Saturday, February 14, 2015

FIVE FAVE! | Lipsticks

Happy Valentine's Day, lovelies! 
I haven't done a Five Faves post in a hot minute (October 19th, 2014 to be specific!) and I was inspired by Nessa Giron to do one on my current favorite lipsticks when she tagged me on Instagram to share my picks!  Thanks for inspiration, Nessa!  These are my five current favorite lipsticks of life!
    Buxom Dolly Full-Bodied Lipstick - A luminous mauve
    NARS Happy Days Velvet Gloss Lip Pencil - A sheer pink coral
    Urban Decay Rapture Revolution Lipstick - A creamy berry plum
    L'Oreal Lovely Mocha Glossy Balm - A warm MLBB pink | Full review here.
    MAC Syrup Lustre Lipstick - A cool plum pink
What are your five current favorite lipsticks?

Sunday, February 8, 2015

REVIEW + GIVEAWAY! | Too Faced Hangover Rx Replenishing Face Primer (Giveaway ended 2/12/15)

Happy Sunday!  I hope your day has been relaxing and your batteries are recharged for the coming week's adventures.  We are SO JAZZED about the return of The Walking Dead tonight!  

"The new world's gonna need Rick Grimes."  
Aside from Rick Grimes, what else does the new world need?  How about a reliable primer for people who can't tolerate silicones?  Enter the Too Faced Hangover Rx Replenishing Face Primer, $32.00 USD.  After testing it throughout the fall and winter months, I have to say it's been wonderful!  

I can only speak to the experience I've had with it as someone with combination skin.  In the cooler months, my skin is less oily in the t-zone and incredibly dry in other areas.  In the mornings, I wash my face and follow it with a pump of the Hangover Rx Primer.  The slightly watery cream sinks in right away and leaves my skin feeling soothed and plumped up.  It has a super faint coconut water scent that fades almost immediately.  

About that 'cone-free life...
As I'm sure others with oily/combination skin can attest, oily skin and silicone-based primers get along about as well as Kenya Moore and Vivica A. Fox.  Which is to say...they don't.  For me personally, applying silicone primer to my face nets results that rival my adolescent Code Red oil production.  As a teen, I had to wash my face three times a day or else it felt like I was rocking a solid layer of Crisco.  As a mid-30s gal whose oily complexion has finally given way to more of a combination vibe, silicone + my skin takes me back to those greasy fretful teenaged days, which is a #tbt I'd rather avoid.  Since the Hangover Rx Primer is silicone free, it doesn't "fill in" pores, but it does prep the skin for foundation and extends the wear time.  The coconut water and electrolytes contained in the primer do a great job of hydrating the parched areas of my face (cheekbones and temples) without making my t-zone overly shiny.  

If primers with silicones have caused abundant oil production or breakouts for you in the past, I think this one is worth a look.  
G I V E A W A Y !
How would you like to try it for free?  The generous people at Too Faced provided me with a Hangover Rx Replenishing Face Primer to give away to one lucky reader!  To enter, simply leave me a comment below telling me what your favorite part of your skincare routine is.  Do you love the feel of smoothing on a serum or sudsing up with a foaming cleanser?  What's your favorite skincare product in your arsenal right now?  

The winner will be drawn on Thursday, February 12th, by and contacted by me through email.  Giveaway is open internationally.  Bon chance, beauties!

Beauty Influencer’s Sunday Column: Vol.1

Beauty Influencer's Sunday Column Vol.1
Hello everyone! Today I’d like to welcome you to a brand new series called Beauty Influencer’s Sunday Column! BISC is a network of handpicked beauty bloggers who will be here on the second and fourth Sunday of every month to share their beauty-related thoughts based on a specific question asked by Jaa at HelloJaa. For this very first volume, let’s start with the Blogger Introduction where you will learn about the bloggers, their skin type, their makeup style, and their makeup bag staples!
(BISC is currently an invitation-only network but please feel free to send your name, email, and website URL to jaa[at] for consideration.)





USA; Her and Makeup
Skin color and type: MAC NW20; normal
Makeup style: Smokey eyes with neutral brown shades, pink lips, pink and glowy cheeks
Makeup bag staples:  Mac Face and Body foundation in N2, Buxom Lash Waterproof mascara in Black, and Dior Addict Gloss in Princess


Belgium; Alice Yeh
Skin color and type: MAC NC25; dry to normal
Makeup style: Fairly neutral with a natural smokey-eye
Makeup bag staples: Giorgio Armani Luminous Silk in shade 6.5 (The one foundation I rely on on bad skin days and big events. It guarantees great skin without failure. Thanks to it’s medium – buildable coverage, it blurs imperfections and creates a beautiful soft-focus look. It blends in so beautifully that even a magnifying mirror fails to detect it. I call it an Instagram filter in a bottle because that’s exactly what it is.), Bobbi Brown Gel Eyeliner in shade Sepia Ink (Whilst I describe my make-up look to be rather neutral, I do have to confess that I haven’t been able to leave the house without a flick on the eyes. Bobbi Brown’s formula is hard to beat: it’s longwearing, smudge-free and budge-free. It applies so easily that it omits the need of cotton buds. Sepia Ink is a very dark ashy brown and wears beautifully day and night. I’ve caught myself to reach back to this time and time again.), and Charlotte Tilbury Matte Revolution Lipstick in shade Amazing Grace (A neutral lipstick hunt is generally just a wild-goose chase in my books because most of them are either too pink or too pale. Amazing Grace however is my current neutral lip love. The shade injects just the perfect amount of colour to perk up your complexion without being overly pink. Some people rock pink so naturally but I’m definitely not one of them. The formula rocks as well. It’s a creamy matte formula – yes you’ve read that well – that feels great on the lips and fades into the prettiest stain after having been displayed for a good few hours. There’s just nothing not to love.)

- DEE -

Canada; How Does Dee Do It
Skin color and type: NC 35-NC42 (depending on the time of year ); dry
Makeup style: Neutral with a pop of brights/colour
Makeup bag staples:  Nivea Lip Smoothie lip balm in Acai & Wild Apple (now called  Nivea Lip Care Kiss of Vitamin Swirl), Too Faced Teddy Berry lipstick, and Bobbi Brown Corrector (Peach)

- ERIN -

USA; Clever Girl Reviews
Skin color and type: Ranges from N/NW 5 to 15 depending on the time of year; combination with Rosacea; it can veer very dry and dehydrated in winter
Makeup style: Softer looks for day, bolder looks for night
Makeup bag staples: Burt’s Bees Lip Shimmer in Raisin (I have bought at least 30 tubes since it came out), L’Oreal Voluminous Full Definition (20 – 40 tubes. I’ve lost count), and Armani Sheer Blush in #2 (this blush is worth every cent if you can find it)

- JAA -

USA/Thailand; Hello Jaa
Skin color and type: MAC NC30; combination
Makeup style: Smokey neutral
Makeup bag staples: Clé de Peau Beauté Concealer in Ocher, Dior Addict Extreme Lipstick in Cruise, and Kat Von D Ink Liner in Trooper


USA; Glambunctious
Skin color and type: MAC NW25, NARS Deauville; combination
Makeup style: Soft, with a focus on the eyes
Makeup bag staples: Glossier Balm Dotcom, a gorgeous, do-it-all eyeshadow like Urban Decay YDK, and a beautiful blush–lately I’ve been loving Milani Rose Powder Blush in Romantic Rose


Philippines; Xoxo Laarni
Skin color and type: MAC 35; combination
Makeup style: Neutral eye makeup + red lips
Makeup bag staples:  MAC Lipstick in Russian Red, MAC Pro Longwear Concealer in NW30, and MAC Prep + Prime Transparent Finishing Powder/Pressed

- LENA -

USA; Lenallure
Skin color and type: I’ve never been actually matched with any MAC foundation, but I think I am close to NC15​. Although my natural complexion has quite a bit of pink undertones, I like foundations with clean yellow base. Shu Uemura 784 is my favorite one; skin type: combination, aging​
Makeup style: I usually go for a natural style that looks “put together” if that makes any sense. I love wearing smoky eyes but lately I’ve been often wearing brighter lips with softened eyes.​
Makeup bag staples: Chanel Poudre Douce in Lila (This is a discontinued pressed powder from Chanel, so I am not sure about the price. You can still get it on eBay, though. ​It beautifully brightens up the mid-day tired complexion adding sutble shimmer. I really like it!), Lancome Lip Lover in Lip Lover (This is the “default” pink lippie that goes with everything in my opinion. Very moisturizing and easy to touch-up.), and Tatcha Aburatorigamy Beauty Paper

- LILY -

Malaysia; Chloe Ash
Skin color and type: MAC15-20, Chanel B10, Dior 011; normal on most days
Makeup style: Smokey eyes most of the time, from day time appropriate to dramatic smokey
Makeup bag staples:  Bobbi Brown Creamy Matte Lip Color in Razzberry, Dior Lip Maximizer, and Dior Lip Glow


Switzerland; Kiss & Make-up
Skin color and type: Light to light-medium warm. I haven’t been matched at MAC in years but I think I’m an NC20; oily, acne-prone and sometimes dehydrated (I’m so lucky…)
Makeup style: You know me, I go smokey all the way!
Makeup bag staples: Smashbox Always Sharp Waterproof Khol Liner in Raven, MAC Invisible Set Powder, and Urban Decay Eyeshadow Primer Potion

- RAE -

Canada; the Notice: a beauty blog
Skin color and type: MAC NC15; Cover FX G20; dry and sensitive
Makeup style: Sheer and sparkly!
Makeup bag staples: Make Up For Ever Graphic LinerBobbi Brown Lip Balm SPF 15, and Revlon Colorburst Lip Butter in 085 Sugar Plum

- SARA -

Germany; Color Me Loud
Skin color and type: MAC NC 20, Chanel B20, YSL B20; dry to normal, acne-prone
Makeup style: Smokey eyes (preferably taupe or purple), nude lips, minimal blush
Makeup bag staples: Guerlain Lipstick G in Gemma, Dior Star Concealer, and Chikuhodo retractable lip brush


Philippines; The Misty Mom
Skin color and type: MAC NC30, Bobbi Brown Warm Beige; combination
Makeup style: Minimal but with a bold lip, if possible!
Makeup bag staples: NARS Radiant Creamy Concealer in CustardEllis Faas Compact Powder in S401Dior Addict Lip Glow


Belgium; Mostly Sunny Blog
Skin color and type: MAC NC 25-30; combination with oily T-zone and normal cheeks
Makeup style: I usually go for a simple and neutral eye look with winged-out eyeliner, as well as a bright pop of color on the lips!
Makeup bag staples: Hourglass Soft Brunette Arch Brow Sculpting PencilLe Métier de Beauté Coral Nymph Crème Fresh Tint, and Dior Aventure Addict Extreme

- SYL -

New Zealand; The Painted Rogue
Skin color and type: Cool-neutral vampire. I’ve never been matched to MAC, but NARS Siberia comes close-ish. Let’s just go with vampire.
Makeup style: I like my bases super sheer and natural, my eyeshadows shimmery and my lipsticks…well, I just love lipsticks. ALL OF THEM. Also: purple and glitter.
Makeup bag staples: A lipstick (Guerlain Rouge Automatique in Roselip – an Asia exclusive shade so you can check the Asia-specific versions of, a concealer (Collection Lasting Perfection, shade 01 Fair; can get it from Countdown supermarkets here in NZ, and drugstores/supermarkets in the UK), and eyelash curlers (mine are Chanel)
And that’s it! Please let us know if you like this BISC series! We’ll see you again on February 22nd, 2015!

Thursday, January 29, 2015

Loves & Lemons | January 2015

I skipped out on Loves & Lemons last month since I felt it would be favorites overkill with my Best of 2014 series coming out at the end of December.  That being said, I'm excited to share my loves (no lemons!) with you guys after my little hiatus!  Grab yourself a Matcha Green Tea Latte (delicious recipe courtesy of Rebecca Lately) and let's rock n' roll!

Anastasia Beverly Hills Build Your Own Contour Palette, $40.00 USD.  I posted a full review this week so I don't want to talk about it too much again here but WOW.  These powders are incredible!  Contouring is unbelievably easy once you have the right tools!  I am living for Fawn as my cheekbone contour, and Banana under the eyes sets my concealer and makes me look alive.  I've used this palette every day since I got it! | FULL REVIEW HERE.

Bath & Body Works Vanilla Bean Noel Shower Gel, $12.50 USD.  A shower bursting with the delicious aroma of fresh baked vanilla cupcakes?  Yes, please! | FULL REVIEW HERE.

The Body Shop Papaya and Vitamin E Body Butters, $20.00 USD each for 6.75 oz.  These thick, nourishing butters have been keeping my chapped skin at bay this month.  My skin feels calmed and moisturized from shower to shower. Vitamin E was a gift from Stephanie Eva, who just so happened to see it on my Beauty Wish List Pinterest board!  How cool is that?!  It has a powdery floral scent and the pink tub appeals to my girly side.  The Papaya is LE (get it while it's hot!) and smells lush and tropical.  After this and the Supergoop! Acai Fusion Lip Balm, I think "tropical fruit" is my favorite scent in the world.  Give me all of the papayas and passion fruits!

L'Oreal Glossy Balm in Lovely Mocha, $7.99 USD.  Hydration and beautiful color payoff have made this lipstick/lip balm hybrid a purse staple. | FULL REVIEW HERE.

MAC Paint Pots in Groundwork and Constructivist, $21.00 USD each.  These just make my life easier.  Dab them onto your lids and smooth them out with your fingers and you're done!  They also layer wonderfully under powder shadows to boost color and longevity.  There's a reason Paint Pots are cult classics!

No lemons this month!  Wha-what?!  Believe it or not, nothing irked me or under-performed.  YAY!

What were some of your favorites that kicked off the new year? 

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?