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Beauty Formulas

Review : blendSMART

When people talk about having flawless makeup what they usually mean is that awesome airbrushed look that can only be achieved with the right combo of tools and techniques. (If you throw on $70 foundation with a spackle, you’ve wasted your $70!) 

Enter blendSMART! I was excited to give their brush set a try as I am always looking to achieve that very blended soft finish with all of my liquid or powder products.  Their product line up includes the battery-powered handle and several interchangeable heads for product. 

Right off, I was impressed at the softness of the bristles and the ease at which the heads swap out. I’m a big sigma F80 devotee for my foundation application and this was marvelously similar- a dense flat head on the brush that blended beautifully but had enough heft to really work in the product! For a quick side by side, you can see below how the size and shape compare…

Like any beauty junkie, I tore right into the box but I was sooooo glad I read the instructions before firing up this beauty! The smartBLEND brush is at its best when you dot liquid product on your face then turn on the brush and buff it in. I also loved that the instructions let me know to not go on circular motions (the brush does that for you!) and instead move in almost a grid motion over your face. 

Where I personally think this product really shines is on powder product application. It gave me a gorgeous diffused finish with my setting powder when I swapped out the foundation brush for the powder attachment. I could also see myself getting excited about the blush head to do some lovely all over bronzing. 

Since its vibe (literally!) is blend, blend,blend it works wonderfully for soft washes of color. You’ll still want some standard precision brushes to contour on top or under that, but this system is great for ensuring there are no harsh lines in your face makeup. I also think this would be great for any gal who has never before used a foundation brush and currently uses a sponge or some other applicator! You’ll notice a huge difference in how much product you save and really get an idea of what motion it takes to give that airbrushed finish to your makeup. 

Have you tried the blendSMART? Let me know in the comments if you’ve got other great tips for a fabulous foundationfinish! 

FTC Disclaimer: I was provided the blendSMART in exchange for my honest review. All opinions are my own. Thank you for supporting the companies who make Elle’s Equations possible!

Beauty Formulas

The Makeup Show NYC : 2016 Review

The Makeup Show NYC: 2016 Review

What an incredible year at The Makeup Show! If you’ve not yet heard of it, the Makeup Show is a professional industry event where some of the industries top brands come together to share their products, and engage in presentations on business skills, artistry techniques, and to share new products! The event is for professionals in the beauty industry and both tickets and credentials are required.  If you’re a makeup artist, stylist, or other beauty professional this is a MUST attend event.

I had the privilege this year to attend for the first time and get to see some of the great brands and new products on display. The makeup show is awesome for not only stocking your makeup kit with classics that you know you repurchase again and again, but also for getting exposed to new brands that you might not yet have heard of!

These gorgeous painted gals welcomed us all into the main entrance hall…..


and the place was buzzing with crazy crowds and plenty of lines!



The full line up of all the brands represented can be found here! I gravitate toward a few tried and true brands–Nars, Make Up Forever, and MAC to replenish my pro kit. All three were offering fantastic discounts to credentialed professionals– 30 percent, 40-50 percent, and 20 percent off respectively.  This is incredibly helpful when you know you go through 10 pans of Brun a year for brows!! (You MAC lovers out there feel me here….)  While of course the discounts are specific to the show, I thought I’d list the top products from these brands I always look to stock up on and continue to repurchase again and again.  You know that when you’re willing to buy something a few times over, it’s a true staple in your beauty kit! 🙂


— The Multiple (Orgasm) || 39 USD ||  This cream to powder allover color stick is my ride or die weekend b. What’s on my cheeks on a Saturday? This. And pretty much only this. It’s the perfect shade and the pinky orange hue gives a lovely glow any time of year.

— Audacious Lipsticks (ALL) || 32 USD || I truly couldn’t decide on a favorite color here.  Pick Anna, Janet, or any of the punchier hues and find yourself swathed in gorgeous creamy sheen color that lasts like crazy.  This is hands down my favorite lipstick on the market right now.

— Satin Lip Pencil (Palais Royal) || 26 USD || Palais Royal is almost all I wear on my lips in the fall. There are a number of other beautiful shades but this is one I reach for from September on!


— Shadows (SO MANY!) || 16 USD || I’m going to run you down a list of fave colors here just for fun, but really with this selection, you can spend hours swatching and still want to walk away with them all! Some of my repurchased staples include Orb, Brun, Saddle, Plum Dressing, Beauty Marked, Shale, Kid, Twinks, Deep Damson, and Satin Taupe.  If you’re even slightly an eyeshadow junkie, do yourself the favor of going the way of the palette and buy single pans.  It’s a significantly better value at $6 a pan!

Make Up Forever:

— Ultra HD Invisible Foundation  (Color 118) || 42 USD || I love the HD foundation and this new stick formula goes on gorgeously and stays all day. Color conversion from the past product is easy; pop into a sephora if you need additional help!

— HD Pressed Powder (No Color) || 36 USD || I am not a huge fan of powders but like a little something to set my foundation before I powder contour on top of it.  Enter the HD pressed powder.  Remember earlier versions in that little pot?! What a mess! Half of it ended up in my lap instead of on my face so I’m nuts about their newer pressed version which travels well too!


By far my favorite keynote speaker was the amazing Scott Barnes, below.  You know him from oh, I don’t know, everyone’s face you want to look like – J. Lo, Kim Kardashian. He’s the master of the “glow” and really piloted the lit from within look. In his keynote address he took a gal from makeup less to naturally gorgeous and polished in just a few minutes.

One of the tips I loved is that he talked about how to expertly nose contour.  He said that most people blend the nose contour line out, and down the sides of the nose, which ends up looking muddy and wastes product. (Who knew!?) Instead, he suggested tip your head sideways and blend up and out toward the bridge of the nose, which also helps soften the highlight! It’s fabulous little tips like this that make it worthwhile to stick around for the great discussions throughout the event.



Overall, this was an excellent experience and I look forward to The Makeup Show NYC 2017! If I could do anything different, I would definitely go for the full two days and be sure to get in very early the first day to get shopping out of the way! That leaves plenty of time to re-enter over the next couple of days to get to any presentations you want to be sure to hit.  While I didn’t attend the networking career fair that’s held on Day 2, that also seems to be a perfect place to drop by and get to know other brands and ways to work further in the beauty industry. Have you attended the Makeup Show in New York or another city? Let me know how you enjoyed it in the comments!

Beauty Formulas

Flirty Spring Lashes

Flirty Spring Lashes

Let’s wrap up our gorgeous spring makeup round up with lashes!  I am a mascara junkie, and go back and forth between a few favorites as well as trying any new formula that crosses my way! Around the holidays, I practically doorbust to get my hands on the sephora lash stash sampler-is anyone else obsessed with trying a whole handful of new mascaras?!  Here are some of my true faves for flirty spring lashes:

1||  Cover Girl Clump Crusher –  This is one of my all time fave drugstore mascaras.  For a super dramatic lash, I layer it over something with a lot of thickening power.  In spring, I keep it light and fresh by putting on a few coats of this beauty for lots of shiny black color without too heavy look.  The brush in this mascara is the real winner, separating the lashes and fanning them out beautifully!

2|| Too Faced Better Than Sex Mascara – This product is perfect for a fluffy thick lash without being heavy.  What I love about this formula is that it gives you marvelous coverage with just one to two coats; perfect for a spring weekend day when I don’t want to fuss with a lot of makeup.  Just add some tinted moisturizer, and lip balm and you are out the door!

3|| Maybeline Lash Discovery Mascara – Again, the brush is the magic!  This tiny wand truly does get EVERY lash and you can layer the crap out of this baby without it getting clumpy.  The waterproof formula is also perfect if you get caught in a little spring downpour!

4|| YSL Faux Cils BabyDoll Mascara – This is probably my favorite of the bunch, but sadly, it’s such a splurge that I don’t pick it up as often as I should!  The formula gives great silky coverage, and the wand combs through lashes beautifully, layering wonderfully and lifting and separating lashes out in every direction!  This mascara also has incredible hold, so I don’t even need to use a lash curler!
Beauty Formulas

Spring Eyeshadow Palette

Spring Shadow Palettes


I’m excited to continue our spring beauty roundup and highlight three amazing spring eyeshadow palettes! These span price points, but I can say are all great for a variety of uses and can actually be worn year round.

1|| MAC Palette Purple Times Nine || 40 USD –  I am so excited about all of the various shades of this palette! Green and hazel eyed gals pick this up ASAP as it gives you all of the shades you need to make those peepers pop for spring!  You get marvelous color payoff with these as with all MAC shadows, and get to try a bunch of colors that may not be in your standard collection for a pretty great price point.  I would highlight, however, that these pots are about a third smaller than a normal MAC pan, so just be aware that you aren’t getting a “full size” pan at this price point.

2|| Kat Von D Interstellar Palette || 46 USD – This piece is gorgeous and I’m surprised to say I’ve been more and more impressed with the Kat makeup line.  She’s not one I normally gravitate toward in Sephora, but her eyeshadow products are amazing, and they blend like a dream.  They seem to almost have a creamy consistency and have a VERY heavy color payoff- frankly more than any eyeshadow I own, other than makeup forever.  That said, if you’re bashful about bold colors, this might be a little much.  In that case, I suggest blending like crazy and using something like a goat hair brush for maximum diffusion of color.

3|| Revlon 16 Hr Eyeshadow Palette || Moonlit Color || 8 USD – I think these little gems are super overlooked and for 8, you can snatch up a variety of them and still have money leftover for your morning latte run! These eyeshadow palettes are a win for me in spring because they truly do last like crazy.  If like me, you live in a bit of a humid environment, spring starts to be the time where eyeshadow migrates down my face – not so glam.  The longwear formula in these holds pretty marvelously for a drugstore brand, and the range of fun colors and neutrals is impressive!

Beauty Formulas

Life Is Too Short to Wear Bad Lipstick

Life is Too Short to Wear Bad Lipstick

Lipstick Love

Let’s keep the spring love going! To me, spring lips aren’t just about a light gloss.  I’m nuts about brights,  matte shades, and getting a little bold with color!  These lovelies above are year round obsessions for me, but I am especially into fuchsia and pinks for this season.

1 || Revlon || Just Bitten || Lovesick

This is one of my top five drugstore picks of all time! For under $10, you get incredible color payoff, amazing staying power and a really nice texture.  This beauty also has a yummy mint flavor, so it’s a refreshing touch up mid-day! Lastly, these magic little tubes seem to last forever, so you get a lot of wear out of any of these colors.

2 || BITE || Lush Lip Gloss || Whipped Cherry

The BITE glosses are delicious! Yes delicious I say!  Their products are all natural, allowing us to feel like we’re practically taking a vitamin as we swab on these beauties.  What was fairly recent news to me, was the joy that is the “BITE Lab.”  Have you heard of this?! At the BITE Lab you can make your own gorgeous custom color in any of their products, add a flavor, and try all sorts of beautiful bespoke combinations.

3 || YSL || Rouge Volupte || #11 Rose Culte

I’ve posted on the virtues of this color before; Rose Culte is the perfect not-quite-red-not-quite-pink lipstick that you need in your life year round.  It is especially gorgeous this season as a little bit of a stain, so blot this beauty on your lips and pucker away to get a perfect kiss of color!

4|| YSL || Vernis a Levres Glossy Stain || #14 Fuchsia Dore

The consistency and texture of this product is something that you either love or hate.  I’m in the love camp, because it’s shiny, thick balmy texture nearly freeze dries to a perfect long-lasting coverage.  It is not at all moisturizing and leaves your lips feeling almost a little bit tight.  For that reason, I actually like to mix the Glossy Stain with one of the Voluptes if I’m up for reapplication during the day.

5 || NYX || Soft Matte Lip Cream || Addis Ababa

I have a wider variety of colors in this product than any other lip doo-dah I own! This is another product you’re either squarely in one camp or the other.  While these have circled the interwebs forever, one lesser known tip that I’d throw out there is to be sure to purchase these online somewhere like ULTA to help ensure that they are fresh.  If you happen to pick up a dud at the drugstore, it will be powdery and have a chalky finish.  (PS. If you know without googling what country calls Addis Ababa its capital, cookie for you! Sadly, this blog doesn’t dispense cookies, but that sure would be fabulous.)

6 || Too Faced || Melted Liquified Lipstick || Melted Fig

This is some very serious coverage for a lipstick! I love this lipstick in both the beautiful fig color and the very light neutrals.   I go back and forth with not loving my natural lip color, so what I adore about this lipstick is that it perfectly covers and gives excellent true-to-the-tube color payoff without being goopy or too thick feeling on the lips.  Also, if you are a blue or green eyed gal you need the fig color in your life; it makes your eyes pop and is a gorgeous purpley-pink!


Beauty Formulas

It’s All About That Base : Foundations!

Spring foundation!Spring Foundations

Does anyone still call it base? I think we should bring that back! Doesn’t it bring to mind images of gals with finger waves powdering their noses? I sort of love it.  Picking up from our chat last week, I’m excited to share my favorite foundations for spring with you today!  Starting at the top, these are arranged according to coverage – light to more full coverage.  This is definitely open to interpretation because depending on how you apply or your personal preference you might get a littler different coverage profile than I experience.  Do you have a favorite spring foundation routine? Let me know in the comments!

1 || Laura Mercier || Tinted Moisturizer

I have gone through vats of this stuff in my young life.  It’s the thing that I swear I don’t really need, and then subsequently use to the bottom of the tube over and over.  In the winter, I love it as a thin layer under a fuller coverage foundation.  In spring and summer, this and a little concealer is all I need.  Some folks like the oil free version as well, but I have combination skin and I do just fine with the original.  Laura Mercier’s foundations tend to run a little yellow, so if you have very pink undertones, this might not be the pick for you.

2|| Nars ||  Sheer Glow Foundation

This gives you just a bit more coverage and definitely that dewy spring look! Truth be told, I almost never wear this on its own and need to mix it with my winter Make Up Forever base to get the little bit more coverage and matte finish I prefer. If you are on the dry side, you will love the hydration of this foundation.

3|| Chanel || Vita Lumiere Aqua

This stuff feels like silk on the skin.  I don’t mix this at all, but I do a couple of layers with a dry beauty blender to get a little bit thicker coverage.  The one downside to this product is that it feels like I run through it like crazy.  Where a tube of Laura’s Tinted Moisturizer will last me months, I feel like I get to the bottom of the jar on this quickly because it’s a slightly more thin formula.

4|| L’Oreal || True Match Lumi

If you haven’t yet tried this foundation run right out and pick it up! It is by far my favorite spring formula and it wears like a dream.  As strange as this sounds, it seems to only get better the more it sits on your skin.  If you are a very oily gal, this might not be your favorite because it is quite dewy.   It gives a beautiful leverage of coverage and to me is the perfect amount of spring coverage without looking cakey.  It does run a tiny bit on the warm side, so even if you pick up a cool tone you might find yourself needing to cut it with foundation from another line to get a truly olive / yellow shade.

5|| Georgio Armani || Luminous Silk Foundation

This is the splurge version of the true match above.  It is a gorgeous natural finish, almost a suede texture!  I find that it blurs lines and imperfections perfectly, and the color range is really impressive.  It is definitely on the more expensive ends of foundations, so if you want something very similar, the Lumi is a decent dupe.