August 2016 Faves & Flops


I'm sorry it's been a few months since my last Faves & Flops...I ended up taking vacations at the end of June and the end of July so being away kind of threw me off a little bit. This month, I have quite a few products to talk about, so let's get started! :)

This summer, I discovered the L'oreal Extraordinary Oil line (I first talked about it in my Ulta Haul post) and I have never had softer, silkier hair. I'm obsessed with this line and have been using it exclusively all summer while my expensive hair products sit underneath my sink collecting dust. I use the shampoo and conditioner every time I wash (but I switch to a clarifying shampoo every 2nd or 3rd wash so it doesn't build up) and then I use a little of the serum before blow drying (and a tiny bit on the ends after blow drying). It's a magical combo and so affordable!

I've also been loving the IGK Rich Kid Coconut Oil Gel ($27). It sounds heavy but it's actually formulated for fine to normal hair like mine so it doesn't add weight. You apply it to towel dried hair and let it air dry for that perfectly undone look that's so popular now. I was skeptical, but I had pretty good luck with the Bumble & Bumble Don't Blow It cream (see my post on that here) so I decided to try this. I've only tried it a couple of times but so far, I love it!! It allows me to air dry with zero frizz and my hair still has body and shine. You can also use it before blow drying and it adds a little bit of hold and shine as well. If you want me to do a full review on this, let me know in the comments below.
Soap & Glory arrived at Walgreens stores in August, which is great because now they're easy to find (I don't live close to an Ulta store and my local Target doesn't carry them). But I did end up hauling some products from Ulta.com before that and I'm obsessed! Every day, I start out with the Smoothie Star Breakfast Scrub ($15). It's right up there as one of my top favorite scrubs of all time. It's soft, easy to scoop out, makes my legs super smooth...oh, and it smells like maple syrup and brown sugar. Then I use the Smoothie Star Lightly Whipped Body Buttercream ($15), which has a pistachio, almond, and sweet vanilla fragrance. Am I making you hungry yet? I also use it all over before I go to bed, and using it twice a day has given me the softest skin ever. At night, I've also been using the Heel Genius ($10) cream before bed and it has softened my feet more than any other foot cream I've tried. It makes them feel velvety soft.
I tried several palettes in August and am loving them all for many different reasons.


I'm a huge fan of Fresh's Sugar Lip Treatments, so I couldn't pass up the new Fresh Sugar Cream Lip Treatment ($24). It's just as moisturizing as the stick version, but is much more pigmented...almost like a lip lacquer without the sticky feel. I just wish they came in more colors! 

I've also been loving the Smith & Cult The Tainted Lip Stained ($24). This is an interesting product...it's a gloss that reacts to your pH levels for a hint of tint, but it's also a stain so it leaves some color behind even after it's worn off! It comes in two shades, and I got the lighter of the two called Linger Sigh (which is suggested for lighter skin tones). It has a soft vanilla scent and feels SO moisturizing...not sticky at all. Here are my lips before and after using it...it gives just a hint of color, just enough to make you look polished. My lips feel moisturized for hours after applying and the color really does last a long time. 

I'm on my third tube of Julep's Length Matters Mascara ($20). The packaging has recently changed (mine is an older tube) but I've been stockpiling this from my Julep maven subscription boxes and it's one of my all-time favorite mascaras (see my initial review from 2014 here). I had forgotten just how much I loved this since I haven't worn it in a while. The brush has perfectly spaced bristles that really comb through your lashes so you get zero clumps. The formula makes my lashes so long, they almost curl back around and touch my eyelids. Plus, it doesn't smudge under my eyes!
Wearing Julep Length Matters Mascara
And now for the flops (which weren't right for me but it doesn't mean they won't work for others)...

First up is Makeup Revolution The One Concealer ($5.40). This reminded me of Benefit's Fake Up Concealer (which I love) because it has a concealer core with a moisturizing outer ring. The problem is it feels greasy, even on my dry skin and there's a lot more moisturizer than concealer in the formula so it doesn't really cover anything at all. I was hoping for a Fake Up dupe, but no luck this time!

Next is the NYX Soft Focus Primer ($9.99). I purchased this because it looked like an interesting take on a primer, but it ended up feeling greasy and balling up on my skin. Also, I hit pan the first time I dipped a sponge into it, so there isn't much in the compact, even though it looks like it's a decent size. Overall it didn't seem to do much, such as blurring pores or helping my makeup last longer so it's definitely a miss for me. 

The last two products were recent purchases from Hard Candy. I love this brand and am rarely disappointed but these were both a bit of a miss for me. I've been wanting to try the Cheeky Tints ($6) for a while now, because I love cream blushes but these weren't quite what I was expecting. They're a gel formula and it takes quite a lot of building to get them to show up on my cheeks. Then, I noticed later that there was an obvious line of blush on my cheek where I didn't blend it well enough (they soak into my dry skin really quickly). On the positive side, they are very long-lasting, but being difficult to build up and blend takes away from the ease of using a blush like this. 

I also wasn't a fan of the Just Glow Baked Illuminating Duo ($8). I had read some negative reviews about it not being pigmented enough and not having enough "glow" but I purchased it anyway because I thought it would be more of a subtle effect like Laura Geller's French Vanilla highlighter or the Ambient Lighting Powders that I could use all over my face to set my makeup. Unfortunately, these aren't as finely milled as those are, so while they do provide a subtle glow, they also leave little specks of glitter on my face. It really wasn't exactly what I was hoping for. 

What were your faves and flops this month? I'd love to hear about them! 

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Faves & Flops | April 2016

It's time for Faves and Flops again! Sorry I'm a few days late on this one, I've been kinda M.I.A. this week because I had family over to stay for a few days and have been catching up on stuff around the house. Plus it's been cold and raining nonstop here in New England for like, 2 weeks straight...it's so depressing, where's Spring?! I feel like just curling up on the couch with some ice cream and bad Lifetime movies all day.
Anyway, let's talk about my favorite and not so favorite products from April!

Flops: 

I figured I'd start with products that didn't work out because there are only a few of them this month.

1. City Color Cosmetics Ooh La La Eyeshadow Palette ($7.99) - I wanted to love this palette so badly because it contains some really beautiful colors. Sadly, the pigmentation just isn't there, plus they were powdery with tons of fallout...just no.

2. Hourglass Ambient Light Correcting Primer ($44) - This is another product I really wanted to like since I love their powders so much. It's not a bad product at all...it did create a nice glow on my skin that showed through my foundation and gave me that lit-from-within look. The problem is, it didn't do anything else like fill in lines and pores...you know, typical primer stuff. For $44, I expected it to do more in the way of perfecting my skin I guess. Think I'll just stick to my L'oreal Magic Lumi primer instead.

3. Elf Baked Highlighter & Blush and Highlighter & Bronzer ($4) - These were a big disappointment in that they hardly showed up on my skin...and I'm fair so most things show up well! They were super sheer and hard to pick up, so they were definitely a flop for me.  

Faves:
As I was looking back through my April posts, I was amazed at how many great products I discovered!
On a side note: You'll notice that the new Wet n Wild Highlighters and Multi-Sticks aren't in my faves and here's why...I loved the formula of both, but the majority of the shades didn't really work for me. The lightest powder highlight borders on being too dark for my fair skin (forget about the darker one), and the one multi-stick that I could use as a highlighter is pretty much a dupe of the one I have from the previous Mulan collection. So while I don't hate them, I wouldn't really consider them "faves" either. 

Katy Perry x CoverGirl Katy Kat Matte Lipstick ($9.49) - I don't even mind that this lipstick isn't truly matte...it's so comfortable on my lips, highly pigmented and long lasting! 

Circa Beauty Lip Polish ($10), Powder Blush ($12) , and UltraSuede Cream Blush ($13) - Although this post was about more than one product, I fell in love with all three in a big way and will definitely be trying more from this line! If you didn't see my original post, click here to read all about them! 

Benefit Cheekathon Palette ($58)- This was my biggest splurge this month, but at the same time, it was such a bargain. You get five full sized Benefit blushes for the price of 2 and they come in an adorable travel-friendly box. I'm officially obsessed with this! 

NYX Avant Pop Eyeshadow Palette ($16.99) - I was blown away by how pigmented, soft, and blendable these shades were and I love the selection of colors in this Nouveau Chic one...it's beautiful! 

Elf Total Face Palette ($8) - This cute little palette is the perfect match for my fair-light skintone. The illuminating powder, blushes, and bronzer could have been handpicked just for me...they give just the right amount of color for days when I want a natural, no fuss look and all the shades are buttery soft and nicely pigmented. 

CoverGirl Super Sizer Fibers Mascara ($7.99) - This is very similar to the original Super Sizer (which is one of my favorite mascaras)...same tube, same brush, and similar end-result. The difference for me seems to be that this makes my lashes look amazing without as much work. It amazed me how much this boosted my lashes volume and length with only one coat! But after three coats of this, I don't think my lashes looked too much different than with the original (maybe a tiny bit more length). It just takes a bit more finesse with the original version to get my lashes to look the same way. This also doesn't clump, smudge, or flake!

C. Booth 4-in-1 Body Lotion ($9.99) - I was so impressed by this formula! I have dry skin and usually need to use a body butter or oil to make my skin soft, but this lightweight lotion does it all. It exfoliates with fruit acids, hydrates, protects with antioxidants, and firms your skin with caffeine. Plus the scents are delicious and last all day. 

I also want to mention my favorite post for the month of April which was the BeautyKind coupon I gave out. The people at BeautyKind let me know that hundreds of you ended up taking advantage of the $50 off a $75 purchase code and so many of you came back to tell me how much you loved the experience, from the fast shipping time to the generous samples, and also being able to choose the charity you wanted the 5% of your purchase to go to. The code is good until the end of August, so if you haven't redeemed yours yet, visit my post to start shopping! 

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March 2016 Faves & Flops

It's time for another faves and flops! I posted 23 reviews last month (whew!) and while I liked or loved the majority of the products I tried, there were also a few that I really wasn't crazy about.

In this post, I'll talk about the things I absolutely loved and I'll also talk about the two products I ended up returning because they just didn't work for me. The others fell somewhere in the middle...either I liked them or they were just ok.

So let's get started!

Flops:
Laura Geller Filter Finish Setting Powder ($32)- I may be unpopular for disliking this powder because it has a ton of positive reviews on Ulta.com, but it just didn't work for me. It looked good when I applied it in my bathroom, but when I stepped outside, I noticed that it looked frosty and shimmery in the natural lighting. I feel like it might be better as a highlighter rather than an all-over face powder. It also seemed to make my pores and fine lines more noticeable rather than blurring them. I love Laura Geller products, so I was disappointed that I ended up having to return this. (Read my original review here).

L'oreal Voluminous Butterfly Sculpt Mascara ($8.99)- Like the Laura Geller Filter Finish, the reviews I've seen on this one all seem to be positive but I wasn't a fan! The brush holds a ton of product and the formula is very wet so my lashes clumped together easily. It did a pretty good job of creating a tightline effect by depositing product at the base of my lashes, but I didn't like how messy my lashes looked with this on. It also smudged underneath my eyes after a couple of hours. (Read my original review here).

Faves:
Nyx Strobe of Genius Palette ($18.99)-  I think it's safe to say I'm obsessed with this palette! I find myself reaching for it almost daily and I think my other highlighters are starting to feel neglected. These shades are so wearable and the shimmer is finely milled yet bold enough to show up nicely on your skin. (See my original review & swatches here).

Makeup Revolution Ultra Blush Palettes ($10)- These blush palettes have the most beautiful selection of shades in matte and shimmer finishes. Plus, each palette contains two baked highlighters. They're amazing quality, especially for the price! (See my original review here)

IT Cosmetics Bye Bye Makeup Cleansing Balm ($38)- Easily my new holy grail cleanser, this balm melts on contact with the skin and dissolves all traces of makeup easily. Unlike some balms that leave a greasy film after rinsing, this washes away clean and leaves my skin feeling soft and deeply cleansed but never tight or dry. Love! (See my original review here). 

Lorac Color Source Blush Buildable Blush ($22)- I'm a total blush junkie and these check off all the boxes when it comes to the things I look for in my perfect formula. It's like Lorac took their Pro Eyeshadow formula and created a line of blushes with it...they're super pigmented, soft and blend so beautifully into my skin. They're also incredibly long-lasting for a powder blush! (See my original review here). 

The Balm Meet Matt(e) Nude Eyeshadow Palette ($42)- It's so hard to find a good matte eyeshadow formula but this palette contains 9 perfectly pigmented matte shades. They're soft, easy to pick up and blend and have amazing staying power, not to mention the pans are huge and will last a really long time! I'm over the moon for this palette and have just ordered the newest version, Meet Matt(e) Trimony, so stay tuned for my review on that! (See my original review here).

Tarte Rainforest of the Sea Eyeshadow Palette ($34)- This limited edition palette is probably one of the prettiest in my entire collection...the packaging is to-die-for and Tarte's new eyeshadow formula is incredible! It's so soft and buttery, almost like a cream and these 8 (mostly) shimmery shades are the perfect nudes for Spring. I hope they make more eyeshadows out of this formula going forward! (See my original review here).

Pixi Beauty Nourishing Lip Polish ($12)-  The built-in scrubby brush is what sets this apart from other lip scrubs. It's the least messy way to get smooth, flake free lips...just apply to your lips, use the brush at the end of the tube to scrub away the dead skin, then leave it on as a nourishing balm...no removal necessary! It's perfect for on-the go, at your desk, etc. (See my original review here).

So those are my faves and flops for March, 2016. Did you try anything last month that you loved? Or anything that didn't quite work out? Leave me a comment below...I'd love to hear about it! :)

February 2016 Faves & Flops

How is it March already?? Is it just me or did February pass by really fast? Not complaining though...I'm officially done with Winter and ready for the warm weather! It's also time for my monthly Faves & Flops, so let's take a look at what I loved in February and what didn't work out.

Faves: 
There were two palettes I absolutely loved this month...one I just reviewed yesterday and it's the City Color Timeless Beauty Palette ($24.99). It has four beautiful matte blushes and three highlighters and the formula is just so incredibly smooth and pigmented. See my full review here.
The other is the Lorac Getaway Palette ($20)I was a bit concerned after learning that Lorac's made-in-China palettes don't match up in quality to the ones made here in the U.S. but this one surprised me. It's super pigmented and soft and I find it similar to the Lorac Pro Palettes which are double the price. I love the assortment of shades and it'll be great to travel with this Spring and Summer! See my full review of the Getaway palette here.

Hard Candy's Velvet Mousse Liquid Lip Color ($6 at Walmart stores) has a comfortable, velvety texture but it dries more "matte" than a lot of the other similar drugstore formulas. Plus, the tin they come in is just too darn cute! See my full review here.

Maybelline's Master Precise Skinny Gel Pencil ($7.99 at drugstores) is a welcome addition to the drugstore eyeliner lineup...it's so easy to get this right into my lashline and it glides so easily in the waterline with great staying power. See my full review here.

Finally, there were two foundations that I really loved this month and I know I'll continue to wear these into the warm weather months. First is the Pur Cosmetics HydraFluid Water Serum Foundation ($39). This foundation is so lightweight, it melts right into your skin and looks like you're not wearing anything at all...yet it gives nice medium coverage with a satiny finish. See my full review here. 
The other foundation I'm loving is the Flower Beauty E.E. Erase Everything Foundation ($12.98 at Walmart stores). It's like a foundation/primer hybrid and fills in pores, fine lines, and uneven texture while providing sheer-to-medium coverage. I love how it makes my skin feel super soft and look airbrushed! See my full review here.

Flops:
I never got around to reviewing the Physicians Formula Argan Wear Primer with Coconut Water ($14.99) but I just want to warn you...it's awful. First of all, the sprayer is strong and delivers a blast of product to your face rather than a gentle mist. It smells a little like coconut but there's also a chemical undertone to it and after spraying my face, I could taste it on my lips...it tasted a little bit salty and again, like chemicals. It left a greasy, tacky film on my face and never really sank in (and I have dry skin like the Sahara). Overall, it was just a big NO for me. 

The Jesse's Girl Backstage Collection Eyeshadow Palette ($6.99 at Rite Aid) was also a big miss for me. The matte shades totally lacked pigmentation and the shimmer shades had chunky glitter and tons of fallout. It's a shame because it looked like such a pretty palette! See my full review here.

So that's the February 2016 edition of Faves & Flops. What were your favorite products that you tried this month? Did you run across any flops?  

Faves and Flops- Maybelline Edition

I was in Target earlier today picking up a few things for the house and on my way to the checkout, those brighter-than-the-sun lights of the beauty aisles drew me in again (damn them!).  I was really good and didn't buy anything this time but as I browsed, my blogging brain kicked into high gear and I thought up the idea for this post while standing in the Maybelline section. I saw products I thought were terrible and products I love, and while I've talked about most of them individually in blog posts over the years I thought it would be nice to put them all together in one place. Each product I mention here is one that I have strong feelings about one way or the other, so all the Maybelline products I didn't mention in this post fall somewhere between "I Love It!" and "No Thanks". Let's take a look!


January Faves and Flops

It's the end of the month, so I wanted to do a quick Faves & Flops post to recap some of the best and worst products I tried during the month of January!
All of the products that made my Faves list were reviewed on the blog within the last few weeks, but the majority of the Flops were not reviewed. The main reason for this is because I have a really limited amount of time to write reviews and I try to focus most of my efforts on products I want to recommend to you guys. I wish I could review every product I purchase, but there just aren't enough hours in the day.
That being said, it's also really important to let you know which products didn't work for me because you might be considering buying them and I want you to have all the details so you can decide for yourself if it may or may not work for you. So...I'll be doing an overview of each product here to give you a general idea of how they perform, but if you would like a more detailed post on a specific product, please leave a comment below. If there is a large demand for a review, I'll absolutely make it a priority! :)

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