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Simple and Moody - November Beauty Favorites

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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.

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Cyber Monday Shopping - Best Fashion and Beauty Deals

cybermondaydealsProducts Featured: LOFT sweater (currently 50% off), JCrew sequined sweater (currently 30% off and free shipping), Forever 21 earrings (currently on sale with free shipping)cybermondayfashionProducts Featured: Ann Taylor scarf (currently 50% off), Zara checkered scarf (select sale items additional 50% off), Anthropologie bow gloves (currently free shipping)

It’s officially December and it’s time to shop for gifts and treats! While we rarely muster up the strength to brave the Black Friday crowds, we’re all for transitioning into the work week and finals week with a little bit of shopping.  This year, Cyber Monday appears to be part of a a longer Cyber Week event for many shops; however, at least today, stores do add a bit of extra incentive with lower shipping requirements or free gifts with purchase.  We’ve put together a list of our budget conscious favorite products and affordable Cyber Monday deals (well, Cyber Week, really).  And because we’re not made of money (ha!), most, if not all, of our Cyber Monday picks are under $50 and $100 so make your wallet, and yourself, retail-happy!

Ann Taylor - 50% off entire purchase, free shipping on $175
J. Crew - 30% off site wide, 40% off sale, free shipping no minimum (Miranda purchased this RMS eye shadow for a total of $12 with free shipping)
LOFT - 50% off everything, shipping varies (perfect for a work wardrobe update)
Forever 21 - 20% and 30% off minimum purchase, free shipping on any orders
Asos - 30% off everything, shipping varies (Mackenzie picked this lovely (on sale, under $35!) bow purse for the holiday celebrations)
GAP and Banana Republic - 40% off everything, shipping varies
Nars Cosmetics - 20% off everything, shipping varies (that lace palette though!)
Bloomingdales - free shipping on any order, up to 50% off sale (while you have to hunt down the Bloomingdales Cyber Monday deals, this Tory Burch lipstick has been on our wishlist for a while)
Deborah Lippmann - 30% off everything, free shipping on any order (well, hello, Recipe for Love neutral three polish set)
Space NK Apothecary - gift bag with purchase (their sets make for wonderful stocking stuffers - I’ll have this, and this, and this!)
H&M - 30% off purchase and free shipping on orders over $50 (velvet bow tie shirt is must)
Too Faced - various sales and free shipping no minimum (the La Creme gold lipsticks are only $11)

sephoracybermondaysalesProducts Featured: Nars Lip Gloss Coffret (free shipping, gift with Nars 100$ purchase), Hourglass Ambient Lighting Blush palette Sephora (bestseller kits and holiday kits available)

cybermondaysalesProducts Featured: Asos Bow Heels (on sale, free shipping), Topshop Mid Heel (free shipping), Charles by Charles David Polka Dot Pact Pump (on sale, free shipping)

 Stay Pretty, Miranda M. and Mackenzie M.

Studded Kiss - Kat Von D Studded Lipstick Bauhau5 Review

Katvond_bauhau5 copylipstick_detail copykatvond8Processed with VSCOcam with t1 presetIt’s disappointing when a lipstick is great but not perfect. In the case of the Kat Von D Studded Kiss Lipsticks, there are pros and cons (and you, as the customer, must balance and decide which attributes are more important before purchasing).

I picked the Kat Von D Studded Lipstick in Bauhau5 simply because of the shade - I saw it, I loved it, I got it.  Bauhau5 is a deep fuchsia color that brightens the complexion and creates a lovely, alluring pout (Bauhau5 is the lighter in-between the Mac Rebel lipstick and Melt Cosmetics Darkroom lipstick). This particular shade is unique as it contains red, pink, and purple tones, and I’ve find it difficult to dupe (but seriously, how beautiful is this color!).  The Studded Kiss Lipstick packaging may not be everyone’s favorite, but the studs are fun and different (and with all those studs, this lipstick will never slide down from the counter to the floor as you frantically try to catch it, ha!).

Unfortunately, while the Studded Lipstick collection contains a variety of shades and finishes, the quality of the product leaves me wanting more (a lot more!).  Many of the Kat Von D products are surprisingly good and worth the investment, but the Studded Kiss Lipsticks miss the mark.

Formula wise, Bauhau5 is a matte, but the actual texture of the product  cannot be flattering on anyone. The Bauhau5 lipstick applies extremely unevenly, with patches of product in random places, and unnecessary color dragging.  I tried swatching on my arm believing that dry lips were the culprit, but ultimately, this formula is just terrible.  The matte finish, combined with the uneven application, brings out the dryness and fine lines in lips (the Bauhau5 swatch above was carefully applied, after many attempts, using a lipstick brush).  Despite the stunning shade, the Kat Von D Bauhau5 is not worth the $20-plus investment - for a fraction of the cost and at a much better quality, I recommend the Maybelline Creamy Matte lipsticks  (review here) or the  L’Oreal Le Matte lipstick pencils (review here).

With the Studded Kiss Lipstick collection, a reformulation would be a welcomed change to experience both pretty color and quality wear. Have you experienced any products that you wanted to love, but just couldn’t?

Stay Pretty, Mackenzie M.

Top 10 Beauty Myths Busted


Beauty Myth 1: Expensive products are always better than inexpensive (drugstore) products.

This one’s number one because drugstore versus non-drugstore debate will always exist (with strong opinions on either side).  The reality is of course a happy middle ground - best products come from both the drugstore aisle as well as from the Nordstrom counters - it’s only a matter of identifying the best and brightest in the lineup of a cosmetic brand.

Beauty Myth 2: Those with oily skin types do not need to moisturize.

Some may doubt this, but even oily skin types need the benefits that come with a moisturizer. While the strength of the moisturizer may vary, hydration is strongly recommended for any skin type (consider using a gel moisturizer with priming and mattefying qualities).

Beauty Myth 3: Use hairspray on your face to set your makeup.

I remember reading this “tip” on AOL pages back in the day (and wondering “why didn’t I think of that!”).   The reason why I didn’t think of it is because hairspray is terrible for your skin, hair, makeup, eyes, the spray, and everyone else involved.  There are several great setting-spray products that can make your makeup last longer (and are skin-safe!).Beauty Myth 4: You can shrink and make your pores disappear.

I went to law school because I’m not good with science (ha!), but even I know that pores are genetically determined and there’s no getting rid of them.  There is no product out there that will make your pores go “poof!” and disappear (and suddenly, photoshopped model skin appears).  It’s best to embrace your skin type and your pores, and use products that can help shrink, minimize, and blur pores - all while accepting that pores will still be somewhat visible.

Beauty Myth 5: Makeup products have no expiration date.

Makeup has an expiration date - there, I said it clearly for everyone that is dearly holding on to makeup from middle school and the way back when.  While it may not be visible to us, makeup ingredients degrade over time and accumulate bacteria that should in no way be touching skin, eyes, or lips - for more information about makeup expiration dates, be sure to read this helpful Refinery 29 post.

Beauty Myth 6: You should match your makeup colors with your outfit colors.

This “gem” made the list because I heard someone say this very recently (yes, as in, this happened!).  I’m happy to announce that there are no rules with makeup colors - the sky’s the limit and anyone can be as creative and picky as they wish.  Yes, sometimes a makeup look is better suited for various events and outfits but in no way should you feel forced to wear yellow eyeshadow to match your yellow top.

beauty myths top tenBeauty Myth 7: Use only all-natural makeup and skincare for your skin to be in the best condition.

I realize this will be somewhat debated, but I find absolutes to often be, well, wrong.  I tried undergoing an all natural routine, and my skin was not very happy. Just because a product is advertised as all natural does not mean that that product is appropriate for your skin - many individuals have allergic reactions to natural ingredients and skin may be irritated no matter how organic the product is (fragrant oils, I’m looking at you!).  This is a myth because it simply isn’t true - be sure to research your products’ claims and ingredients and always do a skin test.

Beauty Myth 8: When doing your makeup, always apply concealer first and under foundation.

Whether concealer goes before or after is a chicken versus egg debate - no one knows the answer but everyone tries to convince others of the correct order.  In reality, concealer application depends on types of products used, coverage area, and problematic spots - it’s all really up to your personal preference.

Beauty Myth 9: Eyebrows should not be filled in and/or plucked from above and/or should match hair color and/or any other eyebrow advice. 

Eyebrow game is real, people! And because eyebrows are like snowflakes, different techniques and looks work for different people.  Depending on hair density, width, length, hair color, and face shape, the best eyebrows are a result of a customized grooming approach.

MascaraMistakesBeauty Myth 10:  There are set beauty rules that have to be followed.

There may be guidelines in the world of beauty, but beauty rules are meant to be broken. Makeup allows us to be creative, spontaneous, traditional, happy, bright, and everything else in between.

Stay Pretty, Miranda M. and Mackenzie M.