beauty gifting with sephora0

there’s no doubt that it’s a busy time of year.

holiday parties, coworker potlucks, card sending, cookie baking, studying secret santa wish lists and fa-la-la-la-la’ing don’t leave a lot of time for shopping.

thankfully, there’s one place where you can buy the gift of:

  • gorgeous glow
  • clear skin
  • flawless foundation
  • signature scent
  • date night eyes
  • a perfect hair day
  • so. much. more.

yup, i’m fully convinced that you could knock 100% of your holiday purchasing out at sephora. have you seen the kits, sets, and limited time exclusives they are bringing this season? let’s just say that my top picks are just the beginning.

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marc jacobs beauty lamé noir ultra-glittering mascara0

Marc Jacobs Beauty Lame Noir Ultra‑Glittering Mascara Noir

 

this new mascara from MJ is super unique.

it’s a clear lacquer chock full of chunky gold and black glitter, applied with a bristle-less brush for the ultimate party-ready fringe. it’s one of those things that had a fully magnetic pull for me. i had to try upon discovery and i have to say that i’m pretty obsessed with the results.

before i dive into the importance of this one and why anyone feeling festive is going to need it in their life, please note that this is not an everyday mascara. because of the nontraditional brush and the very wet, glossy formula, the application clumps your lashes together for a bold look that’s unlike anything i’ve seen. the end result is super shiny and (important note) you will probably be tricked into thinking you have something in your eye because of the way the light catches the sparkle – but push through!

after two coats on each eye, my lashes were intensely black, crazy thick and my ultimate curl was locked in place. the addition of sparkle is so perfect for heading into the holiday season and, bottom line, this stuff is just plain FUN.

while i don’t recommend falling asleep in it (trust me. ouch.) and sensitive eyes may have some issues, i did absolutely love wearing this mascara and i’m finding any and all reasons to put it on. while it might be a bit high maintenance for some, i did find that it removes easily with one of my new favorite finds.

intrigued? scoop it up ASAP for lashes that are not only pretty, but extremely glam.

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phyto phytodéfrisant botanical straightening balm0

Phyto Phytodéfrisant Botanical Straightening Balm

let’s get right down to it:

this balm has a jelly texture, but isn’t sticky like a mousse. a dime size dollop in my medium bob gives unfussy, natural texture while still holding on to the smoothness that i work so hard to achieve each morning. my blow dry takes less time than with other, heavier products and my fingers don’t get stuck in my hair as i rake them through. (super important!)

the end result is polished with the right amount of hold and bounce at the ends. i love the resulting softness and the fierce way that it combats frizz without adding any weight or grease. one weird observation is that i do feel like my hair is the teensiest bit more prone to static when i use it, but it’s not so noticeable that i’m willing to make a switch – probably more of a sign that i’m way overdue for a deep condition.

ah phyto, you remain one of my all time favorite hair brands, right along side living proof. you’re one of those companies that always manages to delight me and exceed expectations in the simplest ways. the products are high quality and they perform – making you well worth the moderate investment. (but still well-priced in my opinion!)

bottom line? if you’re looking for a new blow-in styler, give this little metal tube a go.

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victoria’s secret velvet matte cream lip stain0

 

victoria's secret velvet matte cream lip stain

velvet is seemingly everywhere this fall, and the trend is also coming to lips.

while liquid mattes continue to reign supreme, an unlikely source has launched a super sexy, girly gloss version of their own. it has been a long while since victoria’s secret beauty brought some newness to the scene, but these glide-y and mousse-textured lip creams lead me to believe that they have some gas left in the tank for sure.

i have been alternating adorned (a soft, muted pink that makes for a gorgeous nude on fair tones) and obsessed (a bright fuchsia that fully satiates my need for boldness). they go on real easy with a flat paddle-tipped sponge-wand and i find that tracing my lip line with the short edge, then filling things in gives simple, unfussy definition.

the finish is smooth and pigmented, and while they don’t dry fully matte (there is some transfer, but no feathering) i think this actually helps them to feel more comfortable throughout the day. they don’t overly accentuate my lip lines and they’re not at all drying thanks to vitamin E and olive oil within the ingredient mix. pairing your favorite with a liner would help to strengthen their overall performance, but i think there’s something really nice about these on their own, too.

they recently launched for $14 each (a steal in comparison to competing brands!) and i would recommend you swing by the mall and get to swatching – because you will most likely be wanting more than one.

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stepping up my lip + eye care0

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i have dabbled in grown up under eye and lip care over the years, landing most recently on a very spendy serum and reinvigorated my love affair with this dior balm. even though i love that duo, my most habitual routine in recent months has actually been slathering good old vaseline under my eyes and on/around my lips. it seals in moisture like no other and the lasting hydration is extra impressive. however, while it may be holding the fort and seems to be preventing further damage to those areas, i do not get the sense that it counteracts or lessens my existing lines.

clearly it’s time to get a bit more serious.

i purchased this laneige lip mask after letting it hang out on my amazon wish list for way too long. the reviews were almost too good to be true, but when it arrived i knew that i had my hands on something special. a little bit of the thick balm goes a long way and i wake up each morning with soft, supple lips. i love how it adheres to my lips while i sleep. it soothes, plumps, and softens lines and i also think that the chubby pink tub will last me a lifetime.

for my eyes, the fine people at it cosmetics sent along their gorgeous bye bye under eye cream. holy moly do i love this stuff. not only does it pave the way for my favorite under eye concealer of the same name, but it glides on under my eyes without tugging, sinks in beautifully and feels cooling on contact. it’s like the skin is sighing relief once i put it on. the most noticeable effects are hydrating and brightening, with diminished baggage and dark circles – very impressive results if you ask me.

i love the way that these products and their luxe textures make me feel pampered, like i’m really taking good care of my skin. the bright, smooth, and tight results? are just icing on the cake.

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living proof full dry volume blast0

living proof dry shampoo full dry volume blast

today’s on-time work arrival is brought to you by the dynamic spray duo up above.

on the mornings when i just can’t drag myself out of bed early enough to wash / dry / straighten my hair, i often try to get away with using a dry texturizing spray in lieu of dry shampoo. most dry shampoos make my scalp itchy and i love that news-anchor-like bump of lift at the roots. the problem? texturizing spray does nothing to “cleanse” my hair or zap oil.

only when living proof introduced their new full dry volume blast did i realize that there actually might be something to layering the products i use to freshen up my hair on days 2, 3 and beyond. this morning, i used perfect hair day dry shampoo as i normally would to eliminate oil at my part and around my crown, then i followed up with full dry volume blast to add some oomph and style back into my slept-on hair.

it worked like a dream (smells ah-mazing too boot) and while i’m sure that my hair can probably only withstand one day of this combination, it has done enough to get me an extra thirty minutes of sleep, and a polished look that does not reveal my laziness to my coworkers (unless they are reading this post – in which case i am BUSTED).

my love for this brand knows no bounds – and living proof nails it every single time. these products are rockstars on their own, but their potential is more fully realized when you use them together. hair is effortlessly refreshed in texture, shape, and lift.

now if only some combination of magical products could eliminate the bags under my eyes, we’d be all set…

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mac liptensity collection5

mac-liptensity-1085

jumping in with a quickie – because these vibrant new lipsticks from MAC are just too good not to share.

when this absolute prism arrived at my door, it took some major restraint not to swatch all of them immediately. (sadly, my lips would probably fall off, because #sensitivityproblems) thanfkully, this gem of a youtube’r has done all of the hard work for me and so i was able to settle in on the several shades that i would be coveting/hoarding/switching out daily. the video is definitely worth a watch because i found that almost all of these read very differently on the lips than they do in the tube – but they are all stunnnning.

the payoff is so good because the pigment on these puppies is INSANE and i really love the way that they wear. they are slicker and more high-shine than i was anticipating, but they pack a serious punch and they are surprisingly unfussy for a rich formula.

my favorites are easily doe (a neutral brown – such a risk for me and a sweet surprise), ambrosial (a bright plum pink – closest to my go-to shade, no matter the brand) and medium rare (a creamy soft pink, perfect for work).

bottom line? these are gorgeous. so hop along to your favorite MAC counter and pick up one or twelve – i can’t wait to hear what you think and which shades i need to add to my collection.

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albeit lip scrub from anthropologie0

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there’s a beautiful new jar in my morning routine and it comes from what is quickly becoming one of my favorite lip brands – albeit from anthropologie.

i tested this scrub in store while filling my arms full of soft jackets and drapey tops, and the resulting smoothness had me grabbing one on my way to the checkout. i have tried a lot of lip smoothers in my day (chronically dry lips + a career in beauty + a matte lip trend = flaky disaster) and this one is top notch. gorgeously soft and hydrated lips make for one perfect lip canvas – and i find that my boldest lip colors hang around longer (and more comfortably!) when i start my day with this stuff.

so let’s look at formula:

chunky sugar crystals are mixed with tons of moisturizing oils (argan, jojoba, olive, and marula) plus vitamin e and aloe for the literal sweetest combination. it smells and tastes de-licious! i like to rub a small amount into my lips while going through my toning / moisturizing / priming regimen. by the time i get through my foundation, i can lightly dust off any spare sugar and the surrounding balm leaves my lips healthy and glowing.

i let the balmy situation sit while i commute and then when i pull into work, i craft my daily lip. there’s a very slight tackiness to the balm that this scrub leaves behind and it actually works as a subtle primer to some of my favorite lip colors. i find that my color wears more evenly (no more clown mouth!) and my lips have never been softer.

to sum it up, this pleasant surprise of a product is perfectly prepping my lips for all color, from sheer to bold. on top of that, it’s helping them to feel more comfortable during the day – and as a final testament, it’s 3:00 p.m. as i type this and my lip color has been going STRONG since 6 a.m.

in short, a cool $14 might just change the performance potential of your entire lip wardrobe.

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early fall roll call2

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you guyssss, i miss talking beauty with you.

i’m determined to find a way to make some time for writing, because this lack of sharing the product love is not working for me.

so, let’s play a quick game of catch up and review what’s rocking my makeup world, yeah?

lately i’ve gotten back on board with this drugstore staple – it’s good, reliable stuff and it is completely filling the void that my summer foundation left behind. i’ve rediscovered this powder and i’m even more obsessed with it now than i was when i originally reviewed it. it somehow warms up my skin, adds glow and locks my look in for a very long day. for my cheeks there’s no denying the magic of this blush. it’s like a perfect sunset, it flatters everyone and the subtle healthy pop of color looks good in every single season.

i still cannot get enough of this lip. (spoiler alert, i recently researched and purchased a similar product that has been around since the 70’s! it apparently stains your lips for 12 hours.) the color is always perfect, always comfortable to wear, and long lasting. my lashes are in a state of flux, but i’m fully captivated by this new technology. it has been fun to play around with, gorgeous long, tapered lashes and no smudging. (possibly more to come on this one!)

as to be expected, my beauty wish list is ever growing, and i would love to hear what’s on yours!

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brows by benefit2

benefit ka-brow!

it has been over three months since my bomb brow experience at the benefit counter inside of ulta – and my brows are on the total verge of returning to their unruly selves.

in fact, it’s typically that point in the growth phase that would prompt me to consider making a wax appointment, but before i go rushing back to my girl hailey, i decided to see if benefit could make an even bigger believer out of me by testing a couple of their newly launched brow goodies. i had high hopes that they could extend the life of my waxing – and boy, oh boy, have they delivered.

i have been alternating crafting my daily brow with two products – precisely, my brow pencil and ka-brow! cream-gel eyebrow color.

the pencil is so-o good. for starters, it’s micro thin which makes for very realistic filled in hairs, and the “lead” itself is just the right amount of firm. my truly brow-obsessed mavens will know that if a pencil is too hard, the color does not transfer properly, too soft and you can easily overdo it. delicate balance is the name of the game, and benefit has nailed it. i love the way that this naturally fills in my brows and the spoolie blends everything together beautifully. such a win on such a staple product.

the pomade is a new concept for me and benefit’s take on it has a super precise little brow brush that makes all of the difference. (you can even snap it into the cap for an easy-to-hold elongated brush.) i like to use this to achieve more of a polished, pulled together brow. the process takes a little bit more time than filling in with a pencil and requires a little more attention to detail. the formula here is golden, easily lasting through the day – but the beauty of this one is in the brush. it’s perfectly shaped to mimic brow hairs, but sweeping it vertically across brows blends arches into place. it’s a wondrous little pot and i really love it.

benefit continues to make a believer out of me in the brow department. these products have an unexpected way of turning even the most amateur brow artist into a pro. the formulas are incredible, the packaging is gorgeous, and the results are basically unbeatable. i had no idea that i would be loving their whole concept so much, but it’s safe to say that my brows have never looked better, thanks to benefit.

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