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.
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!
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.
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.
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!
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.
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.
It’s really and truly summer, guys! Yesterday was gorgeously sunny and in the mid-20’s, and for the next week the forecast is showing sun, sun, sun and more of the same. Today will be close to 30 degrees! HOO-FRICKIN-RAY!!!!! I took Monday off so that I have a four-day weekend (because of Canada Day on Tuesday). I can’t wait!
It’s not quite 7:30am here, but when you can see sunlight peeking in through the blinds, you can’t really waste time in bed, now can you? I took photos a couple weeks ago of a red and mint mani/pedi combo that I really loved! It sounds a bit strange, but if you think of the pairing in clothing terms, it’s actually a no-brainer. Often when I choose my pairings I think of what works in fashion – or when all else fails, resort to the colour wheel!
I normally opt for shades that are of equal depth and brightness, but I don’t mind the boldness of the red (which is American Apparel Downtown LA) matched with the more pastel hues of the mint (MAC’s Mischievous Mint). I wore an emerald dress the week I did this combo and everything came together really awesomely. I will definitely wear this combo again!
In other news, I’ve listed my condo for sale! My boyfriend and I are planning to buy a house – his dog Ally is a chocolate lab, and she’s too big to live in the condo according to their rules, so it’s been challenging for him going back and forth between where Ally has been staying and home. We need a space for her, too! It’s a bit nerve-wracking, especially in this buyers-market – it’ll work out well for when we buy, but in terms of selling you just never know what you’re going to get for your place….at this point I’m just hoping we break even and don’t LOSE money. Fingers crossed!
What do you think of this combo? And do you have any words of wisdom about selling/buying a home?
As many of you are aware, I overhauled my skincare routine about a year ago to focus on more organic, or ‘green’ products. I’ve had a good deal of success making the switch, which probably has more to do with using products that do not use synthetic fragrance, and seeking out items with fewer ingredients overall (less chance for irritation of my eczema-prone skin), than them necessarily being ‘clean,’ as I’ve seen non-organic etc. products work wonders for others as well. However, I do feel good about what I put on my skin now, regardless of their efficacy, and that ease of mind goes a long way for someone who constantly worries when she tries a new product. That tendency to err on the side of caution hasn’t left me yet, but as I try more and more ‘green’ products without experiencing any reactions, I become more and more confident that this was the right path for me.
Recently I was given the opportunity to try out Refresh Botanicals skincare, a natural and organic line from Canadian company Taiga BioActives Inc., which I was immensely excited about. However, as usual I still added the products to my routine slowly to ensure the least chance of irritation. Almost from the start, I could tell that this step wouldn’t likely be necessary – I can say with full confidence that every single item I’ve used has been exceedingly gentle yet effective, and quite simply has been a dream to use!
The line centres their products around a proprietary blend of cucumber extract (high in antioxidants and vitamin C) and cornflower water, both highly soothing and calming to the skin. The products do not contain Parabens, Gluten, Petroleum By-Products, Animal By-Products, Artificial Oils, Artificial Oils or Artificial Fragrances. Essentially, sensitive skin types like mine are pretty much set!
I was sent 5 of the 7 products from the line: a Foaming Facial Cleanser, a Facial Toner, a Daily Facial Moisturizer, a Night Restore Complex, and a BB Cream. These products couldn’t have been more perfect for me, as they fit themselves into my current regime perfectly.
In the morning, I cleanse with the Foaming Facial Cleanser ($18.99CAD), which has a texture very similar to Cetaphil or CeraVe if you’ve tried it – sort of a thin jelly. One pump massaged on slightly damp skin gently foams and thoroughly cleanses though I never feel stripped of oils or tight afterward. I wondered if this would be enough once the weather got warmer, but due to the inclusion of coconut oil it sufficiently cleanses to remove any extra oiliness and prepare my skin for the day. I haven’t tried to use to this remove makeup, but they have a separate Eye + Face Makeup Remover in the line, which I expect is to be used first before using this – I don’t think its sufficient enough to remove makeup on it’s own.
After washing, I apply a few pumps of the soothing Facial Toner ($18.99CAD) on a cotton pad (it’s got one of those great systems where you just place the cotton pad on top of the pump and push down to get product), and swipe it all over. It’s a bit of a strange formula in that it foams slightly, but it doesn’t leave my skin irritated and it’s exceptionally gentle – I think it’s more of a pH balancing and hydrating step, with light exfoliation, rather than an astringent to rid your skin of oils. It takes a bit of getting used to if you usually use toners with alcohol, which make the skin feel squeaky clean, but I find that my skin gets less oily when I use more gentle products, this being no exception. Like the other products in the line, it smells like cucumbers, though this one has a slightly earthy yet flowery scent which I don’t love but am not offended by, either.
Depending on the day and what my skin needs, I alternate between a facial oil and the Daily Facial Moisturizer ($18.99CAD) after toning. The antioxidant-rich moisturizer is the perfect consistency for all skin types – it’s not too thin, so drier skin types won’t feel parched, but it’s not too thick and absorbs quickly, so oilier types like mine are pleased as well. It’s a basic, soothing moisturizer with not a lot of bells and whistles, but I prefer to get my ‘treatment’ in the form of a serum or oil, anyway. The only caveat I have with this product is that it feels a touch sticky once applied – this goes away after about a minute or two, but it does feel a bit strange. Another point of interest that may or may not be of concern is that one pump is far more than you need for your whole face – a half a pump is plenty, but if you tend to put moisturizer on your face, neck, and décolletage, then you’re good to go for the full pump.
Unfortunately, the BB Cream ($23.99CAD) has not made it into my daily rotation as the shade is quite light on me. From the feel of it, I think it has a texture similar to a physical sunscreen – so it’s a bit thicker, but not too difficult to spread, and would probably offer some light coverage. It’s designed like your typical BB cream to even skin tone and blur imperfections, as well as hydrate the skin. This formula also helps combat excessive sebum production and improve skin texture, and like the other products in the line is soothing to skin and offers antioxidant protection.
In the evenings, after I’ve oil-cleansed I might use the Foaming Facial Cleanser as a second cleanse if I need it, then apply a treatment toner and oil. Once the oil has absorbed, I apply the Night Restore Complex ($23.99CAD) on top to add a little extra hydration and boost my treatments – in contains antioxidants and natural exfoliants which help lighten the appearance of dark spots and help brighten the skin, which is what my treatment facial oil does as well, so I’m getting a double-whammy of goodness :) I find this extra layer does not clog my pores but in fact makes my skin feel that much more soft and supple by morning. I do avoid applying much of the Complex to my forehead, as I end up being a little greasy in that area in the morning otherwise.
I am really and truly beyond pleased with my experience with Refresh Botanicals – every single product is easy to use, non-irritating, and gently effective. For someone with sensitive but generally easy skin to deal with, it’s the perfect choice, whether or not you like ‘green’ skincare or not. It even passes the packaging test for me (I am SUPER snobby when it comes to packaging, I’ll readily admit it), as it’s clean-looking, functional and hygienic (everything is in a pump). On top of all that, it’s AFFORDABLE – something I do struggle with in the organic world, as everything is quite pricey. You can actually buy the whole shot for $147.93CAD (which includes the Eye + Face Makeup Remover, as well as an Intensive Serum)! Even more exciting for me, is that the line is actually available in Nova Scotia – unheard of! They’ve recently introduced it in the Pharmasave/Pharmachoice stores across the province (which is where you’ll find them in the other provinces except Quebec and New Brunswick as well), and I’m pretty stoked. You can also buy them online, though I’m unsure whether they ship outside of Canada (I suspect they do).
Affordable, available, effective ‘green’ skincare? I am SO totally getting my friends on board :D
Would you try a ‘green’ skincare brand if it were affordable and effective, or do you prefer traditional skincare products? Have you seen Refresh Botanicals in pharmacies yet?
*Products were provided by the PR company/brand for my unbiased consideration.
For a beauty fiend, I’m actually relatively low maintenance. I shave when I think of it, I don’t always do my hair, and I can’t be bothered to do the little extra things that make you look that much more polished – like contouring or wearing primer. I reserve most of these activities (except the hair bit – I DO style it most days!) for special occasions so I look that much nicer when the time comes, which means that though I don’t use these items daily, I do still need to have them in my arsenal. One such item that’s been recently added to the mix is Make Up For Ever’s HD Microperfecting Primer in 6 Yellow ($39CAD for 1oz).
I’ve previously reviewed the original HD primer by MUFE in the neutral, universal shade – but it also comes in 6 other tones, each designed to correct a particular issue, such as redness, sallow-looking skin and dullness. I had a hard time choosing one from the options available, as I don’t feel that I have any of these concerns personally. In the end however, I chose 6 Yellow, which is designed to “lighten dark complexions“. I think I went with this one because I had just come back from Florida, and was super-dark. Let’s chat about it, shall we?
First of all, I really like the texture of this primer compared to other primers, and even compared to the original – it’s more like a smooth, medium-density lotion that spreads easily over the whole face (you only need a dime-size amount). It doesn’t feel silicone-heavy nor is it as runny as the original. It feels very lightweight and non-greasy. It claims to deeply nourish, moisturize, and soften the skin, enhancing the skin texture and preparing it for makeup application. Having skin the leans on the oilier side, especially as the months get warmer, I can’t really speak to how moisturizing this is – but it certainly isn’t drying; I found it didn’t keep the oilies at bay quite as well as I would have liked. For a drier skin however, I think the formulation of this would be quite nice and keep the skin plump and comfortable.
Another aspect of the primer that I didn’t really pick up on was the ‘lightening’ effect on my darker skin tone. I think that likely has a lot to do with the fact that I’m just not dark enough (lol) – I think this is really designed for a deep cocoa complexion to give some light to the face, which clearly isn’t me. However, I do think this would be effective on a darker skin tone, as you can see from the photo below that it does show up on my skin – it’s jut that once I blend it in, it’s unnoticeable (sort of like sunscreen). A darker skin tone would likely show the benefits much more.
Despite some of the qualities mentioned above, I will say that this primer does a nice job of enhancing the skin’s texture and giving it a soft finish. My skin looks smooth and airbrushed after application, and my pores are less noticeable, as you can see in the photos below:
While this primer doesn’t tick all the boxes for me, I actually enjoy wearing it when it’s a bit cooler outside, or for evening – the texture is really lovely, and it feels like nothing on. I think in the winter I’ll get a good deal of use out of it, as it does prolong the wear of my makeup, and it may help to hydrate my skin and protect it from the blustery, cold weather. I kind of wish it has a sunscreen in it, so I could kill two birds with one stone (I really hate having to wear layers of product)!
Ingredients for reference:
Aqua (Water), Dimethicone, Trisiloxane, PEG-12 Dimethicone, Dimethicone/Vinyl Dimethicone Crosspolymer, Methylpropanediol, Butylene Glycol, Pentylene Glycol, Hydroxyethyl Acrylate/Sodium Acryloyldimethyl Taurate Copolymer, Squalane, Glyceryl Caprylate, Lauryl PEG/PPG-18/18 Methicone, Phenoxyethanol, Ceteth-10, Laureth-4, Ethylglycerin, Panthenol, Potassium Sorbate, Polysorbate 60, Parfum (Fragrance), Argania Spinosa Extract (Argania Spinosa Kernel Extract), C12-14 Pareth-12, Hydrolyzed Algin, Dodecene, Sorbitan Isostearate, Isostearyl Alcohol, Laminaria Digitata Extract, Polyaminopropyl Biguanide, Tromethamine, Biosaccharide Gum-1, Sodium Cocoyl Glutamate, Sodium Hyaluronate, Carbomer, Hexyl Cinnamal, Benzyl Salicylate, Limonene, Butylphenyl Methylpropional, Linalool. [CI 19140 (Yellow 5 Lake), CI 75470 (Carmine), CI 77007 (Ultramarines), CI 77288 (Chromium Oxide Greens), CI 77289 (Chromium Hydroxide Green), CI 77491 (Iron Oxides), CI 77492 (Iron Oxides), CI 77499 (Iron Oxides), CI 77742 (Manganese Violet), CI 77891 (Titanium Dioxide)].
Do you wear primers? Which one is your favourite?
*Products were sent by the PR company/brand for my unbiased consideration.
…I know it’s not officially summer yet, but the weather we’ve had the past couple days sure feel like it’s arrived! Of course, we’re supposed to have rain tomorrow ~sigh~ but then it’s gonna be another beauty of a day Wednesday (followed by MORE rain!) so…yea. We take the sunny days when we can get ‘em!
Anyway, yesterday I spend a leisurely, glorious day outside doing a bunch of polish swatches, finishing off with a full pedicure in butter London’s Poole, and full mani in my new Chanel :) I think this is one of the best pairings I’ve done this season – I’ve been doing mani/pedi’s for about a month now, ever since Florida, but I wasn’t totally satisfied with the combinations, hence why you haven’t seen any photos yet. This one is a good’un, though! It’s very feminine and delicate and has a super-chill vibe to it. I think the aqua looks particularly good against my camel & gold thong sandals!
Sp pretty :) The other upside to wearing somewhat softer shades rather than bold brights is that they go with more of your wardrobe choices – I often find I have to choose my outfits based on my polish (or my makeup…I’m serious lol), and it can be a bit limiting. You can TELL I’m not a fashionista, eh? ALL ABOUT THE BEAUTY, baby!
What do you think of this polish combo? What colour combo for mani & pedi’s do you wear most often?
On Friday I swung by our local Chanel counter to see if they’d gotten the summer collection yet. For once, my timing was perfect, as they had *just* gotten the line in the day previous. Despite the beautiful-looking collection, the only thing I was really interested in was the nail polish Sweet Lilac – I’ve vowed never to buy another Illusion d’Ombre (I find they get compressed after using them a few times and then it’s a pain to get any shadow out) and the other polishes were really pretty but also pretty dupable, IMO. And all those juicy sweet but ultimately clear glosses! Bah. No thanks!
Though items sell quickly at our little Chanel counter, they had a bottle of Sweet Lilac left in stock, though it was a narrow window of chance – while trying it out in store, another woman exclaimed how great it looked on me, and proceed to buy a bottle of her own before I had purchased mine. When the SA said ‘that’s the last bottle’ I thought she meant MINE (yes, even though I hadn’t shelled out the cash for it yet, it was MINE) and I literally said ‘Uh, NO.’ LOL Then she clarified to say that the other client was getting the last bottle, AFTER mine had already been pulled. YA DAMN SKIPPY. There would have been a throw-down folks. It woulda been EPIC.
While I kind of would have loved to start a huge cat fight over a bottle of polish (don’t you just wonder if you’d be able to kick ass or not?), either way I’m happy there was enough to go around, because this is a pretty polish. While it’s not outrageously unique, the soft pink shade with a hint of purple is not replicated in my stash, and it’s got that ‘radiant orchid’ tone to it that works really well on my skin. The formula is pretty stellar – two coats to easy perfection, no hard work required. I added a top coat to maximize shine and amp up the almost jelly-like quality, though like many Chanel polishes it is fairly reflective on it’s own.
I did some comparison swatches because that’s the first thing I do before and after I make a purchase these days. Before I had seen Sweet Lilac in person, I wondered if it was close to Zoya’s Marley – the only other lavender-type shade I own. It was a needless concern, as it’s the least like that polish out of the 3 other shades I compared it to.
You can see that it’s in the same vein as my beloved Essie Splash of Grenadine, but lighter; it’s also along the lines of RBL’s Poco a Poco, though you’d never guess from the bottle. Once I swatched them on the nail however, the similarities were much more apparent, and in some lights they look incredibly close. But the golden shimmer of Poco a Poco gives it a much warmer tone overall.
My collection of Chanel polishes has now reached 7 bottles, mostly permanent items with a couple of LE ones thrown in there for good measure. Sweet Lilac is a great addition to my little stash :0) I refuse to buy shades unless I love them, so it’s been a slow-growing process, which I’m entirely OK with. Many of the LE shades don’t wow me, and I have a few of the permanent ones on my radar for pick-up when I’m feeling ‘spendy.’ I think I need to throw a red in there soon, I don’t have a Chanel red and that seems sort of wrong somehow, no?
Did you pick up Sweet Lilac? How many Chanel polishes do you have? Do you have a recommendation for a good Chanel red?
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.
…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.
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!
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!
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???
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.
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).
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!
Do you own a lot of eyeshadows? Do you wear them regularly?