MAKE UP FOR EVER Artist Rouge Collection Review

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Today I was so lucky to receive three shades from the new Artist Rouge lipstick collection from Make Up For Ever*. The collection has 45 shades total, all cremes and mattes, and will be sold at Sephora. Artist Rouge is meant to be a highly pigmented, long-wearing, comfortable product. Let’s get started!

The three shades I was sent are…

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C502: Creme lilac with grey undertones

C404: Creme true red with blue undertones

C211: Creme mauve pink with purple undertones

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Colors

I really like all three colors for different reasons. The lilac isn’t super weird but is definitely different. For fall, it will be super pretty with neutral and golden eye looks to dress up tights and a baggy sweater. Still, I can’t see myself wearing it daily.

The red is totally classic. The bullet style applicator is easy to use and doesn’t cause a lot of smearing which is super important in reds.

The mauve will probably be a go-to for every day for me. It is pretty neutral on my olive skin tone. It resembles a mauvey nude I used to have from the Balm back in the day.

(Excuse my horribly unlined lips above. I was so excited that I just started slapping them on. )

Formula

Just in the short time I’ve been wearing the product I can definitely tell it’s long wearing. It sticks to your skin so be careful to use liner and concealer for a clean line when applying. The formula is incredibly comfortable on the lips. It doesn’t need a thick coating to look fresh. I forgot I was wearing it because it didn’t come off on my drinking glass or feel sticky. This may be one of the most worry free formulas I’ve tried in a long time, almost having the effect of a liquid lipstick which really stays put. The one-two punch of a comfortable long-wear that doesn’t feel cakey or dry is a real winner.

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Packaging

My favorite section. These lipsticks feel very professional. They are encased in a black, matte, metal tubing with simple branding. They click shut so no worrying about the cap popping off in your bag. The metal is very cool to the touch and feels durable.

Final Thoughts

I will definitely be purchasing more neutral colors of this product when it arrives in my local Sephora! The formula is long wearing, doesn’t fade, crease or smear, and feels like bare lips.

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*All products shown above were freely provided to me through Influenster to test. All opinions are my own.*

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January ipsy Bag

As promised, a January ipsy bag opening and review! This bag just arrived in the mail today and most of my girlfriends haven’t even received theirs yet so hopefully I can give all of you ipsters awaiting your bags a sneak peek.

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Let me first take a moment to appreciate this Warholesque bag. It really is a piece of art in itself and makes a real statement. This year’s cosmetic bags have really upped the ante with new textures, shapes, and historical and cultural influences. Score one for ipsy. Now on to the products…

Screenshot 2016-01-14 at 11.16.33 AMThis month’s bag is so on trend! I give it a 4/5 stars.

First up, Ofra Cosmetics with an eyebrow pencil! I have been loving my Elizabeth Mott Queen of Brow since I received that in a bag a few months back. Having naturally full brows, a gel formula is usually enough for me for everyday. But I had been thinking I’d like a pencil for going out to get those enviable sharp lines. And here it is! This shade is a universal brown. We will see how well that goes once blended. If you’re a fellow ash brown girl, feel free to comment below and I can give you a heads up if this will work for you once I try it out. (Ash browns have golden undertones instead of red like most brunettes so root covers, extensions and brow pencils often appear too red and thus unnatural on us.) EDIT: This pencil is a true brown and safe for all my fellow ashes!

Next, another product from theBalm! I was always obsessed with the packing of theBalm and the names and quirkiness of the brand as a preteen aimlessly admiring the shelves of Sephora. It seemed like as soon as I was old enough to afford (and pull off) all the brand’s fabulous mattes, it disappeared! Now it seems that ipsy and theBalm.com (haha thebalm dot com, that’s great) are the only reputable places to find the stuff! I am always so excited to get these products and this is no exception as I have been craving a deep chocolate pencil for easy, daytime looks. (FYI: This one has a plum tonality.)Sometimes black liner is just so severe. This self-sharpening pencil is very fine and should make application a breeze.

Beau Paris, mon cherie! This brush feels EXACTLY like my MAC Enchanted Eve brushes that I got for Christmas and it looks like them too! This smudge brush will be so soft against the eyelid that it will be perfect for day time looks and detail work when your Sephora brush is just pulling too much product. A nice addition to my collection.

Yum! This stuff smells delish. Not just peppermint but peppermint CREME for the win! But is it just me or does this brand, Lasting Smiles, sounds dentisty/teeth whiteny? I don’t know. Someone comment about this brand and give me the 411. I can never have too much lip balm especially this time of year. I keep a tube in every jacket pocket, handbag, work locker, you get the picture.

Finally, a palette. Palettes are a great value in ipsy bags because even a decent drugstore one costs close to $10 and the whole bag is $10 BUT this palette is called Falling Leaves…and rightfully so. Yes, neutrals can be used all year round. Yes, this is an eye-makeup focused bag. And yes, I am happy to have a small palette with taupe, brown and rose-tone because those are my everyday shades and the small package makes for easy carrying. HOWEVER, it’s rightfully a fall name for a fall palette. And I can’t help but feel a teensy bit failed on this particular item because  it seems like something they had chilling in the magical, mythical ipsy warehouse from October. Weird? I know I know.

So that’s this month’s roundup, kids! Have a great rest of your week and share share share those ipsy thoughts and reviews when you get your bags in the comments below.

And if you haven’t joined ipsy yet, skip the waitlist and join now.

xo,

BGB

December ipsy Bag

Hi guys! Happy (belated) Holidays! I have been busy working the holiday retail grind and have not been active here on PT so today I hope to update ipsy and Influenster for you guys. I have two new bags and a Voxbox to share deets on and this Vox, I was able to try yet-to-be-released products so I’m super excited to give you guys the inside scoop before these go BIG.

Ready? Let’s get started with my review of December’s ipsy bag!

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The first product I received for December was the Julie G Longwear Nail Polish in Pin Up Girl. Love the name (vintage is so in when it comes to beauty packaging right now). However, the color leaves much to be desired. It reminds me of the shiny, cliche Christmas red I wore in the fifth grade before mattes were a thing. I can’t imagine any fashionable fifties femme would rock this. The formula is average, nothing much to talk about.

Item two: lip liner! Score! I LOVE lip liner and have been going through my nude ones literally weekly lately so I was so excited to receive a new one. Initially I was thrown and thought this product was neon pink like the cap but it’s nude! This is a product from ModelCo. I find their products to be about a 7 in quality- better than drugstore but the highlighting palette I received from them is not as pigmented as I’d like. Still, their packaging is definitely model worthy. The cases are hardy and they have deep wells so you get a lot of product in a small space.

Next up is an all-natural product with the most darling packaging! This nude natural lipstick is from Pacifica. Though it’s a little drying the color is FABULOUS. It really works as a perfect rosey nude on us olive-complected girls. This line is available at Target which makes it easy to get a refill when you undoubtedly use this one up.

Finally, a hair mask. Again, one of my favorite products to receive. Since my balayage, I take extra care to use a deep conditioner on my ends at least weekly to keep my color healthy. This Marc Anthony product is gentle enough to be used on color-treated hair and uses coconut and shea butter to make your hair feel and smell like you just walked off the beach. Definitely getting me into the summer mood.

I was so excited to see a new brand in this box in the form of Jersey Shore Cosmetics because A) It’s an exfoliating lip scrub and other than exfoliating my lips with a toothbrush, I’ve never really delved into lip exfoliation. During these winter months on the east coast, I could totally use this product. But B) The product is made right here in New Jersey in small batches. You know I’m all about supporting the cause of local businesses.

Let me tell you guys, this stuff smells ah-ma-zing. I use it in the shower and it does an awesome job without making my lips feel raw. It does a nice job on cuticles too!

 

*Pro tip: If you’re new to exfoliation, don’t break out it out for the first time on the night of a hot date. Exfoliation is an overnight/Sunday afternoon activity. If you use this product (or any comparable one) and then try to go straight into your lip routine you will fail miserably. Your skin (yes, even your lip skin) will shed and sloff off. That’s what exfoliation does! And you’ll end up with all little chunks in your lipstick. Not cute.

 

A special note for ipsters everywhere: Tons of people ask me, “B, how do you get such great bags? It seems like you always like almost every product. My bags stink!” My answer to this is review, review, review. I review every single bag and not just yay or nay. I give details. I take my time to use the product, watch YouTube videos on application, and then make my decision. I give good feedback and retake my style quiz with the seasons. ask and you shall receive, ladies.

 

Now head on over to the beauty section for the January ipsy bag review! It just arrived today! And if you haven’t already, join ipsy now! Use my referral code by clicking here and skip the wait list.

 

Thanks,

BGB

November Ipsy! Beauty Blast

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This month’s Ipsy came and boy is this bag killller. It’s sending me to galaxies far, far away…

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Tucker Ashley Perfecting Moisturizer

I’ve never heard of this brand but it smells really good and the white tube makes it feel somehow high-endy. Just me?

Smashbox Full Exposure Mascara

I have used this guy before. I like it a lot! It reminds me of a stiletto mascara: lacking a little in volume but great for long, spiky length. And the name is just cheeky enough.

ModelCo Highlighting Trio

Me? Model? You shouldn’t have! But seriously, the only thing better than gel formula is a cream and this blends better. I love having a gold, silver/white, and peachy glow all in one palette.

Absolute NY Nano Liner

Who doesn’t love a product with nano in the name that promises a thin precise eye line? I’m in! Comment for a tutorial.  

Trestique Matte Lip Crayon

I’ve gotten Trestique products in Ipsy bags before and I like them. I would compare them to elf quality. The matte only makes it better.

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Follow my instagram for more ipsy tutorials and looks!

@bianca_blando

 

October Ipsy: Alter Ego

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I have been so busy with work and school that I didn’t get to open my Ipsy bag until last night! It arrived earlier this week and that metallic mailer was calling my name. As usual, I am so excited with the products chosen for me this month and cannot wait to share with you. Enjoy!

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Let’s start with the bag itself. This month’s theme is alter ego, providing products that are within your category (mascara) but not necessarily your line (green mascara versus your normal black). In keeping with the theme, the cosmetic bag this month has two different sides. One is gold metallic and the other is black patent leather.

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The first product I received is a hair mask from Eva NYC. It is supposed to be therapeutic and help hair become nourished and grow. In the fall and through winter, my hair, skin and nails tend to become dry so this is a perfect product for me for this time of year. Clearly, Ipsy has recognized that I love argan oil because this is another month incorporating it into my bag.

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Just in time for the season, I was sent a pumpkin facial scrub! I like this one because it uses sugar for its exfoliant instead of those little plastic beads that are seriously hurting the environment. Plus, I’m big enough to admit that I’m basic. Pumpkin. Is. Everything. And can we take a moment to appreciate this gorgeous, elegant packaging?

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I’m really excited for this third product because I’ve never used a product from the Balm before but people on YouTube and Pinterest are crazy for its face products (ie Mary Lou Manizer). So when I saw that this product was from the Balm and it’s a pinky-nude matte lipstick? I was set. I have been working the Kylie lip with nude, matte liner but it can make lips a little dry. This will be a great addition to my makeup collection.

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This fourth product is one I’ve heard of for a while and always wanted to try but couldn’t validate the price to myself for a brand I’d never tried. This is the It Cosmetics 5-in-1 mascara. Again, this product is a cult fave and I am so excited to try it because mascara is one of my favorite makeup products, period.

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The last product is unexpectedly a tool! Every Ipster knows that we don’t get tools (brushes, sponges, tweezers) often so when we do, it’s a big deal. These are the only products that you’ll never run out of and they tend to be some of the priciest. I received a new gigantic tweezer from Emite! It is their $35 full-size professional slanted tweezer and I’m kind of freaking out because the entire bag is only $10! I have a Tweezerman but it is the smaller one which can be hard to handle for stubborn hairs so this was such a nice surprise.

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All told, accounting for the amount of product received, this bag is worth approximately $60 plus the cosmetic bag.

If you haven’t already, join Ipsy now!

Share links to your Alter Ego bag or looks in the comments below.

Happy friday, gorgeous!

-BGB

Influenster Homecoming Voxbox

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Hey guys! I think I’ve mentioned it before but I am a member of Influenster. Influenster is a members-only community of the social media savvy. There, you link up all of your social media accounts to show your networking potential. You fill out various quizzes called “snaps” so the company can learn about you and your lifestyle. Then every few months, you receive a box with complimentary products for you to test and review. It is absolutely free and there are no fees to join. I have been a member for years and have never paid a cent.

First you will get an email confirming your box with a tracking code. The products will arrive. They will vary based on your demographic. I usually always get college-themed boxes, rightfully so. I have received products such as snacks, nail polishes, face and body washes, chapstick, shampoo and conditioner, and coupons. The coupons are always fun extras because you think you saw everything in the box but then there will be a coupon for a free smoothie from Jamba Juice, Olay face wash, etc.

I just received my latest box this week so I wanted to give you a rundown of what was inside and do some product reviews. Every box comes with a card explaining the contents of the box and the retail value of each item.

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Kettle Brand Jalapeno Chips ($2.99)

Now I’ll be honest, I am not one for overly spicy things. Mild hot wings make my eyes tear up. But these are really good! They aren’t overly hot but have a nice underlying flavor.

Olay Active Botanicals Gel Cleanser ($5.99)

These are my favorite types of products to receive. I am a beauty junky and this item just came out. I haven’t tried it yet so stay tuned.

Red Vines Candy ($1.59)

These are like a vintage, lightweight version of Twizzlers. Despite their neon redness and plasticy-ness they seem a lot less artificial than Twizzlers because they aren’t shiny. They also taste a little like cinnamon which is pleasant.

Luden’s Watermelon Throat Drops ($2.49)

I have seasonal allergies and always end up with a dry throat because of it. I love throat lozenges but they usually taste too minty or like honey. These are watermelon! They also smell great and do a good job. These were super practical.

SinfulColors SinfulShine Nail Polish ($2.99 a bottle)

I was so excited to receive this product! I was sent a true white polish called Wisp and the GelTech top coat. This product is supposed to be like Sally Hansen’s MiracleGel: an at home, two step gel system with no light. I’ve never had much luck with these systems. They never come close to competing with my Sensationail at-home gel system or with gel manis from the salon. Regardless, I was excited to try the product. It is inexpensive compared to the competition and comes in 27 shades.

First off, the color was horrific. I love a white polish but this lacked any pearlescence which made it look like Witeout. I followed the instructions and shook the bottles well but the polish still came out clumpy in spots. I applied two coats of the polish, same with the gel top coat. I let my nails dry fully and they looked decent. Again, didn’t love the color and there was some unevenness but not terrible.

The big issue with this product is longevity. If I am paying more for this product than the line’s regular polishes and the product claims to have some type of gel technology, I am not only expecting higher shine (which this did have as SinfulColors are notoriously dull) but also longer lasting results and this product chipped away in about two days. Thankfully, it came off as easily as standard polish with remover.

I will continue to use the products throughout the next month. Then I will receive an online survey to tell Influenster what I think of each product, brutally honestly. In the meantime, I can complete sharing challenges to spread the word on these products and increase my likeliness to receive boxes. If you are really dedicated and complete all the challenges, you can receive extra product. For instance, if you open your box on a Youtube video, do a review and tutorial of the nail polish on your channel, and leave feedback on the company Facebook page, you can receive a voucher for another polish.

For anyone who likes to do product reviews, this is definitely the place for you! I am including my referral link below so if you want to join, now you have an “in”. Just click or type the link into your browser.

Referral Link

Have a great day, beauties!

-BGB

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Product Review: Essie Sleek Sticks

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Hey guys! So if you haven’t already read the blog on my latest drugstore beauty haul, head over here to read that so you know a little background on how I obtained this product.

Basically, Essie Sleek Sticks are nail stickers similar to the ones made by Sally Hansen, Jamberry, etc. They are marketed as an all-in-one nail solution which provides nails which are instantly dry with little mess and no topcoat necessary. Essie takes this one step further and even embellishes its stickers. Packages include 18 stickers of various sizes, enough for one full manicure (or two if you’re thrifty and willing to cut stickers to size). I prefer to use these products for one full mani and then use the extras to accent solid, polished manicures on my ring fingers. A package retails for about $10 and can be found in most big box stores and pharmacies.

But boy am I glad I didn’t spend $10. Or I would be in line, receipt in hand, at Walgreens/Target right about now. Because I rarely say this but this product stinks. Badly. Of old cheddar left out to dry.

First off, the stickers feel like straight up scotch tape. What didn’t set off any alarms when inside the packaging quickly had me saying eww as I pulled the actual stickers out of the wrapping. They feel thin and chinsy and have an unpleasant residue. The shine seems highly unnatural and the embellishments look like they are from the $0.99 aisle of the children’s craft section (right next to the pom poms and pipe cleaners).

Putting the product on was way too difficult, especially since I was fully focused, used a flat surface, and have put on nail stickers before. The stickers had the embellishment on the top. They were impossible to cut while sticky so I decided to reverse them so I could actually see the design since my nails aren’t 3 inches long like the stickers. The stickers would not smooth out. I continued to smooth the nails, warming them with the heat of my fingers but they only continued to wrinkle up, refusing to lay down and be still. I read online that top coat would only cause the stickers to shrivel up so I did not attempt to add that.

When I was finally done and somewhat satisfied with my handy work, I went to sleep. The next morning I woke up to this…

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And promptly turned into Hades.

Now why was I so upset? If you read my blog you know I only paid a dollar for each package. But it’s the point. It’s the point that these are Essie, a reputable brand that we all know and love. And these are still on the market for full retail. And the consensus across multiple media sources is pretty much unanimously that they stink. The edges are rough, they chip within days, and they lift like there’s no tomorrow. My nails haven’t looked this wonky since the first time I tried a marble manicure.

My message to Essie is a simple one: do better.

-BGB