Monday, September 18, 2017

Melissa Michelle Palette by Ulta Beauty

Disclaimer: I purchased this.
Today I have an inexpensive palette to show you that I've quite fallen in love with - the Melissa Michelle xoxo palette from Ulta Beauty ($20). Melissa Michelle is a YouTube Beauty vlogger, although I was not familiar with her prior to seeing some reviews for her palette. What drew me in were the colors, which just scream "fall" to me.  
The palette is a sturdy cardboard and you do get a nice sized mirror, which came in handy when I took the palette with me to New Orleans recently for a short work trip. I can get multiple looks from this palette and think the shade selection is fantastic for those who love warm/neutral colors.  My coloring is nothing like Melissa Michelle's but there is not a single color in the palette that does not work for me.
You get four shimmer eyeshadows and five matte shades, and all of them perform really well. The mattes are smooth and easy to blend, and the range of shades make this a complete palette for me - hence why I took it with me to New Orleans.
The first eyeshadow Teresita is a chunkier metallic shimmer, but I had no problems with shimmer migration when I used my finger to pat it on my lids. The rust colored Bing Bing has fantastic pigmentation, and I'm loving the clay colored Rosemary and the soft tan Tobo as a crease shades. All swatches are over primer, as that is how I wear them :-)
From top to bottom: Teresita, Kades, Alana, Lola
Bing Bing, Harley, Weezy, Rosemary, Tobo
The highlighter Hollerrr has three different sections and each of them can work as eyeshadows as well.  The sections are large enough that you could just use a single shade as a highlighter with a smaller brush, although I'm sure most will swirl the colors together. The blush swatched a bit patchy on my arm but it looks great on my face, and is a lovely everyday kind of color that works well with a variety of looks. I really like it!
I was assuming I would not like the formula of the matte liquid lipstick Scandy, as it has a tack to it and does not completely dry down. I was wrong, as I love the color and find it comfortable to wear, and my lips did not feel dry the next day.
I have no idea how long Ulta will be carrying this palette, but if the colors speak to you I think it's well worth checking out. The quality is there (4.6 rating on Ulta's site) and the price is uber reasonable for everything you are getting. Plus, Ulta always has sales or GWP's that further sweeten the deal.
Teresita over Alana with Rosemary and Tobo in the crease

Wearing Mahal blush and Scandy matte liquid lipstick
I stayed at a really cool boutique hotel in New Orleans called the Q&C HotelBar New Orleans, Autograph Collection®.  Weird name, but I loved the look and feel of the place and thought my room was lovely.
My room was smaller than I'm used to with chain hotels and reminded me size wise of a hotel I stayed in in Paris, plus it was pet friendly! Or at least I saw a couple leaving with their dogs, so I assume it was. Having cement floors probably contributes to pet friendliness.
The check-in area is small, just two stations, and there is a bar and small eating area right there, hence the HotelBar name, I guess. Anyhow, I'd stay there again so thought I would give it a mini-review as well.  I'm always curious to see what toiletries are carried  by different hotels, and Moulton Brown was the choice here :-)

Monday, September 11, 2017

Bronzed 'n' Sculpted by Benefit and an Ulta 21 Days of Beauty Pick

Disclaimer: I purchased this.
I recently finished a mini of the Hoola Quickie Contour Stick and liked it so much that I was wavering between buying the full sized or getting another mini, as the full size is a bit pricey at $28. Then I saw this Bronze 'n' Sculpted kit ($17) and since I've never tried the powder version of Hoola, my decision was made.
The set contains mini's of the Hoola Quickie Contour Stick, the Hoola powder bronzer, and the highlight Watt's Up!.  I had a mini of Watt's Up! in the past and did not remember being overly impressed with it, but now I think it must have been dried out, as I really like this one! I'm finding it super creamy and easy to use and it does not disturb my foundation when blending it out.
You get more of Watt's Up! (.08 oz.) than you do the Hoola Quickie Contour Stick (.05 oz), and I can see the highlighter lasting me quite a while. I do burn through the Hoola Quickie Contour Stick pretty quickly, however, which made Ulta's sale during the 21 Days of Beauty appealing. But more on that later.
The powder Hoola is a good color match for my fair skin, and I do like layering the stick Hoola with the powder Hoola. The box size is just big enough (.14 oz.) for me to get my Julep bronzer brush in it, plus you do get a cute brush with the box, although I find it scratchy and will not use it.
The powder Hoola is the first swatch and the stick Hoola is the last swatch.  I like using the stick Hoola to contour with and find it remarkably easy to blend out with my Beauty Blender sponge. Just to be careful to not over blend, as you can blend it completely away. The downside of the stick is that I use it up quickly - probably about 3 weeks of daily use for the mini sized.
Ulta is offering the full size of the Hoola Quickie Contour Stick as a hot buy ($21) during the 21 Days of Beauty sale, so I decided to pick one up. If you are a Platinum member you get free shipping on all hot buys and beauty steals, which is a nice perk.
You do get 6 times the amount (.3 oz) in the full sized Hoola Quickie stick, so hopefully it will last me a while. The bullet did come loose during shipping and it flew out when I opened the container, but fortunately I caught it so did not have any damage. Pressing it gently back into the container fixed the problem, but just be aware that it can come loose.
I can't imagine this would work for those with medium to dark complexions, but it's definitely a good match for my fair complexion. It's warm but does not go orange on me and I think looks very natural on the skin.

Friday, September 8, 2017

Julep Maven Box for September: Flawless Without the Fuss

Disclaimer: I purchased these.
My selections from Julep's September Maven collection were the polishes August and Sammy, plus the new Blank Canvas Illuminating Treatment Primer. Let's look at the polishes first and then I'll give you my initial impressions on the primer.
Every year around this time I'm attracted to deep crimsons to wear on my nails. It must have something to do with Indian summer and the change of seasons, which happens a bit later on the Gulf Coast than it does in other areas.  The polish August is described as a "chocolate cherry ghost shimmer" but reminds me of blackberries, as it looks almost black on the nail, with just a hint of its crimson undertone. The ghost shimmer doesn't really translate to the nail, as August looks decidedly like a cream finish to me.
Sammy is described as a sand dune creme, but I see a bit more lavender grey in the mix. I've got a work trip to New Orleans coming up, and I think I'll be sporting Sammy then.
I've only worn the Illuminating Treatment Primer ($28) twice thus far, so will wait for a true review until I have a better idea of how it performs. I initially saw the "illuminating" and thought there would be a shimmer finish to the primer, but there is not.  It does contain 18 plant extracts for long-term nourishing and brightening benefits and light diffusing pearls for a natural luminous finish. I don't really see a luminosity beyond what you would experience with any cream, but again, I may just need more time with it.
I can say the primer played nicely with my foundation the two times I tried it, which is promising.  I'm a fan of the Blank Canvas Mattifying primer, and the Illuminating primer may be a good choice for colder weather wear.
The extra this month was a sheet of stickers. I'm not really a sticker person, so will probably toss these. The value of my box this month was $56, for which I payed $19.99. Julep continues to impress me with their new products and polishes, making them the only beauty subscription box that I still receive :-)

Sunday, September 3, 2017

Modern Renaissance by Anastasia Beverly Hills

Disclaimer: I purchased this.
I held off for a long time from buying the Modern Renaissance palette by Anastasia Beverly Hills ($42), but all the glowing reviews finally persuaded me it was time to see what all the fuss was about.  I've owned one palette (Catwalk, review here) from the brand in the past, and while it was nice, I did not reach for it often and ended up decluttering it a while back.
But yeah, Renaissance is special.  The reds and pinks take me outside of my comfort zone, and the neutrals make it a great everyday palette. I love how many matte shades are included in the palette  (11 mattes, 1 satin, 2 shimmers), and find the mattes richly pigmented and easy to blend and work with. The almost 6000 Sephora reviews with an average rating of 4.8 out of 5 are telling the truth.
The first quad of colors are in my wheelhouse and are shades I will be reaching for on a regular basis. I love a neutral eye for days I'm wearing vibrant lip colors and/or have meetings where I need to present a more "professional" image.
If you picked up the Urban Decay 24/7 Glide on Eye Pencil in Anatomy (review here) from the limited edition Jean-Michel Basquiat collection, it's the perfect complement to Red Ochre. Just saying.
I'm surprised at how much I'm enjoung Buon Fresco, which is a cooler leaning shade that makes for a great transition crease color.
I wasn't sure how easily I would be able to carry off the pinker shades, but I'm pleased with them.  I do find that intensifying the color as opposed to sheering them out helps to keep me from looking like I have pink eye or am coming down with a cold.
I think there is actually a lot more variety of looks you can achieve with this palette than I was expecting. I know that warm neutral palettes have reached (if not exceeded) their saturation point in the market, but the inclusion of Buon Fresco and Warm Taupe give this one some cooler leaning shades that expand your options, IMO.
Yes, these are powdery shadows and kickback is happening. Just tapping my brush into the pans picks up enough shadow to apply and I find building  color in thin layers works best. The brush included in the palette is one I've been using, which is a bonus, as I typically find them to be of subpar quality and end up tossing. I like the white tipped end for smoking out shadows on my lower lash line.
The shimmer shadows (Vermeer, Primavera) are nice but I've been reaching for some baked shadow trios from J Cat Beauty (review coming soon) to amp up the shine, so if I have any complaints about Modern Renaissance, it would be that I wish the shimmers had a bit more oomph.  But, I really don't have it any complaints - it's a great palette :-)  I'm glad it's permanent so that I did not miss out on it, but neither did I have to rush to buy.