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A Beauty Blog offering makeup reviews, beauty reviews, and makeup news. The place for Beauty Addicts to get their fix!

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    The past few months, I've been slowly lightening my hair back to blonde. It's a long, damaging process and my hair often ends up feeling like straw, plus I have to be really careful not to overdo it because my fine hair breaks very easily. I've been using a product called Novex Brazilian Keratin Deep Conditioning Hair Mask for several months now...I received a small jar in one of my beauty subscription boxes and became totally hooked on it because it completely transformed my hair and made it much stronger. Recently, I had the opportunity to try a few more items from the line and I wanted to share my thoughts with you! 

    So if you have dry, damaged, or color-treated hair, you'll definitely want to read this review! 

    The Novex Brazilian Keratin linecan be used on all hair types and contains hydrolyzed keratin that is extracted from vegetables found on the natural soil in Brazil. It absorbs quickly into the hair to strengthen its structure. 

    You might be wondering...what is keratin? It's a protein found in our hair, nails, teeth, and skin and 90% of each strand of hair is made up of keratin. Our bodies can produce it but we make less as we age. According to the Novex website, 70-80% of our hair's keratin is lost from the sun, being out in the cold in the winter, and from hot tools. Losing keratin can make your hair and nails look unhealthy, but you can replace it by applying keratin products to the hair. 

    Those of you who are blonde may know the feeling you get when your hair gets overprocessed...it takes on this gummy, sticky texture when wet and becomes extremely fragile. Adding keratin back into your hair will help a lot! Even if your hair isn't at that point but it's still damaged, you can definitely benefit from occasional keratin treatments.

    TheBrazilian Keratin Shampoo ($9.99) lathers nicely and leaves my hair feeling soft, not stripped. It also rinses clean, which is really important to me since I have fine hair...I don't want any added weight! It has a non-offensive, clean scent that all of the Novex Keratin products have and I don't really notice once my hair is dry. 

    The Deep Conditioning Hair Mask ($8.99) is probably their most famous product and this is the treatment I've been using for several months now. It's meant to be used only a few times a month as an intensive conditioner, and you can leave it on for 15 minutes or so.  I like to put it on, throw a shower cap over it and hit it with the blow dryer to help it penetrate deep into my hair. It doesn't weigh down my hair and makes it look and feel so much stronger and silkier, not to mention shinier! I couldn't believe the results after one use and I still can't believe how affordable it is because it works...better than any salon treatment I've used yet.

    It comes in a huge 14 oz. jar and will last you a long time if you're not using it daily. My only teeny tiny complaint about this product is the jar packaging...I have a thin shelf in my shower where I line up my shampoos and this is too wide to fit on it so I have to keep it on the floor. Plus, you have to unscrew the lid and find someplace to put it while you scoop some product out (and try not to get any water from the shower in the product). If they would package this in a tube with a flip-top cap, it would be perfect!
    Finally, the Brazilian Keratin Leave-In Conditioner ($10.99) is meant to create a protective coating on the outside of your hair to prevent outside agents from causing damage. I have a hard time using leave-in conditioners that are creamy like this because they tend to weigh down my fine hair...I prefer to use sprays because they're lighter but if you have medium to thick hair, this will work great for you.
    But I'm happy to say that I've found another way to use this. I noticed on the bottle it says you can use it on dry hair, so I've been using it at night as a strengthening treatment. It absorbs right into my hair with no greasy residue and I just shampoo it out in the morning! I've noticed a big difference in my hair since I've been using this...a lot less breakage and it doesn't seem as damaged.
    Overall, the Novex Brazilian Keratin line is an affordable option for damaged hair that really, truly works. I honestly don't mind paying more for products when they actually do what they say they will...but when you find one that lives up to its claims and is really affordable, how great is that??

    You can purchase Novex at NovexHaircare.com and you can also find the Deep Conditioning Mask at Sally Beauty Supply

    The products featured in this post are PR Samples, but all opinions are my own. This is not a sponsored post.
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    I'm such a sucker for pretty packaging so when I saw the Smith & Cult nail polishes ($18) at a little boutique a few weeks ago, I couldn't resist and purchased one. The last time I spent $18 on a nail polish was back in the 1990's when Hard Candy was super trendy and selling out all over the place. It's funny because I was just telling my husband about how much more expensive the Hard Candy polishes with the little rubber rings used to be and then I found out later that day that Smith & Cult was started by Dineh Mohajer...none other than the founder of Hard Candy! How weird (and totally cool) is that?!

    Smith & Cult- Beat Street, Bitter Buddhist, Plastic Beach, Psycho Candy

    Once I tried one, I ended up going online and ordering a few more because I loved how smoothly they go on and how long they last. They're not streaky at all and you could probably get away with one coat because the coverage is awesome (I still do two coats because it makes the color more intense) I've had one on my nails for a week so far and it hasn't chipped yet- that's enough to impress me since my nail polish normally chips in 2-3 days. Ah, life with a toddler!

    The name Smith & Cult is meant to express the two sides within each person...Smith is the "good girl" and Cult is the "edgy one". The gorgeous perfume-style bottles capture that perfectly...they have these heavy gold-hammered caps that are artfully dented on one side and smooth on the other. They're also five free (no dibutyl phthalate, toluene, formaldehyde, formaldehyde resin, and camphor). 
    Smith & Cult Bitter Buddhist
    Since it would be kind of awkward to paint your nails with that large gold cap, it pulls off to reveal a small black cap underneath. The brush is on the shorter side and I find it much easier to paint with it than with a standard-length brush because I have more control over it. 
    Don't make fun of my terrible nail polish application but I just painted them quickly to show you one of the colors I got...this one is called Beat Street, a bold turquoise that's said to compliment every skin tone. In the background, the pink shade on the left is called Plastic Beach, the coral shade is Psycho Candy, and the celadon green is called Bitter Buddhist.

    Smith & Cult Beat Street
    I apologize I didn't have time to swatch the other three shades, but you can see swatches of the others at ReallyRee.com...she actually has a lot of the shades swatched if you're curious about what they look like on. 

    Where to Buy: 

    I prefer to order mine from Netaporter.com...they have super fast and FREE shipping. They say it's 3-day shipping anywhere in the country but both times I've ordered, it came the next day so I'm guessing their warehouse is somewhere in the northeast. They're also carried at Birchbox, Neiman Marcus, Bloomingdale's, and Saks.

    Final Thoughts: 

    I'm obsessed with these nail polishes...I just ordered two more, Fauntleroy (a really pretty lavender) and Pillow Pie (a soft baby pink). I really need to stop, but between the beautiful packaging, high-quality formula, fun shade names, and gorgeous shades I'm having a really hard time resisting. They're basically everything I could want in a nail polish!

    What's your favorite nail polish formula/color? 

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    laura geller passport to pretty palette
    As a huge Laura Geller fan, I couldn't resist the Passport to Pretty Travel Palettewhen it debuted on QVC a few weeks ago. I have a few vacations coming up this summer and I always like to bring face palettes that have several different functions so I can save space in my suitcase. 

    This one contains all baked formulas, which are made in Italy during a special 48-hour process. They start out as creams and are then baked on terracotta tiles (which you'll see if you get to the bottom of each pan). Because they used to be creams, they can be used wet for more intensity, or dry for a beautiful wash of color. 

    Let's take a look! 
    laura geller baked palette


    Passport to Pretty comes in a cardboard compact that's fairly large, but slim so it can still be packed easily...it's not bulky. It contains a large mirror and a double ended brush/sponge applicator.I'm not that fond of the brush (it feels a bit scratchy) but it works in a pinch. Inside, there are ten eyeshadows, two highlighters and a blush. Everything is set deeply into the palette, which resulted in a few negative reviews on the QVC website...people felt that they couldn't reach the eyeshadows easily, but that's only a problem if you plan on applying them with your fingers. Getting my brush into them was no problem at all and the pans are large enough for an eyeshadow brush to easily get in there. I think this palette was specifically designed with travel in mind so the deeper wells protect the fragile baked formula and keep it from shattering.

    The eyeshadows are just gorgeous! They're set up so that the top row contains cooler-toned shades of pink, plum, and purple, while the bottom row is warmer beige, bronze, and brown. Most of the shades have some shimmer in them, but Sunstone and Mahogany in the second row are matte. Since these can be used wet, Laura suggests using the two deepest shades on the right hand side of the palette, Plum and Mahogany, as eye liners. I've tried it and I have to say...once they dried on my eyes, they became really long lasting!
    laura geller baked palette


    There are two highlighters in this palette...French Vanilla, which is a super soft, almost matte highlight without visible shimmer, and Golden Rose, which is your traditional shimmery highlight.

    French Vanilla is famous for a reason...I had no idea how much I was missing something like it in my collection until I got this palette! It's the perfect soft highlight...if you like that lit-from-within glow without looking like you have obvious highlighter on, you'll love French Vanilla. I use it under my brows, in the center of my forehead, down the bridge of my nose, a dab on my cupid's bow, and a little on my cheekbones to soften my blush. I have also used it as an under-eye setting powder and it's magical for that! It adds a tiny bit of coverage and brightens the entire area so much. Also, because it's not shimmery it doesn't highlight your pores and imperfections! It feels so soft, creamy and pigmented...I'm in love and will definitely pick this up separately (it's available here if you're interested).

    Golden Rose is a beautiful pale golden champagne highlight that shares the same soft, creamy formula with French Vanilla, but it adds a bit of shimmer to your skin. It's very finely milled with no glitter chunks or anything like that. It just adds that really pretty pop to your cheekbones.

    Malibu Blush looks bright in the pan, but it goes on sheer for a gorgeous pop of pink. When you dip your brush into the pan, you don't have to worry about clown cheeks...it's very soft and subtle at first, but can easily be built up for more intensity.
    laura geller highlighters

    One complaint I hear about baked eyeshadows is that they go on sheer and aren't crazy-pigmented unless you use them wet, which is a little more work. These definitely go on more sheer when applied to bare skin, but I found that using them over primer makes them much more intense. The swatches below are over Lorac's eyeshadow primer so that you can see the full beauty of these colors. When I apply them to my eyes over primer, they give me a beautiful, almost foiled look and last all day. 

    However, I know quite a few people who aren't really into heavily pigmented shadows and just want a sheer wash of color for a more natural look, so if that's you, you'll love to wear these on their own without primer.

    Here are the cooler shades in the top row...so pretty right?
    laura geller baked eyeshadows
    These are the warmer shades on the bottom row...I love these for everyday.
    laura geller baked eyeshadows
    Here are the highlighters and blush...see how French Vanilla has a bit of a sheen but no obvious shimmer? Also, Malibu swatched heavily with my finger, but it doesn't go on that strong with a brush, I promise!
    laura geller french vanilla highlighter swatches
    Here, I'm wearing the Malibu blush, French Vanilla highlighter on my cheekbones, forehead, down my nose, and on my cupid's bow, as well as the inner corners of my eyes. On my eyelids, I'm wearing Garnet in the crease and outer corner with Candy all over my lid. I softened the Garnet quite a bit since I was just going out to run errands that day and didn't want to look really made up. But that's the beauty of this palette...you can take a deeper burgundy shade like Garnet and sheer it out so it can still be worn during the day...or make it super intense for a bolder look. I also used the dark brown Mahogany shade wet as a liner. 

    Overall, I'm loving the Passport to Pretty palette. It can be used so many different ways and is a perfect travel companion!

    It's available now for $65 at QVC.com. I purchased it when it was on sale a few weeks ago, and it regularly goes on sale and/or Easy Pay, so if you're willing to wait, you might be able to get it for less! 

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    I've been lusting after the Kiko Milano Lovegrove limited edition summer collection since the Spring when I saw sneak peeks on social media. The rose gold packaging is designed by Ross Lovegrove (an industrial designer from Wales) and it's some of the most beautiful makeup packaging ever...especially at an affordable price! Everything looks really high-end and I love the beautiful texture that the embossed pattern gives the products. I happen to have a Kiko store at my local mall so I picked up a few products to try and have been using them for a while now, so I thought I'd do some mini reviews on each one.
    Let's take a look!

    Desert Dunes Trio Baked Blush in Lust Coral
    $18 at KikoCosmetics.com
    Kiko's baked blushes are made in Italy and this one is infused with a beautiful scent that almost smells like Too Faced's chocolate products...it's supposed to be vanilla but it smells a bit like chocolate to me...with maybe a little vanilla in there. It's not strong or overpowering and you don't notice it once the product is on your face. It just smells so delicious in the pan!

    Let's just take a second to admire this rose gold compact...just stunning!
    Inside, there's a mirror and the baked blush, which has three different tones. I should also mention that these come in three different options...Lust Coral (which is the one I have), Gypsy Pink, and Impulsive Mauve.
    The blush is generously sized which means you can use this many different ways. You can use each shade individually, or mix just the lighter two shades, just the darker two shades, or swirl them all together. The texture is fantastic...it picks up easily and feels so smooth and silky, which is one of the reasons I love baked blushes (think Milani and Laura Geller). This one doesn't have a lot of shimmer, which I like. I have a lot of shimmery baked blushes, so it's nice to have an option that's a little more satiny (it's not completely matte).

    Mirage Lip Stylo in Fired Earth Pink
    $15 at KikoCosmetics.com

    The packaging of this lipstick looks so beautiful and high-end, I actually love pulling it out of my purse and hearing people say, "oh my gosh, what brand is that??" When I tell them, they can't believe it's not more expensive. It has a unique design that's tapered in the middle, almost like an hourglass and it has a really strong magnetic closure. When I go to replace the cap, the magnet just sucks it together by the time I get the cap halfway down the tube.

    This lipstick claims to have the coverage of a lipstick, the shine of a gloss, and the comfort and feel of a balm. I would agree with two out of three...it does have amazing coverage and feels super hydrating just like a balm, but while it gives a little bit of shine, it's not as much as a lip gloss would give in my opinion.

    Wear time isn't terrible, but because of the melty texture it does wear off in a couple of hours. That being said, it doesn't claim to be long-wearing, so I didn't expect it to be. It actually does stain my lips just a little bit so the stain lasts for a while after the lipstick has worn off.

    It doesn't seem to have any scent whatsoever and comes in 15 shades.

    Heatwave Lip Oil 
    $14 at KikoCosmetics.com
    Lip oils are huge right now and I couldn't resist trying this one because it comes in delicious flavors like Coconut, Vanilla, and Grapefruit. Normally I'm all about coconut, but when I got to the store, I actually liked the vanilla-scented one a little bit better. This formula is enriched with jojoba oil, shea butter, wild mango butter, and vitamin E. It feels nice going on, but my dry lips just suck it right in and my lips feel dry again a little while later...kind of like how the Milani ones were. I want to love lip oils but so far they don't seem to keep my lips feeling as moisturized as a balm or even a gloss because they disappear so quickly and I find myself constantly reapplying. For me this one was a miss, although I did love the scent and the packaging.

    In the swatches below, you can see that the lip oil goes on clear even though it looks pink in the tube. The Mirage Lip Stylo in Fired Earth Pink is a beautiful pinky-peach nude color...sort of a MLBB shade. The bottom swatch is the blush in the shade Lust Coral, which is a gorgeous peachy nude with all three shades swirled together. You can see how it has more of a satiny finish than a shimmer or matte finish.

    Final Thoughts: 

    Overall, I give the Kiko Lovegrove collection two thumbs up for packaging...very well done! I also love the products I got with the exception of the lip oil...and honestly it's not necessarily this lip oil that's the problem, I'm just not a fan of them in general. But that doesn't stop me from trying them...maybe one day I'll find one I really like!

    You can see the entire Kiko Lovegrove collection at KikoCosmetics.com

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    If you're a fan of Laura Geller's Gelato Swirl Illuminators, get ready because they're launching soon in cream form! The Easy Illuminating Stick will come in three colors... the famous Gilded Honey shade, as well as Ballerina and Ethereal.

    They claim to be long-wearing and oil-free with light-reflecting optics. As a person with dry skin, I absolutely love a cream highlighter! They're so easy to use...just swipe and blend- totally my kind of product.

    I was able to capture some swatches on Snapchat of all three shades. The photos are a little bit grainy but you can still see the colors.

    Are you excited for these? I'll keep you guys updated and let you know when they launch. :)

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    Essence has just launched some new products for Summer/Fall 2016 and I gotta say...I want them all! In addition to being super affordable, they're also BOGO 50% right now, so I'm planning to place an order while the sale is still on.

    Let's take a look...

    I Love Stage Color Intensifying Eyeshadow Base ($3.49)Intensified eyes! Smooth and lightweight, this light rose, brightening I Love Stage Color Intensifying Eyeshadow Base from Essence provides the perfect canvas for a brilliant, all day eye look without creasing. 

    Pure Nude Highlighter ($4.49)- Natural highlights! This Essence Pure Nude Highlighter adds natural luminescence to cheeks, temples, and brow bone for a gorgeous glow. The baked formula applies smoothly while the light texture blends easily for a natural finish.

    Forbidden Volume Rebel Mascara ($4.49)- Taboo lashes! The rebel sister of the original Essence Forbidden Volume Mascara features a chaotic fiber brush to create thick, spidery, messy lashes for an edgy voluminous look. Not tested on animals.

    Forbidden Volume False Lash Mascara Topcoat ($3.99)Lash pick me up! Refresh lashes with this versatile Essence Forbidden Volume False Lash Mascara Topcoat that can be applied on top of any mascara, anytime of day. The black fibers integrated into the formula instantly refresh and intensify any lash look. Not tested on animals.

    What do you think, are you planning on picking up any of the new products? Also...I haven't tried much from Essence, but I've been wanting to and figured I'd add some more things to my cart when I buy these. What's your favorite Essence product? I'd love some suggestions! :)

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    The Too Faced Totally Cute Palette ($36) arrived at Ulta today and it contains nine brand new shades in both shimmer and matte formulas. It also comes with stickers that you can use to customize the outside of the palette.

    Shades include: 
    • Double Scoop (matte vanilla malt)
    • Bunny Fu-Fu (matte pumpkin spice)
    • Chocolate Donut (matte dark brown)
    • Shooting Star (shimmering nude)
    • Clover (golden green pearl)
    • Storm Cloud (blackened peacock)
    • Unicorn (pink pearl)
    • I<3 TF (bubblegum pink w/ silver sparkle)
    • MEOW! (deep amethyst)

    I definitely like the shades in this palette better than the PB&J palette...what do you think? Will you be buying this one?

    Grab yours now at Ulta.com
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    Tonight at midnight, IT Cosmetics is launching their new IT's Your Customer Favorites 4-Pc. Collection and it'll be at the Today's Special Value price of $59.95 for 24 hours only (ends June 26 at 11:59pm).

    This set contains some new products as well as some old favorites...let's take a look!

    Supersize CC+ Illumination Color Correcting Illuminating Full Coverage Cream SPF 50+

    Just in time for summer, there's now a supersize Your Skin But Better CC+ Illumination! If you've seen my list of holy grail products, you know that the IT Cosmetics CC+ cream is one of my absolute favorite foundation products.
    It has amazing coverage and acts as an anti-aging serum, moisturizer, primer, color corrector, foundation, and SPF 50+ all in one. I wear it most in the summer because it feels lightweight and it has a higher SPF than any other foundation I own, so I don't need to worry about adding additional sun protection. Plus, I don't need to layer on a bunch of products...this does it all!
    The illuminating version has Drops of Light technology, which gives you a beautiful (and natural-looking) glow, which is really popular right now! There's no chunky glitter or visible shimmer...it just makes your skin look lit-from-within. It comes in five shades.

    To give you an idea of how big this supersize version is, you can see it here next to my regular tube of CC+ Illumination...

    This tube is 2.53 fl. oz...more than double the regular 1..08 oz. size which retails for $38! That means that this CC+ Supersize would cost more than the price of the entire kit, and you're basically getting everything else for free.

    Heavenly Skin CC+ Perfecting Brush

    If you've never tried an IT Cosmetics brush, you're missing out! They're super luxurious and by far my favorite brushes in my entire collection. You can buy them individually at Ulta, but they're usually around $48 each, so it's much cheaper to get them in these sets when you can! This brand new brush was created to be used with the CC+ cream and it gives you an airbrushed finish. I'm so excited to have a brush that was specifically designed for my this foundation! It's super soft and velvety and helps the CC+ Illumination go on seamlessly.

    Tightline 3-in-1 Primer, Eyeliner, and Mascara in Black

    Tightline is one of my secret weapons for getting ready in the morning! It saves me the step of applying eyeliner because the brush is so tiny, you can wiggle it against the base of your lashes and it deposits pigments in between your lashes for a tightlined effect. While there are other "skinny" mascaras on the market that I like, this one is different because it contains a lash conditioning serum! It has proteins, biotin, peptides, collagen, jojoba oil, and green tea to nourish and strengthen your lashes. So if you're someone who has weak or brittle lashes, this formula will benefit you greatly and save you the step of applying a lash conditioner. I did a full review on it here if you're interested in seeing my before and after photos.

    Je Ne Sais Quoi Hydrating Color Awakening Lip Treatment

    This brand new lip treatment comes in a beautiful pink metallic tube with a magnetic closure. It looks clear in the tube but on your lips it transforms into the Je Ne Sais Quoi perfect pink shade that IT Cosmetics has in some of their other lip and cheek products. It contains shea butter, peptides, argan oil, cherry oil, plum oil, grape seed extract, hyaluronic acid and vitamin E to hydrate and nourish your lips. This is a thicker, more balm-like lip treatment as opposed to a melty formula, so it stays on your lips a bit longer than thinner formulas.  It's also very sheer compared to the Je Ne Sais Quoi lipstick and gloss I've tried in the past...it gives a barely-there hint of pink. So I've actually been using this under other lip products as a sort of primer since it's isn't super shiny and slippery.

    Overall, this set is a great intro to IT Cosmetics if you've never tried anything from the line. Or if you're a fan of the CC+ Cream and are dying to try the Illuminating version, this supersize will last such a long time. It's also a great deal, considering the CC+ Cream alone would retail for more than the price of the entire kit!

    Grab yours now (it's on the site a little early) at QVC.com

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  • 06/25/16--16:33: Vacation
  • Hey Guys! I'm off to the Jersey Shore this week and I'll be gone until July 4th. I'll be posting on Instagram here and there, so you can catch up a little bit that way. If I have some downtime, I planned a few posts for this week so I won't completely disappear, but I just wanted to let you know if I'm not posting as frequently. 

    See ya soon! :) XOXO

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    The Balm Balm Beach Long-Wearing Blush ($21 at TheBalm.com) is brand new this summer and is the perfect warm-neutral pink for a barely-there kiss of color.  I'm obsessed with all of The Balm's blushes (see my reviews here, here, and here so I knew I had to get this one to add to my collection.

    The packaging is gorgeous, which isn't surprising since The Balm always does a great job with that. It has a retro beach scene on the outside and the blush pan looks as though it's surrounded by water. The compact is cardboard with a mirror inside and a magnetic closure. It also has an outer sleeve that matches the compact for mess-free traveling.

    This formula claims to be long-wearing and I would certainly agree with that. The blush is soft, silky, and blends beautifully. Unfortunately, it's a very light pinky nude shade so I feel like only those with lighter skin tones will be able to wear this. It takes a bit of buildup just to get it to show up on my skin and I'm pretty fair! I normally swirl my brush into the pan, apply it, and then go back in at least one or two more times. Still, for me it's worth it because the color is stunning and the perfect everyday shade. It's also great when paired with a smoky eye because you can't overdo it.

    On The Balm's website, they show this shade on a model with more of a medium skintone, but based on my experience I feel like she must have applied a ton of it to get it to show up that much. I thought maybe I was using the wrong kind of brush so I grabbed one with stiffer bristles and while it did apply it a little stronger, it still looked very subtle on me.

    I've been getting a few questions from readers wondering how this compares to some of The Balm's lighter blushes like Down Boy and Frat Boy, as well as the Balm Desert Bronzer Blush so I decided to swatch them side-by-side.

    You can see that Balm Beach is lighter than all the other shades and is more of a nude color. Frat Boy is more peachy-pink, Balm Desert is more bronze, and Down Boy is a cooler-toned Barbie Pink. 
    Here it is on my skin...I absolutely love the color because it's a perfect, everyday shade for me. But I'm afraid that anyone with a darker skin tone than mine might be disappointed in how light is is. 

    Overall, I've been using this blush every day and even brought it on vacation with me. The color is the perfect nude pink and it's definitely long-lasting. What's your favorite everyday blush shade? I'd love to hear about it!

    Currently, Balm Beach is available at TheBalm.com but I'm sure it'll be coming to stores like Kohls very soon. 

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  • 06/26/16--14:17: BOGO 60% Off at BH Cosmetics
  • Top Row: Illuminating BB Cream, Wild & Alluring Palette
    Bottom Row: Beach Goddess Palette, Missy Lynn Palette

    From now until midnight tonight (Pacific time) BH Cosmetics is BOGO 60% off using code MOREMAKEUP.  I believe everything on the site is eligible, including the new Illuminate by Ashley Tisdale collection, the new Illuminating BB Cream, and the Wild & Alluring Palette.

    There is a limit of 3 BOGO's per customer, and the second items have to be of equal or lesser value.

    I ended up getting the Beach Goddess palette from Ashley Tisdale, as well as two of her lip glosses.

    So head on over to BHCosmetics.com to grab what you've been wanting before the sale ends tonight!

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    anastasia modern renaissance palette
    Have you ever purchased a makeup item that's so pretty, you don't even want to touch it? That's what happened when I purchased the new Anastasia Beverly Hills Modern Renaissance Palette ($42 at Ulta& Sephora) during the Ulta Platinum Member preview a few weeks ago. I kept opening it up and looking at it...I even took photos to post here on the blog but I just couldn't bring myself to dig in and mess it up.

    But I finally did, and I can honestly say this one is worth all the hype! When a product starts blowing up in popularity, I usually take it with a grain of salt, and I wasn't even sure I wanted to buy this one because I have too many eyeshadow palettes (more than I'll ever use before they expire). But...I ended up caving in because it's full of shades that I don't have in my collection...that alone made it worth it for me.

    Let's take a look...
    anastasia beverly hills modern renaissance palette

    This is the first Anastasia eyeshadow palette I've owned, so I wasn't sure what to expect. The packaging is a really pretty dusty lavender shade and the palette itself is cardboard with a magnetic closure and a soft, velvety material covering the outside of it. You can kind of see in the photo above...it's fuzzy, kind of like velour and I can picture it getting filthy really fast!

    On the back are the ingredients and description.
     modern renaissance palette review

    The palette contains fourteen neutral and berry shades plus a double-ended brush and a fairly large mirror. The cardboard that surrounds the eyeshadow pans is coated to make it glossy, which is great because any eyeshadow that migrates out wipes away easily, unlike the cardboard inside the Lorac PRO palettes, which tends to grab onto any color that gets outside the lines.
    anastasia modern renaissance palette review
    Shade Selection: 

    At first I wasn't sure that I would use some of the shades in this palette (cranberry red!?) but I knew I needed to go outside of my neutral color zone...especially since warm orange shades really make blue eyes pop. This color scheme will actually look amazing on fair-skinned girls with blue eyes, but ultimately, anyone can wear these shades. Also, don't let the darker, bolder shades scare you...I know that's what initially pops out at you but if you really look closely at the palette, all of the shades are very neutral and wearable with the exception of two cranberry shades and a bright orange.

    anastasia modern renaissance eyeshadow palette
    There's a beautiful selection of both matte and shimmer shades and all of them compliment each other nicely. It's rare to find a palette that can be used all on its own, but I've found that with this one, you can create so many different combinations because the colors are all so compatible. You also have a few different highlights, several transition/crease shades, and a couple of deeper shades to choose from.
    anastasia modern renaissance palette


    I'm mostly going to let the swatches speak for themselves because they're just that good. These are swatched over bare skin with no primer. They're super pigmented and buttery without feeling heavy or creamy. They remind me a lot of Lorac's eyeshadows or The Balm's Meet Matt(e) series. They're very soft so you can expect quite a bit of fallout but I don't mind...tapping the brush before applying to your lid works just fine for me. I love how easily they blend on my lids and they don't get muddy.

    You can see how wearable this palette actually is, and shades like Love Letter, Venetian Red, and Realgar can add a gorgeous, rich pop of color to any of these other neutral shades.
    anastasia modern renaissance palette swatches

    Overall, the Anastasia Modern Renaissance Palette is on my must-buy list! You can wear these shades now and they'll be even more amazing heading into fall and winter. The quality is superb and there's not a bad shade in the bunch. I wore a few shades over primer yesterday while walking around outside all day on vacation and they didn't budge. When I went to bed at midnight, they looked the same as they did when I applied them. Love, love love...definitely worth the splurge.

    You can find it now at Ulta.com and Sephora.com

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    Thanks so much to reader Ashley for the heads up on this one...The Balm Skincare is now at Target.com!  I have so many makeup items from The Balm that I love but have never tried their skincare. I was actually planning on picking up a few things to try but then it disappeared from their website a few months ago and I assumed it had been discontinued.

    I saw this post on an Australian blog that their Target stores have started carrying the full line of The Balm and Sleek makeup as of this past December, so I can only hope that we're next!! 

    But for now, at least we can shop The Balm's skincare products. :) 

    Shop them now at Target.com
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    Today through July 5th at 11:59pm PST, Every Single Product at City Color is 35% off, no code needed! Plus, if you spend $40 (with the discount), a Contour Effects Palette (original) will be added to your cart automatically. PLUS, since you don't need a code for the 35% off, you can use my code BudgetBeautyBlog to get another 10% off your order.

    This is the biggest sale they've ever had, so it's a great time to try some City Color products at an amazing discount, plus get a free Contour Palette

    If you're not sure what to get, here are some past reviews of my favorite City Color products (I highly recommend the Be Matte blushes if you haven't tried them yet): 

    Swatches of 17 Shimmer Shadows

    Shimmer Shadow Review

    Timeless Beauty Palette

    Highlight Trio Review

    Intense Blush Palette Review

    Barely Exposed Palette vs. UD Naked Palette

    Spice Me Up Palette Review

    Glowing Complexion Illuminating Cream

    Poolside Palette Review

    Be Matte Blush Review

    Intense Exposure Highlighting Powder

    Sunlight Trio Review

    Visit CityColorCosmetics.com this weekend to score some great deals! Don't forget to use code BudgetBeautyBlog for your extra 10% off!

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    My #1 favorite Korean skincare brand, Skin Food is now at Ulta! I'm over-the-moon excited because until now, they've been extremely hard to find online. I happen to live near one of the handful of Skin Food retail stores, but I've always been hesitant to recommend their products here on the blog because I would have to refer you to Amazon where the products can be overpriced and take a month (or more) to ship from Korea.
    My two favorite face scrubs on Earth...Black Sugar Mask and Rice Mask are actually available at SokoGlam.com (which ships from NY) but I'm guessing you guys would much rather get the Ulta points if you can, right? 

    Ulta doesn't carry the full line (yet) but they do have several products that I've been using for a few years, so I can recommend my favorites to you. 

    First...the Black Sugar Mask and Rice Mask! These two scrubs are only $10 at Ulta and you can see my full review on them HERE.

    I can also highly recommend the Black Sugar Cleansing Oil ($21) It's lightweight and rinses away clean, taking off all of your makeup with it. I did a full review on it HERE back in 2014...the bottle has changed but it's the same formula. 

    I got a deluxe sample at the Skin Food store of the Cucumber & Lettuce Emulsion $15 (which is a light moisturizer that goes on before your regular moisturizer- or can take the place of moisturizer if you're oily). I love how refreshing and cooling it felt on my skin...I was actually planning to get the full size this summer next time I made a trip to the store, but now I think I'll just grab it on the Ulta website! 

    The Egg White Pore Foam ($11) is a deep cleanser that I use once a week or so and it really gets deep down into your pores so your skin feels ridiculously clean...yet it doesn't dry out or strip my skin (which is dry to begin with). It makes tons of plush, creamy foam so you only need a tiny bit to clean your whole face. I haven't gotten around to reviewing it yet, but it's awesome! 

    Finally, the Peach Sake Pore Serum ($16) is another favorite of mine. It contains Vitamins A & C, Silica, Peach Extract, Sake, and Peptides to tighten pores, smooth, tone and firm the skin, brighten, and control sebum. I don't have oily skin but the pores on my cheeks have become much more noticeable as I get older, so this makes my skin look smoother!

    I'm hoping Ulta decides to add more Skin Food products over time because I'm obsessed with their Avocado products in the Winter when my skin is extra dry! 

    Have you tried Skin Food yet? If not, will you try something from the line now that it's at Ulta? 

    To see the full line available at Ulta, visit Ulta.com

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    There are some amazing Ulta deals this 4th of July weekend that I couldn't wait to share with you! If you're thinking about shopping any of the new Skin Food Korean skincare products (see my previous post for suggestions of products I've tried already) or any of the amazing new products that have launched recently (Lorac Pro 3 palette or Anastasia Modern Renaissance palette for example!) then you'll want to read this first!

    1. If you're a Platinum Member, don't forget to use your 20% off code before it expires (check your email). 
    2. Get a free Buxom Lip Polish in Dolly when you put anything in your cart (it's $10 but will go to $0 once you add something else).
    3. Get this Laura Lee Beauty Bag with any $75 purchase (a $110 value- pictured above). This bag includes:
    • Renewing Moroccan Argan Oil Conditioner Mini (3.0 oz)
    • Sexy hair Get Layered Mini (1.3 oz)
    • St.Tropez Gradual Tan In-Shower Tan Mini (1.6 oz)
    • Philosophy Purity Made Simple Mini (2.0 oz)
    • Laura Geller Baked Gelato Swirl Illuminator in Gilded Honey sample (0.16 oz)
    • Clinique Dramatically Different Moisturizing Gel sample (0.5 oz)
    • Benefit Dew the Hoola sample (0.16 oz)
    • IT cosmetics Hello Lashes Mascara in Black sample (0.16 oz)
    • Stila Stay All day Liquid Lipstick in Caramello sample (0.05 oz)
    • Tarte Cosmetics Skin Rejuvenating Maracuja Self -Tanner (0.5 oz)
    • Tarte Cosmetics Skin Rejuvenating Maracuja Self -Tanner Face Towlette (1 count)
    • Urban Decay Naked Skin Weightless Complete Coverage Concealer 3 shade   sample

    Happy shopping!

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    I was recently introduced to a fantastic new online shop called BeautyKind. They're a prestige beauty retailer that allows women to buy the brands they love for the same prices they would pay elsewhere , while supporting the cause of their choice. Here's how it works:

    1. Choose a charity...they have hundreds to choose from such as the American Cancer Society, Ninja Paws Animal Rescue, Soles for Souls, Habitat for Humanity and so much more!

    2. Shop! There are so many amazing brands to choose from including Bliss, Laura Geller, Butter London, Ahava, Fekkai, GlamGlow, Jouer, Lipstick Queen, Ren Skincare, T3 and lots more.

    3. Save! BeautyKind has generously given me gift codes especially for my readers to use where you'll get $50 off a $75 purchase. This only applies to new customers only. Once you use the code once, it can't be used again. Use code BudgetBeauty at checkout.

    4. 5% of your purchase will go toward the cause you chose!

    In case you're curious, here's what I ended up getting with my first order (it's what you see in the photo above)...

    Lalicious Sugar Coconut Body Butter ($26.50)

    Butter London Nail Lacquer in KIP($15)

    Cailyn O! Wow Brush($28)

    Laura Geller Baked Gelato Illuminizer in Gilded Honey ($26)

    I also highly recommend Butter London Lippy Liquid Lipstick (I love the shade Toff, which is a beautiful mauve color). I also love Lipstick Queen's Frog Prince lipstick (see my review here) and Laura Geller's Baked Blushes and Spackle PrimerDeal are fantastic as well!

    I can't wait until my order arrives and I couldn't wait to share BeautyKind and this amazing deal with you!

    Don't forget to use code BudgetBeauty- it's good until July 31, 2016 so please share it with your friends! 

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    Stila Stay All Day Matte Lipstick($22) is brand new at Ulta this week and even though I'm not a matte lipstick fan, the formula sounds intriguing enough that I might have to try one! It claims to have a first-to-market matte formula with a jelly-like film that delivers long-lasting, non-drying color. It comes in twelve shades housed in pretty gold packaging.

    Also new to Ulta this week are the new Stila Stay All Day Lip Liners($20).  They come in eight shades and are waterproof, highly-pigmented, and long-lasting with Vitamins E & C to provide moisture and antioxidant protection.

    What do you think? Will you be picking up either of these new products?

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    I was so excited to get my BH Cosmetics order right before I went on vacation because I was able to take some of the products with me to play with them, including the Illuminate by Ashley Tisdale Lip & Cheek Tints ($9 each).  I love cream blushes (especially since I have dry skin!) and I couldn't resist the gorgeous color selection on the Illuminate website (it's a site within the BH Cosmetics website). I also love the fact that these are made in the USA...it's not always easy to find these days, especially with more affordable brands.
    So if you want to see what I think of these, keep on reading for my review and swatches! 


    Add a petal-soft pop of dreamy, creamy color to cheeks and lips with our Cream Cheek and Lip Tint. The dual-purpose product imparts a fresh, youthful flush that looks like the real thing. It goes on sheer and blends beautifully into skin for a hush of blush and builds to a deeper, more dramatic hue if desired. It's the easiest way to glow on the go! Available in six yummy shades -- from apricot to berry -- to flatter a variety of skin tones.


    Made in USA – Net Wt / Poids Net 5.67 g / 0.20 oz ℮ Ricinus Communis (Castor) Seed Oil, Synthetic Beeswax, Caprylyl Methicone, Octyldodecanol, Microcrystalline Wax / Cera Microcristallina / Cire Microcristalline, Caprylic/Capric Triglyceride, Isononyl Isononanoate, Glyceryl Behenate, C10-18 Triglycerides, Tricaprylin, Tocopheryl Acetate, Ethylhexylglycerin, Caprylyl Glycol, Butyrospermum Parkii (Shea) Butter, Mangifera Indica (Mango) Seed Butter, Simmondsia Chinensis (Jojoba) Seed Oil, Persea Gratissima (Avocado) Oil, Helianthus Annuus (Sunflower) Seed Oil, BHT. May Contain/Peut Contenir [+/-]: Iron Oxides (CI 77491, CI 77492, CI 77499), Manganese Violet (CI 77742), Red 7 Lake (CI 15850), Red 22 Lake (CI 45380), Red 28 Lake (CI 45410), Red 30 Lake (CI 73360), Titanium Dioxide (CI 77891), Yellow 5 Lake (CI 19140) <5818>


    All of the Illuminate products come in beautiful rose gold and white striped boxes with pink accents. They're so beautiful and give more of a high-end vibe...you definitely don't see packaging like this at the drugstore! The Cheek & Lip Tints come in round white compacts with the Illuminate logo on the top of the compact. They don't come with a mirror, but they're see-through, so you can see the shade right away. They also have the shade name on the bottom of the compact.


    I'm not always a fan of using a product on both my lips and cheeks...usually, the formula works well for one, but not the other. Typically, a cream blush with a powder finish is too drying for my lips, while a really emollient blush is too greasy/sticky for my cheeks but works well for lips. 

    This formula is definitely on the emollient side...it contains shea butter, mango butter, jojoba oil, avocado oil, and sunflower oil so it feels very moisturizing. On the cheeks, it never really feels like it dries down...it doesn't feel sticky but there's definitely a dewiness to it that lasts all day. The entire Illuminate line has a sort of beachy vibe to it, so I feel like these are meant to give an easy, dewy, surfer-girl flush rather than a more matte, made-up look. 

    On the lips, the formula feels comfortable but they're not as moisturizing as a lip balm, at least for me. They don't have the thicker feel of a balm...they give more of a thin veil of color that seems to dry down a little better than they do on your cheeks. When you rub your lips together, you don't really feel it that much and it leaves a translucent tint behind that actually lasts for hours.


    The first shade that jumped out at me on the website was Cabana. This is a light pinky-nude shade and it looked like it would be perfect for my fair-light skin tone.

    Cabana is extremely light and sheer, unfortunately. It's difficult to get it to show up on my skin unless I really build it up. But then when I do that, it starts to feel even more emollient and then my cheeks start feeling a bit greasy. I started out applying these with my fingers, but I found that I was adding too much to my cheeks, so I tried swirling a stippling brush into the compact and then dabbed it on my cheeks first, blending carefully and it seemed to sink into my skin a little bit better since I wasn't adding as much product. 

    Here I am wearing Cabana...you can see how sheer and light it is! It gives a barely-there flush of color and I feel like only the lightest skin-tones will be able to wear this one. 
    Wearing Illuminate Cheek & Lip Tint in Cabana

    Rose is a bright pinky-coral and I had no trouble whatsoever getting this one to show up. It goes on sheer, so the color isn't as intense on your cheeks as it is in the compact, so no worries about clown cheeks!

    I really liked this color on me...I'm wearing it here on both my lips and my cheeks. I also should mention that even though this formula is very emollient, it lasted a really long time on my cheeks...pretty much all day! Granted, I do have dry skin so keep that in mind...this formula may slide right off if you're oily. 
    Wearing Illuminate Cheek & Lip Tint in Rose

    When swatched on my arm, you can see the full color of these shades. I swirled my finger around in the compact and did one swipe of each. However, once you blend them, they sheer out quite a lot. Rose settles into a really pretty coral-pink flush but Cabana almost disappears.
    Rose (left) and Cabana (right)
    Here's a close-up:
    Rose and Cabana
    Here's a side-by-side comparison with Cabana on the left and Rose on the right: 

    Overall, there are definitely some pros and cons here. I love that they're affordable and made in the USA and the packaging and color selection is gorgeous. However, I don't think these will be for everyone...especially if you have oily skin, because the silky, emollient texture might feel too greasy.
    Since I have dry skin, I don't mind a little dewiness and now that I'm in my late 30's I've found that cream products can give a more youthful effect than powders, which can sometimes settle into pores and lines.

    Also, I'm disappointed that Cabana didn't really show up that much, but I love the Rose shade! 

    What do you think? Do you tend to reach for products that have multiple uses or do you like using one product for your lips, and another for your cheeks? 

    You can purchase the Illuminate by Ashley Tisdale Cheek & Lip Tints at bhcosmetics.com

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    From now until 4 PM CT (if you're on the East Coast, you have until 5pm...West Coast has until 2PM), get a 4 Piece Lorac Gift with any $50 purchase! 

    Here's what's included: 

    • Cobra Mascara Mini (0.14 oz)
    • Alter Ego Lip Gloss in Goddess Mini (0.02 oz)
    • TANtalizer Baked Bronzer in Matte Tan Mini (0.03 oz)
    • Front of the Line PRO Eye Pencil in Black Mini (0.007 oz)

    So if you have any shopping to do at Ulta today, make sure it's during the next few hours so you don't miss out on this gift, valued at $50!
    Grab yours now at Ulta.com

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