Tonga is such a subtle, flattering shade with foolproof application. It's a subtle, pink shade that would match most light to medium skin tones. I love the soft consistency and nice pigmentation, and the fact that I can use it for a day or nighttime look. I have NC 35 skin tone (medium-ish, yellow undertone) and avoid blushes that are too bright, reddish, orange ish, etc. Tonga is perfect! It's buttery soft, pigmented, and so natural and flattering...definitely my go-to blush. It would look great on those with light to medium skin tones, but would definitely not show up on darker skin. Cargo has a variety of shades to choose from, and packaging (metal tin) is fun and functional. Tonga is a beautiful shade and one that many will love!
Highlighters -NARS - Highlighting Blush Powder in Albatross
royas784 3/31/2013 4:46:00 PM
Love! I bought this at Sephora a while back, looking for a natural-looking, luminous highlighter (think "glowing from within" rather than "bright light glitter bomb"). The sales associate recommended NARS Albatross, saying it's hands down his favorite, most flattering highlighter. I have NC 35 skin (medium-ish, yellow undertone) and this works beautifully for me. It looks bright white in the pan, but has a subtle, golden luminous finish. I use this over blush, to highlight my cheekbones, and on the inner corner of my eyes (makes them pop!). It's very finely milled, so it does not look fake/obvious on. The price is a bit steep, but this lasts forever, as you only need to use a tiny bit each time. I recommend NARS Albatross for those with warm/yellow undertones, while those with pink undertones may want to try another NARS highlighter.
Blushbaby is my go-to blush that I use literally every day, as it's subtle and very flattering. It's a pinkish-beige shade that would flatter light to medium skin tones. I've tried different blushes, in search of "the one," and let me tell you, the search wasn't easy, mostly because I was clueless as to which shade would best flatter my skin tone (NC30). Most of what I've tried before was either too reddish, peachy or pink- nothing looked quite right. I wanted something natural and flattering that I could wear for all occasions. Enter Blushbaby. I searched MUA, and after an extensive google search, thought I'd give Blushbaby a try- SO glad I did! It felt like a "wow" moment the minute I saw how it looked on me; it was exactly what I was looking for...the middle ground between pink and beige- something muted, but not so beige it doesn't look like blush. I love that it's a sheertone blush, since it's buildable and so easy to apply. It's actually hard to over-apply, since it's very natural looking and not at all too bright or pigmented. This shade also pairs nicely with any makeup look, since it isn't over-the-top. It's a staple in my makeup bag.
Lotions/ Creams -Aveeno - Stress Relief Moisturizing Lotion
royas784 4/16/2012 7:41:00 PM
This is one of my favorite lotions. I've used Aveeno's Daily Moisturizing lotion before (no scent), and while it's amazing, I wanted something a little lighter but still moisturizing for the warmer months. I'm hooked. The scent is to die for- it is light and in no way artificial or overbearing once applied- it's hard to describe, just slightly floral and pretty. If you're one who cannot stand scented beauty products, I would opt for the Daily Moisturizing lotion-- both have excellent moisturizing properties, but the Daily Moisturizing Lotion is fragrance-free (but it's pretty heavy duty). The Stress Relief Moisturizing Lotion is the perfect balance of light and moisturizing. It's not too thick/waxy, nor is it watered down.I apply this after I take a shower, and am left with perfectly soft skin that lasts throughout the day, and even onto the next, so there's no need to reapply. I LOVE the scent too, which lingers on my skin, so it sometimes takes the place of perfume (two birds with one stone :) ). It doesn't smell of lavender, so I'm assuming it's more Ylang-Ylang -y, though I'm not sure. Now, I don't expect a miracle product that's going to melt the stress away (a nice, hot bath with lavender oil would do), but I really enjoy using this lotion, because it really does leave my skin moisturized ALL day, and then some. I can't believe I went so long without using a lotion daily. If I could fall in love with a lotion, this would be it, lol.
I bought this eyeliner brush about a year ago, when I stumbled into The Body Shop while they were having a sale. I'd heard great things about their makeup brushes, and needed an eyeliner brush-- I'm so glad I bought one. The bristles are not flimsy, and retain their shape after multiple washes; I've been using mine fairly regularly for the past year, and it is still in great condition, and I'm sure it will be for years to come. This also makes for easy and effective application. Also, since it's angled, it is easy to work with, in getting a straight, even line on the upper eyelids. I use this to apply L'Oreal HIP Color Truth eyeliner (HG, which I've reviewed), and whether I'm going for a toned-down, daytime look, a more made-up nighttime look, or really glammed up, stage-like makeup (like I did on Halloween), application is easy and precise. Definitely a brush I will keep and continuously use.
Eyeliner -L'Oreal - HIP Color Truth Cream Eyeliner in Black
royas784 12/2/2011 1:31:00 AM
HG! When done right, eyeliner can make your eyes pop- but the wrong liner can smudge, flake, disappear, or make you look like a raccoon. I am SO glad I found HIP Color Truth cream liner in black. It is, true to its name, BLACK. It's very creamy and highly pigmented, so it's easy to apply and get the desired look. I use this with The Body Shop eyeliner brush (also great), lining my top lids with a thin line. It does not smudge at all, and stays put all day. It is, by far, the darkest, creamiest eyeliner I've used. I will not switch to any other cream liner- it's that good. A tiny bit goes a very long way, so one pot will last a long time. If you're looking for a quality, dark cream eyeliner, you've got to try this.
I've had dark circles under my eyes for a long time- mostly genetic, but worsened by lack of sleep. Most concealers don't cover the dark circles effectively enough, so some grayness can still be seen. I went to Sephora in an attempt to find a more effective concealer, and the salesperson I talked to suggested using a corrector prior to using foundation/concealer. She suggested using the "light peach" shade (I have NC30 skin tone). I did notice that she had to really blend in the corrector, and only used the tiniest bit. Afterwards, you do have to use a powder or liquid foundation/concealer over it, since the product itself is only made to cover dark circles. I only use the tiniest amount too, and keep gently patting/blending, and use powder on top to set. It's important to use an eye cream as well, and only use the a tiny amount (even the amount you get by gently tapping your finger onto the product is nearly enough), otherwise it can look too overdone or start creasing. I have finally found a product that effectively covers dark circles, all the while looking quite natural (when used appropriately).
Gels/Soaps -Unlisted Brand - Bisous de Provence- Lavender Triple Milled Soap
royas784 10/7/2011 2:12:00 AM
Finally, a natural bar soap that I love- HG! I used this at my brother's apartment, and went and bought some for myself (at Trader Joe's) when I had run out of my usual soap. Unlike some other natural soaps I've tried, this does not dry my skin out. It lathers well, and leaves my skin soft, clean, and moisturized enough. The scent is clean, and not overbearing at all- it's suitable for both men and women. There are bits of lavender flower inside the soap, which is nice, since the soap is mildly exfoliating. The bar is quite big, so it lasts, though it does melt fairly quickly when used to get a good lather. Otherwise, with moderate lathering up, it lasts quite long. I recommend this soap for those looking for a natural alternative to name brand bar soaps, without sacrificing effectiveness or moisturizing properties.
Lip Treatments -Burt's Bees - Replenishing Lip Balm with Pomegranate Oil
royas784 10/4/2011 1:03:00 AM
I carry this lip balm with me everywhere, and sometimes even wear it out at night, since it leaves a slight, rosy tint. Though this isn't the smoothest lip balm I've used, it isn't overly waxy, and is quite emollient. The scent, as some others have mentioned, is a bit on the strong side, especially for a lip balm, but isn't too overbearing in my opinion- it's floral/fruity. Since this works well on my lips, I can overlook the strong scent, which has actually grown on me. I recommend this for those looking for a good, everyday (slightly) tinted lip balm. Some may be sensitive to the scent, though, which is a matter of preference. Overall, a great lip balm.
Makeup Brushes -E.L.F. - Studio Line Eyeshadow 'C' Brush
royas784 9/15/2011 3:58:00 PM
This is my favorite, go-to shadow brush. And at $3 (at Target), the price and quality cannot be beat by another drugstore brush. The brush is very dense and easily picks up a good amount of shadow. When used with a contour shade, I easily get the perfect look every time, without the struggle. I am surprised by the quality and function of this brush- it easily works just as well as high-end brands. I will be using this for a long time to come.
Styling Products -TRESemme - Instant Heat Tamer Spray
royas784 8/5/2011 6:54:00 PM
This works surprisingly well for a drugstore beauty product. I wasn't really expecting much when I bought it, since companies often make claims about their products that aren't entirely true (and sometimes, totally off the mark), but this meets every claim: (from the bottle): "This product guards against heat and friction to keep your hair shiny and incredibly soft. It's a fantastic tool for instantly transforming all hair textures, enhancing strands' flexibility to reform and to hold shape." The directions are to spray 6-8 inches from mid-shaft to ends, on damp hair before blow drying, as well as on dry hair before using a curler or flat iron. I have thick, healthy, wavy hair, that basically has a mind of its own. Since I started using this spray, I want to straighten my hair more than I've ever really wanted to. It helps to minimize heat damage, while keeping hair very soft and manageable. Unlike with other similar products I've tried (sprays and serums), my hair feels like there's nothing in it at all; build-up and stickiness are literally non-existent, as though my hair were naturally straight. I keep touching my hair since it feels silky, without being oily or weighed down- simply soft and healthy. Product build-up is definitely not an issue at all- in fact, I can spray quite liberally (though a little goes a long way) and still get great results. While flat ironing, I sometimes spray a little into my hand and apply to the desired area. The spray works quite well though, with a sort of misting effect I've had a hard time achieving with other sprays. As though that weren't enough, there's a nifty lock function on the nozzle, to prevent leakage during travel. As it says on the back of the bottle, " Our salon stylists agree, ' it's the one product you need on a trip.' It's the one product I find myself reaching for all the time. ** Update (9/15/11): I've started using this on damp hair after washing, and allowing my hair to air dry. It keeps it soft and more manageable, and helps keep those waves in check.
Remove is the perfect name for this eye makeup remover; it does just that, period. HG, all the way! I do not have to rub/tug AT ALL- all traces of eyeliner, mascara, and eyeshadow are easily swept off, no matter how many coats of mascara, and how much eyeliner (including gel liners that don't budge) I have on. I used to use Neutrogena's Oil Free eye makeup remover, which I thought was my HG, until I found this baby. While Neutrogena Oil Free is good mainly for everyday use, it was still a bit effortful to remove coats of stuck-on mascara, eyeliner, etc., when I opted for a dramatic look. And despite being oil free, it still left a bit of oily residue which I'd always have to rinse or wipe off afterward. Now for Sonia Kashuk Remove: it's just perfect. Flawless. There's not a single negative thing to say about it, it meets every claim. It does not leave an oily residue, though I still prefer to gently wipe my eyes with a cotton pad soaked in warm water after, just to get absolutely everything off. Easily removes coats of mascara, all sorts of eyeliner, including waterproof and/or cream & gel liners, layers of eyeshadow, like a charm. I usually go for a more daytime look, unless I'm going out or there's a special event. And let's face it, when you come back super late after a long night of partying it up, with eye makeup caked on, the last thing you want to do is struggle to remove your eye makeup (option B would be not to, of course, been there/done that, hah). It's great to know that even then, Remove works perfectly- cause, you know, I'd totally go to bed with my makeup on otherwise ;) HG, HG, HG :)
I'm not a fan of all Almay makeup, but their mascaras seem to be the exception. I bought this on a whim, looking for a lengthening mascara. I am pleased with both the brush and formula- this is very good, especially for a drugstore product. I already have fairly long lashes as it is, but this adds extra length, giving my lashes that fanned-out, oomph, without becoming clumpy or making my lashes stick together too much. I have no need for a lash separator, even after using multiple coats. I have this is blackest black, which is true to its name. And the brush rocks- very unique shape that is not at all awkward, and very easy to use (sort of skinnier/shorter in the middle, longer/fatter at the ends). The brush helps the mascara coat all lashes evenly, and at the same time, which makes application a breeze. For those ladies looking for a mascara that will make your lashes grow- this does not claim to. Rather, the formula is enriched with vitamins (vitamin E, I'm guessing), which helps nourish and protect lashes, preventing them from drying out/becoming damaged (and thus, falling out), which in turn promotes healthy growth. I have not had any problems at all with smudging, as some reviewers have; this has not flaked or smudged on me. I would recommend Get Up and Grow to those looking for a drugstore (but good quality) lengthening mascara that will keep lashes soft and nourished, rather than clumpy/dried out. And if you have fairly long lashes already, your lashes are in for some added oomph :) *Update (11/15/11): While I still regularly use this mascara, I did notice that it dries out fairly quickly, and if not applied carefully, can smudge slightly. Both issues are minor, however, as I replace mascara about every other month anyhow, and apply mascara slowly and carefully.
Skincare - Body -Dr. Bronner's - Lavender Liquid Soap
royas784 3/21/2011 11:09:00 PM
Love this stuff. Dr. Bronner's liquid soaps are all natural, come in a variety of scents, and are so versatile. Lavender is my particular favorite- such a relaxing, heavenly scent. It's perfect for using in a bath...I add a bit to a running bath, and let the lavendar aroma lift the day's stress away. I have used this as a body wash as well- just make sure to dilute with water, as a little goes a long way. It can also be used as a face wash- i do not generally use it for that purpose, but have when I ran out of my regular face wash. Again, diluting is the key, otherwise, this stuff is very strong and concentrated, especially for use on the face. I have even used this to clean the toilet bowl, and it works surprisingly well. I do not do that regularly, as a bottle of this stuff is not too cheap, so I keep it on hand for use as a soap or bubble bath. As another reviewer mentioned, this can also be used to clean makeup brushes- it effectively gets rid of all traces of makeup without damaging bristles. I have also read that this can be used to hand wash clothing. There are plenty of uses for Dr. Bronner's soaps. They are not too cheap, but you do get quite a bit of product in the larger bottle, and a little goes a long way so it lasts some time. They can be found in major drugstores, and even Target. It's a staple, especially for those who prefer to use all or mostly natural beauty products.
Eye Shadow -L'Oreal - Wear Infinite Single-Taffeta
royas784 12/29/2010 4:19:00 AM
I have been using this shade regularly for over two years- it is so flattering and versatile. It is a Perle shade, so it's shimmery, and can be used all over the lid and on the inner lids.Taffetta is a champagne shade. It is shimmery, without being over the top or glittery. I wear it on its own, for a casual look, or paired with a darker contour shade and highlighter, on most days- and get a beautiful look; my eyes definitely "pop" when I use this (I have medium-ish/beige skin with yellow undertone (NC30), and brown eyes). The color pay off is pretty decent, especially when used with a primer (I adore UD Primer Potion). I am not a fan of the packaging, but love this color, so it's hardly an issue. This is a good shadow and shade, especially for a drugstore brand. I keep coming back to this- it's so beautiful and flattering.