Archive for category Spring 2012

Spring Look: Pretty Pastels from MAKE UP FOR EVER

I know that in the beauty and fashion world, we’ve come to a point where shades and styles are almost season-less: we wear red lips in Summer, shorts in Winter, and bronzed skin year-round.  But I still associate certain color palettes with particular seasons, and pastels and Spring just ‘go’ together for me.

Though for most of my beauty-loving life I’ve favored rich, deep, jewel-toned shades in makeup and nails, lately I’ve been loving pops of bright color.  Every shade I’m drawn to these days are some happy forms of orange, or pink, or blue, and my stash, previously devoid of these brights, is slowly showing some change.  My starting point for make up came from MAKE UP FOR EVER with three perfectly pastel shades: Chartreuse (#57), Light Blue (#118), and Pearly Orange (#25) ($23CAD ea.).

Pearly Orange is described as an ‘apricot orange sheen’ and I think this is pretty accurate.  You can wear this shade on either eyes or cheeks – I find on eyes the shimmer is less noticeable than on cheeks.  It provides a more sheer veil of color and is a great way to wear this year’s color of the year (Tangerine Tango) in a soft, subtle way.

Chartreuse, another sheen, is not as yellow as some shades with the same name – it’s more wearable than those versions and gives a soft veil of color to the lids.  I think this color would look particularly lovely on someone with blue eyes!  The sheen in this shade is quite subtle.

Light Blue is described as ‘vibrant’ and that is the case with this sky blue shade.  Though it doesn’t specify online, I think this shade is a matte – there is no discernible shimmer to my eye that I can see.

MAKE UP FOR EVER eyeshadows/blushes are pigment-rich and wear ages even without a primer.  I did find that the two ‘sheen’ shades had less density and I had to build the color up a bit.  On a more fair skintone, this probably won’t be much of an issue.  A tip Dany (MUFE creator) suggests for darker skin is to first apply a light-colored base shade so that the following shade shows up better and allows for more dimension.  I haven’t tried this trick yet but I see it being quite effective.

Top to Bottom: #118 Light Blue, #57 Chartreuse, #25 Pearly Orange (sunlight)

Top to Bottom: #118 Light Blue, #57 Chartreuse, #25 Pearly Orange (with flash)

I found that the more sheer nature of these shades actually suited quite well, as pastels worn as a wash of color look perfectly pretty and romantic.  I’ve tried each of these colors and all wore all day without primer and with only slight fading.  I tried #25 Pearly Orange today as a blush and it was a little bit shimmery for my taste, but in the evening I think it would be lovely.

Another great way to wear these shades is a technique suggested by MAKE UP FOR EVER:

1) Apply a nude shadow from lash line to crease
2) Sweep a pastel eye color from inner corner of eyelid to the outer corner of the eye , extending just above the crease while keeping outer corner open
3) To add an extra pop of color, try also applying shadow to lower lash line
4) Add mascara!

I have yet to try out this technique, but will do so this week and post pictures!  I think it will look really fun :)

What do you think about pastel shades?  Have you tried them before?  How do you wear them?

*Products in this post were provided by the PR / brand for my unbiased consideration*

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A Nail Polish Fitting For It’s HP Namesake: Zoya Cho

*Of course, I do not KNOW if this polish was named after Cho Chang from Harry Potter…it’s just that she’s the only Cho I know, and it seems to suit her personality (more on that below).

So, a lot of the Spring collections didn’t really grab me that much in the end; as we drawer nearer to the release of the Summer collections, I realize just how few shades in the current season piqued my interest.  I considered a few from Essie’s Navigate Her collection – A Crewed Interest, Ole Caliente – but decided to pass in the end.  The shades in the OPI Holland collection were quite pretty, but none seemed well suited for my skintone – I only picked out two of the twelve.  I’ve been hemming and hawing over butter London’s Bossy Boots, but feel that I waited SO long that now the time has passed.  However, one shade that I was certain I wanted from the beginning was Zoya’s Cho from the True collection – a French Vanilla cream with the barest hint of shimmer. I don’t own many true neutral shades, as I tend to favor color over subtlety, but every so often I get the urge to wear something demure, and I decided that I should broaden my choices.  Cho is a lovely, warm-toned shade that I just knew would look flattering on my skintone, so I ordered it sight-unseen from Nail Polish Canada, for $8.75CAD (which is about $2 cheaper than it is here in town).

Above photos in artificial light

The first thing I noticed upon applying Cho was that it was just like many other pale, creamy shades – tricky to apply.  Shades like this are notorious for applying streaky (what’s the reason for that BTW? Anyone??), and this was no exception.  It wasn’t a terrible hassle, but it required three coats to reach full opacity with no patchiness or see-through spots.  The formula was of medium thickness and flowed easily enough, but just didn’t want to easily cooperate.  I think these are times when Zoya’s smaller brush works against it, as it would have been quick and easy with a wider brush with only a few strokes required (which would likely have minimized the streaking).

With flash

In any case, I got it on, and waited for the magic.  Essie’s Jazz, a cool-toned neutral that almost leans grey, makes my hands look stunning and elegant and quite frankly, awesome for being essentially a non-color.  Cho, on the other hand, was flattering but kind of…boring (and this is where the Harry Potter reference applies – Cho Chang was super lame!!  Crying all the time?  Helping rat out the D.A.?  UNCOOL, Cho, Uncool).  So uh, yea.  That’s essentially how I felt about this polish.  More effort than it was worth to end up not stunning me in the least.  Like Cho Chang, I didn’t HATE it, because that would imply I felt strongly about it, and that I did NOT.  It was just there – nice enough, but with no pizzazz for me to feel like it will ever be chosen over any of my other polishes.

Just for a quick reference, here are all three of my neutral polishes together (yes, only three…c’mon, my whole stash hasn’t even hit 100 yet! Gimme a break!):

Left to Right: Zoya Cho, Essie Jazz, OPI San-Tantonio

Left to Right: Essie Jazz, Zoya Cho, OPI San-Tantonio

The good thing is that they are vastly different from one another, so that might give Cho an extra boost in the repeat wear category, since she doesn’t have any competitors.  Ah well…I rarely wear a nude polish anyway, so no big issue.  And after wearing that for a few days – I’m ready for some color again!!!!

What do you think of Cho?  Lame like the HP character?  Or are you totally digging it??

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Sephora + Pantone Universe Giveaway – Exciting News!

Today I got up bright and early (ok well…I WAS up at 7am but forced myself to stay in bed until I fell back asleep until after 11) and kicked it over to Sephora to snag soon-to-be-someone’s very excellent prize giveaway – the Sephora + Pantone Universe  Color of the Year Collector’s Edition!  I was told last week it was coming out today, and I wanted to be sure that I got it (wouldn’t THAT be embarrassing), so I was at the store shortly after it opened.  Turns out, it won’t be put out on display until later this week, but because I have *connections* (aka I’m that crazy shoppers who hounds all the SA’s around town everywhere LOL), I managed to snag it before anyone else will even get to lay their eyes on it :D  PLUS, apparently I’m the very first person to buy it in-store this side of Montreal (THAT my friends, is determination!), and possibly one of the first in Canada overall – I think that is hilarious and totally fitting considering my slight obsession with all things beauty.  PERFECT :)  So, that means that the lucky winner of this awesome kit – and let me tell you…I’m having a hard time knowing I’m going to part with it, it is SO NICE! – will be one of the first around to have it!  I was so excited, I couldn’t wait to get home to share this awesome news with you!  Let’s take a look at it in all it’s glory, shall we?

The case it comes in is really special, I didn’t expect it to be so sturdy or look so classy!  It’s a large, thin, solid box with a magnetic part which keeps it closed, and when you flip it open the underside of the top has a beautiful Pantone-inspired design that’s really striking.  Inside the case is displayed your full-sized eyeliner, eyeshadow quad, prisma chrome blush, blush duo, lipstick and lipgloss all in shades of the gorgeous Tangerine Tango Pantone shade.  Everything looks so wearable and warm and inviting – the perfect shade for Spring and Summer!

I’m terribly excited to give this away, I can’t wait!  I’m going to put the request out there now – whoever is the lucky winner, I do hope you might do a guest post on your win and perhaps talk a bit about what you like, with maybe even a few photos and face of the day shots if you’re comfortable?  For those who have entered – just think about it, k?  :)  Since I’m not going to get to play with this, I need to live vicariously through you!

If you haven’t yet entered the draw, I urge you to do so – this is really a lovely kit!  Remember, to enter you need to be a follower of the blog (via email, Twitter, or Facebook) and send me an email with the subject line “Giveaway” with your follower info so I can count your entry.  The giveaway ends on Monday at 11:59pm, so  I will announce the winner sometime on Tuesday.  So exciting!!

 

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Spring 2012 Limited Edition Purchase #3: MAC Tendertone in Purring

When I look back, it’s amazing to me how much I didn’t know in the beauty world before reading, and consequently writing, blogs.  I had never heard much of anything about MAC’s Tendertones, until I saw the flurry of people excited to see that they would be making a comeback with this season’s “Shop MAC, Cook MAC” collection.  Interested to see what all the fuss was about, and also being a big fan of lip balms in general, I decided to pick one up for myself and join the status quo.  This is my third and final LE purchase of the season, and I’m not so sure I made a good decision there, but…well, I’ll let you read on to see how I feel about it (haha – hooked ya!).First of all, one of the selling points about the Tendertones seem to be about their scent.  To be honest, I’m not a huge fan of it – it’s quite saccharine and reminds me of some lip product I wore when I was in Junior High.  It smells like fruit juice – or maybe those sippies we used to drink as kids!  Maybe that’s what I remember…. ANYWAY, it’s not unpleasant, or a deterrent really, but just isn’t ~selling~ me on the product being more out of this world than any other lip balm.  I far prefer the more adult lemon-sugar scent of the Fresh balms.The texture of the balm is one with quite a bit of slip – it’s not sticky, and glides on the lips very easily – almost too easily for my liking.  I wore this for a day straight and I probably had to reapply every half hour or so, no joke!  I don’t actually mind reapplying product to my lips (because in this twisted mind of mine, it means I’m using it up, which means of course – something new!), but I found the necessity of doing so in this case a bit ridiculous.  It’s not that my lips felt dry exactly – I just felt like I had to continuously reapply more balm for my lips to feel comfortable.  I dunno.  Weird.Lastly, the color.  In the swatches above, I was piling it on quite thick.  In truth, all four Tendertone options were quite sheer; aside from Purring, a juicy tangerine, there was a bronze-golden shade (Hush-Hush), a shimmering lemon-lime (Tread Gently), and Hot ‘n’ Saucy (cherry), and looked like next to nothing swatched and worn (with a bit more color for the red) – however, I still had hope.  I picked Purring as it seemed more appropriate for the season, and I thought perhaps it would show up more than it seemed under the bright lights of the MAC store.  Err…yeah.  See for yourself:Let me tell you now that THAT is essentially what my lips look like au natural.  There is the slightest hint of orange there, but for all intents and purposes, it’s a clear balm.  All things considered, if the other components (the smell and the wear/hydration) were up to snuff, the non-existence of color wouldn’t be a deal at all.  However, the balm overall is quite disappointing in all aspects.  The only bonus is that it contains SPF – but if I have to reapply constantly, I’m concerned that the SPF is going ~poof~ in an instant too, so that may not be a selling point either.

Clearly you can tell that my final LE purchase of the season was a dud.  I considered returning it, but honestly couldn’t be bothered – and I’ll still use it here and there, as it IS a balm and I can always use more of those.  I meant to post this earlier to potentially ward others off wasting their money, but I was just so put off by the product I couldn’t find the ~oomph~ to do it until now (sorry :(). Probably my favorite thing about this was the cute box.  That’s really sad, isn’t it?

Have you tried any of the MAC Tendertones, past or present?  What are your thoughts?  Am I just being too hard to please?

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Make Up For Ever Spring 2012 Pantone Color Report: Rouge Artist Intense Lipstick in #15 (Review)

The last product I have to show you which was on the list from Make Up For Ever Spring 2012 Pantone Color Report, is one of their shades from the Rouge Artist Intense ($22CAD) lipstick line.  The color in question is #15 – a pearly violet that has flashes of subtle blue sparkle.  I had a similar shade once about 10 years ago, from Rimmel (long since tossed now!). The Rouge Artist Intense lipsticks are formulated with 50% more pigment than your average lipstick, and claim to give an immediate, true-to-color result.  Their formulated without parabens, and contain a blend of 3 different waxes to glide on easily and which are supposed to help it last throughout the day.I found in applying this lipstick, that I had trouble getting the pigment to be evenly distributed – even in the photos below, you can see that it’s patchy in places.  I’m wondering if because I put on a lip balm first, it made for a bad combination between the balm’s waxiness and the lipstick waxes?  In any case, despite the difficulty I had putting it on, I actually liked the shade more than I expected to – it’s definitely in your face, but with a very minimalist look elsewhere, it could be quite striking for a night on the town!I’m thinking you also could mix this with other shades in your collection to help it be more wearable as well.  I’m definitely going to have to play around with it to see what kind of looks I can come up with!  As an infrequent lipstick wearer, it’s a bit intimidating, but nothing I can’t handle with a little work :)

Check out the previous posts from Make Up For Ever’s Spring 2012 Pantone Color Report:
Make Up For Ever Aqua Cream #10
Make Up For Ever Eyeshadow #2

So now the big question – did anything catch your eye of the three Pantone-based shades I’ve shown you?  How would you wear them?  Which colors overall do you tend to wear during Spring? 

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

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Make Up For Ever Spring 2012 Pantone Color Report: Eyeshadow #2 (Review)

When I was in High School, I desperately wanted my prom dress to be yellow.  I think it’s such a happy, fun color and I’d be OK to be surrounded by it at all times.  However, when it comes to makeup, yellow and I are on strange terms.  I do not like it on nails (except very pale versions) as it looks sick to me.  And as an eyeshadow, I have yet to master how to wear it without it totally washing me out.  It’s sort of counter-intuitive to me, because with my golden coloring, I expect this shade to totally rock my beauty world.  Alas, ’till this point it has not.  But there is a silver lining!  After playing around with Make Up For Ever’s Eyeshadow in #2, I think I might be able to make peace with yellow :D

The second shade I was sent that follows the Pantone Spring color forecast, #2 is a matte, brilliant yellow – matching the shade Solar Power, according to the report.  First of all, I have to say that I’m really digging the packaging of the MUFE eyeshadows ($22CAD) – this is my first, and it looks very cool.  MUFE shadows are very pigmented, which is supposed to help them wear well.  The matte shades (like this one) are stated to have maximum coverage.  My inital thoughts upon swatching the shade were tentative – while it is fairly pigmented, it also looked a bit powdery, and I wondered how that would translate to eyes.

Artificial lightNatural light

I applied #2 to my eyelids, and my first reaction was ‘yuk!’  It just seemed to clash with my skintone somehow.  However, as soon as I added some mascara (this is a MUST with a shade like this), it looked infinitely better.  I think if I played around with it a bit and added some other makeup, including liner and bronze shadows, it would be a knockout look.

No flashWith flash

I do own one other yellow shadow, MAC Bright Future (from the Style Warrior collection), which I received in a swap late last year.  It didn’t feel like a proper shade to wear in Winter, so I haven’t really tried it yet.  In comparing the two, they’re similar, but MAC’s has got a touch of sheen to it, and is less pigmented, with a creamier formula (below: Bright Future on top, Eyeshadow #2 on bottom).

Artificial lightNatural light

Even though I have trouble with yellow as a color in cosmetics, I can remember looking at this picture in YM magazine (OMG do you remember that mag?  It was my absolute FAVE), in which the model was wearing yellow on her lids and looked totally divine.  That’s never really gotten out of my head over the (many) years, and with this shade, I think I’m going to finally try and work the sunshine angle once and for all.  Do you have any suggestions on how I should wear it best?

Last installment: Make Up For Ever Rouge Artist Intense Lipstick in #15!

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

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Make Up For Ever Spring 2012 Pantone Color Report: Aqua Cream #10 (Review)

Early last week, I received a Color Flash update from Make Up For Ever, which describes Spring’s color palette as a blend of pretty pastels, bold brights, and naturals.  MUFE listed the shades that capture this season’s color trends along with suggestions for corresponding shades of products already within their existing line.  There are so many beautiful hues!!  I plan on trying to incorporate a lot of them into my Spring looks, as many shades are likely ones I already have in my collection.  Making it even easier for me, MUFE sent me three products that were noted on the list to try out.  These are not colors for the faint-hearted, let me tell you!  They are bold, notice-me shades: Tangerine Tango (Aqua Cream #10 – an electric orange with golden sheen); Solar Power (Eye Shadow #2 – a matte highlighter yellow); and Bellflower (Rouge Artist Intense #15 – an vibrant violet with a touch of blue pearl). Due to my excitement, I got a bit picture-happy with these products, so I’m splitting my reviews into separate posts.  First, we have Aqua Cream #10.  Aqua Creams ($25CAD) are pigmented, long-lasting waterproof cream products that can be used on cheeks, and either lips or eyes (not both).  I own two other Aqua Creams (#2 Steel, and #13 Warm Beige), both of which are formulated for eyes and cheeks.  #10 is not for use on the eyes, I guess because of how bright it is (very color saturated and would probably irritate eyes) – but it’s a shame because it looks like it would make for an amazing eye look!  It’s a gorgeous reddened orange with a flash of gold sparkle that just mesmerizes me.

Artificial lightNatural light

Aqua Creams are designed to be smudge- and crease-resistant, and I find this to be true.  You need to work fairly quickly to blend them out, but I don’t find it to be a huge issue when using them on my eyes.  However, I tried #10 on both my cheek and lips, and in these areas I noticed the blending problem more.  I don’t really find that you can layer these as it starts to look a bit cakey, and on my lips I had to be precise and do my upper and lower lip one at a time to get even disbursement.  Be sure to prep your lips beforehand (exfoliate; use lip balm) as it can accentuate any flaking and is fairly dry on the lips.  If I were to wear this as part of a look, I’d probably throw a dab of clear gloss on top to make it look more juicy.On cheeks, because the cream is so dense, it was hard to blend properly – I highly recommend using a stippling brush and a very light hand, which helps.  I ended up with too much color that I couldn’t diffuse, which isn’t as noticeable under artificial light, but is embarrassingly apparent in natural light.  However, this is one of those products I’m determined to make work, as it truly is gorgeous, so in the future I think I’ll quick apply a very sheer layer on bare skin, and then layer my foundation on top of it so it comes through and looks more natural.

Artificial lightNatural light

If you’re looking to use this primarily as a blush, another option if you can’t make it work for you is NARS’ Taj Mahal – it’s in the same vein as Aqua Cream #10, and also easy to overdo, but easier to apply.  It’s got more red in it than #10 however – and of course you can’t use it on lips, so it wouldn’t be as dual purpose.  Just a suggestion!  Below, Taj Mahal on top; #10 on bottom.

Artificial lightNatural light

Though it’s not the easiest shade to wear or work with, Aqua Cream #10 is a stunner and I’m going to be using the heck out of this during my Jamaican vacation!  With a little patience I think this could be a lovely color to incorporate into your arsenal, and as tangerine is THE color of the season, with it’s dual-purpose it’s definitely got your covered!

Next up: Make Up For Ever Eyeshadow #2!

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

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