Celebrate Fall with Anastasia Beverly Hills Limited Edition Buys

fall-abh-ltd-ed-1I have recently made a couple of limited edition purchases from the Anastasia Beverly Hills (ABH) fall collection. After the smashing success of the Modern Renaissance palette, I decided that I’d better jump on the new Master Palette by Mario. ICYMI, this 12-shadow palette was developed in collaboration with Mario Dedivanovic. Mario is a celebrity makeup artist (MUA) who counts Kim Kardashian-West (and her sisters), Gabrielle Union, and Priyanka Chopra among his clients.

If you’re still wondering what the big deal is, Mario has 2.8 million followers on Instagram, and he single-handedly made the highlighting and contouring trend a staple in our makeup routines. While Beyonce has him beat in terms of Instagram followers by a long shot, his fame in the world of makeup is well established. I follow three MUAs on Instagram for ideas and inspiration – Mario, Charlotte Tilbury, and Wayne Goss.

Now back to the Master Palette by Mario – if you don’t already have one and want it, you better start looking for it now. Initially, the palette was launched exclusively on the ABH website and then rolled out to a select handful of retailers. Due to the high demand for the palette, the initial launch was a bit chaotic and I believe the supply allocated to ABH was exhausted in less than 24 hours. I ordered mine on the first day and got an e-mail that they were sold out and my order was canceled, but a few days later I did receive one from them.

fall-abh-ltd-ed-2When the palette launched on Sephora’s website, I ordered one from them thinking that I would not receive the first one, so I ended up with two. Sephora and Ulta have since sold out online, so my plan is to use the second one as a Christmas gift. This should make a lucky lady very happy. By the way, I took a look at completed listings on e-Bay and a number of these have been sold for as much as $125 with shipping factored in. I will say that from a marketing point of view ABH did a great job building demand for the product in advance through social media.

29385661656_6777841315_oI believe the quality of this palette is on par with Modern Renaissance, but there are a few key differences (beyond the colors of course). First, you get fewer colors – 12 with the Master Palette versus 14 with Modern Renaissance. Second, you will pay a little more for this ($45 versus $42). Second, one of the reasons for the popularity of Modern Renaissance is a large number of matte shades…the Master Palette is the exact opposite with a lot of shimmer shades. The colors are beautiful and very appropriate for the fall season ahead. I am happy that I was able to snag one of these as I can see myself getting a lot of use out of it. I have provided a photo with swatches from ABH so that you can see all of the shades on a variety of skin-tones. I highly recommend taking a look at the ABH Instagram feed for inspiration as a lot of looks have been created with this palette.  In addition, one  of my fave YouTuber’s is Wayne Goss.  In his video, he describes the palette as “a neutral heaven.”

fall-abh-ltd-ed-3The second seasonal limited edition launch from ABH is their Fall Lip Gloss set. I purchased their Summer gloss set and immediately fell in love with it. For $28 US, you receive six different half-size glosses. Although they are half-sized, you get a generous amount of product – I used these frequently and have yet to finish any of them. I love the formula of these – they are opaque so you can wear them on their own which is what I usually do. The texture is nice as they aren’t goopy or overly sticky. By the way, I normally use a lip primer with these and skip the pencil.  I like the primers from Urban Decay and Bite Beauty.  As I was writing this, I noticed that ABH has a lip primer on the Sephora website that I wasn’t aware of.  It has a four-star rating so I’ll have to investigate further.  The gloss set’s range of colors are complimentary to a variety of skin tones, and I find that I can easily wear at least four of the colors solo, and use the  remainder to mix with lipsticks and create new colors.

mini-lip-gloss-set-anastasia-swatchesBecause of my great experience with the Summer gloss set, I didn’t give a moment’s thought to buying the Fall set – it was a great decision. So far I have used four of the six colors and have loved every single one. I’ve  gotten compliments on these, and they’re much easier to get your hands on.  They are available exclusively on the ABH site (see link above) and US shipping is free. I highly recommend adding these to your fall makeup wardrobe.

If you’ve already purchased one of these products, I’d love to hear about how you are using them and your favorite tutorials for using them.


Summer School at Sephora

Sephora Beverly Hills store, photo malikafavre.com

It’s hard to believe, but fall is upon us! We naturally think about transitioning our wardrobes and our skincare as the change of seasons takes hold. I mentioned in my prior post False Eyelashes for the Lash Challenged that I’ve been working to up my makeup game. Learning to apply false lashes and watching a lot of YouTube videos are just two of the ways I’ve worked to kick it up a notch. Another thing that I did over the summer months was to take advantage of the free classes offered by beauty store extraordinaire, Sephora. If you live in the US and belong to Sephora’s Beauty Insider loyalty program (which is free to join BTW) you can choose from a menu of 12 free hands-on classes which cover everything from Brow Shaping to Winged Eyeliner. Classes are 45 to 90 minutes in duration and take place in your friendly neighborhood store.  These classes are a great way to prepare to transition your skincare and makeup routines for the fall and winter months ahead.

Image from malikafavre.com

Although I have been a Beauty Insider for a number of years, I had never really taken full advantage of the program’s benefits. I became a VIB Rouge member late last year and decided I should take advantage of more of the program benefits beyond the two day free Flash Shipping and a couple of makeup application sessions. I participated in six classes during the summer months and now have quite a bit of experience that I’ll share with you here. The beauty of these classes is that you get personalized help from the instructor and coaches – the techniques and products are customized to you with consideration given to your skin type, face shape, features and preferences. While YouTube is a fantastic resource, free personalized help that is specific to YOU just can’t be beat.

From June through August I attended classes at the Santa Monica, CA location (mucho thanks to Christine and her team) which covered the makeup basics plus a few more advanced topics:

  • Flawless Foundation with Color IQ
  • Correct and Conceal
  • Contour and Highlight
  • No Makeup Makeup
  • Nighttime Smoky Eye
  • Winged Eyeliner

We typically had 12-16 attendees each session — some drove up to 100 miles because they had a specific need that wasn’t addressed in their local area that week. Despite the fact that these are group sessions, you do get personal attention, as there are typically two to four coaches on hand to assist you in addition to the instructor. The class attendees (and teaching team) were a diverse group covering all ages, skin types and ethnicities so everyone can benefit.

Photo Ricardo DeAratanha, Los Angeles Times

You can take the classes in any order and there is a monthly schedule by location on the web site. Some classes are offered on Saturday or Sunday mornings while others are on weeknights after work. The weekend morning classes start at 8:00 or 9:00 AM (varies by location). I’ll admit that while I struggled to get up for 8 AM class on Saturday morning, I recommend sucking it up and doing this instead of going to a weeknight class. Summer evenings on the Promenade in Santa Monica are always busy, and the store had a lot of foot traffic. Although we were cordoned off in a specific area, there was always a good bit of noise from shoppers, some wanting to cut through our area, or try to get one of our coaches to help them which was distracting.

Every class included a focus on skin care and skin preparation. Here is the bottom line. Great skincare and prep will always enable great results, while poor skincare makes great results difficult to either attain or maintain throughout the day. I believe the first four classes I listed cover the fundamentals and can provide you with little tips and tricks to enhance your application techniques as well as identifying the right products for you. For example I thought (I now laugh at myself) that I was doing some contouring and highlighting before attending that class, but found I was using the wrong product to highlight my under eye (not light enough) and applying it too close to my lower lash line which caused more creasing than any woman would want. Another example was how I learned how to hold and use my flat eye shadow brush to apply shadow to my lids. By making this small change, I’m able to better apply shadow as close to my lash line as possible for quicker better coverage.

If you’re looking to update your skincare or makeup routines as we transition to fall, these classes are an easy way to do it. Fear not, although the classes are free, there is no hard sell or pressure to buy anything. I did, however make a number of purchases during the summer, and was introduced to some great products for future consideration. More on those in an upcoming post later this week…

P.S. – if you’d like to follow my blog via Bloglovin’ it is a new option for you so you don’t have to miss a thing. Just click here.

False Eyelashes for the Lash Challenged – Part II

This post is Part II for those of us who are challenged when it comes to false lash application. The 30 day lash challenge, if you give it consistent effort will most certainly improve your skill and comfort with putting on falsies. In Part I, I described the challenge concept, provided a list of supplies you would need, and shared a list of six YouTube videos which I thought would be useful. My sincere thanks to these ladies for creating great tutorials on this topic. I have also created a board on Pinterest with links to the videos mentioned and images of some of my lash favorites. In addition, Sephora has just introduced an update to their Virtual Artist capability which will allow you to virtually try on a pair of lashes to see how much they can do for your look – the link to a short video on this enhancement is also on the Pinterest board titled I’ve Gone Lash Crazy. I hope you find the Pinterest board useful – feel free to share with others. Here now are my seven tips to lash success.

Edited Lash Inspo IMG_0010
Eye look inspiration featuring the Black Magic mink lash from Esqido
  1. TIME MANAGEMENT – Allow yourself plenty of time in the beginning – trying to rush will only frustrate you. If you need to apply lashes in the evening because you just don’t have time in the morning it is OK, your time practicing will count regardless of whether you wear the lashes for 10 hours or for two. If you do them at night, you remove the time pressure and you can play with different eye makeup looks while you’re at it. Remember that it will take less time to re-apply a pair you’ve previously fit and worn than a brand new pair, and you’ll feel better about reusing a pair of inexpensive lashes for a few hours than a brand new more expensive pair. An additional thought is to do your brows and eye makeup first, your lashes next, then you can do the rest of your face in the remaining time.  Hey with great lashes you can amp up your look enough to skip something else while you’re learning!
  2. PREPARATION – Be prepared by having your supplies ready so that you can work efficiently. If you need scissors or tweezers and you need to stop what you’re doing to go find them you’ll feel unnecessary time pressure and waste your valuable time.
  3. PERFECT THE FIT – Remember that you need to fit every brand new pair which takes a little extra time, but it will ensure that your lashes look and feel good. Remember to allow a bit of room at the inside corner of the eye so that the lashes are not poking you, and to make sure the lashes aren’t so long that they extend beyond your natural lashes at the outer corner. More than once, I’ve had to go back and trim a wee bit more from the outer edge because when they are too long you’ll either be uncomfortable, or the extra length will visually drag the eye down. You don’t want either of those outcomes, but it is still better to cut off too little than too much since once you cut, you can’t undo it. The old adage measure twice and cut once is true, but it is better to cut twice than to cut too much. By the way, you do need to fit each eye individually since our eyes are not perfectly symmetrical – I know you know that…just a friendly reminder.
  4. APPLY ADHESIVE AND WAIT – I know it is tempting to apply the lashes too soon, but you need to let the glue get tacky. Refer back to tip one, no matter what don’t rush this step or else you’ll have a hot mess, and potentially mess up your carefully applied eye makeup. I learned this one through the school of hard knocks…don’t go there. Also, when you apply the glue, be sure to either hold the brush below or to the side of the lash. You don’t want glue dripping down onto the lash accidentally.
  5. PLACING YOUR LASHES – This is an area that typically creates frustration so take a deep breath and remember these things. One of the first videos I watched said to look down into your mirror…this is absolutely true. Trying to look straight on just doesn’t work. Here is the other thing though, with your eyes looking down, you need to lift your chin up. If you are using a mirror on a stand you’ll need to adjust it to almost be flat horizontally. I invested in one of those Simple Human lighted magnifying mirrors and it works so well for this. My other tip is to use your tweezers to place the lashes. Make sure they aren’t sticky from glue or else you won’t be able to get them off the tweezers and onto your lash line. This is why I suggest having alcohol wipes handy to clean up any boo boos on your tweezers. A damp Q-tip is good if you accidentally get glue on your natural lashes. Last tip – before you begin to place the lashes, be sure they are oriented correctly (this requires conscious effort for me) and think of them coming down for a gentle landing from above (like an airplane), not approaching from straight on.
  6. LINE ‘EM UP AND SMUSH – Now that the lash has landed, using your tweezers or fingers, you want to pull the lash towards or away from the inside corner to get it where you want it and then get the inner half as close to your natural lash line as possible. Then you want to align and secure the outer half. Once I have the lash where I want it, I like to take my Japonesque lash tweezers to press or smush the falsies together with my natural lashes to be sure they are well adhered and blended together.
  7. FINAL TOUCH UP – Your last step is to do any needed touchups once the glue has dried. If the lashes aren’t curled as much as you’d like, give them a quick squeeze with your lash curler. If you are wearing inexpensive synthetics you may want to add another coat of mascara to help blend the lashes. But NEVER use mascara on mink lashes. Last, you may need to touch up your eyeliner, or if you see gaps at the lash line between your lashes and falsies you can use a small brush and a bit of black eye shadow to fill in.

You are done, bat your eyelashes and give yourself a big pat on the back! Keep up your practice routine and you’ll be able to apply lashes with ease before you know it.

P.S. If you’re interested in trying a pair of mink lashes like the pair shown from Esqido, they do offer a referral program.   If you are interested in purchasing their lashes and use the referral code from this link, you will receive a $5 credit on your order and I will also receive a $5 credit on a future order.

False Eyelashes for the Lash Challenged – Part I

Over the last year, I’ve been working to up my makeup game and must admit I’ve become a bit of a makeup addict.  When doing a full face look, the eyes are a key feature that we want to enhance, and ideally we do that with well groomed brows, artfully applied eye shadows, and lovely long lashes.   While my brows are passable with regular shaping and using a few strategic brow products, my lashes are undisputedly another story.  They are naturally short, stick straight and stubby.  I’ve always felt robbed in the genetic lottery since my younger brother has always had beautifully long, naturally curled eyelashes.  It just isn’t fair, although he tells me that fair is a word used by sissies and crybabies.

One result of this sorry condition is that for the last couple of years I’ve spent a crazy amount of time and money on eyelash extensions.  For a number of reasons, late last year I said enough is enough – I removed the extensions, and began using Latisse while sampling a variety of mascara products.   While the Latisse did help, I think it really only helped restore my lashes to their normally short, straight condition.  Mascara and eyelash primer do help, but can only take me so far which led me to try falsies again.

I’ve made a variety of attempts to apply false lashes over the years which have only led to frustration and disappointment.  This time around I sought help from a number of YouTubers who provided helpful, informative videos.  My subsequent attempts were still rather amateurish, and if I wanted to wear falsies for a night out I needed to allow plenty of extra time and still gave up (or ran out of time) in frustration on occasion.  Recently I decided that I needed to resort to desperate measures.   Everyone (at least everyone who has mastered this) says that false lash application is a skill that can be learned with practice.   I needed to find out if it was really true, and just how much practice was enough?

I decided for the month of June that I would challenge myself to apply false lashes every day in order to master the skill.  Taking the time to apply lashes daily was a huge commitment, and after a week of this I decided that perhaps a day or two off every week would not negatively impact my mastery.  Despite taking an occasional day off, the time commitment was significant, and at times I found myself applying lashes in the evening before fixing dinner and removing them at bedtime a few hours later.

With all of that background, I will say that the challenge was a success, and I’d recommend this approach to others.  With consistent, sincere effort you can greatly increase your skill and confidence with false lashes. Here are my suggestions on how to approach this sort of challenge.

Step one – commit to the challenge and stock up on your lash challenge essentials.   In order to get started on your challenge there are a few things you will need.  OK, maybe more than a few, but you likely have many of these items in your bathroom (or other makeup room) already.

  • You need inexpensive lashes to play with.  I have used the Ardell 110 and Demi Wispies with success, although other lashes can be used.  I recommend these styles to start with because they will look relatively natural, and they have a very light, almost invisible band.   That band in my view is key to success as a thin, light band is easier to apply when you are starting out (they’ll be more comfortable too!).   A multipack with four pairs will run around $10 US if you have Amazon Prime.  If you’re not into Amazon, you’ll likely find these at your local drug store.
  • A small pair of scissors for trimming new lashes to fit.
  • Eyelash curler — you know the “old school” type that you try and clamp over your eyelashes without pinching yourself.
  • Oil-free eye makeup remover–oil free is important as the oily type will prevent you from reusing your lashes.
  • Bottle of rubbing alcohol–great for sanitizing lashes or removing gummy glue residue from your tools.
  • Q-tips.Edited IMG_1450
  • Alcohol disinfecting wipes (optional but helpful).
  • At least one pair of tweezers.  I have shown two types of tweezers in the photo, and I especially like the longer pair from Japonesque for smushing together my lashes and the falsies, ensuring that they are well adhered and blended together.
  • Makeup mirror of choice, I love the lighted magnifying mirror by Simple Human, but any mirror will do.
  • Black eyeliner (liquid or gel) to line your eyes and disguise the lash band.
  • Black mascara to coat your own lashes or to help blend synthetic lashes.  You never want to use mascara on false mink lashes.
  • Lash glue – I have a few thoughts on glue.   I use the white glue that dries clear which I think is better than using black.  Why???  When you’re starting out you’re bound to get some on your eyelid or other places where you don’t want it so the clear will help with cleanup and minimize do-overs with the rest of your eye makeup.  I also like that the Revlon glue comes with a brush so you don’t have to worry about making a mess while squeezing it out of the tube.  The alcohol wipes (mine are from Beauty So Clean), q-tips, and rubbing alcohol will really help with cleaning up any mishaps during application and for cleaning your lashes after wearing.

Finally, you may want to begin experimenting with some of the nicer, higher end lashes during your challenge.  I would use these for outings as the month progressed, and actually tried a pair of mink lashes towards the end of my first week.  Again, look for styles with lighter bands to make application easier.  The Koko Lashes are a premium brand, but well priced when compared with other similar lashes. I like the Misha (shown above) and the Ari styles.  Mink lashes are a step up both in cost and in durability (when properly cared for), and they look super natural.  They are cruelty free so no need to worry about harm to these animals.   I’ve bought several pairs of these from Esqido (see notation below regarding their referral program).

Step two – Que up some of my favorite You Tube videos on false eyelash application.  The links are at the bottom of this post.    Plan to check back in via the comments space below and let me know if you’re going to try the challenge and how it is going.  I’ll create a follow up post with my personal tips for how to make the application process easier.

Note:   All products mentioned were purchased by me with my own hard earned money.  I have not received any compensation from anyone, and the opinions here are my own.  Esqido does offer a referral program.   If you are interested in purchasing their lashes and use the referral code from this link, you will receive a $5 credit on your order and I will also receive a $5 credit on a future order.

Favorite YouTube Tutorials