Ulta Adventures: Smashbox Photo Angle Pure Pigment Gel Liner

Published in: Eyes, Makeup, Smashbox

smashbox photo angle gel

Smashbox Photo Angle Pure Pigment Gel Liner ($24 each)

Totes getting a Benefit vibe from these new Smashbox Photo Angle Pure Pigment Gel Liners ($24). They’re a new line of gel liners in twisty pens. The gel comes out of the flexible angled tip, just like Benefit’s They’re Real Push-Up Liner.

I was stoked to play with these when I spotted them at Ulta, but I got a little freaked out by the display… All of the liners had crusty bits of gel at the tips, which I cleaned off before taking these pics because they looked like a hot mess, and I couldn’t take it.

I dunno about the 36-hour wear time…. I don’t actually need my liner to last that long, LOL! Have you tried these yet? If so what do you think?

I’ve used Benefit’s gel liner before, and it looks a lot like these. With those there’s definitely a learning curve. They aren’t the easiest product to work with because it’s hard to get the gel to go where you want it to. Stuff has a mind of its own, but once you get it down, you can do some neat things with it.

smashbox photo angle gel

Smashbox Photo Angle Pure Pigment Gel Liner ($24 each)

Your friendly neighborhood beauty addict,

Karen

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The NARS Numéro 2 False Eyelashes: For Lashes That Long for Length

Published in: Eyes, Makeup, NARS, Product Reviews

nars numero 2 eyelashes

Wearing the NARS Numéro 2 false eyelashes ($20, one of eight styles)

Should you ever feel like your makeup mojo has pulled an Elvis and left the building (or has just gone on temporary hiatus), I highly suggest applying a pair of false lashes — the longer and more luscious the better, like the reusable Numéro 2 Eyelashes by NARS ($20 each, and one of eight styles).

“A medium-length false lash set with uniform volume from corner to corner, Numéro 2 Eyelashes’ full span expertly walks the line between boldness and subtlety. Designed to become a lash wardrobe staple. Named for the second model to walk the runway in a fashion show lineup. Versatile, reusable. Made for everyday use.”

narscosmetics.com

I swear, whenever I wear the Numéro 2s, I feel like my eye makeup and I go into lady boss mode. It’s kind of like swapping out your off-white lunch lady comfort shoes for a pair of black patent-leather stiletto heels… Meow! Don’t mess with this girl, because she has claws, and she’s not afraid to use ’em. :)

The Numéro 2s are one of eight new reusable (you just have to be careful with them), natural-fiber false eyelash styles from NARS, all of which have their own distinct flava, and they’re one of my favorites in the line.

nars eyelashes numero 2

NARS Eyelashes Numéro 2

See how the lashes are about the same length all the way across the spine? The Numéro 2s are designed to fake a full, lush fringe, and my lashes certainly feel lush when I wear them. Because they’re hella long.

Not like Beyonce-writhing-on-the-floor-in-a-video long, but probably too long to wear to your in-laws’ house for Tuesday dinner.

They’re probably better for wearing to a club with friends on a Friday night, or for sitting in your office while your cat takes a nap (which is happening where I am right now).

I really like the length of these lashes, because they’re noticeably long, but I don’t see them out of the corner of my eye, so they don’t interfere with my peripheral vision (an actual problem with some false eyelashes sometimes).

They’re reasonably lightweight, too, although not as lightweight as my go-to Eylure 117s. They aren’t uncomfortably bulky, but I can definitely feel them on my lash lines.

If you’re gonna wear them out (and I think you should!), here are a few things that might help…
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Does $20 L’Oréal La Palette Nude 1 Give $54 Urban Decay Naked a Run for Its Money?

Published in: Drugstore Beauty Finds, Eyes, Loreal, Makeup, Palettes, Product Reviews

loreal la palette nude 1

Wearing L’Oréal’s $20 La Palette Nude 1

Knowing that L’Oréal owns Urban Decay, I wondered just how closely L’Oréal’s much less expensive $19.99 10-pan La Palette Nude 1 palette of neutral powder shadows would imitate its $54 Naked superstar cousin. Would La Palette’s three mattes be as easy to blend as UD Naked’s matte shadows, and what about pigment, shimmer and fallout? How would they compare? And what would I miss with only 10, instead of 12 shades?

I decided to find out.

The $19.99 L’Oréal La Palette Nude 1 vs. the $54 Urban Decay Naked Eyeshadow Palette

Briefly, what’s the idea behind L’Oréal La Palette Nude 1?
Well, it’s basically the Urban Decay Naked Eyeshadow Palette with 10 neutral powder shadows instead of 12. Seven of them are shimmers — a warm beige, a peach, gold, bronze, chocolate brown, silvery taupe and a cool-toned white — and three are matte browns — a medium taupe-brown, medium tan brown and a dark neutral brown. La Palette Nude 1 is one of two eyeshadow palettes that were added to the L’Oréal permanent line this spring, and it comes with a dual-ended brush with a sponge-tip applicator on one end and a small flat eyeshadow brush on the other. There are also four simple how-to tutorials for four different eye looks on the bottom/back. It’s available now online and at drugstores and Ulta.

loreal la palette nude 1

L’Oreal La Palette Nude 1 on my eyes

What makes it interesting?
First, for me, the price. It’s $34 less than Urban Decay Naked.

The 10 shadows work out to $2 each, versus Naked with its 12 shadows, which work out to $4.50 each. So it’s less than half the price.

Yes, I can see your big saucer eyes from across the keyboard, ’cause that’s tempting stuff. :) Seriously, I’m the last person in the world who needs another neutral palette of brown and beige shades, but when I saw La Palette Nude 1 at Ulta last week, I had to go there. I couldn’t stop myself.

What is this compulsion I have to try all of the brown eyeshadows…? It must come from the same place that makes me want all of teh kittehs. The struggle is real, my friend.

loreal la palette nude 1

L’Oréal La Palette Nude 1

So, is La Palette Nude 1 as good as Urban Decay Naked?
In some ways, yes, I think it is. Like Naked, it has a good variety of matte transition shades (which are also highly pigmented! *thumbs up*), and a perfect balance between warm and cool color-temp shades.

The shadows also feel silky and soft like Urban Decay’s, which I guess isn’t a big surprise, considering that L’Oréal owns Urban Decay. Maybe there’s some crossover between the formulas, or maybe not and it just worked out that way. La Palette’s shadows also last seven to eight hours for me.

The original Urban Decay Naked Palette

loreal la palette nude 1

L’Oreal La Palette Nude 1

But there a couple of ways in which I think UD Naked trumps L’Oréal La Palette Nude 1…

Nude 1’s mattes, while fabulously pigmented, take longer to blend.
This first time I wore the Nude 1 palette, I used my trusty NARS Pro-Prime Smudge Proof Eyeshadow Base. I layered the shadows on top of it, and I felt like I had to work pretty hard to buff out the edges and transition shades into each other. The overall look turned out a little choppy. Then I tried the mattes on top of a creamier base (MAC’s Paint Pot in Soft Ochre), which I hoped would give the shadows a more slippery surface. It seemed to help a bit, but things were still a tad choppy. It required more passes with my fluffy blending brush to get my gradients worked out than I could count, so if you’re going to invest in this palette and plan to give these mattes a daily workout, I highly recommend also having a cream shadow on hand to use as a base, along with a healthy dose of patience.

Nude 1’s shimmers aren’t all that shiny.
Compared to the shimmery shadows in UD Naked, Nude 1’s pearlescent shadows don’t shimmer as brightly, so I get more of a soft shine than a mirror. The shimmer also doesn’t seem anywhere near as pigmented or refined. In fact, I feel like it looks pretty chunky on my lids. It reminds me of the shimmers in the Maybelline Blushed Nudes palette.

I don’t know if it’s something that companies do on purpose to cater to the drugstore makeup crowd, or if it’s just a consequence of a lower price, but it is still possible to reach the point where Nude 1’s shimmery eyeshadows shine bright like diamonds. You may just have to wet your brush first and do a lot of layering.

It’ll take some effort, not gonna lie.
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:)

The Sisley-Paris Phyto-Lip Twists: These Beautiful Balms May Break the Bank

Published in: Daily Photo, Lips, Sisley

sisley phyto lip twist

The Sisley-Paris Phyto-Lip Twists, $50 (!) each

Hmm…

These Sisley-Paris Phyto-Lip Twists are probably the fanciest, most expensive twist-up tinted lip balms I’ve ever seen!

Why is that?

Well…they’re $50 each.

Yeah, that’s a lot of tacos, son.

Sisley-Paris is a high end skin care and makeup brand (a la Chantecaille), and $50 for these is pretty typical of the line, but it still seems a little ridonkulous, doesn’t it?

Lip crayons with the texture of a balm, these are basically medium-coverage lipsticks with gloss-like shine and a highly moisturizing, plumping formula that’s very easy to wear.

Yup, they also contain plant-based plumping ingredients…although I’ve seen, like, no plumping action from them at all. But really, though, lip plumpers usually don’t do a lot of plumping for me. If I ever find a product that actually transforms my lips from stern piano teacher to billowy pillow, believe me, I will freaking let you know.

They’re available in nine unscented, unflavored shades (five of them pictured here) — 01 Nude, 02 Baby, 03 Peach, 04 Pinky, 05 Berry, 06 Cherry, 07 Coral, 08 Candy and 09 Chestnut.

sisley phyto lip twist

Sisley-Paris Phyto-Lip Twists from the left: 01 Nude, 05 Berry, 07 Coral, 08 Candy, and 09 Chestut

Overlooking the Everest-caliber price, I think these are almost flawless. The crème de la crème of twist-up tinted lip balms. Extremely moisturizing, smooth, easy to apply and available in a nice range of colors.

Wear time isn’t bad, either, for what they are. I get about two hours.

On top of everything else, the sassy zebra packaging does a lot for my soul (I love me some animal prints! — which I didn’t fully realize until this year).

I think these are a wonderful product, but it’s hard to justify $50 for what’s essentially a medium-coverage tinted lip balm. If they were around $17 instead, like the Clinique Chubby Stick Moisturizing Lip Colour Balms (or $9 for the Neutrogena MoistureSmooth Color Sticks), I could see these belonging in all of my friends’ purses.

This may be crazy (it probably is), but for some reason $50 for an indulgent Tom Ford lipstick seems totally sane to me, but $50 for a moderately pigmented tinted lip balm seems like a stretch.

I dunno… Maybe I’ve just inhaled a little too much texturizing spray.

If you’re interested, the Sisley-Paris Phyto-Lip Twists are available now online and at Neiman Marcus stores.

sisley phyto lip twist

Sisley-Paris Phyto-Lip Twists from the left in 01 Nude, 05 Berry, 07 Coral, 08 Candy, and 09 Chestut


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Stuff That I Kinda Sorta Cooked: Shrimp Salad Wraps With Trader Joe’s Southwest Salad

Published in: Daily Photo

trader-joes-southwest-salad

Sometimes I feel like cooking…

And sometimes I don’t.

Lately it’s been more of the latter. I’ve just been too tired at the end of the day, and there’s the couch, and Netflix, and HBONow…

I usually enjoy cooking and find it very relaxing, but lately I’ve just wanted the food to magically appear (POOF!).

Too bad it doesn’t really work like that, huh?

There’s always takeout, I guess, but there aren’t a lot of affordable healthy options around here, so for those times when the last thing I want to do is cook, there’s the Southwest Salad from Trader Joe’s (they’re about $4).

Yup, it’s TJ’s to the rescue.

This is one of my favorite things in the entire store right now because 1) it’s tasty as all get-out, and 2) it’s pretty low in calories (only 200, and that’s with the dressing; without the dressing it’s 160).

And so it’s not like I’m eating the same salad over and over again, I’ll just tweak it, like by turning it into a quick shrimp salad wrap or soft taco.

mission-carb

trader-joes-southwest-salad-2
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