DIY Eyebrow Tinting

Happy National Eyebrow Day! It’s funny that such a small amount of hair can command so much time and money in a person’s life—yet here we are!

I have talked pretty in-depth about my eyebrows on my blog, including my experience with microblading, my tips & favorite products for filling in your eyebrows and what I use to wax my eyebrows myself at home. Today, I’m going to show you how to tint your eyebrows at home using Just For Men beard dye.

Disclaimer: This product is not intended to be used on eyebrows or eyelashes and can cause permanent damage, including blindness, if it gets into your eye. Please proceed with caution and do so at your own risk.

LET’S GET STARTED

The first thing you’re going to want to do is choose a product to tint your brows at home. I’ve tried many products, from henna to demi-permanent hair dye from Sally’s and always end up coming back to ol’ faithful: Just for Men.

I always buy this product from Target (it’s $8.99) and I always get the shade Dark Brown. You can get whatever shade your heart desires, but I would always recommend going with whatever is closest to your natural hair color.

This kit comes with a tray to mix it in, and I would suggest also purchasing a cheap double sided brush—the kind with a spooly on one end and a pointed brush on the other. This one from elf is a great option and only $4.

Put equal parts color base and developer into the tray and mix it together with the bristle end of your brush. Once it’s fully mixed, we’re ready to move onto the next step.

APPLYING THE DYE

Let’s not put the cart in front of the horse. Before we apply the dye, we have to make sure that our brows are ready, which means they are clean and oil free. If you’re a newbie and afraid you’re going to royally mess this up, I suggest putting Vaseline on the areas outside your brows where you don’t want the dye to end up.

You’ll apply the dye just like you would any other brow product. I suggest starting in the middle and doing the front of your brow last when there is less product on the brush. It gives a more natural apperance and makes it less likely that you’ll mess up.

Like I suggest in my Brow 101 post, I suggest doing swiping, hair like motions in the direction of the hair growth for the end and tail of your brow and short, upward strokes in the front.

When the dye is first mixed, it will be pretty light in color, however it will get darker the longer it develops. Once you have all the product you want on, set a timer for 10-20 minutes and go about your business.

WASHING IT OFF

Rinsing this off is arguably the easiest part of the whole (already extremely simple) process.

I put soap on my finger tips and wet them with warm water. Then I rub my eyebrows back and forth, creating a gray, sudsy mess and making sure to get any and all product off. Then I take a warm, damp wash cloth and wash it all off.

The key here is to not use too much water because you don’t want any of this getting into your eyes. I’ve been doing this for at least three years, way before it was a Tik Tok trend and back when the box didn’t have a warning label on it. I was much more willy nilly with how I washed it off, because I didn’t know it could potentially have averse consequences. Now that I know, I routinely worry that maybe a tiny Just For Men molecule may have snuck into my eye while I was washing it out, and I panic that I can feel my eyes burning, and subsequently, my vision blurring. I am extremely dramatic, so that’s probably a personal problem, but—in all seriousness—please be careful.

THE FINISHED PRODUCT

After you wash the dye off, you’re left with beautifully defined brows. I find that this lasts between 1-2 weeks, depending on how often you wash your face, sweat, etc. I like doing this at home because, honestly, I think its fun. It’s also extremely cost effective. I’ve only ever had to repurchase JFM because I lost tubes, never because I used the product up. For an up front investment of less than $15, you’ve got tinted eyebrows for 6 months to a year.

TL;DR

Tinting your brows at home is quick & easy, even if you only do it a pinch! Have you ever tinted your brows at home? If you do, let me know what products you use!

Bonus tip: if you’re in Lansing and not looking to do-it-yourself, or you’re looking to have someone wax + shape your brows, I highly recommend seeing Riley Vanness.

SEPTEMBER FAVORITES

It feels like I blinked and September was over. Here are all the things that I loved throughout the past month.

RARE BEAUTY BY SELENA GOMEZ

I wrote an entire blog post dedicated to how much I loved the Rare Beauty line by Selena Gomez and that continued throughout the entire month. My favorite products, by far, are the foundation and the blush.

I have very high standards when it comes to foundation and this one meets, if not exceeds, my expectations. This foundation will work for nearly any type of skin, from oily (like me) to dry. However, I do think if you have extremely dry skin, it might cling to patches.

I use the Soft Pinch Liquid blush every single time I put makeup on and it is truly one of the most standup items that have launched this year. If you haven’t tried it, I highly recommend.

TOWER 28 GLOSS IN CASHEW

I talked about this recently in my Weekly Roundup blog post, but it’s so good that I’m including it in my monthly favorites. If you love glosses, you’ll love this. If you’re gloss-averse, you’ll probably still love this because it’s that good.

The whole collection is named after dairy-alternative milks (Cashew, Oat, Almond and Coconut) and Tower 28 describes Cashew as a semi-sheer, milky-rosy brown. It has the shine of a gloss but the comfort of a balm with a wash of milky color and it‘s formulated with a unique blend of five nourishing oils to soothe and protect lips from drying and peeling. The best part? It’s only $14! What a steal.

NATASHA DENONA BRONZE EYESHADOW PALETTE

I’ve had this for a few months and have used it consistently but never really mentioned it (until my fall makeup trends blog post!). I love a good bronze eyeshadow moment, no matter what time of year. At $65, it is pretty expensive (much less expensive than her larger palettes, though!) but, like all Natasha Denona palettes, is extremely high quality.

I saw some critiques online saying that it wasn’t worth the money because it was boring and had too many similar shadow colors to have an interesting color story, but I disagree. There are shimmers, glitters and mattes and definitely enough variety to put together a complete eye look for day or night.

SLIP SKINNY SCRUNCHIES

I bought these a three pack of these a year ago in June and have not used any other kind of hair tie since. I am obsessed with them and recently repurchased during the Nordstrom sale. They are expensive, so if you’re like me and are prone to losing hair scrunchies at the drop of a hat, you’re going to want to make a point of not doing that because they ain’t cheap.

They do stretch out a little bit, but not to the point that they aren’t useable or it effects the performance of the scrunchie.

The whole appeal of these is that they are made of silk. A set of six hair ties spun from silk to be gentle on your delicate hair. Traditional hair ties can tug on delicate hair, which can lead to damage and breakage. These hair ties are made with the same silk used to make the brand’s pillowcases and each has a wide surface area and is designed to reduce those annoying ridges caused by regular hair scrunchies.

BIOLOGIQUE RECHARCHE LOTION P50

I honestly should just write an entire dedicated blog post about my love for Lotion P50. The product has a cult following and for good reason. It’s expensive, but good skincare is an investment—and it lasts a long time. I got a bottle in March and, even with daily use, have only gone through about a quarter of it.

You know the way your skin glows after having a facial? That’s what my skin looks like when I wake up the morning after using P50. I swear that it helps essentially every skin issue, too? Acne. P50. Dark spots? P50. Discoloration? P50? Wrinkles? P50. Boy problems? P50.

The smell is a little gross (smells kind of like vinegar and onions?) but after continued use, I don’t even notice it. And after seeing the results, I wouldn’t care even if I did. P50 is full of exfoliating ingredients like lactic acid and salicylic acid and does all those magical things that I mentioned earlier: balances your skin’s pH, regulates oil production, brightens dark spots, evens skin texture, and help with acne. I apply it using a cotton round and wipe it all over my entire face, including the sensitive skin under my eyes. That might be bad advice, but it works for me!

BYREDO VETYVR HAND WASH

I picked this up during the Violet Grey sale and, even though it’s expensive, I really love it. I wash my hands approximately one hundred times per day, so I thought I might as well make it a luxurious experience.

ELECTRIC ARC LIGHTER

If you light candles on the reg, you need this in your life. I normally use the BIC candle lighters that come in a two pack, but they don’t always work the best, especially when the candle is getting pretty low. This lighter is the answer to all your woes. There’s no fuel, no butane and you charge it via USB! It is the coolest lighter that I’ve ever used.

TL;DR

I have a surprising amount of makeup favorites this month, considering I don’t wear makeup that often anymore. Of all these things, I am most excited about P50 and the lighter LOL. What things did you try this month?

Weekly Roundup: Dyson V11 Vacuum, Melt Cosmetics + More

My weekly round up is kind of all over the place this week. From cleaning products to makeup and more, here are the random things I tried this week!

DYSON V11 ANIMAL+ CORDLESS STICK VACUUM

I have wanted a Dyson vacuum for the longest time but have always shied away from the extremely steep price tag. I got this at Costco for less than normal retail, which is how I justified the purchase to myself.

I have to say, it felt like Christmas when I came home and pulled this out of the packaging. I’ve been testing this out for about a week to see how well it works, how long the charge lasts, how it compares to my previous vacuum, etc. So far, I love it. I want to keep testing it out and eventually do a full review on it, so stay tuned.

MELT COSMETICS DIGITAL DUST DUO

I knew that I needed this blush duo as soon as I saw it. I got it in the shade Queen, which is a bronze and gold duo (which functions as more of a bronzer than a blush on my skin tone) and is so pretty. The product itself has a honey comb pattern and bee stamped directly into—and it’s actually so cute that I don’t really want to use it because I know it will ruin it.

TOWER 28 SHINE ON MILKY JELLY

If you’ve been here for awhile, you’ll know that I am obsessed with the Tower 28 lip gloss. They recently launched a new lip gloss formula, the Shine On Milky Jelly gloss, that is more opaque than the previous versions. I got it in the shade Cashew which is a very pretty brown-y nude. It’s very much a “your lips but better” shade, because it adds a hint of milky color without being entirely opaque. Bonus: it’s only $14 (just like all of their glosses!). Seriously, you can’t go wrong with these.

MEJURI CROISSANT DÔME HOOPS

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#mejuri @mejuri

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I have seen these braided, rope style earrings on Instagram for the longest time and always wanted them. I decided that I was going to buy them and narrowed it down to two different earrings from two different brands. Ultimately, I went with Mejuri because shopping with them is always such a wonderful experience (I talked about them in my Favorite Online Jewelry Brands blog). They shipped almost immediately after I purchased them, arrived within three days and had to be signed for. The earrings themselves are so chic and cute, can be dressed up or down, and go with everything. These are a bit of a splurge, so I’m trying to find a more affordable option for different price points. Stay tuned for that!

MELATONIN

The last time I picked up a grocery order from Kroger, they gave me a goody bag with a bunch of different samples in it (in a reusable grocery bag!). One of those samples was melatonin, which I almost didn’t try because melatonin has never worked for me. It ended up working extremely well. I fell asleep fast and stayed asleep all night, which literally never happens, so I immediately went out and purchased a full bottle. We’ll see if I keep seeing the same results, but for now, I’m a big fan.

PEN15

I started watching Season One of PEN15 a long time ago (not sure how long ago, but it feels like forever) and thought it was the most hilarious thing I had ever seen. The show centers around two middle school aged girls who are best friends, and depicts very honestly what that time in your life is like. I have to say, the thong episode is honestly one of my favorites and I laughed so hard that I was nearly in tears. If you experienced being a girl in middle school, I highly recommend.

BLOGS FROM THE PAST WEEK

If you missed it, these were the blogs I posted this week!

I WANT TO SEE A THERAPIST. NOW WHAT?

FALL MAKEUP TRENDS I’M LOVING

TL;DR

This weeks list is such a random hodgepodge of things. Do you use or have you tried any of these? If nothing else, bookmark the PEN15 suggestion and circle back this winter when we are undoubtedly still quarantined and you need something funny to watch!

Fall Trends I’m Loving

Fall is here! If you’re looking for something to inspire your makeup routine, these fun trends might give you a reason to break out your brushes.

GLOSSY LIPS

It’s no secret that I love a good glossy lip. Fall has traditionally been a time for dark, matte lips but you can pry my lipgloss from my cold, dead hands. I am loving the Pat McGrath Lip Fetish Divinyl lip glosses, as well as the new Tower 28 Beauty milky glosses. Can’t go wrong with either!

GRAPHIC LINER

I am so obsessed with graphic liner. I honestly think that this started as a Tik Tok trend but has since made it’s way to the general masses (and was even on a lot runways this season, as you can see in Gigi Hadid’s IG post).

This is a great inexpensive eyeliner to try if you’re wanting to experiment with graphic eyeliner without the costly commitment.

TERRA COTTA TONES

There are few things in life that I love more than terra cotta makeup looks. I wear some variation of a terra cotta shadow on my eyes every single day, regardless of the season. I love these Natasha Denona palettes (the face + eyeshadow palettes!) and I also am obsessed with these Rare Beauty lip souffles (the shade Brave is my favorite). Terra cotta is flattering on essentially every skintone and is such a fun and easy way to transition into fall.

MONOCHROMATIC ROSE

If terra cotta isn’t your thing, it’s hard to go wrong with a rose look. Right now, I am obsessed with rose-hued monochromatic makeup looks it looks so beautiful, trendy and put together without really putting in an abundance of effort. Charlotte Tilbury’s Walk of No Shame collection has everything you need for a monochromatic rose look, or if you’re looking on a budget, this Color Pop palette is only $8 and is crazy good quality. Pair with a rosy lip (you know I love CT Pillow Talk but this Flower Beauty lipstick in Spiced Petal is almost an exact dupe for a fraction of the cost.

DRAPING

If you follow me on Instagram (which you should!), I recently talked about bronzer and blush placement (and how you should place them horizontally if you’re going for a truly sun-kissed look). Draping is basically the opposite of that. Do you remember a few years ago when highlighting got rebranded to “strobing” and was used exclusively instead of bronzing/contouring? This is similar. Draping is when you don’t use bronzer to contour, you use blush to bring structure to your face. To “drape,” you’ll want to place your blush on your cheekbones instead of the apples of your cheeks, and blend out toward your temples. This can look super high fashion if you use an intense color or really intensify the pigment, but I think it’s really pretty when done correctly and I actually especially like it combined with the monochromatic rose look.

Sidenote: My mom has been draping since the 80s, so I’m going to need to let her know she’s a trendsetter!

FOX EYES

From PDO threads to shaving off the majority of your eyebrow, people have gone to extreme lengths to get the Hadid-inspired fox eye. Turns out, you can get a similar effect with just eyeliner! There are tons of tutorials on social media from Instagram to Youtube, but the basic idea is to use a soft brown liner and false lashes to create an elongated shape.

TL;DR

Fun fall trends have me inspired to try more than just new makeup products, but new looks and techniques too. Since I’ve spent the better part of the year at home with a bare face, this is a welcome change of pace. Any new looks you’re interested in trying? Let me know!

I want to see a therapist. Now what?

We’ve heard it a million times in the past six months—we’re living in unprecedented times. While that phrase is now the bane of my existence, it’s true. Our lives collectively changed in March and even the most stable, mentally healthy people are having a hard time. This stuff isn’t normal. It’s OK to be scared and stressed and at the end of your rope. It’s OK if you’re looking for a little help with managing the stress of COVID (or just the problems you already had before this all started).

I see a therapist once a week—and I have for a year. When I first started seeing a therapist, I went into the whole situation blind. I had no idea how to go about finding a provider, or what to expect, so I decided to take all my lessons learned and pass them onto you, the reader, who may be interested in therapy but unsure of where to start.

Let’s walk through some common questions and concerns that people have when they want the help of a therapist, but don’t know what to do or what to expect.

HOW DO I KNOW IF I NEED A THERAPIST?

The American Psychological Association suggests considering therapy when something causes distress and interferes with some part of life, particularly when:

  • Thinking about or coping with the issue takes up at least an hour each day
  • The issue causes embarrassment or makes you want to avoid others
  • The issue has caused your quality of life to decrease
  • The issue has negatively affected school, work, or relationships
  • You’ve made changes in your life or developed habits to cope with the issue

The more honest answer is: there is no magic ticket for therapy. Whether you’re going through something difficult, or searching for better ways to cope with the stressors of everyday life, therapy is for everyone and anyone. Here’s the deal: there’s nothing wrong with needing help—or with admitting that you need help. Honestly, recognizing that you need support is one of the biggest hurdles. So if you’ve already done that then, kudos. You’re well on your way to taking better care of yourself.

I FEEL EMBARRASSED

Spoiler alert: no one has to know that you’re seeing a therapist because it’s no one else’s business but your own. Seriously. When I first started going to therapy, there were maybe like 3-4 that I shared that with. It simply wasn’t something that I felt people needed to know. I wasn’t necessarily embarrassed about it, per se, but I wasn’t wanting to shout it from the rooftops, either. Now, I talk very openly about seeing a therapist, including routinely uttering the phrase “my therapist said…” LOL

If you’re feeling embarrassed, I get it. There have been huge strides toward normalizing mental health care, thanks in part to hilarious tweets like these, but unfortunately there is still a stigma attached to it—despite the fact that half of us will have a serious psychological problem at some point in our lives.

If you’re feeling embarrassed at the thought of sharing your struggles and issues with a therapist, don’t be. I found it really difficult to open up to my therapist at first, but she was patient with me and made my experience worthwhile. A (good) therapist will never make your problems feel small or insignificant. They might not be able to solve all your problems, but they’ll help you to think more objectively and (hopefully) see the cause and effect behind your behavior, actions and feelings.

HOW DO I FIND A THERAPIST?

Once you’ve decided that you want to see a therapist, you’ll need to find someone to actually see. This part can be really daunting and was one of the biggest hurdles that I faced. If you feel comfortable, you can reach out to friends or family members who may be able to recommend someone to you. If that isn’t something that you want to do (no judgement) or that isn’t an option, you can find providers on the Psychology Today website. All you have to do is type in either the city name or zip code of where you want to see a provider and choose an option from the drop down, and you’ll be given an aggregate list of providers in your area.

HOW DO I CHOOSE A THERAPIST THAT’S RIGHT FOR ME?

There are a lot of things to consider when you start looking for a therapist. Do they accept your insurance (if you have it)? If you don’t have insurance, do they charge on a sliding scale based on what you can afford? Would you feel more comfortable with a male or female provider? Are you looking for someone faith-based? (I specifically was looking for someone who was not faith-based.) You want someone who is going to meet your needs and make you feel comfortable, so these are things to take into consideration.

My first therapist was not a good fit for me. She spent most of our sessions talking about herself, her children or her online boyfriend who lives in India. She gave me very bad advice, violated HIPAA on more than one occasion, and just overall was not helpful to me. Despite the fact that I didn’t know anything about therapy, I knew it was not a good fit.

My current therapist let me know right away that she had worked with many clients who were dealing with the same issues that I was. She talked to me about her credentials, her training and what I could expect. Most importantly, she let me be myself. I swear all the time in therapy. I make constant pop culture references, i.e., “I just feel like Rachel Green when she said…” and I feel comfortable. That’s the biggest goal: to be able to be comfortable, honest and authentic with your provider so that they can help you!

WHAT SHOULD I EXPECT FOR MY FIRST APPOINTMENT?

I remember my first therapy appointment clear as day because it coincided with one of the hardest, saddest days of my life. I walked into her room, sat on her couch and burst into tears. Not only was I having a terrible day, I was scared shitless. I had willing signed up to sit on a strangers couch and tell them my life problems while they took notes. I calmed down (a little) and told her between sobs what was happening and why I was so profoundly sad.

The first few therapy sessions are mainly just to gather history. It starts out pretty general and will get much more in-the-weeds as time goes on. You’ll talk a lot about yourself, your family, friends and close relationships. You’ll talk about whatever is bothering you, or whatever the specific issue that brought you into therapy in the first place is. You’ll talk about your feelings, your thoughts and your behaviors, but you’re mainly just getting to know each other for the first few sessions.

IT MIGHT GET WORSE BEFORE IT GETS BETTER

One thing that I wasn’t prepared for when I started going to therapy was how exhausted it made me feel. I would feel so incredibly tired after each session, all I wanted to do was go home and crawl into bed.

Another thing I wasn’t prepared for was how sad I would feel afterward—and sometimes I still do. I always thought that going to therapy would make me feel better—and overall, it does—but it’s hard work and it requires an intense amount of vulnerability. Sometimes when you’re doing the hard work and digging deep, you’ll tap into emotions that you may not even realized are there.

When I started seeing my therapist it was because I was going through something extremely difficult and having a very hard time processing it. I’ll never forget a conversation I had with her during our second session. She asked me if I had noticed anything different that week.

“Yes, I did,” I told her. “I can’t stop crying.”

“Do you know why that is?” she asked me.

“I have no idea,” I said through tears.

“Emily, it’s because you’re sad.”

It sounds so dumb. I knew that I was sad. That’s why I went to therapy in the first place. But it wasn’t until I started talking to her and really exploring those feelings that I allowed myself to feel as devastatingly sad as I truly was.

If the idea of feeling worse before you can feel better is slightly freaking you out, please don’t take that as a deterrent. If you’re tapping into those things, it’s a sign that you’re doing the hard work required to feel better and it’s actually a really good thing (believe it or not, those tough emotions are likely already popping up in your life in other ways, whether you realize it or not). As you continue to talk to your therapist, you’ll eventually start to feel better.

YOU’RE NOT THERE TO GET ADVICE

For a long time, I was operating under the belief that going to therapy was like paying someone to either a) tell you what you should do or b) tell you what you want to hear. Turns out, neither of those things are true!

Basically each therapy session is an exercise in problem solving. You’ll tell your therapist what’s bothering you and how it makes you feel, and they’ll use their expertise to help you reach a solution. They won’t say “oh, you should definitely choose A instead of B.” If that’s what you’re looking for, a therapist might be able to help you unpack why you someone to tell you what to do/validate your choice in the first place.

IS IT WEIRD TO GO TO THERAPY ONLINE?

Because of COVID, many appointments have shifted to online (although some therapists are seeing patients in person again at this point). I was a little concerned about the switch from an in office visit to a video chat, but I realized that there isn’t much difference. However, at the end of the day whether or not this is a good fit for you will depend on your personality and preferences.

TL;DR

The only reason that I ever sought the help of a therapist was because I had people in my life who saw therapists and talked openly and honestly about it. There’s nothing wrong with going to therapy and you should never feel awkward, embarrassed or ashamed. If you ever have any questions about therapy, please feel free to reach out!

If you’d like to find a therapist, search Psychology Today for providers in your area. If you’re feeling suicidal, please reach out to the National Suicide Prevention lifeline by calling 1-800-273-8522 or by visiting their website.

Weekly Roundup: Detangler for long hair, Violet Grey order + more

I routinely do a monthly favorites post where I talk about the things that I have tried and loved throughout the month. That post only ever captures the products or things that stood out as my favorites—but I use and try so many other things that I don’t end up talking about that I decided to start doing a weekly spotlight in addition to my monthly favorites. Keep reading for my first roundup!

Long Sexy Hair Luxe Nourishing Leave-In Detangler

I have long hair—and a lot of it—but it’s very fine and it gets tangled very easily. A few years ago I discovered 7 Seconds by Unite haircare and promptly stopped searching for anything else. It was a the end-all-be-all of leave in conditioners. Long Sexy Hair gifted me their new detangler, the Long Sexy Hair Luxe Nourishing Leave-In detangler, so I started using that this week. I had very low expectations but I was blown away by how well it works. It was made specifically for people with either long natural hair or extensions. It works really well and also smells really nice. I’m going to keep testing this out, but I haven’t reached for 7 Seconds in almost a week (which is unheard of because I have used it every day for at least 3 years).

Nars Soft Matte Complete Foundation

I had terrible skin for years and as a result only wore the thickest, most full coverage, most matte foundations I could find. I was basically waking up and spackling my face every morning. Thanks to my friend Jennifer, my skin is completely changed and I wear all sorts of base makeup, CC cream, BB cream, tinted moisturizer, medium-fo-full coverage foundation—I have so many choices now. For some reason, when I saw the Nars Soft Matte Complete Foundation, I was like, “I need that! It’s everything I want in a foundation.” My friend Taylor, the manager at the Sephora in Eastwood Towne Center, was like, “just so you know this is matte. Like, really, really matte,” and I thought “ok, no problem!” Turns out, she was right. It is much more matte and much more full coverage than I am used to wearing now. I think if I mixed it with a moisturizer or used a glowy primer I would like it much better. I’m going to keep testing out because I haven’t used it enough times or tried it with enough different products to really give my final verdict on this yet. Stay tuned.

Pat McGrath Lip Fetish Divnyl Lip Shine

I bought this on a whim at Sephora one day, mainly because I was so excited that my Sephora had anything Pat McGrath. I got it in the shade Nude Venus because you really can’t go wrong with a good nude lip. Honestly, this is one of the best lip products I have tried in forever! It is so good. It is so shiny, so moisturizing, so buttery. It makes your lips look so plump and juicy. I think I’ve worn it every single day since I got it. This is going to be a favorite for sure.

Westman Atelier Super Loaded Tinted Highlight

Coming in at a mouth-dropping $75 for 0.14 ounces of product, this is officially the most expensive highlighter that I own. I got it during the Violet Grey sale, so I saved some money but still. Westman Atelier is a luxury clean and cruelty free beauty brand owned by the iconic makeup artist Gucci Westman. The brand claims that they “cater to those looking to enhance their complexion while elevating their vanity.” I got this highlighter in the shade Peau de Peche (which I found out translates to peach skin lol). Everything about it is extremely luxe. The product itself comes in a leather dust bag. The component is black with gunmetal accents. It’s only 0.14 ounces of product but it feels like a brick—very heavy and substantial. The product itself is just *chefs kiss.* It is so gorgeous. I have only used it a few times, but I know that it’s going to be a staple—and listen. We appreciate a pretentious luxe moment around here, okay? Life is short, you have to indulge sometimes.

We Should All Be Mirandas

If you know me, you’ll know that I love Sex and the City. I have every season on DVD (the one that came in a pink velvet collector’s box), I went on the SATC bus tour when I was in NYC, I have a t-shirt that says “abso-fucking-lutely” and I rewatch the show at least once a year (and always when I’m sad). The show is nothing short of iconic and I won’t apologize for how much I enjoy it. The women behind the IG account @everyoutfitonsatc wrote a book called “We Should All Be Mirandas” and it is just as wonderful as you might imagine. If you order the book right now, you also get a magnet that looks like a sticky note that says. “I’m sorry. I can’t. Don’t hate me” for free! I consider this to be one of my best purchases to date.

Gum Drop Grapes

Speaking of luxe. I recently ordered some grapes from Kroger that I later realized are called “gum drop grapes.” They are from the same grapery as Cotton Candy grapes, but far superior. They literally taste like candy. As someone who is watching their diet, these sweet little succulent grapes have become my daily treat. They are expensive (about $3.49 per pound) but they are so, so worth it.

TL;DR

In addition to my monthly favorites, I’m doing a weekly roundup of things I’m trying, using and loving (or not). Have you tried any of these things? I mean, TBH, if you get one thing make it the grapes! I need people to talk about the grapes with lolol.

Buy or Bye: Rare Beauty by Selena Gomez

Up until about a week ago I was entirely ambivalent about Rare Beauty. I don’t really have strong feelings about Selena Gomez one way or another—if I’m being honest my favorite thing she had done prior to this was not get back together with Justin Bieber—and I really didn’t think we needed another celebrity beauty brand. However, after seeing rave reviews from every corner of the internet I headed into my local Sephora to see what the fuss was about.

RARE BEAUTY

Selena Gomez launched Rare Beauty earlier this month on Sept. 3. The brand launched almost an entire face of products, including foundation, concealer, blush, highlighter, brow products, lip products and more. It’s been awhile since I’ve been excited by a new launch, but Rare Beauty has impressed me in more ways than one. Read on for my honest (non-sponsored, non-gifted) thoughts.

THE PACKAGING

One of the first things that attracted me to Rare Beauty was the packaging. The ball on the top of the packages was unlike anything that I had seen before—and it turns out the ball on top is more than just a chic component. The packaging was actually designed specifically with people who suffer from arthritis in mind, because Selena has lupus (rheumatoid arthritis is a common comorbidity of lupus).

I’m really inspired by the intentionally of the entire product range. Selena saw a gap in the market and filled it with something beautiful (and affordable).

LOOK GOOD, FEEL GOOD

Another interesting thing about Rare Beauty is that Selena has pledged to donate $100 million dollars to mental health initiatives over the next 10 years. Selena has struggled very openly with depression, anxiety and mental health issues, and it’s refreshing to not only be honest about that struggle, but to work to help others deal with it head on, too.

PRODUCTS

I tried just about every product in the line, with the exception of the setting spray, powder product and brow product. Because this post isn’t sponsored and I’m not on Rare Beauty’s PR list, I had to be somewhat selective about what I purchased.

Liquid Touch Weightless Foundation

This foundation comes in 48 different shades, making it one of the most diverse shade ranges on the market. According to the brand, Liquid Touch Weightless Foundation is a natural-finish foundation with concentrated pigments that feels barely there while providing buildable medium-to-full coverage.

This is a true liquid foundation. In fact, it feels almost like a gel or a face serum to me. While most foundations claim to be “weightless” this is one of the only foundations, if not THE only foundation, that I have ever found to actually feel weightless. In fact, I actually forgot that I had it on.

And while it isn’t the most sanitary thing in the world, I do appreciate the doe foot applicator for it’s ease of application.

Liquid Touch Brightening Concealer

I knew that I loved the foundation right away, but I had (and still have) mixed feelings on the concealer. For one, I think I got the wrong shade. Not being able to test things really sucks. Secondly, no concealer in the world can possibly compare to my beloved Charlotte Tilbury Magic Wonder concealer.

That being said, there are also 48 shades of the concealer, with each concealer shade designed to work with its corresponding foundation shade. This concealer is pretty thick and creamy, but it sheers out nicely and offers good coverage without feeling heavy or looking cake-y. It also doesn’t settle into fine lines or crease.

Positive Light Liquid Luminizer

I love highlighter so it’s no surprise that I wanted to pick this up. Like the other products in the range, this offers a wide variety of shades that will suit any skin tone. I got the shade Outshine which is a true gold. I wasn’t sure that it would work for me, but it blends out beautifully. I think that this is a good natural to moderately glow-y highlight. It’s not the most blinding thing you’ve ever sheen, but leaves a nice sheen on your cheekbones.

Pro tip: Blend fast. This stuff dries down quickly and can leave you with stripes on your cheeks if you don’t blend fast enough.

Soft Pinch Liquid Blush

This blush is SO good. I mean, it’s just *chef’s kiss.* I love cream and liquid blushes because they look so natural. This one is no exception. You need a tiny little bit of product, I mean tiiiiny. Apply it to the apples of you cheeks and blend outward toward the hairline with your fingers. You’re left with the glowiest, rosiest cheeks like maybe you’re slightly embarrassed or someone’s grandma just gave them a quick pinch. If you’re interested in buying something from the line but can’t choose, I would suggest starting here.

Lip Souffle Matte Lip Cream

My favorite product in the line are these lip souffles. They have the strangest texture of any lip product that I have ever used. They go on liquid and then dry down to an almost powder finish. I got four shades, including the super bright red shade that Selena is wearing in the promos. They stay on forever and even when they wear off, they leave a wonderful stain on your lips. 10/10 recommend.

Pro tip: If you want to be the kind of person who wears bright lipstick but don’t feel like you can pull it off, now is the time to start. Wear it around your house or under your mask! You can get over feeling self-conscious so when we can safely leave our houses and mingle again, you’ll be confident AF.

TL;DR

Rare Beauty kind of blew me away. I wasn’t expecting to like these products at all, let alone by this impressed by them. They are made intentionally and inclusively, from the impressive shade range to the packaging designed to be easily opened by everyone. PLUS, nothing in the line costs more than $30, which we all know is essentially unheard of for a brand in Sephora.

Buy or Bye: Gucci Bronzer

This bronzer came out a few months ago and I knew, based on the packaging alone, I needed it. Is the product worth the $62 price tag? Let’s discuss.

DOING THE MOST

I bought the Gucci Poudre De Beaute Eclat Soliel Bronzing Powder bronzer directly from Gucci and it arrived within 2 days (the perks of luxury retailers!). The bronzer arrived in a box, inside of a Gucci bag, inside of a Gucci dust bag, inside of a velvet pouch. It was like a Russian doll of Gucci-branded packaging. I wasn’t mad about it though, it made me feel rich LOL.

PRODUCT DEETS

As part of their expanding beauty line, Gucci launched their Gucci Poudre De Beaute Eclat Soliel Bronzing Powder earlier this year. It retails for $62 and is available in 5 different shades.

The packaging is gorgeous and—as I mentioned earlier—the first thing that drew my attention to the product. The compact is a beautiful mirrored component with a turquoise and gold design. This is the kind of product that you can leave out on your vanity as decor—it’s that pretty. Each bronzer also comes with a flat blush that is housed in a compartment on the bottom of the compact. Gucci or not, the brushes that come with products always suck. I kept the brush, but won’t use it.

The shade range is a little weird to me. I ended up buying shade 03 because, at least online, it appeared to be lighter than shade 02. Thankfully, it works well for my skin tone and I have no complaints.

I’m kind of picky when it comes to bronzer bronzer. What does that mean? It means that I don’t want something cool-toned that is going to work as a contour. I also don’t want something that’s too red-toned that’s either going to make me look sunburnt (we like natural but not too natural, you feel me?) or muddy. What I look for in bronzers is a medium-toned bronze color that is going to make me look sun kissed and naturally flushed, like I spent a long weekend at the beach (which won’t happen without SPF and sun protection because I spend too much on skincare to throw it all away).

This bronzer does a good job of achieving that look. It’s silky and smooth on the skin and is buildable, depending on how sun-kissed you want to look.

COMPARISONS

This is a good bronzer. It goes on nicely; it’s finely milled and never muddy—but how does this stack up in comparison to other bronzers?

I like trying new products for the sake of trying new products. I also do it as a service for my readers (you’re welcome!). Do you need this? No. Are there other bronzers that work just as well and cost less. Yes. Let’s do a break down of some of my favorite bronzers and a few cost saving alternatives.

Physician’s Formula Butter Bronzer

I think this might be one of the closest dupes and it’s a fraction of the cost.

Charlotte Tilbury Airbrush Matte Bronzer

These two bronzers are quite similar in formula, application and feel. The CT bronzer is still expensive, but would save you a couple bucks off the retail price of the Gucci bronzer.

Benefit Hoola Bronzer

From shade range to formulation, the Gucci bronzer gives me some Hoola vibes. I would say that colors are similar but the Gucci bronzer is slightly more finely milled. However, you could buy entire Benefit palette for the cost of one Gucci bronzer, so do with that what you will.

TL;DR

The new Gucci bronzer is a great bronzer if you’re willing to spend nearly $70 on a bronzer. If not, there are other great options out there, too! What’s the most you’re willing to spend on luxury makeup? Let me know!

August Favorites

Happy September, friends! Because I’m nosey and love reading what other people purchase, use and love, I decided to get back on the bandwagon and do my own monthly favorites again. If you’re interested in the hodgepodge of random things that I used throughout the last month, keep reading!

BEAUTY

This is a beauty blog, so it only makes sense that I start out with beauty products.

Glow Recipe Papaya Sorbe Enzyme Cleansing Balm

I have a very specific skincare routine and I’m extremely particular about the products I use on my face. I have been using the Elemis Pro-Collagen cleansing balm for months, but finally ran out and bought this during the Sephora sale and I love it. I use it as the first step in my double cleanse routine and it removes all my makeup very nicely without leaving any kind of weird residue. The only downside for me is that I don’t love the glass jar. I’m extremely accident prone and prefer the plastic packaging of the Elemis makeup remover. While it feels like it’s much smaller than other makeup removing balms, it has 3.4 ounces of product, compared to Elemis’ 3.7—and it’s half the price, so not a bad deal. The smell is a little childish and reminds me of Smacker’s lip balm or Trix yogurt (I said childish but I also didn’t say I disliked since I am big fans of both those things).

Overall,  9/10. I will continue to use and would recommend but don’t love the glass jar.

Anastasia Beverly Hills Lip Stain

I love a good lip stain. I don’t think this is technically a new product, I think this is a reformulation. I could be imagining this, but I could have sworn that ABH had a lip stain back in the day and discontinued it. Anyway, I got the shade Rosewood because there is no such thing as too many pinky-brown nudes. I like this product—well, I don’t hate it. I think that the shade ends up being way more pink than nude on me but my biggest complaint is the smell. I am extremely sensitive to smells and I didn’t like this one. I, did, however, appreciate that my lips were stained all day.

Overall, I would give it a 6/10. I’ll use it again but not sure that I would repurchase.

Ouai x Byredo Super Dry Shampoo Mojave Ghost

I don’t really buy dry shampoo because I wash my hair every day, but I do occasionally use it to add texture or grit to my hair. I really like this because I love the scent. It’s extremely fragrant and it lasts all day long. If you like Mojave Ghost and don’t want to spend $200 on it, I highly recommend picking this up. Or if could have the reverse effect on you like it did on me. I spend $24 on dry shampoo and now want the perfume itself. Buyer beware.

Overall, 9/10. I love love it, but its inspiring some bad spending decisions 

Saint Jane Beauty Bright Repair CBD Eye Cream

I love this stuff. I was talking to my esthetician about wanting to add an eye cream into my routine since I am creeping up on my 27th birthday and want to prevent wrinkles before they happen vs. treating them once they are already there. She told me that right now I really want something that will hydrate the area. I had been eyeing this one (pun intended) on the Saint Jane website and when I saw it in my Sephora I snagged the last one they had in stock. It works great, doesn’t upset my eyes at all, hasn’t caused any milia and (I think) makes me look a little more awake and refreshed.

10/10 will continue to use and repurchase.

EM Cosmetics Soft Blur Velvet Lip Liners

I love these so much I wrote an entire blog about them. I have never loved and will never love another lip liner as much as I love these. They are so good. Perfect in every way. They offer nude lip liner options for a variety of skin tones. So velvety and butter-smooth but with great staying power. If you want to try them, I suggest you get on it before I buy all of them to hoard so I never run out.

10/10 would shout my love for these from the rooftops. 

LIFESTYLE

Insecure

My friend Andrea mentioned on a Thursday that she loved this show and by Sunday I had binge-watched all four seasons. IT IS SO GOOD. I am so invested. I need Season 5 to happen immediately.

10/10 want to be BFFs with Issa (and sleep with Andrew?)

Decorative Objects & Coffee Table Books

I’ve been trying to up my home decor game lately (blog post coming soon!). One of my favorite pieces that I’ve purchased has been this limestone knot from Target x Studio McGee. I was looking at objects similar to this that cost MUCH more than this at CB2 and West Elm, so this was such a great find. It comes in and out of stock, so if you’re interested just sign up for emails!

I also purchased some fun coffee table books from Amazon that I had been eyeing for months that finally dropped in price, including this Architectural Digest book and this iconic Tom Ford book.

At Home Sweet Cream Foam Ice Coffee

I really like the Vanilla Sweet Cream Cold Brew from Starbucks but don’t like paying for it, so I made it myself at home. I previously talked about how I make my own iced coffee at home to save money. If that isn’t your thing, Starbucks has cold brew you can purchase from any grocery store (I usually get it at Target or Kroger). I also picked up some Coffee-Mate Natural Bliss Sweet Cream Coffee Creamer. To make a dupe of the drink, just froth the creamer until it doubles in size and then pour into the coffee. Et voila!

Aesop Hand Wash

This is an extravagant purchase and it was probably stupid to spend $40 on soap but I love it and I’m washing my hands all the time because of COVID—that’s my justification. It looks fancy on my bathroom counter and I appreciate the smell and the exfoliating properties. Will I repurchase? The jury is out.

Aerie 

I recently picked up two of Aerie’s oversized crewneck sweatshirts and a pair of joggers and I am in love. I got the sweatshirts in camo (Olive Fun) and Olive Daze because I love green and didn’t have anything like these. I almost didnt buy the joggers because they were just straight sizes but I went for it anyway and they fit great! They are so, so soft and have a fold over waistband AND pockets. They don’t really do anything in terms of shaping or keeping everything sucked in but I’m looking for comfort at this point, since I’m sure I’ll be home alone for another 6 months.

The sweatshirt is oversized so you could size down if you want a more fitted look, but I would recommend sticking with your normal size since it’s supposed to be a little looser. If you buy any of these or have any more Aerie recommendations, let me know!

Friends

I know this is cheesy, but having spent nearly 6 months in total isolation, I have started to see my friends in moderation lately and it has been so wonderful. I feel like my social skills have deteriorated and I am not a social mutant but my friends are accepting of me no matter how weird I get. Invite me to your outdoor patio hangs (but don’t be offended if I decline as I am still worried about getting COVID and will be for a long time).

TL;DR

I have been trying and using a lot of new things lately and have been quite pleased with my purchases. What are some things that you’re using and loving lately? Let me know!

I bought all these things with my own money, but some links are affiliate links meaning I make a small commission if you purchase through them. Also, I took that glorious sunflower photo myself.

 

 

 

EM Cosmetics Soft Blur: The Best Lip Liners You’ll Ever Buy

I’ve written in great detail about my love for Michelle Phan and her company, Em Cosmetics. It should come as no surprise that I am smitten with her new lip liners, the Soft Blur Velvet Lip Liners.

THE PRODUCT

Last month, em cosmetics launched their very first lip liners, the Soft Blur Velvet Lip Liners. The product claims to be an innovative, blurring lip liner that is moisturizing and delivers a luscious velvet finish. I own more lip liners than any person should legally be allowed to have, so I had pretty high expectations when it comes to this product—but at the same time I kind of felt like, “it’s a lip liner, how different could it really be?”

 

SHADE RANGE & PRICE POINT

The shade range here is pretty good and I feel confident that most if not all skin tones could find a shade that works for them, since they are essentially just a variation of different nude shades.  There are five shades in the range, including:

  • Fawn –  a peach nude with neutral undertones.
  • Bunny – a pink nude with neutral undertones.
  • Kitten – a rose nude with neutral undertones.
  • Teddy – a brown nude with warm undertones.
  • Mink – a brown nude with cool undertones.

The product retails for $19 each, or you can get a set of all 5 for $75. 

THE CLAIMS

  • Formulated with Sachi Inchi oil, Squalane, Shea Nut oil, and vitamin E to help condition the lips
  • Enriched with bisabolol to help provide antioxidant defense and ease inflammation
  • No harsh lines, feathering or waxy finishes
  • Cruelty-free

THE VERDICT

I picked up the shades Fawn and Kitten because they looked like they would be closest to my actual lip color. The only downside of purchasing makeup online is that you can’t swatch it beforehand, which, when it comes to lip liner, is pretty important to me. These shades ended up being the perfect match for my lips and I have worn this almost every single day since I got it.

IMG_1056

I love makeup (obviously) but it’s honestly impressive that I have such a strong opinion on this. I love this lip liner. At the risk of sounding dramatic, it’s the best lip liner that I have ever used. It goes on smooth, no pulling or tugging, it stays put all day (even under a mask!) and it matches my natural lip color. It’s truly everything you could ask for. And it’s cheaper than my previous “holy grail” lip liner, Charlotte Tilbury’s Iconic Nude Lip Cheat Lip Liner which retails for $22..

TL;DR

If you wear lipliner, this one is 100% worth picking up. If you’re interested, you can purchase it here.

I purchased these products with my own money. This post is not sponsored in any way and I do not make a commission if you purchase through the links provided.