July Beauty Favorites

These are the products I’ve been loving and using all month long!

Tarte Amazonian Clay Foundation

For the whole month of July, I decided to try a new foundation. In my post Skincare Solutions, I mentioned that I only use Bare Minerals due to my sensitive skin. However, I really wanted to try something new. I heard so many good things about the Tarte Amazonian Clay foundation and decided I HAD to try it. I am so happy I gave this foundation a try because it is AMAZING. First off, I went to Ulta to grab a sample and I have yet to run out (YASSS). A little goes a long way with this foundation, applying too much will make your face look cakey. The foundation looks best when applied with a traditional flat brush or a “beauty blender” for a flawless finish. Another great thing about this foundation is that it’s super matte which means it is perfect for those of us who have oily skin. The best thing about this makeup is that it didn’t break me out (YASSSSSSS x3). I would recommend this foundation to anyone with oily and sensitive skin. I wouldn’t suggest this foundation to people who have dry skin because the formula is matte and drying. I did purchase this foundation yesterday during Tarte’s friends and family event and got 3o percent off.

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Real Techniques Miracle Complexion Sponge

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Ya’ll this sponge saves lives, I cannot imagine what my makeup would look like without it. I love this sponge for blending in concealer and smoothing out the little areas makeup brushes can’t get to. I apply my foundation first with a makeup brush and then conceal using the sponge. I’m not sure if many people damp the sponge but if you aren’t, try it. Wetting the sponge makes a huge difference and gives the face an air brushed finish. After I blend out the concealer, I go back over it with the sponge and I love my results. This sponge retails for $5.99.

Anastasia Beverly Hills Liquid Lipstick: Trust Issues, MAC Lipstcks and Lip Pencils

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(Left to right: Nightmoth, Cork, Trust Issues, Stone, Styled in Sepia)

Anastasia Beverly Hils (ABH)  Liquid Lipstick: Trust Issues– OMG can we please just talk about this liquid lipstick? I think this was the most anticipated color from the fall ABH liquid lipstick colors . Trust Issues is BOMB, it’s truly an amazing color and I haven’t seen it look bad on anyone. Honesty, the color can be pulled off with any skin tone.These pictures don’t do the color justice. I wore this lipstick out and received so many compliments! I had drinks and didn’t have to touch up my lips afterwards. I was amazed at how long the color stayed on and didn’t smear or smudge.

MAC Lipstick: Styled in Sepia– This by all means isn’t a new color. It is actually a limited edition color that came out months ago. However, this month I’ve found myself in a nude lip phase. Nude lips are so easy because they go with any and everything. Whenever I’m in a rush, I just swipe and go. I love this lip color because it is the perfect nude for us women with darker skin. I always line my lips before applying any bright color or nude. Dupe for this color: Anastasia Beverly Hills Liquid Lipstick in Sepia

MAC Lipstick: Stone– This color was originally a lip pencil but MAC made it into a permanent matte lipstick a couple months ago. I would say this color is a gray nude. A lot of people compared Styled in Sepia to this color, but Stone has too much of a gray tone for the two colors to be the same. This is my other go-to lip color when I’m going for a nude lip, and the month of July has been all about nude lips for me.

MAC Lip Pencil: Nightmoth– This is the lip pencil I’ve been using with the color Trust Issues. It’s a really pretty deep plum.

MAC Lip Pencil: Cork– This lip pencil is a golden brown color. I think it’s a great lip pencil  for women with darker skin because it blends well with our skin tone and can deepen any nude lipstick. I always use this lip pencil when wearing nude colors.

Two Faced Better Than Sex Mascara

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Talk about long and luxurious lashes? For the longest time, I heard so many great things about this mascara but never attempted to try it. I’m happy I finally came to my senses and tried this mascara out. I purchased the travel size before committing to the full size, and let’s just say I am definitely ready to commit. This mascara is buildable and makes your lashes look so long. The travel size retails for $12.00 and the full size is $23.00.

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.

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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