Beauty

Kat Von D x Influenster – FIRST LOOK

I’m not exactly sure why, but I’ve sure gotten realllllyy lucky with Influenster this year. Just a few years months ago I got to try out YSL’s corrector, and now part of Kat Von D’s new products. I’ll just get to to it and show you:


How. Pretty. And expensive. I know. This box’s value is at least $100 worth of makeup products and brushes. My absolute favorite is the setting powder brush – so soft, fluffy and effective. Let me know what you’d like to see reviews of!

Love, Nicole 🙂 

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Play by Sephora June 2016

I was one of the few lucky ladies that actually managed to get into the Sephora beta subscription a few months back, and I have to say, so far I’m impressed. Last month’s box was okay as far as the products went, but this one’s definitely a winner in my book.

I introduce to you the Minimalist Box:



You see that first bottle? That’s Becca’s backlight priming filter, which has a lovely citrusy essent btw, that has .20 oz. That’s probably worth $10 on its own and applying to the high points of the face, this could last a while.
The they’re real mascara is alright imo, I’m not a big fan of benefit’s mascaras. I will say, however, I’m glad they’re also using recognizable, popular brands rather than sticking to the less recognizable need-to-sell-more-of-so-let’s-give-away-samples brands. 


 The tarte is great, but considering I’m nearly albino 😅, I think I’ll give it away. 

I’m not crazy about hair products besides (hint at future post) hair serums, so I’ll probably give away the Bb creme too.

Now Bare Minerals Sheer Sun is just, WHOAH. Like, WHOAH. It’s so good – in essence it’s a sheer liquid bronzer, but it’s lovely, would look natural due to the blendability. Sadly the bottle is really tiny, so I doubt I could get more than 10 applications out of this, although that’s still a steal!

The tocca fragrance strikes me as a citrusy essent as well, which is similar to last month’s orange based smell, but they both smell expensive, so I’m okay with them. What’s best is this is an absolute freebie.

Overall, I’m really impressed with this box’s value AND their choice of brands. I also love the monthly Baggie, great for carrying makeup!

Are you subscribed to the Play By Sephora subscription box? Let me know!

Love, Nicole 👀

Renewed Hope in a Jar & GlamGlow Supermud DUPES

Years back, I remember hearing about the awesomeness of the original Hope in a Jar, and how expensive it was for a single ounce, and I thought to myself, “who would buy that?!”

Years later, I’m that fool. Yes, I’ve purchased over $70 dollars worth of lotion PER 4 OZ BOTTLE.

To my own defense, Renewed Hope in a Jar, however, is the only lotion that doesn’t leave me greasy, breaks me out, or turns my foundation orange.

It wasn’t until I’d accidentally ran out of Hope in a Jar that I found this dupe. Oddly enough, a sample of it had been resting on my vanity for nearly 5 months! Here it is:


It’s called Beautiful Skin Night Cream (for Normal/Oily skin) by Boots and its ingredients are really close to Hope in a Jar. Not only that, but it so closely resembles Hope in a Jar, it’s almost scary. It even smells like it.

The best part is it’s only $14, for 1.6oz, compared to $75 per per 4oz of HIAJ. At $14 for 1.6 oz, Boot’s cream is $35 for 4 oz, that’s $40 less than HIAJ. You’re welcome.

The sample I got was for Dry skin, and it’s also like Renewed HIAJ, just slightly thicker and more moisturizing, so if you have dry skin, that works as well!

Furthermore, I have a dupe for GlamGlow’s Supermud mask.

I recently tried out a sample and I have to say it reminded me so much of Paula’s Choice daily skin clearing treatment.

They aren’t as closely related in formula as I’d like, but the function is essentially the same – in fact, I’d say Paula’s works even better than Supermud, simply because it dries out pimples completely overnight, compared to Supermud which takes a couple of applications over a few days. What’s best is, Paula’s Choice is super affordable, at $17 for 2.25 oz, compared to $69 for 1.2 oz. I also really like the fact that PC’s treatment is in a bottle, compared to GG Supermud’s jar container which encourages germ production in the product.

Overall, if you’ve tried either Hope in a Jar or GlamGlow Supermud but found it too expensive, or have found it too expensive to even try, I really recommend  you to try these dupes!

Love, Nicole 💋

Boots No7 Beautiful Skin Night Cream for Dry/Very Dry Skin – 1.69 Fl Oz • Boots • $13.49

Boots No7 Beautiful Skin Night Cream for Normal/Oily Skin – 1.69 Fl Oz • Boots • $13.49

Paula’s Choice Clear Acne Treatment Regular Strength with 2.5% Benzoyl Peroxide for Moderate Acne – 2.25 oz • Paula’s Choice • $17

Yves Saint Laurent x Influenster

When Influenster messaged me a few weeks back, letting me know about the new YSL correctors, on top of casually mentioning I WOULD BE GETTING ONE FREE, I absolutely couldn’t wait. I mean, I considered camping outside and waiting for the precious ol’ mail man to arrive. Which he did, eventually.

Here’s what it looks like:

  
The box is real tiny, though for a simple click-pen I don’t know what I was expecting lol


Inside, I found a card with gawjuss Cara Delevingne (Seriously though, how do you pronounce that?) next to lesser-known Amilna Estevao. Apparently YSL likes to reuse images from other campaigns? Nice marketing, YSL, nice.

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After that is the YSL Touche Eclat Neutralizer in shade Bisque , which according to Sephora,

What it is:
A highlighter that targets and neutralizes color imperfections.

What it does:
Discover the award-winning complexion highlighter, now in a must-have, color correcting highlighter. It instantly cancels and neutralizes color imperfections for flawless skintone, and the easy-to-use, one-click brush allows you to perfectly target the problem zone. The lightweight formula allows for customizable and seamless correction—plus, you can wear it under or over foundation.

What else you need to know:
Choose the shade that works best for your skintone:
Green: Corrects blemishes, conceals redness for an even skintone.
Bisque: Corrects dark circles and dark spots. Illuminate.
Violet: Corrects yellow dull skin for a healthy glow.

The packaging is luxurious to both touch and feel, the box being gold, and the product feeling a bit heavier than common plastic and rose gold in tone.


    

 That is pretty much where the price difference between this and most other correctors lies – in the presentation.

The consistency in this is pretty thin. I also found that the product goes on semi-patchy on my face, compared to my arm. There is no significant smell. Once blended, it sheers out to a thin layer of orange lying on your skin. Overall though, for the price tag ($38), unless you like fancy packaging, I really don’t think this is any better than the L.A. Girls Correctors, which go up for 2-3 a pop.

   
 But the worst part by far, something many, many, many people tend to leave out when speaking about orange correctors on light skin is that it tends to show up as such, ORANGE, which easily translates to and is no better than having concealer 2 shades darker than your skin tone.

For this reason, I feel it is slightly unjust to deem this corrector useless, as I am sure there’s people out there for whom orange correctors actually work, however, those with light skin, I highly suggest you stay away.

Moreover, to prove my point, on Sephora’s website you’ll find a video sponsored by YSL in which a light-skinned gal uses Bisque as a BRONZER (3:23), not as an under-eye corrector. Though I must question this usage regardless, isn’t an orange-based tone too warm to use as a bronzer? I must note that she uses YSL products mostly, if not only, throughout the video, signaling that perhaps she used the shade because she had to.

Regardless, overall, If you’ve already tried an orange-toned corrector, liked it, and want to try something a bit fancier than orange lipstick, I think this could be worth a shot. If like me, you need something to go way above and beyond in order to match the price and feel less pain dropping nearly $40 on a pen rather than pizza or cheeseburgers, then I believe you can do equally well with other correctors.

Have you tried out any of YSL correctors or highlighters? Let me know!

Jergens Natural Glow Review (+ Sally Hansen’s Airbrush Legs and More!)

Living in California isn’t as beachy or palmy as it may appear, specially Northern California. I’ve been having this crazy, odd beauty problem which I would assume most just simply wouldn’t have but, well guess what, I DO.

You see, in California, the Summers are the best when you’re at the beach with a bikini on, getting this lovely bronzed tan – but for the locals, it often means walking around in 100+ Fahrenheit degrees with a full outfit on, getting tan in some places, but not others, because, well, WALKING AROUND OUTSIDE NAKED IS ILLEGAL … and weird …

So lately I’ve been on a really weird, bronzey-ish adventure – despite always having loved my typical pale, “pin-up” embracing look. I wanted to show you what I’ve been purchasing to prepare for this transition in my life of … (gasp) using self-tanner.

Before starting the self-tanning process (for a gradual tan), I like to exfoliate to start off with a brand new layer of skin!

For this, I’ve been using Tree Hut Firming Body Scrub in Italian Mocha. It has real coffee in it so it can get a bit messy but I absolutely love the smell!

Note: to make your own exfoliating scrub, you can use plain, organic sugar (aka “thick” sugar lol) – normal, white sugar can lead to cuts in the skin – and if you want a firming effect as well you can add instant coffee to the sugar. Mix it in and wet it slightly when you get in the shower to use as a scrub.

FIT ME 220 Foundation and 20 Sand Concealer Review here.

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L to R: Olay Regenerating Serum, Fit Me Foundation & Concealer, Wet’n’Wild Kohl Liner, Tree Hut Scrub

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Jergens Natural Glow Daily Moisturizer

I think this is probably one of the most well-known self-tanners out there (maybe even more so than St. Tropez!)

Here’s a breakdown of the product:

Bottle rendition: Full bottle lasted me about 2 1/2 weeks of daily usage.

I shower daily (10 min body shower), so I found myself having to “restart” the whole process again in the early tanning stage of every process (A total of 2 “processes” in the bottle) – as the tan would fade easily upon first or second wear.

Texture: The lotion is very thick, which I didn’t really mind since my body skin is so dry. When used on the face, however, it broke me out a few times – it takes a while for my face to get used to lotions, which it did get used to this lotion after a few days.

Fragrance: Sweet, Syrupy smell.

Having a hard time recognizing the smell, I actually quite enjoyed it at first. It took a few nights of smelling this thing before I realized, “OH MY GOD. I SMELL LIKE WAFFLES.” It was surprisingly pleasant, though a bit disturbing – Let’s just say I wouldn’t dare walk out the door with this recently put on. God Forbid anyone ask if I had pancakes for breakfast.

Drying time: 5 – 10 minutes.

The lotion dries on average in 5 minutes, though depending on how thick the layer is, it could last a bit longer. The lotion, however, doesn’t really dry completely for a few hours – so there’s a sticky feeling in the meanwhile. Putting this on at night was best for me personally, as the lotion was usually fully dry by the time I was up (and so was most of the fragrance.)

Results: It generally took 2-3 days to notice the color significantly (though a slight effect could be seen from the first day).

The actual process was actually very emotionally painful, since I like to shower daily. I often had to  restart the tanning process every once and then. Tanning every day just isn’t very convenient, even for a gradual tanner. To speed up the process  – or make up for lost time/tan – I liked to lather the lotion on 2-3 times a day. It definitely sped things up, though it was still wasted every time I took a shower. I just really like my night-time showers, okay?

Wear-time (Fading): 3 – 7 days.

The fading mainly depended on showers taken and exfoliation vs. no exfoliation. When left alone (aka no exfoliation), the tan lasted up to 7 days – even with daily showers. When exfoliated, it typically lasted for 3 days.

Overall: I actually did end up liking this self-tanner, though I would not use this as suggested, simply because self tanning every single day is just exhausting and a total pain in the bum. I found that this worked much better on my face (after having my skin adjusted to the thick lotion) since it’s much more convenient to use this on my face every night than to go to bed every night covered in syrup-lotion.

Would I recommend this? For a newbie or short-term use, yes. The gradual tan is a great way to dip your toes in the self-tanning waters, though for long term use, the high-maintenance procedure just isn’t sustainable. The whole tanning procedure added at least 30 mins into my already full night-time schedule – which is fine for a once-a-week self-tanning session, but every day? Just, no. I can’t.

Sally Hansen’s Airbrushed Legs

I accidentally purposely purchased this in “Medium” when I was a light back in January, since it’s a whole lot like a self-tanner. Isn’t that what you’re supposed to do with self-tanner … who purchases a “light” self-tanner!

Regardless, I ended up finding out that the shade selection is actually “a shade” darker (as in “Light” is Medium, “Medium” is Dark, etc), hence why a “Light” shade is even available. With that said, the “Medium” shade (I hope I’m not confusing you!) was a bit too dark and very orange for my olive skin.

Sally Hansen’s Airbrushed Legs is a whole lot like a daily-type-of-self-tanner. It applies smoothly and evenly for the most part, though it dries quickly so one must be sure to blend in as quickly as possible!

The self-tanner removes easily in the shower, though it seems to be waterproof as it took more than mere water to remove my chocolate-colored legs! Soap was what appeared to remove the stain off my legs, not water alone.

Overall this product is good for daily usage every once and then, for special events or just for making your legs look slimmer and sexier during the summer. You can even use this on your whole body if you desire. My only problem is when going darker, there’s a definite hint of orange tint, so I highly recommend getting this in what would normally be considered your shade.

That is all for this post! Note that this is part of a series I will be continuing this and next month, so stay tuned for more Self-Tanner reviews, next up is St. Moriz (aka a St. Tropez dupe)! If you have any questions, let me know!!

Love, Nicole 💋

Fit ME Foundation & Concealer Reviews

I recently got a Fit Me Matte + Poreless sample packet from one of the magazines of my dozen-and-still-counting subscriptions, and after trying it out, more on that here, I decided to purchase the full bottle.

I got the 220 shade, which in the sample was a shade or two darker than the bottled version, but was warm enough to play with!

Along with the foundation, I’ve been dying to try out NARS’ Radiant Creamy concealer and I’d heard Fit Me’s concealer was a very close dupe, so I also purchased myself the whole thang in shade 20 Sand.

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When the original Fit Me line came out, I never really took notice, especially since the line was targeted towards Normal to Dry gals, so when the newer line launched recently, I was so excited to try it out!

The foundation itself is reminiscent of L’oreal’s True Match with a hint of mattifying powers – get the hint already, L’oreal! – which is great, because the main reason I avoid my True Match foundation at all is due to the fact that it doesn’t prevent my skin from getting oily.

The shade selection seems much better than True Match’s however, considering W3 is slightly lighter than shade 220 – True Match’s Warm line runs dark and pink, so those with light to medium, warm skin might find Fit Me suits their skin tone better than True Match. The bottles in-store at my local Target all look the same shade, so I’m not exactly sure what’s up with that. If you know your shade, I’d suggest you purchase online instead, since the’s a lower chance of your foundation bottle being messed with at all.

Here’s a swatch of the shade 220 along with a few other foundations I have:

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Product Name L to R: L’oreal True Match, Revlon Colorstay, Pond’s BB Cream, True Match, Maybelline Fit Me. Natural Lightning.

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Swatches in direct natural lightning.

The finish is slightly powdery when set with powder, though that’s easily fixable with a spray of Rose Water, or Elf’s Setting Spray (which is pretty much the same thing).

On the other hand, the quality of the  concealer surprised me quite a lot, especially since it was so dirty cheap!

The shade was surprisingly warm as well – most “warm” drugstore concealers and foundations tend too run a little too pink for truly warm skin tones.

Note: Pink-based concealers tend to hide very dark circles better on lighter, warm skin tones (yellow based concealers tend to turn the area a grey color). As you darken (during the Spring/Summer time) the pink-based concealer tends to look obvious on skin, so true-to-skin-tone concealers are better to use during this time of the year – since blue/green/purple shadows hide better under darker skin.

Here’s the swatch compared to my other favorite concealers:

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Product Name L to R: Maybelline Fit Me, Maybelline IAR Dark Circle Eraser, It Cosmetics Bye Bye Under Eye.

As for the actual quality of the actual product, this concealer is life, basically.

Why? Because it manages to completely remove my trusted Bye Bye Under Eye Concealer from my routine (which by the way is the ONLY concealer that truly hides my heavy, Purpley-Bright Red Dark Bright Under Eye Circles)

This concealer is a true rival, offering medium to full coverage with a very natural, skin-like, moisturizing/sheen finish. LOVE. All for $20 cheaper. LOVE EVEN MORE.

Pros:

  • Medium-to-full coverage
  • Very skin-like
  • Very Moisturizing
  • Easy to blend
  • True Warm shade
  • Really inexpensive ($4 on amazon, + there’s $1 off magazine coupons around!)

Cons:

  • Oxidizes easily when packed on heavily
  • Creases towards end of the day when not set with powder
  • Personal con: oxidized when set with my Sonia Kashuk loose powder.
  • Wand can get dirty easily since you use it to apply the concealer every time without washing (think loose shadow/mascara flakes getting stuck)

As for a comparison to the NARS concealer, I don’t personally own it, though from testing in-store, the NARS’ concealer is slightly thicker, offering more of a truly full coverage (no medium-cov bs). So unless you need straight up full coverage with fancy shmancy packaging with a price to match, the Fit Me Concealer will surprise you in terms of quality.

I know the line also comes with a pressed powder to match (how cute, I know), but I decided to skip it since prefer loose powders.

Overall, I am highly pleased with Maybelline’s shade selection and their concealer’s amazing coverage as well as their true to name number shade selection – 0’s are warm, and 5’s are cold, if you’re olive under-toned, warm should suit just fine.

If you have any questions, let me know!

Love, Nicole 💋

The Big-Booty Guide for a Small-Bootied Girl! + Gel-V Dupe!

This post is for all of the women around the world lacking a bit (or ALOT) in the booty department (ahem, me.)

Despite my Latina heritage, I was not gifted with a very big behind (sadly), so for quite a while now, I’ve been on a hunt for a bit of a boost (excuse the pun, lol) to give my petite figure a more curvy look.

So far, here’s what I’ve found that actually works.

Exercises can make a huge difference, so I like to keep squats, donkey kicks and lunges as part of my workout routine. They really “harden” and lift out the booty, making shapers, and anything else you use, much more effective. Another thing to add is that, actually “making” a booty takes some time (fitness-wise), so you just have to be patient! But for the meanwhile, you can use these tricks to make a sad butt look happy … kinda … you get the point!

Faking it until you Make it.

1. So, for an instant boost, I like to wear ASSETS by Sara Blakely Mid-Thigh Shaper. You can purchase this at Target. This is mainly a mid-section type of shaper (where my main problem areas lie – lower stomach, bigger thighs, sad booty) so it’s great to just kinda shape that area and suck it in a bit, as well as lift the butt and tighten it in.

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Compression zones flatten the tummy and trim the thighs, specially-designed rear pockets offer an added lift in back, legband-free! No bulging on the thigh, sleek yarns are soft & comfortable, cotton gusset for comfort, imported

It’s slightly expensive ($28), at least for me, but it is very much worth it and so much better than other shapers I have tried, (including Maidenform Flexees Women’s Shapewear – which did absolutely nothing for my butt!)

2. I’ve also tried Slim Extreme 3D Super-concentrated Serum by Eveline Cosmetics. I’m not gonna lie. This was more of an experiment than anything else, I was not in any way expecting (more like wishfully hoping!) that this would work … But it did.

Eveline

You see what this does is, besides make your butt feel ridiculously soft and smell ridiculously good, it tones the area to which it is applied to – be it the buttock area or breasts etc. I find this lifts my butt, giving it a soft, rounded and natural look (which I love!)

The only problem is, this is only a temporary effect, at least from what I’ve tested. It usually takes a week to notice results, but it also takes within a week to notice the results going away once usage has been stopped.

I would still recommend this, however, because well I mean, this lifts your butt – exactly how many things can you say that about?

I’d say this would be ideal for major events where training won’t get you results fast enough (or when you’re just plain ol’ lazy like me 😀 )


Another thing worth mentioning is, this contains centella asiatica as the third ingredient, compared to the Gel-V (a lotion designed to tonify skin) also listing centella asiatica extract as the third ingredient, meaning this is a possible dupe for the $50 lotion! 😀

Note: Ingredient list taken directly from VannaBelt.com.

 

Centella asiatica is an herb known to have wound-healing and toning properties (the success of the Gel V is proof of that.)

Slim Serum also has Alminaria Algae (Seaweed), compared to the 2nd ingredient in Gel-V: Fucus Vesiculosus Extract, an extract derived from seaweed.

Random fact: The first two ingredients, Camellia Sinensis and Fucus Vesiculosus of the Gel-V are both antioxidants (antioxidants reduce the negative effect of oxygen, like wrinkles and general ageing.) Based off this, researching, I found that Funat Natural Body Fat Burner is another possible dupe, as it also has the same first two ingredients, but not Centella Asiatica. I am still testing this one.

I have as of yet to find a closer dupe, but this is what I have so far, and I thought I’d share this.

Feel free to ask any questions!

Love, Nicole 💋