It is an eyeshadow quad or alien spacecraft?

Remember back in the day when beauty lovers never considered getting eyeshadow from drugstores? A lipliner, lipstick and blush…maybe. But many of us beauty snobs people rigidly judged drugstores and assumed that their eyeshadow selections just weren’t on par with what the higher-end and department stores. Welp. Those days are gone, y’all. I actually find myself drawn more to drugstore cosmetics than the ‘spensive higher-end stuff. Take this Nuance Salma Hayek Beautiful Blends Eye Quad for example…

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…this CVS-exclusive alienesque piece of coolness not only has the packaging that would appeal to beauty lovers of all skill levels but its performance is stellar too. Oh! And it costs less than $9. Which rounds out to like $2 and some change per eyeshadow. Wicked.

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Packaging alone is enough to warrant a passerby to be curious enough to pick this up. And why?

  • It’s in a box.
  • It’s got an “interesting” design.
  • It’s in a box.

I’ve seen it all in the beauty world but I’ve never seen a quad in a box.

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I love when beauty brands have the little “apply by number” diagrams. It’s SO helpful for beauty newbies. It’s also helpful for people like me who look at a palette and don’t know where to start.

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When using this quad, I ended up not really paying attention to the diagram. I just applied whatever where ever. Because I’m a G like that. Ha! The quad itself is such an interesting little contraption.

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I don’t necessarily love it but I don’t hate it either. I’m not sure how travel-friendly is since it packs a bit of bulk but it looks super cool on a vanity. I don’t think it’s practical for everyday display though because it’s easy to knock down and scoot over. More than anything, it is definitely a conversational starter. While I think it may be a bit bulky for tossing in a suitcase, it fits nicely in the hand.

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Opening it up to reveal the shadows is a bit tricky but on each side of the quad, there is a little indention that makes popping it up open easy. See?

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And bam – you’ve revealed the glorious shadows.

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Pretty cool, uh? That little thingamajig in the middle is a little eyeshadow sponge.

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It’s not something I’d use but I’m not taking it out because I find it to aesthetically pleasing. I know. I’m weird like that.

Swatches-wise, I found the shadows to be amazingly buttery and smooth. It appears that each shadow has the same formula (frost?) and while I like that formula, I would have loved to see a matte thrown up in there.

DSC_3886(L-R Toasted Almond, Shimmering Bronze, Champagne Gold, Frosted Blush)

Not too shabby, uh? I found Toast Almond to be a little too frosty for my liking but I managed to crank out a quick look using all 4 shadows anyway.

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The next few times I use this quad, I’ll be sure to use a colored base underneath. I used just a simple primer and I think the look would have POPPED more if I used a gold eyeshadow base. There’s a lot of experimenting that I can do but overall, I’m pretty impressed with the quality and performance of the quad.

Way to go Nuance Salma Hayek! Another stellar product from the brand. I’ve also reviewed the Facial Cleansing Towelettes and the AMAZING Ulta-Defining mascara. I’m making my way around the Nuance goodies and I haven’t been too disappointed yet. Woot!

Where To Buy: CVS stores and CVS.com.

Cost: $8.49

 

Have you tried anything from the Nuance Salma Hayek line? How cool lookin’ is this quad?

Too Faced Teddy Bear Hair Professional Brush Set

Confession: When Esposo and I moved into our place together we fought over who would get the larger “hobby” room. He ended up winning because he had more equipment for his studio. I wanted the larger room primarily because it had a ton of beautiful natural light and I take a few hundred pics a week and I only like working with natural light.

And because I’m bossy and like to have my way. Anyway – long story short, I still crash his pad when I need to take beauty pics. Which is why until we move, you’ll always see a keyboard, vinyl record or cords and ish in my pics. I should really get Wife of the Year award for making that sacrifice, don’t you think?

Ah yes – but let’s get down to business. Looky! It’s Too Faced! I feel like it’s been forev since I’ve reviewed anything from them. Not that I haven’t been steadily stalking the brand. Because I do. I’ve tried quite a bit from them but never their brushes. Which is cray-zee because I’ve been missing out.

I’m squealing at the fact that it’s called Teddy Bear Hair. Coined by Too Faced Founder Jerrod Blandino, the idea is to give consumers a super soft brush without actually using animal hair. That’s right. These synthetic brushes are cruelty-free. Woot! The teddy bear feel is so dead on as these brushes are so incredibly soft. But let’s talk packaging first…

The 5-brushes are housed in a beautiful pink and gold cosmetic bag. It may be too small for travel purposes (you know…for beauty junkies like me who like to travel with EVERYTHING) but I think it’ll bode well for those who may want to toss it in a purse or bookbag.

It’s lightweight and perfectly portable. And what’s inside ain’t half bad either…

5 brushes with unlimited functions. I mean sure there are recommended uses for them but a true beauty rebel knows you can do anything with a good brush. These are crafted to perfection with detail everywhere. Each brush has pink chrome with Too Faced etched at the bottom.

Quick rundown of the team…

Powder Brush: This baby is super soft. While it would probably work just fine as all all over powder brush, I really like using it as a blush brush. It distributes the perfect amount of color on the cheekies.

Blending Fluff Brush: I’m a fan of stiff and dense brushes for blending in my crease but I love how this works when depositing color in the outer-V and blending it up into the crease.

Angled Eye Shadow Brush: This is another stunner that works great in the outer-V. I’ve tried using it that way a few times but I like it more for placing and blending color underneath my brow.

Small Crease Brush: I would use this for liquid and cream concealers more than anything else. But since I don’t use concealer much these days (I’m wearing foundation like a big girl!) I haven’t been getting much use out of this kid. Yet.

Angled Liner/Brow Brush: This is perfection. It isn’t as stiff as I’d like it to be but I have found that instead of using it on my lower lash line, it works REALLY well at putting a bit of color on or below the waterline. If I cared about those facial caterpillars enough, I reckon this would be a fab brush to use on the brows.

The crew altogether….

Overall: For $65, this is a pretty stellar brush set. And I know what you’re thinking…“OMG B…$65?” Not only are you getting 5 brushes, but you’re getting 5 brushes that you’ll actually use. AND you’re getting a groovy cosmetic bag to go with them. I think it’s a pretty good investment. Especially for makeup newbies or those wanting to treat themselves with some new brushes. Shedding won’t be a problem and I don’t see the paint on the handle of the brushes chipping either. These are definitely some quality brushes that will be lasting me for quite some time.

You can get this set from Sephora and Sephora.com. If you still find the price to be a little steep, maybe consider waiting to purchase these during one of Sephora’s many sales? Hmmm, think about it.

Any Too Faced lovers in the house? Or lovers of teddy bears? Anyone?

Mascara Monday: Korres Volcanic Minerals Volumizing Mascara

It’s been forever and a day since I’ve played around with Korres stuffs. And it’s a shame because Korres is one of my favorite preservative-free brands. Their Lip Butters are by far some of the best lip balms on the planet. And don’t even get me started on their Cleansing Wipes. This is my 3rd Korres mascara and it’s one of the most interesting mascaras that I’ve ever reviewed.

Price: $20 at Sephora and Sephora.com 
Packaging (brush wand): 4 out of 5
Overall: 4 out of 5

What It Claims: “This Obsidian black is formulated with volcanic minerals for the deepest, darkest color and an explosive increase in lash volume. These rich pigments blend with natural film formers to create a flexible yet strong coating that covers every lash. Volcanic Minerals Volumizing Mascara provides a glossy, luminous finish with a flexible conditioned feel, without any smudging or flakes for optimal, long-wearing benefits. The tapered brush head with unique cross-hatch bristles ensures smooth, clump-free application that grabs even the tiniest microlashes.” (source)

The Truth: Soooo, I’ll be reviewing a ton of mascaras in the coming weeks but THIS one will be my go to. It’s awesome!

What I Loved About It: It does such an incredible job volumizing with just 1 coat.

What I Didn’t Like: It has the tendency to clump.

Overall: Oh man, Korres. Y’all knocked this one out of the park. What a fantastic mascara! I’ve had good and fair experiences with Korres mascaras but I always review a new one with high hopes. It’s great to know that this one didn’t let me down. First of all…volcanic minerals? I question the validity of this one.

Did a makeup artist wake up one day and say, “OMG…we should go to a volcano, get some minerals and put it in a mascara. It’ll be epic. And one day a blogger who blogs about mascara every week will review it and love it.” I mean, I don’t know. Legit or gimmicky, the formula of this mascara is pretty stellar. It sits comfortably between thin ‘n thick without weighing more on one side or the other. The wand is decent too.

It’s nothing groundbreaking and I can appreciate that. Sometimes brands try way too hard to impress us consumers when it comes to mascara wands. I can appreciate what’s been working for years. There is one thing about this mascara that may throw you off though – the smell.

If you’re used to wearing natural (or preservative-free) mascaras, you are likely used to “interesting” smells. While this one isn’t as bad as some of the other scents I’ve gotten from natural mascaras, it may be a bit off putting to some. Oh. So you want to know WHAT it smells like? Woody, organic-y, green…. Horrible descriptions I know but if you try this mascara, you’ll understand what I mean.

When it comes to performance, I don’t know how these volcanic minerals do it, but they do it well. The wand makes for easy application and wiggling it through the lashes really helps elongate the lashes. My favorite thing about this mascara? How long it lasts! This isn’t the case with most natural mascara so I was really excited to know that I could wear this throughout an 8-hr workday without it flaking on me. And it removes super easily as well. Flaking is minimal and while I didn’t experience any smudging, I don’t think this is the ideal mascara for those who are looking for something waterproof. And sure it’s not the perfect volumizing mascara but it’s amazeballs nonetheless.

This baby is  2-coat wonder. I am in love.

 

Bare Lashes



Lashes after 2 coats



Do I recommend it?: Absolutely! It isn’t the cheapest mascara on the market but if you’re a lover of preservative-free mascaras that last for hours on end, this is the one you’ll want to holla at.

Any lovers of Korres? And what do you think…are there really volcanic minerals in that mascara?


Revlon Expressions Experiment – Red Lips Included

This is a Sponsored post written by me on behalf of Revlon for SocialSpark. All opinions are 100% mine.

I love a good ole’ beauty challenge. And I feel like it’s been fo’eva since I’ve done one. For one, I’ve been mad lazy on the makeup tip. Powder, liner, mascara, gloss…done. The Florida heat plus pregnancy laziness put me in quite the lazy mode. Leave it to the Revlon Expression Experiment to drag me out of my haze.

Revlon is trying to inspire women to step outside of the box a bit and play around with makeup that they may not normally wear. Well, clearly I’m not THAT girl because I’ll wear anything. Especially when a red lipstick is involved.

Know what I mean? Let’s do a quick run through of what everything is before I showcase the look that I managed to crank out.

exp_exp_logo.jpg (2 documents, 2 total pages)

First up is the PhotoReady Eye Primer & Brightener.

I didn’t use it as a makeup primer but it did a darn good job at brightening under the eyes. Which, I can ALWAYS use. Then there was the PhotoReady Color Correcting Primer.

While I used this, I didn’t notice much of a difference in powder application or longevity. I reckon primers do 10x better when used in conjunction with liquid and cream foundations; 2 kids I don’t tango with in the summertime. Now that kit came with 2 eye shadow palettes but I wanted something neutral since I was going to be rocking an insanely red lipstick. And so I settled on Bombshell.

And then there were the lippies. Ooooooh, the lippies…

(L-R) Fire & Ice lipstick, Candy Apple Lip Butter and Sizzle Canicule Lipgloss.

Swatches of ‘em all…

Oh! And then gorgeous nail polishes which I totally forgot to swatch on the fingernails.

Wearing blue nail polish isn’t exactly out of my comfort zone so I’m pretty sure you’ll see swatches of that kid soon. I took all of the goodies in the beauty lab and got to work. The results…

Not too shabby, uh? I took these pictures before the right side of my face starting breaking out like you wouldn’t believe… I dig the philosophy behind this. Revlon is attempting to empower women by getting them to step outside of their comfort zone a bit and try something new in the beauty world. I’ve been screaming this for years. Go Revlon go!

Are you more of a “stick with what you know” beauty gal or do you like to play around and do different things when you can?

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Mascara Monday: Dear L’Oreal Voluminuous mascaras…

Dear L’Oreal Voluminous crew,

You’re starting to confuse me. I went trekking into Target one fateful Saturday. The goal was to snag a new L’Oreal mascara. Lemme tell you, if you take a look at your section in a drugstore, it’ll boggle your mind. There are SO many mascaras with similar names. Voluminous this, Voluminous that…it’s a tad bit perplexing. And frustrating. Revlon, COVERGIRL and even Maybelline with their gajillion mascaras have everything organized nicely with un-confusing names. I even had to quickly search my own beauty blog to see if I had previously reviewed this mascara. And guess, what? I DID!!! Except back in November 2011 when I first reviewed this mascara, it had different packaging with a different wand. The new packaging included new verbiage like “Black Lacquer” and that’s why I got confused. Because yeah, I have reviewed L’Oreal Voluminous False Fiber Lashes before but I thought with addition of “Black Lacquer”, this mascara was something different.

It wasn’t. You have totally deceived me and I don’t appreciate it yo.

New packaging…


Old packaging…

Claims on NEW packaging…

Claims on OLD packaging…

Do you see how this can be confusing? Especially for us mascara lovers. Please do better. I know advertising is everything when it comes to selling cosmetics but confusing your consumers not the way to go.

I’m just sayin’…

Yours Truly,

B

 


Milani COLOR PLAY Felt-Tip Liquid Pen – For Eyes, Face AND Body!

Ooooh weeee, looky looky! Milani has felt tip eyeliners and they aren’t only for eyes and face, but for the body too! Look!!

Okay, first things first – I am the worst at using these felt tip eyeliners. And if you suck at using ‘em too, then join the club. When it comes to these babies, practice makes perfect. And if it takes 5+ years to get it right like yours truly…then so be it! But if you like to invest in products that you have a hard time using anyway (ahem, also like me!) you may want to take a peek at these newly launched COLOR PLAY Felt-Tip Liquid Pen by Milani Cosmetics.

They retail for $6.99 a pop which I find to be a modest and average price point for drugstore eyeliners like these. And they come all pretty colors toooo.

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Jaded Edge, Gray Strokes, White Line, Blue Definition, Pink Point, Black Line

Each liner has nice fine points and like most felt tip liners, you can control the width of the line by turning the angle of the pens. I played around with each one of these and the color payoff for each is nice!

My Faves:
-Blue Definition: This blue is awesome! So vibrant. Will definitely be using this regularly.
-Pink Point: A pink that isn’t so pale? Nice!
-Black Line: Because you can never have too many nice and smooth black liners.

I’ve got the gift of written gab but I am so not an artist. I imagine you can do some pretty elaborate designs with these liners but all I could crank out was a wimpy design on the hand…

Buuuuut I did come up with a decent no big deal look on the lower lash line.

These liners are super smooth and precise. They’re water-resistant not water-proof so if you plan on using these on the eyes, an eyeshadow primer will help the liner last longer. If they get hit with a splash of water though…

…the liner may smudge and smear a bit. Still. For $6.99, these are awesome.

Another win from Milani! These are currently sold online and you can get them anywhere Milani products are sold.

Mascara Monday: Rimmel ScandalEyes Lycra Flex mascara

Looks like Rimmel is still on the ScandalEyes tip. I can dig it! After all, if Maybelline can keep pumpin’ the Falsies gig, Rimmel can run their ScandalEyes into the ground. Hehe! I’ll be honest – I wasn’t excited about reviewing this mascara. The wand is against everything I stand for. It’s big, plush and based off of the packaging looked to be like one of those wands that those with wonky lashes will struggle with.

Oh boy…

 

Price: $6.99 on Ulta.com and at drugstores
Packaging (brush wand): 3 out of 5
Overall: 4 out of 5

What It Claims: “Exclusive flexible formula with Lycra Technology makes lashes look full and voluptuous, never stiff or brittle.” (per packaging) 

The Truth: Well, it’s not THAT bad. I suppose this is why I shouldn’t be judging mascaras by their wands. Oops.

What I Loved About It: The volumizing is pretty awesome.

What I Didn’t Like: Despite it not being the worst I’ve ever dealt with, I still don’t like the larger wand. Nor do I like the big gapping hole that it comes out of.

Overall: This Lycra Technology isn’t anything new when it comes to Rimmel mascaras. I’ve seen it before but I’m not exactly sure what it does. Does it help with volumizing or does it prevent the lashes from getting stiff or brittle? Who knows? Let’s rap on this wand first…

A bit of a gordita, uh? The good news is – it’s not THAT bad. I mean, yes it’s massive, a bit intimidating and maybe not the ideal wand for those of us with smaller lids and lashes, but it wasn’t as bad as I thought it would be. For one, the bristles are spaced out enough to where you can grab each and every lash. And although the hole of the tube is large, it does a good job at removing enough mascara off of the wand so you don’t end up with a clumpy mess. YES! This is a big deal to me.

Formula-wise, the mascara isn’t too shabby. I found application to be a breeze and didn’t have to deal with it any clumping with multiple coats. The only downfall, of course, is getting those inner lashes and bottom lashes. A wand this large makes it difficult to do so. I’m assuming that this Lycra stuff helps with preventing the lashes from getting stiff. And it’s interesting. For one, it takes a whiiiiile for the lashes to really “dry”. Whereas some mascaras dry your lashes within a blink of an eye (hehe, get it?) – this one takes foreeeever to dry. But when it does, yep – my lashes weren’t brittle. They were soft ‘n supple, wispy but still looked volumized. This is a nice change! So I guess this Lycra stuff does does do what it’s supposed to do. Cool! You may endure some smudging if you don’t wait for the mascara but I didn’t deal with any flaking. Go Rimmel!

 

Bare Lashes



Lashes after 2 coats



Do I recommend it?: Despite the huge wand, this mascara actually does really well and may surprise you. If you’re in the market for a new mascara, I’d give this one a try?

Whatcha think? Have you tried this mascara yet?


Milani Instant Eye Makeup Remover = Move Over Lancôme BI-FACIL!

Eye makeup removers. It’s a sensitive topic. Really, it is. I’m open to trying anyyyyy kind of eyeliner pencil, eyeshadow brand, blush or lipgloss. But when it comes to makeup removers, I like to stick with what I know.

Unless Milani has a new makeup remover in which case a sista will make some exceptions.

This is a brand new Milani product and this baby comes with quite a few perks. Let’s seeee….

-Silicone and oil-free
-Fragrance-free
-Claims to remove waterproof makeup
-Leaves no oily residue
-Affordable. Only $5.99 in stores and online

Girl. $5.99? I currently regularly use a makeup remover that is almost $12 MORE than Milani’s. I know. I know. I haven’t had any good experiences with drugstore eye makeup removers as I find them to not really REMOVE. Smooth across my face and get a good 40% of my waterproof mascara off? Yes. But completely remove? Nah. I was ready to believe that Milani’s would fall in line with everyone else’s.

No ma’am. No sir. This eye makeup remover actually surpasses my expensive and beloved Lancôme BI-FACIL. I’m not even kidding. To give you a photo example of how AWESOME Milani’s Instant Eye Makeup Remover is, I swatched a dark and heavy line of black (‘n waterproof) eyeliner on my hand. This eyeliner usually doesn’t even think about budging unless I’m using a sturdy makeup remover.

I took a cotton swap and swiped right on down.

To the left is Lancôme BI-FACIL  and to the right is Milani Instant Eye Makeup Remover.

Go Milani go! Milani removed more eyeliner in one swipe than Lancôme did. I’ve politely put ole’ Lancôme to the side and have Milani’s remover in rotation. I should also note that Lancôme BI-FACIL has a convenient little stopper in the top whereas Milani  Instant Eye Makeup Remover does not. I may have ended up with more remover on the Milani swap than on the Lancôme swap, but  since this test and several other eyeshadow removal tests, Milani has come out on top.

So yeah. If you’re in the market for a new eye makeup remover, stroll on down to your drugstore or online and scoop this baby up.

Have you tried this eye makeup remover yet? What brand do you usually stick to?