Sunday, July 31, 2011

Review: E.L.F. Studio Kabuki Face & Body Brush!

Natalie Sunday, July 31, 2011 17 Comments

PRODUCT DESCRIPTION: This anti bacterial, synthetic haired Taklon brush is softer and more absorbent and can be used with wet or dry products. Be a professional makeup artist and create a flawless look with this brush! Our handy and easy to use Kabuki Brushes provide a light to full coverage on your face or body to ensure a flawless finish. The compact brush is perfectly sized to allow for precise and controlled application of bronzer, powder, or a highlighter on your skin.

Both Brushes are from E.L.F's Studio Collection and cost $5 for the face brush and $8 for the body brush.

The Kabuki Face Brush stands a tiny bit over 2 1/4 inches and the diameter of the base is slightly larger than a quarter. It's perfectly compact and fits comfortably in the hands for controlled application. The bristles are very soft, but not too soft where they aren't effective. Compared to the Mineral Brushes reviewed a few days ago which were  extremely soft, shiny, and almost plastic-like. The kabuki is surprisingly pretty dense, so it will work well for application of powders. Also, the top is nicely domed, like the MAC 181 (I don't own the 181 though to compare). I love this brush and can't stop rubbing it on my face! For $5 I highly recommend this brush. Great Value.

The Kabuki Body Brush is reminiscent of the Face brush. The base is exactly the same, but it stands at about a 1/2 inch taller than the face brush. The bristles are the same, very soft and dreamy on the skin. Compared to the face brush, it's not as full, domed or dense. I was a little disappointed that it's not very dense, but it would still make a good brush for setting powder or for adding a highlight or bronzer to your neck and chest. The denseness was kind of like the make it or break it for me, therefore I'm not too crazy about this brush. But I will definitely be using it. 

Overall, I'm pretty happy with these kabuki's. Especially the Face Brush. I can totally see it climbing up my favorites list for setting powder! 

Hope you all had a lovely weekend! Sorry to bore you with all of these E.L.F. reviews. I'll mix it up a little better this upcoming week. ;)

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Friday, July 29, 2011

E.L.F. Brush Holder!

Natalie Friday, July 29, 2011 14 Comments
E.L.F. Studio Small Brush Holder
PRODUCT DESCRIPTION: The stylish and sleek makeup compartment holds your brushes, makeup pencils, tools and more. The professional storage holder keeps everything organized for quick use. The luxurious material is easy to clean and durable for storing on countertops or in cabinets.

Dimensions: 3"L x 3"W x 4"H

Lately I've been really trying to make my cosmetic organization a little more functional. I have a three compartment brush holder currently, which I have my eye brushes, pencil liners and lip liners. Then, I have a separate holder where I have all of my face brushes. It is a little crowded, so I figured I could use another holder. I keep getting requests to post my makeup organization, so I should be posting that within the next couple of weeks.. so you'll see how I have it organized.

On the E.L.F. website, there are two holders to choose from. A small, one compartment holder and a large, three compartment holder. The large brush holder is exactly 3 times the length of the small holder, so it's basically three of the small brush holders put together. You would think that the large one would be a better value, but it's exactly three times the price. So, it really doesn't matter whether you purchase three of the small or one large. It's your preference.
I honestly can't tell if this thing is wooden or plastic. It may be wood with a shiny laminate on the inside. Who knows. What's great though is that the exterior of the holder is the same rubberized material that's on the NARS packaging. It may be a pain because it dirties easily if your hands aren't clean, but it's great because the material allows the holder to stay in place, so it won't easily knock over.

(**The best way to clean NARS packaging, and this holder when it gets dirty is put a little baby oil on a cotton ball and wipe the surface. Then wipe dry with a paper towel. It will remove every fingerprint/makeup stains very easy)

I wished the holder was a little bit bigger. It is pretty small, but it does hold a good number of thin handled brushes. Below is a comparison to Sigma's Brush Holder. I barely even use the Sigma one because it doesn't hold much. The opening is a pretty narrow oval. Good for traveling and to keep dust out of your brushes because it had a lid, but not so good if you have lots of brushes.

The price isn't too bad, but I think $15 for the large one is too expensive. If you're planning on purchasing one, wait till there is a sale. E.L.F. has 50% the Studio line pretty often.

How do you store your brushes?

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Review: E.L.F. Mineral Brushes!

Natalie Friday, July 29, 2011 8 Comments
While E.L.F. had their 60% off sale, I decided to try a few of their mineral brushes. I've always been curious about the mineral brushes because they are a few more dollars than the Studio Brushes. Naturally, I figured they are better quality.

So, I went ahead and ordered the 4 Piece Bamboo Brush Set, Angled Blush Brush and Flat Eyeliner Brush.


PRODUCT DESCRIPTION: These antibacterial Taklon bristled brushes are 100% cruelty free, luxuriously soft and can be used with wet or dry products. The natural and sustainable bamboo handle fits ergonomically in your hand for comfort and precise application. The recycled Ferrule is eco-friendly for guilt free beauty.

READ MORE FOR ADDITIONAL PHOTOS & MY REVIEW!


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Thursday, July 28, 2011

Review: E.L.F. Conditioning Lip Balm in Peaceful Pink!

Natalie Thursday, July 28, 2011 16 Comments
PRODUCT DESCRIPTION: 
With the e.l.f. Conditioning Lip Balm, lips get treated to a sheer splash of color that’s super smooth, velvety soft and non-sticky. Not only are these sheer, natural shades beautiful, they’re also beneficial, with natural ingredients that condition dry, chapped lips including Vitamins A & E. SPF 15 to protect delicate lips against harmful sun damage.

AVAILABLE IN SIX (6) SHADES: Nice & Natural, Peaceful Pink, Mellow Melon, Blissful Berry, Bombshell Brown and Romantic Rouge.

READ MORE FOR MY REVIEW & SWATCHES! 


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Review: E.L.F. Studio Complete Coverage Concealer Palette!

Natalie Thursday, July 28, 2011 11 Comments
Left: Light, Right: Dark
ELF Studio Complete Coverage Concealer


PRODUCT DESCRIPTION:
Savvy beauty shoppers rejoice—now there is no need to buy new concealer from season to season for meeting the different needs your skin tone may have. e.l.f. introduces a sleek quad compact filled with four brilliant, customizable concealers ranging from light, medium and dark shades. A must have for anyone’s makeup kit these highly pigmented, professionally formulated concealers offer ultimate coverage to disguise a range of boo-boos and flaws including blemishes, dark circles, redness and uneven skin-tone for a flawless, makeup artist finish!

AVAILABLE IN THREE (3) SHADES: Light, Medium and Dark.  (I purchased all three, but I only received Light and Dark and was refunded for Medium because apparently it was out of stock)


READ MORE FOR MY REVIEW AND SWATCHES!


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Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Small, but Awesome Swap Haul! MAC, Nars and Guerlain!

Natalie Wednesday, July 27, 2011 17 Comments
I was so excited to get these goodies in the mail today from a recent swap. So, I thought I'd do a quick post and show you what I got! There will be reviews & swatches to follow in the upcoming weeks.

 
Guerlain Meteorites in Mythic
Guerlain Meteorites in Beige Chic
MAC Deep Dark Mineralize Skinfinish
NARS Exhibit A Blush
NARS Mounia Blush

READ MORE FOR ADDITIONAL PHOTOS & DESCRIPTIONS!

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Dior Sugar and Spice Diorblush Glowing Powder Blush Review, Photos and Swatches!

Natalie Wednesday, July 27, 2011 12 Comments
dior sugar and spice blush

Dior Sugar and Spice Blush

PRODUCT DESCRIPTION: Dior presents the first blush that plays on color intensity and a variety of finishes to create a natural, healthy glow with a subtle sparkle. A matte finish enhances the natural skin tone, while a pearly finish highlights the planes of the face. Silky and lightly scented, this Couture blush comes in a wide range of colors to suit all skin tones. (DIOR)

There are ten blushes to choose from: Vintage Pink, Sugar & Spice, Peechy Keen, Rodebud, English Rose, Pink in Love, Strawberry Sorbet, Sunkissed Cinnamon, Passion Fruit and A Touch of Blush.

From what I understand, each blush has two blushes with two different finishes - One matte and one with shimmer or frost. You can wear them individually or together, but they should work hand in hand with each other. 

Dior Sugar and Spice is a velvety matte warm cinnamon and a warm, frosty peachy pink. When mixed together, it creates a sparkling warm peachy cinnamon. I want to say that the matte side is similar to MAC Coppertone or Gingerly Blush, but when I swatched them together, both Gingerly and Coppertone are more orange, whereas Sugar and Spice has more of a brick red tone. They are definitely in the same color family, but they aren't at all dupes. It's actually a bit similar to the color of MUFE HD Creme Blush in #10 (See a swatch here).
dior sugar and spice blush review


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Tuesday, July 26, 2011

My Summer Essentials! (Skin, Makeup, Hair and Accessories)

Natalie Tuesday, July 26, 2011 21 Comments
Hey Everyone!

Despite it's halfway through the summer, I've had a few requests to do a summer essentials post. I've read several summer must-haves and summer essentials posts and I absolutely love reading them! I had trouble narrowing down my list, so I decided I'd break it up into sections and post it all.

(Just about every item is click-able, for more information on the product)

Skin & Haircare Essentials: Pumice (for feet), Leave-in Conditioner, Shine Serum, Dry Shampoo, Body Moisturizer, Facial Self Tanner, Body Self Tanner, Body Makeup, Heavy-duty Deodorant, BHA/Salicylic Acid for face, Body Illuminizer, Sun Screen, Body Brush.  

 I normally don't have dry feet, but once summer hits, my heels become extremely dry. To keep my feet soft during sandal-wearing months, I always use a Pumice Bar in the shower to rid my feet of dry, excess skin.
During the summer, my hair craves moisture. To keep my hair from drying out, I like using a leave in conditioner a few days a week. I recently purchased this Aussie one, and it's great and affordable!
 I love using Silk Infusion before I blow dry or heat style my hair. It really makes my hair more manageable, soft and shiny. It doesn't weigh my hair down or make it greasy. Shiny hair is definitely a must have for any season.
Dry Shampoo is an awesome product to have handy during the summer for quick hair touch ups. It's an instant refresher and will soak up any excess oil in your hair. Turning your head upside down and working it into the roots can also give you quick volume. This particular dry shampoo is my favorite of all time. I've tried every one on the market, and this one lasts the longest without clogging, doesn't give a white/powdery cast to the hair, doesn't cause flakes or build-up, etc. I just checked the Sephora website, and I'm a little horrified right now that this product is no longer available, and is possibly discontinued.
 These little pads are a great way to keep your skin clean. Whenever I feel like my face has gotten oily, I make sure to clean my face with a Stridex pad. The salicylic acid will deep clean your pores and prevent future breakouts. Not only are these important in the summer time when my skin is a little more oily, but they are important all year round!
 A good moisturizer is vital to keep your skin looking radiant and feeling silky. I really like using Hempz body lotion. It makes my skin feel incredibly smooth and it smells amazing - sort of like bananas? :)

READ MORE TO CONTINUE READING MY LIST!

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Monday, July 25, 2011

NOTD: MAC Hangin' Loose Nail Lacquer (Surf Baby Collection) w/ Leopard Print!

Natalie Monday, July 25, 2011 19 Comments
Three (3) Coats of MAC Hangin' Loose Nail Lacquer and One (1) Coat of Seche Vite Top Coat

MAC Hangin Loose Nail Lacquer

MAC Hangin' Loose Nail Lacquer is a neutral pink beige cream with very tiny white sparkles that seem to only be noticeable in bright lighting. This polish is from MAC's recent Surf, Baby! Collection and is still available on the MAC website (here). I'm not sure if I can justify paying $15 for a nail polish, so I'm really happy I got a chance to try this through a swap.

I really like the formula of this polish. It's not thick, not too thin, very creamy and dries fairly quick. It is a little on the sheer side and applies a little streaky with the first two coats, but I applied a heavier third coat and everything evened out very well. I actually love this polish and I think it's the perfect nude. I'll be wearing this much more often!

For the leopard print, I first applied dots of OPI You Don't Know Jacques Nail Polish (grayed brown) all over my nail (around 5-6 dots in total). Then, I took a toothpick and used a generic black nail polish and outlined the brown spots. I also made a few extra black dots. Then I used a silver glitter nail art pen and added small lines of glitter to each spot.


What's your favorite nude polish?

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Sunday, July 24, 2011

Love this bright lip combo!

Natalie Sunday, July 24, 2011 47 Comments
Wet n Wild 511B Nouveau Pink (First mentioned in my haul post here)
NYX Round Lipgloss in Doll Pink (Mentioned in my '09 NYX post here)

I love bright lipsticks, but the truth is... they make me nervous. For whatever the reason may be, bright lipsticks are out of my comfort zone. I do admire a good bright lipstick when I see one, maybe even purchase it, but it will just end up collecting dust in my lipstick drawer.

There are some days where I'll feel like being a little more adventurous with my lip color, and I'll toss on MAC Vegas Volt, MAC Morange, NYX Louisiana or OCC Divine Lip Tar without much thought. In the past month or so, Wet n Wild Nouveau Pink has pretty much replaced all of those other brights I like to wear - who woulda thought at 99 cents? It's such a flattering shade that really brightens up my face (and I'm pretty sure it makes my teeth appear whiter). It's really pretty on it's own, but I like pairing it with NYX Round Lipgloss in Doll Pink. It takes it up a notch. 

If you're terrified of brights (or red) like me, I recommend experimenting with the inexpensive brands before investing in a high end lipstick you may only wear once a year. Wet n Wild has great options for a low price. If you like the color, force yourself to wear it! Don't look in the mirror every 15 minutes while you're out, forget that you're wearing it. If you can get through a full day of wearing it before putting on something else neutral, you've passed the test! I bet you'll get some compliments too while you're out. Try it more often!


What is your favorite bright lipstick?

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Saturday, July 23, 2011

Swap Haul! Nars, MAC and Bobbi Brown.

Natalie Saturday, July 23, 2011 21 Comments
Hey Everyone,

If you didn't know by now, I'm a complete swap-a-holic. I love swapping and browsing blog sales for great deals and hard to find items. It's a great way to try new products when you're on a budget. If you don't know what swapping is, click here to view Makeupalley's Swap FAQ page.

(Sorry, MAC Hottest Pink Glitter Vial is hiding behind the Nars Multiple)

NARS South Beach Multiple (Mini)
NARS Velvet Matte Lip Pencil in Bolero
Bobbi Brown Long-Wear Cream Eyeshadow in Stone
MAC Viva Glam Gaga 2 Lipstick
MAC Black Tied Eyeshadow
MAC Hangin' Loose Nail Lacquer
MAC Hottest Pink Glitter Vial
MAC Jardin Aires Pigment Vial

READ MORE FOR ADDITIONAL PHOTOS! 

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Friday, July 22, 2011

Rocky's Hair Cut!

Natalie Friday, July 22, 2011 16 Comments
I took Rocky to the groomers yesterday! It was very well needed because his fur was getting pretty long, and it has been the hottest summer I can remember in Chicago. The only time I ever saw the temperature reach 104 was in Vegas, and I thought that was crazy. Lately, ever time I get in the car, it says the temp is minimum 101 to 105. 

I tried my hardest to get a good picture of him, but he was more into his little hedgehog toy I bought him than the camera. Did you know they have an awesome selection of pet things at Marshalls/TJ Maxx!? It depends on the location, but I've found so many cute things there for Rocky. Definitely check it out! He seems to be liking his Rockstar place-mat, but he keeps digging into it, which drives me nuts because I don't want him ruining it. haha!

Hope you're all enjoying your Friday afternoon!

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Thursday, July 21, 2011

NOTD: Revlon Top Speed Nail Polish in the shade Cloud!

Natalie Thursday, July 21, 2011 18 Comments
Two (2) Coats of Revlon Top Speed Nail Polish in Cloud and One (1) Coat of Seche Vite Top Coat

Revlon Cloud is a pastel lavender blue. It does differ on certain skintones, but on my hands the color appears a little more lavender than it does blue (although you can't tell much from the photos). I was looking for more of a powder blue, but I think this polish is very pretty regardless. It really brighten up my hands.

I like Revlon's Top Speed Nail Polishes for a few reasons. They have a good selection of trendy colors, the lasting power is pretty good - I don't find it that it chips as easy as other low end drugstore polishes, they have a shiny finish and they are inexpensive (typically $3.99). Although I'm not a huge fan of the soft, plastic-like feel they have. I can get over it though.

The particular formula of this one isn't bad, but it isn't the greatest. Based on some reviews, some thought the formula was too thick. I really didn't find it to be thick. It's pretty sheer (and streaky) with one coat, and evens out pretty well by the second coat. I did find that on a couple of my nails, it looks like I have ridges (you can notice it on my ring finger in the photos), which would of probably been evened out by a third coat.

I do think this color is pretty awesome and flattering on most skin tones. I really don't think the pictures do the shade justice. It's prettier in person.

Speaking of blues, have any favorite blues you can recommend? 

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Wednesday, July 20, 2011

My go-to products when I'm on the run!

Natalie Wednesday, July 20, 2011 27 Comments
I don't know about you, but speaking for myself, I don't manage my time very well. Yeah, I'll admit it. Dinner plans for 6 PM? No problem. Then at 5 PM I'm staggering around my house looking for misplaced items and fumbling through my makeup drawers. Sadly, there comes those days where I think I'm I've got all of the time in the world to get ready and then my best friend will call me and say she's on the way to my house and be there in 15 minutes. Meanwhile, I'm watching Pixiwoo on YouTube in my pj's. Hanging up the phone on them before I could even say goodbye, I automatically run to my go-to products that never fail when I'm racing against the clock.

When it comes to picking your go-to products, they have to be products that won't let you down - zero room for error. Also, products that don't require lots of work. A.K.A "low maintenance products". Everyone moves at their own pace and we're not all at the same level of expertise in application of makeup, so don't feel intimidated by my gi-normous list of products. I've been wearing makeup for enough years to be able to use all of the products shown above in the matter of 10 minutes (I can actually probably do it in less).. That leaves me 5 minutes to comb through my hair, spray a little hair spray and get dressed! 

I did want to show an item from each category though. Depending on where I'm going and the amount of time I have, I may skip some things. Perhaps I'll skip the blush and only wear bronzer, or vise-versa. Maybe I'll only wear mascara on my eyes and skip the shadow. 


READ MORE FOR THE LIST OF PRODUCTS!


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The Solution to Razor Burn/Bumps & Irritation: Tend Skin + Homemade Recipe!

Natalie Wednesday, July 20, 2011 11 Comments

PRODUCT DESCRIPTION: The solution for any cosmetic problem related to hair removal. Men can use it on their face, neck and back of the head while women find it useful on legs, bikini line, underarms and anywhere else hair removal causes razor bumps. Use in conjunction with shaving, waxing electrolysis or epilating. Caution: If you have an allergy to Aspirin (hives, itching) do not use this product. 

INGREDIENTS: 
Isopropyl alcohol, water, propylene glycol, acetylsalicylic acid, cyclomethicone, glycerine.

I figured that since it's the summer, it's a good time to mention a great product that helps with irritations from shaving. Yes, I'm talking about in-growns and razor burn. It's something that a lot of us have to deal with - men and women. Speaking for myself, I suffer from both. Typically, you'll get razor burn and irritation where your hair is thicker and your skin in more sensitive - hence why common places for the women are the bikini and underarms - and for men, the neck. 

READ MORE FOR MY REVIEW + HOMEMADE RECIPE! 


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Tuesday, July 19, 2011

What's on my Make-up Wishlist?

Natalie Tuesday, July 19, 2011 34 Comments
Stay All Day Waterproof Liquid Eye Liner Someone recommended this on Twitter when I asked what's everyone's favorite eye liner. This one's reviews look pretty promising.

Clinique Brush-On Cream Liner Even though I'm a big fan of Bobbi Brown Gel Liners, and MAC Dipdown Fluidline, I keep hearing how great Clinique's Cream Liner is. At $15 a pop, it's not bad at all. I'd love to give one a try sometime soon.

Nars Douceur Powder Blush I'm not really sure why I want this all of the sudden. It never really sparked my interest when it launched - but lately I've been really into more natural shades and by the looks of it, Douceur (soft pink brown) looks like a great every day color. What do you think? Anyone own this?

Nars Loose Powder I've realized that I don't own enough setting powders (LOL) and I'd like to explore my options. Nars Loose Setting Powder seems to be a favorite among many - except for the terrible packaging.

La Mer The Powder Some say it's the best setting powder ever? I'd love to be the judge of that..... when I have some extra cash.

Illamasqua Fable Lipstick This has actually been on my wishlist for a long time and I don't know what I'm waiting for. Check out the Google results by clicking here. You can not tell me it's not a gorgeous pink.

Nars Super Orgasm Lip gloss Boy, I want a lot of Nars, don't I? Tanya Burr made me want it after watching her collaboration video with two other gurus called "All Time Favourite Makeup Products".. You can view it here. It looks so pretty!

MAC 109 Brush Someone please talk me out of this. I really don't feel like spending $32 on a brush right now. I purchased Sigma's F05 - supposedly the dupe for the 109 and I don't think it's anything that special. I never owned the 109, so I can't compare.. but everyone seems to love the 109, which makes me want it too. ☺

Essie Fiji and Sand Tropez Tan and Light Pink, can't go wrong with my favorite colors!


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Winner of my G'adore G'taime Giveaway!

Natalie Tuesday, July 19, 2011 2 Comments
Again, I'd like to thank everyone for participating in my giveaway for the lovely G'adore G'taime Flower Fascinator Hair Clip! And of course, thank you Gerry for making this giveaway possible! You rock!

I really appreciate you all giving feedback on Gerry's Etsy Shop and giving ideas on what kinds of things you'd like to see in her shop! All of your input was very helpful!

There were a few entries that had to be disqualified because they were after the deadline. I felt bad about disqualifying them and was going to let the entries slide, but I realized it would be unfair to others that may have wanted to enter but missed the deadline. There was also one entry that was Anonymous, so I had to disqualify that because they didn't leave a name or e-mail, so if I announced the winner as Anonymous - anyone could claim to be that person. For future contests, if you leave a comment as Anonymous, please leave your name or e-mail!

As usual, I used random.org to pick the winner. 
Woohoo! Maricel, you're the winner! 

I already announced the winner on Facebook, and you responded so I'll be e-mailing you shortly!!

Thanks again for entering!

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Monday, July 18, 2011

Randomness + A couple of reviews to look out for: Made from Earth Facial Serums!

Natalie Monday, July 18, 2011 6 Comments
Hey Everyone!

I hope you're all having a wonderful Monday!

Since Monday's are always the most dreaded day of the week (since it's the farthest day from the weekend), here's a cute little "Monday Humor" comic..
Haha! I hope you're not looking like Janice.. unless you had a "fun" weekend and rolled out of bed this morning - then kudos to you.

My day was a little brighter this Monday morning because my dear postman brought me a small package (yes, we're talking about mail). Inside were a couple of goodies from "Made from Earth". Made from Earth is a skincare company that specializes in Chemical-free, Organic skincare products. You can read more about them on their website http://www.madefromearth.com.

I got a hold of their Rosehip + Hibiscus Facial Serum as well as the Vitamin Enhanced Face Firming Serum. Now, you all know from my recent Skincare reviews that I love my Reviva Labs, but I'll be taking a short break to try these products out and I'll have a review for them soon!


Lastly, I'd like to thank those of you that entered my recent giveaway! I'll be announcing the winner shortly!

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MAC Studio Careblend/Pressed Powder Review!

Natalie Monday, July 18, 2011 23 Comments
mac studio careblend powder review

MAC Studio Careblend/Pressed Powder

Formulated to provide a smooth, virtually invisible, fresh-looking finish, this soft, cream-like powder is carefully blended to provide the skin with extra care, nourishment and comfort. (MAC COSMETICS)

"Studio Careblend Pressed Powder provides sheer to medium coverage with perfect skin adhesion that helps to create a more flawless, refined look to skin. Studio Careblend Pressed Powder’s versatility allows users to apply it alone, over moisturized skin, atop foundation to set, or simply to touch up and perfect skin throughout the day." - Nick Gavrelis, Vice President, Global Product Development (read more here)

MAC Studio Careblend/Pressed Powder is available in eight (8) shades: Light (soft pale beige), Light Plus (pale golden beige), Medium (soft creamy beige), Medium Dark (caramel beige), Medium Plus (tan beige), Dark (deep caramel), Medium Deep (rich golden tan) and Dark Deep (rich golden bronze).

What really lured me into wanting Careblend is the claim that it doesn't look powdery and it isn't drying. Not to mention the amazing rating on Makeupalley (4.4/5 with an 86% re-purchase rate based on 79 reviews). I had a little bit of a tough time trying to pick a shade for my current NC30 skintone - I was debating with Light Plus (mainly because it has some good golden tones), Medium or Medium Dark. I figured that since they are sheer, there will be a little room for error, but my favorite MAC Sales Assoc. informed me that they do indeed pack pretty good pigment, so I played it safe and purchased Medium. I purchased this powder to solely use it as a setting powder. Other powders I'm currently using for a quick dusting across my face are Chanel Double Perfection Compact, MAC Studio Fix Powder or Rimmel Stay Matte Powder (I also love MAC Blot Powder, but I'm currently out of it).

MAC Studio Careblend Powder in Medium
Medium is a good match for my skin. It lacks yellow though if you're medium skinned and particular about having the right amount of golden in your foundation or powder. I compared it to my MAC Studio Fix Powder in C3 for reference. Of course, C3 has a stronger yellow tone as all "C" powders do in the SF Powder range.

The consistency of this powder to the touch, feels like your average powder. Studio Fix Powder actually feels softer to the touch. But, once smoothed on the skin, Careblend feels much smoother, whereas Studio Fix feels a bit dryer and powdery (ironic, huh?) The powder isn't completely sheer - it does have some pigment, so if you have relatively clear skin and need little coverage and oil control, this can be worn alone. I like using a large fluffy powder brush such as my Sigma F30 (FAV) and swirling the product all over my face to set my foundation. If I want a little extra coverage, I'll use a more dense brush such as my Sephora Pro Platinum Bronzer Brush or a standard Kabuki. The finish with this powder indeed is not powdery at all. It gives a velvety satin finish that even reminds me a bit of my beloved Chanel Double Perfection Powder.

Here's a little comparison. You can see a big difference in the finish of Studio Fix and Studio Careblend. Studio Fix is much more dull and powdery, whereas Studio Careblend has a bit of luminosity.
Left to Right: MAC Studio Fix Powder in C3, MAC Studio Careblend Powder in Medium and MAC Mineralize Skinfinish in Medium/Natural & Shimmer (the medium/natural side) Limited Edition
I don't need all that much oil control, just a little bit in my t-zone, and this keeps my skin from getting shiny throughout the day very well. Based on some reviews I've read, some don't recommend this powder for those with oily skin as it may not control oil well enough, but I've also read that some oily skin found it works great. The reviews are pretty mixed. I think it would work particularly well for those with dry skin as contains moisturizing oils (Safflower, Meadowfoam & Olive) as well as Shea Butter and it doesn't seem to accentuate dryness. I really love this powder and will continue using it for an all over setting powder. I still plan on purchasing MAC Blot Powder as well because I like to have a powder on hand that won't deposit any color (mainly to powder my under-eyes).

MAC Studio Careblend/Pressed Powder is $23 for .35 oz, $4 cheaper than MAC's Mineralize Skinfinish (plus Careblend has a mirrored compact & powder puff, the MSF has neither). It's slightly more expensive than MAC Blot which is $23 for .42 oz (.07 oz more product).

.35 oz really isn't a lot of product, and with the silkiness of this powder, you can probably easily go overboard with it without realizing. When I used my MAC Blot Powder daily, I would hit pan very quickly with it, so I'm going to make sure to use my Careblend sparingly.

What's your favorite setting powder?

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Sunday, July 17, 2011

My Favorite Nars Eyeshadows!

Natalie Sunday, July 17, 2011 2 Comments

My Favorite Nars Eyeshadows

I wanted to do a post today about the Nars eyeshadows I own. Although my collection is pretty sad (these are the only ones I own!), it's because they are pretty expensive ($23 a pop) and I only treat myself to a shade every once in a while. 

I own five (5) shades in total: Galapagos, Bali, Coconut Grove, Night Clubbing and Mekong.

Galapagos is a warm, bronzed-brown with gold shimmer.
Bali is a neutral taupe brown with a matte finish.
Coconut Grove is an intense neutral deep brown.
Mekong is a brown black with reddened-brown shimmer. When applied dry, it almost looks black. I recommend using this shade wet to see the true color, or over a brown/copper base.
Night Clubbing is a black infused with gold shimmer. The mixture of the gold and black give off an almost olive appearance. I also recommend using this one wet, or on top of a golden cream shadow/base.

It's hard to pick a favorite, but if I had to pick one, I'd probably pick Coconut Grove. It's the most pigmented and deepest brown I own. I barely have to touch the shadow and I'll get amazing color payoff. But, that's the case with almost all of Nars shadows.


NARS Galapagos, Bali, Coconut Grove, Night Clubbing and Mekong Eyeshadows


I use all of the shades quite often, with the most often used shades being Coconut Grove and Galapagos. They work so perfectly alone or with an additional highlight shade. 

I really enjoy using all of these shadows and I have so many more on my wishlist! 

Here's what they look like swatched:
Swatches from left to right: Bali, Coconut Grove, Galapagos, Mekong, Night Clubbing.

(swatches in same order as above)

I cropped out my eyes from an older FOTD where I was wearing Night Clubbing all over my lid. It's super dark, but also works great as a liner.

Do you own any Nars shadows? Are there any you'd recommend? 


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MAC Cajun Magically Cool Liquid Powder Review, Photos and Swatches!

Natalie Sunday, July 17, 2011 13 Comments

MAC Cajun Magically Cool Liquid Powder

Product Description: A silky, feather-light powder, formulated with 70% water, dusts on to the skin as a cooling mist to set and enhance the look of any foundation. Beyond sheer: light-reflecting and translucent. A virtually invisible way to add luminosity and a soft radiant glow to the skin.

Magically Cool Liquid Powders are available in three (3) shades: Truth & Light (Sheer shimmer that reflects silver and pink), Honey Rose (Sheer rosy beige with multi-dimensional shimmer) and Cajun (Sheer bronze shimmer that reflects gold).

I already own Honey Rose, which I purchased in early June, and it became one of my favorite/must-have products for the cheeks. So when recently I had the opportunity to get a hold of Cajun in a swap, I went for it.

Like mentioned, Cajun is a sheer, bronze shimmer that reflects gold. The description is very accurate, It looks a little dark and ruddy in the jar, but once swatched the golden hues really come out. It's a bit of an orangy bronze, somewhat similar to the color of Chanel Bronze Universel. There is a slight golden sheen, but it can only be really seen when the product is applied heavily.

READ MORE FOR A REVIEW, SWATCH AND TIPS ON APPLICATION..


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Review: Reviva Labs Makeup Primer!

Natalie Sunday, July 17, 2011 3 Comments
Reviva Labs Makeup Primer
 PRODUCT DESCRIPTION: Apply over moisturizer or instead of moisturizer. Lines fill in, pores are concealed, excess oil is controlled. Skin so touchable, so silky smooth, you will find it hard to believe.

INGREDIENTS: 



I love products with such short ingredient lists! Nothing unneccesary. It's non-comedogenic and fragrance-free - so, there are less irritants for your skin.

READ MORE FOR ADDITIONAL DETAILS AND MY REVIEW!


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Saturday, July 16, 2011

GIVEAWAY: LAST DAY!

Natalie Saturday, July 16, 2011 0 comment
 My Giveaway will be ending tonight at 11:59 PM CST! Please enter, it would be greatly appreciated as the prize was made special just for you! Anyone can enter - it's open internationally!

CLICK HERE to Enter!

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Review: Reviva Labs Hyaluronic Acid Serum!

Natalie Saturday, July 16, 2011 7 Comments
PRODUCT DESCRIPTION: Our highest-potency daily moisture booster! Reviva Labs has now compounded a higher level of premium Hyaluronic Acid into a precious fluid that can help raise skin's moisture level to fill-in furrows, plump up tissues and tone-down lines. Apply under creams in the evening or alone to hydrate skin. If also seeking firmness, alternate with our DMAE Firming Fluid. Benefits: Unlike products that depend on moisture in the air, HA can help hydrate skin even in dry climates or heated rooms that rob skin of moisture. (REVIVA LABS)

INGREDIENTS:

A little background information on Hyaluronic Acid used in Cosmetics:
(You can skip this and scroll down directly to my review) 
-The use of hyaluronic acid in both the cosmetic and medical industry is gaining momentum as its properties of scar reduction and aiding wound and ulcer healing are becoming well known. Cosmetic products containing hyaluronic acid hydrate the skin allowing it to appear smoother and more radiant.
 -Hyaluronic acid (HA) can absorb over 1000 times it weight in water allowing it to hydrate to skin and other areas that it contacts.

The skin is the largest organ in the body comprising about 15% of the body weight. Roughly 50% of the Hyaluronic Acid in our body is found in the skin. Hyaluronic Acid and Collagen are vital to maintaining the skin’s layers and structure. It is the collagen that gives the skin its firmness but it is the HA that nourishes and hydrates the collagen. Imagine the collagen as the stretchy fibers that restore the skin back to shape when stretched. Collagen is like a rubber band but stretch that rubber band a million times, like what we do with our skin and without any moisture. Eventually that rubber band gets over stretched (saggy) and dried out and will most likely break. This is much the same way the collagen in our skin reacts leaving our skin dry and wrinkled. Now imagine that same rubber band stretched a million times while under water the whole time. Chances of that rubber band drying out and breaking are minimal. Consider the Hyaluronic Acid as the water that keeps the collagen moist and elastic. Collagen is continuously surrounded and nourished by the gelatinous HA substance. Young skin is smooth and highly elastic because it contains high concentrations of Hyaluronic Acid, which helps skin stay healthy. As we grow older, the body loses its ability to maintain this same concentration in the skin. With decreasing levels of HA in the skin, so goes the ability of the skin to hold water. The result, the skin becomes drier and loses its ability to restore itself. Hyaluronic acid acts as a space filler by binding to water and thus keeping the skin wrinkle-free. (DermatologistRx.com)


The more I'm advancing into the world of Skincare, the more I'm learning about the individual components of popular skincare products. Hyaluronic Acid is something that I have never really heard of prior to using this serum. I researched a little bit and browsed my favorite makeup community forums and found that Hyaluronic Acid is really sought-after for those with dry skin. It can be taken orally as a pill or in the form of a serum, cream or toner. Although I don't have dry skin, I thought it would be a fantastic serum to try to keep my skin hydrated 24/7. I do once a while have a little dryness from using harsh cleansers (such as African Black Soap) or exfoliation, that will typically occur around my mouth and chin area. Usually if that occurs, it will be fixable within a couple of days with a good moisturizer. I have been using this serum for 4 weeks now, 1-2 times daily, using 1/2 a pump each application. The consistency of the serum is very light and is kind of like a runny gel. One applied to the skin, it seems to distribute well all over the face. I'll never have to go back for more. It may feel sticky for about 15 seconds, but the stickiness goes away completely within 30 seconds and you are left with hydrated skin. The serum doesn't leave any traces of product left on the skin's surface so you are able to layer a moisturizer over it fine or even your makeup. What's different about Hyaluronic Acid than a standard moisturizer is that it really works within your skin. It won't give your skin the illusion of moisturize with an oily residue. You may not notice it right away if your skin is dry, but after continued use you will see the results. Since using this product, I haven't had one instance of dryness. My skin is always hydrated and radiant. Crazily enough, I have smile lines that drive me insane because many times my foundation will settle in the fine lines and I'll have to touch up with powder a couple times throughout the day. My makeup hasn't seemed to settle at all in those lines since I've been using this. Also, the little corners around my nose are typically a little dry and now they are completely moisturized. Hydraluronic Acid has now become a staple in my everyday skin routine and I don't want to be without out it! The price of this serum is $20 for 1 oz of product. It may be a little pricey, but it's something that works well for me and I will continue purchasing it once I run out. Like I mentioned, I've used the serum for 4 weeks, sometimes twice a day and I have 2/3 product left. The bottle should last me for 2 more months. So, a little over $6.60 a month - it's completely worth it.

PROS: Ease of use - It distributes well & works quickly without residue. You can apply it and don't have to sit and wait for it to absorb before you apply your moisturizer or makeup. You can really apply it and be done. No smell, it's transparent and is non-irritating. It keeps my skin feeling fresh, hydrated and plump!
CONS: I really can't think of any cons for this product - it's fantastic!
PACKAGING: I really like the packaging for this product. It's a glass bottle with a quality pump, in which you can control how much product you want to dispense.
OVERALL: I just wanted to make clear that this is a serum. Therefore, it's a treatment for your skin. A serum shouldn't be your moisturizer. You should use a separate moisturizer after applying any skin treatment - especially if you are prone to dryness. My skin type is normal, sensitive (acne-prone) with very little oiliness in the t-zone. It didn't take long for this product to work for me. It may differ if you have a different skin type. I think this is a fantastic product for your skin and should be incorporated in your skincare regime (whether it be in the form of a vitamin, etc) especially if you suffer from dryness - but I believe all skin types can benefit from it!
 

Disclaimer: This product was sent to me for free for consideration. This review is completely honest based on my individual experience in using this product.

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