Sunday, May 18, 2014

Brand Focus #2: The Best of NYX Cosmetics

Hi there, and welcome to my blog! This evening I thought I would do another post dedicated to a particular makeup brand, NYX Cosmetics. NYX is another one of my all time favorite drugstore brands, and I've recently been rekindling my love for them. NYX is extremely affordable and cruelty free, and make some really special products. I usually purchase NYX from Ulta or directly from their website.

First, I want to talk about the NYX Xtreme Lip Creams. Dare I say these might be my favorite lip products... ever? They are really incredible though; smooth, pigmented, long-wearing, and a great color selection. The only negative thing I can possibly say about these is in regards to the smell. Other lip products from NYX that I own have very nice smells to them, but these really kind of smell like rotting fruit. I feel like I just insulted a good friend saying that, but it's the truth. However, the smell is not noticeable at all once I've applied these to my lips, so it isn't a huge issue for me.

NYX Xtreme Lip Cream in Nude Peach Fuzz, Bonfire, and Buttery Nude

NYX Xtreme Lip Cream in Buttery Nude, Nude Peach Fuzz, and Bonfire

NYX Xtreme Lip Cream in Buttery Nude, Nude Peach Fuzz, and Bonfire

Here, my friends, is the lovely Infinite Shadow Stick in Flushed by NYX. I did not include a swatch of this product simply because the swatches I attempted to take did not do this gorgeous color justice. This is the most stunning rose gold color I have ever seen! Ironically enough, there's actually another shade of this product named "Rose Gold", but I find that one to be less rosy and more of a plain gold / slight coppery shade. This applies very nicely without tugging or pulling on the eyelid. While I prefer to layer this underneath shadows, it could also be worn on its own. It also has amazing staying power; once it sets, it dries down very quickly and won't budge!

NYX Infinite Shadow Stick in Flushed

One of my favorite setting powders of all time is the Stay Matte But Not Flat Powder Foundation in Ivory. I wouldn't really call this a foundation, as it has a very sheer amount of coverage. For someone who already has nice skin and just wants a product for oil control, this would serve that purpose well. For me, this works best when I use it around my T-zone and as an on-the-go touch-up powder. It has a very smooth texture and also slightly blurs the appearance of the pores around my nose.

NYX Stay Matte But Not Flat Powder Foundation in Ivory

The NYX Powder Blushes are my favorites from the drugstore. Two shades I purchased recently are Amber and Taupe, both of which I have been loving! Taupe is a particularly interesting shade in that it doesn't look like your typical blush. This is a sort of matte brown shade with a neutral undertone - perfect for contouring! As of late, this is all I have been using for that purpose. Amber is a bright rosy coral shade that is also shimmer-free. These colors are both super build-able, which means women with deeper skin tones should be able to get a good amount of color payoff. If you're extremely pale like me, these can be used with a light hand and blended out.

NYX Powder Blushes in Taupe and Amber

Bottom: Taupe, Top: Amber

Left: Taupe, Right: Amber

One of the best go-to lip liners for me is the Retractable Lip Liner in Nude Pink by NYX. I've never been someone who feels the need to use lip liner, so I purchased this on a whim. It doesn't appear very nude in the swatches below, but comes out to be a "your lips but better" kind of color. I think this would work more so as a nude for women with deeper skin tones. The fact that it's retractable makes it very easy to use, and the product itself has a smooth, creamy formula. I may have to go pick this up in a few more colors soon... 

NYX Retractable Lip Liner in Nude Pink

NYX Retractable Lip Liner in Nude Pink

And that wraps up this post! If you have any questions about any of these products, don't be shy! Thanks for reading. :)

Tuesday, May 6, 2014

Real Techniques Brush Review

I'm sure just about everyone who is into makeup has heard of Real Techniques, but I still thought I would share my take on a variety of brushes I own by them. Real Techniques is a brand of high quality makeup brushes and tools that can be found at the drugstore (I usually purchase mine from Ulta) for a very reasonable price. While I certainly don't own all of the brushes from their line, I would consider Real Techniques my favorite line of makeup brushes on the market. Not only are they easy to use and incredibly soft, but the prices are excellent and they're very easy to find!

The Real Techniques "Core Collection" features four brushes for the face; the Buffing Brush, the Contour Brush, the Pointed Foundation Brush, and the Detailer Brush.

My favorite of these four is the Buffing Brush. This is the brush that ignited my love for Real Techniques and made me decide to purchase more! This brush is fantastic for applying cream and powder foundations, as the bristles are packed super dense which gives even coverage. The Contour Brush is great for - you guessed it - contouring! This has been my go-to brush for contouring ever since I bought it. The Pointed Foundation Brush is probably my least used Real Techniques brush, as I find this leaves a streaky appearance when used with liquid products. This is decent for applying thicker, creamier concealers in larger areas of the face. The Detailer Brush is great for covering blemishes here and there.

The Real Techniques "Starter Kit" features five brushes for the eyes; the Deluxe Crease Brush, the Base Shadow Brush, the Brow Brush, the Accent Brush, and the Pixel-Point Eyeliner Brush.

I honestly love all five of these brushes! The Deluxe Crease Brush is not only great to use in the crease, but it's also the perfect size and density to apply concealers. I use the Base Shadow Brush almost every single time I apply eye shadow of any kind. The Brow Brush is undoubtedly the best thing I've found for filling in brows with powder. Both the Accent and Pixel-Point Eyeliner Brushes are great for applying gel eyeliner or smudging eye shadow along the upper and lower lash lines for a "smoky" kind of look.

The Real Techniques Limited Edition Duo Fiber Collection features three brushes; the Duo-Fiber Eye Brush, the Duo-Fiber Face Brush, and the Duo-Fiber Contour Brush. 

The purpose of duo fiber brushes is to soften any harsh lines or edges that result during makeup application. One of the most important things when doing your makeup is to take the time to blend. These brushes are perfect for that; you can never have too much blending! I often use the Duo-Fiber Eye Brush in my crease to apply a light wash of color. The Duo-Fiber Face Brush is great for applying a light-weight powder to set your face makeup, without adding more coverage. And lastly, the Duo-Fiber Contour Brush is excellent for blending out your contour and also for highlighting on top of the cheekbones. As the name suggests, this brush trio is limited edition, but it's currently still available on Ulta's website!

Finally we come to the brushes that I have purchased individually. These are the Blush Brush, the Setting Brush, the Stippling Brush, and the Expert Face Brush. 

The Blush Brush is particularly great because of it's large size and tapered edges. This allows for a natural sweep of color across the cheeks, using either blush or bronzer. The Setting Brush is the only thing I will use to set concealer under my eyes because it's the perfect size and it's so soft! The Stippling Brush is great for applying cream blushes to the cheeks. The Expert Face Brush gives a similar effect as the Buffing Brush from the "Core Collection", however it is smaller in size and slightly denser. This makes it ideal for applying any thinner liquid foundations.

So, I think that just about wraps it up! The quality of these brushes as I mentioned is just fantastic, and I believe these would be useful for both beginners and pros with makeup.

Let me know what your favorite Real Techniques brushes are, and if there are any others I should try! Thanks so much for reading, and have a great day. :)

Sunday, May 4, 2014

Favorite Spring Lip Products

Since it's finally warming up here in Seattle, I thought I would talk about some of my favorite Spring lip colors. I usually find that my go-to products in Spring remain some of my favorites throughout the Summer as well.

Here we have the NYX Cosmetics Butter Lip Gloss in Peach Cobbler, MAC Cremesheen Lipstick in Coral Bliss, Fresh Sugar Tinted Lip Treatment in Coral, Maybelline Color Elixir in Celestial Coral, and Rimmel London Show Off Lip Lacquers in Aurora and Luna. The order in which they are listed corresponds to the pictures below.

The NYX Cosmetics Butter Lip Gloss in Peach Cobbler is the best lip gloss I have used in a long, long time! Not only is the color gorgeous, but the formula is so comfortable and soft on the lips. I hate sticky lip products, so finding this gloss was nothing short of a miracle for me. Beyond that, these glosses are super affordable and smell like HEAVEN. I cannot praise this stuff enough!

MAC Cremesheen lipstick in Coral Bliss is a beautiful sheer, peachy nude. The more you build this up on the lips, the more that peach color will start to stand out. If you're nervous about trying a coral lip color, this is definitely a toned down, more wearable option. MAC lipsticks are famous for their amazing quality and yummy vanilla smell, and they're also reasonably priced in my opinion.

Fresh Sugar Tinted Lip Treatment in Coral is a super moisturizing, bright coral shade. This is great because the color is so vibrant, yet so easy to wear due to the balm-like feel of this product. If you layer on this color, it can also start to lean into a cherry red shade. This is perfect if you want to take your look from day to night. I mentioned this product in a different shade in my "A Few Products Worth Splurging On" post, which just goes to show my love for these!

Maybelline Color Elixir in Celestial Coral is another glossy type product, with a lot more shine to it than anything else here. The name of this color is somewhat deceptive; I would consider it more of a rose shade. Either way, it's a beautiful color. This gloss has a slightly sticky texture, but it actually hasn't bothered me too much. Another affordable option, this product comes in a huge range of colors.

Rimmel London Show Off Lip Lacquers in Aurora and Luna are two more great options for this time of year. Aurora is a deeper, slightly rosy coral shade, while Luna is a true nude peach. These start out looking glossy, but dry to a semi-matte finish. I have done a full review on these lacquers, which I will link right here for more info.

As you may have noticed, a lot of these products contain the word "coral" somewhere in the name. Corals and peaches are the staple colors this time of year as far as I'm concerned!

Thanks so much for taking the time to read this. If you have any questions or suggestions, please leave them down below in the comments. Have a great day!