Friday, January 30, 2015

Review + Demo: NYX Wonder Stick

If you watched my ULTA haul with Eugenia, then you already know that NYX released a new product called the Wonder Stick. I've been quite the fan of their Wonder Pencil (as you can see from this review & demo) so I had to try this contouring and highlighting stick. It was physically impossible for me to leave the store without it. I know this because I tried.

And just as a little aside, can anyone tell me why I still bother with that old song and dance anymore? I mean, who am I kidding with this self restraint garbage?

Anyway. I bought it. Obviously.

So you're probably wondering what this Wonder Stick situation is already. It's an all-in-one highlighting and contouring makeup device. To put it plainly: It's a double ended stick. One side has a highlighting shade the other a contouring shade.

Pretty simple.

They look a lot like the tube concealers from back in the day that my mom used to buy from the drugstore. I'm sure those still exist out there. But I hardly ever see anyone using them anymore.

The NYX Wonder Stick ($11.99 for .28oz combined product) comes in four shades: Light, Medium, Deep, and Universal. After swatching the testers at ULTA, I noticed that the shades seemed to run a little on the light side, so I played it safe and picked up the Universal shade (pictured below)

NYX Wonder Stick (Universal)
If you're familiar with highlighting and contouring, you know that using concealer or different shades of foundation usually deliver the most natural results. But sometimes, trying to figure out which shade of foundation or concealer to pick for your highlight and contour can be tricky. Yes, the general guidance is one to two shades lighter/darker than your complexion. But sometimes choosing those shades is easier said than done.

With the Wonder Stick, NYX takes some of that guess work out of the equation and then they package it conveniently in a portable little tube. And to make your life even easier (at least if you're new to this highlight/contour game), they even provide you with step-by-step directions (and a photo tutorial).

Basically, the only thing you really need to learn how to do is blend your makeup.

At this point, you're probably wondering how I fared with using the Wonder Stick. Here's what you need to know:

  • As mentioned earlier, I think the shade line runs a little light
  • The Universal shade (WS04) worked well on me, but I did need to build up the color a bit (You can see I use more than one swipe of the shades to build up to the color pay off I want in my demo)
  • The shades are creamy enough that they glide on easily, but just dry enough that you don't feel sticky when you use them
  • They blend easily
  • You can build them up or sheer them out
  • They're very easy to use
  • I got a pretty natural looking result when using it, which I like -- especially for more day-to-day looks 
  • I find the highlight shade is a bit dryer than the contour shade (but not totally dry) so make sure you moisturize well so that it doesn't look too dry under the eyes. Note: Due to the drier texture, I caution you to build it up slowly and use powder sparingly so as to avoid a cakey look. I was able to successfully use it without the dreaded dry cake eye.
  • While the highlighter did work well, the drier texture kept me from absolutely loving it
  • The contouring shade is creamier and I liked how easy it was to apply to the right places and blend. I really liked the finished look as well once blended. 
  • The Universal shade is probably good for light to medium (maybe even tan) skin tones, but I think it will be way too light for darker skin tones
Check out my video review and demo to see how I use the product. 

Overall thoughts:

All in all, I think NYX did a good job with the Wonder Stick. It's not exactly an earth-shattering development. You could get the same exact results by just buying two concealers like, say the L'Oreal True Match Crayons -- or even foundations. But since NYX already conveniently packaged it for you they took a lot of the guesswork out of choosing the right shades.  

The Wonder Stick is a pretty good way to learn how to highlight and contour if you're just getting started with this makeup technique. And the fact that it's buildable and easy to blend is a major plus. I wish they had at least one or two more shades in the line so that it would work on a broader range of skin tones. 

As for the price, at $11.99, it's not exactly super cheap. However, to give you a frame of reference, Lancome released a similar product (the Le Duo stick) and it retails for $32. So, NYX's version saves you more than half the price. It's really all relative. 

Overall, I'm feeling a little divided. I liked how the Wonder Stick worked. I really liked the contour shade and how much more precise I could be with application (like drawing with a crayon). While the highlight shade worked well and gave me good overall results, the slightly drier consistency left me longing for my liquid highlighter pens (e.g., Maybelline Dream Lumi, Make Up For Ever Invisible Cover Concealer). 

I would recommend it as a product to try for anyone whose trying to learn how to contour and highlight and those looking for a convenient all in one product. If I had to give it a grade, I'd give it a B. The slightly drier consistency of the highlight shade and the color range dropped it down a peg, but didn't make it a deal breaker. It's worth trying out. 

What do you think of the Wonder Stick? Will you be trying it? 

Monday, January 26, 2015

How To Conceal a Blemish and Keep it Concealed All Day

I was perusing the Internet recently when I stumbled upon an article that changed my makeup life. It was from Pop Sugar and I should've book marked it because now that I want to tell you guys what I learned, I can't find it to save my life. Anyway, I don't even think I read the whole article because when I saw this tip I was so stunned that I was rendered incapable of reading any further. I mean, how had I never thought of this before?! It's freaking genius!

So, you know how difficult it can be to conceal a stubborn blemish (especially cystic acne)? Not only do you have to mask the redness and the bump like some sort of magician. But also you have to keep working that magic all day long. Concealer keeps sliding off the blemish and ruining your efforts (and possibly your life). And let's not even talk about the delicate balance required to touch up without creating a cakey disaster.

It's enough to drive you mad. Eventually, I look in the mirror, wave the white flag, and hang my head in shame. Clearly, I'm losing the battle of wills against said zit.

That is, until now. Pull up a chair, I'm about to lay some knowledge on you.

It turns out there's a product in your makeup bag (one you probably reach for every day) that can lay all your blemish concealing worries to rest. And that magical product is (dramatic pause) eyeshadow primer.

Yup. I'll give you a moment to let that sink in.

As it happens, the beauty product we've been so fond of because it makes our awesome eye looks last all day long can also do the same thing for your concealer.

It basically works the same way it does on your lids. It creates a barrier against oils and a tackier surface that your concealer can cling to -- keeping it where it belongs all day long. I've been testing this approach out for a week on this cystic pimple that took residence on my chin. Don't you just love surprise visits from unwelcome guests?

The results: A flawlessly concealed face that held up against long work days and errand running during the weekend.

A few more tips to make this work best:

  • Moisturize skin well so that you don't end up with a dry patch where you conceal
  • Apply a small amount of eye shadow primer over blemish, tap to blend then conceal and set as usual
  • Try not to over powder (again with the dry spot)
  • Use setting spray for extra long lasting results
  • Exfoliate (no patchy dry skin!)
  • If you have dry skin (or your attempts to kill the zit have created a patchy dry area), try a moisturizing eyeshadow primer (like Urban Decay's anti-aging version)
Check out my video to see the concealing in action! Then give your favorite eyeshadow primer a big ol' kiss because you're going to love it even more than you already do. 

What do you think? Pretty amazing, right?

Sunday, January 18, 2015

Valentine's Day Giveaway Collab

Eugenia and I are quite obviously having a blast filming videos together. We had both been talking about doing a giveaway on our respective channels. And then it dawned on us: If we go in on it together, we could have a pretty awesome prize. So that's exactly what we did!

We put together a fun prize that includes beauty products, chocolate and a few gift cards to give you a little something fun to do for Valentine's Day -- whether you have a hot date or you want to spend it with your friends and family. No one is getting left out!

Here's a picture of all the prizes to wet your appetite.

Watch our videos to get the low down on the grand prize, and then scroll down for the giveaway rules!

  1. You must be subscribed to both channels to win (Make sure you subscribe publicly so we can verify your subscription and contact you, or else you're disqualified)
  2. Giveaway is open to U.S. contestants only. (Includes Hawaii and P.R.)
  3. Must be 18 years or over to enter.
  4. Leave a comment on my video answering the following question: If money and time were no object, describe your perfect Valentine's Day date.
  5. Leave a comment on Eugenia's video answering the following question: What's the most annoying thing about Valentine's Day? 
  6. For extra entries: Tweet about this giveaway! (One tweet per day)
  7. Giveaway closes on Monday, Feb. 2 2015 at midnight EST (so we can mail those prizes in time for Valentine's Day!!)
  8. We will use Rafflecopter to select a winner randomly (Enter below). 
  9. We will contact the winner via Youtube inbox (so don't block emails/messages). Winner has 48 hours to respond with his/her mailing information or else we must select a new winner. 
  10. Once we notify the winner and receive their information, we will announce his/her name (YouTube handle) in the video's information bar. 

Prizes cannot be redeemed for cash. The makers and manufacturers of the items being given away are in no way affiliated with this contest. While we take every precaution to ensure packages are delivered to contest winners, we do not take any responsibility for items lost, stolen, or damaged during the shipping process once we have confirmed shipment from our end.

a Rafflecopter giveaway