Saturday, January 31, 2015

Makeup Review: ModelCo Party Proof Lipstick

ProductModelCo Party Proof Lipstick

Review: I have a ton of lipsticks - from MUFE to Lancome to Revlon - and I would say that ModelCo's Party Proof Lipstick is hands down the most comfortable lipstick I own. I have them in Disco Fever and Kitty. Disco Fever is kind of a lighter, orangey-peach shade and Kitty is a wonderful nude pink that is my perfect "my lips but better" color. I wear Kitty all the time, and I am tempted to stock up on it just in case ModelCo decides to do away with it. Sadly, these colors are kinda hard to find individually, but I'm sure any of the colors you can find elsewhere are just as great. You can find Kitty on its own on the ModelCo website and I think the Disco Fever is the orange in this trio but I'm not totally sure.

The best reason to buy these lipsticks? They are so goddamn comfortable. It's like wearing a luxurious, creamy lipbalm all day. So, so comfy. Every time I apply them, I just can't get over how much I love wearing them. I'm always like, "What is this wizardry?" because I don't have to put balms on underneath, don't experience any traveling or feathering. I can just swipe them on, blot, and go, which is so rare for me! Definitely 2 of the most low-maintenance lipsticks in my kit, and they are perfect for "recovery days" after I've dried out my lips with other lipsticks that aren't as moisturizing. In fact, I think they are more comfy than a lot of my lipbalms.

They are also surprisingly long wearing and have great pigmentation. I can go around 4-6 hours of heavy water drinking with Kitty before I feel like touching up. Same goes with Disco Fever, although I will touch up a bit more often if I want to keep the color looking "loud." Otherwise, I just let it do its thing and it fades and stains to a lovely peachy shade that looks amazing on me. Also, they have a great finish. Without blotting, it's pretty opaque with a nice sheen. After blotting, it's more of a semi-matte on me, which I love. OH! And it smells nice. Kinda fruity, but it's faint and nothing gross.

There are a few downsides that might be deal breakers for some people. You really have to exfoliate your lips before using these. Otherwise, the application will be patchy and every little bit of dry skin will be highlighted. Blotting makes it much less noticeable, but if you have lips with a rougher texture or tons of lines, you might hate how this applies for you. Also, there's transference, but I think that's to be expected with any cream lipstick. It's not more or less than any others in my stash, and while it transfers, plenty of color remains. Lastly, it's formulated with mineral oil so if you're sensitive, run awaaaay!

So yeah, don't get them if you hate exfoliating your lips, because all those imperfections will show. Don't get them if you're allergic to mineral oil. Otherwise, if super comfortable cream lipsticks are your jam, you will LOVE these as much as I do.

Rated Beauty Grade: A

Price: $18 at Urban Outfitters, $17ish at ModelCo. I got my colors from Birchbox

Thursday, January 29, 2015

Skincare Review: Ole Henriksen Walnut Complexion Scrub

Product: Ole Henriksen Walnut Complexion Scrub

Review: I loooove a good scrub. It pleases me. They're very cheap to make yourself, and I used to do that. However, my skincare routine is a fucking ordeal (I go the Korean route and put on around 5 products per face wash), and a nice face scrub makes me feel pampered. Fortunately, I tend to get samples of different scrubs here and there. There are a lot that I liked, but this is the only one I decided to purchase.

I've had pretty great experiences with Ole Henriksen products in general, and this scrub is so wonderful! I love it so much that I bought for myself and my sister for Christmas. I think what sets it apart from other scrubs is how well it cleans out your pores. The tiny blackheads that like to form on my nose? Boom. Gone. My face glows after using it and is so soft! I love products that make me want to pet myself.

It's also very gentle and supposedly formulated for sensitive skin. I've never had any issues and neither has my sister, whose skin that hates everything. Because the walnut shell particles are on the larger side, compared to my usual microdermabrasion scrubs, I thought it would scratch up my face. However, I think everything else in the product creates a nice buffer between the walnut shell bits and your skin. As long as you're not pressing super hard and trying to sand your face, I think you'd be fine.

It does foam up, but it's not a crazy amount of foam. I was expecting quite a bit, but nope. When I use it on my face, I always think, "Naaaah... this isn't going to do much with the tiny amount I just used," but it does! Every time! Glowing skin with seriously reduced blackheads and clean pores. And you know how you're supposed to use some scrubs after washing your face? Not this stuff. It gets rid of alllll the makeup (except your eye makeup, which you should remove separately for obvious reasons). Plus, it smells delightful! It's kinda fruity, and the scent disappears when you wash it off. All in all, I think it's an awesome scrub that can be used for all skin types with good results. Yay, exfoliation!

Rated Beauty Grade: A

Price: $24 at Sephora, Ole Henriksen

Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Makeup Review: Korres Greek Yoghurt Nourishing Primer

ProductKorres Greek Yoghurt Nourishing Primer

Review: I've been trying  a lot of different primers lately. There are so many that are middle-of-the-road for me that I don't feel like reviewing them until I run out of products that interest me. There are very few products I've tried that I've despised so much I threw them away after one use. This is one of them.

Before I unleash my hardcore product hatred, let's talk about primers in general. To me, primers are supposed to be a nice, unobtrusive product you apply before foundation that helps your foundation/makeup apply better and last longer without any negative side effects. That's it. They're not that complicated. Companies are trying to innovate and create the next new "thing" in primers, whether it's to super moisturize or hide your fine lines, but they're all little frosting dots on the cake, you know? It's primer. You cover it up and want to be able to forget it's there.

I'm just going to say it. This primer is the most disgustingly scented product I've ever smeared on my face. EVER. It smells like someone drank a bunch of spoiled milk, ate a couple of fruity Yankee candles, and barfed it all up for you to put under your foundation. If you've ever been/walked by a Yankee Candle Co. store, you know how powerful that shit is. Now combine that smell with fresh sour milk vomit. Boom. Korres bottled that scent up just for your primer.

Now, I'm pretty scent-sensitive, but I have tolerated using samples of face lotion that smelled like my boyfriend's feet after a workout. You know how I managed it? Because the smell always disappears after 10-30 minutes or so. This primer? It reeks ALL FUCKING DAY LONG. It overpowers anything you put on top of it and the godawful stench refuses to die. Here's how my day with this primer went:

I was super excited to use up another sample to try this bullshit product that I wasted my Sephora points on. At the time, I was all like, "WHEE! I love Korres! Can't wait to slather this all over!"
When I opened it and squirted some onto my hand, I immediately regretted my decision because I could smell a tiny dot of it from a foot and a half away. That never bodes well. However, I figured since it was Korres and it had some ok reviews on Sephora, it would be fine! So I applied a super-thin layer and then proceeded to make myself up for the day. After 30 minutes of makeup, I could still smell the horrible stench of that primer. 30 minutes! Primer world record right there. I wanted to wash everything off and start over with something that didn't make me want to gag (because the smell of any kind of vomit does that to me), but I was late and needed to get going. Plus, I figured it had to fade by the time I got to work, right? Fucking wrong, my friends.

By the time I got to work, I swear that nasty primer odor had only gotten stronger. If anything, it hadn't faded. I spent the first 2 hours of work trying to breathe through my mouth to avoid the smell, but I kept forgetting, so I'd get strong whiffs of candle barf every couple minutes or so. Then, after the 2 hour mark, I started getting a migraine. Yep, I get scent-related migraines, and joy of joys, this primer had set one off. I usually get a little nauseated when migraining, but with that smell on my face, I was so sick to my stomach it reminded me of the worst hangover of my life (PSA: don't try to drink a whole bottle of vodka when you have to be up early for a 2 hour car trip loaded with hills and tight curves. You will pray for death. Death will not come. But projectile vomit will).

I powered through by sheer will, fantasizing about clawing the primer off my face, until around 2pm when my migraine started to affect my vision and I decided I'd had enough torture for one day. Made it home, then washed the ever loving fuck out of my face with 2 different cleansers, cursing Sephora and Korres the whole time. After my face was finally primer-free, I passed out in an attempt to sleep off my migraine.

When I woke up, you had better believe I threw that fucking primer in the trash. No one should have to go through that twice. No one.

Now, I will try to say 1 thing nice: it was very moisturizing. But that's what you use fucking moisturizer for in the first place after you wash your face. My makeup didn't apply any differently than it does with normal moisturizer and it started to fade a little by the afternoon, so it didn't even make pass my basic primer qualifications. And for $30? Fuck to the no. Even if you don't have a nose or enjoy the smell of candle barf, $30 is waaaay too much to spend on a primer that is basically a glorified overscented moisturizer.

Rated Beauty Grade: D--- (I will grudgingly not give it an F, because it was moisturizing and didn't give me pimples)

Price: $30 at Sephora and

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Makeup Review: Smashbox Master Class 3 Palette

color contour palette

Product: Smashbox Master Class 3 Color and Contour Palette

Review: I bought Smashbox's Master Class 3 Palette as a treat for myself a couple months ago, because I was enlisted to do a friend's sister's wedding makeup and I'd been trying to find a good excuse to get it for a while. It's one of the most expensive makeup treats I've bought, but look at all the pretty colors!

Overall, I like it so far and am getting a lot of use out of it. The color selection is great, and I use the neutral half every other day or so for work. The more "loud" colors are fun, but I'm not a bright colors kind of girl, so I only use them for accenting the neutrals. I find the formulation of the eyeshadows, contour shades, and blushes to be pretty decent overall. They have a smooth texture and are finely milled enough to blend well with minimal fallout.

As for pigmentation, it really depends on the type of finish. I found most of the matte eyeshadows and contour shades to be kinda weak in the pigmentation department. For example, Naked, Nectar, Vanilla and Pebble are very sheer and need to be packed on for any opacity. The contour, bronze and highlight colors were just ok and didn't blow me away. I don't know if I got an off-batch, but they're just not as pigmented as the official Smashbox Step-by-Step Contour Kit. On the other hand, I love the pigmentation of the blushes and the shimmer/metallic eyeshadows. Some of the lighter shimmers like Rose Petal, Lavender, and Golden Orchid are rather sheer but it's easy to build them up and they look great layered over other shades. Other than that, the rest have great pigmentation and I can get some great looks out of them. Out of the blushes, Carnation is my favorite. It's such a pretty, slightly shimmery peach shade that reminds me of NARS Orgasm, and I wear it all the damn time. And I would say that the average wear time for the trifecta of blush, eyeshadows and contour colors is standard for the price point, meaning that it has solid all-day wear with primer.

Other than some spotty pigmentation, there are a couple other things to be aware of. First off, the palette is fucking tiny. It's about the size of a DVD case, which for $65, feels really small to me. But it opens up into 2 removable halves, so that's kinda cool. Very nice for little gigs here and there. The overall packaging is actually pretty awesome, because it's sturdy and each half has a hard plastic shield to protect the shadows etc. and it flips up for convenient use. So great for travel! Secondly, the pan size for the contour colors is waaay too shallow. I managed to hit pan in the contour and highlight shades in just a couple months which is unheard of for me. I think I've only hit pan on mineral foundation powders and... 3 eyeshadows in my whole life? and these are contour and highlight colors, so it's not like I'm caking them on. Funny that this is the "color and contour" palette and they give you so little contour product. I'm sure it's a ploy to get you to buy their full-size contour kit, but I don't approve.

These things aside, I do think it's a good value and worth getting if you like a ton of color options and travel convenience. Like I said, I use it all the time and it's my go-to palette for trips, so I'm getting some mileage out of it. I don't plan to retire it any time soon, but  thanks to the hit-or-miss pigmentation, I have to dock some points.

Rated Beauty Grade: B

Price: $65 at Sephora

Monday, January 19, 2015

Makeup Review: Guerlain Lingerie De Peau Invisible Skin Fusion Foundation

ProductGuerlain Lingerie De Peau Invisible Skin Fusion Foundation

Review: A couple years ago, I started branching into liquid foundations after being an avid mineral foundation user, because mineral foundations weren't as long-lasting as I needed and most of them don't hold up in the heat. I used to walk a mile to work, and it's impossible to not break a slight sweat when you're speed-walking in 90+ degree MN heat with 100% humidity. Ick. Gross. Anyway, I've tried a bunch of foundations and tend to stick with BB and CC creams because I like the idea of multi-purpose products and I haven't found any foundations that blow my mind enough to pay $40+ for something that just sits on my face. Until a couple days ago.

I got a tiny dinky Sephora sample of  this foundation with a Christmas order a month ago in Beige Clair, and with most foundation samples, I expected to be underwhelmed. I have strangely neutral skin; it looks deceptively yellow-undertoned when I have any sort of tan, but my veins show up blue-green (green = warm/yellow undertones, blue/purple = cool) and I can pull off almost any blush, lipstick or eyeshadow color. Unfortunately, this flexibility doesn't extend to foundations. They always show up too pink, too orangey, to yellow/golden, too pale, too dark. I've only found maaaaybe 1 or 2 that I didn't have to mix with other products to get a decent match. Couple that with my super-dry combo skin and rosacea, and you can see why I go with BB and CC creams instead. And then I tried this stuff and the angels sang and heaven opened up.

Holy shit, this stuff is amazing. Did Guerlain manage to bottle sweet, sweet magic? Because I can't get over how incredible it is. It doesn't look that impressive right out of the package, but when you put it on your skin? It doesn't cover your skin. It transforms it. I shit you not. With the tiniest drop, my skin looks enhanced by a team of photoshop artists. And this is with only light-to-medium coverage. It is the epitome of the "your skin but better" foundation. Beautiful, beautiful skin that seems lit from within without the slightest hint of cakeface. It blends in so seamlessly that I swear to god, it looks like I don't have any makeup on.

Ok, I'll try really hard to stop gushing and get to the technical stuff. The foundation itself is rather runny but applies like a dream with a silky/smooth texture- I use a combination of fingers and a high quality flat-top kabuki brush. In order to get medium coverage, I needed only a pea-sized amount and that was almost too much. Light coverage takes hardly any product at all. If I can make one tiny sample package last me about 5 applications, a bottle would last me forever. There is a scent, but it is pleasant and dissipates quickly. It reminds me of a pricey perfume that I can't quite remember the name of.

On top of all this, the wear time is insane. I've applied it on top of 3 different primers of various quality, and each time, the foundation somehow lasted through everything I put it through. I cried, I sweated, I sprayed my face with a fine oil mist just to see what happened. For science! I even wore it overnight to see if any pimples popped up. No pimples (in fact, I looked pretty damn great in the am), it seemed to absorb oil ridiculously well while never drying out my skin, and holy shit. When you work out, it makes you look like a sexy Victoria's Secret model in their workout ads. You're not sweaty and beet-red. You're gloriously dewy with a hint of flush, like you've just had a luxurious sex romp.

As far as I'm concerned, this shit is fucking magical. I don't even care that it's $61 and a definite splurge. It is worth every penny for the amount you get vs. the amount you need to use. The ONLY negative thing I can say is that the color range is limited. But if you're looking for a natural foundation with medium coverage and are in the general color range, it's worth a shot to get a sample or try it instore. You might be surprised at what color works for you, because I was sure the beige clair would be too light and yellow for me right off the bat, but it blended in to perfection.

Update: I bought and used up a whole bottle of this glorious wonderpotion, and I did find a con. It enhances dry patches on my skin like crazy, but ONLY if I don't moisturize the fuck out of my skin beforehand. And moisturizing like crazy is good for my skin anyway, so I don't mind this little con. I just can't slack off in the winter as much as I want to. But otherwise, will be buying this stuff every winter until the end of time.

Rated Beauty Grade: A+

Price: $61 - Sephora, Nordstrom

Friday, January 16, 2015

Makeup Review: Dr. Jart Premium Beauty Balm

ProductDr. Jart Premium Beauty Balm

Review: I was looking through my posts today, and I can't believe I haven't posted about Dr. Jart's Premium Beauty Balm yet, considering I'm on my second container and even got my sister to use it. If you can't tell already, I love this stuff. It's really great in the winter, because my face gets so dry. (Thanks, Minnesota. Sucking the life out of my face, one winter at a time.) I also love it in the summer because it has such a high SPF, so I guess my love knows no bounds?

Anyway, this is a beauty balm is hands down the most moisturizing beauty balm I've tried so far. It's incredible for replacing my normal heavy-duty moisturizer in the morning and it provides enough coverage to balance out my rosacea and freckles. Medium-ish coverage at most. It also has SPF 45 and some anti-aging ingredients, although I can't really tell if that part is effective. It does, however, make my skin feel like softer than a chinchilla, so I'm down with that. Also, the lovely light-reflecting particles give me that lovely dewy glow you see on 18 yr old runway models, which is quite nice.

There are a couple of downsides, as much as I would love to talk it up all day. Firstly, the color is soooo pale. It's kinda self-adjusting as it oxidizes, but it's really only for light-medium skin. In late summer, when I'm more tan, it can look a little ashy. On the plus side, this is easily combated by mixing it with some warmer liquid foundation or another darker BB cream. It is an AMAZING mixer! I have some too-dark, too yellow foundation that I have a love-hate relationship with (it's great when I'm super tan, shitty for every other time), and this product neutralizes it out for me while keeping my skin moisturized. I still want them to come out with some more shades, though. Darker skin tones need love too!

The other downside is that I can't see it being very usable on oily skin. I think it might wind up looking greasy, rather than dewy, and no one wants that. But those are the only real cons I can think of.

Otherwise, yaaaay! I love this product so much! Gonna go slather it all over my face now.

Rated Beauty Grade: A- (points docked for the limited color range)

Recommendations: normal-to-dry skin, very dry skin, light-medium skin, those who like a dewy finish

Price: $39 - I get mine from Sephora

Wednesday, January 14, 2015

Makeup Review: NYX Matte Lipstick

Product: NYX Matte Lipstick in Alabama

Review: I recently decided I would attempt to wear more lipstick, so I grabbed the NYX Matte Lipstick in Alabama on a whim the other day because it looked like my idea of a perfect red. And guess what? It totally is. It's dark and rich and vampy. A little warmer-toned, for when I'm missing fall. Totally matte. But the best part is that it's pretty much the only matte drugstore lipstick I've found that is comfortable to wear and doesn't dry the ever loving fuck out of my lips. Sure, it transfers a bit, but I've yet to find a normal lipstick that doesn't. For me, the transfer is negligible compared to almost every other color in my red lipstick collection, and for only $6? Even if it transferred more, I wouldn't care. Because it's a matte lipstick that I can wear all day and not want to tear my lips off.

Other things I like about it: there's no real smell, it stains really nicely, and it lasts all day long with only minimal touch-ups after eating. I plan on buying a bunch more colors, because the quality is so great and the price is awesome. All in all, if you're into matte lipstick, I honestly can't think think of a reason not to buy this stuff. I would actually be cool paying more for this product, but let's not tell NYX that.

Rated Beauty Grade: A

Price: Around $6 - I get mine from

Monday, January 12, 2015

Makeup Review: Anastasia Beverly Hills Contour Palette vs. Smashbox Step-By-Step Contour Kit

ProductsAnastasia Beverly Hills Contour Palette and Smashbox Step-By-Step Contour Kit

Review: I haven't done anything like this yet, but when I was looking around, I had a really hard time finding comparisons between these 2 contouring palettes and it drove me nuts! So, after a ton of deliberation, I decided to buy both and plan to return the one I don't like as much. Now, I have quite a few mental categories when it comes to powder products, so instead of rambling on and on like I normally do, I'm going to organize the shit out of this post and actually provide some pics for once so you can figure out which product is best for you. Also, I apologize for the shitty phone pics, but I work with what I got. And I didn't edit them, so they're as accurate as I could get with the equally shitty lighting in our house.

  • Appearance and packaging: First off, both palettes are a lot smaller than what you're thinking from the pics you see online. So, expect small things and be pleasantly surprised when you get them. The Anastasia palette has kind of an upscale cardboard-ish case with a magnetic seal, no mirror, helpful little notches under each removable pan, and magnets under each pan. Super handy for switching out colors!

    The Smashbox palette has a shiny, black plastic case that latches tightly shut and a mirror. Pans aren't easily removable. In this category, I would say they're tied. It just depends on your preferences. Do you want a mirror or do you want removable pans? Magnets and cardboardy or durable plastic? 

Both palettes squeezed onto a mousepad, for reference.

A tiny brush for a tiny palette! Ha. 

Anastasia. Little notches for easy pan removal

Smashbox. No tiny notches. :( Also, you can kinda compare with the above pic for pan size.
They are really similar. 

  • Colors: The Anastasia palette comes with 6 colors - 3 highlighters and 3 contouring shades/bronzers (there are a buttload more colors on Anastasia's site and you can customize your own palette if you want, but I'm reviewing the colors that come with the standard palette you can find in stores). The highlighters from left to right are Vanilla, Banana, and Sand. The contour colors from left to right are Java, Fawn, and Havana. All of them are matte, except for Sand, which has a slight shimmer/hint of glitter. None of them are completely neutral, except for maybe Sand, and either have pink or yellow undertones. Fawn is probably the most neutral of the 3 contour shades, but is also the lightest. In order to make the colors look more neutral on me, it takes me bit of mix-and-matching, but it's doable.
Bottom to top: Java, Fawn, Havana. 

Bottom to top: Vanilla, Banana, Sand

Bottom to top: Contour, bronzer, highlight
  • The Smashbox palette has 3 colors - contour, bronzer, highlight. The contour and bronzer shades are matte, the highlight has a very slight sheen and no discernible glitter. The bronzer is a bit on the warm side of the color spectrum, but I think with a light hand, most people could make it work. The contour is grayish brown neutral, and the highlight is more neutral than Anastasia's Banana when on the skin. It looks as though it would be more yellow, but it seems to blend in well on the 3 skintones I've tried it on.

    In this category, I'm torn. On one hand, I love having more color options. On the other hand, Anastasia's colors aren't all that neutral (meaning most non-makeup artist folks will usually just go for the 2 or so colors that work best for them) and none of the contour shades have hint of gray that I normally I look for in a contour shade, and that is a major fail for me when it comes to contouring products. You want to create a play of shadows and light on your face, and shadows aren't obvious brown. The Anastasia palette provides more versatility and an illusion of convenience, whereas Smashbox requires no thinking when it comes to application; follow the normal contouring pattern, and you're good. I don't think there's a clear winner here either, because it really depends on what you're looking for in a product. 
Bottom to top: Highlight, Banana

Bottom to top: Havana, SB Contour, Fawn. The pic sucks, but you can
kinda see that the SB contour shade is a bit more gray and oddly similar
to Fawn when swatched. 

  • Pigmentation/Color Pay-off: Honestly, neither palette is as pigmented as I expected out of a contouring product. Now, that could be intentional, because less pigmented colors are harder to overdo, and that is a major issue when it comes to contouring. It's so easy for people to overdo it and/or underblend it, and for fairer skinned people, it's obnoxiously easy to overdo it. However, when you're paying in the $40-50 price point, you want a lot of bang for your buck. I would say the pigmentation is acceptable, but it's not going to blow your mind or mimic the effect of cream contouring. They're pretty much equal in this category, but if I'm splitting hairs, I think Smashbox's contour color is a little more pigmented than Fawn, and Anastasia's Banana is more pigmented than Smashbox's highlight shade. But really, there wasn't a clear winner for me.
  • Texture/Powder Quality: While both products are very similar in powder texture, I think Smashbox's palette is a tiiiiny bit more finely milled and is a little more blendable as a result. However, it's not enough for me to go, "Oh man, you're missing out if you get the Anastasia palette over Smashbox's." But since there is a difference, however slight, I'll give this category to Smashbox.
  • Performance: They go on fine, they blend in fine with my makeup. I do think the Anastasia formulation sinks a bit more into fine lines, but it wasn't super noticeable on me. I did a half-and-half face for an entire day, and they both wore about the same on liquid foundation with finishing powder. Wear-time was at least a solid 8 hours for me. It's winter, and I wasn't sweating much, so I can't attest to oily or sweaty skin situations. But I'll give them a tie for this category.
  • Value: The Smashbox palette is $45 and the Anastasia palette is $40. You get a little angled brush with the Smashbox kit. It's softer than I was expecting and it's not a horrible brush, but it's just not that great for contouring. I would never, ever buy it on its own and would only use it for highlighting my nose or something. As you can see from the pics, the pan sizes are really similar. Smashbox's pans are only a tiny bit bigger.  There's not much of a difference in quality either, but you get so many more colors in the Anastasia kit. More product for less money, no extra gimmicky crap. Anastasia wins. 
In the end, Anastasia's overall value won me over, so I kept that palette and returned the Smashbox one. Plus, I do my friends' makeup for funsies, and it's nice to have extra colors that you can blend and adjust for different seasons and skin tones. But that's just me! 

NOTE: For people with talc allergies, Anastasia's palette has talc! So don't get it if this is a concern of yours. Not totally sure if Smashbox uses it as well, but for sure avoid Anastasia's.

Overall Rated Beauty Grade: B+ (both products)