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