Archive for category Brands

Late to the party with Make Up For Ever’s campaign for self-expression

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!

Make Up For Ever Jamie Chung eyeshadow palette

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.

Make Up For Ever Jamie Chung eyeshadow palette

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:

Make Up For Ever Jamie Chung eyeshadow paletteClockwise from top left: M532 (Sugar Coated Candy), S642 (Sahara), ME108 (Steel) and D320 (Golden Khaki)

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).

Make Up For Ever Jamie Chung eyeshadow palette Make Up For Ever Jamie Chung eyeshadow paletteLeft to right: M532 (Sugar Coated Candy), S642 (Sahara), D320 (Golden Khaki) and ME108 (Steel)

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.

IMG_1954 MUFE shadow comparison I628 vs ME108Left to right: I628 Reptile, D320 Golden Khaki

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??

Make Up For Ever Jamie Chung eyeshadow palette IMG_1922

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.

Make Up For Ever Jamie Chung eyeshadow palette IMG_1941

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!)!

Make Up For Ever Jamie Chung eyeshadow palette

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OPI Infinite Shine Summer 2015 Collection: Part I {swatches & review}

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!

OPI Infinite Shine Summer 2015 collection

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.

OPI Lavendurable swatch

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!

OPI Lavendurable swatch comparison OPI Lavendurable swatch comparisonOPI Lavendurable, Zoya Marley

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.

OPI Patience Pays Off swatch

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.

OPI Patience Pays Off swatch comparisonOPI Patience Pays Off, OPI Beyond the Pale, OPI The Beige of Reason, OPI Act Your Beige

I didn’t have a comparable shade to Patience – everything else was too beige or too light to be considered a contender.

OPI You're Blushing Again swatch

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?

OPI You're Blushing Again swatch comparison OPI You’re Blushing Again, Essie Muchi Muchi

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!

OPI Follow Your Bliss swatch

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!

OPI Follow Your Bliss swatch comparisonOPI Follow Your Bliss, OPI Suzi Shops and Island Hops, RBL Oh Slap!, Chanel Sweet Lilac

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!

OPI The Sun Never Sets swatch

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.

OPI The Sun Never Sets swatch comparison OPI The Sun Never Sets swatch comparisonOPI The Sun Never Sets, OPI Is Mai Tai Crooked?, Essie Resort Fling

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).

OPI Purpletual Emotion swatch

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!

OPI Purpletual Emotion swatch comparisonOPI Purpletual Emotion, OPI Dutch’ya Love OPI?, OPI Lost My Bikini in Molokini, RBL Mismas, OPI Hello Hawaii, Ya?

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!).

OPI Infinite Shine Summer 2015 Collection

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?

 

 

Lavendurable

 

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Recent Purchases, Part V: The base/face prodz

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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.

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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.

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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!

MAC Peony Petal swatchMAC Peony Petal Satin Blush

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.

MAC Orange corrector and Maybelline NeutralizerLeft to right: MAC Corrector in Orange, Maybelline Treatment Concealer in Neutralizer, the two mixed

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.

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The CoverFX Custom Color Drops in N60 ($44CADhave 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!

CoverFX Custom Color Drops in N60 swatchCoverFX Custom Color Drops in N60

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.

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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.

Marc Jacobs O!Mega Bronzer comparison swatches Marc Jacobs O!Mega Bronzer comparison swatchesLeft to right: MUFE Pro Sculpting Powder Duo #2 Golden (contour shade), Too Faced Sun Bunny Bronzing Powder, Marc Jacobs O!Mega Bronze Perfect Tan

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!

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Do you own any of these products? What kind of skin finish do you prefer: dewy, satin or matte??

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derma e Evenly Radiant Brightening Serum with Vitamin C {review}

I guiltily admit that sometimes I have a mental block when it comes to cosmetics – though more expensive definitely doesn’t mean better, in my head for some reason I can’t truly appreciate a beauty product’s value unless it costs me an arm and a leg. Why? I dunno what it’s all about, but I am trying to change that – when it comes to skincare at least (with makeup, I don’t mind so much as my expensive taste keeps me from buying EVERY DAMN THING IN SIGHT). And right now in particular, there are some amazing skincare products that are actually affordable (check out Tracy’s post on Deciem if you don’t believe me)!

derma e Evenly Radiant Brightening Serum

derma e Evenly Radiant Brightening Serum with Vitamin C ($29.95) is one such product. I’ve used a couple derma e products in the past and liked them a fair bit, but in general I often passed by their offerings because…well, I guess my snobby self found them too accessible and affordable lol. Shame, shame, double shame. After trying out the Brightening Serum, I can say absolutely that I have learned from the error in my ways.

derma e Evenly Radiant Brightening Serum w/Vitamin C

Designed to brighten skin by addressing uneven pigmentation and age damage (ie. sun spots), this treatment serum has a whole host of active ingredients in its formulation to fight discolouration and help to achieve more evenly toned, luminous skin. A quick scan of the first handful of ingredients reveals that it contains: niacinamide, an anti-inflammatory that enhances skin’s barrier function and helps erase discolourations; licorice root, anti-inflammatory ingredient that helps improve dark spots and pigmentation by inhibiting the stimulation of an enzyme that activates melanin production; sodium ascorbyl phosphate, a stable, water-soluble form of vitamin C that helps slow down the aging process; and bearberry & alpha-arbutin, both natural skin brighteners with lightening properties.

derma e Evenly Radiant Brightening Serum with Vitamin C ingredientsApparently the serum has been reformulated – this is the new, accurate ingredient list

Happily, all of those good ingredients don’t go to waste and lose potency in a jar formulation – the serum is in a bottle with a nice pump, which dispenses the perfect amount of serum in one press.

derma e Evenly Radiant Brightening Serum w/Vitamin C

Also handy is the fact that they’ve printed the expiration date of the product right on the bottom of the bottle itself.

derma e Evenly Radiant Brightening Serum w/Vitamin C

One thing to note however, is that date shows the product being good for almost 3 years. The serum does contain preservatives – namely, Potassium Sorbate, Phenoxyethanol, and Ethylhexylglycerin. These are considered safer alternatives to parabens (of which this serum is free), but I still wanted to give a heads up to those of you looking for an entirely preservative-free formulation.

The texture of the serum is like a gel, but without any stickiness or slippery, filmy feeling whatsoever – it glides on and absorbs within a minute, and leaves my normal-oily skin feeling comfortable and soft. I have been using it as both my treatment and hydrator, and I don’t need a separate moisturizer at all (though dry skins will likely need something additional to hydrate).

derma e Evenly Radiant Brightening Serum derma e Evenly Radiant Brightening Serum

I’ve been using this regularly each morning for just over 6 weeks and I quite like it. I had the presence of mind to take before and after shots (considering the fact that I have ‘mommy brain’ AND taking into account my severe lack of sleep due, this is highly impressive) so you can see the results (sorry for the difference in lighting):

BEFORE (June 25)

Before derma e brightening serum Before derma e brightening serum Before derma e brightening serumSee those gray hairs poking out!??

AFTER (August 10)

After derma e brightening serum After derma e brightening serum After derma e brightening serumPlease excuse the weird, flat shape of my hair, I’d just washed it – I give it some oomph once its dry :)

As you can see, my skin is definitely more even-toned, with most of the scarring from the small postpartum breakout I had considerably faded. Now, I do exfoliate regularly, in a variety of ways (exfoliating serum every 2nd night, exfoliating mask 1x/week, acid toning pads 1-2x/week, manual scrub 1x/week) so take that into consideration too, but I’m confident that with that stellar ingredient list, derma e’s serum definitely plays a part in the change in my skin. The niacinamide and stable vitamin c alone have sold me on this; because the niacinamide boosts skin’s barrier function, it’s perfect for use during the day to protect skin from environmental aggressors, and vitamin c’s antioxidant power helps fight off the sun’s potentially damaging free radicals. FABULOUS.

I am definitely impressed by this serum, and the fact that it’s affordable yet still has effective, mostly ‘clean’ ingredients makes it a complete YES in my books. It’s also easy to find – derma e products can be found at Shoppers, or you can buy from their online store if you’re in the States (or from Well.ca in Canada).

derma e products are 100% vegan, cruelty-free, paraben-free, sulfate-free, mineral oil-free, lanolin-free, gluten free, GMO-free.

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Strengthen nails with new shades of OPI Nail Envy

More polish you say? No problem! I have a constant backlog of OPI polishes to swatch and review, which means I always have more polish comin’ at ya.

OPI Nail Envy polish shades

The original OPI Nail Envy is a translucent, maximum strength nail strengthener & fortifier that you can use on it’s own or as a base coat to help nails grow faster and stronger. The new Nail Envy polish shades are formulated with the same hydrolyzed wheat protein and calcium complex to help nails resist peeling, cracking and splitting, and come in 4 delicate OPI shades – 3 existing favorites (Bubble Bath, Samoan Sand and Hawaiian Orchid) and 1 new Nail Envy exclusive shade (Pink to Envy).

IMG_1251Left to right: Bubble Bath, Samoan Sand, Hawaiian Orchid and Pink to Envy

Bubble Bath is a sheer, feminine pink that makes nails look polished and clean (due to it’s blue-leaning tones). While I like those qualities in a sheer polish, it was somewhat streaky (often a problem with sheers) so you need careful application with this one. Thin coats and a quick hand, plus ample time to dry between coats is a must.

OPI Bubble Bath swatch

Bubble Bath isn’t a terribly unique shade, and I found a few similar polishes to compare it to: Essie Muchi Muchi, which is also streak-prone; OPI Put It In Neutral, which is a touch less pink; and Dior Incognito, which isn’t really very close as it’s opaque and more of a beige-pink.

OPI Nail Envy Bubble Bath comparison swatches OPI Nail Envy Bubble Bath comparison swatchesLeft to right: Essie Muchi Muchi, OPI Bubble Bath, OPI Put It In Neutral, OPI Do You Take Lei Away?

Samoan Sand is a polish that’s been on my radar for years, as I’m a sucker for a good nude and I read somewhere this is a great option for deeper skin tones like mine. Happily, it did not disappoint – this went on easily in two smooth coats, and was quite flattering with my skin tone, though I’d be curious to see if it’s still that way once my summer tan has faded (I prefer my nudes lighter than my skin tone, not matching like mannequin hands). In the swatch below I had been wearing it for several days, so please excuse the tip wear!

OPI Samoan Sand swatch

Being a collector of shades like these, I thought I might have a few dupes in my stash, but I actually didn’t (huzzah!). Dior Sunkissed is more peach, and Tom Ford Toasted Sugar (another fave nude -> which I realize I haven’t shown you guys yet! Shame on me) is darker.

OPI Nail Envy Samoan Sand comparison swatches OPI Nail Envy Samoan Sand comparison swatchesLeft to right: Dior Sunkissed, OPI Samoan Sand, Tom Ford Toasted Sugar

Finally, we have Hawaiian Orchid, a pretty dusty mauve-pink which I normally would never look at. It’s still not entirely my cup of tea, but there’s something about it that I like – could be its smooth, creamy shine! I think this would look great on more fair skin than mine thought – which is why I might try it out again once my tan has faded (for SCIENCE).

OPI Hawaiian Orchid swatch

Naturally, I didn’t have any really similar shades in my collection, but I pulled anything close just for the hell of it (continuity, ya know). RBL Poco a Poco has that same dusty quality, but it’s much more purple; RBL Oh Slap! is much lighter and a bit brighter but is in a similar color family; and Dior Incognito is once again more beige-y than pink.

OPI Nail Envy Hawaiian Orchid comparison swatches OPI Nail Envy Hawaiian Orchid comparison swatchesLeft to Right: RBL Poco a Poco, RBL Oh Slap!, OPI Hawaiian Orchid, Dior Incognito

I didn’t swatch Pink to Envy, because though it’s got that pink tint to it, for all intents and purposes it’s a clear polish – I didn’t even find that it gave my nails a brightening effect like the Dior Nail Glow polish. Not a big deal, just – no reason to add to the massive amount of swatches I need to do these days!

OPI Nail Envy polish shades

Do you use the original Nail Envy? Do you like when polishes have a treatment in them? What are your thoughts on neutral polishes?

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Going all in with Make Up For Ever Plexi-Glosses

Ok guys. Once again I’ve been delinquent in getting this post up – I seem to be really good at taking photos of product in a timely manner, but not so great at writing the reviews. It used to be the other way around, but I am better at amusing Elena while taking photos than I am typing on the computer / editing photos and simultaneously keeping her occupied – she loves the camera (as you’ll see shortly). Anyway, she’s been taking a power nap this am, so I’m just going for it [edit: and it’s now nighttime…I got the majority of the post done while she was napping, but the finishing touches had to wait till she was down for the night!]!

Make Up For Ever Plexi-Glosses

A few months ago Make Up For Ever came out with a new formulation of lip gloss that is along the lines of the Dior Fluid Sticks / Lancome Lip Lover / etc. etc. – a long-wearing, full-impact gloss with high shine and vivid color. These Plexi-Glosses ($23CAD) are touted to be comfortable to wear and to deliver up to five hours of color impact. The ‘superflex’ applicator is design in a lip-hugging shape to allow for precision and control and sweeps on the ‘ideal’ amount of lipgloss.

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It comes in a whopping 35 shades, in varying finishes – from pearly to cream, sheer to opaque – which is INTENSE, guys. I’m glad I had an opportunity to try these out and not have to choose a color (or several) on my own, because I’d be there all damn day. The three I was sent are: 403, an opaque red; 207, an opaque candy pink, and 102P, a sheer pearly sweet beige (the ‘P’ indicates a pearly shade).

Make Up For Ever Plexi-Glosses Make Up For Ever Plexi-Glosses

As I mentioned, Elena loves the camera (probably since I’ve become the paparazzi with her since she was born) and I thought I’d really keep her busy by giving her each of the glosses to play with. Now that she’s got good hand control she was loving it!

Make Up For Ever Plexi-Gloss in 403 Make Up For Ever Plexi-Gloss in 403 Make Up For Ever Plexi-Gloss in 403Make Up For Ever Plexi-Gloss in 403 Red

Red gloss has never been my first choice when it comes to lip color – I tend to favour matte shades of red, as it’s already bold enough on it’s own – but in the summertime, I confess that a gloss red lip is kind of fabulous. The sheer (or opaque, in this case) juiciness of it is so enticing and perfect on a warm summer night. 403 Red is just that kind of gloss – it truly is ‘full impact’ and majorly high shine. It’s also comfortable to wear, and though these glosses are intense, they’re not at all sticky – a bit thick, perhaps, but honestly the lip glosses I’ve had in the past that are thin fade away within minutes. I don’t mind the thicker texture on its own, but if they were sticky they’d be a no-go for me (which is why I haven’t own a MAC gloss in god knows how long).

Make Up For Ever Plexi-Gloss in 403 swatchMake Up For Ever Plexi-Gloss in 403 Red

Though I just said I don’t generally gravitate toward glossy reds, I did happen to have one in my collection – Maybelline’s Color Elixir in Signature Scarlet. These two are damn near dupes in my eyes; Signature Scarlet is a hair more warm in tone, but that’s getting nitpicky – for all intents and purposes, they’re the same. The real difference is in the texture (Maybelline’s feels a bit more plasticky to me) and the scent (MUFE’s has none, while the Maybelline has this bizarre sickeningly sweet/chemical smell that is just awful – it fades after wear, but UGH, SO bad). Needless to say, I got rid of the Maybelline in favour of the MUFE version!

Make Up For Ever Plexi-Gloss in 403 vs Maybelline Signature ScarletLeft: Make Up For Ever Plexi-Gloss in 403 Red; Right: Maybelline Color Elixir in Signature Scarlet

Next, we have the shade 207 Candy Pink.

Make Up For Ever Plexi-Gloss in 207 Make Up For Ever Plexi-Gloss in 207 Make Up For Ever Plexi-Gloss in 207Make Up For Ever Plexi-Gloss in 207 Candy Pink.

Since discovering cool pink look quite nice on my skintone, I’m all about the shade. 207 Candy Pink is a cheerful pink shade that leans cool, but actually isn’t heavily blue-toned, so those of you who don’t like to wear those kinds of colors could probably still wear this.  This is another saturated shade, though the formula is slightly less opaque than 403 Red. Equally nice formula though – and of note is that all 3 glosses leave my lips feeling hydrated even after they’ve worn off.

Make Up For Ever Plexi-Gloss in 207 swatch

Once again, I had a similar shade in my existing collection (a mark of someone with too much makeup, perhaps?) – Dior Addict Lip Gloss in Exquisse.  Unlike the red shades above however, there are more noticeable differences: the Dior is more sheer, and a bit more warm than 207 Candy Pink. However, they’re close enough for me that I don’t feel I need to own both – but I haven’t been able to part with either just yet. I prefer my lip products to be opaque, so MUFE – 1, Dior – 0….however, it’s like, a DIOR GLOSS, guys. And they’re kind of lovely. AND it’s got sexy packaging. So I dunno, dudes.

Make Up For Ever Plexi-Gloss in 207 vs Dior Exquisse comparison

Finally, we have the most subtle of the bunch, 102P Pearly Sweet Beige, and the only one without a ‘dupe’ in my stash.

Make Up For Ever Plexi-Gloss in 102P Make Up For Ever Plexi-Gloss in 102P Make Up For Ever Plexi-Gloss in 102P

102P Pearly Sweet Beige is a sheer, slightly milky peachy beige gloss. This was actually on my wishlist to buy previously, so I was excited to get this in the trifecta. Though I like my lip colors opaque as a general rule, I actually like my lip glosses to be neutral sheers – I find punchy, bold colors that are also high shine are a bit more in-your-face than I’d like. This would fit that bill perfectly; however – on my lips there is something about this shade that doesn’t look all that flattering. I think the milkiness for one is a (small) issue; moreover, I realized after watching a video of Karima’s (so good, go watch her RIGHT NOW!) where she described her lip line as ‘blurry,’ that I also suffer from this affliction, and this is likely why true ‘nudes’ look kind of terrible on me. As I normally choose my glosses to be either clear with a hint of shimmer, or MLBB shades, this veers too closely to a nude tone on my medium pigment lips, and I dunno…just not a huge fan. But that’s just me – I suspect for most people this will be an incredibly wearable neutral.

Make Up For Ever Plexi-Gloss in 102P

Just for fun, I thought I’d take it even further and make it REALLY nude and see if that looked better. I used a Marc Jacobs lippie (the old style they don’t sell anymore) in Dizzy Spell, a warm peachy nude (which I rarely wear, for the reasons above), underneath 102P to see what would happen. While I don’t actually hate the effect, I think 102P would probably look best on me layered over a more strongly-hued and/or pigmented shade, or lipliner.

Make Up For Ever Plexi-Gloss in 102P plus Marc Jacobs Dizzy Spell Lipstick Make Up For Ever Plexi-Gloss in 102P plus Marc Jacobs Dizzy Spell LipstickWearing Marc Jacobs Dizzy Spell under 102P. Also wearing Charlotte Tilbury Color Chameleon in Smoky Emerald – fabulous, fabulous eyeshadow!!

Do you mind wearing a thicker gloss to achieve longer wear time? What are your thoughts on glossy lips in bold, bright shades?

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OPI Two to Celebrate Coca-Cola Polish Set {Review & Swatches}

Good day everyone! How’s life been treating you lately? Our summer weather-wise has been quite lovely here, with just enough rain to keep things lush. Elena has been keeping me très busy these days; she’s going through a sort of sleep regression and is napping for 30 minutes at most – and getting those naps has been hard work! I have a few review posts that have been waiting to be written though, so I’m just going to have to sneak in a bit of blog business here and there when I can. Today’s post should be relatively short and sweet as it’s only covering two nail polishes – the OPI Two to Celebrate polish set commemorating Coca Cola’s 100th year anniversary. I don’t know what’s up with OPI doing so many Coke collections – as a non-pop lover it really doesn’t grab me, but ~shrugs~ There must be a target audience out there somewhere!

OPI Two to Celebrate Coca ColaOPI Two to Celebrate Coca ColaLeft: OPI Centennial Celebration; Right: OPI Visions of Georgia Green

The two shades in the set are Visions of Georgia Green (a pearlescent green with subtle pink duo chrome and a hint of glitter) and Centennial Celebration (a rich shimmering pewter).

OPI Two to Celebrate Coca Cola

Visions of Georgia Green is not my kind of polish shade – at all. It was quite sheer (this is 3 coats and it could have used a 4th, IMO) and it just looks ghastly on my hands. It just seemed to have too much going on, with the sort of golden microglitter, duochrome (though barely visible) and pearl finish. Plus, it’s green, which I’m just not a fan of as a whole as far as polish goes. I layered it over black on my index finger to see if it would look better, but – no. It’s still awful. LOL!

OPI Visions of Georgia Green swatch OPI Visions of Georgia Green swatch

As always, comparison swatches were had. Since I’m not a green fan I didn’t have much to compare it to, only the recently released My Gecko Does Tricks from the OPI Hawaiian collection. They’re not even close.

OPI Visions of Georgia Green swatch comparison OPI Visions of Georgia Green swatch comparisonLeft: OPI My Gecko Does Tricks; Right: Visions of Georgia Green

Thankfully, this is not a complete disaster of a set (and to be fair, there are people who will probably LOVE Georgia Green) – though it easily could have been for me, as a person who isn’t fond of silver either. Happily, Centennial Celebration is FABULOUS.

OPI Two to Celebrate Coca Cola

Though it’s described as a pewter shade, I find it is more silver in tone – probably because it just GLEAMS. The shade is crisp and clean (not what I think of when I think of pewter, which to my mind is like a dirtied silver), and the perfect mix of metallic and shimmer – not too much of either, so it’s got zero brushstrokiness that you can get with a full-on metallic, and it’s not too shimmery for this confessed creme lover. It’s replaced my previous silver polish love, Revlon Sterling, which I merely didn’t hate; Centennial Celebration on the other hand, is pure LOVE.

OPI Centennial Celebration swatch OPI Centennial Celebration swatch

I have a handful of silver & silver-ish swatches in which to compare Centennial Celebration:

OPI Centennial Celebration swatch comparison OPI Centennial Celebration swatch comparisonLeft to right: Chanel Graphite, OPI Centennial Celebration, OPI This Silver’s Mine!, Revlon Sterling, Nicole by OPI DC Lover

The pewter quality of CC is more apparent here; next to decidedly pewter Chanel Graphite, you can see its very much in the same vein only much lighter. It’s clearly more pewter than OPI This Silver’s Mine, and next to Revlon Sterling, it looks positively yellowed (aka dirtied) in comparison to Sterling’s cool tone. It’s not at all similar (red micro glitter aside) to the base color of Nicole by OPI’s DC Lover, which almost has a pinkish hue to it – and I’m glad because I actually love that shade too (two silvers I love, what is the world coming to? Maybe one day I’ll find a green I like as well??).

So, another Coca Cola collection down. I don’t really care how many they do if the polishes are nice, but it seems a bit overkill eh?

Are you a Coke fan? And do you like green and/or silver polish? What do you think of this duo?

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Recent Purchases, Part IV: The tools

MAN, I gotta get through all these ‘Recent Purchases’ posts already! There was just SO MUCH, you guys. And the photos have all been taken. And truth be told I’m a little bit lacking in original post ideas, since I’m a wee bit sidetracked these days:

IMG_3129 IMG_3227 IMG_1173 IMG_3210 IMG_3322THIS KID. She makes me laugh so much!!

I hope no one minds gratuitous baby pics…I can’t help myself!

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ANYWAY. Let’s soldier on. Today I bring you the brushes/tools I’ve purchased over the past few months. These were not really necessary to buy, yet I feel they all were fairly practical purchases as I use them all quite frequently. The first to join the ranks of my tool collection was Beauty Blender ($26CAD); I finally caved to the hype and picked on up during the Sephora sale in April.

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To be honest, I’m not particularly wowed. At least not when it’s used to blend foundation – I find I look MORE makeup-y when I use it for that purpose, and the whole reason I bought it was to look more natural, so that’s a fail. However, it’s nice for blending concealer and cream/liquid highlight, so it’s not gone to total waste. But I’m definitely not a convert nor going to preach its amazingness. Also – apparently I’m too rough when washing it, as this has already happened:

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Oops.

Next, during one of two MAC hauls I bought the #266 Small Angled Brush ($   CAD), as I wanted something to use to apply cream/gel liner in a more diffused way. I like this a lot – you could also use it damp to apply powder shadow as liner, which I haven’t done yet but intend to. I have an angel liner brush from Clinique that I use for powder brow products, but it’s splayed and fluffed out too much for liner application – this one sounds like it will retain it’s tight shape much better.

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Then, I had a bit of a ‘moment’ and decided I *needed* to buy the Chikuhodo Z-Series Z4 Cheek/Highlighter Brush ($73US) from Beautylish*. I really didn’t *need* this, but since having it I’ve been enjoying it immensely – aside from the fact that it’s SO DAMN SOFT, it applies and blends powder highlight like a dream. I used it initially with my more pigmented blushes as it’s so soft I thought it would help me stop overapplying them (damn if I don’t love my blush), but it’s too soft to blend them as well as I’d like; I’ve found myself using the Make Up For Ever #156 Large Flat Blush Brush for blush application a lot lately and LOVING it.

*Fantastic service by the way – I received my products within two days and afterward someone from the site text messaged me to see how I was enjoying the products I’d purchased. At first I found it a bit invasive, but after a bit of back and forth they left me alone, so ! I’ll be purchasing from them again. And FYI – your first purchase from the site they offer 15% off and free shipping, so BONUS.

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Finally, after deciding the Beauty Blender wasn’t doing the trick and trying to hunt down the Real Techniques Expert Face Brush for achieving a natural-looking base, I found a Lawtons that carried the brand, and I bought said brush, as well as the Real Techniques Setting Brush. Unlike the Beauty Blender, the hype surrounding these is well-deserved, especially for their price (I can’t remember exactly but they were both under $15 each). I’ve been using the Expert Face Brush for both liquid and powder foundation and it buffs them both so nicely into the skin, and so effortlessly. Equally as useful, the Setting Brush is fantastic for placing powder right where it’s needed, and with a light touch. As someone who loves a more glowing look, but has slightly oily skin – which means I can veer into greasy very easily – spot powdering is ideal; I can just dust a bit around my nose, between my brows, on my chin, and under my eyes to set my concealer, without mattifying EVERYTHING on my face. I thought my MAC #138 Tapered Face Brush was sufficient for this task, but it’s still a bit too big and ends up powdering more than I want/need. So these two = total win.

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Alright. Another purchase post down! I have 3 more to go (I KNOW. I bought SO MUCH STUFF) which I hope to get out soon so I’m forced to come up with something interesting to write about. I mean, it’s not all bad doing these kind of group mini-reviews – hopefully they’re helpful – but I’d like to get my creative juices flowing again.

Have you tried any of these brushes/tools? What sort of posts might you be interesting in reading? (I’ve been reading my old old OLD posts and I am thinking about doing a showcase of all my products by category again – thoughts?)

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Recent Purchases, Part III: The eye make-ups

In the ongoing chronicle of my intense 3 month makeup haul, next we have all the eye makeup that I bought over the past few months – again, this behaviour was nonsensical as I barely wear eye makeup these days save for mascara, but…sometimes we just lose our damn minds. I’m better now (but still want to atone for my ‘mistakes’).

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Let’s begin with the most sensible purchases, given my comment above – mascara.

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I went many years without buying much mascara at all – maybe one per year – as I’d often get free ones from Clinique, or just use the samples I’d get from Sephora etc. But this past year I’ve been trialing quite a few drugstore mascaras, as I’ve made an informal, semi-pact with myself that I won’t spend the big bucks on mascara any more; for only 3-4 months of use (and generally the same effectiveness across low- and high-end), my monies are better spent elsewhere.

The first mascara I picked up however, WAS from the higher-end of the spectrum – Benefit’s new Roller Lash mascara ($31CAD) – though I bought it during the Sephora sale in April.

Benefit Roller Lash MascaraBenefit Roller Lash Mascara

Benefit’s newest mascara offering claims to be a ‘super-curling and lifting’ mascara to give a ‘sexy, wide-eyed look.’ As my eyelashes are already pretty curly on their own, I wasn’t initially reeled in by the product, but after seeing a few tutorials and reviews online I decided I liked the way it separated and lengthened lashes. Since I tend to go very low-key on the eye makeup day-to-day, I do prefer my lashes to be ultra-defined while letting my lips do the heavy lifting. For me, Roller Lash does the job well – it gives decent length, doesn’t clump and really catches every lash so they stand out, which is important when you’re not wearing anything else on the eye.

Benefit Roller LashTwo coats of Benefit Roller Lash Mascara

Though I am quite enjoying the lengthening and separating effects of Roller Lash, I also wanted to have a more volumizing formula on hand for when I wanted more drama. Enter L’Oreal’s praised Voluminous Million Lashes Excess mascara:

IMG_1018L’Oreal Voluminous Million Lashes Excess Mascara in Black

The Million Lashes Excess is supposed to give ‘bold volume with clean definition’, and I’d say this is partly true. The formula is thin and wet, so it gives you time to build it up on the lashes without clumping. Because of this, you do get fairly defined lashes – however, it takes effort and several coats to get that ‘bold volume’, at which point the likelihood of clumps increases (though not by too much). I personally find this tedious to apply, and the effect is not dramatic as I’d hoped. Not a bad option though for those who are looking for a reasonably priced mascara with a little bit of drama.

L'Oreal Voluminous Million Lashes Excess Mascara one coatOne coat of L’Oreal Voluminous Million Lashes Excess Mascara

L'Oreal Voluminous Million Lashes Excess Mascara two coatsTwo coats of L’Oreal Voluminous Million Lashes Excess Mascara

After watching Tati’s first impressions video on the L’Oreal Voluminous Miss Manga Rock mascara, I went ahead and picked it up when it went on sale at my local Lawtons drugstore. The yet another addition to the Voluminous franchise, Miss Manga Rock is touted to give ‘mega texturized volume’ via a 360° spiked brush and textured formula, creating ‘explosive volume’ at the roots and pointed lash tips.

IMG_1016L’Oreal Voluminous Miss Manga Rock Mascara in Blackest Black

L'Oreal Miss Manga Rock mascara one coatOne coat of L’Oreal Voluminous Miss Manga Rock Mascara

L'Oreal Miss Manga Rock mascara two coatsTwo coats of L’Oreal Voluminous Miss Manga Rock Mascara

Despite the aforementioned tendency to wear little to no other eye makeup except mascara lately, I still get sucked in by a pretty shadow. I had been on the hunt for a striking gold eyeshadow with almost a greenish tint for month, when I finally stumbled upon Makeup Geek’s Liquid Gold pigment. The price was right (~$6) so I promptly ordered it because, why not?

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Shortly thereafter, I went on a MAC craze, listing all the products I *needed* to buy from the core range. I planned to buy a few every couple months or so, and one of the first on my list was the subtle highlight eyeshadow in Ricepaper (frost), and a couple months later I followed my plan and picked up Cork satin eyeshadow, which I though would be perfect as both a transition shade or an all-over lid shade that would give me just a hint of smokiness (being so close to my skin color).

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During my shopping trip to buy Cork, it so happened that the Extra Dimension eyeshadows were launched permanently, and though I don’t love a ton of shimmer in my shadows, I couldn’t help but buy one – iridescent A Natural Flirt reminded me a lot of my favourite shade in my KATE BR-2 palette, and so it was that I brought it home as well.

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Finally, I had been eyeing a handful of products from Charlotte Tilbury (who isn’t these days???) and Beautylish offers free shipping on your first order from the site, so along with a Chikuhodo brush (review to come) I picked up a Colour Chameleon eye pencil in Smoky Emerald, a gorgeous dark sparkling khaki, after seeing it in action in a post on Into the Gloss re: makeup for brown-eyed girls. Of all the new shadows I’ve bought, this is the only one I’ve worn (for shame!), and it is LOVELY. Glides on SO creamy and smooth and then lasts all day. And this shade really is PERFECT for brown eyes!

IMG_1062 IMG_1063Left to right: Charlotte Tilbury Color Chameleon in Smoky Emerald, Makeup Geek Pigment in Liquid Gold, MAC Extra Dimension Shadow in A Natural Flirt, MAC Shadow in Naked Lunch, and MAC Shadow in Cork

I also made another shadow purchase, during the Sephora sale: a Giorgio Armani Eye Tint, in the shade 10 Senso (reg. $39CAD). I was so excited to try this formula, and having to order sight-unseen as we don’t have Armani here in Halifax, I took the safe route and ordered the bronzy shade which I was sure would work well for me. When it arrived however, I was dismayed to find that not only was it not all that bronze on me (it looks much more like a taupe-brown with a purple lean), but that it looks very similar to two other shadows I already owned – Laura Mercier Caviar Stick in Amethyst and Urban Decay 24/7 Shadow Pencil in Rehab.

IMG_0672 Giorgio Armani Eye Tint in Senso swatch comparisonLeft to right: Giorgio Armani Eye Tint in Senso, Urban Decay 24/7 Shadow Pencil in Rehab, Laura Mercier Caviar Stick in Amethyst

Having already purchased more eyeshadows than I should have, and being less than impressed with the shade (and formula – this was nothing to write home about, in my opinion, especially for $39!), I returned Senso. There’s just no room for subpar products or duplicates in my stash!

And so ends my eye makeup purchases – for the time being. I’m sure I’ll buy more mascara at some point, but not until I’ve finished two of these – I’ve tried all the ones on my lemmings list now so I’m good for a while. However, I am going to try my very hardest to resist buying any more eyeshadow until our trip to Los Angeles over the Christmas holiday (can’t wait!!!!), when I’ll have access to a ton of brands we can’t get here (MOAR Charlotte Tilbury!). As you may have seen on my Instagram, I’m struggling with reducing the current collection of shades I own as it is, so until I either can eliminate a few shades or use a few up (!!!!!), I absolutely NEED to put a lid on it for a while.

Now, to leave you with a couple sweet pictures of my wee one, who was such a good girl during my swatchfest :)

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GAH. My kid is so stupidly cute.

Have you been hauling lately? How do you stop yourself from buying products that you don’t need/don’t use?

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OPI Brights summer 2015 collection {swatches & review}

[This post contains press samples] Happy second day of summer! We’ve been having a lovely June so far, with a ton of sun sprinkled with a few rainy days to keep everything lush and green. As such, I’ve been switching up my mani & pedi shades on the regular, which is also helping me pare down my collection as I go through shade after shade and determine whether it stays or goes. The OPI Brights summer collection for 2015 kept me busy for a while, but I’ve finished all the swatches and have them to show you today! The collection contains 3 existing shades from the core collection, plus 6 brand new shades – all in varying finishes to keep things interesting.

OPI Summer 2015 Brights Collection

I did a few mani/pedi pairings to easier facilitate the swatches, and also added comparison swatches for any shades that seemed to have close relatives in my existing collection. Let’s begin with the core shade Hotter than You Pink and new shade I Sea You Wear OPI:

OPI Hotter Than You Pink and OPI I Sea You Wear OPI swatches

Hotter than You Pink is described as a…’hot pink’, how novel. It’s a bright pink shade with a blue iridescent flash that I’m sure is a favourite for many. These kinds of colors aren’t my bag, but there’s absolutely nothing wrong with it – and the formula for this one is great, two coats to opacity and it flows easily on the nail with no drag.

I Sea You Wear OPI is yet another shimmering aqua confection from the brand, an iridescent metallic that is a classic come summer. This one is a bit sheer, like some other similar OPI shades, and requires 3 coats – even then, you can still see a bit of my nail line in certain lights (like above). It’s pretty though, and the formula otherwise is good with no patchiness.

Hotter than You Pink reminded me of the shade Hang Ten Toes from China Glaze’s Neon collection from 2012. Both that have blue flash, but CG’s polish is less shimmery and more cool-toned:

OPI Hotter than You Pink vs China Glaze Hang Ten Toes comparison swatchLeft: OPI Hotter Than You Pink; Right: China Glaze Hang Ten Toes

I figured I Sea You Wear OPI would be very similar to either the brand’s This Color’s Making Waves (recently reviewed) or Catch Me In Your Net, but it isn’t at all – it’s much more blue and shimmery (rather than metallic) than the former; and though similar in hue, it’s considerably lighter than CMIYN, with less depth.

OPI I Sea You Wear OPI comparison swatchesLeft to right: OPI This Color’s Making Waves, OPI I Sea You Wear OPI, OPI Catch Me in Your Net

Next, I paired Life Gave Me Lemons with I STOP for Red:

OPI I STOP for Red and OPI Life Gave Me Lemons swatches

Life Gave Me Lemons is a core shade, a ‘citrusy lemon-lime’ creme that is very cheerful-looking. It does have a bit of green in it, which for some might make it more wearable than just a straight yellow, which can be tricky on some skintones. While I don’t love yellow polishes on the whole, I actually didn’t mind this – it’s just so happy-looking! Also, for a yellow, the formula isn’t all that bad – it requires a bit of care when applying, but it wasn’t as fussy as other yellows I’ve come across. This is two coats.

I STOP for Red is a tomato red crelly (creme-jelly hybrid) that has the best squishy texture I’ve seen! Though the shade is nothing new, it’s the texture that really makes it stand out – it’s so juicy and delectable. On shorter nails, two coats will do, but on longer nails or if you prefer no VNL, I’d go with three.

The green tones in Life Gave Me Lemons is much more apparent when compared to other yellows:

OPI Life Gave Me Lemons comparison swatchesLeft to right: American Apparel Neon Yellow, OPI Life Gave Me Lemons, butter London Jasper

It’s much more dull (and more glossy) compared to American Apparel Neon Yellow (my fave yellow EVER and the only one I have kept in my collection), though both have that touch of green. butter London’s Jasper on the other hand, is more *ahem* butter-y, and more of a true yellow color.

OPI I STOP for Red comparison swatchesTop to bottom: Essie Meet Me at Sunset, OPI No Stopping Me Now, OPI I STOP for Red, OPI Aloha from OPI, Essie Come Here!

IT IS FREAKING IMPOSSIBLE TO PHOTOGRAPH REDS!!! Gah. The five shades above look identical, I’m sure, and though they are VERY close, they are not the same. Essie Come Here! is more pink, OPI No Stopping Me Now and Essie Meet Me at Sunset are both more orange, and OPI Aloha from OPI is more coral. Though the latter is closest in tone, it’s a straight creme and doesn’t have that glossy, squishy texture.

The last pairing I did was with My Car Has Navy-gation and Down to the Core-al:

OPI My Car Has Navy-gation and OPI Down to the Core-al

My Car Has Navy-gation is a gorgeous deep indigo blue that sadly is a bit of a disappointment once worn. It’s on the sheer side (this is three coats) and is streaky in it’s application. I think they were trying to achieve that crelly texture with this shade, too, but alas it didn’t translate properly in the final product. Let’s take a closer look:

OPI My Car Has Navy-gation swatch

The last of the core shades, Down to the Core-al is a ‘brilliant coral’ which has a touch of violet flash. This was quite pretty, a bit different than your standard summer coral, and easy to apply (this is two coats). Just the right hint of shimmer.

I own a fair number of blue polishes, but nothing was really like My Car Has Navy-gation:

OPI My Car Has Navy-gation comparison swatchesLeft to right: Deborah Lippmann I Know What Boys Like, OPI My Car Has Navy-gation, YSL Bleu Majorelle

Lippmann’s I Know What Boys Like is more purple and less vivid, and YSL’s Bleu Majorelle is much brighter and without ANY purple tone.

OPI Down to the Core-al swatch comparisonLeft: OPI Down to the Core-al; Right: OPI Go With the Lava Flow

Once again, I thought a shade from the recently released Hawaii-themed collection from the brand would be very similar to Down to the Core-al; Go With the Lava Flow is a coral shimmer polish as well, but it is more shimmery and darker, and with a more murky quality to it (which you can’t really see in the photo above).

Can’t Hear Myself Pink! is described as a ‘shimmering metallic pink’, but there’s more to it than that. Though it’s more obvious in the bottle than on the nail, there is a subtle orange duochrome that elevates this shade and makes it more unique. Alone, this shade is pretty enough, but a touch sheer and requires three coats. On my index finger, I layered Can’t Hear Myself Pink! over Down to the Core-al, and this brought out the duochrome and intensified the shade beautifully. I don’t own anything even close to this shade.

OPI Can't Hear Myself Pink! swatch OPI Can't Hear Myself Pink! swatch

My regular readers know I’m not a fan of glitter polishes, and hot pink glitter On Pinks and Needles is no exception. It’s fine, it’s cute, but not for me – here it is layered over Life Gave Me Lemons (on only one nail because glitter removal is a P.I.T.A.):

IMG_0945

Finally, we have my favorite shade from the collection, The Berry Thought of You, a ‘delectable purple.’ It’s a beautiful purple-based berry that has a touch of that crelly texture and an uber-glossy finish. Two coats and you’re good to go.

OPI The Berry Thought Of You swatch

Dior’s Bloom polish, an LE shade from last spring I believe, is thisclose to The Berry Thought of You but a hint more pink. If it weren’t Dior, I’d get rid of it because I love the OPI shade more; as it is I’m keeping them both…for now. American Apparel’s Neon Violet has the same purple undertones but is more vivid (and matte, as neons tend to be); Nicole by OPI’s In Grape Demand looks straight-up purple in comparison.

OPI The Berry Thought Of You swatch comparisonsLeft to right: American Apparel Neon Violet, Dior Bloom, OPI The Berry Thought of You, Nicole by OPI In Grape Demand

Though I didn’t find many of these truly ‘bright,’ OPI suggests layering them over white to make them truly pop, and while I didn’t try that I suspect I would have gotten a better effect by doing so. Nonetheless, I liked most of these shades and I think it’s a solid summer collection with a variety of color and finishes from which to choose. I actually am keeping a few of these, namely: The Berry Thought of You (naturally), Can’t Hear Myself Pink! (for layering over similar shades), and I STOP for Red (dat texture, tho!). Hooray for summer!

OPI Summer 2015 Brights Collection

Has summer arrived where you are? Will you check out this year’s OPI Brights collection? What kind of shades do you gravitate toward in the summer?

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