Budget Buy-NYX Taupe

Today I'm talking about a product I've loved for a long time, but it has somehow never gotten a mention on the blog. It's NYX Taupe, the world's easiest contour shade ever. Seriously, this is a pale girl's dream. I'm personally not a fan of contouring with a bronzer because if you look at the face, the natural shadows are grey/taupe, not bronze or orange. This is the perfect taupe shade that is incredibly easy to contour with. This really is a swipe and go product, and if you are new to contouring (or just are not pro like me), this is the product for you.

One Swipe Wonders

I'm all about simplicity in the mornings. My favorite eyeshadows are the ones that you can apply all over the lid that instantly perk up the eye without the need for anything else. There are four eyeshadows I reach for on a weekly basis to do this, so I thought I would share them with you!

First, Wet n Wild Color Icon Single Eyeshadow in Brulee. This pale cream shade is great for covering up imperfections on the eyelid. I like to apply this and then buff a little bronzer into my crease for natural definition. 

Second, ELF Eyeshadow in Celebrity. I gave this one its own post here, so I wont talk about this one for too long, but it's a great multi-dimensional shadow that is perfect for everyday.

Third. Maybelline Color Tattoo in Bad to the Bronze. This one is great because it stays put all. day. long. It's also really versatile because you can put one swipe on for an everyday look, or build it up to create a going-out look.

Finally, L'Oreal Infalliable Eyeshadow in Bronzed Taupe. I don't own the cult shade, Amber Rush, but I do think this one is a fantastic shade. This one is perfect for when you want a bit more of an intense eye look, and these are seriously pigmented. Fantastic quality at a fantastic price.

Do you have a favorite one swipe wonder? 

Forever Repurchased #1

Today, I'm starting a new series on Love, Like, Leave. It's Forever Repurchased, and it is exactly what it sounds like. Once or twice a month, I'll tell you about a product that I cannot be without. First up is Rosehip Oil. I don't have a particular brand that I love, I just make sure it is organic, pure, unrefined rosehip oil. It only costs around $10, and is a seriously powerful ingredient. 

This is a dry oil, which means it sinks into the skin super quickly and doesn't ever feel greasy on the skin. Acne-prone skin girls, this one is also suitable for your skin as it speeds up cell turnover which can prevent acne and help reduce scarring. It's also an anti-inflammatory, so it's perfect for girls with sensitive skin as well. My skin is nuclear and breaks out ridiculously easily, but I find that rosehip oil never makes me break out and always leaves my skin hydrated and soft, while helping to diminish my acne scars. I like to mix a few drops in with aloe gel and put it on my skin, as I find this helps it absorb almost instantly. 

Do you have a product you will always repurchase?

Hydration, Hydration

 I'm a little bit in love with hydrating masks. I just think they are so soothing, and they are almost always the last step in my mask routine. Today, I thought I'd round up my three favorites and share them with you.

First, is the Queen Helene Olive Oil Masque. Picked this up on a whim in Sally's one day and am seriously impressed with it! It's a thick green paste that you leave on for 10-15 minutes and then rinse off. This one leaves my skin feeling hydrated without greasy, and is the best if you have flaky skin you're looking to soften. Coming in around $4, it's seriously cost-effective.

Second is another budget buy... Freeman's Facial Brightening Mask. This may not sound like the most hydrating of masks, but to be honest I think it moisturizes more than it brightens. This shimmery (for real) gel texture is super smooth going on and leaves my skin feeling softer, more hydrated, and just a bit more bright. For $3, you really can't go wrong.

Finally comes the cult product I didn't expect to love as much as I do. It's Origins Drink Up Intensive Overnight Mask, and it is just as good as everyone says it is. This peachy-smelling lotion goes on as a thick cream. I apply this about 15 minutes before going to bed and when I wake up in the morning, my skin is seriously smooth.

What are your favorite hydrating masks?

Sick Day Essentials

I'm typing this from my bed, where I am currently stationed at as I'm feeling pretty sick at the moment. Luckily, its Friday and I have the weekend off...But I've had this cold since Monday and I've had work every day. This week, I've mastered the art of looking presentable  when feeling horrible, so I thought I would share my tips with you. I think this comes down to 5 key products.

The first key product is concealer. When I'm sick, I like to sleep as much as possible...which usually means I don’t wear foundation. This week I've been using L'Oreal True Match Blendable Concealer Crayon on my face, as its blendable and not drying and gives great coverage. This even stays put if I blow my nose, which is pretty impressive! I also use my Rimmel Match Perfection concealer under my eyes, as this hides my (incredibly) dark circles and brightens up the under eye area.

The second key product is bronzer. I'm normally all about the matte bronzers, but when I'm sick I need every bit of glow I can get. This week I've been using the ELF Bronzer in Golden, and I love the subtle shimmer (but not glitter) it gives to my skin. My cheeks are pretty pink from being sick as is, so I skip blush and sweep this over my cheeks too. Not only is this quick, it doubles as a highlighter and takes minimal effort. Sold.

The third product I've been needing is a nude pencil in my waterline. When I'm sick my eyes look majorly bloodshot, and  the Rimmel Scandaleyes Eyeliner in Nude really brightens the area and makes me look slightly less sick.

The fourth product I've been using is mascara. I always, always, always use mascara as it really wakes up my face. I don't do a whole lot of makeup when I'm sick, but I definitely do mascara. Right now I'm loving the L'Oreal Voluminous Million Lashes.

The final product I've been using is lip balm. I've been skipping any kind of lip color as I'm drinking so much tea/water that nothing stays on anyways. Good old Aquaphor is my go-to when I'm sick because it never fails. I also use this on my nose at night so I don't wake up with a sore nose in the morning from using so many tissues (tmi?).

Hopefully you avoid getting sick this fall/winter...but if you don't, I hope these  five  products will make your life a little easier. In the meantime...anyone have any tips of getting rid of a cold?

3 Tips For Great Skin

Recently, my skin has been freaking out. However, I've managed to pin down the three things that have been causing my skin angst, and by combating these things I've really been able to calm my skin down and get it under control. Here are my three top tips for great skin!

Pay Attention to What You Eat. Personally, dairy really upsets my skin. If I have pizza or milk, chances are I can tell later because the next day I will wake up with huge spots all over my skin. Pay attention to the food that you eat and see if anything triggers breakouts or dullness- common triggers are dairy and refined sugar. I’m no angel at eating healthy, but I at least try to avoid the things that upset my skin for the most part.

Cleanse Well. Sometimes I feel super lazy and I just don’t want to do anything to my skin. However, I've found that I can get away with just using a quick moisturizer instead of my toner/serum/treatment/moisturizer routine if I cleanse thoroughly. Oftentimes your skin will break out because of clogged pores, and by taking the extra 3 minutes to thoroughly wash my face, I find that I don’t wake up with breakouts as a result of a lazy night.

Consider taking a supplement. This is a more personal one, and as always I would recommend talking to your doctor before beginning any new supplements. However, my doctor recommended I take biotin and fish oil, and I have found that my skin has really been looking great as a result. Fish oil is not only good for you skin, it is good for your body. Do some research and find the supplement that works best for your skin’s problems, and see if you can help your problem skin internally instead of simply externally.
Do you have any top tips for great skin?

Forever Repurchased: Boots Botanics Cleansing Balm

It's no secret that I'm a little obsessed with cleansers. My all-time favorite kind of cleanser is a balm cleanser, and of all that I've tried...this is the one I keep going back to. This is my sixth tub of this stuff, so you know I really love it...and it only costs around $7! It's Boots Botanics Cleansing Balm, and it's seriously amazing. You might be thinking: this product looks gross. You're probably right. It's a strange yellow-green color, but it has done seriously amazing things for my skin. It's quite an oily consistency, and unlike other cleansing balms I've tried, this one doesn't emulsify and wash right off. This product is meant to be massaged onto dry skin (it removes makeup effortlessly), and then washed off with a washcloth. I find that massaging this into my skin makes me feel like I'm at a spa, and this leaves my skin feeling so soft and smooth, but still incredibly clean. If you're new to cleansing balms, it is a bit of a weird change from a foaming cleanser.., but in my opinion it is totally worth it. This is a forever-repurchased item, and one I can't live without! Have you ever tried this cleansing balm?

The One That I Can't Get Enough Of

I wouldn't normally do a post completely dedicated to one eyeshadow...but this one has been seriously rocking my world lately, and its $3, so I thought I would tell you all about it. It's ELF Natural Mineral Eyeshadow in Celebrity. It's a bronzey-gold shade that takes about 5 seconds to buff onto the eyelid, but looks like you've spent way more time than that. It's a lovely everyday shadow that could easily be transitioned to a nighttime look with a little matte brown in the crease and a bit of liquid liner. I've been seriously obsessed with this shadow and have been wearing it pretty much everyday lately. If you're interested in seeing what it looks like on, I'm wearing it in my latest video here. Although the sun was shining pretty brightly in that video (darn natural light), I think you should be able to get a pretty good idea of what it looks like. It's the only eyeshadow I've been packing while traveling, which says a lot. Do you have an eyeshadow that you can't get enough of?

Morgan's Makeup

Lately, I've been really into doing other people's makeup. I just love being able to try out different looks on other people, and finding things that suit them. My roommate Morgan has been my willing guinea pig lately, so I thought I would show you two of the looks I've done on her recently. To be fair, she's awfully pretty and made my job awfully easy, but I really like the way both of her looks turned out. I have brown eyes, so Morgan's blue eyes were really fun to work with. Enough talking, on to the pictures!

The first day, I focused more on playing up Morgan's eyes. She often does a bold lip, so I thought playing with a slightly smokey brown lid, liquid liner, and a soft lip would look great. I like that this look is suitable for everyday, but you could also use a darker shadow in the crease and transition it for night.

The second day, I did a neutral brown eye and a glossy red lip, which was really fun. While Morgan usually is sporting a bold lip, she never really does a true red lip, but I really liked the classic look on her.

Fall Nail Favorites

Fall is, by far, the season I love the most. The weather is (in my opinion) the best, the clothes are the best (hello, leopard print flats), and the nail polish is the best. While I love a good bright summer nail, nothing beats the darker colors that this month brings. Here are a few of my nail polish favorites this month:`

1. Essie After School Boy Blazer. This is the nail polish that I love all year round. It's a dark blue that looks really chic on the nails, and this is one of the Essie polishes I think lasts the best on my nails.

2. Covergirl Outlast Stay Brilliant Nail Gloss in Lingering Spice. This is a red that isn't too shocking, which I love. It's almost got a hint of a berry tone to it, which is really flattering on my pale, pale skin. 

3. Essie Mochacino. This is such a unique color, and I've never found anything like it. Mochacino is a shimmery grey color with a hint of olive in it, and it's one of those neutral nail polishes that goes with everything, but is a little more exciting than a nude color.

What nail polishes have you been loving for fall?

The "No-Sleep" Beauty Edit

This fall, my schedule has gotten a bit insane. I'm taking 2x as many classes as I'm used to in order to graduate in October, I'm now working 2 jobs, and I have an increasing number of family/friend commitments this month. While I love being busy and having things to do, that has left me with very little time lately to sleep and get ready in the morning. I've streamlined my routine and have found the five products I think are most essential to get ready fast and still have you looking polished...even when you haven't had much sleep.

1. Anti-Redness primer, like the L'oreal Magic Anti-Redness Correcting Primer. When I don't get sleep, my skin freaks out and I usually wake up after my little bit of sleep with redness in my cheeks and nose and some lovely blemishes on my face.  This primer counteracts any redness on my face and gives a subtle glow to the face, both of which I need when I'm majorly tired. 

Apply your foundation as usual and then add...

2.Highlighting concealer, like Rimmel Match Perfection Highlighting Concealer. I usually have to use an extra effective under-eye concealer to counteract the dark bags I get, but I also don't want to have to spend 30 minutes concealing them. This under-eye concealer highlights and hides the darkness and makes it look like I've gotten much more sleep than I actually have,

Set your concealer with...

3. Brightening powder, such as the Bare Minerals Brightening Mineral Veil. This stuff is amazing at setting under-eye concealer because it is incredibly finely milled and has a subtle brightening effect, without adding any shimmer or glitter. Perfect for making the under-eye area extra bright. I also like to dust this on the tops of my cheekbones and nose to give myself a subtle glow.

4. Brightening eyeshadow, like Wet n Wild Color Singles in Brulee. When I'm lacking sleep I like to use the fewest products possible to make myself look presentable. I sweep this matte creamy eyeshadow shade all over the lid and then use my bronzer in the crease for a really quick look that leaves the eye looking subtly defined and brightened without looking overdone.

Line your eyes and use mascara and then move on to...

5. Bronzer, like the NYX Matte Bronzer in 01. Chances are, if I'm tired I'm also looking a little pale, which means that a dose of bronzer is in order. I sweep this where the sun would naturally hit, and I love the way it brightens up my face.

These are my "no-sleep" essentials, and I really have been satisfied with this look lately. What are your tips to looking polished when you haven't had enough sleep?

My New Holy-Grail Foundation?

Prepare yourselves for a rave review, people. I'm pretty excited about this one! I recently re-tried the CoverGirl 3-in-1 Foundation, and I can't believe I ever went without it. I've tried this foundation when it first came out, and I remember liking it but for some reason didn't repurchase. I was traveling recently and ran out of foundation, so instead of repurchasing my beloved L'Oreal True Match (because I already had a backup at home), I decided to retry the CoverGirl foundation and it. was. awesome.

This foundation is medium to full coverage, but I find that it covers my skin flawlessly without ever looking heavy. It also doesn't feel too heavy on the skin, which is a major problem I have with foundations. It didn't make me break out, and when paired with my Rimmel Stay Matte primer I don't have to use a powder and it seriously stays put. It drys down to a matte finish, but doesn't look flat in any way. I recently went to an outdoor wedding where it was 89 degrees outside and had 89% humidity...and I spent the entire day (seriously, from 6:30 AM-past midnight) running around outside chasing kids. And this foundation seriously looked the exact same as when I had put it on early that morning. That's never happened to me, not even with L'Oreal True Match. 

I think I will always have a place in my heart for L'Oreal True Match...but I can't deny that in hotter/sweatier climates, CoverGirl 3-in-1 foundation totally beats it where lasting power is concerned. Before I fully award this one HG status, I'll have to see how it fares in the winter...but for now, it's the only foundation I'm reaching for.

Julep Bare Face Cleansing Oil

I'll be the first to admit that I'm a little obsessed with cleansing balms and oils. I think they clean more effectively than a foaming cleanser, and they are more gentle on my acne-prone, sensitive skin. So when I had the option to add this cleansing oil to my Julep Maven box for $8, I immediately added it to my order. However, after trying this product I can't say I was wowed. It also made me break out when I did a double cleanse using just this and nothing after. 

Here's the thing: it removed my base makeup pretty well, but barely touched my eye makeup...and I don't wear waterproof mascara. It smells nice, but I also had to use a lot of product to get it to be effective. It doesn't contain mineral oil or any other nasties that cleansing oils sometimes contain...but it also retails for $28, which I think is ridiculous for the 3.5 fl. oz of so-so product. It's not a terrible product, and I'm sure I'll use it up...I just don't think I would repurchase. Not even for a measly $8. If you're looking for a product that will cleanse gently and thoroughly, may I recommend the Boots Botanics Cleansing Balm, or the Body Shop Chamomile Cleansing Balm? Both are inexpensive and effective, which I just can't say for this product.

Have any of you tried this product? What were your thoughts? 

The Chop Changes: My Haircare Routine

I recently got about 4 inches cut off my hair. Now, to many people that may not seem like a lot...but I went from having relatively long hair, to hair that only falls a little past my collarbone. In addition, my hair stylist (who I've been going to since high school and trust with my life) wanted to really clean up my layers and give my hair a little bit more movement. I got my hair chopped about a month ago, and in the weeks since I have been having fun trying different products to help give my hair movement. Here are the four things that have really been amping up my look and giving me swingy, voluminous, and easy to achieve hair. 

First, Dove Nourishing Oil Care Detangler. I usually like to spray some kind of detangler/leave-in conditioner in my hair after a shower, and this one has really impressed me! I tried the It's a 10 Miracle Leave In Treatment (review here), but found it was just too heavy for my hair, not to mention it's pretty pricey for what you get. The Dove offering is less than $4 and detangles my hair while giving it lightweight moisture that doesn't wear my hair down. Plus, it's bi-phase, which means its fun to shake up!

To get more volume in my hair, I've been relying on my trusty Not Your Mother's Girl Powder (review here), and have recently started teasing my hair with a round brush. Teasing with this brush has seriously made getting volume easy, and I feel like it damages my hair less. It also covers more area then when I tease with a comb, so it makes teasing go much more quickly in the mornings.

Finally, I need something to smooth my hair down a bit, and reduce frizz. In comes the Fekkai Brilliant Glossing Cream, which is pretty much a hybrid between Garnier Sleek and Shine and a shine spray. This makes my hair silky, shiny, and doesn't weigh it down. It still allows my natural texture to come through, but tames the pouf.

What hair products have you been loving lately?