My Face

Full Face: Bright Colors & Dehydrated Skin

The Boyfriend requested a “bright surprise” for a recent date night and I delivered. I loved the balance of super bright eyes with pretty neutral lips (which is a favorite move for nights out so I can still eat whatever I want). This is not a tutorial, but I often get asked about which products I’m using so I thought I’d share a full product list for one of my go-to styles. These photos have not been edited in any way.

SKIN PREP

Drunk Elephant B-Hydra Intensive Hydration Gel

Too Faced Hangover Replenishing Primer

MAC Strobe Cream

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My Reviews

Sephora Play! Six Month Review

Before I say anything else, know that this is the longest I have ever stuck with one subscription box. I’ve plowed through Birchbox, ipsy, and even boxycharm but never made it more than a few months before canceling the service. Six months in, the Sephora Play! box still has my undivided attention.

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If you’re not familiar with the box, it’s a $10 monthly subscription box that comes with six deluxe samples of products from brands sold at Sephora. Similar to Birchbox, your samples are chosen based on a profile you fill out. Each month your samples will arrive in a cute little drawstring bag accompanied with a fold out sheet describing each product. To top it off, each box comes with a Sephora card for 50 extra points on your next in-store purchase. While the box is not yet available everywhere, it’s expanding quite rapidly so don’t let a waitlist bum you out (it took me a few months to get my first one).

So what makes this box so much better than the rest? Probably the biggest factor is the choice of brands. Sephora stocks some of the coolest brands out there and they definitely do not skimp when it comes to putting the Play subscription together. I heard some grumbles that one box featured what was likely “leftovers” from last year’s birthday gift, but guess what? Last year’s birthday gift was a NARS lip pencil! Not exactly chump change for most of us. I’ve gotten products from Tarte, Korres, Atelier Cologne (one of my favorite perfume makers), Urban Decay, and even Bite Beauty. Even the scents have all been knockouts – there’s one in every box. I dreaded my unexpected samples from Birchbox, but Sephora’s choices are consistently pleasing and exciting across a variety of styles. So far, Sephora has crushed it each and every time – plus your monthly fragrance sample counts as an extra product, not a replacement for a bigger item.

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The other standout factor for me is the cost breakdown of each box. These things are worth well beyond the $10 they cost each month, even if a few products make their way to friends and family (makes me look pretty great too!)

To remain objective, I’ve decided not to rate any of the products I receive beyond pointing out a few of my overall favorites. Everyone’s preferences are different and it’s not up to me to tell you a product is bad because I personally didn’t like it. There’s something in there for everyone so here’s a look at the last six months of my Sephora Play subscription!

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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 101

101: Tips for Glasses

So the thing with makeup & glasses is that it’s not really about the frames – it’s about the lenses. The lenses are what alter the look of your eyes: prescriptions for nearsightedness or astigmatism can make your eyes seem smaller, while those for farsightedness can often make the eyes appear much larger. The goal then is to tweak your makeup in a way that provides a balance – if your eyes look smaller behind your frames, you should take steps to help them look bigger/more open and vice versa. I’m focusing on nearsightedness and astigmatism here because that is what I have the most personal experience with, but there will be tips for those of you who are farsighted throughout the post as well!

Makeup is of course very personal and you should do what you want, but you should know this by now and I’m not going to take any more time for disclaimers or preemptive apologies.

 

Eyes

Brighter/Wider: One of the best ways to make your eyes appear larger and brighter is by applying a nude or flesh-toned eyeliner to the waterline. Alternatively, if your lenses magnify your eyes, reach for deeper shades like black, brown, or even navy to pull everything back into proportion.

I use: Anastasia Beverly Hills Pro Pencil / ColourPop “Cry Baby” Creme Gel Liner

Neons & Drama: Some sources may discourage this, but I definitely do not. One of my favorite things about wearing glasses is that they kind of “minimize” any look you decide to go for. For me, that means I can raise hell with neons, brights, and otherwise dramatic eyeshadows that might otherwise be “too much” without the frames. If you have particularly “loud” frames, it helps to use shades that complement rather than clash, but with a color wheel as your guide you can go as bright or dark as you like. Glasses do not relegate you to neutrals-only eyeshadows!

I use: Melt Cosmetics Radioactive eyeshadow stack

Under Eye Correcting: Now this is a concern regardless of the types of lenses you wear. Glasses can often cast a shadow onto the lower part of your eyes, exaggerating any kind of darkness or discoloration in the under eye area. Concealer alone may not be enough to resolve this, but I’ve been really happy with the results of a peach toned color corrector. Don’t forget to set your under eye with a powder that prevents light reflection, this can bring more attention to the area.

I use: Make Up For Ever HD Microfinish powder / Yves Saint Laurent Touche Eclat Bisque Neutralizer

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My Hits & Misses

Trending Products Worth the Hype

With the semi-annual Sephora sale coming up later this week (details below), I thought now might be a good time to share some of the super-hyped products on the market that I think are absolutely worth the attention they’ve garnered.


Historically, the semi-annual Sephora sales have taken place in April and November. So far, that seems to be true of this year too as the spring Love Note sale starts tomorrow! The following sale information is copied from Temptalia:

VIB Rouge: 7-13 April — 15% off with code ROUGENOTE
VIB: 8-13 April — 15% off with code VIBNOTE
BI: 9-12 April — 10% off with code BINOTE

If you’re shopping online, don’t forget to use Ebates for even more cash back.


Now on to the good stuff! Trending products worth the hype.

CaptureSunday Riley Luna Sleeping Night Oil ($105.00/1oz) – My current skincare obsession, this stuff is absolutely everywhere on YouTube lately (especially if you watch any gorgeous ladies in the UK). A retinol compound suspended in oil, Luna is a nighttime facial treatment designed to exfoliate, repair damage and redness, and leaves my skin feeling soft and full. Since I already have dry skin and retinol can be a bit drying if you’re new to the product, I like to mix the Luna oil with a few drops of my regular facial oil before applying. Using once/week, I expect the full size bottle will last me about a year.

I just want to note that it doesn’t have the highest rating on Paula’s Choice, from a scientific standpoint, primarily due to added fragrance. I’m generally not a fan of this, but in the case of Sunday Riley’s Luna it doesn’t seem to irritate my skin at all (which has become increasingly rare as I get older). Still, please patch test before applying to your face.

Make Up For Ever Step 1 Skin Equalizer Primer ($37/1.0oz) – I’ll be honest, I’ve only tried one of these so far, but when the Step 1 line of primers first launched, it was all anyone could talk about for what seemed like months. I’ve got the hydrating version, but there are nine others, and they are still flying off the shelves. Before trying this, I wasn’t sure anything could beat the Too Faced Hangover Rx primer, but MUFE is miles ahead. The texture of the formula is somewhere between a serum and a lotion which my dehydrated skin loves, plus it sets quickly and leaves a solid base to help prolong the wear of my makeup. With some added silicones, my skin feels perfectly smooth for makeup application, and there’s definitely a bit of pore-blurring as well.

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