Thursday, June 27, 2013

Spotlight: Arbonne

Products Sent For Consideration


Last weekend, I applied makeup to someone who has allergies to parabens and gluten. She shared with me that she rarely wears makeup, because she doesn't know which brands are safe for her skin. Parabens are chemicals that are often found in cosmetics for use as a preservative.  As anyone with allergies, or concerns about what potentially harmful chemicals are in our beauty products knows, finding good quality products that are also free of these irritants can sometimes prove challenging.  I recently tested out a gluten-free and paraben-free personal care brand called Arbonne. Not only are they cruelty-free, but all of the skin care, makeup, bath & body, hair and fragrance products from this brand are completely vegan! Intrigued? This brand, which is on PETA's "Companies that do not test on animals" list makes high quality makeup and skincare that are just as beautiful as they are green.  Arbonne's products are available through independent representatives who chose to pursue a home-based business.  If you prefer, you can also shop online by visiting

Here are some of the products I've tested:

Foundations: Arbonne offers everything from tinted moisturizers to  mineral powder foundation.  
 Sheer Finish Tinted Moisturizer contains broad spectrum SPF 15 sunscreen, and provides natural-looking coverage while keeping skin hydrated. The coverage is sheer, so it evens out your skin tone, while still allowing your natural skin to show through.
Perfecting Liquid Foundation Broad Spectrum SPF 15 Sunscreen is an anti-aging foundation which contains skin-firming properties, and nourishing ingredients to protect, and perfect the skin.  This is ideal for those who need more coverage than a tinted moisturizer alone provides.
Natural Radiance Mineral Powder Foundation Broad Spectrum SPF 15 Sunscreen is ideal for those who prefer a powder foundation, but still love that lit-from-within glow.  This is a lightweight powder that provides buildable coverage.  The light reflecting particles give the skin a radiant luminosity.


 Pictured Above (from left to right): Perfecting Liquid Foundation in Porcelain, Sheer Finish Tinted Moisturizer in Fair, Perfecting Liquid Foundation in Soft Blush, Perfecting Liquid Foundation in Alabaster, Perfecting Liquid Foundation in Earthy Beige, Sheer Finish Tinted Moisturizer in Medium Beige, Perfecting Liquid Foundation in Buff, Perfecting Liquid Foundation in Deep Beige, Perfecting Liquid Foundation in Toffee Bronze, Perfecting Liquid Foundation in Deep Bronze and Sheer Finish Tinted Moisturizer in Dark 


Pictured Above (swatch): Natural Radiance Mineral Powder Foundation in Light

Pictured Above (from left to right) Arbonne Natural Radiance Mineral Powder Foundation with SPF 15: Dark, Medium Dark, Golden Tan, Tan, Medium Beige, Medium, Light

For my skin tone, I wore Sheer Finish Tinted Moisturizer in Fair and topped it off with Natural Radiance Mineral Powder Foundation in Light for added coverage.  The mineral foundation has very fine light reflective particles in it, which is great for those who like a dewy, fresh-faced look, but prefer foundation in a powder format.  I really like how the combo worked with my skin, which can be quite sensitive at times. My skin is prone to breakouts, but I didn't experience any problems with these bases at all. 

Blush: Arbonne blush comes in 8 different shades and offers both matte and shimmer finishes. The shade I tested is called Sunset.  It is a beautiful matte peach color that would look great on a variety of skin tones. I am really impressed with the packaging. The compact is a reflective gunmetal gray with a window on top so you can see which color you are reaching for. It has a push button lid, making it easy to open without breaking a nail!

Bronzer: Summer is all about bronzer. While I generally prefer a matte bronzer for contouring, it is also good to have a satin finish bronzer in your makeup stash.  Today's HD cameras often read truly matte makeup as flat rather than matte.  Arbonne bronzer has a satin finish which helps create that sun-kissed look without leaving behind any heavy glitters.  The result is a natural looking tan, that comes across beautiful in photographs and video.  This shade works for a multitude of skin tones and feels very light on the skin. The color lasts all day and applies evenly. I even blended a little through the eye socket to add some definition to my eyes.

Eyeshadow: The eyeshadow I tested was in the shade Moss. It's a matte mossy green shade that applies smoothly and has nice pigmentation. This mineral-infused eyeshadow is easy to blend and includes polypeptides and cucumber extract for added benefit to the eye area.

Mascara:  I personally have not had much luck with vegan mascaras. I've tried a few, and just have not been happy with most of the offerings on the market. I was really pleasantly surprised by Arbonne's It's A Long Story Mascara. The formula is safe for contact lens wearers, and contains polypeptides which help promote the appearance of longer lashes. Those with sensitive eyes will really appreciate this mascara. It adds nice length to your lashes without them sticking together. It also feels really light on the lashes, and I didn't experience any flaking or clumping of any kind.  

Foot Creme: With summer upon us, that means sandals and flip flops by the pool. To keep your feet looking smooth and cared for, Arbonne has created a Cooling Foot Creme with fresh kiwi cell extracts and Moisture Fresh Complex.  This light cooling gel-cream hybrid absorbs into the skin nicely without any greasy after feeling.  It contains AHA and salicylic acid to help exfoliate feet, so your skin looks smooth and clean.

I hope you enjoyed this look at Arbonne.  I am so impressed with the quality of these products. It is really nice to have a vegan makeup brand of this standard available to me that is free of so many irritating ingredients. Again, all Arbonne personal care products are vegan certified (contain no animal products or by-products), contain no parabens, contain no synthetic dyes and are gluten free.  I honestly don't know why I never tried this brand before, but I am so happy I discovered them!

For more information, or to order any of the products seen here call 1-800-ARBONNE or visit their website at

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*This post contains products that were sent for consideration by the company or PR firm. This in no way alters my review. All products are personally tested and I only recommend products in hopes of helping you make good purchasing decisions. All opinions are my own.  I do not get paid to write reviews.  I do not get any commissions or payment if you purchase any of these products.

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Top 5 Summer Products - Collab

All Products In This Post Purchased By Me

Top Five Summer Products (collab)

It is once again time for another cruelty-free collaboration with blogging beauties Catherine and Christine.  This month, we all chose our top 5 beauty products for summer. When summer comes, I tend to scale back my beauty routine a bit. This is the perfect time so showcase your natural beauty.  I've chosen some waterproof favorites for those who like to spend time by the pool, my favorite self-tanner and bold lippies. 
Don't forget to check out the posts by Catherine from Buying Cruelty Free and Christine from Makeup Guinea Pig. All of the products listed in all three of our posts are cruelty-free (not tested on animals).

Also, don't forget to follow us on Twitter:

As the weather has gotten warmer, these are the products I have been reaching for and will continue to reach for all summer long.  I'm a stickler for sunscreen, so of course included a great BB Cream with an SPF of 30!  Here are the five summer must-haves on my list:

  1. True Natural Cosmetics-All Natural Self Tanner
  2. Tarte-BB Tinted Treatment 12-Hour Primer Broad Spectrum SPF 30 Sunscreen
  3. Tarte-Amazonian Clay Waterproof Concealer
  4. Tarte-Aqualillies Amazonian Clay Waterproof Eye and Cheek Palette 
  5. Obsessive Compulsive Cosmetics-Lip Tar
True Natural Cosmetics All Natural Self Tanner: I have fair skin. For this reason, many self-tanners on the market look unnatural on me.  I also can't stand the smell of most self-tanners. This one from True Natural Cosmetics, which also happens to be certified vegan, has a fresh citrus scent.  It comes out of the tube in a creamy yellow lotion, and blends easily into the skin. In just a few hours you are left with a streak-free natural looking tan! I use this both on my face and my body.  The best part is that this product doesn't contain any harmful chemicals, just all natural goodness.

Tarte BB Tinted Treatment 12-Hour Primer Broad Spectrum SPF 30 Sunscreen: The number one most important thing needed in the summer is sunscreen. Skin cancer is no joke. Nothing will age you faster than sitting out in the sun unprotected.  This BB cream works great solo or under makeup, helping your skin look perfected while keeping it protected. It comes in multiple shades and is oil-free making it ideal for those prone to breakouts.  The sunscreen in this product is also chemical-free, which is the only kind that doesn't break me out. Tarte makes many great products, and this one is a favorite of mine especially in the summer!

 Pictured Above: The benefits of Tarte BB Tinted Treatment
 Tarte BB Tinted Treatment in Fair

Tarte Smooth Operator Amazonian Clay Waterproof Concealer: Summer calls for waterproof makeup. Many switch from heavy foundations to a simple tinted moisturizer or BB cream as I do.  However, summer doesn't make us immune to dark circles or breakouts, thus sometimes we need a little extra help. To ensure our coverage doesn't wash a way with the ocean waves, Tarte has created a waterproof concealer with awesome coverage. The lipstick-like tube holds 2 grams of product and blends beautifully into the skin, for even natural looking coverage. Available in 5 shades, this is a must have for me in the summer. 

 Pictured Above (from left to right): Tarte Smooth Operator Amazonian Clay 
Waterproof Concealer in Fair and Light 

Tarte Aqualillies Amazonian Clay Waterproof Eye and Cheek Palette: Now that our skin is covered, lets talk eyes and cheeks. The one must-have palette this summer is Aqualillies for Tarte Amazonian Clay Waterproof Eye and Cheek Palette. Yes, this entire palette is waterproof, they tested it. So did I!  It's inspired by the all female synchronized swimming team. It is limited edition, so you will want to grab this one while you can. You may remember this palette from Christine's Top 5 New Products post. There is a good reason why we both love it so much.  This palette holds 6 brand new eyeshadows, a blush, bronzer and highlighter, plus a mirror!  In my opinion this is the best palette Tarte has ever put out. I can't say enough good things about it. 

Pictured below, eyeshadow swatches (left to right): Hammock, Bikini, Barefoot, Parasol, Sundeck, Poolside

 Pictured Above (left to right): Blush in Captivating, Bronzer in Park Ave Princess, Highlighter in Champagne

Obsessive Compulsive Cosmetics (OCC) Lip Tar: Your summer makeup look wouldn't be complete without a bright pout. No makeup company rules the bright lip world like OCC. These vegan lippies are favorites among makeup artists and makeup lovers everywhere and with good reason. Just a drop (the size of a pin head) will cover your entire pout.  There are so many amazing shades and finishes. I love mixing them together to create my own unique shade. Lately I've been mixing Divine and Beta together to get my perfect summer shade. Summer is all about having fun. A bright lip helps enhance your new self-tan.

 Pictured Above (left to right): Divine and Beta
 For a lighter look, mix in a little Feathered (pure white)
Pictured Above: My Lip Tar Collection 

Now you know everything you need for the perfect summer look! These are my favorites of the season. Don't forget to check out Catherine & Christine's too!

Catherine's post is here: Buying Cruelty Free
Christine's post is here:  Makeup Guinea Pig
Here is a look at my summer favorites in action for a completed look:

Pictured Above: On eyes-Hammock, Sundeck & Poolside (over Tarte Aqualillies waterproof gel liner as a base), on lips, OCC Lip Tars in Divine & Beta mixed together, on face, Blush in Captivating, Bronzer in Park Ave Princess and highlighter in Champagne.  Base: True Natural Cosmetics Self-Tanner, topped with Tarte BB Tinted Treatment used as sunscreen & primer in one (under IT Cosmetics Bye Bye Redness as foundation).

What are your summer must-have beauty products? 
Share in the comments below.

Monday, June 10, 2013

Makeup Dupes and Cruelty Free Replacements

This post contains both products purchased by me, and products sent for consideration

Makeup Dupes and Cruelty Free Replacements

Last summer Urban Decay denounced their cruelty-free status in order to sell their products in China. They then reversed their decision and decided to remain cruelty-free. However, the brand has since been sold to L'Oreal, a company known for animal testing. While Urban Decay has remained on the cruelty-free list, many people do not want to support the brand due to the fact that their parent company is one that tests on animals.

I used many of the brand's products prior to this news. Everyone has different thoughts on what makes a brand cruelty-free, and it is up to each individual to decide what they want to purchase. I am not wasteful, and will continue to use the products I have. As I use products up, I have looked at other brands for replacement products.  I found some great replacements, and in some cases lower cost alternatives to products I was previously using.  I challenged myself to search my stash as well as test out new products to find things I truly love.

This is not exclusively a dupe post, as not all of the products I mention are close enough to be considered a duplicate. Not all of the replacements I've chosen are cheaper, though many are. It is always nice to know you have options.  In this post, I will share with you similar product types, that can help achieve a similar look.

Here is a look at some of the products I've found to be similar to Urban Decay:

Finishing Brushes: Finishing brushes are pretty easy to find. I used the Urban Decay once pictured in the middle for personal use. The first brush pictured is the Bdellium Tools 955 brush. It is a professional grade brush.  The brush to the far right is the Alima Pure Kitten brush, and is great choice for personal use.

Eye Primer: A pretty obvious replacement option is Too Faced Shadow Insurance. I actually prefer it to the Urban Decay Primer Potion.  Many brands make eye primers now, making it easier to find a cruelty-free replacement.

Black Eye Liner: I'm very excited about this one, because I thought it would be very hard to replace Urban Decay 24/7 pencil in Perversion (below middle). I love how black it is, plus it's waterproof. The replacement I found is something I like even better! As you can see from the below swatches Tarte smolderEYES Amazonian Clay Waterproof Liner in Onyx is even darker! 

 Above (left to right): Urban Decay 24/7 pencil in Zero, Urban Decay 24/7 pencil in Perversion, Tarte smolderEYES Amazonian Clay Waterproof Liner in Onyx

White Eye Liner:  I loved Urban Decay's 24/7 liner in Yeyo for the waterline. It can help brighten up the eye. While Yeyo leans a bit more silver, I prefer the stark white of these replacements. Plus, the two white liners I found from NYX are completely water proof and much more affordable.

 From left to right: Urban Decay 24/7 pencil in Yeyo, Stila Kajal Eye Liner in Pearl, NYX Slide On, Glide On, Stay On & Definitely A Turn On Water Proof, Extreme Shine Eye Liner in Pure White, NYX Retractable Eye Liner in White (water proof)

Shadow Pencils: This is another replacement product that I am really excited about. I was able to find good replacements in brands like Tarte Cosmetics, Stila and the affordable Milani. I swear the formula of the Milani Shadow EYEZ pencil feels identical to Urban Decay 24/7 Glide-On Shadow Pencil for a fraction of the price. The only thing you may struggle with is finding an exact color replacement. However, I found many that were quite similar, or at least gave a similar effect. For example, Milani Shadow EYEZ in Champagne Toast is a great dupe (lower cost duplicate) for Urban Decay 24/7 Glide-On Shadow Pencil in Sin. 

 Pictured above (left to right): Milani Shadow EYEZ in Almond Cream (matte, water resistant), Milani Shadow EYEZ in Champagne Toast (metallic finish, water resistant), Tarte smolderEYES Amazonian Clay Waterproof Liner in Champagne, Stila Smudge Crayon in Kitten

 Pictured above (from left to right): Milani Shadow EYEZ in Cafe Au Lait, Urban Decay 24/7 Glide-On Shadow Pencil in Wasteland, Tarte smolderEYES Amazonian Clay Waterproof Liner in Gold, Urban Decay 24/7 Glide-On Shadow Pencil in JUJU, Tarte smolderEYES Amazonian Clay Waterproof Liner in Gunmetal, Urban Decay 24/7 Glide-On Shadow Pencil in Mercury, Stila Cosmetics Smudge Crayon in Dazzle

Mascaras: These are not dupes at all, but products that I found I prefer to the ones I was previously using. Everyone needs a good mascara, and a good waterproof mascara.  For me, those were Urban Decay's Big Fatty & Cannonball.  I've replaced Big Fatty with IT Cosmetics Hello Lashes*! I prefer the brush shape, and find it easier to get the inner and lower lashes.  For professional use, I always go waterproof. I love the lengthening power of Tarte's Lights, Camera, Splashes!

 Above: Urban Decay Big Fatty Mascara, IT Cosmetics Hello Lashes!
Left: Urban Decay, Right: IT Cosmetics:  The thinner wand, with ball-shaped end makes it easier to reach the inner lashes.

Above left: Urban Decay Cannonball, Right: Tarte's Lights, Camera, Splashes! 

Brow Gel: For personal use, I used Urbanbrow setting gel. I now keep a tube of Anastasia Beverly Hills Brow Gel in Clear in my personal and professional kit

Eyeshadow: Eyeshadow colors are pretty easy to duplicate. Without going through the entire Naked Palette, I decided to just select a few of my favorite shades.

 Pictured Above: Urban Decay ABC Gum, Tarte Foam (from Brewed Awakening Quad)
 I find ABC Gum & Foam to be nearly identical when applied to the eye.
 Above: Urban Decay ABC Gum (left swatch), Tarte Foam (right swatch)

 In some cases, I didn't need an exact dupe, just a similar shade. NYX eyeshadow in Aloha when applied with a damp brush, gives a very similar result to Urban Decay's Sin.  Tarte's Raw Sugar leans more coppery.  Layering Aloha over Raw Sugar, leaves the swatch on the far right.
 Shimmery browns (above, left to right): Urban Decay Smog, Tarte Espresso, Stila Golightly, Milani Caramel Brown
 Below (left to right): Milani Pearl, Stila Starlight, Urban Decay Virgin

(left to right): Milani Pearl, Stila Starlight, Urban Decay Virgin 

Blush:  I loved how effortless Urban Decay's Afterglow Glide-On Cheek Tint in Score looked on my skin. It's peachy-pink hue looks good on many skin tones.  Luckily, NYX Stick Blush in Hibiscus gives a very similar effect. For something a little brighter, try Stila's Custom Color Blush in Self-Adjusting Coral
Bronzer: This Urban Decay Baked Bronzer in Toasted is the perfect shade for a natural looking tan. Luckily IT Cosmetics Vitality Glow Anti-Aging Matte Bronzer is nearly identical in color. 

Above: Urban Decay Baked Bronzer in Toasted (left), IT Cosmetics Vitality Glow Anti-Aging Matte Bronzer

Lip Liner: Nude lip liner is important to have. I was able to find low cost alternatives (Milani), and higher end brands that met the criteria I was looking for. What I liked about Urban Decay's lip liners, is that they are creamy and long lasting. If you were a fan of Urban Decay's lip liner in Ozone (clear), Too Faced Borderline Lip Pencil, which is a nearly identical dupe. 

 Left to Right: Urban Decay Naked, Milani Nude, Urban Decay Illegal, Too Faced Perfect Nude, Urban Decay Heavy, Milani Easy Liner For Lips in Most Natural (retractable)

Setting Powder & Loose Mineral Powder: I really enjoyed the color match I had with Urban Decay's Surreal Skin Mineral Makeup, as well as the finely milled texture of their Razor Shap Ultra Definition Finishing Powder.  I replaced the loose mineral powder with Lavera's version. For finishing powder, I use Too Faced Primed & Poreless or CoverFX Matte Setting Powder. 

 Above (left to right): Urban Decay Razor Sharp Ultra Definition Finishing Powder, Cover FX Matte Setting Powder in Light, Too Faced Primed & Poreless Skin Smoothing Priming Powder & Finishing Veil

Lip Pencils (Jumbo): Urban Decay's Super-Saturated High Gloss Lip Color combines the ease of a lip gloss with the precision of a pencil.  Last year, my cousin introduced me to Milani Lip Flash Full Coverage Shimmer Gloss Pencil.  These two products feel exactly the same to me in terms of texture. They both last the same amount of time on my lips. The only difference I see is in color selection. 

As mentioned above, the items mentioned in this post are not necessarily meant to be identical color duplicates for Urban Decay. However, the transition to these other products was seamless for me. It was important to me that I not only match color, but also quality. It is important to note, that while Milani is significantly cheaper than Urban Decay, I personally have not found any difference in the quality of product.  
If you've found any great cruelty-free dupes, I'd love to know! Tell me in the comments below or on Twitter @MakeupMatters1

*This post contains both products purchased by me, and products sent by the company for consideration. This in no way alters my review. I do not get paid to write reviews. I do not get any commissions if you purchase any of these products. I simply write reviews, and make product suggestions in hopes of helping my readers make good purchasing decisions.