Beauty Products: When to Save and Splurge

when to splurge or save on makeup

When it comes to makeup, we all have our favorite brands. I mostly stick to drugstore brands due to my budget, but I do splurge on certain products at Sephora or MAC if they are worth it. After a few years of wearing makeup and trying my fair share of products, I’ve realized that there are certain beauty products that are worth splurging on and some you should save on.

save on makeup

When to Save on Makeup

Mascara. In all honesty, I seem to like drugstore mascaras better than department stores. Brands like Cover GirlRevlonMaybelline and L’Oreal make amazing mascaras at under $10 a pop. Since each of these brands offers at least 5-10 different types of mascara (lengthening, volumizing, darkening, etc.), it’s easy to find the perfect mascara for your lash type. Mascara typically lasts only for a couple of months, so why waste $30 every 2 months when you could save and spend $10 with similar/better results? You also can mix and match two different mascaras to get your desired look if that helps mimic a high-end formula. My pick:  L’Oreal Voluminous Volume Building Waterproof Mascara.

Lipstick. Sure, some $.99 lipsticks won’t last as long as one from NARS, but in general, you can find quality lip shades at your drugstore. My personal favorite brand is Revlon. Their Super Lustrous line is creamy and highly pigmented and lasts for hours. The range of colors is very extensive- and there are so many similar shades to department store products (Revlon’s “Really Red” is an exact match of MAC’s “Russian Red”- seriously). The key to getting lasting lip color is how you apply it- so start with lip primer, line your lips and apply a few coats. I’m also really loving all Nyx cosmetics lipsticks as an affordable option. My pickNyx Cosmetics Matte Lipstick in “Angel”

Eyeliner. I love buying cheap pencil eyeliners at the drugstore in a variety of colors- since I only wear colored liner every now and then, I don’t feel bad spending so little on it. For my everyday liner, I love Revlon’s entire ColorStay line- the color really stays on long, hence the name! ELF makes some great cheap eyeliners too. In my experience, these drugstores brands work just as well as a high-end one. The key is to pick the right type of liner and applicator for you- liquid, pencil, gel, etc. Using two different forms and layering them on top of one another provides extra staying power. My pick: Revlon ColorStay Liquid Eye Pen

splurge on makeup

When to Splurge on Makeup

Foundation. If you’re going to splurge on one makeup item, I say make it foundation. While I usually stick to a BB cream or a drugstore foundation, if you have sensitive or problem skin, you may need to invest in something high-end to cover up all imperfections. Clinique makes great skin products for sensitive skin, redness and blemishes. Find what type of skin you have, what areas need improvement, and what skin tone you have. Bring this knowledge (and your bare face) with you to your local department store and have a professional test out different brands/formulas on you. A bottle of foundation can typically last months- especially if you only use it when going out in public. Great skin is worth spending extra money, in my opinion. My pick: Smashbox Camera Ready BB Cream

Primer. Primer has so many uses- it evens out your skin’s texture, provides a bare canvas for applying makeup and keeps your makeup looking in tip-top shape for hours. Some cheaper brands don’t get the job fully done, so I feel that it’s best to invest. Not everyone needs to use primer, it’s optional. And since there are a variety of primers (for the face, for the eyes, for the lips, etc.), stick to ones you’ll actually use. My pick: Urban Decay Eyeshadow Primer Potion

Eyeshadow. You can get away with drugstore or cheaper eyeshadow if you use a primer like I mentioned above. But generally, higher-end brands are more pigmented, made with higher quality materials and will last longer. Some of my favorites are MAC and Urban Decay shadows. If you wear eyeshadow often and like to experience, I recommend buying kits or quads with different shades. If you rarely wear eyeshadow, just stick to a few shades you will use. My pick: Urban Decay Naked 2 Palette


Cardstore Christmas Cards & Giveaway

cardstore christmas card

Now that I’m an adult, sending Christmas cards becomes more normal- and almost a necessity in certain social circles. I’m sure once I have kids (or maybe just another cat) I’ll do the whole “let’s take a cute photo and send it to everyone we know on Christmas”, but for now I find myself just sending funny, cute cards to a handful of friends and family. One place that has become my go-to for cards for an upcoming occasion is Cardstore.

I’ve used Cardstore previously (and gave my own Cardstore review on my blog last summer) for other occasions, like my dating anniversary, and love the variety of cards they have. You can customize the cards to your liking (with photos and text) and then mail them electronically or have them printed to you and mailed with an envelope. I prefer the tangible cards, so I always opt for that option. Getting something in the mail with your name on it is the best  feeling, right?

This year, I stocked up on a few cards for Christmas- a sentimental one for my Mom, a funny one for James, one that’s perfect for a blogging buddy of mine and then a couple of cards that are great for anyone who celebrates Christmas (a.k.a. last-minute cards to give to someone when they send one to you!)

While you’re browsing their cards, why not enter the Candid Christmas Cards contest? Choose your funniest “real life” photo and create your own “real” Christmas card to submit. Use #MyChristmasStory when sharing to encourage family and friends to get in on the fun! You can submit as many cards as you like by the submission end date, and then you (and everyone else) can vote for your favorites. The 3 photos with the most votes will be our winners! The grand prize winner will receive a $1,500 Visa gift card to put towards a holiday trip for your crazy family, a Nikon CoolPix camera, and free Cardstore Christmas cards to send out to their loved ones this holiday season!

Cardstore is offering one Life Unsweetened reader a promotional code for 20 free cards of their choice. To enter, simply fill out the widget below.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Create Holiday Looks with tagspire

tagspire logo

If you’re a blogger, you’re probably well aware of the different websites and products you can use to help create and curate content for your blog. If you’re a reader on the other hand, you probably just know that you click on a link to a dress and then you can immediately buy it. Of course, the two are usually connected. A new way for bloggers and blog readers to effectively shop for clothing is with tagspire.

tagspire is a unique way bloggers and website owners can monetize their photos. This social commerce and social shopping platform allows you to incorporate multiple tags to direct people to more than one link to purchase the items in your photo, instead of only being able to link to one place. It gives you the opportunity to monetize multiple categories (consumer electronics, apparel/accessories, beauty, home, and travel) that fit with your blog’s brand and voice.

The 3-step process of using tagspire  is simple- 1. Upload photos of the stuff you love to 2. Tag the products in your photos. 3. Share your photos with your audience.

The tagspire dashboard allows you to see sell analytics and history, so you know what items are being clicked on and purchased. Their social sharing and blog embed tools allow you to maintain site traffic and increase purchase conversions. With a minimal $50 commission payout threshold, you’ll be making money in no time!  tagspire is also great for discovering new trends, endorsing the things you love and keeping track of products on your own personal wish list.

You can learn more about using tagspire on your own with this helpful video. Sign up for tagspire today to maximize the busiest time of online sales (October-March).

Today I’ll show you an example of how to use tagspire to create a curated collection. The theme for this collection is “My Favorite Holiday Look”.



This post is Sponsored by tagspire, but all opinions are my own.

Achieve Flawless Skin For the Holidays with Jergens

jergens logo

The holidays are right around the corner, which means it’s time to start paying a little more attention to your skin. Those Christmas parties and Thanksgiving dinners are a time when all eyes will be on you, so you want to look your best. Beautiful skin is always the best accessory or compliment to your look this holiday season.

I had the opportunity to attend a blogger event a few weeks ago where celebrity makeup artist Pati Dubroff talked about how she used the BB cream on her clients to achieve special looks. Dubroff spoke about a few of her clients and the products she used on each, including Allison Williams and Dakota Johnson. She also emphasized how no beauty look is complete without glowing skin on their neck and arms- something that regular makeup doesn’t cover, but Jergens BB skin cream will.

JERGENS® BB Body Perfecting Skin Cream delivers flawless skin with 5 visible benefits in just 5 days. It instantly hydrates and illuminates your skin with a simple application process. Just apply the sheer lotion, watch as it quickly dries and then see the results. The BB body cream works like a moisturizer to visibly improve the quality of your skin with each use. After 5 days, you’ll see  a more even skin tone, firmer skin and any imperfections should be corrected. Plus, the smell is divine!

The cream goes on sheer and then adjusts to your skin tone, so shades may vary. For best results, you can consult the chart that comes with the product. It also contains patent-pending Self Adjusting Tone Technology to give skin a perfectly even tone.  It’s important to note that this isn’t just a regular moisturizer OR a self-tanner- it’s a combination of both that is perfect for winter (you don’t want to appear orange this season, since it’s not natural-looking).

 jergens body bb cream



This post is Presented by Jergens, but all opinions are my own. For more information, you can like Jergens on Facebook at

Glamour Shots Beauty Event

A few weeks ago I had the opportunity to attend an exclusive event on behalf of Glamour Shots at the brand’s West Nyack location at the Palisades Center Mall. The blogger event was put on by PR Revolution, located in NYC and NJ. I brought along my future sister-in-law Danielle for a night of refreshments and pampering.

The Glamour Shots team of professional makeup artists and hairstylists were on hand to share some of their best tips and tricks to be photo-ready this fall. We arrived at 7 and got our hair and makeup done while we chatted about our upcoming weddings, the blogging world and more. After we were all dolled up, The Glamour Shots photographer had us pose for a few head shots.

If there’s one thing I learned at this event (other than that a few people think I have “perfect mermaid hair”) is that I will never be a model. Obviously I don’t have the looks or body to be one, but in addition, I just can’t pose for photos or take myself seriously- I kept laughing the entire time. Maybe I can at least be a hair model someday? Kidding.

The woman played off of my fuchsia blouse and chose a matching lipstick to make my lips pop. She kept the yes neutral by using a Naked 3 Palette (I own the Naked 2 and love it!) and a few coats of mascara. For my hair, she worked with my natural wavy texture and added some extra body with mousse. I assumed I’d get a blow-out or have my hair straightened (which is what most hairstylists do with my hair), but instead she loved my natural hair and didn’t want to ruin that. I should take that as a compliment, right?

The team at Glamour Shots chose the best photo and worked their magic to edit and retouch the photo. Although I prefer myself without all the makeup, my final photo came out semi-decent at least. And we had a nice female bonding session at the event- everyone was so nice!

glamour shots photo

behind the scenes shot