Catching Some Zzzs : Z Palette Review and Depotting Tips!

Z Palette Review

Hello readers, sorry for the brief hiatus but I’m back! While on my small blogging break, I discovered one of my favorite new beauty products the Z Palette!

The Z Palette is a magical item that magnetically stores all of your refill makeup pans, or your de-potted shadows, blushes, highlighters, etc. (It also comes in different sizes and prints/colors.) It allows you to build a custom palette using varying brands essentially – and it’s amazing.

I have been curious about the Z Palette for a long time. My Naked 2 palette sadly got destroyed when my cat knocked it off of the counter, broken hinge and a shattered Blackout. So I jumped at the opportunity to rehome the palette’s intact shadows. (I also hate having all of my eyeshadow singles cluttering my makeup bag.)

I bought the medium Z Palette from Amazon in black for $15.30, but the palettes are available at other retailers like Sephora, Ulta and MakeupGeek. I figured I should start small in my venture into re-paletting(?) I managed to depot the Naked 2 palette, a MAC shadow, Mythology, and another UD shadow, Blunt. Here are the final results…

Z-Palette       Z-Palette

De-potting, the process of removing the shadow from its casing and putting it into the Z Palette, was not easy and I wouldn’t have been able to do it without YouTube tutorials. For the Naked palette de-potting I used Kaiden Capri’s tutorial and Brittany Sarah’s tutorial, which you can find here, for single eyeshadows. **My tip would be to take it slow! I got overly excited, went very quickly and destroyed a mini LORAC PRO palette I wanted to de-pot. Oops.**  Also, you can buy single pan eyeshadows (without the packaging) from several stores and skip this stressful step. My go-to for pan eyeshadow is MAC, you can get the same shades for a steal when you buy single-pan refills ($10 compared to $15).

Oh! Before I forget another note is that you can write the names of your shadows on the metal backings of the pan, for the singles though, I just took the stickers off of my shades and stuck them on the back of the Z Palette under the corresponding shade, like this:

Z-Palette Shade Stickers

I love that with this palette I can merge some of my eyeshadow stash, and can’t wait to collect more Z Palettes and grab some pan shadows from MAC. I’ll be sure to update you with new makeup pans for my Z Palette and hopefully I won’t get too addicted!

Do you have a Z Palette? What is your favorite store for refills?

Let me know in the comments section below!

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From a Galaxy Far Far Away…

Covergirl-1

One of this year’s most anticipated theatrical releases, Star Wars: Episode VII – The Force Awakens, has now even captured my attention with the limited-edition Star Wars-inspired CoverGirl collection!

CoverGirl asks its beauty queens, are you on the light side… or the dark side? The collection includes out of this world mascaras, vampy nail polishes and shiny futuristic lipsticks.

CoverGirl Global Creative Design Director Pat McGrath created six amazing new looks and two in particular to promote the campaign: Droid and Stormtrooper. Droid, inspired by C-3PO offers a glimmering look that includes a stunning gold highlight, gold shimmer lipstick and metallic gold nails.

Stormtrooper on the other hand focusses on the monochromatic look and harsh angles of the Stormtrooper’s legendary armor. This look also features a deep maroon lip as a nod to the dark side.

In this collection are also 10 mascaras featuring classic quotes from your favorite characters including Yoda, Princess Leia and Obi-Wan Kenobi. As well as five new futuristic lipsticks in Dark Purple, Gold, Red, Lilac, Silver and Nude.

Check out more images from CoverGirl and Star Wars’ latest campaign below!

This limited edition collaboration will go on sale online on September 4th and at mass retailers in mid-September! Essential for any super fans out there, I can already see recreations of Pat McGrath’s looks being a big hit for the release of Star Wars The Force Awakens in December!

What about you? Will you be joining the light or the dark side?

XO

AC

Photos courtesy of CoverGirl Cosmetics

Miley’s Back in MAC

Miley Cyrus VIVA GLAM 2015

Every which way I look, I’m seeing Cyrus. Whether it’s on my Instagram feed, on MTV’s love-to-hate promotions for the VMAs or on the latest version of Marie Claire, the star is having a major year – she was just announced as SNL’s first host for Season 41 too. On top of everything else she has also announced her new VIVA GLAM MAC Cosmetics campaign for Fall 2015.

Cyrus announced the line with a quick vintage-inspired pic to Instagram featuring the new products. Her previous collaboration included a bubblegum hot pink lipstick and lipglass, which you can still buy. This season her shade is a bright red-orange and we can’t wait to see more of this powerful pop of color!

The line gives 100% of its proceeds directly to men, women and children who have been impacted by HIV or AIDS.

“The idea of VIVA GLAM was to celebrate life and the outspoken attitude of the company. It was a connective tissue that encompassed the diversity of M·A·C and its mantra…all ages, all races, all sexes. It was, and continues to be, the signature and the heart and soul of the company. VIVA GLAM spokespeople are provocative, alternative and influential and reflect diverse communities. They are heroes we look up to for their personal triumphs; people who have invented themselves and people who created movements.” You can learn more about the MAC AIDS FOUNDATION and see past campaign images and products here.

We definitely think Miley embodies that image, especially with her involvement in the Happy Hippie Foundation.

Miley’s new VIVA GLAM MAC will be available for sale in North America September 8th, will you be picking up a tube, or two or three…?

Let me know in the comments!

XO

AC

A Fresh Start: FOREO Luna Mini Review

FOREO Luna Mini

Skincare has always been a top priority for me. I always (try) to wear sunscreen, never go to sleep with makeup on and make sure to wash my face twice a day. Something that I have always struggled with is finding the perfect facial-cleansing tool.

I started out simple, with a manual silicone scrubber, then kicked my skincare routine up a notch with Clarisonic’s Mia 2. For the first few months I loved the cleansing brush, but then I noticed my skin was splotchy –  even though I was using the sensitive settings and brush head, my dermatologist said that Mia 2 was way too rough for daily facial cleansing and I had created tiny tears in my skin. I immediately stopped using my Mia 2 and it has been sitting at home in the bathroom closet since then.

Last week, I finally decided to commit to a new cleansing tool. I debated for a lengthy amount of time about which option would be best and while I was tempted by Clinique’s Sonic System Purifying Cleansing Brush, I ended up dishing out the cash for the adorable Foreo Luna Mini.

Here’s Why:

  • No Brush Head Replacements Needed
  • Nonabrasive Brush
  • 35x More Hygienic than Cleansing Brushes
  • 300 Uses Per Charge

The Foreo Luna Mini is a compact silicone facial-cleansing tool that is suitable for all skin types, features 2 speeds and is travel friendly. (Luna, the Mini’s older sis, is a much larger version of the tool that offers different silicone node arrangements based on your specific skin type.)

On the front of the Luna Mini, is the larger touch point section for general cleansing and the smaller for precision cleansing. The back featuring the largest touch points is for deep cleansing. The power button activates high-intensity cleansing mode with one press and low-intensity with two presses.

While I haven’t had the cleansing tool long, I’m already head-over-heels in love with it! It’s extremely gentle and so easy to clean after each use! I love knowing that, unlike a brush head, there aren’t thousands of bacteria on the silicone head. It’s also super easy to throw into my toiletries bag since the device is so compact. I definitely recommend the Foreo Luna Mini for anyone who is looking for a hygienic, affordable and gentle way to cleanse your skin.

At $139, the price is a little steep but considering the amount of money you’re saving on brush heads, it’s worth it in the long run, plus Foreo includes a 2-year warranty and a 10-year quality guarantee!

Do you think you’ll be investing in the Luna Mini? Let me know which cleansing device is your favorite in the comment section below!

P.S. Check out Foreo’s New Luna Mini Save the Sea, Luna Mini Saves the Sea
this special edition cleanser supports Foreo’s board of Ocean Conservation Charity Partners!

XO

AC

Beyoncé X Flash Tattoos

BEY

One of the hottest accessories this season has been temporary tattoos, specifically metallic ones that can take place of a piece of jewelry. Today, Flash Tattoos, the leading brand in jewelry inspired temporary tattoos, announced and released their collaboration with the one and only, Beyoncé.

Co-designed by Queen Bey herself, the set features 5 sheets of metallic tattoos with designs that include BB guns and holsters, bees and honeycomb cuffs, beehive flower motifs, ornate ankle and bracelets bands, phrases from her lyrics, like “Naughty Girl” and “Flawless,” and a set of necklaces with “Diva” and “Flawless” printed on them. The designs are in an array of metallic silver, gold and black, and can be used together or stand alone.

In a statement about working with Beyoncé, Flash Tattoos founder Miranda Burnet said, “We’re thrilled to welcome Beyoncé to the Flash family! Working with her has been incredible — she brought really original and beautiful ideas. We came up with a pack that we are all really proud of and excited to wear. The collection is an edgier take on traditional jewelry — we wanted to focus on making a strong and empowering statement with the designs that embodied Beyoncé — fierce, fabulous, and flawless!”

The Flash Tattoos are available now online for $28 here. Get a look at a handful of the designs below, in Beyoncé’s “Feeling Myself” music video, or in one of the many photos circulating Instagram right now, including Bey’s.

I’m dying to get my hands on this set, the lyrical script options are my favorite! Will you be buying Beyoncé’s Flash Tattoos set? Share your thoughts in the comment section!

XO

AC

Pop of Color by Kristen Taekman

Pop of Color by Kristen TaekmanA night of relaxation for me consists of a glass of moscato, a quick polish change and a few episodes of Real Housewives of New York. And now two of those things are coming together! Kristen Taekman, model, mother and my favorite New York Housewife, has started her own nail polish line!

Pop of Color by Kristen Taekman was created by Kristen herself, with help from makeup artist Jacquelyn Grubbs and consultation by nail artist Pattie Yankee. The line is made in New York, vegan, 4 free and is available at Ricky’s NYC online and in stores in Manhattan, East Hampton and two stores in Miami.

My favorite part of this line is the amazing color range and name choices. Taekman describes her color range as a mix between Jackie Kennedy and Carrie Bradshaw. The color choices include several subtle shades, but also bright fun ‘pops’ of color. The names too reflect Taekman’s personality with and homage to her love of Elvis, BlueMoon and The King, RHONY references, I’m Pretty and Crybaby and hashtags that Kristen often uses, Easy Like Sunday and Home Sweet Home.

Plus these shades are just $8!

You can read more about how Taekman started the line on her blog ‘Last Night’s Look’ here. Meanwhile, get a good look at the shades below and if you can’t resist, shop the polishes now at Ricky’s NYC.

Be sure to let me know which shade is your favorite! Cash Money might just be my favorite for fall, but I also love TGIF!

XO

AC

Up Close & Personal : Naked Smoky Palette

Urban Decay Naked Smoky

Since seeing the first sneak peeks and previews of Urban Decay’s Naked Smoky palette, I have been waiting very impatiently to get my hands on this product. My current Urban Decay collection includes a few of the brands 24/7 eye liners, Naked 2 and Naked 3, so of course I was thrilled to add Naked Smoky to that lineup. Just about a week after being released in stores in early July, I finally got my hands on Naked Smoky – I could hear the hallelujah chorus as I picked up the LAST palette on the Urban Decay display.

No matter what I am purchasing, I always love to see swatches, reviews and unboxings of products. Naturally, I felt the need to spread the word about my latest possession and give my two cents.

So first of all the packaging on this palette is so different from the Naked 2 and Naked 3. The palette itself is sleeker, smaller and features a magnetic closure instead of the previous — what would you even call them — clasps? Naked Smoky is also in a smoky, translucent case, UD founder Wende Zomnir said she was inspired by the look of a ’70s glass coffee table.

Similar to the previous Naked palettes, Smoky features a mirror inside the case and an updated double ended brush. with a smudger dude and a tapered crease brush to create the most smoked-out eye looks. Smoky also comes with an easy how-to guide to make 4 simple smokey-eye looks. UD Naked Smoky Palette This palette includes 9 never before seen shades, 3 palette exclusives and matte, satin and glitter or shimmer finishes. I love the glittery shades, but sometimes I want a matte eye for an everyday look, so I’m thrilled that UD included mattes as well. The colors aren’t organized in lightest to darkest, like previous palettes, but instead grouped in sets of 4 that make it even simpler to create smoky eyes for makeup novices.

Shades: The swatches on the left are in daylight without flash and the swatches on the right are indoors with flash on – the pictures do not do this palette justice. The shades are all really rich and the shimmer shades are dazzling!

Smoky Swatches
Thirteen: Light pink champagne shimmer. This shade went on extremely sheer, nearly nude on my fair skin and works best as a highlight!

Combust: Light, almost rose or orange-hued tan, matte finish.

Whiskey: Bronze-y matte brown.

Password: Taupe matte gray, perfect for crease blending.

Smolder : Deep purple with pewter undertones, satin finish.

Black Market : Dark matte black shade – essential for smokey eyes! Think Black Heart minus the red glitter.

Dagger : Dark gray with blue undertones, satin finish.

Slanted : Silver shimmer with glitter, lavender undertones.

Armor: Cool shimmering dark pewter tone with glitter.

Radar: Taupe-hued light brown shimmering shade with glitter.

Dirtysweet : Warm golden metallic shimmer, satin finish. Similar to UD’s shade Blunt, but more vibrant and much more color payout.

High: Shimmering champagne pink with lots of glitter. Photos don’t do this shade justice at all!

I absolutely love this palette and can’t wait to start playing around with different looks.

I picked my Naked Smoky palette up at Ulta, for $54 and I think it was definitely worth the money, but I am a die-hard UD fan so I may be a little biased… You can also pick up the palette at Sephora or Urban Decay.

Will you be getting smoky with Urban Decay this fall? Also, which shade is your favorite? Let me know in the comments!

XO

AC

Suede Smooches

suedesmooch

For those of you who aren’t absolutely obsessed with following beauty brands on Instagram, you probably haven’t heard of NYX Cosmetics’s latest product, Liquid Suede. – EEK – I am so excited for this product to become available. NYX has sent some out to some lucky bloggers early to amp up interest in the latest lippie and the envy is real.

Available in 12 shades, this lip color has velvet texture, is waterproof and applies satiny but has a matte finish. Online, at NYX Cosmetics, you can check out all 12 shades, watch videos from Instagram users and sign up to be first to hear about the release of Liquid Suede. Plus you can see swatches of the lippies on fair, medium and dark skintones.

What are you waiting for? Check them out now and let me know what your favorite shade is. I’m torn between Vintage, a plum mauve undertones, and Life’s A Beach, a bright coral.

XO

AC

The Buzz on Beauty Subscriptions

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For the past few years I’ve been debating whether or not beauty boxes are worth the hype. If you don’t know, these subscription services send you monthly boxes of beauty samples — think of it like Netflix for makeup. The best part about these services is that you get to try a plethora of products for a fraction of the cost of one full-size product. This is ideal for me since I love staying up to date on cosmetics, but am limited by my budget.

While researching into the different brand of beauty subscription services, it was hard for me to keep track of the pros and cons of each. So of course, why not make an easy guide for my readers to keep track of the differences between each service! We will be looking at Birchbox, ipsy, Glossybox, Beauty Army and, last but not least, Beauty Box Five. Let’s get started…

Birchbox // $10 per Month or $110 Yearlybox-display

What’s inside: Using your unique Beauty Profile, Birchbox includes 5 personalized products from makeup, skincare, haircare and fragrance categories — including cult classics and new products.

What Sets Them Apart: You can get points for reviewing your products that can be applied to your subscription. Review all 5, get 50 points = $5 off your next box!

ipsy Glam Bag // $10 per Month or $100 Yearly Untitled

What’s Inside:  Like Birchbox, ipsy’s Beauty Quiz helps tailor their picks to your personal profile. Included in the box are 5 personalized products from makeup, skincare and haircare categories PLUS a stylish makeup bag.

What Sets Them Apart: This brand was started by YouTube beauty guru Michelle Phan, so through this subscription you get access to product tutorials from ipsy stylists and major deals through member-only offers and product giveaways. And did I mention a makeup bag with every box?

Glossybox // $21 per Month, $126 for 6 Months or $222 for 12 Months. stylelab-beauty-blog-glossybox-example2

What’s Inside: A personalized selection of 5 beauty and hair products by brands from all over the world, currently they have over 400 brands, and a detailed description card with how-to guides for the products.

What Sets Them Apart: Glossybox has the largest array of brands and products to choose from — 400 to be exact —and the cute pink box is reusable.

Con: This subscription is pricier, which makes sense considering the range of product samples they have to choose from.

Beauty Army // $12 for 1 Month, $33 for 3 Months, $60 for 6 Months and $92 for 1beauty-army-beauty-sample-service Year

What’s Inside: 6 personalized beauty and hair product selections chosen from your favorite leading brands.

What Sets Them Apart: 6 samples, rather than 5 and the prices get cheaper as you increase your subscription length.

BTW: Although the $12 for 1 month may lead you to stray, it’s the same pricing as the ipsy and Birchbox, $2 per sample.

Beauty Box Five // $12 per Month, $30 for 3 Months, $99 for 1 Yearabout-beauty-box

What’s Inside: 5 deluxe samples and full-size beauty products from leading luxury, drugstore, eco-conscious and vegan brands.   

What Sets Them Apart: Full size products and products chosen don’t focus on luxury brand beauty.

Con: If you’re a bit of a beauty snob *raises hand* you might prefer luxury brands in a beauty subscription box, rather than drugstore brands. Plus this site doesn’t include anything about personalizing your choices.
Which subscription service is your favorite? Hopefully this handy breakdown list will help you decide if you want to commit to a beauty subscription. And hey, if you’re not fully convinced try it for just a month. Also, another key feature I want to include is the fact that all of the aforementioned subscriptions are available to purchase as gifts!

xo

AC