Monday, March 4, 2013

Shades of Purple: Ombre Nails

Since I happen to own every shade of purple known to [wo]man, I came to the brilliant conclusion that I had just the right tools to try the ombre trend.  This is my first attempt, and I'm pretty happy with it.  I originally had my index finger a different color, but I didn't like the transition so much.

Thumb: Violeta by Sonia Kashuk 
Index and middle finger: Play Date by Essie
Ring finger and pinky: Provence by Revlon Colorstay
Revlon clear topcoat

Doing this has served as some sort of experiment.  It has shown me the wearability of different brands of polish.  Essie was the first to chip, then Sonia Kashuk, making the Revlon Colorstay the winner. I will definitely be buying more from that line, especially since they're considerably cheaper than the other brands. 

Now, if only Revlon had Essie's color selection...


Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Review: Garnier Skin Renew Miracle Skin Perfecter (BB Cream)

Garnier was among the first drugstore brands to adopt the BB cream beauty craze, and I hated their original formula, as it was too greasy for my oily skin and caused a few break-outs.  When I saw this one that just recently hit drugstores, I was intrigued by how it's marketed for those with combination to oily skin and claims to control oil.  After reading the box about 100 times and a bunch of good reviews from the users in the UK (where it was first released), I was convinced.  Let's just say Garnier got it right this time!

It's oil-free and non-comodogenic, which are two pluses for me.  I have not had any break-outs from this product.  I think Garnier anticipated the success of this product, as they released it in three shades, as opposed to the one shade of the original formula.  It comes in light/medium, medium/deep, and deep.  I have tried two out of the three shades.  At first, I purchased the light/medium shade, which was a bit too light for my face.  While it didn't look all that bad, since it blended fairly well, you could still tell it was a little too white for my face.  I returned it and went with the medium/deep shade.  This one worked out perfectly for me!

Before I get into the details, let me just say something about BB creams.  I have tried so so so many.  So far, I've liked Dr. Jart's the best, with Maybelline's coming in second.  I've tried the one by Smashbox, but I didn't think it performed miracles for the price you pay for a 1 oz. tube.  Same goes for the Dr. Jart, despite how much I did like it.  BB creams have essentially just become a multi-purpose moisturizer mixed with foundations.  I feel like everyone's just slappin' "BB cream" on tinted moisturizers for marketing purposes.  I consider this new rendition of the Garnier BB cream to be just that.  However, it's my favorite "BB cream"/tinted moisturizer I've tried thus far; therefore, I don't really care what it is, because it just works for me.

It literally does everything it says.  It's a bit watery and runny, so you have to be careful with storage and squeezing it out.  Once you rub it in, it starts to set and takes on a thicker consistency.  It has a matte finish once it's set.  I'm not going to lie, I might like this better than my foundation.  It's invisible on the skin, and does a good job at minimizing my imperfections. I only need a bit of under-eye concealer.  It definitely takes care of discolorations and gives you a nice even-tone.  I love that it has SPF in it too, since my foundation doesn't.  SPF 20 is better than nothing!  It really does keep my oil at bay for a few hours too, which is extremely rare for products.  

Here are the swatches of the two shades I tried (taken in fluorescent lighting w/ flash)

When I initially squeezed the color out of the tube, I knew it would be too light.  While I am pasty, this just looked way too white for me.  It did brighten up my complexion, but was a lot harder to blend into my skin than the medium/deep.
(This is the amount I use for my entire face)

This shade is more light/medium than medium/deep to me.  This shade blends invisibly into my skin.  Just keep in mind that their shades run pretty light.
(I squeezed too much out here)

I would highly recommend this product!  I've even used this as a base for my foundation.  I just use less of it when I use it for this purpose.  I especially love using this for my no-fuss makeup days (most days of the week since I'm currently unemployed). It really is a skin perfecter!

Hope you guys enjoy this product as much as I am.  Share your thoughts with me and feel free to ask any questions.


Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Current Skincare Saviors

No amount of makeup can make me feel pretty when I am having skin issues; therefore, skincare is even more important to me than makeup.  I want to look good when I wake up in the morning... Who doesn't?  I want my skin to be glowing and flawless without makeup.  Again, who doesn't?  We use makeup to accentuate our natural beauty, and our skin serves as a canvas for our makeup; why would you paint a canvas that wasn't clean?  My skin is nowhere near perfect; it is stubborn and needs a lot of tending to for it to behave.

When it comes to my skincare routine, there is nothing constant about it.  There are very few skincare products that I repurchase and use religiously.  However, more recently, I feel that my skincare routine is better than it's ever been.  My skin qualifies as oily, and I, unfortunately, have pretty large pores.  Due to this, I have the dreadful nose blackheads, and I get the occasional forehead and chin blemishes.  At least once a month, I get a monstrous pimple that is painful and stubborn and leaves behind a lovely post-acne mark every...single...time (even if I don't mess with it).  So, I do have a bit of unevenness and a few acne scars.  These are the products that have seemed to alleviate these skin problems of mine.

From left to right: 

Murad Skin Perfecting Lotion

I use this as my daily moisturizer.  It hydrates my skin without making it feel oily.  It's marketed for those with blemish-prone oily skin, which epitomizes my skin-type.  It claims to promote surface renewal, balance oil production, tone, and tighten.  I get a blemish at the first sign of humidity, which is unfortunate for me, being that I live in Texas.  This, along with a toner, does a good job of keeping my skin hydrated and soft.  As for controlling oil, I don't think it quite lives up to that claim, but I have other things for that anyway.

Garnier Skin Renew Anti-Dark Circle Roller

While this product isn't necessarily skin-care, per se, it is a very important part of my morning skincare routine.  I have been using this thing for about four years, so this product is the winner for being able to stick around the longest.  It's an eye roller with concealer, and I think this is the most genius product!  Instantly, my eyes look brighter and more awake.  This came in handy in college when I pulled all-nighters.  It has caffeine, which supposedly makes the eyes look more awake.  I honestly just think the concealer's pretty awesome.  It comes in two shades: sheer tint and medium/deep.  I am on the pale side, but during the summer, I started using the medium/deep shade, and I found that it matches my skin-tone better year-round.  I do hate that obvious concealer look you get when you put a concealer that's too light under your eyes.  Let's not forget Eva, who was featured in a previous blog post about under-eye concealer (here)...

The sheer tint was a bit too light for me, but can be great if used as a concealer base.  I think if it was too light for me, it might be too light for most.  My only downside to this product is that it is pretty unfriendly to travel with.  The product is pretty runny, and it tends to leak out of the rollerball when it gets tossed around in a travel bag.  It should be stored upright, so keep that in mind.  This is a huge bummer for me, because it's probably my most essential travel product.  While it may run you about $11 at the drugstore, this product will last you a good four to five months, depending on how often you use it, of course.  I use it in the morning and as needed throughout the day (when my under-eye area looks a little like I just got up from a nap, or my mascara's giving me raccoon eyes).

Josie Maran Argan Oil

Being that I have oily skin, applying an oil to my skin just always seemed counterintuitive to me.  I finally set all skepticism aside, and when Sephora put out this travel-size of the infamous Josie Maran Argan Oil, I decided it'd be worth a shot.  After reading about a lot of people with oily skin becoming avid skin oil users, my curiosity got the best of me.  What is incredible about this product is its versatility.  It can be used on your hair, cuticles, and body.  I mainly use it as a face moisturizer at night.  I use it during the day too when I have some flakes on my skin, and just a little drop does the trick.  My skin has an instant glow and seems to be balanced all day.  

Origins GinZing Refreshing Eye Cream

I use this eye cream at night and in the morning, and I really do love it.  There's "natural optic brighteners" in it, which is a fancy way of saying that it has some really fine shimmer to it.  I hate glitter products, but the shimmer is so fine that it really gives your eye area a natural highlight.  I originally bought this, because my eye area looks so puffy and dry in the morning.  This product definitely did reduce the dark circles and relieved a bit of the puffiness.  I am going to start keeping this in the fridge, and I think it'll do an even better job of relieving puffiness.  

Origins Super Spot Remover

I will never try another spot treatment again...well, maybe.  This product is amazing! I have tried everything when it comes to spot treatments, and this is the only one that has actually worked.  When  I notice the first signs of a pimple, I dab this on it, and it prevents it from ever making its way to the surface of your skin.  Around my college graduation, I felt one of those stubborn, monstrous pimples forming under the skin, and I put this on it twice a day, and that thing never showed its face!  I am forever grateful to this product because of that.  It is just truly amazing.  This is the only spot treatment that I feel confident recommending.  It's a pretty tiny bottle and will run you about $15, but I think it's totally worth it.

Clarisonic Mia

I have been using this for about 3 years.  At first, I'll admit, I didn't see much an improvement in my skin and got a little frustrated when I experienced the whole "worse before better" stage.  However, after you get past that, your skin does indeed get the cleanest of clean with this.  The only annoying part is keeping up with changing the brush head.  I do feel that this contributes to the overall clarity and toning of my skin.  When I set this aside for a few months, I definitely noticed that my skin wasn't nearly as soft or clean.  I will never use my hands again! Okay, I'm lying.  I do when I'm lazy, but I do try to use my Mia in the morning and at night, because it really does help with the blackheads on my nose and my overall skin appearance.

BareMinerals Deep Cleansing Foam

This cleanser has been repurchased the most of all the many cleansers I have tried.  I buy the travel size at Ulta for about $12.  This smaller size lasts me at least four months.  Most products say you only need a pea size amount, and they usually don't foam up with that little veggie-sized amount, but this one really does. I use it with my Mia, and my skin immediately feels incredibly soft.  It does NOT strip my skin of moisture, and this is the only cleanser I have ever used that actually does something for my skin.  It is vital, to me, that my cleanser is gentle enough to be used on the eye area like this one.  Even after using an eye makeup remover, there's always traces of mascara that need a little help coming off.  This cleanser is perfect, and I think it would work for any skin type. 

Neutrogena Pore Refining Toner

I have just recently added this to my skincare routine, and it has easily become my favorite part!  I put some on a cotton round, and smooth it all over my face, neck, shoulders, and even my upper back (where my hair touches all day).  It feels so refreshing and cooling.  This will be especially loved as it starts to get warmer outside.  I use this when I get out of the shower, after a run, and at night.  Adding this toner to my skincare routine was definitely a good decision, as I saw some improvement in my skin texture and tone immediately.  I believe this has also contributed to keeping my skin clear this past month.  I'd always ignored the whole "after cleansing AND toning" instructions that are usually on serums and moisturizers, but now I understand why they say that.  Since I've added a toner to my skincare routine, I've noticed that my moisturizer seems to work better.  This particular toner is pretty magnificent too!  I decided to get a drugstore toner as my trial toner, and I actually love this one and will definitely continue to buy.  Although, I think it is in the process of being discontinued, because I can literally only find this at Target; everywhere else only carries it online.  

Origins Clear Improvement Active Charcoal Mask

I have been using this mask for about eight months.  This is an incredible mask for those with oily skin and clogged pores.  I use this once or twice a week, depending on how my skin is acting.  My pores look smaller and the blackheads on my nose are less visible.  It helps keep my skin clear, especially when it is showing signs of acting up.  

and I almost forgot my favorite make-up remover wipes....

Simple Cleansing Facial Wipes

These wipes are the best!  They can be used as a cleansing substitute for a night out, when you feel way too lazy (maybe tipsy) to do the whole routine.  These are the most effective at removing my mascara, compared to the Neutrogena and the Up and Up Target brand, which were my former favorites.  They are also very wet, which is what you'd expect of a makeup wipe, but I've tried many that just aren't wet enough.  These are perfect, and I have actually repurchased them several times.  Not only do I use these on my lazy nights, but I do use these every night that I have makeup to take off, as I like to have a makeup-free face prior to cleansing.  

Well, there's my skincare routine.  Like I said, I'm always trying new products.  However, I do think it is important to keep your skincare constant, and I'm working on it.  I am trying my best to put all my insatiability aside and do what's best for my skin, but it can be hard with all the innovative products coming out, with their appealing and outlandish claims!

If you have any questions about the products, feel free to ask, as I'd be more than happy to answer!


Friday, January 18, 2013

Soap & Glory Hand Food: Quick Review

I always have a problem with hand creams, since there's nothing worse, to me, than having an oily residue on your hands. I'm desperate for one though, since my cuticles are always dry.  I purchased the smaller size of this, and have been using it for a month so far.  I will probably continue to buy the smaller size, since it fits more conveniently in my purse.  It is a non-greasy hand cream with shea butter, macadamia oil, and marshmallow.  Marshmallow???

This hand cream is almost perfect.  My hands have never been in better condition, and it leaves them feeling so soft.  I apply this whenever I start to notice my cuticles are looking a little dry, or when I'm just bored.  I rub it all over my hands and massage it into my cuticles.  It dissolves completely into the skin within a minute, and there is absolutely no trace of residue left of my hands.  My only con about it is the smell.  It neither smells good or bad; however, it is subtle enough to tolerate.  I just wish it smelled good, of course.

I would definitely recommend this, especially for the cold-weather months that can be harsh on the hands.  The appearance of my cuticles has improved significantly, and I'll definitely be repurchasing this product.  It's only $6 for the small size!

Essie's Merino Cool


Urban Decay Naked Skin Foundation vs. Make Up For Ever HD Foundation

excuse the empty UD foundation...

While I should be job searching, I decided to do a foundation review.

These two contenders have been raved about across the beauty universe. MUFE's HD foundation does have the advantage over UD's Naked Skin, being that it has been out much longer.  Here's my recent foundation history...
I was using bareMinerals, which I have a love-hate relationship with.  I was always afraid to use a liquid foundation, because the thought of slappin' some liquid skin on my face just intimidated me, whereas a lightweight mineral powder just seemed more safe for my acne-prone skin. However, bareMinerals just did not do my skin very much justice.  It didn't have the best coverage, and it was definitely visible on my skin.  After much skepticism, I finally decided to get brave after all the hype I'd heard about MUFE's HD foundation, and I stepped into the liquid foundation world.  MUFE's HD Foundation was like my first love; therefore, I keep going back to it.

Once UD released the Naked Skin Foundation, I just had to try it.  Being a HUGE fan of the Naked eyeshadow palettes, I had to see what this was about.  The name in itself was everything I wanted: a foundation that looked like my bare nakie skin.  What I'd liked about the HD foundation was that it claimed to be invisible on the skin, which it was, but being as insatiable as I am, I wanted to try something else with the notion that it could possibly be better. So, I went out and bought the Naked Skin after a few weeks of it being on the market and reading great reviews about it. 

Here's how it's gonna go: I will review MUFE's HD foundation first, and then come in with UD's and the comparisons.

MUFE HD Foundation


The HD claims to be a medium-to-full coverage foundation, and the coverage is extremely buildable.  You don't need much at all for your entire face.  I use maybe a quarter size for my face, and, if my skin is behaving, I usually don't need any more than that.  As for concealer, I don't need much at all with this foundation.  Usually, I just need under-eye concealer unless I have a stubborn blemish.  The foundation itself does a pretty good job at covering little blemishes.  I have a few acne scars, and it blurs them flawlessly.


The foundation does not claim to be long-lasting.  My skin is oily, so I've always had trouble with my foundation practically disappearing within a few hours of wearing it. I will admit, I have to blot my skin a few times throughout the day, but it does seem to keep my skin looking good all day.  I apply Maybelline's Dream Matte finishing powder over all my foundations, which I'm not quite sure gives me a dreamy matte look for more than maybe an hour...  Let me tell you, this foundation photographs extremely well, just as it claims. My skin always looks pretty decent on camera when I'm wearing this foundation.  It claims to "create a soft-focus effect, which is designed to meet the coverage concerns of those in the spotlight.  It leaves your complexion with such a flawless finish, it can withstand bright or harsh lighting." Sounds like it's for someone who's always followed by the paparazzi, which I am, of course...(joke).  


I've gone through an entire bottle of this, and I never had any pore-clogging problems.  It is oil-free, which is a plus.  Although, it does not advertise to be "non-comodogenic," I asked the Sephora "expert," and she claims it is.  


It comes in 25 shades, which is awesome!  I use the shade N125-Sand, which is for light skin with beige undertones.  It matches my skin perfectly, and, I can say with confidence that there is a shade for everyone.


I would definitely recommend this foundation, as it does seem to live up to the hype it gets.  I have never heard anyone say that they did not like it.  It is truly worth a try if you're looking for a natural, yet flawless finish.  Even if you think this may be too much for every-day wear, it is great for going out and taking pictures. I guarantee your skin will glow in pictures.  It is just beautiful, and is my current foundation favorite (spoiler alert). 

I have also tried MUFE's Mat Velvet +, since my skin is more on the oily side.  However, the HD foundation seems to have a more velvet-y texture than the Mat Velvet. I think I would've loved the Mat Velvet had I not already tried the HD foundation.  While I did like it, it just didn't give the same effect as the HD.

Natural lighting, wearing MUFE HD

UD Naked Skin Foundation


This product does not explicitly state its coverage level.  Instead, it claims to be "customizable."  While I do agree with this claim, I believe it's a medium-coverage foundation.  I felt that the more I added, of course, the more visible it became, so I tried to use as little as possible, since I was looking for the natural look. It also claims to photograph well, but I feel that the MUFE HD gives a more flawless appearance on camera.  This foundation is extremely watery, which may contribute to it's thin texture and, ultimately, needing more for better coverage. It did cover my flaws pretty well, but I did find I needed a bit more concealer for discoloration, whereas the MUFE usually took care of my uneven skin tone.  This foundation did look really good in the sunlight, and it was virtually invisible.   


What I like most about the foundation is its demi-matte finish, meaning that it's just the right amount of matte, just the right amount of dewy.  I will say the finish is absolutely beautiful.  I did receive compliments on my skin when wearing this foundation.


I had more of a problem with breakouts with this foundation than with the HD foundation.  After finishing my bottle, I switched back to the HD foundation, and I have noticed less breakouts and pore clogging.  


It comes in 18 shades.  The BIG mistake that I made was listening to the Sephora employee when she recommended the 4.0 shade, which worked for me at first, but later, I noticed it was a little too yellow for me.  Then, I read on the Sephora site that the shades ending in .0 are warm tones, while the shades ending in .5 are cool tones;  I am more on the cool than warm side.  I made the shade work, even though it seemed to be a bit too yellow for me.  So, keep that in mind when choosing a shade.  

** Tip: If silver jewelry looks better on you, you are cool-toned; if gold jewelry looks better, you're more warm-toned


I think this is a great foundation. It had some pretty stiff competition, but it is truly a good product, nonetheless.  I think if I had chosen the right shade, I would've had an even better experience with it.  I think this product would be really good for aging skin, with its collagen boosting and moisturizing ingredients.  

Natural lighting, wearing UD Naked Skin

While the Urban Decay bottle can be a bit misleading since it's much larger, both these foundations come in a 1 fl. oz. bottles.  The UD is $38, while the MUFE HD is a bit more at $42. 

Both foundations are great products, and I would recommend both.  Everyone's skin is different, and I found that the HD worked better for my skin.

What are your favorite foundations?  Any recommendations for oily skin?

My next victim: