearly identical. However, the shift is a pinky red instead of a true red.  [Buy here]

Dusk Cosmetics’ Moro: Moro is very, very close to Cake at first glance. There are a few differences: Moro has a silvery-white base that leans cool, and it’s much stronger in color than Cake. The shift is not as strong, though the color is nearly identical. It’s also about equal in glitter levels. [Buy here]

The Chequered Lily’s Snow, Glass, Apples: Snow, Glass, Apples is like a more glittery version of Cake, if you can imagine such a thing.The base is quite sheer, a feature of Cake that a lot of the other dupes are missing, though it leans a little grayer than Cake’s. The shift is also a little pinker.  [Buy here]

So there you have it! 5 almost-dupes of Cake. I think Moro is the closest to the original, though I prefer Alena for use as a highlighter. If you want something like Cake but a bit cooler, Early AM Vineyard is great, and for a more glittery version try out Snow, Glass, Apples. Sadly none of them are totally identical to the original, and I’m crossing my fingers that Shiro decides to keep it as a permanent color.

Notoriously Morbid’s Grisly Grimoires

7 Nov

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Nobody does creepy holiday sets like Notoriously Morbid. I missed a few of them in the past (Sealed Judgment, siiigh) so there was NO way I was passing up on this one. Especially since the theme was mystical, evil tomes from both history and fiction.

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For a mere $25 you got 6 fullsized shadows, a mini blush, an exclusive Coffin Kisser, and a Hand of Fate charm–essentially a little skeleton hand clutching a gem! I got in on the pre-orders, which also included a mini COTM shade, and Carrie snuck in a peek of Black Friday 2014 as well!

The Coffin Kisser, Splendor Soils, smells exactly like the bottom of your candy bag after a night of trick-or-treating. Smarties, taffy, lolipops and melted sugar. So nostalgic.

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Of course I was most excited about the shadows. While Notoriously Morbid gets a lot of love, I rarely see people talk a lot about their insane duochromes: honestly, some of them rival Femme Fatale. This collection is literally nothing *but* duochromes so I was excited as hell.

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Uhnf, color shift you can see in the jar. Come to momma. The shades are:

Book of Honorius, the oldest medieval grimoire, full of necromantic knowledge: olive green with a strong red shift

Clavicule of Solomon, aka the Key of Solomon (though it was decidedly not written by King Solomon), a book of pentacles and summoning circle: blush pink with a violet, red & gold shimmer

Necronomicon, the infamous tome of madness that appears in Lovecraft’s stories: a deep black packed with gold sparkles & a strong purple shift

Magus, a word for priest or sorceress, also a work of mind-bending fiction by John Fowles: sky blue with a soft pink & red shift

Dragon Rouge, a modern esoteric magical order: bright coral with a pink-to-gold shift

Book of Shadows, a name for any Wiccan book of spells: grey shot through with pale purple with a otherworldly green shift

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Book of Shadows is probably the strangest and most undefinable shade in the line. It’s sometimes-grey-sometimes-purple-sometimes-pink with a strong hit of green throughout.

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The CoTM was Creepy Green Light, which is a vivid chartreuse with green shimmer. It’s basically the color of, you guessed it, creepy green light in horror & scifi movies.

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The mini blush is Grand Oracle, a gorgeous plummy mauve with a matte finish.

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From bottom to top we’ve got Magus, Book of Shadows, Necronomicon, Dragon Rouge, Clavicule of Solomon, Book of Honorius, and Creepy Green Light. Oh, and the top one? That’s Nothing is Trivial, the Black Friday preview. Does this mean… The Crow theme?! It’s a really shocking color, a creamy blue base with a shift from pale sliver to warm gold.

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As you can see, the shift on all of them is ridiculously prominent. Magus is probably the most “subtle” because the shift to red is quite soft from most angles, but it’s definitely there. And as you can see, Book of Shadows looks different from pretty much every angle!

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An out of focus glitter shot so you can really see the color changes. Necronomicon is so sparkle-packed, it’s stunning in person.

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Grand Oracle is a gorgeous and unique blush. Not quite mauve, not quite pink, with hints of purple. It is a big stainer, though (the heavy swatch lingered on my arm for 2 days!) and is SUPER saturated so use a verry light hand when applying it.

Sadly this set is out of stock now, but it was an insane value with gorgeous shades. Plus, it has me super excited for Black Friday…

Review: Glamour Doll Eyes, Part II

26 Jul

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[Part I]

Hello guys & gals! After a rather long absence (for me at least) I have returned! Life has been a bit hectic lately, especially on my main blog–I would love for L&L to be the center of my life, but two big events overlapping has drawn most of my attention to Plastikitty. This site is still very much a side project, though with every post I’m hoping to bring it higher up the ladder of importance.

But, you know, you’re probably here for pictures of makeup so let’s get started!

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As I was picking out these 6 colors I was sure there was a ton of variety. Turns out it’s all shades of blue-green and pink. I’m very predictable. But… look how pretty they are! And they go together so well!

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I got a shadow from Glamour Doll’s new Paper Runway collection, and look at the label. It’s so damn cute. Tiny clothing! Ahh!

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It’s time to get up close and personal with some of these babies. This is Celestial Crow, aka my new one true love. I have kind of a crow “thing:” I’ve always adored them, and in junior high one flew right in to me and hit me in the face. It was awesome. And just look at this shadow. I was expecting a black base with blue & green shimmer, but instead I got that beautiful, iridescent quality that actual crow wings have. Ahh, it’s just dreamy.

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This is Lethal, which I assumed was named so because it is lethally pink and pretty. It’s like pink overdose. SPARKLES. But it’s purple when you swatch it… magic. Okay enough of this, it’s swatch time.

IMG_0860BAM, bet you weren’t expecting ACTUALLY NEAT SWATCHES

Let’s just take a moment of silence to appreciate the fact that I put in some real effort into swatching. I know I said I liked the natural, no-tape look but I realized that *jut maybe* I was being lazy and I should try it out. And, yeah, it looks better. The tape has won me over. Also, all swatches are done over GDE’s new Control Freak base, which is a thick primer–one of those ones that basically doubles as a glitter glue. I’m in love with it. From bottom to top we have:

Katie’s Storm: This is a hard color to describe, and harder to capture on camera. It’s a silvery-taupe with hints of muddled green and grey.

Buyer’s Remorse: Bright seafoam with a strong aqua/purple shift

Celestial Crow: Deep deep blue with green iridescence

Picture Whore: A satiny rose

Paramour: A reddish-pink with a gold/green shift–similar in feel to Femme Fatale’s Candied Apple

Lethal: Metallic Barney purple

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Let’s check out some of these shifts, shall we? Paramour is seriously Candied Apple’s older cousin. And just look at Celestial Crow. LOOK AT IT.

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The blues together! Umm, blues/greens/taupes, I guess. I swear, Katie’s Storm has some green tones in person! You can see the shift on Buyer’s Remorse nicely here–it’s quite subtle but gorgeous. This makes a great one-color look, it’s so multidimensional.

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Pinky purples! I was really shocked when I swatched all of these, they look so different in the jar. Especially Lethal, which I was expecting to be a pink overdose. I’m not gonna get started on Paramour again because I have such a crush on this shadow. GOODNESS JUST TAKE A LOOK. SO PRETTY.

I have yet to be disappointed with a product from Glamour Doll Eyes and I own… a lot. 15 shadows and over half their blushes (which, yes, I will be swatching soon!) but I think my two favorites from them are in this batch. Celestial Crow and Paramour have stolen my heart.

{Thanks to Glamour Doll Eyes for providing these review samples! All opinions within are strictly my own}

June 2014 Beauty Favorites

11 Jul

Finished

So, it’s almost the middle of July. I seem to be very late on this one! But hey, it’s still July, so technically I am on time. Technically.

Caolion Pore Mool Pool Deep Cleansing: This was one of the items in my Memebox Mini #2, and I have fallen utterly in love. It’s a bizarre combo cleanser/makeup remover, but unlike any one I’ve tried before. Usually makeup removers are heavy on the oil (and I’ll be honest, I often use straight-up Vaseline for removing stubborn cat eyes), but this is an oil-free blend that leaves you feeling so refreshed.

Solstice Scents Cameo: Yes, I’ve finally obtained a full size of this after raving about it in the Spring Collection post. Cameo is everything. Cameo is life. Almond, rose, cream… it’s like a perfect afternoon tea party.

MAC Pure Heroine Lipstick: I’m pretty sure no one has noticed, but the purple for both my header font and the lipstick ratings is identical to MAC’s Heroine. Yes, there are a few makeup-themed Easter eggs in the design! Purple lipstick is basically my favorite thing on earth so I jumped on Pure Heroine insanely fast. It’s really only slightly darker than the original but the brightness is toned down significantly, leaving a perfect rich purple for a vampy look. It’s summer, but I will rock fall makeup if I want to!

Shiro Cosmetics’ Chinchillin’: When I was a little girl, I begged my dad for a pet chinchilla. It never happened. But at least now I own this amazing eyeshadow! It’s a highly shimmery grey-purple combo… I wouldn’t say that it is a duochrome, but depending on the light it can lean more neutral or very bright. It’s one of those lovely shadows that is perfect for a one-shadow look… or with a little bit of Dammit Moon Moon in the crease!

ELF Ariel Collection Surf’s Up Bronzer: I went a little crazy trying to find this, hitting up 3 Walgreens in the city before an amazing saleswoman looked up where it was still in stock for me. And behold, it’s all mine! This isn’t really in my favorites because I like to use it… it’s actually a really gorgeous golden bronzer, but it’s SO PRETTY I don’t want to ruin it. I’ll just hold it and pretend it’s part of my underwater treasure trove.

Shiro Collection, Part 2: The Darks

3 Jul

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Though I have very few occasions to wear them, I have a magpie-like affinity for sparkle-dense dark shades. Those ones that make you look in the jar and go OOH PRETTY THAT SURE DOES LOOK LIKE A GALAXY but days later you think “hmm, how am I ever going to actually pull this off with an everyday look?” But I mean Shiro samples are a dollar so who even cares right?

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We’re continuing the Shiro swatch-a-thon today with the darks I depotted! For info on jar size and availability, see this post. Most of these jars contain one sample, though a few (the ones stuffed to the very top) have two… which is more than I will ever use, probably. Unless I do Gengar-themed eyeliner for a year straight or something.

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I remembered how to swatch in a straight line wow go me

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Yes there’s friggin CAT FUR stuck to Colonel oy my life

From bottom to top we’ve got:

Diggy Diggy Hole, a deep brown with moss green shimmer

You Dropped Your Rod, a black base loaded with gold glitter that comes out insanely sheer what is going on here? (I swatched this three times to make sure I wasn’t spazzing out, it’s just this sheer)

Beyond the Fence, a moss green with gold that also comes out disappointingly sheer

Pumpkin King, a super dark black with orange and gold glitter all up in your business

Two Faced, a blackened lavender that becomes darker the more you blend it in

Colonel, a navy blue that appears sheer at first but is loaded with brilliant gold

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Why is one at a different angle? I have no clue

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Send help I forgot how to swatch the heat is killing me

Haha, so many purples. I think I like purples. This time we’ve got, from bottom to top:

Shinigami, a glittery blurple that’s unfortunately sheer

Fullmetal, a charcoal base that doesn’t look like a purple in the jar but oh look at that glitter, it’s purple after all!

Not Very Effective, (aka GENGARRRR) a black doused in deep purple and red sparkles

Star-Crossed, a black with gold shift, similar to You Dropped Your Rod (only you know… it shows up on my skin…)

Equivalent Exchange, a dark silver-lavender with an almost metallic finish

Are You Shear You Wanna Enchant That?, a black with rainbow glitter (one of those “galaxy in a jar” types)

Unlike round 1, the darks were swatched over glitter glue because they are quite unruly. And, unlike the lights, there were some disappointments. I find Shiro’s darks to be lacking in pigmentation far more often than the pales & neutrals, which is really where they excel. The real standout here for me is Pumpkin King (which is sadly limited edition) and, of course, Not Very Effective (which I really wish hadn’t gotten a name change). But with a little mixing fluid these all make really fun liners!

Shiro Collection, Part 1: The Lights

1 Jul

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One of the biggest problems about having a lot of makeup is actually storing it all properly. It can be very hard to find what you’re looking for, and easy to forget small purchases. For me, indie samples are the worst! I buy them with the promise of pressing & depotting, but these tend to end with “forgotten in a drawer” or depotted into an opaque jar and I can never remember what color they are. Enter this amazing blog post, which offers up a super cheap storage method for baggie samples that actually lets you see the colors and create mini palettes! Of course like an idiot I only ordered 5 and they took a month to get to me and 5 is definitely not enough, but I am really happy with the ones I have so far. Though it does mean I have to start, you know, actually taking pictures of some of my shadows…

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Here is a size comparison with a mini jar from Dreamworld Hermetica! The one on the right is from the BuyInCoins “palette” filled with one Shiro sample. If you’re determined you can fit two samples in there and stuff it to the brim, and it’s basically as much material as you’d get in a mini from other indie stores.

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I have a lot of Shiro samples so my first idea for my shiny new storage was to make two Shiro palettes–one of lights, one of darks! I have enough samples for 2 or 3 more Shiro-only palettes but that’s for another day. Today, pastels! And neutrals! So pretty.

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Wow swatching skills

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Was I drunk when I did these? No, but I might as well have been!

Yes, I know they’re the worst swatches ever, don’t judge me. It was like 90 degrees in the living room okay I promise the rest aren’t this bad. From bottom to top we have:

Smell Ya Later, a vibrant cool purple

Angry Cuccos, a sheer white with a very strong pink shift

Maiden Queen, a bold shimmery seafoam green

Finkelstein, a pale almost sickly white with a strong blue & green shift

Wildflowers, a rosy pink with a satin finish

Baker’s Boy, a classic warm gold

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Okay, that is a little better

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Still, not exactly my shining moment for swatching

Well I don’t know what to tell you aside from “I guess I forgot how to hand eye coordinate but at least this batch looks better?” Again, from bottom to top we’ve got:

I Loved A Maid, a rusty brown with a green-yellow shift

Cake, a sheer white-gold with a soft red shift (similar to Angry Cuccos, but warmer)

Master of Whispers, a pale lavender with a pink shift (looks suspiciously similar to Cake here because of the strong shift, much more subtle in person!)

Diamonds!, a very sheer teal-bordering-on-green with tons of glitter

Mother of Dragons, a gorgeous deep purple with a taupe-pink shift

Alkahestry, a sheer glitterbomb of aqua and lilac

All swatches done on dry skin with a wet brush. As you’d expect, the glitter-dense shades went on rather sheer (I’m looking at you, Diamonds!) but some applied more consistently. Alkahestry gets a lot of flack for how sheer the base is but it’s my favorite of the bunch! Then again, I love all of them so much. I am all about sheer highlights, bright pops of color and soft pink-purple pastels so this is pretty much my dream palette from Shiro.

Ipsy June 2014

27 Jun

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This month’s Ipsy bag was kind of a slow burn for me. When I first peeked in my Glam Room I thought it would be another disaster like last month where I really only liked the bag. And I mean, the bag is awesome. Retro pineapples? Yes please. I actually got two bags this month (why? it’s a mystery!) and I want to swipe my mom’s. Don’t worry, I’m not really a thief, I’d totally trade her something. In fact, we did trade this month! I gave her the lotion and sunscreen from May in exchange for her eyeliner. Which, you know, I forgot to put a review in for here.

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I think that this is a really practical bag, much like my June Birchbox. Nothing that immediately makes you go “oh wow, I’m so excited for this!” but a few things that I will use pretty constantly. Or, well, two–I’m thinking of doing a giveaway for the extras in my mystery double bag!

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Nyx Butter Gloss in Creme Brulee (full size/$4.99): I love NYX. I don’t love lipgloss. But I actually have a few shades of this formula already (Tiramisu and Vanilla Cream Pie) and enjoy them, so this is probably the item I was most excited for. It’s a soft pinky-nude and it smells like cupcakes. Plus it’s not overly tacky and it’s pretty hydrating.

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Be a Bombshell Lash Out Mascara (fullsize/$15): This mascara has gotten some complaints, and for good reasons. It smells really weird. But Ipsy has assured everyone that it’s safe to use and so far my eyes haven’t exploded so I trust them on that one. To be frank, most mascara works well on me: I have long lashes that curl on their own, so I’m not at all picky. This works really well as a “no makeup makeup” mascara for me, it’s very natural looking which is pretty hard to achieve usually. Most brands make me look like I have falsies on, which is nice… but not what I want every day. So I’m a happy camper.

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Marc Anhony Dream Waves Beach Spray (45ml/$3.15): This is the 3rd beach spray I’ve gotten from a beauty box. They usually work pretty well with my hair, but I hate doing stuff to my hair. I’m hoping this is a “spray it in and leave it” sort of thing, which is right up my alley. Low maintenance haircare is about all I’m willing to do with my crazy mane.

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Realtree Perfume for Her (5ml/$1): Apparently this company makes camo prom dresses, so I wasn’t expecting anything spectacular. It’s a little floral, a little… um… okay, so it’s a mush of notes. It kind of smells like Axe for girls. But it makes a really nice sheet spray, oddly enough! I’m not going to put it on my body but it makes my pillow smell like a camo’d up flower. My mom got the other perfume option and it is sooo much nicer. Ipsy, why? This was such an odd choice.

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Ofra Universal Eyebrow Pencil (fullsize/$13): Let’s get one thing clear, there’s no such think as a “universal” eyebrow pencil. This is a dark, rich brown. Guess what color my brows are? Dark, rich brown! And I hate shelling out for brow items for some reason (I only want to spend money on things that are sparkly or smell nice), so this is a godsend for me. Very natural looking, since I kind of have natural power brows I only need to fill in juuuust a little. And, you know, I’ve got two of these puppies so they’ll probably last me the rest of my life.

Total Box Value: $37.14

At first I was very “meh” about this box. But a fullsize mascara and a brow pencil that matches me perfectly, plus a lovely shade of NYX gloss? I became happier and happier with this bag the more I realized how very practical it was. Even the hairspray will get a lot of use, and while there is one total throwaway item (Realtree perfume) I find it totally hilarious to own a scent from a company that makes camo prom dresses. Definitely a conversation starter.

If you want to sign up for Ipsy, please feel free to use my referral link!

Birchbox June 2014

25 Jun

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I know many people have a love-hate relationship with Birchbox, but I fall pretty firmly on the “love” side and I think this month is a perfect example of why! So come with me on a magical journey of looking at tiny samples. And one really, really big one.

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Davines All in One Milk, Love Smoothing Shampoo & Conditioner (combined value $9.70): Why, oh why do I always get tiny conditioner packets. This is not enough for my hair. But holy crap, the shampoo! It’s massive. I get so many conditioner/shampoo samples from beauty boxes, Sephora/Ulta orders and other assorted freebies that I honestly haven’t purchased either in over… 6 months? So while some people might complain about yet another friggin shampoo I just think “aw yeah, another few days without having to buy shampoo!” In some ways I am very frugal. It’s because I want to spend all my money on makeup.

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Caudalie Polyphenol C15 Anti-Wrinkle Defense Serum (2ml/$4.12): Serum, another thing I get so damn much of. It’s one of those things I would never buy for myself (too expensive, overhyped) but I actually have so many samples I mix a serum with my moisturizer every morning. And Caudalie is pretty fancy, so I was happy to add this to the ever-growing pile of “things I like to use but am too cheap to buy” pile.

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Benefit They’re Real! Mascara (0.1oz/$7.67): Another thing I don’t buy anymore: mascara. Are you sensing a trend? There’s definitely a trend with this box. I live off of mini mascara samples and They’re Real is one of my absolute favorites, so I was a bit giddy to find this in my box.

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Perlier Body Cream (10z/$4.06): Do you know how much lotion I have? I will give you a hint: more than my shampoos, mini mascaras and serums combined. Because, you know, I both buy a ton (Body Shop body butters are my weakness) and I get a ton in beauty boxes. But I never get tired of them. This one smells like marzipan so I can pretend that I’m a cookie when I put it on. Not, you know, that I do weird stuff like that. It’s purely hypothetical.

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Catherine Malandrino Style de Paris (2ml/$2.20): I’d like to break the obvious flow going here and say “I really DON’T have a whole lot of perfume samples” but anyone who does even a small amount of online makeup shopping knows that would be a lie. I have many, many fancy perfume samples… and that’s ignoring the hundreds of indie ones that are taking over my life. But I like perfume and this is a pleasant, vaguely citrusy if a bit fruity for my taste scent that I’ll probably use up this summer. It’s bright and smells like the niece of a fancy rich old lady. That was a great description, right? Just picture it in your mind.

Total Box Value: $27.75

If you lost count, I got 7 samples in this box… and yes, they let me review all of them! Meaning I technically only paid $3 for all this stuff (I redeem my points frequently and with wild abandon so those 70 will get used quickly). Sure, it’s all staple-type stuff, but… I like not paying for staple-type stuff! I feel like this is a box that might disappoint a lot of people but I was really pleased with it.

If you want to sign up for a Birchbox of your own, please feel free to use my referral link!

Review: Chinovi Cosmetics’ Blushes

15 Jun

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I think at this point it is safe to say I have a *blush problem*. (And also, possibly, a “making sure the jar pictures are in focus” problem, siiiiigh). If there is blush in an indie store, I am going to buy it. So when Chinovi had a big sale, I snatched up a full size of their purple blush and samples of the other two colors.

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The samples in jars are about the size of a mini shadow from other stores, very generous! The fourth blush was a bonus sample of a not-yet-available color, so I might have screamed just a little when I saw that. It was in a baggie, but I depotted it because I have an organizing problem. Things need to be neat. Especially makeup things.

Jocelyn is a cool, shimmery lilac that blends down to a soft and super-wearable almost-pink

Gidget is a mauvey-rose with light shimmer

Bianca is a warm, brown-based rose with a soft, satiny finish

Vanessa is a terracotta color that reminds me of a bronzer: unlike the other shades, it is nearly matte

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Swatches of all 4 together, heavy first and then blended out. The heavy swatches are applied wet to bare skin, the blended are applied dry to bare skin. From bottom to top: Jocelyn, Gidget, Bianca, Vanessa.

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Because purple & pink blushes are my comfort zone, Jocelyn and Gidget are my two favorites. Look at how wearable Jocelyn is! If you are scared of purple blush but want to dip your toes into this trend, I think this is a fantastic way to do so. It’s very much a “radiant orchid” color and has a really lovely soft sparkle. Gidget is also so pretty, much softer and more girlie than what I was expecting.

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Bianca and Vanessa, on the other hand, are from the dark, super-warm end of the blush range. It’s an area we don’t see a whole lot of from indie companies, so I was really surprised at how pigmented these are. Just look at Vanessa! Bianca is more “wearable” for an everyday brown blush, but Vanessa is a showstopper. The matte formula blends like butter, and I think it would work well as a bronzer for paler girls if you go with a light hand. I’ve tried it out as a blush paired with a bold contour and it is definitely a beauty–but not for the faint of heart!