Beauty

You’re Makin’ Me Blush: NARS Orgasm, Milani Dolce Pink and Benefit Sugarbomb

Ever since I heard that NARS Orgasm was a universally-flattering coral blush for any skin type, I was bent on trying it out. Unfortunately, when I did it was practically translucent on my skin. No matter how much I (and the Sephora sales associate) tried to layer it on, it wouldn’t show.

Annoyingly, when swatted on the back of my hand, the flattering rumors about NARS Orgasm proved true. Instead of this cosmetics staple, I was advised to try Benefit Sugarbomb. It was an acceptable substitute — nowhere near similar to Orgasm — but it added a lively shimmer to my cheekbones that did the job. While I went on my MAC lipstick dupe hunt, I decided to also try Milani Baked Blush in Dolce Pink. This hue is definitely more impactful than Orgasm and Sugarbomb, in a more punchy, pink glitter kind of way.

Below are swatches taken outdoors in the shade:

NARS Orgasm-Milani Dolce Pink-Benefit Sugarbomb

Swatches in natural sunlight. Here you’ll see that Benefit Sugarbomb gives more of a highlighting effect:

NARS Orgasm-Milani Dolce Pink-Benefit Sugarbomb-Natural

I used to be exclusively an eye makeup fiend, but lately lipstick and blush have worked their way into my collection. I’m looking for more blush colors to try, and have already ordered:

e.l.f. Studio Blush in Gotta Glow (allegedly a NARS Albatross dupe)

e.l.f. Studio Blush in Twinkle Pink (another NARS Orgasm/Super Orgasm dupe)

e.l.f. Studio HD Blush in Headliner (Make Up For Ever #5 Nip Slip liquid blush dupe)

Reviews for my e.l.f. haul to follow soon!

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MAC Lipstick Swatches and Dupes

Lately, I’ve been fixated on lipstick.

As more of a lip balm and gloss kind of gal, I confess that when I used to think about lipstick it seemed like a dated, matronly part of the makeup world– something that survived cosmetics counters only because 50-somethings relied on them for the perfect pout.

Despite the aversion I had for lipstick, the cult following for MAC Cosmetics piqued my interest. Although I enjoy buying, testing and blogging about makeup, I’m far from a cosmetics expert. Sure, I once bought a one-off Dior Addict lipstick for $30 (I’m a sucker for packaging), but for whatever reason, I couldn’t bring myself to buy MAC lipstick. MAC was a brand that was financially out-of-reach, at least, I thought it was.

I came across another blog called, LipstickDupe, and learned with great delight that there are well-known MAC lipstick dupes from drugstore brands, like e.l.f., Maybelline, Milani and Wet n’ Wild.

I was ecstatic.

Popular MAC Lipstick Dupes

Being completely unfamiliar with the MAC cosmetics line, I first sought to find out which colors were most popular and which hues could compliment my skin tone. I have warm, olive skin and based on my late-night web browses, I settled on testing these colors:

MAC Angel (dupe: Maybelline Born With It), MAC Rebel (dupe: Milani Uptown Mauve), MAC So Chaud (dupe: Wet n’ Wild Purty Persimmon), MAC Ruby Woo (dupe: Wet n’ Wild Red Velvet), MAC Cherish (dupe: Wet n’ Wild Bare It All), MAC Creme Cup (dupe: Wet n’ Wild Think Pink), MAC Mehr (dupe: Rimmel Kate Moss #104)

MAC Lipstick Swatches

All colors in natural lighting.

When I wore MAC Cherish, MAC Angel and MAC Creme Cup, all three looked nearly identical, with Creme Cup being the brightest pink of all three. Overall, I thought MAC Mehr was the better everyday option for my skin tone, but Angel gave off a nice pinky nude on my lips. The latter three colors (So Chaud, Rebel and Ruby Woo) were also fun, bold hues for special occasions.

Here’s where the fun really starts. I looked into common MAC lipstick dupes for all colors above and a couple were flops in my opinion, but some were admirable copy cats:

MAC Lipstick Dupes Cherish Angel Creme Cup

All colors in natural lighting.

Bare It All ($2) vs. MAC Cherish – Very similar color comparison. I found that many of the Wet n’ Wild dupes had very creamy (almost drying) formula that made me want to lick my lips or slap on a layer of lip balm. Regardless of the formula, Bare It All is a nice, muted nude that I can wear to work (with gloss), so it’s a keeper.

Born With It ($7) vs. MAC Angel – Hands down identical color. For me, both products offered similar pigment, with Maybelline’s version offering added moisture. Some beauty blogs I’ve read also said that e.l.f. Classy was an exact match, but I’ve yet to try that MAC dupe; in the meantime, I’m very impressed with Maybelline Born With It.

Think Pink ($1) vs. Creme Cup – Oh, boy. This one is definitely a return in my books. First of all, Think Pink is a lot more neon/bright/opaque pink than Creme Cup, making it a poor dupe. Secondly, this is a wildly unflattering color on me. I got Think Pink on a BOGO 50% off sale at CVS; maybe I’ll try something else post-refund.

Kate Moss #104 ($6) vs. MAC Mehr – Side by side, the two colors look similar, and as a swatch, are practically the same color. Personally, I find Rimmel’s Kate Moss #104 a deeper mauve than Mehr, but are exact dupes on the lips. I actually wore Kate Moss #104 when swatching at my local MAC store. When I asked a MAC associate about Mehr, she said it would actually look like the color I was wearing– and it did. Victory.

MAC Lipstick Dupes Mehr So Chaud Rebel Ruby Woo

All colors in natural lighting.

Purty Persimmon ($2) vs. MAC So Chaud – Holy crap, these two are so identical my frugal feels are tingling. I love the orangey-red on my lips, and the pigmented color and finish of the cheaper Wet n’ Wild dupe can’t be beat. This is a great springtime color for a night out, particularly for my skin tone.

Uptown Mauve ($6) vs. MAC Rebel – A color that so many makeup fanatics swear by, there are actually a few MAC Rebel lipstick dupes available in drugstores for less. I tried to find Wet n’ Wild’s Sugar Plum Fairy, which I hear takes the lead among Rebel copies, but it was out of stock. Womp Womp.

Then, I heard that Milani offers two dupe-worthy colors: Sangria and Uptown Mauve. Sangria looks like the same color as Rebel from the tube, but I decided to try Uptown Mauve, because I’m a wimp when it comes to dark colors and Uptown Mauve appeared lighter compared to Rebel. When swatched on my skin, however, the two colors became one. I’m thrilled with my pick; it’s a gorgeous color that mocks MAC Rebel, seamlessly.

Red Velvet ($1) vs. MAC Ruby Woo – While I loved Red Velvet on my lips, it’s distinctly different from MAC’s Ruby Woo when swatched and worn. MAC’s version is said to be a universally flattering red, with its bluish undertones. Red Velvet is staying in my new lipstick collection, but I can’t bring myself to say it’s even a contender among other MAC lipstick dupes.

With all said and done, I spent about $25 for seven drugstore brand MAC lipstick dupes. Not a bad experience!

Let me know if any of these dupes worked for you, or if you have other suggestions in the comments below. 🙂

Suite 707

Sephora Haul: Those Highbrow Kids

Winter has finally decided to show its mug in L.A., and for some, it’s a face that only a mother could love. It’s nowhere near the kind of winter that much of the country is facing, but it’s ours. It’s rain.

There’s a saying here: “People get crazy in the rain.”

And that’s what’s happened. I went nuts… at Sephora.

Sephora Haul

I’m obsessed with thick caterpillar eyebrows, so I was all over the Anastasia Beverly Hills display. No one wants spidey-brows, but everyone wants Cara Delevingne‘s furrow (cause they’re beautiful and Cara is many woman’s girl-crush at the moment).

I’ve usually don’t fill in my brows, just because they’ve always seemed fine in the mirror. That was before I noticed the pictures. My brows are somewhat sparse at the tail, so this is happening.

Anastasia-Beverly-Hills-powder-highlighter-gel

In addition to a strong brow, I’ve decided to change up my skincare regimen. I currently use Lift Lab Purify and Clarify Daily Cleanser (thanks TPOLA!) and Yes to Tomatoes Daily Balancing Moisturizer. That’s pretty much it.

I’m still sticking with Lift Lab, since it lathers well, smells like its straight out of a luxurious spa and washes clean. My new routine includes Origins United State Balancing Tonic after cleansing, which is a good thing considering I still see grime after my Clarisonic. Yes to Tomatoes was a fair drugstore moisturizer and I like that it was all-natural, but it was too heavy at times no matter how sparingly I applied. First Aid Beauty Ultra Repair Face Moisturizer absorbs quickly and doesn’t leave a greasy feeling.

While I’m far from full-blown crows feet, my grandmother always told me that splurging on skincare was worth it. Youth lasts a three decades max, if you don’t take preemptive steps to take care of your skin. So I’ve transitioned into grown-up skincare by investing in a $40 night cream. The price almost made me gag.

Origins High Potency Night-A-Mins caught my eye. Not only was the name cute, but it received rave reviews. First impression? Pretty damn good.

Origins-Skincare

First-Aid-Beauty-Clarisonic

Hopefully losing the hundies won’t all have been for naught.

Suite 707

Sephora Haul: Laura Mercier, Benefit and Sephora Collection

Sephora Haul

For lunch today,I had a makeup pow-wow at Sephora and it was glorious.

I had to grab a couple much-needed essentials, but the other half of my purchases were completely impulsive– what can I say? I live on the financial edge (ever so slightly).

Here’s are the goods:

Laura Mercier Lip Glace in Bare Beige

Laura Mercier Lip Glace Bare Beige

Lip color of any kind is not usually in my daily regiment, but I decided it was time for me to transition out of my lazy-college-days routine and actually try to spruce my smile up every morning.

After a frustrating exchange with a snobby Sephora associate — I finally found the perfect nude lip color for my olive skin tone (all by my lonesome).

Benefit Sugarbomb Blush

Benefit Sugarbomb

Benefit Sugarbomb 2

I desperately wanted to get all kinds of crazy manic about NARS Orgasm blush, but it went completely sheer when I applied it– no matter how much I layered it on. Eventually, I caved and accepted the reality that me and the big-O just don’t mix.

Thankfully, a second (much friendlier) Sephora chick helped me find a better alternative: Benefit’s Sugarbomb blush. The end result mimics the typical look of Orgasm, which is fine by me.

Yippie skippy!

Sephora Waterproof Contour Eye Pencil in Love Affair

Sephora Contour Eye Pencil 12HR Wear Love Affair

(Photo: Sephora)

This eyeliner goes on super silky– at least the sample did. I haven’t opened mine yet, because I still want to savor the fuzzy feeling of my hasty purchase. The color is closest to plum, so it’s funky in a subtle way. I’m in my late 20’s– no room for crazy, neon-rainbow shenanigans!

Sephora Pro Eyelash/Eyebrow Brush

Sephora Pro Eyebrow Brush(Photo: Sephora)

Ok, so maybe I need a little neon in my life. I’ve been obsessed with colored mascara of late so I bought a tube of Maybelline’s Limited Edition Great Lash in Vision in Violet (more on this another time). Early morning, running late to work problem: my eyelashes looked like gross furry tarantula legs, and I couldn’t find my lash comb. Long story short, I used a 2″ boar hairbrush to separate the clumps.

It was a curious sight to say the least.

Anyway– in comes Sephora’s Pro Lash and Brow brush to save the day.

Good stuff, IMO. Having a $50 Sephora gift card– even better stuff.

Pinterest Alert: Schwarzkopf BC Oil & Bridal Contest

I’ve had my fair share of attempts at winning over Lady Luck — from the latest Powerball jackpot (sad times) to Coachella tickets to even Iron Man 3 (sure I can afford to buy movie tickets, but wouldn’t it be cool to score some for FREE?)

Anyway, the easier to win a great prize, the better in my opinion, which is exactly what the hair care pros at Schwarzkopf have accomplished.

Their current contest gives brides-to-be (and those in waiting like myself) a chance at a prize package worth a generous $10,500.

Here are the details– good luck!

Image

To celebrate the launch of our new BC Oil Potion Care Line, we invite you to pin to win! 

To enter, simply:

1) Follow Schwarzkopf Professional USA on Pinterest (http://pinterest.com/apassionforhair)

2) Repin ONE of the images from the BC Brides Contest board

3) In the description of the image, write the description of your wedding day hairstyle including the hashtag #BCBrides

4) Encourage your friends to like and repin your images by saying “Please like & repin to help me win” in the description.

5) Whoever has the most combined number of likes and repins on their image will win! Be sure to check the comments on your pin on June 15th, 2013 to see if you won.

Summer Color: Cool Mint

I’m really loving the color mint this summer.

A lot of great things use mint, like mint chocolate chip ice cream, mojitos, Andes thin mints and toothpaste– all wonderful things that some of us take for granted.

This breezy summer color is even better with lively red splashes mixed in.

Mint Rogue
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BB Cream Review: Skin 79 Triple Functions & VIP Gold Collection

Skin 79I’ve been delaying this post for far too long with the hopes of making a video review of the Skin 79 Triple Functions BB Cream & Skin 79 VIP Gold Collection BB Cream  instead of a written review.

Well, I still haven’t found a chance to do a video review, but I felt it necessary to check off this BB cream review from the list.

What is BB Cream?

Before going into the nitty-gritty of Skin 79‘s products, you may be wondering: what is BB cream?

BB cream stands for “blemish balm” or “beauty balm.” It is an all-in-one makeup that acts as a moisturizer, primer, foundation,  concealer and sunscreen. Also, many bb cream products claim to have anti-wrinkle and color balancing (read whitening) agents.

The Korean market is responsible for its sudden popularity (very much influenced by the support of Korean actresses) and is rumored to have originated in Germany.

Typically, BB creams only come in one shade, which tends to be very light. However, after a few minutes of oxidation, it is supposed to self-adjust to your natural skin tone.

Why I Tried BB Cream

Um, based on the potential positives — less time getting ready, better coverage, etc. — who WOULDN’T try it?

I have a lot of acne scars and was looking for something with more coverage (currently I use mineral powder makeup.) With the help of BB cream, I was also hoping to get into the habit of putting on makeup everyday.

Admittedly, I was nervous about the whole one universal color thing– I’m very tan compared to my Korean counterparts, so I was skeptical about if the color would adjust enough.

Skin 79 BB Cream

One of the most popular BB cream brands in the market is Skin 79. They have an extensive selection of BB creams to choose from, but I decided to go with Skin 79 Triple Functions (pink bottle) and Skin 79 VIP Gold Collection (silver bottle.)

Skin 79

Here’s what I found!

Skin 79 Triple Functions BB Cream

I really love Skin 79’s packaging. The bottle is very fun looking and the pump is a hygienic way to use the product.

Skin 79 Triple Functions

Against my skin, the product came out as I expected — almost a greyish nude. After about 10 minutes, it adjusted somewhat but I had a bit of my own matched foundation to give myself some color. I looked like Casper.

The texture is heavier than tinted moisturizer but lighter than liquid foundation. It was a bit difficult to spread onto my skin, though. (TIP: make sure to apply a THIN layer– caking it on will look totally unnatural– I learned this the hard way.)

I wore this to work one day, but after about 6 hours of wear, my forehead began to itch. Then, it started to burn. I ignored the sensation, and headed to the gym.

With my mineral makeup, I never had issues working out in my makeup (I know it’s bad to do so, but sometimes you forget) but after cardio kickboxing in the Skin 79 Triple Functions BB cream, I found my forehead had broken out. I had tiny tiny pimples all over my forehead, which started to peel like a sunburn after a few days.

I thought it might’ve been a fluke, so I let my skin rest for a week make-up free, then tried this again. I had the same reaction. I looked at the box and found that it’s heavy on talc and parabens.

PROS: nice packaging, hygienic dispenser, great coverage

CONS: color didn’t match well on my skin, allergy-inducing ingredients

Skin 79 VIP Gold Collection BB Cream

After my experience with the Triple Functions BB cream, I was reluctant (yet, somewhat hopeful) for the Skin 79 VIP Gold Collection.

Skin 79 VIP Gold Collection

This BB cream product boasts ingredients like caviar and gold. How this benefits skin? Who knows.

Upon applying VIP Gold, I noticed that it was not as thick in it’s consistency as Triple Functions. Side by side, however, they look exactly alike.

Photos: Color at application (left), color after oxidation (right)

BB Cream Comparison       BB Cream Oxidized Color

This was a little easier to spread and blend into the skin, which was nice. After applying it, I found it looked exactly like Triple Functions. I still had to apply a separate foundation to get the color right.

After a few hours, I again felt a tingly, burning sensation on my forehead. So, I washed it off immediately. The product still lists talc and parabens as ingredients, but I was in denial and wanted it to work for me.

It didn’t.

PROS: easy to apply, nice packaging, good workable coverage

CONS: had allergic reactions again, didn’t match skin color.

Final Thoughts on Skin 79 BB Cream

In terms of strictly how it looks on my skin, it’s not terrible — not a perfect color match — but my acne scars and redness were visibly concealed.

Skin 79 Triple Functions BB Cream

Photo: Taken with Skin 79 Triple Functions in natural sunlight

 It’s blatantly clear that my skin has an adverse reaction to Skin 79 BB cream products, which is sad because I really wanted to like it.

I purchased the BB creams on Amazon for about $15 each, shipped from a merchant called, Pink Gelee. According to other BB cream users who’ve left reviews on Amazon, there are a lot of knock-offs in the market.

Did I get a bad batch? I’ll never know, cause I won’t stick around to find out again.

Check back soon to read my review of Missha M Perfect Cover BB Cream (w/ giveaway!)

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