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Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Makeupgeek (MUG) Eyeshadow Review

If you are looking for some really affordable and yet really high-quality eyeshadow, look no further than I have been consistently impressed lately with the products I have ordered from MUG and my latest haul is no exception. With 50 shades to choose from, I headed to the blogs to look at swatches and read reviews in order make a selection of four shadows. The shadows are available in pot or pan and I chose to order some pans to put into a new palette I received. The pans are $5.99 each and you get even more product than what is in a MAC pro-pan (size difference pictured below in last picture). The drawback? No magnet on the back of the pan! I would gladly pay a buck more to get a magnet... just in case anyone is listening. Luckily, after trying the shadows, I can say that the no-magnet issue is the only drawback to these products. So pigmented, so smooth, so easy to blend, and such gorgeous colors! 

Shimma Shimma is a cream color full of micro-shimmer, no glitter! It's heavenly and so buttery soft. An amazing inner corner highlight. It is a true must-have for anyone. Don't be thrown off by the name, it is a classy shimmer.

Unexpected is a warm mauve/taupe shade that has some purple in it. It is an interesting shade, reminds me of MAC Quarry but better texture. Great crease color!

Cocoa Bear is a fan favorite among the bunch and is a red-toned matte brown. It is a shade or so darker than MAC Texture (comparison below in third picture) and about two shades darker than MAC Soft Brown. It's a perfect outer-v shade and I know I will get a lot of use out of it!

Beaches and Cream is a sandy peach that appears matte but when you look up close you can see the faintest bit of a sheen. It's a great all over base color or highlight shade or to blend out darker colors. It is just one of those every day multi-purpose kind of shades that everyone needs.

Final thought. These shadows aren't just nice for $5.99, they are nice for any price point. Dare I say I am more impressed with these than my MAC shadows? It's too early to tell but I will definitely be making more trips over to soon! 

MUG Shimma Shimma (Top Left) Beaches & Cream (Top Right) Unexpected (Bottom Left) Cocoa Bear (Bottom Right)

MUG Shimma Shimma, Beaches & Cream (above)

MUG Unexpected, Cocoa Bear, MAC Texture (for reference)

MUG shadows + MAC Texture on the far right (above)

To compare size difference: Mac shadows (top row) MUG (bottom row)

Sunday, January 13, 2013

The Blackest Matte Black Eyeshadow You've Ever Used: MakeupGeek Corrupt

Corrupt by MakeupGeek (MUG) is the blackest black you've ever laid eyes on. Or rather, that has ever laid on your eyes. Mind blowingly black I tell you. If you don't know, MakeupGeek is a cosmetics company started by Marlena who is one of the original YouTube beauty guru's with an amazing talent for makeup. She has her own line of products that include roughly 50 eyeshadows. You can buy them in the pan or the pot and the pans run $5.99 AND can be incorporated into your Z-Palette or MAC Pro (without the insert). Corrupt is among the favorites of this collection and I can see why. It is ridiculously pigmented and smooth in texture. It absolutely destroys MAC Carbon (not hard to do) and it is blacker than UD Blackout, which I had previously used as my go-to matte black. Corrupt isn't for the faint of heart. It is for people who take their smokey eye seriously and really want that rich dramatic black to add definition or to smudge out their eyeliner. For $5.99, you get more product than a MAC Pro-Pan and all of the quality and richness that you'd expect from a very expensive eyeshadow. Only better. You need this color in your makeup collection now. 

I will be reporting back when I receive the four other MUG shadows I've ordered based on reading numerous rave reviews about the quality of these products. 

MUG Corrupt Eyeshadow (above), courtesy of

Courtesy of

Courtesy of (above) MUG Corrupt   

A Small NYX Lip Product Haul!

Currently, NYX lip products are buy 1 get 1 50% off at ULTA. I picked up four lip products, three of which are mine and one is my daughter's but it is not pictured here. I have been wanting to try out the NYX Soft Matte Lip Creams because the colors look so pretty. I grabbed the "Milan" shade which is a nice medium warm pink that looks like it has a hint of mauve thrown in there. I also picked up two lip liners, "Hot Red" and "Cabaret". I love NYX lip liners and I had previously seen someone use these two in a nice red lip combo, using the Hot Red to line and fill in the whole lip and then  Cabaret to define the edges of the lip. This combination really gave the lips a lot of dimension which I think is important when wearing red. Hot Red is a gorgeous true bright red which is sure to make the teeth look whiter, while Cabaret is a deeper slightly burgundy toned red. I plan to use these with my beloved Revlon Lip Butter in Red Velvet. 

A quickie review on the Soft Matte Lip Cream since I put it on in the car before driving home, as any lip product junkie would naturally do. NYX isn't lying, this product is like nothing else I own, "not a lipstick and not a gloss, it's a lipstick cream that goes on silky but looks soft matte". Yep, that about sums it up. It applies with a doe-foot applicator as you would apply a gloss but has the formula of a lightweight matte lipstick. It has a very powdery silky texture which I find interesting. The lips absorb the product so that it basically looks like a lip stain by the time you're finished putting it on. I don't find it to accentuate any lip imperfections and  it goes on very opaque. I think this is going to be a love it or hate it texture for most people because some may find it drying. I don't find it to be too drying but it definitely feels more like a stain than a lipstick. It may be called a "matte cream" but there is nothing creamy about how it feels on the lips. That being said, I really like it. It has good lasting power and doesn't make my lips look flaky (yet). I think the color would be flattering on all skin tones and is a gorgeous pink that really livens up the face. I also find this pink tone works especially nicely for those with blue eyes. Swatches below!

NYX Soft Matte Lip Cream Milan, NYX Lip Liner in Hot Red & Cabaret  (above, below)

Saturday, January 12, 2013

Best Cleanser Ever! Mario Badescu Enzyme Cleansing Gel

I received a sample of the Mario Badescu Enzyme Cleansing Gel with as part of a skin care sample bag from Nordstrom around Christmas time. I have used a few Mario products in the past and have always received good results (specifically the acne products, Buffering Lotion & Drying Cream are amaazing!). This cleanser is rather basic, just a minty green gel that doesn't foam as you cleanse. And the results have been great. I have noticed my face has been so much smoother and clearer since I've been using the Enzyme Cleanser. I've even used a couple of makeup products that usually break me out because this product seems to really clean deep into my pores and prevent build-up. 

The Enzyme Cleanser is the best-selling selling cleanser of the line and is described as a "gentle, non-foaming cleanser thoroughly removes makeup and dirt without drying the skin. Papaya and Grapefruit Extracts are exfoliating AHA's that help prevent dulling build-up that can cause blackheads and pimples." I feel like the natural exfoliating properties is what is really making my face feel so smooth. I usually have a couple of little clogged pores/bumps here and there but I have none to speak of at this time. Another plus, my face doesn't feel dry or tight right after I cleanse and pat dry. For the record, I have normal/dry skin that has become more normal and less dry as I've used this product for the past few weeks. Great for all skin types, according to the Mario Badescu site.

Other information: you can use the cleanser twice daily, avoiding the eye area. You can get 8oz for $12 or 16 oz for $20. I ordered a full size and I am anxious to get back to using it as I've already scraped every last drop from my sample sized bottle. Literally, I scrape the remnants out with the end of one of my eyeshadow brushes. I am not one to waste any skin care products. I have been known to cut open my tubes of moisturizers and face primers to get what's left in there. You'd be surprised how much is left in those tubes! 

This is basically a no frills product that actually works as if it has all the frills in the world. What I like about Mario Badescu products is that they are affordable in terms of skin care and they do what they say they will do. This is a very "problem-solution" type of line and I highly recommend it. 

Ingredients: Deionized Water (Aqua),Glycerin,Papaya (Carica Papaya Fruit) Extract,Grapefruit (Citrus Grandis Fruit) Extract,Monomide,Triethanolamine,Methylparaben

A Small Haul + Reviews: Fergie Center Stage Collection for Wet N' Wild Spring 2013

I picked up four items from the new Fergie Wet N' Wild collection including the lipstick in "Fergie Daily", the "Photo Op" eyeshadow palette, the eye primer, and the brown creme liner. I went in thinking that I would be one for four, the winner being the lipstick. I was kind of almost right. 

Photo credit belongs to me. Not pictured, the WnW Creme Liner
"Fergie Daily" is a warm toned nude that applies very opaque and very matte. This is a nude for the masses in terms of color because it is warmer in tone than the "concealer" nudes. If I'm not mistaken, there is an even darker nude in this collection as well. I find these lipsticks to be very similar in concept to the Mega-Last matte lipsticks, only slightly less drying. I happen to be a fan of the Mega-Last so this does not bother me. I will be back for some of the more colorful shades in this collection. The only drawback to is usually the only drawback to many WnW products and that is packaging. Don't you hate it when the angle of the lipstick does not line up with the angle of the tube it is housed in? That bothers me. Besides that, the package is a half a step up from that of the Mega-Last whose plastic tops seem to crack as soon as the lipstick hits the bottom of the makeup bag. I'm definitely willing to overlook the quality of packaging in favor of a quality product, which I usually get with this brand.

Wet N' Wild Fergie Daily Lipstick (above), photo belongs to me.

Fergie Daily paired with Boots No. 7 Nude liner (above), photo belongs to me 

Notice I said usually get....... 

The eyeshadow palette in Photo Op seemed to be the one that would be most complementary to my blue/green eyes. In this palette, you receive five colors: a beige shimmery highlight/lid color, a cool toned deep shimmery brown, a matte brown, a matte red/orange, and a shimmery orange shade. The shimmer is on the wearable side, nothing too crazy. The matte brown could also double as a liner and is probably the most pigmented in the bunch. I guess I am spoiled by the Color Icon eyeshadow trio's and 8-color palettes because the shadows in this collection suck. Let me rephrase, the Photo Op palette sucks. They aren't near as pigmented, smooth, creamy, or dreamy as the Color Icon shadows. Which is disappointing because I would have loved to have made that pretty beige shade my new go-to lid color. Ahh, I had such plans for you. The colors are pretty and I can make them work, but they will take much more work than I am used to to get some good color payoff. Not a huge fan. 

Photo belongs to (above) Fergie Photo Op WnW
Photo belongs to (above) swatches Photo Op WnW Fergie

Eye Primer: Similar in texture and appearance to a Too Faced Shadow Insurance or Urban Decay Primer Potion, perhaps a bit thinner in consistency. Overall, I would say it is a step up from the Elf eyelid primer but a couple of steps down from Urban Decay. It applies nicely and creates a nice canvas for shadow application and I will definitely use it, I just won't depend on it for all day lasting power. I found that my shadows held up pretty well when I wore matte colors but shimmery shades seemed to dissipate at some point during the day. I will say that dissipating is better than creasing. I'd rather have the eyeshadow evaporate completely than have remnants of it gathered up in inopportune places.

Creme Liner w/ brush, brown: Allow me to preface by saying that I am a fan of the Wet N' Wild Mega-Eyes black creme liner. Besides being a bit on the dry side, the Mega-Eyes is budge proof and among the blackest of blacks. This time, I opted for brown when trying these new cream liners. I went in optimistically and came out with a lack-luster reaction. Now, its not a bad liner. It does have good staying power but that is only a good thing when you like the color that is staying. In my opinion, the color goes on kind of weak and I needed a couple of coats to eliminate streaks and achieve a shade of brown that I could live with. It is definitely not a rich brown as the color in the pot alludes to, more of a medium tone. The texture is fairly creamy, I would say more so than the Mega-Eyes but doesn't pack near as much of a punch. I haven't tried the black in the Fergie formula but I am curious to see if it is any better. Almost forgot! The brush they give is OK, not precise enough for me to be able to create much of a wing in that it isn't angled but at least it is stiff and that is a must to apply cream eyeliner products.

As for the blush/highlighter products in the collection, I was not interested in testing those out after seeing reviews and swatches. Overall, I haven't been super impressed with the Fergie stuff for WnW as a whole. I just don't see why the brand would produce a line of less than magical products when they have the obvious capability of so much more. Hey Wet N' Wild, here's an idea, take the recipe that you use for the Color Icon collection and use it when you make all of your products. Problem solved.

Friday, January 11, 2013

Maybelline The Rocket Volum Express Mascara

The latest mascara launch by Maybelline has generated quite a buzz. They call it The Rocket with claims that your lashes will skyrocket to unimaginable lengths. They didn't quite put it that way but it was something along those lines. I have a hate/hate relationship with Maybelline mascara. I have never liked a single one of them and I've tried several. Back in high school, I did like Illegal Lengths but they discontinued it and years later released it under a similar name with much crappier results. So I stopped by Walgreen's to pick up the latest mascara that I've heard a lot of bloggers and vloggers talk about. The packaging and pretty pink brush is quite pleasing to the eye although the pretty pink would of course disappear once dispensed inside of the tube. I must say, I was very impressed with this mascara for about the first 5 minutes that it was on my lashes. The brush is designed in a way that offers true separation and definition for the lashes and it really does work that way. I was also pleased with the length and volume and felt that it was pretty buildable if you worked quickly. The brush is wide but not so wide that it jacks up your lower lashes and ends up all smudged underneath (I'm talking to you, Lash Blast). So what's not to love in a mascara that gives separation, definition, length AND volume? I will tell you what's not to love, it doesn't hold curl and it smudges all over the place when my lashes touch my upper eye area. One minute I look in the mirror and I'm loving what I'm seeing. Not five minutes later, I look again and my lashes are drooping and feel all flimsy. Not a fan of that look. Halfway through the day, I see a bunch of smudging going on and this is when I've thrown in the towel and chalked up another big fat loss in the Maybelline Mascara category.

Many have compared The Rocket with Cover Girl Lash Blast but I see some distinct differences. I felt that The Rocket left my lashes a big softer and less spiky than Lash Blast. I also felt it offered more length than Lash Blast but pretty similar on volume. I also find Lash Blast to be much better at holding curl and staying put. Perhaps The Rocket Waterproof would be a better alternative but I do not like Waterproof mascara. In a nutshell, The Rocket did make my lashes skyrocket to amazing lengths but then the rocket turned back around and did a nose dive into the ground.

Sunday, January 6, 2013

Great Makeup Brushes at Drugstore Prices!

Makeupgeek was one of the very first beauty channels I started watching on YouTube nearly 5 years ago! Marlena does amazing makeup and is definitely one of the best there is as far as beauty guru's go. She also has her own company called Makeupgeek or MUG for short which features an array of products from eyeshadow to lipsticks to makeup brushes and more, and all at affordable prices. I made my first purchase from the site after hearing some good things about the MUG makeup brushes. I was blown away at the prices, all in the $5-$9 range. I read in a couple reviews that the "Stiff Dome Brush" was very similar to the MAC 217, only the MUG brush is a mere $7.99. We all know how expensive good brushes are and so to get such a multi-functional good quality brush at that price is not easy. I bought that one of course and the Outer V brush for $6.89. The eye brushes are all under $7.99 and the face brushes are all $8.99 and under. Now that is CHEAP for face brushes. I was excited to get my order to try out the two that I had purchased and so far I am very impressed. The Soft Dome brush is fantastic. It is stiff enough to lay product on the lid and yet dense enough to do some good blending. It can really be used for all parts of the eye. The Outer V brush is great too, it is a small dense brush that can work for the outer-v area, to blend out harsh lines, and it is small enough to smudge out liner or shadow underneath the eye. I noticed there is a Classic Outer V brush as well but mine is called Outer V. So far I am rather impressed with the brushes I ordered and will keep you updated as to how the brushes wear over time. I must add that the customer service is very good as well. They keep you up to date on your order status and they pack the products very well with a little handwritten "have a wonderful day Angela!" on the receipt. I'm sure I will be purchasing more from MUG. 

Photos found at Stiff Dome (above) and Outer V (below)