May 13, 2016

the wet n wild photofocus range | a review

Hello there!

I haven't reviewed new products on the blog in a long time, and that is mainly because I have been so determined to finish products I already own. It explains all the posts about empty products! So today I thought I would share two new products I tried from the new Wet N Wild PhotoFocus range. There are four items in this line, including a eye primer and a face primer. But I was more excited about the setting spray and the lash primer. Setting sprays have only been recently introduced to the drugstore, and the only products released have been at least ten dollars. So when I saw that this setting spray was only five bucks I threw it in my basket immediately! I also wanted to try the lash primer, because lash primers are so expensive in departments stores, and I wanted to see if Wet N Wild could make a lash primer that battled the more expensive options. Here are my thoughts:

[lash primer]

I was interested to try this lash primer because I have only tried very expensive lash primers. Lash primers don't really exist in the drugstore, so I was excited to see that there was finally a more reasonably-priced option. I love the brush on this primer; it's a big bristle brush that grabs very lash and coats them thoroughly. I liked that the color of the primer doesn't apply as white on the lashes as it is in the tube, because sometimes when a lash primer is too white it can end up making your lashes look grey once you apply your mascara. After applying this primer, I had high hopes that it would do amazing things for my lashes. But I have to be honest and say that this primer was not spectacular. I liked that it made my lashes look a little thicker, but it did not add a ton of length, and did not help my lashes hold a curl. In fact, I think the added thickness from the primer made my lashes heavier, which caused my lashes to droop and look a little limp by the end of the day. If you find an amazing mascara, it will do all the things you need a primer to do. In the end, I think that a lash primer is just an extra unnecessary step, and testing this primer proved that. Skip the lash primer and grab a good mascara instead, like the Physician's Formula Organic Wear mascara or the Essence I Love Extreme mascara. 

rp: 5.00

[setting spray]

Because the performance of the lash primer was so poor, I had low expectations for this setting spray. But I was pleasantly surprised! This setting spray does all kinds of good things for my makeup, and every aspect of this product impressed me. I liked the packaging of this spray from the get-go; it is a small bottle, which I liked because it was easy to throw in a purse for touch-ups throughout the day. It has a really good nozzle that gives a full spray; instead of spraying product straight onto the face and ruining my makeup, like I have found some sprays to do, this setting spray mists the face really well. I apply this product before I start my foundation and after I finish my makeup. It helps my foundation blend beautifully into the skin, and gives my makeup more of an airbrushed finish. It keeps my makeup from having a cake-y or powder-y finish, and I find that I have a glow when I use this product, but I don't look oily. But the best part of this setting spray is that it really improves the longevity of my makeup! My makeup doesn't break down on my skin, and it looks really great at the end of the day! I was surprised to find that my skin didn't look dull or grey at the end of the day, and it is definitely because of this setting spray. And for the price, it is a must-have! I would highly recommend grabbing it the next time you are at the drugstore. 

rp: 5.00

I hope that this post was helpful and informative! In my opinion, I think the setting spray was a hit and the lash primer was an unfortunate miss. But let me know if you decide to test out either of these products for yourself, and I would love to hear your thoughts!

What have you tried recently from the the new photofocus line?

xx BB

May 10, 2016

a little reflection.

Hello there!

Wow. I have been gone for a while. I knew, when I left for college, that things that I loved would be put on the back-burner while I got everything figured out, but I did not realize that my blog would turn into a ghost town. I also did not think that I would miss it this much. For those who have continued to look at my blog, thank you. And for those who left for a little while, welcome back! I am happy to say that I am back and ready to start blogging again.

A lot of things changed while I was away at college, but the majority of these changes were personal adjustments I made, after realizing that I was not prepared for college life and all its challenges. For me, the struggle was more of a mental one than anything else, and I found myself very lost at times. So I thought that I would share a few lessons I learned during my first year of college. Some are more obvious than others, but I think they are all important lessons to remember:

1. Be open-minded || As hard as it is, try not to be judgmental. As a typically judgmental person, this was initially really hard to do. But what you have to understand, as someone new to college, is that university gives you a safe space to experiment and to be yourself. I always encountered people who judged others for who they were, who they wanted to be, or the choices they made. In truth, during the first year of college everyone makes choices that they don't think were the best in hindsight, but being open-minded about the choices you make and the choices others make can give anyone a lot of perspective on life's decisions. Be open to taking risks and, even if you decide not to take a risk, be open to the idea that someone else might want to.

2. Be honest || By this, I mean be honest with yourself. Check in with yourself often and ask "am I okay?" Ask yourself "am I in a good place in my life?" If you answer no to either question, do a little self-reflection and a little soul-searching, and figure out what went wrong or what you're missing. A lot of times, people miss the signs that are telling them to slow down or stop, and they stop listening to their body and themselves. When you stop being honest with yourself about who you are and who you want to be, you really miss out on the entire point of college; university is four years to selfishly follow your passions and discover yourself, but if you work to hard or pursue the wrong passions you waste so much time and energy on the wrongs things or the wrong people. Although the path to self-discovery is long and winding, and a lot of times we all make wrong turns and take a longer path to get to the end, if you are taking a path that is wrong for you without knowing it, you may end up in the wrong place. So take time to reflect and recognize, because it's good for you and because it will reward you in the end. 

3.  Be yourself || In the first year of college, everyone just wants to find their place and make friends. I know that the friends I have found in my first year of college will be in my life for a while, and this would not have happened if I had not been completely honest about the person I am. Trying to be someone else is not only really hard, but also really exhausting, and if you continue to pretend that you are someone that you aren't you will eventually find yourself surrounded by people that you don't want to be around and don't connect with. Though at times trying to fit in seemed like the only option, if you feel like you haven't found a good group of friends, or even one good friend, give it time. By the end of my first semester I still felt lost and out of place, but I didn't give up and stayed true to who I was, and I eventually found amazing friends. You don't just have to be honest with yourself, you have to be honest with others too. 

4. Put yourself out there || Being outgoing and social was a major stressor for me, especially at the beginning of the year. As I have grown older, I have become more and more introverted, and because of this putting myself out there to meet new people and socialize was not only a daunting task but also very exhausting. However, my advice is to just do it. No matter how much you hate being social and going out, making connections during the first few weeks of school is crucial, and makes an enormous impact on the rest of your college experience. When people invite you to go out or go to dinner, go. And make a habit of saying "yes" to doing things that you would normally not do, within reason of course. Practice spontaneity and be more adventurous. It will make for a more exciting year and will give you amazing memories with lifelong friends. 

5. Choose your friends wisely || This is a tough one, mainly because, in the beginning of the year, you just want to have friends. But recognize the red flags and notice when things seem out of place. You will meet a lot of people in college who seem great and are really cool, and a lot of times you will want to be friends with these people. But if you find that these people don't prove their worth as your friends, and don't stick by your side through tough moments, they are not your real friends. A real friend will be more of an addition to your life than a subtraction, so if it seems like you are putting a lot more effort into the relationship than they are, stop. It is likely that they are not worth it. Talk to them if you feel like something is wrong, but, in the end, if they just aren't receptive to your needs or don't care about you as much as you really care about them, it most likely is not worth your time. You will find so many amazing people in college who will truly care about you, so don't waste your time with people who really could not care less. College is a time to be selfish, but you still have to invest in others, and a person who is not willing to invest in you is not a friend you want to have. 

6. Stay close to your roots || In the chaos of school and work and life, we forget what is most important. This is a PSA to call your parents. Often. As dumb as this sounds, you will need your parents in college. If not to tell you how to get a stain out of a dress, then to just be a support system for you. Often we lost sight of ourselves in college, and family reminds us who we truly are and where we came from. If you don't usually talk to your family, reach out to friends back home or someone who has known you for a long time. Staying in contact with people who know you the best or people you have known for a long is so important to help you stay true to yourself. If you go MIA on your parents, at some point you will miss them, so let your friends and family know that you are alive and that you care about them. 

7. Don't jump into a relationship || Please don't do this. College is a time to discover who you are and who you want to be, and if you are so focused on someone else it is almost impossible to take time for yourself without considering the needs of another person. Being in a relationship is about learning about someone else, and how can you do that if you need to be learning about yourself? I am sure many people will say that jumping into a relationship is not a problem, and if it works for than that's fine. But, before you commit to a relationship, think about how a relationship will impact your own individual journey, and decide if that is a sacrifice you are willing to make. 

8. Take your classes seriously || People rarely talk about how difficult college actually is, but college is not a cake walk. I got a little blindsided by this notion, and felt myself unable to catch up with the mountain of work that was always in the process of being finished. Like a hamster on its wheel, college became a grind that was miserable and endless. This turmoil is completely preventable; the answer to the problem of how to keep up is to work hard. Do your best when you can, and put your work before your play. At the end of the day, personally, I came to college to work and learn, and that should be my main priority. Talk to your professors, work with your peers, and sit down with your assignments and really try to do your best. You are there to learn and grow, and hard work is a big part of this growth. 

9. Eat, sleep, repeat || Party, party, party. It's a regimen many college kids take on within the first year, and frankly it's dangerous. Not only does it ruin your health, but it also ruins your GPA, and you will end up too far behind to catch up in your schoolwork and your classes. Parties are fun, and you should absolutely go to a few, but make sure that you are also eating at least one vegetable a day, exercising, and getting sleep. Whenever I stopped sleeping, I immediately got sick, and that was my body's way of telling me to slow down. But if your body doesn't do that, recognize when you have spread yourself too think or when you are doing way too much, and take a break from the party scene to do some work and chill out. When you spend the whole weekend recovering from Friday and Saturday night ragers you lose valuable work time, so do everything in moderation and make time for your health and your work. 

10. Take care of yourself || This goes hand in hand with being honest with yourself. Though it is always important to be honest with others, sometimes we forget to be honest with ourselves. When you get caught up in school, work, and parties, often we forget to be honest about what we want. Not only is it important to make sure that we take care of ourselves, but also remember that, especially in your first year, you do not have to do everything. Not only that, but if you don't want to go to parties or take an internship, you do not have to. One of the biggest problems students face is taking on too much and spreading themselves way too thin. Take some time for yourself to relax and get everything in order. You do not have to know exactly what you want to do, but throughout college you will learn what you do not want to do. If you do not want to do it, you do not have to. Be true to yourself and put yourself first; college is a time to be really selfish and make decisions with your best interest in mind, and that is a good thing. I have learned the hard way that it is almost impossible to be successful if you do not take care of yourself.

My freshman year was not the easiest, but I definitely learned a lot and it was really rewarding. For those of you who are basking in the glow of high school graduation, you have a lot to look forward to. But don't lose sight of who you are, and take care of your self. I have learned that I need to make myself a priority, and recognize what is best for me. I recommend you do the same. 

Have you learned any important lessons recently?

xx BB

May 8, 2016

An update on some empties | May 2016

Hello there!

After clearing out my dorm and moving out for the summer, I collected my empty products and snapped a few photos before sending them to the bin. Yes, I am the crazy blogger that holds on to her empty beauty products! Here is what I have used up recently:

Sally Hansen: Insta-Dri Topcoat || This is one of my favorite topcoats. That should be obvious, seeing as how I managed to use up two before I finished my first year! This topcoat is super glossy and makes your manicure look like you went to the salon for gel nails. It's very inexpensive, and it works really well. The best part about it? It dries within seconds, so you don't have to wait hours to touch things and you don't have to worry about bumping your nails and messing up your hard work! The only thing that is slightly disappointing about this topcoat is that, after a month or two, the formula begins to thicken up. If you don't mind repurchasing this topcoat often, however, it might become one of your favorites too! [RP: 8.00]

Sally Hansen Hard as Nails Polish: Nail'd It || I have had this polish for a long time, and I have always loved the color and the creamy formula. But in the midst of moving the polish exploded in my bag, and after that the polish got really gooey. While I am slightly annoyed that this polish had to be a casualty of moving, I know that OPI has a shade called Lucky Lavender that is almost identical. If I want another dusty pink polish I'll pick it up. [RP: 3.00]

Nutra Nail Bullet-Proof Strength Formula Treatment || This was an underwhelming treatment. After using it for a few months I still did not feel like my nails were significantly different in any way. I would much rather use my Healthy Hoof Cream for nails. It strengthens nails and repairs cuticles, and it is half the cost! This treatment felt like an extra step in my regimen that I just did not need. [RP: 7.00]

Rimmel Match Perfection Concealer: Fair || I have used this concealer for a long time, and I still think that it is a good everyday concealer. Before discovering the Maybelline Age Rewind concealer, I used this concealer under my eyes and to highlight. Now, however, I use it to clean up after I use my bronzer and contour. It's a really lightweight concealer that is good at brightening and highlighting the skin. [RP: 6.00]

Maybelline Master Prime Primer: Redness || When I was testing out a lot of primers, I came across this one and wanted to test it because the concept really reminded me of the MUFE primers. While I don't think that it fought redness very well I liked it just the same; for me, primers play a big role in my makeup routine because they have to keep oils at bay and keep my makeup looking fresh all day. This primer is very good at smoothing out my skin, but doesn't have that silicone feel; nevertheless, I felt like this primer did a good job at increasing the longevity of my makeup. However, it wasn't life-changing, and I don't think that I would repurchase. [RP: 10.00]

Urban Decay Setting Spray: B6 Vitamin Infusion || I was always very skeptical about setting sprays, mainly because I thought that the whole concept was a complete scam that cosmetics companies created to sell water for thirty dollars. However, I got roped into trying this setting spray at a Sephora and it completely changed my mind. Although this setting spray is marketed as a "prep spray," I used it before and after I applied my makeup, to both prep my skin and set my finished look. I really think that it improved the wear-time of my makeup look, and kept my skin from feeling overly oily or from looking dull throughout the day. I would absolutely grab this setting spray again. [RP: 15.00]

Rimmel Match Perfection Foundation: True Ivory || This is a fantastic foundation, and I cannot believe that it is discontinued in America. This foundation is really lightweight but has buildable coverage, so I could wear this every day and not feel like I was wearing a mask. It wore really well throughout the day and looked really natural. If you can still find it, I would recommend grabbing it before it's gone! [RP: 6.00]

Maybelline Age Rewind Concealer: Fair || A friend told me to pick this up, and I am so glad that she did. This has quickly become my all-time favorite concealer! It has really good coverage but doesn't feel heavy on the skin. It also highlights the skin beautifully and wears really well. Some people don't like the sponge applicator, but I don't mind it and I think that it works well to distribute the product evenly across my face. The only qualm I have with this product is that the sponge holds a lot of product, and because of this I go through these concealers very quickly. It's not an expensive concealer, but if you pick one up you may find that you will finish it fast! Nevertheless, I love this concealer and I use it every day. [RP: 9.00]

Physician's Formula Sexy Booster Blush: Natural || I didn't finish this product, but if you look at this blush you will see that it was clearly time to send it to the trash. This blush was beautiful because it added a gorgeous glow to the skin, but I used it more as a highlight than as a blush. However, if you aren't careful this product can end up looking a little chalky on the skin. The best part about this product is that it smells amazing, and the scent lasts on your skin. But if you don't like blushes with a lot of shimmer or highlighters in general you may not like this product. I don't think I will pick up this blush again, but it was a nice product and a good subtle blush from the drugstore. [RP: 12.00]

Rimmel Stay Matte Powder: Sandstorm || For those of you who have read my blog for a long time, you will know that this powder is my all-time favorite. I have used this powder for years, and it never disappoints; it's amazing for someone with oily skin or someone who wants their makeup to last on the skin. It doesn't make your makeup look thick or cake-y, and it sinks into the skin and wears so well throughout the day. I never feel like this powder is breaking up on my skin or is sliding off my face. I would honestly pay big bucks for this powder, but it is five dollars! There is no reason not to buy this powder, so put it on your shopping list and grab it the next time you are at the drugstore. [RP: 5.00]

Wet N Wild Eyeshadow Trio: Walking on Eggshells || I never thought that I would finish an eyeshadow palette, but this trio was always on my vanity, and I ended up reaching for it every day. I didn't completely finish the brown shade, but I thought it was time that this palette and I said goodbye. In the end, the top and bottom shades ended up shattering, which is why there is a small chunk of white shadow next to the palette. Oops! But I loved this trio and thought the colors were beautiful and so pigmented. For three dollars I think this is a must-have in anyone's makeup collection. [RP: 3.00]

Covergirl Remarkable Mascara || I used this mascara for a long time, and this was my go-to waterproof mascara for a while. I liked the bristle brush because it grabbed every lash and was very lengthening. I didn't notice flaking or smudging after a long day, and overall I thought it was a really nice mascara. It was not a life-changing product, and I think it is now discontinued, but if you can find it and you need a low maintenance waterproof mascara this is a good one to try. [RP: 5.00]

Maybelline The Falsies Mascara: Black Drama || The Falsies range is a fantastic line of mascaras from Maybelline, so these mascaras never fail me. I tried the black drama mascara on a whim and really liked the rich black color and the way this mascara held a curl. It's a good go-to mascara if you're in a bind, and the "Falsies" line has a ton of different mascaras to try. [RP: 6.00]

Revlon Bold Lacquer Mascara || This mascara was a bit of a disappointment. I had heard great things about it, and really wanted to like it, but when I applied it I found that it just looked like my natural lashes were darker. The mascara didn't hold a curl, and it didn't thicken my lashes, which is usually what I look for in a mascara. If you want a very natural-looking lash, I would point you in the direction of this product. But I also think that there are mascaras on the market that can give you a natural eye and still do a lot more than this mascara. There are so many other options, so I would not repurchase. [RP: 7.00]

Physician's Formula Lash Boosting Eyeliner || This is one of my favorite liquid eyeliners for a few reasons. One, it is a rich black formula that lasts all day, and doesn't smudge or run down my face. Two, this product comes in the form of a pen, so it is super easy to use and makes perfecting the cat-eye flick a total breeze. The nib on this eyeliner is a brush tip, not a felt tip, so it won't fray over time and creates a sharp line with every application. And three, it's super inexpensive and lasts such a long time! You could definitely keep this in your makeup bag for six months before it dries up. The only note I will make about this product is that I do not think that the serum in this eyeliner significantly changed my lashes; I didn't notice that they got longer or thicker with the continued use of this product. Other than that, this liquid eyeliner is amazing! It is a great liner for makeup novices, but is also fantastic for anyone who just wants a great liquid liner from the drugstore. I would recommend it to anyone.

Those are all of my empty products! I have a few more products that I am currently finishing up, so you should see a post about them before I leave for my holiday. 

What products have you used up recently?

xx BB