Posts Tagged beauty

I’m dreaming of… {Fall Edition}

I have been exceedingly good this season, and have picked up next to nothing from the Fall 2014 collections – only recently caving to the allure of Zoya’s Ignite collection and ordering both Remy (metallic indigo with gold and copper shimmer) and India (deep red with gold metallic shimmer) polishes. However, that doesn’t mean that my wish list still isn’t a mile long, or that I don’t pine away for products every minute of every day. Right now, my ‘Loves’ list on Sephora is like, 4 pages and growing daily…oops! I have been holding out for the usual 15% off sale they have right around the beginning of fall, and the products show above are on the ‘serious contenders’ list for purchase:

Sephora Wish List - Fall 2014

1) Urban Decay Revolution lipsticks ($26CAD)
2) Make Up For Ever Artist Shadows in I746 Watermelon, and I220 Sapphire ($24CAD)
3) Ardency Inn Modster Manuka Honey Enriched Pigment in Rose Gold ($24CAD)
4) Becca Beach Tint Souffle in Watermelon/Moonstone ($33CAD)
5) Medium Z Palette ($35CAD)
6) Givenchy Le Rouge lipsticks ($38CAD)
7) Laura Mercier Secret Brightening Powder ($29CAD)
8) Formula X by Sephora The System ($40CAD)

I feel that this list is half frivolous, half reasonable. The lipsticks, shadows and blush I don’t *need* of course, but I’ve been dying to try both lipstick formulas so it’s probably time I do that; the shadows and blush, well ~shrugs~  I’m human, after all! I desperately need a Z palette to put all of my newly depotted shadows in, and I want to try the LM powder under my eyes to set my concealer – I’m hoping it’ll also give a nice brightening boost, as sometimes regular powder looks too flat and does nothing to improve the darkness. Finally, I’m running low on most of my base coats, and I’ve been curious about the Formula X ‘System’ so this might kill two birds with one stone.

What’s on your wish list this fall??

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Beauty Envy Bag – End of Summer Giveaway!

We’ve dished about our favorite products that help shift our summer beauty routines into fall, and now it’s time for one of you to win a bag filled with these essentials. If you haven’t yet gotten to know all of the ladies behind the Beauty Envy Bag, here’s a quick intro:

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Lakeisha is a nail polish blogger living in Georgia. She is obsessed with polish, fashion, and merging the two together. She is the blogger behind Refined and Polished.

beauty-obsessed

Latoya is a beauty blogger from the East Coast of Canada. While she loves all things girly, she’s also a closet gamer and is a die-hard Walking Dead fan. She is the blogger behind Beauty Obsessed.

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 Leticia is a beauty blogger from the Pacific Northwest. She is a dog lover, sci fi nerd, handbag collector, and makeup junkie. She is the blogger behind Cosmetics Aficionado.

burbbeauty nail blog swatch review Ozotic Pro 505

Lola is a Midwest blogger with a passion for polish, science, and music. She is the blogger behind Burb Beauty.

Check out the reviews for the featured products in this season’s Beauty Envy Bag:

Here is what you need to know to enter in the Rafflecopter widget below:

  • Must leave a blog comment (just one blog, doesn’t have to be all four) letting us know your favorite way to shift your summer beauty routine into fall.
  • Additional entries for following each blog on social media networks (Facebook, Twitter, Instagram)
  • Open internationally
  • Must be 18 or older
  • Giveaway closes on Sunday  September, 21 at 12:00 AM EST

Good luck, everyone!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

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Empties abound!

It is just me or do I seem to be plowing through a lot of products lately?? Either that or I’m just super delinquent at posting about empties in a timely fashion O_o

This instalment is kinda a big deal for me because I have a whole whack of makeup at the end of the post – hooray!  Let’s get to it.

Skincare

Hurraw! Green Tea Lip Balm – awesome stuff. Keeps lips in tip top condition and feels awesome to boot – not too slippery but not too thick either. For less than $5 a pop, I’m all in!

Consonant Ultra Firming Organic Eye Cream – I opened this a couple years ago, used it for a while, then acquired a couple new eye creams and promptly forgot about this. It’s quite thin so if you prefer that in an eye cream, you might like this. Personally it was too thin for my taste – but otherwise it was fine. Nothing to write home about though.

Pai Geranium & Thistle Combination Skin Cream – Love this moisturizer! If I didn’t have a couple of oils on the go, I’d probably buy this again – it’s perfect for oilier skin or warmer weather when skin doesn’t need a heavy or greasy moisturizer. It absorbs quickly and feels light as air – and keeps sebum more balanced than just a regular moisturizer.

Oceopin Maritime Pine Seed Oil - I was underwhelmed by this. It felt kind of heavy and thick to me and didn’t make my skin super soft like most of the oils I’ve tried. When I was nearing the end of the bottle I discovered that if you apply a good facial mist beforehand and apply this directly afterward, it spreads it out more and it feels a lot nicer. However, I’m still glad I only bought a small bottle of this – I wouldn’t pick it up again.

Soapwalla Restorative Face Serum – I had a weird bias against this the whole time I used it, but it actually is quite nice – great for those of us who have sensitive skin, as it was soothing when my skin felt reactive. On the whole it was just OK otherwise; texture was of medium-thin viscosity and it kept my skin hydrated adequately without being greasy.

La Bella Figura Bio Active Healing Mask – As per my review, I LOVE THIS MASK SO MUCH. It was so lovely and soothing to my skin, and it smelled so tasty like juicy berries and honey. I will be buying this again at some point without a doubt.

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TOO MANY SAMPLES TO HANDLE!!!!  The highs and lows: [highs] Eminence Bright Skin Licorice Root Booster-Serum (awesome and seemed to help with acne scars even in the week of use), Eminence Red Currant Protective Moisturizer SPF30 (nice, smooth texture that isn’t too heavy), Graydon Sun Cream (also nice texture and dries matte so perfect for summer) and The Serum (smells like blueberries and is packed with antioxidants); [lows] Juice Beauty samples (boring, boring, and the moisturizer was crazy sticky!), CV Skinlabs samples (totally did not soothe my skin nor wow me in any way). The rest? MEH.

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Phyto Phytopolleine Scalp Treatment – soo hard to get out of the bottle! I got this through a swap and I used it really haphazardly, so I can’t say if it worked or not. It was too much of a hassle so I wouldn’t purchase in any case.

Yarok Feed Your Ends Leave-in Conditioner - this was OK. Nothing to write home about – it was very lightweight, so if you have very fine hair it might be ideal, but for my personal needs I’ve used other leave-ins that I loved a lot more.

Ojon Damage Reverse Restorative Smoothing Gloss - this was tinted brown, I guess to help boost the glossiness in brown/black hair, and every time I washed my hair it left a brown residue in my tub. It was just OK – I wouldn’t buy this.

Andalou Naturals Argan & Sweet Orange Conditioner (x2) – You may have guessed, I am LOVING this conditioner. It smells soo good, like vanilla and orange, and perfectly hydrates my hair without being heavy or leaving a residue. I’m on my 3rd bottle and I suspect I’ll just keep buying it until I stumble upon something else. The only downside is that I seem to go through it quite quickly!

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Random blue bottle – I can’t remember what this was called or the brand, but it was for your bikini line after a wax (or wherever you got waxed) to avoid ingrown hairs and irritation. I have had this since my very first wax back in 2007…haha! Time to go.

Poshe Top Coat – this was nice at first but it went the way of Seche Vite and got pretty gloopy near the end.

Osha Mae Calendula Salve – I mentioned this in my best of 2013 post, and it really was a lovely salve. I think though that the same I had from Clementine Fields, from M.J. Herbals, worked better somehow!

Kalaya Restore Body Treatment – I got this at Christmas from my aunt who knows I like organic/green skincare. At first I was skeptical but this actually was a really nice moisturizer – not too thick (read: greasy) or thin (i.e.: not hydrating enough) and really made my skin smooth. It did contain fragrance though so for that reason I wouldn’t purchase it.

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KAPOW! THE MAKEUPS:

MAC Dazzleglass in Luscious Spark – pretty sheer orange gloss with shimmer. The Dazzleglass etc formulas are known to be in smaller tubes than they appear, and this went quick. I also found it needed to be re-applied often so this was an easy one.

Laura Mercier Lip Glace in Discrete – I really liked this shade when I got it, but after a while I found it’s neutral tones flat due to the opaque formula. I was happy to see this go.

Buxom Lip Polish in April - when I was more of a gloss person, I loved the shine and sparkle of this pale pink lippie. But then it was just too ‘Bar Star’ for me and I wasn’t inclined to try and finish off that last little bit.

NARS Pro-Prime Smudge Proof Eyeshadow Base – everyone loves this – and I’m no different! If they day comes where I need to purchase an eye primer (I have the MUFE now to use), I’d definitely buy this.

Clinique High Impact Waterproof Mascara – this came in handy for all the weddings I had last year, but then I stopped using it (I don’t really like using waterproof mascara on the regular). For those kind of occasions though, this is really good – gives nice, full lashes and stays put!

Pur Double Ego Mascara - I got this from my aunt and I used it maybe 3 times before I realized that it’s crazy-wet formula made an absolute mess every damn time. Toss!

YSL Volume Effet Faux Cils Mascara (sample) – I know mascara samples aren’t always a good predictor of a product’s true efficacy, but I did not like this! Flaky, tangly lashes, YIKES!

Random foundation/concealer samples – I honestly can’t remember what these were…I think they were two Tarte BB samples, and two MAC Pro Longwear samples. Lets just say I wouldn’t buy either.

Chanel Illusion d’Ombre in Emerveille – I liked this a lot when I bought it, and its still a great shade, but mine got so dried out and hard to use that I just couldn’t be bothered. I don’t actually like the Illusion d’Ombre formula at all and gave the other one I bought (Abstraction) away. Wouldn’t buy any of ‘em again!

NARS Larger Than Life Eyeliner in Via Appia – lovely deep bronze shade I received in a swap. I had a seriously idiotic moment and SHARPENED THE PLASTIC, forgetting its a twist-up! So then I always had to have it twisted up extra far so I didn’t scratch my eye out. D’OH. When it neared the end I just decided to turf it and stop the horror.

Illamasqua Blusher in Lover - this dropped and broke, and while I normally would try and salvage it somehow, I found this shade so light on my skin tone that I just figured it was an opportunity to get rid of it. I really HATE when my makeup breaks!

Giorgio Armani Fluid Sheer #2 (sample) – I found this quite sparkly for my taste. I’m glad I tried a sample (I got this when I was in NYC) because if I’d have bought a full size I would have been quite disappointed.

Burberry Lip Cover in Cameo Pink (sample) – I really did like this shade though it was a touch light for my skin tone. I enjoy the Lip Cover formula – it feels comfortable on the lips, though the inclusion of fragrance isn’t my ideal.

Vapour Organics Mesmerize Eye Color in Storm (sample) – I tried to use this one and realized that in it’s sample form it’s IMPOSSIBLE. So, rather than hang on to it for no reason, I’m tossing it.


And that, they say, is THAT.

How are your empties going? And totally unrelated – did you watch Mad Men last night? WTF was that ending all about?!?!

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Super-Quick Empties Post (from February – oops!)

Ok….so I took photos of some empties in February and then didn’t post about them – oopsie! Let’s get to it, because I want to also post my most recent empties soon – I have a big goal for myself this year in terms of reducing so I want to start entirely fresh!

Skincare

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Crabtree & Evelyn La Source Hand Therapy – I’ve had this seriously for like, 10 years, sitting in a cupboard because it’s scented and ya’ll know I DON’T DO THAT. But then, I wanted to get rid of some stuff so I used it as a foot lotion. Perfect!

Shikai Borage Therapy Hand Cream – ARGH that awful, awful smell of FEET and BO and DEAD MEAT. Thankfully this hand cream wasn’t all that fabulous, because if it were the most amazing thing ever I might have to buy it again and suffer the odour just to have healed hands. THE GODS HAVE SPARED ME.

CeraVe Hydrating Cleanser – It was fine. Just like Cetaphil, really. Which is MEH for someone who wears makeup or who wants a more substantial second cleanser. Even if I wasn’t sporting a ‘green’ skincare routine now I probably wouldn’t get this again, unless my skin was going absolutely batshit (in that case, it’s pretty darn gentle and not too bad at all).

Aubrey Honeysuckle Rose Moisturizing Conditioner – This was also just OK. I didn’t love the smell nor that formula. It was my first organic conditioner and on the whole, it would probably be nice for someone with thin, fine hair that doesn’t need much moisturization like my bone-dry hair does.

Organix Coconut Milk Hibiscus Nourishing Body Wash – This was my second bottle for a reason – it SMELLS SO GOOD. I won’t buy it again because of the ingredients (still has fake fragrance, and is not really ‘organic’ – shame on the name!) but if you don’t care about this stuff, I enjoyed it overall.

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Ellovi Butter – I’m going to be the dissenting voice here and state that I didn’t love this. My eczema did not like this at all, which is surprising given the clean ingredients, but I found I needed more moisture, and my eczema was consistently present while using this, so it didn’t really do much at all. Full-price at $26 (I had a $5 coupon), this would have needed to blow my socks off for a repurchase.

Haus of Gloi Aether Pumpkin Butter - I still have a soft spot for this! I stopped buying it, but I might order a few of the smaller sizes to use as hand cream and such – I really liked the smell and it moisturized well. I feel like the ingredients are pretty decent, and while not totally clean…I just like it anyway.

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Pai Camellia & Rose Gentle Hydrating Cleanser – Though I think this might be a bit heavy for me during the summer, I did like this cleanser and I think anyone with normal to dry skin should definitely try it out! So gentle and leaves skin feeling very comfortable.

Stark Grapefruit Cleanse & Hydrate Balm – Minus the little balls of shea butter in this, I liked this balm fairly well. It didn’t cause any irritation – but the scent being so delicious constantly had me on alert for something, so I never used it with ease. I wouldn’t repurchase, but mostly just for that reason! I like using things that I know without a doubt will never eff with my fickle skin.

Tarte Pure Maracuja Oil - Honestly, still one of the best oils I’ve tried to date (and I’ve tried a fair number by now!). Affordable, great for most skin types, absorbs quickly – there’s really not much else to say. I went through two bottles, which saying a lot since I usually try something different every time. I might even come back to this at some point!

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Eumovate Eczema & Dermatitis Cream – I picked up this cream while in NZ, and though it was AMAZING at clearing my the eczema I got while away (like, the best product I’ve ever used for that purpose), apparently my doc tells me this shit is kinda dangerous. At least, it’s not to be used on the regular. O-KAY, then. I powered through it while I was away, and had just a bit left which I used here and there afterward. I was kinda sad to see it go (I really DID work wonders), but it’s probably for the best.

XLash Eyelash EnhancerJust updated you guys on how much ASS this kicks when compared to another lash growth serum…I WILL buy this one again, mark my words. So, SO good.

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Holy smokes, the samples. Let’s do this by notables, and not-worth-it’s:

Notables:

- OLO Brand New Day – Nice, gentle enzyme scrub that does have some manual exfoliating qualities as well; leaves the skin nice and soft but not ravaged.

- Kahina Eye Serum – Second time with a sample of this bad boy, and I still like it quite a bit. Sinks in quickly and isn’t greasy at all. But sometimes with stuff like this I think – do I really need a separate serum for eye? Nah, probably not.

- Babor Calm & Relax Cream – lovely cream thats not too heavy for my normal-to-oily skin, and really does ‘calm & relax’! I plan to buy this one day, but it’s $76CAD so maybe when I have a little bit more disposable funds, hmm?

- Clinique Repairwear Laser Focus – Not ‘clean’ but I had it in my samples stash and I though I’d use it up. And really, it works. Highly recommend for non-‘green” skincare buffs.

- Lancome La Vie Est Belle (sample) – I still love this scent, and one day I’ll give in and buy a bottle. I just wish it was cheaper! 1oz (30mL) is $72CAD. Atrocious.

Not-worth-it’s:

- Tata Harper Resurfacing Mask – Honestly, the first sample I had I found this did NOTHING to my face, and the second time I tried it, I felt a little bit of irritation. I know a lot of people love it but I’m not one of ‘em.

- OLO Vitamin C Serum – Again, another ‘gem’ that gets raves, but I found it was a little heavy for my skin – it would be PERFECT for drier skin, and it gives the skin a glowy sheen (which turned a bit greasy on me).

- Vapour Illusionist Concealer - YIKES! All of these shades were so gray!! Even the darkest shade was ashy and awful. And the coverage as well was crappy. Probably if you’re super fair and have hardly anything to conceal, this would be great. Clearly not for me.

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The MAKEUPS:

Urban Decay Supercurl Curling Mascara – I’ve had a sample of this before, and my opinion is the same – great for giving lashes curl (makes mine even CURLIER) and for separation and length. One day I might even buy the full size.

MAC Pearlglide Intense Eye Liner in Petrol Blue – I wish I had this in an eyeshadow, or perhaps just a better eyeliner formula. This ALWAYS smudged on the outer corners no matter what I did, and I didn’t love the more glittery-sparkly quality of it either. It’s old and starting to separate from the sides of the pencil, so I decided to toss it. Whoop!

Clinique Cream Shaper in Egyptian – I loved this shade (blackened olive) and the liner didn’t budge, but it’s also a billion years old (or maybe 7) and was doing the same shrinking thing, so out it goes.

Clinique High Impact Mascara – how many samples of this have I used in my life!? Too many. Still a great formula but I’m kinda bored of it now after years and years.

Clinique Lash Power Mascara – Still digging this formula (it’s newer) and I have a backup in my stash. Gets all the bitty little lashes and doesn’t budge. Awesome.

Make Up For Ever Smoky Lash Extravagant - Hated. It. Tried to love it. Still Hated. It. TOSS.

YSL Touche Eclat 5.5 – I know Wayne Goss has showed us the error of our ways in using this pen, but I’d just rather have an illuminating wand do all that and not cost $50+. Next time I’ll buy the cheapy version if its not gonna make my dark circles disappear.

Benefit Watt’s Up - This was an OK cream highlighter, but I’ve found plenty others I like far more (Becca, to name one!). I was so glad when I finished this sample!

BAM. Empties #1 for 2014 DONE. #2 to come shortly!

Have you tried any of the products above? What are your thoughts?

 

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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!

IMG_1015

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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