Monthly Archives: May 2014

$100 Makeup Challenge

What if I had $100, not an ounce of makeup and needed to build a makeup kit from the ground up? The premise of the $100 makeup challenge is to try to get everything one would need for a fully stocked makeup kit while also getting the most bang for your buck, all for $100.

Eyeshadow – I’d hands down recommend the BH Cosmetics ($16) 120 palettes for those who are getting started out or those on a budget. These palettes come in five editions, each offering varying color choices to suit anyone’s needs. The huge variety of 120 shades makes this a great product to have in your arsenal and I find that the color payoff on most of these shades is really good! As a whole, they are mostly very pigmented, apply smoothly and last well. For the price and variety, I don’t think they can be beat.

The 1st Edition is mostly very bright colors with a handful of neutrals thrown in. It has both matte and shimmer shadows and is probably best suited for those who really dig neon and colorful makeup.

The 2nd Edition still contains both mattes and shimmers as well as a lot of colorful shades but the difference here is that this palette contains twice the amount of neutrals as the 1st edition, making it really easy to create casual neutrals looks with this as well as bold colorful looks and pops of color.

The 3rd Edition contains a lot of neutral colors, many of them being cool toned, as well as some pastels and bright shades. This is a great palette for creating many different types of smokey eye looks while still giving you the ability to create colorful or soft looks. It also has both matte and shimmer shades.

The 4th Edition contains many, many neutrals but also some more colorful shades. The colorful shades in this palette are more subdued than earlier editions though and are nice for adding color without looking too bold and bright. Another big difference with this edition is that all of the shadows are shimmer. This palette leans cool toned.

The 5th Edition is the final edition in the 120 palette collection. This palette contains shimmer and matte shadows and a good variety of both warm and cool shades. The 5th Edition is neutral heavy making it easy to create many, many neutral looks from natural to super dramatic and smokey while also containing many shades of pinks and purples for a girly kick.

Primer – I think eye primer is a necessity. A good primer makes a dramatic difference in the longevity of your eyeshadow, the color impact and it cuts down on creasing. The NYX High Definition Eyeshadow Base ($7) is a great primer that I think can hold it’s own in a side to side comparison with high end primers. It cuts down on fading, creasing, smudging, etc., all without breaking the bank.

Another NYX primer product that I really like is the NYX White Eyeshadow Base ($7). I like to apply a thin amount of this cream product all over my eyelids on top of my primer but it can also be used on it’s own. It feels slightly tacky to the touch and the white base is great for holding onto eyeshadow and really making bright colors pop. Eyeshadows that aren’t living up to their potential over bare skin often look much more vibrant over this white base. Be careful to only apply a thin layer, though. You want your lids to have a white cast, not to be opaque white. Applying this too thickly can cause creasing but if you apply the right amount, it’s a fantastic product.

Foundation – This is a toss up for me between two really nice products. No one foundation will be perfect for everyone but both of these are good contenders for many people.

First is the L’Oreal True Match ($9.50) One of the biggest reasons that I love this foundation is because it not only comes in an impressive 33 shades but the shades are also separated into warm, cool and neutral undertones making it easy to find a great match. I know the struggles of being a pale girl with warm leaning undertones and the majority of pale foundations are cool, making me look like I’m wearing a pink mask. L’Oreal True Match comes through for me though!  It’s coverage is light to medium and looks and feels very natural.

Another good one is Revlon Colorstay ($11). It comes both in a formula for combination/oily skin and a formula for dry/normal skin. This is a medium to full coverage foundation. It gives great coverage while still feeling light on the skin. It works wonders for covering acne, blemishes, discoloration, etc. and it has some serious staying power that lasts all day.

Mascara – My favorite drug store mascara is probably Maybelline’s Colossal Volum’ Express. ($5) I bought this mascara for years before trying out some others and forgetting about it for a while. I recently picked up a new tube and was reminded all over again why I love it so much. The formula really coats and separates my lashes while adding lots of length without any clumping. I also don’t have any issues with this mascara flaking. If you plan on being around water or live in a very hot or humid climate, there is also a waterproof version which really lasts until you want it to come off.

Blush – I love variety and think that different looks call for different blushes making this Glamorous Blush Palette ($15) from BH Cosmetics a great option. The palette is very versatile and has 10 different shades of blush ranging from nudes, to soft pinks to bold berry shades with a variety of matte and shimmer finishes.

Lips – It seems like NYX is making a few appearances in this post but what can I say? I’m a big NYX fan and am very rarely disappointed by any of their products. I am so much in love with their Matte Lipstick ($6). These shades last and last and are somehow miraculously much less drying than many matte lipsticks, especially ones with such good staying power. Staying true to the idea of this post, I’d recommend someone who had no other lipstick to get one natural shade for every day events and one bold shade for special days. A few of my favorite shades are Shocking Pink, Hippie Chick and Indie Flick.

If matte and opaque isn’t your thing, Revlon Lip Butters ($6.50) are a great option. They are sheer yet buildable, easy to apply and feel really moisturizing on the lips.

Eyeliner – My favorite inexpensive cream eyeliner is the Maybelline Eyestudio Lasting Drama Gel Liner ($8). The creamy consistency is really easy to work with, the color payoff is good and it even comes with a brush! It’s a good gel liner although it does smudge a little sometimes. You can combat this by using it over primer and also by dusting a little translucent powder over it to help set it.

If liquid is more your style, I like the Maybelline Eyestudio Master Precise Liquid Liner ($6). The precise tip makes it easy to apply and it stays put really well.

For a good pencil eyeliner, the L’Oreal Infallible Never Fail Eyeliner ($8) is a winner. It’s smudge resistant, long lasting and self sharpening. It also has a smudger on one end making it easy to smudge out your eyeliner for a smokey effect.

Brushes – Without decent brushes, you’re going to have a difficult time getting your makeup to look the way you want it to. Fingers and those little disposable eyeshadow sponges just don’t really cut it. Brushes can be an expensive investment but until you’re ready to upgrade, you’re going to need a good set of brushes to use in the meantime. I would suggest the BH Cosmetics 24 Piece Synthetic Signature ($24) makeup brush set. This brush set contains both eye and face brushes and covers nearly every brush you could need to get started with and then some! The bristles are very soft, the shedding is minimal and they do a good job at picking up and applying product. They also come in a convenient brush roll which is great for keeping your brushes safe while traveling. For the price point, they are absolutely worth it and are a great starter set.

Based on my recommendations, if you were to buy 1 eyeshadow palette, 1 eye primer, 1 foundation, 1 mascara, 1 blush palette, 2 lip products, 1 eyeliner and the 24 piece brush set, you’d be looking at ~$98. 

Keep in mind sales and coupons too! Ulta nearly always has a $3.50 off $10 coupon in their weekly ad and occasionally a coupon for 20% off one item. These are available online to print if you don’t get their ad and are also able to be used for online orders. Ulta also takes manufacture coupons. Coupon websites often have coupons for brands such as Covergirl, Maybelline, Revlon, etc. Check the weekly ads of local drugstore such as Walgreens, CVS, etc. because they very often have sales on cosmetics and you can use coupons on top of these sales. BH Cosmetics often has really awesome sales so be sure to sign up for their newsletter.

If you have any questions, feel free to contact me and I’ll try to help!

Colorful Eyeshadow

Today I wanted to look like summer and feel fierce and this colorful eyeshadow look using orange, pink and purple is what I came up with!

I started out with this gorgeous orangeish coral shade in and above my crease from the Coastal Scents 252 Palette. Next I added Savage from the Urban Decay Electric Palette right in my crease and darkened the outer portion of my crease with a slightly darker pink from the Coastal Scents 252 Palette. I also put Savage all the way over, and slightly low down, on my lower lash line. Then I put Urban from the Urban Decay Electric Palette all over my lid and pushed it right into my lower lash line. I finished up the shadow by adding MAC’s Vanilla eyeshadow under my brow bone (it’s my favorite under brow highlight ever).

To complete the eye look I added some winged eyeliner using MAC’s Fluidline, applied a couple coats of mascara and bam! Good to go!

My lipstick is Too Faced La Creme in Naked Dolly. Not only do I adore this shade but the La Creme lipsticks are so moisturizing and comfortable to wear.

Hope you all have a lovely Memorial Day! =)


Basic Eyeshadow Tutorial

After having several people ask me to do a tutorial for the eyeshadow I was wearing in my NYX Butter Lipstick Swatches and Review post, I figured I better get to it! This basic eyeshadow tutorial is really simple to do, only uses three shades and looks great for any occasion whether it be the office, school or out on the town.

What you’ll need:

1 medium brown eyeshadow

1 dark brown eyeshadow

1 cream eyeshadow

1 medium eyeshadow brush

1 crease brush

1 blending brush

All 3 shades that I’m using today are from the Lorac Pro Palette.

First thing’s first though, apply a primer. Once it has a moment to dry we’re going to apply our first shade, the medium brown. I’m using Taupe from the Lorac Pro Palette. Apply it using your medium eyeshadow brush from the very outer corner of your eye to not quite the most inner corner. I’m putting the shade in and above my crease. Don’t worry about it looking perfect, blending will fix that soon.DSC_0030

Blend out the crease shade to soften the lines. Be careful not to get too much down onto your lid or to get it too close to your brow bone. Only move your blending brush in the areas where you want your color to be. I almost always use a MAC 217 brush for blending because it’s some sort of miracle brush sent from the heavens. DSC_0047

Using our crease brush we’re going to apply our dark brown shade, in my case it’s Lorac’s Espresso, to add some definition. Apply this on the outer third or so of your eye, right into the base of your crease. Don’t be afraid to go a little heavy here. Dimension is your friend plus soon we’ll soften it a little by blending. DSC_0081

Taking your blending brush again, gently blend it into the base of your crease. DSC_0158

Last shade! Wipe your eyeshadow brush clean on a dry washcloth or something similar. Now using your cream shade, mine is Lorac’s Cream, apply the shadow all over your lid and also under your brow bone. Very gently blend the lid color slightly upwards and the under brow color slightly downwards.

Your eyeshadow is now complete!DSC_0171

You can finish this look however you want. Add the eyeliner of your choice, or skip it all together, curl your lashes, apply some mascara and you’re good to go!

I opted winged eyeliner using MAC Fluidline in BlackTrack  and then tried to pile on enough coats of mascara to disguise the fact that my wings aren’t really even. Symmetry is nobody’s friend. DSC_0207

With the rest of my makeupDSC_0253


On another note, I got a hair cut and went a little more red! I’m digging the added red but I’m still a little attached to my missing locks. May they rest in peace. <3


Nordstrom Mascara Madness 2014

It’s nearly that time of year again! Beauty addicts, get your wallets ready because Nordstrom’s Mascara Madness one-day event will be happening on May 24th, 2014. Mascaras will be buy 2,  get 1 free both online and in store.

Such great deals on high-end beauty products don’t happen often so this is a great opportunity to stock up or to finally get to try that mascara you’ve been eyeing.

NORDSTROM - Buy 2 Mascara Get 1
I haven’t made any final decisions yet but I’ve got my eye on a few with the new Dior Addict It-Lash in Pink being on the top of my list because I can honestly say I don’t own any other pink mascaras and I think the contrast of pink lashes with my blue eyes is going to be pretty fierce.

Another one that’s high on my list is Guerlain’s Maxi Lash. I’ve heard nothing but beaming reviews for Maxi Lash and many people claiming that after a couple of coats, it looks like you’re wearing falsies. I’ve never tried this particular mascara but considering the overwhelmingly positive reviews and the Guerlain mascaras that I’ve tried in the past, I have pretty high hopes.

YSL’s Baby Doll mascara is another big one on my radar. I’ve been hearing people rave about this product for months and after seeing all the hype about the product from beauty addicts as well as several before and afters, I’m pretty sold.

Others that I’m keeping in mind are Lancome’s DefinicilsDior’s Diorshow and Smashbox’s Full Exposure.

It’ll be a while before this event happens again so don’t miss out!

NYX Butter Lipstick Swatches and Review

I got my NYX Butter Lipsticks ($6) a couple of month ago and I’m slightly ashamed to say that I just got around to trying them out,  mostly because I have so many damn lipsticks and just not enough lips. After finally giving them a fair shot, I really wish I hadn’t waited so long to try them  because they turned out to be pretty fantastic! I figured I should share my six dollar joy with the world with a review and some swatches.

I only ordered two shades of these but after trying them out, I find myself wishing I had ordered more. These lipsticks come in 22 gorgeous shades, are oh-so-creamy, super comfortable and the staying power truly surprised me.

NYX Butter Lipstick in Sugar Wafer and Mary JanesNYX Butter Lipstick - Sugar Wafer & Mary Janes

NYX Butter Lipstick - Sugar Wafer & Mary Janes

Swatches of NYX Butter Lipstick in Sugar Wafer and Mary JanesDSC_0380

Sugar Wafer – nudeNYX Butter Lipstick - Sugar Wafer

NYX Butter Lipstick - Sugar Wafer

Mary Janes – true redNYX Butter Lipstick - Mary Janes

NYX Butter Lipstick - Mary Janes

Both shades glided on smoothly and and looked gorgeous although Sugar Wafer was a little less opaque than it’s more pigmented counterpart Mary Janes. Mary Janes managed to hold up for most of the day and I’d imagine the other more pigmented shades would perform similarly but I wouldn’t expected the lighter shades to last as long.

I had originally planned on doing a little experiment with Mary Janes using Too Faced Lip Insurance Primer but Mary Janes just had to go and ruin it for me by being too good. The plan was to take pictures immediately after applying Mary Janes, three hours after applying it, and finally six hours after applying it without ever reapplying throughout the day. The following day I was going to do the same thing again with the only difference being I would be using Too Faced Lip Insurance under it this time. I wanted to see what kind of difference in staying power the lip primer would make. I thought for sure such a creamy lipstick would barely make it past lunch but Mary Janes had to go and prove me wrong. It lasted so well that I decided to wait and use a different lipstick for my primer experiment. Without further adieu, here is how Mary Janes held up through out the day!

In the following pictures I only used Mary Janes straight out of the tube. No lip liner, no lip brushes, I wanted to see how it would perform all on it’s own.

Mary Janes moments after being first applied and looking smashing!DSC_0302-2

Mary Janes three hours later, after lunch and drinking water through a straw. It’s faded and some of the creaminess has worn off but it’s still going pretty strong. DSC_0388

Mary Janes six hours after application.  I had eaten lunch, drank coffee and even taken a nap. It’s faded but not too bad and hey, at least it’s faded evenly rather than patchy like some products. It’s also began to feather a bit but I feel like that could have been avoided by using a lip liner. DSC_0406

All in all, I’d say the NYX Cosmetics Butter Lipsticks are a winner.

Urban Decay Electric Palette Review & Looks

Okay, so I may be a little late to the party with this Urban Decay Electric Palette review since it was released on March 18th, 2014 but better late than never, right? The Electric palette has been turned out to be a pretty big hit with makeup lovers and it’s no surprise why.

The Urban Decay Electric Pressed Pigment Palette ($49) contains 10 colorful and striking shades which include Revolt (silver), Gonzo (blue), Slowburn (red orange), Fringe (teal), Chaos (royal blue), Jilted (fuchsia), Urban (purple), Freak (green) and Thrash (yellow green). Chaos and Revolt are shades that have been previously released by Urban Decay but the other 8 shades are brand new for this palette. The palette also includes a double ended brush. One side is a pretty basic and versatile eyeshadow brush while the other side is rather small and firm, a sort of detail style brush, and is really useful for adding pops of color to the inner corners of your eye, applying shadow to your lower lash line and just for any detail work.

If you’re looking for a tutorial featuring this palette, check out my Electric Palette Tutorial here!

Before we get on to the fun stuff, you should know that there is a disclaimer on the back of the palette that reads “Warning: Slowburn, Savage, Jilted and Urban are not intended for use in the immediate eye area.” This is because many neon pigments have not been approved by the FDA for use near the eyes although they often are approved in Europe and Canada. Now I don’t know if these exact pigments have been approved in Europe or Canada so please, if you plan on using these near your eyes, do so at your own risk and discretion. If you have sensitive eyes,  you may want to just forget using these colors all together. Either way, it’s better to be safe than sorry so at the very least preform a patch test before rubbing these shadows all over your eyes and then going out for the night.

Here it is in all of it’s electrifying glory! Isn’t it beautiful? Urban Decay Electric Palette Swatches over my bare arm on the top portion and over NYX’s Eyeshadow Base in white on the lower portion. From left to right: Revolt, Gonzo, Slowburn, Savage, Fringe, Chaos, Jilted, Urban, Freak and Thrash.Urban Decay Electric Palette Swatches This palette did not disappoint. The colors are gorgeous, smooth and oh so pigmented! They blend easily, are really vibrant and all of the shades work well together in a way that makes it simple to put together really bold, vibrant and, dare I say, electric look or to just add a pop of color in a more neutral eyeshadow look.

My usual routine for bright eyeshadow is to blot my lids with oil blotting papers, apply a layer of eye primer and then a thin layer of NYX’s Eyeshadow Base in white. Even with all these precautions I still sometimes will find my shadow creasing or fading within a few hours but that is not the case here!

The shades in this palette really stayed vibrant all day long. I did notice that some of these shades, mainly Slowburn, Savage, Jilted and Urban will leave behind a stain on your skin. No amount of makeup remover seemed to be able to completely remove the stain and the stains were still present the following day. I guess it’s a small price to pay for such vibrant neon shades though.

Overall, I’m really pleased with this purchase. The palette itself is quite unique, has amazing pigmentation, the colors really fun and wearing these shades makes me a feel like a badass! Now onto a couple of looks using the Urban Decay Electric Palette!

In this look I’ve used Savage, Jilted and Urban as well as a Urban Decay’s Dope and Smokeout from the Vice 2 Palette. Jilted is is blended out from my crease and up midways to my brow, Urban is in my outer corner and crease and Savage is on the outer half of my lid. Urban Decay Electric Palette Look Urban Decay Electric Palette Look Urban Decay Electric Palette Look

In this look I’ve used Chaos and Revolt. Chaos is in the inner portion of my lid, the outer portion of my lid and the inner portion of my lower lash line. Revolt is in the center of my lid. I’ve also used Urban Decay’s Rewind as well as Lovesick from the Vice 2 palette as well as Black from the Lorac Pro Palette and and MAC’s Vanilla. Urban Decay Electric Palette LookDSC_0157Urban Decay Electric Palette LookUrban Decay Electric Palette Look

Step by Step Neutral Eyeshadow Tutorial

The eyeshadow that I was wearing in my recent NYX Macaron Lippies post sparked a few requests for a tutorial and since I aim to please, today I tried to recreate it from memory and made this step by step neutral eyeshadow tutorial. Shall we begin?

If I have any excess oil or foundation on my eyelids, I like to gently dab them with a tissue prior to getting started. After that I apply a primer, usually Too Faced Shadow Insurance, to help the longevity of my eyeshadow. DSC_0005

Using a dense shadow brush, I’m applying Rewind (medium brown) from Urban Decay’s Vice 2 palette. Don’t be afraid to apply it sort of heavy in the beginning; we’ll blend it in the next step.

I usually like to apply my crease color first. This helps prevent muddying up your lid color, which is often lighter. DSC_0029

Time to blend that crease! Using your blending brush and windshield wiper motions, blend your crease color out. Blend sideways and upwards and try not to get too much of your crease color down on your lid. I highly recommend the MAC 217 brush for blending. It’s a real game changer.  DSC_0031


Now we want to apply a transition color. A transition shade will make the transition between your crease color and your under brow highlight color smoother. I’m using Urban Decay’s Habit (light peachy cream). I like to apply it partially over the outskirts of the crease color and partially over your still bare skin under your brow. Don’t take this shade all the way to your brow, though. That will come later. Go ahead and blend your transition shade. DSC_0075

Next I’m going to apply my under brow highlight shade. I’m using Vanilla (very light cream) by MAC. Using a small shadow brush, apply it right under your eyebrow. Blend it gently downwards.DSC_0088

Using the highlight color that I just used under my brow, I’m going to apply it to the whole lid and also into the inner corner of my eye. Blend it every so slightly up into your crease. Then I took Lorac’s Nude (very light shimmery pink) from the Lorac Pro Palette and applied it to the inner corner, right over the other shadow. I’m also putting Nude on the inner third or so of my lower lash line. Next I’m using Rewind (medium brown) from my crease color and applying it starting in the center of my lower lash line and blending it outwards, towards the outer portion of my lower lash line. Gently blend the two shades on your lower lash line into each other at this point if needed.DSC_0138

Using a pencil brush, I’m now going to apply Urban Decay’s Smokeout (charcoal grey) on the outer portion of my lower lash line. Gently blend the shades on your lower lash line together if needed.DSC_0144

Still using Smokeout (charcoal grey) and a pencil brush, draw a line starting on the base of your lid and extending upwards, almost to your crease. To determine where exactly to place this line, try to follow the path of your water line, if your water line happened to extend upwards.DSC_0166

Continue your line into a “V” shape, extending it slightly into your crease.DSC_0186

Using small circular motions, blend your V shape. Try to keep your blending motions contained to the shape of the V. Almost done!DSC_0198

Finish up the look by curling your lashes, applying the eyeliner of your choice and coat or two of mascara. I opted for winged eyeliner using MAC Fluidline in BlackTrack, a little bit of Urban Decay’s Perversion smudged into the outer portion of my lower lash line and two coats of Maybelline Colossal mascara. DSC_0274

The finished productDSC_0381DSC_0336DSC_0385