Holy Grail Mascaras

Hi Beauties!

Today I’m going to give you my top 2 mascara picks of all time (echoing)time, time, time….. Yes, it’s that dramatic.

As I have mentioned before, I have been on the hunt for the perfect mascara pretty much my whole life. Mascara is one thing I can not live without. If I leave the house “without makeup,” that means I have on foundation (or BB cream), brows and mascara – it’s just a given.

So with that said, if you’re looking for amazing drugstore and department store mascara options, read on!

Maneater Mascara

FullSizeRender-2.jpgTarte Cosmetics launched Maneater Mascara last year and it basically rocked my world. The super black mousse-like formula goes on completely clump free and gives serious volume and lasting curl. It applies perfectly from the very first use – not too wet, not too dry – and completely mess free. Somehow it manages to do all of this without flaking and without that crunchy, uncomfortable feeling that so many mascaras leave me with.

I really love the wand on this mascara. It’s a silicone wand with a round tip and teeny tiny bristles that allow you to grab every single lash – even the ones on the bottom! I expected this brush to feel sharp and rough on my eyes, however it was the complete opposite. This brush feels so soft and makes application a breeze.

The best part of this formula is that it is ophthalmologist tested and does not irritate my sensitive eyes at all. So many mascaras often leave my eyes streaming tears and bright red. Maneater has the “good for you” ingredients that Tarte is known for, so I don’t lose any lashes when removing the mascara at the end of the day.

There is one catch. This mascara does smudge a little. I have long eyelashes so almost all mascaras smudge a little underneath my eyes. I find that taking a little bit of setting powder on an eyeshadow brush and running it lightly underneath the lash line helps to eliminate smudging (for the most part).

L’Oreal Voluminous Lash Paradise (Waterproof)

My eyes are so sensitive that allergies, lack of sleep, the slightest breeze – pretty much anything can irritate them. Many eye products can turn my eyes into a streaming mess. But I’m not a quitter.

It’s been a while since I have tried a drugstore mascara because 1) Maneater, and 2) I got sick of returning or throwing away so many of them because they made me look emotionally unstable.

FullSizeRenderBut then social media blew up with claims that Lash Paradise was “Better than Sex;” the ultimate dupe for Too Faced’s Better than Sex Mascara (which by the way, was a complete turn-off for me in the beginning – I have never hated a mascara more than I hate that one, but I know it’s a lot of people’s holy grail – or at least they are being paid to say that it is).

After about 100+ times of seeing people talk about Lash Paradise – I gave in. Instagram made me buy it!

For $9.99, which is minimally HALF the price of department store mascaras, L’Oreal has put out a mascara that in my opinion, out-performs all other drugstore brands and easily  75% of department store brands. It lasts all day long with ZERO smudging or flaking and it has a nice thick brush that gives long-lasting volume, length and curl.

There are only two small cons that are so minuscule they are hardly worth mentioning, but I will! The first is that the waterproof formula it is just that… waterproof! It is not easy to remove, but if you are picking up a waterproof mascara, I would assume you are probably hoping that is not going to come off easily – that is sort of the whole point!

The other slight con is that the formula starts out a little wet, so there is a little more room for error in the first few applications. By the second week of using this mascara I found that it dried down a little and application became easy and clump-free.

So there you have it – the only two mascaras you will ever need; So, hopefully they are around until the end of time! Again, dramatic – but I’m a girl in love!

Click the links below to check out these mascaras for yourself (these are NOT affiliate links – opinions are all my own and not sponsored in any way), and let me know if you agree or what your favorites are in the comments!

Click here to purchase Maneater Mascara.

Click here to purchase L’Oreal Voluminous Lash Paradise

Tarte Double Duty Beauty Empowered Hybrid Gel Foundation

One of the most frequent questions I get asked is what my favorite foundation is. People are often surprised when I say that it’s Tarte’s Double Duty Beauty Empowered Hybrid Gel Foundation. First, because most people have never heard of it; Second, because it may  just be the longest name of a foundation in history.

People are also surprised that most times, I do not recommend this foundation to them. Why don’t I typically recommend my favorite foundation of all time? I promise it’s not because I’m greedy or trying to keep this beauty secret to myself!

Keep reading for a full review of Tarte’s Double Duty Beauty Empowered Hybrid Gel Foundation.

tarte empowered hybrid gel foundation

Let’s start out with the product claims:

“A poreless, full coverage gel foundation with skin-smoothing hyaluronic acid. 

Product performance: Smooth skin is in with this radiant, full coverage foundation with skin-loving ingredients wrapped in a luxurious, creamy gel. The unique, oil-free blend of smoothing, plumping and pore refining ingredients help brighten skin while moisturizing and blurring the look of fine lines and pores. The cooling, hypoallergenic gel feels like a drink of water for your skin, while masking any redness, dark spots, acne and uneven skin tone for 12-hour wear across skin types. It’s available in a range of shades to match any skin tone with a soft, rose scent and natural, radiant finish.” (that mouthful was taken from tarte.com)

If I had to rate this description for accuracy, I would say it scores about 90%.

SENSORIAL SKIN CARE: This foundation is a spa-like experience. The feeling of putting this foundation on never gets old. It truly feels like skin care and because it is a gel foundation, it is instantly cooling on your skin, soothing any redness or irritation you may have. Skin is left feeling so hydrated and refreshed that often times I want to stop right there and not put any more makeup on!

One of my favorite parts of this foundation is the fresh rose scent, which is so unusual for me. I typically find rose scents so overwhelming and  really don’t enjoy it, but for some reason in this foundation I find it so pleasant and relaxing.

COVERAGE: I would agree that this is a full coverage foundation, although you can definitely use less product and make it more medium coverage. This foundation glides on and blends so easily, fully covering pores, redness and any other imperfections.

*Application Tip: A little goes a very long way! This foundation comes in a jar so it is very easy to take too much product onto your brush or blending sponge. I typically don’t advocate purchasing the coordinating foundation brushes, but in this case I find it very helpful. The brush comes with a spatula on one end to scoop out the foundation (which in my opinion is also more sanitary) and a slanted flat top kabuki brush on the other end. Start by scooping a little out at a time and build up to your preferred coverage – It is always easier to build up than remove product. Shop the Tarte Foundation Brush & Spatula.

SHADE RANGE: Empowered Hybrid Gel Foundation is currently available in 18 shades. As with most Tarte products there is a wider selection in the fair-to-medium and tan shades. Common complaints with Tarte foundations are that there are not enough options when you get to their dark to rich shades. Tarte is pretty receptive to feedback and I want to believe they will expand their darker shade ranges in the future.

I am a light to a light-medium skin tone with pink undertones. I always had trouble finding my shade until I found Tarte foundations. They make it incredibly easy to find your accurate shade with full descriptions and photos on their website. I would recommend clicking through all the shades and reading the descriptions before heading into the store, so that you know whether you should be trying the beige, neutral, sand or honey shades. I typically wear light beige in the fall and winter months and light-medium beige in the spring and summer.

WEAR: This is where the product starts to fall short on its claims. This product is super hydrating but the down side to that is it never feels like it fully dries down. I find in the winter when my skin is a little more dry, this foundation lasts longer because my skin seems to drink it in and really hold on to it. In the spring and summer when my skin is a little more normal and balanced, my oils will break through and make this foundation transfer or wear off quickly if I do not set it with powder. If I really want to get full wear out of this foundation I need to have blotting papers on me at all times as well as powder to touch up with.

SKIN TYPES: This is the reason I often do not recommend this foundation. It is definitely not for all skin types. If you are normal or oily, there is a good chance this foundation will slide right off your face. I have dry to combination skin and sometimes on my more combination days this foundation can wear away quickly on me. If you have dry and/or more mature skin, this will give you the radiant youthful look that you are probably looking for and will wear much better on your skin type.

PRICE: This foundation retails for $39 for 1 Fl. oz. on tarte.com and Ulta Beauty. I will tell you right now, I have never paid full price for this foundation! Right now it is on sale for $27 as part of Ulta’s 21 Days of Beauty and Tarte periodically has a Friends and Family Sale where you can purchase the Empowered Hybrid Gel Foundation for 20% – 30% off. If I don’t already have one, I typically buy a back-up during these sales so that I never have to pay full price.

tarte empowered hybrid gel foundationWHY I LOVE IT: When this product works it really works. This foundation gives my skin full coverage with a glow. I have a lot of redness and I love the idea of full coverage but hate a heavy matte look. I want the best of both worlds – full coverage that looks like my skin. Tarte’s Empowered Hybrid Gel Foundation is the closest I have ever gotten to that.

The best part about this foundation, is that it just feels like I am doing something good for my skin when I’m wearing it; It looks AND feels good – and isn’t that the whole point of makeup?

Let me know in the comments if you found this review helpful and if there is a foundation you have been wondering about. I may just review it next!

Until next time, beauties!



Milani Conceal + Perfect

I am always on the hunt for a great new foundation. I have been trying out a lot of high-end brands lately, but YouTubers have been raving about the Milani Conceal +Perfect 2-in-1 Foundation + Concealer. I had my doubts because I have been wronged by many a drug store foundation before, but I was willing to give it a shot. Hey, if a drug store foundation could give me the coverage that I need without drying out my skin, while eliminating the need for concealer all for under $10, why not give it a try?

To give it a fair shot, I also picked up the Milani Prime Perfection Hydrating + Pore Minimizing Primer. I do have dry skin and lately my pores seem to need a little extra TLC.

*I’m going to shoot you straight on this one. I can’t even put the energy into reviewing the primer – it was that bad. It smelled like pure chemicals and did absolutely nothing for my skin or my foundation.

The basics…

Conceal + Perfect Foundation


$9.99 at CVS (as low as $6.99 in Target)


Medium to full coverage. Lightweight, oil-free formula. Longwearing, water-resistant and sweat-proof.

Color Selection

01 Creamy Vanilla, 02 Natural, 03 Light Beige, 04 Medium Beige, 05 Warm Beige, 07 Sand, 09 Tan, 10 Golden Tan (I have no idea what happened to 06 and 08, but I could not find them in stores or online!)

So here’s the deal…


Lasting Coverage – This is definitely a long wearing, full coverage foundation as the claims state. This lasted a full work day without budging and with almost no need to blot or touch up. I would not go as far as to say there is no need for concealer – especially if you have under eye issues like me. I still needed a color correcting concealer under my eyes to cover up my dark circles. If you are lucky enough to not have any problem areas or blemishes you may find that the foundation is enough for you.

Light as a Feather – This foundation was lightweight, as it claimed and it dried completely so that there was no transfer to my clothes – this is a huge plus in my book. At times it felt like I wasn’t wearing any foundation at all.


Parched – As I mentioned, I have dry skin. This foundation really clung to my dry patches and really made my skin look dehydrated. Any and all expression lines were emphasized and I felt like it aged me (not cool, man). On day 2, I used a hydrating finishing spray on top and I still felt like my skin looked super dry.

You Better Be Quick – While I loved that this foundation dried completely and did not transfer, you pretty much have to be “faster than a speeding bullet” to blend out this foundation before it dries. It was the most difficult foundation to blend that I have ever encountered – it dried within seconds of placing it on my skin. No matter how hard I tried, I ended up looking patchy in spots – particularly on my forehead and chin.

One Shade Does Not Fit All – The color selection in this line is just weird. I don’t get it. There were only 8 shades and all of them appeared dark with a yellow undertone (I am a fair-skinned, pink undertone gal). Picking a shade was almost impossible and even after quietly cracking the seal in the store and trying it out on my hand, I still picked the wrong color. Somehow the second shade in the line was still too dark for me, so this foundation is not for my fair-skinned ladies.


Despite some redeeming qualities, this foundation just did not work out for me. My biggest problem was that it was too dry for my already dry skin, so if you have combination or oily skin, I wouldn’t necessarily rule it out. I could actually see this having a really beautiful finish on someone with oily skin. The lack of colors also did not do this foundation line any favors. I am typically somewhere in the light-to-medium range – I usually end up with beige shades. Even if I had purchased the 01 Creamy Vanilla, I think there’s a chance it would have still been dark and definitely too yellow for me.

Unfortunately this foundation is headed back to the store along with the primer (ughh, I can’t even deal with that primer!).

Let me know in the comments if you agree or if you had a completely different experience than I did. I would also love to know what foundations you would like me to review next.



Battle of the liquid lipsticks

Round 1: stila vs. tarte

Like many of us, I jumped on the liquid lipstick bandwagon in 2016. They were all over Instagram and slowly took over Ulta, Sephora and drug store makeup aisles. I love having the option of a stay-all-day lipstick that can stand up to the elements (i.e. a gust of wind that would adhere my hair to my lipgloss).

For this review, I decided to take on the quick-dry  mattes in some of my favorite shades. Now, if you follow me on Instagram (if you don’t, what’s the hold-up?), you may have seen my Sunday Swatch post on these little lippies, but I encourage you to read on, because after a little more wear I have changed my mind about a few of them.

I am going to break down these liquid lipsticks by color rather than brand because I found that in both brands, the shade significantly affected the formula.

The basics…

Tarteist Quick Dry Matte Lip Paint – $20

Available at tarte, Sephora and Ulta in 20+ shades (plus the occasional limited edition shade).

This liquid lipstick claims to be a quick dry, full coverage, transfer proof liquid lipstick with skin-softening concentrated mineral pigments.

Stila Stay All Day Liquid Lipstick – $24

Available at stila, Sephora and Ulta in 25+ shades

This liquid lipstick claims to be a  highly-pigmented, creamy liquid lipstick that is weightless on the lips and delivers long-lasting coverage.

On to the swatches…

1 – stila “Baci”

This is probably the color I wear the most out of all of these shades and it seems like I’m not the only one. Every time I go into Sephora this shade is sold out! I ended up buying a holiday variety pack that included this shade just so that I could get my hands on it.

The color is a really pretty nude pink that is really flattering on my skin tone. It’s a nice shade to wear when you are either looking for a natural daytime look, or if you are going bold with your eye makeup and need a lipstick that doesn’t take away from your eyes.

It can be a little drying (as most liquid lipsticks are), but it is actually pretty comfortable to wear. It goes on much smoother if you moisturize your lips with a good lip balm – a primer also really improves the look and wear of this shade. When applied to well-pampered lips, this color will last you all day and will wear away evenly.

*Fun fact – it smells like vanilla cupcakes!

2- stila “Fresco”

This formula is very similar to Baci but the color is not for me. It is more of a brown nude which I really don’t like. This shade would probably look great on tan and darker skin tones.

Again, I would recommend a good lip balm and primer before applying.

3 – stila “Bacca”

Bacca is such a fun color! I love a good dark pink and this one does not fail. I feel like it is a little more hydrating and comfortable than the lighter stila shades and again, it will last you a very long time and will wear away evenly. What I like the most about this shade is that it is not too blue toned – I hate when colors like this appear almost iridescent because the blue tone shows through. This color also makes my teeth look SO white!

4 – stila “Rubino”

This is more of a brick red. It is really pretty but it is a shade that I really only like to wear when I’m coordinating it with a particular outfit. It is not an every day color for me. I would say the formula is almost the same as Bacca.

5 – tarte “Fly”

Ughh this one broke my heart. This color is my ABSOLUTE FAVORITE. There has never been a color I have loved more. It is the perfect dark ruby pink. It is beyond beautiful. BUT…. The formula was an absolute nightmare. Upon first application I realized that the “Quick Dry” part of the name is no joke. This dried almost immediately. You have one chance to get it right when it comes to applying this shade and if you put more than one coat on, you are doomed.

The first time I wore this color, it took me 3 tries to apply it perfectly, without accidentally overdrawing my lip line or applying it unevenly. While I was out to dinner, this lipstick proved itself to NOT be transfer proof as it claimed, but wore away somewhat evenly throughout my meal.

The second time I wore this color, I decided to wear it to work. BIG mistake. This color wore away so unevenly throughout the day and left me with the dreaded “butthole lips.” For those of you who don’t know what that is, it’s when your lipstick wears away from the inside out, so you are left with color on the outer lines of your lip and your natural lip color in the center. It is really not a good look for anyone.

I was left with no choice but to check in and touch up every hour or so and oddly enough, even though the center of my lips wore away quickly, the outer lines were going nowhere. With each layer that I touched up with, the lipstick began to crumble off my lips quicker than the last.

I wouldn’t say it was the worst day of my life.. but it wasn’t great.

6 – tarte “Cheerleader”

Here is where tarte redeemed themselves. Cheerleader is a beautiful hot cherry color – kind of your perfect “classic” red. There is just something about this lipstick that makes me channel my inner Marilyn.

It is still not totally transfer proof but if you apply 1 thin coat, you will definitely get some wear out of this shade. It typically lasts a solid 4 hours before it needs any fixing or touching up.

Final Thoughts…

As you may have already guessed, there was no clear cut winner  when it comes to brand. If I had to pick my top 2 shades it would be Baci and Cheerleader. I think these 2 colors were the most universal for most skin tones and the formulas worked best for me in these shades. Overall, the lighter shades were a little more drying but it was nothing that couldn’t be combatted with a little extra lip balm.

I was completely confused by how the colors affected the formula in each of these lipsticks. There are so many shades in both of these brands, so I will definitely be doing a follow-up to this blog to see if that continues to ring true.

Share your experiences with these liquid lipsticks in the comments and let me know which lipsticks you would like me to review next!