good blush for neutral undertone

Beauty Review: My April Ipsy Bag

Beauty Review: My April Ipsy Bag | Writing Between Pauses

Mercury Retrograde ended last weekend and, let me just say, it was an absolute doozy for me. It started rough (a really high tax bill) and ended rough (having to replace a major appliance in my home, a shattered windshield, buying a new set of tires and getting a flat tire 2 hours later, and tons of tiny inconveniences)... but I made it! I'm here!

So when Danny came home on April 14 with my Ipsy bag, I was beyond ecstatic. After all the money I spent, I needed something little to get me excited and make me feel better. Plus, I had been so excited about the products in my bag. 

Without further ado, let's jump into what I got, how I like everything, and the total value of this bag! 

(To read my past Ipsy bag reviews, click here.) 

Ipsy Bag 1

1. Feel Restored Warming Clay Mask, $7.60 Value

You know I love a mask, so I was really excited to see this mask. Here's what it promises: 

This magical mask is infused with white charcoal powder which warms up upon contact with your skin to open up pores and clear out all the icky stuff that’s hiding deep down.

And you know what? It absolutely does warm up when you start to apply it! It's really soothing and lovely to put on, because it does get so warm. This little sample pack only has enough for about 2 uses; it had 20ml. The full size costs $38 and has 100ml, so 5-times the size. You'd get about 10 uses. That equals out to about $3-4 per use (or "per mask"). Is that worth it? I usually pay about $2-3 per sheet masks, so it's a little more expensive than usual. However, it's a really nice mask and my face did feel really great afterwards (if a little dry). 

2. Purlisse Coconut Oil + Coffee Sugar Scrub, $10 

I love the brand Purlisse--their Lotus Seed mask that I got in my January bag is one of my favorites--so I was excited to get this coffee scrub. I love a body exfoliator as I recently stopped using plastic loofas (to reduce the amount of shedded plastic I put into waterways). Here's what it promises: 

Coffee grounds are great exfoliators, and they’re rich in antioxidants. They also help improve circulation to firm and tone your skin.

Lovely! This scrub smells amazing, almost energizing (the coffee smell, really), and left my skin feeling so, so soft. I definitely needed to moisturize well afterwards, but it was worth it! I also found it helped remove the eczema I get on my upper arms, so there is that benefit too. 

3. NYX Soft Matte Lip Cream in Ibiza, $6.50 

Soft Matte Lip Cream is one of my favorite lip formulas. I like this shade a lot; I was worried I would receive a shade I already own (I own about 10 of them!). This is descriped as a "deep rosy-pink", but that's actually not correct. It's quite bright, not a melon or coral, but closer to a watermelon shade. 


I know some struggle with the formula of the Soft Matte Lip Creams, but I find them very long lasting. This lasted me through a trip to Target, a Starbucks, lunch, and even dinner. When I went to take an After shot for my teeth whitening later, I had stains on my lips from it! I will say, the price on these has gone up in the last few years; they were definitely closer to $4 when I bought my first tube of Stockholm. 

4. Luna by Luna Cosmetics Eyeshadow in Spiced Pumpkin, $15

I was hoping I would get this shade and, surprise, I did! Spiced Pumpkin is a lovely warm bronze shade. I was not impressed by my first Luna Cosmetics item (a baby pink lipstick way back in my October ipsy bag). However, I was ready to give this eyeshadow a shot and I'm so glad I did. 

I've come to accept that I don't look great in warm pink tones (I write as I sob over my Too Faced peach palettes), but I do look good in more orange or bronze tones. This one is absolutely lovely and looks great on its own. I've been playing with single-shadow eye looks and trying to find ways to add dimension without a ton of effort... I love this eyeshadow for that! 

5. Steve Laurant Beauty Blush in Rose All Day, $22

You know I love blushes, so I was beyond excited to receive a new one. This shade from Steve Laurant is a soft, medium-toned pink that would look good on probably every skin tone. It's really, really pretty. At first, I thought it wasn't very pigmented; I used a brush and put some on my arm. Nothing. The next morning, I started doing my make up and loaded up a brush with it and... it was so much blush! Oops! I wiped it off, redid my foundation, and tried again. 

You know how when you go out in the spring and it's a little chilly out, so you get really pink-cheeked and lovely? This is the perfect blush to replicate that look! It's really gorgeous and has the perfect finish for a daily look. 

Ipsy Bag 2

Final Thoughts

The final total value of this ipsy bag is $61.10! That's pretty good for a bag where I love every single item. That never happens. I don't have one single dud in this bag. Amazing? Genius? The best? I'm obsessed with every item here. It's not my highest valued bag, but it's one of my favorites ever. If you'd like to try Ipsy, use my referral link here

My Beauty Favorites: Blushes

My Beauty Favorites: Blushes | Writing Between Pauses

It feels like I didn't really start caring about blush until a few years ago. When I was in high school, I don't think anyone I know used blush. In the early 2000s, bronzer was a big deal; I remember my friends covering essentially their whole faces in bronzer. I never rocked that look (I'm way too pale), so I mostly just wore foundation, powder, and that was it. I took all the color out of my face with foundation... and didn't add any back in!  

yikes reaction

The first blush I can remember buying, at least in the last 5 years, was Wet'n'Wild's Pearlescent Pearl (a very dead-on dupe for NARS Orgasm, if you're looking!) and while I love that blush, it's not one of my current favorites.

You see... blush is now one of my favorite items to buy, one of my favorite beauty items to put on, and something that I'm a little obsessed with. Most days, I wear foundation or concealer, powder, and blush, maybe some mascara if I'm feeling fancy. So most days, blush is the thing that really makes a huge difference in my look. 

So after a very taxing decision process, I picked out my top 3 favorite blushes. (And I'll also include my 2 favorite brushes for applying blush!) 

Blush Image 2

1. Pixi by Petra in Peach Honey

I received this blush in my first Ipsy bag and when I first reviewed it, I thought it was more of a highlighter than a blush. However, after applying it one day and getting to work, I realized the truth: my bathroom lighting just sucks! It's definitely a more subtle blush and being peachier than what I usually wear, it definitely falls into the category of being outside of my go-to. However, it has such a nice, natural effect that I think it's one of those blushes that looks good on everyone. 

2. Tarte Amazonian Clay Blush in Paaarty

I (and almost everyone else) received this blush in the 2017 Sephora birthday gift. (If you chose the skincare gift, don't worry, you can purchase it solo.) I love this blush, even though the name is actually one of the worst ever; I never remember the correct number of "a"s. It is a perfect pink color: very traditional, very cute, and very perfect on nearly every skintone. 

3. Ulta Beauty Blush in Rose

I debated including this blush, even though it is my current "I wear this every single day" color because, well, I couldn't find it on Ulta's website! The problem sometimes with free gifts is that they don't always have everything for sale. However, this is the same shade as the Ulta Beauty Blush in Sweet Pea here; so if you want to buy it, that's a great option. This shade is a dusty, slightly mauve-y pink. I wear mauve lips almost every single day, so if I'm going for a monochromatic look, this is what I reach for. It's super pigmented, super blendable, and absolutely lovely. 

Bonus: My Favorite Brushes

I used to use my fingers to apply blush, then I would sweep it out with my powder brush (yikes). Now, I have two dedicated blush brushes (three actually, but that's neither here nor there) that I love using, depending on the formula and look I'm going for. 

1. Crown C141 Small Chisel Brush: this brush is great for blushes that are a little less pigmented and you need to concentrate to a specific area. (I also love this brush for packing on mattifying powder!) I use it specifically with my Pixi by Petra blush. 

2. F.A.R.A.H. 30F: this brush is angled, so it gives you a great sweeping look. If you're using a highly pigmented blush, this is the one you want to go for; being softer and fluffier, it blends out blush much easier.