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.


Let’s Celebrate National Mud Pack Day

Friday September 30th is National Mud Pack Day, so I am giving you a little advance notice so that you can clear your calendar for the event. It is the perfect time to treat yourself to a spa night at home with a DIY facial. A mud pack is only one element of spa caliber facial – the ritual should include deep cleansing, exfoliation, and rehydration. Of course a Zen relaxation playlist from Spotify, a glass of fruit or herbal infused water, and scented candles can enhance and take your DIY experience to the next level. You’ll also want to have a terry headband and an inexpensive synthetic makeup brush on hand.

Why mud or clay masks you might ask? Because they draw impurities or toxins from the skin, which would otherwise cause nasty things like blackheads for example. They also help to exfoliate resulting in smoother, more radiant skin. Depending on the product, the mask can also help to nourish and moisturize the skin.

Some of the best professional facials I’ve had combine the deep cleansing element with clinic_gallery2
facial massage. I have regularly gone for facials at Kate Somerville in West Hollywood for over five years. Between pro visits, my aspirational goal is a weekly at home facial using one or more masks, and a separate weekly sheet mask application for a mini facial. When things are hectic, I’d say just getting a sheet mask in during the week is an accomplishment.

For cleansing during my at home facials, I often use Kate Somerville’s Moisture Milk Cleanser p409916-av-01-lherowhich I combine with a facial massage. I recently discovered an instructional video on Into the Gloss, which will help up your facial massage game. You can link to the video here. I keep a supply of inexpensive wash cloths from Bed Bath and Beyond on hand ($6.99 for a set of six by Lasting Color) which I use for cleansing and removal of my masks. This way I don’t have to worry about staining my “good” wash cloths.

p232915-av-02-lheroOnce I complete my cleansing and massage, I typically use my facial steamer to open my pores and some sort of scrub like Kate Somerville’s Exfolikate to exfoliate. I purchased my Mira steamer from Amazon for around $35.

From a mask perspective, I will apply one or two products depending on how my skin is behaving. I have combination skin with enlarged pores, especially around my nose, but other areas can be flaky or dry. I have had issues with extreme flakiness around my nose which I’ve been struggling with for the last several years, despite an arsenal of expensive prescription creams. Just when I think I’ve found the solution, it flares up again so I am crossing my fingers and keeping my mouth shut for now about my latest remedy. For mud, I have two go-to masks that I’ll mention here. s1463801-main-lheroThe first is the GlamGlow YOUTHMUD Tinglexfoliate Treatment (the one in the black jar). If time is of the essence, I use this one as it exfoliates and helps to clean out the pores, and it is ready to use straight from the jar. You only need to leave this on for 10 minutes for it to work its magic. Ingredients include various clays, volcanic rock, green tea and various herbal extracts. The one downside with this mask is that it tends to dry out once opened, so I add a bit of distilled water to get it back to a spreadable consistency. p384782-av-01-lheroI will often apply this one to my T-zone with the GlamGlow THIRSTYMUD Hydrating Treatment Masque (blue jar) everywhere else. If I have more time, then I will break out a mask from May Lindstrom called The Problem Solver. p_550x550This mask is kinda expensive ($90 for a 8.45 ounce jar), although it should last for quite a long time. You mix it right when you’re ready to use it, and combine 1 tablespoon of the powder with 1 tablespoon of water for a single application. The powder contains a variety of clays and spices, so it has a very strong odor and is very finely milled (don’t inhale or it will make you will cough), and it does take quite a while to dry (up to one hour). Despite the time required to mix and let it dry, it is an effective mask for when you have more time. I apply this to my entire face, and it does tingle quite a bit because of the spices.

Once I remove whichever mask I’m using with a washcloth and water, I apply toner and finish with my normal serum, eye cream, and moisturizer. This is the ritual I have planned for National Mud Pack day – how do you plan to celebrate? Let me know in the comments. Remember, you deserve a bit of pampering on a regular basis! Your skin will thank you!

P.S. – If you’re seeing this post after National Mud Pack Day, don’t despair…you can treat your skin at any time. It doesn’t know about the calendar.  Sephora carries all of the featured products except for the May Lindstrom Problem Solver which is available at Beautylish.

P.P.S. – I just learned about a nifty website for royalty free images so I am supplementing the photos I take with images from pixabay.com.  Check them out if you have a need for stock photography.

Summer School @ Sephora Haul and Product Review

This post is a follow up to Summer School at Sephora. Given that I attended six different classes, I’ve spent a lot of time in the store over the past 3 months.  The following list illustrates why I need to stay away from Sephora for a while LOL. Think of this as a three month haul and mini review. 

Products Purchased

NARS Pure Matte Lipstick in Amsterdam while I was at the Winged Eyeliner class. Why, because I saw it on an employee and really liked it. In fact, I bought a second one to carry in my purse a few weeks later because I liked it so much. Although it is a matte, it feels moisturizing on the lips.  By the way, if I really like a lipstick, I’ll buy a second one to keep in my purse. This way I don’t have to remember after I put one on to put it in my handbag.

SEPHORA COLLECTION Cleansing & Exfoliating Wipes with coconut water as I was almost out of my Neutrogena wipes. I like these much better because they don’t leave behind an oily residue.  There is a slight tingle from the exfoliant, but not too much if you have sensitive skin like I do.

NARS Radiant Creamy Concealer in Amande is my “go to” under eye concealer when I’m not highlighting. I would have purchased this anyway as I was almost out. I’ve been tempted to try the new one from Too Faced, but I really like this one. They gave me the Sephora branded product to try in the Correct and Conceal class, but I decided to stay with what I know. I am finding that I get zero creasing after slightly modifying my application based on what we learned in class.

Urban Decay Vice Lipstick in EZ is another purchase unrelated to a specific class, but I tried this one in a VIB sampler and really liked it. This lipstick is red with a cream finish. I’ve gotten a number of compliments on this one, it wears well, and it is inexpensive ($17) in comparison to the NARS product or high end lines like Charlotte Tilbury, Tom Ford, or YSL so it is a budget friendly vice.

Briogeo Don’t Despair, Repair!™ Hair Therapy Kit again is unrelated to a class, but I’ve heard about these products and this kit was an easy way to try them out. I’ve only used these once so far so it is too early to say whether I would purchase the full size products.

Kat Von D Ink Liner in Trooper in preparation for the Winged Eyeliner class as I wanted to practice with a felt tip liner. My other liquid liner was the brush type. I do really like the tip on this and managed to actually create the winged look with it. It is not, however budge-proof. I was face down in one of those supports they use when you get a massage, and when I got up, I had liner everywhere. This is an extreme use case, but it did change my view of the product unfortunately for the worse.

boscia Sake Brightening Hydrogel Eye Masks were recommended to me in the Correct and Conceal class. After correcting and concealing in class, I felt that I could still see discoloration. The class consensus was that it wasn’t darkness, rather it was puffiness which these were recommended to address. You get three sets, and while I did like them, I decided to keep the other two pairs for travel. I have a supply of the Patchology Energizing Eye Patches which have a microcurrent delivery system. They do work, but aren’t as travel friendly as the boscia ones. I need to use these more often, so I guess I’ll go put them on right now.

Too Faced Shadow Insurance was another recommendation from the Correct and Conceal class. I have been looking for the perfect eye primer, and I’m honestly not sure if I’ve found it yet. It does work well, but for some reason I don’t love the texture. The others I’ve tried were from Benefit, NARS, and Urban Decay. If you have a recommendation for me I’d love to hear about it. Ideally I want color correction and staying power in one product. I am on my fourth product and each was recommended by a different Sephora associate so it doesn’t seem to be a product category where there is consensus.

Anastasia Beverly Hills Contour Cream Kit in Deep was introduced to me in the Contour and Highlight class. I learned a lot of techniques and made a lot of product changes from this class. I now use this kit almost any time I color correct, contour or highlight. I am getting a lot of use from this kit and pray that ABH will begin to sell refills of the individual cream products as they do with the powder version.  This kit is really versatile, and I felt that it was $40 well spent.

Product Introductions

These are the interesting products that I was introduced to at Sephora, but did not purchase. Many are on my list of possibilities for when I run out of what I have or have a change of heart about what I’m using now. If you have experience with any of these, do share!

Bobbie Brown Skin Foundation Stick and Corrector were introduced to me in the Flawless Foundation with Color IQ class. If I were to seriously consider a stick foundation, I think I’d test out the new products from Anastasia Beverly Hills or Hourglass too as I’ve heard great things about those. I typically use a liquid product and right now I’m primarily using either the Armani Luminous Silk or the Charlotte Tilbury Magic Foundation. We also had a good discussion in class about setting sprays with SPF. I bought the COOLA product from Sephora several months ago but didn’t like it because it seems quite harsh and actually burned when I sprayed it on, especially if I had just exfoliated. When it was almost used up, the top of the bottle broke off which gave me a good excuse to buy the Supergoop version which was on sale at Dermstore. Although I’m not crazy about rosemary for my face, it is a finer mist and much gentler.

I was introduced to the bareMinerals COMPLEXION RESCUE™ Tinted Hydrating Gel Cream and their GEN NUDE™ Radiant Lipstick in Mantra in the No Makeup Makeup class. I’ve never used their prodcts before, and I really liked both.  I will seriously consider the CC cream once I run out of the CC cream I’m currently using. I also tried the Becca Shimmering Skin Perfector™ Luminous Blush in Blushed Copper and had it on my list for future purchase. I later found it on sale and snapped it up.

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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…

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Let’s Celebrate National Lipstick Day!

As I write this quick post, National Lipstick Day is coming to an end—this cause for celebration would have gone unnoticed by me without the wonderful staff at the Sephora store in Santa Monica where I took a smoky eye class last night. That is a story for another day. In order to have your lipstick look great, it is imperative that you have moist, chap free lips. You might say that I am a connoisseur of lip balms and scrubs – there are many of these products that I really like but none of them solved a serious problem.

See back at the beginning of the year, I found myself in a rather desperate situation. I will save that long story for another day too (my story backlog is growing quickly), but the abbreviated version is that I found myself spending 3 weeks in the hospital – six days of which were in Critical Care following emergency brain surgery. During this time my lips became extremely dry and chapped to the point where nothing seemed to improve the situation. When I was released, I discovered a lip mask that turned things around with visible improvement after the first use.

My endorsement of this product is whole-hearted, sincere, and provided without any compensation from the manufacturer. The hero product in this story is FlashPatch Lip Gels by patchology – they have become part of my regimen (I use them twice a week now) and I have repurchased them as my supply is running low. I buy them from Dermstore, and a jar of 24 retails for $50 US. Yes, they are pricey, but Dermstore has periodic sales and the sale savings can be anywhere from 20-30%.

IMG_1554Here is a photo of the lip gels with three recent lipstick purchases that I’m loving right now.  From left, Charlotte Tilbury‘s Secret Salma, Tom Ford‘s Sunset Boulevard, and Anastasia Beverly Hills Grape Jelly (from the limited edition summer lip gloss set).

I hope you had a great lipstick day –remember it isn’t just about the lipstick. When combined with a great lip care routine, lip primer and pencils your lips can look and feel fantastic!