Wednesday, May 29, 2013

MAC Cultured Lipglass -- Review and Lip Swatches



So I was cleaning out my purse -- because I had about 20 different lip products in there -- and realized that I hadn't done a blog post on my all time favorite lip product! Not my favorite gloss or favorite MAC lip product... I'm mean FAVORITE lip product of ALL TIME! If I had to pick one thing I could wear on my lips for the rest of my life it would be this lipglass without a doubt. Whew! Ok, I'll calm down...
I would describe Cultured as a semi-sheer light pink with a slight purple undertone with pinky-purple and silver microshimmer. Because this gloss is semi-sheer, it will look much different on someone with pigmented lips. I am very fair (NC15) and have pale lips as well, so please keep that in mind with the lip swatches.
In my opinion, MAC Cultured lipglass is absolutely perfect in every way. I have repurchased this lipglass at least 8-10 times. It is a "my lips but better" kind of gloss that is perfect for everyday. This was my go-to gloss to pair with a smokey eye for years. It can be layered on top of a lipstick but I typically wear it on its own.
With any lipgloss/lipstick that has slight purple undertones, I would recommend trying it before you buy it... With that said, I think Cultured would suit almost any skin tone, from the fairest of the fair (like myself) to the deepest ebony.
What is your favorite lipglass/lipgloss? Leave a comment below!
Oh, and dear friends.... please click the Google+ follow button on the top right side of my blog... I'm not sure when but they will doing away with Google Friend Connect. Please and thank you :)

Sunday, May 26, 2013

MAC Temperature Rising: Bare My Soul Quad - Review, Swatches and Dupes

Romantico, Bare My Soul
Friendly, When In Rio

ROMANTICO (Veluxe Pearl) is a light taupe brown with shimmer. This is the stand out shade of the palette for me. It has a beautiful texture and blends beautifully. Romantico is very complex -- with subtle pink and green shimmer. MAC Patina is lighter and cooler, Urban Decay Suspect is lighter and more orange.
BARE MY SOUL (Lustre) is a shimmering gold with a copper undertone. The texture and pigmentation is outstanding especially compared to other Lustres.

FRIENDLY (Veluxe Pearl) is a deep chocolate briown with gold shimmer. It has great pigmentation and blends easily.

WHEN IN RIO (Frost) is a blackened red brown with teal frost. This eyeshadow is beautiful but has a slightly drier texture than the others. It is similar to MAC Club. When In Rio has a darker, cooler base and the duochrome is more apparent.

Top to Bottom: When In Rio, Friendly, Bare My Soul, Romantico

I was literally counting down the days until the Temperature Rising collection released, which was May 16th online and May 23rd at stores/counters. Unfortunately this quad sold out in a couple hours online so I had to wait until I could purchase it at my local counter. As I'm sure most of you know, this is limited edition and can be purchased at MAC locations while supplies last.

This is an amazing quad! I haven't purchased one in quite some time because in the last couple years MAC has released a series of flops... most with lackluster or poor quality. I'm pleasantly surprised that they put together such a winner! This quad is $44 while the typical price for a quad is $40... you're obviously paying for the packaging. It is bronzy in color and feels a bit rubbery like NARS packaging.  Unfortunately it scratches quite easily... which drives me crazy!
I love that it has two Veluxe Pearls, as they are my favorite finish! The colors work well together and you're able to create a variety of different looks. You couldn't use this quad exclusively, as there isn't a highlight shade included. All the eyeshadows wore about 8-9 hours with minimal creasing and fading.

Overall this is a beautiful quad and definitely worth picking up if the colors appeal to you... I think it would be universally flattering!
Have you purchased anything from this collection? What is your favorite MAC quad?

Sunday, May 19, 2013

Best Drugstore Mascara -- My Top 4!

Left to Right: Loreal Voluminous, Loreal Telescopic, Covergirl Clump Crusher, Covergirl Lashblast


If there is one thing drugstore cosmetic companies know how to do, it's mascara! Although I have a couple high end tubes, I just never reach for them. Mascaras in general have such a short shelf life I think drugstore is definitely the way to go!!

I was going to do a Top 3, but I couldn't narrow it down... I love them all!

A couple disclaimers for the picture comparisons --> For each mascara I have noted how many coats were applied -- this is only describing the top lashes, as I only used one coat on my bottom lashes for all the pictures. Also, the lashes on my left eye are a bit thinner, shorter, and like to go in random directions -- gotta love it :) So, just take that into account when comparing them!

COVERGIRL LASHBLAST (Brown) -- Three Coats

Covergirl Lashblast lives up to the hype! I love this mascara and I think it is my all time favorite! This one is very volumizing and looks best with 2-3 coats. It builds well without clumping. I can't say enough good things about the formula... but the brush is a bit big for my taste. The bristles are plastic so it does take a little getting used to.


Clump Crusher is similar to Lashblast but is less likely to clump, go figure. I really like this one when I am in a rush and want to throw on one or two coats because I know I won't have to mess around with lash combs or trying to fix clumps. The formula is thinner than Lashblast but it is definitely buildable! I like the brush, but I always get dots on my waterline when applying (as seen in the picture). I'm assuming it's because of the curve and plastic bristles.  Aside from that, I absolutely love this baby!

LOREAL TELESCOPIC (Blackest Black) -- Two Coats

Loreal Telescopic is definitely a lengthening mascara and looks best with 1-2 coats maximum. Any more than that and it starts to clump. This one is perfect for ladies that would like to add length rather than volume. The wand is somewhat strange. It's very thin and also has plastic bristles. Also, it truly is the blackest black, as the name states -- at least the deepest black out of any mascara I've tried.

LOREAL VOLUMINOUS (Blackest Black) -- Two Coats

Loreal Voluminous and I go waaaaaay back. This used to be my go-to mascara! I prefer the original formula. As the name states, this is a volumizing mascara that is very buildable. I think it looks best with 2-4 coats. The one downside to this one is that the formula changes as time goes by. At first it's a bit too watery. Then as it dries out a little it becomes AMAZING! Of course all good things must come to an end and it becomes a bit dry and starts to clump -- which mine is starting to do.

Overall I tried to give the good and the bad about each mascara -- I haven't found one that is absolutely perfect on all fronts.

I hope that was helpful! What is your favorite drugstore mascara?

Friday, May 17, 2013

Tarte Exposed Blush Review and Swatches




Today I am very excited to review the Tarte Amazonian Clay Blush in Exposed. This has been my go-to blush ever since I purchased it!
HERE is an older post where I went over my Tarte blush collection... at that time I had only tried Exposed on in Ulta with those heinous fluorescent lights, so I thought I would never purchase it.  I couldn't have been more wrong about my new best friend -- Exposed.
As I'm sure you know, Tarte is nice enough to match the outside packaging with the color of the blush... well in most cases. Exposed is actually a mauve/rose color which confused me because they have it in brown packaging. Regardless, this blush is BEAUTIFUL! I think it bests suits fair, light, and some medium skin tones... I don't think it would show up well on anyone NC45 and up.
Exposed has fabulous pigmentation and lasting power. I'm not sure about Tarte's 12 hour claim, but I can wear it 8 hours with little to no fading. On my NC15 skin, this blush looks like the most natural rosy flush, but still on the neutral side of things. It can be worn with just about any makeup look I put together, which is another reason why I love it so much.
The other day my mother complimented my blush so I felt compelled to apply it on her -- she is much tanner than I am -- around NC30. Exposed looked equally beautiful on her! I think this blush is a *MUST HAVE* ladies! Out of all my blushes, if I had to choose just one to wear for the rest of my days it would be between Tarte Exposed and MAC Cubic... thankfully I will never have to make that decision!
DUPES: Tarte Exposed is very similar to MAC Tenderling and somewhat similar to MAC Cubic. Unfortunately I don't own Tenderling anymore so I can't do a comparison swatch, but hopefully you'll just take my word on it ;)
Have you tried Exposed? What is your favorite blush?
Exposed vs Cubic, Exposed vs Buff, Exposed vs Tenderling

Sunday, May 12, 2013

My Foundation Routine

Today I'm going to be sharing my foundation routine with you!

The key to smooth, flawless foundation is exfoliation! I got the Exuviance Rejuvenating Bionic Scrub from Ulta as a large sample. Wow, it's amazing! It is quite expensive ($36) but I think I will invest in the full size when I run out. I use this every other evening. It has done wonders for my skin, and it helps my foundation apply so smoothly!

I have very fair skin with a lot of facial redness. I like to use MAC Prep + Prime Fortified Skin Enhancer in Neutralize after my moisturizer and before my foundation. It helps to calm the redness and offers SPF 35, which I love! I did a full review on this product, click HERE.


MAC Studio Fix Fluid (NC15) has quickly become a Holy Grail for me. I would call it a medium buildable to full coverage foundation with a matte finish. It is perfect for oily/combination skin like mine. The color NC15 is a great match for my skin, and the extra yellow in the foundation helps to counteract my facial redness. I am super pale, but have warm undertones on my neck, chest and the rest of my body, so this one is perfect. The last time I was at MAC the MUA told me that they have a new shade, NC5, which is alabaster white. So any of you ladies that find NC15 too dark, then check out NC5!

I use the Sigma F80 Flat Top Kabuki to buff my foundation into the skin -- another Holy Grail! Please click HERE for a more indepth look at the F80.


Maybelline Age Rewind Dark Circle Eraser (Fair) is perfect for under the eyes! I have under eye circles, but they aren't terribly bad. This is the only conealer I use for this area. While I really like this product, I'm still looking for my Holy Grail... do you have any suggestions?

MAC Studio Finish Concealer (NC20) I use for blemishes or defining underneath my eyebrow, which I do on occasion. Great concealer!

Hard Candy Glamoflauge Concealer is the only true FULL coverage drugstore concealer that I've found. It is similar to Dermablend. This stuff is amazing, and is only $6! My only complaint is the color selection. Light is a smidge too light for me and the next color is way too dark. I use this when I my skin is really acting up.

Here's a pic of Hard Candy Glamophlage fully covering one of my tattoos... this is stuff is hardcore!


To me, powder is powder... I don't feel the need to spend a million dollars just to powder my face. Lately I have been loving Rimmel Stay Matte Pressed Powder (001 Transparent). It was $5 at Ulta and has lasted me forever. After it is finished I think I'm going to try the MAC Mineralize Skin Finish Natural because I've heard such great things. I apply this with a MAC 129SE or Real Techniques Blush Brush.
Ok ladies and gents... that's my foundation routine! I hope you found it helpful! Let me know in the comments below if you have found a great undereye concealer... one that doesn't settle into fine lines!

What's your Holy Grail foundation?

Friday, May 10, 2013

MAC 239 vs MAC 242

Today's post will be short and sweet -- a comparison between the 239 and the 242!

The MAC 239 is a long time favorite of mine. It is a flat shader brush made of white goat hair and is best used with powder products.

The MAC 242 is also a flat shader but made of synthetic bristles. Because it is synthetic, the 242 can work with powder, cream, and liquid products.

The bristles of the 242 are slightly longer and the 239 is wider.

I did a little experiment the last couple days to see if I could get an identical result using the 239 on my left eye, and the 242 on my right. The eyeshadow I chose to use yesterday is Club -- and if you own this one, you probably know why I chose it. Club is somewhat of a tempermental eyeshadow and if you want its duochrome to show it really has to be packed on. I also tried this with Saddle (Matte) and All That Glitters (Veluxe Pearl).

My results: The 242 without a doubt packs on more color, especially when using Matte and Satin eyeshadows. Because it is made of goat hair, the 239 eats up more color and doesn't deposit as much on the eye. Although the 242 deposits more color, I can't say it is the clear cut winner. The 239 gives a softer look -- so I guess it depends on your preference. I think the 239 is better for beginners and the 242 is a great addition to any eyeshadow addict's brush collection!

Do you have the 239 or 242? What's your favorite brush to pack on color?

Tuesday, May 7, 2013

Sigma Brush Haul -- Brutally Honest Review

I have been putting off purchasing Sigma brushes. I just got the impression that they were a poor substitute for MAC brushes and I don't like copy-cat companies. Today I'm writing an HONEST review. I don't have affiliate links, coupon codes, and I'm not sponsored by Sigma.

Whew! Now that I have that out there, lets get started! Please click the pictures to enlarge!

Left to Right: F10, F80, E40, E34, E65

 Sigma F80 - Flat Top Kabuki Brush
I rarely say this -- but this brush has completely changed the way I do my makeup. I hardly ever wore liquid foundation because I hated the way other brushes applied it and it took forever... until I found this brush. It is hands down the best foundation brush I have ever used by any brand. Not only does it leave a flawless finish, but it does it in half the time. The synthetic bristles are so soft and they don't eat up all your product like a lot of stippling brushes do. This brush also helps to give a fuller coverage. I have washed it three times in the last week that I've had it and I haven't noticed any shedding. It does take quite a while to dry because the bristles are so densely packed. Regular exfoliation is a must! Buffing brushes like the F80 can cause micro-exfoliation -- this will make any dry patches appear flakier. I haven't had any issues, but I have combination oily skin... Ladies with super dry skin may proceed with caution. 

Sigma F10 -- Powder/Blush Brush

I use the F10 for blush only. It's not big and fluffy enough to be used as an all over powder brush. I think the F10 is soft and performs its job well. It is similar to the MAC 129. I find that a patting motion works best with this brush. I would repurchase it and I use it daily. I'm not over the moon, but I like it and would recommend.

Sigma E40 -- Blending Brush

I originally purchased this for applying my transition. After washing the E40 around 7-10 times it has completely lost its shape and now I only find it suitable for applying highlighter to my cheek bones. I would NOT repurchase.

Sigma E45 - Tapered Blending Brush

I have been praying that MAC repromotes the 226, but now I could care less if they do... this brush is perfect for detailed crease work. I think it applies eyeshadow beautifully and is great quality for the money. I have washed it twice and it has completely kept its shape. I bought my mom one for Mother's Day :)

Sigma E65 -- Small Angled Brush

Total Disappointment. As you can see in the close-up it is not at a perfect angle... it just levels off. This is my biggest pet peeve when it comes to brushes. I would return it but it's not worth the shipping cost. I'm sure not all Sigma E65's will have this problem, but mine does and I'm pissed. I was going to use this for gel liner but clearly that's not an option. It is also too wide imo to be used for this purpose -- unless you want a thick line.

I don't think all Sigma brushes are created equally, as I've read a lot of bad reviews on certain ones... so if you are planning on purchasing some I would recommend checking out makeupalley or reading other reviews. I plan on getting a couple more and will do another haul post!

You can purchase them at

Hope that this was helpful and don't forget to subscribe, follow, and comment!

Do you have any Sigma brushes? How do you feel about them?

Wednesday, May 1, 2013

A Guide to MAC's Matte Brown Eyeshadows

I don't know about you gals, but I do A LOT of my shopping online. There isn't a MAC store near me and the counter is about 45 minutes away -- not to mention it is the busiest counter I've ever seen, and it drives me INSANE. I like to buy the pan form of eyeshadows so it makes much more sense for me to buy them online. Before purchasing, I frequently tried to find reviews/blogs describing and comparing MAC eyeshadows to one another in the permanent line, i.e. Saddle vs Texture, Cork vs Wedge, etc. I'm not looking to buy a bunch of dupes! I never really found anything that was detailed enough, so after collecting nearly every matte brown MAC has, I'm writing what I was looking for -- an ultimate guide to MAC's matte brown eyeshadows.

I will also discuss some of the Satin finish shadows that are commonly compared to the Matte shades. These are not ALL of MAC's Matte browns -- but nearly all of them. Whew! Now that I've got all that out there, lets begin!!!

I am NC15 -- for swatching reference!

Left to Right: Wedge, Cork, Soba, Texture, Saddle, Soft Brown

Left to Right: Soft Brown, Era, Omega, Kid, Malt, Wedge, Cork

Left to Right: Brun, Espresso, Brown Down, Embark, Handwritten, Swiss Chocolate

WEDGE: Wedge is a beautiful slightly warm mid tone taupe brown that can be used for transition or in the crease. One of my most used eyeshadows! Wedge vs Kid --Wedge is very close in color to Kid but slightly cooler and darker. I do not think owning both is necessary. Of the two I would choose Wedge because it is more versatile and has a better texture -- but I go back and forth between the two.

CORK: Cork is a "muted golden brown" and technically a Satin, but it appears Matte on the eye. It works beautifully in the crease on lighter skin, and as a transition color for tan skin. Wedge vs Cork --  Cork is darker and cooler. They are similar, but not dupes. I think it is justifiable to own both... but that's just me.

SOBA: Soba is a "golden brown with gold shimmer". It is super pigmented and buttery. This eyeshadow has a lot more shimmer and luminosity than most other Satins. It is almost a muted mustard/camal color, if they makes any sense... not the most flattering color on some skintones. I would try this one before purchasing. Soba looks beautiful when paired with Era, very pretty work appropriate look. Soba vs Cork -- often compared as dupes but I could not disagree more. They give a completely different look on the eye. Soba vs Patina -- I think they are similar, Soba is more pigmented and a darker gold.
SOFT BROWN: Soft Brown is a warm mid tone brown that is best used as a transition color. Some will find this to appear a bit orangey... but I happen to like it, even on my extremely fair skin.

SADDLE: Saddle is a warm orange brown. It has excellent pigmentation and is easy to blend. This is a beautiful transition shade for women of color. Saddle vs Soft Brown -- they are definitely in the same family, but NOT dupes. They are gorgeous when used together -- Soft Brown as a transition, Saddle to Deepen the crease.

TEXTURE: Texture is a Velvet, a "peachy-brown with shimmer" according to MAC. I would call this a straight up orange brown. It applies to the eye nearly Matte. There is a tiny bit of sparkle that helps it blend like a dream. This is also another great transition color for woc. Saddle vs Texture -- close in color but differ in texture and use. I don't think it is necessary to own both if you are beginning your MAC collection.

SWISS CHOCOLATE: Swiss Chocolate is a girl's best friend... it is absolutely beautiful in both color and texture. A warm muted medium red brown, I don't think there is a dupe in the permanent collection.  I have seen this used as a transition for tan skin but I've never used it for such.

HANDWRITTEN: Handwritten is a Matte2 (matte squared) finish and extremely pigmented. It is a dark warm brown. I think while the Matte2 shadows are super pigmented, they are a pain to blend and Handwritten is no exception. I typically use Handwritten for liner.

BROWN DOWN: Brown Down is a warm medium-dark brown that is VERY close in color to Handwritten -- a much drier, less pigmented version. Brown Down has recently been discontinued, so if you were looking to purchase it, look no further than Handwritten.

ESPRESSO: Espresso is a cool toned medium brown that is very popular, but has rather lackluster quality. It has so-so pay off and it's somewhat of a pain in the ass to blend. I don't use Espresso as eyeshadow, but I do use it to add depth to my brows -- Love it for this!

BRUN: Brun is a very cool toned dark black brown that leans on the ashy side of things -- which makes it great for filling in dark brows. I love Brun as a liner as well. Brun vs Mystery -- I personally do not own Mystery so I cannot say either way. I have heard they are dupes so many times that I have avoided Mystery all together. You tell me... are they dupes?

EMBARK: As you can see in the swatch, Embark is somewhat of a tragedy. It is a dark red brown that has a dry texture and sub par payoff. I used to love Embark, and this is my second pan... maybe this one is a dud. Handwritten and Brown Down are close in color to Embark.

Guide to MAC Transition Colors (click HERE) for a more in depth description of Malt, Kid, Era, and Omega along with Wedge, Cork, Soft Brown.

Guide to MAC's Eyeshadow Finishes (click HERE)

Hope that as helpful! If I acquire anymore browns from MAC I will be sure to update the post.

What is/are your favorite brown eyeshadow/s?  Mine are Wedge, Saddle and Swiss Chocolate!

Cork vs Wedge, Soba vs Cork, Cork vs Soft Brown, Soft Brown vs Saddle, Soft Brown vs Texture, Texture vs Saddle, Handwritten vs Brown Down, Swiss Chocolate vs Handwritten, Embark vs Handwritten, Brun vs Mystery