Primer Roundup

One of my essentials when doing my makeup is primer. I like the way it blurs my pores and evens things out, even when I’m not wearing foundation. And if I am, a good primer will keep it on for hours and keep me from getting shiny and gross halfway through the day.

The first primer I bought was from Clinique, and I have had a love affair with it since. After it ran out, I was interested in trying a few new ones, to ensure that I was using the best product for my skin, and I found several fails along the way, as well as a success or two.

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My mom put a bunch of travel-size cosmetics in our stockings last Christmas, and one of them was the Lorac POREfection primer. It has a more liquid consistency than the Clinique one, and comes out clear. It did noticeably blur my pores, but I didn’t notice if it made much difference in the way of keeping my foundation in place. It’s expensive, but I would definitely use this product.

After the sample ran out, I stopped in the e.l.f. Studio downtown and picked up their Poreless Face Primer. It was $6, so the price was fantastic. Unfortunately, this primer didn’t do much except smell. It has a strong scent that I just really didn’t like, and made no difference whatsoever in my foundation or pores. This was a no.

After the e.l.f. fail, I ordered a travel size pack of primer from Ulta: the Benefit Primed and Poreless set. It came with That Gal and the Porefessional, as well as the Stay Don’t Stray eyelid primer (that I ended up loving). I’m a big Benefit fan, so I reallly wanted to try these products, but I wanted to make sure I liked them before I invested in a full size tube of anything. That Gal gives a nice glow under foundation and smooths skin beautifully. It has a scent, but I liked it, it didn’t overpower. In terms of keeping makeup on all day, That Gal didn’t do much. I would definitely consider wearing this for special occasions where I want to look especially healthy and bright, though.

There’s a lot of hype about the Porefessional, and many people swear by it, but I’m not sold. It goes on well and definitely erases pores, but in terms of keeping my skin matte throughout the day, it fails. Today I actually primed my face with my Cargo primer (more on that below) and then put the Porefessional over top and I liked the effect. It’s five hours and two subway rides after application and it’s still on and I’m still matte. But on it’s own, it doesn’t do it for me.

Way back in January, Bridget paid $25 for a $50 credit to Cargo Cosmetics on Rue La La. When it was about the expire and she hadn’t found anything she liked, she passed it on to me and I ordered the Pore Perfecting Primer. It’s extremely similar to my Clinique Superprimer and is a definite keeper. It blurs my pores, is extremely lightweight and keeps me matte and my foundation in place all day. It’s a little more expensive than the Clinique one, so I probably won’t repurchase it, but I definitely love it.

I’m always for trying new makeup, so if anyone has more suggestions for can’t-live-without, do-it-all primers, let me know!

Easter Staycation

I hate the word “staycation” because it seems weird and cheesey, but hey, it’s what I did this Easter break. I finished up with classes and work on Tuesday night, so I’ve been off since Wednesday, just hangin around New York and the Bronx.

cappuccino on Arthur Ave

cappuccino on Arthur Ave

Wednesday I slept until two (oops) and then started cleaning my apartment, and Thursday I hung around, but ended up feeling stir-crazy and walked around the Bronx a while. I grabbed a few things from Walgreens and then strolled up and down Arthur Ave, until I ultimately decided on a Polumbo’s cappuccino. I sat outside and just watched people. It was chilly but gave me time to enjoy and appreciate the Bronx in the little time I have left before graduation.

my mom brought my ball dress so she could pin it up before she alters it for me. Here it is all pinned right, with the shoes I got. I decided against this necklace, though

my mom brought my ball dress so she could pin it up before she alters it for me. Here it is all pinned right, with the shoes I got. I decided against this necklace, though

My parents came in around noon on Friday and we went to New Jersey to go to Ikea and shop around a little at the outlets. I got a few pairs of shorts for summer (in pink and navy, the only colors I wear) since my ones from last year are too saggy now (???). After going back to the hotel for a nap, we subwayed into Manhattan and had dinner at the Smith.

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Brooklyn has been on my list of places in New York to visit for a really long time, but Kaitie and I have had trouble getting ourselves together enough to make the trek. So Saturday, my family and I found our way down to Park Slope, where my Aunt and Uncle lived after college. We saw his old brownstone (gorgeous) and walked around Prospect Park a little. And I got to rub this little guy:

Hank the corgi!

Hank the corgi!

Eventually, we got hungry so we walked up and down 7th ave until we found the Thistle Hill Tavern, and since it was only 1:30, they were still serving brunch. They had spicy Bloody Mary’s and the tastiest House Salad I’ve ever had. It was so perfect, and I haven’t stopped thinking about the lemon vinaigrette since.

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On our way back to the F train, we walked past Crespella, advertising gluten-free baked goods, which are right up Bridget’s alley. While she made her picks, a woman snuck in and ordered the most delicious looking iced coffee we’d seen and the two of us ended up ordering one. It was the best coffee I’ve tasted in a long time. I don’t really know how to describe coffee, but this iced coffee tasted exactly like coffee should. We haven’t stopped raving about it since.

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We also found our way to the only Gluten-Free, Peanut-Free Crumbs on 8th Street in Manhattan, a place both of us were excited for. I got a red velvet cake push-pop, which was just the right size. Instead of being dry and messy like many gluten-free baked goods, these cupcakes were moist, and tasted exactly like regular Crumbs cupcakes. Our dad even bought some, claiming he couldn’t tell the difference. This, coming from a man who can talk forever about the dry bread at Subway.

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Mets dog. I wanted to steal him, obvs

Mets dog. I wanted to steal him, obvs

We had to take (another) hotel nap, and then we made our way to Citi Field for a Mets game against the Braves. The Mets lost, of course, but there was beer and Shake Shack, so everything evened out.

This morning, we drove back to the Bronx and my parents took as much of my furniture as they could fit into their car (depressing) and we got groceries and lunch.

I was sad I didn’t go home to see my dogs, but having my family here was just as good. Whenever people visit, I end up doing new things and trying new places. I loved soaking up New York in the spring, even if it was exhausting, as well as getting spoiled by my parents for a weekend. Classes don’t start back up until Tuesday, so I’m spending the next few days relaxing and doing some work in preparation for the end of the semester. Yikes!

It’s Coming

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Tomorrow marks the start of Easter break, and after we get back on Tuesday, it’s spring weekend, a weekend of finals, senior week and then graduation. I have never felt so horrified in my life. As difficult of a time as I had my first few years at school, I’ve suddenly re-fallen in love with Fordham and the thought of leaving and never coming back breaks my heart.

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With a casual month until graduation, I finally feel like I found my groove here. I have friends. I say hi to people on campus, in class, at the gym. I have a group of people to get ready with and go to parties with. I have friends who will hang out with me during the day. People I will miss once I leave.

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Springtime has also finally graced the northeast, and the green grass and blooming flowers on campus and in the city remind me exactly why I chose Fordham. It’s beautiful. The campus on a sunny day is stunning. On my way to the gym on Saturday I found myself really taking it in and I was overcome with all kinds of emotion. When I got to the gym I almost broke down in tears, the end of the semester–and college–finally hitting me.

I don’t want to be sad for the last month of school. I’ve been trying to just soak up as much as I can while I’m here, and spend as much time with my friends as I can. Instead of laying in bed watching Netflix (my favorite hobby) I’ll make plans with Kaitie for fro-yo or drinks. Instead of spending hours slaving away on my homework and readings, I put spending time with friends as my priority. Because at this point, my GPA really isn’t going anywhere, and no one really looks at in anyway. When I look back at college, and specifically, my senior year, I want to remember the late nights spent with people I care about and who care about me, laughing and being happy. I won’t remember writing papers or getting a good night’s sleep.

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I also keep reminding myself that this isn’t the end. Yes, it’s the end of education and I’ll never go to school again (hallelujah) but post-college is what all this school has been preparing me for. Graduation is the start of my real life. As sad as I am that this stage of my life is ending, I am also incredibly excited to become my fully formed self, and see what else life haws in store for me.

Graduation is scary and sad, but there are so many more important things to think about and to do than to just be sad about it.

Cheers to one more month!

Affordable Senior Week Dresses

Second only to the inherent horror of graduation itself, buying dresses for all the preceding events is the worst thing about graduation. At Fordham, we have an Under the Tent Dance, Senior Ball, Parent Appreciation Dinner Dance, and graduation itself, and then any other special ceremonies or events you might have to attend, and the costs just add up.

After shelling out an unreal sum of money just for tickets to most of these events, I swore to myself (and my mom) that I’d be frugal in my dress purchases, without sacrificing quality or classiness. Some dresses I already have and am re-wearing from other events (Bridget’s graduation, my high school graduation….) but there were some I just needed to buy. While Kaitie and I agonized over cheap but cute dresses, I compiled a pretty extensive list of sites that had just what we were looking for at the perfect price points.

Formal

My biggest concern was a dress for Senior Ball. While last year at Andrew’s ball I didn’t go all-out formal, Fordham’s ball is a pretty extravagant affair. A lot of girls wear long dresses and the event is catered and at a really nice location on the water. I have nothing against long dresses but I didn’t want one. However, long gowns come with a kind of inherent classiness, so I had to find a short dress that wouldn’t look cheap or casual alongside the longer gowns.

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This is the one I ended up purchasing from Francesca’s. I liked the structured poof of the skirt and the textured fabric. My mom liked it because it would be simple for her to alter if it didn’t fit exactly right, and it’s a classic LBD that would be re-wearable in the future.

However, these were some other contenders:

 

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Forever 21: I really like the fit-and-flare cut, since it flatters most body types, and the lace patterning is super chic, I think.

senior-ball-dress-francescas-pinkFrancesca’s: This dress was pretty much my second choice. The bright pink is such a fun color, and the cut of the top is sweet but still elegant.

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Nasty Gal: Something about the deep v-neck and open back of this dress called to me. The cleavage might be a lot, but the full skirt makes up for it.

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TJ Maxx: I had initially not wanted an a-line or fit-and-flare dress, and something more like this one. With pretty earrings and simple heels, this could be chic to the max.

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DailyLook: If I were to go the long gown route, this dress was in the lead. I love the neckline and open back, and I think it would have looked classy in an effortless way with a loose up-do and drop earrings.

Semi-Formal

The rest of the events of the week still require dresses, but less formal ones, as most classify as cocktail parties. For these I just wanted to be comfy but still stylish. Because there are obviously going to be tons of pictures.

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Forever 21: Since graduation is in the spring, simple, springy dresses work best. The bright pink pattern of this one and its playful cutout are cute but still cover enough not to look cheap or trashy.

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Forever 21: I LOVE the back of this dress. It’s so simple but still so chic. AND it’s only $23. I feel like I could wear this with wedges all summer.

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Forever 21: Forever really is the gold mine for inexpensive dresses. The color of this one is universally flattering, and the draping in the back is seriously unique.

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Red Dress Boutique: The sweetheart neckline (a favorite of mine) plus the springy floral pattern make this dress perfect for any spring event. Not sure how I feel about the belt, though.

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Red Dress Boutique: I’m really into the high nick/low back combo with this dress, and it just seems so breezy and girly, perfect with wedges. Bonus: those scallop details.

Graduation

For commencement itself, I’m re-wearing the dress I wore to Bridget’s graduation last year, mostly because it’s a long ceremony that will most likely be super hot (we graduate on the lawn) and I’ll be wearing my gown over it most of the day anyway. But for the most part, graduation dresses should be comfy and light.

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Forever 21: This dress is flowy with a really cute sweetheart neckline and open back. So many of my favorites all in one dress.

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Forever 21: The shape of this dress is super similar to the one I’m going to wear. The lace fabric and light blue color are springy, and the swingy-skirt allows some breathing room.

Whether or not you’re graduating in May, a lot of these shops and stores have tons of affordable options for any spring event. It is possible to look cute without dropping a ton on dresses.

I Went to Lehigh!

freshman year at fordham

freshman year at fordham

Freshman year, Lolly came up to Fordham for a weekend and since then I had been promising her for the past three years that I’d make it down there to return the favor but between cheerleading and Lauren being abroad last year we couldn’t work it out. I had almost given up on getting to see her until something came up for Saturday night I really didn’t want to be a part of and after I confirmed that Lauren would be around, I decided to go visit.

I arrived in Bethlehem around dinner time Saturday night and after we went and changed and got ready Lauren had a reservation for us at a martini bar. Spoiler: we got margs. A girl after my own heart. We sat in the booth for hours (literally, three) just talking and talking and catching up. We had both gone out Friday night, so by the time we got back to her apartment, we just crashed.

Sunday, we got bagels (more favorites) and she took me around campus, which was essentially a hike because Lehigh is literally on the side of a mountain. Super pretty, but super exhausting.

It was so nice to see Lauren, since she’s working in Delaware after graduation and I probably won’t be able to see her as much as we used to during summers. She’s one of my oldest friends (since 6th grade, holla!) and one of my closest still. Lollu just gets me ;). Fingers crossed we can get more visits in in the future.

xoxo love you La

also, we didn’t get any pics together, how sad :(

March Favorites

Somehow, March ended. And it came in like a lion, out…also like a lion. The mystery still remains: where is springtime? I already brought home all my winter coats and boots, in hopes of coaxing spring out, but no such luck yet.

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Regardless, I have a few favorites from this month, starting with Yogi Teas. Before Spring Break, I bought the DeTox Tea, in hopes of cleansing before break. I don’t know how cleansed and toxin-free I am, but I do know that it tastes delicious. Next I bought the Blueberry Slim Life Green Tea, maybe a little in hopes of it slimming, but mostly because blueberry green tea just sounded so good. I love both of these, especially because on each bag tag, there’s a little inspirational quote. Plus, they taste fantastic.

While in Florida, Bridget and I spent an afternoon at Downtown Disney, where we stumbled upon Basin. We spent, like, an hour in there, touching and smelling everything. I walked away with the Oatmeal Facial Soap bar and Egg Noggin’ Conditioner bar. While I’m kind of confused by the conditioner bar, I absolutely love the facial soap. It is extremely gentle. When my face was burnt and peeling off (gross) this didn’t sting or irritate it at all. Plus, since it’s a solid, it’s easy to buy one block, and then break it in half so I can keep one in my shower and one by my sink for when I wake up in the morning.

I wrote here that I didn’t like the makeup remover I got from The Body Shop, and after I ran out of that, I turned to trusty Boots No. 7. I got the Boots Botanics All Bright Soothing Eye Make-up Remover. In the bottle, it’s separated into two oils, and before I use it I shake it up. I just pour a little into my hands and rub it all over my face, especially my eyes, and then I use a little water to suds it up. I either rise it off in the sink, or if I’m about to shower, I’ll do it there. It’s gentle and doesn’t sting, it doesn’t have a smell, and it completely removes my makeup, even waterproof mascara.

Speaking of waterproof mascara, I officially moved on from my They’re Real from Benefit. I loved how that mascara made my eyelashes look full and thick, but it weighed them down, and when I wore it, my lashes wouldn’t hold a curl. I did a lot of research, and finally decided on the Maybelline The Rocket Waterproof Mascara. It’s perfect: it adds volume to the base of my eyelash, holds the curl and stays on all day. I bought it at home, because for whatever reason, it was $3 cheaper there??! I’m converted.

A few months ago, Bridget was shopping at Saks Off Fifth, and a few little Stila kits were buy one get one free, so she asked me if I wanted one, and I chose the Sensational Eyes Set, which comes with two eyeshadows and a mascara. The mascara was okay, but what I really like are the eyeshdows. The colors are Seashell and Burgundy, which are, respectively, a shimmery light pink, and a matte brownish-red. I brought them to Florida with me, and they were ideal. The pink is subtle enough for day-to-day wear, and it’s easy to blend in the Burgundy color for some depth. This little palatte is perfect, much simpler than toting my huge Naked 3, and always worrying about it cracking.

The first night in Florida, due to a number of issues, Bridget and I had to stop at Walgreens on our way back from dinner. While allergy medication and band-aids topped our list, we got held up by the makeup, as usual. I had been eyeing the Milani Baked Blush in Dolce Pink for some time now and finally bit the bullet and bought some. It’s the perfect bright pink color for spring, and adds a tiny amount of shimmer/glow, which is especially pretty for nighttime.

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The Wednesday before Spring Break, I decided to pop into the nail salon across from my apartment for my first set of gel nails. I’m a little crazy about keeping my nails painted and not having chips, and I knew vacation would be the best time to test this manicure. It stayed on for just under two weeks after I got it, with absolutely no chips or anything. It was easy and I loved it. My nails looked great and I didn’t worry for a second about them looking gross. I’ll be getting another one before Senior Week (TEARS) for sure.

For music, I’ve been loving Paramore. Weird, right? I heard their new single “Ain’t It Fun” on the radio at home, and ever since I’ve been re-visiting. Hayley Williams’ voice is just the best. You can see all the music I’m listening to lately here. Speaking of which, I’ve pretty much switched my alliance from Pandora to iTunes radio to Spotify. A little late here, but I really do like Spotify better, especially since you can make it play the song you actually want to hear. Crazy, right?

Finally, my last favorite is New in Town, John Mulaney’s stand up comedy special on Netflix. If you have not seen this, you need to. I’ve seen it three times already. I cry laughing every time. It’s amazing. Every last joke he tells is hilarious and so relatable, not to mention how quotable it is. It will never get old. Kudos to Erin and Kara for making me watch it. I’m new in town, and it gets worse.

April is my last (full) month at Fordham and reality is sinking in. Up until now I swore I was ready to graduate, and now I don’t want to go. I’m the happiest I’ve ever been and I can’t wait for the rest of the year.

On Being a Good Friend

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In light of a lot of friendships coming and going the past few years, I’ve been trying really hard to actively be a good friend to people. It’s important for me to kind of work through any internal conflicts I might have (ex: social anxiety) and just act the way I would want a friend to treat me.

For one, I try to reach out and make plans more. That’s something I used to struggle with. I’d wait for people to call or text me and when they wouldn’t, I’d act all sad and depressed because no one wanted to hang out. Now, I try to make more plans with people. I also try not to come across as flaky. I hate when I’ve made plans with a friend and they cancel on me. If I absolutely have to cancel on someone, I try really hard to reschedule (even if it means waking up at 8 am for breakfast before a flight).

I also try to just be nicer. This sounds awful, but sometimes I just really don’t have patience for people. There are lots of times when I would rather not reply to a text or talk to people. But I’m trying hard to just ignore my personal sassiness and be nice. Turns out, being kind and social puts everyone in a good mood and almost always strengthens a friendship.

I’ve been trying to be there for people. Again, there are (lots) of times when other peoples’ problems feel trivial or like something I just can’t deal with at the moment, but I’ve been making an effort to set aside my preoccupations and let my friends know I’m there for them. Whether that means sitting at the kitchen table for hours just letting someone vent, or sending a text after seeing a sad tweet, it makes me feel good to be able to let my friends know I’m there for them, since that’s same kind of support I would want.

I live in my own little world sometimes, expecting people to reach out to me and playing the victim when they don’t, but by trying to be a better friend to others, I’ve found myself happier and surrounded by people I genuinely love and care for way more than my first three years of school. All relationships are a little bit of give and take, even friendships. I’ve come to learn that if I want good friends, I need to be a good friend, too.

Vacation Makeup

Sunday afternoon, Bridget and I are heading to Florida for a few days. As of now, rain/thunder are forecasted but I’m staying optimistic. Regardless, vacation never makes me want to wear makeup, but when I do end up going out to dinner or getting drinks I have a few products I’ll use.

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After a day in the sun, I’ll start off with a primer, just to even everything out and make sure my makeup stays on even in the heat. This one isn’t my favorite, but I’m not really in the mood to invest in a new one just yet.

Then I’ll quickly conceal any blemishes (read: zits) and my under eye circles with boi-ing by Benefit. Again, not my favorite. I’ve hit pan on this one and it’s pretty good, it just creases on me, like almost every other one. A little powder usually fixes it, though.

I had a short stint with the Cover Girl foundation that everyone and their mother on the Internet loves, but after a few moths, I came to realize I’m not really a foundation girl, especially when it’s so warm and humid out. This Laura Mercier tinted moisturizer is a little pricy, but I’ve had it for a really long time already and it still lasts and it just covers so perfectly without looking or feeling like too much. It also has SPF in it, a huge plus for the when in the Sunshine State.

Last weekend I also snagged this bronzer after going back and forth on it for months. It’s apparently a decent dupe for Benefit’s Hoola, which I really like. It’s also matte and not shiny or shimmery. It helps to blend out any sunburn or awkward discoloration I might get while out in the sun.

On top of that I’d just spritz a little De-Slick from Urban Decay. I am OBSESSED with this. I use it every single day because it keeps my makeup in place and keeps me from being shiny and gross. Essential for when I’m somewhere warm and humid.

On my eyes I’d just do a few swipes of They’re Real mascara and call it a day. Vacation isn’t the time for extreme eyeshadow or eyeliner looks. I just like to keep it simple and easy.

And finally, this lip gloss is my all time favorite. On New Year’s Eve (a delightful mess of a night…) I thought I lost it at Erin‘s house, and when she returned it I couldn’t have been happier. It’s sheer but with just enough color to pull a look together without making me look like I’m trying too hard.

These are basically for any nighttime activities. During the day I prefer just some sunscreen and chapstick and that’s it. Vacation is for just hangin’.

Products I HATED

I write a lot about products I really like, but I’ve also encountered products I don’t really love at all. Things that don’t work how they promised or that aren’t worth the money really get to me.

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The first product I really hated was the Camomile Gentle Eye Makeup Remover from the Body Shop. I ordered a travel size on a whim to get my order total enough for free shipping, but this product sucked, frankly. Yes, it removed my eye makeup but it stung my eyes so bad. Every time I used it, it would somehow get in there and basically make me cry. No bueno. I just got a Boots Botanics eye makeup remover which has already proven to be much gentler.

Second, after I ran out of my Clinique Superprimer and a sample of Lorac POREfection, I went to the e.l.f. Studio downtown and grabbed a primer from them, mostly because it was cheap. And cheap it proved to be. I don’t know what it’s even doing under my makeup, but mostly, it just has the worst scent. I dread using it but I keep doing it only because I don’t want to waste my money. But I would NOT repurchase.

I had included Benefit Erase Paste in a favorites a while ago, but I’m afraid I might have spoken too soon. The salmon coloring of the product is perfect for undereye circles, and I love the idea of the thick consistency, but ultimately it just creases super fast and no matter what I try, I can’t stop it. I wanted to love it but I just can’t make it work. As soon as I can, I’ll be returning to my Clinique Line Smoothing Concealer, the best under eye cover up I’ve ever used.

My mom has been buying me the Olay Complete All Day Moisturizer for years now. It’s always done the job, but after I used the Boots Expert Sensitive Hydrating Moisturizer I can’t go back. I need to apply two or three layers of the Olay moisturizer and it hardly lasts. As soon and I’m done with this bottle I’m getting a jar of the Boots one and never looking back.