REVIEW: CHANEL SOLEIL TAN DE CHANEL BRONZING MAKEUP BASE

I have wanted to try this cream bronzer from Chanel for over a year now. I have resisted purchasing this product due to it’s high price tag and the fact that I have very oily skin. During a recent online shopping spree – I decided to finally purchase it.

Chanel Tan De Chanel Bronzer

The product and packaging are absolutely gorgeous… to the point where I did not want to use it and “ruin” the swirly design. It is also my first Chanel product so I wanted to savor the moment. Unfortunately, I plan on returning this product. I did not love the way that a cream bronzer felt on top of my oily skin. I’m sure I could have gotten used to how it FELT but I wasn’t “wowed” by how this LOOKED on my skin either. The only way that I really enjoyed this bronzer was when I applied it first and then applied Nars Laguna (a powder bronzer on top). I found that the Chanel bronzer served as a nice base and made my powder bronzer last all day. However, I do not want to spend $50 on a bronzer only to need to apply a second bronzer on top.

Chanel Tan De Chanel Bronzer

Disclaimer: Please take into consideration the fact that this product is SUPER popular and I’m one of the few people that I know that did not enjoy it. This bronzer has over 100 5-star reviews on the Nordstrom website and I know that my two “makeup besties” (Lisa and KK) LOVE this product. If you are like me and have oily skin and a medium skin tone you may not like this product.

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BRAZILIAN BUM BUM CREAM (FIRST IMPRESSION)

Brazilian Bum Bum Cream

Sephora has stepped up their sample game. I’ve recently received a few samples of products that I have been dying to try. So, I thought it would be fun to give you my first impression of the Brazilian Bum Bum Cream by Sol de Janeiro. Obviously, using a sample once is not enough to give you a detailed review but I can definitely give you my first impression. It is worth nothing that this product claims to smooth and tighten your skin and is recommend for your buttocks (lol), legs, tummy, arms, and all over (according to the Sephora website).

To make it more interesting, I thought it would be fun to go to the Sephora website and see what the top “keywords” were for this product and then add my take:

Scented (109 reviews) – This product does have a slight scent but I can’t quite put my finger on exactly what it is. However, I would NOT call this product heavily-scented. I really had to get close and sniff it to even see that it had a scent.

Absorbs Quickly (92 reviews) – I absolutely agree. I applied this product all over my legs and put the excess on my hands. It absorbed SUPER quickly. This is the TOP priority for me when I am looking for a lotion. I don’t want something that is going to stick to my clothes (if I apply it in the morning) or rub all over my sheets (if I apply it at night). I was really impressed with how quickly this product absorbed into my skin.

Rich (87 reviews) – I’m going to assume that rich means thick. I somewhat agree with this. It is not nearly as thick as other body butters that I have tried but it is definitely thicker than a body moisturizer.

Moisturizing (4 reviews) – My legs were really dry prior to using this (which is why I decided to apply it to my legs) and they now feel very moisturized and very smooth.

Shimmery (4 reviews) – When I saw the word shimmery, I was very concerned. I’m not looking for a lotion that makes my legs all glittery. In my experience, those moisturizers don’t really provide very much moisture – they just temporarily make your legs look good. I’m looking for something that provides actual moisture. I’m happy to report that this was not glittery at all. In fact, I wouldn’t consider this shimmery either. My legs look more healthy and moisturized but they don’t really shimmer or glow.

Overall, I liked this product and would definitely be interested in purchasing the full size. Have you tried this product? What did you think? Also, let me know what you think about the format of this blog post because I have a few other samples I would really like to review.

 

JUNE 2016 POP SUGAR MUST HAVE BOX

I was really excited when Pop Sugar sent me their June 2016 Must Have Box to try. This is my friend Bianca’s favorite subscription box and I have to say – this box was one of the best subscription packages I have ever received. This subscription costs $39.95/box and you receive 1 box/month (use coupon code MUSTHAVE for $5 off your first box). Here is what came in my first box:

Pop Sugar June Must Have Box

 

Ridley Games – Who Am I? – retails for $13. The packaging of this game is adorable. My family and I love having game nights so we will definitely put this to use. You read off clues and your friends have to guess who you are (my husband and I tried one and I was LIVID when he failed to guess Kate Middleton – aka my role model in life).

Hat Attack – Neutral Diamond Sarong – retails for $58. I don’t typically wear sarongs but the print on this one is gorgeous. I am determined to come up with a use for this product! Scarf maybe?

Pacifica Under-Arm Wipes – retails for $9. I first heard about the brand Pacifica when my friend Lisa was a finalist in their “Pacifica Muse” contest. I tried their Kale face wash and fell in love. I have had these wipes in my Ulta cart for months so I am really excited to receive these. These are going to be great to keep in my gym bag or purse.

NCLA Born on the Fourth Lacquer – retails for $16. I will never complain about receiving a nail polish in a subscription box. I love painting my nails and you can never have too many polishes. This red, white , and blue glitter polish will be perfect for the 4th of July!

Sriracha Pressels – retails for $1.29. I enjoy discovering new snacks so I love when my subscription boxes include a snack to try. My husband is obsessed with all things Sriracha so I have a feeling he will love these.

Sisters of Los Angeles Cheers Bottle Opener – retails for $12. This is my favorite product in the box. It is adorable AND functional. This will be perfect for Summer parties! (I could not find this exact product online so I linked a similar one that this brand makes.)

Knock Knock Are You Ready Compact Mirror – retails for $10. This compact mirror is super cute and is double-sided (one side has a normal mirror and the other side is magnified)

June Pop Sugar Must Have Box

Bottom Line: The total retail value of this box is $119! I love boxes like this because there is truly something for everyone. Plus, it’s fun to receive a subscription service that isn’t solely makeup products. If PopSugar does not send me the July box (fingers crossed y’all) then I will for sure be purchasing my own subscription!

 

 

BEACH MAKEUP: WHAT I WORE IN KEY WEST

If you follow me on Snapchat (kateluvsmakeup) then you know that my husband and I recently traveled to Key West, Florida to celebrate our 3-year wedding anniversary. I thought it would be fun to share all of the makeup products that I wore on the trip (I only wore a fraction of what I packed, oops!)

Beach makeup flat lay

As much as I love makeup, I am not someone who wants to wear a full face of makeup all of the time. So, I ended up not wearing any makeup during the day. At night, my skin was very dry and slightly sunburned after being in the sun all day so I used the Murad Invisiblur Primer for SPF and the  IT Cosmetics CC Cream in Tan to even out my skin tone. I found that this CC Cream gave me the coverage I needed but did not feel too heavy in the heat and humidity. Plus, it has a high SPF (50) which is a must at the beach. I skipped using any setting powder and instead bronzed my skin with the Hourglass Ambient Bronzer in Luminous Bronze Light. Honestly, my skin was so tan and naturally bronzed that this step was completely unnecessary but I just love this bronzer so much.

The only blush that I brought was my limited edition Hourglass Blush Palette (includes shades Luminous Flush, Mood Exposure and Incandescent Electra). I was actually surprised to see that Incandescent Electra and Luminous Flush did not look great on my really tan skin. Have you ever applied a blush color before and just thought it looks super unnatural? These did not show up very well on me so my cheeks looked powdery and the color that did show up looked very unnatural. So, I wore Mood Exposure for the entire trip. FYI – I have been loving Incandescent Electra but I will have to keep in mind that it does not look great on my super tan/slightly sunburned skin. I am not a huge highlighter person but for some reason, when I am tan and on vacation, I am all about that glow! I used the Balm’s Mary Lou-Manizer to highlight my skin.

I found myself not wanting to bother with much eye makeup so I was really happy that I brought my Laura Mercier Caviar Stick in Copper. This is the ONLY eyeshadow that I used on my ENTIRE trip. It is a cream shadow that looks great on it’s own. I lined my eyes with MAC’s Costa Riche, which happens to look great with the Copper caviar stick, and then used Lancome Cils Booster Lash Primer and Too Faced Better Than Sex Mascara to get dramatic lashes. This mascara combo CANNOT be beat.

If you’ve been following me for a while now then you know that I am a neutral-lip lover. However, I decided to “spice” it up for this trip. I wore the Clinique Lip Pop in Poppy Pop, which is a bright orange-red shade. It was a little too dramatic at first so I found the perfect way (for me) to wear it was to apply it to my lips and then dab *most* of it off. I then topped my lips with my Dior Lip Glow in Pink. Dabbing most of the product off toned the color down slightly and made it look more like a lip stain than a full-on lipstick. The Dior Lip Glow then added some moisture and gloss back in to the look. I set my makeup with the travel-sized version of the Skindinavia Makeup Finishing Spray (Oil Control version).

What are your must-haves for a low maintenance look at the beach?

REVIEW: MALLY BEAUTY PERFECT PREP PORELESS PRIMER

I recently received the Mally Beauty Perfect Prep Poreless Primer ($35 for 1 oz) to try out. According to Mally, this product is supposed to be a lightweight primer, that minimizes fine lines and pores, and creates a subtle shimmer.  Mally Beauty Perfect Prep Poreless Primer

I found this product to be very smooth and silky. It reminded me of the Hourglass Mineral Veil Primer that I love in that it created a very smooth canvas for my makeup. My makeup blended out really nicely on top of this product.

As yall know, I have incredibly oily skin. I’ve probably tried over 20 primers and none of them have kept me matte (I always have to blot around lunch-time and then again in the afternoon). For me, this primer was no different. So, I’ve basically given up on finding a primer that will keep me matte and I am now focused on finding primers that blur my pores and make my foundation look really pretty on top. I would say that this primer definitely does that! The only con for me is that the packaging is huge and bulky. It actually does not fit in my “primer drawer” so I end up forgetting to reach for it. Have yall tried this product? What did you think??

 

 

MICRODERMABRASIAN: DR BRANDT VS DERMA E

Derma E and Dr Brandt Microdermabrasion

I am a huge fan of Microdermabrasion. I consistently went to a facialist for about 6 months leading up to my wedding and she said that the best thing for my skin would be microdermabrasion (as opposed to a facial). As a result, my skin looked incredible for those few months. Unfortunately, this beauty regimen was way too expensive for me to maintain so I started researching at-home microdermabrasion. The product that got the best reviews and claimed to “mimic an in-office procedure” was the Dr. Brandt Microdermabrasion Skin Exfoliant. I’ve been using this product for 3 years and I absolutely love it. It does almost as good of a job as my esthetician did.

I recently received an amazing package from the brand Derma E. I’ve been hearing a lot about this brand on Instagram so I was thrilled. The product I was most excited about was their Microdermabrasion Scrub with Dead Sea Salt. I used this product and immediately fell in love. It seemed to be almost identical to the Dr. Brandt scrub. So, for the past few times I have been applying the Dr. Brandt scrub to one half of my face and the Derma E scrub to the other side of my face. Here is how they compare:

  • They both have a lemon scent, which I find to be very enjoyable. The Dr. Brandt scrub is a little more subtle than the Derma E. As I happen to LOVE this scent – I really enjoy the Derma E scrub.
  • The Dr. Brandt scrub is a little more fine than the Derma E one. Basically, the Derma E product feels slightly “rougher” and “harsher”. So, if you have sensitive skin you will probably enjoy the Dr. Brandt one more as it is a little less abrasive. If you want something that feels very strong, you will probably enjoy the Derma E one more.
  • Overall, each side of my skin looked basically identical after using these products. So, I would say they perform very very similarly.

Here is the kicker… both products are 2 oz but the Dr. Brandt scrub retails for $79 (at Sephora) while the Derma E scrub retails for $29.99 (at Ulta). I could not believe the price different. So, I wanted to do a little research to see if there was something “behind the scenes” causing the price difference (quality of ingredients, etc.)

  • Dr. Brandt: Sulfate Free, Phthalates Free
  • Derma E: 100% Vegan, Cruelty Free, Paraben Free, Sulfate Free, Mineral Oil Free, Lanolin Free, Gluten Free, GMO Free.

As I am not a licensed esthetician, I cannot review the ingredients and tell you which one is “better”. With that being said, I will absolutely be repurchasing the Derma E product over the Dr. Brandt product as it performs just as well and is a fraction of the cost.

HOW TO BLOG ON A BUDGET

 

FullSizeRender 2

I’m not going to lie, this beauty blogging hobby of mine is expensive. Like really, really expensive. Recently, I’ve had a few people reach out to me asking the same thing: “I don’t have a large makeup collection and I don’t have a lot of money – can I still create a blog or Instagram account?”

This question really got me thinking. Is it possible? In a short answer, yes. Here are a few ideas that I have thought of for how to save money while blogging:

  1. Start by blogging about the products you already own. I’m sure you’ve used them 100’s of times and can easily write a review on them. How do you like them? Why did you choose them over other products? Etc.
  2. Do not purchase a new camera to take your pictures. I personally use a DSLR camera for most of my product shots because I love photography and happened to already own this camera. However,  I find that my iPhone camera works almost as well. Start by using your phone camera or a digital camera that you already own.
  3. Do not purchase expensive lighting for photography. I own a light tent and lights but I’ve recently started taking most of my photos outside in natural light. Yes, this limits when I am able to take pictures but it is FREE. I also find that natural lighting looks better than all of my purchased lighting.
  4. Do not purchase expensive backgrounds for your photos. I have used a paint canvas, various table tops in my house, a $2 marble tile from Home Depot, a notebook, a piece of scrapbook paper, etc. for my backgrounds. A friend of mine actually uses wrapping paper as her background. Get creative, you can find amazing looking backgrounds for very inexpensive.
  5. A lot of brands have started selling travel-sized versions of their most popular products. They aren’t usually a better deal than the full-size but they ARE cheaper.
  6. When you do purchase makeup, do it online!! First, you can use the Ebates to EARN money every time you purchase. (If you haven’t heard of this website, and you are interested to learn more.. let me know and I will write a blog post).
  7. Another reason to purchase makeup online is that you can find coupon codes for free product samples. I ALWAYS check RetailMeNot for coupon codes. For example, I just used a code and received 10 product samples with one Sephora order. That could be 10 blog posts if I wanted it to be.
  8. Write blog posts about your first impressions of products using these free samples. I do not think that a sample sized product is enough to give a hugely detailed review but it is absolutely enough product to give a first impression. I’ve actually received a few samples of new, very popular products that I plan on writing first impression reviews on.
  9. Consider signing up for a beauty subscription (i.e. Sephora Play, Ipsy, etc.) The two I mentioned, Sephora Play and Ipsy, cost $10/month but you receive multiple products each month that you could use and review.
  10. Think outside of the box/get creative. For example, this blog post is costing me $0 to write. Try to come up with things you can write about (that are still relevant to your blog and interesting to your readers) that do not cost anything.
  11. “Trade” or borrow makeup from your friends. I saw Mallory Ervin and Alexandrea Garza (two of my favorite YouTubers) do a video where Mallory tried a bunch of Alex’s products. Ask your friends if you could try some of their favorite makeup products to then write about.
  12. Buy used makeup on Poshmark. I know – this sounds gross and not appealing. However, you CAN sanitize used makeup. (Think about it, if you’ve ever been to a MAC counter and tried one of their lipsticks. This is USED makeup that they spray with a sanitizer before you try it on. If you’ve ever gotten your makeup done professionally or at a beauty counter, this is USED makeup). As a buyer, the thing you should be on the lookout for is how LONG they’ve had the product (not how many times it has been used). I’ve noticed that sellers focus on how many times they’ve used it and not necessarily how long they’ve had it (which would give you a clue as to if the product is expired or about to expire).
  13. Go to MAC/Nordstrom/Sephora and ask for samples. I’ve gone to Nordstrom and asked for samples of foundations to take home and try. Or you could go to MAC and ask to try one of their lipsticks and take a selfie for your Instagram or review the color and wearability for your blog.
  14. Ask companies if they would be willing to send you product. I am including this one last because I think this should only be done once you have built up your blog or Instagram account. If you have a “large” following, brands will be more than happy to send you products for FREE because you are essentially providing them marketing.

In the end, I think it is impossible to write a beauty blog without spending ANY money. However, I definitely think you can write a beauty blog while on a strict budget and not spend very much money. If you have any tips on how to blog on a budget, leave them in the comments below!