The Beauty Brief

The Beauty Brief

Hello there, beauty lovers! It’s been way too long since our last edition of the Beauty Brief, which means I’ve got a vast backlog of products to share with you guys. I’m planning to make this a monthly series again from now on, so strap in and prepare yourselves for plenty of glossy beauty goodness. This month, I’m giving you the scoop on two new finds and one old favorite.

The Beauty Brief // Tata Harper Hydrating Floral Essence

This was my first foray into Tata Harper’s all-natural, non-toxic skincare line, and her Hydrating Floral Essence did not disappoint. (Side note: anything with the word “essence” in it sounds mysterious enough to be completely magical, don’t you think?) This nutrient-dense spray is technically a moisturizing toner, but I’ve been using it as a midday makeup refresher. A spritz or two will hydrate your skin and leave you with a lovely, dewy glow. In fact, after using this stuff for the first time, I was immediately told by a stranger that I had “Bambi skin.” Make of that what you will!

The Beauty Brief // bareMinerals Power Neutrals Eyeshadow Palette

As part of my New Year’s resolution to shake up my beauty routine, I thought a new eyeshadow palette was in order. (Sorry, Naked 3!) Though a bit more subdued than the shimmery golden and bronze shades I normally reach for, the bareMinerals Power Neutrals palette is subtle and sophisticated and just what I needed for every day at the office. Plus, the colors have names like “Boss Lady” and “Schmooze,” which I find delightful.

The Beauty Brief // Benefit Instant Brow Pencil

Despite years of over-plucking in high school, the feature I consistently receive the most compliments on is my eyebrows…ha! Meet the secret to my success, Benefit Instant Brow Pencil. Not only is the medium shade the most perfect match for my coloring I’ve ever found, but the pencil itself is very soft, which allows for precision without making your brows look razor-sharp. Pro tip: after blending with the spoolie end, I like to soften the perimeters of my brows with a Q-tip for an even more natural look.

What beauty products are you loving these days? Have you tried anything new lately? Share your thoughts in the comments!

♥ Mil

The Beauty Brief

The Beauty Brief

Hey beauty lovers! I cannot believe it’s almost the end of August. I’m clinging desperately to the last few weeks of summer, trying to cram in all the beach days, outdoor movies, and BBQs I possibly can. I’m so not ready for sweater weather yet! Partially because I only have, like, three sweaters. Anyway! Read on for a few products I’ve been loving this month. (Full disclosure: I love Diorshow mascara all year round.)

bareMinerals bareSkin Pure Brightening Serum Foundation

You know how you can just feel some foundations sitting on your skin? bareMinerals bareSkin Pure Brightening Serum Foundation is the total opposite of that. Infused with vitamin C and jojoba, this lightweight serum foundation feels as good on your face as it looks. However, while it will give you a luminous, dewy glow, it only provides light/medium coverage – so if you’re trying to cover up a breakout, this probably isn’t going to cut it.

Lipstick Queen Endless Moisturizing Lipstick

I am a sucker for packaging, which means Lipstick Queen products won me over the first time I ever laid eyes on them. The punchy colors! The saucy name! I just love it. And when I tried Lipstick Queen Endless Summer Lipstick, I knew my love was justified. Enriched with vitamin E, this stuff goes on super smooth like a balm, but has amazing color payout. My favorite shade is Aloha, a sheer, bright red.

Diorshow Waterproof Mascara

Guys, Diorshow Waterproof Mascara is hands-down the best mascara in the world. No contest. A few swipes of this will give you lush, thick, glamorous lashes that require very little combing out to look absolutely perfect. Plus, it’s waterproof, so you can swim or watch sad movies to your heart’s content without worry. However, there’s a new formula out and I’ve heard mixed reviews. I’m a little afraid to try it…

What beauty products are you into right now? I’d love to hear about your current faves!

♥ Mil

The Beauty Brief

The Beauty Brief

Hey there, beauty lovers! The weather in Seattle was absolutely magnificent all weekend – sunny and in the 80s – and it’s supposed to stay gorgeous all week. I always get excited to update my beauty routine when summer rolls around (or, frankly, at any other time of the year) and I really hit the jackpot with new products this past month. Here are three favorites that I’ve fallen in love with recently. First up, the best tinted moisturizer ever…

Hourglass Illusion Tinted Moisturizer

I never thought I would say this, but I’ve found a tinted moisturizer that can actually substitute for foundation! Hourglass Illusion Tinted Moisturizer provides amazingly natural, dewy, buildable coverage that lasts all day. It doesn’t cake in the heat like powder foundation sometimes does, and it’s much lighter than most liquid foundation, so it’s absolutely perfect for summer. Plus, it’s got SPF! Sweet, glorious perfection in a bottle.

BareMinerals Pop of Passion Oil Balm

My lip product of choice for the past few weeks, BareMinerals Pop of Passion Oil Balm might be the best thing in my makeup bag right now. Enriched with jojoba oil and vitamin E, this luscious balm hydrates and gives you vibrant, glossy color. This stuff is actually more of a lip stain, so the color is incredibly long-lasting.

Julep Ta Da! Quick Dry Drops

The worst part of painting your nails is waiting for them to dry, struggling not to touch anything lest you smudge them and destroy all your hard work. Consider Julep Ta Da! Quick Dry Drops your secret weapon for an immaculate manicure. If you add a drop to the base of each nail about a minute after applying polish, your manicure will dry much more quickly. I have absolutely no idea how this works, but it does. Don’t question it. Just try it.

Have you tried any of these? What beauty products are you loving lately?

♥ Mil

Smooth Operator: Primer 101

I can’t remember how I got by before discovering foundation primer. Those were dark, dark days. My makeup would look perfect when I applied it in the morning, but by the end of the day, I would look like an extra from the Walking Dead. It was not pretty. Finally, I decided to see what all the fuss was about and bought myself a bottle of Prime Time…the difference was striking. Not only did primer provide a smooth, even canvas for my foundation, but it kept my makeup in place throughout the day and into the night. I knew immediately that I would never go back.

Since then, I’ve learned a lot more about the different types of primers and what works best for my face. I’m hoping my years of product testing will help you find your perfect primer, too! Here are my thoughts on some of the primers I’ve used over the years.


Primer 101


one / two / three / four / five


1. It’s when your skin is red, blotchy or broken out that you need foundation the most – and also when you need to NOT wear foundation the most. Cover FX Calming Primer is the solution to this skincare catch-22. Smooth a little on before your foundation to soothe sensitive, dry and inflamed skin. Your foundation will stay put all day without causing additional irritation. I got a sample of this recently, and it’s my new favorite for winter.

2. Benefit Stay Flawless 15-Hour Primer feels amazing going on. It creates a velvety soft, matte texture (somewhat reminiscent of Dr. Feelgood), but unfortunately it doesn’t quite give my dry skin the moisturizing base it needs. This one works best for oily skin, especially if you’re using liquid foundation. You can also use it on its own if your main goal is to tone down shininess. Note: I personally find this primer stick a little more annoying to apply than its liquid counterparts – ensuring that it’s spread evenly across your face is a bit of a hassle.

3. Smashbox Iconic Photo Finish Primer is an industry favorite for a reason; it smooths lines and minimizes pores while evening out skin texture. However, it’s silicone-based and can cause breakouts if your skin is sensitive. You also need to be careful not to over-apply silicone-based primers like this one – if you use too much product, it will pill and cause your foundation to clump. Start with a tiny little bit and go from there!

4. Another silicone-based primer, BareMinerals Prime Time is not ideal for those with sensitive or breakout-prone skin. However, if your skin can handle it, this stuff will leave your face insanely soft and help foundation glide on seamlessly (and stay on all day). Packed with antioxidants as well as vitamins C and E, it’s an excellent option for both oily and dry complexions. And if you’re in the mood to experiment, you can combine a small amount with loose powder eyeshadow to create a creamy, highly saturated eyeshadow that stays put for hours.

5. No surprise here, I saved the best for last. To say that Laura Mercier Foundation Primer in Radiance is perfection in a tube is an understatement. Formulated with vitamins A, C and E as well as skin-softening Jojoba, this creamy water-based primer both moisturizes and smooths skin flawlessly. It also boosts radiance, giving you an enviable glow that seems to emanate from within. (Strangers have commented that my skin is glowing when I wear this.) Guys, seriously, this one is amazing. And the best part? It’s frequently available as one of the 100-point rewards at Sephora, so I’ve never had to splurge on a full size tube.

Do you have a favorite primer? I’d love to hear your recommendations!

♥ Mil

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