Archive for category Make-up

Summer Makeup Staples: The Basics

As some of you may know, I’ve been trying hard to keep my new purchases to a minimum, putting effort in to enjoying the products I already have before galavanting around buying up more stuff. The only problem with that concept is that in the summer, I tend to wear a bit of a ‘makeup uniform,’ which means the same products get used over and over again and the rest get forgotten. However, there IS something to be said for products that just plain work, and that work with your lifestyle. I thought I’d give you a peek into my recent beauty world at the handful of products I’m loving big time this summer!

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All of the products above are new to me this summer, and have all wormed their way into my heart in a BIG way.

Earlier in the spring, I ran out of powder (those Ambient Lighting palettes were a cute idea, but HOLY MOLEY those powders got used up fast!), so I picked up Laura Mercier’s Translucent Loose Setting Powder ($44CAD). I’d heard and read good things, so I finally took it off the wish list and brought it home with me. I’m quite pleased with it overall – though it doesn’t combat shine fully, it leaves me skin with a radiant matte finish and never looks heavy or cakey. It’s extremely finely milled, and feels like air going on. Probably one of the best setting powders I’ve used to date.

On my birthday, my aunt gave me her usual ‘beauty package’ of goodies she’d purchased from The Shopping Network. One of those items was the CoverFX MintGlaze FX Moisturizing Lip Treat-mint Primer with SPF15 (also known as the-lip-balm-with-the-longest-name-ever). Normally not a fan of mint anything, I actually like the gentle cooling sensation this imparts on the lips, and its nicely moisturizing. A thin layer is great to use just before applying lipstick, but even on it’s own it looks great, with a nice glossy shine.

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It’s not cheap at about $22 a pop, but hey, I got it for free so I’m not complaining! I read on Paula Beguoin’s site that the peppermint oil is a no-no (re: irritation) but I don’t find it a problem.

Another gem of a find I’ve come across recently is Sephora Brand’s Waterproof Retractable Brow Pencil ($16CAD). I was finding the shadow I was using to fill in my brows was too dark, and the method of application not precise enough – I’ve been growing my brows for a while now, and they can get a little unruly if I’m not careful. I picked this up on a whim because it was relatively inexpensive, and turns out I sort of love it! It’s fine enough to allow for great control and accuracy, but it’s not too dark or hard of a formula, so it’s never harsh-looking. The shade I bought, 04 Midnight Brown, is the perfect ashy dark brown; additionally, sometimes I get breakouts in my brow line, but I haven’t had that problem once since using this, so I’ve definitely found a winner! It’s got a little comb on the other end of the pencil which is a neat inclusion, but which I haven’t used once (lol).

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Finally, the last product that has been getting a lot of love from me is the Make Up For Ever Aqua Matic ME-50 shadow pencil I’ve previously shown you. This is still getting some major love from me, as it just goes with everything – dramatic eyes, bold lips, natural looks – you name it! I am considering picking up another one of these in the D-12 Diamond Golden Grey shade, which swatches just as it sounds – a sparkling gunmetal grey with golden shimmer (!!!!).

IMG_2975Left to right: Cover FX Lip Treat-mint, MUFE Aqua Matic in ME-50, Sephora Brow Pencil in Midnight Brown 

That sums up my basic makeup wardrobe for summer – stay tuned for my next instalment, when we look at my favourite COLOURS of the season!

What basic makeup staples do you find yourself using on the regular during the warmer months?

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The easiest primer you’ll ever use: Skindinavia The Makeup Primer Spray

MAN how time flies in the summer! Here I’ve been having a blast, getting away from the city almost every weekend for the past two months, and here the blog ia getting more neglected by the day! It’s just the way I roll when the sun starts shining. Can’t say I’ve been missing it terribly – I spend enough time on a computer at work when I’d rather be outside – but I don’t want to fall completely off the radar, either. And so, here I am :)

Last month I was sent a sample of Skindinavia’s The Makeup Primer Spray ($35/4oz; $49/8oz) to try out, which couldn’t have been more timely due to the crazy humidity we’ve been having (not complaining of the heat though! No siree!). I was excited to try it out because the spray mechanism really appeals to me, and I figured it would feel a lot less heavy than your usual primers, which I tend to avoid save for events because I hate that extra layer of product. In addition, the product is non-comedogenic, as well as silicone- and oil-free, so you’re pretty much guaranteed for a light-as-air experience!

Skindinavia The Makeup Primer SprayI also received a small sample of the ‘Oil Control’ version as well (on left)

The Makeup Primer Spray, like most other primers, is designed to help makeup go on smoother and last longer, and to help reduce the need for blotting throughout the day as it controls excess oil production and diminishes shine.  At the same time, it’s also supposed to hold moisture in the skin by creating a lightweight, breathable ‘web.’ It also claims to help prevent redness, uneven skin tone, and large pores. Sounds pretty sweet, right?

Skindinavia The Makeup Primer Spray

Because sometimes I am not so smart, initially I imagined this as a makeup SETTING product, so I was using it after applying my makeup. OOPS. How you are supposed to use this, is to spritz the face in an ‘X’ motion, then apply your makeup shortly thereafter. It’s supposed to help foundation apply sheer to prevent caking, so obviously in order for this to happen you need to apply it while it’s still a bit damp. On this score, I found this to be true. I prefer my foundation sheer to just even out my skin tone, so the fact that this helps encourage this is a bonus.

However, the claims of oil-control, shine reduction and less need for blotting is JUST NOT TRUE, dudes. It *could* be this mega-humidity, but I find that more than anything this actually makes my skin look MORE greasy, unfortunately (same story with the ‘Oil Control’ version, too). By the end of the day, it’s shine-city! It’s almost fascinating in a way though, because it reminds me of model-dewy skin, you know, like this:

how-to-achieve-dewy-skin-beauty-tips-and-tricks

If I had flawless skin and was wearing (next to) no makeup, this would be all sorts of awesome. Mostly, though, it looks like this:

adriana-lima-dewy-skin-summer-2014-beauty-trend-w540

Which isn’t horrible I guess, but it’s a wee bit too shiny/greasy for my taste. Part of me just feels like I’m using it wrong, and if I could *just understand* I could get it to look more like the first photo. Or maybe I just need perfect skin for that to work. ~sigh~

Anyway, the moral of this story is that I think this does quite well on the moisture retention front, but not so great on the other points like keeping makeup in place or warding off the shine-ies. For those of you with drier skin, this might be a great bet – it’s also paraben-free and hypoallergenic, so it’s great for more sensitive skins. Because I’m stubborn, I’m going to keep trying to figure out how to get this to help me achieve that first-photo glow….I WILL find a way, dammit!

Have you tried a primer spray before? Which do you prefer: a matte, satin, or dewy skin look?

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

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Bold, matte lips on the cheap with Revlon ColorBurst Matte Balms

Continuing with my drugstore makeup affair, a couple weeks ago, Revlon’s ColorBurst Matte Balms were on sale for I think about $6 at Shoppers Drug Mart. I had glanced at them before but ultimately decided against them, mostly because I’m a snob like that and not for any good reason. The packaging is fine (plain, but non-offensive to my frivolous heart), and the colour selection is good - and, from reviews it sounds like they’re a pretty decent product. But I have a hard time resisting a good sale when it comes to beauty products, and I’ve been spending considerably less on cosmetics than usual, so I figured what the heck.

I went big and came home with THREE SHADES!

Revlon ColorBurst Matte Balm

I’m not usually one to buy in ‘bulk’ – I like to have a variety of brands and product types, and rarely buy more than one of anything (MAC products being probably one of the very few exceptions). But after swatching these, I decided to aim for a rounded view of them buy going with three varied shades – a nude (Complex), a bold coral orange (Audacious), and a bright fuchsia (Showy)!

Revlon ColorBurst Matte Balm swatchesIn sunlight, from left to right: Complex, Audacious, and Showy

Revlon ColorBurst Matte Balm swatchesIn shade, from left to right: Complex, Audacious, and Showy

The Matte Balms are a matte (duh) lip colour that has the slip of a balm, but the look of a semi-opaque lipstick. The brighter colours are more pigmented, while Complex (the nude) is a bit more transparent – which I think is a good thing, as an opaque nude can get just plain awful, FAST. While these feel very comfortable on the lips for a matte finish, they do tend to emphasize flakes and dryness if you don’t prep the lips carefully first. I apply a thick balm to the lips for at least 15 minutes before using these, as I almost always have some flakiness to deal with. Having said that, I quite like these (especially the two brighter shades) and I don’t mind the extra steps required in order to wear these well.

Here’s how they look worn:

Revlon ColorBurst Matte Balm in Complex Revlon ColorBurst Matte Balm in ComplexComplex

Revlon ColorBurst Matte Balm in Audacious Revlon ColorBurst Matte Balm in AudaciousAudacious

Revlon ColorBurst Matte Balm in Showy Revlon ColorBurst Matte Balm in ShowyShowy

Out of the three, Showy is the most unique to my lip ‘wardrobe,’ as I usually opt for deeper fuchsia shades. However, I am sort of in love with how this looks, as its slightly white base makes it really pop against my dark skin tone. These cool pinks just plain WORK (on me)!  Audacious is somewhat similar to Tom Ford’s True Coral lipstick that I have, but it’s sheerer nature makes it a bit more wearable, and I’m digging how it looks kind of tropical! Finally, Complex is a nice enough nude – an OK tone for my skin, but a bit flat and dry-looking if I don’t blend it out a fair bit. I think it’ll look a bit better once I’m not quite as tanned – or perhaps with a touch of lipgloss on top (thus defeating the ‘matte’ idea, but that’s OK – whatever works!).

Revlon ColorBurst Matte Balm in AudaciousAudacious matches the colour of my hanging flower basket! Yay for colours found in nature! :D

I was going to save this post and schedule it to come out later in the week, but I’m sort of excited to show you these swatches – 2 outta 3 ain’t bad, and they’re really perfect for summer! They’ve certainly helped me get my beauty ‘fix’ without breaking the bank (or even totalling altogether how much a department store lipstick would cost!), so I’m pleased about that. Liz @BeautyReductionista sounds like she’s also converted (she also has Audacious) so if that doesn’t compel you to at least check these out, well then…STOP RESISTING.

Revlon ColorBurst Matte Balm

Have you tried any of the Revlon Matte Balms? Do you buy drugstore products, or stick to department store finds?

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Maybelline Summer 2014: Color Tattoo 24hr Eyeshadow in #115 Shimmering Sea

Lately I’ve been finding myself buying more drugstore makeup than usual – partly due to the fact that we’re saving like mad for our downpayment toward a new home (thus, pricey makeup is kind of a no-no), and partly due to the fact that there have been some good sales lately, and that’s the ONLY time I buy drugstore makeup (ironically, I can’t justify paying full price for a drugstore product, but don’t bat an eye at spending $40 on a department-store blush. Go figure).

Maybelline 24hr Color Tattoo Eyeshadow in #115 Shimmering Sea

On Saturday, while working at the Clinique counter in one of my local Shoppers Drug Marts, I spotted the Limited Edition summer 2014 collection from Maybelline. The last time I worked at the store, a few weeks earlier, I gave the serious eye to one of the Color Tattoos, #115 Shimmering Sea, as it has some major iridescent, duo chrome goodness that few of the makeup obsessed can ignore. This time, it was on sale for $5.99CAD and there was only one left – obviously, it was a no-brainer ;)

Maybelline 24hr Color Tattoo Eyeshadow in #115 Shimmering Sea Maybelline 24hr Color Tattoo Eyeshadow in #115 Shimmering Sea

Though I’d seen beautiful swatches and read the glowing review of this shade on Maggie’s blog, I was unsure if this pale blue shade was going work on my darker skin tone – pale blue isn’t exactly a colour I wear well, but I was hoping the inclusion of beautiful golden shimmer would help make it work. When I applied it to my arm for a swatch, in dull light it looked like a plain light blue frost shadow – ick. But in sunlight – OH YEA, BABY. That’s when the magic happens!

Maybelline 24hr Color Tattoo Eyeshadow in #115 Shimmering Sea swatchIn indirect light/shade.

Maybelline 24hr Color Tattoo Eyeshadow in #115 Shimmering Sea swatch Maybelline 24hr Color Tattoo Eyeshadow in #115 Shimmering Sea swatch Maybelline 24hr Color Tattoo Eyeshadow in #115 Shimmering Sea swatch Maybelline 24hr Color Tattoo Eyeshadow in #115 Shimmering Sea swatchIn sunlight (I could literally take photos of it like this ALL day!)

I am truly enamoured by how this looks, both in the pot and in swatches – it’s so freakin’ gorgeous! I want a car this colour LOL!

Still, even though it was beautiful in swatches, how would it look once worn? I put it to the test this AM – and by test I REALLY mean test, as I put it on first thing in the AM because I could.not.wait., then took a shower with it on – while it faded, it was definitely still noticeable when I got out of the shower! (*Note that I didn’t wash my face so, obviously it would come off with soap lol). So we know the wear time is pretty decent. The second test was the shade…let’s see how it fared!

Maybelline 24hr Color Tattoo Eyeshadow in #115 Shimmering SeaIn indirect light/shade.

Maybelline 24hr Color Tattoo Eyeshadow in #115 Shimmering SeaIn sunlight.

Though the iridescence isn’t as strong on the lid, it’s still present, and in person it’s more apparent than in these photos. Thankfully, the pale blue tones aren’t opaque and strong enough to clash with my darker skin tone, and it wears as an easy shimmery, summery shadow that just adds a bit of interest to the eye but isn’t garish. I’ve been favouring subtly shimmering shades lately, so this is another one to add to the roster!

Here’s a full-face shot that shows the effect better:

Maybelline 24hr Color Tattoo Eyeshadow in #115 Shimmering Sea

My hair looks really lopsided here – sorry guys! It’s so hot here today that my hair shrunk right up after the shower – it doesn’t get frizzy too much unless I play with it, but it sure does get even curlier! :S

Maybelline 24hr Color Tattoo Eyeshadow in #115 Shimmering Sea

Overall, I’m really pleased I picked this up (even though I’m pretty sure I just said less than a month ago that I need to stop buying eyeshadow). Though I do favour bold lips, sometimes a pretty eye look is just what I’m seeking, and I think this will work well throughout the year as a pretty one-and-done shade, or as a beautiful base. For $5.99, even if it sat in my drawer and never saw the light of day again, I wouldn’t feel too terribly!

Did you pick up anything from the Maybelline Limited Edition summer collection? What products have been catching your eye at the drugstore lately?

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New favourite eyeshadow: Make Up For Ever Aqua Matic in ME-50

This probably sounds silly, but sometimes I don’t like getting press samples. I adhere a lot to the ‘if you can’t say something nice, don’t say it at all‘ philosophy, and when I receive an opportunity to review something I’m unsure I’ll like, I almost want to decline the offer altogether (and sometimes I do!). I feel especially conflicted when a brand I like comes out with a product that receives mixed-reviews, as my loyalty runs deep. I was recently in just that situation when I had a chance to try out the new Make Up For Ever Aqua Matic eye shadow sticks ($25CAD) – Christine at Temptalia was the first blog through which I read reviews about the product, and on the whole they were not great. Make Up For Ever is one of my favourite brands (and it doesn’t hurt that their PR people are lovely!) and I wasn’t keen on writing a subpar review against them – I know not all products will be winners, but my softy heart just feels bad in instances like that, and I am far too honest and up-front to lie or mar the truth.

MUFE Aqua Matic ME-50

Thankfully (and long-winded intro aside!), once I received the press sample of one of the Aqua Matic shadows, in ME-50, not only did I not have to write a crappy review, but turns out this shadow is genuinely one of my absolute favourites of all time!!!!! <— 4 exclamation points are needed to express just how much I love this shadow!

MUFE Aqua Matic ME-50Pretty multi-faceted shimmer :)

First of all, there is the colour – on me, this ‘metallic golden taupe’ is the perfect bronze-y neutral tone on my skin, which sometimes is hard to achieve, as shades like this tend to be too ashy, too light, or too brown to be considered neutral. It has the most amazing sparkling quality to it that gives it a little bit something more, yet it’s not over the top or unwearable for day in the least. For those of you who regularly love wearing bold lips like I do, a shade like this is invaluable – sometimes I don’t want to leave my eyes bare, but I don’t want my shadow to compete in any way with my lip colour. This fits the bill perfectly.

MUFE Aqua Matic ME-50 swatchIn some lights it looks more taupe…

MUFE Aqua Matic ME-50 swatch…in others, more golden (photo above blurred to show shimmers and sparkle!)

Secondly, the wear time on this bad boy is excellent – we’ve been having a heat wave the past week or so here (not complaining! About damn time!) and this resists fading and creasing like nobody’s business. This could be in part to the fact that the colour melds with my skin tone so well, I don’t notice any fading – but upon close inspection after a full day’s wear, it still seems pretty intact to me and that gorgeous sparkle is still in effect.

MUFE Aqua Matic ME-50 MUFE Aqua Matic ME-50In direct sunlight

MUFE Aqua Matic ME-50Indirect lighting/shade

Lastly, though I know for some the application of these is a bit tricky – they do set rather quickly – I actually don’t mind it, again due to the subtle shade on my skin tone, but also because it’s such a one-and-done shade that not a lot of blending is required. I just ensure that I apply it first to the lid and blend a bit, then add a bit more in my crease separately so I have enough time to buff it out with my finger. I really didn’t even notice it was a bit more difficult to blend until I really started paying attention – with a shade this wonderful, I really don’t care if it’s a bit more work – it’s just so damn FABULOUS!

MUFE Aqua Matic ME-50 & Marc Jacobs Dizzy Spell

In the photo above, I’m wearing it paired with Marc Jacobs Lovemarc Lip Gel in Dizzy Spell, a soft peachy nude that I quite like with my skin tone (though it does pick up on any flakes on the lips if you aren’t careful). It’s the only bit of makeup I’ve bought from his line so far.

MUFE Aqua Matic ME-50 & Marc Jacobs Dizzy Spell

As you can see, the effect of the shadow is subtle, but IRL trust me when I say that its nowhere near boring. For me, the shade and longevity combined with the ease of use (note it’s a twist-up pencil, that has a sharpener on the other end for precision) make this a win-win-WIN product! If this were a limited edition product I would buy backups upon backups – which is UNHEARD of in my world! All this to say: don’t let a review necessarily sway you from trying a product that you’re curious about – sometimes you’ll have an entirely different experience! And in this case, Christine didn’t actually review this particular shade, either ;)

Have you tried the new Aqua Matic pencils? How do you feel about giving poor reviews on a product?

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

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Make Up For Ever HD Microperfecting Primer in 6 Yellow

For a beauty fiend, I’m actually relatively low maintenance. I shave when I think of it, I don’t always do my hair, and I can’t be bothered to do the little extra things that make you look that much more polished – like contouring or wearing primer. I reserve most of these activities (except the hair bit – I DO style it most days!) for special occasions so I look that much nicer when the time comes, which means that though I don’t use these items daily, I do still need to have them in my arsenal. One such item that’s been recently added to the mix is Make Up For Ever’s HD Microperfecting Primer in 6 Yellow ($39CAD for 1oz).

MUFE HD Primer 6

I’ve previously reviewed the original HD primer by MUFE in the neutral, universal shade – but it also comes in 6 other tones, each designed to correct a particular issue, such as redness, sallow-looking skin and dullness. I had a hard time choosing one from the options available, as I don’t feel that I have any of these concerns personally. In the end however, I chose 6 Yellow, which is designed to “lighten dark complexions“. I think I went with this one because I had just come back from Florida, and was super-dark. Let’s chat about it, shall we?

MUFE HD Primer 6

First of all, I really like the texture of this primer compared to other primers, and even compared to the original – it’s more like a smooth, medium-density lotion that spreads easily over the whole face (you only need a dime-size amount). It doesn’t feel silicone-heavy nor is it as runny as the original. It feels very lightweight and non-greasy. It claims to deeply nourish, moisturize, and soften the skin, enhancing the skin texture and preparing it for makeup application. Having skin the leans on the oilier side, especially as the months get warmer, I can’t really speak to how moisturizing this is – but it certainly isn’t drying; I found it didn’t keep the oilies at bay quite as well as I would have liked. For a drier skin however, I think the formulation of this would be quite nice and keep the skin plump and comfortable.

MUFE HD Primer 6

Another aspect of the primer that I didn’t really pick up on was the ‘lightening’ effect on my darker skin tone. I think that likely has a lot to do with the fact that I’m just not dark enough (lol) – I think this is really designed for a deep cocoa complexion to give some light to the face, which clearly isn’t me. However, I do think this would be effective on a darker skin tone, as you can see from the photo below that it does show up on my skin – it’s jut that once I blend it in, it’s unnoticeable (sort of like sunscreen). A darker skin tone would likely show the benefits much more.

MUFE HD Primer 6

Despite some of the qualities mentioned above, I will say that this primer does a nice job of enhancing the skin’s texture and giving it a soft finish. My skin looks smooth and airbrushed after application, and my pores are less noticeable, as you can see in the photos below:

Skin before MUFE primerBefore priming

Skin after MUFE primerAfter priming

While this primer doesn’t tick all the boxes for me, I actually enjoy wearing it when it’s a bit cooler outside, or for evening – the texture is really lovely, and it feels like nothing on. I think in the winter I’ll get a good deal of use out of it, as it does prolong the wear of my makeup, and it may help to hydrate my skin and protect it from the blustery, cold weather. I kind of wish it has a sunscreen in it, so I could kill two birds with one stone (I really hate having to wear layers of product)!

Ingredients for reference:

Aqua (Water), Dimethicone, Trisiloxane, PEG-12 Dimethicone, Dimethicone/Vinyl Dimethicone Crosspolymer, Methylpropanediol, Butylene Glycol, Pentylene Glycol, Hydroxyethyl Acrylate/Sodium Acryloyldimethyl Taurate Copolymer, Squalane, Glyceryl Caprylate, Lauryl PEG/PPG-18/18 Methicone, Phenoxyethanol, Ceteth-10, Laureth-4, Ethylglycerin, Panthenol, Potassium Sorbate, Polysorbate 60, Parfum (Fragrance), Argania Spinosa Extract (Argania Spinosa Kernel Extract), C12-14 Pareth-12, Hydrolyzed Algin, Dodecene, Sorbitan Isostearate, Isostearyl Alcohol, Laminaria Digitata Extract, Polyaminopropyl Biguanide, Tromethamine, Biosaccharide Gum-1, Sodium Cocoyl Glutamate, Sodium Hyaluronate, Carbomer, Hexyl Cinnamal, Benzyl Salicylate, Limonene, Butylphenyl Methylpropional, Linalool. [CI 19140 (Yellow 5 Lake), CI 75470 (Carmine), CI 77007 (Ultramarines), CI 77288 (Chromium Oxide Greens), CI 77289 (Chromium Hydroxide Green), CI 77491 (Iron Oxides), CI 77492 (Iron Oxides), CI 77499 (Iron Oxides), CI 77742 (Manganese Violet), CI 77891 (Titanium Dioxide)].

 Do you wear primers? Which one is your favourite?

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

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MAC Soul Serenade plus a couple other shadow pickups!

Like almost everyone else on the planet (well, at least those who love makeup like I do!), I got sucked in to MAC’s awesome summer release, Alluring Aquatic. The Extra Dimension formula! That packaging! How could I resist picking up something from a collection that features packaging with faux water droplets all over it? Too frickin’ cool, man.

Of course, as my makeup hoard is vast, finding ‘new’ shades gets tougher all the time, and in my effort to at least keep my shades diverse to offset the fact that I’m never going to stop BUYING MORE, I try my darndest to not buy repeat or similar shades. Easier said that done, but the effort is there! While I loved the idea of the whole collection, and all of the shadow, lipstick and cheek shades appealed to me, I spent a good half hour hemming and hawing over what to bring home (because I WAS buying SOMETHING, dammit!). Lorelei was too similar to All That Glitters for my taste (though I do love that shade!), the other shadows for the most part weren’t ones I’d wear (Sea Worship and Silver Sun particularly) and the blush and lipstick shades weren’t original shades in my estimation. As I was agonizing over the choice between Legendary Lure (a beautiful deep cerulean) and Soul Serenade (described as a deep plum brown), another customer who had tried on Legendary Lure decided she was going to take it, and walked away with the last one (and this was the first dav of the launch!!). No hard feelings on my end - it made my choice for me and saved me another 15 minutes of wasted energy. And so I left the store with that one item, and felt happy.

THE END.

…HA! You think I’d every write a post that short? You guys know I’m wayyyyy to chatty for that ;)   Also, I have more shadows to talk about! Namely, another MAC shade, the Paint Pot in Rubenesque which I picked up in Florida at a CCO for $13US, and Bobbi Brown Long-Wear Cream Shadow in Sandy Gold ($29CAD), which I bought a couple months ago.

MAC Bobbi Brown eyeshadow Left to right: MAC Rubenesque, Bobbi Brown Sandy Gold, MAC Soul Serenade

I picked up Sandy Gold because Sabrina from The Beauty Look Book raved about it, and I was looking for a neutral but not shimmery shadow to wear on days when I went for a bold lip (which is the look I opt for more days than not). While is does have slight shimmer, its more of a satin finish really, which I find looks more natural than a full-on matte. Its described as a ‘pale golden beige’ which is entirely accurate – it has a hint of gold sheen which is super-pretty, though the effect is mostly lost on eyes. I managed to catch it in swatches though!

MAC Soul Serenade Rubenesque Bobbi Brown Sandy Gold eyeshadow swatches MAC Soul Serenade Rubenesque Bobbi Brown Sandy Gold eyeshadow swatchesLeft to right: MAC Soul Serenade, Bobbi Brown Sandy Gold, MAC Rubenesque

This is my first Bobbi Brown cream shadow, and I like it OK – the texture is nice and smooth, and the wear time is decent (though if your lids are oily, you’ll still need a primer), but I wish the pot was bigger. I feel like I need to use a brush to apply it as my finger is too big to get in there comfortably without it getting under my nails. Minor niggle though. The colour of this is what sold it for me, and I feel like I could use it as a cheekbone highlighter in a pinch, too. It’s just so pretty!

The Rubenesque Paint Pot was an impulse purchase – it was just so cheap, compared to the $24CAD price tag here, and I do love gold shadow! However, as you’ll see in a minute, I didn’t REALLY need it, as I already have a shade quite similar in another MAC product – their Pigment in Melon. D’OH!

MAC Melon Rubenesque swatches comparison eyeshadowRubenesque, 2nd from right; Melon, far right.

They aren’t completely identical, as Melon is frostier/more metallic than Rubenesque (see photo below) – but they’re still close enough that if I’d been thinking straight (and not ‘SALE!’), I wouldn’t have picked up the latter. Ah well. At least their different formulations so perhaps I can use each in different ways???

MAC Melon Rubenesque swatches comparison eyeshadow

Once I did the comparison with Rubenesque, I got to thinking about Soul Serenade and if I had anything like it, either. After a bit of recon, I came up with a reasonable facsimile, but nothing close enough to call a dupe. Coincidentally, it’s the other MAC Pigment I own (I just have two) in Dark Soul.

MAC Soul Serenade vs Dark Soul eyeshadow comparison swatches MAC Dark Soul vs Soul Serenade comparison swatches eyeshadowDark Soul, far left; Soul Serenade, 2nd from left.

You can see that they’re in the same vein, but with clear differences – namely, Dark Soul is much cooler and greyer, while Soul Serenade has a stronger plum tone (which is easier to see in this comparison I find, than if it’s just swatched alone – in which case I find it looks more charcoal than brown). Interestingly, Soul Serenade is also more sparkly, which is ironic as that’s one of the reasons why I don’t wear Dark Soul often (see blurred photo below for sparkle-tasticness).

MAC Dark Soul vs Soul Serenade comparison swatches eyeshadow

So essentially, my effort to avoid dupes was partially successful. Though I enjoy all the shades I purchased, I’m kinda pissed about the similarities because I barely wear shadow as it is, and can’t be going off to buy MORE OF THE SAME WHICH I’LL HARDLY USE. Stupid! But in my defence, I might buy 5 eyeshadows a year these days, so I’m not a complete disaster, and I’m determined not to buy many more for the next while if I can help it!

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Do you own a lot of eyeshadows? Do you wear them regularly?

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Nearing the finish line: Makeup empties (the ultimate beauty achievement)

It’s been a dedicated effort, but I finally have some makeup items nearing empty – a whole handful of them! You other beauty fiends know just what I’m talking about, and how hard this is to do when you have SO MANY PRETTIES to use! I’m feeling pretty good about my progress, so I thought I’d share with you some gratuitous near-’pan’ p0rn in case you need inspiration of your own :)

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I’ve been using the Hourglass Immaculate Liquid Powder Foundation together with the Burberry Fresh Glow Luminizer to freshen up the matte look the Hourglass imparts – the two pair together quite well. I get a LOT of views on the Hourglass foundation post, so I just want to reiterate how great it is! I can skip powder entirely when I use this, and the coverage is medium without looking or feeling too heavy. I do prefer a dewier finish which is the only drawback for me (though I’d still probably still repurchase this, because all other facets are so good), which is where the Fresh Glow comes in. If you’re looking for a foundation for oilier skin with a satin-matte finish, this is 100% for you!  I’ve had the foundation for a long time now (2 years) and it’s near it’s end ~tear~

The MAC blush here (Mineralize in Early Morning) is a bit of a cheat, because I dropped it a couple years ago and most of it was wasted. Nevertheless, it’s a beautiful shade so I kept it and used the dregs anyway. I’ll probably let it go soon but I’m just not ready to yet.

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I’m STILL working on MAC’s Arena eyeshadow, which I showed you had hit pan last year. I’ve been using it almost every day but it just won’t die! LOL I do still love it, but it’s best for the summer months when my skin is more tanned – I love it as a subtle brow highlight then. Other times of the year it doesn’t get worn as much, but I’m making progress now because I’m SO CLOSE.

The Laura Mercier Lip Glace in Discrete is also a couple years old, and while I liked the neutral shade as it was quite wearable, I’m over it now! Its got maybe 3-4 uses left so I’m gonna make it happen TOOT SWEET. The Buxom lipgloss (here in April), is also on it’s last legs, and I’m not a fan of the frosty sparkly thing at all now, so it’ll be kicked to the curb regardless in the next couple weeks.

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This two deluxe samples have had highs and lows in my beauty life. I love the nude tone of the Buxom Lip Stick (this is Sydney) but it’s very matte and looks terrible if  you’re lips aren’t in perfect shape (which mine weren’t for most of the winter).  My lips are doing much better now so I’m chugging through it – I really don’t like ‘mini’s’! The Burberry lippie is in Cameo Pink, and it’s a pretty soft coral shade that’s just a touch too light for my skin tone. If I apply it with a light hand, or pair it with another lip product, it fares pretty well. Got it down to the nub finally!

If you’ve been counting guys, that’s 8 makeup products that’ll be good to go very soon!!  SO EXCITED. I’m really trying to whittle down my stash and make way for new stuff, without feeling overwhelmed by the selection I already have. Which has been a goal of mine for forever, I know. But I keep trying! I’ve gotten major spring fever this year and gave a ton of stuff away to family and friends, mostly PR samples or gift items, as I’m getting a lot better at buying shades and products that I really want and that work. I usually have a huge bag full of items up for swap, but there’s nothing left now :)

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Do you have any beauty goals right now? On average how often do you finish makeup items?

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Arbonne Mascara? It’s a Long Story

…Well, not really. But that’s the name of the Vanity Fair-approved mascara from the brand: It’s a Long Story! Kinda cute, eh? Last month I was sent a sample to try out, and I was eager to see how it would perform. Like many people, I’m fussy with my mascaras, and am always on the look-out for the best of the best.

Arbonne It's a Long Story mascara

Arbonne’s It’s a Long Story mascara ($40CAD) boasts a flexible, uniform bristle brush, designed to create perfect lash definition with a high-gloss look. The vegan formula contains polypeptides to promote the appearance of longer lashes, bamboo and pea (?) extracts,  and pro-vitamins B5, C and E to nurture the lashes.

Arbonne It's a Long Story mascara

Initially I was a bit let-down by the mascara, as I was expecting super-long lashes for some reason – but after using it a few times, my opinion changed. For starters, it really does separate and define the lashes beautifully. Though I tend to prefer full, voluminous lashes, I find that defined lashes during the day is appropriate and quite pretty. Additionally, the formula is exceptionally buildable – I can apply several coats without it becoming clumpy, crunchy or flaky. Combing through each coat is a breeze. In my experience, there are few mascaras that will allow this, so I was quite impressed.

Arbonne It's a Long Story mascara (one coat)One coat

Arbonne It's a Long Story mascara (two coats)Two coats

Ingredients: Aqua, Iron Oxides, Glyceryl Stearate, Glycerin, C18-36 Acid Triglyceride, Synthetic Beeswax, Cera Carnauba, Stearic Acid, Silica, VP/VA Copolymer, Acacia Senegal Gum, Butylene Glycol, Polyglyceryl-10 Diisostearate, PEG-40 Hydrogentated Castor Oil, Pisum Sativum (Pea) Extract, Bambusa Vulgaris (Bamboo) Leaf/Stem Extract, Xanthan Gum, Caprylyl Glycol, Glyceryl Caprylate, Sodium Hyaluronate, Panthenol (Vitamin B5), Ethylhexylglycerin, PPG-26-Buteth-26, Myristoyl Pentapeptide-17 (Polypeptide), Biotinoyl Tripeptide-1 (Polypeptide), Oleanolic Acid, Sodium Ascorbyl Phosphate (Vitamin C), Tocopheryl Acetate (Vitamin E), Apigenin, Aminomethyl Propanol, Phenethyl Alcohol, Glucosamine HCI.

I’m glad I gave this mascara another shot, because it really is quite good for daytime looks. I find myself reaching for it most days because it just seems to do the job well. I will say I find the $40 price tag quite high, but as Arbonne is a more ‘natural’ brand, I’m not entirely surprised. But otherwise, this is a lovely mascara that is well worth a look!

Do you prefer length, volume, or definition when it comes to mascara? What is your mascara price cap?

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

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Super-Quick Empties Post (from February – oops!)

Ok….so I took photos of some empties in February and then didn’t post about them – oopsie! Let’s get to it, because I want to also post my most recent empties soon – I have a big goal for myself this year in terms of reducing so I want to start entirely fresh!

Skincare

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Crabtree & Evelyn La Source Hand Therapy – I’ve had this seriously for like, 10 years, sitting in a cupboard because it’s scented and ya’ll know I DON’T DO THAT. But then, I wanted to get rid of some stuff so I used it as a foot lotion. Perfect!

Shikai Borage Therapy Hand Cream – ARGH that awful, awful smell of FEET and BO and DEAD MEAT. Thankfully this hand cream wasn’t all that fabulous, because if it were the most amazing thing ever I might have to buy it again and suffer the odour just to have healed hands. THE GODS HAVE SPARED ME.

CeraVe Hydrating Cleanser – It was fine. Just like Cetaphil, really. Which is MEH for someone who wears makeup or who wants a more substantial second cleanser. Even if I wasn’t sporting a ‘green’ skincare routine now I probably wouldn’t get this again, unless my skin was going absolutely batshit (in that case, it’s pretty darn gentle and not too bad at all).

Aubrey Honeysuckle Rose Moisturizing Conditioner – This was also just OK. I didn’t love the smell nor that formula. It was my first organic conditioner and on the whole, it would probably be nice for someone with thin, fine hair that doesn’t need much moisturization like my bone-dry hair does.

Organix Coconut Milk Hibiscus Nourishing Body Wash – This was my second bottle for a reason – it SMELLS SO GOOD. I won’t buy it again because of the ingredients (still has fake fragrance, and is not really ‘organic’ – shame on the name!) but if you don’t care about this stuff, I enjoyed it overall.

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Ellovi Butter – I’m going to be the dissenting voice here and state that I didn’t love this. My eczema did not like this at all, which is surprising given the clean ingredients, but I found I needed more moisture, and my eczema was consistently present while using this, so it didn’t really do much at all. Full-price at $26 (I had a $5 coupon), this would have needed to blow my socks off for a repurchase.

Haus of Gloi Aether Pumpkin Butter - I still have a soft spot for this! I stopped buying it, but I might order a few of the smaller sizes to use as hand cream and such – I really liked the smell and it moisturized well. I feel like the ingredients are pretty decent, and while not totally clean…I just like it anyway.

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Pai Camellia & Rose Gentle Hydrating Cleanser – Though I think this might be a bit heavy for me during the summer, I did like this cleanser and I think anyone with normal to dry skin should definitely try it out! So gentle and leaves skin feeling very comfortable.

Stark Grapefruit Cleanse & Hydrate Balm – Minus the little balls of shea butter in this, I liked this balm fairly well. It didn’t cause any irritation – but the scent being so delicious constantly had me on alert for something, so I never used it with ease. I wouldn’t repurchase, but mostly just for that reason! I like using things that I know without a doubt will never eff with my fickle skin.

Tarte Pure Maracuja Oil - Honestly, still one of the best oils I’ve tried to date (and I’ve tried a fair number by now!). Affordable, great for most skin types, absorbs quickly – there’s really not much else to say. I went through two bottles, which saying a lot since I usually try something different every time. I might even come back to this at some point!

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Eumovate Eczema & Dermatitis Cream – I picked up this cream while in NZ, and though it was AMAZING at clearing my the eczema I got while away (like, the best product I’ve ever used for that purpose), apparently my doc tells me this shit is kinda dangerous. At least, it’s not to be used on the regular. O-KAY, then. I powered through it while I was away, and had just a bit left which I used here and there afterward. I was kinda sad to see it go (I really DID work wonders), but it’s probably for the best.

XLash Eyelash EnhancerJust updated you guys on how much ASS this kicks when compared to another lash growth serum…I WILL buy this one again, mark my words. So, SO good.

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Holy smokes, the samples. Let’s do this by notables, and not-worth-it’s:

Notables:

- OLO Brand New Day – Nice, gentle enzyme scrub that does have some manual exfoliating qualities as well; leaves the skin nice and soft but not ravaged.

- Kahina Eye Serum – Second time with a sample of this bad boy, and I still like it quite a bit. Sinks in quickly and isn’t greasy at all. But sometimes with stuff like this I think – do I really need a separate serum for eye? Nah, probably not.

- Babor Calm & Relax Cream – lovely cream thats not too heavy for my normal-to-oily skin, and really does ‘calm & relax’! I plan to buy this one day, but it’s $76CAD so maybe when I have a little bit more disposable funds, hmm?

- Clinique Repairwear Laser Focus – Not ‘clean’ but I had it in my samples stash and I though I’d use it up. And really, it works. Highly recommend for non-’green” skincare buffs.

- Lancome La Vie Est Belle (sample) – I still love this scent, and one day I’ll give in and buy a bottle. I just wish it was cheaper! 1oz (30mL) is $72CAD. Atrocious.

Not-worth-it’s:

- Tata Harper Resurfacing Mask – Honestly, the first sample I had I found this did NOTHING to my face, and the second time I tried it, I felt a little bit of irritation. I know a lot of people love it but I’m not one of ‘em.

- OLO Vitamin C Serum – Again, another ‘gem’ that gets raves, but I found it was a little heavy for my skin – it would be PERFECT for drier skin, and it gives the skin a glowy sheen (which turned a bit greasy on me).

- Vapour Illusionist Concealer - YIKES! All of these shades were so gray!! Even the darkest shade was ashy and awful. And the coverage as well was crappy. Probably if you’re super fair and have hardly anything to conceal, this would be great. Clearly not for me.

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The MAKEUPS:

Urban Decay Supercurl Curling Mascara – I’ve had a sample of this before, and my opinion is the same – great for giving lashes curl (makes mine even CURLIER) and for separation and length. One day I might even buy the full size.

MAC Pearlglide Intense Eye Liner in Petrol Blue – I wish I had this in an eyeshadow, or perhaps just a better eyeliner formula. This ALWAYS smudged on the outer corners no matter what I did, and I didn’t love the more glittery-sparkly quality of it either. It’s old and starting to separate from the sides of the pencil, so I decided to toss it. Whoop!

Clinique Cream Shaper in Egyptian – I loved this shade (blackened olive) and the liner didn’t budge, but it’s also a billion years old (or maybe 7) and was doing the same shrinking thing, so out it goes.

Clinique High Impact Mascara – how many samples of this have I used in my life!? Too many. Still a great formula but I’m kinda bored of it now after years and years.

Clinique Lash Power Mascara – Still digging this formula (it’s newer) and I have a backup in my stash. Gets all the bitty little lashes and doesn’t budge. Awesome.

Make Up For Ever Smoky Lash Extravagant - Hated. It. Tried to love it. Still Hated. It. TOSS.

YSL Touche Eclat 5.5 – I know Wayne Goss has showed us the error of our ways in using this pen, but I’d just rather have an illuminating wand do all that and not cost $50+. Next time I’ll buy the cheapy version if its not gonna make my dark circles disappear.

Benefit Watt’s Up - This was an OK cream highlighter, but I’ve found plenty others I like far more (Becca, to name one!). I was so glad when I finished this sample!

BAM. Empties #1 for 2014 DONE. #2 to come shortly!

Have you tried any of the products above? What are your thoughts?

 

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