2014 re-buys to kick off 2015 :) PART 2

Hello again my friends! Here I will finish up the final few of what have been some of my favorite beauty products that I found in 2014 that I just can’t seem to stop going back for…

Finishing powder: Guerlain Meteorites in [2] Clair
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This, I think, is probably the favorite piece of makeup that I currently own. (Piece of makeup? Is that even a phrase?) Honestly though, aside from price there is nothing bad that I can say about this product. Okay, there is one thing – it does NOT travel well… I took it with me on a flight to Mexico, and many of the pearls had shed quite a bit of powder into the bottom of the tin due to the shaking that must have happened on the flight.
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Lucky for all of you jet-setters, Guerlain has actually recently come out with a pressed powder version of this same product, so maybe that will be the final cure all for your setting powder woes (though I would venture to guess that the compact has less product overall as compared to the pearls).

About the product itself, it is very similar to the idea behind a lot of the primers that come out with a blend of various colors. There’s a green pearl to counteract redness, a purple pearl to correct sallow coloring, yellow and white pearls to brighten, and cool pink pearls to blend with the skin. When the product is new there are 2-3 layers of them all mixed together with an applicator puff on top. The puff is okay to use, though I have much preferred a flat kabuki brush to really help push the powder into my liquid layer and to help buff it out.
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The finish has a slight satin sheen to it (a nice pearl finish, pardon the pun) that really gives a beautiful put-together look to all of your makeup. If I want to have a very natural blush I will sometimes even add some of this powder again on top of my face makeup to help blend everything together – overall the product is quite versatile since it helps counteract any discolorations you have while giving a beautiful satin finish. The powder has a beautiful perfumed scent to it that is quite light and reminds me of a sweet floral. The cost, typical for Guerlain, is quite high, but these pearls have lasted me months of daily use and honestly I think this is the one item to splurge on I had to pick. There are two other colors, as far as I know, that would be beautiful for those with deeper skin tones than I have. The coloring of the pearls is, naturally, adjusted to reflect what kind of balance is needed for those with deep tan and brown skin colors. I have not tried them myself, but I am sure that they will perform beautifully. If you’d like to sample it before committing to the $62 that these will cost , I would recommend seeking out a Guerlain counter at your local Nordstrom. The ladies there know that their products are quite a financial commitment and usually are more than willing to answer any questions you might have and let you try out the products themselves. Sephora, from my experience, rarely has any Guerlain products in store – though I suppose you could take advantage of their generous return policy if you found that it wasn’t to your liking. ANYWAY MOVING ON.

Lip Gloss: Buxom Full-On Lip Polish in Alexis
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My goodness was I surprised with how much I genuinely loved this product! I tend to find myself thinking poorly of the brands that have the kitsch marketing (Benefit, Too Faced, Buxom, The Balm, I’m looking at you), but this gloss was so highly recommended by one of the ladies at Sephora one day (thank you, mystery helper!) that I figured, hey I can always return it. There’s a few aspects of this lipgloss that I absolutely love. The first is how it FEELS. It’s got a ton of whatever that tingly plumping stuff is and oh BOY I can’t get enough of it. Not sure if it’s actually super plumping, but I really enjoy the sensation for what it is (is that weird of me?) so that was a huge plus. Couldn’t tell if there was real plumping or not because of my second favorite thing which was how GLOSSY this gloss was. I mean, go figure, right? But honestly this stuff looked great on even for a gloss containing glitter (unlike the hugely disappointing Dior glitter gloss, which I will touch on in a later post!) and kept its high shine for hours. Applicator is nothing special, but it picks up a good amount of product (unlike the Nars wand which I ALSO found oddly disappointing). Honestly, for <$20 ($19 at Sephora!) this stuff is a hot buy. And, my third favorite thing, there are DOZENS OF COLORS. Too many colors. The only bad thing is that every color has a girl name which, while cute I guess, I felt incredibly disappointed that I didn’t much care for the color that was my namesake. Also I kept almost picking colors based on how cute the outfit was that the girl had on, which is, generally speaking, a terrible way to pick out a lipcolor. Overall, this was a great buy and one that quickly became a purse staple. This color, Alexa, was a nice nude pink and looked great on its own or over a pale pink lip pencil for a bit more opaque color.

Perfume: Elizabeth and James Nirvana: White
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Not too sure how to review perfumes other than to tell you that you should go smell it yourself, but this is probably the first perfume that I have like enough to seek out more of it (after my high school obsession with DKNY’s Be Delicious, of course). It’s very light with a sweet, musky, floral scent. The musk is pretty underwhelming, which in this case I think is absolutely a good thing. The scent is feminine and sensual, and you can pick up just a rollerball if you don’t want to get a whole bottle. Personally, I have both since it does seem to fade considerably after 4 hours or so. They might try to push you into “layering” the Nirvana black or to use both or whatever but honestly that seems like a smart marketing push more than anything else to me. The Nirvana black, if I recall, was almost sickly sweet and quite overpowering as compared to the more delicate scent of the Nirvana white. I did give it a try with both “layered” together, but it just smelled as you’d expect – a mix of two different perfumes. Regardless, you can find the bottles and rollerballs here – but do check them out in Sephora in person!

Nail Polish: Illamasqua Jo’mina and YSL [1] Rogue Pop Art
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Aaah nail polish, my old friend. This is the only category that I’ve chosen two for but it is only because they are both so very, very deserving of it. And while these are great colors in my opinion, the quality from both of these lines has been both extremely high and very consistent. You’re paying a bit more per bottle, but the color density and brush feel is so worth it!
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The YSL shade is a true red, perfect for a night out in a little black something or other. It’s not great against my skin because I really do look better with cooler tones, but it’s such a nice polish to use that I keep coming back to it. Only complaint here is that the polish removal is actually a bit of a pain from how thoroughly pigmented this product is. Without ample cotton and remover you WILL have red all over your fingers. Whoops!
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The Illamasqua shade is a perfectly beautiful lilac that is just right for spring. Not quite a pastel shade, but it will pair nicely with pastel glitter if you’re looking for something a little lighter. The brush on this is not quite as nice as with the YSL, but the product itself is top notch. YSL is pretty easily available, again at Nordstrom and Sephora for $27, though there are only ~12 colors available. Illamasqua used to be available at Sephora, but now the only reliable place that I can find it is through their website for ~$21. TONS of colors and finishes from them, though, so get a bunch to make shipping worthwhile!

And that is it! My most-loved products for 2014 that I would highly recommend to anyone looking for a product of that type. A bit of a splurge in some cases but trust me – these are well worth it.
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Let me know if the comments if you’ve tried these before and, as always, let me know your thoughts on these or any other similar products!

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Hello again, my friends! 2014 re-buys to kick off 2015 :)

It might be a bit late for a 2015 “kickoff”, but hey – it’s been a long (LONG) time since I last posted and I think that March is close enough to the start of the year that I’m not completely off! Anyway, since it has been so so long, I figured I wouldn’t bother trying to remember my first impressions of everything that I’ve bought in the past months, but instead give a post about the products that I keep on going back for more of. I’ll try to keep it relatively short and sweet – maybe 1-2 things tops from each TYPE of product – so that this doesn’t become an absolute novel. If the scrolling gets out of control I might even split it into two parts, who knows! Anyway, without further ado…

Mascara: Giorgio Armani, Eyes to Kill Stretch Mascara
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I did a first review on this product waaaay backย when, and I have to say that I am still very much enamored with this product. After having used the Lancome mascaras for so so so long, I’ve realized that the dry eye effect and general flakiness that I would get at the end of any long night is pretty much unique to that brand or, at the very least, I don’t get that at all with this mascara. Actually this is one of the more comfortable mascaras that I’ve worn, and even after waking up having slept with it on (not that any of us actually do that, right? we always take our makeup off before bedtime…) my skin didn’t feel crusty as much as it normally might. I digress.
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The real appeal to this product is THE BRUSH. It’s got that wonderfully unique rectangular shape where two sides of the brush have very short bristles and the other two are longer. I included some lovely pictures of the brushes in the last post (already linked) so do check them out. As I mentioned on there, this brush is GREAT if you have naturally thick lashes that are prone to clumping with a lot of the “plump ’em up” type super fat brushes. Still available at Nordstrom and Sephora for $32.

Liquid Foundation: Guerlain Lingerie De Peau in [12] Rose Clair
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Let me first start off by acknowedging that this is some pricey stuff! It is also one of the only brands that I have found that 1. offers a color suitable for people of my near-ghostly coloring and ALSO has pink undertones and 2. has excellently buildable coverage that doesn’t look cakey. Its also SPF 20, so there’s that, too. This product has since started to yellow a bit on my skin since I’ve had it for some months now, but I think that is mostly because it’s reaching the end of its shelf life and I am using much less than I did the first time around. Or perhaps I am getting more pale and pink, which may very well be the case as we are coming out of a longish winter… As with most Guerlain products, this product has a very light and pleasant fragrance – something that you can not say about many foundations, liquid or otherwise.
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I’ve been using a MAC stippling brush (not sure which number) to apply, and the end result is a gorgeous airbrushed finish. I like to really set the face with a finishing powder (hint: more Guerlain, sorry wallet!) that has also made it onto this re-buy list as one of my top all-time favorite products. Honestly my experience with everything Guerlain makes has been overwhelmingly positive, but I guess that is what makes all of their stuff 2x the price (and that’s not even comparing it to drugstore brands). All in all, I would recommend that you at least try to get a sample of whatever color is closest to yours and give it a whirl for a week or so. The price does give a bit of sticker shock even to the splurgiest of MUAs, but there is something just so NICE about this foundation that I keep on using it and coming back for more. Available at Sephora and Nordstrom for $63.

Highlighter: Kevyn Aucoin The Celestial Powder in Candlelight
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This is an absolutely beautiful highlighter that is just metallic enough to have a real glow to your end look without turning you into a robocop lookalike. There is an included brush that might be nice for very precise application, butย After checking online it looks like they changed the packaging from when I last bought this! Not sure if a brush is included anymore. I like the diffused look that a much fluffier brush with a flat, rectangular shape affords you.
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I’ve been using one of the fluffy rectangle brushes that Tarte includes in their little square powders, though any kind of fluffy fan or contouring brush would be fine I’m sure. Popped on top of a bright blush or even paired with a simple contour and brought to the front of the cheek, this adds a real touch of elegance without any kind of drama or overstatement. This powder, though beautiful, is not really well suited for natural looks (or if you don’t quite have your facial oils under control). My one point of caution is that this should really be a finishing touch on top of everything else, and should more than likely just grace the top of your cheekbones and maybe the apples of your cheeks. It is SO shiny that it really ends up putting a strange glossy shine to your nose/chin/forehead that really is not as flattering as you would hope, so please do not confuse this for the new type of highlighters that come along with the highlight/contour kits popular now (thanks to our friends from the Kardashian family). Available at Nordstrom, and I think Sephora has actually just launched this collection themselves as well!

And now this really has gotten QUITE long for now, so I will split the second half of my favorite 2014 re-buys into a new post ๐Ÿ™‚ Please feel free to give any feedback or questions you have regarding these products or others that are competing/similar! More makeup means more options and absolutely more fun.

Eyes to Kill mascara by Giorgio Armani

More mascara reviews! As part of Nordstrom’s crazy 3-for-2 luxe mascara sale I bought one of these Armani mascaras along with the Trish McEvoy tube mascara. The sales woman described this one as making your lashes long and fluffy, good for daytime or night, with extra coats.

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Sleek silver tube. Much fatter than the Trish packaging, mostly due to the fact that this wand actually has bristles. There was something rather unique about this wand though..!

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The brush has two long sides and two short sides, like if a full brush was shaved down on half the bristles. What this means is: you can use the short bristles to get great separation from the base, and the longer sides to build up length and curl from the middle upward!

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Before and after with this lovely mascara! There’s honestly not much clumping, and the short bristles are ingenious! Really makes getting both volume and length achievable without all the usual hassle.

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Look at that! Not bad without falsies or even curling beforehand. I am definitely a fan of this mascara for daytime wear, though I do whip out my tube mascara for when I know I’ll be feeling lazy that night!
PRO: great volume AND separation, ease of use, well made packaging
CON: cleanup sucks (as with most mascara), higher cost than average, smells a bit bad, though only when wet

Fingertip Friday: Christmas sweater

Holidays are practically here! I’m getting festive with some of the nail appliquรฉ designs from Sephora!

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My pinky nail is the saddest thing ever!! I thought I could mimic the silver base of the stick on design by putting my only silver (Smolder by Revlon) over white, but it mostly turned out a patchy mess. Oh well, you get what you pay for sometimes! Anyway- keep your fingers festive and bright! Even if they are hiding in gloves most of the time.

Salon Sciences: Starting over after Artificials

As is obvious from my recent nail posts, I have recently-ish removed my Artificials from my nails! When I first popped them off, my nails looked absolutely HORRID.

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I figured I’d get something to try and repair my nails, and this looked like it might do the trick!

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Not too much, it was something like $7 at Sally. Putting it on, it immediately made the white flakes look less obvious. There’s a nice glossy finish, so you could definitely wear it on its own even without polish.

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Here’s after a few more weeks of it!
My nails feel quite strong with it on. My pinky had a pretty bad hang nail and despite my attempts to save it with nail glue it insisted on continuing to break.

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Definitely a great buy! My nails look great and feel better. The only con is that the polish will peel off sometimes. If this happens my nails will go back to the original frayed looking state, so try to not pick and only use polish remover! If your are feeling tired of acrylics, or afraid to try them for fear of nail damage – fear a little less, you can always start over.

Belated mani Monday! Pastel and floral lace

Found OPI matte top coat at Sally so I had to give it a try! It works much better than my Revlon brand, which isn’t terribly surprising, but it’s still nice to have. I ALSO got to use my new lacy stickers (which turned out to rather dislike the matte topcoat) for a refined pastel look.

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The matte cover didn’t stick onto the stickers quite as much after a shower- maybe the excess finally rubbed off? Either way, they looked better after a day than day of! My only sadness is that the matte doesn’t hold off chipping nearly as well. If you’ve got a fancy event be sure to paint them freshly!

Why I won’t be buying the Naked 3 Palette

Generally speaking, the Naked palettes are highly obsessed over by nearly everyone that shops regularly at Sephora. Sure, it’s a bit spendy, but there’s a dozen different neutral shades (supposedly good for all skin tones?) AND a hyped up dual sided usable brush – they each even come with their own little mini-version of some popular complimentary Urban Decay product. I was, what, in high school? when the Naked 1 palette came out and I was distraught that I just didn’t have the income to get it. My parents, understandably, figured $50 was too much for a teenager’s makeup and refused to relent, even to my consistent begging.

BUT then in college the Naked 2 palette came out and not only did I actually have money, the colors were much better! Finally there was a black included, as well as a lot more gold tones rather than the greys and navys (navies?) that the first included. Armed with a $20 Sephora gift card, I excitedly marched to the nearby Sephora and picked up my first Urban Decay product. The subsequent disappointment I experienced thereafter is enough to dissuade me from purchasing Naked 3, even with it’s 1000% improved color scheme and my increased income.

Those colors, dear god – they’re beautiful

1. The Brush Oftentimes, Naked junkies defend the high cost of these palettes with cries of “but, the brush! It’s not just a shitty Q-tip!” and that’s certainly true! However, for how soft the Urban Decay shadows are the brushes are not nearly firm enough. The flimsy brushes just fling the pigment powder everywhere with little control, making it difficult to make the precise, natural looks that the palette supposedly is designed for.

2. The Fallout Oh dear god, the fallout. When, on the “instructions” with any Urban Decay shadow you purchase it says to use over their primer potion, they don’t mean it as a suggestion. Even if the shadow is packed on the brush with excess tapped off, a seemingly endless amount will still manage to find its way onto your cheek, bottom lid, or even on your white jacket, as I was aghast to discover. And since the shadow is so highly pigmented (one of the best qualities of the Urban Decay products) if you try to just wipe it off you will soon have a face messier than a chimney sweep’s. Just picture that scene from Mary Poppins – not a good look for a night out, I promise. And I don’t know about you, but eyeshadow that essentially requires a sticky primer to not fall all over your face really isn’t worth $50, even for a lot of different shades.

This look, for example, took an extra 10-15 minutes just to get all the black dust from under my eyes. I still wasn’t 100% successful, even with makeup remover. Luckily I was able to just blend a darkish brown overtop – new concealer strategies?

3. The Colors Palettes are fun! And neutrals are great! But honestly, Urban Decay, don’t you think this Naked series is getting a little old at this point? First there was the palette, and everyone loved it. Then there was the SECOND palette and everyone loved that one even more! There’s now also a “Naked” lip gloss, bb cream (that only comes in one shade and magically adjusts to your skin tone, supposedly (hint: it does not)), and even a line of neutral nail lacquers. Talk about milking that cash cow… Anyway, even with my 12 available shades of my palette there’s just no reason to use all of them. A few are almost duplicates (same tone, similar value) and half at most are really flattering to my skin tone and eye color. For the money that you spend you’ll more than likely stick to 3-4 of your favorites from the set.

Don’t get me wrong though, there’s good qualities about the Urban Decay shadows, and some other products in their line are genuinely good (I love their pencil and liquid liners, for example). For the relatively high cost that you’re paying, especially for a brand that is not even considered a “luxury” line like Chanel or YSL, there’s much better alternatives out there.

My suggestion? Ignore the hype and swatch the shadows in store. It’s much better to just pick up the 2-3 from the palette that are your absolute favorites in full sizes! Trade the gimpy brush and travel sized extra for an extra $20-30 in your pocket.

Mani Monday: something fishy about these stickers

Much to my delight, the local Sally seems to keep bringing in more variety in the nailart stickers each time I go in! Here’s one of my most recent purchases.

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This brand has all kinds of stickers! There’s even one with just american flags, which I thin is pretty funny

How cute are those! The crab is really what sold it to be honest. This also gave me a chance to break in my latest Illamasqua color, Nomad!

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I made the mistake again of not letting the mint China Glaze polish dry for like half an hour before adding stickers. Argh.

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Even with the Illamasqua polish, though, there is some weird pulling by the stickers that I’m not sure how to avoid completely. Maybe there’s a weird reaction as the top coat is added?

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Look I even have a right hand! Notice how much messier it is, unfortunately…

Stickers allow beautiful nail art for even the least artistic or coordinated people, and there’s instant results (as long as you wait for the base polish to dry totally). With this brand I seem to find that the stickers will start to come off on their own after a few days, so it might be worth it to reapply topcoat somewhat regularly if you want them to last.

Fingertip Friday: preemptive holiday nails!

Halloween is over so that means the holidays are coming! I did a test run of some festive designs.

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The gold color is the new Marc Jacobs lacquer that I got along with the lip gloss – it’s absolutely gorgeous!

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At Sally I found little nail stickers with a winter theme! GIfts and snowmen and so much more!

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The glitter over the red is absolutely stunning – it’s from the new Sephora X line, this color is Voltage

While I really don’t like how short my nails are now (having to start over after acrylics!) hopefully they’ll grow out before too long! What nails do you prefer for the holiday – simple sparkle, or festive designs?

Mani Monday: lavender mix

While at Sally, I saw among the nailart section that they had a collection of crushed colored shells and glitter! The idea is to use a basecoat to get the glitter and shells to stick on in whatever design you want. After much mess (there is glitter seriously all over my desk) I ended up with a variety of different designs since I couldn’t pick one that I liked best.

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While pretty difficult to work with, the shell pieces have no trouble staying on as long as you seal them with topcoat

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There’s 5 different colors of shells and glitter so you can make designs for pretty much any color scheme

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I really liked how these turned out, though the hassle was enough that I didn’t even attempt to do anything on my right hand. Probably a better nailart choice if you’re going to be doing nails with some friends!