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During the blur of moving across the country the last month or so, I picked up a few new makeup items. Some were budget buys and some were the highest beauty splurges in the history of my makeup buying existence. We’re talking $3 concealer and $80+ eyeshadow. I don’t discriminate when it comes to beauty. All are welcome in my collection. I’ve used several of these for a few weeks now and I wanted to share my thoughts thus far. A couple are already absolute favorites and must-tries. Some I wonder if my head was on straight when I purchased them. There are a few I have not used yet, but I’ll give you the scoop on why I thought they’d be ideal for me (and maybe you, too).
Drunk Elephant C-Firma Day Serum, $80 | This was the only product I purchased myself from the recent 15% off Sephora sale. I couldn’t believe it myself. I must have been in a coma. It’s a pricey one, but here’s the back story: I’ve been using a Vitamin C serum for at least a year now (I’ve used the Timeless brand, Paula’s Choice, and Glossier). I love Vitamin C serums. I think they’re incredible at lightening hyperpigmentation from old acne scars and it’s a wonderful antioxidant aimed to help protect the skin from aging. But everyone who is a skin care addict raves about this product, so a week before the sale, I picked up a mini size to test it out.
The product is pricey mainly because of the packaging. The way Drunk Elephant packages this serum allows it to stay fresh for close to ONE YEAR. Most Vitamin C serums in the little pipette droppers go bad in 3-4 months. Once a Vitamin C serum goes from clear to yellow/orange, it’s oxidized and no longer working. I got tired of throwing away half used bottles of serum and figured if I’m buying this once/year, it’s paying for itself.
I love this! It’s a watery serum infused with a little bit of marula oil to help hydrate. I don’t find it too heavy on my oily skin and I saw a difference in brightness and texture within one week of using this formula… hence why I ordered the full size.
I haven’t started using this yet, but I’m slightly worried the alcohol content in this may be a bit too drying. Here’s a review from a blogger I trust. She’s a fan.
BENTON Aloe Propolis Soothing Gel, ~$13-19 | This is another K Beauty buy and something I picked up because I’m running low on my beloved Koh Gen Do Moisture Spa Gel (the moisturizer I use at night). I know it’s not exactly the cheapest moisturizer, so as the beauty junkie I am, I am trying this one because it has similar claims and less than half the price. It’s extremely lightweight – even more lightweight than the Moisture Spa Gel – but may be perfect for the warmer summer months coming up if you’re oily like me. Stay tuned.
Tom Ford Eyeshadow Quad, Nude Dip; $82 | I almost choked on that price. This was a purchase I honestly questioned my sanity buying. But I’m an eye makeup girl. I can’t get enough eyeshadow. HELP! I’ve seen these stunning palettes on many Instagrammer’s feeds and just had to know: WHY do people think these shadows are worthy of $80+!? My most expensive ‘high end’ shadows (until this purchase) were my Charlotte Tilbury quads and I adore those. After trying Nude Dip (which I figured was the easiest to wear/everyday quad), I’m ambivalent.
I’ll tell you one thing: these shadows have absolutely ZERO fall out. I am actually mind boggled every time I use it thinking I should be seeing dust particles everywhere. The pigmentation is there; they remind of Urban Decay in pigmentation, application, and longevity; but just no fallout. Other than that, I don’t get the hype. Maybe they just make for pretty Instagram photos? I’m still feeling it out but at least with this particular palette, I believe you can get the exact same look [with a ton more shadows for $30 less] if you have the original Urban Decay Naked1 palette.
Tom Ford Lip Color, Spanish Pink; $53 | Another purchase I made while comatose, this Tom Ford lipstick in Spanish Pink is beyond acceptable for a stick of wax I’ll end up eating over the course of using it. A $53 snack, essentially. But it’s the most flattering light, warm peach pink on my skin and I could not find a dupe of this anywhere. I’ve lusted after this specific shade for years – always trying it on in my local Neiman Marcus and Nordstrom whenever I could. However, I’m a little disappointed in the longevity of the color. To be honest, I think my Charlotte Tilbury lipsticks blow these out of the water in terms of formula. If only CT made an exact color dupe of Spanish Pink, my life would be complete…
*Summer glam makeup look using both of these Tom Ford products so you can understand my love of the lipstick shade…
NYX Lip Lingerie, Bedroom Flirt; $6.99 | Back to reality with this drugstore product. I attended the grand opening of the new, beautiful NYX Store in the Houston Galleria Mall last month and it was awesome. The NYX Store is insane – every shade of eyeshadow, lip gloss, lipstick, matte formulas, gloss formulas, glitter formulas, skin care, multiple foundations, brushes, etc… the place is wild. I picked up one of these matte liquid lipsticks because I heard the formula wasn’t totally drying, yet still lasted very long and gave the lips a fuller effect (the reason many prefer liquid lipsticks). This formula is TOP NOTCH. Totally recommend it over their Lip Suedes (which I despised – super dry and cracky). Bedroom Flirt is a pretty beige peach (the Steffanie standard).
Tarte Double Duty Beauty Confidence Creamy Powder Foundation, $35 | The length of the name of this powder is a bit extreme. I picked this up for $20 during the Ulta 21 Days of Beauty sale thanks to my beauty blogging bud, Lipstick and Brunch. It’s a lovely powder! I go through face powder like water. Whether I’m using it on its own or more commonly, to set my foundation, I like a medium coverage product that doesn’t make me look too flat or too dewy. This checks all of the boxes. The one con is I can’t use this as a touch-up powder on the go because it does not contain a sponge or brush inside.
Wet n Wild Photo Focus Concealer, $3-4 | YouTubers have been buzzing about this concealer and its corresponding foundation (below) for months. A supposed dupe for the NARS Radiant Creamy Concealer, this $3 cutie is pretty legit. Does it hold a candle to my Tarte Shape Tape? Nah. But I do believe it is a dupe for the NARS formula. It blends out well, is creamy, nondrying, natural looking, and has medium-full coverage (whereas Shape Tape is full-max coverage). Definitely recommend trying it out for the price – it’s a great drugstore concealer.
Wet n Wild Photo Focus Foundation, $5.99 | With the concealer, I picked up this drugstore foundation hoping for a huge win. The coverage is medium, buildable with a natural/satin finish on my oily skin. It has a high level of slip to it thanks to silicone, but I almost wish it had less slip because it feels like it never dries down. The shade selection is generous, which is great. But I do NOT like this foundation. It smells SO VERY BAD. It smells like straight paint for your walls. I couldn’t get past it. Not when my L’Oreal True Match has a similar finish, similar coverage level, better shade selections and doesn’t feel like silicone on my face – oh, and doesn’t smell like I work at Home Depot. No. Hard pass for me.
Try this at your own risk or if you (for some reason) don’t like L’Oreal True Match.
by Terry Sun Designer Palette, Savannah Love; $82 | Another splurge item, I first saw this and it just looked like me. If I was a palette, I would be Savannah Love. Luminous bronze, coral, peachy gorgeousness had to be mine. It’s basically all of my everyday makeup shades in one. I love using this on the eyes and the face. The deep bronze color is very dark, so those who are my skin tone or slightly deeper would love this. If you’re a bit fairer than me, you’d have to use a light hand. I am obsessed with this palette and it’s my #1 favorite from this entire haul. I cannot put it down and it’s completely worth every penny.
If you’re fairer than a MAC NC25, you may prefer the Sun Designer palette in Light and Tan Vibes for a similar look. If you’re anything darker than a MAC NC42, you may like the Sun Designer palette in Tropical Sunset.
*A look is coming featuring this palette seen here…
I highly recommend trying the mini of the Drunk Elephant C-Firma (although I didn’t care for the Hydra B5 Gel with it). I also love the NYX Lip Lingerie, and the by Terry Savannah Love palette. Keep a look out for my monthly favorites to see if any of these make the longer-term cut.
Whew. Glad we got through all of these new beauty items. Any of them catch your eye or have you picked any of these up? Let me know if I’ve inspired you to try something new and happy shopping, as always 🙂