July 5, 2017

June 2017 Stars and Duds | Monthly Beauty Favorites

This past month has really given me a run for my money with not only all of the new swoon-worthy launches, but with keeping my routine easy, my skin balanced, and getting my face to survive the summer smolder. To find out about which products shone so bright they made their way into my daily routine and which fell flat, keep on reading!




$29.50 USD | 1.7 oz | Shade: Opal

This product had been in the back of my drawer for probably eight or nine months, so when I finally pulled it back out from the cobwebs I was so happy to have fallen in love with it again. It has everything I needed for a lightweight, SPF-containing (has SPF 30), buildable summer foundation that held up to the heat without melting off my face. This multitasking gel creme has the skincare benefits of a BB, CC, and tinted moisturizer in one while providing a radiant finish. With globe daisy extract (detoxifying natural agent) and glasswort plant extract (an antioxidant and hydrator), this has some awesome skincare benefits that most other tinted moisturizers that have decent coverage don't contain.  I wouldn't recommend this to anyone who has very oily skin because of the radiant finish and it can feel greasy to those who already have a heavy oil production.

TIP: I love mixing this gel cream formula with a few drops of Cover FX Custom Enhancer Drops (I use the shade Moonlight) for an even more radiant and glowy finish that looks gorgeous this time of year.

$39 USD | 1.7 oz | Shade: Fair Sand

For a medium to full coverage summer-proof matte foundation, I can't help but reach for this product when I'm going for a full beat. I discovered this when it was making its' rounds on many YouTuber's channels and I've been such a fan of it since. It's oil-free, which is great for the combination skin I experience in the summer months when I have issues with oil production in my T-zone. Additionally, this formula lasts me all day without slippage or transfer without any special setting routine - I just follow my normal steps with DERMAblend Loose Setting Powder or Cover FX Perfect Setting Powder (I don't use the Cover FX Matte Setting Powder because this foundation already has a velvety-matte finish and I don't need that much oil control). The only issue I have with this product isn't as full coverage as it states in the claims; the first round of application goes on with medium coverage and is much more of a buildable foundation that immediate full coverage. However, I believe it's worth the work to get the gorgeous look this formula gives you after some extra application. Lastly, it has an SPF 15 so with my fair skin, I'll never turn down extra sun protection.


$28 USD | 0.24 oz | Shade: Fair to Light

As a super fair-skinned gal, finding a bronzer that doesn't look too orange, muddy, or overly pigmented can be one hell of a challenge. This one, however, is one of the best bronzers I've ever tried. It has a gorgeous radiant finish but not so much that it looks like you took your highlighter too low - it provides you with a healthy glow with it's super finely milled pearls and sheer buildable coverage. You can tell the powder is baked because it is super lightweight (which gives it a bit of kickback, but for a pan this size that's okay) yet feels creamy upon application. Plus, this product has a shade for basically everyone with it coming in 4 different shade options and is sheer enough to build up the intensity you want.

TIP: To control the intensity of how bronzer powders apply, remember the fluffier the brush, the sheerer the coverage (my current favorite: Morphe R2). If you really want to pack on the bronzer, use a more dense powder brush such as the Morphe G8.


$14 USD | Shade: Santorini

Very similar to the Make Up For Ever Star Lit Powder (Santorini is closest to the shade MU4E Ivory), these loose powder highlighters give you an insane glow that I'm just obsessed with. A lit bit goes a long way, but the reflection is so metallic and looks like somebody dripped liquified silver on your cheekbones. Being fair skinned, the shade Santorini (a shimmering silver champagne) is the most flattering on my skin tone, but Tahiti (a shimmering rose gold, similar to MU4E 15 Golden Pink) and Fiji (a shimmering soft gold) are just as blinding and look great on a little bit darker of skin tones than mine. Right now, these are currently sold out but will hopefully be restocked soon and might even be made permanent at some point (hopefully?!). If you're looking for a glow like no other, I also want to point out that the aforementioned Star Lit Powders are an almost perfect dupe for these Kylie products and are available in even more shades.

$32 USD | 4 oz

This product is truly one-of-a-kind and stole my heart from day one. This beauty primes, sets, and replenishes with a hydrating and pro-biotic infused formula to give you a summery, coconut-smelling, set beat. I was a little skeptical to use this at first because it does contain added fragrance which can bother those with sensitive skin, but I haven't experienced any issues whatsoever over the past month that I've used it. The added fragrance is a coconut scent to reflect the ultra-hydrating coconut water that's found in the formula, which smells fantastic. To prime, I don't normally use this alone but rather in combination with a regular primer (usually Too Faced's Hangover Replenishing Primer) to really amp up the staying power. The spray does leave you with a soft yet tacky feel, which is what my ideal primer does. This spray also works as an ideal lightweight and refreshing setting spray, which has made my makeup last longer than normal and look more radiant, especially when I use it as a replenishing spray throughout the day. This product is silicone, alcohol, and oil-free, and added bonus that helps make it friendly for all skin types and has worked wonders with my combination skin.


$20 USD | 0.085 oz

I was super excited to finally try these after hearing quite a few raving reviews and normally, I really try to avoid purchasing new brands of liquid lipsticks online because a) online swatches clearly aren't always a good resemblance of the true color and b) I can't see the formula (obviously). However, these are one of the purchases that I am far from regretting. Aside from the beautiful packaging, the creamy formula of these liquid lipsticks are phenomenal. I ordered four shades originally, and I've barely worn any other brand over the past month. These are non-drying, comfortable, pigmented, and long-wear... and by long-wear I mean I ate a burrito and didn't have to retouch. The only issue that I have with this product is that you get a very small amount compared to many other brands that are in the same price range... but one dunk of the wand can cover your entire lips with non-patchy, opaque coverage. 


$52 USD | 1.69 oz

This gel is just a plethora of skincare nutrients that have improved my skin so dramatically over the last few months. I use this in combination with a lightweight moisturizer in the morning and before my nighttime heavy duty moisturizer to consistently give my skin a boost of hydration and to keep my moisture barrier balanced. The formula includes power packed skincare benefits with vitamin B5 and pineapple ceramide (helps retain moisture), sodium hyaluronate crosspolymer (improves fine line appearance/antioxidant), and a watermelon/lentil/apple complex (provides long lasting hydration). Since purchasing this in mid-May, I've been so happy with how this adds the daily hydration my dry skin needs without causing my oily T-zone to overproduce sebum. It's soothing, moisturizing, hydrating, absorbs quickly and is super lightweight. Basically, this product induces a miracle balancing act for my skin and I can't wait to really put this to the test come the dryer, winter months. 

TIP: For my glow-getters with oily skin, this works great alone as a daytime or morning moisturizer because it's a gel formula (as opposed to cream) and has properties that fight oil overproduction. For the nighttime, I would recommend using this very lightly (if at all) with a more intensive moisturizer that's specific for oily skin, such as OLEHENRIKSEN'S Counter Balance Mattifying Moisture Crème (I talk more about this product in a previous post).

A few other of this month's favorites that I would highly recommend for summer:

Kylie Cosmetics Velvet Liquid Lipsticks, Cover FX Perfect Setting Powder, and Jeffree Star Cosmetics Velour Lip Scrubs



The following are the products that I've been testing out over the past month that just fell flat for me, didn't live up to the claims, or just weren't worth the price. Just because they didn't work for me does NOT mean that they might not work for you; these are based on my personal experiences and my goal is simply to provide you with honest and thorough opinions on the products.


$29 USD | 0.53 oz

I never thought that I would find a Jeffree Star Cosmetics product in my monthly disappointments, or any disappointments ever. But, there's a first for everything and today is that day. I had been so excited to try this shade because finding a gold that isn't too dark for pale skin is a feat. After reading about this shade, how it worked for other fair guys and gals, and having my own highly positive experiences with JSC's Skin Frosts, I thought this would be a for sure winner for that perfect gold glow... but I was so disappointed. The swatches weren't bad (not great, but not bad), and felt a little on the chunky side. After trying three different of my go-to highlighter brushes, this product was not even showing up on the bristles. I even tried applying this shade wet, and it still had almost no pigmentation which is so unlike every other Skin Frost I've used. So sadly, this shade was a dud, and the hunt for the perfect gold glow continues.

$5.94 USD | 1.0 fl oz | Shade: 110 Porcelain

Finally, FINALLY, Maybelline released more shades for their super hyped foundation that I was dying to try. I'm always up to test any matte finish foundation because it's what I prefer when I'm going for a full beat. However, having combination skin really puts matte finishes to the test; the best matte formulas don't settle into creases or dry patches and aren't always so easy to come by, especially in drugstore foundations. Sadly, this is not one I would recommend for those with combination skin types. It settled into the dry patches so terribly that it caused them to show up in places that I didn't even know had dry patches. However, my T-zone was matte and poreless for over 7 hours of wear. Additionally, the coverage was great and had very minimal transfer after a few hours of wear. I'm not throwing this product away because of that and I'm impressed that it held up to its' claims for helping with oil control; it's going to be great for spot coverage for more oily areas but completely off-limits to anywhere but the T-zone.


That's it for this month's stars and duds! I know I had quite a few products on here, but the summer is a great time to really put these claims to the test. I would love to hear about your experiences with these products and your favorites and fails, so please leave a comment letting me know!