Ipsy Bag: January 2014

I was going to put out a post for my November and December 2013 bags, but I figured that it’s been so long that I would just let it go. Instead, I’ll just hop into this January bag and hope that I can finally get a good schedule with getting some blog posts out!

This month’s theme? 19 Reasons 2014 Will Be Amazing

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Proactiv Mark Fading Pads 

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I’m really excited about this product! I have acne prone skin, and a bad habit of picking. This horrid habit has led to many hyperpigmentation spots. These wipes contain 2% salicylic acid and are apart of Proactiv’s new skin care line. I haven’t tested them out yet, but I’m a little disappointed that I only received two (I know LePooke on Youtube received four). I’m hoping that even though I only got two packs that it’ll be enough to see results.

Nourish Organic Face Lotion

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It’s been colder here in Texas lately, and I was glad to be able to test out a new moisturizer. This one has a very lightweight formula and also contains moroccan aran oil, rosewater, and shea butter. When I used this lotion, it absorbed into the skin quickly and my skin feel  soft despite the cold weather. Unfortunately, I think it has caused me to break out, so I’ve discontinued use.

Briogeo Deep Conditioning Mask

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I’ve never been much into hair masks. Even when I had long hair, I never really cared about maintaining it. Whenever it happened to get dry or I would get split ends, I would just cut it, which I did on Sunday. Now that my hair has been chopped off and is now healthy, I don’t think I’ll be reaching for this product much. It contains avocado, almonds, argan oils, rosehip oil, and hair essential vitamins. The plus side is that the directions say to use it specifically after shampooing, so it’s really more of a conditioner that has mask-like benefits. This seems to be a lower maintenance hair mask, so I’ll be more likely to give it a go.

MicaBeauty Tinted Lip Balm

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This is probably my 4th or 5th product from MicaBeauty, and I’m not sure how I feel about the brand. This product I suppose I’m indifferent to. I received #6 Fiesta, and  the only good thing I have to say is that it’s very pigmented, especially for a “tinted lip balm.” Besides the pigmentation, I don’t have much else to say. It’s a lip balm, but it offers no moisturization. When applying the product, it doesn’t feel like anything, just that you’re rubbing your finger on your lips. I would say that it even sinks into cracks and makes lips look worse. Whenever I wear it, I apply Buxum’s Dolly lip gloss on top of it and that makes things better.

Elizabeth Mott Smooth Shadow Pencil

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Right off the bat, I was excited about this product. I got the color Pearl and anything nude-ish/champagne-ish I’m down to try. This product surpassed any expectations I had. I really love it. I haven’t used it as a shadow base but as an eyeliner. I use it on my inner corners and bottom lash line. I also tested it on my lower waterline, but it doesn’t stay put. It’s the first product that I’ve used in a while that lasts all day around my eyes. It’s shimmery, but not too shimmery and the perfect color for my skin tone. It really helps you look more awake and gives you that bright-eyed Korean look that I love! I’m considering repurchasing this when I run out.

So that’s it for this month’s bag. Overall, I give it… a B-. Though I’m not crazy about all the products, I’m happy that their doing more than just cosmetics. I’ve received skin care products before, but never two in one bag!

If you’re subscribed to Ipsy, let me know what products you got this month!

♡ Melissa

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Ipsy Bag: September and October 2013

Again, I know I’m really behind on getting these Ipsy posts out, but I’m having a really hard time prioritizing right now. I’m trying to get these out so that my blog isn’t neglected, but I also need to do driver’s ed, study for the SAT, write college essays, and do my regular homework on top of that. With that being said, instead of giving a review of each product I received in each bag, I’m only going to mention the ones I especially liked or just the ones I was able to test out.

September 

  • Cailyn Cosmetics Tinted Lip Balm
  • Freeman Beauty Facial Paper Masks
  • NYX Single Eyeshadow in Nutmeg
  • Starlooks Obsidian Kohl Eye Pencil

Cailyn Lip Balm 

Cailyn Tinted Lip Balm
I enjoy this product. I’ve used it a few times, around the house and for spirit week. It’s relatively easy to use, but it’s hard to distribute the color evenly. I don’t know if I don’t pack enough product on the brush, but it can sometimes come out a little streaky, and I’ll have to go over it. Another thing, is it wears off a little weird. The color stays on the center of my lips, but wears away on the sides. This isn’t really that big of an issue, but if you like to make weird Snap Chat faces, then it’s noticeable. I would also say that this is more like a lip stain, then a lip balm. It’s not very moisturizing, but has decent lasting power and stains the lips some.

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A day in the life.

Freeman Beauty Paper Masks

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Of the three masks, I have only used the Rose one. I love the idea of paper masks, but to be honest, I’m often too lazy to deal with them. And, the standard face shape is so different from mine, so it has hard to get the mask to say sealed to skin without ripping the mask or getting into my eyes. It doesn’t help that I was trying to read with it on. It was just a disaster.

Starlooks Kohl Eye Pencil

This pencil is really large, basically a full sized product, which would be amazing if I liked it. I think I tried it once, and had high hopes since I loved their Lip Pencil, but this product fell short. The day I wore it, it transferred to my undereyes. I already have dark circles as it is; I don’t need help enhancing them. I do have to say that the pencil is pigmented and buildable, but just not suited for my oily skin.

NYX Eyeshadow

NYX Nutmeg

I haven’t gotten the chance to wear this color yet, but I had to share it! It’s absolutely bee-eee-aye-yootiful!! Not only that, but it is incredibly smooth. Unfortunately, I dropped it in my excitement :/ It was a bummer, but almost everything was still intact, so it was okay.

Swatches

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Please excuse the dry skin, but as you can see, the lip balm is a very red/artificial cherry color.

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The bottom three are all swatches of the Starlooks pencil. As you can see it’s buildable and pigmented. The top one is one swipe of Urban Decay’s Perversion for comparison.

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This color is a little too light to show up on my arm, but it really is gorgeous. Als you can see, it’s very buildable.

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The swatches in different lighting. You can really see the color of the eyeshadow.

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Again, different lighting.

October

  • Zoya Nail Polish in Mason
  • Coastal Scents Medium Shadow Brush
  • La FreshEco-Beauty Oil-Free Face Cleanser Wipes

Zoya Polish in Mason

Zoya Mason

When I saw this baby in my bag, I got excited. This is my second Zoya polish. This polish is sooo pretty. It’s a nice, jewel tone purple with small pink glitters. I haven’t put in on yet, but I can’t wait! I’m buzzing with anticipation. Gahh it makes me so happy. I also think it’s the perfect fall/winter color.

Coastal Scents Shadow Brush

Coastal Scents Brush

I’ve used this brush a couple of times. It’s nice. The hairs or “natural fibers” are soft and don’t seem to shed. It’s a medium sized brush, but I have really small eyelids, so it basically covers the whole thing. I use it to pack color onto the lid. In general I like it, but I probably wouldn’t have purchased it myself since it reminds me of the E.L.F shadow brush.

La Fresh Wipes

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I’ve received this brand of wipes before, and I complained. I think I said something about wanting more “special” products, or some garbage like that. Little did I know that those La Fresh wipes were some of the best ones I ever tried, and I was happy to see that I got more! First off, these wipes smell amazing! Well that’s probably an exaggeration, but I enjoy the smell. They contain “a luscious blend of Aloe, Cucumber, Papaya, Pineapple, Marshmallow, Jojoba, Vitamin C & Vitamin E.” I’ve probably used up half of these wipes and what I like the most about them is that they don’t sting my face or eyes. They do a fairly good job at removing my makeup, though I don’t like to use them on my lashes.

Whew! I’m finally caught up! I said previously, I think, that I would do more in depth reviews on things that I’ve “unbagged.” Instead of sticking with that, I think I’m going to do first impressions/thoughts, and then post a more in depth review of things that I particularly enjoy. Hopefully, this will help with the scheduling of these posts.

♡ Melissa

Ipsy Bag: August 2013

I’m definitely more excited about this bag than I’ve been about any other one so far this year!

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This month’s theme is “Glamour Academy” and the products I received were:

  1. Michael Todd True Organics Jojoba Charcoal Facial Scrub
  2. Chella Dazzling Dark Brown Eyebrow Color Pencil
  3. Pacifica Alight Multi-Mineral BB Cream
  4. Noya Cherry Lip Balm
  5. Pixi Lash Booster Mascara

Michael Todd True Organics Jojoba Charcoal Facial Scrub ($5.40)

This is the product that I was most excited about this month. I know Annie has been raving about this line, so I was looking forward to testing it out myself. After trying it, I wasn’t crazy about it. I didn’t find that it did anything spectacular for my skin.

Chella Dazzling Dark Brown Eyebrow Color Pencil ($18.00)

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I’ve been using this brow pencil every day instead of my cheap NYC one, and I do like it. I like that I don’t have to worry about sharpening it because it’s a crayon. I also like the color; it matches with my brows perfectly and looks great with the Chella brow gel, which I got from a previous bag, over top. The only thing about this pencil is that it is easy to go a little overboard. Overall, I like this pencil, but probably isn’t one I’d repurchase since it’s on the expensive side.

Pacifica Alight Multi-Mineral BB Cream (≈ $5.40)

This is the other product I was excited to test out, and I’ve been wearing it every day. The first time I used it, I wasn’t impressed because it didn’t help my skin at all. It offered no coverage, and didn’t even out my skin tone. Thankfully, with some time for it to oxidize, it came out looking nice. It really did adjust to my skin tone, which I was skeptical about, and added some nice, subtle sparkle to my face. It has has a surprisingly nice scent. A little of this product goes a long way. I use a slightly larger than pea size amount for my face and neck, and there seems to be plenty more in this sample. The only downside to this product is that it doesn’t contain SPF, which is strange since most BB Creams do. I do like using this product, I use it everyday, but the name is really deceiving. It doesn’t act like a BB Cream at all, there are absolutely no skin benefits to it.

Noya Cherry Lip Balm ($3.99)

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This lip balm has the scent of a Smackers lip balm, the taste of cherry candy, and the moisturizing power of a ChapStick. It’s very smooth and smells great!

Pixi Lash Booster Mascara (≈ $8.50)

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I’m not too crazy about this mascara. It isn’t bad, but it isn’t the best mascara I’ve ever tried. It doesn’t add much volume, but gives decent length. The biggest downside is that it makes my lashes crispy. I think this might be from my primer, but without it, the mascara doesn’t stay; it smears under my eyes.

TOTAL BAG PRICE: ≈ $41.29

I’m sorry that this has literally taken months to get out! I know all of this info is kind of irrelevant because it’s so old :/ I wasn’t even going to post all of this in an individual post, but I already had it saved up as a draft, so I thought I might as well. I just received my November bag in the mail today, so I’m probably going to just highlight the products that I used the most in the other bags so that I can get caught up.

♡ Melissa

Ipsy Bag: July 2013

If you read my update post, you would know that my first Ipsy bag was damaged. I expected Ipsy to replace one item, because it’s their policy, but I was pleasantly surprised when I received a whole new bag. The second bag was different from my first, so I got more than 5 products this month.

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This month’s theme was “Beach Beauty” and the items I received were:

  1. BH Cosmetics California Collection Eyeshadow Sampler (2)
  2. Coola Mineral Sunscreen SPF 20 Unscented
  3. Pop Beauty Pouty Pop Crayons in Coral Crush and Rose Romance
  4. Derma e Microdermabrasion Scrub
  5. Benetint
  6. Big Sexy Hair Weather Proof Hairspray and Healthy Sexy Hair Soy Renewal Beach Spray

BH Cosmetics California Collection Eyeshadow Sampler (≈ $2.69 each)

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Upon first glance, I had high hopes for this eyeshadow trio. I’d received BH Cosmetics samples before and those were always great. On top of that, the packaging and shadow sizes are a huge improvement from the previous ones. Unfortunately, this sample fell flat. I was not impressed with the pigmentation at all. It took numerous swipes to get the color to pay off. Also, they aren’t very creamy. Of the three colors, the gold one from the Malibu was the best. It was the most pigmented and the smoothest. The purple is no where near as dark as it looks in the pan and middle color is more bronze-y in swatch, which I would love if the pay off was good.

Coola Mineral Sunscreen SPF 20 Unscented (≈ $4.87)

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There isn’t much to say about this product. It’s a sunscreen. In reality, I like it, but I wouldn’t pay full price for it. I like that it doesn’t have that typical sunscreen-y scent and that it’s not greasy. It goes on like a normal moisturizer, but obviously has SPF.

Pop Beauty Pouty Pop Crayons in Coral Crush and Rose Romance (≈ $4.17 each)

Pouty Pop Crayon

This product instantly made me think of the Tarte LipSurgence lip tints. I like the right coral color, but it’s not the most flattering on my lips. When I saw that I got a second one, I was excited, but that one ended up being like a nude. I doesn’t look good on its own, but I use it as a concealer so that others colors will be more bright. Overall, you get a decent amount of product. Unlike the Tarte lip tints, when you twist the product all the way up, you get quite a bit. These lip crayons are pretty moisturizing and the longevity isn’t too bad. The first time I used one, I ate, and went to retouch to find out that it wasn’t necessary. The one thing that this product doesn’t do is “create a plumped and pillowy pout.” There is zero plumping done.

Derma e Microdermabrasion Scrub ($16.25)

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I was most excited to test out this product! I love everything and anything skin related. I’m especially crazy about microdermabrasion treatments. Anything that helps to clear skin and fade scars, I’m all over. This product contains dead sea salt along with volcanic sand to help break up scar tissue and exfoliate. It also has lime and lemon peel astringents which gives it its heavenly scent.  I’ve used the product three times, so I can’t tell if its helped to clear my scars, but my skin always feels smooth after using it. Though I can’t tell yet if it’s working, I’m hoping that I’ll see some results in a couple of months!

Benetint ($6.00) benetint

I received a sample of Benetint before from a Sephora lip package, and I was thrilled to try it out because I heard so many people raving about it. In the end, I didn’t think it was that great, so I ended up giving it away. When I saw that I got it again in this month’s bag, I was curious about trying it out again, thinking I might like it a second time around. In the end, I didn’t really care for it. I really wanted to love it because so many others did, but as of right now, it’s not too exciting for me.

Big Sexy Hair Weather Proof Hairspray and Healthy Sexy Hair Soy Renewal Beach Spray (≈ $7.80/$6.65)

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I got my first July package the same week as my senior pictures. When I was that I got the weather proof hairspray over the beach spray, I was disappointed. I was hoping to get it because I wore headband curls and I wanted that beach-y look. Though I preferred the beach spray, I was still happy with the hairspray. I was hoping that it would keep my waves in tact in the Houston humidity. In the end, I feel like that spray did an okay job. When looking in the mirror and in person, my waves looked intact, but unfortunately, in my senior portraits, my hair looked surprisingly flat. As for the beach spray, I haven’t personally used it, but lent it to my cousin. She’s been experimenting with beach waves herself (for her Vegas trip) and I told her she could test out the spray.

TOTAL BAG PRICE: ≈ $55.29

That’s it! I’m already at work testing out all the items I got in my August bag, so hopefully it’ll be out soon! (I know I say that all the time :P)

I hope everyone is enjoying the last week before school! I’m personally really busy and should be working on summer assignments, but I would rather blog and share all things beauty with you guys!

♡ Melissa

 

Back to School: Beginner’s Makeup Essentials (For the Minimalist)

With school starting again in a couple of weeks, I know many of you are making preparations. In my case, I went to get my school ID on Monday, and next week I’m going to get my schedule, locker, and textbooks.

I knew I was going to get my ID that day, and I planned on putting on a light face of makeup, but that didn’t happen. Instead of getting ready like I should have, I was lounging around and finishing an episode of Law & Order: SVU (I know. I’ve been told I’m a old person in a young person’s body). In the end, I put on face makeup and did my brows. I didn’t do anything else. No lipgloss, eye liner, or mascara. This was extremely regrettable because my picture came out awful. Hopefully, when I go back in to get my off campus ID I’ll be able to take a new pic like I did last year.

Anyways, this little mishap made me think that I should make a post about a makeup essentials for beginners, especially with school around the corner. I know that there are a gazillion videos covering this topic on Youtube (I used to watch them myself), but I feel like they still include a lot of products for beginners. This inspired me to make my own post with products that I wear daily to school.

I’m calling this a beginners/minimalist bag because I feel like I’m including only products that you truly need. Just these products alone will make a difference without looking like someone else. So in this post, I’ve included what I think are the basics, but I also talk about some extras that I think also help maintain and enhance your look without going overboard. Like Bobby Brown always says, makeup is about enhancing what you have.

The Minimalist

1. Makeup Sponge/ 2. BB Cream/ 3. Lash Primer and Mascara/ 4. Under Eye Concealer and Highlighter/ 5. Liquid Eyeliner/ 6. Lip Stain/ 7. Brow Brush, Gel, and Pencil/ 8. Face Concealer (Not captured. I forgot it :/)

Makeup Sponge/Blush Brush

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Makeup Sponge from Marshalls and Blush/Bronzer brush from a brush kit at Walmart

In order to apply my face makeup, I either use my Beautyblender-esque sponge or this blush/bronzer blush. I like using the sponge because I feel like it gives nice, even coverage, and I can use it under my eyes. The downside is that it can take some time to completely blend everything out. On top of that, you have to clean it every once in a while, which I’m pretty bad at. For days when I’m rushing, I’ll use the brush. It’s supposed to be for bronzing and blush, but it resembles a stippling brush, so that’s what I use it as. In general, I like using these two items over a actual foundation brush because the product blends easier and doesn’t leave any streaks.

My sponge was from Marshalls for around $5. I’m not sure how it compares to the real Beautyblender, but I refuse to pay $20  on a makeup sponge. The brush is from a random set that I got from Walmart. Though the brush isn’t the softest one out there, it gets the job done and is affordable.

BB Cream/Tinted Moisturizer

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Cover Girl CG Smoothers BB Cream and E.L.F Tinted Moisturizer SPF 20

Every morning, I either use BB Cream (though I don’t recommend the one above, I’m just trying to use it up) or tinted moisturizer. For everyday makeup, I choose these because I’m just going to school, I don’t need heavy coverage. Not to mention that wearing high coverage foundations every day is bad for your skin.

This Cover Girl BB Cream is the only drug store one I’ve tried, but I’ve heard many good things about the Garnier one. As for this E.L.F tinted moisturizer, I think it’s great for the price. I think it was about around $3 at Target. They also have numerous shades so if should be fairly easy to find one that matches. Online, Urban Decay is having a big sale, so you can get their Urban Defense Tinted Moisturizer for $5!! This is such a steal, with the original price being $30.

Concealer (I can’t believe I forgot this at home -_-)

When you use face makeup with lighter coverage, odds are you’re going to see any dark spots or hyper pigmentation that you have. Because of this, I use a concealer. The one I use contains salicylic acid and helps with any breakouts. Since this concealer is for acne prone skin, it’s not very creamy. If you have acne, I really recommend the Almay Clear Complexion Blemish Healing Spot Concealer. It’s my go to; I think this is my 3rd or 4th tube.

If you don’t have acne and want a creamier concealer, try out the Hard Candy Glamoflauge concealer ($6). I purchased mine from WalMart, but never use it because the color isn’t right.

Under Eye Concealer/Highlighter

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Tarina Tarantino Eye Dream Hyperlight and Almay Bright Eyes Eye Base + Concealer

If you’re in high school, chances are you have dark circles from staying up late because you were on the computer or watching TV for 3 hours instead of doing your work. Since this describes me to a tee, concealer and highlighter are my best friend. Many under eye concealers now claim to conceal and highlight, but I use two separate products because that’s just what I have. First I conceal the dark circle, blend with my sponge, then add a pink highlighter and blend again. For your under eye concealer, it’s best to get one that that is 2 shades lighter than your face. This in itself will highlight and brighten the entire area. You can also use your highlighter, if you have one, on any high points on your face, like the bridge of your nose or your cheekbones. Of course this is optional. I don’t normally do this step.

The under eye concealer I’m using is Alway Bright Eyes, which I think is the old version of the Almay Wake-Up Under Eye Concealer. This one is really gross and I need to get a new one that is lighter, but I haven’t gotten around to it. As for my highlighter, I use the Tarina Tarantino Eye Dream Hyperlight which is actually discontinued.  I might end up getting the Maybelline Dream Lumi Touch, Maybelline Instant Age Rewind Eraser, or the Rimmel Match Perfection Concealer to replace these products. There is also the very affordable E.L.F Studio Duo Concealer and Highlight ($3).

Brow Products

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E.L.F Wet Gloss Lash & Brow Clear Mascara, Brow Brush, Chella Eyebrow Defining Gel, and N.Y.C Brow/Eye Liner Pencil

I’m sure doing your brows doesn’t seem like a crucial step, but it is. Your brows frame for face, so defining them and filling them in will instantly make you look less disheveled or more polished. I know many people do their brows with powder, but I would rather use pencil. I use a cheapy NYC eyeliner/brow pencil, which works surprisingly well. In my opinion, using powder makes your brows look fake and kinda like they’ve been tattooed on. To finish up my brows, I coat them with brow gel. You can either use brow gel, brow wax, or clear mascara. I currently use Chella brow gel, but that’s because I got it in an Ipsy bag. I really like it, but it’s surprisingly expensive. When I’m done with it, I’ll go back to my E.L.F mascara/brow gel duo (I just use both sides for my brows.)

Eyeliners

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My favorite of each kind of liner. Top to bottom: Maybelline Eyestudio Lasting Drama Gel Liner in Blackest Black, Be a Bombshell Liquid Liner in Onyx, Make Up For Ever Aqua Eyes Liner in 2L

For the most part, I use black liquid liner on a daily. Occasionally, I’ll use pencil when I want to use brown for a more natural look. Of course you can use liquid, pencil, or gel. As for colors, I would suggest black, brown, or a dark plum. If you’re just starting to use liner, I suggest using pencil because it’ll be the easiest to apply. The downside to this is that, I feel like pencil has the shortest longevity. If you have oily skin, I’ve found that even the higher end liners, like Urban Decay’s 24 Hour Glide-On Liners, still smear. The same goes for gel liner; it collects in the order of my eyes after extensive wear. In my experience, it lasts much longer than pencil, but this probably takes the most time and skill. Though gel is often the most pigmented, I would advise against it since it takes longer to apply. Now on to my personal preference! I love using felt tip liquid liners because once you get the hang of it, they’re quick and don’t budge (usually). Liquid liner is the Mama Bear of liners. I find that it’s not the easiest to use, but not the hardest either.

*Note: Sometimes I use eye primer before applying my liner. I do this because it can help the liner go on smoother and last longer. I don’t do this all the time, but I’ll do it on days that are especially hot. I currently use the Mirabella primer that was included in my Ipsy bag, but there are many drug store alternatives. There is the NYX HD Eye Shadow Base ($7), NYX Eye Shadow Base ($7), Milani Eyeshadow Primer, and the E.L.F Eye Primer & Liner Sealer ($3). Another optional step if you have extra time is to highlight your eyes. Even when I first started out, I used white liner to line my lower waterline and inner corners to brighten my eyes. Unfortunately, it doesn’t last all day on my skin, but I still like having it. I don’t always do this step, but it really does help you to look more awake.

The liners I use:

Pencil- Make Up Forever Aqua Eyes in 2L, Tarte emphasEYES inner rim brightener —–> Drugstore options are: Rimmel Scandaleyes Waterproof Kohl Kajal (Black, Sparkling Black, Nude, Purple, Brown) or Milani Liquid Eye Liners (Black, Brown, Graphite, Perfectly Perfect)

Liquid- Be a Bombshell Liqud Liner in Onyx (I haven’t heard of any good liquid liners, and I’ve never tried any from the drug store, but with a quick search, you’ll be able to find plenty of recommendations.)

Gel- Maybelline Eyestudio Maybelline Eyestudio Lasting Drama Gel Liner in Blackest Black

Mascara

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Diorshow Maximizer Lash Plumping Serum, Maybelline The Falsies Volum’ Express, Cover Girl NatureLuxe Mousse

Mascara is my absolute favorite makeup product. If I could only have one beauty item, it would be mascara. Mascara paired with liner really helps to open your eyes and make them appear bigger. Before I apply any mascara, I first use the Diorshow Maximizer Lash Plumping Serum. This primer is amazing! I’ll be honest, at $28.50, it’s crazy expensive, but totally worth the splurge in my opinion. Like any other primer, it helps to extend the longevity of your makeup. It gives my lashes a slight curl without having to use a curler (I stopped using it since my lashes are so thin and can break easily). It also keeps my mascara from transferring and I don’t get raccoon eyes throughout the day (Of course this is optional if you have long, luscious lashes or if you use waterproof mascara). After that, I go on to mascara. My favorite drug store mascaras are Maybelline Falsies, Cover Girl NatureLuxe Mousse Mascara, and Flower Zoom-In Ultimate Mascara. Falsies is great. The wand it big, which means that mascara can get on your lid, but the wand is super flexible which allows you to coat all your lashes quickly. The NatureLuxe mascara is a bit expensive for a drug store product, but it is less harsh and has a nice honey scent. It has a thinner brush, which lets you get at the base of your lashes and makes them look great. Lastly, the Zoom-In Ultimate mascara is the coolest, but on the pricer side. It has three wands! Just a turn of the knob and you can lengthen, curl, and volumize. The con to this is that you spend more time applying mascara, which may not be the best thing to do if you’re in a rush.

Lip Stain

Lip Stain

I think lip stain is the best lip product because it gives your lips color without being sticky or too shiny. It is especially ideal for me because, believe it or not, I don’t retouch my makeup throughout the day. I’m horrible at it. Even if I go to the bathroom, I barely allow myself a glance because I’m either in a rush or someone else is hogging the mirror. Since I don’t retouch my makeup, the stain will obviously, stain my lips for a while, and I don’t have to apply it as often as I would any other lip product. You can also apply it without a mirror, which may not be the case with lipstick.

This Josie Maran lip stain was from my one of my Ipsy bags and I love it. I know it’s also a cheek stain, but I never really use it. I don’t feel the need to have blush or cheek tint on a daily basis. 5Other lip stain-ish alternatives are the Revlon Colorstay Just Bitten Lipstain + Balm and Revlon Just Bitten Kissable Balm Stain. I haven’t tried any of these, but I have a friend that likes the balm stain. The thing about the balm stain is that initially it looks like a a lipstick and then eventually stains. On the downside, I think it can be a tad drying (based on what I’ve seen). Another option for those that want something more moisturizing is a tinted lip balm like the ones from Softlips or Burt’s Bees.

Now that I’m done talking about the essentials, here are some optional products that are included in my routine:

Face Primer

For me, primers are a complete must! Especially since I have oily skin or live in an area with sweltering heat. If you don’t have greasy skin, you can go without it. This is an absolute necessity for me because if without it, I would look like a grease ball within an hour and my makeup would just melt off. The primer I just got was Benefit’s 15 Hour Primer. This primer is crazy expensive, but it works. For drug store alternatives, I would try E.L.F Mineral Infused Face Primer, which I used when I first started out, or maybe even L’Oreal Studio Secrets Magic Perfecting Base (I’ve never tried this, but heard it was good).

Setting Powder and Spray

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Urban Decay De-Slick Oil Control Makeup Setting Spray

Like primers, setting products are only necessary if you live in a place that is scorching or if you have oily skin. I don’t wear powder regularly. I normally only put it on when I actually remember. I guess I often forget about powder is because I don’t have it on hand. I actually use rice flour and just dust in over my face. For the most part though, I use setting spray. The spray I use is Urban Decay’s De-Slick setting spray. I’m using the old formula. To be honest, I’m not sure if this actually helps, but just the thought of having it makes me feel a little better. Whichever setting spray you use, make sure you read the directions correctly. For example, mine says to spray just before applying face makeup and then again your you’re done with your makeup. The only drug store alternative I’ve seen is the E.L.F Makeup Mist & Set ($3), which I’ve never tried.

Blotting Sheets (optional)

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E.L.F Shine Eraser Blotting Sheets

This is another product that is helpful if you have oily skin. I always keep a pack of these in my backpack, but I’m really bad at actually using them. Hopefully, I’ll be better about it this year!

These E.L.F sheets are crazy inexpensive! They’re only $1! Unfortunately, I think they’re only sold online. You could also try the NYX Blotting Paper ($6). They have various kinds (Matte, Fresh Face, Green Tea, Tea Tree) depending on what you need. Until now, I didn’t even know they made them, so I’ll probably give them a try. Another alternative is the Clean and Clear ones, which are the most expensive (around $8), but have a nice case that allows you to drab one sheet at a time.

So if you’ve gotten this far, I know you’ve just read a lot of words- so here’s some picture evidence for you! (A picture’s worth a thousand words, right?)

before and after

On the left, you have my super gross ID pic, with little makeup. On my face: BB Cream, Under Eye Concealer and Highlighter, Spot Concealer, Brow Pencil and Gel.

And on the right, I have pictures from before, during, and after the Jonas Brothers Concert. On my face: Tinted Moisturizer, Under Eye Concealer and Highlight, Brow Pencil and Gel, Eyeliner, Mascara, and Lip Tint.

I know that lighting needs to be taken into account, along with the fact that you always look better when you take selfies, but you can tell that adding just a few more products really does make a difference. Just these products enhanced my face. There was no need for bronzer, or blush, or even highlighter, because I didn’t highlight the high points of my face!

That’s it for my first back to school post! I hoped that it was helpful :) If you know of/tried any good drug store alternatives for any of products I talked about, please leave them in the comments! I’m always interested in trying out new things. Also, I’m also thinking of making my own agenda this year, so I might have a DIY Agenda tutorial coming up! Like this post for more back to school related posts.

I hope everyone enjoys the rest of their week! <3

~Melissa

Ipsy Bag: June 2013

Hey Wednesday, everyone! Today, I’m here with my June Ipsy Bag. I know it’s taken me forever to post this, so I’ll get right to it.

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This month’s theme was “On the Wild Side” and the products I received were:

  1. Psssst Travel Size Dry Shampoo
  2. NYX Powder Blush in Dusty Rose
  3. Cailyn Cosmetics Line-Fix Gel Liner in Purple
  4. J. Cat Beauty Sparkling Cream Palette
  5. Starlooks Lip Pencil in Tickle Me Pink

Psssst Dry Shampoo ($2.99)

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I’ve heard many great things about this dry shampoo from Youtube, but I never tried it myself. When I saw it was included in this month’s bag, I was excited to try it! Of the two dry shampoos I’ve tried, I think this one is much better. My current shampoo tends to make my hair oily because there are so many conditioners in it, so this is dry shampoo is useful for when I have an oily patch on the back of my head after one night. This dry shampoo, unlike my previous one actually keeps the oil at bay. If I spray it in my hair, and follow the directions correctly, my hair basically stays refreshed in that area.

NYX Powder Blush ($5)

desert rose

Everyone on Youtube raves about these blushes. Since I’m not really a blush person, I’ve never gone out of my way to purchase any. Getting this item in my bag has been great because I’ve discovered how much I like blush. It also made me realize how much it really helps to contour and transform my face. For the price, this blush is amazing. It’s a decent size and really pigmented. Just a couple of strokes with a brush over it and the color transfers. On top of that, it blends easily, which is helpful if you go overboard. The color I received was Desert Rose. It’s a gorgeous dusty pink with a hint of gold shimmer.

Cailyn Line-Fix Gel Liner ($21)

cailyn gel liner

This time around, I made sure I used the products I received multiple times so that I could truly test out how the products performs. While practicing my makeup for the senior portraits, I used this gel liner almost every time. I didn’t end up using it for the real thing because it was purple, but I really like this product. It’s pretty long lasting, without any smudging or smearing. I even had a swatch on my hand and tried to wash it off with soap and water, and I had to do a tiny bit of scrubbing. This impressed me because this product doesn’t claim to have a specific amount of lasting power. Also, it’s pretty convenient since the brush is included in the packaging, though this can be bulky. Even though I like this product, I probably wouldn’t repurchase it again. I feel like for the price, any gel liner from the drug store would do.

J. Cat Sparkling Cream Palette ($4.49)

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When I saw “cream palette” I thought it was eyeshadow and got really excited. Especially since I love all the colors in it. Unfortunately, after reading the packaging, I found out it’s not eyeshadow at all. It’s actually supposed to be used anywhere except the eye area. Since it wasn’t shadow, I didn’t try out this product. I didn’t want to do body art since I hate drawing, and I couldn’t find any other creative way to use this product. Though it was pretty cool that this product was included in my Ipsy bag, I don’t care for it. So far, at this point in time, I don’t have any uses for it, but maybe I’ll be able to find something to do with later.

Starlooks Lip Pencil ($12)

tickle me pink

I tested this product out last because I kept forgetting about it, but I’m so happy I did! I’ve never used a lip liner before because I don’t often wear lipstick, but after testing this one out, I love love love it! The color I got in this month’s bag was Tickle Me Pick, and it is absolutely gorgeous. In swatch, it’s a bright punchy pink, but looks more mauve-y in on my lips. This liner is really smooth and easy to work with. It also lasts longer than expected. I applied some, ate dinner, and the color was still on my lips. Another thing about this lip liner is that it’s pigmented and creamy enough to use on it’s own. Even though it’s creamy, I wouldn’t say it’s moisturizing; a lip balm should be applied with it.

TOTAL BAG PRICE: $45.48

That’s it for this month’s bag! I apologize again for taking so long to get this out. Hopefully, I’ll have my July Bag up before I get the August Bag.

What were your thoughts on the June Bag? What were your favorite products?

~Melissa

Update: Senior Pics and July Ipsy Bag

Hey guys! Happy Friday!

So this is just another update. I’m still working on my June Bag post; I actually took the pictures for it yesterday, so that should be up shortly. I also went home yesterday for the first time this week and received my July Ipsy bag. Opening the shiny, hot pink envelope is a of highlight of each month. I get so excited! I feel like a kid on Christmas morning! Unfortunately, I was faced with disappoint this month because something in my bag exploded.

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I’m gonna be honest, I don’t know which product it was because everything was sealed. It also didn’t smell like any of the products that I received. I had to assume it was the sunscreen because the packaging was fairly empty. I emailed Ipsy requesting to replace the damaged sunscreen, and it might take a while for them to send it to me. This means that my July post will take even longer than normal (I know right. How is that possible??), since I’ll be waiting for the replacement.

Besides that, I’m taking my senior portraits tomorrow! I’ve been practicing and prepping for a while. I got my eyebrows done Saturday, I’m been experimenting with my Urban Decay Naked 2 palette on and off for about 2 months now, and I got a new face wash. The face wash I got was the acne line from Murad. I’ve used it before, but never continually, so I’ll most likely make a review post on that sometime in the near future. Another aspect I’ve been experimenting with is my hair. For my pictures, I decided to go with light beachy waves. In order to perfect the method for the big day, I’ve been practicing and modifying my technique. Hopefully, I’ll be able to get a tutorial for my headband curls if ya’ll are interested!

As for the makeup, I received my Naked 2 palette last year for Christmas, but this is the first time I’ve really broken it in. Though I love all things beauty, I’m not that great with eyeshadow. For the longest time, I never had to use it. I didn’t party (awkward, nerdy kids don’t get invited to things like that), and my dad was against me wearing so much makeup. Now that I’m a little older, he doesn’t mind it as much. Also, I felt like experimenting with such a high quality product was a waste. I felt like I should just stick to Elf palettes and other products from the drug store. But then one day, I just said screw it! I had it, so why not use it? It would have been a waste all the same if I just let it sit there. With this new frame of mind, I began putting on makeup every day, even if I was at home. While my family thought this was silly, what better way to improve and hone my skills? If it looked awful, then I would be at home and no one would see it. Plus, if I never practiced, how would I expect to get better? Everyone has to start somewhere. All those wonderful gurus on Youtube weren’t born knowing how to apply flawless makeup. They were passionate about it and got better and more creative every time. Since I’m starting to get more comfortable with the palette, I’ve started using multiple combinations of the colors, but my eye looks have never been super defined or smokey. They are more neutral, but that’s because I’m not yet comfortable wearing smokey makeup during the day.

If you follow my Instagram, you’ve probably seen some of the looks I’ve been playing with without even noticing it.

you can see my headband curls here ^

I know you can’t really see any of the colors and what not, but whatever.

I hope everyone is enjoying their Friday and that you have a great rest of the week! Wish me luck tomorrow!

What do you think I should do for my nails? Also, if you want a post/tutorial about anything I’ve talked about, like this post and let me know in the comments!

~Melissa