Category Archives: Product Reviews

Spice Up Your Mani With IV Kulture

IVKulture Nail Polish

Martinis and Mascara readers, listen up! I have discovered your new favorite nail polish – IV Kulture.

It is one of the few nail polish lines on the market that is free of five major cosmetic toxins that have been linked to various cancers and health conditions. Reigning as a proud vegan product, the product is not tested on animals.

The lovely ladies behind the brand (they’re all stunning sisters – like a pack of classier Kardashians) sent me two beautiful shades to try out, Margarita Time and Miami Vice. Both shades are appropriately titled since these products are made with Sunshine down in my home state of sunny Florida.

I adore both of these brights! Margarita Time is a vibrant classic red and Miami Vice is a shimmering orange with golden flecks. I chose to wear a design featuring the two together, but I think they would look stunning on their own if a solid mani is more of your thing.

Want to get my look? Creating a negative space mani is super easy and creates a really trendy, high-end effect that doesn’t require a lot of artistic technique.

Here’s what we did to get mine:

  1. With a thin nail art brush, paint on a thin line of Margarita Time from the center right side of the nail, diagonally up to the center tip of the nail.
  2. Fill in (with the same polish shade) to the top of the nail.
  3. Repeat on the other side. This should create the look of a red arrow (or a half diamond).
  4. With a thin nail art brush, paint on a thin line of Miami Vice from the center right side of the nail, diagonally downward to the center base of the nail.
  5. Fill in with the same shade to the bottom of the nail, filling in the space to the cuticle area.
  6. Repeat on the other side. This should complete the look, with the bare space in the center creating a diamond.
  7. Voila! Easy and beautiful negative space mani.

Ready to fill your polish collection with IV Kulture? Shop all of their beautiful shades here!

IV Kulture

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Prep Your Makeup Bag for Fall with Stila’s Fall Collection: Modern Goddess

Stila Fall Collection

I am SO ready for my favorite season to arrive. Fall is officially on its way and that means the Fall makeup collections are too! I am obsessing over Stila’s new collection – Modern Goddess. See below for the breakdown of these new Modern Goddess goodies!

HUGE Extreme Lash Mascara


We all know how much I love mascara! This is my fav of the entire collection. With just one coat of Stila’s HUGE Extreme Lash Mascara, you instantly get major volume, length, curl, lift and intense black color. Go as bold as you want! Even with multiple coats, this flexible, buildable formula leaves lashes soft with no clumps, flakes, or fall out.

Got Inked Cushion Eye Liner


Bold eye liner looks, from tight lines to cat eyes, have never been so easy to achieve! Stila’s Got Inked Cushion Eye Liner is a lightweight, yet richly pigmented liquid eye liner dispensed through a unique cushion soaked in color. A full range of six dazzling colors – from flat to metallic finishes – can be expertly applied with the custom designed La Quill Precision Eye Liner Brush that dips into the sponge like a calligraphy pen and draws across the lid in a slow, smooth, fluid motion. From day-into-night, the long-wearing formula stays put, keeping eyes looking effortlessly chic.

La Quill Precision Eye Liner Brush


La Quill Precision Eye Liner Brush is a modern take on a traditional, feathered calligraphy pen. Custom-designed for our Got Inked Cushion Eye Liner, it delivers perfect product pickup and precise placement. The click on cap makes it ideal for the Stila girl-on-the-go!

Lash Stunner Extreme Lash Primer


This innovative lash primer works like magic to deliver incredibly full, lush lashes when paired with your favorite mascara. The secret is not one, but two different kinds of fibers built into the creamy, easy-to-apply formula. Spherical and straight fibers work simultaneously to deliver a faux-looking, extreme lash look while a proprietary blend of soft waxes and thickening agents ensure lashes stay flexible and perfectly sculpted. The formulas neutral brown shade mimics your natural lash color so perfect coverage is guaranteed, application is a cinch and your favorite Stila mascara will look better than ever.

Perfectly Poreless Putty Perfector


Perfect your skin with natural, matte, undetectable coverage that looks like skin, not makeup. Bouncy to the touch, its unique moldable texture minimizes the appearance of pores and offers moisturizing properties. Perfectly Poreless Putty Perfector conceals skin tone imperfections, leaving the skin looking air-brushed to perfection. Complete with a sponge, it’s also the perfect mattifying touchup on-the-go.

Wonder Brush for Face & Body


Introducing the brush of many wonders! This ultra-soft, custom shaped brush is perfect for sculpting, buffing and blending all of your favorite powders, liquids and creams seamlessly. Featuring ultra-soft yet dense, high-grade synthetic bristles, the unique brush is the ultimate tool to have on-hand in your makeup bag or drawer.

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The Best Pantene Products: Current Favorites & My Pantene Routine


If you’ve been following Martinis and Mascara for a while, you know I’ve had a long standing love affair with Pantene. I’m a sucker for a quality product paired with an affordable price tag!

I feel like I’ve tried almost everything on the Pantene shelf, so I’m thrilled to share the best Pantene products I’ve found for my particular hair type. (Shout out to my fine/thin color-treated girls out there!)

Read on for my Pantene routine:

Step 1: Wash hair with Color Revival Shampoo and Conditioner

Fun fact: Pantene shampoos and conditioners work together to make hair 2x stronger than shampoo alone. I’ve recently been obsessing over the Pantene Color Revival Shampoo and Conditioner. I need all the help I can get when it comes to retaining my red hair, so I love how effective this set is at restoring health and vibrancy to color-treated hair. It also creates a protective outer layer to prevent damage while locking in hair color and moisture.

Step 2: Treat hair with Pantene Damage Detox Weekly Rehab Creme

Like the name states, this is a treatment you only need to work into your routine once per week. After shampooing, apply this like you would apply conditioner. This detoxifying treatment removes buildup from chemically treated hair to promote natural shine. True story, I have also shaved my legs with this stuff because its moisturizing properties work better than most shave gels. Totally not a Pantene promoted way to use this product, but I’m telling you, it works.

Step 3: Up the volume with Powerful Body Booster Spray

My limp locks are always in the mood for some extra help in the volume department. After towel drying my hair, I spray the Pantene Full and Strong Powerful Body Booster Spray all over my damp hair, concentrating on the root area and distributing evenly by running my fingers though my hair.

Step 4: Smooth locks with Pantene Blow Dry Creme

As a last step before heat styling, I take a tiny dollop on Pantene Smooth Blow Dry Creme in my hands and run through my hair, concentrating on the ends. A little goes a long way with this stuff, so be careful not to go overboard! It helps to seal the deal and make strands silky and sleek when blowdrying.

Step 5: Extend your blowout with Pantene Dry Shampoo

I live for dry shampoo. I seriously don’t know how I got by without it. Pantene makes a killer variety of dry shampoos, my favorite being the Pantene Blowout Extend Dry Shampoo. Need to refresh your style? Spray this directly on your roots to absorb oil and massage with your fingertips. I use it often when my hair isn’t dirty just to give a little extra oomph and up the volume instantly, too.

#WantThatHair? Pantene is extremely easily accessible. You can find brands you trust, like Pantene, for everyday low prices at Walmart! Even better, Pantene at Walmart has a 2x money back guarantee. I know in New York it’s hard to come by a Walmart, so if you’re in the same boat you can always find Pantene at if you can’t make it to the store. Happy shopping!

[Disclosure: This post was sponsored by Pantene via SheSpeaks, but all opinions are my own.]

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Tria Hair Removal Laser 4X Review

Tria Laser

Ok, I’m a believer now. I mentioned earlier this summer that I have been testing out the Tria Beauty Hair Removal Laser 4X. After using it myself for the past few months I’m happy to report that it lives up to the product claims. Hooray for truth in advertising!

You can get permanent results with this system — the only FDA-cleared laser available for home use. Convenient and easy to use in the comfort of your own home, only Tria uses the same diode laser technology preferred by dermatologists to deliver safe, effective, and permanent results. A sleek, hand-held design and slim handle make treatments extremely simple, and the angled tip gives you enhanced visibility to deliver laser light with expert precision to the treatment area.

The price tag looks steep at first glance, but when you compare it to the thousands of dollars you would be spending on professional laser hair removal, it’s a steal! You can also use it in the comfort of your own home and you have complete control over where it’s being used. There is no fear of awkwardness or embarrassment having a stranger all up in your business with a creepy device. And you also don’t have to worry about getting upcharged for extending the treatment area as you would at a laser hair removal center. So far, my smooth legs and I are very happy.

Of course, results are not instant and you need to fully commit to giving yourself the weekly treatments. I’m going to continue at least through the end of the summer to see how it goes, but so far I’m extremely happy with my results! Want to try it too? Grab one online or pick it up at your local Sephora. It’s a worthwhile investment, I promise!

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Save Your Skin This Summer With Vaseline Intensive Care Spray

Vaseline Intensive Care Spray

Confession: I don’t always practice what I preach.

I know the extreme importance of sunscreen, especially for someone with skin as fair as mine, but every now and then I slip up and forget to pack it in my beach tote. I had a classic sunburn situation this 4th of July when I forgot to reapply my sunscreen as I was frolicking around Coney Island. Big mistake!

Luckily, I had the amazing Vaseline Intensive Care Aloe Soothe Spray Moisturizer waiting for me at home. I discovered this beauty via the summer FabFitFun box and I fell in love! This particular variation is infused with aloe – just what my sunbaked skin needed!

The new Vaseline Intensive Care Spray Moisturizer leaves skin feeling instantly soft – not sticky or greasy. It contains the healing power of Vaseline with micro-droplets of Vaseline Jelly. In addition to the skin soothing benefits, this miracle product is so refreshing I want to use it even when I’m not lobster red. In fact, I’ve now incorporated it into my daily routine because it’s so effortlessly easy to use and extremely beneficial. 

It’s fast to apply, quick to dry, and starts to effectively heal thirsty skin immediately. It’s also an awesome moisturizer if you’re impatient (guilty!) and you hate to wait for lotion to absorb before getting dressed. You can spray this on right after your shower and you’re good to throw your clothes on and go in seconds! I highly recommend it – for your summer skin woes and beyond!

[Disclosure: This post was sponsored by Vaseline via FabFitFun, but all opinions are my own.]

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The New Urban Decay #NakedSmoky Palette is Everything You Need in Life

Urban Decay Naked Smoky Palette

The key to nailing the most sought-after and elusive eye look ever? Urban Decay’s new Naked Smoky Palette — loaded with ALL the essentials for the perfect smoky eye.

I am thrilled to be one of the lucky few who got to preview the much anticipated Urban Decay Naked Smoky Palette before it launches in stores. As expected, like its predecessors, it’s awesome. Urban Decay packed their newest Naked palette with a dozen sultry, smoky neutrals — nine never-before-seen shades and three exclusives. These beauties will take you from subtle smoky neutrals in the daytime to full-on clubbed-out shimmer smoky for your next night out.


Experiment with warm bronzes, dimensional grays, rich browns, gorgeous taupes and deep black. From mattes to satins to shades with sparkle, Naked Smoky has it all and it includes everything you need in one palette: a true range of shades, the perfect brushes, even detailed tutorials!

I know this is a bold statement, but I think this might be my favorite of the Naked palettes. (I still love you though, Naked3!) I’m obsessed with its versatility and I know you will be too. Peek the video below for a closer look:

So, what do you think? Pick up your own Naked Smoky palette to perfect your smoky-eye looks and let me know how much you love it!

[Disclosure: This post was sponsored by Urban Decay via Conde Nast, but all opinions are my own.]

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Real Talk: Strobing Is Not New


Guys… I feel like something needs to be said.

My inbox is full of press releases pitching the newest hit trick in the beauty blogosphere. Everyone is talking about how “contouring is out” and “strobing is in.” Instagram is blowing UP with #strobing right now.

I hate to break it to you all, but…

Strobing is not a new thing.

(And chances are, the makeup in those grams you’re double-tapping feature some contouring, too. We’re just pretending it’s not there.)

When I first learned the fundamental technique almost a decade ago, we called it “highlighting.” It can also be called “illuminating.” If you hail from the school of “HAC,” strobing would be the H minus the AC. Or if you subscribe to the Eve Pearl method of makeup – it would be the “reverse contour” she has been preaching for years. 

ALL of it is manipulating light to create the effect of more dimension in the face. It’s art 101 and it’s not going anywhere, no matter what we call it.  In old school makeup artist speak, I would say that what’s “on-trend” now is dialing up the highlight and minimizing the shading, but both elements are still there. I’m not hating on the effect, I just don’t think we should kid ourselves into believing it’s a new thing.

With that said, you do not need to listen to all of the beauty publications currently telling you to pitch all of your products and purchase an entire new “strobing” wardrobe.  I assure you, if you already have highlighting products in your arsenal, you’re good to go. 

If you do need a good strober/highlighter/luminizer, I’m happy to share some of my faves. Here are a handful of the best products for strobing (or whatever you want to call it). ;)

Benefit High Beam


High Beam is like the OG highlighter. It’s a liquid, so a little goes a long way! I like to cocktail a few drops of this pinkish pearlescent goodness with my primer to create that lit-from-within effect. It adds a beautiful, but subtle glow when you apply it underneath your foundation. Or go big a dab it right on your cheekbones for extreme illumination.

MAKE UP FOR EVER Diamond Powder


If you’re really into shimmer, this is the product for you. It’s technically a powder, but this fine-milled dust appears flawlessly diffused, not cakey. Diamond Powder combines both the pearly iridescence of MUFE’s Star Powder and the brightness of a glitter. It is almost entirely composed of pure synthetic mother-of-pearl. The particles are finer and radiate extreme brilliance.

MAC Strobe Cream

MAC Strobe Cream

If the dewy look is your thing, strobe with this stuff. MAC Strobe Cream will provide all of the luminizing effects while the consistency allows you to cover a lot of real estate quickly. It’s a hydrating cream that’s good to cocktail with your foundation if you don’t want to go full-on shine overload.

NARS The Multiple in Copacabana


I find creamy highlighter sticks like this cult classic the easiest to work with - especially if your goal is to dramatically accent your cheekbones. Simply draw on all the high planes of your face and blend with your finger. Beautiful and effortless!

Bobbi Brown Sparkle Eyeshadow


That’s right, I’m telling you to use eyeshadow for face highlight. There are no rules in makeup and you do not need to purchase a separate highlighter if you don’t want to. This one will work double duty for you and look beautiful in the process. Have darker skin? Try the Sunlight shade. If you have a fair complexion like me, go for Silver Moon. Welcome to strobe city!

Ok, I feel better after getting all of that off my chest. In related news, the Kardashians did not invent contouring and don’t even get me started on baking. More #RealTalk on that later. Until then, happy strobing (or whatever)! 

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Stay Smooth this Summer with the Tria Beauty Hair Removal Laser 4X

Mermaid Parade Beach

Summer is officially here! To mark this momentous occasion, I ventured to the Coney Island Mermaid Parade for my first summer weekend in New York. My legs were on full display in my Ariel inspired bathing suit and in smooth shape thanks to the Tria Beauty Hair Removal Laser 4X.

You can get permanent results with this system — the only FDA-cleared laser available for home use. Convenient and easy to use in the comfort of your own home, only Tria uses the same diode laser technology preferred by dermatologists to deliver safe, effective, and permanent results. A sleek, hand-held design and slim handle make treatments extremely simple, and the angled tip gives you enhanced visibility to deliver laser light with expert precision to the treatment area.

I have heard so many wonderful things about this device and am always up for testing products that will make my life easier. After three months of treatment, hair follicles that have been deactivated by the Tria Hair Removal Laser 4X will no longer grow hair. I just recently started testing this at-home laser to see if it lives up to all the hype! I’m pleased with my results so far, but in order to fully vouch for this device, I’m going to continue testing over the next couple months. Can’t wait to be free from having to worry about hair removal! I have a packed summer full of shorts-appropriate activities I can’t wait to enjoy. Stay tuned for updates on my summer journey to the smoothest legs! :)

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Make a Splash this Summer with Stila

bs_stila_collection3 (1)

Happy first day of summer, beauties! Of all of the summer 2015 collections I’ve been testing recently, Stila’s Sun, Sea & Splash Collection is one of my absolute favs. From the cooling primer to the liquid lippies that just won’t budge, Stilla’s summer offerings provide everything you need to keep your face looking flawless out in the summer sun.

Aqua Glow Perfecting Primer

Stila Aqua Glow Perfecting Primer

This cooling primer stick delivers a refreshing sensation on the skin while delivering immediate pore-reduction, skin-smoothing, and hydrating benefits. Its minty green tint will also battle redness if you get a little too flushed in the summer sun. Skin is left silky, poreless and even-toned, creating the perfect canvas for your makeup. It’s a great pick-me-up to apply even on days you don’t want a full face of makeup, too!

Aqua Glow Watercolor Blush

Stila Aqua Glow Watercolor Blush

This weightless, water-based blush, in an exclusive netted pot delivery system, providing a sheer splash of color to the cheeks with a rejuvenating cooling effect. Its luminous finish adds a healthy-looking, fresh glow to the skin. It provides the perfect pop of pink (or peach!) to your cheeks for a fresh look.

Aqua Glow Perfecting Bronzer

Stila Aqua Glow Perfecting Bronzer

This lightweight, water-based, lipid-replenishing bronzer provides a sheer veil of sun-kissed color that perfectly pairs with your skin tone. Skin is instantly awakened, softened, brightened and smoothed with a non-sticky, comforting and cooling gel texture.

Stay All Day Bronzer For Face & Body

Stila Stay All Day Bronzer

The perfect complement to all skin tones, Stay All Day Bronzer is a lightweight, matte-satin powder that is ideal for accenting the face and body to perfection. Features are sculpted and shaped with long-wearing pigments that blend effortlessly for a natural-looking result. The sun-kissed, bronze hue adds a touch of sun for a healthy glow all year round.

Stay All Day Liquid Lipstick

Stila Stay All Day Liquid Lipstick

In my book, the Stila Stay All Day Liquid Lipstick is the star of the collection. It delivers intense moisture and long-lasting color that stays in place for up to 6 hours of continuous wear. Stila offers five bold new shades for summers, inspired by the colors of the sunset: Rosa, Como, Bella, Venezia and Amalfi. They’re all really beautiful, but Amalfi is my jam! I’m wearing it in the pic below. Grab yourself some to sport this season! :)

Stila Summer Collection

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Unlock the Secret to Smooth Legs with Veet Hair Removal Gel Cream

[Disclosure: Compensation was provided by Veet via Mode Media.]


In case you missed it in my earlier post, I’ve partnered with Veet to be a Smooth Brand Ambassador for summer! Veet’s hair removal solutions are the perfect essentials to quickly and easily get rid of unwanted hair.

I’m currently writing this from sunny Florida where I’ll be hitting the beach momentarily! I finally feel like my legs are beach ready thanks to my new Veet products.

My favorite of the bunch I’ve tested so far is Veet Hair Removal Gel Cream! This extremely effective solution for touchably smooth skin lasts for up to twice as long as shaving.


It also keeps legs softer and more hydrated than traditional hair removal methods. The secret ingredient?  Veet’s essential oils. I’m a huge proponent of utilizing essential oils for skincare, so I was thrilled to learn that it’s included in this stellar ingredient list. Rose oil is one of my favorites, so when I learned this was also infused with rose I was even more eager to try! It has antibacterial properties, softens skin, and smells amazing! Oils like these can also work wonders by improving mood and fighting depression when used in aromatherapy.

Unlike shaving that can sometimes dry the delicate surface of your skin, this formula is designed to actually help restore skin’s hydration levels. It works close to the root of the hair, causing your hair to take noticeably longer to grow back. This means your skin stays smoother for longer, too! In addition to the formula’s enriched blend of essential oils, it’s also paired with a velvet rose fragrance that leaves a delicate scent on the skin. It’s a must have before you hit the beach this summer!

See the difference Smooth can make at or 

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