Welcome back! I hope everyone had a relaxing, lovely holiday! I spent most of mine sharing my newest beauty finds with my mom, getting bossed around in the kitchen by my chef-in-training brother, and watching YouTube videos with my dad. Oh yea — and recovering from having a little bit, too good of a time yesterday. Let’s just say that when I returned back to my apartment on what was officially, New Year’s Day, I was not in the place of mind to go through my normal 4-step bedtime skincare routine. Fortunately, I did have enough of my wits about me to grab Alba Botanica Hawaiian 3-in-1 Clean Towlettes. Makeup remover cloths–usually not my thing. My skin just doesn’t feel truly clean unless I’m splashing water on it. But in a pinch, these towlettes make my skin feel as clean as it can, despite not having any water nearby. With an alcohol-free formula, with a faintly sweet pineapple scent, these gentle wipes both remove makeup and contain enzymes to break down oil and grime. With zero post-use sticky residue, these generously-sized towels were gentle enough to remove all of my makeup, while keeping all of my just-applied eyelash extensions intact. And I was able to sleep easy, knowing I hadn’t broken any of my cardinal beauty rules.
I buy so many “big” name brand makeup and body care items that one of my favorite things is when I can discover a smaller, more indie brand that isn’t in every single store yet. It feels like a great achievement, like I’m in on a secret that the rest of the world doesn’t know yet. (Plus, it always feels good supporting smaller businesses). My newest band obsession is S.W. Basics of Brooklyn. All of their products are made in small batches by actual people (imagine that!) in Brooklyn and they’re ethically sourced with holistic ingredients. It’s so nice to know that what you’re putting on your body doesn’t have any chemical or “bad” ingredients. As the company says, their products are “super-simple, pared down blends of the absolutely essential ingredients needed for effective, truly all-natural skincare.” (more…)
If you’re all booked up with holiday parties this season (and really, who isn’t? I never thought I’d say this, but I could really use a night on my couch!) you’re going to definitely want to pick up Too Faced’s The Return of Sexy Eye Shadow Palette. I think it might be my favorite shadow palette of the season, and that’s saying a lot because I’ve gotten my hands on some good ones this month. (more…)
When it comes to the holidays, I love any makeup that’s shimmery, sparkly, glittery… pretty much anything that makes me seem “dressed up.” It just makes holiday getting ready more fun. Laura Mercier’s new Illuminating Eye Colours are perfect to fulfill this need in my life this time of year.
They’re fabulously pigmented and can be used wet or dry, plus they have an amazing pearl finish. It’s shimmery without being overly glittery, so you can easily wear them during the day, as well as out at night. I love the metallic effect they have too – it’s so pretty and different. (Can you tell how much I love these?) I tried Gilded Bronze (a golden topaz) and Gilded Moonlight (a true gold) and both of them will definitely be in serious rotation this holiday season for me. They also blend easily and last all day, so… pretty much perfect. Definitely seek these out before they sell out or are retired into the vast wonderland that is limited-edition products. You won’t regret it.
Dogs, diamonds of colorless clarity, someone who indulges in our craziest moments (recently: “Umm I don’t want to be dramatic or anything but I think my new mirror is a fat mirror and it is ruining my life.”): things that are a girl’s best friend. And an addendum to that list is L’Oreal’s Million Lashes Diamond Mascara, which combines, well, one of the aforementioned things (sorry, but adorable puggle not included with purchase) and brings it up to your lashes. Painting your lashes with this brush is a joy. The wand, which in my opinion, makes/breaks a mascara, is sturdy, bristled little thing, that’s like a fine tooth comb or round brush for your lashes. That is, if your regular, old hairbrush was able to plump up your lashes, provide incredible definition (we’re talking every single lash–even the itty bitty ones) and effortlessly distinguish each one from its neighbor.
My normal mascara routine? A minute, tops. But I once overheard a certain famous girl-about-town who detailed that her makeup routine involves taking 10 minutes to individually paint each lash. Talk about dedication. Now with this mascara, I’m not at the 10 minute mark, yet. But I’m easily getting to the 5 minute mark, because this lovely formula is so buildable that I’m amazed at how my lashes look better with each subsequent coat. As far the diamonds go–they’re there, sparkling and jazzing up the soot black formula, with tiny flecks of silver glitter catching the light. It’s not an overt effect — but you’ll still shine bright like a diamond.
You guys, I’m obsessed with MAKE UP FOR EVER‘s new collection – The Ultimate Eye Liner Collection. Ever since I got over my crazy lash tint induced eye infection, I’ve been playing around with liners constantly just because I can (you really don’t know you’ve got until it’s gone!) and if you’re looking to bulk up your liner stash, look nu further. It’s a little pricey at $160 so it’s definitely something to buy either for yourself or a very good friend or relative, but it’s a great value for the money because you get a total of fourteen different liners, plus a double pencil sharpener. Basically, once you have this set, you won’t need to buy liner for a very long time, so it’s definitely worth the original outlay of cash. The set has seven of their uber popular Aqua Eyes Liners in shades ranging from black to bright purple and blue, three of their Crayon Kohl liners, and four of their fabulous liquid Aqua liners. MAKE UP FOR EVER liners are a cult classic, and rightly so because they all blend easily and last all day (and the colors are gorgeous). You could even buy the set and divide it up – maybe wrap a few pencils in ribbon and add them to a bigger gift or give them to your favorite friend at work. Either way, this is definitely not a set you should pass up!
Stila has always been one of my favorite brands (as evidenced by the fact that I drag myself out of bed at 5am on the weekend to get to their warehouse sales early every year – the only thing I love more than sleep is a great makeup sale!). They always outdo themselves at the holidays too – their gift sets are some of the best products and greatest values out there, and this year is no exception.
The big attraction for me is the Snow Angel Color Palette & Stay All Day Waterproof Volumizing Mascara. Love this one! It’s a HUGE collection of color – literally everything you could ever need for eyes and cheeks in one package. (The only downside to this is that it’s not exactly portable or travel-friendly, but that’s okay. Sometimes trading pack-ability for more shades it totally worth it!) It’s shaped like a snowflake (so cute) and has 12 blushes and 18 eye shadows, all of which can be used wet or dry. It also comes with a deluxe Stay All Day Mascara tube and a look book for inspiration (definitely a bonus if you’re gifting this to someone who doesn’t have much makeup experience). This is a serious, serious value at only $39 – that’s only $1.30 a shade, even less than any drugstore brand. If you only buy one item from Stila’s holiday collection, it should be this one.
…Unless you really need to stock up on Lip Glazes or Eye Liners… Because those two sets are awesome too. (Seriously, Stila, what are you doing to me?) The All Is Bright Lip Glaze Set has eight different Lip Glazes in it for only $25. I feel like everyone knows of the awesomeness of the Lip Glazes by now (colorful, great flavors, moisturizing…) and to pick up two classic shades and six limited-edition ones at that price is a can’t miss if you’re on the hunt for new lip colors. But if you need to acquire more eye liners, the Seeing Stars Smudge Stick Waterproof Eye Liner Set is what you’re looking for. For $32, you get five Smudge Sticks (normally that many would run you $100) in great, wearable shades. I love the Smudge Sticks because they apply so easily, blend like a dream, and their highly pigmented colors last all night (especially important during the holidays).
And as a special treat for our readers, Stila is giving you 25% off on their holiday items purchased at www.stilacosmetics.com through December 15th with the code TDO25. Even more reason to stock up! Happy shopping!
Glow, gleam, alive, bright, beaming, lustrous, luminosity — there is a reason why the beauty industry has so many synonyms for, well, “looking good.” Because, “No, I’d like to look lifeless, dull, and unhealthy,” said no one ever. Add all the synonyms I named above with any other ones you can throw from Thesaurus.com, to describe the effects of CARGO’s HydraBronze. I’m a little frightened by the reckless abandon with which I swipe this on my face (we’re talking, wildly, all over), but it’s so good that just when I think I’ve had enough, I go back. And back, and back. And it just continues to look good, and possibly even better and better throughout the day. It especially looks great in photos, and by that, I mean Instagram, because are there any other photos being taken nowadays? It slyly sculpts cheekbones and contours your face. Most importantly, despite its powder formulation, it dries to a velvety, powder finish that hydrates the skin, in a soft, bronze that chameleon-like, complements every skin tone.
Urban Decay has three new palettes out for the holiday season – The Fun Palette, The Dangerous Palette and The Feminine Palette. I’m always a fan of Urban Decay’s shadow collections and these are no different. They all have distinct groupings of colors that let you create the sort of looks their titles imply and they come in small zippered cases, which is nice because not only can you tuck them in your bag easily, but you know the shadow isn’t going to get all over the place. (It’s not just me that happens to, right?) (more…)
I know we still have a little while to go before the holidays are officially here, but so far, I’m declaring Benefit Cosmetics the holiday winner because they just have so many different gift sets, it’s impossible not to find at least two (or three… or five…) that you have to take home with you. (And let’s be honest, take home for yourself – none of this “gift” stuff!) Here are my favorites of the sets I’ve tried so far. (more…)