beauty favorites

July Beauty Favorites - 2017:

 

"If the world is cold, make it your business to build fires."

- Horace Traubel

 

 

 

Hello darlings!

Here are my July beauty favorites! These are the makeup and skincare products I have been loving lately.

 

I struggled a lot with my skin the past few months so I didn't wear makeup as much as I usually do; I've found a few skincare products that saved my skin so let's talk about those first:

 

Drunk Elephant is a brand that I've quickly fallen in love with these past few months. They pride themselves on minimal, non-toxic ingredients and are said to be safe for even the most sensitive of skin. Their bright packaging is what first caught my eye when I found them in Sephora and their story is what made me try them. I'm so glad I did because I've been loving quite a few of their products! They are pricey so I'm slowly adding to my collection.

The C-Firma Day Serum ($80) is a Vitamin C serum made to brighten and firm as well as help with signs of photoaging. I tried this because I'm starting to see more and more sun damage pop up on my skin and I'd like to fade those spots as much as possible! This is a light-weight serum that absorbs quickly into the skin. It does have a funny little smell (not chemically) but that doesn't bother me much. It goes away once you've massaged it into the skin.

Although I haven't been using this long enough to say that I've seen amazing changes or anything... I've been enjoying it! I will update you guys as I continue using it.


Next up are two products from Dr. Jart. These were sent to me by the company (for PR unboxings follow my snapchat: @themakeupaffair) and they must have gotten the Bat Signal letting them know I needed them because I was recovering from yet another allergic reaction when these arrived and within two days, my skin was no longer dry, flaky and irritated! I was instantly hooked.

I am in NO WAY shape or form being paid to say that! I truly mean it.

Dr Jart Ultimate Hydro Gel review

Ultimate Hydro Gel ($39) is a gel moisturizer that is said to brighten and deliver long-lasting moisture. I can't agree with this more! I layered this on the areas that I had flaking, dry skin and let it just sit and soak in... As soon as it did soak in, I added another layer. This made such a huge difference! It's the only moisturizer right now that is helping calm that irritation down. Thank Goodness!

Dr Jart favorites

It has a seal to help keep the product contained as well as a little spatula so you don't have to stick your fingers in the product. It helps to keep it sanitary!

Dr Jart Ultimate Hydro Gel

You can probably tell that I've already put quite a dent in this! It's a gel based moisturizer so a little bit goes a long way and it absorbs quickly into the skin.

My other favorite from Dr Jart is the eye gel that is also part of this Hydro Gel line:

Dr Jart Hydro Soothe Eye Gel review

The Hydro Soothe eye gel ($42) became a quick favorite because of that gel formula! I'm very prone to milia on my eyes and cheeks and this is one of the only eye creams I've been able to use that doesn't cause them!

Hallelujah!!!

Dr Jart Hydro Soothe Eye gel

This also absorbs really quickly! If you have super dry under-eyes, this may not be enough moisture for you as it is super lightweight and not one of those thicker, more emollient eye creams you may be used to.


On to the makeup! :)

 

Benefit Brow product favorites

Benefit's brow products..... HOW have I never tried these before?!? I am obsessed!!! I will forever grab these before Anastasia's brow products from now on. They are that good. I'm trying out a few of their other brow products as well but these four are my current obsessions.

3D Browtones ($24) - This is an interesting product. It's a brow gel but it is meant to highlight areas of your brows. You want to pick up the shade that is slightly lighter than your brows and it will soften the look of darker brows or enhance lighter brows by adding dimension. I've been loving using this in the inner portion of my brows to keep that feathery, lighter look and to keep the inner portion from looking too harsh.

Ka-Brow ($24) - If you've ever used Anastasia's Dip Brow, this is pretty much Benefit's version of that... But in my opinion, it's better and easier to use. They describe it as a cream-gel and I think that's a perfect description. That stem coming out from the top of the jar is a small angled brush, I don't use it but it's actually pretty good quality! If you'd tried Dip Brow and struggled with it or completely hated it, try this! It's SO easy to use.

Gimme Brow ($24) - This has been a staple in my routine for years. It is a brow gel with microfibers that helps to add not only color to your brows but the fibers fill in sparser areas. It's just perfection. I love to use this on full-glam days all the way to no-makeup days. This helps to add texture back to your brows after filling them in. And on days when I wear no makeup, I like to throw this on to quickly fill my brows in without them looking too made up!

Precisely, My Brow Pencil ($24) - This is your Brow Wiz dupe! Dual ended, product on one side and spoolie on the other. This formula is incredible! It's not too dry, not too creamy. It lasts all day! It's the perfect brow pencil.


Next up are a few products from bareMinerals. I will start by saying that I haven't had the best experience with their products. Most were fails for me in the past but these are some new products they've recently released and oh my goodness, I am in love! These are phenomenal!!

bareMinerals Combo Control Primer review.JPG

bareMinerals Combo Control Primer ($26) - I haven't been able to find a primer I've loved in a while. I've been testing out a few and they've just been okay. So when I first tried this, I wasn't expecting much... After trying for the past few weeks, I love it!! I tried it with foundations that have been breaking down quickly on me and I've seen a huge difference in how long they wear now. It controls my oils but doesn't accentuate dry patches like some combo primers have done to me in the past. It's a milky formula but feels almost like a moisturizer once you apply it and it absorbs really quickly.

bareMinerals Bare Pro Full Coverage Foundation review

Barepro Liquid Foundation ($34) - This foundation.... Man, was this a pleasant surprise. I absolutely hated the Pure Brightening Serum foundation so I was nervous to try this... But I love it! There are 30 shades available with varying undertones (THANK YOU BAREMINERALS!!!!). These two shades are Dawn and Champagne, both yellow undertones. I mix both for a perfect match because I am almost never one shade!

The claims:

  • Full coverage
  • Papaya Enzymes improves the appearance of skin texture over time.
  • 24-hour breathable coverage
  • MineralLock Technology that blends mineral pigments with natural lipids in the skin to lock in transfer-resistant coverage
  • Bamboo Stem extract for naturally matte, soft focus finish
  • Heat, humidity, water and sweat resistant
  • SPF 20

This foundation reminds me of MAC Pro Longwear concealer... If you're familiar with the texture of that concealer, it's super similar to this. It's full coverage, apply a very light layer to start with because it's very easy to go overboard and turn into a total cake face! The finish is matte but I can see why they say it has a soft focus finish because it's not totally flat. I will be testing it more to see if it transfers or not but so far, I'm loving it! It wears all day so I've been choosing this one for work quite often.

bareMinerals Barepro foundation

It comes with a pump that locks; awwwww yeah!!!!

 

bareMinerals Contour Palette review

Barepro Contour Face-Shaping Powder Trio ($34) - Another product I was pleasantly surprised by! These powders are super creamy and blendable. I've not only been using them to contour but I've also loved using them as eyeshadows!

bareMinerals Contour Palette Tan to Dark

This is the Tan to Dark palette. For contouring, I can pretty much only use the darkest shade. The middle one is too orange for my skin tone and the highlight shade is too dark so those two I use for eyeshadows.

bareminerals powder shaping trio review

These are so easily blendable! I'll be picking up the lighter palette next.


Those are my favorites from July! Let us know your current favorites in the comments below!!

 

xoxo.

 

 

FTC: Some of these products were sent to me by the company. All opinions are my own.

Current Favorites - March 2017:

 

"In life you will realize there is a role for everyone you meet. Some will test you, some will use you, some will love you and some will teach you. But the ones who are truly important are the ones who bring out the best in you. They are the rare amazing people who remind you why it's worth it."

 

 

Hey guys! How long has it been since I've done a favorites post?! Forever, it feels like. And surprisingly, I don't have a ton of products to share.

As many of you who follow my Instagram know, I've begun on the path of starting my own business and that has taken up much of my time - and money... So the makeup splurges are quite few and far between as of late. But these products are ones that I've been really loving so I wanted to share them!

If you are interested in more info on what exactly my business is, I plan to write a blog post all about it soon but in short, I will be back to taking clients! I'm renting a room in a salon and will be doing makeup, eyelash extensions and a bit of waxing. I will put a post up with photos as soon as I get the room 100% finished!

On to the favorites!

If you follow my Instagram, you know that I've been quite into bright eyeshadows lately... So of course it's fitting that I mention Sugarpill. They are the powerhouse of BRIGHT eyeshadows!

The swatches from left to right: Buttercupcake, Love +, Flamepoint, Acidberry, Poison Plum, Dollipop, Kitten Parade, and Candycrush.

 

I wanted to post a close-up of the two shimmer shades because I feel like the crazy bright mattes are what Sugarpill is known for... And the metallics don't get as much love as they probably should. They are SO FREAKING PRETTY! Kitten Parade is absolutely incredible as a lid shade.

I couldn't say enough about Sugarpill's eyeshadows. The pans are huge, they are crazy pigmented and bright. They blend easily, which can be difficult to find in such bright colors. They are just perfect.

Head over to my Instagram to see my latest posts using these eyeshadows!


Next up is Maybelline's Better Skin pressed powder. I've seen a bunch of positive reviews about it so after shattering yet another Rimmel Stay Matte powder (does that happen to anyone else? EVERY SINGLE ONE!)... I thought it was about time to try a new brand.

The mirror is HUGE! I also like that they include a sponge versus a powder puff.... I never use it but hey, it's nice to have just in case.

I can't even really tell you why I love this powder.... It just works. Nicely. My skin looks more flawless after I use this. And who doesn't want that?! It lasts pretty well over foundation. I do need to touch up at my usual times so I can't say that it holds oils any longer than typical but it's a beautiful powder!

I use the shade 10 - Porcelain.


MAC Pro Longwear Concealer..... I won't talk about this much because it's been a favorite of mine for many years but I purchased a new one a month or so ago and fell right back in love with it.

Tarte's Shape Tape is phenomenal and I wanted to include that one as well but I find it very drying under my eyes.... And MAC's concealer has the closest amount of pigmentation but is a bit more hydrating so I've actually been grabbing for it more than my Tarte concealer!

I use the shade NC15.

... It's just one of those oldie but goodies that I will forever love.


Next up is.... Soap brows!!!! Have you tried this yet?!

There are tons of videos using this technique now but I will link the originator - Pixiwoo!

Essentially, you are wetting your spoolie with either water or fix plus and working some soap into the brush and then combing through your brows. Whether before applying product or after, it works both ways. I also love using this on days when I'm not wearing any makeup to get my brows in the shape that I want them. They stay put all day and I love using soap more so than any brow gel!

I know it sounds weird, but give it a try! The soap I use is from Amazon - the trick is finding a soap that is totally clear and doesn't leave a film over your brows. These from Amazon don't and they come in a three pack.


Anastasia's Liquid Lipsticks..... Another favorite I've mentioned before but I just can't get enough of them. I literally want to own every single shade. They are one of my favorite formulas. And I know that liquid lip formulas are so individualized and everyone has preferences but these are wonderful, in my opinion.

They are super pigmented, they don't dry my lips out too much or feel uncomfortable. They wear remarkably well and.... I just love them!

From left to right: Pure Hollywood, Naked, Catnip, Vamp and Requiem.


A little bonus random favorite... My Erin Condren Life Planner. I know... I know. I didn't ever want to get on the planner bandwagon but this planner is so freaking good. It's perfect for what I need!

I will include my referral link here - you will get $10 off your purchase. These are pricey planners but she ALWAYS has deals and coupons so don't ever pay full price! If you'd like a post more dedicated to planning, let me know in the comments below!

I didn't think I would enjoy using a planner this much but my memory is terrible and it has helped me to remember things so much better! The physical act of taking the time to write things down is definitely a game changer for me.


So those are my current favorites! What are some things you are loving?! Let us know in the comments below!

 

xoxo.

Milani Conceal + Perfect Foundation

"You are not a simple work of art. You are the entire museum."

- Ming D. Liu

 

Hey lovers!

Today’s review is of Milani’s new(ish) Conceal & Perfect 2-in-1 Foundation. They say this has both foundation and concealer in one.

The other claims:

  • Medium to full coverage
  • Lightweight & oil-free
  • Longwearing
  • Water resistant
  • Sweat-proof

I’m using the shade 01 Creamy Vanilla. This shade is the lightest in the range and I can tell you right now that the shade range sucks. I don’t know when these companies will realize that there are SO many more skin tones and undertones in the world. Needless to say, I almost always have to mix foundations and this one is no exception.

 

Alright so let’s start with the packaging, it’s nice. I like the ombre black to glass packaging and it has a pump so I’m all smiles on that one. You get 1 ounce of product which is pretty typical for liquid foundations.

My other complaint/confusion other than the shade selection is that on the site it says that this shade is for fair skin with cool undertones…. I’m sure you will see in the swatch below that it is VERY yellow…. Which should mean it’s targeted more for warm tones…. So this will definitely confuse most while shopping online for the correct shade. It looks very pink in the photo on the website. So I’m not sure what’s going on there. (I purchased mine at my local CVS.)

 

This foundation is $9.99 in most stores and varies in price online.

I’ve been absolutely loving this foundation. As I’ve said, I have to mix it with others to get a better match so that’s where things with my review go a little bit sideways.

 

The foundation itself is on the thicker side of a liquid foundation, it’s not very runny. The coverage is great, I agree with the claims of medium to full. It layers very well so if it doesn’t cover things initially, let that first layer dry and apply more in the areas you need it and it builds up beautifully.

My skin type is normal to combination and with just this foundation by itself, I can wear it for maybe 5 hours before it starts breaking down on my skin and looking not so cute. 

 

However, what I have been doing is mixing it with my Estee Lauder Double Wear for a better match and to improve the longevity and the two together are the dream team! The finish is stunning. Full coverage for sure, ya’ll know I go big or go home when it comes to coverage. I’m not a light coverage person. Either I’m wearing full coverage or I’m going bare-faced. 

Flawless foundation routine

My routine for the past two weeks has been mixing this and Double Wear on the back of my hand, letting it warm up a bit and applying with a Real Techniques Sponge (it also applies nicely with a brush). I apply one thin layer, letting it dry. Spritzing my face with the Caudalie Beauty Elixir (see review here), letting that dry and then applying the second layer. I spray my face at the very end of applying all makeup to finish it off and it looks absolutely perfect. I’m obsessed with this combination! 

So anyways, I’ve really been enjoying this. I've noticed many more "good" skin days since I have been wearing this. I definitely prefer the mix more so than the foundation on it’s own but either way, I’d say give it a try.

I’m not sure how this would be for dry skin types; I could see it clinging to dry patches considering the formula so maybe try it and keep your receipt to return if it doesn’t work for you. Most stores are fantastic with makeup returns. 

If you don’t want something full coverage, it also mixes nicely with oils or moisturizers to thin out the coverage. Moral of the story is…. She plays well with others. Which is a win in my book. I’m the queen of mixing products, I swear. I need to just start my own damn makeup line! :)

 

Have you tried this foundation yet?! What do you think of it? Let us know in the comments below!

xoxo.

 

 

Caudalie Beauty Elixir

"No tree, it is said, can grow to heaven unless its roots reach down to hell."

- Carl Jung

Hey loves! Caudalie’s Beauty Elixir is a product that has been the topic of some conversation lately in the beauty community and after hearing so many good reviews (and some bad), I had to try it for myself.

This is a toning mist made for all skin types - except dry. The claims:

  • Sets makeup
  • Provides an instant boost of radiance
  • Tightens the appearance of pores
  • Solution for: Dullness/uneven texture, pores and dryness

 

On Sephora’s website,Inspired by Queen Isabelle of Hungary's famous elixir of youth, Beauty Elixir is formulated with grape extracts and clarifying ingredients to provide an immediate burst of radiance. The complexion treatment reduces dullness and is infused with toning rosemary, astringent mint, and soothing rose essential oil to prepare your skin for further treatments. 

 

Beloved by celebrities and makeup artists worldwide, the Beauty Elixir is the ideal priming base and setting spray between layers of makeup for a long-lasting and smooth finish. Perfect as an aftershave for men, the formula contains essential oils and plant extracts to clarify and brighten the complexion. The therapeutic scent is invigorating throughout the day and can be used mid-day at the office for an instant pick-me-up and in the evening to refresh your makeup so that it looks like you had just applied it.”

 

Man, do they know how to talk up a product! I’m sure you can see now why I was so curious :) 

 

As always, we’ll start with the packaging:

Caudalie Beauty Elixir Review

Beautiful! I love the frosted glass, it has a nice feel to it. Heavy and sturdy. 

The mist is absolutely perfect. Not too much, not too little. It doesn't leave splatter of product on your freshly applied makeup, which I am so appreciative of.

One complaint, the scent is strong. More so than I expected and I’ve never been one to be put off by fragrance in products. It’s not terrible, very spa-like but super intense. So if you aren’t a fan of strong scents in your products, this may be one that you want to avoid. Or try it in store to see if you’d like it.

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The claims? Some I agree with, others not so much. But let’s talk about the ingredients first because that will tie in with some of my opinion.

  • Water - The most abundant ingredient in this product. Pretty typical for toners like this.
  • Alcohol - Ahhh, why must companies do this! Alcohol on your skin is extremely drying and overall just BAD.
  • Bitter Orange Flower Water - An ingredient commonly used in skincare, soaps, shampoos, etc. Used as a skin-conditioning agent as well as for fragrance. The methanol content can make this irritating to the skin.
  • Fragrance - Another additive that I wish companies would omit. As I’ve said, the fragrance is extremely strong in this product. And fragrance is a known irritant for many skin types.
  • Rosemary Leaf Oil - Antioxidant and antimicrobial. Also used for fragrance.
  • Potassium Alum - An astringent used for tightening or tingling sensation.

These are only some of the ingredients, overall I can’t say that this is a product that would improve your skin over time at all but can provide some of those claims above, but also beware of the alcohol and fragrance that could cause irritation for more sensitive skin types.

My routine, as mentioned in the Milani Conceal & Perfect Foundation review (coming soon!) - I like to apply a thin layer of foundation and let it dry, follow with misting my face with this Elixir and once that dries, applying one more thin layer of foundation for extra coverage where needed. At the end of my makeup, I finalize with another mist of this product.

 

I’ve been enjoying this. I wasn’t expecting much; I try to go into every review with a clean slate and no expectations, regardless of what reviews I’ve heard. I definitely have been loving my makeup more than I usually do. I agree that it sets makeup well - does it provide any additional longevity? Nah. I wouldn’t say that. But it does leave a beautiful finish and can be used the same way you’d use a Mac Fix+ type product. It tones down any powderiness and gives a more natural glow to the skin. Which leads me to also agree that it gives a boost of radiance. Absolutely.

Does it tighten pores? Nope. I don’t feel or see any tightening whatsoever but I’d say that with just about any product with a claim like that. Most don't.

I also don’t agree to it being a solution for texture… It’s the esthetician in me when I say texture is texture and no makeup product on the planet can tone that down. But it does help with dullness, again due to the radiance it gives.

 

Overall, I’ve been loving this. Do I think it’s worth the hefty $49 price tag? No. Would I repurchase…..…… Okay, maybe. :)

Have you tried this yet? If so, leave your opinions in the comments below and leave any recommendations for other finishing sprays you love!

xoxo.

NIA Cosmetics Haul, Review & Swatches:

"The people who are crazy enough to think they can change the world are the ones who do."

Hey dolls!

I have a haul and review of some products from a company that you may not have heard of yet! NIA Cosmetics. The owner Irenia reached out to me to try some of her lip products (they were sent to me for free, with no other compensation and I have chosen of my own volition to talk about these lippies and share them with you)!

These are described as lip glosses, they come in a pot and can be applied with a lip brush. These remind me a lot of OCC Lip Tars except they are hand made using absolutely no harsh chemicals!

NIA Cosmetics - Packaging & Ingredeients

We'll jump right into the shades!

NIA Cosmetics - Fantasy 1

The first shade is Fantasy.

NIA Cosmetics - Fantasy 2

This is a gorgeous iridescent light blue.

NIA Cosmetics - Fantasy Swatch 1

It's super pigmented and creamy. A tiny bit goes a long way!

NIA Cosmetics - Fantasy Swatch 2

The reflects in this are stunning! When I see this shade, I think of mermaids.

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NIA Cosmetics - Sapphire 1

The next shade is Sapphire.

NIA Cosmetics - Sapphire 2

This is a deep metallic blue.

NIA Cosmetics - Sapphire Swatch 1

It's hard to get the full effect in photos but this has a beautiful sheen.

NIA Cosmetics - Sapphire Swatch 2

This shade is so unique!

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NIA Cosmetics - Majesty 1

Sticking with the blues! Next up is Majesty.

NIA Cosmetics - Majesty 2

Who's bold enough to wear this shade?! :-D

NIA Cosmetics - Majesty Swatch 2

I know.... There aren't words for this one, right?

NIA Cosmetics - Majesty Swatch 1

Blue isn't exactly the easiest color to pull off but man, is this absolutely beautiful.

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NIA Cosmetics - Naked 1

NIA Cosmetics - Naked 2

Naked is a gorgeous metallic nude.

NIA Cosmetics - Naked Swatch 2

The shine and reflectiveness of this shade is incredible.

NIA Cosmetics - Naked Swatch 1

So beautiful!

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NIA Cosmetics - Nia 1

NIA Cosmetics - Nia 2

Nia is hard to describe. It's a medium pink with a gold sheen, however the gold isn't as apparent once on the lips.

NIA Cosmetics - Nia Swatch 2

Nia is one of my favorites!

NIA Cosmetics - Nia Swatch 1

This is a beautiful every day shade.

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NIA Cosmetics - Stiletto 1

Let's tone it down a little, here is a classic red shade! Stiletto is perfection.

NIA Cosmetics - Stiletto 2

NIA Cosmetics - Stiletto Swatch 2

These are totally true to color. What you see in the pot is what you get on your lips.

NIA Cosmetics - Stiletto Swatch 1

This is such a great, classic every day red shade.

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NIA Cosmetics - Fuego 1

Last but certainly not least, my absolute favorite shade! Fuego.

NIA Cosmetics - Feugo 2

You have to see this one in person to get the full effect. Pictures do it no justice!

NIA Cosmetics - Fuego Swatch 2

This is pure pigmented, saturated color!

NIA Cosmetics - Fuego Swatch 1

Isn't she stunning?!?

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Lip swatches:

NIA Cosmetics - Stiletto Lip Swatch

Stiletto.

NIA Cosmtics - Majesty Lip Swatch

Majesty.

NIA Cosmtics _ Fuego Lip Swatch 1

Fuego.

If you'd like to see any other shades on the lips, let me know!

These are so fun and unique. I love how pigmented they are and although having to apply with a lip brush isn't exactly travel friendly, I found that the wear time was surprisingly long with these. The matte shades laster longer than the shimmer/metallics and the day I wore Fuego, it even lasted through a greasy meal! They feel nice on the lips, not too heavy. Similar to a lip gloss but more pigmented and long wearing.

These cost $10 each and will last you literally a lifetime and a half! Check out NIA Cosmetics website, they have tons of shades to choose from and Irenia is adding SO many more!! I can't wait to see what she comes up with next.

Which shades do you like the best? Let us know in the comments below!

*I received these products for free. All opinions are – and ALWAYS will be – 100% my own.*

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Thank you for reading! xoxo.