January Favorites

Hello everyone!

I know, I know. I’m late again for my monthly favorites post. I promise I’ll try to get it out sooner for February! This month was a good month. I found some products that I think will be favorites for months to come πŸ™‚

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Makeup Remover: Garnier Bi-Phase Micellar Cleansing Water:

This product is amazing! It removes waterproof mascara with less rubbing and irritation than makeup wipes. It has no scent or alcohol. It’s also so nice to remove lipstick! The downside is that you need to use cotton rounds, which can be annoying, but it’s a long term budget-friendly option, as makeup wipes can get pretty pricey! It does leave a slight oily residue, but you really should rinse or wash your face after taking off your makeup πŸ™‚ 8/10 stars, approximately $8.

Smashbox Photo Finish Primer Water:

This is one of my absolute favorites. I purchased the travel size, and then I even bought the full size, I liked it so much! You can see my full review here, but in short, it’s a wonderful primer, setting spray, and makeup refresher. It makes your skin look hydrated and fresh. It’s easy to use and a very worthwhile purchase! 9/10 stars, approximately $16-$32.

Peripera Ah Much Real Cushion Blusher in Lively Lavender:

This was one of my K-Beauty purchases from Birchbox, and I am absolutely in love with it. It looks so natural, because it’s actually a really pretty light pink, not purple like the name suggests πŸ™‚ The light lavender undertone makes it really flattering on fair skin. It’s fun to apply, compact, comes in adorable packaging, and is relatively budget-friendly. There are also other colors, but for fair to light-medium skin, I recommend this one! 9/10 stars, approximately $16.

Hard Candy ‘Glamoflauge’ Concealer in Ultra Light:

I have a full review on this here, but for those of you who just want a summary, it’s a medium to full coverage concealer that is super thick and creases in dark circles, but is fantastic for blemishes, rosacea, dark spots, tattoos, etc. The shade range is pretty nice, Ultra Light is a really good color for me (I’m extremely pale, and the lightest shade in concealers is usually too dark for me). This is a fantastic, budget friendly concealer that is wonderful for covering up acne spots. 9/10 stars, approximately $7.

Essence All About Vintage Eyeshadow Palette:

This is one of my very favorites. Essence has finally arrived at Target, which makes me very happy (as I shop at Target quite often), and Target has many of Essence’s new items! This palette has green, olive, brown, nude, and gold shades, which is just what I was looking for. It’s really flattering and the colors are easy to work with. The pigmentation is absolutely AMAZING, especially for a drugstore palette, and the colors blend beautifully. Fallout is minimal. I am planning on trying many more of these palettes, probably the Roses palette next. I highly recommend this, I don’t think you’ll be disappointed! 9/10 stars, approximately $7.

IPKN Flash Cream Radiance Primer:

I love this! I got it as a sample in my Birchbox and fell in love with it immediately. It can be used as a non-glittery (YAY) highlight or as a primer. I love it for both! (I did find a drugstore dupe for this, which will be the subject of my next Splurge or Save!) This is definitely worthwhile, though, as it makes skin look dewy and fresh without looking shimmery or overly made up. I love the fact that it doesn’t have glitter in it, as most radiance primers tend to have at least a little bit. It’s a really fantastic sample and feels so smooth on the skin. 9/10 stars, approximately $28.

e.l.f. Lip Glow:

This is along the same lines as Dior’s Lip Glow, as well as many other makeup lines with a pH adjusting lip product. It looks extremely pale and sheer in the tube, but when it’s on your lips, it turns into a bright, punchy pink that is perfect for spring. It’s definitely a bit more expensive than most e.l.f. products, but it’s a really nice lipstick and turns into such a pretty color. Definitely glad I picked this up! 8/10 stars, approximately $6-$7.

The Original beautyblender:

Now this has totally transformed my makeup routine! My makeup goes on smoothly, looks natural, and blends flawlessly. I can even blend highlight and contour! I’m obsessed. Yes, I know it’s expensive, but it’s 100% worth it. Birchbox even has a sampler that comes with 4 samples and a beautyblender for only $20 ($50 value), so you’re practically getting the samples for free! It is unfortunately unavailable at the time, but it will hopefully come back! Definitely something that I will continue to purchase, as I haven’t tried anything quite like this wonderful sponge before. 10/10 stars, approximately $20.

That’s it for this post! I did leave out a few products because I am planning to do special posts for them. The products I left out are: NYX Brow Mascara, L’Oreal Magic Lumi Primer, Maybelline Matte Lipstick, Maybelline Matte and Poreless Foundation, and Nivea Men’s Post Shave Balm (yes, it really does work as a primer!).

What did you think of my favorite products this month? Have you tried any of these? If so, what did you think of them? Let me know in the comments!

 

January 2016 Birchbox

Hi everyone!

I’m sorry I haven’t been posting much lately, now all my catch-up posts will be coming at the same time πŸ˜› Anyway, today is my January 2016 Birchbox post! This month’s box was very fun, especially because it came with stickers to customize it! Read on for the review πŸ™‚

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I picked the “gratitude” sticker. There are quite a few other options such as “ambition” and “risks.” Let’s get started on the samples!

Harvey Prince “Bailando” Perfume:

First of all, this is a spray bottle, which is great. It’s a somewhat spicy, Oriental-ish scent, with a bit of musk and floral. It’s really nice for evening, and fall/winter. I definitely wouldn’t say it’s a daily, spring scent! Oh well. I do enjoy it, and it’s always nice to have extra perfume samples laying around for special occasions. 6/10 stars. Full size is approximately $28-$57 (there are different sizes).

Eyeko FAT Liquid Eyeliner:

This is a really well pigmented, felt-tip liner. It’s great for beginners but is nice for anyone, as you just sweep it on and go! The line is relatively thick (hence the name, there’s a skinny liquid liner by Eyeko as well). I haven’t worn it throughout the day yet, though I did read some reviews that said that it smudged during the day. I swatched it on my hand, though, and wore it throughout the day – it didn’t smudge or fade through washing my hands and doing everyday activities, so I can’t give you a definite verdict on the smudging πŸ˜› This sample is full-size, which is a great plus! Overall, a nice liner that will get a bit of use. 8/10 stars. $16 full size.

IPKN Radiance Primer:Β 

This was my sample choice and I am so glad I picked it. It’s a fantastic primer that can even make matte foundations look gorgeous and radiant! It can be used as a glowy, NOT GLITTERY highlighter as well. I was considering getting the full size and then came across a fantastic dupe, watch for my next Splurge or Save post :D! However, I think that it is still a worthwhile purchase, as it is just so beautiful and glowy and smooth. Plus, it’s not glittery! I highly recommend. 10/10 stars, approximately $28 full size.

Shiseido Ultimune Eye Concentrate:

This is a nice sample size but is definitely directed toward an older age group, so it’s not a very good choice for a lot of people (especially with the hefty price tag!). However, it is supposed to help with dark circles, so I am giving it a try! I haven’t noticed a huge difference so far, but I haven’t been using it very consistently. It’s nice to have an eye cream every once in a while, so I like the sample, but I would NEVER purchase the full size (it’s so expensive!). It is a very comfortable serum and comes with quite a bit of product in the sample size. Definitely will use it up! 7/10 stars. Approximately $65 full size.

Whish Body Butter:

I get a lot of lotions and body butters from Birchbox, but I don’t mind, especially with my dry skin! Also, Whish is a new brand I’ve been really wanting to try, so I was pleased to see this in my box. I was hoping for any scent other than the Lavender, which is what I got, but it actually smells pretty good. The scent seems to be floral-y and sweet, mixed with lavender. It’s actually really nice. The sample size is nice but there’s not a lot of product in it. I’d love to try more of Whish’s products, as this pleasantly surprised me. 7/10 stars. Approximately $24 full size.

BONUS SAMPLE: Kerastase Resistance Bain Force Architecte Shampoo

This was my bonus, one-time-use sample. I didn’t include it in the pictures because I already used it πŸ˜› Obviously, for a shampoo, one use isn’t enough to tell if I liked it or not, but it did seem pretty nice. Unfortunately, it’s extremely expensive, so I won’t be purchasing it again. It was nice to see that Birchbox added a bonus sample, though, as I have been subscribing since November! 6/10 stars. Approximately $40 full size.

This month’s Birchbox was pretty nice. I’m going to give it a solid 8 stars. Plus, I love the box design!

Do you subscribe to Birchbox? If so, how did you like this month’s box? Anyone with the same products? Let me know in the comments!

100 Followers Post: Tips on Blogging

Hey everyone!

First of all, I want to thank you for 100 followers! I always do a special, out-of-the-ordinary post for each milestone: 50, 100, 200, and so on. For this post, I’m going to share some blogging tips with you! Before you say, “having 100 followers isn’t enough to have much blogging experience,” let me fill you in on a little more background. I’ve actually had a blog before. Last year, I started a beauty blog on Blog.com and in only a month or two, I ended up with no followers, few readers, 2 comments, and plenty of spam. Eventually I found WordPress, and immediately loved it. I gained readers, followers, likes, and comments much more quickly, and WordPress filtered out my spam. I highly recommend WordPress to anyone who doesn’t know what platform they want to use! I know that compared to the thousands of followers that accomplished beauty bloggers have, 100 is a very small number, but it’s a milestone for me and I’ve learned a lot, so I wanted to share some pointers with you that I’ve found really helpful. Before I begin, I just want to thank all the other beauty bloggers who have shared their blogging tips with me. They definitely made a difference on how I wrote my blog πŸ™‚

Tip No. 1:

RESPOND TO COMMENTS. This is my number one tip because I think it matters the very most. I’ve read it on many other blogs as well: if you respond to comments, people come back. It really makes a huge difference! Also, reply kindly. If you’re friendly and respectful, people are more inclined to like you and come back to your website. Invite comments. Ask people their opinions on products and tell them yours. Thank them for reading. Make them feel appreciated. At the end of nearly every one of my posts, I ask a few questions: have you tried this? Do you like it? What is your favorite? If you don’t like it, why not? Questions like these prompt responses. Having trouble getting comments? Make up your own questions at the end of your posts! I think you’ll be pleasantly surprised by the increase in comments πŸ™‚ In short, ALWAYS reply to comments, ALWAYS reply kindly, and ALWAYS make them your first priority (meaning reply thoughtfully, answer their questions, and reply within a day or two, preferably). If you didn’t have people reading, your website wouldn’t have traffic, and therefore it wouldn’t be noticed… so remember to appreciate your readers/followers.

Tip No. 2:

Again, a blog etiquette tip: always credit anyone you quote or take photos from. If you can’t remember who it was or are giving a general opinion (like reviews from Sephora), still be sure not to claim ownership! If you are respectful of other bloggers’ property, they’ll like to work with you and you may make some friends in the meantime! A simple link back to their blog or post will do the trick. If you’re unsure if they’re okay with you quoting them, comment on their post or contact them personally and ask if you can quote them on your blog. Respect goes a long way, trust me!

Tip No. 3:

Promote in a non-aggressive way. I understand that you need more traffic! So you decide to comment on a blog post. But when you leave two words and your blog address, a follow-for-a-follow comment, or a simple, spammy, “check out my blog at…” without a serious comment, you will either be ignored, unfollowed, or people just won’t like you. As I have heard several other bloggers say, TAKE THE TIME TO READ THEIR POST before leaving a comment. Don’t just comment on any post you see, comment on posts that interest you so that you can leave a kind, serious comment or question. Leave a nice comment, 2-3 sentences at least. Ask questions and say what you thought of the post. Then, can you write your blog/social media address and an invitation to look at it. Just remember, respecting others will gain you friends and longtime, serious followers, which is worth much more than a bunch of follow-for-a-follow visitors…and you won’t end up with a list of blogs you are following for no reason!

A Few Last Tips:

Teach people something. Engage them with a poll or comment questions. Do research for people if they ask: I’ve had multiple commenters ask me where to purchase something, if a product was similar to another, etc., and taking the time to look up websites, test things out, or ask other people how something really makes a difference in how people will treat you in the future. If people find you helpful, they’re more likely to comment again and tell their friends about your website! Share your favorites and least favorites. Ask other people theirs. Enjoy writing your blog and enjoy reading others’! Most of all, if you want traffic, be the kind of person and writer that you’d like to interact with. Be helpful, kind, thoughtful, and engaging.

That’s all for this post! Good luck, and remember that I’m always happy to look at your website or answer any questions you have πŸ™‚

What are your personal blogging tips? Did this help you out? Let me know in the comments!

P.S. – Keep an eye out for my January Favorites and January Birchbox posts πŸ™‚

Review: Hard Candy Glamoflauge Concealer in Ultra Light

Hey everyone!

So I wanted to give you all a full review on one of my new favorite products, and guess what? It’s under $10! Usually under $7, in fact, depending on where you live. Anyway, it’s the Hard Candy Glamoflauge concealer in “ultra light.” Read on for the review and swatches 😊

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I love this concealer. It’s inexpensive, comes in a nicely sized container, comes with a TINY concealer pencil (which nobody uses, but whatever 😜), and covers everything! It does have oil in it, which means that it can clog pores, so if you are extremely acne prone or have very sensitive skin, this may not be a good idea. However, for everyone else, it’s fantastic! It covers well, has a nice shade range (ultra light is actually really light!! 😁) and is very inexpensive. I prefer to mix with my Maybelline Master Conceal (which is a tad too dark and thin) because Glamoflauge is VERY thick and heavy, so mixing it thins it out. I then apply a streak of product over blemishes with a stiff concealer brush and blend with my fingers. A beautyblender would also work. A fluffy concealer brush won’t blend this, as it is too thick. As for dark circles, it can be used if it’s done SPARINGLY. Too much will crease. It’s best for blemishes, birthmarks, rosacea, and tattoos. You can also mix a little bit in with lotion, foundation, or tinted moisturizer for more coverage! All in all, a definite repurchase, though I won’t be running out of it anytime soon! A little goes a long way 😊

You may want to try this if you:

-Have normal/slightly dry/slightly oily skin

-Are looking for a full coverage concealer

-Are looking for a budget friendly product

-Fit into the very light to somewhat deep skin tone range

-Don’t mind blending with fingers

-Are looking for a blemish, rosacea, or birthmark concealer

-Like (or don’t mind) squeeze tube containers

That’s it for this review! Hope it helped 😊

Have you tried this concealer before? If so, how did you like it? What’s your favorite concealer? Let me know in the comments!

Smashbox Photo Finish Primer Water Review

Hi fellow beauty lovers!

I’ve been absolutely obsessed with Smashbox’s Primer Water and decided to share a quick review with you all. Enjoy!

P.S. – Check out my new Instagram! I’ll be posting updates that may not be on here πŸ™‚ my username is red_lip_classic01. I’d love for you to follow me!

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Smashbox claims that it can be used as a refresher, setting spray, and/or primer. I’ve used the spray as all of the above, and found that I prefer it as a setting spray or refresher, though it is amazing as a primer as well (I do tend to prefer silicone primers, so I don’t use this as a primer as often). If your foundation is a bit too cakey, spray this on to smooth things out. If you hate silicone primers, spray this on before you apply foundation (it’s silicone and alcohol free). If your face is looking a little flat, spray this on to give you a healthy, dewy glow. Seriously, it makes your face glow without shimmer or highlighter! It doesn’t make you look oily, just dewy. I bought the travel size quite a while ago to give it a try, and I loved it so much that I purchased the full size! I use it almost every day, and I have no need for setting spray or a refresher spray anymore. It’s the perfect product to take on a trip, as it is a fantastic multitasker! I highly recommend this…I don’t think you’ll be disappointed! Price is approximately $16 for the travel size and $32 for the full size.

Have you tried this product? If so, how did you like it? What’s your favorite primer or setting spray? Let me know in the comments!

Splurge or Save? Bronzer Edition: NYC Sunny vs. Benefit Hoola

Hello everyone!

Splurge or Save seems to be a pretty popular post series, so I decided to do another one! This time, I’m comparing two bronzers: cult favorite Benefit Hoola and NYC Sunny. To those of you who don’t know, Splurge or Save is an ongoing post series where I compare a high end product and a drugstore product. I include photos, swatches, and “showdowns” on specific traits, and I give my final verdict (including which I would repurchase and why) at the end. I hope you enjoy!

The Contenders:

Price:

Hoola runs about $28 and Sunny is approximately $3. Do we have a winner? I think yes. Sunny wins this round by a mile!

Pigmentation:

Both have good pigmentation, though Hoola has a good deal.Β Obviously, if you like to build color, more pigmentation can be a con, but for me, it’s a big YAY! It’s easy to swipe, tap off, blend a little, and go, instead of taking time to build up the color. Plus, you use less product! Hoola wins this round.

Packaging:

Hoola is in a pretty, island themed box, which includes a magnetic lid and a brush. Sunny is in a slim, plastic compact. While Sunny DOES have nice packaging, especially for traveling or throwing in your purse, the packaging design of Hoola is a bit better. Some may like Sunny’s compact better, but for me, Hoola’s packaging is superior.

Color:

Anyone with fair or light skin like me who’s tried to search for a bronzer knows that the shades (especially drugstore brands) run orange. Obviously, if you’re trying to contour, orange is not an option! I was so very pleased to see that Hoola was NOT orange. It’s a slightly yellow toned medium brown that looks amazing on fair to light/medium skin. Sunny, on the other hand, is a reddish, slightly orange tan. It’s not as orange as some bronzers, but it does lean that way. Obviously, Hoola wins this one!

Texture:

Both bronzers are surprisingly smooth and easy to apply. Though Hoola is extremely smooth and very pigmented, Sunny is very good quality for a drugstore bronzer, so I’m going to call this round a tie.

Ease of Purchase:

Sunny is in almost any drugstore, department store, or grocery store that sells NYC, as well as on Amazon and other online retailers. Hoola is at Ulta, Sephora, Birchbox, Amazon, and online at a few other retailers. Though Hoola is pretty easy to find, Sunny is definitely easier to purchase, especially for those without an Ulta or Sephora near them. Sunny wins this round!

Ability to Bronze and Contour:

Both Sunny and Hoola work well to warm up your face, though if you have a light skin tone, Sunny may be too orange for you. However, for contouring, Hoola is the only option! Both bronzers are matte, which is hard to find but essential for contouring, but Sunny is too unnaturally colored to be convincing as a bronzer. Hoola blends in with skin, making a convincing shadow under your cheekbones. Hoola definitely wins this round!

The Verdict:Β 

Sunny: 2 wins

Hoola: 4 wins

Plus 1 tie in texture.

Well, the numbers speak for themselves…Hoola wins! It’s no surprise, though – Hoola is a cult favorite bronzer, thousands of YouTubers, beauty bloggers, and makeup artists love it…even with the $28 price tag! I’m in love with it, and I’m definitely not disappointed that I purchased it! However, beginners, people who just want to warm up their face and don’t mind a slight orange undertone, or those who like to build color may prefer Sunny. It’s certainly a great drugstore dupe for those on s budget! Check out the swatches below to see the colors a bit closer.

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Left: Benefit, Right: Sunny

 

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Top: Sunny, Bottom: Hoola

How did you like this Splurge or Save comparison? Have you tried either of these bronzers? If so, which did you like better? Let me know in the comments!

P.S. – Keep an eye out for my upcoming January favorites!

 

Birchbox Haul!

Hello everyone!

Have I told you how much I love Birchbox?! It has so many product options and a fantastic points system. I finally caved and decided to join the KBeauty trend, plus, I ordered Benefit’s Roller Lash to see if it lived up to the hype, and I tried out a hydrating cleanser. I got all of them the other day and was pleasantly surprised at the quality, quantity, and packaging! I wanted to give you a brief review and description of each of my new products, so read on! Swatches at the end.

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Derma e Hydrating Cleanser with Hyaluronic Acid

This cleanser is really nice. I believe it comes with 6 oz. of product, which is a really great size. It’s a gel consistency with a pump bottle (YAY) and it foams lightly. It has hyaluronic acid, a moisturizing ingredient, but it cleanses really well. I read reviews that said even acne prone skin reacts well to this cleanser! It does sting a little, which is probably because it’s working πŸ™‚ I have had a few blemishes since using it but I don’t think it’s due to the cleanser. The only bad thing is the smell… It smells like bananas and paint thinner… so that’s not great πŸ˜› but I definitely will keep using it as I like the formula and ingredients. 7.5/10 stars, approx. $13.50.

Tony Moly Brightening Eye Base

Okay, so first of all, it comes in the most adorable panda container. It’s great for travel, compact, and easy to use. Because my dark circles aren’t that horrible, I apply this with my ring finger and pat it under my eyes. It looks bright white in the container but when applied, blends in to a lovely brightening shade. It actually covers my light dark circles well and doesn’t give me reverse racoon eyes (you know what I’m talking about)! Plus, lots of bonus points for the cute packaging πŸ˜€ 9/10 stars, approx. $12.

Peripera Ah Much Real Cushion Blusher in Lively Lavender

THIS IS MY NEW HOLY GRAIL BLUSH. I am obsessed with this! It’s actually not purple, it’s a gorgeous light pink with a hint of lavender that looks extremely natural and flattering, especially on fair skin. It’s a really unique product that you dab on and blend with your fingers. It’s super buildable and very easy to apply. Definitely a repurchase, I’m in love with it! 9.5/10 stars, approx. $16.

Benefit Roller Lash Mascara

I love this! It really does live up to the hype. I bought the mini because I didn’t want to splurge on the full size without knowing I liked it. The first time I applied it, I wasn’t too pleased with it, but once I figured out how to apply it correctly, it’s magical! It doesn’t flake or smudge, which is rare for a non waterproof mascara. It does take a while to dry, but once dried, your eyelashes will look amazing! I do still curl my eyelashes, as I think that’s necessary. Remember to apply with the curl of the wand facing outwards, as it keeps the mascara from clumping. Plus, facing the brush that way cups your eye, so you get well coated lashes. The formula is great and the mascara is a deep black. 8.5/10 stars, approx. $12 (for the mini) and $24 (full-size).

Peripera Peri’s Tint Water in Cherry Juice

This was a free, full size sample with my purchase…and ended up being one of my favorite products! I am hoping to buy Strawberry Juice, as I’ve heard it’s very flattering on fair skin. Cherry Juice is lovely, too, though! It’s a really pretty pinkish red that (when applied lightly) would be very flattering on any skin tone. It comes in a cute little red bottle that looks a bit like nail polish. It has a doefoot applicator that works well to dot the product on, though blending it with your fingers works best. I would even dare to use it on my cheeks, though sparingly. This product is definitely a repurchase! 8/10 stars, approx. $12.

Sample Pack: Lollia Wish Hand Cream and Vasanti Brighten Up Fave Scrub

This was my free sample pack, which is my second favorite of the three I’ve recieved. I love the hand cream, it’s sweet and vanilla-y, with some floral notes as well. I would even consider repurchasing if it wasn’t so expensive! The facial scrub I haven’t tried yet, but it’s a very fine grained exfoliant, which would be great for my occasional dry patches! Overall sample pack: 6.5/10 stars. Hand cream: approx. $25. Facial Scrub: approx. $34.

Time for swatches! πŸ˜€

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Blush blended, swatched

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Eye base blended, swatched

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Lip water blended, swatched

Have you tried any of these products? If so, how did you like them? How did you like this haul? Let me know in the comment