Tuesday, February 18, 2014

DIY Whipped Hair and Body Shea Butter Mix!

Hair and body butters are all the rave and so moisturizing but *whispering*, they can be so expensive! Not to mention they could contain questionable ingredients we can't even pronounce. How about making your own natural shea butter mix that you can use on hair, skin and nails? I promise, its easy!

The cool thing about making your own moisturizing butter is that you can put whatever you want in it. I usually use Shea butter as a base and add whatever oils I have on hand.

What you'll need:

Unrefined Shea Butter
Coconut Oil
Olive Oil
Avocado Oil
Almond Oil
Castor Oil
Vitamin E Oil
Essential Oil(s)
Empty container(s)

The technique is super simple. Simply add all the liquid oils in a mixing bowl and get ready for whipping. I used between 1/4 to 1/2 a cup for each of the oils listed above.

Shea butter is a bit tough, so you'll need to break and heat it up to soften it a bit to make whipping easier.

I let my shea butter sit in the microwave for about 30 seconds to just soften but not completely melt it. I like to keep the firmness so that it doesn't take too long for the mixture to harden to its natural state. If you melt it totally, you may need to put the mixture in the refrigerator to harden before whipping.

Now add the shea butter to the oils in the mixing bowl and whip for about 5 minutes.

After whipping on high speed for a few minutes, the mixture becomes fluffy and much creamier. At this point,  I add some fragrance to help cancel out the "earthy" smell of the shea butter and coconut oil. I used lavender and orange essential oils, which give it a fresh scent.

 After a total of about 10 minutes of whipping, you get a mixture looking more like a thick butter.

 All that's left to do now is to pile it into some containers. Immediately after whipping, the butter is smooth and airy but after about 2 hours, it sets to a firmer consistency thats really easy to spread and melt into the skin or hair.

And that's it!

I like to use this mixture as a leave-in conditioner on wet hair and as a cuticle and hand creme. You can also use this as a body moisturizer. If you feel especially creative, you can also add food/soap coloring  to give it a fun colorful look.

Thanks for reading!

What are your favorite hair/skin butters?

Blogger Tricks

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Video Spotlight: Eyeliner Techniques

If you struggle with eyeliner application or maybe need a creative push out of your liner slump, I recently found a really helpful video that focuses on 12 ways to apply eyeliner.

Julia Graf demonstrates how to apply the following shapes using liquid, gel or pencil eyeliner:

Straight line
Classic Wing
Double Wing
Arab Eye
Artsy Swoop
60s Flick
Color Pop
Tightline & Waterline
Grunge Slick

You can find out more about Julia and her channel here. I am in no way affiliated with her, but just wanted to share with you what I'm watching. :-) I'm kind of a YouTube junkie, so let me know if you'd like to see more posts like this.

I'm a sucker for the Classic Wing, but I want to start incorporating the Color Pop and Arab Eye into my routine.

What's your favorite eyeliner shape?

Monday, February 10, 2014

Jesse's Girl for JulieG - Romeo and Juliet Matching Lipstick and Nail Polish

Here's an idea! What if your nail polish matched your lipstick perfectly? JulieG's got you covered! In collaboration with the drugstore brand, Jesse's Girl, she recently released a new matching line for Valentine's Day. The duo I picked up is called Romeo and Juliet.

The nail polish (Romeo) and the lipstick (& Juliet) both have a peachy pink shade.

The formula of the lipstick is quite good with a smooth, matte finish and surprisingly good lasting power. It kind of stains the skin, which I love! The nail polish applied smoothly as well with no streaks even though the brush is relatively small.

This Valentine's collection consists of 3 other pairs named after famous couples. The lipstick and nail polish are sold at RiteAid and Jesse's Girl for $3.99 each.

Thanks for reading!

Do you like to match your lipstick and nail polish?

Thursday, February 6, 2014

Review: Wet n Wild MegaSlicks Balm Stain (Red-Dy or Not)

Who doesn't have a Balm Stain these days? A super affordable option hit the drugstore shelves recently from Wet n Wild. I picked up the shade Red-Dy or Not, which is very wearable a soft strawberry red.

The shade in tube looks a bit more dramatic than it really is but the balm applies sheerly in terms of the depth of the shade, but it still covers well on the skin.

 The initial finish is quite glossy and feels very moisturizing. The supple feeling doesn't last very long and is quickly evaporated or rubbed off by eating but the staining claim is accurate. In the photo above, the color lasted long after eating a sandwich and drinking, 4+ hours after application. After this time, my lips felt dry, so I reapplied. I couldn't find any claims on these for how long these are expected it to last.

The packaging is simple with the ever-so-popular twist up jumbo pencil tube. Thankfully, the cover snaps on some grooves along the sides so it doesn't fall off on the go. The metal bit at the bottom twists more product to the top.

I picked up this Balm Stain in RiteAid for $2.99 and I am sure you can find these in other drugstores if not now, in the months to come. I couldn't find any links from drugstores online (is this even real? ^_^) but here is some information from Wet n Wild. There are 5 other shades in this collection.

Overall, I think this Balm Stain performed pretty well considering the cost. The 'balmy' feeling doesn't last long at all but I was happy the staining persisted through eating and drinking and didn't look patchy.

My rating: 4/5

Thanks for reading!

What's your favorite balm staining product?

Wednesday, February 5, 2014

Romantic Valentine's Face of the Day (Pink)

I was just shopping around for Christmas decorations and I blinked and now its almost Valentine's Day! How crazy! Here's a soft, girly look I did that I think would be perfect for that lovey-dovey day. Full product list below.

I chose to keep all the focus colors very soft shades of pink and purple.

CoverGirl Stay Fabulous 3 in 1 Foundation in Tawny
Milani Powder Foundation in Creamy Cocoa
Maybelline Fit Me Concealer in Cafe

MAC Love Joy Blush (Review)

Urban Decay Eyeshadow Primer Potion
Maybelline 24 Hr Color Tattoo in Iced in Pink (Review)
Urban Decay Vice 2 Palette (Review)
MAC Texture Eyeshadow
Makeup Geek Bitten Eyeshadow
MAC Fix+
Rimmel Scandal Eyes in Nude
Maybelline Line Stiletto in Blackest Black

NYX Auto Eyebrow Pencil in Dark Brown

NYX Lip Liner Pencil in Bloom
MAC Chatterbox Lipstick

For exact placement on the eyes, I used mainly the Urban Decay's Vice 2 Palette unless specified otherwise. Actual shades used are highlighted above.

Brow bone: Dope & Habit
Inner lid: Coax & MAC Fix+
Outer lid: Voodoo & MAC Fix+
Blending Shade: MAC's Texture
Crease: Makeup Geek's Bitten
Waterline:  Rimmel Scandal Eyes in Nude

And thats about it.

Thanks for reading!

How will you be dolling up for Valentine's Day?

Tuesday, February 4, 2014

RePurposed Items for Beauty Organization: Palette Storage

Usually, products designed specifically for makeup organization can get a bit pricey. However, with a little creativity and open-mindedness, you can find everyday objects that can sort your cosmetic goodies just as well or even better. In this new 'RePurposed' series, I'll show you unconventional ways that I have organized my makeup. Up first, Eyeshadow Palette storage!

Here, I've used a desktop mail sorter to display and organize my most-used eyeshadow palettes. I like this method because it allows each palette to stand independently and not move around when I pull one out to use. The sorter does not take up much space and I actually have another set on the other side of my 'beauty desk'.

 I've placed them in order of height so that it is easy to see all the palettes in one glance. Shown here are actually 2 sorters placed back to back, which each hold 3 palettes.

In stores, this is sold as a 'mini sorter' or a 'letter divider/sorter' and you can usually find a fairly inexpensive one in the stationery section of stores like Target and Walmart or at an office supply store like Staples, OfficeMax or the Container Store. I got mine at Walmart for less than $5.

As always, thanks for reading!

How do you store your palettes?

Monday, February 3, 2014

NOTD: Essie 'For the Twill of It'

You love a duo-chrome, right? A couple months ago for their Fall collection, Essie came out with this gorgeous multi-shade, dark metallic polish called For the Twill of It that I just needed in my life!

Photographing or describing this shade is a little tricky, but I'll try. For the Twill of It is a brownish-grey base with purple and green reflects that can change the hue of the polish in different lights or angles. The photo above was taken in sunlight and the one below in the shade.

I don't normally like grey tones on my complexion, but this shade was just too fun to pass up. The purple shift makes it a bit more wearable for me. I find that in direct sunlight, it pulls more green and in the shade, it looks like a purple-grey.

For the Twill of It was released in Essie's 2013 Fall collection but I still see it on the Spring displays in stores. Essie polishes retail from $6 - $9 in drugstores and beauty stores.

If you're looking for a cheaper option, I also reviewed a similar polish from Revlon, HERE

As always, thanks for reading!

What's on your nails today?

Friday, January 31, 2014

MAC Heroine Lipstick (Swatches + Comparisons)

Back by popular demand, Mac recently brought back the cult-favorite, Heroine out of hiding and welcomed it to its permanent lipstick line. Heroine is a beautiful matte purple with a slight berry tone.

Heroine was previously released in a limited edition collection but thankfully, for those of us who were not able to get our hands on it the first time around, last month MAC added it to its all-day, everyday collection for the whole world to enjoy!

Coincidently, or not so coincidently, Radiant Orchid is also the new Pantone color of the year, which goes perfectly with this bold, vibrant shade. Pucker up ladies!

I think Heroine is moody enough to pull off as a Winter statement color, but also bright enough for even the Spring and Summer. An all-year-round goodie!

Though it is a matte texture, Heroine applied very smoothly to the lips and I experienced no chapping or discomfort. The rich pigments stained my lips for hours, which in my books is a very good thing.

Heroine, like all MAC lipsticks, retails for $15 at MacCosmetics.com and wherever MAC items are sold. Starting this month (January), you can find this at Mac counters everywhere.

Also, if you want to check out other ways to wear purple lipsticks, click HERE for more swatches and affordable options. A review on Revlon's MatteBalm in Shameless is also HERE.

Overall, I think this is a beautiful shade that will compliment many skin tones. Application and finish were beautiful and lasting power is great.

My rating: 4.5/5

Thanks for reading!

How do you wear purple lipstick?

Thursday, January 30, 2014

Battle of the Blacks: MAC 'Carbon' vs. MakeupGeek 'Corrupt' Eyeshadow

Carbon eyeshadow by MAC has quite the reputation of being one of those 'must-have' shades but I found another shadow that could give it a run for its money. Spoiler alert: its also half the price!

A black eyeshadow is just a black eyeshadow, right? Um...no! Makeup Geek, which is one of my new favorite up and coming makeup brands, has an extremely pigmented shade called Corrupt that makes my Carbon look almost like a joke.

Carbon is a matte black eyeshadow, while Corrupt is more buttery with very subtle shimmer in the pan that is not visible on the skin. I think this helps the color transfer more easily (as you can see below). I will let the swatches speak for themselves. Honestly, it took 2 swatches in the Carbon pan to get enough pigment to swipe on my arm while Corrupt was a breeze in one swipe.

MAC's Carbon retails for $10 for the pan and $15 for the compact at MacCosmetics.com. Makeup Geek's Corrupt goes for $5.99 for the pan and $7.99 for the compact at MakeupGeek.com.

If you ask me, the winner here is clear! I am really impressed with MakeupGeek's eyeshadows all around and Corrupt is just stellar!

Thanks for reading!

What is you favorite black eyeshadow?

Tuesday, January 28, 2014

NOTD: Maybelline Street Art - Blue Beats

Have you been seeing lots of these graffiti-type nail art top coats popping up everywhere? Today I've got Blue Beats from the new Maybelline Street Art collection.

Blue Beats is a clear-based polish with random hexagonal, striped and circular blue and black glitters of different sizes.

I used 2 coats of Blue Beats over a pale yellow base from Revlon called Buttercup. See another design with that shade HERE.

Application of the glitter top coat was very easy and I felt a reasonable amount came with each swipe. I did not have to do as much 'glitter-diving' as I did with the Sally Hansen version that I reviewed HERE.

The Street Art polishes dry to a textured finish so I also applied a top coat here.

Maybelline polishes are sold between $2.99 and $3.99 in drugstores.

Thanks for reading!

Have you tried any textured top coats lately?

Monday, January 27, 2014

Review: Delicate Caress Travel Brush Set (Cheap Sigma Dupe?)

So I have been taking a little trip here and a little trip there for a while and I've always carried some (i.e. too many) of my full sized makeup brushes in a Sigma brush cup. This is fine, but a little bulky for the highly efficient packing technique I am trying to perfect so I thought I should get a travel brush set.

The one shown here is made by Delicate Caress and contains 12 travel-sized brushes in a handy brush holder, which also doubles as a carrying-case.

Included in the kit are (Right to left): Large Powder, Duo Fibre, Flat Foundation, Large Angled Contour (blush), Pencil, Concealer, Eye-shading, Medium Angled Shading, Flat Definer, Angled Blending, Tapered Blending and Lip brush.

Just in case you're not sure which brush does what, the labels are thoughtfully printed on each of the bright pink and purple handles.

Now for what I think about this kit.

It is very convenient for short travel in that it contains pretty much all the basics you will need for a full face of makeup. The brushes included can of course be used for anything you want but it is nice to have uniformed labels printed on them. For example, I like to use the "Foundation Brush" for blending my under eye concealer.

I have had my eyes on the Sigma Travel Kit for a long time but I could never justify spending $75 for small brushes that I will use for maximum of a week every couple of months. In addition to this, the Sigma version, which also includes the brush cup/case, only comes with 7 brushes while the Delicate Caress version contains 12 brushes for less than $25! Is that insane or what!

Having said that, the quality of these brushes is noticeably lower than what I would expect from Sigma or other big brands. Though the bristles are soft enough and comfortable on the skin, I had a bit of initial shedding from the Large Powder and the Tapered Blending brushes. Also, the glue was not very strong connecting the ferule to the handle and one or two of the smaller brushes came loose even before I used them.

For the price and fact that I only use these brushes for short periods of time, I can overlook these flaws. The glue issue was easily remedied with regular super glue and the shedding decreased after a few washes. For $25, there's not much I can complain about.

For a size comparison, here is how some of the Delicate Caress brushes stand up to full-sized versions of their counterparts from Sigma. All of the eye brush heads are the same size as on a full-sized brush but the face brush heads are a little smaller in diameter.

Above is a comparison of the full-sized Sigma cup/holder to the Delicate Caress version. The travel brush holder stands only 6.7 inches tall so it can easily fit in a handbag or carry-on luggage.

I purchased the Delicate Caress Travel Brush Set from Amazon for $24.50 with free shipping at the time (4 months ago).

Overall, I am quite happy with this travel brush set. For the short amount of consecutive time that I use it on weekend getaways and short trips, the lowered quality in comparison to what I look for in full-sized brushes is easily accepted. I love that it comes with a dual-purposed container to both display and carry the brushes and the fun hot purple color is a nice change from my regular black brushes. Honestly, when I've travelled lately, I have swapped out a few of the brushes for others that I like better for foundation and eyeshadow blending but the rest of them work just fine for me.

I will rate this kit based on the assumption of very short term usage and not for everyday makeup application.

I give the Delicate Caress Travel Brush set 4/5 for convenience and affordability.

Thanks for reading!

What brushes do you carry when you travel?