beauty review: almay smart shade concealer

Oh hello there!

It’s been quite some time since we’ve last chatted, but I’ve had good reason.  Last weekend I moved!  Across the parking lot, yes, but it was still a move.  I’m now in a two-bedroom with my friend from my internship, Lauren.  Our place is huge and I promise pictures later this week when everything comes together!

In the midst of the moving, I’ve still been crazy busy with work, which naturally has caused some stress.  So this seemed like the perfect timing for another beauty review on a new concealer I’ve been using.  When I get stressed out, I break out, as many of us do.  I’ve been on the hunt for a concealer that can cover me when things get stressful, finding some okay ones, but nothing phenomenal.  I think my most recent concealer is the best thus far, but I’m always open to hearing what everyone else is loving.

Almay Smart Shade Concealer

$6.69 at Target

photo-9

This concealer is a no-fuss, no-brainer, so I’ll just cut to the chase.  Thus far in my search, this is as good as it gets.  The whole idea behind “smart-shade” is that you pick your general skin-tone (for me, it is of course, light) and the concealer does the rest of the work.  It works to match your skin tone in order to blend evenly, giving you a natural, smooth complexion.  Although it’s quite a small bottle, it goes a long way.  I use a dot only slightly larger than a pinpoint on each blemish and blend it in.  For particularly tough areas, I may put a second layer on.  It does have pretty good staying power for all-day wear, which can be tough to find.  It also has not irritated my skin in any way or made my break outs worse.  Unless I get a recommendation of a better concealer, I think I’ll keep going with my new Almay.  She’s not letting me down.

Before

Before

After: With Concealer

After: With Concealer

After: With Concealer + Foundation

After: With Concealer + Foundation

Loves: Lightweight, dries quickly, a little goes a long way, lasts for nearly all-day wear, blends well and looks natural

Not in love with: Very small bottle, a little pricey for such a small bottle.

Do you have a concealer that you just love?  I’d definitely love to hear suggestions on what to try next!

Until next time–

xo,

kaylee.

Stay Connected!

facebook | instagram | twitter

pinterest | polyvore

beauty review: finding the best lip balm

Hi friends!

As spring is approaching, it may seem a tad overdue that I’m just now doing a beauty review on finding the best lip balm for the cold months of the year.  But, if you live in a northern state as I do, I’m sure you’re still struggling with the dry air and unpleasant cold fronts.  For the past few months, I’ve been on an intense hunt for a lip balm that can brave the wintery, dry air of Wisconsin.  I don’t know what was different about this winter, but my lips were constantly dry to the point of cracking and peeling no matter what product I was using or how often I applied.  Needless to say, it was a tough search, but I did find a winner in the end.  Over the past few months, I tried out 5 different lip balms.  Some were okay, one was just awful, and fortunately, one was perfect.  And ironically enough, the winner was one I had used when I was younger and is insanely cheap.

photo 1_2

 

I figured the best way to go about reviewing each product would be to do it by rank.  I’ll start with the worst and end with the best.  Sound good?  Let’s start.

5. Maybelline Baby Lips Dr. Rescue in Just Peachy, $3.94 at Target

photo 3

All I have to really say is yikes.  This guy was my second to last find in my search, and boy was it a bad one.  I had tried Baby Lips in “Cherry Me” a few weeks prior, and as you’ll read below, my main issue was with how tinted it was.  I went back to Target, hoping to find a non-tinted option, as, at the time, I truly did believe this product could stand a chance.  I picked “Just Peachy” as it was a neutral tone and called out on the label that it was medicated.  I figured I couldn’t really go wrong.  I, unfortunately, was quite wrong and although this one was not called out as tinted, it was.  Actually, tinted is an understatement; it was more like a lip color than a lip balm.  Essentially, the color was a pasty-peach that made my lips disappear into my face.  Aesthetically, it looked so bad on that it would not be suitable for the public eye.  I put it on before bed just to see if it worked well overnight to evaluate its functionality, but it was still subpar.  My lips were still dry and peeling.  I do not in any way recommend this product.

4. Eos in Summer Fruit, $2.99 at Target

photo 2I feel like Eos has a moderate cult following, so before you all come burning down my apartment complex, hear me out.  I really do love Eos – in the summer.  It is very effective in keeping your lips smooth and hydrated when it’s late spring or summer.  But in terms of consistency across seasons, Eos failed the test.  I would have to reapply every 20-30 minutes at work and my lips still were cracking.  And since I had to apply it so often, it began to leave that residue that we all hate.  I would recommend Eos in the summer or if your lips aren’t heavily affected by the weather, but otherwise, you need to find an alternate for the cold half of the year.

3. Blistex Five Star Lip Protection, $1.52 at Walmart

photo 5

Sorry, Blistex – but I’d try to set that ego aside, because your lip balm is not “five stars.”  I might give it 3 stars, the number at which it ranks on my list.  Although this one is a step up from the past two, it still was disappointing.  It did help with the overall dryness, but it did not stop from flaking and peeling.  It also left residue no matter the amount of uses.  It’s not terrible, but my experience was sub-par.

2. Maybelline Baby Lips in Cherry Me, $3.94 at Target

Screen Shot 2014-03-16 at 3.39.03 PM

I had tried Baby Lips at the recommendation of a close friend, trying this particular one before the awful peachy fiasco.  Now the main issue here may just come down to poor marketing on Maybelline or Target’s part.  The display of Baby Lips lip balms are split into three sections.  Only one of the three sections was labeled as tinted, so I stayed out of that selection.  Baby Lips/Target is sitting on a throne of lies, because it is most definitely tinted (as you could tell by my other Baby Lips selection).  The color was a vivid rosy red, which I typically wouldn’t mind, but it was a little bright to wear consistently everyday.  It was got brighter with every application – which was rather unfortunate since I had to apply hourly.  In terms of functionality, it worked relatively well.  When I first began using it, I saw a big change, but it kind of plateaued after a few days.  My lips got somewhat smoother and less flakey, but it dropped off after a few uses, leaving my lips back in their dry, sad state.  Because this particular product showed promise, I headed back to try out another definitely non-tinted version, which led me to “Just Peachy”, but we all know how that went.

1. Blistex Lip Medex Lip Protectant, $1.59 at Walgreens

photo 1

We finally have our winner.  I used Lip Medex as a kid and throughout high school, as its what my mom always bought us.  I sort of forgot it existed for awhile, but after complaining about my unsuccessful search to my mom(most likely while wearing the pasty peach disaster of a lip balm), she told me to pick up Lip Medex.  I had looked for it during college before, but could never find it.  Turns out, it’s only sold at Walgreens, but like they say in the commercials, there is one on nearly every corner.  I was ecstatic to find out it is only $1.59, practically tied for least expensive with the other Blistex balm at $1.52.  Within one use, I already saw huge changes.  After using it for about a week now, I can say that my lips are super smooth and back to normal.  What a relief.  It’s funny – the miracle balm I was looking for, was truly there all along.

Well, time for you to run to the store and pick up your new favorite lip balm.

Until next time–

xo,

kaylee.

 

beauty review: neutrogena concealer

Hey friends!

So it’s official; I’ve been being a real, genuine adult for just over two months now.  Spoiler alert: I still kind of suck at it.

I’ll keep this piece short, since we really want to get onto to the good stuff.  I will say that I’ve just been taking it day by day, trying to just push through until it starts to get better.  I’ve turned to online shopping, ice cream, and making inappropriate jokes with Kast to get through.  After a budget review of February, I realized that I can no longer turn to retail therapy for the relief I need, meaning A) Ben and Jerry’s needs more flavors or B) Kast and I need to branch our humor outside of “that’s what she saids”.  You know, it is what it is.  There are worse things that adjusting to adulthood.  Oh and by the way, “it is what it is” has become the official Kaylee tagline of 2014.  So much that I should consider changing the tagline for my blog to correspond: “Pleats and Pearls; It is what it is.”  I kind of like it.

So onto the review!  I’ve been trying to find a good concealer for as long as I can remember.  I believe I used to use something from Victoria’s Secret way back in the day, but it was discontinued.  I also can’t remember what it was called.  Figures.  Since, I’ve tried various iterations of concealers from various brands.  I’ve tried powder, concealing sticks, liquids– you name it.  I have never found that “wow” factor.  Some were great at blending in, others were light on the skin, and others lasted all day.  Most recently, I tried out Neutrogena’s SkinClearing Blemish Concealer.  After trying this one out for a few weeks, I’d still say I have yet to find that perfect, go-to, makes-me-look-flawless concealer that I really need, but, I am getting closer in my search.

Neutrogena SkinClearing Blemish Concealer

photo-8

 

I’ve been on the hunt for a great concealer for quite some time now.  Everytime I go to Target, I go check out the makeup aisles, hoping something will jump out at me, and unfortunately, nothing has.  I brought Ali with a few weeks ago to get another opinion and she picked this particular concealer out for me, liking that it said “blemish concealer” in the name and that it also helps to treat blemishes.  I figured this wouldn’t be a bad route to go since Neutrogena specializes in skincare originally, I figured it couldn’t hurt to try.  Fortunately, it has worked out relatively well.  When rating a concealer, the things I’d look at are:

-How it matches my skin tone; how well it blends

-Does it completely cover all redness?

-How long does it last?  Does it wear well through the day?

-What is it doing to my skin?  Am I breaking out?  Is my skin outrageously dry?

-Do I need to wear a bb cream in conjunction with the concealer and the foundation?

I’ll make this easy and just go down the line.  First, blending and matching skin tone– I’d rate this pretty highly in that sense.  I bought the palest shade and it’s worked out pretty well.  Sometimes paler ladies can have issues with even the lightest shades looking on the orangey side.  This concealer fortunately matches very well and blends in nicely.  For covering redness, it does the job, but it could be better.  By the end of the day, my face isn’t looking quite as fresh and some of the redness shows through.  I’ve found that it wears best when I do wear the bb cream over the concealer and topped off with my mineral foundation.  I don’t necessarily have to and most days I go without the bb cream.  But when I need my face to look photo-ready or I’m expecting to see certain people that I may or may not have a crush on, then I go with the bb cream.  In terms of how it affects my skin, it surprisingly does not dry it out.  Although, I do use Olay lotion 2x a day, which may help my cause.  I have noticed that although it has not reduced size of blemishes, it does help reduce redness, which is always a plus.  I took pictures at each stage in the makeup process to give you an idea of how the concealer worked out.  Beware,  I’m looking a little on the rough side.  But that just goes to show that it is a pretty decent concealer.

photo 1

Before

After applying the concealer.

After applying the concealer.

After concealer and bb cream.

After concealer and bb cream.

After

After

Pros:  Blends well, matches pale skin tones, a little bit goes a long way, doesn’t dry skin out, helps reduce redness.

Cons: Wears throughout the day showing redness after several hours and need to wear in conjunction with bb cream and foundation for a very flawless look.

What do you think?  It’s a decent concealer, but I think my search is still on.  Have any concealers you’ve been dying to try or would like to recommend?  Give me a shout below!

Until next time–

xo,

kaylee.

beauty review: revlon lash potion mascara

Hey there!

It’s finally the weekend again!  Thank God this week went by so fast– I was just itching to sleep in, relax, and whip out another beauty review.  I’m pretty excited for the rest of the weekend.  Ali is in town and we’re going to go out tonight, which is more than overdue.  It’ll be good for me to get out and be social since during the week my only social interaction is at work.  Enough chatting, let’s get down to the good stuff.

In terms of make-up, I am very picky about what I buy.  I am extremely loyal to certain brands for specific products.  For example, for foundation I will only use L’Oréal True Match mineral.  I started using mineral makeup when I was 16 and I’m so in love with it that I will likely never use anything else.  For blush, my go-to is Victoria’s Secret’s Luminous Mineral Blush Duo.  My basic black liner is Rimmel London’s precision crayon liner in Black Magic.  I’ve used it since I was 14.  I’ve tried other blushes, liners, and foundations and nothing compares.  For those specific products, I’m set in my ways and I won’t likely ever venture outside of them.  But there are a few products that I’ve never found that love factor.  I think my most varied makeup item is mascara.  I hardly buy the same mascara twice and I tend to just buy whatever is on sale.  There have been a few that prove to be okay for the first week or so and then get clumpy so fast.

A few weeks ago, I was browsing through my Cartwheel app looking for deals on makeup, since I was itching to try something new.  Revlon Lash Potion Mascara had a 15% discount and I happened to be running low on my current mascara, so I went for it.  I don’t want to get too ahead of myself here, but this mascara might edge into my loyalty category that I never venture outside of.   I’m absolutely obsessed.

 

Revlon Lash Potion Mascara

securedownload-1

There isn’t a whole lot of criteria to rate a mascara on, so I will keep this short and sweet.  When rating how great a mascara is, I look at price, effectiveness, and how long it lasts (both during the day and in the bottle). In terms of effectiveness, I don’t think I’ve owned a better mascara.  It lengthens and volumizes, without appearing clumpy.  It makes my eyes look wider and brighter, so even on days where I’m keeping the makeup to a minimum, my eyes still look great.  It lasts all day and doesn’t flake off.  It’s easy to take off without taking out all your lashes in the process.  It also has lasted for several weeks in the bottle and works just as well as it did when I first used it.  Not convinced yet?  It’s only $5 at a Target or Walmart.  Pretty legit, eh?

photo 3

Buy it here!

Until next time–

xo,

kaylee.

instagram | pinterest | facebook | twitter

beauty review: rimmel bb cream

Hey there!

After a week with no car, cable, or internet, I’m glad to say I survived – but not without a great deal of boredom and 5 seasons of FRIENDS.  After doing my first beauty review about two weeks ago, I got on kind of a make-up kick and I’ve been wanting to try some new products for the new year.  Last weekend I decided to finally try out the thing I feel like everyone has been talking about:  bb cream.  Before I tested it out, I honestly wasn’t sure what it was or what it did.  I took a brand recommendation from my former roommate and went with Rimmel’s beauty balm.  It’s relatively inexpensive (around $7 at most stores), so I figured the risk was pretty minimal.

Before and After

Before and After

Rimmel’s BB cream is a “9 in 1” balm:  it primes, moisturizes, minimizes pores, conceals, covers, smoothes, mattifies, brightens, and helps protect with SPF 25 sunscreen.  It also claims to “last all day”.  I personally was a little skeptical that one product could do all of this, but I was delightfully surprised.  I had been looking for a face primer for awhile now, wanting something as good for my face as Urban Decay is for my eyes.  It does work well as a primer and makes my foundation last the entire day – which is great news since I’ll be starting my big girl job tomorrow.  I need to look fresh from 8 to 6!  In terms of moisturizing, it didn’t dry out my skin, but I’d recommend still using your daily moisturizer before applying the BB cream.  I can also say that it did the trick with concealing and covering.  As you can to tell from the before picture, my face is not doing so hot right now.  The stress of finishing school, moving, having my car die, and stressing about the start of my new job is definitely taking its toll.  I’ve been in the search for a new concealer lately since I’ve never found one that I absolutely love.  BB cream has proven very useful in covering up unwanted redness and blemishes.  I think the best part for me has been the brightening.  I’ve always loved the foundation I use, but using the BB cream underneath serves as the perfect highlighter to brighten my face all day long.  My face feels bright, smooth, and camera ready.

photo 1

photo 2_2

photo 3

Things I love: Makes my face smooth, bright, and even for all day wear.  It doesn’t dry my skin out, which most liquid products tend to do (I still use my Olay moisturizer every morning and at night since my skin is very dry).  Inexpensive.

Things I don’t love: The palest shade is “light”, which is still a smidgen too dark on me, looks a little heavy or “cakey” for the first 5 minutes or so, but settles nicely.

I’m definitely pleased with the outcome of this beauty experiment.  I really love the benefits of a BB cream and I am open to trying other brands in the future.

Do you use a BB cream?  If so, what brands do you like?

Until next time–

xo,

kaylee.

For all the latest updates, follow me on Facebook, Pinterest, and Instagram!