Monday, March 11, 2013

REVIEW -- Fusion of Color Loose Mineral Shadows and Blushes! (PIC HEAVY)

Clockwise from top: Mossified, Emerald City, Ink Blue, Honeysuckle, Oh Me Oh My, Evening Sky, and Midori

Hey everyone! About a month ago, Kathy from Fusion of Color was kind enough to contact me and offer me 6 samples of my choice from her line to try! I'd been interested in experimenting with loose mineral makeup, so this seemed like the perfect opportunity!

I spent almost an hour browsing the Fusion of Color website.. seriously, there are TONS of colors to choose from. It's almost overwhelming, but in a good way! Anyways, I finally selected the colors that you see above: 4 loose mineral shadows, and 2 loose mineral blushes. I thought that I would be able to create 2 complete FOTD's using these colors. As a surprise bonus, Kathy was also sweet enough to surprise me by slipping in her 2013 color of the year, Mossified! :)
Fusion of Color cosmetics are derived directly from minerals taken straight from the earth, and their main ingredients are inorganic.. which means that there's nothing in them which can grow bacteria. I love that! The products adhere directly to the natural oils in our skin, and do not seep into pores.

Fusion of Color products are all custom made and never repackaged. They are manufactured in small batches to ensure quality control and freshness, and free of oil, talc, dyes, and parabens. They are also celebrating their 10th anniversary this year, so a huge congratulations to them!

In addition to shadows and blushes, Fusion of Color also carries a complete line of face products (concealers, highlighters, foundations, primers, etc), AND a plethora of lip products!

The shadows come with .50 grams of product in a 3 gram jar for $4.75 each. Blushes come with 1 gram of product in a 5 gram jar for $7.25 each. You are able to choose whether or not you would like a sifter in the jars or not.

And you can also choose to sample products (up to 8 at a time, I think?) for $1.65 each. The amounts range from 1/8 teaspoon to 1/16 teaspoon in a 3 gram jar. For reference, both blushes and shadows both come with 1/16 teaspoon per sample.
First, I would love to point out two things to you:

1. Each sample I received came individually sealed. I cannot TELL you how much this made my germophobe heart sing with joy, and also meant that all of my samples arrived perfectly intact! PS -- They also came in an adorable purple little drawstring bag which is now corralling all of my mini perfume samples!

2. Each sample comes clearly labeled with the name and list of ingredients on the back. So there's no guessing as to what it is or what's in it, and if you are allergic to specific things, you can even email Fusion of Color with questions and they'll tell you if the product in question contains what you're allergic to before you order it!

Here's a picture of the complete packaging, minus the safety seal:


I love that the tops of the samples are clear, making it very easy to see what color you're reaching for while doing your makeup.

And here are swatches of the colors, taken in natural (overcast) light, with no flash and no primer:

From L-R: Honeysuckle, Oh Me Oh My, Ink Blue, Evening Sky, Emerald City, Midori, Mossified
Honeysuckle is a bright fuchsia blush with minimal shimmer.

Oh Me Oh My is a peachy-coral blush with a moderate to strong amount of shimmer.

Ink Blue is a deep, matte, navy blue shadow.

Evening Sky is a bright sky blue shadow with moderate shimmer.

Emerald City is a deep emerald green with a moderate to strong amount of shimmer.

Midori is a bright jade green shadow with a moderate to strong amount of shimmer.

Mossified is a subdued, matte, moss green shadow.



I'm actually embarrassed to admit that prior to using these products, I had never worked with loose shadows or blushes before! (I know, I know.. shame on me!) So I was a little unsure as to how to prevent fallout during application, especially since I do my face first and eyes last.

I quickly learned that it's really a trial and error process. I used a flat shadow brush and tapped as much excess product off as I could, and even used what had accumulated in the lids for final touchups just to use as little product as possible. Naturally, I did still experience some product fallout (FYI, Midori was the worst culprit!) BUT it was very easy to clean up with a Q-tip and a bit of extra concealer and loose face powder, as you'll see in the closeup eye shots below.

Also for the record, I only had fallout with the shadows. I don't know if it's because the blush was getting applied to a much bigger area and at a much less dense concentration, or simply that any fallout fell off of my face and I didn't notice it.
Other than slight fallout, the shadows applied and blended BEAUTIFULLY. I used them over Urban Decay's Original Primer Potion and all 4 shadows practically applied themselves. They held up well through my work days, and I didn't find the need to touch them up, even after 8-10 hours of wear... which is more than I can say of some much more expensive name brand shadows! Plus, they were VERY easy to remove at the end of the night and had no residual staining (always a plus!).


So now let's take a look at two FOTD's featuring the Fusion of Color products! I did the exact same makeup look both times, each using 2 shadows and one blush from the line. Almost all other products used in each look are the same, except for lip colors. I will include a detailed list of products used below each look.

LOOK #1: GREEN WITH ENVY



PRODUCTS USED:
  • Smashbox Photo Finish Primer
  • B. Kamins BB Cream
  • Maybelline Coverstick Concealer in Light
  • PUR Minerals 4-in-1 Foundation in Light
  • PUR Minerals MineralGlow Bronzer
  • Fusion of Color Blush in Oh Me Oh My
  • NYX Shadow Single in Iced Mocha (for brows)
  • Urban Decay Original Primer Potion
  • Fusion of Color Shadow in Midori
  • Fusion of Color Shadow in Emerald City
  • ULTA Shadow Single  in Naked
  • Urban Decay 24/7 Liner in Perversion
  • ELF Liquid Liner in Black
  • ModelCo Fibre LASHXTEND Mascara
  • Maybelline Volum'Eyes Mascara
  • Revlon Kissable Balm Stain in Honey
  • Benefit Lip Gloss in Life on the A-List

 LOOK #2: BLUE MY MIND

Excuse my flyaways on this one.. I drove home from work with the windows down and my hair REFUSED to cooperate after that! Oops!



PRODUCTS USED:
  • Smashbox Photo Finish Primer
  • B. Kamins BB Cream
  • Maybelline Coverstick Concealer in Light
  • PUR Minerals 4-in-1 Foundation in Light
  • PUR Minerals MineralGlow Bronzer
  • Fusion of Color Blush in Honeysuckle
  • NYX Shadow Single in Iced Mocha (for brows)
  • Urban Decay Original Primer Potion
  • Fusion of Color Shadow in Evening Sky
  • Fusion of Color Shadow in Ink Blue
  • ULTA Shadow Single  in Naked
  • Urban Decay 24/7 Liner in Perversion
  • ELF Liquid Liner in Black
  • ModelCo Fibre LASHXTEND Mascara
  • Maybelline Volum'Eyes Mascara
  • Revlon Kissable Balm Stain in Sweetheart
  • Urban Decay Lip Honey Therapy in Lolita
Overall, I am SO impressed with the Fusion of Color line! The quality of the products is exceptional, and the prices are VERY reasonable! Even with the sample sizes I received (1/16th of a teaspoon!), I barely made a dent in any of the colors, blushes included.. and will have plenty of product left for multiple uses.

I love that Fusion of Color offers a complete line of products ranging from primers to lip products, and that you are able to get samples of just about every product. Plus, the fact that they are custom blended and mineral based is a huge plus.

Also, don't forget how much I love that everything comes sealed! The products were shipped to me very quickly, and also packaged well. Due to the outstanding overall experience that I've had so far, I'm absolutely thrilled to give Fusion of Color a PERFECT rating of 5 out of 5 stars!

RATING: 5 out of 5 STARS



Friday, March 8, 2013

REVIEW -- B.KAMINS BB Cream


Hey everyone! Today I have a review of the B. Kamins BB Cream for you. B. Kamins is a brand that I had not previously heard of, but I was definitely excited to try it since I might be just a little bit obsessed with BB Creams these days!

B. Kamins is the leader in the next generation of beauty balms power-packed with anti-oxidants, botanicals and vitamins. Read on to find out more about all of it's amazing qualities and to see how it performs in action!
The B. Kamins BB Cream is your 8-in-1 get up and go! The multi-tasking cream will provide all day hydration while firming and brightening to instantly lift your look. The light-weight, non-greasy formula is incredibly versatile and can be worn under foundation and reapplied as needed. It also moisturizes and corrects the skin while reducing fine lines and wrinkles, lifting, firming, and filling out the skin.. leaving behind nothing but a smooth, flawless complexion. In addition, it is one formula that is ideal for all skin types and tones.

Power Ingredients:
  • Hexapeptide-14 and Goji Berry
    • Maximum synergistic effect.
    • Rebuilds skin's extracellular matrix and improves skin's elasticity.
    • Fights the cause of collagen damage.
    • Reduces fine lines and wrinkles.
    • Helps in recovery from aging, stress, and UV damage.
  • Hydroxyproline (fiber building block)
    • Reduces wrinkle depth and number.
    • Increase skin firmness by affecting fiber contraction.
    • Moisturizes.
  • Hyaluronic Acid
    • Stimulates collagen production.
    • Plumps and firms.
  • Vitamin C
    • Anti-oxidant that fights free radicals.
    • Brightens the skin.
  • Bio-Maple Compound
    • Moisturizing agent that contains AHAs and anti-oxidants to hydrate and brighten the face.
The B. Kamins BB Cream is available in a 50 ml pump and retails for $49. It is available at the wrold's finest luxury resorts, day spas, and beauty boutiques. For more retail information visit the B. Kamins website or call 1-888-252-6467 (1-888-BKAMINS).
First, I really like that the BB Cream comes in one shade that blends with all skin tones. I love products like that.. they really take all the guesswork out of shopping! And there's nothing worse than ordering a product online only to get it and realize it's the COMPLETELY wrong color.. amiright?

Next, you get plenty of product in the 50ml bottle, and it doesn't really take a lot of BB Cream to cover your whole face. I'm able to use about double the amount that you'll see in the collage below for my entire face and neck.

So here's a closeup of the B. Kamins BB Cream in action:

Natural daylight, no flash, no post editing besides cropping and adding watermarks.
As you can see from the first to third picture, the BB Cream is essentially transparent when blended in.. yet it gives my skin a much smoother, slightly dewy, airbrushed finish. It has no scent, and is so light-weight that it feels like you're wearing nothing on your skin!
I have very oily skin, and while I do continue to use my holy grail Smashbox Photo Finish primer every day under my B. Kamins BB Cream, my skin is able to look dewy without getting greasy or shiny throughout the day.

And here's a full face picture using the B. Kamins BB Cream (and some other makeup products that I'll be reviewing soon, so stay tuned!):



What do you think? I think my skin looks pretty darn flawless, if I do say so myself!
Overall, I really like the B. Kamins BB Cream. I like that it's not scented, and that it has one color/is transparent, yet manages to airbrush your skin so flawlessly. Now keep in mind that if you have a serious blemish, it won't provide much actual coverage and you will have to rely more heavily on your concealer.. but if you don't have acne prone or "problem" skin, I think this product would be well worth a try!

It definitely has some awesome ingredients in it, and over the several weeks that I've been testing it out I'm even starting to be able to tell a difference in my skin after all the makeup comes off at night. Seriously, who doesn't love that?!

The only detractor for me is the price. It IS a higher end product.. even more pricey than Smashbox's BB Cream, so it might not be the most affordable option for every person. However, as I mentioned before.. you DO get a lot of product for your money. And I can attest that I use about twice as much of my much less expensive Maybelline BB Cream as I do my BB Kamins per use. I'm sure if you factored up the cost over time (the Maybelline BB Cream retails for about $8-9), the B. Kamins would probably come out to be the less expensive option in the end. Plus, it's a lot better for your skin!

I'm giving the B. Kamins BB Cream a 4.0 out of 5 star rating!

RATING: 4.0 out of 5 STARS






Sunday, March 3, 2013

The Future of MandysSecrets...

Image source.

Hey everyone! This is.. one of those long, rambling posts that I feel has been a long time coming, and I've never wanted to actually have to sit down and write it. However, I feel like I'm at a point in my life and my blog where my priorities have shifted, and I've always striven to be transparent to my readers.. so here we are.

Now, don't get scared. This isn't a "I'm quitting blogging" post by ANY means. I've worked too hard, and MandysSecrets and the friends I've made along the way mean too much to me to consider walking away.. But I do know that the way I'm currently doing things is not working well for me or my blog, so something somewhere has to give.

Originally, I had all these dreams of being the best blogger ever and having all these cool partnerships.. and I was actually achieving blog success that continually amazed and humbled me. I've had the pleasure and privilege of working with some amazing companies over the last year.

But MandysSecrets is not my full time job, nor did I ever intend for it to be. I do work outside the home, and I'm very fortunate to also be achieving great success in my career as well. On the flip side, with that success comes promotions and much more job responsibility than I previously had.. which is awesome. I've never felt more professionally successful and fulfilled in my career than I do at this moment, and I'm so thankful that I have a boss who believes in my development.

Things have been going so well for me, and then my husband and I decided it was time for us to start a family. Being pregnant has been one of the most interesting experiences of my life for sure. It's something that I could have never prepared myself for, and it seems like time is flying by faster than a speeding freight train, which both excites and terrifies me all at the same time. Before you know it, June will be here and we'll be holding our little baby Carey in our arms for the first time. Just.. wow.


So.. with all that being said, a lot has changed in my life within the last 8 months, and it's made me have to do a lot of thinking about the future of MandysSecrets. All of these grand plans that I had envisioned have now had to be re-evaluated, and I've had to remove myself from several of the partnerships and commitments I had made due to just not having the time to dedicate myself to them anymore. In some ways, I see this as a personal failure. I'm not a quitter..

However, now more than ever, I'm realizing that myself and my family come first. I've seen a drastic reduction in the time that I currently have to blog, and I can't see that time ever increasing in the future with another job promotion approaching, and a baby due in 3 months.

For the last couple months, I've tried to devote one day a week to blogging and responding to PR emails. And it works.. sometimes. But I also have a household to run, and other things to deal with (doctor's appointments, etc). So maybe once every three weeks, I'm ACTUALLY able to sit down and spend the 8-9 hours catching up on everything for MandysSecrets that I need to attend to. By this point, I'm super behind on emails and doing sponsored/PR posts that those take my first priority. So once I have 7-9 posts completed, I'm SO excited that I actually have content that I schedule them to run consecutively. I convince myself that by the time that content runs its course, I will have had time to generate more. Let's be honest, if you look at my blog archive.. this never happens.

And I've tried doing a little bit each day. At this point in my life, it's just not feasible. And I'm not going to force myself to make subpar content just to have something to post. I can't (and I won't) do it.


So here's my new plan: Going forward, I'm going to continue blogging when I can, but instead of scheduling the posts I manage to get done to run consecutively.. I'm going to try to run maybe 1-2 a week. This does not necessarily mean an increase (or decrease) in the amount of content I am able to create, but it should spread it out to make my posting more consistent. Because let's be honest, it's not cute to have 1 week of continuous posts and then 3 weeks of nothing.

I'm also going to go ahead and make it known that I will be taking a blogging hiatus to focus on baby Carey after his birth. I'm estimating the time to be June 1st - September 1st since he is due on June 7th, but the dates might change if I go past my delivery date and I'm feeling fine before hand. Of course, I'll be sure to keep you updated with that and will definitely find the time to sneak in a post showing off our newest addition when he arrives! :)


As always, I would again like to take a moment to thank all my readers, fellow MABB members, and friends that I have made along the way for their love and support of me and my blog. Without you, there wouldn't even BE a MandysSecrets, and I am so eternally grateful to all of you.

Thank you for sticking by me through thick and thin, and know that I always have your interests in my mind when it comes to blogging. I hope the changes I plan to implement will make MandysSecrets a better experience for everyone involved!

And if you have any other ideas, suggestions, or feedback.. please feel free to share! I'm always willing to listen to any advice I can get!

Saturday, March 2, 2013

PRESS RELEASE -- The Hold Me Baby Bag Has Arrived!


Hey everyone! Today I have a quick press release telling you all about the new Hold Me Baby Bag! It looks amazing, and my fellow MABB member Pam has one and loves hers! After reading her review of it, I'm totally lusting after one for myself now!




MONTEREY, Calif.Feb. 20, 2013 /PRNewswire-iReach/ -- The Hold Me Company is pleased to announce the new Hold Me Baby Bag to their line of makeup organizer bags.
The new Hold Me Baby Bag is a smaller version of the original Hold Me Bag and is the perfect size to carry in a purse. The Hold Me Baby Bag is offered in twelve different patterns ranging from bright to muted prints, as well as "Baby in Black", a solid black selection. 
"We have created this smaller scale version at the request of many of our customers who have asked for a cosmetic organizer bag that they can tuck in their purse. Those who consider themselves 'makeup minimalists', and have less makeup and fewer brushes to store also asked for a smaller version of the original Hold Me Bag. We are pleased to now offer two sizes and more pattern selections for our makeup organizer bags," states Cheryl Cooper of Hold Me Company.
The Hold Me Bag and the new Hold Me Baby Bag are the only all-in-one makeup organizer bags that incorporate the best features of an organizer, makeup bag, and brush roll, in a modern way. The patented design keeps cosmetics and brushes perfectly stored yet within easy access for daily use as well as for travel. Recommended by makeup artists and beauty professionals.
"Beauty and Brains - all in one package," states trendsetter and master organizer, Julie Morgenstern in her description of the Hold Me Bag. To read what other beauty professionals and everyday women are saying about the Hold Me Bag, please go to the company website, holdmecompany.com/words.
This smaller scale version of the original Hold Me Bag features the same at-a-glance super organization and brush protection. A compact size when closed, 7" H, by 5" W, by 2" D, the Hold Me Baby Bag extends to 16.5" W when fully opened, giving a complete view and access to makeup and brushes. With an amazing capacity for its size, it holds a basic brush collection, several palettes, cosmetics, and tools of various shapes in the generous center "heart" section of the bag that is fully zippered, and includes a removable bottom liner. The covered brush section has 6 separate sleeves of varying sizes that store single or multiple brushes so they are kept smartly separated, straight up, and protected.
Inspired by a vintage schoolgirl's book bag, the Hold Me Baby Bag closes with a wrap-around self-tie that accommodates varying degrees of content. The exterior of the bag is made of Knew Suede, a man-made vegan fabric that is easy to clean, sleek, and soft to the touch. The interiors are made of laminated, 100% cotton fabric in a choice of patterns.
The Hold Me Company continues to keep a "spotlight" with "special pricing" on one bag, a portion of those "spotlight" sales donated to the Breast Cancer Research Foundation.
ABOUT THE HOLD ME COMPANY
The Hold Me Company, based in Monterey California, produces modern, eco-friendly cosmetic bags. Recognizing that women have had few choices for smart makeup and brush storage, they designed all-in-one organizers to simplify and meet the needs of busy women everywhere. Beautiful and functional, they will provide many years of use and help keep all those give-away, throwaway bags at bay. The Hold Me Bags are hand-made in the USA. They retail for $55 to $95. The Hold Me Bags can be purchased online and at fine makeup and beauty supply retailers.



Friday, March 1, 2013

Suave Moroccan Infusion Giveaway Winner!

Hey everyone! Just a quick post to let you know that out of the 630 entries I had for the Suave Moroccan Infusion Giveaway, the winner is...

HARRI B.!!!

Congrats, Harri! She's already claimed her prize, and I hope she ends up loving the line as much as I do!

If you have no clue what I'm talking about, or would like to read my in-depth review of the new Suave line, please click here.

Happy Friday!