Physicians Formula Mineral Airbrushing Powder Kit Review

June 27, 2021

I wanted to share with you a newly discovered product that has quickly become my go-to in my summer daily foundation routine.  I was looking for a light powder foundation for the hot summer days, and well, a blush and bronzer were a bonus I wasn't going to reject.  The Physicians Formula Mineral Airbrushing Powder Kit has been around for a little while but I have recently found mine at Walmart for $15.  Knowing that Physicians Formula tends to retail for higher prices (ahem, over $10 each), I grabbed this quickly as I thought it was a great value.

The Physicians Formula Mineral Airbrushing Powder Kit in the Light color, includes a face powder in Creamy Natural, a bronzer in Light Bronze and a blush in Natural. The powders are advertised as having SPF 30 (which is perfect for summer), talc free, hypoallergenic, fragrance free and non-comedogenic, which is great for acne prone skin.  All the powders are finely milled and all have a beautiful sheen, which I think gives off a very youthful glow and airbrushed finish.  That aspect of this Physicians Formula kit, along with the great pigmentation and effortless blendability, is something I've really enjoyed - my skin looks perfectly highlighted all the time.

I recommend applying the face powder with a big fluffy brush, and at most apply two layers, with a second layer on top of any areas that you would like any additional coverage.  Coverage wise, the Physicians Formula powder is light to medium coverage.  I've tried this face powder without any face primer and noticed that it emphasized my pores, so I tried it with a pore erasing primer (been loving the Maybelline Baby Skin primer) and it looked beautiful and lasted me all day.  All the powders last very long on my skin (at least 8 hrs and more) and they keep their pigmentation.  The Light Bronzer fit my skin tone perfectly, and the Natural blush is a pink rose color that looks natural but definitely adds a fresh pop of color to your complexion.     

I would strongly recommend you grab the Physicians Formula Mineral Airbrushing Powder kit and try these beautiful powders, I think you will be pleasantly surprised at the healthy glow they'll give your skin.  The colors are beautifully curated and my foundation routine is simple now and feels lighter than wearing liquid foundation - I apply the primer, some under eye concealer, swirl the powders on and I'm done.  On the flip side, if you're looking for a matte finish and are looking for a fuller coverage foundation, I would pass on this kit.

Let me know if you've tried this yourself and how you like it, and what's the way you apply it.  Do you have any other recommendations for the perfect powder foundation for summer?  Please leave them them in the comments, as we all appreciate any makeup tips to deal with this hot summer weather.

Stay Pretty, Mackenzie M. 

Ipsy June Glam Bag Review

June 26, 2021

Here are the goodies I received in my Ispy June bag, along with quick reviews of them.  I will give you a fast impression, and tell you that I was quite underwhelmed this month.  I have been subscribed to Ipsy for more than a year now, and I am honestly considering canceling because I have too many (yes, I admit it) tiny makeup samples floating about my already tiny New York apartment.  Ipsy is a lovely monthly surprise with (mostly) great bags with an amazing value - but I just cannot keep up with finishing the samples I'm receiving.  I would love to do a giveaway with them, but for review purposes, I do swatch most products, so I can't pass the samples along afterwards.  So I'm in a makeup subscription bag rut!  
Let me know in the comments what you're experience has been with subscription bags and how you're keeping up with your samples.  I think Ipsy is a great option for people wanting to grow their makeup collection, who want to try new products along the way, so I do highly recommend it if you're in the market for a monthly makeup subscription service.  Now on to the reviews!

NYX Butter Gloss in Eclair is a full size (5$), pinky nude gloss that is beautiful and extremely versatile, on its own or on top of pretty much any color lipstick.  I am very happy that Ipsy included this in the bag, but I was a little bummed because I already own this color.

Nicka K Shimmer Eyeliner in Green (5$, full size) is a beautifully pigmented, shimmery (duh) liquid eyeliner in a green teal color that would be perfect for a pop of color on the eyes.  The applicator is a very fine sponge tip applicator.  My only gripe about this product is that it stained my hand after swatching for about a day; I'm not feeling too adventurous with my eye area, so I probably won't try this on my eyelids on its own, if ever.  If you want to try it I recommend layering it over a black liquid liner, as that will ensure easier removal and it will enhance the green color even more. 

Be A Bombshell Lash Out Mascara in Black (15$, full size) came to be in faulty packaging, and smelling a bit burnt rubbery.  The wand is a traditional bristle brush, and it separate my lashes fine enough.  The formula is not super black, and it gave my lashes medium length and volume.  What did really impress me about the Lash Out Mascara is that it did not flake one bit on me, even after 13 hours of wear.  

Dermadoctor DD Cream (deluxe sample) is a mineral based beauty balm with 30 SPF, formulated without parabens, sulfates or phthalates, intended as an all stop shop for your skin.  While that sounds good, this comes only in one shade, and that shade was too orangey pink for my skin tone.  Dermadoctor DD Cream felt slightly heavy on the skin and gave me a very 'dewy' appearance.  I wouldn't recommend this, especially at the $38 price tag (and for summer, and for most skin tones). 

Marc Anthony Dream Waves Beach Spray (8$, full size) is meant to be sprayed onto the hair to give you tousled, wavy hair that mimics the look you get when you're at the beach.  Sounds good, but this did not work for me.  I have very long, straight hair and this did not give me any waves, and instead made my hair feel crunchy and look frizzy.  This spray would work better for ladies that already have a natural wave or curl in their hair.  Oh, and it has a strong smell of coconut; some of you might enjoy it, and some might really not, but thought I'd mention it.

I hope that was helpful! Let me know what you thought of your bag this month in the comments, I'm curious to know.  

Subscribe to Ipsy here and receive glam bags for $10 a month (affiliate sign-up link)! 

Stay Pretty, Mackenzie M. 

Skincare Aisle Guide - How to pick the best skin care products

June 21, 2021

To say that buying skin care is difficult would be an understatement.  I've often found myself needing a new moisturizer, dragging feet into the skin care aisles, trying to decipher all the bottles and potions, becoming confused, and walking away with a new lipstick and no moisturizer.  The whole process of skin care purchasing is overwhelming and ranks up there with going to the dentist or working on a holiday, or any other "grr" moment you can think of.

For the past few year, I decided to learn more about skincare routines and skincare do's and don'ts. From MakeupAlley reviews to actually researching completed studies, I wanted to become a more informed consumer.  This skin care info-graphic has been in the draft stage for a while and it's now ready to share.  And because I'm an attorney where graphs and flowcharts reign supreme, I thought to may as well put my "analytical skills" to work (not to worry, lovely, pretty photos will resume after this post).

Now, let me walk you through using this skin care guide and how-to:

Step 1: Skin concern - In my research, I've found that "universal" products do not tend to actually work.  Skin care items that have targeted ingredients are more effective than the "do-all" items.  For example, I'd rather pick a moisturizer that combats dry skin and wrinkles because the ingredients will be formulated and concentrated to target those skin concerns (if a moisturizer combats redness, impurities, pores, anti-aging, and dry skin then you should be skeptical). For Step 1, pick one or up to two concerns you'd like to address.

Step 2: Stage in Routine - Here it is - the five steps in a skin care routine and the order in which to apply products (I needed it written down because I always forget).  To continue with our example above, know exactly what step in the routine you are trying to find a product for.  Are you looking for a treatment such as a serum or are you looking for a moisturizer? Skin care products are formulated based on a specific routine and their effectiveness depends on this routine.

Step 3: Personalize - This is an essential step with three major variables that will help narrow down your search. Consider price - if you have two products that fit step 1 and 2, pick the product that matches your budget.  Consider skin sensitivity - many products will state if formulated for sensitive skin (also watch for language on the packet that informs how strong the product will be).  Lastly, consider if you'll be using for the day time or night time - for example, a day time moisturizer should have SPF and a night time exfoliant could be left on the skin overnight.

Step 4: Dos and Don'ts - The skin care market has a million and one products available - so narrowing down your best choice for you is the secret to finding the best skin care routine.  If you've gotten to Step 4, now is the time to make the final decision and walk to that register and walk out with a product. Consider the dos and don'ts above - if a product has fragrance and other doesn't, pick the product without fragrance (sometimes listed as perfume) because fragrance is a known skin irritant.  If packaging differs, opt for the sealed, closed container product because ingredients are more likely to be stable and thus more effective.

Skin care is unique based on each individual but there is a universal code and method for picking the best skin care products.  Print this skin care aisle guide or pull it up on your phone next time you go shopping and the whole process will hopefully be much easier!

Do you have any other skin care process advice or tips or tricks when purchasing products? I'm still working on this chart and would love to update it in the future - let me know in the comments!

Stay Pretty, Miranda M.

Breakups to Makeup Birthday Event - Love Raised Me, Lipstick Saved Me

June 18, 2021

"I would cry, but my mascara is designer."  A makeup lover can identify with that motto.  From YSL to Chanel, designer mascaras cost way too much to be wasted on unhappy days.  And Breakups to Makeup gets that. With poignant statements and minimalist designs, Angelique Velez, the founder of Breakups to Makeup, has created accessories that proudly announce our love of makeup, our no-nonsense attitude, and our chic style choices.

Breakups to Makeup promotes makeup as an art form and a lifestyle - the mottos are simple but with a big impact.  From shirts to covers to makeup clutches, Breakups to Makeup caters to all makeup lovers (and to all those who had to overcome not-the-best of days in a relationship). I love all the high quality designs and adore the "lipstick saved me" makeup bag, it's definitely a fan favorite! 

Last evening, I had the opportunity to celebrate the one year anniversary with Breakups to Makeup and had the chance to meet Angelique (whose passion for what she does is greatly apparent and contagious!).  I was able to catch up with and meet fellow beauty bloggers, all while sipping champagne and munching on cake pops.

Be sure to also visit these girls' blogs as we can never have enough makeup on our reading list: Beauty101 Blog, The Fashion Beauty Junkie, Diva Makeup Queen, Barbie Baby MUA, LoveRoxie, and Miss Yanyi.

Happy Birthday to Breakups to Makeup, and we're toasting to more lipstick and designer mascaras in your future!

Stay Pretty, Mackenzie M. 

Best and Worst Drugstore Dry Shampoo

June 14, 2021

When I first discovered dry shampoo, my life changed for the better (yes, in such a dramatic way).  My hair is limp, fine, and gets oily fast so that perfect trifecta (sarcasm fully intended) makes my hair upkeep an unpleasant experience.  I constantly re-do my hair to create some or any type of volume but in the process of doing so, my hair because greasy and piece-y.  So you can see how dry shampoo, which cleans, refreshes, and volumizes hair, improved my standard of living.

Because I use dry shampoo so often with several touch-ups throughout the day, I finish a can of product in just a few days. And because I love my hair and also love my wallet, I tend to purchase drugstore dry shampoos.  In my search for the best dry shampoo, I've compiled a list of the best and worst drugstore dry shampoos and reviews for each.

Award for the Best Dry Shampoo goest to (drumroll, please!) the true, original, Psssst! Instant dry shampoo. There's a reason why the original is the best - Psssst! applies easily as the nozzle sprays an even amount and there is little to no white residue (for any remaining residue, I can easily work through with my fingers to dispel the product). The scent is fresh and long lasting on the hair without being discernible or overpowering during the day.  Lastly, Psssst! creates volume at the roots and gives hair a refreshed, just-washed look.  The Psssst! Instant Dry Shampoo is also the most affordable so this is a winner all around.

The second best drugstore dry shampoo is Batiste Dry Shampoo - aside from the lovely packaging, Batiste also makes hair clean and lasts for a long time (Batiste lost to Psssst! because it does not create as much volume).  I love the different scents that come with the various editions and ultimately, my hair is easier to style and manage when I apply Batiste.

Another popular dry shampoo is Not Your Mother's Clean Freak Refreshing Dry Shampoo.  I tend to use this dry shampoo when creating a specific hairstyle because the shampoo also has the qualities of a hair spray.  The Clean Freak shampoo refreshes hair with minimal residue while also creating hold and volume.

Unfortunately, the award for the Worst Dry Shampoo goes to Batiste Dry Shampoo Brunette Hint of Color.  I tend to give the benefit of the doubt to my beauty products, but I cannot recommend Batiste Brunette to anyone (harsh, I know).  This dry shampoo has a "hint of brown" as in the dry shampoo has a brown residue. If your hair touches your face in any way (aka everyone), you will have shadowy brown spots and streaks all over.  I have bangs so after only a few hours my whole forehead was a bronzed, golden brown (imagine my frustration as I noticed this during the work day). I ended up having to use a wet wipe on my hair, having to remove and re-apply my makeup, and having to put my hair in a tight bun (can you tell I'm still bitter about it?).  This Batiste Dry Shampoo has no saving elements to it, steer clear!

Do you have an absolute favorite dry shampoo? I'm venturing in the higher end range and would love to discover new "best of" products.

Stay Pretty, Miranda M. 

L'Oreal Volumious Miss Manga Mascara - Miss Manga Review

June 11, 2021

I was so excited when the L'Oreal Miss Manga mascara came out, because I just had 'that' feeling that it might be amazing.  The conical, tapered wand seemed similar to my favorite mascara by L'Oreal (the False Fiber Lash), reviews I was reading were positive, people didn't report any flaking, and well, the packaging was adorable.  I purchased Miss Manga mascara at Walgreens for roughly $12 (yup, that's New York prices for you); however, you could wait for a sale or purchase it online or at Target for a better price (sold here for $7.99).  Just as a heads up, my expectations are high: my favorite mascara will give me fake looking lashes with both tons of volume and length, while not flaking during day (I'll let you guys know when I find that magic unicorn).  

The L'Oreal Miss Manga mascara features a 360 degree flexible wand, which I've never used before and truthfully, I've never really jumped of excitement at the thought of it.  Yet to my surprise the flexible wand makes application very comfortable and is perfect for sensitive eyes or beginners.  Unfortunately,  I noticed that since the wand was lacking rigidity, it wasn't packing on enough product at the ends (tops) of my lashes, so I wasn't getting as much volume as I would have liked.  The Miss Manga  formula is not too wet or too dry, and I don't find my lashes clumping on the first layer;  on the second layer, you might get a bit more clumping, because the bristles in the wand aren't super dense (and they don't separate like their life depends on it).  I wouldn't say this mascara builds very well - in my experience, what you get with your first layer is probably the look you'll end up with.  I enjoy the conical wand shape for my bottom lashes, as the pointed tip can really coat your lower lash line comfortably.  I have noticed slight flaking, but nothing out of the ordinary or too disconcerting.  Lastly, the lashes feel soft and not brittle or dry (for those of you that dislike spidery lashes).

Bottom line, I enjoy the L'Oreal Voluminous Miss Manga mascara enough to keep it.  Will I wear this for going out when I'm looking to sport some mad-lash action? Probably not, as it does not provide me with a dramatic enough look.  But because Miss Manga is so comfortable to wear, doesn't flake and emphasizes my lashes enough, it's great for everyday wear.

Have you tried the Miss Manga mascara yourself?  Let me know in the comments about your thoughts on this product (and share your love of the ultra cute anime packaging)!

Stay Pretty, Mackenzie M. 

Summer Outfits for Work - What to Wear to the Office during Summer

June 7, 2021

I'm an attorney, and I wear conservative work outfits. I'm in DC, and I have to make it through the hot and humid summer weather. Therefore, I'm picky about my office outfits in the summer, and I've perfected my clean-looking and not-swealtering-to-death fashion choices.

Legend has it that DC was built on a swamp, but no matter where you live, if the temperature goes above a balmy 75 degrees, you have to be prepared in terms of your wardrobe.  If you work in a conservative setting, the clothing options are even less present, and you absolutely must balance your personal comfort with the office dress code.  So, for all my fellow women, from partners to interns, I've put together a style guide for weathering (eh!) the summer.

Sunny Pastel - For shift dresses, I transition my dark navy and black dresses to lighter colors that do not attract the heat (these types of dresses have a snug fit, and I prefer to not feel like I'm in a sauna). Pastel blue is one of my favorite colors because it is summer-appropriate and also works with any color blazer.

Taupe Everything - I know there's some rule out there about wearing white but whoever came up with it probably wasn't commuting for 20 minutes in 90 degrees while carrying a laptop and workout gear. For a stylish, yet appropriate outfit, I love pairing khaki pants with a crisp white shirt.

Lace Details - Lace is an easy way to wear flowy, light, white tops without worrying about a see-through faux pax (no undershirt is needed).  You can't go wrong with a lace blouse, and you can't go wrong with white.

Chiffon Pleats - I tend to wear all my chiffon during the summer months -  a pleated chiffon dress is demure, comfortable, and office-appropriate (just make sure the length is at the knees as many stores carry shorter pleated dresses).

Light Florals - I feel most comfortable wearing floral prints during the warmer months (and by floral, think soft, minimalist imprints and not realistic roses kind-of florals).  Although I may be inside under fluorescent lights for 8-plus hours, floral prints are my way of celebrating spring and summer while still being office appropriate.

Simple Stripes - The easiest way to add flair to a taupe and white ensemble is by wearing a strong geometric pattern.  I love stripes, with the occasional polka dots, for those casual fridays when casual means be somewhat comfortable but still presentable.  A striped jacket (which is very much popular right now and thus available at all price points), can mean business without sacrificing personal style. And if your office is not  that daring, wear a striped top or light grey striped dress, the possibilities are endless!

For all office-worker-bees and cubicle-dwellers, the summer season can be a bit tricky in the outfit department but that doesn't mean we can't be fabulous and professional.

What are some of your personal tips and tricks for enduring the hot weather and wearing more conservative outfits? Share some of your advice and I'll be sure to include it in this post.

Stay Pretty, Miranda M. 

Hoopla Studio Polish Swatches Review and Nail Art - Mosaic Nail Art

June 3, 2021

If you love adorable mini products, bright colors, and pretty nail polish, then you'll love Hoopla (and you should probably visit Kansas, but more on that later!).

Hoopla Studio nail polish features a wide selection of wonderful shades that are suited for every taste. From metallic blues to sheer pinks, Hoopla's "five free" polishes are fun to use and easy to carry (so if you hoard beauty products in your purse like I do, Hoopla's skinny, mini polishes will fit right in!).

Inspired by the minimalist yet colorful Hoopla packaging, I created a mosaic pattern nail art that celebrates colorful shades and fits right in with summer-bright patterns.  The polishes I used are Hoopla Last Call, Hoopla High School Sweetheart, Hoopla Newport Love, and Hoopla Angelic Arrow.  The opacity varies per shade with High School Sweetheart being most pigmented in only one application and Newport Love being more sheer due to its holographic texture. Hoopla Last Call has a high opacity, but I recommend applying a base coat first as it tends to stain the nail.  Unlike other mini-sized polishes, Hoopla features full sized brushes that enable a smooth and easy to maneuver application.

Hoopla polishes can be purchased at the online shop where mini-packs and new shades are routinely available.  While the individual polishes are priced a bit high at $8, I recommend purchasing one of the trio packs which feature curated shades with a theme.

So, why a whole full collection of mini-sized polishes? The answer is surprisingly enlightening (and surprisingly "why doesn't this exist in every city!"). Hoopla is a spa and nail salon in Fairway, Kansas that came up with a simple solution to an age-old problem. Hoopla delivers hygienic manicures and pedicures in a modern, clean, and inviting setting. Hoopla allows you to pick one of the Hoopla custom polishes and after your mani and pedi are done, you can take the polishes with you for any touch-ups, nail art, or new manicures. It was that simple all along!

Hoopla's motto is "good, clean, fun" and with its lovely polishes and versatile shades, I couldn't agree more!

Stay Pretty, Mackenzie M.