AUGUST FAVORITES 2017

Hello frenz and welcome back! It's the end of August and that means it's time for a favorites list! I can't tell if this month flew by or if it took forever. Seriously, this month felt never ending but I'm still a little shocked that tomorrow is September. Anyways, I've had a lot of favorites this month, but I narrowed it down to some holy grail products I've this month. Let's jump right into this, shall we?!

First up is Benefit's POREfessional Primer. I actually just found out that this is considered a primer hahaha, well good, because that's what I've been using it as. My sample size is pretty much empty, I'm having to curl the tube and squeeze out product lol, but this primer is AAAA-MAZINGGG. I have huge pores on my nose and the tops of my cheeks, and this seriously fills them in and blurs them better than any other pore blurring product I've tried (and I've tried a ton). You can actually see it fill in your pores as soon as it's rubbed into the skin. It has a smell that I would call "cheap chocolate" haha, like those cheap chocolate quarters or something — but it's not a scent that turns me away. I actually quite like it! This is a little pricey, at a whopping (according to Sephora's website) $12.00 US (sample size) to $49.00 US (full size). I'm OBSESSED with this stuff, and plan on repurchasing this weekend! Maybe I can talk my boyfriend into buying me the full size lol…MAYBE.

Next up on the chopping block is Too Faced Shadow Insurance Eye Shadow Primer. Please excuse my veiny wrist and hand. They're gross, I know lol. I bought this product off of Wish (before they priced high end makeup accordingly lol). I can't remember the exact price I purchased this for, but I believe it was under $10! Looking at Sephora's website, it looks like the packaging on this product has changed, which I can believe because I purchased this like two years ago. I honestly can't tell differences between eye shadow primers other than their consistency. I don't buy nor test out too many eye primers, but I really love this primer for dark, smokey looks and for working with bright colors. It holds color incredibly well without creasing. I try not to use this on a daily basis because I know I'll have to repurchase at full price lol, which is a total of $20.00 US. I guess that's not too bad!

Onto one of the greatest drugstore finds, ELF High Definition Under Eye Setting Powder. It might be one of the best drugstore setting powders.It's very finely milled and you don't need too much, which is good because the pot it comes in is rather tiny. The old formula used to have a bit of sparkle in it, which is what I think turned a lot of people off to it, but the formula now is INCREDIBLE. I don't know how it does it, but it has this ability to blur your under eyes. I use a powder puff and just pat it into my skin (sometimes my whole face, lol). It sets your concealer so friggin' well, it doesn't budge AT ALL. Seriously, it takes a lot of rubbing to get my concealer off at the end of the day. I heard from a beauty YouTuber (I can't think of who), that it can be used as a dupe for the Laura Mercier Setting Powder. At $6.00 US, you can't get a better and more affordable under eye setting powder!

Speaking of concealer, I rediscovered Maybelline's Dream Lumi Highlighting Concealer and OH MY GOD GUYS, why did I ever stop using this?! The shade I have is in Radiant and holy crap, does it live up to its name. It's rather apricot-y when you first put it on the skin, but when you blend it out, it leaves your under eyes so bright and concealed (haha duh). I would say that this is a high coverage concealer. It covered up a huge zit on my cheek once so that's good enough for me. The only thing I wish was different is the tube it comes in. I always feel like these type of packages jip you out of product because it comes out through the brush, but it gives out more product than anyone would ever need. I dunno, am I the only one that thinks that? Anyways, this is a whopping $6.44 US at Wal-Mart (which is where I purchase 95% of my drugstore makeup, btw). You can't go wrong with trying this stuff out!

You didn't think I forgot about eye shadow, right? Good, because I didn't. Please excuse my wonky shaped arm lol I broke it when I was a kid and it didn't heal correctly. Anyways, Maybelline's The Nudes palette is literally my holy grail. I use this palette every single day. I live and breathe for this palette. I bought this a little after it dropped a few years ago, and to be honest, I didn't like it at first.

It's definitely one of those palettes that needs to be broken in. The top layer, for some reason, doesn't have a lot of pigment, but once you get past that, HOLY COW. They are so pigmented and blend like a breeze. There's also no fallout, even with the darkest shades! I actually use the medium brown shade to fill in my brows! If I have wear any brown or neutral eye look, there's a 100% chance I used this palette. For being a $10.00 US drugstore palette, I would say it's pretty damn good and it's one of my holy grail products.

Okay, let's talk about foundation. Having fair, oily skin with huge pores and dry patches makes it really hard for me to find a good foundation. I'm super picky —they need to be demi-matte, medium to full coverage and not be too light or too dark (duh). You'd be surprised how hard it is for me to find the correct shade lol, but again, ELF has outdone themselves with their Flawless Finish Foundation (with SPF 15). This foundation has everything I could ever want, including being only $6.00 US! This foundation has the ability to be full coverage, but still look like your skin! It looks a little wonky in the swatch, but once it's blended well and dries, it lives up to the adjective "flawless."

The only thing I would say is you shouldn't over apply with this because it will turn cakey…fast. It also has a floral-ish scent. I don't know why I want to say it smells like peonies because I don't know what the fluff those smell like, but it's the first thing to come to mind when I smell this. For someone who can't stand floral smells, I can handle this scent. It's not too strong and it's rather refreshing! If your skin is sensitive to scents, I wouldn't recommend you use this, but if not, go out and buy it. You won't be disappointed!

Two more products left, guys, and both being my favorite part of doing makeup. I recently rediscovered Anastasia Beverly Hills' Powder Contour Kit. I forgot how fabulous this kit was! This is another product I bought off of Wish, most likely under $20 (can't be sure). It came broken (so sad), but it's still very usable. I love how easy these are to blend. They're smooth and not patchy at all. For being the medium to light kit, I would say that these are still way too dark and warm for me, so it definitely helps to go in with less product and a light hand. I'm not sure why I stopped using this but it's definitely back in my good graces. I can't believe I got this so cheap when it's $40.00 US at Sephora. I definitely think it is worth the money anyhow and chances are, I'll repurchase the refill pans.

Last, but certainly not least, is my holy grail highlighter – L'Oreal True Match Lumi Powder Glow Illuminator. I have a few highlighters that I think are gorgeous, but I can't help but always reach for this one. I'm one that LOVES a blinding highlight, and that's exactly what this one does. I use the whitest shade the most, but they're all so gorgeous. They're incredibly pigmented (more in person than through camera) and they don't accentuate skin texture. It has some sparkle in it, but not enough to bother me. I bought this at CVS for $12.99 US and it was so worth it. I've had it for over a year now and not even close to hitting pan. 10/10 for L'Oreal on this highlighter!

It was hard not to add more products to this list, but we would be here all night. What were some of your favorites this month? I'd love to hear about 'em! Until next time, XO.

Advertisements

BATTLE OF THE PALETTES: W7 Lightly Toasted vs. Joly NK1

Hello frenz and Happy Friday! I hope you all had a wonderful week! I can't believe it's Friday already! I'm not sure where these days are going, but today is going to be fun because we're going to be talking about eye shadow palettes! I have about 12 palettes currently, some I use frequently and then there are some that I forget I even have (I can't be the only one). Today I will be talking about two palettes by two brands that don't have too much publicity…so let's just jump right into this, shall we?!

In one corner, weighing a whopping three grams with an expiration of five years is the Joly NK1 palette. I purchased this palette off of Amazon about two years ago. The colors were insanely similar to the Urban Decay Naked palette, and I thought it would be a possible dupe.

In the other corner, coming in at a whopping 15.6 grams and an expiration of 18 months is the W7 In The Buff: Lightly Toasted palette (ain't that a mouthful).

I purchased this palette around the same time that I purchased the NK1 palette, again, hoping it would be a dupe for UD Naked. Do you see an ongoing theme here? I can't tell you for sure if either of these palettes are dupes for UD Naked because I've never owned it, nor have I ever swatched it, but the shades look very similar.

So in preparation for this post, I did some research on both of these palettes. When I looked up the brand Joly on Google, I found the brand's website…which is rather sketchy, if you ask me. They don't have very many products, which I thought was a bit odd.

They have three eye shadow palettes; NK1, NK2 and NK3, which I'm assuming are supposed to be similar to the UD Naked line. They have a set of brushes, along with a brush stand and some powder puffs. When going to their about page, they don't specify anything about the company or the makeup they sell on their site…instead they talk about baby care products?

The whole site was incredibly confusing and gave zero insight into what the company is and what they do. They list that they are based out of California, but then list another address out of China. I won't even begin to tell you about their description of the product, because it was an absolute mess and was probably written by someone with less than half a brain stem. It also says to keep away from contact with eyes…but it's eye shadow so I'm confused???

Upon doing further research on this company and its products, I found absolutely nothing, which is really bizarre to me. If they are selling enough products to be at the top when you search on Amazon, then why isn't there more information about them? Am I just looking in the wrong place?

W7 is a popular brand in the UK, while also having an online store for the States. They have a vegan line, as well as hella palettes to choose from, along with other products like setting powder, foundation, eyeliner and whatever else your little heart desires. At least this brand's website seems a lot more legit that Joly!

The Lightly Toasted palette has 12 colors, ranging from nudes to coppers to golds. There are two matte shades, with the rest being shimmery and metallic. W7 also claims that the colors are highly pigmented with little fallout and they're not prone to creasing. Well, we're just going to put that to the test.

Now first off, these palettes aren't exact matches. A few of the shades are darker or lighter or more metallic than the latter, but all in all, they're seemingly similar palettes.

NK1 doesn't have shade names listed in or on the packaging, whereas Lightly Toasted has them listed on the back. If you're anything like me, you love your shade names — ten points to Lightly Toasted.

My arm isn't long enough to swatch 24 colors, so I split the swatches up into four each, going from left to right in the palettes.

As you can see, the beginning four nude shades hardly have any pigmentation from either palette, so I wasn't too impressed and was concerned about the pigmentation on the eyes. The NK1 palette is a lot creamier to the touch than Lightly Toasted. With Lightly Toasted, you really had to press hard to get product, and the product you did get had very little pigment.

You can see with the darker shades that they are highly pigmented for both palettes, although they still aren't exact matches for one another. Lightly Toasted has more sparkle in the shades, whereas NK1 has more of a metallic sheen.

When applying to the eyes, I find that the creaminess of NK1 gives it the ability to blend out seamlessly, without completely blending away. It also left fall out, but not enough to be bothered by it. Lighlty Toasted wasn't patchy when applied to the eyes, but it was a bitch and a half to blend, especially the darker colors. The metallic colors weren't as metallic as the NK1 shades and the two darker shades in Lightly Toasted (Up in Smoke and Dawn) have EXTREME sparkle to them. So when I tried to smoke out my look a little bit with the black shade, the sparkle and uneasiness to blend made those shades hard to work with.

Below is the look that I created using both of these palettes. The camera captured the colors beautifully. Can you spot the differences?

W7 claims that Lightly Toasted has little fall out, so at least I knew what I was getting myself into. What was most annoying about the fallout was that it was really only present on the darker shades, which were the most pigmented; leaving the process of wiping away the fallout a pain in the ass. It would just smudge and the color wouldn't budge (haha I made a rhyme). The creaminess of the NK1 palette causes the shadow to break and crumble, so I definitely had to use a lighter hand when dipping into those shades.

I wore these shadows all day (like 8 hours) to give you guys an accurate review of their wear. Today was a hot one – though I rarely was outside, I could still feel my skin build up more oil under my foundation. These shadows were really put to the test.

On the NK1 eye, you can see that the metallic sheen has worn off almost completely. Although the picture gives this look better justice, in person, you can see that the outer and darker shades have starting to slide a bit into the crease with lost pigmentation.

Lightly Toasted is still going strong. The metallic shade has hardly lost its sheen, although you can tell that awful blending job on my outer V with Up in Smoke (I told you they're hard to blend!)

These weren't the worst palettes I've ever used. Most of the colors have decent pigmentation and the formula of both weren't terrible, although I prefer the creaminess of the NK1. They're not something I think

I would use for everyday looks. I wish that there were more matte shades in these palettes. I love shimmer and metallics but it's hard to work with almost all shimmer shades. NK1 went on so pigmented and smooth — I really wish that pigmentation would've lasted throughout the day.

If I had to choose one to go with, I would favor Lightly Toasted. Although I wish they were creamier and had better pigmentation in their nude shades, I really like that the shadows lasted all day without creasing or smudging. It's a really decent palette for only $12.95 and I can't wait to try more from W7! I don't want to shit on the Joly brand because this is the only thing I've tried from them, but I really wish their website made more sense. Their palette isn't horrible, but there's very little information available about it which drives me a little bonkers.

I know this post was long, but I had a lot to say about these palettes. What good is having a makeup blog if you're not going to write detailed reviews? I had a lot of fun using these shades and doing the research to put this post together — let me know in the comments if you'd like to see more Battle Of series! What are some of your favorite eye shadow palettes? I'd love to hear about 'em!

FIRST IMPRESSION FRIDAY: e.l.f. Duo Eyebrow Kit

Hello, frenz and happy FriYAY!!! If you read my last post, you would know that I am changing up my blog. What I've come to decide is that I like makeup and that's what I want to write about. I apologize for all the confusion that has come with the change up, but makeup is something I love and it's something I want to pursue. I hope you all stick around to read my new content! As you can tell by the title, today is First Impression Friday, so let's jump right into this, shall we?

Let's talk about brows. Brows shape your face and they can either make or break your look. I've been fussing with my brows for YEARS and have just recently learned what works well for me and what doesn't. Now for the record, I don't have one set brow product. I use Maybelline's Nude eye shadow palette for my brows. Go ahead and judge me. The only brow product I've found that I truly love is the Anasatasia Beverly Hills Brow Wiz, but I went through it super quick and I lack the bread to repurchase. So since then, I've been experimenting with different brow products, as well as shadows, to give me the perfect brow.

So today, I'm going to talk about a very popular brow product, E.LF.'s Duo Eyebrow Kit.image3
This product has been in my collection since about this time last year. I've wanted to try it forever, but could never find the blonde shade that I needed. I once tried the dark shades and I immediately regretted that decision and it turned me off to the product for some time. But alas, my local Wal-Mart had the blonde shade in stock and I purchased it for a measly $3…only to let it sit in my collection. Yesterday, I stumbled upon it and thought to give it a go.

This product is a duo, with a pigmented wax and a powder. The wax is a darker shade than the powder. It has more of a red undertone, whereas the powder is more ashy, with a cooler undertone. It comes in a tiny compact with a mirror attached to the inside top of the lid. Also included is a mini double-ended applicator; one side being an angled brush and the other being a small blending brush.image2
I chose not to use the applicator that came with it and, instead, reached for my E.L.F. angled brush, mainly because it has a longer handle and it's what I always use to fill in my brows.

By just looking at the pigmented wax, you wouldn't think it would be any different from their darker shades, but upon swatching, you can see that it is a much lighter brown, almost like a dirty natural blonde.image1 (2)

When applying the wax, it goes on very smooth and was more pigmented than I had anticipated. It worked well and filled in the part of my brows that were fuller, but the formula's consistency made it hard to fill in the sparse parts of my brows. It has a rather oily consistency and smudged easily. Wiping away the edges of my brow with my finger smudged the ends entirely. I couldn't really reach the product into the arch of my brow where I needed more coverage. I tried going in with the powder portion and it did a decent job at mattfying the wax, but was no good at giving my arch coverage.

Once I got the outer part of my brows filled in as much as I could, I started working on the inner part. My brows have been over-plucked for years (currently trying to grow them back), so I hardly have any hair on the inner brow, and the hair that I do have is a very light blonde. Again, the consistency gave me trouble on giving the illusion that I had full brows in the front. Even when applying the wax and blending it out, you could see the distinct space between where my eyebrow started and the "illusion" begins. It was nearly impossible to make hairlike strokes with the wax, leaving my brows blocky and thick. Again, going in with the powder only helped to mattify the wax, but didn't give me the coverage and illusion I desired. I ended up just coating my brows in the wax the best that I could, and then put the powder over it to try to make them appear less oily.

I wore this product for a good eight to ten hours before taking it off. It did a fairly good job at keeping my brows in place where I had hair, but as the day went on, you could see the sparseness of product in the inner part of my brow. It seemed like the mattifying effect that the powder gave completely wore off as the day went on and as my skin became more oily. If you would've seen me, you wouldn't have thought that I was a beauty blogger or that I had any clue what I was doing with a brow product. Looking in the mirror at the end of the day, my brows looked sparse, discolored and oily.

I really wanted this product to work out. E.L.F. is one of my favorite drugstore lines. They're inexpensive, cruelty-free and most of their products work fantastically for me. This duo eyebrow kit, however, was a complete bust…but I'm not giving up hope.

I want to try it again with the powder I currently use to fill in my brows and see if that makes much of a difference. I really want to like this product and find a way to make it work. Perhaps if you have fuller brows, this would work better for you. Like I said previously, the consistency didn't allow me to create the illusion of thick and full brows where my hair was more sparse. I wanted to take pictures of the inconsistency in color, but unfortunately, it wasn't showing up on camera…but it was a disaster in person.

Let me know in the comments if this product works for you and if you have any recommendations of how to make it work — I would LOVE to hear them. I hope you all have a fantastic weekend!rl