• bath products,  Beauty,  Christmas,  cruelty-free,  eye makeup,  face care,  gifts,  green,  holidays,  Julep,  lip color,  nail polish,  Zoya

    Christmas 2018 cruelty-free beauty gift guide

    I promised a cruelty-free beauty gift guide, and here it is…my favorite beauty gift sets for Christmas 2018! I’ve sorted this gift guide into four categories: stocking stuffers, save ($10+), spend ($20+), and splurge ($30-$50). There’s a good mix of skin care, color cosmetics, and more. And most importantly: everything is easy to order online from Ulta or Sephora (the two major beauty retailers here in the U.S.), with the exception of the Essence and Julep boxes in the “splurge” section, which can be ordered through those brands’ websites. In other words, you won’t need to jump through multiple checkouts or even change out of your pajamas to order enough gifts to cover everyone on your list.

    Scroll through to see all my picks, and click on any of the pictures to view them full screen. Elbow-deep in Christmas shopping? You might also want to check out my bookish gift guide, gifts for guys under $50, cozy gifts for almost anyone, and last-minute gifts you can shop online or at the drugstore!

  • Beauty,  Christmas,  giveaway,  lip color

    GIVEAWAY: Flower Beauty Lip Chubby gift set (INTERNATIONAL)

    Flower Lip Chubby set

    Time for another Friday giveaway! This week I’m giving away a Flower Beauty Lip Chubby gift set, containing three popular shades: Life’s a Peach, Berry-More, and Red-dy to Bloom. To enter, just use the Rafflecopter widget below. The giveaway is open internationally through next Friday and you can earn extra entries daily by sharing the giveaway on social media. :)

    And while you’re at it, there’s still time to enter my Pacifica Wanderlust beauty set giveaway (here) and my giveaway for a copy of ‘The Magician’s Lie’, by Greer Macallister (here)–both giveaways end tomorrow, so don’t wait!

    a Rafflecopter giveaway

  • Beauty,  color,  cruelty-free,  eye makeup,  giveaway,  lip color,  spring,  summer

    [CLOSED] GIVEAWAY: Wet n Wild Fergie Centerstage collection giveaway!

    Who’s up for a giveaway?! I liked the new Wet n Wild Fergie Centerstage Collection so much, I wanted to share some of the beauty goodness with you via a giveaway. This giveaway is open INTERNATIONALLY and will run through March 31 2013.

    Here’s what’s up for grabs:

    • One To Reflect Shimmer Palette in Rose Golden Goddess (approximate retail value $6)
    • One Photo Op Eyeshadow in Maldives Sky (approximate retail value $5)
    • Two Perfect Pout Lip Colors, in Penthouse Sweet and Old School Glam (approximate retail value $3.50 each)

    These bright colors are perfect for spring and summer!

    You must answer the mandatory question entry; I’ve temporarily set the comments to “anonymous” so you do not have to be a registered user to leave a comment! If you choose to comment anonymously though you must leave a valid e-mail with your comment so I can contact you if you win.

    After that you can earn extra entries by following me via GFC, Twitter and Facebook, and by tweeting daily about the giveaway. And because I love ya: everyone gets one bonus entry! Please read through the full terms and conditions of the giveaway before entering. Good luck!

    a Rafflecopter giveaway

  • Beauty,  color,  lip color,  product review,  spring,  vegan

    Product review: Flower Beauty Kiss Stick High-Shine Lip Color

    Continuing in the series of reviews of my Flower Beauty haul, I have four lipsticks to show you from the Kiss Stick High-Shine Lip Color collection.

    The product: Flower Beauty Kiss Stick High-Shine Lip Color; assorted shades; $8 at FlowerBeauty.com or in Walmart stores

    The claim: Rich, creamy; intense color payoff; extreme shine

    Flower Kiss Stick Coral Floret

    I tried it: I initially picked up just one tube: Coral Floret, which looked exactly like the lovely coral shade I’ve been searching for as a springtime addition to my beauty bag. The black and gold packaging looks very luxe and I love that the lipstick twists all the way down into the tube so you don’t nick off the tip with the cap (a pet peeve of mine). I also have to add here that I’m very happy Flower lipsticks are cruelty-free, since so many lipsticks (even from cruelty-free brands) still contain animal ingredients.

    Flower Kiss Stick lipsticks

    This lipstick is very creamy and moisturizing and applies like a dream straight out of the tube. As promised the color payoff is quite rich and shiny, though not mirrored like a gloss, so it doesn’t look too wild. I won’t lie and say it’s long-wearing; you’ll need to reapply after a couple of hours and definitely after eating, but I find that the wear is fairly even: no rough patches or “ring around the mouth” left behind, at least on the lighter shades. I would be comfortable wearing these lippies out to dinner.

    A closeup lip swatch of Coral Floret

    Because I loved Coral Floret so much, I went back for three more shades. Ginger Lily looks deceptively similar to Coral Floret in the tube, but as you can see they actually perfectly hit both sides of the coral coin, with the Coral Floret leaning more orange and Ginger Lily leaning more pink. Love!

    Swatches of Flower Kiss Stick Coral Floret and Ginger Lily

    I wavered over grabbing Rose Bud because I thought it might be a dupe for a tube I already own, but finally grabbed it anyway. It’s actually a touch more of a true Hollywood red than my Wet n Wild Old School Glam, which has slightly pinker undertones (not so visible in this photo); and it’s warmer than my Urban Decay Gash, which has cooler undertones. (And yes, I realize that for some reason I labeled the Flower lippie incorrectly in this photo–it’s supposed to be Rose Bud, not Rose Petal). If you’re just starting out on the red lipstick train I highly recommend picking up a Kiss Stick in Rose Bud!

    Comparison of Flower 'Rosebud' to UD 'Gash' and WNW Fergie 'Old School Glam'

    Black Rose was a vampy pick that turned out to be a bit sheer and buildable—whew! I was also wondering about this shade being a dupe for an existing lippie, but as it turns out, this Kiss Stick fits in perfectly with the rest of my “vampy” lipcolors without being a dupe for any of them.

    Vampy cruelty-free lipstick swatches from Flower, WNW, and more

    My verdict: This is my new favorite lipstick, and I really want to go back for the rest of the shades. (Calm down, wallet, I don’t mean this instant!) Congratulations, Drew Barrymore, you have officially turned me into a lipstick girl!

    What lipsticks can you not live without? Fave shades/brands? Have you tried the Kiss Stick lippies? Leave me a comment and let me know!

  • Beauty,  lip color,  product review

    Product review + swatches: Wet n Wild Megalast Liquid Lip Color

    Another installment in my Wet n Wild haul test series! I mistakenly identified these as glosses, but they’re actually liquid lipsticks. Not sure what I was thinking there. I think I’m still in a post-holiday daze!

    Anyway, I have a love-hate relationship with liquid lipstick; I’ve tried some good ones and some bad ones.But since many long-wearing lipsticks have a matte finish, liquid lipsticks can be a good alternative if you want that satin/gloss finish. I picked up four colors; here are my swatches and thoughts on each one.

    The product: Wet n Wild Megalast Liquid Lip Color; $2.99, drugstores

    The claim: Long-lasting color.

    I tried them: I’m going to run through my swatches and then go into the formula with more depth afterward.

    First up, we have I Can Bare It, a nude color. This one wasn’t bad, but I felt like it was a little too brown for me. I think it would be better if you had darker skin; for myself, I prefer my tube of Fergie Daily. I might get some use out of this over the summer if I’m wearing bronzer, though, because as I look at my swatch photos I have to admit that it is a nice shade; it’s just a little too dark to qualify as a true “nude” on my lily-white winter skin.

    Next we have Raisin’ The Roof. I was really hoping this would be a dupe for my old Revlon Mineral Lipglaze raisin shade, but no: it’s a weird purple, and I’m not sure how I feel about it. My initial response was “ick”, but somehow, I think this one will grow on me. However, the application on this shade was really patchy, and this color felt very drying, so I would definitely have to wear it over lip balm and some sort of base color.

    Third is Do I Make You Blush?, a pink shade. Nothing special here; it’s pink. For some reason, I don’t really care for how this shade looks on me. I have a lot of trouble with pink lippies, it would seem. I think it’s time to toss in the towel on this color, at least temporarily.

    The fourth shade is Coral Me Bad, and this is probably the color I liked best…though the application was not that great. More on that after the photos.

    The verdict: These lippies are very drying and the application is really patchy. I think using them over a lip liner and balm, or possibly over a lipstain/balm, would help with this issue.However, I definitely wouldn’t use them straight out of the tube.

    Another thing: pressing my lips together gave me the unsettling feeling that my lips might actually get stuck together. These lippies feel like glue! I hate tacky lipcolors and these are among the worst I’ve tried.

    Removal is another issue. I’m used to scrubbing away at long-wearing lipcolor, but scrubbing these off is like removing dry paint. Seriously: it comes off in flakes. It’s so weird. And keep in mind, this is with my super-duper makeup remover wipes from Giovanni (which, it comes to mind, I need to review shortly).

    Overall: since I bought them, I’ll find a way to layer them and use them. But while the colors are great, the textures are not. Unless you’re really a hard-core fan of liquid lipstick, I would pass on these.