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2013 Makeup Favorites

Ever since I started my blog, I've been typing away at the keyboard about all of my skincare favorites, but my blog has been a bit sparse when it comes to makeup postings. Now that 2014 is just around the corner and beauty bloggers everywhere are compiling their lists of makeup favorites, I'd call this the perfect opportunity to give you a glimpse into some of my most used and loved makeup staples.

Stila Kitten Smudge Pot Review


I don't like to write negative reviews, but Stila's Smudge Pot in Kitten is definitely not my favorite cream eyeshadow. All of the positive reviews about this product that exist and the fact that it does swatch pretty well in store led me to buy this, so to prevent some future disappointments, I thought I'd give anyone researching this product a heads up about its pitfalls.

Easy New Year's Eye Look


The holidays are always an extremely busy time of the year. When my family is all together again, I don't want to miss spending any time with them, and that includes the time that I'd normally spend getting ready. On Christmas Eve, I had less than an hour to get ready for dinner, so I sped through the normal steps of makeup application and opted for this easy cranberry eye look. I think that this one pairs well with all of the black, gold, and silver sequined apparel that is in rotation for New Year's gatherings. Best of all, you can slap this eye look on in 15 minutes and look like you spent at least double the time getting your peepers primed and ready for 2014.

Ren Glycol Lactic Radiance Renewal Mask Review



After seeing this mask for the first time in a video, I instantly knew that it wasn't right for me. If someone without sensitive skin had said that it 'tingled,' how was my sensitive skin going to react to a potent chemical peel? I knew that I definitely wanted to try chemical exfoliation, so I opted for the gentler Papaya Enzyme Peel from Elemis. While that peel was pleasant and left my skin soft, I didn't really know what the fuss over chemical exfoliation was until I finally decided to take the plunge and purchase Ren's Glycol Lactic Radiance Renewal Mask.

Urban Decay Naked 3 Palette


When Sephora's $20 gift card for members who spend $50 or more was released, I knew exactly what I was getting. This promotion had been perfectly timed with the arrival of the highly anticipated Naked 3 palette. Although I didn't buy into the hype of the Naked 2, the rosy hues of the new Naked palette were right up my alley, and the gift card gave me that extra push to snag this palette for $32 instead of $52.

Bedside Beauty


There's no better way to tell what everyday skincare products a girl really likes and uses than taking a snapshot of the products that live on her bedside table. So for today's post, that's exactly what I decided to do. Because there's so much that I keep on my makeshift trays (or rather, hard cover books!), I'll only tell you what I use every single night and morning consistently. I will occasionally switch it up, and in those instances I'll share that information with you. My rambling is done, so let's get into it!


Aesop Parsley Seed Cleansing Masque Review


I didn't need another deep cleansing mask, but when Black Friday rolled around and various sites started giving 15%, 20%, and even 30% off of their cosmetics and skincare items, I found myself surfing the Web for deals on Aesop's Parsley Seed Cleansing Masque. The packaging, a light beige and black striped tube with a black screw on cap, made the product feel natural, sleek, and just a bit indulgent. It's price of $39 makes it teeter on the edges of 'almost justifiable' and 'just a bit ridiculous' for one product. Bear in mind, though, that this is a treatment mask that's probably not going to be touched more than once a week (unless you're like me, in which case you'll have the urge to use it every other day, but might let yourself pick it up twice or three times a week), so it will last you a long time. Regardless of my reservations, I placed an order with Barney's, which had the best deal that I could find, which happened to be free shipping. Better than nothing, right?

The Cult Favorite that Wasn't #2: Caudalie Beauty Elixir

Caudalie Beauty Elixir, $18-$48, available here at Sephora.com

I didn't intend to write another 'The Cult Favorite that Wasn't' post (the first one, about my EOS Lip Balm in Strawberry Sorbet, can be found here), but I just couldn't resist using the header for this post about the regularly hyped up Caudalie Beauty Elixir. I love Caudalie's line of skincare and have loved every other product that I've tried, but this toner just didn't float my boat, and here's why.

Obsessive Compulsive Cosmetics Lip Tars Review

Left to Right: Grandma, Lydia, Iced, Pretty Boy, Kava Kava, NSFW, Super NSFW, and Hoochie

Once you rub a tubed lipstick all over your lips, it's been marked as your own. You can't (and don't want to) share it with any of your friends or family. Lip glosses, stains, and tinted lip balms all have applicators that you either stick back in the tube after using them on your lips or a stick of product that gets applied directly onto your lips. Sure, you can use a lip brush or a disposable applicator in all of these cases to avoid the hygiene issues, but how practical is that for everyday use?

Origins Out of Trouble Mask Review


Over the past few months, I've become a big fan of Origin's masks and have slowly built up my collection of them. I've tested out and very much liked the Drink Up 10 Minute Mask and the Clear Improvements Active Charcoal Mask, and I just got the overnight version of the Drink Up Mask in the mail. If I keep this up, I think that half of my skincare products will be Origins!

Ren Invisible Pores Detox Mask Review


One thing about the beauty industry that I've learned since I've started blogging is that you can almost never take a product's promises at face value. A mascara promises me 100% the volume? I subtract 90% for a more accurate estimate. A dark spot corrector promises that I'll notice a dramatic difference in 3 weeks? I add six weeks to that promise. I've found that most products do serve their intended purpose, they just don't give you the radical results that you'd expect from their claims.

So when I heard good things about Ren's Invisible Pores Detox Mask, I knew that I would get a good pore cleanse because of the mask's French clay, but I would still wake up the next morning with visible pores and blackheads on my nose. I know that we all hate our large pores and blackheads, but no matter what miracle product we slather on, we're never going to be completely rid of them. With that said, I do think that clay masks like this one from Ren that tone the skin and take away all of the excess oils on our faces can help to even our skin tones and improve the skin's overall texture.


Let's get on with the review!

Ren Micro Polish Cleanser Review


I have an over the toilet cabinet that houses most of my skincare products, bar the ones that hang out on my bedside table. I'm not good at remembering to put down my toilet's lid, so most of the time, it stays up. Every time that I take out products from that cabinet, though, I try to shut the lid in anticipation that one day, something would fall into it. Last night, something did take a dive... and unfortunately, it was Ren's Micro Polish Cleanser. When I told my father about this little mishap, he said, "That gives a whole new meaning to the word toiletries!"

Mac and Sephora Haul ft. Marc Jacobs Starlet Palette


Since my older sister Teri is home for Thanksgiving break, we decided to head to our local mall. We had some beauty products to return, so we visited all of my favorite beauty destinations. Of course, being the addict that I am, I can't pass a Mac counter without buying some lipsticks or leave Sephora without a black and white striped bag filled with some goodies. Since I can't contain my excitement about this Marc Jacobs palette and it's much too soon to review it, I decided to throw in the lipsticks I purchased at Mac and make a haul/first impressions post out of it.

Yves Saint Laurent Rouge Pur Couture Vernis À Lèvres Glossy Stain Review & Swatches


Do these colors look familiar? Yes, I am a creature of habit when it comes to my lip colors, and not only did I think that I needed two bright pink and red Tarte lipsticks, but I also believed that these pink and red shades by Yves Saint Laurent were different enough to justify their purchase. "Yes," I told myself, "the pink shade is ever so slightly darker, more glossy and shimmery than the one I already own, and the red is much more orange based and shiny that I could never leave these here, all lonely and unused at Sephora."

The Best Cleanser I've Ever Tried: Omorovicza's Thermal Cleansing Balm


I caved. Remember that Omorovicza introductory set full of travel size products that I bought? Well, I tried to convince myself that I wasn't going to buy anything in full sizes, but once that Sephora VIB sale rolled around and I got a 20% discount card in the mail, I just couldn't restrain myself. A $21 dollar savings is pretty good if I do say so myself, but this cleanser was still $84, making it one of the most expensive products I've ever bought and the most expensive cleanser I own to date.

Yikes. I know, I'm still ashamed. Anyway, let me share with you how I managed to justify this hefty price tag.

The Cult Favorite that Wasn't: EOS Lip Balm in Strawberry Sorbet


I definitely understand the appeal of EOS lip balms... I bought one, after all! They come in a spherically shaped container that fits around the product, the colors of the containers are pretty pastels, and this flavor in particular, Strawberry Sorbet, tastes so delicious that I could very happily lick it off my lips.

Tarte Glamazon Pure Performance 12 Hour Lipstick Review + Swatches


For a very long time, I didn't like full coverage lipsticks. They didn't apply smoothly on my perpetually dry lips, even after exfoliation and a heavy application of lip balm. Even if I could get a lipstick to apply well, there was no telling whether or not I'd actually keep it on. Most of them were too drying and uncomfortable to wear. I'd rather reach for a tinted lip balm or Revlon Lip Butter than deal with the hassle that is a badly made lipstick.

High End Mascaras: Givenchy, YSL, Benefit, and Dior


Let's face the facts: high end mascaras are expensive. Generally, mascaras with higher price points are in the range of twenty to thirty dollars, give or take. For that price, you can buy one Dior Addict gloss or two Mac lipsticks or glosses, which would presumably outlast a mascara, which is at its prime at the 3-6 month mark. Anything past that and the mascara can get dry, flaky, and unusable. When put into those terms that I think all beauty junkies can understand, yes, high end mascaras are fairly expensive.
That's why I like to buy the right mascara the first time, sans experimentation with troublesome formulas (I'm looking at you, Smashbox Full Exposure). I thought I'd pass on my knowledge of the four high end mascaras that I've sampled recently: Givenchy Phenomen'Eyes, YSL Faux Cils, Benefit They're Real, and Dior Diorshow.

Urban Decay Vice 2 Palette Review and Swatches


I think that anyone who gives the occasional scroll through my blog can tell that I love skincare products. What you don't see when you look through all of my posts and tags is a whole lot of makeup related content. Even though I have posts by the dozens about how to take makeup off, I assure you, I do quite enjoy putting it on! With that said, I research makeup products before trying them to the same extent that I do my skincare, and palettes don't always fare well when undergoing scrutiny. It's extremely hard to find an eyeshadow palette containing more than 4 shades that doesn't have a few duds, and harder still to find a palette that has good formulas and piques my interest. That's why I was thoroughly surprised that I liked Urban Decay's new eyeshadow palette, Vice 2, enough to take it home with me. 

Ren Hydra-Calm Cleansing Milk Review


I love cleansing balms, but when I need to get ready for school in ten minutes or less, breaking out a washcloth and giving my face a thorough massage isn't an option. Some quick cleansing choices, such as foaming, gel, and clay formulas clean my skin too thoroughly when used on an everyday basis. For me, the perfect type of cleanser strikes a balance by cleaning effectively but not stripping my skin or leaving it too dry. One of the formulas that I've found works for me in this way is a cleansing milk, and a firm favorite of mine in that category has been Ren's Hydra-Calm Cleansing Milk.


I hope that you can get a decent look at the texture of this cleanser from the photo above. If you can't, this stuff is basically just a white cream, akin to the texture of a moisturizer, that you get a large pump of and apply onto dry skin. After I've rubbed that in quite a bit, I like to take some warm water on my hands and smooth it onto my face to really emulsify the product and remove any stubborn eye makeup or sebum and dirt. I either take a washcloth with warm water on it and buff away the product, or just rinse it away with warm water, depending on whether I've decided to use it in the morning or evening and how much exfoliation my skin's been getting. The product, makeup, and any dirt and residue will all be removed if you just decide to splash your face with warm water, but sometimes I like my skin to feel extra pampered after a cleanse, and gently wiping the product away with a washcloth does that for me.

Wei Golden Root Purifying Mud Mask Review


It's no secret: I have tried a lot of mud masks. I love masks of all types that address a variety of skin concerns, but mud masks have that special something that always draws me to them. Whenever I apply them, I always think of the many movies and TV programs that have shown teenagers and women alike applying a generous layer of some green mud masks and placing cucumbers over their eyes at inopportune moments. Even though I may have to look like a monster for 15-20 minutes while I let them work their magic on my skin, mud masks always give me the most visible and immediate results: brightness, clarity, and an even tone void of the usual redness that I have in my cheeks.

The mask that I'm writing about today, Wei's Golden Root Purifying Mud Mask, while relatively expensive, is a mild mask to start with if you've never tried any previously. 

My Favorite Lip Care Products



Whether it's the dead of winter or the height of the summer, I always have fairly dry lips. At some point in recent years, Chapstick alone has just stopped cutting it. That's when I decided to find some products that I didn't need to constantly reapply for my lips to feel moisturized properly. Exfoliating with Lush's Mint Julips Lip Scrub and moisturizing with Dior's Creme de Rose Lip Balm nightly has helped me keep flakiness at bay. I also find that I need a good lip balm in the morning and throughout the day as well, and for that I've been reaching for a recent purchase, Fresh's Sugar Lip Treatment. If you want to read more about the individual products, then read on!

Splurge or Save: Clinique Broad Spectrum SPF 30 Sunscreen VS Drugstore Sunscreens


This past Labor Day weekend, my family and I took a trip to the beach. I'm not one for sunbathing, because the only color I end up getting is a shade between tomato and lobster, but I did enjoy wading in the water. Even if I'm only out in the sun for 15 minutes, I still need to wear at least SPF 30. In traditional Vicky fashion, I forgot the one thing that I need the most. When my sister and I didn't see any sunscreen for sale at our hotel (another where's the butter moment, as it was actually sold in a different store in the hotel), we ran out to the nearest store to us, which was a Belk. We picked up that Clinique sunscreen that's in the above picture.

My 2nd Day Hair's Favorite Treatment: Macadamia Healing Oil Treatment Review



Wearing my hair down on the second day I've gone without washing it has always been tricky. Sometimes the hair around my scalp is too greasy and dandruff ridden to go without a wash. Other days, my hair still feels clean, but is just too limp, tangled, and unruly to deal with. On the days when my hair mirrors that second description, I want to be able to give it a break from being washed and heat styled. That's where the Macadamia Healing Oil Treatment comes in.

Caudalie Vinosource S.O.S. Thirst-Quenching Serum Review


Before I review this ridiculously amazing serum, I must first inform the world (aka shout from the rooftops!) of my love for Caudalie as a brand. Everything I have tried from their multiple lines of skincare products--and I mean everything--has been rave-worthy. Even my mom loves their lightly hydrating, anti-aging moisturizer from the Premier Cru line, and she has extremely sensitive skin and is very picky when it comes to her skincare regimen. If my mama gives it her seal of approval, it must be good. 

Kiehl's Midnight Recovery Concentrate Review


Kiehl's Midnight Recovery Concentrate and many of the brand's other products are constantly mentioned by beauty bloggers and loyal customers alike, but it was not until Ruth Crilly from A Model Recommends gave this product the stamp of approval that I wanted to try it. It was featured in her video about achieving deep sleep, and after using it for a few weeks, I can surely tell why. This product smells amazing (in my humble opinion). For me, it is an effective aromatherapy treatment in and of itself! Because it is a unique blend of essential oils, it might not be pleasing to all sniffers, but it's worth a whiff if it's sold in your local department store.

Omorovicza Balancing Moisturizer Review


This week I have caught two bugs for myself: the Omorovicza virus via the Internet and a particularly pesky stomach bug that originated at my school. Nice, right? Both are pain inducing in their own special ways. The steep prices Omorovicza charges for their skincare items give me a longing ache in my heart, and the stomach bug gives me troubles in... well, you know where. There's no cure for either, so here at my computer I sit, weathering the storms in my heart and, again, you know where.

Because I have had some extra time whilst being unable to attend school, I thought that I would pen this post about the moisturizer that comes with Omorovicza's travel set.

Diorsnow BB Eye Creme SPF 20 Review



Through writing reviews about the products I love, I've noticed a very prominent theme in my makeup and skincare purchasing habits. I tend to try out products that my favorite YouTube beauty gurus have tested and given two thumbs up. I purchased what I strongly believe is the under eye concealer to rule them all because it was highly recommended by my favorite Canadian beauty guru, whose username on YouTube is essiebutton.

Kate Somerville Goat Milk Cream Review


Ever since I saw Kate Somerville's Goat Milk Cream in one of Elle Fowler's favorites videos, I knew that I had to try it out. Elle also has dry skin and I've found that I've purchased or been interested in a lot of the same products she buys when they pop up in her hauls. She loves this product, and just as I expected, I've fallen in love with it, too.

Ren No.1 Purity Cleansing Balm and ClearCalm 3 Clarifying Clay Cleanser Reviews


My cleanser has always served a very functional purpose: removing all of my eyeliner, concealer, and mascara. My logic didn't go beyond makeup and dirt removal to consider the needs of my skin at different times of the day or night and during seasonal weather changes. Now that I've done my homework and switched up my routine, I can verify the advice of many a skincare blogger: having multiple cleansers that address different skin concerns will improve the appearance of skin.

I was quite pleased to have found this piece of advice for two reasons. One, it confirmed what I had always believed: using the cleansing balm that I bought only thinking about nighttime use is not always the best thing for my skin come morning. Secondly, it gave me a solid reason to abandon my 'one cleanser at a time' policy and indulge in some new ones that I wanted to try.

The one and only downside? Skincare products can be expensive, and having multiple products that will essentially serve the same purpose is a bit excessive. That's why I was very happy to find these two cleansers that work exceptionally well together from Ren: the No.1 Purity Cleansing Balm and the ClearCalm 3 Clarifying Clay Cleanser.

Omorovicza Deep Cleansing Mask Review



I've been spending most of my free time lately searching through blogs that focus mainly on skincare (think Caroline Hirons from Beauty Mouth), and I have most definitely been bitten by the skincare bug. Among my favorite reads are Dreaming in Blush by Elle Fowler, A Model Recommends authored by Ruth Crilly, and one of the most recognized authorities on skincare: Caroline Hirons from Beauty Mouth. I couldn't possibly read these fantastic skincare blogs without absorbing some of the information through osmosis (because that definitely happens when reading a beauty blog, *wink, wink*) and racking up a long wishlist of products.

Caudalie Gentle Cleanser Review + My Skincare Journey Thus Far

Hello there!

I haven't found the motivation from within to begin posting on my blog consistently, so new posts will probably be showing up sporadically for the next couple of weeks until school starts. My life (and hopefully, this blog) will take on a more regular schedule then.

I don't think that I can do any type of skincare post without sharing a story about my extremely sensitive skin and my most recent round of trial and error in hopes of getting it under control.

The cause of my skin's most recent irritation was the high lavender content in a cleanser I had been trying from Michael Todd True Organics. I had been using the Honey and Oat Gentle Cleanser, which is presented as being suitable for sensitive skin. While lavender may have some benefits if you have problems with acne, it is also a known skin irritant. Gossmakeupartist, a popular YouTuber and professional makeup artist, made a video about the harmful effects of lavender when it is used in products meant for use on the face. If you'd like more information about lavender, you can check out his video here (he begins talking about lavender and spearmint, another essential oil that damages the skin, at about 1:19). Anyway, I wasn't too upset that I had to take this particular product out of my routine as it didn't blow me away quite like the product I'm reviewing today: the Gentle Cleanser from Caudalie.

Mac Lipstick Haul, Swatches, and Mini Review

Hi!

First of all, I'd like to thank anyone who happens upon this blog. It's getting a little lonely around here!

Second of all, because this is my first blog post, I think an introduction is necessary. My name is Victoria, I'm a rising sophomore in high school who is about to turn 15, and I am a makeup enthusiast.

Now, onto the haul!

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