Category Archives: Makeup

All About Mascaras - How to Pick the Best Mascara for You

mscara5mascara1mascara3If I were to take a poll on the top three beauty products, mascara would always make it as a favorite - fun fact here,  a few years ago during the economic downturn, many beauty companies claimed profits with mascara (and nail polish) being the top sellers.  So, when we say we love our mascara, we seriously love our mascara.

With the proliferation of products in the mascara arena, it’s important to pick the best mascara suited for you and your lashes (not surprisingly, there’s a million and one options out there!).  We’ve put together a few steps and considerations to help you pick and choose the perfect mascara.

Volume, Length, Definition or Curl Lash Wishes: First, the bad news - no mascara can do it all and do it all right.  Now, for the good news - if you are selective as to what you want for your lashes, mascaras are formulated to target certain looks.  For example, if you want volume and curl, the L’Oreal Voluminous Mascara would be your best pick; but, if you want definition and length, you should purcahse the YSL Babydoll Mascara.

Pick Your Formula Type: From dry to wet to waterproof to fiber, the actual formula composition makes a difference in how a mascara will work.  Dryer formulas tend to add volume, while wet formulas create definition and those doll-type looks.  Be mindful if the mascara is waterproof because it’ll be a doozy to remove and deal with (especially if you thought you were buying regular formula).  Consider the color of the mascara as this can also make a difference for your final look.

Consider the Hardware: In a mascara, the formula and the wand are equally important - a great formula is nothing if it can’t easily be applied. Beauty companies have introduced some very unique wands and have re-invented the classic wands for better application (sure, we sometimes have to deal with the insane wand creation like the Sephora Upside Down Mascara but thankfully, those “creative” releases are not the norm).  Be sure to consider the materials of the brush (plastic vs. wire), the design of the wand (curved, big, or small, or butterfly), and the spacing of the bristles (pointed, twisted, or dense).

Make Your Wallet Happy:  Contrary to popular belief that pricier is better, the cost of the mascara has no impact on the quality (there! I said it and I’m sticking to it!). Keep in mind that all mascaras expire and are not recommended for use after a few months - despite what you pay for a mascara, anywhere from $3 to $45, the product may be good or bad. For example,  I have had no success with Dior Show Blackout Mascara, but I adore the Bare Minerals Volume Mascara. At the same time, I’m a devoted Maybelline fan but couldn’t get any of the Physician Formula mascaras to stay on my lashes.  With the high number of mascaras available, you can pick the best product for you without ever breaking the budget.

So, what is your all time favorite mascara? Do you have any other tips when picking the perfect mascara (we’ll be sure to include the info in the post)? And lastly, if you purchased the Sephora Upside Down Mascara…what were you thinking?!

Stay Pretty, Miranda M.

Matte Mania - New Milani Matte Lipsticks 2015

2collagetextNo matter your opinion on matte lips, brace yourselves, because matte is coming! Anywhere from the drugstore aisle, in new releases, or at the department store counters, you’ll be seeing more and more matte products (just as an example, our Instagram is flooded with swatches from Anastasia Liquid Lips, Nars Semi-Matte Audacious, Lime Crime Velvetines, and Tom Ford).

Not to be outdone, several drugstore brands have also started releasing Spring limited edition matte collections (which is quite a change of pace from the Spring glossy and creamy releases from past years).  One of the stand-out releases comes from Milani with their new Milani Color Statement Moisture Matte lipsticks which are marketed as the “fantasy matte” (as in, comfortable to wear, long-wearing, and a true matte).

Milani Color Statement Moisture Mattes are in fact as advertised - the eight shades from the collection deliver color, comfort, and chic (all for an affordable price at $5.50).  While the lipstick applies with an initial satin finish, the product does dry out in time and becomes more matte (although at the expense of also looking more dry on your lips, so be sure to exfoliate your lips often). Compared to the MAC matte lipsticks, the Milani formula is softer and more lightweight so I actually prefer the Milani finish for every day wear.  Once applied, the product lasts for approximately four hours and maintains strong pigmentation.

Milani Moisture Matte Naked (swatch above) is a grey, pink that I recommend pairing with a plum or brown colored lip liner.  Milani Naked is the quintessential nude matte but may not work with all skin tones (so be sure to research swatches on similar skin tones).  Milani Moisture Matte Diva  (swatch above) is indeed a dupe for Mac Candy Yum Yum (your wallet will do a happy dance if you’ve waited on purchasing the popular Candy Yum Yum).  With Milani Diva, I experienced a slightly patchy application but all was well after a more careful application.

In the words of Milani, matte is major right now - so if you’d like to try the trend without too much commitment or over-spending guilt, Milani matte lipsticks are the perfect introduction into matte mania.

Stay Pretty, Mackenzie M.

Laced with Edge - NARS Digital World Lip Pencil Set

nars_detail66It’s not often that a beauty brand has success with every release, but somehow, Nars manages to make everyone’s favorite list (every time!).  As part of the Laced with Edge Holiday Collection, Nars created a lip pencil coffret that’s all kinds of amazing.  Nars Digital World Set has different finishes, a range of colors, stunning packaging, and all around wonderful quality (basically, all we’ve come to expect from Nars).

The Nars Digital World Set (which is available at Sephora) contains five lip pencils priced at $49 (the lip pencils are 0.06 oz and are definitely worth the investment because a full sized pencil is over $25).  So, if there was any doubt in your mind about value, head over now to your nearest Sephora.

This Laced with Edge collection contains Cruella Velvet matte lip pencil (blue toned red), New Iberico matte lip pencil (intense coral), Yu satin lip pencil (bright pink), Descanso satin lip pencil (dusty, muted rose), and Torres Del Paine satin lip pencil (peach coral). Nars lip pencils are long lasting, pigmented, and have shade options to work for many skin tones - the set contains a good range from the glamorous red to the (very popular now-adays) nude brown.  And if that wasn’t enough, the beautiful lace packaging is the perfect keepsake box for the Digital World lip pencils.

Nars cosmetics are modern and iconic for a reason and continue to be a favorite with every single product and release. Now, go get yourself some!

Stay Pretty, Mackenzie M.


Simple and Moody - November Beauty Favorites


The month of November simply flew by, and I’m already prepping for the holidays with gift shopping, planning our trip back home, and decorating with anything and everything that sparkles.  My beauty routine was simple and build for comfort - moisturized skin, a red lip, and a seasonal polish.

Tatcha Indigo Soothing Silk Body Butter has been a life saver during these past few very cold days - subtle, soft, easy to absorb, and lightly fragranced, Tatcha Indigo is a great body moisturizer whether you are on the run or indulging in a skin pampering session (and no worries, the naturally-derived indigo shade disappears with use of the lotion but still makes for a fun product).

Lipstick Queen Velvet Rope in Private Party was a gift I received from my fiance last Christmas - this lipstick is luxe, gorgeous, glamorous, retro, and most definitely a treat.  Although the Lipstick Queen Velvet Rope lipsticks are priced at $50 (gulp!), the texture and pigmentation of these products is unrivaled.  Velvet Rope in Private Party is a red satin matte, think soft without the shine, that is “the” shade for holiday parties  and celebrations.  While the price may be an issue, I recommend at least swatching the products (because seeing is believing!).

I’ve recently discovered REN Clean Skincare via the highly popular Flash Rinse One Minute Facial. REN skincare products are free of several irritants and bad-for-you ingredients - formulated for various skin types and at affordable price points, REN has a product for every one.  I had the opportunity to try several samples of REN Clean Skincare and each one is better than the other (even in sample amount!).  My favorites include the REN Ultra Moisture Dry Cream, the REN Firm and Lift Eye Cream, and the REN Evercalm Gentle Cleansing Milk.  My skin has been very happy, and therefore, I’m very happy with REN (be sure to ask Sephora for samples as you may just discover your new HG product)!

Essie No More Film is a moody, rich purple that is opaque within one application - it’s freezing and dreary outside, so I keep reaching for this shade to keep up with the season (in a chic way, of course).hand

 Stay Pretty, Miranda M.