Archive for category Brands
Last week I worked at Sephora for the Clinique kiosk for the first time EVER. Guys, let me tell you – that is one HARD FRIGGIN’ JOB, keeping your hands to yourself and trying to stick to your ‘station.’ DAMN! The first two shifts were pretty slow, so I had ample time to mosey around and check out the wares…but honestly, I don’t know how they get anything done! (and for the record, pretty much everyone was on the ball, 99.9% of the time. ALL BIZNESS, ALL THE TIME). Personally, there were so many fun things to look at that it was tough sticking to my ‘area,’ but I made it work.
One of the items that kept catching my eye was the new Make Up For Ever HD Blushes ($31cAD), which I believe replace their old HD *liquid* blushes? These are creams in a pot, whereas the older versions were a pump mechanism. Needless to say, these newer iterations are by far easier to use (though I wish the shade range was as exciting as the old…anyone ever check out #2 or #3, both bright hot pinks? YOWZAAAA). I think the idea is to showcase more natural-looking shades, that suit a variety of skin tones – for example, the 200 series is generally best suited for fair complexions; the 300 series for medium complexions, the 400 series for medium-dark complexions (like mine), and the 3 500 series shades are great for the darkest of skins. The exception is shade #410, a bright coral, which was created with all skin tones in mind. I guiltily admit however, that I don’t give one iota to all of this info, because….I just WANT THEM ALL.
The shade I was sent to try was #420, described as an ‘Indian Rosewood‘ shade. As I tend to lean toward more bright, obvious blush colours, I figured it was time to opt for a more natural tone that would meld with my skin without effort. #420 does just that.
It almost looks like a warm bronze-y tone once applied to my skin; the reddish-brown hue melds with my skin tone to produce a really wonderfully natural ‘glow.’ I was unsure when I opened the box that this was going to be *my kind of shade* but it’s so foolproof on my skin that I really have to argument against it. It just plain LOOKS GOOD. And application is a breeze – just use a stippling brush (my pick is MAC’s #130) to dab it on the cheeks and then blend out; honestly, it was one of the easiest cream products to use and I had zero issues in placement or blending – my kind of product! The finish is reminiscent of Chanel’s new cream blushes, except I actually find the MUFE version a little more dewy and a little bit less cream-to-powder finish, which I personally prefer. It retains a fresh quality that I really like, especially come springtime!
As you can see, it’s quite natural-looking on, and I admit that I kinda slapped this on haphazardly for these photos because sunlight is fleeting these days. I can already see the absolute necessity of buying several more of these – cream blushes are my new *thing* as I’m all over the natural, glowing skin look, and these are hard to beat. Radiant without being greasy or shiny, and a cinch to use. I’m a goner!
When it comes to blush, what is your preference: powder, or cream (or liquid)? Do you opt for natural tones or more in-your-face brights?
*Products were provided by the PR company/brand for my unbiased consideration.
The newest offering in their cheek tint franchise, Benefit’s Lollitint caught my eye right from the get-go. When Radiant Orchid was announced as Pantone’s Color of the Year, I hopped aboard that train without looking back, and the Lollitint just seemed like the ubiquitous product, perfect for my newest color scheme.
One caveat: I was SURE it wasn’t going to show up on my darker skin tone. Something about the milky cool pink hue just seemed completely out of my realm and better suited for the more fair-skinned among us. However, early in February, the girls behind the Beauty Envy Bag giveaways got together for a Google Chat, in which my girl Lola informed me that SHE had purchased Lollitint, and it showed up just fine on her gorgeous cocoa complexion. Um, SOLD. I snapped it up the next week And true to her word, it worked!
Lollitint is a beautiful orchid hue that gives the skin a pretty flush, perfect for transitioning from chilly winter days to cool, sunny spring ones! It looks somewhat similar on the skin as NARS Desire, but due to the liquid formulation I find it a bit more natural – if you apply it right. My first tries with this product were admittedly HUGE FAILS; dotting it on my cheeks directly with the brush and then blending it out with a duofiber brush (MAC’s #130 in this case) either looked non-existent, or gave me serious clown cheeks. Getting the right balance of product was extremely tough, and as it stains the skin quite quickly, a lot of blush would deposit on one main area of my cheek, looking HIGHLY unnatural. After a few days of this, I was frustrated but determined to persevere.
I finally found the best way to apply the product: I would brush a few swipes of colour across the actual brush head itself, and then quickly blend it in on the cheek in the area I wanted it. This allowed me to diffuse the product around before it had those extra seconds to set, and gave me a truly natural looking pink glow. I’m not generally a fan of fussy products, but in this instance I’ll make an exception, because the finished product is kinda awesome!
Yea, I’m a wee bit in love This has been my most-worn blush since picking it up last month, and I see no end in sight at the moment! Once it’s on the cheek, the wear time is unreal – hands down my longest wearing blush EVER. It does wash off fine at the end of the day though, it you were worried about long-term staining. I haven’t worn it on the lips yet however, and I suspect it would probably be 1) an awesome base for pink lippies, and 2) will leave you with a pink pout even after cleansing. I find that lip staining products tend to always be more tenacious.
My love for Radiant Orchid continues! I have purchased shades for lips, cheeks and nails…I’m pretty much set
Have you tried the Benefit Cheek and Lip Tints before? What are your tricks for applying quickly setting products?
It never fails: as soon as March hits, regardless of the fact that spring doesn’t actually start till the 20th of the month, I move headfirst into ~spring~ mode. Last night I switched over all my makeup to spring-like colours, and over are the days of dark & moody / icy & cool nail polish colors – bring on the pops of colour and pastels!
I went through my nail polish collection this week (which, despite my *efforts* is still increasing in size, rather than hovering around 100 which is my goal :S) and rounded up the shades that most say ‘SPRING!’ to me. Many of these shades are new acquisitions to my stash, so of course I’m totally enamoured with them. I think I’m quite covered when it comes to a good array of shades…though I may need a few more metallics, now that I think about it ~always enabling~ I only really own two – the perfect gold, and a striking silver. I wouldn’t mind throwing a nice rose-gold in the mix somewhere. Suggestions??
I’ve noticed a trend over the past couple years, and it’s that spring isn’t just for pastels anymore. Though I do love all the Easter egg shades that crop up this time of year, I’m enjoying seeing random pops of colour in the spring collections more and more.
Having said that, I am a sucker for any pale aqua or minty green shades that come my way. Last week at Winners I snagged butter London’s Poole for $12CAD; I had drooled over it last summer but felt that I had several shades similar. Turns out, indeed I do – but it’s different enough to justify owning it and I love it all the same
I also grabbed China Glaze’s Re-Fresh Mint at Winners at the same time (on for $5CAD). Green is NOT my polish colour of choice – unless it’s pale/pastel. I had bought butter London’s Bossy Boots last year for that reason, but I find it’s yellow-leanings don’t do my hands any favours. I’d hoped Re-Fresh Mint with it’s cooler tones might make up for that error….sadly, I dislike it even more than Bossy Boots! UGH this looks terrible on me – it’s like white-out with a drop of green food colouring mixed in (got St Paddy’s Day and green beer on my mind, I guess lol) and aside from it looking awful on my skin tone, the formula leaves much to be desired. Two thick, gloopy coats are required (actually, it’s the only option – thin coats are impossible as it streaks and balls up on itself in seconds) so if I’d actually wore this as a mani (I only put it on for this swatch) then dry time would be atrocious. NO THANK YOU
In the spirit of Radiant Orchid Madness 2014, I ordered Essie’s Splash of Grenadine from NPC last month, and guys – I cannot tell you HOW MUCH I LOVE THIS COLOR!!!!! I think it’s the prettiest nail polish colour I own, seriously. It required three thin coats to reach opacity, but the little bit of extra time is totally worth it!
My photos don’t capture the gloriousness, but trust: this polish is LOVELY.
You may have noticed that I failed to mentioned the beautiful bright pink polish to the far left, Dior Bloom. Fear not, my dear friends – THAT baby is going to have a separate post all to it’s own
What shades do you like to wear in spring? Are you more of a pastel girl, or do you prefer brights? Do you like / can you wear green nail polish? ~shudders~
Continuing my adventures in ULTIMATE LASH PLUMPING, I’ve been given an opportunity to try out the cult-product RapidLash® Eyelash & Eyebrow Enhancing Serum, a lash treatment clinically proven to help you achieve fuller-looking lashes in as little as 30 days!
Following the success of XLash, I was sad to see the end of the product earlier last month. Over the past month, my lashes have almost returned to their former state, though they are still a bit longer than they were previously. I was excited to get the chance to try and compare RapidLash’s formula, which I have heard about from several different sources. I’m eager to see how it compares to the XLash formula!
The RapidLash serum is a paraben-free, over-the-counter formula that features a breakthrough formula of six highly effective ingredients, including polypeptides, biotin, and panthenol. It is dermatologist and ophthalmologist tested.
As with the XLash product, application and use is easy-peasy. Brush the formula along the baseline of lashes (you can also apply it to the lower lash line) every night at bedtime, and away you go. Additionally, this formula can be used on the brows by applying directly to the brow line.
The RapidLash product is comparable in price to XLash, at $59.95CAD. Unlike XLash however, you can get this from Shopper Drug Mart, so it’s more accessible (though it’s also available at RapidLash.com for those without access to Shoppers!).
I will report back in a month on my progress and results – I have high hopes! Having thick, long, fluttering lashes is really becoming addictive, I gotta say!
*Product was provided by the PR company/brand for my unbiased consideration.
Though not necessary for everyone, I personally prefer to use a different cleanser for day vs night – opting for a gentle wash in the morning and something more targeted to makeup removal in the evening. For a while I was doing the double-cleanse at night, using whatever two cleansers were in my arsenal, but I’ve been able to stop that practice recently when I purchase Elizabeth Dehn for One Love Organics Active Moisture Vitamin B Enzyme Cleansing Oil, $39CAD (what a mouthful!!). It cleanses the skin so effectively that unless I’m wearing a full face of makeup (which is rare these days), I don’t require a second go-around. Anything that simplifies the ritual is a winner in my book!
Though I like the idea of using a cleansing balm or oil and wiping away the day with a soft cloth, I really LOVE the feeling of splashing my face clean at the end of the day – and going through so many face cloths was starting to drive me nuts. This cleanser does not require a cloth for removal (one of the few that offer that luxury); simply massage a pump or two of the medium-thick textured oil all over dry skin, splash a little water in there to emulsify, then rinse clean. DONE! The ease of use is what really sells me on this cleanser and all but ensures that I’ll be repurchasing once I run out.
You may recall that I sampled this back at the end of last year, and I wasn’t a fan of the smell - tropical with a heavy dose of pineapple in there (due to the papain and papaya enzymes). Though I’m still not in love with the scent, it fails to bother me at all now, and some days breathing in the tropics isn’t such a bad thing (Calgon, take me away!). The rest of the ingredients are somewhat plain but nonetheless effective: caprylic/capric triglyceride is just another name for fractionated coconut oil, which is coconut oil that is made more stable, more disinfecting, and has a bigger boost of antioxidants all while having a much longer shelf life than regular coconut oil; and sunflower see oil is an excellent anti-inflammatory and full of vitamin E.
Though I have heard some say that oil cleansing dries their skin out a bit, for my skin type (slightly oily) this formula is just perfect – it thoroughly cleanses yet leaves skin feeling comfortable, soft and smooth. An all-around staple for me, I must say! Sometimes it’s not just what’s IN a product that appeals to you, but how the product will be used and if it suits your purposes. The OLO Cleansing Oil is perfect for me, both efficient and effective – what more could a gal ask for?
What is your makeup removal process? Do you use a cleansing oil?
Finally wrapping up my NYC purchases…about damn time, eh? I had a really great day at home recently with actual sunshine, so I was able to get some final shots I needed. The last piece from my makeup-palooza is Giorgio Armani’s Rouge d’Armani in #606 ($32US), a soft rose shade.
The Rouge d’Armani lipsticks have been on my wish list for ages, but without trying them out in person I was unsure what shade I should go with. Though I’m typically drawn to bold, in-your-face lipsticks, I wanted to try and find a colour that wasn’t represented in my collection. After getting some help from a great SA at Saks, I ended up going with #606 because it seemed like the perfect MLBB shade with a little bit of ‘oomph.’ It’s more pink than my natural lip colour, and it contains subtle shimmer which enhances the way it looks on the lips. Note that the shimmer is not really noticeable when worn, and can only be felt very slightly so comfort is not compromised in this gorgeously creamy, semi-opaque lippie (which is san fragrance, hooray!).
As per my usual M.O., I took a look through my stash to see if I had any comparable shades. I was dismayed at first to find that in the bullet, #606 looked close to MAC’s Hug Me, a lipstick I had purchased only a month or so prior, and for the same reason – as a MLBB shade (oops…this is what happens when you buy to much makeup, kiddies!).
While in swatches, the two shades ARE similar, when worn they couldn’t be more different. The superior formula on the Rouge d’Armani is extremely evident, as not only is it more moisturizing and comfortable on the lip, but the wear time is better (3-4 hours vs less than 1 for the MAC). I’m tempted to give Hug Me away, but as I just bought it I want to get at least a little use out of it before completely writing it off. It is less pink, especially on the lip, so I’m sure it will have it’s uses.
Though #606 isn’t an exciting shade, its a great colour to have in one’s arsenal that works in a variety of makeup looks. When spending the big bucks on a makeup item, I try to stick to classics that I know will get a ton of use, rather than go for a fad shade. Though I feel like I have far too many red lipsticks which I don’t wear nearly as much as I’d like, I wouldn’t mind picking up another of these in a red – the creaminess factor combined with the bold quality of the shade had ABSOLUTE PERFECTION written all over it!
Oh yea. And that satisfying magnetic ‘click’ that you get when you put the top of the lipstick back on??? SEXIEST THING EVER.
Have you tried the Rouge d’Armani formula? Are you a sucker for glorious packaging like I am???
You can’t enter into the ‘green’ beauty atmosphere without hearing about Kahina Giving Beauty. A fairly-traded line of ‘organic’ skin care that centres around argan oil (a skin-restoring powerhouse), not only does the brand offer beautifully made products, but also donates 25% of it’s profits to support programs that improve the lives of Berber women, an indigenous group native to North Africa west of the Nile Valley. As I’ve dove head first into ‘clean’ skincare, the cost of such beauty can be quite steep; knowing that part of my hard-earned (?) cash is going toward a good cause makes the price a little bit easier to swallow.
I started my foray into the Kahina brand with the Toning Mist ($46CAD…but right now on sale at Clementine Fields for $36.99CAD!!!!), a bioactive mist that is supposed to ‘boost hydration, balance pH, calm redness, and aid in the absorption of oil-based treatments.’ It contains willow bark, which is like a natural salicylic acid to tone, so it’s ideal for my slightly oily skin. It also has alfalfa, said to act as a natural retinol, sodium hyaluronate to hydrate and plump the skin, and green tea and argan leaf to provide antioxidant protection. Though I wasn’t a fan of the way the spray misted (not a fine spray but a little bit…chunky, or something?), nor the size of the bottle compared to the price (it’s only 1.67oz), I really liked this mist – it didn’t irritate my skin, it was very lightly hydrating, and it did seem to gently tone my skin by reducing shine slightly and minimizing pores. I wouldn’t repurchase due to the price/size issue, especially as it only lasted about a month an a half, but if you’ve got the funds for it, it’s a lovely product!
I actually bought the Kahina Facial Cleanser ($56CAD) well after I bought the Toning Mist – the usage of each may have overlapped by mere days (oops), so I can’t comment on how well they work together. Nevertheless, from the get-go I was very impressed with the cleanser even on it’s own. Based on aloe and argan oil, this milky cleanser gently exfoliates with papaya enzymes and calms the skin via bisabolol (derived from German chamomile) and blue tansy flower oil. I use this every morning to gently cleanse my skin and prepare for the day – it creates a soft, smooth canvas for makeup and cushions my skin which is especially crucial in these bitter winter months! It doesn’t strip my skin of it’s natural oils, but also doesn’t leave a film which could cause my skin to get oily. The description states that it is scented with a neroli note; I find the scent very soft and non-offensive to my nose.
One conflicting piece of information I found about using this cleanser is regarding makeup removal. On the Kahina website it says it removes most eye makeup (light to moderate), and on Clementine Fields the description notes that its safe to use around the eye, but on my box it specifically says to avoid the eye area. WTF? Take that as you will….I’ve been using it on my eye area for the last month with no issues, but I might stop doing that moving forward, just to be safe.
For your reference, here are the ingredient lists!
If these two products are any indication, Kahina isn’t just a ‘pretty face’ (those violet-glass bottles…ugh, I DIE) but backs up their reputation with great products that actually work. While the prices are high, as mentioned before if you can fit them into your budget, they’re worth a try! The cleanser at least should last me about 6 months so it doesn’t hurt my heart quite as much
Have you tried Kahina Giving Beauty yet? When it comes to skincare, where do you splurge and where do you save?
Last year, I was on the hunt for a neutral, natural-looking blush to add to my collection of bright pinks and corals. Though I do love more intense, happy cheek shades as a general rule, there is a time and place in which a more subdued blush is favoured (and who am I kidding – if I can justify buying ONE MORE BLUSH for whatever reason, I’m gonna take it!). On my radar was either MAC’s Blushbaby or Becca’s Mineral Blush in Sweet Pea ($32US). When I was in NYC, I picked up the latter as it’s much more difficult for me to come by here on the East Coast.
Described as a ‘rosy plum nude,’ I find Sweet Pea to be more on the rose-nude side with very little plum, which is OK with me! It’s a lovely neutral with a bit of kick so as to not look ‘blah,’ which can happen when you’re trying to steer clear of “colour” per se.
Looking at this in swatches, you may think that this would be too close to my skin tone to really do much of anything when worn. That was my concern before I had an opportunity to swatch it in-store. It’s true, it’s unlikely to show up much once I am in the throes of a summer tan, but for the other 8 months of the year, this works perfectly to add a subtle yet pretty warmth to my skin. The ‘micro-fine minerals’ of which you can see just a touch in the swatch above, are said to give a soft glow to the skin, and I would say that’s pretty accurate! These types of blush formulas are my favourite – more of a satin finish than plain matte, that really bring life to the skin in a natural way without being too matte-powdery or disco-ball shimmery.
When I got home from NYC, as usual I rummaged through my stash to see if I had any similar shades already (I really do dislike replication!). Another reason I had held out on buying Sweet Pea previously is that I thought it too close to Milani’s Sunset Beach bronzer/blush duo I have. Too late I also remembered Burberry’s Russet blush, which is another warm neutral and could possibly be close in tone. Thankfully, in both cases the shades do not have the same effect (in swatches and on the skin).
As you can see, Russet is much warmer and more orange (which is actually why I don’t wear it much), and Sunset Beach is more brown (as it is primarily a bronzer). Though the swatches aren’t terribly varied, the differences do show up considerably when worn. So, happily for me, no dupes!
As my skin tends to be finicky, one of the biggest culprits to skin irritation via makeup is blush – so many contain ingredients like fragrance (WHYYYYY??), or lanolin which my skin can’t tolerate. Parabens and talc are also cause for concern for some – delightfully, Becca’s Mineral Blush contains none of these ingredients. On top of that good news, the formula contains Vitamins A, C, and E to nourish and condition the skin. What’s not to like?
Though I haven’t tried too much from the brand (YET), from what I know and have read, it seems that Becca consistently knocks it out of the park with their beautiful (and beautiful-making) products again and again. Their aesthetic centres around natural gorgeousness, and as of late that is exactly the image I strive to achieve on the regular. All I know is – I GOTTA GET MY HANDS ON SOME MORE OF THIS STUFF!!!!!
Have you tried Becca cosmetics? What is your favourite neutral blush?
Continuing on my ‘green’ beauty quest to try ALL THE BRANDS, last month I finally caved to the luxury that is May Lindstrom. I have been resisting the brand for a while because the prices really hit the upper limit of my crazy – I mean, $165 for a balm!?!? ~wallet runs screaming~ However, when Clementine Fields had a discount going, I gave in and picked up The Clean Dirt ($62CAD), the “cheapest” product from the brand.
Described as ‘an energizing blend of cleansing clays, warming spices and healing salts,’ this powder formula activates once water is added to exfoliate the skin, smoothing and refining it’s appearance. The inclusion of Vitamin C brightens and rejuvenates skin, increasing radiance. The magic formula also contains marshmallow root (soothing and healing), calendula flower (healing and helps decrease dermatitis), and turmeric (thought to treat acne and eczema, and to be anti-aging). You can see why my interest was piqued!
After reading multiple reviews online, I was concerned that I would find this too intense for my touchy skin, as the spices sounded quite – spicy, for lack of a better word. However, I’ve been pleased to find that though this does tingle quite a bit, and makes my face red for several minutes after use, I’ve had absolutely no irritation from it and my eczema hasn’t flared up at all, even if I use it up to 3 times a week (I suspect the turmeric and calendula have something to do with this). Somehow the mixture – which is supposed to turn into a ‘mousse-like’ consistency once water is added but I find it’s just more of a gritty scrub – leaves my skin feeling cushioned and comfortable, and not dry, tight, nor irritated like I imagined it might. The result is skin as smooth as a baby’s bottom!
Though the powder contains cacao and vanilla bean, to me it mostly smells of spices with a hint to cocoa. Overall, I’m quite pleased with this – I didn’t have a manual scrub so this fit the bill perfectly! Though $62 is a lot (A LOT) to spend, I’m satisfied at least to know that you only need a small amount each time you use it, and this is a fairly large bottle (6.76oz) that should last quite a while even with regular use. Though it’s been a positive experience, I’m still not convinced by May’s high prices to try anything else from the line. I had a sample of the new Honey Mud which was lovely, but not $82CAD mind-blowing. I appreciate that part of her ethos is to allow us to relish in our self-care rituals in a most luxurious way…but I believe that can still be done at a lower price point.
Have you/will you shell out the big bucks for May’s products? What is the most you’ve ever spent on a skincare item?
I’m not sure if I’ve ever stated it publicly, but probably my favourite and most-worn eye makeup look is the cat-eye flick – an easy-peasy swoop of cream/gel/liquid liner and I’m set for any occasion, day or night. I tend to favour these kinds of eyeliner over all else, and when I received Rouge Bunny Rouge’s Nocturnal Ink Satin Eyeliner (~$31CAD) to try back in December, I was delighted. An easy-to-use liquid liner from a beautifully ethereal and magical line? Color me excited.
The Nocturnal Ink eyeliners, released in November, have a satin finish and come in three colours – Dark Bay, a deep ebony brown; Blue Roan, a midnight petrol blue; and Friesian, a smooth black – which is the shade I received. The liner is supposed to be quick-drying and transferproof, with a water-resistant formula which prevents smearing or smudging. Though I haven’t had the opportunity to test the liner in more humid weather yet, I find it wears all day without budging on my smudge-prone lash line.
My favourite aspect of the liner is the slim, flexible tip, which allows for ultra-fine lines and is exceptionally easy to wield. One downfall to wearing gel/cream liners is that I can’t draw tight lines against my lashes when I so desire; with this liner, I can get as precise or as dramatic as I want. It’s both dermatologically and ophthalmologically approved, and super-comfortable to wear. I find it not irritating in the least to my eyes, which may sound unsurprising to some, but there are certain liquid liners which give my eyelids a bit of grief.
My only gripe with the application process is that the depth of pigment isn’t as strong as I’d like, and I have to go over the line a few times to get more impact. The black shade of the liner is more of a charcoal, and it seems to have almost a slight blueish cast to it. As the liner does dry quite quickly, it can sometimes ‘pick up’ the original line, and I find myself going over it again in order to lay down new colour. Having said that, it doesn’t add much extra time to the process, and I do enjoy the liner immensely for softer or more casual looks.
You can see how soft the effect is in the photos above. I normally am all about full pigment, but I kind of like how it looks, especially in winter out in the snow
At 0.034 fl oz, this liner contains about twice the amount of Stila’s liquid liners (0.016oz) and NARS’ (0.02oz), but is considerably less than Urban Decay and Make Up For Ever’s (both 0.058oz) – so, decently sized but not exceptionally priced. Nonetheless, I find myself liking this liner enough that I’ve added the other two shades to my wish list; the comfy formula and fantastic applicator make this a complete winner in my book!
What type of liner do you prefer – pencil, liquid, or cream/gel? How do you wear your liner most frequently?
*Product was provided by the PR company/brand for my unbiased consideration.