NYX Deep Charcoal Shadow for a Perfect Smoky Eye

This $5 single shadow from NYX in es29 Deep Charcoal happens to be one of my favorite gunmetal shades I’ve ever used. The depth is just right – not too dark so you can smoke it out with black liner and still have that contrast that’s so important to the look. It’s also balanced with enough shimmer to make it wearable and easy to blend, but not overly shimmery. It creates the perfect smoky eye on all skin tones by adding just the right amount of drama.

Review: Garnier BB Cream

Click HERE to check out my review of Garnier’s $12 BB Cream at Walmart.com. It’s the foundation/skin treatment everyone is buzzing about for a fraction of what most of them cost.

How to Get Huge Lashes

If you see me out somewhere I’m probably wearing no less than 7 coats of mascara. You’d never know it because my lashes are never thick or clumpy, just long and defined and I know it’s due to the formula I’ve been buying pretty consistently now for years: LashBlast Fusion. I don’t really know the difference between this one versus the orange tube, but I didn’t like the orange and the yellow tube was great for a while but I couldn’t get it to build like I can using this formula.

My process goes like this; primer (PureLash, I’ve used it for 4+ years now), then curl (with the Shu curler of course), then the first coat of mascara using the ‘press and wiggle’ technique taking the brush from the very base of my lashes all the way up to the tip. This will lay down more than that ‘flicking’ technique where the wand barely grazes the lash tips and doesn’t pump up the roots where you want the most volume. Now let it dry. Applying  more to wet lashes creates clumps so be patient – it’s only a few minutes. All dry? Curl again (hugely important – you’ll get way more of a a wide-eye effect with 2 curls instead of one), then another coat. Your subsequent layers will be applied from the mid part of the last upward and always wait until the last coat has dried. Keep laying it on until you’re happy.

With some mascaras this might be a recipe for disaster, but there’s something about this formula, brush, and technique that makes lash building so easy.

Physicians Formula Nude Palette i.e. A Less Expensive Version of Urban Decay’s Naked Palette

If you’re not willing to spend the $50 for Urban Decay’s Naked palette, check out the Nude palette Physicians Formula just released with a similar look as Urban’s but for only $11. While I can’t vouch for the shadow’s textures and color payoff, I can say that I’ve had great luck with this line (especially the bronzers!) and $11 for 9 wearable shadows is a damn good deal.

NYX Xtreme Lip Cream

Xtreme Lip Cream $6 from NYX is pretty fantastic; high pigment, rich, creamy, and a gorgeous gloss-like shine. I’m addicted to mine, and I don’t usually like to wear lip color. There’s just something about the way the cream makes my lips look that I really love and I get an easy boost of much needed color.


11 shades available


The one I have is this one- Nude Peach Fizz, it looks a little darker in the photo.


It reminds me of the same color Pamela Anderson (and every other playmate) is known for wearing – a peachy-pinky nude.


Kim Kardashian also rocks that slightly-deeper-than-nude shade that I love.


Swatch


On the lips.

Although this shade is my fav, the whole collection is like a best-of for the sexiest and easiest to wear lip colors around. Do the ol’ wet toothbrush on your lips to exfoliate them before gliding it on, its dense formula works best on soft lips.

What are BB Creams?

Have you heard about the BB Cream craze? BB Creams (short for blemish balm or beauty balm or beauty base) were first developed for women whose skin was left bruised, raw, and red from lasers and other surgical treatments. These creams were made by doctors to soothe, heal, and protect delicate skin with the added bonus of breakthrough invisible coverage to hide the irritations without having to use any traditional concealers or foundations.  Essentially they’re unique, lightweight coverage creams with sunscreen and other skin benefits built right in. BB Creams are a true marriage of skincare and color – and are often found in the skincare section and not with makeup. They’re traditionally offered as a one-size-fits-all in terms of color using a universal shade that blends into your skin tone perfecting and seamlessly covering redness instead of masking a it the way a foundation does – it reminds me a little of Philosophy’s The Supernatural which gave similar instant results (see my review and photos HERE). You’ll also see some with a PA+, PA++. or PA+++ sunscreen rating (+++ being the best) which tells you how effective the SPF is in guarding against UVA rays – the nasty ones that breakdown collagen and age the skin.

If you like a full coverage foundation you might find that these aren’t enough so use them as a primer to get more skin benefits than what basic silicone formulas provide.They’re really different from anything else out there so go to Sephora where the selection is the best and ask for samples of a few before you commit. I also want to try Lauder’s new BB Cream they’ve incorporated into their Daywear collection which I’ll review separately once I give it a try. For now, here are the 3 I sampled at Sephora and the pros and cons of each.

Clinique Age Defense BB Cream $37:

-Pros-

Oily skin can benefit from its mattifying properties.

SPF 30

A good shade (01) that would work for very fair skin tones – the lightest I found.

-Cons-

It was the heaviest of the 3 and it settled into the skin making pores look more noticeable.

No PA rating.

I couldn’t figure out what the added skincare benefits were (what a BB is all about).

Their site refers to it as a ‘weekend makeup’ along the lines of a quick tinted moisturizer, but it’s called a BB. Not sure if it’s a true BB or just marketing.

Its radiance was a little unflattering (at least on my skin) where it bordered shiny instead of healthy.

Overall:

I liked the thick, creamy texture and easy blendability. It’s probably best for those with good skin who favor a tinted moisturizer or quick powder for their daily routine.

Boscia BB Cream SPF 27 PA ++ $38:

-Pros-

Great skincare benefits (help for fine lines, dryness, and large pores), which is what a BB should offer.

SPF 27 and a PA++ rating

It has a natural formula without parabens, phthalates and other chemicals.

It did give my skin an immediate boost.

Good coverage.

-Cons-

It has these tiny bits of shimmer that, although slight, might not be a fit for oily or mature skin.

Like most BB Creams, the one shade isn’t for very fair or very dark skin tones.

Overall:

This was my favorite and the only true BB of the bunch, it made my skin look better and covered redness well. It’s something I would buy and recommend to those looking for quick and easy coverage.

Too Faced Tinted Beauty Balm Multi-Benefit Skin Care Makeup $32:

-Pros-

Shade range; if you have darker skin you’ll have the best luck finding a color to suit you here.

It gave the most coverage of the 3 I tried, almost as much as some foundations.

You’ll get a pretty glow from its finish.

-Cons-

It does contain some vitamins and minerals, but overall it really is more of a quick makeup than a true BB Cream.

No PA rating and an SPF 20, the lowest of the 3.

Overall:

These are along the lines of what you’ll begin to see more and more of – a foundation with a built in primer and less of a BB Cream but marketed as such. It’s not a bad thing since I really liked the look and coverage, but if you want more of the skin treatment this one will leave you wanting more. Best for those who want great coverage from a tinted moisturizer and don’t care as much for the added skincare bonuses.

A few others to consider:

Sephora now carries Dr Jart’s signature BBs which are favorites in Asia where competition is big. Check out their Premium BB SPF 45 PA+++ $39 for more mature skin and the Water Fuse BB PA++ $32 for normal to oily skin. They’re both great for the skin formulated without synthetics and are exactly what BBs are supposed to be – skincare/makeup hybrids.

Garnier launched the first drugstore BB for just $13 that comes in two shades – Light/Medium and Medium/Deep. I’m can’t find its skincare benefits (or SPF), but it’s getting some good reviews for its light, even coverage. Look for it in the skincare aisle, not next to the makeup.

What to look for in a BB Cream:

- Sunscreen, PA ratings are a bonus.

- Vitamins and minerals.

- Enough coverage so you aren’t using concealer or anything else over it (unless you want to use it as a primer).

- Adequate moisture for your skin.

- Added benefits whether it be for skin lightening, acne, moisture, or whatever- find one that’s helping to target what your skin needs most.

For a full listing of the popular Asian formulas, check out THIS article from 08′ before the US versions hit the stores.