My Cruelty-Free Journey | The Start

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At the beginning of this year, I shared my goals and intentions for this year, and one of them was that I wanted to make more mindful purchases. I’ve been doing pretty well, staying away from fast fashion stores and definitely putting more thought into where I’m spending my money, and a couple of weeks ago, I decided that it was time to go cruelty-free.

I’ve done research on cruelty-free brands and products here and there over the last couple of years, but this decision was actually a pretty abrupt one, and now I don’t even remember what brought me to make this choice. I’m glad I did though because I really don’t want to be supporting brands that test on animals. As transitioning to be completely cruelty-free is definitely a journey and not something that can happen within just a few days, I thought I could start a series here on my blog to document my progress. If you’re looking to make the same transition, hopefully, this series will be helpful to you as well!

Cruelty-Free 101

For those of you who aren’t familiar with the cruelty-free world, it’s really complex, as I have learned as I’ve done my research. If a company says it’s cruelty-free, there are a few possibilities for what that really means, which I’ll list and describe below:

  1. Certified by Leaping Bunny and/or signed the PETA pledge: If a company has either of these, it means it has an official guarantee that it does not conduct any animal testing.
    • Examples: Bite Beauty, Colourpop, e.l.f., Marc Jacobs Beauty
  2. Cruelty-free but no affiliation with PETA/Leaping Bunny: A lot of companies seem to fall into this category.
    • Examples: Drunk Elephant, Glossier, Sunday Riley, Youth to the People
  3. Cruelty-free but owned by a parent company that tests on animals: L’Oreal, Unilever, and Estee Lauder are just a few examples of parent companies that conduct animal testing. However, companies in this category are able to maintain their cruelty-free status even while being owned by one of these parent companies. Some of these companies even have the Leaping Bunny certification.
    • Examples: BECCA, Tarte (Leaping Bunny), Urban Decay (Leaping Bunny)
  4. Cruelty-free but sells in China: Selling in China is a big deal because China requires any foreign beauty products to go through animal testing if they are to be sold in physical stores in mainland China (Hong Kong is okay). Cruelty-free and selling in China were first brought to my attention when NARS, which is otherwise cruelty-free, decided to start selling its products in China. If a company says that it does not conduct animal testing “except where required by law”, it is likely that they are selling in China. I find this to be so shady, and any company claiming to be cruelty-free yet sells in China is betraying its own morals to make more money.
    • Examples: Caudalie, Kiehl’s, NARS, Origins
  5. Gray-area cruelty-free: This would be companies that say they do not conduct animal testing but don’t say anything or are vague about whether their suppliers do. Basically, read the company’s statement carefully and pay attention to the wording.

If you’re interested in finding out more, Cruelty-Free Kitty, Logical Harmony, and Ethical Elephant are all great resources. These sites all have lists of cruelty-free brands and brands that you should avoid, as well as a bunch of other helpful information. (If you’re already cruelty-free, please share any other resources you have in the comments below! 🙂 )

My Cruelty-Free Philosophy

As I’ve learned from doing my research, everyone has a different idea of what being cruelty-free is. For some people, if the brand is cruelty-free but its parent company isn’t, then they will not use products from that brand. For me, I will use a product as long as the brand itself does not conduct animal testing. However, I will not use any products that are sold in China. I’ve found some articles stating that it’s actually possible to sell products in China as long as the product’s in are white-listed, but I think that’s a black hole of research I’d rather not fall into.

Although it’s natural for a lot of cruelty-free people to use only vegan products, I’m not going to. I’m okay with and will continue to use products that have animal ingredients in them (mainly but not limited to bee byproducts like beeswax and honey) but will try to buy vegan products as much as I can.

IN SUMMARY: when I talk about cruelty-free brands from this post forward, I mean cruelty-free brands that: (1) do not sell in China, but (2) may be owned by a parent company that does test on animals, and (3) may or may not be vegan.

Current Progress

After I decided to become cruelty-free, I inventoried my skincare and makeup collection. To my horror, a good two-thirds of what I own is not from a cruelty-free brand, so it’s definitely going to be a while before I can call myself completely cruelty-free. The products I have photographed in the picture are all of the smaller sized items that I have that are not cruelty-free. I was getting a little overwhelmed gathering all of my non-cruelty-free products together for this little shoot, but, thankfully, this is the bulk of my items – I still have a few full-sized items not pictured here.

I’ll be using up any products that I already have that aren’t cruelty-free because I think it’s so wasteful not to use up products I already own, but I also plan on passing some items on to my family and friends and donating a lot of it to either local shelters or Project Beauty Share, an amazing organization that also takes gently used makeup products. However, from now on, I will only be purchasing from cruelty-free brands and will no longer be reviewing any non-cruelty-free products unless it’s part of a larger post (i.e. empties, cruelty-free journey update, etc.).

Sadly, Kiehl’s and Origins, which were two of my favorite brands, both have the “except when required by law” phrase that means they do still conduct animal testing, likely since they sell their products in China. Hopefully, they change their policies one day so I can go back to using their products again.

Going cruelty-free isn’t going to be limited to beauty products, either. I’m also going to do this for all of my household products, including cleaners, soaps, and more.

Look out for an update on my progress in a couple of months!

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HAUL | Birchbox How to Hygge Box

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A couple weeks ago, I went a little ham with my shopping. I was just coming out of a stressful couple months and was in serious need of some retail therapy. So, of course, when I received a Birchbox promotion email about the How to Hygge Box, I couldn’t resist.

Fun fact: the word hygge is actually pronounced “hoo-ga”.

The items in this box included (in order from left to right, top to bottom based on the second picture in this post):

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Smith & Cult Nailed Lacquer in Peaceful Paranoia ($18): I have been a fan of Smith & Cult polishes for a while, and while this pale mauve shade with a pink sheen isn’t something I usually go for in a nail polish shade, I thought it’d be a nice color for the summer. I’m excited to paint my nails with this shade this weekend 🙂

Sunday Riley C.E.O. C + E Micro-Dissolve Cleansing Oil (full-size 3.4 fl oz, $38): I’m always down to try a Sunday Riley product, and this is a cleansing oil that also has vitamin C, AHA, and BHA! A deluxe

Votivo® Aromatic Travel Tin Candle in No. 45 Grey Vetiver™ ($12): I can’t pass up a good candle, and the scent of this one sounds amazing – “a mix of melon and bitter grapefruit grounded by amber”.

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thisworks® deep sleep™ pillow spray (2.5 oz, $29): I love this. I had a little sample of this last year that I used up pretty quickly, so I was excited to see this offered in the box. The product claims to help you fall asleep faster and wake up feeling more refreshed, but personally, I don’t find this to be the case. Regardless, I love the smell of lavender, and the scent of this spray is natural and not overwhelming at all. It’s a nice little touch when I want to feel extra pampered as I’m falling asleep. I probably won’t ever purchase this on its own, as it’s not something I really need, but I’ll always indulge if I get a sample or if it comes up in a box like this.

Milk Makeup Hydrating Oil (1 oz, $24): I love a good oil, and an oil in stick form is an intriguing idea. I imagine this would be awesome to travel with, as it’s one less liquid to pack.

Oh K! Sleep Mask (0.6 oz, $6.50): One can never have too many masks. This one is an overnight mask, perfect for the lazy girl that I am. This mask is also supposed to give you 5-6 uses, so it’s a great deal, even at its full price.

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Klorane Smoothing and Relaxing Patches with Soothing Cornflower (7 sets of 2 patches, $24): I love a good eye mask, so I look forward to trying these out, though nothing that I’ve tried thus far has been better than my favorite Skyn Iceland Hydro Cool Firming Eye Gels (8 sets of 2 patches, $30).

Askinosie Chocolate Single Origin Sipping Chocolate (170 g, $16.50): 38g packet pictured here. This sipping chocolate is vegan and gluten-free, so I’m curious to see how it tastes.

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Calm Book by Michael Acton Smith ($14.25 on Amazon): To be honest, this is the one thing I didn’t really care for in the box. This isn’t to say that it’s a bad product – I’m just not really into meditation, and it definitely feels more like a coffee table book than anything. I’ll probably flip through it every once in a while because the pages are beautifully designed, and every page is pretty different, but I don’t really see myself gravitating towards this book often.

Herbivore Botanicals Coco Rose Body Polish (8 oz, $36): I’m running out of my current body scrub, the Trader Joe’s Coffee Body Scrub ($8 oz, $4.99), and have only ever used more affordable body scrubs, so I want to see whether a higher-end body scrub is worth it.

amika Soulfood Nourishing Mask (2 oz, $12): Amika hair products usually don’t disappoint me, and the size of this product is perfect for traveling. I actually already have the full-size product (8 oz, $28), but I have yet to try it.

Richer Poorer Women’s Textured Crew Socks (similar, originally $14, currently $9.80): I’m not the biggest fan of the pattern, but they seem comfy, and one can never have too many socks.

This box retails for $53, but has a $180 value. If you’ve been meaning to check out any of these items, I’d definitely recommend getting this box – it’s definitely worth it. In general, Birchbox curates some pretty nice boxes, and I think they’re always worth checking out!

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AT A GLANCE | Biossance

Biossance is a skincare company based in the Bay Area (yay!) that has its focus on effective, safe skincare that also does not harm the environment or animals. One of the core ingredients in the majority of their products is squalane, something that your skin naturally has, but which your body makes less of over the years, and Biossance harvests this squalane from a sustainable source, sugarcane.

I’ve long heard many good things about Biossance products, specifically their bestselling Squalane + Vitamin C Rose Oil (1 oz, $72), and the company’s focus on clean beauty only furthered my interest in what it had to offer. A couple of months ago, I finally decided to give some Biossance products a try.

Products in My Collection

Out of the five products pictures, I’ve tried three. I’ve included my thoughts on the ones I’ve tried below:

  1. Squalane + Vitamin C Rose Oil (deluxe sample pictured here – full size is 1 oz, $72): I really enjoyed this, though honestly, I’m not sure if I would commit to a full-size product, as it’s quite pricey, and I have lower-priced oils that work just as well, if not better. I love the sample system that Biossance has on its site (more about this below) and will likely get a sample of this again in the future. I kept this in my travel pouch, and it got quite a few uses before I ran out.
  2. 100% Squalane Oil (deluxe sample pictured here – full size is 3.4 oz, $58): I probably enjoyed this even more than the Squalane + Vitamin C Rose Oil, because this one is multi-use. I particularly enjoyed using it on my hair. I will be repurchasing this in the future.
  3. Squalane + Peptide Eye Gel (0.5 oz, $54): I haven’t used this yet, but it’s next in line after I use up my current nighttime eye cream.
  4. Squalane + Probiotic Gel Moisturizer (1.6 oz, $52): I’ve been using this for a couple of weeks now as my daytime moisturizer, and I really enjoy it. My skin definitely feels more radiant since I started using this. The packaging is also great – it’s a pretty hefty feeling tub that feels like it could double as a weapon. I love trying new moisturizers so it’s difficult to say whether I’ll come back to it, but it’s definitely on the top of my list of repurchases if I don’t discover something new I’ll want to try.
  5. Squalane + Antioxidant Cleansing Cloths (25 cloths for $18): I received one cloth as a sample when I purchased the eye gel and moisturizer. I’ve yet to try this, but I’m keeping it in my beauty bag in my purse right now, on hand in case I ever need a makeup wipe. To be honest, I’m not sure I’ll ever purchase the full box, since I much prefer just getting drugstore wipes.

Biossance’s “Free” Sample Offering

As their products are pretty pricey, I really appreciate that they offer “free” samples to try via their site. For just a $5 shipping fee, you can choose from three different sets of deluxe samples.

  1. Squalane + Vitamin C Rose Oil and the 100% Squalane Oil
  2. Squalane + Peptide Eye Gel and 100% Squalane Oil
  3. Squalane + Probiotic Gel Moisturizer and Squalane + Vitamin C Rose Oil

All but the Squalane + Probiotic Gel Moisturizer sample are 4 ml (or approximately 0.14 oz). The gel moisturizer sample is 3 ml. When I got the samples, only option 1 was available, and personally, I think it’s where you’ll get the most bang for your buck. Oils only require a few drops per use, whereas a moisturizer or eye cream would require more.

 

Overall, I’m impressed, but not mindblown, by their products. They’ve released new products since I did this mini-haul though, and I’m definitely interested in giving those a try.

Have you tried Biossance products before?

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REVIEW | Glossier Solution

I know, it’s been a while since the Glossier Solution ($24, 4.4 fl oz) came out. But there was so much hype around its release that I thought it would deserve its own review post, even if I’m almost four months late to the party.

To be fair, as this is a skincare product, it does take a longer time to determine whether it actually works for me, and with four months of consistent usage, I think I’ve gathered enough data to give a comprehensive review 🙂

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Upon receiving the package, I thought the silver packaging with drug information type labeling in pink and white was quite cute and clever. The bottle itself was in the typical millennial pink and aesthetic of many Glossier products, with minimal text and decoration on the bottle’s body, but still something very pretty to display in your bathroom. While initially I was confused as to how the dispenser worked (I tried to pull out the white thing in the middle – I know, extremely stupid of me), once I realized you pressed down on the dispenser with a cotton pad to saturate it with product, I fell in love. I wish more companies had dispensers like this one for their toner products – it’s so hygienic, and you don’t have to worry about accidentally using too much product.

I had mixed feelings upon first application of Solution to my face. I wasn’t the biggest fan of the overly medicinal scent, but it wasn’t so bad that it turned me away from the product. It didn’t sting at all, unless I applied it on a freshly popped pimple by accident, which makes sense, considering the toner only has a total of 10% blend of PHA/AHA/BHA acids.

For the first month of use, I made sure to use this every night as part of my skincare routine, so I could be sure of its effects on my face. I had thought that it was keeping my skin nice and clear, but as I continued using it daily through the rest of that first month, I felt that it was losing its potency on me. By then, I started alternating this every few days with other toners in my skincare collection.

Then, starting last month, I started getting the feeling that the toner was breaking me out. Granted, I was more stressed than I’d been in a while, but the Solution didn’t seem to be helping – if anything, it seemed to worsen any bumps that I seemed to develop consistently on my forehead. I’d apply Solution, concentrating it in my trouble spots, and rather than see a reduction in redness the next day, I’d see that the spot would be the same, or even worse than before.

I still continued to use it, wanting to give Solution all the opportunities to prove its worth, but as of last week, I decided that it wasn’t worth the condition of my face to continue on using Solution. I’m now back to using The Ordinary’s Glycolic Acid 7% Toning Solution (no link, because due to recent occurrences with Deciem’s upper management, I’ve decided to cut The Ordinary out of my routine after I use up what I own).

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As an additional note, the Glossier cotton pads were pretty nice. However, I definitely do not think that they are better than some other more affordable cotton pads that I have used. It’s $4 for 60 of them, whereas my usual cotton pads are only $1.50 at Daiso for 100 or more.

Overall, I’d say the Glossier Solution (and cotton pads) is a pass. Despite having a 10% acid blend, there’s no clarification as to how much exactly of each acid the Solution contains, which feels pretty questionable to me, though I could’ve overlooked that had it actually worked on my face.

Nothing personal, as there are other Glossier products that I enjoy plenty, but for a few more dollars, you could get something like Paula’s Choice Skin Perfecting 2% BHA Liquid ($29, 4 oz), which I’ve found to have been much more effective. If you’d rather use something more affordable, the much-loved Pixi Glow Tonic ($15, 3.4 oz) is so, so good. It only has 5% glycolic acid, but I found it to be much more effective for me than the Glossier Solution. Of course, you could also go for The Ordinary’s glycolic acid toner.

Have you tried Glossier Solution before? How did it work for you?

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REVIEW | Ole Henriksen Banana Bright Eye Crème

I’m a big fan of the Ole Henriksen brand, so I had been looking forward to trying the Banana Bright Eye Crème (0.5 oz, $38) since the announcement of its release. Needless to say, I was extremely excited when I received this complimentary from Influenster for review. I’ve talked about Influenster and products I’ve received from them before, and I highly recommend you check them out if you like getting free stuff to review 🙂

I had a good feeling that I would enjoy this eye cream, since I’m a big sucker for vitamin C in my morning eye creams, and the collagen also seemed like a big plus, with its anti-aging and elasticity-improving benefits.

I’ve been trying it for a few weeks now, and I am not disappointed at all. The eye cream really does visibly brighten my under eye area, and while it’s a thicker consistency than I’m used to for the morning, it does a great job of moisturizing my eye area and prepping my under eye area for concealer. I’ve also noticed that when I use this eye cream, I don’t even need to use concealer if I’m not wearing much makeup – the banana powder effect to the eye cream means it can function as a light coverage concealer 🙂

With its multitasking abilities, this eye cream is definitely worth the money to me. I will likely be purchasing this with my own money after I run out.

Have you gotten to try the Banana Bright Eye Crème?

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REVIEW | Glossier Generation G Lipstick

For me (and probably a lot, if not all, of the beauty community), this year has been the year of Glossier. I had initially tried a couple of their products to mediocre results, but have since come to enjoy those after revisiting them. With this renewed interest in Glossier, I bit the bullet and hauled a few items (look out for that post!) that I had been eyeing through their Instagram, including this Generation G (0.07 oz, $18) lipstick in Zip, a poppy red.

I have to say, when I initially opened the tube, I was very wary – although this is a sheer matte lipstick, and pictures have proven this to be true, I was worried the color would be too bright and pull too orange on my face. I was so glad to be proven wrong – this is the perfect, everyday red for people who don’t really like bright statement lips – aka me. It gives that look of just kissed lips, yet at the same time, is pretty long wearing for such a sheer formula – it’s not transfer-proof by any means, but after a whole afternoon of wearing this, I didn’t see too much patchiness. I will definitely be looking into more colors of this lippie.

Shop with my link to get 10% off your first Glossier order! (This post is not sponsored, but I do get some store credit for purchases made through my link.)

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HAUL | e.l.f.

I definitely went a little ham with my shopping during the 2017 holiday shopping season. The two main culprits were Sephora and e.l.f., but I also bought a ton of stuff here and there that you’ll most likely see here on this blog throughout 2018, whether in the form of review posts or otherwise. I’ve already shared my Sephora haul, and now, keep reading to see what I purchased at e.l.f.!

As part of my goals and intentions of 2018, I really wanted to make more thoughtful purchases and be more conscious of where I spend my money. As such, in this new year, I want to try and keep to more affordable brands, unless it’s something that I think is one-of-a-kind from the more expensive brands… like the Drunk Elephant T.L.C. Sukari Babyfacial (review here). At least, that’s how I’m justifying this e.l.f. haul…

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First, some skin care. The Hydrating Water Sheet Mask ($3) is a bit of a cheat, as I had purchased it earlier in 2017 with some other stuff. I have yet to use it, but I did enjoy the Hydrogel Under Eye Masks (3 for $8), so hopefully I’ll enjoy this as well. I’m hoping the Moisturizing Sleeping Mask (1.16 fl oz, $12) will be a good dupe for the Laneige Water Sleeping Mask (2.3 oz, $25), something I use and love, though if you’re looking at price per ounce, the two are actually around the same price. I have a feeling the Hydrating Water Essence (5 oz, $10) will be a good dupe for its pricier K-Beauty counterparts, and I’m always down to try a new exfoliant – hopefully the Gentle Peeling Exfoliant (3.4 fl oz, $10) works out for me.

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As for makeup, I really tried to keep it to things that I would be running out of soon or don’t have already. I’ve been a long-time user of the Urban Decay All-Nighter Setting Spray (4 oz, $32), but I wanted to try something more affordable. Hopefully, this Makeup Mist & Set (2.02 oz, $3) will do a decent job. I have to be honest and admit the Tinted Lip Oil in Nude Kiss ($6) doesn’t fit either of the criteria I set for purchasing makeup… I primarily purchased it because Kathleenlights on Youtube talked about the Tinted Lip Oils, and I got curious. I haven’t tried this yet because I’m still working on my other lip products, but I’ll let you all know whenever I try it and my thoughts. For mascara primer, the Lancôme CILS BOOSTER XL Super-Enhancing Mascara Base (0.19 oz, $25.50) has been my ride-or-die since I started using mascara primer, though at $25.50 a tube, I thought it was time to look for drugstore alternatives. Enter the Mascara Primer ($3) – if this works well it’ll be time for me to let go of my expensive lash primer. Finally, I wanted something that allowed for easy application of the inner corner highlight on the eyes, and the No Budge Shadow Stick in Perfect Pearl (0.056 oz, $3) was the perfect find for this very use. Perfect Pearl is a great champagne shade that works well as an inner-corner highlight with many different eye shadow looks. This product is also a great dupe for the Laura Mercier Caviar Stick (0.05 oz, $29).

Have you purchased anything from e.l.f. lately? If so, any good finds?

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REVIEW | Drunk Elephant T.L.C. Sukari Babyfacial

The Drunk Elephant T.L.C. Sukari Babyfacial (1.69 fl oz, $80) is a ridiculously expensive product. I thought I would never purchase this, but with the Sephora VIB Sale, my need to qualify for VIB Rouge again, and the widespread praise of this product, I caved.

The first time I tried it, I was worried that I misspent my money – I burned myself by accidentally putting this over an open pimple wound, and then I convinced myself that it didn’t really do much for my skin. The second time, however, this product worked its magic. I applied it with no issue, and while my skin was red right after application, the next morning I woke up with baby skin. Now, it’s become a highlight of my week to use this after a long day at work (it’s recommended that you use this once a week only, since it has such a high concentration of acid). Despite the high acid concentration, this product doesn’t burn at all if you’re careful not to use it on open wounds (or, be smart, unlike me, and just don’t use it until you have no wounds on your face). For me, there was only a slight tingle as I applied it, which went away pretty quickly.  I already know that I will be repurchasing this product – it is extremely effective, and despite its high price tag, its cost per use will be pretty low, so it’s well worth the splurge.

The Babyfacial also comes with a baby size of the Virgin Marula Luxury Facial Oil (1 fl oz, $70), which is recommended for immediate application after you wash off the Babyfacial. The oil was very nourishing, and definitely contributed to the baby skin on my face the next morning, though I’m not yet sure I’d make the investment in this luxury facial oil – I’m definitely going to explore some more affordable options first..

Because of my almost immediate attachment to this product, I’m becoming interested in other Drunk Elephant products, though I have to honestly say that I’m not sure if I’ll ever purchase anything else. Their products are definitely in the luxury product price range, and in my efforts to be more conscious of how I’m spending money on beauty products, I justified this purchase because the product was unlike anything else on the market. (I know The Ordinary has something similar, but at 30% acid, I’m pretty wary, and my brother has already told me that it burned his face.) Never say never though! I may come back in a few months with newly loved Drunk Elephant products 🙂

Have you tried any Drunk Elephant products before? What did you think?

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My Go-To “I Tried” Look | Eyes & Lips

While I like being adventurous with my makeup once in a while, I’m a lazy girl, as I’ve already said a bunch of times, so most of the time I just default to a variation of the same look. In this post, I’ll be sharing my usual look for when I want to look like I actually tried – this would most likely be for when I know I’ll be in pictures, or for a nicer dinner/outing.

While I was writing this, I tried to include as many different products as I could to show that the same general look can be achieved with a variety of products 🙂 Because of this, the post ended up being extremely long, so I decided I’d split it into two posts. This post will focus on the eyes and lips, and if you missed the first part focusing on the face, click here.

Eyes

  1. Eyeshadow Primer: I have oily lids, so this is a must. I’ve been using some variation of the Urban Decay Eyeshadow Primer Potion (0.16 oz, $12 pictured above) for years, but I never manage to use up even the travel-sized ones before they expire, so I’ve decided to try some drugstore options. I just picked up the NYX Proof It Eyeshadow Primer (0.23 oz, $4.19), so look out for a review!
  2. Eyeshadow: My go-to eye look is a brown smokey eye with a shimmery lid. The Tartelette In Bloom Clay Eyeshadow Palette (12 x 0.053 oz, $46) is perfect for this, and about any other look you could think of with neutral shades. I’ve converted my mom, my sister, and my best friend onto this palette – that’s how good it is 🙂 I’ll start with one of the shades in the second column or the Makeup Geek Eyeshadow in Creme Brulee (0.064 oz, $6), put it all over my lid to set the primer and blend it into my crease. Then, with a flat brush, I apply a shimmery shade across my whole lid. I reach for the bronze-coppery Firecracker from this palette a lot, but also use Makeup Geek Eyeshadow in Homecoming (0.064 oz, $6), a medium, cool-toned brown with golden shimmer, and Colourpop Super Shock Eyeshadows (0.074 oz, $5) in Blaze (glittery bronze), Kathleenlights (bright golden copper), or Hammered (blackened olive with gold glitter) for some variety. I then get one of the darker shades in the rightmost column of the palette, and buff and blend it into the outer corner of my lids. I take a more precise brush in the same color, and line the outer corner of my lower lash line. I line and blend out the rest of my lower lash line with either a nude shade or the shimmery shade I used on my lid, depending on my mood that day. As a final eyeshadow touch, I use a light shimmery shade like Funny Girl in the palette or more recently, the e.l.f. Budge Proof Cream Eyeshadow Stick (0.056 oz, $4) in Perfect Pearl, a great dupe for the Laura Mercier Caviar Stick Eye Colour (0.05 oz, $29), in the inner corners of my eyes to open them up.
  3. Liner: Depending on how glam I need to go, I may or may not do winged liner. My weapons of choice for this are the Kat Von D Tattoo Liner (0.19 oz, $20) in Trooper and the NYX Epic Ink Eyeliner (0.02 oz, $7.99) in Black. If I’m not lazy, I’ll also tightline with a black pencil liner, and line my waterline with a nude pencil like the NYX Wonder Pencil (0.04 oz, $4.49) or a brown if I’m feeling intense. I had been using the Urban Decay Naked 24/7 Glide-On Double-Ended Eye Pencil (2 x 0.01 oz, $18) in Darkside/Blackheart for black/brown, but recently retired it because it’s old.
  4. Lashes: I never use lashes. I have nothing against them, but my hands are extremely shaky, and my lashes are thick enough and long enough that I don’t think they’re worth the effort. Instead, I curl my lashes with my Kevin Aucoin curler ($21), use the Lancome CILS BOOSTER XL Super-Enhancing Mascara Base (0.19 oz, $25.50), and put on loads of mascara. I have yet to find a holy grail mascara, but my most recent one was a travel size of the YSL Mascara Volume Effet Faux Cils ($32) that I quite enjoyed in the end.
  5. Brows: I’m pretty lazy, and my brows are pretty full, so usually I just brush them with an eyebrow brush and then put on some eyebrow gel. Currently using the Urban Decay Brow Tamer (0.15 oz, $20) in Dark Brown, which I really do not enjoy and have reviewed on my blog before, but I don’t want to waste it so I am really trying to use it up.

Lips

  1. It’s pretty much one step for me for lips, since my go-to looks are usually pretty low-maintenance colors. My two most reached for lippies are the Bite Beauty Amuse Bouche Lipstick (0.15 oz, $26) in Pepper, a dusty rose, and the NARS Satin Lip Pencil (0.07, $27) in Rikugien, a rose pink.

If you’ve managed to read through both parts of this post, I hope you enjoyed reading this and found it helpful! Thanks for reading as always.

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My Go-To “I Tried” Look | Face

While I like being adventurous with my makeup once in a while, I’m a lazy girl, as I’ve already said a bunch of times, so most of the time I just default to a variation of the same look. In this post, I’ll be sharing my usual look for when I want to look like I actually tried – this would most likely be for when I know I’ll be in pictures, or for a nicer dinner/outing.

While I was writing this, I tried to include as many different products as I could to show that the same general look can be achieved with a variety of products 🙂 Because of this, the post ended up being extremely long, so I decided I’d split it into two posts. This post will focus on face makeup, and the next installment will be on the eyes and lips!

Face

  1. Primer: Currently, I’m using the YSL Touche Eclat Blur Primer (1 oz, $52, sample depicted here). Personally I don’t find that it gives me as much radiance as some other primers, but it does an amazing job of keeping my makeup in place and truly blurs imperfections like it claims. For lighter or no foundation days, I like using the Milk Makeup Blur Stick (1 oz, $36), which provides the same effect to a lesser degree. On days I want more radiance than staying powder, I like using the Laura Mercier Foundation Primer in Radiance (1.7 oz, $38) mixed into a liquid foundation.
  2. Foundation: I’m not a fan of heavy coverage, so I tend to opt for liquid foundations with light coverage. My original favorite had been BECCA Aqua Luminous Perfecting Foundation in Beige (1 oz, $44), which gives the most beautiful, radiant glow, but when I brought it with me to a wedding, I shattered the glass bottle 😦 I’m currently using The Ordinary Serum Foundation in 2.1Y (30 ml, $6.70), which I enjoy using with the Laura Mercier Foundation I mentioned above. After hearing all the hype about Hourglass Vanish Seamless Finish Foundation Stick (0.25 oz, $46), I decided to give it a try, and it has changed what I think of foundation sticks. This is now the foundation that I bring when I travel, since it’s shatterproof and one less liquid that I’d have to pack. Despite being an amazing foundation, it is more of a medium to full coverage formula, so I only use this for special occasions. My shade for this is Beige.
  3. Concealer: For the longest time, I had been using the Sephora Collection Bright Future Gel Serum Concealer in Madeleine (0.14 oz, $14). I don’t love this concealer, but out of the ones I had tried, it had worked the best for me, and wasn’t too expensive either. I think I still have a new tube of this lying around somewhere, but I was getting tired of using a concealer that was just okay to me, so I started looking for new ones again. I’m currently using the Colourpop No Filter Concealer (0.14 oz, $6) in Medium 30. I love it so far. It feels lighter on my skin than the Sephora one, and blends pretty seamlessly into my under-eye area while giving decent coverage. Once, I even forgot to set this concealer with powder, and somehow, it didn’t crease. It’s even more affordable than the Sephora one, so I am likely to repurchase this one. I always blend out my concealer with a beauty sponge – EcoTools Total Perfecting Blender ($4.49) is my current one.
  4. Bronzer: I don’t really contour my face because I don’t know how to and don’t really find it necessary on myself, though I’ve come to appreciate having some warmth on my face. My favorite is the NARS Laguna Bronzer, which I own as part of a duo (0.17 oz per pan, $42) with the highlighter shade Hot Sand, which is also one of my favorite highlighters ever. It’s a very subtle bronzing shade on my skin tone, but I love that because I don’t have to worry about accidentally using a heavy hand. I do want to find a good cream bronzer though, since I find that cream products suit my makeup style more.
  5. Blush: As with bronzer, I want to slowly shift away from powder products, but I have quite a few powder blushes in my collection that I do enjoy using. The one pictured above is a travel-sized NARS Blush (0.16 oz, $30, travel size pictured above) in the shade Goulue, a warm berry shade with gold shimmer. Some others I like include the Makeup Geek Blush in Romance (0.15 oz, $10), which is a great NARS Orgasm dupe, and the Sephora Collection MicroSmooth Baked Blush Duo ($17, currently on sale for $11) in Tea Rose Tickle.
  6. Highlighter: This is most definitely my favorite step for face makeup. Especially when I want to look put together, I can get pretty extra with highlighter. I like to use cream and powder highlighters together to get that extra glow. The W3LL PEOPLE Bio Brightener Stick (0.4 oz, $29) is a veteran in my collection – I’ve had it for a couple years now and probably should toss it soon…. but I love the natural glow it gives on no-makeup days, and since it’s a colorless sheen on my skin, it goes well with any powder highlighter I choose to apply. For powder highlight, the peachy NARS Hot Sand (pictured above in duo) and the Laura Mercier Matte Radiance Baked Powder (0.26 oz, $42) in the golden-nude shade Highlight are two of my favorites, and the highlighter in the Sonia Kashuk Limited Edition Face Palette Pretty Cheeky (discontinued 😦 ) rounds out my current highlighters in use.
  7. Loose Powder: Now, gotta set everything in place! I’m currently using the sheer shade of bareMinerals Mineral Veil (0.3 oz, $23), though the Laura Mercier Translucent Loose Setting Powder (1 oz, $38) in Natural Finish has also been a long-time favorite.
  8. Setting Spray: The Urban Decay All Nighter Long-Lasting Makeup Setting Spray (4 oz, $32) has been a veteran of my collection as well, and for good reason – I never have any major issues with my makeup if I use this. If I’m feeling extra, I’ll also use a setting spray like the Glossier Rosewater Face Spray (4 fl oz, $18) for added glow.

Stay tuned for the continuation of this post!

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