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!]. 

Everyday Holiday Style

It's December. I'm happily sandwiched between two of my favorite holidays.  I'm in full-on festive mode, all day everyday. I'm in a vortex of holiday happiness! If you're more of the 'bah humbug' type, we probably won't get along.  Fair enough, the holiday season isn't for everyone, but it's alive and well here!  Since before Thanksgiving, my house began to transform into a winter wonderland [we're unabashedly VERY early adopters of Christmas decor]. Each day I'm either decorating, making, baking, cooking or rearranging things to make life more festive. Even my everyday appearance always has bit of holiday flair.  I'm mostly wearing Christmas colors, or at the very least big, comfy sweaters [haven't pulled out my Santa hoodie yet, but stay tuned!]. 

The plaid shirt I'm wearing is an early Christmas gift from my mom.  It's from JCrew [YEAH for that 40% off everything sale back in November!]. Right now the shirt is a bit discounted and is also an additional 30% off! It's probably at least a size too big for me, but that makes it the perfect size and length for throwing on with yoga pants and calling it a day. I've also got a pair of festive earrings on most of the time, either these red tear drop ones [pictured above], or my candy cane set, or my more subdued star crawlers. The first two mentioned are actually from my local CVS [who knew CVS carried affordable and surprisingly nice holiday jewelry?!]. 

I don't load up on makeup when I'm relaxed at home, especially when I'm just petering around in the kitchen, but I do like to pull out the red lip [because if you can't now, when can you?!]. Almost anytime I have bright lips, I keep the rest of my face neutral and subdued. Lately, I can't be bothered with liquid liner, mostly because I'm going through a phase where it takes me entirely too long to make it happen. There are also so many holiday parties and outings with friends these days, so I find myself having to get ready quickly and be out the door.  

This makeup look is my throw on in five and be on my merry. On my face I'm wearing the new Hourglass Vanish Foundation Stick in Nude, which just takes a few short, quick swipes [three on each cheek, one on my nose, a couple on my chin and three on my forehead], and then buff that in quickly with a dense foundation brush [I like my Bobbi Brown Full Coverage Face Brush]. I prepped my under eye with the Bobbi Brown Corrector in Light Bisque and then used my go to Urban Decay Naked Skin Concealer in Light Neutral under my eyes, around my nose and on a couple spots I had on my chin using a Beauty Blender. I set my face with Hourglass Ambient Lighting Powder in Diffused Light, and used the Kat Von D Contour Palette to lightly contour and highlight my face. I put just a bit of neutral blush on my cheeks [I used an older limited edition Tarte blush palette, but all Tarte blushes are fantastic!].

On my eyes, I went with the Viseart Neutral Matte Palette, using the top row of lighter neutrals on the lid and the lightest brown shade from the middle row on my crease. I then smudged Marc Jacobs Eyeliner in O[Vert], a deep brownish green shade, on upper and lower lash line.  I curl my lashes, and apply two coats of Bobbi Brown Smokey Eye Mascara. I'm incredibly picky about mascara, but for natural, feathery eyelashes, this one works for me best. Typically, I prefer longer, more voluminous lashes, but for a relaxed day at home, this one can't be beat [from what I've tried at least!]. Last but certainly not least, I apply my all time favorite formulation of matte lipstick in Nars Heat Wave [I've tried and returned countless matte lipsticks in favor of these!]. It's a red with a hint of orange in it that seemed to match my shirt nicely. If you're not a fan of the more orangey reds, my favorite red of all time is Nars Red Lizard, which is a true red.

This look can easily be recreated with less high end makeup, but for me, these are all products I use to death [so I can confidently say I get my money's worth!] and are so incredibly easy to work with, and make quick work of putting together an everyday holiday look!