Urban Decay NAKED Ultra Nourishing Lipgloss in “Walk of Shame” & “Lovechild”

After lusting after pictures and early blog posts of the new Urban Decay NAKED Ultra Nourishing Lipglosses, I was finally able to get my hands on my two favorites at Ulta. I’m probably the only person on the planet that feels neutral about the NAKED series by Urban Decay, but I was truly excited about the release of the NAKED Ultra Nourishing Lipglosses.

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Marketed as a “find your perfect nude” kind of product, the NAKED Ultra Nourishing Lipgloss line consists of 9 shades — supposedly suitable for all skin tones. Urban Decay suggests that “with its addictively creamy texture and gorgeous, high-gloss finish, [this lipgloss] feels so luxe that you’ll want to keep applying it all day.” They claim that the product is “a gloss like no other” — stating that the “creamy, shiny, and intensely nourishing [glosses] are laced with Hyaluronic Filling Spheres, vitamin E, avocado oil, and shea butter to condition lips.” In essence, the claims are high — with promises of lipcare benefits, high-shine color, and high-intensity and long-lasting pigmentation.

I like the luxe packaging with “NAKED” engraved on the tube, and the ability to see the gloss color at the ends. The applicator is a sponge-tipped doe-foot applicator, but has an indentation on one side that fits comfortably along the lips as you apply. In general, I have no complaints about the packaging, the applicator, or the overall quality of its application.

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The Ultra Nourishing Lipgloss in “Walk of Shame” is your standard nude that doesn’t look like much on your lips. In fact, it turns out to be a fairly decent ‘my-lips-but-better’ color on the lips that plumps and fills in the lines. Because the color itself is nothing special, I can say that you may not need this color if you already have something like this. The formula and texture of the product is thin and filmy. Considering this, it’s not sticky and wears comfortably on the lips without getting messy or gloopy. While your lips do look shiny and glossy, the product does wear off quickly and catches dry flakes on the lips easily.

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The Ultra Nourishing Lipgloss in “Lovechild” is my favorite because it’s pink and flirty without looking too opaque on the lips. Much like “Walk of Shame,” the formula and texture of the product is thin and filmy — and, is easy to apply since it isn’t thick. The pigment of the color is just ok — it’s not so pick that it looks like the color at the end of the tube, but it’s not so light that I would call it sheer. However, applying too much can make the lips look gloopy and messy — so, basically, you have to find a good, happy medium if this is going to look good on the lips.

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Swatched here — I realize the colors don’t look that special and that’s true. As a standard nude tone and a standard pink tone, I got these two colors because they were more ‘me.’ However, while the formula and texture of the glosses were nice because they weren’t sticky, the pigmentation was just ok for me. The lasting power was minimal and I didn’t feel like my lips were any more hydrated than before I applied the gloss. I think the NAKED line is hyped up in general and I can see why so many will jump on the NAKED Ultra Nourishing Lipgloss bandwagon. Because I chose rather safe colors, I’ll keep them for work. But nothing beats Dior Addict Lipglosses or the Laura Mercier Lip Glace.

Made in Canada.
Retails for $20.00 USD.

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NYX Butter Glosses in “Éclair” and “Apple Strudel”

Ulta was having a sale on NYX products, so naturally, I had to swing by to see how I could benefit! The Butter Glosses were buy one and get one 50% off, so I chose the shades “Éclair” and “Apple Strudel.” The NYX Butter Glosses claim to give “creamy medium coverage on your lips without that sticky sensation,” and also claims to “soften and condition lips while giving a hint of color and gloss.” In essence, this range is marketed as a ‘best of both worlds’ kind of product — the creamy and moisturizing properties of a lip balm, plus high intensity color and shiny-ness of a lip gloss.

Butter Lipglosses are available in 12 scrumptious colors — ranging from nudes and pinks to cherry and berry colors. And, I would agree that the NYX Butter Glosses do exactly as they are described and outperform many high end brands as well.

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Both “Éclair” and “Apple Strudel” are creamy, smooth, and light in texture. They don’t feel sticky and gloopy on the lips, and adheres well to the lips — even when I eat and drink. However, it’s just sticky enough to get my hair caught on my lips on windy days. But this may just be a lipgloss problem and not the products’ fault, lol. Both are long-lasting and hydrating. I still wear lip balm underneath; but, I do that no matter what product I’m wearing so I don’t consider that to be a big deal.

My only complaint is that this is awful on dry lips, because the color gets caught on dry flakes and any uneven texture on the lips. In fact, if your lips are even just a little bit chapped, I’d suggest using a different product that day. Other than that, the NYX Butter Glosses are great for the quality and the price.

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“Éclair” is the first gloss pictured (top row) and is a warm, beige-pink shade that leans slightly nude on the lips (despite its initial brightness). “Apple Strudel” is a coral-pink shade that looks more pink on the lips than coral or orange. Both tones are warm and can be brightening — which make them ideal for the upcoming spring and summer months. I think these are a great deal and highly recommend them. Right now they’re on sale, so that’s even better!

Product retails for $4.99 USD.
Made in P.R.C. (People’s Republic of China)

Too Faced Primed & Poreless Pressed Powder

Designed to be a “pressed powder that turns any foundation into high definition makeup,” I was persuaded to purchase this product when I watched Claire Marshall’s video about her 2013 Beauty Favorites. While I’m pretty new to the Too Faced line, they’ve come out with some good products I’ve read about. I’m curious to see what else I can try next!

First off, before I begin, this powder is perfect for oily-skinned people. This gives some seriously major oil-control without looking too matte, too flat, or too dry. Second, as a “silky, translucent finishing veil,” this powder is extremely finely milled and thin — so much so that it disappears on contact and somehow buffs away pores and lines on the face. Amazing. How did I not notice this product before?

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Too Faced claims that this powder “adjust to any skintone while minimizing the appearance of pores and fine lines.” The “weightless formulation” is ideal for wearing over foundation or in oilier areas (like the nose and forehead). It’s also recommended that the powder “can be worn alone or under and over foundation to prep skin, lock down makeup, and control shine for a complexion smoothing, flawless finish. High-resolution, reflective powder technology transforms skin by visually minimizing pores, fine lines, and imperfections for an airbrushed-looking finish.”

For me, I like to to just use this in my t-zone and I’m good with oil control for the rest of the day! It’s so thin and lightweight it doesn’t feel heavy or look cakey on the skin, so it’s great to pair with whatever base makeup you choose — whether it’s a foundation, BB cream, or CC cream. This powder does not provide any coverage — even though it does cover pores and lines. But, it’s not expected to provide coverage since this is NOT a powder foundation.

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If you have oily, combination skin; or, you’re just wanting something to really seal your makeup when you’re out and about, this powder is for you. I don’t think this would cause any dryness, so I’d like to loosely say that anyone can use this — but, I’d be careful if you don’t have at least combination skin — since it may make your makeup look dry and flat. This is great for touch-ups and on-the-go and I don’t think you’ll be disappointed.

Made in Italy.
Retails for $30.00 USD.
Product contains 0.35 oz.

REVIEW: NARS Final Cut Illuminator in “Adelaide”

I’ve been eagerly reading review posts of various Spring/Summer limited edition collections being released, and I’m sad to say that nothing really tugged at my heartstrings. While the FINAL CUT collection by NARS was available on Nordstrom’s website for weeks, I decided to wait to see the collection in person before making any kind of commitment. Though the blushes looked beautiful and were all very tempting, I stopped myself from getting them because I have so many blushes that look just the same! Instead, I got the Final Cut Illuminator in “Adelaide” and skipped the lip products entirely.

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NARS Illuminators are marketed as items that will “light the skin from within.” They are designed to be worn as a highlighting product for the face, or applied to the skin before makeup, and can also be mixed in with foundation for the ultimate glowy effect. Previously, I featured the NARS Illuminator in “Copacabana” and it’s still a favorite item in my collection.

In general, the Illuminators are a range of highlighting products that are described to be “light-reflecting liquids that glides on to refresh and enhance the complexion.” The Illuminators promise “to create a shimmering incandescence” on the face and body. Despite the color in the tube, “Adelaide” is “deceptively sheer [and] decidedly luminous” all at the same time. NARS claims to “magically transform your skin from ordinary to extraordinary” with these products.

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“Adelaide” is a bright, cool-toned pink with shimmer in the tube, but blends out sheer and pretty on the skin. As you’ve probably already guessed — a little goes a long way. I found that “Adelaide” was the only unique item in the FINAL CUT collection and I’m very happy with the purchase. So far, I’ve worn it as a highlighter on the face after blush, alone in place of blush, and mixed in with my foundation — and, I found that “Adelaide” can really bring your blush to life. The glow is undeniable, yet it’s still subtle and natural without going too overboard. Surprisingly when mixed in with foundation, it doesn’t change the tone of it. I was afraid since it was so pink, the color of my base makeup would be altered — however, since my skin naturally leans a little pink anyway, I found it to be no problem.

My favorite way to wear this is in place of blush — just on my cheeks like a stain. The texture is creamy but not thick and not too thin. It blends out beautifully without drying too fast like the Benefit tints. The effect is pretty and I recommend the Final Cut Illuminator in “Adelaide,” for sure. In my opinion, the other items can be passed up if you already own various shades of pink blushes. If not, this collection would be a great place to start!

Made in USA.
Product contains 1.1 oz.
Retails for $30.00 USD.

Covergirl Bombshell ShineShadow in 300 “Ice Queen”

With so many new product releases at the drugstore in the new year, I was excited to try out the new Covergirl Bombshell ShineShadow in 300 “Ice Queen.” This new range of cream shadows are called ShineShadows because they’re cream shadows that are super blend-able with reflective shine and glitter. Covergirl suggests that the Bombshell ShineShadows will “transform your eyes into bombshell sexy.” The reflective pigments are finely crushed and not as gritty in texture as I would have imagined.

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The shade 300 “Ice Queen” is one of six available shades in the range. I specifically chose this shade because I felt that it would work well as a base for my other neutral shades I have in my collection. While initially the shade seems like a silvery icey color, once it’s blended, it turns into nothing but swiped on glitter. For some occasions, such as a New Year’s Eve party or a pageant, this would add glam to the eyes. It’s just not practical for me during a regular work week. Perhaps if the base color was more white rather than chunks of glitter, I could’ve used it in the inner corners of my eyes for a brightening effect. Oh well.

When layered with eye shadows, I noticed some major creasing. Usually, creasing isn’t an issue for me since my Asian eyes don’t tend to “fold” in a way where shadows would crease. However, I noticed that this product would collect in tiny lines along my eyelid — making it more obvious that the texture and pigment was unevenly applied. The idea of this range sounded promising, but I don’t think I’ll be purchasing anymore shades. I may keep this around for future fun looks (like Halloween or something); but, in general, this is not my cup of tea. :(

Made in USA.
Retails for $7.99 USD.

REVIEW: The Balm Mary-Lou Manizer

I recently acquired The Balm’s Mary-Lou Manizer because I read Essiebutton’s post about it here and here in her 2013 Makeup Awards post. I’m late on the Mary-Lou Manizer highlighter train and I’ve also never tried The Balm’s products either. However, I’d like to say that with the purchase of this highlighter, I’m curious about other products within this brands. New to the line’s highlighter range is the Cindy-Lou Manizer, and I’ve already read positive reviews about that highlighter as well.

Highlighting is not for anyone, which is understandable — since it depends on what look you prefer more — the matte-look or the dewy-look. Because I’ve got normal skin only in the winter months, I’m quite picky with which products I use to highlight since I don’t want to risk looking oily early on in the day.

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The Mary-Lou Manizer is an “innocent honey-hued luminizer” that leans towards a golden, shimmery shade rather than an icy-white or beige-bronzey shade. The “shimmer diffuses light so your skin looks softer and younger while adding a subtle glow,” and the texture of the powder is buttery smooth so it sinks right into the skin without detection. While this is a golden “honey-hued” shade, it is flattering on the skin — giving it a dewy, almost wet look. When applied to the cheekbones, the product gives you an ethereal glow that looks surprisingly natural, despite its golden undertones.

Another aspect to note is that a little bit goes a long way. Initially, it looks like nothing when you apply this highlighter in front of the mirror. In natural lighting, there’s something healthy and pretty about your skin (without looking oily), so be sure to use a light hand with this and concentrate it only on areas that you want to highlight.

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The Balm has marketed this item to be both a highlighter/luminizer and eyeshadow. I’ve used it as an inner-corner highlight for my eyes; but, it’s too stark and harsh for any under-the-brow-bone highlighting. Personally, I prefer this on my cheekbones and down the bridge of my nose. Since I don’t own any golden highlighters, this is a rather new concept for me — mainly, since I tend to favor pink-toned highlighters like the Diorskin Shimmer Star in “Rose Diamond.” For the price point and the beautiful glow it gives, I recommed the Mary-Lou Manizer and plan on purchasing the Cindy-Lou Manizer in the future.

Highlighters can come in all forms, but I find powder ones easier to use. Read my post about liquid highlighters if that’s what you fancy; and, consider my post about glowy makeup here.

Made in USA.
Product retails for $24.00 USD.

Nails Basics

Nail care can be tricky because it really depends on one’s lifestyle. While I do enjoy going to get pedicures at nail salons, I prefer at-home manicures for the most part. Also, since I get bored of nail polishes pretty much every other day, I’m constantly changing my polishes all the time; and, adding glitter here and there; or, doing something random like painting each nail a different color.

While the color and style really depends on my mood, the items featured in this post are my “nails basics.” These are products I need no matter what the situation is, and they’ve proven to be worthy of being re-purchased as well.

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OPI Nail Envy
This product is a miracle and should be in everyone’s beauty drawer — whether you’re a male or female; or a nail care enthusiast or novice; or you don’t even wear nail polish. This protects, strengths, and helps nails grow strong and hard. I use it under every polish as my base coat; and, even on days I’m not in the mood for polish, a clear coat of Nail Envy is all I need to feel secure about my nails. Also, it dries instantly which is a bonus.

Butter London Nail Foundation Flawless Base Coat
Much like you would apply foundation to your face as your base, this Nail Foundation is just that for your nails. This is great for super glittery nail polishes that are difficult to remove. After applying OPI Nail Envy, I’ll apply a thin coat of the Nail Foundation Flawless Base Coat underneath my cray polishes. Because glitter adheres well to this nail foundation, it’s easier to remove. Also, this product evens out the tone and color of your nails/nail bed (hence the name foundation) so that your colored polishes stay true to their original colors.

Out the Door Top Coat
I purchased this because it was recommended by MakeupByTiffanyD on YouTube. It’s replaced my Seche Vite Top Coat because it works better without the harmfulness of Seche Vite. The Out the Door Top Coat dries fast like the Seche Vite, and gives you a glossy finish to your polishes. Your nails look and feel hardened and the color is sealed — even if you made some gloopy swipes of color along the way. This top coat evens everything out. It’s also $3.95!

Sally Hansen Salon Manicure Dry & Go Drops
If you’re in a super hurry or if a fast-drying top coat is still taking too long for you, the Salon Manicure Dry & Go Drops will become your best friend. After applying your top coat, drop a few drops of this product onto each nail. Not only will the oil moisturize and nourish your cuticles and any dryness, but it will also dry your polish in two minutes. After using this, you can wash your hands, play with your hair, or be out the door — truly amazing. I’ve re-purchased this a handful of times already.

Sally Hansen Grow Nails Now! Nail Growth Solution
This product is a must-have for me because it contains “Bio-Active Vita-Soy Complex [that] penetrates nail layers to restore and replenish essential nutrients critical for healthy nails.” Just apply 1 to 2 coats on clean dry bare nails, cuticles and under nail tips to help damaged nails. When I’m giving my nails a brief break from nail polishes, I’ll remove any color, do a proper manicure, and apply this before going to bed. I let the product do its magic over night and wash my hands in the morning. My nails are revived and healthy again. I apply OPI Nail Envy and move on with my day polish-free for a day or two.

What are your tried and true nails basics?

Bite Beauty Agave Lip Mask

Due to recent hypes regarding the new Bite Beauty Agave Lip Mask, I had to see what all the fuss was about. Designed to be a “soothing, leave-on lip mask that replenishes moisture in lips,” this is an essential product if you suffer from dry lips, chronic dry lips, peeling/flakey lips, or chapped/windburned/sunburned lips. This “innovative, natural formula smooths, nourishes, and moisturizes lips with a bio-active blend of organic agave nectar, jojoba oil, vanilla CO2 extract, and triple the amount of antioxidant trans-resveratrol found in red wine.” It DOES NOT contain gluten or petroleum, so it’s really as natural as you can get.

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The suggested usage is to “apply at bedtime or wear throughout the day for an instant boost of hydration with long-lasting shine.” The texture of this lip mask is really thick, which makes it easy to apply because it stays put. The vanilla scent and taste is subtle and isn’t overpowering, and it kind of reminds me of a MAC lipstick — only not as plastic-y. Personally, I like to wear this to bed in place of a fancy lip balm when my lips really need something extra. By applying this at this at night, it can really heal and soothe my lips overnight without being disturbed. In the morning, I awake to fully healed and moisturized lips!

A little bit goes a long ways, so I imagine this product will last a long time. Also, given that I don’t use it every night, I think that this was a worthwhile purchase, and perfect for the fluctuating temperatures we’ve been having here in Texas. I’ve worn this during the day a few times and it works perfectly fine; however, I did find that applying lip gloss over this is just a thick, gloopy mess for me. And, since I’m eating, drinking, and talking throughout the day, I feel like the product isn’t given a fair chance at working its magic.

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This lip mask has received great reviews and I find that it’s an important part of my night time routine and my lip product collection. It works differently than a lip balm since I find that it’s more like a lip sealant — it adheres to the lips and stays there all night without budging, smearing, or transferring; you can feel it still on your lips in the morning. It nourishes and heals the lips so that your lips feel good and comfortable during the day — just like what a face mask would do for your face. Made from medical-grade Lanolin and Resveratrol (which supposedly provides antioxidant benefits equivalent to 15 glasses of red wine), your lips can really benefit from this product.

I recommend this product and feel that it’s a good investment, especially if dry lips are an every day problem. If you can get by with a lip balm and you’re happy with it, then you could probably pass this up.

Retails for $26.00 USD.
Contains 0.52 oz.

REVIEW: Shu Uemura New Generation Eyelash S Curler

As many of you already know, Shu Uemura released their New Generation Eyelash S Curler and it’s been causing quite the buzz around the blog world, YouTube, and Asian beauty medias as well. For me, this lash curler was just okay — but, in theory, the design of the curler could have some good uses. Depending on what your lash needs are, this curler could prove to be a valuable tool. However, I think I prefer to stick with Shu’s regular favorite.

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The New Generation Eyelash S Curler is marketed as an innovative curler that “fits any eye shape and offers precise application so that you can really emphasize parts of your lashes without pinching [the] skin.” Considering its “small structure without side-bars,” the new design is supposed to be more effective than the traditional design — in that it has unrestricted access, so that lashes don’t get left out. This curler does make it easier to get the pesky inner corner lashes. Also, without the side bars, there’s no pinching of the eyelid or the skin around where you’re clamping the curler.

The new S curler is smaller compared to the traditional curler; but, because of that, it takes multiple clamps along the lashline to curl your lashes. Also, since you’re re-clamping along the way, you don’t get a uniform curl along the lashline. Instead, one group of lashes could curl more than the others; or, another clump of lashes may not get curled enough. While not having side bars is supposed to be a plus, I find it hard to measure where you have lashes to curl and where you don’t. At least with the traditional curler, the side bars gave you some indication as to where you should being curling the lashes. Shu Uemura claims that the New Generation Eyelash S Curler is an important “addition to your make-up bag [because it] is compact and portable, [which] allows you to curl even the shortest of lashes due to its non-sidebar and angle of the padding.”

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The quality of the curler is really nice. It’s sturdy and reliable, and the grip is nice without feeling too loose or too stiff. I agree that this curler is portable and can be great for on-the-go people. However, if you don’t find the need to re-curl your lashes midway through the day, the portability of this curler doesn’t mean much. I find this curler useful for bonding your real lashes with fake ones (after the faux lashes have been glued on); or, for curling lashes at the ends that were left out by a traditional curler. In some cases, if I’m testing out a mascara that isn’t holding the curl well, I give my lashes a once-over with the S curler to give them extra oomph.

For the most part, I’d only recommend this curler if you’re a false lash wearer. For general, everyday curling, I would recommend Shu Uemura’s traditional eyelash curler. Its reputation stands for a reason and is worth the price. For those with flatter eyelids, I’d recommend the Shiseido eyelash curler. Of course there are cheaper alternatives at the American drugstores, as well as the Asian markets as well. When choosing a good eyelash curler, it depends on the curvature of your eyelids and what fits your eye shape comfortably. It’s a great tool to have with you in your makeup bag, because lifted and curled lashes can do wonders for your appearance!

Retails for $24.00 USD.
Made in Japan.

NARS Guy Bourdin Holiday Collection Limited Edition Cinematic Eye Shadow in “Mississippi Mermaid”

Previously, I wrote a post about the NARS Guy Bourdin Holiday Collection Limited Edition Blush in “Day Dream”. I passed up the eyeshadows, but one did catch my attention before I left Sephora. Since then, I went back to get the shade that was tugging at my heartstrings called “Mississippi Mermaid”. As a limited edition product, availability may be limited. Some stores may still carry it, so if you’re interested in this particular line/shade, it’s best to get it now! :)

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“Mississippi Mermaid” is a champagne-peachy shade that looks like nothing special in the pan. In fact, even swatched, this shade may not be for everyone. This shadow can be applied dry or with a dampened brush for a more intense finish, but I choose to wear it dry like all my other eyeshadows. As with all of NARS’ products, pigmentation is impeccable so controlling the amount of product you apply is key to this shade. When applied with a heavy hand, the color looks chalky. But, once thinned out/blended, the shade is a warm, shimmery champagne-peachy shade that can be flattering.

I like to focus this shade in the inner corners of my eyes when I’m wearing a slightly darker look. Other days, when I’m in the mood, I’ll apply this shade all over the lids and follow with some eyeliner. It’s a great, but subtle way to create dimension on the lids without wearing a glittery/metallic shade.

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This shade is pretty and I liked “Mississippi Mermaid” the best out of all the other shadows in the Limited Edition Cinematic Eye Shadow range. The reflective tone is what makes the color unique and worth having in my collection. However, since it seems so basic, I can understand why this shade might’ve been passed up and overlooked! I recommend this color if it’s still available to you — it’s so great for the inner corners since it’s not stark white or too gold.

Product contains 0.07 oz.
Retails for $24.00 USD.
Made in USA.