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All About Acne – Part IV: Cosmetics for Acne-prone Skin

  • Posted on July 1, 2013 at 11:26 pm

Brand CollageAfter my last post I’m sure there was a lot of exasperation, like “what the heck IS safe to use?”  I wanted to give you a list of just some of the foundations I’ve found that do not have the ingredients that may cause irritation and breakouts.  Obviously something may not have any of the Big Nasty ingredients and still irritate your skin, or you might not like the particular formula, but I didn’t want to leave you with only the bad.

 

High End Foundation

 

BareMineralsbareMinerals Original Foundation SPF 15

My favorite mineral foundation by far is the Bare Minerals Original Foundation with SPF 15.  This is the foundation that I used through my twenties, and still have in my rotation today.  It has only 5 ingredients.  That’s right – no huge paragraph of hard-to-read chemicals, just 5 simple ingredients – 2 of which are for sunscreen!  The fewer ingredients you have, the less of a chance for irritation.  It also offers 20 shade variations, and those shades are very forgiving.  That means that you don’t have to get a near-exact match in the way you’d expect with a liquid foundation.  They’re very blendable.

Now, I know the price for this foundation can be a deterrent for some.  There may be other mineral foundations out there that are cheaper.  I would caution you to make sure that the brand has no fillers or additional ingredients for shimmer or shine.  Check those ingredients!

 

Additional Products – I thought it would be helpful to mention that not only does bareMinerals make foundation, they also carry a line of concealers, blushes, bronzers, highlights and basically every type of cosmetic you may want.  Their loose mineral powders have the least amount of ingredients and are the ones that I would recommend.  You can’t go wrong checking out this line.

 

 Tarte Tinted Moisturizer

Tarte Amazonian Clay BB Tinted Moisturizer

This is my other go-to face product.  It’s not a true foundation; the coverage is too light for that.  But it doesn’t claim to be.  I use this for light coverage when I just want to even out my skin tone and I want something more moisturizing.  This is definitely not a matte tinted moisturizer.  It does have a more satin finish to it.  Sometimes I will layer this with a dusting of the bareMinerals over top.  It goes on easily, doesn’t slide all over my face in a grease fest 20 minutes after applying it, and is great in the summer when I don’t want to have anything heavy on my skin.

 

Additional Products – Tarte, like bareMinerals, has a whole line of cosmetics you can check out.  Their blushes are beautiful and really do last all day like their name claims.  They have a silicone-free primer called the Clean Slate Flawless 12-Hour Brightening Primer which is a great alternative for oily skin.  Just stay away from the Aqualillies palette!

 

Drugstore Foundation

Let me tell you, within the category of drugstore brand cosmetics, the selection of “safe” foundations for acneic skin is very limited.  VERY.  LIMITED.  It was surprising to me how many foundations have names that would suggest that they are perfect for acne-prone skin, only to read the ingredients and see several horribly irritating and breakout-causing heavy hitters listed.  That’s why you have to ignore the names, the claims, and go straight for the ingredients.  If you are shopping online and the ingredients are not listed anywhere – skip it.  Move on.  Even if it’s called “Amazing Acne Clearing Best Thing For You Foundation.”  Resist the urge!

 

Neutrogena Skin Clearing


Neutrogena SkinClearing Oil Free Makeup

This foundation has salicylic acid in it, which is an ingredient that actually helps treat acne.  A word of caution about this one though – it also has Vitamins A, C, and E, which for some people can be irritating (especially the Vitamin A).  I have not tried this foundation personally, so I can’t talk to the formula or the wearability.  I’m basing this solely on the ingredients.

 

Neutrogena Healthy Skin
Neutrogena Healthy Skin Compact Makeup

Neutrogena gave me two options for the drugstore.  I promise, I looked at other brands and either was not able to get a list of their ingredients or they had some of the Big Nasties in them.  This foundation option has a whopping 55 SPF, which is awesome!  It’s rare that you will see an SPF that high in a foundation.  The down side is that there appear to only be eight color options, catering to the light and medium skin tones.  I haven’t used this foundation to be able to give you an idea of the coverage.  Like the Skin Clearing foundation, I am listing it here based on it’s ingredients.  I’d love to hear if you’ve tried this foundation, or any of the ones I have listed.

 

 

Bottom Line

Read the ingredients on any product that is going to be against your skin.  Don’t rely on the name of the product as a guide for what you should be purchasing.  Especially when you are looking at drugstore brands… it is a mine field out there.

It’s important to note that you may have a foundation that you love that might have a questionable ingredient in it.  The best way to test how your skin reacts to a product is to only add one new product at a time into your routine.  Or conversely only take one product away at a time from your existing routine and see if it changes things.  However, if you looked at your skincare and makeup and saw that the majority of the items had Big Nasties in them – STOP USING THEM NOW.  But if you are in love with a particular product, and don’t want to believe it may be hurting your skin, remove it and see if it helps at all.  If you’re following the skincare routine I outlined in my previous post here, your skin should be reacting positively to the changes.  If the foundation was breaking you out, you will see a change.

Quick Review: Loreal Voluminous Million Lashes – Limited Edition Denim Shade Blue

  • Posted on June 24, 2013 at 2:55 am

“Treat your makeup like jewelry for the face.  Play with color, shapes, structure – it can transform you.”  ~Francois Nars

Million Lashes Collage1

 

I was walking through the makeup aisles yesterday and saw a display for the limited edition L’Oreal Voluminous Million Lashes Mascara in Denim Shades, which is a blue mascara.  I got excited and had to get it home to try.


The Claims

  • No clumps
  • Blue shade
  • Amplifies each lash to build breathtaking volume


True Beauty Junkie Assessment

When I bought this mascara I was picturing a dark denim wash of blue on voluminous lashes.  I thought that this was going to be amazing, with the blue color making the whites of my eyes look even whiter, while the formula pumped up the volume of my lashes.  What I got was… well, take a look:

 

Lashes No MascaraThese are my eyes with no mascara on at all.  I have foundation and concealer on, but no eyeliner or anything that would mask the look or performance of the mascara.

Lashes With MascaraThese are my eyes after applying the Voluminous Million Lashes Denim Shade mascara.  What’s that you say?  Where’s the blue?  I have no idea.  Where is the “breathtaking volume?”  MIA.  Where are the million lashes?  Umm… I see twentyish, not a million.  I tried to build this up with multiple coats, I tried to get the blue to pop.  I tried!  It wasn’t happening.  I was so disappointed in this mascara.  Aside from the fact that the blue shade didn’t show up AT ALL,  the formula itself was terrible.  When the product is called “Voluminous Million Lashes,” one would tend to believe that the mascara would give you… well… volume and the appearance of lots of lashes.  This didn’t work on any front.

Maybe if you have really light lashes, and you apply multiple coats, this might show up better for you.  Might.  If you have any sort of color to your lashes this will be a big disappointment.

 

Bottom Line

Don’t waste $7 on this mascara.  So disappointing.  This has made my top 3 list of the worst performing mascaras that I’ve tried – and I have tried a lot.

 

 

 

Review: Benefit POREfessional Primer – Disappearing Act

  • Posted on June 18, 2013 at 7:58 pm

“Before I go to bed at night I ice my face because it closes your pores and makes a difference in the morning.”  ~ Jasmine Tookes

Benefit POREfessional Collage

I just wrote a post about primers, but I absolutely had to do a follow-up once I tried out Benefit’s POREfessional primer.  Oh…my…goodness.  If someone showed me pictures of the results I saw using this product I would claim that they must have been Photoshopped.  But having seen the results first hand, I can tell you that this product is AMAZING!

 

Benefit POREfessional – The Claims

  • Minimize the appearance of pores
  • Minimize the appearance of fine lines
  • Mattify shine

 

True Beauty Junkie Assessment

For those of you with large pores, get ready to do your hallelujah dance.  You are going to want to pick this product up and give it a try as soon as possible!  Does it do as it claims?  YES, across the board.

First, I have to give lots of love to my fiance, who bravely allowed me to use him as a model for this product because his pores are much more prominent than mine.  He puts up with so much when it comes to my makeup obsession, and this was going above and beyond.

I wanted to give you guys some true before and after pictures to see the transformation for yourselves.  All of these pictures have not been retouched in any way – they are the real deal.

Before and After Face Collage

In this first picture you can see that not only did the primer basically make the pores on his nose disappear, it also canceled out some of the redness in his skin and smoothed out the pores on his cheeks as well.

Left Cheek CollageIn the second set of pictures I took a close-up of his cheek so that you could see how it takes away a lot of the defined coloring and edges of his pores and evened out his skin tone.

Purchase

Sephora

Ulta

 

Bottom Line

I am truly impressed with this primer.  It went above and beyond my expectations.  If you have issues with enlarged pores, acne scarring, discoloration – you should really give this a try.  I have worked it into my routine by using my regular Makeup Forever color-correcting primer all over my face, and then use the Benefit POREfessional on and around my nose.

A word of caution for anyone with a darker skin tone though.  This product is not clear, it does have a little bit of pigment to it, so it may cause an ashy tone to your skin.  But if you are using it under foundation, that shouldn’t be a problem.

 

Review: Tarte Aqualillies Waterproof Eye and Cheek Palette – I Don’t Think So

  • Posted on June 15, 2013 at 12:22 am

Tarte Aqualillies Collage

I typically love Tarte cosmetics, so I was immediately drawn to the Aqualillies Waterproof Eye and Cheek Palette.  Summer = Focus on Waterproof Makeup  for me, as you can tell by my recent posts.  I have seen YouTube videos raving about this palette, and read comments on the Tarte site about how wonderful it is.  I was incredibly shocked at the polar opposite reaction I had to it after swatching it and testing it for transfer and it’s waterproof staying power.

 

Aqualillies Palette1

 

 

Tarte Aqualillies Waterproof Eye and Cheek Palette – The Claims

  • Waterproof
  • Fade-free, flawless finish
  • Lasts up to 12 hours

 

 

 

True Beauty Junkie Assessment

In a word – NO.  It’s just that simple.  I didn’t find any of the claims to be true.  In fact, they didn’t even come close!

I’ll start with the swatches from the palette.  Normally if I do swatches I try to just do one pass at the color so that you can see the minimum color payoff you would receive using the product.  I had no lotion or primer or any other product on my arm, just bare skin.  With this palette I had to go over, and over, and OVER just to get the colors to show up on my arm – and I am still sporting my winter white skin, no tan in sight yet.

Aqualillies Palette Swatches1

There is nothing exceptional about the colors in this palette, especially when swatched.  The pigmentation is horrible, there are three very frosty shades that are so close to the highlight color it’s really a waste to include them, and the one color that I was hoping would be a beautiful pop of turquoise in the otherwise neutral palette (Poolside) barely showed up on my arm.

I would normally show you swatches after a rub test and then after running them under water, but in this case the swatches didn’t even make it past the rub test.  If I were to show you my arm after lightly rubbing over the swatches (after letting them sit for a few minutes) you would just see my bare arm with a little sparkle left over.  Literally nothing stayed in place.  On a separate occasion I didn’t rub them but went straight to the water test  and they still completely disappeared.

 

Bottom Line

I generally love Tarte, so it pains me to give them a negative review.  This palette is not waterproof, not fade-free and certainly not going to last 12 hours on your skin.  Skip it.  Use the $38.00 somewhere else – anywhere else would be better spent than on this palette.

** I can’t reiterate enough that this review applies only to the Aqualillies palette.  Tarte has so many other awesome palettes and products that are worth checking out.  They just really missed the boat with this one. 

Let’s Talk Makeup Primers

  • Posted on June 11, 2013 at 9:54 pm

“I love the confidence that makeup gives me.”  ~Tyra Banks

Primer Main Collage

You know that feeling when you have a “good makeup day”; everything went on right the first time in the morning, you didn’t end up with half of your eyeshadow falling down onto your cheeks, you were able to blend out the colors perfectly, and you strut your way out the door feeling great… only to look in the mirror a few hours later and discover that somehow your eyeshadow migrated from your lid to underneath your eye, your blush has disappeared, you look splotchy, and you wonder in horror how long you have been talking to people looking this way?  Primer is your ticket away from looking like a hot mess halfway through the day.


What’s The Big Deal With Primers?

Many people feel that they can skip a primer altogether; that it’s not needed.  Or they tried a primer and didn’t like the way it felt so they nixed them all.  I’m here to tell you that a primer can be your best friend!  I use eye and face primers every time I put on my makeup.  Why?  Because they are awesome!  Haha.  Let me explain …..


Benefits of Eye Primer

  • Stops creasing
  • Stops color fading
  • Stops shadow migration (when your eyeshadow decides it wants to try to be blush instead)
  • Intensifies the color of your shadow
  • Locks it all down until you are ready to remove it

If you have an oily eye area and you feel that you can’t wear makeup, even waterproof makeup, because it uses your face as a slip and slide – you need to try the right primer!  Waterproof makeup is just that – waterproof.  It is not oil proof.  In fact, how do we have to remove waterproof makeup?  With an oil-based makeup remover.  So waterproof makeup is not the answer if you have oily lids.  A primer is what you need to help combat the oil.


Benefits of Face Primer

  • Provides a protective layer over your skin
  • Allows foundation to be applied easily
  • Allows you to use less foundation for the coverage you want
  • Minimizes pores
  • Color corrects
  • Keeps your makeup from being sucked into your pores and disappearing mid-day


Bonus Use For Face Primer

If you don’t take anything else away from this post, please remember this little tip!  If you want your night creams to work exponentially better and see results quicker, after you apply them to your face before bed cover them with a layer of primer.  This will keep all of the nutrients and good-for-you ingredients from your creams and serums from being absorbed by your pillow, your hair, your comforter, evaporating…. You will be amazed at how this little addition to your nightly routine will change your skin!

** This is also a great way to use up primers that you have tried and don’t particularly like under your makeup, or samples that you’ve received that are taking up space.  Don’t throw them away, use them over your night creams and serums.


Guide to Color Correction in Primers

You may look at an avocado green face primer and say why in the world would I put that on my face?!  Color correcting primers are great underneath your foundation to help address issues you may have with your skin.  Don’t be afraid of them.  They go on sheer and really come alive to work their magic when you put your foundation on top of them.  I made a guide to help explain what each color corrector is perfect for.  For myself personally, I use a green primer most days because my cheeks, around my nose, and my chin always have a slight redness to them that I hate.

Color Correction Collage

 

Primers to Try

I have gone through so many primers, and the range of formulas is sometimes daunting.  It also means that with a little perseverance you will find one that is exactly what you need.  The few that I have listed here are ones that I have used and like.  Primers are very subjective, and one that I love may feel odd to you, but it’s a place to start.

Eye Primer Collage Face Primer Collage


Splurge or Save?

So should you go for the high end primers or something inexpensive?  My opinion in a nutshell – save on the eye primer and splurge on the face primer.  Most of the eye primers will give you similar results, it just depends on what formula you want (drying, tinted, moisturizing, slippery, etc).  However when it comes to my face, I am very particular about what I put on it.  If you find a cheaper primer that is good for your skin, works the way you want it to, and can save you money – great!  But it is one item that I will splurge on without feeling bad about the cost.

Urban Decay Mariposa Palette – Get It While You Can!

  • Posted on June 11, 2013 at 3:23 am

Mariposa Collage1

I was browsing the Ulta website’s clearance section and had my jaw drop when I came across the Urban Decay Mariposa Palette.  Originally $39.00, it is currently on sale for only $15.00!  I cleaned my glasses, double-checked, and it’s true – 10 gorgeous, pigmented shades of Urban Decay’s rich eye shadow for your enjoyment.

Purchase at Ulta (while supplies last): Urban Decay Mariposa Palette

Lets Talk Colors

Urban Decay Mariposa Palette1What I love about this palette is that there is a sprinkling of vibrant, spring/summer shades among the beautiful neutrals.  I will likely live in this palette over the coming weeks and months.  I can’t resist the shades!  It should be noted that they are all shimmers, and some have glitter mixed in as well.

Urban Decay Mariposa Swatches1Swatches From Top Row:

Rockstar – Deep plum/aubergine

Gunmetal – Dark metallic gray with silver glitter

Skimp – Pale butter cream

Infamous – Fuscia pink

Wreckage – Medium bronze with gold glitter

 

 

Swatches From Bottom Row:

Haight – Mermaid teal blue

Money – Light grayish green with gold shimmer

Mushroom – Warm medium gray

Spotlight – Pale brown with gold glitter

Limelight – Yellow/gold butter cream with gold glitter

 

The pictures really don’t do them justice.  You should take advantage of the sale and get this palette home to you to play with.  You can’t beat that price for anything from Urban Decay!

If you do pick this up, please leave me a comment and let me know what you think about the colors!

 

 

Maybelline Color Tattoo 24 HR Eyeshadow Review

  • Posted on June 5, 2013 at 3:32 am

“Eyes are your most important feature; they draw people in.”  ~Andrea Walmsley

Maybelline Color Tattoo IntroYou may have noticed a trend in my makeup posts lately – waterproof, waterproof, waterproof!  Summer is here, and with it is some much needed sunshine and warm weather, pool parties, and days at the beach.  Unfortunately it can also mean sweat, raccoon eyes and general face melting.  I think I can handle my foundation disappearing a bit in the heat, but my eyes are another thing.  I want my eye makeup and mascara to stay put throughout the day, regardless what I have going on.  I don’t want to go to the bathroom and see my eye makeup has migrated to my cheeks – never a good look.

 

 Maybelline Color Tattoo 24 HR Cream Gel Shadow

I have heard nothing but good things about this shadow, so I picked up a few colors that I thought I would get the most wear out of this summer.

 

The Claims

  • 24 hour wear without creasing or fading
  • Ink pigments for intense color
  • Cream-gel texture

 

True Beauty Junkie Assessment

Let’s start with the colors I selected:

Maybelline Eye Studio Color Tattoo Swatches

Barely Branded is a beautiful champagne color.  When I first swatched it on my arm it reminded me a lot of The Balm Mary-Lou Manizer highlight, only in cream form.  Not glittery or chunky, it glides on easily and works as an all-over eye shimmer base, a highlighter for your brow bone or the perfect shade to brighten your inner eye corners.

Purchase: Maybelline Color Tattoo – Barely Branded

Bad to the Bronze is a warm brown with subtle bronze and gold shimmer in it.  This is the color that I will be reaching for the most over summer.  You can sheer it out or pack it on for a more pigmented look.

Purchase: Maybelline Color Tattoo – Bad To The Bronze

Tough as Taupe is a matte cool brown mixed with gray.  In the pot it looks much more gray, which worried me because gray is not an eye color I gravitate towards.  It tends not to work well with my eye and skin color.  When I swatched this I was happy to see that there is enough brown there to make it wearable for me.  I love that it is matte, and I find myself wearing it as a base and warming it up a bit with other shadows.

Purchase: Maybelline Color Tattoo – Tough as Taupe

 

Testing the Claims

 

24 Hour Wear – No Fading

After I swatched all three colors on my wrist (just the shadow, no primer underneath), my family and I headed to the pool.  Yes, you know you are a true beauty junkie when you walk around in public with makeup swatches on your arm.  :)   I swam in the pool, soaked in the jacuzzi, occasionally rubbing on the swatches to see if they were going to shift at all.  They did not budge!  I was thinking that I wouldn’t need to even take a second picture of the swatches at the end of our pool day, because they looked the same.  Then I tried rubbing them off with my towel, and finally there was some fading.

Now, I have to say, I was really happy that even though these faded after being scrubbed with my towel, the fading wasn’t a bleeding out all over the place.  The color just faded over all.

Swatches After Tests

 

Creasing

My lovely sister reads my blog, and after my original posting of this one she texted me asking “What about creasing?!”   I had forgotten to add this piece in.  She is the best quality control editor.  :)   Thanks Becca!

When you are applying these to your eyes, if you are using a synthetic brush to initially place the shadow, you should then go over it with your finger and press it into your skin to smooth it out.  You don’t want a thick layer of the shadow on your eye all at once.  If you want to intensify the color just apply it in layers, always remembering to use your finger to press and smooth it into your skin between each one.

Like any cream eye product, if you don’t apply it correctly it will crease up on you the minute you blink, settling into the lines of your eyes.  However, I haven’t had any issues with these colors creasing on me, applying them as I described above.

 

Intense Color

The formula allows for buildable coverage.  I found the shades I chose to start off with a great base color.  The initial swatches I took are just single strokes of the cream shadow, no primer, no additional layers.  I was able to pump up the pigment as I wanted when I was applying these to my eyes, so that I could use just one of them to serve as an all-over lid color as well as a smudged out smokey crease.

 

Not So Honorable Mention

It appears that the formula can vary between the colors, as everything else I’ve tried.  I purchased the Tenacious Teal and was truly disappointed with the pigmentation and staying power.  It applied slightly patchy and milky, certainly not as the bold color it appears to be in the jar.  It was mostly gone after just a little water from the faucet and rubbing it lightly.  I returned it.

 

Bottom Line

Once you place these specific cream liners where you want them and let them set for a few minutes they will hang with you all day.  I was truly impressed with their staying power.  They aren’t even marketed at waterproof, and yet I was able to swim with them, soak in the jacuzzi, and they were exactly where I put them when I finished my day.  The colors are beautiful and pigmented and apply easily with your finger or a synthetic brush.  Just be aware that not all of these will wear like the gems I picked above.

**

Let me know which of these you have tried.  How did they work for you?  How do you like wearing them?

The Balm: Bronzers and Highlights

  • Posted on May 31, 2013 at 7:40 pm

“I always wear bronzer because I love the way my skin looks when it’s tan.”  ~Lauren Conrad

Part Two of my The Balm Cosmetics shopping spree included picking up their bronzer, contour and highlight products.  I was so excited to try these out, and I can’t wait to share my thoughts with you.

The Balm Cosmetics

The Balm Cosmetics

Bronze and Contour

Bronzing and contouring your face can turn into a hot mess, depending on the product you use and how you use it.  Knowing that The Balm tends to have highly pigmented products, I was a little nervous about purchasing their bronzers.  In the end I just couldn’t resist.  Let me walk you through what I got, and what I think about them.

 

Bahama Mama – Bronzer and Contour

Purchase: TheBalm Bahama Mama Bronzer

Bahama Mama is a matte finished multi-tasker.  You can use it as a bronzer, a contour shade, or an eye shadow.  It looks very dark in the pan.  Like scary-dark for someone with my fair-medium complexion.  I was surprised to find that I was able to apply it sheerly enough to work for me, and build it up if I wanted to.  As with all of The Balm cosmetics – a little bit goes a long way!

I love that it is matte; I am not a fan of bronzers with any kind of shimmer, glitter or sparkle to them.  I feel they tend to look odd on the face.  When you’re contouring or bronzing you’re looking to add shadows, depth, warmth to the face, not turn into a tanned, sparkly Twilight vampire chick.  Once I started using Bahama Mama it quickly replaced the others I had in my collection as my go-to product.

Application:  The key to applying this is to lightly touch your brush to the product, tap it off, and then blend.  DO NOT swirl your brush around in the pan like there is no tomorrow.  It won’t be cute.

The Balm: Bahama Mama Swatches

The Balm: Bahama Mama
Swatches

 

Betty-Lou Manizer Bronzer and Highlight

Purchase: TheBalm Betty-Lou Manizer

I realize that not everyone agrees with my opinion that bronzers should be matte.  Betty-Lou Manizer is certainly NOT matte.  This product has shimmer galore!  It’s not something that I would reach for to use as a bronzer or contour; it just doesn’t do it for me in that capacity.

I do however love that I can use this as an eye shadow.  It has a warm copper glow to it, which I love on my eyes more than the glitter party that a lot of eye shadows with sparkle tend to be.  This is also a great highlight for darker complexions.  Gorgeous!

The Balm: Betty-Lou Manizer Swatches

The Balm: Betty-Lou Manizer
Swatches

Highlight

I am constantly trying out different highlights.  I think the right highlight can bring a youthful glow to your face, make your cheekbones appear more defined, and really finish your over all look.  The wrong highlight can accentuate every fine line, wrinkle, and pore that is on your face.  That’s never a look that I’m going for.  I picked up The Balm’s highlight for fair – medium/tan skin to see how I would like it.

 

Mary-Lou Manizer Highlight

Purchase: The Balm Mary-Lou Manizer

This is a champagne highlight that has definite shimmer to it.  It is finely milled so that you’re not seeing glitter pieces on your skin, but you can definitely apply too much rather easily and get out of hand.  I use this with a soft hand on top of my cheeks for a beautiful glow.  I have also used it under my brows and around my tear duct to brighten my eye area.

Additional Application Trick: If you happen to use mineral makeup, like Bare Minerals foundation, you can apply some of the Mary-Lou Manizer on your skin UNDER that foundation (along the top of your cheekbones and the center of your forehead).  When you swirl your mineral foundation on top of it, it diffuses it enough to give your skin a ‘lit from within’ quality that can be quite pretty.

The Balm: Mary-Lou Manizer Swatches

The Balm: Mary-Lou Manizer
Swatches

The Bottom Line:

While some of these won’t be products I turn to on a daily basis, they are all quite lovely.  There are multiple uses for each of them, and with the amount of product you get in each… I will be bronzing and highlighting with The Balm cosmetics for a long time.

The Balm Cosmetics: Blush Extravaganza

  • Posted on May 31, 2013 at 5:42 pm

…I work so much, during the free days I have I like to let my skin breathe.  But of course I’m girly so I like to put on some blush and some mascara.”  ~Bar Refaeli

The Balm Collage

Oh, The Balm, how I love your blushes!

I have a pile of The Balm blushes, highlighters and bronzers sitting next to me at the keyboard as I type this.  I’m telling myself that I need them here in case I want to do some quick swatches (already did that, took the pictures, yet I still try to justify my addiction).  However, if I’m honest, I really think I brought them here because even just looking at makeup makes me happy.  That’s how you know you’re a True Beauty Junkie.

Anyone else able to spend hours just perusing the makeup aisles of any store, reading product details, getting excited about the claims, arms covered in swatches of products?  Welcome to the club!

The Balm Cosmetics has a complete line of makeup, skin care, hair care and nail polish.  But what I want to talk about today is some of their classic blushes.  I’ll cover contour, bronzers and highlights in a separate blog.

 

The Blushes – Gorgeousness in a Compact

The Balm blushes are beautiful, long-wearing, and highly pigmented.  That allows you to achieve several blush shades with just one compact.  You can sheer them out, build them up, use them as eye shadows or highlights… Several are must haves in my collection.  And just as a side note: the packaging for all of The Balm products is super cute, retro-inspired, and I love it!

 

Down Boy Blush

Purchase:  TheBalm Down Boy Blush

Down Boy is a soft, fresh-faced pink, and the lightest of the blushes that I will be talking about today.  It has the slightest sheen to it that gives it a little ‘lit from within’ quality.  It’s not glittery, clumpy, or gaudy.  A little goes a long way, you don’t want to apply this or any of The Balm products with a heavy hand.

In the swatches you can see that on top I have it very densely packed onto my skin, while on the bottom it’s a sheer wash of color.  Fabulous either way you choose to wear it.

 

The Balm - Down Boy Swatches

The Balm – Down Boy
Swatches

Cabana Boy Blush

Purchase: TheBalm Cabana Boy Blush

Cabana Boy is a warmer dusty-rose with plum undertones.  There is a slight shimmer to this blush, and I find that when I wear it I skip on highlighting my cheekbones.  The range for this shade is fantastic!  Depending on the amount of product you apply, and which type of brush you apply it with, you can sheer this out completely for a rosey glow on your cheeks, or go really intense with it.

The Balm: Cabana Boy Swatches

The Balm: Cabana Boy
Swatches

 

Frat Boy Blush

Purchase: TheBalm Frat Boy Blush

Frat Boy adds a flush of peachy-pink to your cheeks.  For all of you coral lovers – this is the one to start with.  It’s also a great color for all of the women who tend to have pink undertones in your skin that you spend a lot of time trying to cover and minimize.  The last thing you want to do sometimes after canceling out all the redness is to put the pink right back into your cheeks with blush.  Frat Boy gives you peaches and cream, nearly matte color with just the slightest hint of a sheen to it to keep you from looking dry or flat.

The Balm: Frat Boy Blush Swatches

The Balm: Frat Boy Blush
Swatches

 

Hot Mama Blush

Purchase: TheBalm Hot Mama Blush

Hot Mama is a blush and highlight combo in one product.  It is also a peachy-pink shade like Frat Boy, but man do they pump up the shimmer on this one with gold throughout!  You will not need to use a separate highlight on the days you wish to rock this blush.  To be clear, when I talk about “gold shimmer,” I am not talking about gold chunks or flecks.  It’s not that you’ll look at your cheeks and think that you let a child toss glitter at your face.  It is finely milled so that it’s not BAM – glitter in yo face!  This is not one that I tend to reach for regularly, but it would make a lovely highlight for Frat Boy.

The Balm: Hot Mama Blush Swatches

The Balm: Hot Mama Blush
Swatches

The Bottom Line

Down Boy and Cabana Boy are my go-to choices for blush right now.  When it comes to The Balm blushes over all I love how highly pigmented they are, which gives you so many options to play around with, their staying power, and the fact that a little bit goes such a long way.  I am going to have these for ages before I even need to think about repurchasing.  And with the shades above I feel like I can get virtually any look I want out of them, which means that I don’t need fifty different shades of blush clogging my makeup collection.  I can spend that money elsewhere.  And you know I will!  :)

NYX Slide On Pencil Eyeliner – Slide On and (Sometimes) Slide Off

  • Posted on May 10, 2013 at 5:15 pm

“I think I would die without my eyeliner, but besides that I’m pretty basic.” ~ Avril Lavigne

 

NYX Collage

I love me some Urban Decay 24/7 Glide On Eye Pencils, but the price has had me on a dupes search for ages.  I recently watched a YouTube video that listed the NYX Slide On Pencils as the perfect inexpensive alternative to my Urban Decay favorites.  NYX Cosmetics has a dazzling range of colors for eyeliners, shadows, and blush; everything from basic neutrals (your white, cream, brown and black variations) to the extreme (neon craziness and bright, bold colors).  I decided to give the Slide On Pencils a try and picked up four of them  in Purple Blaze (a violet purple), Tropical Green (a rich, deep green), Golden Bronze (a vibrant, pure bronze), and Brown Perfection (a deep brown).

 

NYX Cosmetics Slide On Pencils – The Claims

  • Waterproof
  • Doesn’t smear
  • Doesn’t smudge
  • Delivers powerful, robust colors
  • Like a liquid eyeliner without the mess

 

True Beauty Junkie Assessment

I’m finding that within the same line of pencils you can have colors that truly live up to the claims, as well as those that do not.  It’s quite frustrating.  These NYX Slide On Pencils are a perfect example of that.  Let me take you through the swatches:

1 NYX Slide On Eyeliner On Wrist

1:  Here are the colors simply swatched onto my arm.  My only comment after I first swatched them was that I was slightly disappointed that the Purple Blaze wasn’t as “blazing” as the name implied.  It is still a pretty shade; it just appeared to be a bit washed out straight out of the gate.  I loved the Tropical Green, and that Golden Bronze is gorgeous!

2 NYX Slide On Eyeliner Rub Test

2:  The next thing I did was the dreaded smudge test.  Just to be clear, I waited several minutes before touching the liner, to really give it time to set.  Right away my excitement over the Tropical Green diminished some, as it slid all over the place.  The Blazing Purple basically faded to an almost lilac shade.  The Golden Bronze shocked the bajeezus out of me by not moving or fading at all.  When I originally saw how shiny it was I thought, “That will be the first to go.”  It proved me wrong.  Brown Perfection lost some of it’s dark pigmentation, but didn’t spread across my skin as much as the Tropical Green.

3 NYX Slide On Eyeliner Water Test

3: Bring on the water!  What I noticed is that the water didn’t change the swatches much after the smudge test.  And unfortunately, the water didn’t remove any of the smearing lines from that Tropical Green.

4 NYX Slide On Eyeliner Water Rub Test

4:  Just like with the other eyeliner tests I’ve done, after the swatches are wet I see how they handle being rubbed again.  This was the first time that I’ve had an eyeliner bead and pill up.  It looked like back in the day when I was a kid and would put a thin layer of Elmer’s Glue on my hand, let it dry, and then rub it off so it looked like my skin was sloughing off.  (Don’t ask why I found that so much fun to do haha).  The Tropical Green and Blazing Purple both had that same beading happening.

 

Water Line Wear:

Before I give the Bottom Line, I wanted to also let you know that I tried the Blazing Purple and the Golden Bronze in my water line (on separate days of course!) to see how they worked.  When I put on the Blazing Purple the color was sooo light, it was difficult to make out.  It faded to nothing after a few hours.  Golden Bronze initially went on like a pumpkin orange.  I thought I looked a little ill haha.  But after a few minutes it seemed to oxidize and darken a bit, which was a better look.  Unfortunately after a few hours it also disappeared from my water line.

 

Bottom Line:

I will be returning all of these liners.  I’m sure the people at Ulta will just LOVE me, but I really can’t justify keeping them.  I want to find something that will stay in my water line and also function  just as well as my regular eye liner.  I certainly didn’t find them to be “like a liquid liner” at all.  You aren’t going to get a precision line from these pencils.  As you can see in the pictures, some of them do smear and smudge quite easily.  I found that they basically held up in water, but not in my water line.  So unfortunately, my quest for a true Urban Decay 24/7 drugstore dupe will continue.

Let me know what you think about these liners.  What was your experience?  Have you found any eyeliners that work just as well as the Urban Decay 24/7s?  What is your favorite water line eyeliner?  Leave your comments below, I’d love to hear from you.  :)