Archive for category Brands
You may have noticed that there have been less makeup reviews on Beauty Obsessed over the past few months. Aside from our big push to save money for a substantial down payment on a new home, I’ve also been in the mood to pare down my makeup (and polish) collections, and adding new items to it at this stage would be a bit counterproductive. While I have made small strides toward this goal, this weekend I finally sat down and really started to do some serious clearing out. The first up on my hit list were 100+ eyeshadows.
As I’ve mentioned time and again, I have fallen a bit out of love with eyeshadow – while I still love all the pretty colours, I tend to favour a minimal eye look day to day, focusing more on bold lips to be the star of the show. I suspect over time my preferences will change, as things go, so rather than get rid of previously loved shades (which I’m sure I’ll love again at some point), I’m turning my eye toward removing any duplicates to decrease the number of shadows I have.
I am not a lover of palettes, nor will I ever likely be – all that choice, all those colours in one bulky place! Nah, too stressful for this here gal. And so it was that I began my weed-through there, starting with my oldest palette – Urban Decay’s Book of Shadows III.
Containing 16 shadows, the BoS III was probably the gateway product that turned me into a full-fledge makeup junkie. The buttery textures and variety of richly pigmented shades was impossible to resist. At first, I used it all the time….but over the years, it fell out of grace due to its bulky packaging. On embarking on my pare-down plan, I decided that depotting was the way to go with this beast, and away I went!
Today I begin with the first five shades from the palette that went through a rigorous swatch- and comparison-fest: Smog (bronze), Haight (bright teal), Rockstar (deep eggplant), Suspect (golden taupe) and Loaded (blackened teal green).
SMOG & HAIGHT
Smog is a gorgeous bronze shade that leans more brown than reddish or golden. On my skin tone its quite complimentary, and has enough depth and pigmentation to be a one-and-done shade for me. Haight is a bright tropical teal that always draws me in, yet requires a little bit more effort to look appropriate on my darker skin.
Just for fun, I paired the two together in an eye look to see if Smog could ground Haight and make it more wearable:
Sorry for the lack of shots capturing the whole picture – I was bound and determine to be a fuzzy-headed slob yesterday, and I didn’t want to subject you to that horror. Suffice to say, with a bit of liner and mascara, the whole look (Haight on the lid, Smog in the crease) came together really well, and I will definitely be repeating it on a day when I actually leave the house. It’s fun and summery without being too bold.
Now for the dupe hunt! Starting with Smog, I pulled all of my bronze-like shadows and swatched each one to see how they’d measure up.
While there are similarities between the shades, none of the above are dupes, and as I do tend to favour bronzy shadows, I am keeping all four.
Moving on to Haight, I only had one shadow in my arsenal that resembled the shade – Kat Von D’s Bukowski:
As you can see, these two are extremely similar – if you want to get nit-picky about it, Bukowski is a touch more teal with slightly less shimmer, while Haight is brighter and more blue. Tomato, to-ma-to, they’re close enough for me! As both shades have the same smooth, buttery texture and great pigmentation, I decided to keep Haight over Bukowski because it’s smaller in size (0.8oz as opposed to 1.4oz) since its not a shade I’d wear often. When the time comes (soon!) to depot the Kat Von D palette Bukowski is in (the Spellbinding one from Holiday 2013), it’ll be finding itself a new home somewhere else!
Two down, three to go!
ROCKSTAR, LOADED, AND SUSPECT
Rockstar is a lovely deep eggplant shade that doesn’t veer too blue or too red, and hence is likely wearable by most skin tones. Loaded is a beautiful blackened teal that is a bit more muted applied, but still gorgeous. Suspect, well-loved as you can see, is a super-wearable light golden taupe-y shade that adds a touch of brightness to the eye area without being very obvious. All three of these shades are right up my alley…but the question was, did I have any similar colours kicking around?
Again, for fun, I did a quick eye look using all three of these shades to see how they played together (Fall prep, methinks!).
You can see the neat flash of teal green that Loaded provides; paired with Suspect all over the lid and Rockstar in the crease, I think this ended up pretty decent as well. Subtle, but with interest. Next time I’ll be sure to use a primer, which I think will help the shades reach their full, fabulous potential.
I had several contenders for each of the shades above; let’s begin with the most dupable shade, Suspect.
On lighter skintones, I suspect (haha) that the nuances of most of these shades would be readily apparent. However, on my darker skin tone, I find that they lose their uniqueness quite quickly:
Left to right: LM Bamboo, NARS Rajasthan, UD Suspect, MAC All That Glitters, Kat Von D Precious, Kat Von D Galore (I threw that one in for my own comparison purposes but forgot to take pics first, oops!)
Though you can see the graduation from dark to light, there are a lot of similarities here, which happens to me a lot when dealing with sort of champagne-type shades. Ultimately though, only the NARS Rajasthan golden shade is close enough to Suspect, and for me it’s enough to feel likeI don’t need both. Let’s take a closer look.
I can’t believe I never noticed how similar these two were! The shade from the Rajasthan duo up close has more nuances than Suspect, and is actually more pigmented as well, so it should be a no-brainer to decide which one to keep. HOWEVER, there are two factors at play here. 1) Suspect has hit pan, and therefore could conceivably be finished in the next few months with diligent use (and who doesn’t like a REAL LIVE MAKEUP EMPTY??) and 2) the other side of the Rajasthan duo is a blackened teal, much like Loaded up there, and so we’ll need to investigate that first before making any decisions.
Next up in the dupe war is Loaded and it’s dark teal goodness. Though I don’t wear it often, I love this kind of shade – so mysterious and sexy ;-) However, I don’t really need THREE of them. Let’s see how they fare in swatches:
All three are definitely in the same vein, with Loaded having the most teal flash of the three. Though the texture of the teal side of the Rajasthan duo leaves me a bit wanting (it’s a little stiff), there’s something to be said for the convenience of having the two shades together. To be sure, I did another set of swatches, this time with the teal Rajasthan shade swatched wet to see if it had more depth of pigment (which is ultimately what matters to me in this case).
Clearly, swatched wet, Rajasthan is a whole different ballgame, and thankfully made the decision easy for me. Bye bye, Loaded & Jealous Jordana! Nice knowing you (no really, it was – we had some good times)!
Finally, we have Rockstar in all it’s plummy glory. In my head, the shades above were all close matches, but upon pairing them side by side, I can easily see that’s not going to be the case. Eh. Let’s go through the motions anyway to satisfy our curiosity!
Nope, no dupes here – not by a long shot. Rockstar lighter than both the other options and by far more frosty, not to mention much cooler than Wonderland. Looking at these three side by side however, DOES make me like Rockstar a little less – it seems almost gaudy by comparison. For the time being, I’ll hang on to it as it seems I don’t have anything like it…but time will tell if I decide to keep it around or eventually let it go.
O-KAY! So, after today’s endeavours, I’ve managed to decrease my shadow collection by three (counting Kat Von D’s Bukowski when I get around to depotting those shadows). Not too shabby. At the mo, my entire collection (palette shades and all) consists now of 106 shades. My goal is to get this down to at least under 100, and I may not even stop there. One thing about paring down is that you can eventually start making way for new stuff! An activity I am wholly looking forward to, I readily admit.
Are you doing any makeup house-keeping lately? How many eyeshadows do you own?
Even the biggest cynic has to admit, we’ve had a pretty sweet summer season, at least here in Atlantic Canada! Almost every weekend is sunny, and often days that call for rain turn into a beautiful and bright sunshiny day. It’s been sticky and humid, I’ll grant you, but hey – what’s the beach for if not to keep cool in the heat?
In an effort to use more of my eyeshadows, I went though a period of wearing different eye looks over the past couple months, only to become frustrated that they looked overdone and kind of grimy in this muggy weather. I finally decided that the shadows will have to wait until the cooler months, and instead I would focus on my TRUE makeup love of the moment – juicy lip colours.
Left to right: NARS Velvet Matte Lip Pencil in Dolce Vita, YSL Glossy Stain in Corail Aquatique, NARS Velvet Matte Lip Pencil in Red Square, Tom Ford Lip Color in True Coral, Dior Fluid Stick in Magique, purminerals Plumping Lip Gloss in Pink Crush
Over the past year or so, I’ve really started upping my lip game. For the most part, I own and wear shades in almost every shade imaginable, and change it up with each season. During the summer, I find warm pinks, happy corals, dusky roses, and orange-leaning reds tend to flatter my tanned skin most. The lippies that are in highest rotation are of all textures – gloss, stain-gloss hybrids, mattes, and cremes.
I picked up NARS Velvet Matte Lip Pencil in Dolce Vita last fall on a whim – I cannot remember what drew me to the dusty rose shade, but I’m SO glad I brought it home with me, as it’s honestly one of my favourite, most flattering lip colours (in ALL seasons!) and I wear it CONSTANTLY. I will definitely repurchase this when I run out, which is SO unlike me!
I’ve had the YSL Glossy Stain for a couple years now, and while I wasn’t entirely enamoured with it when I bought it, it’s such an easy-to-wear soft coral that goes with essentially every look I create. Another one that I would definitely consider repurchasing as I probably wear it more than any other lippie I own, period.
The NARS Velvet Matte Lip Pencil in Red Square was a recent addition; after swatching orange-based reds on at least three separate occasions at Sephora, I finally went with with this one as I like the Velvet Matte formula, and it seemed to be the most flattering on me. I love it!
I’ve shown you the Tom Ford Lip Color in True Coral before after I picked it up in NYC late last year. I was concerned that its coral-red tone was so bright it would be garish on my skin tone once tanned, but my fears were unfounded, as it looks even BETTER with a tan! The formula is more suited to this time of year as well, as my lips tend to be in better condition (read: not as sahara dry and flaky as in the winter) so it wear much better as well.
Back in June, after a monster swatching session at Shoppers, I picked up one of the new Dior Fluid Sticks in #479 Magique (which doesn’t seem to be available at Sephora for some reason), a bright coral pink. I really like the formula on these, and am always tempted to buy more but wish there was a bit more selection in the shade range – the lighter shades are too milky on my skin tone, and some of the other shades look too similar to this one. LOVE that juicy, colour-rich shine, though!
Lastly, a few years ago my aunt gave me a ton of purminerals lip glosses (you can find the brand at Shoppers), which have a great lovely, moisturizing formula. I gave away many of them as the shades didn’t call to me (and I don’t wear gloss too often these days), but this one in Pink Crush has become a huge staple for me as it gives just a hint of muted rose-y pink to the lips, and awesome shine. Another goes-with-everything lippie.
All six of these shades are without a doubt my most-worn, and most-loved lippies at the moment. They allow me a variety of looks and I truly enjoy wearing each one! This is my ultimate goal with my makeup collection – regardless of the number of products, as long as I take pleasure in wearing each item, then that’s really what counts. I’ve been slashing and hacking at my stash methodically over the past few months, and every week I feel that much more satisfied!
I will admit though…I’m starting to get that itch for fall makeup! Don’t shoot me… :)
What lippies have you been wearing to death this season?
I’ve been methodically going through my polishes over the summer and trying to pare down my collection to shades I truly love – my aim is to get below 100 bottles. I’m 6 bottles away from my goal so I’m making serious progress! One of the two polishes on the chopping block was China Glaze’s Re-Fresh Mint – if you recall, in my review I found it none to flattering on my skin tone, and the formula left much to be desired. Nevertheless, as I discovered with Zoya’s Cho, which I hated on my fingernails but actually love on my toes, I gave the polish a second chance by wearing it as a pedicure, which sometimes does the trick. As we’re moving into late summer, I’m slowly incorporating darker shades into my repertoire, and I paired it with another chopping block contender, Essie’s No More Film, a polish I picked up well over a year ago in a swap but haven’t gotten around to swatching. Here we go!
No More Film is a deep, slightly dusty ‘blurple’ – it’s almost like a super-dark periwinkle shade. The first time I tried it, I thought it was one of those ‘almost black’ shades which I dislike, but this time around for whatever reason, it just worked! It never appeared black, even in dim light, and it looked great on. It’s extremely pigmented and I actually only wore it with one coat (but added an additional coat for swatches). It’s quite glossy on it’s own and applied extremely easily. This shade is staying!
I felt like NMF would go well with RFM as the light and dark tones, while opposites, still somehow seem complimentary. I find as summer rolls along I really like to bring out my tan which pale shades, and emphasize the deepening light with dark shades to contrast. Check out the pairing below. *As an aside, I bought these sandals to wear to an all-day concert I went to a couple weeks back, and they are the COMFIEST EVER! They’re totally like orthopaedic shoes but I figured in an edgy metallic I could pull ‘em off. I don’t even care because they are like HEAVEN to wear.
I really liked the pairing of No More Film with Re-Fresh Mint, but I’m not sure it’s enough for me to keep the latter – though I’ve done the same with Cho and ONLY wear that shade on my toes now, I still find the formula on ‘Re-Fresh’ irritating and I’d always opt to wear a more blue-leaning mint shade (like MAC Mischievous Mint) than this, so to the giveaway pile it goes.
What do you think of this pairing? Do you switch it up from juicy brights to something else as the summer passes?
As some of you may know, I’ve been trying hard to keep my new purchases to a minimum, putting effort in to enjoying the products I already have before galavanting around buying up more stuff. The only problem with that concept is that in the summer, I tend to wear a bit of a ‘makeup uniform,’ which means the same products get used over and over again and the rest get forgotten. However, there IS something to be said for products that just plain work, and that work with your lifestyle. I thought I’d give you a peek into my recent beauty world at the handful of products I’m loving big time this summer!
All of the products above are new to me this summer, and have all wormed their way into my heart in a BIG way.
Earlier in the spring, I ran out of powder (those Ambient Lighting palettes were a cute idea, but HOLY MOLEY those powders got used up fast!), so I picked up Laura Mercier’s Translucent Loose Setting Powder ($44CAD). I’d heard and read good things, so I finally took it off the wish list and brought it home with me. I’m quite pleased with it overall – though it doesn’t combat shine fully, it leaves me skin with a radiant matte finish and never looks heavy or cakey. It’s extremely finely milled, and feels like air going on. Probably one of the best setting powders I’ve used to date.
On my birthday, my aunt gave me her usual ‘beauty package’ of goodies she’d purchased from The Shopping Network. One of those items was the CoverFX MintGlaze FX Moisturizing Lip Treat-mint Primer with SPF15 (also known as the-lip-balm-with-the-longest-name-ever). Normally not a fan of mint anything, I actually like the gentle cooling sensation this imparts on the lips, and its nicely moisturizing. A thin layer is great to use just before applying lipstick, but even on it’s own it looks great, with a nice glossy shine.
It’s not cheap at about $22 a pop, but hey, I got it for free so I’m not complaining! I read on Paula Beguoin’s site that the peppermint oil is a no-no (re: irritation) but I don’t find it a problem.
Another gem of a find I’ve come across recently is Sephora Brand’s Waterproof Retractable Brow Pencil ($16CAD). I was finding the shadow I was using to fill in my brows was too dark, and the method of application not precise enough – I’ve been growing my brows for a while now, and they can get a little unruly if I’m not careful. I picked this up on a whim because it was relatively inexpensive, and turns out I sort of love it! It’s fine enough to allow for great control and accuracy, but it’s not too dark or hard of a formula, so it’s never harsh-looking. The shade I bought, 04 Midnight Brown, is the perfect ashy dark brown; additionally, sometimes I get breakouts in my brow line, but I haven’t had that problem once since using this, so I’ve definitely found a winner! It’s got a little comb on the other end of the pencil which is a neat inclusion, but which I haven’t used once (lol).
Finally, the last product that has been getting a lot of love from me is the Make Up For Ever Aqua Matic ME-50 shadow pencil I’ve previously shown you. This is still getting some major love from me, as it just goes with everything – dramatic eyes, bold lips, natural looks – you name it! I am considering picking up another one of these in the D-12 Diamond Golden Grey shade, which swatches just as it sounds – a sparkling gunmetal grey with golden shimmer (!!!!).
That sums up my basic makeup wardrobe for summer – stay tuned for my next instalment, when we look at my favourite COLOURS of the season!
What basic makeup staples do you find yourself using on the regular during the warmer months?
Continuing with my drugstore makeup affair, a couple weeks ago, Revlon’s ColorBurst Matte Balms were on sale for I think about $6 at Shoppers Drug Mart. I had glanced at them before but ultimately decided against them, mostly because I’m a snob like that and not for any good reason. The packaging is fine (plain, but non-offensive to my frivolous heart), and the colour selection is good – and, from reviews it sounds like they’re a pretty decent product. But I have a hard time resisting a good sale when it comes to beauty products, and I’ve been spending considerably less on cosmetics than usual, so I figured what the heck.
I went big and came home with THREE SHADES!
I’m not usually one to buy in ‘bulk’ – I like to have a variety of brands and product types, and rarely buy more than one of anything (MAC products being probably one of the very few exceptions). But after swatching these, I decided to aim for a rounded view of them buy going with three varied shades – a nude (Complex), a bold coral orange (Audacious), and a bright fuchsia (Showy)!
The Matte Balms are a matte (duh) lip colour that has the slip of a balm, but the look of a semi-opaque lipstick. The brighter colours are more pigmented, while Complex (the nude) is a bit more transparent – which I think is a good thing, as an opaque nude can get just plain awful, FAST. While these feel very comfortable on the lips for a matte finish, they do tend to emphasize flakes and dryness if you don’t prep the lips carefully first. I apply a thick balm to the lips for at least 15 minutes before using these, as I almost always have some flakiness to deal with. Having said that, I quite like these (especially the two brighter shades) and I don’t mind the extra steps required in order to wear these well.
Here’s how they look worn:
Out of the three, Showy is the most unique to my lip ‘wardrobe,’ as I usually opt for deeper fuchsia shades. However, I am sort of in love with how this looks, as its slightly white base makes it really pop against my dark skin tone. These cool pinks just plain WORK (on me)! Audacious is somewhat similar to Tom Ford’s True Coral lipstick that I have, but it’s sheerer nature makes it a bit more wearable, and I’m digging how it looks kind of tropical! Finally, Complex is a nice enough nude – an OK tone for my skin, but a bit flat and dry-looking if I don’t blend it out a fair bit. I think it’ll look a bit better once I’m not quite as tanned – or perhaps with a touch of lipgloss on top (thus defeating the ‘matte’ idea, but that’s OK – whatever works!).
I was going to save this post and schedule it to come out later in the week, but I’m sort of excited to show you these swatches – 2 outta 3 ain’t bad, and they’re really perfect for summer! They’ve certainly helped me get my beauty ‘fix’ without breaking the bank (or even totalling altogether how much a department store lipstick would cost!), so I’m pleased about that. Liz @BeautyReductionista sounds like she’s also converted (she also has Audacious) so if that doesn’t compel you to at least check these out, well then…STOP RESISTING.
Have you tried any of the Revlon Matte Balms? Do you buy drugstore products, or stick to department store finds?
Lately I’ve been finding myself buying more drugstore makeup than usual – partly due to the fact that we’re saving like mad for our downpayment toward a new home (thus, pricey makeup is kind of a no-no), and partly due to the fact that there have been some good sales lately, and that’s the ONLY time I buy drugstore makeup (ironically, I can’t justify paying full price for a drugstore product, but don’t bat an eye at spending $40 on a department-store blush. Go figure).
On Saturday, while working at the Clinique counter in one of my local Shoppers Drug Marts, I spotted the Limited Edition summer 2014 collection from Maybelline. The last time I worked at the store, a few weeks earlier, I gave the serious eye to one of the Color Tattoos, #115 Shimmering Sea, as it has some major iridescent, duo chrome goodness that few of the makeup obsessed can ignore. This time, it was on sale for $5.99CAD and there was only one left – obviously, it was a no-brainer ;)
Though I’d seen beautiful swatches and read the glowing review of this shade on Maggie’s blog, I was unsure if this pale blue shade was going work on my darker skin tone – pale blue isn’t exactly a colour I wear well, but I was hoping the inclusion of beautiful golden shimmer would help make it work. When I applied it to my arm for a swatch, in dull light it looked like a plain light blue frost shadow – ick. But in sunlight – OH YEA, BABY. That’s when the magic happens!
I am truly enamoured by how this looks, both in the pot and in swatches – it’s so freakin’ gorgeous! I want a car this colour LOL!
Still, even though it was beautiful in swatches, how would it look once worn? I put it to the test this AM – and by test I REALLY mean test, as I put it on first thing in the AM because I could.not.wait., then took a shower with it on – while it faded, it was definitely still noticeable when I got out of the shower! (*Note that I didn’t wash my face so, obviously it would come off with soap lol). So we know the wear time is pretty decent. The second test was the shade…let’s see how it fared!
Though the iridescence isn’t as strong on the lid, it’s still present, and in person it’s more apparent than in these photos. Thankfully, the pale blue tones aren’t opaque and strong enough to clash with my darker skin tone, and it wears as an easy shimmery, summery shadow that just adds a bit of interest to the eye but isn’t garish. I’ve been favouring subtly shimmering shades lately, so this is another one to add to the roster!
Here’s a full-face shot that shows the effect better:
My hair looks really lopsided here – sorry guys! It’s so hot here today that my hair shrunk right up after the shower – it doesn’t get frizzy too much unless I play with it, but it sure does get even curlier! :S
Overall, I’m really pleased I picked this up (even though I’m pretty sure I just said less than a month ago that I need to stop buying eyeshadow). Though I do favour bold lips, sometimes a pretty eye look is just what I’m seeking, and I think this will work well throughout the year as a pretty one-and-done shade, or as a beautiful base. For $5.99, even if it sat in my drawer and never saw the light of day again, I wouldn’t feel too terribly!