19 July, 2014

Upgrading My Makeup Collection - a comparison between Mac Violetta and Milani Violet Volt

When I first got into makeup, I wanted to buy a lot of things, so I was very into finding drugstore dupes for high- end items. If I ever spotted a high- end item I really wanted, I would always google if there was a drugstore version - specifically for lip products. My rationale was that I could buy more for less money.
A few months later, and I have definitely developed a new perspective. I am absolutely not saying that I haven't found loads of amazing drugstore products, because I definitely have. But, I also see the value in purchasing more high- end items, and the price isn't as much of a protuberance to me as it once was. This is because I have learned how long makeup lasts, and how little I actually need. I don't need five bronzers like I had in the past; I need maybe two. So, I can spend more on a quality one that would be more versatile.
A case study: I saw a picture of one of my favorite celebrities wearing a gorgeous shade of lipstick - Mac Violetta. I became obsessed with the color, but I didn't want to spend $16 dollars on the lipstick. I laugh at myself now. So, I googled drugstore dupes. I tried a lot of them, but the only one that really came close was Milani Violet Volt.
Milani Violet Volt is a gorgeous shade, but I never really stopped wanting Mac Violetta. So, I just bought it. And I am so glad that I did!
One thing to note - these shades are definitely dupes for each other. Despite how they look in the tube - even in person, Violetta looks much darker - the differences are quite unnoticeable when swatched. Both lipsticks are a lovely purple shade with a blue shimmer running through it. I really love the shade, because it is so dynamic and interesting. The blue shimmer really makes it look different in almost any light - so catching the fact that these are actually dupes was quite challenging, and you might just have to take my word for it! I must have taken about 20 pictures, but the similarities were hard to capture.
Mac Violetta on top, Milani Violet Volt on bottom
In both of these, it looks like Violetta is much darker. In person, the difference is less noticeable - but yes, Violetta is a little darker. However, if it were just down to color, I could take either one of these and be extremely happy. 
What really sets the Mac shade apart - and in my opinion, makes it the clear winner -  is everything else. Violet Volt has the classic Milani lipstick smell, which is not appealing to me. It smells very cheap and artificial - like bad perfume. I don't like smelling it on my lips. Thankfully the smell disappears rather quickly. Violetta carries the classic vanilla Mac scent, which I enjoy quite a lot. Violet Volt's packaging is cheap - the purple plastic on the bottom could easily pop off, and often came off. I have only owned this lipstick for a few months and it was already showing wear. The Mac packaging isn't my favorite - I find the black bullets classic, but unimaginative, and it is smaller than Milani's. 
Formulation- wise, I feel like the pigmentation was on par for both - just one swipe left gorgeous, pigmented color on my lips, and I didn't have to worry about that with either one. However, Mac's left more of a stain on my lips for longer, and Milani's faded really quickly. Also, Mac's left my lips feeling more moisturized, while Milani's dried them out. They also made my lips look drier when I wore them, and I really don't have a problem with that normally.
All in all, I really do love Mac Violetta, and that would definitely be the one I chose, despite the more expensive price tag. I think the extra money is worth it, considering I will have this lipstick for a long time and be able to use it countless times before it ran out. And in general, that is becoming my stance more and more with drugstore versus high end. Honestly, there are some drug store things I really do prefer over high end - for example, I love my Revlon Brow Fantasy even more than the Anastasia Brow Wiz, which everyone seems to worship. But, I won't be as afraid to get more expensive products in the future!
What are your thoughts on the drugstore versus high end debate?

Xxx Kate

14 July, 2014

Skincare on a Budget: Queen Helene Mint Julep Masque

I think budget skincare is kind of a double- edged sword. On one hand, I really love to save money whenever possible, but on the other hand, I have definitely found better results when I splash out a little more on my skincare. That's not to say that anything you get from the drugstore is poor quality, but it is logical that you might find more high- quality ingredients in premium prices. However, I have definitely found some gems at the drugstore after years and years of trying and testing.
One of my favorites is the Queen Helene Mint Julep Masque. My skin is combination/ oily and definitely acne prone, and this face mask works very well for me. It promises to dry out pimples, shrink pores, and reduce blackheads. The mask is light green and very thick, with a strong minty smell and feeling - it makes my skin tingle as soon as I put it on. However, for me, it doesn't dry my skin out too badly, but it does do a nice job of drawing out impurities. I don't think this mask would work for everyone - I think it would be too drying for dry skin - but it really does seem to help calm my breakouts and make my skin look a bit clearer. I use this about once a week, as it is an intense mask, but I think for $3.99 (the retail price at Walgreens) and an insane amount of product, this is a good deal.

Xxx Kate 

Review - Sally Hansen Miracle Gel in Pink Cadillaquer

Apologies for our delay on posting! We are hoping to be on a more consistent schedule from now on :)

I first hear of Sally Hansen's new nail polish line via one of my favorite blogs, Nouveau Cheap. The new Sally Hansen Miracle Gel line promises 14 days of no chip nail polish. It's supposed to be like gel without the salon - no heat, no lamps. This is a 2- step polish program: you use your color, and then you use the topcoat. Easy peasy. It seemed too good to be true!
Especially for me - my nail polish - no matter what brand, topcoat, basecoat I use -  chips within 24 hours. It's almost guaranteed. I have tried almost everything to stop my nail polish from chipping so fast, as I hate having chipped nails so I end up redoing my nails almost every night - which damages my nail and cuticle. It's quite annoying. The only time my polish has lasted longer than a week is when I get a true, salon gel manicure.
Needless to say, I was absolutely thrilled that I could theoretically buy 2 bottles of nail polish (retailing at just under 10 dollars each at all major drugstores) and get the same results! And, I absolutely love the wide range of colors in this new collection. Sally Hansen really pulled out all the stops with this new collection - the colors are fantastic, and it's quite unique to put out so many colors in a fledgling collection.
I picked up the shade Pink Cadillaquer and the Topcoat. I must have spent about 20 minutes pouring through all the colors and deciding which one I loved the most, but I chose this relatively classic light pink because I wanted something that would go with a lot of colors, that wouldn't be too in your face, and that I would enjoy on my nails for two weeks. I was very optimistic.
The application of this product was pretty classic Sally Hansen polish. Sally Hansen is one of my favorite polish brands because the polish colors are pretty consistently very close to one coat wonders. That's to say, I usually end up using two coats, but I know I can get away with one coat in a rush. It was a great consistency, and very easy to apply. I used two coats and got a lovely opaque finish. I didn't have to wait too long between each coat - I felt like the polish dried pretty quickly. I then applied the topcoat. I was expecting the topcoat to be quite thick, but it was very thin and easy to apply. I waited about 15 minutes and had no problem with drying time. So far, it was great. I painted my nails at 10:30 pm on sunday night.

On monday, I woke up, and washed my hair. Generally, when I wash my hair, I always always always get chips on my nails. I was absolutely thrilled to have no chips after my long shower.
Unfortunately, by 4 PM on monday, I discovered a chip. It's on my dominant pointer finger, which is where I always get chips first. I am not expecting this polish to last very long. It is now 8:30 pm. I only have the one chip, so I will keep it on for longer to see if it was a fluke, but I am so far disappointed as this polish does not do what it says. Unfortunately, I got a noticeable chip within 24 hours, which is very standard for me. I see no benefit in the Miracle Gel range, as the application was relatively standard, and this polish hasn't lasted any longer on me. This isn't necessarily a bad product, but it definitely didn't do anything special for me.
I will definitely continue updating this post as I see more chips. I am still hoping it is a fluke, because I absolutely wanted to love this and declare it an actual miracle. Unfortunately, so far, the Miracle Gel is not a miracle at all.

Xx Kate

21 May, 2014

Perfume Splurge: diptyque

I have heard of diptyque talked about quite a lot in the beauty community, and the packaging for their candles is so ubiquitous because everyone keeps the jars and uses them for storage. However, it was only recently that I discovered there's actually a diptyque counter at my local Nordstrom's! I was shopping there with my mom recently, and we got pulled in to smelling all of the wonderful scents that they had.
Diptyque is a french brand. It's very luxury and very much a splurge, but the quality of their products is undisputed. I have alway been so interested in trying their products, but again, I can barely afford them.
However, when I smelled their new Geranium Odorata perfume, I knew I had to make it mine. I purchased a roll on of that scent, and it was $48. That seems absolutely mental, but it's a larger roll on than what you typically see, and I figured you need such a sparing amount that this will really last.
The scent is almost straight- up geranium. I hope you've smelled geraniums before, but they smell fresher than sweeter, and have the smallest hint of bite. I'm seriously in love with how fresh I smell, and since wearing this, I have had more than one person tell me how good I smell. Every time I take this out and apply it, it makes me happy. I know that it smells great, the packaging is absolutely gorgeous, and it just always makes me feel like I am treating myself to something special. I think that this perfume is the definition of a splurge that works, because I have truly enjoyed using this so far, and have barely used any at all.
Geranium might not be your scent of choice, but I strongly urge you to check out a diptyque counter if you have one near you and smell their amazing candles and perfumes. I am sure you will fall in love with one as well, and I can promise you - it was well worth it.
Xxx Kate

09 May, 2014

Nails of the Day - Essie Van D'Go

You might recall that I made a post about my five favorite nail polishes for Spring a while back. If I had known about Essie's polish in the color Van D'Go, I would revise that list! This is definitely my new favorite pink color. I just think it looks super flattering with my skin tone, and I love the formulation - coat one was a bit streaky, but coat 2 made my nails look uniform and opaque. I think if you google search this polish, you will see that it can almost look a little pink- orange in certain lights and with certain skin tones. On me, it's definitely a candy pink color. I am including two nail pictures because I took one in natural light and one in artificial light, and it definitely looks different, even though this was the same day, just to show you how the polish is somewhat of a chameleon. I just find it such an interesting and pretty color, and I am definitely so glad I purchased this!

hand/ nail pictures are so awkward! 

Xxx Kate

07 May, 2014

Three Current Favorites: Lipstick

Lip products are without a doubt my favorite makeup product to purchase, so I am constantly buying new ones and therefore finding new favorites. Here are my current three must- have picks!

From left to right:

1. Revlon Super Lustrous Lipstick in Stormy Pink - This is a matte pink shade that is extremely flattering on me. It's basically the perfect classic Barbie pink - it definitely gives your lips a pop of color, but the matte effect makes it suitable for everyday use.
2. Laura Mercier Gel Lip Colour in Clementine - My mom and I went to the Laura Mercier counter and a makeup artist picked out this shade for me, saying that the pretty orange was perfect for me and very flattering for spring. I think he was right! Orange and purple colors are my current lip obsessions, and this is one of the most wearable true orange shades I have found. My favorite thing about this lip colour is that the gel formula makes it very sheer, but buildable. It's extremely versatile, because you can use it for a very subtle shade with one swipe, or you can build it up into the color that you see in the tube. Also, it smells like vanilla!
3. Collection Little Mix Lipstick - Perrie - Little Mix is one of my favorite girl bands, so I was so excited when I learned they were launching a makeup collection! I love this color because it's so interesting - is it purple, is it mauve? It seems to be a different color every time I open the tube. However, for a purple, it's very wearable and makes a great bold lip. I especially love this for a night out.

I hope this post makes you inspired to purchase a new lipstick soon! :)

Xx Kate

06 May, 2014

Lush's Mother's Day Treats!

Mothers Day is a week away and if you are anything like me, you never quite have a gift planned ahead of time. This year Kate and I decided that we would sample Lush's special Mothers Day Collection and review it. Mostly because we both like bath products and a little bit because we need gifts for our mothers. So here we go....

First up is the bath bomb Secret Garden. According to the description from Lush, this ballistic is supposed to smell of rose and orange oil, I disagree. When I first dropped it in the tub the scent I smelled was more along the lines of grass, which I liked but not particularly one I would choose for a bath scent. As far as fizzing, the bomb lasted a lot longer than I am used to and I actually ended up speeding the process along. Once the green layer dissolves, the center is a bright yellow filled with wild flowers and did give off a faint floral scent. Again I was a little disappointed. There seemed to be more leaves than flowers in the small amount that was included in the center. Color-wise the water turned a dark green. Overall, I would pass on Secret Garden for my own mother. She would not appreciate the clean up of the flowers or the color of the water.

Next, I tried Wonder Woohoo, a bubble bar, which is the one I was most excited about due to the scent which is orange and sandalwood. However, I was also a little weary about the glitter due to many horror stories I have encountered about the clean-up associated with that particular add in (also I work in childcare and have experience in the persistence of glitter). Luckily, I had nothing to fear! This bar broke down in the water fairly easily, although a part of it was a bit more difficult to break apart than anticipated. The water was a sunny, golden yellow that shimmered prettily underneath a mountain of bubbles. The shimmer is a result of the inclusion of some of Lush's Lustre powder (a favorite of mine) according to the employee who sold it to me. I did have to rinse the tub quickly once the water drained but that was due to the glitter on the outside of the bar and none of it transferred to my person once I was finished. I am planning on making my mom try this one (and buying approximately 5 more for myself), she is definitely not one for glitter but I think she will make an exception this time.

The third item I tried was Rose, another bubble bar. This is probably the most mom-friendly of the three I sampled. The scent is rose and lemon, it's easy to use, and turns the water a pretty pink that is a few shades lighter than Lush's seasonal Prince Charming (I checked). The description online says this bar is intended for two baths and has "glimmer" which I don't necessarily agree with. I can't say that I noticed any sort of shimmer or glimmer when I used Rose. I also don't think that I would have been satisfied with the amount of bubbles that half the bar would create. But this was also an obvious yes for my mom.
--Now it's Kate's turn! xJenna
I also tried rose - I agree with Jenna that I didn't see a satisfying amount of bubbles or glimmer (which I wasn't fussed about), but the scent is really amazing. Apparently, the smell is the same as Lush's Amandopondo which is a part of their permanent collection. I don't think you can go wrong with rose scents for a mother - generally, it's a pretty safe bet.

I think the Mumkin bubble bar is so cute, honestly, which is definitely why I grabbed for it. Of course, pumpkin- themed items aren't very traditional for spring, but I just found it adorable and I knew that the colors would turn my bath a really gorgeous coral color (which it did). As for scent,  Lush describes it as raspberry with bergamot, lemon, and violet leaf. I couldn't pick out any of these scents specifically - unfortunately I found the scent to be extremely subtle. It did smell sweet and fresh, but I wish the scent had been more intense. As with any bubble bar, you want to crumble it in your bath while the faucet is on to get the maximum amount of bubbles. I was pleased with the amount of bubbles I got, but I hated the stem and leaf, which were made out of a material that was very difficult to break down in the tub, so it just lasted for ages.

I believe Madame Butterfly bubble wand was my favorite product that I tried. While the bubble bars retail for about $4 and you can only get one bath out of them max, madame butterfly retails for around $7 and you could get 2 or 3 (if you were being stingy) baths out of this. I absolutely loved the scent - again, the primary scent is rose, but this bubble bar boasts the same scent as Lush's Rose Jam bubbleroon, and Ro's Argan Body Conditioner which is rose and lemon oil. So, if you know your mom loves rose scents, I think it would be a great duo gift to get her madame butterfly and the body conditioner for a nice pampering set! I was hesitant to buy this despite my love for the scent because I haven't had luck with the bubble wands in the past - I swirl them around in the bath and nothing happens. The sales girl at Lush gave me some advice which changed my life - you want to stick the bubble wand under the running faucet as your tub fills up! I tried that, and was amazed at the amount of bubbles and scent I got. I seriously didn't use much of this at all, but I had a bath I really enjoyed. I can't wait to have another bath with it later on, and I think I might repurchase this before the mother's day collection leaves Lush's stock.

We hope that this post gives you some great ideas for mother's day, or even for a pampering night of your own!

Xx Kate and Jenna

30 April, 2014

Quick Review: April Glossybox!

Today was my favorite day of the month!
Just kidding, it's finals week. So this is going to be a super quick review, but I have to say, my day was brightened when I checked the mail and found my April Glossybox waiting for me! Just in time!
For those of you that don't know, Glossybox is in my opinion the best beauty box subscription you can buy. For 20- 21 dollars a month, you get at least five luxury beauty products, and at least two are full- size. The other three are usually also a very generous size. People have done the math on the Glossyboxes, and there's always around 100 dollars of product that you're actually getting, so in my opinion, it's an unbeatable deal. Plus, I have been getting Glossyboxes since January, and I have never ran into a product that's a total dud.
Anyway! Onto April! In this month's Glossybox I received:

- deluxe sample of Aqua Spa body créme in lavender & chamomile - I haven't heard of the Aqua Spa line before, but I immediately put some of this on my hands and it smells so good. It's a really authentic lavender and chamomile scent that's super relaxing, so I can't wait to use this tonight! (did I mention it's finals week?!) My hands smell and feel great.
- deluxe sample of Caldrea body wash in coconut fig leaf - admittedly the last thing I need is another body wash (I literally have four in my shower right now) but this smells so good! I would definitely say that the scent is more fig leaf than coconut - it definitely doesn't smell tropical or super fruity, but it's fresh, clean, and not overpowering.
- full size Ciaté London paint pot in beach hut - this polish is orange with orange microglitter. Ciaté describes it on their website as "blazing orange," and I would definitely agree. I unfortunately have a shade like this already, so when I look at the color options available, it kind of bums me out that I got this shade. However, Ciaté is one of my favorite luxury brands of nail polish, and this polish alone costs $15, so that's 75% of the box already paid for!
- full size Bellápierre Cosmetics supergloss in vanilla pink - so again, you go to Bellápierre's site and learn that this exact gloss retails for $24.50! Woahh. That being said, I wouldn't pay that much for this. The color isn't what I would have picked - it's a neutral pink, but the copper shimmer in it makes it look ridiculous on the lips if you apply too much of it. This is made with natural ingredients, and has a different consistency than most glosses - it's definitely not sticky, and something about it just makes me want to load up my lips with it. Not sure if I am a fan of this, but I will definitely keep it.
- full size LASplash Cosmetics eyeshadow sealer/ base - this is a brand I haven't heard of before, and that's one of my favorite things about Glossybox - I always discover new brands! This is a very affordable makeup brand based in LA, and I like the look of some of their products after a browse online. I'm excited to see if the eyeshadow base is effective. As I just for this product today, I haven't been able to test it for the 12 hours of wear that it promises, but I swatched it and loved that a) there was no poor scent and b) it was completely undetectable. I currently have an urban decay eyeshadow primer potion in greed, and I am absolutely not loving it because it is metallic and I would prefer something neutral when I am trying to use it as a base. This is $9, and I have read some positive reviews on it, so if I like this, I will definitely be purchasing this over my current Urban Decay one (which is around $20 what the heck).

Overall, this wasn't my favorite box because I feel like the color selections really aren't blowing me out of the water, and I didn't particularly need a new body wash or lotion. The product I am most excited about is the eyeshadow sealer/ base from LASplash. However, I most definitely wouldn't say that I am disappointed with this, and I know next month is going to be great because it's curated by Bergdorf's! I would still definitely recommend this subscription service, especially over Birchbox or Ipsy!

Would you consider getting a Glossybox subscription started??

Xx Kate

16 April, 2014

Quick Look: OCC Lip Tar

Obsessive Compulsive Cosmetics (OCC) can be found at Sephora or online in a myriad of colors ranging from sky blue to sunny yellow to bright pink to inky black. The display is small but interesting and I have always been interested in the idea of a blue or black lip. After many weeks of sampling all the colors in the display, I decided to go with a matte lip tar in Black Dahlia. The OCC website describes this color as the "blackest, blackened red" and was the obvious next choice for me in my pursuit of Gothic lips.

Black Dahlia at its darkest (bit blurry!) 
Each lip tar comes in a small, plastic pouch with an applicator brush and instructions for application. They recommend that you put a small bead of tar on the brush and apply from the middle of the lip out. Application is pretty simple but I am a little less skilled with a brush than I am with a wand or tube of lipstick, so that did take a bit of adjustment. However, it was easy to use and didn't gush out of the tube and was very spreadable. Color pigmentation is true to the tube. My lips looked black, which is what I hoped for but not exactly practical for my job. Luckily this color is very versatile and easy to sheer the color out.
Lightest version

I've found that Black Dahlia has about three different shades that I can achieve. First is obvious the black red that it is advertised as being, second is a dark purpley-red, and the last is a nice deep red. You can expect to have your lips go through these three shades as your day progresses if you are like me and are a little lax about reapplication. Despite this expected lightening, color did remain all day once it settled on red.

The one complaint that I have is that it is very easily transferable. Anything that came in contact with my mouth came away colored and was only solved by removing the lip tar completely.

I can definitely deal with the transference and am interested in trying more of the line to see if all colors are as versatile as Black Dahlia. Anyone else have an opinion on OCC Lip Tars? xx Jenna

14 April, 2014

New Favorite Alert!! Soap & Glory Orangeasm Body Butter

One of my favorite beauty brands ever, Soap & Glory, recently released their new scent, and it's an amazing one! The new scent is dubbed "Orangeasm" and, as you might guess, it's an orange- dominated citrus scent. The official description is that it is "scented with fresh green mandarin, sicilian lemon & sweet orange peel oils." You can find Orangeasm's scent in a super rich body butter, a zesty- fresh revitalizing body wash, and a super tonic fragrance

I was unable to located the fragrance and have one too many body washes as is, so I opted to try the body butter. The orangeasm super rich body butter contains shea butter massage balls & MANGOMILK, green mandarin, Sicilian lemon & sweet orange peel oils. I was very intrigued by the "massage balls." I have bought many other Soap & Glory body butters, but have never encountered massage balls before. 
Upon opening this product, I absolutely fell in love with the scent. In my opinion, it's the perfect fresh citrus scent. It's energizing, and applying this body butter makes me feel more awake and clean, no matter what my state. It is definitely a noticeable scent, but it's not too strong. I really have an issue with scents that are very overpowering and linger a lot. An example of a scent like this is the Body Shop's Satsuma body butter. If I use that body butter all over, I can smell it on me hours and hours later - still very strong, and I never enjoy that. This has the perfect scent, and the perfect amount of scent. 

I am always impressed by Soap & Glory's products, and their body butters are a standout favorite of mine. Every one I have tried is super moisturizing, sinks in quickly, and continues to make my skin feel amazing all day. The Orangeasm body butter performed equally as well as all of the others. The body butter is rich, and does contain very tiny neon orange beads that are the massage balls. I can't say I really noticed a difference with the addition of the massage balls - they were too small to make a difference in the application, and they didn't particularly bother or excite me. I wouldn't be fussed if the massage balls were taken out, but they didn't decrease my enjoyment of the product either. 
the small orange dots are the mini massage balls!
I would highly recommend this product. As usual, Soap & Glory has made an excellent body butter with a perfect- for- spring and summer scent. I am already addicted to using this, and I think you will be as well if you like citrus scents. This is just perfect! 
What new products are you currently loving? Will you be trying Soap & Glory's Orangeasm scent? 

Xx Kate

11 April, 2014

3 Things I'm Really Going to Regret Not Buying During the Sephora Sale

We all have regrets before sales, during sales, and after sales. Before sales, I always wish I had saved more money, so I would have more money to spend. During sales, I sometimes I wish I got this thing instead of this other thing, because this other thing isn't actually that great - but it was cheap. And, after sales, I always wish I had bought these other things that I wasn't brave enough to.

The Sephora sale was, of course, a challenging moment in my life. I did get a lot of stuff I had been craving - The Bumble & Bumble Surf Shampoo & Conditioner, the Ren Invisible Pores Detox Mask (which I am already addicted to), the Lancome Hypnose Star Mascara, and the Ole Henrisken Clean Truth Brightening Cleansing Cloths that were always just a liiiiiitle too expensive to justify pre- sale. I'm really happy with all my purchases, but of course, there are few things I really wish I had bought. Here are my top 3.

1. Make Up Forever HD Invisible Cover Foundation (price: $42)

I've been told this is a really great foundation for full coverage, and I am a huuuuge fan of Make Up Forever, but the $42 price tag combined with the fact that I forgot to go get shade matched at a Sephora in person really made me waffle on this. Plus, I have about seven tubes of foundation right now, so I didn't think it was THAT necessary.
However, on the other hand, I really don't have a go- to full coverage foundation yet, and my skin has been breaking out a bit lately. Additionally, I would really like to get more into luxury foundations, as that's something I haven't tried extensively before, and I think this would be a good starting point.
Likelihood that I will eventually buy this: 8. If I go into a Sephora and find a shade I like, and it feels good on my skin in- store, I think there's a strong likelihood that this will be purchased.

2. Dior Rosy Glow Healthy Glow Awakening Blush in Petal (price: $44)
Everything about this blush looks absolutely gorgeous. The packaging looks so luxe, the color is unique and beautiful, and ughhhh I want it so badly! I managed to talk myself out of it because I do have quite a few blushes, and I don't feel to deprived in that arena. I don't have one this color, but I do have many different shades that look flattering on me, so do I really need this??
Likelihood that I will eventually buy this: 5. I really love this, and I haven't found a barbie pink color similar to this in the drugstore yet - what I love about this is that it really is unique. However, if I were to find one (and I am sure there's one out there somewhere), I wouldn't have any need for this. If I can't find a shade like this anywhere, I could see myself asking for this during my birthday or something to that effect. Blush does last a long time, so I do see good value for the price. I just don't need another one right now.

3. GLAMGLOW Supermud Clearing Treatment (price: $69)

I honestly build up the steam to buy this about once every two weeks, but it hasn't happened yet. Here's why: I spend the whole week hating my skin, and convincing myself that my face wouldn't look like this if I had a really nice mask. I don't think the effectiveness of this is heavily disputed. Generally, it's very well- reviewed, and I know a few beauty bloggers that swear by this. I have actually been lucky enough to sample this, and I have to say, I did notice a difference with this mask, even with the paltry amount I put on my face. So I've built up the steam to buy this, and then I go into Sephora on saturday afternoon, take one look at a) the price and b) the size of the jar, and convince myself that I will never need a mask that badly. I cannot stress how disappointingly small this product is. I'd be surprised if you could get 10 uses out of this. That's about $7 per mask. SERIOUSLY?! I'm a law student living mostly on student loans. I literally will not ever be able to justify this - even with a 15% discount. But oh, do I want this....
Likelihood that I will eventually buy this product: 2. The silver lining of this story is that there are a lot of lovely masks out on the market. You could spend half as much and get the Ren Invisible Pores Detox Mask, which I did buy during the sale, and absolutely love. If you go through all the drugstore masks and all of the reasonably high- end masks and you still can't find something that rivals the Glamglow, then I'd say, what the heck are you waiting for. But until I do that, I'm going to keep exploring.

Do you have any beauty regrets post- Sephora sale? And what did you choose to splurge on during the sale? Let me know in the comments!

Xx Kate

09 April, 2014

Top 5 Nail Polishes for Spring!

Only recently have I started truly being aware of the color profiles that come with every new season. Sure, during the dead of winter, I still love to wear some neon pink, but generally, I've come to value the changing color palettes that accompany that changing weather. 
Color- wise, I'm a huge fans of the pretty pastels and muted neons that seem to accompany spring. Dressing brighter seems to welcome in the new sunny weather so appropriately, and one of the best ways to stay on- trend is to reflect the new trends in your nail polish! Recently, I've gone on a bit of a nail polish overhaul and splurge, so I cleaned out a ton of my collection - some bottles I've literally had for ten years - and then bought a bunch of new, pretty springtime colors. After testing them out for a bit, I've taken the guesswork out of the best colors for spring, and am so excited to share my top five picks with you! 

First is Essie's Cocktails and Coconuts. This is one of the most obvious choices, as this literally comes from the Essie 2014 Resort Collection. I think in every season you need at least one go- to neutral, and this one is mine for Spring 2014. This is a beautiful shade of light brown with faint shimmer (think basically any Essie polish ever) and looks super flattering with many different skin tones. 

Next is Sally Hansen Insta- Dri in Snappy Sorbet. I love this orange color because it is bright enough to be an awesome transition into summer, but the coral hint to it is always perfect for spring. I think this is the perfect bright nail polish to wear with a more understated outfit, and it will look totally springtime fresh! Or, you can always put this on your nails and continue on wearing your winter clothes, and you'll still look totally on- trend (if a little bit hot).

Sally Hansen's Hard as Nails Xtreme Wear in Mint Sorbet has gotten a lot of positive press as one of the best dupes for Essie's Mint Candy Apple on the market - and it's less than half the price! I picked this over Mint Candy Apple because I actually like the formulation of this much better. The Hard As Nails line actually seems to live up to its name. My nails are notorious for chipping, but I never have an issue with this polish. I think mint is always a fail safe for spring, and this is my personal favorite one. 

This Lauren B Beauty nail polish in City of Angels is the most lovely light pink for spring. The formulation of this polish really hits the mark. This polish goes on almost completely opaque in one coat, which is somewhat of a rarity for paler polishes. It's also eco- and vegan- friendly, containing no formaldehyde, formaldehyde resin, DBP, toluene or camphor. However, that also means this polish is the priciest on the list, coming in at $18 a bottle. I was lucky enough to get it in a Glossybox, but if you're looking for a lighter pink that won't break the bank, Essie's Fiji or Sally Hansen's First Blush are good alternatives. 

Last but certainly not least is my favorite polish of the moment. This beautiful orchid color is Essie's Splash of Grenadine. I am absolutely in love with this color. It is a shade or two lighter in person, but I had a hard time getting it to not look neon on camera. One of my favorite things about this polish is how absolutely versatile it is. It looks beautiful with everything, and the formulation is really on point. There is literally nothing I do not love about this nail polish. Bonus: orchid is the color of the year, so you can continue wearing this all year long... and at the rate I am going, I probably will be! 

This wraps up my five favorite polishes for Spring! What colors are you wearing on your nails at the moment? Did I miss any winners? :) 

Xx Kate

05 April, 2014

Quick Look: Benefit's The Big Easy

Benefit's new foundation, The Big Easy, came out a few months ago and, after reading some pre- reviews of the project, I was so eager to try it. The reviews for this "Better Than BB" product promised good coverage that felt lightweight on your skin. One of the unique innovations with this product is a 'liquid to powder' formula that was supposed to be especially nice for oily skin. I personally do have oilier skin, and I feel like a lot of foundations are good for dry skin, but few that are targeted to oily skin. Benefit does claim that this foundation is good for all skin types, though. I quickly purchased it and have been trying it out for the past few weeks. Here are my thoughts.

The application of this product is relatively easy. It's one of the few foundations I feel comfortable using my fingers to apply it, but it also yields a very nice application with a foundation brush and with my beauty blender. It's really quite user friendly.

The Big Easy really does sink into my skin well and feels incredibly lightweight. However, I think that it feeling lightweight logically means that it will be lightweight. I would say that this coverage is light to medium. It's great for me if I'm having a relatively good skin day, but sometimes I prefer a fuller coverage alternative. I'm not saying that this doesn't cover things nicely, but I struggle to build it up to full coverage. Here is a picture of this foundation on my skin not blended (left) and blended (right). I don't even detect it on my skin once blended out.

The Big Easy has an SPF of 35, which I was really excited about, as I love protecting my skin. I have five other foundations with SPF, and they are all 15 or lower. SPF 35 is very significant, and I know that this is going to give me great protection, which will definitely be beneficial in the long run. I know some people do shy away from SPF in your foundation, as it tends to have a "white out" effect on your face when you take pictures. I was aware of this, so I made sure to test this out for The Big Easy. I took a picture of it with flash, and I was very pleased to see that it didn't seem to blanch my skin. However, because of the SPF, there is a detectible "sunscreen" fragrance. It's extremely mild, and I didn't notice it until I actually consciously smelled it, but it could be something to keep in mind if you're sensitive to smells.
enjoying the sun with The Big Easy!

This product hasn't broken me out, and I find that I can wear it all day and my skin doesn't get as oily. I don't feel that I need to set the foundation with powder, as the liquid does change to powder, so that saves me a step on rushed mornings. Overall, I do really enjoy this product. I will admit, it's not my holy grail, as I do like a foundation that I can build up to fuller coverage easily. I would recommend this product for anyone with oily skin who doesn't struggle too much with blemishes or dark spots. This is an excellent foundation to have during the summer when SPF and oiliness are even larger concerns, so I do look forward to continued use.

What's your holy grail foundation?

Xx Kate

Orchid, the Color of the Year in Blush

2014's color of the year, according to Sephora+Pantone Universe, is "Radiant Orchid." Kate was very excited about this since the announcement while I only realized it was happening about a week before it was released in the store. So naturally, when it was finally in stores, Kate was on vacation and I went to Sephora for concealer but left with the new orchid blush palate and a cute make-up bag that was a free gift with purchase.

The purple blush was to enticing for me to pass up but I was also hesitant about actually putting the palate to use because my previous feelings toward blush had been more of the 'well hopefully no one can tell this is here'  variety. But that is more to blame on my general lack of makeup knowledge than anything else, I have since been introduced to the combined efforts of blushes, bronzers, highlighters, contouring, etc. That being said, this blush is a lot brighter tone than I was used to working with in general.

There was a definite learning curve involved with application, which I should have expected because I also own a bronzer from the same brand and it has to be parsed down before application unless I want to look like Attack Of The Self-Tanner. This is an attempt one morning before work that was a bit brighter than originally planned (but also I tend to apply make-up without glasses/contacts so...) (additionally ignore this weird expression, it was before 6 AM).

This photo is more recent and toned down to a level that I prefer. The times that it is too bright/much for me, it is necessary to remove all makeup and start again because I've found that trying to blend down does not work as efficiently as I would like but does attest to the staying power of the color. That being said, I do really love the brightness of the purple and the level of pigmentation. I find that its really suitable for Spring and a lot more fun than the duller mauve-y tones I had previously be more inclined to purchase. I definitely recommend giving the palette a shot while it is here.

02 April, 2014

Hair Must Haves: Fudge Urban for Target

Fudge Urban is a hair company from the UK that I have been dying to try ever since I discovered it a few months back. But like many things that originate in the UK that I am interested in trying, there was no way (that I could find) to get it sent to the US. Then, eureka!, news broke that select Target stores would be selling their products. I was more than excited and made a ridiculous trek to the lone Target in my area that was selling Fudge Urban. Of course the whole Fudge line is not available, including their hair color (is something I am very interested in trying). However, I have been very pleased with what I was able to obtain. I purchased Miracle Ends, Sea Salt Spray, and a hairspray. All products have a very nice coconut scent that refrains from being overpowering but still manages to linger for most of my day, giving off a faint scent burst that never fails to make me long for pina coladas and island lounging.

First lets talk Miracle Ends, the product that I find myself reaching for most often. It is a lotion-like substance with Argan Oil that is supposed to seal ends and add shine to hair. You can use it on dry hair to help de-frizz ends or apply to damp hair prior to blow drying (I tend to use Miracle Ends on dry hair because I only wash my hair twice a week and use the hair dryer maybe once a month). It is great for my second and third day hair when my ends start to rebel and puff out. For my hair, this would not work on a day that I was trying to go for more texture in my hair because it smooths and sleeks my hair too much for a bedhead day.

Next, Salt Spray: The bottle says you can either spray on dry hair and scrunch or spray on wet hair and blow dry for volume and texture. The best use for me is using it as a volumizer/texturizer on wet hair. Volume is something my hair lacks and this definitely adds an oomph. When it comes to beachy texture, I can't say that I get a "beachy" look but that is maybe more at the fault of my hair than the product. My hair is very thick and tends to not hold wave or curl no matter what I do. The spray does give my hair texture which is something I want because I tend to go with the messy, un-brushed look. I've yet to experiment with what happens if I add the Sea Salt Spray to curled hair.

Finally, the hair spray: Fudge Urban boasts a long lasting "48 hour mega-hold". I can't attest for a full 48 hours but I will say that the hold will last at least all day. The spray stream is also nice because it covers large areas and you don't have to spray a lot to compensate for a dud stream or worry about unsightly hard clumps.

So yes, I recommend Fudge Urban. I want to try more of the line and will definitely keep this three as my hair must-haves.

27 March, 2014

What's in My (Purse!) Makeup Bag!

Hey Guys,
it's been aaaaaages since I've last posted, sorry about that! Today, I figured I would dump out the little makeup bag I keep in my purse and show you all what's inside it!

Here is the bag itself! I got it from H&M and I'm pretty sure it's supposed to be a pencil case, but I thought it was so cute, and it was only $3 so the price was right! For me, it's the perfect size, and I really do love it!

Let's take a look inside!

Here's everything I love to carry with me! Quite a bit, but I like my options! :)

[From top left to right]

  • Tokyomilk Dark Lip Elixir in Salted Caramel - I previously have written a post expressing my absolute love for this product. I am a huge fan of the scent and how hydrating it is on my lips. 
  • NYX Soft Matte Lip Cream in Amsterdam - I freaking loooove the NYX matte lip creams. They are incredible, because you can apply them pretty easily, and then if you let the cream dry on your lips, they literally stay put for ages! This is the perfect red that I absolutely need on hand. 
  • Chapstick in Cake Batter - literally the definition of cheap thrills. I am totally addicted to the cake flavor, and this is the most unfussy product in the world. I always need one! 
  • Maybelline Fit Me Concealer - this is a great concealer to have on hand because it seems to effectively conceal a wide range of spots - from acne to dark circles. I get really insecure if some bad skin is showing through, so I love to have a concealer with me. 
  • Lime Crime Matte Lipstick in Geradium - this is another product I have previously raved about. I love the bright pink color of this lipstick, because it always manages to wake me up - or at least create that illusion! I'm a massive fan of Lime Crime lippys, so I always love having this with me! 
  • Zara The Limited Collection Rollerball Perfume in LVII - it's great to have some sort of nice scent around, so I love my rollerballs! This is a lovely scent I recently purchased, and just always seems to agree with me. 
  • NYX Soft Matte Lip Cream in London - I will admit that at first I bought this lip cream just because of the name, because I don't love anything as much as I love London. But, I love this shade of nude on me - very flattering! Nudes are great to have on hand, because they will match with anything, but I find it very difficult to find good nudes that really compliment my skin tone. This seems to do the job well. 
  • Lancome Définicils Mascara in Black - This was a sample I received through Sephora, and I have found it is so nice to have a tiny little mascara in my bag! I find that reapplying once throughout a long day can really brighten my look. 
  • NYX Soft Matte Lip Cream in Prague - I will eventually definitely be reviewing the NYX Matte Lip Creams; as you can see, I'm quite addicted! This is a lovely dark rose shade that I think looks very flattering on my lips. 
  • Collection Little Mix Lipstick in Perrie's Lipstick - This is an awesome purple, and sometimes... I just really want a purple lip! I'm a massive fan of Little Mix, so I was so excited to get this, and it hasn't left my bag since. I find it quite wearable, even though it looks intimidating. 
  • Rimmel Moisture Renew Lipstick in 550 Back to Fuchsia - This is a bright pink, and I can never have enough bright lip colors. I love the Rimmel Moisture Renew line, as it's more hydrating than regular lipsticks, but they also have great color payoff. 
  • NYX Butter Gloss in Raspberry Tart - I'm a big fan of the NYX Butter Glosses - they've got great pigmentation, but are also a superior gloss in consistency and how they make your lips feel. The Raspberry Tart is a quite bright purple, and it really livens up any of my pink or red colors, so I love layering this over some unexpected colors. 
  • Bite Beauty Luminous Creme Lipstick Duo in Violet/ Palomino - TWO colors in one tiny tube?! Dream come true. I definitely bought this duo for the violet color, because it's quite a good orchid color, and I wanted to add some more orchid into my makeup collection. However, I am loving the formulation of both, so I'm a fan of this. 
  •  Vaseline Lip Therapy in Cocoa Butter - I can't say I find myself reaching for this a lot as I have two other lovely balms, but I sometimes do use this on my hands, and I have discovered I really find myself missing this if I don't have it. 
  • Revlon Moon Drops Lipstick in 710 Orange Flip - I am hugely obsessed with more orange colored lipsticks lately, and this is the brightest orange ever! I actually just love it. 
  • Rimmel Show Off Lip Lacquer in Celestial - I think I have the whole Show Off line, and I love every one! I picked Celestial for the purse because it's a very nice pinky- nude color. 
lipsticks: Revlon Orange Flip, Lime Crime Geradium, Rimmel Back to Fuchsia, Collection Perrie's Lipstick
Okay, that's everything in my tiny makeup bag! Do I have too many lip colors? Absolutely. Do I regret any of it? Absolutely not! 

What's your purse essential? 

Xx Kate 

05 March, 2014

February Glossybox: Unboxing and Review

Today, my favorite day of the month happened - I got my Glossybox! :D

I really look forward to finally getting my hands on the month's Glossybox. I subscribe to Glossybox and Birchbox, and in my opinion, Glossybox is without question my favorite. They always pack amazing value into the box - definitely justifying the $21/ month price tag! - and their products tend to be very high quality, and made by respected (or new- to- me) brands. I always discover something new that I absolutely love, and am very rarely disappointed with the products.

Let's dive in and check the February one!

First, the packaging is consistent, but always top notch. I love the boxes the products come in - they're well- made, and I tend to hold onto them because they are a great size for storage, or to use for gift boxes. I love that they include the card every month with product descriptions and tips about using the product, and the bow/ tissue paper is always classy and pretty. It truly always feels like I am opening a great present.

The February box contains:
  • Anatomicals Puffy the Eye Bag Slayer Wake- Up Under Eye Patches 
  • Figs & Rouge Cherry Blossom Tinted Lip Balm Tube
  • Lauren B Beauty Nail Couture in City of Angels 
  • Pureology Serious Color Care Colour Fanatic (sample)
  • Sumita Beauty Kala Color Intense Pencil 
Let's see how these products perform! 

First is the Figs & Rouge lip balm. Although the last thing I need is more lip products, I really do love them, so I was very excited to get this. I have heard good things from Figs & Rouge but have never personally tried anything from the line. I really do like this lipgloss. The color is a "your lips but better" type of color - it doesn't add anything too crazy, but it does enhance. There's not much of a scent - I expected a strong cherry smell, but you have to really get close to smell anything at all, which is nice, because some people are bothered by scents. This is moisturizing, wearable, and has great packaging. Thumbs up from me!

I unfortunately can't say too much about the Pureology Color Fanatic spray yet - you have to apply it on damp hair, and I have just washed my hair, so no dice there. However, I know Pureology is a respected brand, so I'm excited to try it. I'm always looking for holy grail- status hair products. This has a floral scent that would smell fresh and nice on hair, and is a semi- thick milky white consistency.

I'm a huge fan of the Sumita eyeliner pencil. The line was really black, and it has great staying power. In the swatch, the bottom line is the line after the smudge test. I rubbed this line quite a few times, and didn't see much movement. This was only confirmed when I went to wash it off, and I literally could not get it off for about a minute. I really had to rub at it. This is a great pencil for your waterline, as eyeliner tends to come off very quickly there. I did try it on my eyes, and it was easy to apply and really made my eyes pop. I tend to prefer brown or eggplant colors for every day, but I am really excited that I found a great new going out pencil to use.

These eye patches are really quite fun! I was the least thrilled about these, as I am quite blessed with minimal under- eye problems, and I never fuss with eye creams or eye patches, as I just don't seem to need them. However, I tried these right away so I can give a real review on them. You're meant to put these directly under your eye and leave them there for 30 minutes. I was wary about eye irritation, but there were absolutely no problems there. The effect is very cooling and feels very pleasant! These stick on your face well, so you can move about and not worry about them falling off every two seconds. There was no discomfort with these at all, and when I removed them, I really did see a difference! My under eye area definitely looked plumper and refreshed. Wow! I'm definitely going to enjoy using the next two packets of these. (Also, way to go Glossybox for giving us three packets - how generous!)

Anyone who stalks Glossybox's twitter and webpage did know we were getting this. There's always at least one product a month that isn't a surprise. I was excited about this, as I am one of those people who never feel like I have too many nail polishes. I love the color of this - it's that perfect ballet pink for spring. I'm not loving the lighting in the picture that I included, but trust me when I say that the color in the bottle is the color on my nails - after one coat! The formulation of this is absolutely awesome, and is one of those rare "one coat wonder" polishes that I absolutely adore. I don't have time to put on three + coats of anything, so I tend to throw polishes like that out rather quickly. However, I won't be tossing this any time soon! Also, the back of the polish says that it doesn't have formaldehyde, DBP, toluene, formaldehyde resin or champhor and is cruelty- free and vegan friendly. Lauren B is a brand new line that is launching Spring 2014, and I will definitely be picking up some more of her polishes. This is the reason I love Glossybox - it is so easy to get exclusive and new products that I absolutely love.

Overall, I am very excited about this new Glossybox! I did open it and worry there might be some duds - a cheap eye pencil, some eye patches I will never use, just another lip balm - but the products speak for themselves as usual and they are all great! Once again, Glossybox doesn't let me down, and I am already counting down the days until I have the March Glossybox in my hands! :)

Oh, and Cecil's a big fan too! ^_^

Xx Kate