10 Budget Friendly Back-to-School Beauty Essentials

Whether you or your kids are going back to school or off to college, it’s the perfect time of year to find deals on essential beauty products.  The Meijer Beauty team challenged me to find my top back-to-school picks, and it was gratifying to see my must-have bath, body and color items with wonderful prices.  Considering I work in a high school and have kids in both college and middle school, I am all about finding the best products at the right price.  Drumroll please…my top ten recommendations for essential (and budget friendly) back-to-school products.

Soap for school:  J.R. Watkins Foaming Hand Soap and I love...Coconut & Cream Shower Gel

Soap for school: J.R. Watkins Foaming Hand Soap and I love…Coconut & Cream Bubble Bath and Shower Cream

1.  J.R. Watkins Foaming Hand Soap ($4.99, I got it at Meijer for $4.49)  The reason I first bought this hand soap was for the awesome vintage label.  The reason I keep buying it?  It’s excellent foaming hand soap, especially for the price.  The soap in public buildings like schools is usually pretty rough stuff, I wash my hands all the time.  My solution is to bring my own.  I keep this soap in my office, and it would fit nicely into a locker.  I like the Aloe and Green Tea scent as a real mood enhancer to help get the school year off right.

2.  I love…Coconut & Cream Bubble Bath and Shower Cream ($7.29)  This British brand is soooo good…doesn’t the packaging look like the Philosophy bottles?  I actually prefer the I love… brand, and it is so much more affordable.  I start my day with a shower then end it with a bubble bath, and the Coconut & Cream scent takes me right back onto vacation.

Necessities for school

Necessities for school

3.  Goody 50 piece Ouchless No Metal Elastics ($2.19, but I got mine at Meijer for $1.10!)  The perfect way to hide morning bedhead is with a ponytail or bun…and these Ouchless Elastics don’t snag, pull, or break hair strands.

4.  Nivea Lip Butter in Caramel Cream Kiss ($3.99)  This super cute lip butter has only been available in the U.S. for about a year, and I am so happy it’s easily found now!  It has great slip and keeps lips soft and moist, plus it tastes like caramel toffee.  Yum.

5.  Meijer Hand Sanitizer ($1.19)  This is simply a must-have for purses and backpacks.  You never know who was sitting in that desk or what nose they were picking…eewwwwww.

Perfect colors for back to school!

Perfect colors for back to school!

Nudes and deep pinks

Nudes and berries

6.  Cover Girl Bombshell Volume by Lashblast Mascara ($9.39)  I think this is the best drugstore mascara out there.  One end is the base coat, which gives definition and length perfect for casual days.  When I want more oomph – and I mean fantastic oomph – I use the other end, the intensifying top coat.  This side darkens lashes and provides mega-drama without any flakes or smearing.

Physician's Formula Nude Eyes

Physician’s Formula Nude Eyes

Nude Eyes - gorgeous.

Nude Eyes – gorgeous.

7.  Physician’s Formula Nude Eyes ($9.99, but I got mine at Meijer for an incredible $6.99)  I am loving neutral, nude eyes with berry cheeks for the fall, and this nude eyeshadow palette is to die for.  Is it reminding you of the Urban Decay Naked2 palette?  Yup, me too, but this is way cheaper with the same quality.  Use these shadows dry or wet for more intensity, and keep the palette sitting out because the packaging is stunning.

Maybelline Hi-Lighting Blush in Pink Rose

Maybelline Hi-Lighting Blush in Pink Rose

8.  Maybelline Hi-Lighting Blush in Pink Rose ($8.29)  Just check out the gorgeousness of this mosaic highlighter/blush.  The soft, creamy shades can be used alone, but I like to swirl a big brush over the whole thing for a beautiful berry glow on my cheeks.

Nicole by OPI mani and pedi shades for school

Nicole by OPI mani and pedi shades for school

9 and 10.  Nicole by OPI Nail Polish in Sing You Like a Bee and Cocoa a Gogo ($5.99 each)  Going back to school is an awesome reason to treat yourself to a manicure and a pedicure, and these two shades are perfect for a nude and berry combo.

Sing You Like a Bee

Sing You Like a Bee

Sing You Like a Bee is from the Carrie Underwood collection.  This is a gorgeous sheer white with golden shimmers.  It is a beautiful shimmery nude look by itself, and it makes a perfect top layer over pretty much any color.

Cocoa a Gogo

Cocoa a Gogo

Cocoa a Gogo is a shimmery chocolate-brown that I love for pedicures…and it is the perfect color for transitioning into cool days and cozy nights by the fire.  Even better, it smells like cinnamon!

Not only are these ten products essentials, it also costs less than $55 to purchase them all at Meijer.  Get your style on for back to school and save money too!

Be sure to check out MeijerStyle.com the last week in August for a post with links to lots of blogger Back-to-School articles – one lucky person who comments on the MeijerStyle.com post will receive a gift basket of Back-to-School/Back-to-College products.  - Lisa

*products reviewed courtesty of Meijer, opinions and selection of items all my own!

Pur Minerals Jupiter Ascending has descended

Pur Minerals Jupiter Ascending collection

Pur Minerals Jupiter Ascending collection

To get yourself in the mood for the upcoming movie, Jupiter Ascending, starring the gorgeous Channing Tatum and Mila Kunis you can do a few things. You could read the book – except there isn’t a book. You could watch the trailers on Amazon or IMDB. You could purchase the movie poster on Amazon for $19 plus shipping. Or you can do the smart thing and buy the collection from Pur Minerals that’s inspired by the movie Jupiter Ascending.

inside the Jupiter Ascending box

inside the Jupiter Ascending box

Jupiter Ascending was sent for consideration and now I’m getting psyched up for the movie even though I have about 6 months to wait. This collection is the best priced set I’ve seen. For $29.95 you get 3 full size items – an eyeshadow palette that has 6 shades, a pink lip gloss and a black liquid eyeliner.

Pur Minerals Jupiter Ascending eyeshadow palette

Pur Minerals Jupiter Ascending eyeshadow palette

In the eyeshadow palette there’s a mirror and a small eyeshadow brush along with the 6 shadows named for parts of the movie.

Majesty applies as a pale matte taupe.

Destiny is a matte cream colored eyeshadow that’s sheer and is best as a base or on your browbone.

Night Sky is a slate gray satin

Jupiter (named after Mila Kunis’ character) is a rosy shade. (In some lights it looks more purple.)

Caine (named for Channing Tatum’s character, no wonder it’s my favorite) is a shimmery mocha with subtle gold glitter.

Cosmos is a sheer iridescent white

Majesty, Destiny, Night Sky, Jupiter

Majesty, Destiny, Night Sky, Jupiter

Caine, Cosmos

Caine, Cosmos

Pure Minerals eye with Majesty, Jupiter and Destiny. Outer Space liquid liner

Pure Minerals eye with Majesty, Jupiter and Destiny. Outer Space liquid liner

I found the eyeshadows to be mostly on the sheer side. The only shades with a lot of intensity are Night Sky and Caine. Majesty, the taupe, is the easiest shade to wear and one I love using. I like that there’s a variety of shades with two light shadows, two of medium depth and two with more pigmentation.

Since it’s a collection it also comes with the beautiful iridescent pink gloss, Galaxy, and a black liquid liner in Outer Space. 

Pur Minerals Precision liquid eyeliner and Light Up Lipgloss

Pur Minerals Precision liquid eyeliner and Light Up Lipgloss

The lipgloss is so much fun!! It lights up. It makes me feel like you’ll want to be reapplying this during the movie so sit in the back. The gloss is a very pretty but very light pink that’s a little bit sticky, it has a small amount of iridescent shimmer to it. I’ve found that applying a lipliner all over my lips first is the key to making this show up and last a little longer.

Pur Minerals Galaxy light up lip gloss

Pur Minerals Galaxy light up lip gloss

This fun collection is available at Ulta and Ulta.com, and the Pur Minerals website. If you want to know more about the upcoming movie Wikipedia has the best information, if you want to practice your look for the upcoming movie Pur Minerals has the best information and all for just $29.95! — Marcia

*sent for editorial consideration

 

Beauty Addicts wants to Motivate your eyes

Beauty Addicts photo credit: http://www.beautylish.com/b/beauty-addicts

Beauty Addicts photo credit: http://www.beautylish.com/b/beauty-addicts

I’m a little late on reviewing this beautiful Beauty Addicts SolutionEYES palette in Motivate. Exactly one month ago my blog partner Lisa started what we call a Side by Side review. Normally we do these together but Lisa was so thrilled with her Beauty Addicts Express palette that she wanted to let it shine alone. I understand that now after wearing Motivate for many weeks. When Beauty Addicts sent both palettes we didn’t know who would get to review which one. Once we picked though we were both hugging the one we ended up with.

Beauty Addicts divides its shadows and lip products into five different color families:

Glow:  youthful, flirtatious, shimmery

Express:  casual, elegant, earth tones

Motivate:  classic, edgy, evening shades

Seduce:  sexy, sultry, smoky

Play:  creative, liberated, colorful

Beauty Addicts SolutionEYES in Motivate

Beauty Addicts SolutionEYES in Motivate

While Motivate SolutionEYES may be considered evening shades, I’ve been wearing it both day and night with ease. The four shades coordinate perfectly and it’s one of the few palettes that I can easily use every color to create different looks. That’s the beauty of it. You can use anywhere from 1 to 4 of the shades and the combinations are wonderful.

Beauty Addicts Motivate SolutionEYES

Beauty Addicts Motivate SolutionEYES

The shadows themselves are soft and blend easily. I find that the best way to apply them is to pat them on, not rub. If I pat then I don’t get eyeshadow fallout so I definitely recommend that. I’ve been using a taklon brush like the MAC 242 for application. You absolutely need an eyeshadow primer with this palette since the shadows are so soft.

Clockwise from the top the shades are a light pink, an orchid that I’ve seen described as radiant orchid, a dusty lavender and a deep blue toned purple. The darkest shade can be used as your eyeliner. The lightest shade, pink, is a great shade to brighten your eyes. It’s not a rabbit type pink, it’s soft and lovely.

Motivate SolutionEYES by Beauty Addict

Motivate SolutionEYES by Beauty Addict

The pink and dark purple are both matte shades and have more pigment to them than the other two which have very subtle shimmer in them. You won’t see shimmer when you open the palette (or at least I don’t) but I do see it lightly come through when blending.

Beauty Addicts Motivate - how I really look

Beauty Addicts Motivate – how I really look

Motivate eyes with Beauty Addicts

Motivate eyes with Beauty Addicts

Whether you choose to be MOTIVATED with these soft purples that can become more intense for a smokey night look or you want an EXPRESS look with warm earth tones, you won’t go wrong. Beauty Addicts has the solution for your eyes. — Marcia

*sent for editorial consideration

 

Makeup Geek greens and purples: Appletini, Shimmermint, Unexpected, and Sensuous

With these beautiful bright summer days, I have been inspired to focus on bright, sunny eyeshadow. For the quality, price, and colors, no one can beat Makeup Geek Eyeshadows (pans are $5.99, also available in a compact for $7.99). The gorgeous Makeup Geek guru, Marlena, sent some shades to try, and I am going gaga for her greens and purples these days.

Makeup Geek eyeshadows

Makeup Geek eyeshadows

Appletini is a truly stunning apple-green shimmer with golden flecks.

Appletini

Makeup Geek Appletini

Appletini swatch

Appletini swatch

Appletini is a lovely, complex shade with a slightly blueish tone to it . This is the darker of my two green shades – Shimmermint is similar but a few shades lighter.

Makeup Geek Shimmermint

Makeup Geek Shimmermint

Shimmermint swatch

Shimmermint swatch

Shimmermint is a metallic mint green with gold shimmer. I pair these two greens together with thick black eyeliner for a summery look that really makes my brown eyes pop. They both also pair well with blue eyeshadows and brown eyeshadows, so they are very versatile.

Makeup Geek Unexpected

Makeup Geek Unexpected

Unexpected swatch

Unexpected swatch

Unexpected is a matte pinky purple that is beyond creamy. Wow this is a fabulous matte eyeshadow! I love it all by itself as a wash with some dark grey eyeliner for a flattering minimalistic look. And I highly recommend pairing it with the sultry Sensuous eyeshadow.

Makeup Geek Sensuous

Makeup Geek Sensuous

Sensuous swatch

Sensuous swatch

Sensuous is a shimmery purple with silver flecks. Um, yeah…I would say this eyeshadow is properly named for sure! My go-to summer evening look is a wash of Unexpected with Sensuous in the crease and outer V, plus a ton of dark purple eyeliner. Va-va-voom!

Makeup Geek eyeshadows are creamy, velvety and have tons of pigment. They are the exact same size as a MAC eyeshadow pan but less expensive. This is definitely a line to invest in. Be sure to check out the website for amazing tutorials.  - Lisa

*products sent for editorial consideration

Makeup Wars creates looks for Too Faced Cat Eyes

Too Faced Cat Eyes palette

Too Faced Cat Eyes palette

Makeup Wars is back again with more eyeshadows. We’ve decided to all use the same palette to show you how many looks you can do from just one palette. The Makeup Wars bloggers are all different shapes and sizes and ethnicities. Our eyes aren’t the same shape, our skin tones are all different. That’s what is going to make this week’s Too Faced Cat Eyes post so much fun.

I’m not an exotic cat eye person. I look old and ridiculous with the beautiful cat eyeliner look. I’ve tried it and I won’t scare you away with those pictures. But I think I’ve achieved a look that gives the illusion of a cat eye liner in my own way.

Day look

Day look

This is what Too Faced chose as the Day Look. My interpretation using the Day shadows is 100% different but I love it nonetheless.

Too Faced Cat Eyes - my version

Too Faced Cat Eyes – my version

Cat Eyes day shadows

Cat Eyes day shadows

I love almost all the shades in this palette. I’ve sometimes had problems with glitter and glitter fallout with Too Faced but the Cat Eyes palette is magnificent. It’s got some shimmer but no big glitter chunks (the one exception is Kitty Glitter which obviously is glittery). The shadows went on easily and blended dreamily no matter which I picked from the palette. I used Too Faced Shadow Insurance Primer with these looks, I always use a primer and it’s usually the TF one.

The day look uses three shades: PURR which is a slighly frosted creamy white, it’s not a stark white and on my pale skin is great for the brow bone area. TIGER’S EYE is a golden copper that had no shimmer, it’s more of a satin. It looks lighter in the palette than on my eye. LEOPARD can be used wet or dry (as can the last column in each row). I could see obvious glitter in the palette but it didn’t translate that way on my eye. Instead I ended up with a beautiful dark brown with some shimmer. I used this wet as an eyeliner. Then I used it dry, with a very thin eyeliner brush, and extended a thin line upward to approximate a cat eye. Later I blended that in better.

Day look with Too Faced Cat Eyes

Day look with Too Faced Cat Eyes

Cat Eyes

Cat Eyes

Here’s another look that used the pink and purple of Classic but with this one I wasn’t thinking “cat eyes”, just thinking “I love these colors, let’s play”.

Too Faced Cat Eyes using Classic shades plus

Too Faced Cat Eyes using Classic shades plus

For this look I started with a light mix of MEOW and KITTEN on my brow bone area. I wanted a touch of pink but not too much. On my lid I used PUSSY CAT, a pink/lavender with very subtle shimmer. Above that in the crease I did a windshield wash of TIGER’S EYE (from the Day Look) and then used JUNGLE LOVE very darkly on the outer third of my eye and blended into the corner. Jungle Love is a dark purple that is actually a matte yet has some subtle purple shimmer in it. I used a very thin line of black liquid eyeliner on the top and a little thicker on the bottom.

Pussy Cat, Tigers Eye and Jungle Love

Pussy Cat, Tigers Eye and Jungle Love

I’m loving this palette and I’m so glad that Makeup Wars chose this as the palette for us to highlight. I bought mine from sephora.com as it’s not in most stores yet.

Hopefully you and I will get a lot of new ideas on how to use this lovely palette in different ways. Let me know in the comments if you like either of my looks and if you plan on buying this yourself. — Marcia


Tarte Rainforest After Dark review and swatches

Tarte Cosmetics has an exciting new, limited edition palette out called the Rainforest After Dark Eye and Cheek Palette ($38).  This is a wonderful palette with a beautiful range of shades inspired by dusk in the rainforest.  I had high expectations when Tarte sent this to us, and I was not disappointed!

tarte rainforest after dark...the box is even textured like snake skin

tarte rainforest after dark…the box is even textured like snake-skin

tarte rainforest after dark

tarte rainforest after dark

The packaging is gorgeous, with a golden snake design and a purple snake-skin textured box.  Inside, the palette is a round, CD size palette emblazoned with the snake and a purple jeweled eye.  It has a large round mirror that is big enough to reflect your entire face.  Nice!

one blush, one bronzer, one highlighter, and six eyeshadows

one blush, one bronzer, one highlighter, and six eyeshadows

tarte rainforest 5tarte rainforest 3

The products inside include one blush, one highlighter, one bronzer, and six eyeshadows.  The unique thing about Tarte powder products is color-correcting colored clay.  The rose clay helps to soothe skin, vanilla clay controls oil, and gold clay moisturizes.

unleashed blush

unleashed blush

champagne highlighter

champagne highlighter

park ave princess bronzer

park ave princess bronzer

left to right:  champagne, unleased, park ave princess

left to right: champagne, unleased, park ave princess

The Unleashed blush is a pretty plum matte pink.  It has terrific staying power and is such a flattering shade.  Champagne is a gorgeous highlighter, just be sure to buff it well – that’s what turns it into a flattering glow.  I actually use this on my eyes as a brow shade, too.  And Park Avenue Princess is a perfect bronzer, a buttery satin warm gold brown that looks terrific on almost everyone.

The eyeshadows are just to die for.  The texture is buttery soft, the pigmentation is wonderful, and the shades are beautiful. Three are golden browns, and three are pinky purples.

left to right:  don't turn a-brown, tan-gled up in you, up to no gold

left to right: don’t turn a-brown, tan-gled up in you, up to no gold

left to right:  up to no gold, tan-gled up in you, don't turn a-brown

left to right: up to no gold, tan-gled up in you, don’t turn a-brown

First up, the golden brown shades.  up to no gold is a shimmery gold with a velvet texture.  I think this is my favorite of them all, it really makes my brown eyes POP. tan-gled up in you is a matte tan that goes on so smooth, I almost can’t believe it’s a matte eyeshadow.  don’t turn a-brown is a dark brown with tiny golden shimmer.

left to right:  bare to explore, make a mauve, plum away with me

left to right: bare to explore, make a mauve, plum away with me

left to right:  bare to explore, make a mauve, plum away with me

left to right: bare to explore, make a mauve, plum away with me

Next, the pinky purples.  bare to explore is a matte pink beige that has a silky texture and is a great base shade.  On busy mornings, I throw this on as a wash with some black eyeliner and I am good to go.  make a mauve is a satin plum mauve that is even prettier in person.  plum away with me  is a shimmery dark plum with silver sparkle.  Gorgeous.

Included with the palette is a card with instructions for two different eye looks, the Afterhours Adventure, ‘inspired by the deep orchid hues of dusk, this spellbinding evening look will unleash your inner bombshell as you flawlessly take on the night‘; and Seductive Sunrise, ‘ignite your wild side anytime with this sultry, yet subtle everyday look.

Rainforest After Dark definitely give you everything you need for day or night, subtle or sultry.  Pick it up before it’s sold out!  - Lisa

*sent for editorial consideration

Tarina Tarantino makes life Magical with her eyeshadow palette

eyeshadow palette in Magical

eyeshadow palette in Magical

Oops, I did it again! I received this Tarina Tarantino Magical Jewel Eyeshadow Palette to review (as did a lucky winner in our giveaway) but it cost me a lot of money. I am now so in love with the quality of Tarina Tarantino that I can’t stop purchasing. Luckily for me, Hautelook sells this every few months. Luckily for Hautelook and Tarina Tarantino I shop for their products each time.

Tarina Tarantino Jewel Palette in Magical

Tarina Tarantino Jewel Palette in Magical

I featured this Jewel Eyeshadow palette in a recent Makeup Wars about favorite purple eyeshadows because I can’t put it down. I’ve been wearing colors in the brown/nude family for so long that I totally forgot how much I love purples. Magical reminded me. It is one of the best palettes with purple shades that I own. It really is magical on my eyes and makes me feel like a million bucks.

Tarina Tarantino Jewel palette packaging

Tarina Tarantino Jewel palette packaging

Magical isn’t a palette that yells at people – it isn’t bright at all. It’s soft and subtle though you can easily intensify the shades.
Here’s how Tarina Tarantino’s website describes Magical: creamy white shimmer,  pearl ash pink, pearl beige, pearl eggplant purple,pearl soft pink. During Makeup Wars I described the shades as mauve, smoky amethyst, violet, creamy white and a light pink lilac.

Tarina Tarantino Magical

Tarina Tarantino Magical

Magical swatched without primer

Magical swatched without primer

I love a palette that gives me a light enough color to wear on my browbone that finishes up a look. I use the white for that (and no it’s not as dark as my thumb picked up). On my lid I’ll choose any of the three lighter shades depending on my mood. Typically though I’ll start with the soft pink pearl on my lid, apply the far right (middle finger) pearl beige just above that but not on the inner corner. I’ll then use the bottom eggplant purple to intensify the crease. I blend well and finish with the creamy white to pull the look together. I can line with the eggplant but I prefer a liquid or gel liner.

It’s “magical” for several reasons:

  1. The shadows are soft to the touch.
  2. They blend easily into each other without leaving harsh lines.
  3. They are almost creamy and not powdery.
  4. There’s no shimmer but there is a soft pearl finish (my absolute favorite).
  5. There’s no fallout.
  6. It lasts wonderfully throughout the day as long as you are wearing an eyeshadow primer.
  7. Every shade works with the other shades in the palette so there’s no waste.
  8. I love how it looks, I want to wear it often – that’s magic!tarina tarantino magical palette fingers

What have you tried from Tarina Tarantino? What do you want to try? You know I recommend this magical Magical palette and I’ll be sharing Delightful once that’s in my hot little hands. — Marcia

*received for review consideration