Sunday, March 30, 2014

High-End Favs

All Products In This Post Purchased By Me

High-End Favorites

I hope you enjoyed my recent tutorial series.  Now that you have seen some of my go-to looks, I thought I would share some of my favorite products that are the magic behind my makeup creations. While I use products at all price points, there are certain higher end products that I truly feel are worth the splurge. I've tested tons of products and honestly feel that the top five in this post are worth their higher price tag. For more of my high-end favorites, check out my Pitnerest board. My user name is MakeupMattes1.  I recently created a board called High-End Favs where you can see all of my favorite products and brands at a higher price point.  In keeping with this theme, I will also be doing a post of my favorite budget friendly buys to help guide you through which drugstore products are truly a steal.

Here are my top five favorite high-end beauty products:

#1 Hourglass No 28 Primer Serum -   This is one of the first items I tried from the brand Hourglass. I have repurchased it multiple times over because it is truly a staple in my kit.  As the name suggests, this is a dual purpose product. It can be used both as a skin serum, and as a primer under your makeup.  In the winter, my skin tends to be much more on the dry side, and this primer has been a life saver to help nourish and hydrate my face. This product feels super luxurious and contains 14 essential oils as well as vitamins to nurture and rejuvenate the skin.  At $65 an ounce, this product is not cheap by any means, but the result it provides, makes this well worth the hefty price tag in my book. If you have tried primers before, but haven't really liked them, I suggest you try this one.  Everyone I know who has tried this just loves it. If there is one thing worth investing in, it's your skin. 

#2 Hourglass Illusion Tinted Moisturizer - While this product is sold as a tinted moisturizer, I really think of it more as a foundation that works well for those with a drier skin type.  This product contains SPF15 and helps even out skin tone while leaving a healthy looking dewy glow. The coverage is light, yet this can easily be worn solo with a little added concealer in spots that need it. I especially recommend this product for those with more mature skin that don't want to wear a heavy foundation. If I could only have one foundation for the rest of my life, it would likely be one from Hourglass. It doesn't look like I am wearing foundation when I have it on, it just looks like I have really amazing skin. Isn't that what we all want from our foundation? 

 Hourglass Tinted Moisturizer Retails for $55
Above swatch in the color Ivory 

#3 Anastasia Tinted Brow Gel in Brunette - While many brands make brow gel, this one is my Holy Grail.  This tube has made countless trips with me, and when I am packing light for a trip, is the one thing that always gets packed first. In my professional kit, I use the clear shade, but personally, I tend to favor Brunette.  On days when I am particularly lazy and don't feel like doing my full brow routine, I can still brush through this tinted brow gel for a more complete look.  I have tried other tinted brow gels from other brands, but Anastasia just gets the color perfect, and no other brand holds my brows in place all day like this one does. This product also helps thin brows look a bit fuller and thicker. With full brows still quite popular, I highly recommend this product for everyone. It comes in quite a few shades so you are sure to find one that works with your coloring. 

 Anastasia Tinted Brow Gel Retails for $22 at
  Above is a swatch of Anastasia Tinted Brow Gel in Brunette

#4 Too Faced Shadow Insurance: This eye primer is an absolute staple in my kit. I use this as the base for nearly every eye look I create. I literally use this every day and can't imagine my life without it. I always keep multiple tubes handy and on the rare occasion I have tried to do my eyeshadow without it I notice a huge difference. I used to use Urban Decay Primer Potion, and I have to say, this product is much better. I find I am able to get a much longer wear time with my eyeshadow.  With this layered underneath, most of my eye looks stay looking fresh an average of seven hours before any noticeable fading or creasing. 

 Above is a mini size that came included with an eyeshadow palette
TFSI retails for $20 for the full size.
This product provides full coverage on the eyelids to help 
block out any veins that show through the lid. It is my HG eyeshadow
primer, as it prevents creasing and creates a smooth base for eyeshadow

#5. Obsessive Compulsive Cosmetics Lip Tar - The primary lip product I use in my professional kit is OCC's lip tar. They come in a large variety of colors, which come packaged in a convenient squeeze tube. I love that I can just squeeze a pea size amount onto my palette and mix colors to create my own unique shade. These are completely vegan, and the brand does offer a makeup artist discount if you shop through their site. The original lip tar is a matte formula, but the brand has now branched out to create stains, and metallic formulations as well. I even mix in loose pigments with these sometimes to create a truly unique look. These are super opaque and each comes with a mini lip brush. I purchased many of mine in sets and use the full size lip brush from the brand to apply. These are basically liquid lipsticks that are super pigmented. I love the matte formula best, as they can be turned into a metallic, or gloss can be layered over top for added shine. I also love that the brand makes a white and black shade which are great for mixing. The color selection is unparalleled, and these are an absolute must have in my book.  The 0.33 oz. size retails for $18, but sets are often available at a better value.  The brand offers full-size and mini tubes now, which is quite convenient, as it is quite difficult to finish an entire tube since you need so little product per each use. 

 Above is the full size tube which is 0.33 Fl Oz.
Above is a swatch of the color Memento (matte midtone pink plum)

I hope you enjoyed this look at my favorite high-end beauty products.  Please make sure you are subscribed so you never miss a post!  

Please share your favorite high-end beauty products in the comments below. 

*All products in this post were purchased by me. I was not paid to write about these products. 

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Saturday, March 22, 2014

Special Event/Party/Holiday Look - Tutorial

 All Products in this post purchased by me
Special Event Makeup 
 This is the final look in my tutorial series. I have included links to the other three looks at the end of this post. This is my go-to look for special events. I'll often wear makeup like this to parties that are a bit more formal, holiday time, or any occasion that calls for something just a bit more glam than normal. You may notice this is not largely different from my "date night" makeup tutorial.  However the one thing I always wear to special events is a red lip.  There is just something so glamorous and festive about red lips.  It always makes me feel more confident and because my eyes are so large, a bold lip really helps to balance out my face. The shade of red may change, sometimes I'll wear more of a berry red, sometimes more of an orange-red. I may also opt for matte versus glossy depending on the look I am going for.  I wore red lipstick to my high school prom, my wedding and just about every other special event in my life that I can think of. 

Red lips flatter all skin tones. You just have to find the perfect red for you. I may do a separate post on finding your perfect red lippie in the future.  Please comment below if you would like me to write a post about red lipstick. The lip color I chose for this tutorial is one that works on most skin tones, and one that I use a lot, both personally and professionally. It works great on brides who prefer a red lip, and paired with a liner and prepped properly, OCC's Lip Tar in NSFW is a great long wearing formula. It is a true classic red.

Here is how to create the look:
Base: To begin, I started with Hourglass Tinted Moisturizer in Ivory.  This product has a great amount of coverage for a tinted moisturizer, and almost wears more like a foundation while looking very natural on the skin.  It does contain SPF 15, but I have not found that it creates any sort of flashback when photos are taken.  Whichever base you choose, I suggest one with very low or no SPF because photos are often taken at special events, and sometimes the camera's flash can create an unflattering flashback effect.  If you need something extra long wearing, you may want to layer a primer underneath.  I also applied lip balm at this point so that it could sink in while I was applying the rest of my makeup.
After my base was applied, I gathered the rest of the tools I needed to create this special look:
 For added moisture, I applied a few spritz of Fresh Rose Floral Toner. I nearly always use this after my foundation application lately, as I find it helps settle the makeup into my skin for a more natural looking appearance.

Concealer: To help add light to the face and hide any imperfections I used Physicians Formula Nude Wear Touch of Glow.  This is a highlighting/concealing click pen with a brush tip applicator. Think of it as a cruelty-free, and much more affordable version of the Touche Eclat.  However, while this product does add some luminosity to the face, it does not create any camera flashback.  I applied this under my eyes, down the bridge of my nose, to my cupid's bow and anywhere else I wanted to conceal and/or add a bit of light to the face.  

I used a small flat foundation brush to gently pat and blend the concealer into my tinted moisturizer so that everything looked seamless. 

 I used the bdellium tools 947 brush from the yellow 
bambu line to gently pat and blend in my concealer
Powder: To make sure the concealer was set, I applied a light dusting of Cover FX Illuminating Setting Powder in Light.  This powder is great for all skin types.  Remember that silica powders, which are those white powders that are very popular now, are wonderful for taking away shine, but they will not set concealer the way a regular pressed or loose powder will.  This powder by Cover FX, sets your liquid and cream products, while taking away shine, leaving behind a natural looking glow. Don't be afraid of the name of this powder. While it is called "Illuminating," there aren't any visible sparkles or shimmer in this powder, yet it leaves skin with a light fresh luminous looking finish. 
I used bdellium tools 980 large brush 
from their pink bambu line to powder
Eyes: I almost always start every eyeshadow look with a good eye primer. For this look I used my old stand by; Too Faced Shadow Insurance. I've been using this one for a long time because it works very well and does exactly what the company claims it does. It helps prevent eyeshadow from creasing, makes eyeshadow color appear more vibrant, and helps lock your shadow in place so it stays looking fresh all day and night. If I'm not using a brush, I generally like to apply this product with my ring finger because it is the weakest finger.  This avoids any unnecessary pressure or tugging on the delicate eyelid.  
Next, I applied e.l.f. Cream Eyeshadow in the color Dawn (beige-gold shimmer) allover my eyelid using a fluffy brush.  Using a blending style brush helps achieve a nice light layer of product while blending the color at the same time. Using the same brush, I picked up e.l.f. Cream Eyeliner in the color Copper and applied it through the natural socket of my eye (crease). After placing the color, I went in with a clean blending brush (one with no product on it) and used it to blend out any harsh edges.  
 After priming, I applied a shimmery cream shadow to lid
 Then, I blended a copper cream liner through the eye socket
 The brush used here is Coastal Scents BR-B-S06 from the elite set
 The clean brush I used to blend is
from Christopher Drummond Beauty 
This Shadow Blender brush is one of my favorites
in my kit, and I actually own multiples of it so 
I always have a backup.  
Then switching to a pencil brush, I applied that same Copper Cream Eyeliner along the outer third of the lower lash line. It is important to start at the outer corner of the eye and blend inward so that you get the darkest color concentration at the outer edge.  Notice when I apply and blend my eyeshadow, I keep my eyes open.  If you apply your colors with eyes closed, they may look very different once your eyes are open!
Brows: First, I brushed through my brows with a spoolie. Then, using an angled brush (I used Sedona Lace 561 from their synthetic set), I applied Illamasqua Eye Brow Cake in the color Motto to any sparse areas of my brows. This is my holy grail brow color because it is the perfect taupe shade and most closely matches my natural brows. You will want to use light feather like strokes to gently fill in your brows. Then comb through once again with a spoolie to blend the color.  Many people skip this step in their makeup routine, but it is such a crucial step to achieving a professional makeup look. This step is especially important when wearing a bold lip because it really helps to balance out the face. 
Powder Eyeshadow: The reason I did brows in between my cream and powder eyeshadow application, is that I really wanted to give the cream products a chance to set. The cream shadow and liner I used in this look will set on their own after a few minutes, serving as the perfect base for this eye look. For powder eyeshadow, I chose the new Shimmer Strips All-in-1 Custom Nude Palette For Face & Eyes from Physicians Formula. This is a great drugstore find because it is a multipurpose product.  As the name implies, you can use a larger brush and apply this product as a face highlight, or using eyeshadow brushes, pick up each color individually and use them as eyeshadow. This Natural Nude palette contains all shimmery shades in colors that range from light beige to deep copper. The darker shades can even be used as eyeliner when applied with a slightly damp brush.  Those with fair skin tones can also use the deeper half of the palette as a shimmery bronzer!

Using a flat shader brush, I picked up a light shimmery pink from the center of the palette. You can choose whichever color best suites your skin tone to highlight your eyes. Using a patting motion, I applied this color to the eyelids over the Dawn cream eyeshadow applied earlier. Switching to a fluffier brush, I applied the deepest Copper color from the palette into the crease of the eye over the Copper cream shadow applied earlier. I then switched to a larger clean brush to blend out any harsh edges.  Then, going back to my pencil brush, I applied the Copper powder eyeshadow along the lower lash line over the cream shadow I applied earlier. 

 I used Coastal Scents BR-C-S06 to apply a copper shade to my crease

 To blend edges, I used the Real Techniques Deluxe Crease Brush
Lashes: DO NOT SKIP THIS STEP!  I curled lashes using an eyelash curler. My favorite is the one from Billy B. which is available at Next, I applied a generous coat of Too Faced Better Than Sex Mascara.  I have really been loving this mascara, and it made my top 13 of 2013 list for a good reason. In my opinion it is absolutely one of the best mascaras on the market. While it does not claim to be waterproof, I haven't had any problems with it running down my face on rainy days. However, if your special event happens to be on a rainy one, or one where you expect tears of joy, simply make sure your final layer is Anastasia Lash Genius Waterproof Top Coat for extra security. 

If you get any smudges, simply wait for the mascara to dry completely and remove it with a dry cotton swab or one dipped in a tiny bit of primer as not to ruin your eyeshadow. Sometimes I'll even take a cotton swab and gently push the lashes up while wet to make sure the curl really gets locked into place. Spending a little extra time on your lashes will help eyes look big, open and beautiful. 

Liner: I realize most people apply eyeliner before mascara. I like to do my first coat of mascara and then liner because this way I can push the gel liner right into the lashes, the curled lashes serving as a barrier. I used a thin flat angled brush to draw a line of gel liner along my upper lash line. I didn't do any sort of wing or flick, I just followed the natural shape of my eye.  To make sure there weren't any gaps between lashes, I then switched to a push liner brush and working from underneath the lashes, pushed the liner up and painted the under side of my lashes with the gel liner. For this look I used Wet n Wild gel liner in Black. For some reason, I just discovered this product recently, and I have to say, this budget friendly buy really does work just as well as the high end gel liner I'm used to. I am truly blown away by how well this product works because it is so inexpensive! 

Once liner was applied, I applied another couple of coats of mascara until I achieved the length and volume I wanted on my lashes.  If you prefer, you can also try a pair of falsies for a super glam look. 

Blush: If you prefer bronzer, you can use that in addition to or instead of blush. I only used blush for this look, as I tend to favor blush alone in the Winter and Spring, switching to bronzer in Summer and Fall. The blush I used is Too Faced Sweethearts Perfect Flush Blush in Something About Berry. I have really been loving this blush and use it quite often. It is quite pigmented, so I like to use an angled blush brush to swirl all three shades together, and then starting at the back of the cheekbone, lightly pat on the color moving inward toward the center of the face. I then used circular motions to diffuse the color. To make sure there weren't any harsh edges, I went back in with the brush I used to apply my setting powder and lightly went over the edges of the blush in a back and forth motion to blend everything together. This blush is shimmery so no added highlighter is needed. It adds a lovely glow to the face all by itself.

Lips: Finally, I finished off the look with red lips! I first wiped off any remaining lip balm from my lips, then used Milani Color Statement Lip Liner in True Red. You want a red lip liner that matches the lip color you are going to use on top exactly.  Choose a long-wearing formula so that you don't have to worry about constantly reapplying at your special event.  Line lips with the liner, but also fill them in completely to serve as a base for your lip color. I then filled in lips with OCC Lip Tar in NSFW.  I actually used an e.l.f. flat eyeliner brush for this, because the small size of the brush head really let me get the corners of the mouth and perfect the edges.  I then blotted off any excess, and went over the edges with lip liner again to fix any unevenness. 

Here is the completed look: 

 Above photo with flash, below without

I hope you enjoyed reading my tutorial series as much as I enjoyed writing it. Red lips look great on just about everyone. I believe every woman should have a red lipstick in her makeup collection that makes her look and feel great. What is your favorite red lippie?  Please share in the comments below. 

Here are the other three tutorials in the series: