Tuesday, January 31, 2012

January 2012 Favorites

Hi Everybody! Again, sorry for the lack of posting. I'm trying to reign in my beauty spending and I've certainly cut back lately.  I just haven't had good light or time for blogging, either.  I'll try to post more often in February; especially fun, romantic looks!

To be honest, I didn't really play with makeup much this month. Sure, I swatched things and messed around with organization (One of my Christmas presents to myself was two 5-drawer Muji acrylic cases... love them!). But I really played it safe with my eye makeup and reached for a base that was quick and fuss-free to apply most days.

L'oreal Magic Smooth Souffle Foundation in 518 Natural Buff $15
Thanks to raves from Danielle of Bloomin' Beauty and Elle Fowler (AllThatGlitters21... I think she and her sister might be affiliated with L'oreal but it's Danielle's photo with this foundation that got me to buy it at last), I decided to pick up this relatively (to Chanel, anyway) inexpensive foundation.  I had tried the Maybelline Dream Matte Mousse years ago but found it too drying... it really highlighted any flakies in my skin, but this whipped foundation does not.  Applied with any foundation brush, this foundation blends in with full-coverage almost instantly.  In the rush of recent mornings, I couldn't appreciate it more!  It really does impart an airbrushed finish and covers most of my acne and post-acne red spots.  It also covers the redness around my nose and, dabbed with a finger, my dark circles.   When this first came out, I remember thinking, "Blahhh, that is much too expensive for a drugstore foundation," but with how well it performs I really think it's a steal now.  It doesn't last all day, unfortunately, but I get a good six hours of perfect wear before it starts to fade.  It doesn't oxidize on me or allow my face to get super-greasy, so I can accept the fading.  A primer (I'm using Hourglass Veil Mineral) and a setting powder (whatever I have on hand seems to work) helps this to stick around to *just* the end of my work day.  If you need a bit of coverage and are rushed in the morning, I highly recommend checking this foundation out during a drugstore sale.

The brush is wet because I just washed it
Real Techniques Stippling Brush $10
This is my favorite to apply the L'oreal Magic Smooth Souffle Foundaton.  I also have used my Sephora #55 Airbrush, but I find that brush more difficult to get clean and tend to save it for my Perfection Lumiere or when this brush is dirty.  I love that this brush's duo-fibre construction helps keep me from picking up too much product.  I don't get streakiness, but that is in part due to the foundation as opposed to the brush.  The Real Techniqes stippling brush is a great size for applying foundation in my opinion, is soft, has synthetic bristles, and stands on it's end (flat) so I can use it a few times before washing without worrying I'll smear foundation on anything.  I haven't had ANY shedding, which is nigh on a miracle.  And it's $10, people!  I want to go buy two backups!  Thanks to Vivianna Does Makeup for mentioning this brush... and thanks to the Real Techniques ladies for pricing it at $10 so I would take a chance on it!

Cover Girl Lash Blast Volume Mascara $9
An oldie, well-known, and a goodie! I can't help but try tons of mascaras but I've come back to this one several times.  It's just so reliable!  It darkens, lengthens, thickens, and separates, all while looking fairly natural.  It is, pardon me, "easy-breezy-beautiful" LOL please don't hit me! The best everyday mascara I've tried.

Sugarpill Chroma Lusts in Stella and Asylum $12 each
Sugarpill shadows are amazing. I can't believe I waited so long to order these beauties. I finally broke down when I saw Asylum swatched on A Brilliant Brunette.  As you may know if you check out my posts this past month, I'm very into red eyeshadows lately.  As for Stella, I just couldn't resist the rainbow micro-sparkles!  Even dry these go on smoothly and so pigmented it's amazeballs!  I have Stella on here and Asylum on here.

L'oreal Infallible Eyeshadow in Bronzed Taupe and Sultry Smoke $7
These were go-tos this January for a quick swipe of shadow across my lid. I actually have yet to make a full look using my Infallibles, because they work so well (just like the Giorgio Armani Eyes to Kill Intense shadows) on their own.  Along with the foundation I've been reaching for, speedy looks have been necessary this month and these are great for that.

Jack Black Intense Therapy SPF 25 Lip Balm in Natural Mint $8
This is an amazing lip balm - it's not over-hyped in my opinion because it's one of the few balms out there that actually soaks in!  Most just kind of sit on top of my lips.  I don't get chappy all that often, but this balm will clear it right up if I do.  I also like how the finish is matte and yet my lips look naturally plumped when I wear it.  I have almost forgotten to put on lipstick/gloss in the morning wearing this balm!

Slightly embarrassing beefcake on the cover... good thing I usually read in private!
House of Night Novels (just read #9 Destined) $12 hardcover
If you follow me on Twitter (BeautyVSarahS), you might have seen me asking around for the next fantasy series I ought to read (I finished this latest installment this month and am reading Vampire Academy at the moment).  In the dead of Winter (and the heat of Summer) I tend to get into reading like it's going out of style because I want to stay in the climate-controlled comfort of my house.  These are definitely no-brainer books but they are fun and well-plotted.  I can blow through one of these on a cozy evening in.  All I need is a nice hot drink and my Harry Potter snuggie and it's a good night (wow, what a dork, right? XD).  I can't wait to know what happens next!  If you like fantasy YA novels, I'd be shocked, SHOCKED if you didn't enjoy this mix of vampires, mythology, Native American culture, romance, and high school ^.^

So, I guess it's pretty obvious this January I've been almost makeup-free on a couch for most of my free time.  Sometimes we just need to kick back!

P.S. I just got it so I can't exactly call it a "January Favorite," but MY GOODNESS MAC's All That Glitters is seriously GAWGEOUS!  I always thought it was your standard champagne shadow, but I was so wrong.  I don't have a dupe for it in my stash at all (yeah, I did already say that in my last post)... somehow, it is just that nuanced and unique.  Sorry, husband, this shadow is going to be my Valentine ;-)

Thursday, January 26, 2012

Cute Blog Award

Thanks, Holly (from ulta.is.my.candy.store), for the Cute Blog Award!  This one's kinda fun :D

For this award you:

1. Link back to the person who awarded you.

2. Answer the award questions.

3. Tell something about yourself that you haven't told anyone on your blog yet.

4. Award as many blogs as you think worthy of this award.

5. Make sure to let those you gave this award to know that you awarded them.

The Award Questions:

1) What is your go-to makeup brand? Quite the difficult question! Offhand if I could only use one brand I'd pick MAC at the moment. I finally got All That Glitters and I can honestly say I have NO DUPES (amazing!) and it's by far the prettiest champagne-color eye shadow that I have.

2) What was your favorite fashion trend of 2011? Coral. I guess the trendiest color this year is almost-red tangerine? Not as pretty, IMHO.
3) What is your favorite dessert? Krispy Kreme Original Doughnut... oooh.
4) Favorite color? Light green, usually, though my favorite color eyeshadow ATM is red.
5) What is your middle name? Melissa

6) What's the last song you listened to? "Party Rock Anthem" by LMFAO
7) Cats or dogs? Don't make me choose, I love them both so much! I don't have any pets, though :(
Something you didn't know about me is... we're going to try to have a baby this year <3

The cutest blogs I can think of:
Natasha's Ain't that Pretty
Riya's Pinkstrawberrielove

I honestly think these questions are kind of fun and short-'n-sweet, so if you answer below or in a post I'd love to read it.
<3 Sarah S.

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

FOTD and NOTD: Candy Apple Fishnets

Ahh, Tuesday. I hate Mondays but Tuesday has a little bit of optimism for the coming weekend, no?  Still too long away, you say?  At long last I had an extra couple of minutes to get ready this morning and I rimmed my eyes with black liner and slicked on a red pout.  I haven't worn a real look in ages (nearly bare-faced most days recently, can you believe it?) so I guess I just gravitated toward the classics.
Sorry, I'm not actually green. Nor do I have dark circles (le sigh).  Fluorescent lighting really sucks.  Pictures taken four hours after I put the makeup on originally!

Breakdown: H20+ Sea Results Eye Mender Eye Cream, Jack Black Mint lip balm, La Roche-Posay Effaclar Duo, Stila Sheer Tinted Moisturizer in Medium, L'oreal Studio Secrets Magic Perfecting Base, L'oreal Magic Smooth Souffle Foundation in 518 Natural Buff applied with Real Techniques stippling brush (first time I used the two together... it's like they're made for each other! I got weightless, perfect application with no streakiness and barely used any product at all... this is HG material, people!), Illamasqua Cream Blush in Rude, Physicians Formula Happy Booster blush in Natural, MAC Mineralize Charged Water (as setting spray), Maybelline Unstoppable mechanical eye pencil, no mascara, Revlon Colorburst Lip Butter in Candy Apple

I've also not had anything on my nails for over a week.  I thought I'd pop on a set of Sally Hansen nail polish strips at long last; they make my nails stronger so they can grow out a bit, which is nice.

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Blogger Difficulties

Hi ladies, I just wanted to apologize for my absence... not on this blog, but on yours! I am reading all my favorites, as usual, but blogger is being a nuisance on my computer and won't allow me to comment or load pages with ease.  I know I'm a frequent-commenter so I didn't want my favorite bloggers to feel they've lost a reader... I'm still here!  And very frustrated that I've had such a problem with giving you feedback.  I don't know for certain if you guys are missing the comments, but it makes my day when people leave me comments.  So, I just wanted to let you all know I am still keeping up on your blogs!
Sarah S.

Saturday, January 14, 2012

EOTD: Still Gaga for Red Eye Shadow

Happy Saturday! You know you're in love when the first thing you do in the morning is reach for a product.  Normal people would probably reach for a face cream or a foundation or mascara... I'm currently having a love affair with red eyeshadows!

Used: NYX Jumbo Eye Pencil in Rust (needs primer underneath to prevent this creasing, but I was just playing around so I skipped that step)
Sugar Pill Chromalust Loose Shadow in Asylum (to DIE for, and I usually have no love for loose shadows)
Tokidoki Sodashop Palette Romeo (dark cranberry red) and Ciccio (gold-copper)
Urban Decay 24/7 Liquid Liner in Perversion (to be honest, I preferred this look before I added the ubiquitous slash of liquid liner)
Milani Liquif'eye liner in Gold
Giorgio Armani Eyes to Kill Mascara
Clinique Bottom Lash Mascara in Black

I did up this eye look before I even covered any pimples, y'all! I'm obsessed!

Friday, January 13, 2012

Stila Stay All Day 10-in-1 HD Beauty Balm: First Impressions

Happy Friday! Today I have a new product that I'm kind of excited about.  It's Stila's almost-BB Cream, the  stila stay all day 10-in-1 HD beauty balm! 

The first surprise I got in playing with this product is that it's intended to be worn under tinted moisturizer.  Normally I'll slap on a BB cream over tinted moisturizer, as my foundation.  Clearly, this isn't intended to be a BB cream at all so that misconception was my bad.

So exactly what is this? A primer?  A tinted moisturizer? Well, I think it is sort of both (hence the reason one could mistake this for a BB cream).  There are some percentage (%) claims, but I usually ignore those.  Let's start with the general idea of benefits:

1- microspheres to hide skin imperfections.  This isn't a new concept - apparently this is why they are calling this product "HD" like Make Up For Ever's famous foundation.  At this time with only one wearing I can conclusively state that the microspheres in the product are definitely there and working to blur imperfections!
2- skin protecting emolients.  This is how the product is like a tinted moisturizer.  Now, I have combo skin so I found this to be adequate without tinted moisturizer on top.  My neck, however, is really dry right now because of my acne treatment, so I put some Dermalogica Active moist on top of the beauty balm on my neck.  I think someone with dry skin would probably need a moisturizer but my dry-ish combo winter skin is fine without.
3- tripeptide-37, bamboo and pea extracts - what?  Obviously I can't verify the anti-aging claims with one use, but I do feel like pore and fine-line visibility are diminished :)
4- long-wearing formula (I'll have to update this post once the product has been on my face all day, but this is just a first-impressions post) UPDATE (8 hours later): I wouldn't exactly brag that this product is long-wearing.  The coverage hasn't completely disappeared at the 8-hour mark, but my combo skin is definitely showing shine and some redness that was covered up initially.  Not a total failure but not particularly long-wearing, in my humblest.
5- helps reduce pore size and provides oil and blemish control. I do feel that this left a nice, matte finish in spite of its creamy texture.  This works the way I had hoped Benefit The Porefessional would (but didn't really, for me).  My pores are not anywhere near as visible as they usually are!  So far this is the most successful part of this product for me. UPDATE: 8 hours later, you may need to blot (see photos below).
6- reduces redness and skin irritation.  I'm not sure if it's because of the tint or not, but I don't feel this irritates my skin at least and the redness is lessened. But I don't consider my skin to be particularly sensitive so delicate ladies should obviously get a sample of this first!
7- smallest size of coated pigments for seamless coverage.  While the coverage is only light in my opinion, I do feel this was smooth and very easy to blend into my skin (I used my fingers and rubbed it in like a lotion, which worked fine).
8- luxurious glide and silky, powdery finish... absolutely true!
9- ideal for all skin types and tones.  Well, this works for my NC25 skin but I can't imagine this working for dark skintones.  I think this claim is a bit iffy.  If you used this as a foundation primer, though, the tint might be subtle enough that it wouldn't make a darker lady look strange.
10- oil-free, paraben-free and dermatologist tested.  In my casual research, the claim "dermatologist tested" is often used but essentially meaningless!  I do like that this is oil-free because I have acne-prone skin, and I like that it's paraben-free :)

I bought this myself from Ulta for $38.  I think that price is kind of ridiculous, but they had a special on where I got a free Waterproof Sparkle Liquid Eye Liner in Electric ($22 value), and that was on my to-buy list since I saw it made the 2011 favorites list of Danielle at Bloomin' Beauty.  It was a good deal for me, but I don't know whether I'd pay $38 for this beauty balm without some other purchasing incentive. 

The next surprise - No SPF!  I think this might be the #1 reason you can't really call this a BB Cream!  Oddly, though, it does have titanium dioxide listed as an ingredient, which often provides some sun protection. Perhaps the amount of it is only for pigment and doesn't provide enough measurable SPF.  This could be a good thing, though, because SPF notoriously can cause flashback face in photos.  If you don't have many blemishes to cover up this beauty balm could be an amazing alternative to foundation that feels light and silky and photographs well.
 You can see my red spots through it, so I'd definitely call this coverage "light"
 I have really large pores on my nose and cheeks, but I think they're blurred quite nicely!  Even though I can see all those spots, the finish on my skin is so velvety and pretty I almost don't mind.
 I should have put some concealer on the red spots, but I didn't. 
Everything on my face: H20+ Sea Results Eye Mender eye cream, La Roche-Posay Effeclar Duo, stila stay all day 10-in-1 HD beauty balm, Revlon Photo Ready concealer just under eyes and around nose with Essence powder just on those areas to set the concealer, Maybelline Dream Bouncy Blush in Coffee Cake (this applied over the beauty balm like the two were meant for each other!), Revlon Colorburst Lip Butter in Creme Brulee, Covergirl Lash Blast Mascara

UPDATE PHOTOS: 8 Hours Later

Oh, hai pores... and shine.

I didn't do any kind of touch-up.  This isn't a long-wearing product but I'd say its longevity is average.
My chin has been kinda red from my acne treatment, and the redness is showing through by the 8-hour mark.
Overall, I'm really digging this product and it's giving me a really great first impression.  It would be an amazing go-to for rolling out of bed and running out the door on a no-fuss day.  If you don't have any blemishes like you see on me, this gives skin such a lovely finish that  I *almost* don't mind that my old red spots are showing through.
What do you think? Is this beauty balm for you?

Monday, January 9, 2012

Quick Sugarpill EOTD

I finally got my greedy little mitts on some Sugarpill eyeshadows!  Here I created a quick look with Chromalusts in Stella (black with multi-color sparkles) and Decora (pink).  I used the L'oreal Infallible eyeshadow in Eternal Sunshine on the inner corners. I can't remember the mascara I had on and the black liner on my waterline was Stila Smudgestick in Stingray applied in the morning with photos taken at night (so it's half-gone).  Please disregard my dark circles as well... it had been a long day!

OH MY GOSH look at those rainbow sparkles in Stella! Most gorgeous black shadow I've ever seen <3 <3 <3

I wet my eyeshadow brush with a little MAC Mineralize Charged Water (now permanent) to get Stella really intense and precise.

Friday, January 6, 2012


Hey Gals! Just a quick little comparison between my beloved MAC Ever Hip lipstick and my new Physicians Formula Happy Booster lipstick in I <3 Nude:

Left side of photo, MAC Ever Hip; Right side of photo, Physicians Formula Happy Booster in I <3 Nude

Fragrance/Taste: MAC lipsticks have a vanilla scent that I find delectable. I was a little afraid of trying the Physicians Formula Happy Booster lipsticks because they are supposed to have a violet scent and I usually despise any lip products with floral scents.  However, I find the scent to be surprisingly nice and not too soapy!  It's kind of like the Milani lipsticks in that it is floral but sweet.  While I could almost nom my Ever Hip, I don't mind I <3 Nude's scent at all and don't think either lipstick has a taste.

Texture/Color: Ever Hip is a Cremesheen formula and thus it is rather glossy.  Both lipsticks apply a bit patchy but can be easily built up and blended to full opacity.  Both can sheer down nicely, too.  I <3 Nude is more of a creamy lipstick finish without much gloss to it, but it certainly isn't matte.  It seemed to photograph slightly darker than Ever Hip and I think that's because it's not as glossy/light reflective.

Left, Physicans Formula I <3 Nude; Right, MAC Ever Hip

I visited the MAC counter yesterday and the lovely SA Janelle's jaw dropped and she exclaimed, "That lipstick looks incredible on you!" I asked her if she thought it looked like Ever Hip and she said yes, and that she has four backups, LOL.

Longevity: Both of these lipsticks pull over four hours of wear on me, which is excellent!

I don't really want to declare a "winner" because Ever Hip was limited edition (and I would buy a backup if I could) and the Physicians Formula is brand-new and permanent (I think).  With Ever Hip not being released this Spring (and quickly selling out when it is released), I think you ought to consider spending the $8.79 to get the Physicians Formula Happy Booster lipstick in I <3 Nude as a lovely stand-in (the closest I've found).

What do you guys think - Dupe or not?

Thursday, January 5, 2012

Physicians Formula New Happy Booster Glow & Mood Boosting 2-in-1 Bronzer & Blush

Hi girls! Things still haven't slowed down since the holidays so I hope you'll excuse my reduced posting.  I read about the latest additions to the Physicians Formula Happy Booster Collection over at Musings, and I truly expected I wouldn't see any of these until February. It just so happens I needed a new shower pouf and headed to my closest CVS last night to pick one up and spotted a couple of the new displays! They had the new Eye Kohl Trios, the two Happy Booster Lipsticks (I got I <3 Nude, which isn't nude at all but is rather like a less-glossy MAC Ever Hip... comparison pending), the two new Happy Booster blushes (pink and warm, didn't get yet b/c I want a sale price), and Bronze/Rose and Bronze/Natural Happy Booster Glow & Mood Boosting 2-in-1 Bronzer & Blush!

 I just got Bronze/Natural.

Under the powder is a mirror and brush compartment, just like the original Happy Booster bronzers.

Left to right: bronzer, top heart (more of a highlighter and doesn't really show), middle heart, bottom heart

Super-cute, right?
Unfortunately, as the swatches show, it's quite lacking in pigment.  It smells really nice, is very adorably packaged, and goof-proof because of the lack of pigmentation. I had to really work for the swatches and the bronzer didn't show up on my NC25 face at all (though it did sort of work like a light-diffusing finishing powder).  I think this would be good makeup for a teen and it certainly doesn't look bad, but it's over-priced at $14.29 for something so unpigmented.  I'm going to carry it for blush-refreshing and cuteness but it's no workhorse product.  It's really a let-down because the original Happy Booster bronzers are much better!  If you want a festive Valentine's Day compact I'd go with the original Bronzer or Light Bronzer.

Sunday, January 1, 2012

Happy New Year! Red Wings/Kohaku Uta Gassen EOTD New Year's Eve

Happy New Year to all my lovely readers!  Did you glam it up for New Years Eve? I did a festive look for the Red Wings game I attended last night.  Red and White are also the colors I could have worn for a Kohaku Uta Gassen viewing party in Japan.  Kohaku Uta Gassen is a girls vs. boys singing competition on NHK network every year in Japan.  The literal translation is the Red (ko) & White (haku) Song Competition.  Top musical acts compete on either side and a winner is chosen... it's not really unlike New Year's Rockin' Eve on TV in the U.S., except they make a little "competition" out of it! A quick google search shows that last night the Red Team (girls' team!) won... and so did the Red Wings!  Good omen for the new year, no?

Products used:
Face - Benefit The Porefessional, Chanel Perfection Lumiere Foundation in Beige 30, Dermablend concealer in Natural Beige, Essence Flower Powder (disc.), Rimmel Santa Rose blush

Eyes - TFSI, NYX Jumbo Pencils in Milk (lid) and Cherry (crease), NYX Trio shadow in Perpetual (red only), white shimmer shadow (forgot which), Lorac 3D Liquid Lustre (over the top of the white shadow only), Wet n Wild single shadow in Brulee blending out crease and on browbone, NYX Liquid Crystal liner in Crystal Hip (along lower lashline only), K-Palette black liquid liner pen along top lashline, YSL Effet Faux Cils Shocking mascara layered under Giorgio Armani Eyes to Kill mascara (both are so expensive but not good enough on their own IMHO), Clinique Bottom Lash Mascara

Lips - just MAC Hue

Here's to a glamorous and winning 2012!
<3 Sarah S.