Christmas Makeup!

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It’s that time again! Merry Christmas Eve! 😀

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Christmas brings to mind golds, reds, and greens — in addition to the silvery whites which bring to mind “White Christmases” 😊

Any Christmas makeup look will likewise include this palette of colors — along with a tasteful amount of glitter!

I have created a sample makeup look below:

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Face- I used Illamasqua Skin Base foundation in the shade 3.5 and set the foundation with Coty Airspun in “Naturally Neutral.” I also applied Too Faced “Bronzed & Poreless” bronzer to the hollows of the cheeks, the sides of the nose, on the temples, and along the hairline. For blush, I patted L’Oreal Visible Lift cream blush in “Rose Gold” to begin incorporating gold tones into the look. Highlighter is a must for any Christmas look! Although it is not apparent from the photo angle, I applied Bobbi Brown’s Shimmer Brick in “Rose Gold” along the cheekbones.

Eyes- For this look, I applied Lorac’s “Behind the Scenes” eye primer, and then a cream-colored eyeshadow (Lorac’s “Shell” from the “Pro-to-Go” palette) to the entire eyelid. Afterward, I dabbed a gold shadow (Lorac’s “Gold” from its regular “Pro” palette) to the lid and crease toward the inner corner. Although red eyeshadow is difficult to pull off tastefully, I tried to incorporate red tones by applying a rust-colored shadow (“Garnet” from the Lorac “Pro” palette) to the outer corner and lateral crease. Then, I amped up the glitter by patting Lorac’s 3D Liquid Lustre in “Gold” to the lid only. A cat eye is always classy and striking with any holiday/festive look, so I applied such with L’Oreal Infallible Gel Lacquer Liner in “Blackest Black.” Dramatic lashes are the order of the day here! I applied 3 coats of L’Oreal Volume Million Lashes Excess, also in “Blackest Black.”

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Lips- Red lipstick is a must for any Christmas look, especially one with a golden sheen such as Makeup Forever Rouge Artist Intense lipstick in shade 21 (worn here).

I hope you have a wonderful holiday season and a Happy New Year!

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Review: Benefit “They’re Real!” Mascara

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One of the bestselling mascaras in Sephora is Benefit’s “They’re Real!” mascara, a mascara reportedly so potent that no one can tell that you’re not wearing false lashes.

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We shall put this wonder product to the test!

The packaging is fairly standard, with tightly grouped bristles which bode well for being able to coat each lash with product. (Please note that this is sample size:

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The product goes on fairly thick. The first photo below depicts my bare lashes, the second with one coat of mascara, the third with a second coat:

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My Thoughts:

As you can see in the photo above, two coats of this mascara certainly conjure a “WOW” effect — dripping with length, volume, and drama — indeed reminiscent of false lashes. The only drawback is that this mascara has a tendency to clump later in the day, if not upon first application if you aren’t careful. In my opinion, clumping is a cardinal sin for mascara. “Spider lashes” are far worse than no mascara at all, in my opinion, as they often cheapen a woman’s look.

Bottom Line: Do you need this mascara? No.

Verdict: 3/5 Stars

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Available at Sephora, ULTA, and benefitcosmetics.com for $23

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Top 5 Overhyped Beauty Products!

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We’ve all purchased a product which was loudly praised, only to be underwhelmed by the results and even request a refund. I hope today’s post will save you some money! Bear in mind that I have experienced buyer’s remorse with these products, and these observations represent my personal experience. If you have had a good experience with these products, more power to you 🙂

Top 5 Overhyped Beauty Products…

Here we go!

1) Wen Shampoo

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Advertisements for this line of shampoos, particularly the before-and-after photos, are stunning. The product claims to bestow bound, flowing, silky, Kate-Middleton-esque tresses like you wouldn’t believe! The company also boasts that many celebrities attribute their gorgeous manes to this shampoo/conditioner. I ordered the product the first time I saw the ad.

The result was disappointing to say the least. My hair looked no different than when I used drugstore shampoo/conditioner; in fact, my hair became oily more quickly. And I certainly did not receive the benefits displayed in the glorious before-and-after pic on the website. It was simply not worth the money, and I ended up selling my Wen products on eBay.

2) CoverGirl Lash Blast Mascara

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Ah, I may get tarred and feathered for this one! The fabled orange tube simply did not deliver for me. Not only did it not deliver the volume promised, but it also flaked off throughout the day, scattering unsightly black speckles over my cheeks. For a truly superior drugstore mascara, try L’Oreal’s “Voluminous Million Lashes Excess” Mascara, which I’ve already reviewed here.

3) Makeup Forever HD Powder

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Several years ago, I succumbed to the tremendous hype surrounding this product. The company claims that it blurs imperfections, particularly for HDTV, and functions as the perfect makeup setting powder.

In reality, the flaws of this product are almost too many to list. While claiming to be translucent, it deposits a white chalky film on the skin. Translucent is supposed to equal transparent, depositing no pigment. In addition, it contains mica, which can be extremely irritating to sensitive skin. While this product may perfect the complexion for HDTV (news anchors, etc.), it shows up as an unflattering ghostly white film in photographs. See the red carpet photos of various actresses who are wearing this powder:

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Needless to say, it would be highly ill-advised to wear this product to your wedding, or any other event where pictures may be taken! For a truly translucent and beautiful finishing powder, which is less than half the price of the Makeup Forever monstrosity and looks superb in photographs, try Coty Airspun powder. Read my full review here.

4) MAC Ruby Woo lipstick

This lipstick is touted as a retro blue-based red matte, reminiscent of the shade worn by the 1950’s film stars.

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The color is to die for! Incredibly vivid — a real beauty on pale-skinned ladies! The application, however, leaves much to be desired. It begins to flake off into nasty and unsightly red particles within 15 minutes of applying the lipstick. I really don’t understand why this product has gained so much notoriety! After multiple attempts to make this lipstick “work,” I finally threw it away.

5) Revlon Lip Butters

Don’t get me wrong. The colors are lovely and are certainly moisturizing on the lips. But the packaging is so awful that I’ll never purchase a lip butter again. The bullet of the lip butter easily twists off its base and becomes free-floating in the metal cylinder which encases it, making application a nightmare. I have owned several lip butters, all of which did the same thing! I took a picture to demonstrate this phenomenon:

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That’s all, folks! I hope this post saves you some money. See you next time! 😘

1950’s Glamour — At Wal-Mart!

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What if I told you that you can buy the very product which gave such glamorous 1950’s silver screen sirens their flawless complexions — at Wal-Mart — for $6.00?

Yes, it’s true!

Ladies and gentlemen, allow me to introduce you to “Coty Airspun” powder!

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This product, first formulated in 1934 by Francois Coty (a French perfumer), was a staple on the makeup tables of Tinseltown throughout Hollywood’s Golden Age. See this advertisement from 1941:

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Notice the porcelain complexions polished and perfected by this powder:

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It’s fascinating that, not only is this same product available so cheaply today, but also that so few people know of its existence and presence at Wal-Mart and drugstores!

The product comes in a large plastic jar, with the same design as that used in the 1930’s. It holds quite a bit of product — 2.3 ounces.

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Upon opening the container, you will notice that it has a sifter through which powder may fall — similar to the Bare Minerals foundations. The powder is very finely milled, which enables it to create such a smooth canvas on the face when applied. The “baby powder” scent, however, may bother some.

“Coty Airspun” comes in several shades. I own the shade, “Translucent,” however, which takes the guesswork out of choosing a foundation shade since anything labeled “Translucent” deposits coverage, not pigment. This shade is thus suitable for all skin tones. In fact, the powder comes in a “Translucent Extra Coverage” shade for those with blemish-stricken skin!

Close-up of the powder (“Translucent”):

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The coverage this product affords, either alone or to set the makeup, is nothing short of amazing. It keeps oil at bay as well, particularly on the T-zone. The finish is gloriously smooth but does not cake or emphasize lines/pores.

I’m wearing Coty Airspun powder to set my foundation in this photo:

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Overall, this product is a gem from the past, hidden in the shelves of your local drugstore or Wal-Mart at an inexpensive price. Although I must deduct a half-point for lack of sunscreen, I cannot recommend this product highly enough. If you wish to channel your inner 1950’s goddess, Coty Airspun powder is a fabulous place to begin! 🙂

Final Verdict: 4.5/5 Stars

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Available at Wal-Mart, Walgreen’s, CVS, & Rite Aid for $6

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Liebster Blog Award

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Thanks so much to Dandygal from http://dandygal.wordpress.com for nominating me!

Now, on to the questions:

1) The 3 items you will take to a remote island?

I will take Curel, Carmex lip balm, and the Bible. As for the first two items, I cannot live with chapped lips and hands! 🙂

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2) Last movie you saw?

“Catching Fire.” I think it was far better than the first film — can’t wait until the finale!  I love Katniss’s makeup looks from this movie and hope to do a tutorial soon!

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3) Favorite lipstick or lipgloss?

Such a difficult decision, on both counts! My favorite lipsticks come from the Mac line — you would have to pry Viva Glam V, New York Apple, Plum Dandy, Faux, Russian Red, Sweetie, and Creme de la Femme out of my cold dead hands! 🙂 My favorite lip glosses are the Buxom “Big & Healthy Lip Polishes”. I adore the tingling sensation they afford; when I had 24-hour ICU calls, I always took one of these in my scrubs pocket! They are ultra-moisturizing — and look gorgeous.

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4) Best Drugstore Product/Brand?

Although I used to love Revlon best, L’Oreal has impressed me lately! My favorite drugstore product is their 24-hour Infallible Gel Lacquer Liner in “Blackest Black” — I use it everyday. It has even replaced my Bobbi Brown gel eyeliners due to superior creaminess and longevity; plus, the L’Oreal version doesn’t dry out nearly as quickly. It has become my Holy Grail eyeliner!

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5) Last product you used?

Physician’s Formula Mineral Glow Pearls Blush in “Rose Pearl.” I purchased this product some time ago but never used it. I pulled it out yesterday — and thought it applied beautifully to the cheeks. The “Pearl” finish certainly combines blush + highlighter for a fresh-faced effect. Physician’s Formula is a grossly underrated drugstore beauty brand, in my opinion! I also love their high SPF, talc-free mineral powders and blushes.

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6) Favorite TV Series?

“Game of Thrones” — hands down! It’s the most intelligent — and addicting — show on television. I’ve almost finished reading the 5 [very, very long] books on which the show is based.

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7) You can only eat the same food for an entire week. What is it?

Hibachi Steak.

8) How late is it right now?

Not late at all! 10 a.m.

9) Most beloved makeup item of the past year?

It would have to be the Lorac “Pro To Go” palette. The shadows are super pigmented, buttery smooth, and stunning for either daytime or evening looks. Plus, the two blushes and bronzer are gorgeous as well and render the palette perfect for travel.

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10) How many different hair products do you use per week?

Only 3 — All from Redken. They include: Body Full Volumizing Shampoo, Volume Guts 10, and Body Full Instant Bodifier.

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This was so much fun! Thanks again, Dandygal, for nominating me! 🙂

Review: Urban Decay “Naked 3” Palette!

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Ladies & gents, I’m very pleased to present the Urban Decay “Naked 3” palette!

Building upon the phenomenonal success of the first two “Naked” palettes, packed with stunning neutrals, Urban Decay first announced the new palette a mere month ago. This led to a massive sell-out on the website when this baby was first released. Nevertheless, I was lucky to place my order before it went out of stock, and my palette arrived three days ago!

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This new palette definitely leans more cool-toned than warm — and emanates an elegant rose-gold theme which is apparent on the packaging itself:

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First 6 shadows:

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The latter 6 shadows:

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1) “Strange” – Matte off-white. Perfect as a base since it lightens the eye lid but, as you can see in the swatch on the right, does not dispense much pigment.

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2) “Dust” – Frosted baby pink. Flattering as a brow bone or inner corner highlight.

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3) “Burnout” – Satin mauve sheen. Beautiful as a lid or crease color.

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4) “Limit” – Light matte mauve. Perfect as a crease, or “blending out” color.

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5) “Buzz” – My favorite color in the palette! Very pigmented shimmering mauve. Incredible as a lid or crease color.

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6) “Trick” – Glimmering rose gold. This is the palette’s only warm-toned shadow.

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7) “Nooner” – Dark matte lavender mauve. A lovely crease color.

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8) “Liar” – Light taupe sheen with hints of pink.

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9) “Factory” – Dark cool-toned taupe. Can be used on the lid or crease.

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10) “Mugshot” – Metallic taupe. Incredible lid shade.

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11) “Darkside” – Satin dark grey-taupe. Can be used as a lid color or to deepen/define the crease.

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12) “Blackheart” – Deep plum-black with pink sparkles. This is a killer smokey eye shade! Can be used as lid or crease color or even as eyeliner.

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I have two sample eye looks, using only shades from this palette! 🙂

Look #1

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In the look above, I used “Strange” as a base color over the entire eye, “Buzz” on the lid, “Factory” and “Darkside” in the crease, “Buzz” as an inner corner and browbone highlight, and “Blackheart” as liner on both upper and lower lash lines.

Look #2

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In the above look, I again used “Strange” as a base color, “Nooner” in the crease, “Buzz” on the browbone, and “Blackheart” again as liner on both upper and lower lash line.

I know that some people thought that “Naked 2” was cool-toned, but this palette is the coolest (and fairest) of them all. The heavy pink and rose gold undertones (and overtones) that infuse “Naked 3” bestow a highly feminine glow to the eyes, which is stunning on any occasion (work or play). It’s my runaway favorite among the 4 “Naked” palettes (including the “Naked Basics”) from Urban Decay.

Ladies, get thee to Sephora or ULTA as soon as possible! I fully endorse this product — it’s worth every penny. 😍

Final Verdict: 5/5 Stars

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Available at Sephora, ULTA, and urbandecay.com for $50

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Review: Bare Minerals “High Shine Eyecolor”

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Recently, my friend Christina recommended Bare Minerals’ new “High Shine Eyecolor” to me. Actually, she didn’t recommend it; I noticed her eyeshadow at work one day and exclaimed, “What are you wearing on your eyes? It’s GORGEOUS!”

Thus my introduction to this product!

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It comes in 12 beautiful shades, but I purchased “Rose Gold” — the shade my friend was wearing at work.

Let’s first examine the packaging!

It comes in a cylindrical jar, with a “doe foot” applicator at the end.

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The applicator:

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The Bare Minerals website describes this particular hue as “Antique Golden Mauve.” It’s a true rose gold, meaning that neither the pink nor golden undertones predominate — a balance which renders it supremely flattering for both warm and cool skin tones.

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It can be applied on the lid and blended into the crease for a beautifully feminine wash of color, which would be appropriate for work or any other occasion. See below:

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This color does not crease throughout the day.

My one quibble with this product is the applicator. It does not dispense much shadow upon each application, and thus multiple applications are required each time to build up the pigment. It therefore seems that the pigment is not nearly as vivid after the first few occasions.

Despite this defect, I will repurchase, perhaps in other shades as well — all of which appear universally flattering.

Final Verdict: 4/5 Stars

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Available at ULTA, Sephora, and Bare Minerals boutiques for $16