Sunday, January 31, 2016

elf Haul!

You guys know how much I love elf Cosmetics. They have been killing the game lately with all their new releases, and I obviously had to pick up some stuff. I made a purchase around Christmas and then another around mid January, so this is a bit of a collective haul. Out of all this stuff, sadly, I've only used one thing. I've had so much other stuff to try out because of Christmas stuff, but I also don't like using products before I haul them. So let's get into it!

Recently, there was an awesome sale on their website where any skincare purchase got free shipping. This was right after they released the new products in their skincare line. The thing I was super intrigued about was the new Hydrating Bubble Mask. I mean, come on! This has my name written all over it! I'm almost done with one of my masks I'm using right now, so this will be going into the rotation for review very soon.

After I added that to my cart I saw that they were running a promotion on their Skincare Essentials Kit (which is no longer available on the website) that included the Daily Face Cleanser, Soothing Serum, and Daily Hydration Moisturizer. Normally priced at 27$, they had a code that dropped it down to 10$! I've wanted to try out their skincare line since it came out, and this was the perfect chance to try it out.

I purchased a couple of base products to try out. First is the SPF 20 Sunscreen Face Primer. I would hope I don't need to explain why I got this. It has a similar silicone feel as their Poreless Face Primer, but with SPF! For my lighter days, I got the Tinted Moisturizer with SPF 20 in the shade Mocha. They offer 8 total shades with one darker than mine. For a concealer I wanted to try the Maximum Coverage Concealer. I got it in the shade Tan, which may be a bit light. Aside from that, I got the HD Mattifying Cream Foundation in Almond. Just from swatching this, it looks like a really good shade match.

For lippies, I got a ton of balms! From their Conditioning Lip Balm range, I got 3 shades: Romantic Rouge, Peaceful Pink, and Mellow Melon. I really like all three shades. They're great to throw on when you want a little bit of color. I have almost every nude shade of their Matte Lip Colors, so I got a hot pink! It's the shade Fuschia.

Since I have all the original colors from the Lip Balm Tint line, I picked up 2 more colors in Pink Princess and Rosy Rocker. And because I've never tried any of their lip liners, I got the shades Mauve Luxe and Bitter from the Long Wear Lip Liners. The liners swatched really well. Bitter is super gorgeous.

I added 3 new brushes to my collection, too. I love all of the new brushes they've come out with in the last year. The Blush Brush is especially soft. I am stoked to give this things a try! For setting the undereye, I got the Small Tapered Brush because I thought it was the perfect size and shape to fit under the eye. For my bases, I got the Ultimate Blending Brush. I might actually end up using this for powder or bronzer just because of the size.

The last couple of items are newer to elf as a company, except for my refill of the original Lip Exfoliator. I swear by this thing. If you need a good lip scrub, give this a try. New to me are the Beautifully Bare Blush in Peach Perfection, the Instant Lift Brow Pencil in Deep Brown, and the Perfect Finish HD Powder in Sheer.

Needless to say, I got a lot of stuff! I'm gonna try these out one by one (or all at once!) some time soon. Check back with me for reviews on some of these in the near future. I've had a couple of elf hauls in the past, so if you wanna see those just check the archive on the right side of the page.

Kiss, Kiss.

Tuesday, January 26, 2016

Winter Morning Skincare Routine

It dawned on me that I haven't done a skincare routine in quite some time, and the last time I did one, I was using mostly the same products on my face both day and night. Well, that's changed. I have only a few products that I use morning and night as opposed to the other way around. So I'm breaking this skincare routine up into 2 separate posts. This one is obviously going to be my morning routine. 

If you were curious about my previous skincare routines, you can check those out here and here. Just for reference, I have combination skin. In the summer, I get really oily in the center of my face and my cheeks tend to stay normal. In the winter, my skin is incredibly dry around my mouth and cheeks, but my nose still stays oily. 

I tend to have breakouts, so I like to use an acne wash in the mornings. I'm currently using the AcneFree Oil-Free Purifying Cleanser. You can buy just the cleanser by itself, but if you want the other pieces, you have to buy the whole kit. It contains 2.5% benzoyl peroxide, which is an acne treatment that kills the bacteria that actually causes the breakouts to form. 2.5% is pretty mild as far as benzoyl peroxide goes, so it doesn't dry me out as much as a stronger formula would.

For this step I usually mix my scrub with my cleanser to save time, although, I have been known to do these steps individually. I use the Derma E Microdermabrasion Scrub. The reason I use it with my cleanser is because this can irritate my skin, at times, if I use it alone. Using this fine a scrub helps to slough off the top layer of dead skin to get rid of any unevenness, scarring, and wrinkles. It has a long list of amazing ingredients including sunflower seed oil, lime juice, grape seed oil, and Vitamin E. 

I started using the Dickinson's Pore Perfecting Toner over a year ago, dropped it to try something else, and then came back to it a few months later. I just really enjoy this one. It has an all natural formula that contains grain alcohol and witch hazel. I will say that it has a strange smell. If you happen to be sensitive to scents, I would recommend trying something else. Personally, I got over the smell, and it doesn't bother me anymore. 

Did I mention I was a total mask junkie? Cuz if I didn't I am now. Hi, I'm Mikey, and I'm addicted to face masks. To be more specific, sheet masks are my current obsession. It used to be mud or clay masks, but since it's winter, the hydration and convenience of a sheet mask just can't be beat. I'm currently going back and forth between the Ariul 7 Days masks and the Dermal Korea ones. The specific one I used today was the Ariul Bamboo Water mask. It smelled sooo good. 

Going back to that AcneFree kit I mentioned earlier: I use the Repair Lotion that comes in it. It has 3.7% benzoyl. That's why I only use it in the morning. If I use it more than once a day, it dries me out too badly. It definitely gets the job done, though! I rarely have breakouts now.

Serums didn't appear in my skincare routine until the dry months hit. I needed the extra hydration and nutrients they offered. I tried using a sample I had gotten a while back to test out if I would like using one or not, and I really enjoyed that one. It's almost gone, but if anyone was curious as to what it was, it was the Skin&Co Roma Truffle Therapy Serum. It smelled amazing and left my skin feeling amazing, but it's 70$ for the full size. So I'm filling its spot with the infinitely less expensive Soothing Serum from elf. I haven't formed an opinion on this yet, so I'll have to update you on that. 

This is, hands down, my very favorite product that I own. It's, honestly, the very best moisturizer I've ever used. Before I forget to tell you what it is, it's the coveted Dear by Enprani Bounce Cheese Cream. *swoon* I know what you're thinking: "Cheese Cream? Whaaaaaa?" But if you know anything about Korean beauty trends, this is majorly hyped. It contains whey protein that'ts enriched with Vitamins A, B, and E. It has a strangely bouncy, stringy texture and hydrates like a dream. It's super rich and luxurious feeling. I'll have to keep repurchasing this forever. I'm going to be devastated when the warmer weather hits and it gets too heavy to wear. 

Eye Cream
This step has been really important to me as of late. With being pregnant and working on my feet 40 hours a week, I'm really freaking tired, and you can see it in the bags and dark circles under my eyes. This is the same eye cream I've been using since summer, which is the Nourish Organics Renewing Eye Cream with Avocado & Argan. The avocado is for nourishment, the argan for moisture, and it also contains Vitamin C to brighten. I like the consistency of it and how it makes my under eyes feel after each use. 

Last is an SPF. I'm currently using the CVS brand AM Moisturizing Facial Lotion with SPF 30. Since I'm using benzoyl peroxide on the skin, I have to use some sort of sun protection to keep my skin from getting too irritated. I always use an SPF to help prevent premature wrinkling and the obvious sun damage. I always recommend an SPF of at least 15 for the face. That also includes the lips. I tend to reach for something with an SPF of 30 or higher, just for the longevity. 

To wrap things up, even though I have problems with oil in the center of my face, I have to use really richly moisturizing products in the winter months. You'll see more of what I mean in my nighttime skincare routine. That should be up in just a few days. I try not to use anything that controls oils during the dry months unless it's only on my nose. 

Kiss, Kiss.

Friday, January 22, 2016

Morphe 35O Palette Swatches on Dark Skin

I know it can be hard to find swatches or product reviews for us WOC, but fear not! I'm here to help in any way I can. Before I bought the Morphe 35O Palette, I hadn't seen a lot of dark skinned women post any pictures of this palette or use it in any tutorials. I'm here to bring you some swatches and a mini review.

You can get this 35 shadow palette for 22.99$ on the Morphe website. That is, when you can catch it in stock. But for .66$ per shadow, it's totally worth the wait. On top of the already low price of the palette, there are a lot of affiliate codes from your favorite beauty gurus that will save you 10%.

I've heard really great things about the Morphe eyeshadow formula, and I was expecting them to be good, but not as amazing as they actually are. These eyeshadows are so incredibly pigmented and smooth. They have an amazing texture and glide on so smoothly. I was so impressed by the matte shadows. It's really hard to get a great matte eyeshadow with the amount of pigment that these have and the smoothness that these shadows have. 

I would 100% recommend any of the Morphe shadow palettes. They have a whole page full of palettes to choose from besides the 35O. Morphe even has single shadows and cream shadows to further customize your looks. 

Some of my favorite are colors that I wasn't expecting to really wow me. Maybe you'll find some hidden gems yourself. 

Kiss, Kiss.

Thursday, January 21, 2016

January 2016 Ipsy Glam Bag

I hope you like unbaggings because I'm coming at you with another one! This month, Ipsy  has All Eyes On You. The bag for this month follows that theme. I, personally, think it's really weird. I'm not a fan of the pattern at all. 

Everyone got the Mr Write Now liner from The Balm. I got mine in the shade Jac, which is an antique gold. I love The Balm as a brand. They make one of my favorite highlighters, Betty-Lou Manizer. I have a few other products from them, and I like them all, so I hope I enjoy this liner. I think it would be perfect in the waterline or inner corner. 

Also for the eyes is the Advanced Peptide Eye Complex from Tucker Ashley. I've been super into skincare these last few weeks, and I will never complain about eye cream samples since they always last so long. This sample is a third of an ounce. Packaging is really bulky, though, which can be misleading. 

Surprise, surprise! I got a lip balm. Really, Ipsy? I can't even tell you how many of these I've gotten over the past 3 years. This one is from Lasting Smiles in the scent Peppermint Creme. It's organic, which is cool, but it's still just a lip balm.

I've received products from Hikari before, but not an eye product. This time I got the Cream Pigment in the shade Mink. It looks more like a pressed pigment, but the colors is a really pretty neutral taupe. I'll be wearing this soon. I'm sure of it. 

Peek is a new brand to me, and for that, I'm grateful. I got their Natural Stain Brow Powder in Espresso. It's a cool, ashy brown that looks dark enough to give me some decent definition. I haven't added anything to my brow stash in a while, so it's kinda cool to get a new brow product. Hopefully, I really like it. Gotta keep them brows looking fleeky. 

Price Summary:
The Balm Liner (FULL SIZE) - 17.00
Tucker Ashley Eye Cream - 20.37
Lasting Smiles Lip Balm (FULL SIZE) - 4.99
Hikari Pigment (FULL SIZE) - 13.00
Peek Brow Powder - 11.00?
Total: 66.36$ USD

I am so impressed with this bag this month! Ipsy has been letting me down lately, but they really stepped it up for the new year. The only product I have a complaint about is the lip balm. Out of the 5 items, I got 3 full sized products, 2 skincare product, and 3 makeup products. I'm totally happy about that. I may have to wait til February to see if I'm going to unsubscribe, after all.

Kiss, Kiss.

Thursday, January 14, 2016

Lorac Pro Palette for Cheap!

If you've never heard of the Lorac Pro Palette, you've obviously been living under a rock! This palette has been a cult favorite ever since it launched a few years back. The Lorac Pro eyeshadow formula is known for being super buttery and pigmented, which is why it's so coveted. 

Well, I'll be the first to admit that I don't have a ton of money for high end makeup products, so when I ran across the "Lorac Pro Palette" on the Wish app for 9$ with 3$ shipping, I was all over it! I always want to look out for those of us who are makeup lovers without a ton of extra cash to spend, and I thought that buying something like this to review would be a great way to keep everyone informed and maybe help someone out. 

When it arrived, it came in the correct packaging and looked just like the real thing. Included was the palette and the primer. Nothing about it looks suspect except for the mirror. It even has a serial number printed on the back. If you didn't know what you were looking for, I don't think you could tell that this was a fake. 

The palette doesn't look cheap. None of the edges are warped, and the pans are secure and well aligned. As far as the actual shadow quality goes, I don't have any complaints. For a drugstore price, you get better than drugstore quality. The lighter matte shades are powdery and a bit patchy in a swatch, but I won't be using those anyway. All of the shimmer shades swatched beautifully. 

Moving on to the primer: I have no bad things to say about it, either. A very small amount, way smaller than you're thinking, will cover your entire eyelid. It has a cream color to it, so it will give you a nice pale base to work with. 

I'm all too happy to add this palette to my collection, and I'm pleased to say I have more fake product reviews coming up soon. 

Kiss, Kiss.

Thursday, January 7, 2016

Influenster Jingle VoxBox

It's been a little bit since I last got an Influenster VoxBox. For those of you who don't know, Influenster is a site where you review products and take quizzes to earn points. The more points you have, the more likely you are to get into a campaign. Campaigns are sometimes from specific brands or have a specific theme surrounding the box. 

The first thing I saw in this box was this adorable Spiderman Itty Bitty from Hallmark! I love cute, tiny things, and this is just so cute and so tiny! My daughter is probably going to fight me for it. 

I was pretty excited to see that this VoxBox came with food in it. It came with 3 packets of Lotus Biscoffs. I tried on with coffee and gave another package to my mom. These are a great consistency to hold up to coffee without being too hard.

I really love nail polish even though I haven't painted my nails in a good long while. In this box I got the Pure Ice Nail Polish in Silver Star. While it is a very pretty color, it just isn't one I would wear, but my daughter loved the color so now it's hers.

There was a sample jar of Cetaphil Moisturizing Cream included. It's only an ounce of product, but that's plenty to know whether or not you like it. I've never tried anything from Cetaphil, so this will give me a good idea of whether or not to try out other products from the brand.

The product I'm least excited about is the NYC Cityproof Eyeliner in Dark Brown. I don't wear a lot of liner pencils that are liquid or colored. I don't think I'll get much use out of this, so I'll probably give it to a sister.

These last 2 products go great together. From the brand Kiss comes the Strip Lash Adhesive with Aloe and the True Volume Lashes in Posh. I am awful at applying falsies, but I love them so much. This style of lash is really pretty and I'm glad the lash glue was included.

Also included was a coupon for a free bag of OreIda Tater Tots! I was stoked to find this in here since I was just talking about wanting some tots.

This VoxBox had a great variety of stuff in it. I didn't even know I was getting this until it arrived in the mail. My favorite things are the Itty Bitty, the Lotus biscuits, and the coupon! Don't judge me, ok?

Kiss, Kiss.