Browsing Tag

cruelty free

Beauty, Eyes, Makeup

Mascara Clear-Out


mascara-clear-out-2I’ve been reaching for the same mascara every single day for months. The Wet n Wild Max Volume Plus Waterproof Mascara has been my go-to pretty much since the day I bought it. It meets all my criteria for a great mascara: semi-dry formula, holds a curl extremely well, waterproof, separates and elongates lashes, and is easy to remove. I figured since this is really the only mascara I use (the Heroine Make mascara is sticking around for special events), I might as well purge my collection of the not-so-great ones. Let’s jump right in:

It Cosmetics Hello Lashes | This is a pretty mediocre mascara. It doesn’t provide much volume, and it doesn’t hold a curl at all. I’m also not a huge fan of the spikey ball on the end of the brush. I always get mascara on my eyelids with brushes like this.

Tarte Lights, Camera, Lashes | Hello clumps! I really dislike this mascara. It’s so thick and gloopy that I have to spend way too long brushing through my lashes with a lash comb to remove the clumps. It also has a very strong scent, and well, I prefer not smelling my eyelashes. It also doesn’t hold a curl at all, which is the number one thing I look for in a mascara.

Wet n Wild Max Fanatic Cat Eye | This one wasn’t as disappointing as a few of the others. I also like the brush, as I find it easy to apply to both eyes. I usually have a bit more trouble applying mascara to my left eyelashes because I could never get the hang of turning my hand around and holding the brush backwards, so I like the comb shape of this one. I’m tossing it because I’ve had it for quite a few months now, it doesn’t hold a curl super well, and it does flake a little bit throughout the day.

Jordana Best Lash Extreme | I think I need to give up on non-waterproof mascaras. I don’t think I’ve really loved a single one throughout the years. This is another mascara that I found to be mediocre. It’s a thick, wet formula that clumps up very easily and has to be brushed out with a lash comb. This type of mascara always flakes off on me. Not a fan.

Bare Minerals Lash Domination | I know this one was just a sample, but I didn’t like the tiny brush. I also didn’t like the super wet formula that made my lashes point further downward than if I was wearing no mascara at all. This one was a big fail for me.

Really, all I really want is for my lashes to stay curled throughout the day. If anyone has any recommendations for cruelty-free waterproof mascaras that hold a curl, I’d love to hear them!

Beauty, Eyes, Makeup

The Balm Meet Matt(e) Trimony Eyeshadow Pallette



The other side of the palette does contain a mirror, but it’s really hard to take a picture of a mirror and not see your ugly picture-taking-face in the reflection!

Back in April, I was shopping at Kohl’s in Wisconsin, and I mentioned to my mom that I wanted this palette, and she kindly bought it for me (thanks mom!).  I had never tried The Balm’s eyeshadows before, but I’ve only heard good things, so I was very excited to put this to the test. Here are some not-so-amazing swatches:


thebalm-meet-matte-trimony-swatches-2Believe me, my swatches don’t do this palette justice, as the quality of the shadows is brilliant. They are everything I want in a matte eyeshadow: buttery, pigmented, and easy to blend. My favorite shadow in the palette is definitely Matt Lopez – it makes a great warm transition shade. After that, my favorites are probably Matt Evans, Matt Rossi, and Matt Lin. The only shadow that isn’t quite as intense as the others seems to be Matt Kumar, the brick red in the center of the palette. Truthfully, I haven’t reached for Matt Kumar very much, since I tend to go for the lighter, neutral shades, but I’m sure I could get it to be just as rich as it looks in the pan with a bit of primer or fixative.


Wearing Matt Evans on the lid, Matt Lopez in the crease, and Matt Lin in the inner corner

Pick this up if you like a versatile matte palette with a good selection of cool and warm tones!

The Balm Meet Matt(e) Trimony matte eyeshadow palette $42

Beauty, Face, Makeup

Becca x Jaclyn Hill Champagne Collection Face Palette

beccaxjaclynhill-champagne-collection-face-palette-packaging-frontLast week, I was lucky enough to order the new, limited edition Becca x Jaclyn Hill Champagne Collection Face Palette during its early release on the Sephora mobile app. It will go on sale on tomorrow, May 26th and will be available in stores on June 16th. For whatever reason, I feel like I need Jaclyn Hill’s collaborations with Becca whenever they’re announced. I don’t typically get excited about blogger or YouTuber collabs, but it’s different with Jaclyn! Even though our makeup styles couldn’t be more different, I know what she brings out with Becca will be high quality and very, very pretty! Here are some more pictures:

beccaxjaclynhill-champagne-collection-face-palette-packagingThe packaging is very pretty. It is plastic, but it has a nice weight to it that I feel would be over the top if it were made of glass or metal. The back of the palette has a sticker that details which shades and formulas are inside. The entire inside of the cover has a good, high quality mirror.

beccaxjaclynhill-champagne-collection-face-palette-1 beccaxjaclynhill-champagne-collection-face-paletteInside, you get a 0.19 oz pan each of Champagne Pop and the new highlighter, Prosecco Pop (Becca’s original Shimmering Skin Perfectors come in 0.28 oz pans). Prosecco Pop is described as a medium warm gold. You also get three blushes, Rosé Spritz (0.10 oz), a “peachy pink with pale gold shimmer”, Amaretto (0.12 oz), a “matte toasted almond”, and Pamplemousse (0.12 oz), a “matte warm coral pink”.


Swatches in natural indirect light


Swatches in direct sunlight

So far, I’m enjoying all the shades. I think my favorites so far may be Amaretto and Pamplemousse, which is exactly the opposite of what I expected. Amaretto seems a bit deep for very fair skin tones, but it actually looks quite muted and pretty after it’s blended out. Pamplemousse is BRIGHT! You need a very light hand for all of these as they are extremely pigmented, but especially for Rosé Spritz and Pamplemousse. It should also be noted that while Amaretto and Pamplemousse are described as matte on Sephora’s site, they do have a very small amount micro glitter when viewed up close, though it’s nowhere near as much as Rosé Spritz, which has all the pop of the two highlighters. While I do think Prosecco Pop is gorgeous, it is a bit noticeable on my skin. It has an obvious gold appearance instead of a natural-looking highlight. I’m wearing it as an eyeshadow today, and I think it looks beautiful!

Some other things to note: My palette came with a 1.5 ml sample of the Backlight Priming Filter. Becca claims this is a $136 value. I could be wrong, but when comparing the pan sizes in this palette to their normal pan sizes and prices, I could only come up with an overall value of $106. Still, considering this is retailing for $52, it’s an incredible savings. I was honestly expecting this to be more in the $70-$80 range.

Overall, this is a gorgeous palette. It’s definitely something to look into if you’re a collector, if you love Becca’s formulas, and if you love blushes and highlighters! Will you be ordering this when it goes on sale tomorrow?

Beauty, Makeup

Wet n Wild Summer 2016 Lost in the Wild Flowers Collection

wet n wild summer 2016 lost in the wild flowers collectionWoohoo! I was finally able to find a new drugstore release before it was completely picked over! I snatched up a bunch of the new limited edition Wet n Wild Lost in the Wild Flowers collection at Walgreens recently, and I’m ready to share swatches and my first impressions.

First up: the Megaglo Multi-Sticks

wet n wild megaglo multi sticks

wet n wild megaglo multistick swatches

Left to right: Marigold Round, Light Up My High-Biscus, Carnational Anthem


These are stick highlighters/blushes that are very creamy and can be sheered out. I have worn Light Up My High-Biscus as a blush and Marigold Round as a highlighter and they are surprisingly subtle when applied with a stippling brush. I haven’t worn Carnational Anthem yet since it’s quite orange, but as I said, these can be blended out to be pretty sheer, so I may give this a go as a blush. I also think these may work as eyeshadows, but I haven’t tried that yet.

Coloricon Metallic Liquid Lipsticks


wet n wild metallic liquid lipsticks

wet n wild metallic liquid lipstick my tulips are sealed peony express coming up roses

Left to right: My Tulips Are Sealed, Peony Express, Coming Up Roses

wet n wild metallic liquid lipstick my tulips are sealed

My Tulips Are Sealed

wet n wild metallic liquid lipstick peony express

Peony Express

wet n wild metallic liquid lipstick coming up roses

Coming Up Roses

I’m not sure how I feel about these yet. First of all, they do not dry down like most liquid lipsticks. In fact, they are much more like a gloss, but they’re not gloopy or uncomfortable. I noticed that, when blotted, a lot of the color is picked up, and the micro glitter is left on the lips. The same thing happens throughout the day as they wear off. I don’t really have anything bad to say about these, I’m just not sure if they’re for me. I know metallic liquid lipsticks are a trend right now, so I wanted to try out an affordable version, but I think they look kind of weird in general, although Coming Up Roses looks the most like a normal lip color. I think I’ll try using the lighter shades on top of matte lipsticks or lip liners to add some dimension.

Megaglo Highlighting Powder

wet n wild highlighting powder crown of my canopy

wet n wild highlighting powder crown of my canopyThis is a gorgeous highlighter for deeper skin tones. It won’t work as a highlighter for me, but I could probably make it work as a blush-topper. There is a lighter shade, but unfortunately, it was sold out by the time I found the display at Walgreens. I think I’ll give this one a go as an eyeshadow. The formula is super glowy without large chunks of glitter.

I didn’t swatch the two Megalast nail polishes because my nails were already painted, but the two colors I picked up are Poppy Culture (the orange) and Cherry Blossom On Top (the pink). I love Wet n Wild nail polishes, and these two colors are super bright and perfect for summer. I believe there were two other colors, a purple and a green, but I don’t really like either of those on my nails, so I didn’t purchase them.

Wet n Wild has been killing it this year. I’ve picked up so many things I’ve grown to love from the brand since January. I hope you found my swatches helpful, and let me know what you think of this collection!

Beauty, Skincare

Aromatica Rose Absolute First Serum

aromatica rose absolute first serumFor Christmas, my husband surprised me with a box full of goodies from Peach and Lily, a Korean beauty store in Queens. Out of all the products, the Rose Absolute First Serum from Aromatica interested me the most. First of all, I love anything rose-scented, and secondly, it’s organic and cruelty-free – not super common in Korean brands, from my research. I’ve been using this for a good three months, and I’m ready to share my thoughts. Let’s get into it:


Aloe Barbadensis Leaf Extract, Propanediol, Glycerin, Niacinamide, Betaine, Rosa Damascena Bud Extract, Polyglyceryl-10 Laurate, Polyglyceryl-10 Myristate, Panthenol, Phenethyl Alcohol, Sodium Carbomer, Levulinic Acid, Sodium Levulinate, Glyceryl Caprylate, Allantoin, Malva Sylvestris(mallow) Extract, Mentha Piperita(peppermint) Leaf Extract, Primula Veris Extract, Alchemilla Vulgaris Extract, Veronica Officinalis Extract, Melissa Officinalis Leaf Extract, Achillea Millefolium Extract, Rosa Damascena Flower Oil, Adenosine

According to CosDNA, there are no acne triggers or irritants, and the ingredients are all a 1-3 (out of 9, 9 being the worst) for long-term safety. I can attest to this being super gentle and non-irritating.

How I use it

I apply this after letting my tretinoin sink in for 10-15 minutes. I shake out a dime-sized amount onto my fingers and gently pat onto my skin. I find that it’s more than enough for my entire face and neck. After letting it sink in for a few minutes, I follow up with CeraVe PM moisturizer.


The consistency is slightly thicker than water. I wouldn’t say that it’s a gel because it’s pretty runny, but it’s definitely thicker than a straight-up liquid. Here you can see how it looks right from the bottle, patted onto the skin for 10 seconds, and then after 30 seconds:

aromatica rose serum swatch

Straight out of the bottle

aromatica rose serum swatch

Patted onto the skin for 10 seconds

aromatica rose serum swatch

Patted onto the skin for 30 seconds

Although it’s subtle, you can see the brightening and moisturizing effect.

Other thoughts

This serum is marketed as hydrating and anti-aging, and with aloe and niacinamide being the first and fourth ingredients, I think it lives up to the claims. I’ll confess that during January and February, when I was dealing with several horrible skin issues, namely breakouts due to clindamycin and extreme dryness from tretinoin, I wasn’t sure if this was doing anything for me. Whenever I cut this out of my nighttime skincare routine, however, my skin would be extra dry in the morning, most noticeably around my mouth where I struggle the most with flaky skin. Even now that the weather is finally getting warmer and it’s not super dry, I still see more dryness in my skin on mornings after skipping this product. Niacinamide is supposed to help with red marks left behind by acne, but I can’t say that this serum helps at all with mine. For me, the main benefit is hydration, and I don’t think I can be without this in the cold, dry months.

It costs $39 for 100ml. I’ve been using it for over three months, usually twice a day, and I still have over half the bottle left. I think if I continue to use this, it would probably last me through August.

I think this is a great serum if you’re looking for something that’s gentle, soothing, and hydrating that will brighten your skin and help with anti-aging. If you want a serum to fade red marks or clear up acne, I think there are better products out there, as this one is almost too gentle.

Have any of you used the Rose Absolute First Serum? I’d love to know your thoughts!

Beauty, Makeup

Everyday makeup

currentmakeupcurrentmakeup2I’ve finally come up with a makeup routine that works pretty well for me. It doesn’t take too long, and I manage to look put-together by the end of it. In my February favorites, I mentioned the Wet n Wild Max Volume Plus Waterproof Mascara, the Hourglass Ambient Lighting Palette, and the Milani Lipstick in “Pretty Natural”. I’ve still been using these three items almost every day. Lately, my skin has been a bit better, so I feel more comfortable using a heavier foundation, which is typically the opposite of what people do, I know, but I find that when I put a heavy foundation over active breakouts and flaky skin, it makes everything look way worse. So, when my skin is behaving, the Tarte Amazonian Clay Full-Coverage Foundation makes my skin look radiant and smooth. I’ve been using the Wet n Wild Illumi-Naughty Highlighting & Concealing Pen, and I really like it. It doesn’t accentuate the dryness around my eyes, and it’s just peachy enough to cancel out some of the dark circles.

For quite a while, I hadn’t been wearing much eyeshadow, but my Vegan Cuts box changed that by introducing me to the 100% Pure Eye Creamstick Liner. While this is a dual-ended product, I’ve been wearing mostly the “Champagne” color. It’s such a unique shade! I’ve tried using both colors on my eyes at the same time, but they don’t blend together very well, so I’ve been using “Naked” and “Buck” from the original Urban Decay Naked palette to blend it out. I do think it can be worn alone for a one-shadow look, too. I’ve been trying out the Wet n Wild Eyeshadow Primer underneath, and I think it does a good job.

For the rest of my face, I’ve been cycling through the different blushes and bronzers I’ve recently purchased. I do like the Physician’s Formula Butter Bronzer, although it’s extremely subtle, and I really have to pack it on to see a bronzing effect. I chose the Wet n Wild Ombre Blush in “In a Purple Haze” for this look to match the coolness of the eyeshadow. Of course, I always use the Anastasia Brow Wiz, and I chose The Balm’s Mary Lou-Manizer.

There you have it! What are your everyday makeup staples lately?