Sunday, March 19, 2017

Urban Decay Eyeshadow Singles: Chase and Lost

Urban Decay eyeshadows hold a special place in my heart because they were one of my first forays into the world of higher end shadows. I looked forward to their yearly Book of Shadows which launched around the holidays, saving up my weekend tutoring money until the launch. Of course, the Naked Palette is a makeup must-have and it's been getting a lot of use due to my goal to pan six shades

You'll get more bang for your buck when you purchase a palette but while some shades get featured over and over (Half Baked, Midnight Cowboy Rides Again, Smog), others you'll rarely see in palettes. The single eyeshadows are $19 a pop so they're pretty pricey. If you sign up for Urban Decay's rewards programs, you'll be able to get a free single eyeshadow with any purchase so I just bought one eyeshadow to get one free. 

The two shades I chose were Lost and Chase. Lost is described as a medium metallic brown and Chase is a bright bronze. Both have a lovely shimmery finish but are not glittery at all. I love Urban Decay eyeshadows for their ultra smooth, buttery texture. The metallic shadows like these are my favorite because they apply onto the eyelids very easily and blend out beautifully with other shades.

I would say Lost is a dark metallic brown rather than a medium metallic brown. Of course you can blend it out to make it less intense - I personally use it most as an outer corner shade to add depth. This would also make a super easy one-and-done smokey eye. Chase is a very rich gold but it leans a bit more neutral compared to Half Baked, which is more of a yellow gold. I'm really excited to use Chase as an all over lid color in the summer time when I have more warmth to my skin.

Urban Decay single eyeshadows don't get a lot of love because their palettes are the main attraction. But if you can't find a palette that works for you or you just prefer single shadows, definitely check out what Urban Decay has to offer!

Sunday, March 5, 2017

My Growing Stash of Clinique Cheek Pops & Lid Pops

I've taken a bit of a blogger break but I have every intention to make a comeback. There's been some technical difficulties, personal life stuff and I've been spending a lot more time doing things other than planning out my beauty purchases and holing myself in my room taking photos of lipstick. Not that there's anything wrong with the last bit but I just needed to take a step back and pursue other interests. But, trust me, I miss blogging and hope to put my blogging cap back on in a few weeks.

I've been itching to write a post on my new-ish Clinique additions. Ever since I raved about their Lid Pop in Petal Pop last year, I've wanted to get some more shades. I'm a little late to the Cheek Pop bandwagon but no matter - these are beautiful! I ordered Nude Pop and Melon Pop as well as another eyeshadow in Cream Pop.

When I saw Nude Pop in the pan I was a little worried it might look too muddy or too light to even show up on my skin. But on the skin it's the loveliest, natural peach nude blush for fair skin tones. I love, love, loveeee it! It gives my cheeks color without looking obvious at all. These powders have that special texture so they feel quite hard to the touch. That means when you swirl your brush in the pan, you'll never end up with too much product. Honestly, I haven't worn Melon Pop on my cheeks yet but it's a very pretty bright coral that will be a nice flush for spring and summer.

Cream Pop was the only other eyeshadow in the range that interested me besides Petal Pop. Cream Pop is a lovely shimmery beige that is the perfect all over lid color. It's the kind of shade you don't have to think about that imparts a pretty sheen on your eyes. It's not a must have just because there are so many potential dupes for it but I really like applying the Lid Pops with my fingers for a quick look.

The Lid Pops are a nice-to-have if you are okay with a semi-sheer eyeshadow (which I love for everyday office looks) but the Cheek Pops are really something you should consider for your stash. There are so many shades to choose from so you're bound to find one that suits your fancy. I'd love to add some of the more daring shades like Cola Pop to my growing collection but for now I can't put Nude Pop down.

I think Clinique really hit it out of park with their various Pop products. From the blushes to the lipsticks, I've heard rave reviews nearly all around. Have you tried the Clinique Pop line? What are your favorite products from the collection?

Monday, February 6, 2017

In My Stash: Anastasia Beverly Hills Single Eyeshadows

Months ago during Black Friday, Cyber Monday or one of those post-Thanksgiving, pre-Christmas promotions, Anastasia Beverly Hills put all their single eyeshadows on sale for 70% off retail price. I had been biding my time to add a few of her shadows to my collection because I had read nothing but raves about the formula. They're usually $12 a piece but with the discount, I got mine for less than $5 each. When you purchase four or eight shadow pans, you get a free palette to hold your shadows as well, which is pretty awesome. Let's take a look at the shades I picked out, check out some swatches and see what I think about these single shadows.

Each shadow pan is packaged in its own cardboard sleeve and I really appreciate how all the information from the shade name to the amount of product is neatly printed on the back of the pan. It drives me insane when brands have no labeling on the back of the pans of individual eyeshadows. If I ever mix these shadows in a free-form palette like a ZPalette or Make Up For Ever Metal Palette, I know exactly what this is. I believe all of these eyeshadows are made in the U.S.A. as well (some Anastasia palettes are made in China).

There should be no surprise that I picked out mostly warm neutral shades. I tried to pick a mix of different finishes to get a feel for how each performed. On the Sephora website the finishes are listed as matte, satin, shimmer, metallic or glitter.

Rose (metallic) is a warm mid-tone pink. It has nice pigmentation but it also contains some slightly large shimmer particles that make this less creamy than the other metallics. If you like rose gold and pink-bronze shades, you'll like this color a lot.

Belize (satin) is grouped with the metallic shadows on Sephora's website but it's definitely a satin shade. It's a dark tan with the slightest sheen. I chose this shade thinking it would make an easy all-over lid color but I'm not entirely smitten with it. The lasting power could be better for this shadow - I find that it fades noticeably over the course of a day. I think this would be best used as a transition crease shade for those with tan to deep skin tones.

Warm Taupe (matte) is the more cool-toned of the two medium brown mattes I picked up. The mattes have good pigmentation but can be quite powdery when you dip your brush into the pan. Actually, across the board the Anastasia shadows are quite powdery. I always have to make sure to tap my brush off because applying shadow to my eyes, or else I get loads of fall out on my cheeks. Anyway, back to Warm Taupe - it's a very handy color to have for everyone's collection and I would recommend it.

Fawn (matte) is the much warmer matte shadow - here it looks almost orangey next to Warm Taupe. Again, same deal as with Warm Taupe. I think it's a good staple transition color if you wear a lot of bronze and gold eyeshadows.

The other four eyeshadows I chose were a little more exciting. Now we're verging into some color but still within the neutral family.

Topaz (satin) is the quintessential shimmery bronze that I think everyone needs to have in their makeup stash. I don't know why this is categorized as a satin because it definitely is shimmery enough to constitute as a shimmer finish. This shadow had a really nice buttery texture and applied really well on the eyelids.

Comfort (satin) is a red wine shade with some shimmer as well. This shadow did not kick up a lot of loose powder like the other shadows which I appreciated. I haven't worn Comfort all that much but I think it will look lovely in the summer and fall over a dark brown cream shadow base. A more subtle way to use this would be to take it on a pencil brush and define the outer corner of the eyes to add some depth to a warm neutral eyeshadow look.

Chiffon (metallic) is one stunning shadow. It is a rich golden green eyeshadow with very complex and multidimensional, yet fine, shimmers. Swatched on my arm it looks more neutral and golden, but on my eyelids it looks very green. Either way, it's gorgeous and not one to miss from this range.

Chocolate Crumble (metallic) is another stunner. It reminds me of Laura Mercier's Caviar Stick in Amethyst but in powder form. It is a taupey purple with very fine, multidimensional shimmer. In the sunlight, this shadow sparkles like a glitter. This is another shadow that really pops if you layer it over a colored cream shadow base. I like applying this shadow with my finger because it helps the shimmers translate and stick onto my eyelids better.

I like the Anastasia Beverly Hills single eyeshadows but they aren't my favorite shadows in my collection. Some of the shades like Chiffon and Chocolate Crumble are pretty unique and I would recommend those. But the mattes could be more buttery and all of the shadows could be less powdery. Also, these aren't exactly budget shadows if you want to make a whole palette because eight shadows at retail price will set you back $96. Anastasia's pre-made palettes are a much better bang for your buck but if you have your heart set on a particular shade, it might be worth it to just get one or two (or just wait for another epic sale).

Have you tried the Anastasia Beverly Hills single shadows? If you have, let me know what your favorite shades are!

Sunday, January 29, 2017

Recent Favorites & Go-Tos: January 2017

I'm back with my latest installment of new things I'm loving and old products I've rediscovered in my stash. Recently I found a few skincare bits that really impressed me upon first use as well as a lot of makeup basics that make getting ready easier in the morning. 

On the skincare front, I've gotten back into sheet mask mode because my skin has been really dry and quite flakey. The Too Cool For School Egg Cream Masks were a really nice surprise. The sheet mask is a thick, yet ultra soft cotton-like material and the gel-like essence feels super refreshing. The Hydration and Pore Tightening versions are my favorite, though the Firming variation is also good. 

About once a week I've been using the Ole Henriksen Invigorating Night Treatment and it makes such a difference in my skin the next day. The gel has a mix of glycolic, lactic and citric acids to eat away at dead skin and reveal a smoother complexion. The first time I used this I did feel a strong tingly sensation that hurt a bit but every time afterward, it hasn't irritated my skin. I got a small sample jar from an epic Ole Henriksen GWP and would consider buying a full size bottle.

A mask I didn't expect to like as much as I do is the Fresh Rose Face Mask. I rarely see a difference after using wash-off masks but this one left my skin looking more firm and healthy. The scent is intoxicating and the texture of the mask is very luxurious. 

As for makeup, I've been mostly shopping my stash but I've found a few new gems as well. I got a sample of the Make Up For Ever Step 1 Smoothing Primer and it's amazing at filling in my pores and making my skin look airbrushed. It's very comparable to Benefit's The Porefessional. A tiny little bit goes a long way so I've gotten a lot of uses out of this tiny tube. 

I'm on the last bits of my favorite Laneige Cushion Concealer so I've been rotating in the Tarte CC Undereye Corrector in Light/Medium and it's great for canceling out my under eye circles without looking like a mask. It reminds me of Benefit's Erase Paste but not as pink and not as sticky so it's easier to blend out. The packaging is also super slim and lightweight, making it a perfect travel makeup product.

Many years ago I expressed my disappointment in the Benefit boxed powders but I ended up liking the color of Hoola bronzer and Coralista makes an easy everyday blush. While I still think there are way better blushes, I managed to hit pan on Coralista and I'm almost done with Hoola. The two shades look really nice together and they've made a really easy cheek combo. I'm still not crazy about Bella Bamba but I think I can manage to make a dent in it when my skintone is darker. 

Hoola is starting to look a bit too warm on me in the last two weeks so I've transitioned into using Burberry's Earthy Blush as a contour. I've rediscovered how much I love using this as a contour shade in the winter. Earthy has a hint of pink so sometimes I'll blend this up higher than I would a more warm bronzer and skip blush. I would consider getting the full size of this powder if I run out of this mini compact. 

I had never really been interested in the Dior Fusion Mono Eyeshadows but their limited edition shade Infinity from this past holiday collection caught my eye. It is gorgeous. So gorgeous that I bought it at full price in the store (if you know me well, you'll know I rarely do that when it comes to beauty products). It's a beautiful golden brown taupe that is perfectly neutral - not too cool and not too warm. It's lovely! The texture is very interesting in that it's kind of a dense mousse. The one downside about this is that shimmer particles fall out onto my cheeks somehow.... But it's such a gorgeous shade that I can live with a little extra sparkle (I'm going to figure out a way to minimize the fall out). It's still available on the Bloomingdales website so I would highly recommend you pick this up while you can. 

What beauty items have made the top of your list this month? I have a ton of products that I purchased in November and December that I haven't tested, much less shared on the blog. So I have a feeling I'll be finding at least a handful of new favorites soon!

Saturday, January 14, 2017

What I Got In My Beautylish Lucky Bag 2017

Despite saying that I wouldn't participate in another grab bag after unboxing last year's Beautylish Lucky Bag, I couldn't help myself and ordered one this year (technically last year since you have to pre-order them the day after Christmas and they ship in January). For those of you who aren't familiar with the Beautylish Lucky Bags, you pay $75 (and $7 shipping) for an assortment of mystery products worth over $150. Some bags are "extra lucky" and contain things ranging from an entire set of Wayne Goss brushes to the 12-pan Viseart eyeshadow palettes. I had a $20 off voucher from the Beautylish holiday event (spend $100 get a $20 off voucher for your next purchase) so I only paid $62 altogether.

Once again, I was in a state of anxiety over what would be in my bag. I was constantly refreshing Instagram and checking on Sephora's community board to see what everyone else was getting. I saw some amazing items (By Terry face palettes, Viseart palettes, ABH Modern Renaissance palette, Wayne Goss face brushes, you get the idea) as well as some extremely underwhelming ones (an unlabeled brush that Beautylish claims is a special-edition Chikuhodo and the Jeffree Star Beauty Killer palette). Lo and behold, I got an okay bag, again. Here's the value breakdown of what I got:

Wayne Goss Brow Set $55 (I got this in my lucky bag last year - see the individual brushes here)
Makeup Atelier Paris 5 Eyeshadow Palette in Natural Chestnut $35
Natasha Denona Blush Duo Palette in #8 Toutou/Peach $38
Smith & Cult Nail Polish in Dark Like Me $18
Oribe Dry Texturizing Spray Travel Size $22
Bioderma Sensibio H2O 100 ml $6.90

Total retail value: $174.90

I still think the Wayne Goss brow set is very overpriced, though I have been using at least two of the brushes from the set every day I've worn makeup in the last year. I wish I had gotten the Wayne Goss eye brush instead. Nonetheless, brow brushes are an essential so at least I have a backup.

I was hoping for a Viseart or Natasha Denona eyeshadow palette but the Makeup Atelier Paris one isn't bad. All five shadows are matte neutrals so I'm sure this palette will come in handy for travel. The three lighter shades look very similar so I wish they could have replaced one with a shimmery pop of color.

Out of everything in the bag, I'm most excited to try the Natasha Denona blush duo. The lighter shade can probably work as a highlight when I'm more tan. I like that you can easily use each shade on its own or mix the two for the perfect flush. Both shades have a bit of shimmer but the powders feel ultra smooth and not glittery at all.

I've been wanting to try a polish from Smith & Cult so I was happy to see this in my bag. The vampy shade looks great for this time of year. If I like the formula, I'll consider picking up more shades in the future.

The Oribe Dry Texturizing Spray is a cult-favorite hair product but I just don't seem to understand why. It's not really a dry shampoo though it does help cut down on the oily-scalp feeling and provide a bit of volume. It leaves a strange texture to my hair that I can't quite explain. I guess I can consider it a good thing that I wouldn't purchase this again since it's so pricey.

The baby bottles of Bioderma are adorable to look at and convenient for travel or keeping in your gym bag - my only gripe is that they aren't refillable. I used to be a big fan of Bioderma but I've since found that the Garnier Micellar Water is just as good and quite a bit cheaper.

Was this all worth $62? Probably. I'm thankful that I didn't get any of the items I absolutely wouldn't get use out of. But at the same time I really didn't need any of the things I received. Will I partake in next year's lucky bag? I'm not a gambler at all - I've never bought the lottery for myself nor do I have any interest in casinos - but I'd be lying if I said I'm not tempted by the "what if" factor of lucky bags.

This was my last purchase of 2016 to end a year of some crazy beauty spending and I'm dialing my beauty spending way down this year. Just don't be surprised if you see a lot of new products here since I've yet to swatch and review the mountain of eyeshadows, blushes, highlighters and other makeup I've accumulated!