My Hits & Misses

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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My Reviews

Brand Highlight: Melt Cosmetics

melt logo

I realize I’m a little behind on the times here, but man am I excited! I recently got my hands on some goodies from Melt Cosmetics (and also got to share a few words with Dana herself, more about that below) and I am in love. I scooped up all three of their four-pan eyeshadow stacks (Love Sick, Dark Matter, and Radioactive) as well as four of their matte lipsticks in the shades Spacecake, Dark Room, Sext, and Bang! Bang!. Since they’re a smaller brand with no retail presence (which means nowhere to go swatch all the preciouses), I thought I’d give you guys a full breakdown of everything I know about the brand and their products, with swatches and photos of course.

Founded in 2012 by makeup artist besties (and serious beauties) Lora Arellano and Dana Bomar, Melt is a California-based brand featuring cruelty free lipsticks and four-pan eyeshadow compacts. I was able to get in touch with Dana to ask her a few questions about Melt products and she informed me the brand started with just five lipsticks; now the range includes 12 eyeshadows across three palettes as well as 18 ultra-matte lipsticks in nude, black, and pretty much every shade in between.

eyeshadow stacks

The stacks come in sets of four eyeshadows with a small round mirror, each in a magnetic disc, which makes them perfectly stackable and perfectly portable too. They do run at a semi-steep $48 each, which works out to $12/shadow and a free mirror. That said, the pans are massive! With the price and size comparisons for MAC, Melt, Anastasia Beverly Hills, and Makeup Geek below… I’d argue these are a pretty good deal.

MAC Pro Pan: 1.5g / 0.05oz ($10.00)
ABH singles: 1.7g / 0.059oz ($12.00 or 4 for $40)
Makeup Geek: 1.8g / 0.064oz ($6.00)
Make Up For Ever Artist Shadow2g / 0.07oz ($21.00)
Melt Cosmetics: 3.57g / 0.125oz (4 for $48.00)

Love Sick stack
Love Sick stack

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My Hits & Misses

Summer Shitlist

So I went into this expecting to come up with my top 10, or rather bottom 10 beauty products of the summer, but rather than fueling the drama and sensationalism of being angry about stuff, I decided to just stick with eight. These are the products that really stood out in my mind as not good or not enjoyable and I didn’t want to start throwing in random products that are “just okay” for the sake of having 10. Sorry to anyone that has a thing for multiples of five like I do, that itch will not be scratched here. Top 15 Summer Hitlist to follow!

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My Reviews

First Impression: Too Faced Sugar Pop

There are few things in the beauty world I love more than a light spring look with a pop of color, so when Too Faced released their spring 2015 lineup, I had to get my hands on the new Sugar Pop palette. It retails for $36, but I picked it up during the Ulta Platinum sale for 20% off. Those sales always get me, but it worked out – I was able to scoop up the new palette and a two pack of the RealTechniques Miracle Complexion Sponge for just $37.

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My Face

Spring Fling: Natural Makeup

The “no makeup” makeup trend definitely isn’t new, but it’s pretty new for me (or at least, making it look good is new for me). The idea behind the “no makeup” look is a semi-flawless complexion with a few simple products to highlight particular features while ultimately looking like you are not really wearing a full face of makeup.

Come warm weather, this is a super versatile look that can fit almost any daytime occasion once you figure out which areas of your face you want to accentuate. One thing I’ve discovered can be a big help with such a natural look is to go a bit monochromatic if possible, using a contrasting shade to your eyecolor. With my hazel eyes, a peachy-orange look really helps them pop behind my glasses.


For me, the two main things to take care of for a look like this are brows and lashes. Since I wear glasses with thick plastic frames, it’s important to highlight my brows so they don’t get lost in my face, and my lashes to help my eyes look bigger and brighter. However, because this is such a natural look, I think it’s only natural to have some “flaws” showing or you’ll risk looking too made up; I usually skip the undereye concealer since I would rather cover up any blemishes/acne.

Here are the products I use for my warm weather natural makeup look (in order of application):

The Body Shop Vitamin E Moisture Cream – I am slowly becoming a complete convert to this cream over the seaweed mattifying day cream I was previously obsessed with. Since I’m going very light on the face makeup, it’s important to have my skin looking its best on its own and hydration is key. I use this cream before bed and before I do my makeup every day for soft, hydrated skin which also helps minimize creasing makeup in the under-eye area.

Budget Beauty Tip: The Body Shop often sells their creams in smaller jars advertising a 3-for-$10 deal (or $4 each). The full size of this cream is $18 for 1.7 oz. Buy the travel size/mini jars instead – three of them will net you 1.5 oz for a savings of $8 and it will be a bit more hygienic too since you won’t have to stick your fingers in the same jar for as long. 

Makeup Geek eyeshadow, Barcelona Beach – I use an angled brow brush and a tiny bit of this gorgeous matte shadow to fill in my brows before brushing in Benefit’s Gimme Brow tinted brow gel to keep them in place (I use the shade medium/deep).

Budget Beauty Tip: Got your eye on a gorgeous eyeshadow from MAC? Check out the Makeup Geek catalog for near-perfect dupes before you splurge – Marlena’s stunning shadows are only $5.99 for 1.8 grams compared to $16 for MAC’s 1.5 grams. Even the MAC pro palette refill pans will run you $10.

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