Lots of Love for Davines Melu Shampoo + Conditioner

Last time I went to get my hair done, my hairdresser was telling me about how much she loved a particular shampoo and conditioner and was kind enough to send me home with two sample containers for me to try. After using my samples one time, I texted her to say I was stopping in to pick up the full-size containers of each ASAP.

The aforementioned products are Davines Melu Shampoo ($25) and Conditioner ($29). The Melu line is geared towards long and damaged hair, and although length-wise, my hair doesn't really fit the bill, ever since I started coloring it earlier this year, my locks have been begging for products to nourish them.

The shampoo does a great job of cleansing my hair, without stripping and drying out my roots. The star of the duo, however, is the conditioner. It's housed in a container with a flip top, rather than a bottle, because of its incredibly thick consistency. It has the texture of a balm more than a traditional conditioner, and I tend to apply a quarter-sized amount to the bottom half of my hair, where it needs the most help. Despite its heavy consistency, it washes out completely and doesn't weigh down my grease-prone hair. And although not specifically formulated for color-treated hair, I find that I can safely use the Melu duo without experiencing any stripping of color.

If you've followed me for a long time, you'll know that I'm generally a drugstore hair care kinda girl, with the exception of a few styling products. However, after a few bad experiences with some drugstore products stripping my color, I was ready for a change. With the Davines Melu pair being one of my first high-end shampoo and conditioner purchases, I can safely say that yes, sometimes you really do get what you pay for, and these are certainly worth their price tags.


A Fun Skincare Pick-Me-Up: Dr. Brandt Oxygen Facial Flash Recovery Mask

I have an arsenal of masks that excel at providing hydration, purification and exfoliation, but when I read about the Oxygen Facial Flash Recovery Mask, the promise of something new and different piqued my interest.

The Dr. Brandt Oxygen Facial Flash Recover Mask ($69) is aimed at perking up tired, dull and lackluster skin, and although the effects are subtle, I find it to be a fun skincare pick-me-up, especially after a long day or in preparation for a big event. It feels unlike anything I've tried before. It goes on light and clear, initially, but it immediately starts to foam up and bubble intensely (not tingling...it actually kinda tickles more than anything). After a few minutes, once the bubbles have subsided and the mask goes back to its original, clear state, it's ready to be rinsed off. It leaves the skin feeling softly hydrated, revitalized and invigorated, managing to do so in the quickest, gentlest way possible. 

The mask is more of a nice-to-have than a true must-have, but I'm always impressed when brands think outside the box and release products that are different and interesting. Well done, Dr. Brandt. Well done.

Disclosure: This product was sent to me for consideration for a review. I am not affiliated with the company, nor am I getting paid for this post. The opinions expressed in this post are based solely on my own experience with the product.


BECCA Ombre Rouge Palette

I'll be the first to admit I have an eyeshadow problem...more specifically, an eyeshadow palette problem. The problem is I can't stop myself from wanting more of them. Anyway, thanks to my Sephora VIB Rouge coupon, my main beauty purchase this month was the BECCA Ombre Rouge Palette. #noregrets
BECCA's original release was the Ombre Nudes Palette, which I was indifferent about, after swatching it a few times. When they released the Ombre Rouge Palette, however, the purple tones and the warm brown made this color palette more up my street. I've been looking to add more matte eyeshadows to my collection (my current favorite formula is Burberry's), because I've found a lot of other formulas apply a bit patchy on me, despite swatching smoothly. 

BECCA Ombre Rouge Palette ($40) appears to be a mostly matte palette, although the second and third shades from the left are more of soft satin finishes than true mattes. Compared to the Ombre Nudes Palette, this one has more rosy and purple-toned nudes. In general, I find the shades apply darker on the skin than they appear in the palette.
Wearing the middle shade on the lid and the warm brown shade (second from the right) blended through the crease
The key with this palette is to not judge it based on how it looks in the pan or how it swatches on the skin. Both are somewhat boring and underwhelming, in my opinion. Once worn on the lids, however, these shadows come to life. The satin finish shades are beautiful. I love wearing either one as an all-over lid shade. The three other matte shades apply smoothly and never appear patchy or chalky in the slightest. These shadows blend beautifully and really adhere to lid, making the lasting power fantastic.

In terms of a multi-tasking, staple workhorse neutral palette that truly performs, this is it. All the shades mix and match together so well that it makes eyeshadow combinations a breeze to figure out in the morning when I'm basically doing my makeup half asleep.


3 Winter Body Care Must-Haves

Even though the winters are pretty mild in southern California, I can always sense a change in my skin when the temperatures start to drop a bit. In the warmer months, when I'm feeling lazy, I can tend to get away with not moisturizing my body everyday, and my skin wouldn't necessarily know the difference. In the winter, however, if I skimp on the moisturizer one night, my skin is uncomfortably itchy, dry and ashy the next day. These are three body care products I've been relying on to amp up the hydration level:

::1:: Acure Ultra-Hydrating Body Wash
I've tried a few Acure products here and there in the past, without strong feelings one way or the other, but their collection of body washes caught my eye one day while I was at Sprouts. This ultra-hydrating one contains ingredients like organic virgin coconut oil, organic argan oil and organic pumpkin. It's luxuriously creamy and has a yummy sweet coconut scent. It's moisturizing without leaving a greasy film or residue on the skin.

::2:: Shea Moisture Olive & Green Tea Bath, Body & Massage Oil with Avocado
I picked this one up after hearing someone mention it was nice for shaving...and I wholeheartedly agree. Not only does it give a smooth shave, but it leaves my skin feeling extra hydrated and supple all day. There are several different scents to choose from, and I like that the scent lingers on the skin for hours on end.

::3:: Trader Joe's Pumpkin Body Butter
Trader Joe's Body Butter is quite possibly the best body moisturizer I've tried at this price point. It's incredibly thick and creamy, and it provides a hefty dose of hydration and locks in the moisture all day. I prefer using it before bed, because it takes some time to sink into the skin. It also smells delicious; I only wish the fragrance would stick around a bit longer. At only $5 a pot, though, you really can't go wrong.


A Great Drugstore Makeup + Waterproof Mascara Remover...With a Caveat

I'm kind of a cleansing oil and makeup-removing cleanser snob these days. I've tried tons of different drugstore and higher end options, but I don't tend to stray from my tried-and-true favorites (at the moment, it's still the L'Occitane Shea Butter Cleansing Oil). However, in a moment of desperation a few weeks ago, while I was away from home and cleansing oil-less, I decided to give the Garner Clean+ Makeup Removing Lotion Cleanser a try.

It's a creamy, fragrance-free lotion that's applied onto dry skin over makeup, similarly to a cleansing oil. It breaks down makeup excellently, and to my surprise, it was also able to break down my notoriously difficult-to-remove CoverGirl The Super Sizer Waterproof Mascara better than any cleansing oil I've tried. The first time I used it, my eyes lit up. "Could this be the makeup remover dreams were made of...AND it's from the drugstore?!" I thought. Although the lotion can then be removed with a cotton pad, I opt to rinse it off in the sink. And that's when the caveat surfaces. The caveat, and it's a big one, is that it leaves behind a greasy residue. Although all of my makeup and waterproof mascara are removed, there's an extremely greasy film left on the skin that cannot be rinsed clean. I always do a second cleanse at night, with a different cleanser, so it's not a huge issue for me, but I would never recommend this product be used a a stand-alone cleanser. 

So close, Garnier. So close.


The Much Raved About Green Beauty Foundation: Sappho Organics Liquid Foundation

Natural, green beauty products are something I'm always interested in dabbling more in, and I've been curious about the Sappho Organics Liquid Foundation ($52) ever since seeing it raved about by a few YouTubers I watch. Seeing as how foundations are among my favorite products to test and review, I couldn't be more excited when I was offered the opportunity to try it out for myself.
I have the shade Lisa, described as a mid-toned shade with yellow undertones (around NC25). The foundation comes in a tiny, travel-friendly bottle (rest assured, it contains the same 1 oz./30 mL as the average foundation), and Sappho Organics sells a separate pump that can be attached. The foundation offers light to medium coverage and a natural, satin finish. It has an soft herbal scent to it that reminds me of the fragrance and skincare section of Whole Foods, but in case you're not a fan, it also dissipates quickly. It's a formula that I could see working well on a variety of skin types and contains such ingredients as organic aloe juice, organic jojoba oil and essential oils. I prefer to preventatively powder my oily t-zone when I need it to last all day, but the formula certainly doesn't require it. It has a slightly thicker consistency that favors application with a brush, rather than with fingers, but it blends in quickly and easily.

Bare skin (L) and wearing Sappho Organics Liquid Foundation in Lisa
Wearing Sappho Organics Liquid Foundation in Lisa
Overall, the Sappho Organics Liquid Foundation is a great all-arounder. Its only weakness is its slightly smaller shade range, with only eight shades to choose from. It's a fantastic foundation for everyday wear, with light coverage that smooths over imperfections and an incredibly natural, skin-like finish.

If you're looking to make the switch to all green beauty products, or you simply want to dip your toes in, the Sappho Organics Liquid Foundation is a great place to start. I promise you won't even remember it contains all good-for-your-skin ingredients.

Disclosure: This product was sent to me for consideration for a review. I am not affiliated with the company, nor am I getting paid for this post. The opinions expressed in this post are based solely on my own experience with the product.


The Palette on Repeat

I'm been having a moment with my Charlotte Tilbury Fallen Angel Luxury Palette. Not only are the shadows amazing quality, but a combination of two of the shades has just been doing it for me lately. 

I dust the cool taupe in the top right of the palette onto the inner third of my lid, then pat on the bronze shade on the outer two thirds of the lid. Then, I blend the two together a bit, so that there isn't a clear line of demarcation between the two shades, and blend at the crease. To finish it off, I take a neutral tan/brown blending shade (I've been using MAC Wedge) and blend it through the crease for a softer transition.

For liner, I've still been loving MAC Teddy Eye Kohl. This one has so-so lasting power on bare lids, but on top of eyeshadow, I find it lasts brilliantly all day. I've been keeping the tip sharp and opting for a thicker winged line. 

The end result has a daytime smokey eye feel to it, and I love it. You know your eyeshadow is on point when even non-makeup lovers specifically compliment your eyeshadow :)


Another Charlotte Tilbury Rave: Lip Cheat in Pillow Talk

It was only a matter of time before I gave in to temptation and added a Charlotte Tilbury Lip Cheat Re-Shape & Re-Size Lip Liner to my lip liner stash. As someone who is admittedly not yet well versed in the various lip liner formulas, I'm always interested in trying out what different brands have to offer. After having the opportunity to swatch and play around with the Charlotte Tilbury collection at a counter a few weeks ago, I was sold on the versatility of Pillow Talk
Charlotte Tilbury Lip Cheat in Pillow Talk ($22) is a neutral rosy pink that is perfect for pairing with my-lips-but-better lip colors or wearing on its own for a natural, barely there lip. The formula is just creamy enough that it glides on during application, but it has a matte finish that helps the liner to stay put and plays a large role in its impressive longevity. Compared to the Rimmel Exaggerate Automatic Lip Liner, which is one of my favorites from the drugstore (the shade Eastend Snob is similar to Pillow Talk, but paler and cooler toned), Charlotte Tilbury's formula is significantly longer wearing. 

One of my favorite ways to wear Pillow Talk is to use it to line and fill in my lips before topping it off with either the Clarins Instant Light Lip Balm Perfector in Rose or a nude gloss like MAC Cremesheen Glass in Boy Bait (which I just finished!). Here, I'm wearing it on its own. Because it's very similar to my natural lip color, it's also a great option for when I want to slightly overline my lips, while still aiming to keep it looking subtle and believable.


The Workhorse: MAC Eye Kohl in Teddy

I decided it was time to dedicate an entire post to a product that has been a constant in my makeup bag for the past 6+ weeks: MAC Eye Kohl in Teddy ($16.50). It's a popular product, and with good reason. It applies smoothly, is creamy but not too creamy, and it gives you enough time to work with it and smudge it, if you so wish, before setting and lasting all day. The shade is a rich and warm shimmery chocolate brown; basically, perfection in pencil form.

I love Teddy applied to my top and/or lower lash lines, depending on the look. It suits easy and effortless eye looks when messily smudged on, but it also looks stunning when sharpened and used to apply a more precise winged liner. It's not so dark that it appears black, so it's softer for daytime, and the shimmer keeps it from looking flat.

It's no secret I'm a fan of warm, shimmery brown tones on my eyes, and Teddy has just been doing it for me lately. It's definitely been the workhorse of my everyday makeup bag.


Eye Look + Palette of the Week

After writing up my October Favorites post, I decided to give some of those products a break and swap them out with a few others. One of the products thrown into the new rotation was my BUXOM Custom Eyeshadow Bar Palette (review here). Before my move, when I had my whole makeup collection to choose from while getting ready for the day, so much time was wasted picking out products, before wasting more time figuring out which combinations would look nice together. Since using products mainly from a small selection every morning, I've saved tons of time, especially this past week, mostly because I loved one day's eye look so much that I ended up wearing the exact same look five days in a row.

The fact that this is yet another neutral eye look should come as a surprise to absolutely no one. I used a flat shader brush to apply Gold Status (shimmery neutral gold) all over the lid, a fluffy blending brush to blend Invite Only (matte peachy tan) through the crease and a smaller crease brush to apply Filthy Rich (matte burnt orange-brown) onto the outer third of the lid and blend into the outer most part of the crease. I finished it all off by applying Invite Only along my lower lashline with a touch of Filthy Rich on just the outer third, to mimic its lid placement. I skipped out on eyeliner completely to keep the look more natural for daytime and work, and I applied mascara on my top and bottom lashes. I had this routine down cold this past week, and my eye makeup was done and dusted in two to three minutes.

If you're interested in expanding your eyeshadow collection at all during the upcoming Sephora sale, I'd highly recommend checking out these eyeshadow bars from BUXOM. My favorite shade from my palette is Filthy Rich, hands down.


butter LONDON Shadow Clutch Palette in Natural Charm + Duos

Nine days out of ten, the eyeshadows I'm wearing came from a palette. I love me a good eyeshadow palette. butter LONDON released an eyeshadow formula this year in the form of two six-pan palettes called Shadow Clutch Palettes ($39) and four Shadow Clutch Wardrobe Duos ($15). After trying and enjoying their Bloody Brilliant Lip Crayons, I was excited and curious to see how their eyeshadow formula compared to other high-end formulas.
The palette I have is called Natural Charm. It's a gorgeous mix of neutral shades, including Citrine, a peachy pink-gold, and Camo, deep olive green. Those two, with the addition of Quartz, the taupey-tan shade in the middle top row, are shimmer finishes, while the other three, Linen, Camel and Leather (bone, neutral tan and espresso brown, respectively), are mattes. The cool thing about the palettes is that you can switch out the shades with any of the shades from the duos (each eyeshadow in the "duo" is actually a single). I liked all of the shades already in Natural Charm, so I left mine as is.

The Fancy Flutter duo (bottom in above photo) consists of Plume, a red-brown/blue-green duochrome shade (similar to the likes of MAC Club), and Feather, a peachy gold. The other duo shown, Moody Blues, contains Sequins, an icy mint green, and Sapphire, a shimmery royal blue.

butter LONDON touts an eyeshadow formula that is primer-infused, oil-absorbing, crease-free, long-wearing and blendable. With the exception of Camo and Sapphire, which can apply a bit patchy and require more work to blend seamlessly, I found the other shades easy to apply and effortless to blend. As far as their other claims? So much yes. These babies wear from morning to night without skipping a beat. Even without primer, these eyeshadows wear exceptionally well on me, similar to the likes of Burberry. No creasing; no fading.

Some of my favorite combinations include: 
  • either Quartz or Citrine on the lid, Camel blended through the crease and Leather in the outer v for added definition; 
  • Plume on the lid with Camel to blend it out; 
  • Feather on the inner half of the lid, Camo on the outer half of the lid and Camel to blend everything out and through the crease.

L to R: Linen, Quartz, Camo, Camel, Citrine, Leather, Feather, Plume, Sequins and Sapphire
Wearing Quartz and Citrine on the lid, Camel in the crease and Leather on the lashline
Generally speaking, these butter LONDON eyeshadows are buttery (expect a tiny bit of fallout if you're not careful), pigmented, blendable and most importantly, long-wearing and crease-resistant. I always enjoy a bit of customization, so needless to say, I'm a fan of the option to switch out the shades. The other Shadow Clutch Palette shade option, Pretty Proper, seems like a really nice cool-toned option, from what I've seen of it in-stores at Ulta.

Disclosure: These products were sent to me for consideration for a review. I am not affiliated with the company, nor am I getting paid for this post. The opinions expressed in this post are based solely on my own experiences with the products.


My Sephora Holiday Sale 2015 Wishlist

It's the sale beauty addicts wait all year for! The Holiday Shopping Event at Sephora starts November 6th for VIB Rouge, and because makeup is the only area of my life where I don't procrastinate, I thought I'd share my makeup and skincare wishlists that I've been crafting for the past several weeks.

I swear those three eyeshadows are not all the same shade. I haven't even tried to hide my love for my Make Up For Ever eyeshadow palette, and I think this might be the opportune time to expand my collection. I'm having a moment with this terra-cotta/burnt red-brown type of shade, and I can't decide among the shades M608, S604 and M738. Would it be overkill to have a terra-cotta themed eyeshadow trio? :) :: Link here ::

I've been using a dinky little 100-point perk sample of BECCA Shimmering Skin Perfector Pressed in Opal for the past couple weeks, and I've decided that it finally warrants a purchase. Realistically speaking, I'd never finish (or even hit pan, for that matter) a full-sized one, so as luck would have it, there's currently a set of minis of the pressed and liquid versions of Opal for only $20. :: Link here ::

I told myself I wasn't going to allow myself to pick up another nude-ish gloss until I finished MAC Boy Bait, and seeing as how I'm now scraping the sides of that tube with the  doe foot applicator, I don't think it's unreasonable to add one to my wishlist. NARS Chelsea Girls is the one that made the cut. Enough swatching and fawning over it - it needs to be mine now:: Link here ::

I've been yearning for more berry polish shades, as that's one area in which my collection is lacking. I really want a super shiny, gel-like formula, too, and after swatching Ciate Napa Valley from the Olivia Palermo collection, I think this could be the winner. I'm a bit turned off by the price tag though, so I'm not sure if I'll actually end up picking this one up, or if I'll just continue lusting after it. :: Link here ::

My skincare wishlist is actually comprised of all repurchases. I'm in love with using the Shiseido Benefiance WrinkleResist24 Intensive Eye Contour Cream at night, because it's extra thick, hydrating and luxurious, so when I saw it in a set with four Benefiance WrinkleResist24 Pure Retinol Express Smoothing Eye Masks for the same price as the eye cream alone, it was a given that this would be on my to-buy list. :: Review here :: Link to the set here.

Inconveniently for me, I only have one more use left out of my current bottle of L'Occitane Shea Cleansing Oil (couldn't it just make it to the sale?!), so I'm going to be using other products for about a week or so until I can repurchase it. I might just need to bite the bullet and order multiples, to be honest, since I know I'll definitely use them up throughout the year. :: Review here :: Link here ::

I'll also be replenishing my supply of the NUDE Skincare Detox Brightening Fizzy Powder Wash*. I was lucky enough to be able to come across this product after winning it in a giveaway by NUDE Skincare last year, but I'm hooked. I use this religiously twice a week, and I like that it's quite an intensive exfoliator. It leaves my skin feeling so soft, smooth, and interestingly enough, hydrated as well. :: Review here :: Link here ::

The last product on my list is also the least glamorous by far - Murad Clarifying Body Spray*. I'm currently on my second bottle, and believe me when I say this stuff works! If you have issues with breakouts on your chest or back, this will be your savior. Yes, it's pricey, but because I've seen results, I don't ever want to be without it. :: Review here :: Link here ::

What's on your Sephora wishlist?

Disclosure: Products denoted with (*) were either sent to me for consideration for a review or won in a giveaway. I am not affiliated with either company, nor am I getting paid for this post. The opinions expressed in this post are based solely on my own experiences with the products.


October's Default Favorites

It's been a long time since I've done a favorites post, but seeing as how I moved in October and had to use the same select few products for most of the month while the rest of my collection was packed away, I think it makes sense that these kind of became my default favorites. I made sure when I picked which products to put in my makeup bag that they were products that would suit plenty of different looks, so that I wouldn't feel restricted or grow tired of them too quickly. I have to say, I did good.
The MAC Studio Waterweight SPF 30 Foundation is, without a doubt, the star of my October favorites. I think I used this every single day for three weeks straight, with the exception of an evening wedding I went to where I wore a longer wearing foundation without SPF. I reviewed the foundation here, but basically, it's glowy, healthy looking skin in a bottle.

Ever since hitting pan on my Dior bronzer a few weeks ago, I've been determined to use it more so that I can actually finish up a makeup product at some point in the foreseeable future, but every few days or so, I always find myself itching for the Hourglass Luminous Light Ambient Lighting Bronzer. I just love the healthy bronzed glow this adds to my complexion. It might actually be my favorite bronzer of 2015. For blush, October was all about CHANEL Joues Contraste in Alezane. This baby is beautiful. The coppery rose shade is sculpting and makes for the perfect autumn blush. I don't see myself growing tired of this one any time soon.

I set aside two eyeshadow palettes for use during this transition period, but the Make Up For Ever Artist Palette Volume 1 Nudes You Need was the one I reached for the most. The center and right shades in the middle and bottom rows comprise four stunning eyeshadow options that are perfect for my lazy one-eyeshadow looks. When I have a few minutes to spare in the morning, I like to spend it on a bit of winged liner. The Sephora Collection Long-Lasting 12Hr Wear Eye Liner was my favorite, despite having three liquid liners in my makeup bag to choose from. It has a super inky black, matte finish, and it stays on all day without budging, so long as it doesn't come into contact with water. Water is its nemesis and will make it smear like a mofo. Don't ask me how I know.

Lastly, my lip favorite of the month was a rediscovery: BUXOM Full-Bodied Lip Gloss in Mwah, a shimmery mauve. It's in the same color family as MAC Plushglass in Ample Pink and BUXOM Big & Sexy Bold Gel Lipstick in Rebel Rose, and although it's a bit tacky, the BUXOM lipgloss formula is still one of my favorites.

So, yeah, I guess you could call these my default favorites, but I actually enjoyed using products from a small selection each morning and found it cut out a lot of the guesswork that comes with having too much to choose from, therefore saving time too. Maybe there really is something to the whole 'capsule makeup collection' idea?


Mix and Match Priming

A few years ago, when my skin was very oily and acne-prone, an oil-controlling primer was my best friend. I used one all over my face before foundation just about everyday, and even then, I'd have to blot every other hour or so. Fast forward a few years, and with age, my skin has calmed down a bit. My t-zone still gets quite shiny, but the rest of my face often tiptoes the line between normal and a bit dry and dehydrated, depending on the season and the other skincare products I'm currently using. In order to accommodate my current combination skin type, rather than my previous oily one, I've grown quite fond of what I call 'mix and match priming.'

For my t-zone, my face primer of choice is the Smashbox Photo Finish Foundation Primer ($36). I really liked the Hourglass Veil Mineral Primer ($52) as well, but the Smashbox has more oil-control for me. It's a silicone-based primer that diminishes the look of pores and smooths over the skin's surface in addition to managing oil production throughout the day and increasing the wear time of whichever foundation I pair with it.

When the rest of my face is feeling normal and balanced, I don't apply any additional primer. When it's feeling a bit dry, either due to a change in the weather or the addition of a new skincare product (for example, when I first started using a retinol cream), the Too Faced Hangover Replenishing Face Primer ($32) is a fantastic hydrating, yet lightweight, primer option. It sinks in quickly and helps create a healthy and supple base. I was afraid a hydrating primer would be too heavy for my skin, perhaps even decreasing the wear time of my foundation or causing clogged pores or breakouts, but that wasn't the case at all. This is a great one if you have issues with foundation clinging on to dry patches or dry skin that makes foundation go on patchy and difficult to blend. The light and fresh coconut scent is just the cherry on top.

I don't use a primer everyday, but if I need my makeup to last longer than a normal working day (happy hour, anyone?), or if I think either my skin or foundation could benefit from some oil-control or an extra dose of hydration, I know I can always rely on these two.


Charlotte Tilbury Matte Revolution Lipstick in Very Victoria

If you follow me on snapchat (username willwrkfrmakeup), you'll already know the gem I stumbled across the other day while at Nordstrom in search of the NEST Pumpkin Chai Candle - a Charlotte Tilbury counter. Basically, my eyes lit up and I may or may not have done a little mental squeal when I saw it. The only thing I've tried from her brand is the Fallen Angel Palette, which I LOVE, but I hadn't gotten around to dabbling in her other offerings yet. Being able to see everything in person and swatch to my heart's content helped rectify that situation in no time.
After covering the back of my hand in swatches, I picked up two products, one of which is the Matte Revolution Lipstick in the shade Very Victoria ($32), a mauvey brown-nude. Although it appears gold in the photo above, the packaging is actually a stunning rose gold. At the counter, Very Victoria almost looked like it contained micro-shimmer that set it apart from other nudes, without taking away from its matte finish. When I swatched it at home the next day, however, I think the shimmer I thought I saw was actually a very subtle sheen than actual shimmer. 

Very Victoria glides on without tugging at the lips and has a velvety satin finish. Unlike some matte lipstick formulas, this one isn't heavy or paint-like, and it doesn't make the lips look dry or parched. While the formula itself doesn't provide hydration, I find it comfortable to wear and non-drying, and the lasting power is average. The formula accurately claims to be buildable, and I can swipe on a few layers to achieve mostly opaque coverage without it feeling heavy.
Wearing Charlotte Tilbury Matte Revolution Lipstick in Very Victoria
People have deemed the Matte Revolution Lipstick formula one of their favorite matte formulas, and although I'm not quite sure I'm ready to make the same declaration, I can certainly understand the appeal. It's a great formula with gorgeous packaging to boot.


BITE Beauty Best Bite Rewind

I'm trying to play it cool with all the holiday releases, but the second I heard rumblings about the BITE Beauty Best Bite Rewind set, I knew I had to have it. I'm a big fan of their Matte Creme Lip Crayon formula, which has more of satin finish than a true matte one and boasts strong pigmentation and a long wear time that is hydrating and comfortable. The set includes four shades (three of which are new) that range from nude to vampy, making it the perfect mini lip wardrobe. The red tin case that houses the crayons is really cute, too.

Best Bite Rewind ($25) includes Cafe, a peachy-pink nude, Torte, a medium-toned rose, Coulis, a red with a hint of pink undertone, and Aubergine, a purple berry and the only pre-existing shade in the set. I've been getting a ton of wear out of Cafe lately, and I like pairing it with a nude liner to define my lip shape, since on its own, it can look a bit pale on me. My other favorite is Aubergine - surprise, surprise. It's a gorgeous shade for fall and winter, and it's deep and vampy without being intimidating. Coulis is a beautiful red that would suit anyone, while I'm still trying to find ways to make Torte work on me. I often find medium and deeper roses a bit aging on me, but I find I prefer Torte when topped with a bit of nude gloss.

L to R: Cafe, Torte, Coulis and Aubergine
Top to bottom: Cafe, Torte, Coulis and Aubergine
Seeing as the set is a $55 value but costs just a dollar more than a full-sized Matte Creme Lip Crayon, I think Best Bite Rewind is a no-brainer. It's a welcome addition to any matte lip lover's collection, but it would make a great gift as well.


A Must-Try: MAC Studio Waterweight SPF 30 Foundation

I've tried MAC face powders in the past, but the MAC Studio Waterweight SPF 30 Foundation is my first liquid foundation from them. I tend to equate their foundations with being heavy and higher coverage, so they didn't appeal to me. Even when this foundation was released, I had my reservations based on my less than positive experience with another serum foundation. However, I decided to throw caution to the wind, and if you follow me on snapchat, you'll already know this, but I LOVE this foundation. Borderline obsessed.

The MAC comes in a frosted glass bottle with a pipette dropper. The packaging, while chic, scares me because it wasn't long ago that I accidentally knocked over my similarly-packaged Armani Maestro Liquid Summer Bronzer and spent a long while shampooing the carpet, as a result. Fun times were had. In addition to having to take extra care with the bottle in order to not spill or knock it over while open, it's also not ideal for traveling, due to the weight and fragile nature of the bottle.

Pipette dropper
I have shade NC25, and it's a touch light on me but will be the perfect match soon, as the color I've acquired over the summer continues to fade. Although it says it can also be applied with fingers or a sponge, I've been dotting the foundation around my face and buffing it in with a foundation brush. With one coat, the foundation has light coverage that evens out my skin tone and takes the edge off of blemishes, but doesn't truly cover them. One of the things that really surprised me was how seamlessly the coverage can be built up. After applying the first layer, I sometimes buff in a second layer just where I need additional coverage (usually around my nose or on small blemishes), and it never looks heavy or cakey. It's impossible to tell there's more product there than there is in other areas. The foundation is featherlight, and it truly feels like nothing on the skin. It would be perfect for those who hate the sometimes heavy or constricting feel of foundation on their skin.

The finish is absolutely stunning. Although the foundation dries down, the finish stays glowy. There's no dewiness or shimmer; it's just a gorgeous, illuminating glow. On my combination skin, I have to powder my t-zone is order to prevent my natural oils from adding to the foundation's glow and looking greasy later on, but I think dry to normal skin types could get away without powder. Despite the finish, the foundation doesn't break down or settle into my pores at all, and it lasts all day. And, as a cherry on top, unlike my experience with NARS All Day Luminous Foundation, I'm happy to report this one doesn't cling to my dry patches!

Bare skin (L) and one layer of foundation
One layer (L); Second layer used to build up coverage on t-zone only 
Wearing MAC Studio Waterweight SPF 30 Foundation in NC25

Since getting it, I haven't been able to get myself to use any other foundation. I seriously love this stuff. It's the perfect daytime foundation for everyday wear. It has light coverage that can seamlessly be built-up to medium-full, SPF 30 and a finish that makes the skin look healthy and radiant. Oily skin types may find that this foundation, especially when mixed with their skin's natural oils, looks too shiny on them. For all other skin types, however, you have to try this.


Hourglass Arch Brow Sculpting Pencils in Ash and Soft Brunette

I've heard a lot of great things about the Hourglass Arch Brow Sculpting Pencil ($32), but since it's quite difficult for me to find eyebrow pencils that are a good match for my hair color, I wasn't ready to take a risk and splurge for it just yet. Luckily, Hourglass recently expanded on their shade range to include nine shades total, and they sent me two of their pencils in the shades Ash and Soft Brunette.

Hourglass Arch Brow Sculpting Pencil in Soft Brunette
Hourglass Arch Brow Sculpting Pencil in Ash
Soft Brunette is described as "light to medium cool brown," and Ash is "gray/dark brown with cool undertones." If I've learned anything during my trial and error period with eyebrow products, it is that warm tones look completely unnatural on me. Also, although my natural hair color is black, because I have very little natural brow hairs and have to fill in most of my brow shape, nothing screams "drawn-on brows" quite like black or very dark brown brow pencils. For me, cool medium to dark browns are the way to go, so Soft Brunette and Ash were perfect for me.

Convenient spoolie brush on the opposite end of the pencil
Hourglass Arch Brow Sculpting Pencil in Ash (L) and Soft Brunette
The larger, angled shape of the Hourglass Arch Brow Sculpting Pencil took a bit of getting used to for me, since my usual brow pencil is a traditional pencil shape. I tend to hold it so that the tip is sideways, and although it's quite large, after a bit of practice, I found I was able to fill in my brows faster and with less strokes than I could with a normal pencil. I've only used Ash so far, but I think Soft Brunette could work well for me, too. It's a touch lighter and more cool-toned compared to Ash. The formula itself is fantastic. My eyebrows are still completely intact at the end of a long day, and I never experience my brows looking like they've melted off, which is all I could ask for with my oil-prone skin.

Because my brow hairs are so faint and sparse, they do look quite drawn on after I fill them in initially, so I use a tinted brow gel to brush through them. This softens the pigmentation of the brow pencil a bit, makes the edges softer and more diffused and adds texture to my brows.

Wearing Hourglass Arch Brow Sculpting Pencil in Ash (right); natural brow (left)
Hourglass Arch Brow Sculpting Pencil in Ash by itself (top) and brushed through with brow gel (bottom)
All in all, I'm a big fan of the Hourglass Arch Brow Sculpting Pencil. I love how natural Ash looks against my complexion and hair color, and the long-wearing formula is a great one. The only reason I could see someone not appreciating this pencil is if they're looking to draw on individual hairs. Since the pencil is quite large, it's better suited for filling in brows than for intricate, detail work.

P.S. I've started snapchatting! You can follow me at 'willwrkfrmakeup' if you want. I sometimes post little haul or mini-review videos over there :)

Disclosure: These products were sent to me for consideration for a review. I am not affiliated with the company, nor am I getting paid for this post. The opinions expressed in this post are based solely on my own experiences with the products.
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