Friday, June 30, 2017

June 2017 Favorites

I'd originally planned to do a May 2017 favorites, but it just didn't happen. So, welcome to my first monthly favorites back! I'm going to try to streamline things a bit. If there's a hyperlink, I'm referring back to a previous review. Believe it or not, I'm calling back into the archives pretty deeply with this favorites.


I loved my safe sun the first half of the month, and went back to naturally pale the second half. I'm loving two products from Clarins, both of which I featured all the way back in May 2014! I repurchased the Clarins Radiance-Plus Golden Glow Booster for face  because I'd been bronzing my body but not my face. I also pulled the Clarins Shimmer Oil out of the cabinet (I'm still working on that initial bottle, but this stuff doesn't go bad.) and applied it with the Real Techniques body sponge for a gorgeous look. Sadly, I think it's discontinued but I'll keep my eyes peeled.

I'm toying around with posting my morning/evening skincare routines because I'm really honing in on what works for my skin. For the first time in years, I didn't even get hormonal acne this past month and I credit my skincare routine for that. Fingers crossed, I've introduced a serum that scares me within the past week at night to try to perfect my tone.

I will give a special shout-out to The Ordinary Caffeine Serum 5% with EGCG. I love Chanel's Le Lift Concentre Yeux, but not its $115 price tag. The Ordinary's serum isn't nearly as hydrating but it gives me a similar effect for $108.30 less! I'm also loving a lower-priced alternative in Enlite Skin Cardio Serum. I find that it's quite similar in effect to a serum I've tried from Clarins in the past. I've also continued to love Drunk Elephant C-Firma Day Serum and attribute my skin clarity to it. I'm testing some other Drunk Elephant items and plan to write a full write-up once I have thoughts.

In terms of cleansers, I reach for Enlite Foam Away Daily Clarifying Foaming Cleanser almost every morning and Pixi + Caroline Hirons Double Cleanse nightly.

I was trying to explain my favorite SPF items but it turned preachy so I'm not going to touch it here.


This was a month where I feel like I pulled it back to basics a bit. I rediscovered some old favorites.

  • Primer: I really discovered CoverFX Mattifying Primer with anti-Aging Treatment last month, but I used up a travel size. After I use the backup I previously purchased, I'll get the full size. Given the number of primers I own, this says a lot. I also fell in love with the Milk Makeup Blur Stick after initially dismissing it as too trendy. Nope, it works.
  • Base: I alternated between two combinations primarily: the It Cosmetics Your Skin But Better CC Cream, which was my jam in May as well, and I finally caved and bought Lancome Teint Idole at the end of the month after playing with samples for the entire month.
  • Concealer: I'm still obsessed with my Tarte Shape Tape and actually picked up a third shade to work when I'm self-tanned.
  • Powder: I guess I knew a great thing almost 2 decades ago- MAC Studio Fix remains my favorite.

  • Blush: I really used two blushes this month: NARS Orgasm (in the Foreplay palette here) and Natasha Denona Blush Duo #19
  • Bronzer: I really loved two bronzers this month: last year's iteration of L'Oreal GlamBronze in 01 (I've spotted this year's in stores already) and Marc Jacobs O!Mega Bronzer in Tantasic (which smells like coconut).
  • Highlighter: I rely upon Laura Geller Baked Highlighter in French Vanilla on a daily basis for eye-area highlight because it's so subtle, and I also fell in love with Pixi x Aspy Novard Glow-y Powder in London Lustre.
  • Eyeshadow: Of course, I adore the Natasha Denona Sunset Palette (I will be reviewing this because it's now been made permanent), and have been loving the Viseart Neutral Matte & Warm Matte palettes amongst others.

  • Lipstick: This has only been a favorite the past week or so, but I rediscovered Urban Decay Vice Lipstick in Peyote to pair with my UD Heat palette. I also love MAC Shy Girl (in the LE packaging)
  • Lip Gloss: This was really a month for gloss for me. Some of my favorites were Anastasia Beverly Hills Lip Glosses in Caramel and Metallic Rose. I also loved MAC Creamsheen Glass in Cha-Cha-Cha (especially with Shy Girl), Chanel Rouge Coco Gloss in Bourgeoisie, and bareMinerals Gloss in Sugar (mini pictured because my full size ran off somewhere)
What were your favorites this month?

#ProjectUseThemALL Update: June 2017

For the first of several planned posts today, I wanted to provide my first monthly update on #ProjectUseThemALL. For those who aren't familiar, this is my introduction post.

I've been maintaining a page on this site with the 158 palettes in this project here.

I'm quite surprised as to the amount of progress I made in just one month (26.5% of palettes); I feel confident that I'll pull all of my palettes by the end of the year.

I don't find the challenge restricting, which is why I normally get frustrated with projects and challenges. I enjoy my large collection. I don't foresee progress like this every month, but that's ok. This is more of a challenge to myself to use them all. If this goes well, I'm going to undertake a similar challenge with blushes and single shadows in 2018.

Although I've been buying a lot as of late, this project is also making me carefully consider palette purchases. I think I need to be more considerate across the board.

I made the choice to only concentrate on palettes that I had in my collection when I started this journey because they tend to be put aside for the new shiny toy. It's a given that I'll play with the new items almost immediately.

42 of 158 down. I'm hoping to be around 60 by the end of July.

Thursday, June 29, 2017

L'Oreal Infallible Pro Glow Concealer & Powder

This summer, L'Oreal continues to extend their Infallible lines- there are new lips and face products coming. Today we'll talk about the brand-new concealer and powder that the brand is releasing for Summer 2017.

I'll admit that I was disappointed that L'Oreal chose to create a Pro-Glow concealer rather than a Pro Matte, because I've never been a fan of the Pro Glow foundation, whereas the Pro Matte is one of my drugstore Holy Grails. I'm halfway through my second tube of Pro Matte, but am mixing in the Pro Glow during the winter for finish. I can't wear it alone.

I don't think I've found this at local stores yet but purchased mine from Amazon. I'm making this clear because I didn't get to see it in person prior to purchase.

When it arrived, my heart sank. I'll get to why in a bit.

Let's talk packaging. It reminds me of Maybelline Fit Me Concealer, which I decluttered because 10 is too dark. It's a slim, square tube with a flat applicator.

Now, here's my issue with this. I purchased shade 01 Classic Ivory. On my hand is Pro Glow foundation 201 Classic Ivory.

I have two thoughts.

2. What the *&*&*, L'Oreal ?!?!?!?!?!

I didn't even get to test the formula, this is such a ridiculous fail. Because I want to make my dark circles even darker. Glad L'Oreal's on the cutting edge of that trend. UGGHHHH.

Look at just how damn dark this thing is:

Are. You. Kidding. Me. ?!?!?!

L'Oreal, this isn't acceptable. Your LIGHTEST shade would be the 5th-7th darkest in Shape Tape.


I could vent all day about this, but let's move onto the other release- the brand-new Pro Glow powder. I do have its cousin Pro Matte and like it.

The packaging is similar to Pro Matte.

The powder isn't.

This is such a unique powder- there's actually 2 powders in there!

It's reportedly a demo-matte powder with an included highlighter. The upper shade is demo-matte and slightly darker, whereas the lighter shade on the bottom is a highlighter.

Here's a swatch:

I'm really digging this product- it gives such a nice, airbrushed look without becoming a glitter ball.

Bottom Line: The powder's worth checking out, but the concealer is a ridiculous hard pass that's unacceptably dark.

Wednesday, June 28, 2017

Maybelline Fit Me Matte & Poreless Shade Extensions for Summer 2017: 102 Fair Porcelain & 105 Fair Ivory

Let me start today's review with a rave for Maybelline.  They've added additional shades in their Fit Me Matte & Poreless line, and by far it's the most comprehensive at the drugstore. The shade lineup now clocks in at a truly impressive 32 shades- and they're really working at covering all skintones from the palest of the pale to the deep ebony. So bravo, Maybelline!

Initially, I planned to pass this release because this isn't a formula that particularly wears well on me. Still, the addition of two new pale shades lured me back in, and I'm glad I kept two other bottles (at one point I had five) in my stash for reference.

The basics:
Full Product Name: Fit Me Foundation Matte & Poreless
Targeted: Oily to Normal Skin
Number of shades: 32
Price: $5.99/1oz (Walmart), $7.99 (,, $8.49 (CVS)
Packaging: Glass bottle, no pump

There are two new pale shades- 102 Fair Porcelain and 105 Fair Ivory. Here they are swatched:

Before I get into the full comparison, let's talk about why I'm not a huge fan of this foundation. I've tried it with so many different primers because it's such a popular line, but it's such a long-term fail for me.

Here's a huge smile line after 5 hours:

And look at my chin after that same 5 hours:


The color match is on point, though. It's 102 Fair Porcelain. This is a foundation that looks great for 3-4 hours tops, and then breaks down on me.

I have the lightest 4 shades in my collection right now:

OK, let's swatch. Although the formula just doesn't do it for me, it is the most pale-girl friendly line in US drugstores at the moment.

Let's talk about the shades for a moment. I think 102 is a great match for me. In the past, I found 110 to be way too yellow but 112 to be too dark. So, I'd blend, use mixers, and tweak. I can wear 102 straight up and like it a lot, shade-wise. 105 is still a little too dark but I bet it'll work well when I'm self-tanned (yeah, I know. Self-tanned and needing a lightest shade extension.). I think 102 is more neutral than 110.

Bottom Line: I think this is a great foundation in terms of shade offerings, and I pray other drugstore brands follow Maybelline's lead in embracing all complexions. I'm going to keep playing with it, but the formula isn't long-wearing for me. I wanted to show my support for lighter foundation shades and share them with you.

Tuesday, June 27, 2017

Urban Decay Naked Heat Palette, Alkaline 24/7 Glide-On Eye Pencil & Torch 24/7 Glide-On Eye Pencil

Admittedly, I'm not much of a Naked girl. I always buy the new release, play with it for a week or two, and then it gathers dust in my expansive collection. But something was different when I spotted the first promo images of the new Naked Heat palette.

This palette launches June 30 on Urban Decay's website, July 10th on Ulta and Sephora websites, and July 13 in-store. I purchased mine during a one-day preview that Ulta offered last week. I stopped playing with everything else to put this to its paces.

Let's take a moment to talk packaging. It looks like a matchbox!

Very cool. I also love that the matches are a gradient to represent the deepening shades. Nice touch, Urban Decay!

Now, let's look at the palette itself. It's sturdier than prior versions.

It reminds me of the Naked Smoky, so let's check out the size comparison.

So Naked Heat is thicker. I can't explain how much sturdier the packaging feels.

Let's compare it to one of the metal Naked Palettes:

Clearly larger.

So, the packaging is a win for me. But what does the palette look like?

OOOHHHH. Color me hot, bothered, and impressed.

Urban Decay Naked Heat will retail for $54 and offers 12 new shades that weigh in at 1.3g each. Unlike prior Naked releases, this one is mostly mattes, and totally on trend with its fiery shades.

Let's look at the shades a bit closer.

Ounce is a shimmery highlight shade that I like on the brow bone.
Chaser is cool-toned perfect matte transition shade.
Sauced is a warmer, darker matte that gives a ton of fallout. This picture is pulling a bit light.
Low Blow is a warm nearly chestnut matte.

Lumbre is a coral shimmer with gold reflect. It reminds me of other shadows I've been loving recently.
He Devil is a chestnut red brown matte that does produce fallout.
Dirty Talk is a mid-toned red shimmer.
Scorched is a deep red shimmer with a metallic edge.

All of these shades look lighter than in the palette- blame the lighting.

Cayenne is a deep red matte.
En Fuego is a Burgundy matte.
Ashes is a deep purple matte.
Ember is a blackened Burgundy metallic shade and my favorite in the palette.

One of the major criticisms of prior UD Naked palettes was the Matte:Shimmer ratio. It seems that they've listened- and the formula's better than ever before.

Now, the important part. Here are my swatches, all done with a dry MAC 242 brush, cleaned between shades in a Color Switch.

In ambient light:

With flash on:

I know that there has been a lot of controversy surrounding swatches of this palette. I didn't manipulate this in any way or try to make the swatches look better than they are. I think it's a great palette, and actually better texture than the prior Naked palettes.

There are also two new 24/7 Glide-On Eye Pencils with this collection. I've read varying reports that they're LE or permanent; I tend to think they're not LE.

Like all others, these two shades retail for $20 each. Urban Decay makes one of my favorite eyeliners, but the price point keeps me from going into "collect them all" mode.

I'll readily admit that Torch, a burnt orange, really captured my imagination. I knew it would be tougher to wear than Alkaline, a wine with purple berry undertones.

Here they are, swatched:

Nope, I don't have anything like either of these in my current collection. These are certainly great additions to my collection.

Now, it's time to put the collection to the test.

I will note that my initial first impression somehow morphed from a simple testing look to a self-imposed challenge to create a look using only Urban Decay products. I blame the summer flu I was battling and the fact I hadn't eaten for two days at that point.

Here's what I was looking at:

Now, I spent my time and really played with about half of the palette. And yes, I'm having a natural/feathery brow moment. I also just don't want to be bothered with Instagram brows in real life.

I have to be honest, I kinda really dig this look, especially given my blue eyes:

My eyes never look this blue. Love this palette for that!

Let's talk through this look because I took tons of notes for some reason.


1. Use Sephora Collection tape to create cat eye shape.
2. Use Urban Decay primer potion.
3. Red Flag #1: There's no shade for a light skin tone to set eye primer in the palette. The lightest shade Ounce is shimmery, and Chaser is darker than my skin (but I think it'll be great as a transition shade). So I had to grab WOS from the UD Naked Basics. It's a bit disappointing that this isn't a one-palette look for me. I used the included brush just to try it out. It worked ok.
4. Using the bending side of the included brush, took Chaser as a transition. I am in LUST with this shade.
5. I deepened the crease with Sauced. Definitely tap this one off, but it did blend nicely.
6. I put He Devil on the outer V.
7. I put Lumber in the inner 1/3 of the lid. It reminds me of a color I've seen in the Sunset palette but not nearly as bendable.
8. Scorched is on the outer 2/3 of the lid. Hella fallout city, and I'm glad I didn't do my base first. It's not that different. Hmmm.
9. I layered Ember on the outer part of the lid. Ahh, there's some gradient. I adore this shade.
10. Remove tape, clean up with a wipe.

Not as bad as the other Naked palettes. Most of that came from Sauced & Scorched.

I did my face, and then went back to my eyes.
11. Tried the liquid liner, failed. Smudged Black Velvet on my upper lash line (that's why it's so thick- it's a pencil)
12. Used new liner Torch on the lower water line.
13. Buffed Sauced on the lower lash line.

For trial #2, I changed up the shades a bit but did pick up Ember both times. I also put the other new liner Alkaline on my lower lash line.

I really like this palette, and it's really on trend. I think I'll use this more than any of the other Naked palettes.

Red Flag #2: Both of these looks are similar, but I'll keep playing with the palette to see what other distinctly different ones I can produce. That said, most looks I've seen are relatively similar.

Whenever this collection is released, I'll swatch the lipsticks to see if I own something similar.

Bottom Line: I'm in love with this collection. Urban Decay hit it out of the park with this palette and liners.

Monday, June 26, 2017

Kiko Milano Active Fluo Eyeshadow Palette

I wanted to do a quick little review of this small palette that I picked up about 10 days ago because it's part of a capsule collection (the Active Fluo Collection) and won't be available for an extended period of time.

I'm happy to introduce yet another new brand to the blog- Kiko Milano.

The brand is offering a series of capsule collections in celebration of the brand's 20th birthday. The Active Fluo Collection was created in collaboration with fashion designer Arthur Arbesser, and is loaded with neons.

I'm going to quote Kiko's website:

"Neon effect make-up with pop colours. A fun, high-performance make-up. Energy, dynamism and irony.
Introducing Active Fluo, the third KIKO MILANO capsule collection, created by fashion designer Arthur Arbesser. The designer has created a unique collection that combines bold graphic motifs, patterns and colours with clean, minimalist shapes.
The make-up is vibrant and the fluo colours brimming with energy, for looks that steal the show. The passion, energy and technical performance inherent in sports are revived in specific products designed to maximize make-up hold. Comfort is at all times a must."

I have the Active Fluo Eyeshadow Palette ($16, to share with you today. It's neon and ridiculous in its fabulosity. The six shadows are all matte, and to be honest- I couldn't stop thinking about this little guy.

This palette will certainly pop in your drawer, and it's a cute little package. This is similar in size to the Dose of Colors palettes (ooh, spoiler alert there for upcoming posts!). It is made in Italy, and has 6 1.5g shadows. I love that the packing itself is neon- it will make it easy to find this pop of color for sure.

It's much nicer for $16 than American counterparts at that price point, just saying. These shades scream summer to me, for sure.

Now, I've got swatches in two different lighting setups. These are a bit sheer but buildable- you'll see what I mean.

First, I cranked up the studio lights and look at what we got. Ick. However, this is closer to the blended out look you can get on the eye- hence why I'd bother to show this photo.

Let's turn down those lights and show something a bit more true to the human eye, ok?

Pretty. Again, they're more watercolor neons. For true pops of color, use primer (I didn't have any on my skin) and a white base. And layer.

For $16, I think this is a pretty awesome little palette.

It did remind me of two other (far more expensive) palettes in my collection, so let's take a look.

Let's start with Kat Von D's Pastel Goth- which is what I thought of after playing with this palette for a couple of days (my initial thought was the Urban Decay Electric palette).

I will say that I prefer Kat Von D's formula- but if you missed Pastel Goth, I think you can find some similar shades here.

OK, let's take a look at a few shades from the Urban Decay Electric Palette.

I know the lighting's a bit different, but I wanted to find the shots that best represented the shades. I'm still fooling with the best setup in my beauty room.

Bottom Line: I think this is an adorable collection, and I'm glad I got this palette. At $16, I find it to be a great value; I have better quality shadows but find Kiko to be reasonably priced and good quality. This isn't my favorite formula offered by the brand, but I'm enjoying this pop of color for summer.