First Look & Impressions: Urban Decay x Gwen Stefani - partial collection

Press Samples

Sorry I'm not home right now I'm walking into spiderwebs, so leave a message and I'll call you back...

Just me reliving my teens over here! While I wasn't a die-hard No Doubt fan, I really loved some of their songs and Gwen Stefani was so funky and original, I definitely took note. For me, the popularity of ska bridged the gap between my peers (who primarily loved rock, punk and pop) and I (I was all about r&b, hip hop and reggae) and suddenly we were all listening to the same songs and loving it! For that reason, No Doubt will always hold a special place in my heart--not to mention the fact it was the background music for some pretty fun teenage memories.

When I first heard that Gwen Stefani and Urban Decay had partnered to create a collab collection my inner 90s teenage self got excited! My second thought was--red lipstick! Remember the cover of No Doubt's Tragic Kingdom album?  Gwen is all about that red pucker and I love it.

I recently received samples of a good portion of the collection to share with and despite the fact some recent events have made swatching a little slower than usual on my end, I've got some first shots for you to lust over in the mean time.

First Impressions

Overall, my first impressions are mostly good! I love the packaging--it's so Gwen. And I absolutely love the lip pencil and lipstick shades. I'm a bit disappointed that the brow kit is definitely geared towards blondes--much like how the shadow palette was geared more towards fairer complexions. I wish they had released 2 more sets in the UD x Gwen packaging; one for medium brow shades and one for deeper shades. I do like some of the shades in the blush palette, but again, it's definitely limited as to what complexions shades could work for. I think deep complected and even some medium complected girls and guys will find some of the shades to be a tad too light. I know Gwen is a dyed blonde, but I wish they'd tried to appeal more towards a global complexion range with the collection. That being said, the collection is pretty and I look forward to creating some gorgeous looks with it!

Urban Decay x Gwen Stefani blush palette review
UD x Gwen Stefani Blush Palette
Urban Decay x Gwen Stefani blush palette review
UD x Gwegn Stefani blush palette

Urban Decay x Gwen Stefani brow box review
UD x Gwen Stefani Brow Box
Urban Decay x Gwen Stefani brow box review
The box includes 2 powders and a wax in the first section.

Urban Decay x Gwen Stefani brow box review
The second section contains 2 mini brushes and a mini set of tweezers.
Urban Decay x Gwen Stefani 24/7 Glide-on Lip Pencils
UD x Gwen Stefani 24/7 Glide-On Lip Pencils - Wonderland, Rocksteady, Firebird, Phone Call, 714

Urban Decay x Gwen Stefani 24/7 Glide-on Lip Pencils
UD x Gwen Stefani 24/7 Glide-On Lip Pencils bottom to top - Wonderland, Rocksteady, Firebird, Phone Call, 714

UD x Gwen Stefani Lipstick review
UD x Gwen Stefani Lipstick
Urban Decay x Gwen Stefani Lipstick review
Urban Decay x Gwen Stefani lipstick l to r - 714, Firebird, Phone Call, Rock Steady, Spiderweb, Wonderland

Stay tuned! I'll be using these in an upcoming look or two.

What do you think? Did you grab anything from this collab?

Note: Products in this post were provided by PR/the brand. All opinions are my own based on my personal experience.


Swatches and Review: MAC Retro Matte Liquid Lipcolour Tailored to Tease, Oh Lady, Back in Vogue

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MAC Retro Matte Liquid Lipcolour Swatches & Review Tailored to Tease, Oh Lady, Back in Vogue
L to R: Tailored to Tease (also on lips); Oh, Lady; Back in Vogue

MAC Retro Matte Liquid Lipcolour

MAC has put the Retro Matte Liquid Lipcolours on their site as "coming soon" and the beauty world is buzzing! I did some "fast & dirty" swatches for you guys on Instagram and thought it might be helpful to discuss my thoughts on the formula, since people are dying to know how they compare to other formulas.

The lip swatch above wasn't edited in any way. When I say "fast and dirty" I mean that I swiped it on, snapped a shot with my phone, then posted it without any editing of any kind. I didn't even do any sort of clean up before snapping the shot and I did use the applicator instead of a lip brush (which would normally be my preference).  I wanted to give you guys a "raw" look since it's a new formula.

Initial Thoughts

For starters, I personally feel like most liquid lipsticks are totally hit or miss. They either knock your socks off or they make your lips feel like they're ripping themselves off your face. Granted, I'm incredibly particular when it comes to my lips and tend to be a bit more sensitive to even a smidge of dehydration, I do feel like there's an acceptable and unacceptable threshold of slight dryness when it comes to mattes. With the exception of a select few formulas (some OCC lip tars, Lipstick Queen's mattes and a couple MAC mattes), I find almost every matte shade drying to some degree--especially with wear.

These applied very smoothly for me. While it seems that different shades have applied differently based on reviews by bloggers that received a broader variety of shades (often the case with most lipsticks), I found that the 3 shades sent to me were actually really decent to apply. The formula had a light, mousse-like consistency that gave me a reasonable amount of control. Coupled with the pointed end of the teardrop-like shape of the applicator, I think these were some of the easiest liquid lipsticks to control that I've played with to date. I also found that while these did set fairly fast, they didn't dry so quickly that they set before I finished applying. These were also easy for me to layer and didn't pull up previous layers when new layers were applied.

While these were a bit drying with wear, they were not painfully drying to the point I felt the compulsion to remove them. I do recommend applying to well-prepped lips (exfoliated, moisturized), but overall they weren't evil by any means. I also found that these did not crack on me, even when I went to great lengths to contort my mouth and open it as wide as possible--not sure why you'd do this on a regular day, but I figured I'd give it a shot. The formula seemed to have a really decent amount of flexibility, which was nice. I did notice that after playing around for a bit when I relaxed my mouth it wrinkled more than it had prior, but that's to be expected in my opinion after the lengths I went during my lipstick "stress test".

I had no feathering at all (I typically don't with this type of product), thought I didn't eat anything with any sort of oil in it.

These removed easily for me with oil (I use Argan oil for just about everything), but I found a regular makeup removing wipe struggled a bit to take everything off.

Normally I wouldn't spend too much time discussing a MAC lip product's packaging as they tend to be very consistent, but since these are new and I've seen a LOT of people discuss the packaging, I thought I'd throw my 2 cents out there. I don't mind the packaging. It did take me back for a second when I saw them--the combo of a gloss tube with a traditional MAC lipstick top--but I actually kind of like them. I don't think they're super attractive per say, but I like that it distinguishes them from my MAC glosses. I also think it's a tad clever that they mixed a traditional lipstick tube with a gloss tube for a liquid lipstick. Love it or hate it, the packaging is totally functional, as easy to store and carry around as any gloss or lipstick and certainly not such a big deal that it would make or break my experience with the formula or applicator. 

I'm really curious to get my hands on a few other shades. I have my eye on Personal Statement, To Matte with Love, Feels so Grand, Dance with Me. Overall, impressed with the formula so far and looking forward to seeing how others feel about them!

What shades are you planning to buy once they launch?

Note: Products in this post were provided by PR/the brand. All opinions are my own.


2015 Holiday Gift Guide - Out of the Box Ideas

Press Samples & Purchased By Me

Our final edition of this year's holiday gift guide focuses on "out of the box" ideas, which is ironic given the fact all the products we're highlighting come IN boxes. If you want to get someone an original gift or you're at a loss for what to buy someone and simply want to give them something to talk about, these are some ideas we've come up with!

Note: If you're uncomfortable with the topic of sex you may want to skip this guide.

2015 Holiday Gift Guide - Stocking Stuffers

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2015 holiday gift guide beauty stocking stuffers

2015 Holiday Gift Guide - Stocking Stuffers

Christmas is right around the corner, so hopefully you've got the majority of your shopping done. I always find that stocking stuffers are the things I tend to leave to the last minute, so we're sharing some of our top picks to help inspire our fellow stocking procrastinators!


2015 Holiday Gift Guide - Beauty Newbie Picks

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holiday gift guide 2015 beauty newbie picks

2015 Holiday Gift Guide - Beauty Newbie Picks

We regularly get asked what products we recommend for beauty newbies. Whether you're newer to the beauty world or you have someone on your list that is, these are a few of our top picks for beauty newbies out of the holiday beauty launches we checked out this year! Keep in mind, we actually aren't huge fans of beauty newbies being told they should only use sub-par products until they become more experienced. Actually, as a makeup artist, I personally believe the opposite! I think starting off with great products makes the learning process better and more effective. Now I totally understand if beauty newbies don't want to shell out tons while they're still testing the waters, but that's one of the reasons we chose to highlight products with a little bit of a range in price-points.


2015 Holiday Gift Guide - Fragrances for Her

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holiday gift guide 2015 fragrances for her

2015 Holiday Gift Guide - Fragrances for Her

Each holiday season we see an impressive variety of fragrance gift sets--from drugstore scents to high-end collections. I almost always buy at least one for myself while grabbing several for the other fragrance addicts in my life--the hubs being one of them--since they values are generally amazing for the prices. If you're looking for some pretty fragrances to gift this year we've selected 4 with a broad range of price points to share with you!

2015 Holiday Gift Guide: For Him

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holiday gift guide 2015 for him

2015 Holiday Gift Guide: For Him

Every year we feature a masculine gift guide (though obviously anyone can enjoy any of the following items) and this year we've got some great picks!