Review

CVS Beauty Haul & MUA Review

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Hey guys! Today I’m partnering with CVS Pharmacy to share some affordable beauty products that I have really been enjoying! I hit up my local CVS Pharmacy and hauled some items to try as well as a few MUA products to review. Here’s a look at the loot:

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CVS Pharmacy has been stepping up their game in the health and beauty department. I really enjoy perusing the beauty aisles at CVS because they carry high quality brands such as MUA (Makeup Academy) and Milani that other drugstores don’t carry.

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I’ve been trying out these newly released MUA PRO items in particular so I can share my thoughts on them with you! Here is some context on MUA for anyone not familiar with the brand: MUA was developed exclusively for CVS Pharmacy by makeup professionals and beauty experts and they carry premium quality cosmetics and beauty accessories.

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I gravitated towards the items I could see myself using everyday such as this PRO Bronzing Palette which is perfect for creating that sun-kissed glow. I have been wearing these on my eyes as well as my face as they are flattering and easy to wear all around.

  • There are two matte shades, the first being a softer beige tan, and the second having a slightly ruddier and deeper tone. The shimmery copper gold imparts a nice sheen and works well with the other shades to create a dimensional look.
  • In terms of pigmentation, if using a denser brush – be careful to not over apply as I can see this happening with lighter to fairer skin-tones. The powders aren’t powdery and blend out nicely.
  • There is also a PRO Contouring Palette and a PRO Highlighting Palette from the new launch.

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Being an oily gal, I, of course, also had to try the PRO Mattifying Powder. It’s designed to minimize shine as well as the appearance of pores and fine lines. I have been using it for touch ups midday, and it has a smooth texture and doesn’t look cakey.

  • This powder will appear white upon first application and will blend out but it is possible to overdo so I would recommend only a light dusting or a gentle press with the encased powder puff if you don’t have an oily complexion like I do :)
  • This line also carries a PRO Illuminating Powder.

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I have been pairing the powder with this PRO Mattifying Primer underneath my makeup and over my skincare to also help keep the shine away. It is a dimethicone based formula so it also aids in smoother foundation application.

  • This has a liquidy/silky slippery and lightweight texture upon initial application and then has no shine after it absorbs into the skin.
  • For those looking for a dewy effect, MUA also carries a PRO Illuminating Primer

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I was really happy with what I picked up from CVS and the new MUA PRO line! All of the products ended up exceeding my expectations in terms of quality and ease of use; the affordable price tag is the icing on the cake.

Thanks for reading!

xoxo, Christine

Maybelline The Nudes Eyeshadow Palette

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Hi guys! I’ve been getting some questions about this Maybelline the Nudes palette and I was also curious to see if there was an upgrade in the eyeshadow quality. Upon first look I was attracted to the simplicity and size of the palette.

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Seriously, here’s a size comparison with the Urban Decay Naked 2 palette! I love how small and sleek it is considering it also has 12 eyeshadows varying from neutral to warm to cool tones.

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Let’s take a closer look:

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I numbered the shades since they don’t each have a name. Personally I find it easiest to view this palette as 3 eyeshadow quads (for ex. 1, 2, 7, 8) joined together so that the eyes don’t get overwhelmed. There are 5 matte shadows which I really appreciate: 3, 5, 6, 8, and 12. Shade 2 is kind of like the satin cousin of shade 5.

Swatches below were done with no primer. On the eyes I would highly recommend wearing a primer first so the shades show up better and last longer.

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The lighter shimmery shades 1, 9, and 11 lack pigmentation and staying power. They remind me of some of the lighter shades that I own in my other Maybelline quads in terms of quality. The rest of the shadows with the exception of the black shade are nice and smooth with decent pigmentation. Shade 1 had the potential to be unique and awesome because it has a pink pearlescent shimmer with blue and pink flecks in it but it’s just too lackluster. I love shades 5 and 6 because it has an ashy and cool enough of a tone to use on the brows! That is always a major plus for me.

I mostly pulled out the Naked 2 palette for comparison because the shades in the Maybelline the Nudes kind of reminded me of it. Are there any definite dupes? Nope, but i’ve swatched the ones that I thought looked the most similar beside each other below.

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My overall thoughts: I have worn the Nudes palette for the past week now and I really do like it. I typically do wear an eye primer and so far the shadows have lasted and still looked great on my eyes after several hours of wear. I’m even taking this one with me for my cruise trip with my family and Matt this weekend (so excited!). The eyeshadow quality seems to have barely improved if at all in my opinion but I think the selection of shades was very well thought out. The overall value is worth it considering the price. The price of their eyeshadow quads varies from ~$5-7 and this the Nudes palette varies from ~$10-12. The Nudes is pretty much like a triple quad in one which could have valued at a ~$15-21 price point. If you snag a coupon or discount then it’s an even better deal. I think the shades are all really wearable and most are easy to work with. Also, because i’m a big fan of smokey eyes and matte shadows I like the looks I can create with this. If you are a bigger fan of buttery shimmery highlight shades then I would pass on this one.

Have you picked up this palette or eyed it? What are your thoughts?

Milani Power Lip Gloss Stain Review and Swatches

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I first discovered these new Milani Power Lip Lasting and Moisturizing Gloss Stains at my local grocery store and had originally only picked up the shade in Mango Tango. Because i’m a fan of and was previously impressed with Milani’s Color Statement lipsticks, I just knew I had to give these a try.

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These lippies are listed as a paraben free 2-in-1 gloss and stain with a moisturizing formula AND provides color coverage that lasts. I don’t know about you but this sounds like perfection in a tube! Mango Tango was so incredibly pigmented that I later on picked up a few more in the shades Cabaret Blend, Strawberry Sugar, and Macaroon. Each one retails for $6.49 but the price can vary depending on where you buy them. At my local CVS they were $6.79 for example.

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These gloss stains feature a twist pen with a built in synthetic brush. The tricky part is it is hard to gauge how much product will come out as you twist the pen especially initially. It’s like a guessing game of how much will ooze out haha and sometimes you can end up with too much product. Seriously a little goes a long way when applying these!

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Let’s take a look at the swatches!

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Strawberry Sugar – Light Pink – Cream. Hello pale barbie pink! This one looks a bit too cool toned on my lips and against my skin tone to wear on its own. It kind of reminds me of the consistency of OCC’s Lip Tars because it is packed with so much pigment. Texture-wise it also looks chalkier on compared to the other shades below.

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Macaroon -Pink – Cream. This medium pink shade is very flattering and easy to wear. I recently sported it in this Instagram picture. It looks and feels great on and I am leaning towards it being my favorite of the four.

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Mango Tango – Coral – Cream. This rich vibrant coral shade really wowed me the first time I applied it. If you are a reddish-orange lip color lover definitely give this one a try. Doesn’t this shade just make you feel energetic and happy or is it just me? :)

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Cabaret Blend – Berry – Cream. This one may look more berry on others but it registers as a wine red shade on my bare lips. I kept trying to layer this one on since it wasn’t as rich and deep as I had anticipated but I still really like the shade.

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This is how Cabaret Blend looked on my lips after 5-6 hours of wear and after eating and drinking. I was left with a rich stain that didn’t leave my lips feeling dry.

* Images courtesy of Matthew Wong of mweats.com! Thanks :)

Final thoughts: These Milani Power Lip Gloss Stains truly pack a lot of punch for the price. The color coverage for most is impressive to the point that I would suggest being careful with globbing too much on because it can migrate and end up on your teeth. When the glossiness wears off it truly acts like a stain. Overall I am really happy with these as they perform differently from how most glosses and stains do.

What are your thoughts on Milani’s new gloss stains? Do you tend to gravitate more towards lipsticks or glosses? Let me know if you have a favorite lip stain!

Urban Decay Naked 3 Review and Swatches! (giveaway ended)

You might be thinking, “Aren’t you a little late on this Christine?” haha as if you all haven’t been bombarded enough with posts and tutorials utilizing this palette. If you are still on the fence about spending $52 on this rose and taupe toned neutral eyeshadow (12 brand new shades, yay for no repeats!) palette, then I hope my thoughts can provide a bit more insight. Or why not take a crack at possibly winning your own Naked 3 palette? :)

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As you may know, Urban Decay has previously launched their Naked 1 (consisting of mostly warm and bronze neutral tones) and Naked 2 (consisting of cooler neutral tones) palettes. What does the Naked 3 have to offer? Let’s take a closer look at the shades.

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Strange – pale neutral pink matte-satin, the pink undertone in this is very slight so it is easily mistaken as a pale matte beige, it applies smoothly with good color pay off

Dust – pale metallic pink shimmer with iridescent micro-glitter, this one is sheer with loose texture, it does not apply evenly unless applied wet, I especially like to “dust” this underneath the center of my lower lashline for that cute “light up your eyes” sparkle

Burnout – light pinky-peach satin, I like to describe this as an apricot shade, it is one of my favorites because of its subtlety in adding a soft warm glow, great as a quick wash of color over the lid for everyday as well

Limit –light dusty rose matte, appears as a matte light mauve brown, great shade for those who may find other transitional browns or soft browns to look harsh or muddy

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Buzz – metallic rose shimmer with silver micro-glitter, has that amazing buttery texture and quality just like the rest of the following metallic shades in this palette that we all have come to love about Urban Decay’s shadows

Trick – light metallic pinky-copper shimmer with tonal micro-sparkle, this shade is like a rose gold in all it’s glory, it shimmers and sparkles and just demands attention

Nooner – medium pinky-brown matte, pigmented, smooth, awesome, who doesn’t love a good matte shade?

Liar – medium metallic mauve shimmer, if Buzz and Factory had a baby I think it would be this, the mauve pink flash gives it a unique look

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Factory – pinky-brown satin, warm deep rich brown, love the smooth texture

Mugshot – metallic taupe shimmer with slight pink shift, gorgeous and easy to wear satin taupe shade that I felt was missing from the previous two palettes

Darkside – deep taupe-mauve satin, gorgeous deep cocoa taupe shade, love the amount of depth this one has

Blackheart – smoky black matte with rosy red micro-sparkle, this is the kind of shade that always looks more gorgeous in the pan but I definitely appreciate that it is matte

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* Images courtesy of Matthew Wong of mweats.com! Thanks :)

Final thoughts: This palette possesses an ethereal and romantic vibe. I even love that there is no chunky glitter, just delicate micro-glitter in some of the shades that add brilliance and shine. If you are fearing that this palette may have too much of a rosy or pink tone, the taupe shades are amongst my favorite and would do an excellent job of balancing them out. Are many of these shades dupe-able? Yes. I found myself being reminded of other similar shades to Burnout, Mugshot, and Darkside that I own and love. I do think the shades are new and unique enough that even if you own both the Naked 1 and Naked 2, you won’t be disappointed.

So are you planning or considering including this one in your collection? Let me know your thoughts!

GIVEAWAY TIME! I went out and bought an additional Urban Decay Naked 3 palette to give away to you guys for being such awesome and loving supporters :) I wouldn’t typically do that if I didn’t enjoy the palette myself! There are multiple ways to enter via this nifty widget:

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Good luck to you all and Happy Valentine’s Day!

If you haven’t seen my latest romantic look using this palette, go check it out!

 

Smashbox Softbox Eye Palette, Sally Hansen, FOTD

I talked about the Smashbox Softbox Eye Palette in one of my recent haul videos and promised some swatches so here they are! :) I figured I would go ahead and do a review too.

I first came upon this palette at Sephora and of course they were sold out there. After swatching some of the shades from the display palette I couldn’t help but want to get my hands on one. I even checked an Ulta and they were sold out of the palettes as well. So about a week later I took the plunge and ordered one from the Smashbox website.

What appealed to me the most was the selection of shades. I have been loving soft neutral eyes for the summer and the shades in this palette looked perfect for bridal makeup!

I admit this palette was a splurge considering it is $48 and I may have fancied it a little too much at first. So what do I think of it now?

The packaging is very simple and basic. It came with a mini eye primer which didn’t hold up as long as the Urban Decay Primer Potion does for me.

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Tired of Shaving?

Some of you may suggest waxing. I haven’t tried waxing so I won’t knock it ’til I try it. However, for someone like myself who has a lot of hair that grows back rather quickly, frequent upkeep of hair removal is important. I’m not sure I could be bothered with taking the time to wax every few days.

So this brings me to…the Epilator

What is an epilator? It is an electric hair removal device consisting of multiple spinning tweezers.

I spoke of my first experience using an epilator here:

It has been 2 months since and I mentioned I would do a follow up and a more in-depth review of the Emjoi Soft Caress Rechargeable Epilator so here we are!

This epilator has 36 tweezers and can be used corded or cordless. It also comes with a pouch and a few other items which are showcased in the video below.

One thing that could be improved is how there is no indication of when the epilator is fully charged. You plug it in and the red light comes on but never turns off or changes a different color.

On the Emjoi website it retails for $69.99. I bought mine off of Amazon.com for $55 and i’m sure you could even find a better deal if you just shop around. I haven’t seen this particular epilator in stores.

Here are answers to frequently asked questions according to my own personal experiences:

1. Where can you use the epilator?

You can use it on your legs, arms, bikini line, underarms, chin and upper lip. I only use mine on my underarms and upper lip. I find it too time consuming to use on the legs but that’s just me :)

2. Does it still hurt?

As far as the underarm goes it hurts nowhere near as much as the first time I used it. The longer I wait in between epilating and the more hair there is it will hurt a little more. It may still feel “pinchy” but my underarms don’t feel sore afterwards. It definitely hurts less now!

The pain level for my upper lip remains about the same. I use the lower setting, level 1 for finer hair, and it may hurt more simply because the hair is getting pulled out slower at this level.

3. Does it cause ingrown hair?

If anything it helped diminish the ingrown hair I had from shaving my underarms! It is recommended that you exfoliate to prevent ingrown hair. I exfoliate using my shower loofa.

4. How often do you epilate?

Some people go weeks without having to epilate again. Since not all hair grows out at once and since I have so much hair that grows back quickly, I like to epilate my underarms about twice a week and my upper lip about once a week.

5. Don’t you have to wait for the hair to grow out long enough before epilating again?

Yes and no. Hair does not all grow out at once. I can epilate my underarms one day and still find new hair growth that I can easily epilate the next day.

6. Does it make the hair grow back thicker and darker?

No because it is pulling hair out from the root.

7. Does it pinch the skin?

It CAN and HAS happened to me! It is very important that you pull the skin taut (tight) before epilating!

8. How come I can’t grab some hair no matter how many times I swipe over it?

Please watch the demo and review video below :)

What are the benefits of epilating?

You are plucking hair out from the root, similar to waxing, so the hair doesn’t grow back as quickly. You don’t have to deal with razor burns or wait to shower to shave. Since it is rechargeable, you can easily take it with you on the go and epilate whenever at your own convenience. You save from buying less to no shaving cream/wax 😀

Overall, I feel much MUCH less self-conscious about my underarms now. I love my epilator and will never go back to shaving my underarms! If you are sick of having that dark hair under the skin look even after you’ve shaved–consider epilating!