Beauty Blogger of the Month Award!

Cecilia’s Corner hosted this beauty award and giveaway on her blog and I was nominated by Anna but unfortunately was too busy to get around to this before the deadline. I thought this would be fun to answer anyway so here are my answers! If you’re into beauty, let me know what some of your answers are! 

1. Where does your makeup inspiration come from? 

My makeup ‘style’ doesn’t vary often, though the products might. I would say my inspiration comes from Pinterest, other bloggers, and especially YouTube gurus that I follow. 

2. What are 3 of your makeup Holy Grail products you cannot live without? 
-Waterproof mascara – my holy grail (an old Max Factor mascara) got discontinued in the US so unfortunately I don’t have a sell-my-soul-for mascara but I absolutely need waterproof formulas to keep my stick straight lashes curled all day. 
-Lip balm. I know, how boring. Does this even count as makeup? I can’t live without keeping my lips moisturized because my lips are naturally on the dry side regardless of how much water I drink. It’s so uncomfortable to have chapped lips, particularly during the cold months in the PNW. 
-Anastasia Beverly Hills Perfect Brow Pencil. I don’t have thick brows at all so filling them in a little to form some sort of arch (working on that…but my brows are stubborn) is a vital part of my routine. I don’t like crazy bold brows for myself but to have them clean and groomed is important. 

3. What is your makeup signature look which you have on most of the time? 
Something glowy on the cheeks, softly defined brows, black liner on the top lid, waterproof mascara, and if I wear eyeshadow – almost always neutrals. I’m a sucker for taupe. 

4. Let us know your favorite makeup brands? 
MAC, benefit, NYX, Maybelline (best drugstore mascaras I can find), and a little bit of everything else :)

5. Your ultimate makeup pet peeve? 
Sharpie eyebrows. I don’t think I need to expand on this one. 

6. You’ve heard about all the hype on this makeup item, bought it, tried it and don’t understand what all the fuss is about…Name that product!
Color correcting primers. 1) It doesn’t color correct. 2) Doesn’t prolong the wear of makeup at all. Just an extra step that looks weird on the skin. (Specifically L’Oreal Studio Secrets)

7. Concealer OR foundation ONLY for the rest of your life. Choose one and tell us the reason!
Foundation! A good foundation can make a huge difference in your overall appearance and can be doubled up as a concealer. Easy! 

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Review: Olay Fresh Effects BB Cream

Summertime skin deserves to be nourished and hydrated too, even though it may be hot and humid. The US is always months, if not years, behind the trends in skincare in Asian countries. Now that BB and CC creams are seen in the states, you can find a variety of drugstore versions which are more budget-friendly than buying the original Asian brands online and dealing with international shipping. Today I’ll be reviewing this one from Olay:

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$10-13 | 2.5 oz | Light-Medium shade

First impressions: The product size is huge – over twice the size of a standard foundation. (Great value for your money!) The packaging feels a bit flimsy but it does the job. I also noticed that the scent was strong at first but I have come to like it – more on this later.

The Good: Obviously any product at this price, so readily available at a drugstore, and with this size is a winner already! This product is a no fuss solution to summer days when you just aren’t feeling up to applying tons of products to your skin to get a fresh faced glow. The squeeze applicator keeps dispensing easy and sanitary. I’ve found no difference in applying the product with a stippling brush, rounded dense foundation brush, and my fingers. My personal preference is to use the rounded brush because I think it gives a TINY bit better coverage and is fastest. The coverage is sheer so for extra coverage on the days when I need it, I just use a little bit of cream concealer. It feels slightly greasy after application but after a few minutes, it disappears. The finish is beautiful and gives you a healthy glow so you can ditch the highlighter on top of your bronzer. It can last through an 8 hour work day but to last through the heat, I recommend setting with a good oil absorbing powder (my all time favorite for summer is the rice powder by Palladio) or using a setting spray.

The Not-So-Good: The lack of shade selection (there are only two options) is a big problem because only fair to medium/olive skin tones will be able to use this product. I have been spending more time in the sun and using some self tanner so the Light to Medium shade looks many shades lighter than my hand as you can see in pictures below. Wearing SPF on my face has kept it about the same shade as it is in the Spring however, so luckily the shade works. As the description claims, this product truly does blend into your skin. So while I got lucky, I think Olay could benefit from offering more shades. The scent doesn’t bother me but I know many who are sensitive to fragrance would appreciate less scent. If you enjoy cucumber melon scents, you’ll like this one. The scent doesn’t linger after application thankfully. I’ve never been a fan of my face smelling like one of my old favorite  Bath & Body Works hand soaps, personally.

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Bottom Line: If you only have some redness or blotchiness to cover and like a one step process in the summer mornings, this product’s for you. If you have some blemishes, no worries – you can just add some concealer. This product combines moisturizer, coverage, and SPF into an easy application and gives a beautiful glow. (I sound like a broken record about SPF but I would still recommend putting on a separate SPF product underneath this product because it only has SPF 15. If my skin tone stays the same for the rest of summer, I’m going to continue using this!

If you like BB creams, let me know what your favorite is! I have two others that I’m also using so I’m in a constant rotation of them this summer.

Thanks for reading as always!

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Travel Makeup Bag Essentials

Just a few days ago I traveled to the East Coast and as I packed my toiletries, I thought I would take a few pictures and share some of my essentials that I like to bring on the road. Some of you may be like me and enjoy seeing what’s inside others’ handbags and makeup bags – if so, here’s part 1!

{To protect}

Skincare copyUrban Decay De-Slick Makeup Setting Spray — Olay All Day Moisturizer with SPF 15 — Shiseido Sun Protection Eye Cream SPF 34 — Mario Badescu A.H.A and Ceramid Moisturizer

I’m a big advocate for wearing SPF year round but realistically, wearing a separate sunscreen is too much work for everyday wear so I typically go for a lightweight moisturizer with SPF. My mom is the reason why I have started using a daytime eye cream, thanks for the gift! The main reason I use this is because it has higher SPF and I have particularly thin skin near my eyes (as in my veins are very visible in this area) and it’s important to protect to prevent sun spots. (Asian skin is prone to sun spots, according to my mom’s dermatologist.)  Shiseido sunscreen is some of the best out there, I highly recommend it! Since it’s getting warmer, this makeup setting spray from UD is a must have. It feels refreshing and does help prolong the freshness of your makeup. This cute 1 oz. travel size is perfect for being on the go. Lastly, I love taking samples with me when traveling because it’s the perfect time to use them up and is often more than enough to last the duration of the trip. This moisturizer is from one of my favorite skincare brands, Mario Badescu, and provides the perfect amount of moisture while I sleep.

{To awaken}
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Maybelline Color Whisper in Berry Ready — MAC eyeshadow in Shroom, Lancome Definicils Waterproof mascara — Rimmel Soft Kohl Eyeliner — Kat Von D Waterproof Autograph Pencil in Proud Peacock — Anastasia Perfect Brow pencil in taupe

For the typical travel day and for activities, I usually stick with minimal makeup and here are my top picks to combat any effects of a tiring trip. Well groomed brows can make a huge difference to anyone’s face and Anastasia Beverly Hills is the queen of brow products. This foolproof pencil is just the perfect hardness so it makes for a quick fill in. The double ended pencil has a spoolie on one end so you can quickly comb through your brows too. If you need a little bit of eye opening magic, I recommend a soft, champagne eyeshadow such as this one by MAC. You don’t even need a brush, just use your ring finger to gently pat onto the middle of your lid and inner corners. Waterproof mascara is a year round staple for me because it lasts longer and holds a curl better than regular formulas, just remember to pack a good makeup remover! Lastly, the best way to brighten up your look is some lip color! I love this berry shade – smells good and feels comfortable on the lips.

{To pamper}
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BeeKind Honey  & Organic Chamomile Lotion — C.O. Bigelow Rose Salve — Vasanti BrightenUp! Enzymatic Cleanser — Harvey Prince Hello perfume — Beauty Protector Protect & Oil — Air Repair Rescue Balm

If you’re flying to your destination, the air can really dehydrate your skin and leave it looking a bit dull. I like bringing an exfoliant either in a mask or cleanser form to rejuvenate the skin and some sort of salve/balm to moisturize particularly dry spots. Bring multi-purpose products that can double as a skin saver and lip balm. The baby size of the Protect & Oil smells delicious and is the best way to pack one less bottle of hair serum or heat protectant. This is an all in one! I also love this BeeKind lotion because the scent is really fresh and absorbs quickly. My hands feel dry after washing my hands with most types of soap, oddly, so this is a must – especially when I’m more of a germaphobe on the go. This Harvey Prince perfume is perfect for summer because it’s the perfect blend of sweet and fresh. I prefer the samples with a spray rather than the ones with just a little lid.

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I had to include this adorable patterned makeup bag that I got a few months ago from a CottonOn sale. I accidentally clicked the kids section sale but I’m glad I did. It’s actually a very large pouch and I paid less than $1 for it! Since this isn’t vinyl coated or anything fancy, I just use it to hold items like moisturizers, nail clippers, mirrors, and lip balms. Makeup tends to get messy so it’s important to store that in a easily cleaned bag.

Thanks for reading! Look out for some more travel posts in the near future – I can’t wait to share some pictures from my trip.

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Beauty Review: Birchbox & POP Beauty Bright Up Your Life Palette in Naturally Bare

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If you’re into beauty, I’m sure you’ve heard of beauty subscriptions such as Julep Maven, Birchbox, and Ipsy. After months of hearing about these I jumped on the bandwagon because $10 a month seemed completely justifiable for a box of goodies delivered to my door.

The idea is simple: you sign up, take a fun style/lifestyle quiz, and the company ships you a box of 4-5 products for only $10. Don’t worry, they automatically bill you weeks before the box is shipped…for an East coast company, it seems like they’re headquartered in China because it took me forever to get my boxes. Their tracking is horribly inaccurate but at least the shipping’s free, I guess. I’ve just gotten too used to being pampered by Nordstrom’s always fast, always seamless shipping service.

{the good}
Variety: I did get to try a lot of products that I never would have picked up on my own. I actually only got three boxes, but that’s over a period of 90 days. I don’t know about you, but for some reason it takes me forever to finish products. I end up having to throw away products because it’ll be time to toss them and I still haven’t finished them. For someone like me, using up samples is sometimes a struggle. So currently my vanity is still cluttered with these three boxes, some samples unopened, because I just have so much.

Rewards: The rewards system is pretty decent. Your first box shipped gets you 10 points, a friend referral gets you 50 points (thanks for signing up through me Blair!), and if you write a product review for each product you’ve sampled – you get 10 points each too. 100 points equates to $10 which you can spend in the Birchbox store which has tons of products. I tried to write a review for every product I got and racked up some points that I couldn’t let go to waste! I was able to only pay a few dollars for the palette that I’m going to review below! I thought about it this way – for every box I successfully review, it’s like I’m only paying $5 for it. Sort of works, right? 

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{the bad}
-Some samples are so small that I couldn’t justify the price. If a sample has a larger bottle, chances are half of it is empty.

-Shipping, as mentioned above.
-Nowhere did I mark that I wanted to be sent the lifestyle samples but I have received packets of tea, chocolate, and an overly healthy snack bar in my boxes before. What are these things doing in my beauty subscription box? Some people might like that surprise but if those are making up my 4-5 items, no thanks.

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{bottom line}
If you have $10 to spare each month and you don’t mind trying truly sample sized samples, this is pretty fun to receive and if you do the reviews, think of it as only $5 a month. But you can get deluxe sized samples from places like Sephora or simply asking at department stores. For now, I’m on a break. But I’m definitely interested in giving ipsy a try – Michelle Phan’s version of Birchbox
!

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What I’m really excited about in this post is the palette that I purchased partially with my points! This is affordable, has a good selection of neutral shades, and after a week of testing has proven to be a great product especially for the price.

Shades

The shades are very buttery and comparable to the texture of Urban Decay shadows actually, however the pigmentation is not as intense. Some of the top row shades come off a bit chalky and there is a bit of powder on the black palette packaging. Speaking of packaging, the sleek palette is small and light enough to travel with however I prefer to bring something even smaller or with more multi-purpose products. There’s also no mirror as the top is clear. The front clasp is also pretty difficult for me to open each time. It comes with a dual ended brush that’s decent for basic application. The concealer looking brush is good if you wanted to smudge some shadow on as liner.

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Keeping in mind the price tag, I would say it does a good enough job. I would give this 4/5 stars. What would make it a 5? Some matte shades that aren’t chalky, a mirror, and slightly better packaging. I see a lot of potential in this brand however and I would love to try some more of their products! Sadly, POPBeauty is a UK company :(

I’ll leave off with some swatches of the shadows. (I apologize for the goosebumps..I was a bit chilly I guess.) As you can see, the top row isn’t TOO pigmented but on my finger they were more rich. All the colors seemed to lose a bit of payoff as I swiped them on my arm. The third picture shows a view with flash – you can see how shimmery some of the shades can be.

 

Today’s outfit: Necklace|BCBG. Bag|Longchamp. Sweater|Lucky Brand. Skirt|Forever21. Wedge caged sandals|Unpictured and unknown from Nordstrom Rack!

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Have a wonderful week! As always, thank you for reading!
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