Tuesday, November 17, 2015

Holiday Gift Guide: Sephora x Jem and The Holograms part I of II [review + swatches]

A very late 80's baby, I wasn't old enough to watch the original run of Jem and The Holograms - but my big sister was! In fact, she suggested "Ashley" to my parents as a name for the baby - based on her favorite Jem character. So technically, I am named from a Jem and The Holograms TV show character. She was one of the girls from the orphanage who wanted to be a singer. Like my "namesake", I sing as well. As her little stalker sister, I naturally copied whatever she did; so when she would watch re-runs in the 90's, I watched them with her. I specifically remember the songs and Jerica/Jem's awesome style.

We were both pretty excited to hear about this collection when the news first came out in the beauty blogging world, and we were definitely not disappointed. These Jerica/Jem worthy products are everything I imagined that a Jem inspired collection would be.

I am including the full Jem and The Holograms collection in my gift guide. The first post will be about the lip products, and the second will be the eyeshadow palette and the super glam compact mirror.

My friend showed me a picture of the lipstick tube when it was first released in the promo images. Along with the photo, she said that I "need it". She was right. This is definitely a shade that hot pink lovers need. Being a huge fan of pinks with shimmer/iridescence of any kind, this lipstick was instant love. I love how vivid this shade is, and what a huge pop of a fun and bright pink this is! I don't think I will ever have enough bright pink lipstick - ever. I plan to include this again in my next "Shades Of Lipstick Love" post.

Music Is Magic
(bright pink)
I love how electric this shade is! It's very cool-toned, but I love blue-based shades so that's actually a huge plus. The matte finish is smooth. I didn't notice any particular drying properties, but I exfoliated my lips with a homemade lip scrub before application. If dryness is a concern, I usually prep my lips with a light coat of Rosebud Salve. Blot, and then apply color. This is definitely a shade that I could imagine the character Jem wearing as she takes the stage. 

To The Rescue
This pretty raspberry pink shade showed a subtle shimmer that I LOVED. I really like matte finishes with a slight iridescence that adds a glow to the otherwise matte lip color. I really like the depth and overall dimension the shimmer adds to the shade. To The Rescue photographed a bit lighter than how it appeared in person, but I don't think that really affects how pretty the color is. I love it either way.

She's Got The Power
(dark purple)
I was super excited to see a vampy dark shade in this set. I love the glow/iridescence! If you want to kick up the glam factor a bit, an application of top coat "Fashion Fame" is exactly what you need. I swatched She's Got The Power + Fashion Fame together a bit later in this review post.

Fashion Fame
(light pearl pink)
I swatched Fashion Fame twice for comparison.
On bare lips:

 Applied over She's Got The Power

I really love how Fashion Fame looks over another color! The contrast of purple against the glitters is super fun and glam. I'm obsessed with this. I literally stared at the glitters for like 5 minutes on my laptop before I continued onto the next swatch/review.

Like A Dream
This shade is a very neutral pink. It's pretty. This is my idea of what I would consider my perfect "nude". I once read a trick to finding your perfect nude is to find the color closest to your inner front side of your bottom lip. This is a pretty close match, therefore my perfect "nude" shade. I still plan on wearing Like A Dream, even though my usual preference is brighter/bolder shades.


Monday, November 16, 2015

Shades Of Lipstick Love: Blue-based Reds

We all have those things that we're always attracted to. We just can't help it. Our eyes zone in on what we like. Before we even know it, we "accidentally" add it to our cart and "accidentally" enter our credit card info and check out.

Besides metallic reds, my other lipstick love is blue based reds. There's just something so glam about a blue red, and the fact that the contrast of the blue undertone makes your teeth appear whiter and brighter is an added bonus!

All swatches taken on bare lips, with a camera flash. 

"Ruby Woo"
(very matte vivid blue-red)
 M.A.C has some great reds in their permanent line, but I have noticed that many makeup lovers tend to prefer one of their two most popular reds a bit more than the other. As for me, I'm on Team Ruby. This was my first ultra matte blue-red lipstick, and it is the shade that started my little love affair with blue-toned red lipsticks.

(deep red)
My sister has very prominent warm tones and generally didn't wear blue-reds for a long time, but she loves this shade! She has since discovered many more she likes. I love this shade on her, and I like to wear it too. I really like the velvety smooth finish of this shade. In this photo, the color appears a bit brighter in tone (likely due to the flash). In person, I notice the blue undertones appear to be more prominent, and richer in tone.

"Dragon Girl"
(siren red)
I love how lightweight this pencil feels after application. It's very comfortable. I think it wears off pretty evenly, leaving a soft stain. The matte finish is very smooth. The edges tend to look a bit pink as the shade opacity thins a bit; but I prefer to perfect the edges of my lipstick with a lipliner so it's not really an issue. 

M.A.C Lipstick
(vivid, bright pinky red) 
 This shade is sadly no longer available, but I thought it deserved a mention in this post of my favorite cool-toned red lipsticks. I voted for "Glam" in the M.A.C By Request every day, because I could just tell that I needed to get my hands (and lips) on this shade. Glam applies as a cool-toned red that borders on fuchsia, then wears down to a really pretty pink stain. I ordered a second tube after my first order arrived, because I just really loved it and it contrasted nicely with my skin tone.

Make Up For Ever Rouge Artist Intense Lipstick
(raspberry red)
 I tried this lipstick for the first time 2 years ago, and it was instant love. It has a really pretty soft sheen. The Rouge Artist Intense lipstick formula feels so luxe, and fades to a beautiful stain. It has come to my attention (as of right now) that this shade is no longer available on Sephora or the Make Up For Ever website. This is pretty heartbreaking to me, considering this is one of my top 5 favorite red lipsticks - of ALL time.

- Ashley

Wednesday, November 11, 2015

Holiday Gift Guide: Bite Beauty [review + swatches]

My longtime affection for Bite Beauty is well documented. I have reviewed Bite Beauty products multiple times since 2012. Bite Beauty currently offers two sets that would make great gifts to introduce a new Bite fan, but their individual products definitely deserve recognition. Bite Beauty can always be counted on to consistently produce products with opaque color coverage with moisturizing properties.

Swatches were taken with a camera flash on bare lips. 

(rose berry)
Quince is one of my favorites from the nineteen shade selection of the unbelievably gorgeous High Pigment Pencils. These pencils are a huge hit with fellow bloggers, and makeup lovers. This is my favorite kind of pink: super vivid and packed with high intensity pigment. This shade looks great on a multitude of skintones. My best friend is Filipino, and it was actually a photo she uploaded on Facebook of herself wearing this shade that convinced me to pick one up for myself.

(deep poppy red)
Tannin is another selection from the High Pigment Pencils formula. This cranberry red shade would make a great lip shade for the upcoming Holiday season, or even if you just really love red lip colors any time of the year. The deep blue red is so saturated and beautiful. I think this shade looks even richer in person! According to Sephora, Tannin is limited edition. I really hope that this shade becomes permanent, because it's one of my favorite reds - ever. 

(deep pink/purple)
Framboise is a different formula (Matte Creme Lip Crayon) than the previously reviewed Quince and Tannin (High Pigment Pencils). This shade has a less prominent sheen than the High Pigment Pencils, but the moisturizing properties are the same and the opaque color coverage. This shade is a bit cooler in tone than Quince, but they are just two of the many gorgeous pinks that Bite Beauty offers.

Until next time!


Monday, November 9, 2015

Lipstick in History: Elizabeth Arden "Red Door Red" Lipstick [review + swatch]

In 1910, Elizabeth Arden broke the mold - twice. It was rare for the American woman to wear cosmetics, a practice that most didn't deem "respectable" at the time. It was even more groundbreaking for a woman to open and operate her own business. Elizabeth Arden opened "The Red Door Salon" (the first of what would eventually become many salons) on Fifth Avenue in New York City.

Two years later; Suffragettes marched on Fifth Avenue, protesting the illegality of a woman voting in an election. Elizabeth Arden joined the fight outside of her salon - providing fellow suffragettes with a shade of red lipstick to wear as a symbol of power, strength and camaraderie amongst all of the women fighting for the cause. I like to think that if I existed back in 1912, I would have been with Elizabeth; handing out tubes of red lipstick to other women as we demanded what was ours.

Swatch taken in artificial light with a camera flash on bare lips. 
I really love the fact that this shade was created as a homage to the shade worn by the women who fought to secure the 19th Amendment into law. Red Door Red has a very glossy, almost jelly-like finish. On my lips, it leans to more of a pinkish red color. It's a very smooth and creamy lipstick. I can't really imagine anybody having any problems with dryness with this lipstick formula. It's so cool to imagine all of the badass women wearing a similar shade; marching together, all the while refusing to relent until they got what they deserved from their country.


Saturday, November 7, 2015

Holiday Gift Guide 2015: Armour Beauty [review + swatches]

I've said it before. I'll say it again: I LOVE Armour Beauty. Founded by rock star/artist/badass extraordinare Theo Kogan, Armour Beauty features long-wearing and gorgeously pigmented lip glosses in both opaque and shimmer finishes. 

For the Holiday 2015 season, Armour Beauty is currently promoting two of their many great shades: After Hours and Shattered. 

Swatches were taken in artificial light with a camera flash.

(dazzling red shimmer)
I love anything shimmering, glittering, and metallic - especially a red lipstick or red lipgloss! I'm always amazed at how reflective Armour Beauty glosses are. These glosses feature an ultra shiny high fashion finish that any makeup lover can get their hands (and lips) on. I swatched this color on its own without a base of lip liner or lipstick. The color is buildable to customize your perfect coverage. To me, more is more. I love the glitter!

(aubergine/deep purple shimmer)
This vampy shade packed with shimmering glitter feels like it was tailor made for someone like me who is instantly attracted to glitzy glam shades. Like "Shattered" (and every other Armour shade I have ever fell in love with), the high gloss factor is super reflective. I also swatched this color on its own without a base of lip liner or lipstick. I applied a few layers for maximum color impact, because that's just what I love.


Monday, November 2, 2015

Holiday Gift Guide 2015!

The holiday season is here! So is my Holiday Gift Guide. From now until the New Year expect to find plenty of reviews, holiday gift ideas, and more! :)

Shades Of Lipstick Love: Metallic Red

I would be majorly lying if I said that I haven't on more than one occasion bought a lipstick that closely resembled another shade in my collection. There are just some colors that I love so much that I can't resist a new formula/texture/basically any excuse I can come up with to buy it. I don't think I will ever have enough shimmering reds in my collection. So bring it on, beauty brands! You keep making these gorgeous ruby jewel-toned reds, and I will keep buying them.
*I recently swatched and reviewed Lipstick Queen's Red Metal lipstick in my first Swatch My Collection post.

All swatches were taken with a camera flash without lip liner.

M.A.C Port Red
(yellow red with gold pearlized pigments)
 Sadly, this shade is no longer available. I have two precious tubes of this lipstick, and I had to track down both tubes on eBay. I didn't pay an outrageous price either time - more than it originally retailed for, but nothing outrageous or unjustifiable. This was my introduction to red metallic lipstick colors. Port Red holds a special place in my heart; because it created a love that is going strong to this day.

M.A.C Queen's Sin
(intense red with red pearl)
 This shade is also no longer available. Queen's Sin was first introduced to makeup lovers everywhere in the 2007 Antiquitease holiday collection. I missed out on it when it originally launched, but swatches and rave reviews made me fall in love with the color. I accepted that I would never own "Queen's Sin" - until one day, I decided to take a chance and purchase it on eBay. "Queen's Sin" has a bit of a prominent pink tone, in comparison to the rest of my shimmering reds.

(bright pearly red)
Finally, a shade that is available! This was the second metallic red I ever owned, which only confirmed that my love for a shimmering red lip was true. My sister also loves this lipstick. My best friend always compliments it. I love this shade on its own (pictured above), but one of my favorite ways to wear this color is with a clear gloss on top. The gloss really brings out the micro-glitters in this shade!

M.A.C Viva Glam Rihanna
(blue red frost)
Another discontinued shade, but worth mentioning. Viva Glam Rihanna is very similar to Port Red. My sister and I did a side by side comparison, and the difference was hardly noticeable. This shade looks great on every skintone I have ever seen it on. My mom wore Viva Glam Rihanna to my cousin's wedding, and it really suited her!

Milani Cherry Crave
(red pearl metallic)
 I was almost positive that this shade was still available, but it appears to be discontinued. I'm surprised, because several of the Milani Color Statement lipsticks from the initial launch are still available. Luckily, this shade is still available on Amazon or eBay. I love the smell of Milani Color Statement lipsticks! This lipstick tends to look a bit warmer on my lips, but I have noticed it looks a bit different on other bloggers/makeup lovers. 


Friday, October 30, 2015

M.A.C Lip Pencil in "Auburn" [review and swatches]

For years, I overlooked M.A.C "Auburn" lip pencil. Recently while feeling nostalgic for the 90's, I decided to look through the M.A.C website for a color that was reminiscent of the era. Even though I was a little kid during the 90's, I always stalked my older sister and her taste in movies, music, fashion, etc. I have always loved the 90's aesthetic. 
"Auburn" caught my attention this time. I immediately took to Google to look for reviews. Like most beauty addicts, I'm eager to see swatches and hear different opinions on products I'm interested in. Sadly, I couldn't find as many reviews than I would have if I did a search for "Cherry" or "Nightmoth". It seemed like others were possibly over-looking "Auburn" as well. I decided to take a chance, and bought it around my birthday. 

Swatches taken in artificial light with flash. Lips were lined and filled in with pencil only. 

(intense reddish-orange brown)
 I'm so glad that I finally gave this shade a try! I regret not trying "Auburn" sooner. It's unlike any other lip liner I currently own. It's an earthy mix of red/orange/brown that is reminiscent of the 90's aesthetic, but also modern enough to rock in 2015. It contrasts nicely with my skin, and flatters my copper-red hair nicely. I sometimes put this lip liner on with no other makeup, simply because I really love the color on.


Thursday, October 29, 2015

Swatch My Collection [Part III: Kat Von D Liquid Lipsticks- Sephora Collection]

Sephora's house brand is exceptional. I really love the Kat Von D liquid lipsticks. Last January, I saw four gorgeous swatches of upcoming metallic liquid lipsticks. I'm still waiting on those beauties! Hopefully there will be a Holiday release? I need them like yesterday! 

 All swatches were taken (without lipliner) in artificial light with a flash. Like all liquid lipsticks currently on the market, a coat of lip balm before or after would suffice to combat any dryness you may encounter. I prefer to coat my lips in Rosebud Salve first, blot any excess product, and then apply color.

(warm rose)
This coral pink is such a gorgeous shade. I tend to love my corals with a pink undertone, so this kind of shade is exactly the kind of coral that I gravitate to. I was so impressed by the first shades I previously ordered, that I immediately placed another order for even more shades. 

(vivid hot pink)
The color description for this shade is definitely on point. The strong blue undertone is so striking and contrasts so nicely on many different skintones. It's the perfect Barbie pink with that matte finish that I can't get enough of.

(dark reddish fuchsia)
I love how this shade is the perfect mix of red and bright pink. It's such a face brightening shade, and I think this color would instantly perk up any complexion. This shade is so pretty and tropical. It makes me think of Summer! I think Bachelorette would look beautiful in Spring/Summer, but it could also warm up even the chilliest of Fall and Winter months.

(bright crimson)
Out of the two original reds (Underage Red and Outlaw, also reviewed in this post), this one tends to lean on the cooler side rather than the warmer Outlaw. Does any red even need an explanation? Red lipstick is always glam, whether it's in a tube or in liquid lipstick form.

(brick red)
This alternative to Underage Red is warmer, but certainly no less pretty or flattering. There is a red for everyone in this line. Since the original launch, there have been several new additions - including a few new reds, giving even more options!

(deep raspberry)
This was the first shade I tried from the Kat Von D liquid lipsticks, and I immediately bought a bunch of shades after my first swatch. I'm so impressed by this color and the velvety finish that all KVD liquid lipsticks share. This shade tends to look a bit more berry in natural light/outdoors, but photographs slightly pinker in artificial light.

(rich violet)
I was so in love with the pretty purple swatch I saw on the Sephora website, but it had the dreaded "out of stock" next to the product name. I decided to check eBay because I needed that purple on my lips immediately; and on eBay, I snagged one for myself. It was out of stock for several more weeks, but when it came back, I bought another two. The swatch shows a bit of a sheen in the photo, but it actually dries very matte. I probably should have waited a bit before taking the photo, but patience is just not my forte when it comes to makeup.

Wednesday, October 28, 2015

Swatch My Collection [Part II]: Anastasia Beverly Hills

Anastasia Beverly Hills and eyebrows are pretty much synonymous in the beauty industry. Lately, the brand has made waves by introducing highly coveted contour palettes and liquid lipsticks. I haven't gotten around to trying the contour palette (yet!), but I'm a huge fan of the liquid lipsticks. I managed to snag a few at the initial launch on the Anastasia Beverly Hills website, and a few more from the Spring/Summer launch.

I recommend coating your lips with Rosebud Salve (or any super moisturizing lip balm of your choice) while you do the rest of your makeup. Blot, leaving a thin veil of balm on your lips. Then, apply your color. You could also apply balm after your color if you prefer, although it might slightly compromise the matte finish.

Swatches were taken in artificial light with a flash on the camera. 

This was my first liquid lipstick from the brand I tried. The shimmer really sets it apart from other liquid lipsticks currently on the market. Currently, this shade is sold out at the official ABH website and Macy's. I highly recommend frequently checking both websites though for a re-stock. It's so worth it! On my lips, one layer gives me a shimmery medium to deep berry color. The color intensity is buildable to your liking.

This was the second liquid lipstick I tried. It's such a gorgeous purple! It's darker than other purple liquid lipsticks on the market currently, but it's still gorgeous. The matte finish is so beautiful. It's a really fun and vivid purple with a perfectly matte finish. I have several purple lipsticks, but this one is my favorite. This shade is in stock on the official ABH website, and in stock on Macy's as well. 

This shade tends to look different on everybody, based on what I've observed from fellow bloggers. It's a vivid medium berry pink on my lips, and I really love it. It's a super pretty color, and I think this would look beautiful on any skintone. Sadly, this shade is not in stock on the official ABH website or Macy's at the moment.

This is a beautiful shade of pink with a prominent blue shimmer. I love colors with an unexpected iridescence of blue/turquoise/purple/etc. It catches the light so beautifully. Anybody who loves pink lipsticks should give this color a try. Like I stated previously, shimmer is somewhat rare in a liquid lipstick formula - so this shade really stands out. Sugar Plum is currently in stock on the official ABH website.

I don't believe that one can ever have enough red lipstick - ever (regardless of the finish or texture). This is a beautiful blue-toned red that looks beautiful on both warm and cool toned bloggers/customers/makeup lovers. I bought this along with "Sugar Plum" for my birthday last Summer, and I'm very happy with it. Sarafine is currently in stock on the official ABH website.