Hey guys! It's time for the main Gift Guides for the gift giving season. This first one is going to be skincare and makeup, since that's what this blog is mainly for. The next part (or parts, who knows) is going to focus on other categories. These are the big ones because it's not about one store, one brand specifically, specific price points, or the normal categories that I talk about.
Alright guys let's chat about some holiday shopping. I'm going to start with specific stores and then afterwards I'm going to give you just general gift ideas that aren't necessarily all beauty related. In other words quite a few posts are coming.
Starting with Beautylish. As you know I love them. I get sent products from them quite often. I also shop their site quite often. So this is going to be a straight to the point guide of what I think is really good.
Ok guys...it's that time. Let's talk Christmas. I know you've probably been wondering why I hadn't discussed it very much yet but the reason is I just wanted to have and enjoy my Thanksgiving with my friends and family before we talked shopping. Typically, I have all presents bought by the end of Sept and at the very least I know what I'm getting someone just waiting for a sale. This year has been different.
"Its the holiday season (the holiday season) so whoop dee doo and"......ok I'm obviously in the Christmas spirit! I thought it would be fun to do a quick round up of my fave red lip colors and formula that suits the Holiday season. I'm really in love with red lips right now so I think I'm gonna keep it going into 2018. Red is my new neutral. Ok maybe not, but I do love it right now.
Lets get into it. I'm going to include liquid lips, lip glosses, lip toppers and lipsticks. So hopefully there will be something for everyone.
The sale is over, Christmas is coming up. It's absolute chaos with all the dang sales we're seeing. This year has beat anything I've ever seen Black Friday wise and Holiday sales. I'm not complaining but I gotta pump the breaks. So lets talk about what I did actually pick up for the Friends and Family sale.
I've got to play with most of it so I can actually give you my thoughts on a little of it too.
"It's the most wonderful time of the yearrrrrr........", NO! It's the most stressful, wonderful time of the year, am I right? Don't get me wrong I love Christmas and I LOVE giving gifts but sometimes it can get overwhelming, especially if you wait till November/December to start. Nothing wrong with waiting though because you'll no doubt find a better deal and score some awesome stuff. I however, refused to be stressed this holiday season and literally bought my first Christmas present for this year, after Christmas of last year. I found a major sale so I picked something up for someone. Then I waited a bit and got started in February, yes that's right, February. So I've been buying a present or two each month and I've been done for quiet a while. Still have to pick up some candy though for my husband.
Anyway, since I know it can be difficult to decide what to get, I'm doing my usual gift guide. This year however, I went a bit different. Usually I only do Sephora I think but this year, I have stuff from Sephora, Ulta, MAC, Lush, etc. None of this was sponsored by the way. I just wanted to give you more options.
So starting with Sephora, let's talk makeup. There are several things out right now in their "value sets" that would be great gifts. I just narrowed it down to what I thought would be good gifts that I either have or would be super excited to get.
Skincare is tricky. So I don't usually recommend going that way unless you know what someone likes or they're just really wanting to try new stuff, or possibly they don't have a skin care regimen to begin with. So for that I found some things that I think would be good gifts to start with and then good gifts to just try and see if you would like it.
Next up is a couple really good sets for hair. Some people are makeup junkies, some are skin care junkies, and some are hair care junkies.
Now lets head on over to Ulta. I picked out a few things only because they have massive Black Friday sales. So definitely check that out on Black Friday online or in store.
MAC always puts out beautiful Holiday sets. They put out collections 24./7 but Holiday sets are always beautiful and you know there will be a pigment set, eyeshadow palette, lip sets, and so on. Those are the staples. Now I will say of all the stuff they release I stick to face powders like blushes, skin finishes, highlighters and so on, loose pigment sets (you can't go wrong there), and lip sets (again you can't go wrong). For gift's though I would stick to lip sets or the blush and highlight duo I've included. It's out of stock online but it's usually still available in store. I don't care for their eye palettes they just aren't the best quality if I'm being completely honest. I do however LOVE these lip gloss sets this year. I love all of them but especially the nude and the red set. They're mini but still pretty good sized and the colors are beautiful. I would give that as a gift for sure especially for a teen who's into makeup or a gift for a friend.
I'm also bringing in some bath products and the most unique bath products I've found have to be from LUSH. They make fantastic products period not just bath stuff and it's hand made I believe as well. They also always have gift sets. So I included some gift sets I thought would be the best value and looked the coolest. As you can see there are some that have more than bath bombs, bath melts, and bubble bars, they also have some soaps and shower jellies. There are more online of course that offer shampoo's, conditioners, and so on. So if you know someone who really enjoys their bath time and likes to pamper theirself. I would get them some LUSH products for sure. The bath bombs alone would make them enjoy it 10x more with all the colors and scents swirling around them. Also I find that unless you have an enormous tub it's best to break the bath bombs, bubble bars or bath melts apart so that you get more use out of them. So maybe half now, and half later sorta thing.
I'm going to leave some honorable mentions here:
Morphe Gun Metal Brush Set has 7 brushes from the Gun Metal line that I love, and is $50. I'm sure there will be a Black Friday sell though. This will be under "Brush Sets" on their site. Pay attention to the shipping though. Shipping was $10 the last time I got something from Morphe and I won't lie that turned me off to buying from them lately. They went to USPS for a short while and it was great but now they're back to strictly Fedex I think. That may have been for just the palette I was buying though. Never the less, pay attention to that.
Bauble Bar Holiday Sets. Bauble Bar has some really beautiful boxed sets and jewelry pieces right now for the Holidays. I really love their boxed set of statement earrings they have. They also have a code for 30% off their Holiday pieces right now with code: Holiday30.
Makeup Geek has and is often releasing bundles of eyeshadows with palette included. They recently had a warm berry toned fall one. It almost always has at least 2 foiled shadows in it. Watch Marlena's twitter and also their Instagram for flash sales that pop up. I believe last year they did a 12 days of Christmas sale or something of the sort. You get 9 shadows typically and always for a good price. I love Makeup Geek shadows as you well know. **UPDATE** They have released the preview for Black Friday Sales which you can scope out now. It's killer! https://www.makeupgeek.com/sales.html
If you know someone who is a true makeup junkie then storage can be a good gift. Some people don't get excited over that but I do. Clear acrylic drawer containers are awesome cause they can be stacked and de clutter your vanity. Also a brush holder is always nice. I used wine glasses for the longest time until I found a turning six compartment pencil holder I guess was what it was designed for but I put my brushes in it and it works wonderfully plus I love that it spins around in a circle.
As always for the person who has everything, gift cards are great. I love gift cards. If you won't be able to see someone to exchange presents due to distance or whatever than you can send e-gift cards through email, I've done that as well. Some people say it's not personal or they just never use them but I always put mine to good use.
Here's some stores that will have black friday and cyber monday sales:
Happy shopping guys and be kind to one another. This is the season of giving. Merry Christmas!!
I am in no way, shape, or form, an expert or pro at Special Effects makeup, makeup artistry, Halloween Makeup, or Body Painting. HOWEVER, the plus side of me being not a pro is that I know what it's like to be a beginner and wanting to venture past the face paints in the Halloween aisle at Walmart (not hating, because some of them I do use as a base). So really just in the last two years is when I started looking at other brands and places and figuring out what does the best for me. So I do have some tips and tricks that I've picked up along the way.
Don't disregard how useful actual makeup can be. For instance the NYX Jumbo Pencils are really good bases and there have been several times that I've used NYX Milk Jumbo Pencil as a white base for my entire face just make sure you set it with powder though heavily because it is a cream, it will heat up and smudge and move. So when they go on sale for buy 1 get 1 half off or whatever at Ulta I jump on that. They're great bases for eyes but also good from an artistry stand point. Also my go to, ride or die, ace, number 1, thing I use for detailing is liquid liner and my preference is Ardency Inn Punker Liner that is waterproof. I have an affiliate code I'll leave it below if you want to use it in the future to save some money. They are so good to me they know how much I love it and keep me STOCKED. I believe I have 3 right now. Keep in mind I use it EVERY TIME I do a themed look for Halloween, Snapchat Filter or whatever. Plus liquid liner is the absolute best for Leopard or Cat looks. It makes life so much easier in my opinion. Another thing I really like is contouring, no matter what color you need, with eyeshadows and a tapered contour brush. Also for shading and bringing dimension to things you've drawn to make them appear to be "on top of the skin" it's easier to use matte eye shadows that you have and brushes to shade. A really good person to watch for stuff like this and all around general bad ass-ness for Body Painting and Makeup Artistry is Jordan Hanz. She does 31 days of Halloween tutorials, she's a stickler for details and she's honestly taught me so much because she explains why she does this and that. I'll link her youtube channel here.
What to buy. I'm gonna tell you if you're going into this as a person who's gonna do this more than just once a year buy some palettes. Get a Mehron palette. I have one that I got off Amazon from Mehron it wasn't expensive I think it was just $25 at most. It has 8 really good sized water activated paints. The second thing is a grease paint palette, or cream paint palette. Whether that is the Make Up For Ever flash palette, Color Wheels from Ben Nye are also a good choice and much less overwhelming and more cost efficient, iMagic also has a flash palette that I actually have as well and I have no complaints about it. It's available on Amazon and it's definitely the cheapest but looks dead on for the Make Up For Ever flash palette. I prefer to buy palettes that are primary and secondary colors which is bright colors like your basic blue, green, red. white, black. purple, so on so forth. Then if you want to get into flesh colored ones later you could but I'd rather buy those as singles or just use my RCMA palette. That's just me though.
Now if you aren't sure you'd use that and don't want to have palettes just kicking around not being used I recommend getting single paints from Frends Beauty by brands like Global Colours, Ben Nye, Kryolan, etc. They have plenty of options and you're probably looking at like a $7-$12 price for one single color. If you don't already know you can sign up for a free membership with them and always get 10% off your purchase (no I'm not affiliated, I just try to save you all some money). Also Snazaroo has even more afforable single paints and palettes on Amazon.
Water Activated vs Cream Paints. THIS..........took me a while to figure out my preference. I went for cream when I first started because I was more comfortable with that and I knew they would be full coverage. HOWEVER, I found that I prefer "water activated" paints much more because they can be very full coverage, the products lasts longer, and they dry down matte and don't have to be "set". You can also go over any patchy areas with a cream paint if you want more coverage. Or a lot of times you can "highlight" with a cream paint. Like if you painted you're whole face or body a cobalt blue, you could go over it messy like with a sky blue or a paler blue cream shade and that would bring your look from a flat one shade, to a more dimensional base without really having to do much like shading and what have you because you would already have that going on somewhat. It's all personal preference though, just remember to set the living crap out of cream paint with powder. Preferably a powder that is the same color as your cream paint. Just for that added color.
Reference Picture. Whether you're re-creating an artist's work (by the way always give credit for that, it's just polite), or a drawing, cartoon, comic book, what have you. Have a picture nearby, pulled up, so you can look at it quickly and look often so that you know you're on par with what you're doing. Also, it'll make it easier for you to find places or ways to make the look you're own if you want to change it up, if space is an issue. For example I just did the Bride of Frankenstein and I had a reference picture for the stitches but it didn't mean that I did every single detail like the picture. I made it my own by choosing to add in eyeshadows, a sculpted brows, ombre lip but still keeping to the traditional stitch line, screws on the temple and the major identifiers that signify that "yes, that is a Bride of Frankenstein look".
Buy separate brushes for artistry and special effects like blood or whatever. This isn't exactly necessary it's just my preference that I find has made things easier for me. I buy actual art brushes and I also buy separate sponges. I get the sponges on the stick in the craft section even. They make for really great "texture looks" with water activated paints. The synthetic artist brushes work really well with fake blood but it's almost like a putty so it can ruin a brush if you aren't careful to wash it pretty quickly. I don't use these brushes for blending or shading with powders just when I'm dealing with water activated paints or sfx products like blood, dirt, mud or whatever.
Using adhesive. I apply adhesive with a disposable wedge sponge. If I didn't have liquid latex or something I've used eyelash glue several times and it works really well for minor things. It's not gonna hold very heavy things but for my Pearl Mask I used eyelash glue and it done well. Liquid latex is a bit more stout. If you are allergic to latex you can use gelatin, makeup wax, spirit gum. Some people use Elmers Glue or white glue. To each their own I guess. Also when using it, try to work in small sections. For instance if you want it to look like skin is peeling or whatever take tissue paper and tear it into little pieces, then glue it and then paint it. You may have to add glue over top of it before you paint it. For textured looks or building up features like more prominent cheek bones, or a large swollen bruise use torn cotton and work in layers: glue, apply, glue, apply, glue, apply till you get the shape and height that you want.
Don't be afraid to use blood. Blood is very cool to work with and it can take an "ok" scary/gory look and turn it into a more detailed real like effect, that looks far more detailed and complicated than what it actually is. The best thing I ever bought was Ben Nye Thick Blood that I got from Frends Beauty, it's very much like a jam/putty texture and I love it. I also use regular ol' vampire blood from the halloween aisle at Walmart when I need a thinner blood to run, or splatter, or whatever. If you don't want to go that route another thing that I used to do is start with a black shadow for the center of the cut or whatever, then use a burgundy shadow around it to show irritation to the skin, then start adding red liquid lipsticks in different shades, red cream lipsticks to add different texture and then glosses to give the bloody effect and it worked just fine.
So those are all my tips. I hope you have a happy and safe Halloween. I'm gonna leave some of my fave looks from this year at the bottom. Enjoy!!
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I am determined to find something from the new KVD launches that I like. We all know I didn't like the MetalMatte palette but I really think that it was just my palette. I've seen where plenty of people did like theirs.
So I decided to get the liquid lip set above. I knew that I already liked the formula, and these are mini's which I prefer to full size actually. I think they have more control. You get 8 liquid mini's and 2 new shades. What actually sold me was that these were shades I hadn't really seen much before. Like you always see Lolita, Lolita 2, Vampira, Exorcism, etc from the liquid lip line. Those are the ones most talked about and usually included in "best of" sets or as point perks and deluxe samples. This one had completely different shades and it also included Echo which is a Navy shade that is kinda popular, but not seen that much. I had also wanted Echo but couldn't justify buying the big dog. So I seen this set and jumped on it.
This set also comes with 2 new shades: Plath and Roxy. Plath I love, Roxy is good in theory but a bit patchy which you will see in the swatches.
So the 8 shades you get are:
Plath: deep russet red ( a red/brown with brown being the strong undertone it.)
Santa Sangre: Poison Apple (a bright neutral classic red)
Mother: Dusty Mauve Pink (a brighter mauve not dusty in my opinion)
Lovesick: Mauve Nude ( a cool toned pink nude)
Backstage Bambi: Vivid Hot Pink (accurate description)
L.U.V: Rich Violet (vibrant, bright, violet fuchsia)
Roxy: New shade. Bright Grape (accurate)
Echo: Satin Navy Blue (accurate again)
So those are the shades in Sephora's description and then mine. Below I'm gonna give you swatches of all 8 on the lips. Same great formula in all of these. Didn't expect nothing less. The only one that was troublesome was Roxy and that sucks cause it's new, but I truly think it's because it's a true purple and purple is the hardest shade in powder form, cream, or liquid, to pull off and make perfect in every way. I still think it could be built up more and made a bit more even. I had around two coats on in the swatch. Echo has two coats as well. The rest are just one go. Plath, the other new shade, is gorgeous. It's essential for fall. I freaking love it. I love the other shades as well but I'm a sucker for brown undertones.
My fave shades out of this are:
The others are great too, but these are my picks.
As you've probably seen, Sephora has all sorts of new launches for the Holidays. Like the years past Hourglass dropped a new Ambient palette. This time it's all brand new products and shades with the introduction to a new Ambient powder which is "Surreal Light" that they have infused in the other powders in the palette as well.
There are two blushes:
Surreal Glow - a more neutral mildly peach shade
Surreal Effect - a rosy pink shade that's brighter than you would think but wearable
Surreal Bronze Light - a cool toned bronzer that they formulated with the idea of "contour" in mind
Surreal Strobe Light - a impressively pigmented champagne highlighter
Finishing powder in Surreal Light - a pigmented powder that could almost act as a highlighter in my opinion but very neutral in it's undertone not as champagne as the Surreal Strobe Light. It's described as nude and that's totally accurate. Nude but not translucent.
This palette is a travel palette so bear that in mind. It's quite small. You get .04 oz of the 4 other shades and then .14 oz of the new Ambient Powder. Totaling 5 powders all together and .3 oz of product. I won't lie this is a very small palette, with not a lot of product. However, the powders inside are all new and limited edition. They also can't be beat in my opinion. The packaging is a marble look but it is plastic. It's absolutely B-E-A-utiful. I am disappointed with how small the other products are but packaging wise it's the same size as last years palette, but last years palette had 6 powders all the same size this has 5 powders, one that is quite big and then 4 that aren't. The one thing I notice in this is there is a lot of specs of glitter in there. It doesn't really bother me but just so you know there is some what seems to be glitter or shimmer in this palette. Not something that I notice in regular Ambient Powders or Ambient Blushes. I definitely find I reach for this since it has a cooler toned bronzer, a finishing powder, blushes and highlight. So I do use this a lot. I definitely take it with me traveling. So far, it's been really beneficial and something that I've used every day.
Everything has performed as all Hourglass products do, and that's beautifully. I expected no less from them. They apply wonderful, blend wonderful, look and feel really natural on the skin. They're all around what is totally expected with a bonus of being brand new and not something you would already have. I think this would make for an awesome gift as well. It's luxurious, it's got everything you need and none of the powders are overpowering, so I think most everyone would really like it as far as a face palette goes.
This is $80 which is the same price as last years Ambient Palette I believe. Hourglass is very expensive in general so I'm not surprised by the price but none the less for as small as the palette is, I think you should get more product or it be priced less. The smaller powders are the same size as the travel size Ambient Powders that go for $22. So if you were to multiply the travel size single powder cost by 4 for the 4 small shades you get it would be $88 for the four smaller powders alone. Then another roughly $30 for the larger powder even though a travel size ambient powder is only .04 oz and the price is $22 which is half the price of a full sized powder but not half the product amount. So that would be over $100 basically with how they seem to price things. Which I still find ridiculous but nothing I can do about that. A full size Ambient Powder has more product in it than this entire palette. An Ambient Powder has .35 oz for $46 a pop. Where this is 5 shades and a total weight of .3 oz for $80.
Again I'm going to remind you that this is limited edition so when it's gone, and it will be gone eventually, it's really gone. Also, Sephora has a fabulous return policy as I've stated many times before. So if you didn't like it, or found you didn't use it enough to justify the price you could always return it. The friends and family sale will be coming in November, this may or may not be available then so if you want to wait for that, it would be a good time to get it. So here's the link for the Surreal Lighting palette. I haven't bought any of the Hourglass palettes they've released other than the eye shadow palettes, they've never held any interest for me because shades were being repeated. This one was entirely new which is why I wanted it. It won't be for everyone, definitely not justifiable for everyone, but it is different and I really like it.
Valentines Day is upon us. So I've put together some looks that range from dramatic to neutral to festive.
The one above is typical girly and festive. It has glitter, it's soft, and pink.
The star of the show is Makeup Geek Halo Sparkler which is a soft cool toned pink glitter. The other shades are Makeup Geek as well and they are Sorbet, Cupcake, Bitten, Corrupt, and Mai Tai.
Lashes are Violet Voss "Vamptress" lashes.
The key thing to remember, as always is: Bigger blending brushes for lighter colors, smaller blending and dense brushes for darker colors. I use a pencil brush for black, dark brown, and greys. Going back to that biggest fluffy brush to blend out harsh lines. Then using a flat stiff brush to apply glitter or pigment. If you use glitter or a sparkler you'll need glitter glue if your using a pigment you can just wet the brush with eye drops or facial spray.
This look is very neutral, it's rose gold. I used Smashbox Art. Color. Love palette and the color Oxidize specifically. Also Ardency Inn Rose Gold is another good option. I'm just blending it with brown colors, but not taking away from the Rose Gold look. So basically you could achieve this by just sweeping a Rose Gold all over your lid and blend. It's that easy.
The lashes are House of Lashes "Siren" lashes. Also very simple looking.
Lips are YSL Tint Oil in 5. Which is Cherry I think. So basically just a super glossy lip that magnifies your natural lip color.
This look is super dark and dramatic with very festive lips.
The eyes are:
MUG: Corrupt, Mai Tai, Sorbet, Cupcake, Poppy, Bitten
Star Crushed Minerals: Phantasmic glitter
House of Lashes: Siren lashes
Vamp and Sweet Talker from ABH. This is an ombre lip. Here is the link for another ombre lip you could do that's very Valentine's Day appropriate and also the same technique as this one.
This is a super colorful, dramatic and edgy look.
The colors are pretty simple:
Ardency Inn "Royal"
MUG Curfew, Corrupt, Mai Tai, and Poppy (Mai Tai is in the inner corner and lower lash line some)
Violet Voss Wendy Glitter
Colour Pop Swerve gel liner
Nubounsom lashes in Dragon Li. (Which are really dramatic, you could also use Violet Voss Vamptress or Iconic lashes from HOL)
This look is very soft and neutral with just a touch of pink here and there.
The lips are Gerard Cosmetics "Rodeo Drive"
The eyes are:
Makeup Geek Mai Tai, Corrupt, Bitten, Latte, Cocoa Bear. Brown shadow on the lower lashline and black on the top.
Nubounsom Bengal lashes
ABH Brow Definer
The face products are worth mentioning as well. Becca Aqua Luminous Foundation for that really healthy look, Makeup Geek Romance blush for a healthy glow to the cheeks. Makeup Geek Break Up and Infidelity contour pans. I baked the face with RCMA No Color Powder (I get mine at Frends Beauty). Benefit Shy Beam Dandelion which is a matte highlight and there is a video here with how I use the RCMA and Shy Beam, and where I place it.
I'm from Tennessee. I'm a makeup and skincare lover. I have always enjoyed creating looks but I love to help people with product knowledge and application even more. I've been able to do these things because God has seen fit to bless me with the opportunity.