Neutral Palette #13: Urban Decay Naked 3 Palette

Urban Decay Naked 3

Urban Decay Naked 3

Urban Decay Naked 3 Swatches

You know how some makeup just feels seasonal? Like an oxblood lip for winter, or an orange blush for summer? It is always around this time of year that I pull this rose-gold baby out of the drawer and start getting some use out of her. The apricot-y, peach tones in the Urban Decay Naked 3 Palette always scream spring to me.

The formula is obviously fantastic – the swatches above are just one swipe each. Every shade is super pigmented and blends out easily. I get a lot of use out of Dust, that fifth from the right shimmery pink-copper shade, as it is not easily duped in my collection. I also like Mugshot (shimmery taupe, third from right), and Blackheart (all the way to the right) is my favorite eyeshadow to use wet on an angled brush as an eyeliner, as the glitter in this deep plum looks stellar on the eyes. Plus, the packaging is gorgeous, sturdy, and it comes with a big mirror, making it an all-around high-quality palette.

That being said, this is one of my least used palettes. When I reach for mauves and purples, I use the Laura Mercier Artist Palette much more often. I find that I have to put quite a bit of thought into the rest of my makeup in order to keep these pink shades leaning toward super-flattering-new-neutral rather than go-home-you-have-pneumonia.  I think this palette is a must-have if you have green eyes because you can’t find a better range of shades to make green eyes pop, but if you have warm/golden/olive undertones, it can be a bit challenging to work with.

Do you have the Urban Decay Naked 3 Palette? What do you think?

New In: Beauty Products

New Adds: Beauty Products

I’ve picked up a few good beauty bits over the past few weeks that I wanted to share (what with the Sephora VIB Sale, and a promotion at work that gave me 40% off all cosmetics). I feel like my April makeup habits were all about the eyes, thanks in no small part to the majority of these purchases!

Those of you with a blogger’s eye will notice the Charlotte Tilbury Dolce Vita Palette palette right there in the center. I actually just received this from Beautylish (would highly recommend this website to any US readers), so it hasn’t seen much use yet, but the palette is worth it for that bottom left shade alone. I also picked up the recently re-released Laura Mercier Artist Palette from their Holiday 2013 collection – I love having a palette of mauve-y/purples! I don’t have any thing like it in my current collection.

From MAC, I picked up my first matte nude lipstick in the form of Viva Glam II, a pink-based, lighter nude that I find to be very flattering. And from the MAC is Beauty collection, I grabbed two Fluid Lines: Our Secret, a red-based medium brown with shimmer, and Brassy, a yellow-gold. I also picked up the MAC 266 Brush small angle brush to use with these, and so far so good.

Last but not least, I grabbed one of the Milani Gel Powder Eyeshadows in Bella Navy at my local Duane Reade, and while I’m not quite sure about the ‘gel’ part of the name, I’ve found it to be an excellent shade to pop in the crease when transitioning an eyeshadow look from day to night, and you don’t have time to do a full smokey eye.

What have you picked up lately?

On Display: The Prettiest Packaging

The Prettiest Packaging

While it would be silly to purchase products solely for their packaging (which, of course, I’ve never done…), there is a time and a place to admire a beautifully packaged bit of makeup. Who doesn’t want her dressing table to look luxurious and well-curated?

The Clarins Instant Light Lip Perfecting Gloss comes in a simple plastic tube with a gold cap, but the simplicity is the cutest part! I have three of these, actually (#addicted, I know), and they look great thrown together in a little glass jar with that Sephora + Pantone Color of the Year Marsala Metalshine Eyeliner in Marsala. Rose gold seems to be the color to have this year, and it just doesn’t get prettier than that metallic casing.

I couldn’t write this post without including the obvious: YSL Rouge Volupte Shine Lipstick. I have shade 13 Pink in Paris, and this gold packaging really is lovely. It isn’t quite my style, so I don’t actually have this sitting out, but it is so intricate and sweet that I couldn’t help but include it.

In the way of sleeker packaging, NARS nailed it with their NARS Audacious Lipsticks (I have the shade Audrey). Between the magnetic closure and the brushed metal case, it is the epitome of pure luxury. The YSL Fusion Ink Foundation packaging has a very similar feel, with the chic frosted glass and the logo gold cap.

And lastly, I had to throw in a piece from MAC’s Alluring Aquatics collection from last summer (still available on Amazon for absurd amounts of money). I have the Extra-Dimension Eyeshadow in Sea Worship, which was LE, but is being added to the permanent collection soon! This is, hands-down, the coolest packaging I’ve ever seen. In case you’ve never seen it, it’s a shiny aqua plastic with little beads on it that give it a very realistic just-drenched-with-water effect. I have to give it to MAC – they always nail it with their summer packaging.

What has been your favorite cosmetics packaging so far?

Spring Wardrobe Additions

Spring Wardrobe Additions

Inevitably, as the weather gets warmer, I get excited about updating my wardrobe! Since last spring, I switched careers – from a very professional office to a very creative one, so I’ve been having quite a bit of fun experimenting with new outfits at work! I’m a pretty discerning shopper though, and I typically don’t buy anything if I don’t have the instant urge to want to wear it, like, tomorrow.

I’ve added a few spring pieces recently that I’ve been loving, particularly that little Zara Mini City Office bag in a gorgeous muted blue. I actually purchased this on the spot in a Zara store (rather than researching it online) because it was just too cute. I’m still struggling with how to properly downsize from my normal large leather tote, but I love the idea of carrying a smaller bag. I also picked up those little D’Orsay flats from JustFab this season. My current flats assortment is quite pathetic, so an update was far overdue.

Anyone who has every been shopping with me knows how picky I am about blouses, so the fact that I purchased not one, but three new spring tops is just mind blowing. I’m extremely broad shouldered, so finding tops that are flattering on me can be a challenge. (Any busty, broad shouldered ladies in the house? You feel me, I’m sure.) The first find was that James Perse tee in a super-wearable medium blue (similar here). It fits like a dream, and I can see myself dressing that down with white jeans or up with a patterned skirt. That chambray linen peplum is another great spring blue; despite this shirts unending desire to be wrinkled (linen, grr), I kind of love it! The peplum is subtle, and the exposed zip in the back is a nice little detail. Lastly, I picked up that striped wrap top during a 50% off sale at Ann Taylor, and I couldn’t be more pleased with how flattering and easy this is to wear.

What have you been picking up for your spring wardrobe?

Addicted To: Muted Blush

Muted Blush

I find that I can use a nude-pink muted blush any time of year, with any makeup look, which has obviously caused an unnecessary accumulation of these in my collection. Dark lip, nude lip, no lip products, these always look great and add such a lovely warmth to your face.

The lightest option is the Rimmel Powder Blush in Santa Rose – a lightened, warm rose with a slight shimmer. This blush was all the rage on beauty blogs last year! Rimmel doesn’t sell their blushes in the US, so I tracked this baby down on FeelUnique and ordered it. Totally worth it.

I won’t ramble too much about Tarte’s Amazonian Clay Blush in Exposed, since it’s been written about to death in the beauty world, but it’s a stunning nude-pink that lasts ages when applied. If you haven’t jumped on the bandwagon, go ahead. Jump. You won’t regret it. NARS Douceur is also absolutely lovely, and just ever so slightly more plummy than Exposed, but it was discontinued after I took this picture! I’m excited to see what NARS replaces this classic with!

The most nude of the lot is the Hourglass Ambient Blush in Mood Exposure, a muted, browned mauve, which I have as a part of their blush palette. This is extremely long wearing, and I love the nice radiance it gives when applied. By way of cream options, the Stila Convertible Color in Peony is a slightly dirty warm pink that looks awesome when stippled onto the cheekbones. Bonus: it’s also a great MLBB lip color!

Which blushed are your go-tos?

Scary in the Pan

Scary in the Pan

I feel like this post needs very little introduction – some products are just downright intimidating! But, these 5 have turned out amazingly for me, even though I almost didn’t buy any of these because they look so intense at first glance!

Too Shimmery: The first one didn’t photograph too frighteningly, but theBalm’s Mary Lou-Manizer is mighty shimmery in the pan. In fact, it may be mistaken for a pressed glitter compact, but once applied, this sheers out to a gorgeous champagne glow. I’ve yet to find a highlighter quite as natural looking on a variety of skintones as this one. I’m always wary of glitter on the lips as well, and the NARS Lip Gloss in Orgasm is packed with shimmer. In fact, this one is hideous when applied opaquely (think Malibu Barbie and high heels at the pool); however, when patted on subtly, it adds a gorgeous, subtly nude sheen to any lipstick (or just to your lips!)

Too Orange: The Bobbi Brown Corrector in Light Peach can also be a bit bizarre-looking in the pan, as it has a very orange undertone, but it cancels out the purple in under-eye circles better than anything I’ve tried. Once you layer it with a little bit of powder, you can’t possibly tell that it is a few shades darker and warmer than my skin. The NYX Powder Blush in Cinnamon is another little orange wonder. This one is neon in the pan, but when applied, it sort of serves as a blush/bronzer combo, warming up the face without being too loud.

Too Dark: I actually just picked up the Clinique Cheek Pop Blush in Cola Pop when it was released a few weeks ago, simply because the color was so intriguing! A burgundy blush? Who buys that? Me, obviously. When applied with a fluffy brush, this blush is a gorgeous, muted, plum – I don’t think I will be using it much in the summer, but I can see myself reaching for it every day next fall and winter!

Have you ever purchased anything that was a bit intimidating in the pan?

(Slightly Delayed) March Favorites

March Favorites

So sorry for the late monthly favorites – things have been pretty busy this month, what with my brand launching at work. Although, it was still bitterly cold in New York for most of March, so I spent quite a few nights in with my cat and Netflix. (No shame, and really no excuse haha)

Given how freezing the weather is, Indeed Lab’s Hydraluron Moisture Serum was an obvious skincare favorite. It itself is not hydrating, but it really harnesses the moisturizing properties of any face lotion. I have been relying on it to keep my skin happy this month! Along the same weather lines, I’ve been relying on my Malin & Goetz Mojito Lip Balm instead of lipstick. I’ve nearly used it up already. If I do reach for a lipstick, it’s been the NARS Velvet Matte Lip Pencil in Dragon Girl, a pinky-red that is a rumored Taylor Swift favorite. It’s super matte, but the formula on this is so forgiving and comfortable.

By way of makeup, I discovered the Kevin Aucoin Sensual Skin Enhancer this month, which I’ve been mixing with my daily lotion to create a great little tinted moisturizer. I have the shade Sx04, which is the right shade, but slightly too yellow for my skintone. It doesn’t bother me too much though, and it makes for a great concealer for my under eye area. How can it be my favorite when it looks entirely new in the photo? Because you need so little product that I can use it over 10 times in a month and still have 99% of the product left. It’s amazing. NARS Blush in Douceur has been a staple of mine all winter as well. It’s a plummy-brown, and it warms up the face in a subtle way (unlike, say, a bronzer). This blush has been discontinued for God-only-knows why, but there are a couple of good dupes for NARS Doucer: try MAC’s Blushbaby, Tarte’s Exposed, Tarina Tarantino’s Neapolitan Lane, or Burberry’s Earthy.

I have one non-beauty favorite this month, and it’s that cute little gold cat case I got for my iPhone! I think it is so cute and unique – I love this bee one too.

What have you been loving this month?

The Powder Contour

Contour Product Review

Trust me when I say that I’m no Kim Kardashian (or rather, I’m no Mario Dedivanovic – her makeup artist), but I don’t hate the contouring trend circulating lately. I have a few cream contour products, but for a quick, everyday high-cheekbone, I tend to reach for powder!

The Kevyn Aucoin Sculpting Powder in Medium ($44) was my first foray into the contouring world, and I’ll tell you what; it was a good one! This taupe powder leans grey, which is great for my olive skin. It is extremely pigmented, so it takes some getting used to in order to get the right amount, but it is a spectacular powder. TheBalm’s Bahama Mama Bronzer is a great alternative for the Kevyn Aucoin at a slightly more friendly price point ($20, and you can often find it on sale at Hautelook, etc.). It is slightly less pigmented, so it allows a little more room for mistakes, and it doubles as a very flattering matte eyeshadow.

The Anastasia Contour Kit is an animal all of its own. It has sold out like crazy all over the states, probably because of its versatility! I have the “light to medium” version, and it contains 6 shades, ranging from a shimmery highlighter to a deep bronzer. I really enjoy using the two matte highlighting colors on the top left, but in general, this palette runs a little too orange for me. That being said, the formula is unreal, and it is basically fool proof! I would highly recommend this nearly anyone.

Do y’all contour for daytime makeup?

↑↓: Best & Worst of Ipsy Glam Bag

Best and Worst of Ipsy

I’ve been an Ipsy subscriber for about 6 months now, and overall, I have to say I’ve been pretty pleased! It’s a fun little gift to myself to look forward to each month. I find that the more feedback I give, the better my bags have gotten. Here are a few standouts, both good and bad:

Best

IT Cosmetics Bye Bye Under Eye Concealer: I’m all about a good concealer, and this one is definitely heavy duty. I’ve never tried anything by the brand before, and I’m sincerely impressed with this! It’s a little dewy, so you’ll need to set it, but it does a great job of covering up my terrifying dark circles.

Pacifica 7-Free Nail Polish in Red Red Wine: Not only is this my favorite color ever, but it also doesn’t contain 7 harmful chemicals that are in the majority of nail polish – natural AND pretty? Count me in! It’s a great, thin formula, but it is opaque in two coats, and it lasts about 4 days. When I don’t know what color to paint my nails, I always grab for this one.

Malin & Goetz Mohito Lip Balm: I’ve posted about this on here before, but I am always on the hunt for a new lip balm. This one  does the job really well, and it has a pleasantly subtle lime scent that I adore. It goes on like a gel, but sinks into the lips in about 30 minutes – I put it on every night before bed.

Crown Infinity Shadow/Crease Duet Brush: I had been wanting to try out Crown Brushes for a while now, and this was the perfect introduction. The synthetic bristles are super soft, and I love the little pointed blending end; it is ideal for creating that “I-slept-in-my-eyeliner” look (without actually sleeping in your eyeliner).

Worst

Cargo Lip Gloss in Anguilla: This is a brand I adore, so I had high hopes for this, but unfortunately, the color of this lip gloss is offensive. It is a cotton candy cool-toned pink in the worst possible way. It is sort of semi-opaque (a.k.a. streaky) and horribly sticky. /rant

JCat Wonder Lip Paint in Mad Splatter: I wanted to love this because I love the OCC Lip Tars, but this formula was a bit too runny for my liking, and I wasn’t a fan of the glitter in the shade. That being said, I passed it on to my friend C, and she loves it! So this one isn’t a bad-for-everyone product, just not right for me.

If you want to subscribe to Ipsy: click here!

Do y’all subscribe to Ipsy? What do you think?

Budget Buys with BornPrettyStore

BornPrettyStore

BornPrettyStore

BornPrettyStore Swatches

I do love myself some luxury makeup, but there is a time and place for a good budget buy!

BornPrettyStore is a beauty retailer out of Asia that is chock full of budget products and dupes. They recently gave me the opportunity to try a few of the products, and I have to say, I’m pretty impressed! It takes close to two weeks to get the products since they do ship from Asia, but they arrived in great condition.

I picked the Bubu Lipstick* in Shade 02, a medium coral, and the Efolar Blush Powder* in 01, a traditional peachy-pink, and in both cases, I’m really pleased with the performance! The lipstick is fairly moisturizing, and I find that it covers up imperfections rather than emphasizing them. As someone with perpetually dry lips, that’s a must! I also like that it is bright, but muted, making it versatile year round. The blush is a solid buy as well, and I particularly liked the wear-time – 7+ hours, and it was still visible! It didn’t sink into pores or transfer at all. It has a slightly makeup-y smell (not unlike that of NARS Eyeshadows), but it doesn’t prevent me from using it. The packaging of the blush is a bit bulky and hard to store, so it may be a candidate for de-potting, but the lipstick packaging is really cute.

I have to say, I’ve always been a little wary of direct-from-Asia websites, but I am really pleased with the level of customer service and the products from BornPrettyStore. How do you feel about budget beauty buys?

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