Thursday, May 29, 2014

Nail Of The Day : Essie "for the twill of it"

Guess what? I'm also addicted to nail polish, surprise surprise. Essie is one of my favorite brands, they have the greatest formulas, release new colors every season, and they last the longest on me! Usually when a new season's collection comes out, I usually will buy the color that stands out the most, and when the Fall 2013 collection came out last year, my eyes immediately drew to this color. It is still to this day one of my top 5 favorite polishes just because it is so unique, yet not obnoxious or too flashy. 

Not much to this blog post, just wanted to share some photos of this polish since it can appear to be so many different colors depending on how the light hits it!! It's so gorgeous! 

In these pictures, I used 2 coats of the Essie Polish and 1 coat of Butter London Quick Dry Topcoat (leaves my nails so shiny I can see my reflection!!)

Hope you enjoyed this quick nail of the day post :) 
Let me know if you would like to see these a few times a month, and/or more of my nail polish favorites!

What color is on your nails today? 
Thanks for reading!

Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Hot or Not?! NEW Loreal Hair Care Products!

So a few weeks ago I picked up some things from L'Oreal's new hair care line, I have always liked their hair products and they were on a great sale so I picked up four products. I have used all of them for a couple weeks to find out my honest opinion and today I will round up my conclusion on whether these products are hot or not! 

#1 : BOOST IT High Lift Creation Spray
This product claims to be able to give you targeted root application with a fan spray for instant lift and fullness. It claims to have a strong hold that adds body to any style for a voluptuous, textured look that lasts. I have used this product in a few different ways, and some work better than others. I first tried this product as simply as I could, I lifted up the hair around my crown section and sprayed a few sprays, and it really did give me instant body. I released the hair and I had definite body going on, but it didn't last long. It fell pretty short after but was great while it lasted. The next time I tried the product I did a little backcombing, and then set it with this product. That method is the best way that I have used this product, I use it as a specialized hair spray for just backcombing my hair. It reduces the amount that I have to tease my hair, which is great! 

Hot or Not? I'll definitely say this is Hot! 

#2 LOCK IT Weather Control Hairspray
This hairspray claims to deliver a lightweight mist that locks out humidity while locking in a smooth style, for up to 48 hours. Also claims to instantly help tame unruly fly-aways and frizz, have a water-free and humidity resistant formula so you're hair style will stay all day. I only had to use this product one time to determine my opinion, and I don't like it at all. I never thought of myself as a picky person when it came to hair spray, they all pretty much do the same thing, wrong... This hairspray smells disgusting, which is such a turn off when it is the last thing you're spraying on before you leave the house. It smells like dill pickles to me, which is a weird reference, but totally what it smells like. I don't feel like it worked any better than any hair spray I have on hand so I wouldn't be recommending this to you! My favorite hairspray is the Garnier Anti-Humidity Sleek & Shine Hairspray! : )

Hot or Not? ... NOT! 

#3 SLEEK IT Iron Straight Heatspray
First things first, you should be using a heat protectant if you use any type of hot tool on your hair! If you aren't, pick one up next time you're at the drugstore! Okay, so this heatspray claims to offer 450 degree heat protection and is formulated to work with any heat styling tool, protects from heat damage, calms frizz, seals in shine, blocks humidity and helps style last. A heat protectant is a hard product to have a first impression on, because it is working beneath the surface, so really the only thing you can judge it on is the smell, the texture, and the packaging. The smell is similar to the hair spray, not as bad, it isn't pleasant though. The texture of it on my hair is similar to other heat protectants, doesn't make my hair wet but disperses enough product to coat my hair after brushing it through. The packaging is okay, I'm not a fan of those spray nozzles as sometimes it can shoot out too much product in one solid area of the hair.

Hot or Not?! I'm going to say NOT on this one. It isn't anything special, and the smell puts me off a little. I would try the Thermal Creations Heat Tamer Spray by Tresemme if you're looking for a simple, affordable one. It has a similar nozzle but its fool proof and I've used it for years. My absolute favorite though is the Paul Mitchel Hot Off the Press heat spray, it acts as a hair spray which is amazing, and it comes in a normal hair spray can which is much easier to spray!

#4 SLEEK IT Strand-Smoother Serum Spray
This spray claims to provide a hi-shine ultra-sleek look, while perfectly smoothing hair, taming frizz, and fighting fly-aways. I really like this, it also contains that horrible smell that I talked about earlier, which is so off-putting to me!! Besides the fact that it smells, it works pretty great. I have used it as my last step while my hair was straightened, as well as curled. It worked great for both styles, smoothed down frizz and just made my hair a lot smoother.

Hot or Not?! Hot for this one!! If it had a better smell I would make this a holy grail product but I'm still on the hunt for a good smoothing spray with a yummy smell! 

Thanks so much for reading today! What new products have you picked up lately?!


Friday, May 23, 2014

Makeup Sponge Showdown! Beauty Blender vs. Real Techniques

I've been applying my foundation with the Beauty Blender for almost 2 years now, and I am definitely bias to their brand and didn't ever see the need to try out any of the "knock-off" beauty blenders that are out on the market (there are a ton!) 

Until I kept seeing reviews of the Real Techniques Miracle Complexion Sponge.
Bloggers were saying that it was a true contender to the beauty blender, and it does a very comparable job if you're looking to save some money. So while I was at Ulta a few weeks ago I picked up the Real Techniques sponge and tested it out for you guys! 

1. Cost

Beauty Blender 
runs you $20, or you can get a pack of 2 for $30. I always buy the 2 pack, and they really last a long time if you're sure to wash them after every use. When you think about it, $20 is a lot of money just for a sponge, but once you try it it quickly becomes worth the price. 

Real Techniques
sponge is $6. Super affordable and available in some drugstores. 

Obviously the Real Techniques sponge wins in this category, and if you're looking to try a sponge for your makeup application, maybe trying the Real Techniques $6 sponge is where you should start, and then splurge on the Beauty Blender if you want! 

2. Shape 

Beauty Blender
The beauty blender has a tear drop shape to the sponge. I tend to use the bigger end for all over my face, and the pointy end for smaller areas such as around my nose and eyes. I have never felt that it needed a different shape or other feature to achieve a better application, but the next sponge offers a little more with shape.

Real Techniques
The real techniques sponge has 3 different parts to it. It has the pointy end, just like the beauty blender does. It also has a rounded side, but it is on the side of the sponge and not the opposite end. The part that is different on this sponge is the flat edge that it entails. While first trying this out, I didn't really think I had a use for the flat edge, it just didn't feel necessary. I started reading more blogs to see how they all utilized the flat edge and many people said they used it for the sides of their nose and their forehead. I guess it works great for the side of the nose, but I don't feel like it is absolutely necessary.

This category is a little hard for me to choose. I've been using the Beauty Blender for so long that the shape feels perfect to me, but the real techniques sponge offers another dimension to it. I would have to say that the Real Techniques sponge wins in the shape category just because it has everything the beauty blender has, and extra! 

3. Application

Beauty Blender
To use the beauty blender, you are supposed to run it under water for a few seconds and it will then double in size. After it is damp, you can put your foundation straight on the sponge, or distribute it onto your face first. After that, you are to use bouncing, patting motions to blend your makeup into your skin. It truly is amazing it gives a really natural look because the sponge is damp and I will never go back to using a brush again. It blends out perfectly while giving great coverage!

Real Techniques
To use the real techniques sponge, you are also able to run it under water and watch it expand. The creator of this sponge actually recommends leaving it dry, but I got mine wet so that it was an equal comparison. I have since used it dry and it just feels weird to me, I like the feeling of a wet sponge while applying my makeup, so I won't be using it dry.  It doesn't quite double in size when it gets damp, but it does get larger. It acts similar to the beauty blender while actually applying the makeup, but I don't feel that it blends out as perfectly and it takes a little longer to achieve the perfect coverage and appearance. 

Beauty Blender has to win here. It applies much nicer on the skin and gives a much nicer end result. It is easier to blend, faster to achieve what you're looking for, and just functions way better. 

4. Overall Impression

Overall, this is tough!! Like I said at the beginning of my post, I have been using the Beauty Blender for a long time and I have grown to accept the price, so trying something new in this category is hard for me. 
If you are looking to try using a sponge, I would recommend the Real Techniques sponge because it is more affordable and you have less to lose if you don't like the function of a sponge. If you have been using the beauty blender and are wanting to save some money, the real techniques sponge does a comparable job to the beauty blender. 

Overall, I think the Real Techniques sponge is a very comparable option to the Beauty Blender, I'll leave the actual decision up to you :) 

Thanks for reading!

Wednesday, May 21, 2014

How To Determine Your Skin's Undertone: Warm or Cool

This might sound a bit dramatic, but if you want to ensure that you are wearing the makeup that is right for you, the most important factor to that is determining your skin's undertone. Once you know your undertone, finding colors that work for YOU is much easier! 

So first it is important to know a little about what exactly is an "undertone" and how it is important to you. Your undertone is the color that is underneath everything. Whether it is the middle of the winter and you're white as a ghost, or whether you just got back from Mexico and you're a bronze goddess, your undertone NEVER changes. 

There are two main undertones, warm or cool. A person can also be a Neutral skin tone, which means the following "tests" you can do, they can fit into both categories (lucky)! When you're in the makeup aisle and the foundation is marked with a W or a C, it is referencing the undertone in the foundation. For example, Loreal Tru Match is one of my favorite foundations, with a huge color selection. There are colors ranging from C1-, to N6, to W7. Those letters in front of the numbers are referencing your undertone, and the number after is referencing the range from light to dark within that undertone. 

This picture shows an example of a color range of the Loreal Tru Match Foundation, although all of those lighter shades might look similar to you, they all hold a different undertone. Once you buy that bottle of foundation and take it home you might feel like it matches your skin perfectly but if you didn't chose the correct undertone it can work in all the wrong ways. 
So by now you're probably wondering how to determine your undertone right?! Well I'm going to tell you a few tricks, and how I found my undertone!

Test #1: Look At Your Veins!

Yep, you read that right! The best way to determine your undertone (in my experience) is to look at your veins! Flip over your wrist and look at the veins below your hand.
If they appear more BLUE: displaying a COOL undertone
If they appear more GREEN: displaying a WARM undertone
If you are seeing BOTH blue and green: displaying NEUTRAL undertone

Test #2: Check Your Jewelry!

The next tests are kind of tricky, because for a majority of people, it can sway both ways. The vein test is the best controlled way to check your undertone, but if that didn't give you a solid answer, then maybe these next tests will! This is a personal preference test to which jewelry you look best in, but try to focus on the way these colors make your skin look, if they wash you out or compliment your skin color. 
If you look best in SILVER jewelry: displaying a COOL undertone
If you look best in GOLD jewelry: displaying a WARM undertone
If you can pull off BOTH gold and silver jewelry: displaying a NEUTRAL undertone

Test #3: Do you Burn or Tan?

This test can be wrong sometimes but it is another good rule of thumb to just double check your undertone from the vein test. 
If you BURN after a day in the sun: displaying a COOL undertone
If you TAN after a day in the sun: displaying a WARM undertone

Still Unsure?
If you're still unsure of what your skin tone is, you can go to a beauty counter and ask the consultant to help you find your undertone. That is how I originally found my undertone at an Estee Lauder counter. The consultant asked me what my undertone was so she could match me to a foundation and I said that I thought I was cool, so she did the vein test, and I was right, I have a cool undertone! 

What is your undertone!?
Thanks for reading, 

Thursday, May 15, 2014

Birchbox VS. Ipsy - May 2014

Hey everyone! 
So today's post is going to be all about subscription services. If you haven't ever heard of a beauty subscription service, it is a program that you pay for monthly, and a box of sample, deluxe, or sometimes full sized products show up in a box! The original company that started this was Birchbox, and now you can find SO many different services that all offer different benefits. 

On the market right now in the US, there are two subscription boxes that run you $10 a month. This is the cheapest subscription price out there for a beauty box. Other subscription services on the market are upwards from $15 to $50. The two subscription services at that price are Birchbox and Ipsy. They both cost $10 a month and you get a box delivered to you with 4-6 beauty products. They are completely random, and some months are definitely better than others, but that is the fun of subscribing to one of these services! 

I will say right off the bat that Birchbox tends to send "higher-end" samples, but the sample sizes are often a lot smaller than Ipsy. One great thing I love about Birchbox is that they have a great reward program online. If you go review the products in your box, you get points added to your account in which you can put toward purchases on their site. Ipsy has a similar reward system but the items you can purchase with the reward aren't near as great as Birchbox. 

*Keep in mind, everyone's box is different. You are prompted to take a "beauty quiz" when signing up for each site that helps pick the best products for you. So this isn't promising these products will be in each box, just comparing the values between the two boxes*

Birchbox: What was in mine?

1. CoTZ Natural Skin Tone SPF 40
Full Size Value - $20 for 1.5oz
Sample Size - 2g. 
Verdict - This was a super small sample, I could probably get 2 or 3 days use out of this sunscreen. 
I checked it out on Ulta and it actually gets great reviews as a really good sunscreen so I will be using this, but again, really small sample.

2. Nexxus Color Assure Primer, Shampoo, and Conditioner
Full Size Value - $11.99, $17.99, $17.99
Sample Size - 0.3 oz
Verdict - I can't stand foil packets, especially for shampoo.
 I rarely find myself using them, and they just sit in a drawer. 
Birchbox is known for sending foil packets, and I cringe in my seat when I see them in my box. 

3. Pixi Shea Butter Lip Balm in Pixi Pink
Full Size Value - $8
Sample Size - FULL SIZE
Verdict - I'm excited about this! It is a really pretty shade of pink, and I have a crazy obsession with lip balm. This is worth $8 and I paid $10 for the box so this helps with the worth in my eyes. This was my favorite product in the box this month.

4. 32 Oral Care Effervescent Breath Crystals
Full Size Value - $9.99 for a pack of 15 packets
Sample Size - 2 packets
Verdict - I've never heard of these. The directions say to swish around in your mouth until they begin to pop. Interesting, but I will definitely get use out of them.

5. Marcelle 8 in 1 Power Serum
Full Size Value - $34
Sample Size - 0.24 oz
Verdict - I loooove serums, I will try any new ones that I get and I'm excited to try this one. It is another pretty small sample, but I could at least get a weeks use out of it. Not my favorite product, but not a total bust.

Ipsy : What was in mine? 

*as you can see, Ipsy generally gives much larger sized products. 

1. Olive Natural Beauty Olive Lip Balm
Full Size Value - $5.95
Sample Size - FULL SIZE!
Verdict - Can't complain about a lip balm ;) This is a good one to throw in the purse. Smells pretty good!

2. Pacifica Eye Shadow Duo
Full Size Value - ?? Can't find this product online anywhere.
Sample Size - I'm assuming this is full size
Verdict - They are really neutral colors that I can definitely get use out of.

3. Hang Ten Classic Sport SPF 50
Full Size Value - $12.99 for 5 oz
Sample Size - 1 oz
Verdict - Kind of ironic to get a sun screen in each box! I wear SPF daily though, so I'll definitely get use out of this. 

4. Eva NYC Therapy Session Hair Mask
Full Size Value - $12.99
Sample Size - FULL SIZE! 
Verdict - I'm really excited to try this! It is a big enough sample to get multiple uses out of it, and I took a quick peek at the ingredients and it looks really interesting!

5. Avene Thermal Spring Water
Full Size Value - $18.00 for 10 oz
Sample Size - 2 oz
Verdict - I love spring water! I received the spring water from Evian to review around 6 months ago and I love it! It is so refreshing and I love adding it into my skincare routine! I'm definitely excited to try a new brand!

Overall Verdict?!
For May 2014, Ipsy won the battle for me. The products were way bigger, and appealed to me more. Although, you never know what next month will bring :) 

Thanks for reading!

Monday, May 12, 2014

Top 5 M.A.C Must Have Products

One of my all time favorite makeup brands is M.A.C. cosmetics. I love their products as they are always consistent, and I truly feel you get great quality products for what you pay for. Today I rounded up my top five holy grail products from them that I will continue to repurchase over and over.

1. M.A.C Fix +

Fix+ is a spray infused with vitamins and minerals. It contains a blend of green tea, chamomile and cucumber. It is a true multi-use product and it has became a staple in my makeup collection that I am in love with! There are a few ways you can use this product. One way is to spray it on your face to prep the skin, before you add foundation, or whatever face product you'll be using. Another way to use this product is to use it as a finishing spray. This is how I mainly use it, I spray a few sprays on my face after I am completely done with my makeup. It gives a natural dewey finish to the skin and feels so refreshing! You can also spray an eyeshadow brush with this product before using eyeshadow which will transfer the eyeshadow with much more pigment! 

2. M.A.C Powder Blush

Mac has one of the best blush formulas that I have ever tried. They have so many wonderful colors to choose from that can suit your skin tone. My all time favorite is the shade Melba. It is a matte finish and is a gorgeous peachy coral shade. On my skin tone, it just looks very natural and doesn't make me look like a clown! If you haven't tried a blush from Mac before, I would definitely recommend you give it a try! 

3. M.A.C Pro Longwear Concealer

The Pro Longwear concealer is amazing, it has great reviews and it is another staple in my collection that I will continue to repurchase. It is a lightweight fluid concealer that provides medium to full coverage and settles to a comfortable, matte finish. The formula provides coverage for up to 15 hours. Depending on the shade your purchase, you can use this to cover under eye circles, or blemishes. 

4. M.A.C Lipstick

Need I say more? If you have tried a Mac lipstick before, you know what I mean! I am NOT a lipstick fan, I don't like the feeling and rarely reach for a lipstick. The formula of the lipsticks from Mac are my absolute favorite and the color Creme De Nude is my absolute favorite. 

5. M.A.C Mineralize Skinfinish Natural

This is one my all time favorite products from any brand. This is a face powder that provides a natural yet matte finish to the skin. It is a light coverage powder, and isn't considered a foundation. I use mine to set my foundation, and if it is a warm day and I know I will be gone all day I take this along to touch up and keep my skin matte throughout the day. If I had to choose one product that I could buy from M.A.C. this would definitely be it! 

Thanks for reading!

Tuesday, May 6, 2014

DIY Lip Scrub - Vanilla and Brown Sugar

Today's post is going to be a DIY Lip Scrub! 
If you aren't using some kind of method to scrub your lips, you should start! 
Exfoliating your lips is just as important as exfoliating your face. Lip Scrubs help remove dead skin that is acting as a barrier between your lip balm and your lips. 

The great thing about this scrub is that there are only 4 simple ingredients! Even better news? You probably have all four of these ingredients in your kitchen right now!! 

Here's what you'll need! 

Honey : 1/2 teaspoon
Olive Oil : 1 teaspoon
Brown Sugar : 2 teaspoons
Vanilla Extract : 1/4 teaspoon

Step One:
First, add honey and olive oil to your mixing bowl and mix.

Step Two: 
Mix in your brown sugar. The honey and oil are really going to stick to the brown sugar so it might not seem like much is happening but just mix the best you can before Step Three. 

Step Three: 
Mix in your vanilla extract. It should look like the picture down below but you can tweak this recipe to get the texture that you desire. If it is too thick then add another drop of vanilla, if it is too "runny" then incorporate some more brown sugar. 

Step Four: 
Move your lip scrub to a storage container! It can be kept at room temperature, it just needs to be covered. This is what it should look like! It starts to harden the longer it sits.

How To Use:
Using a lip scrub is pretty simple. Get a dime sized amount on your finger and transfer it onto your lips. Then, do the obvious, scrub!

You will really start to feel the brown sugar working at scrubbing your lips, and it smells delicious! When you're all done, just wipe away with a damp towel. Good news, its edible so don't worry if you "accidentally" lick your lips! After you're done, just make sure to follow with a good chapstick or lip balm. This will really moisturize your lips after exfoliating away the dead skin. 

Hope you enjoyed! 
Thanks for reading,

Saturday, May 3, 2014

Saturday Night Steals : May 3rd, 2014.

Tonight I am sitting here browsing through the internet, and I am finding a lot of good deals from a lot of my favorite websites! I started this blog so I could share my love for beauty and fashion with other people so what better idea than to share the good deals I am looking for!
Below are a few things that are either on my wish list, or too good of a deal to keep to myself!!

*I can't promise that these deals will still be effective when you decide to purchase, this is what was active and effective while I wrote this blog post! (May 3rd, 2014). 

1. Sephora
Sephora has some pretty good weekly deals going on. With a $25 purchase on their website you can redeem a few well valued samples.

- Bare Minerals Original Foundation Sample
Use Code : BAREDUO

-Caudalie Serum Sample
Use Code: CSERUM

-AmorePacific Age Defense Creme

2. Ulta

-NYX Cosmetics is having a BOGO 50% off sale right now. Nyx is an extremely affordable brand which I am in love with! Their butter glosses are my favorite lip product of all time, over all of my Mac products and high end products, they are so buttery and have a great lasting power! 

You can find those here!

Through May 11th, a lot of brands are actually having a buy one get one 50% off sale. 
-Rimmel Cosmetics
- Sally Hansen Nail Polish
-Pixel Cosmetics
-Real Techniques Cosmetic Brushes
-Eco Tools Cosmetic Brushes
-The Body Shop (one of my favorite brands!)

Here's an extra promo codes you can use on Ulta!
-$3.50 off of a $10 purchase use code : 201894

3. American Eagle

American Eagle is having an ADDITIONAL 50% off of their clearance section through May 6th.
No code needed, the discount will automatically apply when you add a clearance item to your cart!

4. Mac Cosmetics

Mac has a new collection out called "Sized To Go". It is actually a brilliant idea, they pretty much took a lot of their best selling items, and re-packaged them to be in travel, sample sizes and they are all priced at $10. Their pigments last FOREVER, so these smaller sizes are so much more practical to buy. They also have their lip glasses in this collection.
You can find the collection here!

5. Bath and Body Works
my. favorite. store. I don't know what it is, but Bath and Body Works seriously has me hooked. I have a section in my house devoted to candle storage, and I clearly don't need any more but nothing can stop me from buying some every time I'm at the mall!!!

So right now, they are offering an EXTRA 25% off of your purchase. It is in stores or online so tell the cashier the code or enter it online. 

They also have a really cool tote right now for $20 that has over $100 in value of products inside. I think it is the perfect last minute Mothers Day gift! 

Candles are 2 for $22, no coupon code needed. Also, their signature collection is buy 3 get 3 free! They do this deal a few times a year and I love stocking up on body wash during this sale! 

Okay, that is all of the internet shopping I can do for tonight! I might try to make this a weekly series that I do on Saturdays! Let me know if you would like me to include any other stores that I can keep an eye out for deals at!

Thanks for reading!