Archive for category Make-up

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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Arm yourself for cooler weather with Korres skincare

I don’t know about everywhere else, but for the past few weeks it’s definitely felt like fall here in Hali (but at least it’s not SNOW, good grief). The days are still warm, but the mornings and evenings have a definitely chill in the air. Personally, I’m loving it because I love fall, and I far prefer to sleep in the cool than the sticky heat! But the drop in temperature does signal that it’s time to switch up my skincare routine – my lips are starting to get a bit flaky again and the skin around my mouth is more sensitive and dry.

A few products landed at my door last month that have been ideal to help my skin transition into fall with ease: Korres Lip Butters in Guava and Pomegranate ($19CAD ea.), and the Greek Yoghurt Nourishing Primer ($39CAD) from the brand.

Korres Skincare

Though I have tried a couple Korres skincare products before, it’s been a while since I’ve dallied with the brand. I’ve read numerous reviews on their Lip Butters before, but didn’t know too much about their slew of Primers (they also have a Pomegranate Mattifying Primer, and a Quercetin & Oak Age-reversing Primer, as well as a plain Face Primer).

Korres Skincare

The Greek Yoghurt Nourishing Primer is a ‘skin-perfecting and silicone-free face primer‘ which is formulated with Greek yoghurt, which is touted to be very nourishing. Like any primer, it assists with improving makeup longevity and smoother application. This particular formulation, which is free of parabens or sulfates, is also supposed to be idea for sensitive skin, and has a ‘breathable gel texture that glides onto skin leaving a dewy finish.’ The texture is more like a cream-gel, which I like as it provides light moisture without being heavy. I also like that it’s silicone-free, which again keeps it from really feeling primer-ish on the skin. The only real turn-off I have is the scent, which is fairly strong and a mix of floral-herbal. I wore this for several days in a row, and it didn’t seem to cause any irritation to my skin, but I will be wary during use nonetheless. The scent does dissipate after a while.

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I actually found that using this in the summer was OK – while it didn’t keep oiliness at bay, if used alone as my moisturizer/primer, it allowed my makeup to wear longer and I didn’t turn into a complete oil-slick. However, I think this will be particularly effective in the fall and winter, when my skin turns more normal than oily. I’m hoping it will be just the ticket to get a dewy, glowing look, rather than dehydrated due to moisture-sucking blustery cold days and indoor heating.

Korres Lip Butter in PomegranatePomegranate Lip Butter

The Lip Butters are a lovely, medium-thick balm which applies easily to the lips and is not waxy in the least. It’s my favourite kind of texture to a balm – extremely comfortable to wear, yet doesn’t disappear in seconds requiring you to apply more every five minutes. And the scent isn’t too shabby either ;)  (it says it contains ‘aroma (flavour)’ in the ingredients but doesn’t elaborate what that could be – they also say that the product contains no synthetic fragrances, and so far it hasn’t caused any irritation for me, so we’ll just go with it)

Korres Lip Butter in Pomegranate ingredientsPomegranate Lip Butter Ingredients

I’ve been wearing the Guava shade regularly (below) as my daily balm, as it’s just clear – as I said, my lips have been dry and rough the past week or so, and this has helped keep them hydrated and comfortable. I plan to start incorporating the Pomegranate shade (above), a ‘sheer coral’, into my lip wardrobe as well to give me that nice, stained lip that looks so lush in fall.

Korres Lip Butter in GuavaGuava Lip Butter

Korres Lip Butter in Guava ingredientsGuava Lip Butter Ingredients

I just want to note a few things that kind of alerted me when I first read the ingredients – polybutene is a liquid ogliomer which is used as a binding element in cosmetics and is derived from petroleum (EWG score of 1); trimethylolpropane triisostearate is a occlusive skin-conditioning agent (EWG score of 0); hydrogenated polydecene is a skin-conditioning agent (EWG score of 2); and polyethylene is a binding agent as well (EWG score of 1).  The reason I wanted to share that is because as a consumer who reads ingredients, I was a bit concerned that all these things that sounded rather ominous – but turns out they’re relatively harmless.

Korres Lip Butter in Guava & Pomegranate swatchesSwatches, left to right: Guava Lip Butter, Pomegranate Lip Butter

Overall, I’m pleased with these products and encouraged to try more Korres products in the future. Unfortunately, the brand is phasing out it’s makeup line to focus more on skincare, so I suspect primers and lip conditioners will be the extent of it’s offerings moving forward. Happily, both are quite lovely and there are primers to suit everyone’s needs, so it’s not a total loss! I’m really keen to see how the Greek Yoghurt primer works in the late fall/winter and if it gives me the dewy (and not greasy) look I’m always trying to achieve!

Korres Skincare

Have you tried Korres skincare products before? Do you ever use a primer to double as your moisturizer? What kind of texture do you like in a lip treatment?

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

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Operation Reduce: Eyeshadows, Part II

Hooray for getting on the ball again! After being re-inspired by Maggie and her recommended viewing material (Tati’s Makeup Graveyards), I got back into the swing of things and started going through my eyeshadows and meticulously swatching each to see which should stay and which should go. I was on a TEAR yesterday, you guys! Highly recommended watching these kinds of videos while culling your stash – it made me more ruthless than ever! Continuing on my ‘palette cleanse’ (hehe), I finished weeding through the shades from the Urban Decay Book of Shadows III and started attacking the Kat Von D Spellbinding palette. Exciting!

Check out part I of Operation Reduce.

Without further ado, let’s see what made the cut (and what didn’t)!

Urban Decay Psychedelic Sister & Kat Von D Babe

IMG_3374Clockwise from bottom left: Urban Decay Psychedelic Sister, MAC Paint in Infamous, and Kat Von D Babe

I’m not generally a fan of violet eyeshadow, truth be told. I love deep dark shades like eggplant or plum, but more vibrant shades like these tend to look a bit garish on my skin (at least I think so). I rarely wear any of the shadows above, so it was time to make an ultimate decision – to stay or go?

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The MAC Paint is incredibly old and the shade long since discontinued. I keep hanging on to it for sentimental reasons, which I don’t do very often, but it’s like a relic now! And it’s not dried up and crusty, nor does it separate or smell bad, so I’ve been unable to part with it thus far. Perhaps it’s time has come?

MAC vs Urban Decay vs Kat Von D shadow swatchesLeft to right: MAC Infamous Paint (d), Urban Decay Psychedelic Sister, Kat Von D Babe

Upon swatching these, it was immediately clear to me that Babe has got to go. It’s too light for my skin tone, and since I don’t do complicated eye looks EVER, I know I’ll never use it as an accent shade or anything of the like. Psychedelic Sister is somehow both bold yet a touch sheer, a combination I don’t particularly like on my skin tone. I do like having a variety of shades however, so I initially put it in the ‘maybe’ pile. I was gearing up to also let Infamous go, as it does apply a bit patchy, when I decided to experiment by putting that on the eye first and then layering PS over it. BOOM! It paired beautifully with PS and gave it more depth of pigment – win win win! I’m actually excited to wear this combination now :)

One down!

Urban Decay Radium

IMG_3426Left to right: MAC Paint in Blue Boy, Urban Decay Radium

There wasn’t any real doubt in my mind about keeping Radium – for a bright eye it’s one of my favourite shades to wear (it’s what I’m wearing in my ‘About Me’ photo, so yea – I kinda like it!). In this case, I was more trying to find a reason NOT to keep my other ancient MAC Paint, Blue Boy – a fun shade to be sure, but one I never ever wear.

IMG_3422Left to right: MAC Blue Boy Paint, Urban Decay Radium

In comparing the two, initially I was disappointed to see that they aren’t the same shade – Blue Boy is more blue, while Radium takes on an almost teal look next to it. However, Blue Boy has really had it’s day – when I tried the same layering trick with it and Radium, it applied WAY too patchy (much more than Infamous) and it doesn’t enrich Radium but makes it somehow less wearable.

I feel no sadness in letting this one go – it’s time has come, and I’m ok with that :) Out it goes!

Urban Decay Kush & Kat Von D Gunner

IMG_3462Clockwise from left: MAC Jealousy Wakes, Make Up For Ever Aqua Shadow in 8E, Kat Von D Gunner, Urban Decay Kush

Clearly, none of these greens are really very similar, but it’s a another shade I find I don’t wear very well, so I put them all into one pot to see which one would come out on top. The rest – sayonara!

IMG_3465Left to right: Kat Von D Gunner, Urban Decay Kush, MAC Jealousy Wakes, Make Up For Ever Aqua Shadow in 8E

Maybe it’s just my bias, but I don’t really think any of these look very good! Gunner wouldn’t be too bad if it had better pigment (and lost the glitter), but if you recall from my original Spellbinding palette review it was one of the worst of the bunch. Kush isn’t terrible, but again I feel like it’s too light for my skin tone – where are the deeper jewel tone shades, huh? – and I’d rather turf it so I can buy a great deep green than hang on to it just because. Jealousy Wakes has a stiff, slightly gritty formula which I don’t like very much, but layered over a dark shadow it’s quite pretty, and I’ve decided that it’s the only green I’m going to keep for now until I find something better. MUFE’s 8E is my favourite SHADE of the bunch, but I’m tired of avoiding this formula because it’s so dry and hard to apply and smudge out.

Three of the four are getting the boot here! Yeehaw!

Urban Decay Money & Kat Von D 8 Bit

IMG_3473Left to right: Kat Von D 8 Bit, Urban Decay Money, Maybelline Shimmering Sea

Obviously, Shimmering Sea is only here for comparison purposes, as there is no way I’m giving this baby up – I love it too much! The other two look similar in the pans, but there are discernible differences (hard to tell in this light – my sun went away :() – are they enough for me to keep them both?

IMG_3478Left to right: Kat Von D 8 Bit, Urban Decay Money, Maybelline Shimmering Sea

8 Bit is definitely more of a teal-blue, while Money is more of a pale sky blue – Shimmering Sea just looks at the both of them and is like ‘Pfffft. That’s all you got? Where’s your GOLDEN SHIMMER DUOCHROME?’  O_o

…ANYWAY, while neither 8 Bit nor Money are the kind of shades I wear often, 8 Bit has such a lovely, smooth formula (while Money is smooth but has gritty glitter in it), and I CAN wear this as a pretty wash of colour easily. And it would probably layer over Shimmering Sea very nicely! So, in this round – Money = 0, 8 Bit = 1.

Urban Decay Last Call & Kat Von D Stupid Autocorrect

IMG_3490Left to right: Urban Decay Last Call, Kat Von D Stupid Autocorrect

I really love the way Last Call looks in the pan – all rich burgundy gorgeousness – while Stupid Autocorrect (what a name!) looks muted and dull by comparison. Nevertheless, I swatched the two just to be sure.


IMG_3498Left to right: Urban Decay Last Call, Kat Von D Stupid Autocorrect

…which didn’t help me much at all! The two are incredibly similar, with Last Call being slightly darker but overall similar in tone. I decided I’d need to try them on my eyes to really see what was up. Surprizingly, I found Last Call to be just a hint too purpley-red and metallic on my eye, and gave me kind of a sickly look, while SA’s more muted tones worked well in it’s favour. I debated on the two for ages, but in the end knowing that I tend to wear more simple eye looks, I went with Kat Von D’s version because I knew it would get more use.

So there you have it! I think that Part II went swimmingly – I’m making real headway with condensing my eyeshadow collection, and I’m even more pleased that I’m taking those bulky palettes and reducing them to just a handful of shades I’ll actually wear. Get ready for Part III, which will focus on the last of those two palettes – I hope to post on that later today.

I’m feeling lighter already!

Are you doing any kind of inventory of your own makeup? What is your ideal size for a makeup collection?

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It’s Transition Time! Segueing from summer into fall with Hourglass Icon

I’m Guilty!

I need to preface all of my posts over the next few weeks with that phrase, because I fear the response I will get when I admit that I’m ready for summer to end and I’m eager for fall.

I know, I know. But we love the sunshine! And the warm weather! And winter in Canada is brutal and goes on forEV-ER!  Yes, my friends, I know all of this. And when winter rolls around I’ll be right there with you dreaming of the beautiful sunny days of yore… I love summer as much as the next person, and here in Canada we are PARTICULARLY eager for summer to arrive, but once August hits, no matter if we’ve had an awesome summer (like we did this year) or a shit one (where it rains 75% of the time), I’m always super-keen to get the fall party started. Call me crazy, but…I just really like the change of seasons.

I’ve been doing a bit of transitioning with my makeup over the past few weeks in preparation for autumn’s impending arrival. Though it’s still been quite hot here, and tons of sun the last couple weeks, I’m slowly adding autumnal aspects to my makeup because, gosh darn it I like a theme! The other gals of the Beauty Envy Bags were on the same wavelength, and so today we’re each going to show you our own takes on transitional summer-to-fall looks!  It was perfect timing, because last week during a moment of Sephora insanity (you know you get it too), I picked up NARS Mekong eyeshadow (which I ended up taking back – hel-LO, eyeshadow reduction!?!) and a perfect product (sample) fell into my lap to assist me in my cause: Hourglass Opaque Rouge Liquid Lipstick in Icon (full size $33CAD).

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Icon is a gorgeous blue-based red that just plain SCREAMS fabulous (my kind of lippie!). Hourglass carries the shade in this Liquid Lipstick form, in a Creme Lipstick in bullet form, in a High Shine Gloss, and in a Long Wear Lip Liner. I had never really considered trying it before in any version, but the 500 point perk at Sephora happened to be an Hourglass sample set (also including sample packs of their three foundations, a sample vial of Veil Mineral Primer, and the Film Noir mascara), and I couldn’t pass it up. The Liquid Lipstick formula is very long wearing, as tends to be the case with liquid lipsticks, and I don’t find it particularly drying, though it’s far from moisturizing as well. I did notice that if I wasn’t careful in my application, that it got a little patchy after a short period of time, but if I was sure to blend it well (with either the doe-foot applicator, my finger, or a brush), this problem was easily avoided.

With autumn on my mind, I had an idea to pair Icon with very warm-toned blush and eye makeup so it would wear a bit more casual and late-summery, rather than class-act cool.  NARS Taj Mahal blush and MAC Amber Lights eyeshadow fit the bill perfectly.

IMG_3363Left to right: MAC Amber Lights, NARS Taj Mahal, Hourglass Icon

The look was quite simple, as the boldness of Icon really speaks for itself. Too much other makeup is just plain overkill. A wash of Amber Lights, and a dusting of Taj Mahal, and I was set to go!

Hourglass Icon swatch

Hourglass Icon swatch

MAC Amber Lights swatch

Here’s a shot of me in natural lighting indoors (below) so you can see that no matter what the light, that lipstick is KAPOW!

Hourglass Icon swatch

Close-up of THE RICHNESS.

Hourglass Icon swatch

As you may have guessed, I absolutely LOVE this lipstick and I can’t even handle how fabulous Icon as a colour is. While I have a handful of red lipsticks, none are as eye-catching as Icon, and I find the slightly cooler base suits my neutral skin tone exceptionally well. It’s a shame for my wallet that they make this shade in so many other formulas, as I just might need to own them all!! I am looking forward to wearing the heck outta this sample, and I love that it worked so well for a summer’s day as I know it will in the depths of winter. BRING ON ALL THE SEASONS!

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Check out what the other lovely ladies have come up with to help ease them from summer into fall!

What is your favourite red lipstick? Do you transition your makeup from summer to fall?

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Operation Reduce: Eyeshadows, Part I

You may have noticed that there have been less makeup reviews on Beauty Obsessed over the past few months. Aside from our big push to save money for a substantial down payment on a new home, I’ve also been in the mood to pare down my makeup (and polish) collections, and adding new items to it at this stage would be a bit counterproductive. While I have made small strides toward this goal, this weekend I finally sat down and really started to do some serious clearing  out. The first up on my hit list were 100+ eyeshadows.

IMG_3311My shadow collection, give or take a few.

As I’ve mentioned time and again, I have fallen a bit out of love with eyeshadow – while I still love all the pretty colours, I tend to favour a minimal eye look day to day, focusing more on bold lips to be the star of the show. I suspect over time my preferences will change, as things go, so rather than get rid of previously loved shades (which I’m sure I’ll love again at some point), I’m turning my eye toward removing any duplicates to decrease the number of shadows I have.

urban decay book 4I don’t even have a pic of my own palette, because as soon as I depotted the shades I turfed it, TOOT SWEET.

I am not a lover of palettes, nor will I ever likely be – all that choice, all those colours in one bulky place! Nah, too stressful for this here gal. And so it was that I began my weed-through there, starting with my oldest palette – Urban Decay’s Book of Shadows III.

Containing 16 shadows, the BoS III was probably the gateway product that turned me into a full-fledge makeup junkie. The buttery textures and variety of richly pigmented shades was impossible to resist. At first, I used it all the time….but over the years, it fell out of grace due to its bulky packaging. On embarking on my pare-down plan, I decided that depotting was the way to go with this beast, and away I went!

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Today I begin with the first five shades from the palette that went through a rigorous swatch- and comparison-fest: Smog (bronze), Haight (bright teal), Rockstar (deep eggplant), Suspect (golden taupe) and Loaded (blackened teal green).

SMOG & HAIGHT

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Smog is a gorgeous bronze shade that leans more brown than reddish or golden. On my skin tone its quite complimentary, and has enough depth and pigmentation to be a one-and-done shade for me. Haight is a bright tropical teal that always draws me in, yet requires a little bit more effort to look appropriate on my darker skin.

IMG_3207Left to right: Smog, Haight

Just for fun, I paired the two together in an eye look to see if Smog could ground Haight and make it more wearable:

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Sorry for the lack of shots capturing the whole picture – I was bound and determine to be a fuzzy-headed slob yesterday, and I didn’t want to subject you to that horror. Suffice to say, with a bit of liner and mascara, the whole look (Haight on the lid, Smog in the crease) came together really well, and I will definitely be repeating it on a day when I actually leave the house. It’s fun and summery without being too bold.

IMG_3231Clockwise from left: Clinique Rum Spice (d), G.Armani #6 Khaki Pulse, Kat Von D Fallen, UD Smog  

Now for the dupe hunt! Starting with Smog, I pulled all of my bronze-like shadows and swatched each one to see how they’d measure up.

IMG_3225Left to right: G.Armani #6 Khaki Pulse, Kat Von D Fallen, UD Smog, Clinique Rum Spice (d) 

While there are similarities between the shades, none of the above are dupes, and as I do tend to favour bronzy shadows, I am keeping all four.

Moving on to Haight, I only had one shadow in my arsenal that resembled the shade – Kat Von D’s Bukowski:

IMG_3234 IMG_3239Left to right: Kat Von D Bukowski, UD Haight

As you can see, these two are extremely similar – if you want to get nit-picky about it, Bukowski is a touch more teal with slightly less shimmer, while Haight is brighter and more blue. Tomato, to-ma-to, they’re close enough for me! As both shades have the same smooth, buttery texture and great pigmentation, I decided to keep Haight over Bukowski because it’s smaller in size (0.8oz as opposed to 1.4oz) since its not a shade I’d wear often. When the time comes (soon!) to depot the Kat Von D palette Bukowski is in (the Spellbinding one from Holiday 2013), it’ll be finding itself a new home somewhere else!

Two down, three to go!

ROCKSTAR, LOADED, AND SUSPECT

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Rockstar is a lovely deep eggplant shade that doesn’t veer too blue or too red, and hence is likely wearable by most skin tones. Loaded is a beautiful blackened teal that is a bit more muted applied, but still gorgeous. Suspect, well-loved as you can see, is a super-wearable light golden taupe-y shade that adds a touch of brightness to the eye area without being very obvious. All three of these shades are right up my alley…but the question was, did I have any similar colours kicking around?

IMG_3205Left to right: Suspect, Loaded, and Rockstar. 

Again, for fun, I did a quick eye look using all three of these shades to see how they played together (Fall prep, methinks!).

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You can see the neat flash of teal green that Loaded provides; paired with Suspect all over the lid and Rockstar in the crease, I think this ended up pretty decent as well. Subtle, but with interest. Next time I’ll be sure to use a primer, which I think will help the shades reach their full, fabulous potential.

I had several contenders for each of the shades above; let’s begin with the most dupable shade, Suspect.

IMG_3271Clockwise from bottom left: NARS Rajasthan duo (golden shade), Laura Mercier Bamboo, MAC All That Glitters, Urban Decay Suspect, Kat Von D Precious

On lighter skintones, I suspect (haha) that the nuances of most of these shades would be readily apparent. However, on my darker skin tone, I find that they lose their uniqueness quite quickly:

IMG_3261Left to right: LM Bamboo, NARS Rajasthan, UD Suspect, MAC All That Glitters, Kat Von D Precious, Kat Von D Galore (I threw that one in for my own comparison purposes but forgot to take pics first, oops!)

Though you can see the graduation from dark to light, there are a lot of similarities here, which happens to me a lot when dealing with sort of champagne-type shades. Ultimately though, only the NARS Rajasthan golden shade is close enough to Suspect, and for me it’s enough to feel likeI don’t need both.  Let’s take a closer look.

IMG_3292Left to right: UD Suspect, NARS Rajasthan

I can’t believe I never noticed how similar these two were! The shade from the Rajasthan duo up close has more nuances than Suspect, and is actually more pigmented as well, so it should be a no-brainer to decide which one to keep. HOWEVER, there are two factors at play here. 1) Suspect has hit pan, and therefore could conceivably be finished in the next few months with diligent use (and who doesn’t like a REAL LIVE MAKEUP EMPTY??) and 2) the other side of the Rajasthan duo is a blackened teal, much like Loaded up there, and so we’ll need to investigate that first before making any decisions.

On, on!

IMG_3278Clockwise from left: NARS Rajasthan duo (teal shade), theBalm Jealous Jordana (depotted), UD Loaded

Next up in the dupe war is Loaded and it’s dark teal goodness. Though I don’t wear it often, I love this kind of shade – so mysterious and sexy ;-)  However, I don’t really need THREE of them. Let’s see how they fare in swatches:

IMG_3295Left to right: NARS Rajasthan, UD Loaded, theBalm Jealous Jordana

All three are definitely in the same vein, with Loaded having the most teal flash of the three. Though the texture of the teal side of the Rajasthan duo leaves me a bit wanting (it’s a little stiff), there’s something to be said for the convenience of having the two shades together. To be sure, I did another set of swatches, this time with the teal Rajasthan shade swatched wet to see if it had more depth of pigment (which is ultimately what matters to me in this case).

IMG_3298Left to right: NARS Rajasthan (swatched wet), NARS Rajasthan (dry), UD Loaded, theBalm Jealous Jordana

Clearly, swatched wet, Rajasthan is a whole different ballgame, and thankfully made the decision easy for me. Bye bye, Loaded & Jealous Jordana! Nice knowing you (no really, it was – we had some good times)!

Urban Decay Rockstar shadow comparisonLeft to right: UD Rockstar, Hourglass Exhibition duo (violet side), Kat Von D Wonderland

Finally, we have Rockstar in all it’s plummy glory. In my head, the shades above were all close matches, but upon pairing them side by side, I can easily see that’s not going to be the case. Eh. Let’s go through the motions anyway to satisfy our curiosity!

IMG_3248Left to right: Hourglass Exhibition, UD Rockstar, Kat Von D Wonderland

Nope, no dupes here – not by a long shot. Rockstar lighter than both the other options and by far more frosty, not to mention much cooler than Wonderland. Looking at these three side by side however, DOES make me like Rockstar a little less – it seems almost gaudy by comparison. For the time being, I’ll hang on to it as it seems I don’t have anything like it…but time will tell if I decide to keep it around or eventually let it go.

O-KAY! So, after today’s endeavours, I’ve managed to decrease my shadow collection by three (counting Kat Von D’s Bukowski when I get around to depotting those shadows). Not too shabby. At the mo, my entire collection (palette shades and all) consists now of 106 shades. My goal is to get this down to at least under 100, and I may not even stop there. One thing about paring down is that you can eventually start making way for new stuff! An activity I am wholly looking forward to, I readily admit.

Are you doing any makeup house-keeping lately? How many eyeshadows do you own?

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Summer Makeup Staples: Favorite Summer Lippies

Even the biggest cynic has to admit, we’ve had a pretty sweet summer season, at least here in Atlantic Canada! Almost every weekend is sunny, and often days that call for rain turn into a beautiful and bright sunshiny day. It’s been sticky and humid, I’ll grant you, but hey – what’s the beach for if not to keep cool in the heat?

In an effort to use more of my eyeshadows, I went though a period of wearing different eye looks over the past couple months, only to become frustrated that they looked overdone and kind of grimy in this muggy weather. I finally decided that the shadows will have to wait until the cooler months, and instead I would focus on my TRUE makeup love of the moment – juicy lip colours.

Favorite Summer LippiesLeft to right: NARS Velvet Matte Lip Pencil in Dolce Vita, YSL Glossy Stain in Corail Aquatique, NARS Velvet Matte Lip Pencil in Red Square, Tom Ford Lip Color in True Coral, Dior Fluid Stick in Magique, purminerals Plumping Lip Gloss in Pink Crush

Over the past year or so, I’ve really started upping my lip game. For the most part, I own and wear shades in almost every shade imaginable, and change it up with each season. During the summer, I find warm pinks, happy corals, dusky roses, and orange-leaning reds tend to flatter my tanned skin most. The lippies that are in highest rotation are of all textures – gloss, stain-gloss hybrids, mattes, and cremes.

IMG_3097Left to right: NARS Dolce Vita, YSL Corail Aquatique, NARS Red Square, Tom Ford True Coral, Dior Magique, purminerals Pink Crush

I picked up NARS Velvet Matte Lip Pencil in Dolce Vita last fall on a whim – I cannot remember what drew me to the dusty rose shade, but I’m SO glad I brought it home with me, as it’s honestly one of my favourite, most flattering lip colours (in ALL seasons!) and I wear it CONSTANTLY. I will definitely repurchase this when I run out, which is SO unlike me!

I’ve had the YSL Glossy Stain for a couple years now, and while I wasn’t entirely enamoured with it when I bought it, it’s such an easy-to-wear soft coral that goes with essentially every look I create. Another one that I would definitely consider repurchasing as I probably wear it more than any other lippie I own, period.

The NARS Velvet Matte Lip Pencil in Red Square was a recent addition; after swatching orange-based reds on at least three separate occasions at Sephora, I finally went with with this one as I like the Velvet Matte formula, and it seemed to be the most flattering on me. I love it!

IMG_3103 Left to right: NARS Dolce Vita, YSL Corail Aquatique, NARS Red Square

I’ve shown you the Tom Ford Lip Color in True Coral before after I picked it up in NYC late last year. I was concerned that its coral-red tone was so bright it would be garish on my skin tone once tanned, but my fears were unfounded, as it looks even BETTER with a tan! The formula is more suited to this time of year as well, as my lips tend to be in better condition (read: not as sahara dry and flaky as in the winter) so it wear much better as well.

Back in June, after a monster swatching session at Shoppers, I picked up one of the new Dior Fluid Sticks in #479 Magique (which doesn’t seem to be available at Sephora for some reason), a bright coral pink. I really like the formula on these, and am always tempted to buy more but wish there was a bit more selection in the shade range – the lighter shades are too milky on my skin tone, and some of the other shades look too similar to this one. LOVE that juicy, colour-rich shine, though!

Lastly, a few years ago my aunt gave me a ton of purminerals lip glosses (you can find the brand at Shoppers), which have a great lovely, moisturizing formula. I gave away many of them as the shades didn’t call to me (and I don’t wear gloss too often these days), but this one in Pink Crush has become a huge staple for me as it gives just a hint of muted rose-y pink to the lips, and awesome shine. Another goes-with-everything lippie.

IMG_3101Left to right: Tom Ford True Coral, Dior Magique, purminerals Pink Crush

All six of these shades are without a doubt my most-worn, and most-loved lippies at the moment. They allow me a variety of looks and I truly enjoy wearing each one! This is my ultimate goal with my makeup collection – regardless of the number of products, as long as I take pleasure in wearing each item, then that’s really what counts. I’ve been slashing and hacking at my stash methodically over the past few months, and every week I feel that much more satisfied!

I will admit though…I’m starting to get that itch for fall makeup! Don’t shoot me… :)

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What lippies have you been wearing to death this season?

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