Tag Archives: beauty

June: Sparkle or Dull?

When it comes to the beauty items I review, I always try my best to not just review the higher end brands but also the cheaper items that can easily be found at your local drug store. Some of the cheaper products I have reviewed have become staples in my makeup collection, beating out those that are more expensive by a long shot….and I’d be lying if I said that didn’t excite me! It’s always a great thing to save money!

Last July I reviewed a waterproof eyeliner by Stila (read that review here) after having a disastrous time with the cheapo eyeliner I had been using for awhile. I loved it…it was essentially an easy to use magic marker for my eye, and it stayed on like a champ. However, one negative thing about it…..well, about me….is that I use A LOT of eyeliner, and I felt I was going through this pen like crazy. At a little over $20 per eyeliner, I wanted to see if I could find a more cost effective product.

Product #1: Nyx Super Skinny Eye Marker

Whenever I am trying to find a more cost effective beauty product, one of my go to brands is always Nyx. Nyx can be found at Ulta, but also Target, Walmart, and various drug stores. Ulta often has buy one Nyx item, get one half off, so I timed this purchase up with another Nyx purchase (Im a huge fan of their HD powder), making it about $5.

As I mentioned, I loved that the Stila pen was like a large marker…that helps with precision when drawing on your eyeliner and also draws on a cleaner line in my opinion. Since this item had “marker” in the title, I figured it would be a great one to try.

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For starters, I wanted to share with you the two side by side. Not only is the Nyx product cheaper, but it is larger. I like that. I like that a lot. Once you remove the lid, the items look basically identical. Like Stila, the Nyx liner comes in a variety of colors for those of you not into jet black liner like I am.

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I was really impressed by this product. Everything I loved about the Stila liner I loved with this one as well. The only negative: the color wasn’t as bold as the Stila, but it was still enough for me to be satisfied…I think I’m just used to that super black in your face color.

FINAL VERDICT: Sparkle! Use the money you save by buying this product and hook yourself up with something else fun!

Product #2: Elf Makeup Remover Pen

Elf is a lower cost brand that is right up there with Nyx. I’ve reviewed their products many times before and am always pleased. They are extremely affordable, great quality, and can be found in most stores, including Target and Walmart.

A while back I was watching a youtube tutorial when the girl in it mentioned she always carried an Elf makeup remover pen with her. Surprisingly, I had never heard of or tried this item, and immediately went to Target to snag one. At $2.99, I hoped this product was as good as she claimed.

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Here’s the thing with me: I know I know what’s going on with makeup application, and during the application process I rarely make a mistake. Buuuutttt……I always seem to sneeze right after I put on my mascara and/or lashes, so I am constantly ending up with black dots or lines that aren’t attractive. Sometimes this means having to redo the entire eye, which is such a pain in the ass. I hoped this product would be a little lifesaver. Fortunately for me the day I wanted to try this product I went on a sneezing binge.

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See those cute black dots? Thanks mascara/liner/whatever. Instead of freaking out, I opened up my makeup remover pen and simply ran it over the mess. It immediately was gone. There was a very small area that needed touched up….easy with a little concealer…..but other than that my eyes were safe from destruction.

The only negative thing I see with some Elf products: they don’t last nearly as long as others. I’ve only used this pen a handful of times and am wondering how much life it has left…I’m guessing I’ll know the answer this week when I take it to New Orleans and will be using it for photo shoots and other fun things.

FINAL VERDICT: Sparkle. It’s definitely something you want to have on hand for emergencies and can save you a lot of makeup aggravation.

I always love 2/2 months! If you try these items, let me know….I always love hearing from you guys!

Hope your day (and beauty routine) is full of sparkle!

sparkleon

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March: Sparkle or Dull

Oh hey, friends! Halfway through April and I haven’t shared my March beauty finds! Sometimes I slack….I’m sorry about that!

I’ve been trying really hard to try out the products that a lot of people have been talking about….but lately there have been so many of them! I’ve seriously considered upping the number of products I review each month, but I haven’t decided for sure yet.

Here are the two products I chose for the month of March!

Product 1Silisponge

EVERYONE and their mother has been trying out this silicone makeup blender, which helped skyrocket it to the top of my “must try” list. A silicone sponge thing? Could it really evenly distribute my foundation??? I was skeptical.

If you have been reading my blog for awhile, back in 2015 I shared my favorite finds of the year, which included the Bare Mineral Perfecting Face brush. That brush is what I have religiously used to apply my foundation ever since its discovery. I knew it would be tough to beat!

Initial thoughts on this applicator: Man, it is much different than I thought it would be! I thought the applicator would be a thinner more flexible item….this was thick and not very bendy. Look at this thing!

I tried it using my normal foundation, good ol Kat Von D, which blends really well and is a full coverage foundation. Did I like how the sponge worked? NO! I can’t even tell you how disappointed I was in this product. When you are trying to apply foundation evenly, a brush is great….you can get into every nook and cranny. With this thing…..not even close. I applied my foundation and then realized there were parts of my face (like around my nose) that were not covered, causing me to grab my brush to complete my face.

FINAL VERDICT: DULL! I know this product seems appealing (price wise they run between $4-$10), but save that money and invest in a quality brush. Trust me, it is worth it.

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Product #2: Photobalm Powder Foundation

I follow a lot of makeup pros on Youtube….there are so many great tutorials out there. One of my favorites, Christen Dominique, shared her love for Photobalm’s powder foundation, which she used as a setting powder. Since I love a matte finish, I opted to give this a try and give my trusty old Banana powder a break. I also was hoping to fall in love with the powder so it could accompany me on my upcoming trip to Punta Cana.

Right away I loved the look of this product…the packaging had a cute little pinup like girl on it, so you know I was into it! Since Photobalm is technically a foundation, I decided to try this as a foundation by itself and also as a setting powder like my gal Christen did in on her youtube channel.

Thoughts on it as a foundation: MINIMAL coverage. I felt like I just had a layer or loose powder on my face, and that wasn’t the look I wanted. However, if you like a very minimalist look, you may enjoy it.

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Thoughts on a setting powder: Surprisingly, it was very disappointing. It was a nice product…but there are lots of nice products out there. The coverage was so so on top of my foundation, and it wasn’t as matte as the product reviews claimed it would be. Is there a huge difference between this $26 product and a $4 Cover Girl compact? Nope. At least not to me!

FINAL VERDICT: DULL

Two dulls….that’s something that doesn’t happen regularly. I guess you can’t win them all in the makeup department.

Speaking of my Punta Cana trip, I have a group on facebook created where I will be sharing lots of live video, photos, and fun with a few of my best gals! The group begins on Saturday, so if you want to see what’s happening, just click HERE!

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sparkleon

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February Beauty Finds: Sparkle or Dull?

Guys, how weird of a month was February? I don’t know about wherever you are, but the weather here in Ohio was so weird….hot one minute, snowstorm the next. I felt like I was just as much a hot mess as the weather was!

Overall it was a busy month for me…lots of great things happening with my team and business. Busy days means not a lot of sleep around here, so I was excited to try out the two products I am reviewing for the month because I knew both would help me exponentially.

Product #1: Eye-V Moisture Boost Hydrogel Patches

I mentioned I haven’t been sleeping much, right??? My success partner Nichole and I have been meeting every morning at 5am, and you guys know how I am….I go to bed about 2am or so every night. Yeah, I look a hot mess when I get up, and not just a hot mess, a hot mess with puffy eyes!

I’ve tried under eye patches before and always hoped for great results. Most of the time I have been disappointed and felt like nothing was different after I used the product. A friend of mine, Sandi, had shared about a patch she sold through Nerium and mentioned how great it worked. I decided it was worth a shot to try.

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So excited to see if they live up to the hype

I was so excited when I got my little package in the mail from Sandi and couldn’t wait to try them out! The patches come individually wrapped, which makes them easy to take on the go. Some patches I have tried in the past aren’t as convenient for us on-the-go types.

These patches are very easy to use…you peel them off the backing and apply, then leave them on for about 20 minutes. I put them on while I had my morning coffee and instantly loved how they felt. Sandi had shared with me that it was best to put these in the fridge before use, which I did. This made them nice and chill when I put them under my eyes!

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Oh look, me without makeup!

I try to get a lot of sleep, but I am a weird sleeper. For example, I go to bed later than I should (usually around 2pm these days), get up at 4:45am for a business meeting, then go back to sleep for awhile. Even though I get sleep, I still sometimes have puffier eyes.

I wasn’t expecting a miracle with these things….no product is going to do that with a single use, but I’ll tell you what…I was super pleased with these patches! In my opinion the photos don’t do their magic justice…I noticed in the mirror such a difference that I don’t think is reflected in the pics below (Before is to the left; After is to the right).

Things I loved about this product: It was easy to use (always a good thing), reduced some of the bags I was rocking, and really tightened the skin up. I felt a difference right away, and when the time came for me to put my makeup on I could see the visible difference. With some photoshoots coming up and lots of activities, you better believe these patches are going to be a staple in my routine.

FINAL VERDICT: Sparkle all day, baby!

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Left: My before                                                                       Right: My After

Product #2: Nyx Liquid Suede Cream Lipstick

My go to lipstick is always a matte….I just am not one that likes the gloss look much. Every once in awhile you will see me with it, but it is a rare occurrence. Because of that, I tend to avoid most liquid lipsticks.

I’ve reviewed Nyx products before and have loved them…..they are hands down my favorite drugstore brand. As it usually happens…..I was strolling through Target and a bright pink color caught my eye….and I had to have it.

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Some colors are just obviously Katie. 

The color was the Pink Lust/Passion Rose Nyx Liquid Suede. As you can tell, the color is 100% one that is in my main palette. At about $6, I was ready to give this suede stuff a try.
I got home from Target and did my usual workout/shower routine. Since I was fresh faced I figured I would try out this new color.

At 9pm, BIG MISTAKE! As my snapchat followers can confirm, I put this on and couldn’t get it off! Usually I would be pleased about this, but at this time of night I didn’t need extreme staying power.

I tried it out later in the week when I had a full day of activities and meetings….I as pleased that I didnt have to reapply once. The color was vibrant and didn’t dry out my lips….definitely a great lip product!

FINAL VERDICT: Sparkle!!!!!!!

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Looking forward to a wonderful March, friends. Let’s sparkle like crazy.

sparkleon

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#Lashgamestrong

Oh, lashes…..how I love you. Let me count thy ways.

I talk a lot about consistency with workouts and nutrition and do my best to be consistent, but I’m human….so sometimes I fall off the wagon. When it comes to my lashes though….those…those I am consistent with every.single.day. I never fall off the lash wagon!

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So many lashes, so little time. 

I get a lot of questions about them….like why i love them, what ones are my favorite, why don’t I try extensions, why don’t I try this lash product or lash product, yadda yadda. Let me break down my lashes for y’all.

Let’s address extensions first and foremost…….

I was born with lovely lashes (thanks, parents) and honestly only used mascara up until about four years ago or so. Occasionally I wore falsies for a special event or wedding, but that only  happened a handful of times a year, not daily. As I got more and more into the makeup scene and doing makeup for friends, I realized I loved the look of longer, fuller lashes, so I made the decision to get eyelash extensions.

I waited a while to do this, researching Do’s and Don’ts because I had heard horror stories about lash extensions. On the flip, my dear friend and personal makeup consultant, Marenda, had gotten them done, as had my cousin, and both had fabulous experiences.

My appointment was scheduled over Fourth of July weekend in 2015, and I conveniently made it on the day of my engagement photos. In my mind it was the perfect time to get them done, and I was excited at the thought of these super glam lashes in our photos.

The place….exactly the kind of place I would usually go…trendy and modern, and my lash “expert” was the kind of person who seemed to really know her stuff….at first. I had called ahead of time to ask questions about how they did things and wanted to make sure they did not use a glue with formaldehyde, which is common in glues purchased overseas. They assured me they didn’t.

I’m going to spare you the complete details of the experience because it was wretched, but I will tell you it left me calling Marenda, who was on her way over to do my makeup for the engagement shoot, in tears.  The lashes looked terrible….wonky like Helen Keller had applied them because they were all curving in different directions, and the “expert” told me when I was paying that the glue in fact had formaldehyde in it. Cool.

Ren saved the day for the engagement photo shoot (thank heavens), but the weeks to follow included my lashes falling out and, at one point, me having barely any lashes at all. It was a sweet look, let me tell you. In order to avoid looking scary, I started applying my falsies daily. As my lashes grew back, I continued to wear falsies because they didn’t grow back the way they were before (Spoiler alert: they STILL aren’t the way they used to be). I’ve been in a serious relationship with lashes ever since.

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Thankful for a talented friend for making my lashes look great for this shoot!

What are the lash products I swear by?

I have an extensive collection of lashes ranging from drugstore brands to more expensive ones. My favorites are from House of Lashes and are the Heartbreakers, but I also love the Faux Mink lashes from Lilly Lashes…..I wear these a lot when I want a more dramatic look. My wedding look featured the Miami lashes from Lilly!

The most important thing with lashes….whether they are cheap ones or the more expensive ones is THE GLUE! Having quality glue is the most important thing. I swear by the HOL Glue and recommend it to everyone….trust me on this! It is worth the cost and is the best product out there for lashes. I carry the travel size glue with me at all times, and the full size is always stocked up. This product is formaldehyde, phthalates, and paragons free and great if you have sensitive eyes.

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My wedding day lashes.

Were lashes tricky at first? Absolutely. There were days where I couldn’t get them to stay on…or they were off centered….or I didnt let the glue get tacky enough to apply them so they were a hot mess and my fingers got sticky. It took awhile for me to get to the point where I could apply them in less than a minute per lash.

If you are new to lash wear, here are a few basic Katie tips to help you out:

1. After applying glue to the lash, let it chill for about thirty seconds before attempting application. This is important….they adhere better when the glue is tacky.

2. Purchase quality glue (as already addressed).

3. Realize you may have to trim the lashes down. Sometimes I purchase a pair and realize they are too long to fit on my lid, so I have to cut a small piece of the end off. You want to wear the lash, not have the lash where you.

4. Have a storage system for them. Guys, lashes can be reused again and again. Don’t toss them after a single use….clean them and reuse! I use rubbing alcohol to clean mine…easy and inexpensive.

5. Tweezers are the best applicator!

Here’s a quick video I made awhile back to help you with eyelash application! Give it a try…..and if you DO opt for extensions….do you research so you don’t have a horrible experience like I did.

Why do I lash? I love changing my eye look daily….the love how easy they are to wear….how inexpensive they are…and just how badass they make me feel. 

Long live the Lash!

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My favorite finds of 2016

At the start of a new year I love to share some things that I fell in love with during the year prior. With my Sparkle of Dull monthly segment and just overall love for shopping I always come across way more than I could ever review on the blog, so a yearly wrap up is the winning solution. Plus, I find things that aren’t necessarily beauty related but are worthy of a shout out, too! Here are some of my favorites from 2016!

(And because someone will ask….no, I’m not paid to promote these items. I just really freaking love them, ok?)

1. Glam Glow Mega Illuminating Moisturizer.

I am very focused on taking great care of my skin, and this product line has a lot to do with it. I use the moisturizer every single day, and have some of the masks as well. This product has an amazing smell to it and is lightly tinted, so if you are someone who doesn’t like to wear a lot of makeup, this can help you with a little coverage while still moisturizing your skin. Some people may be scared away by the price, but you don’t need a lot every day, therefore, it lasts quite some time.

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I purchase mine at Sephora!

2. Matcha Green Tea Powder

Before we bought our house I began a very healthy/unhealthy addiction with a green tea smoothie from a local smoothie shop called Pulp (if you are local check them out). After going there countless times I determined I wanted to be able to make my own version of this treat, and I found the secret to the recipe to be a quality green tea powder. You can do a lot with this product….it’s also fabulous when mixed with hot water and a little creamer!!!! To duplicate the smoothie you just blend the matcha powder with soy milk and greek yogurt. All the Yesssssssss!

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Miss my Pulp smoothies these days!

3. Altar’d State clothing

Honestly, the entire store makes it on this list! I discovered this company earlier in the year and spent quite a bit of time trolling on its website. Then, out of nowhere, the shopping gods provided a Christmas miracle and put a brick and mortar store in local mall. I almost peed my pants! This store is full of Boho-chic clothing options, cute home decor, and whimsical gifts, and the company itself has a strong philosophy on charity and giving back. I really like that in a company and support their mission 100%. If you haven’t heard of this company yet, check them out!

4. Kuhn Rikon Stay Clean Scrubber

Let’s be honest here…if you are someone doing the dishes, you have probably encountered a little situation called the Smelly Sponge. It’s gross, right? This product (which you can also find on Amazon, Walmart, Sears, etc) is made of silicone and dries faster, eliminating bacteria that can thrive on a sponge. They also come in cute colors! Mine is green to match my green kitchen decor!

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5. Best Friends by Sheri Cuddle Cup Dog Beds

I’m guessing 99% of you know that I am crazy about dogs, but for those of you who don’t know….I’m crazy aboutdogs, especially my little guys. One is a Pug and the other is a Boston Terrier, both breeds known for loving to cuddle. In October I found the Cuddle Cup while wandering the aisles of our local Homegoods and decided to buy one for the dogs. The next day we went back and bought two more for our house and two for my mother in law. They are extremely  soft, come in several styles and sizes, and allow dogs who like to curl up to do so and feel protected. I have two in my office so the boys can hang with me while I work….Bubba (on the left) is in the Deep Dish Cuddler and Murphy (right) is in the Round Cuddler Bed, also known as the Mini Throne Cuddle Cup. The outer part is a gray suede to match my office decor and they feature a sherpa lining. If they were big enough I’d cuddle in them………

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My little loves

6. Marc Jacobs Under(cover) Coconut Primer

For real for real….any time something says “coconut” I have to try it…..coconut is my #1 scent of choice! I had read many reviews on this product earlier in the year and finally gave in to try it….it did not disappoint. The coconut smell is not super potent if you aren’t in the coconut fan club like I am, but the coverage is great and it has awesome hold. It also makes my skin feel super soft after application, and I like that a lot! If you are someone with dry skin, this won’t dry you out or make your skin flake out…it actually doubles as a moisturizer!

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Coconut, how I love thee. Let me count thy ways.

7. Everfitte Workout Tanks

I’ve always favored the small shops on Easy…heck, the majority of my wedding was made possible by the vendors on the site! I was pleasantly surprised when I stumbled across this shop earlier in the year and immediately fell in love with their sassy workout tanks. They constantly have deals on tanks if you are shoppertunistic, and the quality of the shirts is great…super soft and breathable for workouts or just relaxing! They have a saying that can work for anyone….whether you love workouts, wine, or The Bachelor……

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Because I love carbs….and I’ll never quit them. 

8. Layer Cake Soap by Lush

I am forever raving about my love for all things Lush, but I was pleasantly surprised this year when I traded in my Shooting Stars soap for the Layer Cake soap! I’ll be honest…I was drawn to the product because of its beautiful rainbow colors, but once I smelled it I knew it was a winner. Each piece will look different, some more rainbow-like than others, but all smell fabulous, as it is made up of juices like orange, pineapple, and raspberry to name a few!

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Even Murphy agrees…it is fabulous!

9. Beat by Dre Headphone Stand

This item is a must have if you have headphones! I recently was gifted a pair of Wireless Beats from my coach Laura after hitting the huge business milestone of Success Club Legend, and I knew that 1) I would be using them constantly so I needed them handy and 2) I wanted to make sure they wouldn’t be damaged. This stand is sleek, stylish, and a great to ensure my headphones are nearby when I’m doing work (I use them for personal development every morning) and out of the reach of little dogs who may mistake it for a cool toy/bone.

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Ahh…the romantic glow of my Pink Himalayan Salt Lamp in the background…..

10. New Balance Studio Skin

This product is for my fellow sock haters….and those of you who need a little something to help you get your workouts done if you are barefoot. The studio skins have just the right amount of traction and cushioning without feeling like a shoe, and I think they are super cute, too! I heard about them from some of my yoga buddies who had been wearing them for class….definitely worth the investment!

11. On Demand Fitness Membership

Guys….I’ve been talking about this a lot of Facebook because I am just so freaking in love with Beachbody On Demand. This is what I use every day for my workouts and is similar to Netflix….I log in from my iPad, computer, tv, wherever…pick what workout I want to do, and bam! There it is! Last week it was announced that through the month of January there would be a special bundle giving you access to every single workout every created by BB, plus portion containers plus a month supply of my beloved Shakeology for the super low price of $199…..I was floored! All that for an entire year of resources to help you reach your goals? Yes, please! I’m excited to help everyone find their soul mate workout with this system….and did I mention that everyone in your house can use it, too? Talk about a great deal!

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Best $16 a month I’ve ever spent!

12. Tarte Rainforest of the Sea palette

Tarte is one of those staple brands for me when it comes to makeup, and this palette is at the top of the list. It seems like I get more compliments on the colors in this little number than any other eye shadow palette I own. It’s a great combo of browns and purple-brown colors, and they have a rich shimmer to them. This palette is great for those of you who like more natural colors on your lids or don’t like to do a bunch of fancy schmancy smokey eye techniques.

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As always, I could include about a million products on this list, but I have to draw the line somewhere…otherwise your wallets and bank accounts would hate me! The items included in this list can be purchased from multiple sites (for the most part), so do some research and find the best deal for you!

Here’s to a happy, healthy 2017 full of lots of wonderful Sparkle Babe approved items!

sparkleon

 

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November : Sparkle or Dull?

Guys!

This Sparkle or Dull blog….what a headache it has been! The month is nearly over!

I had gotten quite a few requests to review a certain product, and it took me nearly 8 weeks to receive it! Apparently my package got lost in the mail not once, but TWICE, but it finally arrived two days ago, so I jumped right to the review. I was assured that is not the norm with the company’s shipping….so if you order from the same site I share below, don’t fret! Since I was hell bent on reviewing the item AND I don’t do a December Sparkle or Dull (I do a wrap up of some of my favorite finds instead), I had to wait to try the product out before posting!

Product #1: Pantene Pro-V Root Reboot Dry Shampoo

First of all, this isn’t the item I was waiting on…..this you can find at any drugstore, Wal-Mart, Target, etc.

I recently was reading a Cosmopolitan magazine (Yes, I still like to read them) and stumbled across a list of their best beauty finds of the year. I disagreed with most of them (shocker), but I was intrigued when they named this Pantene product as the best dry shampoo.

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You guys all know how I feel about dry shampoo….I wash my hair about once every two weeks so I rely on a quality dry shampoo to save me the other days. I have been having a love affair with Batiste dry shampoo for quite some time and did not have any desire to cheat on it….but thought just trying out this product would be ok. Who knows, I may love it more!

For starters, they aren’t far off in price. The Pantene product was about $6 at CVS when I snagged it, and Batiste is usually about $8. I always take advantage of the Buy 1, Get one 1/2 off sale on that, and when you pair with a coupon at Ulta it actually ends up being cheaper.

The point of dry shampoo is obviously to suck up the grease or nastiness hanging out in your hair, and Batiste does that incredibly well. When I tried this Root Reboot…..I did not think the same. At first it felt similar to the Batiste, but after I used my token hairdryer trick, I realized my hair still looked greasy and gross. The only benefit to it: It smelled nice, but then again, so does Batiste, and I have options for scents with that one.

This may be a better product for baby fine hair? I’m not sure, but to be named Best Dry Shampoo of the year by Cosmo SOMEONE had to like it…just not sure what hair type that person had. I let one of my pals with finer hair take it and am waiting back for a report from her.

Final Verdict: DULL.

Product #2: Max Makeup Cherimoya Lip Tattoo

Ok….this is the item I waited and waited and waited for!

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Couple of things to talk about first…..I’ve been completely skeptical of these kinds of products since they hit the market. I mean….you put something on your lips, let it harden, peel it off, and the color stays? Yeah right. There are so many different kinds of lip tattoos out there (the one I got was temporarily sold out when I visited the site to link it for this blog) that I had a difficult time narrowing down what one to try. Honestly, I just went with the first one that popped up, and I have tried Cherimoya items before with success, so I figured it was a good option.

This definitely deserved a full video review so this blog is turning into a mini vlog.

My pieces of advice just to recap some of the things in the video:

1. Always look at the before and AFTER color swatches before purchasing…they will be different.

2. Use a lip brush to apply product evenly.

3. Make sure it is completely dried before peeling.

4. Be careful…it will dye your hands, clothes, etc.

5. I recommend exfoliating before use!

Definitely glad I gave this a chance and am excited to try more colors!

Final Verdict: SPARKLE!!!!

If you try a different brand, share your experience with me! I want to know what everyone likes when it comes to similar products!

sparkleon

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October: Sparkle or Dull?

My makeup peeps…..why are there so many new and fabulous products being released???? Seriously! There are so many that I want to try out for you guys!

This month I decided to review a purchase I had made while redeeming some points at Ulta earlier in the month, the Too Faced Grand Hotel Cafe boxed set, and a brand new item from the Elf line, the instant brow lift.

Let’s start by chatting about some brows!

PRODUCT #1: Elf Instant Brow Lift Pencil

This was one of those random finds as I was trolling around Target one day. You know those trips….the ones where you go in for one thing and end up leaving with a cart full of things you really didn’t need???

Anyway…..I have been toying around with changing up my eyebrow routine for awhile now because I have not been 100% satisfied with the Anastasia brow products I have been using. If we are being honest….quality eyebrow products seem to be expensive, so when it comes to me purchasing a new one I really try to do a lot of research and get friends’ opinions so I don’t waste my money. I mean….I know this blog is about determining if a product sparkles or if it is a little lackluster, but my hope is to always have more sparkles than dulls….a dull product means money down the drain!

I was leaning toward trying out a product from It Cosmetics and was actually en route to Ulta when I stopped to make the previously mentioned unnecessary Target stop. It proved to be a smart move on my end, because the new brow pencil from Elf had just been released and came across my line of sight. At $2.00, its price was very attractive, and since I have always had good experiences with the Elf line, I decided to give it a chance.

Let’s talk about brows for a second. Do you need a product? Not necessarily. I never used to use one. Then one day I had an eyebrow wax that left them looking a little wonky and uneven if I didn’t use a product. For me, the product is more about shaping my actual eyebrow as opposed to filling them in. Depending on your brow, you may do the same, or they may be thin and you may need to spruce them up a bit.

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A look at the product in action. 

FINAL VERDICT: SPARKLE!

For $2.00, I was extremely pleased with this product. It went on smoothly and was easy to use, kind of like a mechanical pencil. I also loved that it included a spoolie brush on the opposite end to help blend and mute the color if you got a little crazy. I definitely recommend this product, especially if you want to try something cheaper before moving on to a higher price brow product.

***I do need to state this. The one thing I wasn’t super pleased with when it came to this item was the fact that it only came in three colors. I used deep brown because of my coloring, but it also comes in a taupe and neutral brown. I’m not sure if this is just because it is newer, but hopefully they expand the palette soon…the taupe, which is the lightest of the three, may still be too dark for you if you have very blonde hair, and there aren’t any options for my ginger friends. Fingers crossed for you guys!

PRODUCT #2 Too Faced Grand Hotel Cafe Palette

If you follow me on Facebook you may have seen me unbox this purchase live after redeeming my Ultamate rewards points at Ulta. When I saw this product, I had to have it….they claimed the three palettes smelled like coffee, and you guys know me…..

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Look how cute the packaging is!

What all comes in this boxed set?

-3 palettes that include 6 eyeshadows each, as well as one blush: Peppermint Mocha (top), Gingerbread Coffee (bottom left), and Egg Nog Latte (bottom right).

-Deluxe size of Too Faced’s Better Than Sex Mascara aka best mascara in the damn land.

As you can see from the picture below, the color palettes are great for all people, as there are colors that compliment both warm and cool undertones. I personally love them all, however, I have been using the Gingerbread Latte more frequently for the eyeshadow colors than the other two. The blush in that palette, called Gingerbread, is great for contouring if you are a contour lover like me. I’ve been using it for that purpose, then using the blush from the Egg Nog palette over top of it. As with any Too Faced eye shadow, the colors are incredible and great quality…some with some shimmer, some with a matte finish…but all able to be blended beautifully.

When it comes to the mascara…this is the kind I use every day. I always put one layer of mascara on before applying my lashes, and with some lash styles actually apply a layer after to blend my lashes and the falsies together. It is great on its own for you non lash wearers!

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A look at what you get with the Grand Hotel Cafe box, photo courtesy of Sephora. 

Here’s a look at a basic eye that I did last week blending three colors from the Gingerbread palette on my eyes: Maple Syrup on the lid, Ginger Cream on the upper lid to blend, and Cup of Joe to smoke it out a bit. I used the Peach Cobbler blush from the Egg Nog palette. Absolutely love it!

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Love the simplicity of this look….add lashes and a bright lip to make the eyes pop. 

FINAL VERDICT: SPARKLE!

This boxed set is a great value…it is only $49, and you get a ton of great items with it. The only bad thing about this item…it is limited edition because it is seasonal, so if you want it get it asap!

Be on the lookout for great deals coming up at Ulta and Sephora….they always have awesome items that are great for gifts or stocking stuffers that surface this time of year!

sparkleon

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August: Sparkle or Dull?

Guys, can you believe it is September???? I’m having a hard time accepting that summer is over and before you know it Christmas will be here. This year is flying by!

And so is this month! We have been crazy busy with wedding stuff these past few weeks which delayed this blog being posted a bit more than I had anticipated, and this week we had a curveball thrown in with a death in our family. My apologies, makeup lovers!

This blog is all about the eyes!!!!

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PRODUCT #1: Tarte Colored Clay Under Eye Corrector

I think Tarte has an amazing line of products, but I have mostly stuck to their eyeshadow palettes and lipsticks. Since I have a pretty strong love affair with my Kat Von D foundation, I’ve never considered their foundations or concealers (I know…..I’m sorry!). I guess I’m one of those people who sticks with something that she knows works for her and doesn’t like to always change it up…especially with foundation and concealers.

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Shopping with Mikaele!

I recently took one of my coaches to Ulta because….well, that’s pretty much my second office….and she needed some lashes, so of course I volunteered to help her! During our trip and random perusal of the Tarte aisle I stumbled across this clay under eye corrector. Let’s be honest….I’ve been lacking in the sleep department big time lately and my under eye bags needed a little TLC. I tried the product out in the store and loved it immediately. It went on smoothly, felt like silk, and had great coverage. It was purchased immediately, and I can tell you….I am still amazed by this product. As you can see below, the coverage is pretty freaking awesome. Just an FYI, the color I use is Light/Medium.

FINAL VERDICT: SPARKLE ALL DAMN DAY!

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Product #2: Elf Under Eye Setting Powder

This was a product that I was skeptical about. We all know I think Elf has some awesome makeup products/brushes, but for some reason every time I was in the Elf section and saw this little guy I always talked myself out of it. Yeah, it is only $3, but do I really need a setting powder?????? For my eyes????

Earlier in the month I was creeping on a few different youtube tutorials trying to master a specific makeup technique and noticed that all four of the tutorials I randomly selected to watch featured the makeup artist using this Elf product. I told myself that was a sign and decided to give it a whirl.

The purpose of this powder is to do exactly what it says: set the makeup under your eye perfectly. It claimed to leave skin feeling silky and help blend fine lines. Skin also is strengthened because of the Vitamin K and Vitamin C blend in it.

I applied this as a final step, so foundation was on, concealer, eye makeup, etc. The brush I used was another Elf product, the Elf foundation brush. The product itself comes with a small brush, but I like this Elf one better. Even though it is a foundation brush, I hate using it for that and think this one is a better option.

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Few things about this product……

1. It looks a little shimmery when you look at it in its pot. It’s very subtle. I actually used this when strobing last week and liked the look because it wasn’t as in your face as normal strobing is.

2. With that being said, don’t OVERUSE it! A little can go a long way, and if you use too much you will have cakey under eyes and possibly too much shimmer. Once you get the product on the brush, tap it lightly to get rid of the excess. Remember, you can always add to it….it is much easier than having to take it off or looking like a gothic stripper.

FINAL VERDICT: Sparkle!

I’ve been having lots of luck with sparkle products lately! Are there any items you have been curious about? Let me know….I’m always up for ideas to help you make beauty easier!

sparkleon

 

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July Beauty Finds: Sparkle or Dull?

This month’s beauty finds………ahhhhhhhhhhhh! I was so excited to try both and review them! I’m not even going to mess around with some kind of introduction….let’s get right into it!

Product #1: Tarte’s Swamp Queen Palette

Me and eyeshadows go together like peas and carrots…we just belong together. In recent months I have started to use more products from Tarte (not sure why I waited so long), and was extremely excited when it was announced they were going to pair with Grav3yardgirl, a youtube sensation, to create a palette.

Who is this Grav3yardgirl? A hot ass mess, that’s what, but in a good way. Bunny reviews lots of crazy products, does tutorials, and is just ridiculous….probably why I gravitate to her channel. Her style is all over the place….much like mine. I love it!

I knew that this palette would have some awesome colors that were different from my normal palettes (I love anything brown, purple, grays, etc), and, knowing Tarte’s quality, I had a feeling they would be super rich and apply wonderfully.

I’ll be honest….for a hot second I thought I may not get my hands on this palette. Initially I saw it at an Ulta in Michigan while shopping with my cousins, but since it had been released that day I thought I would just wait and get it back home. They will have ppllleeennntttyyyyyyyy of them at my Ulta, right?

WRONG. Every Ulta near me was sold out….so was Sephora (good news, back in stock if you want one). Fortunately, a girl at Ulta told me she heard through the grapevine that Macy’s was going to be carrying them for a brief time. I took advantage of her tip, found it on Macy’s website, ordered it, and performed a serious of cartwheels and somersaults when it arrived a few days later.

Look at these colors! In the palette you get 9 eyeshadows, 1 bronzer, 1 blush, and 1 highlighter. The colors are very rich (can you see the sparkle in a few of them?)!

Here’s my honest review of the product: It is fabulous BUT…..because of how pigmented the colors are I highly recommend using a little at a time….then adding a little more…and so on. I think we all know I love a strong contour, so when I started with the Sweet Tea shade (top left), I was surprised at how INTENSE it was…..leading me to wash my makeup off and start over. Same with Gator Wings (bottom left), which is a highlighter. It has a strong glittery shine to it, so start small with a fan brush and add as needed.

As far as the eyeshadow colors go, I liked them for a more natural, subtle look. Sippy Sippy (middle row, far right) was my favorite color in the palette, but I did have a lot of fall out with the shadow than with the other colors, so be careful or apply eyeshadow before the rest of your makeup.

FINAL VERDICT: SPARKLE! It’s great for traveling since your blush and contouring friends are a part of the palette, and it can work on any skin tone (in my opinion).
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Product #2: Stila Waterproof Eyeliner

I’ve really struggled lately with eyeliners…I don’t know why! I love a strong wing, so I prefer a liquid liner for my top eyelids and use a pencil for my lower eye. This is the summer of weddings for me, and being outside at a lot of them I noticed that my trusty eyeliner (a cheap kind by Wet N Wild that I have used for years) was running faster than Usain Bolt. No bueno. Throw in a few happiness tears…and my whole eye look was ruined.

So I did something I never ever do…..I walked into Sephora and asked one of employees for a recommendation. This is big for me! I swear I know more than the majority of people in there, so asking for a suggestion….that was like taking a bullet.

Lucky for me I got one of the few Sephora employees that seems to know what is going on in the world of makeup. (Sidenote: Why does Sephora always seem to hire idiots? That don’t know what things like highlighters or primer are? Or who Kat Von D is? And who can’t even apply makeup to their own face? I swear…the last time I was in Sephora one of the girls was rocking a foundation shade that would’ve worked if you had been sunburned in Cancun, not if you had the alabaster color skin she did. She looked ridiculous! Ok, I’ll stop). The girl recommended the Stay All Day waterproof eyeliner by Stila, which made me happy. I had done a little online trolling of my own and this one popped up numerous times. Her suggestion gave me the go ahead to purchase and try, and I am so glad I did!

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This product is just like a magic marker for my eye….easy to use, great for making thick wings or subtle ones…and comes in a variety of colors. Best of all, it doesn’t run when Im crying or sweating…which is a huge plus!

Final Verdict: SPARKLE!!!! Yes, yes, a million times yes. Add this to your makeup bag immediately.

For fun I made a little tutorial with the colors I love from Swamp Queen…and I used my Stila pen, too!

sparkleon

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June Beauty Finds: Sparkle or Dull?

This month’s beauty blog led me to my favorite stores: Lush. I honestly thought I had tried everything in the store, but this month I stumbled upon an item that claimed to help hydrate dry and tired hands. Since I have had my struggles with dry hands and sometimes lizard like skin, it immediately jumped to the top of my “to try for the blog” list.

Product #1: The Golden Handshake Hot Hand Mask

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Before I go any further, let’s address the elephant in the room. THAT NAME! C’mon Lush. I don’t like buying products that could be mistaken for something in the urban dictionary. When I mentioned to a few people I was trying this item, they all said the same thing….golden shower? Um, no. Not even close.

Back to the product. For starters, let’s talk about the price. At $4.95 it’s not a bad price for Lush. I have spent a lot over the years on products that claim to moisturize hands, so I figured this was a reasonable amount if it worked well. I should state that is for ONE of the Handshakes. The name is very fitting, as you can see. A tiny oil hand covered in gold glitter (we know how I feel about glitter) that comes on a popsicle stick.

To use this product, you need to heat a bowl of water and then submerge the little hand in it, stirring as it thickens. Seems simple, right? I thought so. However, for some reason, my glittery mixture never thickened, which was a disappointment.
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After your mixture thickens (or in my case just hangs out and does nothing), your next step is to submerge your hands for fifteen minutes so the mixture can coat the hands and soften them. I did this one hand at a time because I was multitasking as always. Even though my mixture wasn’t thick like I had anticipated, I still could feel the oil on my hands and some softening did happen once I removed them from the water.

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FINAL VERDICT: DULL!

This product was okay. Did I think it was anything special? Not really. My hands felt a little softer, but truthfully many things can help with that. I didn’t like that I had to spend so much time sitting around, and the oily water was a bit messy to clean up. I will stick to my Become Hand Smoothing Cream because that always works, smells great, and it takes a quick minute to work. I’ll stick to my tried and true Lush products for the time being.

Product #2: Tweexy Nail Polish Holder

I will fess up. The ad for this popped up on my Facebook one day and I impulsively purchased it. I had to. How annoying is it to fumble with the nail polish bottle when you are trying to do your nails?!??!?!?! I wondered if this was all that the ad hyped it up to be.

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If you haven’t heard of this item, it is a silicone little ring-like device that expands to fit on two of your fingers regardless of the size of them. It has special internal grips to hold your bottle of polish and balance it. The brand claims it works with every kind of polish and bottle. There’s not much more to it than that.

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FINAL VERDICT: SPARKLE!

Guys, I loved loved loved this item! I always have issues with where to place my nail polish bottle….I may be guilty of spilling a bottle or two in my day, too. This product totally removed that issue from the equation. It was comfortable and super easy to use. If you are a nail polish junkie like me, you need to buy this!

Have a great Fourth full of sparkle, my friends!

sparkleon

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