Open Your Eyes… Literally!

Open Your Eyes… Literally!

I’ve been setting my alarm earlier and earlier lately (I know… it’s quarantine… I should be sleeping in…).  When I finally get out of bed I have very little time to get ready, but I NEED to look awake since I’ll be on camera teaching students.  My tricks?  Eye brightener, highlighter, and my trusty eye cream that even graced the list of Best Eye Creams from ConsumersAdvocate.org.  So quick and easy!  The three products I always use are also affordable AND on Amazon.  Win-win!

LilyAna Naturals Eye Cream

img_5248I’ve written about this eye cream before and it seems to have a cult following.  It has great ingredients, is never greasy, is affordable, and is convenient since it’s on Amazon.  The awesome people at ConsumersAdvocate.org have placed this eye cream at number 2 on their Best Eye Cream Based on In-Depth Reviews list!

Number 3 on the ConsumersAdvocate.org list might be my next product test: Neutrogena Hydro Gel Boost Eye Cream.  I already use the Neutrogena Hydro Gel Boost moisturizer, so I’ll let you know if their eye cream passes the test!

TONYMOLY Panda’s Dream Brightening Eye Base

img_5250I’m a firm believer in concealer because… kids.  I’ve always loved Maybelline’s Instant Age Rewind‘s concealer, but lately I haven’t even had time for that.  The TONYMOLY Panda’s Dream Brightening Eye Base is so easy to use that it’s fool-proof!  Since it’s not really a concealer, but an eye base, you don’t have to match shades of skin tone, you can swipe it on, smooth it, and GO!  I usually finish the under eye area off with powder, otherwise my mascara does stick to the base after a few hours and no one likes the raccoon look.

This base does a wonderful job of neutralizing dark circles and when paired with a little powder almost works as good as a concealer.

jane iredale Highlighter Pencil

img_5249I keep seeing Facebook ads for Thrive Cosmetics highlighters.  I can’t tell you how many freaking times I’ve clicked on those things!  I just don’t want to become addicted to a product that I have to order from a company directly.  Amazon, Target, and Ulta are my go-tos, so I figured they had to have something similar.  Of course Amazon came though for me.  The jane iredale Highlighter Pencil does everything the Thrive pencil does, has two different shades in one pencil, and came with a great sharpener.  I use the pink toned color under the brow as a highlighter, under the lower lash line, and along the inner portion of the lid.  The white color is great in the lower lash line and inner corner of the eye to open up the eyes.  It makes my eyes appear so much more awake and open.

Alright… go open your eyes!  Moms, I know you can identify with the lack of time and dark circles. You’re welcome!

50% Off Shape Tape Concealer and Some Great Concealer Dupes!

50% Off Shape Tape Concealer and Some Great Concealer Dupes!

Photo Credit: Tarte

You read that right-Shape Tape concealer is HALF PRICE! Holla!!! Ok, I’ll stop saying holla now. But, really-it’s on sale! Treat yo self, people!

I still haven’t tried Shape Tape since it’s blown up as the best selling concealer, but I have found a pretty good dupe. Not having tried shape tape, the reviews for this dupe compare to those of Shape Tape, so Ill take their word for it.

I’m talking about NYX Can’t Stop Won’t Stop concealer. It is full coverage and lasts all day. It doesn’t get cakey or settle in lines. It does dry down pretty quickly, so if you plan on baking with this concealer have your loose powder on hand. This is probably my favorite full coverage concealer.

My other go to concealer doesn’t really compare to Shape Tape or Can’t Stop Won’t Stop, but I use it almost daily. I typically wear a BB cream, so since it’s not full coverage, full coverage concealer looks a little crazy. I use Maybelline Instant Age Rewind for everyday use. It blends well, covers dark circles, and stays put with a little light powder.

Check out these concealers-you won’t be disappointed!

A Review: Foundation – A Love/Hate Relationship

A Review: Foundation – A Love/Hate Relationship

My sister-in-law asked what foundation I’ve been using lately and it hit me: I have SO many foundations and I have so many that I love for many different reasons.  I call foundation a love/hate relationship because while it can make a look awesome, it can also look plastered on if you don’t use a good primer or if your skin is too dry. I figured I’d share a few of my favorite full, medium, and light coverage options I use often and some tips that help get the most wear time out of each of them.  I’d love to know some of your favorites!

After applying these foundations with a beauty blender, I follow up with a loose powder (I use Coty Airspun) and a setting spray (NYX Matte Finish is my go to) to get the most wear time out of any foundations I use.

Full Coverage

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Milani Conceal + Perfect

I’m starting with this one because it conceals EVERYTHING and doesn’t look very cakey.  Make sure to use a great moisturizer before applying and maybe a light primer.  It looks pretty natural considering how well the coverage is.  I also always follow up immediately with a loose powder and setting spray to make it last as long as possible.

L’Oreal Infallible Foundation

This is probably my favorite and most used foundation.  It goes on smoothly, covers very well without looking like you’ve caked 10 lbs of concealer on your face, and wears ALL day.  It’s also easy to build up if you need more coverage.  A little primer before applying goes a long way and finishing with loose powder and setting spray will get you an entire day of wear easily.

Maybelline Dream Urban Cover60909369241__56c18cf7-85a7-49cd-b13b-248e1af5fcbe

This is a great foundation if you’re looking for high coverage with an SPF.  It goes on pretty well, but I chose a horrible shade for my skin tone.  I’m sure if I get the right shade for my skin it will look A LOT better.  It’s still a great foundation and I’m able to make it work with some blending when I want a good SPF foundation.

Medium Coverage

60909384050__0ee27b6f-b83a-499f-a087-43f0a1e97d04Wet n’ Wild Photo Focus

You guys… this foundation doesn’t even cost $5 and it’s one of my FAVORITES of all time.  It really could be considered full coverage because it’s easily buildable.  The color match is awesome, the formula is pretty thin, so it’s easy to apply, and it looks SO good on.  You can’t go wrong with this one!

Wet n’ Wild Mega Cushion Foundation60909419825__98c44055-084d-4b48-9841-7d3543af3792

I love this foundation for something different.  It kind of gives my skin a dewey look without looking like I have an oily face.  Paired with a little loose powder it goes a long way.  The only down side to this foundation is that since it is a cushion foundation, I feel like there is a lot less product in the container.

 

 

 

Light Coverage

Burt’s Bees BB Creamimg_4315

Last, but definitely not least, Burt’s Bees BB Cream.  I use this nearly every day, so I don’t have to be careful when I apply it.  It goes on smoothly and is practically a tinted moisturizer.  It doesn’t break out my face and usually doesn’t look super oily by the end of the day if I use loose powder after applying.  I don’t usually use a beauty blender with this and it blends great.  Don’t bother with a primer because it lasts FOREVER.  Primer usually makes this foundation settle in lines and look a little thicker than it should. A little goes a long way and as long as I have a great under eye concealer, this is great for everyday wear.

Falsies I Can Get Behind – Lashes ANYONE Can Apply!

Falsies I Can Get Behind – Lashes ANYONE Can Apply!

I have what I would consider normal lashes, but I always ask people what type of mascara they’re wearing when their lashes look great and they always tell me they’re wearing false lashes.  Fail.  I’m not a false lashes person.  Don’t get me wrong… I love makeup and think it’s fun to play with and try new products, but years of dance has practically landed me in false lash trauma therapy.  I HATED false lashes during competition season.  They were easy enough to apply, but they were just a pain if they came loose, the glue dried up before the bottle was even opened, a pair ripped, whatever the reason was, they were a pain.

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Photo Credit: Target

I found magnetic Ardell lashes and thought, “Hmmm… maybe?”.  That was a big ole nope.  They stuck to each other in the middle of my real lashes.  Not attractive.  Not to mention since they’re two pairs of lashes that stick to one another just picture what three layers of lashes look like.  Like a caterpillar is attacking both of your eyelashes.  Not a good look, just take it from me.

Now, I’ve heard a lot of people talk about Silly George magnetic lashes.  A magnetic eyeliner is applied and the lashes are attracted to the eyeliner.  The lashes never seem to look too fluffy, full, or fake, so I thought I’d check this option out.  Uhhhh… $40 for fake lashes I might hardly or never wear?  Next!

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Photo Credit: Amazon

The only logical solution to my search was… AMAZON.  Amazon solves all of life’s problems, right?  Behold… the solution to all of your false lash needs.  I basically found Silly George lashes on a budget, you guys!  You should read the reviews.  It made it sound like my 2 year old could apply them and wear them for a night out.  Where would a 2 year old wear false lashes?  Why would he wear falsies period?  I don’t know… back to the lashes…

The eyeliner is easy to apply and the directions say to apply 2 coats.  I HATE liquid liner and this liner was the easiest liquid liner I’ve ever applied.  Once fully dry the lashes simply follow the liner and stay put.  THAT IS IT.  Seriously, it’s that easy.  The awesome part about this kit is there are two sets of lashes for a full, fluffy look and a set that I would consider a “daily wear” set.  They are SO good.  You can’t beat the price (it seems to fluctuate, but it’s typically around $15-20) and they’re so easy to apply.  Try them-I guarantee you’ll love them!

 

 

 

 

My Lipgloss Be Poppin’… and Sheet Masks are Back

My Lipgloss Be Poppin’… and Sheet Masks are Back

If you know what this is referring to you’re my sister from another mister… or brother from another mother.  I won’t pass judgement just because you know great song lyrics!  But seriously, guys… I have a favorite lipgloss.  I tried matte lipsticks, I really did.  I even made an entire post about lip exfoliators because I tried to love them.  I mean, I did end up finding an awesome lip exfoliator, so I guess there’s that.  Lipgloss is where it’s at for me.

Anyways… back to the original point of this-my favorite lipgloss was discontinued quite a while ago.  I have randomly tried others, but nothing can replace my tried and true Bare Minerals lipgloss.  However, I have found a close second.  Milani came through FTW!

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Milani Ludicrous lipgloss meets all of my requirements fairly well: they offer a great shade range, it’s not sticky, it’s not runny, and the color lasts a fairly long time for a lipgloss.  The shade range they offer also includes some very fine shimmer or a completely matte gloss (yeah… I know that’s an oxymoron… just roll with it, k?).

The shades that were available at my Target weren’t a perfect match to my beloved Bare Minerals, but they had what I was looking for: a somewhat pink/peach shade that with no glitter or shimmer.  I found exactly that in the top shade (Teen Spirit) and I grabbed a darker shade with a little shimmer (Semi Charmed).  I actually ended up loving the darker shade just as much as my Bare Minerals replacement-score!

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I’ve tried Milani lipgloss in the past and HATED it, so I was skeptical.  I tried Milani Keep It Full Lip Plumper in Nude Shimmer.  I love a good lip plumber, but this ain’t it.  The applicator is huge and puts way too much product on your lips at once.  Once it’s applied it slips and slides all over the place and applies very unevenly.  It has no staying power and the plump?  Nowhere to be found.

If you want a great lip plumper, try Soap & Glory Sexy Mother Pucker Pillow Plump.  This plumper has that tingly, minty plumping effect and really works.  The product applies evenly and stays put well for a lip gloss.

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Now, about that mask.  I never cared much for sheet masks until I realized how great they are when you have very little time.  They’re also amazing if you’d like to lock in moisture to help plump skin after exfoliation like microdermabrasion.  I found Deweytree collagen sheet masks at Nordstrom Rack and thought, “why not?”.  Best. Decision. Ever.  They were amazing and I used them after every microdermabrasion session every week to help boost moisture and elasticity (read about at home microdermabrasion here-you will LOVE it!).

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Photo Credit: Facetory.com

Fast forward a bit after my stash of sheet masks ran out – they are nowhere to be found.  Lovely… another product I love discontinued.  The replacement search begins.  Naturally I searched Amazon.  I found some super cheap sheet masks that were ok, but not great.  They had a really strong fragrance scent that I just couldn’t get over.

After Google searching for collagen sheet masks I finally came across some TonyMoly sheet masks.  I love TonyMoly, so I thought I’d give them a try.  SO glad I did!  They’re amazing and might even be better than my beloved Deweytree masks (*gasp*).  They don’t have an extremely strong fragrance and they seem to absorb better and lock in moisture longer.

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Photo Credit: Ulta

The best part is I can actually find them from Ulta and Amazon fairly easily.  These might be my new favorite masks.  Check them out-you won’t be disappointed!

At Home Microdermabrasion: Yay or Nay?

At Home Microdermabrasion: Yay or Nay?

Facebook ads got me again.  I can’t help it… I’m a sucker.  I kept seeing ads for the PMD Personal Microderm system.  I have always heard such positive things about microdermabrasion treatments from salons-your skin feels smoother, it absorbs product much better, and it allows your skin to regenerate much quicker with frequent microdermabrasion treatments.  But… (yes, there’s always a but) have you seen the price?!  Yikes.  No thanks.  Not to mention the time it takes to book an appointment, get the treatment, and then be hassled to purchase products you don’t want to buy.  Not signing up for that one.

Of course someone has the answer to ALL of my problems.  And of course it just so happens to appear  in a Facebook ad.  I know it might not seem like I am from all of my posts containing Facebook ad products, but I am actually a very skeptical person who doesn’t like to purchase anything based on an ad.  So, I did my research, looked at countless reviews, took a detailed look at how the product actually works, put my science brain to work, and decided that the premise was sound, the price was… ridiculous, and thought I’d love to have one, but I’m not forking over the money for it right now.

pmd
Photo Credit: Sephora

Fast forward a few weeks to Christmas Eve.  Here I am, scrolling through eyeshadow palettes on Sephora when BAM!  A featured product happens to be the PMD Personal Microderm Pro AND the PMD Clean facial cleanser in a bundle.  Now, I did determine that if I were to ever purchase the PMD Personal Microderm I would shell out the extra cash for the Pro version.  Why?  The Pro version contained two caps for face and body areas (not sure where the heck on my body I would use this thing, but whatevs) and had two speeds.  I liked that this particular version contained two speeds so you could actually control how abrasive the treatment would be.  I also had my eye on the PMD Clean because of its insanely great reviews.  The PMD Clean was also insanely overpriced, but now that it is bundled with the Personal Microderm it didn’t seem like that bad of a deal.  Naturally, I took the bait and purchased the bundle.  I’ll split this review into two sections: one for the PMD Personal Microderm Pro and one for the PMD Clean.

PMD Personal Microderm Pro

After unboxing the Personal Microderm Pro, it was quite intimidating.  The kit really didn’t come with any instructions, but a quick overview of what each part of the unit was, what it did, and to run the tip along your skin in an outward motion and not to hold the tip on any portion of your skin for a long period of time or  it would burn your skin.  Yeah… scary to say the least.  They have an online tutorial that may be followed, but ain’t nobody got time for that.  So, I figured I’d just go at it and if I burned the heck out of my face, oh well… I’ll heal.  Maybe.

The unit included a training tip with very low abrasion, so that’s the first one I went with.  I also planned on using the lowest speed setting until I got used to the unit.  The instructions said that each tip may be used 3-4 times before changing to a new tip.

I washed my face with my usual cleanser and made sure all of my makeup from the day was thoroughly removed and my face was dry.  Then, I set to work.  It really was very easy and surprisingly quick.  I moved in outward motions while keeping my skin tight as I moved down one side of my face, down the other side, and then worked on each side of my forehead.

After I completed my entire face, which was surprisingly fast, I washed my face with my normal cleanser, followed with my usual toner, then followed with my usual moisturizer.  My face felt very soft and absorbed the toner and moisturizer much better than usual.

I rinsed the cap and filter with water, made sure the top of the unit was wiped clean with a dry washcloth to prevent any clogging, then allowed the cap and filter to air dry before storing.  That was it.  Ok, so this might not be as daunting of a task as I was making it out to be.

Fast forward about 5 weeks… I can’t imagine my life without this device.  Seriously!  To be a little thrifty, I used the lowest abrasion tip 3 times on the high speed setting, then have gradually moved up to a more abrasive tip every 3 uses.  This has seemed to work out well, so I’m sticking with this plan.  I use the PMD Pro every 6-7 days as recommended so as to not over-exfoliate (is that a word?  Probably not…).  Each time it gets easier since I’m now used to the entire process and can operate on autopilot for the most part.

This device has so many benefits.  My skin is smoother than it has ever been before.  My skin tone is evening out and all hyper pigmentation from blemishes or sun spots is reducing every week as I use the PMD Pro.  All products I use on my face are absorbed so much better after using this device.  I did start to break out a little more than normal around week 3-4 since my skin seemed to be purging itself of all of the nastiness the PMD Pro is helping to get rid of, but other than that my skin seems to be moisturized and clearer than it’s been for years.  When I apply makeup in the mornings I don’t need as much moisturizer as I previously needed (which is a miracle, because… winter…) and my foundation goes on smooth and my skin looks much clearer than it used to.

The only down side I can see to using this device is that you can only use a tip 3-4 uses.  But I think that’s a small price to pay for all of the benefits I see from using this product.  Time will tell in terms of the longevity of the device.  I have read reviews of consumers claiming the suction on the device stops around 6 months or so.  PMD does offer a year limited warranty and they seem to be pretty responsive to their customers (more on that in a minute… I haven’t been as lucky with my PMD Clean…).  I noticed that when customers complained about their device losing suction PMD’s trouble shooting tips seemed to include cleaning the device.  There aren’t any instructions on how to clean the device on the package that I can see other than to rinse the cap and filter, so I’d say that’s an oversight on their part.

PMD Clean

I never really saw the point of using something to scrub your face other than using your hands.  Can it really be THAT much better?  Yes, yes it can.  A few years ago I purchased a small device similar to the SOLO Mio from Amazon, but at a cheaper price point because I wasn’t ready to shell out $40 for something that scrubs my face.  Eh, it was ok.  I got kind of tired of having to charge it and it just got shoved to the back of my medicine like the rest of the gadgets I’ve purchased in the past.

I just kept ignoring all of the Facebook ads with the PMD Clean because I figured how much better can this be than the SOLO Mio look alike I purchased a few years ago?  I looked at the reviews and there wasn’t a bad review on it.  Darn.  I decided to go to my favorite online shopping site… Amazon, of course.  $99?!?!  WHAAAAAT?!  Oh, heck no.  I just chalked it up to never owning one of these because of the insanely ridiculous price point. Well, when it was offered in the Holiday bundle from Sephora, the price was a little less shocking, so I went for it.

I love that the device uses a single AA battery.  That saves time and cabinet space since you don’t have to recharge it or store its charger.  The PMD Clean has several speeds and pulsing speeds.  Personally, I’ve only used the lowest speed and that seems to do a great job.  My skin feels cleaner, I tend to wash my face longer, which gives me a better clean.  I do think the PMD Clean is helpful and useful, but the packaging leaves little to be desired.  There are no instructions on which speed level to use and for what purpose.  PMD claims that they have included instructions in the PMD Clean packaging, but customers seem to all be claiming the same thing: no instructions.

A few weeks after using the PMD Clean the device would randomly turn on on its own for about half a second.  Huh?  I thought maybe the batteries were running low, since sometimes electronics malfunction when the batteries should be changed.  When I opened the device, milky looking liquid was pulled around the end cap.  Sooooo… these are waterproof, huh?  Apparently mine didn’t get the memo.  After trying to air dry the device for a few days, replacing batteries, checking the battery connections, and doing all kinds of troubleshooting, the device continued to turn on randomly on its own and wouldn’t even turn on most of the time unless I opened, then closed the battery compartment, and only stayed on for half a second once it would finally come on.

I reached out to customer service on Facebook (just to let you know, they were more responsive to my comment on Facebook than they were to a direct company email) and I also contacted Sephora customer service.  Sephora customer service’s only solution for me was to return BOTH PMD products to the store for a refund, then to repurchase the kit.  Uhhhh, no thanks.  PMD Beauty customer service sent me a Facebook DM as well as an email.  The customer service rep told me they were shipping out a new PMD Clean that day with a return label for the defective device.  That was about… ten days ago.  I’m hoping they just have a long shipping time from the distribution center, because I assumed it would probably arrive in a week or so.  I’ll make sure to keep you posted on whether or not they actually send a replacement.  I’m not holding my breath…

Get to the Point…

Alright… after all of that rambling… would I recommend the PMD Pro and PMD Clean?  Yes.  Are they expensive?  Yes.  The PMD Pro has made a difference in the texture of my skin, helped fade hyperpigmentation, and allows my skin to absorb all of my facial products much better than normal.  It does what it says it will do, it’s easy to use, and is a great addition to anyone’s beauty routine to help skin regenerate every week.

Review: Full Face of Makeup Dupes

Review: Full Face of Makeup Dupes

These makeup dupes were inspired (ok, ok… flat out stolen…) by Tati‘s FULL FACE OF DUPES | Drugstore vs. Highend YouTube video.  In her video, Tati completes a full face of drugstore makeup on one side and matches it flawlessly with high end makeup on the other side.  When I watched the video I was shocked at how closely she was able to match the high end side and I loved the look, so naturally, I had to try it myself.

So, for this post I’ll be reviewing all of the dupe products I tried from Tati’s video and a few other drugstore brand suggestions Tati makes in various other video tutorials.  I won’t be comparing them to high end makeup, but reviewing them in general.  I have to hand it to Tati on this one, some of my new favorite products are in this list and… most of them are at a price point of around $5.99… what?!  Yes… $5.99.  I didn’t add the price of most of these items because they fluctuate so much between drugstores and Amazon. Before I purchase anything I usually compare the prices (and availability) between Meijer (I have one close by), Target, Ulta, and Amazon.  So… here we go!

NYX Studio Perfect Primer (Clear)

primer
Photo Credit: Amazon

Alright, we’ll start off with a primer.  I love Smashbox primer, but it’s SO EXPENSIVE.  It seriously works miracles, but I’ve never broken down and bought a tube because I don’t wear full coverage foundation enough to shell out the extra cash for a tube.  NYX Studio Perfect Primer is very similar to Smashbox, but at a much more wallet-friendly price point.  I was pretty pleased with the formula and I’m happy to use it instead of the pricier option.

 

Wet n Wild Photofocus Foundation

foundation
Photo Credit: Wet n Wild

Yes, I know, I know… I had a Wet n Wild nail polish in EVERY color of the rainbow as a kid and I used a different color on every finger, too, but Wet n Wild really has come a long way since then.  This foundation is $4.68 on Amazon.  Bam!  Ok, really, though… my new favorite foundation.  This formula goes on great with a Beauty Blender or brush and looks great all day.  I do tend to get a little oily toward the end of the day, but it holds up well especially for the price.  There are a variety of shade ranges (I think I might have chosen a shade a little too light for me, but for the price I can afford to get a few darker shades for the summer as well) and I think anyone can find a good match.  I’m curious to see how L’Oreal Infallible 24 HR holds up compared to this formula.  The L’Oreal is 3X the price of this one, so for a daily foundation, this is a great option.

 

Wet n Wild Megacushion Foundation

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Photo Credit: MakeupAlley

I’m on the fence on this one.  The coverage is great, but I was pretty dewy at the end of the day.  It’s cheap, it covers well, it blends well, it sets well with a setting powder, and it looks pretty natural.  For the price I would probably buy this one again as well.  The only downside with this one is that it contains coconut, which might break a lot of people out.  I’ll have to see if it breaks me out after wearing it all day today.  It does have SPF 15, which is also a little added bonus.  The other problem I have with this is the “cushion” container.  I feel like there is hardly any product in there.  For the same price (actually less…) I can get a whole bottle of the Photofocus.  Yes, it is a little different coverage and a bit of a different look and I get that, but I neither love nor hate this one.

 

Coty Airspun Loose Powder

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Photo Credit: Amazon

Yep-my grandma had this on her vanity, too.  This is hands down the best loose powder I’ve ever used.  You can bake with it (no, not bake as in bread… bake your makeup…), use it as a finishing powder, and it’s buildable and works great with bronzers and blush.  I don’t think I’ll give any of my other loose powders a second chance after this one.  You get a ton of product in the container and it’s so affordable.

 

Physicians Formula Bronze Booster

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Photo Credit: Ulta

I wanted to love this one.  The packaging is great, it’s relatively inexpensive, and bronzers are always fun to work with.  This particular formula has some pretty large chunks of glitter.  Yeah… not always the look you want.  On me it looked a little patchy, but that might have been operator error-for some reason I used a fairly densely packed and smaller brush than normal, so I’ll give this one another try and probably only use it when I want to feel more… tropical.

 

Physicians Formula Butter Bronzer

butter bronzer
Photo Credit: Amazon

I find this bronzer much easier to work with than the Bronze Booster.  It has a finer powder formula and blends much more easily.  I will give you a word of caution-if you’re fair-skinned and purchase the shade “light” it is basically a pressed powder… bummer.  Make sure you purchase the “bronzer” shade if you want an actual bronzer.  Yes… I found out the hard way.

 

Wet n Wild Color Icon Blush

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Photo Credit: Wet n Wild

I love this blush!  $2.99?  Yes, please!  I hate trying to figure out what blush color to choose.  In Tati’s video she used Pearlescent Pink and I was like, “Yes!!!! That’s it!”.  Although this is called pink, it does have hints of coral, which usually works well with any color combinations.  I’m glad I added this one to my collection.

Milani Rose Blush

rose blush
Photo Credit: Milani

This blush isn’t in this video, but Tati uses it frequently in her tutorials.  This blush is my absolute favorite.  The color is soft (Romantic Rose), it’s matte, and it has such pretty packaging.  You can’t go wrong with this one!

Wet n Wild MegaGlo Highlighting Powder

highlighter
Photo Credit: Walmart

Now, I’m not a huge fan of highlighters to begin with because they just enhance every large pore on my face and make my skin look oily, but Wet n Wild hit a home run on this one.  The shade in Tati’s video is Precious Petals.  It’s such a soft, subtle shade and the shimmer is very fine.  Highly recommend this one!

Wet n Wild MegaGlo Highlighting Palette

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Photo Credit: Wet n Wild

Since I loved the single highlighting powder so much, I figured I needed more options, right?  Luckily Wet n Wild makes an entire palette.  I’m torn on this one-I love the shades and there is a variety that will go with any makeup look, but several of these have fairly chunky glitter in them.  I’m not 12… I can no longer dump glitter on myself and not be judged.  Overall, though this still isn’t too terrible for the price to give you a few more options.

Palette Wars: Urban Decay vs. Tarte

Palette Wars: Urban Decay vs. Tarte

*Sigh*  I hate to go here, but there is a clear winner when it comes to eyeshadow palettes in my makeup arsenal.  I know… you guys probably think you already have it figured out.  Well, after trying and TRYING to love a certain cult favorite eyeshadow palette, I just can’t do it.  Urban Decay, you are not for me.  Could it be the particular palettes I happen to have?  Maybe. I took a chance on Tarte and it paid off.  Big time.

Over the holidays I purchased Naked Smoky, Naked Heat, and Naked 3.  My typical daily look consisted of primarily matte shades from the Urban Decay Naked 2 Basics palette.  They are very pigmented, complemented my skin tone, and were great for a daily look.  I’ve always wanted to branch out and try bolder colors and since Urban Decay Naked palettes seem to be everywhere, I assumed this was a great place to start.  UD Naked Smoky was the first palette I purchased during the holiday season.  I was so excited to open the palette, was pumped to find a small tutorial insert in the package, and quickly went to work after ripping the package apart.  Unfortunately I had to send the palette back after realizing one of the shades was misspelled (read about the epic fail here).  After going through the tutorial, I quickly decided the smoky eye is not for me.  For some reason, no matter what brushes I use it looks like I grabbed charcoal and smeared it all over my eyes.  Could be my fair skin, could be my eye shape, I could just be an epic fail at eyeshadow application, who knows… all I know is it doesn’t work for me.

Next, I purchased the UD Naked Heat palette.  Well, just like I couldn’t rock the smoky colors, the “heat” colors made me look like I had pink eye or a serious lack of sleep.  Not exactly attractive.

Enter UD Naked 3.  Ok… this one got a little better, but there were still more cool tones in this palette.  There are some pink and purple toned shades, but they’re on the cooler side.  The entire reason I love my Naked 2 Basics palette is that it is full of warm colors that compliment my fair skin so well.  Urban Decay Naked 3 = Fail #3.

Right about the time I purchased the Naked Heat palette I decided to take a chance on another palette.  This was really more of a “collection” than a palette.  I kept seeing ads from Sephora and Ulta for Tarte’s Pineapple of My Eye Collector’s Set.

pineapple.jpg
Photo Credit: Sephora

Well, I felt like I couldn’t justify a giant set like this.  It didn’t all fit in the container (organizational me couldn’t deal…), I don’t need green eyeshadow (I’m not a 5-year-old playing with Barbie makeup, guys…), and… it’s expensive.  Of course the interwebs had to read my mind and suggest a different collector’s set that DID fit in the packaging, still had an adorable little pineapple (stand tall, wear a crown, people) and sequined packaging, and it was, wait for it… ON SALE!  Done and done.

 

 

sweet escape
Photo Credit: Ulta

 

What I love about the Sweet Escape Collector’s Set is… everything.  Literally everything.  I decided on this set because of the awesome packaging and  now have found my favorite liquid eyeliner, blush, and SEVERAL eye makeup looks that I never would’ve attempted before.

I’m typically a matte eyeshadow type of girl, but this set has changed my mind.  The shimmer shades are so pigmented and so full coverage that very little goes such a long way and looks great on.  The blush colors are awesome-a great pink and a more rose option, and a bronzer and highlighter to complete the look.  I’m now completely in love with the liquid eyeliner (I don’t do liquid eyeliner… I have to do my makeup with midgets yelling for me in the background, people).  I ordered this set directly from Tarte when they had a 25% off sale during the holidays.  Since ordering this set Tarte has mailed 20% off coupons.  I will definitely be purchasing another Tarte shadow palette using their coupons.

So, for pigmentation, value, ease of use, and packaging… Tarte wins.  Sorry Urban Decay, but I’m just not that impressed.  I purchased an entire set of all of these shades of shadow, blushes, bronzers, mascara, eyeliner, and lip color for less than the price of an Urban Decay palette.  Maybe I’ve just purchased the gimicky palettes and will feel differently with a full palette from the Naked line.  For now, I’m not forking over the $54 to find out.

Sweaty Palms and How to Deal

Sweaty Palms and How to Deal

If you’re thinking TMI, you may want to move on to another post.  I’m writing this post because I figure if this can even help one person, it’s worth the time to put it out there.  When I say sweaty palms, I really mean completely drenched.  Like, dripping.  As a teen, I would play video games with friends, hand off a controller to the next player, then hear, “What did you spill on the controller?”.  Story. Of. My.  Life.  I would submit exams in blue books at school to my teacher or professor only to hear them say “What did you spill on your exam book?”.  When I would tell them it was my sweaty hands they would respond with, “Oh, you were that nervous?”.  Nope.  I wasn’t.  My hands have a mind of their own with no rhyme or reason to their sweatiness.

It wasn’t just my hands, my feet also had a puddling mind of their own.  I danced throughout school and we typically wore lyrical sandals (we fondly called them Jesus sandals…).  For those who have never been part of the dance world, this translates to a tiny piece of leather to cover the ball of your foot to allow you to turn effortlessly, but the rest of the “shoe” consisted of well, nothing-straps and that’s about it.  Now, imagine having consistently drenched feet and doing leaps across a hardwood gym floor in these suckers.  It ain’t pretty.  I fell on my butt more times than I can count.

I know, I know… get to the point, right?  Well, the point is I never found something that actually “worked”.  I did find things to help me manage the awkward effects of my sweaty hands and feet.  First of all, it has a name: hyperhydrosis (basically the scientific name for sweating too much).  A lot of people with hyperhydrosis seem to sweat more in the underarm area, but in this case, my hands and feet are the culprits.  I’ve had people all my life say “yeah, I get sweaty palms, too”.  No, just no.  Until your hands literally drip and you have to plan your outfit or shoe choice because you know you’ll either be standing in a puddle or will have sweat marks all over your clothing from your hands dripping, don’t tell me you can sympathize.  I have only met a few people that can actually sympathize.  My dad (thanks, dad… I know where I get it…), my sister-in-law, a foreign exchange student I met in high school, and I recently found out a friend’s sister has the same problem.

There is a surgery that can be done that severs sweat glands in the underarm area that will eliminate all sweating in the hands.  Well, I’ve dealt with this problem all my life, so thousands of dollars of surgery not covered by insurance isn’t a solution for me.  I have also been prescribed deodorants that “should” stop the sweating.  You guys.  Have you ever applied deodorant to the palms of your hand?  No?  Try it and see how that works out throughout the day for you.  Not practical whatsoever.  So, what has worked?  Not much, but I have found a few products that help some.  I have found a lotion as well as wipes that seem to work better than anything else I’ve tried.

DERMAdoctor MED e TATE Antiperspirant Wipes

wipes
Photo Credit: Sephora

These wipes are convenient and they work fairly well.  They sometimes gave my hands a somewhat waxy feeling, but other than that they didn’t leave a greasy or oily feel like some other products do.  They did slow the sweating, but when you wash your hands a few times the product loses its effects.  Overall, these were expensive (around $2 per wipe), but they were great for situations where I really, REALLY wanted my hands to be a little dryer than they normally are.  I came across these in a Sephora while in college.  I was taking yoga classes (yes… engineers can do yoga, too…) and would just get continually frustrated falling on my face while going into downward dog.  At the time these were $48 for a 24-pack, which is pricey, but I was willing to try anything.  A wipe in a convenient package?  Sold.  I was finally able to actually free my mind and not continually fixate on which pose would bring me crashing to the floor next.

Carpe Antiperspirant Lotion

71nwtNfKsUL._AC_UL480_FMwebp_QL65_
Photo Credit: Amazon

I haven’t used this lotion much, since I purchased it in dry winter months, but it has awesome reviews and is much more competitively priced at $24.95 for hand and foot lotion tubes.  The tubes are small, but it’s still a great start for a $25 price point.  The instructions say to use this product every night before bed and you will see results in around 4 weeks.  Ain’t got time for that?  That’s when the MED e TATE wipes might be handy.

Well, there you have it.  Is it a great list of solutions?  No, but I’ve tried everything to no avail.  I’ve tried prescriptions, lotions, deodorants on my hands, nothing has worked.  These two products at least give me some relief or improvement in a… sweaty… situation.  If this helps at least one person who suffers from acute sweat-itis (put that in the Big Book of Boo Boos, Doc McStuffins), then sharing this was worth it.

Great Exfoliators and Moisturizers to Beat the Dry Weather!

Great Exfoliators and Moisturizers to Beat the Dry Weather!

I meant to write this one before winter began, so I’m a little late on this one.  Hopefully there are a few products here that make the rest of the dry winter months a little more tolerable.  After all, you can only drink so much water in a 24 hour period to try to keep you hydrated!  Moisturizers are great, but exfoliating allows moisturizers to do their thing, so I’ve thrown a few of my favorites in as well.  Let me know what some of your favorites are!

Exfoliators

Soap & Glory Flake Away Body Polish

flake away
Photo Credit: Target

We’ll start with a great body scrub.  I’ve tried numerous body scrubs from those with crushed walnut shells, salt scrubs (yeah… don’t use those if you plan on shaving… you know, the phrase “don’t rub salt into the wound” should tell you why this is a bad idea…), and scrubs that I have no clue what they contain.  This one is hands down my favorite.  Actually, I’m not sure I’ve ever tried anything by Soap & Glory I didn’t love.  This scrub contains moisturizing shea butter, sugar, and peach seed powder to naturally exfoliate.  The scent of this scrub can’t even be described-one of my favs!

PMD Beauty Personal Microderm & PMD Clean

pmd
Photo Credit: Sephora

Alright.  Another Facebook ad made me do it.  I had seen ads for Personal Microderm for what seemed like months and as my skin ages and becomes dryer, uneven toned, and hyper-pigmented in areas, I decided to check out the reviews, which surprisingly were mostly positive.  I’ll spare you the details and I’ll post an entire review of the system after I’ve been using it a little longer than four weeks.  I will say in the short term I’ve loved the system as an exfoliator and my skin has never been this smooth and even after using the microderm every week the PMD Clean twice daily when cleansing.  All products seem to absorb much better because of this system.

e.l.f. Lip Exfoliator

lip exfoliator
Photo Credit: Target

Cheap.  Effective.  Look no further.  Seriously!  That’s about it for this one.  This exfoliator is a little more coarse than most I’ve tried, but it’s by far my favorite.  It absorbs well, exfoliates well, and the sugar crystals dissolve well.  Perfect for matte liquid lipstick obsessions.

 

 

Dr. Pedicure Foot Exfoliation Peeling Mask

mask
Photo Credit: Amazon

This one is by far the strangest in my lineup.  It’s a mask… for your feet.  Not kidding.  The package contains a set of plastic booties you put on your feet, secure them with tape so they don’t leak, let the chemicals do their thing, and in about a week or so all of the dead skin on your feet peels continually until it’s completely removed.  Disgusting?  Yes.  Effective?  Also yes.  Soo… whatevs.  If it works it works.  And it does work.  I don’t think any pedicure could’ve given me softer feet than this did.  Now I just do maintenance by using a natural pumice stone.  If my feet ever are in dire need again, I’ll definitely be grabbing another pack of these babies.

Moisturizers

Soap & Glory The Righteous Butter

righteous butter
Photo Credit: Target

Probably my favorite on this list.  Your skin will thank you every time you use this magical body butter.  I’m not exaggerating.  I have yet to find something more moisturizing and longer lasting than this stuff.  Amazing.

 

 

Soap & Glory Heel Genius

heel genius
Photo Credit: Target

Yep.  Another Soap & Glory product.  I’m telling you… they’re so effective, have such an amazing scent, and are so long lasting that I have yet to find anything that tops their products.  I’m able to maintain well manicured feet with this product alone as long as I apply it every night in the winter months and after showering in the summer months.

 

 

 

LilyAna Naturals Eye Cream Moisturizer

eye cream
Photo Credit: Popsugar

I know this isn’t necessarily a full moisturizer, but it’s awesome if my skin needs a little more moisture on dry days.  I use it as an eye cream twice a day, then on other areas of the face as needed and it does the job.

 

 

 

Organic Fractionated Coconut Oil

coconut oil
Photo Credit: Amazon

Coconut oil has always been suggested to me for dry skin, but alas, I can’t handle the greasiness that comes along with it.  So, I did what I usually do: search Amazon for a solution.  What I found was fractionated coconut oil that isn’t “greasy”, but is definitely oily (it’s an oil… so, duh).  In the winter months I put this on my hands, rub it in as much as possible, then apply O’Keefe’s Working Hands afterward, which seems to seal the moisture in.

O’Keefe’s Working Hands

working hands
Photo Credit: Amazon

I use this during the day when my hands become really dry because it’s not greasy, absorbs well, and keeps moisture in for a long time.  As I said before, this works great after applying fractionated coconut oil before bed to lock in the moisture.