The first day of Autumn is just around the corner and I couldn’t be more excited. While I enjoy the summer, it’s been quite hot and humid here for about as long as I can tolerate. I prefer the fall with the cool breeze, changing colors and warm soups! I love the weather when you need to throw a sweatshirt on to go for a walk at night.
In celebration of fall I went through my makeup and picked out the shades for eyes, lips, cheeks and nails that I always wear this time of year. I am going to start with my favorite- blushes!
Shown: NARS Madly, Hourglass Mood Exposure and Laura Mercier Mocha Spice
In the fall I tend to go for similar colors for lips and cheeks. Nudes, berries and rosy tones make up the majority of my choices for both categories. I think I reach for nudes more because I tend to amp up my eyes more in the fall. These three shades are all very nude, in my opinion. None of them are completely matte, which I like. Nude shades can be harder to blend into the skin without a satin finish or a bit of sheen. It makes it more skin-like.
Shown: Tarte Blushing Bride, MAC Stark Naked, NARS Mata Hari, NYX Raisin
Not all berry shades have to be intimidating. They can be a berry pink, have a mauve tone, etc. that make them easier to wear. MAC Stark Naked was limited edition (NARS Sin is somewhat close) but the rest are readily available. Mata Hari was a surprise for me when I bought it years ago because I expected it to be a summer color. While it does look great with a tan, Mata Hari is a chameleon. It has just enough mauve/murkiness to it mixed with the right amount of berry pink. It’s a must have for me.
Shown: Illamasqua Sin, NARS Mounia, Becca Raspberry/Opal
While you can certainly use more sheer tones, it’s also fun to throw in some of those really pigmented colors that can imitate the effect of the cold. Illamasqua Sin and NARS Mounia are perfect for the fall. NARS Mounia was discontinued awhile back, but try a shade like NARS Taos or MAC Ambering Rose for a similar effect. Becca’s Beach Tint Shimmer in Raspberry/Opal is also worthy of fall must-have status. It’s the only cream product that made my list- but for good reason. The color gives a nice, refreshing berry tint while the highlighting aspect leaves behind a warm and wearable gold sheen. The two paired together are perfection and the formula is wonderful with excellent staying power.
Swatches from L-R: Illamasqua Sin, NARS Mounia, NARS Mata Hari, Tarte Blushing Bride, MAC Stark Naked, NYX Raisin, Hourglass Mood Exposure, NARS Madly, Laura Mercier Mocha Spice, Becca Raspberry/Opal
Also worth noting are the two highlighters I reach for in the fall season.
Shown: Laura Mercier Rose Rendezvous and Guerlain Parure de Nuit
Both of these majestic (yes, it’s that serious) highlighters were sadly limited edition. Try another highlighter from Guerlain, like their meteorites perles. MAC has released a highlighter called Superb that is pretty spot-on for Rose Rendezvous. I have some comparison swatches of similar highlighters done here. If you ever spot one of these in a blog sale definitely snatch it up!
That wraps up my favorite cheek products for the fall. I’ll be doing eyes next!
I have been noticeably procrastinating on writing this post. My last year’s favorites were done as a series, divided into categories, and was incredibly time consuming. I will be doing a separate post (check for that later this week) of my yearly favorites showing the products I reached for the most in eyes, lips, face and nails. This post, however, focuses solely on 12 products that I not only loved but that were released in 2012, as well as one product failure for this year.
Clockwise from left: Guerlain Meteorites Perles D’Azur by Emilio Pucci, Chanel Joues Contraste Brume D’Or , Illamasqua Cream Blusher Zygomatic, Tarte Clean Slate 360 creaseless primer*, Real Techniques Expert Face Brush
Guerlain Meteorites Perles D’Azur by Emilio Pucci(LE)- I cannot tell you how many times I used these since getting them earlier this year (I believe May?). They became a regular part of my daily routine, adding a touch of glow to my skin without being obvious.
Chanel Brume D’Or(LE)- It was hard to decide between this, Notorious and Fleur de Lotus (all three are gorgeous and lovely in their own ways). But I decided on Brume D’Or because it really added a color of blush to my collection that is the perfect neutral when I have a summer tan. I used this a lot last summer and the color it gave was fabulous.
Illamasqua Zygomatic- Along with the powder blush Naked Rose, Illamasqua added to their blush lineup this year with some stellar shades. Zygomatic is a perfect neutral blush that blends into your skin like a dream, and great for those “no make-up” make-up looks.
Tarte Clean Slate 360 Primer*- The best eye primer I have used to date. It’s about 3/4 gone because I have literally not done my eye makeup without it since receiving it. I like that it comes in squeeze tube form vs. a wand (more hygienic) and it really makes a difference in how my makeup applies and how long it lasts (12+ hours).
Real Techniques Expert Face Brush- I’ve been a fan of these brushes created by Youtube Beauty Extraordinaire Sam Chapman of Pixiwoo. They are synthetic and super soft. They don’t shed and they hold up well to use and washing. This brush was a new release this year and was my absolute most used brush of the year. I use it daily for blending tinted moisturizer or foundation and even my concealer.
Clockwise from left: Dior Fairy Golds, Laura Mercier Gilded Platinum, Too Faced La Creme Naked Dolly, Hourglass Opaque Rouge Liquid Lipstick Empress, MAC Lipglass Revenge is Sweet, BareMinerals Ready Liner 5am, Urban Decay Mushroom
Dior Fairy Golds(LE)- This was released in Dior’s holiday collection along with Night Golds (another favorite of mine). But between Night Golds and Fairy Golds, I definitely used this one the most. It has a slightly cooler tone to it and is a little more wearable for day-to-day use. The shadows were creamy and pigmented and long-lasting.
Swatches L-R: BareMinerals 5am, Laura Mercier Gilded Platinum, Urban Decay Mushroom, Chanel Brume D’Or, Illamasqua Zygomatic, MAC Revenge is Sweet, Hourglass Empress, Too Faced Naked Dolly
BareMinerals 5am Ready Liner(LE)- What a gorgeous shade! This was released in their limited edition Night Vision set (which I have yet to review). Let me say I’m absolutely hooked on this formula! This shade was the reason I purchased the set, but I was blown away by the staying power of the liners in general. The black that came with the set is super black and stays on my waterline ALL DAY. Through a workout at the gym, my shower, meetings, errands, traffic…! Might be the best liner formula I have ever tried. Super creamy and easy to apply.
Laura Mercier Gilded Platinum (LE)- A gorgeous platinum shade with high shine and a smooth texture. The pattern? Fabulous.
Urban Decay Mushroom- Urban Decay revamped their eyeshadow formula this year and re-released many shades as singles, and added new ones to their lineup. I had always wanted this shade but it was previously (I think?) only available in their larger palettes. I jumped on this as soon as I saw they had released it as a single and wasn’t disappointed. Incredibly buttery in texture and excellent color payoff, this shadow is worth a look if you don’t already have it!
MAC Lipglass Revenge is Sweet(LE)- I am actually not a huge fan of the lipglass formula in general, however, I have been wanting this particular shade since it was released in the Disney Venomous Villains collection back in 2010 (anyone else miss those days of clever collections?!). I was happy to see it being repromoted in a collection this past November. The formula is actually more tolerable than I remember, not quite as sticky as it once was. The color is sheer, but lovely on the lips adding just a nice kiss of pink.
Hourglass Opaque Rouge Liquid Lipstick Empress*- 2012 was the year of the liquid lipstick with several companies coming out with their own variation on the trend. This formula was my favorite. My favorite shade is actually Muse, but I seem to have temporarily misplaced it! The three shades I have all perform the same: long lasting, highly opaque coverage and smooth texture. As with any liquid lipstick/matte lipstick you need to be wary of dry patches on your lips as they will inevitably make those look worse and more obvious.
Too Faced La Creme Drenched Lip Creme Naked Dolly- Actually Naked Dolly is a new purchase for me, prompted by Tiffany of Will Work For Makeup. I originally purchased the shade Juicy Melons back when these lipsticks first launched last summer. It was a go-to shade for me well into the fall. I’ve been into nude lipstick lately so when I saw Tiffany feature this I knew I had to pick it up. Creamy, opaque in one swipe and super comfortable wear this has to be the best new lipstick formula released in 2012 for me.
And lastly, the one product fail for me this past year:
Sigma F25 Tapered Face Brush- I cannot tell you how much I dislike this brush. I used it and washed it for months before finally giving up on it. It is supposed to be like the MAC 138 (both pictured above). After realizing I would NOT be able to continue using the F25, I purchased the 138. The reason? It sheds… ALL OVER THE PLACE. In my products, on my face, on my clothes, on my counters. Literally every time I used it 5-10 hairs would fall out. I have no idea how it has any hair left at all. Do yourself a favor and skip the F25. The MAC version is softer, much less shedding (only a few hairs when I first washed) and has a better feel on the face. I wouldn’t even give this brush away, let alone sell it in a blog sale. I wouldn’t want anyone else going through the frustration I experienced with it.
Well, after that rant I think I can end this favorites post. Thanks for sticking with me and I hope you have a wonderful week! Feel free to share your favorite new products of 2012 below!
Hi ladies! I thought before I debut my super nail polish swatch-a-thon post that I would do a little write up of some products I have tried and just didn’t like or they just didn’t work for me. Most of these products have been endlessly hyped up on blogs and YT everywhere, which is what led me to them in first place. Please PLEASE understand that the items that made my list didn’t work *for me*, which is not to say that they are necessarily not able to work for others. Keep in mind that we all have different skin tones and types and that our tastes may be completely different.
Alrighty, then, with that out of the way, I present the products I regret buying, or that were “not worth the hype” for me.
I bought this in April sometime after seeing video after video of how this was someone’s “go to” blush and was their all time favorite and so on and so forth. I just don’t get it. My skintone doesn’t seem too far from those making that claim so why it *barely* showed up on my cheeks, I won’t know. There was absolutely, positively nothing special about this blush for me. So uneventful in fact that I didn’t even manage to take a photo of it and swatches before I took it back to Sephora. I have $3 blushes from ELF that are better than this. I honestly and seriously cannot see how someone of my skintone could ever wear this as a blush. Someone with VERY fair skin could probably do it, and well perhaps. I wouldn’t be so hard on this blush if it weren’t for 2 things: the hype and the price. I would be ok paying may $5-$10 for this blush. But certainly not $28, which is more than MAC, NARS, Tarte, or Sonia Kashuk which make far superior blushes to this one.
Alternative: Benefit Bella Bamba which is my favorite Benefit blush.You can see my review here.
2. Dior Amber Diamond
Ok, I get it. It’s Dior, it’s pretty, it’s soft, the packaging is cute. But this did not give me that “natural” glow that so many people have talked about this giving. It gave me a more subdued frosty shimmer. It certainly wasn’t ugly on my cheeks, but it wasn’t any better or any different than my Physician’s Formula Shimmer Strips, which are around $9 compared to Dior’s $44 price tag. In my opinion, this is worth no more than $15-$20 at best, and the rest is paying for the Dior name. Maybe it’s because I had heard so much about it that when I eventually tried it my expectations were so high that it could never possibly live up to it. Kind of like when I finally watched the movie ‘The Ring’ years ago. Climatic build, huge let down. Whatever the reason, I tried it for two weeks and returned it to Sephora. I am not opposed to some day trying out a different shade if they ever choose to make more. But $44 is an awful lot to spend on a highlighter, so when I do drop that cash it needs to be *Ah-mazing* and this just fell very flat for me.
Alternative: Jemma Kidd Dewy Glow in Rose Gold which is by far the best highlighter I own, period, end of report. It gives me the natural glow I want, with the cream formula I love. Or, if you are looking for a powder, try the Physicians Formula Shimmer Strips–they make several shades and they are a bargain at $9.
3. MAC Feline Kohl Liner
I had heard that this the THE black eyeliner to have. It was the blackest, and therefore the best. Not true, ladies. I don’t normally have issues with liner staying put for me. I use an eye primer and have several liners that don’t budge all day. I am not kidding you when I say that MAC Feline smudges on me EVERY single time I wear it. I end up looking like a hot mess in short order with this liner. I don’t know what it is about it that either doesn’t last or doesn’t agree with my skin, but it is quite possibly the worst eyeliner it was ever my misfortune to purchase. Unfortunately I still own it because I didn’t realize how bad it was until several weeks into owning it. Trust me when I say you don’t need to hunt this one down. There are so many others out there that work so much better!
Alternative: Urban Decay 24-7 liner in Perversion is just as black and stays put on me on all day. For a gel liner, try MAC Blacktrack fluidline, which does last on me or Maybelline Eye Studio gel liner which is lovely as well.
4. EOS lip balm spheres
At first when I saw these cute little “dumplings” I was oh so excited to try them out. I mean, really, I love the presentation. But unfortunately for me, this were all show, and no substance. They really don’t do anything for moisturizing my lips at all. The red one actually made my lips for more dry than they did prior to using it. I don’t think I will ever purchase another because these two were just so uneventful. Unless they change the formula, these are complete duds.
Alternative: My favorite lip balm/chapstick is my Blistex Medicated lip balm. It soothes, protects, and moisturizes. It’s definitely not as cute as the EOS, but it performs like a star.
5 & 6. Benefit Benetint and Posietint/ Tarte Cheek Stains
I am sorry, but these were just plain bad for me. The Tarte Cheek Stains are equally bad on me. I don’t have them pictured here, but I have quite a few minis that have come in sets and the only one I like is ‘Eco Cheek’. The Benefit ones have a horrendous taste which immediately rule them out for use on the lips. On the cheeks they don’t blend well and they dry so super fast. The Tarte stains are so sheer that you have to keep swiping and swiping for color. They are sticky and greasy as well. They slip and slide on my skin and never quite feel like they have ‘set’. I actually had to dig through my drawers to find them because they are buried in the abyss–which says something about a product for me when it’s at the bottom and the back of the drawer, ya feel me?
Alternative: I actually enjoy the Stila Crush lip and cheek stains immensely and own a couple of them. I can do a review if you are interested. Not budget friendly, but I enjoy the Beaute Flouron stain as well. The Body Shop made cheek and lip stains last year and I picked up an orange-y one. I am not sure whether they still make that shade or the line at all, but it is very nice.
7. Guerlain Meteorites
Ahh, one of the single most disappointing products ever. When I just entered “make up addict land” MakeupAlley was the place I found first, because mostly I was looking for plain vanilla swatches. This product was one I saw frequently on there. Girls who had all the shades, loved them etc. So when Sephora (2 years ago?) had a set for sale that included this baby, I snatched it up, full throttle. Actually, this has a bit on sentimental value because I bought it in Vegas :) at the Sephora just outside the Venetian. But upon trying it I could not see what so many others see in this product. The price is outrageously expensive, and again I think this is more “paying for the name” than anything else. I think the price is around $56 for a full size. Are you kidding me? Plus, I really *really* don’t like the smell of them. I would never buy another of these.
Alternative: Physicians Formula Happy Booster Translucent powder gives me the glow I thought I would get with Guerlain. Plus, the smell is 100x better. Better still is the fact that it costs around $11.
8. Rimmel Fix & Perfect Foundation Primer
I don’t know that this can fall into the category of “Hype” or not, because I don’t know that I have really heard a lot about it. What I can tell you is that this is a truly awful product (my experience) and I would never recommend this to anyone, especially oily/combination skin ladies. It did nothing in the way of smoothing or making my face feel more ready for foundation in the way of other primers, like my beloved Guerlain (review here). It made my face feel worse and like I had this heavy layer of moisturizer that was quite greasy. It was cheap and performed poorly. I really ought to just throw it away. I just have a problem wasting it. Do you ladies get this way too even if you absolutely hate something? Blech.
Alternative: Certainly loads more expensive, but I love my Guerlain primer. For a more budget friendly option, try Laura Geller Spackle ( I really enjoy this) or Smashbox Photo Finish primers.
9. MAC Nail Polishes
I can’t say whether it’s MAC’s formula or whether it’s me but these are probably the worst polishes for wear time ever. They chip so easily! It doesn’t matter what kind of top coat or base coat I try, they never last. When OPI, China Glaze and Essie are half the price and last 3 times or 4 times as long there really is no comparison. This is one MAC product I have zero interest in. The colors are gorgeous, but I expect (who knew) to be able to at least get through one day without any wear ‘n’ tear on my nails. Never happens when I wear MAC polishes, which is why I haven’t touched them at all in 2011. <—-not kidding
Well, I suppose I will end with that. Mostly, I have had fairly good if not great experiences with makeup and beauty products. The occasional fail does not stop my quest or my love for trying new things! I think it’s important to remember that beauty is subjective and ultimately lies in the eye of the beholder. How about you, what products have you tried that didn’t meet your expectations?
Hello ladies! Happy May! It was an awful, wet and cold April. I am looking forward to May in a big way! More sun, warmth, and of course…flowers! I really get into gardening, and my lavender is already green again and growing and so are my Irises! I love growing my own herbs and different flowers. I will definitely share pictures along the way this spring and summer!
I wanted to pull together all of the items I have been using pretty much daily so you can get an idea of what I am “obsessing” over at the moment.
That wraps up my current obsessions, save for two things: my new favorite mascaras! I am saving those for a separate post, coming right after this one! I can’t wait to share these with you guys because I am really excited about these two products!
Do we share any obsessions? What products do you find yourself reaching for day in and day out?
Greetings fellow beauty lovers! Today I bring a special post, all about highlighters. I was not able to swatch everything in my collection, but I did try to pick the most popular or most readily available items so that you can see what many of them look like compared to one another. For most of them I am including a flash and a natural light photo. The natural light really washes them out on camera I think, so bear that in mind. The flash versions are more accurate representations of what the colors look like, but I did it for posterity’s sake anyway :). This is going to be a picture heavy post!
The above pictures represent my favorite kind of highlight–liquid/cream. I just think it always look so much more luminous and dewy when you use a liquid. I reach for a liquid or cream highlighter daily, while powder highlighters are much less frequently used, maybe a handful of times a month if that. I am still lusting after a few more of the MUFE Uplights (they are $29 each at Sephora.com) but I am waiting for them to arrive in Sephora (mid-May I have been told) so I can swatch. I am also lemming the infamous Jemma Kidd Dewy Glow in Rose Gold., but haven’t indulged yet because, as you can see, I have enough to deal with at the moment in the way of cream highlighters. A few of these items may be difficult to find, and although I tried not to include such items, I did so so that if you do find them that you snatch them up! Prescriptives Sheen Cream has long been discontinued, but has remained for about 3 years a favorite of mine. If they still sold it, I would buy several. Sonia Kashuk’s liquid highlighter is new for spring this year, but has been notoriously difficult to find. I was told by the company you will see more soon, but they had a problem with the manufacturer. Sephora’s luminous glow is also a cherished favorite of mine, but it has also been discontinued! I wanted to include some pictures of the items that are not as popular so that you know what they look like if you find them:
The unique thing about the Mark product is that you can use each of the colors separately and you have 9 colors to use. Or you can swirl them together to get the peachy bronze effect I got in the swatch (it appears darker in the swatch than it is in person). Plus this is more like a cream-to-powder product.
Cream/Liquid Wrap up:
Powder Wrap up:
Well, that is probably my biggest and longest post ever! I am a total highlighter addict and I am always searching for more! What are your thoughts? Are you a cream/liquid fan or do you prefer powders? What highlighters do you own that are your favorite?