Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Julep "Jennifer" Nail Polish Swatch + Review

Julep "Jennifer" Nail Polish 
On Monday I finally got around to posting My Julep Nail Polish Collection! And after editing that post, I had the sudden urge to exchange my bright purple nail polish for a more subtle look. And "Jennifer" is an obvious choice--a soft pale pink (almost nude) color. As I've mentioned before, I have a love-hate relationship with "Jennifer". It was a very expensive purchase ($14.00) and I hoped that it would be the perfect polish. Let this be a lesson: a high price tag does not guarantee a better product. While I love the color, the formulation is a pain in the butt. It is extremely sheer. Don't expect a quick manicure with this color. Today when I sat down to paint my nails it took seven coats to get an opaque finish. 

Julep "Jennifer" Nail Polish
In the end, I will not be repurchasing "Jennifer" when I run out. Julep polishes are very expensive but I haven't found a difference in quality that justifies the difference in price. I don't think "Jennifer" is worth the money and I recommend looking for a less expensive polish at the drugstore. Personally, I love Essie "Fiji". It isn't as nude as "Jennifer" but it's half the price and only takes two coats to get an opaque finish. Now I call that a fantastic deal. I suggest saving some money or checking out Julep polishes that are a bit more unique (try "Jessica" or "America").

Friday, July 26, 2013

Drugstore Dupes: MAC "Lustering" Lipstick

Drugstore Dupes: MAC "Lustering" Vs. Revlon Lip Butter in "Sweet Tart"
 I'm glad so many of you enjoyed the first installment in my new series, Drugstore Dupes. Last time I compared the elf  Blush + Bronzing Powder in St. Lucia to the NARS "Laguna" bronzer and "Orgasm" blush. Click here if you want to see that post. But because you guys seemed to enjoy that post so much, when I found found a dupe for one of my favorite MAC lipsticks I knew I had to share it with you guys. MAC "Lustering" is a gorgeous  medium bubble gum pink lipstick with a subtle glossy finish. Unfortunately, like all MAC lipsticks, "Lustering" retails for $15.00 at MAC counters and online. However the Revlon Lip Butter in "Sweet Tart" retails at drugstores for about $6.00 (depending on where you buy it). That's a difference of almost ten dollars! But I know what you're thinking, how closely doe the two shades compare? Well, let's take a look. In the bullet the two lip products look similar but the MAC lipstick looks the slightest bit darker.

Drugstore Dupes: MAC "Lustering" Vs. Revlon Lip Butter in "Sweet Tart"
 Swatched on the back of the hand the difference between the two shades becomes less pronounced. If you look closely the "Lustering" still appears a little darker and "Sweet Tart" has a bit more of a glossy sheen to it. But these two lipstick are really, really similar.

Drugstore Dupes: MAC "Lustering" Vs. Revlon Lip Butter in "Sweet Tart"
 And now for the final test--the application comparison. Here is a look at MAC "Lustering" applied on the left side and the Revlon Lip Butter in "Sweet Tart" applied on the right. Honestly...I can't really see much a difference between the two products. The Lip Butter has a thicker, more opaque formulation while the MAC  lipstick has a sheer (but build-able) formulation.

In conclusion, the Revlon Lip Butter in "Sweet Tart" is an excellent dupe for MAC "Lustering" lipstick. If you have one shade, you don't need the other. When applied to the lips, the differences between the two products is virtually non-existent. If you've been lusting after "Lustering" for some time now but don't have the funds to buy it, check out Revlon "Sweet Tart". You'll save ten dollars and still have gorgeous pink lips.

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Wednesday, July 24, 2013

OPI "Pamplona Purple" Swatch + Review

OPI "Pamplona Purple"
 I have a bit of a confession to make: I am a sucker for nostalgia and the color purple. "Pamplona Purple" is a color that I've had a very long and very loving relationship with. It was the color I picked out the day I got my first professional manicure with my sister and my cousin. It was also the color I picked on when I got my second professional manicure and my third. I'm nothing if not loyal. 

OPI "Pamplona Purple"
However, I find myself not reaching for this color as much I thought I would when I bought it. I've found in the couple years that I've owned this polish that it doesn't really fit into any particular season. During the summer I reach for super bright, super bold colors. During the fall/winter I reach for deep, warm colors. During the spring I want to wear pastels and neutrals. I normally only paint my nails this color when I'm feeling nostalgic.  If you like the look of the polish from the swatches, I cannot recommend it enough. Like almost every OPI polish I've ever tried, the formulation is fantastic and the lasting power is around eight days. At one point in my life I loved this color but now I feel like I've grown up and it doesn't really fit my personal tastes anymore. There will always be a part of me that loves this color. 

Friday, July 19, 2013

Drugstore Dupes: NARS "Laguna" Bronzer + "Orgasm" Blush

NARS "Laguna" Bronzer
 These are tough economic times and everyone is looking to save some money--especially when it comes to luxury beauty products. And so today I'm starting a new series dedicated to finding drugstores dupes or alternatives to some of my favorite high end products...and what better way to start than with cult favorites, NARS "Laguna" and "Orgasm". 

elf  Blush + Bronzing Powder in St. Lucia
 Whenever the conversation of dupes for "Laguna" or "Orgasm" begins, someone always recommends the elf Blush + Bronzing Powder in St. Lucia. And I can understand why. The packaging for both these brands is eerily similar. Although the NAR packaging is made of the black matte plastic that is a nightmare to clean while the elf packaging is simply traditional black plastic. But what about the product inside? 

NARS "Laguna" + "Orgasm" Vs. elf  Blush + Bronzing Powder in "St. Lucia"
elf  Blush + Bronzing Powder in "St. Lucia" Vs. NARS "Laguna"
 Here are the elf bronzer and NARS "Laguna" side by side. They are very similar but under close inspection, it becomes obvious that there are some subtle differences. First of all, the elf bronzer is a bit darker than "Laguna" and while "Laguna" does have a subtle hint of glitter the elf bronzer is practically packed to the max with glitter. 

elf  Blush + Bronzing Powder in St. Lucia Vs. NARS "Laguna"
 Once the colors are swatched on the hand the differences between the two products becomes even more noticeable. Surprisingly the elf bronzer is significantly darker and more opaque than NARS "Laguna" (which also appears to have more of a orange undertone). 

elf Blush + Bronzing Powder in St. Lucia Vs. NARS "Orgasm"
 Unlike the bronzers, it doesn't take long to recognize the differences between the blushes. The elf blush is a darker mauve pink with chunky golden glitter while NARS "Orgasm" is a lighter peachy pink with a golden sheen. 

elf  Blush + Bronzing Powder in St. Lucia Vs. NARS "Orgasm"
When swatched, the blushes look nothing alike and the differences are even more pronounced. The elf blush looks like a terracotta color and the "Orgasm" is the infamous pinky peach. It is hard to believe that anyone could believe that these two could possible pass as dupes for one another. 

In conclusion, the elf  Blush + Bronzing Powder in "St. Lucia" is not a dupe for NARS "Laguna" bronzer and "Orgasm" blush. I can see how some people could make the mistake (the elf packaging takes a lot of inspiration from NARS and the colors are fairly similar) but once you see the colors next to each other, the truth is very obvious. The bronzer is closer than the blush and would make a good alternative for people who find that "Laguna" is too light or too orange for their skin tone. The blush is a lovely shade but doesn't quite capture the "Orgasm" radiance we all know and love. So, I guess the search continues. If you would like more posts like this, leave a comment in the comments below! 

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Maybelline "Pink Punch" Baby Lips Lip Balm Swatch + Review

Maybelline Baby Lips Lip Balm in "Pink Punch"
It's only the second month of summer but I'm already feeling the heat--and so are my lips. I recently wrote a blog post about my love for the new Maybelline Baby Lips Lip Balm in "Quenched". It was only a matter of time before I found myself purchasing the rest of the shades in the range. "Pink Punch" is a lovely medium bubble gum pink. The formulation is a little thicker and waxier than "Quenched" but it does a great job of balancing color and moisture. 

Maybelline Baby Lips Lip Balm in "Pink Punch"
The shade "Pink Punch" comes in a bubble gum pink tube that matches the product in the bullet and bright yellow writing on the cap. The Baby Lip line is easily one of the most eye-catching and best designed ranges at the drugstore. The packaging is a well balanced mix of youthful, fresh, and modern elements. Added bonus: the bright colors makes it easier to find at the bottom of a messy handbag or in the crevices of a cluttered car. 

Maybelline Baby Lips Lip Balm in "Pink Punch"
Maybelline Baby Lips Lip Balm in "Pink Punch"
As you can see from the swatches above, "Pink Punch" is actually pretty pigmented for a tinted lip balm. If you want an even bolder pop of color, heat the product under a blow dryer for a few seconds or leave it in the car on a warm day before application. "Pink Punch" is a fantastic for days when you want a low-maintenance flush of color on the lips. Like "Quenched", "Pink Punch" smell is divine. It is a fresh fruity scent that is potent without being obnoxious. Out of all the Baby Lips I've tried, "Pink Punch" is the most pigmented but it is also the heaviest. Unlike "Quenched" which was extremely lightweight, "Pink Punch" has a slightly waxier formulation. It is about on par to the feel of the EOS lip balms.

-Highly pigmented
-Fun and youthful packaging
-Fruity smell
-Fantastic price ($3.99)

-Slightly waxier formulation + not as moisturizing as other shades

In conclusion, the Maybelline Baby Lips very much so deserve all the hype they've been receiving since their release. "Pink Punch" is less moisturizing than the other shades I've tried from the Baby Lips range but it is also the most pigmented. It will keep your lips moisturized but you'll probably have to reapply more frequently. But in all honesty, I think it's a fair trade off. "Pink Punch" is a no-fuss-no-muss product--just swipe in on your lips and head out the door. It's the perfect product for a busy girl on the go who wants an effortless hint of color. But if you're looking for a product that will revamp your lips and help restore them to a state of ulta softness, check out "Quenched". As I said in that review, your lips will thank you.

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Monday, July 15, 2013

In The Mood "Flirty" Nail Polish Swatch + Review

In The Mood "Flirty" Nail Polish
 Growing up did any of you have mood rings? You know, the rings with the stones that would change color based on your "mood" (a.k.a the temperature of your body)? Have any of you ever wanted a nail polish that would change color based on your "mood" (a.k.a the temperature of your body)? Well, your wish has now been granted thanks to In The Mood. In The Mood is a small company that offers ten shades that will change based on the temperature of your fingers. "Flirty" is the more subtle of the ten shades changing from a pale pink when hot and a medium bubble gum pink when cold. The swatch above is the polish at room temperature. 

In The Mood "Flirty" Nail Polish
Here is what the polish looks after a minute next to a room heater. The polish is quick to change colors. You can see where the polish is already changing colors at the edge of my nails. If only you could somehow add a topcoat that would prevent the color from changing because this would be a super simple way to get ombre nails. Unless you live in very warm climate, I doubt you would reach this end of the spectrum. 

In The Mood "Flirty" Nail Polish
Here is what the polish looks like after a minute in a bowl of ice water. As you can see the change is much more dramatic (probably because I took the room temperature photo on a rather warm summer day). The shift takes place rather quickly. "Flirty" is a lovely color that is perfect for any occasion. I don't think anyone else would notice the temperature-induced transformation but it's cool to look down throughout the day and never know what color you're will be wearing. If I were to buy a shade I would probably pick something with a more dramatic transformation like "Hyper" (coral to peach) or "Devious" (purple to pink). 

FTC: This product was sent to me for review

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Share the Love: The Best Beauty Gurus on YouTube Pt. One

Ingrid is no longer just a beauty guru. She has expanded her YouTube resume to include vlogging, cat-enthusiast, and even singing. Her videos are extremely professional and high-quality but she still manages to let her personality shine through. Her GIY (Glam It Yourself) videos teach you how to make anything from makeup brush holders to wrap bracelets to reusable shopping bags. But Ingrid is more than just looks, I'm always impressed with her "No Makeup" videos. She makes it a priority to  communicate to her viewers that makeup and looks aren't THE most important thing in the world.

These sisters are kicking butt and taking names. They're two of the original beauty gurus and no list would be complete without mentioning their names. These girls have managed to segue their YouTube success into a make-up line, novels based loosely on their lives (ala Lauren Conrad and her L.A. Candy series), and roles in movies and TV shows. They're two of the most well known gurus--on and off YouTube--but they're also two of the most criticized. It is amazing how many blogs are dedicated to bashing these two girls. Much of it is undeserved although at times their videos do seem more like a commercial than a conversation. But there is no denying that these girls are charismatic and funny and engaging. Elle's recent Makeup Mayhem series (she posted a video every other day in May) was a breath of bubbly fresh air and a welcome addiction to my subscription feed. Can't we have Makeup Mayhem all year round? But being in the spotlight has not always been an easy ride. It took a lot of guts for Blair to admit to the world that she'd had a nose job and you can't help but respect that kind of courage. 

Allison has two features--that for me--really stand out. Her bright blue eyes--they look so beautiful whether she is a brunette or a blonde. But that other feature that makes her stand out is her voice. I adore her voice--it is so calming and soothing and...I don't know how to explain it. Better that you just see for yourself. She makes videos on a wide range of topics and even has her own vlog channel--her running vlogs and book reviews are both addicting and motivational in their own way. Plus, her blog is a MUST read. She writes amazing reviews and (as I've mentioned a few times already) she has an amazing taste in nail polish. Unlike some of the women on this list, Allison uploads on a fairly regular basis which is a very, very good thing because, as I mentioned before, they're kind of addicting.

Michelle Phan is at the top of her game. She makes videos that are uber professional and is partnered with one of the most respected makeup brands in the world--Lancome. Now she is expanding with a new channel, FAWN, a jewelry line, and a monthly subscription service. There is no stopping her. She is the girl to look for makeup tutorials. Her range is impressive. She'd posted videos with looks inspired by french pastries, Final Fantasty characters, and Lady Gaga. The transformation from "before" to "after" is sometimes very difficult to believe. This girl knows her stuff and she is more than willing to share her secrets. 
I absolutely adore Louise! She is bubbly and sweet and hilarious (she is totally unafraid to say or do something silly). She is the perfect mix. I watch her when I want great information about a wide range of products while being thoroughly entertained. She exudes confidence and I enjoy all the zany things that come out of her mouth. She is so down-to-Earth. I think she is really beautiful and someone that any girl can relate to. Plus, did I mention the British accent or her daughter, Baby Glitter? Even though I am not married and don't want children for several years I find myself watching Louise's Baby Clothing Hauls. Darn you Louise and your charisma. She also writes a fantastic blog which everyone should check out. She's is one of my absolute favorites.
Lisa Eldridge is not your run of the mill beauty guru making beauty videos in her bedroom. She has done the makeup for celebritities like Nicole Richie, Liv Tyler, Lara Stone, and KATE WINSLET! Lisa has so much knowledge and experience that is amazing that she is willing to make videos and share it all. She is so professional and I learn something new in every single video. Lisa doesn't just know about makeup and how to use it but she is also very knowledgeable about the history of makeup and how its use has transformed over the years. Sidenote: Her Marilyn Monroe tutorial was the most informative and well-rounded tutorial I have ever seen. It was just fantastic. She is just fantastic.
Sam and Nic on pixiwoo pump out videos at an alarming rate--I'm not quite sure how they do it. They create makeup tutorials that range from crazy Halloween looks to everyday minimal makeup and somehow they make me want to try out all the looks on myself. Magic. It's got to be magic. These ladies are professional makeup artists and even teach classes for those looking to take their YouTube experience a step further. Too bad I live in the states or else I would be signed up in a heartbeat. They create content that is diverse and entertaining but I especially loved the makeup tutorial series that they published for women that had lost their hair in their fight against cancer. And you are probably already familiar with one of these ladies--Samantha--because she has created her own brushline--Real Techniques by Samantha Chapman. It is well loved by everyone in the beauty community and well as being loved by celebrities like Taylor Swift (you'll see her applying makeup with one of Samantha's brushes in her 22 music video). These ladies are unstoppable and I can't wait to see them grow.

So...what did you guys think? This is only part one of this little series but I have at least four more segments planned. There are so many fantastic women and men make beauty videos on YouTube that it would be nearly impossible to include them all in one blog post but I am determined to include as many as possible (no matter how many blog posts it takes). Do you watch any of the ladies I mentioned above? Who do you watch on YouTube? I really would love to hear your suggestions!

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Monday, July 8, 2013

China Glaze "Flip Flop Fantasy" Swatch + Review

China Glaze "Flip Flop Fantasy"
After taking a quick break from bright nail polish last week with Essie "Lady Like", I have come back to the bright side with probably one of my brightest and boldest nail polishes--China Glaze "Flip Flop Fantasy". In addition to being one of my brightest nail polishes, "Flip Flop Fantasy" is also only one of the three China Glaze polishes that I own. And I know what you're thinking. What? You? The nail polish junkie extraordinaire only owns three China Glaze polishes? How is this possible? It's possible because...and don't hate me...I really, really, really don't like China Glaze polishes. In my experience--especially when it comes to their neon or brighter shades--the formulation is really gloopy but at the same time extremely sheer. And in regards to formulation, "Flip Flop Fantasy" is no different. 

This polish is an absolute nightmare to apply. I'm not exaggerating in the slightest when I say that to get the opacity of the swatches I posted in this review I had to apply eight coats of polish. And that isn't eight thin coats. No, that is eight frustratingly gloopy coats. Oddly enough, this polish doesn't have a glossy finish but instead dries with a matte finish. It is something that is easily fixed with a quick application of a top coat but it was something that I was expecting the first time I painted it on my nails at home. If there is one good thing to be said about the formulation, I can say that this stuff dries pretty quickly. I think it might have something to do with the matte finish but the polishes quick dry time definitely helps cut down application time. Also, beware that the lasting power of this polish is extremely unimpressive. It was less than 24 hours before I started chipping on the edges and four days before it was time to redo my manicure. 

China Glaze "Flip Flop Fantasy"
But why, since I hate this formulation so much, do I keep coming back to this nail polish? Sigh. Honestly? It's because the color is so fantastic and I forget what a nightmare application is (or I somehow convince myself that I remember it being worse that it actually was). "Flip Flop Fantasy" is unlike any color I've ever seen in a nail polish. It is a true neon flamingo pink. It was really difficult to get this color to show up true to color in the swatches but in the end I think I managed to get it as close as possible. It is stunning color that will get lots of attention but if you are not in love with the color, I don't think this polish is worth the money. The application is horrible unless you have ninja nail polish applications skills...but I can't stay away. I'm sure before the summer is over I'll be rocking this polish on my nails. I can't stay away. 

Monday, July 1, 2013

Essie "Lady Like" Swatch + Review

Essie "Lady Like"
 And my Essie obsession continues. Today I am doing an NOTD feat. the lovely Essie "Lady Like". After rocking the almost obnoxiously bright nail polish  Essie "The More The Merrier" for the past week, I felt that I needed something a bit more subdued on my nails. I've said this before and I'll say it again but Essie is the master of the neutral nail polish. If I want something natural and subtle, I will almost always turn to Essie. Lady Like is essentially a purple-brown nude. It is noticeable darker than my other favorite nude from Essie--"Sand Tropez"--but it is still a lovely nude. It would be a great color to look into if Essie "Sand Tropez" is still a little too light for your skin tone. 

Essie "Lady Like"
I first heard about this shade from the lovely and knowledgeable MissGlamorazzi on YouTube. And at first, I'm going to be honest, I wasn't that impressed with the color. It was nice but I didn't think it was something that I needed to add to my collection. But then I kept seeing it everywhere--on beauty blogs, in magazines, and from other beauty gurus on YouTube. I finally cracked and bought "Lady Like" because I thought it would compliment the dress that I'd picked out for my cousin's wedding. In the past year I've gotten so much use out of this shade. It is something that I tend to reach for when I need to look professional and polished--like interviews, award banquets, or other formal events. I also love wearing accent glitter with this polish--I recommend OPI "Princesses Rule!" or Essie "Set in Stone". In conclusion, this is a lovely nude polish that might be a better alternative for those looking to avoid the mannequin hand look that can sometimes be a happen with more traditional beige nude polishes. 

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