Sunday, January 25, 2015

Review! | Anastasia Beverly Hills Build Your Own Contour Palette

I know, I know.  I'm so late to the contour party.  Contouring is even being tossed about as one of the biggest 2014 makeup trends to leave behind!  Before we all discard it in favor of The Next Big Thing, I'd like to make a case for the Anastasia Beverly Hills Build Your Own Contour Palette, $40.00 USD.  I was 100% one of those "I never highlight-and-contour" people, but this palette has changed my daily routine.
I follow founder Anastasia Soare's daughter Claudia a/k/a Norvina on Instagram (seriously, if you're not following her already, GO!  Hit the button!  You're missing out on amazing makeup inspiration, her fun personality, and new ABH products still in the research and development stage!) and knew a few months ago that they were working on a build your own version of their mega popular Contour Palette.  Instead of buying the pre-made option, you can now customize a 6 pan palette that best suits your skin tone.  Individual refill pans are $14.00 each, but once you add 6 to your cart, the price drops to $40.00 and an empty 6-pan palette is added to your order.  It's a great deal and the site narrows the shades by skin tone and undertone to help you choose shades that will be flattering.
I'd always used a matte bronzer on the odd day or two when I'd contour.  I stumbled across a YouTube video from Jordan Liberty called "Why You SHOULDN'T Contour with Bronzer" and the proof was in the split screen (2:23 mark)!

After seeing the difference it made to contour with Fawn, an ashy taupe powder, I've been converted!  It really makes my cheekbones look more defined, as well as my jawline.  Fawn looks more like the color of shadow versus a brown or orange-toned bronzer.  I also love setting my under eye area with Banana; the yellow really counteracts dark circles and makes me look awake.  The bronzer shades I choose are all beautiful, and I love using Terracotta as a blush.

My only suggestion for the brand would be to release a 2 or 3 pan palette version.  I know a lot of people are hesitant to even try a Contour Kit because they feel a 6 pan set up is better suited for a makeup artist's stash and not for a regular user.  I also think a sleek, 3 pan option would be a blessing for those who travel frequently and only want to take the 2-3 powders they consider necessities.
Top Row (L to R): Banana, Fawn, Camel
Bottom Row (L to R): Macchiato, Nude, Terracotta
Indoor Lighting
Indirect Sunlight
If contouring powders or bronzers aren't your thing, you can pick shades close to your skin tone to act as setting powders, or choose from a variety of illuminating powders if you tend to go for the glow.

Since I'm not huge on illuminating on the daily (oily skinned people, I know you feel me!), I didn't choose any highlighters; only powders that I will definitely, 100% use.  Bronzer?  I use that daily.  Setting powder?  Yes!  The customizable palette really allows you the freedom to choose exactly what you want out of this kit.
Need to see more photos and swatches of the refills before making your selections?  
Here are a few blogs I found helpful:
Do I leave the house every day with chiseled cheekbones that could cut glass and perfect pie-shaped isosceles triangles of white light beneath each eye?  But after sweeping Fawn into the hollows of my cheeks and along my jawbone, setting my concealer with Banana, and sweeping on one of the gorgeous matte bronzers in this kit, I do feel like I've upped my makeup ante with minimal time and effort.  A win-win situation for sure that I will definitely not be leaving behind in 2014.

Do you own either the original Anastasia Beverly Hills Contour Kit or the Build Your Own version?  What's your favorite contouring product?

Thursday, January 22, 2015

Review! | L'Oreal Glossy Balm in Lovely Mocha

While on a CVS run during our Thanksgiving visit to Jason's parents in North Carolina, I found I could no longer resist the lure of the L'Oreal Glossy Balms, $7.99 USD.  I picked up Lovely Mocha, a MLBB pink, and I've been reaching for it ever since!
The texture is perfect: smooth and creamy without being downright SLIPPERY.  I find Lovely Mocha nicely hydrating, which is a huge bonus, and the medium opacity coverage allows for my natural lip color to shine through and make the shade unique.   Glossy Balms are free of scent or taste, making them a nice option for anyone averse to minty or fruity lip products.  The forgiving color and formula means I can apply this shade without a mirror!  I also love that this is a twist-up pencil, so no need to worry about sharpening.  Twist and shout, baby!

Lovely Mocha has become one of my favorite everyday shades, and the smooth texture feels beyond delightful on my dry, weather-beaten lips.

Have you tried one of the L'Oreal Glossy Balms?  What's your favorite hydrating lip crayon?

Monday, January 19, 2015

Update! | Project Make A Dent #1

I haven't shared my Project MAD progress since first posting about it back in August of 2014.  I figured it was time for an update!
These were my nominees:

  • Clarins Instant Light Natural Lip Perfector in Shade 01 Rose Shimmer
  • Clinique Long Last Lipstick in Bamboo Pink
  • Dior Addict Lipstick in #260 Rose Deshabille (review here)
  • NARS Deep Throat Powder Blush (review here)
  • Too Faced Chocolate Soleil Bronzer (review here)
  • Urban Decay Virgin Eyeshadow (Naked Palette review here)
  • YSL Matt + Radiant Pressed Powder 

  • Here's what they look like now:
    I had 3 pan-hitting successes!
    I hit pan on the Too Faced bronzer and finished the YSL powder and the Clinique Bamboo Pink lipstick!  Wee!
    I actually lost the Clarins Lip Perfector within 2 weeks of my original post and only recently found it (in a desk drawer with pens and Sharpies of all places...), so not much progress was made there.  I haven't been using UD Virgin much and I'm having trouble remembering to take it out for brow highlighting purposes.  My lips have been quite dry most of the winter so I've been wearing mostly lip balms and moisturizing lipsticks, hence why the Dior Rose Deshabille still looks the same!  I've been using the NARS Deep Throat, but clearly not enough to show a peek of pan.

    I'm currently rounding up my nominees for Project MAD #2 and would love for you to join me!  This was really fun and a big thanks to Lily at Chloe Ash for inspiring me to participate!

    Did you finish anything recently?  What would you like to make a dent in?

    Sunday, January 18, 2015

    Review! | Bath & Body Works Vanilla Bean Noel Shower Gel

    Happy Sunday, lovelies!

    I know I've waited too long to share this love with you guys as it's no longer available on the Bath & Body Works website, but it's probably still hanging around B&BW stores and it's readily available on the internets.

    Vanilla Bean Noel Shower Gel, $12.50 USD for 10 fl oz, is like being enveloped in the scent of vanilla cupcakes!  It lathers up beautifully and I find it nicely hydrating.  I look forward to using it every time I hop in the shower and will be really sad when my supply runs out and I have to wait until December to get it again!  This is the only body product that I've ever bought back-ups of.  
    If you love true vanilla scents, or anything that smells like cake batter, you will be a fan of this.  Get it while you still can in B&BW stores and online, or make a mental note to give it a whirl next holiday season when it returns to the B&BW site!

    Do you like vanilla scents?  What's your current favorite shower gel?

    Sunday, January 11, 2015

    Best of 2014! | Lips!

    Happy Sunday!  Thanks for sticking with me through my Best of 2014 series!  It's been a blast picking out the best and brightest of the year, and hearing about your favorites.  Today's post will close out the series, and you may say I saved the best for last: L I P S !

    DRUGSTORE: Aquaphor Healing Ointment, $5.26 USD (two 10 gram tubes).  Non-sticky, scent and taste-free, budget-friendly, and ultra hydrating.  Aquaphor will always be one of my HG balms!
    HIGH-END: Supergoop! Acai Fusion Lip Balm SPF 30, $8.50 USD.  Super smooth and moisturizing, this balm packs SPF 30 making it a perfect daytime companion.  It has no taste, but smells like a tropical vacation in a tube.  My two HG balms without SPF are Glossier Balm Dotcom, $12.00 USD (mega moisturizing, scent and taste-free, and the tube packs 20 ml of product!) and Bite Beauty Agave Lip Mask, $26.00 USD (truly a repairing salve that works miracles on dry lips!).

    DRUGSTORE: CoverGirl Colorlicious Lip Gloss in Plumlicious, $6.39 USD.  Super comfortable (non-sticky) and nicely pigmented, this gorgeous violet gloss leaves your lips feeling hydrated.  The doe foot wand makes application a breeze!
    HIGH-END: NARS Lip Gloss in Salamanca, $26.00 USD.  Another ultra smooth, non-sticky hero, this watermelon pink gloss lived in my purse all summer and accompanied me on my honeymoon to Puerto Rico.  This one also comes with a doe foot applicator, which is my personal preference to a brush, roller ball, or chisel tip squeeze tube.

    DRUGSTORE: Maybelline The Buffs Lipstick in 940 Touchable Taupe, $8.29 USD.  This gorgeous mocha shade takes me back to the mid-90s when brown lipstick as was as cool as a cucumber.  I've never lost my love for brown-based colors, and this shade is a stunner!
    HIGH-END: MAC Lustre Lipstick in Syrup, $ USD.  This cool rosy pink looks different on everyone due to the Lustre formula; less pigment allows for one's natural lip color to show through a bit and influence the resulting shade.  I love it because it's comfortable to wear and has that great low-maintenaince, mirror-free application thing going for it!

    What was your favorite lip product this year?