Ipsy March Glam Bag - Mini Reviews

March 31, 2021

SUBSCRIBE TO IPSY HERE (affiliate link)
 As I'm eagerly awaiting for my April Ipsy Glam Bag, I wanted to show you the items from my March Ipsy and to provide you with my thoughts on them after using them - there are lots of unboxings available so I want to offer you a different take on the monthly subscription bags, since these are samples and thus advertisements for purchasing the full size products.  

First off, Ispy is now partnered with Bare Minerals! I'm more and more excited to see Ipsy grow and collaborate with known and popular brands (the available brands is still something that Ipsy can improve on compared to other subscription boxes). Bare Minerals Marvelous Moxie lipstick in Get Ready is a medium toned rose-pink color (the color matches the color on the packaging quite perfectly) - Get Ready Moxie is a great 'my lips but better' shade.  The lipstick applies very smooth and is moisturizing and pigmented.  Moxie Get Ready has a minty feel to it when you apply it (which I didn't expect from a lipstick) and that might be the reason why I won't purchase this full size, as I'm not the biggest fan of mint in my lip products.

The Be a Bombshell Cosmetics eyeshadow quad in Bora Bora was one of the things I was really hoping to have included in my bag (I was very happy with it when swatched).  The colors are smooth and pigmented, not chalky or dry - I can't wait to use the bright shades for summer makeup tutorials. I think these shadows would be perfect for all sorts of eye colors (blue and brown) because of the variation of the shades. Loving the cute packaging too!

I was so excited to get a Chella product in my bag because I've received one of their highlighting pencils in the past and I still love it and use it quite frequently in my makeup routine. Chella Indigo is a deep cobalt blue color that is highly flattering (it's everything a blue eyeliner shade should be!). However, the disappointment kicked in when I started applying Chella Indigo on my eyes - it dried out on me super fast! I didn't even get a chance to do both my eyes, and the felt tip was already dragging and applying almost no color.  For such a beautiful indigo shade, I was extremely let down with this product.

The Klorane Soothing and Relaxing Patches for Eyes were the star of this March bag.  Yes, I know, foil packets are dreaded in these subscription services, but to be honest, I get more use from them than most of the Ipsy makeup products I receive.  After spending a long night painting in the studio,  I used these Klorane patches the next morning, and I really enjoyed the soothing and de-puffing results.  The Klorane patches are a plush, silicone texture, that stay put under your eyes without causing any discomfort; removal was easy too, I didn't blink once (see what I did there).  Ipsy gave you two packets with two patches each, so I can't complain about the sample size.  I might order these to prep for my upcoming finals!

Overall, I was satisfied with Ipsy's March Bag, but some products were hit and miss - we also only received four products (something I haven't experienced with Ipsy before).  As a note, there has been some recent issues with Ipsy and a certain POP Beauty sample included in the February Glam Bag. The POP Beauty lip gloss sample contained harmful ingredients that caused lip burns, lip swelling, allergic reactions, and other negative symptoms (more details in our February post).  For now, I will continue my subscription to Ipsy's monthly service, but I wanted you to be cautious and aware - if you experienced issues with your POP Beauty gloss, contact Ipsy to let them know and request a replacement.

Stay Pretty, Mackenzie M. 

Best Highlighter Status - RMS Beauty Living Luminizer Review

March 26, 2021

The term "cult beauty product" gets used often but very rarely does it actually identify a must-own, must-have product.  Thankfully, I'm here to introduce you to a cult favorite (that deserves this status) - the RMS Beauty Living Luminizer.

The RMS Living Luminizer is a highlighter and skin illuminator that enhances the skin's natural youthfulness without being greasy or glittery (seeing is believing as there really are no glitter particles in this highlighter).  As you can notice from the RMS luminizer swatch, this product is slightly sheer with a silver satin-pearl finish.  The Luminizer creates a dewy skin finish and can be blended and applied easily. I tend to dab the RMS Luminizer on my cheekbones, brow bone, and around my eyes - the product lasts fairly long, approximately 8 hours, but be sure to not touch or pick at your face too often as the sheer finish can more easily fade.  While this is expensive (priced at $38), the pot will last you quite some time (plus, it's worth investing in as it really is effective in creating a luminous finish). J.Crew currently sells RMS Beauty products so you can also wait for a sale to be nicer to your wallet - I purchased mine during the J. Crew 25% off sale.

RMS Beauty ingredients are certified organic and work wonderfully on my sensitive skin. I tend to not list ingredients in my reviews as that post would resemble a court of appeals brief (aka a ton of pages and incomprehensible lingo). So, what are the ingredients of the RMS Living Luminizer? Here's the list: Ricinus Communis (castor seed oil), Cocos Nucifera (coconut oil), Cera Alba (beeswax), Rosmarinus Officinalis (rosemary extract), and may contain Titanium Dioxide CI77891, Mica CI 77019. That's all ladies, no chemical-ly tongue twisters! I can read (and comprehend!) the four ingredients in a few seconds which says a lot about such a well-performing beauty product.

If you still need convincing, know that several stunning women (including Miranda Kerr) have been using this product in their makeup routine. I'm a tough critic on hyped beauty products, but the RMS Living Luminizer rightly earned and deserves its cult status.

Stay Pretty, Miranda M.

The Perfect Pink: Chanel Candeur Review - Chanel Candeur Swatch

March 23, 2021

I'm not a sales person, but I'm about to try and sell this Chanel lipstick to all of you. Why? Because this is one of my favorite lipsticks, I wholeheartedly recommend it, and while costly, it's more than worth the investment. 

Chanel Rouge Coco Shine in Candeur (Coco Shine 68) is a hydrating Chanel lipstick that delivers vibrant color, strong pigmentation, a touch of sparkle, and a ton of shine.  The Coco Shine formula helps moisturize lips and also makes lips appear fuller. Chanel Candeur is a combination pink and peach shade that creates the perfect pink pout.  What makes this lipstick unique is the perfect balance of everything - hydrating while not too sticky, shimmery without actual glitter, pigmented but still wearable, and natural while also a bit seductive. 

The balm-like formula does not last very long (think about an hour or so), but your lips will look their absolute best the whole time you are wearing the Chanel Coco Shine (insert "or your money back" phrase here). Because I still have to be realistic about my budget, I tend to use Chanel Candeur only for special occasions or events (but girl, do I feel awesome on those special occasions!). Candeur is my perfect pink, and as long as Chanel will make it, I'll be buying it.  

Everything from the texture to the rose scent and the absolutely beautiful Chanel packaging makes this lipstick worth its ($35.00) value - so head over to the Chanel counter and find your favorite shade from the Coco Shine collection (there are over thirty options so everyone has a choice).  So, do you need this? Yes, yes you do. 

Stay Pretty, Miranda M. 

Best Lipsticks for Spring - Spring Lipstick Trends

March 20, 2021

Color is something I tend to shy away from.  An ultra bright eye shadow look, green mascara, or ombre multi-shade hair are not my strong points. Pair my color intimidation with my conservative work setting, and you've got yourself an all natural, nude-color-loving beauty blogger.  For me, color is good, but in small doses - think neon manicures on short nails or pastel pink lipstick on a sunny day. With the official arrival of Spring today, it's time to do a bit of spring cleaning and replace my moisturizing, darker lip colors for SPF, long lasting, bright shades lipsticks.

Maybelline Limited Edition Buffs Ravishing Rose is a matte pink from the Maybelline Dare to go Nude Spring 2014 Collection.  The Buffs lipsticks have a rose scent, apply easily, and have longevity due to their strong pigmentation.

L'Oreal Colour Riche Balm SPF 15 in Pink Satin adds just a touch of moisturizing color and muted sparkles (with SPF protection!) (review and swatches here).

Mac Limited Edition Sweet and Sour is my go-to orange for a Sunday brunch outing - this cream sheen shade is bright and commands attention while also being flattering (review and swatches here).

For those days when I feel a bit more adventurous, I love wearing the Maybelline Color Whisper in Oh La Lilac - this is my 'Barbie' lip color as it's a pretty balance between pink and rose lilac (review and swatches here).

And because no lipstick repertoire is complete without a red shade, I have to introduce you to my Lipstick Queen Velvet Rope Private Party lipstick (thank you to my fiance for this lovely gift!). Velvet Rope by Lipstick Queen is a collection that features soft matte shades reminiscent of Old Hollywood Glamour.  Private Party, a bright pink-red color, has an amazingly soft texture and pigmentation (well worth the investment for any lipstick lover!).

Stay Pretty, Miranda M.

Craving Coral and Celebrating Spring with Duane Reade

March 17, 2021

This "Celebrating Spring" post was sponsored by the Collective Bias Social Fabric Community. 
#DRSpring Time and #CollectiveBias
Spring time means pamper time. With spring slowly arriving to New York City (slowly, but surely), I'm ready to shed the cozy winter weather and dark nail polish colors and undergo a spring revival.  And what better way to take advantage of the warm weather than with a bit of shopping, coral manicures, and Marie Claire fashion inspiration?

For most of my drugstore beauty needs and newest collection releases, I always head to Duane Read. Duane Reade carries known makeup brands as well as Duane Reade products - when I'm looking to save (which is every time, every day), I purchase the Duane Reade private label products that are just as effective and more affordable.  For this simple and bright coral manicure, I used OPI Hot and Spicy and Duane Reade nail prep products.  The Duane Reade pure acetone is perfect for removing stubborn glitter and cleaning off my nail art brushes.  Similarly, the Studio 35 Beauty Premium Cotton Rounds are my go to for removing my polish - these rounds are double sided and include a smooth side that won't leave any fuzzy residue on my nails (any girl that does her nails knows what I'm talking about).  I have an Easter manicure inspired by the Whopper Speckled Robin Egg candy coming up, so stay tuned (and yes, bunnies will be included).

Candy, beauty reads, and pretty nails are just a few ways to start celebrating spring! Be sure to follow Duane Reade for makeup deals, coupons, and beauty inspiration - Duane Reade Twitter, Duane Reade Facebook, and Duane Reade Instagram#DRSpring Time #CollectiveBias

Stay Pretty, Mackenzie M.

Top Ten Best Beauty Apps via Walmart Family Mobile Lowest Priced Unlimited Plans

March 17, 2021

 This "Top Ten" post was sponsored by the Collective Bias Social Fabric Community.
#FamilyMobile and #CollectiveBias  
With the sheer number of beauty applications available for our smart phones, beauty advice, tutorials, and reviews are easily at our fingertips. Because our time (and phone storage) is valuable, I put together a list of the top ten 'must-have' beauty apps. As part of the Collective Bias community, I had the opportunity to purchase the WalMart Family Mobile Plan and Galaxy Exhibit Phone.  I was excited to participate in this campaign as I do in fact use (and fully recommend!) the unlimited talk, text, and data plan from Family Mobile.  The Family Mobile service is easy to use, is low cost, and is compatible with many smart phones.  Overall, WalMart Family Mobile services allow for saving money via their lowest priced unlimited plans, using affordable smart phones, and having a customizable plan with no set contract. The Galaxy Exhibit Phone retails for only $98.88 (and can easily be purchased using your tax return!).  The top ten beauty apps featured below are also compatible with the Galaxy Exhibit android phone platform. Now, let's get to downloading!

Beautylish (Inspiration Central) - This app has it all: shop, get inspired, upload your own photos, and participate in the forums. Beautilish is easy to use and delivers pretty photo overload from makeup artists to makeup aficionados. 

Makeup Alley (Most Useful) - If you shop for any type of makeup or skincare, you should do it with Makeup Alley by your side.  This application has numerous reviews for every product you can think of and ratings that are always spot on.

Instagram (Real Time Pretty) - From bloggers to brands, Instagram has a ton of hashtags that can help you find products, swatches, makeup looks, and nail art tutorials. 

Flipboard Beauty (Smart Beauty Reads) - Set your categories based on your preferences, and you can start reading magazine articles, blog posts, social commentary, and everything and anything written about beauty.

Sephora to Go (Most Popular) - This application requires no introduction. It's Sephora. Download it. Enjoy it. (You're welcome!).

Pretty in My Pocket (Most Versatile) - Pretty in My Pocket has become increasingly popular as the PRIMP beauty community has grown.  This application delivers product reviews and associated tutorials on how to use a product. Featured content and personalized recommendations ensure that your beauty picks are customized to your wishes.

Glamzy Pro and Nail Art Salon (Most Fun) - Using a MAC face chart, Glamzy allows you to create your own makeup using real products from various brands such as MAC, YSL, L'Oreal, and more. Similarly, with Nail Art Salon, you can experiment with pretty nail art designs.  If you want to experiment with makeup looks and nail art without actually doing the work, these apps should already be on your smartphone.

Good Guide (Best of Green Beauty) - By directly scanning bar codes, Good Guide helps you purchase safe, healthy, and green products using expert ratings and descriptions (as a bonus, Good Guide also helps with food, household, and electronics purchases). 

Beauty Craft (DIy Destination) - This app teaches you how to make all natural and effective beauty and skincare products using ingredients from your pantry. With photo step by step instructions, Beauty Craft recipes are perfect for pure and natural beauty lovers. 

Stay Pretty, Miranda M.

St. Patrick's Day Nail Art - Luck of the Irish Nail Art

March 16, 2021

I have a surprising amount of green polishes (which is strange because that's not a color that comes to mind when purchasing must-have shades).  After swatching all my green nail polish (post here), I decided to create a simple yet pretty St. Patrick's Day Nail Art.  St. Patrick's Day is a cultural holiday with past-reaching traditions and customs, and the color green has been associated with Irish culture as early as the year 1640.  Many countries and cities celebrate St. Patrick's Day in their own way - in DC, for example, the north White House fountain water is dyed green, and New York City hosts one of the largest St. Patrick's Day parades.

For this nail art, I created complimentary motifs and designs - tiny four-leaf clovers with just a little bit of sparkle, Celtic geometric decorations, green shades of plaid, and small accents of shimmery gold. And because too much green may be too much, I added a soft pink with a golden stripe (feel free to pick whatever shade you want for this extra colorful accent). 

Happy St. Patrick's Day to our lovely readers - have fun celebrating with friends and family (and share with us your lucky nail art!). 

Stay Pretty, Mackenzie M. 

St. Patrick's Nail Art Tutorial - Green Polish Swatches and Clover Tutorial

March 16, 2021

I always try to celebrate St. Patrick's Day with my friends as it's a fun filled day where the color green reigns supreme, be it in accessories, glittery makeup, tshirts, or even drinks.  To celebrate in my own way, I will be sporting all green polish and some festive St. Patrick's Day nailart.  I own a broad selection of green polish I wanted to share with you to give you some ideas for your own manicure (links below also include various price points because everyone should own at least one pretty green polish).  I also added a quick and simple four leaf clover tutorial that can transform any basic green manicure into a lucky Irish manicure.

The polishes I showcased and swatched are named: Sally Hansen Fuzzy Coat Fuzz-Sea, Dolce & Gabbana Wild Green, Sally Hansen Xtreme Wear Mint Sorbet, OPI Amazon, Amazoff from their 2014 Brazil Collection, Sally Hansen Xtreme Wear Green with Envy, Revlon Posh, and Revlon Eclectic.

Sally Hansen's Fuzzy Coat polishes are a cute way to achieve a festive nail art look without having to use nail art tools, pens or other polishes.  I love layering this polish over a darker color so the colorful strands stand out more.  OPI's newly released Amazon, Amazoff, from the 2014 Brazil Collection, is a blue-toned emerald green cream polish that I can't wait to wear more during the spring season.  Lastly, if you're looking for the perfect  kelly green color for St. Patrick's day, Revlon's "Posh" is your best bet - Revlon's polishes are affordable at approximately $5 and have a wonderful opaque formula.

Stay Pretty, Mackenzie M.

Spring Makeup Trends - Blue Eyeshadow and Pastel Pink Lips

March 13, 2021

Because it's easy to get stuck in a routine, I sometimes need some beauty inspiration. My makeup arsenal has a few items that although I love, I rarely wear. Spring is the perfect time to experiment with colors and textures (because, realistically, during summer your face melts off and during winter, your face freezes). For these two spring looks, I amplified color on the eyes or on the lips (and because there's a limit to my adventurousness, the rest of the look remains neutral). 

For the teal makeup inspiration, grey-blue eyeshadow creates a smokey effect and is complemented with soft peach shades. The Maybelline Color Tattoo in Electric Blue is probably the only  blue eyeshadow you'll catch within a mile of my makeup routine.  Maybelline Electric Blue is a deep navy shade with shimmer that translates as grey. The Benefit Cha Cha tint is a mango-tinted lip and cheek stain that provides a soft touch of color.  Cha Cha tint pigmentation can be build up easily and is long lasting (plus, it's extremely pretty and flattering on every skin tone!).
For the pink makeup inspiration, OCC is the star of the show! OCC Lip Tar Matte in Mannequin is a bright and vibrant pastel pin.  While OCC Mannequin may not work for everyone, it's a fun color that is worth trying "just because." OCC lip tars are extremely pigmented and a tube will probably outlast you in the apocalypse (read: it can stain for up to 24 hours and is concentrated with color).  Nude pink cheeks from Nars Final Cut collection add a bit of flush without rivaling the color of the lips. And because nothing can compete with OCC tars, a small kitten eyeliner ensures a minimalist yet finished look.

If you've invested in some "out of the ordinary" makeup, use the lovely spring weather as an excuse to be experimental with your beauty routine.

Stay Pretty, Miranda M.

Pretty in Blush - How to Change Makeup from Day to Night

March 9, 2021

Transforming your makeup doesn't have to be complicated - you don't need a thousand and one products, and you don't need any special skills to transition your look from day to night.  I am a full time graduate student and my sisters is an attorney, so we often find ourselves (at the end of a long day) having to go to additional evening events and gatherings.  And because makeup doesn't tend to last longer than eight hours (especially after a long day of errands), it's important to keep a few products handy. For an evening makeup look, I emphasize the eyes and add a pop of color for the lips.  Again, there's no need to carry false lashes or a whole eyeshadow palette - small changes can make a big difference. 

Day look makeup products used: Milani Rose D'Oro blush,  Maybelline Stormy Sahara Buff Lipstick, Bare Minerals eyeshadow pigment in "Heart."  Milani Rose D'Oro adds glow to the skin while Maybelline Stormy Sahara buff lipstick creates a day-appropriate pink nude lip shade.  Bare Minerals Heart (swatch above), brightens the eyes and ads definition without looking too "done up."

Night look makeup products used: Milani Luminoso blush, Too Faced Marshmallow Bunny La Creme Lipstick, and Bare Minerals eyeshadow pigment in "Never too Rich Brown." Too Faced Marshmallow Bunny is a bubblegum pink that compliments the peach shades in the Milani Luminoso blush. The darker Bare Minerals eye shadow lends itself for a shimmery yet conservative smokey eye.  

Bare Minerals pigments are easy to use because depending on application, pigments create a dimensional and pretty look in a few minutes. Bare Minerals eye shadows have strong pigmentation, adhere easily with no need for primer, and are long lasting without creasing. By layering the pigments, you can vary the intensity of the eye makeup (and if you use with a wet brush, the Bare Minerals pigments can mimic an eyeliner).

No matter  what your every day schedule is, you'll likely find yourself having to transition your makeup from day to night.  By carrying multi-use products in the same color range, you'll be ready for any impromptu happy hour or dinner date. 

Stay Pretty, Mackenzie M.  

Venus Snap at Target - Mini-razor on the Go

March 7, 2021

We all use products that we take for granted but are absolute essentials in our beauty routines.  A good razor is tough to find - just take a look at all the online reviews and forums dedicated to the various razors on the market and you'll realize we're quite serious about our grooming products.  Think about this, how many times have your traveled somewhere, discovered that you forgot to pack your razor, and went into a no-razor-meltdown? (Seriously though, I always have to remind myself to pack it because I inadvertently need it for whatever occasion).

When I had the opportunity to review the Gillette Venus Embrace Snap Razor, I didn't hesitate for one bit.  The Snap Razor is a tiny little product that comes with a cute compact case and is easily portable. Despite its miniature size, the razor performs as well as every other Gillette Venus product - the Snap Razor has a rubber handle that is easy to grip, has a water activated moisture ribbon for smooth glide, and has an easy to maneuver pivoting top. Oh, and it's perfect for shaving! The compact blue case is also a big plus - gone are the days of wrapping razors in paper towels as the case ensures the razor is safely stored.

I started writing this post to describe my work desk beauty tool essentials (hence the photo above), but quickly realized that the Snap Razor is actually suited for any and every event. Whether traveling abroad, going out of town, working out at the gym, staying at friend's overnight, or going to the beach, this Gillette razor is effective and easy to carry.  Priced at $10.00 at Target, the Snap Razor is worth the investment as it can use refillable cartridges. Since shaving razors are a part of our beauty routine, the Snap Razor is a welcomed addition (plus, it's so cute!). 

Gillette Venus markets the Snap Razor as smoothness-on-the-go and I couldn't agree more!

Stay Pretty, Miranda M. 

I was selected for this opportunity as a member of Clever Girls Collective and the content and opinions expressed here are all my own.

Ombre and Floral Nail Art - The New French Manicure

March 5, 2021

Even though spring is not really upon us (aka New York City is covered in snow), you know this girl's mind is already in a field of flowers, wearing pastel dresses, and enjoying the warm sunshine. Inspired by floral crowns and bright spring colors, I created a simple nail art with pink peonies and an ombre background.

The post title of a new french manicure might seem a bit "drastic," but I think ombre white tips are much easier to achieve at home (and on both hands).  The application does not need to be as precise when sponging the white nail polish on and unlike a french tip which requires uniformity, ombre nail art is meant to look different per nail. I choose white ombre due to its effect of making nails appear longer and more elegant - this subtle and easy design puts a modern spin on the traditional french nails. I tried to keep the peony flower accents as small as possible and placed them at the base of the nail to imitate the look of a flower crown. While you could paint the peonies on every nail, alternating the pattern makes this nail art more simple and wearable.

I'll keep this post short and sweet - I hope this nail art gave you some inspiration for the spring season that's soon to come (fingers crossed!).  Let me know in the comments what is your favorite polish to wear in the spring time, and I'll feature it in a future nail art post.  If you're still unsure about how to create the ombre effect, be sure to read our ombre tutorials here and here. (link Dotting Tools).

Stay Pretty, Mackenzie M.