Benefit They’re Real! Mascara

ImageOK, everyone listen up, because this mascara will dominate any other mascara you have ever bought.  I have been using this product for over a year, and I am still addicted to it.  Before this product, I used drugstore brand mascara that didn’t appear to be anything glorious.  I clearly wasn’t choosing the right ones.  This brought me to think, “How different can mascaras be from one another?”  I know.  I look back on this and think, “What was wrong with me?”  It’s embarrassing to think about…  Since then, I have tried many other high-end mascaras and none of them seemed to make the cut.

Well after I went through various mascaras and found my perfect match, I haven’t let it go.  This product thickens and lengthens your lashes and is a must have on a night out.  It will totally transform the way your eyes look.  It makes it look like you have more lashes than you do, and let’s be honest, who doesn’t want that?

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Let’s Talk Illamasqua

A couple weeks ago, I made an Instagram account (user name: themakeupcounter) for my blog.  I started following some of my favorite make-up artists, YouTubers, and make-up companies, and I was ecstatic to see that ILLAMASQUA followed me back!  So in honor of their fabulous products, I thought now would be a great time to write a blog about some of my favorite products of theirs.

When I think of Illamasqua, the first thing that comes to mind is their vibrant colors.  I love the way this brand is so bold and never afraid to take a walk on the wild side.  I chose these two Illamasqua must-haves for my fellow make-up junkies to add to their collections:

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ILLAMASQUA Skin Base Foundation:  I love that this brand has created a huge range of shades that apply to all different skin types with different undertones.  This foundation comes in 26 different colors.  A-MAZ-ING.  I wish more companies would do this.  I cannot tell you how much I hate that crazy foundation quest for the right color.  People come in more than the eight shades some companies provide us with.  The fact that Illamasqua gives us more is exactly what we want and need.  This foundation works for all skin types, but I love it for the colder seasons when my skin is on the drier side.  It’s very hydrating, like a tinted moisturizer, but it has the coverage that you get with a foundation.  My favorite thing about this foundation is the finish.  It leaves this gorgeous, luminous, natural glow on your skin that makes your face look radiant.

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ILLAMASQUA Intense Lipgloss:  Holy pigment!  This lip gloss has so much color that it’s almost like a liquid lipstick.  I purchased the color “Move,” which is a lilac/rosy pink lip gloss.  It is the perfect color if you want something on the more natural side, but is still giving you a lot of color.  I also love that this has a brush applicator as opposed to a sponge applicator.  I like the way a brush can get into little nooks and crannies to leave a flawless result.  This product is a non-sticky formula that delivers a lot of shine and a whole lot of pigment.

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(Swatch of ILLAMASQUA Intense Lipgloss in “Move”)

On the list:  ILLAMASQUA nail polish.  These colors are so bright and daring.  I have to have them… and soon enough, I will.

MAC Huggable Lip Color

MAC-Huggable-Lip-ColourPhoto from http://www.maccosmetics.com

So tonight I went to the mall to pay my Victoria’s Secret bill.  On my way in, I passed all the make-up counters in Nordstrom.  Now the problem with me is after I’ve walked passed those beautiful, lit-up counters, I can’t get them out of my head.  I started to think, “I’ll just go to MAC.  Maybe if I’m just around it, I’ll feel satisfied enough to walk away.”  The addict in me tries to find any reason to justify my visitations.  I saw the beautiful new poster of the brand new Huggable Lip Colors, and the color on the right of that photo is just gorgeous.  It reminds me of a Tom Ford lipstick I’ve had on my list, and I just have to try it on.  After the salesman cleans it for me, I figure it can’t hurt.  He says, “Oh my gosh.  That color is gorgeous on you.  You have to get it.”  I can’t help but think, “You are so right.  I do.”

Closed LipstickWhat A Feeling!

This lipstick is perfect for the winter.  It is super hydrating and melts into your lips.  The color I bought is called “What a Feeling!” and I can’t help but think of that song by Irene Cara from Flashdance.  The amount of pigment is perfect for everyday wear–not too much, not too little.  There are 12 gorgeous colors to choose from–nudes, corals, and vibrant reds and fuchsias.  As for the packaging, I love it.  The graphite color and metallic shine is super sleek and gorgeous.  This lipstick is a must have for the winter.  The colors are spectacular, and the texture is perfect for this time of year.  I already have “Love Beam” on my list the next time I “attempt” to stay away from the makeup counter.

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(Swatch of “What a Feeling!”)

Should I buy a Clarisonic?

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Pictured: Mia 2 with a Normal Brush Head

When I was in college, I worked at an Ulta about 5 miles away from school.  During my time there, I would see customers buying this face washing tool that cost $125 and up.  I couldn’t help but think, “Are these people crazy?  How great can a little electric face brush be?”  Turned out, pretty darn good.  I bought mine a year ago, and I’m still as in love with it as I was the day I took that baby home.

Before using the Clarisonic, I had a bit of acne every now and then–nothing too serious.  My face never felt like it was actually clean every time I washed it.  After using the Clarisonic for the first time, I could not believe the difference.  My skin was finally truly clean, and I cannot tell you how smooth it felt!  If you’re anything like me, you spend a lot of money on your skincare products.  Good news!  Using the Clarisonic makes these products more effective, because they more easily absorb into your genuinely clean, exfoliated face.

Now the question is, “Which model is right for me?” Here is a breakdown of the different models:

Mia First and Mia ($99 and $125; 1 year warranty):  These products are exactly the same.  They have one speed setting, and are just the most standard, basic form of the Clarisonic you can get.  The Mia First only comes in white, and the Mia comes in a variety of colors.

Mia 2 ($150; 2 year warranty): This is the model that I personally own and love.  I have also found that this model is the most popular.  The features that make the Mia 2 different from the Mia and the Mia First, are two added features: the timer and the two speed settings.  The timer works as a guide to cue you when to change zones on your face.  It begins with two 20 second zones, one for your nose and chin, and the other for your forehead; and then changes to two 10 second zones, your left and right cheek.  The two speed settings are the standard speed and a lower speed, which I only use when my skin needs a little less exfoliation (if I’m sunburned or just began using a new, stronger product).

Aria ($199; 2 year warranty):  The Aria has 3 speed settings: the lower speed, standard speed, and an added faster, more powerful speed. It also has the same timer as the Mia 2.   This model comes with some additional accessories that are very useful.  One is a drying stand that charges your Aria, and the second is a pLink Charger.  The pLink Charger is great for travel, because it charges your Clarisonic through a USB cord that you can hook up to your computer.

Plus ($225; 2 year warranty):  This model has the same 3 speeds as the Aria, but an added feature: the Body Mode.  This model is compatible with the Body Brush, which is good for exfoliating the skin on the legs before shaving, and could also be beneficial to someone experiencing acne on the body.  This model also comes with a Charging Cradle that holds the Plus up while it’s charging.

As far as brushes go… If you have dry or sensitive skin, stick with the sensitive brush.  Personally, I believe that the normal brush works for most people.  Even if you have acne-prone skin, I would start with this one.  If you are looking for a deeper clean, I would suggest gradually breaking in to the deep pore brush if need be.  This being said, if you’re happy with the results from the normal brush, stick with it.  Like they always say, “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it!”

Yes, the Clarisonic is expensive, but it is well worth the investment.  Best of all, if you buy it from Sephora or Ulta, and for whatever reason you don’t like it, they allow you to take it back!  Trust me, it is worth a try.  My skin has never looked better.