Monday, July 8, 2013

MAC Angel Photos, Swatches & Review

I'm back! I apologize for the gap in posting... between work, life, and some medical issues, I had barely any time for this hobby of mine. But I'm back! And have accumulated a significant amount of summer beauty products that I'm looking forward to sharing with you.

For now, I am reviewing the lipstick and lip glass versions of MAC Angel, a color that I recently purchased for a big event I have coming up. I wanted a neutral pink that would brighten my face but not overpower my look. Angel has been very popular for the past few years after it was reported Kim Kardashian wears the lipstick with NARS Turkish Delight gloss on top.

mac angel lipstick lipglass swatches review

Angel ($15 each, lipstick and tinted lip glass, is a light, neutral to blue toned pink with a frost finish in the lipstick version. It is not overly frosty, but I would love to see it in the Cremesheen finish, which is my favorite from MAC. The camera picks up the level of frost pretty well in the photo below:

mac angel lipstick lipglass swatches review

Both the lipstick (left) and lip glass (right) versions of Angel are well pigmented. The lip glass is even more impressive to me for the amount of pigment it has for a light pink, as I find most light pink glosses are either too opaque to be flattering or too sheer to add color. 

mac angel lipstick lipglass swatches review

The lipstick alone wears about five hours on me, and with the gloss, I can get another hour of it. This does fade quicker than some other MAC lipsticks I have, probably because it is lighter, and I tend to drink/talk a lot during my work day. While it looks pretty similar on camera, in person I find that adding the lip glass really makes this lipstick work better for me. I usually do not purchase coordinating lip glosses, but after trying it with the lipstick at the MAC counter, I had to have it. I feel like the gloss helps minimize the frost of it and just gives a great light pink glossy look.

MAC Angel is very close to Creme Cup, and Rimmel's Airy Fairy is widely considered a dupe for Creme Cup. Since I own Airy Fairy, I thought I would swatch it next to the Angel lipstick for anyone who is deciding between the two shades:

mac angel rimmel airy fairy dupe swatches review

The photo is blurry but I think the color comes off accurately - Airy Fairy (left)  is darker than Angel and without the frost finish. I did try Creme Cup in person and it looked very bland and perhaps chalky on me. Angel was much better for my fair skin tone.

My Two Cents: MAC Angel Lipstick & Lipglass

  • Gorgeous color
  • Solid pigmentation
  • Coordinate very well together
  • Great everyday pink for light skin tones; has enough punch to complement smokey evening eye looks without competing with it
  • Great vanilla scent that all MAC lipsticks have
  • Wear time is a little weak for MAC lipsticks
  • Frost finish isn't my favorite, but I would still repurchase it. 
Overall, if you are in the market for a every day pink lipstick and you are in the NC/NC 35 or lighter range, I would definitely try Angel! There's a reason it is a bestseller!

Beauty Cents 

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

The Balm Haul, Part 2: Down Boy Blush & Mary-Lou Manizer, Swatches & Review

Today is part two of my the Balm Hautelook haul! I'm going to share with you Mary-Lou Manizer and Down Boy Blush, then share swatches of how the products look in conjunction with the Balm's Bahama Mama bronzer. You can read my full review of Bahama Mama here.

Mary-Lou Manizer

I'll start with the Balm's extremely well-known and well-loved highlighter, adorably named the Mary-Lou Manizer. Similar to Bahama Mama, which is touted as a multitasking bronzer, contour powder and eyeshadow, the Mary-Lou Manizer ($24) is billed as a multitasking highlighter, eyeshadow, and "shimmer."

the balm mary lou manizer swatch review

Unlike Bahama Mama, Mary-Lou Manizer comes in a round plastic compact that snaps shut. It has a full sized mirror inside and is sturdy enough that I'd feel comfortable throwing it into my handbag. It's a little bulkier than Bahama Mama but not bulky in general.

the balm mary lou manizer swatch review

Mary-Lou Manizer is absolutely GORGEOUS in the pan and swatched. Its a shimmery champagne shade that is neither too warm (gold) nor cool (silver). It is really neutral, but if I had to pick, I'd say it leans more warm than cool. Its neutral undertones make it suitable for all skin tones and shades, as well as all makeup looks. It is incredibly pigmented, velvety, and feels luxurious. If you read my Bahama Mama review, you know that I found that product very powdery and needing a gentle touch; Mary-Lou Manizer doesn't have that issue.

Down Boy Blush

the balm down boy blush swatch review

Down Boy Blush ($21) comes in the same heavy cardboard packaging as Bahama Mama. Its really sturdy, compact, and closes magnetically. It has an interior mirror as well.

the balm down boy blush swatch review

Down Boy is described by the Balm as a "baby pink." What I like about this blush is that it isn't Barbie Pink or 60's mod squad pink, which is what normally comes to mind when I usually see blushes described as "baby pink." It is very pigmented and applies with ease. It can be worn sheerly or built up for considerably opacity.

Mary-Lou Manizer and Down Boy Swatches

Here I've swatched Down Boy next to Bahama Mama and Mary-Lou Manizer and shown the progression of applying each to my face:

the balm down boy blush mary lou manizer swatch review

From left to right, I first applied Bahama Mama to my contour area. You can tell its too dark for me, but at least it showed up for my pictures! Also please excuse the bags under my tired eyes, I did this after a lonnnnggg work day. The middle photo shows a light wash of Down Boy. The final shot shows a heavier build up of Down Boy with Mary-Lou Manizer dusted on the top of my cheekbones.

Down Boy is a great color. Its a pop of pink with a little bit of purple to it, at least on me. It's very easy to work with and is one of those products I can slap on in the morning without having to worry too much about it.

The Mary-Lou Manizer definitely lives up to the hype. It is so pigmented that just one dip into the pan with my Real Techniques setting brush is enough to highlight both of my cheekbones and leave a bit down the center of my nose. My only gripe with this is that it does seem to highlight the larger pores on my inner cheeks (close to my nose) - and not in a good way. I would be better off with a matte highlighting powder for this area.

 My Two Cents About Down Boy Blush & Mary-Lou Manizer

  • Highly pigmented
  • Both feel velvety and luxurious, well worth the price
  • Mary-Lou Manizer is the perfect neutral highlight to complement all skin tones and shades
  • Travel friendly - big mirrors, sturdy packaging for both.
  • Buildable color
  • The shimmer in Mary-Lou Manizer draws attention to large pores 

Overall, I recommend both of these products from the Balm! I would love to seem them in stores (Sephora carries them, but I've never seen them in the Sephora locations near me) and to expand their line overall.

Look for my the Balm Haul Part Three sometime soon.. I am working with the Nude Tude palette and looking forward to sharing swatches and my thoughts on it with all of you!

Beauty Cents 

Monday, June 10, 2013

My The Balm Haul, Part 1: Bahama Mama Bronzer Photos, Comparisons and Review

One brand I have wanted to try for the longest time is the Balm. A handful of their products have a cult-like following in the beauty world, so I really excited to order a bunch of things when they were on Hautelook last month. You will definitely see multiple the Balm posts in the coming weeks, but today I am showing you the Bahama Mama bronzer!

The Balm's Bahama Mama ($20) is a matte bronzer that the Balm also describes as a contour powder and eyeshadow. It comes in really cute, sturdy cardboard packaging with magnetic closure and nice sized mirror.

the balm bahama mama bronzer swatch reviewthe balm bahama mama bronzer swatch review

Bahama Mama is quite dark, as you can see in the pan. It is too dark as a contour powder for my NC25 skin, but I think it will be perfect for summertime. For now, I use a light - VERY LIGHT - hand to warm up my skin on the cheeks, nose and forehead, and I am very happy with the bronzer used like this.

 Bahama Mama is incredibly pigmented, soft, and a bit powdery. You are going to want to use a light hand with this, like I said before. The first time I swirled my blush brush into it, I couldn't believe the result, so I took the following photo:

What I love most about it is that although it is dark, it is perfectly brown, with maybe an ashy or cool undertone, but definitely no orange. To compare, I swatched it alongside all of the other bronzers in my collection. I put it next to Hoola, which is my current go-to also because it is matte without orange undertones. To me Bahama Mama looks like a deeper version of Hoola, so if you are a Hoola fan and looking for something darker for summertime, you'll probably love Bahama Mama!

the balm bahama mama bronzer swatch review

My Two Cents on the Balm's Bahama Mama Bronzer

  • Cute, compact packaging that stays magnetically closed - great for traveling.
  • Extremely pigmented
  • Matte (if you're looking for that, which I was!)
  • No orange undertones! Perfect brown color looks really natural.
  • Too dark to use a contour if you are NC20-25 range
  • Can kick up a lot of powder and get messy if you aren't very gentle and careful with your brush
Overall, I definitely recommend this product and am glad I have it in my collection. It's unlike any of my other bronzers and is so pigmented that I know it will last me a very long time.

Do you have Bahama Mama or any other bronzer by the Balm??

Beauty Cents

Friday, June 7, 2013

My Real Techniques Brush Collection Review

I'm sad to say that my makeup brush collection is quite a hodge-podge of ones I have gathered over the years from different sources. Some are higher end and some are drugstore. I recently have been really interested in upgrading my collection, and while I am not quite ready to spend, say Sigma Beauty prices, I felt the Real Techniques collection fit my price range a little better - especially since they are sold at Ulta and Harmon, two places that always have decent coupons available.

Real Techniques is a company owned by beauty YouTuber Samantha Chapman. All of the brushes are cruelty-free and all of the ones I own are synthetic. I love synthetic brushes, especially for face products, because you waste much less product than natural hair brushes. Natural hair brushes will suck up your liquid and cream foundations and hold on to some of your powder, whereas synthetic materials pick it up and place it on your face. I currently own the Setting Brush, Expert Face Brush, and Powder Brush. Read on for close up photos and my thoughts on each!

Real Techniques Setting Brush

 The first Real Techniques brush I purchased was the Setting Brush ($8.00). I didn't have anything in my collection to easily set my under eye concealer, nor any pointed face brushes small enough for precise contouring and highlighting. I thought this brush was the absolute perfect size for all three of these tasks.

real techniques setting brush review

The brush is a pointed dome shape and incredibly soft - exactly what you want to be coming in contact with your under eye area. It's really plush and soft but holds its shape well. It can buff out concealer, corrector, or foundation like nobody's business! I also use it to set my under eye area or blemishes with powder, and it does so evenly and without caking. I haven't ended up using it for highlighting yet (mostly because I am too pale to warrant any highlighting!) so I will have to update once I try it for that later in the summer months. 


Real Techniques Expert Face Brush

I purchased the Expert Face Brush ($9.00) after much research and comparing it to RT's Foundation brush. I chose the Expert Face brush which is very unique in its design. It is flat on two sides like a traditional painter's style foundation brush, but is thick and domed like a kabuki brush. This allows you to first apply your product with the flat side (if you desire) in broad strokes, then go back and buff it in using the top of the brush.

real techniques expert face brush review
Thinner side... see how it's flat on two sides?
real techniques expert face brush review
Note the broadness of the brush on the other side
The brush is much more firm and dense than the Setting Brush, but the bristles are not any less soft. I have used this under my eyes, which is a pretty sensitive area for me, and it doesn't irritate at all. It feels as lovely as the setting brush, really.

I find this brush gives me a very lovely finish with liquid foundation and I appreciate the uniqueness of the design. However, it has a relatively small surface area for buffing, and it makes it a little bit tedious for me. I think it is because of this that I find myself pulling for some of my older brushes, namely my ELF flat top powder brush, because it has a larger surface area. I think this is a great brush and just wish it was a little bigger. The slim design does make it great for traveling, though!

Real Techniques Blush Brush

I added the Blush Brush ($9.00) most recently to my collection and I am really happy with it. It is large and dome shaped with a pointed tip. It is just as soft as my prior two and dense without being too firm. It is really a larger version of the Setting Brush, but a bit fatter through the middle. I use it for my powder blushes and it applies and blends out beautifully. I have the least to say about this brush because it's so straight forward - it does exactly what it is supposed to do, and does it very well.

real techniques blush brush review

Overall, I am really pleased with all of my Real Techniques brush purchases and absolutely recommend them. I haven't explored their eye brushes yet but wouldn't be surprised if I do end up picking some up in the future. I have purchased mine at Harmon (great because the 20% Bed, Bath & Beyond coupons apply there!) and Ulta (coupons also apply).

Have you tried anything from the Real Techniques line yet? What should my next purchase by them be?

Beauty Cents

Wednesday, June 5, 2013

Rimmel Cocktail Colour Nail Polish in Hawaiian Punch Photos, Swatches and Review

I don't know if it's just me, but I feel like there are so many fun limited edition nail polishes being released this summer that are so fun and summery! Ever since I read that Rimmel was coming out with something called Cocktail Colour for June, I was anxiously awaiting picking one up.

Rimmel's Cocktail Colour In a Flash nail lacquer ($3.99, Walgreens) promises to dry in 60 seconds and comes in five bright, fun shades. They are only available for June, exclusively at Walgreens. I chose Hawaiian Punch, the only red/pink shade of the bunch.

rimmel cocktail colour nail polish hawaiian punch photo swatch review

In the bottle it looks like a sparkly red - perfect for this time of year.

rimmel cocktail colour nail polish hawaiian punch photo swatch review

The brush is wide and flat, making application quick but not terribly precise. Note the sparkles!

rimmel cocktail colour nail polish hawaiian punch photo swatch review

The color of the polish ended up being much more pink than I thought it would be. It really reminds me of what Dorothy from the Wizard of Oz's shoes would look like if they were pink instead of red. Its a cool toned, deep red with tons of pink shimmer throughout. The sparkles didn't pick up so fabulously in my picture here, but it is really evident in the shot of the brush.

The formula was a little thick but totally fine to work with. I'm really bad at nail polish application, and it wasn't a mess for me. This did dry rather quickly... perhaps not exactly 60 seconds as advertised, but within 5 minutes of applying Seche Vite on top, I was good to go.

I don't have great luck with nail polish staying power, so while I only got about a day before chips, this is not unusual for me. I would take my experience in this area with a grain of salt.

Overall, I felt this polish performed well for the price. I do wish it was more of a red than bright pink. I felt like it was a little childish for me to wear, and not in a good way. I also wish that the other colors in the line were a little more wearable (all vibrant colors - beautiful but out of my comfort zone!) for my office setting, because I would definitely have picked up another color or two if there were softer options for me.

If you are looking for serious sparkle, vibrant color, quick application and a great price, you will absolutely enjoy Rimmel's Cocktail Colour line. Get them while you can - they're only around for the month of June in Walgreens!

Beauty Cents

Monday, June 3, 2013

Wet N Wild Blush in Pearlescent Pink Photos, Swatches, Review

I have really been all about the drugstore blushes lately! I blogged a little while ago about Milani Luminoso for summer, and mostly used two NYX blushes all winter. I picked up another drugstore blush a few weeks back that I thought I'd share with you today.

Wet N Wild's Color Icon Pressed Blusher Powder ($2.99) comes in four shades - Pearlescent Pink, Heather Silk, Mellow Wine and Berry Shimmer. I picked out the lightest of the four, Pearlescent Pink (831E).

wet n wild pearlescent pink swatch review

Pearlescent Pink is a light pink with a touch of peach and a subtle shimmer. You can't see any individual pieces of glitter, just general shimmer throughout.

wet n wild pearlescent pink swatch review
Pearlescent Pink, one swipe swatch
 With a light hand, it is very faint and almost undetectable on my hand. Just a little natural flush!

wet n wild pearlescent pink swatch review
Pearlescent Pink, layered swatch
When built up, it's a really pretty light pink shade. For a drugstore product, I find this to have great pigmentation and staying power! I haven't had any issues with staying power, and have found it lasts throughout the work day.

You can't beat the price on this product. For $2.99 (I got it on sale for actually $1.99 at Walgreens!), I really recommend this blush or others in the line to see if you like the color at least!

Have you tried these?
Beauty Cents

Thursday, May 30, 2013

Maybelline Color Tattoo Inked in Pink and Tough as Taupe Swatches, Photos and Review

I am writing this post in full recognition and awareness that I am possibly the last person on the planet to try Maybelline's Eye Studio Color Tattoo cream shadows. Now that we've acknowledged that little fact I can move on to what you're here for - swatches and my two cents!

Maybelline's Color Tattoo ($5.99) cream gel shadows promise 24 hour staying power that won't crease or fade all day. They can be used as a base, a shadow, or a liner. They have multiple lines in this collection; the permanent line consists of nine shades, both shimmers and a few mattes; the Metal collection has five metallic colors. They also release seasonal lines and do have a line of summer 2013 shades out right now. I purchased Inked in Pink from the Metal collection, and Tough as Taupe from the original line.

Maybelline Color Tattoo Inked in Pink Tough as taupeMaybelline Color Tattoo Inked in Pink Tough as taupe swatch

Both Inked in Pink (left) and Tough as Taupe (right) swatch pretty true to how they look in the pot. However, I don't find the color translates as well on my lids for whatever reason. The consistency of the two shades varies; Tough as Taupe is definitely drier than Inked in Pink. Inked in Pink feels slippery and wet in comparison. In the photo below I am wearing Inked in Pink on my inner-to-mid lid, with Tough as Taupe in the outer lid and crease with a light hand. I also smudged a bit of Tough as Taupe under my lower lashes.

Maybelline Color Tattoo Inked in Pink and Tough as Taupe Review


I thought I would photograph for you guys not quite the 24 hour claim, but a 12 hour test for fading and creasing. This is the same as the above look, taken twelve hours apart:

As you can see, there is significant fading and creasing after twelve hours, especially in the Inked in Pink area. I did not use a primer and it was a warm but not hot day. I'm sorry the lighting is different.. due to the time of day I had to take the "after" photo in a different area with florescent lighting.

 For reference, I have worn Tough as Taupe by itself a few times and also experienced creasing and fading but not as bad as Inked in Pink. I would guess this is partially due to the wetter, more slippery formula that Inked in Pink has compared to Tough as taupe.

Overall, I am not terribly impressed with either of these shadows. If I had to pick, I would say Tough as Taupe is definitely better quality and staying power. I generally don't like cream shadows but was hoping these would convert me since they have so many followers out there. I find applying them to be clumsy with fingers and not much better with brushes. I often have to go back and add more shadow after it dries because it looks patchy right away.

I really wanted to love these and have them be my go-to shadows during the coming summer months, but unfortunately they aren't working out so great for me!

Are you a big Color Tattoo fan, or has your experience been closer to mine??

Beauty Cents
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Sunday, May 26, 2013

Milani Baked Bronzer in Soleil and Milani Baked Blush in Luminoso Photos, Swatches & Review!

Can you believe its already Memorial Day Weekend? I know, me neither! Does anything scream "summer" more than bronzer and blushes that give you a sun kissed glow?? Today I'm sharing two drugstore products I picked up during CVS' BOGO1/2Off sale on Milani products. 

Milani's Baked Bronzer ($8.99) is dubbed as "a bronzing powder that features a mélange infusion of colors baked on Italian terracota tiles. Easy to use, sensorial in texture, the nuances of color become extraordinarily luminous, enhancing the purity of the skin. This hi-tech, streak free bronzer, gives a perfect radiant look." 

The bronzer comes in three shades - Glow, Soleil, and Golden. They all are shimmery bronzers. I picked up Soleil, the middle one of the three. While Milani's site has them up for $8.99, I know my CVS was charging over $10! Anyway, here it is in the pan:

Gorgeous, right? Moving on to purchase number two:

Milani's Baked Blush ($7.99) comes in nine shades total. I picked up Luminoso, a peach with a bit of gold shimmer to it:

milani luminoso blush review swatch
I tend to pick only pinks and the occasional coral for my blushers, so I was really excited to pick up a peach for once! I thought this would look great for a summer bronzey look. Here are the blush and bronzer swatched, as well as the blush on top of the bronzer: 

milani luminoso and soleil swatch

Soleil is rather shimmery when swatched, bordering on glittery.  This is not a bronzer for contouring (I prefer matte for that, like my Benefit Hoola), but a light sweep of this on the cheeks gives a great sun kissed glow.

Luminoso is a really gorgeous blusher! The shimmer is much more subtle than that of the bronzer. I've been wearing this alone and on top of Soleil and love it both ways.

The staying power on both of these products is really strong - it is on my face with minimal fading after eight hours. I know people complain about how bulky the packaging is, and it does annoy me that the bronzer doesn't fit with all of my other bronzers due to the shape, but it isn't going to keep me from using it.

Overall, I recommend both of these and would also pick up other blushes from the Milani Baked line that caught my eye.

Happy Memorial Day Weekend!

Beauty Cents
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Thursday, May 23, 2013

New HG Mascara Combo for Incredibly Awesome Plush & Long Lashes!

I recently posted about my new favorite drugstore mascara, Essence's I Heart Extreme Crazy Volume Mascara (view original post here). It gives me incredibly thick lashes without any clumping or spidery situations going on. While I really do love it for everyday, I don't find it gives me as much length as I would like. I recently picked up Maybelline's Illegal Length fiber extension mascara, so I thought to myself.... would these two products work well together?

See for yourself!


TwoBeautyCents' Holy Grail Mascara Combo:

best mascara combination

I mean... come on!!! That's some awesome results right there. My lashes are nothing to write home about but I feel like this mascara combo gives them serious oomph in the volume and lengthening departments. My routine has been about two coats of I Heart Extreme Crazy Volume mascara, let it dry a bit, then top the tips off with Illegal Lengths. Some days I build them longer than others. In these shots it's pretty tame (workday!) but I think you can still tell the difference in length between the two photos.

That's all I've got for you today! Do you ever double up on mascaras to get a certain look? What's your favorite combination?

Beauty Cents

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Essence I Heart Extreme Crazy Volume Mascara Photos, Swatches & Review!

Hi everyone! For the past year and a half, I have been a loyal user of Buxom Amplified Mascara. Ironically, I haven't reviewed it yet, probably because it is just one of my daily staples and I don't get terribly excited about it anymore. The pricetag is steep, but I had picked up two for a steal at Sephora on Black Friday. So, I have been on the lookout for a great drugstore mascara to alternate with my Buxom to make it last. As many of you know, there is no shortage of great drugstore mascaras!

I heard about Essence's I <3 Extreme Crazy Volume Mascara from BeautyBroadcast a month or so back. She mentioned it was awesome and only $5 so I thought... hey... why not!

Essence I <3 Extreme Crazy Volume Mascara ($4.99, Ulta) is described as:
I Love Extreme Mascara's "crazy" sister - with even more volume! The deep-black, creamy texture covers each individual lash with color and the extra-large plastic brush provides sensational volume. Opthalmologically tested.
Yes... there is another Essence mascara called I Love Extreme Volume. Confusing, eh? This one that I am reviewing today is in a pink tube. The original is in a black tube. I loved the packaging right off of the bat, which of course has no bearing on how good the product is, but I loved how whimsical and fun it is. For your reference:
essence i heart extreme crazy volume mascara
You can tell straight away that the brush is really substantial, kind of like Benefit Bad Gal Lash, but with shorter bristles. At first, I wasn't sure if these shorter bristles were going to work well! A close up:

 The brush is really pretty straightforward, lots of bristles all over that are rather tiny, promising to grab every lash. So, how's it perform on real lashes? Let's see:

I mean... wow, right?? This is two coats in the photo. In person it literally looks like a wall of lashes, especially when I go for a third coat, which I tend to do with all of my mascaras (kind of a fanatic!). I did lightly brush this onto my bottom lashes as well for definition.

 My Two Cents on Essence's I <3 Extreme Crazy Volume Mascara:

I seriously LOVE this mascara! Let's get into it:

Claims Met?: YES! Like I said above... most days I feel like I have a wall of lashes going on in almost a false-lash way. Thick, black, and fabulous!

Smudging: It has smudged once or twice on my top lid when wet - but never during the day as part of wear. I have used it on my bottom lashes as well and did not have any smudging, which is impressive for it not being a waterproof formula!

Flaking: None! I have been using this almost every day for close to a month and have not noticed any flaking.

Clumping: Very rarely this will clump, but mostly its clumps on the brush that can be wiped off. I am actually very impressed how clump-free it is for a volumizing formula. My lashes get so thick and plush, but never spidery or clumpy.

Staying Power: Lasts all day (10 hours).

Ease of Removal: Not as easy as some other mascaras, but comes off with some effort using a baby wipe. Definitely worth the effort.

Overall: I am borderline obsessed with this product. It applies like a dream, gives me a false-lash look of voluminous lashes, doesn't smudge, doesn't flake, and doesn't fade. My lashes look as good when I get home from work as I when I left in the morning. I also have to admit that the bright pink packaging perks me up when I am getting ready in the mornings! For $5, Essence has outdone themselves and this has quickly become my go-to mascara (sorry, Buxom!!). Although it does not promise anything in the lengthening department, you can tell from my photos that it gives considerable length as well.

I wholeheartedly recommend Essence's I <3 Extreme Crazy Volume Mascara. It's a great product that outperforms many high end mascaras I have tried over the years!

Have you tried this yet? Do you love it as much as I do??

Beauty Cents
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Sunday, May 19, 2013

Wet N Wild Color Icon Palette in Comfort Zone & Petal Pusher: Photos, Swatches, Finished Looks and Review

Wet N Wild is one of those brands that a lot of people have an opinion on based on long-standing memories. I can remember seeing the displays in my CVS growing up, all bright colors and low prices. Surprisingly enough, they have quite a following in the beauty blogging world and many people rave about their shadows, bronzers, nail polishes, and primers. After seeing countless reviews about their products, I thought I would check it out for myself. I headed to my local Walgreens and picked up the Color Icon palettes in Comfort Zone and Petal Pusher.

Wet N Wild's Color Icon Palettes ($4.99) are described as:
"Eight dynamic, perfectly color-coordinated shades with high pigment and pearl for ultra-impact color. Shades can be used together or individually to create an endless variety of looks."
The palettes are offered in three color families: Blue Had Me at Hello, a blue-aqua-green-grey mix; Petal Pusher, a pink-purple mix; and Comfort Zone, a green-bronze mix. I picked up Comfort Zone because it seemed like it had a great number of useful neutrals and I loved the green shade as well. I also picked up Petal Pusher because as a hazel-eyed person, I love wearing purples and soft pinks that draw the green out in my eyes.

wet n wild color icon
 My Walgreens only had one Comfort Zone palette left, and it was pretty scuffed up as you can see. One of the definer shades was a bit cracked, but for $4.99, I can't complain.

The palettes are awesome because they embossed into each shadow what their intended purpose is for creating a full eye look. I'm not a total makeup novice, but I thought it was neat how they did this! Each eyeshadow color is a decent size and they organize each palette into two separate looks (left column and right column) but it is obvious you can mix and match any way you would like.

wet n wild comfort zone swatch

First, I recognize my swatching skills need work!!! But that's what blogging is all about, right? Self discovery? Learning from others? Ok, now that I've rationalized my shortcomings.... Here is Comfort Zone swatched to top to bottom, left column, then right column. Some of these were a lot easier to swatch than others! The browbone shades are decently pigmented and, appropriately, don't show up much on my alabaster arm. I was impressed with the pigmentation for most of these, except the definer shades. I was really hoping the left definer would be a beautiful cranberry, but it was so hard to swatch and even harder to apply.

wet n wild petal pusher swatchwet n wild petal pusher swatch
Petal Pusher was actually easier to swatch. The shades look decent here, right?

I thought I would play around with the looks that Wet N Wild envisioned would be created and applied the shadows using their browbone, crease, lid, and definer shade suggestions. I'm going to share the looks with you and put my review for each palette with it, as my opinions on each are varied.

Comfort Zone Palette Look & Review

wet n wild comfort zone lookwet n wild comfort zone
I created this look using the right column of shadows in the Comfort Zone palette. I did use my Urban Decay Primer Potion. I felt the colors went on quite nicely! The green shade is so gorgeous and vibrant in person, without being shocking or edgy. I thought the colors pulled together well. The definer shade was the most difficult to work with and had a significant amount of fall out.

In using the left column of shadows in day-to-day wear, I find that they have a lot of fall out as well. If I am diligent about tapping my brush before applying color to my lid, it minimizes the problem. The left definer shade is a total waste; it is beautiful in the pan but the payoff is weak and patchy. I can make the lid and crease colors work, but the pigmentation is not as great as the green color on the right.

Overall, I think this palette is worth the money even for just the green! The browbone shades are totally acceptable; not my go-to by any means, but not horrible at all. The rose-gold lid shade is pretty, and would probably show up better on someone with more olive tone than myself. The staying power of these shadows with primer is at least 6 hours. Without primer, they do crease and fade by midday.

If you are looking for a neutral palette that you can travel with and aren't terribly worried about breaking or losing, this would be a great bet because it is so inexpensive. If you are also looking to experiment with a pop of green, I would absolutely recommend it!

Petal Pusher Look & Review

For full disclosure, I completed my Comfort Zone look first, and was pretty pleased with the quality of what I was working with, especially given the price. Imagine my disappointment when I started working with Petal Pusher and realized this palette was NOT on the same level!

I had so much trouble with the pigmentation of these shadows that I ended up mixing and matching shades from both sides of the palette to get the look. The definer shades are so weakly pigmented and with such immense fallout that it was a very frustrating experience. The shadows applied unevenly and required a great deal of effort to make them "work."

The final look I ended up with is fine, and I guess for $4.99, there aren't too many complaints to be had. I tried working with this palette a few more times and each time became so frustrated and annoyed that I had pulled it out. There are few things worse than your eyes being a hot mess when you are trying to get out of the door, and I had actually had to wipe them clean and start over with other products on mornings I tried using this.

I really would not recommend the Color Icon Palette in Petal Pusher. I know it is super cheap, but I think your money is better served elsewhere. I know other bloggers really enjoy this palette, so maybe mine is an anomaly, a dud, and not representative of the quality of other ones!

Whew! That was a lengthy one! Thanks for sticking with me.

Beauty Cents
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Wednesday, May 15, 2013

My Depotting Experience: Photo & Tips!

I can admit it: I am an organization freak. I enjoy organizing my things, I enjoy nothing more than a clean desk/dresser/countertop. Clutter distracts me and drives me crazy! So when I saw an article in a magazine a few weeks back about depotting and creating your own makeup palette, I was extremely interested.

I quickly turned to the places all scholars look to for answers: Google and YouTube. Duh! I found a million depotting tutorials for all different brands. I have been looking at reviews for different palettes, namely Z-Palette and MAC palettes, for at least two months. After picking up a few new NYX trios last week and having them barely fit into my eyeshadow basket, I decided it was time to suck it up and commit to a palette. I ordered two Z-Palettes through LeCosmetique (free shipping $25+!). I chose a Large one to house most of my shadows and a Small for my dailies/travel purposes.

I decided to start depotting last night, before my palettes even arrived, just to see how difficult it was going to be. I chose an older Kat Von D palette of mine that I wouldn't be horribly upset about if my attempt went awry, because I've hit pan on half the shadows anyway. I did find a tutorial for it online that showed the inner casing of the palette popping out easily, but my palette wasn't constructed that way. I removed the top of the palette to make it easier to work with and peeled the stickers off of the back of the tray. Then, I used the candle method with a pair of my fiance's pliers to hold the tray safely. Once I could see the bottom of the tray starting to look soft and develop some lines in it, I moved the tray to over a paper towel and poked at the back with a knife.  When done correctly, each pan area was warm enough and pliable, so it wasn't much work to get them out.

Depotted Kat Von D Palette. Success!

After depotting my Kat Von D palette, I moved on to my MAC and Urban Decay singles. These were so easy! The MAC shadows popped right out of the casing with a nail file. Urban Decay singles were more difficult and just required more patience to wedge my tool in between the outer plastic and inner pod. Once popped out, I used the candle method again. These melted in 10 seconds or less, so keep an eye on them!

I knew from reading tutorials around the blogosphere that the pans would be hot after popping out, so I was very careful about gingerly popping them out and trying to "land" them softly. I used a pair of pliers to flip them right side up and didn't attempt to clean the glue off of the bottoms until I was certain they were cooled.

All in all, depotting was not as painful as I thought it would be! Here are my tips for anyone looking to try it out for themselves:

Depotting Tips:

  • Try it with a shadow you aren't totally in love with, just in case it breaks. You can always fix the shadow with rubbing alcohol and a spoon/coin, but I find it heartbreaking anyway. Avoid the whole issue by using something you won't be upset over potentially shattering.
  • Make sure the tool you use to separate the shadow from the larger packaging has a sturdy handle. The nail tool I used at first was from a cheap travel set and the plastic handle broke during use. Yikes! 
  • If you are using the candle method, make sure you have a sturdy set of tongs or pliers with a handle that will stay cool. This protects you from getting burned.
  • Keep an eye on the bottom of the shadow you are heating up. Not all packaging is the same thickness, so some shadows may be ready to go quicker than others.
  • If you are working with a palette, concentrate on having the flame directly under one or two shadows at a time. I slowly circled between two shadows at a time with my Kat Von D palette and they both came out easily each time.
  • Use something with a long handle to poke the shadows out from the back of the melted packaging. I know some people use thumbtacks, which is the perfect tool because it is sharp and will go through the melted plastic, but I wouldn't want my fingers that close to the hot plastic! I used a steak knife and it worked out fine.
  • Set up a soft surface for your shadows to "land" on. One hand will be holding the shadow packaging, and your other hand will be poking the shadow out from the back. Unless you have an assistant, this means your shadow kind of falls. Set up a towel or something soft to minimize the impact.
  • Have patience! :)
That's all the tips I have for now... I will certainly edit if I come up with more after my next round of depotting. My Z-Palettes arrived in the mail today and I can't wait to get home, slap magnets on the backs of my depotted shadows, and get them set up!

Have you depotted anything before? Do you love it or wish you left your shadows alone?

Beauty Cents
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Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Redken Extreme Strength Builder Plus, AKA, The Best Hair Mask Ever!

Hi everyone! Today I want to talk to you about a product that I really believe has been making my hair stronger, break-resistant, and softer. 

Redken Extreme Strength Builder Plus is labeled as a "fortifying mask for highly distressed hair." As someone who has dyed her hair (color and sometimes bleach) for over ten years (thanks, premature grays!) and who is no stranger to blow dryers and flat irons, I frequently feel my hair looks dull from damage and my ends quickly look thinned out from split ends and breakage. My hair texture is thin but wavy/curly with frizz, which is another partial byproduct of damage. I picked this treatment up a few months back hoping it would heal my hair.
redken extreme strength builder plus

Redken Extreme Strength Builder Plus contains protein and ceramide to fix the inner structure of the hair and provide additional strength. It is a leave in for 15 minutes and wash out treatment. It says to apply on towel dried hair.

The mask is thick and smells nice without being overpowering. When I wash my hair out after using it, I can tell a decent amount of product has been absorbed by my hair and my dried-out ends are instantly softer and shinier.

The only drawback to this product is you have to rinse it VERY WELL if you are going to be styling your hair after using it. Even when I rinse it for a long time, my hair feels like there is product in it during that first blow out. As a result, I usually use this at night now and wash my hair in them morning.

It's been about six months of using this product twice a month and my hair is seriously improved in texture and shine! It is a bit pricy ($20-something at Ulta) but I have more than half of the tub left even with having it for so long.

I really reccommend Redken Extreme Strength Builder Plus for anyone who's hair is zapped, over processed, or just in need of some loving! My hair was not horrible before using it, just standard issues that a lot of us heat-tool using, hair-dye loving girls tend to have. Using this has made my hair silkier, and when I don't blow it out, I need less product to make it look sleek and shiny. This is a MAJOR coup! My hair seems to be growing faster without getting that "you need a trim RIGHT NOW" look which is also really awesome.

What hair products are your go-to when you hair is feeling fried??

Beauty Cents
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Thursday, May 2, 2013

Maybelline Illegal Length Fiber Extension Mascara Photos & Review!

Hi everyone! Is there anything better than long, flirty lashes for Spring? I love drama for my lashes, in terms of length and volume. I picked up Maybelline's Illegal Length Fiber Extension Mascara to see if it would do the trick.

 Maybelline's Illegal Length Fiber Extension Mascara ($8.95) has fiber extensions to add up to 4 millimeters onto the tips of your lashes. The fibers are supposed to build upon your existing lashes for crazy length. This formula comes in three washable shades - Brown Black, Very Black, and Blackest Black. I chose Blackest Black. Maybelline advertises this formula as having the longest extensions ever sold in a mascara.

maybelline illegal length mascara reviewmaybelline illegal length mascara review

The brush is called a Fiber Fix brush. You can see from the close up below that it is a nice full brush with bristles of varying lengths to catch onto. The brush makes me feel like it will add a solid amount of volume in addition to length.

So, does it live up to the hype? Let's have a look:

maybelline illegal length mascara review

My Two Cents on Maybelline Illegal Length Fiber Extension Mascara:

Claims Met?: This mascara does add a solid amount of length to my modest lashes! The pictures are from two coats and using a lash curler. Close up, you can see the fiber extensions sticking out a little oddly from the tops of my lashes.

Smudging: It really doesn't smudge, not even when the great length has my lashes hitting my eye lid! This is great for me, because my current HG mascara does leave some black marks up top. Bravo, Maybelline. 

Flaking: Illegal Length does flake slightly, mostly when I apply it. I feel like some of the fibers fall off of the brush when I take it out of the bottle, leaving some black flakes on my cheeks. After application, I haven't experienced any flaking.

Clumping: Clumps slightly after a few coats. Nothing major.

Staying Power: Lasts all day (10 hours).

Ease of Removal: Quite easy with a baby wipe, my makeup removal method of choice. You can see the fibers on the wipe, which is pretty interesting!

Overall: This mascara totally lives up to what it is said to do - give great length. What it lacks for in the volume department, it makes up for with length - but hey, it never promised to add volume! I appreciate that it doesn't smudge, is buildable, and comes off very easily. I have been experimenting with this on top of a new volumizing mascara I picked up, and I have been very pleased with the results (will post soon!). While the fiber extensions look a little weird to me in close up pictures, during a normal day I think they just look like long lashes. 

I would definitely reccomend this mascara if you are all about length!

Beauty Cents