July 2014 Favorites

July 2014 Favorites

July 2014 Favorites
1. China Glaze Gelaze, $11 / 2. Maybelline Instant Age-Rewind Concealer, $8
3. Josie Maran 100% Pure Argan Oil Light, $15 / 4. Urban Decay All-Nighter Setting Spray, $29

Just four this month because, frankly, it was kind of a lazy month for me. I didn’t really break away from, “safe,” things in light of my wedding. Afterwards, I decided to give my skin a break, so I don’t have a ton to gush about.

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Wedding Makeup pt. 2: What I Used

So last week, I shared what all I packed to be too-prepared for any wedding makeup needs. Today, I’m sharing what I actually used. You’ll notice that the photo still has a LOT of that stuff, but bear in mind that I didn’t use all the brushes in the Coastal Scents set, all the shadows in each palette, etc.

Wedding Makeup pt 2 - What I UsedWedding Makeup pt. 2: What I Used


Now for tools – these ARE in order of appearance:


  • Coastal Scents Elite Brush Kit
  • BeautyBlender – To blend and help tone down my already-applied foundation.
    Nars Sheer Matte is THICK. I had practiced with it, but it still didn’t hit me how thick it is.
  • Sonia Kashuk Eyelash Curler
  • EcoTools Fan Brush – To apply setting powder.
  • Sigma F80 Flat Top Kabuki (unboxed it here) – To apply my foundation.
  • Real Techniques Retractable Lip Brush – To mix and apply Cosmo and Brave.
  • Real Techniques Shader Brush – Actually works better for blending shadow, concealer.
  • bdellium Tapered Dome (785), Blender (776), Pencil (780), and Flat Definer (714)
    Respectively: for blending, more blending, precise application, and detail work. I used the last one to help sculpt my brows.
  • Sonia Kashuk Angled-Bristle liner brush – Holy grail liner brush.
  • Urban Decay flat shadow brush (came w\ Naked) – Pack on ALL the Lt. Bronze!
  • Sonia Kashuk Lash Curler

So, like I said, this list still looks massive. I know what you’re thinking, “Really? You needed THREE concealers?”

Yes, in fact I did. The consistency of the first is light enough that it doesn’t settle into lines and crease. The second is perfect for hiding a scar I have on my chin. The third is thick and opaque, good for spot/blemish concealing…which I needed, because I had a couple pop up that week (thanks, stress).

“Three PALETTES, though!?”

Yep. You’ll notice that I only used six shades total plus my Chocolate Soleil bronzer for my eyes. De-potting palettes is against my religion. Besides, my friend was able to get use out of one of them, even if my bridesmaids got their makeup done.

“An entire brush kit?!”

The brush kit IS kind of gigantic, but I didn’t use many brushes from it. I just like to keep everything together, and I wasn’t sure which ones I would want to use day of until I was sitting down playing Bob Ross.

Don’t be afraid to over-pack for events like this; it is far better to have too much stuff with you than not enough and then flying into a panic because, “DAMN IT I left my eyeliner at home!” or something like that which could lead to a meltdown that you don’t need right before your wedding!

Worth it? Benefit they’re Real Push-Up Liner

The internet went a-buzz when Benefit Cosmetics started leaking information about their they’re Real Push-Up Liner. They did a couple advanced sales between their site, Sephora, and Ulta and then everything was kept mum until its official release on June 27.

I am already a gel liner user – I find using an angled-bristle brush with gel gives me the most control and best results. I also like gel because it is pretty smudge-proof and long lasting. As I’m sure you can imagine, I was intrigued when I heard about Benefit’s they’re Real Push-Up liner. For $24, however, I decided that I would pass for the time being; although I like to try new things, I was already happy with my liner and didn’t want to drop that kind of money on a single eyeliner.

I actually made a Sephora order for other things on June 27 and to my delight found that one of the samples they were offering (via promo code) was a Benefit they’re Real Push-Up Liner deluxe mini. Of course I got it, we need to try it for science after all, especially considering all these top bloggers/vloggers got it early and are losing their minds over it. It is really innovative and clever, but it is that good?

Always a skeptic.

Because it arrived when it did, I didn’t have much time to fuss with it. I took a few photos of the product itself, but didn’t bother trying to apply it. I did poke at the silicone tip to get an idea for just how flexible it is – too much flexibility could cause me to make a ridiculous mess on my lids, so I wanted to know what to expect. On Wednesday I played with it, and Thursday I actually used it for the day!

I found that you have to turn-click the product’s base several times before product comes to the tip. It is important to do this slowly, especially for your first use. You don’t want too much product on the silicone, “AccuFlex,” tip, or else you’ll end up making a mess when you apply (unless you wipe if off first, but that’s wasteful – and I don’t know about you, but I’m not trying to waste any of a $24 product). So I clicked it up until it was about flush with the silicone AccuFlex tip – it protruded ever-so-slightly, but I think even a millimeter would be too generous an estimate of how far. You may not get as lucky with your and may have to tap or wipe yours even.

Here’s how it looked when I applied:

Benefit they're Real Push-Up Liner - 7AM

Yes, I realize my head is tilted, sorry. You can at least see the left wing well!

I had the best luck with this, which seems to be what Benefit recommends for they’re Real Push-Up Liner – and it is about the same method I use for regular lining:

  1. Twist product up (we’ve covered this).
  2. Press the tip along your lash-line three times, stamping the product at the beginning, middle, and end of your line.
  3. Connect the stamps.
  4. (Optional) Create a wing by placing the shorter side of the AccuFlex tip closest to your lower lashline and angle the longer edge outward as if you are ‘continuing’ or following the (imaginary) line of your lower lashline. Stamp again and pull inward to the outer corner of your eye.
  5. (Optional, required if you do step four so you don’t look foolish), connect the upper, outer part of the wing with the rest of your liner by sweeping the AccuFlex tip over towards it.

Stamping is super easy with they’re Real Push-Up Liner, and just like with gel and a brush, it is way easier to connect a series of three shorter points than it is to completely free-hand it. There’s less room for error, this way; these innovative silicone tip and these instructions really make this aspect of application of this matte gel liner very user friendly.

Here are a photo of the liner, eye nearly closed:

Benefit they're Real Push-Up Liner - 7AM, another angle


That’s about where the good things about this product end, unfortunately.

Application is not like butter. I found the formula of the gel to be rather dry and to skip and tug a bit, so I would have to pull it away and twist-click more product up, risking blobs near my lash-line. This might not be an issue if you like a thicker line, but for day-to-day, that isn’t for me. I am not a raccoon, after all. It took some work and going back over it several times to even out sparse areas as a result of the skipping – I figured this was preferable to risking smeared blobs, as I had heard it dries quickly. I found that much was true, and it actually made it a little difficult to even out the line.

Once I was satisfied with how it looked (finished at 7 AM, wings and all, I set about my day. I work in a reasonably low-humidity office and do not rub my eyes throughout the day (thanks glasses!). Around 11:30 AM, however, I noticed a black speck on my glasses.


Part of my left eye’s wing had flaked and literally just fell off. What?! Especially since there’s all this hype about how it’s soooo good, so long lasting, not flaky, amazing, perfect, etc. I was right to be skeptical – I’ve never had eyeliner just decide to spontaneously disconnect itself from my eye. Here’s a picture, because it definitely happened. Oh hey, random gap:

Benefit they're Real Push-Up Liner flaked4.5 hours into wearing Benefit they’re Real Push-Up Liner a noticeable section flaked off

At this point, I was not impressed and frankly, kind of annoyed. I touched it up right away, and went back to this:

Benefit they're Real Push-Up Liner post-flake touch up

Another big thing about this product is that purportedly, its staying power is so dang good that you just have to buy their special cleanser to remove it easily. Your regular makeup remover simply won’t do it quickly and gently, they say! I didn’t definitely didn’t believe this, based on the flaking I experienced. That night, I went to remove my makeup and lo and behold – they’re Real Push-Up Liner came off even easier than my other gel liners with a Ponds wipe. I didn’t need to use three of them, I didn’t need to tug or scrub. Don’t waste your money on the cleanser.

Between the price, the skipping application, random flaking, and lack of longevity-as-promised, Benefit they’re Real Push-Up Liner is just not worth it – not in its current form, anyway. I love the innovative applicator; I think it is really cool to bring engineering into makeup to improve our experiences with products…but the formula of the liner itself is lackluster at best. My Maybelline Gel Liner kicks its arse, and I will continue faithfully using it instead. Hopefully Benefit will improve the formula of the gel that makes up they’re Real Push-Up Liner (research shows that I am not the only person with these complaints) because the applicator (AccuFlex Tip) is pretty neat…which is amusing, because my prediction was that I would love the formula, but find the silicone tip weird. If it cost about $10 less than it does, I might be a little more willing to work with it.

Tan Talk: Million Dollar Tan Review

Million Dollar Tan Cabana Tan and Cabana Tan Extreme LotionsMillion Dollar Tan Cabana Tan & Cabana Tan Extreme

So I mentioned in last week’s favorites post that I have been using Million Dollar Tan sunless self-tanning products recently. I avoid tanning in the sun and do not tan in a bed any longer – I actually had no intention of getting any color this year, but by April I already didn’t match my fall/winter foundation quite right. My wedding was come up so I figured, “Oh hell, I’ll just self-tan since I already need different foundation anyway.”

I previously wrote about Jergens Natural Glow Self Tanners, but I wanted something that packed a little more punch that I didn’t have to apply every single day. The last couple months leading up to most weddings are pretty hectic (mine was no exception), and ain’t nobody got time for that. I’ve tried sample packets of the towelettes – I had one from Kate Somerville 360, but towelettes aren’t for me. Years ago I had tried a spray-on variety and wasn’t a fan either. I compiled a list of requirements and ventured forth to see what Google could share.

My requirements for a sunless tanner:

1. Please for the love of cats do not be perfumed/scented*
2. Wash off my hands easily, please.
3. Not a towelette.
4. Not a spray.
5. Not super thick or goopy.
6. Fast-drying.


No green tint
No color guide
No shimmer/glitter/nonsense

Call me picky. It’s okay – I know I am when it comes to this. To touch on these – I’m not a fan of fragranced lotions to begin with; I definitely do not want a perfumed sunless tanner, as the fragrance will almost surely not be cute once the DHA starts reacting and the, “tanning smell,” starts*. I just plain don’t like the towelettes – they may be a good option for you if you are traveling a lot, but I’d still rather have lotion. Sprays can be messy – that isn’t to say they’re bad, just not for me. 5 & 6 coincide – I don’t want to sit there for a half hour waiting for my self-tanner to dry before I can get dressed or go to bed. As far as the optional stuff – some tanning products have a green tint or dye which helps counteract the orange that sometimes occurs. This isn’t a bad thing, but it coincides with the second optional point – I do not need instant gratifications. I do not want dyes or bronzers in my lotion; I can wait the 4-8 hours for the color to develop. Also, as I am not Ke$ha, please skip the shimmer/glitter. If I want something like that, I’ll get a Soap & Glory Body Butter.

* Now, really quick, let’s talk about that asterisk next to the scent remark. I want a lotion that does not have ADDED FRAGRANCE or perfume because I am very picky about scents. I am not asking for a miracle-lotion that does not produce a, “tanning smell. Let’s chat about the science of the sunless-tanner odor before you lose your mind.

The smell that so many people get mad about and say, “boo,” to tanning lotions over is going to happen to some degree with any lotion that contains DHA..which is most of them. DHA, or dihydroxyacetone, is a compound derived from beets and from sugar cane (not scary), and when applied to the skin it reacts with the amino acid in your skin – this is what produces the color you seek, but a side effect is that this reaction also produces a smell. The strength of the odor will depend on your own body chemistry and the concentration of DHA in the particular product you choose – but it isn’t that the lotion smells that way, it is actually your body producing this smell.

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May 2014 Favorites

I did a Favorites post last month, but it seems like it has been a while! May 2014 Favorites:

May 2014 FavoritesMay 2014 Favorites
1. China Glaze – I’m With the Lifeguard, $5 / 2. Lip Smacker – Dr Pepper, $2
3. Etude House Drawing Eye Brow, $2-7 / 4. Marc Jacobs Dot Rollerball, $22

China Glaze I’m With the Lifeguard – When the weather gets warm, I like to resort to unreasonably bright and ridiculous nail polish colors. Don’t worry, I use them when it isn’t warm, too – but I use them more often when it is toasty. This awesome, bright, shimmery neon green is what I’m wearing on my toes (with peep-toe shoes…at the office). If your polish collection is bereft of ridiculosity, please consider investing for your own amusement. I bought mine from Sally Beauty, but you can also get it on Amazon.

Dr. Pepper Lip Smackers lip gloss – Not just for kids, dangit. I maintain that this is the best product Lip Smackers has ever released. I just bought a new one, judgment be damned.  Realistically, it doesn’t do much for chapped lips – but that’s fine. It was never really meant to, despite having a chap-stick-esque format. You can buy this directly from Lip Smackers, on drugstore.com, or in stores at Wal-Mart.

Etude House Drawing Eye Brow – Korean cosmetics companies have done some pretty cool stuff. BB creams, cute lotions, lip gloss with adorable bunny-shaped caps…and these brow pencils. Capped at both ends, this guy has a spoolie (with soft, friendly bristles, not the ridiculous Brillo that some included spoolies are) and an angled, chisel-tip twist-up pencil. Some western brands have products that I can only assume were inspired by this design (Hourglass brow products, Bite lip products) because it is awesome. I’m sure this can be found elsewhere online, but I always buy from Amazon.

Marc Jacobs Dot Rollerball – Lately, I’m of the opinion that buying a whole bottle of perfume is pointless. I got this as part of a coffret I purchased around the holidays and have been wearing it more often lately; I’ve barely made a dent. Very season-appropriate. It is currently available at Sephora, but there’s a spray pen variety at Nordstrom, Ulta, and Macys.


By the way, have you entered my L’Oreal Infalliable Never Fail Lacquer Liner 24H giveaway, yet? If not, go for it – there are only two days left! All you have to do is comment on that post and you’re entered. Who doesn’t want free liner?


Disclosure: Hey! Some of the links in this May 2014 Favorites post are affiliate links (not all of them, of course) – this means I may get a very small percentage of the sale if you decide to buy something. I only recommend products I’ve tried and verified as awesome, which is kind of the point of a favorites post. Ethical blogging FTW.

Surprised: Maybelline Gel Liner

For you, I have sinned.

Okay, not really. I just wound up doing something you aren’t supposed to, beauty-wise.
And maybe it wasn’t for you, but it does end up benefiting you!

My fiance and I host a game night in our home for a small group of friends. This used to be on Saturdays, but we tried it out last Friday night. These nights routinely run until 2-3pm. My weekdays begin at 5am. I did my eye makeup (a neutral shimmery eye with Maybelline Gel Liner) at 5:45am on Friday morning, worked a full day of work, had a handful of errands to run, and then a house to hastily clean (moving it to Friday was a last-minute decision) before our company arrived. Woo, my makeup wasn’t a mess by the time we were starting, around 8:00pm.

When we wrapped things up around 2am, I promptly shambled to my bed and fell asleep. I am sad to admit that I can’t stay up like I used to, and I am amused to admit that though I am almost militant about makeup-removal-before-bed – I didn’t. In the future, I will nap before our entertaining so I am not a zombie by the time it concludes who does not neglect her routine.

Now, this is the Maybelline Gel Liner I discussed back in my Drugstore Gel Liner Comparison post last month, fully named Maybelline Eye Studio Lasting Drama Gel Liner 24H. I used the shade Blackest Black.

I woke up at 10:16 after having slept a miraculous eight hours. I am normally a side/stomach sleeper, so the fact that I was not remotely raccoon-esque was a feat in itself. Somehow, not only was I not raccoon-esque, my liner was more or less intact. Yes, read that again. Twenty-eight-and-a-half hours. My reaction? Awesome. Take a picture, then remove this stuff!

My groggy self thought it would use my phone’s front-facing camera for this (which isn’t as good as the rear-facing or the other two cameras I have access to), but I think it is sufficient:

Maybelline Gel Liner - 28.5 Hours Post-ApplicationMaybelline Gel Liner 28.5 hours after application

There. Not budged, watery-pollen-allergy-eyes and all. I didn’t even use primer yesterday when I slapped this stuff on.


Basically, I’m telling you that you need this in your life. I have not used any prestige gel liners like MAC Fluidline or Bobbi Brown’s gel liners, but unless you’re looking for a specific, crazy color that they carry, why bother? The Maybelline Gel Liner is opaque, applies easily, isn’t awkwardly shiny, and stays put. At only $6-8 per pot plus the fact that it is a brand that is frequently on sale at drugstores, mass merchants, grocers, and online, PLUS the fact that there’s almost always a $1 off coupon available, why would you bother with the more expensive brands? This item is available almost freaking everywhere, including Amazon. Run, don’t walk.

Disclosure: Seriously, I love this liner. This post wasn’t sponsored, and I was willing to share my beauty misdeed just to prove how awesome this product is. That said, some of the links in this post are affiliate links – this means I may get a very small percentage of the sale if you decide to buy something. I only recommend products I’ve tried and verified as awesome. And this one really is awesome.