Colourpop Fall ’15 Collection Review

Ok, time for some Colourpop realtalk. When it comes to this brand, internet opinions seem to fall into either a LOVE IT or HATE IT camp. I’m in neither camp and I want to tell you what these products (particularly the eyeshadows) are and are not good for. I ordered the Colourpop Forever Freshman eyeshadow set, two extra shadows, a matte lipstick and two ultra matte liquid lipsticks to get a feel for the brand. I purchased them last Monday and they just showed up today, so I wanted to get this review out while it was fresh in my mind.

SAM_7326 (2)

First of all, in case you are not yet acquainted, Coulourpop eyeshadows are weird hybrid mousse-cream shadows. There’s some debate over whether they are creams or powders or whatever and while they are a little different than a traditional cream, I would still call this a cream shadow for sure.

Because of this, they don’t apply well with brushes and work better with your fingers. A lot of people in the makeup community hate this about the shadows. I’m neutral about it, because there are benefits to that. Here are the pros and cons to these shadows:


PROS:
very pigmented
lots and lots of cool colors to choose from
blend very smoothly
fun to work with
can create extremely quick looks on the go
very pretty metallic shimmers
longwearing
inexpensive


CONS:
Don’t play well with brushes, so they’re not precise
difficult to create multi-colored looks
if you try to use glitter and matte the glitter gets EVERYWHERE
color sheers out when you try to diffuse
all of the sets include exclusive shades that can’t be purchased separately
sets do not cost less than buying the shadows separately
Not much product in pan
Some of the glitter shadows have glitter that’s too chunky


What does all that mean mean for you? Basically, the main issue is that the shades are difficult to blend together in a precise way. That means that hooded “smoky V” type eye that I like to do is all but impossible without a brush, but these shadows also don’t work well with brushes. So there’s that.

On the other  hand, they are really great for an all-over wash of color or a simple two-shade gradient. Those are very doable and they are quick, easy and beautiful. Plus you get to apply with your fingers and that’s fun.

My takeaway from all of that is if you really like complicated “beat face” eyeshadow looks, you will hate these shadows. If you like doing simple eyes sometimes or you are really intimidated by the idea of expertly blending four different shades into your crease and want a shortcut, then these are worth your time.

There’s also some really nice pigmentation to be had if you stick with these. Check out my swatches:

colourpop forever freshman super shock eyeshadow set colourpop forever freshman super shock eyeshadow swatches
This is the Forever Freshman set ($30) from the new, ’90s-inspired Fall 2015 collection. It has three mattes and three shimmers. The Shades swatched L-R are Baby-T, Melrose, As-If, 90210, Koosh, Crimper.

coulour pop we heart it and shark attack coulour pop we heart it and shark attack swatches

These are two single shadows I was drawn to, Shark Attack and I Heart This ($5 each).

For my part, I have been a lot more into one or two tone washes of color offset by bold lips lately, so I’m actually pretty into these. I also think the cream shadows lend themselves to a particularly lovely sparkle that is hard to recreate in a powder shadow. For that reason, I think Colourpop super shock shadows also make a good base tone when you do want a cut crease look. You’ll just need to use a powder-based contrast tone in the crease.


Lippie Stix in Lumiere ($5).

This is ok, but I’m not wowed yet. It feels good, but looks sooo dry in the pictures. It feels like a Maybelline Creamy Matte (love those) and the Jordana Modern Matte, but I don’t think it looks as good on. It might just be this shade, I dunno. I also may have just needed to moisturize (I was in a hurry to get these swatched and reviewed TODAY, so shortcuts were taken). The packaging also seems  needlessly long.

colourpop lumiere lippie stix colourpop lumiere lippie stix lipstick

Ultramatte liquid lip in Beeper ($6).

This stuff is great! Ok, so it looks REALLY dry on my lips (as basically all matte liquid lipsticks are wont to do) because I didn’t adequately moisturize first, but what I’m so hyped about is that it feels extremely light on. This is the first liquid lip that I can actually forget I’m wearing because it doesn’t feel heavy and tight. It’s comparable to Kat Von D, but for a quarter of the price. I just need to be sure an plump up my pout before swatching next time.

Alright, let’s do some looks!

colour pop shark attack and I heart this super shock shadows

This is Shark attack and I Heart this blended together. This is the sort of easy wash I was talking about, this is where Colourpop shines.

Then there’s this wayyyy too subtle look-
coluorpop shimmer eye colour pop melrose and crimper shadows

That is an example of trying to smooth out the lines of an eye contour and blurring it into nothingness. Believe it or not, that was at one time As If, 90210 and Crimper from the Forever Freshman set (check the initial swatches and let me know if you expected that).

The problem was that I couldn’t get a balance of pigmentation and smooth lines. Blending the shades with any precision other than just an allover lid color is not going to happen.

After that, I tried to really challenge myself to make it work by adding the rest of the shades in, and this was the best I could do.

colourpop forever freshman super shock eyeshadow set review colourpop fall 2015 collection swatches and review

Also pictured: the Lumiere Lippie Stick.

Ok, so to salvage that sad look, I smoothed the crease out with a little bit of Busted from Urban Decay’s Naked 2 and added liquid liner. After that I felt way better about my super shocks.

colourpop forever freshman super shock eyeshadow  lookbeeper liquid lipstick swatch colourpop forever freshman look with beeper ultra mate liquid lipstick

Also pictured in this set: Beeper ultra matte lip.

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Morphe Brushes Eyeshadow Review

I’m really excited about today’s review! This post has been in the draft stage for far too long, but I want to finally put in my two cents about Morphe Cosmetics. I had been stalking Morphe Brushes’ site for a while a couple months ago since they get rave reviews from beauty bloggers, but I kept stalling because I don’t need any more eyeshadow. While that is still true, I eventually caved because the eyeshadow palettes are only $20, so I somehow justified it to myself.

So first of all, these palettes look suspiciously similar to the kind of palettes you can get from sites like bh cosmetics, crown brush and coastal scents, among others. While all of those companies have branched out into creating more of their own unique products, their original focus used to be importing those Chinese 120 color palettes that were once only available through eBay. I’ve reviewed the 120 palettes before and I really like them, but they’re generally best for extremely bright looks. The reason being that while those eyeshadows are typically pretty vibrant, they also have a somewhat dusty, chalky texture. I love them because they have a great range of pigmented brights and they’re very affordable which is good since I don’t use colors like that often, but they don’t feel as good to work with. For neutral colors that I use a lot, I prefer to go with higher end shadows that are nicer to work with and easier to blend.

These palettes are NOT the same as the eBay palettes. They are made in America and the eyeshadows are (mostly) smoother and better quality. This is also a female-owned small business, so I feel good supporting them. I ended up with the 35W palette for $19.99. Weirdly, it has the exact same shades as the 35N palette, except that pallette is all matte while this had some shimmers mixed in. I actually wish I had waited to buy this because they just released some new 35 pan palettes that look amazing (the 35P plum palette, 35K smoky neutral palette and 35O orange-toned palette), but whatever. For $20 I can always buy another. Let’s talk about the one I have for now.

Let’s start with pictures of the palette itself!

In bright daylight (quarter shown for scale):
MORPHE BRUSHES 35W eyeshadow palette

Artificial light.
MORPHE BRUSHES 35 color warm palette

The second image in artificial light looks closer to what the shades look like in real life, but I thought it was helpful to show both pictures to give a better idea of which shades have shimmer and which don’t.

I also swatched every single shade, so here they are, shown in the same order they appear in the palette. Each swatch is done over a strip of primer, so you can see how each one performs with and without it.

MORPHE BRUSHES 35W palette swatches row 1

MORPHE BRUSHES 35W palette swatches row 2

MORPHE BRUSHES 35W palette swatches row 3

MORPHE BRUSHES 35W palette swatches row 4

MORPHE BRUSHES 35W palette swatches row 5

Based on my swatches, I made this chart indicating the best and worst performers. The shadows with the stars are really nice, smooth, buttery, and high-end feeling. The ones without any marks are decent, like higher quality drugstore shadows (think NYX or L’Oreal) and the X’s are for weak shadows that work like low quality cheap shadows.

MORPHE BRUSHES 35W palette eyeshadow quality

Only 4 real duds here. That’s not bad for the money I spent, right? I have had had a little trouble blending some of the shades, but overall I found the palette versatile and good to work with. The only problem I had was keeping track of which shadows I preferred working with over others. The really good ones are so smooth to work with, but sometimes I’d accidentally grab a muddier one and end up having to start my eye look over.

Here are a couple of looks to give you an idea of how they work in practice.

MORPHE BRUSHES 35W palette warm look MORPHE BRUSHES 35W palette warm eyeshadow look MORPHE BRUSHES 35W palette reviews MORPHE BRUSHES 35W palette silver look MORPHE BRUSHES 35W palette look MORPHE BRUSHES 35W palette eye look MORPHE BRUSHES 35W palette cool look MORPHE BRUSHES 35W look

90s-Inspired Rusty Plum Venus Palette Dupe Look

You guys already know that 90s beauty is EVERYTHING to me. It’s probably because I was coming of age in that era, so that was my first exposure to caring at all about makeup and it’s always going to have a special place in my heart. As a result I’ve been kind of obsessed with the colors in Lime Crime’s Venus palette ($48). The palette was like something I would have put together myself, but I was a little concerned about the widespread allegations of unprofessional behavior and quality control from the company, plus I only really cared about half the shades since I already have several of them. Instead, I ended up just getting dupes of the shades I didn’t have and making my own version of the palette. That’s what my Makeup Geek order from a while back was all about. 🙂

The warm peach and brown tones in the palette were nice, but the berry shades are the real standouts for me (hello Makeup Geek Bitten!). It’s a shame it’s so hard to find good berry shades; a lot of people worry they’ll look sickly in them but (at least in my opinion) they look gorgeously dramatically and flatter every eye color so beautifully. They make brown eyes look complex and mysterious, green eyes super vibrant and intense and blue eyes pale and ethereal. Whay aren’t more people wearing these colors?

If you’d like to see my take, here’s my Venus palette-esque look using Cosmopolitan ($5.99), Bitten ($5.99) and Starry Eyed ($9.99) from Makeup Geek.

rosy brown 90s grunge inspired makeupmakeup geek bitten and cosmo berry look  makeup geek bitten and cosmo with LA splash latte confession

I also ordered LA Splash’s Lip Couture liquid lipstick in Latte Confession ($14), which is supposed to be a dupe for LC’s Riot Velvetine Lipstick, but for $6 less. Matte liquid lipsticks are everywhere these days, and this is a good option. It does have a tendency to show every crack in your lips, so pre-moisturizing with a nice balm is a good idea (this can be said for all liquid lipsticks). This formula is really opaque, applies well, doesn’t separate into lines and lasts forever and ever. Seriously, my makeup remover wipes won’t take this stuff off at all, the only way I could get it off was to apply petroleum jelly over it and wipe off after 30 seconds. Beyond the formulation, I am just obsessed with this color. It’s an amazing dusty brown-red shade that looks unbelievable. Loooove.

la splash latte confession swatch lime crime riot dupe makeup geek venus palette dupe

Basically I’m wearing all of my favorite makeup colors in this look, so I kind of had to post too many pictures. Hope you like my budget conscious 90s homage!

lime crime venus look

Makeup Geek Eyeshadow Review

I recently purchased a Z Palette (still en route) and realized that in addition to the crazy depotting experiments that will be going into the palette, it would be the perfect time to buy some single shadows from Makeup Geek to put in it. I’ve read rave reviews about MUG eyeshadows and I really love their creator, Marlena, so I was also excited to support the brand. Of course the MUG shadows showed up before the palette itself, but that’s ok. I can still share some thoughts with y’all while I wait for a place to actually store these things.

makeup geek shipping
(It’s here! Yay!)

First of all, the shipping was (clearly) fast. I placed my order Wednesday night and it showed up on Friday. This might be the quickest I’ve ever received anything other than from Amazon, which is pretty amazing considering Makeup Geek is a small business and Amazon is a huge mega-corporation. You do pay for your shipping with MUG, however it was only $1.99 to ship my 5 eyeshadows, so I don’t feel bad about it at all. The box was extremely well packed to ensure nothing broke in transit, which I appreciate.

OK, so eyeshadows. I got one matte shade, one with light shimmer, one full shimmer, and two of the foiled shadows. In other words, I got the sampler platter of finishes.

As I alluded to with the Z palette comment, the shadows come in pans without any outer casing. This is very efficient and saves a lot of space, which I love, but also means that the shadows are floating around loose and unprotected until my palette gets in. As soon as I get my Z Palette (an empty magnetic palette where you can mix and match all of your favorite makeup to create your own ultimate makeup collection) I’ll show you how they fit. The shadows arrive to you in cute little art deco-inspired envelopes (gold accents for the foiled shadows and white for the regular line). The foiled shadows are $9.99 each and the regular line are $5.99 each. All totaled, this mini-haul cost me $39.94 for 5 shadows plus shipping and the shadows promise to be high-end quality. So far so good!

makeup geek eyeshadow packaging

Here are the individual shadow pans themselves and the website’s shade descriptions:

Flame Thrower ($9.99) “True brightened warm copper with a foiled finish.”
makeup geek flame thrower foiled eyeshadow

Starry Eyed ($9.99) “Light champagne beige with slight pink undertones and a foiled finish. Pinky-beige champagne.”
makeup geek starry eyed foiled eyeshadow

Cosmopolitan ($5.99) “Rose Gold with gold flecks and a shimmery finish.”
makeup geek cosmopolitan foiled eyeshadow
(FYI the ding in this shadow is my own fault- I scratched it when I was opening the pouch it came in. These shadows all arrived in perfect condition.)

Hipster ($5.99) “Dark sand and light taupe tan with slight shimmer.”
makeup geek hipster eyeshadow

Bitten ($5.99) “Matte deep maroon red”
makeup geek bitten eyeshadow

Swatch time!
L-R: Starry Eyed, Flame Thrower, Cosmopolitan, Hipster, Bitten.
makeup geek eyeshadow swatches starry eyed flame thrower cosmopolitan hipster bitten

Initial reaction:

So I’ve heard rave reviews about the foiled shadows. I agree that they are very nice, but I think they have been overhyped a bit. In my opinion they aren’t some magical pixie dust the world has never seen the way some people have described, but they are still high quality, very pigmented metallic eyeshadows. I would compare them to the look of a loose powder pigment, but in an easier to use pressed format. I thought Flame Thrower was more intensely metallic than Starry Eyed, and Flame Thrower did have a slightly more slippy, silky feel than a traditional eye shadow where Starry Eyed’s texture was a little more commonplace. Starry Eyed wasn’t that different from most other champagne metallic shadows for me (very similar to Stila’s famous Kitten shadow). Again, that doesn’t mean they’re bad (at all!). I do think they are comparable in both color and quality to shadows that cost a lot more (Starry Eyed is similar to Stila Kitten, and Flame Thrower makes me think of MAC’s Amber Lights- both of which used to be fixtures in my makeup kit).

As for the other OG shades, Cosmopolitan and Hipster both blew me away with their initial swatches, but Bitten seemed a little under-pigmented and streaky. Part of the reason for that is that these are finger swatches. Ironically, finger swatches often look better than what you can produce with a brush (your finger’s surface picks up more concentrated color than a brush because a brush is meant to diffuse the harsh lines a bit), but I found that Bitten picked up far better with a brush and looked amazing when applied! I’m really glad, because that was the shade I was most exited about.

I tried swatching again this morning over primer to see what would happen and the difference was startling. You can see how Bitten wasn’t doing so well on its own, but comes to life over the primer. The other regular shadows benefited slightly from the primer and the foiled ones looked the same either way. This is all fine by me because I always use a primer anyway.

Swatched with no primer on top and a strip of primer on the bottom:
MUG swatches bitten starry eyed hipster cosmopolitan flame thrower over primer

Enough about swatches, let’s see these bad boys in action.

I’m really sorry for how tired my eyes look in the first set of pictures. I look so tired because I was really, really tired. I took this set last night and it was way past my bedtime. I was just that excited about these shadows that I HAD to play with them before I could sleep. In these, I’m wearing a wash of Starry Eyed on the inner 2/3 of my lid with Flame Thrower blended from the outer third. Since it was late I just slapped this one with my fingers without primer or anything, but I still thought they blended really nicely (and as mentioned above, the foiled shadows do very well without primer).makeup geek starry eyed and flamethrower foiled eyeshadow look makeup geek starry eyed and flame thrower foiled eyeshadow

Ok, here’s today’s look where I was actually awake. I did kind of a grungey, ’90s inspired mostly matte eye without much else going on.
I’m wearing Bitten all over the lid with Hipster just barely blended into the crease as a transition shade and Starry Eyed in the inner corners again.

makeup geek bitten eyeshadow (2)
Dat pigmentation tho.

makeup geek venus palette dupe
I think I’ve told you guys before that I LOVE red tinged eyeshadow.


grunge inspired 90s makeup
Comin’ at you straight up out the ’90s.

I failed to include a look with Cosmopolitan, but that will be coming in a post soon, so I’ll be sure to link when I put it up (update: here it is!).
As for my final thoughts, I want to confirm the hype (for the most part, since I mentioned earlier that some people have gone a little overboard). These eyeshadows were all great to work with, blended super well and had great pigmentation. MUG provides a variety of finish levels as well as really well thought out colors. They are all a great value, but in my opinion the regular old non-foiled shadows are actually the winner. They are phenomenal to work with (even though some require primer), they are pigmented, and they are only six bucks. All of the shadows are high end quality, but the regular line will give you the most bang for your buck. I’m definitely going to be placing a second order in the near future. Thanks for creating such an awesome product line, Marlena!

Memebox Review

I was provided a complimentary Memebox to review this month. Memebox is a Korean beauty subscription service, and I was very excited to try the service because I’ve heard really good things about Korean beauty products (especially their skincare), but didn’t know where to begin. Memebox also sells many of the boxed products directly from their site if you want a specific item, but I didn’t know any of the brands and prefered getting the curated selection regardless.

memebox korean makeup subscription box
The box itself is very cute!
memebox packaging

In case you were wondering, the company’s name is pronounced mi-mi after a traditional doll that many Korean children play with (and not meme like the viral pictures you see on reddit!).

There are four different types of Memeboxes, and prices vary depending on which you choose. The options on the website are a little daunting, but based on their description, I believe this is how the boxes break down:

Memebox:
4 – 8 full-size products and deluxe samples of hair, body, skin-care and makeup products (but each box is uniform and everyone receives the same box).

Memebox Special Edition:
4-8 full-size products and deluxe samples that follow a theme (trend, season, etc).

Superbox:
Superbox is more targeted and focuses on a specific need or is a collaboration with a specific brand.

Luckybox:
4 – 8 full sized products and deluxe samples that are randomly selected, but curated with a focus on variety.


So this must have been a special edition box, it’s the Colorbox #2 and it focuses on ORANGE. If you’ve been reading my blog for a while, you may know that I absolutely love orange makeup, so I was happy about this!

orange makeup pale skin

ORANGE CRUSH!

memebox colorbox 2 orange edition july 2014

The box contained 4 full sized products, here are the swatches, with more detail to follow:

memebox swatches dearberry flirt lipstick tosowoong eyeliner locean eyeshadow


Dearberry Flirt Lipstick in Million Dollar Orange ($12).
dearberry flirt lip stick in million dollar orange   korean cosmetics dearberry flirt lipstickdearberry flirt lipstick in million dollar orange dearberry flirt lipstick million dollar orangedearberry flirt korean lipstick million dollar orange

Don’t be afraid of this bold color, I think it’s actually very easy to wear! This is a color that just makes me happy when I wear it. This lipstick is fabulous, it’s very rich and moisturizing, and the color is smooth and opaque. The case is very cute, too! I can’t find a link to buy this anywhere, which makes me sad because I really like it and would love to buy this in more shades! Hopefully it will be added to the Memebox shop soon.  UPDATE! There’s a new Dearberry lipstick on the site for $8. I would highly reccomend this for a cheap, high quality lipstick that none of your friends will have.


Dearberry Today Nail Laquer ($3).
korean makeup pale tangerine orange dearberry today nail polish

This was a nice color, but the formula was a little streaky. I needed three coats for full coverage, and I still thought it could have been more even. For $3 it’s not bad, but it wasn’t my favorite product in the box.


L’OCEAN Eye Shadow L-29 Pastel Orange ($10).

locean pastel orange korean eyeshadow memebox l'ocean pastel orange korean eyeshadow single

This is a very nice eyeshadow. The texture wasn’t hard or buttery, somewhere in the middle, but it applied well and blended nicely and you can see that the color is very vivid, even though I did not apply a primer! This is a very wearable matte orange shade.


Tosowoong Bronze Sectrum Waterproof Gel Pencil Liner #11 Sunshine ($10).

makeon sunshine orange waterproof eyeliner

This eyeliner is SO GOOD. It’s extremely vibrant, it’s smooth and glides right on and it lasts. Look at the swatch on my arm after rubbing it very thoroughly with water and a tissue. It’s still there!

makeon sunshine waterproof eyeliner memebox swatch

In fact, as I am typing this (hours later), I still see it just as bright as it was in the picture. In some places this is referered to as Tosowoong brand, but the pencil says Makeon, so look for either name. This liner is fantastic, I would strongly recommend it.

And here are a couple views of everything together:

memebox colorbox number 2 orange makeup summer 2014 memebox color box 2 orange edition july 2014

I also like the lip stain the Dearberry lipstick leaves behind. Look at how flattering that pretty warm pink tint is:

dearberry flirt lipstick stain

One thing I noticed was that my Memebox shipped EXTREMELY quickly. On Tuesday they told me they would be shipping it this week and it came directly from Korea by Friday! Amazing!

I really enjoyed this box, and I think my favorite product was definitely the lipstick.

If you’re interested in trying Memebox, you can receive $5 off on any order at us.memebox.com with code AFFILIATE-0362-83QK6-AWLP through August 30, 2014. Let me know if you try it!

March 2014 Ipsy bag and Birchbox reviews

Look at me being quick and posting my subscription reviews as soon as I get the boxes! And this month’s stuff was REALLY GOOD. I’m really happy with both Ipsy and Birchbox this month. Hooray!

This month’s ipsy glam bag was themed “destination beauty,” although that feels optimistic given  this never-ending winter. ANYWAY, here’s what I got. I really like the bag itself, too. The bags have been going up in quality since I signed up in 2012.

ipsy glam bag march 2014 review

bareMinerals Marvelous Moxie™ Lipstick in Get Ready ($18).
This is very opaque and pigmented and felt nice on. It has a slight shine to it and no sparkle. It’s a good quality lipstick that feels pretty standard for this price range, and I think this shade would work on just about anyone.
Deal: F
ree mascara sample + free shipping on barminerals.com through 4/30/14. This one has an individualized code, so I guess ipsy is getting wise to people like me who share the codes. I’m not using mine, so if you’re interested, here’s my code: P6US-QOEH-3L76-9VDB. This is a one-time code, so first come, first served!

bare minerals marvelous moxie lipstick in get ready bare minerals marvelous moxie lipstick get ready swatched

Nicole by OPI Roughles in “On What Grounds?” ($7.99).
Pronounced like “ruffles,” this is a gritty, concrete-textured polish with little contrast color flecks. It’s a really pretty bright, sky blue. The contrast of the edgy texture and the pretty robin’s egg blue color is pretty fun. I like this a lot, although I’d probably like it just as much without the texture. No discount code.

nicole by opi roughles nail polish in on what groundsnicole by opi roughles nail polish on what grounds swatch

Pacifica Body Butter in Indian Coconut Nectar ($15).
This is water based, so it absorbs cleanly. Pacifica’s scents are usually pretty nice, too. I really liked the coconut scent, but I don’t think it’s for everyone. It smells more like coconut milk than the sweeter coconut scent of suntan oil. Basically, it’s worth buying if you like the scent of coconut.
Deal: 20% off at pacificabeauty.com with code ipsygirl through 4/15/14

Be a Bombshell Bora Bora Eyeshadow Quad ($16).
This was my favorite Be a Bombshell product yet. I wasn’t sure about these shadows at first glance. They don’t feel particularly soft or creamy upon pickup, but when applied they’re very pigmented, blend well and have a really nice pearly-metallic finish. These shades are all available individually on the site for $14 each, so it’s worth looking into their quads to get 3 extra colors for only $2 more. My only complaint is that this collection is very summery, which seems out of place when there’s still snow on the ground here in Chicago. That’s not the product’s fault, though, just an observation. I actually really love this color grouping and think the copper “Rock Bottom” shade is a passable dupe for MAC’s ever popular Amber Lights. And that teal blue! OMG.
Deal: 40% off + free fuchsia lip crayon at beabombshellcosmetics.com ipsy40 through 4/15/14.

be a bombshell eyeshadow quad bora bora
Swatched without primer:
be a bombshell eyeshadow quad bora bora swatches

On eyes with primer + Stila Stay All Day Waterproof Liquid Eye Liner ($20) and Stila MAJOR Major Lash Mascara ($22):
be a bombshell eyeshadow quad bora bora swatch

Other March Ipsy offers:

chella.com 25% through 4/15/14 with code eyeliner.
nyxcosmetics.com 25% off nyx lip butter balm through 4/15/14 with code ipsybb.
pixibeauty.com 25% off through 4/15/14 with code flawlesspixi.

Now on to Birchbox.

birchbox march 2014 review

OmniPotent Duosity Hair Treatment ($25).
I haven’t tried this yet, but my frizzy hair always appreciates a new deep conditioner.

Air Repair Rescue Balm All-Purpose Skin Salve and Lip Balm ($12).
This stuff feels really good, it’s very smooth and melt-y, almost like a foundation primer. It has a really bad smell, though. It’s chemically and a little medicinal, like a gross mouthwash. The scent dissipates within 60 seconds and the moisturizer is pretty heavy duty, so this is something I’d use for super dry lip emergencies, but not for every day use.

Benefit Big Easy in shade 2: light ($38).
This was just a little foil sample, but that’s all I really needed to get an idea for the product. This is actually something I’ve been interested in trying and it lived up to my expectations! It’s smooth like a BB, but quickly dries to a soft, powder finish that looks and feels very natural. It has SPF 35 and medium coverage. I would absolutely buy this.

benefit big easy foundation 2 light  benefit big easy foundation shade 2 lightbenefit big easy foundation review

theBalm® cosmetics How ‘Bout Them Apples? ($32)
I was so excited for this sample! I love The Balm and I love cream blush. These are meant to work on both lips and cheeks, and they actually do work for both purposes. Some products like that are too creamy to work on lips, but this has a much slicker, thinner consistency that really does multitask. It’s sheerer than nost cream blushes or convertible products, but very vibrant. I’ll probably buy this in full size, and this little guy is going to live in my purse from now on.

the balm how bout them apples pie blush sample
Left side: built-up color, Right side: sheered out as much as possible.
the balm how bout them apples pie swatch
In action on both lips and cheeks:
the balm how bout them apples review cream blush in pie

Michael Todd True Organics™ Citrus Cream Moisturizer ($29)
I liked the Michael Todd cleanser ipsy sent me a while ago, so I was pleased to see another product from this brand. This feels light and moisturizing, although the citrus smell is a little bit weird to me. It wears off quickly, at least. My skin definitely felt smooth and soft immediately after application.

Ghirardelli Intense Dark Cherry Tango.
I have no shopping link for this, but you really can’t go wrong if you pick up any Ghirardelli chocolate at the store. It’s also worth noting that birchbox sent this as an “extra sample” and actually stayed true to their word- I got 6 things this month. Sometimes they send something “extra” with a note that it doesn’t replace any of my usual samples, and yet I still get the same number of samples. That’s just silly.

And of course, here’s the final look featuring all of the products from this month’s samples!

march 2014 ipsy and birchbox reviews
be a bombshell eyeshadow risky business starlet rock bottomipsy march 2014 review

Gwen Stefani Nail Polish Collection for OPI – 4 in the Morning Swatch

I’ve posted a few times about how I love, love, love the 90’s, so I was definitely excited about a collaboration between Gwen Stefani and OPI!

The full Gwen Stefani x OPI nail collection is pretty, but I was a little disappointed by how generic and dupeable some of the shades were. Fortunately, there were still a few unique shades in the collection. I was especially excited about the two matte satin shades. I was planning to buy both, plus the holo glitter topcoat, but I’m still on a LOW BUY (obviously the NO BUY didn’t fully take). I ended up only getting the black shade, OPI Gwen Stefani Nail Lacquer Collection ($9) in 4 in the Morning. Hey, that shows some restraint, right?

I just love the unique finish on this one. Now that black nail polish has gone mainstream, this unusual smooth, satiny matte texture gives black its edge back. It reminds me of black leather.

opi x gwen stefani nail laquer 4 in the morning

I was even inspired to do some Gwen-esque makeup for the occasion! Of course I look nothing like her (wouldn’t that be nice?), but her classic look is always fun to do.

gwen stefani inspired makeup