UDXGWEN Holiday 2015 Review

UDXGWEN main hero 1 everyday beauty blog

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.

UDXGWEN main 2 photo everyday beauty blog

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).

udxgwen swatches line 1

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

UDXGWEN Swatches line 2 everyday beauty blog

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

UDXGWEN line 3 swatches Everyday Beauty Blog

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!

UDXGWEN giveaway hero


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September 2015 Favorites

DISCLAIMER: Some of the products mentioned in this post were provided for consideration. Please note that all opinions are my own and I have not been monetarily compensated for any product placement, mentions, etc. To see my full Disclosure Policy please click here.

ebblog sept 2015 main

Heeeeeey! Long time no post right? I took an over extended break for personal reasons. Happy to report that I should be back and ready to lend my voice to all things beauty. It’s been an odd month weather wise here in Chicago because we haven’t really begun to transition to the fall yet. We actually still have some very summer like weather here so I haven’t had to break out my usual “transition to fall” beauty goodies, had a pumpkin spiced anything or put my crock pot stew recipes to the test yet. With our unusual weather I have found that my September 2015 Favorites really reflect what I have been using for most of the summer.

ebblog sept 2015 makeup faves

Urban Decay 24/7 Glide On Eye Pencil in Twice Baked – I’ve always been advocate of using “color” (meaning not black!) eyeliner. While Urban Decay’s line of pencil eyeliners boasts an impressive array of shades, it’s Twice Baked that’s been my jam! Twice Baked is the perfect shade of dark brown with just a hint of shimmer and slightly coppery micro glitter. I reeeeeeally wish this wasn’t a limited edition item that is no longer available but there are plenty of brown liners on the market at all price points.

Bobbi Brown Eye Shadow in Saddle – An oldie but goodie! Saddle is my everything: brows, liner, crease, sheer wash of smokey color on my eyes. It’s so important to have a good selection of “basic” shadows that can be used in a variety of ways. Saddle is just my makeup “bae”. I can’t live without it and it’s lasted me FOREVER.

INGLOT YSM Cream Foundation – When I came back from Mexico last month I had actually tanned quite a bit and I found myself needing a foundation that was just a little bit darker. Thankfully I had makeup ESP and brought this little powerhouse with me to Mexico. INGLOT’s YSM Cream Foundation is amazing! The coverage on it’s own is medium to full but what I have been doing with it is mixing it with other products to sheer it out some since I do not need that kind of coverage everyday. YSM wears for hours, looks like skin and just photographs beautifully! It’s also not as expensive as some of it’s higher end cousins.

MAC Cinderella Stroke of Midnight Palette – A MAC Palette full of best selling neutrals and a blackened purple? Toss in really cute packaging and how could this not be a favorite? I’m admittedly not one who buys into the MAC Limited Edition collections that are released weekly (or it seems that way!) but I actually stayed up all night to order this palette because I loved everything about the Stroke of Midnight palette. All of the shades in this palette are perfect: blend well, pigmented and long lasting. . If you missed out on the palette five of the six shades are permanent. Stroke of Midnight is the lone limited edition shade.

Smashbox Photo Filter Creamy Powder Foundation – I use Smashbox Photo Filter Creamy Powder Foundation on the days when I want to head out the door and I only have 5 minutes to get my face together OR to set my foundation/concealer. This powder when applied alone with a powder brush is enough to really just pull my face together. Over a foundation and concealer it works to set everything in place and to slightly color correct. Smashbox Photo Filter Creamy Powder Foundation also adjusted to my recently tanned skin very well. For all my dry skinned ladies out there, this powder does NOT cling to your dry patches. There are a variety of ways to use the Smashbox Photo Filter Creamy Powder Foundation (it comes with a double sided sponge, can be used wet or dry, etc) and several marketing claims I have yet to test so I may do a full review on this product in the future.

Tweetermen Slant Tweezers – Who doesn’t love a hot pink tweezer? Whenever I get asked: What is one beauty routine you do daily? My answer is ALWAYS: brows! Brows can seriously make or break your ENTIRE face. Yes, your brows are THAT serious! To keep your brows in tip top shape I recommend a great pair of tweezers and you can never go wrong with Tweezerman. Free sharpening for life? Yes please! I actually have two pairs so when I do send them away to get sharpened, I always have a spare at home with me.

ebblog sept 2015 hair favorites

Redken Color Extend Magentics Shampoo – I have a love/hate relationship with sulfate free shampoos. I love that they don’t dry my fragile tresses out but I hate that my hair never feels or looks clean after using them. That all changed this past summer when I purchased Redken’s Color Extend Magnetics Shampoo. This sulfate free, color safe shampoo just really, really works! It cleanses my hair, gives my hair body and doesn’t dry my hair out. I would use this shampoo even if I wasn’t coloring my hair that’s how good it is.

Simon & Tom Moroccan Treatment – I don’t know why but my hair cannot handle straight up oil of any kind. Believe me, I have tried them all. It’s almost like my hair needs that dose of silicone to make a difference and I am fine with that. Enter Simon & Tom Moroccan treatment which has seriously saved my ends as of late. Now, I do not use this serum all over my hair. I apply this serum on the ends of my hair before I go to sleep and when I get up in the morning my hair just looks and feel better.

Those were my favorite makeup and hair products for September 2015. What were you enjoying this month and made your September 2015 Favorites? let me know in the comments section below.



DISCLAIMER: Some of the products mentioned in this post were provided for consideration. Please note that all opinions are my own and I have not been monetarily compensated for any product placement, mentions, etc. To see my full Disclosure Policy please click here.

My Favorite Urban Decay Products

ebblog faves urban decay

Urban Decay has come a looooong way since it’s initial offering of nail polish on the shelves of Hot Topic. Today the brand sports a wide variety of products that can make any beauty novice’s head spin. Like every beauty brand out there, the line sports some big hits and massive duds. I want to help you avoid the Urban Decay duds and give you what I feel are the standouts in the Urban Decay Line.

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24/7 Glide-On Eye Pencil – There are some products that just don’t live up to their cult status and hype. The 24/7 Glide-On Eye Pencils deserve all the kudos they receive. These creamy, long wearing eye pencils definitely deserve all the praise they receive. Available in a stunning array of colors, there really is something for everyone in the 24/7 Glide-On Pencil line. While you might want to reach for trusty standby shades of brown or black, I suggest trying purples and greasy too as an alternative to “safe” colors. My picks are Smoke, Mushroom, Invasion, Vice and Empire.

urban decay optical blurring brush top urban deca picks

Good Karma Optical Blurring Brush – This face brush is hands down my favorite brush ever! It works with cream and liquids to give a perfect finish that you just have to see to believe. The Optical Blurring Brush handles well, has the perfect weight to it and also works to blend blush/bronzer/highlight. As a makeup artist it’s rare for me to be like, “OMG you must has dis brush??!”. The Good Karma Optical Blurring Brush is a definite must have.

urban decay top picks mascara

L to R: Cannonball, Perversion and SuerCurl

Mascaras – Urban Decay does mascaras very, VERY well. With one exception (the new Fatty is HORRID!) you can’t really go wrong with Cannonball (Waterproof), Supercurl or Perversion. I love all three and use them each for different purposes. Cannonball when I need a waterproof option. Perversion when I want dark, glossy, intense lashes. Supercurl when I am looking for a denser, thicker lash or to hold a curl. I own all three and reach for them all equally but if I had to choose just ONE: Perversion ALL the way!

naked basics top urban decay

Naked Basics – If you own one Urban Decay palette than the original Naked Basics is the one you SHOULD own. You can go from light wear, to work wear and then kick up for a smokey, night time look. All five shades in this palette are stunning, easy to work with and long wearing. Good mattes are hard to find and a predominantly matte palette that is not a chalk fest is even harder to find. Naked Basics is under $30 which also makes it a great palette at an awesome price.

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All Nighter Setting Spray – I find that not everyone needs to “set” there makeup with a powder. I only really recommend a powder to set if your really oily OR wearing a tinted moisturizer/BB/CC/DD/FF/AA cream and you’re looking to pump up the overage. Setting powders can be really hard to work with and they can take your perfect look to cake town if you’re not careful. Urban Decay’s All Nighter Setting Spray is the perfect way to “set” your makeup without cake face OR correct cake face. Yes, you can fix over powdering with All Nighter (or any facial spray). Just spritz some All Nighter on a fluffy brush and gently buff away the excess powder on your face. You can also buy All Nighter in smaller purse sized travel packaging making touch ups easy!

24/7 glide-on lip pencils top urban decay

24/7 Glide-On Lip Pencils – The cousin of their ultra famous 24/7 Glide-On Eye Pencils, their lip pencil options are JUST as fabulous! The 24/7 Glide-On Lip Pencils are long wearing, they stay in place and they will keep your lip color locked in place for hours. What you don’t hear about these lip pencils is how creamy and pigmented the 24/7 Glide-On Lip Pencils are. You can actually wear these all over lips (over a great balm if you suffer form dry chapped lips) without the tugging you normally get with most pencils. In the 24/7 Glide-On Lip Pencil have a liner and long wearing lip color in one. Not looking for any color, try Ozone for a clear liner that keeps your lippies in place and adds subtle definition to your lips.

Honorable Mention goes to Urban Decay’s Naked Skin Foundation. It wears for hours, looks like skin, provides great coverage and photographs well. It can be a little drying so if you have drier, flakey skin this is not a foundation for you.

What are your favorites from Urban Decay? Let me know in the comments section below!

LORAC Mega Pro Giveaway!

lorac pro mega giveaway


Hola! I know I’ve been quiet and that was due to some health/family issues BUT I am back and here with an awesome giveaway! How many of you were just DYING to get your hands on the almost completely sold out LORAC Mega Pro? A few of my beauty blogger friends and I decided to team up and bring our readers a chance to win this elusive palette!

ebblog lorac mega pro

Can I just say the hype behind the LORAC Mega Pro is real: same great texture and payoff from the LOAC Pro 1 & 2, awesome assortment of colors and it’s just absolutely stunning to just look. Just imagine all the looks you can create with this bundle of makeup awesomeness from LORAC. I love mine, unfortunately I won’t be reviewing it because the LORAC MEGA Pro palette is practically sold out. I might do a few holiday looks with it?

Also, have you checked out the rest of LORAC’s Holiday 2014 Collection? I HIGHLY recommend you grab The Royal 3D Liquid Lustre set. These are awesome and compliment the LORAC Mega Pro perfectly! I love these and I grabbed a similar set last year. You can wear the 3D Liquid Lustres as a sheer wash, you can build them up for an intense metallic look or wear them with your favorite shadows to add extra depth and dimension to your shadow look.


ebblog loran royal holiday

Get the royal treatment with LORAC’s Royal Collection for Holiday 2014.


Ok, ok back to the giveaway! Details are in the Rafflecopter widget below:

a Rafflecopter giveaway

The LORAC Mega Pro Giveaway runs from now until October 28, 2014 so make sure you enter, support my fellow bloggers and share the giveaway because the extra good karma is always nice! Good Luck!


Smashbox Photo Finish 24 Hour Shadow Primer

smasbox Photo finish 24 hour shadow primer.

Smashbox Photo Finish 24 Hour Shadow Primer is the latest offering to the eyeshadow primer world from Smashbox. The retail price for the Smashbox Photo Finish 24 Hour Shadow Primer is $20 and it contains .41 oz. You can find this product at Smashbox counters/retailers nationwide/online. and it is a permanent product to their line.

Smashbox Photo Finish 24 Hour Shadow Primer iix the first high end eyeshadow primer I have tied since purchasing and LOVING my Milani Eyeshadow Primer. So how did the more expensive, newbie compare to an old, HG fave? The Smashbox Photo Finish 24 Hour Shadow Primer is just a tad bit better with one minor flaw. Let’s take a closer look at the product.

smasbox Photo finish 24 hour shadow primer.

Smashbox Photo Finish 24 Hour Shadow Primer comes housed in a tube similar to toothpaste and you have to squeeze the tube to get the actual product out. The consistency of the primer is very, very thick and stiff, almost like wax initially. When the primer gets warms it melts, becoming smooth and easy to apply. Smashbox Photo Finish 24 Hour Shadow Primer is colorless (despite appearing to be fleshy pink toned) but it does somehow have minor color correction properties to it. As a translucent primer it will not alter the color of your shadows just increase the intensity and wear time of them.

smasbox Photo finish 24 hour shadow primer.

Top shadow without primer
Bottom shadow with primer

A little about my eye area: I have oily, hooded lids that make wearing shadow or intense liner looks impossible without a primer. The Photo Finish 24 Hour Shadow Primer kept my shadows crease free and vibrant all day. Now, Smashbox slapped the “24 Hour” label on this primer and you know me. I’m crazy and I love to test those claims. For me the primer held up well for a good sixteen hours and it kept my shadows relatively nice through my sleep effectively giving me “24 hours” of wear. *NOTE* It is NOT recommended ever to sleep in makeup and this was done solely for testing purposes!

I mentioned a minor flaw with the Smashbox Photo Finish 24 Hour Shadow Primer (seriously what is with the long name!) and that is the consistency of the formula. It’s very easy to over estimate how much product you’ll need. Because it is so stiff initially and unlike any other shadow primer I’ve tested Smashbox Photo Finish 24 Hour Shadow Primer is easy to over apply. Using too much of this primer results in creasing and before it sets it can migrate onto your lashes which can be a nightmare to remove. You will only need just the smallest amount to get the job done.

And why do I find it better than my former beloved Milani Eyeshadow Primer you ask? I get the same results using a fraction of the product. I’m serious when I say you need just the smallest amount as a little bit of the Smashbox Photo Finish 24 Hour Shadow Primer goes a VERY long way.  At $20 a tube it might seem pricey but considering how well it performs and how little you need the Smashbox Photo Finish 24 Hour Shadow Primer is beauty staple I highly recommend!