NYX Crimson Amulet collection – vampires everywhere are rejoicing!

So there’s this new movie coming out called Dark Shadows and NYX Cosmetics has a nice little makeup palette in honor of it. Don’t hate me but I totally had to Google Dark Shadows to see what this movie is all about. Doesn’t look like it’s up my alley considering it’s staring a vampire. But the plot looks pretty funny – a vampire from the 1700’s wakes up in the 1970’s. Hehe.

I love when makeup brands have products and collections dedicated to movies, TV shows and pop culture events. And for $25, this Crimson Amulet collection palette is pretty groovy.

What NYX has to say about it,

“LIMITED EDITION! Captivate and mesmerize with your beauty using the Crimson Amulet collection. This palette inspired by the film “Dark Shadows” comprises of 24 matte and shimmery lush eye shadows, 5 intoxicating blushers, 1 luminous highlighter, 4 succulent lip colors, 1 HD Studio eye shadow base for a more intense eye shadow hue, and 1 extreme black liquid eye liner. Recreate the enticing female characters’ in Dark Shadows using the collection!” (source)

So when you open up the book, you’re lookin’ at 24 shadows…

Flip the book and to the left you’ve got some descriptions of 3 vampire-y ladies.

And to the right…

More goodies!

So let’s start with the shadows.

I always appreciate palettes that contain various textures. It looks like frosts run this book but there are a few decent mattes up in here. Like the black matte.

It’s not as rich and intense as I like my blacks but it’s not too bad. I swatched a few other shades and textures…

Most are pretty sheer and will require a ton of packing on to appear vibrant on the eyes. My experience with NYX eyeshadow palettes are that the shadows are typically just so so. In fact, that’s the case with a lot of eyeshadows from those all-in-one palettes. Even after doing some swatching, I ended up with quite a bit of fall-out….

But again, if you don’t mind putting some elbow grease in applying these shadows, you can definitely crank out some nice looks with them. Skippin’ on over to the right are the mini eye shadow primers and eyeliners.

I mean, honestly…I have neeeever seen such an eyeliner so small. It’s adorable!

It’s perfect for the palette but I’ll definitely be throwing it in my travel tote. It’s a really nice eyeliner too. Applies easily and lasts longer than I thought it would.

Then there’s the eyeshadow base…

It’s a bit creamier than I like ‘em and unfortunately my eyelids don’t play nicely to creamy bases.

The blushes and highlighters are phenomenal. They’re super pigmented and long-lasting. Two of ‘em look a lot like NARS’ Orgasm and Albatross. And they’re really nice dupes if I do say so myself.

And last but not least, the lippies. Very rarely do beauty aficionados get excited about lip products in palettes. They usually require having to use a lip brush and let’s face it, many of us would rather apply a lipstick, or gloss with a brush or doe foot applicator. But these lip colors are REALLY nice. Really really nice.

So yeah, for $25, this palette is fierce. While the shadows are so so, the blushes are nice, lippies are superb and I’m in love with the teeny tiny eyeliner. Dark Shadows fans or not, this is definitely a palette you may want to check out. Especially if you’ve been yearning for some new products but don’t want to break the bank.

Snag it from NYXCosmetics.com.

Sooooo, yay or nay to vampires?

NYX Cosmetics Noir collection – eyeliners galore!

You may catch me without wearing mascara. But honey, I guarantee you you won’t catch me in the streets without some eyeliner. I ain’t lyin’. Eyeliner gives the perfect definition for my otherwise mediocre eyes. Now don’t get me wrong. I’m not one of those women who can’t be seen without makeup and feel ugly without it. But eyeliner? Well, it’s cosmetic king in my book. Whiiiiich is why I was lovin’ that NYX launched an eyeliner collection.

What NYX says about the collection:

“A black eyeliner collection that consists of ALL types! Choose your beauty ammunition – from skinny to big and glossy to matte, it’s your world! The collection carries eight different formulations of sleek black eyeliners, from matte, satin, glossy pencils to liquid and powder eyeliners. Drape your eyes with one or all of these waterproof, smudge-free formula liners. The collection offers various types of eyeliners that applies smooth and effortlessly for lasting and dramatic wear.” (source)

Did you read that? EIGHT different formulations, girl. I mean, seriously…who knew there were that many eyeliner formulations? Dang. I’ve only got 3 here but they’re fantastic and you betta believe I’ll be scooping up the other 5 one of these days. You know…for beauty research. Not to hoard. Yeah, research.

Liquid Black Liner

If liquid eyeliner was a high school class, in my book, it would be Chemistry. And chile, I loathed Chemistry. My teacher was decent, and learning the periodic table and all that jazz wasn’t THAT hard but I could never “get it”. I feel the saaaaame way about liquid liner. I try and I try and I’m still D’ing my way out. Sad, uh? According to NYX, “The Liquid Black Liner is enclosed with a distinctive applicator that makes precise lining and defining of the eyes smooth and easy.” And yeah, it ain’t THAT hard. But my theory with liquid liners is while it may take a ton of practice, some of us will just be better at it than others. On a good note, this liquid liner has a reallllly nice and precise tip.

Which SHOULD make application easier, but I dunno…I’m just not as good with application as I’d like. Formula-wise, I love how this liner wasn’t as watery as some of the others I’ve come across. But at the same time, it wasn’t thick either. I got a good 8 hours of wear time out of this liner before it started flaking out on me. But who really needs a liner to last FOREVER, ya know?

Um, I won’t tell you how long it took me to do that. I shall reward myself with a cookie.

Satin Finish Black Liner

“Make your eyes stand out with the velvety soft liner that stays put.” says NYX. Well alrighty then. I’m down with that. They aren’t lyin’ about the velvety touch. The formula of this liner feels super super soft. In fact, it’s so soft that it would probably do better on the lower lash line than on the waterline. It didn’t last as long on my waterline; probably because my eyes tend to water up throughout the day. One must be verrrrry careful with sharpening this as too much sharpening can result in bad breakage of the liner.

Don’t ask me how I know. Just trust me on this one. But it does give a nice and rich black finish. I applied it on both the waterline and lower lashline here.

Matte Black Liner

I can gets down with the liquid and satin liners but let’s face it, matte is where it’s at. A good matte eyeliner can last all day AND all night. Ya know…if you forget to wash your face or somethin’. I am lovin’ this matte liner. The formula is perfecto and I appreciate the packaging. I’m all for liner that sharpen themselves yo. The longevity of this liner is out of this world. In.love.

Look like I’m missing the kohl kajal black liner, glossy black liner and powder black liner. I gotta step my game up. Anyway, these only cost $6 so kudos to dressin’ up the eyelids without breakin’ the bank. You can get these from NYXCosmetics.com, Ulta.com and Ulta stores nationwide.

What’s your favorite kind of liner?

Mascara Monday: Nuance Salma Hayek Ultra-Defining mascara

Celebrity-endorsed cosmetics is one thing but celebrities who endorse cosmetics that actually rock is something else. Such is the case with the CVS-exclusive Nuance Salma Hayek line. If you haven’t seen these products in your drugstores, girl, run and check ‘em out now. I haven’t been so impressed with a cosmetics and skincare line like this in a looooong time. Oh, and guess what? This mascara is pretty awesome too!

Price: $9.79 on CVS.com
Packaging (brush wand): 5 out of 5
Overall: 5 out of 5

What It Claims: “Innovative formula and precision brush design lengthen and separate each lash for high-definition, all-day wear. Wheat protein strengthens and defines without clumping or flaking. Vitamin E conditions and nourishes for soft, flexible lashes. Panthenol prevents your lashes from becoming dry and brittle.” (source)

The Truth: This is the smallest wand ever but I absolutely LOVE it.

What I Loved About It: I love everything about this mascara. The wand, the performance, the lack of parabens, the wand…yessss.

What I Didn’t Like: I suppose it could be on the cheaper side but that’s not anything a coupon can’t solve. ;)

Overall: I think Salma Hayek is one of the most beautiful women I’ve never met. She just radiates elegance. She’s a Mexican-American actress and beauty babe. Her line contains every thing from cosmetics to hair products. The Nuance line is exclusive to CVS. Which is cool with me since I practically live in CVS anyway.

Let’s take a look at this awesome wand…


Look how slim it is!! I love it! Why don’t more so-called lengthening mascaras have wands like this? This is perfect for elongating the lases from the base. The bristles are short but I think this a great advantage. A gentle sweep is all it takes to coat the lashes with mascara and it’s just one of the most effortless mascaras I’ve ever played with.

My favorite aspect about this mascara? Why its paraben-free formula, of course. I will always salute brands that attempt to remove harmful ingredients from their products. However, sometimes the removal of those ingredients can produce subar performance on the mascara’s behalf. Not the case with this one. The formula applies easily and doesn’t get too clumpy. That is, if you don’t try to push it to the limit with a 4th coat or so. It’s not a waterproof mascara but I didn’t experience any smudging or flaking. Will it last all day? Well…meh. I found it disappeared a bit after an 8-hour work day but that’s not too much of a deal breaker for me. This is still the best non-fiber lengthening mascara that I’ve come across in a looooong time.

 

Bare Lashes


Lashes after 2 coats


 

Do I recommend it?: If you like simple wands, this is the mascara for you!

Worry not! I’ve got more fabulous products from the Nuance Salma Hayek line to review. Have you tried any thing from there yet?


Mascara Monday: Milani Total Lash Cover mascara

One of my beauty BFFs has two new mascaras hitting the scene and I’ll be reviewin’ both of ‘em. First up is this gal. And oh my words…the wand on this mascara may just have you gasping in horror. Or gasping in ________ (insert a great antonym for horror). Which sounds insanely dramatic, I know, but come on…what’s a mascara review without some dramatics? Yeeeeuuuuuh!

Price: $7.79 on CherryCulture.com 
Packaging (brush wand): 3 out of 5
Overall: 3 out of 5

What It Claims: “Mascara with 3 zone brush. 3 Zoned Brush applicator provides multi-performance zones: Zone 1: DEFINE inner & outer lashes, Zone 2: BUILD center lashes, Zone 3: CURL comb applicator, Non-clumping. Long-lasting, comfortable wear.” (source)

The Truth: ZOMG! This wand is scary!

What I Loved About It: It’s a rich and super black mascara. If you can avoid it the clumping, one coat should be just fine.

What I Didn’t Like: The wand is too large and in charge and it makes applying difficult.

Overall: I can’t believe this is my first Milani mascara review. Lame, uh? What a way to start the day because I am actually really in love with the packaging of this kid. And despite its curves, I can actually appreciate the hefty wand….


Until it makes its way to my lashes. I’ve used several (okay, more like 150+) mascaras and this one is definitely one of the most interesting. I kinda dig how pretty the wand is when their isn’t mascara on it.

But man is it somethin’ else WITH mascara. The concept makes sense to me. Define, Build and Curl. Cool. But execution is something else and if you don’t have a stead hand, you may run into some problems with this bad boy. For one, because the wand is so large and gets coated with so much mascara, application gets tricky. Especially if you have super short lashes like me. While I managed to coat my lashes evenly, it was no easy feat. Attempting to not get mascara on the lower lashline was tough. But once I got the mascara on the lashes, it gave me a good amount of volume and length. Curl? Meh. But you know how I feel about mascaras that say they “curl” lashes. I think the curling action comes more from technique than actual formula. But of course, that’s just my theory. What do I know?

I managed to push it to the limit and get a good 3 coats on my lashes, but it was time-consuming. The large wand and my short lashes don’t work well together. Formula-wise, the formula is a bit on the thicker side. Ya gotta be careful with those thick mascaras as they tend to flake throughout the day. Such was the case with this baby. The flaking wasn’t horrible but if I went to rub my eyes, I’d rub away a bit of the mascara away too. Womp.

Bare Lashes


Lashes after 3 coats


 

Do I recommend it?: If you can get past the weird wand and semi-flaky formula, this isn’t a half bad mascara. It just didn’t work well with my special needs lashes. :(

Yo Milani lovers?! Have you tried this mascara yet?


Mascara Monday: YBF Beauty Xtreme mascara

Haven’t heard of the brand YBF? Well, up until a few months ago, I hadn’t either. This brand has launched on Ulta’s website and I just had to check out their mascara. But of courseeee. Oh, and what does YBF mean? It stands for “your best friend”. Cute, uh? And yes, cheesy too. :D

Price:$14 at Ulta.com
Packaging (brush wand): 4 out of 5
Overall: 2 out of 5

What It Claims: “Xtreme Mascara builds the lashes to create super sexy, sultry irresistible looking peepers in an instant with dramatic definition! The patented, half-moon shaped, thick mascara brush hugs and separates each lash for precise application for high definition, curl and volume! Water resistant formula helps keep lashes pliant, glossy and flake free! It will last all day and night!! For flirtatious lashes, you’ll love two coats!” (source)

The Truth: What an interestiiiiing formula.

What I Loved About It: Whoa! This mascara gives a great amount of length!

What I Didn’t Like: The formula is weird and it starts removing itself from the lashes throughout the day.

Overall: Oh man, this mascara is so wonky. What a way to start a review, uh? I wanted to like this but it’s just…strange. Let’s talk about the wand first. It isn’t the worst.


In fact, it isn’t bad at all. I don’t have  anything negative to say about it. It’s the perfect wand for a mascara with this kind of formula. And what kind of formula is that you ask? This is a matte mascara. I’m not of friend of these kids and for several reasons. Matte mascaras, are the absolute worse when it comes to lasting all day. In fact, within a few hours of applying this one, it virtually disappeared. I don’t know how or why but it did. If I happened to rub my eyes, instead of flaking away ,the mascara smeared away. Which means it definitely isn’t an ideal mascara for those with sensitive eyes. So no, I’m definitely not a fan of this mascara because the formula and longevity just aren’t up to par. The good news? Some of the other products from YBF Beauty look pretty awesome so I’ll definitely be trying some of those. Have you seen the packaging of their lipsticks? They are goooorgeous!

Bare Lashes


Lashes after 2 coats


 

Do I recommend it?: It pains to say it but no. But if you’re partial to matte mascaras, you may like it.

Have you tried anything from YBF Beauty? And what’s your take on matte mascaras?


Mascara Monday: COVERGIRL Queen Lash Fanatic waterproof mascara

It’s been a minute since I’ve tried a COVERGIRL Queen mascara. I don’t hear much about COVERGIRL Queen releases until they they’ve been out for  a while. I so wish that they were on the same radar as the regular COVERGIRL stuffs but I don’t think they are. Oooooh well. But letter late than never, right?

Price:$5.19  at Drugstore.com
Packaging (brush wand): 5 out of 5
Overall: 4 out of 5

What It Claims: “Get up to 2x* the look of more lashes rain or shine!* The mircochannels in each bristle of our Lash Surround brush smoothly and precisely deliver mascara to each and every lash – creating the look of more lashes.” (source)

The Truth: What a really cool wand!

What I Loved About It: This is a fantastic waterproof mascara!

What I Didn’t Like: It didn’t promise to volumize but I wish it gave me  little more.

Overall: I am sooooo impressed with the wand on this mascara. Granted it’s not innovative or anything but it does a really good job at breezing right through those lashes. Because the bristles get shorter towards the tip of the wand, you are able to get into those inner corners with no problem.


Yeah, I know. There are a lot of mascaras like this, right? Still. Somehow this one worked better for me than most. I am not much of a waterproof mascara wearin’ kind of gal because I find that most “washable” mascaras do okay with lasting on me all day. But if you suffer from allergies, find yourself constantly rubbing your eyes, do a ton of sweating, or need your mascara to last more for more than 8 hours or so, a waterproof mascara is ideal. And if you fall in any of those categories, you should definitely take a peek at this mascara.

This baby doesn’t budge. I mean..not one bit. BUT, it removes with ease with my makeup remover. Formula-wise, it’s got a nice consistency that helps darken the lashes. Lengthening and volumizing is meh, though. Which hey, not all mascaras are made to give you drag queen lashes. And that’s  cool. The longevity of this mascara made up for its lack of volume. I tested it by wearing it during an intense workout (BTW, I neeeever wear makeup when I work out. Never.) and it stayed put. Score!!

Bare Lashes


Lashes after 2 coats


 

Do I recommend it?: If you’re looking for a mascara that stays put no matter what and don’t care too much about a ton of added length and volume, you’ll love this one.

Any waterproof mascara lovers in the house?


Real Techniques brushes is another reason why beauty bloggers rock…

There’s more to beautifying than good skincare products and awesome eye shadows. Beautiful eyeshadows and a foundation that gives your skin a flawless finish means nothing if you don’t have a dream team of brushes.

Lately I’ve been loving Real Techniques.

Okay, loving is an understatement. I’ve been obsessing over them a bit. And rightfully so. I could totally write an essay on how much I love these brushes. Buuuuuut I quit grad school for a reason. This writer HATES writing essays.

I do, however,  love me some lists yo.

5 Reasons Why I Love Real Technique Brushes:

      • They were designed by a beauty blogger. Ca-learly beauty bloggers rock.
      • They are color coordinated! Base = gold, Eyes = purple, Finish = pink.
      • You won’t break the bank buyin’ them. Unlike other brands…*cough*
      • The packaging for each brush gives great examples on HOW to use brush.
      • They are cruelty-free brushes. 

Real Techniques recently launched some new brushes and of course I just had to check ‘em out. Let’s spotlight them individually. Cool?

Expert Face Brush ($9)


Brush Description: Ultra firm and broad for application and blending of cream or liquid foundation.

My thoughts: Like every RT brush I’ve ever tried, this one is insanely soft. I much prefer using a stippling brush for when I apply cream or liquid foundations but after using this one, I can see how it works. I apply the foundation using my finger tips and then gently buff the foundation into my skin using this brush. And it works beautifully! This is also a great brush for applying a flush of bronzer or blush.

Setting Brush ($8)


Brush Description: The key to completing any look with a controlled dusting of powder or highlighter.

My thoughts: Soft just like its siblings, I couldn’t find much use out of this brush. Then again, I’m not a professional. After letting my makeup artist friend (hi Lynn!) use this brush, she fell in love. I can appreciate a brand of brushes that has brushes for beauty novices and professionals alike.

Fine Liner Brush ($6)


Brush Description: The ultimate tool for precision application of liquid or cream eyeliner

My thoughts: One can never have too many liner brushes. Especially if you’re like me and you’re too lazy to clean them after using. While I much prefer angled eye liner brushes, I like how this one is precise enough to give me a thin line of gel liner on my lower lashline. It’s perfect. The bristles are sturdy enough to give me control, but soft enough so that it’s not hurting my lids. Win!

Overall: These are 3 great additions to the RT lineup. And the prices are SO right. When I was a makeup newbie, cool brush brands like ecoTOOLS and Real Techniques weren’t around so I assumed that the best brushes were the higher-end ones. So not true. Supporting Real Techniques means you’re getting brushes worth your pennies and you’ll be showing love to beauty blogger.

Because who runs the world? Beauty bloggers!

Okay, I’m kidding. Kinda. 8) You can grab these from Ulta and online.

Have you ever tried any Real Techniques brushes?

Mascara Monday: NARS Larger Than Life Lengthening mascara

Oh boo. How have I not tried any of NARS’ mascaras? This must be some kind of beauty crime. NARS has the best blushes and eye shadows everrrr so of course I assumed that this mascara would be up to par. Let’s take a look see…

Price:$25 at Sephora.com
Packaging (brush wand): 4 out of 5
Overall: 3 out of 5

What It Claims: “This mascara delivers length and separation with its high-performance formula. The high-tech bristles on the conical brush allows for maximum lengthening capabilities and precise lash definition that lasts all day. Nylon fibers cling to lashes for extra length, while macadamia nut oil and vitamin E help enhance their suppleness. You’ll be left with impossibly long and impossibly sexy lashes.” (source)

The Truth: Man, I expected more.

What I Loved About It: It’s a light mascara that didn’t weigh down the lashes.

What I Didn’t Like: It didn’t give me enough length.

Overall: Welllll, you win some and loose some. And that’s the case with everything. Mascaras included. It’s hard to find a good lengthening mascara. In fact, I find the best the lengthening mascaras are fiber mascaras. They are easy to apply, they help elongate your lashes and they are easy to remove This mascara claims that it has nylon fibers in it but I can’t locate them with my bare eye.

The good news is, the mascara has a nice and build-able formula. Once it goes on the lashes, it feels light. Not wispy light but it doesn’t feel heavy and weigh down the lashes. Which is always a good thing. The wand is pretty groovy too.


But I don’t feel like the mascara did enough for my lashes. Due to testing out waaaay too many mascaras, my lashes have been skimpier than ever and so I was hoping that this lengthening mascara would realllly bring the lashes out there. That wasn’t the case. The wand allowed me to separate beautifully and while I got a just a bit of volume, the lengthening just wasn’t there. But considering the mascara gave me a lil’ bit of something, I gave it a 3 out of 5. Because it’s not a terrible mascara. It’s just an okay one.

Bare Lashes


Lashes after 2 coats


 

Do I recommend it?: Meh. If you’re a NARS lover like I am, you’re better off spending your money on one of their fabulous polishes, lipsticks or eyeshadows.

Any NARS fans in the house? Have you tried any of their mascaras?