Category Archives: Ulta

Latest Favorites 2016

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Latest 2016 Favorites

Latest 2016 Favorites

I have a Favorites post for you today.  I haven’t done a Monthly Favorites post for a few months because I didn’t feel like I had enough diversity in the products that I was using.  So instead I decided to do more of a seasonal favorites for the products that I’ve been loving for the last few months.  Some of these items have been featured in recent reviews, but most of them are new.  Let’s take a look.

Ofra Silicone Primer Gel

Ofra Silicone Primer Gel

First and foremost, I have really been loving this Ofra Silicone Primer Gel.  I have always been a fan of silicone primers, and my usual go-to option is the Smashbox PhotoFinish Primer.  The Ofra Silicone Primer Gel has a great, silky-smooth formula.  It’s much more lightweight than the Smashbox primer, but still fills in my pores and wrinkles.  It really makes foundation glide on smoothly and last all day.  It also has a cooling sensation when applied that feels great and is nicely invigorating.  I am a huge fan of this primer, and am glad that I gave it a try.

 It Cosmetics Your Skin But Better CC Cream with SPF 50+

It Cosmetics Your Skin But Better CC Cream with SPF 50+

It Cosmetics Your Skin But Better CC Cream is nothing new to the market, but I had never tried it.  I picked up a deluxe sample after a friend recommended it to me, and I really enjoyed it.  The next time Ulta offered me a 20% off coupon, I had to purchase the full size version.  I love the formula.  It has great coverage, but still looks casual and natural.  It’s the perfect foundation type product for the summer to look like you put in some effort but not too over-done.  It also has SPF 50, so it offers some good sun protection.  It’s a cult favorite for a reason, and I love it.

Makeup Revolution Blushes

Makeup Revolution Blushes

I recently discovered Makeup Revolution Blushes, and I am so impressed with the formula and pigmentation.  It shouldn’t be a surprise, since I love Makeup Revolution Blush palettes, but sometimes the formula differs between palettes and single products.  That’s not the case here.  I started with The Matte Blush in the shade Fusion.  The pigmentation is off the charts here.  I use a duo fiber stipple brush to apply my blushes, so I love a blush with some really good pigmentation.  It is very finely milled and super smooth.  I’d say that it easily holds up to blushes that are 2 or 3 times the price.  Fusion is a lovely warm shade that looks great on my skin.  Next, the Makeup Revolution Baked Blusher in Make Love Instead took me by surprise.  I bought this blush on a whim because it is not my usual fare, but it is so pretty.  My cheeks just glow with it on.  I am way more likely to opt for something fun and shimmery in the summer, and this blush has been perfect.  It’s not as good quality as the matte blushes, but I’ve been enjoying it.  I have been so impressed with the Makeup Revolution brand in general, and these blushes have done nothing but keep the brand in high esteem.

Lorac Pro 3

Lorac Pro 3

It should be no surprise for you to see the Lorac Pro 3 Palette in this mix.  I love the Lorac Pro palettes, especially Pro 2, so when Pro 3 came out, I had to play with it.  I did a full review with swatches in June, so I am not going to get into too much detail here.  You can go ahead and click the link to get all of that information.  Let’s just say that the palette is great, surprisingly versatile, and definitely worth checking out.

TheBalm Meet Matt(e) Trimony Palette

TheBalm Meet Matt(e) Trimony Palette

I reviewed TheBalm Meet Matt(e) Trimony Palette earlier this week, so again, I won’t get into too much detail.  These shadows are really nice.  They will be especially good to have as we transition into Fall, but I’ve been enjoying them now too.  I definitely like this matte palette better than the previous matte palette from theBalm.  It’s laid out so much better and I feel like I will reach for it way more often.  In general, I think that theBalm is an underrated band, but this is a solid palette.  Be sure to check out my review post.

BECCA Beach Tint Shimmer Soufflé

BECCA Beach Tint Shimmer Soufflé

Is there any better time than summer to wear the BECCA Beach Tint Shimmer Soufflés?  They are so gorgeous, and I think that the smooshy gel to powder formula is pretty unique.  I got these on a super sale, but I think that they are worth the splurge even if you do have to pay full price.  I apply them with my e.l.f. Small Stipple brush, and they go on smoothly over foundation and powder for a radiant look.  I am especially loving the Watermelon/Moonstone shade (left), but the Papaya/Topaz (middle) is a fantastic shade for that bronzed goddess look.  I also have Raspberry/Opal (right) which has a cooler tone, but is just as lovely.  I know that that they are rather splurgey for this blog, but they are so beautiful.

ColourPop Ultra Matte Lip in Bumble

ColourPop Ultra Matte Lip in Bumble

I am still loving the ColourPop Ultra Matte Lip in Bumble.  It’s so good!   I love how transfer proof it is.  I hate it when lip product gets on my straws or glasses when I drink water (which I do all day long).  I am not going to reach for an ultra matte lip all the time, but I do love how I can put this on and forget about it.  I know that it won’t budge on me.  I also love this dusty terracotta color.  It looks so good with my skintone.  I need to pick up a few more of these.

Real Techniques Brush Cleansing Palette

Real Techniques Brush Cleansing Palette

A few months ago I pulled the trigger on the Real Techniques Brush Cleansing Palette.  I’ve used it several times now, and I really like it.  This is an obvious drugstore take on the Sigma Spa Brush Cleaning products that are ridiculously priced.  This handy little gadget is about $15, which some of you may still think is ridiculously priced, but you can use the Ulta $3.50 off coupon to knock it down to $11.50.  With two brush cleanser samples included, I thought it was a reasonable price to try it out.  Anything to make brush cleaning faster and more efficient.  It really works.  It fits comfortably on my hand, and the little nubbies do a great job of agitating the bristles to get a deep clean.  The lip catches water nicely and it is dishwasher safe so you can keep any residue from building up.  Thumbs up.

ULTA Regular Instant Nail Polish Remover

Ulta Regular Instant Nail Polish Remover

My final favorite is this Ulta Regular Instant Nail Polish Remover.  I have never used one of these sponge removers, so I’m not sure how the Ulta version compares, but it is so good and only $4.  It easily takes off my polish, even when I’ve done some stamping and there are several layers of polish and topcoat, or if I am wearing water decals.  I don’t find the smell particularly offensive, which I appreciate.  The cuticle dauber is great for stubborn spots and can be used on toe nail polish if you so desire.  I’ve been using it for a couple months, and it is still going strong.  I will definitely repurchase when this tub is gone.

That’s it for what I have been loving lately.  I am not someone who feels like I have to stick to seasonal trends, so they may not necessarily be summer specific products.  But they definitely are great products that I can not get enough of.  I hope that you saw something that you liked.

Lorac Pro 3 Review and Swatches

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Lorac Pro 3

Lorac Pro 3

I am so excited about today’s post where I get to show you the brand new Lorac Pro 3 palette.  It’s no secret that I love Lorac shadows.  I have both the previous Lorac Pro palettes and the Mega Pro 2.  In fact, the Lorac Pro 2 is my all time favorite eyeshadow palette.  So, when I saw that Lorac had released another Pro palette, I had to get my hands on it.  The Lorac Pro 3 will be available online on Sunday 6/12 at ulta.com and in stores on 6/26.  Ulta did a pre-release for Platinum members, so I got my palette in the mail last Saturday.  I’ve been playing with it all week and have done several looks with it, so I am ready for a review.

Lorac Pro 3

Lorac Pro 3

The Lorac Pro 3 comes in similar packaging to the previous two Lorac Pro palettes.  I am not a fan of the fleshy greige color this time around, to be honest.  The black and the gray packaging was much more attractive than this one, in my opinion.  But, the palette is still sleek and easy to store, and comes with a full mirror.  All of the Lorac Pro palettes come with that NARS-like rubberized exterior, so they do tend to collect fingerprints and powder.  They wipe down easily enough, though, so if that bothers you it is an easy fix.

Lorac Pro 3

Lorac Pro 3

If you have the previous Lorac Pro palettes, then you know the drill here with the Lorac Pro 3.  There are 16 shadows total, the top row are all matte and the bottom row is all shimmer.  I really like the Lorac Pro formula.  The shadows are buttery and smooth, have great pigmentation, and blend like a dream.  The soft shadows do kick up a lot of powder, and that is a big complaint for some, but I don’t mind it.  As long as you don’t dig in with your brush and you tap off the excess you should have no problem.  I think the shadows in the Lorac Pro 3 live up to the quality that I expect from the brand with one huge disappointment.  The third shadow in on the bottom, Medallion, is a terrible shadow.  It is gritty with chunky glitter that gets everywhere.  When I tried to apply it the first time I could feel the fall out dropping on my cheek and I had glitter all over my face.  I don’t know what happened with that shadow, because I’ve never had that issue with any of the other Lorac Pro palettes, but it is a major dud.  Otherwise, if you loved the formula of previous Lorac Pro palettes, then you will love the Lorac Pro 3.  All of the Pro palettes are neutral, and the Lorac Pro 3 is the most neutral and natural palette of the bunch.  The first two Lorac Pro palettes had pops of color, but all 16 shades are neutral in the Pro 3.  The shades are lighter than the previous two, so if you thought that the original Pro and the Pro 2 were just too dark for you, then the Pro 3 will be perfect.  The shades are lovely, with a good mix of warm and cool tones.

Lorac Pro 3

Lorac Pro 3

  • Blanc– Off-white matte with slightly yellow tones.
  • Canvas– Light cool-toned beige, and a perfect shade to dust over the whole eye to give you a blank canvas.
  • Cool Taupe– Medium-dark taupe brown.
  • Pink Nude– Light beige with strong pink tones.
  • Lt. Gold– Very light peachy gold with a pearl finish.
  • Almond Pearl– Shimmery champagne with a touch of mauve undertones.
  • Medallion– Warm bronze with chunky glitter.  As I said above, Medallion is gritty, and the worst shadow in the palette.
  • Lt. Pewter– Light-medium shimmery taupe.
Lorac Pro 3

Lorac Pro 3

  • Clay– Light mauvey-brown with red undertones.  This is a great transition shade.
  • Terracotta– Medium brown with very strong orange tones.  This is a great transition shade if you have neutral or warm skin.
  • Dk. Brown– Dark brown with neutral tones.
  • Jet Black– Matte black.  This shade is in every Pro palette.
  • Amethyst– Deep plum with a satin finish, a really beautiful shade.
  • Rose Bronze– Aptly named rose toned medium bronze.
  • Dk. Mocha– Deep, rich shimmery brown.
  • Truffle– Deep blackened plum with subtle micro-glitter.

And there you have it.  The Lorac Pro 3 is $44 and comes with a mini of the Behind the Scenes Eye Primer.  It may not be the most unique or inventive palette, but it is solid and can be used by almost anyone.  Do you already have these shades?  Possibly.  But it is a lovely palette and I am glad that I own it.  It has been compared to the UD Naked 3 and the Lorac Unzipped palettes.  I don’t have Unzipped, so I can’t really compare, but I do have Naked 3 and can say that they are not similar.  Though there are a couple rosy shades, Lorac Pro 3 is not a rose toned palette.  If you like lighter neutral shades that are appropriate for any occasion, then you will love this palette.  And of course, if you are a Lorac fan, you will probably feel the need to buy this palette to complete the set.  (Gotta catch ’em all!)  You can find the palette at Ulta later this month.  The Lorac Pro 3 is not limited edition, so don’t feel like you need to stalk the internet to be the first to get it.  They hype over LE palettes selling out has been crazy lately, but rest assured that Lorac Pro 3 is part of the permanent collection, so you can take your time.

Haul Time: Some Goodies from Ulta

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Ulta Haul

Ulta Haul

It’s haul time y’all.  I have been so good so far this year at not buying any beauty products, but I definitely took advantage of Ulta’s 21 Days of Beauty and their 20% off coupon to pick up some great deals and some items that had been on my wish list for a while.  I didn’t get all of this at once.  This is three orders spread out over the last four or five weeks.  Let’s take a look.

BECCA Best Of Becca Blushed Radiance set

BECCA Best Of Becca Blushed Radiance set

BECCA Best Of Becca Blushed Radiance set: Create the iconic BECCA glow with a collection of bestselling products that impart natural luminosity and a subtle flush of colour. Includes: Mineral Blush in Flower Child (0.087 oz), Shimmering Skin Perfector Pressed in Opal (0.085 oz), Shimmering Skin Perfector Spotlight Wand in Moonstone (0.17 oz), and Backlight Priming Filter (0.2 oz).  I have been wanting to try some more Becca products for the last year or so.  I only have one small sample size of the Shimmering Skin Perfector in Opal and it’s beautiful.  I’ve missed out on previous sets like this, so I could not resist this one.  When I received the Platinum 20% off perk, I added this to my cart right away.  I am so excited to try these products out.

LORAC Riesling Romance Palette and CC Cream

LORAC Riesling Romance Palette and CC Cream

LORAC Riesling Romance Palette and CC Cream: LORAC’s Color Correcting (CC) Cream instantly neutralizes redness and imperfections with a natural-looking, semi-matte finish. This 6-in-1 specially-tinted makeup neutralizes, primes, moisturizes, brightens, soothes and helps your skin look healthy and youthful. CC Cream is oil, silicone, paraben and fragrance free and is suitable for all skin types.  Both of these items were 21 DoB deals.  The Riesling Romance Palette was a Black Friday special that I missed out on, so I wanted to pick it up when I saw that it was back.  The CC Cream was a gamble for me.  I don’t have a lot of experience with CC Creams, but I like Lorac, so at half price I wanted to give it a shot.

Stila One Step Correct Triple Swirl Helix Primer

Stila One Step Correct Triple Swirl Helix Primer

Stila One Step Correct Triple Swirl Helix Primer: This primer, color corrector, brightener and anti-aging skincare serum does it all with the help of Stila’s Youth Revival Bio-Available Mineral Complex. Green tone instantly neutralizes redness and conceals blemishes. Lavender tone counteracts sallow undertones for a vibrant, energized look. Peach tone brightens, illuminates and helps diminish the appearance of sun spots. The weightless, creamy formula blends imperceptibly into skin and won’t clog pores or settle into fine lines…so all anyone will notice is your perfectly flawless skin!  I had heard some good things about this primer, and color correction is something that I definitely need.  The 21 DoB price point was easier for me to swallow than regular price, so I went ahead and took the plunge.  I’ve tried it a few times so far, and am still making up my mind.  I’m glad that I got it, but I’m not sure that I love it yet.

Makeup Revolution New-Trals vs. Neutrals Eyeshadow Palette

Makeup Revolution New-Trals vs. Neutrals Eyeshadow Palette

Makeup Revolution New-Trals vs. Neutrals Eyeshadow Palette: New-Trals are the new Neutrals! Upgrade your new natural eye looks with the new generation of natural shades in Makeup Revolution’s New-Trals vs. Neutrals.  I have been really enjoying the products that I have tried from Makeup Revolution, and this palette is gorgeous.  It was already in my wish list when all the hype for the Too Faced Sweet Peach Palette hit.  I see some similar shades in this palette to the Sweet Peach.  I’m not saying that they are dupes, but I think this palette will help stave off the temptation to buy the Peach palette.  Since this palette is $10, you can use the Ulta $3.50 off of $10 coupon and get it for $6.50, which is worlds better than the $49 for the Too Faced palette.

Essence Lash Princess Volume Mascara and

Essence Lash Princess Volume Mascara and CoverGirl The Super Sizer Mascara

Essence Lash Princess Volume Mascara: Get the royal treatment! Essence’s Lash Princess Volume Mascara is presented in a fantastic evening gown design and has a unique wand applicator designed for extra control to reach every lash. The prestige inspired cobra brush is specially shaped to lift, separate, and cover each individual lash for the most majestic volumeCoverGirl The Super Sizer Mascara: The CoverGirl Super Sizer Mascara gives you 400% more volume for fuller lashes.  I’ve been having problems with mascara lately.  I’ve been trying to go through all of the samples and gift with purchase mascaras that I have, but I haven’t been liking any of them.  I have heard a lot of people rave about this CoverGirl mascara for the last year, so I am finally going to bite the bullet and try it out.  I also picked up the Essence Lash Princess because I have used it before and know that I really like it.  So, if the CoverGirl mascara bombs, at least I’ll have a mascara that I know I will enjoy to fall back on.

Real Techniques Brush Cleansing Palette

Real Techniques Brush Cleansing Palette

Real Techniques Brush Cleansing Palette: The Real Techniques Brush Cleansing Palette helps sweep away makeup, oil, and impurities from bristles to give you truer, more consistent color application. Performance-grade silicone is lightweight and ergonomically designed to fit comfortably over your hand. Exclusive multi-textured surfaces designed to gently work between the bristles for enhanced deep cleansing. All synthetic materials that are easy to clean, and 100% cruelty-free. Heat resistant and dishwasher safe.  I had to try this new Real Techniques Brush Cleansing Palette.  This is an obvious drugstore take on the Sigma Spa Brush Cleaning products that are ridiculously priced.  This handy little gadget is about $15, which some of you may still this is ridiculously priced, but again, you can use the Ulta $3.50 off of $10 coupon to knock it down to $11.50.  With two brush cleanser samples included, I thought it was a reasonable price to try it out.  Anything to make brush cleaning faster and more efficient.

So that’s my haul.  I should be set for some time.  Several of these items have been in my wish list for a while, so I’m very excited to play with them.  Did you take advantage of Ulta’s 21 days of Beauty?  How about the 20% off coupon for Platinum members?  Or have you been saving your money for Sephora’s spring sale?  Let me know what you’ve been hauling in the comments below.

Ulta 21 Days of Beauty is Back for Spring 2016

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Ulta 21 Days of Beauty

Ulta 21 Days of Beauty

Y’all, it’s Ulta 21 Days of Beauty time.  Yay!  It’s the most wonderful time of the year for Ulta fans.  If you haven’t heard of Ulta 21 Days of Beauty before, it’s an event that Ulta puts on twice a year in the Spring and Fall.  For 21 days they will offer a couple awesome Deals of the Day, valid online and in store.  Sometimes there will also be an additional exclusive online-only deal.  In addition to the discounted items, they have special daily events or demos in the store.  It’s a great time to buy that prestige brand product you’ve been wanting, but didn’t want to pay full price for.  This time around, the beauty steals start Sunday, 3/13 and end Saturday, 4/2.  You will be able to score some pretty great prices on Butter London, Philosophy, Stila, Urban Decay, Too Faced and many more.  Go to ulta.com/21days  for all the details on each day’s deals.  Remember, the beauty deals are only good for one day each, so be sure to mark your calendar so that you don’t miss the items that you want.  Beauty Steals tend to sell out very fast, so if you are interested you will need to log-on or get to your local store early.  And don’t forget to use your Rewards card to earn points on all of your purchases.  The Rewards program really pays off, so if you aren’t signed up, I definitely recommend that you do.  I know that I am going to be taking advantage of some of these deals.  How about you?  Do you always shop Ulta’s 21 Days of Beauty?  What Beauty steals are you looking forward to this time around?  Let me know in the comments below.

Happy shopping!

Some Interesting New Drugstore Items for 2016

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New for 2016

New for 2016

It’s a new year, and that means that there are a ton of new products out for our enjoyment.  There are so many new collections out right now that it is tough to keep track of all of them.  I decided that it might be fun to show you some of the new items from the drugstore that caught my interest.  This is by no means an exhaustive list of what is new in the drugstore, but rather the items that look interesting to me.  A couple of the items have been out for a few weeks now, but most of them are just now hitting the shelves.  I am going to try to include pricing, but please remember that prices vary by location.

Maybelline Color Tattoo Concentrated Crayon

Maybelline Color Tattoo Concentrated Crayon

I am probably the most excited to try the new Maybelline Color Tattoo Concentrated Crayons.  What?  Yes, the super popular Maybelline Color Tattoos are now available in crayon form instead of the pots.  I don’t know how the formula has changed to accommodate the new style of Color Tattoos, but I really hope that they are as good as the pots were.  I also hope that they expand the shade range soon because these shades are great for fitting basic needs but not terribly unique.  These retail at Ulta for $6.99.

Maybelline Dream Velvet Soft-Matte Hydrating Foundation

Maybelline Dream Velvet Soft-Matte Hydrating Foundation

Another Maybelline item that caught my eye is the new Maybelline Dream Velvet Soft-Matte Hydrating Foundation.  Hydrating and matte don’t usually go together, so right away I am intrigued.  Maybelline claims that it is a refreshing gel-whipped foundation that leaves complexion perfected and smooth with a velvety, soft-matte finish while skin stays hydrated for 12 hours.  I have tried whipped mousse foundation, but no gel-based foundations, so I am sold.  I have to know what this formula is like.  The Maybelline Dream Velvet Soft-Matte Hydrating Foundation retails for $10.99 at Ulta.

 Garnier SkinActive Micellar Cleansing Water All-in-1 Makeup Remover & Cleanser


Garnier SkinActive Micellar Cleansing Water All-in-1 Makeup Remover & Cleanser

You can’t watch Youtube these days without Micellar water making an appearance in some way, and I am interested in the Garnier SkinActive Micellar Cleansing Water All-in-1 Makeup Remover & Cleanser.  This has been out in some areas for a little bit and has gotten some great reviews.  Here is the blurb: “This All-in-1 cleanser is surprisingly powerful yet gentle to skin. It effectively removes makeup, cleanses skin and refreshes. A multi-purpose cleanser that contains Micellar technology. Like a magnet, micelles capture and lift away dirt, oil and makeup without harsh rubbing, leaving skin perfectly clean, hydrated and refreshed without over-drying. Dermatologist tested for safety. Ophthalmologist tested. Non-comedogenic–won’t clog pores.”  Micellar water is intriguing to me, and I want to know more.  The Garnier version retails for $8.99 at Ulta.

Physicians Formula Mineral Wear Talc-Free All-in-1 ABC Cushion Foundation SPF 50

Physicians Formula Mineral Wear Talc-Free All-in-1 ABC Cushion Foundation SPF 50

Cushion foundations are hitting the market hard right now, and I am most interested in the Physicians Formula Mineral Wear Talc-Free All-in-1 ABC Cushion Foundation SPF 50.  Physicians Formula claims that it is a creamy mineral fluid foundation that promises to correct visible imperfections, blur lines, and leave skin with an airbrushed finish as well as protect it with an SPF 50 Broad Spectrum Sunscreen.  I have never used a cushion foundation, and although I know that Korean brands have been producing them for years, they are relatively new to the US.  L’Oreal has also released a new cushion foundation, but this Physicians Formula is more appealing to me.  The one major drawback for me, though, is the price tag.  Both the Physicians Formula and the L’Oreal cushion foundations are between $16 and $18, depending on where you get them.  That is pretty steep for the drugstore.  Still, the product is intriguing.

Nyx Cosmetics Whipped Lip and Cheek Soufflé

Nyx Cosmetics Whipped Lip and Cheek Soufflé

Next I have a slew of lip products to show you, the first of which is the NYX Cosmetics Whipped Lip and Cheek Soufflé.  This is a 2-in-1 whipped mousse for you cheeks and lips that leaves a matte finish.  It has a doe-foot applicator with a pointed tip for precise lip application.  You can also dab a little of the mousse on your finger to apply a wash of color to your cheek.  I like 2-in-1 products, and I am interested to see what NYX has come up with.  If there is a brand that I trust with stellar cheek and lip products, it is NYX.  The Whipped Lip and Cheek Soufflés retail for $5.99 at Ulta.

Revlon Ultra HD Matte Lip Color

Revlon Ultra HD Matte Lip Color

I am also interested in the Revlon Ultra HD Matte Lip Colors.  These are a lightweight gel matte formula, which is different.  The Ultra HD Matte Lip Colors have been out for about a month now, and the reviews have been mixed.  The main complaint that I have seen is that they don’t actually dry down to a fully matte finish.  I can see why that is a big problem for a product with the word “matte” in the name, but it’s not an issue for me.  I have not jumped on the matte lip cream bandwagon because my lips are too dry to follow that particular trend.  I think that they are lovely, but they just make my lips looks pickled.  So a demi-matte, comfortable formula like this is way more my speed that a true matte.  These are $8.99 at Ulta.

L'Oréal Infallible Pro-Matte Gloss

L’Oréal Infallible Pro-Matte Gloss

Along the same lines is the new L’Oréal Infallible Pro-Matte Gloss.  Like the Revlon Ultra HD Matte Lip Colors this is a demi-matte lip product that keeps a certain level of hydration to keep lips from drying out.  I am not sure which lip product I am more interested in between the Revlon and the L’Oreal.  They seem pretty similar by the description.  If any of you have tried either of these two products, I’d love to hear your thoughts.  The L’Oréal Infallible Pro-Matte Gloss retails at Ulta for $9.99.

CoverGirl Colorlicious Oh Sugar! Lip Balm

CoverGirl Colorlicious Oh Sugar! Lip Balm

The final item that I have to talk about to today is the CoverGirl Colorlicious Oh Sugar! Lip Balm.  Here is the blurb: “CoverGirl’s Colorlicious Oh Sugar! Lip Balm is a vitamin infused, moisturizing lip treatment that nourishes, protects and smooths lips. Grapeseed oil, avocado butter and vitamins C and E lock in moisture, keeping lips soft and smooth.”  I believe that these tinted balms are being set up as possible dupes for the Fresh Sugar Lip Treatments.  I find that extremely hard to believe  because I love the Fresh Sugar Lippies and I have never had much luck with CoverGirl lip products.  But, I am all about tinted lip balms, so I certainly want to try them.  🙂  The CoverGirl Colorlicious Oh Sugar! Lip Balms retail for $8.99 at Ulta, which is a little steep for tinted lip balm from the drugstore.  Hopefully the formula makes up for the price tag.

Those are all the new products from the drugstore that have caught my eye recently.  More products are spilling in for 2016, so I am sure there are plenty of new arrivals that I may have missed.  Have you tried any of the new products that I listed here?  I’d love to get your thoughts.  Are there any products that I didn’t mention that you think I need to check out?  Let me know in the comments below.  What products are you most interested in trying for 2016?

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.

Ulta Artistry Eye Shadow Kit: Review and Swathes

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Ulta Artistry Eye Shadow Kit

Ulta Artistry Eye Shadow Kit

Happy December y’all!  The magical season of Christmas is upon us, so what better time to talk about a Holiday exclusive.  Today I have the Ulta Artistry Eye Shadow Kit to show you.  Though it is hard to tell on the website, this is a limited edition set that Ulta put out for the Holidays.  The Artistry Eye Shadow Kit retails for $20 and contains three small palettes with 5 shades each.  I had to get this eyeshadow set.  The palettes are pretty, and moreover this is an obvious attempt at duping a high end product so I had to try them. The Artistry Eye Shadow Kit is Ulta’s attempt to dupe the Hourglass Modernist Eyeshadow Palettes.

Hourglass Modernist Eyeshadow Palette

Hourglass Modernist Eyeshadow Palettes

The seven Hourglass Modernist Eyeshadow Palettes launched in January 2015 and I was very tempted to get them until I saw the $58 price tag.  Even I couldn’t justify $58 for five shadows, but I thought that they were gorgeous.  When reviews started rolling in, the Modernist palettes weren’t quite the smash Hourglass intended.  The shadows didn’t perform as well as they should have for the hefty price, and they left a lot of customers disappointed.  Still, their beauty won a lot of people over despite the flaws in formulation.  Enter Ulta’s Artistry Eye Shadow Kit.

Ulta Artistry Eye Shadow Kit

Ulta Artistry Eye Shadow Kit

Here is what Ulta has to say about this set: “Ulta Artistry Eye Shadow Kit includes 3 eye shadow palettes. Each palette combines a range of matte and shimmer textures for all occasions. Beautiful wave pressing pattern makes this set an extra special gift or luxurious treat for yourself.”  The palettes are very small.  If I lay all three down next to each other (top to bottom) they are the size of my iPhone 6 Plus.  I don’t own any of the Hourglass palettes, so I can’t truly compare the two brands, but I would say that Ulta’s version might be a dupe in that it is also disappointing.  The three palettes are pretty hit and miss.  Each palette contains a mix of mattes, satins, and shimmers.  The matte shades straight up suck.  All of them are truly terrible.  The shimmer shades are all pretty decent, and the satin finish shades vary in quality.  The palettes themselves also vary in quality.  The blue palette is the worst, which funnily enough I believe is also true for the Hourglass line.  I like the green palette and, while the shades aren’t the most unique, I think most of the shadows perform well.  The plum palette is a mixed bag, but I can get a good look out of it if I am willing to work for it.  Let’s take each palette individually from worst to best.

Ulta Artistry Eye Shadow Kit

Ulta Artistry Eye Shadow Kit

There are two matte shades in the blue palette, which is unfortunate because they aren’t very good.  The five shades from left to right are as follows:

  • Matte cream shade- This shadow came with a hard layer that is sometimes found on cheap matte shadows.  Even after scraping down through the layer of film (or whatever), it had no pigmentation and I had to layer the hell out of this to get it to show up on my skin for the photo.  It is completely useless.
  • Gold shimmer/glitter shade- This is a very pretty gold, but it is more of a glitter than a shimmer and can apply a bit patchy.
  • Sheer dark brown matte- This shade confuses me.  It looks like it is a dark slate in the pan, but it swatches like an extremely sheer brown with no pigmentation.  It’s patchy and difficult, not worth the effort.
  • Blue metallic shimmer- This stormy blue shade is actually not bad at all.  It’s a lovely smoky tone, but you have to love shimmer.  It is probably the best shade in this palette, though that’s not saying a lot.
  • Icy Taupe shimmer- This cool-toned icy taupe is another good shade and more wearable than the blue.
Ulta Artistry Eye Shadow Kit Blue

Ulta Artistry Eye Shadow Kit Blue

Two good shades out of five is pretty terrible.  This blue palette is garbage.  Luckily the other two palettes do better.

Ulta Artistry Eye Shadow Kit

Ulta Artistry Eye Shadow Kit

The plum-toned palette is an improvement over the blue palette for sure, but there are still some dud shadows here as well.  The five shades are:

  • Icy lilac shimmer- This is the only palette that doesn’t have a matte highlight shade and it is much better for it.  This icy lilac shade is subtle, but pretty.
  • Off-matte mauve toned plum- Again, a sub-par matte shade, or rather off-matte finish.  This mauve toned plum is a lovely color, and it can be built up to a certain extent like it is here in the swatch, but the lack of pigmentation makes it a frustrating shade.
  • Sugar plum shimmer shade- It is hard to describe the color of this shade.  It’s like a mauve toned plum and a rose gold had a love child.  It is beautiful, and a winner.
  • Royal purple shimmer- A true purple shadow is actually a lot harder to produce than one would think, so I am astonished that this set got it right.  It is lovely.
  • Sheer mauve satin finish- Ulta, you are killing me with these sheer shades.  What is that about?  This satin mauve could have been great but, again, I find the lack of pigmentation frustrating.  It just ends up looking like my eye is bruised.
Ulta Artistry Eye Shadow Kit Plum

Ulta Artistry Eye Shadow Kit Plum

There are two fantastic shades in this palette, one good shade, and two disappointments.  I do find that I can work with this palette much better than the blue one, even with the duds.  If I didn’t have any other shadows in these shades, I may consider keeping this one.  Ultimately, though, I have these shades in better formulas.  I don’t think it’s trash like the blue palette, but I am probably not keeping it.

Ulta Artistry Eye Shadow Kit

Ulta Artistry Eye Shadow Kit

The final palette in this set is actually pretty good.  There is one dud, but the remaining four shades are pigmented and smooth.  Here are the five shades:

  • Matte cream shade- I think this is the exact same shade that is in the blue palette, and it is just as useless.  This one also had that hard layer or “film” on top and scraping down through it still wasn’t enough to help this crappy shadow.
  • Khaki satin-shimmer- I really like this shade on the lid.  It has a subtle shimmer and is a unique and rather unexpected color.
  • Brown shimmer- This is a simple brown shimmer shade, but it is done well.  There are subtle bronzy undertones.
  • Metallic olive- I love this shade.  It is a beautiful olive green with emerald undertones and golden micro-shimmer.  Great pigmentation, and it applies well.  Winner-winner chicken dinner.
  • Soft black shimmer- This is a simple soft black shade with subtle shimmer.  You can tell in the pan that it is not meant to be pure black, so I am okay with the charcoal tones.  It’s a good shade.
Ulta Artistry Eye Shadow Kit Green

Ulta Artistry Eye Shadow Kit Green

With the exception of the matte cream shade, I am a fan of this last palette.  I am a sucker for these earthy tones, so I am probably keeping this palette despite my hordes of green and brown shadows.  I have created a couple different looks with this palette, and I liked them quite a bit.  It definitely works and is the best of the set by a large margin.

I am sure that it will be no surprise that I do not recommend the Ulta Artistry Eye Shadow Kit.  I am not sure why it is so highly rated on the website.  I got it on sale for almost half the price, and I still don’t think it was worth it.  It looks like a great gift idea and can be broken up into three really pretty stocking stuffers, but unless you are buying for a very young girl who doesn’t need a lot of pigmentation and won’t know any better, skip them.  There are so many other options available for even less money that would be better than this.  I had high hopes, but the Ulta Artistry Eye Shadow Kit is too much of a mixed bag for me to approve.