NEW Maybelline Master Glaze Blush "Just Pinched Pink" - Master Glaze Review and Swatches

January 31, 2021

I enjoy taking an hour to do a full face of makeup as much as the next beauty obsessed girl, but sometimes that's just not in the cards.  Friday is my gym day because it gets me ready for the weekend physically and mentally - who doesn't want to punch the air in kickboxing and get some frustrations out after a long week.  Because I often have plans after the gym to get dinner, spend time with friends, or attend art openings, carrying my entire makeup collection around New York City just won't do. 

Maybelline has recently introduced many new products in their permanent makeup line, and the Maybelline Master Glaze Blush has caught my eye because of the sleek, easy to carry packaging. I'm usually not a huge fan of cream blushes because I think cream blushes can be fussy to apply and can feel uncomfortable on my cheeks (read sticky, ew).  However, after trying and loving the Maybelline Fit Me Stick Foundation,  I decided it was time to try the Maybelline Master Glaze Blush in Just Pinched Pink.  The price tag on the Maybelline Face Studio Master Glaze blushes is rather high at $8.99 for 0.24 oz, but as you'll read below, I forgive this negative as the blush itself is high quality.

Maybelline Just Pinched Pink is a light, peachy, rose-pink with very subtle, micro shimmer - Just Pinched Pink applies as cream but transforms into a powder finish (hence, the longevity).  This Master Glaze blush is a hybrid between subtle highlighter and a blush - the shimmer is light enough to be barely noticeable but strong enough to define the tops of the cheekbones.  And because I'm quite serious about my gym-day, this blush applies easily and no brushes are needed - I simply swipe an angled line of the blush on each cheek, think pretty pink war paint, and blend in with my fingers.  Just Pinched Pink stick blush is unbelievably blendable, and pigmentation can be easily built up by dotting the stick where you want to add more color. This Maybelline blush also looked great even after eight hours of wear, something that a powder product usually fails to do on my skin.

All in all, can you tell I love this blush?  I highly recommend you try it (you'll find that you'll be pleasantly surprised!).  Let me know in the comments if you've tried this glaze blush yet, and if you recommend any other products in the Maybelline Master collection. 



Stay Pretty, Mackenzie M.

Revlon Parfumerie Review - Revlon Parfumerie Nail Polish Swatch

January 27, 2021


Let's talk about the products in the beauty aisle that make us giddy with excitement and put a big, bright happy smile on our faces. Collect adorable packaging? Yup. Looking for a great bargain? Always. Buy all colors for all occasions? Clearly. Swoon over whimsical scents? Of course. Love nail polish? Check and double check.

Revlon Parfumerie nail polishes are a combination of all the things we love and expect from a beauty favorite - great quality, lots of colors, and the added fun element of scented nail polish. If you're a skeptic, I highly recommend purchasing at least one Revlon Parfumerie in your favorite scent (the light perfume just makes the whole nail polish experience even better, as if that needed to be improved!). The Revlon Parfumerie Nail Enamel collection has over 20 polishes in three categories: fruits and florals, freshes, and sweets and spices - the color selection is accordingly large, and there's a shade for everyone.

Revlon Parfumerie in Espresso (c/o PR sample)  is the reason why I more than recommend trying one of these nail enamels.  Revlon Espresso is a rich dark color with gorgeous depth and shine - in the swatch photo above, I only applied two coats and there is no top coat (Revlon's not messing around with the shine on this one).  The formula is initially thin on first application, but it dries easily and very smooth. Scent wise, this nail polish reminds me of bitter chocolate and coffee beans (in other words, delicious!).  Due to the thinner formula, I experienced no major chipping, and the polish wore beautifully. 

Revlon Parfumerie in Fresh Linen (c/o PR sample) is a frosty white with a metallic and pearl finish. Due to the finish, application was streaky and somewhat difficult to even out.  Unless you actually prefer pearl polishes, I think a creme polish is a better pick out of the Parfumerie collection (a matte top coat could transform this color while preserving the scent). I applied three coats for full opacity but some streaks are still visible. The lovely Fresh Linen scent was definitely present without being overpowering and the perfume lasted a few days before fading. Overall, the Revlon Parfumerie packaging is smaller than the regular Revlon polishes, and the wand is easy to maneuver even with a dome shape.

Revlon Parfumerie nail polishes are available for $4.99 at drugstores, Ulta, and Target. So, I mean it when I say it that these little bottles are giddy worthy - from the adorable perfume inspired packaging to the vibrant colors, you owe it to your nail-polish-loving-self to try Revlon Parfumerie.



Stay Pretty, Miranda M.

Pastel Roses Nails and Houndstooth Nail Art

January 23, 2021


With freezing weather in New York City, I'm getting ready for spring - here's to hoping this pastel nail art beckons some sun and spring blooms. I've always wanted to give hounds tooth a try and after watching some Youtube videos online, I decided that a pastel hounds tooth pattern would go lovely with lush pink roses - think of an Old English countryside picnic during the spring months.  A girl can dream during the polar vortex, right?

The polishes I used were Zoya Neely, and Sally Hansen Insta-dri Pink Blink (on sale for only $2), Sally Hansen Silver Sweep and Sally Hansen Complete Salon Manicure polish in Commander in Chic (also on sale for $2).  The polishes I use for nail art are usually very opaque formulas, since that makes layering and painting the designs much easier.  Imagine adding layers and layers over one rose to get some opacity (what nail art woes are made of)..but thankfully, all of the Sally Hansen polishes and the Zoya featured are extremely opaque, apply beautifully, and dry fast.

I hope you enjoy these pretty nail art designs as much as I do and please let me know in the comments if you'd want to see any specific nail tutorials in the future.  If you always wondered how you could create a pattern or design, I'll be coming to the rescue with a step-by-step nail art tutorial.

Stay pretty, Mackenzie M.

Jouer Cosmetics Review - Jouer Peach Bouquet Blush Swatches

January 13, 2021


Let me explain (in a roundabout way) why I love Jouer cosmetics. Some of my favorite stories are from Jane Austen - everything from the characters, the dialogue, the beautiful dresses, and of course, the ever-after happy endings.  I'm always fond of the lovely imagery from the Victorian era, and I'll randomly daydream about the picturesque English countryside. Now, if Jane Austen heroines wore any brand makeup, it would have to be Jouer.  Jouer Cosmetics carries romantic colors that enhance natural beauty with flattering, lightweight formulas. If you take a look through the Jouer website, you'll notice that every item is wearable and very natural looking (think timeless beauty!).  My favorite products from Jouer are the blushes and the lip glosses - thanks to the Birchbox store, I was able to try several Jouer products and was instantly in love (notice the romantic theme in this whole post).

Jouer Peach Bouquet is a pink based coral and warm peach mineral blush that refreshes the complexion with a soft touch of color.  Peach Bouquet itself is highly pigmented and long lasting, but somehow this Jouer blush manages to create a fresh, flushed look - the blush also has slight golden shimmer that almost translates as a highlighter.  As with some of my other mineral blushes, I had difficulty blending Jouer Peach Bouquet and experienced slight patching, but after using the Real Techniques angled Blush Brush, application was much smoother.  I also liked that this Jouer blush had no fallout and was fairly long lasting for approximately five to six hours. Aside from the beautiful packaging and a wide range of colors, Jouer blushes (including Peach Bouquet) are paraben free.

The philosophy behind Jouer, which translates as "play" in French, is to create a cosmetic line with key items that can be personalized.  The Jouer website and blog provide more inspiration for different looks and for using other products (next on my list is the Jouer tint for lips and cheeks).  Jouer blushes retail for $24 and are sold online and at the Birchbox store. 

If you want a lovely romantic and yet natural flushed look, try a product from Jouer, it's Jane Austen approved* (disclaimer, it's mostly me-approved on behalf of Jane Austen).



Stay Pretty, Miranda M.

Subscription Boxes Review - Birchbox: Is it worth it?

January 10, 2021

So you want to know which beauty box subscription is the best and the not so best? In the past two years, box subscriptions have become increasingly popular - there's a box for puppies, accessories, cleaning supplies, makeup, books, artisan cheeses, and whatever else you can think of that fits in a box.  The first beauty box subscription I ever tried was Birchbox (my fiance surprised me with a paid yearly subscription for our nine year anniversary). Birchbox advertises as offering "top brands" deluxe samples that include beauty and lifestyle products every month for 10$ (shipping included). Read below whether Birchbox is worth it or whether you should try a different subscription service.

Customer Service: The Birchbox customer service is very helpful and responsive to any inquiries - if any products are missing or if there is an issue with the shipping, Birchbox always addresses the problem.  Thankfully, I did not have any issues with the boxes but when I tried to resolve an order with the points, a customer service representative answered within 24 hours.

Cost: I'll address the cost further in the products included, but Birchbox costs $10 a month flat (no other fees).  The price is lower than some other subscription boxes, and I feel more comfortable budgeting for $10 a month over a cost of $20-plus. You can pay for Birchbox every month (but first you have to be on a wait list for a few days) or you can pay yearly for $110 (where you receive one month's box for free and no wait list).

Packaging and Shipping: Birchbox has become known for its simple yet cute boxes.  Overall, the boxes are safe and sturdy - Birchbox always emails when the box is shipped and provides a tracking number.  The items are packaged in pink tissue paper, and there is always an information card on how to use the various items. 

Point Reward System: The best feature of this subscription service is the reward system.  For every item reviewed online, Birchbox awards ten reward points that can be used for cash in the Birchbox store (however, the review must be done in the same month you received the product).  For every dollar you spend in the Birchbox store, you receive a point.  If you do the math, several Birchboxes pay for themselves because you can easily accumulate points - I had a total of $70 to spend on the Birchbox website. Along with Laura Mercier and Jouer makeup, I also purchased a Chambre de Sucre Macaron box because Birchbox offers a variety of lifestyle products and points can be used on any type of item.

Products Included - Sample Size: Overall, the samples are lacking - samples are teeny tiny (definitely not deluxe size as advertized) and most often, I received lotion packets or plastic tubes with perfume. For skincare items, I was surprised at the small amount of product. Sure, skincare takes time to be effective, but I bet a tear-sized drop isn't doing much either (and I used the word 'tear' on purpose, because that's how sad I was to receive a ridiculous miniature item on more than one occasion). This is one beauty subscription where I can comfortably say you will not receive full sized products - the only full sized item I can recall is a pop beauty lip gloss, a Chella highlighting pen, and a Chapstick balm (...le sigh).  The size of the samples is what ultimately contributed to my decision to not renew Birchbox.

Products Included - Brands: My other gripe with the products that Birchbox carries is the brands that are actually sent out. I received two quarter sized blushes from the Balm, a Dr. Jart BB cream, a Lancome mini mascara, and a small Benefit Sugarbomb lip gloss - everything else was from brands I barely knew or brands I've never heard of before (and I'm a beauty blogger for god's sake!). It used to be that Birchbox carried higher end brands but during the year I subscribed, other subscription services (cough, Ipsy, cough) sent better products. For example, I received two mini Color Club polishes, and my sister received a full sized Zoya and a mini Butter London from Ipsy during the same time period. 

Products Included - Type of Items: If you want to receive mostly makeup and are looking for a beauty subscription box, then Birchbox is not for you.  I've received hair ties, plastic makeup bags, a pen, candy, food, a tea bag, a nail file, and bobby pins (so that's eight months where one item was a lifestyle item). Some months, the boxes were more balanced in terms of beauty products but for the most part, there was no thoughtful curation of the products.

Products Included - Conclusion: And we finally get to the main attraction - should you subscribe to Birchbox? What products are really included in a Birchbox? As you can see from the photos, the answer is ..."just okay" products - not the best-omg-how-lucky-am-I and not the worst-what-were-they-thinking either.  Birchbox doesn't pay for the actual samples and companies provide them for free - customers basically pay to try samples.  I would strongly recommend Birchbox for some months, and I would definitely not recommend it for other months - based on this, take a look at what other people received and ask yourself if you need any of the items and are willing to pay to receive those samples.  

Let us know in the comments - what has been your experience with Birchbox? Do you plan to subscribe or cancel your subscription? I did not renew and am currently subscribed to Ipsy, but if Birchbox overhauls their product sizes and brand variety, I would definitely return as the Birchbox subscription service has several positive aspects. 

Visit Birchbox.com for more information and details about the boxes!

Stay Pretty, Miranda M. 

Benefit Rockateur Cheek Powder - Rockateur Review and Swatches

January 7, 2021


Not sure if you've heard through the makeup grapevine, but Benefit has released a new addition to their popular boxed powders. Benefit Rockateur is a new rose gold cheek powder with a slight golden sheen that I couldn't wait to try. I am a lover of Nars' Sin, and I was looking for a more mauve, peachy shade that would look more natural and that would be perfect for daily wear. Cool toned pinks tend to look muddy on my skin tone, and coral blushes tend to emphasize redness as coral can pick up on the natural discoloration of the skin. So a natural rose gold cheek powder should have adressed all my needs, right?

Unfortunately (I know, sad face...), even though I wanted a light wash of color, at $28 USD, I couldn't really get over how sheer this product applied onto the cheeks. My sister purchased Benefit's Dandelion (review here) and I was expecting some good things - but when I opened the box, I was surprised at how little product there was included (exactly 5g to be exact!). The powder was beautifully engraved and had a slight glitter spray that disappears after first few uses; there is also a brush included which is very soft and tapered for better application. The packaging is a bit bulky but Benefit-cute nonetheless and seems quite sturdy. Also, Rockateur has a slight rosy, floral scent to it which was very pleasant. The color swatched peachier than I had imagined it to be (since it was advertised as a rose gold), but all was well until I actually applied it on my cheeks and there was very little pigmentation.

Benefit Rockateur may work well for paler skin tones because it may come off more intense and not require so much product layering (majority of Sephora reviews mention "natural looking"). The color is pretty, the packaging is creative, and the scent is light and lovely - but I think Rockateur does not win on the value front. If you are searching for a similar color, Milani Luminoso Baked Blush is a Benefit Rockateur dupe and costs only $10 at the drugstore (can purchase cheaper on Amazon). What are your thoughts on Benefit's Rockateur, have you had better luck with this Benefit product? Leave your thoughts and other blush recommendations in the comments below, as this girl is still on the hunt for the perfect cold-weather-everyday blush.



Stay pretty, Mackenzie M.

Top 10 Makeup Products of 2013 - Miranda's Picks

January 4, 2021


MIRANDA'S TOP PICKS

1. Best Foundation - Dr. Jart Premium Beauty Balm SPF 45
Dr. Jart BB creams have great coverage, contain anti-aging ingredients, and work perfectly even for sensitive skin (having worn several Dr. Jart products this past year, I've seen a drastic improvement in my skin tone and appearance). 

2. Best Blush - Physician's Formula Happy Booster Blush in Pink
This Physician's Formula blush contains pink shades suited for everyone, is long lasting, and has just a tiny bit of shimmer and sparkle.

3. Best Mascara - Lancome Hypnose Drama
I don't discriminate in my mascaras as I have several drugstore favorites, but Lancome Hypnose is well worth the investment - the medium sized brush delivers volume and length with no flaking.

4. Best Palette/Eyeshadow - Maybelline Color Tattoo in Matte Brown
Some hyped products are hyped for a reason - Maybelline Color Tattoos are equal to Mac paint pots in quality. The Matte Brown Color Tattoo has strong, creamy pigmentation and barely creases - my go-to for a simple and sophisticated everyday look.

5. Best Lip Product - Chanel Rouge Coco Hydrating Lip Color  (Runner Up: Laura Mercier Lip Glace)
This one's easy - it's Chanel, it's pink, it's moisturizing, and utterly flattering. While Chanel Coco Hydrating products may not be too long lasting, 2013 was the year of tinted balms and this was the reigning champion. I also rediscovered my old love for lip gloss - the Laura Mercier Lip Glace glosses are vanilla scented goodies.

6. Best Nail Polish - Zoya Pixie Dust Godiva
It's very difficult for a company to create a beautiful textured polish and it's even more difficult to pull off a textured nail polish.  Zoya managed to do both - Zoya Pixie Dusts are like glitter snow and sugar candies on your nails.  Godiva is a beautiful nude color with a matte finish and subdued sparkle.

7. Best Skin Care Product - Neutrogena Rapid Tone Repair Day Moisturizer (SPF and Vitamin C)
I try a lot of skincare products that work wonders, but I picked this Neutrogena moisturizer for its affordability and indisputable effectiveness.  My skin feels better, has less redness and less visible lines, and is more hydrated (for everyday wear, Neutrogena Tone Repair is the best pick).

8. Best Haircare Product - Healthy Sexy Hair - Soy Argan Treatment
This product is one of Lauren Conrad's favorite hair treatments (and thus, mine too!). Healthy Sexy Hair Soy smells absolutely lovely and adds shine to hair without making it oily. Whether for styling or treating, this really does make healthy, sexy hair.

9. Best Scent  - Chloe Eau de Parfum (any Chloe scent!)
A great scent can make a whole day better - I've tried several perfumes but the best of 2013 was Chloe. Chloe perfumes are demure yet complex with wonderful undertones and sleek bow packaging.  No matter what the occasion, Chloe never fails me (plus, there are several variations of the original Chloe Eau de Parfum).

10. Beauty Resolution for 2014 - Be  more adventurous with my makeup (and wake up earlier for work to actually have time to do my makeup).

Stay Pretty, Miranda M.

Top 10 Makeup Products of 2013 - Mackenzie's Picks

January 3, 2021


2013 was a wonderful year - I was accepted into graduate school, my sister graduated from her graduate program and passed the bar exam, and I participated in the Sally Hansen I Heart Nail Art contest, an experience I'll never forget. This past year I discovered even more great makeup, and I wanted to take this opportunity to share with you some of my new top favorites.  I have been getting more into wearing nude lip products and my foundation search has continued due to my sensitivity to dimethicone - I think I've found a great drugstore product that doesn't break me out and feels and looks great on.  So stay tuned and I hope you share your own beauty discoveries over this past year in the comments. Also, do you have any beauty resolutions for the year 2014?

MACKENZIE'S TOP PICKS

1. Best Foundation - Maybelline Fit Me Shine Free Foundation Stick
Foundation sticks are rare gems at the drugstore, and I have been so pleased with Maybelline's version. Maybelline Fit Me is extremely blendable, has a beautiful finish and is perfect for on the go.  Fit Me is also the one foundation at the drugstore that hasn't caused breakouts on my sensitive skin (despite the small amount of the dimethicone ingredient). A full review of the Maybelline Fit Me Stick is in the works!

2. Best Blush - Elf Studio Baked Blush in Passion Pink
This blush gives my face a beautiful glow and that perfect sun kissed color for a whopping $3.

3. Best Mascara - L'Oreal Voluminous False Fiber Mascara
My go to mascara for insane volume and lengthening! L'Oreal False Fiber Mascara is a dry formula which helps keep my lashes' curl.  I have gotten lots of compliments when I wear this, specifically "Are those real?".

4. Best Palette/Eyeshadow - The Balm Meet Matte Palette
I wear the Meet Matte palette daily because of its versatility and quality. The formula of the shadows is very buttery and pigmented, and I have created countless pretty looks with it.

5. Best Lip Product - Rimmel Show Off Lip Color (aka the Apocalips) in Celestial and Comet
These Rimmel Show Offs were hyped up for a good reason - I love these two colors as they are very wearable and flattering (and the rich formula is another plus!).

6. Best Nail Polish - Essie's Topless and Barefoot
A beautiful nude polish that is perfect for almost all skin types (this may not be a 2013 release, but it definitely was my go-to color this past year).

7. Best Skin Care Product - Neutrogena Oil-Free Foaming Grapefruit Scrub
I wash my face with this lovely scented pink grapefruit scrub twice a day.  This Neutrogena face wash removes makeup, dirt and bad oil while being gentle enough on the skin.

8. Best Haircare Product - Desert Essence Shine and Refine Coconut Hair Lotion
I am a sucker for tropical, coconut scents, and this lotion prevents frizz and ads shine all while smelling like a fabulous tropical vacation.

9. Best Concealer - Benefit Erase Paste
Erase Paste makes me look like I get 10 hours of sleep each night (hint..I don't) - I love the emollient yet light formula, the amazing pigmentation and the color that blends very well into my skin.  Definitely long lasting too!

10. Beauty Resolution for 2014 - Develop better skin by perfecting a day and night routine and use masks more frequently!

Stay Pretty, Mackenzie M.