Archive for category Blush

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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Sephora + Pantone Rocks out Radiant Orchid

So we finally bought a car this past weekend, after two weeks of searching and test-driving a handful of used cars around the city! Doesn’t sound like a long time, but it’s a lot of work! My bf searched online for cars for days and hours on end, and it just gets plain tiring looking and hoping one will be worthwhile. Used car shopping is NOT my bag. Interestingly enough, we ended up finding ‘The One’ (a 2005 Toyota Corolla) in the valley, an hour outside the city. It was well worth it though, as it’s in pristine condition with super-low mileage. YAY! Another stressful item off the list :)

My skin is still misbehaving, but in a different way now – the breakouts have all but stopped, but I’ve been left with the gift of MAJOR scarring – clusters on my jawline as well as remnants of the bigger spots on my cheeks and forehead. EFF. My skin texture still isn’t back to normal either, but I’m trying to be gentle and not go hog-wild trying to ‘fix’ everything, so hopefully over time things will ease back into a more normal state. Thankfully, I still have a few photos of products to show you which I took before the “disaster” struck!

Rush Luster Cheek Sweep

Though I gave you a look at the Rush Luster Cheek Sweep ($31CAD) from Sephora + Pantone’s Radiant Orchid collection in my Radiant Orchid FOTD post, I wanted to show you some swatches of the product, because it’s a really great little palette and I think it’s highly worthwhile checking out. You’ve got a beautiful blush in Radiant Orchid, and two luminizers – Bridal Rose and Spanish Villa. The textures are gorgeous and soft, but without sacrificing pigmentation – the only downside is that it can be a *touch* shimmery, so you need to be aware of that if you don’t love that kind of finish, or take into consideration when you wear it (day, night, in sunlight, on a cloudy day, etc.).

Rush Luster Cheek Sweep swatches

Gahh that vibrant orchid is TO DIE.

Venus Lure Lip Balm

I also had a chance to check out the Venus Lure Lip Balm ($19CAD) from the collection. This is a glossy, sheer lip balm inspired by this colour of the moment – I find it lightly hydrating, but it’s got a strange thing going on; it feels very balmy and smooth on the lips, but it wears off quickly and with it goes all traces of moisture. While I sort of like the texture because my lips have been so flaky and dry this winter (and it helps conceal that fact), I find it a bit of a hassle to wear all-in-all – and it’s so balmy and soft that the bullet pushes to the opposite side of the tube when you use it, and I fear it melting big time in the upcoming warmer months. Unless you’re desperate to own the whole collection, I say this is one you could safely skip (go for the full-out Radiant Rush Matte Lipstick, or the Gloss Trio instead!).

Venus Lure Lip Balm swatch Venus Lure Lip Balm swatch

There are several other products in the Sephora + Pantone Radiant Orchid collection that have caught my eye (Tracy has great reviews of the Radiant Rush Matte Lipstick and the Gazing Paint Liquid Eyeliner, the latter which seems like such a tough shade to wear on eye but which she makes me want BADLY), but I *might* be reaching the saturation point when it comes to the shade – I think I’m well-covered and own something in the colour all across the board.

IMG_1877Wearing the Radiant Orchid blush shade and Venus Lure Lip Balm (I SO MISS MY WELL-BEHAVED SKIN! WAHHHHHH!)

Have you tried anything from the Radiant Orchid collection? And have you ever had to go car shopping???

*Products were provided by the PR Company/Brand for my unbiased consideration.

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Make Up For Ever’s new HD Blush is PERFECT for spring!

Last week I worked at Sephora for the Clinique kiosk for the first time EVER. Guys, let me tell you – that is one HARD FRIGGIN’ JOB, keeping your hands to yourself and trying to stick to your ‘station.’ DAMN!  The first two shifts were pretty slow, so I had ample time to mosey around and check out the wares…but honestly, I don’t know how they get anything done! (and for the record, pretty much everyone was on the ball, 99.9% of the time. ALL BIZNESS, ALL THE TIME).  Personally, there were so many fun things to look at that it was tough sticking to my ‘area,’ but I made it work.

MUFE HD Second Skin Cream Blush

One of the items that kept catching my eye was the new Make Up For Ever HD Blushes ($31cAD), which I believe replace their old HD *liquid* blushes? These are creams in a pot, whereas the older versions were a pump mechanism. Needless to say, these newer iterations are by far easier to use (though I wish the shade range was as exciting as the old…anyone ever check out #2 or #3, both bright hot pinks? YOWZAAAA). I think the idea is to showcase more natural-looking shades, that suit a variety of skin tones – for example, the 200 series is generally best suited for fair complexions; the 300 series for medium complexions, the 400 series for medium-dark complexions (like mine), and the 3 500 series shades are great for the darkest of skins. The exception is shade #410, a bright coral, which was created with all skin tones in mind.  I guiltily admit however, that I don’t give one iota to all of this info, because….I just WANT THEM ALL.

MUFE HD Second Skin Cream Blush #420 MUFE HD Second Skin Cream Blush #420 MUFE HD Second Skin Cream Blush #420

The shade I was sent to try was #420, described as an ‘Indian Rosewood‘ shade. As I tend to lean toward more bright, obvious blush colours, I figured it was time to opt for a more natural tone that would meld with my skin without effort. #420 does just that.

MUFE HD Second Skin Cream Blush #420MUFE HD Second Skin Cream Blush #420 swatch MUFE HD Second Skin Cream Blush #420 swatch

It almost looks like a warm bronze-y tone once applied to my skin; the reddish-brown hue melds with my skin tone to produce a really wonderfully natural ‘glow.’  I was unsure when I opened the box that this was going to be *my kind of shade* but it’s so foolproof on my skin that I really have to argument against it.  It just plain LOOKS GOOD.  And application is a breeze – just use a stippling brush (my pick is MAC’s #130) to dab it on the cheeks and then blend out; honestly, it was one of the easiest cream products to use and I had zero issues in placement or blending – my kind of product! The finish is reminiscent of Chanel’s new cream blushes, except I actually find the MUFE version a little more dewy and a little bit less cream-to-powder finish, which I personally prefer. It retains a fresh quality that I really like, especially come springtime!

MUFE HD Second Skin Cream Blush #420 swatch brown skin MUFE HD Second Skin Cream Blush #420 swatch brown skin

As you can see, it’s quite natural-looking on, and I admit that I kinda slapped this on haphazardly for these photos because sunlight is fleeting these days. I can already see the absolute necessity of buying several more of these – cream blushes are my new *thing* as I’m all over the natural, glowing skin look, and these are hard to beat. Radiant without being greasy or shiny, and a cinch to use. I’m a goner!

MUFE HD Second Skin Cream Blush #420 swatch

When it comes to blush, what is your preference: powder, or cream (or liquid)? Do you opt for natural tones or more in-your-face brights?

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

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Benefit’s Lollitint: Not just for kids!

The newest offering in their cheek tint franchise, Benefit’s Lollitint caught my eye right from the get-go.  When Radiant Orchid was announced as Pantone’s Color of the Year, I hopped aboard that train without looking back, and the Lollitint just seemed like the ubiquitous product, perfect for my newest color scheme.

Benefit Lollitint Benefit Lollitint

One caveat: I was SURE it wasn’t going to show up on my darker skin tone.  Something about the milky cool pink hue just seemed completely out of my realm and better suited for the more fair-skinned among us.  However, early in February, the girls behind the Beauty Envy Bag giveaways got together for a Google Chat, in which my girl Lola informed me that SHE had purchased Lollitint, and it showed up just fine on her gorgeous cocoa complexion. Um, SOLD.  I snapped it up the next week :)  And true to her word, it worked!

Benefit Lollitint swatch

Lollitint is a beautiful orchid hue that gives the skin a pretty flush, perfect for transitioning from chilly winter days to cool, sunny spring ones! It looks somewhat similar on the skin as NARS Desire, but due to the liquid formulation I find it a bit more natural – if you apply it right.  My first tries with this product were admittedly HUGE FAILS; dotting it on my cheeks directly with the brush and then blending it out with a duofiber brush (MAC’s #130 in this case) either looked non-existent, or gave me serious clown cheeks. Getting the right balance of product was extremely tough, and as it stains the skin quite quickly, a lot of blush would deposit on one main area of my cheek, looking HIGHLY unnatural.  After a few days of this, I was frustrated but determined to persevere.

I finally found the best way to apply the product: I would brush a few swipes of colour across the actual brush head itself, and then quickly blend it in on the cheek in the area I wanted it. This allowed me to diffuse the product around before it had those extra seconds to set, and gave me a truly natural looking pink glow. I’m not generally a fan of fussy products, but in this instance I’ll make an exception, because the finished product is kinda awesome!

Benefit Lollitint brown skin Benefit Lollitint brown skin

Yea, I’m a wee bit in love :)  This has been my most-worn blush since picking it up last month, and I see no end in sight at the moment! Once it’s on the cheek, the wear time is unreal – hands down my longest wearing blush EVER. It does wash off fine at the end of the day though, it you were worried about long-term staining. I haven’t worn it on the lips yet however, and I suspect it would probably be 1) an awesome base for pink lippies, and 2) will leave you with a pink pout even after cleansing. I find that lip staining products tend to always be more tenacious.

My love for Radiant Orchid continues! I have purchased shades for lips, cheeks and nails…I’m pretty much set :)

Have you tried the Benefit Cheek and Lip Tints before? What are your tricks for applying quickly setting products?

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The Colours of Love: Pinks & Reds

This is going to be a post with many pictures and few words.  After a week where I was falling asleep by 9:30pm, now I’ve had insomnia the past few nights so I’m gonna try and get some shut eye early this evening!

With Valentine’s Day right around the corner, I’m all about pushing a huge pink/red theme in all things beauty.  I’ve been rocking a serious pink flush and juicy pink lips every day this week so far, and have a pretty pink mani to boot!  If you’re on the hunt for pink or red makeup and polish this week, look no further – I’ve gotcha covered ;)

Let’s begin with some cool pink blush and lippies:

Warm Pink BlushClockwise from top left: NARS Desire, Illamasqua Unrequited, theBalm Down Boy, Joe Fresh Bloom

Cool Pink Blush SwatchesLeft to right: theBalm Down Boy, Illamasqua Unrequited, NARS Desire, Joe Fresh Bloom

Cool Pink LippiesLeft to right: Kat Von D Backstage Bambi, Illamasqua Divine, Buxom April

Cool Pink lippie swatchesLeft to right: Kat Von D Backstage Bambi, Illamasqua Divine, Buxom April

Though my skin truly leans neutral, I still find that blue-based pinks are my JAM and really pop on my skin tone.  Love ‘em!

Next we have some warm pink cheek and lip colours:

Warm Pink BlushLeft to right: Chanel Blush de Horizon(LE), Illamasqua Hussy, Illamasqua Tweak

Warm Pink Blush swatchesLeft to right: Chanel Blush de Horizon, Illamasqua Hussy, Illamasqua Tweak

Warm Pink LippiesLeft to right: Bite Beauty Quince, Kat Von D Bachelorette (LE), purminerals Vintage Pink (LE), Revlon Sweet Tart, purminerals Pink Crush, Giorgio Armani #606, YSL #8 Pink in Confidence

Warm Pink Lippie swatchesLeft to right: Bite Beauty Quince, Kat Von D Bachelorette, purminerals Vintage Pink, Revlon Sweet Tart, purminerals Pink Crush, Giorgio Armani #606, YSL #8 Pink in Confidence

After doing these swatches, I think I should have swapped the Chanel blush for Illamasqua Unrequited, as the former is more cool and the latter is more warm. Oops ~shrugs~  Some of the ‘warm’ pink lippies are probably more neutral in tone, but you can see they’re not that cool when you compare them to the ‘cool’ lip colour swatches above. It’s all about comparing and contrasting!

Bringing a little more sass and edge, red is a great alternative when you don’t want the sweetness of pink.  Sadly, I do not have a great stash of red blushes (horrors!) but I plan on picking up MUFE’s Scarlet Blush/Eyeshadow in the near future.  I don’t really feel that I need more than 3 reds – one warm, one cool, one neutral – but goodness knows I may change my mind if I find a few good ones.  Red blush seems hard to come by!

Red lips, however, and happily bountiful with SO many options to choose from, it’s just plain crazy.

…Aaaand photos:

Red BlushLeft to right: Becca Papaya, NARS Turkish Red (discontinued)

Red Blush swatchesLeft to right: NARS Turkish Red, Becca Papaya

Red lippiesLeft to right: Make Up For Ever #8, MAC Russian Red, Buxom Provocateur, Make Up For Ever N46, L’Oreal Endless Red

Red Lippie swatchesLeft to right: L’Oreal Endless Red, Make Up For Ever N46, Buxom Provocateur, MAC Russian Red, Make Up For Ever #8

I find my red lippies all look the same in swatches…and in real life, they are quite close.  L’Oreal’s Endless Red is obviously more glossy, and MUFE’s N46 is slightly more blue-based, but overall they’re all close in shade.  Time to diversify, methinks! An orange-red is my next purchase :)

Finally, we have some pretty pink and red polishes for you to peruse!  Though I don’t profess to wear much of either shade, I have a reasonable size stash of both (though again, the red lacks variety):

Pink & Red Nail PolishFront row, left to right: Zoya Kissy, China Glaze Ahoy!, butter London Snog, L.A. Girl Hyper, Essie Muchi Muchi, Rescue Beauty Lounge Poco a Poco
Back row, left to right: China Glaze Ruby Pumps, Essie Limited Addiction, American Apparel Downtown LA, butter London Come to Bed Red

Pink Nail PolishLeft to right: Zoya Kissy, China Glaze Ahoy!, butter London Snog, L.A. Girl Hyper, Essie Muchi Muchi, Rescue Beauty Lounge Poco a Poco

Red Nail PolishLeft to right: China Glaze Ruby Pumps, Essie Limited Addiction, American Apparel Downtown LA, butter London Come to Bed Red

So there you have it! A few ideas to get your mind going (and perhaps your wallet screaming?).  I picked up a couple more pink items this past week which I hope to show you before the 14th. Time to get girly, ya’ll!!

Do you wear pink makeup or nail polish?  Is red a staple colour you wear or do you shy away from it?

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Warm things up with Becca’s Mineral Blush in Sweet Pea

Last year, I was on the hunt for a neutral, natural-looking blush to add to my collection of bright pinks and corals.  Though I do love more intense, happy cheek shades as a general rule, there is a time and place in which a more subdued blush is favoured (and who am I kidding – if I can justify buying ONE MORE BLUSH for whatever reason, I’m gonna take it!).  On my radar was either MAC’s Blushbaby or Becca’s Mineral Blush in Sweet Pea ($32US).  When I was in NYC, I picked up the latter as it’s much more difficult for me to come by here on the East Coast.

IMG_1042Becca Sweet Pea Mineral Blush

Described as a ‘rosy plum nude,’ I find Sweet Pea to be more on the rose-nude side with very little plum, which is OK with me!  It’s a lovely neutral with a bit of kick so as to not look ‘blah,’ which can happen when you’re trying to steer clear of “colour” per se.

Becca Sweet Pea Mineral Blush swatch

Looking at this in swatches, you may think that this would be too close to my skin tone to really do much of anything when worn.  That was my concern before I had an opportunity to swatch it in-store. It’s true, it’s unlikely to show up much once I am in the throes of a summer tan, but for the other 8 months of the year, this works perfectly to add a subtle yet pretty warmth to my skin.  The ‘micro-fine minerals’ of which you can see just a touch in the swatch above, are said to give a soft glow to the skin, and I would say that’s pretty accurate! These types of blush formulas are my favourite – more of a satin finish than plain matte, that really bring life to the skin in a natural way without being too matte-powdery or disco-ball shimmery.

Becca Sweet Pea Mineral Blush

When I got home from NYC, as usual I rummaged through my stash to see if I had any similar shades already (I really do dislike replication!).  Another reason I had held out on buying Sweet Pea previously is that I thought it too close to Milani’s Sunset Beach bronzer/blush duo I have. Too late I also remembered Burberry’s Russet blush, which is another warm neutral and could possibly be close in tone. Thankfully, in both cases the shades do not have the same effect (in swatches and on the skin).

Becca Sweet Pea Mineral Blush comparison Becca Sweet Pea Mineral Blush comparison swatchesLeft to right: Burberry Light Glow Blush in Russet, Becca Mineral Blush in Sweet Pea, Milani Sunset Duos in Sunset Beach

As you can see, Russet is much warmer and more orange (which is actually why I don’t wear it much), and Sunset Beach is more brown (as it is primarily a bronzer). Though the swatches aren’t terribly varied, the differences do show up considerably when worn. So, happily for me, no dupes!

As my skin tends to be finicky, one of the biggest culprits to skin irritation via makeup is blush – so many contain ingredients like fragrance (WHYYYYY??), or lanolin which my skin can’t tolerate. Parabens and talc are also cause for concern for some – delightfully, Becca’s Mineral Blush contains none of these ingredients.  On top of that good news, the formula contains Vitamins A, C, and E to nourish and condition the skin.  What’s not to like?

IMG_1465Becca Sweet Pea Mineral Blush Ingredients

Though I haven’t tried too much from the brand (YET), from what I know and have read, it seems that Becca consistently knocks it out of the park with their beautiful (and beautiful-making) products again and again. Their aesthetic centres around natural gorgeousness, and as of late that is exactly the image I strive to achieve on the regular. All I know is – I GOTTA GET MY HANDS ON SOME MORE OF THIS STUFF!!!!!

Have you tried Becca cosmetics?  What is your favourite neutral blush?

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These are {13} of my favourite things (of 2013)

The New Year is almost upon us!  Even though the number 13 conjures up some unsettling feelings, 2013 was kind of a great year for me!  Though it started out a bit rough, with a lot of talking and support it turned around for me (a big thanks to all of you who sent kind words – and a care package! – my way!).  As always, the hardships make the good times feel that much sweeter.  I had the immense pleasure of standing in my friend’s most amazing wedding; I started dating a guy who makes me feel loved and truly content in a way I never have before; I’ve had the opportunity to work in several different positions at my work and found my niche; and I finally got to go to New York City, a long-standing dream of mine!  Not too shabby 2013, not too shabby :)

Over the month of December I’ve been pondering what beauty products in my collection really stand-out and get the most use.  Though I could probably add one or two more, the 13 items below really have rocked my world this year and have been very well-loved.  I would even go so far to say that I would repurchase most of them (and that’s saying something!).

Beauty Favorites of 2013

And so I present to you, my favourite (beauty) things of 2013:

1. Osha Mae Calendula Salve ($15CAD).  On it’s own, without any cortisone products, this can clear up the chronic eczema on my hands overnight – absolutely unheard of!  I first got hooked on a sample of M.J. Herbals Calendula Salve ($15CAD), but when I saw this very similar version at our local market I picked it up, as I always like to support local!

Osha Mae Calendula Salve

2. La Bella Figura Bio Active Healing Mask ($65CAD).  When LBF was introduced on the Clementine Fields website, they had a promotion for 15% off it’s pre-sale.  I ordered this mask as I was looking for something hydrating that could replace the uber-scented derma-e mask that I’d been using for a while (uncomfortably).  I didn’t know what to expect, and was completely bowled over once I tried it – its truly amazing!  It hydrates, it heals, it calms, it brightens…I honestly feel like it’s almost a one-stop shop as a mask, because my skin just looks SO DAMN GOOD after using it.  I attribute it’s awesomeness to it’s inclusion of raw manuka honey (it’s the first ingredient) which is noted for it’s therapeutic, antibacterial and nourishing qualities.  Other ingredients include kaolin clay, rosehip seed oil and calendula extract – be still my heart!  Oh, and it’s also BRIGHT PURPLE (due to the aronia berry).  I want to get my hands on the Purifying ($65CAD) version next.

La Bella Figura Bio Active Healing Mask

3. Lina Hanson Global Body Serum ($64CAD).  I really wish this didn’t cost so damn much because I just want to drown in this fantastically scented body oil for the rest of my life.  As it stands, I’m still trying to ration it, but I still fear it won’t last long as I keep using it every few days because it’s so addictive!

Lina Hanson Global Body Serum

Serge Lutens Un Bois Vanille ($130US).  Yum.  And YUM.  You all know my penchant for vanilla-based scents, so my love for this probably comes as no surprise.  With notes like sandalwood, coconut milk, musk, vanilla and tonk a bean, it’s a gourmand fragrance-lovers paradise.  I was surprised however that it also contains notes like black liquorice (which I hate) and bitter almond – but I suspect they help round out the scent and keep it from being too OTT vanilla, which can get headache-inducing fast.  I have worn this and only this since purchasing it in NYC; the only gripe I have with the fragrance is that I don’t find it lasts on my skin – but I guess that just gives me an excuse to spritz, spritz, spritz!

Serge Lutens Un Bois Vanille

Make Up For Ever Medium Highlighting Brush in #152 ($43CAD).  I didn’t quite understand just how much I would love this brush until I really put it into practice and had a while to play with it.  This brush is absolutely integral in my makeup application – aside from applying cream or powder highlighters like a dream, it also blends all formulas of blush or bronzer perfectly.  I don’t quite know how it does it, but somehow the fibers of the brush, its density, and it’s softness all contribute to a beautifully seamless complexion.  LOVE.

Make Up For Ever Brush #152

Becca Shimmering Skin Perfector in Opal (full-size, $50CAD).  Though I only have a deluxe sample size of this product, you only need the slightest amount to get amazing, glowing skin, so it’s lasted me ages!  I usually pull this out when I am either going for a really ‘natural’ look that focuses on the skin, or if I’m looking to amp up the glow factor for an event.  Though the full-size would probably last me a lifetime – something that doesn’t appeal to a fickle beauty fiend like myself – I still think I’ll repurchase this when I DO run out, because it’s truly the most beautiful yet natural-looking illuminator I’ve ever used.

Becca Shimmering Skin Perfector in Opal (5)

Buxom Full-Bodied Lipsticks (full-size, $26CAD).  My love for this lipstick formula is still going strong.  I use the little sample bullets I’ve got more than any other lipstick I own, and I’m looking forward to the day when they run out – so I can justifiably buy some full sizes!  Just so, so creamy and comfortable to wear, with awesome full pigment.  For the price especially, you really can’t beat ‘em!

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Chanel Le Blush Creme de Chanel in Revelation ($43CAD).  I have been on a cream blush kick for a while now, as I find it just looks so darn natural, which fits my makeup M.O. these days.  The newish Blush Cremes dry to an almost powder-like finish, so they don’t have quite the same effect; nevertheless, this natural-looking apricot shade gets a lot of regular use because it goes with just about every makeup look I wear.  The only downside is that its a touch too light when my skin is tanned – but at the moment it’s just right :)

Chanel Blush Creme in Revelation

MAC Eyeshadow in All That Glitters (pro-pan, $12CAD).  Though I have lessened my use of this shadow recently due to switching up my makeup routine, this baby got some SERIOUS love for months after I bought it early last spring.  It gives my eyes the most subtle yet beautiful sparkle I’ve ever seen, and accompanies a bright lip look beautifully.  The hype is TRUE, you guys.  BUY IT.

MAC All That Glitters

Burberry Sheer Eyeshadow in Trench ($30CAD).  Even after owning this shadow for a year and a half, I’m still amazed at how perfectly it blends and melds on the brow bone to give the perfect level of highlight to the eye.  As I have a lot of shimmering shadows, it keeps them grounded without making me look too ‘show dancer,’ but also isn’t so flat that it looks dull.  On top of all that, it’s HELLA soft.

Burberry Sheer Eye Shadow in Trench (2)

Chanel Stylo Yeux Waterproof in Noir Intense ($29CAD).  I wasn’t big on black pencil eyeliner until I purchased this early in the year – I didn’t have one and thought I should at least have one in my arsenal.  I don’t use it as a traditional liner, but rather as a tightliner on my upper lash line.  It a nice, dark black that gives great definition when I’m doing a more natural look (see a theme here?) and doesn’t budge – in fact, it’s difficult to remove at the end of the day, so keep that in mind.  But as I find a long-wearing liner hard to come by, it’s far from a deal-breaker!

Chanel Eyeliner Noir Intense

MAC Fluidline in Blacktrack ($19CAD).  Black pencil liner may never have been my thing, but I can’t say the same for black cream/gel/liquid formulas, which have always been a staple in my arsenal.  When I ran out of my last black liquid liner, I decided it was about time I tried the cult fave Blacktrack.  It’s nice and dark, and its creamy texture makes creating a winged look (a regular go-to for me) incredibly easy.  I’m not convinced I would repurchase, only because there are several black cream/gel liners that I’d like to try, but it’s been a faithful staple for me since I purchased it.

MAC Fluidline in Blacktrack

XLash Eyelash Enhancer ($59).  You’re all probably sick and tired of hearing me trumpet on and on about my love for this lash serum, but seriously, just get some and then get back to me – I promise you’ll be converted!  I won’t repeat my gushings yet again, but I will say that I am actually planning to buy more of this when I run out (still haven’t!).  SO. GOOD.

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That just about rounds up my year in beauty in a nutshell!  I’ve tried many things, some duds, some *pretty good*, but this collection here have been raised to the level of HG status for me.  As I learn and grow I find my selections have become more and more curated to the point where I rarely have a miss (at least if they’re purchased by me) and I’ve grown quite fond of my collection, to which I’ve whittled and culled to include *almost* only products that are a pleasure to use.  I still have a bit of work to do (which I plan on laying out for you in a future post), but overall I’m quite pleased and have passed the ‘GAH! My-stash-is-overwhelming-OMG-the-anxiety!‘ stage that I was in for a long time since starting the blog.  Which I deem a HUGE success :)

So say farewell to 2013 and welcome in the New Year with a bang!  I appreciate each and every reader of my little beauty haven, whether you’ve been with me or a while, or stumbled upon my ramblings by accident.  You’re the only reason I keep on writing!  I wish all of you a very excellent finale to the year soon past and hope that the very best is yet to come in 2014!!!  Let’s make it all sorts of great, yea? :D

happy-new-year-2014-wishes-2880x1800Image credit: ilovehdwallpapers.com

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Tom Ford Lacquer, Lip Color and Cheek Color Comparisons!

Here is my Tom Ford comparison post as promised!  I’m pleased to say that I don’t have any ‘dupes’ within my collection, which helps to make more expensive purchases like these much more enjoyable, no matter how fabulous they are ;)

I’ll begin with the polishes:

Tom Ford Bordeaux Lust comparison Left to right: Essie Limited Addiction, OPI Lost on Lombard, Tom Ford Bordeaux Lust, Zoya Anja

In the bottle, it’s clear that none of these are copies of Bordeaux Lust (though you’re not wrong that the Essie and OPI shades are QUITE similar, urgh).  Even after 1 coat, Anja is out of the running.  The 3 other shades however, look strikingly alike.

Tom Ford Bordeaux Lust swatch comparisonLeft to right (1 coat): Zoya Anja, Tom Ford Bordeaux Lust, OPI Lost on Lombard, Essie Limited Addiction

However, after a second and then third coat, the vampiness of Bordeaux Lust becomes readily apparent:

Tom Ford Bordeaux Lust swatch comparison2 coats

Tom Ford Bordeaux Lust swatch comparison3 coats

Though it appears only a touch darker than Lost on Lombard, as a full manicure it’s vamp qualities far surprass the dusty, muted quality of the OPI shade.  Essie’s contender is far too bright to even be in the running.  Win number one :)

The Lacquer in Black Sugar is next on the hit list:

Tom Ford Black Sugar comparisonLeft to right: China Glaze Ingrid, Tom Ford Black Sugar, Sally Hansen Commander in Chic, Chanel Paradoxal

Though the shade is not replicated in my collection, it does comes close, though darker, to Commander in Chic, another fave shade.  Ingrid is too brown, and Paradoxal has too much purple to be a match.  Score number two!

Tom Ford Black Sugar comparison swatchesLeft to right: Chanel Paradoxal, Sally Hansen Commander in Chic, Tom Ford Black Sugar, China Glaze Ingrid

Tom Ford Black Sugar comparison swatches Tom Ford Black Sugar comparison swatches

Following the polish success, I had to check out the Lip Colour in True Coral against my existing red lipsticks.  I suspected it wouldn’t have an equal, but there were 2 shades in particular that I thought may compare.

Tom Ford True Coral comparisonLeft to right: MAC Russian Red, Tom Ford True Coral, Make Up For Ever N46

Russian Red is a very bold red that is almost as stand out as True Coral; MUFE’s N46 leans more blue but in swatches it looks quite close as eell.  Though it’s difficult to see the differences between the 3 shades in swatches (though easily apparent in the photo of the bullets, above), trust me when I say that aside from it’s coral tone, True Coral retains a brightness that makes it quite different than your standard red.

Tom Ford True Coral comparison swatches Tom Ford True Coral comparison swatchesLeft to right: MUFE N46, Tom Ford True Coral, MAC Russian Red

Finally, the item that I felt I would most likely have a comparable facsimile – the Cheek Color in Flush.  Like many blush fiends, coral blush is sort of an obsession, as it just looks so. damn. good.  Surprizingly, I don’t own any shade that is exactly the same, though a few look similar once worn.  Let check them out!

Tom Ford Flush comparisonClockwise from left: NARS Torrid, NARS Boys Don’t Cry, Tom Ford Flush, MUFE First Kiss, LORAC Coral Crush

In the pan, Flush and Boys Don’t Cry look very alike aside from the slightly glowing quality of Flush, while BDC is completely matte.  When worn lightly, the two do look quite similar on the cheek, but in swatches you can see that BDC is much deeper in tone.  I love them both equally, truth be told ;)

Tom Ford Flush comparison swatches Tom Ford Flush comparison swatchesLeft to right: NARS Torrid, LORAC Coral Crush, Tom Ford Flush, NARS Boys Don’t Cry, Make Up For Ever First Kiss

Otherwise, the swatches reveal that none of the shades are quite like Flush, though Coral Crush comes close in the depth of pigmentation and finish – though it’s much more pink.  Happily, I feel entirely justified in owning Flush, though I think I REALLY need to take a break on the coral blushes, eh?  I think I’ve got enough for a few lifetimes, anyway!

When you are a makeup junkie, its always nice to be able to validate your purchase with evidence to prove that you are not, in fact, just purchasing the same shades over and over – a feat that gets harder the more your collection grows.  While I have significantly reduced the amount of makeup I buy and am much more selective in my purchases, replicates are bound to happen – you can only have so many shades, right!?  Nevertheless, I think I did fairly well with my Tom Ford splurge, and am enjoying every item with relish.  Ultimately, that’s what counts, AMIRITE???

What have you splurged on lately?  Do you have a hard time avoiding ‘dupes’ in your collection?

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The Luxury that is…TOM FORD

Sooo….I hope everyone has had a wonderful holiday!!  I have been living it up in a big way, despite the fact that I came down with a wicked cold two days before Christmas :S  Probably why I haven’t yet shaken it a week later, oops!  Nevertheless, I didn’t let it stop me from having a really lovely holiday :D  I hope you all had the same!

I have so many products to write about that it’s kind of criminal.  I feel particularly guilty that I haven’t shared with you the handful of Tom Ford goodies that I picked up while in New York – I mean, it’s TOM FORD guys, probably the ultimate in luxury cosmetics (in no small part due to the price lol).

Tom Ford Beauty

First up, the nail lacquers.  I have been searching for a great deep red polish for a while now, and none were doing the trick for me – either too dark veering on black, or too light.  When I visited the counter at Bergdorf Goodman, I had a plan that I was going to buy a polish, lipstick, and blush from the brand.  As soon as I saw the shade Bordeaux Lust, I knew I had found a winner!

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Bordeaux Lust ($32US) is truly the perfect shade of dark red – it’s clearly not black, but it’s more vampy than your typical red.  It’s got a somewhat sheer, slightly jelly-ish formula which adds to it’s uniqueness – from reviews I know that some dislike this aspect, but I actually like the way it looks, and it’s UBER glossy on it’s own.  Due to the formula it does require 3 coats to avoid streakiness, but again, I’m so pleased with the colour that it *ain’t no thang*

Tom Ford Bordeaux Lust nail polish Tom Ford Bordeaux Lust nail polish Tom Ford Bordeaux Lust nail polish

Sexy, no???  IRL it’s even more fabulous.  All I’m sayin’ is that I LOVE THIS COLOR and I don’t even mind the insane price tag.  Also, the bottle shape with it’s clean lines and dark bronze cap with just a hint of gold is totally up my alley.  This checks all the boxes for me!

Next we have the shade Black Sugar ($32US), which I picked up separate from my initial Tom Ford splurge, at Saks on Black Friday.  I had seen this shade in swatches several times before and it intrigued me with it’s secret red shimmer in a perfect mauve-taupe base.

Tom Ford Black Sugar nail polish Tom Ford Black Sugar nail polish

Of course, as with most secret shimmer, you really can’t capture it once worn on the nail, and in particular with this polish it’s next to invisible altogether, even in sunlight.  Kind of a bummer, but for some reason it doesn’t bother me too much – guess I’m getting used to these kinds of polishes pulling fast one on me.  I’m content to admire the shimmer in the bottle – although I’m hoping that in the more sunshine-y days (of which we have been lacking of late) I’ll get a surprise glimpse here and there.

Tom Ford Black Sugar nail polish Tom Ford Black Sugar nail polish Tom Ford Black Sugar nail polish

The formula of this one was good – two coats here, and easy-peasy application with a great viscosity that allows it to dry in a reasonable amount of time.  It’s not as glossy as Bordeaux Lust, but a top coat would fix that right up.  I really enjoy shades like this and find they work on a variety of skin tones, so another thumbs up here!

Moving right along, we come to the covetable Lip Colour, a creamy lipstick that has a wonderfully opaque finish.  After trying on several ‘nude’ shades at the Bergdorf counter that just didn’t do it for me, the SA Maria (SO great, by the way!) tried out the fabulously bright True Coral ($49US), a punchy coral-red that pretty much forces you to stand out anywhere you go.

Tom Ford Lip Color in True Coral Tom Ford Lip Color in True Coral Tom Ford Lip Color in True Coral

The formula feels great on the lips, creamy but not slippery and long-lasting – it’s such a rich colour that it stains the lips, leaving considerable colour behind so touch-ups are required less frequently.  If you have particularly dry lips, you might want to put a bit of balm on first, as while it’s not drying, its slightly matte and that combined with the outrageous colour can make dry flakes noticeable if your lips are parched.

Tom Ford Lip Color in True Coral swatches Tom Ford Lip Color in True Coral swatches

 It was hard to capture the coral aspect of this shade in photos – it tends to look just like a bright red, but trust me when I say that it’s not nearly that simple.  It has an almost neon quality to it that makes it completely unique to most reds I’ve ever seen!  Its not a shade for the faint of heart, that’s for sure – but if you like bold colour, this is a great bet.

Finally, probably the item you’re most interested in – THE BLUSH.  I present to you the Tom Ford Cheek Color in Flush ($56US).  I’ll let the pictures do the talking.

Tom Ford Cheek Color in Flush Tom Ford Cheek Color in Flush

Pow!!  Look at that colour, will you?  How can you resist a bright, gorgeous coral like this one?  And it obviously compliments the lipstick perfectly, which was actually just a happy accident.

Maria told me that the blush was extremely pigmented and only required the slightest touch of brush to pan to pick up plenty of colour.  How right she is!  The blush packs a serious punch with only a hint of effort.  Its finely milled, super-soft texture blends out beautifully and is a great shade to brighten up the face, stat.  I don’t have a shortage of shades like this, truth be told, but nevertheless this has become one of my go-to’s since purchasing it – which is good because the cost is kind of crippling, hey?  It’s unlikely I’ll be buying anymore Tom Ford blushes, but I’m certainly happy to have this one in my possession nonetheless :)

Tom Ford Cheek Color in Flush swatch Tom Ford Cheek Color in Flush swatch

Below are a couple shots of me wearing the lipstick and blush so you can see them in real time.  I also want to point out that I’m wearing nothing else aside from the Hourglass Ambient Lighting Powders in Dim Light (all over) and Radiant Light (on cheekbones).  I hadn’t seen them in action before in pictures and I am HELLA impressed at how well they blur imperfections!  My skin is in pretty good shape right now due to my organic skincare regime (which I promise to write about soon!), but I still have some unevenness which needs attention.  I’ve been preferring to skip foundation altogether lately to keep a more glowing look to my skin, and these powders have helped that cause immensely.  Oh, and also – no mascara!!  Witness again the amazingness that is XLash growth serum.  I honestly think I might have to buy a barrel of this stuff, I still can’t get over the difference in my lashes.  SO good.

Tom Ford Cheek and Lip Color swatchNatural light

Tom Ford Cheek and Lip Color swatchWith flash

Overall, my first foray into Tom Ford Beauty has been a complete success.  Despite the fact that these 4 purchases did some significant damage to my bank account, I am 100% pleased with them all so the cost doesn’t hurt my heart (much).  In terms of originality, I think Bordeaux Lust and True Coral stand out the most, while Flush is one of many coral blushes on the market and you may find one better suited to your chequebook.  Black Sugar looks original but I’m sure there are similar shades available as well.  Stay tuned for a comparison post for all, just to cover the bases!

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A Fall Color Story (Swatches Abound!)

Ok.  So fall has officially sprung arrived.  I am SO ready!  I know you summer babes who love your heat are crying “WTF Latoya?!” and for you I say – I’m sorry :(  I’m not hating on warm weather and sunshine, I love it as much as the next person.  But after a few months of bright polishes and ‘au naturel’ looks, I’m eager to get down and dirty with some sultry, vampy makeup.  I love change, what can I say?

As I’ve mentioned before, my makeup purchasing has slowed down considerably over the past 6 months +.  One of the best ways for me to curb the impulse to buy something new is to go through my own collection to revisit old shades and swap out colors to reinvigorate myself.  While doing the official ‘switch over’ for autumn, I got the idea to put together a few color stories that I felt were appropriate for the start of the fall season!

Russet

Russets

I’m starting you off slow with a shade that it incredibly wearable for almost all skintones – russet.  These colors would be great for an easy going fall walk through the woods, that add a bit of life to the face but not a whole lot of color, per se.  I picked up LMbD’s Rumour blush in a swap in early spring, and started wearing it fairly regularly during the summer as it added the nicest warm, radiant glow to my cheeks.  It looks a bit scary in the pan but with a light touch for fairer skins, this is a great alternative to bronzer and leaves my skin looking naturally healthy.  This is one of those awesome transitional shades that also works well in fall – the color reminds me of the turn of the leaves.  L’Oreal’s Colour Riche Colour Caresse Shine Stain in Eternally Nude (a product which shall henceforth be known as CRCCSS) was a spurr of the moment purchase back in the spring, and was initially a bit of a disappointment – on my lips, it’s not terribly nude, but rather a sort of warm reddened brown – but I ended up liking the color for what it is, anyway.  Another super wearable shade, and the formula is quite close to the YSL version, enough for me to probably opt for these over those due to the huge price difference.  Sadly, the Urban Decay 24/7 liner here, in Lucky, a wonderful coppery shade, has been discontinued.  I honestly need to start shopping for a dupe now, because this is probably one of my top favorite liners and I’m gonna be heartbroken when I finish it (which will actually happen because I use it regularly).  Sigh.

Swatchy time!

Fall Makeup - Russet swatches (3) Fall Makeup - Russet swatches (2)Left to right: UD 24/7 Eye Liner in Lucky (DC), LMdB Blush in Rumour (swatched heavily, then buffed out), L’Oreal CRCCSS in Eternally Nude

Rose

Mauves

Rose is not normally a shade I gravitate toward, as it tends to look very drab on my skintone, but these particular shades are both light (the lippies) and dark (the blush) enough to work well on me.  Bobbi Brown’s Pot Rouge in Velvet Plum, a discontinued shade (sorry!) in the old packaging, was something I picked up when I had my makeup done at the counter several years ago.  It would never have been a shade I’d have picked, but it ends up being one of my favorites for it’s exceptional wearability.  It looks great with tanned skin, but is also perfect for fall/winter as well with it’s plummy tones.  I quite like the formula of these as well – easy to apply and blend, and doesn’t leave my oilier skin greasy-looking.  Laura Mercier’s Lip Glace in Discrete was kind of an impulse purchase – I don’t think I realized at the time that it was like $36, which is kind of a lot for a gloss – but its been well-used (despite the fact that it contains lanolin and I try to avoid wearing it two days in a row).  It’s an easy nude-type shade that wears well with cooler toned smoky eyes, and isn’t TOO glossy.  Lastly, I snagged a sample of BITE Beauty’s Luminous Creme Lipstick in Pepper a couple months ago, and it is a dusty rose shade that is similar to my natural lip color but a bit deeper and warmer.  The formula is creamy and feels great on the lips, and goes with just about everything!

Fall Makeup - Mauves swatches (3) Fall Makeup - Mauves swatchesLeft to right: Laura Mercier Lip Glace in Discrete, BITE Beauty Luminous Creme Lipstick in Pepper, Bobbi Brown Pot Rouge in Velvet Plum (swatched heavily, then buffed out; DC)

Deep Red

Deep Reds

Now these are the shades I can get behind!  I love me a good deep red anything in the fall – makeup, clothes, you name it.  L’Oreal’s La Couleur Infallible Eyeshadow in Golden Mahogany is still one of my favorite eyeshadows, particularly so after wearing it in my friend’s wedding with such success, and was quite honestly MADE for fall.  It’s gorgeous brown-red tones work with just about any cool-weather outfit I can come up with, and the color compliments just about every eye shade beautifully.  NARS Turkish Red Cream Blush (another discontinued shade…oops) is a fabulous shade of blood red that is awesome for that windswept/windburnt look – however, it does require a bit of a skilled hand.  It can go on a touch patchy due to it’s intense pigment (which also means a light hand is necessary), but when its done well, the effort is SO worth it!  And, I just had a brainwave that MAC’s Dare You lipstick, shown here, could potentially be used as a cream blush if you were aching for that kind of shade.  It has the similar deep red tone – which is particularly fabulous on the lips!  This is a more wearable red for those of you who are a bit gun-shy of an in-your-face bold red, and looks amazing in the cooler months.  LOVE.

Fall Makeup - Deep Red swatches (3) Fall Makeup - Deep Red swatchesLeft to right: MAC Dare You lipstick, NARS Turkish Red Cream Blush (swatched heavily, then buffed out; DC), L’Oreal La Couleur Infallible Eyeshadow in Golden Mahogany

Berry

Berries

I am also particularly partial to berry tones in the fall/winter…they’re just so delectably sexy!  Ellis Faas Creamy Lips in L102 is still one of my absolute favorite lipsticks and hands down the shade I get the most compliments on.  If for no other reason, THIS lippie is why I love fall so much!  The fussy packaging is totally worth the drool-worthy, long-wearing shade.  Illamasqua’s Crush Cream Blusher was a sale find I scooped up last winter, and while it didn’t get too much love from me since then, I plan on rocking this baby out all season long.  When my skin isn’t tanned, it turns a bit pinkish, but right now with my fading tan, it looks more like it does in the pan – a gorgeous deep berry shade.  YUMMY.  Another Illamasqua fave is their Precision Ink in Havoc, which is still honestly capturing my heart some two years later.  I mean, it’s a dark wine -colored eyeliner that doesn’t look black – how badass is that?!  I wore it over the weekend while working at Clinique, and I swear I sold more because customers just thought I looked THAT GOOD.  LOL!

Fall Makeup - Berry swatches (2) Fall Makeup - Berry swatchesLeft to right: Illamasqua Precision Ink in Havoc, Ellis Faas Creamy Lips in L102, Illamasqua Crush Cream Blusher (swatched heavily, then buffed out)

Violet

Violets

Here comes the trickiest shade to wear of the bunch – violet.  Too much red and it can make you look like you’ve been crying; too much blue and you look like you just had a throw-down with one of the ‘Real Housewives.’  It can quickly veer in to goth territory if you’re not careful – thankfully, all of you know just what you’re doing at all times, right!? Right.  So, first we have the most challenging of the bunch – MAC’s Mattene Lipstick in Bing, and LE shade from 2008 or 2009, that has been making my life difficult since then.  I WANT to rock this blackened purple shade full force, but alas I am still a scaredy-cat.  However, I have managed to find various ways to wear it in a toned down way, either mixed with a red lippie or as a stain, so that will have to do for now.  The lovely violet shadow you see here is a new acquisition (in fact, the three shadows are) from Inglot, shade # 325, a matte purple.  I have yet to wear it, but I’m going to make an attempt this week – wish me luck!  Finally, we have another UD 24/7 Eyeliner, in 1999….which is discontinued…but which I JUST purchased from Sephora two weeks ago (so that makes it better, right!?).  They had several of the old shades up for sale, at $7.95CAD a pop, and I couldn’t resist.  This is an awesome toned down version of violet, that does have a hint of red but seems to work perfectly on my eyes to subtly add a touch of color without going to crazy town.  I’ve been wearing it on my lower lash line to give just a bit of definition and I’m really loving it.

Fall Makeup - Violet swatches (2) Fall Makeup - Violet swatches (9)Left to right: MAC Mattene in Bing, Inglot Matte Eyeshadow in #325, UD 24/7 Eyeliner in 1999

What are your favorite shades/products to wear in the fall?  What color story do you like the best?

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