Category Archives: MakeUp Academy

Monthly Favorites (and Fails) for November and December 2015

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Monthly Favorites

Monthly Favorites

It’s time for my last Monthly Favorites (and Fails) post of 2015.  You may have noticed that I didn’t do a Favorites post last month.  I just didn’t have enough products to make up a post, so instead of forcing it, I figured that I would combine November and December.  For anyone new to the blog, Monthly Favorites are those products that particularly stood out to me, and ones that I reached for over and over throughout the month.  Fails are products that simply did not work out and I do not recommend, because it is just as important to know what products to avoid as it is to know which ones to get. So these are the products that I have been loving for the last two months.

Michael Todd True Organics Hydration Boost

Michael Todd True Organics Hydration Boost

My number one, can’t get enough of it, holy grail favorite for the month is definitely the Michael Todd True Organics Hydration Boost.  I had been using the Hydration Boost, but had run out in October.  I really noticed the difference in my skin without it, even though I was using the same moisturizer.  I placed a Michael Todd order on Black Friday, and I am thrilled to have the Hydration Boost back.  My skin feels so much more hydrated and healthy with it.  Especially now that winter cold has set in and is trying to dry me out, the Hydration Boost is vital in my skin care regimen.

Bite Beauty Agave Lip Mask

My next skincare type favorite is one that I only had a sample of, so this product photo is from Sephora.  This is the Bite Beauty Agave Lip Mask.  This stuff is amazing!  I have chronically dry lips, and this lip treatment makes a huge difference.  I am going to say right off the bat that this formula is not going to be for everyone.  It is thick and waxy when you apply it, and I definitely had my doubts at first.  Once it warms up on the lips, however, it melts into the skin and provides so much healing moisture that I am a little blown away.  This isn’t a lip balm that you throw in your pocket.  It is definitely an overnight lip treatment mask.  The main ingredients are lanolin, agave nectar, and jojoba oil.  A little does a long way, and even though the tube is only half an ounce, I am sure that it would last for several months of daily use.  It is $26 on Sephora’s website, which is pretty hefty, but it just might be worth the splurge because it is wonderful.

MUA Professional Eyeshadow Palettes

MUA Professional Eyeshadow Palettes

Next up are the MUA Professional Eyeshadow Palettes.  If you haven’t seen my review and swatches of these palettes, be sure to check it out.  I have really been enjoying these MUA palettes.  The shades are lovely, and they have been so much fun to play with.  They are really nice for drugstore palettes.  MUA is only available at CVS here in the States.  There is a good chance that you can score these palettes on sale or with a coupon and I think that they are worth checking out.

LORAC Love, Lust & Lace Matte Eye Shadow Palette

LORAC Love, Lust & Lace Matte Eye Shadow Palette

Because the MUA palettes have no matte shades, I have been pairing them with the LORAC Love, Lust & Lace Matte Eye Shadow Palette.  This was one of the $12 Black Friday palettes that Lorac sells through Ulta every year.  I never got any of the Urban Decay Naked Basics palettes, but this one is the same idea.  There are five matte neutral shades, and this is a great palette to mix in with other palettes that may be missing these essential shades.  I know it is sold out on Ulta’s website, but may still be available at your local Ulta store.  If so, pick it up.

Milani Rose Powder Blush in Romantic Rose

Milani Rose Powder Blush in Romantic Rose

I’ve been reaching for my Milani Rose Powder Blush in Romantic Rose quite a bit.  I reviewed two of these Rose Powder Blushes from Milani over the summer, in case you missed it.  I love this shade.  It is a muted, nude rose shade in a similar color family to Tarte Exposed.  It is a very subtle color, but it looks gorgeous on the skin.  The look is minimal and natural, but beautiful.  And of course, I can’t mention this blush without talking about that beautiful embossed rose.  Even though I have used the blush a lot since I got it, the rose is still going strong.  It is a winner.

Maybelline Master Hi-Light blush in Mauve

Maybelline Master Hi-Light blush in Mauve

You may remember the Maybelline Master Hi-Light blush in Mauve that I was obsessed with last year.  Well I busted it out again, and reminded myself why I loved it so much.  It is such a beautiful shade, and it wears really well.  It is sort of a plum toned rose-gold shade with beautiful shimmer that doesn’t look chunky or glittery.  It gives me a lovely sheen and looks great.  A little goes a really long way, so I’ll have this blush for a long time. You can see my review and swatches of both this blush and one of the bronzers here.

That does it for my favorites, now onto my Fails.  Always keep in mind that my reviews are based on my specific experience with these products, and good or bad, you may have different results.  So, just because I give a product a bad review, it doesn’t necessarily mean that it is a bad product.  It just means that it did not work for me.  And these next two products definitely did not work for me.

e.l.f. Daily Hydration Moisturizer

e.l.f. Daily Hydration Moisturizer

I reviewed the e.l.f. Daily Hydration Moisturizer, and I recommend that you read it because it isn’t necessarily a bad product.  It just didn’t work for me.  The packaging is frustrating, and there are definitely some issues in the formula, mostly that it does not contain SPF and it does have fragrance (though I did like the fresh scent).  I thought that the formula was nice and hydrating and it felt good on the skin.  The moisturizer broke me out, so ultimately I couldn’t use it, but I ended up giving it to a friend who liked it a lot.

Ulta Artistry Eye Shadow Kit

Ulta Artistry Eye Shadow Kit

The biggest dud that I have tried in a while has to be the Ulta Artistry Eye Shadow Kit.  If you read my review, you know that these shadows were terrible.  There were a few decent shades, but overall the palettes lacked pigmentation and the formula varied wildly from shade to shade.  While some of the shimmer shades were nice, other shades were hard and chalky.  The blue toned palette was especially bad.  I did like the green toned palette, but not enough to make the kit worth it.  It was such a disappointment.

That’s it for my Favorites and Fails for November and December.  I hope that you saw something that you liked.  What were some of your favorite items for the month?  Let me know in the comments below.  I am so excited by all of the new items that are releasing for Spring 2016.  I am trying to keep a tight reign on my spending because lord knows that I don’t need more makeup.  But there are some really interesting products popping up in the drugstore, plus all of the spring collections from prestige brands.  What new releases are you most excited for?  Have you gotten anything new for Spring 2016 that you want to tell me about?  Share with me in the comments.

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MUA Professional Eyeshadow Palette Review

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MUA Eyeshadow Palettes

MUA Professional Eyeshadow Palettes

I am very excited to show you a couple of palettes from MUA that I have been playing with for the last month or so.  MUA, or MakeUp Academy, is a UK brand that hit stores here in the US earlier this year.  It is a drugstore brand, and I believe that it is exclusively at CVS in the States.  I have seen some MUA products over the years on Youtube, but this is my first experience with the brand.  I was originally only going to get the MUA Professional Metallic Eyeshadow Palette, but CVS had a Buy One, Get One Free sale, so I picked up the MUA Professional Smokey Eyeshadow Palette as well.  There is also a Neutral or Nudes palette in this collection, but I passed on it. Here is what CVS says about these palettes: “This set of artist-inspired shadows is everything you need to play up your eyes. Enhance your eyelids with base shades, intensify with crease shades, and add a luminous touch with highlighting shades. Palette holds 10 coordinating shades that apply with ease for fallout-free intensity. Build, blend and play for hours in this spectrum of supreme pigmentation. Featuring pearl and metallic finishes to dress eyes up or down. Every enviable look stays put for hours on end, day or night.”

MUA

MUA Professional Eyeshadow Palette Brush

I’ll start with packaging.  The MUA Professional Eyeshadow Palettes are a hard plastic palette with a clear window to the shadows.  They have a snap closure.  These palettes are no frills, but the packaging is functional and the shadows are nice.  There is a thin strip mirror in the lid, which I don’t find useful.  They also contain a shadow brush that is cheap, but will do in a pinch.  They are 10-pan palettes, and the wells are an inch wide, so there is plenty of room for large fluffy shadow brushes.  The palettes are $14 at CVS, but you can often find a sale.  As I mentioned above, I bought my palettes on a BOGO Free deal, so they came to only $7.50 each for me.  For the most part, the shadows are pigmented and wear a long time, even without primer.   I think that they are a good buy.

MUA Professional Metallic Eyeshadow Palette

MUA Professional Metallic Eyeshadow Palette

I saw a review of the MUA Professional Metallic Eyeshadow Palette and had to know more.  I loved the look of the colorful metallic shades in this palette, so I went on down to CVS to get one for myself.  I have to say that I really like it.  Obviously with “metallic” in the name, most of the shadows have a metallic or shimmer finish.  Eight out of the ten shadows are fantastic.  They are intensely pigmented and just gorgeous.  They wear really well without fading, and they did not flake or crease on me.  Two shadows were off for me.  I am not sure if they were designed to be sheer, or if they just have terrible pigmentation.  I’ll go through each shade and you can see what I mean.

    MUA Professional Metallic Eyeshadow PaletteMUA Professional Metallic Eyeshadow Palette
  • Metallic Taupe: This shade is gorgeous on the lid.  It is a cool-toned taupe that leans a little bit more brown than gray.
  • Metallic Rusty Copper: This shade is super intense on the lids and for a copper, does not pull too red.
  • Metallic Olive Green: This is definitely an olive green shade, but it still manages to look very bright on the eyes and has great pigmentation and intensity.  I love this shade.  The formula is looser or grittier in the pan, so you will kick up a lot of product if you aren’t careful.
  • Iridescent Purple: This is a sheer shade and not at all what I expected based on the other shades in this palette.  It is a light purple color with a blue flash and can be built up for a little more intensity.  It is still a beautiful shade and looks pretty on the eyes when used with a good base.
  • Blackened Navy Glitter: I don’t know what to say about this shade.  While I think the purple shade may have been intentionally sheer, this one just seems like a dud to me.  You can build this shade up a little, but not enough to hold up to the glitter particles.  I think it ends up looking patchy and I don’t think this shade is worth the effort.
MUA Professional Metallic Eyeshadow Palette

MUA Professional Metallic Eyeshadow Palette

  • White Pearl: This pearly white shade is pretty basic, but still good to have.  This is the only shade that would work as a browbone highlight.  I personally prefer less shimmer on my browbone, but it is good for highlighting the inner corner.
  • Metallic Brown: This metallic brown has just a hint of bronze, and is quite lovely.
  • Metallic Cobalt Blue: I like to call this shade Superman blue.  It is vibrant and bold on the lids.
  • Metallic Purple: Now this is what I’m talking about when it comes to purple!  This shade is gorgeous and intense.  It has the same loose formula as the metallic olive, so be careful when applying this one to avoid fallout, but it is totally worth it.  This blue-based purple will knock your socks off.
  • Deep Metallic Plum: This may be the most intensely pigmented shade in the whole palette.  A little of this brown-toned plum shade goes a long way.  It is absolutely gorgeous.

Overall, I really like the metallic palette.  There are a couple shades that aren’t great, but the other shades are wonderful.  As long as you like metallic simmer shades, and can handle seriously pigmented dark shadows, then I think you will like this palette.  Now on to the Smokey palette.

MUA Professional Smokey Eyeshadow Palette

MUA Professional Smokey Eyeshadow Palette

I honestly didn’t expect to like the MUA Professional Smokey Eyeshadow Palette.  I am not a fan of smokey palettes in general, and I only got it because it was free.  Boy was I wrong.  I have found myself using the smokey palette way more than expected.  What’s great about these shades is that, despite having a lot of pigmentation, they can also be sheered out.  They blend out smoothly and evenly, even with a very light application.  I’ve been using the Smokey palette for  daytime looks and getting great results.  The three lighter shades on the bottom row are beautiful.  Unlike the Metallic palette, there are no duds.  All 10 shades are “what you see is what you get” shadows.

MUA Professional Smokey Eyeshadow Palette

MUA Professional Smokey Eyeshadow Palette

  • Satin Cream: Though it is hard to see on my skin, this satin cream shade is a great browbone highlight and something that was missing from the Metallic palette.
  • Deep Brown Shimmer: This chocolate brown shadow is very dark and has some micro shimmer in the finish.
  • Deep Plum Shimmer: This is a very similar shade to the plum in the Metallic palette, but it is less metallic and more of a shimmer shade.  It is equally intense and a little goes a long way.
  • Satin-Matte Black: This true black has an off-matte finish and makes a great liner shade.
  • Metallic Cobalt Blue: This is almost the exact shade that is is the Metallic palette.  This one may have a touch of purple in its undertones, but they are indistinguishable on the eyes.
MUA Professional Smokey Eyeshadow Palette

MUA Professional Smokey Eyeshadow Palette

  • Satin Tan: This light tan shade has a satin finish and is a gorgeous lid color.
  • Shimmery Taupe:  This is a gray-leaning taupe shade with a shimmer finish.  It pairs equally well with grays and blacks as it does with browns.
  • Icy Pink Simmer:  This icy pink doesn’t look like anything in the pan, but it is lovely on the lids.
  • Soft Black Glitter: I think this is what MUA was going for with that dud of a shadow in the Metallic palette.  It is a soft black or maybe a blackened navy, but this time there is some pigmentation, and it can hold up to the micro glitter in the finish without being overpowered by it.
  • Satin Purple Shimmer:  This is a similar blue-based purple to the one in the Metallic palette, but it does not have the same loose texture.  Without the intense metallic finish, the shadow comes off as a little darker and less in-your-face.  I think the satin shimmer finish makes this one a little bit more wearable than the other.

I am enjoying both of the MUA Professional Eyeshadow Palettes.  The Smokey palette is better in quality, but the Metallic palette is good too.  It really depends on how much color you are looking for.  Are they as good as the LORAC palettes, or the Naked palettes?  Of course not.  They aren’t trying to be.  They are drugstore palettes and I would put them on par with the original Wet N Wild 8-pan palettes.  They are pigmented, they blend well, and they last well on my eyes without creasing or fading.  Using  primer is always recommended, though all of my swatches are without primer.  I have heard that the neutral version of these palettes is hit and miss, but I have no direct experience with it.  I don’t think I would pay the full $14 for one of these palettes, and definitely not for the Metallic palette.  But if you can find them on a sale, I would say to give them a try.