My Hits & Misses

Top Five: April Favorites

It’s been a few months since my last Top 5 post, so I figured we were about due! You guys may have already seen a few of these in my spring haul posts recently (part I and part II), but I got some really great stuff so here it is again with a few other goodies I’ve been using non-stop.

NARS Velvet Matte Skin Tint in Terre-Neuve ($44.00/1.7oz) – This is a very very new addition to my makeup arsenal, but man I’m in love. I tried it a little while ago with mixed feelings, but decided to give it another shot because I just could not believe how nice my skin looked with this on. It’s the first foundation in my collection that isn’t just sheer coverage, which is surprising because that’s exactly how this is advertised. I find it to have more of a medium/buildable coverage that’s also super smoothing on the skin and looks absolutely flawless. It has an almost powder finish, but looks very natural and isn’t cakey at all. It’s also got SPF30 which I love, and there seems to be no flashback of any kind in photos which is even better. NARS products tends to run very warm/yellow, but the lightest shade in this range is a damn near perfect match for me and I am absolutely loving it. For best results, apply with a damp cosmetic sponge.


Stila
Aqua Glow Watercolor Blush in Rosewater ($26.00/0.21oz) – Also a new addition to my collection, this shade is stunning year-round. I fell in love with this formula last summer when I purchased the shade Water Blossom, but the iridescent blue-based pink is not always the most appropriate option. This neutral pink shade is gorgeous for more natural or professional looks, but still gives a very youthful dewy glow which makes it a perfect spring staple.

Rosewater
Rosewater

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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 Routine

Stripped Down Skincare Routine

I have written and rewritten this post so many times while testing out new products for my skincare regimen. The truth of the matter is, the simplest solution is usually the right one, and after several breakouts and skincare mishaps, I’ve decided to strip it down to the bare essentials that were working for me all along. Every time I try to mess with the program or add something new to my routine, all hell breaks loose, so here’s the full breakdown of my skincare basics, supplemental products, and weekly treatments.

First you should know that, in addition to some hormonal/cystic acne, I have normal-to-dry skin, but also very  dehydrated skin – which means my skin can actually overproduce oil to compensate so even my dry spots look oily at times. I have yet to figure out if this means I have dehydrated, dry skin everywhere all the time or if something else is at play, but treating it that way seems to be working so that’s what I’m going to keep doing for now. (Please note that it is possible to have dehydrated skin regardless of your skin type).

After testing dozens of products, those listed below are what seem to work best for me. These may not be the best options for you, some may not work for you at all, but if any of the skincare issues I deal with sound familiar to you then these products may be worth trying.

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My Hits & Misses

Favorite Affordable Products (under $15)

So I finally got my the-seasons-are-changing cold and wasn’t planning to post for a few days, but I didn’t want to keep putting it off. You can expect to see my updated skincare routine and fall haul soon, but for now – here are my favorite affordable products, for $15 or less.

budget beauty

ColourPop is a fantastic choice if you are interested in trying some new things or experimenting with color as everything is $8 or less, plus it’s all cruelty-free and made in the USA. I am a huge fan of most of their products, especially the Ultra Matte liquid lipsticks ($6), Creme Gel eyeliners ($5), and highlighters ($8). Since I talk about the brand so much already, I’m not going to go too in-depth here, but I will recommend my favorite shade for each of the products mentioned: 1st Base, Best O, and Hippo (respectively).

sephoralipstickremover Sephora Collection Ultimate Oil-in-Gel Lipstick Remover ($9.50, on sale for $5) – This was a product recommendation from someone on Reddit and I am absolutely not disappointed. As someone who is a loyal user of oil-based cleansers, I wasn’t expecting anything overly special from this but for $5 (and 20% off of that), I had to try. Damn does this stuff cut through some liquid lipstick! It beats out both Lush‘s Ultrabland and the Ole Henriksen Pure Truth Melting Cleanser for removing my beloved liquid lipsticks. Seeing as how that is my preferred lipstick formula, I may be buying more of these soon.

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My Life

Makeup is Cool: A Cheesy Story

This is super cheesy and I didn’t really feel like I could share it with anyone directly, so it’s going here… I guess that’s what blogs are for. It’s about makeup.

Growing up, I was never particularly skinny or fat or pretty or ugly, I got picked on a lot for… I don’t really know. Being too average in the looks department I guess. I certainly wasn’t one of “those girls”. You know what I mean, flawless in the sixth grade with tan legs and perfect skin and eventually perfect makeup too, seemingly without a care in the world. I spent my whole life being jealous of girls like that, be it in magazines or in the hallways, in my yearbooks and in movies. I was never going to look like one of them – effortlessly flawless, clear skin glowing with confidence, and definitely looking like they have their shit together. That just isn’t me. Or at least, it wasn’t.

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