Archive for category Lips

MAC Heavenly Hybrid Lipstick: A Delayed Review

I took shots of this lipstick ages ago but never got around to posting about it – and then when the time came, I thought it would be long gone for purchase (which is just plain MEAN to do with a lipstick this pretty!). Just out of curiosity, I *just* checked online, and lo and behold this shade is available to purchase on the Canadian site (but sadly, is ‘out of stock’ on the US one)!  And so, I thought it fitting to do a little show n’ tell for you all :)

MAC Heavenly Hybrid

From the ‘Fantasy of Flowers‘ spring collection, Heavenly Hybrid is a Lustre formula, which are thought to be somewhat moisturizing with a mostly semi-opaque finish, and is described as a ‘mid tone berry.’  I have a couple shades in this formula, and while I don’t find it hydrating, I don’t find it drying either – I notice it tends to wear off quicker than other formulas and lipsticks (about 2 hours, tops) and usually leaves me feeling like I need to reapply in order for my lips to feel moisturized at all. However, I will say that with Heavenly Hybrid, the more intense colour means that it wears longer that other shades I have in the formula, so for that I give it good marks overall.

MAC Heavenly Hybrid

I find the colour in the bullet is a little more muted than what you see on the lips, as you’ll see in the swatches below. But that’s all to the better, because I find this is the perfect shade of berry – bright but not too in-your-face, veering near fuchsia but retaining a deeper berry tone to make it more wearable day-to-day.

MAC Heavenly Hybrid swatch MAC Heavenly Hybrid swatch

Essentially, I LOVE IT.  This shade is insanely wearable, and über flattering. As its not fully opaque, it looks softer than a full-on bright pink, but it’s not dull or boring in the least. It also brightens the face instantly, so with very effort you can look pulled together and pretty in a heartbeat.  And it’s perfect for spring – or pretty much any season, really!

MAC Heavenly Hybrid swatch

If you haven’t guessed, I’m loving this lipstick. Even better, I managed to snag it via Back2MAC empties, so this is like a MEGA WIN. I have to admit, I’m pretty surprised that it’s still available online considering how great a colour it is. But YAY for you guys! I highly recommend checking it out some way, somehow…I promise you won’t regret it!

What is your most wearable lipstick? 

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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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Dior Trianon Spring 2014: Pretty in pink with Bloom polish and Exquisse lip gloss

This post is seriously delayed, it’s true, as Dior’s Trianon collection came out back in early February; however, it’s still spring (we’re only like a week in, after all!) and I’ve actually seen both of these items still in stores, so I’m hopeful if you love them you can still pick ‘em up :)

Dior Bloom & Exquisse Spring 2014

I still consider myself a newbie when it comes to Dior cosmetics; though I used to work on the line for a brief period back in my Hudson’s Bay days, since then I haven’t really been all that interested. But when you continue to hear about how good their polishes and lip products are (among other items), you start to mentally break down and give in. It started with last year’s Spring Ball vernis, and it’s been snowballing slowly from there. Last month, when I had Shoppers Optimum points to burn, I picked up Dior’s Addict Lip Gloss in Exquisse (a bright, medium pink) and Vernis in Bloom (almost identical in shade except slightly more muted and deeper). Since cooler-toned pinks are my new jam, I figured they were the perfect choices out of the collection (which fell flat for me otherwise – pale seafoam colors do nothing for my skin tone).

Dior Spring 2014 Bloom and ExquisseDior Vernis in Bloom, Dior Addict Lip Gloss in Exquisse

I have this weird block in my head when it comes to bright pink nail polishes – for some reason, I seem to think I own a lot, when in fact I own less than a handful. Every time I see one I like, I think ‘Oh, I have a shade just like that’ – and when I considered Bloom, my thought process was no different. However, I was determined to buy something that day, and I was really feeling the fun pink tones of Bloom, so into my basket it went. Happily, I don’t own any shades like it – either they’re darker or warmer. The tones in Bloom I think would work for everyone – it’s not too cool or too light, but a great medium shade all around. And of course, the Dior formula is impeccable – hence why I’m steadily building my collection and just picked up Incognito (a pinkish nude) last week!

Dior Bloom swatch Dior Bloom swatch

So shiny…that’s without top coat, guys! Another thing I love about the Dior polishes :) Here I’ve painted an accent nail with China Glaze’s Dandy Lion Around and topped it with Zoya’s Kissy – in fact, this was my Valentine’s Day mani!

Dior Bloom comparison swatchLeft to right: China Glaze Under the Boardwalk, American Apparel Neon Violet, Dior Bloom, butter London Snog

My camera had a hard time distinguishing between some of the shades, but IRL you can plainly see the differences – Snog WAS the shade I was most concerned would look the same against Bloom, but it’s much warmer in person. Both shades are worth owning, in my opinion!

Though I have been on a lipstick kick for the past year or two, every so often a gloss will catch my eye, and Exquisse was it this time around – a bright, juicy pink is the perfect glossy shade to wear when spring (finally) comes around. As everyone notes, the Dior gloss formula is fantastic; smooth, non-sticky, with a decent wear time (about 2 hours) and moisturizing to boot. Why can’t all glosses be this easy to wear?

Dior Exquise Dior Exquisse swatch Dior Exquisse swatch

After swatching Exquisse, I realized that I actually have something similar in my existing lip gloss collection: Illamasqua’s Divine.  Side by side, Divine is close, but leans cooler and lighter. When worn it’s also less pigmented – it’s sort of like the little sister to the Dior shade.

Illamasqua Divine vs Dior Bloom lipgloss Illamasqua Divine vs Dior Bloom lipgloss

Though my picks from the Trianon collection aren’t necessarily exciting, I think they’re both exceptionally wearable shades, which tends to mean more to me the higher the price point. Dior is quickly becoming one of my favourite brands, and I’m hoping to expand my experience by trying out some of their other wares. They hit the trifecta for me of superb quality, sexy packaging, and on-trend colour. I want MOAR!

Dior Bloom & Exquisse Spring 2014

Have you fallen in love with Dior? Do you have any suggestions on what I should try next from the brand?

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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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Give some luxurious lip with Giorgio Armani Rouge d’Armani #606

Finally wrapping up my NYC purchases…about damn time, eh? I had a really great day at home recently with actual sunshine, so I was able to get some final shots I needed. The last piece from my makeup-palooza is Giorgio Armani’s Rouge d’Armani in #606 ($32US), a soft rose shade.

Giorgio Armani Rouge d'Armani 606 Giorgio Armani Rouge d'Armani 606

The Rouge d’Armani lipsticks have been on my wish list for ages, but without trying them out in person I was unsure what shade I should go with.  Though I’m typically drawn to bold, in-your-face lipsticks, I wanted to try and find a colour that wasn’t represented in my collection.  After getting some help from a great SA at Saks, I ended up going with #606 because it seemed like the perfect MLBB shade with a little bit of ‘oomph.’ It’s more pink than my natural lip colour, and it contains subtle shimmer which enhances the way it looks on the lips. Note that the shimmer is not really noticeable when worn, and can only be felt very slightly so comfort is not compromised in this gorgeously creamy, semi-opaque lippie (which is san fragrance, hooray!).

Giorgio Armani Rouge d'Armani 606 Giorgio Armani Rouge d'Armani 606 swatch Giorgio Armani Rouge d'Armani 606

As per my usual M.O., I took a look through my stash to see if I had any comparable shades. I was dismayed at first to find that in the bullet, #606 looked close to MAC’s Hug Me, a lipstick I had purchased only a month or so prior, and for the same reason – as a MLBB shade (oops…this is what happens when you buy to much makeup, kiddies!).

IMG_1106

While in swatches, the two shades ARE similar, when worn they couldn’t be more different. The superior formula on the Rouge d’Armani is extremely evident, as not only is it more moisturizing and comfortable on the lip, but the wear time is better (3-4 hours vs less than 1 for the MAC).  I’m tempted to give Hug Me away, but as I just bought it I want to get at least a little use out of it before completely writing it off.  It is less pink, especially on the lip, so I’m sure it will have it’s uses.

Giorgio Armani Rouge d'Armani 606 swatch comparisonLeft to right: Armani Rouge d’Armani #606, MAC Hug Me

Though #606 isn’t an exciting shade, its a great colour to have in one’s arsenal that works in a variety of makeup looks. When spending the big bucks on a makeup item, I try to stick to classics that I know will get a ton of use, rather than go for a fad shade. Though I feel like I have far too many red lipsticks which I don’t wear nearly as much as I’d like, I wouldn’t mind picking up another of these in a red – the creaminess factor combined with the bold quality of the shade had ABSOLUTE PERFECTION written all over it!

Oh yea.  And that satisfying magnetic ‘click’ that you get when you put the top of the lipstick back on???  SEXIEST THING EVER.

Giorgio Armani Rouge d'Armani 606

Have you tried the Rouge d’Armani formula? Are you a sucker for glorious packaging like I am???

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My very own Lipstick Tag!

Yay!!  Danielle of Bloomin’ Beauty tagged me to do a Lipstick Tag, which has been making the rounds in the blogsophere for a while now.  I was desperately jealous of everyone else doing their tags and showcasing their enviable collections, and now I’ve gotten my chance!  Truth be told I was probably just gonna do my own solo post if I didn’t get tagged, but thankfully Danielle saved me from the embarrassment hehe.

Let’s get started, shall we?

1. How many lipsticks do you own?

IMG_1342Top ‘shelf’ is spring shades, bottom ‘shelf’ is fall shades…

A meager 19 lipsticks (in blogger terms)….plus 16 samples. BAH, those samples are the bane of my existence! First off, I hate mini sizes of any makeup, it just annoys me. Second, it makes it seem like I have way more lippies than I do, and so I feel bad about buying anything new.  Ergh.

IMG_1345…this ‘shelf’ is summer shades…

IMG_1349…and current ‘winter’ shades!

IMG_1360Also, shades to use up, STAT.

2. What was your first lipstick?

Absolutely no clue…maybe MAC Freckletone? Though I’m certain I had some sort of drugstore lipstick as my first (ugh maybe one of the super-old-school CoverGirl ones that always turned red on my lips no matter what the colour! ~shudders~)  Anyway, the oldest lipstick in my current collection is MAC Russian Red.  How classic ;)

MAC Russian Red MAC Russian Red

3. What is your favourite lipstick brand?

MAC is what I have the most of, but I think the Buxom Full-Bodied formula is my fave, and those little samples get the most love from me (half because they’re so comfy to wear, the other half because I’m trying to get rid of the damn things so I can buy a full size!).

4. What is your most worn lipstick?

Aside from the aforementioned Buxom samples, MAC Dare You seems to be the most worn.  I’m sort of surprised by this because I don’t feel like I wear it a ton, but I’ve had it a while and it used to be my go-to daytime red (Russian Red used to be for most bold looks…now I just wear it when I feel like it ;)).  Another lipstick that has gone through it’s paces is my Ellis Faas L102 – I wore that a TON last year, though the packaging doesn’t give me any way to know just how much is used.

MAC Dare You MAC Dare You

5. What is your favourite lipstick finish?

A creme finish all the way!  By that I mean, not glossy at all, but just just a touch of moistness.  Lips look luscious and feel great!  I will admit however that I do love a matte when my lips are in shape to pull it off!

6. What was your last lipstick purchase?

When Sephora had their $20 off $50+ late last year, I picked up NARS Velvet Matte Lip Pencil in Dolce Vita, a perfect looks-good-on-everyone shade of reddish-rose.  I wanted to finally try the Velvet Matte pencils, and I also wanted to check out one of the iterations of Dolce Vita from the brand.  It’s a gorgeous colour that gives lips that just bitten look and works in all seasons.  However, my lips are too flaky this winter to wear much of anything more than a balm, which is super-frustrating. I’ll get my chance soon enough I hope! One odd point about this lippie though – does anyone else have a strange issue with the cap where it seems like there’s extra air or something and the top pops off if you don’t push it down very firmly?  So weird…

NARS Dolce Vita NARS Dolce Vita

7. How many lip products are in your bag right now?

One.  Giorgio Armani’s Rouge d’Armani in 606, which I bought in NYC :)  I always rotate out my lip colours each day and bring with me only the shade(s) that are part of my makeup look that day. ANAL MUCH?  Why yes, yes I am ;)

Giorgio Armani Rouge d'Armani 606Giorgio Armani Rouge d'Armani 606

8. What is your favourite red lipstick?

I do love Russian Red, but I think of the handful of reds I own (almost all very similar in tone LOL), I like the way Make Up For Ever’s Aqua Rouge #8 looks the best (and the wear time is unbeatable!).  It’s really the perfect ‘throw on and go with hardly any other makeup on’ kinda colour.

MUFE Aqua Rouge #8 MUFE Aqua Rouge #8

9. How do you store your lipsticks?

Haphazardly until tonight :P  Recently I rearranged my lippies to be seasonally appropriate – so the ‘winter’ shades were in my makeup drawer, and all my other shades were in my train case with the rest of my ‘seasonal’ shadows, blushes, foundations, etc.  But as I’m trying to use up my lip colours  in order to buy new ones (weeeee!) I figured they should all be in one spot.  Behold my new system (for lipsticks, anyway)!

IMG_1352 IMG_1355

10. What lipsticks are your currently lusting after?

I plan on buying Givenchy’s Le Rouge in Carmin Escarpin when the next Sephora sale comes around :)  Other than that, I don’t have any BIG lemmings…a few small ones, but let’s ignore them and hope they go away lol.

Oh dear, now I have to tag people!  Good grief, I’m sure everyone has done it by now!!  How about I just put out the invite to ALL OF THE PEOPLE who would like to share with us their lipstick collections :D :D :D  And if you want, feel free to answer in the comments below too!  In fact, I encourage you in the comments to at least tell me: How many lipsticks do you own?  

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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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