December’s Ipsy bag was a winner for me and there’ll be a winner for this giveaway

Ipsy Glam Bag December 2015

Ipsy Glam Bag December 2015

While ending the year IPSY obviously wanted me to keep subscribing since they sent me items that I’m excited about owning and using. Every item this month for me has been a winner though there’s one that won’t work for me. Which means that at the end of this review there’s a giveaway (hint, it’s all about your lips).

Ipsy Glam Bag contents 12/15

Ipsy Glam Bag contents 12/15

I was pretty loaded up this month and even got a bonus that not everyone got. I’ve seen a few reviews of the December box and it seems that some people received an EM Cosmetic item so that’s what I’ll start with.

EM Cosmetics Shade Play eyeshadow palette

EM Cosmetics Shade Play eyeshadow palette

EM COSMETICS SHADE PLAY EYESHADOW PALETTE ($28) was a bonus for me this month. Eyeshadow palettes and I are besties. I’ve purchased several of these palettes and I know that they are quite nice so when I saw Bali Bronzes in my package I was thrilled.

EM Shade Play palette in Bali Bronzes

EM Shade Play palette in Bali Bronzes

Bali Bronzes swatches from emcosmetics.com

Bali Bronzes swatches from emcosmetics.com

These are my kinds of colors and this sturdy case is going to go traveling with me.

Sephora X in Revved Up

Sephora X in Revved Up

Revved Up from sephora.com

Revved Up from sephora.com

Sephora X Formula Nail Pollish in Revved Up is another great product for me. I love the mini size since I probably will wear it 1 – 2 times altogether. But more important, I love the color. It’s a rose gold metallic that’s going to be a great party shade for me. While I haven’t worn it yet, I know I will. The full size is $10.50 at Sephora.

RickysNY 3D Blender

RickysNYC 3D Blender

I love tools and this RickysNYC 3D Blender is going to have fun living on my vanity. While I mostly use a Beauty Blender, I also misplace things often. Usually they are right in front of me or pushed back in a drawer. So having an extra Blender sponge will come in quite handy. This is 100% latex free. It also costs $10 which is the price I paid for my entire IPSY Glam bag. Can’t argue with that!

Ipsy samples: Thank Me Later e/s primer, Befine Exfoliating Cleanser

Ipsy samples: Thank Me Later e/s primer, Befine Exfoliating Cleanser

Two deluxe sample items were in the bag too. Elizabeth Mott Thank Me Later eyeshadow primer is one of the better samples I’ve gotten in subscription boxes. I use up primers fairly quickly either on my eyes or in swatching. Plus this is a great travel size (value about $3.50). Befine Exfoliating Cleanser is a great size for a deluxe sample, giving us enough uses to know how much we like it. This contains brown sugar, almond & oats to remove oils and nourish dry, sensitive skin. Plus it’s a cruelty free company. A full size of 4 oz. is $24 making this 1 oz size worth $6.

Pacifica Power of Love lipstick in Nude Red

Pacifica Power of Love lipstick in Nudie Red

Receiving a full size lipstick from PACIFICA ($10) is pretty darn great. This is a great cruelty free company that is 100% Vegan. Nudie Red is actually a very nice color but it’s not my kind of color. Therefore someone is going to win this. The company says it’s a satin finish and that the tube is recyclable. To my eye it appears to be a light red with brownish undertones. It’s not a deep shade so if you are afraid of red, this should still be fine.

This was one of the best IPSY GLAM bags I’ve ever received, even if I hadn’t gotten the bonus palette I still would have been quite happy with it. If you are considering this bag, I’d love it if you used my affliate link which would help me earn points towards a freebie. What do you think of the December bag? Did I get my money’s worth?? (Darn straight I did!)  — Marcia

Lip giveaway products from Pacifica, OFRA and Bellepiere

Lip giveaway products from Pacifica, OFRA and Bellepiere

OFRA Long Lasting Liquid Lipstick in Americano and BELLAPIERRE Gel Lip Liner in Cinnamon

OFRA Long Lasting Liquid Lipstick in Americano and BELLAPIERRE Gel Lip Liner in Cinnamon

Pacifica Power of Love lipstick in Nude Red

Pacifica Power of Love lipstick in Nudie Red

GIVEAWAY INFORMATION: This giveaway is actually for 3 lip products plus some extras. Included in the red IPSY makeup bag from this month will be PACIFICA NUDIE RED LIPSTICK, OFRA AMERICANO LIQUID LIPSTICK and BELLAPIERRE CINNAMON GEL LIP LINER. I reviewed the OFRA and Bellapierre in my Boxycharm review so you can see the brown/cinnamon shades you’ll be receiving if you win this. All three of these lip products are top notch, just not my colors. The giveaway is open for US/Canada through 1/12/16. If comments should close early please email me at beautyinfozone@gmail.com, label it LIPSTICK GIVEAWAY, leave your comment and continue on! If these are your shades you’ll be one beautiful BIZ reader.

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Formula X polish from Sephora

Not being a nail blogger has its advantages and disadvantages. I love polish and buy an extraordinary amount. Just like some women are drawn to lipstick when they need a pick up or just notice a pretty color, I buy polish. An advantage to being a nail blogger is being able to actually try out all that gorgeousness. They’ll show you an entire collection that they’ve applied so that we can drool over the polishes. A disadvantage though is not always knowing how a polish wears. Do a vice versa and you have me, a lover of polish who sometimes blogs about it. I may not be able to show you whole collections since I only use one polish a week, but I can tell you about the wear of a polish so I do have that advantage.

Formula X Nail Color in Fiery and Wunderkind

Formula X Nail Color in Fiery and Wunderkind

Formula X Nail Color in Wunderkind and Fiery

Formula X Nail Color in Wunderkind and Fiery

This leads me to reviewing two Formula X polishes by Sephora, Fiery and Wunderkind,  I bought Fiery based on its description which was right up my alley. It’s a gorgeous fiery red metallic polish that is like the finish of a shiny new car gleaming in the lights of the dealer’s showroom. It’s a stunning color that applied beautifully. It also wore like a dream for the first 5 days.

Formula X by Sephora Fiery Nail Color

Formula X by Sephora Fiery Nail Color

Formula X by Sephora Fiery Nail Color

Formula X by Sephora Fiery Nail Color

I then chose Wunderkind to put on a secret Santa list and my lovely secret pal purchased that for me. The problem is that the description of Wunderkind doesn’t match the polish in the same way that I’d found with Fiery. Sephora calls it a midnight blue pearl so I expected it to be the navy equivalent to that shiny automobile. Instead I feel like I’m standing in the showroom but they forgot to turn on the lights.

Formula X by Sephora Wunderkind Nail Color

Formula X by Sephora Wunderkind Nail Color

Formula X by Sephora Wunderkind Nail Color

Formula X by Sephora Wunderkind Nail Color

The setback that they both share is longevity. Wunderkind lasted great for 3-4 days while Fiery lasted well for 5 days but then they went downhill. The edges wore quickly, the shine faded (especially on Wunderkind) and I’m once again reminded I’m not a nail blogger so I need to finish out the week with a polish that lost its specialness.

Both Fiery and Wunderkind are part of The New Classics collection at $10.50 each. I can’t help but recommend Fiery if you are a fan of red polish. The shiny metallic shade will have you mesmerized for days. On the other hand I found Wunderkind not to live up to the color shown on Sephora’s site. It didn’t have the oomph on me to make it anything more than another navy polish which is really a shame.

Formula X by Sephora Fiery Nail Color

Formula X by Sephora Fiery Nail Color

Have you tried Formula X? What colors are your favorites? — Marcia

The $50 blogger challenge plus a bonus giveaway

I have to thank Coupons. com for offering this great post. A group of bloggers were given $50 e-gift cards to one of three beauty emporiums. Mine was Sephora. I was let loose on Sephora.com with $50 to spend!!! Whoopee! I got right to work making a list of things I wanted and of course it was long. The challenge from coupons.com was to create at least 2 looks using the $50. I labored over this and finally decided that I wanted to prove that Sephora.com can provide a bag full of goodies for that money. Sephora doesn’t carry drugstore items, they carry what is called prestige brands. We often feel like they are so expensive but look what I got with my e-certificate from coupons. com.

Coupons.com haul: Stila, Kat VonD

Coupons.com haul: Stila, Kat Von D

I bought two Stila travel palettes which are normally $16 each but are on sale at Sephora.com for $10 plus 3 Kat Von D Waterproof Eyeliner pencils $10 each). I also had a code (sephora.com shows current codes on their website) for a free YSL Shocking mascara. I’ve got everything I need for eyes, lips and cheeks with these.

The first of the two Stila palettes is Vibrant in Vancouver which is comprised of the following colors of eyeshadows: English Boy (satin light beige), Cypress (shimmery light brown), Granville (matte light chocolate), Seaplane (shimmery olive) and Coal Harbour (matte dark brown). The convertible lip and cheek cream in Tiger Lily is a shimmery rose-brown.

Stila Vibrant in Vancouver

Stila Vibrant in Vancouver

These are the typical neutral colors that I wear all the time. I picked this palette for a few reasons – 1) I’m loving olive greens at the moment, 2) I always feel good in browns and beiges and 3) I had a feeling that the convertible color would work well for me. This is a good palette for my everyday type looks plus when I start with a base like a Maybelline Tattoo I can change the looks even more.

The other palette I picked is Rockin’ in Rio which turned into a surprise favorite. I chose it to add variety but it turns out I really like this and it will stay in my rotation. The eye shadows are Copacabana (satin pale beige), Samba (satin medium beige), Bossa Nova (shimmery light greyish brown), Carnavale (shimmery greyish black) and Ipanema (shimmery midnight blue). The convertible color is called Freesia and it’s a great candy pink that I like on my lips as well as my cheeks.

Stila Rockin in Rio palette

Stila Rockin in Rio palette

The three pencils I bought are by Kat Von D and were highly recommended by a friend. They are the Waterproof Autograph Pencils which cost just $10 each – I bought 3  since I wanted to be able to change my look. The shades I have are Piaf (purplish gray with multicolor sparkle), Napolitano (bronze with gold sparkle) and Black Metal (black with silver sparkle). I guess I was in a sparkly mood. These aren’t full size pencils, they are half size which is great for someone with a collection my size and for trying out new colors.

Kat Von D Waterproof Autograph Pencils

Kat Von D Waterproof Autograph Pencils

Kat Von D Waterproof Autograph Pencils: Black Magic, Napolitano, Piaf

Kat Von D Waterproof Autograph Pencils: Black Magic, Napolitano, Piaf

While the challenge was for two looks I was able to create much more than that depending on the placement of the eyeshadow or the eyeliner I chose. Each eyeliner worked with two palettes plus I was able to dampen shadows in the palettes for eyeliners too. The bonus YSL mascara is not one that worked for me. I didn’t get shocking lashes, I felt that my lashes stuck together too much and I didn’t see anything other than some definition. But what a great way to know since it was a bonus code.

Now for some looks:

1) StilaVibrant in Vancouver with olive lid, shimmery light brown in the crease and shimmery light beige on browbone. Lined with Kat Von D Napolitano.

Stila Vibrant in Vancouver

Stila Vibrant in Vancouver

sephora stila vancouver1 62. Stila Rockin in Rio with light shimmery gray on lid, charcoal in the crease, pale beige on the browbone and Kat Von D Black Magic eyeliner.

Stila Rockin in Rio palette

Stila Rockin in Rio palette

3. Stila Rockin in Rio with the light gray on the lid, blue in the crease and pale beige above with Kat Von D Black Magic eyeliner. You can also see my cheeks with the Freesia convertible color.

Stila Rockin in Rio

Stila Rockin in Rio

4. Stila Rockin in Rio using Ipanema eyeshadow wet as an eyeliner – I wanted you to see how vibrant it can be.

Stila Rockin in Rio

Stila Rockin in Rio

Now for the giveaway news…. this giveaway is open for one week only and will close on June 21, 2013. It is open for US only. The giveaway and the products that we each received are from Coupons. com (there was no other compensation for this post). There are a lot of chances to win so the more you follow on Rafflecopter’s widget, the more likely it is for you to be the big winner.

I hope you’ll click on our links to see how everyone spent their $50. We have all chosen totally different routes so you’ve got some fun in store. Let me know in the comments if you have any of these Stila Travel palettes and if there are others I should be looking for. — Marcia

summer giveaway coupons dot com

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The essential brush for your collection: Make Up For Ever HD Kabuki Brush

My favorite Kabuki

My favorite Kabuki

My favorite Kabuki brush comes in the cutest little zippered case ever, it’s like a little gift that keeps on giving every time I open it. Make Up For Ever definitely made my day when they sent the BIZ the HD Kabuki Brush ($40) to test.

The only place you can get this gem is at Sephora so plan to visit a store or go online – this brush is a must-have for your collection. It has super thin packed nylon bristles that do not shed in a classic kabuki shape that works perfectly with Make Up For Ever’s HD Microfinish Powder or with any other powder..

zippered compartment

zippered compartment

This little brush has just the right amount of softness, just the right amount of stiffness, and just the right density. It also comes in a perfect little black zippered pouch. It’s truly great for travel or for keeping your brush dust-free at home.

love the size

love the size

So what all do I use my Kabuki for? Hmm, let me count the ways…it’s perfect for loose powder, great for blending in foundation, and it buffs products in beautifully. It’s also awesome for mineral powder foundation.

Glorious kabukiness!

Glorious kabukiness!

So counting all the uses –  loose powder, powder foundation, mineral foundation, bronzer…it’s a total multi-tasker.

Yes, it’s on the expensive side, but you definitely get what you pay for with little cute Kabuki.  It’s totally worth it!  – Lisa

Sephora is the exclusive beauty retailer for the Make Up For Ever HD Kabuki Brush.

* pr sample sent for review consideration

Makeup Wars: our favorite Holiday Metallics are ready to shine

This week our group of Makeup Wars bloggers are excited to share with you METALLICS! What a perfect time of the year to bring out the bling. Between the winter holidays and New Year’s Eve we all want to shine in one way or the other. As soon as I found out what our assignment was I ran to my shelves and pulled out my sparkly Chanel Illusion d’Ombre Luminous shadows, my Armani Eyes to Kill Intense Waterproof Eyeshadows, my new Lancôme ‘Color Design’ Infinite Luminous Eyeshadows and my L’Oreal Infallible shadows. Those are mostly metallics and mostly all gorgeous. Then I realized that I had something new to delight you that might make you sit up and take notice.

Sephora+Pantone Universal Precious Metals Shadow Palette

Image from sephora.com

The Sephora+Pantone Universal Precious Metallic Palette is my choice for favorite holiday metallics. The funny thing is that while I was expecting some eyeshadows I could only wear at night, it turns out that this is probably called the Metallic Palette because of its case. The palette itself doesn’t really have many metallic eyeshadows.

Precious Metals Shadow Palette with the number overlay

Now why am I choosing something not quite metallic for this challenge? First I think you are going to see a lot of sparkle in this topic and not everyone really wants sparkle. Second it’s a terrific palette that will bring you enough looks for the holidays and beyond. You can wear this palette day and night. You can create a neutral everyday look, a slightly darker going out for dinner face, a smokey eye, or a full out holiday look. It’s so versatile!

Sephora+Pantone Universal Precious Metals Shadow Palette

What you’ll find are 35 colors that were inspired by Pantone’s 2013 Plus Series Metallic Book. There’s a variety of finishes from matte to shimmer to pearlescent and finally to some metallic finishes. What I love about this palette is that it is so incredibly easy to use. The 7 rows of shadows are like 7 different palettes in one. Take a row and work from top to bottom and you’ve got a complete look. You’ve got 5 colors in each row so you can play around with just that row and have a perfectly blended combination with one color flowing into the other. Or you can use any of the 35 shadows to create your own look.

Precious Metals Shadow Palette back of the box

I didn’t swatch these all because most of the colors are light and don’t show up well in my pictures. That’s not a criticism though. It’s just a fact. These eyeshadows are not overly pigmented until you get to the bottom. The bottom of each row has deep colors that are great for eyelining or a mysterious eye. I’ve used the bottom shade with each of the 6 looks I’ve done so far as my liner, I put a drop of a mixing medium like Illamasqua’s Sealing Gel in my Mineral’s Mate mixing palette and use that to wet the shadow. I use just a small corner so that I can still use the shadow as a shadow. One thing to note about these shadows is that even though the pigmentation on many of the shadows is very light, they are long lasting. I have been thrilled with the length of time these look good on without needing any touch up at all.

I’ll be happy to do an in-depth review of the shades in the Sephora+Pantone Universal Precious Metals Shadow Palette if you want, just let me know in the comments. I was lucky enough to buy mine during the VIB sale but I’d happily pay the full $48 price. If you are searching for a way to be part of the Metallic crowd then consider this gem of a palette.

Be sure you use the arrows or icons to visit my fellow Makeup Warriors. I’m excited to see what they’ve chosen and which ones I’m going to need to buy myself. — Marcia