Esqido’s New Gel Eyeliners

esqido-gel-eyelinerEsqido sent me a pair of their luxurious false lashes awhile back, and I was so impressed with everything, from the quality of the lashes to the sleek packaging. I was thrilled when they offered to send me their newly-launched Gel Eyeliner Pencil ($16).

esqido-gel-liner-pencilI have a long history with pencil eyeliner. I rarely use it anymore because I can’t find a formula that doesn’t smudge, smear, run, and fade within hours. There is no makeup blunder I hate more than raccoon eyes. Ages ago, I used to use MAC Powerpoint Eye Pencil ($18), and although I liked it for quite awhile, it didn’t give me the color payoff or longevity I wanted. So I gave up on pencils and have used only gel and liquid liners for years. There are days when I miss the convenience and quickness of a pencil, so my quest for the perfect pencil liner has been continuing for years.

I think I may have found the holy grail with the new Esquido Gel Eyeliner. Available in black and brown, these liners are super creamy, with the consistency of a gel liner and the convenience of a pencil. The formula is soft and so smooth. I don’t have to press hard on the lid to get full, even coverage, and it’s easily blendable if I want to smoke it out (which I have done, and it looks awesome). Both shades are super pigmented, so I only need a little to create a dramatic effect (which I’m totally into, as I like my liner to be noticeable). I appreciate that it’s equally easy to create thick and thin lines with this pencil.esqido-liner-3I wear eye primer every day, so I test all products with eye primer to see how they hold up. Because the formula is waterproof, it really doesn’t smudge; it takes a minute or two to set, but after that, it stays put. I can get through a full day without raccoon eyes. I also wear contact lenses and sometimes during the day, my other liners transfer to my lenses (through blinking, rubbing my eyes, applying makeup, etc.) in certain spots. This is super irritating and usually forces me to remove my contacts midday to clean them before reinserting. I haven’t yet had this rub off on my contacts. It removes effortlessly with a makeup remover wipe — no tugging necessary. esqido-eyelinerThe packaging is totally on brand with the Esqido aesthetic: clean lines in white with rose gold accents. It is undeniably a beautiful piece of makeup. The pencil is automatic, and there is a sharpener tucked in the base of the pencil body. Although I adore the packaging, dark liner and white don’t make the best combination; this pencil gets very dirty very quickly. Knocking around in your makeup bag, it’s not going to stay pristine for very long.esqido-linerIf you’ve been looking for your perfect eye pencil, I can’t say enough good things about Esqido’s new gel liners. They are definitely worth a try! For a limited time, Esqido is offering introductory pricing on these pencils, and you can grab them for $12 each instead of the usual $16. You would be hard-pressed to find even a good drugstore liner at that price!

The products featured in this post were provided by the brand for consideration. Complimentary products do not in any way guarantee a positive review, or any coverage on this website. If I genuinely like a product, I will write about it; if I don’t, I will not. All opinions are my own.

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Bondi Sands Self-Tanning Foam in Dark

bondi-sands-self-tanning-foamI love self-tanner. Like, over-the-top, wear-it-every-day, can’t-live-without-it love it. It’s for sure in my top 10 product must-haves. I’m very fair, and I love being tan, but don’t want to put my skin at risk of sun damage. So naturally, self-tanner is a big part of my beauty routine year-round (I know I’m in the minority here, as my friends tell me I’m crazy for slathering the stuff on in the dead of winter). My all-time-favorite self-tanner is Loving Tan (the best self-tanner ever). I use it all summer long–I apply it every night without fail–and it gives me the ultimate dark tan that my fair skin couldn’t even get naturally if I tried. It is the perfect self-tanner for summer.

But come fall, I don’t like to be ultra tan. I just need to take the edge off of my paleness, which of course, is amplified during the colder months. I need something a little lighter and less pigmented than Loving Tan for the fall and winter. Bondi Sands Self-Tanning Foam in Dark ($24) is my current favorite for getting slightly (fake) sun-kissed skin. Because it’s a mousse, it’s light and airy, making it easy to apply and blend into skin. It’s tinted, so you’ve got a built-in color guide and can see where you’re applying, which helps avoid streaks and missed spots. Although this particular shade is labeled as Dark, I think it’s more within the typical Medium range. But during the winter months, it’s perfect to give your skin a healthy glow and tint. I think for the price, it’s a really great product. I like it so much that I’ve repurchased a few times. With this, and all self-tanning products, I always use a mitt applicator to reduce the potential of streaking or missing a spot, and to prevent staining my hands.

What’s your favorite self-tanner? Do you use it year-round?

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Revisited: Too Faced Sweet Peach Palette

too-faced-sweet-peachI have been on the hunt for a new eyeshadow palette for fall. I’m pretty particular about what I’m looking for: something with a mix of matte and shimmery shadows, with lots of fall colors (think rich greens, deep purples, dark and midtown browns, and taupes) that can double as neutrals. I was having the hardest time finding something that fit the bill. Then I looked in my vanity drawer and rediscovered an old palette I had tossed aside that was nearly perfect: Too Faced’s Sweet Peach Palette ($49).

TFsweetpeach3I can’t believe I purchased this and used it only a handful of times before deciding I didn’t like it. Now, it has almost everything I’ve been looking for in terms of shades, finishes, and variety; a mix of matte and shimmery shadows make it the ideal palette to toss in my purse and go. There are more warm shadows than cool, but they work well even on my cool skin  (and they complement the other cool shades in the palette). As with all Too Faced eyeshadows, the texture makes these shadows high-quality. They’re easy to blend, evenly (highly) pigmented, and comfortable on the skin.TFsweetpeach2

The one thing I still don’t like about this palette is that the shadows are faintly peach-scented. But the colors are so good, I can overlook that (the scent isn’t noticeable at all when wearing the shadows).sweet-peach-eyeshadow

This has been the palette I’ve exclusively reached for over the past few weeks. I’m so glad I unearthed it in my drawer of old beauty products! Have you ever rediscovered a product that weren’t crazy about initially, but then fell in love with?

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NARS Climax Mascara: Worth the Hype?

nars-climax-mascaraNARS is on a major PR blitz for their latest release, Climax mascara ($24). The brand says their newest offering delivers voluminous, plumped-up, inky-black lashes. Before I even get into it, I have to say I’m over the sexual innuendos that NARS loves to use in their product names. This mascara is no exception; I think the name is ridiculous, but I’m such a sucker for a new mascara, I had to buy a tube to see if it made good on its promises.

nars-climax-tubePart of the reason I purchased this mascara was the wand: it’s thick, fluffy, and tapered at the tip–pretty much everything I ever want in a mascara wand. In finding a great mascara, the wand is half the battle, and this definitely scored major points with me because I knew it would grip my lashes and really coat them with mascara. If fat brushes don’t work for you, you won’t be into this!

The formula is great: thick, with a whipped-like texture that’s lightweight and not too wet. It’s my ideal mascara formula because this consistency works well for my lashes.

 nars-climax-lashes

My lashes with two coats of Climax

Between the brush and the product, this mascara really does live up to its claims. The first coat is instantly noticeable, and quietly dramatic. The second coat makes my lashes look long, thick, and fanned out. I opt for a third coat when I want to really make my lashes pop. There was zero clumping, flaking, smudging, or running during the day (I always use the sweaty-workout-on-a-humid-day test, and this passed with flying colors!). It held a curl beautifully, and my lashes were lifted and dark until I took my makeup off at night. It’s very to remove with cleanser, micellar water, or a makeup remover wipe.

IMG_0441My sole complaint about this is a packaging design flaw: when you pull the wand out of the tube, there’s a lot of excess product on the tip. A few swipes on the neck will take care of it, but it’s a little annoying that SO much product comes out every time I use this.

nars3The packaging is my least favorite thing about this mascara. I really don’t like it. The red is super bold (but if you’re into red, you’ll dig it!), and the ridged plastic feels light. I really wish this was housed in a different tube, but it works so well, I care less about what the package looks like.

I also think the price point is really good. Some mascaras are creeping up past the $25 mark, and honestly, it feels excessive. When compared to other this mascaras at the same price (Urban Decay Perversion, Too Faced Better Than Sex, Benefit Roller Lash & They’re Real), this feels more luxurious and performs better (in my opinion).

It’s available for purchase now on the NARS US & UK websites, Ulta, Sephora Canada, Selfridges, and Mecca Cosmetica.

Have you tried this mascara? What do you think?

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Best Summer Scents (For Body & Home)

summer-fragrancesSummer fragrances are the best: light, airy, and when you apply just the faintest mist to your skin or hair, they are so beautiful. Same thing for your home: scented candles can gently scent a room (or two) with a faint fresh fragrance reminiscent of beach days and summer nights. Here are my favorite summer fragrances for body and home.

Body

1. Bobbi Brown Beach Eau De Parfum ($78): It truly smells like the beach without being overpowering. Summer in a bottle!

2. Jo Malone London Wood Sage & Sea Salt Cologne ($68-$135): This fragrance reminds me of fresh salty air, sea spray, and waves lapping ashore. It’s earthy and not overtly summer; I wear it year-round and it feels right.

3. Acqua Di Parma Blu Mediterraneo Fico Di Amalfi Eau De Toilette ($107): Inspired by the Amalfi Coast, this fragance is light, breezy, citrusy, and feminine. Notes of fig, bergamot, lemon, citron, grapefruit, pink peppercorn, fig wood, & cedar wood make it like a trip to Italy in a bottle.

Home

1. Jo Malone Wood Sage & Sea Salt Candle ($65): If you like this enough to put this on your body, obviously it will be amazing scenting your home! Very expensive (for a candle, in my opinion), but a worthy splurge that feels so luxurious.

2. Linnea’s Light Sea Salt candle ($34): This smells incredible: fresh and uncomplicated. I love burning this in warm weather (often before summer even hits).

3. DW Home Marine & Sea Salt candle ($16): Another fresh summer scent. This one is a bit more richly scented than the other candles here, and I don’t like my scents very strong, so I actually stopped burning it about halfway through. I wish it was just slightly less intense because the scent itself is so pretty. I often find DW candles at Homegoods for about half the retail price.

4. Illume Fresh Sea Salt Diffuser ($28): I love a diffuser to scent a bathroom, and this is actually not just great during the warm months, but freshens up a space all year long.

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Megababe Rosy Pits Natural Deodorant

megababeLet’s talk about one not-so-pleasant-but-essential facet of the beauty world: deodorant. The search for a natural deodorant that works for me seems to be never-ending. I’ve been trying various products for the past two years (read my previous reviews here), but nothing has left me feeling totally satisfied–or stink-free. When I saw 5-star reviews across the board for Megababe Rosy Pits Deodorant ($18), I had to try it. Because although all previous brands I’ve tried have failed me, the days of putting toxic chemicals into my body are over. I’m so done with that, and not turning back no matter how long it takes to find a solution.

Instead of using aluminum and parabens to prevent sweating and mask odor, Rosy Pits prevents bacteria (which leads to odor) from forming on the skin with the use of natural antibacterial ingredients. Coconut and vitamin E extracts soften and soothe skin. Like all natural deodorants, this is not an anti-perspirant; odds are, you’ll still sweat lightly with this, but when you do, it won’t stink. Even better, your skin will be able to breathe and won’t get clogged with toxic chemicals.

First thing I noticed about this was the scent. It’s got more of an essential oil vibe to me (probably because it contains sandalwood and sage) than the fake, flowery, overly-scented traditional deodorant bars. The scent is very light, unique, and refreshing. I like it a lot.

Megababe-rosy-pits-2The first three weeks I used this, I sweat a lot. And I smelled. And it was a rough three weeks. So rough that I almost gave up and threw the damn stick in the garbage. On top of that, I got pit rash from this stuff, even though I was transitioning from a natural deodorant. A lot of brands that produce natural formulas say your body may go through pit detox (which can often include an underarm rash) as you transition from using a traditional deodorant, but I’ve experienced this with every natural formula I’ve tried.  I was a little bit surprised because I thought the culprit in natural deodorants was baking soda, but Rosy Pits is baking soda-free, so I’m not sure what caused the irritation this time. It was annoying and got really aggravated when I got sweaty during my workouts. Regardless, it cleared up in about 3 weeks, and when it did, the B.O. went away with it. I even put it to the test on a 90+-degree day with a bootcamp workout in a gym studio with malfunctioning air conditioning, and I was pleasantly surprised! In situations like that, it didn’t keep me 100% odor-free, but it was nothing horrible. In daily life, this works amazingly for me. So far, it’s the only natural deodorant I’ve tried that actually works.

The natural deodorants I’ve used before worked initially, then failed me. I’ve heard that some people need to rotate products to keep up their efficacy. We’ll see if that’s the case with this product. So far, I’m really liking it and will stick with it!

I’m always looking for recommendations. What is your favorite natural deodorant?

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Maybelline Total Temptation Mascara

total-temptation-mascaraIn the past, I’ve gotten flack in the comments for not reviewing enough drugstore mascaras. I’ve got nothing against drugstore mascaras, but in my experience, they just don’t do as much as “luxury” mascaras. There are a few exceptions to the rule but overall, budget mascaras just don’t pack as much of a punch on my lashes.

Maybelline’s new Total Temptation Mascara (approx. $10) reminds me a lot of L’Oreal’s Lash Paradise mascara. Everyone seems to love Lash Paradise, but for me, it flaked a lot and made my lashes droop. I used maybe 1/4 of a tube before I gave up on it. I had very similar results with Total Temptation.

Pros: The thick, full, fluffy brush provided great application. It separated nicely from the root and gave my lashes a fanned-out, full look. I got the Blackest Black shade, and the formula is super pigmented and made my lashes ultra black. It removed easily with a makeup remover wipe. The pale pink matte packaging is nice, but immediately got dirty the minute I removed it from the box (the matte finish is like a dirt magnet).

Cons: The formula is thick and wet, and took awhile to dry on my lashes, causing smudges on my lids and undereyes. It also flaked and irritated my contact lenses. It didn’t really hold a curl; my lashes drooped within an hour after application.total-temptation-mascara-packaging

Bottom line: The product itself is nice enough, but not stellar. The cons are too many for me to stick with this mascara when there are so many other products that I like better. If you’re interested in a drugstore mascara, I highly recommend L’Oreal Original Voluminous.

Have you tried this mascara? What did you like about it?

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My Favorite Brow Pencil

nyx-micro-brow-pencilTo fill in my brows, I prefer a pencil to a powder or a tinted gel. I had faithfully used the Anastasia Beverly Hills Brow Wiz pencil for years–until I discovered NYX Professional Micro Brow Pencil (around $10). It’s a great dupe for the ABH pencil, but at half the price.

The skinny tip of the pencil easily gets into the curves of the brow, and because it’s so thin, it allows you to mimic hair strokes on the skin. The opposite end contains a thin spoolie brush for blending (a necessity). It comes in a wide range of shades to match many brows: Taupe, Blonde, Auburn, Ash Brown, Chocolate, Brunette, Espresso, and Black.nyx-brow-pencil-taupe-ash-brownI used the Ash Brown shade before getting my brows microbladed in early 2017, and then I stopped using anything at all to fill in for more than a year. But as the ink has slowly started to fade, I started filling in for a more defined shape. Because the ink is still there, I lightened up to the Taupe shade of this pencil for a more natural look.nyx-micro-brow-pencilHave you ever tried this brow pencil? I’d love to hear your thoughts!

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My Favorite Nude Lip Shades

If you’ve ever read my blog, you probably know I live for a nude lip. I pretty much exclusively wear a nude lip, as it goes with every makeup look. I also have a small mouth and don’t like to draw attention to that fact with a lot of bold color. Here are my favorite picks for nude* lips.

*Nude is a relative term to your particular skin tone! There is a whole world of flesh-toned shades out there; these are what work for me. I prefer a creamy, pale pinky-nude.

nars-turkish-delight-lip-glossNARS Lip Gloss in Turkish Delight ($26): If I had to pick one single lip product I couldn’t live without, it would be this gloss. For me, it is the perfect shade of nude with just the right amount of shine. I wear it almost every day.

charlotte-tilbury-lipstick-kim-kwCharlotte Tilbury Hot Lips Lipstick in Kim K.W. ($34): One of the prettiest shades of pale nude-pink that I’ve found. It’s pricey for a lipstick, but the product lasts forever (I wear mine all the time, have had it for a year, and it’s only about halfway done).

mac-lipstick-blanketyMAC Lipstick in Blankety ($18.50): I’ve been wearing this nude shade for as long as I can remember. It is my all-time favorite shade of nude, and the formula is so creamy.

IMG_5961MAC Lipstick in Creme Cup ($18.50): Same formula as above, and very similar in shade. (When I find a good thing, I don’t stray too far from it!)

chanel-rouge-coco-instinctChanel Rouge Coco Shine Hydrating Sheer Lipshine in Boy ($37): To me, this is like a lipstick-gloss hybrid, because it packs a lot of shine for a lipstick. There is a slight glossiness to lips after applying, which I love, because then I can skip applying gloss on top.

IMG_5915Beautycounter Lip Gloss in Bare Shimmer ($29): This shade definitely has more nude than pink to it, and it feels really tacky when I first apply it. But after it dries, it settles into a really flattering shade that looks just like my lips, but better, and it is comfortable and long-wearing.

What are your favorite nude lip products?

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Bumble & Bumble Hairdresser’s Invisible Oil Primer

BB-hairdresser-oil-primerI mentioned this in my post yesterday, and wanted to tell you more about this *amazing* product. This spray is my latest obsession. I thought it was too good to be true: a priming hair mist that protects against heat styling, conditions, detangles, tames frizz, and softens? It seemed impossible, but Bumble & Bumble Hairdresser’s Invisible Oil Primer ($29) is my hair’s new favorite thing.

Spritz this on hair post-washing, pre-blowdrying. I use a healthy allover mist to from root to tip. Then I brush it out with a Wet Brush and blowdry with a round brush. This helps to detangle, calm frizz and flyaways, and polish the hair. It softens hair and makes it look shiny. It also protects against heat styling (although I still use a separate heat styling mist before using a curling wand).

Although it’s suitable for all hair types, I’ve found that it works wonders on my color-treated (and damaged) hair. From all the years of highlights, heat styling, I have days where my hair looks really lackluster and damaged. This transforms it into hair that looks healthy, smooth, and shiny. I love this stuff.

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