Archive for category NARS
Even the biggest cynic has to admit, we’ve had a pretty sweet summer season, at least here in Atlantic Canada! Almost every weekend is sunny, and often days that call for rain turn into a beautiful and bright sunshiny day. It’s been sticky and humid, I’ll grant you, but hey – what’s the beach for if not to keep cool in the heat?
In an effort to use more of my eyeshadows, I went though a period of wearing different eye looks over the past couple months, only to become frustrated that they looked overdone and kind of grimy in this muggy weather. I finally decided that the shadows will have to wait until the cooler months, and instead I would focus on my TRUE makeup love of the moment – juicy lip colours.
Left to right: NARS Velvet Matte Lip Pencil in Dolce Vita, YSL Glossy Stain in Corail Aquatique, NARS Velvet Matte Lip Pencil in Red Square, Tom Ford Lip Color in True Coral, Dior Fluid Stick in Magique, purminerals Plumping Lip Gloss in Pink Crush
Over the past year or so, I’ve really started upping my lip game. For the most part, I own and wear shades in almost every shade imaginable, and change it up with each season. During the summer, I find warm pinks, happy corals, dusky roses, and orange-leaning reds tend to flatter my tanned skin most. The lippies that are in highest rotation are of all textures – gloss, stain-gloss hybrids, mattes, and cremes.
I picked up NARS Velvet Matte Lip Pencil in Dolce Vita last fall on a whim – I cannot remember what drew me to the dusty rose shade, but I’m SO glad I brought it home with me, as it’s honestly one of my favourite, most flattering lip colours (in ALL seasons!) and I wear it CONSTANTLY. I will definitely repurchase this when I run out, which is SO unlike me!
I’ve had the YSL Glossy Stain for a couple years now, and while I wasn’t entirely enamoured with it when I bought it, it’s such an easy-to-wear soft coral that goes with essentially every look I create. Another one that I would definitely consider repurchasing as I probably wear it more than any other lippie I own, period.
The NARS Velvet Matte Lip Pencil in Red Square was a recent addition; after swatching orange-based reds on at least three separate occasions at Sephora, I finally went with with this one as I like the Velvet Matte formula, and it seemed to be the most flattering on me. I love it!
I’ve shown you the Tom Ford Lip Color in True Coral before after I picked it up in NYC late last year. I was concerned that its coral-red tone was so bright it would be garish on my skin tone once tanned, but my fears were unfounded, as it looks even BETTER with a tan! The formula is more suited to this time of year as well, as my lips tend to be in better condition (read: not as sahara dry and flaky as in the winter) so it wear much better as well.
Back in June, after a monster swatching session at Shoppers, I picked up one of the new Dior Fluid Sticks in #479 Magique (which doesn’t seem to be available at Sephora for some reason), a bright coral pink. I really like the formula on these, and am always tempted to buy more but wish there was a bit more selection in the shade range – the lighter shades are too milky on my skin tone, and some of the other shades look too similar to this one. LOVE that juicy, colour-rich shine, though!
Lastly, a few years ago my aunt gave me a ton of purminerals lip glosses (you can find the brand at Shoppers), which have a great lovely, moisturizing formula. I gave away many of them as the shades didn’t call to me (and I don’t wear gloss too often these days), but this one in Pink Crush has become a huge staple for me as it gives just a hint of muted rose-y pink to the lips, and awesome shine. Another goes-with-everything lippie.
All six of these shades are without a doubt my most-worn, and most-loved lippies at the moment. They allow me a variety of looks and I truly enjoy wearing each one! This is my ultimate goal with my makeup collection – regardless of the number of products, as long as I take pleasure in wearing each item, then that’s really what counts. I’ve been slashing and hacking at my stash methodically over the past few months, and every week I feel that much more satisfied!
I will admit though…I’m starting to get that itch for fall makeup! Don’t shoot me… :)
What lippies have you been wearing to death this season?
Woohoo! My last empties post of the year. As these are always lengthy (because I am too damn chatty) (and even though I just did one last month…how do I use up products so quickly?), I’m going to get right to it.
Organix Nourishing Coconut Milk Conditioner – I do like the Organix conditioners, and this worked quite well to hydrate and detangle, but I preferred the heaviness of the Macadamia Oil version to this. Smelled DELICIOUS in the summer though!
Earth Science Deep Conditioning Masque – 2nd tube of this, and I still feel the same as I did when I first tried it. It’s really good shit, dudes. For $13CAD, it’s one of the best deep conditioners I’ve ever used, and to top it off – all natural! If I were so fickle I’d buy another tube, and I still may…I’m just too curious to settle *just yet* ;)
Alterna Bamboo Smooth Kendi Oil – I really liked this oil a lot, much better than the Ojon Restorative oil that preceded it. It just had a great consistency and smell, and it never irritated my scalp or caused any breakouts around my forehead, which can happen with products like this. Good stuff, and lasted AGES.
Haus of Gloi Komodo Pumpkin Butter – don’t mistake mangosteen for mango, my friends – NOT THE SAME. I found the scent of this quite intrusive and it has this slightly rotten fruit smell…so ya, just not diggin’ it. So, I used it as a foot cream! Problem solved.
Nutiva Coconut Oil – great stuff. I used this as my primary body moisturizer throughout last spring/summer and it was awesome – it really kept my skin in great condition, prevented eczema flare-ups and helped heal old scars that I sometimes get from past eczema patches, which tend to result in the absence of pigmentation. However, once the weather cooled it wasn’t quite enough, so I would either layer it with a moisturizer, or use it in my hair periodically as a deep treatment. I’ll definitely be picking up another tub of this – so many uses! However, keep in mind that coconut oil is highly comedogenic – except when it’s in the form below:
Fractionated Coconut Oil – fractionated oil is non-comedogenic, perhaps due to having had all it’s triglycerides removed. It has a super-long shelf life and increased stability, and it’s antioxidant potential is more jacked up than regular coconut oil. It’s also in a TON of things and usually listed as ‘caprylic/capric triglyceride.’ My roommate had left this behind when she moved so I used it up – it was a lot easier to use than the solid coconut oil (though a bit messier at times) but I found it slightly less moisturizing on my body.
Getting through my non-organic products! I’ve only got a few last products and a couple straggler samples to get through and I’ll be essentially fully ‘green’, woot!
eos Lip Sphere - this balm works really well and was exceptional under lipstick, offering just enough hydration without much slip, but honestly the size of it sometimes felt very cumbersome. It’s a cute novelty, but not the most practical – though I do maintain that they’re terribly easy to find in your purse!
Indeed Labs Hydraluron – I’m sure this does have a purpose, but I don’t think I have dry or dehydrated enough skin to see a difference. I don’t miss it.
Clinique Even Better Clinical Dark Spot Corrector – this stuff does work well, for those of you not concerned about using non-organic products. I really do like serums because you can pile them on and they generally don’t have heavy moisture to the skin which can make you greasy as the day wears on.
RoC Soft Smoothing Scrub – too gentle for my liking, though this is a good choice for a morning cleanser just to wash the night’s oils off, or as a second cleanse. But as a ‘scrub’? No thanks. One more non-organic product down!
Avene Thermal Spring Water – I love misting my face before applying any serums or oils, as it just feels good to seal the moisture in…but paying for water in a can kinda irks me. I far prefer the facial mists with a little bit extra in them, like hydrosols etc. that add something more. Right now I’m using Kahina Giving Beauty’s Facial Mist and I quite like it (though its just so darn SMALL at 1.6oz for $46CAD…ouch!).
Samples! Lots of good organic stuff here. The Marie Veronique Organics Treatment Oil is excellent for keeping oily, pore-clogged, acne-prone skin in check. I don’t have the latter, but I do get clogged pores on my nose and cheek area, and I found the sample really refined my skin nicely. I actually just purchased the full-size last week! I tried the new Kahina Giving Beauty Fez Body Serum this past weekend, and while it worked nicely on my skin, the scent it NOT for me – far too spicy and heady for me. I’ll stick with my Lina Hanson Global Body Serum, thanks. The Soapwalla Deodorant sample lasted ages, and I enjoyed it so much I purchased it last week as well – it smells awesome and actually works a treat, even on wetness! It’s not entirely as effective as traditional antiperspirants, but for every day wear its perfect and I really like it a lot. I thought the Pai Chamomile & Rosehip Sensitive Skin Cream was gonna be my JAM for the dry patches I get sometimes from my eczema, but it sometimes made my skin itch a bit rather than soothe it, so I’ll have to keep looking for a nice nighttime hydrating cream. M.J.’s Calendula Cream on the other hand, was a freakin’ miracle product – this honestly cleared up my eczema overnight on my hands, which tends to be a persistent problem for me. I ended up buying a similar product from the local market, but I’m not sure it’s *quite* as effective, though I do like to support local. The Eminence Blueberry Soy Exfoliating Cleanser was a strange product. I used it as either a morning or second cleanse and I didn’t notice any exfoliating, and it left a slight film on my skin so I’d recommend using a washcloth to remove it. Not something I’d spend my money on, overall. The Rahua Shampoo was fine, but I didn’t enjoy the smell at all, and to spend $$ on a shampoo that I don’t love is just not gonna happen. One of our local high-end department stores here, Mills, will soon be stocking the organic brand Babor, and the SA’s gave me a few samples of this Calm & Relax Cream to try. It was pretty great, truth be told! I used it after doing an intense masque treatment, and it was soothing and hydrating without being heavy at all. I just may purchase a full-size when the line becomes fully available. Finally, another Eminence sample I snagged was this Red Currant Rapid Infusion Masque…suffice to say it was a total dud. I have no idea what it was supposed to do, but I wasn’t wowed. PASS.
Sephora She Sparkles Gloss – decent gloss formula, decent shade. Despite the fact that I didn’t love it, I actually used this up fairly quickly in the grand gloss scheme of things. Huh.
NARS Gold Digger Gloss sample – HATE the brush on these Larger Than Life glosses, uh. So. Tiny! I liked the shade well enough, but the formula isn’t my favourite – similar to MAC lipglasses, which means they wear fairly well, but I’m not a fan of the stickiness. It still looks quite full here but I wasn’t getting any more product, so out it goes.
Marc Jacobs Blacquer Mascara – this was such a weird product, like webbing for the eyes! I loved that it had this kind of patent-leather shine, but it applied horribly and made a total mess of my lashes every time. Yuk.
MUFE Eyeshadow #17 Espresso – I thought I’d use this a ton and then hardly did. Then I dropped it and it crumbled, and then honestly, I just was OVER IT. Plus, I now have a similar shade in my Laura Mercier palette, so I don’t NEED YOU ANYMORE. *I really hate broken makeup!*
NARS Pro Prime Pore-Refining Primer – this was just meh. I used it regularly for a couple weeks to use it up, and I wasn’t wowed – I still got shine after a few hours, and though my makeup wore a bit longer, it wasn’t anything to write home about. Plus, non-organic…I’m not totally converted to organic makeup (or at all, really) but primer is like skincare, so I don’t think I’d buy this even if it did work well.
Marie Veronique Organics Everyday Coverage – the darkest shade offered is still too light for me, so this was a no-go. Bummer, as I’ve ready a lot of great things about it! Can’t beat coverage plus SPF in one.
I’m now finished my empties for the year! I was going to do a tally in each category, but honestly that’s just too much damn work LOL. Suffice to say, I feel really good about how many non-organic products I’ve used up, and I’m pretty stoked that I used up a whole gloss (and a half!) – I’ve been trying really hard to use up any lip products that are at least half-gone, because they’re much more feasible to finish (as opposed to blush…let’s not go there). I’m going to make a real effort next year to cull my stash to only products I really love – I know I’ve said this before, and I continue to make progress, but I think next year will be THE year. I’m loosening my grip on keeping things because they ‘should’ work or because they were expensive and therefore I have to use them. I just want to pull out any shade of any product and be like ‘Yep, looks great’ with minimal effort. I learn more and more what looks good on me and what doesn’t. And also, it’s a lot easier to reduce the stash when you focus all your effort / money on skincare!! I certainly haven’t saved a dime not buying makeup, because organic skincare costs a pretty penny in many cases, but the whole ritual of applying oils etc. is really up my alley, so I don’t mind. And less makeup means less anxiety in that area – I never overbuy skincare so I never have to worry about having too much of that!
So, out with the old (thinking) and in with the new (skincare, not makeup). Now I need to put my 2014 resolutions to paper!
How did your empties go this year? Do you think your reducing or expanding?
Ok. So fall has officially
sprung arrived. I am SO ready! I know you summer babes who love your heat are crying “WTF Latoya?!” and for you I say – I’m sorry :( I’m not hating on warm weather and sunshine, I love it as much as the next person. But after a few months of bright polishes and ‘au naturel’ looks, I’m eager to get down and dirty with some sultry, vampy makeup. I love change, what can I say?
As I’ve mentioned before, my makeup purchasing has slowed down considerably over the past 6 months +. One of the best ways for me to curb the impulse to buy something new is to go through my own collection to revisit old shades and swap out colors to reinvigorate myself. While doing the official ‘switch over’ for autumn, I got the idea to put together a few color stories that I felt were appropriate for the start of the fall season!
I’m starting you off slow with a shade that it incredibly wearable for almost all skintones – russet. These colors would be great for an easy going fall walk through the woods, that add a bit of life to the face but not a whole lot of color, per se. I picked up LMbD’s Rumour blush in a swap in early spring, and started wearing it fairly regularly during the summer as it added the nicest warm, radiant glow to my cheeks. It looks a bit scary in the pan but with a light touch for fairer skins, this is a great alternative to bronzer and leaves my skin looking naturally healthy. This is one of those awesome transitional shades that also works well in fall – the color reminds me of the turn of the leaves. L’Oreal’s Colour Riche Colour Caresse Shine Stain in Eternally Nude (a product which shall henceforth be known as CRCCSS) was a spurr of the moment purchase back in the spring, and was initially a bit of a disappointment – on my lips, it’s not terribly nude, but rather a sort of warm reddened brown – but I ended up liking the color for what it is, anyway. Another super wearable shade, and the formula is quite close to the YSL version, enough for me to probably opt for these over those due to the huge price difference. Sadly, the Urban Decay 24/7 liner here, in Lucky, a wonderful coppery shade, has been discontinued. I honestly need to start shopping for a dupe now, because this is probably one of my top favorite liners and I’m gonna be heartbroken when I finish it (which will actually happen because I use it regularly). Sigh.
Rose is not normally a shade I gravitate toward, as it tends to look very drab on my skintone, but these particular shades are both light (the lippies) and dark (the blush) enough to work well on me. Bobbi Brown’s Pot Rouge in Velvet Plum, a discontinued shade (sorry!) in the old packaging, was something I picked up when I had my makeup done at the counter several years ago. It would never have been a shade I’d have picked, but it ends up being one of my favorites for it’s exceptional wearability. It looks great with tanned skin, but is also perfect for fall/winter as well with it’s plummy tones. I quite like the formula of these as well – easy to apply and blend, and doesn’t leave my oilier skin greasy-looking. Laura Mercier’s Lip Glace in Discrete was kind of an impulse purchase – I don’t think I realized at the time that it was like $36, which is kind of a lot for a gloss – but its been well-used (despite the fact that it contains lanolin and I try to avoid wearing it two days in a row). It’s an easy nude-type shade that wears well with cooler toned smoky eyes, and isn’t TOO glossy. Lastly, I snagged a sample of BITE Beauty’s Luminous Creme Lipstick in Pepper a couple months ago, and it is a dusty rose shade that is similar to my natural lip color but a bit deeper and warmer. The formula is creamy and feels great on the lips, and goes with just about everything!
Now these are the shades I can get behind! I love me a good deep red anything in the fall – makeup, clothes, you name it. L’Oreal’s La Couleur Infallible Eyeshadow in Golden Mahogany is still one of my favorite eyeshadows, particularly so after wearing it in my friend’s wedding with such success, and was quite honestly MADE for fall. It’s gorgeous brown-red tones work with just about any cool-weather outfit I can come up with, and the color compliments just about every eye shade beautifully. NARS Turkish Red Cream Blush (another discontinued shade…oops) is a fabulous shade of blood red that is awesome for that windswept/windburnt look – however, it does require a bit of a skilled hand. It can go on a touch patchy due to it’s intense pigment (which also means a light hand is necessary), but when its done well, the effort is SO worth it! And, I just had a brainwave that MAC’s Dare You lipstick, shown here, could potentially be used as a cream blush if you were aching for that kind of shade. It has the similar deep red tone – which is particularly fabulous on the lips! This is a more wearable red for those of you who are a bit gun-shy of an in-your-face bold red, and looks amazing in the cooler months. LOVE.
I am also particularly partial to berry tones in the fall/winter…they’re just so delectably sexy! Ellis Faas Creamy Lips in L102 is still one of my absolute favorite lipsticks and hands down the shade I get the most compliments on. If for no other reason, THIS lippie is why I love fall so much! The fussy packaging is totally worth the drool-worthy, long-wearing shade. Illamasqua’s Crush Cream Blusher was a sale find I scooped up last winter, and while it didn’t get too much love from me since then, I plan on rocking this baby out all season long. When my skin isn’t tanned, it turns a bit pinkish, but right now with my fading tan, it looks more like it does in the pan – a gorgeous deep berry shade. YUMMY. Another Illamasqua fave is their Precision Ink in Havoc, which is still honestly capturing my heart some two years later. I mean, it’s a dark wine -colored eyeliner that doesn’t look black – how badass is that?! I wore it over the weekend while working at Clinique, and I swear I sold more because customers just thought I looked THAT GOOD. LOL!
Here comes the trickiest shade to wear of the bunch – violet. Too much red and it can make you look like you’ve been crying; too much blue and you look like you just had a throw-down with one of the ‘Real Housewives.’ It can quickly veer in to goth territory if you’re not careful – thankfully, all of you know just what you’re doing at all times, right!? Right. So, first we have the most challenging of the bunch – MAC’s Mattene Lipstick in Bing, and LE shade from 2008 or 2009, that has been making my life difficult since then. I WANT to rock this blackened purple shade full force, but alas I am still a scaredy-cat. However, I have managed to find various ways to wear it in a toned down way, either mixed with a red lippie or as a stain, so that will have to do for now. The lovely violet shadow you see here is a new acquisition (in fact, the three shadows are) from Inglot, shade # 325, a matte purple. I have yet to wear it, but I’m going to make an attempt this week – wish me luck! Finally, we have another UD 24/7 Eyeliner, in 1999….which is discontinued…but which I JUST purchased from Sephora two weeks ago (so that makes it better, right!?). They had several of the old shades up for sale, at $7.95CAD a pop, and I couldn’t resist. This is an awesome toned down version of violet, that does have a hint of red but seems to work perfectly on my eyes to subtly add a touch of color without going to crazy town. I’ve been wearing it on my lower lash line to give just a bit of definition and I’m really loving it.
What are your favorite shades/products to wear in the fall? What color story do you like the best?
I’ve been on this kick lately of wanting to own every red blush EVER. MAC Frankly Scarlet. Illamasqua Libido. Dolce & Gabbana Sole. NARS Exhibit A. ALL THE RED BLUSH. Each are quite different from the other and therefore totally justifiable in purchasing (right?!). However, last month when I scored another red on my list, Becca’s Beach Tint in Papaya (described as a ‘hot red’), I had to pause in my red blush frenzy – not all of these shades will look good on me, guys! :'(
As some of you know, I’ve been sort of struggling to figure out my skintone – cool, warm, neutral, what is it? – and I think I’ve decided that I’m neutral with a bit of a cool leaning. Well, I think that my assumptions have been confirmed with this blush – it is FAR too warm for my skintone and has to be worn with an exceptionally light hand. See for yourself:
Though it doesn’t look terrible on me the way I’m wearing it – which is to say, very sheerly – it’s really not my best shade. with my tan I can pull it off, but any other time of year I suspect this will look ghastly (not to be confused with ghostly, as this is much to orange-toned and vibrant for that). This leads me to believe that similarly warm-toned blushes such as the Illamasqua or NARS versions noted above, may not be my cup of tea. I need to tread more carefully.
I suspect that the shades that will work best for me are more coral-red (such as D&G’s Sole) or the more pink-red tones of the MAC shade noted above. I’ve swatched the only other shades in my collection that even come close, NARS Boys Don’t Cry (of the coral-red camp) and MUFE’s #12 First Kiss (which in fact is a touch too orange and I usually layer it with other products).
Its interesting to look at these swatches, because I still feel like Papaya looks flattering here – but don’t let it fool you. I had to blend and blend down to next to nothing to ensure I didn’t look like I had been burned in a fire. Its certainly a summery shade and paired with bronzer can work well, but I prefer to wear more effortless shades that compliment naturally, even if they’re brighter. I’m starting to wonder if the key to blush isn’t to pick complimentary shades to your skintone, but contrasting. In swatches Papaya looks made for my skin and Boys Don’t Cry is more stand-out, yet the latter absolutely looks fantastic on me no matter if I’m tanned or not. Similarly with NARS Desire if you recall. INTERESTING.
Ultimately, I’m happy to have this shade as it represents a niche I hadn’t filled in my collection, and as it was a acquired via swap, I don’t feel bad about owning it. It was an excellent way to trial-run a warm red blush and learn that I probably won’t acquire any more in the future, focusing my energies instead on cooler-toned shades. The product itself is quite nice – easy to blend and wears quite well (though not exceptionally tenacious on my oilier skin). I likely won’t pick up anymore shades as most of them contain linalool which I avoid in products (can cause allergic reactions and sensitivity in people with eczema), but if you don’t have those concerns, I’d definitely check them out – they’re so easy and handy!
Do you own any red blush? To which tone does you skin favor, warm or cool?
Yet another late post which means: Words. Few. However, you all know by now that I always say that and then still end up rambling. So…enjoy?
I am ashamed at how long its taken me to show you guys this blush. YOU GUYS. THIS BLUSH. NARS Boys Don’t Cry blush ($48CAD) from the Pierre Hardy collection is probably one of the best makeup purchases I’ve made all year, if not THE best. A total 10/10 for me! How can you go wrong with a) a NARS blush, that b) is a gorgeous bold coral red (or pink grapefruit, as it’s described)?! Answer: YOU CAN’T. It’s all sorts of WIN.
The ‘awesome’ quote above was on a card I bought for my mom for Mothers Day (which, stupidly I forgot to give her – next year maybe?), and I just had to use it as a prop. Because this blush is, in fact, AWESOME. See all my use of caps today? It’s for a reason, people.
Of course, the beautiful gold design above is an overspray, and disappears after a use or two, which is just fine with me. What you’re left with is this:
I feel like this shade of blush was honestly made for my skintone – it’s so damn flattering! Or maybe it was just made for everyone’s skintone – it’s got both a warmth and a coolness about it so that I think it would work on most people. It also buffs out beautifully so that you can wear it with a light hand, or more intense if you so desire. Below, I’m wearing it first with a more subtle touch – this was an actual look I wore (which incidentally accompanied the eye makeup in this post); in the rest of the shots I applied the shade more heavily so it would show up more strongly in photos.
Please note that the hardcore glow I’ve got going on in these photos is due to Becca’s Shimmering Skin Perfector and not from the blush – it is a matte formula, though not powdery at all so it melds with the skin beautifully. I like that I can wear it over liquid products and it doesn’t get blotchy throughout the day like some other products I own. In fact, this blush wears well throughout the entire day with very minimal fading overall, even in humidity.
I really don’t know what else I can say about this blush that you can’t see clearly with your EYEBALLS – it’s frickin’ GORGEOUS. I never really thought about a blush this shade before until suddenly there it was, and I am SO happy that I picked this up – as many of you have said, it’s A LOT of blush at 0.45oz (NARS blushes are usually 0.16oz), and I was intimidated as who really needs that much blush!? But now that I have it, I would pay for even MOAR if it meant having this shade in my possession. Of the 30+ blush I have, since it’s purchase I’ve worn this consistently more than any of my other shades. And since it’s essentially seasonless (it can go all summer-flushed or windblown with ease), I don’t see that changing any time soon.
A big YIPEEEEEEEEEE to blush, and THANK YOU to NARS for making a shade like this :D :D :D
Did you pick up Boys Don’t Cry (or Rotonde)? What shade of blush gets the most love from you in your collection?
If you’ve been reading this blog for a while, you know that it’s rare that I’m at a loss for words. Even those posts in which I say I’m going to keep it short and sweet, usually end up longer than planned – what can I say? I’m a chatty kind of gal.
Lately though, my capacity for wordiness has really left me, which poses a problem when you’re try to say, oh I don’t know, WRITE SOMETHING. May has clearly been a slow month on Beauty Obsessed, which is largely due to getting a new roommate, standing in my friend’s wedding and all it’s required prep, training for the Ottawa Half Marathon which I ran this past Sunday (which, if you’re interested – I ROCKED :D Finish time was 1:40:16, and since my goal was around 1 hour 40 mins., I was SUPER STOKED!), and then – my 31st birthday, which was yesterday (which included lots of long-lost sun, meals out with friends and family, and a ton of lovely birthday wishes)! Yea, that all happened in one month. It’s been a tad bit busy.
However, it’s not just my lack of time that’s been keeping me from posting, but a shift in thought process that is screwing with my makeup mojo. The past month has seen me only purchase two makeup items: the NARS Boys Don’t Cry blush, pictured above (which I am terribly delinquent on posting about, my bad) and a little birthday treat I picked up yesterday – another L’Oreal Caresse Wet Shine Stain, which was on sale and was inspired by this photo:
I needed to have that lip color badly, and I couldn’t wait. I know Doutzen Kroes is one of the faces of L’Oreal so I took my chances and picked up Endless Red, which is a juicy cranberry red. It turned out to be exactly what I was looking for shade-wise, as well as formula-wise as I knew the qualities of the stain were what I needed – you can see above its not a fully saturated look but more like she was sucking on a popsicle. SUCCESS! I’m not head over heels for the packaging of these, but nor am I for the 3 times as expensive YSL Glossy Stains, so I’ll take my grumbling on this front and shove it.
Anyway, moral of the story – I’ve been downgrading my cosmetics purchases big-time, which means I have a lot less NEW stuff to talk about. That’s not a terrible thing, as I could stand to spend more time using what I have rather than expanding the collection, and I hope once I start getting on track again that I’ll be bringing forth some original and interesting posts for your reading pleasure. However, what its translated to this month and probably into part of the next is that I cannot think of a single thing to write about! Which is frustrating because it’s not as if I’ve not been wearing makeup and experimenting all this time – today, for example, I wore Endless Red with bad-ass black liner, flicked out on both top and bottom lashes, to compliment my faux leather skirt and ankle-strap peep-toe croc leather heels. It was GREAT. Obviously I still love to create a whole ‘theme’ from head to toe, and playing with makeup is always a huge part of that process!
But lately, not the main part. Before, I used to decide on my makeup look the night before, and then choose my clothing accordingly. In the past two months however, I have been more engaged in my fashion choices, and creating a look now seems to lean more toward the clothing first and then the makeup. Somewhere along the line, my focus shifted from makeup to clothes, and now I’m spending all my free cash beefing up my wardrobe instead of adding another lippie/blush/eyeshadow to my typically burgeoning stash. I feel good about the change – great, even, as I feel more confident than ever in my fashion choices – but (SUPER long story short) it leaves this blog confused about where it wants and needs to go.
Another area I’ve been focusing more on is fragrance – I finally caved and purchased the Comptoir Sud Pacifique rollerball in Vanille Coco that I have been
eyeing trying on over and over for ages. SO my kind of scent!
I still adore and obsessed over any and all cosmetics, don’t you worry. It’s just that you might see some other topics creep in here and there as I grow and expand my horizons of interest (which was long overdue). I’m off work on Friday, and it’s supposed to be sunny, so I’m hoping to pump out a massive number of posts to make up for my frequent absences over the past month or so. Expect a variety of images of things I’m head over heels for these days, both in beauty and fashion (as well as one monster empties post that is long overdue!). Hopefully you’ll still stick around!
How’s that for a title, huh? Yea dudes, I know…let me just say: I have about 3 seconds unaccounted for this month and absolutely no extra brain power for much else other than what’s already on my agenda, so please grant me a pass for the month of May OK? I’ll still be posting – I’ve bought far too many awesome things not to share ‘em with you! – but its going to be sporadic and my writing will likely be shoddy…you’ve been warned.
Apparently with the little free time I have I’m making sure I’m maximizing it as much as I can, as I’ve already purchased two of the five items I wanted to get this month, ha. I’m still going to show you the list so you can also see what’s in store upcoming on the blog! Here we go:
1. NARS for Pierre Hardy High Voltage Blush in Boy’s Don’t Cry ($48CAD) – this ‘pink grapefruit’ shade taunted me from the moment I saw the promo ads. I almost had a moment on the weekend where I was just gonna throw reason into the wind and buy it off the NARS website, shipping and all, as I believed it was the only place that was selling it. I resisted and decided that I could do without it – then, lo and behold, when I was at Sephora yesterday just to buy a damn sharpener, there it was. OBVIOUSLY I bought it in about 7 seconds and ran away from the store with glee. Since then I’ve shown it to pretty much everyone I know. I’m too eager to wait till I have a moment to take adequate pictures of it, so I snapped a couple crap ones and I’m wearing it tomorrow, so sorry. I CANNOT WAIT PEOPLE.
2. Clarins Instant Light Natural Lip Perfector in 06 Rosewood Shimmer ($20CAD) – I’ve had a lemming for the creamy, smooth, lovely lip perfectors for about a year now, and recently they came out with a few new shades. This one looks like it might just be the best MLBB I could ask for (also, see evidence of that fact here!). I also absolutely ADORE the smell. This will be mine, and soon!
3. Chanel Le Vernis in Azure ($27CAD) – When I initially heard about Chanel’s colorful summer collection, I was quite excited as it’s normally more austere aesthetic doesn’t always jazz me and my more deeper pigmented skin. However, once I saw what was released, I was a bit ‘meh’ and only happened to check it out in person on a whim when I was at Mills late last week. None of it hooked me – I found the pencils to look terrible on my skintone, and paying through the nose for a colored mascara I’ll rarely wear doesn’t sound like a good use of my money AT ALL – but I really wanted to go home with something, so I picked up Azure. I don’t own many metallic polishes, let alone a metallic teal, and I was nervous this would come back to kick me in the ass, but turns out, Azure is AWESOME. Somehow this eye-catching shade is really sophisticated and elegant despite being an ‘unusual’ color. Also, it wore exceptionally well – due to my crazy-busy schedule, I’ve actually worn it for 5 days straight (this is unheard of for the gal that changes her polish every 3 days), and it’s only got minor chipping and mainly on my dominant hand. LOVE IT.
4. NARS Larger Than Life Eye Liner in Barrow Street ($28CAD) – While being swayed by the siren call of Boy’s Don’t Cry, I was pleasantly surprised to see that the summer collection had come out in full at NARS finally. I have had the gorgeous mint green liner on my radar for a while, and was tempted to get it as well – but resisted because, well…I was already spending $48 on a blush, whaddya want from me!? However, it appears not to be limited edition (hopefully) so I may go back at a later date and pick this up. So fun for the waterline!
Last on the list is not a specific product, but a color that I WANT and am not sure where to find. Check out Hannah Simone in a fabulous cool pink lipstick that needs to be in my life:
This kind of shade can be challenging for me as it can’t run too greyish or else it looks horrendous on my skintone. I even would be OK if it went slightly more violet to make it a bit bolder – I thought I found it in MAC’s Show Orchid but now I’m not so sure. Anyone have any suggestions!?!
So, as you can see, I’m making great progress with my wishlist already, which is promising because what generally happens is I make a list and then buy things that aren’t on it LOL. I’m trying to stick to only making purchases that are on the damn list, because why else am I making them then? Certainly not because I’m bored with nothing to do! *tries to hide under the bed from everyone *
What’s on your wishlist this month?
I often find that my best posts are those that are made up on a whim. Sometimes I’ll be trying something out for my own personal pleasure, and it leads to something else entirely. Today I had one such moment; I was trying to figure out just how I could wear my NARS Laguna Multiple effectively, as its quite pretty but gets very little use. I usually smear it on right from the tube and then blend the heck out of it with my fingers, applying it as a highlight on top of my cheekbones and around my brow bones. Today I tried buffing it in with a stippling brush, which seemed to work exceptionally well. Then I wondered how it looked in sunlight, and stepped out on my balcony in the sunshine, only to be blasted with some serious sparkle! Eeks! I can tell you right now that it is NOT the kind of product you want to wear outside in the sun (so, best used on cloudy days or at night), or at least if you DO wear it, use a very light hand. Lesson learned (and thankfully before I made the faux pas in public)!
Of course, this got me thinking about other highlighters/glow-makers I own and how they fare in the bright sunshine. Of course, being a dutiful blogger, I took photos so we all can benefit from my experiment :) I chose four others that are all permanent products in their respective brands: Benefit Watt’s Up, Becca Shimmering Skin Perfector in Opal, the Balm Mary-Lou Manizer, and Burberry Fresh Glow. You’ve seen swatches of some of these before in my Chanel Poudre Signée post, but here they are again (give or take a couple):
First let me preface the following face swatches by saying that while I could plainly see the sparkle/shimmer in sunlight, it is incredibly hard to capture in photos!! SO frustrating. With that in mind, please take my word for it whether or not something is visible or not, as it is tricky to see in the snaps I took ~grumbles~ Also, please note that all of these shots were taken on completely makeup-free skin (apologies for dark circles!), so there is no other potential shimmer interference (I cleansed my face thoroughly between each shot).
To begin, we have the Laguna Multiple I mentioned originally. Very sparkly in sunlight, and I really would avoid wearing it outside – especially if you do not have my skintone (on me it’s more of a highlight), as it would then be deep bronze + super shimmer, and just wouldn’t be your best moment. You’ll notice as you look through the other face pics that this one has the most noticeable shimmer, even in photographs. BELIEVE IT. However, it IS very pretty and I plan on using it on evenings out over this spring/summer.
Next, we have Benefit’s Watt’s Up luminizer – I only have a sample size of this but honestly that is enough, as a little goes a long way. I want to say it’s my least favorite of the five, but today changed my mind a bit, as the initial BAM! sparkle of it seemed to settle after a couple minutes, and then it really just gave me this lovely radiance. It’s still fairly shimmery, but not as much as the Laguna, and you could probably get away with it in the day if you went very minimal on shimmer elsewhere. Also, I’d probably layer my blush OVER this rather than under (which you’d likely do anyway if you chose powder, as this is a cream, and that’d just get weird), which would tone it down a little bit too. It took me AGES to get photos of this and I’m still not satisfied, so trust me when I say there IS visible shimmer (look for little particle-like things on my face – those are them :P).
Moving right along, next is the insanely popular Becca Shimmering Skin Perfector, in the shade Opal. I snagged this deluxe sample in a swap about a month ago and I LOVE IT SO MUCH YOU GUYS. I’m not going to go on a big ‘You have to buy this!’ rant, because everyone else has done such a good job – so just go buy it already! This product comes very close to the ‘might be too shimmery for day’ line but manages to toe it exceptionally well, so you can totally rock it out all summer long. I adore the glow this gives and because the shimmer particles are so small, they don’t look tacky at all, just nicely done. I will continue to wear this now that the sun is out, day or night.
Continuing on, we come to the Balm’s Mary-Lou Manizer. Next to Laguna this one is the most shimmery, and is also the only powder in the bunch. This was one of my first highlighters (and again, its a small sample size compared to the real deal) and I tended to wear it more in the corners of my eyes than anywhere else. Now, I wear it both ways (on my cheekbones too) but generally keep it to nighttime, as the shimmer combined with the lighter tone and powder formula can make it more obvious than I’d like. Still, the powder is butter-smooth and is nice to have on hand now and again!
Finally, we have the most natural of the bunch, and my personal preference for a foolproof glow – Burberry’s Fresh Glow Luminizing Base. If you recall, I bought this last year as a birthday treat for myself (which I think I might do every year – buy Burberry makeup, I mean!) and was unsure if it was genius or useless. Well, consider me converted because this give the most subtle yet glowing look of the bunch. It can be worn a multitude of ways: on bare skin, under foundation, over foundation, mixed in with foundation, etc. – but I prefer to use either on a bare face to just give me a pick me up if I’m going super low-key, or on top of foundation on the high points of the face. Even though there is shimmer, somehow there is no shimmer - like Houdini or something. I haven’t quite figured it out, but I will say that looking at it worn in full sunshine today for the first time, I was totally amazed – I looked utterly radiant but like I had absolutely nothing on. Kind of like how you look when you put on a face oil, and you look glowing, but without the adding ‘shine’ factor. Good times. Dammit Burberry, why is everything you do SO DAMN
Thus concludes my research – I hope you found it helpful! I know it’s tough to see the nuances between shots but I think the gist is there in terms of comparing the five. As always, this kind of post is helpful for me too, so yay for killing two birds with one stone!
Do you wear a highlighter? What formula/finish do you prefer? Which of these ones would you choose?
Fun with Fuchsia: American Apparel Neon Violet Polish, NARS Desire Blush, and Illamasqua Divine Lipgloss
As some of you may know, I’ve been in a slight polish slump for the past while. Nothing has really got me excited much, though I have picked up a few shades here and there (as seen in my last post) that were great additions to my collection. Last week I was admittedly quite enamoured with China Glaze’s new Dandy Lyin’ Around, a sparkling white polish, but by the end of the week, as usual I was ready for a change. I was feeling kinda frisky (huh?) and pulled out American Apparel’s Neon Violet polish, a blue-leaning bold pink, which is part of their Neon collection that came out quite a while ago. I haven’t given this polish much love for whatever reason, though it often draws my eye as it stands out a lot amid the other shades in my stash. As soon as I put it on, my love was seriously revived – guys, this is a fantastic shade!! I’ve shown pics to you before (once as a pedicure and once on a friend’s hand) but I’m not sure I’ve given it enough due – you really gotta check it out. Aside from the glorious color, it’s a near one-coater with a great formula – it’s just FABULOUS.
Anyway, it got me thinking again about skintone and whether I am more cool or warm – this is most definitely a cool-leaning shade, and while I inherently think I’m warm-toned because of my caramel coloring, more and more I think I might actually just be neutral, leaning neither way, because I seem to be able to pull off shades all over the color spectrum (hooray for me!). I also am realizing that it has a lot more to do with just finding the right shade within each color range, rather than whether or not you can wear ‘warm’ or ‘cool’ tones. After all this thought and over the past few months with some of the beauty accruals I’ve made, I have found my jam in one area at least – fuchsia.
A few months ago, I was on this kick where I wanted to collect NARS blushes – I already owned four and I thought I’d just keep going with it. I’ve since kind of gotten over that, but not before I scored Desire in a swap. Initially I thought it was probably a stupid move – a cool ‘cotton candy pink’ on my skintone?? I just wasn’t convinced. And since I received the shade in the late summer, which did not seem like the season for this color, I left it alone for ages.
When winter rolled around, I figured it was time to give this ago and decide if I was going to keep it or not. As true for many NARS blushes, it has great pigmentation, and because it’s completely matte it’s exceptionally wearable (as a general rule, I find bright pink + shimmer = TOO DAMN MUCH). The first time I wore it, I happened to pair it with heavy black liner and naked lips, and BAM! Compliments galore!! It looked smokin’ (sadly, I do not have pics from that day). It was then that I started to think that fuchsia might be a color I want to start giving more of a chance.
One night a couple months ago when Illamasqua was having their last huge sale, I was perusing the site – and on top of discovering that my current blush lemming Crush was on sale, I also could score the Sheer Lipgloss in Divine (a ‘deep fuchsia pink’) for 1/3 of the regular price. When my package arrived, I was pleased to find that Divine was a wonderful addition to my gloss collection, as it was unlike anything I already own. Additionally, it’s smooth, non-sticky formula was a pleasure to use, and while it isn’t as pigmented as it looks in the tube, its a great shade to brighten up my face in a pinch.
As I already noted, I had previously always thought I had a warm-leaning skintone, so when I saw evidence of how yet another cool-based color looked great, I was finally convinced – fuchsia rocks my world!!
Out of all this discovery, one thing became glaringly clear – I desperately need a bright fuchsia lipstick!! The lovely Sarah from Beauty and the Baked Goods send me Revlon’s Sweet Tart lip butter, which is a great pink, but it leans more candy-colored. I’ve been doing my research and I’m torn between Bite Beauty’s High Pigment Matte Pencil in Quince $28CAD (described as a rose berry – but looks pretty fuchsia to me), YSL’s Rouge Volupte Radiant Lipstick in Rose Culte $39CAD (a ‘vivid fuchsia’), or new NARS Satin Lip Pencil in Yu $30CAD (a ‘shocking pink’). I haven’t gotten to swatch the NARS pencil in person yet, so not sure if it’s the right tone, but the other two totally do it for me – it’s likely I’ll opt for the Bite pencil as it’s more reasonably priced and I have yet to try a lippie from the brand.
All said and done, I’m pretty stoked that I’ve stumbled upon a go-to shade that seems to work so well with my skintone. I’ve made several discoveries of this kind over the past couple months while funds have been so limited – I’ve been taking the time to play more and make more informed decisions about what I purchase when I have the means to do so, and it’s been a positive learning experience :)
What unlikely makeup / polish shades have you discovered to really work for you?
Before the online world took over, I used to be a voracious reader of magazines. First it was YM, which I only read for the ‘Say Anything’ section when I was about 11-12 years old. Then it progressed to Seventeen, then Cosmo, and then Allure – the latter which firmly entrenched my love affair with makeup eternally. Often, I would pull pages out of a magazine with pictures that evoked a certain ‘something’ – I can remember papering my walls with Calvin Klein ads for DAYS (OMG this is bringing back memories!); the models all seemed to fabulous and mysterious. As I grew up, I instead began to pull makeup looks from the pages of my favorite mags, anything that piqued my interest visually and was just begging to be attempted.
Though I don’t do this as often today (I have a subscription to only one mag now, and try to avoid buying any because – hello, internet!), I still do come across pictures in print that I clip out for future reference. I have a big photo album full of ‘em now, tied together as a collage – each page with a different theme (YES I KNOW I AM ORGANIZED/OCD/CRAZY/WHATHAVEYOU). This morning I thought of my album and pulled it out to get some ideas for the day’s look. What I decided on was this:
Every so often I go through the album and remove photos that I’m no longer ‘feeling.’ Amazingly, this actually doesn’t happen very often – even though the span of these photos is over probably 7+ years, I still love most of them and they don’t seem to become dated. The photo above is one of my oldest, and yet I think it’s still as relevant today, and I still totally love it. A flash of blue liner and a stained pout – simplicity at it’s best.
I wore this look today for the first time, and I’m pretty pleased with how it came out:
I did tone it down a bit by not bringing the blue all the way to the far inner corners; I was after all, at work today and my office isn’t terribly ‘creative’ (I know, totally not what you expect for the GOVERNMENT, right? Ha). But otherwise, I actually think I captured the look fairly well. The liner shade is exceptionally close (though I suspect she’s wearing liquid – while I used MAC’s Petrol Blue Pearlglide liner). I think I even almost got the lip stain right (MAC’s Bing Mattene lipstick), though it looks a little worn here because I reapplied and then forgot and ate some chocolate. Oops.
And an even more up-close shot:
I chose to bring the liner around to just the edge of my upper lash line, though I don’t think she has that in the photo. I liked the effect though. Overall, I liked the look – I don’t think I’ve ever worn anything like it, and it was a great way to use the MAC eye pencil as I’m trying to get rid of it (great shade, terrible wear on my eyes which tend to get smudgy at the corners). I wore an eyelid primer (NARS Smudgeproof) to prevent this from sliding down my face. I must admit, similar to my other blue look, I felt kinda badass wearing this, which is always a good thing in my books because if it gives you a little bit of a swagger, all the better ;)
So what do you think of the look? Where do you get your inspiration from? Do you get any benefit from these kinds of posts? Let me know your thoughts in the comments!