Wednesday, November 27, 2013

theBalm is on Hautelook!

Disclosure: All products mentioned in this post were purchased by me. All opinions are my own. I am including my HauteLook affiliate link.

A while back I posted a review of the two InStain blushes that I owned and mentioned that theBalm is regularly on HauteLook (affiliate link). The past couple of times that theBalm has been on HauteLook though, the InStain blushes weren't included. You're in luck though because today they are! HauteLook also has their new Balm Voyage! palette listed. It looks like everything listed is 50% off.

It's a great time to pick some things up if you love the brand already or if you want to try it out for the first time.

Happy shopping! Do you have any beauty deal tips to share? I'm stalking sites waiting for some Black Friday/Cyber Monday deals to be announced. :-)

Disclosure: All products mentioned in this post were purchased by me. All opinions are my own. I am including my HauteLook affiliate link.

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

bareMinerals Mix Master Palette - Review and Swatches

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

My poor wallet is starting to protest against all of my shopping lately, but it is just so hard to resist the fantastic sets and deals around the holidays.

One of the palettes that I knew I had to have was the bareMinerals Mix Master Palette. I love their Ready eye shadow formula, and the concept of the palette itself seemed really nice. Since I had a lot of Ulta Rewards cash to spend, it was really a no-brainer for me.


This product retails for $48.


The  packaging is something that sets this palette apart. Although it isn't completely unique, it is still relatively unusual.

The palette itself is nice and compact. It is made of black plastic and has a geometric pattern on the top. The finish would be easy to keep clean for those who are concerned about that sort of thing.

The way that this palette takes a detour from the usual is that each of the eye shadows can be popped out and rotated into the center of the palette, which can then be slid out of the rest of the palette. You've then got a customized eye shadow trio that you can take with you on-the-go.

I think the concept is fantastic! I also think the execution is pretty good. This is a lot less bulky than the Urban Decay customizable palettes. The only change that I would make is having the shadows lock in a little more firmly. As they are, they rattle around when I'm using the shadows, which isn't a huge deal. However, when I'm using the palette, I have to be careful, or else I'll press on the back of the shadows too hard, and they'll start to pop out of the palette. It isn't a huge inconvenience, but it does mean that I would be careful when taking either the whole or mini palette with you traveling. I wouldn't just throw it in a purse or bag without some other protection.

The palette comes with a dual-ended brush with a crease brush on one end and a flat liner brush on the other. For being a mini brush included in a palette, it actually feels really nice. The bristles are relatively soft, and I like the nice point on the crease brush end.

A pamphlet with three looks is also included. As I've mentioned before, I always like these because they give a good starting place for how to use the colors in the palette.


The formula of these shadows is really nice, just like the other Ready shadows bareMinerals has released. They are smooth and creamy, and they blend easily on the eyes. They last all day over primer.

The eye shadows in this palette are all named and labeled with how they were intended to be used: base, crease, or liner. They are labeled on the back of each pan as well as on a clear insert included in the palette.

The base colors from left to right: Muse, Mixologist, Stealth, and Daydream.

Muse is a pale pink with a satin finish.
Mixologist is a satin champagne shade.
Stealth is a matte, dusty peach shade.
Daydream is a matte, soft brown shade.

The crease colors from left to right: Max Volume, Hot Commodity, Custom Made, and Embellish.

Max Volume is a shimmery green with a blue undertone.
Hot Commodity is a shimmery light bronze.
Custom Made is a shimmery medium pink.
Embellish is a shimmery cool-toned medium brown.

The liner shades from left to right: Perspective, Panorama, Maven, and In Vogue.

Perspective is a dark brown with really fine multi-colored glitter.
Panorama is a charcoal grey shade with the same really fine multi-colored glitter.
Maven is a dark navy blue that is completely matte.
In Vogue is a dark purple with the really fine purple glitter.

The fine glitter in both Perspective and Panorama practically disappears when applied. As you can see in the swatches above, In Vogue appears to have a bit of sheen but the rest appear matte.

I like the color selection in this palette, but I don't love it. I wish they had included at least one matte crease shade. I'm also not in love with Stealth. It's just not a color that I'm going to reach for very often. Since it is matte, it doesn't work very well as a lid shade when the crease colors are all shimmery. It's too dark for a highlight shade on me, and it's too orange looking to be a crease color for me. Beyond that, I do like that they tried to give an equal number of base, crease, and liner shades.

Final Thoughts

I really like this palette, and I'm glad I picked it up. It isn't an all-in-one palette for me because I would generally grab for a matte crease shade and my standard matte cream highlight color. The color selection is easy to wear on a daily basis, and the formula is wonderful. If you are a fan of neutral looks with subtle pops of color or are in love with bareMinerals Ready shadows, this palette is worth checking out.

Will you be picking up this palette this holiday season? Is your wallet about to start whimpering like mine is?

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

Saturday, November 16, 2013

bareMinerals Glamour Now QVC TSV - Love!

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

I've tried writing an interesting introduction for this post multiple times. It isn't working, so I give up. I'll try again on the next post. :-)

I recently ordered a bareMinerals QVC Today's Special Value set called Glamour Now. It contains: a Ready eyeshadow quad in The Main Event, a Ready luminizer in This Magic Moment, a blush in Glamour, the Brightening Pearl Perfect Light Mineral Veil, Smoke & Define double-ended liner, a Marvelous Moxie lipgloss in Dazzler, a Lash Domination Volumizing Mascara, a contour blush brush, and a tapered shadow brush.

This set of 9 pieces is set to air on QVC on November 25. It is selling for $49.98 with $6.72 shipping and handling through the official TSV date. If there are any left after that date, the price will go up to $61. Don't count on any being left though. Last year's bareMinerals holidays TSV sold out well before the end of the day. As of right now, QVC doesn't have a retail value listed for this set, but just a Ready eyeshadow quad and a Lash Domination mascara sell for $48, so it is almost like getting the other 7 items in the set for free.

If you sign up for the auto-delivery version, like I did, you'll receive sets with new colors in April, July, and October. If you don't want the auto-delivery shipments, you can pick up the individual set here.

I'm not obsessed with all things rose gold, but I have to admit that the rose gold packaging in this set is gorgeous. The shiny finish does show fingerprints, but it can wipe clean easily enough of they bother you.


The Ready shadow quad included in the set is called The Main Event and has the shades Celebrate, Ball Gown, Cheers, and Stiletto.

From right to left: Celebrate, Ball Gown, Cheers, Stiletto
Celebrate is a satin-finish cream shade.
Ball Gown is a shimmery peach-champagne shade.
Cheers is a shimmery grey-taupe shade.
Stiletto is a brown with a plummy undertone that has lots of multi-colored glitter (with most of them being gold and purple).

The shadows are pigmented and buttery smooth. I love the combination of shades. The warmth of Ball Gown works surprisingly well with the coolness of Cheers.

Face Products

The Ready Luminizer included with the set is called This Magic Moment. It's a beautiful rose-gold highlight that adds sheen to the skin without a lot of glitter.

The shade itself is a little bit awkward for my particular skintone. It's too deep to be a highlight for the tops of my cheekbones. I tried using it as a blush, but it has too much sheen to be used on its own that way. So far, my favorite way to use it in conjunction with a blush on the apples of my cheeks.

The blush shade Glamour that comes in this set is a light, neutral pink with fine pink shimmer. It is a really nice, everyday color.

Even though it isn't new, I have to comment on the closeable sifter. The products in this set are the first ones I've owned since they added this feature, and it is really nice. It's well constructed, so there's no risk of product leaking through the sifter holes. Also, the fact that there are only 3 holes allows for a lot of control when dispensing the blush.

From right to left: Glamour, This Magic Moment, and Brightening Pearl Perfect Light Mineral Veil
The last face product included is the Brightening Pearl Perfect Light Mineral Veil. I'm pretty sure this is a new variation on Mineral Veil. I didn't take any close-ups in the packaging because it is essentially the same as the packaging of the blush.

I've only used the Mineral Veil once because the shimmer in it makes me nervous. I don't want to look like Edward Cullen. Once I have some down time and a few days when I don't have to leave the house, I'll experiment with it more.

ETA: I've used the Mineral Veil a few more times now, and I, thankfully, don't notice the shimmer when it is applied. I don't think it's going to become my go-to everyday powder, but I do like it and will continue to use it.

Liner, Gloss, and Mascara

The two-sided liner in this set is an interesting idea. One side has a kohl liner and the other has a liquid liner.

The kohl liner side is a dark brown. In the above picture, I have it swiveled out to show the amount of product it has. It isn't as soft and smudgy as Urban Decay liners, but it still applies easily. Because it isn't as soft, I feel like I have better control over how much of it gets applied. I get my typical fading around the outer corners of my eyes, but it lasts really well.

I'm not a fan of liquid liner, so I wasn't all that excited about this end. However, it has a nice felt tip and is a deep black.

The lipgloss in Dazzler is beautiful. It's a soft peach with gold shimmer. It isn't what I would normally pick out for myself, but it is sheer enough that it's really easy to wear. The formula is slightly sticky but not annoyingly so, and it smells like a candy cane. I'm really bad about reapplying colored lip products, but I can see myself reaching for this one because it is easy to apply without a mirror.

Left to right: kohl liner, thin and thick lines of the liquid liner, lipgloss

I have had the worst luck with mascara lately. Everything seems to flake or smear. I switched to waterproof mascara at the end of the summer. I was hesitant to try this one, so I was thrilled when it didn't flake or smear. The listing doesn't say that it is waterproof, but it is tough to remove. With my current mascara troubles, I'm okay with that. The spiraling brush seems to do a really nice job of separating my lashes too. Overall, this mascara is a winner for me.


I owned a couple of bareMinerals brushes back in the day, and I wasn't impressed. They were scratchy. Based on that past experience, I wasn't expecting much from the brushes in this set.

The first brush is a contour blush brush. The natural-hair bristles are soft, but they aren't as soft as the synthetic bristles that I prefer. The shape isn't bad. I've only used it once for contouring, and it worked okay. It also seems fluffy enough to work for blush as well. I'm not in love with this brush, and it won't be one I reach for regularly, but I could use it in a pinch.

I haven't used the tapered shadow brush yet. I keep meaning to, but I automatically reach for my regular brushes and keep forgetting. Just the look and feel of the brush though is disappointing. The bristles are scratchy, and the cut of them looks really crude. It's not a high-quality brush. I'll keep it around for when I get desperate, but it won't make it into regular rotation.

Final Thoughts

If you are considering picking up this kit, get it! It's fantastic! I might not love all of the products, but even just for the products that I do enjoy, it's an amazing value.

Will you be indulging in this kit? Are there any other holiday TSV sets that have caught your eye?

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

Sunday, November 10, 2013

Too Faced A Few of My Favorite Things Palette - One of My Favorite Things

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

I haven't had very good luck with Too Faced eye shadow palettes. I've only tried a couple of them, but I wasn't overly impressed.

When I saw their A Few of My Favorite Things Palette pop up on, I couldn't resist giving it a try. With its mix of mostly light to medium neutrals and a few pops of color, it's something I think I would get a lot of use out of it. 


This palette retails for for $56 and is a Sephora exclusive. It comes with 20 eye shadows, 2 blushes, 2 bronzers, 1 Lip Injection Color Bomb!, 1 mini Better Than Sex mascara, a clutch, and a look book. That breaks down to about $2 an item. 


The clutch included with the set has a pink and gold chevron print and is big enough to hold the rest of the items in the kit. 

The palette itself has the same pink chevron print. It isn't overly decorated or bulky like some of Too Faced's past palettes. It has a magnetic closure. This is a little bulky for taking on short trips, but it would give nice variety for a longer vacation. I wouldn't feel comfortable just throwing it into a bag, but I would be comfortable taking it with some careful packing.

I'm going to go ahead and include this as part of the packaging. Just like with their other palettes, Too Faced included a look book. While I don't always use them, I love the thought behind it. These types of palettes can be overwhelming, so giving people a place to start with looks is a great addition.


Eye Shadows

Row 1 swatches (from left to right): Snowflakes, Whiskers on Kittens, Milk Chocolate, Moon on Their Wings, Dark Chocolate

Snowflakes is a shimmery cream shade with a subtle gold tone.
Whiskers on Kittens is a soft pink/peach shade with sparse gold glitter.
Milk Chocolate is a matte, cool-toned medium brown.
Moon on Their Wings is a champagne shade with chunky glitter.
Dark Chocolate is a matte, cool-toned dark brown.

Here's a close-up shot of Whiskers on Kittens to show the gold glitter that doesn't show up in the wider shot. I haven't actually tired this shade yet, but I don't think I'm going to like it because I dislike Peach Fuzz (look below for comparison swatches). The base color is too sheer, and the gold glitter is too sparse.

Another close-up, this time of Moon on Their Wings to show the chunky glitter in it. I haven't used it yet, and I'll wait until I have a day at home when I can test it out because I have a feeling I'll end up looking like a fairy threw up on me.

Row 2 swatches from left to right: Cream Colored Ponies, Honey Honey, Buche de Noel, Evergreen, Blue Satin Sashes

Cream Colored Ponies is a matte cream shade that leans slightly yellow.
Honey Honey is a shimmery gold shade that leans slightly bronze.
Buche de Noel is a shimmery medium brown that has a bit of a green undertone.
Evergreen is a shimmery forest green shade.
Blue Satin Sashes is a gorgeous matte navy with multi-colored glitter.

Row 3 swatches from left to right: Coquet, Taffy, Crisp Apple Strudel, Woolen Mittens, and Soiree.

Coquet is a soft pink with a golden sheen.
Taffy is a cool-toned baby pink shade with a subtle satin finish.
Crisp Apple Strudel is a cool-toned shimmery brown.
Woolen Mittens is a medium-toned grey-brown shade that is matte.
Soiree is a burgundy shade with fine, multi-colored glitter.

Row 4 swatches from left to right: Tinsel, Bluff, Ooh La Orchid, Party Time, and Pure Glam

Tinsel is a shimmery sage green.
Bluff is a satin finish blue-based purple.
Ooh La Orchid is a bright matte purple that leans more red than it appears in my pictures.
Party Time has a sheer blue base with tons of fine blue shimmer. I haven't tried it yet, but it is gorgeous, and will be a really fun layering color.
Pure Glam is a matte black with lots of multi-colored glitter.

Here's a close up of Party Time to show off the shimmer of it better. Like I said, it's gorgeous!

One of the things that I haven't seen mentioned in the reviews I've read of this palette is that there are several shades that are nearly identical to other Too Faced shades from previous palettes. I don't have a lot of Too Faced Palettes, but I found several nearly identical shades when I compared the shades in this palette with the shades that were in the Glamourland palette from a couple of years ago.

Swatches from left to right: Tinsel, Honeymoon, Whiskers on Kittens, Peach Fuzz, Cream Colored Ponies, In the Buff, Coquet, and Silk Sheets.

Tinsel is the same depth but less yellow than Honeymoon. Whiskers on Kittens leans a little more pink than Peach Fuzz. Cream Colored Ponies has that yellow undertone whereas In the Buff is more of a pure cream shade. Coquet and Satin Sheets are essentially identical to my eyes.

Face Products

Swatches from left to right: Raindrops on Roses, Melt into Spring, Chocolate Soleil, and Sun Bunny.

Raindrops on Roses is a bright, cool-toned pink with gold shimmer.
Melt into Spring is a matte, muted coral shade.
Chocolate Soleil is a matte medium-toned bronzer. If you don't know about this bronzer, it has real cocoa in it, so it smells like chocolate. Yum!
Sun Bunny is a shimmery bronzer that leans warmer than Chocolate Soleil.


Included with the palette is a full-size Lip Injection Color Bomb! in the shade Bee Stung (exclusive to this set), which is a nude pink. This is a plumping lip product, and the stinging is INTENSE. I've only used it once so far, and I'm not overly tempted to use it again. If you have sensitive lips, I would avoid using this.

The set also comes with a mini Better Than Sex mascara. I haven't used this yet because I already have a couple of mascaras that I'm using right now. That's why I don't have a picture of the brush; I didn't want to open the tube yet. The brush has traditional bristles and an hourglass shape.

Final Thoughts

So far, I'm really happy with this palette. I haven't tried all of the shadows yet, but there are only two that seem to be duds (in my opinion) - Whiskers on Kittens and Moon on Their Wings. The mixtures of neutrals and brights along with the mixture of finishes makes it easy to create a variety of looks. The face products are a nice addition as well. Chocolate Soleil is a cult classic. I personally have to be a little careful when applying it, but I can make it work. If you can deal with the intensity of the lip product, you have can create a full face look with this one set.

There's only one more day left for the Sephora VIB sale, so if you've got a code and haven't ordered yet, I would suggest picking this set up.

Are you picking this set up? Did you take part in the Sephora VIB sale? I'm skipping out on it because I think I've got all of the holiday sets I really want (even though I would like to pick up some other ones).

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