Top 12 of 2012

The “Top 12 of 2012” tag has been going around… or maybe I should say that it already went around but I never got around to it UNTIL NOW!  This tag is rounding up my favorite beauty products of 2012.  I knew what I wanted to have in my top favorites, I just never had the time to sit and post them.  I am currently watching Once Upon a Time while veg-ing out on my bed so I decided to snap pics where I sit.  
I am not grouping these favorites in any particular order, but I am clustering them together with similar products.  First up are actual makeup items.

Shu Uemura Stage Performer is an amazing product.  I use it as a primer for my foundation.  It adds a beautiful glow to your skin.  I am oily and I am mostly afraid of looking oily… I can say that this gives me a healthy skin glow, not one that looks greasy.
A go-to palette for me all year has been from Bare Minerals called The Truth.  I have had this for a long time now and reviewed it for you hear already.  It was one of the first READY products I used from the brand.  Since I have started working at Bare Minerals it gets a good bit more use than even before.  It is a palette that I sell to lots of my customers.  Just about every time I wear it to work I have a customer ask me excitedly what is on my eyes.  
My favorite mascara of the year (maybe of all time) is by It Cosmetics and it is called Hello Lashes!  I have also reviewed this before here on my blog.  It is a great mascara and it makes my lashes look twice as long as they are on their on… It may even be three times as long…  I love it.  Sad that this one is empty.  It has had much love though.

A surprise product that stands out for me this year is from La Vanilla called The Healthy Deodorant.  It smells nice and it really does help keep me from having a smell due to perspiring.  A more important tid-bit is that it is aluminum free.  I learned 10+ years ago that aluminum can cause Alzheimer’s and it frankly freaks me out.  Aluminum is an ingredient in most deodorants and seems super unnecessary.  I tried a few all natural deodorants but never liked any of them until this one.  This one is in the scent Pure Vanilla.  My preferred scent is Vanilla Coconut.  

Some hair products that I loved in 2012 are definitely my go-to’s for their specific categories.
Salon Grafix Invisible Dry Spray Shampoo is the best; let me say that again… THE B E S T dry shampoo I have ever used.  I have tried every dry shampoo I could get my hands on and was always disappointed.  None of them did what I expected them to do.  The Salon Grafix one is amazing and actually makes my oily hair look as though it has been freshly cleansed.
Redken Radiant Sea Spray was my favorite spray during the summer months.  I did a lot of tousled hair styles during the summer and this was the key to making it look great.  It has a beautiful fresh sea spray scent and it is sort of tacky and quite perfect for looking like your hair air dried after a dip in the ocean.
All year round, every time I cleanse my hair I use It’s a 10 Miracle Leave-In Product.  It smells great and it leaves my hair more healthy and shiny each time I use it.  I cannot tell you which bottle this is because I do not know.  I have been using this product for about 4 years and I always buy the big bottle.  I don’t for-see anything taking it’s place.  

For my skincare products I have a couple of cleansers and a couple of moisturizing products.
Bare Minerals Naturally Luminous Purifying Facial Cleanser is am awesome cleanser.  It feels great on the skin: it cleanses without stripping the skin of natural oils that belong there.  It also takes off all my makeup.  I used to use two different cleansers in my shower and with this product I don’t find that necessary anymore.
Reviva Labs Firming Eye Serum has been a favorite product since the day I received it.  It feels great on my eye and I feel like it makes that part of my face look younger.  I am in the last year of my 20s and my skin is no longer at it’s peak.  Everything is starting to head downhill and I feel like staying on top my skin is really going to help me over the years to come.  
Tatcha Deep Brightening Serum has been a godsend.  This product is now empty and I am about to purchase my second full sized bottle.  I had a half sized amount first but as soon as I finished it I started on this full sized bottle.  Now that I am out I am so sad.  My skin has never looked better using other serums or moisturizers.  I can see that it has fade my dark spots or discoloration due to break outs.. and in fact I feel like it doesn’t irritate my skin and my breakouts are fewer and farther between.
Another great product from Tatcha is the One Step Camelia Cleansing Oil.  This is the 2nd full size I have purchased it it.  I feel like it has played a part in making my skin look amazing.  I typically use this in the evening.  I take a couple pumps into my hands and massage it all over my face and it dissolves all of my makeup right off and even takes every trace of mascara off.  It is the best oil cleanser I have ever used.

Shiseido Facial Cotton is far superior to other facial cottons.  I can use one of these cotton squares and it do everything I need it too… with other brands I would need 2-4 of and probably still not have everything done that I need.  It seems silly to go on and on about Shiseido Facial Cotton but when something is so superior to others, it is hard not to talk about it.

I am thankful to those of you that asked me what my favorite products of 2012 were.  I am sorry it took me so long to get to it.  Thank you for motivating me to do this post.  
What were your favorite products of 2012?
*Some of the products mentioned in this post were provided for editorial consideration.  All opinions are my own, I wouldn’t rave about it if I didn’t truly love it.

Faces of the Red Carpet: MTV Movie Awards 2012

I wasn’t expecting to post anything else tonight but I felt like I had to share the most notable looks (in my opinion) for the MTV Movie Awards!  :)
Charlize Theron is a bombshell in red!  
Christina Ricci looks STUNNING!  I have always been a fan of her but I honestly thing her makeup tonight is just classic and gorgeous!  Not to mention something I would TOTALLLY wear!

Ciara‘s long tresses are just amazing.  Are her roots grown out of is this ombre hair? ;)

Emma Watson looked great tonight too!  Her makeup was perfect for her young, fresh personality.

Julianne Hough shows off her abs in her middriff-bearing dress.  She has the body for this dress!  

Kristen Stewart is rocking a smokey eye and a colorful dress.  Something very her but at the same time very different.

Leighton Meester looks amazing with a bold lip and a relaxed fashionable shorts suit.  Leave it to her to wear something so casual but elegant!  She totally pulled this look off.

Paris and Nicky Hilton look uniform in their charcoal toned dresses.  

Nikki Reed is smoldering.  I much prefer her natural hair color to her light locks in Twilight.

Shailene Woodley wearing a cute pants suit. 

Jessica Biel looking natural and chic, she isn’t wearing much of anything on her face and is still awesomely beautiful!

What was your favorite MTV Movie Awards Red Carpet Look?
xoxo, 
Laura
*Image Credit: Getty Images

Sephora + Pantone Universe: Color of the Year 2012 Tangerine Tango

There has been a lot of buzz lately about “The Color Of the Year” and I was lucky enough to purchase this 6 piece kit with the recent Beauty Insider/VIB 15% discount sale.  I own relatively no orange shades of any form in my collection and I thought this was the best bang for my buck to try out a full face of the tropical hue.  
I have seen/heard a lot of people complaining about the excessive packaging on some of the individual products but the box that this kit came in wasn’t completely oversized like some of the individual products.  I think it was quite an appropriate amount of packaging.  Also, the detail of the packaging is perfect.  Feels nice and luxe but simple.  

The products themselves have a nice luxe feel to them as well.  I am sure that by now everyone knows about the magnetic closing devices of the products–the lipstick has a magnetic lid that clings to the base and the eyeshadow quad and blush duo have the magnetic closure very similar to Inglot packaging.  

I am going into detail on the specific items from left to right in the kit.  First up is the ‘Color of the Year Eyeliner in Tangerine Tango Twist‘.  It is a twist up eyeliner which is perfect because you don’t have to worry about sharpening it ever.  It is a fun and unexpected item in the mix, at least for me because I rarely venture outside of black eyeliner.  


Here we have the Color of the Year Eyeshadow Quad.  
This quad contains:
- Scallop Shell, Pantone #12-1010 (nude) 
- Carnelian, Pantone #16-1435 (orange) 
- Sparrow, Pantone #18-1404 (plum) 
- Pavement, Pantone #19-3900 (black glitter) 

At first glance I was thinking that this quad doesn’t really harmonize with the entire tone of the kit but after I swatched them I see how well it all works together.  My favorite color in this quad is actually quite unexpected but it is the one called Scallop Shell.  I usually am not attracted to colors that are on the whiter/brighter scale but something about this color just screams out “HEAVEN” to me.  I love it.  

The Color of the Year Prisma Chrome Blush in Apricot Brandy is very interesting.  
The Sephora site says:
“This revolutionary blush combines all the best features of baked, powder, and cream formulas, releasing perfect color and a texture that lays on cheeks like a second skin. Easily blendable and buildable without being powdery, this unique blush leaves an unbelievably polished finish. The warm shade, Apricot Brandy (PANTONE #17-1540), was inspired by the Color of the Year, Tangerine Tango, and will light up the apples of your cheeks with a spirited glow.”

I don’t consider this as much of a blush as I do a highlighter.  I was thinking that in the pan it looks awful close to the other shimmery blush or even the shimmery orange eyeshadow but once swatched it is noticeably different.  It is a nice addition to the blush duo.

The Color of the Year Blush Duo is probably one of the items I was most excited to get my hands on.  
This duo contains:
- Coral, Pantone #15-1439 (Color of the Year with gold shimmer) 
- Desert Flower, Pantone #15-1435 (light orange matte)

The Sephora site says:
“This micro-fine pressed-powder duo delivers unprecedented wear in combination with extreme comfort and color purity. The spirited color combination was inspired by the Color of the Year and each shade can be worn alone or layered for a contoured look. Light, yet creamy to the touch, this translucent powder is packed with brown seaweed extract to keep your skin soft and supple. Smooth away fine lines and blemishes with a veil of natural coverage and give cheeks a warm, energized flush. “

These colors are BREATHTAKINGLY beautiful.  I can absolutely say that these will definitely become a staple this spring and summer… and who knows, maybe into the fall.  I love that there is a matte and shimmery shade.  

The Color of the Year Lipstick in Tangerine Tango Cream was one of the first things that I saw a video on YouTube about from this collection.  I suppose there was a special invitation to VIBs to order this early.  What everyone says is true… it smells good and it is a nice creamy wearable version of orange.  

The Color of the Year Lipgloss in Tangerine Tango Luminous is a nice shimmery version of the lipstick.  When swatched they actually look very similar in color, major difference being the sparkle.  This lipgloss is very creamy and wears like a liquid lipstick.

Here are the swatches outside in the sunlight.
L to R:
Eyeliner in Tangerine Tango Twist
Eyeshadows: Sparrow Pavement, Scallop Shell, Carnelian
Prisma Chrome Blush in Apricot Brandy
Blush Duo: Desert Flower and Coral 
Lipstick
Lipgloss

Here are the exact same swatches taken indoors with a flash.  

I obviously haven’t worn these items yet so my review is pending.  Let me know if you want me to update this post after I have given it a good try or do an entirely separate post on it.  Either way would be fine with me.  I had to get these swatches up for you ASAP while it is still a fresh, new kit.  :)  If you got something from the collection tell me your thoughts and also let me know if you plan on picking something up.  Do you normally wear orange or is it something new and different for you? 
xoxo,
Laura

March 2012 Favorites and FOTD

Hello!  It is that time of the month again… a few days late really but today was the first pretty day that I could go outside and take some decent pictures.  I have LOTS of favorites this month.  I got into a grove and never came out of it for the entire month of March.  

The products range from skincare…

… to nail polish and brushes…

… to color products.  Something for everyone… and look… in the Chanel compact above you can see my reflection.  LOL
A new purchase this month was Chanel Joues Contraste Powder Blush in 70 Tumulte.  It is beautiful.  I was browsing around the Chanel counter looking for something completely different and my eyes saw this and I knew immediately that it had to be mine.  It is a beautiful cool toned, soft pink color.  It is perfect… I have read other reviews that say that this color is light but on me it really shows up on my skin.

Guerlain Meteorites in Teint Beige have been a go to for me ever since I got them to be perfectly honest.  After applying my foundation and concealer I then apply bronzer and blush.  My last step is to apply this anywhere else on my face that I did not apply one of the other powdered products.  It leaves my skin luminous but not shiny or sparkly.   It is really turning into a HG product for me.  And the smell is divine!

I have been really into my nails this last month or so and filing has become a major necessity.  I won this Mont Bleu Swarovski encrusted nail file in a giveaway from Moxie Reviews.  I honestly held off on using it too much for a while because it is gorgeous but I eventually broke it out and started using the heck of it!

Skincare has also taken center stage for me this month.  I have found some products that I cannot say enough good things about.  
Dr. Denese HydroShield Eye Fix Upper Eye Lid Care has been my go to eye cream for the past few months now and I never remember to include it.  It adds moisture but is never greasy.  I can apply it and go right into doing my makeup and never have to worry.  
Elemis Visible Brilliance is a serum/moisturizer I have been using right after I tone my skin (day and night).  I loooove it.  It sinks right in and just like the eye cream previously mentioned I can go right into makeup application and not have to worry that I haven’t waited long enough.  Just enough moisture without making my face look wet.  

Right after I apply my skincare I have been putting on a layer of Clarins Instant Light Complexion Perfector in Champagne Shimmer.  It adds luminosity without having a sparkle factor… I apply my foundation in a thin layer right over that and it is perfection.  
Another thing that really enhances my complexion is a nice tan.  I haven’t actually been laying in the sun or a tanning bed and haven’t in years but I have been LOVING the Dr. Dennis Gross Alpha Beta Glow Pads. They are like a vacation in a wipe.  When I used my first one of the season EVERYONE I work closely with asked me if I had been on vacation because I looked sunkissed.  They couldn’t believe that it was self tanning because it was not streaky and looked extremely natural.  

A brush that has been my favorite all month is my MAC 134.  It is what I use to apply my bronzer.  I picked it up at a CCO a while back and I am so glad I did… It is everything I want in a bronzer brush.  It is densely packed, has a nice shape, distributes the product evenly and buffs it right into the skin for a natural finish.  And if you look closely at the end of the brush you can see that FRANCE is engraved right into the handle.  

Ahhh… the polishes I have adored for the last 30 days are OPI Fly and Julep Neicy and Penelope.  I only received the two Julep shades toward the end of the month but they were instant favorites because I have been looking for colors similar to them for a while.  I wore them both immediately.  <3 YAY

Another product that I absolutely adored this month was the Kiss Nail Dress.  Each box has enough stickers to do an entire manicure and pedicure.  I did a pedicure with this set last night and it looks AMAZING!  My toes got lots of attention in some open toed heels at work today.  :)  I received this specific pack from Influenster.com.  

A couple items from MAC are the TenderTone in Hush, Hush and two eyeshadows called Shore Leave and Mystery.  
Hush, Hush tendertone is beautiful.  It has the most beautiful irridescent sparkles in a champagney-peach base.  It applies very sheer but it still gives a glow that is unmatched!
Shore Leave eyeshadow has long been discontinued and is extremely comparable to Phloof! (also by MAC) but I like the formula of Shore Leave more.  It is a beautiful pinky beige and I use it a lot for a inner corner highlight.  
Mystery is my go-to brow powder when I am not using the Anastasia Beverly Hills Beauty Express kit.  It matches the color of my eyebrows perfectly and I never have to worry about it looking orange/too warm.  

For mascara I have been trying out the Prestige My Blackest Lashes.  I have been dying to try it for a long time because of all the rave reviews it has received but it was never available in my local Ulta until recently.  I picked up a tube and at first it was a disaster.  All my lashes clumped together and it gave next to no volume.  Not that I have learned to manage the brush and the formula I can build up pretty long lashes that seem fluttery.  :) WIN!

Last up is my Unii palette.  It is housing my most used MAC neutral eyeshadows but I love it for many reasons.  Mainly the ginormous mirror.  It comes in handy for when I am doing my makeup in tutorials and also if I am cramped for time and I am in odd places in my house.  :)

So with all the makeup talk I decided to use all of these products in a Face Of The Day and here it is.  Sorry my hair is a mess but I was trying to get these pictures together to post ASAP.  

FACE
Clarins Instant Light in Champagne Shimmer
Giorgio Armani Face Fabric mixed w/ Cho Bo Yang BB Cream
NARS Laguna
Chanel Tumulte
Guerlain Meteorites in Teint Beige

EYES
UDPP Sin
NARS Best palette – both All About Eve shades and Bali
MAC Shore Leave as inner corner highlight
Essence gel liner in Midnight in Paris
Prestige My Blackest Lashes
Mac Mystery on brows

LIPS
Mac tender tone Hush, Hush

Thank you all for reading my monthly favorites post.  I appreciate your support.  What were your favorite products this month?  Let me know in the comments below!!! 


xoxo,
Laura


**Some of the items listed in this post were provided for my consideration.

February 2012 Favorites

Hello everyone!  It is scary that February is over already, where did the month go?  Oh well!  February is the month of all things love and no surprise, I fell head over heels for quite a few products.  I actually wanted to add a lot more to this post but some were too new to justifiably include them.  ;)  I forgot all about this post until late this afternoon.  The sun was going down so I had to take pictures inside with a flash (which is why they aren’t of the best quality).  You may notice that the a couple of the brushes I mention aren’t clean.  It is because I use them everyday, including this morning, and I came straight home and took a picture immediately to get this post up.  

MAC 263
This is one of my favorite brushes that I have ever used for eyeliner.  It is synthetic and very thin.  I can get a very refined line and can make a wing with almost no effort.  It is a MUST HAVE brush for gel liner!

I have been using this brush everytime I have applied foundation in the last month.  It is so dense and amazing.  The synthetic hairs may have a lot to do with the perfection in which it blends out the foundation.  I can do my entire face in less than a minute with this brush compared to 2-5 minutes it used to take me to blend.
I adore this brush for concealer.  I received the Precision Kit from Sigma in a Twitter contest and I have tried and liked them all but I have CLUNG to this brush for my everyday concealer application.  It applies and blends out in the same step.  Again, I think it is the synthetic fibers that Sigma is using in these that make their Sigmax line so fantastic. 

Rock & Republic Blush Brush
This is my favorite of the Rock & Republic brushes I own.  I use it all the time every month and I never think to discuss it.  It has a great shape and density to give a nice deposit of color on the cheeks: not too much or too little.  I know that these are no longer offered for sale but it is a favorite and it would be unfair to my stash not to include it.  :)

Edward Bess Daydream Bronzer
I purchased this a little over a month ago in a blog sale and I have been using it daily since then.  It is one of those perfect shades.  It can be as subtle as I want or as deep and dark as I need.  It reminds me of a sophisticated NARS Laguna.  It also has a very nice fragrance. 

Rouge Bunny Rouge Orpheline
This is the blush that should be nicknamed “O” instead of NARS Orgasm.  This color could give me an… ahem… err… beautiful glow.  :)  I think I wore this blush around 75% of the time I wore makeup this month.  It is one of those colors that makes my face brighten up and look alive.  I recommend it to ANYONE!  Not only is the color beautiful but the texture is amazing!  If you wanna read more about my thoughts on this blush click here

MISA Cho Bo Yang
I think that this is one of my favorite BB creams ever.  It does a good job at suppressing the amount of oil my skin produces and it also has a nice dewy finish.  That is something that is rare in a foundation and I for one PREFER a dewy finish because it is the most reminiscent of what skin actually looks like.  
Kevyn Aucoin Sensual Skin Enhancer
This is a GREAT product.  Though I believe it is a foundation, I actually use it as a concealer.  It is a nice pigmented thick texture but it blends out and can look very natural.  It is one of the only concealers that I have found that do a good job at covering up my redness and blemishes.  


Urban Decay Primer Potion in Sin
I have been using UDPP in Sin for years but I have been all about easy simple looks this past month.  It is one of those primers that you don’t need to add much to and you can walk out the door and feel/look like you actually took a bit of time to do your eye makeup.  

Essence Gel Liner in London Baby
London Baby has been my go-to eyeliner all month.  It isn’t as stark as a black but at the same time it is dark enough to add some drama.  It is a beautiful taupe shade and it lasts all day.  I have never had a problem with this eyeliner transferring or moving around.  I can’t even say the same about MAC or Bobbi Brown gel liner.  There is a swatch of this eye liner here.  

Maybelline Color Tattoo in 25 Bad to the Bronze
These Color Tattoo cream eye shadows are amazing.  They are pigmented and last and last.  Bad to the Bronze has been one of my favorite lid colors/bases this month because it is so wearable and so many colors pair with it well.  When I have been doing something other than a wash of UDPP Sin this has likely been in the look.  

L’Oreal Infallible Eye Shadow in 888 Iced Latte
This color is gorgeous as an inner corner highlight as well as a lid color.  It really brightens my eye up and gives me a fresher, younger appearance.  I did a beautiful look that I am extremely happy about with this color.  
Like I mentioned before, I could have listed about 15-20 more items this month but I honestly didn’t want to make this post too long and I didn’t want to repeat too many of my past favorites.  What have you been loving this past month and is there anything that I listed that you love/hate and why?  Hope you had a fabulous February and BRING ON MARCH!  

Makeup at the Oscars 2012

I have been chatting on a makeup forum this evening and stumbled upon these pictures… They are jaw dropping for one or more reasons… I will discuss them as I go through them.  
These closeups are definitely showing that celebrities are people too and totally not as perfect as we see them in magazines, well.. some are! :)
Stacy Keibler
She is just amazing.  Not only is she naturally beautiful, but she has great skin and her makeup lets that shine through.  She isn’t overly done up and her dress was gorgeous.  She looked like an Oscar trophy so George surely won! ;)
Rooney Mara
She has some of the most striking features I have ever seen.  Her makeup is simple and classic and I can’t even find a pore! 

Mila Jovovich
She is a SIREN with that bold red lip!  She always looks great though! :)

Sandra Bullock
She always looks great.  Her makeup is spot on here and just WOW!  She makes a straight simple pony tail look amazing!!  She is also wearing taupe eye shadow!  AMAZING!

Shailene Woodley
She is gorgeous.  I know little to nothing about her but wow… Her lashes and lips give me goosebumps!

Penelope Cruz
She is such a classic beauty and her lashes are to-die-for.  Those can’t be hers and I really would love to know what the name of these falsies are! :)
Natalie Portman
She is such a pretty girl and I adore the lipstick she is wearing.  

Cameron Diaz
Her pale blue eyes and light blonde hair always look so striking together.  Her dress was amazing and so is her makeup.  She is starting to show her age but I think she is still an absolute stunner!

Tina Fey 
Her Carolina Herrera dress looked amazing and to be quite honest I thought she looked stunning.  I was shocked to see this close up of her because it just doesn’t look like what I saw on television.  And on another note I had no idea that she had a scar on her face… and then I asked and someone said she was attacked as a child by a mugger with a knife.  How horrifying?

Angelina Jolie
I am not usually a huge Angelina fan but my goodness she looks great.  Her skin is amazing and the makeup combination that she is donning is just… wow…. Love the lashes as well.

Jennifer Lopez
I think that she is a gorgeous woman but I think her makeup artist must have forgotten to blend her eyeshadow.  I don’t think the cut crease was executed that well.  Her lip is beautiful though!

Thank you for having a look.  Hope you enjoyed this post!  Who was your favorite celebrity of the night?  Was it the dress or the makeup that captivated you?

SAG Awards 2012: Kaley Cuoco

My favorite look of the night was from Haley Cuoco who stars in Big Bang Theory.  Her makeup looks amazing.  It is absolutely stunning.  

I am not so big a fan of the dress and the makeup together.  The eye makeup, from what I can see, appears to be warm browns or jewel tones where her dress is a funky bright pastel.  Who wore your favorite look from the SAG awards?