Merle Norman: First Impressions

Merle Norman is actually the first brand I have tried in my experience with wearing makeup.  I had a lipstick here and a nail polish there but I had never really used makeup until I made a trip to Merle Norman and got my first powder, which happens to be the Ultra Powder Foundation.  I bought my first one over 12 years ago!!!  I am happy to say that the exact same product still exists and I STILL LOVE IT!  I am excited to show you the other products that I have been trying from the brand.

Brilliant-C Eye Cream
For all skin types and aging concerns. 
Look on the bright side. This advanced eye cream brightens as it moisturizes with our exclusive Bright+ Complex®. It reduces the signs of premature aging, sun spots, dark circles and discoloration of the eye area while soothing botanicals and emollients soften and hydrate. Optical diffusers minimize flaws. Ophthalmologist tested. Fragrance-free. Oil-free.” 

If I have said it once, I have said it 1000 times: eye creams are one of my favorite skincare products.  I am terrified of having saggy, droopy eyes when I get older so I am doing everything I can for prevention now.  This eye cream is rich!  It is nice and thick and a little goes a long way.  I use a tad bit more in the evening, before bed than I do during the daytime.  I only use a tiny dot in the morning and work it around my entire eye and it is the perfect amount.  Really a nice product.  I will keep you updated on my thoughts when I touch on this product again.
Clear Complexion Toner
“For all skin types and acne concerns. 
Battle blemishes and blackheads with this acne-fighting toner. It helps clear up and dry up breakouts with Salicylic Acid. The gentle formula thoroughly lifts away pore-clogging residue. Botanical extracts help refine the appearance of pores and reduce irritation. Clinically proven to reduce acne. Oil-free.” 

I have had a problem with acne and blackheads ever since I hit puberty and nothing has changed since I hit the big 3-0.  Salicylic Acid is the key ingredient in this toner and it is proven to help with drying up acne and breakouts.  It is a nice toner; not too strong.  I feel like it helps with oil production.  Also the botanical extracts in this toner refine the appearance of pores! WIN!  :)  I put this toner on a cotton pad and swab it all over my face… it is like a breath of fresh air.  It leaves a cold, refreshed feeling!
Ultra Powder Foundation
“For all skin types. 
This amazing dual powder-and-foundation-in-one provides versatile coverage whether applied wet or dry. Its ultra-fine velvety texture absorbs oil leaving a flawless finish. It’s a must-have for on-the-go touch-ups. Oil-free.”

This product is PHENOMENAL!  I have used it off and on for years.  When I am not using this, it is not because I don’t like it–I just love trying new things.  The coverage is great and the texture is super nice.  It helps absorb oil and I can say that my face really looks perfect after.  I can’t tell you HOW MANY of my friends I have gotten hooked on this product over the years.  I love it because it is a one stop shop.  I apply this dry and it is all I need for coverage.  It is nice to keep in your purse for touch ups!  
Lasting Cream Eyeshadow
“It’s a base … it’s a shadow … it’s both! This masterfully pigmented cream glides on to provide the ideal base for layering eye shadow application — or for gorgeous, long-wearing, crease-resistant color on its own. Plus, it’s waterproof! Ophthalmologist tested. Fragrance-free. Oil-free.”

I have the shade called “Sugared Almond” and it is a pretty sparkly taupe.  I have work this on its on and layered with other products.  I love it.  It looks darker in the tube than it is on its on.  It lasted all day and looked spectacular.  I have several compliments when I used this as a base for a dramatic smokey eye a week or so ago.  It is really great.
Lasting Cheekcolor
“You need a blush that lasts hours, not minutes, right? This silky powder formula provides stay-true, fade-resistant color that glides on smoothly and blends easily. It leaves a soft, translucent finish. Talc-free. Ophthalmologist tested. Fragrance-free. Oil-free.”

The shade I have is “Angel Glow“.  It is a beautiful peachy pink that is perfect for most (if not all) skintones.  It is silky like it claims and really does blend out perfectly.  It is soft finish so the blending is easy and I have never felt that I OVER-applied it.  Really perfect color and now I am excited to try more.
Merle Norman has been around since 1931 and there is a reason!  Top quality products that perform as it claims.  I have always been a fan, and quite honestly I have this brand to thank for my undying love of makeup.  Without experiencing this brand early on in my makeup adventures I may not have been as taken with beauty products as I am now.  Thank you Merle Norman!
*The products mentioned in this post were provided for editorial consideration.  All opinions are my own.  Links are for your convenience only.

Target Beauty Bag: Animal Print

It has arrived and it is wild!  :)  The latest (and possible the last) Target Beauty Bag has arrived in my mailbox today and I am excited to show you all!

It is a really nice, high-quality faux-leather animal print makeup bag.  It looks very sturdy and easy to clean on the inside.  This rivals another of Target’s bags as a favorite so far (the other pretty bag is linked here)!  I think it might just win as I am really digging animal print lately.

The samples this time are mostly hair care, which is okay I suppose.  I prefer getting stuff like makeup wipes, etc.  I like travel sizes of things.  Oh well, I will never complain about free!  These will get used.  I like to throw these types of samples into a bin and use them at random or save them for when I go on vacation because it always seems I don’t end up liking the shampoo that hotels give.

Earlier I mentioned that the inside of the bag looked easy to clean, and here you go.  It is a nice nylon-type material and looks like it would wipe clean with a wet wash cloth.  

I recorded a video already, but my sleepy-pregnant-lady syndrome is hitting at the moment.  Doesn’t appear that that will be edited and up until possibly tomorrow!  Until then my lovelies! xoxo
Did you get a Target Beauty Bag?  If so, what did you like/dislike about it?  Let me know in the comments below!
*The item(s) mentioned above were sent free because I filled out information on Target’s Facebook page.  This post is in NO WAY sponsored.  All opinions are my own.

My Eyeliner Brushes

I was cleaning my brushes the other day and I realized that I have a lot of eyeliner/brow brushes.  Funny because I only really reach for a few of them on a regular basis.  There was a lot of trial and error in this brush category for me.  Every time I tried a new brush there seemed to be something missing that would have me on the look for something else.  Also different brushes do specific things well where others may not.  Anyway… here is my overview on my eyeliner brushes.    
The first brush in this next picture is one I bought off coastalscents.com.  I don’t remember the name, I just remember it was like $1-$2 so I threw it in my order just because.  It is actually kind of scratchy and not at all good for the purpose I bought it for… It is however FANTASTIC for the brows.  I reach for it almost daily while filling in my brows–especially when I am in a hurry.  It is coarse and picks up the product really well–it also lays down the perfect amount of color on the brows.  
The next brush is actually one I received as a gift from Spell Cosmetics.  I don’t know if the company is still around but they were trying to come up with a brush line and they had some brushes that they liked but they ended up deciding not to use them and sent them out to a few of us that were chatting with them on BlogTV.  I wound up with the eyeliner brush.  I actually used this brush exclusively for around a year and really enjoyed it… Moved on later after finding something I liked more.
The last brush in the picture is the MAC 263.  It is a synthetic fiber brush and it is my HG eyeliner brush.  It holds its shape really well and also glides my eyeliner on perfectly.  It comes to a very very fine point so it is amazing at precision.  People always ask me how I get my flick so perfectly pointed and it is all because of this brush.  

The first brush in this picture is a Rock & Republic angled liner brush.  The hairs in this brush are hard honestly the angle of the cut on this brush is super extreme.  It would possibly be a good brush but I have a hard time maneuvering it with the rather dramatic angle.  
The middle brush is also by Rock & Republic.  It is possibly meant to be a concealer brush but I find it to apply eyeliner VERY well.  It is my next-in-command brush to the MAC 263.  If I don’t wanna do any super dramatic liner but I do want a nice thicker liner this guy does the job.  It is very very nice and it comes to a semi-thin point.  I know that the Rock & Republic cosmetic line is gone but if you see any floating around on blog sales or can obtain this one through a swap I would encourage it.  I really like a number of my Rock & Republic brushes.  
Last in the picture is the Sonia Kashuk bent liner brush.  This is a good brush for thin lines as well.  It has a bit more give to it than an angled liner brush so if you are used to a little more sturdiness this could be an obstacle to you.  It is a very nice brush and readily available for purchase at Target stores.  

Sigma Beauty makes a dupe to the MAC 266 –which is a natural fiber version of the 263.  It is no where near the same as the 266 but nice in its own respects.  I really enjoy this brush when I want thick heavy winged liner.  It doesn’t come to a fine point like some of the others but it does get a thick line down faster. 
ELF has a nice flat liner brush.  I use this to place eyeshadow on top of a gel or pencil liner.  It is the one I use for my waterline as well.  It is a fantastic brush and just a $1. 

So my favorite brushes out of my eyeliner brush stash are:
#1 MAC 263
This brush is perfection–at least to me.  It gives me everything I am looking for in one brush, durability, steadiness, precision, and smooth.  

Took a picture of it sideways so you could get an idea of just how fine a point it comes to.  

#2 Rock & Republic detail brush
This brush is just a nice all-around brush.  It offers many of the same qualities as the 263 but it is slightly less dense and it isn’t angled.  

Here is a picture of it turned to the side as well.  You can see a nice point on it.  

#3 CoastalScents.com angled brush
Awesome for brows.  I use it daily and it was also very cheap.  Win!  Gotta love with a last minute purchase turns out to be a staple.  

In this picture you can sort of see what I am talking about with it being coarse and scratchy.  Because it is both of those things it is a great brow brush.  

Thank you for having a read!  I am curious–what are your favorite eyeliner brushes?  Do you prefer angled liner or something more like the Sonia Kashuk bent liner brush… is there a different option that I didn’t even mention in this post?  Let me know in the comments below!
xoxo,
Laura