Wednesday, July 22, 2015


beauty hacks tips and tricks

Let’s be real for a second.  We’re busy people and if there are any beauty hacks or shortcuts out there we need to know about them.  That’s where I come in.   Over the years I have picked up so many amazing beauty tips & tricks that I find it only my sincerest obligation to share them with all of you.    A well-mastered hack can help you escape many a beauty emergency, revive old products, and help you shorten your makeup routine.   Keep reading to learn my 22 game changing, or should I say life changing! beauty hacks.  Clumpy mascara and frizzy strands, begone!!

21 Game Changing Beauty Hacks You Need to Know
  1.  If you’re having trouble covering up a zit due to dry skin, dab a little Vaseline on the spot and then go in with your concealer.  This should only be used for special occasions as Vaseline has a tendency to clog pores, but as a last resort this tip is great for helping concealer adhere and lay smoothly on the skin.
  2. Have lashes that don’t want to stay curled?  After going in with a trusty eyelash curler coat lashes with a thin coat of waterproof mascara and after allowing that to dry proceed with your mascara of choice.  This quick step will ensure your lashes stay curled all day long.
  3. If you love a fragrance consider purchasing the perfumed lotion instead of the bottle.  They’re generally cheaper and the scent will last much longer on the skin.
  4. When you want your lip color to pop cover your lips in concealer before going in with the product.  This will create a base on your lips and intensify the color.
  5. If you find you've been a little heavy handed with the fragrance use a baby wipe to clean off the assaulted area.  Works like a charm at downplaying the scent.
  6. Have a cheap toothbrush lying around?  Instead of tossing it spray it with hairspray and use it to tame flyaway hairs.
  7. When your at a store and shopping for foundation make sure you match the color to your neck.  If your face and body are two different colors you always want to match your body.  Casper on top, J.Lo on bottom?? Not a good look.  Also, if you’re going to have your hair up make sure you apply foundation to the tops of your ears as well to ensure continuity.
  8. Got a clumpy dried up mascara wand?  Don’t fret.  Take your mascara wand and run it under hot water for 15 second or so.  This will get the dried gunk off the brush and the next time you apply it will feel as good as new.
  9. Adding a couple drops of nail polish remover to an old & clumpy polish will improve the texture and revive the lacquer pack to its original form.
  10. Out of oil absorbing sheets?  You can absorb excess oils on your face with one ply of a tissue in a pinch.
  11. So you’re finishing up your makeup and get a big mascara smudge on your eyelid.  The worst.  Don’t fear...let the mascara assaulted area dry completely and then using a q-tip slightly rub, rolling over the spot, and it will come right off.  
  12. Really want your eyeshadow colors to pop?  Cover lid in a white pencil (Such as Nyx’s Jumbo Eye Pencil in Milk) before going in with shadow.  This will create a neutral base and intensify any product you apply producing vibrant color.
  13. There is nothing worse than trying to apply matte or vivid lip color onto dry & flaky lips.  In a pinch an old toothbrush works great as an exfoliator.  Just wet with warm water, buff onto lips, and follow up with a lip balm to moisturize.
  14. If you’re like me you love a good cheekbone highlight.  The trick is to make sure your highlighter is placed correctly.  It should be on the top of your cheekbones, but making sure you’re not going too high as we dot want to accentuate any dark circles or puffiness.  Other great places to use your highlighter: right above your brow bone, under the brow bone, inner tea duct, down the bridge of your nose, collarbones & shoulders.
  15. Tried self-tanner and produced an oompa loompa?  We’ve all been there….especially for trouble spots such as hands, feet, and elbows, it’s easy for color to gather.  To remedy the problem mix a cup of water with a half cup of lemon juice and a tablespoon of baking soda and using a loofah or sponge gently exfoliate to lighten up any blotches or dark spots.
  16. A quick way to fake awake tired eyes is by using a nude color on lower rims.  This will cancel out any redness and brighten those peepers.
  17. Best hair mask out there is natural coconut oil.  Warm a couple tablespoons in the microwave and leave on hair for twenty minutes.  Rinse off and shampoo in the shower and you will be left with luscious moisturized locks. 
  18. Intimidated by false lashes?  Use this simple trick instead:  Between coats of mascara use a fluffy eyeshadow brush to dust some baby powder onto your lashes.  The powder will adhere to lashes making them appear thicker and longer. 
  19. Facial moisturizer is your friend.  To dilute heavy foundation mix a little in to create a tinted moisturizer in a snap.  Having trouble with cream blushes?  Grace your cheeks with a little moisturizer before application and the product will blend like a dream.
  20. The best way to apply under eye concealer is in an upside down triangle shape.  This flattering way conceals dark circles and creates the illusion that your face is lifted by drawing the focus upward. 
  21. Have an old eye pencil?  Transform it into a smooth gel liner by with the help of a match or lighter.  Hold the product under the flame for one second, wait 15 seconds for the product to firm up, and then voila!  Should be smooth sailing from here on out.
I hope you found this post helpful and you can use some of these tips & tricks in your beauty routine.  Thank you so much for stopping by and I hope you're having an amazing week!

xoxo Nicole

P.S. For those of you that read my post last Friday, you will know I took a paddle board yoga class for the first time on Sunday.  As I am sure you are on the edge of your seat dying to know how it went, I thought I would update was a blast!  I seriously had such an amazing time, it was a great workout (my arms were killing me Monday) and it was so relaxing to be out on the water doing yoga.  If you have a class nearby or an opportunity to partake in paddle board yoga I would highly recommend it!!

P.P.S.  Just wanted to give you a heads up content will be light on Brazen Brunette this week.  I'm spending time with family at the beach in New Jersey and trying my best to unplug and take a break from social media.  (It's so hard!!)  But no worries, I will be back to my regular posting schedule come Monday.

Friday, July 17, 2015


MAC Haul

Oh MAC Cosmetics, how I love you so.  MAC is an amazing brand that offers such a wide range of unique and high quality products.  Hence how this haul happened.  I have always been a huge fan of MAC lipsticks and lipliners, but know they offer so much more and wanted to get myself out there and try some new things.  Almost all of the products I picked up in this haul were items I have heard raved about again and again in the beauty community and MAC in general is one of the most talked about brands on YouTube and in the blogging community.  Well on my mission to find out what else MAC has to offer I ordered five items and am excited to share my first impressions with you today.  Keep reading to find out what I scooped up!

I feel like a MAC haul wouldn't be complete with a bottle of Prep + Prime Fix +  ($10, 1.0oz).  I know this will be a beauty sin to admit, but.... I have never used fix plus.  What???  I know, I don't know what I have been doing with my life.  I am so excited to get my hands on this and explore all the different ways I can use it.    Some multitasking properties this "lightweight water mist" claims to embody include: face primer, a makeup setting spray said to diffuse that powdery look when you finish your makeup, and perfect for spraying on eyeshadow brushes before applying product to intensify color payoff.  Stay tuned, I'll report back on how multitasking this wonder really is.  (And if you know any other uses let me know in the comments below!)  

MAC Haul
MAC 217 Blending Brush

Next I picked up a mini Blue Brown Pigment ($10, 0.09oz).  I had seen this used in so many makeup tutorials and it always looked so gorgeous and unique with it's duo chrome finish.  I like this, and the color is stunning, but I think I'm really going to have to play a round with it some more to make it work.  This is definitely not an every day color and looks best built up with lots of other shadows and blending.  Perfect for a night out on the town, not so much for heading to the office.  

So onto a product that definitely lived up to the hype around happy I finally invested in a 217 Blending Brush ($24).  This is a great quality brush and what I love is that it does a great job of packing on color, but also blends seamlessly.  It's sometimes hard to find an eye brush that does both well.  Love it, you need it, end of story.  

MAC blush rosy outlook

Moving onto a bit of a disappointment is the Cream Colour Base in Hush  ($21, 0.12oz).  I purchased this cream highlighter after seeing it in Tanya Burr's YouTube videos and had such high hopes for the "soft peach with icy shimmer" hue.  Now the color is stunning don't get me wrong, but this blended horribly on the skin and was very patchy.  I think it looks beautiful on the skin once blended in, see the picture below, but it took way too much time and effort to get it there.  Not worth it in my book, there's cream highlighters out there that blend like a dream (BECCA I'm looking at you!) and I plan on returning this. 

Last, but not least is the delightful Pro Longwear Blush in Rosy Outlook ($26 0.2oz).  I adore MAC's blushes and this light yellow/pink semi-matte formula is everything I could ask for in a blush.  It blends beautifully, it's pigmented without being too pigmented and producing clown face, and it's such a flattering and easy to wear shade.  I adore this and have been getting a lot more into matte blushes lately because I love how they pair with a bold cheekbone highlight.  

MAC cream colour base hush

And that is all I picked up from MAC for this haul, hey four out of five ain't bad right??  I would have to say my favorites from the bunch are the 217 blending brush and the pro long wear blush in rosy outlook.  I will have to play with the pigment and Prep + Prime Fix + some more before I reach my final verdict on those.  What are your favorite products from MAC?  I can't wait to try some more and expand my MAC collection.  Next on my list is MAC's blush in Margin, Groundwork paint pot, and Coppering eyeshadow.

Thank you so much for stopping by and let's all join in a sigh of relief that we made it to Friday people!!  I can't wait to relax and spend some time with friends this weekend.  I'm also excited to be trying something new in the form of paddle board yoga.  I guess that's one of the advantages of living in Tampa that there's so many great activities right on the beach.    I have a hard enough time doing tree pose on dry land let alone on a board in the middle of the ocean, but as long as I don't encounter a shark I'm willing to try anything.  I can't wait and will definitely let you guys know how it goes!  Hope you have a great weekend!!

xoxo Nicole 

Wednesday, July 15, 2015


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Home girl loves a good sale.  And unless you've been lout of the loop I'm sure you've been hearing about Nordstrom's Anniversary Sale.  This sale is the bee's knees and happens but once year.  What makes this sale so great is it features items in the upcoming fall collections along with tried and true bestsellers.  Most sales usually feature poor selling merchandise or products from last season they're trying to get off the shelves, not here.  Right now the sale is only open to Nordstrom card members (credit & debit), but goes public on July 17th.  If you're like me and thinking "A store credit card? not for me."  You can do what I did and choose the debit option, it links directly to your checking account, you still earns all the points and perks, and you can sign up HERE if you're interested in shopping the sale early.  Pieces sell out quick and prices go back up at the beginning of August so if you're eyeing an item I would snatch it up now.  (Seriously lusting over these OTK boots, should I do it??)  I love shopping at Nordstrom because they offer such a variety of products, they offer free shipping and returns, and they carry Charlotte Tilbury's line.  (Sadly none of CT's products are on sale, c'mon Nordstrom throw this girl a bone!)  But check out my beauty and skincare picks above and happy shopping ladies!

Nordstrom is offering such a great variety of beauty and skincare classics in this sale that I couldn't wait to share with you my picks.  Voluspa candles are always a stand by and this set comes with three full-size candles for $29.20, you can't beat that!   If you're in need of some nail polish this set by Deborah Lippman has you covered in the nudes department and the formula of her lacquers is outstanding.  This baby pink makeup bag by Ted Baker is just dreamy and I'm loving the rose gold detailing.  (If anyone wants to get me an early birthday present this is on my list...hint, hint.)  Now my obsession with NARS cosmetics is on a whole other level, they are one of my favorite high end brands, and this sale is featuring two limited edition NARS products.  First is a face palette featuring a baby doll pink and creamy coral blush both with a satin finish, a champagne highlighter, and casino bronzer.  (Laguna's darker counterpart.)  Now the one item I would definitely snag out of everything is this lip trio.  Ughhh, I just can't get enough of NARS satin lip pencils, they are amazing!!!  This set features a fuchsia pink, a bright watermelon shade and a classic red.  I have been getting more into Khiel's skincare lately and this is such a great set they're offering on discount.  It comes with their amazing clearly collective range in cleanser and cream form, an eye cream, serum, and makeup bag all for $85!  

A sale like this is a great time to invest in tried and true items that you know you will get a ton of use out of.  So let me get to my next four picks.  Classic brushes featured in this Bobbi Brown set will seriously last you a lifetime, her makeup brushes are some of the highest quality I've used.  Also, if you haven't jumped on the beauty blender or Clarisonic bandwagon now may be the time.  Both cult products are featured at deep discount and I'm seriously considering picking up this beauty blender trio that features two sponges and a solid cleanser.  Next on the list of investments is this 1" curling wand by Sultra.  (They also offer a 1.5 " that is also on sale.)  My hair is a little short to be curling but for you long haired gals out there this is the highest rated curling wand on the market and it's only on sale for a limited time!  This is even the curling wand bachelorette Kaitlyn Bristowe uses.  And hey if this product is gonna land me in an Irish castle with a bunch of half dressed men vying for my love, sign me up.  

So that is it for my picks, so many amazing items featured in this years' Nordstrom Anniversary Sale.  What else do you guys have your eye on?  I already scooped up a bunch of workout wear, let's just say I seriously needed to up my athletic fashion.  Zella leggings are on sale for only $33.90 a piece!  I hope you guys are having an amazing week and thank you so much for stopping by.  Would you be interested in seeing my fashion picks from the sale? Let me know in the comments below!
xoxo Nicole


Monday, July 13, 2015


I am so excited to be sharing this post with you!  Using the color wheel when choosing your eye makeup is a trick I learned years ago and it has changed my makeup routine ever since.  It’s really so simple, but can make such a drastic change in how your makeup can highlight and compliment the color of your eyes.  Ok, so I know you’re probably thinking, hey lady we’re not in art class why are your talking about a color wheel?? but it’s such an easy thing to keep in mind when shopping for eye makeup and choosing what shadows to reach for when you want to play up your eyes.  Locate your eye shade on the color wheel and then look across from that, by picking shades on the opposite side of the color wheel these will be most complimentary and highlight your iris hue.  It’s really that simple and a great way to play with some fun color.  I break it down below by illustrating which colors work best with each eye hue below along with my personal product suggestions to really make those peepers pop.  

best eyeshadow for blue eyes

 Ahh those baby blues.  I am so envious of people who have blue eyes and I think they are just stunning.  Since blue eyes are naturally cool toned, warm shadows tend to highlight these peepers like none other.  And since this color is such a statement less is typically more with this eye color, let their natural beauty shine!

If you have BLUE eyes try… Gold, bronze, copper, champagne, peach, warm grey

My Picks: MAC Eyeshadow in Coppering, MAC Eyeshadow in Rule, Stila Eyeshadow in Kitten, MAC Paint Pot in Groundwork and the items featured in the pic above!

best eyeshadow for hazel eyes

Ahh the enigma of the hazel iris... sometimes looking green, sometimes appearing brown and often having flecks of gray and gold throughout.  Hazel eyes are in a league all their own.    Because of their range of tones you can play up certain aspects of hazel eyes to completely change their hue.  To bring out the green stick with a violet or plum, to enhance the brown stick with a neutral palette of taupes and greys.  You ladies have it made, you can change your eye color with your eye makeup!

If you have HAZEL eyes try… Gray, dusty pinks, burgundy, deep purple, yellow toned browns

My Picks: MAC eyeshadow Quarry, MAC eyeshadow Cranberry, Bobbi Brown Eyeshadow Velvet Plum, Charlotte Tilbury Eyeshadow Quad Dolce Vita and the items featured in the pic above!

best eyeshadow for brown eyes

And now for my eye color, brown eyed girls unite!  Women with brown eyes luck out because they can wear the widest range of shades.   Being that brown is a neutral it doesn’t tend to compete with colors in the same way the other hues do, giving us brown eyed gals the widest range of choices.

If you have BROWN eyes try… Bronze, peach, purple, navy, greenish golds

My Picks: Stila Smudge Stick Eyeliner in Deep Burgundy, MAC paint pot Rubenesque, MAC eyeshadow Brown Script, BY TERRY Ombre Blackstar Eyeshadow Stick in #11 Beyond Gold and the items featured in the pic above!

best eyeshadow for green eyes

Did you know roughly 2% of the population is graced with green eyes?  They’re a rarity and oh so beautiful.  All makeup artists agree purple is the route to take when trying to make green eyes pop. 

If you have GREEN eyes try… Burgundy, rust, purples, rose gold, pinks

My Picks: Makeup Forever Artist Eyeshadow in M9298 Eggplant, MAC Eyeshadow in Sketch, MAC Eyeshadow Amber Lights, Charlotte Tilbury Eyeshadow Quad in Vintage Vamp and the items featured in the pic above!

I hope you guys enjoyed this post and it encourages you to play up those gorgeous eyes of yours!  Once you get a little mastery of the color wheel it’s easy to pick out shades that will be complimentary and make your eyes pop.  Keep in mind these are just suggestions, there are no rules in makeup, and the whole point is to have fun with it.   I hope this post inspires you to mix up your makeup routine and try something different!  Happy Monday everyone!!

xoxo Nicole

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FRIDAY FAVORITE: Stila Smudge Stick Waterproof Eye Liner