How to Wreck your Skin in 7 Ways (The 7 Deadly Skincare Sins)

How to Wreck your Skin in 7 Ways (The 7 Deadly Skincare Sins)

So, if you’re like me, you use any excuse to reference RomComs on the regular. i.e. How to Lose a Guy in 10 Days, AKA the inspo for my title/blog post. I honestly thought I was being really clever so if you don’t think so just let me live and keep reading. TYSM.

This is going to be a skincare how-to in reverse. Yes, I am basically quoting the movie at this point. Anyway, I always have people asking me what they can do to make their skin better, improve their skin, change their skin, etc. etc. The truth is, you have to start with the basics. The most expensive products in the world won’t be worth a thing if you don’t treat your skin right from the ground up. So what should you be avoiding? Well little lady (or lad), keep on reading!

 

Tanning

Yep, big surprise I know. If you aren’t already aware of the dangers of tanning, please point me in the direction of the rock you’ve been living under. It’s pretty common knowledge now a days, yet people still do it.

Did you know that the number one cause of hyperpigmentation on the skin is sun exposure? So any freckles and discoloration you may have on your face is probably from that big ball of fire in the sky. In addition to that, it’s the number one cause of aging. That is, of course, besides Father Time.

When you’re exposed to UVA and UVB rays (the rays that the sun AND the tanning bed emit) they both do certain things to your skin. UVB rays are known as the “burning” rays. These rays cause your skin to burn and tan. A tan is VISIBLE skin damage, because it’s your bodies way of protecting itself from the rays of the sun. This is what causes discoloration. UVA rays are known as the “aging” rays. These rays penetrate deeper into the skin to the dermal layer where all of your collagen and elastin is produced. Collagen = what smooths out your skin and keeps it nice and plump, elastin = what keeps your skin from sagging. When UVA rays penetrate the skin, they weaken the collagen and elastin, causing you to age MUCH faster.

No matter WHAT anyone who works at the tanning salon tells you, it is HORRIBLE for your skin. Trust me, I used to tan in the beds and lay out in the sun with no SPF on at all, and I’m already seeing the results of doing so at age 23. I’m just lucky I changed my ways now and not later on. You should be wearing a minimum of SPF 15 on EVERY. DAY. Yes, even when it’s cloudy out.

Whenever I’m going over the dangers of sun exposure with my students, I show them the picture below. The man in the photo was a truck driver for 28 years, and since UVA rays aren’t filtered by car windows, he has severe sun damage on just one side of his face. You can see he looks about 20 years older on the left side (aka the driver’s side) JUST due to sun exposure. I know everyone thinks they look better with a tan, but no one looks better with advanced photo aging. Opt for spray tans instead!

trucker sun damage

 

Not Drinking Enough Water

I know this one also probably comes as a big shocker, but you would be surprised at how many people don’t realize how much these two things affect the health of your skin. There are only a few external reasons for skin ailments; crappy products and sun exposure being the two big ones, but MOST of our skin concerns stem from internal factors. What you put into your body DIRECTLY affects how our skin looks.

Have you ever looked at your under eyes and noticed they look hollow and dry? Chances are you’re skimping on your water intake. Is your skin flaky and feels dry, but you’re moisturizing and doing everything else right? You’re probably dehydrated. Skin just looking drab and dull no matter what you do? You guessed it, you probably need more water. Think of the skin, if you will, as a grape. When a grape is filled with water, it’s plump and smooth. When a grape is dehydrated, it turns into a raisin and thus reveals lines and wrinkles. I’m not saying drinking water will make you age in reverse Benjamin Button style, but it will certainly help your case.

The picture below shows a woman who drank a gallon of water a day for four weeks straight. Look at the difference:

water consumption

Doesn’t she look ten years younger?! Her under eyes have filled in and no longer have that crepe-y appearance, her skin tone is much more even, and the majority of her fine lines have been filled in. Our bodies are MAINLY water. You need to be consuming it regularly!

 

Over or Under Exfoliating

If you didn’t already know, exfoliating is the removal of dead skin cells from the outermost layer of skin (aka the stratum corneum). About every 28 days (give or take depending on your age) our skin cells move up from the bottom layer of our skin to the top to replace the old cells.

Exfoliating is a VITAL part of your skin care routine no matter who you are, because our skin needs a little help shedding those dead cells that can’t seem to come off on their own. But did you know that you should only be exfoliating about 2-3 times per week? Less if you’re more on the sensitive side, more if you’re on the oilier side.

If you UNDER exfoliate, you’re not removing those cells and they just sit on top of the skin. They can form a barrier between your new, healthy skin underneath so your moisturizers and serums don’t work properly. Your skin may appear dull and you may feel like you can never get rid of the flakiness or uneven texture. If this is the case, you probably need to exfoliate more.

If you OVER exfoliate, you’re removing not only the dead cells from your skin but also the new healthy ones, along with all of the good oils your skin needs to function properly and retain water. I find the people who are over exfoliating are either A. doing so every single day or B. are using a product that is way too harsh for their skin. Once again, you only need to exfoliate 2-3 times a week.

Small concentrations of salicylic acid are okay, but unless you’re on an acne regimen you don’t need to be using a full blown salicylic exfoliant. St. Ive’s apricot scrub? Throw it out. You might as well be exfoliating with glass. Research your products and get samples of the ones you feel work best on your skin. My personal favorites are the Aveda Botanical Kinetics Radiant Skin Refiner if you’re into the gritty type of exfoliant, and the Aveda Botanical Kinetics Exfoliant if you have sensitive skin.

Sleeping in Your Makeup

I can be rolling in the door at 3 am five long islands deep (or 5 glasses of water deep if my mom is reading this) and you still won’t catch me going to sleep with a full face of makeup on. Sleeping with makeup still on your face from the night is a sure fire way to end up with a whole slew of skin problems.

First of all, sleeping with mascara and eye makeup on can cause an infection in your eyes. The product can fall into it when you’re moving around and all you’re doing is pressing it in further as you sleep. It can also break your lashes if you’re not careful, especially if you’re wearing falsies.

Second of all, breakouts. Obviously. You’re sleeping with all of your pores closed off to any oxygen with all of that foundation, powder, bronzer, etc. on your skin. Black heads, white heads, and possibly deeper pustules await if you fail to remove your makeup after a long day.

Lastly, you age faster. Yep, it’s true. When we sleep, our skin regenerates itself. If we cake on foundation and snooze while it’s on, your skin’s ability to do so decreases exponentially. Your exposure to free radicals goes up, and thus ages us quicker. So for the love of god, just wash it off. No matter how tired you are, it’s not worth the consequences.

Poor Home Care

I’m sure this one is pretty obvious. If you go see an esthetician for regular facials and you’re going home to wash your face with bar soap what’s the point? It’s like if you spend $150 on getting your hair colored and going home and using Suave shampoo. Probably not gonna work out so well.

While there are some drug store products out there that work perfectly fine, some are downright terrible for your skin. Harsh detergents and coarse exfoliants will tear up your skin and ruin the acid mantle that keeps it healthy. Even some luxury brands carry products that aren’t ideal for your skin. Don’t assume that every product a beauty blogger or instagram model is hawking is good for your skin.

The great thing about this day and age is that there are so many avenues to find the information you’re seeking. The internet is wide with various reviews and product information available whenever you want it. Sephora is great about giving samples for just about anything you want to try!

You can’t expect your skin to look and feel healthy if you’re using horrible products on your skin. If you don’t know where to start, I am always willing to help with recommendations OR you should take the time to find an esthetician in your area that can help you directly!

Smoking

Yes, smoking harms your skin (along with every other bodily system that exists, but I digress). Anyone who has taken 7th grade health knows this. But are you aware of the gravity in which it damages your skin? Allow me to tell you….

First and foremost smoking can affect your sleeping habits. Nighttime nicotine withdrawals can inhibit a proper sleep cycle, resulting in dark circles and bags under your eyes.

Secondly, your risk for certain skin conditions, such as psoriasis, goes up exponentially. Up to 60% after a decade of smoking, according to a 2007 study. Even just being exposed to second hand smoke can increase this risk. 

Third, the premature aging. Smoking limits the blood flow that supplies nutrients to the skin and thus slows cell metabolism. Your collagen and elastin gets damaged when you smoke, which is what keeps us looking youthful. Cigarette smoke also asphyxiates our skin which means it has limited oxygen supply, so your skin can appear dull and gray. 

And lastly (but certainly not least), your risk for skin cancer (specifically squamous cell carcinoma) is about three times higher than people who don’t smoke. Yikes! 

If you are a smoker, the best way to help with these problems is obviously to quit. I realize that’s easier said than done, but within the first week of quitting you will already be able to see a visible difference. If you can’t get a wrangle on quitting, try using products with antioxidant rich ingredients to help fight free radicals. Vitamin C is a great place to start!

Here is a side by side comparison of two twins. One of which smoked for 16 years (and also had more exposure to the sun). Which twin do you think it is? 


Yep, it’s the twin on the right. You can see the difference between the two is shocking. 

Avoiding Sleep

Yep, this is a huge one. Sleep is absolutely CRUCIAL to the health of your skin. I know I’ve mentioned bags and dark circles, but those are the least of your worries if you can’t get a good nights rest. 

So many things happen to our skin when we sleep! Sleep reduces cortisol (the stress hormone) which has a direct affect on our skin. If our hormones are out of whack, it can cause a whole slew of problems. One being acenic skin, which is what we all try to avoid. 

Sleep also helps with cellular renewal which helps reverse damage that we encounter in our day to day lives. Free radicals, which I talk a lot about, are unstable molecules that steal electrons from healthy ones. I know I’m getting a bit science-y, but bear with me. When our skin is exposed to these (via pollution, cigarette smoke, etc.) our skin suffers tremendously. They’re basically super agers *que dramatic screaming* Products with antioxidants can help with this, but you need your sleep for good, healthy skin.

I hope that these give you a bit of insight into what you should avoid when taking care of your skin. They seem like very simple and obvious things, but they’re the biggest issues I see with clients on a day to day basis. You might not see the damage of some of these problems right away, but you will after time. The best thing you can do is educate yourself!

Xoxo 

Shelby

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DANGER: Black Peel-off Masks

DANGER: Black Peel-off Masks

Hello everyone, your friendly neighborhood Esthetician here to ruin yet another viral beauty trend. I’m gonna cut straight to the chase- those black peel off masks you’re seeing everywhere? STOP USING THEM! Or if you’ve been interested in trying them, DON’T DO IT! Why is this? you say…. Well, I’m glad you asked:

 

You’re stretching your pores. 

Those peel-off masks contain ingredients that allow them to adhere to the skin so they require you to peel them off. Because you’re pulling on the mask, and ultimately your skin, over time your pores will stretch as well. (Kind of like after you’ve used a hair tie a bunch of times, and it’s larger than when you bought it). When you stretch your pores, it not only looks unflattering, but it allows for even more bacteria and gunk to settle into them. Which equals more blackheads, which equals a sad face.

You’re removing a layer of skin that you need.

There’s a reason it HURTS to pull off these face masks. One, because you’re literally ripping all of the vellus hairs (i.e. peach fuzz) out of your face… but also, the first layer of skin (AKA the stratum corneum) is coming off with it. When this layer of skin is not in tact, you risk exposing your skin to other bacteria if you’re not careful after the mask is removed. Essentially, you’re super-exfoliating your skin. Which is not a good thing, if you couldn’t already guess. It also takes about 30 days (give or take) for your skin to repair the damage you’ve done. So sorry to break it to you, but your pain was for nothing. RIP your stratum corneum.

You’re damaging the lipid barrier on your skin.

If you’re not an esthetician, you probably don’t know what a lipid barrier is. Or maybe you do. I really have no idea. But if you don’t already know…. Simply put, it’s the protective barrier that holds all of the important oils and water in your skin. It protects against dryness, dehydration, skin sensitivities, etc. Along with the first layer of skin, you’re also damaging this essential part of your skin’s health. If your skin can’t protect itself against water loss and lubricate itself, you age faster. These are facts.

I know people with oily skin think this mask is a great idea because of the amount of oil and blackheads they’re prone to. But did you know that if you get rid of the good oils your skin needs, that you can cause your sebaceous (oil) glands to over produce, making you even oilier? Ummm hard pass, thanks.

You’re causing capillaries to break.

Capillaries = small blood vessels. Most people have a few broken ones on their face here and there due to sun exposure or even blowing your nose too hard (check around your nostrils, I’m sure you’ll find a few). When these break, it can cause the skin to be more sensitive, but it also brings redness to the face as well. When you tug on the skin that hard to remove these masks, you rupture these capillaries and then they sit close to the surface of your skin, causing that discoloration. Ever heard of color correcting? Redness is usually what we try to avoid.

You’re not removing the entire blackhead.

I know you’ve seen the videos. They’re sooooo satisfying. I get it. I do it for a living, trust me. But what you’re pulling out is only the top part of the blackhead. Which means you’re leaving the bottom part inside your pore to just collect more debris and form yet another blackhead. Very counterproductive, don’t you think? 

You could also be removing sebaceous filaments, which are also necessary to protect your skin. Not all oil is bad people!! 

 

Another thing that is extremely troubling to me, is the DIY versions of these kinds of masks. Any idea as to what one of the main ingredients are? Hmmm? 

GLUE. IT’S GLUE. 

Um, excuse me, but you should not be putting children’s craft supplies into your skincare routine. The glue is obviously used for the adhesive part of the mask, and most DIYers will tell you to use “non-toxic” glue to make it seem less harmful. Yeah, no. Don’t put glue on your face. The fact I even need to explain this is like, blowing my mind.

The one component to this mask that I don’t hate is the charcoal. Charcoal is known to be a great detoxifying ingredient, and other charcoal masks are fantastic for drawing out impurities in the skin. The Origins Clear Improvement Active Charcoal Mask and the GlamGlow SuperMud Clearing Treatment are both masks that contain activated charcoal, and you don’t have to surgically remove your skin to get them off. What a relief. 

Anyway, just please avoid these masks. There are so many other ways to remove stubborn blackheads, oil, and uneven texture on the skin. Regular chemical peels, weekly (SAFE) exfoliation, etc. are great places to start. Contact your esthetician or dermatologist to get a thorough skin analysis so you can find a solution that best suits YOU. Always read reviews and do the research before using new and “trendy” products. Protect your skin and treat it well, and it will love you back!!

Xoxo

Shelby

Coconut Oil is Ruining Your Skin

Coconut Oil is Ruining Your Skin

Let me just start off on a different tangent for a second and say that Pinterest is one of the greatest things that has ever been invented. Seriously, I will spend hours upon hours pinning to various boards that I’ve spent arguably way too much time naming and organizing. HOWEVER, there is a huge downfall to the beauty side of Pinterest, and I’m sure anyone in the industry will agree with me. The people pinning their beauty remedies and DIYs are NOT (for the most part) beauty professionals. They have no license, they have no expertise in the field of beauty, and they have no business recommending remedies to the masses via Pinterest, because they have no idea what they’re talking about. That’s not to say everything you see on Pinterest is wrong or won’t work, but the fact of the matter is that not everything you see on the internet is a good idea. Weird, right?

Which brings me to the point of this blog post, coconut oil. How many pins have you seen floating around about coconut oil? Maybe a million by now? And hey, you may be a coconut oil lover. You might use 7 tubs of coconut oil in the span of two weeks and have no plans on stopping. Great for you. Fantastic. Lovely. But can we STOP RECOMMENDING COCONUT OIL TO EVERY PERSON FOR EVERY AILMENT THEY EXPERIENCE? Coconut oil is not for everyone and it is not for everything. I’m not referring to using coconut oil in foods, because I’m not a nutritionist and quite frankly I hate the taste of it and will avoid using it in cooking if I can. So before you come at me with the nutritional benefits, don’t, because you’re wasting your time.

I’m talking about using coconut oil on your face. I’m a licensed Aesthetician, Aesthetics Instructor, and I work for a company that uses ethically sourced and naturally derived ingredients. I’m not some rando on the street preaching about skincare with no experience. And as of late, I’ve been increasingly aware of how many people are coming to me with acneic skin conditions and they all have one common denominator: coconut oil.

Things I hear in response to my distaste for coconut oil consist of, but are not limited to: “but it’s natural!” “My friend uses it and her skin looks great!” “I saw a post on Pinterest about it”, etc. etc.

First and foremost, just because it’s natural does not mean it’s good for you. Do you know what else is natural? Sulfuric acid. Lead. Arsenic. While I’m being a bit dramatic with my references, they’re probably not things you want to put on your skin, right? Right. And while your friend might use it day and night and six times on Sunday, it does not mean it’s right for your skin. Let me tell you why.

Ingredients in the skincare world are measured on a scale of how comedogenic they are. If you don’t know what that term means, it’s basically a fancy way of saying “what’s the likelihood of this ingredient clogging your pores?” They are rated on a scale from 0-5, 0 being the least likely and 5 being a guaranteed breakout-prone ingredient for most (if not all) people. Coconut oil is rated as a 4. Which means, by and large, most people will break out when using this product on their face. It doesn’t even have to appear immediately as large, cystic acne lesions in the skin. It can cause microcomedones (small, non-inflammatory lesions that can make your skin’s texture bumpy), that can (and will) eventually develop into whiteheads/blackheads/painful acne.

Why does this happen? Due to its thickness, coconut oil inhibits our skin’s ability to properly shed skin cells, which is required for our pores to be oxygenated. It encourages P. acnes (the bacteria that causes acne) to grow, using built up sebum and debris that are stuck below the surface in our pores as its source of nutrients. To put it simply, coconut oil basically puts a blanket over our pores which smothers them, giving bacteria a better environment to grow. *cue dramatic screaming*

Now, coconut oil might be great for some people’s skin. Why? BECAUSE EVERYONE’S SKIN IS DIFFERENT! Genetics and other internal factors have a huge affect in how our skin reacts to things. But the fact of the matter is, it’s far too thick for most people’s skin. So stop recommending coconut oil with the mindset that it’s perfect for everyone because “it’s all natural.” It’s not going to cure psoriasis, it’s not going to get rid of grade IV cystic acne, and it’s not going to reverse your aging. Your best bet is to go to an actual Dermatologist or local Aesthetician and get a product recommendation/prescription from someone who actually works with skin for a living.

If you’re still dying to use it, the best way to incorporate this into your daily (facial) skin care routine would be to use it as a makeup remover. Coconut oil does work wonders taking off water proof mascara, helping lift foundation, and removing liquid lipstick. PLEASE use an additional cleanser afterwards to remove it, preferably of the gel variety, and exfoliate 2-3 times a week (which is something you should be doing anyways). There are still PLENTY of “natural” products that will benefit your skin greatly without the risk of breakouts.

As far as using coconut oil for your body care and cooking, knock yourself out. The skin on the rest of your body is much more resilient than on your face, so chances are coconut oil will work just fine for that purpose (unless you’re allergic). I’ve also heard it’s a great conditioner for your hair, but I would stick to using it on your ends and avoiding your scalp due to how greasy it can be. Don’t want to look like you dipped your scalp in a deep fryer now do we? Hard pass.

At the end of the day, I’m not a Dermatologist. I’m an Aethetician that gets a little (okay maybe a LOT) nerdy about ingredient knowledge and product usage. However, I went to school to help people with their skin ailments and beauty needs, and if I could give you any advice, it’s this: as a consumer, the internet is your oyster. Do your research, gather and use samples frequently, and find what’s right for your skin before giving into the hype. It could save you from disaster!

 

Healthy, clear skin to all, and to all a goodbye! (see what I did there?)

xoxo Shelby

 

Fantastic Brushes and Where To Find Them

Fantastic Brushes and Where To Find Them

Hello all! It’s been SO long since I’ve done a blog post, but I’m back and ready to review and recommend my favorite products and tools to all of you! Also HAPPY OCTOBER, considering it’s the best month out of all the months and it’s already half way over 😦 Woe is me. Anyway, let’s jump in shall we?

As you might be able to tell from the title (S/O JK Rowling) this is a post about makeup brushes! I’ve had many people ask me where to even start when building a collection of brushes, whether it be that they’re just starting makeup or they just feel like they need better ones than they’ve got. Well lucky for all of you I cannot stay away from buying zillions of brushes, even though I use like, maybe ten. I’ll explain all of the brushes I think you should have in your arsenal (or a couple options for each) and why/what they do/where to purchase them! I will link each of the brushes in the name for ease of purchase 🙂

First, let’s start with the face:

Foundation:

Morphe M439 – Deluxe Buffer Brush $13.99

m439

  • If you are someone who enjoys full-coverage foundation like myself, this is the brush for you. The bristles are short and incredibly dense, so it holds a lot of product and delivers a concentrated amount to the places you apply it to. When I use it I press the bristles into the skin instead of spreading it around, because when you do that it creates a more sheer-medium coverage. Obviously you can use it this way, so do with it what you will!

Discounts: A lot of YouTubers have affiliate codes with Morphe. I generally use JACATTACK (Jaclyn Hill’s code) that will get you 10% off. If you’re a pro, you can pay a fee ($25) to get 20% off for an entire year

Sigma F80 – Flat Kabuki Brush $25.00

f80_flatkabuki_chrome_top_allure

  • This brush is along the same lines as the Morphe M439, but with a flat top. If you watch youtube beauty gurus religiously you’ve probably heard of this brush before, and there’s a reason it’s so hyped. It’s incredibly soft on the skin and also very dense to apply your foundation medium to full coverage. The bristles are also synthetic so they don’t absorb your product! So while yes, you are spending a little more, you’re saving more $ in the long run due to not having to use as much foundation as you would with a natural hair brush. These brushes are also cruelty free!

Discounts: You can usually find a 10-15% off coupon relatively easy from month to month from sigma. SAVE15 is good for 15% off for the rest of October. If you’re a pro or student, you can sign up for their program on their website to get 20-35% off!

Under Eye Concealer/Baking:

Real Techniques Miracle Complexion Sponge – $4.99-$6.99

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  • Okay so TECHNICALLY this isn’t a “brush” but this is one of the most versatile tools you can have in your kit. It’s comparable to the Beauty Blender, but to be honest it’s even better and a fraction of the cost. I’m putting it under the heading of under eye concealer and baking because I use it for both. You could technically use it for foundation as well but I’m a brush girl on that front. Anyway, it’s got a flat side for larger/flat areas and a pointed side for precise application in small areas, unlike the original Beauty Blender which just has a pointed and a curved side (which isn’t as precise IMO).
  • Now you wouldn’t actually “apply” the concealer with this, you just use it to buff the concealer under your eye area after you’ve applied to your face. It’s so much better than using a brush because brushes tend to smear product around, but you want concealer to sit properly under the eye area since it’s so prone to creasing. I press product into the area with this instead of spreading it. You NEED to wet the sponge before you use it for it to work properly. If you don’t, the sponge will soak up basically all of your product and it doesn’t work nearly as well.
  • As far as baking goes, I use a separate one to apply a loose powder to my under eye, chin, and forehead. I bake in the T-zone because it’s where I’m the most oily (along with most of the population). You can use the side that’s easiest for you, but I find myself using the pointed side for under my eyes because I can get close to my water line, and the flat side for my chin and forehead since those are larger areas. Again, make sure you wet the sponge beforehand.

Discounts: There is a price range of this sponge depending on where you get it. The link I provided is through ulta for $6.99, but more often than not they have a buy 1 get one 50% off deal for the Real Techniques brand. So if you needed something else from that line, you could take advantage of that. Other stores such as target or walmart also carry it, but it’s usually around $4.99. You save a couple bucks but they don’t offer the buy 1 get 1 50% off deal.

Pressed Powder:

Morphe E1 – Deluxe Powder $22.99

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  • When I got this brush my first thought was “how in the h-e-double hockey sticks did I exist before this?!” because it’s amazing. It’s part of Morphe’s new Elite II collection and they really delivered. The bristles are ultra soft and the ferrule is sleek and easy to hold. Beyond that, it’s phenomenal at a multitude of things. I use it to apply pressed powder to the face/neck and also sweep away the loose powder when I’m baking. It’s a large brush that covers a lot of surface area with a TON of bristles. It gives you that amazing airbrush effect that most people are going for. You can also use this brush for body product application, due to the fact it’s so large.

Discounts: Use code JACATTACK (Jaclyn Hill’s affiliate code) for 10% off

Blush:

Sigma E40– Large Angled Contour $23.00

f40_chrome_1_750x750

  • When it comes to applying blush you want to make sure you use something fluffy and less dense so you have an even, diffused application. Blush should look natural and this brush delivers just that. It’s angled for ease of application on the cheek bones, and picks up color like a dream.

Discounts: Use code SAVE15 to save 15% through the month of October

Highlight:

Anastasia Beverly Hills #23 $25.00

brush-2

  • Lawd have mercy get this brush and the highlight gods will put blessings upon you. It’s perfect for concentrating highlight product on the upper cheek bones, cupid’s bow, and bridge of the nose. It says on the website you can use this on your brow bone but to be honest I think it’s a bit large for that area if you’re trying to get a precise application, but to each their own. Even though it’s fluffy and not incredibly dense, it picks up a good amount of product with just one swipe and perfectly diffuses product on your face.

Discounts: You can get 10% off (good for one use) if you sign up for their email list. If you’re a pro, you can sign up for a pro account and get up to 35% off on specific products

Morphe M501 – Pro Pointed Blender $7.99

m501_1024x1024

  • An inexpensive alternative to the ABH brush mentioned before, this little guy is again perfect for concentrating the blessing that is highlight. Fluffy, tapered, and pointed for precise application and smooth blending.

Discounts: Use code JACATTACK (Jaclyn Hill’s affiliate code) for 10% off

Contour:

Morphe G30 – Flat Contour $14.99

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  • This brush is phenomenal for creating a structured contour. The bristles are dense and flat for precise application, but also soft and smooth for flawless blending. You can even use this brush with a cream contouring product, which isn’t always the case for fluffier contour brushes.

Discounts: Use code JACATTACK (Jaclyn Hill’s affiliate code) for 10% off

Sephora Collection #53 – Pro Full Coverage Airbrush $38.00

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  • So technically this brush is advertised as a full-coverage face brush but I’ve always used it as a contouring brush. Just because a certain brush is “meant” for something, doesn’t mean you have to go by that. This brush is almost like a fan-shaped kabuki brush. The shape fits perfectly into the contours of the cheek bones, and the bristles are flexible for ideal blending. The price point is relatively high, but if you’re looking to splurge this is a great brush that’s worth the cost.

Discounts: Generally Sephora doesn’t offer day to day discounts, but if you are a VIB or a VIB rouge you can get 10-20% off during certain parts of the year. I know during April they have one of those events and then again in November. Other than that, you’ll probably have to pay full price

 

Now that we’ve covered the face, (haha, get it?) let’s move on to the eyes! There are a ZILLION different eye brushes available on the market, but these are my favorite:

Brows:

Morphe R44 – Angle Liner/Spoolie $3.99

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  • Maybe part of the reason I love this brush so much is because it’s apart of Morphe’s new Rose Gold collection, and I’m basic AF. That aside, this is incredible for filling in (angled end) and grooming my brows (spoolie end). I know that everyone has a love affair with the Anastasia #7, but seriously this thing is basically the exact same AND $14 less. You could buy 4 of these babies before you could buy just one Anastasia #7. Don’t get me wrong, I love the #7, but if you’re looking to save a few bucks for basically the same thing, go with the Morphe R44. Plus it’s cuter… If you care about that kind of thing… (I know you do).

Discounts: Use code JACATTACK (Jaclyn Hill’s affiliate code) for 10% off

Blending:

Morphe M504 – Large Pointed Blender $6.99

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  • This “oversized” tapered brush is ideal for blending product all over the lid. If I’m going for a really smoked-out eye look in a hurry, I use this brush to sweep one color over the entire lid and blend another darker color focused more in the crease. Great at blending out any harsh lines and creating a diffused look.

Discounts: Use code JACATTACK (Jaclyn Hill’s affiliate code) for 10% off

Crease Shadow: 

Morphe M330 – Blending Crease $5.99

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  • This brush looks almost the EXACT same as the M504, but it’s about 2/3 of the size. It still has the fluffiness and blending ability, but since it’s smaller it fits perfectly into the crease of the eye for a flawless application. You will have more control of where the product goes with a smaller brush like this.

Discounts: Use code JACATTACK (Jaclyn Hill’s affiliate code) for 10% off

Lid Shadow:

Morphe M433 – Pro Firm Blending Fluff

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  • I use this brush on the flat side if I’m wanting to concentrate color to my lid. It’s firm so it makes for placing the color in one place extremely easy. You can also use the fluffy top to blend out your shadow into your crease color!

Discounts: Use code JACATTACK (Jaclyn Hill’s affiliate code) for 10% off

MAC Cosmetics 242 – Shader Brush $25.00

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  • This shader isn’t entirely “necessary” for everyone’s collection, but if you’re a person who likes foiled or shimmer shadows, you should definitely invest in this guy. Packing product on the lid is sooo easy with this brush. You can also use it to clean up your brows with concealer, so if you’re worried about the cost you have a dual use!

Discounts: Every once in a while if you’re subscribed to MAC’s emails you can get a coupon code for free shipping or a certain percentage off. If you’re a pro, you can apply to their program for a $35 fee and get 30-40% off. You can only use this discount in pro stores or online, so if you have a MAC that’s in a Macy’s or something, unfortunately it will not work

Eye Liner:

Morphe R45 – Angled Liner $3.99

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  • It’s so hard to find a liner brush that won’t flare out or dull down, but I’ve found this baby and I’m never letting go. The edge is SO FINE and firm that making a perfect wing with gel liner is incredibly easy. And again it’s that amazing rose gold color and incredibly affordable!

Discounts: Use code JACATTACK (Jaclyn Hill’s affiliate code) for 10% off

Under-The-Eye Blending/Smudger:

Sigma E55 – Eye Shading Brush $16.00

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  • I love love love this brush for smudging gel/pencil liner on the lid or smoking out color on the waterline. It’s short and dense but can still blend color without creating a harsh line. Some people like to use flat tops for under the eye, which still work well, but this one is really soft and curved so it doesn’t irritate my sensitive eyes.

Discounts: Use code SAVE15 to save 15% through the month of October

 

Honestly, as far as lips go, I just use whatever applicator comes with the product. Liquid lipstick and gloss (which is what I mainly use) already come with a doe foot applicator which works perfect for me.

 

AN EASY WAY TO BUILD YOUR BRUSH COLLECTION:

I know at first it seems costly to buy a ton of brushes at once, and it DEFINITELY is. I’ve listed budget-friendly options for most of these brushes but it still adds up! If you’re a new makeup artist looking to build a kit, I suggest joining MorpheMe. It’s a subscription service (much like Ipsy or Birch Box if you’ve used those) that sends you different brushes every month! It costs $19.99 with free shipping, and they send you at LEAST $30 or more worth of brushes a month! They’re different with each new month, which is a great way to get a variety of brushes for less. I’ve gotten a good amount of the brushes I’ve mentioned here by joining, which I probably wouldn’t have picked up myself because sometimes I’m so focused on buying actual makeup that I forget to spend money on the tools to apply it!

If you’re interested (which, why wouldn’t you be?) here is my referral LINK! If you use my code, you will get a free brush 🙂 You can also set your pay date, skip a month if you’re not interested in the brushes they offer at that time/can’t afford it that month, or cancel your membership at anytime completely without penalty. Also, with each month you are an active member, you get 100 points that you can use towards other month’s brushes or other fun rewards! There is NOTHING bad about this program, I swear.

 

ANYWAY, I hope you were able to find some new brushes to add to your collection or have a good idea of where to start! If you have any questions or comments, leave them below and I would be happy to address them 🙂

Happy blending my loves!!

 

xoxo Shelby

 

 

 

Festival Inspired Makeup

Festival Inspired Makeup

With it being festival season and the infamous Paradiso rapidly approaching, (major jealousy and FOMO I’m feeling right now you guys, I wish I could go!) I figured what better post to give you all than to inspire you to make sure your makeup is totally Tumblr post ready.

Big shout out to Marina for the idea, Haley for her photography skills for without which I would be using my iPhone 6+, Syd for bangin out some rockin’ hair styles, and Kendal, Jordie, Micaela, and Emily for lending me your gorgeous faces to paint!

For the looks that have colored face paint, I used Ben Nye’s aqua paints. The palette I have looks like this:

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They’re available online at naimies.com for $28 retail, but I got mine at my local costume makeup store in the linen district. It comes with all of the primary colors, white and black, and they threw in green to make our lives easier. You can mix these however you would like, so it’s extremely versatile for a great price. I prefer the aqua paints over others for face/body because they’re easy to work with (all you need is a paint brush, water, and a little bit of inspo) and they stay on ALL. DAY. Big plus, they come off easily with makeup remover wipes (perfect for festival camping, due to lack of running water and also we all know you’re going to be too drunk anyways).

The rest of the products used I will include under each look.

I hope you enjoy these looks as much as I enjoyed creating them!

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Emily’s super simple look was created using the ben nye paints for the design. I used a sigma E30 to create the red dots. Her face is Too Faced coco powder in Medium, Too Faced chocolate soleil bronzer, and Becca Cosmetics Opal highlighter. Her eyes are a cocktail of shadows from the Tartelette palette, CoverGirl Lash blast mascara, and the eyebrows were shaped using Anastasia Beverly Hill’s dip brow pomade in Blonde.

Her flower crown was something I made for my halloween costume last year using a thick headband, hot glue, and fake flowers from hobby lobby.

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Micaela’s look was created using rhinestones (you can use any you have, I got a giant tub of them from Hobby Lobby for 50% off) and the rhinestones were adhered using Ben Nye’s spirit gum. If you don’t have access to spirit gum, you can use lash glue, but make sure the area you’re applying it to is relatively free of makeup otherwise it won’t stick. Her brows were shaped using Anastasia’s Dip Brow pomade in the color “Chocolate”. Using my finger, took the eyeshadow pigment “Fantasy” by Colourpop, and swiped it straight across her lid and outward. These shadows are SO pigmented, and only $5 on their website colourpop.com! I kept her face natural with just a couple swipes of Too Faced chocolate soleil bronzer and Colourpop’s blush in “Pie”.

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Kendal is rocking a geometric pattern with Ben Nye’s yellow and white aqua paint. I feel like these types of face paint look best with that “painted” effect to them instead of perfect, neatly drawn lines. I added in some accent dots for fun with a sigma E05. Eyebrows are ABH Dip Brow in blonde.

This flower crown was purchased at my town’s Hyde Park Street Fair about two years ago, and I can’t remember the name of the company. If I find them I will link it here asap! but you can purchase crowns like these on etsy for relatively cheap.

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Syd’s makeup was kept very mellow with color choice, but bold with pattern. Using the ben nye aqua paints in white, we went with a “tribal” vibe to achieve her look. Eyebrows are ABH in the color “Soft Brown”. Eyeliner is Makeup Forever Ink Liner in Black.

Glasses and flower crown both purchased at Forever 21 at random times.

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and lastly, Jordie’s look was created using the Ben Nye paints in white and blue. I made solid paint lines and went back in with a smaller brush to create a rough feel instead of making everything symmetrical. Eyebrows are ABH in “blonde” and eyes are a mixture of colors from the Tartlette palette.

Here are some more shots and angles of each look. I hope you find inspiration in these pictures! If you have questions regarding the looks, feedback, or any questions/comments, feel free to let me know! Happy festival season and happy face painting my loves!

Xoxo Shelby

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Instagrams:

myself: @shelbymorgz

photography: @haley.loraine

hair: @hair_by_sydneyallison

models: @emilyggrasmick // @kendalstopherr // @micaelalunsfordd // @jordiekay

***** For the chicest clothes/accessories on the West Coast go to SHOPPOSHFOXX run by boss lady @marinaxfarro (follow her on insta!) her whole website is 20% off until this friday, June 26th! 

Irresistible Me vs. Bellami Extensions

Irresistible Me vs. Bellami Extensions

Hello my loves! Sorry I have been on hiatus for a minute or two… Life has been a little crazy with work lately and throw in some sleep deprivation and barely enough time to wing my eyeliner and you’ve got an anxiety-ridden borderline psychopath. Totally kidding. Kind of. Anyways moving right along to why you’re here…. EXTENSIONS! I’m talking about my two favorite brands today and the differences between the two. I’ll be going into weight, coloring, length, and overall wear. So who should you purchase from? Hopefully you’ll be able to decide by the end of this post!

Now I know there are many other brands of extensions out there to review but A. I’m not made of money and B. I did my own research long before purchasing either of these and I found the most information on these two brands… and ultimately liked what I found. It’s not to say there aren’t ones that are just as good but I’m not a walking Wells Fargo (tragically). I first looked into extensions when I chemically damaged the ever-loving hell out of my natural (very thick) hair. If I could give you any advice it would be to not bleach your hair, color it pink, then blue, and then back to blonde in the span of like, three months. I am now living with my mistakes, but you can prevent these horrible things from happening. I had to cut a lot of my dead hair off and was left with short hair that I HATED. (shoulder length is short to me)…. but luckily we live in a day and age where I can fix this problem pretty easily. Anyways lets move right along into what you actually care about….

First lets start off with the Bellami Bellissima Extensions ($209.99)

Coloring:

The set that I have are the Bellissima 22″ 220g in Ash Blonde. When I originally bought these extensions they weren’t as “ashy” as described, so I washed them once (I didn’t condition them because I hadn’t even touched them with heat yet) with Aveda’s Blue Malva shampoo and that gave me enough of the blue undertone I was looking for instead of a more golden shade. If you can avoid toning them I would. Other than that I haven’t had an issue with the coloring, it looks very natural. They’re also not just one color. They claim to use a “multi-tone adapt coloring system” and as far as I can tell, it works. I have since colored my hair dark so I’m not wearing these extensions currently but when I decide to go back blonde I’ll use them again. Bellami has a wide range of other colors as well, ranging anywhere from jet black to bleach blonde to vibrant red. They also have partnered with Kylie Jenner, Guy Tang, Samantha, and Eva Marie to bring you even more brilliant, fun shades to play with. Teal, lavender, fire engine red, and even grey are the colors you have access to through Bellami. Too fun.

PS word to the wise, if you’re ever buying extensions and they’re not light enough…. return them and get a new shade. It’s not worth bleaching them. Most, if not all, hair extension sets that you buy online will have many hair swatches (and even videos) that you can look through on their website. Also when you order them there will be one big package with the bulk of the hair that is sealed off, and a smaller package that you can open and compare your real hair to. IF YOU OPEN THE LARGE SIDE AND BREAK THE SEAL, YOU CANNOT RETURN THE EXTENSIONS. That’s why they include a tester weft so if it doesn’t match, no harm no foul. You just package it all back up and ship it and you’re golden.

Length:

Obviously when I say 22″ referring to the length of the extensions. Let me just tell you, this is a LOT OF HAIR. Like, a ton. Like I have to adjust it when I put on my seatbelt, throw my purse over my shoulder, change my clothes…. It’s really fun to have all of that length and feel like Rapunzel, but unless you’re willing to deal with the high maintenance of them, I would stick to something shorter. Bellami offers extensions in 18″, 20″, 22″, and 24″. You can also cut them if you so choose (please go to a professional if you do this) but if you’re going to pay around $200 for extensions you probably don’t want to waste a ton of the hair. Just my opinion, but I also don’t have money to just throw away. They also offer braided headbands, pony tail clips, and bang extensions if those are something you’re interested in.

Weight:

When referring to the weight of a set of extensions, it’s usually measured in grams. My Bellami set is 220g. Once again, this is a LOT OF HAIR. I don’t/can’t even wear all of it because 1. I don’t need it and 2. If I wear all of it I legitimately get a migraine because my head is trying to hold up a pound of hair in addition to my huge brain. It’s a tough life, I know. But seriously there are 10 wefts total, and I wear seven of them. Two of them are four clips, another two are three clips, two smaller two clip wefts, and then four of them are one clip wefts. (I wear one 3 clip, 2 four clips, 2 two clips, and 2 one clips, if you care.) Another great thing about Bellami is that their extensions are the same thickness throughout the entire weft, so you don’t have gross thin straggly hair at the bottom. There is nothing worse than wearing extensions and everyone is like, “Ew. Look at her extensions.”

Overall Wear:

These hair extensions are made with 100% human hair and can be used with heat tools! When I wear mine I almost always curl them with my hot tools 1″ curling wand. I feel like if you curl your hair/extensions when wearing them it makes them blend 1000x better. As far as having them clipped into my hair they stay very well. I don’t ever find myself having to adjust them or cover a weft (if I clip them in properly). Jaclyn hill has an awesome tutorial on clipping in/curling her Bellami extensions so you should check that out if you want a visual at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5P4Ron3pc18 🙂

The only downside I see to the Bellami extensions are the options of lengths and the options of weights to buy. 18″ might still be too long for some people, and they cut the weight size almost in half when they go down in length. Not a huge deal for myself who already doesn’t wear all of the wefts, but if you really want that thick voluminous look without the length down your back, then you should look elsewhere. The cost is also a factor for most, these babies are 209.99 and the most I’ve ever seen them discount anything is about $5. Doesn’t even cover the tax, but okay. I’m willing to spend the money, because there are some things you just can’t skimp on. (They do sometimes offer a free gift with purchase, like a carrier or a brush. They’ve also recently partnered with NailHur, which offers long lasting temporary manis, so sometimes they’ll throw a free set of those in with your order.) Other than that these are amazing extensions, top quality, and I get compliments on them wherever I go. Legitimately I have had people tell me I look like a mermaid, and who doesn’t love that?! I’m thinking about investing in the Lavender ombre ones…. Stay tuned to see if my bank account or my heart wins that challenge.

Irresistible Me Royal Remy Extensions ($189)

Coloring:

I purchased the Irresistible Me Royal Remy extensions 14″ 140g in the color medium brown. Let me just tell you, it is 7 million times easier to color match your hair when you’re dark compared to light. I also feel like dark hair you can hide your wefts better because of the depth that dark hair usually has. I definitely feel that way with my mine anyway. The medium brown color was absolutely perfect and exactly what I was looking for. I took them into my stylist and told her that I wanted my hair to match them exactly and she did an amazing job. It’s always easier to buy them and take them to your stylist than trying to do it the other way around, so if you can buy them beforehand I definitely recommend it.

Before I decided to go dark I purchased the Irresistible Me extensions in Platinum Blonde, just to have a shorter length when I didn’t feel like wearing my 22″ Bellami’s. Uuuuuum, when I think platinum the first thing that comes to mind is like Barbie, right? Wrong. This color was almost yellow… honey, golden blonde. NOTHING like platinum. I was really annoyed at first, but the return process was super simple and I got my money back within the week so I didn’t worry too much. When I went back to look at the reviews online about the platinum color it seemed as everyone else gave the exact same feedback about them being too yellow/golden. However, I could not be happier with the medium brown. They also have depth woven into them so they’re not all one uniform color (this allows them to blend easier). Just make sure that you look online at real people wearing the extensions without any filters, and they have a nice video comparison as well. The same process with having one extension in a small bag to color match with applies to Irresistible Me extensions as well. So if they don’t match, return them! I know it’s a hassle for some people but it’s better than wasting almost $200.

The only downside to the colors in comparison to Bellami is that they don’t offer the funky colors such as lavender or teal. However, if you like to stick to the natural colors then you needn’t worry.

Length:

What I absolutely love about the Irresistible Me extensions is the options they have for length. I purchased the 14″ ones because it’s going into summer and I didn’t want to have to deal with the hassle of the super long hair. They offer 14″, 16″, 18″, 20″, 22″, and 24″. The shorter lengths are especially good for people who just want that extra volume within their hair. Longer lengths are obviously going to be for those who want that length and want to be able to style it a certain way (think Elsa braids). I am in love with the length I chose and it’s perfect for what I was looking for. It doesn’t take me forever to style them in the morning (and for the most part they just hold the curl until I decide to wash them) and I am allllllll about speed and efficiency when it comes to doing my hair. My little sister is the cosmetologist in the family, I stick to what I know with makeup.

Weight:

Another awesome option that Irresistible me offers is you get to choose the weight for your length. The weights they offer are 100g, 140g, and 200g. I knew from past experience that the 220g Bellami’s were a LOT of hair, so I opted for the 140g weight and I’m so glad I did. It has 8 wefts instead of 10, and I even leave out a three clip weft for the most part, and I still have so much volume. The price is obviously going to increase with the longer/heavier you go so just make sure you’re aware of that. What’s also different about the IM extensions is that they offer three different kinds of extensions all together. The Silky Touch, the Royal Remy, and the Volume Vixen. The silky touch extensions thin out at the ends like our normal hair would. The royal remy are the same volume all throughout, and the volume vixen ONLY comes in 20″ and 260g. I like how the royals are the same thickness from top to bottom, so I personally recommend those. The only weird thing about the wefts is that one of them (the four clip weft) has a thick woven part attached to the clips, I don’t know if it’s to make it so it stays in your hair better or what… but none of the other clips have it. It doesn’t bother me, I just thought it was out of the ordinary.

Overall Wear:

Same with the Bellami, you can use the IM with heat tools. I wear these ones curled as well, but even straight they blend incredibly well. I’m never having to cover my wefts, ever. I even went to my own mother’s house and she was feeling my hair and had no idea I had them in. If your own mother can’t tell, they’re damn good. Another really awesome thing about the Irresistible Me brand is that they ALWAYS offer a 20% off deal! The extensions I got would normally be $189, and I got them for $150. $40 makes a huge difference in the long run, and it’s obviously way better than a $5 deal from Bellami. The 20% off is site wide, so you can buy multiple sets if your bank account is into that sort of thing.

And that’s a wrap! 

I hope I helped and could answer some of the questions you had about extensions and these two brands in particular. I always recommend doing your own research and reading as many reviews as you possibly can before you make any beauty investments. Especially with hair extensions, because they’re not cheap (the good ones anyway) and they’re going to last you a long time. Something that works for one person won’t always work for someone else. If you have any questions or comments leave them below! Or any other posts you would like to see 🙂 have a wonderful weekend my loves, stay beautiful!

XOXO

Shelby

Anastasia Beverly Hills Contour Kit vs. Kat Von D Shade Light

Anastasia Beverly Hills Contour Kit vs. Kat Von D Shade Light

Okay- let me first start off by saying that both of these palettes I love, immensely. They both have their pros and cons just like any other palette. However, both of these palettes, I believe, can serve you in different ways. I’ll explain as I go along. For the sake of not developing any additional carpal tunnel, I’ll use the abbreviation SL for shade light, and ABH for Anastasia’s kit. My grades will be based on color, blendability, cost, pigmentation, and overall usage. Let me show you how my grading scale works:

A: Perfect, wouldn’t change a thing

B: Amazing, but could use some work

C: Eh, so-so

D/F: These don’t come around that often but if they do, something has gone seriously wrong

Lets start off with the basic premise of these palettes and where the idea comes from. Both are meant for the new trend (contouring, obviously) that has taken the modern day beauty industry by storm. It seems as if we woke up one day, and EVERYBODY was contouring. This specific technique has been around for ages, but with all the Kardashian’s being contoured to the nines, we’re more obsessed with it than ever. Say what you will about the Kardashian’s- but those cheek bones can be seen from a mile away. So not only are celebs taking advantage of this beauty secret- but many companies have now given us mere mortals the tools to replicate them. In my own opinion, contouring is the equivalent of a real-world filter. It’s meant to enhance our features, yes, but also to sculpt and manipulate them to appear a different way. Contouring can be used to elevate cheek bones, shorten or slim the face, narrow the nose, etc. etc. The makeup gods have shown mercy upon us and granted us with the power and convenience of all-in-one kits, and we are forever indebted to them. Bless.

These are my personal palettes. You might not be able to tell, but I usually stick to two colors in each palette….. Wait, you can tell? Yeah that makes sense. I know they’re banged up but these babies get a lot of lovin, as they should. Also just a disclaimer- I have owned the ABH palette for much longer. They are both black and both have a magnetic closure, but you can see the SL is much larger than the ABH. It also has a mirror which the ABH lacks. Aesthetics does not matter so much to me because truly, it’s whats on the inside that counts.

Moving right along. The top colors are specific to highlighting and the bottom colors are specific to contouring. I organized these swatches based on their location. For instance, whichever color was in the bottom left hand of the SL, I picked the same one from the bottom left of the ABH. Generally these colors are placed here because of their shades.

These are all swatched on me in natural lighting with no flash, no filter, and my skin tone is about an NC20 in MAC or “Light” in KVD’s Tattoo Foundation.

CONTOURING COLORS

Havana (ABH) VS. Sombre (SL)

Both of these colors are the “darker” shades in each palette. Havana has a definite clay-based undertone to it. Almost an orange against my skin tone. Sombre has a more ashy-gray undertone. Taupe, if you will. Both of these I would use on someone who has at least somewhat of a tan, because on lighter skin these colors can be difficult to blend and may appear as if the skin is bruised if done incorrectly. I also had to use more product when swatching Havana because it’s pigmentation isn’t as high as Sombre.

Fawn (ABH) vs. Shadowplay (SL)

These are the two colors I have used the most personally. They’re very similar in color with the exception being that Shadowplay in this instance is more orange based than Fawn. These colors are a little more versatile as far as being used on different skin tones. Fair skinned for a bolder contour, and darker skinned for a more subtle look. Once again I had to use more product when swatching Fawn, and I noticed this with just about every ABH color.

Java (ABH) vs. Subconscious (SL)

These two are VERY alike in color, with just a touch more of an orange base in the Subconscious. For these I have no problem using them on fair skinned people. Since they’re “lighter” than the other two colors in each palette, they’re not too harsh when blended well and used sparingly. Too much contouring on any skin tone can turn a slimmer contouring look into a drag queen look in a flash. So be extra careful with lighter skin.

HIGHLIGHTING COLORS

Sand (ABH) vs. Lucid (SL)

The main difference in these two colors is that Sand has a shimmer to it. It’s a nice iridescent color so you don’t feel like you have a pound of glitter on your face. For this particular shade I would definitely put at the top of  cheek bones, but I would stray away from using it under the eyes. The shimmer can accentuate bags and/or dark circles. Lucid would be a better option for under the eye as it is matte and won’t draw as much attention to the area if you have those imperfections.

Banana (ABH) vs. Lyric (SL)

Both of these I use the most and honestly the color difference is practically nonexistent to me. They’re both a very light color with a yellowish undertone. A highlighter with a yellow undertone is ideal for the under eye area because yellow can counteract the purple/blue hues we get due to dark circles. Who likes dark circles? Nobody? That’s what I figured. Plus these are both matte and are phenomenal at setting your under eye concealer.

Vanilla (ABH) vs. Levitation (SL)

Both of these colors are so light you can barely see them on my pale skin. I seldom use them, if ever, and it’s because I feel that even on my skin tone these can be TOO light and don’t really do a whole lot. Levitation has a bit more of a yellow tone to it but not enough to really notice all that much unless someone was 2 inches away from your face. If you’re very very fair these will basically disappear. However if you’re darker and want your highlight to stand out more, you could use these. However, be careful of a lighter tone on dark skin. The color may appear as chalky if the difference in shade is too severe.

Overall I give each of these palettes an A as far as color goes. They both have a good variety for the specific skin tone this palette is directed towards. As you may know, ABH has since released a medium and deep kit as well as this original light kit. I think that’s phenomenal that they offer those options, the SL palette does not (yet) so extra points to ABH for appealing to a larger demographic of users.

PIGMENTATION

As I mentioned before the ABH palette I found I had to get more product to compare the swatch to the SL palette. This does not work in ABH’s favor because not only did I have to use more product, but the amount of the product in the palette isn’t as much as SL when it comes to the contouring colors. Each contouring color in the SL palette has .16 oz of product, where every color in the ABH palette has .11 oz. The SL palette’s highlighting colors are only .08 oz, but I have no problem with this .03 oz difference considering the amount of pigmentation it offers.

ABH: B

SL: A

BLENDABILITY:

In all honesty both of these palettes offer a good amount of blendability as far as I can see. The SL palette has a bit more of a creamier texture compared to the ABH, which contributes to the pigmentation payout. The only problem I can see arising is that the SL palette is SO pigmented that if you accidentally put too much on the brush and start to apply, there may be no turning back. However this is a user issue and not a product issue, so I am willing to overlook it.

ABH: A

SL: A

COST: 

The difference in cost between these two as a whole is a whopping $6. The SL palette retails for $46 while the ABH retails for $40. In the end, the SL palette gives you .72 oz of product and the ABH gives you .66 oz. The difference is literally .06 oz, so you’re paying $1 more per .01 oz in the SL palette. But when it comes to pigmentation and cost, it may end up that you’re using the ABH faster. The HUGE HUGE HUGE difference between the SL palette and the ABH however, is being able to replace your colors. The SL palette does not offer refill colors (so to get the main colors you use you would have to replace the whole thing), whereas the ABH does. They don’t sell them in stores (annoying) but you can buy each color for the ABH palette separately for $14 (which by the way if you did that every time, not including shipping, it would make your palette $84 instead of $40) or buy an entirely new palette with customized colors (online only) for again, $40. So here inlays the problem- do you pay for an entire new palette every time you need new colors with the SL? or buy the colors separately whenever you need them with the ABH? I think this depends on what you’re using the palette for. If cost is your BIGGEST issue, this is how I would go about it. If using on clients, I would go with the SL. You probably won’t be using the same exact colors on every person you’re applying a contour to. So the colors will probably wear out all the same (ideally) so you could replace it all at once. If for yourself, the ABH palette. You can replace the colors you use the most because unless you’re drastically changing skin tones constantly, you’re probably going to stick to the same colors. So if you wanted to, when you go through your two favorites, you could potentially just buy another palette with 3 of each color and it would last you, like, forever. That’s just my opinion, but I don’t think cost should be your deciding factor when the difference is only $6.

OVERALL USAGE

Like I mentioned before, I’ve had my ABH palette for a good amount of time longer than the SL palette. The only reason being is that the ABH palette came out much sooner. I like having the option of both because sometimes you just need to switch it up. Playing with new products is always going to work in your benefit because you never want to get too comfortable. In the matter of SKIN TYPE (dry vs. oily, etc.) both of these are technically a powder contour, and powder always pans out better on people who are prone to normal-oily skin. It’s just a known fact that powder will dry out previously dry skin. However, with the right base foundation, this can be easily fixed.

Now, by law, we can only have one winner. The fact of the matter is, once I purchased the SL palette, I was in love. A love I knew surpassed the ABH palette. The blendability is superior, the pigmentation is off the charts, and the ONLY downfall this product has is not being able to refill it individually. Which is a matter of cost. I would gladly pay $46 every time my favorite colors run out. It’s really the pigmentation and the blendability of the ABH in comparison to the SL that it falls short. By no means does it suck in the matter of either, but if we’re COMPARING, I’m going with SL 100%. 

****UPDATE 10/02/2016****

Kat Von D has FINALLY released refillable shades for the SL palette! Wahoo! They are only available on Sephora.com right now as far as I know. The highlight shades retail for $14 and the contour shades retail for $16!

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SIDENOTE: When I looked on Sephora’s website to research the reviews on both palettes, I found that the ABH palette had 754 reviews in total and the SL palette only had 534. Probably because the SL palette is newer. However, the SL palette had 440 5star ratings with more than 200 less reviews, and the ABH palette only had 475. So even though less people have reviewed SL, the percentage of 5star ratings was 82% whereas the percentage of 5 star ratings for the ABH was only 62%. You can’t argue with math. These are facts.

SHADE LIGHT BY KAT VON D WINS!!!

If you are still with me thank you thank you THANK YOU for reading! I know it was long but getting you the facts thoroughly and my personal opinion was important to me. If you have questions or comments please reply- I would love to answer either! Or if you have any suggestions or requests on future posts please let me know. You’re all wonderful. Happy contouring!

Xoxo Shelby