UDXGWEN Holiday 2015 Review

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After a couple a months of waiting patiently for Urban Decay’s first collaboration with Gwen Stefani, UDXGWEN is finally here!!! This eyeshadow palette contains 15 shadows of varying finishes in neutral shades with a few pops of color. It retails for $58.00 USD, contains 15 x .04 OZ eyeshadows and I am not sure if it is in their permanent line up (Sephora has it listed as Limited Edition). UDXGWEN is available pretty much everywhere as of today. You can find it online and at Urban Decay retailers nationwide.

Before you run out to Ulta, Sephora, Macys, etc. let me give you my honest opinion of the UDXGWEN palette. There are 15 eyeshadows total in the palette: 12 are new and 3 are re-promotes (Blackout being the only shade available as a single). UDXGWEN screams everyday neutrals. If you own any of the Urban Decay Naked palettes and you are on a tight beauty budget, you can skip this palette. Now, that doesn’t mean that UDXGWEN is bad by any means (quite the opposite actually!). It’s just not something that we haven’t seen before from most brands.

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The quality of the eyeshadows in the UDXGWEN palette is on par with what you would expect from a brand like Urban Decay. Two of the shadows were a little lackluster: Harajuku and Pop. But Urban Decay “lackluster” is still better than most other brands “good” eyeshadows. Some of my faves from the UDXGWEN palettes are Blonde, Steady, Baby, Danger and Blackout. UDXGWEN leans very warm in terms of overall tone. The shadows come in a variety of finishes: 5 complete mattes (Punk, Anaheim, Stark, Zone and Blackout), Satin (Blonde and Skimp), Shimmer (Bathwater, Steady, and Baby) Matte w/ Microglitter (Serious), and Shimmery/Glittery (Pop, Harajuku, Danger and 1987).

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This line of shadows was really hard to swatch because of how close to my skin tone the first three are. L to R: Blonde, Bathwater, Skimp, Steady and Pink

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L to R: Baby, Anaheim, Stark, Zone and Serious

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L to R: Pop, Harajuku, Danger, 1987 and Blackout

The packaging of UDXGWEN is ABSOLUTELY gorgeous! I have to say this is hands down the best designed palette urban Decay has ever produced. It’s compact and lightweight making UDXGWEN perfect for travel. Th palette comes with a large mirror to make application on the go easier. The plastic casing is pretty durable and an upgrade from the packaging on their Naked palettes. This palette is a pretty addition to any vanity. I have been in love with the design of the palette since it was teased months ago. The jaded beauty collector in me actually squealed in delight when I opened my UDXGWEN, that’s how pretty it is.

Along with the quality of the shadows and packaging, UDXGWEN is a beauty steal! A full sized Urban Decay eyeshadow comes in at .05 OZ for $19 each. The shadows in the palette come in at .04 OZ each (only .01 difference from full size) but you’re getting 15 shadows that would retail normally for $282 USD for just $54 USD. You really can’t beat the price, especially if you don’t own a really good neutral shadow palette. My UXGWEN palette came with a bonus too. I got a sample sheet of 4 shades from Gwen Stefani’s upcoming lipstick line from Urban Decay due to launch in the Spring.

UDXGWEN is the business and one of my favorite palettes to come out this year. It’s simply stunning to look at and an absolute beauty steal when you consider the price/quality! UDXGWEN is the perfect gift for the holidays if you have a beauty buff on your list or someone who is just starting to experiment with makeup. The hype train is real on this palette folks!

A few of my fellow beauty buffs and I will be giving away 4 UDXGWEN palettes. Keep an eye on my Instagram and other social media channels for more information later on today! Good luck!

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XOXO
Ashley

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Top Beauty Buys for Fall

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Can I tell you that I am SO beyond happy that it is finally, officially, undeniably Fall. The leaves have already begun to change colors, the air is getting drier and my beauty routine can finally change. With Fall being a transitional season for fashion and beauty you might need to start stockpiling some favorites/trends for the season now! Shopping for beauty products is so much fun but it’s even better when you have a friend to shop with. While I can’t be there with you physically, load my beauty buys onto you mobile and take me with you as you seek out your own beauty buys for the Fall!

ebblog fall beauty buys 1.) Make Up For Ever Artist Palette $42 Sephora – The Make Up For Ever Artist Palette has replaced my LORAC Pro2 as my current fall favorite. I love the assortment of colors, the shadows themselves are phenomenal and it’s the perfect size for travel. I reviewed this wonderful palette here and the array of shades and finishes are just beyond perfection for the Fall. Grab the Make Up For Ever Artist Palette before it’s gone.

2 & 3.) Shea Moisture Super Fruit Complex 10 in 1 Renewal System Hair Masque and Shampoo $10.99 each Ulta – My hair just L-O-V-E-S this combo from Shea Moisture. I very rarely use a “daily” conditioner and reach for a masque because I heat style my hair all the time so I need the extra moisture and the Shea Moisture Super Fruit Complex 10 in 1 Renewal System Hair Masque definitely meets my moisture needs. The shampoo companion to the masque cleanses very well for a SLS Free shampoo. It’s hydrating but not so much so that it makes my hair greasy quickly. According to the Ulta site, these are exclusive to their store but I could have sworn I saw this line at Target as well.

4.) Anastasia Brow Wiz $21.00 – Brows to me are the most important part of your face and a good brow can just make you look a million times better. Anastasia’s Brow Wiz has been my go to brow product for as long as I have been doing makeup (close to 4 years now). It’s easy to use, you can go natural or super bold and Anastasia Brow Wiz is available in a wide variety of shades. To stick with Fall trends you can buy two shades and rock the “ombre” brow.

5.)  NYX Matte Lip Cream in Copenhagen $6.00 – Wines/Berries are once again hot for the Fall and the NYX Soft Matte Lip Cream in Copenhagen is your best bet for a beauty bargain that will actually perform well, not kill your lips and look great on a variety of skin tones.

6.) Lancome Nutrix Royale Body $30 – I am not usually one to go bonkers for high end body lotions BUT I got a sample of this as a Lancome gift with purchase and I fell in love with it. The scent is fresh and feminine and it cures even my diabetic dragon scales. I don’t think I will ever go without Nutrix Royale Body ever again making it a year round staple for me.

7.) EOS Lip Balm Coconut Milk $4 – EOS has been my go to balm ever since they “rolled” onto the scene a few years ago. I have yet to find anything that hydrates my lips like my trusty EOS balms. I do prefer the “milk” versions as they are a tad bit more moisturizing and perfect for my beyond chapped lips in the Fall. *Pro Tip*  Always apply lip balm in a sheer layer. Slathering your lips with any lip balm can actually contribute to further drying/chapping.

There you have it. My ABSOLUTE must have Fall Beauty Buys. See anything you plan on picking up? If you enjoyed reading my Fall Beauty Buys, check out the other ladies of The Beauty Council and their picks below.

Ashley

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Ulta Fall 2014 21 Days of Beauty

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Yes! Ulta’s 21 Days of Beauty starts on September 9th, 2014. If you’re an Ulta rewards member than you should have received your mailer already. And if you’re not… What are you waiting for? It’s completely free to join AND you earn points per dollar spent that you can use to discount future purchases and a birthday gift. You can find out more about the program here. Let’s take a peak at the ad I received.

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There’s a ton of events and daily specials to weed through. My personal picks from this Fall’s 21 Days of Beauty are:

Thurs 9/11/14 – Stila  In the Moment, In the Light, In the Know and In the Garden palettes are all $20 – almost 50% off! In the Know is my pick if you do purchase one.

Fri 9/12/14 – Smashbox 24 Hour Shadow Primer at $10. High end primers at a discount are a great grab!

Saturday 9/13/14 –  Butter London two for fifteen…. This is such a great Beauty Steal!

Wed 9/17/14 – Clarisonic Brush Heads are BOGO and not 50%…. Free!

Thurs 9/18/14 – Too Faced Shadow Insurance at $10? Yes, please! This is one of the BEST Beauty Steals they are offering.

Sat 9/20/14 – BAREMINERALS loose eye shadows are $7. I actually have grown to really, really like their shadows and at $7 a pop, you can’t beat that price.

Thurs 9/15/14 – Stila One Step Correct Skin Tone Correcting & Brightening  Serum $20. If you get ANYTHING from the Fall 2014 21 Days of Beauty get this. It corrects and primes, one of the most underrated products ever.

The Beauty Steals are on fire this time around and if you cannot get in store for a Beauty Steal you can grab them online but they do go fast! There will also be daily events hosted by top beauty brands such as Urban Decay, LORAC, Mario Badescu and more in store. Not to mention there are some great sales that are not daily Beauty Steals that run the entire length of the sale. And 25% off Redken (Chromatics is the BOMB!) until 10/4/14 in the salon! Are you as excited about this Fall’s 21 Days of Beauty as I am? What are you going to grab from the daily Beauty Steals?

Ashley

Wet N Wild Fall 2014 Melrose 5 Pan Palettes

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Wet N Wild Fall 2014 Collection should be in your local drugstores/KMart by now. There are two separate displays: nail/lipsticks (six matte nail polishes and four Megalast Matte Lipsticks) and eyeshadow/mascaras (four new five pan Color Icon shadow palettes and Mega Impact Extreme Black Mascara).  For this purpose of this review I am going to be focusing on two of the four limited edition five pan Color Icon palettes: Smoke and Melrose and Melrose at Night. Each palette contains .21 0z of product and they retail for $3.99 each.

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Melrose at Night

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Smoke and Melrose

I think it’s safe to say that if it’s neutral eyeshadows in palette form I will more than likely buy it, especially when they are below $5.00. I’ll be honest, I’ve read some not so stellar reviews about the Color Icon five pan palettes, so I really have avoided them. These two however were so beyond hard to avoid. Smoke and Melrose is the warmer toned bronzy neutral palette,  while Melrose at Night leans slightly cooler and definitely in the brown/taupe family. Both palettes contain a mix of satin and shimmer finish shadows and no true matte shades. >sniffle<

ebblog melrose at night swatches

Melrose at Night L to R: Browbone, Base, Definer, Eyelid, and Crease

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Smoke and Melrose L to R: Browbone, Base, Definer, Eyelid and Crease

Between Smoke and Melrose and Melrose at Night, Smoke and Melrose is the clear winner. All of the shadows included in Smoke and Melrose are soft, easy to blend, very pigmented and wore for eight hours plus over primer. Four of the shadows included in the Melrose at Night palette proved to be in the same category as the shadows in Smoke and Melrose. The dud in Melrose at Night is the crease shade. It’s truly awful but over a primer it’s really not bad. That being said if I had to suggest one of the two I would pick Melrose at Night and I’ll tell you why: the brow bone shade is the prettiest shadow ever! This Taupey purple is the best shade between the two palettes. It applies beautifully and it is a pretty unique shade as it is a taupe but it comes off almost light purple. Loving the brow bone shade in the Melrose at Nigh palette. If purples are NOT your thing than Smoke and Melrose is your best bet.

I also want to take this time to get on my makeup soapbox! Dear Wet n Wild can you PLEASE label your shadows correctly! I feel like in both palettes the Browbone and Base shades should be swapped out. Both brow bone shades are way to dark to highlight. I can see maybe using the brow bone shade in Melrose at Night on a darker skin tone but that is pushing it.

At $3.99 a piece these are an absolute drugstore STEAL! I say SKIP the Maybelline Nude Palette and hunt these limited edition treats from Wet n Wild down before they are gone! The two of them are roughly $2 cheaper and perform better than any shade in the Maybelline Nude palette. And you might be able to grab these on BOGO!

Ashley

City Color Intense Blush Quad Collection 1

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City Color’s Intense Blush Quads come in four different collections, for the purpose of this review I purchased Collection One. Each palette contains four blushes (each .10 OZ) and retails for $5.99. I am not exactly sure where you purchase the City Color collection other than their website, which unfortunately does not have a store locator. I purchased this palette at my local Five Below for $4.99. The store  had two of the four Intense Blush Quads (Collection One & Two), some lip products and their Sunkissed Trio (which I also bought). These City Color items were mixed in with their LA Colors items.

I have heard nothing but great things about City Color’s blushes. I received one a few months ago in an Ipsy Glam Bag but I ended up giving it away to a bridal client who really loved the shade. When I saw the Intense Blush Quads at my local Five Below for roughly $5 I was all over it. I grabbed Collection One which contains four varying shades of pink. It was calling to me from the shelves. What really drew my eyes is that all four blushes in the Intense Blush Quad Collection One appeared matte.

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The very first thing I noticed about the Intense Blush Quad Collection One upon opening it is the scent of the blushes. There is a definite “cheap makeup” smell that is very evident. Fortunately this does not translate upon application. All four shades included are indeed very matte. You are getting a cool toned fuchsia, a cool toned Barbie pink, a warm toned dusty rose and a warm toned golden pink. The blushes are housed in very sturdy packaging, making these great to travel with if you choose to do so.

ebblog swatches city color cosmetics intense blush quad coll 1

Swatched in the same order they appear in the pan from L to R. The blushes do not have individual names.

Now, onto what everyone really wants to know: payoff and performance! Color payoff is spectacular! All four are in the intensely pigmented department. You definitely need a light hand when applying the Intense Blush Quad in Collection One. The formula is a tad bit powdery but they are very soft, easy to apply and blend out. Each of the four shades wore a good six hours on primed/foundation skin, with fading after the sixth hours but not completely ever going away until I washed them off.

I think the City Color Intense Blush Quad in Collection One is fabulous.  Intense pigmentation, matte, long wearing AND affordable? The City Color Intense Blush Quad in Collection One is a drugstore bargain if you’re into bold blush, a fan of pink OR are darker skin tone. Have you tried anything from City Color Cosmetics? If so, let me know what you recommend in the comments section below.

Ashley