GET IT WHILE YOU CAN: BENEFIT’S BELLA BAMBA.

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L-R: (Unblended Swatch on Left, Blended Swatch on Rt.) Benefit Cha-Cha Tint, Bella Bamba Blush

Behold: my first-ever Benefit Boxed Blush. While I am well and truly prepared for the collective “WHAT?!” ‘s that those words are likely to incite, ’tis the truth: never have I ever used Hoola on my cheekbones, Coralista for that peachy-golden flush, or any other famed boxed cheek product from the brand. I’ve had Bella Bamba on my list for a while now (thanks to Ms. Sharon Farrell of YouTube, check her out here) and somehow always shied away from picking it up on trips to my local Sephora. Until, that is, I heard the buzz around the beauty community that it was being discontinued. Lo and behold, the fates provided the push needed for me to snap it up in my online shopping cart and, well, here we are. Bonus: I got it in this Hot 2 Trot set along with their Cha-Cha Tint, something I’ve also been meaning to try for the longest time. 2 for the price of 1. Could the whole charade be any more perfect? And so, in response to the news that Bella Bamba is no longer available separately and is being phased out entirely, I’m telling you now: get this while you can. The blush itself is stunning: an iridescent warm coral/pink shade that has a bit more punch than Coralista, especially if you found the latter lacking slightly in the pigmentation department on application. Think of it as a brightened shade of Coralista/Nars Orgasm varieties everywhere. One more thing: it smells fantastic. Odd thing to say about a blush? Most definitely. But completely, totally true. If you’ve ever tried a Benefit Boxed Blusher before (which, unless you’re me, you most likely have), then the glorious scent isn’t such a novel concept, but… I can’t get over it. Enough said. Cha-Cha Tint was no disappointment compared to its kit mate; creamy, long-wearing, and a beautifully natural shade of mango that adds a bit more of a sunkissed glow to the cheeks. Just apply with the nail polish-like applicator along the cheek and blend, blend blend as fast as possible; this stuff has a tendency to set quickly and leave stripe marks behind if you don’t get to it with the blending action.

Will you be picking up this set?

THE CAPSULE BAG #14.

capsule bagThis just in: we are well and truly in autumn territory. It was easy to pretend summer was (possibly?) still on its last legs here in sunny Florida, but unfortunately all good things must come to an end. Don’t get me wrong, I dig fall. Here’s the catch: we here in the sunshine state don’t have a proper autumnal season. Fall means slightly cooler weather (and by that I mean low temperatures in the mid 70’s) and the same boring palm trees that sit there and refuse to change color all year round. No gold, red, and orange leaves lining the streets here; just a former vacation paradise that’s sunny and chilly and so-not-autumn-y all at the same time. But I digress. On to the products.

KORRES CHEEK BUTTER IN CHARA CRIMSON.

I mentioned this in a haul a while bag from Hautelook but didn’t really get much use out of it until now. The shade is perfect for fall; a lovely red-tinted deep rose that gives the perfect “Snow White” effect to the cheeks (as in that I’ve-just-been-running-through-the-snow look, not the I-was-raised-by-dwarves-and-don’t-know-how-to-put-on-makeup effect) that’s lightly moisturizing and leaves a dewy finish to the cheeks.

BOBBI BROWN CREAMY CONCEALER KIT IN HONEY.

This is an oldie, but a goodie. It’s quite hefty coverage for under the eyes, but I’ve been using a light hand with this for those days when I look like I haven’t slept in a while (i.e. most days). It’s quite thick, so don’t go overboard with this stuff: when Bobbi says creamy, she means creamy. I wouldn’t buy it in the kit again, as the pale yellow setting powder shade isn’t my favorite, but it is nice for on-the-go touchups when you don’t want to bring a separate powder to lock your concealer in place.

BENEFIT GIMME BROW IN MEDIUM/DARK.

I’ve been too lazy to do any real work with my brows on a day-to-day basis, so mornings see me slapping this on and heading out the door. Let me say this: it’s the most perfect brow product ever if you want something easy that you don’t have to think too much about. It’s a fiber brow gel that gives them a nice tint and somehow fills them in with easy, setting them in place so they don’t move around all day. Definitely a makeup stash staple.

BY TERRY OMBRE BLACKSTAR IN MISTY ROCK.

I mentioned this in my last post about By Terry, and I must say, it’s love. It’s the most beautiful rosy plum shade with gorgeous shimmer that lasts and lasts on my oily eyelids. Paired with a matte rose-toned plum brown in the crease (UD Nooner, MAC Quarry), this makes for the perfect effortless eye look for fall. Color me obsessed.

What products have you been loving this week?

 

THE ONE THAT EVERYONE LOVES.

porefessional reviewYou know that trove of products hailed by the entire beauty community as the Holy Grail of put-on-your-face items? The ones everybody and their mother is obsessed with, can’t live without, etc. etc. You get my drift. And then there’s the particular problem that arises when you give a member of said Holy Grail of products a go and just can’t seem to make it work, and you spend months and months wondering what you’re doing wrong; is it the way you’re applying it, your uneven skin… And finally you’re resigned to think that there has to be some sort of issue on your end if the rest of the world is in love with it. *Cue sad violin melody.* Alas, Benefit’s POREfessional presents such an enigma in my beauty stash. I’ve been trying to get into this for a few months now since picking it up, and I’ve finally decided: it doesn’t work for me. I know, I know, all this sounds blasphemous at best, but before you throw me in blogosphere prison for treason, allow me to explain. While I do wholeheartedly agree that it does an excellent job at filling in pores and reducing their appearance (its main claim to fame), I just can’t get over how this leaves my skin; chalky, powdery, and a little dry on application. While it does smooth over everything before foundation, it leaves dry patches significantly more visible and doesn’t do much for a longer-lasting base. If you have more combination skin, I’d say you’d enjoy this more simply to keep shine at bay as you shouldn’t have much of a problem with it feeling particularly drying if you’ve got an oilier complexion, but dry skins, beware. I realize it’s only meant to do the job of blurring pores (which it does remarkably well), but if I’m going to go the extra mile to slap on a primer in the morning, it needs to do some extra work to keep my face happy throughout the day.

Have you ever tried Benefit’s POREfessional primer?

THE CAPSULE BAG #10.

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DSC_0021The week has seen the introduction of more than a few products as the result of birthday binge-shopping (haul to come; keep your peepers peeled) so I’ve been trialling quite a few makeup bits since buying. First up, my base collection has added a new member to the family. Please welcome the oh-so-professional POREfessional primer from Benefit. This actually happens to be my first full-size product from the brand, and I have to say, I’m beyond impressed. First  of all, a non-silicon-y primer that manages to fill in pores while smoothing the skin and prepping for the rest of the day’s face paint? Sold. You had me at hello. This baby lives up to its name; pores are minimized when first applied and then do their own disappearing act as soon as foundation comes to play. While it is more expensive than many drugstore offerings, it doesn’t break the bank the way the Hourglass Veil Mineral Primer does (review here). I actually stole this Dior Nude Tan Bronzer in 003 Cinnamon from my mum’s makeup collection, and we’ve had quite the love affair so far. Silky smooth formula, minimal shimmer, and the perfect amount of glow. Because I have skin on the darker side of the spectrum, I often find that my beloved Nars Laguna bronzer is a bit too light to impart the sunkissed glow I’m always after, so I love this darker shade to give a bit more of a punch. It’s also great applied with a fluffy brush like the Real Techniques blush brush just under the cheekbones and blended up to give a hint of contour. It also comes in quite a few colors if this shade is a little too dark (or light) for you. I’ve been obsessed with the Anastasia Skinny Brow Wiz in Ebony since opting for a bit of a stronger brow in last week’s post. I won’t rave on about this since I’ve reviewed it here, but let me say this: She’s a beaut. Last up, I finally picked up YSL’s Glossy Stain in the shade Corail Aquatique (no. 7). This was my first foray into their range, and I want them ALL. I kid you not, these are bloomin’ fantastic. They go on like the most buttery gloss and start to “set” to more of a balm texture that feels cushiony on the lips and moisturizes all day long. These also layer better than any gloss/liquid lipstick I’ve ever tried; as soon as the product sets, you can keep applying coats until you’re happy with the intensity. This shade, in particular, is a gorgeous peach/coral (can you tell?) that doesn’t lean so orange that it makes your teeth look white, but is a stunning spring/summer shade. Consider me obsessed. 

What have you been loving this week?

THE CAPSULE BAG #5.

capsule bag #5The week’s makeup bag is very Nyx-heavy, which is strange for me, since I’m really not a big fan of the brand as a whole. First up, I’ve kind of fallen in love with their cream blush in the shade “Glow” (here), which I’ve had in my collection for ages now. It’s much more of a bright, neutral pink than I’d normally go for since it’s nearly pastel, but it looks lovely on the cheeks to pull together a very fresh, dewy look. I think going in to spring, it’s nice to move away from that “Snow White” berry flush and get into some more dewy peaches and pinks, so this is a great transition color. Again from Nyx we have the lipgloss in “Beige”, which is not beige at all. People of Nyx, please re-name this, it drives me insane. The actual product, though, I love. It doesn’t add much color to the lips, but paired with a my-lips-but-better shade like MAC syrup (review here), this adds some glow and doesn’t feel sticky at all. Love. I’ve been very into smudgy liner this week, (as usual, but we’re talking like, uber smudged. Review here) and the Urban Decay 24/7 Glide-On Eyeliner in Crave paired with the Elf studio contour brush used to blend it out has been perfect. I bought the brush on kind of a whim a while ago and really hadn’t found a use for it until now; it’s too dense to use to contour around the nose and isn’t the greatest for blending large areas, but on the lower lashline, this is perfection. The liner is just barely gray enough that it doesn’t look harsh when blended, so it doesn’t seem too over-the-top rocker chic for everyday wear. I’ve especially been loving the Maybelline Color Tattoo in Bad to the Bronze. I know everyone harps on about this, but it really is incredible; I actually wore this without primer boating today and it lasted a full eight hours. I kid you not. Lastly, my itty-bitty sample of the Benefit Watt’s Up! highlighter from my recent haul has been a lifesaver as cheek topper this week, swipe, blend, done. Simples.

What have you been loving lately?

THE HAUL: JANUARY 2014 EDITION.

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DSC_0289I call this the “January Edition” not because I’m planning on doing a haul every single month (my bank account isn’t nearly large enough to afford twelve of these posts a year), but because I know that coming up in March for my birthday there will be quite a large haul, followed (hopefully) by a Paris haul in the summer. This month, I took the plunge and made an impulse Sephora purchase and picked up a few things I’ve been putting off buying for ages. The first, Origins’ Make A Difference Plus Rejuvenating Moisturizer, I’ve gotten samples of not one, not two, but four times at my local counter. I even made a friend accompany me last time to get an extra sample and pass it off as hers. I kid you not. Needless to say, the woman who works there despises my presence every time I approach, so I placed the order online. Ha. It’s the most gorgeous, lightweight moisturizer to use as a night cream, and the smell. Oh. There are no words. Basically it smells like there’s a party happening. On your face. While you sleep. Not to mention you wake up with the softest, most supple skin imaginable. Love. Next up, I’ve been meaning to try Tarte’s Smooth Operator Micronized Setting Powder for ages, and I saw on Sephora.com that the limited-edition version released last year with the Aqualilies collection was on sale. Same powder, but prettier packaging, ten dollars off? Please and thank you. Into the cart it went, so there will be a full review up sometime next week. Stay tuned, kids. The rest of the Sephora items were actually samples; the site was running a promotion that gave you the option to pick 2 luxury-sized samples (hint: use code VICESWAP to shop the deal) so I picked the Tarte Maracuja oil and Becca’s bronzing skin perfector. First off, I’ve never actually tried a proper skincare oil before, and the results were fantastic; brighter, softer, and hydrated skin all came to light in the morning. I’m currently deciding between the full size of this or the Pai Rosehip Oil, but I digress. The Becca sample is actually aimed to give you that tan glow to your skin. Now, I’m basically brown all year round, so no word here on whether or not that helps in the fake tan department. Personally, I lvoe Becca products, especially their Skin Perfector Line, so I think this will make a great cheekbone highlighter-type shade for the summer to help on top of a bit of bronzer. I also got the birthday kit from Benefit they give if you’re a Beauty Insider, since I accidentally put my birthday in as a January birthday when I signed up. #Sorrynotsorry. The kit includes a sample of their Watt’s Up! highlighter, a lovely champagne-golden shade, and the They’re Real! mascara, so lot’s of exciting stuff here, judging from all those exclamation points Benefit brands their products with. Honestly though, the Watt’s Up! gives a great, long-lasting sheen to the cheeks, and the mascara is perfect for separating lashes. If your lashes don’t typically hold a curl, I’d recommend a layer of waterproof mascara first before a layer of this, but it really is fantastic. Lastly, I finally got myself the Nuxe Rêve de Miel lip balm, which is lovely at night as a sort of lip mask, since it’s quite thick. So there you have it! All my recent purchases from the month, simples.

What have you picked up recently? Let me know in the comments below!

THE BLUSH GUIDE.

Flushed cheeks. Glowing cheeks. I’ve-just-been-running-through-the-forest-like-Snow-White-cheeks. Cheeks. The toughest trick in the world of lipsticks and mascara? Not really. Every woman, it seems, has, at one point, been on the journey to find the perfect blusher. With so many options today, how do you ever begin to find the right one? Blusher tends to be skin tone-specific; certain undertones in the shades look best on certain complexions. Sound tricky? Here’s my breakdown of the world of blush for every skin tone.

Porcelain Skin
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For the uber pale, glowy cheeks can easily be achieved with apricot-tinted blush. Try Nars “Luster” blush for a bit of shimmer to highlight cheekbones and give a gorgeous, luminous finish without being glittery. For a rosy flush, try out Dior’s Rosy Glow Healthy Glow Awakening Blush in #001 “Petal”. Adjusting to your skin tone, this one looks scary in the pan, but gives the perfectly natural pink  flush to the skin, especially for very light complexions. You can buy the Nars blusher here and the Dior one here.

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In most cases, blusher for fair-skinned women stays in the range of peachy-pinks. Try Nars “Orgasm” blush (which you can purchase here) for glowy cheeks all year round. To get the Snow White flush, try out something crazy pigmented for a bit of fun, like Kevyn Aucoin’s The Creamy Glow Blush in “Liquifuschia”, sold here, or Tarte’s Amazonian Clay blush in “Natural Beauty”, here.

 

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Like fair-skinned women, peachy-pinks, as well as corals, tend to be the most flattering on medium complexions; try out Benefit’s “Coralista” Blush, here. If a deeper version tickles your fancy, try out its pinkier sister, “Bella Bamba”, here. Bright rose shades are lovely for a pop of color, like Illamasqua’s cream blusher in “Laid”, which you can pick up here.Screen shot 2013-07-30 at 2.37.21 PM

Olive/Tawny Skin

Olive and Tawny skin tones (think Eva Mendes, Nina Dobrev, Freida Pinto) can get away with brighter shades. In general, the rule of thumb is: the darker the skin, the brighter the blush. There are exceptions, but that’s usually an okay rule to go by. Now, don’t go out and pop cherry blusher heavily on them apples and say I told you tom but it’s a good starting rule to know. Try out different shades of coral and amber for the perfect natural blush. For glowing skin, Nars “Luster” looks amazing patted on the apples of the cheeks, as does Nars “Torrid”. Olive-skinned ladies may have a problem with Nars “Orgasm” showing up on their skin; even though it’s meant to be universally flattering, I wouldn’t recommend it. However, for a pinky flush, Nars “Deep Throat”-its less shimmery, more pigmented counterpart-may be for you. You can pick up all four here. Try out MAC’s “Frankly, Scarlett” blusher lightly applied along the outer part of your apples for a true flush, here.

Almond Skin

Lastly, deep-skinned women can try out almost any bright blusher there is. Tangerine shades, however, tend to be the most flattering on almond skin. Although it looks absolutely terrifying in the pan, Nars’ “Taj Mahal” (here) blusher looks incredible on dark skin, giving it the most perfect golden-orange glow imaginable. For the perfect flush, try out fuchsia shades like YSL Crème de Blush in #5 Fuchsia Temptation (here). If you have a MAC Pro store nearby, check out their powder blusher in “Full Fuchsia”, or order it online here. Screen shot 2013-07-30 at 2.52.57 PM

So there you have it! My quick and easy guide for finding your perfect blush.  Simples.