Archive for category theBalm

All the Pretty Sparkles: Highlighter Review & Swatches

Highlighters (7)

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)!

Highlighters

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):

Highlighter Swatches (2) Highlighter SwatchesLeft to right: NARS The Multiple in Laguna, Benefit Watt’s Up, Becca Shimmering Skin Perfector in Opal, the Balm Mary-Lou Manizer, and Burberry Fresh Glow

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.

NARS The Multiple in Laguna NARS The Multiple in Laguna (3)

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).

Benefit Watt's Up (7) Benefit Watt's Up (6)

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.

Becca Shimmering Skin Perfector in Opal Becca Shimmering Skin Perfector in Opal (5)

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!

the Balm Mary-Lou Manizer the Balm Mary-Lou Manizer (6)This second shot is kind of bizarro for sure, but it highlighted the shimmers so well I had to include it >_<

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 EXPENSIVE GOOD?

Burberry Fresh Glow Burberry Fresh Glow (2)

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!

Highlighters (6)

Do you wear a highlighter?  What formula/finish do you prefer?  Which of these ones would you choose?

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16 Comments

Swatching Is Rough (AKA My Eyeshadow Collection)

Eyeshadow Collection (3)

I was going to leave my eyeshadow collection ’till last to swatch in my ‘find the gaps’ series of posts, but the superstorm (which…is kind of lackluster – yea, there’s lots of snow, but I want some action, darn it!) seemed like the perfect time to just get ‘er done – so I did!  Oh man…for those of you who have larger collections than mine, I feel sorry for you if you attempt to do this – it is a BIG EFFING ORDEAL.  I started last night and got just over halfway through before both (!) arms had had enough.  I continued today and after needing to re-swatch several shade categories to get them *just right*, my left arm is just burning (as you’ll notice in the photos – red spots galore!).  So: enough.  I’m ready to rock ‘n roll.  Now – let’s get into ‘er!

Note: All shades are permanent within their respective brands except where otherwise noted.

WHITE EYESHADOWWhite Eyeshadow Swatches - AVON, Urban Decay UziAvon True Color Quad in Smokey Eyes (satin white)
Urban Decay Eyeshadow in Uzi (shimmer w/glitter) (LE)
 
‘HIGHLIGHT’ EYESHADOWHighlight Eyeshadow Swatches - MUFE 920, KATE BR-2, MAC VexMake Up For Ever Star Powder in #920 (iridescent)
KATE Real Create Eyes BR-2 Palette (white gold pearl)
MAC Eyeshadow in Vex (frost)
 
NUDE EYESHADOWNude Eyeshadow Swatches - MAC Next to Nothing, Laura Mercier Suspense, Burberry TrenchMAC Eyeshadow in Next to Nothing (Cult of Cherry Tempting Quad – frost) (LE)
Laura Mercier Eye Color Duet in Suspense (matte cool beige) (LE)
Burberry Sheer Eyeshadow in Trench (satin)
 
BEIGE, CHAMPAGNE & PEACH EYESHADOWPeach-Champagne Eyeshadow Swatches (9)Urban Decay Eyeshadow in Midnight Cowboy Rides Again (shimmer w/glitter)
Make Up For Ever Aqua Cream in #13 Warm Beige (frost)
Chanel Illusion d’Ombre in Emerveille (shimmer)
Urban Decay Eyeshadow in Snatch (shimmer w/glitter)
Kate Real Create Eyeshadow BR-2 Palette (soft peachy shimmer)
MAC Eyeshadow in Arena (satin)
 
GOLD EYESHADOWGold Eyeshadow Swatches - MAC Melon, Laura Mercier Gilded Moonlight, Clinique Gold GlimmerMAC Pigment in Melon (frost)
Laura Mercier Illuminating Eye Color in Gilded Moonlight (pearl) (LE)
Clinique Touch Tint for Eyes in Gold Glimmer (shimmer) (discontinued)
 
COPPER & ORANGE EYESHADOWOrange-Copper Eyeshadow Swatches - MAC Amber Lights, Ardene 8BMAC Eyeshadow in Amber Lights (frost)
Ardene Eyeshadow in 8B (pearl)
 
BRONZE EYESHADOWBronze Eyeshadow Swatches - MAC Cocomotion, UD Smog, MAC Tempting, Clinique Rum SpiceMAC Pigment in Cocomotion (frost) (LE)
Urban Decay Eyeshadow in Smog (shimmer)
MAC Eyeshadow in Tempting (lustre)
Clinique Color Surge Super Shimmer Eyeshadow in Rum Spice (shimmer)
 
BROWN EYESHADOWBrown Eyeshadow Swatches - MAC Dark Edge, KATE BR-2, MUFE #17, Laura Mercier Suspense DuoMAC Eyeshadow in Dark Edge (Cult of Cherry Tempting Quad – satin) (LE)
KATE Real Create Eyes BR-2 Palette (deep brown shimmer)
Make Up For Ever Eyeshadow in #17 Espresso (matte)
Laura Mercier Eye Color Duet in Suspense (matte burgundy brown) (LE)
 
TAUPE-BROWN EYESHADOWS
Brown-Taupe Eyeshadow Swatches - UD Suspect, NARS Rajasthan, KATE BR-2Urban Decay Eyeshadow in Suspect (shimmer)
NARS Duo Eyeshadow in Rajasthan (beige-gold taupe) (shimmer) (LE)
KATE Real Create Eyes BR-2 Palette (taupe shimmer)
 
TAUPE-PURPLE EYESHADOWS
Purple-Taupe Eyeshadow Swatches - NARS Grand Palais, LMdB Corinthian, MAC Shale, bareMinerals Meteorite, Hourglass ExhibitionNARS Duo Eyeshadow in Grand Palais (silver-taupe shimmer)
Hourglass Visionaire Eye Shadow Duo in Exhibition (mauve shimmer)
MAC Eyeshadow in Shale (satin)
bareMinerals High Shine Eye Color in Meteorite (frost)
Le Metier de Beaute True Color Eye Shadow in Corinthian (shimmer)
 
RED & PINK EYESHADOWPink-Red Eyeshadow Swatches - L'Oreal Golden Mahogany, Chanel Abstraction, Avon Smokey EyesL’Oreal Infallible Eyeshadow in Golden Mahogany (frost)
Chanel Illusion d’Ombre in Abstraction (shimmer)
Avon True Color Quad in Smokey Eyes (matte light pink)
 
MAUVE & ROSE EYESHADOW
Rose-Mauve Eyeshadow Swatches - UD Bordello, UD Last Call, NARS Grand PalaisUrban Decay Eyeshadow in Bordello (shimmer w/glitter)
Urban Decay Eyeshadow in Last Call (metallic)
NARS Duo Eyeshadow in Grand Palais (matte dusty rose)
 
PLUM EYESHADOW
Plum Eyeshadow Swatches - NARS Habanera, UD Rockstar, Hourglass Exhibition
NARS Duo Eyeshadow in Habanera (sparkling plum)
Urban Decay Eyeshadow in Rockstar (shimmer)
Hourglass Visionaire Eye Shadow Duo in Exhibition (eggplant shimmer)
 
PURPLE EYESHADOW
Purple Eyeshadow Swatches - UD Psychedelic Sister, MAC InfamousUrban Decay Eyeshadow in Psychedelic Sister (shimmer)
MAC Paint in Infamous (metallic) (discontinued)
 
BLUE EYESHADOW
Blue Eyeshadow Swatches - UD Radium, MAC Blue Boy, MAC Blue EdgeMAC Paint in Blue Boy (metallic) (discontinued)
Urban Decay Eyeshadow in Radium (shimmer)
MAC Eyeshadow in Blue Edge (matte w/shimmer) (discontinued)
 
AQUA & TEAL EYESHADOWS
Teal-Aqua Eyeshadow Swatches - NARS Rajasthan, theBalm Jealous Jordana, UD Loaded, MUFE #8E, Illamasqua Burst, UD Money, NARS Habanera, UD Haight
NARS Duo Eyeshadow in Rajasthan (blackened teal shimmer) (LE)
Urban Decay Eyeshadow in Loaded (metallic)
theBalm Shady Lady Eyeshadow in Jealous Jordana (shimmer)
Make Up For Ever Aqua Shadow in 8E (matte)
Urban Decay Eyeshadow in Haight (shimmer)
Urban Decay Eyeshadow in Money (shimmer w/micro-glitter) (LE)
NARS Duo Eyeshadow in Habanera (mint frost)
 
GREEN EYESHADOW
Green Eyeshadow Swatches - UD Kush, LMdB Jade, UD Mildew, MAC Sharp, Lise Watier Folie Pomme, MUFE #57Urban Decay Eyeshadow in Kush (shimmer w/micro-glitter)
Le Metier de Beaute True Color Eye Shadow in Jade (shimmer)
Urban Decay Eyeshadow in Mildew (shimmer)
MAC Eyeshadow in Sharp (Cult of Cherry Tempting Quad – satin) (LE)
Lise Watier Couleur Folle Eyeshadow in Folie Pomme (iridescent shimmer)
Make Up For Ever Eyeshadow in #57 Chartreuse (satin)
 
YELLOW EYESHADOW
Yellow Eyeshadow Swatches - MUFE #24, MAC Bright Future
Make Up For Ever Aqua Cream in #24 Yellow (matte)
MAC Eyeshadow in Bright Future (
 
KHAKI EYESHADOW
Khaki Eyeshadow Swatches - Armani #24, Armani #6, Clinique Autumn Moss
Giorgio Armani Eyes to Kill Intense Waterproof Eyeshadow in #24 Smokey Copper (shimmer)
Giorgio Armani Eyes to Kill Intense Eyeshadow in #6 Khaki Pulse (shimmer)
Clinique Color Surge Soft Shimmer Eyeshadow in Autumn Moss (satin)
 
TAUPE-SILVER EYESHADOWS
Silver-Taupe Eyeshadow Swatches - UD Maui Wowie, Bobbi Brown Pewter, theBalm Insane Jane, MUFE #2Urban Decay Eyeshadow in Maui Wowie (metallic w/glitter)
Bobbi Brown Chrome Eye Shadow in Pewter (frost) (LE)
theBalm Shady Lady Eyeshadow in Insane Jane (shimmer)
Make Up For Ever Aqua Cream in #2 Steel (shimmer)
 
GREY EYESHADOW
Grey Eyeshadow Swatches - Avon Smokey EyesAvon True Color Quad in Smokey Eyes (medium grey & dove grey) (shimmer)
 
BLACK EYESHADOWS
Black Eyeshadow Swatches - UD Perversion, MAC Dark SoulMAC Pigment in Dark Soul (frost w/glitter)
Urban Decay Eyeshadow in Perversion (matte)
 

….PHEW!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Did you make it??

Eyeshadow Collection (4)

…So.  To be honest, when I started swatching all my makeup, I was originally just trying to find a way to justify new purchases – if it could be considered a shade I didn’t already own, then I would feel free to go for it.  However, now I’ve discovered that being so fully aware of what I own, has made me really excited to play with my current collection, instead of seeking out new products.  I especially noticed this with this eyeshadow post – there are so truly fabulous shades in there!  While there are still of course colors I’d like to pick up to fill the gaps (namely – a lilac and a skintone [MY skintone, to clarify] shade, among a couple others), overall I’m WELL aware I have a ton of shades to rock out and don’t really *need* anything else at the moment.  I did notice I have a lot less color than I imagined, but that’s actually OK because I don’t tend to wear it a ton and try to avoid buying a lot of it only for it to go unused.  I think my stash is fairly representative of the kind of makeup I wear day to day!  So SCORE for being logical in my purchases :)

Eyeshadow Collection

I am kinda worn out from the work necessary to do this post, so I’m done now LOL.  But – I have questions for you!

Do you see any gaps that I could fill?  What shades make up the bulk of your eyeshadow collection?? Also – anyone bother to count how many shades I have?  I’m too tired now to bother LOL

Eyeshadow Collection (2)

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Playing Where’s Waldo with My Makeup Collection

I spent two hours – TWO HOURS! – last night, researching what products and shades I should to order from Becca Cosmetics (a brand I’ve yet to try and desperately want to).  My (totally logical – I swear!) reason for doing this?  To avoid purchasing any shades that were similar to ones I already own.  I DID come up with a (very) pared down list, you’ll be happy to hear; if you’re interested (and FYI – the blog Shades of BECCA is a good resource for some swatches):

Papaya Beach Tint $30CAD (hot red)

Becca Papaya Beach Tint

Fallen Angel Ultimate Color Gloss $29CAD (nude spice)

Becca Fallen Angel gloss

There were a handful of other products I liked the look of, but in checking out swatches, they seemed to be too close to items I already own (though, c’mon, the brand is gorgeous and I could have easily gone for one of everything!).  Which brings me to the point.

You’re all familiar with my organizational obsession right? (and…if you’re new and not aware: Hello!  My name is Latoya and YES, I have a problem which manifests itself into a bit of compulsive organization.  Could be worse!)  Anyway, another problem I have is lack of funds; when you own a home on your own and don’t make the big bucks, things can get tricky.  However, I have ANOTHER problem (jeez, someone institutionalize me, will ya?), which is that I love shopping – for cosmetics in particular.  Smash the three of these together and what do you get?  Well…you get THIS:

Blush Collection (2)My poor broken MAC blush up on the right :(

What ‘THIS’ is, is me taking a good look at an area of my makeup collection – specifically blush/bronzers in this instance – and seeing where I have gaps.  By gaps, I mean: what shades do I lack that I can justify buying, in order to round out my stash and also quell the burning desire to shop my face off.  Ya dig?  This fantabulous idea kills three birds three mosquitoes (no one cares about those) with one big-ass swat.   I get to organize something*, figure out what shades or products I’m missing, and rationally and systematically purchase new items that are on my wishlist and fit the ‘missing’ bill.  BOOM!

*Seriously guys, I joke but….I really like organizing things.  So much so, that near the end of the month I’m signing up for a Professional Organizers intro course to see if I’d like to become a professional organizer for realz.  It’s THAT serious :S

So, as you can see, I’m starting with blush – because clearly blush is THE BEST EVER and deserves the number one spot for allowing EVEN MORE BLUSH.  Because clearly 20 (+ 7 bronzer-type things and 2 mini-blush) are NOT ENOUGH.

(I swear I’m not on the sauce tonight guys – I just feel a little peppy ’cause I’m back into running and signed up for the Ottawa 1/2 Marathon in May…wooo! :D)

Berry & Orange blush swatchesLeft to right (flash): Rouge Bunny Rouge Florita, NARS Turkish Red, Illamasqua Tweak; NARS Taj Mahal, Make Up For Ever Blush Powder #25, Illamasqua Lover, Make Up For Ever HD Blush #12 First Kiss

Plums and RussetsLeft to right (flash): NARS Sin, Bobbi Brown Velvet Plum (discontinued shade); MAC Raizin, CoverFX Bronzed FX in Garnet, Burberry Russet, MAC Early Morning

Even with 20+ blush, I can plainly see what shades I’m lacking: A bright red! (NARS Turkish Red is more of a burgundy)  A true orange! (NARS Taj Mahal is kind of a burnt orange and quite shimmery)  A neutral pink! (…I literally do not own one beige-y pink blush, for shame)   A nice deep berry would be lovely!  And also – varying formulations!  I have NO cheek tints, and only four cream blush.  You see, there actually ARE shades/formulas I do not have despite having far more blush than is probably necessary.  And then, there are shades I need NO more of, like medium pinks…I have enough of those, yep.  I don’t think I need any more bronzers, especially since I rarely wear them and I’m already kinda *ahem* bronze.  I only really have a couple coral shades, which tends to be the one a lot of people go gaga for (myself included), but I’ll hold off till the warmer months on thinking about those right now.  Same goes for apricot-hued shades.

Pink and Coral blush swatchesLeft to right (flash): NARS Desire, Illamasqua Unrequited (discontinued shade*), theBalm Down Boy, Chanel Blush Horizon de Chanel, Benefit Bella Bamba, Illamasqua Hussy, Bobbi Brown Calypso Coral, NARS Torrid, theBalm Hot Mama

Bronzer swatchesLeft to right (flash): NARS Laguna Illuminator, Too Faced Sun Bunny Bronzing Powder, NARS Laguna Multiple, MAC Refined Golden Bronzing Powder, Milani Sunset Duos in Sunset Beach, Clinique Bronze Uplighting, Estee Lauder Illuminating Gelee in Shimmering Sands

What I’m wondering is, what gaps do YOU see?  Since I only have my stash to compare it to, I can’t get a good idea of what I’m missing.  What shades can you suggest that I should focus on buying?

Blush Collection

I’m planning on doing this little experiment with all my makeup over the next little while, so be prepared: more lame examples of my organizational obsession coming your way!  But do come back anyway, because I need your help :)

Is your makeup collection where you want it to be, or do you have a few gaps you’d like to fill?

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25 Comments

My Beauty Vision for Fall 2012

I have been thinking about fall A LOT lately, probably more than I should since it’s still summer!  I held out for a long time, even despite all the visuals and temptations of the new collections that came out far earlier than they should have – but I’m a change-seeker, and I’m just about ready to switch it up!

Chanel Fall 2012

Burberry Fall 2012

So far, I haven’t picked up too many items from the fall launches specifically – but I’ve been slowly building my arsenal of fall shades, new or old, and I think I’m nearly ready :)  Some things I already owned, and some are new purchases, and between the two I think I’m going to have one heck of a beautiful fall!

NARS Fall 2012

Laura Mercier Fall 2012

Giorgio Armani Fall 2012

While I don’t follow ‘trends’ per se, I am very influenced by the weather with regard to my makeup, and with crisp, blustery days and vivid autumn leaves in my future, the imagery is bound to translate.  Warm metallics, smokey greys, jewel tones, and dark, vampy lips have been dancing in my head in a big way.  The pictures below perfectly exemplify what I mean – here I’ve paired them with some corresponding shade selections from my stash (all swatch photos taken outside):

Selita Ebanks

(below, left to right)
Dior Rouge Dior in Daisy Plum (golden berry plum)
Ellis Faas Creamy Lips in L102 (deep plum wine)
MAC Mattene in Bing (blackened eggplant) (LE from Fall 2008 Cult of Cherry collection)

No flashFlash

Wearing a deep, bold lip has never been so enticing to me.  I plan on rocking out the above shades all season long!

Diane Kruger

(below, left to right)
MUFE Eyeshadow in Espresso 17 (chocolate brown)
LM Eye Color Duet in Suspense (plum-brown side of duo) (new and LE for Fall 2012 Cinema Noir collection)
MAC Eyeshadow in Shale (taupe-mauve)
theBalm Eyeshadow in Insane Jane (gunmetal)

No flashFlash

I’m also really eager to work a smokey eye on the regular; in the past I’ve always only worn this look in a big way for a night out, but this fall I’m hoping to wear the soft, more subtle version (as best evidenced by the Burberry fall collection) in shades of grey, taupe, and brown. I realized I’m sorely lacking a matte grey shadow – any suggestions??

Aishwarya Rai

(below, left to right)
MAC Blush in Raizin (reddish-brown)
Burberry Light Glow Blush in Russet (glowing rust)
NARS Velvet Lip Gloss Pencil in More (terracotta) (new for Fall 2012 collection)
Clinique Color Surge Eyeshadow in Rum Spice (deep bronze)
Giorgio Armani Eyes To Kill Intense Eyeshadow in #6 (warm khaki)
Giorgio Armani Eyes To Kill Intense Waterproof Eyeshadow in#24 (smoky khaki-gold) (new and LE from Fall 2012 collection)

No flashFlash

Of course, it wouldn’t be fall with out the earthy shades of the season, such as khaki, terracotta, and bronze – which are some of my favorite types of colors and look best on my skintone (bring it!).

Rose Byrne

(below, left to right)
Bobbi Brown Pot Rouge in Velvet Plum (cool plum) (discontinued shade)
Rouge Bunny Rouge Original Skin Blush in Florita (glowing berry)
CoverFX BronzedFX in Garnet (reddened bronze)
NARS Cream Blush in Turkish Red (cool deep red) (discontinued shade)

No flash

Flash

Lastly, a good flushed cheek can’t be beat in the cooler months!  I could use a few more of these mysterious shades in my repetoire, I just love them for their wearability on just about every skin tone.

Gah!  Ok, now I’m REALLY ready for fall!  Its been a fantastic summer, don’t get me wrong…but it’s time for a change :)  Even though I had a major love affair with some fabulous brights all season, I’m getting a bit tired of them – and who doesn’t love the moody shades of autumn!?  Note that the above shades I’ve listed that are new for fall 2012 will all be reviewed individually (any requests for which should be first??).

What shades are you looking forward to wearing this fall?  Have you been lured into purchasing anything from the new collections?

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Summer Looks, 3 Ways: Cheeks, Lips or Eyes

I have to tell you, I have been having a BLAST creating different looks and playing with products that I already have (versus getting sucked into the never-ending *new-New-NEW!!* vortex) – it has been the absolute best solution I’ve found to control my shopping tendencies and appreciate what I own rather than the lust-buy-forget-repeat cycle I’ve been guilty of in the past.  I’m not knocking picking up new and pretty things – goodness knows there’s a (great!!) time and place for that, and I still am buying more makeup than I’ll ever need – but I also get fed up with myself when I go out and pick up new products before giving the ones I own proper love.  It totally suits my new mentality of making sure everything I have is awesome and that’s it’s getting semi-regular attention.  Anything that’s not floating the Latoya boat is getting booted.  End of story.

My ‘no way, jose’ face lol (or just filler…it looked photo barren here!)

Anyway, I’ve been experimenting a lot lately – way more than I have for YEARS, maybe since I was in university – and it’s amazing the combinations and shades you can come up with when you put your mind to it!  I find I was forgetting the whole reason I started the blog, which was because I loved USING makeup, not just acquiring it, and I’ve been pushing myself out of the box and trying new looks and realizing I have some pretty awesome products!!  Does anyone remember the Canadian cooking show ‘The Urban Peasant?’  He used to always say “Use what you got,” and dammit if I’m not following his lead ;P

Good grief I’m chatty.

Ok, onwards to the looks!  I wanted to do 3 different Summer-themed looks to cover each of the main focal points of the face – cheeks, lips and eyes.  I’ve sort of started following a general rule of thumb when it comes to wearing what kind of looks when: I often wear a bolder lip to work, because hey! – I’m not kissing anyone there, and reapplication at my desk is easy-peasy; a strong eye when going ‘out’ somewhere; and a defined cheek for more laid-back kind of days, as it makes me look polished but isn’t too much and doesn’t require any maintenance.  Of course, any of these combinations can be worn at any time, and you could even pair two of them together for a whole different look, but for the purpose of this post I’m going to give distinction between them.

Look #1 – Focus on Cheeks:

In my first look, I focused on an all-over bronzed glow combined with a more flushed cheek to enhance.  This is a super-quick and easy way to wear makeup in the Summer months, as it just builds upon the warmth the sun naturally bestows upon the skin.  If I’m going for a more casual look, this is usually what I lean toward.  The products I used are below.

Clockwise from left: NARS South Beach Multiple, Illamasqua Tweak, MAC Refined Golden Bronzer, Clinique High Lengths Mascara, MAC Crosswires Lipstick, Milani Sunset Duos in Sunset Beach

Left to right: NARS South Beach Multiple, Milani Sunset Duos in Sunset Beach, Illamasqua Tweak, MAC Crosswires Lipstick

And the resulting look!:

Above – In sunlight; Below – With flash

Capturing the strength of cheek products is tricky; it seems like you need to go more heavy-handed than you normally would in order to get the same effect you’d see in person.  While I wasn’t sporting ‘clown-cheeks’ to be sure, my blush was more noticeable in real life, and I actually quite liked it!  By using Milani’s Sunset Beach (the bronze side) as bronzer and then a bit extra under the cheekbones to contour, NARS South Beach to highlight on top of cheekbones (then blended out toward temples and any residual down the bridge of my nose), and Illamasqua Tweak on the higher point of the apples of my cheeks to emphasize (and blending like crazy to avoid any harsh edges), it just looked like I had been out in the sun all day.  Pretty natural actually with just a touch of glam from the highlight.  To finish I dabbed on MAC’s Crosswires lippie as a stain, and added a touch of clear gloss to give a bit of shine.

Look #2 – Focus on Lips:

My next look took me more out of my comfort zone, as I VERY rarely wear pigmented lip colors plus a glossy finish – a matte bold lip is much more subdued and easier to pull off in most cases.  But I had an inspiration from my lookbook (a photo album full of looks I’ve clipped out of magazines) that came to mind and I really wanted to try it.  In it, the model is wearing a rich coral-red lip that has this insane glossy shine to it, while the rest of the makeup is very subtle with just a beachy glow.  As my lip collection is sort of in transition, I didn’t have the exact shade I was looking for, so I had to get creative:

Clockwise from left: Estee Lauder Illuminating Gelee in Shimmering Sands, theBalm Read My Lips Lipstick in Wanted, Sephora She Sparkles lipgloss, MAC Lychee Luxe Lipglass, Ojon Restorative Mascara

Left to right: theBalm Read My Lips Lipstick in Wanted, MAC Lychee Luxe Lipglass, Sephora She Sparkles lipgloss, Estee Lauder Illuminating Gelee in Shimmering Sands

My interpretation:

By combining a shiny red lip color with a coral gloss and adding extra gloss on top of that, I came close to what I was aiming for – and even though it wasn’t exactly the same, I think it ended up being relatively flattering!  I’d never tried theBalm lip product before, hadn’t even swatched it, but it popped into my head and I figured now was the time to try it out.  MAC’s Lychee Luxe is one of my fave shades of gloss (though truth be told I don’t think I’ll buy any more MAC glosses – I’m SO over the sticky texture!), and the pinky-coral tone kept the red from being too cool and Christmas-y looking.  Plus the gold shimmer of Sephora’s She Sparkles gave it a Summery kick, and that extra dose of shiny I was going for.  By keeping the rest of my makeup extremely simple, the bright glossiness of the lips didn’t seem so obnoxious.

Look #3 – Focus on Eyes:

Lastly, I wanted to showcase a Summer look for eyes.  I do tend to wear more eye makeup than anything else, though this is subtly changing over the past few months – I’m trying to break out of the same old of bold eyes and muted cheeks/lips.  For this look, I pushed myself again to play and experiment more than normal, which actually was quite easy once I determined what shade was going to anchor my look – Make Up For Ever’s Aqua Cream #24, the bold canary yellow I reviewed last week!  After choosing a bright shade like that, everything else seemed easy in comparison :)

Clockwise from left: MAC Arena eyeshadow, Make Up For Ever Aqua Cream #24, Rouge Bunny Rouge Original Skin Blush in Florita, Clinique Brush-On Cream Liner in Black Honey, Urban Decay 24/7 Waterproof Liquid Liner in Perversion, Laura Mercier Full Blown Volume Mascara, Ardene Eyeshadow in 8B, MAC Evolution Revolution Lipglass   

Left to right: Make Up For Ever Aqua Cream #24, Ardene Eyeshadow in 8B, Urban Decay Last Call eyeshadow, Clinique Brush-On Cream Liner in Black Honey, Urban Decay 24/7 Waterproof Liquid Liner in Perversion, Rouge Bunny Rouge Original Skin Blush in Florita, MAC Evolution Revolution Lipglass

Here’s how I made it work:

Above – Sunlight; Below – With flashI applied MUFE Aqua Cream #24 all over the lid, then applied Ardene 8B to the middle of the lid outward.  I added UD’s Last Call to the outer lid and crease, and highlighted the brow and the inner corners of the eye with MAC’s Arena.  Finally I lined the upper lash line with UD’s Perversion liquid liner, and the bottom lash line with Clinique’s Black Honey, and piled on a generous dose of mascara on top and bottom lashes.

As I mentioned in the review, this vibrant matte yellow Aqua Cream is surprizingly easy to use – easy to work with, easy to blend, and didn’t look as garish as I thought it would once applied.  I absolutely ADORED how this look came out overall, it felt SO Summery and warm and fun, and I can see myself recreating this over and over this season, because it was an easy way to inject some color into my palette without being too over the top.  And it got me using another shade that never gets love from me – the Ardene shadow, which by the way has a lovely buttery texture and is probably like $3 at the store.

Also, I can’t deal with how great Florita looked with this combination – it gives the perfect amount of glow for the Summer without being shimmery, which would also compete with the shadows.  Finishing with the pale pink MAC gloss added just the right touch of glossiness and muted quality to my lips to compliment the look best.

All in all, though I think the last look was my favorite out of the three (typical!), I’m going to make every effort to rotate between a focus on eyes, lips and cheeks and continue to experiment with different looks and play with lesser-used shades in order to have more fun with makeup, and be more mindful of what I already own.  I SO enjoyed creating these looks over the past couple weeks, and I truly hope you got some benefit out of them as well!  Its nice to showcase and talk about other products that aren’t brand-spanking new or the most talked-about in the blogosphere.  Sometimes I find I get so saturated with the same old, that when I stumble upon posts that discuss makeup I haven’t heard/thought of, it’s like a breath of fresh air!

…and now I’m done.  Thanks for sticking through this if you made it this far!  Hope you enjoyed!! :D

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Something to Amuse You While I’m Gone: My Blush Collection (Part I!)

Since it’s a well-known fact that blush addiction is 1) contagious, and 2) that it spreads quickly, I thought I’d leave you with a little *something* while I’m away this week – my gift to you :P  It’s truly scary how quickly one can go from owning a handful of blush to moving into double-digits in an alarmingly quick fashion.  At the beginning of the year, I think I had 8 (plus a handful of highlighters and bronzers, so around 14 total), and in three short months I have pretty much doubled that number – yikes!!  I was so easy to judge when it was someone else, but I see how quickly things can go downhill.  It’s a fun ride slippery slope, but gosh are there ever some beautiful shades out there!  It’s so easy to fall prey to their powers.

The first installment in what will be a week-long series, are my pink and peach/coral shades.  It blows me away how some of these looks so similar in the pan, yet look nothing alike when swatched/worn.  I played around with the groupings a bit, but am fairly satisfied in how I divided them in the end.  Let’s begin with the pink blushes:

Clockwise from top left: Benefit Bella Bamba, Chanel Blush de Horizon, MAC Madly Magenta, theBalm Down Boy

MAC’s Madly Magenta, a matte cream, is really too violet for this grouping, but it’s the only one of it’s kind in my stash, so it’s joining the team.  I bought it well over a year ago, but the other three were bought or acquired over the past four months. Benefit Bella Bamba is a shimmering ‘watermelon pink'; Chanel’s Blush de Horizon is a shimmering cool-ish pink, and theBalm’s Down Boy is a matte baby pink.

All swatches taken with flash.  Left to right: Benefit Bella Bamba, Chanel Blush de Horizon, theBalm Down Boy, MAC Madly Magenta

Over the past few months, I’m coming to realize that what looks like one thing in the pan might be something else entirely when worn.  I thought for sure that Down Boy would look chalky on me, but it doesn’t at all – it’s just a lovely subtle pink flush.  I was surprized and slightly disappointed to see how close Bella Bamba and Blush de Horizon was, though Bella Bamba does have more pink pigmentation.  I’m still working on MAC’s Madly Magenta…maybe when I’m more tanned I’ll figure it out.

Next up, we have my peach/coral shades – my favorite color of blush.  I find myself always looking at these when I’m shopping, but so far I’ve been able to stop myself from buying more, until I can confidently say it’s a color I do not own.

From top left: NARS Torrid, Illamasqua Tweak, theBalm Hot Mama, Make Up For Ever #12 First Kiss

I know that Illamaqua’s Tweak (described as a deep hot pink) looks far too pinky to be here, but it’s too warm to be included with the ‘pinks’ group, and again it was one of a kind, so here it is. It actually wasn’t so far off from NARS Torrid, a ‘warm coral’ with shimmer, so it seemed to fit.  MUFE’s First Kiss HD Blush is a bright apricot (which is the only recent *purchase* out of this group), and theBalm’s Hot Mama is a pinky-peach with shimmer.

All swatches taken with flash.  From left to right: theBalm Hot Mama, MUFE #12 First Kiss, NARS Torrid, Illamasqua Tweak

It still blows me away every time how light Hot Mama is, when it looks so similar in the pan to Torrid.  Also, comparing Torrid in the pan to Benefit’s Bella Bamba, they look so close, and yet Torrid swatched/worn is SO much deeper than it looks – it’s shocking.  I was also surprized at how much more orange-leaning MUFE’s  #12 First Kiss looks when compared to other shades – when I bought it I thought I might have repeated something else in my stash.  I’m please to know that I didn’t :)

As a bonus shot, here’s what Illamasqua Tweak looks like when worn (on me):

Sunlight

Artificial light

In these shots, it looks like it should be with the pink family, doesn’t it? :P

So, there you have it – Part I of my ever-expanding blush collection!  I hope you enjoyed it – stay tuned tomorrow for Part II!! :)

Do you own any of these shades?  Were any swatches surprizing to you too?  What is your favorite blush shade?

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It’s Over For Another Year…Lent 2012 Conclusion and Considerations

Well another year has passed, and that means another Lent and a challenge to embark on.  Six weeks ago, I revealed my plan to you for this year’s Lent, which was MUCH tamer than last year (giving up buying cosmetics cold turkey – gah!  What was I thinking!?):

1) Write a blog post every single day, with the exception of Sundays
2) Wear every single makeup item in my stash at least once
3) Post regular FOTD pictures with the evidence

It was a pretty easy year, I have to say, which is why you didn’t get many updates from me as the weeks passed. I started strong with the FOTD pics (though failed at making them look good!), but as time wore on I found myself still mostly wearing the same old looks and products I always do.  It was an unsuccessful Lent in that respect, but not entirely a waste – I did learn a few lessons!First, I came to some conclusions about blogging and how I plan to proceed with writing posts.  While I almost always have a plethora of things I’d like to write about, near the end of the 6 weeks I found that I was feeling less enthused about blogging – working on a computer all day to come home to work for another few hours, every single day, started to get to me. Could have been year-end as well, but in order for me to maintain my blogging integrity and the quality of posts I want to produce, I think every second day or so is more reasonable for where I’m at right now. I really want to engage with more people, either our in the community making myself present, or through my own posts, and I’m barely finding the time to write a post, take good quality (as I’m able) photos, respond to comments, read others blogs and comment….it’s a lot of time and as I’m no night-owl…it gets pretty strained.  So while I tried and mostly succeeded to write every day, it’s just not feasible for me if I want to still enjoy blogging as much as I do.  I hope you all understand! :)

Second, and much more entertaining, I did experiment with makeup more than normal, working with shades that I had deemed unwearable and pairing them with different products to ‘figure them out.’  With the exception of a handful of shades, I’m pleased to say I did wear everything in my stash at least once.  I had some particular successes:

- Wore MUFE Aqua Liner #5 (an aqua), a bold shade I was hesitant to wear, on the top lash line with minimal other makeup, and actually ADORED how it looked – and how wearable it turned out to be!  A perfect look for Summer!

- Paired MAC’s Shimmermoss, another aqua shade, with MAC’s Petrol Blue liner (smudged at the lash line) to create a deeper, more intense teal shade which looked much better on my darker skin tone.

- Wore UD’s Kush (kelly green) from the BoSIII palette on Saint Paddy’s Day, along with Lise Watier’s Folie de Pomme loose shadow (golden green), and it looks absolutely amazing!

As to be expected, I also had some failures:

- I struggled to find ways to wear MAC’s Madly Magenta Cream Color Base, a deeply saturated violet pink (tried it on lips as well as cheeks, and I’m not too sure…*see below*).

- Several shades from the UD BoSIII palette continued to be completely unworn: Perversion (matte black), Uzi (glittering white), Midnight Cowboy Rides Again (glittering champagne), and Money (pale aqua-blue with a touch of glitter)…can you see a trend here?  The shades with glitter (hello, fall-out!) are just so tough to pull off!

- Still haven’t taken the time to figure out NARS Habanera…I feel like the lack of effort I’m putting into it might be indicative of it’s fate.

Overall, while there were some shades I discovered new uses for, or learned how to wear them properly, there were also shades that just aren’t going to and won’t work for me.  A lot of the more cool-toned, blue-based shades I own I think will have to go – I just don’t feel comfortable wearing them.  The UD palette also is a bit of a thorn in my side, because while half the shades I love, the other half are essentially useless to me.  It’s a bit frustrating!  However, there are still some items that are a work in progress, and I’m going to continue to investigate whether or not I should hang on to them, such as Tarte’s Blushing Bride Cheek Stain (I think I’m too dark to make this work, as it’s quite sheer); Smashbox On Trend Cream Eye Liner, a deep khaki (I’m bringing it to Jamaica to try smudging it out a ton, as that feels like the just right look for the trip); and Clinique’s Salt & Pepper Lid Smoothie (a shimmering silver-grey that would be a great base for certain looks).

Lastly, I did improve my photography skills a bit when it comes to taking FOTD’s, though I still have a LONG way to go!!  Here are a couple looks I shot over the last few weeks:

Wearing: Lise Watier Folie de Pomme loose shadow, theBalm Down Boy blush, MAC Madly Magenta CCB on lips

Wearing: MUFE #2 Yellow Eyeshadow, MUFE #0L Aqua Eyes, Benefit Bella Bamba blush, and MUFE S4 Star Gloss

So.  While Lent this year wasn’t much of a big hoopla as it has always been for me in years past, nonetheless I still took something away from the experience, and it wasn’t for naught!  I plan to continue to go through my stash regularly to weed out products that just aren’t right for me and could use a better home, and I’m definitely going to keep trying to experiment – with both products and photos.  Blogging as a whole is a constant learning experience for me, and one that I relish and take great pleasure in.  There will never be a shortage of things to discover and write about!

Oh, one last thing before I go – here was my Easter mani for the week:

Wearing (thumb to pinky): Zoya Cho, MAC Mischievous Mint, China Glaze Sea Spray, Zoya Marley, RBL Poco a Poco

(Tee hee!!)  Happy Easter/Long Weekend everyone!! :D

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