November Beauty Haul

This month, I did the most. Thankfully, I barely spent much money because a $100 Amazon gift card came through, Sephora’s VIB 20% off sale happened and not all the things I bought were expensive (yay, me!).

Anastasia Beverly Hills Modern Renaissance Palette – first timer. Cute story.

My hard earned money well spent. I have been obssessed with this palette for a minute because of IG. Nearly every beauty blogger has this palette and raves about it, so I had to buy it because FOMO, duh. So, when I finally decided to close my eyes and make the purchase, I discovered the palette was nowhere to be found. I searched for months and months, but my efforts were futile. It was completely sold out. Then November XX happened. I was browsing sephora.com and decided to ‘heart’ all the things I wanted to buy. When my eyes fell upon this palette, I nearly lost my mind. It was in stock! I was about to purchase it on sight when I remembered there was a Sephora right downstairs from my office. On the move to Sephora, I decided to call the store just to see if they had the palette in stock. There was no need for unnecessary disappointment. When the sales associate returned to the line and told me they had the palette in stock, a huge smile took over my face. Complete bliss. My day was going well. It was the last palette left. Dare I say it was meant to be. There could have been more in the drawer, but that’s really none of my business. I’m just going to assume I snatched up the last palette. #Blessed.

abh-palette

Bioderma Sébium H2O – first timer

Amazon came through. Micellar water is the new facial cleanser, but I’m not really about that life, so I use it as a makeup remover and an eyeliner corrector. It’s especially good for the latter. Instead of using coconut oil to correct my newbie cat eye mistakes, I use this. It saves my life every time.

bioderma

Trader Joe’s Natural Facial Cleansing Pads – first timer

Hard earned money. This was like three bucks at TJ’s, and it’s been worth it, too. It’s especially nice to use after a long day’s work in the city. I swipe it across my face, focusing on my t-zone and any pimply areas. It downsizes pimples the very next day. I also like the fact that it has tea tree oil in it. It’s a natural antibacterial and so bomb for oily skin, read: drying out pesky pimples.

facial-pads

The Ordinary – first timer

Hard earned money. I bought the Niacinamide 10% + Zinc 1% serum and Hyaluronic 2% + B5 serum. I’m enjoying them so far. They’re extremely inexpensive, which intrigued me. The Canadian company prides itself on “clinical formulations with integrity.” They’re selling us honesty in a bottle that will treat our various skin conditions at a price that’s unbeatable. These serums were five and six dollars. I’m in!

serums

Maybelline New York – repurchases

Forty percent off all Maybelline products. I love a promotion, so – of course, I had to get my Lash Discovery and Great Lash mascaras.

maybelline-mascaras

Nelsons Pure & Clean Acne Treatment Gel – first timer

Amazon came through. I heard this is what a lot of makeup artists use backstage on models when their skin isn’t on fleek. It’s supposed to cast away pimples.

nelsons

Paula’s Choice Skin Perfecting 2% BHA Liquid Exfoliant – first timer

Hard earned money. I was looking for something that would make the texture of my skin smoother, and Beta Hydroxy Acid (BHA) is the thing because it’s good for exfoliating, getting rid of dead skin and allowing new skin to grow, minimizing blemishes and much more. It’s particularly good for those with oily skin. The most common BHA is salicylic acid an it’s typically used for treating acne. I don’t have much of an acne problem, but I do have a texture situation that I’m not too fond of. Aside from the bumpiness that I sometimes see and the occasional pimple, my skin and I don’t have any issues. You’re probably thinking I’m crazy for rubbing acid on my face, but nah. BHAs are organic acids that can be found occurring in nature.

paulas-choice

Murad Anti-Anging Moisturizer Broad Spectrum SPF 30 – first timer

Sephora 20% off. I was in the market for new sunscreen. I’ve been using Coola, and although that’s a fine product, I was over it and wanted to try something new. Perhaps I’ll circle back to it once summer decides to say hi again.

murad

Origins Clear Improvement Active Charcoal Mask – first timer

Sephora 20% off. I read somewhere that it is an effective charcoal mask that’s suitable for oily skin, so I decided to give it a try. I bought the travel size, just in case. I currently use the Aztec Secret Indian Healing Clay Mask.

origins

This was a great month in beauty and skincare. So much joy. I’ll see you all in December. 🙂

-Genevia 

Lash Lady 

This past summer, I rediscovered an old love. Eyelash strips. I had a thing for them when I was in college; I used Ardell for a bit, and I even had a pair from M.A.C. I’ve tried eyelash extensions twice, maybe thrice. The only thing I don’t like about extensions is the fall out. In my experience, once a bunch have fallen out, a few are left and won’t come off. So, I walk around looking crazy. I understand you’re supposed to get them filled every two weeks or professionally removed, but back then I didn’t have fill or pro removal money. Now that I’m fake ballin’, I can exercise these options, but I think strips are much easier to deal with even though they can be a b*^%! to apply. Anyway, summer ’16 happened, and I became obsessed.

lena-lashes
Left; Top: Jackie, Monroe, Ciara. Right; Top: Dimma, Gigi, Naomi

Enter Lena Lashes. I was watching YouTuber Peakmill’s (obsessed with her, too) hair/makeup tutorial one day this past summer, and she mentioned using the brand. After I found the brand on Instagram, I quickly familiarized myself with its eyelash products. I purchased Naomi a few weeks later, and I’m here to tell you that Naomi is the truth. So bomb. In fact, it has yet to tell me a lie, so I purchased five more strips from Lena Lashes lol. It’s the perfect length and has the perfect amount of separation and fluff. Naomi complements my eye shape perfectly and I always get compliments when I’m wearing it.

Ciara is similar, but a bit too long, so I don’t wear it often. Jackie is nice. It’s more subtle and flared at the end, so it enhances the shape of my eyes. I haven’t worn Monroe, Dimma or Gigi, yet.

mascara

As for mascara, I have two favorites. I’m really into mascaras that lengthen and separate. I’m not too crazy about volume in regards to mascara. When I want volume, I tend to wear lash strips, and that’s usually for nightlife. Any other time, I have on either Benefit Cosmetics They’re Real Lengthening & Volumizing Mascara or Maybelline Lash Discovery Mascara. These two get the job done when it comes to length and separation, especially Lash Discovery. It does a great job at making me look more awake because it really opens my lashes. It doesn’t clump, either. The Benefit one is great at length, separation and volume. I redeemed my points at Sephora and got this one in the sample size. I’m glad I chose it! I’ll be getting the full size soon. The only downside is that it clumps. This can be easily avoided if you don’t pile on too much at one time, though. When it comes to mascara, I believe it’s the brush that achieves results and not the formula. Both of these mascaras have great wands, so I get great results.

lena-lashes-jackie
Wearing Lena Lashes in Jackie.

These are my go-to lash products. I’m open to trying other lash brands, so if anyone has favorites, please share!

-Genevia 

Prime Time For Oily Skin

When is prime time? Every time you wear tinted moisturizer or foundation.

My 16-year-old cousin inspired today’s post. Hey, Arlyn, hey! She spent a weekend with me last month, and we chatted about makeup. How could we not? I found out she doesn’t use a primer, and I couldn’t believe it. It’s such an essential part of applying makeup. How does one skip it? Come to find out, some people just don’t think it’s necessary, don’t know how or when to apply it, don’t know that it is an actual thing or can’t be bothered with spending money on it.

The truth is primer gives your foundation or tinted moisturizer something to hold onto, so that your makeup stays on longer, even in extreme weather. It also creates a smooth base for makeup application, and in my case, helps control oily areas. Eyeshadow primers do the same thing. The best way to apply primer is with your fingers. This allows for you to really work the product into your skin.

laura mercier

I have textured, oily skin and I must say, my two holy-grail primers do an amazing job of combating shine and allowing my makeup to go on smoother. I’ve even worn primer alone; it just gives you a more polished, fresh face. I’ve only done this with Laura Mercier Oil-Free Foundation Primer (LM), though. All the others I have tried leave a white, powdery finish. In fact, I used to use Milk of Magnesia (MoM) as a toner (doubles as a toner and primer for external beauty purposes), and then I would apply Laura Mercier’s primer to cover up the powdery finish. This combination kept my face matte forever, promise. I specifically used these two together when I traveled by airplane. I don’t know about you, but when I board a plane with just a fresh face, I deplane with a grease-bucket face. Not cute. The MoM and LM combination helped so much. The only thing I didn’t like about the combination is that it made my face feel cakey. It was a weird, heavy feeling – and I assume it is because MoM isn’t exactly the most translucent product when applied to the face. It does leave a fairly thick ghost-face finish even if you use a small amount. Adding a creamy, gel product like LM’s primer isn’t going to make everything feel lightweight, either. Still, my skin looked flawless and oil-free. This partnership is the essence of a no-makeup makeup look.

milk of magnesia

I’ve tried several primers:

Prestige

  • Laura Mercier Oil-Free Foundation Primer
  • Becca Ever-Matte Poreless Priming Perfector
  • Make Up For Ever Step 1 Skin Equalizer Mattifying Primer

Drugstore

  • No. 7 Beautifully Matte Make Up Base
  • Maybelline Master Prime by Face Studio Blur + Smooth Primer
  • Milk of Magnesia

 

Laura Mercier and Milk of Magnesia stopped controlling my oil when I wore them separately with foundation/tinted moisturizer. MoM used to be my holy-grail primer, but then it decided it wasn’t going to come through anymore. Or, maybe my skin is maturing? I don’t know, but it dumped me. I decided to dump Laura Mercier. It just wasn’t working out, so I moved on. No.7 just doesn’t work for me, period. It is not mattifying at all. Maybelline also sucks as a primer for oily skin. The only things I will say it does a great job at are blurring/smoothing fine lines and textured skin. It does not control oil.

no 7 primer

maybelline primer

Now, Becca and Make Up For Ever? Those two queens are my jam! They really help keep my makeup matte for about eight hours. I only have to use blotting tissue once, and not much oil transfers onto the tissue. I should also note that the application process matters. It is critical that these two products aren’t smeared across your face with your fingers, but instead, dabbed or patted. For some reason the formula will ball up and start to look flaky if you rub it on your face – and that’s not going to give you a smooth-looking finish when it’s time to apply foundation. So, just dab. A raisin amount of primer will suffice for your entire face or just focus areas. Also, wait for your primer to dry before applying foundation. Major key. After I moisturize, I apply my primer and then start to do my eyebrows. This way the primer has time to properly dry and be more effective underneath my makeup.

becca primer
Holy-grail primer.
make up for ever primer
Holy-grail primer.

I still want to try Dr. Brandt Pores No More Refiner, Hourglass Veil Mineral Primer, Smashbox Photo Filter Pore Minimizing Primer and Givenchy Mister Mat Matifying Primer. I heard they’re great. I’ll be the judge, though. There should be travel sizes in the Hourglass and Smashbox primers at Sephora, which helps because they’re prestige products (pricey).

Last repetitive piece of advice: use a primer because you should have something in between your moisturizer and foundation, always. Your good looks will last longer.

Feel free to share your thoughts or questions below. Thanks for reading! 🙂

-Genevia

 

 

 

My Go-To Highlighters With Swatches

highlighters
Top left: Colour Pop Super Shock Cheek (Avalon) | Top right: Becca Shimmering Skin Perfector (Topaz) | Bottom left: Maybelline Master Hi-Light Blush (Deep Bronze) | Bottom right: Nars Illuminator (Laguna)

Yasssssss to highlighters! They’re so much fun to use and look at. Who doesn’t like admiring a pretty face with a “come-through highlight?” On the flip side, I’ve been seeing a lot of people abuse highlighters – but that’s none of my business…

At the moment, these four products are my favorite illuminators. I’m always on the lookout for highlighters that will flatter my complexion because not all of them are suitable for all skin tones. Nars and Maybelline are my day ones. The other two are recent purchases that I’ve added to my collection. All of these products would work for women with darker skin tones.

When I first swatched ColourPop’s Avalon on my forearm, I thought it was beautiful. It’s a copper, cream-powder hybrid highlighter with warm orange to red undertones. It feels very satiny on the fingertips and has a pearlized finish, so when it catches the light it shifts from gold to pink. It also blends well. When I finally got around to wearing it on my face, I had mixed emotions. I was not expecting it to be so legit lol! The color payoff, texture and longevity for $8 are too boss and I was stunned, intimidated, impressed and confused. You see, it has a pearlized finish which means it’s frosty/shiny which means a little goes a very long way. In my opinion, that’s key for natural-looking makeup. So, be careful with pearlized illuminators because they have the shiniest finish. Eventually, I figured out how to work with Avalon so that it doesn’t look intense and I’m not out in these streets looking cray. It works for me because when I tan in the summer, my skin undertone goes from warm/golden to red. Anyway, I use my fingers or a flat foundation brush to apply this highlighter. A brush helps produce a more sheer finish whereas your fingers provide the most coverage. So, if you’re new to highlighters and want to try the ColourPop, a flat foundation brush or duo fibre brush will suffice to start. ColourPop also promotes the use of these tools on its site.

As far as the Becca Shimmering Skin Perfector in Topaz, I use my fingers, foundation brush, powder brush or fan brush. Really, it just depends on my mood or what’s within reach or how much coverage I want. I like the Becca highlighter, but I wasn’t always fond of it. Becca’s highlighter in Topaz has to be one of the most hyped highlighters ever, and once I tried it – my only reaction was “oh, okay” and not “slayyyyy.” But, whatever. I’m not going to be fake. I use mine faithfully lol. I sometimes suffer from FOMO, so I had to buy it. I would describe this product as a golden, creamy-yet-light powder highlighter. It has the right amount of gold shimmer, but doesn’t look like glitter. It’s cute, long-wearing and feels like silk.

highlighter swatch

Maybelline Master Hi-Light Blush is my favorite drugstore product. It’s actually an illuminating blush. So, you can skip the blush when using this because it’s a two-in-one masterpiece! It offers a soft, luminous glow in any type of light. However, it’s not as moist and silky like the ColourPop or Becca. The formula is actually a bit dry, which is not a deal breaker for me because the color payoff is exceptional for $9.99! Master Hi-Light is a sort of marble/mosaic of four shades of blush that gives you a warm flush of light when applied to your face with a brush. It doesn’t have as much shimmer as the others and that’s what I really like about it. There’s a great balance due to the two matte blush shades it includes. I recommend using a brush for this particular product. It actually comes with a mini brush underneath the pan. I’ve never used it, though. By the end of the day, the color wears off, but I can still see a bit of a glow in the applicable areas. I have a tip for how to make it last longer. Keep reading.

Nars Illuminator in Laguna is a bronze illuminator. This will be your go-to if you’re looking to achieve a true, natural glow. I repeat, if you want to go bare with just mascara and lip, this is a must-have item. It’s truly the quintessence of Bare With Me. If I could have a mascot for this site, it would be the Nars Illuminator. It has a brown, creamy base with gold shimmer that provides a soft-and-sheer finish. This will not leave any kind of annoying cast including white or pearly ones. I like to mix it with my foundation/tinted moisturizer in the winter. It give me a very warm glow. TipSometimes, I use it as a base highlighter teamed with Maybelline. I find that it helps the Maybelline Master Hi-Light last longer since it has something to adhere to.

abh glow kit

A honorable mention is the Anastasia Beverly Hills Glow Kit.

abh glow kit palette

It’s a palette that includes four “metallic powder highlighters.”

abh highlight

I only use Golden Bronze. Everything else looks like shimmering ash on me. Not cute. ABH describes it as a “sultry, warm bronze with a gold-flecked finish.” I would describe it the same way. The palette will last a very long time as they are highly pigmented. Golden Bronze is intense, but also long-wearing and feels like velvet on my fingertips. I recommend swiping this on once with a brush and a light hand, if you want a more natural glow. I tend to use this for nightlife while I’m on vacation since it’s so luminous. It’s also very good for photo shoots.

That’s me in the featured image wearing both Colour Pop and Becca (heyyyy!). You can watch a tutorial of how I use Colour Pop and Becca to achieve a natural-looking highlight here.

What are some of your favorite illuminators? Please share.

Thanks for reading!

-Genevia

Want To Look Bomb In Minutes? Do This!

Do what? Do your eyebrows! Why? Because your eyebrows are everything! Your brows literally hold the highest value when it comes to your face, especially since they are the first feature at the very top of your face. They come first and should be treated with respect. It’s that serious. Not only do well-groomed eyebrows add symmetry to your face, but they also brighten your visage and add a youthful appearance. Groomed eyebrows manage to give you an instant makeup-in-minutes look without having to put on a full face. It’s the one thing that may just “save face” when you’re in a rush and want to still look cute and alive. If you have no time to do your makeup in the morning (like me), at the very least – do your eyebrows. It’s a game-changer. It’s the only thing I do every morning for sure – aside from showering and brushing my teeth, of course.

eyebrow tools

The above image includes my eyebrow essentials:

  1. M.A.C. Select Cover-Up – NW45
  2. Maybelline Great Lash – Clear
  3. Anastasia Beverly Hills Brow Wiz – Ebony
  4. Nars Precision Blending Brush #13
  5. M.A.C. Small Angle Brush #266

Application tips:

  1. The first thing I do is brush my errant hairs upward and over with an individual spoolie brush. This typically allows for smoother application. If you’re using ABH Brow Wiz, one side comes with a spoolie brush, so you’re covered. I find it’s too rough to start with and usually save it until the end. I prefer using something a little softer to start. 
  2. Next, I fill in my brows with Brow Wiz using soft, light strokes. I build on this until I’ve achieved my desired coverage.
  3. Now, my favorite part. Concealer! Basically, I go in and conceal my pencil mistakes and define my brows even more, which results in a more polished look. Concealer is used for concealing blemishes, highlighting, etc. and in this case – I’m using concealer to subtly highlight and define my brows with a shade that matches my complexion. Finding a concealer that matches your skin is key to achieving natural-looking brows, especially if you don’t want to wear foundation or tinted moisturizer. Please keep in mind that I don’t add more product to my angle brush when I’m cleaning the top of my brow. It’s really not necessary as you can use the residual product from when you cleaned up the bottom part of your brows. This is why I like to start with defining the bottom first.
  4. After that, you want to blend your life away using a blending brush. I even use my fingers to blend since that warms up the product and helps to blend it into your skin even more.
  5. Then, I use the spoolie end of ABH’s Brow Wiz and brush my brows upward and over to evenly distribute and blend the color for a more natural finish.
  6. To complete my eyebrows, I use Maybelline’s Great Lash in clear as a gel to hold my brow hairs in place.

Eyebrows, done! Add some mascara and gloss and be on your way! This is all I do for work, usually. Sunscreen and eyebrows. Basically, bare. 

I didn’t always know what I was doing, though. Curious about my eyebrow journey? Read on. Continue reading “Want To Look Bomb In Minutes? Do This!”