Tuesday, September 6, 2016

Current Beauty Favorites

Current Beauty Favorites

Can you believe it is already September?  Where has the time gone?!  As usual, I have been stippling, swirling and swiping on the latest beauty products.  With so many new product launches, knowing what is worth buying can be a challenge. Lately, I have been holding off on heavy spending, and just occasionally working a new product into my existing makeup routine. I do tend to stick with brands that I know have worked well for me in the past, and will be worth the money. For me Hourglass is one of those brands. While it is without a doubt a luxury brand, I have yet to try one product from their line that hasn't been worth the splurge.  Since I have been limiting the shopping sprees, instead, I have been challenging myself to show a bit more love to existing items in my stash.

* All products in this post were purchased by me

Sometimes, there are ways to make your older products feel new again, by using them in different, creative ways. Having recently moved, I went on an organizing spree, and finally cleaned out my collection.  I purchased a tower of drawers, which I labeled by makeup type, so now everything has a proper home. Recently, my makeup look has changed, and I'm starting to have a lot more fun experimenting with different colors and textures.  Rather than share only new items, I decided to share a combination of some new and some old that are currently my favorite beauty items. In no particular order, here is what I have been wearing on my face these days:

#1 Bee Friendly Skincare Spot Treatment ($17.99):  Unfortunately, the sweaty days of summer have not been kind to my skin. At my age, I would think that blemishes would be a thing of the past.  However, I have had more than my fair share of bad skin days this season. A few weeks ago, I purchased this new roll on treatment, crossed my fingers and hoped for the best. To my surprise, this little roller on stick works wonders for me! When I have breakouts, it really hurts my self confidence and I feel like everyone I meet is just staring at the zit on my face. The reason I purchased this one, is that it is free of any harsh chemicals, that might further irritate my skin.  With only natural and organic ingredients, the clear liquid absorbs into my skin without ever over drying it, or causing further redness.  The roller-ball applicator is neat and convenient, and I have found that not only is this treatment working for me, but I get results rather quickly. This will absolutely be something I repurchase. 

#2 Hourglass Vanish Seamless Finish Foundation Stick ($46): With my skin acting up the way it was, I knew I needed a foundation with a bit more coverage than normal. In the heat, no one wants to deal with a thick heavy foundation.  This product really works for me, because although it provides full coverage, it really does feel super light on the skin. This foundation comes in a triangular shaped stick format, that twists up like a lipstick to reveal more product. It can be applied directly to the face, or you can run a brush over the stick and then apply it to the face that way. I usually draw a few dots around the center of my face, and then blend it out with a brush and/or makeup sponge. For blemishes, I take a tiny brush (I usually use a pointed lip brush), pick up a bit more product from the stick, and apply as I would concealer. Since the coverage is so outstanding, this doubles as a foundation & concealer in one for me. I also like the fact that it comes in a variety of shades.  In my opinion this product was truly worth the splurge, because I have yet to try any other foundation that provides this much coverage, while still feeling so light on the skin. I admit, the price point is high for the amount of product you get, but I have to use very little product to get the result I want. In my experience, Hourglass consistently puts out quality products, in beautiful packaging, and I have yet to regret one purchase from the brand. 

Hourglass Foundation in the color Alabaster

#3 Obsessive Compulsive Cosmetics Loose Colour Concentrates ($15): Lately, I love rocking intensely metallic lids. I own some wonderful metallic eyeshadows in my collection, but my current favorite is these light-reflecting lovelies from OCC. I am a big fan of pigments in general because they are so immensely versatile.  I have use them with a mixing medium to create unique nail polish colors, lip glosses, eyeshadow, blush and more. The possibilities are truly limitless. Nothing makes me feel more unique, than blending a few different colors of pigment together to create my own custom shade. I know when I am walking down the street, that no one else has this eyes color on her lids, because I custom mixed it with a few different pigment colors. I feel that these super sparkly pots allow my creativity to shine through. In particular, the Loose Colour Concentrate pigments from OCC are, really long-wearing.Yesterday, I took a little bit of the color Glisten (golden coral shimmer), mixed it with the color Dope (warm metallic beige), added just a tiny bit of Too Faced Glitter Glue, and applied it to my lids with a stiff flat brush.  I was outside roaming around Chicago, and it was super hot outside. I was sweaty, and although I had a great day, I was thankful once I got back into air conditioning.  Even with all the walking around, and hot sun, my eyeshadow did not budge. The metallic masterpiece that I brushed on my lids when I left the house, maintained the gilded goodness right up until I took it off before bed.  These pigments are made out of 100% vegan minerals, and do not have any skin irritating binders or fillers. They come in a myriad of colors, and are just so much fun to play with! Some of my other favorite colors include: Twirl (peach/pink shimmer), Flicker (beige/gold shimmer), and Platonic (pale creme shimmer). 

Two different metallic eye looks, both using OCC Loose Colour Concentrate mixed with Too Faced Glitter Glue. I am wearing the Hourglass Vanish Seamless Finish Foundation in both photos. 

I hope you enjoyed this look at some of my current favorite beauty items. If you are not already subscribed, please don't forget to do so.  Share your current favorites below.  I always love to hear what beauty products are making you happy at the moment! 

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*All products in this post were purchased by me. I do not get paid to write product reviews. 

Saturday, May 28, 2016

Sephora Haul

*All Products In This Post Purchased By Me

Sephora Haul

Hello my lovelies! I hope everyone is having a beautiful day today. Today's post is different than any other post I've done before. While I have done many product reviews, I have never before done a haul post!  Strange right? I know. I generally like to thoroughly test out a product before sharing it with you. However, I decided to write this post, because these are brands that I am familiar with. Plus, I thought it would be fun to give you all a little insight into my mini shopping trip the other day, and show you exactly what types of products grab my attention when I go searching for awesome new beauty products. The purpose of this particular haul, was just to go in and pick up a few items that intrigued me and I have been wanting to try. None of these products are new to makeupland, but they are new to me. 

# 1 BeautyBlender Blotterazzi:  You may think that I have been living under a rock, but prior to my shopping trip at Sephora, I had never heard of this product!  I'm sure most of you are familiar with the egg-shaped original beautyblender sponge that applies foundation like a dream.  Well, the same company that brought us that little pink gem, now brings us Blotterazzi!  The name of the product, and uniqueness of it, are what caused me to purchase this item. Blotterazzi is meant to replace blotting papers (thin sheets of sheer tissue paper used to blot excess oil from the face) in a reusable, less wasteful fashion. The product looks like a slice of the original beautyblender sponge.  It is flat, and meant to be used dry. Housed in a plastic compact, there is a thin sheet of protective paper inside which separates the two flat sponges inside.  This allows you to use one, but have another clean one underneath for days when you are extra oily.  The case has air vents on the bottom to prevent mold or bacteria from growing on the sponge. The package also came with a sample size of their beautyblender cleanser so that you can wash the Blotterazzi flat sponge after use. With the weather getting warmer, I am excited to see how this performs.  Having to wash something like this after each use may not be as convenient as traditional blotting papers that you can just throw out after each use, but I would have to imagine that it is better for the environment, in the same way that using real ceramic dinner plates versus paper plates is.  Some factors that will play into my decision to repurchase this item include; how long the sponge lasts before I need to repurchase, how effective it is at blotting oil without disturbing my makeup, how much time I have to clean the bloterazzi and how practical it is in everyday use. After I use this a bit more, I will likely write a full review on the product.

Here is a closer look at the BeautyBlender Blotterazzi ($20):

Above: Blotterazzi case, which holds 2 sponges, and sample size of blendercleanser

Above: Inside, you have 2 sponges, separated by a thin protective sheet.  The second photo shows the Blotterazzi size, compared to the original beautyblender sponge. 

Above: Blotterazzi size compared to a traditional blotting paper. The second photo shows the case venting on the bottom of the compact. 

 # 2 BeautyBlender Micro Mini:  From the same brand, I also purchased these adorable little baby beautyblenders known as "Micro Mini."  Honestly, I just bought them because they are cute! Like the original beautyblender, this pair of egg-shaped sponges is meant to be used damp, but it's super tiny size is intended to help get into small, harder to reach areas, such as the inner corner of the eye, around the nose, and anywhere that you might need something a bit smaller to blend with.  When using makeup brushes, I generally select the brush size based on the size of the area I am working on. I assumed the same concept would work here when deciding to purchase these little cuties. You get 2 micro minis in the package as well as a little fold out pamphlet explaining the different uses for them. I did actually use these yesterday, and due to their almond-like size, found them a bit difficult to use with my large hands. However, I do see where these can have a place in someone's makeup routine. If you have smaller hands, and find the original beautyblender is difficult to use in certain smaller areas of the face, this may be worth a buy.  However, if you already own the original beautyblender, and don't have the extra money to spend, this isn't a game changer for me the way the original beautyblender sponge was. 

Here is a closer look at the BeautyBlender Micro Mini ($18):

Above: beautyblender micro mini package contains two tiny, almond-shaped neon green sponges

Above: beautyblender micro mini size comparison, dry on the left, damp on the right. 

Above: beautyblender micro mini size comparison (from left to right) micro mini dry, micro mini damp, original beautyblender sponge dry

Above: beautyblender micro mini package included a fold out pamphlet with suggestions for use including linear highlighting, diffused highlighting and sharp, controlled shaping and contouring. 

Above: beautyblender micro mini in action.  I used it to blend out my under eye concealer.  It fit very nicely into the corner of my under eye area.  However, I found the size of the sponge almost too small, and a bit awkward to use. I think I would like this product better if it were just a tad bit larger. 

Above: beautyblender micro mini after one use the sponge soaked up a lot of product and was difficult to clean. Compared to the new, unused one, this already seems to be discolored. It seems that I will need to really deep clean this if I have any hope of it returning to its original color. 

# 3 Too Faced Melted Liquified Long Wear Lipstick:  I am SO EXCITED about this product!! As the title suggests, this squeeze tube houses a liquid lipstick that is long wearing. The color I got is Melted Coral, a beautiful orange shade. I wore it yesterday, and got a good 6 hours out of it before the color started to fade. From what I understand, these are frequently sold out, and a bit difficult to find, so I consider myself very lucky to have snagged this lovely lippie to rock as the weather gets warmer. If you are looking for a lip product with a satin finish, in a bright beautiful color that only needs one swipe to get full-on rich pigment, this product is for you. You just squeeze the tube until a little of the product is dispensed from the sponge tip applicator, and apply it directly to your lips. I did not find the application to be messy, nor did I find the product to be sticky.  The product itself is quite comfortable on the lips, so much so, that I actually forgot I was wearing it, until I wiped some color off with my napkin at dinner. This is seriously one of the best, if not the best liquid lipstick I have ever used. I also think the color is pretty unique. Coral lippies that I have in my collection range from orangey-pinks, to light salmon, but this shade wears much more orange-toned on me, which I really like.  

Here is a closer look at Too Faced Melted Liquified Long Wear Lipstick in Melted Coral ($21):

Above: swatches photographed with and without flash (just one swipe from tube)

Above: applied to the lips over concealer to show the true color of the product.  Photographed with and without flash.  The product glided on smoothly, and the texture felt weightless on my lips. 

Side Note: The other items pictured in the first photo of this post were not purchased by me.  They were free samples given to me by Sephora for being a VIB Rouge, so I did not include them in my haul as I did not buy them, and am unsure of their cruelty-free status. 

If you are not already subscribed, please don't forget to do so. This way, you will never miss a post! I would love to hear your thoughts on my very first haul post. Do you want to see more posts like this?  Have you tried any of the products mentioned in this post? 

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*All products in this post were purchased by me.  I do not get paid to write product reviews. 

Sunday, February 14, 2016

Kelley Quan Pocket Spa


Kelley Quan Pocket Spa

*This post contains samples sent for consideration
Happy Valentine's Day!  I am super excited to share a new product from one of my favorite brands. If you have been a long-time follower of my blog, you have read my many posts raving about Kelley Quan's cruelty-free makeup brushes. They are my favorite brushes in my vast collection of beauty tools, hands down. However, today I am not sharing my review on her wonderful brushes, but instead, I am sharing with you an AMAZING new beauty "secret" that has quickly become a daily staple in my skincare arsenal. As a makeup artist, I love makeup. However as any good makeup artist will tell you, the foundation for a beautifully created makeup look, starts with great skin. I am obsessive about my skincare routine, and wish that more people took time to pamper their skin the way it should be treated. So now it is confession time. I have not been very nice to my skin lately. I was living in Connecticut, relocated to the U.S. Virgin Islands for a year and a half, and have recently relocated to Chicago, IL. For those of you not familiar with the climate here, winters are HARSH! My skin was so mad at me. The move from the hot and humid climate of the VI, to a cold dry one left my skin dry and literally flaking off of my face. While I took the time to bathe my skin in creams and exfoliate, my skin was still hating me. Luckily, Kelley Quan came to my rescue. She sent me a quick e-mail asking me if I would be interested in testing out her New Pocket Spa, and her message to me could not have come at a more perfect time. I have been testing out this product for a few weeks and have truly been surprised at the results.
At first glance, I was skeptical, because I am skeptical about any beauty product that claims benefits that sound almost too good to be true. However, my skin was in desperate need of some TLC, and I was willing to try just about anything to fix the Freddy Krueger-like situation going on with my face. Knowing that Kelley has only ever put out quality products, I kept an open mind, and put this new resource through all types of tests.  
What is a Pocket Spa?  The product itself is a small white cylinder that is about four inches high.  It comes with a cord for charging and when filled with water, the button on the front of the device must be depressed to release a micro-fine mist of hydration onto the skin.  

This mini portable skin hydration system delivers a big bang for your buck.  For those of you not familiar with Kelley Quan's brand, all of her beauty tools are cruelty-free and professional quality products. I return to her brand time and time again because I know I will always be purchasing a high-quality product without ever causing harm to animals. The Pocket Spa is very easy to use. After charging the device (just like you would charge your cell phone), you simply unscrew the cap and fill it to the "fill line" with a minimal amount of water, then pop the top back on.  Push the center button down, and a super fine mist is dispersed onto the skin creating instant hydration.

The blue light indicates the device is working. As the water lightly mists onto the skin you will realize that this product does not compare to any other facial spray on the market. Rather than the harshness of a makeup setting spray, this mist is very light and soothing.  The mist is dispersed for 30 seconds, before shutting itself off, leaving your skin with a light coat of hydration. 
How did I test this product?  I used it in a variety of ways. First, I tried the product at night, before my facial cream. This added the light layer of hydration to my skin, allowing for better absorption of the skincare product I placed over it. At first application, I did not notice anything different or special about my skin.  However, when I woke up the next morning and looked at my skin in the mirror, I immediately noticed my skin looking more healthy and hydrated. Since I am a highly skeptical person, I realized that it could just be wishful thinking and therefore needed to continue testing this product in a variety of ways. The following evening, I used the Pocket Spa after my night cream to lock in that hydration, similar to locking in your makeup with a setting spray.  However, to truly test out the product, I only did this on one half of my face so that I would have a basis for comparison.  To my surprise, the next morning, the side of my face where I used the Pocket Spa was noticeably more supple, and hydrated versus the side where I had only applied my nightly facial cream.
Over the past few weeks, I have tested the Kelley Quan Pocket Spa both in the morning and evening, under and over moisturizer.  However, my absolute favorite way to use this device is over makeup. Yes! OVER makeup! With the brutal Chicago winter, my skin can get very dry and flaky. There is nothing worse, than spending time creating a beautiful makeup application, only to have that powdery look after, which emphasizes every crease and fine line.  Once my makeup application is complete, the 30-second mist applied over top from the Pocket Spa, calms the skin down, and creates a barrier of hydration to help settle the makeup, and create the finishing touch to any makeup application.

Putting pictures of myself on the internet without any makeup on my face isn't exactly my favorite thing to do. I rarely leave the house without some level of foundation on.  The Kelley Quan Pocket Spa truly revitalized my skin, and got it back into a condition, where I feel comfortable enough to share the above photos with you. Rather than the dull, flaky winter distressed skin I started with, my skin is now smooth and supple.  If I got these results in just a few short weeks, I can only imagine what long-term use of this device will do for me. While this device is recommended for use with plain tap water, Kelley was kind enough to include a bottle of her Aquasol re:generate floral water (to be diluted for use with the Pocket Spa). I found plain tap water to be super effective in the use of her device. However, if you want to kick things up a notch, her Aquasol which is designed specifically for dry skin helps add a nice scent and invigorates the skin. It is important to note that the Pocket Spa is not intended to be used with any waters with oil as it will inhibit the device from working properly.
Another great use for this product is carrying it with you while traveling. The dry air on planes often leaves skin severely dehydrated and dull. I have seen other women carry those Evian water spray cans to use on the plane. However, those spray a full on hairspray-like fog over the face, rather than the soothing micro-mist dispensed by the Pocket Spa. 
To use the Pocket Spa properly, hold it about 10-15 centimeters away from your face, and just let it do it's thing!  It really is like having a mini spa in your pocket!!
I would once again, like to extend a huge THANK YOU to Kelley Quan for allowing me to try out her amazing beauty tools and share them with all of my readers.  While her products and talents are loved by many A-list celebrities, you don't have to actually be one to enjoy the benefits that Kelley Quan has made available to everyone. 
This product sells for about $85, and will serve as a permanent fixture in your beauty kit. If you are someone who has to deal with harsh winter weather, dehydrated skin, travels a lot or is dealing with any other number of environmental factors, this tool is a worthy investment to refresh and revitalize your skin.  It's tiny size makes it super easy to toss in your purse for hydration on the go.
For more information visit: www.thepocketspa.com or www.kelleyquan.com
Please leave any questions for me on the product below!
*This post contains a sample sent for consideration. I do not get paid to write reviews.  All opinions are my own.