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Jun 28, 2017

My Favorite Eye Creams For Sensitive Eyes


My eye sensitivities have become a nightmare, frankly.  It's been almost exactly a year since I started tossing mainstream mascaras and replacing them with non-toxic versions, but I still seemed to be having problems with my eyes.  Could I be allergic to mascara?  That is a fate that I don't know if my pale, anemic lashes could bear.
In the grand scheme of eye sensitivities, I admit that mine are not THAT bad.  For the most part I'm not getting rashy or swollen eyes, but I have my fair share of itchy, watery annoyances that make my makeup run down my face.  I've had a few instances that I'd call scary where mascaras ran into my eyes and it burned intensely.  I've had to run into bathrooms and scrub the makeup off my face in order to open my eyes again without them burning.  This trend continued, though, even after I'd switched to non-toxic mascaras.  And then I found my current favorite mascara (Lily Lolo's) but was still having problems with itchy eyes.  I couldn't figure out what was going on, when suddenly, thanks to an eye cream I was trying that was super high in concentration in rosemary, I realized I just have good old-fashion sensitive eyes.  Bottom line.  It's not a specific allergy to an ingredient, whether it's a green beauty product or not.  It's just super lame sensitivities to things like essential oils or really active ingredients in the delicate eye area.  SIGH.  While it's nice to have narrowed down my problem and figure out I don't have an allergy to anything, it narrows down the field of what I can use near my eyes quite a bit.
Not one to give up and allow my eye wrinkles to take over my life, I set out on a hunt to find eye creams gentle enough for me, but still getting some good anti-aging ingredients in there.  I've actually found 3 that I'm really loving, that I can wear for very long work days without irritating my eyes in the slightest.

Goldfaden Bright Eyes ($55) 
If I'm being honest, this is my ride-or-die eye cream. It's the perfect size and pump to travel with. I can wear it morning, noon, and night with no sensitivities. It's got hyaluronic acid in there to plump up the fine lines I'm developing around my eyes. Arnica works to soothe and keep dark circles at bay, which is important because, while I'm not genetically prone to dark circles, they can still happen to the best of us. It has soy peptides in there, and red tea to decrease puffiness.

African Botanics Resurrection Eye Cream ($95)
This cream also contains the majesty that is Arnica. It's a little more spendy of an eye cream, but in the world of eye creams it's really a pretty average price. You don't need much of any eye cream, and they're usually packed with anti-aging ingredients, so I don't mind spending this on a product that I know will last months and months.  I will use every last morsel of this jar.  Also, I basically think everything African Botanics does is the Holy Grail. Their Neroli-Infused Marula oil has basically saved my skin, but I digress. Back to the eye cream. It's got peptides for anti-aging, Baobab (one of my fave ingredients that we can probably dedicate an entire blog post to), and Green Rooibos tea to combat puffiness.

Youth To The People Age Prevention Superfood Eye Cream ($35) 
YTTP is a super-affordable option in the eye cream arena. The fragrance-free, synthetic color-free, and vegan formula checks off a lot of boxes for me. Aloe and chamomile keep the formula nice and soothing for my eye area, but it's also got anti-aging peptides in it. It's chock-full of various vitamins, as you can imagine since it's a superfood formula with spinach, alfalfa, and kale in it (It contains Vitamins A, C, & E). I got this while I was looking for a more affordable option to travel with, but ended up falling in love with the gentle, yet effective, formula.  

Jan 31, 2017

My Journey With Clean Beauty + My Favorite Face Oils

I've been quiet on here for a little while now.  It's not that I've stopped caring about beauty products all of a sudden. Let's be serious, that would never happen.  But I've been on a journey with clean beauty for a little while and I've been trying to think about how to tell everyone without being all high-and-mighty about it.
I want everyone to know about how amazing clean/green/non-toxic beauty products are, but I don't want to seem preachy.  I've used mainstream beauty products my whole life, but in the past 6 months or so, I've been using only non-toxic beauty and my skin has never looked better.  So, in the interest of not sounding preachy, I'm not going to lecture about bad ingredients or why people should stop using them (but if you want more information you can check out this article I wrote for ClassPass). I'm going to keep the site super positive and just talk about clean beauty products I like, and why I like them!  Sure, I will keep up-to-date about all the new and cool beauty products that come out, but I'm only going to use the ones that I believe are healthy.
So, with all that being said, I feel it's only appropriate to discuss some of my favorite beauty products in the whole world: OILS!  I've been using oils on my face, body, and hair since before I even cared about them being "green", so it's only natural that we start there.
Oils are the easiest way to transition over to a cleaner beauty routine.  They can replace body lotions, face moisturizers and/or cleansers, and frizz-fighters for the hair.  Or, in the case of Argan Oil, they can do all of the above. As someone with combination skin, I can attest that oils are great to use on all skin types, you just have to find the right one that works for you. These are my favorite balancing skin care oils.

Herbivore Lapis Oil 
I fell in love with this oil, long before I had completely switched over to natural beauty products.  That right there should tell you that natural can be just as effective as chemical products, but if you need further reassurances, I have plenty more.  It's super lightweight and smells terrific. It's balancing. It's gentle.  It looks as good on your bathroom shelf as it feels on your face.  What else can I tell you?  The brilliance behind it is that it's made with Blue Tansy (aka Blue Chamomile) so it's majorly healing for anyone with irritation or breakouts.  It'll help take down a big, swollen breakout in a flash.


Maya Chia Supercritical Omega-3 Chia Face Oil 
This product is made up of 98% chia seed oil, and 2% essential oils.  Chia is one of those superfoods that is great both inside, and used topically on the skin.  It's got the omega fatty acids that the skin wants to feel moisturized, but it's unbelievably lightweight and great for balancing sebum production.  It's great for anyone who needs moisture (which is EVERYONE) but doesn't want to feel like they're wearing an oil-slick on their face.  It personally helped my skin cope with moving across the country and the stress breakouts that ensued.

African Botanics Neroli Infused Marula Oil 
This is a total luxury for me, but worth every penny.  This is my liquid gold.  My skin drinks the omega-rich marula oil without leaving greasy residue behind, and the Neroli helps balance out any hormonal acne situations I have going on. Nary a blemish in sight. I was a tad nervous about the cost at first, but I hardly have to use any product to get amazing results.  If you don't have combo-to-dry skin like myself, the Pure Marula version without Neroli is fabulous for normal or dry skin.  I just need the Neroli to balance my skin and, frankly, I need the smell in my life to balance my emotions.



Jan 30, 2017

Get The Look: Taraji P. Henson at the 2017 SAG Awards


Ok, I'm still sniffling from Taraji's amazing acceptance speech at last night's SAG Awards.  Was that not the most beautiful and humbling speech?  This woman can do no wrong in my eyes.  The Hidden Figures star looked beyond pretty from head to toe.  Her hair stylist, Tym Wallace, tells us how he styled her bad-ass undercut style.
Photo courtesy of Tym Wallace 

How-to:
-Wallace cleansed Henson's natural hair with a sulfate-free shampoo and conditioner, and followed up with a leave-in conditioner.
-Next, he sectioned the hair and blew it out with his favorite tool: the Dyson Supersonic Hair Dryer.
-Once the hair was dry he sectioned the hair off, and created the undercut using some Wahl Hair Clippers.
-After he created the undercut, Wallace went in with a Harry Josh ProTools Ceramic Styling Iron to create large waves in the hair, which he then brushed out with a Mason Pearson brush.
-Wallace finished the look with a beach wave & shine spray.

Oct 28, 2016

Drink Recipes: Spooky Halloween Cocktails!

Halloween is one of my favorite times of the year for so many reasons.  Candy is a big one, and I may or may not think I am part witch. But mostly I just love getting together with friends and celebrating with spooky Halloween cocktails and snacks. Check out these spooky and easy-to-make Halloween cocktails for your upcoming parties this weekend. 

Corazón Diablo
  • 2 parts 901® Tequila
  • 1 part Crème de cassis
  • 1 shot espresso
  • 1 part coffee liqueur
  • ½  part simple syrup
Preparation: Combine all ingredients in mixing glass. Shake vigorously over ice. Strain over ice into martini glass. Garnish with sliced fig to mimic an “evil heart.”

Bewitching Berry
  • 2 parts Sauza® Signature Blue Silver Tequila
  • 1/2 parts peach juice
  • 1/2 parts blackberry puree
  • 1/2 parts lemon juice
  • 1 part simple syrup
Preparation: Add ingredients to an ice-filled shaker. Shake and strain over ice into a coupe glass. Garnish by skewering a fresh blackberry and a slice of peach with a knot stick.

Spider’s Kiss 
  • 1 part Pinnacle® Original Vodka
  • 1 part Midori® Melon Liqueur
  • Fresh Lemon Juice
  • Chocolate Syrup
  • Orange Slice
Preparation: Draw a chocolate web into a martini glass and place in the refrigerator to chill. Combine Midori®, Pinnacle® Vodka, and lemon juice in a shaker and strain into glass. Garnish with a chocolate-dipped orange slice (a regular orange slice will do just fine if you can't find a chocolate-dipped).

Jack-O-Lantern  
  • 1 ½  parts Skinnygirl® Bare Naked Vodka
  • 1 part canned unsweetened pumpkin
  • ¾ part fat free sweetened condensed milk
  • ¾ part unsweetened almond milk
  • Pumpkin pie spice for garnish
  • Club soda 
Preparation: Mix all ingredients except club soda. Pour over ice, top with club soda and garnish with a sprinkle of pumpkin pie spice.

Black Cauldron
·         1 ½ parts Hornitos® Black Barrel® Tequila
·         ¾ part fresh lemon juice
·         ¼ part agave syrup
·         ¼ part sage simple syrup
·         2 dashes Angostura® bitters
·         1 capsule activated charcoal

Preparation: Combine all ingredients in a shaker with ice and shake vigorously. Strain into a coupe glass. Garnish with a lemon slice.


Aug 28, 2016

Recipe: Matcha and Fig Smoothie Bowl


Matcha and Fig Smoothie Bowl
It's fig season! I love these fruity little nuggets so much and get seriously upset when I can't get them for my smoothie bowls. They're sweet, but not too sweet, so they really can go in so many different types of smoothie bowls. I figured why not mix them with my favorite superfood of life: MATCHA. Now if you're not acquainted with the taste of matcha already, err on the side of caution when making your first one. Start with a half a tablespoon of the highly-concentrated powder if you're not sure if it's for you. I am in love with the stuff so I can get wild and do almost a tbsp and a half without flinching, but that's just me.

Ingredients:
1 cup Almond Milk (or favorite nut milk)
1/2 to 1 tablespoon Matcha Powder
1/4 cup Coconut Yogurt

Optional Toppings:
Green Figs
Black Figs
Golden Raspberries
Coconut Chips
Sweetener, such as honey or agave

Directions: Mix coconut yogurt, almond milk, and matcha powder in a mason jar or tupperware.  Leave in fridge overnight.  In the morning, when you're ready to eat, top with fresh fruit and/or some honey to sweeten.  I find that I don't need much sweetener when I top with fresh fruit, but this is because I'm quite accustomed to the taste of matcha and I love it.  I realize not everyone likes their matcha without sweetener.  Sub the honey for agave if you're vegan. Since this is a soft smoothie bowl, with pretty soft fruits, I like to add a little crunchy contrast to it with some coconut chips or homemade granola.  

Bite Beauty Multistick



Christmas came early this year.  Bite Beauty's new Multisticks ($24 each at Sephora) are here and there are 18 glorious shades to use on your lips, cheeks, or eyes.  Even better news: the shades are silicone, sulfate, and paraben-free.  They're great for your skin because they contain ingredients like resveratrol, coconut, shea butter, vitamin E, and jojoba.  The really fun part is the consistency, though.  Though they're so lightweight that it feels like next-to-nothing on the skin, and they're moisturizing, you certainly won't feel greasy wearing these. They dry down to a satin-like finish: AKA not matte, but not dewy either.  I must admit, it's pretty impressive for a silicone-free formula to have such a great finish to it.  And since it IS silicone-free, it won't clog my pores, so I am psyched for these. The little adorable bullets are just perfect for travel, and between all the shades I can definitely travel with about 3 or 4 of these for a full face of makeup. Honeywheat makes for a great bronzer shade for me, and Blondie is so close to my skin tone, I wonder if I can't use it in a pinch in place of foundation or cover-up.  I'm all about that TSA-approved lifestyle so these little guys are going to be well-used.  
From left to right: Nectar, Macaroon, Papaya, Brioche, Gelato, and Praline

From left to right: Nectar, Macaroon, Papaya, Brioche, Gelato, and Praline

From left to right: Créme Caramel, Blondie, Lotus, Anise, Cocoa, and Cerise

From left to right: Créme Caramel, Blondie, Lotus, Anise, Cocoa, and Cerise

From left to right: Mochi, Biscotti, Honeywheat, Mascarpone, Almond, and Cashew

From left to right: Mochi, Biscotti, Honeywheat, Mascarpone, Almond, and Cashew

Buy The Lipstick, Save The Chimps


Hi there, friends. You may have noticed I've been in a bit of a blogging hiatus as of late. After moving to the San Francisco Bay Area I decided to, besides my freelance writing, work for a green beauty company. It's been amazing, and we'll discuss this in further detail later, but I've been pondering what it's all going to mean for my blog. I have no intentions of quitting the blog (EVER), but I have been having an internal struggle over whether or not I will be posting only natural/clean/green beauty content, or if I'm going to be doing a little of everything. I think knowing a little of everything makes me great at my job, because I can recommend great clean beauty swaps for people since I'm "in the know" about all the new products coming out, but personally I certainly prefer to wear more natural products on my own body. 

So, again, more on that later, but I wanted to let y'all know where I've been lately. 
So what glorious product was enough for me to come out of my blogging hiatus to write about? Of course, because I'm a crazy dog mom, it had to be a product that is about saving the animals! This is not a natural product, but it is paraben-free and vegan, and I will certainly support any product line that cares about animals. 
Kat Von D has come out with a limited edition color for her Everlasting Liquid Lipstick called Project Chimps ($20). Miss Von D is an outspoken animal activist that wants to end animal testing in the beauty industry, so she created this shade to further the cause.  Project Chimps is a nonprofit organization that works to stop the use of chimps in biomedical research, and retire them to a chimp sanctuary. 20% of the retail price of every one of these lipsticks will go to that charity. Let's not forget to mention that the matte brick shade is stunning and long-lasting!  This shade is available at Sephora right now, so head over there if you feel like supporting a great cause. 


Jun 10, 2016

Benz On A Budget: Garnier Whole Blends

It's Real Talk time.  I'm having hair issues since moving from NYC to San Francisco.  They're mostly my own fault, but they are issues nonetheless.  First and foremost, I refuse to get new hair stylists even though I know there are plenty of excellent and qualified people out here.  I've been going to my colorist in New York for about 6 years now I think.  That's a long time to be with anyone.  She's given me chocolates, reds, blondes, peaches.  She's given me all the colors I've ever desired so how am I supposed to go to someone else now?  And forget about the major girl crush I have on the lovely lady that cuts my hair.  SHE IS FROM SCOTLAND, first of all, so I hang on every word she says in that amazing accent.  Not to mention she just gets me and all my random requests I walk in with.  She's funny.  I mean what more can I say?
So yeah.  While I'm not sad AT ALL to move to the best coast, I miss my hair girls.  So I haven't had a cut or color now in... months.  Not weeks.  Months.  My sister-in-law is an incredible hairstylist, but she's in LA and I have to figure out how to get down there and see her face.  (Plus my brother's face, and the sweet faces of their cute dachshunds).  I'm getting into a bit of a tangent here.  My point is my hair is toast.  My color is faded from the sun.  And the roots are too much... it hurts to even talk about them.  The ends are totally fried.  I'm in bad shape here.
Cue my budget-friendly saviors that are helping me until I can either get down to LA to see my sissy or find a suitable replacement for my stylists from New York.  Garner Whole Blends hair masks are saving my hair and my sanity at the moment.  There are 4 deep conditioning masks in the Whole Blends lineup, and they're all good.  I like the Color Care mask with Argan oil & cranberry, but since my color is totally shot at the moment, I'm really just focused on nourishing my ends.  These bad boys are RICH.  There's no dry hair situation in my life right now that these can't fix.  Best way to spend $7 that I can think of.      

Honey Treasures Repairing Mask
This is all about the honey, honey.  If you don't know about all the moisturizing (and delicious smelling) benefits of honey and royal jelly, this is a great foray into that world.  I would be lying to you if I didn't tell you I own tons of honey products, from affordable masks like this, to super expensive honey face masks.  I've never met a honey product I don't like.  

Nourishing Mask with Avocado & Shea Butter      
As you can imagine from the name, this mask is already incredibly hydrating.  Avocado also happens to be my favorite food in the whole world.  I used to try and put avocado in my hair at home but ended up just eating it all the time and not saving any for my hair... so this really is a problem solver for me.  Not to mention how expensive avocados are these days.  Why waste it in my hair when I can just eat it, and use this cheap mask in my hair?  Problem solved.    

Side note, I found this fun hair color on Insta and think this is going to be my new color.  Stay tuned for updates on all my hair trials and tribulations.  

May 31, 2016

Benz's Book Club: It's Time For Summer Reads! All By Fantastic Women Writers

Ah, summer time!  Time to spend oodles of time with your feet in the sand and your nose in a good book.  For me, who is always face-down in some book, summer is usually the time where I incorporate some more light-hearted materials in with my regular reading materials that consist of nothing but kidnapping, murder, and various other things that keep me awake all night.  Don't get me wrong, you'll find plenty of those in the list below, but hopefully you'll also pick up something that is a little more whimsical.  No matter which story you pick from the list, they're all page-turners in their own ways.  


Eligible: A modern retelling of Pride and Prejudice by Curtis Sittenfeld
Don't worry, you don't have to have had read Pride and Prejudice to enjoy this book (though, if you haven't you may want to put it on your list for the summer).  Fans of Curtis Sittenfeld are well aware of her writing talents.  She's always written about diverse topics, from first wives to characters with psychic abilities, but always about strong women.  Women who find themselves through their struggles.  There's just enough humor in her characters to keep you from feeling like it's too serious.  You have to wonder who her inspiration is for some of these characters (like the CrossFit obsessed sister).  It's a truly, truly modern look at the old story that makes me wonder if Sittenfeld went to school for Sociology.  She really gets issues like class and gender, but more than anything she gets people.            



The Girls by Emma Cline
(Pre-order now for the release date of June 14th)
If you like any Charles Manson stories, you'll definitely appreciate Cline's debut novel.  It is NOT a retelling of the Manson murders, but certainly shares a lot of similarities.  Set in the San Francisco Bay Area in the 1960's, a very different environment than the tech behemoth it has come today, a teenage girl gets caught up in a lifestyle she never could've imagined.  She's fascinated by a group of seemingly carefree girls, and eventually by their manipulative and charismatic cult leader.  This is a great book club list, but you may not want to wait for your friends to read it because it's so good.  You'll certainly want someone to discuss it with, though.  It touches on many of the controversial issues of the Charles Manson case.  Do you believe those girls were innocent because they were coerced by someone who is a master at manipulation?  How long do you think these women should serve in prison?  Is there a way these situations can be prevented?  This may be fiction, but there are certainly real-life issues at hand here.          

You by Caroline Kepnes
This book is terrifying.  Not in that overt and obnoxious blood-and-gore way like so many scary movies today.  This is psychological.  This makes you think.  Told from a killer's perspective, it will definitely make you think about everything you're putting out in the world on your social media accounts.  Joe, the narrator/killer/stalker, is the new Dexter, but better.  You never see him coming.  By the end of the book you'll be wondering if you're on his side or his victim's.  And once you're done reading You, pick up the sequel, Hidden Bodies.

Watching Edie by Camilla Way
(Pre-order now for the release date of August 2nd)
Ok I guess I like stalker books.  How did you know?  Before you judge, this is a different book entirely from You.  This book is told from the stalker's and the victim's point-of-view.  You'll have trouble deciding who is the good girl and who is the bad girl.  A long-held grudge has you wondering what went wrong 20 years ago with a close friendship between two high school girls.  Now adults, they're both forced to reflect back on the night that changed everything.  More than that night, how are they going to go forward in their lives with all their baggage?  How are they going to raise daughters?  There's mystery, love, loss, betrayal.  All the good components of an eerie page-turner.  You surely won't be able to guess how it all plays out in the end.

The Last Boy And Girl In The World by Siobhan Vivian 
Have you read The List?  (If not, immediately add to your summer read list).  If you read this book by Vivian then you already know she has a way of writing about teen angst that resonates with you no matter your age.  There's nothing childish about the books.  They delve into the real emotions that we went through as teens, and what teens are going through today.  This story is a little more rare of a circumstance than the story in books like the list.  This is an End Of Days/What Would You Do story.  If you were told that your town would be under water in a few days and life as you knew it would be over, what would you do?  Then think about what your kids would want to do or how they would be feeling at that time, especially if you had teenage girls.

All Is Not Forgotten by Wendy Walker 
(Pre-order now for the release date of July 12th)
This book is not easy to read.  It is a book worth reading but it's not going to be easy if you have even one ounce of human emotion.  This book centers around the violent rape of a teenage girl and if you have a soul you'll be eviscerated by emotion while reading about her struggles.  The book is an interesting read because you'll deal with a lot of heavy topics; violence against women, prison reform, mental health issues, childhood traumas, moral practices in the workplace, psychiatry.  I could go on.  It is not for the faint of heart but a captivating read, and even better if you have someone read at the same time so that you can discuss all of these heavy issues.  I know I'm making it sound really grim but it's an incredible book if you have any opinions on the aforementioned issues. I couldn't put it down.      

Me Before You by Jojo Moyes
If you haven't read it already, you'd better get to it before the movie comes out this weekend.  (Don't worry, you will only need a few days to read because you won't want to put it down).  The movie is being touted as a great love story, and indeed it is.  BUT IT'S SO MUCH MORE THAN THAT.  At the heart of the story is a very controversial issue, which I will not spoil for you here in case you haven't read it.  This needs to be discussed at length over book club or a bottle of wine with a friend, but regardless of where you're talking about it you'll need to keep the tissues handy.  And then buy a second box of tissues when you go see the movie.  

First Comes Love by Emily Giffin 
(Pre-order now for the release date of June 28th)
I'm already well aware that I don't need to tell Giffin fans to buy this book.  I'm sure you've already pre-ordered already.  But if you've never picked up one of her books, this is a good place to start.  Her voice resonates with real women who deal with complex emotions every day.  Feelings about motherhood, sisterhood, tragedy, and survivor's guilt are the pillars that the story is built on.  You can call it "chick lit" if you want, but if by chick lit you mean EMPOWERING WOMEN THROUGH STORIES ABOUT WOMEN, then yes it is indeed chick lit.  (Also, let's stop using that term negatively.  There's nothing bad about being a chick, and nothing bad about lit, so why would chick lit ever be considered bad?)
     
Note: When I started writing this list, I had no idea it would be all women authors.  It just worked out that way.  I was almost done writing it and realized that so many of the stories are "coming of age" or "finding yourself" stories in their own way.  (What does that say about my mental state at the moment?)  Of course you don't need to be a woman to appreciate all of these stories, it's just that I think women will find them especially relatable.  And major kudos to all the women authors out there who are slaying the game right now.  Keep doing what you do!  

May 23, 2016

StriVectin TSV: Super Size Firming Face & Neck Treatment Set (plus a giveaway!)

Today, May 24th, there is an exciting StriVectin TSV (today's special value) on QVC.  This sale is only 24 hours long, so don't snooze on this one if you're a StriVectin fan!  The TSV price is $129 for the Super-Size Firming Face & Neck Treatment Set (a value of $315).  The sale includes a 3.4 oz Firming Neck Cream, which is one of the best-selling neck creams there is, and 2 bottles of the 1.7 oz Firming Face Serum (3.4 oz total).  Bonus: if you sign up for auto-delivery you will received a free Advanced Retinol Eye Cream with every shipment you receive (an additional $75 value).  
   
Giveaway:
We're giving away one StriVectin Super Size Firming Face & Neck Treatment set.  The set includes the 3 products pictured/listed above (1 Firming Neck Cream and 2 Firming Face Serums). 
To enter:
1. Follow @beautybybenz on Instagram 
2. Follow @strivectin on Instagram 
3. Comment on the above image on Instagram and tell us why you want to win!  
Contest rules:
The contest will start today, May 24th and end on May 31st, 2016 at 11:59 PM EST. Winner will be selected at random.  Contest is open to U.S. residents only.  Winner must have a valid email and U.S. postal address so that we can contact you in the event that you win.  Good luck! 

May 17, 2016

Pat McGrath Skin Fetish 003

We all know Pat McGrath is a makeup genius, but would you pay $72 to buy one of her highlighters? I bought BOTH OF THEM (that's right, $144 for 2 highlighting kits) to help you decide if it's worth it to you. By the way, that's not even inclusive of tax. 
When McGrath announced she was launching her own makeup line, instead of just collaborating with other brands as she's done in the past, people basically lost their minds. Myself included. Her first launch, Gold 001, was a gold pigment that sold out ridiculously fast. Not in need of a gold pigment, and not fast enough to get on the website even if I wanted it, I passed on that opportunity. Her second launch, Phantom 002, was a plethora of gorgeous pigments, included a blackest black, fuschias, and blue, but at a price tag of $240 I could not participate. Now here we are with Skin Fetish 003 at $72 a pop, and 2 available colors. I figured if there were ever a time to pull the trigger, why not do it with highlighters? We all know I have a fetish for highlighters (see what I did there?).

So here's the thing, friends: you don't NEED both highlighters.  Just as I didn't NEED to buy both of them and use my blog as an excuse to review the products.  Will you want both?  Probably.  I did.  And I'm glad I have both of them.  I'm a medium skin tone that can get pretty dark in the sun, and pretty darn pale in the winter.  For me, both might actually be necessary.  At this moment, I can easily wear both shades.  If you have a darker skin tone you'll definitely want to go for the Golden shade, versus the Nude shade.  The balm is clear on both of them (on one end of the highlighter/balm duo stick), and the pigment sort of looks the same at first glance, but they are very different. 
       


From left to right: Pigment 003 from Nude shade, Highlighter stick from Nude shade, Highlighter stick from Golden shade, Pigment 003 from Golden shade 

Of course, McGrath's Skin Fetish 003 shades are all mega-impact with very little effort.  They're totally fool-proof as far as I'm concerned.  The balm can be used basically all over the face: on the lids, for a shiny, but not greasy look, on the cupid's bow to highlight the lip without looking garish, or in conjunction with the Highlighter Stick or the Pigment 003.  Here are some swatches on my skin so you can see how the individual products look.  


Highlighter Stick in Nude
Highlighter Stick in Golden




Added the Pigment 003 in Nude on top of the Highlighter Stick

Added the Pigment 003 in Golden on top of the Highlighter Stick

So, like I said, did I need to buy both?  Eh, probably not.  Am I glad that I did?  100%.  I barely had to put in any work for that highlight and my skin feels radiant, but not like I'm wearing anything at all.  I'm in love.  Just what I would expect from Pat McGrath Labs.  

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