Tuesday, February 15, 2011

My Makeup Routine

Lately, I have been musing to myself about how much my morning routine has changed over the past few months. I have always spent time on my hair and clothes, but not so much on my face. Applying makeup has become my favorite part of my morning routine! I don't do much, but I always get that "playing dress up" feeling which makes it so fun! Here is is:

1) Moisturize -- This is my standard first step after stepping out of the shower! I use Olay Complete All Day Moisture Lotion with SPF 15 for sensitive skin. I usually apply a thin layer and then let my skin soak it in while drying my hair. Lately I've been supplementing my Olay moisturizer with the MAC Fast Response Eye Cream. I use a tiny bit and work it into my under eye area. I also take this time, when I remember, to apply some sort of lip moisturizer as well...usually Eucerin Aquaphor.

2) Apply concealer to my under eye area -- Yes, this is my biggest problem area and the reason I got into makeup in the first place. Thank God for concealer...now I can be a pretty night owl :P I like to use MAC Select Moisturecover, and for the past few days Studio Sculpt. I typically work the product in with my finger tips after dotting it on my under eye area.

3) Apply concealer to any blemishes -- Depending on the blemish tone, I use different concealers. For a more dark purplish tone, I stick to my under eye concealers. For a reddish tone, I go with my Maybelline Dream Mousse concealer. I use my fingers for application here too.

4) Set any concealer with powder -- With my Eco Tools powder brush I apply the tiniest amount of Body Shop Pressed Face Powder. This powder blends perfectly in with my skin!

5) Apply blush -- Lately I've been reaching for my Revlon Matte Blush in Blushing Berry...I'm on a powder blush kick this month...last month it was gel and cream...I'm so finicky :P I apply it using my Eco Tools blush brush to the apples of my cheeks and blend upwards toward my temple.

6) Curl lashes and apply mascara -- Pretty straightforward here. I like to focus my mascara on the outer lashes, I love the effect it gives! I also like to take this time to straighten out my brows. Styling my bangs usually makes my brows look a little freaky, so I just comb them out with a brow comb. For nighttime or special occasions, I like to also apply black pencil liner to my waterline and liquid liner to my upper lash line.

7) Apply lip product -- The fun part, I change it up on a daily basis :) Lately I've been favoring the MLBB look of MAC Ample Pink Plushglass, but I've been turning to Korres Wild Rose Lip Butter when I want a touch of color.

So this is my routine for those days when I'm working, going to school, or out with friends. If I am not really going out in public (e.g. grocery store, errands), I tend to stick to just lip gloss/balm.

What is your makeup routine? I'd love to hear about it :) 

Monday, February 14, 2011

Happy Valentine's Day!

Hello there all you beautiful people :) It's gotten to the point where my apologies for not posting often enough just seem silly...so I'll just promise to post when I can! 2011 has gotten off to a great start and I have been indulging in some great makeup/skincare purchases!! My sister once told me that drugstore makeup is like a gateway drug...it starts you off with a less expensive and innocuous seeming product which leads the way to more expensive and frequent purchases - she's a wise one :P Honestly though, nothing lifts my spirits like a MAC or Sephora haul...well, maybe shopping for shoes and bags...anyways, you get my point!

Lately I have been trying out a bunch of things, some old favorites and some completely new types of things. I'll use this post to give a brief overview of my beauty going-ons for the year to date. On a side note - some people go through phases, they are into one thing, lose interest, then move on to another obsession. I, on the other hand, keep adding to my list of obsessions. It started out with lip products, then I tacked on blushes, and now I have started adding perfumes to that list. Heaven help my bank account, I don't know how much more abuse it can take!! :P

- I am a huge fan of the Revlon Super Lustrous lip gloss line and recently added a fifth gloss, Firecracker, to my collection (Nude Lustre, Pearl Plum, Pink Pop, Coral Reef). At first glance, it is a pretty orange-toned red gloss that goes on a bit more sheer than the other glosses I own in that collection. They are all either a little more thick and pigmented or milky. But, since I don't currently posses the confidence to rock a bold red lip, I am pretty pleased with it!
- I am obsessed with the movie Aisha and Sonam Kapoor's make-up throughout. She used L'Oreal products, and that inspired me to go check out the L'Oreal 6 Hr Infallible Lipgloss. I love her nude lip look and picked up Suede, a frosty, shimmery nude color. Very cute! Finally a neutral lip color that I can pull off :)
- CoverGirl Lash Exact Waterproof formula in Very Black is my current go to mascara! I loved the regular formula and this is even better. The wand is slighly curved to allow for better control and it just gives me that lovely bright-eyed look I love! My lashes appear longer and fuller, but not in a fake, over the top way.
- Finally picked up a few e.l.f. products, they were available at the Strawberry location near Grand Central and I was super excited! I got the e.l.f. makeup remover wipes and eye lash curler. Haven't really tried them out yet, but am looking forward to it!
- Revlon Matte Powder Blush in Blushing Berry, such a pretty rosey pink! Gives just the perfect hint of color to my cheeks for daily use.

High end:
- After having heard so so much about the Korres Lip Butters, I had to try one out for myself. I picked it up in the shade Wild Rose and it is the perfect berry shade. I layer it on top of Bath and Body Works' C.O. Bigelow Rose Salve and the combo leaves my lips soft, berry tinted, and rose-scented, love it!!
- In addition to getting my free gift of Gucci Flora (part of my Sephora perfume sampler), I decided to also pick up Vera Wang Princess. I find Flora to be a great nighttime or date fragrance, whereas I love spritzing Princess on a daily basis! I am currently on the hunt for my next perfume buy, I think it will be VS Very Sexy Now.
- I went a little MAC crazy recently, it is really too easy for me to get carried away in that store. I never have shoppers remorse though, the euphoria just lasts and lasts :) I got two MAC Kissable Lip Colors, Super and Temper Tantra, and highly recommend them for their texture and feel, super smooth like a gloss and very pigmented like a lipstick, really the best of both worlds. My only wish is that they weren't limited edition and that they had more shades! I also got a MAC Plushglass in Ample Pink. It is a great neutral pink shade and it feels great on the lips. I got the MAC Studio Sculpt concealer to address my severe lack of sleep issues - all self imposed of course :P I also was recommended to try the MAC Fast Response Eye Cream...lets see how that works! In continuing with my blush craze, I picked up MAC Sheertone Blush in Peaches and MAC Mineralize Blush in Warm Soul, both on the peachy, neutral side and they really give a super natural glow to my face. I did pick up one item from the Wonder Woman collection, the Utility Belt Face Brush Collection that comes with a mini foundation brush, blush/powder brush, and concealer brush. The gold bag and belt are cute too :) Super excited to have MAC brushes at a fraction of the cost!!

Okay, so wow...after writing it all down, dang, I've had a busy month and a half of shopping, huh? Don't judge, don't judge...it happens to the best of us! Did a bit of shoe shopping recently (am a recent heels convert), will probably post on that in the upcoming future. Also, be on the lookout for more in-depth reviews on some of these recent purchases!!

xoxo <3

Thursday, December 30, 2010

Conair Tourmaline Ceramic Straightener Review (Guest Post)

The following post was written by Shipra, enjoy - Mani :)

Hello! I am a follower and fan of Makeup Newbie. I myself am a newbie with much less experience with beauty products (and much fewer lip glosses in my stash), but I enjoy reading and learning. A particular interest of mine is hair care.

My curls are not extremely tight but curlier than Mani’s soft waves, and a whole lot frizzier too. It’s frustrating when my curls aren’t in a cooperative mood, and so, for special occasions when I want to look a bit more polished, I always reach for my straightener.

Unfortunately, an awesome and very cheap Revlon straightener I owned for a couple years experienced electronic shock in London this last July and refused to turn on after the trip. Thus, after reading Mani’s post about straighteners in August, I hung around the hair supplies aisle in Wal-Mart to find a nice replacement. After purchasing the new straightener and trying it out for a couple months, I asked Mani if I could review it here on her blog.

 “Conair Tourmaline Ceramic Straightener”
(I don’t remember how much it was exactly, but it was definitely between $25 - $30.)

The Conair Professional tourmaline ceramic 1" straightener features 25% longer plates. Promotes healthy looking hair-micro particles of pure ceramic generate infrared energy to gently penetrate hair follicles while straightening. To give you faster styling, the 1" plates are 25" longer than our standard straighteners. Promotes shiny results the micro particles of tourmaline crystals emit natural ions that reduce frizz. Conair, 1" Tourmaline Ceramic Straightener, MODEL #CS58W.

The straightener offers heat levels up to 392F, auto-off, and dual voltage (a plus considering my London problem). Conair also promises professional results, reduced frizz, and smooth hair. Sounds promising, right?

While I’ve used this straightener a couple times before, most of those times were not as relaxed as a most recent attempt to get my hair straight just after finals ended a couple weeks ago.

Right out of the shower, after applying Garnier Fructis Sleek and Shine and lots of TRESemmé Heat Tamer Spray from Thermal Creations, I blow-dried my hair, not trying to make it straight, but letting it transform into a 70s fro. It took me about 10 minutes.

I then spritzed the entire poof with heat spray again and waited 10min for it to dry. After the hair was completely dry, I straightened section by section: below the ears, above the ears, around the forehead, crown, and bangs. It took me about 40 minutes to straighten my medium-length hair. Finally, I applied a tiny bit more Sleek and Shine to tame frizz, then pulled the hair back in a loose bun to consolidate the hair for about 15 minutes.

The end results were very satisfying! My hair fell nicely around my face, styled in the exact way that I had moved the straightener. Since I had paid particular attention to the roots, which I always used to mess up, the hair was smooth from the top to the ends, a very new effect for my hair!

Because I agree with Mani that the stick-straight-hair look isn’t enormously flattering, I worked in a small curve to the ends of my hair which made it more natural. My mom (I’m 20, so I’m still at home with the parental units) told me my hair looked much nicer this time than other times I straightened it (underhanded diss?) and that she even preferred it to my curly hair (which I got from her)!

  • Because it’s only 1”, the straightener is very light and easy to maneuver. For hard-to-get pieces, like the hair on the back of my head, holding the straightener up doesn’t hurt.
  • Three heat settings—some straighteners don’t offer heat setting options while some offer precise, exact-degree settings. I find that exact degrees help when baking cookies, not when straightening hair. The three settings provide easy control over how much heat is applied to the hair without getting overly technical.
  •  As Mani always says, a little goes a long way, especially with my hair which isn’t very thin, but still straightens very easily. I can do the entire bottom layers on the Low setting and switch to Medium only for the crown.
  • My hair doesn’t feel burnt or damaged after use. However, the heat tamer spray probably also had a hand in that.
  • Because the straightener has an auto-off mechanism, the straightener sometimes turns off while I’m still working with it. I’m okay with the safety of it though.
  • Since this is a cheaper straightener and I have curly hair, I find that I often have to go over the same piece a couple times, which is not necessarily the case when I use more high-end straighteners. That could, however, stem from the fact that I don’t use the High setting on the straightener.

I recommend this straightener to anyone with thin to medium-thickness hair, curls or waves, or just anyone on a tight budget. I’m definitely keeping this with my hair care supplies! What straightener do you use? 

Shipra, a Steel City native and pre-law student, is a makeup and hair care enthusiast. Don't let her self-proclaimed 'newbie' status fool you, this girl knows her way around a makeup pallet...must be the artist in her :) Thanks so much!

MAC's Mickey Contractor Collection

Was just browsing around on Karen's Makeup and Beauty Blog and came across this article, couldn't wait to share it with you all. MAC is coming out with a Bollywood-inspired collection, how exciting is that? I am already drooling over the Select Moisturecover duo, the turquoise gel liner, and the lip products!! This line launches in the US on Jan 6th :) Just in time to get us over the post-holiday blues!!

Check this link out for more info!

Chapped Lip Solutions!

Chapped lips, the bane of winter :( I have searched high and low, in several forums and drugstores, for chapsticks and lip balms before I found my favorites. A lot of trial and error was involved, not that I minded, chapsticks are the fun things I add to my purchase while waiting in line to pay (what? I embrace my shopaholic nature!) :P

Here are the top four products I keep in rotation. Depending on the situation, I may reach for one over the other.

Burt's Bees Honey Lip Balm
Chapped lip severity: Little to none
This is a great chapstick to wear preventatively on a daily basis. I think I have about 2 or 3 tubes in different places (backpack, purse, vanity) so I am never too far from moisturized, honey-kissed lips! The consistency of the balm itself is dense and hard, so it may not feel good when applied on severely chapped lips. It would require rubbing the stick on your lips several times to really get a good coating on. 

Blistex Daily Conditioning Treatment (DCT)
Chapped lip severity: Little to medium
DCT comes in a little tub and can be applied with your finger. For this reason, I like to keep this balm at home, it can get a little unsanitary when used on the go. A thin layer works really well to soothe mildly chapped lips. When applied in a thicker layer, however, the product tends to gunk up and make my lips feel prune-y, so watch out for that! I'd also like to note that this product has SPF 20, yay :)

Eucerin Aquaphor Healing Ointment
Chapped lip severity: Little to severe
This is my go to, all time favorite lip product. It is packaged like a hand cream, has the look of petroleum jelly, and really is a healing ointment! A little goes a long way and I find that applying Aquaphor before sleeping really helps to heal any cracked or chapped lip issues I may have. This also doubles as a great ointment for cracked or dry knuckles and hands (it is meant for skin in general). I always keep this bottle on hand, you never know when it can come in handy!!

Neosporin Lip Treatment (LT)
Chapped lip severity: Severe
I came across this product one winter when my lips were as rough as sandpaper and nothing else would help! I am throwing it in with my list of favorite chapsticks, but this is more of a medicated ointment. The directions for use indicate that it should only be used twice within a 24 hour period. LT really does provide relief to persistent chapped lips! I used this for 2 days and then was able to switch back to regular chapsticks to maintain the results. 

Did your go-to chapstick not make my list? Let me know! I am always interested in conducting more research :)

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

MOROCCANOIL Oil Treatment Review

As I'm sure I've mentioned before, I have dry hair. I wash it and blow dry it every other day. I also use some sort of hot tool (curling iron, hot rollers) at least once a week. With all of this heat styling, my hair is crying out for hydration! I've been using frizz-reducing serums and leave-in conditioner treatments for many years now, but in the cold and dry winter months, I need something a bit more potent. Many Youtube Beauty Gurus have been touting the wonders of Argan oil, so when I saw MOROCCANOIL Oil Treatment near the checkout counter of my local Beauty Supply store, I decided to give it a try. 

The original MOROCCANOIL oil treatment revives hair, strengthens and conditions, and reduces drying time.

Here is my take on the product:


  • A little goes a long way - the product is very thick so you only need to use a dime-sized amount for medium length hair. I have a 0.85 fl. oz. bottle that I've been using for over a month (and sharing with friends) and only a quarter of the bottle has been used.
  • Delivers on its promise - I started noticing more healthy looking hair after two weeks of using this product!
  • Smells heavenly - sometimes I open the bottle just to smell it :P
  • Expensive! - I paid $15 for the tiniest bottle (0.85 fl. oz.)
  • Packaging - It comes in a screw top bottle which I am always afraid will lead to a spill or too much product coming into my hands. Wish the bottle had a pump or test tube applicator.
I have been using this product for the past month and a half and it has become a necessary part of my hair care routine. I apply a dime-size amount of the product to the ends of my towel dried hair. I take any excess oil and apply it to any other areas that I notice are usually dry. I am very sure, however, not to apply this at or near my roots, it is very thick and oily!! After applying, I style my hair as I normally would. If my hair is looking especially dry after blow drying or even the next day, I take a teeny tiny amount and apply it to the ends, just to bring a little shine. 

I have been perusing the MOROCCANOIL website, and this exact product comes in a lighter shade to accommodate those with lighter hair. Also, for my male readers, my brother has coarse, curly hair and this product has been working well for him too, it is definitely gender neutral!

Will I repurchase? Yes! Even though it is expensive and I'm not a huge fan of how it is packaged, I really think this product has made a difference in the health of my hair and I love it! 

Tuesday, December 28, 2010


While I have been to Sephora loads of times (probably too many according to my bank account :P ), I recently went to ULTA for the first time! I love that they carry NYX as I have been dying to try some of their products. Unfortunately the store I went to did not carry any NYX blushes :( Regardless, I was able to pick up a couple of fun goodies and thought I'd share those with you all!

1) NYX Mega Shine Lip Gloss in African Queen ($5.99)
I have wanted to try this shade since I first went on the NYX website, it is a gorgeous fuchsia pink...its loud, super pigmented, and I love it! Perfect for a night out :) At $5.99 a pop, how can you say no? Am looking forward to trying other shades in this line!! 

2) Tarte Ring It In Cheek Stain Set ($25)
What a perfect set for someone who is blush crazy like me!! This set comes with three creamy, easy-to-apply blush shades (Vivid - a vibrant rosy pink, Luster - a shimmery peach champagne, and Flawless - a soft, peachy pink) and a cute gold cocktail ring.

3) NYX Slim Eye Pencil in Velvet ($3.59)
For a little holiday glam, I picked up this gold/bronzy eyeliner. Glides on very smoothly :) 

4) EcoTools Bamboo Powder Brush ($9.99)
Having recently picked up a face powder, thought it was high time to pick up a corresponding brush. In the summer, I bought the Eco Tools 5 piece brush set and the brushes are so soft and nice. Expecting the same for this brush too!

All in all, a nice first trip to ULTA! Loving all my selections <3! Reviews/swatches/pics to come soon!!!