5 Sephora Stocking Stuffers Under $30

DSC_4247

I feel like a loser for having not tried very many items from Sephora’s brand. And it’s crazy because a great deal of their products are REALLY awesome. If you’ve got some beauty gals in your life and you’re stumped on what to get them, I’ve got 5 suggestions for you. And the good news…they’re all under $30. Woot! Let’s go…

 

Sephora Collection 3D Palette ($24-sold in stores)

DSC_4183

DSC_4187

DSC_4192

It’s been a while since I’ve dabbled in Sephora’s eyeshadows but these are glorious. Especially that purple eyeshadow!

DSC_4193

It’s the perfect buy for both beauty newbies and professionals alike. The double-ended brush is a nice little edition.

 

Flashy Eyeliner set ($16)

DSC_4195

DSC_4200

DSC_4201

These eyeliners are nice and totable. But wait…they are waterproof too! Because of the shimmer, they may not last too long on the waterline but as eyeshadow bases and liners on the lower lashline, they are awesome! These remind me a lot like Urban Decay and Make Up For Ever’s pencils.

DSC_4202

DSC_4204

They’re pretty awesome and high-quality. Definitely an ideal stocking stuffer.

 

Sephora Gloss Lab ($25)

DSC_4205

DSC_4214

Ohmimgooodness, these are glooooorious. Especially for a lipgloss junkie. This set comes with 10 different glosses of various shades and finishes. They’re full-sized too!

DSC_4221

This is such an adorable set for the teenage beauty lover in your life because these aren’t super pigmented. They are all incredibly glossy and even the brightest shade isn’t so bright on the lips.

DSC_4222

 

Gilded Trio Brush set ($10 – available in stores)

DSC_4231

DSC_4239

Even though I have plenty of makeup brushes, I couldn’t help but go gaga over these. Do you see that gold! Do you?!

DSC_4241

These are just insane. 3 brushes at $10 isn’t too bad of a price, especially with the packaging being absolutely beautiful. The set includes a small powder brush, shadow brush and liner brush so it’s the perfect gift for the beauty beginner in your life.

 

24 Karat Gold Tweezers ($16)

DSC_4232

DSC_4237

And since we’re talking about pretty gold accessories, how about these tweezers? I actually own a regular pair of these and they are pretty precise.

Now. Let’s review…

2012-12-004

5 beauty goodies under $30 for the beauty guys and girls in your life. Time to get to shoppin’!!

Oh snap..it’s the Urban Decay Naked Basics palette!

Many things make me happy. Paydays, surprise visits from friends, sales, Esposo’s good cookin’, glitter…you know things like that. But honey, nothing really gets me all giddy more than a new Urban Decay palette. I mean, honestly… No one makes a bangin’ eyeshadow palette like UD. Nobody. The Vice and Smoked palettes are still sleeping next to me. They’re going to have to scoot over because there’s a new palette in town.

DSC_4390

DSC_4340

POW! Do you see that? If you’re hip to beauty news, you have likely already heard about this one. It launched about a week and a half ago and it had us beauty guys and gals in quite the frenzy. Some of us were all like “WTF…who needs another Naked palette?”

DSC_4330

And then there were others who were like, “Crap. I’ve already got both Naked palettes but I must.get.this.one.” And then there’s me. I was just drooling over the images of it online because that’s what I do. Drool over beauty products. Don’t be judgin’ me. Say hiya to the Naked Basics palette.

DSC_4333

She fine, ain’t she? I will not compare her to the other palettes. We will just talk about her awesome features. Fair enough, right?

These shadows are ALL mattes. I freaking loooooove matte eyeshadows. I mean, adore. I got several emails from my brown girls questioning if these mattes were rich enough to pop up on darker skin, and yep…they are!

DSC_4346

Venus is considered a demi-matte. It has very subtle shimmer but still applies just as well as the other shadows. It’s not exactly a white shadow. It leans more on the pearl side to me.

Foxy is a beige/faint almond shade. It is probably the least pigmented of the bunch.

Walk Of Shame is a pale pink. The 3 of these, I’m thinking will best work under the browbone. It seemed to have more chalkiness than any of the other colors.

DSC_4353

Naked2 is taupe. It’s super pigmented so this is the shade that I would likely use on my lid every time I use this palette.

Faint is a rich milk chocolate and it works beautifully in the crease. It is super super pigmented.

Crave is a matte black. And what’s not to love about those?

The last 3 eyeshadows seem to be more pigmented but I’m okay with that as I would only use Venus, Foxy and S.O.S. under my browbone anyway. I prefer not to have super pigmented colors under the brow. A quick look I cranked out… The looks was far more vibrant in person but also note that I had gotten 9-10 hours out of wear time before I snapped this photo.

DSC_4374

DSC_4385

OVERALL: Considering I don’t own any of the Naked palettes (I know…how lame), I am really loving this one. This price point is significantly less as it only costs $27. It’s the perfect little palette for quick trips. I love that it doesn’t take up much space yet I’ve got 6 great shades that I can easily work with to crank out a decent work-appropriate look. Would I be THIS excited over this palette if I already owned the first 2 Naked palettes? Yes. Because this palette still contains 6 mattes and I find matte shadows the easiest to work with when I have very little time.

How much and where to get it?: This palette is $27 (original Naked and Naked 2 palettes are $50) and it is currently available at Sephora, ULTA, select Macy’s stores and UrbanDecay.com.

Whatcha think? Are you impressed with Naked Basics? 

Mascara Monday: NYX Le Frou Frou mascara

DSC_0637

Soooo by now you may be sick of seeing NYX mascara reviews but hey – don’t blame me. They’re the cool kids who decided to release an entire collection of mascaras. And I’m the crazed woman that decided to have a blog alllll about mascaras. So it was inevitable. This is my 2nd to last mascara review of the Boudoir Collection. I had high hopes for this one because I consider it to be my ideal mascara. Volume AND length? Yes please!

DSC_0634

Price: $6 at Ulta and at Ulta.com.
Packaging (brush wand): 3 out of 5
Overall: 3.5 out of 5

What It Claims: “Volumize and lengthen lashes. Dense dome brush to reach each lash.” (source)

The Truth: Well…it isn’t half bad.

What I Loved About It: The wand is nice and I’m loving the volumizing.

What I Didn’t Like: It doesn’t seem to be as long-lasting as I’d like it to be.

Overall: Of all of the mascaras from the Boudoir collection, this one is the one that I’d tango with the most. And why? It’s an ideal mascara in that it promises to give me both length and volume. I think if you were to poll most mascara wearers, many would say they’d want the same thing. So I wonder if this mascara is the most popular out of all of them. I’m not sure. But still…this baby came with a ton of expectations. And for the most part, she did okay. The wand is pretty good.

DSC_0636

It’s nothing amazing and it’s nothing terrible. Which I’m okay with. Sometimes you just need short and sweet when it comes to wands. The bristles are tight enough to help with elongating the lashes and providing the length. I also found the bristles to be plush enough to help with sweeping from the base of the lashes to the tips to help with volume. It is also thin enough to get into those inner corners pretty well. So yeah…it’s definitely a full functioning mascara wand that will work beautifully for all eyes.

Formula-wise, it’s got a nice in-between formula. NYX’s mascara formulas are always pretty consistent with me. I never have many complaints about them and this one is no different. Application is easy and I found that I got more length than volume. The lengthening was REALLY nice where the volume was just so so. Well, so so for me. Y’all know how much I need to have those super crazy out there lashes. 😎 But, I found what volume it did give a good enough amount for the average mascara wearer. It isn’t by any means the kind of volume that you’d want if you were out on the town, but it’s do-able.

So while the mascara functioned well, I was little thrown off at its longevity. It didn’t seem to want to stick around long enough for me. I’m not the type to keep re-applying mascara throughout the day. I apply it once and expect it to last ALL day. That wasn’t the case with Frou Frou. Midday after wearing it, I’d notice that my lashes weren’t as WOW-y. I found that to be weird because I didn’t have any issues with flaking. After 3 coats of application, I would not have expected it to disappear on me. Oh boo.

Grr!

 

Bare Lashes




Lashes after 2 coats




Do I recommend it?: It’s a great everyday mascara if you aren’t looking for too much drama but if you are a fan of longwear mascaras, this one may not be up your alley.

 

Have any of you NYX lovers tried this mascara yet?


Smokey Eyes with Urban Decay’s Smoked Eyeshadow Palette

DSC_3025

Look at me! Look at me! I’m wearing eyeshadow again. Are you proud of me? This is becoming a regular occurrence and I have no one to thank other than Urban Decay. Nothing says, “Put me on your eyes NOW!” like one of their palettes. You can’t ignore the temptation. There’s only so much swatchin’ and starin’ you can do when you see those palettes. It’s like they force you to actually apply the shadows on your eyes too.

DSC_2981

I featured the awesomeness that was the Vice palette (still in love with that one, by the way) but when I can’t decide between so many colors, this Smoked palette has been my saving grace. I don’t own any of the Naked palettes but I think I like this one better than Naked 1 and Naked 2.

DSC_2975

I mean, what’s not to like? You get 10 velvety smooth shadows and you can create natural work-appropriate looks and fancy shmancy Happy Hour looks and everything in between. It’s the perfect travel palette because it has such a lovely variety of colors. And the palette is cute and compact.

DSC_2978

I love how it’s zip up-able. I can’t tell y’all how many eyeshadow palettes of mine have been wrecked because a palette somehow flipped open. That’s so not happenin’ with this baby. Let’s take a closer look at these pretty shadows…

DSC_2988

I’ll do a quick run-through of the color descriptions just so you can get an idea of what we’re workin’ with. 5 of these shadows are new to the Urban Decay line-up and we’re working with 5 shadows that we’ve seen before from UD.

Kinky: soft ivory peach with matte finish (newbie)
Freestyle: light pantyhose nude with matte finish (newbie)
Mushroom: warm grey with shimmery finish
Backdoor: true dark brown with matte finish (newbie)
Blackout: blackest black with matte finish

Barlust: dark golden brown with metallic finish (newbie)
Rockstar: deep aubergine with shimmery finish
Evidence: deep navy blue with shimmery finish
Loaded: deep emerald shimmer with metallic base
Asphalt: deep gunmetal with silver micro glitter and metallic base (newbie)

Swatches…

DSC_2993(L-R: Kinky, Freestyle, Mushroom, Backdoor, Blackout)

DSC_3008(L-R: Barlust, Rockstar, Evidence, Loaded, Asphalt)

Also in the kit (that I forgot to take pictures of – because I’m nutty like that) is a full-sized version of the eyeliner in Perversion (blackest black) and a mini Primer Potion in Original. We all know how epic Urban Decay Primer Potion is and I adore everything about the mini travel-friendly size. Perversion, on the other hand, as much as I love it, for some reason it really irritates my eyes. My eyes get all watery and red and it’s just a mess. So no Perversion for me. Which sucks because it’s such an amazing dark dark dark black eyeliner.

I love how diverse the color selection is. The top row is great for creating neutral looks and then you’ve got the bottom row with its shimmery goodness. I’m a neutral girl by nature (just because I really prefer myself with subtle eyeshadow) but I wanted to push it to the limit with this palette.

I used:
LID: Evidence
OUTER-V: Rockstar
CREASE: Backdoor
BROWBONE: Freestyle

…aaaaand

DSC_3047

I’ve been playing around with the neutrals too and I’m lovin ‘them. I just adore everything about this palette.

OVERALL: For $49, I think this is such a great eyeshadow palette for basic and advanced eyeshadow looks. And if you’re an Urban Decay lover, you pretty much HAVE to get it. Even if you already have some of these shadows in other palettes or singles. I love how everything is housed and I think it’s such a great nifty travel palette and everyday palette. And if you think that the price is too steep, keep in mind that the Perversion eyeliner alone is $19. That’s almost half of the value of the palette. So yeah, you’re getting MORE than your money’s worth. I’d snag it.

Get more deets about this palette here.

 

Makeup Wars: Our Holiday Metallics

I’ve been asked to join another blog group and I’m all giddy about it because blogging is one thing but being a part of a community is something else. It just wouldn’t be as fun. I am the newest blogger on the Makeup Wars group, a band of bloggers who rally together to do showcase their opinions, recs and pics on a particular topic. It’s fun stuff because within MY post, you can click on over to another blogger’s post. It’s mad cool, yo.

This week we’re rappin’ about holiday metallics and while I’m not much of a metallic-wearin’ gal, I came across some goodies in my beauty stash. I’m going to tryyyyy to incorporate these bad boys throughout the weeks. Maybe I’ll grow to love them. Kinda like corals. OMG, remember how much I hated coral nail polish? Hmm mmm…

MoonRaker from OPI’s Skyfall collection is a fabulous metallic gray.

OPII2

And when it comes to metallic shadows on the lids, I am loooooving Urban Decay’s Smoked palette.

DSC_2988

I mean, check out that bottom row of awesomeness. Loaded is my favorite and it is a gorgeouuuus deep emerald shimmer with a metallic base. And when it comes to lips? Y’all know I looooove red. It’s hard to find a fantastic red metallic lipstick (although I think Hourglass Siren is close) so a few years ago, I faked a metallic lip by dapping a bit of hot pink glitter over red lipstick.

Sounds crazy, but I promise you it works. Especially if you’re pairing it with a shimmery metallic gold eyeshadow. POW! That red lip is COVERGIRL’s Cherry Bomb and I don’t even know if they have it anymore. It was hands down one of my favooooorite red lipsticks EVER!

Laugh at me if you want, but I promise it works. I’ve got plans to dabble in more metallic cosmetics so stay tuned for my findings.

Any metallic cosmetics lovers in the house?

My Le Métier de Beauté Cosmetics makeover

Part of being a beauty blogger means educating thyself. I mean, yeah…I could only showcase the saaaaaame products and brands year after year but what fun is that? I like sharing new innovations and new products and brands that you may not have ever heard of. Like the brand Le Métier de Beauté Cosmetics.

DSC_0050

I know, I know. You’re probably like, “Seriously B…is this a French brand or something?” Actually no, it’s not. This brand sits stateside at the counters of Neiman Marcus and online for those who don’t have a Neiman in their area. I first heard about this brand when I attended that fabulous Beauty Blogger Bunch a few months back. Le Métier de Beauté and I have gotten more acquainted and I am so excited to share my findings (and makeover) with you guys and gals.

Le Métier de Beauté (which in French translates to to “the craft of beauty”) is a luxurious skincare and makeup brand that has found its place in the beauty world for a good 5 years or so. The brand was founded on 3 core principles: craft, design and quality. It’s a brand that if you see at a counter, you are instantly drawn too because their products are not only eye-catching but diverse as well. And by diverse, I mean you’ll see color, color and more color. This is such a rarity in higher-end brands. And call me nutty, but I didn’t know that Le Métier de Beauté did spa treatments.

DSC_0040

DSC_0046

Yes darling, special masks and peels can be done in right in a nice and secluded section of the mall. I was actually going to get a peel but when my specialist noticed my baby bump, she thought that a makeover would be a better fit. And you know I wasn’t complaining about that. Speaking of my specialist…Irina was wonderful. She talked about each product in depth as she applied it to my face. Le Métier de Beauté didn’t appear to have a wide selection of brown-girl friendly foundations available, but Irina did a grand job at mixing up a lil’ somethin’.

DSC_0054

DSC_0055

She told me about the beautiful liners…

DSC_0056

…and makeup remover.

DSC_0058

The kaleidoscope eyeshadows (love these!).

DSC_0061

And the mascara…

DSC_0062

DSC_0064

The mascara, by the way, has a clear tube so you can actually see when you’re running out of product. Now why didn’t I think of this?

I’ll be a giving a closer look at some of these products later but I can say that their performances lasted beautifully in that 80 degree weather we had the other day. And the finished look?

DSC_0078

DSC_0074

DSC_0079

I look like a straight up news reporter with wonky hair in that last pic, uh? Either way, Irina impressed me and that is hard to do with a beauty blogger. I’m not always a fan of people doing my makeup but I could totally go back to Irina any day. Her and fellow counter-mate Melissa were wonderful.

DSC_0095

Stay tuned for more information about this brand! Have any of y’all heard about Le Métier de Beauté Cosmetics?

ETA: Although I wasn’t able to experience the CHEM60 Pro-Peel & GLOW10ai Mask Set due to my being pregnant, many of my fellow beauty blogger sisters and had raving reviews about it. It is finally available for purchase at Neiman Marcus counters and at NeimanMarcus.com. It’s a bit pricey at $265 but it lasts for quite some times and hey, skincare is worth the investment, isn’t it? 😎

Mascara Monday: Sephora Outrageous Volume mascara

DSC_3459

I get so embarrassed sometimes. Like, why don’t I review more Sephora mascaras? It makes no sense. I think sometimes I get so caught up with the bigger and more popular brands that I forget about Sephora’s products. I suck, I know. I’ll be stepping my game up in 2013. Don’t worry. In the meantime, I’m excited to show off this adorable little Bewitching Eye Kit.

The kit itself includes the Sephora Outrageous Volume mascara and also a mini-versions of glitter eyeliner/mascara and a black eyeliner.

An adorable little kit for only $20. Not too shabby.

DSC_3452

Price: $15 for mascara alone and $22 for the kit at Sephora and Sephora.com.
Packaging (brush wand): 2 out of 5
Overall: 4 out of 5

What It Claims: “This mascara’s unique triple load brush intensely coats lashes in one easy stroke for a full, luscious look. The thick, Ultra Black formula is enriched with hyaluronic acid—an ingredient recognized for its moisturizing properties. Use the brush’s reservoirs to intensify lashes from root to tip, separate lashes with the “spiked” areas, or achieve a curved effect by pressing the brush lightly against the tips of the upper lashes.” (source)

The Truth: Whoa whoa whoa! My lashes are nice and looooong!

What I Loved About It: I love the richness of the mascara and I love the volumizing aspects.

What I Didn’t Like: It found it to be a bit flaky and I really hate the wand.

Overall: The holiday season is a brewin’ and so I am all up in the spirit. Hence why you see candy cane-related backdrops ‘n such. Anyway, I’m not sure if this kit is a staple for Sephora or if it’s just around for the holidays but either way, I think it’s a good value. The mascara is reasonably priced at $15 and for an extra $7 you can get some additional eye trinkets. Way to go, Sephora!

But of course, most of what I’ll be talking about will be about the mascara itself.And to start off, I just wasn’t a fan of the wand.

DSC_3466

The wand really sucks and it’s unfortunate because the mascara is really a good mascara. What’s not to like about the wand? There’s no stopper in the tube so I have to deal with the excess mascara that ends up being wiped away. I ended up with far too much mascara on the wand each time I pulled it out. It would take me 2-3 minutes just to remove the gunk and get started on my lashes. Yeah. Hate when that happens. Once I’d remove the gunk, the plastic bristles didn’t seem to be long enough. But they were workable. I also appreciated the little round ball at the end of the mascara. I find those particularly useful for applying mascara to the lower lashes. When, of course, they aren’t covered with 3 feet of mascara gunk. I’m exaggerating, of course but that’s what it feels like each time I remove the wand from the tube.

So yeah, if you can get past the gunk on the mascara wand, everything else is pretty pleasant. The mascara has a thicker formula but it’s easy to apply on the lashes. In fact, it’s the kind of formula that really makes the lashes look beautiful after only 1 coat. I love when this happens! I’ve been curling my lashes lately and this mascara has done a really good job at holding the curl.

Length-wise, the mascara delivers and it does darn good with volume too. In  fact, it’s SO good that I think you can get away with applying 2 coats tops. I tried to push it to the limit with 3 coats but I ended up with clumps…of mascara. 😎 And while the mascara does a good job at lasting on the lashes, it did flake on me a bit after 8 hours or so. Which is almost expected but still something to not. Overall, I was super impressed. How many other Sephora mascaras have I been sleeping on?

 

Bare Lashes



DSC_3488


Lashes after 2 coats


DSC_3493

 

Do I recommend it?: Yep. It’s a pretty awesome mascara.

 

Have you ever tried any of Sephora’s mascaras? Are they all this kind of awesome?


Gettin’ my tango on with Make Up For Ever’s Black Tango palette

Make Up For Ever is always coming out with products that make you go, “How did I live without this before?” And yeah, I know that sounds soooooo dramatic, but it’s so true. Take their aqua creams for example. As fantastic as they are, they are quite bulky sitting on my beauty table or travel tote. When I carry them, I usually only limit myself to 2 because they are heavy little pods. But this palette…

8168116492_4fbbf6c023_o

Well, it makes toting those aqua creams so much easier. And the color selection is right on. If you aren’t familiar with Make Up For Ever’s aqua cream, um…where have you been, ma’am? Aqua Creams are smudge-proof cream eye shadows and they don’t budge, fade or flake. And by don’t budge, I mean these things are practically like temporary tattoos. The durability is insane. And they aren’t just ideal for cream eye shadows. In fact, I like using them more as eyeliners on the lower lashline. But I’m gettin’ carried away. Back to the palette…

8168087191_1d7857a321_o

Make Up For Ever has given us 4 aqua creams: Black with Red Highlights, Black with Green Highlights, Black with Blue Highlights and Ivory. A high-quality double ended brush comes with the set as well. The compact is pretty, dainty and durable.

8168116754_0af5046427_o

The thing about aqua creams is they tend to dry out quickly if you don’t keep the top on them. And I mean, their tops have to be secured tightly. One of my favorite aqua creams recently dried out because I didn’t close the top well enough. It broke my heart. But Make Up For Ever thought about this and so each aqua cream has its own little top.

8168116196_3bc080ab05_o

8168115464_c754cf71f3_o

It’s a genius idea, really. You can use one cream without exposing all of the others. And just like the aqua creams that are housed in regular packaging, these are just as wonderful. They are super creamy but dry almost instantly. In fact, if you intend to use these on the eyes, you have to work quickly. I’m talkin’ within seconds. I also find that not just any makeup remover can remove these kids. I usually have to pull out my heavy duty oil-based removers. But they’re fantastic nonetheless and these are so much fun to work with.

8168114842_4de6fa6aae_o

Pretty, aren’t they? I think Make Up For Ever did a great job at providing us beauty junkies with shades that we could actually use. This is a Sephora-exclusive product and I’m pretty sure this won’t last forever so if you’re swooning, you may want to job on it with the ASAP-ness. You can grab it at Sephora and Sephora.com for $45.

Any aqua cream lovers in the house?