Weekly Medley #49

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My, my, has time flown by … since I started writing these posts last January, in the most unbelievable way – but I digress. Back on Monday, I headed back into classes and began the winter semester, emerging myself back into that whole life completely. I’m exhausted and it’s sort of ridiculous that I’ve only been back a full week but in some ways it feels like I did not actually have a holiday break in the first place. It has been one of those week that manages to both feel like the longest and shortest ones ever. When you’re exhausted in the mornings (and afternoons too to be completely honest), time feels like its frozen and its hard to believe that only an hour has passed when it feels like an eternity that you have to endure three more times that day, but in terms of being a productive human being and accomplish your designated tasks, time seemed to slip between my fingers. Another common feature of my week was just how cold and how typically Canadian it has been this week, with temperatures going between freezing and -20 plus a generous windchill. We might have had a mild December around these parts, but now winter has definitely hit us full force. I should have taken notice of this when I referred to a -2 degree day as nice weather in conversation without even a hint of sarcasm.

I’m actually quite a fan of the cold weather, as I tend to get perpetually overheated, can tolerate low temperatures surprisingly well and kind of adore that whole cozy feeling, but the unpleasant side effects are certainly there – the perpetual skin dryness, having to leave extra-early in the morning, the need for gloves etc. and generally questionable road conditions. Going with that whole cozy theme, I have been enjoying lazing around in my room underneath my covers, or under a blanket when I’m not just casually hanging out in bed with the gloriously relaxing Target Be Peaceful Jar Candle($12.49) burning in the background. The soy candle is not overwhelming in the slightest in the way that some other candles can be and has been a much appreciated Christmas gift from the mother as the lavender and eucalyptus scent is just so relaxing, calming and mellowing.

On Thursday, I finally managed to post my Top Fourteen Products of 2014 and it was kind of ridiculously laborious, even by my standards. As I’ve mentioned before, I spent eons debating which products deserved to be included in the post but even outside of that, I had this sort of block against writing it in full so I wrote it bit by bit in chunks, beginning on Monday. Long ramble aside, I’m very pleased with how it turned out and have not questioned any of my choices – as of yet. The weekend brought a nice dose of rest and pure relaxation and also spending money on two things. The first happened on Friday, when I was strolling around town and suddenly found myself surrounded by Chanel makeup and at the cash with my second Chanel product ever, the Chanel Rouge Double Intensite Ultra Wear Lip Colour in 57 Darling Pink ($39)  In my defense, I had received Christmas money and I could not resist the good feeling that comes from retail therapy-ing your sorrows away even in the smallest of doses. I’m pleased yet mildly terrified to report that the stain gloss duo somehow is the most ridiculously long-wearing lip product ever while being pleasantly silky to apply and not particularly drying or irritating on the lips whatsoever. I’m stopping myself before I dedicate a couple of paragraphs to my newfound lip product love even before I’ve had it for three days. The second thing I spent money on was movie tickets – something I rarely do – and on Saturday, I dragged my migraine-afflicted but out of bed to attend Exodus: Gods and Kings with two of my long-time close friends. Believe it or not, it was worth the money and I actually found myself enjoying the length biblical biopic even outside the amazingly beautiful ancient scenery. I’ll give you a warning about the movie, though: don’t expect it to be anything faith-affirming.

How was your week?

Maggie, x.

The Monthly Roundup #3: February 2014

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It feels rather nice (understatement) to say that February is over and even nicer because the statement is actually true. As you can probably imagine, this was not my favourite month of my life but despite the stress and abundant deadlines, I survived and I’m pleased to report I whipped out 17 blogposts throughout the month. It was both the shortest and the longest month for me – because of the deadlines time flew by and it only had twenty-eight days but time goes by rather slowly when you spend it staring at the screen of your laptop and trying to make something productive out of this solitude. I wouldn’t be me without one of these rambly introductions, so don’t try to be too angry at me for this one. 🙂
1. Makeup Additions #2:
IMG_5282Although I do admittedly enjoy haul’ posts and videos, I haven’t felt right about posting about my purchased but then this one happened and it didn’t feel entirely self-indulgent…
The Daily Face #9:

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I’m not going to lie, I’m predisposed to include this post due to my pride for the decent photography here – I’m horrible at that whole photo-taking thing – but the makeup look was one of my favourites and I repeated it often.
3. Luminous Skin Lineup:
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I’ve been meaning to write this post for months and months — I do kind of maybe sort of have an obsession with luminous skin — and I was happy with how the post turned out!
4. February Favourites:IMG_5898
Even though lighting presented some challenges with this one, I found a pleasing amount of fantastic products in the last month and it has to be one of my favourites of these kinds of posts that I’ve written in ages.
5. The Sort-of-Snowed-In Edit:
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This post precisely depicted my life for the last month, I must say, and it was a spur-of-the-moment post idea that I was really glad I went for as it kind of brought me out of my creativity drought. The last month here has been a massive storm after another and more often than not it less than -10 degrees and either blowing snow or full-on freezing rain so I thought I’d share the authentic Canadian experience with you all while rambling on about products.
What were your favourite posts this month? I’d love to hear about any that you wrote or those written by others that you enjoyed!
Maggie, x.

Weekly Medley #5

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This has been a week of impossible paradoxes – both productive and wholly unproductive in totality; holed up at home on “spring break” (neither of those words seem to be a fair depiction of the time) with nothing to do but be productive and accomplish what I haven’t had time for in the usual rushing about that we call life. However, somehow when all you have to do is be productive with no distractions I’ve found myself to be completely unproductive in doing anything of profit as I become so focused on my unproductivity and my already high anxiety levels skyrocket. It has gotten to the point where I miss the escape in going to school and all the exhaustion that ensues because it’s sort of an escape from the whole solitude with your mind as your only company that drives me at least completely bonkers.

For some reason that I cannot comprehend (rationally at least), I’ve always had this vendetta against brown eyeliner – I never quite saw the point of it, as I never found black all that harsh on me – and after trying the Rimmel one that everyone adores with disappointing success, I was not planning on picking up another one but it was surprisingly affordable and there was a tester and it swatched amazingly well. Because I’m so scatterbrained, I’m afraid that I forgot to provide any details about the actual liner I’m talking about – whoops. Well, it’s the Annabelle Smoothliner in Brownie ($6-7 CDN) which is a creamy pencil that you sharpen with a consistency, pigmentation and texture that reminds me of the Urban Decay 24/7 Eyeliners except slightly less waxy and creamier. The shade is actually a whole lot more unique than expected as it’s an ultra-dark espresso brown that provides enough definition to act as liner on my dark lashes without looking as harsh as jet black. I picked mine up at Walmart and it was actually on sale for a bit over five dollars and let me tell you, that is rare in Canada. Oh and it’s available at drugstores throughout Canada but the website ships to the US with very reasonable shipping.

The fact that I included the MAC Stereo Rose Mineralize Skinfinish ($35 CDN) as the sole blush in my top thirteen products of 2013 post should communicate the depth of my love for this shade but I must say that in my current zombie-like state I’ve been reaching for this daily. It’s a true coral shade with just a hint of pink to it – it pulls slightly orange-y – that imparts a gorgeous glow to the cheeks without emphasizing dullness and makes me look alive. I actually think this shade is worth the hype. Alert the media.

The Maybelline Color Tattoo Eyeshadow in Bad To The Bronze ($9-10 CDN) is one of those products that I always recommend to others even though I can go ages without using it without ny sort of problem. Everyone loves this taupe-bronze shade I know and it functions well as a base (but it does crease on me after a good days wear) but is one of those rare few shades that I can just slap on the lid on it’s own and then throw on some eyeliner and mascara and be satisfied with the look. I’ve been reaching for this loads lately, both as a base and as a standalone shadow on those all-to-frequent days when I’m suddenly running out of time.

I wasn’t expecting to include her post here but because of essay-and-assignment-craziness, this post is a wee bit late and I felt compelled. I love Suzie’s blog, HelloOctober (she makes fantastic videos though, too!) for it’s impeccable style and easygoing manner but today’s “Off Duty Makeup” stands out to me as a phenomenal one. Being someone who struggles with minimal makeup but is fascinated by it nevertheless, these kinds of posts hold my interest and seem to be valuable as they lay out the essential quick-fixes.

wearing the blush on the cheeks and maybelline as a base
wearing the blush on the cheeks and maybelline as a base

What were the standouts from your week, beauty or otherwise? Let me tell you I’m glad this week is over!

Maggie, x.

Unheard and Under-Appreciated #2: Fresh Sugar Lip Treatment in Cherry

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blended out vs. standard application
blended out vs. standard application

 

It completely astounds me that I don’t hear much about these Fresh Sugar Lip Treatments as the tinted balm kind of products keep on increasing and increasing in popularity and these have got to be the best formula if this shade is anything to go by. After enjoying the sample of the regular lip balm and enjoying it tremendously for actually helping to heal and hydrate my chapped lips, I asked for a tinted one for Christmas and surely enough this one appeared underneath my tree and although it may not be a product I rave about frequently it’s one of those rare lip products that also has significant skincare properties as well – it performs well as a balm regardless of it’s pigmentation but it does well on that front too unlike the rest that I’ve tried.

The Fresh Sugar Lip Treatment in Cherry retails for $26 CDN at Sephora, contains SPF 15 (with avobenzone and octinoxate) and 4.3 grams of product while promising to be a hydrating and nourishing lip balm while still providing a tint of colour. I’m one who tends to be a skeptic about products achieving their outlandish claims but I think this tinted balm does more than it even claims to do. It nourishes damaged and sore lips very well in the way that an effective balm only can while providing medium-buildable colour payoff that actually sticks around on the lips for 3-4 hours with some eating and drinking here and there without smearing or wearing off unevenly.

I’m someone who suffers from uncomfortably sore dryness on any sort of skin and in the winter here, I’m slapping on the lip balm like my life depends on it (and using the good stuff) and my lips are still sore and a bit chapped. The formulas that promise to provide moisture and colour that everyone and their cat raves about (Revlon Lip Butters anyone?) are just not cutting it, as my lips have gotten to that point where even these comfortable formulas are not sitting nicely and they need intense nourishment to soothe the less than ideal bits and without sacrificing the longevity and pigmentation, the Fresh Cherry Sugar Lip Treatment delivers. The balm feeling on the lips lasts for the full duration that the product remains on the lips and even when the product has faded, my lips are left feeling nourished which is extremely rare for me. They feel heavenly on the lips, just like a lip balm but without the waxy feeling of the lip butters etc.

The Cherry shade is a fairly bright cherry-red (as the name would suggest) that seems to lean brick red on me with neutral-warm undertones. Although the treatment first applies somewhat sheerly, they quickly are built up to full on colour. This is everything that I had hoped that the Revlon Cherry Tart Lip Butter would be but wasn’t — much more saturated with pigment, without shimmer while being intensely more moisturizing and forgiving on sore lips. This seems like the perfect shade to wear to class as it provides the nice red tone that adds life to my face in the mornings, requiring no maintenance while still moisturizing the lips very effectively.

the Fresh on the top with a sheer layer, the Revlon on the bottom built-up
the Fresh on the top with a sheer layer, the Revlon on the bottom built-up

I’m afraid to say that this balm is worth the hefty price tag and I foresee myself picking up a few more shades in the foreseeable future. The only thing I can find to criticize in the product is the size of the bullet — as it does not taper to a tip, it can be difficult to apply due to its strong pigmentation – but I really can’t complain on any grounds.

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What are some of your favourite under-appreciated products?

Maggie, x.

Weekly Medley #4

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This has been one of those weeks that requires limited elaboration so I’ll try to spare you my usual meaningless lengthy blabber. I’m pretty much in the same kind of zone as any other University student, stressed to the maximum with more work to do than she can handle. On top of this, I haven’t really been sleeping (at all) due to the stress of this and to be honest, I haven’t really been going for anything elaborate beauty-wise, as you can probably imagine. To be honest this has been one of those weeks when it’s a struggle to pull myself out of bed in the mornings.

After trying the much talked about Revlon Nearly Naked Foundation ($11-12 CDN) last week and using it on the daily since, I’m pleased to report that’s a foolproof slap er on kind of foundation that successfully masks the dreaded sleep-deprived and stressed face with minimal effort – and when you have about three minutes before running out the door, it can be applied with the fingers somewhat attractively in maybe thirty seconds. Score.

 

 

Generally speaking, I am a magazine fanatic and there’s always one that I’m subscribed to at any given time and at the moment it’s Elle Canada, which I subscribed to on a whim and I’ve been particularly impressed with the newly released March 2014 issue. While remaining on the affordable end of style/beauty magazines, it has interesting style and beauty content while still containing interesting and relevant nicely written articles as well. It can be difficult. It’s one of those rare magazines that seems to be written for those who have graduated from high school but do not quite have their lives sorted out yet for the next twenty-or-so years. This month featured a pull-out Spring/Summer 2014 Beauty Trend Report and as one would expect, I was all over it – I’m not a person who necessarily chooses makeup and other beauty products based on trends but I do like to see some inspiration, especially on dreary days like these. I particularly enjoyed the article titled “The Hits” that detailed ten spring fashion essentials.

 

 

Over the last few weeks, I’ve noted that I have been running dangerously low on mascara – not a hyperbole – and after dropping into Walmart last week and seeing this on for eight or so dollars I picked up the L’Oreal Voluminous Million Lashes Excess Mascara ($9-10 CDN) and I’m really loving it (even though it is not dried out yet!) thus far. I tried the original Voluminous Million Lashes years ago which I liked for big lashes but found rather difficult to remove. I like that it’s not a particularly wet formula so with the synthetic brush you can achieve perfect separation with buildable volume and length without the potential of clumping. This one is also foolproof on the lower lashes, even without taking some of the excess off of the wand. However, it’s not difficult like waterproof mascara to remove but it is more difficult than most mascaras (such as my long-love The Falsies). But I note I naturally have long curled lashes that are much too wimpy for my taste so I don’t need a mascara to perform miracles per se….

 

THE MASCARA WITH MINIMAL EFFORT
THE MASCARA WITH MINIMAL EFFORT

 

A few weeks back I was enticed into picking up some products at The Body Shop and along with the body milk I picked up the Aloe Protective Restoring Masque ($22 CDN) – however it’s on sale on the site at the moment for $13.20 if you’re interested in all honesty because I was feeling nostalgic wanting to try a product back from the line I used back in the day and for ages I’ve been wanting to venture into the overnight moisturizing masques but I’ve been non-committal. I’ve been using this a few times a week for the past few weeks and let me tell you, I could tell the difference right away – and that is not something I can say about a lot of skincare products. The tub is completely unhygienic and would be completely inefficient if it contained high concentrations of active ingredients but it is extremely economical, containing 100 mLs of the goo-like substance. It smells unenticing but I could not be more thrilled as it has not been fragranced-to-the-nth-degree as per usual at these natural sorts of stores (I might possibly be making reference to Lush here) but it’s not awful, but rather smells slightly medicinal like the gentlest unfragranced products. It has the texture of goo and is ultra-concentrated with moisture that stays in the skin after it has drunk it up. For the first half hour or so, the mask feels kind of tacky and gooey on the skin (due to its first ingredient aloe vera, I would hypothesize) but then the skin ‘drinks it up’. In the morning, I consecutively woke up dewy-looking and luminous skin that was quite soothed. It really helps to take down redness and irritation (particularly from breakouts I’ve noticed) and keeps the skin plump and hydrated even after it is washed off. And makeup sits so much nicer on the skin the next day, I’ve found.

 

Ummm, in terms  of post and video obsessions there’s one clear standout in my book: The Drugstore Beauty Chat with Lilly Pebbles on Anna’s channel (Vivianna Does Makeup). I always love their “beauty chat” videos as they are entertaining to watch, amusing yet helpful at the same time. I love the laid-back style of them and I’m constantly cracking up while watching one and this one was no different. There were some great additions to my wishlist as a result of watching but I couldn’t be happier. I just loooooove when these two get together and make these.

There are no words.

How was your week and what have you been loving?

Maggie, x.

holed up in the library again and indeed, I do wear glasses and warning I'm not actually wearing foundation here
holed up in the library again and indeed, I do wear glasses and warning I’m not actually wearing foundation here

 

The Daily Face #8: Everyday Smoky Featuring Urban Decay Naked 3

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There’s something about the effortless-looking and not overdone smoky eye that grabs me in every time. And every time I see Amelia Liana sporting one, I’m in awe. Annnnnd I figured I’d give my take with the Urban Decay Naked 3. Andddddd it’s all about the warm tones everywhere else that I adore, so nothing ground-breaking here.

face: Bourjois 10 Hour Sleep Effect in 73 & Rimmel Wake Me Up in Ivory (mixed), MUFE 5 Concealer Cream Palette in 1 (just the second lightest shade for pinpoint concealing),Rimmel Match Perfection Concealer/Highlighter in Ivory, Sonia Kashuk Undetectable Creme Bronzer in Warm Tan, Benefit Rockateur Boxed Powder, Revlon Photoready Skin Lights in Pink Glow

eyes: MAC Coquette (brows), Rimmel Exaggerate Undercover Shadow Primer, Urban Decay Naked 3 Palette (Strange, Buzz, Limit, Nooner, Factory, Blackheart), Annabelle Smoothliner in Brownie, L’Oreal Voluminous Million Lashes Excess Mascara

lips: Rimmel Kate Moss Lasting Finish Lipstick in 08

It was no surprise to me that today was one of those mornings when you’re desperate to add some vitality to your face for me as that whole sleeping thing hasn’t really been going as planned and I wanted to wear the Bourjois foundation but there was no way I could get away with it on its own so I mixed a little bit of Rimmel in. Some shape was added to my cheekbones – read: much needed – with the cream bronzer and my latest addition, the Revlon highlighter. Speaking of the highlighter, I was rather impressed as it translated to dewiness on the skin rather than shimmer sitting on top with the subtle pink hue. I’ll have to keep you posted on this but my first impression is that I like it. I don’t even need to explain my blush choice, do I?……. I love the rosy Rockateur.

I was at Walmart the other day and when I spotted the Rimmel primer that I had heard good things about at a good price, I couldn’t resist – I’ve been on the lookout to find a better one than the Nyx one that I don’t love. This one doesn’t feel quite as silicone-y but I’ll have to give my thoughts soon after some contemplation. The very same trip resulted in picking up the Annabelle Brownie Smoothliner and I must say that I’m instantly impressed by its pigmentation and creaminess that I’m wearing smudged onto the lashlines and inside the waterline. For the shadow here, it’s a pretty standard for me but one I do adore: Limit blended out into the crease, Nooner applied more precisely right in the crease, Buzz packed onto the lid with my fingers, the taupe-y Factory blended into the outer corner and underneath the lower lashline, Blackheart packed on with the included brush, blended into the outer-v and Strange to bring it all together and highlight – this sounds much more complicated than it is, by the way. Oh, and, I was dangerously low on mascara and I picked up the L’Oreal Voluminous Million Lashes Excess and I’m impressed with the volume and separation without clumping. For the lips, I’ve been really enjoying the rosy-mauve shade, Rimmel Kate Moss Lasting Finish in 08, with it’s creamy formula and brightening yet understated colour.

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Hi, my name is Maggie and I have uncontrollable hair

What makeup have you been wearing?

Maggie, x.

P.S. I’m choosing to ignore the significance of the date today

Luminous Skin Lineup

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It’s not a rare occasion when I ramble on and on about luminous skin, as my skin is rather dry and dull and I’m constantly looking to remedy that but I know not everyone is looking for that all-out dewiness, however, from talking to my friends in real life I know that everyone wants a little bit of luminosity in their life regardless of their skin condition and I thought I’d share an edited selection of my favourites for different concerns. Annnnnnnd, it appears to be completely on trend for this spring.
Benefit Girl Meets Pearl ($36 CDN)

If you, like many, suffer from an oily t-zone, the idea of radiance in any capacity probably makes you want to vomit because you know that it will only make your skin concerns worse. Regardless of the condition of our skin, we all seem to suffer from some winter dullness this time of year and this is a good option for hesitant gals who live in constant fear of any sort of shine on the face in any capacity that want to ease into the slightly glowier territory. Because the subtle golden-pink liquid highlighter can be strategically placed on top of makeup, you don’t have to worry about the luminosity highlighting areas that you don’t want to be highlighted and to control what areas have that luminosity. This is a nice natural-looking highlighter for all though. I love it and if you can stomach the price tag you will too. Also it can be mixed with a heavier-coverage foundation for a little bit of added luminosity without sacrificing on the longevity front.

Diorskin Nude Skin-Glowing Makeup ($48 CDN)

Radiant foundations have seemed to be having their moment as of late but some of them are intimidatingly glowy and sheer and can contain shimmer but this is my foundation of choice with a radiant but not overtly dewy foundation with a weightless consistency offering medium coverage that is just a touch glowier than a natural finish. Although this hasn’t made its way into a favourites post, I have been really enjoying this lately and I think it would be especially great for someone with combination skin who is looking to add life to their face without sacrificing longevity and getting the dreaded oily t-zone quickly. If only it didn’t have such high alcohol content. For reference, I wear the shade 11 Cream which matches my winter fair-but-not-overly-so skin with somewhat yellow undertones. And this is like the only foundation with sunscreen that does not irritate my skin (I tend to be sensitive to chemical sunscreens) while still not flashing-back.

Revlon Nearly Naked Foundation ($11-12 CDN)

I know I’m late on the bandwagon with this one but I hadn’t picked it up in the past because I thought it was a sheerer foundation that offered a demi-matte or natural finish and I tend to prefer dewier foundations of that variety but after I had my Lilly Pebbles watching marathon and saw that she found it to be moisturizing and illuminating and then I saw it on sale – I was sold. It goes on quite sheer with a small amount but with a moderate amount and a buffing brush, it offers medium coverage that glides over the usual dry patches and looks invisible on the skin even close up. It’s a really new addition for me but I’ve been obsessed lately. This offers slightly less coverage than the Dior and is more luminous but it does not have any sheen or reflective particles like say Rimmel Wake Me Up but rather looks like hydrated skin. For reference, I wear 130 Shell which is an impressive match for my skin but it is not quite as fair as the Dior. It seems to have great shade offerings for fair skin which I can definitely appreciate – and it caters to both warm and cool undertones. And it neither contains fragrance or alcohol…

MAC Studio Careblend Pressed Powder ($30 CDN)

I used to think that powders were the equivalent of the devil’s reincarnate, making the skin look dry and dull, powdery and making their makeup look obvious and clinging to any hint of dryness on the skin but this powder has changed my mind on that. It’s a sheerer powder that does all that powders should do – taking down excess shine, smoothing out texture and reducing the appearance of pores – without removing luminosity from the skin. This powder has more of a natural finish rather than a matte one which is impressive. It’s dare I say invisible on the skin.

Laura Mercier Radiance Primer ($24/40 CDN)

I will admit that I picked this up as a Sephora 100 Point Perk as it contained an impressive amount of product (0.5 oz) but I’m contemplating purchasing it when I run out. Although I wouldn’t say it actually helps with the longevity of makeup or pores or anything, it’s a really gentle formula that weightlessly hydrates the skin while bringing a refined glow to the skin and helping foundation to glide on more smoothly.

Benefit Rockateur Boxed Powder ($36 CDN)

For some reason when thinking about glow-inducing products, I tend to forget about blushes but blushes like these sometimes are the easiest  way to get that luminosity. Although it’s not cheap, this finely-milled warm rusty rose blush reads as glowy skin as it’s not overtly shimmery. I swear this brings instant life to the face without reading as makeup.

Maybelline Master Highlight in Deep Bronze ($12-16 CDN)

A few weeks back, I was going on and on about my newfound love for this and this has not changed. At a more affordable cost, this “bronzer” – I use it as a blush – has that smooth and subtly luminous texture, imparting a warm-toned rosy copper glow to the cheeks.

Going for the believable glow: wearing the Laura Mercier Primer, Dior Foundation, Benefit highlighter and a light dusting of the powder in the t-zone
Going for the believable glow: wearing the Laura Mercier Primer, Dior Foundation, Benefit highlighter and a light dusting of the powder in the t-zone

Do you love the luminous look? What products do you go for when you want to look glowy?

Maggie, x.