theBalm on Hautelook!

theBalm will be back on Hautelook tomorrow, Friday February 1. As always, new sale events  start at 8AM Pacific. 

The deals Hautelook has on theBalm are fantastic - it's the only place I buy their products from! If you don't have an account yet you can sign up here, and if you want to get to know about some of their products you can see swatches and read all of my theBalm reviews below!

January Favorites & Empties

Well, here are my favorite products for the month of January. As always I'm just going to very quickly run through them!

First up is Too Faced's eyeshadow in Sexspresso from the Natural Eye palette. I forget where, but I saw someone say it was a great shade to use to fill in the brows for darker hair. A lot of brow products I've tried are usually too red for my hair, but this is almost perfect! This is pretty much the only way I did my brows this month.

Next is Stila's Kajal Eyeliner in Topaz. This month I didn't wear too much makeup, I just kept it pretty minimal and natural so I loved using this in my waterline to make me look more awake and alive. Lovely product is lovely.

theBalm's Hot Mama was my go-to blush this month. If I wasn't sure which blush to wear I just used this one. I love that it's pretty much a blush and highlight in one, as well. I love the healthy glow it gives me!

The Fresh lip balms aren't my favorite lip balm I've tried, but I used this everyday that I wasn't wearing an actual lip color. This is the one in Rose, so it gives a very slight tint of red to the lips. I'm not sure why, but I think I prefer this one to the regular Fresh lip balm.. Rose just doesn't seem as waxy to me and is smoother.

And my last favorite is Victoria's Secret Fragrance Mist in Hello Darling. This was simply just my most worn fragrance this month.

Now for empties. I have four this month!

First we have the St. Ives Green Tea Scrub. This guy lasted soooo long. Every time I thought he would be finished he'd surprise me with more product. When I finished this it was just like, "Finally!!". I did like this, though. It's gentle but not too gentle, and I feel like it did help with any breakouts I had. I would repurchase this, but I have two other scrubs to get through first!

Next is the Clinique Rinse-Off Eye Makeup Solvent, which came in a GWP (gift with purchase). I usually just use my Clean & Clear wipes to take off my makeup and don't bother with eye makeup remover but lately I felt like I needed the extra help! This did it's job and didn't irritate me but I don't think I would repurchase - I have a few other eye makeup removers anyway!

The Sally Hansen Kwik Off is pretty much my holy grail nail polish remover. When it comes to standard remover and a cotton ball or round all I can think is, "Ain't nobody got time for that!!". It just takes so much longer and well, more effort. With this I just dip my finger in for like five seconds and I'm done. If you're lazy and hate doing your nails like me then try this out. I already repurchased.

And last is ORLY's Top 2 Bottom base coat and topcoat. Seriously, I think this is the first nail product I've finished up. I've had it forever! There's still a bit of product left in there but the brush no longer reaches it and it's too much trouble to try and get to it. Anyway, this was nothing special. Seche Vite is my favorite topcoat, but I'm still on the hunt for my favorite base coat.

China Glaze Surreal Appeal Swatch & Review

Lots of nail polish posts this month..! And I have yet another for you today:

This is China Glaze's Surreal Appeal from their Cirque du Soleil: Worlds Away collection. Out of the twelve polishes in the collection this is the one I wanted the most! 

The place I usually buy my China Glaze polishes from didn't get this collection in for some strange reason so I was a little afraid I would miss out; but I checked in Sally's Beauty Supply today after remembering they also carry CG and was happy to find a bottle! I wish they had a bottle of Water You Waiting For? as well, but sadly they didn't. If I happen to spot it in the future I'll be grabbing it, though! Anyway, back to Surreal Appeal!

Surreal Appeal is described as a rich coral creme. It's a fantastic coral that definitely leans more pink then orange, and borders on neon! I think the promo image for this polish was a bit inaccurate (it looked peachier and more muted) but I still love it!

Here is Surreal Appeal on my nails with two coats. The color is absolutely awesome and will be great for spring! I do probably have some similar colors, though, so I'll be comparing later - if I find any dupes or anything I'll make a new post!

So, not only is this shade awesome but the polish itself is pretty awesome as well. The formula wasn't too thin or thick, but I'd say it was on the thinner side. Just a bit thinner then what I consider a 'happy medium'. 

It was also quite easy to work with. With this polish you'll need two coats. With one coat it's still a bit streaky with some parts of the nail peeking through, but with two you're all good! If you used just one really thick coat you might get away with it, but I'd still go with two. 

What do you think? I know that this color personally has me really wishing for the spring and summer - I can't take anymore of the cold!!

OPI A Butterfly Moment Review & Swatch

A Butterfly Moment is from OPI's new Mariah Carey collection. I never really thought of her getting a collection and thought it was kind of random, but I suppose it's because she's a new judge on American Idol? Anyway, out of the eight colors in the collection this one was the only one I was interested in. Onto the review..!

I was really annoyed to see that the brush in my bottle had a hair being a rebel. I was still able to paint my nails pretty easily and normally despite it, but I might try and cut it off later or something.

As for the formula: really nice. Not too thin and not too thick, and it applied easy peasy! It's opaque in pretty much one coat but you could use two for good measure. So, overall this polish was pleasant to work with.

Here's the polish on my nails using just one coat. A Butterfly Moment is a pale nude pink with very subtle shimmer and a golden sheen to it. It looks so nice in the bottle, but unfortunately I personally don't like it on me. I feel like the color makes my skin look almost sickly or something, and every time I look at my nails something just seems off. It also looks almost frosty on me and I absolutely hate frost finishes. So lovely formula, but I don't like how it looks on me. If you think it will work for you, though, then I would recommend it! :)

A Short (Not Really) Review of Stila's Kajal Eye Liner in Topaz

Hello! This post, which you probably could have guessed from the title, will be a review of Stila's Kajal Eye Liner in Topaz - a very popular product from the brand. I waited months for it to come back in stock on Sephora, which is where I purchased it quite a while ago for $24CA.

I've wanted this liner for years to use on my lower waterline. A lot of people use a white pencil, but I find that white looks much too harsh and unnatural looking on me and my skin-tone. A peachy eyeliner has always been the other way to go if you didn't like the look of white pencil, but still wanted that bright, fresh, and awake look. And this color definitely looks and works better for me then any white pencil.

Topaz is described as an apricot nude, but I think that it's more of a peach nude then apricot. When it comes to this kind of color of liner, I think Topaz is the first lots of people think of. Honestly, I don't know of too many other peachy/nude liners.. I know Tarte has one, but I seriously can't think of any others ha ha. Anyway, packaging is simple - it's just a standard pencil liner. I like that you can see the color of the liner on the end, though. I also like the designs on it.

Stila's Kajal Eye Liners are "richly hued pencils" that "are formulated to mimic the ultra-soft texture of the Indian eye darkener of the same name. The luscious formula glides on perfectly, without dragging across the fragile skin of the eye area. Delivers bold, clear, true color that easily blends and beautifies."

This pencil definitely deserves its popularity because it's awesome. It's awesomeness in a pencil! Like I said, I wanted a peach liner to use on my waterline instead of white and it's perfect for that. It's so creamy and smooth and just glides on. The color is also opaque in one go! It's true to color, too! And again, it looks so much more natural on the waterline then white.

I'm sure we all struggle with finding something that will actually stay on our waterline. It's a wet area and we're always blinking.. But I think that this liner holds up pretty well! 

This was supposed to be a short review, yet I've got myself kind of raving and rambling. What I originally meant for this review to look like was simply this:

Texture is fantastic! Glides on! Opaque! True to color! Good lasting power! Is awesome! 

So, yeah.. Did I get across that I think this is awesome yet? If you've been interested in this liner I definitely recommend it. It's a bit pricey, yes, but the quality is there. Oh, and I almost forgot! Here's a swatch:

This is the only picture that came out somewhat decent. In all of the others you couldn't see the swatch at all! It's a bit hard to see since it's quite similar to my skin, so I apologize. I wish I could have gotten a better picture! 

So, what do you think? Also, do you prefer using a white or a peachy liner to brighten and open up the eyes? :) 

PS. Remember this is a review of this product in the particular shade Topaz and how it does on the waterline. A black and brown shade are offered, but I'm not sure how those perform. Being darker and a kajal pencil I imagine they'd be a bit more messy, and better for smudging and smoking out looks. Topaz is a lovely product that is fantastic for the waterline and brightening the eyes, as I've said above, but Im not sure how the black or brown perform on the waterline since I haven't tried them..!

Sally Hansen's Strobe Light || A Dupe For My Beloved Teenage Dream?

OPI's Teenage Dream from their Katy Perry collection (released two years ago I think..) is one of my favorite nail polishes. I adore its pink, glittery goodness. Unfortunately, my one bottle of it is running low and also beginning to thicken up a bit.. I haven't used it in a very long time because I don't want it to run out! Instead, I've just always kept my eyes open for a polish similar.. and I think that I've finally found one.

This is Sally Hansen's Strobe Light from the Hard as Nails line. 

I was browsing through frmheadtotoe one day and that is where I discovered this guy. My first thought was "OH MY GOODNESS THAT LOOKS SIMILAR TO TEENAGE DREAM, MUST GET". So the next time I was out I bought a bottle.. :)

Here's Strobe Light and Teenage Dream side by side for comparison. Second photo was meant to be out of focus by the way, ha ha. Anyway, super similar right? How did they compare out of the bottle, though?

In each photo Strobe Light is on the left while Teenage Dream is on the right! I think that they make pretty darn good dupes; except for in the second picture where you can see they're not 100% the same if you look closely. I think the pink base in Strobe Light is perhaps a bit darker then Teenage Dream maybe.. Or it has more pink glitter.. What do you think?

Strobe Light does have a thinner consistency (or maybe my bottle of Teenage Dream has just gotten that thick..) so you need at least two coats for it to look this similar to Teenage Dream.

Anyway, I say that they're like.. 98.5% the same. I don't think you could tell which was which if you didn't know already. So...

I'll gladly accept it as a dupe! :)

Avon Speed Dry+ Nail Enamel in Smoky Plumes Review & Swatches

Here I am with another post about nail polish (with another to come tomorrow!). For someone who hates painting their nails you must be thinking I have a lot of polishes..! While I do hate painting my nails, I still do like to have pretty colors on them.

So this is Avon's Speed Dry+ Nail Enamel in the shade Smoky Plumes. The Speed Dry+ polishes were on sale for $2.99 since they were reformulating the line, so that's when I decided to try this shade out since I'd been interested in it for a while. Smoky Plumes is still available after the reformulation, though! They re-did the line but didn't get rid of the shade, so you can still get this if you want! :)

Here's Smoky Plumes on my nails; I used two coats here. With one coat it's almost entirely opaque but you can still find places where the nail may peek through, so I would suggest two coats. Then again people probably wouldn't notice unless they were examining your nail up close, so it's really up to your preference!

This polish wasn't too thick or too thin, and you could easily paint in thin coats or use a thicker coat depending on what you prefer to do. I should clarify that with one thicker coat that it's almost entirely opaque..! If you would rather use a thinner coat then you'd definitely need another!

I really like the color of Smoky Plumes, which is like a.. well, smoky purple. It's kind of murky if you know what I mean, and has grey tones to it. It's also a creme finish, with no shimmer or sparkle.

To finish up, I never really noticed a difference between the drying time of Avon's Speed Dry+ polishes and their normal polishes. I just top my polish with a coat of Seche Vite as soon as possible so..

Anyway, I like it.

Sephora + Pantone Universe Jewel Lacquer in Parachute Purple Photos, Swatches & Review

Today's post is on the Sephora + Pantone Universe Jewel Lacquer in Parachute Purple. This line of polishes is no longer available on Sephora unfortunately, but I thought I would still make the post in case you're able to come across it somewhere! 

The first thing I'll say is that the box it comes in is pretty, ha ha. I don't usually include the box packaging of products but whatever. Moving on! 

Beautiul, right? The Jewel Lacquers are "precious shades in multidimensional jewel finishes". I actually first discovered these on another beauty blog quite a while ago.. But I was able to get the shade I liked most (Parachute Purple!) for $6 off Sephora before they were all gone.

I love how the bottle looks but at the same time it makes me go "Ehhhh..." because of all of the extra glass. This bottle contains less polish then a lot of my others from different brands which kind of sucks but it's whatever. While all of the extra glass really isn't necessary it sure does look nice..! 

Alright, I'm just going to get into swatches so you can see how it looks out of the bottle! I'll have it swatched both on a nail wheel as well as my own nails.

For the nail wheel I used two thin coats, and on my own nails I just used one thicker coat. It's opaque with either the two thin coats or one thicker one, so it would just be up to your preference what you do.

I found this polish very nice to work with; it was even with little to no streaks and any streaks you did get disappeared once dry. I'm not sure what else to say.. It's just a great polish!  The only thing I didn't like that much was that I found the handle to be a bit short, or at least shorter then other polishes - and it made application a little bit awkward.

And once again, the color is beautiful! Love love love it. So, if you love it too then I hope you'll somehow be able to track down a bottle! I would definitely recommend this if you can get your paws on it.

Bad News For Benebabes!

Benefit calls their customers Benebabes, right? I'm positive that I didn't just make that up, ha ha. Anyway, I come with some not so great news! You may have seen already, but Benefit is discontinuing some of their products. Take a peek on their sale page of their website.

Photos taken from Sephora
Among some the products that sadly seem to be getting discontinued are the above: Creaseless Cream Shadows, Moon Beam, Velvet Eyeshadows, Ultra Shine Lip Shine gloss, and the 10 boxed powder.
You can no longer get the Creaseless Cream Shadows or Velvet Eyeshadows online at Sephora, but can still get them from Benefit's website or probably in-store. The other products seem to still be available on Sephora, though.
I'm a bit baffled why they're getting rid of both the cream and regular shadows.. They're in their new kits (World Famous Neutrals), and I've only ever heard raves about the cream shadows. So, are they just reformulating them or something? If you know then please share!
As for other products, though, they seem to be the less popular ones. I never see or hear about the boxed powders in 10 or Thrrrob (which is also being discontinued), nor do I hear much about the other products like the BADgal Kohl Pencil, Matterial Girl setting powder (I'm sad this is being discontinued just because the packaging is adorable!), Bluff Dust, Lip Plump, or Benetint Lip Balm. Along with those products, they also seem to be clearing out some of their kits like Confessions of a Concealaholic and Cabana Glama etc.
Anyway, you can head over to Benefit's site to see the other products on sale that I haven't mentioned. Are any of your favorites there? I've actually alway been quite interested in the 10 powder, even though it's never talked about; I might grab one at Shoppers Drug Mart before it disappears forever..! Otherwise, I'm not too torn up about this news ha ha.
Before I go, if any of these products are just simply on sale and aren't actually getting discontinued please correct me! :)
Update: I just double checked on Benefit's website and it seems only certain shades of the cream and regular eyeshadows are being discontinued. I apologize if I scared you or anything, ha ha! All of the shades are unavailable at the moment on Sephora, though, so I got a little confused. Again, my apologies! ^^"

NOTD: Another Glitter Accent Nail

I like this combo.. I like this particular glitter with the greige-y polish shade.

I used two coats of Essie Chinchilly (not fully opaque in places; would recommend three coats) and then used China Glaze I'm Not Lion on my index fingers.

Yeah. Accent nails are about as creative as I can get or am willing to get when it comes to nail polish. Are any of you the same?

Lancome Rouge in Love Lipstick in Rose Sulfureuse

I absolutely love Lancome's Rouge in Love lipsticks! I adore the formula and feel of them, as well as the wear and shade range - I can't think of any cons for them. I own two other Rouge in Love lipsticks (swatches here) which are more spring or summer suited shades. While I probably didn't need another lipstick I was at the Lancome counter last week and swatched this guy right here: Rose Sulfureuse; and he's definitely a more fall or winter shade. I wasn't going to purchase at first since I have a color quite similar, but I love the formula etc. of these lipsticks so much that I caved. Sigh, makeup junkie problems.

Beautiful color is beautiful. It looks really awesome on the lips, so I wish that I had a decent lip swatch to share but I don't :(

I mentioned having a shade similar to this and that would be my Revlon Just Bitten Kissable Balm Stain in Crush. 

I apologize for the not so great photo; too much flash! Revlon Crush on the left, and Lancome Rose Sulfureuse on the right. As you can see they're pretty similar but not exactly alike. Crush seems a touch darker with a slightly different undertone to it..  Rose Sulfureuse is a bit pinkier and not as vampy. It's easier to see on the lips, so again I wish I had some decent lip swatches to show you..!
Anyway, have you tried the Rouge in Love lipsticks? :)

Tarina Tarantino Dollskin Cheek Palette Review & Swatches

I was really excited to recieve the Dollskin Cheek Palette by Tarina Tarantino for Christmas before they took their leave from Sephora (but the line will be available on the Tarina Tarantino website soon).

I had seen Tarina Tarantino's "Parasol" blush on another beauty blog and fell in love with it. At the time this palette had been marked down on Sephora and was a great deal for four blushes - including Parasol!

To start off, I really like the packaging. It's very sleek and elegant! It's a solid, yet light compact with etched in designs. It's quite reflective, though and is a bit difficult to photograph. It also shows smudges and fingerprints, but overall I really like the look of it!

As you can see it also comes with a large, good quality mirror which is great! Anyway, the four blushes this palette contains (left to right, top to bottom) are Feather (a satin/shimmer peach), Parasol (a satin/shimmer coral), Carved Rose (a matte pink), and Candy Cameo (a sparkling pink). I like that this palette contains a bit of variety in terms of finishes.

Each blush is very smooth and soft. Texture wise they kind of remind me of, say, theBalm's Frat Boy. They're more on the "harder" side, while blushes like NARS I find are more "silky soft".

These all also have really nice pigmentation. They're not poorly pigmented, nor overly pigmented - they're a happy medium which I really like. You're quite unlikely to overapply with these, which can happen sometimes with other blushes I own even if I only take the smallest amount (like Cargo Mendocino). You, of course, can also build the intensity of these up as you please, though!

These also wear very well and I love each shade! My favorites would have to be Feather and Parasol, while Candy Cameo is the one I use the least. I also normally wouldn't go for such bright, light pinks like Carved Rose (NARS Gaiety kind of terrifies me), but I found out that I really like it! Each shade I find also gives me a really nice and healthy look, which I'm always a fan of!

Time for swatches!

Left to Right: Feather, Parasol, Carved Rose, Candy Cameo
Left to Right: Feather, Parasol, Carved Rose, Candy Cameo
Aren't they lovely? I'm seriously loving this palette! If you love blushes like I do and you come across this palette I definitely suggest getting it!

Too Faced Natural Eye Neutral Eyeshadow Collection Review, Swatches & Photos

The Too Faced Natural Eye palette is something that has been on my makeup wishlist for a long time, so I was very excited when I recieved it as a gift on Christmas!

The Natural Eye Neutral Eyeshadow Collection is "an all-inclusive kit that includes nine essential shadows for all-over lid color, highlighting, smudging, and more" and is $44CA.

This palette comes packaged in a super cute boxed style with a secure magnetic closure, and is quite portable and travel friendly. It contains nine shadows: the first three of each row being 0.07oz, while the remaining six are 0.03oz.

It also comes with three "how-to" cards for different looks you can create that are very cleverly hidden away inside the lid! I haven't tried out any of the looks but I plan to! Now,moving onto the actual shadows..

Here's a closer look at the eyeshadows. The nine shades included are Heaven (a matte ivory), Velvet Revolver (a matte taupe), Sexpresso (a matte deep brown), Silk Teddy (described as a peach champagne shimmer), Push-Up (a light bronze shimmer), Erotica (a soft charcoal shimmer, though I see it as a deep greyish brown), Nude Beach (a champagne shimmer with gold glitter), Honey Pot (a gold shimmer), and Cocoa Puff (a warm chocolate brown shimmer).

I really love that this palette includes some mattes, and not just shimmers. The three matte shadows (Heaven, Velvet Revolver, Sexspresso) are all really soft and nice whereas other mattes I've used can sometimes have a 'harder' texture. These mattes are also nicely pigmented and apply very evenly!

All of the other shadows have that lovely silky, buttery, and soft texture and are very pigmented. I found Erotica to be a tad gritty, and Nude Beach to be even more so, but that would be because it contains glitter. I also found the same two shades have some fallout issues, but Nude Beach is the worse of the two, again because of the glitter. I only have fallout with Erotica when I accidentally pick up too much product, though!

I found that Cocoa Puff and Erotica could also swatch a little unevenly and streaky, and I found Cocoa Puff to be the more difficult of the two. Otherwise, all of the shadows apply evenly and really nicely. Nude Beach, again, can be a bit difficult to work with because of the glitter, but all of the other shadows all blend really nicely and are easy to work with. The only shade that I had a little difficulty blending was Cocoa Puff.

Overall, I'm very impressed with these shadows and really like them! I think I still favour Urban Decay's shadows but these are a close second! I think I prefer the texture and such of Too Faced's mattes, though! Anyway, onto swatches! They will all be swatched without a base or a primer (these also wear really well without either, btw)!

Heaven, Velvet Revolver, Sexspresso
Velvet Revolver doesn't really show up all that much on my skintone, so I like to use it to blend out edges and such! I really love these matte shadows, though - very impressed!
Silk Teddy, Push-Up, Erotica
Nude Beach, Honey Pot, Cocoa Puff
You can see here that I had trouble with getting Cocoa Puff to swatch evenly! It's really the only shade that I really have issues with - but it's nice so I work through it!
Silk Teddy and Nude Beach, as well as Push-Up and Honey Pot I find are pretty similar. I feel the only difference between Silk Teddy and Nude Beach is the glitter. With Push-Up and Honey Pot, while similar, Push-Up is darker and more bronze.
So what do you think? I love it, and I'm very happy that it's finally a part of my collection!

10 Most Popular Posts of 2012!

Happy New Year, everyone! I thought that it would be interesting to make a post with my most popular posts of 2012, so here we are! Getting right to the point, here they are:

These are the first five! I've linked each post so you can easily check it out if you want to.
And the other five...
I personally think the list is a bit of a strange combination, haha. It was interesting to see, though! Anyway I really hope to improve more with my blogging during 2013! I suppose it's a New Years resolution? :)
Anywho, I'll have reviews of my Too Faced Natural Eye palette and Tarina Tarantino Dollskin Cheek palette up sometime this week so check back soon! :)