Beauty Product Reviews
Pretty, delicate bronze
I picked this up a couple of weeks ago at CVS, and as soon as I tried it on it earned a place in my daily makeup routine! Now when I'm doing my standard, natural day makeup I just sweep it over my cheeks, around my hairline, and a little along my jaw. This is definitely more for adding a healthy allover glow; this is not at all suited to contouring because of the shimmer and the peachy undertones. However, the shimmer in this is actually really subtle. I used to be afraid of using shimmering face products at all because I thought they would look overly fake or like pre-teen body glitter. This just has a subtle sheen and doesn't come off as sparkly. It's like one step shimmerier than a satin texture.
The one thing I'm not nuts about is the packaging (hence why I gave it 4.5 instead of 5 stars). It's really bulky and the mirror/brush compartment always opens at annoying times while I'm using it. Normally I would solve that problem by de-potting it, but weirdly enough, it looks like there's no metal pan in there. Oh well, I'm willing to go through the extra annoyance for such a gorgeous product!
Aw I'm the Debbie Downer of the reviews :(
I just really could not work with this mascara at all! I bought it because the sisters of Pixiwoo rave about a similar product from Bourjois, but it's not very easy to get your hands on in the US. I was in the market for a new mascara after I got over an eye infection, so I picked this up.
The first time I used it, I figured I would try the "length" cap to start in case the "volume" cap deposited too much product on the brush. (FYI, I'm sure most of you know this, but it's one brush with two different filters. The length one takes off more product than the volume one as you pull the wand out of the tube.) The brush came out with so little product on it that it was roughly raking through my lashes. It was like there was not enough mascara to lubricate the brush against my lashes. Then I went for another swipe and again, it was more dragging than swiping or stroking, but this time there were random, gigantic blobs on some of my lashes. I was able to use the brush, still without re-dipping it, to kind of distribute the globs and make my eyelashes look somewhat normal before I had to go out, but it took ages and actually made me late.
The problem is that the brush is pretty much perfectly spiral-shaped with huge gaps between each layer of the spiral. Also the brush is very stiff. When you use it, your much flimsier lashes just pick up the pools of mascara between the spirals rather than getting combed through by the actual bristles. This effect is worsened by using the "volume" cap, which leaves the brush drowning in product. I ended up looking like a crying heroine junkie after apply one coat. My lashes were just wet, weighed-down triangles of lash stuck together and leaving gobs everywhere whenever I blinked.
I did try to give this product a chance, because I hate wasting money on products I don't end up liking, but every time I try it, I end up with spider lashes and have to enlist the help of a spooley brush, a lash comb, and q-tips to get things looking presentable. Even after I'm done combing and separating, my lashes don't actually look good, they just look less disgusting.
I saw some of the other reviewers get good results from this product, so maybe they have more patience then me or something, but I was not willing to go through the effort. I did once get good results from it by playing with it a lot and employing a safety pin to really get in between every lash (see my photo of the green eyeshadow look), but I'm just not really willing to do that every morning, and a good mascara should not require that.
If anyone wants a multi-tasking mascara that goes really well from day to night I would suggest Maybelline One-by-One mascara. It's got kind of a thin texture and is very buildable for nighttime. I don't think you need two filters to suit your different mascara needs.
Perfect for dramatic and theatrical looks!
I got this palette on Christmas, and I have to say it's amazing for doing crazy costume looks and for mixing up an unusual-colored base for an eyeshadow look. The one thing I have to stress is when using this on the eyes or using it for stage, you MUST set it with some sort of powder product and use a primer underneath! Otherwise it will crease or sweat off.
My most-used color in the palette is the silver, because it can add sparkle under matte eyeshadows or give super intense shimmer if you want to go for that otherworldly sheen. It doesn't have a light-grey base the way many silver cream shadows do; it's got intense clarity and seems to be micro silver glitter in some sort of colorless base. It doesn't read as glitter though, it reads as pure chrome!
Overall, I love this palette, but on a budget, I would suggest purchasing NYX jumbo pencils and melting them down into pots instead. You can get the $95 results without paying $95 to get there.
One of my very favorite nudes!
I bought this lipstick as soon as it came out and it is definitely one of my go-to lipsticks (I would say it's tied with Hue). It's very flat and beigey which I know so people aren't crazy about, but it doesn't give that "concealer lips" look that other flat nudes like Myth do. It's darker and has a honey-colored undertone which makes it show up nicely against my skin tone. I love pairing it with really brightly-colored statement eye looks because it is so perfectly neutral that it's a no-brainer with any color scheme. I also love wearing it with a slightly darker lip pencil underneath to contour my lips. This is especially a must-have color if you like that Kim Kardashian smokey eye/nude lip look, and you can't go wrong with a charitable cause like Viva Glam!
Revolutionized the way I do eyeshadow!
This is my first MAC brush, and if I had to survive on one brush for the rest of my life, it would be this one. I use it for everything! You can use it to do a wash all over the lid (a favorite technique for when I'm running late!), place color in the crease, blend out edges, and highlight. It really does do it all, and I now have 3 brushes like this (although 2 are from Sigma, and almost just as good in my opinion). I'm seriously not sure how I managed to do my makeup before I got this brush!
My Holy Grail Mascara! Smells like roses, too!
This mascara is hands-down the best drug store mascara I've ever tried. Actually, it's only in second place out of ALL the mascaras I've tried. The only mascara I love more than this is Dior Show (but it's 3x more expensive!!), and honestly the formulas are very similar. They even both smell alike! They have that weird smell of roses and chemicals that I strangely enjoy. The only big difference between Dior Show and One-by-One is the brush. I usually hate those weird, spiky plastic bristles on mascara wands, but this one is different. Instead of being made of plastic like Lash Blast or some of the other mascaras, it's made of rubber and is very flexible. It really hugs every lash and makes my lashes look massive. It's also super-buildable, so you can go for the wispy, natural look or the super chunky '60's style lashes. Either way, it's not going to clump on you! I would say I'm good at making the best of whatever mascara I try, but this one requires no effort...it just IS the best.
Can't live without it!
I feel totally crippled without my MAC brush cleaner. I have a small brush collection and like to use lots of crazy bright colors, so it's really important that I have a quick-drying spot cleaner. I really feel like the brushes I've been cleaning with MAC brush cleaner for 2 years are in just as good shape as the ones I've only been cleaning for a couple months. It really is gentle but it gets all the pigment out of even white-haired brushes. I left hot pink eyeshadow on my MAC 217 for a week (I know, I'm bad) and there was almost no trace of it on the bristles after I used MAC brush cleaner. It also works really nicely on synthetic brushes. I use it for my Real Techniques brushes and they get squeaky clean and dry almost as fast as the natural brushes!
All the prettiest neutrals!
This palette completely changed how I did my makeup! I used to have a hard time coming up with neutral looks for every day. Now, I always reach for these shadows when I'm in a hurry and I want to look polished really quickly. I like being artsy with my makeup as much as the next beauty junky, but honestly when I'm in a rush I just want to be able to throw something on and look fab. The shades are super-blendable and pigmented and can look great as a quick wash over the lid or blended together. They're pretty much already coordinated into little groups that go together, so it's ridiculously easy to put a look together on the fly. The only thing is that I wish one of the darker colors was matte (like maybe Darkhorse) so that I could create more depth in my crease without all the shimmer. I love the fact that the palette came with a double-ended black and brown pencil. The "Whiskey" colored side of the pencil is by far the most gorgeous brown eyeliner I've ever used. It's such a rich, deep, chocolaty color and it doesn't budge once it sets!
I'm not really nuts about the packaging because I always find that velvety or rubbery packaging gets really dirty and covered in powder products (hello, Nars). I also find that many palettes waste a lot of space on dividers between the shadows. However, even if you feel the same way, don't let that deter you from buying the palette. I easily solved the problem by de-potting all the shadows and placing them into a magnetic Z Palette. Urban Decay cardboard palettes are very easy to de-pot even without heat, so it's not a huge hassle. The gorgeous shadows themselves are worth the small amount of effort to de-pot.
So convenient, cute, and tasty!
I love this adorable little egg-shaped balm. It lives on my night stand, and I use it every single night before bed. It's so super hydrating, yet I don't feel dependent on it the way I do with other drugstore lip balms. It transfers well onto the lips instead of being dry and waxy. Some solid balms are so hard to rub onto my lips; it's like I'm kissing a candle! I have the lemon flavor and it tastes and smells just like lemon bars, my favorite dessert of all time! Not only that but the unique shape and bright yellow color make it really easy to find in my bottomless pit of purse! I would love to see them make these in subtle tints so I could wear them in the daytime instead of lipstick or gloss.
Best affordable brushes I've ever used!
I have been watching Sam and Nic's Pixiwoo channel for about 2 years now, and I've always thought the ladies really knew their stuff. They apply their makeup with such ease and confidence and have more unique tips and tricks than any other gurus. Imagine my excitement when Sam announced her new brush line! I was a little skeptical when I found out the brushes were synthetic, but I decided to try them, because I knew Sam would not compromise on quality or functionality. I didn't know the prices ahead of time because the Real Techniques site doesn't list them, but Sam mentioned in the video that the brushes would be "affordable" which I took to mean somewhere around Sigma prices (about $9 for an eye brush). Much to my surprise, when I went to Ulta to buy them, the Starter Set was only $14.99! I was ecstatic and immediately went home, took off all my makeup, and reapplied it with my new brushes. I was thinking, if these brushes work as well as Sam says they do, these will be the new go-to affordable brushes. And they did work amazingly! The bristles were so incredibly soft and gentle on my eye area, but still deposited and blended shadow just as well as my animal hair brushes.
I was skeptical at first of the deluxe crease brush because it seemed massive in comparison to my crease, but its width kind of blends the color out for you. I also love using it just for blending out the edges of my crease color. I really like the fact that those with smaller creases can use the base shadow brush instead. I love the base shadow brush for a more defined crease look and the deluxe crease brush for a more defused effect. The accent brush is a classic smudger brush shape, but the bristles are super densely packed and firm which makes it even better for blending out liner. The pixel point liner brush can also be used for smudging in my experience although it's not as aggressive. I wouldn't use it for gel liner because I do better with a super fine-point brush, but I do really like it for applying black shadow over my liner to set it. Now, my absolute favorite brush of the whole set is the angled brow brush. The wider design makes doing my brows super fast and gives a softer look than my old angle brush. The bristles are more flexible than those of other angle brushes I've tried, which helps prevent that hard-edged, drawn-on look we all dread.
I definitely recommend these as the first brushes you get if you're just starting out with makeup. I went the Coastal Scents brush route when I first started doing makeup, and I definitely think the Real Techniques brushes would have served me better had they existed at the time. They are a much better value and you don't end up with those weird "filler" brushes in a set that are weirdly shaped and impractical. Often times natural bristle brushes in this price range are rough on the skin or the bristles are cut unevenly and have awkward edges. I found that these brushes gave MAC- or Sigma-quality results without the high price. I fully recommend these brushes and will definitely be purchasing the other brushes in the range sometime in the future.