Splurge & Save | High End & Drugstore Beauty Favorites


I don’t think that it’s any secret that I’m a huge beauty junkie. While I do have a ton of different make up, skincare, and hair products littering my vanity, they aren’t all from high-end, trendy brands. There are certain products that are worth splurging on, just as there are a few holy grail drugstore items that rival even their most pricey counterparts. From my splurge-worthy swear-bys to the diamonds in the rough, these are the best beauty products out there, regardless of your budget. 

SPLURGE 


1 // Fresh – Lotus Youth Preserve Eye Cream

I am a bit of a night owl and so a good eye cream is a must for me. This anti-aging formula brightens my eyes and makes me look like I’ve gotten a good eight hours of sleep when really I’ve only gotten five. It also packs an anti-aging punch with star fruit extract and tons of antioxidants.

2 // Urban Decay – Naked Eye Shadow Palette

This is the holy grail of eye shadow palettes. It has it all – neutrals, blues and purples, metallics, and mattes. Whatever my mood, there is a delightfully high-pigmented shadow ready to go. It also never creases and lasts for ages. This palette may be a little pricey but it’s worth every penny and when mine bites the dust, you can bet that I will buy another ASAP. 

3 // Benefit – The Porefessional Face Primer

Seriously, this stuff is better than any foundation I have ever used. I don’t even need foundation after using this primer. It goes on like silk and blurs pores and imperfections until all you’re left with is baby smooth, porcelain doll-like skin. Add a touch of mascara and some tinted lip balm and you’re good to go!

4 // Marc Jacobs – Highliner Gel Eye Crayon

This is my favorite eyeliner. Why? It goes on smoothly, doesn’t tug at the delicate skin around my eyes, is highly pigmented, and it lasts all day long. It is also self sharpening. Why is there even such thing as eyeliners that you have to sharpen yourself in this day and age? But for real, this eyeliner looks as fresh at 8 pm as it does 8 am. Give it a try and see why it’s perfection itself.

5 // Fekkai – Salon Professional PrX Reparative Mask

The key to silky smooth strands is hydration. Fortified with hair-nourishing vitamins and Argan extract, this vanilla scented hair mask penetrates deeply into each hair shaft to smooth and condition, leaving it lustrous and soft. It also never hurts when your hair smells like sugar cookies. 

SAVE


1 // L’Oreal Paris – Voluminous Mascara in Carbon Black

I have tried many mascaras, from high-end designer to cheap dollar store versions. This inexpensive formula is one of the best out there. It leaves my lashes thick and fluttery. There’s practically a breeze when I bat my eyes. Bambi eyes are just a few clicks away. 

2 // Revlon – Ultra HD Matte Lip Colour in Addiction

This is the perfect matte lipstick. It glides on like a gloss and then dries to a plush, velvety magenta hue that brightens my face and makes me look polished and pretty. It also doesn’t dry my lips out which seems to be a common problem with matte and long-lasting lipsticks.

3 // Neutrogena – Hydro Boost Water Gel

Lightweight and cooling, this is my absolute favorite moisturizer in the summertime. It is formulated with purified hyaluronic acid and this gel formula sinks into the skin right away and deeply hydrates without leaving a greasy residue. It keeps my skin looking fresh and supple, but never shiny.

4 // Olay – 4-in-1 Combination/Oily Daily Facial Cloths

While I love indulging in a multi-step skincare routine on most days, sometimes I’m just too exhausted to cleanse, tone, and moisturize. Enter these delightfully multitasking cloths which whisk away makeup (even waterproof mascara), oil, dirt, and debris while toning my complexion, all in one go. They are absolutely perfect for low-maintenance ladies. Now there is no excuse for going to bed with a face full of makeup!

5 // Garnier – SKINACTIVE Micellar Cleansing Water (All-in-1 Waterproof Makeup Remover & Cleanser)

I’m sure you’ve heard of micellar water before – you know, that skincare product that all the models claim to use religiously and that every magazine raves about. It’s like this magical potion from heaven that takes off all of your makeup, cleanses and conditions skin. The best part? You don’t have to rinse it off! This formula is super gentle and removes literally everything, even my waterproof mascara. It’s like unicorn tears in a bottle. Lazy ladies, rejoice!

I hope you enjoyed this post! Do you have any favorite luxe/cheap beauty products that you think I should try? Let’s talk beauty! 

xoxo,

Alicia

A Lipstick For Every Occasion


I’m a total lipstick addict and have over 30 shades in my makeup kit, so I have definitely done the leg work when it comes to going out and testing lip colours. While we all have our favorites, certain lipsticks work better for some situations than others. With this notion in mind, I have categorized five lipsticks depending on the occasion they are best suited for. Going out with the girls? Have an important meeting or job interview? There’s a lipstick for that.

EVERYDAY

Your everyday lipstick should be your absolute favorite of your collection. It should be your holy grail of lip colours. The kind where you put it on and you feel pretty, even if your hair is greasy and your skin is spotty. The most flattering lipstick I own is this rosey, coppery, red hue (N9) from Makeup Forever. I first tried it three years ago when I received it as a gift and I’ve never looked back. It’s not too dark or bold but gives my face a flattering boost of colour. It’s a timeless, seasonless shade that I wear all year round and I am pretty confident you would love it too. I’ve yet to see a complexion this baby didn’t look amazing on.

My Pick: Makeup Forever – Rouge Artist Natural Lipstick in N9


AT THE OFFICE

To me, an ideal office lipstick would be one that is neutral enough to go with whatever I am wearing, whether I’m at a meeting or a casual office barbecue. It should be flattering yet subtle. This mauve-nude shade fits the bill perfectly. It’s also super moisturizing and lasts for ages, so you won’t have to touch up as much during the day!

My Pick – Mellow Creamy Matte Lipstick in Nude


DATE NIGHT

First things first, whatever you wear to a date should make you feel beautiful. If pink isn’t your jam, then wear whatever colour of the rainbow tickles your pickle. Personally, I love this retro shade of pale pink. It’s subtle, sweet and instantly brightens up my face, making me look a little bit more polished but not overdone.

My Pick – Revlon – Matte Lipstick in Pink Pout


COCKTAIL HOUR

A night out with the ladies calls for a look-at-me shade that lasts all night. Case in point, this cheerful coral stain from fashion designer Cynthia Rowley’s beauty line! It’s the perfect coral hue – not too pink, not too orange. Plus the formula is super moisturizing!

My Pick: Cynthia Rowley – Creamy Lip Stain in Valentine


FORMAL AFFAIR

This deep magenta hue really makes an impact when walking into a room. Which is exactly what you want when you’re dressing up fancy! What I love most about this product is the formula. It goes on like a gloss and then dries into a plush, matte finish. It’s also a gorgeous, juicy shade for summer, reminiscent of raspberry sorbet!

My Pick: Revlon – UltraHD Matte Lip Color in Addiction

xoxo,

Alicia

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May Beauty Picks

This month I have been all about stepping out of my comfort zone. Nude lipsticks and bold metallics have been all over my radar lately and I am happy to say that I have found a few favorites that are now on regular rotation in my beauty routine. After all, playing it safe everyday gets pretty dull, even when it comes to something as simple as makeup! So with that in mind, here are my top five beauty finds this May, from the holy grail for curly hair to your eyebrows’ new best friend.

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1 // Renpure – Coconut Mint Curly Cleansing Conditioner

I’m sure I’ve reiterated it a million times, but curly hair needs plenty of hydration in order to be healthy and manageable. This cleansing conditioner totally fits the bill and quenches my parch strands with oodles of extra virgin coconut oil. It’s also completely free of sulfates and other nasties that are often found in shampoo, so it doesn’t strip my hair of its much needed natural oils.

2 // Pixi by Petra – Endless Silky Eye Pen in Opal Overcoat

This shimmery pale gold liner gives me a well rested look instantly. It also glides on easily and lasts all day (fading eyeliners is my biggest pet peeve). It looks great on its own or layered over a darker colour.  Weird but true, this also makes my lips look really full when I use it as a lip liner. Simply use it around your natural lip line and then blend before putting on your lipstick. Angelina lips in an instant!

3 // Mellow – Creamy Matte Lipstick in Nude

Nudes are tricky for me. It’s not easy to find the right shade as most either wash out my fair complexion or make my lips look like they are coated in a too dark foundation. This has subtle mauve undertones which gives it just the right amount of colour. It’s natural looking and very flattering, giving me that no-makeup-makeup look that is so hard to achieve. The formula is also very rich and creamy which is rare for a matte lipstick. It honestly feels like a balm!

4 // Benefit – Gimme Brow Volumizing Fiber Gel

This is kind of a magic wand. Seriously. Beautiful defined brows have a way of framing your entire face and making you look polished even if you don’t have any other makeup on. This gel formula has microfibers which adhere to your skin and brow hairs, making your brows look fuller in a subtle and natural way. If you shy away from eyebrow pencils and powders, give this gem a try!

5 // Naked Cosmetics – Metallic Eye Shadow in Heavy Metal

I love rose gold. All rose gold things are alright with me. I recently received this shadow in an Ipsy Glam Bag and it is one of my favorite products I have ever gotten. It’s highly pigmented, vivid, and it shimmers like crazy. It’s not a shadow that I would wear everyday, but it’s perfect for a night out when I want to shine bright like a diamond.

What is your holy grail of beauty products? You know, that one product that you can’t live without? Let’s talk beauty.

xoxo,

Alicia

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April Beauty Picks

So I really had quite the opportunity to discover new beauty products this month. Why? I lost my entire bag of makeup in a cab on the way home from my friend’s house. Cue the violins. So after I had a good little cry (kidding, not kidding) I had to go out and stock up on all new beauty essentials. The silver lining of my taxi tragedy was that I found a few gems that I absolutely love. From a mascara that can withstand sweat, rain, tears, and naps, to a luxe serum that has pearls in it, these are my five favorite beauty finds of the month.


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1 // Artistry – Ideal Radiance Illuminating Essence

First things first, this serum is a freaking godsend. My cousin Marina actually introduced me to Artistry when she began selling the line and I instantly became intrigued by its quality and cult-like following (Sandra Bullock and Jennifer Lopez are fans). It was difficult to choose which products I wanted to buy, but I ended up settling on this one. My skin is pretty clear but I have always been prone to blotchiness and dullness. With antioxidant packed ingredients like acerola cherry and skin-soothing pearl protein and flower essences, this oil free serum has already made my complexion brighter and my skin tone more even and fresh looking. It’s a splurge at $133 but I think it’s worth every penny.

2 // CoverGirl – LashBlast 24HR Mascara

If there is one thing I never leave the house without, it’s a few coats of mascara on my lashes. My biggest pet peeve however, is when it flakes under my eyes and I look like a raccoon at the end of the day. This is one of the few mascaras I have found that looks as fresh at 7 pm as it did when I applied it at 7 am. It makes my lashes full, long, and lush and doesn’t flake at all. The only flaw? It’s a bitch to take off. I find coconut oil does the trick though, and it’s a small price to pay for fresh, fluttery lashes all day long.

3 // Revlon – Kiss Balm in Berry Burst

I’m more of a lipstick gal than a balm girl, but this tinted formula is kind of like a hybrid between the two. It’s super hydrating and leaved a pretty wash of colour on my lips that brightens my whole face. It’s also SPF 20 which is an extra bonus. I love this for when I don’t want to have a dramatically bold lip but I still want a little colour.

4 // Marc Jacobs – Highliner Gel Eye Crayon in Blacquer

I love this eye liner for the same reason that I love CoverGirl’s Lashblast 24HR Mascara. It. Lasts. All. Day. Long. I truly hate when my eye makeup smudges and this highly pigmented gem never fades. Unlike the mascara, this is super easy to wash off. It glides on easily and can make my eyes look subtly defined or sultry and dramatic. It’s pricey at $33, but I love, love, love it.

5 // Artistry Essentials – Pore Cleansing Masque

My favorite thing to do after work is as follows: light a few candles, switch on Netflix, apply this mask. My face always feels a bit greasy at the end of the day and this deep cleansing mask is perfect for soaking up excess oil. With mineral clay, brightening ginseng, and nourishing copper and zinc, this reaches deep into my pores to pull out dirt, debris, and sebum. It also tingles in a very satisfying way that makes me feel like it’s really working. I use this two or three times a week depending on what my skin needs, and it leaves my complexion soft, smooth, and matte. It also doesn’t irritate my sensitive skin, but as always, you should always spot test a mask before slathering it all over your face.

Have you tried any of these products? What did you think? Let’s chat in the comments!

xoxo,

Alicia

February Beauty Picks

february-beauty-picks

So, I have been trying my very best to cut back on my spending this month. Why? My boyfriend and I went to Jamaica last week and stayed at the Hyatt Zilara Rose Hall. It was an absolutely gorgeous and luxurious trip but it was all insanely expensive. Seriously. Beyonce and Jay-Z pricey. I don’t know who I thought I was. I’ll be paying off this trip for the next couple of months and so my favorite little indulgences have to be sacrificed for the time being. Goodbye $6 matcha lattes, sushi takeout, and perfume binges. That being said, my monthly subscription to Ipsy‘s Glam Bags is one treat that I will be keeping. For $14 a month I get five miniature beauty products from luxe brands like Tarte and Too Faced and that is simply too delightful to pass up. I honestly haven’t bought a tube of mascara in ages because they keep sending me different ones (and despite being samples, the sizes are pretty generous!). If you haven’t already signed up for a beauty subscription service like Ipsy (Birchbox is another good one), I highly recommend it! You get a lot for your money and it’s a fabulous way to try new products and colours that you normally wouldn’t have access to or think to buy. A lot of the products I have received have become favorites of mine and are ones that I will definitely repurchase when I run out. So without further ado, here are five products that I have absolutely fallen in love with this month.


 

1 // Trust Fund Beauty – Nail Polish in $12 Latte

Okay, so I have never in my life thought to buy a brown nail polish. I just thought it was a dull colour and I generally like my finger nails to be fresh, clean, and simple. I normally lean towards pale petal pinks, nudes, and french manis. When I received this in my Ipsy bag I was actually kind of disappointed because the deep brown/purple hue was such a departure from my signature style. I loved the cheeky name as someone who enjoys her overpriced coffee. After giving the colour a try I quickly changed my tune. It’s very dark, almost black, but seems to change subtly from deep coffee brown to dark purple depending on the light. It’s not at all goth and has a subtle sophistication that I love. I won’t wear it much longer – it’s too dark for summer. It’s the perfect moody shade for fall and provides a striking contrast against my silver rings.

2 //  Tarte – Amazonian Clay 12-hour Naughty Nudes Blush in Sensual

If your favorite bronzer and peachy blush had a baby, this would be it. It’s a beautiful shade that instantly warms up the complexion and lasts a crazy long time (12 hours is absolutely accurate). It’s great for the winter months and brightens up a pale visage. It also enhances my newly acquired Jamaica tan and looks beautiful against darker complexions.

3 //  The Balm Cosmetics – Meet Matt(e) Trimony Matte Eyeshadow Palette

I am kind of obsessed with this palette. I rarely wear colour on my lids and almost exclusively opt for play-it-safe neutrals but I can honestly say that I adore every single one of these shades and they work great for day and night. Each shade is named after a different Matt – i.e. Matt Lopez, Matt Reed, Matt Evans. My favorite colour is Matt Moskowitz. It’s a lovely dark purple that is subtle enough to work for every day while still providing a fresh pop of colour. I’ve been wearing it every day lately instead of my usual brown and taupe shades.

4 // NYX – Butter Lipstick in Ripe Berry

Creamy, moisturizing, highly pigmented, long-lasting – this HG of a lipstick seriously ticks every single one of my boxes. The satin finish is gorgeous and is a refreshing change from the over saturation of matte options out there. I honestly cannot get enough of the juicy colour which is reminiscent of raspberry wine. It’s very sultry without being super dark. I’ve been wearing it every day since I got it and I doubt I will be tucking it away anytime soon. Love. Love. Love.

5 //  Be Fine Food Skin Care – Gentle Face Cleanser

If any of you have read my other posts, you will know that skincare is one of my (many) obsessions. No amount of makeup can truly cover up unhealthy skin and so I make it the main focus of my beauty routine and I do my best to use quality products and a consistent regime. Whatever your skin type, I can pretty much guarantee that this lovely cleanser would be a happy addition to your own routine. This soothing cleanser whisks away all traces of makeup, oil, sweat, and gunk without leaving my face feeling parched. It also manages to remove my waterproof mascara without any problems – a difficult feat. True to its name, this nourishing cleanser is packed with vitamin-rich ingredients such as oat bran extract, wheat amino acids, and sugar cane. Sweet.

xoxo,

Alicia

January Beauty Picks

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A brand new year – that means it’s time to buy a whole new slew of beauty products right? There is nothing more invigorating than the first few weeks of January. Sure, it might be a cliche, but at the time of year it feels like the slate has been wiped clean and that all of the bad habits (excessive caffeine, not enough sleep, procrastination etc.) of the previous year are gone. It’s also a great time to refresh one’s beauty routine, whether it’s trying a new hairstyle or colour, switching up one’s daily makeup look, or adopting a more luxurious skincare regime. Right now my focus is on being healthy (eating clean and exercising regularly) and pampering my skin into perfection. I don’t plan on totally changing my look – I want to look like me. Only better. Behold, my five favorite beauty buys this month, all of which have been doing a great job keeping my strands soft and shiny, my skin clear and dewy, and my makeup on point.

1 // Fresh – Sugar Face Polish

My boyfriend got me this for Christmas (he’s a delight) and I am obsessed with it. It’s a multitasking hybrid between a scrub and mask with nourishing ingredients like grapeseed, macadamia, and strawberry seed oils, as well as skin softening brown sugar. Simply smooth it onto your damp, clean complexion, leave it on for ten minutes, and then gently slough off dead skin cells, dirt, and debris as you rinse it off. Voila, a glowing, balanced complexion.

2 // Revlon – Ultra HD Matte Lip Colour in Addiction

This has been my go-to lip colour for the past two months. It’s a gorgeous deep fuchsia hue that instantly brightens up my face even if I am wearing no other makeup. The matte finish is striking but doesn’t leave my lips parched the way other matte lipsticks or liquid colours do. This is a stunning colour for day and night and has become a mainstay in my makeup bag!

3 // LUSH – Daddy-O Shampoo

I recently dyed my hair balayage and bought this shampoo after my colourist recommended that I buy hydrating products to maintain my colour and minimize damage. After trying a couple of different shampoos, this one has become my favorite. I love that it is all natural with luxurious, hair-nourishing ingredients like seaweed, citrus juices, and rose and bergamot oil. It keeps my newly blonde tresses bright and fresh and my hair is even softer than before I coloured it. Plus it has a lovely violet scent – soft, powdery, and feminine.

4 // Nars – Blush in Angelika

I have to admit it – I have been cheating on my trusty bronzer with this awesome blush from Nars. While I love the warm, glowy look that a dusting of bronzer gives me, a soft wash of petal pink blush is so refreshing and looks so pretty against my much paler, winter complexion. Although this blush looks very bright in the compact, it looks natural and subtle on my skin. Pair this with a few coats of volumizing mascara and a slick of rosy lipstick for a flirty, flushed look that rivals that of Disney princesses. Dear bronzer, it has been swell but I think it’s time we took a break.

5 // Tarte – Maracuja Oil

A lot of people find facial oils to be intimidating. After all, oily skin is the enemy right? Never fear – this hydrating elixer, rich in fatty acids and vitamin C sinks in almost immediately, leaving the skin quenched, plump, and silky soft. Since I’ve been using it (morning and night under my moisturizer) my skin tone has become more even and smooth with a dewy glow and I find myself reaching for my concealer and highlighter less frequently. This is a pricey product but if you give it a try I think you will find that it is worth every single penny!

xoxo,

Alicia

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November Beauty Picks

Although I love to experiment with my makeup and play with different hairstyles, the foundation of my beauty routine is a solid skincare system. This hasn’t always been the case. When I was younger I was quite rough with my skin – I would go to bed without taking my makeup off, I’d pick at pimples, I’d scrub my face with harsh, sandpaper like formulas (St. Ives Shards of Glass Apricot Scrub, I’m looking at you), I would always forego SPF. When it comes to universally known skincare sins, you name it, I did it. In my late teens I began to develop more of an interest in skincare and sought out help from estheticians and facialists to give me a better sense of how to take care of my complexion. What did I learn? Less is generally more and to exfoliate and moisturize regularly, albeit gently (there is no reason to rub sharp, overly abrasive scrubs into your skin, unless you are trying to remove calluses from the soles of your feet). In the winter, when the air is cold, dry, and unforgiving, my skincare routine becomes a little more indulgent – think masks, serums, oils, etc. I keep my makeup simple, focusing instead on keeping a glowing complexion. Behold, my five favorite beauty products this month.


1 // Lush – Ocean Salt Face and Body Scrub

LUSH has become a favorite brand of mine over the years. Why? Their products are often vegan, are ethically produced, and are handcrafted using nourishing, organic ingredients. Ocean Salt is a tried and true classic and is one of the brand’s most popular products. I can totally see why. First, it smells like a margarita thanks to its clarifying blend of vodka, salt, and lime. Second, it manages to deeply cleanse and exfoliate my skin without making it break out – this is no easy feat. It’s not a scrub I use everyday (it’s quite stimulating), but it’s great for giving my skin a rosy glow and keeping my complexion free of blackheads and flakes. I use it about once a week.

2 // Lush – Let the Good Times Roll Facial Cleanser

Ahh. This may have taken Angels on Bare Skin’s place as my all-time favorite cleanser. With hydrating corn oil, maize flour, warming cinnamon, and exfoliating cornmeal, this moisturizing cleanser makes my face feel like silk. Plus it smells absolutely amazing – like sweet caramel corn or buttery pancakes. The texture is a little bit gritty but isn’t too abrasive. I use it everyday and it’s like a gentle polish for my skin.

3 // ModelCo- Contour Stick

I used to be a little bit hesitant about applying contour during the day. It felt too extreme and getting it juust right can be very challenging. Enter this delightful gem from ModelCo. I simply draw a little line under my cheekbones and along the sides of my nose before blending it well with a sponge. I then dust a little bit of bronzer on top. Bam! A natural, glowy, sculpted look that looks anything but clownish. I love how blendable this product is and the creamy formula lends a slight dewiness to my complexion.

4 // Naked Cosmetics – Advanced Skin Cream

Next to exfoliating, moisturizing regularly has made the biggest difference in my skin. I can be a little bit high-maintenance with my routine (I have night creams, day creams, serums, oils, and eye-creams) but this is the moisturizer I keep in my purse for when I’m on the go and I use it more than any other moisturizer. With light yet hydrating ingredients such as aloe vera, shea butter, and algae, it never fails me and consistently leaves my skin feeling supple with a dewy glow.

5 // Too Faced – Better Than Sex Mascara

Better than sex? That’s a tall order for a mascara to deliver on. Still, this tried and true fan favorite lives up to its name. With plenty of collagen in its formula, it lifts, lengthens, and thickens my lashes in only a couple of swoops. Truly, I look like Bambi when I use this bad boy. Only sultrier. This is an expensive formula but it is one that I like to treat myself to. Try it. When you see your long, lush, fluttery lashes you will agree that it is worth every single penny.

xoxo,

Alicia