Last month when I was in Florida for the holidays I hit up the incredibly epic Sawgrass Mills in Sunrise (near Miami). If you’ve never been to Sawgrass Mills it’s an enormous super high end mall PLUS outlet mall with stores like Tory Burch, Gucci, Jimmy Choo, Kate Spade, Nordstrom Rack, Saks Fifth Avenue Off Fifth, etc. etc. It’s always swamped with people from all over the world all brought together by the shared love of finding a great deal. I was at Sawgrass for HOURS in a trance-like zombie shopping state when all of a sudden I realized “holy shit…I’m in a CCO.”
So what the hell is a CCO anyway? CCO stands for Cosmetic Company Outlet or it’s also known as CCS which is The Cosmetics Company Store. A CCO is the one magical, mystical place that you can find MAC ON SALE. And not just MAC, but Origins, Estée Lauder, Bobbi Brown, Clinique, Smashbox, Urban Decay, Bumble & Bumble, and more. They have current and past/discontinued products, limited edition products, gift sets, and products that are in the older packaging and therefore are no longer sold at the store. The products are authentic and usually sold at 30% off retail price. The stores are open to the public so you don’t have to be a makeup artist or in the industry to go to one. How is this possible? Continue reading What is a CCO?→
So now that I’ve had a chance to use my purchases from the 2014 Sephora VIB sale I wanted to give a quick review on them and let you know what I think. I especially wanted to get this up because Sephora sent out another perk for VIB members which is $20 off your purchase of $50 or more and the holidays are coming up so I’m sure you want to know what gifts are worth it.
1. Smashbox Photo Finish Pore Minimizing Foundation Primer ($39) – So far I’m happy with this little guy. The product is a little thick so you have to warm it up on your finger tips before you apply it. You then want to kind of push and roll your fingers into your skin to best cover your pores. When I’ve applied it and look in the mirror there’s no huge “WOW where have my pores gone!?” reaction, but it feels silicon-ey and smooth and blurs your face a tiny bit. The main thing I like about it is that I think it controls my oily skin without making my face too dry which is a delicate balance. My foundation maybe looks slightly better on top of this vs. without it, but it’s not anything that a slower more intentional application of the foundation couldn’t replicate or beat. It maybe keeps my makeup on a tiny bit longer as well, but again no huge day and night transformation. It’s supposed to last for up to eight hours, but I usually have my makeup on for about 12-14 hours per day. Overall I’d recommend this if you’re oily, if you’ve liked Smashbox primers in the past, and if you aren’t counting on it to change your life. It would also be good if you’re sweating or somewhere that’s humid because it’s supposed to be resistant to those things.
2. Sephora Cream Lip Stain in 07 Dark Berry ($13) – I got this because I want to be Samantha aka ssssamanthaa on Instagram from Batalash (see video below), but instead I look like I’m failing miserably at trying to look like Lorde. I’ve only worn this around the house to try it because it is BOLD as hale. It smells really nice like the Stila Stay All Day Lip Colors a nice cake scent. It stayed pretty well and I don’t remember my lips feeling too dry and crispy. I hope I’m brave enough to wear it out into the world one day, but we’ll see. The color is really cool and I’d recommend it if you want to try something new and fun I just don’t know if I’m cool enough to rock it yet.
3. L’Occitane Voyage En Provence Set ($39) – Ugh I haven’t used all of the products in this set so far, but so far I’m super disappointed. I had very high expectations for this especially for the famous She Butter Ultra Rich Body Lotion and it was nothing special. The scent was whatever and it’s not super thick or long lasting or curative to very dry skin or anything like I was expecting. I would not recommend this and I’m wary of buying more products from L’Occitane now even though so many people are obsessed! I’d recommend this to no one because I hate it and I’m pissed. The more I think about it and write about it the more I think wow why am I not returning this to Sephora I don’t need products to travel with so desperately that I need to keep this $39 set!
4. Urban Decay Naked Skin Weightless Ultra Definition Liquid Makeup in color 2.0 ($39) – I knew this guy was not going to be the perfect fit because it’s a luminous light weight virtually invisible foundation and deep down I’m a full coverage kind of girl. It’s very thin and fluid-like and reminds me of the bareMinerals bareSkin Pure Brightening Serum Foundation in that it’s luminous and nice for a day that you want to look natural and take a break from full cake face mode. This would probably work better for me at night because when I wear these luminous foundations during the day I get oily and then they’re a mess, but the problem is that I want full coverage when I go out at night. This does have build able coverage though which is good. I need to experiment with it a bit more to figure out how it can work best for me. I wish it had sunscreen in it. I’d recommend this to someone that wants to look younger (a more sheer, luminous foundation will make you look younger than a matte full coverage one), someone that already has pretty good skin and doesn’t need a ton of coverage, and someone with dry, normal, or combo skin.
5. Urban Decay Good Karma Optical Blurring Brush ($25) – This is a vegan brush that was developed to work with the Naked Skin foundation and overall I like it a lot. It blends out the makeup quickly and evenly. I have used it with both the super thin Naked Skin foundation and the super thick BECCA foundation. I’m back to using my tried and true Beauty Blender, but when I mix it up I love using this guy. I’d recommend it to someone looking for a good foundation brush to use with liquid foundation. I think the price point on this is great and very reasonable for the quality.
6. BECCA Ultimate Coverage Complexion Creme in Buff ($44) – YASSSSSSS hunny. I am absolutely loving this foundation and I’m using it everyday and at night for going out as well. It is super full coverage and gives you a very flawless finish. I normally use a generous amount of foundation so when I accidentally put two whole pumps on my beauty blender and then went to blend it out and I was wearing a serious mask (which was fine for that day, but meant I don’t need to use as much in the future because it’s so pigmented). This foundation is easy to blend but the only thing you have to look out for is once it dries (relatively quickly in 1-3 minutes) it is DRY and SET so don’t try to blend it out again because you will just mess it up. This foundation lasts me all day and/or night long and keeps me relatively matte without drying me out too much. Once it’s on it doesn’t feel super heavy or cakey which is nice for how full coverage and pigmented it is. I spent at least an hour trying to figure out online which color to get in this and while I like to think I picked the best match I do definitely have to blend it very well down my neck and blend very very well if I’m wearing my hair up. This foundation color is also super yellow which I like because I think it balances out my redness, but I know not everyone likes super yellow foundation. I would recommend this to anyone that is looking for a full coverage foundation with great coverage and staying power who has normal to oily skin. This is my favorite thing I bought. This price tag is a little high, but I’m hoping that since it’s so pigmented that I will use less and it will last me longer (fingers crossed!) Here’s a pic of me wearing it:
It’s the most wonderful time of the year… the time where Sephora sends those of us who have spent way too much (aka Sephora VIB) at their stores a 20% off all purchases coupon. I spend hours researching, reading reviews, watching YouTube videos, adding products to my “loves” list then to my shopping cart then take them out again. I deliberate over what I “really need” and then finally make some decisions and spend a bunch of money. Let’s back-up if you’re not familiar with Sephora VIB program.
Sephora VIB Rewards Levels:
1. Beauty Insider – Free to join, no minimum purchase, you get a free gift during your birthday month, and a few other perks. You do not get the 20% off coupon in the mail every November, but you can use a friend’s coupon in store or they actually have AMAZING gift with $25 purchase options. Honestly I’m pissed that these aren’t available to VIBs because I really want all of them. You can sign up to be a Beauty Insider and shop immediately. Even though you won’t get the 20% off these gifts alone are worth a purchase. (Edit: These gifts were available at the Sephora VIB Sale in Fall 2014)
Kat Von D liquid lipstick, Pharrell’s new fragrance, UD eyeliner, MJ lip lacquer, like are you kidding me??
Hey y’all I’m back! I hope you’re recovering from Halloween nicely. I had a really awesome time and I’m going to do a post with details about my costume pretty soon. Although I’ve been a little lighter on the posting this month I’ve definitely had a LOT of ideas for upcoming posts and I’m always buying new products and testing them out “for research for the blog” wink wink. Seriously though, sometimes I do sit at my computer with Laneige BB Cushion foundation on the left half of my face only to see how long it lasts and if it stays dewy or becomes even more wet looking with time. The answer is that stuff never dried so if you want the dewiest face in the universe check it out at Target. I also spent a LOT of time reading reviews on one of the best sites out there MakeupAlley to find out what people thought about different products I was thinking about buying and to check out the products on the Best Value list. This website is a phenomenal resource if you’re ever on the fence about purchasing a product or want more information on it. Ok now let’s move on to MY favorites/reviews/recommendations for the month of October!
Before I even get to the beauty products I will let you know that the middle sparkly pumpkin was from Home Goods I believe and the two minis are real pumpkins from Trader Joes. The one on the left is painted gold with a really cool product called Rub and Buff and the right one is just painted white. Both of the stems are coated in gold glitter. My very crafty roommate made these and they looked great.
1. House of Lashes False Lashes in Iconic ($12 or 3 for $30) pictured with the House of Lashes Eyelash Adhesive ($8) – I have already talked about how much I love this lash adhesive back in my February favorites, but for a re-cap it’s latex-free and I think that’s why my eyes no longer water non-stop when I wear falsies. It’s easy to work with and apply with the brush, it dries quickly and invisibly, and it’s strong and long lasting. I bought the Iconic lashes during a Labor Day sale on the HoL website and finally got around to wearing them this past month and I love them! These are very bold, dense synthetic lashes that add nice drama. I’ve already re-used a pair with no issues. The only problem with these lashes is because they are the Premium Luxe line and have a multi-layered design they have to have a thicker band in order to hold all of those lashes together. This means that you pretty much have to wear black eyeliner on your top lid in order to hide the band, but that’s not a huge issue for my because chances are if I want this much drama I’m already rocking a big old wing up top. Here’s me getting pouty with them last weekend:
It is monthly favorites time again and this time I managed to pick more than 5 things woo hoo! I try a lot of new products (but also tend to do the same makeup for work daily), but I’m so picky that it’s hard for me to choose which ones really stand out to show you all.
1. Versace Bright Crystal eau de toilette ($52 for 1oz. at Sephora, but I bought mine at Nordstrom Rack in San Francisco for $29.99) – This month I traveled to San Francisco for the weekend and had some time to kill so I went shopping. I love getting new stuff on vacation because it reminds me of the good times that I had on my trip. This perfume is light, feminine, and clean smelling to me, but let’s see what the pros say: “Bright Crystal is a fresh, sensual blend of refreshing chilled yuzu and pomegranate mingled with soothing blossoms of peony, magnolia, and lotus flower, warmed with notes of musk and amber.” Ok so I was pretty close. My only gripe with this perfume is that it does not last!! A quick glimpse on the reviews at Sephora.com confirmed that I’m not the only one that feels this way. That is why I bought this perfume 3 weeks ago and about 1/4 of it is gone already and I didn’t even wear it everyday! I do always apply it very liberally and I also like to spray myself and my sheets before I go to bed because it smells awesome. If I hadn’t gotten this one for under $30 I definitely would not be spraying it so much.
2. Boots Botanics Rosewater Toning Spritz ($9 at Target) – I love a face mist. I really love MAC Fix Plus which I lovingly refer to as “Gypsy Water” but at $22 a pop I can’t generously douse myself in it everyday like I would like to. I will make a whole separate post on MAC Fix Plus spray to explain what the hell it is and how I use it in the future. This toning spritz smells exactly like roses and feels super refreshing and luxurious. I spray it on after washing my face or before I apply moisturizer. I also will spray some on my face before applying “a second layer of paint” aka another coat of makeup for night time when I’m in a rush. It’s supposed to “visibly tighten pores and remove the last traces of makeup” and claims that “Skin feels smoother, fresher, and prepared for moisturizing”. I only mist it on my face not on a cotton pad to remove makeup so I have no clue if it removes makeup well. Are my pores visibly tightened? Meh. Does my skin feel smoother, fresher, and prepared for moisturizing? Sure. I feel like this has been nice in the 90+ degree weather lately and will probably be nice and moisturizing when it gets colder.
3. Proclaim Professional Care Argan Oil Intense Hydrating Masque ($2 at Sally Beauty Supply) – This is just a nice moisturizing mask that’s ultra conditioning and it’s supposed to nourish hair making it soft, silky and manageable. I think it definitely did those things and my hair looked a little healthier after I used it. You can see that this one is opened because I’ve already used it twice and will probably be able to get 2 more uses out of it. Not bad for $2.
4. Anastasia Dipbrow Pomade in Taupe ($18 at Sephora) – I have talked about this product before on my How To Fill In Your Brows post. I got this for my birthday back in July, but have honestly been a bit intimidated at the thought of using it. When I’m getting ready in the AM my brows are one of the last things I do and I don’t want to be late because I’m trying to paint on the perfect eyebrows with basically a gel eyeliner for your brows. I thought this was going to be hard to apply or time-consuming, but it honestly has been way faster and easier than I thought. The other great thing about this is you need so little product that it will last forever unlike their pricey Brow Wiz pencils that I also love. The only problem I have with this is that it’s easy to go overboard and it gives you pretty seriously defined brows so you have to be careful or else it will look like you drew on brows with a Sharpie. Continue reading September Favorites→
Ok I’m about to share some tips that I know first hand about 90% of my girlfriends don’t know because whenever they’re at my place and wash their faces all of a sudden I have two eyeball-sized black marks on my pink towels. I find taking my makeup off incredibly annoying and I think I lose about 30 minutes of sleep every night because I procrastinate getting ready for bed just because I dread it so much, but I ALWAYS do it. Here’s how I remove my makeup:
1. Remove foundation from face and neck with a nice soothing gentle makeup remover wipe. I will wipe my eyeshadow off with the wipe as well, but if some is left over that is fine. The wipes I use (and I mentioned in my August Favorites) are Boots No7 Quick Thinking Wipes and definitely get the value pack. These have a nice snap closure to keep them from drying out. I try to gently and slowly pull of my falsies if I’m wearing them and you can also put liquid eye makeup remover onto a cotton round and hold it on top of the falsies to loosen them up before removing them. These Boots No7 wipes say they will remove waterproof eye makeup, but I wear about 10 coats of mascara and if I try to remove it with these wipes I’d be in my bathroom all night scrubbing and when I was done I wouldn’t have any lashes left. Luckily I do know of a product that will do this for you in the next step!
2. I’ve tried many products that have burned the bee-jesus out of my eyeballs and it turns out the best makeup remover was in your grandma’s beauty cabinet this whole time: