|Diorific Vernis Smoky|
It's been a while since I've felt excited about eye liners. Mostly because they never seem to do what I need them to do. I usually find most liners are soft and don't last or stiff as a board and tear my eye apart while trying to apply. So you can imagine my surprise when I tried the (reformulated) Estee Lauder Double Wear Eye Pencils and actually liked them. Wore them. And found them to be worthy of a blog post.
Upon first swipe, I was impressed. They almost look like a mechanical pencil (though they are not) and have a glorious gel-like texture that makes them glide right on. They feel and smudge like a true kohl pencil, blending easily and comfortably with the sponge tip at the end. But be warned, once these bad boys set, you can run a marathon through a rainforest and they will not move. I tried to use a make-up wipe to remove the swatches on my arm and nothing. Nada. They were still there as if nothing had happened. But don't worry, my trusty cleansing oil took them right off (currently I am loving this one) so there is a solution. Below are swatches of each shade that I tried.
The shades listed from top to bottom are: Onyx, Burgundy Suede, Electric Cobalt, Night Violet and Gold. I wanted to grab Burgundy Suede and wear that one first, but I forced myself to start with a bolder color so I chose Night Violet. When worn super close to the lash line and coupled with inky black mascara, it's not as bold as I anticipated and looked quite natural.
The sponge on the end is probably my favorite feature because it has such a unique angled shape that makes it perfect for creating a clean smudge and/or cat eye. I hate that dragging feeling that many liners give me and I didn't find that to be an issue at all with these. I like the idea of possibly adding a bit of color into my morning routine with the addition of an eye liner, rather than the commitment of a full eye shadow. If you are in the market for a new eye liner and need it to go the distance while still leaving your lid in tact after applying, give these new Double Wear Pencils a go. And then drop me a line and let me know what you think!
*pr samples included
I am not happy that there is still many more months left of winter, but I can't change it so I just have to deal with it......and just keep shopping. *just keep shopping, just keep shopping, just keep shopping* (sung to the tune of Dory in Finding Nemo's song 'Just keep swimming') Ha! Here is a round up from the past few weeks of my favorite finds that need to be in my closet:
1. Current Elliott The Boyfriend Jeans - I have a ton of skinny jeans in my collection, but nothing says comfort like a roomy pair of boyfriend jeans. And these seem to have the perfect amount of distressed details.
2. Unif Cardigan -I struggle with layering pieces in the winter because sometimes a sweater and a coat are just not enough. Adding in a heavy cardigan coat could be the answer to helping me deal with the brutal NYC winter. And not to mention, this pattern is absolutely perfect.
3. Wonderland Sunglasses - Tortoise shell for sunglasses is the equivalent of leopard print for clothing - it's a neutral in my mind and goes with just about anything.
4. Rails Hunter Button Down - I love a buffalo check print and this bold pattern would get so much use in my wardrobe. Whenever the weekend comes, I always gravitate towards a comfy plaid shirt and jeans to run my errands.
5. DV by Dolce Vita Booties - Sometimes a variation from my standard black and dark brown boot preference is needed. And since I love wearing white jeans all year round, this would go perfect with them and pastel accessories.
6. Wilde Heart Varsity Sweater - It may be a knock-off of the original Rag & Bone sweater, but at a fraction of the cost. I love the oversized slouchy look of this piece and think it would work well with jeans for a casual look or even a pencil skirt for an office appropriate combo. If the v is too deep, a white or black cami can always come in and save the day.
7. Stuart Weitzman Reserve Tall Boots - I purchased a pair of flat Stuart Weitzman boots many years ago and have just about run them into the ground. I figured it is time to replace them and I have had my eye on these Reserve boots for quite a long time. The added feature of the elastic back makes it even more appealing to me because I know they will fit my leg perfectly and comfortably.
8. Rag & Bone Devoe Coat - I am not typically a pink fan, but this shade of blush is absolutely breathtaking. It's a bit of a splurge item, but one that I can envision wearing for the next 10 years.
Ever since I learned how to do my own makeup, I've been a brush gal. I rarely if ever use my fingers or sponges (except for one which we will talk about) and find that I always get a better finish with a good makeup brush. I already did a post on my favorite eye shadow brushes (read that here), so it only made sense to follow that up with a post on my most used brushes for foundation, powder and blush. (Brushes listed below are in order from left to right in the next picture)
1. NARS Yachiyo Brush - This is a new brush for me and yes, I fell victim to all the hype surrounding it. Truth be told, I was not a fan when I first used it. It was too tapered, too small and didn't blend well on my skin. Fast forward a few months and a lot of use later, and it has finally become a staple in my makeup routine. The bristles began to open up a bit more and the shape was a bit less tapered which made it great for contouring my cheeks and applying highlighter.
2. MAC #129 Brush - This brush has been in my collection for more than 10 years, so that should tell you how important it is to invest in good brushes. It is still in great condition (minor wear and tear) and I suspect it will last me another 10 years. Because it is a slightly more voluminous brush, I like to use this when applying blushes and bronzer with minimal pigmentation. I find that more tapered brushes give me better control with intensely pigmented products, and fluffier brushes are best with blushes that don't need a precise application.
3. Real Techniques Stippling Brush - Perfect for foundation, cream highlighters and blush, this duo fibre Real Techniques brush has been a favorite for a long time. It's very affordable while still maintaining superior quality. This brush can leave brush strokes on occasion so I do have to ensure I use it with thicker foundation and/or blush formulas.
4. Sephora Pro Airbrush #55 - This is the newest member of my foundation brush collection and was purchased purely off reviews and fellow blogger buzz. People were raving about its ability to create a true airbrushed finish, so I had to see for myself. Happily, all of the reviews were right - it is quite a unique brush. Because the hair is a bit longer, the brush moves a lot during the application which gives it the ability to create a smooth finish on the face. The only challenge I have is because it's not dense and stiff, I have a harder time getting an even application around my nose. I usually just grab one of my Real Techniques brushes to help finish the job and it works perfectly. Other than that one aspect, I truly love the finish this brush gives to my skin.
5. Giorgio Armani Blender Brush - When I need a more precise application for my foundation or cream blush/highlighter, I like using a stiff synthetic brush like this one from Armani. It gives me more control and instead of swiping it up and down my skin, I tend to use a stippling or patting motion to get the desired result. Especially with heavily pigmented cream blushes, this brush allows for a gorgeous sheer wash of color.
6. Hourglass Blush Brush - If my Sephora Pro Airbrush, my MAC #129 brush and my Real Techniques brushes had a baby, it would be this Hourglass Blush Brush. It a nice combination of stiff yet fluffy with a nice rounded tip that allows for precise application or a nice dusting over the face. I have used it for liquid foundation and love the finish it gives, but prefer it for powder blush. It's not wide enough or large enough for bronzer in my opinion and not precise enough for highlighter - it falls right in the middle and works great for those neutral blush colors I wear on a regular basis.
7. Real Techniques Contour Brush - This is exclusively my concealer brush. I know it can probably be used for a myriad of products, but I love the shape for my under eye area. It fits perfectly and helps to blend out my concealer beautifully. I learned to use a fluffier brush under the eyes many years ago to achieve a more airbrushed and blended finish and have never stopped using that the technique.
8. MAC #150 Brush - While I typically use a powder puff (I love this one) to press my loose setting powders into my skin, I still love a large powder brush for dusting on finishing powders and/or bronzers. This MAC brush has been a staple in my collection for 10+ years and it always gets the job done with minimal shedding.
9. Bobbi Brown Blush Brush - This is my first Bobbi Brown brush and I was quite impressed with how well it has performed. I like to use the side of the brush more than the tip simply because I find it does a better job at blending out highly pigmented blushes into a wearable flush of color on the cheeks. It may be my first BB brush, but after using it almost every day for the past few months, it certainly won't be my last.
10. MAC #116 Brush - While many may find the smaller shape of this brush to be perfect for contouring, I use this brush specifically for highlighting. The flat sides of the brush allow for me to tap the highlighter onto my cheek bones and then buff it into the skin for a beautiful finish. In a pinch, however, it does work as a nice eyeshadow blender/crease brush because of it's slightly tapered shape.
11. Real Techniques Buffing Brush - If I had to pick a favorite brush out of my entire collection for applying foundation, this would be it. It is dense enough to give even coverage and fluffy enough to ensure the foundation is blended out well. It's the first brush I grab when I am going on vacation because I know I will get a gorgeous application every single time.
12. Shu Uemura Natural Brush 18R Red - I initially thought this powder brush would be great at applying loose powder or finishing powders, I quickly found that the tapered shape would make this more invaluable than I anticipated. When I want a contour that is less defined and precise, I reach for this brush every time. I specifically love it when applying bronzer around my hairline and across my cheekbones because the shape of the brush allows the product to be dispersed in a larger area while still ensuring you can keep some definition with the placement.
13. Beautyblender - Though I am super late to the party, I am finally here. I have heard people rave about the power of the Beautyblender for years, yet I was not convinced. I tried the white one initially and was not pleased. It streaked and left my skin with an uneven application every time. But people kept telling me that the pink one would change my life - and they were right. Since the Beautyblender is best used wet, I find that it gives a beautiful dewy finish to whatever foundation I am using. I do adore the look of my skin after using it, but I always need to use a mattifying setting powder on top to help balance out the radiant finish. I thought this would deter me a bit, but surprisingly it hasn't and I reach for my Beautyblender all the time. As suggested, I use a swiping and bouncing motion to apply foundation and love that it leaves no streaks or splotchy spots on my skin. I didn't think I would ever say it, but I am now drinking the Beautyblender Kool-Aid.
Recently I have seen a ton of new lipgloss/balm hybrids popping up all over the place. As someone that is not a huge lipgloss fan (my hair always sticks to my lips - ugh), I was a bit hesitant. I love a sheer lip color that has a bit of shine, but that awful tackiness has GOT TO GO. Thankfully though, these new formulations blend the best of both worlds, without the dreaded sticky feeling that I try to avoid with lipglosses/balms. After testing out a few of these new formulas (and some old ones that I recently discovered), I figured I would do a round up and share my thoughts on each.
1. YSL Volupte Tint-in-Oil - I was not sure I would love these when I first saw them online, but the pull was just too great to resist. So I picked up two of the shades and promptly fell in love with the formula. They smell amazing and feel even better on the lips. Since they have more of an oil base, there is a strong slip to them yet they don't feel like a gloss, but more like a hydrating balm. But the color pay-off is quite minimal so almost any shade you pick up will end up looking the same.
2. Clarins Instant Light Lip Balm Perfector - This is the only one in the entire bunch that is actually a lip balm in a stick form and I simply adore it. What drew me in with this one was the color - Rosewood. It is the most perfect "lip color but better" shade and I love to add it on top of whatever nude lip I am wearing that day to help add some moisture and a bit of shine.
3. Almay Liquid Lip Balm - The texture of these Almay balms is almost more of a gel than a balm. They are incredibly sheer, add just the slightest hint of color and have a slight cooling feeling on the lips which is one of the reasons I enjoy wearing them so much. Though they feel great on the lips, I do have to reapply all the time, so I tend to save these for the weekends when I don't need my makeup to last all day.
4. Zelens Lip Glaze - Initially I thought these lip glazes would wear as a gloss, but as soon I applied them I was pleasantly surprised to see how nourishing and comfortable they felt on the lips. They are hydrating with a slight gel texture, but surprisingly have more color pay-off than I anticipated. I feel like I can wear these alone without having to layer over a deeper or more pigmented lip color. The best benefit of these lip glazes is the long lasting hydration I get when wearing them. I have been suffering from insanely dry lips this winter, and most lip balms help for a few hours but my lips get dry again by midday. When I wear the Zelens lip glazes, I find that my lips stay hydrated and comfortable much longer than most other balms.
5. Clarins Instant Light Lip Comfort Oil - If I had to pick a favorite out of this entire bunch, it would definitely be this Clarins Lip Comfort Oil. Between the applicator (which feels like the softest cushion ever) and the insanely nourishing formula, this oil feels like heaven on my lips. It adds little to no color and is not sticky in the least - and has been permanently housed in my makeup bag since the day I received it.
6. Lancome Dewy Color Lip Perfector - While I love this new lip balm/gloss hybrid, I still love a lip color with strong payoff. After just one swipe of these new Lancome Lip Perfectors, I knew I had found the perfect balance. They have great pigmentation, while still feeling like a soft hydrating balm on the lips. They are a bit heavier than the YSL, but as with the YSL, they don't have that heavy tacky feeling that many glosses tend to have.
*pr samples included