May Favorites!

Saturday, May 31, 2014

So May was most definitely the month of makeup for me. I don't know what it was - maybe (finally) having a predictable schedule coupled with discovering some pretty great items, but a lot of my favorites this month are things that are actually quite new to me. Though I will say, on the lipgloss front - I've rekindled some old flames. I've been a gloss and bronzer hoarder this month and the looks I've put together lately definitely show that!

Eyes - 

- Wet N Wild Color Icon Eyeshadow Single in Brule: Everyone talks about this, but I didn't think I needed a single matte, beige shadow since they'res almost always one included in most eyeshadow palettes. I was wrong. I needed this. You need this. Everyone needs this. I'll be doing a separate review for this because it literally warrants one.

- L'Oreal Voluminous Butterfly Mascara: I fell in LOVE with this recently. I've had it for a short time already, but I feel like it's one of those mascaras that work better after you have it open for a couple weeks. This makes my lashes look phenomenal - I really like the way it makes them look more wispy and separated. Literally, there are no clumps whatsoever.

- L'Oreal Voluminous Miss Manga Mascara: Did I buy this for the packaging? Absolutely. I am SO IN LOVE with the way this makes my lashes look - it gives me great volume without clumpiness and does not transfer whatsoever. 

- Urban Decay 24/7 Eyeliner in Demolition: I wasn't completely enamored with this when I got it as part of a set with Zero (surprise - I can't get away from that darn liner) and Rockstar (which I wanted for like ever!). It is a matte finish liner so it doesn't perform as well on the waterline as I needed, but this is great for smokey looks!

Lips...make a cup of tea - we're gonna be here a while...

- Revlon Lip Butter in Wild Watermelon: I'm not entirely sure how long I had this in my collection before I started really appreciating it, but I've really been reaching for this a whole lot this month and it's not a far stretch to say that this has become my "summer red". It's glossy and bright enough to be a more casual red for the daytime (I wore this was to a 9am doctor's's fair game to say I'm a morning person now...) but has great pigmentation.

- Maybelline Color Elixirs in Luminous Lilac and Luxe in Lilac: I reviewed these earlier this week and if you can still get your hands on these, do it! I love the formula of the Color Elixir range and I just keep collecting them more and more.

- Maybelline Color Sensational High Shine Gloss in Mirrored Mauve: This is one of my favorite gloss textures in the drugstore (or in general, for that matter) but I'm finding that they're not sold everywhere they used to be. I'm really hoping that they're not getting phased out, but I may or may not have all but a few already. By the way, if I have any Florida readers (Woo!), I've seen these at Publix for as low as $6 and change.

- Maybelline Color Whisper in Lust for Blush: Last Maybelline today, I swear! I've recently rediscovered this one and I feel like I under appreciated the Color Whisper formula. I find it incredibly comfortable to wear and this shade works with nearly everything...not to mention I don't look totally crazy wearing this at 6am with little more than blush/bronzer and mascara.

- Milani Brilliant Shine Lipgloss in Bare Secret: Everyone was raving about this gloss formula and I'm happy to say, I've jumped on the bandwagon. They'res something about the texture that just really, really works. I also really appreciate this shade because it's a darker take on a nude gloss so it doesn't pull to warm on my skin.

- NYX Butter Glosses in Tiramisu and Eclair: I'm trying to lose weight and I swear, sometimes wearing one of these is close enough to eating something that would tank my diet. I don't know how they made them smell so good, but I am impressed! Scent aside, I really like this formula, and the fact that the lighter shades don't sink into lip lines. I may or may not be hoarding these as well...

Cheeks - 

- Maybelline Master Hi-Light Bronzer in Light Bronze: 9 times out of 10, I wear bronzer in lieu of blush rather than to actually make myself appear more tan. I just really like the look of it - its just something I'm into lately. That being said; I love this formula and texture and Maybelline needs more colors in the range.

- Wet N Wild Color Icon Blush in Pearlescent Pink: Again, everyone said I needed it and I didn't think I needed it. Update - I needed it. This has a lovely texture, is an easy color to wear and amazing color payoff.

- Physicians Formula Sexy Booster Sexy Glow Blush in Natural: I've been loving me some Physicians Formula as of late - I caught a BOGO at Target earlier this month and now all I want is for Physicians Formula to go on sale again. I love this blush - it's super pigmented but has a natural looking sheen and smells (yes, smells) amazing.

Skin - 

- La Mer The Oil Absorbing Lotion: It very much bears mention that this is a sample size that I received a voucher for in a magazine. If I become extremely famous or win 3 consecutive lotteries, I'd consider purchasing a full size of this, but $240 for a moisturizer that doesn't really mattify my skin that much is wayyyyy to steep. What I like about this is the way it feels on my skin - I can get the luxury to this, because my skin eats this stuff up. It feels incredible. It even smells expensive. Let's just say, I'm using this sparingly. 

- Kat Von D Lock It Tattoo Concealer: I've had a decent skin month, but when I did get happen to get spots, they were stark contrasts from the rest of my skin. This stuff covers anything. The cool thing about it though, is that it's so incredibly easy to blend and really doesn't cake up.

Nails - 

- Out The Door Fast Dry Top Coat: Team Out The Door for LIFE. I love this so much more than Seche Vite - the texture is so much thinner but still dries quickly and leaves a high gloss and I feel like my polish stays on for a bit longer which is nearly impossible for my nails. LOVE.

- CoverGirl Outlast Glosstini in Rogue Red: This is so worth the three coats to reach opacity. Trust me. I love the dimension to this - and the fact it's on clearance at CVS right now!

Brushes - 

- ELF Studio Flawless Concealer Brush: This guy is besties with my Kat Von D concealer. It's like I photoshopped my blemishes off of my face in real life...

- SOHO Pro Contour Blush Brush: This has been my bronzer brush of choice this month; I feel like it distributes the perfect amount of product without going overboard and blends in the process.

Fragrance - 

- Victoria's Secret Very Sexy Now 2014: If you ever want to know what a grown up, sexy, tropical fragrance smells like; it's this. This has Coconut, Quince and Gardenia and is literally unlike anything else I have in my collection.

May has been...Positive. For the most part. I'm definitely feeling my work schedule - I enjoy working early mornings and having the rest of the day to, as I put it, "be a person". I feel like the consistency has done me good; I feel happy and healthy. Other than that, not much else has changed this month. I guess no news is good news? Maybe!

What were you guys loving this month?

Maybelline Limited Edition Color Elixirs in Luminous Lilac and Luxe in Lilac

Monday, May 26, 2014

I don't know what it is about this spring/summer so far, but I am so much more into lipglosses than I usually am. I'm usually just a total lipstick girl - and there's bonus points if it's a matte lipstick - but there's just something about the gloss formulas on the market right now (particularly in the drugstore) that has me converted...or at least more to a 50/50 ratio. My best guess? I think I'm liking the gloss/lipcolor hybrid craze.

The Maybelline Color Elixers are definitely not a range that I'm unfamiliar with - I've been hoarding them just a bit - but these two shades, along with another (the color I'm Blushing) that I'm interested in getting my hands on are part of the Bleached Neons collection for summer and are definitely shades that are right up my alley!

If you are unfamiliar with the Color Elixir line, these are a highly pigmented glosses with a cushion-y texture - they are marketed as being nourishing on the lips like a gloss would be. I very much like this formula because of the mix of the texture and the pigmentation. Across the board, from the lightest shades I have to the deepest, these all do have a great level of pigmentation. I was impressed with the texture of these because I usually equate highly pigmented glosses with a sticky texture (ahem, MAC?) but these are really incredibly comfortable. I also don't find these drying in the least on my lips, but I'm not entirely sure if they impart any extra moisture either. My lips aren't any worse for the wear after wearing these, however.

These do have a fragrance as well and it does have a bit of strength to it, but it's a fragrance that I enjoy - these smell like Honeysuckle to me which is a very nostalgic fragrance for me personally, I remember picking Honeysuckle with my grandmother when I was growing up! -  but if you're someone who is highly sensitive to fragrance, you may have difficulty with these. It doesn't linger much, but it has a decent strength to it when first applied. 

In the above photo, Luminous Lilac is on the left while Luxe in Lilac is on the right. Luminous Lilac is a very approachable take on a lilac toned gloss. In my opinion, this one is a very, very lilac toned pink rather than a true lilac, but it is a wonderful shade for a subtly lilac lip or a way to ease yourself into wearing lilac if it's something that intimidates you. This pairs with so many different looks and it's definitely become a staple for me. Luxe in Lilac is a touch bolder. It borders on the Radiant Orchid trend while still having a very beautiful translucency that makes it wearable for those, like myself, who are drawn to lilacs and other tones of purple. 

Overall, I'm really excited about these. I've been definitely reaching for these shades a whole lot, and I'm really interested in trying to get I'm Blushing as well! Color Elixirs are like potato chips for me, I can't just have one!

MAC Alluring Aquatics Cremesheen Lipstick in Goddess of the Sea

Saturday, May 24, 2014

I'm going to be completely transparent here for a moment in saying that up until as recently as last summer I would totally stalk MAC's new collections as they released - but they'res been a disconnect recently where I'm really not too over the moon about them. The quality was definitely still there, but I feel like they weren't putting out those "wait in line for the mall to open in your sweatpants and glasses" collections like they used to. It gave me time to focus on what is permanently available by MAC and to especially built my palettes but I honestly missed the rush of the new collections.

I think Alluring Aquatics is bringing that excitement back - and I hope it's here to stay. I had to have this lipstick and it's the only thing I hauled from the collection thusfar - mostly because I knew it would sell out - but given my budget, everything else that I like is on a "if its still there when I can afford it, it was meant to be" basis. Other items that sparked my interest in the collection were Aphrodite's Shell, Sea Me Hear Me, Mystical and Sea Worship, but we'll see how many of those will be sold out by the time I'm able to get them.

Goddess of the Sea, however, was the one I knew I needed before it sold out!

The packaging for this collection is literally flawless. I very rarely care about limited edition packaging, but when I do, it has to be dramatic. This falls into that category. The color is beautiful - a metallic pale teal - but the real showstopper here are the "water droplets" when I saw my first review of these, I thought the blogger had sprayed them with water to give them this look. MAC gets serious credit for making these so pretty and unique! I wore this to work as soon as I purchased it yesterday and every single time I took it out to reapply, all of my colleagues wanted to look at it. I hate paying a higher price for limited edition packaging, but this was one of the few cases where I really didn't mind at all!

Goddess of the Sea is a Cremesheen finish and MAC describes the color as "dark vibrant violet".  We all know by now, I'm a sucker for a purple lipstick, so I don't 100% agree with the color description - I find it to be more of a muted violet with a touch of a plummy brown tone to it. Most similar in my collection might be Revlon Berry Haute, but it is definitely not a dupe. This color is unique enough to be purchased because of the shade and not only because of the stunning packaging...which, lets be real - I would have been tempted.

I feel like MAC's Cremesheen formula has improved in the last few years - if I were to compare the formula of this shade, Outrageously Fun and Lavender Whip (Baking Beauties version) to older Cremesheens in my collection like Creme Cup and Shy Girl, there definitely is a different feel. The newer Cremesheen shades that I have tend to have a more lip hugging feel to them than before where I felt that they just sat on top of the lips. I also don't feel like the formula dries out my lips as badly as before. I thought it maybe was a darker color difference in the formula, but Lavender Whip isn't really a dark shade. I used to avoid Cremesheens because of how the formula wore on me, but if they keep up with how they've been feeling lately, I may be adding some more to my collection. 

As far as wear time, this shade was pretty average for a Creme finish on my lips - three to four hours before the glossiness faded. However, this shade does stain a bit - in the best way possible. When applied to exfoliated and moisturized lips in the "apply, blot, reapply" manner, the stain will really last you a good amount of time. Due to the glossiness though, it could benefit from a lip liner or concealer barrier (especially if you intend on eating an apple on your lunch break!) to keep it from migrating outside of the lip lines. My only issue was needing to have my lips in better shape when wearing this shade. Simply because it is a deeper shade, I noticed that when it stained my lips when they were dehydrated and in need of balm, it stained in a bit of a patchy manner. Not a deal breaker, but it's the nature of the color family. Darker shades tend to show imperfections on the lips when they begin to stain.

Overall, thank goodness I was able to get my hands on this one! Between the packaging being so stunning and the color being more unique than I anticipated, I was already quite pleased - but when you enter the improvements in the Cremesheen formula, I'm a bit over the moon about it! 

I'll definitely update within the coming weeks if I'm able to haul anything else from the collection, because in all honesty...


Essie Collection Swatches!

Thursday, May 15, 2014

Its a strange feeling when you fill up three entire nail wheels with swatches and still feel like you haven't even scratched the surface of what a brand offers. I really do tend to gravitate toward the Essie line because it offers so much - between the excessive amount of colors available in the brand's permanent line and the nearly constant seasonal and limited edition collections that the brand offers, I never really feel like there isn't  a color that I would like to add to my collection.

I photographed these with the flash setting on my camera in natural lighting as I felt it captured the true color of the shades the best - I'll also be including how many coats each swatch took.

Now, clockwise - and in "ROYGBIV" order, we go!

- French Affair: This is a lightly lavender toned baby pink - i.e. a total "me color". I really like this shade but the cream formula required 3 coats to even out.

- We're In It Together: This was a limited edition shade for Breast Cancer Awareness two or three Octobers ago. It is a neutral to warm baby pink with a very subtle shimmer. This was also three coats for even-ness.

- Madison Ave-Hue: A cool toned fuchsia pink with subtle silver shimmer. I really, really like this shade. It was even in application but I preferred 3 thin coats for opacity.

- Splash of Grenadine: How radiant orchid of them, huh? That's the best way to describe this shade. This was actually on of my first Essie polishes, and probably the one that sparked my obsession. It also had a very similar formula to the previous shade - could work with two, but three thin coats worked very well for me.

- The Girls Are Out: I thought this shade would be too similar to Madison Ave-Hue, but it is a couple shades darker. It also has the silver shimmer to it, but the shimmer is a bit more dense. Three thin coats.

- Jamaican Me Crazy: This was another one of my first Essie shades and the cute name probably drew me in. This is another few shades darker than The Girls Are Out, but it also has almost a metallic quality to it. Surprisingly, this was three coats as well - I normally can pull of metallic-like shades in less.

- Marathin: This shade was part of a limited edition collection a few summers ago and I REALLY like it - not to mention I hauled almost the entire collection! Its a rosy pinky mauve shade that applies really nicely. Three thin coats.

- Angora Cardi: Along the similar hue of Marathin, but several shades darker, this shade is quite chic. I've only recently discovered this one. Three thin coats.

- It's Genius: This is a metallic plummy-rose shade that I again, opted for three coats on rather than less.

- Leading Lady: I find this shade to be a bit...odd. It's like if you took a red jelly shade, applied a few coats, then a coat of glitter, then a few more coats of red jelly. It has a translucency to it and it takes a flawless application of it to look successful. This is three shades and I still find it kind of uneven.

- Recessionista: This is a dark, plum red that my sister enjoys "borrowing" on nearly a weekly basis. It is a true chic shade and great for fall. This was three coats.

- Skirting the Issue: Very similar to Recessionista, but a Bordeaux shade rather than plum. It looks a bit darker in person than it photographed. Three thin coats.

- A Crewed Interest: Love the color, but just cannot with the formula. If anyone knows of a dupe for this shade that isn't streaky and a pain in the butt to apply, let me know. This was four thin coats and I still don't find it perfect.

- Tart Deco: While it performs better than A Crewed Interest, it still struggles from streakiness. It's in pretty good shape after 3 coats.

- Mint Candy Apple: I went CRAZY on mint shades last year, but this one is an iconic drugstore shade. This also has strong blue tones, making it unique and took 3 coats.

- Maximillian Strasse-Her: I LOVE this shade. It is a mint shade with strong gray tones and I have to remind myself to use other polishes than this one sometimes. It took three coats for evenness. 

- Parka Perfect: Another gray toned green, but a few shades darker. I really enjoy this shade as well and it was three thin coats.

- Mojito Madness: This may or may not have been another name inspired purchase. One of my original Essie shades, it is a crisp, Kelly green shade. Three coats.

- Sew Psyched: A little off center here, am I? This is an army green shade that I thoroughly enjoy. While I used three coats, you could probably get away with two.

- Power Clutch: This shade is a few shades darker than Sew Psyched, but is very similar in color family. Same formula, I used three coats but you could use two and get the same result.

- Stylenomics: Its not black...almost. This shade is a very, very dark green that I wear on my toes a lot in the wintertime. It's quite chic. This was two coats.

- Turquoise and Caicos: Another one of Essie's cult favorite shades and one heck of a summertime compliment getter. It is a true pastel turquoise and took three thin coats.

- Go Overboard: This is a much darker take on teal, but since it is in the teal color family it does have a sense of brightness to it that keeps it from being too dark of vampy. I really like this shade in the summertime and it took two coats.

- Find Me An Oasis: This is a very, very pale white blue with slight shimmer. The next shade after this one was once my palest blue shade, but this takes the cake on that. I believe this is limited edition but still available and it took three coats.

- Bikini So Teeny: This is the ultimate pale blue (but no longer the "palest" blue) shade and is among Essie's most popular. At work, my colleagues and I call this shade out on one another. If someone is wearing a pale blue nail, 9 times out of 10 they are met with " You're wearing Bikini So Teeny from Essie, aren't you". And the answer is always yes. My store could be sponsored by this shade given how much we all wear it! This swatch was three thin coats. 

- Lapis of Luxury: I thought this was far too similar to Bikini So Teeny for the longest time but it really is quite a bit darker and more of a dusty blue. A very pretty shade but has some application issues - its still a touch streaky and translucent after three coats. If you're in a bind, it is a pretty close dupe for the next shade, just with an inferior formula. 

- Boxer Shorts: I adore this shade. This is what Lapis of Luxury should have been; a fully opaque dusty blue. Unfortunately, this shade was limited edition (same collection as Marathin). This took three thin coats, but if you're incredibly patient with Lapis of Luxury and add a couple extra coats, you may be able to dupe this pretty well.

- In The Cab-ana: I love, love, LOVE this blue. And, of course it had to be limited edition from last spring if my memory serves me correctly.  It's a bright, crisp blue shade without being neon. This was three thin coats.

- Bouncer, Its Me: Bouncer, just don't let me in. I obviously don't belong here. This was a take on the neon cobalt trend of last summer and was a definite bummer. Four coats, still SUPER streaky and an allover letdown. Its okay Essie, L'Oreal screwed up a take on this shade too.

- No More Film: For lack of a better description, this shade is a blackened blurple. It was released with a late summer collection and I feel that vibe from it. This was one whopping coat!

- Go Ginza: I always assume I have more of this shade family in my collection than I do, but this is a rosier take on lavender. Essie does so many lavender shades that I don't have because I always think this is lighter an less rosy than it is. It is a beautiful color though, with three coats.

- Bond With Whomever: Definitely a similar color, this shade is just a few hues deeper than Go Ginza, but with the same rosiness to it. Very pretty and took three coats.

- Warm and Toasty Turtleneck: Can you say ombre? These three shades work so well together. This was released last fall, I believe? Three thin coats, same deal. The name kinda got me on this one too, I'm not even going to lie.

- DJ Play That Song: Neon shades frustrate me. Some brands get them right...others really don't. This shade is a neon grape shade and it really isn't as terrible of an offender as Bouncer, Its Me but it's along those lines. It took four coats to even out before I gave up and isn't nearly as vibrant as you'd expect it to be when you look at the bottle.

- Sexy Divide: This is a dark metallic purple shade and in all honesty, its not all too unique of a shade. Despite that, it has a great formula and I don't know why I used three coats on this one, because it was great after two thin coats.

- Mademoiselle: This is Essie's most popular polish - apparently anytime something is a cult favorite, I have to try it. However, I don't know if I'm just too impatient of a polisher, or just used to opaque polishes,  but I'm not a huge fan. Maybe it'll grow on me? This was four coats and its subtle to say the least.

- Topless and Barefoot: I went crazy to track this one down a couple years ago and now its a whole lot more readily available. It really is a very flattering light nude that is pink enough to not look like mannequin hands. This was a bit streaky to work with but evens out after three coats.

- Lady Like: This is quite a "me" shade because it's a mauve-y pink shade and I've worn this for meetings and interviews countless times. Is classy while not being invisible - *cough cough* - but this was three thin coats.

- Demure Vixe: This shade is a bit similar to Lady Like but it's a bit more of a brown mauve and has a translucency to it that is actually really well executed. It's easy to work with because it has a kind of iridescence to it that seems to blur mistakes. 

- Sand Tropez: If Topless and Barefoot is a pink beige, Sand Tropez is a more neutral beige. This one has a slightly thicker consistency so it applies more opaque and took three coats to even out.

- Yogaga: I kid you not, I've worn this shade a ridiculous amount of times. It was part of the same collection as Boxer Shorts and Marathin, but I think this shade was the first one out of that collection that I hauled. This does photograph quite similar to Sand Tropez, but it is a couple shades darker and definitely more gray toned. This was three coats, but I often get lazy and use two.

- Pilates Hottie: That name! Love it! If you hadn't already guessed, this is the last shade I hauled from the aforementioned collection. It's a difficult one to describe - its not a lavender, but almost like a pale, purple-y taupe shade and I really, really like it. This one was also three coats.

- Chinchilly: Another shade that I've worn the heck out of, its like a warm, gray shade that's almost taupe but not quite taupe. This shade family really appeals to me. This one was three coats, but I often use two.

- Miss Fancy Pants: This one is in the same shade family, but a touch lighter and warmer than Chinchilly. Three coats, pretty even to begin with.

- Mochacino: I freaking love this shade. Literally, I may have worn this on my toes on repeat for at least two months last fall. Its a brownish gray with a shimmer to it, but not overly glittery and the shimmer makes it a dream to apply. This one was three coats to achieve opacity, but it was very even to apply. 

- Crocadilly: This is one of those magnetic polishes that were really popular a year or so ago, but no matter what I tried, this will not work for me. I followed directions on Essie's site to a tee and it not only doesn't work, but literally there is no difference in the way it looks whatsoever. I've looked at blogs about these and everyone seemed to be in agreement that they sucked, but does the one I have super suck? I've tried everything! Either way, the color itself is very pretty and it was three thin coats, but with metallic shades I can usually get away with two thicker coats.

- Sable Collar: The fall collections that Essie releases tend to be my favorite, and this is another shade from last year's. It's a metallic brown with purple tones, but I noticed it to be a little thinner in texture than most metallics from Essie. This was three thick coats.

- For The Twill Of It: Same collection...yes. I know. It is a purple-ish, green-ish, brown-ish duo-chome-y shade that is really a pain in the butt to photograph accurately. This was three average coats as it had a bit of a thinness to it, though not as thin as Sable Collar.

- No Place Like Chrome: This one was my sister's, but I somehow intercepted it? Though, the reverse does happen quite often so its not completely a tragedy. This is the texture that I crave from metallic shades. One coat. Bing, bang, boom. DONE.

- Sparkle On Top: This is the lesser of the two holographic flakie shades that I have from Essie. The flakes of this one are just too clumpy and long and while the color is pretty its too bumpy on the nail without a thick, shiny topcoat. This was three coats to show color, but I normally use one.

- Shine Of The Times: I can't believe they discontinued this one (and possibly replaced it with Sparkle On Top) because this is everything a holographic flakie shade should be. Very thin in texture, but it looks different in every light - shifting from blue-ish tones to orange-ish tones. Put this over a deep shade with a matte topcoat. Just do it. This was three coats to show the color, but I normally use one.

- Jazzy Jubilant: This is another nail effect shade and it is basically a shade of different sizes of multi-colored hexagonal glitters. I wish it was more densely packed with glitters, but all in all, its a fun polish. This was three coats.

- On A Silver Platter: This is part of Essie's take on the textured nail trend. I'm actually impressed with the way they jumped onto this trend as Essie's take was quite different than other brands'. This shade is actually pretty cool - a pale gold base with silver texture and blue-ish/violet holographic glitters. This was four thin coats, but very worthwhile.

- Belugaria: Talk about texture. This is definitely a contender for one of my most unique nail polishes. Belugaria is difficult to explain - kind of a matte textured base with silver and black multi-sized hexagonal glitters that peek through. I don't know how I feel about this as an entire mani, but I've used it as an accent nail or two for the holidays. It does sit quite high above the actual nail as it has a really defined and intense texture to it, and it was only two coats. I will say, this can be kind of finicky to work with. Half of the time it's a pain, and the other half it kind of falls into place. My advice. Get a good sized drop onto your brush and try to get it as close to the nail bed in the middle of the nail as you can and distribute it quickly as it dries incredibly fast. I usually use the second coat to kind of fill in any sparse areas.

Essie's website lists more than 300 permanent shades, even without all of the "effects"  shades! They truly do have something for everyone - no matter what you're looking for.

What's your favorite Essie shade?

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