Pixie Epoxy for All that Glitters

I was so happy to be given the chance to do another makeup photo session with Maureen, the mastermind behind Maureen Koo Calligraphy.  Since we did a pretty natural look last time, I decided to create a glittery smokey eye for her to wear for her night out!

Before & After

A closer look..

My secret weapon for this shoot was a bottle of Pixie Epoxy.  For anyone who works with loose pigments, shadows, and glitter, this magical bottle will be sure to become your best friend.  I don't know about you, but I find it almost impossible to put glitter pigment or even some shimmery/glittery eyeshadows on without fallout all over my face.  While the glitter is supposed to stay on my eyelid, by the end of the day, my entire face becomes a glittery mess instead.   

A quick dab of Pixie Epoxy helped me keep this MAC glitter pigment pot intact on her eyelids.  The best part? (Besides the fact that an enormous tube only costs $7!) The epoxy enhances the color of the pigment (whatever color it is that you choose to use) and keeps it on throughout the day without feeling like you've got anything heavy on your lids.  A very happy Maureen texted me the next day to report that she had absolutely no glitter fallout all night ;).

Quick Dupe Alert! Urban Decay's 24/7 Glide-On Pencils

Anyone who knows me, knows that I swear by Urban Decay's 24/7 Glide-on Pencils.  They are so pigmented & creamy (so there is no tugging on the delicate eye area!) and relatively long-lasting (with the holy grail Urban Decay Primer Potion, aka UDPP, of course). 

One other thing?  They're kind of expensive.  Say, $19/color expensive.

 Urban Decay 24/7 Glide-On Liners
Photo Credits: vampyvarnish.com
As much as I thoroughly enjoy paying $19 for an eyeliner, I was definitely on the lookout to find a cheaper but definitely comparable alternative.  My findings?

1.  L'Oreal HIP Color Chrome Eyeliner, $10
Photo credits: temptalia.com
The only issue with these liners is that there are only four colors to choose from.  The color payoff and wearability is definitely comparable to that of Urban Decay's.

2.  NYX Slide-On Pencils, $8

Photo credits: glamtrotter.com
These babies are as cheap and as close to Urban Decay's liners as I could find.  There are 18 colors to choose from and are a great alternative to the 24/7 liners.  They are smudgeproof and vibrant, and you can bet I'll be stocking my kit up with every single color!

As much as I enjoy higher-end products, working in the beauty industry (particularly in the product development side) has taught me that sometimes, the only difference between an $8 eyeliner and a $19 dollar eyeliner is marketing and branding.  I am, by no means, saying that all products are created equal - I truly believe that some products are worth paying more for.  However, whenever I can find a dupe and I can save some money, I am all for it! 

What are some dupes for high end products that you buy at a much lower price?

Finishing Powders

Whether you are dry or oily, finishing powder is a product that completes any look.  When I first started using makeup, I was young & paranoid - I wanted a flawless-looking complexion using the least amount of products possible.  I figured the less product I wore, the less likely I would induce a breakout.  I was convinced that as long as I used the most long-lasting, oil-free, matte-finish foundation out there, I would look just as good at 8pm as I did when I first applied my makeup at 8am earlier that day.
The result?  I obviously learned the hard way that no, wearing only foundation was not the solution to the flawless complexion I desperately wanted to create & maintain for 12+ hours.  Throughout my many years of experience wearing and doing makeup for a living, I learned that every little detail counts, which directs me to the point of this blog post:  Finishing powder is your best friend if you wear liquid or cream foundations. 
There are a plethora of finishing powders out there, and not all are made equal.  While some of them are geared toward oil-control (MAC Blot Powder), others are geared toward completing an overall look, to soften the face and create a smooth appearance.  Here are a couple of my favorites: 

MAC Blot Pressed Powder, $24 (0.42oz)

MAC Blot Pressed Powder is probably one of the most popular pressed powders out there used for oil-control.  It comes in Light, Medium, Medium Dark, and Dark.  I would imagine that most people would fall under Medium because it is very sheer and works for a wide range of skin tones.  I am a NC30 and use it in "Medium," and my friend, who is a NW42, also uses this shade.  This powder keeps me oil-free for about 4 hours before I need to touch up.  My one gripe about this product is that it is not as finely milled as other powders out there, so over-applying this product (which I am guilty of doing) will definitely make you look a bit cakey. 
Tarte Smooth Operator Finishing Powder, $29 (0.32oz)

I received this Tarte Smooth Operator Finishing Powder from Sephora's 500-point perk in May.  Now, mind you, I am not generally a fan of loose powder.  I think that loose powder is messy and given the fact that I am accident prone & do my makeup daily in the car, on the freeway.. (I know.. no need to judge) - I was more than hesitant to try this out.  I figured this would be another Make Up For Ever HD Powder, and boy, was I afraid of the "white cast" that silica powder gives in flash photography.  However, I was delighted to discover that this finishing powder instantly smoothes out my skin, keeps my makeup shine-free much longer than the MAC powder, and I've had no new breakouts since trying this!  While this is my HG (homegirl ;) ) product, I definitely would not recommend this powder for bridal makeup, because you have to be so careful about the application to not get that white flashback when taking photos.  Better safe than sorry, right? 
CARGO Blu_Ray HD Powder, $32 (0.28oz)
CARGO's Blu-Ray HD Powder is my go-to for special events makeup.  This powder is so finely milled that it is undetectable over foundation - perfect for brides who don't want to look overly done or don't want another heavy layer of makeup over their faces.  This high-definition powder is made to be used on film/photography.  It's a great powder to set makeup with and also comes in 4 shades - 10, 20, 30, and 40.  Again, it is so sheer though that I believe almost everyone could get away with a 20 or 30. 

What are your favorite powders/products to set your makeup with?