Winter Haircare and Testing MAC Makeup

After almost a year of having lighter [dare I say blonde at times, eep!] hair, I've quite literally gone back to my roots and had it brought back to a deep chocolate brown.  Recently, my hair has been so dry and damaged and not for a lack of taking care of it! I'm still not sure why it's been so unhappy, but I thought going back to my natural color was my best bet.  As you can see from the photos, I've still got variation in color, but my amazing hair stylist Andrew added a deeper brown back to my hair, basically creating lowlights. I like to think of it as the reverse of highlighting? Not entirely sure that's what this is, but I don't claim to be a hair expert! He then placed a toner all over my hair to soften the remaining lighter bits. After a couple inches were chopped off, my hair now feels and looks SO healthy!  

As a precaution, I'm also swapping back to my go to shampoo and conditioner from the Pureology Hydrate collection. Although the other haircare products I was using were really nice quality, my hair just didn't seem happy with them anymore.  I've heard occasionally switching out your shampoo and conditioner is actually good for your hair, so it can't hurt to try!  I'm also starting to incorporate a deep conditioning treatment each week.  The one I'm currently testing is a sample of Briogeo's Don't Despair Repair Mask.  I started using it before I went back to darker hair, and I did notice a bit of a difference then, so I imagine it'll only help protect my hair now that it's in a healthier state.

Now a transition from hair to makeup! You may not know this, but I'm a sucker for sales and discount codes, and I just couldn't help myself when MAC had 20% off everything a few weeks back! I picked up Christmas gifts for a few people, but naturally I had to try out a few things for myself! I've been meaning to pick up MAC's Fix+ spray, since I've heard it does wonders for intensifying any metallic or shimmery eyeshadows.  All you need to do is spray a bit of it on your brush and dip it into the shadow.  I still can't believe how much it transformed my tried and true Urban Decay Naked Palette.  The colors on my lids are Half Baked [a bright gold], Smog [copper] with Buck [taupe brown] in the transition.

I also picked up a great new mascara with a skinny wand that's incredible for my tiny lashes [and would work well for anyone's lower lashes!].  I tried out a new eyeliner in the color Raisinette [a deep plum] and oh, just a few lipsticks [!!!]. My favorite has to be Mehr, which is a perfect everyday color for me. 

I wanted to experiment with how the MAC matte lipstick paired with my go-to lipsticks, all of which are from NARS. I tend to layer lipsticks on top of each other to create different shades, and the combination of Mehr with NARS Heat Wave is a new favorite of mine! 

For the rest of my face, I used several products I'm running out of. I'm all about decluttering and clearing out at this time of year, and that includes a clear out of my makeup! As a base I used It Cosmetics CC cream and under eye concealer, both in medium.  I set them with the nearly decimated Hourglass Ambient Lighting Palette. I contoured with my Kevyn Aucoin Sculpting Powder in medium [also hitting pan on this guy!]. My blush is the subtle Hourglass Ambient Lighting Blush in Mood Exposure. On my brows I went with Anastasia Beverly Hills Brow Powder Duo in Ebony. I I purchased this for my mom ages ago, but she decided to stick to brow pencils. It's definitely on the darker side than my usual eyebrow powder, but since my hair is quite dark now, and fuller brows seem to be a thing at the moment, I can go back to using this shade.

The final flourish on my face is the Tom Ford Eye Defining Pencil Pen [yes, it was stupid expensive, but I've had it for four months, it's the only one I use, I use it almost everyday, it lasts on my eyes all day and night. It's perfection.  For me, it's paid for itself! Justified!] 

After this holiday season, I'm going on a ban from purchasing any makeup for a while. I have tons of samples to work my way through [loves me some samples!]. Needless to say, I've picked up a shedload of new products this season, and I can't see myself needing anything else until the spring! [when the next round of sales starts, ahh!].  

Addendum: In writing this post, I realized I had a few things to return to Sephora, and some I no longer had receipts for, so I did end up grabbing a couple new bits [one travel makeup palette and a skincare set] with the merchandise credit I received. I believe these items will be popping up in my upcoming travel makeup post [loads more talk on where I'm traveling to soon!]. 

Subtle Fall Makeup + Hair Chats

I haven't done a makeup post since the summer, so I thought I'd pop one up on here! Since I last shared makeup/style photos, I darkened my roots quite a bit and chopped off a few inches of hair. To the untrained eye, this doesn't seem like much, but for me this was quite a change! I always panic a bit when I cut more than an inch off, but I'm loving how much faster my hair dries these days. Now that the weather is cooling off a bit, I'm working out or running most days, and going darker at my roots means the constant washing of my hair isn't causing my roots to show up as quickly.  I'm curling my hair less than usual since with it being shorter, it looks nice again just dried straight [still working on making my hair look nice when it air dries, working being the operative term!]. At some point I'll do a tutorial on how exactly I get my hair to look this way [I promise it doesn't take me long at all!] But I digress...this is supposed to be about makeup!

I have to say, it's hard for me to do posts like this since #1, I HATE taking photos of myself and #2 I'm never really quite satisfied with how they turn out.  I don't have a low self esteem, I just find it a little bizarre to stare at multiple photos of myself! So I'm working on getting used to that...all in good time!

Okay now finally onto what I put on my face. For my base, I've been trying out a tester of Hourglass Veil Mineral Primer. Thank goodness for samples because this product is pricey! My skin has had a bit of texture lately [a polite way of saying I've been breaking out due to stress and a lack of sleep] and things have just been uneven. This primer does wonders for filling in any pores and smoothing out the surface of my skin. Then onto concealer, I use my tried and true Urban Decay Naked Concealer in medium-light neutral. My favorite foundation has been Nars Sheer Glow Foundation. I use the color Barcelona, but it's definitely too dark for me these days and since I'm basically scraping the bottom of the bottle, I'm picking up a new shade soon. I apply both concealer and foundation with a Beauty Blender, but I forgot to include it in the photo [picture a splotchy tear drop shaped face sponge!]. I then apply a sheer powder, this time using Mac Mineralize Skin Finish.  I lightly contour using the Kat Von D Shade and Light Contour Palette [guess which color in the palette I use?!] My tip and what I plan to do in the future is just pick up the refill of the color[s] I use most and place them in a Z palette.  

In the fall I love to use Hourglass Ambient Lighting Blush in the color Mood Exposure. It's a gorgeous mauve that's great for my slightly olive toned skin. As a highlight I always use a Becca Shimmering Skin Perfector, and this time I went with the color Opal.  I've had this compact for YEARS and I imagine I'll have it for even longer! On my lips, I like to wear Bite Beauty's Agave Lip Mask while I'm putting on the rest of my makeup, so by the time I get to lip products, it's settled in a bit and my lips are smooth [this trick is an essential in the colder months!]  For my lips I've been trying Revlon's Ultra HD Matte Lip Color in the shade Seduction.  It's a nude that's very close to my natural lips, but just evens out the tone nicely. For my eyes I used my Zoeva Cocoa Blend Palette, using the colors Warmer Notes and Sweeter End blended together on my lids [top row, second and third colors from the left], with Freshly Toasted [bottom row, third from left] blended into the crease. I apply my Marc Jacobs Highliner in the shade O(Vert), which is a deep forest green. If I'm going for a softer more subtle look like this, I'll line both the top and bottom lashes with this and smudge it out slightly. I think the green brings out the brown of my eyes a bit and is just a little less harsh than black. 

I managed to leave my mascara out of the photo too [whoops!] but I'm currently sampling Makeup Forever's Excessive Lash Arresting Volume Mascara.  For my short and straight lashes, I've been really happy with its ability to lift them up and create a defined, natural look. I tried filling in my eyebrows darker than usual, borrowing my mom's Anastasia Brow Definer in chocolate.  It's probably a bit too dark for my liking, but it creates a much more defined look.  I love my liquid eyeliner and lipgloss, but sometimes having a softer look like this can be a nice change of pace. Plus, with it being fall, I'll use any excuse to incorporate fall colors like this!