Archive for category Make-up

Going all in with Make Up For Ever Plexi-Glosses

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

Make Up For Ever Plexi-Glosses

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Next, we have the shade 207 Candy Pink.

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

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

Make Up For Ever Plexi-Gloss in 207 swatch

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

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

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

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

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

Make Up For Ever Plexi-Gloss in 102P

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

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

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

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Recent Purchases, Part III: The eye make-ups

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

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

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

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

Benefit Roller Lash MascaraBenefit Roller Lash Mascara

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

Benefit Roller LashTwo coats of Benefit Roller Lash Mascara

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

IMG_1018L’Oreal Voluminous Million Lashes Excess Mascara in Black

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

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

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

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

IMG_1016L’Oreal Voluminous Miss Manga Rock Mascara in Blackest Black

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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GAH. My kid is so stupidly cute.

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

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Recent Purchases, Part II: The Limited Edition buys

Oh L.E. products…you are the bane of many a beauty aficionado! They lure you in with FOMO (for those not up on their lingo – FOMO = Fear of Missing Out), and too many times you wind up with products you don’t even like. DAMN YOU, L.E. GODS!!!!

….THANKFULLY, this is NOT a story of purchase regret, or FOMO, or anything negative :) The L.E. draw often calls to me, and I get all in a tizzy thinking I need something, but the rational part of my brain almost always wins out. If I DO purchase an L.E. item, it’s got to be something I love and that will be put to good use – and these next two products fit those conditions perfectly.

MAC High-Light Powder in Freshen Up

I’ve decided that every MAC summer collection I’m going to pick up at least one item – I generally don’t care about that kind of thing, but their summer offerings always have the best packaging, and I’m a sucker for a pretty package ;) This year, I was most drawn to the High-Light Powder in Freshen Up – who can resist a striped cheek product??

MAC High-Light Powder in Freshen Up MAC High-Light Powder in Freshen Up

I was concerned it might end up being too light on my skintone, but if you pick up more of the deep reddish-coral shade at the top, it’s packed with a ton of pigment and looks fabulous – summer in a pan, in my opinion! The second shade, a muted pale apricot, helps soften it, if that’s the look you’re going for, and the bottom shade makes a lovely, subtle highlight on my skin.

MAC High-Light Powder in Freshen Up swatchesMAC Freshen Up – individual swatches

MAC High-Light Powder in Freshen Up swatchesMAC Freshen Up – blended swatch

I’m extremely pleased with this purchase, and somehow I don’t have a shade like it, so this is a win-win all around. I’m having a hard time not wearing this every single day!

MAC Freshen Up MAC Freshen UpIn sunlight

MAC Freshen UpIn natural light. One thing I’m noticing with my blush application is it goes too far back…and too low! Wazzupwiththat? (*Also: wearing Dior Addict Fluid in Magique)

The second L.E. product I bought this season was Dior’s Sunkissed nail polish – a soft peachy-nude that looks awesome with a (perma)tan. I grabbed this kind of quickly as I was out with the babes, but I knew it would look great. And it’s Dior. So ya know, I took a gamble ;)

Dior Sunkissed

Both nude and pale peach polishes can be difficult to formulate, as I find they can be streaky, or chalky. This, happily, is neither. While I did find it required 3 coats to suit my nitpicky ways, it self-levels well and really is a wonderful option for summer – I love the way it makes my hands look, both clean and ‘sun kissed’ – how apt!

Dior Sunkissed swatchDior Sunkissed in sunlight

Dior Sunkissed swatchDior Sunkissed in shade

Not too crazy, huh? (unlike my lippie-palooza!) I’m extremely pleased with both of these and they are perfect for the season – both  feel so summery to me! Yet, they both can be worn in other seasons with ease. It’s these kinds of purchases I want to make moving forward – items that are functional AND which I enjoy using. If you follow me on Instagram you’ve seen me doing some major purging of my stash; while I DID go a bit crazy after Elena was born (as evidenced in upcoming posts), this past week I got a hold of myself and really changed my mindset, bringing it back to my desire to streamline and simplify. Once I started ‘decluttering’ in a big way, it became addictive! I just have no more room (literally and figuratively) for things that don’t bring me joy anymore. Especially with most of my time spoken for these days, I want to make it count when I do get to play with my beauty-full things.

Like this.

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Do you get sucked in by the L.E. trap? Do you prefer to have a curated selection of products or prefer to have a large variety to choose from?

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Recent purchases, Part I: The Lippies

It’s a good thing May was my birthday month…it helps me with an excuse for why I’ve purchased SO MANY MAKEUPS over the past few weeks :S I’ve come to the realization that it’s not boredom that causes me to keep buying stuff, but rather the attempt at keeping a piece of my old self alive in this new life I’m living. I’m truly having the best time being a mom, and it only keeps getting better as Elena gets older and more interactive – watching her grow and develop is amazing – but my life revolves around her, so I think buying makeup and skincare like it’s going out of style is just a way to remind myself that I still have other interests. Or at least that’s the theory at the moment ;)

Anyway – it’s high time I show you guys some of the stuff I’ve picked up over the past little while. I’ve returned a couple things that I wasn’t super-enamoured with, but overall I’ve found a few gems that I’m really enjoying. I have time again to do a full face of makeup and I generally wear it every day, so my behaviour is not completely ridiculous (just mostly). Although, having said that…I’ve picked up five – count ’em, FIVE – lippies in the past month, which is kind of a lot. Let’s start with those, shall we?

Lipsticks MAC Clarins GivenchyTop row, left to right: Givenchy Rose Perfecto, Clarins, MAC Elegant Accent

Bottom row, left to right: MAC Cosmo, MAC Make Me Gorgeous

Lipsticks Givenchy MAC Clarins swatchesLeft to right: Givenchy Rose Perfecto, MAC Make Me Gorgeous, MAC Elegant Accent, MAC Cosmo, Clarins

My first lipstick purchase was made during a small MAC haul I made online back in March, when I decided that the coral red Make Me Gorgeous lipstick (Amplified formula) HAD to be mine. To my dismay, when it arrived in person I realized it looked scarily close to Tom Ford’s True Coral lipstick in the tube, and I was heartily disappointed. It also makes any flakes and dryness on the lips really noticeable, so at first I thought I had a big fat LOSER on my hands.

However, once I got into the swing of mommyhood and was able to start looking after myself a bit more, my chronically chapped and flaking lips healed and the lipstick looked pretty damn good on. And when I did an actual swatch comparison between it and True Coral, it turned out that they’re not exactly the same. While very similar, Make Me Gorgeous is lighter, brighter and has a touch more pink. Happy, happy day.

MAC Make Me Gorgeous vs Tom Ford True Coral lipstick comparison swatchesLeft: MAC Make Me Gorgeous; Right: Tom Ford True Coral

My next lipstick conquest was one of the Givenchy Le Rouges – I’ve been dying to try this formula for ages but I couldn’t decide on a shade that didn’t already seem like something I owned (if you’re gonna spend $40 on a lippie, you want it to be original, no?). I finally settled on Rose Perfecto, a blue-based bright pink. Just LOOK at it.

Givenchy Rose Perfecto

As I had to order online, I could only guess that it was unlike anything else I owned. When it arrived, I immediately did some swatching to see if I made the right choice:

Givenchy Rose Perfecto vs Bite Quince vs Revlon Showy lipstick comparison swatchesLeft to right: Bite Quince, Givenchy Rose Perfecto, Revlon Showy

My first thought was that it would rival another bright pink lippie in my stash, Bite High Pigment Lip Pencil in Quince, which I love. However, it makes that shade look warm and dark in comparison. Revlon’s Matte Balm in Showy, though, was a very close match, proving to be only slightly cooler-toned and more matte. As I only spent like, $8 on it however, I felt justified in removing it from my stash in favour of the Givenchy. I’ve already noted the AMAZINGNESS that is the Le Rouge formula on Instagram – I’m completely sold – and I plan to buy one of these during each Sephora sale. So, so creamy, comfortable, and long-wearing. LOVE!

Givenchy Rose PerfectoWearing Rose Perfecto…always with the baby in tow!

Every spring it seems like everyone gets on the ‘sheer and juicy’ train when it comes to lipsticks, which I’ve just never gotten into. I decided to finally pick up something along those lines to try, and the new Clarins Instant Light Lip Balm Perfectors were a good place to start. First of all, I LOVE the smell of these – like….. The shade I grabbed, 06 Rosewood, is sort of a brownish neutral, that merely gives a hint of color to my lips. Unsurprisingly, this is not long-wearing, but it does moisturize nicely (though it doesn’t seem to necessarily improve the condition of my lips over time). I’m not wild about it, but it’s a nice enough addition to my collection and super-wearable. The only thing I have similar is L’Oreal’s Wet Shine Stain in Eternally Nude, and it’s much more brown and pigmented:

L'Oreal Eternally Nude vs Clarins Rosewood comparison swatchesLeft: L’Oreal Eternally Nude; Right: Clarins Rosewood

A couple weeks ago I went into MAC to check out a few products on my wishlist. In a fit of madness, and because Elena was asleep and peaceful (therefore giving me ample time to look around and shop), I ended up buying a handful of items from my list, two of them being lipsticks. The first was a shade from the Mineralize Rich range, Elegant Accent – a pretty pinky-coral (which strangely isn’t available on the US website but is on the Canadian one…also, the range of Mineralize Rich lipsticks is completely different between the two sites).

MAC Elegant AccentWearing Elegant Accent, as seen on my Instagram, sans filter (which skewed the color a bit)

As you do when you have too many lipsticks in general, I did another swatch comparison. This time, I though MAC’s Crosswires might be similar; however, it leans more coral-orange than pink, and the finish – which is Cremesheen – is thicker than the semi-opaqueness of the Mineralize Rich formula. I love how hydrating and forgiving the Mineralize Rich formula is – I’ll definitely be trying more shades in the future (though am I the only one that finds the shade range limited, at least here in Canada?)!

MAC Elegant Accent vs MAC Crosswires lipstick comparison swatchesLeft: MAC Elegant Accent; Right: MAC Crosswires

The second lipstick I picked up during my MAC Madness was Cosmo, rosy brown in an Amplified Creme formula. I was looking for something to enhance my lip tone – make it look lush and full, but still natural. I have a hard time with MLBB shades – they never seem to do what I want them to do, usually looking too pink or too dull. Unfortunately, while I loved the lipstick in-store, when I got it home it was again not quite what I wanted. The Amplified Creme finish in my experience is too heavy and thick – like the lipstick texture of days past. So while the shade is good, I find this looks too ‘lipstick-y’ to achieve that enhanced but natural lip I was seeking.

I also realized that I already have just what I was looking for in NARS Matte Velvet Lip Pencil in Dolce Vita:

NARS Dolce Vita vs MAC Cosmos lipstick comparison swatchesLeft: NARS Dolce Vita; Right: MAC Cosmo

Dolce Vita is a bit more reddish, and matte, but the Velvet Matte formula is so creamy and light it blends on the lip perfectly to achieve that ‘full’ look effortlessly. I LOVE these pencils, and have plans to get Dragon Girl (cool siren red), Walkyrie (warm coral red creme, similar to Dolce Vita but a bit more reddened), and Bettina (rose beige) in the future (when I use some of these lippies up already!). Seriously, if you haven’t tried these, you NEED to – they’re not drying, they last for hours and they’re the only mattes I can wear even when my lips are in rough shape. FAB-U-LOUS!

And thus ends my lipstick-palooza…for 2015 so far, anyway. It gets harder and harder to find original shades within my existing collection, so I’ve got to slow down on the purchasing for awhile and start using stuff up already. Other than the NARS lip pencils, I don’t have any lipstick purchases planned at the moment…which is probably a good thing!

Have you gone on a makeup spree lately? What kinds of products have been catching your eye?

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Saving face (literally) with products from Make Up For Ever

Remember my post about the key makeup prodz for new moms?  The implied message was that all you needed was some concealer, bronzer and a subtle lip color and you’re good to go. HA. And another HA I say. While there may only be TIME to apply 3 products, the reality (for me anyway) is that you look so haggard from lack of sleep, and a bit janky from hormone-induced breakouts, that you need a wee bit more than that to look ‘normal.’ Though my skin hasn’t gone completely bat-shit crazy like it did after the miscarriage, I’ve had a few spots crop up that really reflect just how little I’m able to dedicate to self-care these days (my feet, you guys – OMG they are so dry and ragged that putting on socks is like scratching nails down a chalk board!). On top of that, I’m a little – nay, A LOT – sleep-deprived, which does nobody’s skin any favours.

Fact is, I need a little extra help in the makeup department lately. Fortuitously, 2 products have recently crossed my path that have helped do a little ‘damage control’ – Make Up For Ever’s Pro Sculpting Duo in 2 Golden ($45CAD) and their Mist & Fix setting spray ($34CAD).

Make Up For Ever

As contouring has suddenly gone from being an optional step (and viewed somewhat derisively at times), to the current ‘BIG THING’ in makeup, it’s no surprise to see a true makeup artistry brand like Make Up For Ever join the ranks with their own vision of what a contour product should look like. Conveniently including both a contour shade as well as a highlight in the compact (which comes in two shades – 2 Golden for medium-deep to deep skintones, shown below with their 156 Large Flat Blush Brush [$43CAD] ideal for just this purpose; and the lighter 1 Pink Beige for fair to medium skintones), the weightless gel-powder is designed to ‘blends seamlessly for traceless highlighting and contouring.’

MUFE Pro Sculpting Duo

MUFE Pro Sculpting Duo

MUFE Pro Sculpting Duo

I was very excited to try this product, not only to try my hand at contouring (something I’ve never really done), but also because – HELLO, that powder looks beautiful! However, when I dug into the product, I was a bit disappointed, and I’m sure those of you who ‘know’ about contouring can guess why.

The color of the darker powder is too warm to be used as a contour (in my opinion). I tried it, and while it applies soft and subtle – a must, as contouring is supposed to be undetectable – it mostly looks like I used bronzer to sculpt my face, and not like I naturally have covetable cheekbones. To be fair, people have been using bronzer as a contouring product for ages, but I just feel like it should be marketed as such, you know? Nonetheless, it does make for a lovely bronzer, which is how I’ve been wearing and enjoying it.

The highlight shade, on the other hand, is as it should be, and imparts a lovely glow to the high planes of the face. Its a *touch* more frosty than I usually like my highlighting products, but not so much that I haven’t been wearing it often. It’s a particularly flattering warm golden shade on my skin – I just might not use it during the height of the summer sun.

Make Up For Ever Pro Sculpting Duo swatches

Both powders are very smooth with an almost creamy feel, and though I sometimes feel like I need several passes to pick up enough product, this keeps one from overdo-ing either one, an easy mistake to make with these types of products. Overall, though this wasn’t exactly what I expected, I quite like it and have been wearing it frequently to give my skin that extra ‘oomph’ I so desperately need.

After bringing life back to my skin with the Sculpting Duo, the pièce de résistance is the brand’s Mist & Fix setting spray, which helps ‘lock in makeup and keep color fresh.’ I was really pleased to try this product, as I had been contemplating buying MAC’s Fix+ – I really wanted something to set my makeup and give me a bit of a dewy sheen so my makeup would look more natural. I didn’t even realize Make Up For Ever made a similar product (though I should have known!), and all the better that they do!

Make Up For Ever Mist & Fix

The spray is designed to create a ‘sweat-proof, rub-resistant barrier for fresh-looking makeup that lasts up to 12 hours.’ It also helps to increase skin’s hydration and is ‘formulated with a complex to boost oxygenation and deliver a healthy-looking, radiant glow.’ I can’t speak to the 12 hour claim (when I DO wear makeup these days, it’s only for a few hours) nor the oxygenation part (uh, sure?), but I can attest to the awesome glow this gives the skin – that kind of dewy radiance that I’ve been trying to achieve for so long is finally in my grasp! SO happy. The only beef I have with the product is the scent – kind of reminds me of bug spray or something? Not that strong, but it’s a sort of mildly unpleasant chemical smell which is a touch off-putting. But, it does dissipate and doesn’t linger on the skin, so I can live with it. Also, hooray for spray nozzles that work properly (huge pet peeve of….probably everyone, AMIRITE?!) – this mists nice and evenly on the skin.

Make Up For Ever Mist & Fix ingredients

So there you have it – two additional secret weapons I’ve been using to look like an upstanding citizen again. I feel like the days when I venture out of the house has me wearing more products than ever before! At least, the basics…I wear less fun color and more stuff to make the skin itself look better. Ah well, it’s all only temporary…and things change so quickly! Just within the past week Elena has started sleeping for longer stretches at a time (she’s also awake for a bit longer) and more deeply…which means mama gets more sleep too ;) I might be back to wearing bold lippies and fun eyeshadows sooner than I thought!

Make Up For Ever

Do you use bronzer to contour, or a product designated for that purpose? Have you ever used a setting spray? What tricks do you have for looking well-rested?

*Products were provided by the PR company/brand for my unbiased consideration.

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3 makeup products every new mom needs

During my pregnancy, I resisted the urge to buy many new makeup items, because I figured I wouldn’t have any time to really wear makeup (for a while, anyway) once the baby was born. I wasn’t wrong – especially while in the hospital I didn’t wear a lick of makeup, and most days I’m lucky if I wash my face more than once. But there are times, like when you have non-familial visitors, or when you actually venture (briefly) out of the house, that you want to look just a bit less worn out and sleep-deprived. In those moments, a handful of makeup items have been helping me boost my lacklustre appearance to semi-normal, with the minimum amount of effort and time (because honestly, when you have any ‘free’ time, you want to spend it catching up on sleep!). The trio I’ve been relying on for this purpose is concealer, bronzer, and lip stain.

new mom makeup

The Clarins Instant Light Concealer in 03 and the Tarte Maracuja Creaseless Concealer in Tan have replaced the two NARS Creamy Concealers I’d finished in January. Both are nice concealers with medium coverage – the Tarte offering is quite tacky and moist, and I find the creamy finish looks youthful and deflects light, helping me makes look less tired; it also is a very good match for my skin. The Clarins version, a lightweight concealer with a second-skin-like quality that’s currently having a HUGE moment in the blogosphere, also brightens the eye area and is suitable for other parts of the face as well (love it around my nose), but the shade is just a hint too light and grey to be perfect for me. I like and use both for similar purposes but they yield slightly different results due to their different formulas. Neither are holy grail as I still can see my dark circles peeking through…but I’m not convinced anything will obliterate them completely, anyway. #pipedream

new mom makeup

I’ve been having an on-off love affair with NARS Laguna Illuminator over the past 6 months – originally when I bought it I thought it the perfect bronzing product for someone who is already…brown (lol), just giving me some illumination with a hint of golden color. But the small specks of glitter in it really turn me off, especially in the summer when the sun is shining. However, in the dead of winter when most days are dreary and grey, this has been a go-to to perk up my skin or warm up any foundations I have that are a touch too light or cast a grey pall over my skin when worn alone. Right now, it’s been a quick way to both give my skin some much-needed color plus add back some radiance – it can be blended with fingers in seconds. If I have a few more minutes to spare, I’ll layer a bit of Too Faced Sun Bunny Bronzing Powder (previous review here) on top for extra color and glow.

new mom makeup

Finally, the last touch to my quick and dirty perk-me-up routine is a bit of lip color, which can be applied on the go at any time, like when you’re trying to manhandle your baby into submission lovingly carrying your wee one around. A lip stain is a good choice if you can’t manage reapplication, though I find a low-maintenance lip product is probably the one item I CAN find the time to slap on here and there, so I always have something (often just balm) handy. YSL’s Glossy Stain in Corail Aquatique is a good option because it leaves color behind even as it wears, and is a soft shade that doesn’t need a mirror to apply.

If I have a full 10 minutes to do my makeup, I’ll throw on some mascara and groom my brows a bit – but the luxury of that much time occurs infrequently. I could never understand before becoming a mother why other mothers never had enough time to do things that take just a few extra minutes, but now I get it; it’s because those ‘few extra minutes’ could be spent, oh I dunno – brushing your teeth, changing your underwear, EATING, daydreaming about sleeping. I’m learning how to do so many things with just one hand, it’s getting quite impressive. I thought I was an excellent multi-tasker before; I am a WORLD CLASS, GRADE-A MULTI-TASKER now!

IMG_0306Gratuitous photo of my sweet little girl

Do you have any time-saving makeup tips? To all the moms out there – how did you manage your time?

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Make Up For Ever gives ‘Fifty Shades of Grey’ a touch of class

When I was in New Zealand, I spent a lot of time traveling around on a bus. To pass the time, I read a handful of books, two of them being part of the Fifty Shades of Grey trilogy. There are a couple points to note here: I only read two of the three books; and I read more than one of the books only because at that time I had nothing else to read. Are you getting the picture yet? Quite honestly, I found the ‘Fifty Shades’ books ridiculous – the sexy bits were repetitive and silly, and I actually started to skip over them to get to the ‘meat’ of the novel. I struggled to get through the second book, and I had NO desire to read the third novel and find out how Christian and Anastasia ended up.

NEVERTHELESS. This should not be taken to mean that I will not give a ‘Fifty Shades’ themed makeup collection my full attention and appreciation – particularly one from a favourite brand of mine, Make Up For Ever. The Fifty Shades of Grey Give In to Me make-up coffret ($90CAD) by the brand is especially worthy of a serious look – even though I could take the books as anything but!

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The kit contains a handful of Make Up For Ever’s most iconic products: their popular Smoky Extravagant mascara (review here – though please note that while my original review was less than stellar, the one in this set is quite lovely!), their new Graphic Liner (review here), two natural-hued lip products – a Lab Shine Lip Gloss in D14 (a shimmering indian pink) and a Rouge Artist Natural Lipstick in N4 (a pink-beige), and four neutral shades of the exquisite Artist Shadows, in I-514 (‘pink ivory’), S-556 (‘taupe grey‘), ME-612 (‘silver brown,‘ previous review here), and I-628 (‘reptile‘ {WUT?}).

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The Artist Shadows have been taking the beauty world by storm, and for good reason – they’re silky, smooth, pigment-rich and come in a vast array of colors and textures. The shades in this set are neutral but not boring and are all very different, so a variety of looks can be created (sometimes I find palettes like these contain shades that vary by only a fraction). I also enjoy that the palette can be worn by both cool or warm skintones – both the highlight shade (I-514) and crease/liner shade (I-628) are tonally neutral, with the taupe shade (S-556) leaning just a touch cool, and the shimmering brown shade (ME-612) warm. Lastly, can I just say that it’s so nice to see a palette like this in which the shadows are still as good quality as you would find if you bought them singularly (*cough* MAC, I’m looking at you *cough*)?

IMG_0294 IMG_0234Clockwise from top left: I-514 (‘pink ivory’), ME-612 (‘silver brown’), I-628 (‘reptile’), and S-556 (‘taupe grey’)

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The lip colors are complimentary to the shadows, both MLBB shades that would work with most looks and on most skintones. The Rouge Artist Natural lipstick in N4 is a pretty shade of dusty rose, and the formula (previously reviewed here) is comfortable and lightweight, with a softly creamy finish. The Lab Shine lip glosses, here in D14, are some of the only glosses I’ve ever finished (previous shade reviews here and here) – in part due to their beautiful shine and wonderfully moisturizing qualities, and in part because they’re kinda small at 0.09oz (a YSL gloss by comparison is 0.2oz). I don’t mind much as it’s quite gratifying to finish a makeup item! – but something to note all the same. You can see below that in just using this regularly for the past few days that it’s already on it’s way to being used up.

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Below are swatches of the shadows and lip colors!

MUFE 50 Shades of Grey Makeup Coffret swatchesLeft to right: [Shadows] I-514 (‘pink ivory’), S-556 (‘taupe grey’), I-628 (‘reptile’), and ME-612 (‘silver brown’); [Lipstick] N4 (pink beige); [Lipgloss] D14 (shimmering indian pink).

MUFE 50 Shades of Grey Makeup Coffret swatchesClose up of Rouge Artist Natural in N4 and Lab Shine Lip Gloss in D14. 

Overall I think this kit is kind of awesome, and I’m not really one for makeup sets like this. Every item is a stand-out, and the palette is extremely wearable and appealing. If they had included a blush I would have died and gone to heaven! If you haven’t tried the brand yet, this would be the opportune moment to do so – though I see that this set is no longer on the Sephora website, so my apologies if I just created a lemming you can’t fulfill! I would definitely head to your local store to see if you can still score the set – but if you can’t, happily all of these shades are in the permanent line-up, so though it’s not a ‘deal’, you can still grab any shades/products that have caught your eye!

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The moral of the story? Even if you weren’t a fan of the books, don’t let that deter you from looking at Make Up For Ever’s take on the ‘Fifty Shades’ franchise – theirs is probably the best thing to come from the phenomenon, hands down!

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Did you read the Fifty Shades of Grey trilogy? Will you see the movie? 

*Product(s) were provided by the PR company/brand for my unbiased consideration.

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Make Up For Ever is feeding my black liner addiction

Like most everyone else, I go through phases with things. I remember one year during university, I kept buying white clothing – white skirts, pants, dresses, blazers…you name it, I had it in white. It was my JAM. And I am a fairly careful, non-klutzy person so my white clothes stayed white (except that one time I bought a white pant suit to wear to a formal event [nothing underneath but a bra {scoundrel!}] and I got drunk and spilled a purple candle down my front…not good, my friends]. It was a good year. Strangely enough, a few years later and I found myself with hardly any white clothes, and a closet full of black. UGH! Yes, it’s classic, but honestly black is so blah – I’m still recovering from THAT phase, trying to introduce more color into my wardrobe. It’s a process.

Needless to say, of COURSE I go through phases in makeup as well. As evidenced in my 2014 purchases post, I bought a LOT of lippies last year – I was on a huge roll. But when I realized I had oodles of eyeshadows going unused in favour of a bold, bright lip, I started wearing shadows more than lipstick, and I flipped the game yet again.

MUFE Graphic Liner

Lately, though you might not know it to see me (still wearing a lot of shadows…), I’ve been on a big black eyeliner kick. When I was wearing a lot of fun lip colors, black eyeliner was the perfect companion to polish off my look without seeming overdone. Apparently, that idea has a strong hold on me, as somehow I’ve managed to amass SIX black liners over the past couple years (a bit excessive, don’t you think?). The most recent addition to my collection is one of Make Up For Ever’s newest addition to the line, their Graphic Liner ($29CAD) – an inky black liquid liner pen.

MUFE Graphic LinerMUFE Graphic Liner swatch

The Graphic Liner pen is much like any other liquid liner out there – it has a foam-tip applicator that allows for good control and the ability to draw a thin or thick line. It’s a nice, dark black – not charcoal like Rouge Bunny Rouge’s Nocturnal Ink – and it applies easily and wears very well throughout the day. If I hadn’t *just* purchased Kat Von D’s Ink Liner a month earlier, I’d be very pleased with this – it’s an exceptionally good black liquid liner that does everything is promises. However, it’s almost identical in function and form to the KVD version, and only slightly larger in size (0.03oz vs. KVD’s 0.02oz), though it’s $6 more here in Canada (KVD’s is $23). I don’t usually like to write a review on a product and compare it so plainly to another, but honestly these two are so, SO close in how they perform, down to their applicators and the color of line.

IMG_0081The tip on the Kat Von D liner is slightly shorter and thinner, but they operate exactly the same to me.

In fact, the color of the Graphic Liner is similar to most my black liners…but of course, the application of a liquid vs a gel or cream vs a pencil is not comparable at all.

IMG_4030Chanel Waterproof Liner in Noir Intense, Giorgio Armani Smooth Silk Eyeliner in 1, MAC Fluidline in Blacktrack, Make Up For Ever Graphic Liner in Black, Kat Von D Ink Liner in Trooper, and Rouge Bunny Rouge Nocturnal Ink in Friesian

I guess what I’m saying overall is that Make Up For Ever’s offering is quite lovely, but there are other options out there that are equally as nice. If you’re a big fan of the brand (I am!), then you might choose their version over another just because. But if you already own Kat Von D’s liner, or another similar one, you probably don’t need to rush out and buy this one.

Currently, I’m trying to re-introduce the black liner to my routine in an effort to lessen the hoard…think it might take a while, hmm??

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What is your favourite black liner? What formula do you prefer? 

*Product provided by the PR company/brand for my unbiased consideration.

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Makeup Roundup: Purchases in 2014

Hello and a happy last day of 2014 to you all!! I sincerely hope everyone has been having a lovely holiday and enjoying family (as much or as little as you like), fun, and delicious food! As always, it flew by for me this year, but I took time off from the 19th and don’t return to work until the 6th, so if nothing else I’ve been relishing my sleep-in time and some laid-back days!

I thought I’d do a little something different this time around in wrapping up the year. Since I’ve spent much of 2014 trying to rein in my beauty spending, I was curious to see just how well I did and how much I purchased in the end. I thought perhaps you might be curious too! Some of the numbers are surprising to me, mostly due to what I DIDN’T buy *pats self on back* – but that doesn’t mean I didn’t go a bit crazy in other areas ;)  Let’s get to it, shall we?

*Note that the numbers below represent the total number of products I own in my current stash (some items have been given away/tossed/etc.), and the number that I have purchased in 2014 – not overall.

PRIMERS (Own: 3 full size, 1 sample, 1 eye. Purchased: 0)

OK, OK, so while I didn’t purchased any primers myself this year, I did receive 2 via PR samples (Make Up For Ever HD Primer in 6 Yellow, and Skindinavia The Makeup Primer Spray), so this is a bit of a cheat. But still, I personally haven’t bought a primer of any kind in over 3 years (NARS Smudgeproof Eyeshadow Base in July 2011), so that’s pretty impressive. I’m not a huge primer person though, so there’s that – but lately I’ve been reading a lot about the Chanel Le Blanc Light Revealing Brightening Makeup Base, and it sounds right up my alley –  all I’m ever trying to achieve is a lit-from-within glow to my skin, and this might be the ticket to getting it!

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FOUNDATION (Own: 4 full size, 1 travel-size. Purchased: 1 travel-size)

Until very recently, I hadn’t bought a foundation in almost 3 years (Hourglass Immaculate in Mar 2012); all others have been received either via PR samples, or through my Clinique gratis (though this year I only snagged 1 new product, Clinique’s Stay-Matte). But a couple weeks ago, when I was in Sephora trolling the aisles for things to buy to utilize my $20 off a $50+ purchase coupon, I snagged a travel size of NARS Pure Radiant Tinted Moisturizer in St. Mortiz. I’d been hemming and hawing over the product for ages, and when I saw the smaller sizes (the other shade offered in travel size is Alaska), I figured it was a great opportunity to give it a shot. St. Mortiz is a shade too light for me (but Cuba, the next shade up, is too dark), but I’ve been mixing this with my deeper-toned summer foundations and I’m quite liking the result. I’ve been wearing some form of base makeup almost every day lately (again trying to work that pregnancy glow) so I’m hoping I might have a couple products for the empties bin by the time the warm weather hits – I’d love to try out some of the new offerings, but I can’t justify a purchase till I get through some of the ones I already own.

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CONCEALER (Own: 5 full size. Purchased: 1)

In my Sephora VIB {Rouge} sale haul, I showed you that I picked up Lancome’s Effacernes to try – but unfortunately I had to return it, as I found it didn’t meet my expectations at all (though it’s nice and lightweight, it was somewhat dry looking under the eye, and the tone was a bit greyish). I exchanged it for Tarte’s Maracuja Creaseless Concealer, which I’d sampled before but wasn’t super keen on. While it still doesn’t give me true FULL coverage that I need to hide my ever-present dark circles, I like that it’s a bit dewy-looking, so at least my undereye looks hydrated, and it even seems to reflect the light a bit. I look tired but youthful I guess…I’ll take it! lol

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The other concealers I have are all on their way out – I’m scraping out the last bits of my two NARS Radiant Creamy Concealers (purchased in 2013), my Clinique Airbrushed Concealer is almost finished (which I did add to my collection this year, but which I received via my gratis), and my Benefit Boi-ing (purchased in 2012 or 2013, I can’t remember) is my leave-at-work shade and has major pan showing. So the 5 that I currently have will very shortly become a small number of 1-2. Just the way I like it.

POWDER (Own: 2 full size. Purchased: 1)

Powder isn’t all that exciting, so it’s no surprise I only have two. I bought MAC’s Blot last year and I rarely use it, mainly only for travel as it’s a compact – to be honest, it doesn’t wow me much. What I did buy this year however, was Laura Mercier’s Translucent Loose Setting Powder, which I’d read good things about over the years. I do like it, and it doesn’t even leave me looking too powdery, but I still find I have shine peeking through by mid-day without fail. However, I suspect no powder will ever be able to leave me both shine-free yet still luminous, so my expectations are low.

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I’ve been thinking about trying the Secret Brightening Powder from the brand however, to use under my eye area to give it some more brightness and help set my concealer. However, every time I swatch it in store it looks SO GLITTERY. Has anyone tried it?? I’d love to hear your thoughts.

HIGHLIGHTER (Own: 3 full size plus 1 sample. Purchased: 0)

While going through my stash, I was surprised to find that I hadn’t bought ANY highlighters this year – I think because the year before, I picked up 3, so I was still feeling a bit overdone. Though I wear highlighter almost every day (usually opting for Chanel’s Poudre Signée de Chanel), it seems to last ages, so I really have no need to buy any more at the moment. Aside from the Chanel, my most cherished is my deluxe sample of Becca’s Shimmering Skin Perfector in Opal – when that runs out, I will be buying a full size, STAT. However, though I love highlighters and how they look, I’m fairly content with just owning a small handful – perhaps if I hit pan or use one up over the next year I’ll pick up a holiday one (they tend to be SO GORGEOUS, ahhh MY EYES burn from the BEAUTY), but I think that every year and then every year I don’t bother…so we’ll see.

BRONZER (Own: 3 full size plus 1 sample. Purchased: 0)

Bronzer has been on my ‘to buy’ list for two years but I keep putting it off – I can never fully convince myself that I really need one! Aside from the NARS Illuminator in Laguna, which I bought back in 2011 (!!), I’ve never really bought a bronzer. The others I have were swap items (a deluxe sample of Too Faced Chocolate Soleil, and a full size of Too Faced Sun Bunny), and the last isn’t truly a bronzer, but I use it as such (Estee Lauder’s Shimmering Sands Illuminating Gelee, which I use to achieve a ‘sunburnt bronze’ look). Maybe this will be the year…

BLUSH (Own: 28 full size, 1 palette size. Purchased: 2)

Dudes. I only bought 2 BLUSHES this year!!! Seriously, do I deserve a pat on the back or what!? Last year I bought 7, and the year before, 6…so I consider this a HUGE WIN. The first purchase, Benefit’s Lollitint, is still a fave, and Chanel’s Malice, while a slight disappointment, is nevertheless a wearable shade of which I get use. Again, I did receive a bunch of great new shades via PR samples (MUFE HD Blush) and my Clinique gratis (Cheek Pops and a Chubby Stick Cheek Color) though, so that helped keep my own spending in check.

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My goal is to keep my blush number at 30 or less, so it’s nice feeling like I still have a bit of wiggle room if new shades catch my eye next year. After I hit that 30 mark though…some lesser loved shades will have to go, it’s as simple as that!

MASCARA (Own: 4. Purchased: 4)

I blew through a bunch of mascara samples this year (4), some drugstore offerings (L’Oreal, Maybelline, CoverGirl), and a couple PR samples (Benefit, Arbonne), but nothing truly wowed me. I picked up Bobbi Brown’s Long Wear Intensifying Mascara while in Ottawa though, the first time I’d spent money on a department store mascara since fall 2012, and I quite like it (separates the lashes nicely, subtle but pretty). Never completely satisfied however, I then grabbed CoverGirl’s Clump Crusher Extensions Mascara a few weeks ago, and it’s great. Maybe not HG, but I would definitely repurchase again, especially for the price – it gives good volume, decent length, and best of all you can add coat after coat and it never gets clumpy!

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BROW PRODUCTS (Own: 3. Purchased: 3)

I’ve always been pretty lackadaisical when it comes to brows – I guess since mine are decent I haven’t cared to fuss much with them. But since becoming pregnant, for some reason I got it in my head that I needed bigger, bolder brows! I’ve been letting them grow out somewhat, and on top of that I’ve been investing in a few products to achieve this goal as well. However, don’t get me wrong – I’m still resistant to spending much on my brows, and even the $16 I paid for Sephora’s Waterproof Brow Liner was kind of pricey for me. Most recently, I picked up a couple cost-effective drugstore options: Revlon’s Super Liner Brow Artist pencil and Maybelline’s new Brow Drama brow gel, and both have been doing the trick for me. Brow-wise, I guess I’m easy to please ;)

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EYELINER (Own: 24. Purchased: 4)

I feel like I bought a lot of eyeliners this year, though I only picked up 4, two of which were black. I generally only wear liquid or cream eyeliner as I prefer to wear it in the ‘flick’ style – I think it’s most flattering / impactful on me, so that’s mainly the formula I picked up (a MAC Fluidline, Kat Von D’s Ink Liner, and a NARS Eye Paint). I did pick up one pencil though – Giorgio Armani’s Smooth Silk Eye Pencil in 1 (black), and so far so good. I recently received Make Up For Ever’s Graphic Liner, another black liquid liner iteration, to try, and it also seems up to the task. I’m a bit inundated with black liner now though! For someone who doesn’t even really wear eyeliner much as a whole, 24 is kind of a lot. I’m going to try this year to reduce that number by half – wish me luck!

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EYESHADOW (Own: 72 shades [not including ones still in palettes]. Purchased: 5 plus 4 samples)

Though I got rid of a ton of eyeshadows from palettes this year (18 shades!), I also picked up a handful of new shades (oops) – most which I purchased myself (though I did receive 3 new shades from MUFE PR). I seemed to be on a cream shadow kick (a Bobbi Brown Long-Wearing Cream Shadow, the Laura Mercier Caviar Stick Quartet, a MAC Paint Pot, and a Maybelline Color Tattoo), with only one powder shade purchased (MAC Soul Serenade). Just before the holidays however, I got it in my head that I *NEEDED* a sparkly, glittery shadow to up my festive game, and I grabbed an Urban Decay Moondust Shadow in Space Cowboy. It’s been the perfect way to glitz up my holiday looks!

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I still plan to get rid of more shadows, as my original goal of owning less than 100 shades total (singles and palette shades) has been reached; now I’m aiming to have less than 75. Here goes nothing!

PALETTES (Own: 3 [21 shades]. Purchased: 0)

This probably comes as no surprise to any of you who’ve been with me for a while. Palettes = BAD in my world. Too much choice all in once place! Gah, the anxiety. Having said that, I’m very happy with my palette stash, and unsurprisingly I didn’t buy any this year (nor did I last year…I’ve actually only ever bought two in my life, once in 2010 [the Urban Decay one, now since completely deconstructed] and a small 5 pan in 2012 in New Zealand [the Kate palette]). Nor am I likely to buy any next year, either! This, my friends, is OK by me :)

LIP LINER (Own: 3. Purchased: 0)

Lip liners, meh. Boring category. As such, I only own 3 total, and had no need to even look at them this year. I picked up a translucent shade last year which pretty much covers my needs entirely. However, I was seduced by a MAC shade last year (Fashion Boost), and I’ve owned MAC’s Subculture (procured via a swap) for a couple years, only to have used it maybe once or twice on myself (I use it more frequently on others when doing wedding makeups due to it’s neutral tone). If I were smart, I’d toss Subculture in my kit and pick up a great neutral red liner just to round things out.

LIPSTICK/LIP STAIN (Own: 28 lipsticks, 6 lipstains, and 5 samples. Purchased: 11)

Lipsticks and lip stains clearly came out on top this year, with me purchasing almost 1/3 of my stash in this year alone (yikes!). I’m trying REALLY hard to get the total number down to under 30, but DAMN it’s hard. I have slowed considerably on my purchasing in the past few months though, so I just *might* achieve my goal. The problem is lately I keep getting lured in by drugstore brands (Revlon’s Color Burst Matte Balms, and more recently Maybelline’s Color Sensational Color Elixir in Signature Scarlet), which are just too easy grab when you’re looking for a cheap pick-me-up. There are some great options out there for anyone on a budget, no doubt, but this is one reason I try and keep to the higher-end brands – it curbs my shopping habits better!

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LIPGLOSS (Own: 12. Purchased: 4)

I had a strange, mild love affair with lip gloss this year, even though I generally like my lips either bold and mostly matte, or nude (as in, nothing on my lips but balm). I picked up 4 new shades on my own, nonetheless, and I’m on the fence about most of them – I love the YSL Gloss Volupte I got during the Sephora sale, and the Ilia Lipgloss I snagged is a great neutral, but both my Dior Addict Gloss in Exquisse, and the NARS’ newly formulated lipgloss in Istria I picked up, I hardly wear (for no good reason!). Silly rabbit. I’m hoping because the two latter shades are cooler-toned, that it’s just been a matter of not reaching for those kinds of shades in the summer and fall months. Hopefully they’ll get some love in the New Year!

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BRUSHES (Own: 24. Purchased: 4)

I mentioned in my Summer Recap post that I’d picked up some Hakuhodo brushes in August. I’d been keen to try the brand for quite some time, and I have been very pleased with each brush I selected. I tried to choose brushes that both filled a gap in my collection but also would be useful on a frequent basis – no specialty brushes here! If you’re curious, after a LOT of research, I chose the J142 Eye Shadow Brush (a lovely crease brush), the G5520BkSL Eye Shadow Brush (a pencil brush, great for detail or for the lower lash line), the G5512BkSL Eye Shadow Brush (a teeny tiny liner brush that is perfect for tightlining) and a Medium Pointed Yachiyo Brush (which helps me blend out my cheek products beautifully – especially as I can be heavy-handed at times [MOAR BLUSH!]). I don’t have my sights set on any new brushes or brands for the New Year….but we all know that could change in a heartbeat :)

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BONUS CATEGORY: NAIL POLISH (Own: 103 Purchased: ~18)

I bought less nail polish this year than usual, around 17-18 shades (as opposed to my average of about 25+) – in part due to my efforts to keep the number at 100 or lower, and also due to the fact that since being pregnant I’ve not been as crazy about polish as normal – it takes effort to put it on all the time lol! That being said, the total number is at 103, plus 3 shades I consider base staples (white, black, and sheer nude), and I’d still like to bring that number down even lower before the baby comes. But dudes, it’s HARD. I’ve pulled my favourite shades out and that hits around the 50 mark, but then the majority of the other shades are still ones I enjoy…GAH. The reason I’m making the big CHOP is because I figure, when baby comes – if I can manage to paint my nails once a week I will be a superstar.

IMG_3720So. much. POLISH!

Considering I’ve been hovering around the 100 mark for a couple years now, it’s clear I do well at getting rid of ‘meh’ shades regularly, but now that I’m much more particular about any new shades I pick up (as in, I must LOVE them to give them a go), the remaining shades are well, DARN PRETTY, you guys! Maybe I should just go on a purchasing ban for a while, see if I can use up a few shades and bring the number down that way. ~sigh~ Rough life, eh?


So 2014 wasn’t a record-breaking year, either in purchasing or restraint, but I feel pretty good about it nonetheless. I plan to kick-off 2015 with a similar mentality, keeping my purchases to only those that really excite me, and trying to weed out the ‘ho-hum’ products that I only use because they’re there and I should. It may seem like the same old, but you know – I love these perpetual challenges I hold for myself! :)

What are your New Years’ goals, if you have any? How did you fare in terms of purchasing/restraint in 2014?

HAPPY NEW YEAR EVERYONE!!!!!!!!

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Chanel Joues Contraste in Malice is just pretty enough

I’m just here, lying in bed willing sleep to come (I barely slept a wink last night), and I thought I’d throw up a quick post since I haven’t in a couple weeks. Pregnancy has been very good to me thus far – I’ve had very few symptoms from the beginning (zero morning sickness, hooray!), and the ones I’ve had have been mild – so I can’t really complain, but I’m trying to get in as much sleep as I can before the wee one arrives {for obvious reasons} and it makes me sad when it becomes elusive. Ah well, par for the course I guess.

Chanel Blush

A while ago, I got it in my head that I just HAD to own Chanel’s Joue Contraste in Malice, an obsession I 100% attribute to this post of Karen’s. I hunted it down on The Bay online (we don’t carry Chanel in our Hudson’s Bay store here in Halifax), and it was one of those purchases that I did in a bit of a frenzy, with little thought about it – I figured, it looked great on Karen, its gotta look great on me too, right?

Chanel Malice Blush

Well, yea, sure it’s nice. It’s a pretty peachy blush with a hint of pink, and I’m fairly certain it would flatter all skin tones. But quite honestly, I find it a little…boring. Interestingly enough, though it’s quite similar in tone to one of my fave blushes, MAC’s Early Morning Mineralize blush (an LE product from a few years ago) – which is another reason I bought it (I dropped Early Morning shortly after I purchased it, and there wasn’t much left in the end) – for whatever reason it just doesn’t WOW me the same way.

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It has a similar satin sheen to it as Early Morning does, but it doesn’t seem to give my skin that same healthy glow. There’s a fine shimmer in the blush that veers on sparkly in my books – though it’s not too obvious in natural light, I can see it plainly in the pan and it turns me off a bit.

Chanel Malice blush swatch IMG_3832 IMG_3836

I have been wearing this blush with some regularity since I bought it, as it compliments almost any makeup look and colour scheme, but for the money I paid for it, I’m somewhat disappointed. Chanel makeup often doesn’t live up to the hype for me, so there’s that as well. I just think the *type* of makeup Chanel produces doesn’t fit with my own personal style – it’s generally softer (too subtle) than I prefer – which sounds as if I wear bold brights all the time, but that’s not the case. It’s almost like….Clinique makeup. Makeup for women who want to look like they don’t have makeup on. Though I don’t wear trowels of makeup and I generally stick to enhancing one feature overall, I don’t fear others knowing I’m wearing a little something something. I wear makeup for the fun of it, not because I need it to feel pretty.

Chanel Malice blushSee – it’s pretty enough on, just…a little ‘meh’ for me

Anyway, I think I’ve *FINALLY* learned my lesson with Chanel makeup. The only thing I’ve been really pleased with from the brand is the LE Poudre de Signee highlighter I picked up a couple years ago, and some of their polishes (which are also hit or miss in the shade department for me, hence why I only own a handful of them). So from now on I’ll probably keep any future purchases from the brand along those same lines (the LE highlighters are, if nothing else, beautiful to look at!). It’s a shame because the aesthetic of Chanel appeals to me so much…but if the product inside doesn’t do it for me, no matter how pretty a thing is, it just AIN’T GONNA WORK.

What brand(s) are you just not WOWED by?

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