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The Best Highlighting and Contouring Makeup

Product Sent for Review, I Bought It, Affiliate Links

The Best Highlighting and Contouring Makeup

While I keep saying that contouring is "out", the truth is that most of us do a little contouring every now and then! Today for Makeup Wars, my beauty blogging friends and I are sharing our favorite highlighters and contours! In theory we're sharing our favorite creams, but I don't really use just creams, I also have liquids and powders.


When using highlighters, I have a couple of different tactics I take.

First, if I feel like my skin is a bit lackluster, I might add a little highlighter into my moisturizer, foundation, or BB Cream. Usually I use the Armani for this as it is more subtle, so better for all over shimmer, but a little bit of the L'Oreal also works really well. You don't want to turn into a disco ball, but just a very small amount can make a big difference!

Second, I like to use a highlighter in very directed areas to catch a little light but without being really shimmery. On my cheekbone, a little on the bow of my lip (which does help my small lips look fuller), the inner corner of my eye, and my brow bone. I like a light shimmer in all of those places except for my brow bone, which I prefer is just lighter than surrounding areas, I like a matte or satin finish there.

1. L'Oreal Lumi Liquid Glow Illuminator (at Amazon or ULTA): This is the most shimmery option here, if you're going to apply it all over use a very light hand and mix it into something. I think it works best for more targeted areas like the brow bone.

2. Giorgio Armani Fluid Sheer in No. 7(at Nordstrom, Sephora or Armani): This is the highlighter I use most frequently, I mix it into my BB Cream (YSL Top Secret All in One BB Cream) or my foundation (Giorgio Armani Luminous Silk Foundation). It has just the right amount of shimmer to make my skin look luminous but not shiny.

3. RMS Beauty Living Luminizer (at Nordstrom): Apparently this is Giselle's favorite. It is great to dip a finger in and tap it along your cheek bone or inner eye. I've had the same jar for almost 2 years, it lasts forever!

4. Anastasia Highlighting Duo Pencil (at Anastasia, Sephora or Nordstrom): I'm actually using a very similar Too Faced pencil right now, but it's been discontinued. I have this Duo from Anastasia also, and I love how it has 2 ends. I use the matte end on my brow bone, just draw it under the brow and then blend with a fingertip! I draw the shimmer end into my inner eye and then tap with my finger to blend a bit.

Both Highlight and Contour

5. NYX Wonder Stick (at Amazon or ULTA): This is very easy to use, they are matte creams and you just draw where you want to highlight or contour and then blend. I use this for travel sometimes because it is so compact.


6. Maskcara Contour in Walnut (at Maskcara): I don't contour my nose very often, but when I do I reach for this cream from Maskcara. It's the perfect shade, easy to blend and it stays put on my oily nose.

7. NARS Contour Blush in Olympia (at Sephora or NARS)
Bobbi Brown Bronzing Powder (at Nordstrom, Sephora or Bobbi Brown)
Too Faced Soleil Matte Bronzer in Milk Chocolate (at Too Faced, ULTA or Sephora)

Usually when I'm "contouring" I'm just using a little matte bronzer underneath my blush. It does add a lot of definition and is subtle, I blend it out a bit when applying powder afterwards. At home, I use the Too Faced powder a lot, but Bobbi Brown also works great and comes in a wider range of shades. Finally, I do have the NARS Contour Blush as well, and the shade is similar but the pigmentation level is definitely higher! I need to use a much lighter hand when I use this blush. I have it in my NARS Pro Palette that I take with me when I travel. It comes with a highlighter shade, but it is basically the same color as my skin, so I only use the contour.

What are your favorite highlighting and contour products?

Product Sent for Review, I Bought It, Affiliate Links
The L'Oreal Liquid Lumi, and Too Faced Bronzer have been sent to me previously by PR, but I've repurchased both with my own money as well.

The Beauty Spotlight Team: Weekly Beauty Reads

Lola's Secret Beauty Blog is very impressed by Bellatorra Cellular Renewal Serum and Cellular Repair Night Cream because this mighty duo exemplifies potent and effective anti-aging skincare. These ultra-luxe products increase skin cell turnover, deeply nourish and hydrate the skin, and create gorgeous glowing youthful skin.

Charlotte Tilbury has released four new Quick 'n' Easy Makeup Kits to help you achieve a beautiful look in only 5 minutes. The sets include 4-5 products and are under $100. Perilously Pale shares a review and swatches of them all!

From Prime Beauty: Lancome follows up their popular Paris eye shadow palette with the AUDACITY London Eye Shadow Palette and hits it out of the park--Hyde Park that is!

Natural beauty is all the rage now as we move to more environmentally friendly products. Beauty Info Zone has all the information on a beauty box from Good Earth Beauty that fits these needs.

Looking for a new nude, MLBB or living dead girl lipstick? Courtney at Phyrra shares 30 of the Best Nude Lipsticks for Pale Skin! You're sure to find the perfect shade.

With so many Beauty Sub Boxes out there it's hard to decide which is best for you. Blushing Noir is sharing her top 8 in this post (at ALL price points), plus giving you coupon codes to shop with!

Pammy Blogs Beauty is loving the re-vamped Sibu Seaberry Therapy skincare line: Natural Skincare at its best!

Want to feel good about your neck? Allison from Never Say Die Beauty has been obsessed with her neck for years, and she’s discovered new NeoStrata Skin Active Triple Firming Neck Cream - an anti-aging neck cream that’s perfect in all ways.

See what item Shipra of Taneja's Bride picked up from the ColourPop x Amanda Steele Collection

Amber from daydreaming beauty has the scoop on the IT Cosmetics QVC TSV for 1/14. Spoiler Alert! There's a NEW foundation and brush! Check out the post, and enter to win the new Full Coverage Solid Super Serum Foundation.

Looking for a new mascara? 15 Minute Beauty has a list of 10 worth a splurge.

Justina's Gems has been using a holistic skincare routine by Citrus Clear that is working miracles on her dry and acne prone skin. Check it out!

Glowing Mid-Winter Skin: It's Possible!

Sponsored Post

Neutrogena Rapid Wrinkle Repair Night Moisturizer

My skin loves the summer. The humidity helps my dry areas stay moisturized, a little bit of sun gives me some glow, and my eczema is kept at bay. But, once the temperatures (and humidity) plummet, that fresh glow is long gone!

Skin faces a lot of challenges in the winter: low humidity, wind, and wide variations in temperature. It is no surprise that skin no longer looks glowy, instead your pores are larger and you look like you need a couple of nights of good sleep. Luckily trading out a few products will help your skin cope with the winter and make you look radiant again!

1) Retinol:
Retinol isn't only for fine lines and wrinkles, it also improves your skin's texture, decreases hyperpigmentation, and reduces blemishes. When you've been using retinol, your skin's turnover is increased, revealing fresher skin. This fresh skin will also have a more even skin tone with less hyperpigmentation.

Neutrogena® Rapid Wrinkle Repair® Regenerating Cream contains Retinol SA, and is the highest concentration of retinol. This version is a "sustained action", as the retinol is slowly released over hours. That longer time of release means that your skin will have less irritation but all of the benefits of a retinoid! This is perfect for the winter.

Since Neutrogena® Rapid Wrinkle Repair® Regenerating Cream is less irritating, you will be more likely to tolerate nightly use, rather than needing to space out to using the product every two to three nights. The end result is a skin care product that works much faster. In a clinical study, 100% of participants noticed a difference within a week of using the product, rather than the months expected with other, less effective, over the counter retinols.

Neutrogena Ultra Gentle Hydrating Cleanser

2) Reach for a Gentle Cleanser:
All of the abuse our skin takes in the winter means skin is inflamed and irritated. Most of the year, skin can easily tolerate a cleanser that exfoliates, treats your acne and brightens your skin tone. However, the active ingredients in those cleansers can be irritating if your skin is facing other stressors.

Swapping out your regular facial cleanser for one that is gentle and hydrating can help soothe irritation, improving redness and tone. You'll notice that your skin is better able to cope with the stresses of winter after just a few days.

3) Gentle Exfoliation:
I love the effects of exfoliation during the summer. It makes my skin smoother and glowy, and takes care of any flaking I might have from dry skin. Because I am already fighting irritation from low temperatures and humidity, I avoid chemical exfoliation and go for physical exfoliation with a light scrub or a deep cleansing device like the Neutrogena Microdermabrasion System. The goal is fresh and glowing skin, rather than overly scrubbed and irritated.

Daily Sunscreen

4) Sunscreen:
Sunscreen is something that most people remember to use in the summer, but ignore in the winter. While the sun isn't shining, the UV rays are still penetrating the clouds, and because the UV is bouncing off of ice and snow, your sun exposure can actually be higher than during the summer! I use a lightweight, broad spectrum sunscreen that can be worn under my makeup every day. Daily use helps to prevent aging and hyperpigmentation.

Sponsored Post
This post is part of a collaboration with Good Housekeeping and Neutrogena. All opinions are my own.

My Favorite Splurge Mascaras

Product Sent for Review, I Bought It, Affiliate Links

My Favorite Splurge Mascaras

As obsessed as I am with mascara, I don't mention my favorites on the site often enough! I have a serious mascara buying issue. I have a drawer full of mascara. For reals. And recently I've been buying more and more splurge mascaras. Some of which won't get worn more than once. Sad, but true. For whatever reason I can't use those mascaras again.

But, today I want to share the best of the best! These are mascaras that I have repurchased (or even hoard) and have more than lived up to my expectations. I was a bit surprised how many there were once I counted them out, but really... these are my favorites!

Overall Great Volume and Length

1. My Go-To is Bobbi Brown Smokey Eye Mascara (buy it from Sephora, Nordstrom or Bobbi Brown): I go through so much of this mascara! It grabs every lash, makes it look like 10, adds length and doesn't smudge or clump. I stock up on the rare occasion that it goes on sale as well.

2. Even more Dramatic is Bobbi's Eye Opening Mascara (from Sephora, Nordstrom or Bobbi Brown): Pretty similar to Smokey Eye, but with even more length and volume. Because of the size of that brush (it's very large), it is much harder to reach the base of my lashes, and Eye Opening clumps more. I mostly use Smokey Eye, but for dates with hubby, I go for Eye Opening and I keep a lash brush handy during application.

3. Too Faced Better Than Sex Mascara (at Sephora, ULTA or Too Faced): This is one of my go-to mascaras and really does a great job! There's a waterproof version as well, which is great for low-water situations, but not for swimming.

Extra Dramatic Volume

These mascaras add length and volume (I can't go without both!) but are more volume than length.

4. It Cosmetics Superhero Elastic Stretch Volumizing Mascara (at Sephora, ULTA or It Cosmetics)

5. Chanel Le Volume Mascara (at Nordstrom, Chanel or Neiman Marcus)

6. Yves Saint Laurent Mascara Volume Effet Faux Cils Shocking (at Sephora or Neiman Marcus)

Problem Solvers

7. For Smudging try Blinc Mascara Amplified (at Sephora): If your mascara smudges no matter what, you need to try a tubing mascara. They are totally different than normal mascaras, actually creating little sleeves of mascara over your lashes! They're much more resistant to being dissolved, which is basically what is happening when your mascara runs/smudges all over the place (what's dissolving it? Tears, rubbing your eyes, your eye cream if the lashes touch your skin at all... you get the idea). So, try a tubing mascara. My favorite is the Blinc one, and they have this updated version that gives a fuller, more voluminous look than their previous mascara, which was pretty natural. I go for volume and length!

8. For Layering, try Ciaté London Triple Shot Mascara (at Sephora): This mascara is fine on it's own, but really the brush is where it's at! The long plastic bristles help pull apart any lashes that might be stuck together, but still add product to the lashes. I love to layer it over my Smokey Lash, but I only do that when I'm wearing contacts, my lashes smudge the inside of my glasses when I do it!

9. If Application is Hard, try Lancôme Grandiôse Extreme Wide-Angle Extreme Volume Mascara (at Sephora or Nordstrom): Personally, I've noticed that I have to be careful to apply my mascara equally to both of my eyes. The reason is angles. I'm right handed and my left eye always looks better than my right eye. I have to really think about it when applying to my right eye! The bend in this mascara wand takes all of the thought out of it.

10. For Waterproof, try Chanel Inimitable Waterproof Mascara (at Nordstrom, Chanel or Neiman Marcus): We put in a pool at my house this summer. I'm one of those moms who spends a lot of time in the pool with her girls, mostly doing handstands in the shallow end with my 5 year old! So, I need a truly waterproof mascara. This is my favorite after trying about 20 different mascaras. I can spend hours in the water and my lashes look exactly the same afterwards.

Product Sent for Review, I Bought It, Affiliate Links
The Too Faced and It Cosmetics mascaras have both been sent to me by PR in the past, though strangely enough it was after I had already bought them with my own money! Everything else I've bought on my own. Over and over.

Things I'm Loving in 2017

I Bought It, Product Sent for Revew, Affiliate Links

Beauty Blogger Favorites 2017

I've been a bit lax in posting here on the blog recently. I always seem to slow down in posting over the holidays, as I'm usually busy with my family, working, etc. I've also been writing a lot of posts over on eBay, watch for a post today or tomorrow sharing some of my more recent posts! You should be able to easy click over to read that content. I've also been working on a new website for my designs, you can check out the work in progress site here: Shop 15 Minutes!

In the meantime, I've been trying out a lot of new products that I haven't mentioned at all on the blog! Here's a quick round up, but don't be surprised to see many of these items show up again either in their own posts or mentioned elsewhere.

I shared this on Instagram and will need to share a full post about it soon, but I actually permed my hair this fall! Yes, full on 1980s style. Since my hair is super healthy with a thick cuticle, it was becoming increasingly difficult to keep curl all day, despite high heat and a lot of product. So, to rough up the cuticle a bit, I got a perm with the largest curlers my stylist thought would work.

It turns out that my hair is a bit wavy now when wet, but that's about it. Even if I try to style it curly, it doesn't really turn out curly at all, but I do need to make a little more effort to actually straighten it. The curls I put in now last easily all day, and usually as long as 2-3 days depending on how much hair spray I use (I'll create a post showing how I'm currently curling my hair).

In the meantime, I did buy a few news tools to help with my new increased straightening and then curling needs! All three are really speeding things up and I do like them.

1. Revlon One-Step Hair Dryer and Styler (at Amazon or ULTA): This is a paddle brush that blows hot hair. I've tried similar brushes before, but they were all rounded brush styles. Those brushes just got tangled in my long hair. This brush really does help speed up drying my hair, but it would not be able to replace an actual blow dryer for me. I've been blow drying my hair with the regular dryer at my roots, then I use this one just brushing through my hair on the lengths. If I'm really in a hurry, I'll actually use this one to brush and then still use the regular dryer also, so I'm using 2 dryers at the same time! Overall, it has speed things up over using the regular dryer alone, and my hair is smoother and straighter after using this dyer.

2. InStyler Straight Up Ceramic Straightening Brush (at ULTA or Amazon): There are a bunch of these brushes out on the market, I just happened to buy this one from ULTA. It heats up to a high temperature and straightens your hair as you (slowly, and while holding it under some tension) brush it. I do think that it helps if my hair is a bit wonky in places after drying it, but it won't replace a flat iron. I do like that it straightens my hair some without removing volume.

3. Kiss Instawave (at Amazon or ULTA): This curling iron pulls hair in to wrap it around the iron, but results in a different curl pattern than other curling irons. I've found that it's pretty easy to use and does result in long lasting curls, though the "low" heat isn't enough to work on my hair and the "high" setting is definitely damaging my hair despite many heat protectant sprays! If you're not great at curling your hair it is worth a try. Be sure to check out a few locations for the cheapest price, when I bought it on Amazon the price was almost $30 elsewhere!

4. Rodan + Fields Enhancements Lash Boost (at R+F): I've been using Revitalash for years, and have refused to try anything else. I talk about Revitalash to everyone, I don't even know how many of my friends have tried it out because of the amazing results that I've had!

Recently, I've been feeling like maybe I should try another lash serum. I'd been seeing other people's results, and mine were good but I didn't feel like they were amazing any more. I'm not sure if my lashes were just used to the product or if it wasn't as effective (I stock up yearly at the Nordstrom Anniversary sale in the summer, maybe my tubes were no longer effective because they were "old"?) So, when R+F's PR sent me a tube I decided to swap out to the new Lash Boost instead of my next tube of Revitalash. And since I couldn't find info really on how long a tube should last (it turns out 2-3 months with nightly use), I purchased a second tube to be sure I could complete my trial.

I wish I had taken good "before" pictures to show you, but swapping out to the Lash Boost has really had an amazing effect on my lashes! They are definitely longer and fuller than they were with the Revitalash. It took about 4 weeks to see a difference, and I know I'll keep using this instead of the Revitalash. If you don't have a friend who sells R+F I can share the name of my girl, she does amazing things like go into your order to add lip balm, which qualifies you for free shipping and actually brings the cost of your order down, making the lip balm free! I love that!

I've bought some new makeup items that I need to share, such as a few eye shadow palettes, blushes and lippies. But I've been really changing up and trying new things with my foundation and concealer. What I'm currently loving:

5. Bobbi Brown Skin Foundation Stick (at Bobbi Brown, Nordstrom or Sephora): Obviously this isn't new, it's been out for forever, but I've never used it before. I just draw it randomly all over my face and then buff it around with a brush, then done! I love that it has full coverage and only takes a few seconds. I recently took it on a trip and it was super easy to travel with! I do wish there was a more hydrating version, or one with slightly less coverage. But I'll be repurchasing this one for sure.

6. Kat Von D Lock-It Concealer Creme (at Sephora) and Lock-It Edge Concealer Brush (at Sephora): I had heard that this was a great alternative to Tarte's smash hit Shape Tape, which is basically forever sold out and hard to get. I did manage to get Shape Tape, but I bought the Kat Von D as well. I prefer the Kat Von D for sure. It's a medium to full pigmentation concealer, it comes in a large number of shades (more than Shape Tape), and it blends easily. I've been using the brush with it as well, which has taken a bit of getting used to as I don't usually use brushes for concealer, but the brush does really help under my eyes and around my nose. This is worth checking out for sure!

7. MAC Lipstick in Brave (at Nordstrom, MAC): This is a darker pink-nude shade, and it works for almost everyone. I've found myself using it a lot lately, I swear it will work for you too!

Didn't Live Up to the Hype
Silicone Blender: Did you hear about the new silicone pad blenders, billed as the next beautyblender sponge basically? I managed to order one (actually, I bought 2, because I was so excited to find some in stock). In theory you put the makeup on to the silicone, and apply just like a beautyblender, and it blends more flawlessly and your makeup looks perfect. I've only been able to get it to smear my makeup around, whether I'm using it for application or blending. I'm far from impressed. Pass on this one if you find it in stock.

Tarte Shape Tape: This concealer is available only from Tarte and ULTA, and it's forever sold out everywhere. They came out with some new shades on their website, but they sold out pretty quickly too. I did manage to get a hold of the color that is the best match for me, and after using it for a few days it has been relegated to the drawer of my vanity. I don't think it blends as easy as the Kat Von D, Kat is a better color match for me, and the Shape Tape did settle some into fine lines around my eyes. Overall, it's ok, but I really prefer the much easier to find in stock Kat Von D.

I Bought It, Product Sent for Revew, Affiliate Links
The only product sent from PR for review that is mentioned here is the R+F Lash Boost, which I've already repurchased. Everything else I bought with my own money.