Sunday, January 12, 2014

Review: em Michelle Phan's Holiday Life Palette - "New Year's Countdown"

Ever since Michelle Phan released her make-up line in August 2013, I have wanted to get my hands on something to try, but I was a little put off by the prices. The costs are a bit much for something that people could not get their hands on to first test and try, so I was a little hesitant. Some beauty gurus received Life Palettes to test out, but the reviews were not overwhelmingly positive; the general consensus was positive, but there were also criticisms and like I said before- no one was really raving over them. Even the gurus were off put by the prices. 

Before cancelling my IPSY subscription I received a full size Pillow Plush from EM in 1 of my bags. While this product is not the best thing ever, it is pretty good and encouraged me to try more from this company.
Quick review: This is a balm and the company boasts that it gives sheer color while giving your lips an extra boost. I do like this balm, mostly because it is long lasting on the lips and fights against drying conditions. It is a bit stiff though and in my opinion it takes a few coats to get to my liking. I find it works well under lipstick too. The color is very sheer though, so do not expect lipstick-like appearance. It is $15. This is the color "Strawberry".

When the holiday season rolled around, EM had excellent deals! On Cyber Monday they had Buy 1/Get 1 Free on everything! I couldn't resist getting something! I had my eyes on the limited edition palettes that were released for the holiday season and decided to pick them both up since 1 of them would be free! Shipping was free too! I paid $29 for 2 palettes + tax.
Today I bring you a review of the Holiday Life Palette in the "New Year's Countdown" edition. This palette is a limited edition palette released for the 2013 holiday season from em Michelle Phan (em Cosmetics). This palette is the on the right in the picture above.

Side Note (If you already know about em Cosmetics then feel free to skip this part): The "Life Palettes" are the staple of this cosmetic line and what sets them apart from other companies. Michelle Phan did not just simply put out a product line with make-up, she actually took time to create products that went together and they focus around The Life Palettes. These palettes are $79 and feature themes for different situations in Life. They come with multiple eyeshadows, blushes, and lip colors. The company also has made "Shade and Play" palettes that only include eyeshadows and are based on color themes. - The "Life Palette Moments" are a combo of both The Life Palettes and Shade And Play palettes; they contain eyeshadows as well as lip & cheek colors. 
The packaging was nothing special to really show. Just a box, but it did come with a little card.
Michelle Phan thanks your for trying her products and gives you a little message on the back of the card.
The New Year's Countdown palette comes in a cute box and is definitely eye catching.
The carton-like box the palette comes in opens up to reveal the palette and has a little message about tutorials that are available for this palette. - As you can see the palette comes with a brush. The brush is the only disappointment in the product. The eyeliner part of the brush is decent and thin, so it's okay if you are traveling or on-the-go and need an eyeliner brush, but it's not great. The other end, which is the shadow part, is just okay, but I really do not use it. I feel there are better inexpensive brushes out there you can use that do a better job.
Here is a look inside the the palette! The eyeshadows are from the gold color on the top left and the next 4 shadows. The dark charcoal color is a liner shadow. The last 2 colors are actually the lip colors. The big color in the center is the blush.

As you can see from the picture there is a mirror that comes inside the palette, which really helps if you're on the go and it is a nice size. The other thing I'd like to put out there is that this palette is a bit on the heavy size. If you read my previous review then you'll see I'm a fan of heavy palettes because they = durability. A lot of people complained in their reviews about how the heaviness of these limited edition palettes, but it does not bother me all too much. I will say- I was a bit shocked at the weight of the palette; for such a small palette it is does have a bit of weight to it.

Here are the swatches and color reviews. Starting the review from Left to Right and working backwards on the palette. (I know my most recent reviews have gone counter clockwise on the palettes and I will work hard not to do that anymore in the future!) - One thing I really liked about the palettes I received is that all the colors have names! I feel like a lot of companies lately come out with multi-use palettes and do not bother naming anything, which I personally think takes away from the product and is lazy. It makes reviews, tutorials, and recommendations so much easier when companies put names/labels on their products!
  • Countdown: This is the first color on my arm (starting left) and it is the blush color. This is a rosy wine color and it has a bit of a shimmer to it that gives your cheeks a little glow, but nothing too shiny. The color is nice for evenings out and parties, but definitely not for everyday use.
  • Clock Strikes Midnight: This is a dark charcoal color. This color is a little on the powdery side and and is the hardest to blend of all the colors, but like I said before it is more of a liner color than an eyeshadow. It takes a few layers to build good capacity.
  • Happy New Year!: This is a very deep dark brown with sparkle. Unless well blended out and put on lightly, it otherwise appears black. It does have a lot of sparkle to it, so not for you anti-sparklers. 
  • Cranberry Cocktail: This is a cranberry color that shimmers and applies nicely and blends well.
  • Couples Gold: This is more of a coppery gold with shimmer and it also applies nicely and blends well.
  • Good Cheers!: This is a peachy tan color with a lot of sparkle to it. It takes a lot for me to get it to really show up on my skin. I tend to use this color in the inner corner of my eyes or just for sparkle.
  • Sequin Dress: This is a pale gold foil-like shadow. It is very sparkly and you will experience some fallout with it, so make sure to tap your brush off before applying! Like I said, it almost goes on more like a foil then a shadow and is definitely more for adding sparkle or decoration to your look then being just a shadow.
I did not even bother swatching the lip colors, but neither showed up well enough on my skin when I tried to photograph them. The darker color is "Sparkling Punch" and the lighter color is "Stroke of Plum". Both are more like glosses then lipsticks and provide only sheer color. I recommend them over lipsticks. I did see many people say in reviews before I bought mine that they were a little disappointed in the opacity of the lip colors and for this palette here I have to agree. This set of colors is suppose to be seductive, sexy, and festive and therefore I feel darker and opaque lip colors would have been better suited for this palette.

Overall, I would give this palette a 4/5 rating. My only personal complaints really are the brush that comes with it and the lip colors being glosses and not lipsticks. I feel that the products perform well and that they have lasting power. I personally like the durability and the protection that the case provides, although a lot of you will not like the weight of the palette. For evenings out, special occassions, and holidays, I feel this palette is great! It is not for everyday use though. If you do not like sparkle I would probably stay away from this palette. Based on the products I have tried, I recommend em Michelle Phan. This palette is currently on sale for $25, instead of the original $29. If your'e interested I suggest swooping this up, because I have a feeling once it's gone, it's gone for good.

Any questions or comments, please leave below. If you have your own review of this palette or EM products leave your link!

Saturday, January 11, 2014

Review: Urban Decay Vice 2 Palette

Today I'm reviewing the Urban Decay Vice 2 palette that was released this past holiday season (2013 holiday). It was available nationwide at Sephora, Ulta, Macy's, Urban Decay's website & counters, and pretty much anywhere that sold Urban Decay. It's very hard to get your hands on now unless you go to the actual Urban Decay website. - Above is the packaging/box that the palette comes in.
One good tip for people out there- Check your Sephora inside JcPenney's! When all of my Sephora's around me were sold out and Sephora online was sold out, I found it at Sephora inside JcPenney! This tip has helped me more than once! I know this option is not available for everyone. When I lived in Tennessee there were no Sephora's inside any JcPenney round me, but if you do happen to have 1 check them out! I have found exceptional service from them, better than some actual Sephora locations.
The back of the package lists all of the colors and names that come in the palette so you can see before you buy, but almost every place I went had the palette on display for you to test and try. The ingredients are listed on the very bottom. On the top, the package reads:
If eyeshadow is your vice, here's the ultimate fix: 20 BRAND-NEW shades, plus a double-ended Good Karma Brush. Experiment with insanely cool brights, not-your-average neutrals and sexy hits of smoke, all in our decadent, revamped formula. Even the presentation is luxe, with the touch of a button, the jewel-inlaid case opens slowly, seductively, to unveil all that gorgeous eye candy. Ah, sweet addiction. 

Urban Decay made a beautiful purple marble case and put a 3D crystal-like logo in the center -you can't help but be impressed! The case is made of plastic and as you can see it is on the thick side. The large size of the palette and the thickness makes it heavy, which a lot of you might not like, but the dimensions also make it very sturdy. Personally, I like palettes that are on the thicker side, because of the durability. To me, durable palettes means less of a chance for damage of the actual product inside, especially when traveling. I do travel quite a bit and especially when I fly, go long distances in a car, and are away from home for quite some time then I find that damage in some way will be done and the best protection are cases that are hardy. Alas, I know most people out there do not like toting around heavy beauty products and for everyday use I can see that, but for real traveling it's not one's best friend. 

As for the button, which is the black rectangle you see in the middle of the bottom; I wouldn't say that it's "slow" opening, but it doesn't spring open either. 
Here's what the inside of the palette looks like. Beautiful shades and all nicely displayed. -This was before it was touched. 

I'm not a fan of double-ended brushes, but you take what you get and I do think Urban Decay's brushes are well made, durable, and apply nicely. This brush is no exception!
Now for the swatches! I did my best to capture the true color with my camera, but I personally feel it's never 100%. All swatches are with no primer on my bare skin.

Top Row / Left to Right (On the palette this is from the bottom left and going to the right and up.)
  • Dupe: A pink nude shade with shimmer. I find myself using this a lot has a highlight color and in the inner corner of my eye. Not the most notable shade, as I feel there are similar colors out there from UD and other companies, but still a nice one.
  • Toxic: A pink bronze color with shimmer. Very nice, but again very similar to what it out on the market right now, especially with this Rose Gold trend. Performs nicely though.
  • Habit: I did my absolute best to try to capture this color! Depending on the screen you have, you may not even be able to see it, but it almost blends right into my skin. I actually layered this one several times, but could not get it to show up. I use this has an all over color and a blending color. One of my favorites.
  • Ambush: This is a brown shimmer. Nice color, but nothing too unique.
  • Rewind: A matte brown. Another color I use a lot for shading and blending. It's very smooth and applies beautifully!
  • Radar: This is a dark brown shimmer. This has a lot of glitter/sparkle to it. If you're not a fan of glitter then I would ignore this color.
  • Damaged: A dark green shimmer color. This has a black base with a dark green shimmer tint. I like this color and it's pretty unique. This was 1 of the colors that originally made me want the palette.
  • Voodoo: A deep purple glittery color. Again, this has a lot of sparkle to it, so if you don't like sparkle you won't like this color. I think it's pretty neat and has flecks of bright purple in it.
  • Betrayal: An iridescent purple. I love this color! Another color that made me want to buy the palette. 
  • Derailed: A cool-toned brown with shimmer. It has the typical smooth, easy application from a UD shadow, but nothing too unique.
Bottom Row / Left to Right (On the palette this is continuing from on up from the bottom, going left to the right and then up.)
  • Prank: This is a deep, dark blue with iridescent sparkle. I feel in love with this color first when I tested out the display at the Urban Decay counter. If you don't like sparkle this is another shade you won't like, but I do love this! 
  • Madness: This looks a lot different in the palette then when it is applied. It actually doesn't even look the same in the picture as it does in real life. This is a blue-grey color with green and iridescent sparkle that applies a bit darker then you'd think. This is the 2nd color I fell in love with and was my deciding factor in buying this palette. I've used this quite a bit. Very unique to me.
  • Strike: This is a light gold shimmer that really shimmers in the light. I like it a lot.
  • Stash: A brown gold shimmer with sparkle. I don't find myself using this color, but it is kind of unique to me compared to what is out on the market now.
  • Poison: A charcoal color with a lot sparkle. I think this is nice for a night out, but definitely not for those who are anti-glitter/sparkle.
  • Smokeout: Deep brown shimmer. This is 1 color that is a little bit more difficult to blend then most of the colors. It's not horrible, but just isn't as smooth as most of the shades in this palette.
  • Lovesick: Black with a lot of glitter. This color is really not that different from Poison. It's a bit darker, but layer on Poison a bit and you have Lovesick. I personally feel that both of these colors were not necessary to put in the same palette, so you can't help but be disappointed by 1 of them. Poison is a little more on the powdery side. Lovesick applies a little lighter at first. So if you're looking for more glitter and less color, I'd go with Lovesick. If you're look for equal amounts of color and glitter I'd go with Poison.
  • Shellshock: This is a silver shimmer and is very opaque. This is the smoothest and creamiest powder shadow I own! Very nice and applies like a dream! Great for those special occasions!
  • Coax: Dark pink with shimmer. I use this color a lot too. Very pretty and also goes with the Rose Gold trend.
  • X-Rate: Another color I use a lot. This is a matte pink. A little on the powdery side, but nothing that one can't work with.
Overall, I truly like this palette. I give it 5/5 rating and I think they did an outstanding job on presentation and performance of the product. If you don't like sparkle or glitter, stay away though. Most of these shades are heavy in the sparkle or shimmer at least.

Hope you enjoyed this review! Leave any questions or comments below. If you have your review or looks with this palette leave links to your blog!

Wednesday, January 8, 2014

Christmas Nails & Make-Up 2013

As I stated in my last post, I was on vacation and I'm back now! So, I have a lot of catching up to do! Christmas is not a big holiday to me. I do not personally celebrate this holiday, but for family and friends I do. I spent most of Christmas day on the phone and internet connecting with my friends and family who were far away. I did go see the movie "47 Ronin" that day, which is a movie based on a true Japanese story, and I highly suggest you see the movie if you like action; skip the 3D though, because it was clearly not made for 3D viewing.
First let me start by sharing my nails and also asking that you ignore my Pinkie. I damaged my finger Christmas Eve and it bled under the skin. It has since healed. - I painted my nails in "Emerald Rock City" from Wet 'N Wild's Fergie line. This polish was part of Fergie's holiday collection from 2013.
My makeup is all from the Too Faced limited edition palette released over the holidays entitled "A Few of my Favorite Things":

  • I used Too Faced Shadow Insurance to prime my eyes.
  • First I used "Creme Colored Ponies" as a highlight color.
  • Then I took "Melt Into Spring", which is actually a blush, and used it as the crease and blending coloring.
  • I finished with "Pure Glam", a sparkly black, and that was all over the lids. 
  • I lined my eyes with Tarina Tarantino's Eye Dream Hyperliner in "Spark of Envy".
  • I used both bronzers from the palette and the blush I used on my face was "Raindrops on Roses".
  • My lipstick is the color "RiRi Woo" which is part of the Rihanna collection from MAC.
Hope you enjoyed this look. Leave questions, comments, and links to your Christmas looks below!

Stay tuned for a load of reviews!

Tuesday, January 7, 2014

HAPPY NEW YEAR! Welcome, 2014!

I know I'm a week late, but I've been on a mini vacation. I take time off every year for my birthday (which is January-2) and I make the week all about me, so that's where I have been. Also, the holidays were so much more hectic for me this year than ever before! I feel this extra chaos comes from me now living on the other side of the country, apart from my friends and family. I hope everyone out there had a great holiday and that includes the New Year! 
I'd like to share with you my New Year's look. Real quick on the dress- The dress is from Frederick's of Hollywood and I bought it at an actual store out here in California (not online) and I actually bought it in October specifically for New Year's. I believe this one was around $79. I tend to plan outfits far in advance for big occasions.
So, now onto my makeup! I realize my hair is a little frizzy, but it was the end of the night and my hair is naturally frizzy....... Anyway! My look was inspired by Holiday Glam and my dress! I like when make-up coordinates with my outfits and my man loves it.
The way the light reflected it looks like there is something on my eyelash, but I promise you there was nothing. It's not in the other photos either. But moving onto the products-

  • I started out with Too Faced Shadow Insurance to prime my eyes.
  • I used the silver color called "Ice Bunny" from the Ice Bunny palette from EM Michelle Phan all over the base of the lid for a good base color.
  • Next I put "Shellshock" from the Urban Decay Vice 2 palette all over the lids.
  • I used "Black Pumps" from the Ice Bunny palette to line the lids and softly define the crease.
  • I then took my MAC Cosmetics liner in Smolder to line the bottom lash line.
  • I used the "Ice Bunny" color again under my eyes and very sparingly for my highlight color.
  • Lastly, I took NYX Loose Pearl Eyeshadow in "Shimmering Silver" all over the lids to give it that extra silver shine!
  • On my lips I used "RiRi Woo" from the Rihanna Holiday Collection released by MAC.
For my face I used Tarte's Amazonian Clay Foundation and Too Faced bronzer & blush from their "A Few of my Favorite Things" palette.

That's my look! Hope you liked! Leave comments, questions, and links to your New Years look!