Archive for category Brands
I love the holidays – the sparkling lights, the crackling fires, the joyful get-togethers….oh wait, right, this is the HOLIDAYS we’re talking about! You know, that time when most people are stressed out from too much shopping, not enough money, and too much family – so maybe those get-togethers aren’t all joyful, right? I don’t put too much emphasis on gifts, both giving and receiving, and I LOVE getting together with my family pretty much all the time, so I bypass most of the anxiety-inducing factors, but like most (ALL? don’t lie!) of us, I still endure my fair share of family drama every year. It typically goes the same way each time so I guess being prepared for it helps :P In any case, for those of you who deal with any type of drama during the holidays, I say – DO IT FABULOUSLY, really ramp it up! If it’s going to get crazy, at least you can look the part, and no better way to do that than with Make Up For Ever’s new Lash Show Instant Drama False Lashes ($22CAD).
There are 4 different styles of lashes depending on your mood (and level of drama required) – natural volume, dramatic volume, winged and artistic – a total of 50 handmade, 100% synthetic fiber lash types for each and every occasion. Each pair comes with a latex-free adhesive – that’s safe for sensitive eyes – with an eyeliner tip that makes applying the glue to the lash band a snap (versus those tubes of glue that you just run along the lash band and pray it doesn’t glob everywhere!). I received pairs N-205 (natural volume) and C-706 (winged) to try – as someone who used to wear false lashes every time she went out (which was a lot back in University!) I was eager to have some fun and play.
My lash game not being what it used to be, I expected it to take me a bit of effort to get the lashes on properly. With the natural volume N-205 pair, I had minimal trouble applying them to my lash line – after a small adjustment on the first eye, the second lash went on without a hitch. I ADORE the look of these lashes – they’re incredibly natural looking but make my lashes look A-MAZE-BALLS. You could easily wear these during the day and no one would be the wiser, really – the lash band is super-thin, which is usually the giveaway that someone is wearing falsies – and the hairs progress from shorter at the outer edges to longer in the middle, giving you a great wide-eyed look but still in a subtle way.
Check out my Instagram pic below to see them in action:
The second pair, C-706, are decidedly more dramatic – a full, thick fringe of lashes that lengthen gradually as you near the outer edge for an intensely fierce look. There are brown lash ‘hairs’ interspersed with the black which gives them a particularly lush look while still being softer and less harsh than if they were all black. Though I tried them several times on separate occasions, I could not get them to sit tightly on my lash line – the band is much thicker to accommodate for the density of the lashes and therefore does not curve nicely along the eye. The edges kept losing adhesion at the inner corners and this tired old mama just doesn’t have patience (or time!) for that! But for an experienced lash wearer, I think these would look fabulous – even applied inaccurately, my eyes looked amazingly feline and sexy.
Though I haven’t been wearing much makeup these past months, and I’m well out of practice in wearing fake lashes, these are kind of getting me in the mood to wear them more often! Especially for the holidays – bring on the drama!
Sometimes I just can’t come up with a snappy title, my apologies ~bor-ing!~
I’ve been sitting on this review for too long, for no good reason other than I wanted to get full face shots and kept forgetting to take them, or just not wearing foundation half the time. I finally got my butt in gear and took a few this week – the weather (and so, the lighting) has been gorgeous this fall! We (meaning Ryan) even got a bit of yard work done yesterday because it was so beautiful outside.
Make Up For Ever’s newest foundation, the Ultra HD Invisible Cover Foundation ($50CAD), is a step-up from their original HD foundation in that it looks flawless and undetectable even under a 4k lense, which apparently is the highest definition on camera these days [blah blah technical jargon blah]. Essentially what that means to me is that if you can’t see it under a super-microscopic lense, you probably can’t see it in person either. SWEET. As someone who definitely favours the no-makeup makeup look (at least where skin is concerned), this PLEASES ME GREATLY.
I wasn’t actually a huge fan of the original HD foundation – I found that I *could* detect it on my skin and it felt a bit heavier than I prefer. The Ultra HD foundation however, is so totally up my alley – it’s insanely lightweight, blends seamlessly into my skin, and covers beautifully with only the smallest amount (no more than a pea-size for the entire face, if that!). The stick version (also $50CAD) works similarly in that it blends in easily – and is made even more efficient as you can just swipe it on, blend and and I’m ready to go. Both are buildable to a medium-full coverage if desired. Many have noted that the stick is better suited to drier skins, and I did find in the summer it was a bit too hydrating for my normal-oily skin (my t-zone got quite shiny). But in this cooler weather I’m actually having no issues with it, especially after lightly powdering around my nose and the centre of my forehead, and I prefer the ease of use of the stick for day to day – I can just spot conceal, blend and go!
As usual, MUFE has a HUGE shade range to choose from, and if you used the original HD foundation you can find your match that route – for example, I was 153 in the original HD which corresponds to Y405 Golden Honey in the Ultra HD. I’ve still got a hint of a tan from the summer so this shade is a hair too light but if I blend well and don’t use it all over I can get away with it no problem. Interestingly, Y415 Almond, the other shade I have, is similar in ‘darkness’ but it’s more cool-toned as you can see in swatches above. It matched my skin better when I was more tan in the summertime.
Overall I’m really happy with these foundations, I adore the finish more than any other foundation I’ve tried (really!). The only caveat is that it does contain fragrance – and while sometimes fragrance in products doesn’t cause any issues for me when used in small amounts as it is here (I don’t even notice a smell), I have found that this irritates the skin around my mouth significantly if I apply it there. I have periodontal dermatitis off and on so I have to be very careful what I use in that area as it is – so that’s kind of a bummer, but not a deal breaker as it looks so good and wears so well everywhere else.
Have you tried the new Ultra HD foundation? What are your thoughts?
So predictable. After all that hauling I did in spring as evidenced in my purchase posts (see Parts I, II, III, IV, and V), of course I started to feel like I need to do a little purging to balance things out. I’ve been on a slow purge of products for quite a while now, and I set myself back a little by going a bit crazy after Elena was born. Thankfully I got a handle on it fairly quickly before I did too much damage! If you follow me on Instagram, you’d have seen several rounds of decluttering which helped restore the balance – however, there are still products that are ‘weighing me down’ so to speak, but I feel a compulsion to finish these rather than give or throw them away.
I’m going to go into more detail regarding my decluttering/streamlining journey in a future post, but I wanted to get the ball rolling on this new series now (as I actually began the post idea back in the summer, oops). Every season I’m going to choose 5 products to dedicate time to using up – these are products that are either near completion / well on their way to becoming so, or have been in my collection for awhile and are probably coming very close to be being unusable (either from being dried up or well past expiry, etc.).
This month, I’m expanding on a few products I’ve been diligently working at using, as well as adding in a few seasonally appropriate shades that need to get more love before I send them to makeup heaven.
Too Faced Sun Bunny Natural Bronzer – DUUUUUUDES, I’ve been working on this one since Elena was born, especially since the end of spring, and I just wanna hit pan already!!! Gah. At least, it’s kind of a great bronzer – maybe just a touch warmer than I’d like (things easily go orange on my skin though), but it gives an amazing bronzed glow to the skin that is truly a glow, not shimmer. It hasn’t been a real hardship wearing this every day, by any means.
Urban Decay Eyeshadow in Suspect (depotted) – When I first bought the UD Book of Shadows III palette way back when, this shade got major love – but after a while I forgot about it (all the new shiny pretty things!), which is a shame because it’s a great subtle taupe shadow on me, and taupes and I don’t always get along. I’ve been wearing this a lot lately and I’m having a renewed love for this pretty, wearable shade!
Clinique Airbrushed Concealer in 03 Medium – I got this in a gratis order ages and ages ago, and I do use this with some frequency, but its like the never-ending product! I like it a lot for minimal makeup days for a quick hit of brightening and concealing under the eye, so I’m not rushing to finish it too badly, but I am keen to try Urban Decay’s Naked concealer and I really need to use a few up before I can justify that purchase. SO…yea, I guess I do kind of want to finish this soon.
MAC Mattene Lipstick in Bing – OMG I feel like I keep throwing this shade out there every fall and talking about how I’m going to WERK IT, and then I don’t and here it is STILL in my makeup collection since I bought it in like…2008, or something? GAH. This year I at least am making the right moves toward using this and bought a dark lipliner to wear with it so that it looks better on me (hopefully). Let me make a grand statement now though that if I don’t wear this at all THIS year, it’s absolutely GOTTA GO.
Bobbi Brown Long Wear Cream Shadow in Sandy Gold – I really like to use this cream shadow as a base or even on it’s own, as it’s nicely brightening to the eye area, but I forget to use it a lot…and then unfortunately I started to see that it’s drying up on me! You can see it a bit in the picture below, how it’s pulling away from the sides…ugh. So that means I have to start getting my money’s worth with this, I definitely haven’t used it enough to feel I have yet!
Are there any products you’ve been trying to finish lately?
[This post features press samples]
I’ve been feeling majorly bogged down by outstanding posts I need to write so I’m putting my butt in gear to get them all out in the next week. Most of these are PR samples I’ve received, so I feel particularly guilty that I haven’t posted on them yet; though I feel no compulsion to write GOOD reviews, I do feel a responsibility to WRITE a review when I receive products for ‘free,’ at least as much as possible. I don’t have to, but I just think that it’s good practice to do so.
So, today I bring you OPI’s Infinite Shine Soft Shades spring release, which I received back in July (which is after spring as it is, so I don’t feel TOO bad). I’m not going to write too much about these, as if you were interested in them in the first place you probably bought them already! – but they’re still available for purchase, and neutral shades like these are season-less, really, so just in case you missed them, here they are!
Non-Stop White. For a white polish, this is actually pretty good – after three thin coats your good to go, with not too much hassle, and the shine is high. I wore this as a full mani and surprisingly liked it a lot – I was never keen on stark white on me but this one somehow worked. It’s almost exactly the same as Essie Blanc though, color-wise and also application (though the brushes are different, so you may prefer one over the other), so if you have that one you can skip this.
Beyond the Pale Pink. I thought I’d really like this after falling for the pale tones in the OPI Infinite Shine summer collection, but for some reason I didn’t feel the same way about this. Still a pretty shade, but maybe too close to white to make it stand out? It also was a tad streaky even after several coats.
Pearl of Wisdom. Nope, not a fan of this one – streak city, even after 3 coats. I really hoped this would be great, I’m forever looking for a good shimmering white shade, but this like all the others I’ve tried fell flat for me. It’s very similar to China Glaze Dandy Lyin’ Around (including it’s streakiness) except it’s slightly cooler.
Eternally Turquoise. Very pretty aqua shade that is perfect for late summer on tanned skin. The formula however was just OK – can you see how it weirdly showed a ridge in my big toe? This was 3 coats and more effort than I felt was necessary for a shade like this.
I paired Pearl of Wisdom with Eternally Turquoise – ET stayed on my toes for a week+, but I took Pearl of Wisdom off the next day. Conor-wise a nice, ethereal combo though!
The Beige of Reason. This was a better sheer than most other sheers I’ve tried lately – not too streaky at all – but it didn’t do anything shade-wise for my hands IMO. See the small chip in the top of the bottle? I have another Infinite Shine shade that has a chip in the neck of it’s bottle – are they made of weird glass or something? Bizarre.
Go to Grayt Lengths. I knew I wasn’t going to be down with this shade, silver not being easy for me to wear, and this one is quite cool leaning (especially in the first photo). It’s also sort of a creme-shimmer hybrid somehow; it actually looks better in these swatches than I felt it did in person. Formula was good though, and it has a lot of natural shine.
You can probably tell, I wasn’t super wowed by this collection – I thought the color story was very appealing, but most of them fell flat for me for one reason or another. Probably another reason why I took so long to post about them! I do appreciate that these weren’t just a collection of stock-standard nudes (especially throwing in the pale aqua shade), but on the whole I actually prefer the regular formula of OPI to the Infinite Shine – I have better application with the original formula, strangely enough, and I don’t find that these wear loads longer either.
I have the fall Venice collection to show you guys in the next couple weeks (I hope) and so far I’m impressed, so don’t lose hope for OPI yet!
[This post contains press samples] Ever since I tried Lina Hanson’s delectable Global Body Oil, I’ve been quietly lusting after heavenly-scented oil mixes for the body. Though I deem them more a luxury than a necessity when it comes to skincare (due to their price…and if you apply these as you would any other body product, they can disappear quickly!), I’ve come to have a small yet satisfying array of body oils that I use when the mood is right (date night, an evening pamper session, to boost my mood after a long day, just because I CAN). The most recent addition to my collection is organic wunderbrand Kypris’ newest product, Body Elixir: Inflorescence ($95US).
Kypris is a relatively new brand (created by Chase Polan in 2012) that offers holistic, high performance skincare that is both organic and wild-crafted. Believing sustainability is both an environmental and social imperative, the line uses sustainably grown botanicals and all formulations are 100% natural and nature-derived. Though I don’t believe ‘all “chemicals” are bad‘ and I do use a few non-organic skincare products, if I’m going to go ‘green,’ I want my brand to be up front and transparent about just how eco-concious they are, so I appreciate Kypris’ philosophy. In a previous post I wrote a brief review on the brand’s Moonlight Catalyst serum, which is absolutely lovely. Expectations high, I was eager to try out the body elixir.
Thoughtfully created, Inflorescence is not just your basic body oil; containing moringa, tamanu, sunflower and prickly pear oils, it soothes and protects dry skin while also touting antioxidant, anti-inflammatory and anti-aging properties. Tamanu oil in particular has been noted to be effective at treating eczema, so you know I’m on board! Not only does this elixir contain a host of nourishing oils, it also contains sweet iris leaf stem cells and vitamin C ester, included for their ability to target and repair the visible effects of sun and environmental damage and encourage the production of collagen.
Ok, so basically we have a superstar body product on our hands, yes? But there’s something we haven’t yet discussed: the scent. I’m all about amazing ingredients, but no matter how good the formulation, I won’t bother using something that doesn’t please my delicate nose (re: woefully uncultured nose, but I like what I like!). May Lindstrom’s The Good Stuff might be a gorgeously crafted body oil, but MAN I am not down with that obnoxiously cocoa scent. Nope, not for me. And I’ll admit, when I saw that Inflorescence boasts organic neroli flower and sweet orange essential oils, used for their uplifting and energizing qualities (not to mention their lack of photo-toxicity nor evidence of irritation), I was pretty leery – some iterations of orange blossom does NOT float my boat, as it can shift into floral overload quite quickly. However, I was pleasantly surprised to find that Inflorescence does not offend my olfactory palette; the scent is light, soft, and a touch romantic, and it brings out the better qualities of orange blossom (and neroli…coincidentally, one of my long-standing fragrance lemmings has been Prada’s Infusion d’Iris, it’s top notes being both neroli and orange blossom!…and now it’s definitely time to buy that fragrance already ;)). Oh, and if you’re curious – the zero irritation bit so far has rang true for me and my touchy skin, hurrah!
The cherry on top of this wonderfully created cake is that this oil is so, so light – though it hydrates my skin beautifully, it’s not greasy in the least, making it perfect for rushed mornings or pre-bed routines where you don’t want to feel sticky once you slip under the sheets. It’s easily the lightest oil I’ve tried, and a little goes a long way (which you appreciate when spending this amount on a product!).
I’m sure you’re unsurprised to hear that Inflorescence’ pretty, lace-adorned green bottle has joined the ranks of my small (yet fabulous) body oil collection. It was kind of a no-brainer! With a second homerun product for me, you can bet your ass I’ll be trying more products from the brand (I’ve got my eye on the Beauty Elixir III and the Antioxidant Dew next).
Check out the whole line at www.kyprisbeauty.com.
Wow, some days I’m just so amazed at how out of touch you become when you’re a new mom (or maybe this doesn’t go away…? O_o). I thought for SURE I’d already posted about this palette, but NOPE. My bad, guys. Soooo…I should probably do that now, eh? Considering these palettes ($56CAD) appear to be no longer available online at Sephora. Oops. The good news: The shades in both this palette and the other palette promoted for the “Be Bold. Be Unexpected. Be You.” campaign are not limited edition and are available for individual purchase. So, not all is lost!
Since I’m way late to this party, I’m not going to go into great detail about the campaign since a) it wrapped up August 26th, and b) I’m sure you’ve read/heard all about it already*. But the eyeshadow shades themselves deserve a mention because they’re rather lovely!
*If you somehow missed the hubbub surrounding this campaign, it’s intention was to promote individuality and authenticity, celebrate the freedom of self-expression and encourage us all to redefine what beauty truly means. The faces of the campaign – Jamie Chung, an actress and fashion blogger; and transgender fashion model Andreja Pejić – both curated a palette of four eyeshadows that they would use to create their signature look. Hollywood makeup artist Mélanie Inglessis – who is also Make Up For Ever’s Pro Consulting Artist – created four unique looks each for Chung & Pejić, from the wearable to the avant-garde, to bring the brand’s transformative nature to life and inspire everyone to express who they are.
I chose the Jamie Chung palette because I felt like it had shades that weren’t strongly represented in my existing collection (though after seeing Tracy’s post I feel a bit of regret, as those shades look MAGNIFICENT). They’re more neutral-to-cool in tone, and they have a really chic, sophisticated vibe:
Each of the four shadows (which are full size, BTW) are smooth and super creamy-feeling (due to their gel-powder formula), and the color payoff is excellent. The palest shade, M532, packs a lot of pigment, so it looks a bit garish against my darker skin, but the formula is top-notch. S642 is kind of a nude tone on my skin, but due to it’s satin finish it’s eye brightening on me in a subtle kind of way. I own maybe only one other gunmetal shade, so ME108 was a welcome edition to my collection – I feel like it will make for a great cool weather smoky eye (and greyish tones make my brown eyes pop).
Finally, I had a hunch that D320 was going to be the spitting image of another MUFE shadow I own, I628 Reptile from the Fifty Shades of Grey palette, and I wasn’t far off. D320 is more shimmery (given that it’s has a Diamond finish vs I628’s Iridescent finish), and warmer, but for all intents and purposes they’re quite similar.
Below, I’m wearing just S642 Sahara on my eyes just past the crease. Buuuut you guys probably can’t really see it haha, so these pics aren’t terribly useful, except to point out how closely it matches my skintone. I’m quite happy with that actually, I don’t have anything like it and all too often ‘skintone’ shades others use for a base color are far too light on me, so this is great. It’s also an awesome no makeup-makeup product, eh??
In these next shots, I’m wearing S642 as my base, and then I used an eyeliner brush to sweep a thick line of ME108 Steel across my upper lash line, which I buffed out a bit to diffuse the color. I used another MUFE shadow on my lower lash line, ME612 Silver Brown, just for contrast. It’s a pretty subtle look but I liked the effect and LOVED that it took me all of 2 minutes to do.
So far, every single MUFE shadow that’s crossed my path has been crazy wearable with a gorgeous texture that almost looks like a second skin when applied (like you naturally woke up with shimmering grey lids…oh YEA, baby), and these are no exception. I plan on trying out several different looks with these shades when the weather cools, as I feel like the color combination is better suited for fall/winter than summer (though S642 will be a go-to for me all year round!). Just one more reason to look forward to fall (sorry guys…I know you love your summer & sunshine, but bring on the season change!)!
Summa, summa, summa’time! How’s everyone’s summer going? It’s been kind of great for me, we had awesome weather for most of June, July was not bad – we had a long stretch of rain for a couple weeks which sucked (especially with a little one who loves the outdoors and needs constant stimulation!), and now August has been pretty grand, though it’s been hella hot here the past week. Today I took Elena on the ferry which was a nice way to enjoy the sun and keep cool…she seemed to dig it ;) I try and do water-related things with her most days as she was a fish in another life I swear! I *just* signed us up for parent & tot swimming lessons starting in September – should be fun!
Today I have half of the OPI Infinite Shine summer collection – honestly, I feel like all I do lately is swatch nail polish, which is my own fault as I have to request the samples when they’re available… Anyway, I quite liked a lot of these shades so I ended up wearing them for a few days each, instead of swatching them all at once, which means I’ve only gotten through the first handful (I also have the Infinite Shine 2015 Soft Shades to show you, of which I’m 2/3rd’s through – so I’ve actually done about 10 swatches total). I should probably quit wasting time and get to it, eh? All swatches are without top coat, FYI.
Lavendurable is a super-pretty pale lilac creme that looks awesome with a tan. I’m actually a fan of wearing pastels at the height of summer, and wearing brights more toward the tail-end of spring/beginning of summer when I need to fake the illusion of sunkissed skin (yes, I know I’m always brown lol…but sometimes I’m a watered down milk chocolate and I need a little oomph, OK?). The tricky thing with pastels is that the white base can be streaky if you’re not careful in your application – I had to use a steady, quick hand and apply 3 medium-thick coats as it tended to get patchy otherwise. I don’t mind if a polish is finnicky though if it’s this lovely!
You couldn’t see the differences in the first shot so I took a second at a different angle…you can see that Zoya Marley is a bit deeper in tone. Marley is a much-loved polish, but I think Lavendurable has it beat – I really love the way it’s both pale and bright! A bit less demure than Marley, shall we say.
Patience Pays Off is another great pale shade, this time in a sort of soft pinky-clay hue that again looks awesome with a tan. As with Lavendurable, it required 3 quick coats but the finished product was totally worth it.
I didn’t have a comparable shade to Patience – everything else was too beige or too light to be considered a contender.
You’re Blushing Again is a bit deeper in tone, but this creamy pale peachy-pink is another stunner in my opinion. I think it’s really feminine and looks great with my skintone. Yet again, it required 3 coats to avoid patchiness, and yet again I don’t care! It has pretty great shine on it’s own too, eh?
The only remotely similar hue I could find was Essie Muchi Muchi, and it’s not even close. This is a really unique shade as it’s not peach and its not pink – I’m loving it!
Follow Your Bliss is kind of a pepto-pink shade that isn’t normally something I gravitate toward, yet I love the look of it in this swatch. It’s very girly, eh? This is 2 coats, but its still got a fair bit of white in it so I had to be careful when applying and I used thicker coats to avoid streaks/patchiness. The shine on this one was really something!
This shade also didn’t have an equal in my stash, though Suzi Shops is close, just several shades lighter. I though Oh Slap! would be very similar but it’s not so vividly pink – I prefer the latter, as it’s more wearable, but man, every time I look at the swatch above I waver – it’s so fabulously in-your-face-PINK!
The Sun Never Sets is an orange cream-sicle kind of shade…the shine was killer on this one (it seems to be a bit of a jelly/creme hybrid?), but these yellow-based oranges clash hard with my skintone. The first coat was very patchy, but it leveled out well with a thicker second coat.
This one was tricky to show shade differences – Is Mai Tai Crooked? looks quite similar in the first shot, but in the second you can see it’s even more yellow-toned and a hair lighter. Resort Fling is much more peach in comparison (and hence why I like it a lot more…has less yellow and more pink).
I swatched Purpletual Emotion on my right hand because I NEVER use my right hand for swatches and I just felt like it for once (plus, it meant I could do two swatches in quick succession lol). My right middle nail isn’t as nice as it is on my left hand (since I’m a righty), but my nails were super-long for these swatches so you can’t tell as much. This shade is a creme/jelly hybrid that was a cinch to apply – two easy flowing coats – and has shine for days! I’m not generally a fan of bold purple polishes, but the shine on this one and the intensity is kind of getting to me….I might have to keep this one!
I thought for SURE that this shade was super-similar to Dutch’ya Love OPI?, but it’s not in the least! The latter is way darker (and that’s not even taking into account the shimmer). The other 3 shades are also nowhere near in tone – they’re all much cooler. Every single one of these purples I’ve passed along, but I might actually hang on to Purpletual…as long as I never have to say the name again (tongue-twister!).
I was pleasantly surprised with this half of the summer collection, many of the OPI polishes I’ve received have been lacklustre for me, but I really liked almost all of these! I will say that though the shine on a lot of the Infinite Shine polishes is pretty good, I find a lot of them have application issues (patchiness mostly) which is a bummer. I’m applying them on the Infinite Shine base coat too so it’s not that. In any case, while I don’t like to mess around with polish too much I really didn’t mind much with these as they were so darn pretty. That’s saying something!
Have you tried the new(ish) Infinite Shine polishes? Will you tough it out for a shade you love, if the formula is subpar?
We’re almost done with these posts folks, I promise; there’s only one more after this (and I’m hoping to make it really extra special!). Today we’re looking at the base products I’ve accumulated over the past few months, plus a blush I picked up because, ya know: PRETTY.
Probably my favourite acquisition out of the bunch is MAC Mineralize Skinfinish Natural in Medium Tan ($37CAD). I am SURE I’ve tried this stuff before, but I don’t remember liking it so much! Even though I’m all about that #dewyskinlife, I kept seeing how lovely this looked on Karen and thinking I should really give it another shot. Guys, if you haven’t tried this, this ain’t your regular flat matte powder! Especially on top of well-moisturized skin, this powder makes my skin GLOW without heading into greaseball territory, which you know can be difficult to achieve with oilier skin (like mine). What I especially appreciate is that I can actually layer skincare products (serum & sunscreen in the summer) as well as use a primer if I’m so inclined (see next item) prior to using this, and my skin doesn’t feel sticky with product and my base doesn’t slide off in the warmer weather – which always happens when I use a liquid foundation over more than say, one other product. Applied with the Real Techniques Buffing Brush I purchased, I don’t get that matte, dull look from this either – it really doesn’t look like powder, just like my skin is naturally great and healthy-looking. I think I’ve found my HG summer foundation!
Wearing the MAC Mineralize Skinfinish on top of the Laura Mercier primer, along with MAC’s Peony Petal blush and the MAC Orange Corrector/Maybelline Neutralizer combo under eyes – and the Lancome lippie of course!
In keeping with my constant quest for glowing skin, I picked up a travel size of Laura Mercier Foundation Primer – Radiance ($25CAD) shortly after Elena was born (I think it was our first trip to the mall together lol) because I desperately needed something to give my clearly overtired face a boost. Described as a ‘lightweight, water-based gel’ (except it contains castor seed and jojoba seed oil??? Calling it water-based implies it’s oil-free, but it’s not…sort of misleading, eh?), it’s supposed to ‘provide a sheer, healthy glow to skin while prepping skin for makeup’. The shade is fairly neutral, not warm nor cool, and ‘blurs imperfections and improves makeup wear’. So ok. This kind of product I normally wouldn’t go for because to me it’s just asking for trouble (aka shine) when you use a non-mattifying primer on oilier skin like mine. But in my baby-adled brain it made sense at the time, and happily it hasn’t been a decision I regret. It just requires me to use it in a certain way. I started off using this by combining it with my liquid foundation for that all-over-glow, but it’s a bit much and ends up making me look – not greasy, exactly, but sort of unkempt somehow? I dunno, all I know is that by the end of the day I’m like ‘Yikes, Latoya!’ However, if I use it strategically before foundation on my cheekbones, down the centre of my nose, and over and under my brow bones (AKA – step one of STROBING [so funny how highlighting has a ‘technical’ name now]), it gives a lovely ethereal look to the skin – a bit more subtle than straight highlight. Interestingly, I’ve read reviews that say this is really sparkly; as a person who doesn’t much care for sparkle on the face except for on eyes, I haven’t actually found that to be the case, so not sure what’s the deal there.
Anyway, I do like this, but I’m glad I just have the travel size, as I’d like to try the CoverFX Illuminating Primer next.
When Elena was still in the hospital, I put in an online order for MAC because, well, essentially I think I was losing my mind in there and needed something to boost me up lol. I got it in my head that I *needed* a purplish blush, but they’re quite hard to find (this was before Urban Decay released their new blushes – I’m still curious about Bittersweet). MAC Satin Blush in Peony Petal ($26CAD) looked like the closest I was gonna get to a purple-hued blush – it’s actually a bright blue pink, but it’s super-cool tones appealed to me – so into the online cart it went.
This was also a purchase I didn’t regret – more and more I find cool-toned makeup quite flattering on me, and this is no exception. In the winter months it gave me a beautiful chilly flush, and now in the summer it adds a very subtle hint of color that is hard to overdo (which is good as I am still more heavy-handed with blush than is probably good). Loving it!
Also in that order, I picked up MAC Studio Finish Skin Corrector in Orange ($15.50CAD) because I was desperate to find something to help with my dark circles, which were looking even worse than normal. This product is INTENSE guys, and you should NOT apply it straight from the pan and think your problems will be solved (no hate, but I watched this tutorial and it was what made me think I needed this concealer…I dunno how she made it work, but it is NOT that easy). I tried it and promptly put it to the back of my makeup drawer, thinking I just wasted $16.
However, I got reinvigorated to try it this week while writing this post, and I found some better advice that suggested mixing this with a yellow-toned concealer to create a ‘corrector’ shade, much like Bobbi Brown’s or the like. I just so happened to have a product like that (see Maybelline Neutralizer, below) so I applied the yellow-toned concealer first, then added the smallest dab of the orange and blended together for an awesome eye-brightening look! I’m actually super-pleased with the effect and I’m happy that I didn’t give up entirely – the results are well worth giving the Corrector a second chance.
Earlier in the year, before I had Elena but during the later part of my pregnancy in which I was experiencing some insomnia, I was on the hunt for something, anything to help with my dark circles (can you send a recurring theme here?!). After picking up Tarte’s Amazonian Clay Creaseless Concealer, I decided I needed a brightening powder to set it with, and came home with Laura Mercier Secret Brightening Powder ($29CAD). Truth be told, I don’t use it that much – I just don’t find it to be so brightening, and to use a separate setting powder just for under eyes is just more effort than I’m willing to put in. If this were a miracle product, I’d happily do so, but I honestly don’t find it does much of anything. Ah well.
The CoverFX Custom Color Drops in N60 ($44CAD) have been a polarizing product that has had many reviews for and against it. I’m not going to waste MORE words doing a full-on review because others have done it better, but my two cents is that it’s handy for adding to other skincare products without losing too much potency and coverage (like you would if you added your regular foundation to say, a moisturizer), which is ultimately what I bought it for. As mentioned, I don’t like layering too many products on my face in the summertime, so this is ideal to mix with my current SPF60 sunscreen – I get the coverage of a foundation (I only use a couple drops so it’s about a light-medium coverage, which is my preference), but since my SPF is higher I don’t feel my sun protection is compromised too much. Some people have also found the foundation lightened up too much when mixed – I bought mine online and had to guess at the shade, which is a bit dark on it’s own but perfect when mixed, so I lucked out! Win-win-win for me!
I grabbed Maybelline Instant Age Rewind Eraser Dark Circles Treatment Concealer in Neutralizer on a whim when it was on sale while I was still in my ‘BANISH THE DARK CIRCLES‘ phase (not that I’m every really OUT of that phase…I just get to a point where I have TOO many products that I can’t justify even ONE more). They didn’t seem to have a dark enough shade for me so I figured the Neutralizer was the safe way to go. Alone, this is SUPER light on me – like Kim K. reverse racoon-eyes light [note though that I used this on all the girls during a wedding makeup I did last weekend and it was perfect for concealing any darkness on them (they were all fair-skinned)]. But as mentioned, mixed with the MAC Orange Corrector, this works kind of awesome to brighten my under eye.
Finally, just a quick mention of the Marc Jacobs O!Mega Bronze Perfect Tan ($59CAD) that I bought and later returned during the Sephora sale. It was a fabulous shade, but for my darker skin it was just not enough. However, if you’re lighter than me I definitely recommend checking this one out – it wasn’t too orange nor too brown, and the powder was silky smooth and lovely. Below are a few swatches of it against other bronzer shades I own for comparison purposes.
That seemed like a long-winded post for only a handful of products! Sheesh. I can’t keep my trap shut lol. Anyway, I feel slightly overloaded with base products right now, but as they’re something I use every day I don’t worry too much about using them up. That being said, I am on a base-product-hiatus for the time being!