Rock it or Knock it? Smashbox Primer Oil Review


Thanks to work, I feel like it’s been an eternity since I blogged. I absolutely love teaching history, but I also work as an admin assistant, and by the time I get home each night, I’m too tired to blog. Let’s fix that with a review on one of the most hyped-up beauty items of the year: the new Smashbox Primer Oil. This has been on everyone’s beauty radar for months as a product that sounds too good to be true–a luxury face oil that adds radiance while smoothing lines and boosts hydration while prepping skin for foundation. I was intrigued by the idea of using an oil as a primer, but the price of $42 always made me hesitate. This winter though, my previously combo skin has changed dramatically to being parched and dry, and I finally splurged on this in an attempt to rehydrate my skin.

This oil contains many ingredients that are supposedly great for any skintype, including rosehip oil, tamanu oil, safflower oil, and numerous antioxidants. It’s a light golden color with a flowery fragrance, and it does go on feeling quite light. In fact…too light. When I first applied it, I warmed two drops in my palms, as per the instructions, and pressed them into my facial skin. Not only did my face turn red, but it also still felt dry as the Salt Lake Desert. I applied three more drops and tried to ignore how tight my face felt as I applied my foundation. True enough, my foundation did go on wonderfully smoothly, and I loved the way the oil made it look more like skin. But…my face felt so dry. For an hour, my foundation looked good, then it started getting patchy, and by the third hour, most of it had simply dissolved–and I could barely move my face it felt so dehydrated.

But I was determined to make it work. For a week I wore the oil to bed at night, hoping that a whole teaspoon of it would finally give me the hydration it promised. It didn’t. I continued to use the oil as a primer that week as well, and every day my face felt so dry I had to borrow vaseline from the preschool class at work to smear around my nose and mouth to keep my skin from cracking. Every day my foundation looked patchy and dry, and by that sunday, the oil had also given me a face full of pimples. Yikes.

As much as I wanted to like this primer oil, it just did not work on me at all. I know lots of women who swear by it, but if you have very dry, acne-prone skin, I would stay far away from it. It was simply not hydrating at all, it irritated my skin, and I’m still trying to get rid of all the whiteheads it caused. I love facial oils, but something in this one did not agree with my skin at all.  I ended up returning it. Sorry, Smashbox, but this is not rock ‘n’ rouge approved!

Review: New ColourPop Fall 2015 Ultra Mattes!

Do you guys ever have that moment when you put on a lipstick and you immediately think, “Yep. That’s me. That’s my lipstick.” It’s your trademark, the perfect color—sexy, daring, and bold, and you feel fierce as heck in it. That’s what I experienced when I tried out two of ColourPop’s new Fall ultra matte shades, and I fell hard for one of them. May I introduce you to First Class and Chilly Chili?


First Class is a vivid neon orange-red, with ever-so-slight hints of coral. Chilly Chili is hard to describe—it’s like a reddened brown, but with plum and gray in it as well. I think ColourPop did an amazing job picking out gorgeous yet unique shades for this collection! Here’s a quick arm swatch:


I knew immediately that I would like First Class, but I had no idea just how much I would love it until I put it on. It is BRIGHT. The word “neon” in its description is no joke—this is much brighter than it seems in my pictures. However, I am obsessed with it—this is the perfect orange shade I’ve always wanted. It’s like an orange highlighter for your lips. It’s like a flaming rose. It’s like Gerard Way’s hair from Danger Days. It’s my favorite shade from ColourPop yet. Here it is on my fair, neutral-gold skin:


And one more, just for fun:


Now, I don’t want to neglect Chilly Chili. I also quite liked it, and it was a much creamier formula than First Class–the finish on First Class is a true flat matte (my favorite finish) while Chilly Chili has a bit more sheen to it. This is such a weird, grungey shade, but I’m digging it.


Both of these aren’t drying and last all day, like the other Ultra Mattes. I love First Class so much that I bought two back-ups because it is, sadly, limited edition. ColourPop, I know y’all will never read my small and insignificant blog, but on the off-chance that you do, pleeeeaaase make First Class a permanent addition!

PS. Happy (early) Thanksgiving!

Review: Wet n Wild Here’s to the Wild Ones Fall 2015 Collection

Finally found this new fall collection by one of my favorite drugstore brands, Wet n Wild! I trolled all my local drugstores until I found it ( you fellow beauty addicts know what I mean!) and my patience (obsessiveness) certainly paid off—it’s gorgeous!


I got four of the LE Megalast lipsticks and the eyeshadow palette that I thought would look best with my green eyes. Ladies and germs…we have five winners right here!

Here’s the eyeshadow palette, in The Gal-lery Next Door. It has a good mix of muted and more sparkly purples, which I liked because it’s versatile enough for work or the club.



Look at that eyelid shade! So pretty. I swatched these without primer, on my arm, just to see how they performed without any additional help.


As you can see, minus primer they don’t seem as vibrant, but I expected that. Just use any eye primer under them and they live up to their true potential. Here they are on my eyes, again without primer:


The true shining stars here are, of course, the lipsticks. Wet n Wild’s lipsticks are my favorite from the drugstore and possibly of any lipsticks, and these did not disappoint.


Can….you….even….? Look at those colors! From left to right, we have Celeb Sighting, a neon orange-red, Vintage Vibe, a berry purple, Photobomb, a rusty brown that made me go ham with love, and Coffee Buzz, an extremely dark and extremely unique color–it’s a blackened plum with a lot of brown in it. My inner Goth practically cried with love for these. They have a satin-matte finish but go on so creamily.

Here’s Celeb Sighting, one of my faves, below:


Here is Vintage Vibe, below. I thought that the permanent shade Sugarplum Fairy would be a dupe for it, but this one is more purple and darker.


Here is another favorite, Photobomb, below. It’s such a weird but wonderful color.


And lastly here is the glorious Coffee Buzz.


The only problem here is that they’re limited edition! Wet n Wild always kills it with their fall collections, and this one is no exception.

Review: Mac x Miley Cyrus Viva Glam II


I’m not that into Miley Cyrus’s music, but I am definitely a fan of her MAC Viva Glam II lipstick! I got this bangin’ hot orange-red recently and I fell immediately in love with it. I love orange-reds regardless, but buying one that ALSO helps people who suffer from AIDS made it doubly worth it. If you are not familiar with MAC’s Viva Glam campaign, here’s a quick brief: they collab with celebrities to produce highly coveted lipsticks, which they then sell and donate 100% of the profits to men, women, and children who suffer from AIDS. A very worthy cause, in my humble opinion.


As you can see, this is a very vibrant, bold orange-red, with some coral in it. It seems more orange in my pictures than it really is–on the MAC website, they describe it as a neon orange, but I would classify it as a red, personally. It’s similar to Lady Danger, also by MAC, but it’s much cooler-toned. Lady Danger has more of a yellow base to it. I think the two are different enough to warrant having both, especially since Miley Cyrus Viva Glam II supports a good cause. It has a matte finish, but it isn’t drying. It feels creamy on my lips and goes on extremely pigmented with just one swipe. This is easily my favorite MAC lipstick ever. It’s got a punky/pin-up vibe to it, which I love, and it really brightens up my face. Here’s what it looks like on my roughly NC15 skin:


Who says pale chicks can’t wear bold shades? I think this would look phenomenal on any skintone, just another reason to go snap it up!

XOXO, Phaedra

Bath and Body Works’ Best Fragrance Yet

I’ve been a loyal BBW customer for years, but while I would browse through the floral and fruity perfumes, my mind would always go to a certain candle, called Mahogany Teakwood. That’s what I always wanted to smell like: woody, musky, and androgynous, rather than the typical sugary sweetness of many of their fragrances. But sadly, that one scent wasn’t offered as a fragrance, just as a candle. So I would sigh longingly and just buy something else, wishing the whole time that they would just make that candle into a body mist for pete’s sake. And apparently I wasn’t the only one who was obsessed with that candle’s unique scent: due to customer requests, BBW decided this summer to release Mahogany Teakwood as a fragrance at long last!


When I found this, I wasn’t initially aware that BBW had finally released Mahogany Teakwood in fragrance form. I was checking out some Eucalyptus Spearmint perfumes ( another great scent) when I saw the display of these, sitting seductively by the register. I heard the angels singing as I bought four bottles, as excited as a kid in a candy store. Guys…this is my new favorite fragrance, and I’ll tell you why.

It’s different. It’s unique. It’s not what most women smell like; it’s actually marketed as a unisex scent, and I agree wholeheartedly with that description. It’s very masculine. But as someone who prefers men’s colognes over generic women’s scents, this one is a gem. It opens with a very clean, fresh scent, almost soapy, and then it mellows into a woody, piney, musky middle, highlighted with lavender and geranium. The base is pure mahogany balanced with musk. It’s unlike anything BBW has come out with in the past, but it’s a much more magnetic scent than anything I’ve owned by them before. Every time I wear Mahogany Teakwood, I get stopped and people ask to smell me. Seriously. Two women told me I smelled like a sexy man; someone described the scent as comforting, while another called it the perfect unisex perfume. And I agree. This is scent for someone who’s not afraid to be a little gender-bending and a little mysterious; it’s a sexy scent but not in an obnoxious way. In a word, it’s perfect.

Review: Too Faced Born This Way Foundation

I’m sure by now, all of you have at least heard of the new Too Faced Born This Way foundation. This is easily the most hyped-up foundation of the year, with claims that it gives full, yet undetectable coverage, while also hydrating and nourishing the skin with coconut water and alpine rose extract. Sound too good to be true, or do we have a winner? Let’s find out together!


I got this in the shade Ivory, which is the second lightest. It’s described as fair with neutral to golden undertones. Because I’m just a lowly history teacher, I didn’t buy a whole bottle of this due to the price. I just got a deluxe sample at Sephora, hence the stock photo. 🙂 Here’s what it looks like swatched:


As you can see, it initially appeared rather yellow and rather dark, and I was afraid I wouldn’t like it. But, once I applied it to my face, I was pleasantly surprised. In terms of consistency, it’s thick like Revlon Colorstay, but unlike the Colorstay, it doesn’t feel heavy going on at all. It’s hydrating and feels quite smooth, and I applied one and a half layers without it looking cakey at all.  The claims of medium to full coverage are true. I hate it when so many foundations claim to provide full coverage but in reality you have to cake on layer after layer to cover up acne, rosacea, etc. Blissfully, this one did indeed make my skin look flawless enough that I skipped concealer. But did it look like skin? Did it look like I was “born that way?” In a word, yes. I was so impressed with the way the foundation blended down to a natural matte finish that really did look like skin. I also noticed that the rest of my makeup—contour, blush, and highlight—went on looking more smooth and more natural with this foundation as a base also. I set just my t-zone with powder and put the foundation through a rigorous test drive, painting my classroom, walking my dog in 100 degree heat, and cooking spaghetti over a hot stove, and it held up nicely. This foundation also seems to have some oil control properties in addition to providing hydration. I love the color of Ivory—you know how sometimes, a foundation just really warms your skin up and makes you look healthy? This one does a great job of that. See for yourself.

Here I am in natural light, indoors:


And here I am outside, in full sunlight:


See? Great coverage, great finish, healthy looking skin. I have to say, the hype for this foundation is justified. Also, because I’m in the second-lightest shade and y’all know I’m pretty fair, I have high hopes that anyone paler than I am can be assured of finding a match. The only gripe I have is that there aren’t enough darker shades for women of color, but Too Faced has listened to its customers and is producing (I believe) four darker shades and even two that are lighter than my shade and the shade before it.

I gotta say, I’m impressed. Definitely worth a try! PS. The lipstick is ColourPop’s Yasmin–isn’t it gorgeous?!

Review: Covergirl The Supersizer Mascara

Hey guys! So. Due to a tragic watery accident, my beloved camera is no longer with me, and as a result, I’m kind of at a standstill with my blogging. I have new things to show you but no way of photographing them. Fortunately, I always have some “back-up” posts ready to go just in case something happens; I don’t want to neglect my blog while I save up for a new camera. So, today I have a brand-new drugstore mascara to share with you. This has quickly become my go-to everyday mascara, and I think you’ll see why…


I’ll be the first to admit that I usually don’t care for Covergirl’s mascaras, but this one was pleasantly surprising! As you can see, the main claim of this mascara is that because of its “unique” brush, it can give your lashes up to 400% more volume. Now, I’m not sure if it’s physically possible for any product to increase your lashes by 400%, but this one comes pretty close.  The brush is indeed different from any other mascara wand I’ve used–it’s quite small and slender, and it’s tapered so that it’s larger at the end. The package says to twirl the wand as you apply it, but in my experience you get the same results whether you apply it the usual way or with a twirling motion. And the results are honestly pretty impressive: this really does give my lashes a huge amount of volume and makes them really black without clumping at all! Because of the small size of the wand, it’s excellent for use on the bottom lashes, making them look just as long and dark as my top ones. Also impressively, this mascara lasts all day without smudging or flaking off, another big plus in my book. Honestly, I feel like this is a true winner at the drugstore, and one that anyone would enjoy. Now, enjoy this awkwardly angled photo of this mascara in action. 😉