NARS Duo Eyeshadow in “Cordura”

Finding new gems is the best part of collecting and testing out makeup. And, as you know, I’m a big fan of NARS eyeshadows in general. In the past, I’ve written posts about the NARS Guy Bourdin Holiday Collection Limited Edition Cinematic Eye Shadow in “Mississippi Mermaid” and the NARS Single Eye Shadow in “Blondie” — and they’re still well used in my collection.

This post will focus on the NARS Duo Eyeshadow in “Cordura” because of MakeupByTiffanyD as usual. Her newest video called My Favorite Soft & Simple Smokey Eye Makeup Tutorial was my most recent obsession this week; and, I was on the hunt for the duo she featured in the video. I tracked mine down at Nordstrom since it was sold out at Sephora.

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“Cordura” is a duo that features both a warm shimmery brown shade and a dark shimmery brown shade. The complementary shades work well to bring a modern take on the smokey eye. While you can build it up to be dark and smokey, you can also layer the colors thinly to get a gradient and more natural look for the day. This “long-wearing, crease-resistant formula is uniquely paired in dazzling and creative color combinations” that have been expertly coordinated. The colors are rich in pigment, smooth and buttery, and are long-lasting even without primer.

I’d always recommend NARS eyeshadows and their range of products in general. However, this duo is special for its versatility and unique brown shades. In a world of neutrals, it’s hard to find unique brown shades when all I own are good brown shades. The browns in this duo are more golden-brown and give the perfect amount of depth and dimension to the lids.

Retails for $35.00 USD.

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Comparison: Maybelline Baby Skin Primer (USA vs. Asia)

I wanted to dedicate this entry to comparing the Maybelline Baby Skin Pore Eraser Primer (USA version) and the Maybelline Baby Skin Makeup Instant Pink Transformer SPF35 PA+++ (Asia version). I’ve had some questions about the two, so I think a comparison post is much needed. For more on primers, read my post about 3 Primers for 3 Different Occasions if you’ve got different needs.

Both primers are base products that are designed to be applied before foundation or BB cream. Both products promise poreless, smooth perfection; and, also promise the look of “baby skin” by visibly blurring imperfections, lines and pores to create smooth skin. The packaging is cute for both as well.

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As for the differences — the Maybelline Baby Skin Makeup Instant Pink Transformer SPF35 is the Asia version, which contains SPF 35 and is pink in color — while the USA version is clear. The pink tone promises to instantly brighten the skin by creating a fair and pearlescent base before makeup application. The cherry extract and vitamin C in the product contribute to not only blurring imperfections, but also keeping the skin hydrated and bright.

I prefer the Maybelline Baby Skin Makeup Instant Pink Transformer (Asia version) because I like the brigthening effect it gives my skin. While no shimmers are visible, it works with my skin tone to even everything out — giving me a healthy, well-rested look. The USA version tends to make me more oilier than usual, and the texture of the formula is like Smashbox’s primer (which I don’t really like).

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As stated in my Makeup In a Hurry post, ChefCaffy (from YouTube) has stated that the Asia version of the Maybelline Baby Skin primer is a dupe for the CHANEL Le Blanc Light Revealing Brightening Makeup Base. With its pink-toned base, it brightens up the complexion, conceals pores, and evens pigmentation.

While the USA version of Maybelline’s Baby Skin can be purchased at Target and at drugstores, you’ll have to purchase the Asia version on eBay. I think both are good primers for the price, but I personally like the Instant Pink Transformer better.

Yves Saint Laurent Gloss Volupté Lip Gloss in “202 Rose Jersey”

Another hot beauty item that was recently released is the Yves Saint Laurent Gloss Volupté Lip Gloss, and there’s a huge buzz around these! The first few times I saw the glosses in person, I swatched but didn’t purchase. After awhile, I caved because they were so pretty and the colors looked so juicy for the upcoming warmer months. As usual, I started off with a rather safe shade, “202 Rose Jersey” and I love it.

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YSL claims that this is their “first lightweight, non-sticky lip gloss with Gloss Volupté,” which is an “intense liquid formula with ethereal texture that celebrates pleasure and invites indulgence.” The formula is not sticky, but smooth and border-line liquid. However, it’s creamy and pigmented at the same time. “Its unique patented applicator envelopes your lips in full color while allowing for precise application for a radiant, reflective, to die for look.”

The packaging — much like all of YSL’s products — is beautiful and elegant. It’s very sleek and not too embellished; yet, it’s still YSL-like and elegant. The gloss applies smoothly and evenly onto the lips without catching dry patches and flakes. And, more importantly, it seems to fill in the lines of my lips so well. It’s hydrating and fades nicely, which is a plus in my book.

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The applicator is unique and shaped funny. The flat side of it lays nicely onto the lips and the curves allow you to maneuver the wand around the contours of your lips with ease. The point is especially great for filling the edges of your lips nicely without the color spilling over. The scent is YSL’s traditional watermelon-y scent, which lingers but it doesn’t bother me at all. On the lips, the texture is thin and doesn’t both me since it isn’t sticky.

The color “202 Rose Jersey” is my perfect gloss shade and gives my lips a juicy look without being too shiny or too glossy. It’s perfect for every day and can be paired nicely with a dramatic smokey eye as well. It’s a versatile color with a great formula.

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I recommend these glosses and the formula is really unique. There’s so many colors to choose from, and the bright vibrant colors definitely have my attention for spring. As with all of YSL’s products the glosses are expensive. But I think they’re worth it, especially if you’ve disliked glosses in the past for being gloopy and sticky. I’ve got my eye on a few of the coral and coral-pink shades so you may see more about these glosses in the near future!

Made in France.
Retails for $32.00 USD.

REVIEW: Hourglass Ambient Lighting Blush in “Luminous Flush” & “Ethereal Glow”

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I finally purchased the glorious Hourglass Ambient Lighting Blushes and I really think they’re worth the hype. They’re sold out all over the place; and, I was just lucky that my local Sephora got a fresh batch of blushes in right as I walked in. These babies are big news all over YouTube and blogs, so get them while you can for sure!

Described as a “groundbreaking hybrid” blush, the Lighting Blushes “combine the customized lighting effects of [the] Ambient Lighting Powder[s] with a spectrum of breathtakingly modern hues for seamless, soft-focus, and multidimensional color.” Hourglass claims that these are a new kind of blush since they function like the Ambient Lighting Powders but with a powerful pop of color.

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The hype around the Ambient Lighting Powders is quite extraordinary since everyone is in love with them. Since they’re marketed as the “cutting-edge collection of finishing powders,” it’s no surprise that these blushes came next.

All the colors are vivid and vibrant cheek colors with lots of glow without shimmers and glitters. And, even the ones with shimmer are so subtle, it doesn’t look crazy on the skin at all. This is truly a “hybrid product that is unique, contemporary, and revolutionary. Unlike traditional blush, which tends to be flat, Ambient Lighting Blush uses Photoluminescent Technology to exhibit depth and dimension. The airy, lightweight powders contain optically transparent particles that amplify the colors to a multidimensional level—effectively reinventing the way you view blush.”

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I chose the shades “Luminous Flush” & “Ethereal Glow” but I plan on getting more in the future. The shade “Luminous Flush” is a champagne rose color that is natural and not too pink. Normally, I gravitate towards pink blushes, so I really wanted to make this purchase count with something a little different. The shade “Ethereal Glow” is my favorite, and it’s a cool pink tone that is so radiant and beautiful without being too much. The texture of the blushes are smooth and buttery soft — almost creamy without being a cream. They’re pigmented and translate very well onto the skin without looking overdone; and, the glow is just beautiful. You look lit from within — much like the promise of the Ambient Lighting Powders.

These blushes are hand-made and are “formulated using an advanced miscelare technique — which means ‘to mix’ in Italian.” This creates the “perfect balance of pigment and powder, and no two look alike. The six shades ranging from soft coral to cool pink are a wardrobe of captivating accent lights for cheeks. They deliver a radiant, natural finish and offer build-able color to imbue the entire complexion with an otherworldly glow.”

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Compared to the powders, the blushes are packaged smaller but just as compact. The reflective cases invite fingertips, scratches, and dust easily, but it’s really not a deal-breaker for me. All the colors are beautiful and it was difficult to not purchase every single one! These blushes are worth the hype and I recommend them. On days that I wear this blush, I can skip any kind of highlighter because the blush does all the work. I feel like they would be especially beautiful during the spring and summer months — paired with dewy skin and glossy lips!

Made in Italy.
Retails for $35.00 USD.
Contains 0.15 oz.

REVIEW: Anastasia Lash Genius Waterproof Topcoat

While I’m very faithful to my Japanese mascaras, I was recently gifted the Anastasia Lash Genius Waterproof Topcoat and I wanted to give it a true test run. Based on the rave reviews and some online research, my expectations were high because the product was described to be a “clear topcoat that instantly waterproofs, refreshes, and protects any mascara all day, without drying or clumping.”

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Normally, I start off my eyelash routine with the Shiseido Nourishing Mascara Base. As mentioned here in my All About Mascara Bases post, it’s essential for my lashes to have a base to ensure the curl, volume, and definitely length. However, the Anastasia Lash Genius Waterproof Topcoat is a topcoat — meaning, just like a nail polish topcoat, you’d apply this product after your primer and mascara. Essentially, this would be the third and final step.

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As an “advanced, lightweight formula [that] glides on smooth,” the formula “dries quickly and gives your lashes a touchable, soft lacquer finish that lasts all day.” It’s best to not wait to apply this topcoat because once the mascara dries, the topcoat doesn’t really coat the lashes. In my experience, it’s best to apply it directly after your final coat of mascara while the formula is still wet on the lashes. The best way to test this was with a drugstore mascara and I was specifically looking to see if the degree of the curl would hold. While my lashes were truly waterproof and smudge-proof, the curl was only at about 50%. By this I mean that the existing curl had fallen, but not all the way; so, to some extent, the topcoat helped.

According to reviews, this is great for oily eyelids. For me, I still prefer my hardcore Japanese mascaras. The Anastasia Lash Genius Waterproof Topcoat was just okay for me and I will not re-purchase since I already have a routine I prefer. Plus, adding another step to my existing routine seems a little ridiculous since I can save myself an extra step while still achieving the curl I want for my lashes.

Retails for $21.00 USD.

Recent Skincare Loves

I’m very picky about skincare and am protective about what I use on my finicky skin. Now that it’s beginning to warm up a bit here, I’ve been trying out a lighter skincare routine for the day time. And, by lighter, I mean less products! :)

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Fresh Soy Face Cleanser
I received the Fresh Soy Face Cleanser as a sample and I’ve been enjoying it. I’ve read great reviews about this cleanser, and while it claims to be a “multitasking gel that gently removes impurities and makeup,” I still use my cleansing oil before this at night. I like that it’s gentle and soothing, and it leaves my skin clean but not stripped. This cleanser is “rich in amino acids, soy proteins [to] support moisture retention, [and gives] skin the appearance of elasticity and firmness.” The “rosewater balances and tones the skin,” and “calming cucumber extract and nourishing borage seed oil enrich the formula.” I see myself purchasing a full size in the very near future.

Biore UV Aqua Rich Watery Essence Sunscreen
The Biore UV Aqua Rich Watery Essence Sunscreen is perfect for daytime because it’s so light and watery. Since I never skip on sunscreen, it’s important for the formula to be thin, undetectable, and easy to wear under makeup. This formula is watery and blends smoothly onto the skin. It’s cooling and protects my skin perfectly without the heavy, thick feeling of a traditional sunscreen. I like this best for days when I want to wear foundation since the texture is so smooth like a primer.

Caudalie Vinosource S.O.S Thirst Quenching Serum
Currently, I’m on a major serum high so I’ve been skipping moisturizer in the mornings all together. Instead, I’ve been using the Caudalie Vinosource S.O.S Thirst Quenching Serum before sunscreen and makeup. Ordinarily, serums are paired with a moisturizer for optimal effect; however, for the mornings, it seems too heavy and unnecessary for me. After cleansing and toning, I apply the serum and then my sunscreen. This “oil-free serum…captures and continually diffuses water deep within the skin to restore its moisture balance and leave skin feeling soft and supple” by using organic grape water and polyphenol antioxidents. It’s like a drink of water for my skin and it smells divine.

What are some of your skincare favorites as of late?

Recent Favorites

Since my monthly favorites posts are so infrequent, I think it’s quite exciting when I can devote an entire entry to just my recent favorites. Pretty much all of the products here are items that I’ve had in my collection (except for one), and they’ve stuck around even after I’ve rotated products. I’m itching for warmer weather to get here, so I may be jumping the gun here in some ways; but nothing says spring like a new flirty scent and some bright blush!

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Dior Rosy Glow Awakening Blush 001 ~ $44.00 USD
This item is semi-new to my collection, and I only reach for it when I’m in a particularly Dior-happy mood. As a “universally flattering, finely milled blush [that] adjusts to your skin’s chemistry,” this blush is not as gimmicky as I once thought. It creates “naturally flushed, rosy cheeks” and seems to flatter most skin tones. The “ultra-fine powder texture and irresistible rose fragrance offer a moment of pure indulgence with each application.” Simply put, it’s soft, pigmented, and long-lasting on the cheeks. On my skin, it applies a bright candy-pink that blends well without looking harsh. There’s a subtle glowy-ness that comes without any shimmer, glimmer, or chunky glitter.

Benefit Cosmetics Bathina Silky & Seductive Body Oil Mist ~ $34.00 USD
As a “silky and seductive body oil mist,” this is my newest item in my beauty collection. I purchased it randomly on a whim simply because it smelled good. I like to apply this directly after a shower, onto freshly cleansed and mildly damp skin. I spray and rub the oil into my skin and it absorbs right away — leaving my body feeling moisturized and smelling fantastic. Benefit promises that this “seductive sheen and a hint of tempting fragrance” is impossible to resist. The “super-fine oil mist absorbs [fast] for immediate hydration,” and “includes sweet almond, olive, and avocado oils to leave skin feeling soft.” Bathina also includes vitamin E, which is known to help keep skin firm. I like it because it smells great and stays on the skin all day. It’s also a great way to skip body moisturizer and perfume!

NARS Radiant Creamy Concealer in “Vanilla” ~ $29.00 USD
I’m still going strong with my NARS Radiant Creamy Concealer in “Vanilla.” I love that on good-skin days, I can just skip foundation/BB cream in general and just dab this concealer onto needed areas. It’s a great way to save time, especially when I’m in a hurry. Recently, I’ve been pairing this concealer with the Laura Mercier Mineral Powder and I’ve been very happy with the combo.

Laura Mercier Mineral Powder in “Tender Rose” ~ $38.00 USD
My oldie but goodie — my old faithful — and my trusty mineral foundation that is always a re-purchased item: my Laura Mercier Mineral Powder in “Tender Rose.” It’s easy to forget about this powder foundation when I’m busy with other products in my collection. I admit, that most weeks, my LM mineral powder goes unnoticed. But, when I come back to it, I usually end up using it religiously for two months before moving onto something different. I always come back though; and, I like that this product is always there! I tend to gravitate towards this mineral foundation when the weather is warmer, since it gives me such a nice, warm glow without highlighters and bronzers.

Eco Tools Buffing Brush ~ $6.99 USD
Normally, I’m very loyal to either my natural-hair brushes or my Real Techniques brushes. But lately, since my obsessions has been my tried and true LM mineral foundation, I’ve found that a flat-top brush like the Eco Tools Buffing Brush is the best. I own a few Eco Tools brushes and I highly recommend them. This brush is ultra-soft, cruelty-free, and hand-cut to smoothly buff for custom coverage. It also features a recycled aluminum ferrule, a sleek bamboo handle. It’s lightweight so it’s easy to use; and, the bristles pick up the most perfect amount of product.

Shu Uemura Hard 9 Eyebrow Pencil ~ $23.00 USD
Another oldie but goodie is the Shu Uemura Hard 9 Eyebrow Pencil. It lasts for years and requires minimal sharpening. I’ve found that throughout all the eyebrow pencils I’ve tried, this one not only lasts the longest, but it’s the most natural looking on my brows. This product is difficult to swatch on the hand, but for some reason, when using it on eyebrow hairs this product is the best. Currently, since my brows are pretty much all grown out, I’ve got small gaps in the front that still need filling in. I also like to give some definition to the ends of my brows to they look a bit fuller. The Hard 9 pencil has been great option lately and I really love it.

Koji Dolly Wink Eyeliner in Brown
Normally, eyeliners aren’t really part of my every day routine. However, lately, I’ve been really into using a little bit of liquid eyeliner for some upper lid definition. While I favor black mascaras, black eyeliners have always been something I’ve skipped. The Koji Dolly Wink Eyeliner in Brown has been my go-to. You can find this product on eBay or at Asian grocery stores. The felt tip is thin and stable so it’s very easy to use — you can control the thickness of the line, so for most days, I like to keep it simple with a thin, non-winged liner.

What products have you been loving?

Dior Addict Lip Glow

I haven’t been this excited about a lip product in a really long time. Strangely, I was never interested in the Dior Addict Lip Glow until recently — and, I really have no idea why. It seems gimmicky, I know — but, I recommend you give the product a chance. Trust me! Described to a “sheer balm that enhances your natural lip color while moisturizing and protecting the skin,” the Dior Addict Lip Glow is surprisingly the best thing that’s happened to me this year! It’s a product that everyone needs in their makeup bag; and, it won’t disappoint you, I promise.

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I think it’s important to understand that even though this is a lip balm kind of product, it’s very unique. Dior advertises this product as one that will “awaken and enhance the natural beauty of your lips” and “promises the perfect pout.” With its “color reviver technology, this silky lipstick reacts with the chemistry of your lips to create a special shade that will last all day. The addition of SPF 10 will keep you protected, while hydrating mango butter and loofah extract nourish for beautiful, luscious lips.”

Sounds super promising, and it truly is. The minty-vanilla scent is nice and the texture of the balm is smooth and silky, just like all of Dior’s lip products. The balm isn’t too slick, so it stays on the lips much like a lipstick would. It’s both hydrating and soothing without looking glossy or too colorful. I’ve heard that the color the balm will reveal is different on everyone; however, for the most part, it’s a sheer baby pink color that does seem to flatter different skin tones.

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At first glance, it doesn’t look like anything special. Even when swatched, there’s no initial color pay-off, so it seems strange. On the lips, the clear shade turns into a sheer pink color that isn’t too pink or too red. But the best part about this product is that somehow it gives your lips a glow. I know it sounds gimmicky but I swear, after applying it, you’ll notice that there’s something different about your lips in a nice, pretty, and subtle way. I recommend this product and I think it’s worth the splurge. In fact, whenever you want to splurge on a lip product, I suggest checking Dior’s products first. Dior suggests that the Lip Glow be applied “alone as a natural lipstick or a moisturizing lip balm under any other Dior lip product.” Personally, I like to wear this alone because it does all the work perfectly.

Made in France.
Retails for $32.00 USD.

Urban Decay Naked Skin Ultra Definition Loose Finishing Powder in “Naked Light”

Accompanying the release of the Urban Decay NAKED Ultra Nourishing Lipglosses, the Naked Skin Ultra Definition Loose Finishing Powders were released. As a “loose powder with a luminous, demi-matte Naked finish,” this product is designed to give you the ultimate smooth, luminous, and natural finish to your makeup.

Before we begin, let’s make a mental note about the packaging, albeit bulky, is cute and would look nice displayed on one’s vanity. Also, notice that the sifter portion of the jar strategically has just a few holes and not a million. This is great so that you don’t get a whole bunch of powder everywhere; and, it makes it somewhat travel-friendly.

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The Urban Decay Naked Skin Ultra Definition Loose Finishing Powder is used to “blur flaws, set makeup, and cut shine with [a] weightless formula that feels amazingly silky on the skin.” As a “virtually invisible” naked powder, Urban Decay’s “high-tech, light-reflecting formula fools the eye with optical blurring, seemingly airbrushing away imperfections and creating a soft-focus effect that looks professionally retouched.” While the product is a powder, this “creamy, buildable, jet-milled formula applies beautifully, never look[ing] chalky or cakey.

It’s best to apply this powder with a plush, fluffy brush. A little goes a long ways with the powder, so I prefer to dust off the excess before applying it to my face. It’s a great way to transition your makeup from looking “too done” to looking like your skin just looks this way!

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I got the shade “Naked Light” and I’m happy with it. While there’s a heavy yellow-neutral tone to it, it blends seamlessly and flawlessly — setting makeup and plugging in pores. It really does give a soft-focus effect without looking fake. I like this powder much better than the Urban Decay Naked Skin Ultra Definition Pressed Finishing Powder that I purchased and then returned.

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The Naked Skin Ultra Definition Loose Finishing Powder is not really that unique since all the powders released nowadays pretty much promise the same things. I’d say that I prefer the Too Faced Primed & Poreless Pressed Powder over anything else because it does everything that the UD powder promises — but it has much better oil control. I feel like nothing will beat the Giorgio Armani Micro-fil Loose Powder, which is still my all-time favorite.

I recommend the Urban Decay Naked Skin Ultra Definition Loose Finishing Powder, but only if you don’t already own a soft-focus/blurring powder that does magical things for you skin, lol! I’d have to say though — even though the product claims to be buildable, this isn’t a powder foundation but a setting powder. So, don’t expect it to provide coverage or anything. For setting makeup and helping you look luminous — check. For blurring pores, lines, and uneven texture — check. For oil-control and pigmentation coverage — no check.

Retails for $34.00 USD.
Made in USA.
Item contains 0.28 oz.

Makeup In a Hurry

Not too long ago, one of my favorite beauty bloggers, Essiebutton, wrote a blog post featuring In-A-Hurry Products. I was inspired by her post and found myself slapping products onto my face when I was running late a few days ago. I found that it’s better to be a little late than to arrive looking disheveled, lol — so, I needed quick, easy to use products that were already tested and known for its reliability. My on-the-go and in-a-hurry products are multi-functional, so keep that in mind when you’re in a rush as well!

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Maybelline New York Baby Skin Instant Pink Transformer + Kiss Me Heroine Make Mineral White BB Cream
First things first — and, that’s base makeup. For me, looking “put together” — even in a hurry — means polished skin, some color on the cheeks and lips, and definitely some good mascara. Base makeup consist of another one of ChefCaffy’s favorites — the Maybelline New York Baby Skin Instant Pink Transformer paired with the Kiss Me Heroine Make Mineral White BB Cream. ChefCaffy has stated that the Asia version of the Maybelline Baby Skin primer is a dupe for the CHANEL Le Blanc Light Revealing Brightening Makeup Base. With its pink-toned base, it brightens up the complexion, conceals pores, and evens pigmentation. Applying anything else on top is a breeze!

YSL Touche Éclat Radiant Touch
For some help with the under-eye area, as usual, I just swipe on the YSL Touche Éclat Radiant Touch and quickly blend it in. Since I’m skipping a highlighter on the face (due to time), I also use this product along my cheek bones, down the bridge of my nose, and around the mouth area/smile lines for extra brightening. I don’t like to powder over the prettiness, so I just skip it.

Illamasqua Cream Blusher in “Promise”
Cream blush is a must when you’re in a hurry. And, the best cream blush formula is Illamasqua’s. Just a few swipes of this with a synthetic buffing brush and you’re all ready to go! The color “Promise” is flattering, brightening, and super easy to use. It’s a shame that it seems like Sephora won’t be carrying the range eventually.

Fresh Sugar Lip Treatment in “Sheer Berry”
For on-the-go, a multi-functioning lip product is a must — so hydration + color is important. I keep Fresh Sugar Lip Treatments around all over the place for such occasions; but, recently, the shade “Sheer Berry” has really been one of my favorites. When I’m in the mood, I’ll switch things up and use one of the Revlon Color Burst Lip Butters for the same effect!

I think that moments like this when you’re in a hurry, you tend to gravitate towards products that are good for a reason. This is a great way to really know how products work — simply because you can’t afford to waste time on “testing” things out when you’re in a rush. Reliable and easy products are always an important part of a morning routine, so hopefully this post has helped put into perspective what my go-to items have been! What about you?