June Beauty Products Haul

Hello my blog-reading beauties! With it being wedding season and all, I recently purchased some new things for my kit (and let’s face it, for myself) and wanted to share my finds with you.

I normally do video hauls, but to be honest, they haven’t been getting many views and since I have way more blog readers than Youtube viewers (3,000-6,000 of you visit my site a month, wow!)  I thought blogging about my finds would make more sense.

QUICK ANNOUNCEMENT

Because of low viewership, I won’t be doing any more makeup hauls on my Youtube channel. It just takes SO much time and effort to create a concept, film a tutorial, then edit it, so if no one’s going to watch them, it’s not worth it. I’ll still be doing makeup tutorial videos, and if there is a look you would like to see, please let me know in the comments below, I aim to please!

Ok, back to the fun stuff:

Ben Nye Banana Luxury Powder

Ben Nye’s Banana Luxury Powder has been around for years and is a favorite among television and movie makeup artists. At my friend Ashleigh’s urging, I bought it at Naimie’s last week. Micro-milled for a silky texture, Luxury Powders are translucent with just a hint of color and have a superior matte finish. It feels velvety and gives the skin a soft-focus finish. This particular shade is wonderful for people with olive undertones (Asian and Latino decent) and those with dark to deep-dark skin (African descent, etc). I recommend dusting a small amount under the eyes and down the bridge of the nose with a fiber optic brush. The fiber optic brush allows you to pick up a small amount of the powder, which is all you need. Do NOT pack this stuff on if you plan on taking pictures, because it will flash back and make you look white. A light hand and fiber optic brush are your best bet! And at $9 for 1.5 ounces, it’s a steal.

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Too Faced Chocolate Soleil Medium-Deep Bronzer

This chocolate-scented, shimmer-free, matte bronzer is perfect for contouring and creating an all-over deep tan using real antioxidant-rich cocoa powder. To quote Too Faced’s creator, Jared Blandino, “It’s all the tan without the twinkle!” EVERY client I have used this bronzer on has sighed loudly over the chocolatey scent. The color payoff is amazing too. AND cruelty-free. Thank you, I’ll take 10 more.

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Illamasqua Skin Base

Illamasqua’s top seller and rightfully so. Having oily skin, I was concerned that this HD foundation would go greasy on me, as Makeup For Ever’s HD foundation sometimes does, but guess what: it’s gave me a natural finish (not dewy, not matte) with medium coverage and lasts all day. It’s truly suitable for all skin types! Its hydrating formula primes, controls shine, hydrates, and smooths your skin while providing natural, buildable coverage. The only downside? The hefty $42 price tag. But some things are worth the money, and finding the perfect cruelty-free foundation that you can buy over and over again is priceless.

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Purity Facial Cleansing Gel

I’m a huge fan of the original Purity cleanser by Philosophy. It’s creamy texture doesn’t lather up, but does do a good job of gently removing my makeup without drying my skin out. When I saw that Philosophy came out with a foaming gel version of it, my eyes lit up. Instead of replenishing my usual Purity cleanser, I went for the re-up. This stuff is EVEN BETTER than the original. The gel foams up and the bubbles leave your skin feeling squeaky-clean. Sometimes with the regular Purity, I still have to use makeup remover to get the remainder of my mascara and black liner. Not with the foaming gel, baby. I got out of the shower and saw that my face was completely clean and ready for bed.

My recommendation: if you have sensitive or dry skin, stick to the regular Purity. The cream texture will feed your skin and is a lot more mild. If you are normal-to-oily, time for you to try the Purity Foaming Gel.

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NYX Soft Matte Lip Cream in Antwerp

The beauty world has been abuzz about NYX’s moisturizing matte lip creams, so I finally got my hands on some at Ulta. This is a soft coral-pink color that looks flattering on everyone. It’s beautiful on its own, or topped off with a gloss. Cruelty-free and fabulous! I especially love this for my older clients- it has the ability to blur the fine lines you sometimes find on your lips.

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China Glaze Shocking Pink

You guys know I have an excessive amount of nail polish (about 100 bottles). This is one of the only polishes that I actually run out of and have to purchase over and over again. It’s a bright, blue-based pink with a neon matte finish (I usually put a shiny top coat over it) It’s PERFECT for all skin tones and has the magical power to make your hands and feet look tan and sexy. PROOF: a grown man walked into the MAC store I was freelancing at last week and told me I had “pretty feet.” No one has ever told me that before. And I’m willing to bet it’s all thanks to this gorgeous neon polish.

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Contour Makeup Brushes

Hi beauties! Contouring the face has made a huge comeback on the runways and the red carpet. Everyone from models to celebrities are chiseled to perfection using matte bronzers and darker-toned powders. But the key to making this look work for you is in the tools: brushes. We are going to go over the three different kinds of contouring brushes below. And of course all of them are from cruelty-free brands– why use animal hair when synthetic works just as well?

Contouring Diagram
Contour & Highlight Diagram

Illamasqua Blush Up Brush

This is a great brush for people with oval, narrow, elongated face shapes or those of you with very tiny features.

Illamasqua’s brand-new addition to their brush collection is the Blush Up Blush. This brush has a genius ellipse-shaped head, designed to tuck directly under the cheekbone. The special shape creates a soft diffusion of color up onto the cheekbone and it’s still small enough to drag down the side of your nose (a slimming trick!).

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Illamasqua Blush-Up Brush: Sold online and at Sephora stores nationwide.

Bdellium Tools Precision Airbrushed Effect #957

This flat-top Kabuki-style brush is fantastic for contouring wider or round -shaped faces.

1) Dip the flat edge of the brush into your bronzer/dark powder and pull down on your cheekbone, starting from next to your ear. It may seem strange to put bronzer by your ear, but it actually looks much more natural starting from there. Bring the edge of the brush down the sides of your neck so you look even.

2)Blend everything in with the top of the brush.

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Cozzette S120 The Diamond Blender

This tapered blending brush is ideal for all face shapes.

The Diamond is a soft couture blending brush that was designed as a foundation brush, but also performs beautifully as a contour brush. The unique tapered shape creates seamless blending. Dip the tip of the Diamond into your bronzer/dark powder and buff this under your cheekbones starting from the ear and down. The tip of the brush will map out your contour and the fluffy texture is great for blending.

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Summer Festival Makeup

Heading out to EDC or other raves and clubs this summer? Stand out in the crowd with these glow-mazing UV makeup products! Glow-in-the-dark cosmetics isn’t just for Halloween anymore. These  products look nice and normal under regular light, then super bright (and fierce!) under black light. With so many options, you can choose to light up your eyes, lips or nails.

Stila After Glow Lip Color:

Stila’s lip crayons come in six brighter-than-the-80’s shades that will come alive under UV black light. The formula’s secret ingredient is fluorescent pigments which allow it to glow. Other ingredients include algae extract, sunflower seed oil and vitamins C and E, so it glides on and hydrates your lips while you dance the night away.

Stila DayNite

Makeup For Ever Fluo Night

These super fine powder pigments come in eight shades, including an “invisible” white that shows only under UV black light. The powders can be used on the eyes, lips or body. I love using these as eyeliners! I recommend wetting them for a more intense “glow.” Check out the beautiful editorials below…if they don’t want to make you run out to the nearest rave in some tacky furry go-go boots I don’t know what will.

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Illamasqua UV Glow Nail Varnish

I wrote about this in a recent post, and just had to mention them again here. Illamasqua debuted three shades of these UV Nail Varnishes in their “Paranormal” summer launch. They have a beautiful opacity under regular light, then turn into neon “monsters” under black lights. Illamasqua also carries a clear top coat version of this formula called Geist, which will turn any nail polish you have into a UV black light masterpiece. Who needs glow sticks when you got glow-fingers?!

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Would you wear any of these products?

Summer Collections: Illamasqua Paranormal

Illamasqua is known for their out of the ordinary campaigns and this summer’s “Paranormal” launch is no different. Check out the beautiful visuals for this haunting collection!

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Alex Box, head makeup artist for Illamasqua, created these enchanting makeup looks

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“Why be normal, when you can be Paranormal?”

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Paranormal Palette: $46.50

These four unique water-resistant eye shadows are combined in a cream-to-powder formula.

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Illamasqua Gleam in Supernatural: $26

The Gleams are light weight iridescent creams that are perfect for highlighting cheekbones. Here’s Supernatural, a beautiful bronze. Peep Aurora, a bone-pearl shade, HERE.gleam_supernatural_image

Illamasqua Lipstick in ESP: $24

ESP is a vivid violet with a matte finish.image

Illamasqua Lipstick in Posture: $24

Posture is a cool mauve with a matte finish.image_1

My favorite part of this collection are these limited edition UV Nail Varnishes!p-gallery03

There are a total of three shades and one clear polish. Click HERE to check them all out!

Here’s Seance, a plummy pink shade that turns neon under blacklight. I NEED THIS!

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The Best Smoky Eyeshadows For Your Skin Tone

Hello my beauties, today we are going to talk about smoky eyes. Everyone wants them, and everyone is equally afraid to try them. Many people fall victim to smearing black eyeshadow all over their eyes and ending up with a “raccoon eyes” result.

Here’s the solution: smoky eyes don’t always mean black eye shadow. Every skin tone has a shade of shadow that gives the effect of a smoky eye, and that’s not always black. If you’re an expert, then by all means, go ahead with the blackest shadows money can buy. For the rest of us, here’s a cheat sheet to help pick the right shade of smoky for your skin tone.

MY GOLDEN RULE FOR ALL SKIN TONES:

The darker the shadow, the more MATTE it should be. Stay away from frosty blacks to avoid shadow fallout and muddiness.

Fair/Light Skin

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If you are super pale, (including many Asian skin tones) then you have to be especially careful with dark eye shadows. I suggest sticking to varying shades of grey. Feline or Incubus shadows by Illamasqua are perfect for you.

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Sweep a light grey all over the lid, buff in a dark grey into the crease. Line your water line with a dark grey pencil. Dot the inner corners of your eyes with a pale, shimmering silver.

Medium Skin

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If you are medium-skinned, swap out your black shadow for dark plums. Makeup For Ever Eye Shadow in #160 is a winner. Pat a lavender or silver shadow on the lid, and buff in a dark, MATTE plum color in the crease. Line your waterline with a black pencil.

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Olive/Medium-Dark Skin

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Olive and Medium-Dark skin tones usually have golden undertones. What goes with golden? Deep, dark teal. Plumage by MAC is a gorgeous matte blackened-teal that will give you a soft, smoky eye. Pat a frosty dark grey on the lid. Buff the dark matte teal in your crease. Use a black pencil in your waterline and you’re set.

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Dark Skin

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If you have dark skin, you can totally get away with using a matte black eye shadow like Crave by Urban Decay. If you aren’t feeling confident you can always substitute the black for a rich brown or even a velvety maroon like Inglot’s Matte #326. Pat a shimmery brown all over your lid then buff the dark matte brown (or maroon) into your crease. Fill the waterline with a black pencil and you’re set.

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Deep Dark

Deep Dark

Deep dark skin tones like Alek Wek almost always need a rich black eye shadow to intensify even an every-day look. To off-set the black in the crease, I suggest patting a metallic eyeshadow all over your eye lid. The bright metal pigment will push your eyelids forward while the black eyeshadow will deepen your crease, giving you a beautiful 3-dimensional look. You can’t go wrong with MAC’s Woodwinked eye shadow and Urban Decay’s matte black shadow in Crave.

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Ebony & Ivory: Makeup for Very Pale and Deep Dark Skin

Hello beauties! For those of you with extremely light and super dark skin, finding foundations and concealers to match your skin tone can be challenging. Unfortunately, not every makeup brand out there has a broad range of shades and it’s frustrating when you are at the makeup counter and everything you try either looks patchy, ashy or gray. Diptic(1)

Below I’ve compiled a list of companies who cater specifically to your skin tones.

PALE SKIN:

Dainty Doll by Nicola Roberts – This U.K. line focuses on makeup specifically for women with very light skin.
MAC Cosmetics – MAC is known for their extensive shades in foundations and concealers and also carries white pigments that can be added to regular foundations to lighten them.
Illamasqua Illamasqua is also known for carrying an endless variety in shades in foundations and concealers and carries white pigments as well.

DEEP DARK SKIN:

BlackUp Paris This French line is specifically catered to women of color and offers a variety of shades.

Iman Cosmetics – Another brand specifically designed for women of color, supermodel Iman is the woman behind the brand. What I especially love is that she carries BB cream in a ton of darker shades! It’s very hard to find BB creams for dark skin, as this product was first created in Asia for lighter-skinned women.

Black Opal Beauty – Another brand specifically designed for women of color, what I love most about them is the amazingly low prices! You can score a foundation stick for just under $10.

MAC Cosmetics (some good foundations for deeper skin tones – MAC full coverage foundation has a black foundation used to mix if needed)

Illamasqua (very good deep foundations including a pure black)

TIP FOR PALE SKIN

WHITE PIGMENT- If you have a foundation you already love, a great option is to add a pure white pigment to your product. MAC sells their sheer Face & Body Foundation in White, but it’s only sold in the Pro stores. Click HERE and scroll to the bottom for a list of the Pro chstore locations worldwide. If you don’t live near a MAC Pro, you can always call the nearest store to you and have it shipped. Illamasqua also carries a white foundation in form of their ever-popular Skin Base online HERE. If you want sheer coverage, use MAC’s Face & Body White. If you want medium coverage, go to Illamasqua’s Skin Base in 01. These two products can really enhance your foundations and stay true to your milky complexion.

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TIPS FOR DEEP DARK SKIN

BLACK PIGMENT- Similar to the pale skin/white foundation theory, your deep dark skin can benefit from mixing black pigments into your foundation. I suggest applying the foundation that matches closest to your skin all over, then contour the sides of your face with Illamasqua’s Powder Foundation in Charcoal Black. This will bring out the dimensions in your facial structure and give you an HD look. Illamasqua also carries their Rich Liquid Foundation in a black with warm brown undertones, and this can actually be mixed in with your liquid foundations to darken them.

DARK ORANGE POWDERS WITH SHIMMER- Applying a shimmer powder to your cheekbones and T zone will prevent the look of flat skin. I am obsessed with using MAC’s Magically Cool Liquid Powder in Cajun on my darker-skinned clients. The burnt orange undertones and shimmer make any deep dark skin glow perfectly. If you can’t find a specific color-correcting powder, look for it in form of a blush or a bronzer. There are many uses for products, don’t get stuck in the same rut!

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Holiday Gift Ideas for the Beauty-Obsessed

It’s about that time again, folks! Starbucks is playing acoustic Christmas tunes and every large man with a white beard is at your local mall taking photos with screaming children in a red suit. I thought I’d get a head start before Thanksgiving and bring you some of my favorite holiday sets that are available this season.

I scoured the nearby Sephoras, Ultas and Naimies and after careful consideration, chose two gift sets for each of these five categories: Eyes, Lips, Face, Nails and Brushes. Read below for the good stuff…

EYES

Lorac Pro Palette $45

As a makeup artist, I haven’t been very impressed with most of the eyeshadow kits that have been released, simply because almost every shade in them is a frosty shimmer. A good eyeshadow palette should consist of mattes and shimmers that you can use together without your eyes turning into a glittery, muddy mess. Lorac pulled through with this beautiful collection that comes with an eye primer.

Laura Mercier Artist Palette for Eyes $48

I love that the top row is all light shimmers and the bottom row is mostly dark mattes. This is how it should be! Don’t be fooled by other brands’ eye catching packaging, these two palettes may look simple but as the saying goes, it’s what’s on the inside that counts.

LIPS

Sephora Favorites Give Me Some Lips Gift Box $25

This is a thoughtful gift for a young woman who is just starting out in the makeup world. It gives her teen-friendly nudes and pinks (which happen to be Sephora’s best-sellers) that she can add to her budding collection. And at $25 it’s truly a steal.

Fresh Sugar Addiction Mini Lip Collection $48

True to its name, these Fresh Sugar lip balms are addicting. I rarely buy the same product over and over again, but I buy these like my life depends on them. I use the clear one at bed time, and the tinted ones under every lipstick. They feel amazing and really soften your lips. What’s great about these minis is their  size is perfect for traveling or just throwing in your purse. All ages will benefit from this band of lip balms.

FACE

Too Faced Holiday Face Kit $46

I adore this cruelty-free brand! Their makeup is moderately priced and the products are of great, non-animal-abuse quality. This particular set comes with everything you need for an everyday, girly look. What’s included: Shadow Insurance Eye Primer, Primed and Poreless Face Primer, a black waterproof eye liner, LashGasm Mascara, a face brush, six neutral eye shadows, two blushes (one peachy-pink and one bronzer-ish), two lip glosses and this baby blue plush velveteen bag that looks to be machine-washable. SIGN ME UP!

Makeup For Ever HD Complexion Kit $79

Here’s another product I keep going back to: Makeup For Ever’s HD line of face-wear has my heart, now and forever. This is a great way to give the makeup lover in your life a fresh start for the new year. This kit comes with their famous HD powder (nothing compares to this, I promise!), a cute kabuki-style fiber-optic brush for air-brushed-looking application, the HD primer and the love of my winter skin-life, the HD foundation. What’s cool about this kit is that it comes standard with the first three products, then you pick up your own shade of foundation and stick it in the box. Genius, right?

NAILS

Illamasqua Nail Duo $25

Spoil the nail art-obsessed person in your life with these fancy, limited edition nail varnishes by Illamasqua called Viridian and Glitterati. Chances are that your nail lover already has a ton of the drug store brand variety, so she’ll swoon over these.

Red Carpet Limited Edition Portable Starter Kit $59.99

What’s that you say? Your nail lover already has every color in the world? Then why not give her a gel manicure starter kit instead? Red Carpet’s version comes with everything she will need to get a salon-status gel manicure, including a portable UV light to effectively cure gel polish that will last up to two weeks. She’ll light up over the technology of it all. Sold exclusively at Ulta.

Sephora Collector’s Edition Premium I.T. Brush Set $68

Every girl needs fancy brushes. This luxurious seven-piece brush set is dipped in a sexy, gold finish. This set includes brushes for Powder, Foundation, Face Contour, Concealer, Shadow, Crease, and Angled Eyeliner. It also comes with a cute Lucite stand.

Sigma Travel Brush Kit in Make Me Classy $65

I adore Sigma brushes and I really loved the simplicity of these. This is great “starter brush set.” Includes all the basics: angle brush, shadow brush, crease brush, smudge brush, contour brush, powder brush and foundation brush. It also comes with an innovative container that turns into a holder for your new tools.

Check out my Pinterest board for more Holiday Gift set ideas HERE