Favorites

April 2014 Favorites

Spring is finally here and I’ve loved updating my current makeup and skincare routine for the new season. I also picked up some  items at IMATS New York and as birthday gifts during April, so there have been a lot of new goodies to try out this month.

For lips I’m loving the NYX Butter Gloss in “Angel Food Cake,” a warm mauvey red that gives my nature lip color the perfect boost of color and shine. I’m not a huge lipgloss fan, but this formula is extremely easy to wear and fades nicely throughout the day, rather than the gross patchy/crusty look that can get left behind when some glosses wear away. I can’t believe it’s taken me so long to give the Butter Glosses a try, but now I definitely plan to add more shades to my collection.

NYX Butter Gloss in "Angel Food Cake"

NYX Butter Gloss in “Angel Food Cake”

 

On my cheeks it’s been all about a natural flush, which I’ve achieved most days using either Stila’s Convertible Color in “Gerbera” or Tarte’s Amazonian Clay 12-hour Blush in “Exposed”. Gerbera is a lovely cream product meant for cheeks or lips (I have to say it’s not my favorite on the lips, but it’s beautiful as a blush), that imparts a natural coral pop when blended into the apples of my cheeks. Exposed is a rosy mauve/brown that I use as a bit of blush and contour in one and leaves me looking like I’ve spent an afternoon outside rather than indoors at a computer!

Stila Convertible Color in "Gerbera"

Stila Convertible Color in “Gerbera”

Tarte Amazonian Clay 12-hour Blush in "Exposed"

Tarte Amazonian Clay 12-hour Blush in “Exposed”

Tarte "Exposed", Stila "Gerbera", NYX "Angel Food Cake"

Tarte “Exposed”, Stila “Gerbera”, NYX “Angel Food Cake”

 

The brush that earns top honors this month is Sigma’s F15 Duo Fibre Powder/Blush brush. It’s perfect for precise application of cream or powder products and is just so damn soft, I can’t get over it. I’m a big fan of all of the Sigma brushes I’ve tried so far, but this one is definitely my favorite of the moment.

Sigma F15 Duo Fibre Powder/Blush brush

Sigma F15 Duo Fibre Powder/Blush brush

 

When I first tried Benefit’s They’re Real mascara last year I found the formula too wet and clumpy for my taste and barely used the tube I had received as a sample from Sephora. After receiving another sample I decided to give it a second try since it seems to be such a crowd pleaser, and boy am I glad, because this time around I’m in love. Maybe my tastes have changed or my first tube was a little off, but this month I’ve been loving They’re Real for lashes that are separated, lengthened, and thickened all at once. This has been my go-to mascara nearly every day in April, and I see a full size purchase in my future once this cute sample runs out.

Benefit They're Real mascara

Benefit They’re Real mascara

 

Last but not least, my skincare favorite this month has been Dermalogica’s Ultracalming Cleanser, which I picked up during my visit to Dermalogica Academy (check it a post about my visit here). This gentle cleanser has a combination cream/gel formula and works wonders on my dry, sensitive skin. Sadly I used up my travel sized bottle yesterday, so I’ll be saving my pennies to purchase a full size soon!

Dermalogica Ultracalming Cleanser

Dermalogica Ultracalming Cleanser

 

There you have my most-loved products for the month of April. Has spring finally hit where you live, and have you switched up any of your makeup, skincare, or frangrances to welcome the new season? Leave a comment and let me know what you’re loving!

-LMC ♥

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February 2014 Favorites

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February is finally over, and I can’t say I’m sad about it. While I did have some great times last month (including visits from a few of my favorite people), I am entirely ready for this grey dreary winter to finally end. Come on March, I’m expecting sunshine and over 30 degree temperatures, please! Since February is the shortest month I have a pretty short list of monthly favorites, so let’s get started.

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ELF Blush Brush – I’ve avoided powdering my face at all costs during this dry winter weather, but without a little setting powder on the bridge and sides of my nose my glasses are doing a slip ‘n slide by the end of the day. This pinpoint powder application has left my much-loved big and fluffy Real Techniques Blush Brush in the dust, as I’ve found the smaller ELF Blush Brush perfect for the job. Its soft synthetic bristles and tapered tip are excellent at precisely applying powder to the undereyes, spots of concealer, or in my case, right around the nose. For just $3 this is definitely a brush to add to your collection.

ELF Blush Brush

ELF Blush Brush

Sephora Contour Eye Pencil 12HR Wear Waterproof in Blonde Ambition (06) – If you haven’t tried one of Sephora’s waterproof eyeliners yet you’re seriously missing out. Available in 35 colors of the rainbow, these $10 liners go on creamy smooth and set to a waterproof finish that won’t budge. Last month I loved wearing Blonde Ambition smudged under my lower lashline as a highlight or in my waterline to brighten up my eyes.

Sephora Contour Eye Pencil 12HR Wear Waterproof in Blonde Ambition (06)

Sephora Contour Eye Pencil 12HR Wear Waterproof in Blonde Ambition (06)

MAC Syrup – I’ve been in a serious love affair with NARS Damage lipstick for a few years now. It’s the perfect My-Lips-But-Better color and leaves me with a slight raspberry sheen that lasts all day. Sadly though my tube of Damage is nearing its last days, and while I’ve been savoring every last application I’ve also been on the hunt for a replacement that’s a little easier on the pocketbook. Enter MAC Syrup, a cult favorite that always looked too plain in swatches and that I continued to overlook when visiting the MAC store. I finally decided to give it a try though and was pleasantly surprised to find it gave them same rosy shine as Damage- hooray! While MAC lipsticks are hardly drugstore, they’re at least a little less expensive than NARS, so I’m happy about that. With its lustre finish Syrup seems to be quite a chameleon, so definitely try it on to see how it mixes with your natural lip color and compliments your complexion, I bet you’ll fall in love too.

MAC lipstick in Syrup

MAC lipstick in Syrup

Swatches of MAC Syrup (left) and Sephora Blonde Ambition (right)

Swatches of MAC Syrup (left) and Sephora Blonde Ambition (right)

Beauty Protector Protect & Oil – I received this heat protection oil in my February Birchbox and I have been obsessed with it all month. It acts as a great barrier for my dry ends when I’m heat styling while also imparting some moisture and leaving my hair with a delicious sweet scent. I believe this is a Birchbox exclusive product, so head over to their online shop and check it out!

Beauty Protector Protect & Oil

Beauty Protector Protect & Oil

There you have my little list of February favorites. If you tried any new products in February that you’re loving, leave a comment and let me know.

-LMC ♥

January 2014 Favorites

januaryfave2In most parts of the USA January has been cruel, smacking us with record snowfall and arctic vortexes that have brought screaming winds and sub-zero temperatures. With that mess going on outside, January has also been a good month to cozy up indoors and try out some new beauty items. Before the next  blizzard hits, let’s get started with my January 2014 favorites:

Alien by Thierry Mugler – I discovered Alien via my pretend internet best friend LeighAnnSays and after running through a tiny Sephora sample I knew I had to splurge on the full size. Luckily some Christmas cash came my way and gave me the perfect opportunity to pick up this gorgeous fragrance. It has notes of solar accord, jasmine sambac, cashmeran, vanilla, and transparent amber (truth: I don’t know what half of those words even mean, but Sephora tells me it’s so). Overall I’d describe it as a deep, spicy scent perfect for a winter date night. If you’re looking for something that veers from run of the mill flowery/sweet/girly scents, Alien will probably be right up your alley.

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Maybelline Master Hi-Light Hi-Lighting Bronzer (50 Light Bronze) –  Long, silly names aside, Maybelline has had some impressive Spring 2014 launches, and the Master Hi-Light range is no exception. Serving triple-duty as a blush, bronzer, and highlighter, Light Bronze is a mosaic of champagne, rose, taupe, and chocolate colored powders that when swirled together produce a lovely shimmery peachy bronze. Pretend internet BFF #2, ChelseaWears, recently raved about wearing bronzer all over her cheeks as a kind of blush/contour combo, and I figured if my pale sister can pull that off I could give it a try as well. Dusting Light Bronze all over the apples and hollows of my cheeks does a great job of warming up my face and giving it a little extra dimension, especially during these blah January days. Next time Maybelline goes on sale at the drugstore I will definitely be picking up another shade or two from this range.

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Real Techniques Buffing Brush – In the interest of pampering my skin a bit (or at least not torturing it) during this frigid winter I’ve stuck to a pretty strict BB Cream-only regimen for the past month. (I miss you, Revlon Colorstay, but I’m sure we’ll meet again when humid springtime rolls around.) At first I was applying my various BBs/tinted moisturizers with my hands, which got the job done, but still felt a little messy and unsanitary to me. Then I gave the Real Techniques Buffing Brush a shot at the job, and I haven’t looked back since. It seems to blend product seemlessly without irritating my dry skin, and is the perfect size and shape to cover large areas and get into small spots near the nose and eyes. It’s no secret that the Real Techniques line is a major hit, but I’d have to say the Buffing Brush earns top honors in my book.

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Rimmel Scandaleyes Waterproof Kohl Eyeliner (001 Black) – At a Sephora makeup class a few months back I discovered the beauty and pain of tightlining. (For those of you unaware, tightlining is the cringe-inducing practice of adding eyeliner to your upper inner lashline.) While I couldn’t deny that my tightlined  eyes looked great, the idea of sticking an eyeliner pencil so close to my eyeball made me seriously squirm. In the end it seems like this just takes patience and practice, but the key to a good tightline is also the right eyeliner. It should be fairly creamy so you’re not dragging and pulling at your delicate eyelid (typing that sentence just made me shiver), but also a product that will set to a waterproof finish so all your hard work doesn’t get blinked away in three seconds. So far I’ve found the Rimmel Scandaleyes Kohl eyeliner to be the best at getting the tightline job done and sticking around for hours. I prefer liquid or gel eyeliner on my upper lashline, so this really only gets used on my upper and lower waterline, but for that purpose it’s perfect.

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NYC Quick Dry Nail Polish (Grand Central Station 202) – After a glowing recommendation on Nouveau Cheap I knew I had to give NYC’s Grand Central Station a try when my Seche Vite topcoat finally devolved into goopy obsolescence. For only $1.99 this is an affordable top coat that dries almost instantly and helps my nails stay chip-free for days on end. I find it works best to reapply a top coat every 2-3 days to keep your color locked in. Of course, top coats work differently for everyone, but with Grand Central Station’s low price and availability at most drugstores, you really can’t lose by giving it a shot.

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I hope you enjoyed this roundup of the products I’ve been loving in January. Please leave a comment and let me know what have been some of your favorites from the past month! Stay warm…

-LMC ♥