Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Ulta Friends And Family 20% Off Haul


Hey everyone! I wanted to share with you what I bought at Ulta during the Friends & Family sale. Ulta runs a great promotion where you can receive 20% off everything...including high end makeup, skincare and fragrance. I usually start a list of items I want and then check them out at the store. It's such a great deal so I tend to splurge a little more when this sale rolls around. 

Here's what I got...



LORAC Pro Palette...Oh yes I did. I finally caved into the latest makeup craze and got myself this palette. I've seen countless reviews and mentions, but never really thought it was something I needed. Still, I decided it was worth a look because I usually wear neutrals and I liked that this palette is half matte eyeshadows. I played around with the tester at Ulta and fell in love. The pigmentation is great, I like the case and packaging (sleek!) and of course the shade selection. A particular shade I am really digging is "Garnet". It's unique and I don't really have anything like it in my collection surprisingly! 


Urban Decay Deluxe Shadow Box...This was a total impulse buy. This palette has been around for years and I know I've looked at it a few times. The pigmentation of this eyeshadow range is great - very creamy/buttery. I love all of the shades and I think this palette will add a nice selection of "pop" colors for me. It was a steal at $19 then then 20% off!

Aveeno Pure Renewal Dry Shampoo...I haven't really found any dry shampoos that have wow'ed me. I like Aveeno so I figured why not give this a chance. It smells really nice - very fresh. We will see!

Tarte Amazonian Clay Waterproof Brow Mousse in Taupe...This was a brow product I've been curious about. I'm a fan of the brush this set comes with. It's very stiff and the spooly at the end is perfect. I wouldn't describe the formula as a mousse...it's creamy but not fluffy at all. Taupe is the lightest shade and I still find it to be a tad too dark for my liking. I'll be testing this one out to see if it will work for me...

Smashbox Sheer Focus Tinted Moisturizer...Yep, another impulse buy. I read a review on this the other day and I was curious. I like the moussy texture of this and the color isn't bad either. It's not sheer but it's no where near full coverage. I'd say light is what you will get. 

Butter London Nail Polish in Bossy Boots...I love green nail polishes...especially pastels. This is a pistaccio shade that I think I will really enjoy on my nails. I've never tried this brand and hope to be impressed. The price tag at $14 (without discounts) is crazy in my opinion...but I will see how this formula stacks up! I have pretty high expectations...

China Glaze Nail Polish It's A Trap-eze...Ask me a few months ago and I would never have even given this shade the time of day. However, after trying a few of Essie's LuxeEffects glitter polishes I was hooked. This shade is so unique and there's just something about it. Of course since it's a a quirky fun shade, it's not something I see myself wearing often. I'm excited to try it on!

Goody QUIKSTYLE...This brush caught my eye for a few reasons...one being what it looks like. I mean it's weird looking right? But then I saw its supposed to be water absorbing. As for someone like myself who has hair that takes FOREVER to dry, count me curious. The girl at the checkout said her sister loves it....so that helped my decision too.

Real Techniques Setting Brush & Travel Essentials Set...These brushes are amazing and have quickly become everyday items I reach for. They just work and blend your makeup perfectly. I seriously want them all. I was going to buy the other kits, but they were soldout so I got the one kit they did have and then the setting brush. I plan to use the setting brush for highlighter as I don't really have a brush I like to use for that right now!

Do you have any of these items? What do you think?

As always thanks for reading,
Carly

Monday, January 21, 2013

Favorite Lip Products of 2012


Hi all! Today's post will be about my favorite lip products of 2012. I found many of favorites over the past year. As some of you may know, I really only wear nude lip shades as I find them most wearable and look the best on my skin. I wish I could pull off red or bright lips but alas...I just can't! 

In this post I have included lipgloss, lipstick and lip treatment. Here are my favorites...

(L to R Creme Brulee, Bare To Be Bold, Gaga 2, Circe)


Revlon Lip Butter in Creme Brulee - My favorite of the lip butter craze and most used. It's really a no fuss lipstick/lip balm hybrid. It's my go to when I don't have a mirror or just need a little color on my lips. It's a nude beige hint of caramel shade.

Maybelline Color Whispers in Bare To Be Bold - I technically cheated because this product was just released (2013), but I love it so much I had to include it. It beat out a few other runner ups! I just did a full detailed review on these. If you would like to read it click here. I knew the first time I used this that it would probably become a favorite. The color is perfect and I like the feel of these on my lips. It's easy to wear too!

MAC Viva La Glam Lipstick in Gaga 2 - Probably my favorite MAC lipstick (besides my loved discontinued limited edition "Growing Trend"). It's a great nude that doesn't go orange on my lips. It also doesn't wash me out but still tones down my natural lip color. In MAC terms, this is an amplified finish which is my favorite. It's creamy, opague and has pretty good staying powder. This is not available anymore, so you would have to buy at a cosmetic outlet store or resort to ebay. However, here's a insider tip - NYX Circe is really similar!

NYX Round Label Lipstick in Circe - My favorite drugstore nude lipstick. I've recommended this many times to friends if they are wanting to try nude lips but don't want that "concealer" lip look. It's a creamy formula and doesn't dry out my lips. The lasting power isn't great, but for the price (around $4ish) I don't mind reapplying. 


(L to R Underage, Sugar Pie, Peach Petal)


Mac Lipglass in Underage - This lipgloss has been in my collection for awhile now but never got much love. The formula is thick and can be a little sticky. The color is great though as a wear alone or over a lipstick. It's a nude but has little more bubblegum pink in it. If you want a lipgloss that lasts a long time, then this is the formula for you!

NYX Mega Shine Lip Gloss in Sugar Pie - I've used these lipglosses on and off for years and I've always really liked the pigmentation and how they sit on my lips. The smell is a bit too strong (cherry medicine almost), but it's not a dealbreaker for me. This is the perfect nude pinky shade. It goes with everything or wears well on its own. Check out these lipglosses if you haven't yet...they have a great range of colors!

Revlon Super Lustrous Lipgloss in Peach Petal - I bought this after seeing it in a YouTube video. The formula is similar to the MAC lipglass but just not as sticky. This is yet another great pinky nude shade. The staying power is really good with this one too.

Blistex Medicated Lip Ointment - My lips are always dry and usually chapped in the winter. This has really helped moisturize my lips and it's one of the few treatments I've tried that I feel like its actually working. It has a methol taste/smell and feels like a lotion almost on your lips. I found it to work well before applying a lipstick too. It's not a primer but I have noticed my lipstick does goes on smoother.




 What are your favorite lip products? Please share if you have any recommendations for me! I'd love any.

Thanks for reading,
Carly

Friday, January 18, 2013

Maybelline Color Whisper Review


Today's review will feature the much talked about Maybelline Color Sensational Color Whispers. As both a blogger and beauty lover, I'm always on the lookout for new and upcoming products. Since these are new, I've only seen them on displays. I purchased one at Target and the other three at Ulta. In this post, I will review the overall product, four shades and compare the Color Whispers to the Revlon Lip Butters!




I was a fan of last year's craze Revlon Lip Butters. I liked the idea of a lip butter because my lips are always dry and I don't tend to wear bold lip colors. I also liked that they were simple to put on - almost a grab and go product. So when I saw Maybelline was coming out with something similar count me curious. As I always do, I first looked up other reviews and swatches. I really only wear nudes shades so I mostly looked at those. FYI My review will only be on shades in that family so if you are looking to see the brighter colors I would do check out some of the other reviews.




The four shades I own are Go Nude, Some Like It Taupe, Bare To Be Bold, and One Size Fits Pearl (L to R in the photo below)





First impression...I liked the packaging. It was simple, cute and wasn't cheap looking. I really like the font they used for the word "whisper". The product twists up and you can twist it down so when you put the cap on it won't touch it. The price was $7.49 so similar to Revlon Lip Butters. I should have waited for a buy one get one half off sale, but ended up grabbing more than I expected. Since these are only on displays right now a lot of shades were out. I didn't mind because most were ones I wouldn't wear myself. Color Whispers have a good range of shades from nudes to pinks to darks. 





My review...If you are looking for a sheer to light color application then these are a must have. If you are looking for a super pigmented lipstick you might want to skip these. I love the texture of these. They are described as "weightless gel" and live up to that. They honestly feel really nice on my dry lips. I wouldn't use the word moisturizing but there is a certain hydration factor to these. They sit very comfortable on my lips and have some slip. Color Whispers have to be built up. It's not a one swipe product and you're done (unless you just want something sheer). The swatches below are 5 seconds of building up the color. 

Are these just like Revlon Lip Butters? I would say not quite. The concept is the same and probably because of the Lip Butter success most drugstore brands are going to be releasing some form of a lip butter. I like the texture and finish more of the Color Whispers, but the Lip Butters do have much more pigmentation. Lip Butters do have a thicker finish than the Whispers, but aren't heavy on the lips at all. Do you need both? It's up to you. I think they are different enough to have both. It really depends on what your preference of texture is. Also I noticied a lot of shades overlap, but Whispers has more wearable nude shades. Revlon Creme Brulee is a great everyday nude, but the other nudes from that line I found to be thick and almost cakey. If you only wear nudes like me, Whispers does offer you a better selection. 



Go Nude - A peachy nude that I've heard some compare to Revlon Lip Butter in Creamsicle. I think this color is much better than that one. Go Nude is also a smidge darker and not as orange or as light.

Bare To Be Bold - As far as colors, Bare To Be Bold is hands down my favorite. This was the first one I bought and what made me go back for more. It's the perfect nude for my lips. It's a beige that is also milky pink. I love it on its own or paired with a lipstick. If you like nude lips this is a must have. It's perfect with smokey eyes. It reminds me of a sheered out MAC Sheen Supreme Lipstick in Supremely Confident.

Some Like It Taupe - It looks darker in the tube but it sheers out to a light warm nude. It reminds me of a slightly warmer, less pigmented Revlon Lip Butter in Creme Brulee. If you like that one, you'll probably like this one too. I like both a lot. Creme Brulee is my favorite lip butter and one of favorite lip products. Another close to that product colorwise I'm interested in!


One Size Fits Pearl - The sheerest of the four I own. It's the most like Revlon Lip Butter in Sugar Frosting. One Size Fits Pearl is basically the same color but without the shimmer or grittiness of of the Revlon one. This isn't a shade I would say run out and grab. It doesn't add much on it's own, but would work over a lipstick to make it glossy. You can pass on this.

Swatches
(L to R both photos - Go Nude, Some Like It Taupe, Bare To Be Bold, One Size Fits Pearl)




Overall, I'm really liking the Color Whispers. I do think the hype may lead some to have really high expectations. I can't speak for the brighter or darker shades, but I know I'm happy with the nude shades. They are smooth and sit comfortably, and they can be built up. Like I said early, if you are a lipstick girl then these may not be for you. But I do think you might like these on top of your lipstick for a glossy hydrating look. I think they are worth a look for sure. If I could only keep two I would keep Some Like It Taupe and Bare To Be Bold. Both are wearable nude shades that I think would be flattering on a variety of skintones!




Thanks for reading,
Carly

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Thursday, January 17, 2013

Kiehl's Midnight Recovery Eye Review


Hi all! Today's post will feature Kiehl's Midnight Recovery Eye. This is my favorite eye cream, and has been in my skincare routine for quite some time now. As many of you know, I am a huge Kiehl's fan. Pretty much all my regular skincare is from this brand. I'm really happy with how my skin has changed since using this line, and I wanted to pass along a good eye cream recommendation to you all!

What do I want in an eye cream? I think this is the first thing to quickly mention. The eye area is the first spot to show signs of aging. I wanted to find something that could be preventive but still correcting at the same time. I'm really picky with eye creams because most burn or make my eyes water terribly. I also wanted an eye cream to be creamy but not thick. It also has to be something I can blend in easy but isn't greasy. Midnight Recovery meets ALL of these requirements!



My review...This is my favorite eye cream for the above mentioned reasons. This isn't a dealbreaker for me (unless it's too strong) but this eye cream has a herbal scent to it. It's a very "essential oils" smell if you are familiar with that. I really like it and it doesn't bother my eyes at all! I think it actually soothes them. One of the biggest reasons I love this product is because it actually works! I have definitely noticed the skin around/under my eyes is softer, smoother and the lines I did start to develop are diminishing. Of course I didn't have deep or prominent eye area wrinkles, but I can honestly say I have seen a considerable difference. I can't say this for any other eye creams I have used.

Is it for you? I really think all ages would like this and could benefit from it. I'm almost 27 and I am finding that by using eye cream (and other skincare) that my facial skin looks healthy and is staying youthful. More mature skin could benefit from this as well. It's a nice alternative to the harsh or really strong chemical eye products on the market. Midnight Recovery is also a plus because it's hydrating and doesn't sit on the skin...it soaks in. A lot of anti aging eye creams on the market are really thick!






Ingredients & More Information...



The ideal companion to the highly successful Midnight Recovery Concentrate, this restorative concentrate of essential oils and botanicals improves the youthful appearance around the eye. Infused with the same natural ingredients as Midnight Recovery Concentrate, as well as Butcher’s Broom, this night treatment leaves under-eye skin feeling strengthened and replenished. Midnight Recovery Eye’s non-migrating cream texture is specifically formulated for the delicate eye area. 




• Diminishes the appearance of fine lines
• Reduces puffiness
• Reduces dark under-eye circles
• No parabens, fragrance, mineral oil or silicones.





Overall, I highly recommend giving Kiehl's Midnight Recovery Eye Cream a look. It's $36 for .05fl oz. It's not cheap, but it honestly lasts a long time. The really tiny sample I had before this lasted me a least a month. Remember, you are only doing this in the eye area not the whole face so you aren't using nearly as much. If you are interested I would head to a Kiehl's store (or I know you can find Kiehl's at department stores like Nordstrom's) and ask for a sample. Kiehl's is awesome about sampling and truth be told that is how I ended up finding so many of my favorites from the brand!

Thanks for reading,
Carly

Monday, January 14, 2013

Maybelline Volum'Express The Rocket Mascara Review


Hi all! Today's post will feature the much talked about Maybelline Volum'Express The Rocket Mascara. I've been using this for a few weeks now and wanted to share my thoughts (good and bad) about this mascara. 


Description:
Explosive Volume In Rocket Time! 8X Bigger, Smoother. Now, the most explosive, beautiful lashes ever! Maybelline's Volum' Express The Rocket Mascara's patented Supersonic Brush with micro bristles loads on big, sleek volume instantly. The fast-glide formula keeps lashes smooth. Zero clumps guaranteed! SOURCE: ULTA


I'll be honest right off the bat and say I'm not a huge Maybelline mascara fan. Of the mascaras I've tried, I wasn't really impressed by any (I do like Great Lash BIG). I found a lot of them were clumpy, wet and had a strange scent to them. However, I saw The Rocket in a few YouTube videos and it looked promising. I decided to pick it up at Ulta and here are my thoughts...

Good...Right off the bat I noticed the tube and wand reminded me of my all time favorite mascara, CoverGirl Lash Blast. The brush is the rubber kind with short bristles. Maybelline's formula seemed wetter but didn't seem like it would be an issue. It didn't have that odd scent I mentioned before, and the brush didn't pick up too much excess product. I wanted to test this mascara a few ways to see how it performed and also how it lasted. I always curl my lashes so I did that first and then did a few swipes through them. I consider this "one coat" for me. I then did the other eye. I'll admit, I was pretty impressed. The length was really good and the volume wasn't bad either. I found this mascara to be really good at separating my lashes too.

Bad...As I just mentioned, I consider "one coat" a few swipes. A "second coat" is after I finish both eyes I go back to the first eye to add another layer. I found that when I did this my lashes got thick and dry. I wouldn't use the word clumpy, but my lashes felt really dry almost brittle. At the end of the day I found them to be even more dry. The formula wasn't too difficult to remove, but I was extra careful to be gentle because I worried my lashes could break off (they didn't). I wondered how this mascara would perform with a lash primer? 


Verdict...Would I recommend? Maybe. I think there are better mascaras on the market that do the same claims and are in the same price range. I would 100% pick (similar mascara) CoverGirl Lash Blast over this, but I don't think this is a miss though. If you do pick this mascara up make sure to try out different ways to wear it. I still like using it, but I won't be doing more than "one coat" again. I think this mascara is a little too overhyped, but I am impressed with the separating & length  The length I get from this is really awesome so I'll make the effort to get this to work!

Me wearing Maybelline Volum'Express The Rocket Mascara (one coat - several swipes)




 Thanks for reading,
Carly

Friday, January 11, 2013

My 2012 Nail Polish Favorites


Hi everyone! Today's post will feature my top picks in the nail polish category for 2012. 2012 was the year I really started to get into nail polish. I also starting doing my own manicures at home. My favorite shades to wear are neutrals, grays/greige, blues and greens! My top brand nail brand is Essie. I enjoy their formula, brush size and the overall result of their polish over other well known brands. 

My collection has grown quite a bit, but I was able to narrow down my must haves for you. 

Here are my picks...

Zoya Carey
Revlon Colorstay Top Coat
Essie Shine Of The Times
Essie Yogaga
Essie Mojito Madness
Essie Bikini So Teeny
Essie Miss Fancy Pants







first photo (L to R)
Zoya Carey (periwinkle, grey cream)
Revlon Colorstay Top Coat
second photo (L to R)
Essie Luxe Effects Shine Of The Times
Essie Yogaga (a peachful sandy beige)
third photo
Essie Mojito Madness (a fun-loving, lime green)
fourth photo (L to R)
Essie Bikini So Teeny (a sparkling, cornflower blue)
Essie Miss Fancy Pants (a refined, chic, greige)



What are your top nail picks for 2012? Please feel free to recommend any that you think I might like! 

Thanks for reading,
Carly

Monday, January 7, 2013

Clarins Intense Bronze Self Tanning Tint Review


Hi all! Today's post will feature Clarins Intense Bronze Self Tanning Tint. This product was mentioned in my November Current Favorites post. I have loved this product since I first purchased it. In fact, it has become my #1 favorite face tanner! In addition this has quickly moved up the ranks and has become one of my all time favorite beauty items!

I'm really picky with self tanners in general, especially face tanners! I prefer to use tanners that are specifically made for the face as I find them gentle on the skin and don't cause me breakouts. Of course your body's skin is a lot thicker than your facial skin, so you have to consider pores, clogging, breakouts and all that other skin care stuff. 

I've never used Clarins before, but I was more than willing to give them a look. I read about this product on one of my favorite beauty blogs Miss Natty's Beauty Diary. I read her review and found out that this is what she uses on her face. Her tan looks so good that I knew I had to get this. I went to Sephora to get a sample because I always like to try an item first if possible. I was able to use the sample about 3 times and I was so happy with the results! I then waited until the Sephora VIB 20% off sale and picked this up right away! I want to mention that I would absolutely still buy this if I didn't have a coupon. It retails for $34 for 4.2oz


The product itself is housed in a large bottle (4.2oz) and has twist on/off lid. Once closed, I find it secure and I have not had any issues at all with leaking or anything of that sort. I like to keep the bottle in the original packaging for storage. Although this a luxury brand item, don't let the price deter you. The bottle is huge and this will last you quite some time. As you will read below, I only use a drops rather than pouring it for application. I also use this twice a week so it's not an everyday product. It's really worth it!

Clarins Intense Bronze Self-Tanning Tint is a dark brown liquid that has a lightweight texture. It's not a lotion, thick or heavy at ALL! It does have a light scent but it's not overpowering at all. It doesn't have that typical self tan smell if you are familiar with that.

I find the color lasts quite awhile and fades natural. In a typical week I apply this about twice before bedtime. I wash off the day's makeup and then put on my moisturizer (I like my Kiehl's Ultra Facial Oil Free the best) and let it soak in. Later that night I begin this routine... 

I have applied Clarins Intense Bronze Self Tanning Tint with both my fingers and a cotton round. I find that I much prefer using the cotton round as I find it easier to blend. I have included a photo of the cotton pads that I like to use below. I pour a tiny amount one the pad (probably around 2-3 drops) and start patting on my cheeks. I will then blend in circle motions to cover that whole area. I will also go over my nose and behind my eyebrows. I will pour another few drops on the cotton pad and work it on my forehead, brow bone and under my eyes. I will repeat these same steps and do my chin and above my lips. I will then use the reminder of what is on the pad and make sure the area right by my hairlines has some of the product on it. I usually use my body tanner for my neck, but if I use the Clarins product, I will flip the pad over and do my neck! I'm telling you, this is so simple and quick. I'm probably done with my face in 2 minutes tops! After I'm all done, I just wash my hands and I'm good to go!

Since this is the bronze formula, you will see the tint right away. It doesn't look orange at all. It's literally the perfect tan for my skin! One of the main reasons I love this so much is because it's so low maintenance and I get such amazing results!

Once the product is on, it dries down almost instantly. There is no fussy waiting time (which is common complaint with other face tanners) and it doesn't look blotchy. After I finish the rest of my self tanning routine, I will head to bed and sleep on it. I find this gives the tan the longest time to develop. I just simply wash my face with my cleanser in the shower in the morning.


I highly recommend checking this product out if you are a self tanner or looking to add some color to your face. It's so easy to use and there is no time commitment in perfecting it. The color payoff is so natural and realistic, and it fades evenly so you don't have to worry about how it will look after a few days. Although it's pricey, I know that this bottle will last me quite awhile! 

I am so happy I found this in the blogs as it is one of my all time favorite products now! This gets an A+ in my book!

Thanks for reading,
Carly

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