Friday, February 13, 2015

Review: Tarte Miracles from the Amazon - QVC Today's Special Value

Hi everyone!
Time for a BIG blog review. This is all about the Today's Special Value from Tarte that's on QVC today! It's $59.96 on QVC's website, and, assuming it doesn't sell out, the price will go up slightly after it's featured "TSV" day. First off- this kit was sent to me by Tarte to review. I received no monetary compensation from Tarte for this review, and these are my own, honest opinions. I would have definitely purchased this kit myself, but thanks to Tarte, I was able to get my hands on the kit EXTRA early, experiment with it for several weeks, and can now provide an educated review on the TSV day! Hopefully it's helpful to those of you who are considering picking it up. 
(Click any of the pictures to enlarge them)
Here's a quick rundown of everything that's included... 
  • Maracuja Miracle Foundcealer (brand new)
  • Maracuja Miracle Foundcealer Brush (brand new)
  • Amazonian Clay cheek & eye palette (brand new - limited edition)
  • Double-ended eyeshadow brush
  • Gifted Mascara (limited edition packaging)
  • LipSurgence Liquid Lip Shine in Exquisite (brand new - limited edition)
  • Makeup bag
Maracuja Miracle Foundcealer (my shade: Light-Medium)
Ok... remember Tarte's Maracuja Miracle foundation? I thought that was one of the few really great coverage foundations for dry skin. I was so excited to see that the brand didn't totally let go of that concept. This is definitely a different formula... very liquid-like, but buildable coverage that can go medium to full. I admit, the thought of a "foundcealer" sounds a little gimmicky, but the fact that this is so buildable makes it possible to use it in a very full-coverage way if you choose. 

My skin type is very "normal" at the moment, and this gives a great finish that's not too greasy and not too dry. It's not what I'd call dewy or tacky on the skin, but I do prefer to set it lightly with powder. I can't guarantee how this would work for other skin types, but it seems lightweight enough to be something people with oily skin could enjoy, but also non-drying enough to work on dry or more mature skin. I have used this as all over foundation, as well as just an under eye concealer. I LOVED how it didn't seem to dry out the under eye area and even by the end of the day, it looked really fresh. I can't speak for those with extremely oily skin, but with my normal (slightly combo) skin, this has the staying power of Estee Lauder Double Wear (assuming I set it with a little bit of powder) with a less dry feel.

The one thing I don't like about this is the packaging. The dropper doesn't pull out much product... maybe mine is defective, but when I press the button at the top to release the foundation, hardly anything comes out. I end up just kind of swiping the wand around my face to get what I need. So I think a pump would've been better with this... but maybe they were trying to use new packaging to differentiate this foundation from the old Maracuja Miracle? Not sure. 

Maracuja Miracle Foundcealer Brush
This brush is SO SOFT. We're talking baby bunny soft. And I know, because my mom rescued baby bunnies when I was little. It's a really unusual shape, too. As you can see (especially in the top picture), the ferrule is kind of pinched at the top, but the brush is still very full and majorly tapered down one side. It works wonderfully for blending in this foundation. However, the large size makes it a bit difficult to get around the eyes. Since the Foundcealer is both a foundation and a concealer, it would've been nice to have a smaller brush to help with those smaller areas. I've been using a full (yet small) brush from Tarte that came with a concealer I purchased months ago, and it's been working well to buff in the product. The Sigma precision brushes like the P80 would also work well when using the Foundcealer as concealer.

I know this wasn't taken in the best lighting, but I just snapped a picture before and after I applied the Foundcealer. I LOVE the coverage. I first blended it all over, and then just applied a little extra to the under eye area and around my nose to act as concealer. Foundcealer is the only product on my face in the after picture. I think you can see that while my skin tone is very evened-out, it's not totally matte. This still has a skin-like appearance, which I love. And it continues to wear well into the nighttime hours. I'm super impressed with this! After applying Foundcealer, I used a little bit of powder to set my t-zone, and I used my Smashbox Step-By-Step Contour kit in the hollows of my cheeks and hairline. Now on with the rest of the products in this kit!
I was really excited to see that a rather sizable palette was included in this TSV kit! I don't usually see palettes like this get lumped in with a group of other products. But I think it's a great value. If you look at the top picture in this post, you can see the gorgeous outer packaging. This palette also has a mirror on the inside, as well as an Amazonian Clay blush in Talented, and six eyeshadows. The blush is a beautiful matte shade that walks the line between pink and coral, and is a great pairing with the lip color in this kit. I've used a lot of Tarte's Amazonian Clay blushes, and this is every bit as pigmented as any of the others I've used. A little goes a long way. And I love that it's full-size! The eyeshadows in here aren't anything too flashy... though I suppose that in order for this one kit to appeal to the masses, the shades needed to be pretty basic. I must admit, the quality is great. Four of the six shadows are matte... the light pink and plum on the left, and the taupe and dark brown on the right. There's an extremely soft, beautiful shimmery taupe, and also a shimmery champagne. That shade didn't photograph wonderfully in the swatch, but it's still a great color to work with. Overall these shades can give you anything from a barely-there natural look to a deep smokey eye. One slight drawback might be for those who enjoy warmer neutrals... these shadows are all pretty cool-toned.
Here you're looking at each end of the double-ended eye brush that's included in this kit. While both ends are quite usable, I still found myself wanting to use my everyday brushes that I reach for all the time. It's easy to fall into a comfort zone with your favorite brushes, you know? Anyway, here you have a flat, but still rather full brush for packing on shadow, and a tapered crease brush. Both ends are very soft. Neither end is over-sized, which I think gives you control with the application. For most looks, I would reach for additional brushes in addition to this double-ended brush... like a smudge or pencil brush for the lower lash line and a larger brush for blending. For a quick, basic look though, this brush could work fine. 
For this look, I used the browns on the right side of the palette. I first used the crease brush to apply the medium taupe in my crease. I added a little bit of the dark brown to my outer corner, and then lightly applied the champagne color to the center of my lids. I also smudged the taupe on the lower lash line. Last weekend I did a look with the plum colors (I should've taken a picture), but just so you know, that shimmery taupe on the left side is a dream to work with! It would make for an EASY one shadow look! And of course, one could also be creative and mix shades from both sides of the palette  :) 
In addition to the eyeshadows, I also applied a nude liner to my lower inner rim to further awaken my tired eyes, and I applied black liquid liner to my upper lash line. Next step- mascara!
Gifted Amazonian Clay Smart Mascara
This is a full-sized mascara in special, limited-edition packaging. I'm not sure how "smart" this mascara is, but it certainly performs awesome on my lashes. I remember raving about this mascara years ago, saying how I liked it as much- if not better- than Tarte's Lights Camera Lashes. I think this one might be even more lengthening. I love the brush-- short bristles and lots of them, and it's slightly tapered toward the tip making application easy in the inner corners. 
Look at that length! And if I wanted even more volume, I'd apply my Estee Lauder Little Black Primer underneath. That primer also helps this mascara hold a curl... Gifted isn't great about doing that on its own. Another small gripe- when I was wearing Gifted on my lower lashes, I noticed some smudging just below my eyes. So watch out for that if it tends to be a problem area for you. Today I used my Cover Girl Clump Crusher Water Resistant on the lower lashes, because that stuff goes NOWHERE.
LipSurgence Liquid Lip Shine in Exquisite (Limited Edition)
At first I just thought this was a new shade in Tarte's LipSurgence Lip Gloss line, but it's actually being referred to as a Liquid Lip Shine. My info says "these brand new liquid lipsticks blend the benefits of a stain and a gloss in one high-performance application". I don't notice much difference in the way these feel compared to LipSurgence lip glosses. It's slightly sticky, but definitely has nice color and shine. This particular mauve/pink color has no shimmer, and gives off a nice amount of color on the lips. I definitely didn't notice any staining effects, though. For me, it wears for a couple of hours... give or take, depending on eating, drinking, accidentally kissing some off on your baby, etc. It's nice that this was included in the kit, but in my opinion, it's definitely not the strength of this kit. Oh, and unlike other LipSurgence products you might be used to, this gloss is not minty. It has a lightly sweet scent that I can't quite put my finger on.
Overall, I think Tarte put together a great TSV... probably one of their best, and I've tried pretty much all of them over the last few years! I thought I'd be most excited about the palette, and the palette is great. But I think I was most pleasantly surprised by the Foundcealer. I do not have perfect skin... between the lingering melasma, broken capillaries around my nose, and darkness around the eyes, I've got some stuff to cover and I tend to like a lot of coverage in my foundations. This was able to give me a lightweight feel, and coverage that I could control. And I didn't need to bring in any additional concealers to get the job done! If you get this kit, I think you'll also really enjoy the Foundcealer brush. Furthermore, there's a fabulous mascara in this kit. The lip color is a bit thick and sticky, and probably isn't something I'm going to reach for often. But all in all, I love the look that the products in this kit can achieve. Thanks for taking time to read this epic blog post- I hope it was helpful! 

Daily Nuggets...
  • I'm writing this post on Thursday... last night the Emily Awards wrapped up with the LIVE finale and it was SO SO FUN! Thanks to everyone who tuned in!
  • Cupcake is napping in Belle's bouncy seat right now. She also loves the pack-n-play.
  • I've had my Vanity Girl Hollywood makeup mirror for a little over four years, I think? Just yesterday, one of the bulbs went out. I can't believe that didn't happen sooner, considering the use that thing gets! 
  • I have had an ongoing Mexican food craving for a few weeks now. All I want are nachos, taco salad, quesadillas, etc. 
  • It has been far too long since I've written daily nuggets!


Wednesday, February 11, 2015

EMILY AWARDS 2014: Live Finale!



Hi everyone! 
The Emily Awards have become an annual tradition for 7 years on my YouTube channel, but this is the very first time any part of the awards has happened LIVE! I'm so excited! If you're unable to watch the live broadcast, you're in luck... YouTube actually records the live hangouts and it should show up on my channel just like any other video and can be watched at any time! It's going to be so fun to not only talk about some top products, but also take questions and just have fun! :) 

So why do the Emily Awards need a finale, anyway? The other videos each have their specific focus... products for face, eyes and lips. There are many beauty products that fall outside of that scope, so the finale is a nice way to highlight some great products for skincare, body, hair, brushes/tools as well as some MVP's (Most Valuable Products). And this year during the finale, we also have a debut! Tyler will spotlight his top 5 products of the year in the "Tyler Awards" segment. All of the winning products are listed below, along with links for where to buy them, and links to any relevant videos that might provide more information. Thanks so much for watching this year's Emily Awards, and here's to another year of fantastic beauty products! 

* denotes the number of years a product has won. Products without and asterisk are first-time winners. Best products for skincare, hair, and body are listed in no particular order.

Best Brushes
  • High End: Sigma F80*** (Buy) & Sigma E25 (Buy)
  • Drugstore: ELF Small Stipple Brush** (Buy, More Info) & Sonia Kashuk Small Shadow Brush** (Buy, More Info)
Outstanding Tool
Cutest Packaging
Needs to be In Your Purse
MVP's (Most Valuable Products)
  • Face: Estee Lauder Double Wear Maximum Cover Foundation (Buy, More Info)
  • Eyes: Estee Lauder Little Black Primer (Buy, More Info)
  • Lips: Bite Luminous Creme Lipstick** (Buy, More Info)
Best Skincare Products
  • Olay or Equate Daily Facials Cleansing Cloths***** (Buy)
  • CeraVe Hydrating Face Wash (Buy)
  • ELF Studio Lip Exfoliator (Buy, More Info)
Best Body Products
  • Sally Hansen Airbrush Legs** (Buy)
  • Burt's Bees Baby Bee Lotion (Buy, More Info)
  • Bath & Body Works Gentle Foaming Hand Soaps (Buy, More Info)
Best Hair Products
  • Tresemme Tres Two Hairspray***** (Buy)
  • Remington T Studio Pearl Styling Wand** (Buy, More Info)
  • Conair Mini Pro Compact Hot Rollers (Buy, More Info)
TYLER AWARDS 
(Tyler's Top 5 Products- see his reviews weekly on Beauty Broadcast Express)
(Some "buy" links above are affiliate links)




Friday, February 6, 2015

EMILY AWARDS 2014: Best Lip Products!


Happy Friday, friends!
Time for the third part of the Emily Awards. You might have noticed these awards videos have been a bit more spaced out than usual, and you might also notice that there haven't been as many Beauty Broadcast Express reviews. I've been filling nearly every spare minute with work on these Emily Awards videos, and the problem is that, often times, there aren't many spare minutes! You see, Baby Belle doesn't nap much at the moment... so I'm pretty hands-on most of the day. I love it! But I just wanted you to know why these videos are coming out a bit more slowly this year than usual. This series is very important to me, and above all, I want to make sure that these are the best quality videos that you, my viewers, deserve. Thanks for understanding! 

As far as this blog post, it's laid out the same way as the posts for the Face and Eye awards. I've included links alongside the winning products so you know where to buy them, and also any related videos I might have. I hope this will be a useful resource for you after watching the video! :) 

The FINALE will be broadcast LIVE on YouTube for the first time ever! Keep an eye on my social media sites for updates on the date/time!

* denotes the number of years a product has won. Products without and asterisk are first-time winners. Not every type of product has winners in both high end and drugstore categories.

Best Lip Balm
  • High End: Fresh Sugar Lip Balm** (Buy)
  • Drugstore: Nivea Stick Lip Balms** (Buy
Best Tinted Lip Balm
Best Lip Liner
  • High End: Estee Lauder Double Wear Lip Liner (Buy)
  • Drugstore: Milani Color Statement Lip Pencils (Buy)
Best Jumbo Lip Pencil
  • High End: Bite High Pigment Lip Pencils (Buy - More Info)
  • Drugstore: Neutrogena Moisture Smooth Color Stick*** (Buy) & L'oreal Glossy Balm (Buy - More Info)
Best Lip Plumper
  • High End: Buxom Full-On Lip Polish/Cream***** (Buy)
Best Lip Stain
Best Lipstick
  • High End: Bite Beauty Luminous Creme Lipstick** (Buy - More Info)
  • Drugstore: Rimmel Kate Moss Matte Lipstick (Buy - More Info)
Best Lip Gloss
  • High End: Mally High Shine Liquid Lip Color** (Buy)
  • Drugstore: LA Girl Glazed Lip Paint (Buy - More Info) -- Also, in the video I mentioned a multi-pack of these. Check ladymoss.com for that.
Best Pinks
  • Lipstick: Estee Lauder Pure Color Envy Sculpting Lipstick in Impulsive (Buy)
  • Lip Gloss: LA Girl Glazed Lip Paint in Blushing (Buy - More Info)
Best Berries
  • Lipstick: Bite Lipstick in Mulberry** (Buy - More Info)
  • Lip Gloss: Mally High Shine Liquid Lip Color in Orchid (Buy)
Best Reds
  • Lipstick: NARS Audacious Lipstick in Carmen (Buy - More Info)
  • Lip Gloss: LA Girl Glazed Lip Paint in Pin Up (Buy - More Info)
Best Nudes/Neutrals
  • Lipstick: Sonia Kashuk Shine Luxe in Sheer Pink Lust** (Buy - More Info)
  • Lip Gloss: NYX Butter Gloss in Creme Brûlée (Buy)
(Some "Buy" links are affiliate links)
Stay tuned to social media for updates on the LIVE finale!


Friday, January 30, 2015

EMILY AWARDS 2014: Best Eye Makeup!


Hi Everyone! 
It's time for part two of the Emily Awards! In this video, I focus on all of my favorite eye makeup... from primer to eyeshadow to brows - and everything in between! There are lots of new favorites this year, as well as some long-time powerhouse products. And of course, Cupcake and Belle's "Cuteness Broadcast" takeover continues... watch the intro to see what they're up to this time around! 

As with the blog post for the Emily Awards for Face, I've listed all of the award-winning products below, along with any links to other videos I've done and also links to where you can buy these items.  

Don't miss a video! Stay updated on the Emily Awards on Social Media!

* denotes the number of years a product has won. Products without and asterisk are first-time winners. Not every type of product has winners in both high end and drugstore categories.

Best Eye Primer
  • Drugstore: Milani Eyeshadow Primer** (Buy)
Best Cream Shadow
  • High End: Mally Evercolor Shadow Sticks**** (Buy - More Info)
  • Drugstore: Milani Shadow Eyez in Almond Cream** (Buy)
Best Small Eyeshadow Palette
  • High End: Clinique Black Honey Affair (Buy) - Benefit Big Beautiful Eyes (Buy - More Info)
  • Drugstore: Wet n Wild Walking on Eggshells (Buy)
Best Large Eyeshadow Palette
  • High End: LORAC Pro Palette*** (Buy) - Smashbox Master Class III (Buy - More Info)
  • Drugstore: Coastal Scents Revealed 2 Palette (Buy - More Info)
Best Overall Eyeshadow Formula
  • High End: Smashbox Photo Op Eyeshadow**  (see video for specific info)
  • Drugstore: Wet n Wild Color Icon Eyeshadow***** (Buy)
Best Eyeliner Pencil
  • High End: Marc Jacobs Highliner (Buy)
Best Liquid Eyeliner
  • Drugstore: Jordana Color Envy Liquid Liner in Black Envy (Buy - More Info)
Best Cream/Gel Eyeliner
  • Drugstore: Essence Gel Liner in Midnight in Paris** (Buy - More Info)
Best Mascara
  • High End: Estee Lauder Little Black Primer (Buy - More Info)
  • Drugstore: Cover Girl Clump Crusher Water Resistant Mascara (Buy)
Best False Eyelashes
Best Brow Product
(Some "buy" links are affiliate links)
Stay tuned for part 3 of the Emily Awards - Best Lip Products!




Sunday, January 25, 2015

EMILY AWARDS 2014: Best Face Makeup!


Hello friends!
Thanks for tuning in for the 7th annual Emily Awards! I remember when I first did these awards for the best products of 2008... back then, I knew I wanted to do a roundup of my favorite makeup products, but didn't really know what to call it. So without a whole lot of thought, I slapped on the title of "Emily Awards". Who knew I'd still be doing them this many years later? At first, I just did one video sharing my favorites... now it's grown to a four part series where the "theme" requires almost as much thought and planning as the favorite product selections themselves! 

In 2014, our little family went through some significant changes! A new home... and a new baby! So that definitely plays into this year's theme, where Cupcake and Belle join forces to turn "Beauty Broadcast" into "Cuteness Broadcast". You'll have to check out each video in the Emily Awards series to see how their plan unfolds!

While my video shares the "why" behind all of my Emily Award winning products, I like to compile all the favorites here on my blog so you can more easily refer to the winners. The "buy" links following each product will direct you to an online retailer that sells the product. On some products, the "more info" links will take you to other videos I've done in the past sharing more details. 

Don't miss a video! Stay updated on the Emily Awards on social media!

* denotes the number of years a product has won. Products without and asterisk are first-time winners. Not every type of product has winners in both high end and drugstore categories.

Best Primer
  • High End: Clinique Superprimer (Buy)
  • Drugstore: Garnier 5 Sec. Blur (Buy - More Info)
Best Light Foundation/BB
Best Full Coverage Foundation
  • High End: Estee Lauder Double Wear Maximum Cover (Buy - More Info)
  • Drugstore: Rimmel Lasting Finish Foundation** (Buy)
Best Concealer
  • High End: Benefit Erase Paste** (Buy)
  • Drugstore: Sonia Kashuk All Covered Up Concealer (Buy - More Info)
Best Loose Powder
  • Drugstore: ELF Mineral Booster in Sheer** (Buy)
Best Pressed Powder
  • Drugstore: L'oreal True Match Pressed Powder***** (Buy)
Best Powder Foundation
  • High End: It Cosmetics Celebration Illumination Foundation (Buy)
  • Drugstore: ELF Pressed Mineral Foundation (Buy - More Info)
Best Bronzer
  • High End: Smashbox Step-by-Step Contour Kit (Buy - More Info)
  • Drugstore: NYC Color Wheel- All Over Bronze Glow (Buy - More Info)
Best Blush
Best Cream Blush
Best Highlight
  • High End: BECCA Shimmering Skin Perfector (Buy - More Info)
Best Mattifier/Touch-Up
Best Setting Spray
  • Drugstore: NYX Dewy Finish Setting Spray (Buy)
(Some "buy" links above are affiliate links)
Stay tuned for Part 2 of the Emily Awards 2014: Best Eye Products! :)