Saturday, April 19, 2014

15 Random Questions

15 Random Questions with 15 Minute Beauty
For a few months now The Beauty Spotlight Team has been highlighting our members with bi-weekly posts answering questions. Today it's finally my turn! I have some blogging questions, some beauty questions and few questions that have nothing to do with anything else.

1.) When you shop for makeup, skincare and perfume, do you do it with the blog in mind first and foremost-- or with your own use in mind?
I do a mix of both. I never buy products that I'm not interested in for myself and my personal use, but the blog and what I need personally definitely influence each other. After I had my daughter, I had a big concealer review series. Why? I was a new mommy, I wanted to look awake! New beauty trends emerge and I'll buy products to highlight it on the blog, but I purchase what I want to use myself.

2.) Last book you read?
I just finished the Iron Druid series by Kevin Hearne. They had a great mix of paranormal and mythology and I loved all of his pop culture references! Oberon is one of the best side kicks I think I've ever read in a book!

Right now I'm reading a new book by one of my best friends from high school, Sara Fiorenzo. She'll be self publishing it soon!

3.) Do you have a special talent?
No. My husband might say it is spending money. He's probably right.

4.) Do you have a guilty pleasure?
Buying cheap jewelry! I have a big collection of necklaces and bracelets. I love stores like Forever 21, H&M and Charming Charlie for items. Recently I've gotten some great deals from Facebook, my favorite stores on there are Accessory Concierge and Everyday Icing. And of course, J. Crew, Ann Taylor, Loft and other stores at the mall all have great finds as well.

5.) What time do you wake up in the morning?
I'm not a morning person. On a "normal" day I'm usually up around 7:30, on a work day a little after 6.

6.) When you were a kid, what did you want to be when you grew up?
I always wanted to be a pediatrician when I was a kid, just like my dad. When I was in high school I secretly wanted to be a magazine beauty editor. Now I'm kind of both!

7.) Are you a cat person or a dog person?
I grew up with both cats and dogs, but I'm more of a dog person.

8.) What was your first real job?
When I turned 13 my neighbors asked if I could come work in their candy store in the summers, which I did until I went away to college. It was named Candyland, and I spent many a night making fresh lemonade and cutting up fudge! The store moved and renamed itself, it is now Sweet Temptations in Grand Haven, Michigan. The Tiger Butter fudge is my favorite if you go to the store!

9.) If you were given a shopping spree at one store, what store would you like it to be?
Probably Nordstrom.

10.) Finish this sentence: Don't start a beauty blog if…
You only want to make money or get free stuff. I get a ton of emails asking me how to get free stuff. Really, a blog is a lot of work (20+ hours a week for me) and there are a lot of them out there! You need to make yourself unique, create a following, and then the PR reps will come to you, and I wasn't making much money doing this until the last 6 months or so (and really, I only make money at it because of the writing for Babble thing). You won't get rich, this is never going to replace my "real" job. Start a blog only if you feel passionate about something and really need a creative outlet.

11.) Do you consider your blog a hobby or is it part of a larger career objective?
It's a side job for me really, I don't have a long term career objective with it. Instead, it's something that I enjoy doing, I need something fun and creative to do.

12.) Is there a category of products you like (or dislike) blogging about in particular?
I have a really hard time writing about fragrances. I love perfume, and I can describe when I smell and what happens with the scent when I wear it, but there are the perfume snobs out there that freak out if you don't use some exact term that only they have heard of. So, I find the reviews intimidating (that's why I haven't written one in over a year).

13.) What's your favorite beauty splurge?
Getting my eye brows done! I have full eye brows, and I think they're a good fit for my face. Since we all lose our brows as we get older, it is definitely aging to have brows that are too skinny! But, I can't keep them in check on my own. So, I head to the salon near my house every 3 weeks or so to have them done professionally.

14.) What's your favorite beauty bargain?
I'm a sucker for makeup at the drugstore/grocery store! I have a really hard time leaving without a new lippie from L'Oreal or Maybelline's newest mascara. I'm also a huge fan of CoverGirl.

15.) Lipstick or lipgloss?
I'm more of a gloss or tinted balm girl.

Friday, April 18, 2014

The 15 Best Products From NYX Cosmetics

Bought It Myself

what are the best products from nyx cosmetics makeup?

I've done a lot of these lists, showing the best products (in my opinion) from different brands. My list showing the best products from ELF is one of my most popular posts.

Recently I realized that a lot of my makeup is from NYX, but I rarely talk about them! I need to change that! Watch for more reviews of their products in the future, but I thought a good place to start was to show you my favorite products from NYX. I usually buy NYX at ULTA, though I just discovered a few days ago that NYX is also available at my local Meijer, and I also order on-line when the brand is having a sale. They're a brand filled with dupes for higher priced products as well as some great problem solvers, all at a great price point!

The Best Makeup Products From NYX Cosmetics

1. NYX Studio Perfect Primer: This is pretty much a dupe for Smashbox's primer that everyone loves. They even have different versions so you can color correct. No, you won't end up with a green face, but that redness will look a lot better after the primer.

2. Powder Blush: They do make other blush formulations that are also pretty nice, I do like NYX's cream blush quite a bit, but the powder blush really is pretty amazing. There are 27 shades, most of them are matte (which is hard to find in a drugstore blush) and many of the shades are great dupes for much more expensive blushes from brands like NARS and MAC! Pinky, Pinched and Peach are frequently mentioned as favorites.

3. Wonder Pencil: Skinny like an eye liner, this is still a pretty creamy and super pigmented concealer stick. I use it mostly around my eye brow (a quick line above my brow and on the brow bone under it, blend with a finger), down the center of my nose and sometimes on the bow of my lips to make them look a bit fuller. There are 3 shades, and the darkest really isn't that dark. I sometimes will grab the darkest shade to contour down the sides of my nose very quickly.

4. Matte Bronzer: Matte bronzers are a bit easier to come by now at the lower price points, but this one is great because it comes in so many shades (the lightest one is still a bit too dark for my super pale skin, I use a VERY large brush with this one and a light hand). There's a hint of gold but no orange in sight.

5. Stay Matte But Not Flat Powder Foundation: Yes, this is a powder foundation, but when used as a powder it offers a bit of coverage (use a lighter hand if you want less coverage), but it soaks up oil like crazy! Perfect for girls that are fighting a mid-afternoon shine.

6. Concealer Jar: This concealer is a full coverage concealer that is very easy to blend for a natural finish. It comes in 8 natural skin tones with a huge range of shades. Even better, you can get it in 4 color correcting versions to cancel out your under eye circles or redness!

7. Dark Circle Concealer: Similar to the Concealer Jar, but these 4 concealers skew a bit more apricot, just enough to help cover up the dark circles under your eyes but not enough that it will look like you're wearing something not skin toned.

8. Butter Lipstick: Part balm and part lipstick, these are very hydrating lippies that offer more coverage than tinted balms. There are 22 shades, my favorite is Sweet Tart.

9. Lip Primer: I wish I had discovered this years ago! It comes in 2 shades, though I'm not sure if it matters which one you get (I'm using the darker one now). It helps make any lippie applied over the primer apply more smoothly, look better and last hours longer without touchups! I'll be picking up a few more at their next sale.

10. Xtreme Lip Cream: Super pigmented and creamy, this is more of a lipstick in a liquid form. It feels hydrating and won't look chalky!

11. Extra Creamy Round Lipstick: Quite a few of these shades are dupes for brands like MAC. They're well pigmented, feel great on your lips and have good staying power.

12. Eye & Lip Makeup Remover: I've yet to find this product in a store, I always buy one or two bottles when I order from NYX online. This remover takes off absolutely anything without an issue. No scrubbing, just a few swipes with a cotton round.

13. Eye Shadow Base: NYX makes a couple of eye shadow primers, though I can't get most of them to work as well as other brands (in other words, Too Faced Shadow Insurance is much better). I do really like the shadow base though. I use it in nude, it is super easy to dip your finger into the pot and spread across the lid. It adds coverage, so you can't see my blood vessels any more, and the staying power of the base is about 95% the time and intensity of the TFSI but for less money.

14. Eye Shadow Singles: NYX recently updated their lineup of shadows, the formula has been changed up a bit. I did like their old shadow singles, many of which were famous for being MAC dupes. I'm not sure if they still are with the formula swap. The new formula is a bit less powdery, the intensity is more... intense, and the shadows still blend very nicely. They also offer a big range of pretty shadow palettes, though I've never had as much luck with the shadows sticking around all day. Go for the singles.

15. Jumbo Eye Pencil: If you want a shadow pencil that will look great and last all day, NYX makes some great ones. Use them as a base under your powder shadows as well for an added pop of color, the Milk (white) pencil is amazing to increase the intensity of eye shadow colors.

Dove's Advance Hair Series at Walgreens

Sponsored Post

Totally gratuitous, but I was asked to share the new Dove's Advance Hair Series with you (which is available at Walgreen's). And I fully admit that the reason why I said yes is in this video:

Seriously? I love that they went up against MoroccanOil, which is obviously much more expensive and available mostly in salons. I think at the worst you could say that the Dove side looks exactly the same as the MoroccanOil side, but I think it actually look a bit shinier and fuller.

So yes, this is going on my shopping list. The collection includes other products that will hydrate without weighing down your hair. But I really want to try that Pure Care Dry Oil.

Sponsored Post
Sponsored by Lunchbox, all opinions are 100% my own

Thursday, April 17, 2014

ELF Jumbo Eyeshadow Stick Review: Pass On This One

I Bought It
ELF Jumbo Eyeshadow Stick Review

Usually I'm a big fan of shadow sticks. They're time saving, a few swipes, blot with a finger and you're done. The trick is finding one that has staying power. Something about the shadow sticks seems to make them prone to fading and creasing, within a few hours you were better off without any shadow at all. It looks awful.

I don't usually even mention the shadow sticks that don't work out on the blog, but I keep getting asked about this one, so I bought one to try out. Initially I was impressed, the color really is very pretty! There's great shimmer and depth to the color. But despite trying out this shadow stick with (and without) many different eye primers, I can't seem to get it to stick around longer than an hour or so. I've blended it with my finger and with brushes, that doesn't seem to make a difference either.

I did read a few reviews on-line where people were using the shadow stick as a base for shadows. When used that way it can add some very pretty depth and intensity to powder shadows, but the staying power still isn't great. I get about 4 or 5 hours of wear this way, much less than a normal shadow primer. I would prefer to use an eyeliner in this way, the wear is much better for most given how smudge resistant most eyeliners are, my favorite for this are the Laura Mercier Kohl Eye Pencils.

Although $2 sounds like a steal, I would definitely pass on these shadow sticks.

ELF Jumbo Eyeshadow Stick

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Mally Beauty Cancellation Concealer System Review: The Secret To Looking Awake?

Product Sent for Review
Mally Beauty Cancellation Concealer System Review

I had a pretty rough week last week (did you notice I didn't post at all for 2 days? That doesn't happen very often!) I was working every day, my phone was ringing off the hook all night long with calls from the hospital, and I had to go in a few times to take care of patients (luckily everyone seems to be doing better now). And I haven't even mentioned the horrible virus my 3 year old shared with me (so sweet of her!), so I've gotten very little sleep over the last couple of days. Which means I needed a heavy duty concealer!

Mally Beauty Cancellation Concealer System in fair

Luckily, Birchbox had sent me the Mally Beauty Cancellation Concealer System to write about. This set comes in a pretty pink case, so everything stays together. Inside you'll find a double ended brush (one for the concealer, 1 for powder) and 2 compacts. The compacts are pretty heavy duty metal, they close with a pretty satisfying click and feel like they'd stand up to pretty much anything.

In one of the compacts you'll find a cake concealer, the other has a very finely milled powder for setting the concealer. The idea is that you apply the concealer with one of the brush, blend as needed, and use a fine dusting of the powder to keep it around all day.

So, how does it work? The concealer is pretty pigmented and it is definitely more creamy than most cake concealers. I found that patting it on with the brush and then blending with a few pounces of my BeautyBlender sponge worked the best for me. There is a faint apricot color in the concealer, so it is great for undereye concealers, but it isn't obviously apricot. The pigmentation level was just enough to cover up dark circles, but the concealer did a good job of staying nice and smooth, no setting into unknown fine lines over here.

The powder looks just plain white in the compact, but it does seem to be very translucent and finely milled when you use it, so you won't be able to see it on your skin at all. I typically set my makeup with powder, though I wait until I've applied everything. When using this duo I made a point of setting my concealer right away with the included powder. I wasn't sure if it made a difference, so I did a couple of days with the setting powder on one side, my normal powder after everything on the other eye. The eye with Mally's setting powder had more lasting power, making me look more awake for about 2 hours longer.

This was a great concealer duo, I'll definitely be using it more in the future. I was a bit surprised how much the separate setting powder made a difference. Have you tried using a separate setting powder like this? I wish I'd tried it sooner!

Mally Beauty Cancellation Concealer System ingredients

You can open this image in another window to read it, but note it has a retinoid and therefore isn't pregnancy safe.

Mally Beauty Cancellation Concealer System
Product Sent for Review