Tuesday, August 30, 2011

August Favorites

It's time for some August favorites!

Clockwise, starting from the left: L'Oreal True Match Super-Blendable Concealer in fair/light, Rimmer Stay Matte pressed powder, L'Oreal Infallible lipstick in 423 Perpetual Peach, ELF $1 eyelash curler, Rimmel Special Eyes eyeliner in Hurricane Grey, and ELF Essentials eyeshadow quad in Silver Lining.

I find that my favorite makeup items for the summer are more productive than fancy. I live near the Gulf of Mexico and it gets hot n' humid here like no other place I've been before! I have oily skin anyway, so the combination isn't appealing. This is when my face products become less "routine" and more "essential."
I love L'Oreal's True Match concealer because the brush makes application easy and the product itself is very lightweight. Unlike most lightweight conealers, though, it still manages to cover most blemishes. I use this on both blemishes and undereye circles, so it's also versatile. Great for the summer when you want something quick, easy, and weightless.
I've also been loving Rimmel's Stay Matte pressed powder. You may be able to see in the photo that I've hit more than just a little bit of the pan! In the winter and spring this powder seemed average, but now that the heat of the summer is oiling up my face, I must say this powder is heaven-sent. Lightweight and translucent, this powder sets liquid foundation without looking cakey and controls oil throughout the day.

Just because the summer's tough doesn't mean I go without a fun pop of color! That is, after all, half the fun of summer-appropriate makeup. I've been loving L'Oreal's Infallible lipstick in Perpetual Peach this summer. Though peach tones may seem more appropriate for spring than summer, I still find it appealing and a nice break from typical summer corals. The Infallible lipsticks claim to last up to 10 hours, and though I've never had need to wear any lipstick that long, I do find it to be much more long wearing than any other lipstick I own, and that's a definite plus.

My sister bought me ELF's $1 eyelash curler from Dollar General before I headed back to school. My old Revlon curler had seen better days, so I was on the market for newer and better things. This eyelash curler is the best I've ever had! The spring in the handle, the soft finger-grips, and the squishy rubber pad make this curler effortless and effective. Once you put a waterproof mascara on your curled lashes, they'll stay all day.

I bought Rimmel's Special Eyes eyeliner in Hurricane Gray many months ago to define my eyes without the harshness of a true black. While black eyeliner looks fabulous on many people, I have very fair coloring and sometimes even the lightest application can look too rocker or goth for me. I love using this gray eyeliner because it makes my lashes look full and my eyes sultry without the harsh effect. Also, I've had no problems with this product transferring, smudging, or budging. At around $4, this is a fabulous eyeliner to have in your collection.

Last, but certainly not least, is ELF's Essntial eyeshadow quad in Silver Lining. Overall, I find ELF's eyeshadows a great way to experiment with new looks for cheap, but don't actually wind up keeping most of the palettes. Often the colors can be chalky, and I've had nightmares with many of the highlight shades.
The Silver Lining quad is featured in many beautiful "Get The Look" pictures on the website, eyeslipsface.com. This quad is beautiful! The color combination is so feminine and fun. I find the colors to be incredibly pigmented and easy to work with, so I see this little quad staying in my collection for years to come.
Look at those swatches! Aren't they beautiful? :)

I hope you all had a great summer,

愛, Sara

Saturday, August 13, 2011

Favorites: CoverGirl

CoverGirl was the first brand I purchased makeup from, and it was probably the only brand I used for years! Since my pre-teen days, I’ve explored dozens of new brands, yet have still managed to come back to certain CoverGirl products again and again. Though it’s not my favorite makeup brand by any means, it is the company the sells many of my holy grail products, and I feel cannot be ignored as a result. Not only do I not want to ignore it, but I wanted to make it my first "Favorites" post because, after all, it was the first brand I bought makeup from. A cosmetic obsession has to start somewhere, right? :)

First, I’ll mention my seven favorite products (listed in no particular order), and afterword I’ll mention my five least favorites along with my overall view of the brand.


1. CoverGirl Lash Blast

CoverGirl’s Lash Blast is amazing. Seriously. Ah-maz-ing. I buy this mascara again and again because it’s a holy grail product. My other favorite mascara is L’Oreal’s Voluminous, but when I want a break from a traditional style mascara wand, I reach for this. This product is volumizing, dramatic, and (when you buy the waterproof version) seriously won’t budge.

2. Liquiline Blast eyeliners

I bought one of these eyeliners a few months ago but didn’t give it much of a shot. I re-discovered it when my Urban Decay 24/7 eyeliner in Zero ran out and I couldn’t afford a new black eyeliner. I don’t know why I stopped using this product! The pencil eyeliner really does apply with the intensity of a liquid liner. Though these eyeliners won’t hold up if you submerge yourself in water, they do stand up to the heat and humidity of a Texas summer all day long—a feat even waterproof eyeliners can't always achieve with me. The built-in smudger is a plus, and I do like that it’s different. The smudger here is rubber instead of your typical sponge, so it can do more work. Smoking your eyeliner is foolproof with this product.

3. Wetslicks AmazeMint Lipgloss

I’m not a fan of most of CoverGirl’s lip glosses because, unfortunately, many of them lack pigment. Though these particular glosses go on sheer, they still deposit color on the lips. My favorite part is that they smell minty (which boosts my mood!) and the colors are made to make your teeth appear whiter. A lip product that completely improves your smile and mood? Worth every penny.

4. LipPerfection Lipcolor

These lipsticks are fairly new, and so far I’ve only purchased one. They have a great color selection and claim to improve the condition of your lips over time. Though I haven’t noticed any improvement in my lips due to this particular product, I do like that it’s pigmented and lasts a decent amount of time. Another plus: the line includes many colors that are otherwise difficult to find in the drugstore.

5. Covergirl and Olay Simply Ageless Serum Primer

This primer does everything a primer should—and it feels so smooth and refreshing while it does it! This primer is pricier than most other drugstore options, but if you’re looking for a product that works and also contains anti-aging ingredients, you might want to check this out. I also love that it has a pump! And don’t worry—it’s not a pump that just picks up product from the bottom through a tube. The bottom of the bottle actually moves up to ensure that no product is wasted.

6. Clean Liquid Makeup

Sometimes even $10 for a foundation is too much for my wallet to take. When times like that come upon me (and I need foundation, stat!) I head for CoverGirl’s Clean Foundation. Many cheaper drugstore brands actually don’t have a light enough color for my fair skin, but I find CoverGirl's lightest shade to be just right. It has light to medium coverage, so it’s great for every day and buildable for occasions when you need a little more. I’ve never paid more than $5 for a bottle, and that’s really good for a foundation. The only downsides: it’s sometimes hard to tap product out of the bottle and the colors do contain more pink undertones than I prefer.

7. CG Smoothers All-Day Hydrating Makeup

For the days I want to avoid foundation altogether, I reach for this. This is, hands down, the best tinted moisturizer I’ve ever used. It comes in a decent array of colors, and the product itself is much more pigmented than most tinted moisturizers and goes on like a sheer foundation, only without the weight. The product moisturizes without feeling greasy, and leaves my skin feeling smooth when I take it off at the end of the day.


1.  Cheekers Blush

I hear pretty amazing reviews of CoverGirl’s Cheekers Blush. I’ve heard it acclaimed as one of the best available at the drugstore and as a product comparable to blushes released by NARS, MAC, and others. However, here’s my honest review. I absolutely cannot stand CG Cheekers Blush. I have bought the product in at least half a dozen colors and least half a dozen times thinking that, because of such great reviews, I must have just gone through a bad makeup era when I bought it the previous time. Yet every time I’ve purchased this item, I’ve had the same result. Brush included: worthless. The shape of the pan annoys me because it’s hard to evenly coat proper blush brushes. The scent is extremely strong and, I imagine, the smell of nightmares in hospital settings. Worst of all, the product has no pigmentation, and has either too much fall out or is so tightly pressed that it's nearly impossible to pick up the powder at all.

2. Outlast Lipstain

I’m not a fan of marker style lipstains. CG’s Outlast lipstains also have incredible reviews, but I’m not as big a fan. As is my experience with marker lipstains, the product does not apply evenly (no matter how well the lips are exfoliated), and finds a way to disappear way too early to be a true stain. This product applies as wears like most drugstore lipstains, so it’s worth a try. However, I’ll stick with stains that come in creamier, gooey-er consistencies and evenly coat my lips.

3. Clean Pressed Powder

Most powders, whether high-end or drugstore, wear roughly the same way. They are applied the same way. They’re pretty much fool-proof. So, while this product acts like most pressed powders, I find that the Clean Pressed Powder, along with all the powders available from CoverGirl, have the same problems as the blushes: a horrible smell. Because powders are so much alike, I skip CoverGirl every time and run towards something more bearable for my nose.

4. Invisible Concealer

Concealers are definitely not made alike. My experience with CoverGirl’s concealers, overall, is that they are not very pigmented, are too liquid-y, and don’t cover blemishes well at all.

5. Eyeshadows

To sum up CG’s eyeshadows in a word: horrible. I know many people who love CoverGirl’s eyeshadows, especially the trio Shimmering Sands. However, every single quad, trio, and single I have ever purchased has seriously lacked pigmentation. I find the shadows impossible to work with and extremely disappointing. Again, they contain that awful smell.

My overall view of CoverGirl:

I’m disappointed that CoverGirl hasn’t kept up with the pace that many drugstore cosmetic brands are setting. While many drugstore brands improve the quality of their products at impressive rates, I feel that CoverGirl is falling behind. Though the brand contains many popular products, the fact that many of their products are unpigmented and smell terrible is not really excusable.  As a result I stick to the few products I’ve loved for years and don’t really explore most of the new items. In the future, I’ll have a round ten items in my favorites lists, but because of my experience with CoverGirl, I just thought I’d stick to the items I really love, which totaled seven.

Thanks for reading! What are your favorite CoverGirl products? :)

愛, Sara

Treating acne with...apple cider vinegar?!

I’ve had acne for a long time. It started when it usually does—in my preteen years. Normally, however, acne disappears by the time someone becomes an adult. That’s not the case with me, and even though I’m in my early 20s I have the worst acne of my life.

I believe I can blame my current breakouts on stress. I’ve been a little stressed lately because I have unpaid bills, no job, and a large tuition bill coming up. In the past I’ve usually just had one or two almost unnoticeable pimples, but now there are clusters of them all over my face, not to mention the scars that old ones are leaving behind.

Because of my scarcity of money, I can’t just go out and buy my favorite acne products. As much as I’d love to buy my trusty dusty Clean & Clear Advantage system for clearing up acne and scars, I simply cannot afford dropping $25 on it. I’m currently using the Advantage face wash, but the face wash alone isn’t completely dealing with the issue. So a week ago I asked my mother if she could think of something to clear up my face, and she suggested apple cider vinegar.

You heard that right: apple cider vinegar.

She told me that firefighters urge burn victims to use it on their wounds because it has an alkalinity very close to that of the human face and has been known to hasten the healing process. She said she didn’t know what it could do for acne, but that it’s worth a shot.

 Though skeptical, I was up to anything. Every morning and night I wash my face with my Clean & Clear Advantage face wash. Once my skin has dried a little, I pour some apple cider vinegar onto a cotton pad and wipe it over my skin, focusing mostly on my problem areas. After the vinegar has dried, I then moisturize with my Garnier Moisture Rescue moisturizer.

Here are my results, after roughly a week of experimenting.

This stuff WORKS.

Though I was really put off by the smell, by the first time I used it, my skin already felt softer. The second time I used it, I noticed that the smaller pimples had all but disappeared. The third time I used it, I noticed that my larger pimples were disappearing, and that certain areas where healing even quicker than they would on their own. I’m continuing to use this stuff, and it continues to improve my skin. I’m not only shocked, but pretty soon I’m going to call apple cider vinegar a holy grail in my skincare routine! This stuff has actually worked better than acne products I've used in the past and have spent a lot of money on.

I haven’t been using it long enough to say if it does anything to prevent or heal scarring, but if I can prevent acne from showing up at all, then I know a product is still very much worthwhile!

Unfortunately, there are some cons to this that may completely turn some people off.
First, it can sometimes sting when you apply it to your face. I believe this is mostly due to open acne wounds, so if you’re worried about this and know of one, avoid putting any vinegar on it until it’s healed a bit.
The smell is pretty strong, and your face will smell a little bit like Subway for a few minutes after you apply it.

In spite of it all, here are the pros:
It works.
It’s cheap.
And those are some pretty big pros! :D

I was even told that people use apple cider vinegar for earaches, cuts, burns, and all kinds of other things. Have you ever used this kitchen product in your daily skincare routine or first aid? Or does the idea of it just sound totally bizarre?

愛, Sara

Friday, July 22, 2011

Amethyst Gaze: A Tutorial

Hello, everyone! For the last couple weeks I have been a thousand or so miles from the apartment I call home. As a result of my tendencies to pack light, I have with me only a small bag of makeup. I’ve been wearing the same look for the last few days, and I think it’s absolutely gorgeous! This look is appropriate for day but can also look dramatic for a night on the town. If you have eyes with specks of green, the purple shades in this look will really bring them forward and make your eyes shine! However, this look is beautiful in a colorful and feminine way on every eye color.

Because of the purple tones, I pair this look with a soft and natural blush (I’ve been using Covergirl’s Cheekers blush in Natural Twinkle) and a cool-toned pink lipgloss (Revlon’s Colorburst lipgloss in Orchid). Because the rest of the face is so neutral, I decided to focus only on the eyes in this post.

The beautiful girl in this tutorial is my little sister! She’s not fond of wearing purple eyeshadow, but even she loved the look once it was done. That makes me feel great about my handiwork. :)

Products used: Wet n’ Wild’s ColorIcon trio in Silent Treatment, Maybelline’s ExpertWear duo in Lasting Lilac, Revlon’s single matte eyeshadow in Rich Sable, Hard Candy’s Take Me Out Liner pencil in Geisha, Maybelline’s Line Express eyeliner in black, an eyelash curler, and Maybelline’s The Falsies mascara in black.

After priming your eyelids, sweep the taupe shade of Wet n’ Wild’s Silent Treatment trio all over the eyelids, through the crease, and under the lower lashline. Taking a fluffy blending brush, use the sheer pink browbone shade from the same palette to soften any lines and highlight the browbone and inner corners of the eyes. Once these steps are completed, your eyes will look very soft and almost undefined. But don’t worry! The point is to have a soft eyeshadow as a backdrop for the dramatic eyeliner. Don’t bother with dramatic creases, let your lashes do the talking once your eyes are complete.

My sister’s eyes with the taupe and highlight shade from Silent Treatment

Here’s where the fun comes in. Take Hard Candy’s pencil eyeliner in Geisha and line the upper and lower lash lines. Take a black eyeliner (I used Maybelline’s Line Express) and line the outer third of the upper and lower lash lines. Blend the liner into the lashes, then pull out Maybelline’s eyeshadow duo in Lasting Lilac.

Many of the colors and items used in this look can be substituted with other similar items. However, I really think this eyeshadow duo is completely unique! The lighter of the two shades is a pretty soft and shimmery lavender, but the color that takes the cake is the darker purple. It’s a sheer lilac with a blue duo-chrome finish. When I originally bought this duo, I was disappointed by the sheer colors, but I must say over an eyeliner is becomes extremely unique!

Back on track, take a smudger brush and press the darker purple shadow over the eyeliner all around the eyes. Take a pencil brush and press the lavender shade into the inner corners of the eye for an extra pop. This process of setting the liner with eyeshadow is what makes the look so beautiful!

My sister after applying the purple eyeliner and the darker shadow from Maybelline’s Lasting Lilac. This picture does no justice to the vibrancy of the colors!

To finish off the eyes, curl your lashes and apply a few coats of your favorite mascara. I used Maybelline’s The Falsies.  To frame your beautiful peekers, make sure your brows are softly defined. I used Revlon’s matte eyeshadow and pressed into the brows with a smudger brush before combing out the hairs with an eyebrow brush.

You’re done!

My sister’s eyes look feminine and sultry at the same time. It’s a very versatile look! I typically do my makeup different every day, so considering how many days in a row I’ve worn it testifies to how beautiful it looks in person.

Thanks for reading! If you try this look out, tell me how it works for you! Enjoy!

愛,  Sara

Wednesday, July 20, 2011


Sometimes life doesn’t seem as beautiful as we’d like it to be. Sometimes we find ourselves in ugly situations we can’t control—joblessness, sickness, broken dreams, and all manner of destruction.

However, sometimes the things that make life the most beautiful are the things we all too often ignore.

I’m a bubbly, down-to-earth girl from a lower middle-class family. I went to high school in a town of less than 500 people and graduated from a class of less than 20. I attend a university few people outside of my state have heard about. I drive a car that’s over ten years old, rent a tiny apartment, and live on a little over $10,000 a year including tuition. I have blonde hair, grayish-bluish-greenish eyes, and acne problems. I’m a girl with a wide range of obsessions, chief among them being makeup, interior design, art, writing, and reading.

What point am I making here? I’m just average! I’m a girl without a lot of money to work with. I look average, I live average, I play average. But I wouldn’t claim that my life is average because I look for the beauty in everything. Sometimes to see the beauty, you have to learn to feel beautiful inside. It’s where it all begins! You don’t need makeup to be beautiful, but I’ve found it to be a great pick-me-up. It’s turned into an obsession and I’ve coached many of my friends as they begin (and trudge through) their makeup journeys. I’m here to both learn from other makeup fans and pass my experiences along.

So, what do you have to look forward to on this page? Expect to see:
-Makeup reviews
-Makeup tips
-Makeup looks
-Hauls and favorites
-Occasional “Makeup 101” type posts
-Hairstyles and hair tips
-Tips and tricks for living large on less

Here are some things you won’t have to deal with:
-Poor grammar (This makeup lovin’ beauty is an English major!)
-Blurry photos

Expect to see my first beauty-related post within the next few days!

愛, Sara