The Best MakeUp Dupes

makeup dupes

I LOVE makeup!  I’m addicted to buying makeup but not rich enough to have this problem.  One of my friends asked me if  I knew of any dupes for  some high end makeup products.  I wasn’t expecting to find cheaper alternatives to my favorite products but I grabbed a Starbucks, went to Ulta / Target, and tried to find some dupes.  Guess what, I actually found some great ones.  These are the best makeup dupes and I have attached links to the dupes for your easy access to them.

Eyebrow Gel

Benefit Gimme Brow (Recently Discontinued)

make-up dupes


Essence Make Me Brow Eyebrow Gel ($3) – I’ve used Benefit Gimme Brow for years until I recently found out that Benefit tests on animals.  At Ulta I found Essence Make Me Brow Eyebrow Gel.  This is the exact same thing as the Gimme Brow except it doesn’t make the brows as full.  As far as the brush and the coloring of the brows, it is exactly the same.  A ton cheaper and doesn’t get tested on animals – a huge WIN!

Essence eyebrow gel


Benefit Hoola Bronzer ($29)

Benefit Hoola bronzer

Essence Sun Club Matt Bronzing Powder ($5) – the Benefit bronzer is one of the most loved bronzers.   I found Essence Sun Club Matt Bronzing Powder in shade 02 and it’s a great dupe.  

Essence bronzing powder


Eye Shadow Palette

Urban Decay Naked Palette 3 ($54)

Urban Naked Palette


The Makeup Revolution Iconic 3 Palette ($7) – this is an exact dupe for the Urban Decay Naked 3 Palette.  The shadows have great pigmentation and blend easily.

Revolution palette


Urban Decay Naked Heat ($54)


NYX Warm Neutrals Ultimate Shadow Palette ($18) – a great dupe for the Urban Decay Naked Heat.  The colors are long lasting and blend easily.


NYX palette

Face Primer

Hour Glass Mineral Veil Primer ($54)

Hour Glass primer


NYX Angel Veil Skin Perfecting Primer ($16) – the Hour Glass Primer is a well loved beauty favorite but the NYX Angel Veil Skin Perfecting Primer has the same smooth texture and makes your foundation go on flawlessly.  The only negative I saw was that you need to shake it slightly before applying it so you don’t get a bit of oil when first applying.

NYX primer

One thing I discovered when trying to find cheaper alternatives for high end makeup is that the brands NYX and Essence are really good and make quality products that don’t get tested on animals.  I already had some of their lip liners and can tell you they are great.  Makeup  dupes are a great way to curb your makeup budget.  I will be on the lookout for more dupes and you guys will be the first to know when I find some.  XOXO Michelle


How to Look 5 Years Younger

look 5 years younger

With all of the wonderful beauty products out there right now it is not surprising that if they are used right we can look at least 5 years younger.  However, if they are used wrong you could end up looking at least 5 years older.  Here are  my tips to look younger with links (below the product pictures) to all of my favorite products.

Tip #1 to looking 5 years younger

My 1st tip is to exfoliate your skin.  I’m talking using a microdermabrasion type exfoliator 2-3 times a week and especially before a night out.  I recommend the Dr. Dennis Gross SkinCare Alpha Beta Peel and the Kate Somerville Intensive Exfoliating Treatment.  They also have a smaller size of the Kate Somerville for $24.  I’ve been using these 2 for years and love them.  When I get lazy and don’t use them enough, I really see a difference.

alpha beta peel

Dr. Dennis Gross SkinCare Alpha Beta Peel ($88)


exfoliating treatment

Kate Somerville Intensive Exfoliating Treatment ($85)


Tip #2 to looking 5 years younger

After you finish your skincare routine (here is a link to my prior post for ideas) and let it dry, apply a primer that includes silicone.  The silicone will erase your fine lines and wrinkles.  I put it all over my face and under the lower part of my eyes.  When applying it you should really pat it into the skin so it gets into those pores and wrinkles.  I suggest Smashbox Photo Finish Foundation Primer.  As far as foundation goes, I’m still on the hunt for a new one and will try some during the Sephora sale.  I recommend something that is medium to full coverage but is luminous.  You don’t want your foundation to look like a mask.  Also, if you apply it with a damp Beauty Blender it makes your skin look more dewy and youthful.

foundation primer

Smashbox Photo Finish Foundation Primer ($36)


beauty blender

Beauty Blender ($20)


Tip # 3 to looking 5 years younger

Take a flesh colored pencil like Anastasia Base 1 at Sephora.  Apply it right under your brow and it will open up your eye.  Also put it: on the water line of your lower lid,  down the bridge of your nose, in your cupids bow, down the middle of your chin, and on top of the cheek bones.  Soften the lines made by the pencil with your finger tips or with your beauty blender.  This process will slim and lift your face.

flesh colored pencil

Anastasia Pro Pencil – Base 1 ($18)


Tip # 4 to looking 5 years younger

To give your face a youthful illuminous look add an illuminating primer on your cheek bones and carry it up into your hairline.  Blend it in with your beauty blender.  Apply a finishing powder only to the areas that get oily.  Too much powder can accentuate wrinkles.

cover fx primer

Cover FX Primer ($38)


Tip # 5 to looking 5 years younger

When you are done with your make-up, spray your face with a setting spray like the below one from Target.  Don’t spray it too close to your face and if you get white spots on your face just take your beauty blender and tap them out.  You can re-spray your face throughout the day to refresh your face.

glow mist

Pixi Glow Mist ($15)


Final Thoughts

These steps are fast and easy but will make you look at least 5 years younger.  Sephora has a 15% off sale starting on November 10 so it’s a great time to pick up some new make-up.  The code is INSIDER15.   As I mentioned on FaceBook this week, I won’t feature any make-up in my blog that is tested on animals.

It is hard to believe but the holidays are right around the corner.   I have some great blog post ideas to help you get ready for the holidays.  First up is mix and match holiday outfit ideas to carry you through the season.  Also, I will be doing posts including: a holiday gift guide, affordable holiday decor ideas, and a Black Friday and Cyber Monday shopping guide.  So be checking your e-mails or subscribe to my blog if you haven’t yet so you don’t miss anything.  XOXO Michelle


Quick and Easy Anti-Aging Routine

easy anti-aging routine

I have found a quick and easy anti-aging routine that contains ingredients that have been proven to work.  I add in masks and peels a couple times a week and am always trying new products, but this is my ride or die skin care routine.

CeraVe hydrating cleanser

  • I also recommend Cetaphil ($9) for normal to oily skin if your skin is oily and prone to breakouts.  Don’t thoroughly dry your face after washing because your moisturizer etc. can penetrate better on damp skin.


  • Next apply vitamin C.  Vitamin C fights free radical damage and helps to brighten your skin.  I like Mad Hippie Vitamin C Serum ($27).  It not only contains vitamin C but also has hyaluronic acid and ferulic acid.  Hyaluronic acid is something you definitely need in your anti-aging regimen.  It attracts and holds moisture in your skin.

Mad Hippie Vitamin C Serum

Bobbi Brown BB Cream

  • You must make sure you wash your face at night.  Even if you stayed out late and crawled to bed you still need to make sure you wash your face.  Keep a stash of face wipes in your bedside table for these occasions.
  • The most important thing (other than your sunscreen) in your anti-aging arsenal is retinol.  Retinol helps to unclog pores and boost collagen (reduces fine lines and speeds cell turnover to even out discoloration and smooth the skin).  I like CeraVe Skin Renewing Serum ($14).  I have also read great things about Body Merry Pro-A Serum ($16) but haven’t tried it yet.  Any time you use a serum or lotion, don’t just put it on your face.  Spread it on your neck, chest, and the back of your hands.

CeraVe skin renewing serum     Body Merry Pro-A Serum

There are so many different products and ingredients out there that claim to help with anti-aging.  It can be very confusing and overwhelming.  It’s fun to try new products but it’s important to have a good everyday regimen in place that contains hyaluronic acid, vitamin C, sunscreen, and retinol.

I hope this post helps to clear up some questions about anti-aging products and inspires you to have a good skin regimen of your own.  XOXO Michelle


The Difference Between BB and CC Creams

If you’re confused about BB creams vs. CC creams, so was I.  I decided to do some research and see what the differences are between these products.  The differences are subtle but here is what I found out.

BB CREAMS – these provide coverage with added skin care benefits like SPF and anti-oxidants.  They’re lighter than foundations and heavier than tinted moisturizers.

CC CREAMS – these generally stand for color correcting.  The products are meant to address issues like redness or sallowness (usually with light diffusing particles).

The best BB and CC creams based on your facial concerns are:

DrynessEstee Lauder DayWear BB ($42)

Estee Lauder daywear BB cream, BB cream vs. CC cream


Blotchiness / Uneven ToneMaybelline Dream Fresh BB ($9)

Maybelline dream fresh BB

Fine LinesBobbi Brown BB Cream SPF 35 ($46)

Bobbi Brown BB cream


BreakoutsDr. Jart BB ($36)

Dr. Jart BB


Dark SpotsOlay Tone Correcting CC Cream with Sunscreen ($22)

Olay's total effects

I hope this settles the debate of BB creams vs. CC creams.  There are some great products out there in both camps.  The key is to find the one that is made for your skin type.

Also, don’t forget that the Nordstrom Anniversary sale starts this Thursday, July 13 (if you have a Nordstrom credit or debit card) or July 21 (if you don’t have a store card).  I’ll be posting my best picks from the sale early Thursday morning.  XOXO Michelle

Sweatproof Makeup

Trying to keep your makeup from melting in the hot summer sun is a challenge.  These are my tips for keeping your makeup in place:

  • Wear the least amount of makeup you can when the temperatures rise

Tarte BB tinted treatment

Tarte BB Tinted Treatment 12-Hour Primer Broad Spectrum SPF 30 Sunscreen ($37) – this is a great choice because it works as a primer, moisturizer, light foundation, anti aging treatment, and sunscreen all in one.


  • Use a creme blush

bite beauty multi stick

Bite Beauty Multistick ($24) – this can be used on your cheeks, eyes, and lips.  It would be great to use on days when you are short on time and to keep in your bag for touch-ups.


  • Before applying your powder use a blotting sheet.  Apply your powder sparingly with a puff or sponge if you have one.  If applying with a brush, tap the powder on.

Kat Von D blotting powder

Kat Von D Lock-It Blotting Powder ($29)


  • When using mascara, choose a smudge free formula and then apply a waterproof topcoat

NYX waterproof mascara top coat

NYX Proof It Waterproof Mascara Topcoat ($7)


  • If wearing eye shadow, apply a primer first then your shadow.  Lastly set it with your face powder.

MAC prep and prime eye base

MAC Prep & Prime 24-Hour Extend Eye Base ($23)


  • Set everything and give yourself some more sun protection with this

Supergoop setting mist

Supergoop Defense Refresh Setting Mist Broad Spectrum SPF 50 ($28)


Bring your blotting sheets and setting mist with you to touch-up and refresh your makeup when needed.  These steps will keep your face from melting and you’ll look great all summer long.  XOXO Michelle

The Best Self Tanners

Do you want a summer glow and not look like a streaky Oompa Loompa?  These are the best self tanners for natural long lasting color.

L’Oreal Sublime Bronze Self-Tanning Towlettes ($9) – I use these and they are so low maintenance while still giving you instant natural color.


St. Tropez Classic Bronzing Mousse ($42) – St. Tropez is one of the most famous names in the sunless tanner business.  My friend uses this and swears by it.  She always has great natural looking color.


Lancome Flash Bronzer Tinted Self-Tanning Body Gel ($42) – this is one of the best reviewed self tanners.  It gives your skin immediate color and has light-reflecting micro pearls for a pretty glow.


Clarins Radiance – Plus Golden Glow Booster ($32) – I use both this and the face tanner below and they are great.  This one I mix with my moisturizer and it builds into a tan.


Dr. Dennis Gross Skincare – Alpha Beta Glow Pads ($35) – this one gives you a little more instant gratification and also exfoliates your face.


I’ve had a lot of bad self-tanning mishaps over the years the latest being an aerosol spray gone bad in a Mexico resort bathroom.  I think the walls of the bathroom got more of a tan than I did.  We were scrubbing that bathroom for days trying to get it clean.  So learn from my experience and use one of the above.  XOXO Michelle

Sephora Haul

Sephora had their 15% off sale last week.  I went in to stock up on some old favorites.  Instead I left with a bag full of new faves.

I’m obsessed with having dark thick eyebrows and needed to replace my eyebrow pencil and brow gel.  I like to use the pencil when going out for a darker more dramatic look and I use the gel for my everyday look.  I tried out the Anastasia Beverly Hills brow products for the first time and loved them.


Brow Pen ($21) – this is my new favorite as it gives you a very defined look and is easy to use


Tinted Brow Gel ($22) – this fills in your brows for a natural but full look


I fell in love with the Benefit Dandelion Twinkle Highlighting Powder ($29).  It will look great this summer with a tan.

Speaking of a tan, I found a great sunless face tanner.  Dr. Dennis Gross Skin Care Alpha Beta Grow Pads ($35) gives your face a nice tan while improving the texture of your skin with alpha and beta hydroxy acids.  The girl at Sephora said to use them every other night after washing your face and to finish with your normal skin care routine.

Being that I love a long lasting lipstick I was excited to find the Too Faced Lip Insurance Lip Primer ($20).  If you apply this over your lipstick it will last all day – even through eating and drinking.

I love make-up and finding new products.  I think these will be great additions to my make-up routine.  I hope you guys were able to score some great products from this sale as well.  I would love to hear what you got too.  XOXO Michelle

Trish McEvoy Instant Eye Lift

As I talked about in my previous post, last Saturday I attended the Nordstrom Beauty Trend Show.  One of the speakers that really interested me was Katherine, the regional trainer for Trish McEvoy.  She was talking about the Trish McEvoy Instant Eye Lift.  I have puffiness, dark circles, and the beginning of fine lines around my eyes.  This product really caught the attention of my old looking eyes.

When the show was done we all had the opportunity to try out the products that interested us.  I made a beeline for the Trish McEvoy counter to get my hands on the Instant Eye Lift.  I was lucky enough that Katherine, the regional trainer, was available to help me and help me she did.

She first introduced me to Trish McEvoy’s “Beauty Booster” Eye Serum ($99).  This stuff instantly reduced my puffiness, dark circles, and the new fine lines.


She then added the Trish McEvoy “Beauty Booster” Advance Repair Retinol Eye Cream ($126).  This has the highest non-prescription concentration of retinol along with reservatrol and hyaluronic acid.  I have already noticed a reduction in those pesky new fine lines.


For the finishing eye touch Katherine applied the Trish McEvoy Instant Eye Lift ($39).


She applied it like an upside down triangle using this amazing brush (Trish McEvoy Deluxe Blender Brush $60) that I just had to have.


I have used literally almost every concealer on the market and the Trish McEvoy Instant Eye Lift is by far my favorite.  My new routine of the Trish McEvoy Eye Serum, Retinol Eye Cream, and Instant Eye Lift has totally transformed my eyes.

There are a lot of other Trish McEvoy products I want to go back and try.  Some of these include:

I’m really impressed with Trish McEvoy’s products.  I’ve learned that all of her products are paraben and cruelty free.  She is an independent business woman and she herself oversees all of her company’s operations.

Thank you Katherine for all of your help last Saturday.  It was so much fun!  XOXO Michelle


Nordstrom Spring Beauty Trend Show

Yesterday I attended the Nordstrom Spring Beauty Trend Show in Oak Brook, IL.  It included many top beauty brands showing off their newest and best products for spring.  They also showed some great fashion.  I’m going to focus this post on the beauty and fashion that caught my eye the most.


I liked the natural color of these shadows.  They are great to layer and contour.  In addition, five percent of the proceeds are donated to African wildlife charities supporting the animals shown on the products.



This is a great product to use on your busy days and to keep in your purse for touch ups.  Use the lighter shade on your cheeks (and maybe even your eyes) and the darker shade is good for your lips.



Tom Ford’s Private Blend Soleil Blanc fragrance is perfect for spring/summer.  This fragrance comes in many application options but I like the dry oil spray the best.  You get the wonderful Soleil Blanc fragrance along with the emollience of sweet almond oil.



This was one of the outfits they featured.  I thought it was very wearable and flattering.  I think it would be a great outfit to wear to an outside concert this summer.



Kate Sommerville’s ExfoliKate is my favorite exfoliating treatment.  I’m very excited by the ExfoliKate Daily Foaming Wash.  It contains AHAs and other natural exfoliators.  I plan to use this a couple times a week to deep clean my face.



This mask is made to give your face the appearance of having an overnight face lift.  You can layer it over your normal night time routine.  This would be good to use on weekends or anytime you want to look your best.


The Nordstrom spring beauty trend show was fun and informative.  A lot of the models were wearing statement tassel earrings (as shown in my prior 3-16-17 post called “Fun New Spring Accessories”) and sporting athleisure wear (as shown in my prior 1-22-17 post called “Mix & Match Athluxury”).


After the show, I visited  the Trish McEvoy counter because I wanted to try her Instant Eye Lift but I left there with so much more.  I will post about that great experience this upcoming week so you don’t want to miss it.  XOXO Michelle


The Spring/Summer Smokey Eye

This is the spring/summer version of the smokey eye.  I love these colors and think this is such a fresh and modern look.  To achieve this look you use the “Too Faced Sweet Peach Eye Shadow” palette below that you can find at Sephora ($49).

Follow these steps to get the spring/summer smokey eye that is pictured above:

  1. Sweep the color “Peaches & Cream” from the palette all over the lid
  2. Put “Just Peachy” in the crease and also blend it under the eye
  3. Add “Summer Yum” in the crease and also blend it under the eye
  4. Put “Champagne” in the corners and center of the eye lid
  5. Softly add a little “Summer Yum” in the outside corners of the eye
  6. Blend all of these together

For daytime with this eye look, I would use the below “Givenchy Rouge Interdit Satin Lipstick in #6 Rose Nocturne” from Sephora ($34).

For a nighttime look I would add a subtle cat eye with Stila “Stay All Day Liquid Eye Liner” (Sephora $22) and a darker lipstick like “Givenchy Rouge Interdit Satin Lipstick #10 Boyish Rose” that you can also find at Sephora ($34).



I think the IT Cosmetics “Your Most Beautiful You” palette ($38) would work great with this look.

I’m so excited to start wearing this look and think it will look great with all the new spring fashions.  XOXO Michelle