Posts Tagged comparison

Operation Reduce: Eyeshadows, Part I

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

IMG_3311My shadow collection, give or take a few.

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

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

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

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

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

SMOG & HAIGHT

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

IMG_3207Left to right: Smog, Haight

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Two down, three to go!

ROCKSTAR, LOADED, AND SUSPECT

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

IMG_3205Left to right: Suspect, Loaded, and Rockstar. 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

IMG_3292Left to right: UD Suspect, NARS Rajasthan

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

On, on!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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MAC Soul Serenade plus a couple other shadow pickups!

Like almost everyone else on the planet (well, at least those who love makeup like I do!), I got sucked in to MAC’s awesome summer release, Alluring Aquatic. The Extra Dimension formula! That packaging! How could I resist picking up something from a collection that features packaging with faux water droplets all over it? Too frickin’ cool, man.

Of course, as my makeup hoard is vast, finding ‘new’ shades gets tougher all the time, and in my effort to at least keep my shades diverse to offset the fact that I’m never going to stop BUYING MORE, I try my darndest to not buy repeat or similar shades. Easier said that done, but the effort is there! While I loved the idea of the whole collection, and all of the shadow, lipstick and cheek shades appealed to me, I spent a good half hour hemming and hawing over what to bring home (because I WAS buying SOMETHING, dammit!). Lorelei was too similar to All That Glitters for my taste (though I do love that shade!), the other shadows for the most part weren’t ones I’d wear (Sea Worship and Silver Sun particularly) and the blush and lipstick shades weren’t original shades in my estimation. As I was agonizing over the choice between Legendary Lure (a beautiful deep cerulean) and Soul Serenade (described as a deep plum brown), another customer who had tried on Legendary Lure decided she was going to take it, and walked away with the last one (and this was the first dav of the launch!!). No hard feelings on my end – it made my choice for me and saved me another 15 minutes of wasted energy. And so I left the store with that one item, and felt happy.

THE END.

…HA! You think I’d every write a post that short? You guys know I’m wayyyyy to chatty for that ;)   Also, I have more shadows to talk about! Namely, another MAC shade, the Paint Pot in Rubenesque which I picked up in Florida at a CCO for $13US, and Bobbi Brown Long-Wear Cream Shadow in Sandy Gold ($29CAD), which I bought a couple months ago.

MAC Bobbi Brown eyeshadow Left to right: MAC Rubenesque, Bobbi Brown Sandy Gold, MAC Soul Serenade

I picked up Sandy Gold because Sabrina from The Beauty Look Book raved about it, and I was looking for a neutral but not shimmery shadow to wear on days when I went for a bold lip (which is the look I opt for more days than not). While is does have slight shimmer, its more of a satin finish really, which I find looks more natural than a full-on matte. Its described as a ‘pale golden beige’ which is entirely accurate – it has a hint of gold sheen which is super-pretty, though the effect is mostly lost on eyes. I managed to catch it in swatches though!

MAC Soul Serenade Rubenesque Bobbi Brown Sandy Gold eyeshadow swatches MAC Soul Serenade Rubenesque Bobbi Brown Sandy Gold eyeshadow swatchesLeft to right: MAC Soul Serenade, Bobbi Brown Sandy Gold, MAC Rubenesque

This is my first Bobbi Brown cream shadow, and I like it OK – the texture is nice and smooth, and the wear time is decent (though if your lids are oily, you’ll still need a primer), but I wish the pot was bigger. I feel like I need to use a brush to apply it as my finger is too big to get in there comfortably without it getting under my nails. Minor niggle though. The colour of this is what sold it for me, and I feel like I could use it as a cheekbone highlighter in a pinch, too. It’s just so pretty!

The Rubenesque Paint Pot was an impulse purchase – it was just so cheap, compared to the $24CAD price tag here, and I do love gold shadow! However, as you’ll see in a minute, I didn’t REALLY need it, as I already have a shade quite similar in another MAC product – their Pigment in Melon. D’OH!

MAC Melon Rubenesque swatches comparison eyeshadowRubenesque, 2nd from right; Melon, far right.

They aren’t completely identical, as Melon is frostier/more metallic than Rubenesque (see photo below) – but they’re still close enough that if I’d been thinking straight (and not ‘SALE!’), I wouldn’t have picked up the latter. Ah well. At least their different formulations so perhaps I can use each in different ways???

MAC Melon Rubenesque swatches comparison eyeshadow

Once I did the comparison with Rubenesque, I got to thinking about Soul Serenade and if I had anything like it, either. After a bit of recon, I came up with a reasonable facsimile, but nothing close enough to call a dupe. Coincidentally, it’s the other MAC Pigment I own (I just have two) in Dark Soul.

MAC Soul Serenade vs Dark Soul eyeshadow comparison swatches MAC Dark Soul vs Soul Serenade comparison swatches eyeshadowDark Soul, far left; Soul Serenade, 2nd from left.

You can see that they’re in the same vein, but with clear differences – namely, Dark Soul is much cooler and greyer, while Soul Serenade has a stronger plum tone (which is easier to see in this comparison I find, than if it’s just swatched alone – in which case I find it looks more charcoal than brown). Interestingly, Soul Serenade is also more sparkly, which is ironic as that’s one of the reasons why I don’t wear Dark Soul often (see blurred photo below for sparkle-tasticness).

MAC Dark Soul vs Soul Serenade comparison swatches eyeshadow

So essentially, my effort to avoid dupes was partially successful. Though I enjoy all the shades I purchased, I’m kinda pissed about the similarities because I barely wear shadow as it is, and can’t be going off to buy MORE OF THE SAME WHICH I’LL HARDLY USE. Stupid! But in my defence, I might buy 5 eyeshadows a year these days, so I’m not a complete disaster, and I’m determined not to buy many more for the next while if I can help it!

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Do you own a lot of eyeshadows? Do you wear them regularly?

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Sometimes you just need a palette cleanser: Dior Vernis in Incognito

I mentioned in my last post that spring nail polishes can be tricky, especially if you don’t want to go for the typical pastel shades. Another great option I find when you just don’t know what kinda manicure you’re hankering for (which has been happening to me a lot lately!) is a nude/neutral shade. Many call this a ‘palette cleanser’ and I tend to agree. If nothing is grabbing my attention out of the boatload of shades I own, I usually grab a neutral hue and slap it on. Easy peasy and matches everything, and your nail still look did. WIN.

Dior Incognito vernis

I got a serious lemming for Dior’s #257 Incognito vernis after seeing enticing swatches of it on The Beauty Look Book. Sabrina’s featured it a few times in various posts, and every time I think ‘I gotta BUY that already!’  Well, finally, I pulled the trigger (seems it always takes me ages to do so, but I get there eventually!), and I’m pretty pleased with my purchase.

Dior Incognito vernis swatch Dior Incognito vernis swatch

Incognito is a muted, rosy-hued neutral polish that I wouldn’t classify as nude per se, as most of us don’t have rosy-hued hands. Due to that fact, it doesn’t veer into “mannequin hands” territory, which I like because I’m not generally a huge fan of that trend – I love a good nude but I’d rather it be a touch lighter or darker than skin tone to stand out more. However, it does blend into the skin tone well, likely due to it’s slightly sheerer formula. I prefer to wear it with two coats to retain some of that sheerness, as I find with three is can look more opaque than I’d like. In the above swatches, I’m wearing it without top coat, so you can see its fairly shiny on it’s own – though not entirely glossy. *Note that the formula I have is the ‘old’ formula – Dior has recently reissued their polish line in their gel formulation, which I imagine would be more shiny. Incognito is still available in this new formulation.

As someone who hates repetition, I always worry that I’m going to get home to find that I have a duplicate shade in my stash. When I did my first manicure in Incognito, it reminded me a lot of RBL’s Poco a Poco (LE), so of course I had to compare.

Dior Incognito vernis vs RBL Poco a Poco vs Chanel Inattendu comparison

In the bottle, the two do look close, though Poco a Poco is more pink (and on the nail, actually more purple), and has the golden-fuchsia shimmer throughout. I also considered Inattendu (Chanel), but it’s much too warm and peachy to be a contender.

Dior Incognito vernis vs RBL Poco a Poco vs Chanel Inattendu swatches comparisonLeft to right: Chanel Inattendu, Dior Incognito, RBL Poco a Poco, Dior Incognito

Dior Incognito vernis vs RBL Poco a Poco vs Chanel Inattendu swatches comparisonLeft to right: Chanel Inattendu, Dior Incognito, RBL Poco a Poco, Dior Incognito

I’m happy I finally gave in to this lemming – it’s a classic shade that will never go out of style, and I’m confident I’ll get a lot of wear out of it. As usual for Dior polishes, it almost applies itself with that fabulous formula and brush, so it’s a bit of a no-brainer. HOWEVER: I swatched YSL’s Beige Leger at Sephora a couple of weeks ago, and I think I have to have IT too, even though it’s quite close to Incognito. It’s ever-so-slightly warmer and more flattering on my hands. You know I don’t love ‘dupes’ but I feel a bit crazy about this one!

Dior Incognito vernis

What are your thoughts on nude/neutral polishes? Do you sometimes have the inability to pick a damn shade to wear??

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Spring in a bottle: Essie Resort Fling

I’ll admit – normally I don’t like to bitch about the weather too much. We live in Canada, guys! It is what it is. But this year, I was SUPER ready for spring. It wasn’t just the bizarre-out-of-nowhere snowstorms (they at least happened on a Wednesday almost every time which meant a WHOLE LOTTA SNOW DAYS!), or the endlessly grey days that spanned for months. I think it partially was all the shit that went down that had me itching for spring and for a fresh start. So as soon as the sun peeked out even a *little bit* I was breaking out the obnoxiously colourful makeup, nail polish, and clothing. I have this awesome neon coral pink cardigan from H&M that honestly sears the eyes a little bit – every time I wear it, at least 3 people will say ‘Wow, that sweater is…BRIGHT’ (which I can never decipher to be a compliment or a put-down) – and I’ve been rocking it out non-stop just BECAUSE I WANT TO.

IMG_2197It really is that bright in real life

I always find the transition between winter and spring a bit odd when it comes to nail polish – I don’t want to get into the beach-ready brights just yet, but I’m SO DONE with the moody hues that seem to be seasonally appropriate for half the year here. Pastels are all well and good, but overall I wouldn’t say I’m all that *cute* and sometimes they can get a little saccharine to me. When I peeped swatches of the new Essie 2014 Resort collection online, I was instantly drawn to Resort Fling, but was unsure if it would work with my colouring, as it looked kinda orange which isn’t all that flattering on me. It reminded me of Zoya Arizona, which I LOVED in the bottle but HATED on the nail. It finally came in stock at Lawtons, and as soon as I saw it in person I was sold.

Essie Resort Fling

Described as a ‘creamy coral peach,’ I would say that it’s spot on. It’s more peach than coral, but that also means it’s further away from orange that I suspected, which is a good thing. It’s got a thinner formula which builds up nicely after two coats, though there is still a touch of VNL left. It doesn’t bother me that much with textures like this though; a juicy creme, almost jelly-like but not nearly as sheer – Essie’s Splash of Grenadine is very similar but a bit more creamy. ME LIKEY. Application was insanely easy – I did these swatches fairly haphazardly and got ‘em done in no time flat.

Essie Resort Fling swatch Essie Resort Fling swatch Essie Resort Fling swatch

Ugh, I can’t even. I’m so happy with this shade! All the Essie shades I’ve been picking up lately have been knocking it out of the park for me I will say. It was a good lesson in ‘orange’ as well, as I realized I can come close to orange if it’s more in the peach vein rather than a more yellow-based orange.

Other than the fear of orange, another reason I held off on buying Resort Fling was that I thought it might be too close in colour to Chanel’s Orange Fizz, another shade that’s not really orange but more of a coral with an orange lean. Comparing them side by side, they looked nothing alike, but sometimes the eye can trick you.

Chanel Orange Fizz vs Essie Resort Fling

On the nail, it was clear that my fears were unnecessary, as the differences are clear. Resort Fling is not only lighter but much more ‘orange,’ whereas Orange Fizz has more pink tones in it.  The biggest similarity was their juicy creme/jelly formulas and insanely glossy finishes (I’m not even wearing top coat)!

Chanel Orange Fizz vs Essie Resort Fling swatches Chanel Orange Fizz vs Essie Resort Fling swatches

I love them both equally. For the current season though, I feel that Resort Fling is perfect – not too bright, not pastel, just pretty and spring-y and exactly what I wanted. I could probably alternate between this, Splash of Grenadine, and Essie Bikini So Teeny for the next few months and be quite happy :)

What say you? Do you go for full-on brights once spring arrives, or do you ease your way in to colour? Do you like polishes with a hybrid creme/jelly formula?

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Buxom Serial Kisser Full-Bodied Lipstick Collection: Review and Swatches

Sooo…I really need to use up all of my lipsticks already.  Aside from the fact that I’ve easily got enough to wear a different one every day of the month (hello, anxiety!), I’ve found my HG formula and kind of want to replace the whole lot of ‘em with it.  The lipstick in question?  Buxom’s Full-Bodied lip colour, which came out earlier this year and has been on my radar for quite some time.  Happily, I’ve gotten a chance to try FIVE of ‘em in one of Buxom’s holiday offerings, the Serial Kisser collection of 5 mini Full-Bodied lipsticks!

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Buxom’s Full-Bodied formula is described as “a rebelliously vivid, full-coverage lip color with a dual-phase plumping effect and seductive satin finish,” and are designed to be smooth, creamy, and ultra-hydrating due to encapsulated hyaluronic microspheres, shea butter, and coconut oil.  Having fairly full lips already, I didn’t notice a plumping effect (and there is no tingling, strange feelings when applied – which I realized afterward Buxom actually notes in the description), but they are certainly full-coverage, and are the creamiest, most comfortable lipsticks I’ve ever had the pleasure of wearing.  Over the past week I’ve been trying each shade, and I actually found them so hydrating and creamy that I could apply straight to my lips, no lip balm required (which is unheard of for me and my drier lips).  I cannot tell you guys enough how fabulous this formula is!

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I guess you wanna see the goods, hey?  Ok, let’s get to it:

IMG_0372Left to right: Menace, Provocateur, Mistress*, Centerfold*, and Moonlighter*

The starred lippies – Mistress (medium warm pink), Centerfold (mauvey-pink), and Moonlighter (muted violet-berry with shimmer) are exclusive to the set, while Menace (a rich wine) and Provocateur (a true red) are permanent in the line (and both happen to be my favorites of the five).  A full-sized lipstick is 0.13oz and $26CAD; the set costs $40CAD and each lipstick is 0.04oz, which means both work out to $200/oz.  So, its not entirely a cost-effective set, but still a fabulous way to try out several shades at once!

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And for your viewing pleasure, lip swatches (and some comparisons!) :)

IMG_0505Provocateur.  I wore this while working at Clinique yesterday, and I felt like a superstar all damn day :)

As I’m always keeping an eye out for ‘dupes,’ I took a look through my stash to see if I had similar shades to Provocateur.  Uhhhhh….see for yourself:

Buxom Provocateur comparison swatchesLeft to right: Make Up For Ever Rouge Artist Natural in N46, Buxom Provocateur, MAC Russian Red, Make Up For Ever Aqua Rouge in #8

…….apparently I like a good, true red! lol  In my defense, all of these were received as press samples aside from MAC’s Russian Red (and even that I received as a gift!), so it’s not like I keep buying the same shade.  If I were being sensible, I’d get rid of two of these at least – maybe keep the MAC or MUFE Aqua Rouge (both have more matte finishes) and then the Buxom shade (I like MUFE N46 but the formula is no contest) – buuuuut I probably won’t.  N46 is a bit sheerer in texture, and the Aqua Rouge is a long-wearing version, so they all have their differing merits.  And what can I say?  I make this shade of red LOOK GOOD.  ;)

IMG_0532Menace.

Menace reminded me a lot of Ellis Faas’ L102 lippie, so of course I had to swatch ‘em side by side to be sure.  L102 is a bit more brown, but they are quite close.

Buxom Menace comparison swatch

Buxom Moonlighter lip swatchMoonlighter.

Buxom Centerfold lip swatchCenterfold.

Buxom Mistress lip swatchMistress.

After fully enjoying each and every shade this week, I seriously did consider chucking all my other lippies in favor of these.  The difference between these and say, a MAC lipstick (which have great shades, but most aren’t all that cushy if you know what I’m sayin’) is night and day.  Not only are they kinder to lips, keeping them hydrated throughout the day, but they also wear magnificently, requiring only minimal touch-ups to keep the colour fresh – no horrible lipstick ring on the outer edge of the lips here!  And did I mention their fragrance-free? :D

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While the line only carries 10 shades at the moment, I’m hoping they expand the range.  Temptalia has swatches of the entire line; I already have my eye on Rogue (fiery coral), Swinger (vivid magenta), Exhibitionist (bright fuchsia), and Scoundrel (blue red).  COME TO MAMA.

Have you tried the Full-Bodied range yet?  What is your favourite lipstick formula of all time?

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

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Summer in a Tube: Becca Beach Tint in Papaya and Comparisons

Becca Beach Tint Papaya comparison (2)

I’ve been on this kick lately of wanting to own every red blush EVER.  MAC Frankly Scarlet.  Illamasqua Libido.  Dolce & Gabbana Sole.  NARS Exhibit A.  ALL THE RED BLUSH.  Each are quite different from the other and therefore totally justifiable in purchasing (right?!).  However, last month when I scored another red on my list, Becca’s Beach Tint in Papaya (described as a ‘hot red’), I had to pause in my red blush frenzy – not all of these shades will look good on me, guys! :'(

Becca Beach Tint in PapayaBecca Beach Tint in Papaya

As some of you know, I’ve been sort of struggling to figure out my skintone – cool, warm, neutral, what is it? – and I think I’ve decided that I’m neutral with a bit of a cool leaning.  Well, I think that my assumptions have been confirmed with this blush – it is FAR too warm for my skintone and has to be worn with an exceptionally light hand.  See for yourself:

Becca Papaya Beach Tint (2) Becca Papaya Beach Tint

Though it doesn’t look terrible on me the way I’m wearing it  – which is to say, very sheerly – it’s really not my best shade.  with my tan I can pull it off, but any other time of year I suspect this will look ghastly (not to be confused with ghostly, as this is much to orange-toned and vibrant for that).  This leads me to believe that similarly warm-toned blushes such as the Illamasqua or NARS versions noted above, may not be my cup of tea.  I need to tread more carefully.

I suspect that the shades that will work best for me are more coral-red (such as D&G’s Sole) or the more pink-red tones of the MAC shade noted above.  I’ve swatched the only other shades in my collection that even come close, NARS Boys Don’t Cry (of the coral-red camp) and MUFE’s #12 First Kiss (which in fact is a touch too orange and I usually layer it with other products).

Becca Beach Tint Papaya comparisonLeft to right: MUFE #12 First Kiss, Becca Papaya, NARS Boys Don’t Cry

Its interesting to look at these swatches, because I still feel like Papaya looks flattering here – but don’t let it fool you.  I had to blend and blend down to next to nothing to ensure I didn’t look like I had been burned in a fire.  Its certainly a summery shade and paired with bronzer can work well, but I prefer to wear more effortless shades that compliment naturally, even if they’re brighter.  I’m starting to wonder if the key to blush isn’t to pick complimentary shades to your skintone, but contrasting.  In swatches Papaya looks made for my skin and Boys Don’t Cry is more stand-out, yet the latter absolutely looks fantastic on me no matter if I’m tanned or not.  Similarly with NARS Desire if you recall.  INTERESTING.

Ultimately, I’m happy to have this shade as it represents a niche I hadn’t filled in my collection, and as it was a acquired via swap, I don’t feel bad about owning it.  It was an excellent way to trial-run a warm red blush and learn that I probably won’t acquire any more in the future, focusing my energies instead on cooler-toned shades.  The product itself is quite nice – easy to blend and wears quite well (though not exceptionally tenacious on my oilier skin).  I likely won’t pick up anymore shades as most of them contain linalool which I avoid in products (can cause allergic reactions and sensitivity in people with eczema), but if you don’t have those concerns, I’d definitely check them out – they’re so easy and handy!

Becca Beach Tint Papaya comparison (3)

Do you own any red blush?  To which tone does you skin favor, warm or cool?

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Summer Polish Combo: Zoya Robyn with Essie Come Here

Happy Canada Day!!!  It’s been a busy week and an even busier weekend, as usual!  I had an excellent weekend celebrating Canada’s 146th birthday, even despite the fact that the weather has been absolute CRAP.  Sometimes though, the fact that everyone pulls together to make the best of a shitty situation (in this case, crazy rain and wind for DAYS) is almost better than if everything had been perfect.  And when you’re doing all this with the people you care about, well, then it’s all gravy :D

Summer Polish Combo

As the weather has been hit or miss this summer so far (with more misses than hits), I haven’t been very concerned about my mani/pedi situation, but last week after picking up those few new shades, it was due time to get on it!  Below I tried out two of the shades, Zoya Robyn – a bright sky blue – and Essie Come Here, a coral red from the 2013 Resort collection.  Both are perfect vibrant summer shades that work well on both fingers and toes – I love them!

Summer Polish Combo (4)

Zoya Robyn was a unique addition to my polish collection – most blue shades I have lean teal or aqua, or are more of along the lines of a deep navy.  This eye-catching shade is perfect for spring and summer, and I really love it!  I wasn’t sure about it on my hands at first, but it really grew on me and I ended up wearing it for a full four days.  The formula is thin which means you have to be a bit careful in application, but it only required two coats so it’s not terribly fussy.  It wore exceptionally well and I only had minor tip wear after those four days.

Zoya Robyn (2)

Essie Come Here is my kind of shade!  I love the strong red leaning that sometimes leans pink and sometimes leans more orange.  It looks fabulous on toes and will go with pretty much any shade I pair it with.  Formula was lovely with absolutely no issues or tricks required for application.  100% win!  I haven’t yet worn Essie Come Here on my fingernails, but I am eager to – below I have a few comparison swatches to show you (aka justify my purchase); it’s really not like anything I personally own.

Essie Come Here comparisonEssie Meet Me at Sunset, China Glaze Surfin’ for Boys, Essie Come Here, butter London Snog

Essie Come Here! comparison Essie Come Here! comparison (3)Top to bottom: butter London Snog, Essie Come Here, China Glaze Surfin’ for Boys, Essie Meet Me at Sunset

I thought Snog was going to be quite close, but it’s far too pink.  Surfin’ for Boys is in the right vein but much lighter and with shimmer.  Meet Me at Sunset is clearly too orange, but it has the same intensity of saturation.  From what I understand, Essie’s Ole Caliente and Flirt are very similar to Come Here, so if you have either of those, you’re probably set.  Bottom line: It’s a great shade that I’m totally diggin’!

What do you think of this combo?  Have you come up with any great combinations of your own lately?

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Polish Comparison Swatches – The Best Kind of Post When You’re Sick

So yea.  I sneezed funny on Sunday and then the next day I was sick with a cold.  Has that ever happened to anyone else?  I’m being dead serious – it’s like the sneeze dislodged the sickness or something.  Ugh.  Anyway, I was off work today and pretty much was a slug all day; even looking at the computer screen hurts my eyes.  I am weird and don’t take medication when I’m sick (unless it’s that time of the month – then, JACK ME UP BABY) because I feel like it just masks the pain and makes me stay sick for longer.  Or I’m a martyr.  Either or.  At least I know when I get pregnant one day I’ll be totally used to not being able to take meds (but I will not hesitate to get an epidural – eff that).  So there’s that.

Anyway, I have photos of two polishes I had done comparison swatches for but never posted them, so here they are.  First up is Chanel’s Orange Fizz (which I happen to be wearing this week, and seriously – I LOVE IT SO MUCH you guys should all buy a bottle, it’s good times) which I swatched against all my other orangey-coral polishes (spoiler – there are no dupes that I own, so you should just go buy a bottle of the real stuff):

Chanel Orange Fizz comparisonsLeft to right: China Glaze Flirty Tankini, LA Colors Magnetic Force, Chanel Orange Fizz, China Glaze Surfin’ for Boys, Deborah Lippmann Daytripper

Chanel Orange Fizz comparisons (2) Chanel Orange Fizz comparisons (3)Chanel Orange Fizz comparisons (5)Thumb: China Glaze Flirty Tankini; Index: Chanel Orange Fizz; Middle: LA Colors Magnetic Force; Ring: China Glaze Surfin’ for Boys; Pinky: Deborah Lippmann Daytripper

You can see that aside from the LA Colors shade, the rest of the polishes are all in the same vein, but Flirty Tankini is less saturated and dries with a flat finish (though probably the closest match); Surfin’ for Boys is more pink and with a pearlesence about it; and Daytripper is more pink.  What I love about Orange Fizz is that it’s super-shiny on it’s own, has a squishy quality to it, and is somehow both soft enough for spring but bright enough that it will be awesome in summer too :)

The next polish I have to show you is one I recently picked up from American Apparel, called Downtown LA.  I was in the store a couple weeks ago buying Neon Violet for a gal at work, since she loved it so much on me, and decided to take advantage of the buy 3 for $18 deal (I also picked up their matte top coat for fun).  Downtown LA is a bold red that leans ever so slightly orange.  It is exceptionally close to butter London’s Come to Bed Red, though bL’s version really is more of a true red without the orange lean.  I can tell the difference between the two but if I didn’t tell you, I’m sure you wouldn’t guess:

American Apparel vs butter Londonbutter London Come to Bed Red; American Apparel Downtown LA

American Apparel Downtown LA (3) American Apparel Downtown LAIndex & ring: butter London Come to Bed Red; middle & pinky: American Apparel Downtown LA

I have a hard time wearing red polish as I find on my skintone it looks a bit garish; however, I wore Downtown LA last week and actually liked it quite a bit.  The warmer tone of the polish worked better on me than Come to Bed Red has in the past, and I made sure to cut my nails super-short which made the manicure less in-your-face.  I won’t be stocking up on red polishes any time soon but it’s still nice to have a few great ones in your arsenal!  I’ll likely pass along my butter London shade – I always hate to part with more high-end brands but I know I’ll never choose it over the AA color.  I have to say, I really like AA polishes – they are almost one-coaters and apply so well!

So, I hope this keeps you entertained until I get better!  I usually go into repair mode when I’m sick and rarely stay down for long, so I’ll be up and kickin’ by the weekend I’m sure :D

What do you do with your nail polish dupes?  Do you find red a difficult color to wear?

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26 Comments

My First Chanel Quad: Les 4 Ombres in 08 Vanités

Many of the cosmetic purchases I’ve made lately have had one thing in mind: have I tried this before?  As a person who likes change, I gravitate toward the unknown (for the most part).  My aim with makeup lately is to try either a brand I’ve never used before, or check out a product within a brand that I’ve not yet investigated.  My most recent purchase in this regard was Chanel’s Vanités quad, from the Sophisticated Eye collection (fall 2011).

Chanel Vanites Quadra (2)

It’s strange: while I don’t tend to wear a lot of color on my eyes (preferring to do so on my lips, or even cheeks!), I often choose eyeshadows that have more of a *pop.*  When perusing the Chanel quads, the only one that really grabbed me was Vanités.  Having recently read a glowing review on the quad, being in the market for a nice lilac shade, and feeling spend-y, I picked it up and immediately brought it home to try out.

Chanel Vanites Quadra (3)

My first thoughts were that the quad was lovely.  Indeed, the violet tones are quite captivating – and check out that gorgeous gold-flecked mauve!!

Chanel Vanites Quadra (5) Chanel Vanites Quadra

However, once it came time to actually try the shadows, I was sorely let down.  Keep in mind that I do not have any experience with Chanel quads (and in fact, was unable to try this in-store as there were no testers available), so I wasn’t prepared what to expect.  After reading further reviews, Chanel quads it seems tend to be on the dry, stiff side, something to which I can agree with (and also – gritty-feeling) and that I would have likely avoided if I had known.  Also of note is that the quads here in Canada are of the baked variety, while I hear in the States they are different.  So, all points to keep in mind.

Here are the shadows when swatched:

Chanel Vanites Quadra swatches (4)

Sunlight

Chanel Vanites Quadra swatches (8)

Natural light

Chanel Vanites Quadra swatches

Artificial light

These swatches took many layers to achieve this much pigmentation, aside from the darkest shade, which was fairly pigmented in one swipe.  I tried to take photos of me wearing this quad, but it almost looked like nothing was worn, and certainly not enough to show shade and depth.

I realize that Chanel’s makeup philosophy leans toward a soft look; also, the brand caters more to fairer skintones rather than my darker ones.  So it is to say that though I was disappointed in this quad, I was not at all surprized.  Additionally, oddly enough when I looked at the ingredients of the shadows, they contained lanolin – though in the American versions, they do not (alternately, Chanel’s blushes in the US contain lanolin, but in Canada they do not).  So, combined with the disappointing pigmentation, gritty texture, and inclusion of an ingredient I am allergic to – I took the quad back.

For reference purposes, I did take a few comparison swatches against shades I already own:

Chanel Vanites comparisons (3)

Urban Decay’s Psychedelic Sister against the darkest shade of Chanel’s Vanités quad

Chanel Vanites comparisons

Clockwise from top left: Hourglass Exhibition duo, the two middle shades of Chanel’s Vanités quad, NARS Habanera duo, MAC Shale, Le Metier de Beaute Corinthian

Chanel Vanites comparisons (8)

Left to right: Urban Decay Psychedelic Sister, Chanel Vanités (darkest shade), NARS Habanera, LMdB Corinthian, Chanel Vanités (mauve shade), MAC Shale, Chanel Vanités (lilac shade), Hourglass Exhibition

Chanel Vanites comparisons (2)

Left to right: Urban Decay Psychedelic Sister, Chanel Vanités (darkest shade), NARS Habanera, LMdB Corinthian, Chanel Vanités (mauve shade), MAC Shale, Chanel Vanités (lilac shade), Hourglass Exhibition

You can see that none are dupes, though the mauve shade and MAC Shale are similar, and the lilac shade and the lighter shade in the Hourglass Exhibition duo are close as well.  I believe the nuances of these shades would be more pronounced with a better formula, and most definitely with a paler skintone.  On me, sadly, they just fall flat.

Have you tried Vanités, or another Chanel quad?  Have your experiences been positive or negative?  Has anyone tried both the Canadian version and the US version and can comment on how they compare?

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Quelling a Burning Desire with Deborah Lippmann’s Through the Fire

While I was away this fall, something terrible happened – I missed the Chanel fall collection entirely!  Thankfully, there wasn’t too much I wanted to try, but I DID desperately want Malice, the gorgeous ruby-hued polish and the only one released with the seasonal launch.  As it disappeared from shelves in a snap, I was left to scour the internet trying to find a dupe to the shade.  What I came up with that was close (though by no means an exact match, or even that close, unfortunately), was Deborah Lippmann’s Through the Fire.

Deborah Lippmann Through the Fire (4) Deborah Lippmann Through the Fire (5)Deborah Lippmann Through the Fire (3)

Through the Fire, a ‘radiant merlot hue’ was released as part of her 2012 Holiday collection (along with Cleopatra in New York).  While it doesn’t have the slight berry tinge that Malice appears to have, it still has that inner glow that captivates the eye.  Below, this is two coats with Poshe Fast Drying Top Coat.

Deborah Lippmann Through the Fire Swatches (2)Deborah Lippmann Through the Fire SwatchesDeborah Lippmann Through the Fire Swatches (3)

Apparently, one of the true closer dupes to Malice is OPI’s Royal Rajah Ruby, which if you remember I was iffy about at first, but then found love using it as a pedi shade.  Personally I think RRR is too brown-leaning, but it pleases me that I have one of the closest colors to Malice already in my stash.

As for TtF, I pulled RRR plus a couple other shades to see how they all compare – OPI’s Every Month is Oktoberfest, which has been noted by other bloggers as a potential Malice twin (it’s not), and Misa’s Red Pumps at the Nordstrom (which isn’t like Malice at all, nor TtF – but is red and also has that gorgeous radiance about it).

Deborah Lippmann Through the FireLeft to right (artificial light): OPI Every Month is Oktoberfest, OPI Royal Rajah Ruby, Deborah Lippmann Through the Fire, Misa Ruby Pumps at the Nordstrom

Deborah Lippmann Through the Fire (2)Left to right (flash): OPI Every Month is Oktoberfest, OPI Royal Rajah Ruby, Deborah Lippmann Through the Fire, Misa Ruby Pumps at the Nordstrom

Deborah Lippmann Through the Fire comparisonsTop to Bottom (artificial light): Misa Red Pumps at the Nordstrom, Deborah Lippmann Through the Fire, OPI Royal Rajah Ruby, OPI Every Month is Oktoberfest

Deborah Lippmann Through the Fire comparisons (2)Left to right (flash): OPI Every Month is Oktoberfest, OPI Royal Rajah Ruby, Deborah Lippmann Through the Fire, Misa Ruby Pumps at the Nordstrom

Deborah Lippmann Through the Fire comparisons (3)Left to right (flash): Misa Red Pumps at the Nordstrom, Deborah Lippmann Through the Fire, OPI Royal Rajah Ruby, OPI Every Month is Oktoberfest

While RRR is in the same vein as TtF, it’s not a dupe and I like TtF much better on my fingernails, as its more feminine with it’s red tones.  Though I tend to prefer cremes over other formulations of polish, I gotta say that these types of polishes with a less metallic shimmer and more of an inner fire, are totally up my alley.  I could stare at them all day!  All four of these polishes captivate my heart in one way or another, and while I don’t feel that my lemming for Malice is fully abated, I’m not totally broken-hearted over it :)

Did you pick up Malice, or did you miss it too?  Are you a fan of shimmer polishes, or other types? 

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