Friday, January 31, 2020

January Makeup Favorites from My Makeup Stash

Happy Friday, dear readers, and happy last day of January! Does it feel like a year has gone by since the new year? I don't know about you, but this January has felt like the month that would never end. I don't recall experiencing this feeling in previous years, but it does feel the case this year! Rather than rambling on and on, only adding more length to this month, let's just jump in on today's blog post!

While I'm not on an official no-buy or low-buy this year, I decided that I wanted to appreciate the products I already had rather than jumping in on the next makeup release. The constant wave of release after release on top of all the cosmetic brands available has left me feeling overwhelmed in general, and the fear of missing out due to the sheer number of limited edition products has, quite frankly, ticked me off. I've mostly been able to ignore a large number of the releases and haven't gone into debt, but I feel as though I've spent more on makeup last year than I've spent in previous years. As much as a part of me wants to do the math to confirm, I REALLY don't want to see how much money I have spent on makeup last year. Instead, I decided this year to be selective in the items I do purchase and give items already in my collection some love.

This month, I have found myself really loving and grabbing for five items in particular, and I wanted to share them with you in today's post. Some items are relatively new releases while others are older, but because they were already part of my stash and not a new release or purchase, they all fit the guidelines I have set for this post. Let's get a closer look at each of the items I fell in love with this month!

Nobody would confuse this palette as being new or even gently used at this point, and that's a GOOD thing! I have used this palette a lot since I picked it up, although I have to admit the shades that have hit pan are largely due to my 6 year old digging in a little too roughly when I wasn't paying attention to him. He really enjoys swatching colours and I do let him play a little, but I forgot to remind him to use gentle pressure before getting into swatching. Oops!

Why I love it:
While they may not have the "oooooh" or "ahhhh" factor of shimmers or jewel-toned hues, I have great appreciation for neutral-toned matte shades. There was a time when the cosmetic industry tried to convince me that matte shades were REALLY hard to make well, but the influx of cosmetic brands over the past five years has made me think otherwise. I adore the creamy smoothness of these shades, and they both build up and blend out like a dream. The corner shades Fior Di Latte (light almond), Cantucci (light creamsicle brown) and Tartufo (cool medium brown) in particular are used all the time, sometimes with other shades in this palette and other times utilized with other palettes. The redder shades do get some love from me as well, although not quite to the extent as I do the more neutral options. I will confess that the full 9 colour story confuses me a little and I wouldn't wear some of these shades together, but overall, this palette is a staple in my collection especially when I want to mix and match with other palettes.

I've had this primer since late last spring, and I even reviewed it here. Sadly, after writing about it, it got placed in a drawer and forgotten about as other items have entered my stash. I decided on a whim early this month to pull it out, and I was surprised at how much I enjoyed this primer. I seriously never would have expected a primer of all things to make my list, but here we are.

Why I love it:

I found that this primer is really good at smoothing out the skin. Don't get me wrong, I've liked it before, but something about the dry weather has made me acutely aware of the nuances of how my makeup performs on my skin, and this primer really took my by surprise this month. Instead of rubbing into the skin, I would press this into my skin, and the final result was a smooth surface. I had noted before it dries to a slight tacky finish, and I came to really appreciate this fact this month. With drier months, I tend to not use setting powder often, and I feel the slight tackiness helped to keep my makeup in place. I've used a few different foundations throughout the month, and none had issues with patchiness with this primer. I wish I had given this primer more love before, but thankfully it can now get the extra attention it deserves.

I have reviewed a few different products from this affordable Australian brand here and here, but this is the first time this creme blush palette has made an appearance on my blog. I've never really been into using a lot of creme cosmetic items before, and I'm not really sure what possessed me to purchase this from the company. That being said, I have definitely been giving this blush some love! I personally prefer to apply with a beauty sponge to get a seamless blend.

Why I love it:

I've only had limited experience with creme blushes previously, and one of the factors that set these apart from the others is the amount of pigment. When I first used one of these blushes, I went in with a far too heavy hand as I wasn't expecting a lot of colour. BIG mistake, but I learned from that one quickly! I also love how easy it is to blend this out. As I already mentioned, I like to use my beauty sponges in particular rather than brushes, and the resulting finish is a gorgeous healthy wash of colour on the cheeks. Some days I stop there and go about my day and other times I follow up with a powder blush for even more dimension, but every time I use this cheek palette, I find myself catching a glimpse of my reflection in the mirror and thinking how much I love the glow on my cheeks. This is currently the only creme blush palette by the brand, although I'm hoping they add to the brand lineup with another colour option. I do love these colours, but I am itching for some richer shades for deeper skin tones as well.

When Melt Cosmetics announced their Amor Eterno collection last year, I was chomping at the bit to get my hands on a few things like so many others. In spite of not wearing eyeliner on the daily, I wanted to try this formula and knew this colour NEEDED to join my makeup collection. The emerald green is stunning!

Why I love it:

The colour. The formula. The stay power. Where should I start? I LOVE to wear green on my eyes, and I surprisingly did not have a green eyeliner in my stash. Emerald hues always take my breath away so this fell into my shopping cart quickly. I also really enjoy this gel formula and found this and the other gel liners in this collection apply easily with a fine brush and dries pretty quickly. The quick dry time is pretty darn important with my hooded eye shape, but even more important is the lasting power against my oily lids. I have had so many smear proof, life-resistant eyeliners not live up to the hype on me, and I was honestly expecting the same from this one. It actually stays put until I wash it off at the end of the day and still feels comfortable throughout the day. I'm really digging this formula! The only reason I chose this specific shade over the others for this month is the colour although the black has seen a far bit of attention at my house as well.

This Viseart eyeshadow palette is another oldie but goodie to join this month's favorites lineup. I've used the bottom white, golden, and rust shades a little, but this month I found myself particularly attracted to the pinker half of this palette. I'm not sure if it's because I've got Valentine's Day on the mind, but I could not seem to get enough of this palette!

Why I love it:

Viseart products are not cheap, but if you do find yourself splurging on this brand, you'll quickly see why they are so beloved by makeup artists! The colours are beautiful and ultra pigmented. I also love the way they blend together. Thankfully Viseart offers a few small palette options to make them a little more affordable, and I love that the pans in this one can pop out and fit into a magnetic palette. I do recommend taking some caution with this brand as once you start using it, it can kill your love for other brands. The formula is a little drier than the Nomad Cosmetics palette shown above, so if you prefer this type of formula, you might want to check these out!

While used products may not have the nice crispness as a brand-new item, there is something satisfying about seeing a product getting some love! I've definitely enjoyed these and look forward to seeing if I continue to keep grabbing for them!

I'm adding these products back to my makeup vanity tonight although some may end up pulled out and kept at my makeup station for continued use throughout the year (looking at you, Tuscany Palette!). I'm so guilty of using whatever is at my station, but I am trying hard to put things away and really think about what I want to wear and switching things up. This way I'm not using just the newest items to my collection.

What products have you been loving this month? Have you pulled out any older items and given them love lately? I'd love to hear from you!

Until next time, dear readers, have a wonderful day and enjoy your weekend!

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Thursday, January 30, 2020

Doubledown Cosmetics: A Philanthropic Indie Brand that Delivers Incredible Glow

Greetings, dear readers! It feels like it has been forever since I have sat down and written up a blog post, and looking back at my scarce number of posts thus far this year, I'm not far off on this judgement call. This year has started out rough, including my 10+ year old laptop deciding to stop charging and working properly for me. As a result, I've had to get a new computer and start the long and daunting process of transferring files over to my new one. On top of that, which was and still is pretty painful, I have had to attempt to learn newer programs. It's a little embarrassing to admit how far behind I was when it came to updating software, so I'm just going to say it has been awhile and the learning curve has added into the delay of posting to my blog. Thus far, I've been unable to get any of my photos from the past 8 months to transfer easily and have had to manually worth through them all. I still have a lot to do, but here is hoping I can get the last of it sorted out this weekend and start February out on a more positive note. If you've been following me on Instagram, you may have seen in my stories about some skincare issues I've been having this month; needless to say, January has not been my friend! Please cross your fingers for me as I've been losing my mind and my mental health is at an all time low lately. I really try to keep things positive here on my blog, and I just don't have much left to give at this point. Now let's jump in on something pretty to help lighten the mood!

Gifted Samples

Last month, when I was getting over the flu, I received a package from Doubledown Cosmetics with a few items to try out. I've been following the brand on Instagram for a little while, and even before trying the products, I already had warm fuzzy feelings for the brand since I stumbled upon them. Founded by husband and wife team Marvin and Kristen Speller, I found myself connecting to the brand with Kristen's openness about her experience with domestic violence. Doubledown Cosmetics gives back to their local LA community to help those impacted by domestic violence, homelessness, and addiction. I love brands that give back, and this is one of many reasons I've been following the brand. I've definitely been eager to try out some products, and they did not disappoint! Let's check them out!

Doubledown x Medeaij
The Confidence highlighter and The Concise eyeshadow

Doubledown Cosmetics collaborated with UK Beauty Influencer and Content Creator Medeaij to create this beautiful loose powder duo. The Confidence has a sifter with a slide over closure, which I greatly appreciate to keep my powder from going crazy when I have it tossed in my bag. The Concise also has a sifter. although it does not have a sliding seal. I've not had any issues with The Concise making a big mess, and I'm sure it's larger due to the smaller overall packaging size.

I have these swatched on the skin with another Doubledown Cosmetics highlighter coming up in this post, so let me show you how I wore these two products first.

My skintone falls in the medium category, and most makeup brand put me towards the lighter side of medium. In spite of wearing sunscreen and reapplying, I tan really easily and my skin gets a little darker during the summer. Because I got these products in the winter, I'm currently at my palest state. While The Confidence was created as a highlighter, it is too dark for my skintone to be used as one. I might be able to pull it off as a highlighter when my skin gets darker, but even then it still may be too dark for me. This is definitely not a deal breaker for me as I was all too happy to use both these shades on my eyes!

I use The Confidence on my lid and inner half of my lower lash line. The Concise is on the outer half of my lower lash line and carried out to create a wing. Even though I didn't wear these shades as they were created, I love having them paired together to create this look! I have mixed feelings on the wing, especially since I opted to keep it lower than usual due to my hooded eyes. I know this is a style recommended for us hooded guys and gals, but I'm still on the fence about how I feel about it on myself. Feel free to leave a comment below if you like the lower placement!

The Equation highlighter

In addition to The Confidence, I was sent The Equation, another gorgeous highlighter and face illuminator. The colour is different from The Confidence, but it is also too dark for me to use on my face with its intended purpose. Again, I opted to use it on my eyes. Check out my look below!

For this look, I wanted to skip eyeliner (which I'm known to do. I do enjoy eyeliner from time to time, but it's just not my go-to when it comes to creating makeup looks). I opted to pull in a few neutral mattes from Natasha Denona's Biba palette into my crease and outer corner of my eye to add some more definition to my eyes. I swept The Equation on a large area of my eyelids as I would a shimmer eyeshadow.

Here is another look at my eye makeup so you can see how The Equation glows on my lids. I don't intentionally tan, nor do I use fake tanning products, but I'm looking forward to wearing this beauty on my face this summer when my skin is darker and more compatible with this depth of colour. Out of the loose powders I was sent (the two highlighters and the eyeshadow), I believe this one is my personal favorite. All three are gorgeous, but the more golden hue really speaks to me and what I tend to wear most often. On a different note, keep this photo set in mind because we'll be back to it soon with a focus on the lips. 

As promised, here are swatches on my skin so you can see how all three of these shades compare.

Top: The Equation
Bottom: The Confidence and The Concise

The Equation: a beautiful warm toned bronze face glow product

The Confidence: a cool toned bronze shimmery highlighter

The Concise: a gorgeous, russet pearlescent, bronze eyeshadow

These apply so beautifully to the skin, and while the highlighters are too dark for me to use as a face highlighter, I find all three shades flatter my skintone nicely. I'm definitely thrilled to have all three in my cosmetic collection and will be incorporating them into more makeup looks!

I was also sent the Doubledown Cosmetics lip balm lineup to try out. All three shades are organic. The clear lip balm is also vegan. Please note the tinted shades contain beeswax and are not vegan.

Top to bottom: The Punk, The Present, and The Future

The Punk: a nude, earth toned pink, with a hint of shimmer for an everyday look

The Present: a clear vegan lip balm with spearmint essential oil

The Future: a buildable cool toned red, with warm overtones

I do want to note that The Punk and The Future contain peppermint oil and The Present also contains rosemary extract. Based on conversations with some of you lovely readers and comments you have left for me throughout the years, I know a few of you are allergic to these particular ingredients. I'm sure you already look closely at ingredients yourselves anyway, but I did want to draw your attention to the ingredients. The Present definitely gives my lips a tingly sensation. I notice it a little with the tinted lip balms, but it's much less noticeable and I no longer notice it with the tinted balms after a very short period of time.

I really enjoy these tinted shades in particular as they impact colour to your lips but still keeps your lips looking natural. Don't get me wrong, I totally rock some dark and intense shades on my lips, but I love these to keep in my purse for no makeup days to add just that little something extra to help me look put together. Given how crazy the past several months have been for me, I definitely can appreciate that!

Remember the look I said we would be getting back to? Here we go! I have used The Future on my lips to give a pop of colour.

For this and the following photo, I have used The Punk. I have built it up with a few layers to give it more intensity; a single layer is much more subtle and leaves my lips looking a little frosted.

After trying out these products by Doubledown Cosmetics, I can say with certainty that I am a fan! I knew I liked the brand based on principles alone, but at the end of the day, we want products that are beautiful to look at that also perform well on the skin. I am happy to report that I loved all these products, and I certainly am not the only one! Doubledown Cosmetics won not one, but an astounding five Indiemood Rewards this past December. These awards include the following:

Best Loose Highlighter- Editor's Choice
Best Loose Eyeshadow- Editor's Choice
Best Loose Eyeshadow- Audience Award
Best Blush- Editor's Choice
Best Giving Back Award Social Justice- Editor's Choice

Congratulations to Doubledown Cosmetics for your incredible achievement! I have thoroughly enjoyed the products I have used, and I definitely have my eye on a few others!

Dear readers, if you are looking for quality indie products from a brand that gives back, Doubledown Cosmetics is here to deliver! I’m looking forward to seeing where the brand goes from here! If you have tried their products, please let me know what you've loved!

Until next time, dear readers, have a wonderful night!

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Friday, January 17, 2020

4Ever Magic Cosmetics: A Preview of My Favorite Eyebrow Gel Kit

Press Sample

I've been wearing makeup for as long as I can remember, and it wasn't until the last six years or so that I finally got around to appreciating just how important it is to do your eyebrows. I wish I could say that I was one of the lucky ones that could get away with doing nothing, but that is sadly not the truth. I look back at my wedding photos from eight and a half years ago and cringe when I see my brows. Thankfully I have since learned my lesson and have grown to appreciate certain eyebrow products that I now love.

I discovered the brand 4Ever Magic Cosmetics while attending Cosmoprof North America, and I have been in love with their eyebrow gel ever since! Can we first check out this gorgeous packaging? The thin cardboard packaging is adorned with beautiful rose gold accents, and there was certainly a part of me that did not want to throw it away! The tubing pulls apart easily to reveal a brush with spoolie and double shade eyebrow jar securely nestled in the bottom.

Doing my eyebrows has never been my strongest skill, and this kit helped me figure out a large part of my issue- eyebrow products are often found in single colours. 4Ever Magic Cosmetics packages two similar shades together so you can wear them together for the perfect eyebrow look. There are four shade options available for purchase, two lighter than this duo and one duo is darker.

This particular duo is called Magic Dazzle Brown. On the left is the lighter hue and the right is the darker. The difference is subtle on the skin, but if you were to do one eyebrow in one shade and the other in, well, the other, you would definitely notice a difference!

The best way to apply this eyebrow gel is to use the darkest shade to line and define the outer edges of your eyebrows and to fill in the outer 1/3, or the tail end. You then fill in the inner 2/3 with the lighter shade. Once done, simply flip the brush around and use the spoolie end to blend the two shades together.

I usually prefer a more natural looking eyebrow, so this shade combination is exactly what I need. While other single shades just leave my eyebrows looking flat, the combination of shades helps to give my eyebrows dimension that looks more natural than a flat single colour.

The gel applies easily with the brush and dries to a comfortable, budge-proof finish. I've been testing this one out for months, to include the hot days of summer into the cooler winter months, and regardless of how hot the days may be, this baby stays put! I do use a makeup setting spray in general, but I've had other eyebrow products melt during the day; I've not experienced this at all! I've even hopped into the pool, and my eyebrows stayed in place. Since I first started testing out this product, I've been using this one almost exclusively. The only exception is the rare occasion I want darker brows and use a darker eyebrow pencil I already have on hand. That being said, I'm seriously thinking of picking up the darker version of this duo to have for those random days as I prefer this product over the eyebrow pencils I've been using.

Retail: $35

If you're looking for easy to apply and budge-proof eyebrow products, this is a great option to consider. Having two shades in the jar lets you fill in your brows without looking flat. I'm a fan and happy to have found my new go-to eyebrow product!

Until next time, dear readers, have a wonderful day!

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Tuesday, January 14, 2020

Final Counts: 2019 Purge and Pan Project

Press Samples Noted Below

Greetings, dear readers! It's been quite some time since I shared any details on my Purge and Pan Project. In fact, my last one was from July! Yikes! I had started compiling the next post through September, but since October started the craziness in my life, it just never ended up being published. I had asked this past weekend on my Instagram stories whether or not there was an interest in this post, and I have to admit I was a little surprised to see all the votes were for "Yes!" I guess you all like to see some empties!

Before I get into this last round of emptied and purged products from 2019, here is the previous numbers recap:

2019 Stats through July:
Empties: 72
Purged: 64
Total: 135

My goal was to rid my shelves of 150 products in 2019; here is the last batch of products to leave my house this year!

Use It: The Empties


Cleanser | AB Skincare

I am very picky when it comes to my cleansers, and I have found so many to just be too harsh for my skin. That being said, I was still happy to test out this small sampler to see how it would perform for me. I actually really enjoyed this cleanser! My face felt clean after use but not stripped dry, nor did it turn me into a lobster. It's a little spendy to be literally washed down the drain (this travel bottle alone is $12), but it is a good cleanser and one I would use again if I can get it on a good deal.

Refining Sugar Cleanser | MyChelle Dermaceuticals

This is not the first, second, or even third time this product has appeared on my blog. This small sample was part of my BOUTIQUE box pick from Cosmoprof North America this summer; I just couldn't resist the option of getting a product I enjoy! I've since purchased a full size bottle and slowly working my way through it. To read my full thoughts on it, check out my post here.

Hydro Boost Water Gel Hyaluronic Acid | Neutrogena x 2

I have to rely on good skin care to keep my skin from turning into the desert like my environment.
I'm a fan of hyaluronic acid, and this product spent some time as a staple in my routine. I'm currently working through a different product at the moment, but I just picked up another one of these for when the other runs on empty. This one just feels so good on my skin and leaves it feeling so smooth even before moving onto moisturizer!

MultiVitamin Serum | MultiV6
Press Sample

I reviewed this serum awhile back, but I had not quite finished it at that time. I definitely enjoyed it although I'm still working through other skincare items at the moment and haven't returned to it. It's still a great serum, but the $50 price tag isn't making me push others aside in favor of it. I really don't know how I end up with so much skincare to test out, but it does add a large delay from when I can use it again.

Vitamin Sadness Mask | MustaeV

I seriously love these masks, and this particular type has made a frequent appearance here on the blog as well. I'm still working my way though my mask stash, albeit crazy slowly, but I know I have another one or two at least of this one. I'm glad to have banned new masks from my life since the waste is ridiculous, but I admit this one is going to be hard when it comes to a final goodbye.

Herb Therapy Velvet Mask | Dr. Althea
Press Sample

I'm a firm believer that one time use of a mask isn't really enough to access how good it works, but I have to admit this one left my skin feeling really nice! I definitely felt very hydrated with this one, and I'm a little sad I don't have more in my stash. If you're suffering with dry skin and using one-time-use masks, this is a great option to consider!

Escargot + Propolis Revitalizing Mask | Elensilia-IntraCELL

I love Korean products with snail mucin, so I was happy when I was given this sample at a shop in New York this summer. My skin felt great after using it although the downside is it did not play well with my makeup application about half an hour later.

Cherry Gel Lip Mask | Oh K!
Press Sample

I was pretty excited to try this, but this lip mask was a big disappointment. The mask is so heavy that it does not stay in place at all unless you lay down and don't move. I din't find it to leave my lips feeling moisturized, and the skin around my lips was actually inflamed and irritated. I've found my skin to be getting less sensitive over the years, so I'm a little surprised to see how my skin reacted to it. Even without the irritation, this is a hard pass for me.

Baggage Claim Gold Eye Masks | Wander Beauty x 5

I generally don't gravitate towards eye masks like these, but I was gifted several and really wanted to try them out. I actually enjoyed these! My under eye area looked brighter, my under eye circles were less noticeable, and my eyes just looked healthier in general. I have another one or two of these left and will be sad when they are all gone.

Facial Spray with Aloe, Cucumber and Green Tea | Mario Badescu

I love this spray as a pick-me-up when my skin is feeling a little dull and/or dry! I'm reasonably sure this isn't the first time I've shared this product here, and I have another one in use now. I also just introduced my mother-in-law to it and she loves it too! I've also started using it by giving my skin a spritz post-cleansing to slightly dampen the skin before adding in my skincare products. Mario Badescu offers two other varieties, but this one is my go-to.

Superfood Peptide Eye Cream | Youth to the People

This eye cream is proof that you don't have to spend a fortune on an eye product to have good results! This small jar packs a powerful punch to keep wrinkles at bay and just makes your eyes look brilliant! I've gone through a couple jars and have been testing others since emptying this one. Needless to say, I'm picking up another one of these this week!

Protini Polypeptide Cream | Drunk Elephant

This small sample was part of Sephora's birthday gift for insiders this past year, so I'm sure many of you have already tried this for yourself. I enjoyed the formula for a day cream, and I liked how quickly it absorbed into my skin. I also greatly appreciated how well it played under my makeup routine! As much as I enjoyed it, the $68 price tag has made me shy away from buying the full size container. Should I ever find it on a great deal, I'm likely to buy it, but it would have to be one heck of a deal! There are other great moisturizers available for a more affordable price so we'll see if I ever use this again.

Vitamin C Caviar Balm | Pixi Beauty

I know Pixi Beauty has other cult products, but they just don't quite do it for me (looking at you, Glow Tonic). Instead, this Vitamin C Caviar Balm is one of my top Pixi Beauty products. Since it got even drier with fall and winter, I started using it almost every day, and I'm seeing some of my stubborn dark spots finally fading away. I'm working my way through another tube now!

Multivitamin Day Cream | Multi V6
Press Sample

I wasn't crazy about this day moisturizer and found it left my skin on the drier side. Once I added other products into my routine, I was able to successfully use it to completion, but at the end of the day, this is a pass for me. More details can be found on my initial review here.

Multivitamin Night Cream | Multi V6
Press Sample

While the Day Cream left me wanting more, the night cream was much nicer! It isn't quite as rich as I like for night time use, but I did enjoy using this during the day. I'm not overly fond of the screw cap jar, but since I use scoops for this type of product, it isn't a total deal breaker for me. I've not bought a replacement yet, but I'd possibly pick it up to use again. My full review is here.

I've been a fan of the Innisfree brand since I stumbled across it a couple years ago, so I really was eager to test out this particular cream. It is a little on the heavier side, so it was ideal for me as my night cream. I've since moved on to other items as I am always testing products, but whenever I'm in the market to purchase another night time moisturizer, I wouldn't hesitate to get another jar of this one.

Collagen & Retinol Serum | Pixi Beauty

I picked this up because I wanted to try out the retinol aspect of this product. It contains collagen, which it too large to effectively cross over into the skin, so I don't think this would work effectively. I don't think it's a bad product, but I was underwhelmed with it; I have no intentions of picking up another for future use. I wouldn't say I dislike it, it just left me wanting more.

Lip Sleeping Mask (Vanilla) | Laneige

The jar may be small, but WOW does this product last a long time! It took me almost a full year of daily pre-bed use (with every few exceptions) to get through this container: a little really goes a long way! I take care of my lips to make sure they aren't dry and flaky, and this is a major part of my routine! I've since picked up another in a difference flavor, although the vanilla is nice if you're a big vanilla fan.


Now known as Face Prime & Protect

I LOVE this sunscreen, and while it is a sunscreen, I decided to put it in with my cosmetics section as it works well as a makeup primer. I had a small trial size open, but with no travel plans the second half of the year, I opted to use it up alongside my full sided tube. Boasting SPF 40, I know my skin is getting protection from harmful rays and I adore how smooth it makes my skin for makeup application! I've since picked up another tube (currently in use) and another for when that one runs out.

Orange Beauty Blender

I've used other blenders, but I figured it was time to break down and pick up the original Beauty Blender. I've used this one many times, but I prefer other sponges over this one. I've read that sometimes the different colours of blenders perform better than others so I suppose it is possible that is the case, but given the price tag, I'd rather get the cheaper ones that I know work well for me.

Flavor: Minty Mojito

I've shared my love of the brand a few times, and it's actually shocking that I completed a lip balm! I love a mojito so this flavor profile is totally my jam. I've not picked up any lip balms recently, from this or any other company, but I do keep an eye on Epically Epic's social media in case there is a new flavor I just HAVE to pick up.

Hydra Color Lip Gloss (Juicy Peach) | Note Cosmetics

As I'm sure you can imagine, I have a lot of makeup. For me to finish a product like this is pretty impressive, and this is actually the second tube in this shade I have finished. Say what?? This is/was such a pretty peach hue that I enjoyed on its own for a very natural look or layered over other lipsticks. I'm so sad to see this go, especially since I don't think I can replace this. I spoke with someone this summer at Cosmoprof NA and she said the colour, if not the entire Hydra gloss line, is now discontinued. Boo! At least it was great while it lasted!

Matte Finish Setting Spray | NYX Cosmetics

I use a few different setting sprays, but this one by NYX is my most often used. It works well for me to set my makeup for the day, and the price point is fantastic! If I apply makeup early in the day, the initial application isn't quite going to get me through a late night, but for a workday or the days I don't get my makeup on until noon, it serves its purpose well.


Kur Gel Genius Top Coat | Londontown

I've not been changing up my nails as frequently for the last half of the year, and my manicures have been lasting me about two weeks. I've tried a range of top coats that I truly do enjoy, but when I want longevity, this baby is where it's at! I tried this product a couple years ago when I went on vacation and was blown away by it. It's a little more expensive than some of my other top coats, so I tend to use this when I want my nail lacquer to stay in place a week or more. I've still managed to go through a few bottles and need to get another one pronto!


Hydrating Soothing Body Wash (Citrus Vanilla) | The Seaweed Bath Co.

I picked this up on a whim one day when I spotted it at Target; I'm so glad I did! I was intrigued by the scent profile and found it to be so uplifting without the BAM intensity you get from a lot of other citrus scented products. I'm not an expert in these types of products by any means, but it did leave my skin clean and feeling soft even before adding in lotion. I'm trying to go through a few other body washes I already have on hand although I do miss this body wash already.

Juice Cleanse Exfoliating Sugar Cubes | Harper + Ari

The scent combination of pineapple, kiwi and green apple is fabulous and one of the highlights about these exfoliating cubes! They are also conveniently packaged so you just grab one out, smoosh it up a little in water, and rub it on your body wherever you need a little smoothening out. My only real issue with these is the cubes are so firmly packed that you have you work to crush them up so you aren't ending up with larger pieces that are too abrasive for the skin. This alone would make me want to stay away from them now that this jar is empty, but that smell is giving me second thoughts. I think I'm just going to hunt for another scrub with a similar scent profile.

After The Rain Sugar Scrub | KBShimmer
Press Sample

Speaking of sugar scrubs, KBShimmer makes some of my favorites, including this yummy scented one! This particular scent was unfortunately exclusive to the Polish Pickup and can no longer be purchased, but you can bet I enjoyed it to the last sugar crystal in the jar! I've been hoarding the exclusive scents as long as possible since they cannot be replaced, but I finally accepted that more good scents would be coming and I should enjoy these. After The Rain was one of my favorites so here's hoping it makes a special comeback in the future!

Premium Coffee Body Scrub (Cinnamon) | Fivesso 
Press Sample

Do small sample sizes count? It's in a container, even if it is a small one, so this coffee scrub is making it to my empties list. If you're a fan of coffee scents, you may love this brand lineup. This particular scrub was a combination of coffee, due to the beans, but with the added spicy warmth of cinnamon. The added cocoa butter, olive oil, and jojoba oil made this scrub leave my skin feeling incredibly soft. The scent is nice although it's not my favorite and one I want sticking to my skin all day long. My hubby claimed he didn't notice it after awhile, but my nose is sensitive and could pick it up long after he could. I'm not writing off coffee scrubs altogether, but I've not come across any that I have enjoyed as much as the one by Purlisse.


The 'Do Gooder | Cake Beauty

I found myself wandering Walgreens one day waiting for a prescription when I stumbled across this and decided to pick up a bottle to try. Something about the vibrant pink packaging called my name, but the dry shampoo itself left a lot to be desired. This is scented like lemon cookies with vanilla frosting, so the smell was pretty nice although not exactly my cup of tea. I didn't have issues with white residue; any hint I had easily blended out in my hair with a quick brushing. What I didn't like is that it didn't leave my hair feeling very clean. I use dry shampoo often, so I am under no illusions my hair will feel as clean as a shampoo and water cleanse, but yikes. It helped with some oil that would start to build up, but it left my hair looking dull and flat, a far cry from the promised "volumizing". Further, the slight cleaning effect wouldn't even last me for the full day after use in the morning. Perhaps it's because I'm a liberal user, but I can easily get through two days with one application with a variety of other brands I have used. This product is a pass for me, and unfortunately, as the intro to the brand for me, I'm not likely to try anything else from them. Honestly, I'm not sure why I even bothered emptying this bottle, it was that bad for me.

Beach Babe Texturizing Dry Shampoo | Not Your Mother's

Not this dry shampoo, on the other hand, works really well for me. I love the smell of coconut, and while this one isn't quite right, I still enjoy it a lot. My hubby, on the other hand, does not care for NYM's version of coconut and refuses to be in the same room as me when I use it. I tend to apply dry shampoo before my scalp gets oily (so usually before I go to bed after washing my hair early in the day) and then another light spritzing in the morning or mid-day of day two. This keeps any initial white residue under control, and any I do get is brushed out easily. I especially love that this shampoo delivers me texture and volume as promised. The low price point is an added bonus! I do like dry shampoo from Klorane the most, but at a quarter of the price, I'm happy to stick with this one 99% of the time!

Lose It: Purged Products


Even if a product doesn't work well for me, I often feel a little guilt when it comes to destashing. That was NOT the case when it came to this eye cream. I actually has a small sample that I used and loved, so when I stumbled across it at Whole Foods, I picked it up immediately. I still was finishing up a different brand's cream, and about three weeks later, I got to pop this open and use it. Oh. My God. The burning! While the sample was great, this turned my undereye area into a red, puffy mess. I had no idea what was causing it at first, as I wasn't using anything new-to-me. I had no thoughts about this eye cream being the culprit, and it took me stopping using all of my other products completely to narrow down this as the problem. I notified the company, especially since my sample wasn't problematic at all, and they just shrugged their shoulders at me and said "sorry, we can't do anything to help you." I can only speculate why my sample was good but the product I purchased was total sh!t. I actually have to write my official review on the samples I received and have been delaying it as I have no clue how to handle it. How do I review a product when the sample is great but consumers buy something else entirely? I'm still trying to figure out how I want to handle this one as I don't feel comfortable with product consistency.

Press Sample

I reviewed this product this past fall, and I recommend checking out my review on the ins and outs of this particular product as I had a lot of feelings about it. In (very) brief, there were some benefits like the moisturizing properties, but some of the ingredients were a turn off for me (menthol, peppermint and lavender oils). It seemed to work well for my skin with very minor tingling that was short lived, but at the end of the day, I just didn't see myself grabbing for this over other skin care items. It was surprisingly easy to decide to just let it go altogether, although some people may love this one.

Night Shift Sleeping Mask | Julep

I'm not even going to link a website on this one because I'm still salty over how this company treated their Mavens, yours truly included. I'm still unpacking boxes a year after our move and found this baby in one of them. I don't recall disliking it when I used it, but it's old, and given the brand, I don't want it in my life.

I don't know if I want to laugh or cry at the number of people that jumped on these masks to remove impurities from your skin. I own this, or I do until it does into the garbage once this post goes up, so I obviously jumped on the trend at the time myself. These masks actually are a little of both: you crying as your skin is partially torn off trying to remove it while so-called friends laugh at your pain. Seriously, what is up with that?


Press Sample

Y'all, this one hurts to put on this list, but it sadly needs to be done. I reviewed Osmosis lip glazes this summer and actually really liked this one a lot. The problem is it leaks like crazy, and I haven't been able to figure out how to make it stop. After cleaning up a mess in my handbag one time too many, I finally decided I was just done with it. I reviewed four of these that were sent to me at the same time, but this is the only one that had any leaking issues. I'm reasonably sure it's just this specific tube has some flaw so it won't keep me away from getting another.

While I'm ripping off the painful destash bandaid, I might as well follow up with this one. Like the name, this one does hurt to let go. I had picked it up at a trade show and it somehow got stuffed into a random, never-used suitcase pocket for the return home. After misplacing it, I forgot all about it until I broke the suitcase zipper and had to get rid of it. I don't know how or why I missed checking this pocket a year and a half ago, but low and behold, there it was. I was excited with my discovery until I realized the gel formula was as dry and hard as a brick. It's not expensive so I may pick up a replacement for it, but this particular one is sadly unusable at this point.

This is another one I am a little sad to see go, but it just became necessary. The matte formula feels a little on the dry side, something I expect from the finish, but if you're a fan of layering with glosses like I am, it really doesn't matter. I adore the packaging on this and the colour is nice, but the packaging does not stay securely closed. If you like having cute items that stay on your vanity, this isn't an issue, but I need my lipsticks to be able to go in my purse for reapplication during the day. I can't tell you how many times I reached into a pocket to pull it out and grabbed an exposed lipstick bullet. Thankfully the drier formula kept it from making a mess all inside my bag, but having to wipe lipstick off my fingers all the time just started to annoy the bejeezus out of me. I have two more in other shades that I need to pay closer attention to to see if they also have this same issue.

Press Sample

I was sent this to review this past fall, so you can check out all my thoughts about this mascara on my original post. Most mascaras and I are not friends; even those that claim to be smudge-proof leave me with less-than-sexy raccoon eyes. I had issues with this mascara long before I go to that state: the formula is thick, and combined with the brush style, let me with horrible spider lashes. It's great for a Halloween look, but not for days I want to look nice. I've found that people either love or hate this mascara, and unfortunately, it's the latter for me.

I remember picking up this eyeshadow palette several years ago! At the time, I couldn't quite find this colourway at the drugstore, and I didn't want to spend a lot of money on something I wasn't sure would work on me. It's not a bad palette- the colours are still nice and the payout was ok for the price, but now I have more and better options. 

Now here's another blast from the past! I've owned this palette for a long time but don't recall when or where I go it. I wasn't crazy about the powdery formula, and the colours just weren't quite my jam. They're not shades I gravitate towards often now, and I have since acquired others like I prefer more. Rather than sitting unloved and taking up space, I'm letting it go.

After living somewhere with Targets that didn't stock this brand, I was so excited to be able to pick up several Profusion Cosmetics products when we came out to visit to prep for a move out here. I'm not sure if I purchased this during on of those visits or after my move, but it's time to let it go. The quality is not great but ok, but I'm ok with that given how affordable to brand is. Some of the shades don't have colour payout I hoped for, but again, taking the price into consideration, it's a good option for those on tight budgets. Some of the mattes are patchy when it comes to application, and since I have better quality eyeshadows in my stash, in the destash pile it goes! I have a couple other Profusion palettes I'm planning to use exclusively for a length of time that may or may not end up being culled as well.

August though December Stats
Empties: 36
Purged: 11
Total: 47

2019 Final Count
Empties: 108
Purged: 75
Total: 183

I did it! Not only did I hit my goal, I surpassed it by 33 products! I was reasonably sure I would hit my goal, especially since I included purging unloved and expired items from my stash, but it is still so satisfying to see the numbers creep up throughout the year. I had no plans to repeat this project this year, but after writing up this post, I decided I really should do it. I know it's just things going in the trash (or recycled or handed over to a friend if it's a good product just not for me), but I feel so accomplished and want to enjoy this again! I decided to set my goal for 175 products this year. Some of my skincare items I'm using right now are much more concentrated than my previous year's products, so it's obviously slowing down how quickly I can go through products. I'm hoping to do more purging this year as the latter half of 2019 had me on a more hectic schedule and I didn't test all the potential purge items as planned. Wish me luck!

For those of you that participated in a Purge and Pan type project last year, did you meet your goals? Are you planning to do one this year? I'd love to hear the details of your own goals: panning or purging? how many items? etc.

Until next time, dear readers, have a wonderful day!

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Sunday, January 12, 2020

Highlights from the Beauty Spotlight Team

Last week kept me busy and unable to finish up a blog post, but I still wanted to share some of the goodies shared by other members of the Beauty Spotlight Team this week. I'm *thisclose* to finishing up a couple posts, so my own content will be up in a day or two. Until then, here's a few for your enjoyment!

Lola's Secret Beauty Blog just published the Best and Most Covet-Worthy Luxury Skincare Repurchases of 2019, and these products are so fantastic that they are destined to be repurchased again in 2020!

I can’t believe I have found the answer to my oily skin issues. I have been able to wear my makeup for 12hrs in the Florida sun without issue thanks to these new Urban Decay All Nighter products! Check out my most recent post over on Crazy Beautiful Makeup to see just what I am talking about!

Beauty Info Zone has always been a fan of Jane Iredale cosmetics. They've recently added some products that help bees so now we're mesmerized. Oh and there's a giveaway for some along with the review.

Pammy Blogs Beauty shares how to get Kerry Washington's and Nicole Kidman's gorgeous makeup looks from the Golden Globes with Neutrogena!

For January "skincare month", Never Say Die Beauty is hosting a giveaway of two fabulous gel-creams - an eye cream and a firming product - from Robin McGraw Revelation's line of luxury skincare. Enter to win them!

Erika, chief chick over at Notes from My Dressing Table reunited with a once much loved lippie line Buxom Plumping Lip Cream. Are they both so excited because they're reunited? Come on over and find out.

If you want to stay organized in the new year you should check out Stacie's latest post about her favorite planner on The Makeup Obsessed Mom blog.

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Wednesday, January 1, 2020

Written In the Stars with KBShimmer and the Polish Pickup

Happy New Year, dear readers! Here's to a new and healthy year ahead! 2019 ended on a rough note with me enjoying the flu for the holiday season; needless to say, I'm really looking forward to a more positive month and year ahead!

Press Sample

A new month means another Polish Pickup is upon us! The theme for January is "Written in the Stars", and for today's blog post, I have the offerings by KBShimmerto share with you. Let's jump in!

Astronaut Ice Cream
Sugar Scrub

As a child in the 80’s, space was on the forefront of a lot of minds. We had space shuttles heading into orbit, popular movies like Star Wars and Space Camp, and two space centers allowed us to get up close and personal with NASA. My personal favorite from the space center visit? A bar of Astronaut Ice Cream. That freeze-dried bar sparked my imagination and made me feel like I, too, could walk on the moon!

Inspired by that bar of freeze-dried Neapolitan ice cream, Astronaut Ice Cream sugar scrub features three layers, each with its own scent. The classic strawberry, vanilla and chocolate flavors are represented by the pink, cream, and brown-colored layers. Use each layer individually, or stir them to form a juicy, chocolate-covered berry scent.

I'm a fan of KBShimmer's sugar scrubs, so I'm glad to see another scent join the brand lineup! I've decided to mix mine together as I love chocolatey scents although I love the look of it with all the individual colours.

Due to the extra time needed to make this particular scrub (mixing multiple scents and layering), this has been capped to 135 jars.

Retail: $10

I Need Space
Magnetic Nail Polish

Looking up at the sky, I feel such a sense of wonder. That deepened black canvas seems to be endless. A splattering of twinkling stars and streaking comets just make me wonder how much more there is out there beyond the Milky Way. I Need Space is inspired by stunning photos of our galaxy from earth, with that hazy band of stars and deepened sky.

I Need Space starts as a silver slate. When you apply a magnet, a bright silver line accents a blackened-navy background. Micro and small holo glitters sparkle like the night sky, while tiny, shifty blue flakes complete this galaxy-inspired shade.

This polish is a stunner no matter how you choose to wear it. Sure, adding in the magnetic effect makes this shade out of this world, but the simple deep silver hue with subtle sparkle is quite spectacular as well. Magnetic nail polishes are the best at two-for-one polishes!

I used two coats of I Need Space for full coverage. The formula is a little on the thicker side, but this is par for the course with magnetic polishes, and it still applied pretty easily to the nails.

Retail: $10

The January Polish Pickup will be open this Friday, January 3rd through Monday, January 6th. These products are available during this time frame only, so be sure to snag them while you can! With the sugar scrub being limited in quantity, you'll want to pick up one of those asap so you don't miss out. Please keep in mind that orders submitted to the Polish Pickup are submitted as a preorder; allow for three weeks for shipping from Polish Pickup headquarters.

Are you enjoying the start to a new year and decade? Are you going to be starting the decade out of this world with this month's Polish Pickup? Cheers to the new year, dear readers!

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