Saturday, May 31, 2014

Update - Taking a Break

I've been putting off this blog post because I wasn't quite sure what to write. I apologize for that fact that it's probably going to sound really vague and cryptic, but I try to limit how much personal information I put on here, so I'm not going to give a lot of details. 

Three weeks ago, my life as I have known it was completely shattered. I'm going through massive, stressful life changes that I didn't want or expect. I'm preparing to move and facing a lot of uncertainty about what my future holds. 

With everything going on, I'm going to have to take a break from this blog. That makes me sad, but it can't be helped right now. I don't know when I'll be back because I don't know when my life will settle back down to something that feels "normal," but I do plan on blogging again when I can. 

Thanks for reading. I hope you stick around even though it will be quiet here for a while. 

Wednesday, May 7, 2014

Products I Want to Use Up - 2014 - Update

Disclaimer: All products mentioned in this post were purchased by me. All opinions are my own. 

I've been meaning to do an update on the list of products I've been trying to use up, and I finally got around to taking the pictures for it. If you want to see my original post, you can find it here.

Here's what I've finished:

  • Hourglass Mineral Veil Primer
  • Hard Candy Concealer Pencil
  • Urban Decay 24/7 Concealer Pencil in CIA
  • ELF shadow from the Day to Night Palette (white with gold shimmer)
  • Stila Lip Glaze in Splendor
  • Chapstick Lip Balm in Cake Batter
  • Silk Naturals blush sample in Candie 
  • Silk Naturals blush sample in Tart Light
  • Stila Smudge Stick in Anglefish
I did a lot better than I thought. I had forgotten how many items I actually finished since I tend to add a new product when something gets finished. 

Now for the things that I'm still working on and the new things that I've added to my list.


Tarte Amazonian Clay Full Coverage Balancing Foundation in Fair - It's hard to tell because of the opaque tube, but I've made a lot of progress on this foundation. It's the one I've been using every day. I'm guessing I have less than a month left in the tube.

Nars Sheer Matte Foundation in Siberia - Since I've been using the Tarte foundation, I haven't really made progress on this one.

bareMinerals Prime Time Foundation Primer - This is my last foundation primer sample, so I want to use it up before starting in on my full size primers.


Benefit Erase Paste in Fair - I'm really excited to say that I've hit the bottom of the jar on this one. It'll probably still last for quite a while, but I'm still happy to see some progress.

Tarte Park Avenue Princess Bronzer - This is so close to gone. After I took this picture, I broke up what was left and put it in an empty loose minerals jar. It's making it easier to get to the last of the product.

Tarte Amazonian Clay Full Coverage Concealer in Fair - I'd like to get this concealer out of my collection because it separates in the tube. I was honestly quite disappointed with this concealer. I end up squeezing some into a clean jar so I can use a brush to mix it together.

Too Faced Wrinkle Injection Extreme Wrinkle Filler - I haven't made as much progress with this as I should. I still forget to use it more often than not.


Milani eye shadow in French Vanilla (largest pan) - The amount of pan showing on this has gotten a lot bigger. It's still going to take a long time to finish, but I don't mind using it, so that doesn't bother me.

Everyday Minerals eye shadow in Funnel Cake (darker brown) - There's a little more pan showing, but I tend to forget to use this one when I grab a palette with a crease color in it.

Silk Naturals eye shadow in Shantung (smallest pan) - This is an old gift with purchase shade. I picked it because it is such a small pan. I'm hoping it won't take too long to finish.

Everyday Minerals eye shadow in Driftwood (lighter brown) - I haven't really made any visible progress with this shadow.

Everyday Minerals eye shadow mix of Good China and Queen Anne's Lace - I pulled this shadow out because it is an easy lid shade. There's a speck of pan showing.


Tarte fRxtion Lip Scrub and Balm - This is getting to the point where it is a little annoying. I already had a bit of the exfoliator break off, which is something I expected. I don't think this will stay usable for much longer before the bulk of it breaks off.



Sassy blush sample in Cosmopolitan and Silk Naturals Mineral Glow in Crinoline - In hindsight, these weren't the best choices for the spring and summer season. I'm gravitating towards brighter blushes at the moment.  These would take me a while to finish anyway, so we'll see how it goes.


Tarte double-ended lip liner - I keep forgetting to use this before I run out the door in the morning, so my progress has been minimal.

Stila eye liners in Stargazer, Oscar Fish, Tetra, and Moray - Oscar Fish (the brown one) is actually gone. I finished it between the time that I took these pictures and the time I got around to writing this post. These drive me crazy because I can't check to see how much is left in them. They don't roll back down once they are scrolled up.

Urban Decay 24/7 eye liners in Whiskey and Rockstar - I've been focusing on the Stila liners, so I haven't really made any progress with these.



Stila Smudge Crayon mini in Smoke - I added this to my list, tried it once, and I might end up abandoning it. The shade is a bit too dark for me to regularly use as a shadow base, but I think it is too light to use as a liner. We'll see.

Stila Smudge Pot in Kitten - This is ambitious. I haven't even made a dent in this yet. The color is much easier than Smoke to use as a shadow base.

bareMinerals Prime Time Eye Shadow Primer sample - I'm liking this eye shadow primer. I've maybe got a week or two left of it before I go back to my standard Urban Decay Primer Potion.

Sassy eye shadow in Embellish - This is a small eye shadow sample that I've already made a bit of a dent in, so I'd like to finish it off. Like the Stila Smudge Crayon, it's a bit darker than what I normally wear during that day, so I'll be mixing it with other colors to make it more wearable for me.


Jordana LipShine in Banana Cream and Sugar Cookie - I love the scent of these, and I like the feel of them too. Sadly, the colors just aren't flattering on my lips. I'm going to try and use them up on the weekends and when I'm just hanging out around the house.


ELF Studio Translucent Mattifying Powder - I bought this a long time ago thinking I would use it for touch-ups during the day. I haven't been using it, so I pulled it out of my purse to use in the morning when I'm getting ready. I scraped this powder out of the pan after this picture so I could mix it with the other powders that I have and like more. 

I'm pretty proud of what I've finished and the progress I've made on the items that I haven't finished yet. I hope to keep the momentum going throughout the rest of this year. 

Are you trying to finish any products? 


Disclaimer: All products mentioned in this post were purchased by me. All opinions are my own. 

Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Halo Razor - Cruelty-free Razor Option

Disclaimer: All products mentioned in this post were purchased by me. All opinions are my own.

Today's post is going to be short and sweet.

In my cruelty-free journey, I'm glad to say that I've found a replacement for my Gillette Venus razors. My fiance looked it me funny when he saw me writing this post because he didn't understand how a razor could be tested on animals. His actual question was, "Do they shave animals?" I explained to him that companies that make razors often make a lot of other products, which can be tested on animals.


The Halo 5-blade razor by the brand Personna is a cruelty-free razor that, for me, works just as well as my old Venus razor did. I'm also happy to say that it is similar in price as well, so I'm not spending more money to buy it.

The package with the full razor (which includes two blades) and the 4-cartridge refill cost me just under $14 on Amazon.com.

My only complaints are minor ones. The razor itself came with a large plastic holder for storage in the shower, and I never use those. It sat around for a few weeks until I finally just threw it in the recycling. I'm sure some people like when razors come with their own holder. I'm just not one of them. My other complaint is that I can only seem to find this razor on Amazon, and my initial order was delayed, so it took much longer to arrive than I expected. I'll just have to remember to order replacement cartridges well before I would actually need them. Since I know I like them, I'll also stock up the next time I order and pick up two packs of replacement cartridges at one time.

What is your favorite razor? If your razor comes with a holder, do you use it?

Disclaimer: All products mentioned in this post were purchased by me. All opinions are my own. 

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

bareMinerals Locked & Coated Waterproof Lash Topcoat - Review

Disclaimer: All products mentioned in this post were purchased by me. All opinions are my own. 

I have a love/hate relationship with mascara. I love it because it makes my blonde eyelashes visible, but I hate it because I have so many issues with mascara smudging and flaking. It drives me crazy. I can find a mascara that I like, but once I've gotten a little bit over-heated, I end up with mascara on my browbone. That's not a pretty look. Since I also purchase a lot of value sets, I tend to have a lot of non-waterproof mascaras in my stash. 

In the search for a solution to my dilemma, I decided to try out the bareMinerals Locked & Coated Waterproof Lash Topcoat. 

Price: $12

Packaging




There's not really much to talk about here. It's a pretty standard mascara tube. The brush itself is a skinny brush with rubber bristles. I'm not a fan of really large brushes anyway, and for this product in particular, I think the small brush was a good idea (more on that later). 

Product


The product itself is a clear gel that gets applied over mascara. It doesn't make my lashes clump together, and it does make my mascara waterproof. I haven't had any issues with smudges on my browbone since I started using it with a non-waterproof mascara. For reference, I'm currently using a mini tube of bareMinerals Lash Domination mascara. 

The only minor issue I've had with this product was that I just applied it like I apply my mascara, meaning I brushed it on the bottom of my top lashes. Since then, I start by brushing it over the top of my top lashes first and then brushing it over the bottom. If I don't do that, I still have smudges on my browbone. I do the top first because it pushes my lashes down some. Doing the bottom of my lashes second pushes them back up. 

Final Thoughts

This is a specialty product that isn't really necessary for most people. If someone needs a waterproof mascara, she typically just buy one that is already waterproof instead of buying an extra product and adding an extra step to her routine. However, it is a fantastic product for those who need it. It is making it possible for me to use non-waterproof mascaras in my collection that I would have issues using otherwise. I could see this being a popular product for brides who have a favorite mascara that doesn't come in a waterproof formula. 

I hope to eventually find a Holy Grail waterproof mascara. I would love it if bareMinerals actually made their Lash Domination mascara in a waterproof formula. In the meantime, I'll occasionally pick this up in order to use my backlog of mascaras from value kits.

Would you pick up a waterproof topcoat for mascara? Why would you use  it? 

Disclaimer: All products mentioned in this post were purchased by me. All opinions are my own. 

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Cruelty-Free Update

Disclaimer: All products mentioned in this post were purchased by me. I am including my referral link for Vitacost and The Honest Company.

I had to go back and look, and it's been about six months since I did my post talking about going cruelty-free. I thought it would be a good time to post an update on my progress.

Cosmetics

I had started going cruelty-free a while before I actually mentioned it on my blog, so there really wasn't much of a transition needed when it came to my makeup. The vast majority of my makeup was already cruelty-free, and a lot of what wasn't was already added to my blog sale.

Since then, my next step was to pull out the rest of my items that weren't cruelty-free. I've got quite a few of them in my container of products I'm trying to use it. I use a Stila Smudgestick liner every day to try and finish them. I have to point out that it's really annoying that these liners can't be rolled back down. I have no way of knowing how close to being gone they are. I have this feeling that one day I'm going to line one eye and discover that the product is gone before I line the other one.

Bath and Body

Like with my cosmetics, most of my bath and body products were already cruelty-free. I believe all of my shower gels were already cruelty-free when I made my announcement. The same thing is true of shampoo and conditioners, barring a bunch of samples that I still have and occasionally grab for traveling. Skincare was almost there when it comes to main products. One of my acne treatments is still by Neutrogena because I had stocked up a long time ago, buying something like four tubes. I'm on my last one. Just like with shampoos and conditioners, I also have a stash of samples that I keep around.

When I started working on my stash of lotion in January, I went through and pulled out all of the lotions from brands that I wasn't sure about or knew wasn't cruelty-free. At this point, all of those are gone.

My next challenge to tackle is hair dye. I had several boxes that I needed to use up, but they are finally gone. I recently purchased a box of Herbatint hair dye from Vitacost (referral link). I haven't tried it yet, so I don't know if it is a brand that I'll stick with. I hope it works well for me because most of the cruelty-free hair dyes that I've seen are henna based, and I would prefer to avoid that route, since using henna means I can't go back to regular dyes until it has completely grown out.

Deodorant is another one of my trouble areas. Most cruelty-free options are also natural, which haven't worked for me so far. I've read somewhere that switching to natural deodorants requires a detox period of about two weeks before they become effective. I'm not willing to do that when I'm working. A detox attempt might happen this summer if I can find a stretch of time when I'm not going to be terrified of smelling terribly in public. I've also got a lot of deodorants that I need to work my way through before I try any others.

Home Products

This is the area where I've been making progress a lot more slowly. I've already done a post on The Honest Company (referral link) dishwasher pods, which I love. Several of their other products have also made it into my regular routine. I didn't particularly like their dish soap, so I'm testing out a different one now. Dish soap is a crucial product for me. I have always used Dawn dish soap, and I use it for more than just dishes. I use it to mix up my own shower cleaner and even use it in laundry to boost my regular detergent when I feel it is needed.

I don't think my home products will ever be completely cruelty-free. I don't have access to much of it locally, and I'm not willing to sacrifice quality either. I'll continue to experiment and replace what I can, but I'm definitely making baby steps in this area.

Are you going cruelty-free? What trouble areas have you had? If you aren't going cruelty-free, that's okay too. I'd love to know what other steps you might be taking to improve yourself or the world (recycling, exercising, eating better, etc)?

Disclaimer: All products mentioned in this post were purchased by me. I included my referral links for Vitacost and The Honest Company.

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Jane Blush in Berry Bouquet - Review and Swatches

Disclaimer: All products mentioned in this post were purchased by me. All opinions are my own.

I'm spending a Sunday afternoon trying to get some blog posts scheduled while watching a Harry Potter marathon on TV. Does anyone else watch movies on TV that they already own? It seems silly to me, but I do it anyway. Most of the time I do it when I'm just looking for something to have on as background noise.

I've been enjoying trying out products from the relaunched brand Jane Cosmetics. I haven't tried a lot yet, but I have other items on my wishlist for the next time I'm shopping at Ulta and  they are on sale.

One of the products I've been testing out is their Multi-Colored Cheek Powder in Berry Bouquet.

Price: $12

Packaging



The compact is a basic black with a clear window. It is serviceable without a lot of bulk or frills, which I like. When purchased, it comes with a cardboard band with bright and colorful pictures, but that obviously gets thrown away. The flower pattern on the product itself is eye-catching and pretty.

Product



This berry shade is exactly that, a bright berry color with a matte finish. The swatch above is all of the colors mixed together. After some experimenting, I have decided that I prefer avoiding the deepest shade in the blush when I use it. The difference doesn't show up very much when I swatch it, but I notice the difference more on my cheeks. The powder feels smooth and not overly dry and blends nicely on the skin. It lasts well on my skin, making it through a workday without problem.

Final Thoughts 

I like this blush, but at the same time, it doesn't wow me either. It's a little pricey for a drugstore brand as well. I wouldn't have purchased it at regular price; I picked it up on sale. There are only two other colors in the range, and the colors aren't of interest to me, so I won't be picking those up.

Have you tried the new Jane blushes or other products in the range?

Disclaimer: All products mentioned in this post were purchased by me. All opinions are my own.

Wednesday, April 2, 2014

NYX Baked Shadow in Nebula - Review and Swatches

Disclaimer: All products mentioned in this post were purchased by me. All opinions are my own.

I don't know about all of you, but I'm really glad that spring is finally deciding to show itself. I've been prepping for the season by doing some clothing shopping recently. I'm also eagerly watching the yard to see flowers starting to pop out of the ground.

Today I'm going to be reviewing a shade from the new NYX baked shadow line.

Price: $5.99; NYX products are regularly on sale, so watch out for a good deal.

Packaging





NYX has gradually been creating a theme with their eye shadow packaging. Most, if not all, of their shadow packaging now has this cute bow over the clasp. It's a nice touch. The configuration of the clear panels also adds some interest to an otherwise basic shadow compact. Probably the only thing I would have changed is shaving off a bit of the extra bulk.

Product



Left to right: swatched dry and swatched wet

I wish I could say that I loved this shadow because I wanted to love it, but I was really disappointed.

My first disappointment was with the color. I purchased this online off Ulta.com, and I thought the color I was getting was going to be much lighter than it was when it arrived. I don't really blame that on the shadow. Whenever I buy something online without seeing it in person first or seeing online swatches, I know I'm taking a chance.

The shadow itself performed terribly on me. I tested it with my regular primer applied dry, my regular primer applied wet, with my regular primer and Fyrinnae Pixie Epoxy, and with primer and Jordana's Made-to-Last Shadow pencil. With just primer, the shadow had practically disappeared after just a couple of hours. My other attempts only helped marginally.

Final Thoughts

Clearly, I wasn't happy with this particular shadow. I've only tried this one, so I can't say if the others perform better. I won't be purchasing any more of to find out. I've only seen one other review of these, and it was positive, so these might work better for someone else.

Have you tried any of NYX's baked shadows? What did you think? I would love to hear other opinions on these!

Disclaimer: All products mentioned in this post were purchased by me. All opinions are my own.