pretty gifty: purminerals show off collection

Pur Minerals Show Off Collection

while i don’t normally invest in them for myself, sets like this are great for gifting. instead of giving the whole group to one person, i like to break them up and tie little pairs together with ribbon – because you never know when you’re going to need a spare present.

this kit from purminerals includes three eye shadows and three lip gloss sticks in varying shades. they are a piece of cake to use and apply, with colors that are rich and formulas that are loaded with vitamins and shea butter.

i couldn’t resist testing these for myself before giving them away and i have been wearing the two middle shades, taunt (raspberry lip gloss) and exposed (vanilla eye shadow), to the tune of many compliments. something about the creamy nude shadow and slightly vampy lip make for a season-right combination that cannot be ignored. so, i suppose that in this case, it will be two for me and four for them (whoops)…but you get the idea :)

purminerals show off collection, $28 >

do you split sets up and give them as gifts?

neutrogena triple moisture deep recovery hair mask

neutrogena, hair, conditioner

i am always thrilled to find beauty products that really work, and when they not only work but they are budget-friendly to boot, i consider that the ultimate win. neutrogena’s triple moisture deep recovery hair mask is the newest addition to my collection of drugstore favorites. just a small scoop of this ultra luxe (yet, surprisingly cheap) cream once-weekly has revamped my summer sun-damaged tresses. it smells amazing, leaves my hair feeling incredibly soft, and gives me that fresh-from-the-salon feeling. while i’ll always love my living proof restore mask, this was a lovely little discovery (if not solely for the purposes of my bank account) and definitely an effective alternative. if summer was way harsh on your hair, i’m thinking that you should treat yourself to some therapy of the neutrogena variety!

neutrogena triple moisture deep recovery hair mask, $5.99 >

nyx le frou frou mascara

nyx le frou frou mascara

wanted: long, glossy black and wispy lashes that look like they’re growing right out of my own eyelid. this has been my eyelash goal for as long as i can remember. since i’m such a lover of lashes, i try more mascaras than any other type of beauty product, so i like to think that i know a good one when i see it. nyx le frou frou is my latest love and for so many reasons that go beyond its incredible $6 price tag.

for one, the formula is gorgeous. it’s whipped and mousse-y, extra light which helps to deliver volume to lackluster lashes. it actually nails decent scores for length as well, without a single clump and no dry or brittle feeling. as it wears throughout the day, i am yet to find any flakes or smudges, sending it right to the top of my list.

the wand seems simple at first glance, but the plush bristles are densely packed meaning that it grabs every single lash and doesn’t let go until they’re fully coated. since the wand is on the thin side, you get easy access to inner corners and outer edges and it also leads me to believe that it would work well for all eye shapes (a big bonus).

the finished look is long and glossy, naturally tapered. if you take a second to use the brush to your full advantage, you’ll discover lashes that you didn’t know you had and enjoy a very wide fan of feathery fringe. it’s perfect for everyday and i really can’t get enough of the extra wallet-friendly price tag.

nyx le frou frou mascara ($5.99) >

new drugstore favorites

new drugstore favorites

there’s no question that i could source every single one of my beauty needs in the aisles of cvs if necessary. the makeup and skincare department has exploded with such an array of brands that i find myself discovering just as many new and exciting products there as i do at sephora. it’s kind of mind blowing.

so if you like to quench your cosmetic thirst on a budget (or if you just like pretty things, regardless of price point), read on for my five new favorites:

yes to grapefruit cc cream, $15.99 – this gorgeous smelling cc cream might be the most refreshing product to ever touch my skin. it cools instantly, blends seamlessly, and dries to a perfectly flawless matte finish. it’s practically undetectable once it’s on and it feels completely weightless. at well under $20 for a huge bottle, i’ll be coming back for more.

l’oreal paris colour riche le gloss in watermelon crush, $5.97 – destined to become a new cult classic, this gloss is a makeup bag must-have. giving its far pricer counterparts a serious run for the money, l’oreal has packed omega3, vitamin e, and argan oil into this super shiny gloss. it’s rich in color and super soft in texture. you’re gonna want it, bad.

simple refreshing facial wash gel, $6.99 – i like something serious to break up my makeup at the end of the day, but it has to be gentle on my sensitive skin. simple has the perfect solution in this nondrying gel. it melts my daily face and washes away clean, making it a miracle for oily skin, especially in the summertime.

bic soleil bella disposable shavers, $6.29 – bic has come a long way since i started shaving my legs and they’ve brought the disposable razor to a new level with bella: four blades, a moisture strip for touchable legs, and a pivot head that hugs the pesky knee area that i always miss. in fact, they’re so good that it’s kind of hard to throw them away.

burt’s bees herbal blemish stick, $8 – the best possible emergency pimple solution, especially if you’re without access to a beauty counter. burt’s bees blemish stick has ingredients like tea tree oil and willow bark to clarify and decongest any irritated areas. oh, and it’s the perfect thing to pack, as i am famous for sprouting zits while traveling.

not your mother’s way to grow shampoo + conditioner

not your mother's way to grow

not your mother’s is quickly becoming one of my very favorite hair care lines. their products are formulated without any of the bad stuff that tends to dry out and damage hair – and their prices cannot be beat.

i have grown fond of stylers like smooth moves, beat the heat, and beach babe and each one delivers in a shockingly good way. i had to move my love affair with this line into the shower! so i’ve been using the way to grow duo for weeks, and not surprising, the results are kinda out of this world.

it’s not that i wanted my hair to grow (in fact, i kind of like the fact that my hair grows slowly – it saves beaucoup bucks when it comes to haircuts.), but the flat iron and blow dryer routine does tend to cause breakage. i had been feeling for awhile that my hair was weakening and the ends always look fried from heat damage. i needed some rescuing.

to say that way to grow has been a welcome addition to my shower scene would be an understatement. for one, these products smell like candy. the shampoo cleanses my hair without stripping it and the conditioner leaves my hair super shiny, without weighing it down. as a major bonus, they both boast ingredients like castor oil and biotin that help with hair growth. after consistent use, my hair is stronger, healthier, and yup – definitely longer.

like visibly longer. like i need a haircut today because my lob has lost all of its shape much more quickly than anticipated. but, you know, beauty is pain, people. so i’ll go call for my haircut and you go buy this shampoo and conditioner, ok?

not your mother’s way to grow shampoo and conditioner, $6 each.

nyx wonder pencil


what if i told you that for less than $5 i could solve at least three pesky beauty problems?

the new nyx wonder pencil is a nude multitasker that comes in three shades. the beauty of this pencil is that the unique hybrid formula means that it serves a variety of purposes. it’s softer than a typical eyeliner and more matte than a regular stick concealer. in short, it’s like a tiny magic wand that can be used to lighten, brighten, and conceal the different areas of your face.

for example, it serves as a perfect eyeliner at the water line to brighten my eyes. the slim pencil shape and fine point mean that i can also use it as the most precise blemish concealer ever. it’s as if i’ve got a little magic eraser and i can just dot it over any spots left peeking through after i have applied my foundation, without the need to blend – genius! it’s come in handy as a reverse lip liner to keep my bright lip shades from feathering and i’ve also used it under my arches to add shape and definition to my brows.

this is one of those products that you’ll wonder how you ever lived without. i feel as though i’m discovering new ways to use it daily, and there’s nothing better than that.

shop nyx wonder pencil ($4.50) >

almay smart shade mousse makeup

almay smart shade mousse makeup

i consider myself a bit of a foundation naysayer. i want all of my flaws masked for a perfectly poreless finish that doesn’t look like i’m wearing makeup. oh, and i also don’t want to feel like i’m wearing makeup. it’s a constant struggle.

i’ve loved the almay line for a long time. it’s always touted by my derm as the best possible makeup brand for sensitive and breakout-prone skin. so, when i was flipping through instyle a couple of months ago and saw the new almay foundation teased, i waited patiently for it to hit drugstore shelves. after scooping it up at target a couple of weeks ago, we have become fast friends.

i’m always leery about shade matching makeup (it’s good in theory, but for some reason it never works out quite right) but the 100 shade (light) has been doing a bang-up job of matching my skin tone more perfectly than most foundations. there are four shades in this lineup, so i’m not going to be so bold as to say that there’s something for everyone but i’m definitely impressed with the match on me. this stuff is light as air, yet heavy on coverage, and it somehow goes on to feel like you’re wearing nothing at all. it gives my skin a smooth, even appearance that has been working as a great base for a variety of makeup looks without looking cakey.

there are a couple of caveats, though. the first is that since the mousse goes on white and then “transforms” into your ideal shade, it can be very easy to overdo it on coverage. i got the hang of it after one application though, and it’s been a breeze since then. second, you’ll find that the finish on this is almost powdery which leads me to believe that it might not be so friendly to those with drier skin. the rest of you light-handed, combination-oily gals will definitely enjoy the silky texture and flawless finish with a drugstore price tag.

shop almay smart shade mousse makeup ($11.89) >

flower beauty

drew barrymore's flower line for walmart

i recently took a journey to my not-so-local walmart (oh, the things i do for you! :)) with the sole purpose of experiencing drew barrymore’s new makeup line, flower. i had been casually following the buzz on its release, but it was this interview on emily’s blog that really pushed me over the edge  to check it out. i became quickly obsessed with the philosophy on how drew built this brand and i knew i needed it in my makeup bag.

upon discovering the gorgeous tower of pretty in the beauty department, i started stocking up. here are my early favorites from the line, all priced from $5-$14.

lip service lip butter in princess & the peony, $6.98
about face foundation with primer, $13.98
ready set glow! blush/bronzer duo in shimmering goddess, $9.98
nail’d it nail lacquer in cosmo-politan, eye of tiger lily, and good bud-dy, $4.98
petite fleurs pocket triplet lip in shade 1, $6.98
petite fleurs pocket triplet concealer in combo 3, $6.98
zoom-in ultimate mascara, $7.98

as you can see, there is a lot to love here. i’m really impressed with the quality of these products, the color ranges, luxe packaging and overall cohesiveness of the line. (it’s also selling like hotcakes.) in the end, i guess i should have known that i would be in love with a makeup collection from her bohemian highness. if you like what you see, get yourself to a walmart to experience the loveliness in person!

pretty for a penny: l’oreal voluminous power volume 24 hour mascara


the last time i was in nyc i got to chatting with stephanie johnson when i realized that i hadn’t heard a word she said because i couldn’t take my eyes off of her eyelashes. a makeup minimalist, stephanie always looks great, but she was batting some major lash and i had to know her secret. when she was deep in the middle of telling me about sourcing fabrics for the fall 2013 line in hong kong, i blurted out “i’m sorry what’s happening with your eyelashes, i have to know!” she laughed and revealed to me that she had been at a magazine event and received a tube of l’oreal mascara in her gift bag. she said it was life-changing and that she would text me a picture of the tube when she got home (is she a good friend or what?). her text message that evening revealed an unfamiliar black and white tube – i immediately set out for the closest duane reade on a mission to find one.

i’m now a couple of weeks into my love affair with said black and white tube and i could not be more hooked. my lashes are sporting some serious volume thanks to the jumbo-sized brush and they are never clumped thanks to a crazy bristle arrangement that you’ve got to experience for yourself. my lashes have always been so, so – not super dark, not super long, not super thick but one coat of l’oreal’s collagen-laced formula and they are dark and defined. it holds curl without making lashes feel heavy and it stays all day without flakes or smudges. this has quickly become my favorite mascara and at under $8, i can imagine that it’s here to stay.

l’oreal voluminous power volume 24 hour mascara is available in drugstores and online for $7.99.

pretty gifty: under $20

pretty gifty: under $20

got a secret santa? need a stash of stocking stuffers? one (or more!) from this bunch will brighten the day of someone on your list, without lightening the load in your wallet:

1 – a luxe lotion for $14; mark very sassy body lotion
2 – a bottle of polish in an artsy box for $12.50; nookie nail polish from laqa & co
3 – airline-approved hair care for $19.50; oribe beautiful color travel set
4 – spirited and sparkling blotting linens for $5; boscia pink peppermint blotting linens
5 – a sweet and salty lip scrub for $8.95; lush popcorn
6 – balm in a ball for $18.50; this works beauty ball ornament
7 – two pastel cream shadows for $17; topshop eye cream duo
8 – a purse-sized solid perfume for $10; crazylibellule and the poppies rose a saigon