While writing this, I'm wrapped up in an oversized sweater, with an even more oversized sweater on top of that. I'm wearing a wooly scarf and fuzzy slippers. I'd probably have a blanket on my lap if my cats and dogs weren't holding all of them hostage. Now that I'm at nearly optimal levels of cozy, I suppose I can start this chat about makeup! Every year, Sephora [my guilty pleasure of choice] gives their frequent shoppers a sizable discount, timed perfectly before the holidays. It's at this time I like to stock up on items I'm running low on or try my hand at new products. After I've tested something out a few times, if it doesn't really wow me or seems unnecessary, I have no issue returning it. I have more makeup perhaps than the average person, but I'm by no means a hoarder. If I'm going to keep something, I want to make sure I will get every penny's worth and use every ounce up!
First, let me go over the new items I was testing for this look. I needed to pick up a new foundation, since my current favorite is two to three shades too dark for me. I went with Josie Maran's Vibrancy foundation in the color Awakened. This one was an instant keeper. After my first time using it, I was so impressed with how little product I needed to cover my whole face. One pump [or even a bit less] is all I need. The finish has such a lovely glow to it, and makes my skin truly look vibrant and alive. I'm not a fan of heavy coverage, since I like my freckles to show a bit, and this foundation strikes just the right balance between coverage and natural skin. It seems to work best when applied with a damp Beauty Blender, and doesn't take much time to get an even finish. I can't recommend it enough!
I also tested out Kat Von D's Lock It Concealer, but unfortunately, I just didn't find it brightened up my under eye area enough. The consistency was nice and does feel full coverage, but I still find the IT Cosmetics under eye concealer to be the best in color and coverage for me. I might have exchanged the Kat Von D for a lighter shade to see if that would work better, but I'd already overspent in a BIG way at Sephora, and knew I could get by with my current concealers for a bit longer. The same goes for the bronzer I tried, which was an insane splurge. I'd never tried Tom Ford makeup products before, and the packaging is incredible and feels so luxurious, I had to at least test it out. The bronzer color actually worked quite nicely as a contour shade for me, but when I compared it to the other contour shades I use, I really saw no difference. Again, contouring isn't something I need to have multiples of, so back the bronzer went. To set my face, I picked up the Hourglass Ambient Lighting Powder in Diffused Light. I was given the Ambient Lighting Palette as a gift over a year ago, and basically used the three colors in that swirled around as a setting powder. I've finally decimated that palette, and knew the full size would last me quite a while. I went with a yellow tinted shade since I've heard that can combat redness. I'm not entirely sure I can tell any difference there, but any of the ambient powders seem to set the face without feeling too powdery or drying. A pricey but long time investment I highly recommend!
For lips, I'd heard rave reviews about the Nars Velvet Lip Glides. I tried the color Playpen, a light nude shade. The color is gorgeous, and photographed beautifully, but on me, it just didn't wear well. I noticed after an hour or two, the product would start to break up on my lips and create lines. It didn't feel dry, but it did manage to make my lips look dry, which was a deal breaker. I'm still sticking to my tried and true Nars lipsticks, and if I can find this shade in lipstick form, I'd be all over it! On my eyes I tested Tarte's Tarteist Mascara, again based on reviews. Mascara is tricky, because everyone has different lashes, and mine are particularly troublesome. I'm the Goldilocks of mascara! I need a mascara to really hold a curl [since mine are stick straight], lengthen [my lashes are short], and not be too wet of a formula [otherwise I end up with goops of mascara all over my top and bottom lashes!]. This mascara wasn't bad, but it wasn't as good as others I've tried. It didn't do much for curling my lashes, though it did help with the length. The formula was a bit too wet for me, and the brush irritates my eyes a bit. Another one bites the dust!
That being said, there's one area my frugality falters. I LOVE eyeshadow palettes. Being someone who adores color and art [and dabbles in both for a living], opening up an eyeshadow palette feels like playtime! I don't have many excuses to do dramatic makeup looks, and my personal style is fairly neutral, but I do like to have fun with all the gorgeous colors eyeshadows come in. Because I've been amassing a bit of a palette collection, colors start to overlap and despite some of the more recent launches being absolutely stunning, I just don't need them all. But when the BIG sale came along, I just had to at least give a couple new palettes a try and see how they fared. I'd never owned any eyeshadows from Anastasia Beverly Hills, but her palettes consistently get rave reviews. I ended up picking up two to test out. Today I'll discuss the Modern Renaissance palette, why I loved it, but why I chose to return it [shocking I know!].
For starters, the colors in it are simply beautiful. I love warm toned shadows, and tend to use them in almost every look I do. The quality of the shadows is fantastic and buttery, lasting on my eyes all day. My only real reason for returning it was simple. For nearly every shade in this palette, I was able to find dupes in other palettes I owned. Last Christmas I treated myself to the Lorac Mega Pro 3 palette [review here!] and nearly all of the mattes from this palette can be found in the Lorac one, and my Viseart Matt Neutrals palette, with the exception of deep pink Love Letter, which I honestly wouldn't use often anyway. I also managed to find dupes for the shimmer shades in my other palettes. If you don't have the Lorac Mega 3 like I do, and you love warm toned shades, then I would 100% recommend in investing in the Modern Renaissance palette. I will talk about the palette I did decided to keep in a future post, and this one I dare say takes the cake for being my #1 favorite palette of all time [big statement, I know!].
I love warm, neutral, not over the top looks like this. I feel like I can wear this all day in a big cozy sweater without feeling overdone, and when I'm ready to go out at night, I just have to pop on a deeper lipstick [maybe one to match both my sweater AND nails?!], a nice top, a pair of boots and I'm good to go.