Wednesday, January 29, 2014

A Big 'Ol Blush Post

Brrrrrr...it's cold here in Atlanta, and yesterday and today's snow and ice have brought me a couple of days off from school.  So, I thought I'd pick up with my makeup collection series and share some of my favorite blushes with you today.  While most of the products in my makeup stash are a mixture of low-end and high-end brands, blush is one category where I have always gravitated towards high-end formulas.  Dense pigmentation and a smooth texture are key to having that perfect, flushed look that lasts all day, and I just have yet to find any drugstore bluses that can hold up as well as my more expensive ones can. (but I would love for you to post your drugstore recommendations, too!)

Let's start with one of my favorite brands for blush, Benefit Cosmetics.  I have owned just about every single one of their boxed powders in my makeup-hoarding life, and I have NEVER met a Benefit blush that I didn't love. Here are the three in my current rotation:







Of these three Benefit blushes, I have used and loved Coralista the longest (it is in their older packaging, which contained more product than their newer boxed blushes contain), and I absolutely love this blush's soft, peachy glow and delicate floral scent.
Bella Bamba is a beautiful watermelon pink that has also gotten lots of love and attention from me, but its fate in my makeup collection was doomed after I took the pictures for this post because it 1) left me horrified when I saw how much it emphasized my pores in the following photo and 2) fell apart into pieces when I tried to de-pot it to put it in my new Z-Palette that I bought for my blushes.  RIP Bella Bamba...

My new Benefit love, however, is Rockateur, which is a perfect, neutral blush that is not as shimmery as it looks once applied.  It is neither warm nor cool on me, yet it simply gives a nice, healthy flush and is good for days when I'm not really wanting a pop of pink, plum, coral, or peach on my cheeks.
Another brand that I have fallen in love with over the past couple of years is Tarte, and their Amazonian Clay Blushes are the products that first won me over.  I currently have two, Dollface and Blissful, and they are both smooth, long-wearing, and shimmer-free.





While Dollface is a gorgeous, cool-toned pink that works perfectly with berry or fuschia lips...
 Blissful is a smooth, bright coral that goes well with red and coral lips.

I have also recently found my perfect highlighter, Kevyn Aucoin's The Celestial Powder in Candlelight.  I usually only wear highlighter for special occasions, but this finely-milled, soft powder is perfect for creating a beautiful glow on the cheekbones, the bridge of the nose, and the cupid's bow without making me look like a total disco ball.  





Another fabulously pigmented and long-wearing brand of blushes is NARS.  However, while the rest of the makeup world is smitten with its famous "Orgasm" blush, I have loved and worn Orgasm's equally-naughtily-named sister, Deep Throat, for years.  I find Orgasm to be just too much of a shimmer-bomb on my fair skin, while Deep Throat's pinker and less-shimmery finish works so much better for me.   Here are the two side-by-side:



Orgasm is a gorgeous color for those who can pull it off, but I prefer Deep Throat's more subtle glow and pinker undertone.
Next up, we have a newly-discovered brand for me - TheBalm Cosmetics.  I recently received their Hot Mama Blush in a swap. It is actually a lot like NARS Orgasm, but with a bit less shimmer.  And, the packaging is fabulous!



Speaking of to-die-for packaging, I am totally smitten with this limited edition MAC For Antonio Lopez Face Palette in Pink that I bought back in the fall:




I absolutely love the warm glow that the Peaceful Beauty Powder gives my wintery-pale face, and the Pure Femininity blush is a gorgeous, blue-toned pink.  (the Belightful Iridescent powder, though, is a chunky, glittery nightmare)  I will have to search for dupes for both of these soon, however, as this palette was a limited-edition item.  Sigh...boo...hiss...

Lastly, let me present to you the one blush in my collection that has 1) the cheapest price ($2.79!), 2) the most boring packaging (comes in a magnetized pan ready for my Z-Palette), and 3) the most WICKEDLY AWESOME pigmentation of every blush I own - La Femme's Powder Blush in Mocha:






HELLO, rosy cheeks!!  I definitely have to use a light hand and do lots of blending with this blush, but it has the most excellent color payoff of any blush I have ever owned.  I am definitely going to be purchasing more from this line!  La Femme blushes can be bought at Camera Ready Cosmetics, and they come in a HUGE range of colors.  

What are you favorite blushes?  

Thank you for reading, and stay warm and safe if you are experiencing snow and ice!





Saturday, January 11, 2014

Travalo Fragrance Atomizer

As many of you know already, I am a perfume FANATIC  (and I'm pretty sure that Hell is full of both students and/or husbands who all have perfume allergies and would require me to be "scent-free" for the rest of my life).  I simply love the uplifting and transformative power of a beautiful fragrance.  In this post from last fall, I shared how I, like many women, have very strong memories and emotional connections to the many perfumes that have been a part of my collection at one time or another.   And, while I have my favorite scents that I am fiercely loyal to, I'm also always looking for the next new addition to my perfume tray.  So, if you are a fragrance lover like me, you will also understand how happy it makes me to be able to wear and carry my perfume with me anywhere I go.

Well, this perfume-loving girl has found her perfect fragrance accessory - the Travalo Fragrance Atomizer.


While I have tried other perfume atomizers in the past, they have all been ones that require messy, complicated syphoning of fragrances into atomizers that either leak all over my purse and/or result in at least half of the fragrance winding up on my hands and in my bathroom sink instead of inside of the container.

However, the Travalo has a totally different design than most other atomizers.  On the bottom of its glass vial, there is a tiny (leak-proof!) rubberized opening.

To fill the Travalo, all that you do is gently pull off the spray nozzle of your perfume bottle (and while I think I may have been the last person on the planet to figure this out, I had NO idea until I bought a Travalo that you even do this with any bottle of fragrance).

 Place the opening of the Travelo on top of it, gently pushing it down so that the actual spray mechanism (The white plastic spout that's inside of the spray nozzle on the perfume bottle) is inside of the bottom of the Travalo atomizer.


Then, simply pump the Travalo several times until the atomizer is full.

Voila!  You can now take your favorite fragrance with you everywhere you go.

The only tricky part of using the Travalo is emptying it out when you want to change the fragrance.  The spray nozzle cannot be removed so that you can just pour out whatever fragrance remains in the container.  So, what I found was easiest to do was to first spray out the remaining fragrance in the Travalo into the sink.  Then, fill up a small plastic spray bottle (the type that travel-sized body mists come in) with water, pull the cap off of it, and pump the Travalo full again to "rinse" it out with the water.  Last, pump the water out so that the Travalo is empty again and ready for you to fill up with another fragrance.  (you might have to do this process a couple of times with water to thoroughly rinse the atomizer).  Here is a good YouTube tutorial for how to do this.  I will say that no matter how many times that I rinse my Travalo, though, there always seems to be just a tiny hint of whatever fragrance was there before remaining.  In some cases, this is not a huge problem.  A tiny bit of Guerlain Samsara lingering with Chanel Allure is OK, but I do not want the heady sandalwood of Samsara mixing in with my clean, fruity Prescriptives Calyx or sweet, lovely Bvlgari Rose Essentielle.  So, what I plan to do is buy a second one so that I can have one for my spicy/warm fragrances and another for my more clean/fresh/fruity fragrances.

The Travalo retails for about $10 and comes in several different colors.  I bought mine from Amazon.com, but they can also be bought from other sites such as Target.com and Makeup Mania.

Happy Saturday, Big Girls! :)

p.s. - the perfume pictured in this post is Ellen Tracy's Pretty Petals, which is sold exclusively at TJMaxx.  It is a very close dupe for the much-loved and now-discontinued Miss Dior Cherie by Christian Dior, and it retails for $9!  It does not, however, have the longevity and sillage that MDC had, so it is a perfect "candidate" for a Travalo.




Beauty Blogazons Weekly Roundup



  • My Newest Addiction Beauty Blog: Laura loves her first Wantable Makeup Box of 2014! See what she got! 
  • Adore A Polish: Kristina shares her favorite nail polish of 2013.
  • Makeup Demon: My beauty products discoveries of the year 2013!
  • Beauty by Miss L: Madara is Latvian eco-friendly and cruelty free beauty brand. This week Miss L reviewed their Regenerating Night Cream. 

Saturday, January 4, 2014

Rimmel Lash Accelerator Endless Mascara

As many of you read in my big mascara post back in October, I'm a bit of a mascara fiend.  I'm almost always experimenting with at least 4 or 5 at a time, but I have yet to find my holy grail formula for perfectly long, thick, clump-free lashes.  And, while I have used and loved both high and low end formulas, mascara is one of those products that I prefer not to spend a lot of money on.  There truly are many excellent ones that can be found at the drugstore, no matter what type of effect (defining, thickening, lengthening, Kim Kardashian-ing, etc.) one is hoping to achieve.  More importantly, for a product that we should be discarding and replacing every three months (I read a comment the other day on a beauty message board that said something to the effect of "After my favorite mascara finally wouldn't work after two years..."  GAAAHH!  I almost passed out.), it's a lot easier on our wallets if we can find good drugstore options.  

Enter my latest drugstore find - Rimmel Lash Accelerator Endless.  



According to Rimmel's Website, it is their "first ultra lengthening mascara that defies the laws of lash length."  Its benefits include:

- Length that defies limits
- Formula with Micro-Fibres and Grow-Lash Complex
- Instant wow: Extends lashes by up to 99%
- Lashes look up to 126% longer in 30 days*
- Lash-catching brush grabs every lash for perfect separation.  No clumps!
**In testing involving 24 women who experienced visible lash enhancement over time, lashes appeared 90 % longer on average after 30 days.

As you may also remember, I am a fan of the original Rimmel Lash Accelerator, too.  While the tubes may look similar, the brushes are completely different.  The original Rimmel Lash Accelerator is not a fiber mascara and has a traditional brush, while the new Lash Accelerator Endless is a fiber mascara with a plastic-bristle brush:


Top - Rimmel Lash Accelerator; Bottom - Rimmel Lash Accelerator Endless

I know that most mascara lovers think that big brush = big lashes, but I beg to differ!  For me, big mascara brush = big hot mascara mess.  By big hot mascara mess, I mean something like this picture for a "mascara tutorial" that I saw on YouTube earlier this week:
Bless her clumpy-lashed little heart...
While I don't necessarily want a super-tiny brush, a slim brush allows me to really wiggle the mascara into the roots of my lashes and then cleanly pull it through to the tips.  Also, a smaller brush lets me flip it around vertically and use the tip to get to those inner and outer corners of my lashes.  

The original Rimmel Lash Accelerator does have that nice, skinny brush that I like, but it is better for just a bit of soft defining and lengthening:


I often use this one for just my bottom lashes or if I haven't put on any makeup and just need to look "alive" for some short amount of time (gym, quick trip to the store, etc.).  

However, this new Rimmel Lash Accelerator Endless mascara is in a whole other league than the original:


BAM!  Not only does this mascara give me more length than the original (thank you, fibers!), it also requires almost no blotting of the wand (I just blot the tip) or any follow-up combing with a metal lash comb (which is usually a must if you are applying multiple coats of any mascara).  I'm not so sure about its claims that it will make my actual lashes grow, but with results like this after just two coats, I am perfectly happy with what it does for the lashes that I already have!

Rimmel Lash Accelerator Endless can be found for around $8 at most drugstores and online retailers such as drugstore.com and amazon.com.  

What are your favorite drugstore mascaras?  Which do you prefer - plastic or traditional-bristle brushes?  Fat or skinny wands?  Ever try a fiber mascara?

Thank you for reading, and go throw out that dried-up, funky tube of mascara that you immediately thought of when you read the "every three months" sentence at the beginning of this post!  (No worries.  I forgive you. :) )