Top 5 Eyeshadow Palettes

When it comes to makeup in general, I try to use a mix of mostly drugstore products with a few high end products. When it comes to eyeshadow palettes, I tend to drop some cash and get the good stuff.  Why?  Because a great palette is worth it.  A great palette is versatile enough for a variety of day and night looks, it’s perfect for travel and having multiple shadow colors in one product/case saves you from wasting time digging through your makeup stash looking for individual shadows.

So without further ado, here are my top 5 eyeshadow palettes:

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Naked Palette – Urban Decay

The first palette I ever purchased and the OG of the Naked line, the original Naked palette is basically perfect.  You have your standard matte blending and lid colors, shimmery highlight shades, and a plethora of darker shades.  There is no limit to the amount of work-appropriate AND night combinations you can create with these colors.  If you’re looking for a place to start with eyeshadow and don’t have this palette in your arsenal, what are you doing with your life?

Meet Matte Nude – The Balm

matte

This is my go-to palette for work days.  If the name didn’t tip you off already, all shadows in this palette are matte.  If you’re not in your 20s anymore or have hooded eyes (I fall into both of those categories), matte shadows are your best friend because they don’t accentuate lines or wrinkles.  The actual shadows in this palette are HUGE (I’ve had mine for over a year and have barely made a dent in them) and the color range flatters any eye color.  If you don’t want to spend your hard earned dough for the entire palette, at least get your hands on the peach shade, Matt Singh – it is the perfect crease blending color, in my self-proclaimed expert opinion.

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Naked 3 Palette – Urban Decay

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Yep, another Naked palette.  The Naked 3 is all about the rose gold color family with lots of mauves, gold, purple and pink tones.  The colors in this palette make blue and green eyes look absolutely amazing so if you’re a light-eyed person, You Need This.  I tend to use this one almost exclusively in the fall and winter months (it pairs very well with a dark, red wine-colored lip) and usually layer it over the Maybelline Color Tattoo in Pomegranate Punk to give some extra staying power.  As with all Naked palettes, the shadows blend extremely well and have fantastic color payoff.

Naked Basics 1 or Naked Basics 2 – Urban Decay

basics

Can you tell that Urban Decay palettes are my favorite?  The Naked Basics 1 and 2 are small, no nonsense and great for travel because they take up so little space.  If you don’t want to mess with any shimmery or bright colors and just want to put together a quick everyday look, these palettes do the job and do it well.  Basics 1 focuses on warm toned colors while 2 is all about cool tones.

basics2

Both palettes offer enough versatility to give you a neutral look for work or a smoky eye for night.  It’s all up to you.  I highly recommend picking up one of the Basics palettes if you don’t want to spend the $$ for a full Naked palette.

Vice 2 – Urban Decay

vice 2

Everyone needs at least one fun, weird palette.  I admittedly don’t use this palette nearly as often as the rest, but whenever I do, it’s always a good time.  This palette is great for experimentation and creativity with several dark colors for smokey eyes, bright 80s pinks and purples, edgy blue tones and warm bronze shimmery shades.  Nothing wrong with having an impractical, straight-up play around palette. It’s good for the soul.

Am I missing anything?  What are your favorite palettes?  Let me know!

Beauty Tips for When You’ve Been…Overserved

Well, isn’t this just the worst.  You, my friend, have been overserved.  You have a hangover.

Your mouth tastes like (and somehow has the texture of) an old rug soaked in beer.  Your head is bumpin’.  That jerk of a sun is up and you gotta be, too. You likely feel AND look terrible but you’re required to interact with other humans today and want to look less undead.  I’m no miracle worker, but here are some makeup and beauty tips to help lessen the damage:

  1. Shower
    For the love of God, shower. A good drinking session has the power to leave you waking up smelling like a rotting muskrat covered in Doritos so, wash up.  Bonus: The water will wake you up and make you feel better because it is a 100% proven fact that showers help ease the pain of hangovers (based on personal research).  Wash off any remaining makeup from the night before and get that blood pumpin’.
  1. Perfume/Cologne
    Perfume is needed because, well, see above. Now you don’t want to go overboard with this step because an overserved nose is highly susceptible to any smells which can increase the lovely nausea you’re trying to shake.  Stick with a clean, fresh, not too overpowering scent.  This is no time for anything flowery or musky.  We’re just trying to lessen the stank emanating from your body.
  2. Moisturize
    You may think this is the perfect time to just throw every makeup product you own on your face in an attempt to cover the half-dead corpse decaying within and call it a day.  You would be wrong. The first and most important thing you need to do is moisturize!Alcohol dries out the skin something fierce so slather moisturizer on your face (and body, if you can stand up that long) to plump up the skin.  The rubbing motions will get the blood flowing and also help drain the puffiness from under your eyes.

    For extra de-puff power, throw a couple spoons in the freezer for a few minutes.  Once they’re nice and cold, place the spoons over your eyes, lie down for 5 minutes and contemplate why you ever even attempt to drink tequila.

  1. Makeup
    You’re struggling to put sentences together so there’s no way you’re putting on a full face today. Thankfully, just a few products can make a big difference.Use a BB cream or tinted moisturizer as your base.  Don’t waste time with foundation or powder today, you need the hydration and smoothing benefits of a BB cream. Next, skip the eyeshadow.  Dark colors can weigh those tired eyes down even more and make you look worse, so stick to just a bit of eyeliner and lots of mascara to open up the eyes.  Finish up with a glossy or bright lip to fake a fresh-faced look.

    Pro Tip: Use a flesh-colored eyeliner on your lower waterline to cancel out the redness and make eyes look whiter, brighter and less, well, hungover.

  1. Hair
    Let’s be frank – your hair probably looks pretty horrific.  No worries!  Pull that hair up in a high ballerina-style bun.  This serves two crucial functions – you look polished and put together, plus you get a mini face lift. Win.

Now go forth and conquer this day!  (And by “conquer” I mean drag yourself out the door and begin counting down the seconds until you can reunite with your bed.)

Quick & Easy Makeup for Work

There are few things that can rival my love of makeup, but one thing that can is sleeping.  I’ve always been a world-champion sleeper and thoroughly enjoy sleeping in until the absolute last minute before it’s critical that I get up and start the day.

Like many people, I have to get up early in the morning to go to work.  How do I combine my true loves of sleeping and having enough time to put my makeup on?  Easy.  I keep my look simple, but impactful, and only focus on three things:

  1. Skin

A full face of foundation, contouring and powder? Ain’t nobody got time for that in the morning.  Instead, I use a flat top kabuki brush to apply Tarte Full Coverage Powder Foundation all over my face.  This foundation gives excellent coverage and helps control shine, no need for extra powder.  I’ll also quickly throw some Maybelline Fit Me concealer under my eyes to camouflage any darkness or puffiness, and I’m set.

  1. Eyes

If you can spare 1 minute, apply some light brown eyeshadow to your crease, but feel free to skip this if you want or are really pressed for time.  Instead, focus on your lashes and your brows.  Shaped and quickly filled-in brows make the face look “finished” (even if that face was just drooling onto a pillow 4 minutes ago).  A couple coats of mascara will help eyes look more open and awake.

  1. Lips

This is the key.  Wear a bright lipstick or balm.  My go-to color is red (in the photos below I’m wearing the Revlon Balm Stain in 045 Romantic) because I think it makes my teeth look crazy white, but a vivid pink also does the trick.  A bright lip pulls everything together, gives your face a pop of color and can distract from tired-looking eyes.

               red 1               red 2

(Confession: I have blush on, too)

This face takes 5 minutes max. It’s my go-to look on Monday mornings when I hit snooze once or thrice.  Plus, it’s appropriate for work, school….anything, really.  Hope you enjoy!

Review: Naked Smoky Palette – Urban Decay

How I feel about Urban Decay’s Naked palettes can best be described in 3 words: Take. My. Money.

Since purchasing the original Naked palette years ago, I’ve amassed quite the collection of Naked and Naked Basics palettes.  These palettes are by far my favorite eyeshadows due to their fantastic color payoff, ease of blendability and never-ending color combination options.

So you better believe I got my hands on the new Naked Smoky palette with quickness upon its release in early July.  I’ve had a couple weeks to play around with the shadows and am loving it so far.  Here’s why:

packaging

I’m not one of those people who really cares much about the packaging of products, I went to the Mr. Rogers’ school of thinking that it’s what’s on the inside that counts. And what’s inside this is excellent.  But I will say that the palette is very sleek, sturdy, (magnetic closures are always thrilling because…magnets, how do they work?) and the smoke design is a cool touch.

full Can you hear that?  Those are angels singing.  Look at those colors. And that huge mirror.

Now, this palette is not cheap ($54) but you’re getting twelve, semi-large gorgeous shadows that should last you a long time. Similar to other Naked palettes, a double ended blending and pencil/smudging brush is included.

matte

I really like that this palette includes both brown and grey/blue toned matte blending shades, along with a matte cream  highlight color.  A little soft brown in the crease can really help ensure your smokey eye is well blended and not too severe. I’ve found that the more blue-purple toned shades do a great job of making my blue eyes look more, well, blue when used along the lashline.

shimmer

The other half of the palette is all about shimmer, dahling. I like using shimmer shades on my lid to catch the light and matte shades in the crease to blend everything out and give my hooded eyes some depth.  Wet your brush before applying the shimmer shadows to intensify the color and shine.

I haven’t done a full-on, dark smoky eye with this palette yet, but I have been loving it for everyday, daytime looks:

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(Forgive me, I’m still trying to figure out how to pose to show makeup.  I call this one “Seductively checking the time”)

Overall, I give this palette a solid A.  It’s versatile enough to justify the price tag.  If you can spare the cash, I highly recommend adding this one to your collection.

5 Sweat-Proof Summer Makeup Tips

Now that we’ve almost reached August, it’s fitting that the weather is face-meltingly hot and humid.  There are few things more frustrating than putting your face on and having it all run off like a (very colorful) waterfall within two minutes of stepping out the door.

Luckily for you, I have some sweat-proof summer makeup tips:

  1. Makeup setting spray

I’m one of those people who is #blessed to have incredibly oily skin year round, and the day I discovered the Urban Decay All Nighter Setting Spray , my life changed for the better.  This spray is a bit pricey but it lasts a long time and really helps lock your makeup in place.  A couple sprays before you start applying your makeup, a couple sprays when your makeup is finished and boom. Done. Your makeup is staying put.

  1. BB Cream

When it’s hot as hell, the last thing you want to do is slather a layer of liquid foundation on your mug.  Enter the BB cream.  A good BB cream is lightweight, gives you decent coverage and usually contains the all-important SPF needed in the summer.  My favorite is the Rimmel Matte BB Cream.  Anything with “matte” in the title will help keep shine at bay.

  1. Bronzer

You probably have a bit of a tan already, so why not go all out and use bronzer on All The Things?  I’m not a fan of heavy eye makeup when I know I’m going to be out in the heat, so I’ll sweep some bronzer through the crease of my eye to give a little color and shimmer without much product, then throw some on my cheeks and along my hairline.  A great (and cheap!) drugstore bronzer is the Physician’s Formula Bronze Booster.

  1. Balm stain

Lips can be tricky in the summer.  Gloss is so sticky, lipstick can melt (or smear all over your face while you’re inhaling a hot dog) and a stain is far too drying.  Thankfully the good people at Revlon created the Balm Stain.  This may be my all-time favorite drugstore product.  You get the color payoff and longevity of a stain with the moisture of a balm, plus this line comes in a huge range of colors.  Can’t ask for much more than that.

  1. Waterproof mascara

This one is pretty self-explanatory.  Sweating and regular mascara don’t mix well. Or maybe you’re like me and want your lashes to look fabulous even when you’re swimming.  Either way, you need a waterproof mascara in the summer.  My current favorite is the CoverGirl Super Sizer.  The skinny brush is great for really lengthening and separating each lash (and it’s great for the lower lashes, too).

There you have it!  I hope these tips help, and if all else fails, just camp out in the air conditioning until October.

6 Easy Steps to Applying False Lashes

Ah, false lashes.  Aside from winged eyeliner, false lashes may be the most-feared tool/technique in the beauty arsenal.  But fear not!  I’m here to help. Falsies can have a significant effect on your overall look and are a great way to add a little oomph for a big event or night out.

Here is my six step guide to applying false lashes with relative ease:

Step 1: Have a drink

No, seriously.  Have a drink (or if you’re not a booze person, do a little yoga or deep breathing or whatever you people do to loosen up).  I firmly believe that false lashes can smell fear and the more relaxed you are, the better.  Don’t get hammered, but put on some good “I’m going out tonight!!!11” tunes, have a drink and approach the process as fun instead of An Ordeal.  It helps, I promise.

Step 2: Select your false lashes and cut them to size

Eyes come in all different shapes and sizes so you may need to trim your falsies down to fit your peepers.  Simply hold the lash strip up to your eye and decide if you need to trim a few hairs off the end or if you’re good to go.  Having a lash that’s too long and tickling the inside of your eye/nose area is the opposite of fun, so don’t skip this step.

Step 3: Prep your natural lashes

Now we’re getting somewhere.  Take a look at your natural lashes.  Are they fairly straight?  Then curl them with a lash curler and swipe on 1 (one) coat of mascara.  If your lashes are particularly straight, I suggest waterproof mascara to really make sure your lashes stay curled.  If your lashes naturally curl up like mine do (humblebrag), feel free to run a clean mascara wand or spoolie through your lashes to get them all fanned out, separated and ready to go.

Step 4: Glue time

Use a good quality glue!  You want these suckers to stay on and a good glue does just that.  My personal favorite is Duo Lash Adhesive, Clear, 0.25 Ounce, easily found online or at any drugstore.  There are really two options when it comes to glue application: apply to the seam of the false lash strip, or apply the glue directly to your own lash line.  I’m a fan of both ways but tend to use the “apply to the false lash strip” method.  Apply a VERY thin line of glue to the lash strip seam.  The cardinal rule here is to let the glue dry for a good 30 seconds before you attempt to place the lashes on your eye.  The glue must be tacky to get a good, solid hold.  These will probably be the longest 30 seconds of your life, so feel free to use this time to take a swig of the drink mentioned in Step 1.

Step 5: Lash application

This is it.  Here we go.  Pick up your lash strip with either tweezers or those handy little lash-gripper tong things that come with many lash kits.  Look down into a mirror and carefully place the lashes on your eyelid as close to your natural lash line as possible.  Breathe.  Try to secure the middle of the lash strip over the pupil of your eye first.  Once that part is secured, carefully tug the end of the false lashes out to fit the inner and outer corners of your eye.  Breathe again.  Once you feel that the lash strip is well secured, take the flat side of a bobby pin and run it over the lash strip to smooth it down and really get a good hold.  Let the glue dry for a couple minutes.

Step 6: Merge the real with the fake

You’re almost done!  Once the glue has dried, use your favorite mascara to bond your real lashes with the falsies.  A couple swipes on each eye should do it.  Don’t forget to add mascara to your lower lash line to balance things out.  Finally, use eyeliner to draw on the seam of the lash and lash line to help blend everything together.

And you’re done!  You may want to throw the glue and tweezers in to your purse just in case, but if you follow these steps, your false lashes should have no problem staying on for many hours. Enjoy!

5 Actual Reasons Why Women Wear Makeup

Women have been “putting their faces on” seemingly since the dawn of time.  But why do we do it?  Do we just enjoy spending our hard-earned money on products that will literally be flushed down the drain a few hours later?  Do we paint our faces to attract other people?  Or is makeup really just a mask we hide behind? I believe there are five main, no BS reasons why women (or at least this woman) wear makeup.

  1. It’s fun.

Let’s just get this out of the way first.  Makeup is fun.  Sometimes makeup is seen as v. serious business, but really, we’re putting shit on our faces and then washing it down the drain hours later.  You know how kids smear dirt and markers and basically anything they can get their hands on onto their face?  They do that because it’s fun, because they’re playing.  Makeup is no different.  Makeup allows you to have fun changing up your look, to be a chameleon.  Makeup spurs experimentation, creativity and in the most basic sense, playing around with ~*~gLiTter~*~ and pretty colors is straight up fun.

  1. It can make the face look better.

Can’t really argue with this one, especially for those of you who, like me, aren’t exactly 17 anymore.  Eyes do look more open and awake with a coat of mascara.  Groomed and filled-in brows do frame the face. Makeup can bring out the best version of “you” that you see in your head.  Not all of us are blessed with (or can pay for *ahem, Kylie Jenner*) full lips.  But most of us can afford a $4 nude lip liner from CVS that can make lips look fuller, more luscious, and let’s just say it, more youthful.  Still don’t believe me? Ask any woman who regularly wears makeup how many times some assclown in Accounting has made a “Whoa, are you sick?  You look tired.” comment when she boldly decides to sleep in not wear eye makeup to work.  Which brings me to my next point…

  1. Because we want to. Because we can.

In my experience, men tend to think that women wear makeup to impress or attract them.  All I can say to that is L O mother f-ing L.  Do men really think that women spend 10 minutes precisely blending three different eyeshadow colors to impress dudes who can’t tell the difference between navy and black?  FOH.  People who wear makeup wear it because they want to.  Because it makes them feel good.  I’ve yet to wake up in the morning with someone holding a gun to my head and forcing me to put on eyeliner (decent movie premise, though). Makeup is simply another form of self-expression.

  1. Makeup hides a multitude of sins

Let’s say you got After. It. last night.  Maybe you went to a beautiful wedding and danced until the wee hours and now have bags under your eyes large enough to carry a vacation’s worth of luggage.  Maybe you had an evening Netflix marathon session and plowed through a bottle (and a half) of wine and don’t want to look like death warmed over for your 9:00am meeting.  No worries!  Makeup is there for you.  Makeup can brighten tired eyes, hide a monstrous pimple or disguise a hickey (no judgement, do you) in seconds and with just a few products.  That is true magic.

  1. It’s a meditative experience

Putting on makeup each morning can be sacred Me Time.  There is something about the repetitive motions, the colors and the attention to detail that can be downright meditative and soothing.  For me, it’s a quiet creative outlet that gives me valuable time to mentally set my intention for the day ahead.  Plus, finishing your face gives you a sense of accomplishment knowing that you’ve already completed at least one task for the day, with the bonus that you now look amazing and ready for anything.

Now that you know why makeup is worn, my intention with this blog is to help you get the most out of it.  Looking your best helps you feel your best.  Seriously.  No BS.