Thursday, December 26, 2013

Merry Christmas!

Merry Christmas, everyone! 

(a day late)

I hope you all had a wonderful holiday. My husband and I are so blessed and had such a great day. 

I got my Clarisonic Mia 2, yay! I'll be sure to post all about it later :) 

Oh yeah, by the way..

Stay tuned for an upcoming giveaway! 

As a late Merry Christmas, and just for fun, I'll be giving away something extra exciting. So check back soon! Hope your bellies are full and you're still running off Christmas bliss.... :) 
Thursday, December 19, 2013

Beauty Gift-Giving Guide

Christmas gift ideas for a makeup lover/beauty junkie!

So you have a makeup/beauty junkie in your life and don't know what to get her.. If you're not into beauty products then the thought of browsing Sephora or Ulta for the perfect gift may seem a little scary. To be honest, there are certain products that just about any beauty lover would love to have, mainly because of its cult following. Whether they are a dedicated YouTube Beauty video fan or they read beauty blogs, chances are they've not only heard of these products, they've been wanting them. So here's a rundown of the best gifts for a makeup lover. Some are a bit pricey, but I only included products that I know for a fact are worth the price tag.

1. Urban Decay Naked Palettes - $52

What you need to know: These are probably the most famous eyeshadow palettes out there.. There are three of them- The original Naked palette, Naked 2, and the brand spankin' new Naked 3. They are pricey but come with 12 shadows (each of which cost $18 individually) and are great quality. If you're looking for a less expensive, but similar, item, see #4.

2. Philosophy Shower Gel - $16-$20

What you need to know: These are actually a triple threat- they are a shampoo, shower gel, and bubble bath all in one. I, personally, wouldn't use it as a shampoo, but they work great for a shower gel/bubble bath. Philosophy products have a great reputation, contain natural ingredients, and smell amazing. 

3. Clarisonic Mia 2 - $150

What you need to know: This one should have been saved for last, since I know the price is a little scary.. This is actually my one must-have item this year. I sure hope I find one under the tree! (hint hint mom) This is a facial cleansing device that can completely change your skin. Its especially great for people who wear makeup daily. It cleanses the skin better than any of its competition, and removes all traces of makeup. There is a less expensive version (the regular Clarisonic or the original Mia) but the Mia 2 actually has a built-in timer, so it tells you how long to clean each section of your face.

4. Naked Basics Palette - $27

What you need to know: Also by Urban Decay, this palette is all apart of the Naked family (hehe) as the 3 palettes described in #1. It has 6 eyeshadows (once again, that retail at $18 individually) in mostly matte shades. Its great for travel or creating quick looks with 6 shades that complement each other well. I personally carry this with me in my purse at all times, for touch-ups, because its small and compact. 

5. Nars Blush in Orgasm - $29

What you need to know: First of all, yes, that's the name. If you're new to the beauty world, I understand if you just blushed a little. It has a slightly inappropriate name, but its a great blush. A universal color that looks great on nearly all skin tones.. plus, its one of the most popular shades out there and wanted by all. I promise. 

6. Benefit's They're Real Mascara - $23

What you need to know: This is such a great mascara, and makes lashes look amazing. Its pretty popular and well-known, because of the great quality. The brush makes it unique. I also included this mascara in my stocking stuffer list, but in the sample size. You can purchase a sample size for $10 online at Sephora, or usually in the line by the check-out counter in Sephora or Ulta. 

7. Real Technique Brushes - $18

What you need to know: The brushes in the picture are all part of the Core Collection (which is the $18 - certain brushes can be purchased individually and cost anywhere from $6-$10). If you've read my blog at all, that means you're heard about these brushes a bajillion times.. They're great. I love them. So do a lot of other people. That's pretty much all you need to know in a nutshell! (Read more here)

So that's a wrap! I truly think any girl who is even remotely into makeup would love and appreciate these products.. expert or newbie. And, of course, if you're unsure of what she has or doesn't have, or what she would or wouldn't like, buy her an Ulta or Sephora gift card! Any girl would love the opportunity to go on a mini makeup shopping spree! Have a great day everyone! 

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Best Drugstore Eyeshadow.. all under $10!

The Best Drugstore Eyeshadows

I tend to be very picky about eyeshadow, which is why I tend to stick to high-end eyeshadows for the most part. I don't like when shadows are chalky, have a ton of fall-out, or have no color payoff whatsoever. Unfortunately, my experience has been that a lot of drugstore eyeshadows have very little color payoff. I don't like having to dip my brush back in over and over just to get a color to show up on my lid. But here's the good news! I have found some that I like. And some that I dislike. I highlighted my favorites above, and in the end I'll include the few shadows that I found to have poor quality. Here we go!

The Best

1. Wet n Wild Eyeshadow, $1-$5
I had to include Wet n Wild eyeshadows as a whole.. no one palette is better than another. I LOVE the  8-shadow palette, the trios, and the singles. The pigmentation of these shadows is amazing. You have to try it for yourself to see what I mean.. not to mention they are so inexpensive. I'd have to say they beat some of my high end shadows, and they are the cheapest you'll find in any store!
My favorites: Comfort Zone (8 shadows), Walking on Egg Shells Trio, and Nutty (single)

2. Maybelline Eye Studio Quad, $8
Another super pigmented line. These quads are small and compact with just enough eyeshadow in them. The color combinations are so unique, and not something you'd think to put together, but they complement each other so well. I will say, if you aren't into super shimmery shadows, these aren't for you, as they take shimmer to a whole other level; however, I like to combine them with some neutral mattes, and it looks amazing.
My favorites: Coral Oasis, Gusty Green

3. L'Oreal Paris Infallible Eye Shadow, ~$6
I get so many compliments when I wear this shadow. It is so perfect for highlighting the inner corner (in my favorite color) and adding a "pop" in the center of the eye. It is so shimmery but in a classy way, and stays on all day. I usually apply it with a flat shader brush with a spritz of Fix Plus first. I would almost consider it a pigment and not a shadow.. especially since there's enough of it to last you til the end of time.
My favorites: Iced Latte

4. L'Oreal HiP Shadow Duo, $8
Fun fact: HiP stands for High Pigment (I hear so many people calling it "hip".. you know, like the hip joint? lol) High Pigment is a great explanation. Way before I was even that into makeup I was using these shadows. They show up so well, and have such great color combos. If you want a smoky eye, these are super easy to achieve it with!
My favorites: Charged, Platinum

5. Maybelline Quads, $5
I decided to be vague about this because I pretty much love all the quads equally. There's the "stylish smokes" quad, the "expertwear" quad, etc., and I like them all. I think these are the best beginner shadows because they give such a great range of colors that go well together, plus they tell you where to apply each color.. and if you're daring, you ignore that and do your own thing ;) Is every single color of every quad great quality? Ehh.. not really. Its hit or miss. But on average, they're good quality and pigmentation.
My favorites: Amethyst Smokes, Designer Chocolates

6. Physicians Formula Matte Collection, $6
I had to include at least one matte collection. Its so hard to find matte shadows in the drugstore anyway, especially good quality ones! I was always a shimmer girl and was unsure about using matte colors.. so I picked this up to try it out, and it was pretty much the only shadows I wore for months. The quality of these shadows are definitely on the high-end level. They're perfect crease/transition colors, and even the matte white/cream color is great for highlighting and shows up really well.
My favorites: Canyon Classics

The Worst

I bought the one in matte browns, sadly I cant think of the name or find it online. The quality was poor (chalky) and there was 0 pigmentation at all. It was really hard to get it to show up, plus I really disliked the set-up of the palette.. it was hard to use in general because of the skinny shadows.

These were just a waste all around.. I bought the quad that also included a so-called "eye primer" and I was unsatisfied with it all. Just very dry and chalky, barely swatched at all on my fingers, and didn't show up on my eyes at all. 

3. Physicians Formula Shimmer Strips
I bought this because I thought it would be a great dupe for the Naked palette(s); however, it was really hard to use because the tiny, skinny strips of shadows.. Guess the name should've told me that, right? :) Plus, the shadows only worked when I wet my brush first.
Okay that's it folks! :) My favorites and unfavorites. As always, I'd love to hear if you had a similar or different experience with any of these products.. and what your favorites or unfavorites are! 
Friday, December 13, 2013

December Birchbox

December Birchbox!

I received my December Birchbox today! I was so excited to see the shiny gold box in my mailbox with "Happy Holidays" on the front. And I could tell it had a lot in it because it was heavy! I'll cut to the chase, here's what's in it:

December Birchbox!
My 2 favorite items: The lip gloss and the CHOCOLATE. (These aren't in any order, just my random
P.S. If you're interested in trying out Birchbox for yourself, sign up HERE

Lip Gloss: I wasn't too impressed with the lip gloss at first. It isn't a color I'd normally gravitate to and I'm not really a big lip gloss person in the first place. But the card it came on claimed that it is their most wanted lip gloss and has tons of 5 star Birchbox reviews, so I had to try it out; and I was pleasantly surprised! The color still isn't my favorite, but it feels so amazing, I'll rock it anyway! Its super minty and feels great on my lips, plus it made them feel soft (which is rare these days- I majorly need to exfoliate) and the soft feeling is pretty long lasting! I've had it on for well over an hour and I still feel it.

Chocolate covered fortune cookie: I mean, why have I never had one before in the first place? I would describe it as: oh my goodness SO yummy. I ate it in 2 bites and I'm really considering using my Birchbox points to buy some more. Yes, that's sad. I've saved up points and I'm going to use them on chocolate. Don't judge me. Oh! And it came with a fortune- "A white Christmas is coming your way" :) How cute!

Body lotion: I'm undecided on this one for now. The texture is sort of watery so I didn't expect it to be too moisturizing, but it does feel nice on the back of my hand, so I may be wrong. The tube says it contains honey and organic chamomile extracts. I'm guessing that's where the smell comes from. The smell is what I'm undecided about. Honestly, my first thought was that it smells like Pledge. Yeah, the dusting stuff. But I kinda sorta like it. We'll see.

Hairspray: I haven't used this yet, because my hair is currently in a "blob" on top of my head. I'm kind of excited about it though because its a non-aerosol hair spray, which I've never tried. I'm big on smells so I did give it a 'sniff' and it smells like a typical hairspray. Can't think of the particular one, but it smells familiar.
Update: I decided to try this hairspray out yesterday. I curled my hair on the ends and sprayed the non-aerosol spray all on my ends. Throughout the day I kept noticing how knotty my hair was getting, which isn't the norm for me. Halfway through my shopping trip I couldn't even get my fingers through my hair! There were "rats nests" sort of matted knots all through my hair. This never happens so I'm blaming the hairspray! It took forever to get the knots out, and I ended up having to wear my hair up the rest of the day because of how bad it looked. I don't recommend this hairspray! 

Skin Care: I'm not too crazy about anything in packets. I guess I'm a diva. I just prefer my samples in tubes/bottles. I may try it, not sure. I usually throw all my sample packets in a drawer and pull them out on rainy days. I'm still loving my current skincare line (read about Arbonne here) so I'm not looking to try anything new.

They also sent out a little card announcing that Birchbox is now mobile! They have a new Birchbox app where you can track your Birchbox, buy full-sized products, and browse other products. The card came with a little diamond shaped thing with the Birchbox logo.. apparently called a digimate sticker? I was so confused about it at first, but apparently it sticks to the back of your phone, and you can use the non-sticky side to clean your screen, then reattach it to the back. I've never heard of these little guys before, but its cute I guess!

So that's it. I'd rate this box a 6/10. I did like last month's box better, but I loved the fortune cookie, yum! I recently subscribed to Ipsy, and I'm finally off the waiting list. So I should receive my first box in January. So be on the lookout next month for a comparison! And don't forget, if you loved this Birchbox and want to try it out for yourself, you can sign up HERE!

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Beauty-Related Stocking Stuffer Ideas

The Best Beauty-Related Stocking Stuffers!

Have a makeup lover in your life? Or want to pass on a big 'ole hint to your man? I did all the work for you! Here's my guide for perfect beauty-related stocking stuffers for Christmas 2013. And you'll be glad to know, none of them will break the bank! For the most part all are available at your local drugstore, Sephora, Ulta, and the one MAC item can always be ordered online. :) And at the bottom I'll include some of my favorite non-beauty related items (that I'd love to get in my stocking this year.. hint hint, husband.)

1. Elf Bronzer/Blush Duo - $3
2. Elf Blending Brush - $1
3. Knotted Hair Ties - ~$5
4. Nail File - $2
5. Burts Bees Lip Balm - ~$3
6. Neutrogena Makeup Removing Wipes - $5

7. Revlon Lip Butters - $8 (the color shown is "Cotton Candy")
8. Essie Nail Polish - $8 (the color shown is "Bordeaux")
9. Benefit They're Real Mascara (Sample) - $10
10. Loreal Infallible Eye Shadow - $8
11. Sally Hansen Salon Effects Nail Polish Strips - $10

12. Urban Decay Naked Basics Palette - $27
13. Soap & Glory "Butter Yourself" Body Cream - $20
14. MAC Lipstick (the color shown is "Creme Cup") - $15
15. Sephora (or Ulta) Gift Card - (As much as you see best- there is nothing better than treating yourself to a Sephora shopping spree.. with a gift card!)

Non-Beauty Stocking Stuffers:
Candy, car air fresheners, trail mix, restaurant gift cards, socks, cute gloves, post-its, fun pens, hand lotion, ear buds, tea, eye drops, iTunes gift card, gum, costume jewelry, car charger, small Bath & Body Works candles, body spray... the list goes on and on.

I'd love to hear what's on your "wants" list this year or any other stocking stuffer ideas you may have! Comment below. And hope your shopping is going well!

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Top Concealers

Makeup Your Mind's Best Concealers!

I cannot live without concealer, but after all this time I still don't have a "holy grail" concealer. I keep trying new ones which has allowed me to find many that I like; but I keep buying new ones in the search for "the one" and haven't found it yet. The good news, though, is that I can show you all the ones that I do like and why! They are all available in your local drugstore except for the first MAC one.

1. MAC Pro Longwear Concealer, $19
- Good for: Concealing under eyes, blemishes, and brightening 
I avoided this for a while because I didn't want to give into the hype. But I was glad I finally gave in once I tried it. It does an excellent job at concealing blemishes and dark cirlces, and if you get it a shade lighter than your skin tone, it works great to brighten your under eye. I also apply it to my lids as a primer. 
- Tip: It dries fast so you need to work quickly. Dab it under one eye at a time and blend quickly. 

2. L'Oreal True Match Blendable Concealer, $9
- Good for: Concealing under eyes and blemishes
This one has a much thinner consistency and has a lighter coverage, but still does a good job. Sometimes when I apply concealer under my eyes on top of my foundation it feels so thick and cakey, which is why I love the sheer, thin, liquid consistency of this concealer. It goes on smooth and blends well. 

3. Maybelline Instant Age Rewind Dark Circle Treatment, $9
- Good for: Concealing under eyes and blemishes 
I used this concealer for a very, very long time. Have you ever had a product that worked for you for a long while, then it became just kind of "eh" for you? That was this concealer. I loved it and used it daily. It works really well under my eyes, and I even used it to conceal blemishes (not sure if I was supposed to!) and loved it for about a year. Don't get me wrong, its still a great concealer, I just prefer something a tad more brightening, so I just use this one when I need major dark circle rehab. 
- Tip: If you feel uncomfortable using the sponge tip applicator (a lot of people worry it breeds bacteria) tap a brush on the end and apply it that way. 

4. Hard Candy Glamoflauge, $6
- Good for:  Major concealing
This definitely isn't your every-day concealer. Some say it's a great dupe for Kat Von D's Lock It Tattoo concealer. I've never tried that so I have no point of reference.. but Kat Von D's is marketed to hide tattoos (and more) and I know the Glamoflauge definitely does the job as well. Its sooo thick and creamy and is super full coverage. I wouldn't use this concealer under your eyes because it is so thick, but its great for covering blemishes, unwanted dark spots, rosacea, etc.

5. Sonia Kashuk Hidden Agenda Concealer Palette, ~$10
- Good for: Under eye concealing
I don't really use anything else in the palette besides the concealer in the top left. The other 2 concealers are corrector shades, but I can't make them work for me, and the other is a setting powder. I love the creaminess of the one concealer that I do use, that it had to make the cut. It goes on so smooth and blends so well. I wouldn't use it to conceal blemishes that much, because I feel like you'd have to layer it on, but it works really well under the eyes. 

6. Garnier Anti-Dark Circle Eye Roller, $13
- Good for: Under eye concealing
If I had a HG concealer, this would be it. The only downfall is that it is only for under eyes, and definitely can't be used to conceal blemishes, hide redness, etc. The anti-dark circle eye roller is actually a caffeine gel with a rollerball that energizes and stimulates the skin, plus it has the perfect amount of color to cover up any discoloration. There is actually a non-tinted version that simply helps with dark circles, but I prefer the one with a hint of color because its killing two birds with one stone. 

7. Maybelline Fit Me Concealer, $7
- Good for: Concealing blemishes, under eyes, brightening 
This is a great texture and has great coverage, so its almost tied with Mac Pro Longwear. It isn't quite as thick, but its definitely creamy, and does a great job concealing any issues you may want to hide. My only complaint is that I cannot find a color that works for me! Its either too pink, too dark, too light, etc. I've heard its great for brightening, but I can't get it to do that for me because I can't get the right shade! But I still love it, it just takes some extra blending. 

These are all great concealers for different reasons, and all have their pros and cons. I would say that if I had to choose an absolute favorite I would choose the MAC Pro Longwear. I'd love to hear what you've tried, what you love, and what you hate! Comment below. 

Monday, December 9, 2013

My Blonde to Brunette Transformation!

Welllllll.. ladies and gentlemen, I did something brave.

Let me start off by reminding you that I was born blonde. Have always been blonde. Turned into a darker blonde and have been getting highlights, and eventually dying it a brighter shade of blonde for a little while now. But I identify myself as a blonde and its all I've ever known.

So a couple weeks ago when I got the sudden urge to go dark, I surprised myself. I've never been dark (aside from a month or so when I was 18 and my best friend decided to box dye it.. but it faded quickly and didn't last long). I texted my hairstylist and told her I wanted to do it, and spent a few days searching Pinterest for color inspiration.

I didn't tell anyone. Not sure why. Maybe I was afraid I'd let someone talk me out of it. Either way, only my mom and husband knew. Half of the excitement of going dark was being able to just randomly say BAM. I HAVE DARK HAIR. And surprise everyone.

I was really nervous and would get anxiety about it sometimes lying in bed at night. (Yeah, I'm loony) but I followed through with it, which was pretty shocking. So.. here it is, my brown head!

Thank you so much Kirsten at Studio Helene
Have a great day guys! 

Tuesday, December 3, 2013

Naked 3 Palette Review w/ Swatches!

FYI: I realized weeks after this post was written that I kept getting the name of the last shadow wrong. It is blackheart not blackout. Sorry! I changed it in the post itself, but not in the photos, so just ignore that part! Or, since I CANNOT get the name right to save my life, maybe I'll just start a new trend and we can all call it blackout? :-)

Shew! Its been a while! I'm finally posting again.. after a long weekend with 2 Thanksgiving dinners and some other exciting things I'll tell you about later :) And its finally time for my Naked 3 palette review with swatches!

But first: Congratulations to Robyn, my giveaway winner!
She has already been contacted and I'll be sending her prizes this week. Thank you so much to everyone who entered! I got to "meet" lots of you in the comment section, on twitter, and even on Instagram. So thank you, thank you, thank you! I had a lot of fun so I plan to do another giveaway soon. Any suggestions on what you'd guys like to win? I'll be thinking about it! But now, lets do this thang!

Naked 3 palette swatch & review! ||
Naked 3 palette swatches & review

I already showed you my first Naked 3 look here.. and I mentioned that I love it. I've been using it some more, experimented with some more looks, and nothing has changed. I still love it :) Like I mentioned before, I haven't really ever worn pink-toned shadows, so I was definitely stepping out of the box buying this palette; and trust me, I didn't just order it because it was another Naked palette. I bought it because I wanted to try something new, and I'm glad I did. My main fear was that the pink tones would cause me to look sick, or like I had pink eye. But I was wrong. They're the perfect mix of pinks/neutrals so that it doesn't make you look sick at all.. it gives a really unique, pretty, feminine look that I'm really excited about.

First and foremost, the basics. 
-Retails for $52
-At the moments it is only available at
-Has already sold out, but they're back in stock! So get it quick!

Naked 3 palette swatch & review! ||
The palette itself is really pretty. Its a hard case, like the Naked 2 palette, in rose gold.
Naked 3 palette swatch & review! ||
Naked 3 palette swatch & review! ||
Like the other 2 Naked palettes, it comes with 12 shades with a mix of
shimmery and matte shades.
Naked 3 palette swatch & review! ||
The first 5 shades are the lightest shades. I really should have used a primer before swatching, because they just didn't show up that well on my skin tone.
1. Strange - A great highlight shade, obviously. Although it does have a tiny bit of sheen to it, it almost looks matte. Its definitely not a super sparkly highlight, but I love it because it looks natural. It does, however, take a few layers to make it as opaque as you see in the photo. It doesn't have great color payoff, but its buildable. 
2. Dust - Dust is a medium pink. This is the sparkliest shade of all, and has lots of glitter. If you wanted this color to stand out, I'd pack it on with a wet brush. I think it would look amazing. I really love adding this color right to the center of my lid for a "pop" because of the shimmer.
3. Burnout - This shade has more of a satin/pearly finish; not too sparkly, but not matte. Its more of a peachy color and the texture is so smooth (not chalky)
4. Limit - One of the gorgeous matte shades. I'd call it a dusty rose. I love love love this color in my crease, combined with nooner. Very nice pigmentation, you should use with a light hand. 
5. Buzz - More of a metallic shade. Sort of a coppery pink, if that makes sense. Definitely has a metallic finish, and is just pink enough to be pink, but would look great with a mix of browns or taupes. 

Naked 3 palette swatch & review! ||
As you can see, the next 7 (aside from tick) are the darkest and most pigmented. It didn't take much to swatch these at all. They went on so smooth. 
6. Trick - A very light-washed shade, but it works. I think if you were going for a really natural look this would be a great shade for all over your lid.
7. Nooner - This is quickly becoming my favorite shade, mainly because I have a thing for matte shadows. Its just such a perfect color, a deep matte mauve. This color in the crease, with limit as a transition color.. ahh. Lately I've been wearing those 2 colors in the crease, with practically nothing but strange on the lid. I just love it. Oh and the texture is super buttery and smooth.
8. Liar - This is another that is just neutral enough that it can work with anything. Its a warm metallic brown, with pink undertones. Very pigmented.
9. Factory - This is a brownish color with warm, red undertones. The texture is really soft, and a bit shimmery. 
10. Mugshot - I thought this shade would be my favorite.. but I'm kind of "eh" about it. Its a little too basic for me. But it does work really well in combination with all of the other colors. Its another metallic shade, sort of a combination between brown and taupe.
11. Darkside - Sort of similar to mugshot, but more of a mauvy taupe. Another metallic finish. Very, very pigmented. The first time I used it I had to remove some and blend out well because it had a lot more color payoff than I expected. I like to wear this in my outer corner.
12. Blackheart - This is a black color with flecks of red glitter. I was unsure on how I would feel about it, buts its growing on me. The red doesn't stand out, obviously, and the color is really blendable. Along with the red glitter, it has a bit of warm red undertones. I haven't used this shade much, but the couple of times I had, I liked it.  
Naked 3 palette swatch & review! ||
Like the other Naked palettes it comes with a great dual-ended brush. A blending brush on one end, and a shadow brush. I know a lot of people prefer the eyeliner that came in the original Naked palette, but I actually love the UD brushes. They don't shed, they're nice and fluffy, and blend well. The shader brush that came in both Naked 2 & 3 are my favorites for packing on a color all over the lid.

Obviously, I love it overall. What I like most about the Naked palettes is that each color can stand alone, and can be combined with any other shade in the palette for a gorgeous look, and this palette is no different. Since I've never experimented with pinks before, this palette is so exciting to me, and I want to play with it every day! I've been using it on my eyes exclusively for the past week, and am playing with all kinds of looks, so I hope to share some soon! So, will you guys be ordering the Naked 3 palette? I'd love to hear your thoughts!
Saturday, November 30, 2013


Just a quick reminder that tomorrow is the last day to enter the giveaway. Tell your friends and spread the word! And don't forget you can tweet it every day for an extra entry! 

And in case you've been busy with the Thanksgiving holiday madness, here's a quick catch-up.

I told you all about a great starter makeup kit for beginners on a budget.

Then I announced the giveaway. You can enter here

Then I told you all about Arbonne and why I love it. You should really check that out!  

And I also shared my Thanksgiving look with you, using the brand new Naked 3 palette!

So that's it! Have a great weekend everyone.
Thursday, November 28, 2013

Happy Thanksgiving!

Update: If you want to read more about my opinion on the Naked 3 palette, and to see swatches, read my full review here. 

Happy Thanksgiving, guys!! 

I received my Naked 3 palette yesterday and was playing around with it a little this morning. I'll have a whole review on that sometime next week. But for now, all you need to know is that i love it. 

I was kind of hesitant because I don't have any shadows in the pink family, and wasn't sure if I could pull it off. But its definitely wearable, for everyone. To those of you who think that wearing pink-toned shadows will make you look tired or sick (I was that person) trust me, if applied with plenty of other neutral colors, it wont be a problem at all. Here's the look I came up with today. Using just 4 shades.

Naked 3 simple/neutral look ||

I wanted to mention that I used nooner (#4) in my crease, but it didn't show up in the picture at all! Its so hard to tell and I'm bummed that you can't see it because its one of my favorite shades. Its matte, and the perfect crease or transition color. 

So, as you can see in the picture..
I used #1, strange, in the inner portion/tear duct, and brow bone.
I used #2, buzz, in the center of my eye
I used #3, nooner, in the crease and blended upward with #1
And I blended out #3, darkside, in the outer corner and a tiny bit into the crease
I then went back with #2, buzz, and packed a bit more in the center to make it pop! Of course that's not that visible in the picture either. Grr. I'll be sure to use my camera and great lighting next time.

I can't wait to do more looks, and do an entire tutorial with it. Hope you guys check back later for that. And don't forget about my Birchbox + Ulta Giftcard Giveaway here! Happy thanksgiving guys! 

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Arbonne RE9 Full Review

Arbonne RE9 Full Review || Mention this post for 10% off!

What is Arbonne?
Have you heard of Arbonne? Its okay, I hadn't heard of it either until a few months ago. Its an all natural skincare line- their ingredients are botanically based, dermatologist and opthamologist tested (not just recommended) and are considered certified vegan (they contain no animal products or byproducts). I'm pretty skeptical and don't buy into things easily, so I had to try it for myself to believe it. But the facts speak for themselves, so here are some basic things you need to know. 

The Facts:
-Arbonne means "good things from the earth". It was founded in Switzerland in 1975 and brought to the US in 1980. In other words, they were green before being green was cool :) Arbonne's motto is "Pure. Safe. Beneficial." .. all their products are safe for your skin, and are beneficial for your skin and health. 

-Over 1300 chemicals and ingredients are banned from skincare/beauty products in Europe. Do you know how many are banned in the United States? 6. That's why it means so much that all of the research and development is done is Switzerland and is held to the high European standards. 

-Arbonne products contain no dyes, no fragrances, no mineral oils, and are also paraben-free. Read more here and here on the dangers of these ingredients. 

What it means to me:
If you told me all of this a couple years ago I wouldn't have given it much thought. But I'm starting to see more and more just how dangerous the added ingredients we come in contact with every day are changing our lives and health for the worst. I'm starting to pay more attention to what "extras" I'm eating, drinking, and putting on my skin, and avoiding them at all costs... and I think you should too. Please go read the articles linked above on mineral oils and the other "extras" like dyes and fragrances.  

For the past few weeks I've been using Arbonne's RE9 Anti-Aging skincare line. RE = Results, 9 = the 9 age-defying elements and botanicals. The full set contains a cleanser, toner, serum, eye cream, daytime moisturizer (with SPF 20) and a night cream (but each item can be purchased individually instead of buying the whole set). I make sure to use it morning and night, honestly just because it makes my skin feel amazing. I love the way I feel after using it. No, I'm not "old" but I am-- we all are-- aging. I believe its never too early to invest in your skin, and its never too early to reverse or delay the aging process. I could go on and on about how good it is for you and how amazing it makes your skin look and feel, but you need to see that for yourself. 

I've noticed my skin looks brighter, smoother, tighter, and yes, even clearer. I'm still in my early 20s, and still deal with breakouts. I usually focus on acne-fighting skincare to avoid breakouts at all costs. So I was really surprised to see that my Arbonne RE9 set isn't just improving my skin's overall appearance, it is fighting breakouts and keeping me acne-free as well. Keep in mind, your skin might detox for a week or so (breakouts) as it may need to adjust to the increase in vitamins and nutrients... so, fear not the detox! It is just your skin getting rid of all that junk that has built up! 

How can I try it? 
I'm going to be completely honest- its pricey. Its definitely an investment, but a worthwhile investment; however, if you use the suggested amount, it will last you 6 months. If you aren't willing to spend the full price on the set, I suggest you try out just the day cream or the eye cream from the line to see what you think. I'm positive you'll be convinced. Arbonne is primarily purchased through a consultant; however there are other ways, one of which is becoming a preferred client (preferred clients get 20% off every time they order, plus you can order online at any time!) 

If you're interested in ordering, or want more information about the products or becoming a preferred client, check out and then contact Kristin at to order. Anyone who mentions this blog when ordering gets 10% off! :) 

And click on the flyer below to find out more about her Cyber Monday deal! (BOGO 50% off!!) 
Arbonne Cyber Monday Sale! BOGO 50% off!!
I also recently started using Arbonne's Genius Resurfacing Pads every night. So stay tuned for a future review on that (hopefully with pictures of my results!) If nothing else, I hope you learned something from this post and took away some information about what we put on our skin every day. Skincare that is good for you, not just makes you look good, is so important and I encourage you to try something from Arbonne's skincare lines to see for yourself! Don't hesitate to send Kristin an email, or contact me, with any questions. Have a good day, everyone!

Tuesday, November 26, 2013


If you've been following my Birchbox posts (here & here), then you know they were supposed to send me a whole new box, to make up for the whole fiasco. Which was very nice. I received my box today, and was a little surprised that it's all the same items from my last box. But that actually turned out to be a good thing for you guys, because now you can win the items! I thought I'd do a little giveaway as a sort of "Welcome To My Blog!", since I'm just getting started, and as an opportunity to "meet" some of my readers. (There are some readers out there, right?!) And since I received these items for free, I thought I'd throw in an Ulta gift card as well (not pictured) as a "thank you" for taking the time to check out my blog. So keep reading for all of the details! 
November Birchbox & Ulta Giftcard giveaway. Anyone can enter. Click for more details!

So, the prize includes:
Vasanti Cosmetics BrightenUp! Enzymatic Face Rejuvenator.
- Color Club (mini) polish in "Top Shelf" 
TOCCA Crema de Mano in Cleopatra (hand cream- it smells amazing!)
-$10 Ulta Giftcard
To read more about the items in this birchbox, click here. (The chocolate that came with it was broken into tiny pieces, so it wasn't worth including)

Here's how you enter!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

** Please note that the first, and main step, to enter is commenting the blog. If you click "I did it" but there is no comment from you, that entry will be deleted! **

Remember, the contest ends on Sunday, Dec. 1. And keep in mind you can tweet about the giveaway to get one more entry each day! I know these giveaway "contraptions" above can be a little tricky, so please don't hesitate to ask if you don't understand how to use it. Have fun & good luck! 

Monday, November 25, 2013

Starter Makeup Kit for Beginners on a Budget

Starter makeup for beginners on a budget! |
We all have to start somewhere when it comes to makeup, so I have a list of 8 essentials for a beginner makeup kit. I wont go into too much detail about each product, because they all made my list for the same essential reason: they're easy to find, cheap, easy to use, and good quality. They also all make for a nice, natural look which I think is what each beginner should strive for: a natural face. I put them in the general order in which they should be applied (although if you want to apply your lip balm before the rest of your face.. go right ahead!) I've actually talked about a lot of these products before, so I'll include a link to each post where the item was mentioned. Here we go!

1. CoverGirl Outlast 3-in-1 Foundation, $11 [click]
-use with #8 foundation brush to apply 
2. Maybelline Fit Me Concealer, $7
3. Rimmel Stay Matte Pressed Powder $4 [click]
4. e.l.f. Studio Contouring Blush & Bronzing Powder, $3
-a great dupe for the Nars Laguna/Orgasm combo I talked about here
5. Wet n Wild Coloricon Eye Shadow, $3
-shown in "walking on egg shells" but any palette from this line is amazing
6. Maybelline Mega Plush Volume Mascara, $7 [click]
7. Baby Lips (original) or Baby Lips Dr. Rescue, $4 [click]
-some people love the original, some people don't. some people love the dr. rescue, some people don't. so I thought I'd include both and you can see what you like. 
8. Real Technique Brushes, $6-$9 [click]
-used to apply the foundation, powder, blush, bronzer, and eye shadow 

Stay tuned for a look featuring these products! I left off eyeliner, because I know a lot of beginners feel intimidated by it. And to be honest, I think its best to start off using a darker eye shadow and play around with it to line your eyes. There are lots of good affordable eyeliners out there, but sometimes the quality of the liner depends on the person using it. So if you're a beginner, try some eye liners and see what works best for your skill level! Have a great day everyone! 
Thursday, November 21, 2013

Thursday Thoughts...

Sometimes I just have some random thoughts, facts, ideas, or opinions and I just want to share them. So these are my completely random Thursday Thoughts.. (Mostly beauty related of course, because what else goes through my mind?!)

- I ordered the Naked 3 palette today!! I had to really think about whether or not I wanted it, not just for the idea of it, but because I thought I'd use it. And I have to say, I don't own any colors like those in the Naked 3 palette and I'd really like to experiment with some pink/rosy looks. Read my Naked 3 post here.

- I'm looking to try out some new foundations. I picked up a new True Match foundation because the one I had wasn't the right color. I remember liking it in the past so we'll see. I'm so picky about liquid foundations so its hard for me to tell you what is best when I've only tried a couple.. So I'm trying to broaden my horizons :) Are there any foundations you'd like me to try?

- I'm really trying to come up with some ideas for future blog posts. I'm taking any and all suggestions!

- I have Revlon ColorStay polish in "fall mood" on my nails right now and it is lasting forever! I talked about the polish and its long wear on yesterday's post. I'm not crazy about the color but the fact that it's staying on without chipping is making me want to keep wearing it.. there's no point in taking it off, right?

- ItsJudyTime tweeted me! If you're not big on YouTube beauty 'gurus' or vloggers, you probably wont care. But I'm a total nerd and am obsessed with Judy and her family so I was really excited when she tweeted me!! (I told her the name of her Michael Kors purse because she wasn't sure what it was called and she tweeted to thank me.. like I said, I'm a nerd!)

- I subscribed to Ipsy yesterday! I'm still keeping my Birchbox subscription, but I wanted to see if Ipsy is all its cracked up to be. It'll be nice to be able to compare the 2 boxes for you guys. After a few months I'll unsubscribe to whichever one I feel isn't making the cut. I'm still on Ipsy's waiting list though so who knows when I'll receive my first box.

- Ever since it got cold out I've been wanting a nice robe to keep warm while I'm home, or while I'm getting ready. I was being so picky about it and couldn't commit to one. Then I finallyyyyy ordered one from Kohls on the 13th, and it wont even be here until the 25th! That's slightly ridiculous if you ask me. I wish I had just driven the 40 minutes to the closest Kohls and bought it in-store!

- This is the time of year my skin usually starts getting all dry and itchy, and I haven't had that problem at all so far. I'm not complaining!

Okay I think that's it.. Randomness, right? Get used to it because its happening every Thursday! ;) Have a great day everyone!

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Favorites for Fall

Makeup Your Mind's Fall Favorites ||
When I love a product, I want to tell you guys about it. So I thought I'd do a collective post about all the things I'm loving this fall. As I've stated before, I looooove a pretty deep plum or red this fall, and I'm rocking it from head to toe! You can't go wrong with those colors on your nails, lips, clothes.. even cranberry eyes are big this fall! So before I started I wanted to mention those colors in general as "favorites". But now my list of other items I've been getting tons of use out of:

1. Maybelline Baby Lips Dr. Rescue in "Just Peachy" 
I wasn't a big fan of the original Baby Lips, especially the neon ones. I'm more of a Burt's Bees kinda girl, I like a minty taste/smell/feel and nothing fruity. I picked up the Baby Lips Dr. Rescue on a whim, and was pleasantly surprised. Apparently some people have an issue with the menthol smell but I actually liked that part, plus it goes away in less than a minute. The big shocker was the pigmentation. I got the Just Peachy because it was the only one that wasn't too pink or bright. Not only is it hydrating and soft as usual, it left a really sheer (but noticeable) light color on my lips that really gave the look of an effortless nude lip! This will definitely be a staple for me this fall. 

2. Revlon ColorStay Polish in "Rich Raspberry" 
First of all, just know that a favorite of mine in general is Revlon ColorStay polish. I have about 5 from that line and they really are the longest lasting polishes I own... as in, lasts almost 2 weeks! Right now I'm rocking "Fall Mood" but the "Rich Raspberry" is such a great polish because it's not too daring (if you don't like crazy dark polishes) but a great version of fall's hit color!

3. CoverGirl Outlast 3-in-1 Foundation
I've had this foundation since summer, and haven't been wearing it lately because my summer shade was too dark. I recently picked up a shade lighter, and fell in love with it all over again! I had been noticing my Revlon Colorstay foundation had been breaking up later in the day, and making me look a lot more oily than normal, so I thought it was a good time to change it up. I'm so glad I did! It claims to be a primer, concealer, and foundation all in one. I do still apply concealer, but I would definitely believe the primer part of it because of its lasting power. It feels thin and lightweight but definitely gives medium coverage! 

4. Victoria's Secret Angel "Dream" Perfume
I don't know what's wrong with me but I'm not a perfume kind of person. Don't get me wrong, I want to be, but I think I have weird body chemistry or something. I'll like a perfume in the bottle or on other people, but it never smells the same on me! So I've kind of given up on finding one I like. But on an impromptu visit to VS with my mom, we instantly liked what we smelled when we walked in. I asked what the perfume was, the sales girl showed me, and I bought it right away. Which is so not like me! I haven't bought myself a perfume in years, most of the scents I have are Christmas or birthday gifts. But I'm so glad I bought it. It actually smells nice on me and the scent lasts all day. I've gotten tons of compliments on it, so if I find out its limited edition, I'm definitely picking up a back-up! 

5. Revlon Just Bitten Kissable Balm Stain in Crush
I've already mentioned the Kissable Balm Stain in this post. I'm still rocking it and still loving it! I keep wanting to pick it up in more colors but for some reason I can't make a decision on which ones I want. But in general, I love the wearability, the color, the shine, and the way it feels on my lips! Go read more about it on my lip stain post, and pick one up for yourself!

6. Archer Farms Dark Chocolate Espresso Trail Mix
Okay, okay. I know it's not a beauty item, but its sooo good I think its worth mentioning! I came across it randomly in Target and couldn't say no. It's a yummy mix of chocolate covered almonds, praline almonds, mocha pecans, chocolate chips, hazelnuts and chocolate covered coffee beans. YUM! When I first tried it I wasn't sure if I loved it, but the next day I ended up finishing the bag. Whoops. If you're a coffee and chocolate lover, you need this trail mix. 

7. Too Faced Chocolate Soleil Bronzer
I try not to include too many high-end items because I know they aren't practical for everyone. This is one of those items I kept checking out, smelling, feeling, and testing in Ulta but kept resisting because it was pricey. But I finally gave in one day and bought it and I'm so glad. First of all, go smell it and you'll see why. It has an amazing chocolate smell (hence the name) and it is sooo yummy. Besides the smell, though, it has a creamy, not chalky, texture and goes on smooth. I was so afraid it would look orange on my skin, but it definitely doesn't. Its a matte color so perfect for contouring or just warming up your foundation.

Ahhh I tried so hard to not be long-winded about these products, but like I said, when I like something I just wanna talk about it! I love hearing from other people, too, and would love to hear what items you've been loving lately, beauty and non-beauty! 

Birchbox Update

I wanted to give a quick update to my Birchbox post. You can read all about it here. They left an item out of my box, no biggie, but I sent them an email anyway because I really wanted to try it. So they quickly responded and let me know they'd be sending me an replacement item. I got the replacement yesterday, and I was not happy :( It was sent in a thin paper envelop with a thin bubble wrap layer inside.. as soon as I saw it I worried it may be broken and I was right. The highlighter pencil was cracked all over, the lid was so bent I cant remove it, and the tip (the highlighter itself) came out and partially melted inside of the cap. Grrrr. So once again, I emailed the same customer service rep that I dealt with previously, and she apologized and offered to send me a whole new box for free to make up for it. So although I was a tad bit frustrated, I was very happy with their response and resolution to the issue. So I'll be updating you again once I get my box to show you what's in it.. what's better than a bonus Birchbox, right?! 

If you're unsure about ordering a Birchbox, don't let my experience scare you. I've actually had nothing but a positive experience with them for over 6 months now, this is the first time I've had an issue, and like I said, their customer service was actually very understanding and helpful. 

To see another November Birchbox with different items, check out my friend Denise's post about her Birchbox items here. She usually gets different items than in my box, and gave a detailed description of the products she got. So check her out to see what other products Birchbox has to offer! 
Tuesday, November 19, 2013

The Best Dry Shampoo: Full Review on Batiste Dry Shampoo

Dry Shampoo Review/Recommendation |

Yesterday's post was all about the best and worst dry shampoos, out of the ones I've tried anyway. There are some really fancy-schmancy, expensive dry shampoos out there, which I'm sure work great, but I happen to love my much cheaper option. 

I first heard about Batiste dry shampoo in the YouTube world. After hearing so much about it, and trying other brands, I had to see for myself whether it lived up to the hype or not. The answer, of course, was yes. It does live up to the hype.. its everything they said it was! It does its #1 job, absorbing excess hair oil, all while adding extra lift and boost. 

The good: Like I said, it does it's job and more. I use it even when my hair doesn't really need to be washed, just to add some extra lift. It does a great job of "sucking" up all the oils and making my hair look good as new. Be sure to check back to the end of yesterday's post on how to use dry shampoo properly, to get the most out of the product! 

The bad: The only bad thing about some of the Batiste shampoos I've tried is the smell, but they aren't all bad. There are tons of variations and smells, some good, some not so good. I like to stick to "fresh" or "original" because they're just basic, clean scents. Its definitely a long-lasting smell too. I used the shampoo this morning and I can still smell it almost 8 hours later.. so be sure to get a scent you like, because if not you're stuck with it! "Wild" has the cutest leopard print bottle, but unfortunately the worst scent. (Unless you like smelling like old lady perfume!) 

Batiste is available at Ulta; however, I have the best luck at Marshalls or TJ Maxx! I can usually find the 2 scents I use the most, and they're always a couple dollars cheaper. They retail around $8.. and don't forget to get the mini bottle to keep in your purse! Mine has come in handy way more than I expected. 

Oh-- and one more thing. I've heard lots of brunettes say they can't use dry shampoo because it leaves a white cast on their dark hair. But Batiste found a way to fix that! They came out with a line for brunettes and blondes... I have definitely seen one for red hair (or at least a reddish-brown as opposed to the dark-deep brown) but I haven't seen that on their website or on Ulta's website so I'm not sure if they discontinued it :( The brunette version has a slight brown tint to it to avoid that white powdery effect. I like to use the blonde version for when my roots grow out and I haven't been able to make a trip to the salon. It surprisingly makes my roots like much lighter and less obvious!

So, as you can see, I'd definitely recommend this product. It works for thin hair like mine, thick hair, blondes, brunettes and there are tons of options for everyone, plus they're constantly adding new scents. Go pick it up, and maybe try it on clean hair to get the hang of it. Or try it on a day you wont really be going out, to see if you like it first. Once you try it and love it (like I know you will), you'll start going through a can every few weeks, like me!
Monday, November 18, 2013

All you need to know about Dry Shampoo...

All about dry shampoos. Best & worst brands and tips on how to use it!

I have never been one of those girls who could get away with second or third-day hair. Not without looking like a homeless person anyway. My hair can be very temperamental. It gets super greasy overnight, no matter what, even if I wash it right before bed. I can't let it air dry, because it gets greasy. I can't brush it too often, because, you guessed it, it gets greasy. Its not that I have particularly oily hair, it is just very fine and straight and, like I said, temperamental. 

I know my hair well, what it does and doesn't respond to, so I always assumed dry shampoo would never work for me.. and for a while, I thought I was right in my assumption. I tried brand after brand, and it always made my hair look even worse by leaving a weird, oddly enough, oily film on my hair, or it just weighed my hair down. The result was always a gross, oily, messy pony tail that made me look like I just crawled out of bed. Like everything else, your hair is different than mine, and you may have a different experience with products than I did. But I'll list the dry shampoos I've tried from worst to best, so you can have an idea of what to try, and see what works for you. 

Horrible: Tresemee Fresh Start Dry Shampoo - This was the worst of the worst, and after reading some other reviews on the same product, I think that's the general consensus. This one, more than any other, left my hair looking greasier than before. It sort of just matted my hair down with a weird film.

Bad: Garnier Fructis Volume Extend - I bought this one after hearing Tracy & Stephanie at eleventhgorgeous on Youtube rave about it. Unfortunately, I had a different experience with it. Apparently its not just a dry shampoo but a "instant bodifier", which I would agree with. It did add a little bit of lift to my roots, but not for long, and it definitely didn't absorb any excess oil. 

Okay: Dove Invigorating Refresh+Care Dry Shampoo - This one wasn't horrible, because I loved the smell. Aside from absorbing oils, dry shampoos should smell good to cover that dirty hair smell, and if I could use this solely for the smell, I would. (Hair perfume, maybe?) Unfortunately, it didn't do the first part of its job, so it wasn't a keeper for me. 

Better: "Not Your Mother's" Brand Clean Freak Refreshing Dry Shampoo - After trying this one, I started to see the light at the end of the tunnel. It really did do something. I was actually able to go out in public without washing my hair, and it felt so freeing! It definitely absorbed the oils in my hair, and although the smell wasn't that great, it did its main job; however, it didn't last too long. If you use this one, it would probably be best to keep a bottle with you to touch up and refresh later on. 

Best: Batiste Dry Shampoo - This. is. my. favorite. It does the job, has tons of variety and different smells, adds extra volume and lift, and isn't terribly expensive. Be sure to read my in-depth review on Batiste Dry Shampoo, all about it, and why I love it! 

How to Use Dry Shampoo

It may seem self-explanatory, but I'm willing to bet more than half of you are doing it wrong.. because I was too! I would just spray it on my roots, and brush it through with either a brush, comb, or my fingers, just like all the bottles said. But then I found an amazing infographic on Pinterest all about the correct way to use dry shampoo. The secret is to let it set. Spray it on, and wait. It needs a few minutes to do its job, which means it has to stay on your hair a bit to absorb the oil. Duh! Right? Why didn't I think of that?! I like to apply it by lifting it up at the crown, and all over, and spraying directly onto the root. Then I leave it. I'll use that time to apply the last bit of my makeup, lay out my clothes for the day, or make some coffee. Wait about 7-10 minutes and let it suck it all up. Then I just use my fingers to rub it all in, kind of like I'm scrubbing my hair as if I was washing it. You'd be amazed at just how clean and "normal" your hair looks. It looks just like newly washed/dried hair! For the first time, I can use dry shampoo, and join the rest of the public without looking like a hobo :) Try it! I bet you'll be as shocked as I was!

So did you learn anything? Have you used these dry shampoos as well? What sort of results did you have? Don't forget to check out my Batiste Dry Shampoo full review
Saturday, November 16, 2013

Brushes on a Budget!

brushes on a budget! best makeup brushes under $10 -
The makeup tools you use are as important as the makeup itself. There are a lot of expensive brushes out there (Sigma, MAC, and Bobbi Brown, to name a few) and yes, a lot of times they are worth the investment, but there are other basics out there that can be just as amazing, and don't drain your wallet. As you can see, Real Techniques Brushes are some of my favorites, and you can't go wrong with their line. They have lots of sets and travel sets, with brushes that I love as well, but only come in a set, so keep reading to find more about my favorite brush sets! Here's my top favorite brushes, all under $10! 

1. Real Techniques Expert Face Brush, $9
It took me a while to get used to this brush because its so dense. It almost feels as if you're just smearing a layer of foundation around on the surface, which seemed weird at first, but I quickly saw that it made for an amazing, flawless result. Perfect for any liquid foundation.

2. Eco Tools Large Powder Brush, $8
This is the softest, fluffiest brush I own. I love it so much, I bought a second one for backup. I use it to apply my setting powder directly after my foundation, and it allows the powder to glide on smoothly without affecting my foundation. Definitely a must-have.

3. Real Techniques Blush Brush, $9
I don't see many blush brushes with this unique dome shape. It makes for precise application and perfect for just hitting the apples of your cheeks, or anywhere else, plus its really soft. Can also be used for bronzer.

4. Real Techniques Contour Brush
This brush is only available in the Core Collection set. I'll talk more about my favorite sets later in this post. Like the blush brush, it has a dome shape, (but is much smaller) and is perfect for contouring in the hollows of your cheeks, or apply a highlighter. I've even used it to blend my under-eye concealer, and even though that isn't its purpose at all, it works well for both! 

5. Elf Essentials Blending Brush, $1
This is why I love Elf.. $1!! You can't beat the price, especially since the brush is actually pretty nice. Its a really great crease brush, and the perfect size to do it all. I have noticed a tiny bit of shedding, but considering you can buy a new one for a buck, it just doesn't bother me that much. 

6. Real Techniques Shading Brush, $6
I love, love, love this brush. That's all you need to know, right?! I use it for lots of things, mainly for applying a darker shade to my outer corner; but I also use it to smudge out my eyeliner when I want a smokier outer corner, or smudge it out to make a more natural, imprecise line. You'll probably find lots of uses for it as well! 
It was hard for me to make this list without mentioning sets. A lot of the brushes I use came in sets and aren't sold individually so I wanted to include those as well. And they're by- surprise, surprise- Real Techniques and Eco Tools! 

1. Real Techniques Core Collection 
Includes: (L-R)
Countour Brush, Pointed Foundation Brush, Detailer Brush, Buffing Brush
-- I obviously already included the Contour Brush, but this set is definitely worth mentioning because of the Buffing Brush. Its my other favorite foundation brush. I had this one before the Expert Face Brush and was my first experience with RT brushes. Its amazing for creme foundations, but works well with liquids as well. You can create such a flawless look, especially with Revlon Colorstay Whipped foundation, by buffing it in with circular motions. The other 2 brushes are unique and I've found multiple uses for them (from applying concealer to applying setting powder). Oh and it also comes with the travel case! The set is $18 and can be purchased here or in-store at Ulta.

2. Eco Tools Mineral Set
Includes: (L-R)
Mineral Powder Brush, Concealer Brush, Eye Shading Brush, Mini Kabuki
-- The Eye Shading brush is my "everything" brush. It wasn't included in my list, mainly because it can only be bought in the set, and unfortunately its hard to find in stores. I use this brush for EV-ER-EE-THING. Its perfect for applying all-over color, but the shape is perfect for the crease, and for blending. I like the Kabuki because it really is mini, and perfect for travel. This set comes in the case you see pictured, and is also great for travel, or a great place to store lipsticks in your purse! The set retails for only $10 and can be purchased here, or in-store at WalMart, Rite Aid, or other drugstores (if you can find it!)

If you've tried any of these, let me know! I'd love to hear if you like them or not, or if there are any other inexpensive brushes out there that have made the cut! Comment below!