Foundation Primer Reviews | Makeup Forever and Smashbox

I was lucky enough to receive two foundation primers for Christmas that had been on my wish list a long time ago – the Makeup Forever Equalizer Mattifying Primer and the Smashbox Photofinish Primer Water! My very good social media pen pal read that I wanted to try these out and she very kindly sent them to me – thank you! I’ve been testing these primers since Christmas thoroughly with different foundations to make sure I have a very clear opinion on each primer’s performance. Both of these primers have had a ton of hype on YouTube so I had high hopes for the performance of both of them.

For the longest time while I was treating my skin for acne breakouts, my skin tended to stay on the dry to normal side. Then in the past six months to a year, I notice that my skin was becoming normal to oily throughout the day. I had never really experienced oily skin, though I would get sweat build-up on my forehead when I would go running after work – nothing that I couldn’t dab off. After trying out a few foundations formulated for oily skin, I wasn’t satisfied with the outcome and decided a primer was the next step. To be honest, I think part of the reason why my skin started to get oily, and even have a few breakouts, was because I changed some products in my skin care routine. I didn’t really have a reason for doing, only that I was becoming bored with the other products I had been using. After I finish products I have open now, I’m going to go back to my previous routine which kept my skin clear and normal.

Makeup Forever Equalizer Mattifying Primer 

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I was finally convinced that the Makeup Forever primer was worth a try when Bailey B did a review of it on her channel, claiming it made it possible for her to wear foundations in her collection that she formerly not able to wear. I had seen so many YouTubers use this primer and claim that it was great, but Bailey B is one that I feel I can really trust. Like I said, I received this primer for Christmas and have been using since. Some days wearing it Smashbox Primer sprayed on my skin first, other days I wore it alone to see it’s true performance throughout the day.

I find that this primer worked best with the Revlon Colorstay Foundation, and old favorite – I have the formula made for dry to normal skin.  When I used it with my favorite Cover Girl Outlast Stay Fabulous and Ready Set Gorgeous foundations I didn’t notice a huge difference, unless I used in conjunction with the Wayne Goss method – apply a tiny bit of loose powder all over my skin before applying foundation. For the price and hype of this primer however I expected that it performs the best alone. I do want note that I didn’t feel the need to use the Wayne Goss method with the Revlon foundation the way I did with the Cover Girl foundations, which could be a difference in the lasting power of the foundations.

Overall, I think this primer works better than any other I’ve tried, but I still feel like I need to work with it to help it perform it’s best. Given the price and the fact that I’m not really that oily compared to others, I was semi let down by this product. I think it’s good and I’ll definitely use it when I’m in need of a primer, but I think I’ll continue looking for a holy grail primer and focus on my skin care routine to correct any oiliness. The Makeup Forever Equalizer Mattifying Primer costs $35 for a full size, so if you’re just looking to test out the product maybe purchase the generous travel size which costs $16. Also, if you’re looking for an alternative use for this product, Baily B just posted a video demoing how to use this to mattify lip products.

Smashbox Photofinish Primer Water

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Of the two primers I received, this was not the one I thought I would enjoy more. I really thought the Makeup Forever Primer was going to be what blew me away. While this product is marketed as a primer, I’ve been able to use it for multiple purposes and it’s performed well in both of those areas. I can use this to prime my face before applying a base, to mist my skin after setting it with loose powder, and throughout the day to freshen up the look of my skin. It’s perfect for taking away any powdery look to the skin, which is a little more obvious this time of the year. I like using this as a primer on the weekends, when I may not be wearing my foundation as long or just on my cheeks. It’s also worked well for setting my foundation to last throughout the day. Generally I stick to using the Urban Decay All Night Setting Spray when I need my foundation locked on until the end of the night, but sometimes I feel like it makes my skin feel really tight. The Smashbox Primer Water doesn’t leave that feeling.

Overall, this has been a great product to have in my collection during these winter months and if it’s something you’ve been thinking about getting, I would recommend it. It’s a primer that I find enhances the appearance of my skin and foundation, not necessary removes oiliness or helps it last longer. A definite bummer part to this product is it runs out so quickly. I keep looking at the clear bottle this product is packaged and I see it going down more and more each day and it makes me so sad. The Smashbox Photofinish Primer Water costs $32 for a full size and $16 for a 1 ounce travel size. I’d love to try the Evian Spray which is $17 for a full size to see how it compares in terms of prepping the skin for makeup and taking away that powdery look that can sometimes happen.

Makeup Geek Eye Shadows | Review

After hearing endless great things about Makeup Geek eye shadows all over the beauty community, I finally caved and made a purchase! I definitely had very high hopes for the shadows given everything I’ve heard and I wasn’t disappointed.

After I purchased these eight colors I also bought a small Z-Palette to store the eye shadows in that would be great for traveling. I had a little issue with the shipping method that Makeup Geek chose and the fact that I ordered over a  holiday didn’t help. When the shadows arrived they were very neatly packaged in bubble wrap and in a secure box. I took pictures of all the shades I received before I even swatched them so they showed up as true to color and texture as possible.

package

I’m really happy with all of the shades I picked out. I wanted to choose colors that I know I would get good use out of, but I also picked a few outside of my comfort zone. I chose two foiled eye shadows, Grandstand and Showtime, both of which I really love. Grandstand is rose gold, which is a super popular shade in the makeup community at the moment, but sometimes the color washes me out. This shade shows up a bit more bronzy on my skin color and works better than others in my collection. Showtime is a beautiful wine shade and it’s a lot more red than I’m used to using. I love using it as an eyeliner though! It adds a little something different and can be smoked out a bit for an evening look. I of course got Peach Smoothie and Creme Brulee which are some of the more popular transition shades. I also purchased Latte which is a medium brown, but it could work as a transition shade on deeper skin. I’m really liking along side of Homecoming for an everyday look.

Swatches Row 1

Top Row

Swatches Row 2

Middle Row

Swatches Row 3

Bottom Row

First impression: these are great quality and a way to add personality to your collection. At first, I was shocked by how powdery these shadows appeared when I dipped my brush in them. I’ve used Mac and Coastal Scents shadows in the past, and I don’t remember them coming off as powdery as my first time using Peach Smoothie. I kept on testing them out and while I get fallout with the shadows, I’m absolutely in love with their color payoff and how well they blend out. I don’t have to do nearly as much as blending with these colors, especially my transition shade, as I’ve had to with other brands. I like to mix Peach Smoothie and Creme Brulee together to get my perfect transition shade, then add Homecoming to the crease, and finish off with Corrupt as my eyeliner. The first time I used Corrupt I really underestimated how pigmented it was as I ended up with black fallout on my under eye, but I’ve learned to really be careful when picking up the color and being sure to tap off any excess.

I really wanted to compare the Makeup Geek eye shadows to Coastal Scents Hot Pots, which I’ve had in my collection for years and are even more affordable than Makeup Geek’s coming in at $1.99. I would say that Makeup Geek’s are better quality in terms of their blending ability and lasting power throughout the day. The pigmentation of both brands are the same and show up great with and without a primer. If you’re trying to decide on purchasing one or the other, I would say go for the Makeup Geek shadows. In the end, you’ll be more happy with how they perform compared to the Coastal Scents shadows. If you’re able to get the Hot Pots on a great sale however, don’t overlook them – they can be a great option for getting vibrant colors that you may not usually gravitate towards.

Overall I’m really loving these shadows and I would definitely get more! Like I said, I was so surprised at how much powder kicked up from some of the shades the first time I used them and that I received some fallout, but it’s nothing too out of the ordinary. I’d love to buy some more shades, especially some from the foiled eye shadow line and maybe a few more outside of my comfort zone as I’m really loving Showtime as an eyeliner.

Friday Favorites | 1.1.16

Happy New Year! Hope you all had a wonderful and safe New Years celebration. I wanted to share a few things I’ve been enjoying this week. Christmas brought a lot of events and running around, so I have some favorites from the weekend and some other fun bits from the work week.

Beauty

Wet N’ Wild Color Icon Blushers, Mellow Wine & Berry Shimmer | These blushes from Wet N’ Wild do not get enough love and attention, especially these two shades. This range carries four shades, the other two being Heather Silk and Pearelscent Pink, which I also own. While the other two are great, and a lot of people talk about Pearlescent Pink being a dupe for Nars Orgasm, Mellow Wine and Berry Shimmer are perfect for the winter months! Both are true to their name – Mellow Wine is the pigmented winter wine, mauve color that goes with any look and Berry Shimmer is a deepened red with a bit of shimmer. I wore both of these blushes mixed together over the course of Christmas weekend, and Mellow Wine was great for the office during the work week.IMG_0373 (2)

 

These blushes are very pigmented so use a light hand or a duo fiber brush. I know I keep talking about my Sigma F15, but I LOVE this brush and it’s great for so many different tasks. I’ve seen people use the same kind of brush to apply highlight and even bronzer – it really is the best multitasking face brush and I highly recommend picking a few up for your collection. I have three.

Milani Bronzer Xl- Powder Glow – Limted Edition Dolci | I purchased this limited edition shade Milani bronzer and highlight duo this past summer because I thought the bronzer would be a good shade for contouring. For the first few weeks I had I remember loving the hihglight for a bit of glow and stuck to using the bronzer when I would contour. This past week I started using the bronzer again only I used it for all over bronzing and warming up my complexion, and it’s great! My previous favorite was the NYC Sunny Bronzer and it was starting to look a little warm for this time of year. The bronzer half of this duo leans more neutral than warm, great for contouring, but also great for bronzer during the winter months.

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The only bummer about loving this product is that it’s limited edition and you can’t get your hands on it anymore. I’ve heard great things about the Wet N Wild Color Icon Contour Palette which comes in two shades, Caramel Toffee and Dulce de Leche. I’ve never seen these in my local Walmart or Walgreens, where most Wet N Wild products can be found, but they’re worth keeping an eye out for.

Lifestyle

TweetDeck and Latergram | Since I’m at work for the most of the day during the week, I can kind of slack in the social media department. I have just about every type of account out there (check the sidebar to follow me!), but I’m pretty terrible at posting updates or pictures throughout the day. To keep my posts consistent and be on the same schedule as blog posts, I start using TweetDeck again and I’m trying out Latergramme. I’m sure a lot of you have used TweetDeck before, and if not it’s super easy! You can log into your Twitter account on any computer, schedule tweets, and personalize the your Twitter dashboard with it. Sometime’s I’ll use Bit.ly to shorten my blog post links and then schedule to tweet about them throughout the week.

Latergram is similar to TweetDeck, but for Instagram. Unfortunately, Instgram doesn’t let you post directly from Latergram, but you can schedule the image and caption ahead of time and then you receive a push notification on your phone that redirects you to Instagram to post. Latergram has some bugs to fix yet and I’m not a big of how they have the keyboard setup in their app, but it’s great for having an image from a blog post scheduled shortly after it’s on my blog! Does anyone else use third-party apps or programs to schedule posts? I’d love to know what some other great options are.

New Pens | Remember when you were growing up and hated going back to school shopping? Is anyone else like me and now LOVES all things school, office, and stationary related? I don’t know what it is about owning every pen available at Target, but I feel the need to always be purchasing fun new pens even when I don’t need them. I purchased some Write Dudes Ultra Glide Gel pens while I was running errands and I’m loving them. They 0.5mm which my preference for gel pens; ballpoint I prefer 0.7mm. The colors are great, they write really well and smooth. And they were only $2.99! I love color coordinating my planner, especially with purple for my personal events. I recommend checking these out if you need new pens for the New Year!

Good luck to all starting out New Year’s Resolutions! If you’re starting out a new gym membership, be prepared to wait a half an hour for a treadmill. If you’ve added new goals to your weight lifting, you can do it and be as strong as you want! If you’re working towards more artistic goals, like becoming more creative like me, then write down all your ideas. New year, new adventures!

Favorites | December 2015

Merry Christmas everyone! Not only has another month gone by, but it’s nearing the end of another year. I hope everyone’s Christmas and holiday season has been wonderful, full of joy, and that the New Year brings many new adventures. After this month, we all start with a new year that can be anything we want. More about New Year’s Resolutions later – let’s get into what I’ve been loving in the final month of 2015!

Beauty

NYX Soft Matte Lip Cream Cannes $5.99

NYX matte lip cream This is a product I mentioned in a previous Friday Favorites and wanted to give it another shout out. It’s the perfect everyday terra cotta color that I can wear to work, on a date, or to dinner and I don’t have to worry about it wearing off too fast or moving around. It’s definitely not a stay all day liquid-to-matte lip color, but I like a lot more than others I’ve tried out. More of these are on my list of items to try int 2016!

Urban Decay Naked Concealer Light Neutral $28

UD Concealer close up

Ulta puts out a 20% off coupon leading up the holidays, and this was my splurge thanks to that coupon. I had heard amazing things about this concealer and had tried it on at Sephora and Ulta many times before purchasing it. Overall, this is a great concealer. I love the packaging, the applicator is doe foot with a stopper at the top which keeps too much from coming out. The consistency is thin, and seamless yet it provides amazing coverage. I use mine on my under eye and it covers discoloration and provides brightening at the same time. Sometimes I skip using my color correcting concealer when I’ve been using this concealer, and I feel like I still get great coverage of any discolorationconcealer comparison

I’m really loving this concealer and I’m happy I purchased it, but I do want to mention a product in my collection that reminds me of the Urband Decay concealer. Back in summer, I purchased the Maybelline Super Stay Better Skin Concealer and I fell in love with the consistency and how it performed on my under eye. My Maybelline concealer is thinner than the Urban Decay, but I would still say say it’s similar to the Urban Decay concealer in how it performs, and even it’s packaging with a similar round container and doe foot applicator. The pictures make it seem that the Urban Decay concealer is light, and it is at first, but it oxidizes to about the same shade as the Maybelline concealer. The Maybelline stopper isn’t as good as the Urban Decay concealer, however, and it can get a little messy. If you’re on a budget and have been looking for a new concealer, I recommend trying either (or both!) of these out!

Rimmel Stay Matte Powder $4.99
A few posts ago I wrote about my favorite base products, including my favorite face powders, but this Rimmel powder wasn’t included. I was digging through my foundation/powder makeup drawer and remember this little jem of a product and I’ve been loving it! matte powder

It’s also working great at keeping my shine down throughout the day. I think the trick with this powder is to use a stippling or duo fiber brush to apply it, something I use for all my face powders.power and brush I use the Sigma F15 Duo Fibre Powder/Blush brush, which is also great for highly pigmented blushes, to dust the Rimmel Stay Matte throughout my T-zone before setting in place with the Urban Decay All Nighter.

Fashion

Booties | I purchase a pair of Franco Sarto booties from TJMaxx back in October when I was on the search for the perfect brown bootie. They were priced at $60 which I thought was high for a TJMaxx deal and originally decided against the purchase. Then I couldn’t stop thinking about them, and shamefully turned my car around to go back to the store and purchase them. Best decision ever! These became my go-to shoe that I can wear with practically all my outfits. I can even pull off wearing them to work when I wear khakis.

The heel on these are just high enough for some added height, but not too high to make them uncomfortable for all day wear. I brought them out of town for a North Shore getaway right after purchasing them, and had no problems breaking them in or wearing them all day. I always get compliments on them and I also have a good story about how I almost never purchased them to go with the compliment. I’ll work on adding a photo of them later!

Lifestyle

Polar Seltzer | I have to take a minute to talk about how addicted I am to carbonated and flavored water. I haven’t drank pop or soda in years. Aside from water, I usually have coffee and tea throughout the day. At my previous, everyone in the office was drinking Polar Seltzer bottled water, and was curious to try it out. Mistake. I’m addicted to it and so is Jake. We were going through the one liter bottles that are sold at a local grocery store so fast that it was breaking our budget (and probably our teeth). Then one day the store was selling it 12 ounce cans which is much more cost efficient and helps keep my seltzer drinking to a minimum. My favorite flavors are Ruby Red Grapefruit and Georgia Peach. A lot of people try to give up pop or sugary drinks around the New Year and seltzer water may be a way to help. Check them out if they’re near you! If you’re worried about how carbonated water will impact your teeth, I’ve heard drinking it through a straw helps a bit – do as I say, not as I do!

Bath & Body Works Candle – Frosted Cranberry $22.50

candleThis past fall was the first year I purchased Bath & Body Works three-wick candles, falling to the peer pressure from social media all around me. I enjoyed the scents so much I went back for the holiday seasonal candles, and this Frosted Cranberry has been my favorite of the bunch. I would only purchase these candles when they’re on sale since they’re $22.50 each, and in my opinion burn down pretty fast. I got the fall candles two for $22 and the holiday ones with a coupon for $10 off when they were priced down to $12. If you can still get your hands on this candle and scent, I would recommend it! Check for coupons – Bath & Body Works usually offers some good ones!

Friday Favorites | 12.18.15

I thought I’d start doing Friday Favorites posts when I have products to share with from the previous week. On YouTube, I’m subscribed to LipglossLeslie who does these videos weekly and they’re some of my favorite to watch. These posts also shows what I like do and wear throughout the work week in terms of makeup, clothes, and lifestyle updates.

Makeup

Brownie Points

ELF Smudge Pot – Brownie Points

ELF Smudge Pot Brownie Points

I’ve had the ELF Smudge Pot in Crusin’ Chic for a while and it’s the best cream shadow I own! It’s very similar in color to the Maybelline Color Tattoo in Bad to the Bronze, but better. I purchased a new Bad to Bronze this past spring and it’s already too dry for my liking. The ELF Smudge Pots don’t dry out – they’re creamy, pigmented, and are great for one shadow looks and bases for more dramatic looks. brownie points label

I purchased Brownie Points because LipglossLeslie talked so highly about it, and it’s just as good as she said. It’s slightly darker and more bronze than Crusin’ Chic and works great as a base for a smokey eye. All I did was pop a transition shade in the crease, add some smokey liner, and use an inner corner highlight.
Definitely wearing that smokey eye to our upcoming Winter Solstice Party! I’m even thinking about going back to Target to get the Wine Not color, which would be great for a Christmas look!

NYX Soft Matte Lip Cream Cannes

NYX matte lip cream

NYX Soft Matte Lip Cream Cannes

I picked this up at Ulta while I taking advantage of my 20% off coupon that’s offered during the holidays. I had always heard great things about these lip products, and I’m so happy I finally picked one up. I definitely want to go back and get a whole bunch more! The formula isn’t drying, even after the product sets down to a nearly matte finish. I own the liquid to matte lipsticks from Milani and ColourPop, and I’m not crazy about either especially the ColourPop formula – they’re just too dry. The NYX isn’t. And the color is a great everyday, terra cotta shade that I can easily wear to work or on an evening out.

 

Simple Eye Looks
Since I get up pretty early to be into work around 8 a.m., I usually keep the makeup pretty fast and simple. I don’t usually like doing simple eye looks as much, but this week I’ve really been into it. I’ve been using bronze and taupe shades to make everything easy, but still put-together for work. I dug out MAC’s Satin Taupe which was one of the first MAC shadows I ever purchased, and I still love it!

 

Outfit of the Week

HM sweater

Sweater – H&M, Necklace – Call It Spring

I think it would be fun to share my favorite outfit of the week if I’m able to get a good photo of it! I recently started a new job and had to switch to a business casual dress code, so I’m still learning on what clothes work for my style and that I can wear to work. This week my favorite outfit were simple black pants, a green sweater, low wedges, and a statement necklace. The pants are from OldNavy.com, petite section and sweater is this from H&M in an amazing jade green color that I always get compliments on it. The low wedges are Nine West Irina Wedge Pump add a bit of
sophistication to the outfit and I got the necklacerose gold necklace from Call It Spring two summers ago.

 

 

Cookies!
There’s not many times of the year when I rave about how much I’m enjoying cookies, but Christmas and holidays are an exception to the rule! It’s a tradition for many families to make cookies in celebration of their holiday this season. This past week I made two cookie recipes that I want to share in case anyone is looking for a new recipe to try this weekend! First, Jake and I made eggnog cookies last weekend; eggnog being one of Jake’s favorites this time of year. They’re soft and chewy, a little sweet so be careful with how many you have in one sitting. Then there was a cookie exchange at work and I brought cranberry and white chocolate chip cookies. These were amazing and highly recommend them! I found the recipe on Pinterest, and she suggests adding white chocolate chips to the tops of the cookies as soon as they’re out of the oven to make them look even tastier!