13 Best of 2013

I know it’s been quite a while since last my last post here on OBbeauty, but hey at least I’m back, and I’m back for good. To kick off 2014, I thought I’d share my top 13 beauty products of 2013 with you guys! Some of these are new, some are old goodies but all have been absolute essentials to my beauty routine this past year.

Maybelline The Falsies Mascara1. Maybelline The Falsies Mascara in Waterproof – This is hands down the best mascara I have ever tried. It’s long lasting and waterproof, which means it holds a lash curl like nobody’s business. Additionally, it provides just the right combination of length, volume and separation to make your lashes  look twice their size. Although the formula is a little wet at first, after a few days of use it thickens up and is easier to both apply and plump the lashes up.

Benefit Watts Up2. Benefit Watt’s Up – To be honest, at first I wasn’t sure if I would like this product. It has impractical, bulky packaging, and cream products have the tendency to fade on me, however this highlighter came out on top once I had acquired the right method of application. The trick with Watt’s Up is to use your finger to apply a very small, sheer amount on the high points of the face: cheekbones, browbone, cupid’s bow etc, creating a beautiful luminosity. Using a brush or putting the bullet directly onto the skin leaves your face looking too sheeny and oily, however controlled application imparts quite a natural glow. The champagne color is neither too pink or gold, perfect for everyday.

13 Best of 2013 cheek swatch

3. NARS Laguna Bronzer – This is one of the most hyped products in the beauty bubble, yet deserves every bit of praise. I always thought Laguna would be much too light for me, however I got talked into purchasing it at Nars’ infamous Bleeker St. store, and ever since I haven’t been able to put it down. People always categorize bronzers into “contour” and “bronze up” shades, however this one manages to fit into both. It has a slight shimmer, making it perfect to create a bronzed, tan effect for the summer, or paler days in the dead of winter, however the shimmer is subtle enough to make it a very natural contour. The shade is also perfection, as it’s neither too orange or too red, like Casino can be.

4. Tarte Blush in Exposed – As you can see, this one has been so loved it’s near death. This was in fact the very first blush I ever purchased, and despite short-lived love affairs with various other blushes along the way, I still find myself going back to Exposed time and time again. Whenever I travel I have to throw it in my bag too – it just goes with everything. The plummy tone really imitates my natural flush, and is perfect to accompany bold lippies in the fall and winter. The only con about this blush is that its super soft, and the moment I hit pan it broke into several large pieces. I can assure you I was not amused.

Laura Mercier Pressed Setting Powder 6. Laura Mercier Pressed Setting Powder – Travel friendly, sheer, mattifying, and not messy in the least bit. A light dusting of this powder all over the T-zone and under the eyes and your makeup is fortified from sweat, oil and that general disappearing act makeup tends to perform by the end of the day. This was especially essential during the intolerably hot summer I endured in New York City this past year, in addition to those fall days when I would rather carefully select which parts of my face would exude glow than just all over.  Although I equally love my MUFE HD Powder and my Hourglass Ambient Lighting Powder (review coming soon), this takes the cake as most compact and easy to slip into the purse.

13 Best of 2013 eye swatch7. MAC Eyeshadow Quad – Okay, so this is sort of cheating, but MAC eyeshadows have seriously dominated my 2013 eye looks and I couldn’t choose just one to sum up the entire year! These four have definitely been my most worn shades: All That Glitters (upper left), Ricepaper (upper right), Woodwinked (lower left), and Soba (lower right). All That Glitters is a pinky golden shade that is absolutely stellar all over the lid when I have a tan – other seasons it pulls pink to the extreme that I look a bit sickly. Definitely was my go-to shade this summer! Ricepaper is a sheer champagne with a yellow undertone, perfect for either a subtle highlight or for an all-over lid color. I love Ricepaper for a casual everyday look as it has a definitely sheen, but isn’t shimmery at all, and contrasts great with sharp black eyeliner. Woodwinked is a shimmery golden bronze that almost changes color in different lighting. In the top picture, it appears as a darkened copper, however in different lighting in the other picture, it is a light golden shade. Because of this quality, it makes a perfect one-shade eye look! Finally is Soba, a camel brown with gold shimmer running through it ideal for darkening the corner of the eye or sweeping under the lower lashline for additional definition.

L'Oreal Infallible Eyeshadow in 999 Eternal Black 8. L’Oreal Infallible 24-HR Eye Shadow in Eternal Black – This fantastic black shadow was my go-to smoky eye product for 2013 for sure. I already knew I loved these shadows with previous ventures in other colors (review here), but this pigmented black has just the right amount of drama and versatility that has made it a 2013 standout. It’s brilliant silver glitter particles makes it pop when patted on top of the lid, while it can be smudged out to achieve a lived-in, smoky effect for a night out.

9. Stila Stay-All-Day Waterproof Eyeliner – This favorite isn’t pictured here because I actually have to run out and grab a new one, but it has been a holy grail eyeliner of mine since high school. I’ve tried a myriad of liquid liners, but none of them are as pigmented, long-lasting, and easy to use as this one. For more info, my full review can be found here

Bobbi Brown Corrector Light Bisque10. Bobbi Brown Corrector in Light Bisque – Yet another holy grail product. This pinky-peach toned corrector counteracts blue undereye circles and give tired eyes a lift in the morning. Layered under concealer, I can completely eliminate all the discoloration and fatigue under my eyes. The product is best applied with fingers as the natural heat from your finger will warm up the product, allowing it to blend seamlessly into your skin. I have loved this corrector for years, and this is in fact my third pot of it!


13 Best of 2013 lip swatch11. NARS Velvet Matte Lip Pencil in Dragon Girl (left) – After purchasing this magenta infused red this summer, I have sworn off all other reds and haven’t looked back. This pencil is a breeze to apply and while it’s finish is quite matte, it isn’t drying on the lips and lasts for ages. Additionally, it’s blue undertones whiten your teeth and juxtaposes nicely with my yellow skin.

12. Clinique Chubby Stick in Mega Melon (middle) – This shade was the most surprising favorite of the past year. My own mother actually picked out this color for me, as she was sick of me sporting bright lips all the time, and I’ve found it to suit my skintone perfectly. It has a slight bit of shimmer running through it, as obvious in the swatch above, but looks incredibly natural on the lips. Just one mirror-less swipe of this twistable crayon instantly livens my face, especially in the winter when my lips seem to lose the little pigment they have at all. I would recommend these chubby sticks to anyone without a doubt, the shade range is great and they are moisturizing enough to not need an extra balm before!

13. MAC Lipstick in Crosswires (right) – Crosswires is a cremesheen formula with a shade that’s a step up from a my-lips-but-better. The color is perfect: a lively coral-pink but not bright enough to attract too much attention. It brightens my face and adds needed pigmentation to my lips in a subtle, polished way. Even better, the cremesheen formula is long-wearing and moisturizing on the lips, making it ideal for long work days. When I don’t feel like putting the maintenance into a bold lip but still want to look put together, Crosswires has my back.

Hope you enjoyed my 2013 favorites! What were your most used products from last year?

How to: Gel Eyeliner Cat-Eye

how to gel eyeliner 1If you know me in person or have previously read my blog, you may know I’m a sucker for a great cat-eye. Not only are simple black flicks remarkably good at reminding people that yes asians do have eyes, but are also a simple way to sex up a plain, barely-there makeup face. Paired with either a neutral shadow and lip or a bold smoky eye and red hot lip, cat-eyes are versatile and timeless – a style every girl should be able to whip out of their back pocket.

For you beauty newbies who are intimidated by the infamous cat-eye, I’ve broken down the process into 4 steps using gel eyeliner.  Although I prefer liquid eyeliner, specifically Stila’s Stay-All-Day Waterproof Liquid Liner, it can be a bit tricky to use for first-timers, and definitely requires practice. Gel eyeliner, however, is super easy to use as a fine tipped brush allows for both control and precision when applying. My brush of choice is a small angled synthetic brush, such as the Sigma Small Angle E65 shown above. Classic pointed eyeliner brushes work too, however I find angled ones apply the line thicker and more quickly in addition to simplifying the creation of the flick! My staple gel liner is MAC’s trusty Fluidline in Blacktrack – it’s richly pigmented, doesn’t dry out (I’ve had mine for years) and has a smooth creamy texture that glides onto the lid.

*note that these steps are designated for after eyeshadow completion!

how to gel eyeliner 2Step 1: Start by creating a base line. Drag your brush from the inner corner of your eye towards the outer corner in a straight line. It’s okay if the line doesn’t hug your lashline near the outer corner – the overall finished line should be thinner near the inner corner and thicker near the outer corner. The bottom of the line can be jagged (we’ll fill this in later) but be sure to make the top of the line as smooth as possible.

how to gel eyeliner 3Step 2: Draw the flick! Extend a line from your lower lashline towards the end of your brow. The line should be angled as if it is a continuation of the lower lash line. Making sure the two “flicks” are at the same angle on both eyes can be tricky, so be sure to keep cotton swabs close by in case you have to adjust the flick or redo it completely.

how to gel eyeliner 4Step 3: Connect the line you drew across the lid to the flick! This can be accomplished easily with the angled brush by positioning the sharp angled tip of the bristles at the edge of the flick and sliding it towards line #1. Make sure the transition is smooth and smudge-free and try to keep the overall curve of the eyeliner as close to the natural curve of your eye as possible.

Step 4: Fill in the small gap between your horizontal line and your lashline. One of the most important parts of wearing eyeliner is to keep it close to the lashes! Finish with mascara and your eye is complete!

Now you are ready to rock your cat-eye look! This type of eyeliner is definitely not everyone’s cup of tea, but it is a classic Olivia look. I love wearing it with neutral eyeshadow so the crispness of the black is accentuated. How do you like to wear gel eyeliner?

NARS Radiant Creamy Concealer: A Review

NARS concealer 1This product has experienced a lot of hype in the beauty community, from blogs to youtube to word of mouth. I was pretty hesitant to try it; I desperately wanted to but was faced with the reality that I was quite content with the amazing Bobbi Brown Creamy Concealer – did I really need another concealer. Yes. Oh yes. After two of my suitemates brought this puppy home and let me play with it, I couldn’t help but scurry down to the Meatpacking Sephora and pick one up for myself.

The packaging is a bit unusual for a concealer: it is basically in a lip gloss tube, complete with a doe foot applicator. I’m slightly worried that by the time I get to the end of this product, there will be some at the bottom of the tube I won’t be able to get out, but since you only need a teeny amount at a time, it’s not a major concern at the moment. Like a true NARS product, the packaging is classy and simple, with their trademark black texture incorporated onto the top of the tube. I quite like the sleek and travel-friendly container, and it’s easy to find in a makeup bag.

I decided to go with the shade Ginger, which is described as having a “golden undertone for medium complexions.” It matches my face perfectly, and though it’s a bit dark for under my eyes, in combination with my Bobbi Brown Corrector (which is a bit light for me), it works out perfectly.

To apply, I dot the product onto my brow bones, a couple dots under the eyes, around the mouth and on any blemishes. I then blend with my ring finger under my eyes, and with a brush on the rest of the face. It’s liquidy texture is a dream to blend, especially because of its high pigmentation. The finish it produces on the skin is definitely “radiant” and glowy yet still natural. I find that it creases a small amount under the eyes, but when set with a powder, lasts the whole day!

This concealer can be found at Sephora or any NARS stores or counters for $28, pretty standard for a higher end product. I would definitely recommend this to anyone looking for a long lasting concealer, and I mean anyone. The product comes in 10 shades, ranging from ivory to a deep ebony.

What’s your favorite concealer?

Waterproof, Beach Ready Makeup

IMG_2402beach-ready 2

I’m finally home! And you know what that means – it’s beach time. Since my town is located right on the beach, going there is rather low-key event, not a 6-hour-beachathon complete with coolers and chairs etc. My friends and I will stop by the beach for about 3-4 hours, then maybe go somewhere else in town to grab a bite to eat or stop at our next location sans shower. Translation? I need to look presentable going to and from the beach and waterproof makeup is a must!

Enter my waterproof must-haves. For a base I smeared on some Neutrogena Healthy Glow Sheers Illuminating Tinted Moisturizer in Medium to Tan 40. This is great for a beach “foundation” as it not only provides an SPF of 30, but a thin tint to even out your skin tone without seeming like you tried to hard. Next up is Maybelline Instant Age Rewind Eraser Dark Circle Concealer in Medium. While I don’t feature this product on my blog very often, I do think it’s a great concealer. Does it work miracles like Bobbi Brown or NARS? No. But it’s great to throw on before heading to the gym or to the beach, times when I feel like using an expensive product will be a waste!  For my eyes I kept the look as simple and waterproof as possible. I used the MAC Paint Pot in Bare Study across the lids and the Make Up For Ever Aqua Liner in 13 (Black) to create a subtle cat eye to define the eye. With the Make Up For Ever Aqua Eyes Pencil in OL Black in the upper waterline and L’Oreal Telescopic Waterproof Mascara on my lashes the eyes were done! All of these products are completely waterproof and won’t budge even after swimming – in fact, the MUFE Aqua line was created specifically for synchronized swimmers.

While I prefer using powder to fill in the brows, I knew it would be gone in an instant with the sweat and salt in the air. So, I opted for a waxier formula that would really cling to my brow hairs and last longer. Reverting back to my old routine from freshman year of college, I used NYX Auto Eyebrow Pencil in Charcoal and Benefit’s Instant Brow Pencil in Medium in the middle sections of the brow.

On the cheeks and lips I wanted to use a product that would stain and provide lasting color. I dug up Benefit Cha Cha Tint from the archives of my collection to add the perfectly natural coral flush. This product is tricky – if you dot it on the cheek as directed by Benefit, you’re left with three faint dots that remain no matter how hard you blend. I apply it by swiping some product onto my finger from the brush, then swirling my finger onto the cheek. The circular motion prevents the product from settling on the skin at first contact and eliminates the possibility for an uneven stain. For my lips, I apply the products right onto the lip from the brush and blend with a finger.

The finishing touch was a spritz of Urban Decay’s All Nighter Spray, which I reviewed here, and I was off to the beach! This makeup lasted me all day, even after trips into the water and to the gym!

Do you wear makeup to the beach? Let me know!

Face of the Day: Shocking Coral

FOTD Shocking Coral 1 FOTD Shocking Coral 2I realized I haven’t done a Face Of The Day in quite a while, so I thought I’d share today’s look with you!

Today was nothing special, just going to work, out to dinner and then my suite for the night. Since I work at a luxury PR firm that’s filled with young, stylish women I like to dress to impress when I come into the office, completing my looks with fun yet polished makeup looks.

FOTD Shocking Coral 3I start every look with a foundation of course, and since I’m trying to use up my sample of the YSL Le Teint Touche Eclat Foundation, this was my base product of choice today. To hide my scary dark circles I reached for the classic Bobbi Brown Corrector in Light Bisque, and then applied NARS Radiant Creamy Concealer in Ginger over the top (review on this coming soon!).  The concealer was also dabbed under my brows, around the mouth and on a couple red splotches on my jaw to create a flawless complexion! To set my base I lightly dusted MUFE HD Powder all over to prolong the lifespan of my base and diminish the shine. Both the concealer and foundation emit a rather lovely glow that usually looks gorgeous, but in 90 degree heat I want to be as matte as possible! My base isn’t complete without contour, so I blended my favorite bronzer of the moment, Stila Sun Bronzing Powder in Shade 2, beneath my cheekbones for a sculpted look. Since I knew I wanted to use a pinky lipstick to match my J.Crew blouse I used a pink blush as well: NYX Bourgeois Pig.

The first thing I swiped onto my lids was a primer of course, specifically Urban Decay Primer Potion, which keeps your shadows from creasing and migrating all over your face by the end of the day. I then used a flat shader brush to pat on MAC Retrospeck, a gold-silver glittery shade that instantly brightens up my eyes and gives my appearance an extra couple hours of sleep. MAC Soba made an appearance on the outer corners of the eyes and under the lashline for a bit of definition and subtle contour before Stila Stay All Day Waterproof Liquid Eyeliner swooped in to produce my signature cat-eye. Two coats of Maybelline The Falsies Waterproof Mascara and some Anastasia Brow Powder in Medium Brown through my brows and the eyes are done-zo.

Now for the most exciting part: the lips (and the saga that goes along with it). When the MAC Iris Apfel collection came out I was absolutely dying to get my hands on the lipstick, Party Parrot, however, being in the cow fields of central New York, I was not near any MAC stores or counters. I tried purchasing this treasured lipstick online but as per usual, the limited edition collection had sold out within minutes of its release on the MAC website. So I cried a little. Just kidding, but really I was pretty devastated. I recently heard that Shocking Coral from the Maybelline Vivids line was a dupe for Party Parrot – so I ran out (literally 5 minutes after confirming this on various beauty blogs) and bought it. And here, ladies and gentlemen, is Maybelline Shocking Coral on my lips. I definitely wouldn’t call it a coral, but I love the fun bright color and the formulation – it’s incredibly pigmented and smooth, making it super comfy to wear on the lips. Will I be picking up more shades from this line? Absolutely.

I hope you guys enjoyed my Face of the Day!