I wrote about two Glossier Cloud Paint blushes a while back, and liked them so much I bought the other two colors available. They have quickly become my favorite blush formula, and I use them almost every day. They’re liquid blushes in a squeeze tube shaped like a tube of paint. The finish is similar to a blush stain, without actually staining your skin. They wear for me nicely for about 10 hours.
The trickiest part about the Cloud Paints is managing how much comes out of the tube, because you don’t need much. My technique involves keeping my finger over the tube’s hole and lightly squeezing the tube. Then I use a pin-sized amount, split between two fingertips, and apply one cheek at a time, blending quickly with my fingerpads. I prefer a fairly subtle application, but you can build them up to your desired intensity.
Haze is a berry shade that I think will be perfect for winter. It’s the darkest of the bunch but it’s become a surprise favorite, especially with berry, plum, or burgundy lipstick. Beam is described as a cool pink shade, but on my yellow undertones it’s a fairly warm coral pink. For a cooler pink I recommend Benefit’s Posie Tint, which is similar but much cooler-toned and a true blush stain.
Now that I’ve been using them regularly for months, my favorite is the still one I was most drawn to from the beginning – the peachy orange shade Beam. Dusk is a nice brownish pink that works well as a blush-contour and goes well with both neutral and red lipsticks. I wear all four regularly, depending on my outfit, eye makeup, and lipstick choices.
You can even get artistic and mix blush shades on the back of your hand for a custom color. Overall, I highly recommend this blush if you’re on the market for a liquid or cream blush. With winter coming, I like to use an all-cream base (with liquid or cream foundation, blush, and highlighter) for maximum dewiness in dry conditions. They cost $18, or two blushes for $30.
If you are a first-time Glossier shopper, you can use this code for a discount on your blushes (or whatever else calls out to you):
After my success with my first set of Glossier purchases, I placed another order. I purchased two shades of the new Cloud Paint blush, Beam (a coral-peach) and Dusk (a brownish nude), as well as the Generation G lipstick in Leo, a warm brown nude.
As you can see, Leo and Dusk are similar browny nude shades, and they work well together for a monochromatic 90s inspired look. Beam is a very flattering orangey peach shade.
Cloud Paint Seamless Cheek Color ($18)
Here’s Glossier’s description of Cloud Paint:
With Cloud Paint, we set out to make blush the high point of your routine. The pillowy, gel-cream formula is designed to be the most user-friendly cheek color in existence. If you can finger paint, you can Cloud Paint—simply dab it onto cheeks wherever you please. It’s seamless, sheer, and buildable (i.e. it’s hard to accidentally apply too much). Inspired by gradient pink NYC sunsets, the shades are optimized to work across a wide range of skin tones for a healthy, flushed-from-within glow.
When I first saw the Cloud Paints, I was reminded of my very first fancy beauty purchase, a Benefit Cheekies cream blush I bought way back in 2004 – a peach shade I lusted after for a solid year before buying. Then, of course, I barely used it and forced myself to throw it out last year, after a decade of languishing in my collection. I loved the paint style packaging, but the product was too powdery and hard to blend out. Luckily Cloud Paint has a much easier formula, that’s more of a sheer gel-cream that you can blend with your fingers.
Cloud Paint available in four shades: Dusk (brownish nude), Puff (light, cool pink), Haze (berry flush), and Beam (coral-peach). I decided on Beam, which was closest to my Benefit Cheekies blush, and Dusk, as I’ve been drawn to nude blushes lately, in the vein of Nars Douceur, Tarte Exposed, and Colourpop Aphrodisiac.
Cloud Paint in Beam
On my left cheek I wore Beam, which is a beautiful light orangey coral-peach. It’s very natural on my complexion, which I would describe as warm-toned fair skin with yellow-peach undertones.
Cloud Paint in Dusk
On my right cheek, I wore Dusk. It’s a beautiful warm brown with a tinge of pink. If you want a similar but less expensive shade, check out Colourpop Aphrodisiac, another browny nude. This shade can be used for light contouring, or layered underneath Beam lower on the cheek. For comparison, here they are next to each other:
As you can see, Dusk is darker and has a bit more impact, but they are both very natural shades. The packaging is very enjoyable to use, but I wish the opening was a little smaller – it’s too easy to dispense too much product. I recommend squeezing it out with your finger firmly over the hole to control how much comes out. It’s best applied and blended with clean fingers over bare moisturized skin, or a liquid or cream base product.
Generation G Sheer Matte Lipstick ($18)
Here’s Glossier’s description of Generation G lipstick:
Generation G is a new kind of lip color that gives the look and finish of just-blotted lipstick, without the blot. We’ve created a short list of the six most important shades, with dialed-down pigment loads for a casual look: Zip, Leo, Crush, and Jam, along with the super subtle Cake and Like, which give some oomph to lighter lip tones. They’re lipsticks that adapt to you, not the other way around, so they’ll appear a bit different on everyone as your natural lip color shows through. The effect? Diffused, matte goodness—just swipe it on.
There are six shades available: Cake (subtle peachy nude), Like (light powdery pink), Crush (hot raspberry pink), Jam, (deep berry magenta), Zip (poppy red), and Leo (warm cocoa brown). When they first released Generation G, I held off on getting it for a two reasons – I heard that it was too drying, and that there were packaging issues. When Glossier released its newest shades, Leo and Zip, they announced they re-formulated all of the shades to be less drying, and adjusted the packaging to be more secure.
Generation G in Leo
Leo is a sheer matte stain in a browny nude shade, similar to Revlon’s classic Toast of New York. Brown lipstick is a challenging trend, but one I’ve been attempting over the last year. Leo is my third brown lipstick, along with Toast of New York and Colourpop Grunge. It’s the easiest to wear of the three because of the sheer finish. I think it would work well across many skin tones, especially people with warmer-toned complexions.
Overall I enjoy the formula, but it comes with a few drawbacks. It’s not very long-lasting (2-3 hours or so), and it’s not moisturizing (so I like to layer Balm Dot Com on top, which cuts down further on the product duration). It’s a fairly small lipstick for the price, about the size of a cigarette. The packaging is white and plastic, and seems sturdy so far. If you’re looking for a sheer matte finish it’s a great option, but if you have very dry lips, it may not be the best for you.
If you are interested in trying Glossier, you can use this link for 20% off:
The term “nude lipstick” is one of the vaguest phrases imaginable. Nude lipstick can obviously mean any number of shades, depending on your skintone, and that makes the search for the perfect nude lipstick very challenging. This shade can also referred to as “my lips but better” (MLBB) lipstick, though the phrase nude lipstick usually conveys a paler, slightly more washed out tone. Here are my favorite nude lipsticks in just about every form imaginable – lip pencils, lipsticks, and lip balms.
Because nude lipstick can mean a lot of things, let’s get specific. I would describe myself as having fair, warm-toned skin with peachy yellow undertones and freckles. I have surface redness around my nose, but I don’t have cool-toned skin; it’s much more yellow-toned than pink-toned. I haven’t been shade-tested at MAC before, but I’m about NC10-15. In these pictures I’m wearing Glossier Perfecting Skin Tint in Light, and Glossier Stretch Concealer in Light under my eyes. For reference, here’s a picture of me without any lip product on:
As you can see, I don’t have very pigmented lips. They are naturally a pale, peachy pink shade that can look warm or cool-toned depending on the hour of the day. My favorite nude lipsticks all mimic this peachy shade. Take a look at these shades in action:
This shade is a balm stick, which is a lip balm in pencil form. It’s a very pretty sheer, peachy nude that wears very comfortably and doesn’t require a mirror to apply. However, it doesn’t last very long on my lips, maybe an hour or two at max.
This lipstick comes in pencil form, so it works as both a lip pencil and lipstick. This is the palest nude shade I own, and it’s the closest to my natural lip color. Because it’s so light, it’s great for balancing out a heavier smokey eye. It lasts for about three hours.
Urban Decay makes my favorite lip liner, a very creamy, long-lasting formula. This shade is very peachy and matte when worn on its own, and as a liner it adds definition and lasting power to the other shades. It lasts about
Until I took these pictures I had no idea how different the lip liner and lipstick shades were. They have the same name, but the lipstick is much pinker-toned than the lip pencil. (Important note: the Revolution formula is now discontinued, but there is a shade with the same name in the new Vice formula). I would describe this shade as a light coral nude in a creamy satin finish. It lasts about two to three hours on my lips.
This lip balm is one of my favorites, with a major caveat – they work best in cold weather. The bullets have metal casings and are prone to melting in the summer heat, or even from being in a pants pocket, so take care. But these are my winter/spring favorites, and I have a set of minis in almost every shade. Honey is the warmest toned shade, a nice sheer nude browny peach.
I placed my first Colourpop order around Christmas of last year. I had very exciting New Year’s Eve plans – a black tie wedding on the central coast of California. I knew exactly what I was going to wear: my grandmother’s 1960s floor-length black gown with rhinestone straps. And with that dress came a specific beauty vision – silver eyeshadow, black liquid liner wings, shimmery white highlighter, and glossy drink-proof red lipstick. So (of course) I needed new makeup. For the lipstick I went with Rimmel Provocalips in Play with Fire (a great drugstore true red). For the highlighter and eyeshadow I turned to Colourpop, a newish online-only retailer.
Super Shock Shadows ($5)
Colourpop has a new pressed powder eyeshadow, but the Super Shock Shadow is their original formula. It’s cream-t0-powder with a unique putty-like texture. They wear best layered on top of eye primer, and applied with your fingers. If you want to use a brush, synthetic works best. I have three shades in three finishes: I Heart This (silver taupe in a glitter finish), Liberty (silver in an ultra-metallic finish), and Mixed Tape (grey-taupe with a pearlized finish).
I’ve gotten the most use out of Mixed Tape, which I love to wear with a shimmery champagne powder shadow layered on top. I usually use I Heart This dotted in the center of a smokey eye to add glittery dimension. My favorite shade of the three is Liberty, the highly metallic silver shade I wore to the NYE wedding.
Brow Pencil ($5)
I’ve used Anastasia Brow Wiz in the past, but I finished it in only a couple months, which is way too quickly for a $21 pencil. Colourpop brow pencils have a similar waxy formula, but with less sturdy packaging; the spoolie on one end broke off after a few weeks. That said, I have extra loose spoolies from Sephora, so it’s not a major issue. Blondie is a taupe shade that’s slightly warmer toned than I’d prefer. It does a good job of filling in patchy areas, and sometimes I use it along with Glossier Boy Brow in Blonde for extra definition.
Pearlized Highlighters and Super Shock Cheeks ($8)
I have two shades of Colourpop highlighters: Fanny Pack (pearlized white) and Monster (a light pink duochrome). Fanny Pack is definitely my most-used shade. It might look ashy on darker skin tones, but I love the non-color glow on my pale skin. Monster is a unique highlighter shade that’s gotten more popular over the last year. It’s similar to the Anastasia Beverly Hills shade Pink Heart in the Moonchild palette, or the Kat Von D shade Opal in the Alchemist palette, although those are powder formulas. This is a cream formula, which unfortunately does not wear well as eyeshadow (I’ve tried).
I have one shade of the Colourpop Super Shock Cheek blush, Aphrodisiac. I was aiming for a similar shade to Nars Douceur, which was strangely discontinued a few years back (though I’ve since heard you can buy a refill on their website). Aphrodisiac is a warm nude shade that works well as a dual blush and contour. I find it applies best with a finger along the hollow of my cheek and then blended upwards.
Lip Primer, Lippie Stix, Lip Pencils ($5) and Ultra Satin Lips ($6)
Underneath all my Colourpop lip shades I like to use the Lip Primer. It’s a similar to MAC Prep and Prime Lip, but at a much better price ($5 vs. $17.50). It’s a clear waxy formula that helps the colors last longer and apply more easily.
Frida is beautiful coral pink in a satin formula. It’s bright and colorful but still flattering.
Grunge is a brown plum in a matte formula. The lip pencil is a bit patchy, which is common for darker shades, but it’s still workable. I wear the lipstick most often without liner, dabbed on top of balm. That turns it into a more wearable, natural nude shade.
I Heart This is a bright fuchsia pink in a matte formula. I got this shade by accident when I placed my first order. It’s the upside of Colourpop choosing the same name for a eyeshadow and a lipstick. However, Colourpop’s customer service was very nice and sent out the correct eyeshadow out quickly at no added cost. Because this shade was a happy accident, I don’t have the matching lip pencil so my application is a little messier.
Echo Park is a peachy nude. This is the one shade I have in the Ultra Satin Lip formula, a liquid lipstick that doesn’t dry down completely. Because of that, it’s much less drying than their Ultra Matte Lip formula, but one downside is the shade does transfer onto coffee cups, cheeks, cats, etc. It’s a lovely muted coral-nude shade that wears very comfortably.
I think Colourpop is a great option for drugstore-priced makeup, with a few packaging-related caveats. The eyeshadow packaging is very bulky, and the shades are impossible to depot, because the cream formula dries out if it’s left uncapped. The eyeshadows also have a shelf life of only one year. I’ve had these shades for 14 months and they’re still going strong, but I don’t expect them to last too much longer. The white packaging gets dirty easily, and the silver holographic decals rub off. But packaging is not a major priority for me, so I think the trade-offs are worth it for the friendly price point.
Overall I definitely enjoy these products, so if you’re looking for a reasonably priced makeup, check out Colourpop.
When one of my favorite beauty blogs, Into the Gloss, started a makeup brand two years ago, I felt twin, ambivalent feelings – lust for the perfectly-branded products, and worry that it was all hype. So I waited, read reviews, used up other products, thought it over, and finally placed a large order this summer. The products arrived with stickers and a baby pink bubble-wrap pouch that works as a dopp kit for a weekend-long trip. Over the last few months I’ve been road-testing the products, and to my delight, they’re really great.
Milky Jelly Cleanser ($18 for 6 fl oz)
Milky Jelly Cleanser is a rose-scented gentle cleanser with a very pleasant, squishy texture. Think micellar water in a jelly texture. I enjoy the cleanser, but this is the one item I don’t plan on re-purchasing. Instead, I’ll refill the well-designed bottle with a cheaper alternative, Cerave Hydrating Cleanser ($7 for 12 oz).
Perfecting Skin Tint in Light ($26)
I’ve been on the hunt for the perfect base makeup for years (seriously – I wrote about the “Foundation Quest” three years ago). After I wrote that post, I took a couple years off foundation entirely, sticking to sunscreen only and focusing on skincare. I still like the no-foundation look, but Glossier’s skin tint is great option if you want to subtly cover redness while letting freckles peek through.
Skin tint is lighter than every foundation, BB cream and tinted moisturizer I’ve tried. It is very sheer, with a dewy finish. If you are looking for a light-coverage base, it’s a wonderful option. I find that it’s best applied with fingers.
Stretch Concealer in Light ($18)
Stretch Concealer comes in a small screw-off jar, similar to RMS Un-Cover. It has a creamy texture and light coverage.
Some people might dislike a sheer concealer, but I find it works well under the eyes. It doesn’t entirely erase dark circles, which looks more natural to me than opaque coverage.
Boy Brow in Blonde ($16)
I’ve tried a lot of brow products over the years – brow powder (fades quickly), brow pomade (fussy application, a brush that requires cleaning), brow pencil (hard to make it look natural), and brow gel (the shade I got, Anastasia Beverly Hills in Caramel, was oddly glittery). Boy Brow is a brow gel with a waxy, pomade texture. This shade, blonde, is a nice neutral taupe. It is by far the simplest and fastest way I’ve found to tidy up and define my eyebrows.
Haloscope in Quartz ($22)
Haloscope is Glossier’s highlighter, and it comes in three shades, Quartz (champagne), Topaz (light bronze), and Moonstone (white/blue opal). I have Quartz, which I like for a very natural glow. It comes in a chubby twist-up stick, with a shimmery outer ring and a solid oil core. The stick allows for easy application, blended out with finger tips. This is not an over-the-top metallic highlighter, but rather imparts a dewy glow with very fine shimmer. If your skin is sensitive to coconut oil, you may want to find another product, but it hasn’t bothered or clogged my skin.
Balm Dot Com in Coconut, Rose, and Cherry ($12)
Balm Dot Com is a petroleum-based lip balm with lanolin, similar to Aquaphor. They work as great lip balms, but I also like them as cuticle creams. The balm comes in an unscented version as well as four flavors (Mint, Rose, Coconut, Cherry). Coconut and Mint are clear, Rose is slightly pink-tinted, and Cherry has a subtle rosy tint, similar to Benetint.
If you are interested in trying Glossier, you can use this link for 20% off:
When my friend invited me to his Harajuku themed birthday party, I had one thought: how will I do my makeup? In day-to-day life I prefer a fairly natural look, but it’s fun to go all out on occasion.
The day before, I did a quick run-through, featuring teal halo smokey eyes and bubblegum pink lips. I wasn’t satisfied – not as colorful or playful as I wanted. Also, the birthday party was a brunch, so I didn’t want to deal with my lipstick wearing off during a meal.
Instead, I decided to play up my eyes and wear a simple pink lip stain that would require no touching up.
How to Get this Ridiculous Look in (Only) 10 Steps:
1. Apply eye primer. My current favorite is Wet N Wild’s Fergie (yes, from the Black Eyed Peas) primer.
2. Brush a skin-toned matte shade (I use Lorac Cream) below your eyebrows at the edge of the smokey eye, so that you can blend it with the pink. If you don’t have a shadow that matches your skin, you can also use a translucent setting powder, like Make Up Forever’s HD powder.
3. Apply the pink shade to the crease and outer corner of your eye using windshield wiper motions. I used Urban Decay in Junkshow, a fuschia pink with a shimmery blue shift.
4. Pat on teal eyeshadow to the mobile lid and the center of the lower lashline, just below the iris. I used Urban Decay Deep End, which has great pigmentation.
5. Blend the pink and blue with a clean, fluffy blending brush. This will create a purple shade along the lower part of the crease.
6. Pat black eyeshadow with a small brush to the outer corner, and blend with circular motion. I used Urban Decay’s Blackout, the deepest, matte-ish black I’ve ever tried (I did side-by-side comparisons of the half dozen black shadows I have from various palettes).
7. For an inner corner highlight, I used a L’Oreal lime green loose shadow I bought in … 2004? Ssssh, powder makeup doesn’t expire quickly, and you’ll know it when it does.
8. Apply black liquid liner in a dramatic wing. I used Urban Decay’s 24/7 liquid liner. It has an ultra-fine brush for pointy wings, and once you put it on, it doesn’t budge. It has a slightly glossy finish. If you want a matte black shade, try Kat Von D’s liner in Trooper.
9. Brush on a coat of lash primer and several coats of black mascara on top and bottom lashes. I’m currently using Lancome’s lash primer and Givenchy Phenomen’eyes mascara. False lashes intimidate me, so I stick to lash primer and mascara.
10. Don’t forget your eyebrows! I brushed on a coat of Maybelline clear mascara and lightly filled in with Anastasia Dip Brow in Blonde. I brushed in the pomade with a clean spoolie.
I finished off the look with a ballet pink lip stain by heavily applying Revlon balm stain in Cherish, and then wiping it mostly off with a tissue (ok it was actually a piece of toilet paper).
With so much going on with the eyes, I kept the skin simple, with no foundation or concealer, but you do you. I did use two (2) highlighters – Benefit High Beam, a silvery pink, topped with Colourpop Fanny Pack, a white cream shade. To add color to my cheeks I used a lavender pink glittery blush, a shade from Tarina Tarantino’s blush pallete that I rarely get a chance to wear.
I finished off the look with two powders: Make Up Forever HD powder, which blurs, mattifies, and preserves the makeup, and Hourglass Ambient Lighting Powder in Diffused Light, a soft yellow powder that adds a radiance back to the conplexion, and reduces redness.
Luckily, living in New York City means even a dramatic look like this doesn’t attract second glances on the subway.
Top awards go to Sophie Turner, wearing a beautiful champagne smokey eye. The lower lash line is darker than the top, which usually makes eyes look smaller, but it’s expertly blended and makes her seafoam green eyes pop. To recreate the look, I’d use the Lorac Pro palette, with Champagne on the lids, Taupe in the crease, and Pewter blown out along the lower lash line. Sophie keeps the rest of the look natural with feathered brows, soft pink cheeks, and a pinky nude lipstick. For a close match, try Bite Amuse Bouche lipstick in Fig.
2. Alicia Vikander
Alicia balanced out her dramatic Belle from Beauty and the Beast gown with natural makeup that added definition. She wore a matte brown smokey eye with black eyeliner along her top lash line. To recreate the look, I’d use the Lorac Pro palette with Taupe all over the lid, and Sable blended in the crease and outer corner. I’d contour with an apricot blush and wear a muted coral lipstick, like Urban Decay lipstick in Rapture.
3. Olivia Munn
Olivia Munn matched her one-shouldered tangerine dress with a bright orange-red lipstick. To recreate the look, I’d wear Urban Decay’s lipstick in Bang, with clear gloss added on top. The rest of her look was simple, with false eyelashes and coral blush.
4. Saoirse Ronan
Saoirse Ronan wore a very smokey silver eye and peachy nude lipstick. To recreate the look, I’d wear Colourpop Liberty on the lid, tightline with black eyeliner, and smoke out the line with a charcoal eyeshadow, like Lorac Slate. Saoirse wore Chanel Rouge Coco lipstick in Adrienne.
5. Lady Gaga
Lady Gaga had an interesting take on vintage glamour. Rather than wear traditional red lips and a black cat eye, she wore a copper pink smokey eye with shimmery coral pink lipstick. To recreate the look, I’d wear a BareMinerals eyeshadow in Bragging Rights all over the lid, up into the crease, and alone the lower lashline. I’d define the crease with a darker red eyeshadow, and blend it out into a winged shape. I’d wear a coral lipstick like Nars Audacious lipstick in Julie, and pat some of the eyeshadow in the center for a frosted effect.