My only impression of Kylie Cosmetics were a few YouTube reviews about some of her lip kits being half-empty. Since there are often problems with a company when they first start releasing products, this incident didn’t diminish my optimism toward the brand. I ordered one full-size lip kit (Love Bite), an item from the Birthday Collection (the Birthday Edition Mini Mattes), and an item from the Holiday Collection (the Holiday Edition Mini Mattes) to review.
Love Bite (below), a rich plum brown, is retailed at $29.00. I love dark red and brown lipsticks, and loved the rich pigment of this color when I saw it on the Kylie Cosmetics instagram feed. Both the pencil and lipstick are easy to apply.
*It is worth noting that after I first opened the pencil, the cap became very loose, and falls off in my makeup bag all the time.
Would I purchase this product again? I would definitely purchase this product again, although I would probably look for the matte single instead of the full kit. I hardly ever use the pencil, and I haven’t noticed a difference in the lipstick whether I use the pencil before applying or not.
The Birthday Edition Mini Mattes bundle, retails at $36.00 (or $6.00 for each lipstick). Shades in the bundle are Exposed (warm mid-tone beige), Dolce K (deep beige nude), Koko K (pale pink), Candy K (warm pinky nude), Kristen (warm brown berry), and Leo (true deep burgundy). This bundle is the best deal for testing the colors without spending the full $29.00 per kit, or $14.00-$17.00 per individual pencil/lipstick.
Similar to Love Bite, the minis are easy to apply and smell amazing. However, I realized I was given two Dolce K’s in my pack in place of an Exposed lipstick. I love Dolce K, so this isn’t a problem, but it is frustrating that the bundle wasn’t complete.
Would I purchase either bundle again? I really liked the bundle idea, which provides the buyer with the opportunity to test six lipsticks before investing in the full size products. It allowed me to try a few colors I knew I would really like (Vixen, Leo, Moon, Ginger), find colors I didn’t think I would like (Dolce K), and reaffirmed the colors I did not like (Kristen, Angel). In this respect, I saved money by purchasing the minis.
Overall, I don’t think I will purchase another lip kit from Kylie Cosmetics. The lipstick formula is long lasting and fragrant, but the lipsticks are very dehydrating. While Jenner’s collection isn’t necessarily expensive, there are cheaper dupes available of the same or better quality (many from Colourpop and NYX).
In my opinion, Kylie Cosmetics’ lipsticks are not worth the hype.
More photos below!
I recently purchased a few new ColourPop products to test out from the fall season. Read about them below, and check out ColourPop for even more amazing products!
I’m not a huge fan of blush, but wanted to try Bardot ($8.00) (a rusty copper red) after its release this fall. I’m still hesitant to wear it, but I like it better than traditionally pink or orange blushes.
I heard a lot of hype around Churro ($8.00), one of ColourPop’s most popular highlighters. Since purchasing it a few weeks ago, it has slowly integrating into my everyday products. It’s darker and more golden than the highlighter I usually wear (Mary-Lou Manizer from the balm cosmetics), but wears really well in place of blush.
If you know me, you know I love ColourPop eyeshadows. While I mainly purchased Zingara ($18.00) (a foursome of Paradox, Elixir, Seeker, and Jinxie) to try Paradox, I really love the set. Paradox is my favorite, and pairs really well with Seeker, Jinxie, and Drift ($5.00) (an individual shadow I purchased) to create the perfect red-eye look.
I ordered the Bangin’ Brunette ($5.00) eyebrow pencil to try. The color is a perfect match to my natural hair color, and the pencil is thin enough to draw perfect lines. However, I think I will invest in the brow pot when the pencil is empty for easier use.
Friday ($6.00) is the black lipstick I’ve always dreamed of. Similar to other ColourPop lipsticks, it applies very easily, but is also difficult to take off at the end of the day. While it flaked a little, it was less dry than I expected.
I ordered Mama ($6.00) to test how well I liked wearing a burnt orange lipstick. While I personally am not a fan of the color against my skin tone, the formula is still consistent with other ColourPop lipsticks I use. I recommend this color for anyone with a tan or dark skin tone.
Lastly, I received Dropout ($6.00) for free after ordering more than $10 worth of products, which isn’t very hard to do on ColourPop. I usually prefer matte colors to glossy ones, but I still occasionally wear Dropout when I don’t feel like wearing a heavy matte lipstick.
Meet Phlur By Susan McLean
Recently, I've been so bored with the fragrance world. This overarching lack of sincerity oozes off the shelves and shelves of perfume bottles, and though I have my few tried and true scents, I rarely shop for fragarence. I really don't need some salesgirl dying for a commission telling me how the notes of grapefruit really mingle with my spirit or that amber is truly your spirit scent.
Obviously, I'm writing this because I'm no longer bored. Phlur is the coolest company in the game. With a short list of scents, ethically sourced ingredients, and fragrances based around feelings and vibes, I'm obsessed.
I was lucky enough to be able to work with Phlur to try out a few scents, learn about how their company works, and what makes a good perfume a truly good perfume.
With only six scents, Phlur sounds like a hit or miss fad type website, but I can assure you that quality is their first concern. Each scent is curated carefully, notes are considered, and a scent is created. Founder Eric Korman is quoted saying that "Fragrance is an experience, not a product" and I fully agree.
Not only do we naturally gravitate towards scents that we feel fit us, but once we start wearing those scents, we build memories around them, memories that can be triggered by that same perfume. When I traveled across Europe, I wore Chanel Madamoiselle, and that scent is attached to so many lovely memories, I wouldn't trade it for the world. Scents are choices, and are something I'm very deliberate about.
The first perfume I tried was Hanami, which Phlur calls "an aquatic floral tableau, with a reverent subtlety and a warm embrace." I can feel the warmth in the scent, and I really pick up on the fig, sandalwood, and maybe notes of coconut? I'm no perfumer, but here's what Nathalie Benareau, the actual perfumer said:
"We believe there’s no wrong way to smell a fragrance—even experts sometimes can’t identify what’s in a particular scent. That said, if you’re craving notes, then who are we to stand in your way? Which brings us to the notes for Hanami: fig, white florals, hazelnut, and sandalwood. 'It’s an intellectual scent, minimalistic. It’s like that person that has so much style, you can’t help but look.'"
Phlur is also incredibly sustainable, which is huge for me. Apparently, "prized for its distinctive scent, natural Indian Sandalwood has sadly been overharvested to the point of near decimation. That’s why we use lab-developed scent molecules that are indistinguishable from natural sandalwood, and are totally safe for skin and the environment. Better for the planet, better for you." How awesome is that?
I really love putting on Hanami about midday, when I'm in need of a pick-me-up, and the light notes really energize me and put me in a more playful mood.
Next, I tried Moab. Moab is insane, in the best possible way. I have never smelled anything like Moab before- and I'm so into it. Phlur says "it's arid spice seduces like the vastness of the west, emanating an invigorating dry heat." If that sounds like bullshit, it's not.
According to Phlur: "Moab is our translation of the feelings inspired by the desert’s sun, wind and openness. Next time you take a long drive out West—or just wish you could—this is the scent that will bring back those memories further on up the road. We believe there’s no wrong way to smell a fragrance—even experts sometimes can’t identify what’s in a particular scent. That said, if you’re craving notes, then who are we to stand in your way? Which brings us to the notes for Moab: long pepper, clove, vanilla, jasmine and tonka bean."
This is almost an understatement of Moab's power. The scent draws people in, builds suspence, mystery. The scent feels tactile, strong, powerful. The perfumer, Ralf Schwieger, says "Some things smell so natural, they are just building blocks crying out loud to be combined.” I think this is a really cool way to describe it, and I would even go so far as to say that Moab feels inevitable.
Just like how the sandalwood in Hanami was ethically sourced, elements from Moab were as well (and this theme continues through the other four perfumes in Phlur's collection) Phlur comments:
"We seek out ingredients that are grown and cultivated with innovative, environmental methods and exclude raw materials that damage ecosystems. We've made tough but important decisions when choosing between natural ingredients and those made in a lab. Our products are free of known skin irritants, parabens, phthalates, unnecessary stabilizers and animal products. We expect the best out of ourselves and our partners. And we think you do, too." When we live in an age where you see scandals about cat piss being in major perfumes, this is really great to hear.
Apparently, "resin from Snowbell (aka Styrax) trees helps give Moab its deep, complex body. We support our partner Mane’s efforts in Honduras to ensure that the traditional, sustainable art of harvesting resin is passed down to newer generations, and in their efforts to protect wages and fair trade in the region. Better for the planet, better for you."
Another thing I love about Phlur is slightly surface, but the bottles are perfect. They're sturdy, white opaque cubes with magnetic lids (!!!!) and not only do they protect the scents, but they look amazing on a vanity. The minimalist vibe gives me life. Plur says "Simply put, light damages fragrance. Our bottle was designed to block out external light to ensure that your fragrance is as vivid and enticing as the day you got it. Fragrances in clear bottles require stabilizers and dyes to make them look more appealing. Our opaque bottles mean you don’t have to spray unnecessary chemicals on your skin. Our bottles are made of 20% recycled glass, the highest percentage possible in the industry. This differentiates us in a business that still largely uses virgin flint glass."
This attitude is so welcome and admirable, and isn't the only place Phlur is doing good. "In addition to using responsible ingredients, we believe in supporting initiatives that have a lasting impact on people's lives. That's why $5 from every bottle sold is donated directly to a cause we have faith in." These include the Central Park Conservancy and The IUCN Red List.
Check out Phlur here, and take a look at some photos below.
I'm obsessed with Essence's new Me & My Umbrella collection. The colors are subtle yet fun, and everything is mega pigmented. The colors play well together and can be used in one look, or all separately as the statement piece of a look. The special edition packaging is truly precious, and I love the design on the blush. The contour stick provides a soft, bendable warm contour, and the highlight is subtle but glow-ey. This collection has been a staple for me on the dreary, rainy fall days, and I highly suggest you check it out. Everything is super reasonable, but great quality.
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 By Allison Pinski
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.”
I love Beauty is Boring’s “27 Second” video series, where makeup artists create and showcase interesting makeup looks. You can watch these videos (and more) on Beauty is Boring’s website or YouTube channel.
Lulu Organics Review By Susan McLean
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!
What we put on our faces.