Verb – The best haircare

Verb – The best haircare

I’ve tried some great haircare in the past, but nothing has compared to Verb. I guess I have what would be considered “curly” hair. It’s more or less wavy, but if I twist it while wet, it will curl and I can wash and wear with no styling, so I’ll call it a hair win. I’ll tell you what I love about Verb products, give a review of each of the products I’ve tried, where I purchase them and the purchase options available, and provide you with some super low maintenance hair tips. I mean, what mom has time to style her hair? Mom buns get old after a while, guys, let me tell you…

Verb Ghost Shampoo and Conditioner

My love of Verb products all started with my mom (shoutout to all of the amazing moms who know what their daughters want when their daughters don’t even know themselves… you know who you are!). She bought me a Verb Ghost set for Mother’s Day a few year’s ago. I had never herd of Verb and thought “Ooooh-new hair products, niiiiice!”. Little did I know how much I would love these hair products. If you’re not sure what type of hair you have, Ghost products are for you. I have wavy, soft, thick hair, but these products are great for any hair type. They clean hair well and my roots don’t get oily too quickly, but it also doesn’t dry my hair out with regular use. My hair stays soft and shiny and styles very easily. Ghost is great for color treated hair and helps your color last without being too harsh. If you’re not sure where to begin, Ghost products are for you!

Verb Curl Shampoo and Conditioner

After Verb products became much easier to purchase (Ulta and direct from Verb’s website), I decided to try their curl shampoo and conditioner. I’m definitely a believer after using these. My hair seems to maintain curl or wave much better than any regular shampoo, doesn’t get oily, and the roots don’t just lay flat after shampooing, but maintain some volume (win, win!). If you have curly or wavy hair, you’ll love the curl shampoo and conditioner.

Verb Ghost Oil

Yes, it’s an oil… don’t be afraid of it-it’s weightless! Since I have wavy/curly hair I use it after finger combing my damp, microfiber towel dried hair so it doesn’t become frizzy after air drying or styling. A little goes a long way. It’s not sticky and doesn’t make my hair look greasy. I make sure to concentrate on my hair several inches from my scalp to make sure I get some extra non-hair washing days in (yeah… I said DAYS… I’m a mom… give me a shampoo break pass, ok?). If you want to eliminate fly aways or give your hair a smoother look before styling it with curing or straight irons, you’ll love Ghost Oil.

Verb Ghost Mask

I’ve never understood the point of hair masks. My hair usually stays soft, I don’t tend to get many split ends because I never use heat on my hair (not because I’m afraid, but because it’s a time suck due to my thick, THICK hair), and it’s not colored. Verb had a sale on their website for different sets and the set that had curl shampoo and conditioner with Ghost Oil came with a Ghost Hair Mask, so I figured I might as well try it. It is a GAME CHANGER! I never thought I needed a hair mask, but this mask is super easy, super quick, and super effective. Use it once a week after shampooing your hair for 5 minutes, rinse, and voila! Soft, manageable hair!

Where to Find Verb Products

Verb products were a little difficult to find for a while and could only be purchased in some salons or on Amazon from an authorized salon. Now their products are easy to purchase directly from their website and yes, they have sales… GREAT SALES! I like to purchase their package sales because they tend to create packages with products you’ll actually use. Shocker, I know! If you’d like to try several of their products I suggest waiting for one of their sales and purchasing direction from them. They also have great sales on larger bottles of Verb products. So, you get the advantage of a discount due to a bulk product AND a great sale on top of that (usually around 20% when they have their large product sales).

If you prefer to walk into a store and purchase Verb products, Ulta has a great selection. They don’t typically have sales on any of their Verb products, but you can purchase for pickup online and walk into the store and take your products home that same day. You can also have them shipped if you’re like me and the thought of walking into a store is too much to bare any longer. Bonus? ULTA POINTS, GUYS… ULTA POINTS. Ulta also usually has a $3.50 coupon or some type of promotion going on with samples, so there’s always that.

Effortless Hair Styling Tips

Like I said earlier, I have wavy/curly hair that is soft, but SUPER thick. I have found the most effortless way (besides the mom bun piled on top of my head) is to let my hair air dry, but frizz, guys… frizz. Here is my process for frizz-free waves/curls:

  • Shampoo and condition hair as normal.
  • Use a hair mask once a week to help lock in moisture and shine.
  • Finger comb wet hair to remove any knots, then towel dry briefly with a microfiber hair wrap like this one from Amazon. Don’t have one or want to purchase one? Use an old t-shirt!
  • After briefly drying with a microfiber towel or t-shirt, twist some strands of hair to encourage curl. Apply a small amount of Ghost Oil on all hair, concentrating mostly on the ends and scrunching to encourage curl/wave.
  • Let hair air dry.

Let me know what your favorite Verb products are so I can try some new ones!

$4 Mascara and Yes… It’s Phenomenal!

$4 Mascara and Yes… It’s Phenomenal!

essence has done it again, people! Their products never cease to amaze me. They’re as affordable as it gets, yet they can compete with the super duper expensive brands. How do they do it?!

I always see Thrive mascara ads on Facebook (thanks, Facebook ad people, but you’re not getting me this time!) and wonder if it is REALLY that great. I have friends who have tried it and didn’t really care for it all that much, although they said the results were great-long, thicker lashes. So, I went on the hunt for a dupe. I found one… for $5. Actually, less than $5! I was able to score this mascara for $3.75 on Prime Day, BUT… it’s only $4.99 regularly, so win-win.

I couldn’t add to cart fast enough on this one. essence’s Lash Princess False Lash Effect Mascara adds insane length to lashes, but doesn’t feel stiff or brittle. I would compare it to Benefit’s Roller Lash mascara (yes… one of my favorites!). One of my all time favorite drugstore brand mascaras is Lash Paradise and I honestly think essence’s formula blows it out of the water… especially because of the price! It’s also gluten and cruelty free, you know, in case you’re overly concerned about the gluten in your mascara…

The only complaint I have is that because the formula is a little waxy like Benefit’s Roller Lash you have to bake under the eye like crazy so it won’t transfer and give you that raccoon look. They do have a waterproof version, but I honestly think it’s a little stiff and brittle for my liking. It does stay put a little better and is hard to remove even with eye makeup remover. It’s vegan and cruelty free, which is also great. For $4, you CANNOT beat it!

DIY Dip Manicure on the Cheap that Doesn’t Look… Well… Cheap!

DIY Dip Manicure on the Cheap that Doesn’t Look… Well… Cheap!

The weather is starting to change and we’re sprinting towards the winter months. This means dry skin, dry hair, dry nails. Ok, you can only moisturize so much and cuticle or nail oil is great… when you actually remember it. I don’t know about you, but things around here are extra crazy this time of year and 2020 has not been kind to anyone, so I definitely don’t have time for 500 steps in my skincare routine right now.

My nails keep splitting and breaking way, way, WAY back. If I paint them this won’t help with the breaking, so I thought maybe I’d go get them done soon with a gel manicure. Ok, that might help some, but it still won’t stop them from splitting or breaking too far back. I suddenly remembered seeing a Facebook ad for dip manicures. Hmm… ok, but are they sturdy enough to withstand the cracking, splitting, and breaking nails?

Like all of my posts, I’m sure you know where I headed. Time for some hardcore Amazon research. I found many kits, but I always opt for the ones with the best price and best reviews. Bingo… I found a starter kit that contained colors I love and there was a coupon with a lightning deal. I looked at all of the photos, read the reviews, and this seemed like the real deal, so I went for it.

What I liked about this particular set is it seemed like there were only a few steps, the kit came with everything already included, and the colors were perfect! I chose the kit with a gray and pink color scheme. This particular kit had a two different color options, so if I did fall in love with it, I could order a second set in a different color scheme.

The directions were simple and there wasn’t too much to read through. I was able to apply the dip powder easily and quickly. I completed my entire manicure in about half an hour. The manicure looked great for a first attempt. I know the second attempt will be even better now that I know what I’m doing. Next time I will make sure I don’t get sloppy with the base coat as it can go outside the nail line fairly easily. Once you go outside of your nail line it adheres to your skin and it’s a little difficult to correct. When applying regular polish I’ve always gone very far outside of my nail line and cleaned it up later, but this forces me to be a little bit neater.

My nails are now strong, sturdy, and aren’t tearing, breaking, or chipping like they have been the last few weeks. I think this is a great solution to help me grow my nails out without them continually breaking. The colors are great in this kit, it is quick and easy to apply, and I found it to be very forgiving for a dip manicure newbie. For the price of one manicure I will now be able to keep up with them myself at home whenever I have time. I believe I will be purchasing an electric nail file to sand down the manicures when I need to fill in in a few weeks. Otherwise I think they’ll become a little too thick after fill-ins.

If you like a little more length than what you currently have, Amazon has a lot of options for tips. The directions in this kit even tell you how to apply the nail tips, then apply the dip manicure for a great finish.

Move Over Victoria’s Secret… There Are Cheaper, BETTER Alternatives

Move Over Victoria’s Secret… There Are Cheaper, BETTER Alternatives

After being stuck in the Victoria’s Secret conundrum for over a decade, I finally embraced the fact that it MIGHT NOT BE the only good intimates option *gasp* I know, I know… it’s kind of like Clinique. Abercrombie & Fitch. Lulu Lemon. There ARE other brands and yes… they can be comparable, if not better.

Yes, I have always gotten amazing deals from Victoria’s Secret in the past, but like every other brand name, those deals seem to be becoming few and far between lately. So, I did what any great shopper does and hit up my Amazon Prime for other options. I’ve had great luck lately just typing in whatever I’m searching for then BAM! An item with thousands of glowing reviews pops up as “Best Seller”. So, today I have two alternatives for you-Body by Victoria underwire bras and cotton bikini underwear.

Body by Victoria Underwire Bra Dupe

So, the best option that came up on Amazon was Maidenform’s Comfort Devotion Embellished Bra. Reviewers even posted photos comparing their Victoria’s Secret version to the Maidenform version. They are so similar that you can hardly tell the difference. Here are some pros and cons that I found with this dupe:

Photo Credit: Amazon.com

Pros:

The fit and cut is nearly identical to the Victoria’s Secret version. In fact, reviewers posted photos of the Body by Victoria bra with the Maidenform version and they looked nearly identical. Maidenform’s version has a three hook and eye closure, while the Victoria’s Secret version has only two. I definitely prefer the three hook version as it helps everything stay in place and be much more secure. Maidenform’s version even seems softer than Victoria’s Secret’s. This could mean it won’t hold up as well as the Victoria’s Secret version, but I’ll keep you posted on how they wear!

Cons:

I don’t really know that there are many cons to this one. The straps seem a little stretchier, which could mean a little less support and the Maidenform version is definitely thinner. The Amazon selection of Maidenform also mostly have lace, which might not be the best style under tighter fitting t-shirts. Other than these minor cons, the bras are definitely comparable.

Victoria’s Secret Cotton Bikini Panties Dupe

Photo Credit: Amazon.com

Amazon Essentials has the best dupe for Victoria’s Secret cotton panties. You know, the ones you always get free when you have a VS credit card? Who doesn’t love those?! In fact, I’m not even giving you a pro/con list for this one (yeah… I know your inner Rory Gilmore just died a little…). They’re that good. I even grab these before I grab any of my Victoria’s Secret versions. They wash well, they hold up well, and they’re just plain comfortable. These are just plain great. The cut is also comparable to Victoria’s Secret Cotton Bikini Panties. The price? $2.25 per pair. Seriously. Buy some.

Better Than McDonald’s Egg McMuffins (Freezer Friendly!)

Better Than McDonald’s Egg McMuffins (Freezer Friendly!)

img_4764Breakfast foods are some of my favorite foods… biscuits and gravy, eggs and bacon, and of course… breakfast sandwiches!  I’ve made breakfast sandwiches at home for years, usually one at a time, but that became a pain when kids came along (ain’t nobody got time for that!).  Since then I’ve perfected my breakfast sandwich game big time.  I hope this saves you time AND money at the drive-thru!  The best part about making these is the kids LOVE them!  They’re so easy to freeze and thaw in the microwave and come out perfect every time.

I use a whoopie pie  or muffin top pan (you can find them on Amazon!) for perfect eggs.  You can also use a cupcake or muffin pan, but they don’t turn out as evenly done.  Ramekins also work, but I find that they’re a little more of a pain since they’re not confined to a single pan.

Ingredients

  • 12 English Muffins
  • 12 eggs
  • 12 slices White American cheese (or any other cheese that you prefer-Gouda is excellent on these sandwiches!)
  • 12 slices of bacon (usually about a pound turns out just right), 12 sausage patties, or 12 slices of ham (Canadian bacon)
  • salt
  • pepper

Directions

  1. Heat oven to 325 degrees Fahrenheit.
  2. Prepare bacon or other desired meat.
  3. Spray the whoopie pie or muffin pan with nonstick spray.  Crack an egg into each cup.  Gently break the yolk of each egg to allow for even cooking.  Add salt and pepper to each egg to taste.  Cook in the oven 10 – 15 minutes or until yolks are cooked through.
  4. While the eggs are cooking, separate all of the English muffins and place on a working surface like a pan or covered counter top.  Place a slice of cheese on the bottom half of each muffin.  Fold the corners in so no cheese will melt outside the muffin.
  5. Once eggs are thoroughly cooked, place an egg on each slice of cheese.  Top with bacon or meat of choice and add the top bun.
  6. Allow the sandwiches to cool completely and add to a Ziploc bag.  Place all sandwiches in a large freezer bag and place in the freezer.img_5384
  7. To thaw the sandwiches, wrap the sandwich in a paper towel and heat in the microwave for 3 minutes and 45 seconds on 50% power, turning the sandwich over every minute.
  8. Now, wave goodbye to the drive-thru line!

Open Your Eyes… Literally!

Open Your Eyes… Literally!

I’ve been setting my alarm earlier and earlier lately (I know… it’s quarantine… I should be sleeping in…).  When I finally get out of bed I have very little time to get ready, but I NEED to look awake since I’ll be on camera teaching students.  My tricks?  Eye brightener, highlighter, and my trusty eye cream that even graced the list of Best Eye Creams from ConsumersAdvocate.org.  So quick and easy!  The three products I always use are also affordable AND on Amazon.  Win-win!

LilyAna Naturals Eye Cream

img_5248I’ve written about this eye cream before and it seems to have a cult following.  It has great ingredients, is never greasy, is affordable, and is convenient since it’s on Amazon.  The awesome people at ConsumersAdvocate.org have placed this eye cream at number 2 on their Best Eye Cream Based on In-Depth Reviews list!

Number 3 on the ConsumersAdvocate.org list might be my next product test: Neutrogena Hydro Gel Boost Eye Cream.  I already use the Neutrogena Hydro Gel Boost moisturizer, so I’ll let you know if their eye cream passes the test!

TONYMOLY Panda’s Dream Brightening Eye Base

img_5250I’m a firm believer in concealer because… kids.  I’ve always loved Maybelline’s Instant Age Rewind‘s concealer, but lately I haven’t even had time for that.  The TONYMOLY Panda’s Dream Brightening Eye Base is so easy to use that it’s fool-proof!  Since it’s not really a concealer, but an eye base, you don’t have to match shades of skin tone, you can swipe it on, smooth it, and GO!  I usually finish the under eye area off with powder, otherwise my mascara does stick to the base after a few hours and no one likes the raccoon look.

This base does a wonderful job of neutralizing dark circles and when paired with a little powder almost works as good as a concealer.

jane iredale Highlighter Pencil

img_5249I keep seeing Facebook ads for Thrive Cosmetics highlighters.  I can’t tell you how many freaking times I’ve clicked on those things!  I just don’t want to become addicted to a product that I have to order from a company directly.  Amazon, Target, and Ulta are my go-tos, so I figured they had to have something similar.  Of course Amazon came though for me.  The jane iredale Highlighter Pencil does everything the Thrive pencil does, has two different shades in one pencil, and came with a great sharpener.  I use the pink toned color under the brow as a highlighter, under the lower lash line, and along the inner portion of the lid.  The white color is great in the lower lash line and inner corner of the eye to open up the eyes.  It makes my eyes appear so much more awake and open.

Alright… go open your eyes!  Moms, I know you can identify with the lack of time and dark circles. You’re welcome!

Homemade Weed Killer… That Actually Works!

Homemade Weed Killer… That Actually Works!

img_4707We seriously must live on the most fertile plot of land in our entire city… maybe even state.  We’ve had problems with weeds since we moved into this house.  Yeah, I know… everyone has weeds.  But weeds taller than you in a few weeks?  I’ve used Preen, mulch, Round Up (uh huh… *gasp*… I used the poison… judge away), rocks in the flowerbed (don’t do it… it’s a bad idea), and anything else I could think of.  It turns out the “natural” recipe I found (thanks again, Google…) actually works as well or better than Round Up.  And the minstrels rejoiced (yaaaaaaaay).

I always hated using Round Up because of its ingredients, but I REALLY hated using it after getting a furry friend and now that we have kids.  They love being outside and I hate cringing after spraying Round Up everywhere.  This recipe is much, MUCH safer, works well, and lasts about as long as Round Up.  So, spray the heck out of those weeds without getting dirty looks for using chemicals.  This one actually works… promise!

Ingredients

  • 1 gallon Distilled White Vinegar
  • 2 cups table salt (iodized or not-both work!)
  • 1 Tbsp Dawn dish soap (original blue works great)

Directions

  1. Add all ingredients to a spray dispenser and mix well.
  2. Spray those weeds until they die!
Misfits Market: A Review & Coupon Code!

Misfits Market: A Review & Coupon Code!

I buy the same produce over, and over, and… over.  I never really try anything new and even though I do cook a variety of vegetables (that neither of my children will EVER eat) and I typically buy whatever fruit is on sale because if I get what looks good I end up with the entire produce department in my cart, which ends up rotting on our countertop.  Scrolling through Facebook (stop judging… you know that’s all there is to do right now!) I noticed a friend’s post about her Misfits Market box.  Hmmm… that’s an idea!  The picture she posted had a wide variety of produce with a few pieces of each item.  That’s PERFECT.  I surely wouldn’t pick most of these things in the produce section and let’s be honest… when am I actually in a store lately?  Um, never.

She posted her coupon code for referrals (25% your first order-woohoo! Use coupon code COOKWME-UD0VIL), so I checked out their website.  It was easy enough to set up and just as easy to cancel or change your delivery schedule.  They offer a smaller box for $22 or a larger box for $35.

Screen Shot 2020-04-22 at 8.54.55 AM

I opted for the smaller box delivered every other week to see how it goes before going crazy with the larger box.

My first box arrived and I was like a kid receiving a Christmas gift on the doorstep.  Since we’ve all been quarantined until the end of time, small things excite me, ok?  I loved the surprise element of the box and that I could make something different for a change!

The produce was in an insulated box with a reusable ice pack (bonus!).  Most of the produce was in pretty good shape except for an orange that was pretty worse for wear and had to be thrown out.

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I’ve never really used radishes for much, but a great suggestion sheet was included in the package for buttered bread with sliced radish and sea salt.  The mango and pears were not yet ripe, but were probably the best mango and pear I’ve ever eaten!  The cucumber was great, but the celery was a little banged up and unfortunately didn’t last all that long in the refrigerator.  I was able to use the base of the celery to propagate it in water, so we’ll call it a win. The potatoes and onions are still hanging in there, but I haven’t used them yet.  Unfortunately the squash and zucchini only lasted a few days and had to be thrown away.  I haven’t cooked the delicata squash yet, but I have found a few recipes that sound pretty good, so I’ll be making that next.  I did find an awesome recipe for roasted rutabaga, which I’ve never even thought about buying before.  The recipe is definitely worth a try!

The second box I received seemed to be a little less banged up as all of the produce survived.  This box was left on the porch right-side-up, unlike the first box that was left upside down.

This box included a larger stalk of celery (that was in great shape this time and should last much longer than the last stalk), a head of broccoli, 3 oranges, 3 apples, a medium-sized yellow squash, a medium-sized zucchini, curly leaf parsley (which smelled AMAZING), 3 small jalapeno peppers, 3 salad cucumbers, an onion, two small sweet potatoes, and a small butternut squash.

This produce seemed to be in much better shape than the first box, but again, the first box was sitting on our front porch upside-down, so there’s that.  After your first box you’re able to customize your box a little more or add items (for additional fees) to your next box.  I chose not to since I just wanted to see what would come in boxes to be able to make new and different recipes.  Hopefully more recipes will be coming your way thanks to these boxes!

I definitely think these boxes are worth it.  They have saved me a visit to the store just for produce and have allowed me to try new recipes.  If the next few boxes are as good as the first two I’ll be changing my subscription to the larger box.  I don’t think you’ll regret checking out Misfits Market!

50% Off Shape Tape Concealer and Some Great Concealer Dupes!

50% Off Shape Tape Concealer and Some Great Concealer Dupes!

Photo Credit: Tarte

You read that right-Shape Tape concealer is HALF PRICE! Holla!!! Ok, I’ll stop saying holla now. But, really-it’s on sale! Treat yo self, people!

I still haven’t tried Shape Tape since it’s blown up as the best selling concealer, but I have found a pretty good dupe. Not having tried shape tape, the reviews for this dupe compare to those of Shape Tape, so Ill take their word for it.

I’m talking about NYX Can’t Stop Won’t Stop concealer. It is full coverage and lasts all day. It doesn’t get cakey or settle in lines. It does dry down pretty quickly, so if you plan on baking with this concealer have your loose powder on hand. This is probably my favorite full coverage concealer.

My other go to concealer doesn’t really compare to Shape Tape or Can’t Stop Won’t Stop, but I use it almost daily. I typically wear a BB cream, so since it’s not full coverage, full coverage concealer looks a little crazy. I use Maybelline Instant Age Rewind for everyday use. It blends well, covers dark circles, and stays put with a little light powder.

Check out these concealers-you won’t be disappointed!

A Review: Foundation – A Love/Hate Relationship

A Review: Foundation – A Love/Hate Relationship

My sister-in-law asked what foundation I’ve been using lately and it hit me: I have SO many foundations and I have so many that I love for many different reasons.  I call foundation a love/hate relationship because while it can make a look awesome, it can also look plastered on if you don’t use a good primer or if your skin is too dry. I figured I’d share a few of my favorite full, medium, and light coverage options I use often and some tips that help get the most wear time out of each of them.  I’d love to know some of your favorites!

After applying these foundations with a beauty blender, I follow up with a loose powder (I use Coty Airspun) and a setting spray (NYX Matte Finish is my go to) to get the most wear time out of any foundations I use.

Full Coverage

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Milani Conceal + Perfect

I’m starting with this one because it conceals EVERYTHING and doesn’t look very cakey.  Make sure to use a great moisturizer before applying and maybe a light primer.  It looks pretty natural considering how well the coverage is.  I also always follow up immediately with a loose powder and setting spray to make it last as long as possible.

L’Oreal Infallible Foundation

This is probably my favorite and most used foundation.  It goes on smoothly, covers very well without looking like you’ve caked 10 lbs of concealer on your face, and wears ALL day.  It’s also easy to build up if you need more coverage.  A little primer before applying goes a long way and finishing with loose powder and setting spray will get you an entire day of wear easily.

Maybelline Dream Urban Cover60909369241__56c18cf7-85a7-49cd-b13b-248e1af5fcbe

This is a great foundation if you’re looking for high coverage with an SPF.  It goes on pretty well, but I chose a horrible shade for my skin tone.  I’m sure if I get the right shade for my skin it will look A LOT better.  It’s still a great foundation and I’m able to make it work with some blending when I want a good SPF foundation.

Medium Coverage

60909384050__0ee27b6f-b83a-499f-a087-43f0a1e97d04Wet n’ Wild Photo Focus

You guys… this foundation doesn’t even cost $5 and it’s one of my FAVORITES of all time.  It really could be considered full coverage because it’s easily buildable.  The color match is awesome, the formula is pretty thin, so it’s easy to apply, and it looks SO good on.  You can’t go wrong with this one!

Wet n’ Wild Mega Cushion Foundation60909419825__98c44055-084d-4b48-9841-7d3543af3792

I love this foundation for something different.  It kind of gives my skin a dewey look without looking like I have an oily face.  Paired with a little loose powder it goes a long way.  The only down side to this foundation is that since it is a cushion foundation, I feel like there is a lot less product in the container.

 

 

 

Light Coverage

Burt’s Bees BB Creamimg_4315

Last, but definitely not least, Burt’s Bees BB Cream.  I use this nearly every day, so I don’t have to be careful when I apply it.  It goes on smoothly and is practically a tinted moisturizer.  It doesn’t break out my face and usually doesn’t look super oily by the end of the day if I use loose powder after applying.  I don’t usually use a beauty blender with this and it blends great.  Don’t bother with a primer because it lasts FOREVER.  Primer usually makes this foundation settle in lines and look a little thicker than it should. A little goes a long way and as long as I have a great under eye concealer, this is great for everyday wear.