Posts Tagged eyeshadow

Light up the night with Make Up For Ever’s Midnight Glow Palette

Hiiii guys!  Is everyone making it through the holidays ok so far???  It is FLYING by for me, every year I seem to be busier than the last!  This is the first time in a week that I have sat down in front of my MacBook at all…and work has been so busy that I can’t get any personal stuff done there like I used to (LOL!).  I just realized that I hadn’t shared with you the new position I’ve been in for the past two months – I’m working with our Communications team on an acting assignment, and it was SO. GREAT.  My main task is to write and/or upload articles to our internal webpage, and the set up is just like WordPress, so I took to it pretty quickly – uh, hello, I like to write and I have a blog; what a PERFECT position for me!  I think I’ve found my niche, guys!  It’s only a short-term position, but it’s given me some much needed career direction, so I’m feeling really great work-wise lately :)

However, due to the mega-busy factor in all areas of my life, I have fallen behind on my blog posts – and one item in particular that I have been wanting to review for several weeks now: Make Up For Ever’s new Midnight Glow palette!


If ever there was a palette that captured the essence of winter, this would be it.  Inspired by the glistening effect of the winter moonlight, the Midnight Glow palette ($48CAD) contains icy shades of white, blue, grey, and pink; a shimmering violet; and two grounding shades of black and soft brown.  Honestly, it’s one of the prettier palettes I’ve come across, and it’s just the perfect size – the shadows are large enough to actually get right in their with your brush (and conveniently, the palette comes with two of it’s own!), but it’s small and thin enough that you could stash it in your clutch for touch-ups with ease.  The case is black with splashes of rose gold and silver design – in a word, I love it!

IMG_0730 IMG_0736

The shadows in the palette are relatively smooth even though the majority contain small bits of glitter throughout their frosty finishes.  Now, everyone knows that high frost shadows can be tricky to wear – particularly on aging eyes, but still difficult for those of us without too many fine lines yet.  I was a bit nervous about this palette, despite how much I love how it looks, that it would be a shimmering disaster once worn.  However, the shadows are all on the sheer side – a fact that initially I was frustrated over (the swatches required many passes to get strong colour), but to which I came to realize allows them to be more easily worn as a wash of shimmer and sparkle on the lid, versus intense frost that could easily veer into the danger zone.  Also, I really appreciate the inclusion of the two matte shades, the black and brown, which allow for blending and grounding of such sparkling shades.  Both shadows are also quite sheer, which may not be ideal for certain looks – especially with the black – but I think it follows the theme of the palette which seems to be more ethereal in nature, rather than disco ball.

IMG_0807Indirect light

IMG_0801Direct sunlight

IMG_0803 IMG_0804

Though the sheerness does mean that many of the shades look similar once worn, I do appreciate that nevertheless the palette is made much more wearable by this trait.  It may come as a disappointment to those of you looking for a more intensely frosty look, but overall I think that it’s not a bad thing.  I don’t have many frosty, glittering shadows, and I think it will add the perfect touch of sparkle to my nighttime looks over the holiday season (and beyond!).


What kind of makeup looks do you favour during the holiday season?  Are you comfortable wearing frosty shades? 

*Product was provided by the PR company/brand for my unbiased consideration.

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Laura Mercier Artist’s Palette for Eyes: Review & Swatches

So, despite the fact that of all the sets I received last month for review, I was MOST excited for Laura Mercier’s Artist’s Palette for Eyes ($60CAD) – it’s taken me ages to post about because I really wanted to do it justice.  But DAMN guys, this palette is hard to photograph!

IMG_0363No…this wasn’t the hard shot to get.  LOL

The light shades looked far too bright and almost glowing.  The medium shades came out too light and washed out.  The glorious sparkling shade, African Violet (which, by the way, I’ve been drooling over forEVER) didn’t come out quite sparkly enough.  The dark shades…well, you get the picture.  I did 4 different photo sessions with this palette, and suffice to say, I just had to get on with it already.  But unfortunately for you, the ‘good’ shots came after I uh, already played around with the palette a bit.  You think I could hold off for that long!?! Pfffft.

IMG_0340One of the few ‘ok’ shots I took before marring the beautiful pans O_o

You’ll just have to deal with it.

Laura Mercier Artists Palette

In the shot above, the shades Guava and Primrose on the left are lighter and a bit less pink than in they appear.  Plum Smoke (SO hard to capture that shade) is a touch warmer and lighter…the rest are fairly accurate.  Let’s see a close-up!


Sparkling Dew and Vanilla Nuts (WTF?) are a bit lighter in the pan and are great for highlighting the eyes – the former having a satin finish and the latter being matte.  Guava and Primrose would be excellent neutral shades to brighten up the eye, Primrose being a bit more beige-y – both have a satin finish with itty bits of glitter in each (not a fan usually but they pretty much blow away the instant to put brush to pan).  African Violet (swoon) is a gorgeous light-medium violet with golden shimmer…I’ve had my eye on this baby for years so I’m pretty stoked to finally get to try it out!  Fresco is a perfect matte nude on my lid that is a touch warm to keep it from looking flat – sort of a mix of light brown and peachy-pink (if that makes sense).


IMG_0510 IMG_0508Left to right: Sparkling Dew, Vanilla Nuts, Guava, Primrose, African Violet, Fresco

See those bits of glitter in Sparkling Dew and Guava?  Weird, right?  They’re less noticeable in Primrose.  Still, odd inclusion – but they aren’t problematic when worn.

Next 6 shades:


Plum Smoke is my fave shade next to African Violet in terms of colorsuch a beautiful, sultry yet subtle soft matte plum; the name is perfect.   Bamboo is a shimmering taupe-y shade that personally falls kinda flat for me – it’s too washed out for my skintone – but I can see others LOVING it.  It also contains that strange hint of glitter here and there.  Kir Royal is a medium-deep plum with reddish tones – this requires appropriate use an execution to avoid that mega-tired or punched-out look.  It has a mostly matte finish but not flat.  Truffle is a great matte warm brown that works well as a crease shade to blend out smoky looks.  It’s going to be a workhorse for me I can tell.  Violet Ink is a deep indigo that would be awesome as a liner shade or smoked out in the crease/outer edge of the eye.  Same goes for Espresso Bean, a dark cool brown with a hint of grey. Both are matte.

And again, swatches:

IMG_0516 Laura Mercier Artists Palette swatchesLeft to right: Plum Smoke, Bamboo, Kir Royal, Truffle, Violet Ink, Espresso Bean

This half of the palette is my JAM.  Love the soft smokiness of all the shades, and I think even though Bamboo isn’t the most complimentary tone on my skin, I can make it work.

Ok, so you’ve seen the pretty – how about the formula?  Well, each and every shade is super soft and lovely, though this does mean they kick up powder a little bit.  They’re more on the sheer side though pigmentation can be built up if so desired.  All the shades meld seamlessly with one another and for this palette-phobic girl, they pretty much hit the mark dead-on.

Here’s the thing.  I read Karen’s review of the palette and couldn’t quite get what she meant about the shades blending into one another and being a bit aggravating that way.  I tend to be a one to two shadow girl, and I didn’t have any previous issues in using them.  But when I tried to pull a more intricate look together, I totally got what she meant – it’s like they just muddy together to make one shade; there’s no gradient or definition, and the more I tried to add to the look to build up certain colors, the worse it got.  It was almost like they were repelling one another…totally bizarre.  So it’s something to keep in mind if you do, in fact, want to be a bit of an artist with this palette.  You might have a little bit of trouble on your hands!


Quite honestly though, I wouldn’t let this oddity deter you from at least checking out the palette in store.  The shades are all quite nice and it’s extremely wearable.  And, hello with that fabulous faux croc case!!!  LOVE it.  And it fits right into the palm of my hand – perfect for travel or for just storing with your other products, as a few of you mentioned those bulky palettes can be the WORST.  Overall, Laura Mercier gets my vote, bizarre shadows be damned.  Maybe the ‘artist’ part is that you’ll gain MAD skill at application after using this palette a few times! :P

OK, what say you?  Yay or nay to THIS palette!?

*Product was provided by the PR company/brand for my unbiased consideration.



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Kat Von D Spellbinding Eyeshadow Book: Review & Swatches

Some of you may already know my avoidance of palettes.  I think I’m in the minority in my feelings, it’s true…but to put it plainly, palettes have most everything I dislike in the world.  Too much choice (anxiety! which shades to choose?), plus more often than not there are several colors that end up never being used, which to me is a waste (HUGE pet peeve).  Also, I have generally found that palettes have a lesser formula than their permanent, single counterparts, which just plain pisses me off.  Having said all that, I think there is enormous benefit to palettes for the right kind of person – if you love options, playing around with shades and creating different looks, and/or if you’re just building your shadow collection, they’re quite the ideal purchase, and they’re usually a great bang for your buck.  If I was to choose a palette for whatever reason, the pre-requisites would be a good array of wearable shades (but not TOO many number-wise), great quality, and, of course, sexy packaging.  How does Kat Von D’s Spellbinding Eyeshadow Book ($65CAD) that has come out for the holidays measure up?  Let’s take a look.

IMG_0667outer packaging

IMG_0659palette itself

First of all, the packaging.  While I’m not over the moon about it (I’m a big fan of a sleek look with minimal design and perhaps leather or metal (like) encasing….but I already said I was picky!), it’s not terrible.  The artistry here is attractive and eye-catching.  It’s thin and not too bulky, though all said it’s about the size of my palm spread wide.  It’ll do.

On the backside, you get an idea of what shades are contained within, with an additional note that the shades are already ideally paired for you.  This is great if you’re someone who isn’t confident in their shadow-combining capabilities.


There is an emphasis throughout the whole schema of the palette on layering and really playing with shade pairings to get unique and interesting looks – once you open the palette, on the inside of the top cover you’ll see more suggestions and diagrams on how to match and wear shades to create your own ‘works of art.’


In the eyeshadow portion of the palette, there is a plastic insert which covers the shadows, that reiterates the shade names for your reference.  The ones marked with a star are never before seen shades exclusive to the palette.  I have no idea where some of the shade names originate from – such as ‘stupid autocorrect,’ which is slightly humorous if not a bit strange.  Each of the pairings do have complimentary themes however, and I do like this consistency.


Below are the shades without the plastic cover, in all their glory:


My first thoughts were that the palette was somewhat haphazard and that there didn’t seem to be much continuity with the shades or the placing of each.  However, when you look at them as pairs of twos, they are quite complimentary to one another; and when you look at each row together, you start to see a theme for each column which actually makes sense.

IMG_0607Left-hand side of the palette.

IMG_0610Right-hand side of the palette.

The first column of shades is sort of like your standard, smoky plus pale metallics/shimmers night-out kind of tones – shades you may already have in your possession:

Kat Von D Spellbinding Eyeshadow Book swatches

Swatched (note that I stupidly did all of my swatches in this post backward – my bad!!):

IMG_0637Left to right: Queen*, Smile Now*, Instaglam*, Holy Bible, Sunset Blvd, Dark Throne*

Queen is one of a few duochrome shades in the palette, and the one with the strongest duo-coloring.  It reminds me of MAC Club, and also of an existing shade within Kat Von D’s Shade Shifter range that Maggie reviewed in the past.  While I have neither, I’m kind of excited to try this shade out, as it’s has a lot of interest and I think you can make some great looks with it.  It also has a great, smooth pigment.  The other shades in this column wow me a lot less: Smile Now is a soft peachy pink with a soft formula that has a slight duochrome finish as well that I just could not capture – I think one someone with fair skin and blue eyes this would be quite striking, but on me I suspect it’ll fall flat.  Instaglam and Holy Bible are the kinds of pale frosty shades I hate, as they look very garish on my darker skin.  However, the texture of the two is quite good – smooth and creamy.  Sunset Blvd is a gold shade with gold glitter that has a stiff texture and a fair bit of fall-out – not my jam.  Dark Throne is not quite black but more charcoal, and is a touch patchy, but blends out well and has a soft texture though not as creamy as some of the others.

Kat Von D Spellbinding Eyeshadow Book swatchesSunset Blvd with it’s glitter particles

IMG_0643Queen in all is duo-chrome-y beauty

In the next column, we have a handful of more edgy, eye-catching shades – not your standard fare and great for when you wanna mix things up a bit.  For whatever reason, they kind of give me a 60s vibe:


IMG_0631Left to right: Bukowski, Cry Later*, Stupid Autocorrect*, Oddfellow, 8 Bit*, Precious

Bukowski is a great medium blue shade with a hint of teal – great pigmentation and a lovely formula.  Cry Later is a mid-tone warm brown with fine gold glitter – it has a bit of fall-out, but the glitter is actually quite pretty and its one of the few times that I appreciate it’s inclusion.  The formula is more stiff, like most of the shades with glitter in the palette, but only slightly and feels smooth to the touch.  Stupid Autocorrect is soft and smooth, but the pigment is lacking which is not ideal with a unique shade such as it is – go bold or go home!  Oddfellow is one of those shades that catches your eye – a deep, dark green with bright emerald glitter flecks – but those flecks don’t translate to the eye.  The fall-out isn’t as bad as it could be, and the shade had a nice dark pigmentation so it’s not a complete loss.  A bit stiff, again, but workable.  8 Bit is a pretty seafoam green with a lovely texture – but not necessarily MY kinda shade, nor is it terribly unique.  Finally we have Precious, yet another super-light shade that probably looks great on fair skinned gals but just YUK on me.  Formula is good – smooth and creamy – but somehow a bit chunky as well.  Weird.

Kat Von D Spellbinding Eyeshadow Book swatchesItty bitty emerald flecks in Oddfellow

IMG_0633Pretty fine gold shimmer in Cry Later

In the third column are what I like to think of as our pastel, girly shades.  They have a spring-like quality to them, even though I didn’t notice it until I swatched them:


IMG_0627Left to right: Countess*, Arcadia*, Galore, Birdcage, Geek*, Babe

Aside from Countess, a nice matte (the only one) skintone shade (smooth though a bit stiff), and Geek, a pretty satin peach (soft and smooth), the rest of the shades leave me cold.  Again, these light colors on my skin tone – gah!!  On the right person, they would likely sing, but on me…ugh.  Arcadia is a pale lavender frost with a creamy formula that has that same odd chunky quality like Precious.  Galore…ANOTHER pale frost that looks the same-ish on my skintone as a couple of the other shades (smooth/chunky formula).  Birdcage is one of those shades I want to look nice on me but doesn’t – kind of a duo-golden green that would rock on a brown-eyed gal.  It has a stiffer formula however.  Babe is an electric purple with a blue flash that people often seem to go ga-ga for…myself excluded.  Stiffer texture and takes a bit to build up.


Finally, in our last column we have a handful of jewel-tone shades – THESE kinds of tones I can get behind!!  Come to mama:


IMG_0621Left to right: WTF, Wonderland, Hexagram*, Gunner, Fallen, Piaf*

Though I’ve previously documented my love of red shadow, I’m not sure about WTF – it might to TOO red?  I haven’t yet tried to wear it so I’ll reserve judgement for now. It’s got a stiffer formula which doesn’t endear me to it a ton.  Wonderland looks great in the palette, but like Oddfellow, doesn’t translate as well on the skin – the red glitter particles blow away and all you’re left with is a a deep reddish plum.  However, the formula is more like Cry Later (smooth) than the other glitter shades, so it’s workable.  Hexagram is a lovely taupe-like shade with a khaki lean and a duochrome flash – quite unique I think!  It reminds me of a more aggressive NARS Rajasthan (the golden taupe shade), which is one of my faves.  Awesome, creamy formula here.  Gunner is a forest green and one of the worst performers of the bunch – dry, stiff, lackluster pigment with glitter fallout…just overall a disappointment.  Fallen is a great staple bronze shade with a stellar formula and dense pigment – not original, but a great shade for all nonetheless.  Piaf is probably one of the shades I’m most pleased to have, as I’ve been needing a nice gunmetal shimmer for some time now but hadn’t made a purchase.  It leans cool and has good pigment and a creamy formula.

Kat Von D Spellbinding Eyeshadow Book swatchesBoo to Gunner’s sad green glitter particles and crap-tastic formula (but check out the duochrome greatness of Hexagram! YUM).

Kat Von D Spellbinding Eyeshadow Book swatchesWonderland. Pretty shade, but not original (but hey!  There’s Hexagram again :P)

Ok.  So first of all, clearly I have high expectations – have we gleaned that yet?  What can I say?  I expect the best.  Having said that, despite my clear distaste for some of the shadows in this palette, there are actually a handful of really wonderful shades and formulas that I’m super keen to use like crazy: Queen, Cry Later (formula is a tad iffy but shade is great), Bukowski, Geek, Piaf, Fallen, and Hexagram.  That’s 7 shades out of…24???  Eeks.  See, THIS is why I don’t like palettes so much.  I’m pretty much a one or two shade wonder and rarely play around to come up with intricate looks – so all these shades will probably go unused for the most part – and I hate having all these other shades kicking around when all I wanted was a handful!  ~sigh~


Anyway, if you don’t have bizarre *excess* issues like I do, I think this palette definitely has some value (speaking of value, the shade costs on their own would total $130CAD, versus the $66 cost of the palette).  Though there are a few shades I felt repetitive (namely, Instaglam, Precious, and Galore, which have minimal difference between them), the range of color is quite encompassing, and you really could come up with a huge variety of looks if that’s your thing.  There are a few shades that could use an upgrade in formula, but it’s mainly limited to the glitter shades which we all know are more often than not a hassle.  If you read other reviews of the palette, they’re mostly positive and are coming from people with NORMAL feelings toward palettes, so there’s that.  And I mean…it IS kinda pretty to look at all the colors, no?? ;)


Are you a bit crazy when it comes to palettes?  How do you (mentally) DEAL with the shades you don’t use??

*Product was provided by the PR company/brand for my unbiased consideration.

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New Makeup Pretties: Liner, Lipstick, Shadow, and Highlight

I have been so terribly absent this summer it’s crazy!  Along with my normally busy social calendar, I’ve been really taking full advantage this season and enjoying it to the max.  It’s the first summer in a while in which I haven’t had a baby shower/bridal shower/bachelorette/wedding every second weekend, so the ‘downtime’ is much appreciated!  You may think that because I have a new (and fabulous…just throwin’ it out there ;)) beau that he’s taking up all of my time, but truth be told – he works in Newfoundland and is only home every second weekend, so I can’t even use that as an excuse!  In actual fact, I’m just having a great summer all around.  I hope everyone else is as well!

On the beauty front, nothing TOO exciting has been going on – I’m still trying to keep my purchases of new color cosmetics to a minimum (still only have one face, last time I checked), but fall is kind of my fave season so I haven’t been completely well-behaved:

Summer Purchases (2)Clockwise from left: MAC Pressed Pigment in Damson, MAC Lipstick in Hug Me, Laura Mercier Illluminator in Spellbound, Stila Stay All Day Waterproof Liquid Eyeliner in Cobalt

I mentioned in my wish list post that I had picked up the MAC Pressed Pigment in Damson – here is it in it’s (partial) glory (it’s MUCH more awesome IRL), along with Laura Mercier’s Illuminator in Spellbound, a MAC lipstick in Hug Me, and Stila’s newest liquid liner shade in Cobalt.  Every single purchase here is all sorts of awesome in it’s own way!

I feel like I’ve already gone on about MAC Damson ($25CAD), and I want to give it a full review, so for now just trust: it’s awesome.  Just LOOK at it:

MAC Damson Pressed Pigment

I really needed a good MLBB lip color as I didn’t have anything and essentially just used lip balm when I was trying to go for that look (which is probably all that IS really needed, but…meh).  After trying on a TON at the MAC counter last time I was there, the SA pulled out Hug Me ($18CAD), which was a perfect match.  My lips tend to be of medium pigmentation and lean sort of grayish when I’m bare-lipped, so this was a great choice.  It’s a Lustre formula which isn’t my favorite, but it feels good going on, is only semi-opaque so it looks quite natural, and lasts a few hours so I’m happy.

MAC Hug Me

The Stila eyeliner ($26CAD) is absolutely AMAZING.  A thick line of this with a lil flick at the end, a bit o’ blush and balm, and I’m ready to rock n roll.  I find this far easier and somehow more subtle to wear than a bright aqua liner (of which I seem to have several for some reason) and it looks particularly striking with my dark brown eye color.  This is my first Stila liquid liner – they are so darn tenacious and great, but I resisted buying one until now because they’re a smaller size than most other brands with similar offerings, but they costs about the same.  This unique color totally justified giving in finally.

Stila Cobalt Liquid Eyeliner swatch

Laura Mercier’s newest illuminator, Spellbound ($55CAD), hit the ground running, similarly to last year’s Rose Rendezvous, which I missed out on.  I was determined not to make that mistake again, so I ordered this rose-gold highlighter online sight-unseen.  It’s likely if I had waited until seeing it in-store that I would have purchased it – it’s quite nice but not mind-blowing to me – but I’m still pleased to have it, and it doesn’t replicate anything else I own.  And the design is just too pretty to pass up eh?  Further review to come.

Laura Mercier Spellbound Illuminator (2)

Soo…yeah.  I’ve definitely been up to a few of my old trick in the past month or so, but at least my purchases are varied and I feel like they augment my collection rather than just adding to the pile.  I’ve been keen to do another purge lately so I think that filtering out some items that don’t get much love to add others that will just makes sense.  All the products that are on my wishlist follow this mentality as well.  As long as I don’t feel guilt about my purchases then all is well and fine by me!

What kinds of makeup have you been picking up lately?  Are you paring down or ramping up for fall?

Summer Purchases

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Sephora + Pantone Universe Full Spectra Eyeshadow Palettes in Day Break and Night Fall

Sephora + Pantone Universe Full Spectra shadow palettes (2)

Last month I received a surprise delivery of treats from Sephora, which included the new Pantone collaboration Full Spectra eyeshadow palettes ($46CAD).  I was pretty stoked, truth be told – the design of the palettes are right up my alley (aka a minimalist aesthetic with sleek lines, and neat magnetic detachable covers), and the colors looked super-fun and interesting.

Sephora + Pantone Universe Full Spectra shadow palettes (3)

The formula is touted as being ‘color-shifting’ and have a ‘pearlescent-matte’ finish, which is sort of a contradictory term but also somehow correct.  Of course, I jumped right in and got to swatching!

First up is the Day Break palette, which consists of somewhat neutral, soft shades typically more suitable for day wear.

Sephora + Pantone Universe Full Spectra shadow palette in Day Break

Sephora + Pantone Universe Day BreakTop row, left to right: Navajo, Dew, Jet Stream, Fairest Jade / Bottom row, left to right: Shrimp, Atmosphere, Cloud Pink, Peach Melba

Cloud Pink…huh.  It does not look pink at all, much more like a copper/bronze to me, but clouds aren’t pink anyway so the naming here is just all sorts of messed up.  Anyway.  On to the swatches!

Sephora Pantone Day Break shadow palette (3)Left to right: Shrimp, Navajo, Atmosphere, Dew, Cloud Pink, Jet Stream, Peach Melba, Fairest Jade

Sephora Pantone Day Break shadow palette (2)

Sephora Pantone Day Break shadow palette (4)

You can see a bit of the duochrome-y-ness in a few of the shades, which is apparently more pronounced when swatched wet.  I tried it out and I did notice a slight difference, but not enough to be a game-changer.  All of the shades of Day Break are pearlescent except for Jet Stream and Peach Melba, which are just matte.

Next, we have the Night Fall palette, which still retains several neutral shades but adds a handful of punchy colors to spice things up for the evening.

Sephora + Pantone Universe Full Spectra shadow palette in Night Fall

Sephora + Pantone Universe Night FallTop row, left to right: Gravel, Eggnogg, Coral Pink, Crystal Pink / Bottom row, left to right: Ocean Wave, Yellow Iris, Persian Jewel, Pink Lavender

Again with the strange pink reference to a shade that is clearly not pink (Coral Pink).  Maybe they know something I don’t????

Ah well.  Swatchy time!

Sephora Pantone Night  Fall shadow palette (2)Left to right: Ocean Wave, Gravel, Yellow Iris, Eggnog, Persian Jewel, Coral Pink, Pink Lavender, Crystal Pink

Sephora Pantone Night  Fall shadow palette (3) Sephora Pantone Night  Fall shadow palette (6)

The shade combination in Night Fall really intrigues me – you could come up with some super-interesting looks here I think!  Obviously Persian Jewel is the standout shade here, with Ocean Wave a close second (especially for lighter skintones than mine).  The bottom shades are all matte as well as Eggnog (top, 2nd from left), while the remaining three are pearlescent.

As you can see, both palettes swatch semi-sheerly – and they had to be built up to get this level of pigmentation.  The shadows are soft though stiff, but not necessarily hard to blend.  All will yield a pretty wash of color to the lids – but if you’re looking to go bold (especially with shades like Persian Jewel), you will be disappointed.  Particularly on my darker skin, these shadows are mostly a miss for me – I tried using Persian Jewel wet, on top of a primer, and while it was visible it did not yield the impact I desired.  I recognize that some shadows are designed that way intentionally, but I do not think that was the case here.  So, while there are some pretty shades and these look gorgeous, unless you’re going for subtletly, I’d pass on these.

As a note, both palettes contain talc if you have a sensitivity to it, but do NOT contain parabens.

What are your thoughts on sheer shadows – yea or nay?

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

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Alternative Bridesmaid Makeup Look

Good day to you! :)  I am off today after a crazy couple weeks helping plan and coordinate our Public Service Week here at my work.  I am the co-chair of our Youth Network for the Atlantic Region, so I was also organizing some events for the offices in other provinces as well.  Quite the job!  In any case, I think the week went pretty well, and yesterday our internal news publication came out with an article on myself and my co-chair on how we’re aspiring leaders, and basically made us sound really snazzy.  It was really nice to get recognition for the work we do so I’m feeling pretty awesome right now! (despite the four glasses of wine I had last night in celebration LOL).

Anyway, enough with the recap.  Today I wanted to show you a recreation of the look I did for my friend’s wedding last month.  Unfortunately, I didn’t have time to capture the actual look itself, but I used everything I wore in the shots below – though I’m missing the false lashes.  Use your imagination for those ;)

Anyone who knows me knows I always like to take what’s considered the ‘norm’ and put a little spin on it.  A lot of people I know have traveled/lived in Australia, so I went to New Zealand.  I once attended a formal event where everyone wore dresses, and I wore a white pant suit (see below – not a great shot, and eeks! to the fuzzy straightened hair – but damn it if I didn’t love that outfit :)).  So, when I started thinking about what makeup I wanted to wear for the wedding, I wanted something still appropriate but with a twist.  And so: red eyeshadow.

Pics to Sort etc 137Also – pink heels!  YES.

Ok, maybe not full-on red.  That would probably clash with the whole romantic theme.  But a metallic cranberry?  Now we’re talking.

The shade I used was L’Oreal Infallible Eyeshadow in Golden Mahogany, a shadow I’ve shown you before.  I don’t wear it very often because in my mind it’s ‘red shadow,’ but since the wedding, I’ve been pulling it out a lot more – it’s like the best version of red ever, that is actually super-wearable.  As it’s quite standout on it’s own, I paired it with subdued shades everywhere else to keep it the focal point – soft pink cheeks and rosy-beige lips.

Wedding Makeup Swatches Wedding Makeup Swatches (2)Left to right: MAC Fluidline in Blacktrack, L’Oreal Golden Mahogany shadow, MAC Arena shadow, Too Faced Chocolate Soleil bronzer, Illamasqua Hussy blush, Laura Mercier Lip Glacé in Discrete.

As you can see, very few products were used for the look.  At the wedding, by using false individual lashes (which I prefer because you can apply them the night before to save time), coupled with the shadow, I didn’t need to work too hard to have my eyes really stand out.  False lashes are especially awesome for photos (of which you can see here).  All that I did was to use a cream liner to get into any spaces in-between the lashes to make them look full, and then applied Golden Mahogany all over the lid and into the crease.  I blended MAC Arena into the brow bone and inner eye corners, et voila!  That was ALL I needed to do to get the look below.  Simple and pretty!

Wedding MakeupWedding Makeup (2)

Again, with the false lashes this look was made much more KAPOW!

The base used was Hourglass Immaculate Liquid Powder foundation (which I’m fairly certain I’m going to buy for the rest of my life) worn over Hourglass No.28 Primer Serum (which really is AMAZING at keeping the oilies controlled).  Some contouring with bronzer, a touch of blush and highlight (I used Chanel’s Poudree Signee, not shown in the swatches), and a dab of lipgloss were the finishing touches.

I was really happy with the resulting look, and felt that I managed to continue with my habit of doing something not quite the norm, but also not so far out there either.  And that shadow really has reach HG status with me (which incidentally has put me on a quest to weed out all my HG’s and get rid of anything less)!

What do you think?  Would you wear red eyeshadow (to a formal event, no less)?  How do you ‘break the mold’ when it comes to makeup?

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How Convenient That Pantone’s Color of the Year Was Also PERFECT for St. Patty’s Day!

So.  Yesterday was St. Patrick’s Day!  7 years ago (OMG how time flies…barf) I was in Dublin for Paddy’s Day (as they shorthand it in Ireland), and yea…it was as crazy as you’d imagine it to be!  Not so much a drunken mess, but just the sheer amount of people…yowza.  It was a fantabulous time, and I’ll never forget it!

As the years pass, it seems the crew of hardcore Paddy’s Day party-goers dwindles in my crowd – job responsibilities, babies, and aging in general all seem to keep everyone at home on one of the most fun days of the year ~tear~  Thankfully, I have an excellent partner-in-crime who I can always count on to celebrate with me!  This year it was just the two of us, so it was more low-key than usual, but I still made sure to dress the part – which includes green makeup (and nails), of course!

St. Patty's Day Makeup 2013  (5)

St. Patty's Day Makeup 2013  (7)

St. Patty's Day Makeup 2013  (4)

I usually do a lot more green on the eye, but since it wasn’t a rip-roaring party I went subdued and just wore a simple flash of green liner on the top lash line.  I used Urban Decay’s 24/7 Liner in Covet (an emerald green with silver microglitter) on top of MAC’s Blacktrack Fluidline – the black gave the green more depth and helped the line look more crisp.  I added MAC All That Glitters shadow all over the lid, as I find it gives the most beautiful shine to the eye without ever seeming like too much, and then a dab of Giorgio Armani’s Eyes to Kill shadow in #6 Khaki Pulse to the crease to add a little bit more depth.  *Side note – anyone notice that I’m trying to grow my eyebrows out?  It’s so frickin’ hard dude!  I want to pluck all the random stray hairs but I’m trying to be patient ~sigh~ They are coming along though :)

St. Patty's Day Makeup 2013  (2)

Since it was going to be a long day, I wore MUFE’s HD Blush in #12 First Kiss on bare cheeks, layered foundation on top, and then added a touch of MAC’s Mineralize Blush in Early Morning to make sure my blush had good staying power.  I quite liked the way it made my skin look kind of lit from within.  I don’t usually layer cream and powder blushers but I really need to get on that!  I topped off my cheekbones and other high points of the face with MAC’s Beauty Powder in Shell Pearl, which gives the best glow – I finally got my hands on the Year of the Snake version last week and I LOVE this product.  Review will be forthcoming!

St. Patty's Day Makeup 2013  (3)

I finished with a very simple lip using Benefit’s Ultra Plush gloss in Hoola.  I didn’t want anything competing with the green liner, so this gave the barest hint of shimmer and warmth, but that’s about it.

St. Patty's Day Makeup 2013

Of course, the look isn’t finished – gotta get some flash on the nails too, right!?  Because I’m not a fan of green nail polish as a whole, I don’t actually own any that are going to give me serious pizazz.  But I have shades with a green tinge… haha.  I made it work, I think!  I just read about sideways manicures, so I tried it out – easiest nail art EVER.  And also my new favorite!!

St. Patty's Day Nails 2013 St. Patty's Day Nails 2013 (3) St. Patty's Day Nails 2013 (2)

The shades I used were a-England Tess d’Urbervilles as a base, and Chanel Peridot on top.  This was probably more subtle than I should have gone with – the nature of Peridot with it’s duochrome nature just makes the a-England shade look like a shadow.  Nonetheless, I loved the effect, and loved how darn easy this one (no nail stickers required – freehand works perfectly!), so I’ll definitely be trying this again and again with other shades.  Fun!

I always have intentions to get these kinds of event posts up before the actual event, but who am I kidding?  That’s never going to happen – I’m too busy prepping for the occasion to actually have time to post!  LOL  Anyway, all the other bloggers have got this covered for me :D  And it’s not like I did anything particularly unique, and both the makeup and nails could be done any time of the year, right?

How did you celebrate Paddy’s Day??  Did you do any themed makeup and/or nails?

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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)


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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Swatching Is Rough (AKA My Eyeshadow Collection)

Eyeshadow Collection (3)

I was going to leave my eyeshadow collection ’till last to swatch in my ‘find the gaps’ series of posts, but the superstorm (which…is kind of lackluster – yea, there’s lots of snow, but I want some action, darn it!) seemed like the perfect time to just get ‘er done – so I did!  Oh man…for those of you who have larger collections than mine, I feel sorry for you if you attempt to do this – it is a BIG EFFING ORDEAL.  I started last night and got just over halfway through before both (!) arms had had enough.  I continued today and after needing to re-swatch several shade categories to get them *just right*, my left arm is just burning (as you’ll notice in the photos – red spots galore!).  So: enough.  I’m ready to rock ‘n roll.  Now – let’s get into ‘er!

Note: All shades are permanent within their respective brands except where otherwise noted.

WHITE EYESHADOWWhite Eyeshadow Swatches - AVON, Urban Decay UziAvon True Color Quad in Smokey Eyes (satin white)
Urban Decay Eyeshadow in Uzi (shimmer w/glitter) (LE)
‘HIGHLIGHT’ EYESHADOWHighlight Eyeshadow Swatches - MUFE 920, KATE BR-2, MAC VexMake Up For Ever Star Powder in #920 (iridescent)
KATE Real Create Eyes BR-2 Palette (white gold pearl)
MAC Eyeshadow in Vex (frost)
NUDE EYESHADOWNude Eyeshadow Swatches - MAC Next to Nothing, Laura Mercier Suspense, Burberry TrenchMAC Eyeshadow in Next to Nothing (Cult of Cherry Tempting Quad – frost) (LE)
Laura Mercier Eye Color Duet in Suspense (matte cool beige) (LE)
Burberry Sheer Eyeshadow in Trench (satin)
BEIGE, CHAMPAGNE & PEACH EYESHADOWPeach-Champagne Eyeshadow Swatches (9)Urban Decay Eyeshadow in Midnight Cowboy Rides Again (shimmer w/glitter)
Make Up For Ever Aqua Cream in #13 Warm Beige (frost)
Chanel Illusion d’Ombre in Emerveille (shimmer)
Urban Decay Eyeshadow in Snatch (shimmer w/glitter)
Kate Real Create Eyeshadow BR-2 Palette (soft peachy shimmer)
MAC Eyeshadow in Arena (satin)
GOLD EYESHADOWGold Eyeshadow Swatches - MAC Melon, Laura Mercier Gilded Moonlight, Clinique Gold GlimmerMAC Pigment in Melon (frost)
Laura Mercier Illuminating Eye Color in Gilded Moonlight (pearl) (LE)
Clinique Touch Tint for Eyes in Gold Glimmer (shimmer) (discontinued)
COPPER & ORANGE EYESHADOWOrange-Copper Eyeshadow Swatches - MAC Amber Lights, Ardene 8BMAC Eyeshadow in Amber Lights (frost)
Ardene Eyeshadow in 8B (pearl)
BRONZE EYESHADOWBronze Eyeshadow Swatches - MAC Cocomotion, UD Smog, MAC Tempting, Clinique Rum SpiceMAC Pigment in Cocomotion (frost) (LE)
Urban Decay Eyeshadow in Smog (shimmer)
MAC Eyeshadow in Tempting (lustre)
Clinique Color Surge Super Shimmer Eyeshadow in Rum Spice (shimmer)
BROWN EYESHADOWBrown Eyeshadow Swatches - MAC Dark Edge, KATE BR-2, MUFE #17, Laura Mercier Suspense DuoMAC Eyeshadow in Dark Edge (Cult of Cherry Tempting Quad – satin) (LE)
KATE Real Create Eyes BR-2 Palette (deep brown shimmer)
Make Up For Ever Eyeshadow in #17 Espresso (matte)
Laura Mercier Eye Color Duet in Suspense (matte burgundy brown) (LE)
Brown-Taupe Eyeshadow Swatches - UD Suspect, NARS Rajasthan, KATE BR-2Urban Decay Eyeshadow in Suspect (shimmer)
NARS Duo Eyeshadow in Rajasthan (beige-gold taupe) (shimmer) (LE)
KATE Real Create Eyes BR-2 Palette (taupe shimmer)
Purple-Taupe Eyeshadow Swatches - NARS Grand Palais, LMdB Corinthian, MAC Shale, bareMinerals Meteorite, Hourglass ExhibitionNARS Duo Eyeshadow in Grand Palais (silver-taupe shimmer)
Hourglass Visionaire Eye Shadow Duo in Exhibition (mauve shimmer)
MAC Eyeshadow in Shale (satin)
bareMinerals High Shine Eye Color in Meteorite (frost)
Le Metier de Beaute True Color Eye Shadow in Corinthian (shimmer)
RED & PINK EYESHADOWPink-Red Eyeshadow Swatches - L'Oreal Golden Mahogany, Chanel Abstraction, Avon Smokey EyesL’Oreal Infallible Eyeshadow in Golden Mahogany (frost)
Chanel Illusion d’Ombre in Abstraction (shimmer)
Avon True Color Quad in Smokey Eyes (matte light pink)
Rose-Mauve Eyeshadow Swatches - UD Bordello, UD Last Call, NARS Grand PalaisUrban Decay Eyeshadow in Bordello (shimmer w/glitter)
Urban Decay Eyeshadow in Last Call (metallic)
NARS Duo Eyeshadow in Grand Palais (matte dusty rose)
Plum Eyeshadow Swatches - NARS Habanera, UD Rockstar, Hourglass Exhibition
NARS Duo Eyeshadow in Habanera (sparkling plum)
Urban Decay Eyeshadow in Rockstar (shimmer)
Hourglass Visionaire Eye Shadow Duo in Exhibition (eggplant shimmer)
Purple Eyeshadow Swatches - UD Psychedelic Sister, MAC InfamousUrban Decay Eyeshadow in Psychedelic Sister (shimmer)
MAC Paint in Infamous (metallic) (discontinued)
Blue Eyeshadow Swatches - UD Radium, MAC Blue Boy, MAC Blue EdgeMAC Paint in Blue Boy (metallic) (discontinued)
Urban Decay Eyeshadow in Radium (shimmer)
MAC Eyeshadow in Blue Edge (matte w/shimmer) (discontinued)
Teal-Aqua Eyeshadow Swatches - NARS Rajasthan, theBalm Jealous Jordana, UD Loaded, MUFE #8E, Illamasqua Burst, UD Money, NARS Habanera, UD Haight
NARS Duo Eyeshadow in Rajasthan (blackened teal shimmer) (LE)
Urban Decay Eyeshadow in Loaded (metallic)
theBalm Shady Lady Eyeshadow in Jealous Jordana (shimmer)
Make Up For Ever Aqua Shadow in 8E (matte)
Urban Decay Eyeshadow in Haight (shimmer)
Urban Decay Eyeshadow in Money (shimmer w/micro-glitter) (LE)
NARS Duo Eyeshadow in Habanera (mint frost)
Green Eyeshadow Swatches - UD Kush, LMdB Jade, UD Mildew, MAC Sharp, Lise Watier Folie Pomme, MUFE #57Urban Decay Eyeshadow in Kush (shimmer w/micro-glitter)
Le Metier de Beaute True Color Eye Shadow in Jade (shimmer)
Urban Decay Eyeshadow in Mildew (shimmer)
MAC Eyeshadow in Sharp (Cult of Cherry Tempting Quad – satin) (LE)
Lise Watier Couleur Folle Eyeshadow in Folie Pomme (iridescent shimmer)
Make Up For Ever Eyeshadow in #57 Chartreuse (satin)
Yellow Eyeshadow Swatches - MUFE #24, MAC Bright Future
Make Up For Ever Aqua Cream in #24 Yellow (matte)
MAC Eyeshadow in Bright Future (
Khaki Eyeshadow Swatches - Armani #24, Armani #6, Clinique Autumn Moss
Giorgio Armani Eyes to Kill Intense Waterproof Eyeshadow in #24 Smokey Copper (shimmer)
Giorgio Armani Eyes to Kill Intense Eyeshadow in #6 Khaki Pulse (shimmer)
Clinique Color Surge Soft Shimmer Eyeshadow in Autumn Moss (satin)
Silver-Taupe Eyeshadow Swatches - UD Maui Wowie, Bobbi Brown Pewter, theBalm Insane Jane, MUFE #2Urban Decay Eyeshadow in Maui Wowie (metallic w/glitter)
Bobbi Brown Chrome Eye Shadow in Pewter (frost) (LE)
theBalm Shady Lady Eyeshadow in Insane Jane (shimmer)
Make Up For Ever Aqua Cream in #2 Steel (shimmer)
Grey Eyeshadow Swatches - Avon Smokey EyesAvon True Color Quad in Smokey Eyes (medium grey & dove grey) (shimmer)
Black Eyeshadow Swatches - UD Perversion, MAC Dark SoulMAC Pigment in Dark Soul (frost w/glitter)
Urban Decay Eyeshadow in Perversion (matte)


Did you make it??

Eyeshadow Collection (4)

…So.  To be honest, when I started swatching all my makeup, I was originally just trying to find a way to justify new purchases – if it could be considered a shade I didn’t already own, then I would feel free to go for it.  However, now I’ve discovered that being so fully aware of what I own, has made me really excited to play with my current collection, instead of seeking out new products.  I especially noticed this with this eyeshadow post – there are so truly fabulous shades in there!  While there are still of course colors I’d like to pick up to fill the gaps (namely – a lilac and a skintone [MY skintone, to clarify] shade, among a couple others), overall I’m WELL aware I have a ton of shades to rock out and don’t really *need* anything else at the moment.  I did notice I have a lot less color than I imagined, but that’s actually OK because I don’t tend to wear it a ton and try to avoid buying a lot of it only for it to go unused.  I think my stash is fairly representative of the kind of makeup I wear day to day!  So SCORE for being logical in my purchases :)

Eyeshadow Collection

I am kinda worn out from the work necessary to do this post, so I’m done now LOL.  But – I have questions for you!

Do you see any gaps that I could fill?  What shades make up the bulk of your eyeshadow collection?? Also – anyone bother to count how many shades I have?  I’m too tired now to bother LOL

Eyeshadow Collection (2)

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The Ultimate Yellow Eyeshadow – Seriously! Make Up For Ever’s Aqua Cream #24

This seems to be the year of yellow eyeshadow for me – this will be my third go-around with the shade, and each time just keeps getting better!  The latest version has truly blown my socks off, which is kind of amazing since yellow isn’t exactly the *easiest* shade to wear.  But somehow, it’s happened, and I’m so excited to share it with you!

Make Up For Ever Aqua Cream #24 ($26CAD), a matte vibrant yellow, is part of four new shades of the Aqua Cream line-up – along with an Acid Green, Pastel Blue, and Purple.  As I’m sure you’re aware, Aqua Creams are a long-lasting, waterproof, majorly pigmented cream shadow that will not budge all day long.  I now own four shades, and by far #24 Yellow is the best one yet.  The consistency of this product is AMAZING!  It’s so unbelievably creamy and easy to apply.  I think they may have improved their formula, as some of my other ones can be a bit tricky to blend.  This is NOT the case with #24 – it smoothes on easily and doesn’t set too quickly, but then once it’s set, it wears like iron for hours.  I had it on yesterday, in the mega heat and humidity (we had TWO thunderstorms!), and it didn’t budge an inch from 9am till 9pm.

As you can see below, #24 is pretty much a bright canary yellow, which can be a challenging shade to wear for most skin tones.  However, the wonderful blendability of this shadow enables you to apply just a sheer wash of it on the lid, and because it’s a creamy finish vs powdery, it looks much more natural.  I would suggest wearing a dark liner when wearing yellow however, as it helps to ground the shade a bit.  I did a look wearing this that I will be showing you later in the week – I combined it with a few other shadows – and it turned out pretty darn good I think!

With flash

Natural light

I’ll be honest – when MUFE sent this shade to me, I thought: “Oh man, really?  How am I going to wear this??” but it turns out, it was SO much easier than I ever dreamed!  And I am being completely truthful with you when I say I will be wearing this again and again this Summer – its just so warm and lovely and makes me think of sunshine and golden rays of light.  It certainly requires a *little* bit of extra creativity – you can’t just slap it on and go – but the slight bit of extra effort it takes to pull a look together with this shade is SO worth it.  Truly, don’t let the color in the pan and the swatches scare you – this is one fabulous shadow!

Stay tuned for my look with this shade later this week!

Would you consider wearing yellow eyeshadow?  What looks would you create with it?

*Product sent for my unbiased consideration by the PR company/brand.

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