Indie Makeup Brand Spotlight Week 2  

By: Dr. Stephanie “Steff” Garcia

More indie makeup brands this week! I’ve had such an amazing time this past month trying out all these new-to-me makeup brands! The quality and creativity that’s present within these indie makeup brands is phenomenal. These brands all began from a passion and love for makeup and artistry. I am proud to support these brands and look forward to future collections. 

Again, a huge thank you to Ariel and Adley, owners of Motivate the Earth, for helping inspire this blog and spotlight. Follow Motivate the Earth for all things indie makeup!

YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCdS9iSVrSUJbhcQ98Z7iGaw

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/motivatetheearth/

BPerfect Cosmetics

This Ireland-based beauty brand was founded by entrepreneur Brendan McDowell in 2013. Since then, BPerfect Cosmetics has collaborated with numerous makeup artists worldwide to bring their own unique flare to the beauty community. I was fortunate enough to pick up their latest collaboration with Stacey Marie MUA, the Carnival III Love Tahiti Collection. It was a dream to use and I couldn’t be happier with this purchase. Check out the three looks I created using this gorgeous palette at the link below.

BPerfect Website: https://www.bperfectcosmetics.com/

My BPerfect Review Video: 

Rosewood Cosmetics

I discovered this small makeup brand about a month ago on Instagram. Faith Butler, an ambitious and self-motivated black business woman from Detroit, Michigan, created Rosewood Cosmetics to give others self-confidence and a place within the beauty community. I am so proud to support Rosewood Cosmetics because I can clearly see the amount of work and effort Faith and her team put into creating these amazing products. The lip glosses are phenomenal and the highlighters are out of this world! I highly encourage you to check out this brand and buy today! 

Rosewood Cosmetics Website: https://www.rosewoodcos.com/

Kaleidos Makeup

Kaleidos is a Chinese-American beauty brand based out of Shanghai, China. Kaledios believes in fostering a culture of diversity, progression, and individuality. I recently ordered the Escape Pod Eyeshadow Palette, Space Highlighter, and Futurism III Eyeshadow Palette. Everything this brand sells is uniquely packaged and “outer spaced” themed. The shipping to the United States does take some time, but it’s well worth the wait. What I love about this brand is the creativity that manifests before your very eyes. Maybe it’s the packaging, maybe it’s the colors, but there is definitely something invigorating about Kaleidos Makeup. 

Kaleidos Makeup Website: https://www.kaleidosmakeup.com/

Indie Makeup Brand Spotlight Week 1

By: Dr. Stephanie “Steff” Garcia

I have been waiting weeks to do this blog! Back in July I decided I wanted to spotlight indie makeup brands on my social media platforms. It’s taken me longer than I anticipated to get this initiative together, but I’m so happy to finally be here sharing with you all! 

I want to say a special THANK YOU to Ariel and Adley, the founders of Motivate The Earth, an Instagram account and YouTube channel that focuses on indie makeup brands. These young, Latina women have inspired me to buy more beauty products from independently owned beauty companies. They consistently feature new beauty brands, products, demos and reviews on their social media accounts. Check them out, links are below! 

YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCdS9iSVrSUJbhcQ98Z7iGaw

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/motivatetheearth/

This indie makeup blog will extend over the next two-three weeks. I should have corresponding videos posted over the next couple weeks as well. Hopefully you all will be inspired to purchase from more independently owned brands not just in beauty, but for everyday products too. Small businesses need our support now more than ever! 

Glamlite Cosmetics

Glamlite was founded by Gisselle Hernandez, a Dominican immigrant whose passion for pizza was parlayed into the creation of Glamlite Cosmetics. Glamlite Cosmetics launched with the Pizza Palette, an 18 pan eyeshadow palette that looks exactly like a pizza would. I’ve had this palette in my stash for a while and it is so much fun to work with. The packaging and quality of Glamlite is incredible! They really pay attention to all the fine details and give their customers an almost edible foodie experience through makeup. Check out more from Glamlite at the link below and also check out some of my YouTube videos featuring Glamlite Cosmetics.

https://glamlite.com/

Loca Lashes Co.

This Latina owned beauty brand out of California began with lashes; and lots of them! Today the brand has expanded their product offering to include eyeshadow palettes, liquid lipsticks, brow products, and more. About a month ago I purchased the Loca Lashes Co. Conchas Locas Palette and what a beauty it is! I have already filmed a look using this unique palette and that will be on my Youtube channel later this week.  Below are some photos I took of the Conchas Locas palette. If you would like to support this up-and-coming indie makeup brand, you can do so by shopping at the link below.

https://localashesco.com/

Killer Queens Cosmetics

Another Latina owned beauty brand, Killer Queens Cosmetics was founded by Kristen Lopez, who aspired to create a brand that focused on unique colors, formulas, and makeup that truly tells a story. This cruelty-free, vegan friendly beauty brand contains eyeshadow palettes, loose pigments, lashes, and more. I’ve had the opportunity to purchase a few items from Killer Queens Cosmetics and I must say the Neon Loose Pigment Stacks are definitely my favorite! I’ll be uploading a video to my YouTube channel very soon using some of my Killer Queen Cosmetics products, stay tuned!

https://www.killerqueenscosmetics.com/

Must Have Facial Masks for Your Skincare Routine

By: Dr. Stephanie A. Garcia

Facial masks have many benefits no matter what skin type or concerns you have. I frequently use various types of facial masks sometimes in the morning, but most often in the evening to improve the appearance of my skin. Today, I’ll be sharing my current, ride or die favorites that are in my skincare stash.

Tatcha Violet-C Radiance Mask, $68

This is a beautiful mask not just in its benefits but in its application as well. The Tatcha Violet-C Radiance Mask has been a staple in my skincare routine for the last three years. This is a great mask to use in the morning, if you have time. It provides many anti-aging properties such as giving a brightening effect, reducing the appearance of dark spots and uneven skin tone, and diminishing the look of fine lines and wrinkles. My skin always looks so radiant and hydrated after using this facial mask. I use a small paddle brush to apply and leave on for 20 minutes. I typically use this mask once a week. 

Origins Clear Improvement Charcoal Mask, $26

This mask has been in my stash for many years, at least ten if memory serves me correctly. I use this beauty once a week, always at night time. This mask works to draw out impurities along with dirt and gunk that gets trapped in pores. I apply this using a paddle brush and primarily focus it on my cheeks and t-zone where I have larger, visible pores. I am a normal-to-oily skin type, and this little mask is a must have that helps keep my skin clear and balanced. 

Glow Recipe Avocado Melt Retinol Sleeping Mask, $49

One of my favorite things to use is an overnight sleeping mask. The one I really love at the moment is the Glow Recipe Avocado Melt Retinol Sleeping Mask. Anything with retinol is going to be of great benefit to everyone! Retinol is an amazing ingredient that helps to prevent fine lines, wrinkles, and also works to exfoliate the skin. I tend to just use retinol at night and go with Vitamin-C in the morning. I apply this mask after using all my nighttime skincare products. It is a thick cream, but that’s what you want because it needs to last the duration of the night. This can be used every night, but I limit it to twice a week. 

Farmacy Honey Potion, $38 

The Farmacy Honey Potion mask is a unique formula that warms as you work into a lather. After it warms and turns white, leave it on for 10-15 minutes, then rinse off to reveal glowing, healthy looking skin. This unique mask targets fine lines, dryness, and loss of firmness. I have been so happy with this little beauty, as I have been with all my other Farmacy skincare products. This has a clean, very short ingredient list as well. 

Good Molecules Caffeine Energizing Hydrogel Eye Patches, $18

Don’t forget about your eyes, they need lots of love too! I enjoy using the Good Molecules Caffeine Energizing Hydrogel Eye Patches whenever I wake up with tired eyes. If you battle with dark circles, puffiness, or just didn’t get a good night’s sleep, you’ll want these little gems in your stash! I keep mine in my Cooluli Mini Refrigerator and boy do they feel good when I apply them! Leave these eye patches on for 10 minutes to reveal hydrated, wide-awake eyes. 

The Perfect Red Lipstick

By: Dr. Stephanie “Steff” Garcia

A red lip can instantly up your makeup game by 1000%. It can take a neutral look to a sultry, dramatic look all in one swipe. Not all reds are created equal however. Some formulas are creamer than others, some are matte, and some just don’t last. Today, I am going to share with you five red lipsticks I absolutely enjoy wearing. 

*I want to preface this blog by stating that using a lip liner (a red one) can significantly keep your red lippie from feathering and wearing off too soon. While it is not 100% bullet proof, it does define the lip, improve wear, and overall makes it easier to “stay within the lines” when working with such a bright color.

NARS Powermatte Lip Pigment in shade Starwoman

I’ve been working off my mini size of this insanely pigmented lippie for quite sometime now. This product has some amazing staying power that will definitely get you through the work day. It is a comfortable matte formula that applies the way a liquid lipstick would. I find this to have a blue undertone that, side note, makes your teeth look whiter! This red is very complimentary to all skin tones. You can find this fantastic lip pigment at Sephora for $26.

Urban Decay Cream Lipstick in shade 69

One of my all time favorite cosmetics brands, Urban Decay, has always been a staple in my collection. Urban Decay makes one of the best cream lipstick formulas on the market. It’s comfortable, pigmented, and easy to apply. The packaging is sleek and sturdy. I have two red shades, F-Bomb and 69. F-bomb is more of a traditional red with a warm undertone. 69 is my preferred shade because it has slight pink and blue undertones. It easily takes me through my work day with minimal touch ups. I also want to mention that Urban Decay has over 90 shades of lipsticks to choose from! No matter what your skin tone is, and no matter what color you are looking for, I’m pretty sure you will find it at Urban Decay. This lipstick retails for $19 at Ulta Beauty; however, all 90 + shades are available directly from the Urban Decay website.

Huda Beauty Liquid Matte in shade Heartbreaker 

Huda Beauty is that brand you look to for full-coverage, long-lasting wear. I cannot begin to say enough great things about Huda Beauty. This brand, created by Huda Kattan, originated from her YouTube and Instagram presence. For someone like me who is on both platforms as well, supporting other content creators is a no brainer. Now let’s get into the lipstick! I’ve used the Huda Beauty Liquid Matte Lipsticks for a long time. I have four different shades that I alternate between; however, my favorite is the red shade called Heartbreaker. This is a cool toned red that lasts all day long. It stays put, won’t budge, and doesn’t feather along the edges. You can eat a meal, teach a class, or be out at the beach and this lipstick is staying with you. Pick yours up for $20 at Sephora. 

Wet n Wild Megalast Matte Lip Color in shade Stoplight Red

My ride or die drugstore makeup brand is always going to be Wet n Wild. I grew up using this brand and continue to do so at age 38. I have a TON of Wet n Wild lipsticks that I use on the daily. One of my favorites in the Megalast Matte Lip Color in the shade Stoplight Red. This formula is a comfortable matte lippie that doesn’t over dry lips and lasts for a good number of hours. I find that I don’t have to touch up this red lipstick until after lunch. This is a warm toned red, perfect for year round. At only $3 a pop, you NEED to add this to our stash ASAP! The packaging is ultra cute too!

MAC x Selena La Reina Liquid Lipstick in shade Siempre Selena (limited edition) 

Two icons teaming up again to create an amazing makeup collection. The late Tejano Music Superstar Selena Quintanilla-Perez and the OG makeup brand, M.A.C., created the Selena La Reina Collection in honor of Selena’s love for makeup and fashion. The red liquid lipstick, Siempre Selena, is stunning! Selena was known for her infectious smile that was usually accompanied by a matte red lip. M.A.C. created a beautiful, blue toned red lipstick that is sure to enhance any look you pair it with. The formula is perfect for all-day, everyday wear. Do not wait on this lipstick, it is a limited edition available right now at Macy’s for $23.

*Shop all these products by clicking on the Shop My Stash link above page.

Five Mini Eyeshadow Palettes to Add to Your Collection Now

By: Dr. Stephanie “Steff” Garcia

Great things come in small packages too! Don’t be fooled by mini size eyeshadow palettes, they definitely pack a punch! Mini palettes aren’t just cute aesthetically, they are affordable, make great gifts, and easy to throw in a bag and hit the road with. Here are five mini eyeshadow palettes to consider adding to your stash.  

Natasha Denona Mini Eyeshadow Palette, $25

These five pan mini palettes are extensions of larger palettes within the Natasha Denona lineup. I have a few of them and they couldn’t be easier to work with. The Mini Nude Palette and the Mini Tropic Palette are two of my favorites. You don’t need other shades to get a complete look. All the colors you need are included in these minis. The pigmentation is great, as is the blendability. I recommend using a concealer or an eyeshadow primer with the Mini Tropic palette to maximize color payoff. There is no mirror included with these palettes.

https://www.natashadenona.com/

Music by @markkrieger_ – Tropicál via @hellothematic

Wet n Wild Coloricon 10 Pan Eyeshadow Palette, $4.99

Beauty at a bargain! Wet n Wild has always been a staple on the drugstore beauty scene. These Coloricon palettes are all you need to create a multitude of looks. For less than $5 you get a small palette packed with 10 shades. One of my favorites is The Stop Playing it Safe palette. Next time you are at the grocery store, throw a couple of these beauties in your cart, you will NOT be disappointed! There is no mirror included with these palettes.

https://www.wetnwildbeauty.com/

Charlotte Tilbury Luxury Eyeshadow Palette, $53

If you want to add a little bougieness to your day, look no further than these Charlotte Tilbury eyeshadow quads. Perfectly curated to get that magical, all in one look; these little gems will leave you mesmerized. There are at least a dozen palettes to choose from, so no doubt you will find a color scheme that fits in best with your style. My favorite is the Desert Haze Luxury Palette of Mattes. A mirror is included in these palettes.

https://www.charlottetilbury.com/us

Juvia’s Place The Mini Palettes, $14

These mini palettes are slightly larger than the rest, however, when compared to other Juvia’s Place palettes these are significantly smaller. I have been a fan of this brand for a while now. This is an affordable, high-quality, all-inclusive makeup brand that infuses African culture into every product created. The two mini palettes I have in my collection are The Violets and The Berries. If you are looking for bold, wearable color, look no further than these mini Juvia’s Place palettes. There is no mirror included with these palettes.

https://www.juviasplace.com/

Dose of Colors 5-Pan Eyeshadow Palettes, $32

I first discovered these amazing little palettes from Boxy Charm. At first glance I wasn’t very impressed to be honest. They are all matte palettes and personally I like a bit of shimmer to my eye looks. Nevertheless, I picked up the Marvelous Mauves palette and started to apply. I felt the shades were so complimentary to my green eyes that I continued to use the palette for the rest of the week and that never happens! There are five different shades available in these palettes ranging from cool to warm toned. A mirror and brush is included in these palettes too.

https://doseofcolors.com/

*Honorable Mention: e.l.f. Bite Size Eyeshadow Quads, $3

Five Affordable Makeup Brands NOT Found at the Drugstore

By: Dr. Stephanie “Steff” Garcia

I am a firm believer that makeup doesn’t have to break the bank to make you look like a million bucks! Today, there are so many affordable makeup brands that are NOT found at the drugstore that deserve your attention. Many times these brands will offer free shipping, discount codes, samples and more to make the buying experience that much more enjoyable. I am going to share with you five of my favorite affordable makeup brands that can be found on their respected websites or in the affordable/drugstore section of Ulta Beauty. 

*This blog post will be updated throughout the week with videos and pictures featured on my Instagram and YouTube channel.


Juvia’s Place

Juvia’s Place is a black owned beauty brand that takes its cues from Africa. The brand was created to celebrate the colorful, inspirational aspects of African culture. This all-inclusive beauty brand is known for their highly pigmented eyeshadow palettes and stay-put liquid lipsticks. My recommendations are the I am Magic foundation; Serafina blush; ANY eyeshadow palette, and ANY liquid lipstick. Check out this look I created using some of the Juvia’s Place products in my stash.

Shop Juvia’s Place here: https://www.juviasplace.com/

Music by Mr. KIT – happy – https://thmatc.co/?l=7ADFCC09

BH Cosmetics

This L.A. based beauty business is the epitome of affordability meets quality. I discovered this brand about five years ago and have been a loyal fan ever since. If you enjoy working with colorful, vibrant eyeshadows, then you definitely need to check out BH Cosmetics. I also really, really love their highlighters; don’t buy them if you don’t want to slay! I also enjoy using BH Cosmetics false eyelashes. They come in a multitude of styles and lengths, all at an insanely low price. 

Shop BH Cosmetics here: https://www.bhcosmetics.com/

Morphe

Morphe has quickly garnered a cult following with their affordable makeup brushes and infamous setting spray. This brand has gone from web-based to brick and mortar stores that rival those of Sephora and Ulta. Morphe also sells other indie makeup brands not found at other retailers. I love buying Morphe products because they are affordable, functional, and well made. Some of my favorite products include: The Continuous Setting Mist; brushes M514, M501, M518, E4; and the 39A Dare to Create Palette. 

Shop Morphe here: https://www.morphe.com/

ColourPop

Another L.A. based beauty brand, ColourPop has grown significantly since its inception back in 2014. Today, ColourPop has created brands Sol Body and Fourth Ray Beauty to add to their insanely popular beauty portfolio. Known in the beauty world as a “budget friendly” brand, ColourPop never compromises on quality. Their products are crafted with love and care for all, including animals too since they are leaping bunny certified! Some of my go-to favorites from ColourPop are: the So Jaded Palette (Kathleen Lights collab); She’s Got Solstice Palette; Sol Body Glow Oil; and the Pretty Fresh Hydrating Setting Mist. 

Shop ColourPop here: https://colourpop.com/

Catrice Cosmetics 

A European founded beauty brand, Catrice Cosmetics was established in Germany in 2004. Eleven years later, Catrice Cosmetics landed in the USA, New York City to be exact. Catrice Cosmetics keeps these five principles in mind: quality makeup at low price; innovation; base product concentration; fostering a sense of community; and remaining cruelty-free. While some of you might be able to find Catrice Cosmetics at your local drugstore, most will only find them on their website and in the affordable/drugstore section of Ulta Beauty. The products I love from Catrice Cosmetics include their HD Liquid Coverage Foundation; Prime and Fine Dewy Glow Fixing Spray; and 1 Minute Face Perfector Primer. I recently placed an order for some of Catrice’s new products, and I can’t wait to share those goodies with you later in the week!

Shop Catrice Cosmetics here: https://www.catricecosmetics.com/


*All pictures are owned by Steff’s Beauty Stash.

Skincare Products You Need in Your 30s

By: Dr. Stephanie “Steff” Garcia

Skin care is important at any age. Skincare products are used for a multitude of reasons including: anti-aging, acne, treatment, improvement, and more. It is important to note that with any NEW skincare regimen it is best to contact your dermatologist and or esthetician for proper guidelines and implementation. I am a 38 year old woman with normal-to-oily skin, large pores, and old acne scars. As I slowly inch out of my 30s, I started to think about the skincare products that have truly impacted my skin these past few years. Now keep in mind I am limiting this list to 5 products, but there are MANY more that are GREAT for 30 something skin. 

SPF

No matter what your age, sun protection is an absolute necessity! Did you know that in addition to lowering your risk of skin cancer, SPF can help stop premature aging, and help maintain an even, healthy-looking complexion? My personal recommendation is to apply a sunscreen that is separate from your daily moisturizer and makeup. I apply my SPF right after my daytime moisturizer, even if that product contains its own SPF. While using products such as moisturizers and foundations that contain SPF are beneficial, they do not offer the same amount of protection that a stand alone SPF would. Also, you should be applying at least a ½ teaspoon of SPF to your face. This amount should be enough to completely cover your face. Wear a hat and seek shade whenever possible too. Reapply SPF throughout the day, especially if you are sweating or swimming. Consider purchasing a makeup setting spray that contains SPF as well. That will be easier to apply during the day for those of you with a full face of makeup on. 

Retinoid

One of the best anti-aging skincare ingredients you can get is retinoid. There are several different terms for retinoid (we will go more in depth in a later blog); retinol, retain-A, and Vitamin A. To be clear, retain-A is a prescription based formula that must be referred by your physician. However, don’t feel you need to run to your doctor’s office to get an effective product. There are many retinoid forms available at your local drugstore and or department store. So what are the benefits of using a retinoid? First and foremost, this ingredient has been the most studied, proven, and recommended for anti-aging. A retinoid exfoliates the skin giving way to a more youthful, even-toned complexion. In our 30s, we begin to see changes in our skin. You may notice fine lines that weren’t there a couple years ago or discoloration and freakling of the skin. These are all signs that we are getting older and need to take a more proactive approach to our skincare routines. While retinoids can be used both day and night, I personally tend to use retinol only at night right after my toner and or essence. Keep in mind that using a retinoid can contribute to sun sensitivity; therefore, SPF is always a must. A retinoid will be able to prevent and improve some signs of aging, but truth be told nothing will ever stop the aging process. 

Vitamin C

I began to implement Vitamin C into my morning skincare routine about a year ago. I’ve seen some pretty awesome results with it too. Using a Vitamin C will help improve the clarity and brightness of your complexion. It is an antioxidant, meaning that it will help to prevent aging due to sun exposure (it does NOT replace SPF though). The most effective form of Vitamin C is L-ascorbic acid. While Vitamin-C can be used both day and night, my preference is daytime. I use this right after my essence and or toner. Properly packaged and effective Vitamin-C serums will come in air tight, dark or non-clear packaging. You may also find some forms of Vitamin-C in a powder consistency that can be just as effective. One thing I want to point out is that Vitamin-C can go bad quickly, hence the air-tight, dark packaging benefits. I like to store mine in my mini skincare refrigerator. This not only makes it feel cooling and soothing upon application, it aids in preservation as well.

Eye Cream

In my 20s I used an eye cream pretty regularly; however in my early 30s I stopped, and do I EVER regret that! Say what you will about eye creams being “extra” or “unnecessary” I beg to differ because of experience. I’ve seen an improved appearance of my under eye area since making eye cream a priority again over the last three years. The skin under our eyes is the most delicate area of the face. This skin is the thinnest, thereby rendering it prone to accelerated aging. Applying an eye cream twice daily can help combat the signs of aging and or prevent it from occurring sooner. Thicker eye creams can be reserved for nighttime thereby not interfering with makeup application. The goal of the eye cream is to hydrate the under eye area. This will also help to improve the look of under eye makeup too. While you may gravitate towards using an eye cream that contains SPF, proceed with caution. SPF can cause eye irritation if you have sensitive eyes. I typically stay clear of eye creams that contain SPF and opt for always wearing my sunglasses. 

Eyelash/Eyebrow Conditioner/Serum 

Now you may not hear many people mention this as a skincare necessity, but I definitely don’t go a day without these two miracle workers! As I reached the mid 30s mark, I noticed my eyelashes weren’t as voluminous as they once were; even the length had started to change. It was then I decided to begin a lash conditioner regime. Now, for almost two years, I’ve used an eyelash conditioner every night along my upper lash line. The key to lash conditioners is consistency. Do not purchase an eyelash conditioner if you do not plan on making it a non-negotiable in your nighttime skincare routine. It took about 60 days for me to notice a difference in my lashes. After 90 days, my lashes were definitely longer and fuller. I was so pleased with my experience that I decided to focus on my eyebrows too. I have long suffered from sparse brows. Each day as I do my makeup I think to myself, how are my brows going to look today? Eyebrows are what frame your face; they enhance symmetry and beauty. When you have a good brow, everything else falls into place. Since starting this eyebrow growth journey, I’ve seen an improvement in the fullness of my brows, particularly the right one. While my brows may never be as full as I would like them to, I do appreciate my results. It took a good 4-6 months of consistent use to see a difference in my eyebrows. I do tweeze stray hairs as needed. Now that I have a fuller brow, I am able to use eyebrow products that once didn’t always work for me. I’m happy with my results in both the eyelash conditioner and eyebrow serum.