Benefit Boiing Cakeless Concealer Review

I have always been a sucker for shiny new school supplies, so imagine my delight when Benefit and Influenster sent me a tube of Benefit’s new Boiing Cakeless Concealer, shaped like the eraser end of a pencil. As my recent posts have indicated, I’ve been very into reducing and camouflaging my under eye circles, so I jumped right in to give it a try.

I received a tube of shade 01, the lightest of 12 shades offered in this full coverage liquid concealer that is designed not to look cakey. Great news for my fair skinned friends – this shade is very fair without being too yellow, which is often hard to find in a concealer.

This truly is a full coverage concealer; I usually use products with a sheer or medium coverage and so I was a bit shocked when I first dabbed some on. However, once blended in the concealer looked natural, brightened my eyes and kept my dark circles at bay for a full 24 hours. Or at least they did when I forgot to wash my face one night before bed – the next morning at brunch my sister commented on how good my skin looked. We’ll call that a win!

As promised, this concealer hasn’t caked or creased on me, and I plan to continue using it, especially on days when my eyes are looking particularly dark. One word of caution: the tube features a cushion tip applicator that I find deposits far more product than I need. My advice: use a very light hand to dab some on and then blend lightly with the tip of your ring finger.

I received this product free for testing purposes. All opinions are my own.

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Secret Weapon: NARS Radiant Creamy Concealer

Over the course of the last six months or so, I’ve noticed that my under eye area seems angrier than usual. Darker. Crinklier. Certainly more tired.

I’ve tried various serums and eye creams in hopes of improving the situation, but so far the only measurable results have been irritated eye balls. I haven’t given up hope, and I have a few new contenders to try out, but I know I need a little help while I wait for conditions to improve.

Enter NARS Radiant Creamy Concealer. I picked up a mini tube in Vanilla Light 2 during a recent Sephora trip. It turns out this shade is perfect for masking dark circles and works with my fair complexion. This creamy concealer blends easily and provides a surprising amount of coverage with just a tiny dab of product. It’s long lasting and doesn’t crease or draw attention to those extra crinkles I mentioned. And the mini size I purchased for $13 six weeks ago still has plenty of product left in the tube. Which means I can afford to keep using this secret weapon until I find a more permanent under eye solution.

What’s your secret weapon product?

Get Naked: Urban Decay Naked Skin Weightless Complete Coverage Concealer

Urban Decay Naked Skin Weightless Complete Coverage ConcealerIt’s finally starting to warm up around here – a few days have even felt downright summery – and that means it’s time to transition into my summertime skincare and makeup routine. In addition to swapping out my extra mild cleanser and heavy winter moisturizers for some more lightweight options (more on these coming soon!), I’ve started to seek out a lighter, breezier makeup routine.

As the weather gets nicer my skin tends to be less dry and more even-toned, which means I don’t need a whole lot of makeup to look and feel pulled together. A nice BB cream with SPF and a long lasting concealer to cover any random spots are really all I need. Enter Urban Decay Naked Weightless Complete Coverage Concealer, AKA my new favorite concealer. I have always preferred concealer that comes in a tube (rather than a stick), and since this one actually came in a light enough shade to match my skin tone, I had to have it. It has a creamy texture that goes on lightly, which means I can blend it easily and it doesn’t have the dry, flaky finish that so many concealers do. Also, it really is a perfect match for my complexion; if I do nothing else, I can pat this concealer onto any blemishes or red spots and my complexion looks even and natural. Plus, it provides coverage all day without getting greasy or dry.

It also camouflages dark under eye circles, but a word of caution: use the absolute least amount of product possible here. I’ve found it creases after a bit if I’ve used too much!

If you’re in the market for a good all-purpose concealer, I highly recommend this one.

White Lies

Confess. You’ve done it. You’ve stayed up late on a school night. You only got a few hours of shut-eye before an early day at the office. Maybe you drank too much at karaoke night. Or perhaps you were just way too into Twilight to put it down and go to bed. Either way, there’s been a time or two when you woke up looking, well, tired.

Lately I’ve been noticing how pronounced the dark circles under my eyes have become. Overly tired is certainly not a youthful look. No matter how cute an outfit may be, it is definitely overshadowed by purple smudges below bloodshot eyes. So, my mission as of late has been to find a way to look well rested.

Just a little white lie.

Turns out, the trick to this white lie is white liner. Flipping through January magazines, all the beauty looks I liked had one thing in common – bright-eyed models, sporting white liner. It is surprisingly subtle, and instantly makes eyes look brighter and more awake. I bought a cheap Wet N Wild pencil last weekend, and am now officially hooked.

To give yourself some extra help in the no-I’m-not-hungover-and-sleep-deprived department, use your white liner in conjunction with these other eye-brightening tricks, and you’ll be looking more lively in no time.

1. Curl your lashes, curl your lashes, curl your lashes. I know I say it all the time, but it makes a huge difference. Your eyes will look twice as wide, I swear.

2. Dab on some concealer. A little on the yellow side is good for under eyes, as it helps counteract the blue tones. I like L’Oreal True Match Concealer. And be careful not to apply too much – nobody wants that streaky concealer ring around their eyes.

3. Use a highlighter. A light reflecting highlighter on your cheek and brow bones brightens your complexion and makes your eyes look about 1000 times more awake. Right now I can’t get enough of Benefit High Beam. Try the travel size for $10 (available at sephora.com).

Where There’s Smoke…

There are few looks as timeless and coveted as the smokey eye. When done properly, it’s a smoldering, sophisticated look that makes your eyes pop and puts a swagger in your step. When done poorly, it can look like you are in desperate need of sleep, you’ve been punched in both eyes, or, worse, you simply just don’t know how to apply makeup. None of these is good.

My go-to eye look is sort of a smokey cat eye. It’s subtle enough to be appropriate in just about every situation, but steamy enough to make me feel HOT during those times when I really want to be able to stop people dead in their tracks with nothing more than a glance. I’m not sure I ever have, but feeling like I could is the real power that comes from the smokey eye.

First things first: I start by curling my lashes and applying concealer below the eyes. As mentioned above, this look can run the risk of making you look sleepy or bruised; try to avoid that by hiding any real signs of sleep deprivation. I always curl my lashes first so that I don’t get any makeup on my lash curler, and because it slightly changes the look of the eye and I want to make sure I apply makeup accordingly.

Next, I sweep on a light beige or shimmery nude eyeshadow. Apply it all over lids, from lashes to brow bone. Two of my favorite shadows for this are Lancome Color Design Eyeshadow in Nutmeg and Stila Eyeshadow in Kitten. Kitten is a little sparklier, so Nutmeg is my pick when subtlety is key.

Now for the fun part: liner. I have used regular pencil liner and gel liner (never liquid – I’m just not that brave), and both can be good tools, but my favorite way to line my eyes is with powder eye shadow and a sponge-tip applicator. I’ve used dark purples, greens, and blacks, and really depending on your eye color, what you’re wearing, and how brave you feel, any dark shadow can work. The color I use most frequently is Make Up For Ever Diamond Shadow in Diamond Black. Carefully tap the edge of the sponge-tip applicator in the shadow. Use it to deposit the color right into the lash line, all along the bottom lashes. Do the same on the top, starting between a third and half of the way across the lashes and moving out towards the outer corner of the eye. Where the two lines meet, I like to wing the shadow slightly upward, creating the subtle cat eye look.

Using either my finger or the applicator, I smudge the lines a little, making the look more or less smokey depending on the event or situation.

Finally, I add a coat of black mascara to open up my eyes and tie the look together.

Voila! A subtle smokey eye.

Five Steps to Pretty

On America’s Next Top Model last week, the would-be models were given a makeup lesson. They were told that all they needed to enhance their natural beauty and finish with a pretty face were four essentials: concealer, bronzer, mascara, and gloss.

While I agree that these are all great tools in creating a pretty, natural look, I’d like to add something to the list, if I may.

Ladies, don’t forget your eyelash curler.

In college my very un-makeup-y roommate would watch in horror as I curled my lashes every day before class.

“That looks like a medieval torture device,” she’d say.

In all honesty, lash curlers do look a little intimidating, but they don’t hurt at all, and they make a world of difference. Even when I’m too lazy to put on anything other than moisturizer and lip balm, I still curl my lashes. It opens the eyes, and your mascara will pack a more powerful punch when applied to curled lashes.

My favorite trick for bright eyes/big lashes? After curling lashes and applying mascara, I blink my lashes against the side of the mascara tube. This not only gets rid of clumps, it helps reinforce your curl.

Eyelash curlers range in price from really cheap (I’ve seen 99 cent versions) to pretty pricey (my favorite, Shu Uemura’s lash curler, is between 19 and 24 dollars). In my experience the high-end ones are worth the money; they curl instead of crimp, and the curl tends to be longer lasting.

So ladies, conceal your blemishes, gloss your lips, bronze your cheeks, and do your lashes. You’ll look naturally pretty. I promise.