My Hits & Misses, My Reviews

Top Travel Favorites

You may have heard by now that I’ve got quite a big trip coming up – six cities in 18 days driving across Italy: definitely the most intense traveling I’ve done since I completely fell in love with makeup a few years ago. I’ll be sharing what’s in my makeup bag while I’m away, but in the meantime wanted to share some of my favorite pieces for when I’m on the go. I don’t usually take a minimalist approach when traveling, but you might, so here are my top eight picks for anywhere but here.

Bite Beauty Multistick in Cava – I’ve never been one for multi-use stick products, I never ever reach for the eyeshadow sticks I’ve accumulated over the years, but something about this one… I absolutely love. The formula is beautifully creamy without being sticky, it’s pigmented but still buildable (and super blendable), and Cava is a perfect match for me whether I use it for eyeshadow, blush, or lipstick.

Bare Minerals Complexion Rescue Tinted Gel in 01 Opal – In the short time I’ve owned this, I’ve already mentioned it multiple times both on Instagram and in previous blog posts (I even did a full on review). Clearly I’m a fan. This sheer to medium coverage gel is perfect for daily adventures, but is totally appropriate for evening glam too. The SPF30 will keep you covered in the daytime and the super natural finish will help keep you looking flawless all night.

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My Face

The Deets: Birthday Makeup

If you know me in real life or have followed me on Instagram for a while, you may know that one of my goals for this year (in addition to going cruelty-free with all of my makeup) was to master the art of red lipstick. This has been an ongoing makeup struggle for me; I continuously chicken out and could not bring myself to go out in public with red lipstick. Do not ask me to explain this to you because I do not have any logical response. I am comfortable with fluorescent pink, practically glowing orange, and just about every other color on the planet and yet red was something I did not feel brave enough for. Well, I finally did it! This past Saturday night, heading out for a birthday dinner with The Boyfriend and our OBF (Oregon Best Friends), I finally wore red lipstick in public! I thought I’d share the look with you guys including a full product list and text-tutorial. Let me know if you enjoy this format, I will try to do it more often.

On the subject of cruelty-free, I should note that this is still a work in progress. I have found some really amazing cruelty-free replacement for products I loved, some of them even much more affordable than what I was originally using. However, there are some products for which I have not yet found a cruelty-free replacement. I would also like to add that while I am not planning to buy any more natural hair brushes, makeup brushes are quite an investment and I will not be getting rid of natural hair brushes that I already owned. The decision was not made lightly.

Products listed in order of my personal application.

SKIN – perhaps the most important part of your makeup, even more important than the makeup itself, is prepping your skin. To me that includes moisturizer, primer, and any other skin treatments I deem necessary (if I’m going for a daytime look that usually includes a vitamin C serum and sunscreen).

Drunk Elephant B-Hydra Intensive Hydration Gel – This is my go-to daytime/pre-makeup moisturizer, two little pumps is more than enough and it absorbs quickly so it doesn’t disturb makeup application.

EYES – So I can focus on making my eyeshadow look the way I want it to instead of worrying about making a mess, I always do my eye makeup before moving on to foundation, concealer, etc.

MAC Cosmetics Pro Longwear Paint Pot in Painterly – this is my ride or die eyeshadow primer, I have been using it for close to three years at this point, and it takes me pretty close to a full year to get through one jar! I like to apply this with my finger all over the mobile lid and up to my brow bone and then lightly set it with a translucent powder. This is one of the only items in my entire makeup collection that I still have not found a cruelty-free replacement for, I will happily accept any recommendations!

Marc Jacobs Eye-Conic eyeshadow palette in Scandalust – I applied “At The Office” into the crease with my MAC 224, blending it out about halfway up to my brow bone and then using whatever was left on the brush to add some more definition around the lid. Using a Smith 230, I worked “That’s Why” a little tighter into the crease focusing on the outer portion of the eye and blending slightly into the outer 1/3 of the mobile lid. Finally, I used a MAC 221 (possibly my favorite brush of all time) to lightly add “Little Miss” to the outer v, gradually building and blending to develop a smooth gradient with a more dramatic outer corner.

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My Reviews

Anti-Haul: Spring 2017

If you haven’t yet watched one of drag queen/YouTuber Kimberly Clark‘s “Anti-Haul” videos, you are seriously missing out. Kimberly is on a brilliant mission to encourage us, as consumers, to do our research and make educated decisions when it comes to our wallets and what we put on our faces. This is my written version of Kimberly’s famed Anti-Haul series, just in time for the upcoming Sephora VIB sale later this month. ~what I’m not gonna buuuuyyy~

Too Faced Natural Love Ultimate Neutral eyeshadow palette – $59.00 / 24g – Oy, another one!? Too Faced has been cranking out these massive palettes one after another lately, and they have all been so underwhelming. First of all, no one needs 30 shades in one palette – this instantly becomes a “sit on your desk and look pretty” palette rather than one convenient for traveling (which to me, is the only real reason worth owning a palette over eyeshadow singles). Moving on, even if you did need 30 neutral eyeshadows in the same palette (you don’t), there are at least 3-4 nearly identical pink shades and another several nearly identical brown shades. If you like the Too Faced eyeshadow formula, you do you, but this palette is unnecessary on every level.

Kat Von D Alchemist Holographic palette – $30.00 / 5.7g – My criticism of this palette has very little to do with the four holographic highlight shades, they are actually pretty gorgeous. My issue with this is the price, the shape of the packaging, and how late it is to market. The Anastasia Beverly Hills Moon Child Glow Kit is nearly identical to the Alchemist palette, but boasts six shades with nearly 5x as much product for $40. Further, the pans of the Alchemist palette are incredibly small, which is fine for eyeshadow, but for use as a face highlight, using a larger fan brush or other highlighting brush will be pretty difficult. The shape of the palette itself is yet another “sit on my desk and look pretty” design, completely impractical for any on-the-go usage. As pretty as these shades are, I’ll be sticking to my Moon Child Glow Kit and duochrome shades from Makeup Geek and Concrete MineralsAll products mentioned above are cruelty free.

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My Hits & Misses

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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My Hits & Misses

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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