Laura Mercier Holiday 2011

When it comes to color, Laura Mercier is hard to beat especially if you’re like me and revel in great quality makeup. Their holiday collection is still available and really worth a look. Just a few new shades and techniques can make for a new updated look for 2012.

Their Baked Eye Colour Palette $48 was probably my favorite offering from all of last year’s holiday collections. Now it’s back with 5 new shades, a double ended brush, and the same rich formula that’s easy to wear and blend.

If a smaller palette is more your speed, check out their Petite Eye Colour Trio $25 in Smoky Neutrals and Smoky Taupes – which is the one I have. It’s a mauve, plum, and neutral pink that compliments most skin tones and gives some fresh options for those who want to escape the ho-hum brown rut we so easily get sucked into.

Their best deal of the bunch, I think, is the Kohl Pencil Set $45 with 5 eyeliners in Stormy Grey, Black Violet, Brown Copper, Black Gold and Black Navy that end up being just $9 a pop. Their creamy formula is so easy to apply because it doesn’t drag on the skin so you can even lay a coat of it down on your lids before you apply shadow for extra dimension to a smokey eye.

And while you’re at it grab a Caviar Stick Eye Colour $24, a creamy liner/shadow hybrid of intense color. They’re pretty unique and way cool for a smudgy, imperfect look which is my favorite for totally sexy morning-after eyes.

All but the Caviar stick (thankfully) are limited, so once they’re gone they’re gone.

bareMinerals Holiday Palette for Eyes

I was visiting a friend last week who works at one of those beautiful Bare Escentuals stores. Now keep in mind that I’m not a huge fan of the line or anything but the brightly lit chandeliers cascading over the candy colored powders is pretty mesmerizing. It’s not that I was in the market for anything BE, but the whole experience of being inside the cozy store sipping my Pumpkin Spice Soy Latte with holiday shoppers buzzing around is like taking an alcoholic to a bar and expecting them not to drink. So of course, while my friend was off helping a real customer and not just someone who came in to chat, I cracked and became like a dog with a bone over an eye shadow palette. I just couldn’t let it go.

I justified the $40 purchase by processing though the following emotions:

Fear: It’s seasonal so I’ll NEVER SEE IT AGAIN once it’s gone!

Guilt: I can’t just stand here and not buy something, I’d totally be wasting Corey’s time.

Reasoning: Whether I love it or not. I’ll at least squeeze a blog post out of it.

Anticipation: I can’t wait to use all of these colors every single day and do my makeup perfectly even if I’m just sitting around the house. Editors note: this did not, and will not never happen

Bottom line: I bought it and I remain absolute about my decision to purchase.

These pressed shadows are night and day different from their loose ones in a pot we all know so well. First, the color payoff is better and not just better than the loose ones, better than most shadows. I’d rank them up there with an Urban Decay for their intensity, blendability, and longevity – you get a ton of color in just one swipe. I also love ratio of bolds to nudes which way outnumbers most palettes. With only 2 ‘safe’ shades, you get colors you don’t have (like the green and mustard yellow) along with rich shimmery spins on a chocolate, maroon, and ivy. I like the damn thing way more than I thought I would – this along with my free gift of a Big & Bright Eyeliner (full review to come) has kinda changed the way I see bareMinerals. Aside from its really lame music based theme (it’s called READY Eyeshadow 8.0 – The Playlist) and even worse color names (Pumped, One Hit Wonder, Speaker Box, etc.) it’s pretty perfect.

The shiny bright red packaging reminded me of foil wrapping paper.

And the gold is bright like an ornament.

A glimpse of the shades – hard to capture and convey their intensity on a screen, check it out for yourself.

Click HERE to see the palette, and HERE for a glimpse of the plum version if browns aren’t really you’re thing.

What’s New From Smashbox? Full Exposure Mascara, Limitless Lip Stain, Softbox Palette

I realized in the car the other day that I was literally wearing 7 coats of mascara. No, I don’t rock a Tammy Faye lash, but I do lay down a lengthening formula (a few times) before a volumizing one (a few more times) which I’ve found gives me super long, separated lashes. Do I like the look? Yes. The process? Not at all. Full Exposure Mascara was literally formulated for gals like me who are getting their layer on and using two different types of mascara for a long, defined look we all crave. I can honestly say that Full Exposure gives a fullness in one coat that usually takes me 4 or 5. I’m typically a drugstore mascara girl, but this is one I’ll actually buy.

I didn’t really have a go-to lip stain for my brides who wanted a stay in place solution that wasn’t heavy or thick. Limitless Lip Stain & Color Seal Balm was invented for the girl who wants color without goopy weight. It’s a kissable, drinkable, totally bas-ass lip stain with a tinted balm that you smooth on top of lips to keep them fresh and shiny. It’s now what I recommend to all of my brides and women on the go who don’t like to re-apply color.

Softbox Shadow Palette is one of my favorite palettes in a long time. It’s a perfect mix of liners and shadows in sexy grays and bronzy coppers with a few neutrals tossed in, it truly is an all-you-need grab and go for countless looks. Also included is a brush you’ll use for years, and one of my favorite eye primers around.

The Legendary 88 Palette

Leave it to an 18 year old to school me on makeup. I could give lectures on just about everything you see at Sephora but when it comes to the well kept secrets lurking online, I’m clueless. My girl Jacqueline is a young makeup diva who knows well the ins and outs of cheap makeup that’s fun and stays put, so I asked her about the legendary 88 palette I’ve come across a few times. If you Google it you’ll see that many companies carry it and offer it up and varying prices. THIS one is being offered on Amazon for $22, BH Cosmetics sells these 88’s for around $16, but Costal Scents is where I bought this original 88 palette for $19. She told me to get it there in spite of the awful site which looks like the first website ever constructed. She assured me it was fine so I went for it and Costal Scents delivered my palette in 3 days, no problems. I’d order from them again.

I didn’t expect much from the palette honestly, I thought I’d use the brighter shades for an occasional pop of color but not much more. I used them on myself first on their own with no other powder shadows and always using a primer first (of course). Their color payoff is rich, laydown easy, and blending seamless. They aren’t chalky or heavy looking because you don’t need to use a lot to get the look you want. The color stayed strong all day without fading or creasing – I’m impressed. I trusted them enough to use them for 2 photo shoots this past week and found that they didn’t budge after many hours of hot lighting. They’re that good.

If you want some new, fun colors on the cheap, or if you’re a Makeup Artist who needs some variety without breaking the bank, this palette is your new BFF.

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Professional Grade Makeup; My Haul from Makeup Mania

My kit was running low and needed a little love so I hopped over to my favorite place for all things makeup in Colorado, Makeup Mania. What I use as a Makeup Artist  can easily be translated into everyday, high-performance makeup for the girl who wants a professional result.

I have 4 or 5 different brands of airbrush foundation in my kit, but Dinair gets used 99% of the time. It has a beautiful coverage and an unparalled wear time and I’m not even talking about their alcohol-based waterproof (they call it Paramedical) line. Their straight Glamour line (water-based) is what I’ve been using and I couldn’t be happier. Women rave about it’s weighless coverage and how comfortable it feels on the skin.

I’d heard so much about the ledgendary Lip Tar from Obsessive Compulsive Cosmetics that I had to get 3. It’s not like anything I’ve ever used before, it’s a full coverage lip pigment in a gloss applicator. It isn’t heavy or sticky either, it’s designed to give substantial pigment without weight so HD can’t pick up a too-thick look. When they say a little goes a long way, it’s not an exaggeration, just the tiniest dab onto a lip brush is more than enough to glaze your lips in pure color.

I love Graftobian, their $9 HIDef Glamour Foundation is better than most out there and a total hit with friends I have addicted to it. Jen over at Makeup Mania suggested their powder to top off foundation and give a velvety finish. It’s also the perfect replacement for (ugh) Studio Fix since it’s a great coverage that you can apply wet or dry. 

When you think about lush, highly pigmented shadows The Balm probably isn’t the first line that comes to mind but maybe it should. Their original Shady Lady palette was so popular that they made a sequel, Shady Lady 2 with 9 perfect shades that will allow you to create loo from every day to smokey and sultry. Caught in the Act Courtney is my fav shade of the bunch (upper left), it’s a rusty red-brown with some flecks of gold that puts Stila’s Twig to shame.

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I’ve been using MAKEUP FOR EVER‘s Mist and Fix setting spray which I really like, but Graftobian’s version is only $7.50. It dries quickly, sets makeup, and doesn’t leave a sheen on the skin. If you really want makeup to stick around and a primer isn’t cutting it for you, give this setting spray a whirl.

Everything was purchased at Makeup Mania but I linked out elsewhere for stuff I couldn’t find on their site (you can still order it through them.)

My Ulta NYX Haul; Liners, Shadows, and Glosses

When I say I love NYX, I mean it. I received a few things to review a while ago and quickly became obsessed with its creative on the cheap vibe that (dare I say..?) beats the tar out of M.A.C. I gauged the color and wear time of M.A.C’s Penultimate Eye Liner against the one below from NYX and there was no comparison. NYX had them beat on richness of the black (it made M.A.C’s look almost graphite or brown) and it wore longer without budging. The tip is much easier to apply too. I reviewed the NYX Super Fat Marker (which I use daily) but toady I grabbed the smaller one for my kit when I want more precision lining. Here’s a look at the pen and the rest of what I grabbed today from Ulta.

Super Skinny Marker $9

I’ve used their Studio Liquid Liner in Black and Coffee so I knew these stay-put liquids were easy to work with and the shade selection was so fun. I needed a few new hues to stay inspired so here’s what I chose.
Sky Blue, Purple, Silver, Blue. $4.49 ea

If you love a sheen without glitter chunks, these little jars of Ultra Pearl Mania will make you happy. They’re great alone as shadows or placed over them, or even as mix-ins with lip gloss for an unexpected sheen effect on your pout.
Nude, Charcoal, and Baby Pink $2 ea
I couldn’t leave without Lip Gloss. Theirs is thick and smooth but not sticky – oh and it smells good. Big points for that right?

Sweet Heart and Crystal Soda. $5.40 ea

The only thing I didn’t find at Ulta is NYX Doll Eye Mascara ($9) which I grabbed online. They’ve released a few newer ones that I haven’t tried, I really hope this one doesn’t get discontinued because it’s so easy to build. I use it as a ‘topper’ to bulk my lash tips. 
Check out NYX either at Ulta or online. It’s big artist-quality performance for a ton less money.