A Few New Items To Add To Your List

I haven’t written quite as much lately because I’ve been a tad busier and my mind hasn’t had beauty quite on the brain as much either, but that never seems to mean I don’t have time to try something new or browse good ol’ Walgreens. Or Sephora. Or Glossier. I’ve also been super into reading up on beauty these days, so my input has been outpacing my output big time.

I’ve discovered a couple new products that I’m thinking will become new favorites.  The best part of these is that I discovered and chose to try them all of my own, and not because they were in a magazine or on a blog (no irony here) or seen on social media.  That’s the best- when you find something new entirely on your own and then love it.


1.  BareMinerals Gen Nude Radiant Lipstick

One of my favorite beauty brands of all time has totally upped their lip game within the past month with four new lip products.  In the world of Kylie Lip Kits, ColourPop cosmetics, and Kat Von D, it’s not to a company’s advantage if they ignore lips these days.  But BareMinerals, being the naturally-focused name that they are, chose to revamp their lip products in total BM fashion- by focusing on making all products “nude”.  That is, by creating a range of products called Gen Nude that covers every shade of “nude” there could possibly be, in four different finishes.

When I came across all this new awesomeness while wandering through Sephora, I was so impressed that a company finally seemed to grasp the fact that “nude” is a very relative term in makeup, and what counts as a shade of nude lipstick for one woman does not at all count as one for another.  So what this amounts to are a line of products that are a whole bunch of delicious “my lips but better” tones, and I had a really hard time choosing just one (and yes, I allowed myself just one).  I ended up choosing the Radiant Lipstick because the texture was like butter and it felt more like a smooth balm than a lipstick.  I use something like this far more than gloss, and I prefer it far more than matte finish.  I’d wanted something with more brown in it than my typically grey-pink that I go for in lips, so I picked Honey Bun after trying on maybe six or seven.  I really, reeeeeeeally like this stuff.

The other products include the Buttercream Lip Gloss, the Matte Liquid Lipcolor (there’s your Kylie competition), and the Under Over Lipliner.

2.  Maybelline Brow Drama Pomade Crayon

What a cinch this stuff is.  I’d wanted something to add more pigment to my brows when my Glossier BoyBrow just wasn’t enough, but I didn’t want to mess with anything too expensive like Anastasia’s Dip Brow that I knew I wouldn’t use so much, or anything that required any other tool besides my hand.

This chubby crayon is the perfect solution.  It goes on really smoothly (it is like a pomade) and very concentrated, so I use a light hand.  I bought it in its darkest shade, Deep Brown, because my brows can handle a decent amount of pigment.  It’s just so easy to use, and then I add some BoyBrow or brow gel and the whole thing is done.

3.  LivingProof Prime Style Extender

As you may know, I can be extremely lazy when it comes to styling my hair.  I’m always looking for that product that will somehow do everything and nothing.  I want my hair left with texture, but not with any crunch.  I want to cut down on frizz (especially out here in the MidWest), but I don’t want things too smooth or flat or without wave.  I tried Bumble and Bumble’s Don’t Blow It but frankly, it did nothing for me (and not in the way that I want, apparently).  If I air-dried my hair without it, it basically made no difference.  But I still can hardly ever get myself to blow dry my hair!  I’m always wanting to air dry, and so the quest for the elusive leave-in styling product continues.  Oils have usually fared well (like Davines Oi or MoroccanOil), but even they can weigh me down a bit and take away from the matte finish I prefer.

Enter LivingProof Prime Style Extender.  It gives my hair just enough tack without stick, holds a style well for 24 hours (and I can’t ask for much more in this weather- hairstyles don’t last more than a day out here), brings out my wave, and doesn’t have any weight to it.  I started using a travel size I received to blow out my bangs, and then started wondering how it would fare on my entire head.  So far, so good!  It’s the best product I’ve used yet when it’s come to air drying (and it’s also supposed to be really great for blow drying, too!).

4.  NARS Audacious Mascara

And this one’s getting thrown in just for fun, because who doesn’t love a fresh, new mascara?  I got a smaller size of this mascara for free with a mini NARS makeover and a purchase, and I’ve liked using it for my “second layer” of mascara like how I use BeneFit’s They’re Real!  After using a slightly tackier, cheaper formula with a very dense brush (usually a CoverGirl Lask Blast formula), I like to use a more wet formula with a very spiky brush like Audacious to separate and “hug” the bottom lashes to really build the base and lash line- I wiggle it around on my lash line a couple times, being careful not to touch my eye.  Such formulas usually help to darken the lashes overall, too.  The formula alone isn’t my absolute favorite, but then again I virtually never use one mascara on its own.  I always use at least two.

Anything new you’re trying lately?  It seems that I’m stumbling upon new launches left and right, but I’m being very selective about what I give a chance to because I feel like I’ve got so much more than I could ever need in the first place.  Let me know if you pick up one of these, or if you’ve been using something new that’s too good not to share!  xo, MR

Current Beauty Inspo: Olivia Munn

I am not that much of a lipstick person.  If I wear it, it’s sort of the showpiece of my look and it doesn’t happen that often.  Something about lipstick just feels like a real commitment that’s a bit tedious for everyday life (at least for me).  I genuinely admire those who feel at home wearing lipstick on a daily basis.  Even if it’s a nude shade or something rosy and natural, lipstick wearers always seem to have a real level up on me in terms of glamour.  You can always find them wearing Chanel Coco Mademoiselle on the reg while I’m wearing, well, probably just my deodorant.  When I do wear full makeup, I find myself feeling most at home with a semi-grungy, smokey eye or a very bare no-makeup makeup look.  Full-time lipstick is a full-time job for me.

However, every once in a while I’ll find myself so inspired by something different than what I usually do that I can’t resist trying it.  And this particular week I’ve been inspired the lipstick-happy Olivia Munn (currently featured as Psylocke in X-Men: Apocalypse).


According to a couple interviews I’ve read, Olivia feels super comfortable in and favors bold lipstick as her makeup look of choice.  In X-Men, she wears an amazing shade of deep purply plum when she first appears.  It helps that Olivia has a great mouth for lipstick; not everyone does.  I think one of the reasons I’ve never made it my go-to is that fact that my lips are on the thinner side.  All it takes is a little lining outside the lipline to give the appearance of fullness, but I get scared that things will look too exaggerated.

Ironically, Olivia is wearing a lip product brought to us by the queen of exaggerated features in the picture above- it’s a Kylie Lip Kit.  Yep!  Olivia is wearing a Kylie Lip Kit in Mary Jo K here for a fiery shade of red.  Not great for regular use because of how drying they are (and that goes for all longwearing liquid lipsticks), but excellent for the red carpet or appearances because the color literally doesn’t budge for an eternity.


For a Good Morning America appearance to promote Ride Along 2 in January, Olivia wore another liquid lipstick, this time from the ever-popular Anastasia Beverly Hills line.  Olivia’s makeup artist, Patrick Ta, has seemed to really favor liquid lipsticks for his client but he didn’t mention what specific shade this was.  I’m thinking he used either Rio or Party Pink after checking out the swatches.  And did I mention her hair is kind of the greatest hair on Earth, too?


This look from this past year’s Academy Awards, however, has been my very favorite of Olivia’s.  The styling and the dress were impeccable, but I’m in love with the makeup.  A coral lip is always the most fun thing ever.  And matching your makeup to your outfit these days is a definite yes.

Patrick combined two shades of Chanel Rouge Allure lipstick- Excentrique and Pimpante.  I love that her eyebrows have been kept very natural and there’s no over-the-top filling in.  Just some nice contouring and highlighting, neutral eyeshadow with shimmer, and false lashes.  I stepped out to purchase a coral lipstick of my own and picked up MakeUpForEver’s Rouge Artist Intense lipstick in 40, but I promptly returned it the following day because feelings of responsibility now just make me return things and feel guilty.  Being an adult is great.

And there’s also the fact that I remembered that I have a coral lipstick, already.  Whoops.  It’s from the drugstore and it’s got a pretty glossy finish, but it works- L’Oreal Colour Riche in Fiery Veil.  It’s not as long lasting as other formulas, but it feels very nice and the color payoff is pretty good.


Yeah, I don’t exactly look like Olivia Munn (and as I said, my lips are not nearly as full) and I have to work on better lighting for my selfies (no filter here), but that’s okay.  For seven bucks I’m happy to at least emulate Olivia’s lip color.  A bright lip sometimes feels like just the right move to cheer up a grey (and now humid) May afternoon.  Let me know of your favorite picks for a bright shade of lipstick, and tag my in your pictures if you try anything!  xo, MR

Photo credits to (in order of appearance): Kylie Cosmetics/Instagram, Patrick Ta/Instagram, & Jason Merritt/Getty Images.

When More Is More: Kardashian-Inspired Makeup

I used to think I really loved makeup.  Well, I mean, I do love makeup.  A lot.  I always thought I loved it more than most people.  However, within the past couple years or so, makeup as we know it has changed forever in some radical ways.  And in light of this, I have to say that my love for makeup as we know it now has become more of a journey than a certainty.  Let me provide a little background.

The rise of the Youtube video blogger in the 2000’s transformed the world of makeup through the power of shared knowledge.  Suddenly, everyday women all over the world were able learn and practice difficult and elaborate techniques thanks to thousands of tutorials posted by other everyday women all over the world.  Some video bloggers have reached mega-celebrity status like Michelle Phan and Jaclyn Hill, with their worth now in the millions.  Instagram offered another avenue for sharing makeup knowledge, along with its glow-giving filters and other fancy apps with capabilities of blurring and retouching our complexions.

Then came the variable with the most impact- Kim K and her Kontouring Kingdom.  Suddenly the world of makeup was launched into the stratospheric heights of what once seemed impossible.  Social media took quick notice, and now you can’t scroll through your feed once without noticing a woman showing off that signature Kardashian-Jenner look: contoured cheekbones, a contoured forehead and chin, golden-yellow highlighting thanks to some type of banana powder, shimmery, pearlescent highlighting across the forehead and cheeks, a contoured and highlighted nose, immaculate eyebrows, full, voluminous lips sporting a matte, liquid lipstick, layered eyeshadow with a flawless cut crease, thick, perfectly-drawn winged eyeliner, and dramatic false lashes.  Throw on a couple filters and there isn’t a flaw in sight.  It doesn’t exactly look natural either, but in this new phase of makeup artistry for every woman, more is more.

I’m not consistently drawn to this maximalist kind of makeup as most know; I find myself more inspired by the work of celebrity makeup artists as opposed to what I see on Instagram (with folks like Mario Dedivanovic and Joyce Bonelli excepted).  However, it is fun to think about all the possibilities in your train case after watching a tutorial on the most elaborate smokey eye you’ve ever seen.  Even if something isn’t quite for you, it can still be inspiring.


And so, I decided to have a little fun last night and just go for more.  And man, did I not feel like myself.  This was no single wash of eyeshadow topped with a bit of kohl liner and mascara like I usually do for a night out or something.  I followed the formulas of multiple Youtube bloggers that I’ve watched and went through every step in what felt like a game of human paint-by-numbers: mattifying primer, liquid foundation, powder, concealer, contouring, banana powder, illuminating powder, blush, shadow primer, layered eyeshadow (four shades), eyeliner, mascara, false lashes, lipliner, and liquid lipstick.  Everything I used is pictured above, except for the false lashes (which were just accent lashes by Ardell).

And none of the following photos have any filter on them.  I’m simply standing in front of a soft lamp for the ones featuring the finished look.


BAM.  Crazy!  The difference is almost laughable, isn’t it?  It probably would’ve helped to give a bit more of a smile in the photo on the left, but hey, for dramatic purposes we’ll leave it as it is.  Not hiding the bangs under a beanie helps as well, but when it’s -2 outside and you’ve just arrived at work after battling the oppressive elements, you’re probably going to put your bangs in a beanie too.

But it didn’t turn out too bad, did it?!  I have to say that I liked how I looked in most every picture I took, which isn’t typical for me at all.  That is one thing that this kind of makeup can do well- photos are suddenly not so intimidating.  You just have to find your favorite angles that show off the makeup best.


Also, understand that to many women (and men too, from what I’ve seen on Insta), this is still total amateur hour. I did not take things anywhere near as far as some Youtubers or bloggers take them, and a lot of people would probably still consider this a soft, natural look. I don’t, but it starts to become a matter of relativity.  Many people have had countless hours of practice with Kardashian level, “extreme” makeup, and they can do much, much more than me in terms of talent and technique.  This is just one of my first takes on it.

I’m convinced that the one detail that really takes things to the next level is the highlighting on the nose.  It’s what kind of gives you that ethereal, almost plastic look.  The Kat Von D Shade and Light contouring palette is also key- I really, really like that palette.  I’ve watched several Youtube videos on how to get the most out of it, and it’s amazing what you can do to the shape of your face with six simple shades.  I tried to do the exaggerated lipliner for that crazy Kylie Jenner effect too, but the fact of the matter is she gets lip injections.  There are complicated contouring and highlighting techniques that can give the illusion of much larger lips, but that tends to require a couple shades of creamy concealer and I only have my match shade.  I just tried things with nude liner and liquid lipstick.

The liquid lipstick I used on my lips was also hard to work with outside of the natural lip line because once it sets on your skin, it dries within seconds and doesn’t budge.  You can’t make any adjustments or changes.  It’s seriously high quality stuff, but you do not wear it for comfort or ease of application.  I used Stila’s Stay All Day Liquid Lipstick in Patina.  You might be able to tell that the lip lines got a little smudgy because I tried to rub the lipstick off in some spots, but it didn’t work.  I basically had to go to bed with this stuff on and it is so unbelievably drying.  Not exactly the comforting, moisturizing formula you’d use in weather with a wind chill factor of -15 degrees.


No filters here, I promise!  Just in front of a lamp (especially because it was night and there was no natural light to be found).  I’m under a bright light on the left side too, though.

I have to say, the transformative power of Youtube-inspired makeup is undeniable.  It works, especially in terms of making you feel glamorous and photo-ready.  However, it’s not a realistic everyday look for me and my life.  Now that I know I can do it though, maybe I’ll take a stab at it more than once a year.  I just wouldn’t want this to ever feel like the norm because that can take the fun and novelty out of it.  For now I’ll just be sure to keep washing my face and taking good care of my eyebrows.  xo, MR