Sunday, October 28, 2012

$500 Sephora Giveaway + Favorite High-End Products!

Each of the channels below are giving away 2 $50 Gift Cards from Sephora! Subscribe to all of the ladies below for a chance to win, and Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter for a better chance of winning!  Check the video down below for more details and an overview of my favorite high-end products that can be found at Sephora :)


Saturday, October 27, 2012

Fall Beauty Wish List - Nivea Express Hydration Primer

Time for an update on my fall beauty wish list - and a product at the very top! As you all know, I'm a sucker for drugstore beauty items AND multitasking products, so this is right up my alley! Nivea is launching a new 2-in-1 product, the Daily Essentials Express Hydration Primer.

It's no secret that primers have always been an essential part of my makeup routine. If I'm taking the time to apply my makeup I want it to last, which is why I typically take the extra time to apply a primer underneath my foundation. Also, I'm sure we've all made the "mascara face" from time to time when applying our makeup.  Even these slight movements can cause your foundation and concealer to settle into the fine lines on your face. A primer provides a barrier between your skin and your makeup, preventing creasing and making the texture of your skin appear more even and flawless.

The only problem? Applying a primer does require extra time in your morning routine and in my past experience the options at the drugstore have been few and far between. Now you can see why I can't wait to try the new Nivea Primer product. 
During my morning rush the Express Hydration Primer can serve as a moisturizer and primer in one. I already moisturize my face every single day, so using this product would add extra benefits without the extra time. Right off the bat I thought this was a pretty innovative concept. The fact that you can find it on the shelves at your local drugstore was the icing on the cake. The press release also notes that it provides long-lasting hydration - perfect for those icy cold, winter months that are headed our way!

BONUS: I noticed that the brand will be launching two formulations, one for Dry and Sensitive skin as well as a Normal to Combination formula.

*For all of my UK readers, this product should be available to you ASAP! I'm hoping that I'll be able to find it in the States soon as well. I'm so excited to add this new product to my collection and wanted to share it with you! Keep a lookout for future fall wish list posts and scroll down for more photos and some videos talking more about the new Nivea primer product :)

What's on your fall beauty wishlist?

Thursday, October 25, 2012

Everyday Fall Makeup Tutorial

As the leaves outside start to change, so does my makeup. As much as I love dark and dramatic fall makeup looks, I think it can be fun to incorporate some festive, autumn-inspired colors into your everyday eye looks as well. It's a wearable way to have fun with the changing seasons. This particular look has been my go-to for the past few weeks and I've been wearing it in a lot of my more recent videos. I guess you could call it my "filming face" :)  I hope you enjoy this look and don't forget to scroll down for the video tutorial!

Products Used:

NYX "In the Woods" eyeshadow trio (shimmery cool taupe, shimmery red-brown, shimmery cream highlight) // Maybelline Expert Wear eyeshadow in "Linen" // Covergirl "Silver Spark" Liquiline Blast eyeliner // Maybelline MasterPrecise eyeliner pen // Covergirl Lashblast Volume mascara

Cargo Medium Matte Bronzer // Josie Maran Argan Illuminizer // MAC Creme Cup lipstick // NYX Mega Shine lipgloss in "Sugar Pie"

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Sunday, October 21, 2012

Concealer Trick for Break Outs

One of the reasons I love makeup so much is because of the transformations, big and small, that can be made with a little bit of color and optical illusions. This post is all about one of those tiny transformations. Break outs and acne can be super frustrating and really weigh on your self-confidence. I used to think that the only answer was loading up my problem areas with tons of concealer and calling it a day. I was never very happy with the results, if anything it made my trouble spots more noticeable. It just looked like a big blemish with lots of concealer on top :P

The concealer trick in the video below helps to eliminate the shadow that is cast by a large blemish, which "erases" the mark while using less product. All you need is a good concealer, a concealer brush (or pointed eyeliner brush), a fluffier brush and some setting powder. Check out the video below for an in-depth description of this easy solution!

Products Used:
-Kat Von D Tattoo Concealer in "Sand"
-Sigma E40 brush
-NARS Pressed Powder in "Beach"

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Thursday, October 18, 2012

The Best Top Coat Ever! (No Really!)

So you've painstakingly applied a fresh coat of nail polish, a true labor of love. A few hours later while going about your daily activities, you glance at your nails and notice a horrifying, microscopic little chip in your beautiful new mani. Sound familiar? I can't tell you how many times this has happened to me. As a lover of nail polish and nail art I thought it was just an unavoidable thing.... right?

A few months ago I received the *Silky Nail Polish Vibrant Silks collection in the mail. Bright, happy colors, beautiful packaging, cruelty free - what's not to love? The kit also came with a pink-hued top coat called the Silky Wet Look Topper.  As I tried out the polishes I realized that not only were the colors vibrant and beautiful, but these particular polishes seemed to last an insanely long amount of time. So long that it was almost borderline bizarre.  

After noticing the Silky Wet Look Topper wasn't as thick and goopy as other heavy-duty top coats I've tried - ahem Seche Vite - I began wearing it over my other nail polish shades. I was no longer seeing tiny, irritating nicks in my lacquer by the 2nd or 3rd day... or the 4th or 5th. In fact 99% percent of the time there would be gaps around my cuticle after two weeks of nail growth and still no chips.

I'm aware of how bold a statement this is, but I honestly don't even remember what it's like to look at chipped, messy manicures anymore. It's not even a concern.  Not that my world revolves around doing my nails but it's nice to be able to redo them when I feel like it, versus having to apply new polish because my nails look like a hot mess. And my world kinda revolves around doing my nails... sometimes ;)

I recently posted a photo of my current "do" on Instagram. I applied two coats of the Wet Look Topper and hadn't retouched it once:

Here is a close up of my nails two and a half weeks later. Look how much my polish has grown out and still not a chip in sight. Not to mention the top coat kept my nail wraps perfectly in place as well:

I have no idea what's in this top coat to make it so amazing but the words "unicorn tears" come to mind.

One of my favorite things to do through my youtube channel and my blog is to share beauty tips, tricks and, of course, "life changing" products.  And this is one I'm really excited about, if you can't tell ;)

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Monday, October 15, 2012

I Created A Tag! | "I ♡ Drugstore Makeup"

I've been throwing around the idea of creating my own tag video for a while now. So when MakeupByFran contacted me about doing our own tag, I jumped at the chance. And then we had to come up with a topic..... dun dun dun. So after bouncing some ideas around we decided on a subject that I know a lot of my viewers and readers really love: drugstore makeup!

My love affair with inexpensive beauty products, like most of us, began in high school. The price range fit perfectly with my teen budget and allowed me to experiment and practice with a lot of different kinds of products. As I got older and throughout college, I started branching out and trying more high-end brands. In fact, when I first started my YouTube channel I rarely talked about any drugstore products at all. A tragedy, I know! About a year or so ago I started noticing a lot of drugstore cosmetic companies stepping up their game and coming out with collections that, in my view, rivaled many high-end products out there. I started incorporating many more of these items in my videos and tutorials and really fell in love with so many different types of products from the drugstore. And alas, the "I Love Drugstore Makeup Tag" was born!

  Not only have I listed the tag questions below but also some of my previous blog posts that have featured these beauty finds, which may be helpful if you'd like to know more about an individual product :)

The Questions:

1. What is your favorite drugstore makeup brand overall?
2. What are your favorite face, cheek and lip products?
3. Least favorite product?
4. What is the best makeup bargain?
5. What is your favorite underdog product? (Something you love that often gets overlooked?)
6. A drugstore product that is overpriced?
7. Show your best drugstore dupe(s)!!
8. Drugstore product that isn't worth the hype?

- using Revlon Colorstay Whipped foundation

-using Revlon Colorstay eyeshadow quads

- using Garnier BB Cream

-both using Wet n Wild "Comfort Zone" eyeshadow palette

-using Wet n Wild "Walking on Eggshells" Trio

Bold, Berry Lip Tutorial - using Revlon Fuchsia lipstick

Thank you for reading and I hope all of you are well!

What are some of your favorite products from the drugstore?

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Saturday, October 13, 2012

Edgy Yellow Halloween Makeup Tutorial

It's crazy to think that Halloween is almost here! Normally, I post my Halloween tutorials a week in advance but this year I thought I would get a jump on it and try a look using some fierce, bold colors.  I thought a yellow and black look would be great for this time of year because these colors will definitely get you noticed and are very.... festive!  Check out the video tutorial below as well as some of my thoughts on the Revlon Colorstay quad I used for this look :)

Products Used:
Urban Decay e/s Primer Potion  //  Scotch Tape  //  NYX Jumbo Eye Pencil in Milk //  Revlon Colorstay "Bombshell" eyeshadow quad  //  Maybelline "Linen" Eyeshadow  // Loreal Liquid Pencil eyeliner //  Maybelline MasterPrecise black eyeliner pen  // MAC Carbon eyeshadow  // Covergirl Lashblast volume  // Ardell Self Adhesive false lashes in 120S

WetNWild "Heather Silk" blush  // Milani Luminoso baked blush as highlight  // Revlon Colorburst lipstick in Soft Nude  //  Revlon Colorburst lipgloss in Bellini


Revlon Colorstay Eyeshadow Quad in "Bombshell"

I've really been enjoying these Revlon Colorstay eyeshadow quads so much! They are definitely one of my favorite products from the drugstore. Typically I consider myself a pretty harsh critic of drugstore eyeshadows and I'm not usually a fan.  In past experiences, other brands seemed to lack color payoff and blendability. Not so with the Revlon Colorstay shadows.  I picked up "Bombshell" a few weeks back and I'm happy to say this set is as high quality as the other quads I've tried. I knew right away I wanted to do a punchy, graphic look with it. Keep scrolling for swatches...

My favorite thing about the Colorstay line is the carefully selected assortment of colors. They work very well together and the highlight, lid color and crease shades are always very evident, even for a beginner. If not, they include an illustration on the back - which I may or may not follow ;) Not to mention the silky texture makes application pretty effortless.  My personal fave in the quad is the the rich, gunmetal grey. You can create an entire smokey eye look around this color alone!

Have you tried any of the Revlon Colorstay quads? And more importantly, what are you gonna be for Halloween this year? ;)

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Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Fashion Feature: New Accessories from Charming Charlie

Hi lovelies! I wanted to share a recent discovery with you, or maybe I've just been out of the loop and the last to know about this hidden treasure! Either way, I thought this post could benefit all of you fashionistas on a budget out there.  In fact, I want to make this a regular thing on my blog. I'm going to start posting more on fashion-related trends and tips that I'm loving.

To kick it off, I give you: Charming Charlie!
*cue the trumpets*

If you follow me on Twitter or Instagram (@MakeupbyAlli), you may have noticed many of my recent fashion and OOTD posts have featured baubles from Charming Charlie.  It's easy to see that I'm obsessed.

So.. what is it? This place is like crack for accessory lovers. The actual store is surprisingly large, comparable in size to an Express or H&M - and it's all accessories, all day. The first thing that made me drool was the fact that all of the jewelry is sectioned off into every color group you can imagine.  There's a gold area, silver, green, blue, purple, white (just to name a few), a separate nook for pearls and rhinestoned jewelry, and my personal favorite: the black and gold section. Le sigh. As if that weren't enough, each color group also has racks of matching watches, purses and clutches.  All equally adorable of course. If I remember correctly there's even a mini shoe and hair accessory "department" as well.

Why I love it? The second drool factor is the pricing. With most items ranging anywhere from $5-$15, it's a great place to stock up on trendy pieces without breaking the bank. A few items are more pricey, watches tend to run closer to $20. I say that with a chuckle because it's still extremely reasonable compared to higher end versions - and let me tell you, these watches are cute!

The downside? Besides spending my grocery money on shiny spikes and studs, the only downside that I can find is that there isn't a Charming Charlie on every block. On the website you can find store locations in most states, minus a few in New England and the Midwest. I first discovered their online store and then after a little browsing found a store location a few miles from my house.  SCORE! I was pleasantly surprised to see that the actual store location didn't possess the cheesiness of the website, which didn't do the quality of the jewelry much justice.  However, they are currently revamping their site so let's hope that means a better online shopping experience for those who don't have a store location near them. Unfortunately, it looks like that won't be launched until Spring 2013.  Kind of a bummer but hopefully it will be worth the wait!

A few of my favorite items from my first C.C. experience.  I especially love the chunky chain necklace and Chevron ring set!  I also thought the geometric bangles were unique and adorable, they even came with that tiny chain bracelet.
For the price, these jewels are surprisingly detailed, check out the trendy python accents on these pieces.

TIP: I would recommend making a list of specific trends/pieces you are looking for ahead of time. Otherwise you could spend 2 hours in that place! I didn't even make it to the bags and clutches on my first trip, the shopping side of my brain was on overload so I'll have to save that for another day ;)

That does it for now, just wanted to show you some of the pretties I picked up at my new guilty pleasure! Have you ever been to Charming Charlie? If so, what do you think? Tell me in the comments below!

Bold, Berry Lip Tutorial | Lasting & Wearable

One of my favorite types of tutorials to do are actually lip tutorials. It seems like such a simple topic but there are so many fun colors to choose from and different techniques that can help to enhance one of your most feminine features. It's no secret that I love me some nude lips. But more recently, I've been embracing the darker, more bold lip trend that I've been seeing everywhere this fall. I love this trend because it really does offer something for everybody. 

Maybe you prefer the more wearable, berry-hued lips that I'm rocking in the video tutorial, or do you dare to wear the dark and vampy mulberry-wine lips that have been popping up on the runways this season? 

No matter which colors you choose, it definitely comes with a few worries. How do I keep my lip color in place all day? How can I keep my lips looking full when darker colors tend to make them look smaller? Keep reading to find out!...

Step 1: Exfoliate and Moisturize! A wet washcloth is my inexpensive secret to a smooth pout.  Gently rub a damp washcloth over your lips to remove any dead skin and then quickly top with a good lip balm. Make sure you let it sink in for at least 10 minutes otherwise it will create a barrier making it more difficult for your lip liner to transfer. You want it to deeply penetrate and moisturize.

Step 2 (optional): Conceal, Conceal, Conceal. This may seem unnecessary but concealing around your mouth and outer edges of your lips adds a certain "j'ai ne se quoi" to your overall look. Bold colors attract attention to your mouth area, so you want your skin tone there to be flawless. That way others notice your beautiful lip color and not any blemishes or discoloration. BONUS: Topping your concealer with powder creates a barrier and helps prevent bleeding throughout the day!

Step 3: Lip Liner!  This may seem like an obvious step but what does it really do?  It creates a stain underneath your lipstick that keeps the color from wearing off patchy and uneven. It also helps keep your lipstick from travelling and bleeding. Using a darker liner can also add the illusion of fuller lips. I like to trace right over the "v" in my cupids bow (vs. really defining it), it's a trick I use to make my upper lip appear more voluptuous.

Step 3: Is it time for lipstick yet? Use the flat side of your lipstick to "color inside the lines" of the shape you made with your lip liner. Then flip it around to use the pointier side to contour the outer edges. Blot to seal in the color!

Step 4: Intensify. Add another layer of the same color or dab on a brighter shade just in the center of your lips.  This adds a more 3-dimensional look. Blot again!

Step Five (optional): Add a Gloss! Apply lipgloss only in the very center of your lips!  Gloss travels so it will end up at the outer edges eventually.  Clean up any mess ups with concealer and voila! 

- Don't forget to watch the video tutorial for a more in-depth explanation ;) -

Products Used:
-Smith's Minted Rose Lip Balm
-Kat Von D Tattoo Concealer in Sand w/ Sigmax F82 brush
-Elf Kabuki Brush with leftover NARS Pressed Powder in Beach
-Rimmel Exaggerate Lip Liner in Epic
-Maybelline Lipstick in Blissful Berry
-Revlon Colorburst Lipstick in Fuchsia
-Makeup Sponges for blotting
-F70 Concealer brush to clean up the edges
-NYX Glam Gloss in Velvet Ropes 

Friday, October 5, 2012

New NYX Glam Gloss Aqua Luxe - First Impressions & Swatches

Hey loves!  It's Friday and what better way to glam up your weekend look than with some luxurious, sparkling lip glosses!  I recently spotted these NYX Glam Glosses on a display in my local Ulta, and it's easy to see why they caught my eye. They literally sparkle like diamonds, and you know what they say about girls and diamonds...

These intensely shimmering glosses definitely aren't for the faint of heart. NYX describes the Glam Gloss Aqua Luxe line as "11 shades of rich glitter with a hint of color".  The shades that I brought home are Velvet Ropes, Disco Playground and VIP.  I adore the club-loving names and I think they are very fitting, considering these are the perfect finishing touch to a nighttime, going-out makeup look.

First Impressions & Swatches:
I'll be honest, on the first try I wished they posessed a little more pigmentation. But after a little experimentation, I much prefer the hint of color they provide because it makes them the perfect lipstick toppers! When layered over a similar lipstick shade, they add dimension and eye-catching sparkle without changing the color underneath too drastically (something more heavily pigmented glosses tend to do). Also the glitter (most apparent in the swatch photo taken with flash) is very dimensional yet wearable at the same time.  It creates a really cool 3-D effect!

Top swatches: Natural Daylight
Bottom swatches: With Flash
Swatches from Top: Velvet Ropes, Disco Playground, VIP

These little babies really scream "holidays" to me. I can't wait to pair VIP with a nude lipstick for an instant glam look and I've been loving Velvet Ropes over the bold fuchsia and hot pink lipsticks I raved about in my September Favorites post.

To mix it up, try pairing the golden glitter of Disco Playground over a red lipstick for a trendy twist on a classic look.

The only shade I would wear on its own is VIP because it has enough color payoff. The other two shades would be most flattering layered over lipstick. Let me know which colors are your favorites from this glamorous new line from NYX!

Thursday, October 4, 2012

September Beauty Favorites & Thank You!

Can you believe it's October already?!  I know it sounds cliche, but I have no idea where the entire month of September went. That being said I'm super excited for all that October has to offer: pumpkin spice lattes, changing leaves and Halloween!  Not to mention it's my boyfriend's birthday month ;)...

Besides showing you all of my favorite products and trends of the past few weeks (bold lips and stiletto manis, oo la la), I want to take this time to tell you about a huge milestone that I've reached on my YouTube channel. On October 1st I reached 100,000 subscribers - a goal that I never imagined possible when I started out.  I really consider my channel my baby and on that day I felt like a proud mama - cheesy but true!  I want to thank each and every one of you so much! Whether you mostly follow my blog or are subscribed to my channel as well, your support means so much to me.  I never could have done it without you!

And as for my favorite products of September, I've got some good ones! Especially in the nail department.  I've been particularly obsessed with my bright lipsticks and the ever-so-trendy "stiletto" manicure (which is really a fancy name for pointy nails).  In the video included in this post, I'll be showing some of my favorite polishes of the moment as well as my new Melody Ehsani/NCLA nail stickers (blog post to come). I've been going gaga over these since receiving them in the mail.

Favorite Products of September:

-Burt's Bees Intense Hydration Night Cream w/ Clary Sage

-NARS Luster blush

-Essence of Beauty Comb/Eyeliner/Eyebrow brush

-Volumizing teasing comb (Sally's)

-Revlon Colorburst Lipstick in 030 Fuschia

-MAC Pink Nouveau lipstick

-Revlon Colorstay Polish in Bare Bones

-Revlon Colorstay Polish in Rain Forest

"I See You" and "I Don't Play Nice" Sets

Thanks for checking back and I hope you are having a lovely start to your October!

Monday, October 1, 2012

Blog Update & Hair How-To: Bombshell Waves

Hey everybody!  You may have noticed that my blog has a new look!  I was super excited to give it a renovation and I can thank my graphic design background for my constant need to tweak and change the design of my blog and YouTube channel. It's kind of a curse....

However, I've settled on a new, modern look and my YouTube background will be soon to follow. This is just a little taste of what that will look like.  Plus, I really felt the need to make my little piece of Blogger Land more user friendly and hopefully easier on the eyes as well! I'm also excited to let you know that I'll be posting more often and have lots of exciting things in store for my readers here.  I appreciate you all and thank you for continuing to check in with me and all of my beauty ramblings!

So now onto the hair tutorial! I originally started wearing these big, "bombshell" waves to help blend my hair extensions in with my natural hair (I'll be doing another post entirely dedicated to my hair extensions and how I wear and care for them).  Since then it's evolved into one of my favorite styles to wear out at night, when I'm filming or anytime I want to look a little more glammed up.  And the best part is it's easy!

Products Used:

-Scunci large round boar bristle brush (Drugstore)
-Remington blow dryer (Wal-mart)

-Kenra Platinum Hot Spray - Protect & Finish 20 (Ulta)
-Hot Tools 1 1/2 in. Gold Curling Iron (Ulta)
-Big Sexy Hair Spray & Play hairspray (Ulta, all-time fave!)
-Ion Paddle Brush (Sally's)

I hope you enjoy the video tutorial AND the new blog design!