Mask-Friendly Makeup Tutorial!

Hey friends!

Can you believe it’s almost the end of August? This year has absolutely been flying by — its crazy to think back to how different things were even a month ago, yet alone back at the beginning of this year. One of the biggest changes to our world this year is requiring (and possibly normalizing) wearing masks in public. Wearing masks in public has been popular in many countries for years as an act of courtesy if you’re feeling sick, and while it wasn’t entirely uncommon in Vancouver, going forward I think it will become more normalized than ever.

Personally, I’m all for it. If you’re feeling sick, it’s only polite to protect others and limit spreading illness. I don’t find wearing a mask to be that much of an inconvenience, plus, you can get some pretty cute and custom ones to complete your outfit and express yourself! You can find all kinds of different masks anywhere nowadays, but for really unique designs and essentially unlimited options, RedBubble has you covered — I’m waiting on an order of masks I put in from them recently and I couldn’t be more excited! They really have something for just about anyone, given how many artists are active on the site.

The only things I find tricky about masks are 1) wearing them with glasses (which of course, I can always just wear my contacts — but it’s a pain if I don’t want to) and 2) wearing them with makeup. While you can get away with wearing a full face of makeup under a mask if you’re only wearing it for a short period of time or are careful not to exert yourself too much (and you know, end up fogging up the inside of you mask) — you really can’t get away with wearing a full makeup look if you have to wear the mask for a while. It’s pretty much impossible to not have your makeup get at least a little messed up under there, especially when you’re wearing foundation and a full cheek look. It’s impossible to keep your mask from wearing away your makeup when wearing it long-term, which can leave your makeup looking pretty rough after a while.

So, yeah. Masks can be a bit of a pain. But what’s a little inconvenience in the grand scheme of things? It may be a pain, but it’s better than the alternative of spreading disease and accelerating the pandemic. While you can easily choose to go makeup-free, I’ve also come up with a simple makeup look that’s a lot less prone to smudging under your mask for anyone who’s determined not to let their masks stop them.

I’ve found, personally, the trick to having your makeup stay relatively intact under a mask is to forgo foundation. I know this probably sounds unappealing to a lot of people, especially if you were looking for a tutorial to maintain your makeup under your mask exactly as you wear it normally. Sure, you may have to go a little more ~au natural~ for this look, but it still ends up looking like a full face in the end.

Step One: Prime

This is the first step to most people’s makeup looks, but given the mask (and thus the increased likelihood your makeup is going to wear off over the course of the day), it’s more useful than ever. I’ve been using (and loving) Milk Makeup’s Hydro Grip primer, however, whatever your go-to is works best for you!

Step Two: Conceal + Set

Next up, dab a little concealer of your choice underneath your eyes. My holy-grail under eye concealer is Tarte’s Creaseless Concealer, but once again — whatever your favourite concealer is works perfectly as well! I apply my concealer under my eyes in a triangular shape, and then blend it as best I can into my skin. The line between concealer and your face doesn’t have to be flawless — blending that out comes next. However, you’ll want to get it as diffuse as possible. Once you’re done, use a powder to set your concealer and keep it locked in before moving on to the next step.

Step Three: Bronze + Blend

Once your concealer is set, take a matte bronzer and apply it all over your face. Try to choose one that’s a more natural shade and isn’t too dark compared to your skin tone (this way, you’ll avoid turning out orange). You don’t want to use too much — it’s more meant to give you a little glow and blend the line between your concealer and your skin rather than acting as foundation. Make sure to get your eye area, too — you want it to look uniform with the rest of your face, after all! My go-to is Too Faced’s Chocolate Soleil Matte Bronzer — I haven’t made a whole post for this one yet since I’m waiting to finish and repurchase it, but it’s one of my faves. (After all, I want it to be all shiny and new and looking it’s best when I show it off to you guys!).

Step Four: Blush + Highlight

This step is kind of up to you, and whatever you want your finished look to be. If you need to blend your concealer a little more, you can add some more bronzer to your cheekbones. If you want to look fresh and glowy, feel free to add a little highlighter to the look. And if you want a cute and rosy glow, throw on some blush! It’s really up to you. I’d recommend keeping it as natural looking as possible, though — since this is where your mask sits, it’s the more prone to getting smudged throughout the day. Whatever you end up going for, be sure it won’t be too noticeable if it ends up being wiped away.

Step Five: Eyes

This step is totally up to you — feel free to style your eyes however you please! Whether you’re just looking to stick with your go-to everyday eye look, or go big and bold, or stick to simple and natural — the choice is yours! De to the natural look of this makeup, I like to stick to something simple and light — which I love the Charlotte Tilbury Pillowtalk Instant Eye Palette for.

Step Six: Set + Complete!

For the final step, you’re going to throw on whatever finishing touches you normally add and finish up with a setting spray! My go-to, of course, is ran Decay’s All Nighter Pollution Protection. This step is pretty crucial, since it really helps to hold everything in place — making your makeup more resistant to being worn off over the course of the day. As a final note, if you want to wear lipstick/gloss, I’d recommend bringing it with you and applying it after you’ve taken your mask off — at best, it may stay in place under your mask but it’ll probably feel pretty gross all the while. Save yourself the stress and just bring it along with you!

And there you have it! A simple, easy, six-step makeup look that will keep looking fresh, even if you have to wear a mask all day. The feeling of taking off your mask and having NO idea how messed up your makeup looks underneath is the worst — but with this makeup look, you can avoid the stress altogether. Even if it does get a little damaged after long-term mask wear, it’s simple enough that the difference won’t be noticeable. As well, after step three its more a less up to you how you want to finish the look — so while I often pair my natural every-day eye makeup to achieve a natural look, you can still go all-out on the eyes for something more bold — or go no makeup on the eyes, if that’s what you love. No matter what look you’re going for — this tutorial leaves your options open!

I hope you guys are having a good wrap-up to this summer season! I can’t believe we’re so close to September, but I adore fall, so I’m not mad. I can’t wait for fall to get into full-swing, after all, I’ve been needing a bit of change lately. August has me feeling super burnt out, which is pretty fair considering what a rollercoaster this year has been. I’m hoping to be able to shake things up this September and get back on track for all my goals for 2020!

Much love,

Meredith

Thursday Favourites: July 16th

Hey friends!

Happy Thursday! I hope everyone is having a productive and positive week — and if not, at least it’s almost Friday! I’ve still been feeling a little low on motivation lately, but the weather has finally started to turn around in Vancouver and feel like summer (which is kind of a huge blessing, but I also don’t have AC in my apartment, so it’s a bit of a curse, too). However, I’m kind of hoping to find some motivation and turn the second half of July around — there’s still time!

This week, I’m returning to more regular content and sharing a brand-new product with you all. I wanted to share a product that I’ve only started using recently, but have quickly fallen in love with. Have you ever stumbled across a product that filled a void in your skincare or makeup routine that you didn’t even know existed? Yeah, that’s this product for me: Milk Makeup’s Hydro Grip Primer.

Not that I wasn’t using primer before — that would be crazy. I just didn’t know how much primers could DO before I tried this product. I honestly just tried it on a bit of a whim — I didn’t really need a new primer just yet at the time, but as this product grew in popularity I began seeing it popping up everywhere and decided I had to try it. I had been feeling just so-so on my old primer for a while — it was fine, but it was more of a moisturizer than something to really keep makeup in place. I already have more than enough moisturizers in my skincare routine, so I felt it was time to branch out and try something new (after all, I can always put down a layer of my everyday moisturizer before my primer to fill the need).

I really didn’t know what to expect when I tried out the Hydro Grip primer — I’d been using my last primer for years, and I honestly didn’t remember what it felt like to USE other primers with my makeup. (I guess Tarte’s Timeless Smoothing Primer would be the exception, which I only used on special occasions — but I still stand by and love). And while it wasn’t like my old primer had no grip to it whatsoever, I definitely did NOT know what grip really felt like until I gave this primer a go.

This primer is almost like a layer of glue that keeps your makeup stuck down on your face once you apply it. That definitely sounds like a bit of a weird way to describe something, because it does sound a little unpleasant, but I swear it’s not. This primer is also super lightweight, and once you’ve applied your makeup you absolutely cannot feel it, so don’t let the whole “glue” thing deter you — it really just means that it’s going to help your makeup stay put all day. (Which it does do an amazing job at — I can’t wait to be able to go out more and really test out what this stuff can do because while I’ve gotten a chance to see it in action, all the reviews say this stuff keeps your makeup in place like no other).

As well, this product does an amazing job of smoothing out skin and adding a little boost of hydration — which are two things I find are really important for a primer to do. There’s nothing I hate more than the look of my makeup when my foundation settles in to every fine line, pore, and bump — it really drives me crazy, as sometimes it actually makes my skin look WORSE than it did without makeup. As well, as someone who’s prone to dry skin, I’ll take any and every moisturizing product I can when it comes to my makeup routine. Overall, this product really helps my skin and makeup look smooth and fresh, while also keeping my makeup locked down all day long.

If this sounds like the primer you’ve been needing in your life, be sure to check it out at Sephora!

Stay tuned for this weekend’s post, where I’m going to be sharing with you all how to have a productive self-care day! It’s hard to carve out time for self-care when you’re feeling overwhelmed with life — but with my day plan, there’s ways to achieve both at once! That way, for those of us feeling little overwhelmed lately (I know I certainly am) you can kill two birds with one stone and relax AND get ahead on your tasks!

Much love,

Meredith

2019 Round-Up: The Best And The Worst!

Hey y’all!

2020 is quickly approaching, and I’m not sure about you guys but I am SO ready for it. I love fresh starts, and New Years is the ULTIMATE new beginning.

To wrap this year up, I wanted to do a little round up of all my favourite and least favourite products of the year. I love discussing all the products that worked best for me on my blog — but until now I’ve avoided discussing what didn’t. I was trying to avoid being too negative in my reviews and content — but at the same time, I feel it’s important to discuss what doesn’t work. If nothing else, hopefully I can save others from learning from mistakes I’ve made.

So before we get into it, this is going to be a two part post: the first part is going to cover my ten favourite and five least favourite products of the year, and the second is going to be my top five favourite skincare and makeup brands, as well as the top five brands I’m excited to try in 2020!

One last little disclaimer — all my reviews, obviously, are personal to me. If one of my “least favourite” products is a product you use and love, or were hoping to try, don’t let my opinions stop you! Some things work better for some people than others, and just because I didn’t like something doesn’t mean it is inherently bad. As well, I do not have any bad will for the brands I’m discussing — many of them are brands I love, and while they’re other products are absolute favourites of mine, some just didn’t cut it for me, and that’s okay! The brands I’m discussing, overall, are still wonderful.

So, let’s get into it!

The Best (And Worst) Of 2019

The Best: Biossance Squalene + Vitamin C Rose Oil

Biossance Squalene + Vitamin C Rose Oil

This product single-handedly changed my skincare. Not only is this the most mega-hydrating serum OR product I’ve ever seen — the squalene content in it really helped to rebuild my skin’s protective barrier. The amount of clogged pores and breakouts I’ve had since starting this product has gone down so significantly that this is officially a staple in my nighttime skincare routine until the end of time. While I do find it a little too heavy to apply in the mornings, I do find applying it before bed and letting it sink in overnight is perfect — my skin feels so soft the next day AND there’s no residue. A lot of heavy moisturizing products won’t absorb fully and leave behind traces the next day, but not this one. Plus, you know that feeling you get when you’re using a new skincare product for the first time and you’re always excited to apply it? A year later, and I still get that feeling every night.

Read more about this product in my review here!

The Best: Peter Thomas Roth FIRMx™ Peeling Gel

Peter Thomas Roth FirmX Peeling Gel

There are very few products, no matter how much I love them, that I would deem “perfect” — but this one is one of them. I love everything about this exfoliator; from how gentle it is, to how easy it is to apply and remove. No harsh scrubbing or long mask wait times required — this stuff exfoliates your skin instantly and effectively, and leaves your skin soft and clear.

Read more about this product in my review here!

The Worst: Biossance Squalane + Bamboo Deodorant

Biossance Squalene + Bamboo Deodorant

It really hurts me to add anything by Biossance to this list, they’re one of my all-time favourite brands. Sadly, this product was a serious let down. I bought it on a bit of a whim in the Sephora check-out line, thinking that a) Biossance could do no wrong and b) I should really switch to natural deodorant anyway. When reading up on reviews after I purchased this product, there were a lot of fairly low ratings, however, there were also a lot of people saying that these comments were from people who didn’t wait out the two week “detox period” you have to go through when switching to aluminium-free deodorant. So I waited out the two week period, smelling absolutely terrible but waiting to love this product once my detox was over. And then the two weeks were up, and I kept waiting. However, I kept sweating through this product within an hour; as well, the scent — which I can only describe as very weird and a little earthy — only made me smell worse when mixed in with my natural body odour.

Finally, my manager at work literally had to confront me about how bad I smelt — which was incredibly embarrassing but also a wake up call that after a month, it was time to call it quits. This deodorant simply did not work for me (and honestly, actually kinda made me smell worse). I wasn’t quite ready to give up on natural deodorant, however, so I switched brands and now find aluminum-free deodorant works better than any other I’ve used in the past. Plus, as Biossance’s product was $17, I was saving a lot of money by switching, so win-win, right?

My recommendation? Instead try: Tom’s Of Maine Natural Deodorant!

The Best: Herbivore Botanicals Crushed Amethyst Exfoliating Body Polish

Herbivore Botanicals Crushed Amethyst Exfoliating Body Polish

Okay, I know I’ve already discussed this product so, so many times before, but it really is amazing. First of all, it smells like lilacs — one of my all time favourite scents. Second of all, it does a fantastic job of exfoliating, and unlike many other exfoliators, the grains do not melt away as you scrub. One of my largest pet peeves with salt- or sugar-based exfoliators is how quickly the exfoliating elements of the product simply dissolve as you use it, meaning you use a lot more product. With this product, I guarantee you, you won’t have that problem. Not only that, but it exfoliates evenly and isn’t too harsh — plus it’s packed with all kinds of hydrating oils, leaving your skin feeling soft as every when you’re done.

Read more about this product in my review here!

The Best: Function Of Beauty Shampoo + Conditioner

Function of Beauty Custom Shampoo

You guys already know how much I love this product. After years of bleaching out my hair, I had resigned myself it would likely be damaged beyond repair until I grew it out. I already put so much effort into caring for my hair that I couldn’t imagine what else I could do to revive it. Function of Beauty totally changed that. Not only is it super fun getting the chance to totally customize your own shampoo and conditioner — but it shows real results, too. My hair is SO shiny and smooth now, seriously, it feels healthy for the first time in years. I actually can’t remember the last time, if ever, my hair felt this healthy. Give this product a shot, healthy hair or not, and trust me — you won’t regret it.

Read more about this product in my reviews here and here!

The Worst: Lancôme’s GRANDIÔSE Extreme Wide-Angle Extreme Volume Mascara

Credit: @lancomeofficial on Instagram

As I’ve discussed before, I rarely branch out from my select few favourite mascaras, and when I do — I tend to regret it. I’ve made this mistake one other time this year with Milk’s Kush Mascara, however, nothing has ever been as much of a disappointment as Lancôme’s GRANDIÔSE Extreme Wide-Angle Extreme Volume Mascara. It’s advertised as some kind of magical all-in-one product that will lengthen, curl, and volumize your lashes — but I really didn’t find this to be the case. Frankly, not only was this the clumpiest mascara I’ve ever tried, but it hardly did anything to accentuate my lashes whatsoever. With it’s fancy curved applicator and incredibly steep price, you’d think this mascara would be a godsend. I really hate to say it, but I found it the complete opposite — it was honestly the worst mascara I’ve ever tried at any price point.

My recommendation? Instead try: Tarte’s Lights, Camera, Lashes or Dior’s Diorshow Iconic OverCurl Mascara!

The Best: Huda Beauty Obsessions Palettes

Huda Beauty Neon Obsession Palettes

My idea of “living my best life” would be owning one of each colour of all of these palettes. They are hands down THE most beautiful and pigmented eyeshadow palettes I’ve ever tried. They’re creamy instead of powdery, allowing them to blend seamlessly. My favourite aspect is how they cover every shade you’d need to blend out a full look in each specific colour set in only nine shades. I’ve seen a lot of people who get offset by how “small” these palettes are for their price — but they’re absolutely worth it. Not only are they pigmented enough to give you enough bang for your buck — but they also contain just about as much shadow as any nine pot palette. They’re just arranged in a way to make them purposely compact — making them perfect for travel.

Read more about this product in my review here!

The Best: Fenty Beauty Match Stix Matte Skinstick

Fenty Beauty Match Stix Matte Skinstick

This year, I finally got back into contouring. I fell out of favour with it back when it was hugely popular, as I often found that powder contour did not give me a natural look — it fact, it often looked muddy. However, after seeing enough videos watching artists use cream and stick contour instead of powder, I felt inspired to try again.

This contour stick is absolutely perfect for getting a seamless blend and natural look. I’ve not once had it look muddy or fake, it applies SO easily and flawlessly creates contour anywhere you apply it. I’m so glad I took the leap to get back into contouring with this product, it’s really upped a lot of my makeup looks!

Read more about this product in my review here!

The Worst: Kylie Cosmetics Glitter Eyes

Kylie Cosmetics Glitter Eyes in “Eat Cake”

After my first ever Kylie Cosmetics haul earlier this year, I was incredibly impressed with the quality of so many of the products I tried. This one, however, was incredibly disappointing. I absolutely adore liquid eyeshadow products for their incredibly pigmented look and easy application — but this product did not live up to others I had tried. It was dry and flaky; it didn’t even last until the end of my eyeshadow application before it had managed to flake off entirely. Not only that, but it took absolutely ages to dry and washed off with only the smallest amount of water. Even if you manage to apply this product well, it would never last a day without flaking or melting off in rainy weather. I’m sad because it was so beautiful, but definitely not at all worth it.

My recommendation? Instead try: Stila Glitter and Glow Liquid Eyeshadow! (You can also read my review on this product here).

The Best: Lilly Lashes

Lilly Lashes in “Miami”

Lilly Lashes, along with Sephora’s Luxe Lashes, are one of my two all-time favourite lash brands. If you know me, you know no look is complete without lashes — I literally feel naked without them. While Sephora’s lashes do give an incredibly flawless and real look, Lilly Lashes are bold and long-lasting. Seriously, so long as you take good care of these lashes, they’ll last you forever. For something as delicate as lashes, that’s pretty impressive.

Read more about this product in my review here!

The Best: Cover FX Custom Beauty Drops

CoverFX Custom Enhancer Drops

I’m sure I’m not alone in this when I say dewy skin > matte skin makeup. For the ultimate dewy skin look, I love Cover Fx’s Custom Beauty Drops! Not only do they give THE most natural yet blinding highlight — they’re extremely versatile. These drops can be added to foundation for a natural glow, applied underneath or on top of your makeup for a subtle or bold look, used as an eyeshadow, inner corner highlight, mixed into gloss and more! The possibilities are pretty endless — you can really use this product however you want. If you ever get the chance to test this product out, you’ll be sold in a heartbeat — they have so much depth to their colour and blend so flawlessly. They’ve become an absolute staple in my makeup routine.

Read more about this product in my review here!

The Worst: Glossier Perfecting Skin Tint

Glossier Perfecting Skin Tint

This might be a hugely unpopular opinion, but I’m not crazy about Glossier. While some of the products I’ve tried have been pretty great, it’s certainly not my all-time favourite brand or anything. While I do adore the Balm DotCom, and I do find the Cloud Paint/Haloscope duo gives me a great little glow if I’m in a rush to do my makeup — I really was not a fan of their skin tint product. This product really doesn’t do anything at all for your skin — I honestly couldn’t even tell where I had applied it or not as it made such a little difference. Nothing else about it is inherently bad, per se, but I feel like I would have been better off saving my money and just not wearing any kind of product on my skin, as it looked the same either way.

My recommendation? Instead try: Nars Pure Radiant Tinted Moisturizer! (You can read my review on this product here).

The Best: Urban Decay All-Nighter Setting Spray

Urban Decay All Nighter Pollution Protection Setting Spray

Urban Decay has been my go-to setting spray since I started even using setting spray at all. Seriously — I’ve never used another brand. I have, however, tested out just about all their setting sprays (and even some of their spray-on primers) and I have to say, this one is the best. While their other setting sprays are all wonderful — there’s a reason All-Nighter is their most well-known (and yes, its because this product will literally make your makeup last all night). However, when I decided to branch out and try their “Environmental Protection” spray instead, I was pleasantly surprised. It lasts every bit as well as the original All-Nighter spray, but I did notice an improvement in my skin after use. This product is designed to help keep out harmful pollutants in the air we all come into contact with every day — and based on my skin’s appearance alone, it definitely holds up to that promise.

Read more about this product in my review here!

The Best: Tarte Cosmetic’s Creaseless Concealer!

Tarte Cosmetic’s Creaseless Concealer

This concealer has been my holy grail under-eye product since I first ever started using it. I chronically suffer from dark, baggy under eyes — seriously, no matter how much sleep I get and how much stress I avoid, they always look like I haven’t slept in weeks. Not only is this concealer super pigmented, it has a thick yet creamy formula that helps to hide all discolouration and dark circles — no colour corrector required. On top of that, this concealer does a MUCH better job of not settling into fine lines and creases than any other product I’ve tried. It lasts all day without wearing off even a little, so once you’ve got this applied your under eye area will look as flawless as if you’ve just gotten back from a month-long uber relaxing spa get-away. Seriously, this stuff is that good.

Read more about this product in my review here!

The Worst: Kat Von D Tattoo Liner

Kat Von D Tattoo Liner

Liquid eyeliner is another trend I’ve really started to get back into this year. Back in high school winged eyeliner was literally my “thing” — my friends even coined a nickname for me because of it. (It was “Nike” if you’re wondering). I kind of stopped with the liner for a few years, but this year I was ready to give it another shot. Back in high school, I had two go-to liner brands — Stila and Kat Von D. When I went to Sephora, however, they were out of Stila’s liquid liner, so I went for the latter. I know Kat Von D may not be the best role model, but I honestly didn’t even know which other brand to try. The result? I honestly cannot remember why I loved this liner so much in high school. It’s strange brush-type tip makes it incredibly hard to achieve a sharp point at the end of your wing, and it easily gets overwhelmed with eyeshadow — causing it to apply unevenly, dry out, and appear more of a dull grey rather than a nice, black line. Maybe I just wasn’t good enough at makeup in high school to really notice, but this product was a major let down.

My recommendation? Instead try: Stila Stay All Day Liquid Liner (or, my new favourite — Gel Liner and a brush)!

My Top Five Skincare Brands

Biossance

Credit: @biossance on Instagram

Herbivore Botanicals

Credit: @herbivorebotanicals on Instagram

Ouai

Credit: @theouai on Instagram

Fresh

Credit: @freshbeauty on Instagram

Dr. Jart

Credit: @drjart on Instagram

My Top Five Makeup Brands

Anastasia Beverly Hills

Credit: @anastasiabeverlyhills on Instagram

Huda Beauty

Credit: @hudabeauty on Instagram

Kylie Cosmetics

Credit: @kyliecosmetics on Instagram

Nars

Credit: @narsissist on Instagram

Tarte

Credit: @tartecosmetics on Instagram

Top Five Brands I’m Most Excited To Try In 2020

ColourPop Cosmetics

Credit: @colourpopcosmetics on Instagram

Glow Recipe

Credit: @glowrecipe on Instagram

Charlotte Tilbury

Credit: @ctilburymakeup on Instagram

Jeffree Star Cosmetics

Credit: @jeffreestarcosmetics on Instagram

Farmacy

Credit: @farmacybeauty on Instagram

And that’s a wrap on everything from 2019! It’s crazy to think we’re officially two days away from the new year and a WHOLE NEW DECADE. I, for one, could not be more excited to see what the new year will bring. This upcoming year should be one of new beginnings, and it’s definitely for the best! I can’t wait to see what goals I accomplish and what changes will be made by this time next year.

Do you agree or disagree with my reviews? I’d love to hear it — especially if you love something I didn’t. As well, I’d love to hear all of your favourite brands of 2019 and what you’re hoping to try in 2020 — I’d love a little extra inspo!

Stay tuned next Sunday to hear all about how to make the perfect, maintainable and achievable New Years Resolution! A lot of people feel all kinds of pressure to completely redo themselves come each new year — which can have a lot of negative impacts. If you’re interested, I’m going to be sharing next week how I set attainable goals for each year that help push me in a positive direction towards being the best version of myself.

Happy end of December, y’all, hope the holiday season has been treating you all well!

Xo,

Meredith

My Tarte Custom Makeup Kit Unboxing!

Hey y’all! Happy Saturday!

As I mentioned in last week’s post, I initially intended this post to be shared last Sunday, but unfortunately the package didn’t arrive in time. Sooooo, instead, I’m doing two posts this weekend! Tomorrow evening at 7pm, I will be sharing the first segment of my three-part Holiday series: My Holiday Gift Guide! Stay tuned to find out what this week’s theme will be, and read all about my best gift suggestions for this holiday season!

But for this post, I’m going to be unboxing my Tarte Custom Makeup Kit for you! For those of you who don’t yet know, every so often Tarte releases their Custom Makeup Kits for 24 hours — they generally announce this sale in advance via email a few days prior. When the sale hits, it only lasts for 24 hours — but you get this time to pick 6 full size products +1 makeup bag for only $84 ($63 USD) with an overall value of over $200. While I’m honestly not too sure how often they happen/if they happen a set amount of times a year, I do know they’ve certainly done many of these releases before. Every time, I hit their website and create a kit, only to hesitate at the last minute. This time, though, I finally went through with it!

As many of you already know, Tarte is one of my all-time favourite brands. Their mascara, collagen super-serum, and primer are all part of my daily skincare and makeup routines (as well as more products that I haven’t even gotten the chance to share with you all yet!). Plus, as a brand, they’re 100% vegan and cruelty-free — and all their products are dermatologist approved and hypoallergenic. All this on top of being incredibly high-quality products. What more could you ever ask for from a brand?

The only thing that held me back from purchasing these kits in the past was the fear that the sale was incentivizing me to buy products I didn’t need. Every time I would make it through to the end, but before I would send in the order, I’d stop and think if I really needed most of the products — and the answer was usually no. While such a fantastic deal was hard to skip out on, if most of them were products I didn’t truly need, it DID feel like I was wasting money and makeup for no good reason. This time, however, everything aligned perfectly so that all the products I ordered were either things I adore, was running low on, or were products I own from different brands that I was looking to switch for something new.

There are seven steps involved in creating your own custom kit — their website takes you step-by-step through choosing a foundation, cheek product, eyeliner, mascara, lipstick and makeup brush before selecting a makeup bag for your products to arrive in. However, some of the sections have a little variation in what exactly you can choose, so if you’re not in need of, for example, a new blush, there may be other options that work better for you.

For my kit, I selected the:

  • Amazonian Clay 12-hour Full Coverage Foundation
  • Smooth Operator™ Amazonian Clay Finishing Powder
  • Clay Pot Waterproof Shadow Liner
  • Lights, Camera, Flashes ™ Statement Mascara
  • Color Splash Lipstick
  • Paddle to Perfection Foundation Brush
  • and packaged it all in the Glitter Half Moon bag!

Many of these products I’ve actually never tried before, so needless to say I just couldn’t wait for them to arrive so I could test them out and share my first impressions with you guys! So, without further ado, lets get into it! (And while we’re at it, can we just appreciate this super cute makeup bag? I’m obsessed.)

Amazonian Clay 12-hour Full Coverage Foundation

Honestly, I haven’t worn full-coverage foundation in YEARS, so I was both incredibly excited and a little nervous to try this product out. I’ve gone through multiple foundation stages in my makeup career — I started off with a VERY full coverage CC Cream by Peter Thomas Roth that was (rather unfortunately) matched quite poorly to my skin tone. However, since then I’ve mostly only ever used light-weight and low coverage products (MAC Face and Body, my current NARS tinted moisturizer, as well as a foundation-free phase). I’ve done a couple testers of full-coverage foundation here and there — but I often find heavy foundation looks cakey, tends to wear off and settle into fine lines. The last few I’ve tested all made me look worse — which is unfortunate, considering I do have relatively nice skin.

My first impressions of this foundation, so far, is that it is incredibly smooth an easy to apply — and it certainly is incredibly long lasting. It doesn’t have the heavy feel that many other full-coverage foundations have, which is also nice. It certainly covered up any blemishes or discolouration in my skin tone, though it did seem to somewhat amplify small flaws and other features of my face (ie. peach fuzz, dry patches, texture etc.). However, I’m starting to accept that may just be how full-coverage foundation is. Overall, I’d say I’m pretty impressed with this foundation — it won’t necessarily be my every-day go-to, but for nights out when I want a full-glam look it’ll definitely be exactly what I need.

Product: Amazonian Clay 12-hour Full Coverage Foundation in shade 16N (Tarte|Sephora)

Smooth Operator™ Amazonian Clay Finishing Powder

This one was a real blessing to find as an option for this kit as I’ve been DYING to try a new setting powder. I’ve been absolutely married to my Laura Mercier powder ever since the very first time I ever set my makeup, meaning I’ve actually never once tried another product. It was working for me, so I didn’t really see the point in switching — finishing powder is invisible, so what difference would it make? However, especially since I’ve begun baking my makeup, I’ve really started to notice how drying it can be — it can be rather unflattering as I already have skin that airs on the drier side.

Unfortunately, my first impression of this powder is that it is, sadly, even more drying than my other one. That being said, I’ve only been able to test it out once. When it came to baking, not only did it seriously dry out my under-eye area, but the excess powder stuck right on and took a whole lot of effort to wipe away. Even once I thought I got it all, I stepped into the dimmer lighting in my room I realized there was still a load of powder stuck to my concealer. Overall, sadly, my first impressions weren’t great — but I’m going to give it another shot, and I’ll be sure to update this post if anything changes!

Product: Smooth Operator™ Amazonian Clay Finishing Powder in shade White (Tarte|Sephora)

Clay Pot Waterproof Shadow Liner

This was also a godsend find as I’ve been really needed a good gel liner. I’m going to be covering this a little more in future posts, but as I’ve been getting back into doing winged liner I discovered (by suggestion from my friend Amanda) that winged liner is much easier to apply with a brush than it is with a felt-tipped pen. After struggling to draw wings on well with one of my old high-school favourite products, Amanda mentioned how she could never do winged liner (which she wears nearly every day) with a pen — brushes really help to create a smoother line and draw on a lot more easily.

Now, I’ve only used this liner once, but I’ve got to say — I was pretty blown away by it. It’s smooth, dark, and applies super easily — I got my wings drawn in in record time. The only downside is it seemed to be a little thick, making it hard to apply in delicate areas. However, for the actual winged part of may liner it was incredibly easy to use (and I just drew the other areas I struggled with in with a felt tip liner pen). As well, this may just be a bit of a learning curve for me and less so a flaw in the product, so overall I’d definitely have to recommend this liner to anyone who loves their liner winged out and extra AF.

Product: Clay Pot Waterproof Shadow Liner in shade Black (Tarte|Sephora)

Lights, Camera, Flashes ™ Statement Mascara

Okay, we all know how much I love the Tarte Lights, Camera, Lashes 4-in-1 mascara. I could go into it all over again, but I think you guys have heard me rave about it enough. While it was an option in this section, I decided to branch out to a different mascara for once, which I know I mention I often regret — but considering the deal I was getting in this package combined with the fact that it’s just a different version of the same product, I felt pretty safe trying something new.

Since I actually just bought a brand new mascara only a month ago, I’ve actually decided to save this one for a little and test it out at a later date as to not waste product. However, I can say with confidence it should work out just fine, considering it’s simply a modified version of one of my all-time favourite mascaras.

Product: Lights, Camera, Flashes ™ Statement Mascara in Shade Black (Tarte|Sephora)

Color Splash Lipstick

While I wasn’t in any sort of dire need for a new lip product, I’m certainly not one to ever turn one down. As well, I’m a huge lip gloss type of girl — its been a while since I bought a proper nude lipstick. I was THIS CLOSE to just getting another gloss, but I figured this was a staple I’d get more use out of — especially since I don’t really have many lip sticks.

I do have to say, I was really happy with the variety of products they offered here — there was matte liquid lip, matte lipstick, regular lipstick, gloss — and maybe more that I don’t even remember. This was great for me as I’ve never been too much of a matte fan (sometimes I’ll jump for a matte lipstick, but I’m awfully specific about the formula and would need to try it in person before purchasing). However, whether you’re a matte, gloss, or just plain lipstick fan — this kit had a product you’d be content with.

I’m glad I decided to switch it up and get a lipstick, too, because this lip stick is AMAZING. First of all, the colour is just perfect. As well, it’s seriously pigmented, not at all heavy or sticky, and incredibly long lasting. 10/10, could totally get me back into lipsticks.

Product: Color Splash Lipstick in shade Set Sail (Tarte|Sephora)

Paddle to Perfection Foundation Brush

This was another product I’ve just been dying to satisfy my curiosity on. I’ve been seeing these paddle brushes all over the internet for years now, but I’ve never gotten the chance to test one out. I absolutely love Beauty Blenders, and especially since I don’t ever use full-coverage foundation, I’ve never really needed a brush to apply foundation. However, both because this kit gave me the option, AND the foundation to properly test it out with, I’m finally getting the chance to give this brush a go!

Let me just say, if you don’t have one of these brushes in your life, go out and get one ASAP. This brush applied my foundation SO smoothly and seamlessly in a record breaking short period of time. It’s so soft and smooth too, it feels like heaven blending your makeup into your skin. I’m not 100% ready to give up on my Beauty Blenders just yet, but just trying this brush one time has me considering it.

Product: Paddle to Perfection Foundation Brush (Tarte)

Overall, I’m super happy with this kit and I’m so glad I finally decided to purchase one. At just $84, it would be pretty hard for it to be disappointing, but this kit introduced me to so many new products I will 100% be purchasing again in the future. While some of the products may not have had mind-blowing results the first try, it may just take some getting used to with stepping out of my comfort zone and trying things I don’t usually incorporate into my makeup routine.

If you got a Tarte Custom kit recently, I’d love to hear what you chose to add to your kit and how your products worked for you! If not, I hope this post inspires you to try out one of your own next time around.

Hope you’re all having a lovely weekend, and be sure to stay tuned for my new post tomorrow! I’m so excited to share it with you all!

Xo,

Meredith

Sephora Haul: August 18th

Samples At Sephora!

Hey everyone!

So, recently, I took a little trip down to Sephora (classic, I know). However, this time around I figured I’d do a little Sephora Haul post of everything I got and share with you some returning favourites, as well as some new things I just got to try out!

On top of all that, my list of stuff I want to try out from Sephora is both a) completely unrealistic to buy at once and b) expensive. I was going to include all the products I’m dying to try here before I got into my whole haul and realized that added my Wishlist was going to turn this into the longest post of all time, so stay tuned for that next week instead. I have a couple of products that caught my eye that I’m excited to try in the future — after I’ve used up whatever equivalent I’m currently using or when I can justify the purchase a little better. If you’ve tried any of them and have some feedback, good or bad, I’d love to hear it!

So, let’s get into it!

Returning Favourite: Tarte Creaseless Concealer!
Tarte Creaseless Concealer

I’ve tried out sooooo many concealers in my time, but this one is my personal favourite. I haven’t gotten the chance to make a Tuesday Favourites post about it just yet, but trust me, it’s coming. I suffer from some serious under-eye circles and while I’ve tried out many a concealer, none of them last all day and cover everything up like this stuff does.

New And Exciting: Biossance Squalene and Bamboo Deodorant!
Biossance Squalene and Bamboo Deodorant

Okay, maybe this is TMI, but I tend to be a pretty sweaty person and it’s the bane of my existence. I’ve tried out so many deodorants, from VERY all natural (read: Lush T’eo Deodorant, which sorry, I totally hated), to Dove aerosol spray, to men’s Old Spice (yes, seriously). While I usually go for Secret’s gel formulas (which are great since they don’t leave any obvious white residue) I sometimes find they don’t work all that well, especially around the end of the tube. On top of all this, I’d like to have something natural — we’ve all heard about the dangers of aluminum in deodorant, and since I’m a pretty frequent user, I’d like to limit the chemicals I’m applying daily. I saw this stuff at the checkout line and immediately grabbed it and threw it in my basket. Sephora offers a bunch of all-natural deodorants, but I love love love Biossance, so this one immediately caught my eye. Fingers crossed it works, I’ll be sure to update you all if it goes well!

Returning Favourite: Lilly Lashes (Miami)
Lilly Lashes in Miami

Y’all already know I love lashes, and I promise a post on Lilly Lashes is coming soon. While I’ve already done a post on my other favourite lash brand, Sephora’s Luxe Lashes, these ones are a favourite for totally different reasons. They still look pretty natural, however I don’t find them as easy to apply or as flattering as the Luxe Lashes. The big upside here is that these lashes can last forever. Seriously, they are so well made — as long as I don’t lose them I can use them forever. While I tend to spring for the Luxe Lashes for specific events as I do like their appearance just a little more, these ones are also stunning and make a great lash for weekly use.

New And Exciting: Farsali Rose Gold Elixir
Farsali Rose Gold Elixir

If you’ve ever seen an Instagram makeup tutorial, like, ever, you’ve probably seen Farsali elixirs before. They’re super popular amongst make-up influencers for application under makeup, or even mixed in, for a fresh and dewey look. I’ve never been ready to commit to a whole bottle, as I wasn’t sure it was really something I really needed — but I was always curious. When I saw this sample sized bottle, I knew it was the perfect opportunity to give it a try!

Returning Favourite: Tarte’s Lights, Camera, Lashes!
Tarte’s Lights, Camera, Lashes Mascara

Alright, you guys already know I love Tarte. This product has always been one of my favourite mascaras and frequently in my rotation. Mascara is one of those products that I actually switch up pretty frequently; I’ll admit I’m pretty married to most of my other makeup items and rarely stray from what I always buy. With mascara, however, I’ve always had a couple of favourites that I switch out, and I’ll try out new products that catch my eye every so often as they only last three months anyway. This one reigns as one of my favourites, as I find the brush a great shape and the formula pretty fantastic — as well as the added eyelash conditioning bonus. Be sure to stay tuned for a post on all my favourite — and least favourite — mascaras I’ve tried!

Returning Favourite: The Beauty Blender!
Blender Sponge by Beauty Blender

I won’t go too deep into this one since I’m sure most of you are at least a little familiar with it. I’ve never met a better makeup applicator, and have pretty much been married to this sponge since I bought my first one. I seriously can’t remember a time I’ve purchased a different sponge or foundation brush since.

New And Exciting: ABH Matte Lipstick Set!
Anastasia Beverly Hills Matte Lipstick Set

Anyone who knows me knows I have never been a matte lipstick gal. From the start of the matte lipstick boom a few years ago, through its peak, it was never a favourite of mine. While I tried to hop aboard the trend, I always hated the dryness of it, how it looked when it wore off and was re-applied, and even the look — I just never personally never found it attractive. (This, along with straying from the bold-brow and contour trend, was actually a huge turning point for me in learning that I don’t always have to follow what’s trendy and a product’s popularity doesn’t mean it’s what looks best on me). Through and through, I’ve mostly stuck to gloss or non-matte lipstick through the years until they started to finally come back in style this last year. However, I occasionally spring for the occasional matte lipstick — I find at least non-liquid matte isn’t as drying and doesn’t give as extreme of a matte look which I indulge in sometimes. This product (and the surprising low price of it) caught my eye near the checkout, and I decided to give it a try as most of the colours have a shimmer and the sample size of them is fairly low-commitment. I’ve never tried ABH Lipstick but the brand is one of my favourites, so I’m sure these won’t disappoint.

Returning Favourite: Hello Fab Coconut Skin Smoothie Priming Moisturizer!
Hello Fab Coconut Skin Smoothie Priming Moisturizer

Okay, this product’s name is a bit of a mouthful. But this stuff is fantastic — it can double as a moisturizer even when you’re going out sans-makeup and has a lovely glow to it that illuminates your complexion. My skin is generally on the dry side, so I find this product works wonderfully to give my skin a little extra moisture before I start my makeup routine. While I’m not 100% married to it like I am with many of my other products, I’ve used it consistently as a primer for about a year now.

Returning Favourite: Benefit Gimme Brow Mascara!
Benefit Gimme Brow Mascara

I won’t go too deep into this one since I already made a whole post about it here. However, if you’re one for a more natural brow look, brow mascara is a product worth looking into — it helps define your brows while also holding them in place all day. Plus when it comes to brows, Benefit is one of the best.

And that’s all for my haul! Stay tuned to read all about my wish list of Sephora products — I have so many things I’m dying to try and I’d love any feedback before I go out and purchase them!

As always, much love,

Meredith

BONUS: Inside look at the Farsali Elixir — I’m already in love!