Top Five: Winter Lipsticks

In the depths of this frigid PNW winter, some lipstick shades stand out to me more than others. I don’t really ever limit myself based on the seasons, but there’s something to be said for classic reds and berry tones this time of year. Here are my top five lipsticks for these blistering winter months.

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NARS Velvet Matte Lip Pencil in Train Bleu ($26.00 / Sephora) – This deep purple crayon has a matte finish with an applicator that is 100% in your control. If you prefer to use the edges, have at it, but it can also be sharpened to a tiny tip for a flawless lipline. The formula can be a touch drying, but it last ages and I have yet to see someone who it doesn’t look good on.

 

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Favorite Fragrances: Autumn/Winter

Thank you to everyone who stuck around while I finished grad school. I am so thrilled to finally be done and ready to get back to it, so let’s get to it! I kept this one nice and short to ease both of us back into routine, but you can expect new posts every Wednesday.

I’ve never really written about perfume at length before, but recently I have found myself reaching for the smelly stuff more and more. I’ve got a few new fragrances that are perfect for the cooler weather so if you’re on the hunt for something new, check out some of my current favorites:

ELIZABETH & JAMES Nirvana Bourbon Eau de Parfum

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Definitely the sexiest, most “mature” fragrance ever to grace my collection, E+J’s newest release is a heavenly mix of vanilla, bourbon, and smokey oakwood that strikes the perfect balance between sultry and sweet. It’s got a hint of the lightly floral, but very contentious tuberose that really rounds it out without getting too grandma. This one’s a great choice for an evening out on the town and/or a hot date.

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Top Ten: Summer Favorites

It’s that time of year again when the sun starts setting a little earlier and those back to school lists start cropping up, but I’m not quite ready to let go of those long, warm days yet (or to go back to school next week for my last semester of grad school). Instead of jumping the gun for fall, here are my top ten favorite products that I turned to all summer long.

ANASTASIA BEVERLY HILLS Brow Wiz ($21.00/0.003oz) – Believe the hype. I avoided this little thing for ages because I couldn’t believe it was really any better than the other brow pencils I’d been using (MAC, ColourPop). Oh how wrong I was! This brow pencil is so fine, it’s nearly effortless to shape and fill in your brows with precision. The formula is fantastic as well, not too soft to make a mess and not so hard that it’s difficult to use either. I’m not sure there’s anything better on the market. I use the shade Medium Brown.

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photo from anastasiabeverlyhills.com

LUSH Let The Good Times Roll ($12.95/3.5oz) – An old favorite, I recently restocked on this polenta-based exfoliating cleanser and can’t remember why I ever stopped using it. It leaves my skin feeling so smooth, and it’s gentle enough to slough away dry patches without making any new ones. After cleansing to remove my makeup, I use a nickel-sized amount to gently scrub my face and neck. My makeup sits so much better on my skin after using it!

MAKE UP FOR EVER HD Powder ($20.00/0.14oz) – It took me ages to even test out the little samples I had of this loose powdered sorcery, it seemed so intimidating, but I will never look back. This microfinish powder is so finely milled and looks absolutely flawless on the skin. I use it to set my under eye concealer and around my nose where I’m prone to creasing to keep those areas looking perfected (and poreless). It’s super lightweight so it’ll never get cakey, which makes it an excellent choice for special occasions and photos. I like to apply with my RealTechniques setting brush.

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MUFE HD Powder

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Daily Grind: Best Lip Colors for Work

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I was planning to do my summer picks for lips and nails first, but as some of you may know, I just got a new job! Since I’m still in my first few weeks at the new office, I thought it’d be more relevant to share my work-appropriate lip picks instead.

For those of you that have a more casual dress code or otherwise not-customer-facing position, you can probably get away with rocking the brightest bright colors. Since my new position is patient-facing (I’m in health administration “in real life”), I’m expected to be a bit more toned-down with my looks. I absolutely love playing with makeup, and I really wanted some fun options that were appropriate for work without the soul-sucking repetition of a sheer lipstick like Chanel Boy every day (don’t get me wrong, it’s a great product, it’s just not enough personality for me). So here are my top 12 lip picks for the “conservative business casual” office.

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These are of course just shade suggestions and specific products that work for me. If the colors I’ve listed aren’t quite right for you, consider checking out other shades from the same product line to find what suits you best in a formula I can vouch for.

All of the products mentioned in this post are cruelty-free. Except for NARS Audacious lipstick in Anna, all other products mentioned in this post are vegan.

Kat Von D Everlasting liquid lipstick (Sephora, $20.00/0.22oz) – Easily my favorite formula of the “mainstream” liquid lipstick lot, the price is great for the amount of product you get too. I love the sleek packaging, and these opaque mattes are comfortable to wear for long periods of time without any cracking or crumbling. I think I own eight of these now, but these are my top three for the daytime professional:

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Jeffree / Mother / Lovesick

Lovesick – One of my current favorites overall, this pale mauve-nude is just cool enough to mesh perfectly with my undertones. I love to pair it with pastel pinks and purples like Makeup Geek’s Cupcake and Unexpected, but it’s close enough to my natural lip shade that I think it could work with almost any daytime eye look. A slightly elevated MLBB (my lips but better), there are a few more of those in this list.

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Tools of the Trade: Best Face & Eye Brushes

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Tools of the trade can often make or break a project, and makeup is no different. You don’t need to splash a lot of cash to get the good stuff, but a few key investments can really help you level up your skillset. If I tried to go through all of the 50+ brushes I own, we’d be here for the next week, so instead I thought I’d just share the key members of my brush family – the workhorses, the luxury buys that were totally worth it, and the guys I reach for just about every day.

As a side note, I have listed (to the best of my ability) whether the brushes are vegan, cruelty-free, natural hair, etc. If you prefer to only shop vegan/cruelty-free, this list from Logical Harmony is a great resource for cruelty-free brands.

Face Brushes

RealTechniques Duo-Fiber Face Brush (Amazon) – I had no idea how to use this when I first picked up the RT Duo-Fiber Collection (the colors were recently changed to align with the rest of the brand’s products), but it has become my absolute favorite brush for working with super pigmented blushes like NARS and Tarte. It’s so soft and pleasant on the skin, and picks up just the right amount of product for the easiest blending. I had such a hard time working with blush before and now it’s quickly become one of my favorite products. RealTechniques brushes are always cruelty-free.

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RealTechniques Setting Brush (Amazon) – The multi-tasker! This brush gets used so often that I actually have two of them; setting powder, highlight, contour, all over lid shade, you name it – this brush can do it. Right now its top two uses for me are picking up just the tiniest amount of HD powder to set my under eye concealer and giving me a perfectly blended out natural-looking contour. RealTechniques brushes are always cruelty-free.

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IT Cosmetics #103 Airbrush Blurring Concealer Brush (Ulta, $16.00) – For anyone that just cannot get the hang of the micro.mini beautyblender, this is hands down the best concealer brush I’ve tried. Specifically, under-eye concealer. It helps blend out product beautifully without disturbing the rest of my makeup or sheering out my foundation too much. With my current foundation, I’ve actually had better luck applying my concealer first and this brush really does give me an airbrush finish that is undetectable under or over my foundation. This brush is made with synthetic fibers.

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