Tag Archives: Feature

Trash or treasure, my empties this year.

I always love empties videos on YouTube because they often receive so many products that what the beauty gurus actually finish can be of interest. I have to say I’ve built up quite the little collection myself so I started using the Kathleen Lights approach and putting a little container in my makeup area to make sure I don’t just dump them and it actually surprised me what got cleared out. So let’s get cracking and see what I would buy again. I will put links below everything so you can also check out details and current prices on each product.

Glow Recipe Avocado Melt Sleeping Mask https://amzn.to/2JagkMp

This was an incredible find, it felt my skin feeling luscious and plump and is a great travel mask for a quick shot of hydration, there is a light scent to it but it’s not off putting so I can live with it.

Too Faced Peach Perfect Mattifying Setting Powder Peaches and Cream Collection https://amzn.to/2LzPXkE

I love the finish of this powder for light baking and setting under the eye area, it has a brightening effect. Be forewarned if you are sensitive to scent this is NOT for you. However, it is a lovely soft finish with that perfect fine consistency

Maybelline New York Instant Age Rewind Eraser Dark Circle Treatment Concealer https://amzn.to/2xx1tVS

The key to this concealer is the applicator, the sponge tip allows for flawless full coverage hiding any proof or my prior late night. I think the thinner formula also allows for better coverage without looking cakey and the price can’t be beat

Catrice Prime and Find Multi Talent Fixing Spray https://amzn.to/2JctZCH

I was very surprised but this one but I found myself reaching for this setting spray more than any other. It really was amazing at keeping my makeup intact even in 95 degree weather without changing the finish.

E.L.F. Cosmetics Hydrating Coconut Mist https://amzn.to/2XoNXmt

This is my 3rd empty of this because it has a lovely refreshing scent and makes my skin dewy on my “no makeup” days. This is always in my purse and car too, it’s just that good.

Hope you enjoyed my empty list and keep in mind the reason these all got good reviews is because they are the only things I use until empty (would you empty a product that sucked?) nothing is sponsored, all products purchased with my own $ and I do make a small commission if you shop through my affiliate links (to support my ELF mist habit)

Clarity R


My Skincare Fixation

When you are younger you think you are bullet proof, especially my generation in the late 90’s early 2000’s who were on the cusp of the social media age but were no where as savvy as the the current 20 something year old who have a 12 step skin care routine and can contour by middle school. We grew up in the grunge era, where a face mask was not exactly common and the idea of wearing sunscreen on a day to day basis hadn’t yet taken hold.

Now, looking back, I wonder how much I could have saved my skin if I had taken care of it even a little in its more resilient days. Too late now but brings us to my current topic, my skincare fixation. I am obsessed with masks, peels, treatments, moisturizers, serums, I want them all. I have no budget for skin care either, this is where I will spend $300 for a single cream if I think it will have a positive impact on my skin.

My face mask collection is staggering, I could probably do a mask a day for a month and not run out at this rate. I do have a few favorites which I will list below (not sponsored) given my parched and abused skin needs all the help it can get.

So the idea is what works for me? 40, with dry skin, redness and dark spots is a complicated mix but here are some holy grails at all price points and in no particular order.

Murad Resurgence Replenishing Multi Acid Peel. – this gentle peel allows for awesome exfoliating but does not strip my skin of essential oils and makes keeping a smooth texture easier

Clinique Moisture Surge Overnight Mask – nothing like super deep hydration for those who sleep in AC. This gel like consistency makes me feel plump and dewy by morning

Bliss Ex Glow Sion Radiance Boosting Eye Cream – again just the right dose of moisture and gentle on my aging skin, helps solve dark circles by replenishing moisture where I need it most

Revolution Skin Care London 10% Matrixyl – this anti wrinkle and fine line serum has been a game changer and has smoothed out so many tiny crinkles and prevented new ones from appearing

Summer Friday’s Jet Lag Mask – My Sunday Skincare joy, this deep and soothing mask makes me feel like I am at a spa and makes be super glowy which I love

Laneige Essential Power Toner – I never knew I even needed toner until I tried this one which helps me tighten and smooth the skin in prep for other products

If you are interested in any of these check Ulta, Sephora or click to the homepage and check out my Link in Bio page which has some special offers when you buy however these reviews are not sponsored, not PR, only my hard earned cash and what works for me.

Clarity R

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I Tried It…Tarte Babassu Foundation

I have had my eye on this product for a while after watching multiple reviews swear up and down that this was great for dry skin. That alone was enough to capture my attention but the $39 price tag held me back. Not just that to be honest, one of the worst foundations I have ever tried was from Tarte and it left a bitter taste in my mouth.

I wanted to give it another shot so years later, we roll into Ulta in Chicago (which one matters I promise) to see if we can try it. Surprise, the day I arrive Tarte happens to be hosting an event in store where a lovely Ulta rep (his name escapes me) was their to help me shade match and do a little try on. I am unsure if you are like me but often I feel a weird sense of pressure to buy something if a rep spends a great deal of time working with me so instead on waiting like I normally do I picked it up right away.

This happened to be day one of my 6 day trip and it was cold. The weather was rainy, my skin was ultra dry and I decided to wear the foundation the entire time I was there along with my regular regimen of travel products (see my earlier blogs on what’s in my travel makeup kit). To say I was disappointed was putting it mildly. The coverage was light to medium and if I tried to build on it, it got cakey and looked awful. The shade was perfect but after 6 days of wear I was unimpressed.

Fast forward to being back home this weekend in tropical weather and 85 degree days and I just couldn’t accept I had to throw this away or give it away when it was supposed to be the perfect mix of skin care and foundation, so with my full arsenal of products at home I tried again.

Sometimes love grows and I wager and this is one of those cases, after some experiments with my skin care and application, the past couple of days have totally changed the way this sits on my skin. In fact, I am probably picking up another at the Tarte sale next week. the coverage is now flawless, perfect semi dewy transfer proof so here are my tips for making Tarte work.

Use a gripping primer: I use the CoverFX gripping primer as I know this works for me

Use a sponge not a brush: This foundation sits better when pressed in with a beauty sponge, I use the Sonia Kashuk sponge from Target.

And most critical, you have to set this foundation with powder, something I normally avoid at all costs but the Fenty powder does a great job without drying me out.

What you end up with a is a dewy finish, with medium to high coverage that lasts all day. As I write this I am on a plane to Milwaukee with this foundation on 12 hours and going strong.

So from yet another plane, I am happy to say that Tarte came through. Let’s just hope my next try is as successful as this one

Clarity R


My Sephora Sale Wishlist

It’s amazing to watch how many of us wait for the Sephora sale with bated breath. It’s an opportunity to pick up some pricier products with a little price break. I fall into the VIB range so 15% off here I come! This is my how and why wishlist of must haves and must try items that I will be picking up this sale cycle.

Stila All Fired Up Glitter & Glow Eye Shadow Set Mini – this set at $25 before discount gives me a chance to try these popular liquid shadows that promise to pack a punch and give a high shine finish to my look, I also love the tones in this combo

Glow Recipe Watermelon Glow Ultra Fine Mist – clocking in at $28 this is more pricey than some of my favorites but I have heard rave reviews and after the sale I won’t feel so bad about the price

Tarte Babassu Founcealer Skin Care Foundation SPF 20 – Tarte and I have a love/hate relationship with their base products but as a person with dry skin, I have been curious about the formula and at $39 before the sale I am willing to risk it for the sake of my parched skin

Clinique Take Off The Day Cleansing Balm – after reading a ton of reviews, this balm seems like the one to try for my first product in this category at $29.50 it’s price is significantly lower than other options as well

Patrick Ta Major Glow Highlighting Mist in We Love Her – come on, have you seen the videos? This looks like dewy goddess dreams in a spray and I can’t wait to try it though at $32 I don’t know if I would have bought it without the sale

Farsali Unicorn Essence Primer Serum mini – $22 plus the sale seems like a worthwhile bet as I have recently been testing some other products from their line and love them all

Pat McGrath Mini Lust Gloss Trio – another opportunity to pick up a value item with even more of a discount at $25 before sale. I have always wanted to own something from her lines and her quality is bar none

Laneige Time Freeze Sleep Mask – at $39 plus sale I will jump at the chance to try this because this brand overall has been amazing for my skin. I adore the results.

That’s the end of my list of must haves, there are a few restock items like my Laneige Lip Sleeping Mask, Murad Spot Corrector and others I will pick up as well but all of the above are new! Happy shopping and tweet me at @reviewsclarity to let me know what you picked up!

Honorable mention: I had planned to pick up a couple Fenty powders and bronzers but they were kind enough to send them my way so thanks! I’ll keep you updated on the review dates.

Clarity R

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I Tried It…Lash Lift Edition

Lately I have been scrolling through Instagram with more purpose, since I found the incredible Forever Radiant spa and had such a wonderful treatment (see The Oxygen Facial from my I Tried It series) who else could be hiding?

One thing I have always been very curious about is lash lifts and lash extensions. I really rarely wear falsies though I love how they make a look pop. After some costing research and details on how often I would have to attend to both options, I chose a lash lift. The cost was not as overwhelming as lash extensions (due to the need for fills) and lasted longer (up to 8 weeks with proper care) so I jumped in head first.

After extension research and call, I decided on Polish as my choice and booked. The owner was polite and professional with great directions and answered all my concerns right away. In addition she was having a special that included a pedi which I sorely needed. The next day I was booked and ready.

The location itself was not ideal, tucked away behind a major building, it seemed a bit odd and I had a little trouble finding the entrance but once inside uptempo music was in order and the space was clean and tidy if a little dated. (The proprietor mentioned she would be moving to a more modern space shortly).

After laying down she placed caps over my eye lids and I felt the liquid being applied and lashes pulled back. It felt so strange, not painful, just odd. I kept thinking I felt something in my eye but it was mind over matter knowing all these liquids were being so close the eye area. To be honest, I lost track of time a little as I fell asleep for a short while. Soon enough it was over and she removed the pads and cleaned up with instructions to keep them dry for 24 hours, not to use waterproof mascara or rub at them too hard and a little spoolie for brushing.

Surprise, this morning my lashes were curled right back and made a huge difference in the appearance of my makeup. If I had know about this I would have done it years ago. Here are my before and after pictures with the proof and after I added my Milk Makeup Kush Mascara, I looked invincible. (Photos are just after the lift).

Would I do it again? Hell yeah. Now I want to try the extensions! Find the lash tech @polish_tt if you are this way.

As always, all opinions are my own, I paid for this service and this post is not sponsored.

Clarity R


Prime for success

Some people think primers are a waste but I have dry skin and I adore them. They give me that one extra layer of potential success for a flush, smooth finish and I often spend more on primers than I do foundations! My current go to combo is the Too Faced Hangover Primer all over and the ELF Poreless Putty Primer around the T Zone.

So of course after a major shopping binge I decided to try the Cover FX gripping primer and although it is pricey for a primer when there are so many great options at the drugstore I have to tell you, it’s a game changer!

The primer itself is very tacky, it has a gel like consistency and is very thick coming out of the tube. I almost felt like I was applying a thick honey to my face so I used it very sparingly the first time (about the size of a pea) but happy to see a little goes a long way. The amount not only covered my entire face but the results were mind boggling. I tried the primer over the course of several days with Colourpop No Filter Foundation, Clinique Beyond Perfecting Foundation and Jouer High Coverage Creme Foundation for varying levels of coverage and wear time and every single time I was wowed.

This primer not only gives you a flush base to work with making you skin appear smoother, the gripping aspect of the primer acts like super glue for all the foundations I tried with them all becoming budge proof and giving me a flawless finish for at least eight hour wear. Although I am a little camera shy, here’s a picture so you can see the finish on my skin.

Interested in this? Click on the link below to take a look. This review is not sponsored I bought all products with my own money and I think it’s the second coming. If you click on the link and buy I do receive a small commission but come on I have to subsidize my shoe habit somehow.


I Tried It – Shapewear

HoneyLove Sculptwear - Next Generation Shapewear

We all know that many of us struggle with weight but even those who don’t understand the power of great shapewear. With the advent of Spanx many years ago, we all expect women to have a flat and seamless appearance under the tightest dresses and with not an ounce of extra showing.

Although I don’t hold myself to that impossible standard, I do appreciate the help of great shapewear to give me an added boost of confidence by making me feel that rolls have been firmly tucked away. A good shapewear piece can actually make clothes fit a little better and give you a confidence booster. So I tried 3 of the biggest at all price ranges.

Spanx of course being the absolute innovator in the industry was my first choice. For the purpose of the experiment, I bought a similar style in all pieces tested, a short type piece which pulls up just to under the rib line and extends mid thigh. Next I went with HoneyLove, a new player in the game that promises to not rolls down (a big claim) and last, Maidenform, a brand readily available at most shopping malls and at a significant lower price point than the others.

Spanx – does is exactly as it says, it is Tight! Pulls in all those little ripples and rolls to provide a seamless and smooth finish under clothes. Can be pricey but made me feel great. One con is is rolls down on the tummy after time and I found myself heading to the bathroom to pull and yank the waistband back into place.

HoneyLove – More expensive that I anticipated but kept those tummy and back rolls firmly in check, and get this…It Never Rolled Down! I thought that was quite the claim to make but it has proven me wrong. This was a shocking experience as I never tugged, yanked or anything else all day. It kept me in without strangling me and I couldn’t believe how well it stayed up.

Maidenform – By far the most affordable and had the softest material, a cotton and spandex combo that felt soft against the skin. These were the closest to real underwear and felt gentle against the skin. It didn’t have the level of control the others did. It did roll down a little but not as much as the Spanx and really were the most comfy all day.

My vote? HoneyLove for the win. This was a game changer for me and I foresee myself using this far more often.

Clarity R

Want to try it? Click here: HoneyLove


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