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