Archive for category Make-up

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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My new favourite base combo with Clinique and Benefit

Yikes! It’s been like, two weeks since I last posted…my bad! I find time gets away from me SO easily these days, and it’s not all baby planning. I’ve mentioned before all the extra-curriculars I’ve been partaking in, but (somewhat) happily, one of those has been wrapped up for the time being – my evening French classes have ended and I don’t plan to sign up for any more (I’m still taking lessons during work hours so hopefully that’ll keep me moving forward), so that’s one extra night a week I’ll have to do with as I please. Admittedly, this will probably involve a book and some tea most of the time, ha – I’ve been doing a TON of reading, like it’s going out of style. I just don’t know how much time I’ll have come mid-March (my guess is: ZERO) so I’m getting it all in now.

Nonetheless, rest assured that even if you don’t see me churning out a ton of posts, I’ve still got beauty on the brain! I scored a pretty large haul during the Sephora VIB sale (which I’ll be showing you soon), and I’m employing every trick in the book to really capitalize on the ‘pregnancy glow’ – I don’t really see it myself, but I must be faking doing something right because I’ve been told several times that I’ve got it in spades. Hopefully its being said in a positive way and they’re not referring to me looking like a grease ball O_o  I’m *fairly* certain that’s not the case, as I’ve got a new routine going that I’m really loving! Neither product is new, nor even really new to me, but I started using them together and it’s like a match made in heaven. The duo I’m referring to is Benefit’s The POREfessional and Clinique’s Stay Matte Oil-Free Makeup (in shade 19 Sand).

Clinique Stay Matte and Benefit The POREfessional

I’ve used both of these products on their own separately before, but wasn’t terribly wowed by either. Benefit’s primer seems much like every other, blurring the look of pores with a light, ‘cone-based formula; the Stay Matte formula from Clinique’s foundation range is a great choice for combination to oilier skin that requires little coverage (it’s quite sheer), but it doesn’t keep my skin from getting shiny throughout the day. However, the two together just seem to work. The Benefit primer slightly mattifies my skin (I apply it through the T-zone) and the foundation glides seamlessly on top and manages to leave my skin with only a healthy glow by the end of the day – and this is without applying powder on top!

This has been my go-to pairing for the last month or so – I’m always trying to achieve a ‘glow’ that doesn’t veer into disco-ball shine, and I’ve finally found the trick with these two products. If you’re looking for a completely matte finish, neither of these products, together or separately, will give you that look. But if you have skin like mine that tends to get a low-level shine factor by mid-day, you might want to check them out to keep the oilies at bay without sacrificing that ever-elusive healthy glow.

Clinique Stay Matte and Benefit The POREfessional

What’s your favourite primer + foundation combo?

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Make Up For Ever Artist Shadows in M-656 and ME-612: Autumn’s perfect pairing

Alright, so I’ve been trying to get this post up for a week but so far it clearly hasn’t happened. I have an hour or so before pre-natal yoga but I MUST talk about these awesome new(ish) shadows from Make Up For Ever NOW before I get way-laid again, so let’s get ‘er done!

The Artist Shadow collection includes 210 shades (which is CRAZY, by the way…think of the possibilities!) in 5 different finishes – matte, satin, iridescent, metal, and diamond. 3 years in the making, the formula was designed to maximize colour delivery through mega-concentrated pigments, and their Water-Blend technology aims to enhance blendability and texture.

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I received shades M-656 (a Chestnut shade) and ME-612 (described as a ‘silver brown’ but which I feel is more rose-bronze). The ‘M‘ before the colour number indicates a matte shade; while the ‘ME‘ denotes a metal finish. Other formulas within the shade range correspond as follows: S = satinI = iridescent, and D = diamond. The numbers indicate a specific area of the colour wheel (above).

Make Up For Ever Artist Shadows in M656 and ME612Left to right: Make Up For Ever Artist Shadows in M-656 Chestnut and ME-612 Silver Brown

Initially when I saw these shadows I was pretty pumped – they’re perfectly neutral, easy-wearing shades and that bronzey-rose metallic shade is SO my kind of colour.

Make Up For Ever Artist Shadows in M656 Make Up For Ever Artist Shadow in M-656 Chestnut 

Make Up For Ever Artist Shadows in ME612Make Up For Ever Artist Shadow in ME-612 Silver Brown

The chestnut shade is soft and buttery smooth, and swatches exactly as it looks in the pan. However, on first touch, the ‘silver brown’ shadow felt a bit stiffer to the touch, and didn’t translate its beauty as well as I’d hoped – it’s not as pigmented as I imagined it would be, and appears slightly faded rather than the rich texture I was expecting.

Make Up For Ever Artist Shadows in M-656 and ME-612M-656 Chestnut (left) and ME-612 Silver Brown (right)

Additionally, I was a bit let down with the chestnut shade in that it seemed very close to other shades I already owned: MAC Saddle and Laura Mercier Truffle (from last year’s Artist’s Palette).

Make Up For Ever Artist Shadow in M-656 vs MAC Saddle vs Laura Mercier Truffle swatchLeft to right: MUFE M-656, MAC Saddle, and Laura Mercier Truffle

However, in swatching I realized that while the MUFE shade is quite close to Saddle (the former being a bit cooler), its pigmentation and texture is FAR superior – Saddle is more stiff and took many more passes to build up the colour, while M-656 was full-on colour from first swatch. Additionally, you can see that the LM shade doesn’t even compare in terms of pigmentation – much, MUCH more subtle (aka wishy-washy, in my opinion!). While the LM shade is part of a the one palette I haven’t destroyed, and therefore I’ll keep it around, I am most definitely getting rid of Saddle as it just doesn’t compare in terms of formula.

Make Up For Ever Artist Shadow in ME-612 vs MAC Sable swatchMUFE M-612 (left) and MAC Sable (right)

While comparing Saddle, I noticed that beside it in the MAC palette it’s housed in was a shade that looked remarkably similar to ME-612 – Sable. Of course, I had to do a comparison swatch of the two, and lo and behold – they are very similar! Sable has a more metallic finish, and is a touch cooler than ME-612, but for all intents and purposes they are very near dupes. Given my initial thoughts on ME-612, you would think I’d choose Sable, right? HOWEVER.

ME-612, while nothing to write home about in a swatch, looks beautiful when worn. It melds seamlessly with my skin so that it gives an extra little sparkle to my eye without being obvious, or even looking much like makeup! This is where is trumped Sable by far, as when I wear Sable (which is infrequently), I find it looks like I am wearing eye makeup, and it annoys me because it SEEMS like it should be a shade that almost matches my skin tone. Indeed, I have a *brown* friend who wears this every day and it looks like magical goodness on her. Where I think it goes wrong on me is the slightly thicker texture, the more metallic finish, and it’s ever-so-teensy cooler leaning, which just doesn’t work for me. When I wear a ‘natural’ shade, I want it to look natural, dammit!

Make Up For Ever Artist Shadows in M656 and ME612Wearing ME-612 on the lid, with M-656 in the crease.

What I particularly like about this duo (which the MUFE PR gal so expertly put together for me!) is that it’s not SO warm that it clashes with any makeup you might pair with it that’s cooler-toned. In fact, I wore this duo when I showed you all my Ilia Beauty lippies – as you can see below, it works equally well with both the warmer tones of Femme Fatale, and the cooler tones of Call Me.

IMG_3889Wearing MUFE M-656 and ME-612 with Ilia Beauty Femme Fatale Lipstick

IMG_3883Wearing MUFE M-656 and ME-612 with Ilia Beauty Call Me Lipstick Pencil

So, it seems that once again, I took a bit of time before I was WOWED by a product. Guess I’m getting harder to please in my old age, huh?  The moral of this story here is simple, however: Don’t rely on swatches to give you a true idea and full picture of how a product looks and performs. It’s just not telling you the whole story! Sure, it gives you a good place to start, but honestly since I actually wore this duo on my eyes, I find myself reaching for it again and again because it just works so well with every look I pair with it!

Oh, and one last comment – when you purchase these new shadows, its a good idea to buy in bulk, as there is a discount added for two or three shadows bought at a time. I have conflicting information – the press release I have says that one shadow is $25CAD, two shadows is $39 and three is $50, but on Sephora it indicates $24CAD for one, a $9 discount for two (so, as stated, $39) and a $20 discount for three (ringing in at $52). Either way, it’s a good deal, and it only makes sense to buy a few at a time (I mean, there are 210 shades, so if you can’t find 2-3 that you like…WHAT’S WRONG WITH YOU!?)

Make Up For Ever Artist Shadows in M656 and ME612

Will you be checking out the new Make Up For Ever Artist Shadows? What type of finish do you like best in eyeshadow formulas?

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Ilia Beauty Bonanza: Lippies Galore!

A few weeks ago, I noticed Fresh Faced was having a sale on select makeup items, 20-30% off (pssst…it’s still on-going! Some brands aren’t for sale anymore, but there are still some items at this serious discount!). As I’ve been keeping my beauty purchases to a minimum, I decided now was the time to splurge on a few of their lip products, as I’d never tried them before. In order to be well-rounded (OBVIOUSLY a totally justifiable reason to buy more makeup), I ordered three items – their Lipstick in the shade Femme Fatale, a deep red (normally $29CAD, I scored this for $23CAD); a Lipstick Crayon in Call Me, a pretty, cool pink (marked down to $21CAD from $27); and one of their Lip Glosses in The Butterfly and I, a universally flattering neutral peach (also priced at $21 from $27CAD).

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I have tried samples of the Ilia Tinted Lip Conditioners, but I didn’t really like them for some reason – at least, as a sample they felt kinda gritty and the shades I picked were a little garish and light for my skintone. But that’s the past! I decided to give the brand a proper chance to WOW me, and I have to say – it totally did!

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I really wanted to cover a spectrum of shades, and I think I did pretty well. The gloss is a lovely warm neutral, the lipstick crayon a fun, in-your-face cool pink, and the lipstick is a classic, wearable red. Below, some swatches:

IMG_3805 IMG_3827Left to right: The Butterfly and I Lipgloss, Call Me Lipstick Crayon, and one swipe and three swips of Femme Fatale Lipstick.

I was (pleasantly) surprized to see just how neutral The Butterfly and I is – I don’t own a really fool-proof, go-with-anything gloss, but definitely fits the bill! On my lips it looks almost clear, but it has just a hint of warmth and color so it enhances my liptone. The gloss formula itself is smooth, not at all sticky, and lasts for about 1-2 hours – not incredibly long-wearing, but you won’t get that without some stickiness. It IS nicely moisturizing though, and a pleasure to reapply, so there’s that.

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Call Me is especially cool-toned and light on me, which I used to be against, but I’m starting to like the contrast against my darker skin. The texture is sort of creamy-matte – it takes a little effort to put on (it doesn’t have much slip) but it’s not an issue, and it wears well and feels very comfortable on, for a matte finish. I quite like this!

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I thought this might be similar to Revlon’s Matte Balm in Showy, and in the swatches below it looks like it is a bit, but IRL it’s actually much lighter, while Showy is more bold. They give completely different looks overall.

IMG_3908Left to right: Revlon Showy, Ilia Beauty Call Me

Last but certainly not least is Femme Fatale, which I think looks quite nice against my skin tone; it’s just the right shade of red and not too bold, but not boring in the least – it’s so darn wearable! And I think it would be one of those shades to work in all seasons as well. The texture of this is great, creamy and smooth and so, so comfortable to wear (and hydrating!). And it lasts! This shade wore on me easily for like, 5 hours – even through eating. And even after that time, it left the prettiest stain on the skin. I love all three shades I bought, but I think this *might* be my favorite.

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I suspected Femme Fatale would be quite close in colour to MAC Dare You, another deep red. In swatches, it looks incredibly similar, but like Call Me, when worn it shows a different story. Dare You has more pigment, or perhaps not more but is a thicker formula – therefore it results in a bolder, richer look. That makes it *sound* better, but I actually think Femme Fatale holds its own – the formula’s thinner formula means it wears closer to the lips, and it looks more natural. I love both shades, truthfully, as deep reds are more subtle yet easy to wear, and I think both will get worn equally as often. I do feel that Femme Fatale translates across more seasons because of it’s slight translucency, however.

IMG_3906Left to Right: MAC Dare You, Ilia Femme Fatale

I don’t really need to tell you that I love all three of these lippies, do I? I think my love for each comes through loud and clear. For once, ordering sight unseen (which I try to avoid with makeup shades) paid off well. Granted, I did quite a bit of research beforehand, but it was well worth it to have three new shades that aren’t already wholly represented in my collection. Add that to the lovely formula on each of these Ilia lippies, and you can be sure I’ll be ordering more colours down the road!

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Have you tried any Ilia Beauty makeup before? Do you own any green/organic makeup products?

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Clinique Cheek Pops in Berry Pop and Peach Pop {a delayed review}

Though I’ve worked for Clinique since 2005 (almost 10 years, crazy!), I’ve never been head over heels for their makeup – it’s always been a bit too mundane for me, a bit too soft. Ever since they re-launched and re-vamped the super-popular Chubby Sticks (we used to have them back in the day, did you know?), Clinique has been upping their makeup game, and I’ve been taking notice. In my last gratis from Clinique back in early spring, I ordered two Cheek Pops ($24CAD) to try as I had read so many great reviews on them, and since I was getting them for free – hey, why not? Being a *wee bit* into blush, I was excited to try these out.

IMG_1908 IMG_1905Left – Peach Pop; Right – Berry Pop. This is what they looked like when I first bought them…

IMG_3749…and what they look like now!

The two shades I went with were Peach Pop, a peachy-orange, and Berry Pop, a fuchsia-berry shade. As I discovered a while ago, fuchsia is kind of my JAM, and so I was unsurprized to find that Berry Pop looked lovely on my skin. Interestingly, the shade isn’t comparable to anything else I own – all my other fuchsia shades were MUCH cooler, whereas Berry Pop is, well – more berry!

IMG_3752Clinique Berry Pop

IMG_2018Clinique Berry Pop (natural light)

Orange-y tones however, are not often flattering on my skin tone, and Peach Pop initially seemed like a poor choice, as I found it looked kind of dull and blah. I stuck it in my train case (where all my ‘extra’ makeup is stored) and forgot about it throughout the rest of spring and summer months.

IMG_3751Clinique Peach Pop

IMG_2019Clinique Peach Pop (natural light)

When September hit, I did my annual rotation of makeup products – which I tend to do every season, and sometimes more if I’m feeling bored – and I decided to give Peach Pop another go, as I felt it’s soft peachy tones would work well with earthy, fall-appropriate shades, as well as not compete with any bold eye or lip looks I tend to favour during this season. Surprizingly, for whatever reason, I fell madly in love with the shade this time around, and find myself reaching for it the most out of my edited collection of ‘fall’ blushes. It gives a wonderful ‘fresh’ glow to my skin and wears equally well with heavier makeup as with very simple, basic looks. I should have known better, in truth – Peach Pop is very similar to Chanel’s Blush Creme in Revelation, which I love and wear the heck out of when my tan has faded (it’s too soft to wear otherwise).

IMG_1209 IMG_1208Left – heavy and buffed swatches of Peach Pop; right – heavy and buffed swatches of Berry Pop (in sunlight)

I must attribute some of this new-found love to my friend Larie, who recently discovered peach herself. She always gets me thinking outside the box!

IMG_1218Wearing Clinique Peach Pop…sorry for the less than stellar photo, it has been overcast for the past few days, and late afternoon sun can by tricky! But FYI – this photo was taken with my new iPhone 6! Not a bad shot when you think of it that way, eh? The camera on it is pretty sweet :)

Though I haven’t worn Berry Pop too often (to me it’s a more winter/spring shade), I suspect I will enjoy it just as much as Peach Pop when the time comes. These blushes are fool-proof to apply, going on softly and subtly if you so desire, but building up to a beautiful bold color if that’s your preference instead. I adore the satin finish that imparts a soft glow to the skin without any shimmer whatsoever (this is my favorite blush formula), and they blend out like a dream. And as much as I’m not a ‘cute-sy’ person when it comes to packaging, I think these little pots are adorable! Love the clear glass packaging, bypassing anything tacky or twee-looking, and the flower pattern inside is intricate and sweet without being saccharine.

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I probably should have written about these a long time ago, eh!?

What was the last product you bought that ended up being a sleeper hit for you?

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