The Sol Compass

by Caitlin Hummer


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Tuesday Ten: Influenster Product Reviews

Hello everyone, welcome back!  Today’s post is going to be a beauty product review.  From time to time, Influenster sends me complementary products to review and over the past few months I haven’t shared most of them on the blog!  With Sephora’s VIB Coupons rolling in (20% off for members starts on Friday!) it’s the perfect time to test out some new things at a lower price!

  1. Laura Mercier Flawless Fusion Ultra-Longwear Foundation.  I’m always excited to try a new foundation out, but I never knew how much I would love a foundation until now.  I have zero complaints about this one, even the price tag is worth it (though I certainly wouldn’t complain if it dropped in price a little bit…)  I only need two pumps to cover my entire face, and it gives amazing full coverage while feeling super lightweight on my face.  The formula blends out like an absolute dream, and the matte finish lasts all.day.long.  This would be my number one recommendation to buy during the holiday sale, I plan on buying another in my winter shade!
  2. Laura Mercier Translucent Loose Setting Powder.  I had been a fan of this before I received it for free from Influenster, so I was beyond giddy when I saw the full size sitting in my box!  This cult-favorite really locks in your makeup for the whole day, without adding on any heaviness or settling into any fine lines.  I find it really minimizes the appearances of my pores as well, which is such an added bonus since I first purchased it only expecting it to set my makeup!
  3. Amika Undone Texture Spray.  As a lover of Amika products (you can see my post here to see what other products I love), I was stoked to see more Amika products come through the mail.  This spray is great whether you’re looking to lock your curls into place, or just hold on to that messy tousled look that you woke up with.  I hate the smell of conventional hair sprays, so this is a super replacement which actually adds volume, instead of just keeping what you already have in place.  As with all Amika products, it uses rice starch instead of aluminum which I absolutely *love* – that alone would place them leaps and bounds above every other hair care company in my book!
  4. Amika Nourishing Mask Mini.  You all know I love a good mask, and I think hair masks don’t get nearly enough play.  This one may be the best one I’ve tried yet.  The first time you use it, you won’t even believe how smooth and shiny your hair is!  I know 20 minutes is a long time to leave something in your hair, but if you can swing it you’ll thank me.  You can also buy it in an 8.5 oz tub, to save a little bit of money in the long run!
  5. Aquis Lisse Luxe Hair Towel.  I try to avoid using heat on my hair as much as possible (I probably only use a hair dryer or straightener twice a week), so this fast drying towel is an absolute life saver for me.  The texture of the towel dries your hair so much faster than a bath towel would, with the added benefit of not being as heavy and hard on your neck!
  6. GrandeLIPS Hydrating Lip Plumper.  I have extremely thin lips, so the thought of a lip plumper that’s also hydrating is extremely inciting to me.  Unfortunately, I’m not totally sure this is the one to do that.  I didn’t notice many results from using it for a week straight.  It has almost four stars at Sephora, so some people have definitely had more success with it than I did.  If you do choose to give it a try, I would recommend going with a color and not the clear.  I received the clear and the shimmery finish gave me terrible 90s flashbacks!
  7. Dr Brandt No More Baggage Eye De-puffing Gel.  This product is amazing for under eye bags.  It gets the puffiness down in hardly any time.  I love using it especially on days when I’m heading out to shoot!  That being said, it doesn’t do anything for eye wrinkles, which is what I really look for in an eye cream.  If you have puffy eyes, I’d definitely recommend it, but you might have to still use a conventionaly wrinkle-combatting eye cream at night.
    These next three didn’t work great on my very dry skin, but B loved them so much that he has since ordered a replacement trio, so I’m letting him do the honors of describing them to you!
  8. Ole Henriksen Find Your Balance Oil Control Cleanser.  I’ve used a lot of different face washes and this is the only one that noticeably removes oils from my face.  I like that you can use a very small amount to spread on your entire face (it comes out really thick).  It gets rid of oils without making my skin dry and tight like other cleansers, and doesn’t leave bleach marks on my towels like benzoyl peroxide does, as an added bonus.  I don’t love the smell of it, but it’s not too strong and once you wash it off the smell is gone, but that’s the only negative of it.
  9. Ole Henriksen Balancing Force Oil Control Toner.  Toner is the toughest one for me to describe because I had no idea what it was until Caitlin told me it was the extra step in between cleanser and moisturizer.  It’s gotten rid of nearly all of my clogged pores, and is a great extra step to get rid of dirt and oils in my skin.
  10. Ole Henriksen Counter Balance Oil Control Hyrdator.  I really like the moisturizer, I wish they made the bottle twice as big since it doesn’t last as long as the cleanser does for me.  I use it all the way down my neck so it does great work on razor irritation, for any guys who want to use it.  It’s very lightweight, and easy to not put on too much.  This one smells great, it’s very subtle so you wouldn’t really notice it if you weren’t putting it on your face, and the smell doesn’t last very long.  It doesn’t leave any residue behind, and doesn’t add shine to my oily forehead, which is nice and hard to come by in a moisturizer for oily skin (from what I’ve found).


Have you tried any of these products?  Let me know what you think of them in the comments!

xo, C


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How To Shop For Makeup

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The title of this post changed quite a few times as I was writing it.  “Who’s this chick that thinks she has any authority on how I buy my makeup??”  If there’s one thing I’m incredibly good at, it’s getting the most value while shopping.  Does this mean my friends make fun of me for having coupon codes at the ready?  Absolutely.  Does it mean B rolls his eyes every time I make him go into an extra store because they have 100 kicks that day?  You betcha.  But stretching my dollars means more clothes in my closet so no shame.  This post is going to be a long one based solely on the depth of information I have to share with you, so definitely go grab a snack before diving in.

Makeup is one of those things seems to never be on sale.  It scarcely goes out of style and if they can charge full price for it, why not?  So my number one trick for affording the makeup that I want is maximizing the point systems to my benefit.  I usually only voice my positive opinions on this blog and just choose to omit the more negative ones, but I’m going to break it down for you guys and give you my real opinion so you can hopefully maximize your own hard earned cash too.

Stop Number One: Ulta Beauty.  Ulta’s point system is the. best. in the business you guys.  You get points for everything you buy, and you can redeem them on absolutely anything.  Zero exclusions.  You can redeem your points at any value, so no waiting to spend $1000 to earn a measly $20 reward.  Since they also hand out coupons like it’s going out of style, I buy 100% of my drugstore beauty needs from Ulta.  That’s everything from Burt’s Bees and Conair to NYX and OPI.  If it can be found at Ulta, you can bet your bottom dollar that I’ll be buying it there.  For starters, there’s the coupon situation, but for seconds this helps me earn points towards the prestige brands.

Prestige brands, while not included in the regular coupons, frequently have other deals going on inside Ulta.  Whether it’s $10 off a bareMinerals purchase or 5x points on an Urban Decay purchase, I’ve found that patience in waiting for these deals always pans out in my favor.  In November I went on a huge Ulta shopping spree for free because I had $175 in points saved up.  That included everything from an Anastasia Beverly Hills palette to Buxom lipgloss and Urban Decay Naked foundation.  It was a good day.

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Stop Number Two: Nordstrom.  While Nordstrom’s point system is not as lucrative as Ulta’s, I do spend a lot of money there on clothes so it makes sense to also use my Nordstrom card benefits towards makeup purchases.  If Ulta doesn’t carry a brand, I go straight to Nordstrom.  Brands like MAC and Bobbi Brown are frequent Nordstrom purchases for me.  They also have my favorite Sigma Beauty brushes for powder foundation and liquid foundation.  Despite the fact that I think their price points are perfect for the quality makeup you’re getting, I also love the specialized training the girls at their respective makeup counters have.  Combining the quality and knowledge with a decent points system makes these a solid double in my book.  Granted it seems to take forever for me to get a Nordstrom Note (return on investment), but it’s the best option available for sure.

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(It’s important to tell you guys that I used to buy all of my NARS products at Nordstrom before they were carried at Ulta!  Ulta doesn’t have the full line yet, so I’ve still been buying the classic NARS lipstick and lip glosses at Nordstrom, but anything that Ulta carries will always be bought at Ulta!)

(Also worth noting is MAC’s Back to MAC recycling program.  You can return six empty MAC products to your MAC counter or store, and receive a free MAC lipstick as a thanks for your commitment to the environment!)

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Stop Number Three: Sephora.  I know I know.  I love Sephora as much as the next girl.  But if you can get past their sleek black and white interior and the really good lighting, their rewards program is kind of garbage.  You can spend tons of money at that store and you’re still only able to redeem it on things that they say you can.  And even then, more often than not they’re only sample size products.  Don’t get me wrong, I have gotten some really great samples from them, like Urban Decay eyeshadow primer or a Sunday Riley cream I was dying to try but afraid to drop $65 on.  But when I know there’s so much more return on my investment I could be getting, it’s really hard to justify spending my money at the place with the better bag.  For this reason, I usually only buy things at Sephora that can’t be found at Ulta or Nordstrom, i.e. Bite Beauty, Marc Jacobs, or Kat Von D.  They also tend to have much, much more in the skincare department, so masks and face serums are frequent Sephora purchases for me.  In addition, Sephora’s service is 1000x better than Ulta’s, so if I really need advice on a new contour color or new facial oil, I will definitely go to Sephora and just bite the bullet on the rewards points because it’s nearly impossible to get the same friendliness or knowledge at Ulta.  But when I’m going to replace the same concealer I always use… I just have to go through the chain of command.

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Moving into a slightly more shopping-neutral territory, I use ebates and shopkick religiously in my shopping escapades.  Most of my actual purchasing is done online, which you would never know if you asked B how frequently we go to the mall (about once per week).  While I love the experience of seeing things in person and am a total mall rat, I’ve found you can really maximize the bang for your buck by doing your actual purchasing online.  First step is I can add and take away things from my cart without the pressure of a sales person breathing down my neck.  I add things, think about them for a day or two, and then can decide whether or not I really need/want it without the pressure of deciding in 37 seconds (nothing flares up my indecision quite like the pressure of time). After I’ve added everything to my cart, I can wait a day or two to see if it goes on sale (this is particularly true with GAP brands.  They have always have 25-40% off, so paying full price there is just straight silly).

The other part of online shopping that gets me the most cash back in my pocket is ebates.  Since I do so much online shopping, it would be just straight silly to not use ebates.  Even if you don’t do that much online shopping, anything is better than nothing.  All you have to do is go to the ebates website, find the store you want to shop at, and then click through their link.  Then once a quarter, they will send you a Big Fat Check in the mail with all of your cashback.  Yes, seriously.  It really is that easy.  Click here to get an extra $10 when you sign up!  Last time I used my check to help ease some of the holiday season bills, but I’m thinking I might use February’s to splurge on some face masks or Too Faced’s Peach line.  My nose says buy the delicious smelling makeup, but my brain says face masks.  Skin first, makeup second.

Thank you all so much for reading!  I hope this is helpful as you go about building those stellar makeup collections!

xo, C


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Verb

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Welcome back everyone and happy Friday!  Today I want to share with you a haircare company that I have absolutely fallen in love with recently.  One of my favorite natural beauty brands, w3ll people, is based out of Austin, and so when I was planning my trip down I was looking to see what other brands are located in Texas’ natural beauty loving capital.  When I discovered Verb, I dove headfirst into finding out everything I could about their product line.  Developed by stylists for their clients, Verb is a brand of high-quality products designed at price point that doesn’t punch your bank account in the gut.

I have a terrible bad habit of buying troves of Pantene shampoo and conditioner when Target has a sale or promo deal going on, so my closet was a little bit backed up with conventional products at the time I first discovered Verb.  While the hydrating shampoo and conditioner instantly caught my eye, I only picked up this mask.  After treatment I fell in love with the soft, shiny, and smooth hair I suddenly had.

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When I’m traveling for short periods of time, I tend to leave the hair products at home and go a little lower maintenance.  The week before we went to Florida for ten days though, my hair was already feeling a little sad and on the dry side from the first onset of winter, and I knew it would only get worse using hotel shampoo for over a week.  With Sephora swooping in to the rescue, I managed to snag this Hair to Go kit to bring with me, excited that I could bring hydration with me in such a small portable package and try out more of Verb’s products.

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Sephora is also still selling a lot of amazing holiday bundles with Verb products at amazing price points, all of which you can find here.

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The Breakdown

Ghost Oil – A restorative hair oil.  Perfect to add extra softness to your hair and to tame frizz.

Hydrating Shampoo & Conditioner – Excellent for smoothing and hydrating.  Helps with volume a surprising amount for not being the “volumizing” shampoo.  Cleaned my hair thoroughly enough that I didn’t feel like I had to wash it again the next day (my number one complaint about shampoos).

Leave-In Mist – Detangles, shines, de-frizzes all in one miraculous little bottle.

Hydrating Mask – If you hate having soft, shiny, smooth hair, then I’m sorry I can no longer help you.  But if you want your hair to resemble Gigi’s on the runway, get this.  That’s all you need to know.

Sea Spray – The perfect product to toss in your hair after a day at the pool but before dinner, this sea spray adds just the right amount of texture for that effortless beach babe look.

 

Thank you so much for stopping by!  Hope you all have an amazing weekend!

xo, C


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July Beauty Haul

 

Hi everyone!  Welcome back.  I feel like I haven’t blogged in so long, when in reality it’s only been a week since my last post.  Unfortunately my laptop hasn’t been working, so my outfit photos are MIA this week-but I’m praying to the Apple Geniuses that they’re able to fix it when I bring it in tonight!

 

In the interim, I thought I would take this opportunity to share some of my recent beauty purchases.  My sister Michaela will attest to the fact that I am definitely not the first to jump on indie beauty brands or celebrity trends-in fact, I am usually the last.  Most of this has to do with the fact that I like products to be tested by pretty much everyone under the sun before I’m willing to put it on my face.  With that, I usually do an extensive amount of research before buying beauty products and am reasonably confident that I will like them before I even try them, and so far these ones have not disappointed.

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These amazing sticks are the only item in this haul that you can’t find at Sephora.  If you live in Boston you can find W3ll People at the amazing and reliable Follain, and if you don’t you can find them online and at Target!  I first heard about W3ll People from one of my favorite bloggers, Grace Atwood, whose opinion on beauty products I always trust (I may be biased because we went to the same college, but alas).  I had kept them on my radar for a while before I finally pulled the trigger but oh my goodness.  I can’t believe I didn’t have these in my life earlier.  The sticks are so fun and easy to use, they make contouring and concealing an absolute breeze.  This all natural brand’s motto is “Hippie Tested, Diva Approved” and there may be no greater beauty sentence ever said.

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The reason I went to Sephora in the first place was to pick up the coveted Becca x Jaclyn Hill Champagne Collection Face Palette.  It’s true that I’m a sucker for a good limited edition (hello, Gwen Stefani and Ellie Goulding collabs), but this one is definitely worth the hype.  The colors are just unbelievably versatile, the packaging is so glamorous, and you really can’t argue with getting two highlighters and three blushes for only $52.  To get such beautiful shades created by Jaclyn Hill combined with the luxurious Becca formulas is totally worth it.  (The palette is sold out online, but you can use the store locator to find one near you!)

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As I mentioned in my lip products post, I am always on the hunt for new lipsticks and glosses to try.  I don’t really change much in my makeup routine on a daily basis, so different lip products are sort of my way of experimenting and changing up a look.  Since Anastasia Beverly Hills has been having so much success and hype amongst experts, aficionados, and newbies alike; I figured I couldn’t go wrong with one of these lip glosses.  My shade of choice was Dainty-a soft peach hue that is just beautiful paired with tan summer skin.  Urban Decay never lets me down, so I also picked up two pretty pink lipsticks from their new Vice collection.  These shades are ‘Native’ and ‘Weirdo’, and it’s actually kind of embarrassing how similar they are.  But when they make such a smooth and creamy lipstick, what else do you expect me to do?!

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Korean cosmetic brands are receiving their fair share of hype these days, so when I stumbled across one that had two products I desperately needed I didn’t think twice.  Too Cool For School is a self processed “rule breaking” beauty brand full of fun and artistic packaging of makeup and skincare products.  During the summer I desperately need transportable blotting papers that leave my makeup intact after running to catch a subway or getting into my hotbox of a car when it’s 95 degrees outside.  This adorable Dinoplatz case fit the bill perfectly and so far has not disappointed my skin, my makeup, or my wallet.  Next up, I have been dying to get my hands on some makeup-remover-infused-cotton swabs to touch up pesky mascara that forces its way onto my carefully blended eye shadow, and this ready-to-travel case is the perfect answer to my prayers.

 

Thank you all so much for stopping by!  I hope you all have a fantastic weekend!

xo, C


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Spring Makeup Updates

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Happy Friday!  I hope you all had an awesome Cinco de Mayo yesterday!  I know Cinco de Mayo isn’t one of the blockbuster holidays in Mexico, but I’m down to celebrate anything that commemorates the underdog while allowing me to consume copious amounts of tacos.

While spring wardrobe updates are obvious (and required), something I think about less is updating my makeup routine.  By the time the weather starts to change I desperately need a change though.  Whether it’s adding a coral lip or bright warm toned nail polishes, here’s a quick roundup of some of my latest beauty buys!

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I usually stick with nude and pink nail polishes, but all this gray weather has gotten me into a major slump, and I needed to shake things up and some unconventional nail polishes seemed like the perfect way to do that!  The nail salon I go to uses OPI hand lotion and it is the bomb.com.  I love these mini versions that are perfect to keep in your purse or car!  Winter wreaks absolute havoc on my skin, so I’m constantly putting on lotion and OPI is one of my favorites.

Nail Polishes: OPI Got Myself into a Jam-balaya, OPI Purple Palazzo Pants, OPI I Cannoli Wear OPIOPI Hand Lotion Set

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95% of the time, I’m wearing either Burt’s Bees lip balm or a pale pink on my lips (a la these ones from the Lip Product Lineup).  But spring does weird things to me and I suddenly felt much more adventurous then I usually do with my lip makeup.  I ordered Caitlyn Jenner’s ‘Finally Free’ from MAC (100% of the proceeds are going to the MAC AIDS Fund Transgender Initiative), and the rosey nude mauve color is so universally flattering I think everyone needs this in their makeup bag!

On one of my weekly Ulta trips, I went on the hunt for a coral color to liven up my spring wardrobe, and saw that the Urban Decay Revolution lipsticks were 50% off this month.  Without hesitation I scooped up the Sheer Streak and am loving the result-the sheerness makes the coral slightly more palatable than the conventional hue!

Lastly, old habits die hard, and I couldn’t resist adding another pink lipgloss to the repertoire.  You’ll find this Naked ‘Liar’ shade nestled in my purse right between the old reliables.

Lip Products: Naked ‘Liar’ lipgloss by Urban Decay, ‘Finally Free’ lipstick by MAC, Sheer ‘Streak’ Revolution lipstick by Urban Decay (50% off this month!)

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I am by no means a mask expert.  I’ve only started recently using them because my tired skin needs some extra love.  As someone who isn’t super willing to drop half of my paycheck on makeup and skincare products, these Sephora masks are the perfect price and do a great job of giving my face the extra boost that it needs. Between the harsh dry winter and just overall lack of sleep, I find that there is a mask solution for pretty much everything!  I’ve been loving alternating them and seeing the magic come to life!

Masks: Sephora

Face Products: bareMinerals ‘Complexion Rescue’ in Opal | W3LL PEOPLE Contour Kit (also available here)

 

Thanks for reading!  Have a great weekend!

xo, C


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Lip Product Lineup

Lip Product Lineup | The Sol Compass

I am extremely (sometimes irrationally) picky about lip products.  I am constantly applying lip balm, so I have to really love a lip product to be willing to give up the Burt’s Bees for an hour or two (seriously, it’s a problem).  Luckily for you all, this means that I have found la crème de la crème of lip products over the years and today I will be sharing those products with you!  It may seem like there are a lot, but it’s nothing compared to how many I’ve tried and disliked!

Ellie Goulding x MAC review on The Sol Compass Ellie Goulding x MAC Review on TheSolCompass.com

Leading off, we have the MAC x Ellie Goulding collab.  I fell in love with it before I even saw it in person.  For starters, I love Ellie Goulding (her voice is electric and her personality magnetic), but more importantly we have similar skin coloring so I knew I wouldn’t have to worry about color matching too much.  The colors are all colors people actually wear in real life, which is what really sealed the deal for me.  I’m not a fan of purple lipstick or green eyeliner or some of the crazy celeb collaborations MAC has produced in the past (looking at you, Ariana Grande), so makeup that works for every day use is a home run in my book.  The attention to detail that was paid in this collection (down to the logo embossed lipstick) is something I can greatly appreciate.  I picked up these three pink shades at Nordstrom, but I also loved the golden shimmer of the Explosion lipgloss that I tried (the store was out, so I had to order it online.  Yep, tester was THAT GOOD).  Timeout: I desperately wanted to try the Halcyon Days/Halcyon Nights palettes, but I had just loaded up on eyeshadow before the holiday season and, ya know, money.  So if anyone wants to bring back a full report on those that would be swell!

Lipstick: Without Your Love | Lip Crayon: Innocent | Plushglass: Goodness Gracious

(I linked to Nordstrom, since I love their easy navigation and free shipping, but you can shop the collaboration at MAC and Macy’s, too!)

Must Have Every Day Pink Lipglosses

On deck, we have my reliable every day lip glosses: NARS’ Turkish Delight and Bobbi Brown’s Petal.  You can find one of these in my purse (or car) at any given time.  Any lipgloss that’s in contention for daily use with me has to be light pink, not sticky, and have just the right amount of shine.  I love these two formulas, and the colors are perfect for every day use.

NARS lipgloss: Turkish Delight | Bobbi Brown lipgloss: Petal

Too Faced Lipstick

In the hole, Spice Spice Baby.  This Too Faced lipstick comes recommended by my friend Kelsey (she’s an aesthetician and I treat her recommendations like gold), and it came recommended to her by one of our friends who works at Ulta.  So yeah- it’s kind of a big deal.  The creamy and rich formula cannot be beat.  It’s so hydrating that I don’t even miss my lip balm when I wear it!  A lot of the colors are too rich for my personal every day taste, but there are quite a few pinky and nude ones I have not yet tried, and Spice Spice Baby is universally flattering.  Or so I’ve been told, I haven’t accosted random pedestrians on the street to test that theory.  Yet.  Stay tuned.

Lipstick: Spice Spice Baby (also available at Sephora)

NYX Butter Gloss and Lip Liner

(I have officially run out of baseball expressions).

After spending a bit too much money at the MET Bar, my friend Amanda and I spent a rainy day at the mall googling MAC dupes for Jenner-worthy lips.  Our favorite result was NYX Ever lipliner and NYX Tiramisu butter gloss.  It’s possibly the darkest I’ve ever had my lips while still liking the results!  You can sort of see how they look in this post.  My sister also loves the NYX butter gloss in Crème Brûlée!  It’s a really soothing and creamy formula that’s perfect for every day, and you can’t beat the price.

Lipliner: NYX Ever | Lipgloss: NYX Tiramisu

Must Have Buxom lipliner from Sephora

The last batter in today’s lineup is this little Buxom rockstar.  Also highly recommended to me by a friend, it acts like a balm, liner, and lipstick all in one.  All my friend needed to do was tell me it was owned by bareMinerals (though sold exclusively at Sephora) to get me on board instantly (bareMinerals addiction last expressed here and here).  This stick is crazy hydrating, and I love how it looks like a lipstick but has the precision of a liner- especially useful with someone with inferior makeup application skills like myself!  I’m dying to try Amsterdam and Bombay next!

Lipstick: Buxom Dolly

 

Do any of you use these products?  Are there any that I need to add into the cycle?  Sound off in the comment section!

Thanks so much for reading!

xo, C