I don't often get my nails done, but when I do, I almost always get gel. The gel looks exponentially better, and lasts at least two weeks. When Essence Makeup sent me some of their The Gel Polish.
When you use their base/color/top coat system, they really do look and feel like gel. The polish lasts way longer than regular polish, and looks way more professional. Once, I even slacked and used only the base coat and one coat of the color, and it still lasted ages (though it didn't look like gel without the topcoat.)
My favorite is the shade 'so what?' because it's super versatile and looks great with everything. I've found it to be a fun neutral, yet still unexpected during fall.
Essence Makeup just released a new limited edition collection! Me & My Umbrella focuses in on sculpted mattes and bright blush for a little color in the winter months.
The collection includes a blush, lipstick, contour kit, brush, and two eyeshadows. The colors are curated to be subtle and neutral, with pops of emphasis.
I love the umbrella design pressed into the blush, and I know Essence makes great matte lipsticks, so I'm sure that will be great. I also love the special packaging on everything with tiny adorable umbrellas everywhere.
This line is going to be super versatile and wearable, but also adds some fun. Check it out here.
Beauty is Boring was founded by makeup artists and photographer Robin Black as a new way to view makeup and beauty products and trends. Beauty is Boring offers “a visual adventure into aspirational yet inclusive beauty through the eyes of top artists, industry insiders and distinguished experts.”
Lulu Organics was kind enough to send over a little care package so we could test out some of their adorable goodies. I was able to try a few types of the hair powder, the hair oil, the lip balm in cardamom, and the soap in lavender oatmeal.
I’ve found that the hair powder is a great organic alternative to regular dry shampoo. After popping the little plastic out, creating a spout, you shake a little (or a lot) of the lovely scented powder into your hands, then rub your palms together, creating a thin layer of powder, then finally, squinch it through our hair, focusing on the roots. Try lifting and rubbing the powder into your scalp, this will create extra volume. I really love the scents of these powders- vetiver, black pepper + coriander is really nice, and the black pepper creates a unique scent profile. My favorite is the lavender + clary-sage, but I love lavender, so that’s to be expected. Their ingredient list is short and all organic, but they aren’t as long lasting as traditional dry shampoos. There are travel sizes, as well as full sizes, so it’d be super easy to throw one in your bag for on the go touch ups.
My favorite goodie is definitely the lip balm. The tube is a tiny, adorable oval, and the balm is super high quality. With a super smooth formula, the balm goes on great and I’m sure I can attest that to the inclusions of hemp oil, olive oil, jojoba oil, almond oil, coconut oil, and beeswax. This is one of the smoothest balms I’ve ever tried and I love the scent. My lips have been pretty chapped due to the change of seasons, but this balm is doing a great job combatting that.
The hair oil is a great product for adding shine and smoothing out any frizz, but must be applied with a light hand because it can look heavy if you over apply. I’ve found it applies best to half dry, still damp hair, then once it’s combed through, the hair will dry smooth and frizz free. The scent is also very nice, herbal and soothing.
I’m also a huge fan of the soap. The lavender oatmeal scent lingers, it lathers nicely, and leaves hands soft and clean.
Lulu Organics is a mega cute company that puts real hard work into great products that work great, smell amazing, and use ingredients that are good for you. The products feel luxurious and you feel pampered and soothed each time you use them. I love how the lip balm feels like a pick me up through the day. Finally, I’d like to shoutout how well everything is labeled and packaged. The packaging is minimal, but feels sturdy and every label’s art is so beautiful. I can’t wait to try more of their range, and would highly recommend Lulu Organics to anyone interested in healthy organic products that work great and smell even better.
Dollar Shave Club is known for providing shaving supplies at super reasonable prices and I was lucky enough to be able to test out some of their new line, Big Cloud skincare. The products are geared toward men who primarily aren’t used to taking care of their skin and need an introduction into the basic elements of a skincare routine. I tried the Daily Face Moisturizer, the Good Shake Hand Cream, and both the Sky Master and Wind Master lip balms.
First, I love the packaging and design. The colors and aesthetics are very gender neutral, but lovely nonetheless. The font choices are really thoughtful and fit the products well. Second, I think the range really covers the basics of skincare, and I like how it’s encouraging people who don’t normally take care of their skin, to take action to protect their skin against air, sun, and time.
The Good Shake Hand Cream is a really nice hand cream. It’s lightly scented with amber and thyme, but I would describe it as almost lavender. The coolest selling point of this cream is how quickly it soaks in and dries on the hands. On the tube, it says it’s instantly powder dry, and it is. I was skeptical, but I noticed it the first time I tried it. Once rubbing it in, after a few seconds, your hands are soft with no greasy residue, no lingering stickiness, just soft. The cream is thick and moisturizing, and I have never used another hand cream that is so lightweight and soaks in so easily. I highly highly highly recommend this cream.
The Daily Face Moisturizer is another really nice product. With SPF 25 UVA and UVB protection, it’s a great choice alone, or under makeup. It provides protection and moisture without feeling heavy. You don’t need much, and you can really feel the moisture on your skin.
I really love the Wind Master lip balm. The Mint Leaf scent is very nice, soothing and the balm is great. The Wind Master lip balm is about the same, but with added SPF 15 (again UVA and UVB protection) and is also water resistant for 40 minutes.
Dollar Shave Club is really killing the skincare game with great gender neutral products that really work well. Plus, with such nice packaging, being made in the US, and not testing on animals, they’re great.
If you're looking for affordable, high quality makeup, I've got a brand for you! Essence makeup was kind enough to send some goodies (and the cutest note!!!!) my way, and I'm thoroughly impressed.
The lipsticks are ultra moisturizing and provide long wearing color with really great hydration. I love 05 (Cool Nude) and 07 (Natural Beauty) and 12 (Blush My Lips) is a little aggressive, but paired with the BB lipgloss, it provides a great statement lip! Look out for maybe a #MOTD featuring Essence lipstick!
I only wear waterproof mascara, and Essence's I <3 Extreme waterproof mascara is killer. I've been looking for a good mascara lately and this is so good. It is truly waterproof, unlike some 'waterproof' ones, it doesn't flake, lashes hold a curl without even curling them, and they still look great after hours of wear. This mascara is under five dollars an literally one of the best I've ever tried. I'm in awe. I've been wearing it every day and it's 100% my new go to. You've got to give it a try. It volumizes, lengthens, and rivals any high end mascara I've tried. It's killer.
I haven't had a chance to try the gel nail polishes yet, and I'm going to do an entire post on how they wear, so stay turned for that as well, but check out how cute these colors are! I especially love the grey-lavender tone of 81 (so what?) but 52 (amazed by you) is also adorable!
Overall, Essence has captured my heart and I can't wait to keep exploring the brand. On a final note- try that mascara, you won't be disappointed!
Fall 2016 is all about six trends (courtesy of Harper’s Bazaar); Blackout, Modern Gothic, Glitter Bomb, Glow On, Art Show, and Stained Red. Follow these trends with the products below to fully embrace the best looks for fall.
Blackout is all about greasy, black eyeliner and eyeshadow. The easiest way to achieve this look is with a black eyeliner pencil, like the Liquid-Like Eye Liner Pencil from Milani ($7.99). If you’re feeling rebellious, use any black eyeshadow to help smudge the eyeliner into a smokey eye, like Mac’s eye shadow in Carbon ($16.00). A cheaper option is Colour Pop’s eyeshadow in Roulette ($5.00).
You can also switch up this trend with dark-colored eyeshadows. My go-to brand for eyeshadow is Colour Pop, because they’re inexpensive and the quality is amazing. For fall, I’m really into burnt reds (like Drift and Call Me), and dark greens (like Shameless and Workout). You can find even more colors on Colour Pop’s website.
Colour Pop eyeshadows in Drift and Shameless ($5.00 each).
Modern Gothic consists of dark lipstick (think very dark, almost black reds, plums, and browns) and minimal eye makeup. There are a few different lip products you can use to achieve this trend. If you want to try dark red, purple, or brown lipsticks, I suggest NYX’s Simply Vamp Lip Creams ($6.50 each). The Simply Vamp collection comes in six shades, with four shown below. NYX also makes a V’Amped Up! top coat ($6.00) to instantly darken any lipstick you have on.
If you want to try something different, Colour Pop makes some dark-colored blues, greens, and blacks you can try. I suggest Bull Chic ($5.00) or Dr. M ($6.00) if you want a rich black or green. Dr. M is pictured below.
Glitter is back and better than ever. Many makeup brands have already started incorporating glitter into their products, some of which I show below. The easiest way to wear glitter is on your eyes. You can find glitter eyeshadow almost anywhere. NYX has one of the best face and body glitter collections for only $6.00. Their Crystal glitter, pictured below, is my favorite. NYX also sells a Glitter Primer ($6.00) to help apply your glitter and keep it from falling off your skin during the day.
Another way you can incorporate glitter into your makeup routine is with lipstick. Many brands are offering metallic lipsticks, like the Colour Pop Ultra Metallic Lipsticks I reviewed earlier in September. Other options include the Melted Metal Metallic Lipsticks by Too Faced ($21.00), and the Amore Matte Metallic Lip Cremes by Milani ($8.99).
I’m excited to try this trend, especially glittery lipsticks. Pat McGrath recently released the Lust 004 kits, which you can buy to create his iconic glittery lip look. If you don’t want to spend a lot of money on a kit, there are DIY tutorials you can watch to get the look (like this one from BriannaJoy).
Milani Amore Matte Metallic Lip Creme in Pretty Problematic, and Too Faced Melted Metal Metallic Lipstick in Metallic Debutante.
Highlighters have become increasingly popular, making it no surprise they are autumn essentials. If you have yet to hop on this trend, I suggest buying a basic highlighter to start. I invested in Mary-Lou Manizer ($24.00) from The Balm Cosmetics, and I love it. The Mary-Lou Manizer is honey-hued, and works best for light to medium complexions. For darker complexions, try Betty-Lou Manizer, and for a pinker highlight, try Cindy-Lou Manizer. You can also buy a palette with all three highlighters, called The Manizer Sisters ($28.00) (pictured below).
If you want to try a bolder highlight, Colour Pop just released Bardot ($8.00), a rusty red with a Pearlized finish.
While dark colors are always in for fall, bright colors are starting to emerge as well. Designers like Fendi and Jeremy Scott use bright eye and lip colors to make bold fashion statements. I’m not a huge fan of this trend because I prefer darker colors, but you can easily integrate bright colors into your makeup collection. Colour Pop offers seven brightly-pigmented eyeshadows ($5.00 each) you can try for a very low cost.
For bold lips, NYX has a large selection within their Macaron Lippies collection ($6.00 each) (pictured below). Other bright lipsticks from NYX are their Soft Matte Lip Creams ($6.00 each) in Paris, Moscow, Havana, Morocco, and Amsterdam, and their Cosmic Metals Lip Creams ($7.50 each). I recommend the SMLCs over the Macaron Lippies because they’re more wearable colors.
Everyone needs a good red lipstick, regardless of what time of year it is. There are so many colors from different companies that it would be impossible to list them all. Some of my favorites are from NYX’s Soft Matte Lip Creams ($6.00 each) in Monte Carlo, Madrid, Copenhagen, Transylvania, Budapest, and Vancouver.
While all makeup is an investment, you don’t need to spend a lot on lipstick to get the perfect red. There are countless dupes for expensive brands if you’re not willing to pay full-price. Below are some cheap dupes for Kylie Cosmetic’s Leo and Anastasia Beverly Hills’ American Doll.
Aloepure time repair serum by aloette
L’oreal studio secrets magic perfecting base
Milani eyeshadow primer
Makeup Forever Ultra HD foundation in 117
Maybelline master conceal in 10 fair
Milani face powder in fair
Makeup geek contour powder in infidelity, cocoa fair
Nars blush in Madly
Lorac Mint Edition Palette Highlight
Makeup Geek shadows in
Maybelline lash sensational waterproof
Milani infinite liquid eyeliner in 05 everlast
Rimmel professional eyebrow pencil in 001 dark brown
Wet n Wild Matte lipstick in 914c mocha-licious
So I’ve been hearing a lot of buzz about Makeup Geek, with a recent MannyMUA collaboration, as well as a highlighter palette collaboration with Kathleen Lights. Makeup Geek was kind enough to send me over a few products to try, and it’s safe to say that I’m obsessed. Below are some photos and swatches, but I’d like to focus on a few things. Firstly, holy hell the packaging is adorable. The little boxes with metallic rose gold are super cute, and then the product’s actual packaging is also really beautiful and high quality.
The compacts the blush and contour powder come in are metallic and really beautiful. They feel sturdy and look great, and are some of the cutest packaging I’ve seen in a long while. I’d also like to mention how great the contour powder is. I’m using Infidelity, a fair cool toned shade that works incredibly well with my skin, blends beautifully and looks like natural shadows in the skin. I like to work with a flat topped buffing brush and buff it into the hollows of my cheekbones. Then, I highlight the top of my cheekbones, and my jawline, and it works great. I can’t wait to try more of the face powder, specifically more blushes, since I think that contour color is the perfect one for me. In an upcoming #MOTD, I’ll show how great it comes out, so stay tuned.
I also love the eyeshadow pans. They’re mega pigmented, blend easily, and look great. Again, in an upcoming #MOTD, I’ll show a look I created with Shimma Shimma, Cocoa Bear, and Creme Brulee. I cannot wait to try more shadows, specifically more darker, red based shades for fall, and I also am DYING for the foiled and duochrome shades.
Finally, I’d like to shoutout the pencil liner in Obsidian. It’s incredibly creamy, long lasting, and essentially glides on. I usually only use liquid eyeliner for a winged cat eye look, but I tried this, and it lasted all day, as though it was waterproof, even though it’s not. At the end of the day, it came off incredibly easy with makeup remover wipes, and I can’t say enough good things about the formula.
I can’t wait to try more from Makeup Geek, it’s quickly becoming a favorite. Affordable, high quality products in great shades with awesome customer service will always win my vote.
BoxyCharm was kind enough to send me their August box, and I’m in love! The box features 5 full size products, monthly, and while you only pay $21 per month, you’re getting over $100 in products. It’s a great deal, and each month’s box is curated by the creators. Plus, if you sign up for a few months at a time, the price goes down even further.
If you’re interested in signing up, you can view past boxes here, and can sign up here.
BoxyCharm processed and shipped the box quite quickly, and as you can see below, everything in the box was packaged very nicely. The box comes with some confetti, the products, a card explaining everything in the box, the prices, some tips, and more, and finally a coupon code to one of the retailers.
The August box was jam packed with goodies, including:
Coastal Scents Blush and Bronzer Mini Palette
Aloette Time Repair Serum
Dirty Little Secret Velvet Matte Liquid Lipstick in Crimson, a orangey red
Doucce Cosmetics Maxlash Volumizer Mascara in Black
Beauty For Real Shadow Stx in Ever Starstruck, a champagne shimmery nude
The Shadow Stx is fantastic, and stays all day, and the soft shimmery champagne color can be used as a brow bone highlight, in the inner eye, or as a cheek or jawline highlight on my skin.
The Aloette Time Repair Serum is great for anti aging, but at 21, I like to use it as a pre-primer, as a moisturizing, smoothing base. It’s light enough to wear under makeup and soaks right in.
The Dirty Little Secret Velvet Matte Liquid Lipstick is a really lovely formula that stays well, but the Crimson is a little aggressive for my uber fair skin. It will work well for a statement lip, with understated eyes.
The Coastal Scents Blush and Bronzer Mini Palette (and brush) are really fantastic. They’re highly pigmented and will work great on medium skin. The highlight and bronzers are my favorites, and will add a nice glow, but the blushes are also very nice.
The Doucce Cosmetics Maxlash Volumizer Mascara has a really nice, chunky brush, and does add a lot of volume, but as it’s not waterproof, and I have fairly watery eyes, I won’t get too much use out of it, but for someone with less annoying eyes, it will work great.
What we put on our faces.