Are eye makeup removers created equal?

As most of you may know, I had lasik vision correction surgery in December, and was unable to wear any eye makeup for a few weeks.  When I began wearing it again, it was super important to use a remover that was gentle and worked well enough that required as little rubbing/scrubbing as possible.

Prior to my surgery, I generally felt that most eye makeup removers were created equal within their two categories: dual-phase and non-dual phase.  One thing I never had any doubts about is that non dual-phase removers can in no way compete with dual-phase.  I have never seen a non dual-phase remover work even nearly as well as the cheapest dual-phase removers.

That is not to say that non dual-phase removers do not have their use.  I prefer them when I am doing makeup to clean up fallout off the face (I always do eyes before any other makeup for this reason.) I also like them for cleaning up any “leftovers” and/or residue after having used a dual-phase.










At any rate, since my surgery, I have been on a quest to find the very best eye makeup removers.  Before the surgery, I usually bought Walmart’s Equate brand which is their version of Neutrogena oil free eye makeup remover.  Sometimes if Neutrogena was on sale, I would buy it, but in all honesty, I do not feel one performs any better than the other, and both easily remove all my eyeshadow but require a bit of rubbing/scrubbing to remove my best waterproof liners and mascaras.

I also tried making my own dual phase remover by mixing equal amounts of olive oil and witch hazel.  Again, this worked okay, but still required more rubbing than I liked.

I then tried the following removers and my findings/thoughts are listed next to them:

Smashbox It’s A Wrap Waterproof Makeup Remover


This one is pretty good, but only a little better than the drugstore removers and it costs $20 for a 4.2 fl oz bottle compared to $4 for the Equate brand, which is 5.5 fl oz.




Pur Minerals Melt Away Makeup Emulsifier



This stuff is amazing for breaking down thick foundations and concealers, but I didn’t care for it much for eye makeup.  Also, it has a strong sort of honeysuckle smell to it that I do not care for.  It comes in a 4 fl oz bottle and is $23.




Napoleon Perdis Auto Pilot Duet Makeup Remover


This stuff works VERY well, and is certainly a favorite.  However, like all of Napoleon’s products, it is expensive.  $26 for a 4.65 fl oz bottle.  Also, it did not work quite as well for me as one other that I tried.





Napoleon Perdis Marshmallow Foaming Makeup Remover


I do not like this stuff AT ALL for any type of waterproof eye makeup.  It is fine for removing things that more easily remove, but what is the point in that?  I do like this for removing lipstick, but that is all I would ever use it for.  It is $25 for a 4.2 fl oz bottle.




Philosophy Purity Made Simple Mineral Oil-free Facial Cleansing Oil

This is a great over all facial cleanser, but I still feel the need for something specific for my eye area.  $25 for 5.8 fl oz.






Philosophy Just Release Me Dual Phase Oil Free Eye Makeup Remover

THIS is the WINNER in my opinion!  This works ever so slightly better than the Napoleon Perdis Auto Pilot Duet, and is less expensive for more product at $18 for 6 fl oz.

It still requires a bit of rubbing for my toughest liners and mascara, but no where near that of the cheap products.  It does leave a slippy silicone feel, but it is soft feeling, not greasy. Worth the money in my opinion, as a little goes a long way.

Black & Red Dramatic- Step by Step

Today I thought it would be nice if I broke down one of my recent looks step-by step.  This is a very dramatic look that I wore to my hubby’s yearly company party and I recieved many compliments on it.  Here is the look from that night:

Before I break down the steps in this look, I will list all the products I used:

  • Sugarpill Cosmetics @#$%! on the lid (Very bright true red with silver sparkle)
  • Femme Couture mineral effects eyeshadows in Black Jewel (Deep black)& Silver Screen (Sheer white-silver) in the crease,
  • Urban Decay Cosmetics Bootycall to highlight
  • BFTE Cosmetics gel liner in Blackout (top & waterline)
  • Ardell Demi Whispies
  • Milani Black Magic liner pencil (silver) on lower lashline

Start by applying your favorite eyeshadow primer all over the lid and applying a *dulled* piece of scotch tape along you eye as seen below.  This will serve as a barrier to keep a nice clean edge to the wing. *Dulling the stickiness of your tape is important, so as not to damage and pull the delicate skin around the eye area.  To dull the tape, simply place it on the top of your hand and pull it off a time or two before placing it near your eye.





Now, using a tapered crease brush, apply your black shadow in the crease and swoop it out along the tape edge to create your wing.





Next, apply the silver shadow above the black and slightly blend.  As you can see, I carried the silver straight out above the outer wing.





Now, pack your red shadow on the lid.






Add your highlight color below the brows (which I also filled in.  A VERY important step, especially in a dramatic look like this in my opinion!) and add liners, mascara, and false lashes, if desired.  You’re eye look is now complete!








I paired this look with a very natural blush color and a red lip.  Hope you all love it!  Please post your photos here or on my facebook if you try this look out!

Sugarpill Review & looks!!

I recently made my first purchase from Sugarpill Cosmetics during their birthday sale.  If you are not familiar with Sugarpill, they are relatively new, it was their 3rd birthday!  The past couple years I have heard nothing but wonderful things about them and I was excited to finally try them!  They are known for their intense bold colors, which as you know, is totally my style!
Here is what I got:

The Burning Heart Palette and Loose Pigment in Darling.

I will say that my first impression of their customer service was not the best.  I placed my order on the 14th of February and did not receive it until March 4th.  They had stated on their website that while orders are usually shipped within 1-3 business days, some orders from the sale may not ship until Feb 20th.  My order did not ship until March 1st.  I e-mailed them on the 25th and they told me that some items went on backorder during the sale and they were supposed to arrive to them from the supplier on the 18th in order for them to be able to fulfill & ship all the sale purchases by the 20th.  Unfortunately, that did not happen.  I understand that was out of their control and they did apologize to me for the inconvenience, however, had I not e-mailed them, they would not have told me that or communicated anything at all.  (I know this through chatting with others who also had to wait like me.)  I feel good customer service would have been to send an e-mail to those waiting on their orders on the 20th letting them know what was going on instead of leaving us hanging.

At any rate, the colors were sooooo worth the wait!!  They are by far the most richly pigmented shadows I own, they blend easily, and the amount you get for the money actually makes their regular prices a pretty good deal and the sale prices almost steal!

Here is the first look I made with them.  I used Darling, Poison Plum, & Flamepoint, & Buttercupcake! I also used Urban Decay Cosmetics 24/7 Pencil in Psychedelic Sister on lower lashline.

and here is another look I did using just Buttercupcake & Darling:

and last, a look I did using all 4 colors of the Burning Heart Palette:

So, their awesome products have redeemed their slightly subpar customer service experience for me, as I am pretty much in love with Sugarpill at this point and can’t wait to get more!

Do you own any Sugarpill?  If so, what is your fav?  Let me know your thoughts below!


Tarte BB tinted treatment 12-hour primer Broad Spectrum SPF 30 sunscreenReview

BB cream popularity continues.  I recently reviewed Urban Decay’s BB cream.  I thought it was ok, but there were a few things about it that prevents me from wanting to purchase it. You can read my full review here.  My mom recently bought herself some L’Oreal BB cream.  I personally try to avoid L’Oreal until they are cruelty free, but I did apply my mom’s for her once and I was not at all impressed.  It is super sparkly and didn’t seem to do much of anything in my opinion.  Those experiences were all that I had with BB creams until I bought Tarte’s BB cream about a week ago.

WOW!  This stuff is AMAZING!  It is a million times better than Urban Decay’s, in my honest opinion.






It comes in 4 shades: fair, light, medium, and tan.  I bought the light.  The consistency is thick like a cream, but very soft and velvety feeling.  It glides over the skin with ease and dries soft and smooth.  This amazing cream acts as a primer, moisturizer, light foundation, anti-aging treatment and sunscreen.  The sunscreen is broad-spectrum and chemical-free SPF 30 using  titanium dioxide & zinc oxide!

Let’s take a look at how it performs on my skin:

and here it is on just half of my face to show the difference a bit more:

















I love the coverage it gives.  I have been wearing it mostly alone, as I feel it is sufficient coverage for everyday needs.  I have used my MAC Studio Fix Plus over it a couple times, and they worked well together.  I also used my Tarte Amazonian clay 12-hour full coverage foundation over it once and that gave me a nearly flawless look!

Tarte claims: “This 12-hour longwear, anti-aging, oil-free tinted treatment primer offers light-to-medium buildable coverage that helps even skin tone and conceals discoloration, acne and other skin imperfections. The creamy, silky formula goes on smooth, hydrates skin and blends easily leaving you with a natural, flawless finish while the broad-spectrum, chemical-free SPF 30 offers ideal protection from the sun’s harmful UVA/UVB rays.”

I agree with all of it 100%.  I have been and will continue to use this everyday and can not sing it’s praises enough!

Have you tried this product yet?  Do you use a different bb cream?  Let me know your thoughts below!!

Tarte Lights, Camera, Lashes Mascara Review

I have been trying out Tarte’s Lights, Camera, Lashes Mascara, which is supposed to be a 4-in-1 mascara, meaning it claims to 1.lengthen, 2.curl, 3.add volume, and 4. condition your lashes.

It is only available in black (but even most extremely fair completed blonde’s wear black mascara, so who cares?) and comes in this neat purple packaging.  Like all Tarte products, it contains only natural ingredients and contains no parabens, phthalates, or synthetic fragrances, which is the number one reason why I love Tarte so very much!

But lets get down to the nitty gritty!  How does it really perform?  I will let pictures speak for me!

It certainly does all that it claims in my opinion – it is  lengthening, curling, volumizing, and conditioning!  However, it does have a tendency to clump if you are not careful or do not use a mascara primer.  Mascara primers are great anyway – look at the difference it makes:

Tarte has their own lash primer called multiplEYE™ lash enhancing primer, which I did not use because I do not have it.  When I run out of my studio gear primer, I think I will try it out!  (I will update this post if/when I get it to show how this mascara performs with it!) Anyway, I find that the clumping of this mascara can also be dealt with by letting it dry and then gently combing through your lashes with a basic eyelash comb.

Overall, I highly recommend this mascara!  It is my new favorite!  It is available in a regular and waterproof formula for $19 at Sephora, Ulta, or of course, tarte’s website.

Have you tried this mascara?  What is your favorite?  Let me know in the comments below!

Urban Decay Naked Skin Beauty Balm Review

In one of my orders from Urban Decay last month, I received a sample of Urban Decay’s new BB cream, which became available for purchase on their website on Thursday.  BB creams have become crazy popular lately and it seems every brand from drugstore to high end have them now.  This is my first experience with a BB cream, so I do not have anything to compare this to, but I do plan on trying some others soon.

I like the feel of this on the skin and did not notice any smell.  It comes in one universal shade that looks rather orange coming out of the tube, but I am rather fair and it blended into my skin very easily with just my fingertips.

My skin has been in terrible shape since my hives episode last month, but I am going to show you before and after pictures anyway!  In the before I have absolutely nothing on my skin except my regular moisturizer.

In an effort to show it as well as possible, I also took a picture while applying it – here it is on just half of my face:

Urban Decay claims that it has “Optical blurring pigments” that “instantly evens out skin tone and minimizes pores, lines, wrinkles and redness.” I do feel it does a good job with that!  It certainly doesn’t give any true coverage, but it also does not claim that it will.  They do claim that it primes your skin for makeup.  I have applied both Naked Skin Foundation and MAC Studio Fix over it and it did indeed wear well over it all day in both cases.

Urban Decay also claims this BB cream has Vitasource™ and dGlyage® to “firm skin, improve elasticity and provide measurable anti-aging benefits”.  After only using this for a week, (and still being fairly young), I can not attest to these claims, but certainly can not deny them either.

The last thing their beauty balm is supposed to do it protect against the sun, with an SPF of 20 and something called Pepha®-Protect, which is supposed to help inhibit DNA damage.  Regrading the sunscreen, I am pleased that it contains a physical sunscreen – zinc oxide!  However, it also contains a chemical sunscreen, octinoxate.  Personally, I wish they would have left this out!  Like many other chemical sunscreens, there is strong evidence that octinoxate is a human endocrine disruptor.  For this reason, I will not be buying or using it anymore.

Urban Decay Naked Skin Beauty Balm is is $34 for a 30ml / 1 oz tube and can be purchased at Urban Decay.

I hope you all found this review helpful!  Have you tried Naked Skin BB yet?  What did you think?  What other BB creams have you tried?  Do you have a favorite?  Let me know in the comments below!! :)



Benjabelle Brush Tree Review

For Christmas, my awesome hubby bought me one of the coolest makeup tools I have ever seen! The Benjabelle Brush Tree!

I am so in love with this ingenious product!  The Benjabelle brush tree has 14 soft silicone like openings to hold your makeup brushes.  The openings are large enough to accommodate the largest handled brushes, yet still grip the smallest detailer brush as well.  (I put 2 of my smaller brushes in each opening, although it is not necessary.  The opening will grip a single small brush, but it will hold it at more of an angle by itself than when 2 or 3 are put in it.)

You can push the brushes up through the bottom, pointing down as I have shown here, for the purpose of drying your brushes.

This is the reason I really wanted this brush tree.  I feel that drying your brushes laying flat is ok, but it allows water to stay sitting inside the ferrule, which overtime can break up the glue that holds your brush together.  You can prop something under your towel  or roll the edge up to allow the brush to lay at a somewhat downward angel to help with this as pictured here:

Another option is sliding brush guards on your brushes and sitting them in a cup to dry as seen here:

However, I am not a huge fan of brush guards for drying purposes.  (I do like them for travel, though!) They are a mesh fabric, so they do allow air to get to the brush, however, they also compress the brush rather tight, and in my experience, while the outer hairs of the brush will dry well using this method, the inner hair tends to stay damp for quite a while, especially on very large dense brushes.

Anyway, the Benjabelle Brush tree is the most perfect solution for drying your brushes.  It keeps them completely pointed down, so all the water can drip out while not compressing the hairs or damaging the handles.  Plus, you can also flip the brushes pointing up to use it as a brush holder/display.

The Brush tree easily pops together/apart so it is travel friendly, and it is easily wiped clean.  Other than the pretty pink color I have, it also comes in black or white.  Each brush tree is hand made in Ben & Jan’s workshop in Madison, WI, so your purchase supports small business.  You can purchase your own brush tree for $34.95 at

*Disclaimer* I was in no way compensated for this review, and I do not now, nor will I ever do a paid review.  I always give my true opinion of products, and promise to always do so. You can read my disclosure policy here.


Hey everyone!

I hope 2013 is starting off great for you all!!  Anybody going to IMATS LA later this month?  I sure wish I was.  It is a huge goal of mine to be able to go someday.  Considering that I live on the other side of the country, I will probably make it to IMATS NYC before I ever make it to LA.  NYC is in April, maybe I can make it this year. We’ll see.  Anyways, in case any of you lucky ducks are going to the LA show, I wanted to make sure you know about this deal:

So make sure BFTE is on your list of booths to stop by first so you get your free gift, because with all the color selection and awesome products they have, I know you will not be able to leave their booth without buying something!

Also, let me know any tutorial or look request you might have. I am trying several new products, so I will have some reviews for you very soon!

Classic Smokey Eyes!

Hi guys!

I have gotten several requests for a smokey eye tutorial and I decided to make a classic black smokey eye tutorial, because I think this is a great look for New Years Eve (or going out anytime of the year, really) and it is easy to jazz up with some glitter on the lid if you want to.  Here is the look:

I also created a YouTube video tutorial for this look, complete with types of brushes to use for each step.  I hope it is helpful for you all!  Here is is:

I hope you like this look and will try it out for yourself!  Have a happy & safe New Year!

Here is the complete list of products I used for this look:

Too Faced Shadow Insurance
Milani Liquif’eye pencil in Black
Femme Couture Loose Mineral Shadow in Black Jewel
Femme Couture Loose Mineral Shadow in Silver Screen
Tarte shadows #3(shimmery Gray) and #14 (Shimmery peachy/Flesh color)from the Jewelry Box Collection
Jordana Fabuliner in Black
Tarte Lights, Camera, Lashes Mascara in Black
Tarte Amazonian Clay Brow Mousse in Dark Brown

Too Faced Primed & Poreless Skin Smoothing Face Primer
Tarte Amazonian Clay 12 Hour Full Coverage Foundation
Femme Couture Flawless Touch Creme Foundation in Chocolate Truffle (as creme countour)
MAC Studio Fix Plus in NC20
Palladio Dual Wet Dry Foundation in Rich Mocha (bronzer/contour)
Tarte Amazonian Clay Blush in Angelic (highlighter)
Tarte Amazonian Clay Blush in Magic

Studio Gear Lip Primer
NYX Matte Lipstick in Shocking Pink
Urban Decay Lip Junkie Lipgloss in Naked


Red & Green Wearable Christmas Camouflage Eyes!

I created this red and green Christmas look that is a bit muted, and my hubby said looked a bit like Camouflage, but pretty.  haha




I used red & green loose mineral pigments wet and then applied a light sparkly highlight color over top to blend them a bit more, set them, and tone down/mute the color a bit.  I created a YouTube tutorial for this look, which you can see here:

I hope that you really like this look.  I think it is very wearable and fun, and I had fun creating it!  I always value feedback, so please share your thoughts with me!  Also, if you have a request for a future look or any questions, please let me know!  I wish everyone a very Merry Christmas!

Products used:

Urban Decay eyeshadow Primer Potion
BFTE Addicted
BFTE Emerald
BFTE Mix n’ Fix
BFTE Full Moon Rising
Wet ‘n Wild Comfort Zone Palette
Jordana Fabuliner in Black
Milani Liquif’eye liner in Silver
Milani Liquif’eye liner in Black
Urban Decay Supercurl Curling Mascara in Black
Ardell Demi Wispies in Black