Archive for category Eyeshadow

Operation Reduce: Eyeshadows, Part I

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

IMG_3311My shadow collection, give or take a few.

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

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

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

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

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

SMOG & HAIGHT

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

IMG_3207Left to right: Smog, Haight

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Two down, three to go!

ROCKSTAR, LOADED, AND SUSPECT

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

IMG_3205Left to right: Suspect, Loaded, and Rockstar. 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

IMG_3292Left to right: UD Suspect, NARS Rajasthan

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

On, on!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Summer Makeup Staples: 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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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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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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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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Light up the night with Make Up For Ever’s Midnight Glow Palette

Hiiii guys!  Is everyone making it through the holidays ok so far???  It is FLYING by for me, every year I seem to be busier than the last!  This is the first time in a week that I have sat down in front of my MacBook at all…and work has been so busy that I can’t get any personal stuff done there like I used to (LOL!).  I just realized that I hadn’t shared with you the new position I’ve been in for the past two months – I’m working with our Communications team on an acting assignment, and it was SO. GREAT.  My main task is to write and/or upload articles to our internal webpage, and the set up is just like WordPress, so I took to it pretty quickly – uh, hello, I like to write and I have a blog; what a PERFECT position for me!  I think I’ve found my niche, guys!  It’s only a short-term position, but it’s given me some much needed career direction, so I’m feeling really great work-wise lately :)

However, due to the mega-busy factor in all areas of my life, I have fallen behind on my blog posts – and one item in particular that I have been wanting to review for several weeks now: Make Up For Ever’s new Midnight Glow palette!

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If ever there was a palette that captured the essence of winter, this would be it.  Inspired by the glistening effect of the winter moonlight, the Midnight Glow palette ($48CAD) contains icy shades of white, blue, grey, and pink; a shimmering violet; and two grounding shades of black and soft brown.  Honestly, it’s one of the prettier palettes I’ve come across, and it’s just the perfect size – the shadows are large enough to actually get right in their with your brush (and conveniently, the palette comes with two of it’s own!), but it’s small and thin enough that you could stash it in your clutch for touch-ups with ease.  The case is black with splashes of rose gold and silver design – in a word, I love it!

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The shadows in the palette are relatively smooth even though the majority contain small bits of glitter throughout their frosty finishes.  Now, everyone knows that high frost shadows can be tricky to wear – particularly on aging eyes, but still difficult for those of us without too many fine lines yet.  I was a bit nervous about this palette, despite how much I love how it looks, that it would be a shimmering disaster once worn.  However, the shadows are all on the sheer side – a fact that initially I was frustrated over (the swatches required many passes to get strong colour), but to which I came to realize allows them to be more easily worn as a wash of shimmer and sparkle on the lid, versus intense frost that could easily veer into the danger zone.  Also, I really appreciate the inclusion of the two matte shades, the black and brown, which allow for blending and grounding of such sparkling shades.  Both shadows are also quite sheer, which may not be ideal for certain looks – especially with the black – but I think it follows the theme of the palette which seems to be more ethereal in nature, rather than disco ball.

IMG_0807Indirect light

IMG_0801Direct sunlight

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Though the sheerness does mean that many of the shades look similar once worn, I do appreciate that nevertheless the palette is made much more wearable by this trait.  It may come as a disappointment to those of you looking for a more intensely frosty look, but overall I think that it’s not a bad thing.  I don’t have many frosty, glittering shadows, and I think it will add the perfect touch of sparkle to my nighttime looks over the holiday season (and beyond!).

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What kind of makeup looks do you favour during the holiday season?  Are you comfortable wearing frosty shades? 

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

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Laura Mercier Artist’s Palette for Eyes: Review & Swatches

So, despite the fact that of all the sets I received last month for review, I was MOST excited for Laura Mercier’s Artist’s Palette for Eyes ($60CAD) – it’s taken me ages to post about because I really wanted to do it justice.  But DAMN guys, this palette is hard to photograph!

IMG_0363No…this wasn’t the hard shot to get.  LOL

The light shades looked far too bright and almost glowing.  The medium shades came out too light and washed out.  The glorious sparkling shade, African Violet (which, by the way, I’ve been drooling over forEVER) didn’t come out quite sparkly enough.  The dark shades…well, you get the picture.  I did 4 different photo sessions with this palette, and suffice to say, I just had to get on with it already.  But unfortunately for you, the ‘good’ shots came after I uh, already played around with the palette a bit.  You think I could hold off for that long!?! Pfffft.

IMG_0340One of the few ‘ok’ shots I took before marring the beautiful pans O_o

You’ll just have to deal with it.

Laura Mercier Artists Palette

In the shot above, the shades Guava and Primrose on the left are lighter and a bit less pink than in they appear.  Plum Smoke (SO hard to capture that shade) is a touch warmer and lighter…the rest are fairly accurate.  Let’s see a close-up!

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Sparkling Dew and Vanilla Nuts (WTF?) are a bit lighter in the pan and are great for highlighting the eyes – the former having a satin finish and the latter being matte.  Guava and Primrose would be excellent neutral shades to brighten up the eye, Primrose being a bit more beige-y – both have a satin finish with itty bits of glitter in each (not a fan usually but they pretty much blow away the instant to put brush to pan).  African Violet (swoon) is a gorgeous light-medium violet with golden shimmer…I’ve had my eye on this baby for years so I’m pretty stoked to finally get to try it out!  Fresco is a perfect matte nude on my lid that is a touch warm to keep it from looking flat – sort of a mix of light brown and peachy-pink (if that makes sense).

Swatchies!

IMG_0510 IMG_0508Left to right: Sparkling Dew, Vanilla Nuts, Guava, Primrose, African Violet, Fresco

See those bits of glitter in Sparkling Dew and Guava?  Weird, right?  They’re less noticeable in Primrose.  Still, odd inclusion – but they aren’t problematic when worn.

Next 6 shades:

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Plum Smoke is my fave shade next to African Violet in terms of colorsuch a beautiful, sultry yet subtle soft matte plum; the name is perfect.   Bamboo is a shimmering taupe-y shade that personally falls kinda flat for me – it’s too washed out for my skintone – but I can see others LOVING it.  It also contains that strange hint of glitter here and there.  Kir Royal is a medium-deep plum with reddish tones – this requires appropriate use an execution to avoid that mega-tired or punched-out look.  It has a mostly matte finish but not flat.  Truffle is a great matte warm brown that works well as a crease shade to blend out smoky looks.  It’s going to be a workhorse for me I can tell.  Violet Ink is a deep indigo that would be awesome as a liner shade or smoked out in the crease/outer edge of the eye.  Same goes for Espresso Bean, a dark cool brown with a hint of grey. Both are matte.

And again, swatches:

IMG_0516 Laura Mercier Artists Palette swatchesLeft to right: Plum Smoke, Bamboo, Kir Royal, Truffle, Violet Ink, Espresso Bean

This half of the palette is my JAM.  Love the soft smokiness of all the shades, and I think even though Bamboo isn’t the most complimentary tone on my skin, I can make it work.

Ok, so you’ve seen the pretty – how about the formula?  Well, each and every shade is super soft and lovely, though this does mean they kick up powder a little bit.  They’re more on the sheer side though pigmentation can be built up if so desired.  All the shades meld seamlessly with one another and for this palette-phobic girl, they pretty much hit the mark dead-on.

Here’s the thing.  I read Karen’s review of the palette and couldn’t quite get what she meant about the shades blending into one another and being a bit aggravating that way.  I tend to be a one to two shadow girl, and I didn’t have any previous issues in using them.  But when I tried to pull a more intricate look together, I totally got what she meant – it’s like they just muddy together to make one shade; there’s no gradient or definition, and the more I tried to add to the look to build up certain colors, the worse it got.  It was almost like they were repelling one another…totally bizarre.  So it’s something to keep in mind if you do, in fact, want to be a bit of an artist with this palette.  You might have a little bit of trouble on your hands!

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Quite honestly though, I wouldn’t let this oddity deter you from at least checking out the palette in store.  The shades are all quite nice and it’s extremely wearable.  And, hello with that fabulous faux croc case!!!  LOVE it.  And it fits right into the palm of my hand – perfect for travel or for just storing with your other products, as a few of you mentioned those bulky palettes can be the WORST.  Overall, Laura Mercier gets my vote, bizarre shadows be damned.  Maybe the ‘artist’ part is that you’ll gain MAD skill at application after using this palette a few times! :P

OK, what say you?  Yay or nay to THIS palette!?

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

 

 

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Kat Von D Spellbinding Eyeshadow Book: Review & Swatches

Some of you may already know my avoidance of palettes.  I think I’m in the minority in my feelings, it’s true…but to put it plainly, palettes have most everything I dislike in the world.  Too much choice (anxiety! which shades to choose?), plus more often than not there are several colors that end up never being used, which to me is a waste (HUGE pet peeve).  Also, I have generally found that palettes have a lesser formula than their permanent, single counterparts, which just plain pisses me off.  Having said all that, I think there is enormous benefit to palettes for the right kind of person – if you love options, playing around with shades and creating different looks, and/or if you’re just building your shadow collection, they’re quite the ideal purchase, and they’re usually a great bang for your buck.  If I was to choose a palette for whatever reason, the pre-requisites would be a good array of wearable shades (but not TOO many number-wise), great quality, and, of course, sexy packaging.  How does Kat Von D’s Spellbinding Eyeshadow Book ($65CAD) that has come out for the holidays measure up?  Let’s take a look.

IMG_0667outer packaging

IMG_0659palette itself

First of all, the packaging.  While I’m not over the moon about it (I’m a big fan of a sleek look with minimal design and perhaps leather or metal (like) encasing….but I already said I was picky!), it’s not terrible.  The artistry here is attractive and eye-catching.  It’s thin and not too bulky, though all said it’s about the size of my palm spread wide.  It’ll do.

On the backside, you get an idea of what shades are contained within, with an additional note that the shades are already ideally paired for you.  This is great if you’re someone who isn’t confident in their shadow-combining capabilities.

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There is an emphasis throughout the whole schema of the palette on layering and really playing with shade pairings to get unique and interesting looks – once you open the palette, on the inside of the top cover you’ll see more suggestions and diagrams on how to match and wear shades to create your own ‘works of art.’

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In the eyeshadow portion of the palette, there is a plastic insert which covers the shadows, that reiterates the shade names for your reference.  The ones marked with a star are never before seen shades exclusive to the palette.  I have no idea where some of the shade names originate from – such as ‘stupid autocorrect,’ which is slightly humorous if not a bit strange.  Each of the pairings do have complimentary themes however, and I do like this consistency.

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Below are the shades without the plastic cover, in all their glory:

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My first thoughts were that the palette was somewhat haphazard and that there didn’t seem to be much continuity with the shades or the placing of each.  However, when you look at them as pairs of twos, they are quite complimentary to one another; and when you look at each row together, you start to see a theme for each column which actually makes sense.

IMG_0607Left-hand side of the palette.

IMG_0610Right-hand side of the palette.

The first column of shades is sort of like your standard, smoky plus pale metallics/shimmers night-out kind of tones – shades you may already have in your possession:

Kat Von D Spellbinding Eyeshadow Book swatches

Swatched (note that I stupidly did all of my swatches in this post backward – my bad!!):

IMG_0637Left to right: Queen*, Smile Now*, Instaglam*, Holy Bible, Sunset Blvd, Dark Throne*

Queen is one of a few duochrome shades in the palette, and the one with the strongest duo-coloring.  It reminds me of MAC Club, and also of an existing shade within Kat Von D’s Shade Shifter range that Maggie reviewed in the past.  While I have neither, I’m kind of excited to try this shade out, as it’s has a lot of interest and I think you can make some great looks with it.  It also has a great, smooth pigment.  The other shades in this column wow me a lot less: Smile Now is a soft peachy pink with a soft formula that has a slight duochrome finish as well that I just could not capture – I think one someone with fair skin and blue eyes this would be quite striking, but on me I suspect it’ll fall flat.  Instaglam and Holy Bible are the kinds of pale frosty shades I hate, as they look very garish on my darker skin.  However, the texture of the two is quite good – smooth and creamy.  Sunset Blvd is a gold shade with gold glitter that has a stiff texture and a fair bit of fall-out – not my jam.  Dark Throne is not quite black but more charcoal, and is a touch patchy, but blends out well and has a soft texture though not as creamy as some of the others.

Kat Von D Spellbinding Eyeshadow Book swatchesSunset Blvd with it’s glitter particles

IMG_0643Queen in all is duo-chrome-y beauty

In the next column, we have a handful of more edgy, eye-catching shades – not your standard fare and great for when you wanna mix things up a bit.  For whatever reason, they kind of give me a 60s vibe:

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IMG_0631Left to right: Bukowski, Cry Later*, Stupid Autocorrect*, Oddfellow, 8 Bit*, Precious

Bukowski is a great medium blue shade with a hint of teal – great pigmentation and a lovely formula.  Cry Later is a mid-tone warm brown with fine gold glitter – it has a bit of fall-out, but the glitter is actually quite pretty and its one of the few times that I appreciate it’s inclusion.  The formula is more stiff, like most of the shades with glitter in the palette, but only slightly and feels smooth to the touch.  Stupid Autocorrect is soft and smooth, but the pigment is lacking which is not ideal with a unique shade such as it is – go bold or go home!  Oddfellow is one of those shades that catches your eye – a deep, dark green with bright emerald glitter flecks – but those flecks don’t translate to the eye.  The fall-out isn’t as bad as it could be, and the shade had a nice dark pigmentation so it’s not a complete loss.  A bit stiff, again, but workable.  8 Bit is a pretty seafoam green with a lovely texture – but not necessarily MY kinda shade, nor is it terribly unique.  Finally we have Precious, yet another super-light shade that probably looks great on fair skinned gals but just YUK on me.  Formula is good – smooth and creamy – but somehow a bit chunky as well.  Weird.

Kat Von D Spellbinding Eyeshadow Book swatchesItty bitty emerald flecks in Oddfellow

IMG_0633Pretty fine gold shimmer in Cry Later

In the third column are what I like to think of as our pastel, girly shades.  They have a spring-like quality to them, even though I didn’t notice it until I swatched them:

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IMG_0627Left to right: Countess*, Arcadia*, Galore, Birdcage, Geek*, Babe

Aside from Countess, a nice matte (the only one) skintone shade (smooth though a bit stiff), and Geek, a pretty satin peach (soft and smooth), the rest of the shades leave me cold.  Again, these light colors on my skin tone – gah!!  On the right person, they would likely sing, but on me…ugh.  Arcadia is a pale lavender frost with a creamy formula that has that same odd chunky quality like Precious.  Galore…ANOTHER pale frost that looks the same-ish on my skintone as a couple of the other shades (smooth/chunky formula).  Birdcage is one of those shades I want to look nice on me but doesn’t – kind of a duo-golden green that would rock on a brown-eyed gal.  It has a stiffer formula however.  Babe is an electric purple with a blue flash that people often seem to go ga-ga for…myself excluded.  Stiffer texture and takes a bit to build up.

IMG_0628Babe.

Finally, in our last column we have a handful of jewel-tone shades – THESE kinds of tones I can get behind!!  Come to mama:

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IMG_0621Left to right: WTF, Wonderland, Hexagram*, Gunner, Fallen, Piaf*

Though I’ve previously documented my love of red shadow, I’m not sure about WTF – it might to TOO red?  I haven’t yet tried to wear it so I’ll reserve judgement for now. It’s got a stiffer formula which doesn’t endear me to it a ton.  Wonderland looks great in the palette, but like Oddfellow, doesn’t translate as well on the skin – the red glitter particles blow away and all you’re left with is a a deep reddish plum.  However, the formula is more like Cry Later (smooth) than the other glitter shades, so it’s workable.  Hexagram is a lovely taupe-like shade with a khaki lean and a duochrome flash – quite unique I think!  It reminds me of a more aggressive NARS Rajasthan (the golden taupe shade), which is one of my faves.  Awesome, creamy formula here.  Gunner is a forest green and one of the worst performers of the bunch – dry, stiff, lackluster pigment with glitter fallout…just overall a disappointment.  Fallen is a great staple bronze shade with a stellar formula and dense pigment – not original, but a great shade for all nonetheless.  Piaf is probably one of the shades I’m most pleased to have, as I’ve been needing a nice gunmetal shimmer for some time now but hadn’t made a purchase.  It leans cool and has good pigment and a creamy formula.

Kat Von D Spellbinding Eyeshadow Book swatchesBoo to Gunner’s sad green glitter particles and crap-tastic formula (but check out the duochrome greatness of Hexagram! YUM).

Kat Von D Spellbinding Eyeshadow Book swatchesWonderland. Pretty shade, but not original (but hey!  There’s Hexagram again :P)

Ok.  So first of all, clearly I have high expectations – have we gleaned that yet?  What can I say?  I expect the best.  Having said that, despite my clear distaste for some of the shadows in this palette, there are actually a handful of really wonderful shades and formulas that I’m super keen to use like crazy: Queen, Cry Later (formula is a tad iffy but shade is great), Bukowski, Geek, Piaf, Fallen, and Hexagram.  That’s 7 shades out of…24???  Eeks.  See, THIS is why I don’t like palettes so much.  I’m pretty much a one or two shade wonder and rarely play around to come up with intricate looks – so all these shades will probably go unused for the most part – and I hate having all these other shades kicking around when all I wanted was a handful!  ~sigh~

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Anyway, if you don’t have bizarre *excess* issues like I do, I think this palette definitely has some value (speaking of value, the shade costs on their own would total $130CAD, versus the $66 cost of the palette).  Though there are a few shades I felt repetitive (namely, Instaglam, Precious, and Galore, which have minimal difference between them), the range of color is quite encompassing, and you really could come up with a huge variety of looks if that’s your thing.  There are a few shades that could use an upgrade in formula, but it’s mainly limited to the glitter shades which we all know are more often than not a hassle.  If you read other reviews of the palette, they’re mostly positive and are coming from people with NORMAL feelings toward palettes, so there’s that.  And I mean…it IS kinda pretty to look at all the colors, no?? ;)

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Are you a bit crazy when it comes to palettes?  How do you (mentally) DEAL with the shades you don’t use??

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

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