So we’re officially down to the wire with Christmas less than a hop, skip, and a jump away! And while I acknowledge that not everyone celebrates Christmas, it’s still that time of year to get glammed up and spend time with friends, family, colleagues, and loved ones. So whether you’ve got a holiday office party, a gift exchange with friends, or dinner with your family I’ve put together a couple of looks that are very “tis the season”.
As I mentioned on Instagram, I’ve gotten a few PR boxes of new makeup goodies to play with. In addition, since I’ve been away I also have some new beauty products that I have yet to share on the blog. I thought that this would be the best opportunity to show you how they perform and give some of my thoughts. And, just to clarify: this post is not sponsored even though I have products in here that have been sent free to me for review. As always, all thoughts and opinions are 100% honest and completely my own.
And with that said, here is the first of two looks!
Before we get started, I wanted to share with you what we’re working with.
First up are these goodies from the brand CYO (CREATE. COLOUR. CALL IT YOUR OWN.) which launched this past fall. The brand is targeted towards GenZ-ers and encourages users to #MixLayerHack their looks. The products are designed to be bold and multipurpose and most of all affordable. It is being compared to ELF since everything in their line is under $8!
CYO can be found exclusively at Walgreens. Looking from the packaging I noticed that they mentioned Boots, the popular drugstore (or “highstreet”) chain in the UK. I think this is their American branch, but I haven’t found anything to verify this. Nonetheless, there is plenty of things that they sent that have caught my attention and I’m excited to show you how I used them!
Next up, I have the Flower Beauty VoxBox from Influenster. Again, this is a drugstore brand and I’m excited to give it a go. I am always apprehensive about trying out makeup from the drugstore since they often don’t have testers, the quality isn’t always consistent, and the shade ranges aren’t always diverse. However, getting PR for such brands definitely helps relieve this stress and I get to see what’s the latest and greatest with the drugstore.
Flower is Drew Barrymore’s brand. I’ve never tried anything from this line before, but from the looks, she seems to be on par with higher end trends; Note: the K-beauty skincare and metallic lips.
As you can see, there are a TON of goodies here and unfortunately I wasn’t able to use them all in this post. So, my wish is to hopefully have a follow up post, in the same format, using the second half of products for a NYE set of looks. But, in the meantime, here’s what I whipped up for the holidays around the corner!
Before we get to the nitty-gritty, here are the preparatory steps that I used for both of the looks.
With clean fingers I applied my Cover Fx Blemish Control primer and with my Pur Cosmetics sponge (from my GenBeauty Haul) I applied my Fenty Beauty Pro Filt’r Soft Matte Longwear Foundation. I wear the shade 240, which I picked up in the most recent fall Sephora VIB haul.
- The primer is an oldie but goodie in my collection.
- The sponge is very nice and I’ve been using it frequently since I got it this summer. It is quite dense and bouncy, not as airy as a Beauty Blender. I feel like it blends well, doesn’t leave streaks, and doesn’t absorb too much product.
- I adore the foundation! I find that is the perfect everyday base. It gives a “flawless” look as promised and smooths and evens out the complexion and covers minor imperfections. It is definitely not full coverage, though, as bits of your natural skin peek through. It is more of a medium coverage. I don’t find it to be buildable either (as I feel like that would make it cakey), but that doesn’t bother me. This is much more like a “your-skin-but-better” type of foundation. It does oxidize a bit and I find the finish to be quite matte. It is a watery formula and feels quite weightless on the skin. And it definitely is longwearing. If you want a full beat though, I would either layer another foundation under or pick something else. I think I might do a full review later, so stay tuned.
They haven’t changed much since I debuted these products in my Summer Face post. For the sake of time and space, I’m only going to be including commentary in the “My Thoughts” section to new products and include links to previous posts if the product has already been mentioned before.
3. Setting Powder
With a large fluffy powder brush, I set my face using the Soap Glory One Heck of a Blot powder.
Fill in your brows using your product of choice. I’m using my handy-dandy NYX Micro Brow.
Look 1: Daytime Classic
The first look is a classic festive red lip that shine among a face of subtle matte neutrals. It’s a perfect “day-time” look or a subtle glam for those who do’t normally turn the dial to 10 and then some (aka me). This is the first look in the series. Stay tuned for a bonus post over the weekend with the glam look.
(PS: please bear with the lighting. I wasn’t able to use my normal setup so these look a little wonky, despite copious amounts of editing… gah)
I applied the CYO Contour Stick in Medium/Dark to the hollows of the cheeks. I started off with a little and gradually began to build it up and layer it as I blended.
I’m not sure if it is the formula or the color, but I couldn’t quite get this to give me a strong contour initially. I felt like I had to layer A LOT. Also, there are only two shades in this collection and I am using the darkest one and couldn’t really get it to pop… and I’m not even that tan right now…
For the eyes, I kept it quite simple. I used the Lorac Unzipped Eyeshadow palette, which my family actually gifted me last year for Christmas. I put the rosy brown shade “Unconditional” (fourth from left, top) through the crease with a fluffy brush, then deepened the outer-v of the eye with a pencil brush and the rich mahogany shade “Unbound” (fifth from left, top). Finally, I just added a bit of shimmer “Unreal” (second from left, bottom) to the lid and blended the edges with a clean brush. Not pictured: I later added a bit of the highlight shade from the contour stick to the inner corner.
This palette is very beautiful. It’s the rose gold palette I was hoping that Naked 3 would be. There is a limited, but workable amount of lights and darks. I feel there are a bit too many medium tones, though. There are 4 mattes and 6 shimmers, and honestly they could also do without another shimmer. Overall, I love the colors, but don’t find that I can create a variety of looks just using the tones provided in this palette. The quality is decent, and the shadows aren’t too chalky, but not the butteriest either. The packaging is plain, but slim and good for travel. Overall, solid B+.
I applied a generous amount of mascara since I am not going to be wearing falsies with this look. I’ve been using the Covergirl Total Tease mascara from GenBeauty lately with the Pixi Black Lash Primer underneath (not pictured).
- The lash primer is phenomenal and really helps give my little lashes the boost they need. Lots of length and separation and a smooth gel formula.
- The mascara I’m pretty neutral on. I neither completely like it or dislike it. The wand has a little ball on the end that is good for getting the inner corner and bottom lashes if you have small eyes. It is quite spiky and pokey though and not the most comfortable. I find that the wand doesn’t distribute product too evenly though. The formula is okay and gives a mediocre amount of length and lift.
From CYO again, I’m using their Three and Easy Marker Pen to create a classic wing.
Surprisingly, I found this really workable, despite the weirdly shaped brush. It’s three-pronged for no apparent reason (at least none that Google will produce). It is VERY flexible, and not stiff at all — no tugging on the skin. It reminds me of a calligraphy pen and can give varying widths of lines depending on the angle and pressure you use.
The ink is quite black and pigmented which is not easy to find at the drugstore. Also, these swatches dried pretty fast and didn’t smudge when I rubbed them. When I went to wash them off, they came off with soap and water with a little scrubbing.
To add a bit of warmth to the face, I’m using my well-loved Too Faced Chocolate Soliel in Dark Chocolate.
For blush I used the Natural Beauty by Tarte to add a flush to the cheeks and a mix of “Crushed Pearl” and “Mimosa” from the Anastasia Glow Kit in Gleam. (idk what’s up but I can only find this Glow Kit on Beauty Bay right now… has it been discontinued?)
I used the liner end from CYO’s Lipstick & Liner Two Clever By Half in “Big Idea” to shape and outline the lips. I find that liner really helps to minimize mistakes when applying a bold lip.
This liner is very creamy and the color pay off is great. The end is quite pointed at first, but I find that since the formula is so soft it begins to lose its point very easily. However, it is still very easy to work with and you can still get quite precise.
To top it off, I’m using the Miracle Matte Liquid Lip Color in “Crimson Touch” from Flower Beauty.
This is a very cool/pink-toned red. It is vibrant and bright. It has a satin finish that is very comfortable on the lips while still appearing matte. It’s not completely smudge proof, and definitely has some transfer, but it doesn’t give into butt-hole lip territory easy either. I ate dinner while wearing this and it seemed to hold up well. It doesn’t have an unpleasant smell or taste and the applicator is great.
8. Finishing Touches
To seal the deal, I set my whole look with the CYO Set to Last Fixing Spray.
The spray smells like rubbing alcohol, to be quite honest. I don’t think it did much to blend or set my makeup and mostly found it superfluous. One positive, it is a fine mist and doesn’t squirt you in the face.
Overall, I find that I liked products that I initially didn’t think I would and vice-versa. Below are my overall “ratings” and whether or not I believe you should spend your coins on the product.
Fenty Pro Blur Foundation
- Rating: Solid A
- Try it? : Definitely
Pur Cosmetics Sponge
- Rating : A-
- Try it? : Only if you like the Real Techniques sponge and want a sort of upgrade. Beauty Blender fanatics beware.
Lorac Unzipped Palette
- Rating: A- /B+
- Try it?: Only if you have other shadows in your collection to supplement, or are a neutral junkie. Those who mostly enjoy mattes, be cautioned.
- Rating: C
- Try it?: Only if you like subtle contour or are light skinned. I think NYX has better options and a more diverse shade range.
- Rating: A
- Try it?: Yes! I was so surprised by this! Noobs beware, but I think if you are practiced enough this will be a breeze. It’s definitely interesting and I’m excited to see if I can really make different looks with this.
- Rating: A
- Try it?: Do it! … at least this shade. I’m not sure how the others perform, but I would definitely recommend this for those starting out with lip products.
- Rating: D
- Try it?: NO. This is useless. Go to ELF or NYX. This really needs to be reformulated.
Flower Liquid Lipstick
- Rating: A
- Try it?: Sure! If you want to get into liquid lips but are intimidated, I think these are a great place to start. They are great for beginners!
I hope you enjoyed this look! Let me know if you create something similar for your holiday events and stay tuned for part 2! Until then—
All my love,