Rae Morris Collection Set: First Impressions

it’s been more than a month since i’ve owned these brushes, and i was hoping to be able to review a good number by now.  sadly, my asia trip was more taxing than expected, and i ended up not using makeup all that much.  i’ve played with a majority of them at least a few times though, so here’s a first impressions look into the set, to tide you over.

Rae Morris Collection Set (two brush holders in front not included in set)

Rae Morris Collection Set (two brush holders in front not included in set)

first, let’s talk bristles.  most of the brushes in the set are made of blue squirrel (all the dark brown ones), with a few others being made of goat, synthetic, or a mix of goat/synthetic.  it is advertised as cruelty free.  if you own any Hakuhodo or Wayne Goss brushes, the first thing you’re going to notice is that the Rae Morris brushes are not as soft!  in fact, the blue squirrel brushes in the Rae Morris line are not as soft as the Hakuhodo goat brushes.  when i pointed this out to the Beautylish customer service rep, she told me that they’re not as soft because they’re not the same type of squirrel hair.  i’m not exactly sure what that means.  different breed?  hair from different part of the blue squirrel? they are, however, softer than the Tom Ford brushes!  also, be prepared for a little shedding.  new and unwashed brushes will shed a few hairs during usage.  supposedly these are floater hairs stuck into the brush, after it’s been tempted into the ferrule, so that the brush can be even more densely packed.  some of these floater hairs don’t actually make it into the ferrule, so they fall out during application.  i apologize for the packed/crowded picture, but i wanted you to get an idea of what it might be like if you just went with one plate.  it’s crowded but doable.

why magnets at the bottom of the brushes? Rae Morris sells frames and plates made of steel so that the brushes can stand on a flat surface, allowing you to see your brushes easier than you would be able to in a canister.  if you’re ocd, you’ll be happy to know that another virtue of this set up is that brushes do not touch each other and cross contaminate.  it also saves the hairs from getting kinked and bent out of shape accidentally in storage.  for example, you accidentally packed them too tightly and the bristles of two brushes are pushed into each other.  it can be more space saving than a bunch of brushes in a brush roll or lying spread out across your desk.  i purchased the Rae Frame separately, and it’s been really easy to cart the brushes into the bathroom for cleaning.  afterwards, i hang them upside-down from the frame to dry.  now i don’t have to waste paper towels or disinfect my countertop before washing my brushes!

the set costs $785; if you were to buy them individually, the total cost would be $1072, netting you $287 in savings.  i love the aesthetics of the brushes.  it’s hard to resist the gleaming wood with the dark grain striations, gun metal ferrules, and chrome magnet bottom.  it looks very sleek with all the magnetized brushes free standing on the plate.  you’ll either have to spring extra for 2 holders for the other 4 brushes (#26 Radiance, #5 Flawless Shader, #4 Square Kabuki and #3 Ultimate Cheekbone), store them in their boxes, or find some other way to display them.  the brushes feel well balanced in your hand during use.

now onto the brushes!  usually, i’d order them according to the brush number so it is easier to reference, but i thought i’d order them by how much i like them at this time.  after all, it’s an impressions post, so you want to hear about the good stuff first, right?

#5 Flawless Shader, #4 Square Kabuki, #3 Ultimate Cheekbone

#5 Flawless Shader, #4 Square Kabuki, #3 Ultimate Cheekbone

#5: Flawless Shader.  without a doubt, this is my favorite brush in the collection.  it is a versatile brush that gives you fast application and well blended results every time!  this is now my go-to contouring brush.  one pass will give you a natural contour.  2-3 passes and you have nicely chiseled bone structure.  (an essential, to diminish the effects of my gluttony in asia!)  it even doubles well as a blush and highlighting brush.  in a pinch, i’ve also used it for finishing powders.  its small footprint makes it perfect for travel.

# 4: Square Kabuki.  another versatile brush!  it cleans up fall out well.  i’ve also used this for precise placement of blush and in conjunction with the Flawless Shader to deepen my contour.  after my face contour, i drag the brush from the outer corner of my eye towards my temples.  this is a tip from Rae Morris to give the eyes an extra lift.  she uses Brush 3: Ultimate Cheekbone for this purpose, but i prefer to use this smaller brush or the #5 Flawless Shader.  i also like this brush for contouring my nose area when i bother to do that.

#3: Ultimate Cheekbone.  this brush is not high on my list, but since it serves a similar purpose to the other two brushes above, there’s no point in making you scroll all the way to the bottom for the comparison.  the brush is well constructed and fool proof to use.  however, the bristles are less dense than #5 Flawless Shader, so the effect is much more subtle.  this brush is for you if you want a very subtle contour or if you’re a new/intimidated by contouring.  it’s also good at applying intensely pigmented blush lightly, so now i reach for this brush instead of a dual fiber blush brush.

#26 Radiance

#26 Radiance

#26: Radiance: this brush is unique in my collection.  a while ago i was hoping to pick up Becca’s The One Perfecting Brush but decided against it after running my hand through the bristles.  Radiance, i’m happy to report, feels much softer to the touch.  it’s not marketed to be the one-brush-does-all brush the way Becca’s One is, but the shape is similar.  Radiance is about 3 inches wide to One Perfecting’s 3.5 inches.  so far i’ve been very pleased with the way it buffs my liquid foundation into the skin.  the application is fast, and the foundation melds into my skin much better than anything, other than my Beauty Blender.  if pressed for time, i’ll use it for my whole face, even the under eye area, but i generally prefer to pull out something a little softer for the delicate undereye area.  it’s also great for diffusing an overly pigmented blush in a hurry!

#23 Liquid Foundation, #21 Mineral Buffer, #24 Foundation Contour, #1 Deluxe Kabuki, #2 Mini Kabuki

#23 Liquid Foundation, #21 Mineral Buffer, #24 Foundation Contour, #1 Deluxe Kabuki, #2 Mini Kabuki

#1 Deluxe Kabuki.  not to sound like a broken record, but another versatile brush.  (but that’s the mark of a great brush right?) mostly, i use this brush for blush, but i’ve also used it for highlighting and finishing powders.  i particularly like it for blending out cream blushes.  it gives a really nice melded into the skin look that i haven’t been able to achieve with my other brushes or fingers.  it does a really good job of picking up just the right of pigment no matter how intense or natural the blush (of course i help it a little by varying the pressure when i run it through the blush).  it’s also supposed to be able to contour, but i haven’t been able bring myself to use something other than the #5 Flawless Shader for that.

#2: Mini Kabuki.  a more precise version of the above.  it can be used for everything the above is used for, but i tend to use it for setting my under eye concealer.  if i were to use one of these taper point kabukis to contour, it’d probably be this one, since the smaller head will give me a thinner line for my smaller face.

#13 Deluxe Eyeliner, #8.5 Créme Shadow Shader, #7.5 Deluxe Round Shader, #7 Deluxe Point Shader, #8 Medium Point Shader, #9 Detail Point Shader, #6 Deluxe Pro Blender, #10 Deluxe Oval Shadow, #11 Medium Oval Shadow, #12 Lash Line Smudger

#13 Deluxe Eyeliner, #8.5 Créme Shadow Shader, #7.5 Deluxe Round Shader, #7 Deluxe Point Shader, #8 Medium Point Shader, #9 Detail Point Shader, #6 Deluxe Pro Blender, #10 Deluxe Oval Shadow, #11 Medium Oval Shadow, #12 Lash Line Smudger

i feel the repetitiveness of the eye brushes in the collection are overkill, unless the point is to give you doubles to work with.  i would have preferred to see a bit more size variance or different shapes within the eye brushes.

#13 Deluxe Eye Liner.  the thickest brush head of the 3 eyeliners in the collection.  this is a really awesome liner brush.  it’s thick enough to lay down a thick line but can also do thinner lines with light pressure.  the point does not splay, and i don’t have to constantly dip my brush back into the pot for more product.  it makes using gel liner quick and painless.

#10 Deluxe Oval Shadow & #11 Medium Oval Shadow.  there is approximately a 4mm size difference, in both height and width, between the two.  the Medium Oval is a bit larger than my preferred all over shadow brushes (Hakuhodo J5523 or Sigma Blending E25).  however, if i’m careful and angle the brush carefully, i can do the same things with it as i do my favorites.  like my favorites, this is a functional brush that can do everything in a pinch.  you can lay down a couple of colors and do some general blending for some quick looks.  there’s a tiny bit more eyeshadow fallout with the Rae Morris brushes, but it’s not a huge difference.  i don’t tend to use the Deluxe Oval Shadow since the Medium Oval is already bigger than my preferred size.  you can use it to lay down an all over shade, but i prefer a denser brush for that purpose (so more pigment is laid down to neutralize lid discoloration).  occasionally, i’ll use it as a clean blending brush for a finishing touch, but it’s really not necessary.  most of the eye brushes in this collection are very good at laying down color without harsh edges.

#12 Lash Line Smudger.  this is the brush i end up using most as a shadow brush.  because it’s smaller, i can lay down color with more precision.  it also works better with the more metallic shades, as the Oval Shadow brushes tend to diffuse the metallic effect a little as the color is being laid down.  it’s small and fine enough to use as a liner brush.

#6 Deluxe Pro Blender.  Rae Morris suggests this as a blending finishing brush for the eyes or powder contouring.  it’s a bit large for my eye area and, like i’ve mentioned before, Rae Morris brushes blend and diffuse so well, you don’t really need a finisher.  i use this mostly for blush or patting setting powder under my eyes.

is 4 point blenders in a collection excessive? especially since one of them doesn’t warrant a separate number of its own?  i guess if the size works for you, you might be happy to have an extra one on hand to use as a clean blending brush.  sadly, #7 Deluxe Point Shader is already too big for my lids, so i definitely do not need #7.5 Deluxe Round Shader.  while #7.5 Round Shader is rounder than its sibling #7, it does still have a mild point.  i haven’t played with these two much since the bigger size requires more experimentation on my part.  i do really enjoy #8 Medium Point Shader and #9 Detail Point Shader though! while i lament the fact that they’re not as soft as my Hakuhodo or Wayne Goss brushes, they are easier to use!  crease color are placed exactly where it needs to go, and blending is achieved faster without diffusing too far.  it’s great at pulling out your eyeshadow to a point instead of a blob.  definitely the easiest crease shadow brush to use in my collection.  i’d definitely recommend these two brushes for makeup newbies or those who feel frustrated that they’re shadows never quite blend to the shape they’d like.

#8.5 Créme Shadow Shader.  why 8.5? why not a different number since it’s not a point shader?  purely synthetic, this brush functions well.  it’s one of the few in my collection that actually does a decent job of picking up and applying my Makeup Forever Aqua Creams.  if you’re looking for a cream eyeshadow brush, this one would be high in my consider list.

#23 Liquid Foundation, #21 Mineral Buffer, #24 Foundation Contour, #1 Deluxe Kabuki, #2 Mini Kabuki

#23 Liquid Foundation, #21 Mineral Buffer, #24 Foundation Contour, #1 Deluxe Kabuki, #2 Mini Kabuki

#24 Foundation Contour.  a synthetic brush that works very well for blending out under eye concealer.  this is the brush i reach for if i’m not using my Beauty Blender.

#23 Liquid Foundation.  a duo fiber brush made of synthetic and goat hair.  it gets the job done but not as fast nor as well as #26 Radiance Brush.

#20 Concealer.  i don’t use concealer brushes like this, but this one performed better than the same types in my collection.  if you like this type of brush, i’d definitely recommend it.  it places concealer and blends very well.  though it doesn’t come to a fine point, it places small dots of concealer pretty precisely.

#21 Mineral Buffer.  how you like this brush will depend on what kind of coverage you want from your mineral foundation.  if you want medium to full coverage, this brush is not dense enough.  if you’re looking for light to medium coverage, it does it well.

these are all the brushes i’ve tried more than twice so far.  so far, i’m loving #5 Flawless Shader and #26 Radiance brushes.  i’d buy these again in a heartbeat.  in fact, i’m already contemplating the purchase of another #5 Flawless Shader for a loved one.  i’m also very happy to own #8 Medium Point Shader and #9 Detailed Point Shader.  these are the easiest crease/blending brushes i own to date, but i’ll be keeping an eye out to see if there’s any close Hakuhodo matches.  in general, i’d say that i prefer Hakuhodo brushes because they’re softer and perform just as well if not better.

it is difficult to say which has the better economic value because which is the more apples to apples comparison?  do i compare the Rae Morris brushes that are made from blue squirrel with the Hakuhodo goat brushes which are just as soft, if not softer?  Or is it more fair to compare them with the Hakuhodo blue squirrel line?  obviously, if you compare them with the Hakuhodo goat line, Hakuhodo will come off as the more budget friendly option.  however, the beauty and utility of Rae Morris brushes can not be denied.  it would be even better if she had magnetized the whole collection, instead of leaving 4 brushes unmagnetized and forcing you to buy 2 extra holders for them.  in retrospect, i probably would have been better off with the Rae Morris Personal Set and picking up Radiance and Flawless Shader separately, but i wanted to review the whole set for the blog.  if you’re new to makeup or are considering gifting brushes to someone new to makeup, i would definitely consider some of these brushes.  the way they’re shaped help correct color placement and lessens the need for skill in blending.  if you’re an avid collector, you’ll have to decide whether aesthetics and magnet functionality is worth giving up some bristle softness for.

Readers, what do you think of the Rae Morris Brush Collection? do you think the magnet is functional or gimmicky?  what’s your preferred method of brush storage?  please share your thoughts with me in the comments!

a Cheaper Alternative to Making Your Brushes Stand like Rae Morris Brushes

so i got an email from Beautylish the other day notifying me that they are starting to carry Rae Morris’s line of makeup brushes. one of the selling points of these brushes was that they’ve got magnets at the bottom of the brush, so they can stand on anything a magnet can stick to.  the point of this?  Rae Morris sells frames and plates made of steel so that the brushes can stand on a flat surface, allowing you to see your brushes easier than you would be able to in a canister.  if you’re ocd, you’ll be happy to know that another virtue of this set up is that brushes do not touch each other and cross contaminate.  this is also more space saving than a bunch of brushes in a brush roll or lying spread out across your desk.  i wash my brushes often so dust is not an issue.  if you rarely wash your brushes, you may want to consider the dust issue.

so what if you want the benefits of your brushes standing, but you don’t want to shell out the money for a new line of brushes?  meet Makeup Organizer by Zen Cosmetics.

Makeup Organizer by Zen Cosmetics

Makeup Organizer in green by Zen Cosmetics

this cute little guy is made of plastic and silicone.  it’s dimensions are 8.3″ L x 2″ W x 1.3″ H (210mm x 52mm X 34mm).  the silicone top, with the circular and diamond patterns, allows for all different sizes of brushes to be held securely.  i can even hold this upside down and not have brushes fall out.  the boyfriend suggested that if we put velcro to the bottom of it, it could possibly allow you to dry brushes upside down.  since i live in la, brushes generally dry for me overnight while lying flat, so i haven’t needed to test this.  if you guys are interested in me testing this for you, leave me a comment down below.  the silicone returns to its original shape without any problems after you take the brush out.  i was a bit concerned that thicker brush handles, such as the powder brush on the right, would overstretch the silicone over time.  it turned out to be a needless worry because that brush sat there for a month without being used, and when i finally found a different home for it, the silicone easily returned to its original shape! phew! /big sigh of relief!

i like this for several reasons.  it’s cheap! i got it on sale for $5! you can buy an orange one on sale right now for $7 on quirky.com, or you can find it on amazon.com for $12.99 in grey, pink, or green (pictured).  i like it better than filling a glass container with marbles because brushes come in and out of the holder easier.  i had problems finding something other than marbles that wouldn’t scratch the handle of my brushes.  (if you have an alternative suggestion to marbles, please leave me a comment down below). i like two rows of these organizers, one for my eye brushes and one for my face.  like Rae Morris points out, this set up lets you find the brush you need easier.  you’ll also be less likely to pull out your brushes by the bristles, thus avoiding extra wear and tear on your expensive brushes.  i also think it’s really cute and adds a nice pop of color to my vanity.  i’ve seen other bloggers use this to hold their eye primer, eye liners, and tweezers too, so the possibilities are unless! last but not least, the silicone part detaches for easy cleaning!

Readers, how do you like to store your brushes? do you own or lust after any of the Rae Morris brushes?


Nars Dual Intensity Eye Shadow Palette!

i know what you’re thinking!  another palette?  does this girl ever buy anything else?!?  i assure you i do, and this will be the last palette for a while.  i don’t make any promises for singles and quads though.  eyeshadows are my weakness, especially if they come in palettes.  i just love the huge range of pretty colors available.  after all, green is my favorite, and i’m not adventurous enough to wear it anywhere other than on my eyes.

i’ve been coveting the Nars Dual Intensity Shadows for quite a while now but always passed them over in preference for the reformulated MUFE Artist Shadows.  i figured i had to draw the line somewhere in order to not go bankrupt.  i’m so glad i waited instead of splurging during the Friends & Family Sales madness.  now instead of buying singles for $29 each (.05oz), i can try 8 colors for $79 (.03oz/color).  i’m especially thrilled to see that a lot of the colors i was eyeing individually were selected for the palette – Subra, Giove, Andromeda, and Himalia.  there is one exclusive shade, Ursa Major.  the palette also includes a synthetic brush, but i don’t care much for it.  it’s softer than most brushes included in palettes (ie. UD Naked 2 or Smashbox Double Exposure), but it’s not as easy to use as my Sigma or Hakuhodo brushes.  i found that my own brushes gave a more pigmented look, when used dry, than the included brush.  when damp, the included brush would sometimes splay a little and affect color placement.  maybe it’s my technique though, as i have heard other bloggers liking the brush.  be warned that the compact’s exterior is a mirrored surface, which attracts finger prints and smudges easily.  since i store mine away in a drawer after use, i don’t really mind it looking smudged.  the hinge is stiff enough that you can adjust the mirror to any angle you wish, and it will stay put.

Nars Dual Intensity Eye Palette

Nars Dual Intensity Eye Palette

(L to R) Europa, Himalia, Ursa Major and Subra swatched dry then wet

(L to R) Europa, Himalia, Ursa Major and Subra swatched dry then wet

as you can see, Europa is a bit sheer when used dry, but everything else is well pigmented.

  • Europa is a pale peach with pink.  when used dry it looks more peachy and is somewhat sheer.  when used wet, the pink becomes more prominent and pigmentation more opaque.
  • Himalia is a golden brown topaz shade. dry or wet it had nice pigmentation.  when wet, the finish becomes much more metallic.
  • Ursa Major is a medium chocolate brown.  the color is lighter and warmer when applied dry and becomes more shimmery and cool toned when applied wet.  this color is exclusive to the palette.
  • Subra is a burgundy brown/purple.  when used dry, it looks more brown.  when used wet, the purple tones intensify.
(L to R) Andromeda, Lysithea, Giove, Sycorax

(L to R) Andromeda, Lysithea, Giove, Sycorax

  • Andromeda is a pale beige that borders on white.  like Europa, the pigmentation is sheer when used dry but becomes opaque when wet.
  • Lysithea is a medium shark grey with a hint of warm olive.  the olive is not really so much a color as it affects the tone of the silver.  when dry, it’s a duller darker shade.  used wet, it becomes much more metallic and lighter in color.
  • Giove is a dark navy blue.  when dry, it looks blackened and dull.  when used wet, it becomes more metallic and blue.
  • Syocrax is black.  used dry, it’s a soft black that works well for giving the other shades a bit more dimension and drama. used wet, it comes a full, pigmented black.

now let’s see them in action!

Andro, Subra, Euro Closeup-02504

Europa, Subra and Andromeda

here you see Europa used wet with Subra used dry and Andromeda as a brow highlight and used wet in the inner corner.

Europa, Subra and Andromeda

Europa, Sycorax

Europa, Sycorax

here you see Europa used dry on the lid with Sycorax used dry in the outer third and Sycorax used wet as a liner and Europa wet on the inner corner.  notice how Europa shifts between peach and pink depending on whether or not it’s used wet.  side note, if you tear easily, do not use Sycorax wet as a liner.  it bleeds into a hot mess 😛  now i totally remember why my go-to is a waterproof liquid eyeliner!

Euro Syco dry, wet as enhance context-02542


Europa and Subra

Europa, Subra and Andromeda

here i’ve applied Europa and Subra wet with Andromeda used dry as brow highlight.  see how Subra intensifies and shifts more towards the purple spectrum?  it does look a bit more purple in reality, but my camera is really uncooperative with brownish purple shades 😦

Himalia, Lysithea and Ursa Major

Himalia, Lysithea and Ursa Major

here you see Himalia used wet on lid with Lysithea used wet in the center of lid and Ursa Major used dry in the outer third. Ursa Major was also used wet as liner.

W Himalia Lysithea Ursa Major andro Context-02513

Lysithea and Giove

Lysithea, Giove, Andromeda and Ursa Major

i used all the shadows dry in this look.  Lysithea and Giove with Andromeda on the inner corner and Ursa Major on the lower lashline.  see how much darker Lysithea looks when used dry?

dry Lysithea Giove Context-02528

Himalia, Giove, Lysithea

Himalia, Giove, Lysithea

here you see Himalia used dry, Giove used wet, and Lysithea used dry on the lower lashline.  i love how wetting Giove really intensifies the blue!

Dry Him, Wet Giove, Dry Ly Context-02564

wet Andro UM closeup-02595

Andromeda and Ursa Major

here you see both Andromeda and Ursa Major used wet.

wet Andro UM Context-02591

you can see how when used wet, it really makes a difference in the context pictures.  the lighter shades brighten the eye more and the darker shades become more pigmented and dramatic.

overall, i’m definitely happy with my purchase.  the palette is gorgeous to stare at and pretty on the eyes as well.  most of the shadows were pigmented and easy to work with.  the ones that gave me the most trouble were Europa and Andromeda, but that’s to be expected since they’re close to my skin tone to begin with.  if you like just 3 of the colors, you’ve more than broken even with the singles price.  however, if the vibrancy staying true for 7+ hours is important to you, i’m saddened to report these shadows don’t do as well compared to MUFE Artist Shadows, Lorac, or Urban Decay.  they do fade a little, and i’m wearing them over Nars’ own primer.  i do love how Nars has given us a large range of colors that work well together, and i think the colors themselves are very sophisticated.

if you’re interested in seeing some of these looks under more daylight conditions, please hop over to my instagram.  you’ll also be able to see looks that will eventually make their way into future posts!

Readers, yay or nay on using shadows wet?  are you still loving the dark jewel tones of winter or are you ready to move into spring pastels?

PurePressed Essential Oils Marula Nourishing Shampoo & Conditioner

the search for a sls free shampoo that isn’t too stripping and has good foaming action is long and arduous!  i’m happy to report that after a year and a half of ho-hum products, i’ve finally found one to love.  enter PurePressed Essential Oil’s Marula Nourishing Shampoo and Conditioner!  bonus, they’re also paraben free!

Marula Nourishing Shampoo and Conditioner

Marula Nourishing Shampoo and Conditioner

first, what is marula oil?  it is pressed from the nuts of marula trees that grow in South Africa.  it’s similar to argan oil in that it’s high in antioxidants and comprised of linoleic and oleic acids.  the difference between the two is that argan oil has higher concentrations of linoleic and marula has higher oleic acids.  it does feel slightly heavier than argan oil, but it is still considered lightweight and fast absorbing.  some of the benefits are vit c, calcium, vitamin B complex, vitamin E, phosphorus, and iron.

it was love after first use with this set of shampoo and conditioner.  the shampoo produced a very luxurious foaming action, which a majority of sls free shampoos on the market fail to do.  the scent is lightly sweet and pear-like.  the conditioner was lightweight and had great slip.  it detangled my shoulder length hair with ease.  after one use, i noticed my hair was noticeably shinier and softer.  i’ve always had pretty soft hair, but with extended use, my hair has become much silkier and more pleasurable to touch.  the proof? my boyfriend has some irritable patches of skin on his shoulder and arm from eczema.  usually, he reaches for something to put in between himself and my hair after 5-10mins of cuddling.  now we can go much longer before he reaches for his barrier (about 20-30mins).

i have fine, oily hair.  the Marula set does not weigh down my hair and keeps my hair clean for about half a day longer than a majority of products i’ve tried.  while marula oil is a slightly heavier oil than argan, PurePressed Essential Oil has blended this line of products with some lighter weight oils (grapeseed and kalahari melon) to balance things out.  hair is not volumize, but it’s not weighed down either.  i also love the fact the oils used in their products are cold pressed.  produced at lower heats, cold pressed oils will retain more of their nutritional value making for a more effective product.

there’s just two tiny complaints that keep this set from being the perfect product.  one, the 1 liter bottles comes with a flip top cap.  i feel very conflicted about this.  1 liter bottles are pretty large and heavy.  it’s a bit cumbersome to handle in the shower for my tiny hands.  i kind of wish for a pump.  however, this means it will be easier to turn upside down and get the last bits of product out the bottle, so there is that silver lining.  the other thing is that the conditioner is pretty tenacious, so it takes a little longer than i’m used to rinsing it out.  however, these minor annoyances don’t prevent me from loving Marula Nourishing Shampoo and Conditioner!  i recommend them wholeheartedly!  PurePressed Essential Oil also makes argan and coconut oil versions if marula oil doesn’t strike your fancy.  shampoos and conditioners come in 12oz for $8.95 or 32oz (1L) for $18.95.

if you’re interested in purchasing soon, they’re actually on sale on Hautelook until sun 2/22 8am pst.  sets of 32oz bottles are $22, or you can buy individual 32oz bottles for $12.

Readers, do you care whether or not your cleansers have sls? what’s your favorite shampoo/conditioner?

Shu Uemura Metal:Ink Liquid Eye Liner

happy valentine’s day!  in lieu of flowers, please accept this peek into Shu Uemura’s Spring/Summer 2015 Metallic Bouquet Collection!

so i think anyone who has read my blog on a regular basis can tell i have a thing for shimmer and glitter.  one of my favorite ways of creating a quick look when i’m short on time is to do a lid brightening or a medium smokey shade with a glittery metallic liner and some mascara.  usually, this is accomplished quickly via a pencil liner, as a lot of liquid ones need several passes to achieve opacity and even spread of glitter. Shu Uemura Metal: Ink Liquid Eye Liner, however, is a happy exception. they’re so fantastic i’m not sure whether i should consider buying more colors, backups, or just pray they make it permanent…

Shu Uemura Metal:Ink Liquid Eye Liners in ME Purple, ME Red, ME Brown

Shu Uemura Metal:Ink Liquid Eye Liners in ME Purple, ME Red, ME Brown


Metal: Ink Liquid Eye Liner comes with a sponge tip applicator.  usually, i dislike these as they can be too hard and sharp and create an uneven swatch of pigment.  however, Metal: Ink Liner’s applicator is soft and very flexible.  it’s very comfortable to use and can create either a very fine line or a thicker line by varying the pressure during application.  pigmentation and glitter goes on very evenly.  you’re not going to get a lot of glitter on one end and two specks on the other.  in two swipes, i have a pigmented line that i’m very happy with.  Shu Uemura really hit it out of the park with these liners both in formulation and in color offerings.  the packaging makes it easy to tell which color is which too.  there is a color band at the bottom of the liner and a matching colored top on the applicator.  today, i have ME Purple, ME Brown, and ME Red to show you.

ME Purple, ME Red, ME Brown

ME Purple, ME Red, ME Brown

Clinique Eyes To Go Purple Context-02430

Shu Uemura Metal:Ink ME Purple

Clinique Eyes To Go Purple Context-02426

Metal:Ink ME Purple is a nice blue toned purple with light blue glitter running through it.  it works well to add interest to a soft, casual look but works equally well with a dark smokey look.

Shu Uemura Metal:Ink ME Brown

Shu Uemura Metal:Ink ME Brown

ME Brown Context-02350

Metal: Ink ME Brown is a great way to amp up your neutral look.  it’s a warm chocolate brown with gold sparkles running through.

the last color i have to show you is a very unusual choice for me. i figured my stash needed a little shaking up, so my third choice was ME RED.  it’s a true red glitter liner that’s surprisingly easy to wear.  i was afraid that it’d make me look bruised or pink-eyed, but it’s actually fun to wear.

ME Red

ME Red

here it is over a light orange shadow, so you can see it pretty much true to color.  below, i worked it into a smokey look.

Me Red with MUFE D826 Fig over black base

Me Red with MUFE D826 Fig over black base

so i hope you enjoyed this look at the Shu Uemura Metal:Ink liners.  although they’re a bit pricy at $29, i love how they perform and look.  if you’re looking to splurge on a seasonal collection, i think these liners are very worthy of your consideration.  most of the colors offered are colors that will work any season, so you’ll be adding a workhorse into your collection, rather than something that will be put away after a season or two.

i’ve also started an instagram account.  i’ll be posting pics of looks you see in posts taken outside in case you want to see them in a different lighting.  you can see the look for ME Purple and ME Brown there now.  i’ll also start posting looks for post as i do them so check it out if you want a sneak peek at what’s coming up!

Readers, what’s your go to romantic look?  do you like neutral or colorful liners?

Lorac Party Palette

Lorac Party Palette

Lorac Party Palette

so it seems like i’m on a roll with eye palettes lately.  this is the second one i’ve picked up that’s become an instant favorite! the flaws are very few and the range of colors are my personal favorite combinations.  even more unusual for me, the pinks in this palette are ones that both visually appeal to me and actually work with my skintones!

let’s go over the flaws first, as that’s a short list.  first off, it’s all shimmer, no mattes.  this is actually not a huge problem for me as i love my shimmers and the only time i want a matte color is for my brow highlight.  i don’t mind digging out a matte single to pair with this palette. however, if you like your palettes to be able to stand on their own, this may not be the one for you unless you don’t mind a shimmery brow bone.  second, the pigmentation to the white shade is a little weak.  it’s visible, but it goes on a bit sheer.  last, the vibrancy of the purple shade is not as good as the rest of the colors and sheers out when blending, so you’ll want to do a little bit of layering.  the quality of the rest of the shadows are typical Lorac quality.  the shadows are buttery and blend out easily.  i didn’t experience much, if any, fall out (except with the It Cosmetics brushes i was testing)

Lorac Party Palette

Lorac Party Palette

Party Palette uner the sun

Party Palette under the sun

Lorac didn’t see fit to name these shades (i hate that).  the two shades furthest to the left are the bigger highlighter shades from the bottom of the palette.  the colors are as follows:

  • White Highlight
  • Pink Highlight
  • Light Peach with golden tones
  • Light Pink.  what this looks like depends on your lighting.  i’ve seen it go from a cool frosty pink to a more mute pink with beige tones.
  • Brown.  this is a medium dark shade that’s not too warm.
  • Dark Pink.  this is a more intense pink that’s sparklier and has a bit of brown in it, lending it a warmer tone.
  • Purple.  upon first application, this is a satisfying shade of cool toned purple.  sadly, it’s not as pigmented as other shades and has a tendency to sheer out when blended.  it is a serviceable shade though.
  • Sage Green.  of course, no favorite palette of mine can be without a green.  the shade they’ve chosen here works well both as a single color smokey look or as a crease/outer v color for the lighter colors, for a natural day look.
  • Turquoise.  a bright medium shade turquoise.
  • Hunter Green.  this is a dark smokey hunter green with green sparkles running through it.

now let’s see it in action!

Gold and Dark Green Closeup-02282

Light Peach and Hunter Green

Gold and Dark Green Context-02277

Sage all over lid

Sage all over lid

Light Pink on lid, Pink in crease and White Highlight on brow bone

Light Pink on lid, Dark Pink in crease and White Highlight on brow bone

Light Pink, White Highlight Context-02270

Pink Highlight on lid, Brown in outer v

Pink Highlight on lid, Brown in outer v

Pink H, Brown Context-02341

Turquoise on lid, Sage in Crease, Purple in lower lash line and Pink Highlight on inner corners

Turquoise on lid, Sage in Crease, Purple in lower lash line and Pink Highlight on inner corners

PH, Turq, Sage, Purple Context-02482

overall, i really love this palette.  i can create the rosy neutral looks that i’ve always lusted over in Urban Decay’s Naked 3 palette.  i have colorful pops of color.  there are two fairly neutral greens, which is my favorite way of creating a neutral look. the only thing i would change about it is switching out that white highlighter for a matte highlighter shade.  it’s small and compact but has a good size mirror.  the mirror has a stiff hinge, so you can angle it however you need.  this might be my favorite travel palette to date.  all i’d need is to pack a matte single for highlight, and i’m set for shadows.  it’s a palette i constantly reach for.  i like how the shadows work well together in different combinations or how most shades can double as an all over shade if i just want a quick look.  for just $24, this palette may be the best bargain in my stash!

Readers, what do you think of Lorac’s Party Palette?  how do you like to wear your favorite neutral look?

Clinique Eyes To Go, Duty-Free Exclusive

Clinique Eyes To Go Palette

Clinique Eyes To Go Palette

today, i’d like to share with you a palette i’ve had in my possession for quite a while.  i picked this up last year, probably in my july trip to asia.  it’s a duty free exclusive.  why am i only sharing it with you now?  well to be honest, it sat neglected in my stash for a while.  they’re not the sort of eye catching colors that i’m drawn to, but i picked this up because i wanted to test Clinique’s eye shadow formula and thought the palette had a good range of colors.  it’s something i could be happy with on a short trip (5 days or less).  i liked how compact and light it was, as i am currently trying to shrink my travel makeup bag down to a more acceptable size.

as i began to work with the palette more, i slowly began to realize how great it was.  while the colors don’t make you scream “OMG, gotta have it!!”, they turn out to be colors that look soft and elegant and work well together in a variety of different combinations.  i also like that these are colors work in any season, and i often reach for this palette when i need something to go with the single eyeshadows in my collection.  it’s rare that i own a palette where i enjoy every single color, but i can honestly say that there really isn’t a dud in the palette.  it’s not surprising, as Clinique combined a few of their popular duos and quads to make this palette.

Clinique Eyes To Go, duty free exclusive

Clinique Eyes To Go, duty free exclusive

from left to right: in All About Shadow Soft Shimmer formulation, light pink from Going Steady Quad (10), both shades from Cocktail Duo (23), dark shade from Jammin Duo (20), white shade from Jenna’s Essentials Quad (02).  in All About Shadow Super Shimmer, dark shade from Wave After Wave Duo (08), light shade from Jeans And Heels Duo (22), Graphite Single (33).  the dark shade from Jammin Duo looks way off in this picture.  it’s a lot more blue than pictured.

green grey swatches-02446

here’s a better picture of the Super Shimmer formulation.  the white shade from Jenna’s Essentials Quad is kind of an in between in shimmer power.  it’s more shimmery than the rest of its Soft Shimmer siblings but not quite shimmery as the Super Shimmers.

all the shades are easy to blend and have decent to good pigmentation.  the lighter colors are a bit sheer, but they don’t apply patchy.  they can kick up a little bit of powder, but they’re not as bad as the Kat Von D eye shadows.  my only real complaint is that the shimmers are a bit much to act as brow highlight.  i wish the white had been a matte shade instead. now to the good part, seeing them in action!

Clinique Eyes To Go Purple Context-02426

Clinique Eyes To Go Purple Context-02430

here you see Clinique Going Steady 10 light pink in the inner corners, Cocktail Duo 23 light shade on the lid, and Jammin Duo 20 dark shade in the outer v.

purple outdoor

like i said before, my camera pulled out the reds of the purple so here’s another pic of the look taken with my iphone 6 in the shade of a building.

Clinique Eyes To Go Green Greys Closeup-02419


here you’re seeing Jenna’s Essentials 02 white shade as brow highlight, Wave After Wave 08 dark shade on the lid, Jeans and Heels 22 light shade as a transition in the crease, Graphite Single 33 in the outer v.  here’s the look look in context.

Clinique Eyes To Go Green Greys Context-02418


below you’ll see Clinique both shades of Cocktail Duo 23, and Jenna’s Essentials 02 white as inner corner highlight.

Brown Clinique Eyes To Go Context-02441

here’s that same look in natural light.

outdoor brown


looking at these photo’s, i’m sad to report that they really don’t do the shadows justice.  in real life they look a bit more pigmented and vibrant.  clearly i need a bit more research and practice with photography, but i hope they’re enough to pique your interest.  i particularly love the dark purple, green and grey shades in this palette.  Graphite in particular is a nice shade in the evening when you want an elegant smokey look, without it looking over the top.

Readers, what do you think of Clinique’s Eyes To Go?  do you like to travel with singles, quads or palettes when you go away for a week or more?




Teas For Curbing Sweet Cravings!

IMG_0336-0so with the new year, many resolve to eat better.  if by now your resolve is weakening, i have a tip to share with you.  i have a big collection of teas that act as dessert alternative.  of course, you can also eat fruit as dessert.  with tea, however, you won’t have to worry about spoilage or pesticides, and some flavors come closer to a genuine dessert than fruit can.  unsweetened, they’re also a calorie friendly way to indulge and can provide health benefits such as boosting your antioxidants and metabolism.  rooibos tea also has a high mineral content.  i used to love Teavana, until i realized a lot of their flavored blends contained artificial flavors.  so i began my search for purer teas that use natural flavorings instead.  below are my favorites, many i’m on my second or third bag of.  considering i have about 3 Elfa hanging drawers stuffed with tea, you may be sure these are the cream of the crop!  none of these need to be sweetened; a few have stevia already incorporated.  i’ve grouped by brands in no particular order.

Art of Tea hand blends their creations, many of them certified orgranic or fair trade.  based in LA, you’ll find their tea in almost every note worthy artisanal coffee shop in LA.  trendy restaurants carry their teas too or commission their own custom blends.    if you see something you like, they’re currently offering a 21% off site-wide promotion (excluding Tea of the Month and gift cards) until Jan 31st with the code: 21Days.  if you live in LA, you can also choose to pick up your order to save on shipping.

  • Caramelized Pear: tastes just like it sounds.  my favorite dessert tea in my entire collection
  • White Peach: organic white tea (so there will be some caffeine content) infused with peach flavor and accented with osmanthus.  this is a delicate tasting tea with fruit and floral notes.
  • Lemon Meringue: lemony and creamy, it really does taste similar to its namesake pie!
  • Brûlée Mint: creamy with a delicate hint of mint.  my favorite coffee shop (Copa Vida in Pasadena) makes a great latte with this.  i also enjoy it cold brewed (steep the tea in room temp or ice water for 6-8hours) in the summer.  this tea won the Best Flavored Herbal Ice Tea award at World Tea Expo.
  • Brewed Awakening is actually a blend of tea and roasted coffee beans.  it has a rich taste with caramel and chocolate notes.

Sugarbird Sweets & Teas is another local success story in LA.  in addition to selling custom blended teas, the owner Kei Okumura also makes the most delicious scones.  if you’re based in LA, my favorite scone flavors are Strawberry Buttermilk, Pumpkin Spice, Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip and Chive Feta Pepper.  yes, a savory scone.  rewarm in the oven while you make some scrambled eggs, and you’ll have the most amazing breakfast.  Kei’s teas are simple and artfully balanced to bring sweet, soothing satisfaction into your life.  the teas i’ve listed below have great similarities in ingredients.  this is not to mean Kei’s tea selection is limited, merely that i’m focused in my preferences.  it’s kind of like when you open your lipstick drawer, and you see 5 MLBB shades that are almost indistinguishable from each other 😛

  • Tio: apple pie in liquid form.  enough said.
  • Olivia: chamomile, mint and vanilla.  chamomile and vanilla are the prominent notes in this tea.  the mint is mild and provides a refreshing element.
  • Zoe: a green tea with mint, vanilla, and cacao nibs.  this is like a liquid andes mint.  also makes a great iced tea in the summer.
  • Chai.  i’ve tried a lot of chai blends over time, but Sugarbird’s is my favorite.  it has just the right amount of cardamom, finely balanced with the other spices.

Mountain Rose Herbs is a wonderful source for spices, herbs, and aromatherapy products as well as teas.  prices are very reasonable, but be forewarned, most of their herbal teas taste… well herbally.  i drink many of their teas for health benefits, but the one below is the only one i’d consider enjoyable.

  • Hibiscus High Tea is a refreshingly tart drink and is good whether it’s served hot or cold.  this one is one of my boyfriend’s favorite.  not only does he enjoy the tartness, hibiscus is also a powerful anti-inflammatory as well as good for lowering blood pressure.

Tea Forté may be a brand you’re already familiar with if you follow Oprah or Dr. Oz.  it’s also the only brand i know that offers a reward program for purchasing teas.  you get 5% of your purchase in reward points that you can redeem for a discount later on.

  • Swiss Apple tastes like cinnamon apples.
  • Cherry Marzipan has a nutty flavor with a mild cherry note.  i don’t really drink this one as a dessert substitute, but thought i’d include it anyways as i do really enjoy its flavor

so that’s it!  i hope you’ve enjoyed this peek into my pantry and found a flavor or two that catches your interest.  i hate drinking plain water, so in addition to it curbing my dessert cravings, it also encourages me to get the proper amount of fluids.  a quick guideline for how much water to drink is taking your body weight (in pounds) and divide by 2.  that’s how many ounces you need in a day.  divide that number by 8 if you want to know how many cups that equals.  you can also tell if you’re dehydrated by the color of your urine.  if it’s anything darker than a pale yellow, you need to be drinking more fluids.

Readers, what is your drink of preference?  how do you deal with sweet cravings?  please share!


so i just got back from a quick trip to taiwan and dragged my jet lagged self to my first IMATS!  wow, was it crazy.  lines everywhere to purchase stuff!  because of the crazy lines, there wasn’t a lot of opportunity to learn about brands and products. i did pick up a few things that caught my eye from brands that i’ve been wanting to check out, so it wasn’t a total loss.  here’s a quick peek at the things i got.  i also hauled some makeup while i was in taiwan (some Etude House Play 101 pencils and nail polishes, Shu Uemura Metal: Ink Liquid Eye Liner, Burberry Complete Eye Palettes in Nude Blush and Sage Green, and Bourjois nail polishes), so the things you see here may not come up for review asap.  if you see something you’re particularly interested in, leave a comment down below, so i can streamline it!

some Hakuhodo brushes and the new Sigma 3DHD brushes

Hakuhodo and Sigma Brushes

from left to right: Hakuhodo brushes J5523, J242G, J146, G5528 and J5521.  Sigma 3DHD Precision and Kabuki.  i’ve been wanting to try some good quality natural hair makeup brushes to compare with my favorites in synthetic versions.  i’m most excited about J5523 since it seems very similar to my beloved Sigma E25.  the Sigma 3DHDs i’ve always been wanting to try for a while due to the unique shape.  they almost made the cut during Black Friday, but i decided my spending was too excessive and decided to wait.  i’m so glad i did, since i scored them at 30%off!

CosmoCube Brush Holder

CosmoCube Brush Holder

though it’s labelled as a brush holder, i was thinking of putting my mascaras, eyeliners, brow pencils, and concealers in here.  things that i reach for every day that are not as accessible in drawers.  this holder costs $40 on the website, but i saved $10 with the show discount and no tax.

Lise Watier

Lise Watier

i was hoping to try one of their eye palettes, but they didn’t bring any to the show.  they were, however, offering a generous discount of 40% off all products!  i picked up the Ombre Soufflé Supréme in Magie Blanche and Verte Enchante. i no longer see this product on their website.  i think they’ve replaced it with Duo Shadow & Glitter regularly priced at $26.  i also picked up Dramatique Intense 3D Volume Mascara, usually priced at $24.



Freedom System Rainbow Eyeshadows 109 and 133, AMC Eyeliner Gel, and Freedom System Cream Concealer in Green. Inglot also offered a discount during the show.  i saved on average about $2/item.

your skin is actually the largest organ in your body.  it absorbs about 60% of whatever you put on it.  with this fact in mind, i’ve been trying to find more natural alternatives for my skincare.  the bigger the surface area it covers, the more i scrutinize the ingredients.  thus, i was happy to bring home the two products below home for testing.

Naked Advanced Skin Cream-02377

Naked Advanced Skin Cream

while i don’t understand the whole ingredient list, i saw enough healing ingredients to pique my interest.  manuka honey, shea butter, MSM, oat amino protein and frangipany extract have great soothing, healing and moisturizing properties that work well across most skin types.  i like that the pump bottle is refillable so the product can stay more hygienic.

BTS Skin Assistant HD Foundation-02376

BTS Skin Assistant HD Foundation

i want a natural base but i didn’t want it in powder form.  this was the only natural liquid base i saw at the show.  maybe there were others, if there were, they weren’t advertising the fact with enough visibility to catch my attention.

Lit Cosmetics

Lit Cosmetics

lastly, what’s a makeup show without some glitter, right?  a kit with choice of 3 colors, 2 liner brushes, and 1 fl oz of the glitter fixative is usually sold for $69.  i scored the above for $40, and they threw in a free color!

i’m not gonna bombard you with swatches today.  instead, the photo bomb will consist of the cool things i saw during the show.  hope you enjoy!

Readers, see anything show you want to see first? you can choose from the asia haul too.  which was your favorite IMATS picture? leave me a comment down below!











Smashbox Double Exposure Palette

so after delaying finishing up this review for a month, i realized i had to go about it a different way.  i’m not going to give you a full review with a detailed breakdown of colors.  i’m going to give up a pros and cons breakdown of what i think of the palette and who i think it’s good for.

first, let’s play a game! in each of the photos below, i’ve applied the eyeshadows in the new Smashbox Double Exposure Palette.  each look sports one side with the eyeshadow applied dry and the other side wet.  Wetting the eyeshadow will either intensify, metallicize, or sparklify.  can you tell which side is dry and which is wet?

Veiled and Expresso

Veiled and Expresso

Flushed and Copper with Veiled as highlight and inner corner

Flushed and Copper with Veiled as highlight and inner corner

Mauve and Fig

Mauve and Fig

Quartz and Midnight

Quartz and Midnight. Veiled as highlight

Mauve, Silver and Haze

Mauve, Silver and Haze

so can you tell the difference?  it’s not much of one, if any, right?  for the record, all on the left was applied dry and the right side wet.  this flaw leads to my lackluster response to this palette.  after all, if you’re going to advertise that you’re really getting 28 shades instead of 14, it should be more than a subtle difference on at least more than half the shades.  i’ve swatched them all in a previous post, click here to check them out.  in reality, a lot of the shades just look like you’ve built it up a bit more when wet.  some of the shades are more difficult to work with when wet too.  Copper, especially, will get muddy and splotchy on you if you try to blend it when wet.  for best results, lay down a layer of dry shadow and use the wet on a small area for intensity.

the quality of the shadows is above average and easy to use (when dry).  i’d say it’s almost comparable to my Urban Decay shadows.   i do like the color selection.  although, i wish we could have had a green instead of Haze, a medium/dark grey toned mauve.   however, that’s a personal preference.  i like my palettes to have a wider range of colors.

i’d recommend this palette for someone just starting out their collection.  the balance of color is nice and the Full Exposure Mascara sample is also pretty good.  i think anyone with a large collection of makeup would be better served passing on this palette as the colors of the palette are not that unique.

Readers, how much change do you expect in a shadow that can be used wet/dry? do you think i was expecting too much?  what is your favorite palette?  

Holiday Looks

i wanted to share some of the looks i’ve been wearing lately in case you need something different for a holiday party.  they’re all fairly simple looks that can executed around 30mins, less if you’re speedy/skilled, more if you’re a perfectionist!  i hope you enjoy them!

during the holidays, you want to look your best.  to give your makeup a good base, take some extra steps in your skincare routine and make sure you stay properly hydrated!  i like to do a sheet mask (i like Karuna Luxe Skin Restoring Treatment Mask) or a gel sleeping mask such as Laneige Water Sleeping Mask which i talk about here.  the sheet mask gives better results, but the sleeping mask is easier to fit in.  also i like to up the number of times i exfoliate during this time, since i’m usually wearing heavier or more products than usual.

golden west

this look has been featured recently in my Lorac The Royals 3D Liquid Lustre Set post. there’s a few more glitter looks in that post if that’s the kind of look you want during the holiday festivities.  in this eye look, i’ve used MUFE M530 Eggshell as base all over my eyelid all the way up to the brows.  this serves to neutralize any discoloration on my eyelids and doubles as a highlight shade for the brow bone.  then i used Urban Decay’s West in the outer v and crease.  West is a limited edition shade from the Theodora palette, but you can just use your favorite rich brown from your own stash.  i went back in and deepened the outer v in the crease to give it a little extra dimension.  then i applied Lorac 3D Liquid Lustre in 24K onto my eyelids.  you can use any kind of gold in your collection, but i prefer the paler shades with less yellow.  take a blending brush and blur out the edges between the the gold and the brown.  apply a thin line of liquid eyeliner.  apply a dramatic mascara.  conceal any redness or under eye circles with your concealer of choice (Tarte’s Maracuja Creaseless Concealer was used for this look). then apply your med/full coverage foundation of choice (Giorgio Armani’s Luminous Silk Foundation in Shade 2).  i set the concealer under the eyes with a soft focus finishing powder (Hourglass Incandescent Light).  then i complete the eye look by applying West on my lower lash line in the outer half and a gold pencil (Sigma Enlighten) on the inner half and corner.  i chose the pencil because i think it’s faster, but you can use a gold shadow too.  i like a soft pale pink blush that leans just a touch cool with this look to balance the warmness of the eye look.  i’m wearing Hourglass’ Luminous Flush.  pick a lipstick shade that you’re comfortable with.  this look can support any lip look.  i took this picture when i was about to go out in the day time so i chose a more subdued lip. at night, i switched to a medium red to amp it up and received many compliments from the bf.  i did do some subtle contouring too with Too Faced Chocolate Soleil.

Simbad Seas

blue is not the most traditional holiday color, but why not?  this look is my take on the winter wonderland theme.  i used a white shimmering base, MUFE Aqua Cream 4 Snow, all over my eyelid up to the eye socket.  i used a cobalt blue, Sleek Simbad’s Seas, in the outer v and the outer half of the crease.  then i put a transparent gold glitter top coat, Shu Uemura G311, on top of the white shimmer base to mimic the the sun sparkling across the snow.

Ombre MUFE Golden Khaki Trio

this is a smokey neutral look using a technique popular with asians with monolids. basically you ombre 3 colors together going from light to dark.  here i’ve chosen my favorite go to colors: MUFE ME512 Golden Beige, D320 Golden Khaki, and ME624 Black Gold.  khaki/olive greens are my go to neutral color category because they seem to go with every color outfit in my closet, whether they’re warm or cool toned.  i happen to think they’re more interesting than the normal brown/taupe/purple based neutrals, but that could be just because green happens to be my favorite color.  i applied Golden Khaki, an olive with golden shimmer on my eyelid up to the eye socket bone.  then i used a dense small domed brush, or a pencil brush, to overlay Black Gold (a dark brown that’s almost black with gold sparkles) on the bottom third of Golden Khaki.  take a pencil brush and gently blur the line between the two shades.  take a brush that can give you a light wash of color, like the Sigma E25, and sweep Golden Beige (a pale beige with golden shimmer) on top of the socket bone overlapping Golden Khaki, the middle shade, just a bit.  blend out the edges of the two.  pair with a bold, red lip.

Snowy Fig

how about a food inspired look?  pick a shade from your stash that’s plummy or cranberryish.  you can also do it with a burgundy color.  here i chose MUFE D826 Fig for the crease and outer v.  i placed a white shimmery shadow, Urban Decay’s Polyester Bride, on the eyelid.  pair this look with a berry lip to complete the food inspired theme!

Shellshock Damage

here i paired a silver and smokey green eye look, Urban Decay Shellshock and Damaged, using the same techniques i used above.  to bring a little more drama to the look, i did bring my black liquid liner all the way to out the top inner corner of my eyes. i paired it with a bright fuschia lipstick with red tones, Estee Lauder Turnmultuous Pink. in this picture, i purposely left out doing my brows so you can see the difference framing your brows makes.  it’s a quick extra step you don’t want to skip!

black and gold liner

if all else fails and you’re short on time, creating a flawless complexion and filling in your eyebrows (which i failed to do here) to frame your face.  a colored liquid liner on top of a black liquid liner is a quick way to add interest to your eye look.  here i’ve used gold, but i like it with green too.  by the way, please excuse the unnatural, soft focus look.  this was an old picture.  i misplaced my gold liner so i couldn’t recreate the look for you.

lastly, if you like to keep the makeup to a minium or only have a couple of minutes, go with a statement red lip!

VIB Rouge with gold glitter gloss


Readers, what are your favorite go-to holiday looks?  please share them with me down below!



Easy Glitter: Lorac 3D Liquid Lustre, The Royal Set

Lorac The Royal 3D Liquid Lustre Set

Lorac The Royal 3D Liquid Lustre Set

this wonderful holiday set from Lorac is still available on Amazon.com!  it’s a nice bargain considering the set is 4 full sized products for $28 when one full sized is $16.  they’re 4 limited edition colors: Opal, Rose Quartz, 24K, and Amethyst.

Opal, 24K, Rose Quartz and Amethyst

Opal, 24K, Rose Quartz and Amethyst

it’s a fast and easy way to execute a glittery look that opens up the eyes but not too over the top.  though i’ve seen video tutorials with this product where it’s applied using a synthetic brush, i find that it applies most evenly for me when i use my finger.  there is a little bit of glitter fall out during application but not much as it wears throughout the day.  ready to see them in action?

The Royal 3D Lustre swatches

(L to R) Opal, 24K, Rose Quartz, Amethyst


Opal looks like its namesake in the vial, but on me, it always looks opalescent blue.  it’s a little bit sheer but not sparse.  i think its sheerness helps prevent it from looking like a glitter bomb.

Opal on the lid and Rouge Bunny Rouge Aubergine Gunmetal

Opal on the lid and Rouge Bunny Rouge Aubergine Gunmetal

here’s the look in context.


Rose Quartz is a lovely pastel pink that looks a bit peachy on me.  i’ve seen it look true to bottle on other people though.  i think it pulls peach on me because it’s interacting with the yellow of my skin.

Rose Quartz on lid and Rouge Bunny Rouge Whispering Ibis

Rose Quartz on lid and Rouge Bunny Rouge Whispering Ibis

rose quartz context


you can get it to show more true to bottle if you put a white base under it.


Rose Quartz over NYX Eye Shadow Base in White and MUFE I550 Olive Grey

Rose Quartz over NYX Eye Shadow Base in White and MUFE I550 Olive Grey

24K is my favorite.  it’s also the most opaque out of the 4 colors.  there is another gold in the permanent collection called Gold, but i’m assuming 24K is slightly paler, less yellow to continue the pastel theme of the Royal Set.  i don’t own Gold, so i can’t compare the two for you.  this is my definition of gold perfection.  i find the paler golds work with a wider range of colors and brings a certain understated elegance to the table than the bolder yellower golds.

24k and UD West Closeup

24K on lid and Urban Decay West

24k and UD West Context

lastly, there’s Amethyst.  Amethyst looks like a smokey lavender in the vial, but in actuality, it looks like a glittery steel grey with a tinge of lavender.  the formula has a little bit more fixation liquid than the rest in the set making it slightly harder to work with.  Cora of Vintageortacky suggests running a q-tip along the edge of the drop of product before using to help absorb some of the excess liquid, but i never remember this tip until it’s already half on my eyes.

Amethyst and Urban Decay Tornado

Amethyst and Urban Decay Tornado

amethyst context

Lorac 3D Liquid Lustre can be used in other places too.  some suggestions were as a highlight for cheeks or collarbone.  i’m thinking Opal will make a great fairy look next halloween!  if i were a normal makeup user, i’d being snatching up a backup of this.  i love how quick and easy it is, and i’m always getting compliments or people asking me what the product i’m wearing.

Readers, yay or nay on glitter?  how do you like to incorporate it into your look?

YSL Tint-in-Oil: Low on Tint, High in Moisture

today, i want to give you a quick look at Yves Saint Laurent’s newest lip product, Volupté Tint-in-Oil.

YSL Tint-in-Oil I Rose You and Drive Me Copper

YSL Tint-in-Oil I Rose You and Drive Me Copper

a description of what the product is from YSL’s website:

“The unique colour tint – parcelled within the oils – awakens on contact with the lips and interacts with the lip tone, creating your own bespoke colour finish. The tint evolves and the colour becomes even more vibrant after application. The natural shade of the lip is enhanced with a universally flattering glow.”

elsewhere, you might see descriptions that include key words such as “pop of color” or “full color”, but you should ignore those misleading words and concentrate on what YSL says on their own website.  the key to whether or not you’re going to like this product is whether you’re willing to pay $32 for enhancing and conditioning your natural lip shade.  if the answer is yes, throw the appropriate color into your cart and have it shipped to you asap!  if you feel iffy, continue reading.  those that like strongly pigmented lips need not apply.  this is not a product for pigment lovers!

YSL’s Tint-in-Oil is infused with apricot kernel oil, coriander fruit oil, jojoba seed oil, and possiflora edulis seed oil to provide deep hydration to lips.  it reminds me of Kiehl’s Lip Balm but lighter and thinner in texture.  it is not tacky nor does it have the slight cushion feel of a lip gloss.  i’ve only used it for 3 days, but i’ve been very impressed with the results.  usually i need to reapply some sort of hydration (lip balm or lip gloss) to my lips a few times a day to keep them comfortably hydrated.  with Tint-in-Oil, if i don’t care about color, i don’t feel the need to reapply after the first application.  my lips still feel comfortably hydrated after 7 hours and a full meal.  that’s quite impressive performance for me, especially considering the product has no waxes to help lock in the hydration.  it is usually something my dehydrated skin particularly needs.  it also has YSL signature fruity scent.  it has is a thin ointment feel that’s pleasant on the lips.  the wand comes with a doe foot applicator and is easy to apply.

TiO doe foot applicator

in terms of pigmentation, it’s a gives a light to medium translucent layer of color with varying amounts of glitter.  i have I Rose You and Drive Me Copper to show you today!

I Rose You and Drive Me Copper

I Rose You and Drive Me Copper

I Rose You is a light petal pink that translates into a juicy rose color in my lips.

bare lip on top.  I Rose You on bottom

bare lip on top. I Rose You on bottom

I Rose You closeup

I Rose You context

as you can see, it’s not a lot of color but it does add a nice shine to the lips as well as a MLBB (my lips but better) effect.  i’m thinking this would be a nice product to keep in my purse for touch ups and keeping my lips hydrated.  because it’s so lightly tinted, i won’t have to worry about it clashing with my eye makeup.

Drives Me Copper amps up the pigmentation and sparkles department.  it’s a medium copper with good dose of orange glitter.

top lip bare. Drive Me Copper on bottom  lip.

top lip bare. Drive Me Copper on bottom lip.

Drive Me Copper

Drive Me Copper contextas you can see, Drive Me Copper is much more pigmented so the final effect is an orangey coral.  it’s a bit orange for my taste, but the sparkles mesmerize me!  solution?  put it on top of a red lipstick for a festive look!

Drive Me Copper over my Bite Beauty VIB Rouge lipstick

Drive Me Copper over my Bite Beauty VIB Rouge lipstick

i’m also happy to report that after the oil absorbs and the pigment wears off, there’s no weird lingering bits of glitter.  the glitter particles are also very fine and do not have any sort of gritty feel.

Readers, what do you think of YSL’s latest?  are you intrigued or is it a pass? how do you feel about orange lips? 


Makeup Forever Madness!

i decided on a separate post for the MUFE part of my Sephora friends & family haul.  i had some brushes that shipped much later than expected due to the inundation of orders that Sephora had over the sale time.  it completely overwhelmed their warehouses, but they were nice enough to reward me with an extra 500 points to my account for the delay, without prompting.

MUFE madness haul

i grabbed the Travel Brush Set, Metal Palette in L, artist shadows in S312 Mint Green, D334 Apple Green, D306 Bottle Green, S718 Salmon (technically classified as a blush), I804 Golden Pink (also technically a blush), D830 Black Rose, brushes in: 238 Medium Smudger Brush, 256 Definer Eyeliner Brush, 218 Medium Blender Brush, 208 Small Precision Shader Brush, 220 Small Shader Brush, 174 Small Concealer Brush, and the Artist Palette!  The Metal Palette is only carried in the XL size online, but if you can access one of the Sephora branches with a MUFE boutique inside, you can find them in different sizes.  the smallest holds 4.  L size i have will hold 18.  they’re currently taking up more space than they should because i still have half the packaging attached to it until i can find a sharpie to write down the color numbers to the back.  the metal palette is strongly magnetized and sturdier than a Z palette.  however, it’s also pretty hefty in weight, 4.25oz.  i may decide to return this for the plastic trio palettes instead.

now how about some swatches?  btw, MUFE only gave their artist shadow number codes, the names you see next to them are a Sephora designation.  if you walk into a boutique and ask for a shadow by name instead of number, they will give you a blank look.  also a tip on using these shadows from the MUFE shadows from the makeup artists, if you want a more pigmented and metallic sheen, press down and drag the shadow to intensify the pigment.  be sure to click on the individuals pictures so that you can see them expanded to showcase their sparkly glory.

S312 Mint Green, D334 Apple Green, D306 Bottle Green

S312 Mint Green, D334 Apple Green, D306 Bottle Green

S312 Mint Green is a medium mint green.  D334 Apple Green is a light sparkly apple green with golden sparkles running through it.  i think it’s such a happy color.  D306 Bottle Green is a blackened hunter green base with emerald green sparkles running through it.

S718, I804 ,D830

S718, I804 ,D830

S718 Salmon is a warm, peachy shade.  I804 is a medium pink base with a peachy gold sheen.  D830 Black Rose is a deep black with purple sparkles running through it.  i grabbed this because i’ve always loved Blackheart in the Urban Decay Naked 3 palette.  however, i didn’t feel like i would use the palette enough to justify buying.  D830 Black Rose swatches beautifully, and i can’t wait to try it.  i feel the Black Rose is very similar to Black Heart.  i believe that Black Rose is a slightly deeper black with purple sparkles while Black Heart has pink sparkles.

Artist Palette

Artist Palette


the Artist Palette contains 8 shadows: M536 Milk Tea, I524 Pinky Beige, I550 Olive Grey, D652 Celestial Earth, ME728 Copper Red, ME 230 Peacock Blue, D926 Blueberry, and ME930 Black Purple.  there have been tons of reviews on this palette, so i won’t bore you with color descriptions.  i’ll just say i completely agree with all the raves, and i personally have never experienced a palette that had no duds/disappointments.  although, i did use a grey card to color balance these pictures, Olive Grey does look a bit off on my screen (my screen still needs to be calibrated).  in person, it’s a warm taupe with a cool grey sheen with a little bit of iridescent sparkles running through it.  D652 Celestial Earth looks a little deeper in real life than this swatch.

MUFE black purple close up

ME230, D926, D930



here’s a closer look at ME930 Black Purple, so you can better see its dual chrome nature.

technically, not part of my Sephora friends & family haul, but i have a few more shadows in my stash.  i figured i might as well add them to the swatch fest.

M530 Eggshell, M536 Milk Tea, D826 Fig

M530 Eggshell, M536 Milk Tea, D826 Fig

for those of you that didn’t know, like me, don’t underestimate MUFE’s attention to detail!  you are not forced to pry the magnetized shadows out of the palette by wedging your tweezers into the crack between pan and palette while being distracted by your boyfriend.

back of trio palette

those 3 tiny holes up top is for you to stick a push pin or needle through to help you switch out colors easily.  if only i had realized this before i damaged my beautiful Fig!

ME744 Poppy

ME744 Poppy

ME512 Golden Beige, D320 Golden Khaki, ME 624 Black Gold

ME512 Golden Beige, D320 Golden Khaki, ME 624 Black Gold

ME512 Golden Beige, D320 Golden Khaki, ME 624 Black Gold

ME512 Golden Beige, D320 Golden Khaki, ME 624 Black Gold

i love this trio so much i had to show you a close up so you can see the color and sparkles better.

trios swatch

from left to right: M530 Eggshell, M536 Milk Tea, D826 Fig, ME744 Poppy, ME512 Golden Beige, D320 Golden Khaki, and ME624 Black Gold.  M530 Eggshell is a slightly warm creamy white.  i use it as an all over base shade/brow highlight.  it’s pigmented enough to hide the discoloration from the veins on my eyelids.  it’s a tiny bit powdery compared to the other finishes but still very blendable.  M536 Milk Tea is a great transition/crease shade for those with paler skin.  D826 Fig is another color where the swatch doesn’t do it justice.  it’s a beautiful warm plummy brown with a heavy dose of red overtones and lots of pink sparkles running through it.  it looks almost metallic.

MUFE travel brush set

the set includes travel size versions of brushes: (L toR) 150 Precision Blush Brush, 228 Medium Precision Shader Brush, 216 Medium Precision Eye Blender, and 172 Precision Corrector Brush.  the flap has an pocket which will fit either the Artist Palette or one custom trio palette.

travel case fits full size eye brush

it looks like the middle of the case is just barely long enough to fit a couple of full sized brushes.  if you zoom in, you can see that the 228 Medium Precision Shade brush is almost identical to the full size one.  i also have 216 Med. Precision Blender in the full size, and they look exactly the same.

how about a couple of looks to see how the shadows are in action to finish things off?

I524 and D830 as eyeshadow. S718 as blush

I524 and D830 as eyeshadow, no primer. S718 as blush

black rose close up

the purple sparkles in D830 are very subtle, but it blends beautifully with no glitter fallout.  the black can be much more intense than this without a lot of building.  it just wasn’t the look i was going for that day.  i was so excited to try out D830 that i forgot to use eye primer!  all the rest of the looks below do have primer.

MUFE Artist Palette Turquoise and Bronze-6

ME728 Copper Red, ME 230 Peacock Blue

golden pink bottle green cropped

I804 Golden Pink, D306 Bottle Green


golden pink sheen

I804 Golden Pink, D306 Bottle Green


Readers, have you tried the reformulated MUFE artist shadows? what do you think of them? 



Rouge Bunny Rouge on HauteLook

if you’ve been looking to try Rouge Bunny Rouge (and who doesn’t want to try buttery, multidimensional shades with no fallout?) and didn’t pick up any during the friends and family sales that have gone on, you’re in luck!  they’re now on HauteLook until sat 8am PST. discounts for various items look to be around from 25%-48% off standard retail price!  if you are new the HauteLook, please use my referral link down below.


and just as a reminder, Hautelook is also on Mr. Rebates (affiliate link) so you can save another 3%!

happy shopping!

if you want to see swatches of colors, Sunny of Mostly Sunny and Helen of lola’s secret beauty blog have beautiful swatches for your research purposes.  i’ve only recently gotten to know the brand and only have on hand their limited edition palette which is not on sale at HauteLook.