Monday, August 3, 2015

Review! | It Cosmetics Tightline Full Lash Length Black Mascara Primer

You guys know by now that I don't have lush lashes, and I'm always looking for ways to pump up the proverbial jam where my skimpy, fine fringe is concerned.  Enter the It Cosmetics Tightline Full Lash Length Black Mascara Primer.  Tightline is a godsend for skimpy lashes!  The ultra skinny spiral brush allows you to start at the roots and grab every single lash for a full, well-defined look.
L to R: Clinique Lash Power | L'Oreal Miss Manga | It Cosmetics Tightline
Tightline works miracles for me.  It deposits just the right amount of mascara to bring out the best of what (little) I have, and you should see the detail work it does on bottom lashes!  I've never had any issues with bumping the spiral brush against my lids.  Warning: barrage of eyeball pics below.  Top shot is bare lashes, bottom shot is 1 coat of Tightline Mascara.
Though this is called a primer, it can be used as your only mascara product.  I love wearing two coats of Tightline, or laying down 1 coat and topping it off with any volumizing mascara that I find a little too wet or clumpy on it's own.  I love that Ulta carries a trial size for $10.00 USD; it's the perfect way to try it out without committing to a full-sized tube.
Size comparison: Trial size Tightline Mascara to an iPhone 5C
I will be eternally grateful to Mary / aLoveTart for bringing this product to my attention.  She has an amazing comparison video of this and the new NYX Skinny Mascara.
Have you tried Tightline?  What's your favorite root-boosting mascara?  

Thursday, July 30, 2015

Review! | Dior DiorSkin Nude Air Serum Foundation SPF 20 (30 Medium Beige)

Sometimes I find it more challenging to write reviews when I'm head over heels for something and it falls in step instantly as part of my routine like it was always there to begin with.  I feel under equipped to give it it's proper credit somehow.  When it comes to foundations, Dior's DiorSkin Nude Air Serum Foundation SPF20 is so good, I want to serenade it with gems from the original 90210 soundtrack.  Jamie Walters' "How Do You Talk to an Angel?" comes to mind.  "Tell me, tell me, the words to define, the way I feel about someone so fine..."
Nude Air is a delight.  It's so versatile.  The coverage is what you make of it.  Use a damp Beauty Blender for medium, or apply it with finger tips or a brush (I love using the Pixi Full Cover Foundation Brush) for full.  No matter how I apply it, it feels completely weightless.  I often forget I'm wearing foundation, which is why Nude Air has been a constant companion for me this summer.  I'd say it has a natural matte finish.  I haven't used powder once to set it and yet it holds up to heat and humidity like a boss.  Most days, I don't even have to resort to oil blotting sheets or my purse compact.  It always looks as if I've just put it on.
Color-wise, I think 30 Medium Beige is a good match for my NW25 summer skin but it will definitely be too warm and yellow-based for fall and winter when my tan has faded into oblivion.  Luckily, it's available in 8 shades ranging from 10 Ivory to 60 Mocha so finding my cool weather color match shouldn't be too troubling.  The SPF 20 in the foundation has never caused me the dreaded white cast in flash photography, so I think it's a great option for special events.  In fact, I'm planning to wear it to one of my best friends' weddings next month in New York City because I know I can count on it for great coverage and staying power and not worry about flashback.
As far as comparisons to other foundations I've tried, Nude Air reminds me most of another favorite, Maybelline Dream Wonder Fluid-Touch Foundation.  Dior's formula is a little runnier and the dispenser is a true squeeze dropper, where Maybelline's is more of a spatula that has to be wiped onto the back of the hand or a mixing palette prior to application.  Nude Air is a little neater, but overall the formulas and finish are similar and I get great results with both.  As with any serum foundation, shake well before each use to ensure it's mixed and ready to roll.  I like to pinch the dropper a few times to make sure I'm getting the newly mixed foundation into the dispenser.
Bottle longevity-wise, I purchased Nude Air at the end of March and I think I can make it to mid-August before I've used up the bottle.  Four and a half months is pretty good to me, especially since I've used it almost exclusively since I got it.
I know serum foundations can be tricky for people with dry complexions as the thin formulas tend to catch on flakes and dry patches in a not-so-flattering manner.  If you're dry or have dry patches, try Nude Air on and see how it works for you before committing to a full bottle purchase.  If you have combination or oily skin (like me), I think you'll find the thin, breathable formula to be a real peach!  It is so hard to find a foundation that doesn't slide off your face in hot weather when you have oily skin.  Nude Air has been a wonder!

Considering it and need to read ALL OF THE REVIEWS?  Don't miss these!

Cost: $53.00 USD

Sunday, July 26, 2015

FIVE FAVE! | Lip Balms

Ah, lip balms.  My constant companion since childhood.  I still remember the excitement of opening a new Bonne Bell Lip Smacker or swiping on a coat of the refreshingly zingy Blistex Medicated Lip Balm as a little girl.  That being said, I've tried hundreds of lip balms in my life.  The following five have exceeded my expectations and have all been repurchased time and time again.

Bite Beauty Agave Lip Mask
My holy grail, ride-or-die, fave of life.  Agave Lip Mask is a super thick repairing salve.  I use this night and day, and I will re-buy-til-I-die. ;)

Glossier Balm Dotcom 
This is another thick, nutritious balm that lasts overnight.  It's unscented and taste-free, packed with extracts of cupuacu, rice bran and rosemary leaf, and the .5 oz tube lasts eons.

Aquaphor Advanced Therapy Healing Ointment
An absolute multi-use staple.  I'll always be loyal to Aquaphor because it healed the seatbelt bite I got from a car accident several years ago in about 3 days.  It looked like I fell off a skateboard and landed on my chest.  By day 3, it was almost entirely healed.  On day 5: what abrasions? :)

C.O. Bigelow My Favorite Night Balm
SO SMOOOOOTH.  Smells like vanilla cake.  Lasts overnight. What's not to love?  Big thanks to Tiffany for recommending this!

Bobbi Brown Lip Balm
Formulated with wheat germ, avocado and olive oils, this the spirit sister of Dior Crème de Rose.  They're similar in that they're both rose-scented and long-lasting on the lips, but Bobbi's rose scent is softer and less noticeable and the balm itself is creamier.  Oh and it's $8 cheaper than the Dior.

It was really hard for me to narrow this list down to five, and I just can't publish it without mentioning two other loves that are long-standing favorites: MAC Lip Conditioner (Tube) and Nivea Lip Butters (Review).  This post was inspired by Tiffany at Will Work For Makeup who recently shared her favorites.  I tip my hat to Tiffany not only for inspiring me to share my balm loves, but for introducing me to My Favorite Night Balm which quickly ascended through the balm rankings to make my Top Five list!

What are some of your all-time favorite lip balms?

Sunday, July 19, 2015

Collection! | Purple Polishes

I've been slowly working on a little organization project.  I'm grouping my polishes together, painting each color on a nail wheel and writing the names on the back.  This way, I have an at-a-glance inventory of what each polish looks like once it's dry.  I can also just hold the wheel up to my own nail to see what a color looks like on me and pick a polish in a snap.  Swatching the polishes on nail wheels helps me pare down to the colors that really sing to me (Milani Orchidia, you're stunning!) and donate the ones that don't to friends and family.  I thought it might be fun to share my freshly categorized polishes with you along the way!  Purple is definitely one of my absolute favorite polish colors, so I have collected quite a few over the years.  Two coats of polish were applied to each nail, and no base or top coat was used.  Enjoy!

L to R: Sally Hansen Pep-Plum, Maybelline Fuchsia Fever, Revlon Up the Ante, L'Oreal Violette, Essie Splash of Grenadine, Maybelline Lust for Lilac, L'Oreal Hint of Lavender, Chanel Sweet Lilac, Essie Go Ginza, NCLA Let Them Eat Cake, Sally Hansen Grape Gatsby, Milani Orchidia, NCLA Pick Me Up at Melrose Place, Wet n Wild On A Trip, CoverGirl Vio-Last
Grape Gatsby | Orchidia | Pick Me Up at Melrose Place | On A Trip | Vio-Last
Grape Gatsby | Orchidia | Pick Me Up at Melrose Place | On A Trip | Vio-Last 
Splash of Grenadine | Lust for Lilac | Hint of Lavender | Sweet Lilac | Go Ginza | Let Them Eat Cake
Splash of Grenadine | Lust for Lilac | Hint of Lavender | Sweet Lilac | Go Ginza | Let Them Eat Cake
Pep-Plum | Fuchsia Fever | Up the Ante | Violette
Pep-Plum | Fuchsia Fever | Up the Ante | Violette

What color is most heavily represented in your polish stash?

Sunday, July 12, 2015

Review! | Ulta 3-in-1 Beauty Smoothie in Buttercream Cupcake

What's your favorite type of scent for body wash?  The two types I love most are gourmands and super fresh "clean" scents.  After reading Torey / Beauty & Beatitudes' review of Ulta's Buttercream Cupcake Scrub, I decided it was high time I investigated the Ulta house brand's bath and body offerings.
Ulta's 3-in-1 Beauty Smoothies can be used as a body wash, bubble bath, and shampoo, and come in a variety of scents.  The formula contains an antioxidant complex of acai, goji berry and mangosteen super fruits that leave my skin feeling soft and conditioned.  I've used it as a shampoo and it works fine, but I already have a shampoo rotation I love, so I mainly use the Beauty Smoothie as a shower gel.  The Buttercream Cupcake scent is DELICIOUS.  Like showering amidst several dozen fresh baked vanilla cupcakes.  Y'all know my obsession for Bath & Body Works' Vanilla Bean Noel is real, but I'm prepared to say that I prefer Ulta's Buttercream Cupcake!  Plus, I can get Buttercream Cupcake year-round, versus Vanilla Bean Noel which is only available around the holidays.
The other thing I love about Beauty Smoothies?  You get a SOLID amount.  You can choose the 16 ounce size for $12.00 USD or the 24 ounce size for $16.00 USD.  In comparison, Bath & Body Works Shower Gels are 10 ounces for $12.50 USD.  Since I had such a positive experience with Buttercream Cupcake, I picked up Creamy Cocolada, Strawberries & Champagne, and Coconut Lime Cooler during a BOGO sale and love them all.
I have to say a big thanks to Torey.  Without her mention and glowing review of Ulta's Buttercream Cupcake Body Scrub (which I purchased and LOVE), I may have overlooked the bath and shower products from Ulta's house brand.  Long story long, the Ulta 3-in-1 Beauty Smoothies are really nice, luxurious shower enhancers and should definitely be on your radar.