February 2016 Favorites

Milani Supreme Kohl Kajal, Kat Von D Tattoo Liner, elf blush brush, Covergirl Clump Crusher mascara, L’Oreal True Match Lumi Cushion Foundation, Charlotte Tilbury Lip Cheat in Pillow Talk and L’Oreal Colour Riche Extraordinaire lip gloss in Nude Ballet

Yes, I know this is incredibly late. I’m sorry, life got away from me.

February was been a month of discovering things I didn’t really think I’d like, as well as one where I went back to some old favorites. I also didn’t spend a ridiculous amount of money on products (moving is expensive *cries*) but what I did buy I genuinely love.

Feb 2016 Favorites Lumi Closed

Feb 2016 Favorites Lumi Cushion Open

Feb 2016 Favorites Lumi Compact Open

L’oreal True Match Lumi Cushion Compact Foundation: This was my top product of the month, hands down, and it’s the biggest shock for me. Usually I’m pretty “meh” on drugstore foundations (too few shades, no samples), but this one has amazing coverage and a truly skin like finish. While on the dewier side, it doesn’t make my combo skin look like a grease ball come 5pm. I do have to blot it but that’s something I have to do with all foundations. This is the most natural looking foundation I’ve ever tried and I’ve used it almost every day since I’ve got it. The product itself is housed in a compact in a “cushion” and you dip the included puff into the cushion and the pat it all over your face. The puff delivers the perfect amount of product and it’s great for people like me who tend to do their makeup on the go/at their desk (which I hope no one notices- I’m so stealthy). I’ve tried it twice with a brush and I like the finish when applied that way, but I honestly don’t feel I need to do it since I like the puff so much. The biggest downside: I don’t think it will last me a long time, but it’s not surprising considering the nature of the product. The color was also a teeny bit dark on me (please, L’Oreal…come out with a W1 shade!) but I will definitely repurchase.

Feb 2016 Favorites Milani

Milani Supreme Kohl Kajal Eyeliner: I picked this eyeliner up after I saw a review from emilynoel83 (one of the best youtubers out there…go check her out). My other black eyeliners weren’t as soft as I wanted them to be and I was experiencing some eye irritation (more on that in a bit) so I went on the hunt for a new drugstore option that would be easy on the eyes. This one is pretty affordable, twists up, goes on smooth, is long lasting, and is a beautiful inky black. Need I say more?

Feb 2016 Favorites Kat Von D Liner

Kat Von D Tattoo Liquid Eyeliner: Story time: remember that eye irritation I mentioned? Well it was AWFUL. I went to the eye doctor who said I had allergies and prescribed me eye drops, which did help with the constant feeling of having makeup in my contacts. She also yelled at me for wearing mine for longer than 12 hours at a time and said if I keep going I’ll develop bumps on the inside of my eyelids and won’t be able to wear them anymore. Yes, I was a bit traumatized. So after a few weeks of being good about taking out my contacts and using these drops, I could not understand why my upper lashline was still incredibly irritated. I decided to ditch pencil eyeliner, since I figured the less rubbing of something along said lashline the better. Enter the sample of the Kat Von D Tattoo Liner I got in some set a while ago and never had the guts to use regularly because my shaky hands and liquid liner tend not to get a long. But I didn’t have much of a choice so I put them in the same room and wouldn’t let them out until they settled their differences. This liner is sooo easy to use thanks to the felt tip and goes on smoothly and jet black. For the most part I just patted the side of the pen tip against my lashline but as I got used to it I was able to draw on a line and it definitely wasn’t irritating. I still prefer pencil liners for convenient but now I plan on using this more often.

Feb 2016 Favorites Clump Crusher

Covergirl Clump Crusher Mascara: Another eye-problem induced purchase. I wanted a long lasting mascara that was easy to remove. But waterproof formulas were taking too much effort to remove, further irritating my eyes (notice a theme yet?.) So I went back to an old favorite. I’ve gone through several tubes of this mascara and nothing I’ve found gives me the lengthy, separated, fluttery and soft looking lashes this one does. And since it’s water resistant it’s long-lasting but can be removed with Bioderma. It’s water resistant, not waterproof but still lasts pretty well and for me is a great every-day compromise. Also it has the best mascara wand, with a perfect curve and rubber bristles.

Feb 2016 Favorites Nude Lip

Nude/Understated Lips: For someone who is pretty much addicted to bright lipsticks (red in particular), nude is not a color towards which I usually gravitate. Even my natural everyday colors tend to have some bit of bright pink to them. But I’ve been accumulating some nude lip options over the last few months and they all found their way into my purse so on some days it was the only choice I had if I just wanted to slap on something unfussy. For the most part I’ve used the Charlotte Tilbury Lip Cheat in Pillow Talk and the L’Oreal Colour Riche Extraordinaire lip gloss in Nude Ballet or the Revlon Lip Butter in Juicy papaya on top. They’re great sheer options that give my lips a nude-ish look without making me look dead. Doesn’t that sell you?

Feb 2016 Favorites elf brush

Elf Blush Brush: This brush has become the one I stash in my makeup bag for powder/blush application on the go. It’s $3 and although the handle is starting to chip a bit, I can’t complain at that price point. It’s soft and well cut, and I’ve even used it for liquid highlighter since it’s a synthetic brush.

What were you favorites for February? Anything I should blow my hard-earned money on this month?

Adventures in Sheet Masking

Tony Moly Aloe Sheet Mask Front

Tony Moly I’m Real Aloe Face Mask Sheet

Hello Internet! I’m sorry I’ve been pretty absent lately. I just moved and the last few weeks have been insane, so I’ve had zero chance to blog. My living room is filled with boxes and post-moving debris as I type. But my makeup storage is set up (priorities, you know?) so I’d say I’m in good shape to get a new post up.

I’m pretty new to the sheet mask game, but I took a trip with a lot of long disatnce flying in August and figured I’d try one to combat flying-induced dry skin So I went for the Tony Moly I’m Real Aloe Face Mask Sheet. My skin isn’t normally dry (it’s usually combination with an oily t-zone) but one 4 hour flight + one 7 hour flight = super dry skin. And since I was taking a 10-day long trip where I’d be traveling non-stop, I wanted to take the time to treat my skin before we landed. So yes, I was that girl taking off her makeup and masking it up on a plane. If Chrissy Teigen can do it, so can I.

Tony Moly Aloe Sheet Mask

Tony Moly Aloe Sheet Mask

Sephora sells these in a 2-pack for $7.50. And if I’m honest, the fact I got two for that price instead of one for $8 like several other brands at Sephora was the deciding factor. The sheet is a little big for my face, but still fits well. I have a small face so it’s not exactly surprising that it would be a little big but I don’t think it takes away too much from the product. The coating for the mask smells refreshing but it’s very subtle and I don’t find it irritating. It stays on pretty well during the 20-30 minutes you’re supposed to leave it on and most of the product absorbs into your face during that time. I even left it on for 40 during my flight and there was almost no excess after that. Whatever is left over you massage into your face and then you’re done. My skin is left so smooth and soft and hydrated after using one of these, even after a ton of flying. I don’t experience any break outs and it doesn’t feel like there’s any excessive stickiness or heaviness leftover when I’m done.

I posted this picture of me in the mask on my Instagram a few weeks ago (are you following me? Why not? I’m @RiffRaffRouge), during a late night pamper session. Don’t I look I cute ridiculous? Pretty sure it was shortly after I came back from the trip. I had slacked on my skincare on the return trip home and this did a good job as a post-trip pick me up. I think I’ll keep a pack or two of these on hand through the fall and winter.

What other sheet masks should I look into?

My Favorite Brushes

From left to right: Sigma F80, Chikuhodo Z4, elf Small Stipple, Real Techniques Base Shadow Brush, ecotools Recycled Aluminum Retractable Kabuki Brush Bottom: Real Techniques Miracle Complexion Sponge

From left to right: Sigma F80, Chikuhodo Z4, elf Small Stipple, Real Techniques Base Shadow Brush, ecotools Recycled Aluminum Retractable Kabuki Brush
Bottom: Real Techniques Miracle Complexion Sponge

I truly believe makeup brushes can make or break a look. I don’t believe you have to spend a fortune on high-end brushes but having ones which function for what you need and are well made can really make the difference in application.

I’m in an odd stage with developing my brush collection. I have ones I really like, but very few I LOVE and while I would like to start upgrading to more high-end brushes, it’s not in the financial cards right now. However, I do have a few I really enjoy and I present them for your reviewing pleasure.

SIgma F80 Flat Top Kabuki

SIgma F80 Flat Kabuki

Sigma F80 Flat Kabuki

Sigma F80 Flat Kabuki

Sigma F80 Flat Kabuki- Starting with a foundation brush, the Sigma F80 Flat Kabuki is an amazing one. It’s got a flat top (obviously), and is very dense with synthetic bristles which move just enough to really spread foundation and blend it into the skin. I can get foundation applied very, very quickly with this brush. The brush is soft and most of the time I don’t find it to be scratchy at all. I think the only times I do find to be a teeeny bit scratchy is when my skin is acting up, but it’s never been more than a minor nuisance and I don’t find that my skin gets red from it. It’s not very expensive and one I would recommend to beginners getting started with foundation (I even got one for a friend for her birthday).

Chikuhodo Z4 Cheek/Highlight

Chikuhodo Z4 Cheek/Highlight

Chikuhodo Z4 Cheek/Highlight

Chikuhodo Z4 Cheek/Highlight

Chikuhodo Z4 Cheek/Highlight- Now for a not so affordable option: my Chikuhodo Z4 brush. This brush is sooooooo soft. It’s bristles are made from gray squirrel and they’re slightly tapered. I use this brush for powder, setting concealer under the eyes, blush, contour, bronzer, AND highlighter. It’s so versatile and applies powder products like a dream. I do find it to be a bit large for highlighter on my small face, but I can still manage. I have a small face, so someone with a larger one might find this too small for powder, but it can still work for more specific areas.

elf Small Stipple Brush

elf Small Stipple Brush

elf Small Stipple Brush

elf Small Stipple Brush

Elf Small Stipple Brush- elf brushes are excellent for those who are starting out with makeup. They have two lines, the essential line (most of which is about $1) and the studio line (most of which is about $3). The studio line tends to be better and while I have had some issues with my brushes where the glue holding the ferrule to the handle starts to loosen, I still think these are great cheap brushes. The Small Stipple Brush is from the studio line and it’s wonderful. It’s a synthetic duo fiber brush that’s very slim, so it’s ideal for applying and blending liquid or cream blush, highlighter, or even contour.

Real Techniques Base Shadow Brush

Real Techniques Base Shadow Brush

Real Techniques Base Shadow Brush- The Real Techniques Base Shadow Brush is another incredibly versatile brush. It’s also synthetic, so I’ve been able to use it for eyeshadow and concealer. I’ve used it to apply eyeshadow to the lid and used it in a MAC 217 style to apply and blend color in the crease and outer corner when I’ve been too rushed to grab multiple brushes. It comes in the Real Techniques Starter Kit, which is a great affordable option for beginners.

ecotools Recycled Aluminum Retractable Kabuki Brush

ecotools Recycled Aluminum Retractable Kabuki Brush

ecotools Recycled Aluminum Retractable Kabuki Brush I was amazed at how soft the ecotools Recycled Aluminum Retractable Kabuki Brush is when I first purchased it. Drugstore brushes don’t have the best reputation for softness, but this is one of the softest I own. It’s a dense powder brush, great for touching up powder on the go. It comes in a sleek bronze casing that has held up to the beating it takes in my purse and I love it.

Real Techniques Miracle Complexion Sponge

Real Techniques Miracle Complexion Sponge

Real Techniques Miracle Complexion Sponge- Another Real Techniques purchase, the Miracle Complexion Sponge actually made me want to try makeup sponges. I’ve never really wanted to try the beauty blender because for me spending that much on a sponge isn’t worth it. But when this sponge came on the market at a budget friendly $5.99 I was more willing to come around to trying it. And when Anna from ViviannaDoesMakeup suggested using it with a setting spray to set makeup and blend it more seemlessly into skin, I was sold. That is generally how I use it, wetting the sponge, spraying it with the Urban Decay All Nighter Setting Spray and tapping the sponge all over my face and it does an excellent job keeping my makeup in place. And the flat edge and pointed side give plenty of versatility to get all the contours of the face covered.

Have you tried any of these brushes? Tell me what you’ve thought of them in the comments!

Milani Bronzer XL Review

As someone with a round face, contouring is a great technique for me. I don’t do it every day, but I love how it can make my face look more sculpted, with cheekbones for DAYS. The right contouring product can really make the look and I prefer to use cooler toned products, as I find warmer tones not very believable. While there are some great mid- and high-end contouring products on the market, the drugstore doesn’t have a lot of options. But one really great drugstore choice is the Milani XL Bronzer in “Fake Tan.”

Milani Bronzer XL Closed Compact

Milani Bronzer XL in “Fake Tan.”

This is powder product in a split pan, with a warm, shimmery bronzer on the right side and a cooler matte bronzer on the left. Both are very smooth powders and not too pigmented, which I think works well, especially for beginners, because this product is hard to overdo. The powder itself is not dry at all and feels almost creamy, but it’s still thin so I don’t feel it will cake up.

Milani Bronzer XL Open Compact

Milani Bronzer XL in “Fake Tan.”

The shimmer on the right side is visible but not excessive when applied to the skin, so even the shimmer-averse might not mind it. The color is warm and doesn’t come out orange, a pet peeve of mine. The matte side is a deep color which can work on very fair to medium or even some darker skin tones if you build it up. The powder is very finely milled so again, I don’t think you’d have to worry too much about caking it on. And because it isn’t super super pigmented you can adjust how much really want to carve out cheekbones with this powder.

Milani Bronzer XL Swatches

Swatches from left to right, all swatched on bare skin: matte side, shimmer side.

My only issue with this product is there is a noticeable fragance when you open the compact. It’s a sweet, kind of floraly scent. I don’t notice it when it’s on my face but when I swatched it on my arm I did notice it when I stuck my nose close to the swatch. So unless your skin is very sensitive to fragrance I don’t see this being a huge issue.

Overall, I think this is a great option for bronzing and contouring for multiple skin tones at a budget-friendly price point.

My Favorite Discontinued Products

Discontinued Products

Left: Estée Lauder Pure Color Sensuous Rouge Lipstick in “Cheating Heart.” Center: Sephora Pencil Sharpener Right: L’Oreal Magic Smooth Souffle blush in “Cherubic.”


One of the worst problems in the beauty world is when companies discontinue beloved products. Today, I give you my ode to my favorite discontinued pieces in my collection. 

Discontinued Products Estee Lauder Lipstick

Estée Lauder Pure Color Sensuous Rouge Lipstick in “Cheating Heart.”

My favorite discontinued lipstick is this one from Estée Lauder’s Pure Color Sensuous Rouge Lipstick in “Cheating Heart.” It’s a beautiful berry shade that I love to wear all fall and winter long. It’s got a nice vanilla sweet scent, is long lasting, and comes in beautiful gold and berry packing which makes me feel glamorous just by pulling it out of my purse. When I pair it with my Estée Lauder lip liner in “Apple Cordial” it’s just showstopping. So naturally, it’s been discontinued. I haven’t found a similar color since and while I want to use it judiciously so I don’t run out, it’s hard to resist wearing it.

Discontinued Products Loreal blush

L’Oreal Magic Smooth Souffle blush in “Cherubic.”

This is the best cream blush I’ve ever tried: the L’Oreal Magic Smooth Souffle blush in “Cherubic.” The mousse-like texture is so smooth and creamy and blends into skin flawlessly. The color is matte and a universally flattering medium pink and I love layering powder blushes over this to get a super long-lasting look. Thankfully it only takes a super slight dip of a stippling brush into the pot to get enough color because this way it can last me a long time.

Discontinued Products Sephora Sharpener

Sephora Pencil Sharpener

Finally I have a discontinued tool: this double pencil sharpener from Sephora.  I’d purchased it so I would have a separate sharpener for lipliners and eyebrow pencils  to keep them from getting mucked up by my eyeliners if I used the same sharpener for both. It sharpens really well, has two sharpeners for big and regular sized pencils, and the clear plastic on top and bottom comes completely off (in one piece!) so you can easily clean it. But when I went back to get a second for my eyeliners, I found Sephora had replaced it with a different type of sharpener, which just isn’t as good. Since then they’ve come out with yet another type which is in an improvement but I still love this one and I wish they’d bring it back.

So there you have it…my favorite discontinued products. If you have any recommendations for replacements I’m all ears. What are your favorite products you’d bring back if you could?

This entry was posted in Makeup.

My Skincare Routine

Skincare Routine All Products

Back row left to right: CeraVe Moisturizing Cream, Bioderma Sensibio H20, CeraVe Hydrating Cleanser, Elta MD UV Clear Broad Spectrum SPF 46 Sunscreen, CeraVe Foaming Facial Cleanser, Stridex Maximum Strength pads, St. Ives Scrub Exfoliating pads Center: Shiseido Facial Cotton

Now that I’m in my mid-20’s I’ve developed a pretty decent skincare routine. When I graduated college and started wearing makeup on a regular basis, the need to develop a good cleansing and exfoliating routine became very clear very quickly when my normally clear skin broke out like crazy.

Reddit was a huge resource for me and the basic routine from /r/skincareaddition really helped me find some good products. I highly recommend checking it out, especially for more information regarding the different types of exfoliators, which I mention below.

Standard beauty blog disclaimers: My skin is combination, with an oily forehead and nose, and relatively normal skin on my cheeks. My skin is also pretty sensitive. These are products which work for me, but may not work for you.

I’ll start with my evening skincare routine since it’s more involved and almost all of my morning routine involves the same products.

Skincare Routine Bioderma and Shiseido

Bioderma Sensibio H2O Micellar Water and Shiseido Facial Cottons

To remove makeup, I use my Bioderma Sensibio H20 Micellar Water and Shiseido Facial Cottons. One of my best friends had gone to France about two years ago and I begged her to pick me up some Bioderma. She did and I am forever grateful because I LOVE this stuff. It’s so soothing and doesn’t leave my skin feeling oily. I hate that feeling, especially on my eyes. The Shiseido cotton is so incredibly soft and doesn’t irritate my sensitive skin.

I start by taking one of the facial cotton squares and pulling them apart into two squares. I use one half for my eyes and then two halves (front and back) for my face, so I’m basically using one and a half of the full squares. I find this process removes most of my makeup. The only thing I find I struggle with is waterproof mascara and longwear liquid lipsticks. So I either take extra care to remove the mascara or just deal with some small smudges in the morning/ To me it’s worth the extra effort not to have oily eyes. I do use an oil-based remover for the lipstick.

Cerave Cleansers

CeraVe Hydrating Cleanser and CeraVe Foaming Facial Cleanser

I follow with one of two CeraVe cleansers. Most nights I use the Hydrating Cleanser, which is a creamy non-foaming cleanser that gets my skin nice and clean but doesn’t strip my skin at all. About once a week I’ll use the Foaming Facial Cleanser to get a really deep clean. I don’t find it to be stripping but my skin doesn’t like using a foaming cleanser all the time so once a week works well for me.

Skincare Routine Exfoliants

St. Ives Exfoliating Pads and Stridex Maximum Strength Pads

To exfoliate, I alternate between the Stridex Maximum Strength pads (which is a BHA- beta hydroxy acid) in the red box and the St. Ives Exfoliating pads (an AHA- alpha hydroxy acid). I exfoliate every third night and switch between these two. So if I exfoliate with the Stridex pads on Monday, I let my skin rest for two nights, and on Thursday I’ll use the St. Ives pads. If I exfoliate more frequently, my skin gets upset and breaks out. These are both great drugstore options, but sadly the St. Ives pads have been discontinued and I’m on my last package. I desperately need to find an alternative soon and I’m open to suggestions.

Skincare Routine CeraVe Moisturizer

CeraVe Moisturizing Cream

For moisturizer, I use another CeraVe product, the Moisturizing Cream. I get the 16 oz. tub and it lasts me for about six months. This is a thick cream but it sinks in so so so quickly and doesn’t feel greasy at all. I’ve even taken to using it on my upper arms lately in hopes it will help me with some keratosis pilaris I have (we’ll see how that goes). I usually see the 16 oz. tub go for between $15-17, so for roughly a dollar per ounce, this is a huge budget buy. The cleansers average about the same cost per ounce and also last me a really long time. I promise this post isn’t sponsored by them, I just really love what the products do for my skin (and my budget).

Skincare Routine Sunscreen

EltaMD UV Clear Broad-Spectrum SPF 46 Sunscreen

For my morning routine, I stick with the CeraVe Hydrating Cleanser and Moisturizing Cream. I try to remember to use sunscreen everyday, but I’m really bad about it. When I do remember, I use the EltaMd UV Clear Broad-Spectrum SPF 46 Sunscreen, which I reviewed here.

There you have it, my skincare routine. If anyone has recommendations for a new AHA exfoliator, I’m more than happy to hear it!

Laura Mercier Eye Art Artist’s Palette Review

Laura Mercier Eye Art Artist's Palette

Laura Mercier Eye Art Artist’s Palette

I had a romantic comedy style romance with the Laura Mercier Artist’s Palette for Eyes 2013. At first I wasn’t interested, but when the rest of the Internet started to rave about how awesome it was I realized this palette was all I ever wanted. Sadly, I was too late. It sold out and I had to pine away until the end of my makeup loving days.


Laura Mercier re-promoted it at Sephora.

That’s right. I finally got my long lost eye shadow love. Have I made you sick yet with the ridiculously over the top analogy? No? Good. Come look at pretty eye shadow with me.

The colors in this palette never screamed “MUST HAVE IT NOW” to me when I first saw it. But the more the reddit makeup community raved, the more I wanted it. So when I saw Temptalia announcing it was being re-promoted you better believe I booked my butt to Sephora. I had to pester a sales associate to dig it up from lord knows where in the Times Square Sephora (yes, I braved that madhouse to find it) and pay a few dollars more for the new version (don’t ask me why they raised the price) but it was sooooo worth it.

Laura Mercier Eye Art Artist's Palette

Laura Mercier Eye Art Artist’s Palette

In addition to a price difference and a slight name change, the external packaging is also different. The original wasn’t really my cup of tea ( you can view it here) but I like the new one so much more. It’s a bit difficult to clean but the dark purple/black floral pattern is right up my alley. It’s small and sleek with a magnetic closure that should work well for travel.

Laura Mercier Eye Artist Palette Top Row New

Swatched on bare skin from left to right: Sparkling Dew, Guava, African Violet, Plum Smoke, Kir Royal, Violet Ink

In terms of color selection, the soft purple and brown tones of this palette are surprisingly versatile. I can get many different looks out of it and they’re different than the normal ones I go usually slap on my face. I love how it forces me out of my comfort zone and lets me play with purples more while still being 100% wearable.

There are six mattes and six shimmer shades (although I’d say one of the shimmers is more of a satin finish), and they’re all soft and pretty pigmented. The only shade I struggle with getting decent color payoff is “Primrose” but since it’s so light I’m not super upset. I do have some issues with “Guava” as well but not as much and it still is a nice shadow. All the others apply smoothly, no chalkiness or fall out, and they blend really nicely even with the mattes.

Laura Mercier Eye Artist Palette Bottom Row New

Swatched on bare skin from left to right: Vanilla Nuts (it’s really hard to see because it’s so light, sorry!), Primrose, Fresco, Bamboo, Truffle, Espresso Bean.

My favorite shades are “African Violet” and “Bamboo.” “African Violet” is a beautiful violet color with a gold shimmer reflecting throughout it, which has a beautiful effect on the eye. It’s subtle enough to be worn everyday but I have a feeling a black or white base would really make it pop. “Bamboo” is a shimmery taupe which I have worn by itself on several occasions or paired with other shadows for soft daytime looks.

Fresco” (a dusty mauve) and “Plum Smoke” (a soft, washed out plum) are excellent transition colors which work for every other shade in the palette.

The only thing I feel this palette was missing was a brown somewhere between “Truffle” and “Espresso Bean,” the later of which I find too dark for me most days. I would have gladly given up “Primrose” for that option, but it’s not enough to stop me from loving this palette and if you’re looking for a new palette I suggest checking out this one.

This entry was posted in Reviews.

No Buy July Vol. 4: We Made It!

Me trying to get good lighting in my car. I didn't quite succeed.

Me trying to get good lighting in my car. I didn’t quite succeed.

For the first time in a really long time, I have gone a month without buying makeup. This is weird and I don’t like it. Make it stop!

But before I wax sentimental on this month, let’s get into the makeup.

On the left: Bourjois Aqua Blush in “Berry Nice,” Revlon Lip Butter in “Sweet Tart,” and Benefit “Watt’s Up!” highlighter Center: bareMinerals “Well Rested” Eye Brightener Concealer Right: Urban Decay 24/7 Glide-on Eye Pencil in “Mainline”


No Buy July 4 Bare Minerals Well Rested

BareMinerals “Well-Rested” Eye Brightener with elf concealer brush.

This first product is one I use in waves: I use it for weeks and then nothing. The bareMinerals “Well-Rested” Eye Brightener concealer is a great setting powder for under eye concealer. It’s a soft, finely milled powder with excellent coverage. My issue is I need to find a better brush to apply it because this one is too dense for this product so it can be hard to control the amount I apply. However, I do enjoy the product itself. I normally don’t use it because it’s another product to apply when I could just use the same powder I’m using on my face. But when I have more time to use more products, I do try to reach for this.

No Buy July 4 UD eyeliner

Urban Decay 24/7 Glide-On Eye Pencil in “Mainline.”


Staying with the eyes- Urban Decay’s 24/7 Glide-On Eyeliner in “Mainline.” I don’t LOVE these eyeliners the way the rest of the internet seems to, but it is a nice smooth formula and I LOVE the color. Sephora describes it as a “deep green to blue,” but I see more blue in it. I find blue eyeliner to be so pretty on so many different people and I really like how it changes how my green eyes look. This formula does migrate a bit on me but it was a hot and humid day so I wasn’t too disappointed. Besides, the beautiful color makes up for it.


No Buy July 4 Bourjois blush

Bourjois Aqua Blush 12Hr in “Berry Nice.”

For cheeks, I went with a pretty new product for me. A friend of mine was flying back from Europe and because she knows who I am sent me a text going: “Quick- I’m at the airport…what do you want from Boots?!” I told her “anything from Borjois!” and she did not disappoint. This Aqua Blush 12Hr in “Berry Nice” is a beautiful pink and goes on feeling wet but isn’t tacky or sticky at all. You only need a teeeeeny tiny drop to get enough color on both cheeks and it spreads pretty easily with a stippling brush. My only quibble is the fragrance. It does have a kind of strong, sweet scent to it but fortunately it dissipates and I really enjoy this blush.

No Buy July 4 Benefit Watts Up

Benefit’s “Watt’s Up!” highlighter

I used this mini of Benefit’s Watt’s Up! highlighter, which is a golden, champagne color in a cream stick formula. I swiped a bit along the tops of my cheekbones and then blended with a stippling brush. It’s a decent highlighter but I think the mini size makes it difficult to get the full highlighted effect. I also find the cream texture a bit more difficult to work with than a liquid one, such as my beloved Becca highlighters. There’s nothing bad I can say about the Watts Up highlighter, but I’m not in love.

No Buy July 4 Revlon Lip Butter

Revlon Lip Butter in “Sweet Tart.”

I realized this is the second Revlon Lip Butter I’ve used for No Buy July. Oops. What can I say, I really like the formula, but I tend to stick to the some of the colors I own and forget about the others. I’m sorry, ok! I’ll try to be better.

This one in “Sweet Tart” is a bit of a sheerer one and I think I used a lip liner under it. But it’s a pretty soft pink which isn’t as bold as my normal pink lipsticks and is great for throwing on before running out the door. Unfortunately, I’m having trouble finding it online, which is concerning. But if you haven’t tried the Lip Butters there are still a lot of other great colors to choose from.

No Buy July 4 full face side


No Buy July 4 full face eyes closed

I can’t believe No Buy July is already over. I’m so glad I did this because it forced me to be more creative with the stuff I already own. The ironic thing is while I started this series to help me get some of my finances in order, I didn’t really do that well. Some things came up and my “I’m not buying makeup so I can afford to buy lunch” mentality didn’t help. But I’m chalking it up to a learning experience. I’ve learned to appreciate what I already own and will be making more of an effort to actually use it.

Now…what to buy in Sephora in August?


Elta MD UV Clear Sunscreen: My New Favorite

Elta MD UV Clear SPF 46 Sunscreen

Elta MD UV Clear SPF 46 Sunscreen

My first post on this blog was about the Hawaiian Tropic Silk Hydration sunscreen and how this was the best facial sunscreen I’d ever found and blah blah blah. Well, in typical beauty-obsessed fashion, I found something I loved then went “ooh let me try new things!” And since I’d wanted to try the Elta MD UV Clear SPF 46 sunscreen for a long time this seemed like a good product to try.

My biggest issues with the Hawaiian Tropic sunscreen were the slight stinging sensation I occasionally had and the light fragrance. The Elta MD sunscreen solves both of these issues. No stinging and it is completely free of fragrance. My boyfriend says he can detect a slight fragrance when he kisses my cheek but I can’t smell anything.

The Elta MD comes in a nice pump packaging which dispenses a good amount for the face. The product itself is a white liquid which is light and lightly hydrating and goes on with a completely matte finish. It sits well under makeup while making skin look a bit smoother. It does leave a little bit of shine when worn alone, but doesn’t feel tacky. And most importantly, it provides great sun protection.

The only issue I’ve had with this sunscreen occurred yesterday when I wore it to the beach. After I went in the water and reapplied I noticed the product started to pill a little bit and roll off my face. I don’t know if this is because of user error or because it doesn’t layer well. This is not an every day problem for me since I don’t reapply this sunscreen over makeup, but I don’t know how I will adapt this for future pool/beach use.

I really do love this sunscreen and can see myself repurchasing. Unless of course another product catches my eye…

No Buy July Vol. 3

No Buy July Vol. 3 Full Face

No Buy July Vol. 3 Full Face

I have begun counting down the days until I can buy something makeup related. And yes, I have a lengthy list.  So far, I’ve resisted. But I don’t know how much longer I can hold out.

No Buy Jul Vol. 3 Full Face: complete with a blemish that refused to be concealed and a mascara smudge that refused to be removed.

No Buy Jul Vol. 3 Full Face: complete with a blemish that refused to be concealed and a mascara smudge that refused to be removed.

Ok enough of my drama and onto this ridiculously long post.

No Buy July Vol. 3: All the products

No Buy July Vol. 3: All the products

No Buy July Vol. 3 Eye Products

No Buy July Vol. 3 Eye Products

Let’s start with the eyes. I broke out the Urban Decay Eyeshadow Primer Potion, which I haven’t used in at least a year. This is a new mini size, but I loved the full size tube I used to have. After I finished it I tried out a few others and didn’t come back because the UD Primer is pretty thick. I prefer the thin texture of the Nars Smudgeproof Pro Prime, but this is an excellent primer and I will definitely try to use up this tube.

For brows, I broke out the Anastasia Beverly Hills Perfect Brow Pencil in “Blonde.” I think the packaging changed, but you can tell by the state of mine how much I used it. I stopped because I dyed my hair red but since the color has faded a bit and the roots have grown out I decided to try it once more. The pencil is a bit on the hard side so it can be a bit too difficult to get color on the brows. The Brow Wiz is a much better product, but this one isn’t bad.

Onto the eyeshadow. I LOVE the original Lorac Pro Palette, so when Lorac came out with the Pro Palette 2 last year, I jumped on it. This palette is one I have to round out the colors in my collection. While I love the colors in the Pro 2, I don’t reach for it very often because I don’t find the color selection to be as intuitive for me or as functional. I even had to start my look over because I couldn’t find any mid-tone shades and the colors I picked ended up being too dark for day. So while the quality of the shadows is great and I could definitely use this on days when I have more time to pick out my look, it’s not the best for every day rushed mornings.

No Buy July 3 Eye shadows 1

Lorac Pro 2 Shades Used: “Buff,” “Lt. Brown,” and “Cool Gray.”

Lorac Pro 2 Shade Used: "Charcoal."

Lorac Pro 2 Shade Used: “Charcoal.”

I started with “Buff,” a light yellow shade, which I used all over the lid and browbone. I then combined “Light Brown” and “Cool Gray” for the crease, outer corner, and lower lashline. I added “Charcoal” (a deeper gray) to the outer corner for more definition. I finished with “Snow” (a shimmery white) as the inner corner highlight.

No Buy July Vol. 3 Face Products

No Buy July Vol. 3 Face Products

For the face, I started with the Lorac POREfection Mattifying Face Primer. It’s a silicone primer, which I tend to avoid because my skin and silicones don’t really get along. I got a small sample from an Ulta order a while back and although it is small, I can see it lasting a looong time as a pea size amount spreads VERY well and can cover the whole face. I don’t know how much it extended the wear of my base but it is very smoothing and mattifying.

e.l.f. Cream Blush in "Seductress."

e.l.f. Cream Blush in “Seductress.”

After I applied my base, I followed with the e.l.f. Cream Blush in the shade “Seductress.” I like this formula a lot and there’s a lot of product in the container but the color is VERY bright, and doesn’t lend itself to speedy application. Do more than tap your stippling brush in the container lightly and you’ll end up with too much on the face. It’s a gorgeous color and good formula, so I need to work on using more often. Unfortunately, I think this is discontinued, which I didn’t realize until shortly before posting. Sorry!

Hourglass Ambient Lighting Powder in "Diffused Light."

Hourglass Ambient Lighting Powder in “Diffused Light.”

I set my face and under eye area with the Hourglass Ambient Lighting Powder in “Diffused Light.” I really like this powder and I’m not entirely sure why I stopped using it as much. I think it’s because it tends to make me look too shiny on my forehead in pictures. But I need to experiment with it again.

Two more products. Hang in there, we can get through this.

Milani Bronzer XL in "Fake Tan." I used the cool matte shade on the left.

Milani Bronzer XL in “Fake Tan.” I used the cool matte shade on the left.

For contour, I went with my Milani Bronzer XL in Fake Tan. I used the left side of the pan with the matte cool bronzer, which makes for an excellent contour shade on fair to medium skin tones. I actually really love this bronzer but when I got my Kevyn Aucoin Sculpting Powder, this got pushed to the back burner. While it does have a slight scent in the pan, it doesn’t transfer to the face and this is another product I need to use more.

Givenchy Le Rouge Givenchy Lipstick in “Rose Dressing.”

Givenchy Le Rouge Givenchy Lipstick in “Rose Dressing.”

Finally (yes, finally), I have a sample of the Givenchy Le Rouge Givenchy Lipstick in “Rose Dressing.” This is a beautiful, ladylike pink shade that’s right up my alley. There is a definite powdery and floral scent that some may find off-putting but I didn’t mind too much. I did mind how the wear time isn’t great and it accented the flakes on my lips. To be fair, I didn’t really exfoliate them and could have used a liner and better application, but I feel for a lipstick this expensive, it should have been less fussy. Maybe if I change up my application method it will be better.

Congratulations, you made it to the end! We have two more weeks left this month and quite frankly I’m sick of not buying makeup. I may need to get some samples of foundation to tide me over. Let’s hope my willpower ends it at the samples.


Note: I’m not sure why I had photographed the mini Becca highlighter since I do use that often. I did wear it in this look but I didn’t mean to feature it here. My apologies!

This entry was posted in Reviews.