Product Review: Urban Decay Naked Smoky Palette, Smashbox Photo Finish Primer Water and more

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Do I even have to give a review on the Urban Decay Naked Smoky Palette? We all know the Naked Palettes are done to perfection… However, if you are still on the fence about the newest Naked Palette then please keep reading and then go buy one! Aside from the new Naked Palette, I also tried the Smashbox Photo Finish Primer Water (travel size) and bought a new sparkly Macbook case (yes, I know this is not beauty but couldn’t resist sharing).

Urban Decay Naked Smoky Eye Palette

Let me just start off by saying, I love this palette. I adore all the colors, but the brown color “Whisky” has got to be my favorite (talk about the perfect chocolate smokey eye). I’m also in love with this palette because it is brown skin friendly (YASSSS). A lot of times I stay away from cooler toned eyeshadows because such colors make women with darker skin look ashy, but this is not the case with these eyeshadows. The colors are super rich and pigmented which is perfect for divas with darker skin. The palette is prefect for women who are always on the go because it can fit right in your purse.

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Look how beautiful these colors are!  There’s so many looks you can come up with. I would highly recommend purchasing this palette if you haven’t. The colors stay on and they don’t smudge which is awesome. I also love the brushes that come with the Naked Palettes. Here is the brush that came with this one:

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Smashbox Photo Finish Primer Water

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I must admit, I was a little nervous to try this product. As mentioned before in my post about skincare, I have really sensitive and oily skin which means my face is prone to break outs. However, I was pleasantly surprised to find no break outs from this product. Now, there are a couple ways to use this product according to the reviews I’ve read. One way to use this product is to apply it before applying makeup. Another way is spraying the primer water after applying makeup. Lastly, some apply the primer water before AND after applying makeup. However, I like to apply the product after I finish my makeup. What I really like about the Primer Water is that it’s a spray and it leaves my makeup looking clean and flawless, it’s the piece that pulls all of your makeup together.This product is perfect for people with sensitive skin because it doesn’t have any oil, silicone or alcohol. The travel size bottle is the one shown in the picture and it retails for $16.00. If  you are skeptical about trying this, I would purchase the travel size bottle before making the $32.00 commitment to the full size bottle.

 Embrishop Glitter Macbook Case

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I couldn’t resist reviewing this Macbook case I got from the Embrishop on Etsy.com. This isn’t a beauty item but it is something that every fashion/beauty blogger needs to have for their Macbook! These cases are so beautiful and fun. The cases come in a variety of different colors and are $47.00. There are two pieces included, the top glitter case and the bottom clear case. These cases are handmade and are great quality. I’ve gotten so many compliments on this case and you can see the sparkles from miles away.

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Sisterhood of the World Bloggers Award

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I’m excited to announce that I’ve been nominated for the Sisterhood of World Bloggers Award by OliveaOlive. If you ever need tips on skincare and beauty, you should definitely check out her blog. Thanks again, for the nomination girl!

The rules to this award are simple:

1. Thank the blogger who nominated you, linking back to their site.
2. Put the Award logo on your blog.
3. Answer the ten questions sent to you.
4. Make up ten new questions for your nominees to answer.
5. Nominate five blogs.

Questions asked:

1. What is your favorite post you have written?

My favorite post I’ve written is my latest one about skincare. I really like this post because it contains great information about products that work for people with sensitive skin. I’ve had skin issues for a long time and I’m finally starting to see results. I am hoping that my skincare post can help anyone else struggling with acne scars and sensitive skin. Link to post here.

2. What did you want to do when you were younger and did you keep that dream?

Ohhh my gooddddnness, when I was younger I wanted to be so many things. I wanted to be a dancer, tennis player and a long list of other things. However, the dream I stuck with the longest was being a lawyer and that dream sailed away when I took some law classes in high school and hated it. In my senior year of high school, I took some AP psychology classes and decided I wanted to be a psychologist. Let’s just say, it got super real in my first year of college and I decided that wasn’t for me. Now, I am majoring in PR and minoring in Marketing.

3. What do you do to de-stress?

OK, so I would definitely say I stress a lot. I can get over whelmed pretty easily, but one thing I love to do when I’m stressed is blast my music (weird). Honestly, I will turn the music up super high and just relax on my bed. Sometimes, I even dance a little in the mirror. The only way to combat stress is with fun.

4.  Tell me three things about the place you live.

Well, I live in two places currently. In the summer I stay in the cities, but August-May I live in my apartment on campus. I’ll tell you guys about where I stay on campus.

1. Loud. My school is a bit of a party school so there is always something going down.

2. Small. Only one mall, the bar and the club downtown are connected and everyone knows literally everyone.

3. Carefree. Honestly, no one down there gives a (bleep).  YOLO is the motto down there.

5. What is your favorite decade of fashion?

I don’t have one….. I love pieces of fashion from every decade.

6. What is the scariest thing you have ever done?

Ya’ll I am not one to do anything crazy, seriously. The scariest thing I can think of doing is giving a speech in front of hundreds of people.

7. Do you have any unique skills?

I do not have any unique skills. I am not creative with my hands, but creative with my mind (if that makes sense). However, something unique about me is that I was born with one of my legs bigger than the other.

8. What do you plan for the future of your blog?

I have a lot of things planned for my blog. I have so many ideas that I want to incorporate on here. One thing that I am going to start doing is posting makeup looks. I just am trying to learn how to take better pictures with my camera and learn how to manipulate the camera to make things look good.

9. What is your favorite type of exercise?

HAHAHA…. Exercise? Like, what is that? Well, I occasionally get into the gym…. haha I think I’ll just leave this question be. Ya’ll can see where I’m going with this.

10. Would you rather holiday in the forest, mountain or in the city?

I would rather holiday in the city! It’s always crazy in the city.

I’m nominating:

1. Miriam Carey
2. Hillary
3. V
4. Caydet
5. Andreasimunic

Questions I am asking you:

1. Favorite youtube beauty guru?

2. Most embarrassing moment?

3. Reasons for starting a blog?

4. Lipgloss, lipstick or liquid lipstick?

5. Favorite foundation?

6.  Age you started wearing makeup?

7. Best concert you’ve been to?

8. Dream job?

9. Dream place to live?

10. Best advice you could give yourself 3 years ago?

Have fun ya’ll 🙂

Skin Solutions: Conquering Dark Spots and Acne

If you’re like me and struggle with acne and dark spots, then you know how hard it is to find products that work. It’s bad enough that we struggle with acne and dark spots, but what can really complicate things is when you have sensitive skin. Yes, I am guilty of that too. The struggle has been too real for me ever since I was in junior high….. I’m 21. I have spent THOUSANDS on products that claim to reduce acne and lighten dark spots. At the age of 17  half of my skin issues were solved when I realized I was allergic to benzoyl peroxide and salicylic acid (hmmmm…..could that be the reason Proactiv sent me to the ER in hives on my face?). Congrats Kionna, you’re allergic to the most common ingredients in acne medication (cue the balloons).

Now, here I am at 21 with fewer acne and scars than I’ve ever had since junior high. How? Well, it took lots of patience, but I’ve finally found a skin regimen that works for me and leaves my skin looking clearer and clearer each day.

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All the products shown in the picture are products I use on the daily basis.

Burt’s Bees Soap Bark & Chamomile Deep Cleansing Cream

This is something I use in combination with the Clarisonic. However, even before I purchased the Clarisonic I used this face wash and noticed results. This face wash works well for me because it’s all natural. No salicylic acid or benzoyl peroxide. This is great for those of us with sensitive skin because we are still getting our faces clean without ingredients that could be harmful to our skin.I use this product once at night before bed and once in the morning.

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Clarisonic Mia 1

After visiting a dermatologist 3 months ago, it was suggested that I use a Clarisonic. I will be honest… when the dermatologist suggested the Clarisonic all I could do was laugh. I walked out that appointment tickled pink because I WAS NOT spending $100 more (after dropping $200 that day)  for a device to clean my face. However, when I went home and looked in the mirror I knew something had to give. Long story short, I bought the damn Clarisonic. I am not lying when I say it was the best $100 spent. If you’re struggling with dark spots this is it for you. The Clarisonic gets all the dead skin cells out of your pores and deep cleans your face. I had noticed a tremendous differences in 2 weeks, I kid you not. My face looked so much clearer. I use the Clarisonic in combination with the Burt’s Bees Soap Bark & Chamomile Deep Cleansing Cream. If you have a face wash that you love already, that’s perfectly fine too. I use the Clarisonic every morning and every night.

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Obagi Blender and Obagi Tretinoin Cream

Remember how I mentioned dropping $200 the day I visited the dermatologist? Well, ladies and gentlemen the $200 was split evenly between the Obagi Blender and Obagi Tretinoin Cream. Both these medicines are for lightening dark spots and when I say they work, THEY WORK.  When the medicines were prescribed to me by my dermatologist I was told to use the Blender every night and the Tretinoin once every three days. Tretinoin is very strong which is why I didn’t provide a link for either products, these products should be prescribed by a dermatologist. I would suggest going to see a dermatologist and asking about these products if you have severe scaring like I did.  I gradually increased my usage of Tretinoin to once a night.  However, after a couple of weeks I had to stop because my whole face was lightening. I use the Tretinoin twice a week now.

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 Bare Minerals

Never in a million years would I think I would switch my foundation to Bare Minerals. I was always under the impression their foundation didn’t have enough coverage, but boy was I wrong. For years I used MAC Studio Fix, it was my holy grail foundation. However, after a while I developed a love-hate relationship with it. Some days I thought it was too oily and others I thought it was perfect. I wanted to venture out and I tried NARS foundation, Kat Von D Lock it Foundation (broke my skin out terribly) and Lancôme foundation. I did all of that in a matter of 6 months and my face went from bad to horrendous. Actually, that’s what drove me to the dermatologist. My dermatologist also suggested trying a mineral foundation. Well, the only mineral foundation I knew of was Bare Minerals. The first day wearing Bare Minerals I hated it, I hated everything about it. However, after playing around with the foundation, concealer and blush I fell in love with it. The foundation is buildable and the concealer covers everything. The blush comes in beautiful colors and is actually really pigmented. My favorite part about Bare Minerals makeup is it isn’t harming your skin. If you have sensitive and acne prone skin, then Bare Minerals is a great alternative for you. It seems as if the breakouts on my skin have come to a halt. I am confident that the switch in makeup has a lot to do with it.

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Dermalogica Matte Moisturizer

Did I mention I have really oily skin as well? This is a product I like to use before applying my makeup. This is the only moisturizer I use on my face because I cannot afford to have any more breakouts. Out of all the matte moisturizers I’ve used this seems to be the only one that doesn’t break me out and truly controls the oil on my face. What’s great about this product is that it has SPF in it. When you have dark spots, SPF better be your BFF when you’re out in the sun. If you don’t use SPF and you’re in the sun your dark spots could darken.

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The Real Techniques Miracle Complexion Sponge, and how it revolutionised powder for me

If you guys don’t know about the miracles of this sponge pleaaaassee read !

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Sorry about the long title for this post but I could see no other way to express just how awesome this little sponge is. So I know I’m pretty late to the party on this one, we’ve all heard Youtubers and bloggers going on about this sponge and the beauty blender for years, singing its praises and the flawless finish it provides. But for some reason I just never really thought it was for me, I’ve always loved a good buffing brush for foundation and thought nothing could be as good. So this week my boss at work very kindly wanted to get me a little something to say thank you for our hard work the previous week, so I grabbed this as I had always been a little curious, and I couldn’t think of anything I needed, and I’m so glad I did.

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So I first tried using this…

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LA PALETTE NUDE: 1&2

Can we talk about the L’oréal La Palettes 1 and 2? These palettes are great for the price. I purchased them at Ulta, and both were 40% off the original price plus an additional 20% off one of the palettes using an Ulta coupon. These palettes are originally $19.99 and with the 40% off they came to $11.99. One palette ended up being $9.59 with the 20% Ulta coupon. I believe the 40% off ends 07/08/2015. However, if your interested in buying these palettes after that date Ulta always has sales on drugstore brand products. I’m sure there will be another sale for these bad boys if you miss this one.

These palettes are great cheap alternatives for the Naked and Naked 3 palettes by Urban Decay. Both L’oréal palettes have very similar colors to the Naked Urban Decay palettes. I really liked the L’oréal palettes, but I will be honest when I say nothing beats the Naked palettes. However, if you haven’t purchased the Naked palettes and are skeptical because of the price these L’oréal palettes will do the trick for you.

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( Top left: Naked. Bottom left: Naked. Top right: L’oréal 1. Bottom right: L’oréal 2)

With the L’oréal palettes there is a tad bit of fall out, but it wasn’t terrible. I went to Valley Fair wearing colors from the L’oréal La Palette Nude 1 and I didn’t have to touch up my makeup at all. It actually stayed put, and I was very impressed.  I think the colors are pretty pigmented, but using eye shadow primer wouldn’t hurt to make the colors stand out a bit more. I found the shimmer colors were a lot more pigmented than the matte colors ( in both L’oréal palettes).

One thing I didn’t like about the palette was the brush it came with. To be frank, the brush sucks. However, I did find use in it for smudging eyeliner. I wasn’t really bummed about the sucky brush because I wasn’t expecting a great quality brush due to how inexpensive the palette was.

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( Ya’ll are gonna have to excuse my nails. I am very aware that I need a fill. Trust me, I am getting that handled TODAY.)

Close up and swatches of La Palette Nude 1:

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(No flash and Flash).

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( These aren’t the best swatches, forgive me. Plus my camera sucks. The colors wear beautifully. The colors also appear ashy in the first picture, but they are not. They a very rich. My swatch game just isn’t strong)

Close up and swatches of La Palette Nude 2:

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(Flash and no flash)

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(No flash and flash)

Overall, the L’oréal La Palettes are great. They are awesome for everyday looks. The browns wear so pretty and well throughout the day. If you plan on buying the palettes, try to catch them on sale.

How To Achieve Big Bouncy Curls

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To get big bouncy curls you’ll need a curling wand, heat protectant and a wide tooth comb. For this look I would lean towards using a smaller wand because you want the curls to be small and defined. The wand I used is 1-1/4″ and tapered made by Hot Tools.

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The first step in achieving  big bouncy curls is spraying your hair with heat protectant. The heat protectant I like to use is  Heat Tamer Spray by TRESemme. Quick tip: it is best to curl your hair when it is straight. After spraying your hair with heat protectant, you should split your hair into big sections. Splitting your hair into sections will make curling your hair easier. It doesn’t matter how many sections you split your hair into. However, I usually split my hair into four sections (two sections on the bottom and two sections on the top). You can simply braid the sections you aren’t curling or use a hair tie to hold up sections of hair you aren’t curling. Once you’ve chosen a section to start with, break that section into even smaller pieces to curl the hair. Essentially, the pieces of hair you’re curling should be small. You want every piece of hair to fully wrap around the wand. Remember, you want each curl to be defined. This is one of those looks that take time, so have your playlist ready. After you grabbed your smallest piece of hair you are ready to begin curling. When curling your hair it is important to curl AWAY FROM YOUR FACE. If you curl away from your face, the curls will frame around your face. Once you’ve done your first curl then you can continue to finish your whole head section by section.

After you’ve finished wand curling your whole head, give yourself a pat on the back and grab some water. Your curls should be small and tight like this:

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If you absolutely love your curls defined, small and tight then go ahead and keep them like so. Your hair will last all week girl, I promise you.

What I like to do for bigger and bouncier curls is take my wide tooth comb and comb through my curls. This is why your curls must be small and defined. If the curls are tight they will spread out and become big and full, but if the curls aren’t tight enough your curls won’t be full once combed out.

The finished results:

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The day after:

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