This year, I decided to become Cleopatra — Queen of the Nile! I would like to share my makeup look and the products used 😄
FACE Foundation: L’Oreal True Match in N1 Powder: Clinique Blended Powder in “Transparency Neutral” Blush: Mac “Melba” Highhlighter: The Balm “Mary Lou-Manizer” Contour Powder: NYX blush in “Taupe” Lipstick: Mac “Kinda Sexy” Undereye Concealer: Nars Radiant Creamy Concealer in “Chantilly” Brow Powder: Bobbi Brown single shadow in “Steel”
EYES Primers: Mac Paint Pot in “Soft Ochre” (all over) and NYX Jumbo Eye Pencil in “Milk” (lid & crease) Lid: Urban Decay single shadow “Honey” Crease: Urban Decay single shadow “Peace” Deep Crease: Urban Decay single shadow “Ransom” Browbone Highlight: Mac “Nylon” Eyeliner: Kat Von D Tattoo Liner in “Trooper” Mascara: YSL “Baby Doll” mascara Eyeliner: L’Oreal Infallible 24-Hour Gel Lacquer Liner in “Blackest Black”
Hope you enjoyed the makeup look! See you next time 👻🎃🍁
Often while makeup shopping, one wonders which items are worth our hard-earned money — and which are no better than their less pricey Wal-Mart counterparts.
Below, I have examined each category and offered my opinion as to which venue — the department store or the drugstore — provides the best product in each category!
1) Foundation: SAVE
An excellent foundation is definitely something which can be purchased at a reasonable price. Top foundations abound at the drugstore, most notably L’Oreal “True Match”, Covergirl 3-in-1 “Outlast Stay Fabulous”, Revlon “Colorstay” & “Colorstay Whipped”…the list goes on and on! These foundations rival and often surpass higher end products.
2) Eyeshadow: SPLURGE
Have you ever brushed your fingers over the Urban Decay “Naked” shadows? Such buttery textures simply do not exist at the drugstore. The reason? Higher end eyeshadows are more finely milled. Top eyeshadow formulas include the iconic palettes from Urban Decay — in addition to those from Lorac, Kat Von D, Tarte, Too Faced, Bobbi Brown, etc. The biggest exception includes the silky metallic L’Oreal Infallible potted shadows.
3) Lipstick/Gloss: SAVE
Outstanding lip products exist at bargain prices — and in large selections. My favorites include the Revlon “Super Lustrous” line, Maybelline “Color Sensational” lipsticks, Covergirl “Lip Perfection” lipsticks, & all the NYX lipsticks. The Revlon line alone offers over 70 shades, ensuring a color for everyone!
4) Blush: SPLURGE
As with eyeshadow, higher end blushes are more finely milled, therefore furnishing a better formula. Star blushes include those from Bobbi Brown, Nars, Mac, & Benefit. The drugstore just cannot compete in this area.
5) Mascara: SPLURGE
This will likely be a controversial verdict, but, in my opinion, the department store offers better mascara. Too Faced, YSL, Dior, & Lancome produce stellar mascaras. The only decent mascara I’ve found at the drugstore is L’Oreal’s “Voluminous Million Lashes Excess” version (in the red & gold tube).
6) Powder: SAVE
Dust your face with Maybelline’s “Dream Matte” powder, any of the the Physician’s Formula powders, or even the vintage Coty Airspun powder, and no one will ever know the difference!
7) Brushes: SPLURGE
A huge part of makeup application is having high-quality brushes, the production of which requires craftsmanship. Mac, Sigma, & It Cosmetics brushes blow Eco Tools brushes completely out of the water. The sole exception is the less expensive Real Techniques collection offered at ULTA.
Although I did an autumn look last year (read it here), I’ve decided to update the look — with a twist!
Much has been made lately about Kylie Jenner’s makeup, particularly the perfect mauve 90’s pout. In all honesty, the look is very versatile and balanced, perfect for work (due to the neutral lipstick) or a fancy evening (due to the subtly winged eyeliner). It’s therefore ideal for the return to work/school.
I’ve recreated the makeup look below:
Face Foundation: Illamasqua Skin Base in Shade 2.5 Powder: Physician’s Formula Mineral Talc-Free Powder in “Translucent” Blush: Tarte Amazonian Clay blush in “Exposed” Bronzer: Milani “Hermosa Rose” Concealer (Undereye): Maybelline Dream Lumi in “Radiant”
Lips Lipliner: Mac’s “Spice” (to fill in the lips) Lipstick: Nars’ Audacious Lipstick in “Anita”
Eye Look (close-up):
Primer: Lorac “Behind the Scenes” eye primer Lid & Brow Bone: Mac’s “Blanc Type” Crease: “Vanish” from the Kat Von D “Monarch” palette Eyeliner: Kat Von D Tattoo Liner in “Trooper” Mascara: YSL “Baby Doll” mascara Eye Brow Powder: Bobbi Brown shadow in “Steel”
Hope you enjoyed this look, which is very simple to recreate! As always, I try to utilize a mix of high-end and drugstore products 😄
Nothing oozes sophistication — and power — quite like matte lips. Yet the primary drawback of so many matte lipsticks is their drying tendency.
Do the new Creamy Matte lipsticks from Maybelline measure up?
We shall see!
I purchased 4 shades, with swatches and shade names labelled below:
Now, for the lip swatches!
1) “Touch of Spice”
This color is incredibly flattering for many skin tones — a total dupe for Mac’s “Twig” lipstick. Perfect for work, or even job interviews. Very pigmented, but neutral! The 90’s mauve lip, currently popularized by Kylie Jenner, can be effortlessly achieved with this shade.
2) “Ravishing Rose”
This shade is a cool-toned pink (with a hint of lilac), but more wearable than many of the other bubblegum pinks. Neutral enough for the office as well — and looks natural. Your lips but better!
3) “Siren in Scarlet”
Here’s your “Rita Hayworth” 1950’s red! Although it appears more warm-toned (like a tomato red) in the photo above, it exudes neutral undertones in real life. This renders it a universally flattering red lipstick (there are few!). High glamour here — but only for the bold!
4) “Mesmerizing Magenta”
A true magenta, this lipstick is a dupe for Mac’s “Girl About Town”, but in matte form. It’s a fun, dramatic color! When worn, the wearer must be prepared for many second looks.
The finish of each lipstick is truly matte — and gorgeous!
However, what about the comfort level of this product? I’m happy to report that, while it cannot be called moisturizing, this lipstick is not drying — yet still manages to last through lunch and a lengthy workday.
The best part? The price — $5. No one would ever suspect! 😉
I wholeheartedly recommend these little gems!
Final Verdict: 5/5 Stars
Available at ULTA, Target, Wal-Mart, Walgreen’s, CVS, & Rite Aid for $5
Welcome back to Part 2 of my “Rose Gold” Makeup Series!
Without further ado…
Top Rose-Gold Blushes:
This blush, with its peachy-pink goodness, is the epitome of rose-gold allure. This blush has achieved iconic stature in the beauty community, and it’s easy to see why. Although it does contain a sheen, it assimilates into the skin seamlessly once applied. With its dueling pink (cool) and golden (warm) tones, it is universally flattering — as are so many rose-gold products. This blush costs $30.
2) L’Oreal “Rose Gold Lift”
This beautiful cream blush is a true rose-gold. It can be applied with the fingers or with a stipple brush. More than any other shade mentioned in this post, it provides a stunning (and very flattering) highlight to the cheeks. It is not highly pigmented, but just enough to provide a natural rose gold flush on those mornings when you are struggling to get out the door! At $12, you can’t beat the price.
3) Benefit’s “Rockateur”
If I had to choose one blush to wear with every makeup look for the rest of my life, this would be it. It’s gorgeous in the pan — neutral enough to flatter any outfit or eyeshadow look, but packing an understated feminine punch. It flatters all skin tones.
I previously reviewed this blush here. It costs $28.
4) Sleek Makeup’s “Rose Gold”
“Sleek” makeup is a British cosmetics brand, widely known in beauty circles for their affordable (and incredibly pigmented) blushes. I ordered this blush from the UK a year ago, and its beauty rivals that of Nars’ “Orgasm.” It leans warm (with a prominent golden sheen) but still manages to flatter most skin tones. You can order this blush from sleekmakeup.com for $7. In other words, it’s an absolute steal!
5) Clinique’s “Precious Posy” is
This is such an underrated blush! A hidden treasure at the Clinique counter. Very pretty, and more on the matte side than any blush mentioned even though it has subtle gold shimmer in the pan. Excellent lasting power as well. It costs $21 at your local Clinique counter.
For Part 1 of my “Rose Gold” Series (Eyeshadow), click here.
If your schedule resembles mine, you have very little time to re-apply makeup — especially lipstick — during the day. Long-lasting lip products, especially lip stains, have thus always held a special appeal to the working woman.
I recently picked up a sample of the Sephora brand’s new “Rouge Infusion Lip Stain” in the shade “Red Essence.”
Did it stand the test? We shall see 😊
It comes in a long thin cylindrical tube, with a doe-foot applicator:
It applies to the lips with a nice punch of tomato-red with a thin, but not runny, consistency and did indeed dry down to a lovely stain:
Full face view:
The finish is indeed beautiful and initially felt comfortable on the lips.
So far, so good!
However, the ultimate test of any lip stain is its ability to survive a meal and its tendency to dessicate (dry out) the lips as the day progresses.
This lip product passed the first test with flying colors. It faded, as expected, after a meal, but the stain remained, ensuring that “popsicle lips” look. Where this product failed, however, was in the moisture department. While I don’t expect a long-lasting lip product to be moisturizing per se, it should at least be non-drying. Within hours of applying the product, my lips felt parched and lip balm was required.
In my opinion, makeup should be comfortable to wear. This is not comfortable to wear — indeed, quite the opposite.
Unfortunately, this product is a skip. 👎
However, I would recommend trying other Sephora lip products, which are generally amazing and usually the most inexpensive at Sephora stores. Although my full review is upcoming, their new “Luster Matte” formula is stellar — and non-drying.
Since the announcement of her engagement and entry into the royal family, I have always admired Kate Middleton’s makeup. Hallmarks of this look include a well-defined eye, fully rimmed in kohl and accentuated by taupe shadow, as well as dusty pink blush and neutral pink lips. Since the time of Cleopatra, lined eyes have exerted a captivating effect. When paired with pink cheeks, a mark of health, and natural glossy lips, it provides a classic look, both seductive and office-appropriate. It is also a very easy look to achieve, as I hope to demonstrate below!
My beautiful friend Ali, with her olive skin and brunette hair, possesses physical similarities to the Duchess — and was kind enough to serve as my model!
Here is the look:
FACE PRODUCTS USED Foundation — Bare Minerals “Ready Foundation” in the shade “Fairly Light” (R170) Undereye Concealer — Maybelline Age Rewind Concealer in the shade “Neutralizer” Contour Powder — It Cosmetics “My Sculpted Face” Contour Kit Blush — Bobbi Brown blushes in “Pale Pink” & “Sand Pink” Highlighter — The Balm “Mary Lou-Manizer”
EYE PRODUCTS USED Primer — Urban Decay Primer Potion in the shade “Eden” Base Shadow — Mac’s “Blanc Type” Lid Shade — L’Oreal’s “Infallible Eyeshadow” in “Bronze Taupe” Crease Shadow — Urban Decay’s “Buck” from the “Naked 1” Palette Inner Corner Shadow — Mac’s “Nylon” Brow Bone Shadow — Mac’s “Nylon” Eyeliner — Urban Decay “24/7 Liner” in “Perversion” (Pencil) Mascara — Too Faced “Better than Sex” Mascara Brow Powder — It Cosmetics “My Sculpted Faced” Contour Kit
LIP PRODUCTS USED Lip Liner — Makeup Forever Aqua Lip Pencil in Shade C3 Lip Gloss — Buxom “Full-On Lip Polish” in the shade “Dolly”
Chanel is one of those brands which has always exuded style more than substance for me. Although the packaging is luxe, the price tag always leaves me with a sour aftertaste.
Count me intrigued, however, when my friend Diana recommended their new foundation — “Perfection Lumiere Velvet.”
It claims to be a lightweight foundation in the spirit of Giorgio Amani “Maestro” — but is unique due to a full coverage, matte finish.
The packaging is sleek and black, oozing the classy minimalism expected of Chanel.
The foundation’s consistency indeed proves lightweight, even runny, as this swatch demonstrates:
Nevertheless, the foundation’s coverage is impressive, with a matte and radiant finish, all the while maintaining its light feel upon the skin! Its lightness is very similar to that of L’Oreal’s “Magic Nude Liquid Powder” foundation. See below (bare face –> foundation applied –> full face of makeup):
To my surprise, unlike L’Oreal’s “Magic Nude Liquid Powder” foundation (reviewed here), this product lived up to most of its claims. The coverage, although not full as described, is indeed matte and kept oil at bay throughout most of the day. It also contains SPF 15, so fulfills its sunscreen requirement. As you can see, it also looks gorgeous in photographs!
I would give this foundation 5 stars except for one small detail — it costs an ungodly $45 bucks. For a foundation, that is ludicrous. Although I feel like this is a very lovely foundation, no makeup product is worth that much money. The price, I suspect, is based upon the Chanel name.
If you have money to burn, however, this is an option if you are on the hunt for a stellar foundation! 😉
It’s always a wonderful epiphany to discover a cheaper version — of equal or even superior quality — of an iconic high-end makeup product!
I recently found a marvelous drugstore dupe for the Urban Decay “Naked Basics” palette — a matte eyeshadow palette ideal for natural eye contouring! Meet the dupe — Physician’s Formula “Canyon Classics” eyeshadow quad!
The shades of this palette include a matte creamy white, a warm-toned camel shade, a matte grey-brown, and a cool-toned taupe (right-to-left):
As you can see, these shades are richly pigmented, perhaps more so than the Urban Decay shades in the “Basics” palette (which I reviewed here). The colors last all day without creasing. The only difference between the two palettes is the absence of a shimmery highlight shade in the Physician’s Formula palette — AND the fact that the Physician’s Formula palette is $22 cheaper!
I have created a look using this palette! See below:
It’s a win-win! $29 for the Urban Decay “Naked Basics” palette VS. $7 for the Physician’s Formula “Canyon Classics” palette.
One of the golden rules of makeup is to prime the lids for eyeshadow! I personally hold this rule so seriously that I forego eyeshadow if lacking a primer. Primers provide a matrix to which shadows can bind — and thereby prevent creasing.
I’d like to name my top 5 selections for eye primer. Of note, I own and have tested each primer listed!
Here we go (in no particular order):
1) Urban Decay “Primer Potion”
This product is golden. This is by far the primer I’ve used the longest, and it has never failed me. In other words, it has never allowed my eyeshadow to crease! To add diversity, the primer comes in 4 shades — the “Original” (which goes on colorless), “Sin” (champagne), “Eden” (matte yellow cream), and “Greed” (golden sheen) — depending upon the look you have in mind! This product can be purchased at ULTA, Sephora, or urbandecay.com.
2) NYX Jumbo Eye Pencil in “Milk”
This is a recent discovery, featured in an earlier blog post here. This milky white eyeshadow pencil multiplies the vibrancy and pigmentation of any eyeshadow applied over it — threefold. The best part is that this jewel is only 4 bucks! Unfortunately, this is the only drugstore/budget primer to earn a place on this list. You can grab this little gem at CVS, ULTA, or nyxcosmetics.com.
3) Mac Pro Longwear Paint Pot in “Painterly”
The entire Mac Pro Longwear line is high quality, but perhaps my favorite items are these paint pots! The shade in “Painterly” is an excellent all-over lid primer. The formula has just the right balance of thickness and smoothness. A matte pinky-beige shade, this primer is flesh-toned and will likely suit all skin tones — but especially cooler-toned ladies. You can purchase this item (and the next) at your local Mac counter or at maccosmetics.com.
4) Mac Pro Longwear Paint Pot in “Soft Ochre”
This is another wonderful shade from the Pro Longwear line! “Soft Ochre” is a yellow-based beige — and will be ideal for warmer skin tones as well as eyelids with visible capillaries. Again, the formula is a dream. Unlike “Painterly”, this shade is not flesh-toned and also serves to brighten the eye area in general.
5) Lorac “Behind the Scenes” Eye Primer
I recently received a sample of this primer with my new Lorac “Pro 2” Palette — and have been very impressed! It is most similar to the original Urban Decay primer potion in that it goes on the lid completely colorless but keeps shadows vibrant and intact all day long. This primer can be purchased at ULTA or loraccosmetics.com.
One final tip regarding eyeshadow primers! It is always best to apply this product with one’s fingers — not a brush. This application technique “warms up” the primer and helps it melt into the skin.