Posts Tagged eyeshadow

Recent Purchases, Part III: The eye make-ups

In the ongoing chronicle of my intense 3 month makeup haul, next we have all the eye makeup that I bought over the past few months – again, this behaviour was nonsensical as I barely wear eye makeup these days save for mascara, but…sometimes we just lose our damn minds. I’m better now (but still want to atone for my ‘mistakes’).

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Let’s begin with the most sensible purchases, given my comment above – mascara.

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I went many years without buying much mascara at all – maybe one per year – as I’d often get free ones from Clinique, or just use the samples I’d get from Sephora etc. But this past year I’ve been trialing quite a few drugstore mascaras, as I’ve made an informal, semi-pact with myself that I won’t spend the big bucks on mascara any more; for only 3-4 months of use (and generally the same effectiveness across low- and high-end), my monies are better spent elsewhere.

The first mascara I picked up however, WAS from the higher-end of the spectrum – Benefit’s new Roller Lash mascara ($31CAD) – though I bought it during the Sephora sale in April.

Benefit Roller Lash MascaraBenefit Roller Lash Mascara

Benefit’s newest mascara offering claims to be a ‘super-curling and lifting’ mascara to give a ‘sexy, wide-eyed look.’ As my eyelashes are already pretty curly on their own, I wasn’t initially reeled in by the product, but after seeing a few tutorials and reviews online I decided I liked the way it separated and lengthened lashes. Since I tend to go very low-key on the eye makeup day-to-day, I do prefer my lashes to be ultra-defined while letting my lips do the heavy lifting. For me, Roller Lash does the job well – it gives decent length, doesn’t clump and really catches every lash so they stand out, which is important when you’re not wearing anything else on the eye.

Benefit Roller LashTwo coats of Benefit Roller Lash Mascara

Though I am quite enjoying the lengthening and separating effects of Roller Lash, I also wanted to have a more volumizing formula on hand for when I wanted more drama. Enter L’Oreal’s praised Voluminous Million Lashes Excess mascara:

IMG_1018L’Oreal Voluminous Million Lashes Excess Mascara in Black

The Million Lashes Excess is supposed to give ‘bold volume with clean definition’, and I’d say this is partly true. The formula is thin and wet, so it gives you time to build it up on the lashes without clumping. Because of this, you do get fairly defined lashes – however, it takes effort and several coats to get that ‘bold volume’, at which point the likelihood of clumps increases (though not by too much). I personally find this tedious to apply, and the effect is not dramatic as I’d hoped. Not a bad option though for those who are looking for a reasonably priced mascara with a little bit of drama.

L'Oreal Voluminous Million Lashes Excess Mascara one coatOne coat of L’Oreal Voluminous Million Lashes Excess Mascara

L'Oreal Voluminous Million Lashes Excess Mascara two coatsTwo coats of L’Oreal Voluminous Million Lashes Excess Mascara

After watching Tati’s first impressions video on the L’Oreal Voluminous Miss Manga Rock mascara, I went ahead and picked it up when it went on sale at my local Lawtons drugstore. The yet another addition to the Voluminous franchise, Miss Manga Rock is touted to give ‘mega texturized volume’ via a 360° spiked brush and textured formula, creating ‘explosive volume’ at the roots and pointed lash tips.

IMG_1016L’Oreal Voluminous Miss Manga Rock Mascara in Blackest Black

L'Oreal Miss Manga Rock mascara one coatOne coat of L’Oreal Voluminous Miss Manga Rock Mascara

L'Oreal Miss Manga Rock mascara two coatsTwo coats of L’Oreal Voluminous Miss Manga Rock Mascara

Despite the aforementioned tendency to wear little to no other eye makeup except mascara lately, I still get sucked in by a pretty shadow. I had been on the hunt for a striking gold eyeshadow with almost a greenish tint for month, when I finally stumbled upon Makeup Geek’s Liquid Gold pigment. The price was right (~$6) so I promptly ordered it because, why not?

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Shortly thereafter, I went on a MAC craze, listing all the products I *needed* to buy from the core range. I planned to buy a few every couple months or so, and one of the first on my list was the subtle highlight eyeshadow in Ricepaper (frost), and a couple months later I followed my plan and picked up Cork satin eyeshadow, which I though would be perfect as both a transition shade or an all-over lid shade that would give me just a hint of smokiness (being so close to my skin color).

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During my shopping trip to buy Cork, it so happened that the Extra Dimension eyeshadows were launched permanently, and though I don’t love a ton of shimmer in my shadows, I couldn’t help but buy one – iridescent A Natural Flirt reminded me a lot of my favourite shade in my KATE BR-2 palette, and so it was that I brought it home as well.

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Finally, I had been eyeing a handful of products from Charlotte Tilbury (who isn’t these days???) and Beautylish offers free shipping on your first order from the site, so along with a Chikuhodo brush (review to come) I picked up a Colour Chameleon eye pencil in Smoky Emerald, a gorgeous dark sparkling khaki, after seeing it in action in a post on Into the Gloss re: makeup for brown-eyed girls. Of all the new shadows I’ve bought, this is the only one I’ve worn (for shame!), and it is LOVELY. Glides on SO creamy and smooth and then lasts all day. And this shade really is PERFECT for brown eyes!

IMG_1062 IMG_1063Left to right: Charlotte Tilbury Color Chameleon in Smoky Emerald, Makeup Geek Pigment in Liquid Gold, MAC Extra Dimension Shadow in A Natural Flirt, MAC Shadow in Naked Lunch, and MAC Shadow in Cork

I also made another shadow purchase, during the Sephora sale: a Giorgio Armani Eye Tint, in the shade 10 Senso (reg. $39CAD). I was so excited to try this formula, and having to order sight-unseen as we don’t have Armani here in Halifax, I took the safe route and ordered the bronzy shade which I was sure would work well for me. When it arrived however, I was dismayed to find that not only was it not all that bronze on me (it looks much more like a taupe-brown with a purple lean), but that it looks very similar to two other shadows I already owned – Laura Mercier Caviar Stick in Amethyst and Urban Decay 24/7 Shadow Pencil in Rehab.

IMG_0672 Giorgio Armani Eye Tint in Senso swatch comparisonLeft to right: Giorgio Armani Eye Tint in Senso, Urban Decay 24/7 Shadow Pencil in Rehab, Laura Mercier Caviar Stick in Amethyst

Having already purchased more eyeshadows than I should have, and being less than impressed with the shade (and formula – this was nothing to write home about, in my opinion, especially for $39!), I returned Senso. There’s just no room for subpar products or duplicates in my stash!

And so ends my eye makeup purchases – for the time being. I’m sure I’ll buy more mascara at some point, but not until I’ve finished two of these – I’ve tried all the ones on my lemmings list now so I’m good for a while. However, I am going to try my very hardest to resist buying any more eyeshadow until our trip to Los Angeles over the Christmas holiday (can’t wait!!!!), when I’ll have access to a ton of brands we can’t get here (MOAR Charlotte Tilbury!). As you may have seen on my Instagram, I’m struggling with reducing the current collection of shades I own as it is, so until I either can eliminate a few shades or use a few up (!!!!!), I absolutely NEED to put a lid on it for a while.

Now, to leave you with a couple sweet pictures of my wee one, who was such a good girl during my swatchfest :)

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GAH. My kid is so stupidly cute.

Have you been hauling lately? How do you stop yourself from buying products that you don’t need/don’t use?

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Make Up For Ever Artist Shadows in M-656 and ME-612: Autumn’s perfect pairing

Alright, so I’ve been trying to get this post up for a week but so far it clearly hasn’t happened. I have an hour or so before pre-natal yoga but I MUST talk about these awesome new(ish) shadows from Make Up For Ever NOW before I get way-laid again, so let’s get ‘er done!

The Artist Shadow collection includes 210 shades (which is CRAZY, by the way…think of the possibilities!) in 5 different finishes – matte, satin, iridescent, metal, and diamond. 3 years in the making, the formula was designed to maximize colour delivery through mega-concentrated pigments, and their Water-Blend technology aims to enhance blendability and texture.

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I received shades M-656 (a Chestnut shade) and ME-612 (described as a ‘silver brown’ but which I feel is more rose-bronze). The ‘M‘ before the colour number indicates a matte shade; while the ‘ME‘ denotes a metal finish. Other formulas within the shade range correspond as follows: S = satinI = iridescent, and D = diamond. The numbers indicate a specific area of the colour wheel (above).

Make Up For Ever Artist Shadows in M656 and ME612Left to right: Make Up For Ever Artist Shadows in M-656 Chestnut and ME-612 Silver Brown

Initially when I saw these shadows I was pretty pumped – they’re perfectly neutral, easy-wearing shades and that bronzey-rose metallic shade is SO my kind of colour.

Make Up For Ever Artist Shadows in M656 Make Up For Ever Artist Shadow in M-656 Chestnut 

Make Up For Ever Artist Shadows in ME612Make Up For Ever Artist Shadow in ME-612 Silver Brown

The chestnut shade is soft and buttery smooth, and swatches exactly as it looks in the pan. However, on first touch, the ‘silver brown’ shadow felt a bit stiffer to the touch, and didn’t translate its beauty as well as I’d hoped – it’s not as pigmented as I imagined it would be, and appears slightly faded rather than the rich texture I was expecting.

Make Up For Ever Artist Shadows in M-656 and ME-612M-656 Chestnut (left) and ME-612 Silver Brown (right)

Additionally, I was a bit let down with the chestnut shade in that it seemed very close to other shades I already owned: MAC Saddle and Laura Mercier Truffle (from last year’s Artist’s Palette).

Make Up For Ever Artist Shadow in M-656 vs MAC Saddle vs Laura Mercier Truffle swatchLeft to right: MUFE M-656, MAC Saddle, and Laura Mercier Truffle

However, in swatching I realized that while the MUFE shade is quite close to Saddle (the former being a bit cooler), its pigmentation and texture is FAR superior – Saddle is more stiff and took many more passes to build up the colour, while M-656 was full-on colour from first swatch. Additionally, you can see that the LM shade doesn’t even compare in terms of pigmentation – much, MUCH more subtle (aka wishy-washy, in my opinion!). While the LM shade is part of a the one palette I haven’t destroyed, and therefore I’ll keep it around, I am most definitely getting rid of Saddle as it just doesn’t compare in terms of formula.

Make Up For Ever Artist Shadow in ME-612 vs MAC Sable swatchMUFE M-612 (left) and MAC Sable (right)

While comparing Saddle, I noticed that beside it in the MAC palette it’s housed in was a shade that looked remarkably similar to ME-612 – Sable. Of course, I had to do a comparison swatch of the two, and lo and behold – they are very similar! Sable has a more metallic finish, and is a touch cooler than ME-612, but for all intents and purposes they are very near dupes. Given my initial thoughts on ME-612, you would think I’d choose Sable, right? HOWEVER.

ME-612, while nothing to write home about in a swatch, looks beautiful when worn. It melds seamlessly with my skin so that it gives an extra little sparkle to my eye without being obvious, or even looking much like makeup! This is where is trumped Sable by far, as when I wear Sable (which is infrequently), I find it looks like I am wearing eye makeup, and it annoys me because it SEEMS like it should be a shade that almost matches my skin tone. Indeed, I have a *brown* friend who wears this every day and it looks like magical goodness on her. Where I think it goes wrong on me is the slightly thicker texture, the more metallic finish, and it’s ever-so-teensy cooler leaning, which just doesn’t work for me. When I wear a ‘natural’ shade, I want it to look natural, dammit!

Make Up For Ever Artist Shadows in M656 and ME612Wearing ME-612 on the lid, with M-656 in the crease.

What I particularly like about this duo (which the MUFE PR gal so expertly put together for me!) is that it’s not SO warm that it clashes with any makeup you might pair with it that’s cooler-toned. In fact, I wore this duo when I showed you all my Ilia Beauty lippies – as you can see below, it works equally well with both the warmer tones of Femme Fatale, and the cooler tones of Call Me.

IMG_3889Wearing MUFE M-656 and ME-612 with Ilia Beauty Femme Fatale Lipstick

IMG_3883Wearing MUFE M-656 and ME-612 with Ilia Beauty Call Me Lipstick Pencil

So, it seems that once again, I took a bit of time before I was WOWED by a product. Guess I’m getting harder to please in my old age, huh?  The moral of this story here is simple, however: Don’t rely on swatches to give you a true idea and full picture of how a product looks and performs. It’s just not telling you the whole story! Sure, it gives you a good place to start, but honestly since I actually wore this duo on my eyes, I find myself reaching for it again and again because it just works so well with every look I pair with it!

Oh, and one last comment – when you purchase these new shadows, its a good idea to buy in bulk, as there is a discount added for two or three shadows bought at a time. I have conflicting information – the press release I have says that one shadow is $25CAD, two shadows is $39 and three is $50, but on Sephora it indicates $24CAD for one, a $9 discount for two (so, as stated, $39) and a $20 discount for three (ringing in at $52). Either way, it’s a good deal, and it only makes sense to buy a few at a time (I mean, there are 210 shades, so if you can’t find 2-3 that you like…WHAT’S WRONG WITH YOU!?)

Make Up For Ever Artist Shadows in M656 and ME612

Will you be checking out the new Make Up For Ever Artist Shadows? What type of finish do you like best in eyeshadow formulas?

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Operation Reduce: Eyeshadows, Part II

Hooray for getting on the ball again! After being re-inspired by Maggie and her recommended viewing material (Tati’s Makeup Graveyards), I got back into the swing of things and started going through my eyeshadows and meticulously swatching each to see which should stay and which should go. I was on a TEAR yesterday, you guys! Highly recommended watching these kinds of videos while culling your stash – it made me more ruthless than ever! Continuing on my ‘palette cleanse’ (hehe), I finished weeding through the shades from the Urban Decay Book of Shadows III and started attacking the Kat Von D Spellbinding palette. Exciting!

Check out part I of Operation Reduce.

Without further ado, let’s see what made the cut (and what didn’t)!

Urban Decay Psychedelic Sister & Kat Von D Babe

IMG_3374Clockwise from bottom left: Urban Decay Psychedelic Sister, MAC Paint in Infamous, and Kat Von D Babe

I’m not generally a fan of violet eyeshadow, truth be told. I love deep dark shades like eggplant or plum, but more vibrant shades like these tend to look a bit garish on my skin (at least I think so). I rarely wear any of the shadows above, so it was time to make an ultimate decision – to stay or go?

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The MAC Paint is incredibly old and the shade long since discontinued. I keep hanging on to it for sentimental reasons, which I don’t do very often, but it’s like a relic now! And it’s not dried up and crusty, nor does it separate or smell bad, so I’ve been unable to part with it thus far. Perhaps it’s time has come?

MAC vs Urban Decay vs Kat Von D shadow swatchesLeft to right: MAC Infamous Paint (d), Urban Decay Psychedelic Sister, Kat Von D Babe

Upon swatching these, it was immediately clear to me that Babe has got to go. It’s too light for my skin tone, and since I don’t do complicated eye looks EVER, I know I’ll never use it as an accent shade or anything of the like. Psychedelic Sister is somehow both bold yet a touch sheer, a combination I don’t particularly like on my skin tone. I do like having a variety of shades however, so I initially put it in the ‘maybe’ pile. I was gearing up to also let Infamous go, as it does apply a bit patchy, when I decided to experiment by putting that on the eye first and then layering PS over it. BOOM! It paired beautifully with PS and gave it more depth of pigment – win win win! I’m actually excited to wear this combination now :)

One down!

Urban Decay Radium

IMG_3426Left to right: MAC Paint in Blue Boy, Urban Decay Radium

There wasn’t any real doubt in my mind about keeping Radium – for a bright eye it’s one of my favourite shades to wear (it’s what I’m wearing in my ‘About Me’ photo, so yea – I kinda like it!). In this case, I was more trying to find a reason NOT to keep my other ancient MAC Paint, Blue Boy – a fun shade to be sure, but one I never ever wear.

IMG_3422Left to right: MAC Blue Boy Paint, Urban Decay Radium

In comparing the two, initially I was disappointed to see that they aren’t the same shade – Blue Boy is more blue, while Radium takes on an almost teal look next to it. However, Blue Boy has really had it’s day – when I tried the same layering trick with it and Radium, it applied WAY too patchy (much more than Infamous) and it doesn’t enrich Radium but makes it somehow less wearable.

I feel no sadness in letting this one go – it’s time has come, and I’m ok with that :) Out it goes!

Urban Decay Kush & Kat Von D Gunner

IMG_3462Clockwise from left: MAC Jealousy Wakes, Make Up For Ever Aqua Shadow in 8E, Kat Von D Gunner, Urban Decay Kush

Clearly, none of these greens are really very similar, but it’s a another shade I find I don’t wear very well, so I put them all into one pot to see which one would come out on top. The rest – sayonara!

IMG_3465Left to right: Kat Von D Gunner, Urban Decay Kush, MAC Jealousy Wakes, Make Up For Ever Aqua Shadow in 8E

Maybe it’s just my bias, but I don’t really think any of these look very good! Gunner wouldn’t be too bad if it had better pigment (and lost the glitter), but if you recall from my original Spellbinding palette review it was one of the worst of the bunch. Kush isn’t terrible, but again I feel like it’s too light for my skin tone – where are the deeper jewel tone shades, huh? – and I’d rather turf it so I can buy a great deep green than hang on to it just because. Jealousy Wakes has a stiff, slightly gritty formula which I don’t like very much, but layered over a dark shadow it’s quite pretty, and I’ve decided that it’s the only green I’m going to keep for now until I find something better. MUFE’s 8E is my favourite SHADE of the bunch, but I’m tired of avoiding this formula because it’s so dry and hard to apply and smudge out.

Three of the four are getting the boot here! Yeehaw!

Urban Decay Money & Kat Von D 8 Bit

IMG_3473Left to right: Kat Von D 8 Bit, Urban Decay Money, Maybelline Shimmering Sea

Obviously, Shimmering Sea is only here for comparison purposes, as there is no way I’m giving this baby up – I love it too much! The other two look similar in the pans, but there are discernible differences (hard to tell in this light – my sun went away :() – are they enough for me to keep them both?

IMG_3478Left to right: Kat Von D 8 Bit, Urban Decay Money, Maybelline Shimmering Sea

8 Bit is definitely more of a teal-blue, while Money is more of a pale sky blue – Shimmering Sea just looks at the both of them and is like ‘Pfffft. That’s all you got? Where’s your GOLDEN SHIMMER DUOCHROME?’  O_o

…ANYWAY, while neither 8 Bit nor Money are the kind of shades I wear often, 8 Bit has such a lovely, smooth formula (while Money is smooth but has gritty glitter in it), and I CAN wear this as a pretty wash of colour easily. And it would probably layer over Shimmering Sea very nicely! So, in this round – Money = 0, 8 Bit = 1.

Urban Decay Last Call & Kat Von D Stupid Autocorrect

IMG_3490Left to right: Urban Decay Last Call, Kat Von D Stupid Autocorrect

I really love the way Last Call looks in the pan – all rich burgundy gorgeousness – while Stupid Autocorrect (what a name!) looks muted and dull by comparison. Nevertheless, I swatched the two just to be sure.


IMG_3498Left to right: Urban Decay Last Call, Kat Von D Stupid Autocorrect

…which didn’t help me much at all! The two are incredibly similar, with Last Call being slightly darker but overall similar in tone. I decided I’d need to try them on my eyes to really see what was up. Surprizingly, I found Last Call to be just a hint too purpley-red and metallic on my eye, and gave me kind of a sickly look, while SA’s more muted tones worked well in it’s favour. I debated on the two for ages, but in the end knowing that I tend to wear more simple eye looks, I went with Kat Von D’s version because I knew it would get more use.

So there you have it! I think that Part II went swimmingly – I’m making real headway with condensing my eyeshadow collection, and I’m even more pleased that I’m taking those bulky palettes and reducing them to just a handful of shades I’ll actually wear. Get ready for Part III, which will focus on the last of those two palettes – I hope to post on that later today.

I’m feeling lighter already!

Are you doing any kind of inventory of your own makeup? What is your ideal size for a makeup collection?

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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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Maybelline Summer 2014: Color Tattoo 24hr Eyeshadow in #115 Shimmering Sea

Lately I’ve been finding myself buying more drugstore makeup than usual – partly due to the fact that we’re saving like mad for our downpayment toward a new home (thus, pricey makeup is kind of a no-no), and partly due to the fact that there have been some good sales lately, and that’s the ONLY time I buy drugstore makeup (ironically, I can’t justify paying full price for a drugstore product, but don’t bat an eye at spending $40 on a department-store blush. Go figure).

Maybelline 24hr Color Tattoo Eyeshadow in #115 Shimmering Sea

On Saturday, while working at the Clinique counter in one of my local Shoppers Drug Marts, I spotted the Limited Edition summer 2014 collection from Maybelline. The last time I worked at the store, a few weeks earlier, I gave the serious eye to one of the Color Tattoos, #115 Shimmering Sea, as it has some major iridescent, duo chrome goodness that few of the makeup obsessed can ignore. This time, it was on sale for $5.99CAD and there was only one left – obviously, it was a no-brainer ;)

Maybelline 24hr Color Tattoo Eyeshadow in #115 Shimmering Sea Maybelline 24hr Color Tattoo Eyeshadow in #115 Shimmering Sea

Though I’d seen beautiful swatches and read the glowing review of this shade on Maggie’s blog, I was unsure if this pale blue shade was going work on my darker skin tone – pale blue isn’t exactly a colour I wear well, but I was hoping the inclusion of beautiful golden shimmer would help make it work. When I applied it to my arm for a swatch, in dull light it looked like a plain light blue frost shadow – ick. But in sunlight – OH YEA, BABY. That’s when the magic happens!

Maybelline 24hr Color Tattoo Eyeshadow in #115 Shimmering Sea swatchIn indirect light/shade.

Maybelline 24hr Color Tattoo Eyeshadow in #115 Shimmering Sea swatch Maybelline 24hr Color Tattoo Eyeshadow in #115 Shimmering Sea swatch Maybelline 24hr Color Tattoo Eyeshadow in #115 Shimmering Sea swatch Maybelline 24hr Color Tattoo Eyeshadow in #115 Shimmering Sea swatchIn sunlight (I could literally take photos of it like this ALL day!)

I am truly enamoured by how this looks, both in the pot and in swatches – it’s so freakin’ gorgeous! I want a car this colour LOL!

Still, even though it was beautiful in swatches, how would it look once worn? I put it to the test this AM – and by test I REALLY mean test, as I put it on first thing in the AM because I could.not.wait., then took a shower with it on – while it faded, it was definitely still noticeable when I got out of the shower! (*Note that I didn’t wash my face so, obviously it would come off with soap lol). So we know the wear time is pretty decent. The second test was the shade…let’s see how it fared!

Maybelline 24hr Color Tattoo Eyeshadow in #115 Shimmering SeaIn indirect light/shade.

Maybelline 24hr Color Tattoo Eyeshadow in #115 Shimmering SeaIn sunlight.

Though the iridescence isn’t as strong on the lid, it’s still present, and in person it’s more apparent than in these photos. Thankfully, the pale blue tones aren’t opaque and strong enough to clash with my darker skin tone, and it wears as an easy shimmery, summery shadow that just adds a bit of interest to the eye but isn’t garish. I’ve been favouring subtly shimmering shades lately, so this is another one to add to the roster!

Here’s a full-face shot that shows the effect better:

Maybelline 24hr Color Tattoo Eyeshadow in #115 Shimmering Sea

My hair looks really lopsided here – sorry guys! It’s so hot here today that my hair shrunk right up after the shower – it doesn’t get frizzy too much unless I play with it, but it sure does get even curlier! :S

Maybelline 24hr Color Tattoo Eyeshadow in #115 Shimmering Sea

Overall, I’m really pleased I picked this up (even though I’m pretty sure I just said less than a month ago that I need to stop buying eyeshadow). Though I do favour bold lips, sometimes a pretty eye look is just what I’m seeking, and I think this will work well throughout the year as a pretty one-and-done shade, or as a beautiful base. For $5.99, even if it sat in my drawer and never saw the light of day again, I wouldn’t feel too terribly!

Did you pick up anything from the Maybelline Limited Edition summer collection? What products have been catching your eye at the drugstore lately?

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New favourite eyeshadow: Make Up For Ever Aqua Matic in ME-50

This probably sounds silly, but sometimes I don’t like getting press samples. I adhere a lot to the ‘if you can’t say something nice, don’t say it at all‘ philosophy, and when I receive an opportunity to review something I’m unsure I’ll like, I almost want to decline the offer altogether (and sometimes I do!). I feel especially conflicted when a brand I like comes out with a product that receives mixed-reviews, as my loyalty runs deep. I was recently in just that situation when I had a chance to try out the new Make Up For Ever Aqua Matic eye shadow sticks ($25CAD) – Christine at Temptalia was the first blog through which I read reviews about the product, and on the whole they were not great. Make Up For Ever is one of my favourite brands (and it doesn’t hurt that their PR people are lovely!) and I wasn’t keen on writing a subpar review against them – I know not all products will be winners, but my softy heart just feels bad in instances like that, and I am far too honest and up-front to lie or mar the truth.

MUFE Aqua Matic ME-50

Thankfully (and long-winded intro aside!), once I received the press sample of one of the Aqua Matic shadows, in ME-50, not only did I not have to write a crappy review, but turns out this shadow is genuinely one of my absolute favourites of all time!!!!! <— 4 exclamation points are needed to express just how much I love this shadow!

MUFE Aqua Matic ME-50Pretty multi-faceted shimmer :)

First of all, there is the colour – on me, this ‘metallic golden taupe’ is the perfect bronze-y neutral tone on my skin, which sometimes is hard to achieve, as shades like this tend to be too ashy, too light, or too brown to be considered neutral. It has the most amazing sparkling quality to it that gives it a little bit something more, yet it’s not over the top or unwearable for day in the least. For those of you who regularly love wearing bold lips like I do, a shade like this is invaluable – sometimes I don’t want to leave my eyes bare, but I don’t want my shadow to compete in any way with my lip colour. This fits the bill perfectly.

MUFE Aqua Matic ME-50 swatchIn some lights it looks more taupe…

MUFE Aqua Matic ME-50 swatch…in others, more golden (photo above blurred to show shimmers and sparkle!)

Secondly, the wear time on this bad boy is excellent – we’ve been having a heat wave the past week or so here (not complaining! About damn time!) and this resists fading and creasing like nobody’s business. This could be in part to the fact that the colour melds with my skin tone so well, I don’t notice any fading – but upon close inspection after a full day’s wear, it still seems pretty intact to me and that gorgeous sparkle is still in effect.

MUFE Aqua Matic ME-50 MUFE Aqua Matic ME-50In direct sunlight

MUFE Aqua Matic ME-50Indirect lighting/shade

Lastly, though I know for some the application of these is a bit tricky – they do set rather quickly – I actually don’t mind it, again due to the subtle shade on my skin tone, but also because it’s such a one-and-done shade that not a lot of blending is required. I just ensure that I apply it first to the lid and blend a bit, then add a bit more in my crease separately so I have enough time to buff it out with my finger. I really didn’t even notice it was a bit more difficult to blend until I really started paying attention – with a shade this wonderful, I really don’t care if it’s a bit more work – it’s just so damn FABULOUS!

MUFE Aqua Matic ME-50 & Marc Jacobs Dizzy Spell

In the photo above, I’m wearing it paired with Marc Jacobs Lovemarc Lip Gel in Dizzy Spell, a soft peachy nude that I quite like with my skin tone (though it does pick up on any flakes on the lips if you aren’t careful). It’s the only bit of makeup I’ve bought from his line so far.

MUFE Aqua Matic ME-50 & Marc Jacobs Dizzy Spell

As you can see, the effect of the shadow is subtle, but IRL trust me when I say that its nowhere near boring. For me, the shade and longevity combined with the ease of use (note it’s a twist-up pencil, that has a sharpener on the other end for precision) make this a win-win-WIN product! If this were a limited edition product I would buy backups upon backups – which is UNHEARD of in my world! All this to say: don’t let a review necessarily sway you from trying a product that you’re curious about – sometimes you’ll have an entirely different experience! And in this case, Christine didn’t actually review this particular shade, either ;)

Have you tried the new Aqua Matic pencils? How do you feel about giving poor reviews on a product?

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

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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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Nearing the finish line: Makeup empties (the ultimate beauty achievement)

It’s been a dedicated effort, but I finally have some makeup items nearing empty – a whole handful of them! You other beauty fiends know just what I’m talking about, and how hard this is to do when you have SO MANY PRETTIES to use! I’m feeling pretty good about my progress, so I thought I’d share with you some gratuitous near-‘pan’ p0rn in case you need inspiration of your own :)

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I’ve been using the Hourglass Immaculate Liquid Powder Foundation together with the Burberry Fresh Glow Luminizer to freshen up the matte look the Hourglass imparts – the two pair together quite well. I get a LOT of views on the Hourglass foundation post, so I just want to reiterate how great it is! I can skip powder entirely when I use this, and the coverage is medium without looking or feeling too heavy. I do prefer a dewier finish which is the only drawback for me (though I’d still probably still repurchase this, because all other facets are so good), which is where the Fresh Glow comes in. If you’re looking for a foundation for oilier skin with a satin-matte finish, this is 100% for you!  I’ve had the foundation for a long time now (2 years) and it’s near it’s end ~tear~

The MAC blush here (Mineralize in Early Morning) is a bit of a cheat, because I dropped it a couple years ago and most of it was wasted. Nevertheless, it’s a beautiful shade so I kept it and used the dregs anyway. I’ll probably let it go soon but I’m just not ready to yet.

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I’m STILL working on MAC’s Arena eyeshadow, which I showed you had hit pan last year. I’ve been using it almost every day but it just won’t die! LOL I do still love it, but it’s best for the summer months when my skin is more tanned – I love it as a subtle brow highlight then. Other times of the year it doesn’t get worn as much, but I’m making progress now because I’m SO CLOSE.

The Laura Mercier Lip Glace in Discrete is also a couple years old, and while I liked the neutral shade as it was quite wearable, I’m over it now! Its got maybe 3-4 uses left so I’m gonna make it happen TOOT SWEET. The Buxom lipgloss (here in April), is also on it’s last legs, and I’m not a fan of the frosty sparkly thing at all now, so it’ll be kicked to the curb regardless in the next couple weeks.

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This two deluxe samples have had highs and lows in my beauty life. I love the nude tone of the Buxom Lip Stick (this is Sydney) but it’s very matte and looks terrible if  you’re lips aren’t in perfect shape (which mine weren’t for most of the winter).  My lips are doing much better now so I’m chugging through it – I really don’t like ‘mini’s’! The Burberry lippie is in Cameo Pink, and it’s a pretty soft coral shade that’s just a touch too light for my skin tone. If I apply it with a light hand, or pair it with another lip product, it fares pretty well. Got it down to the nub finally!

If you’ve been counting guys, that’s 8 makeup products that’ll be good to go very soon!!  SO EXCITED. I’m really trying to whittle down my stash and make way for new stuff, without feeling overwhelmed by the selection I already have. Which has been a goal of mine for forever, I know. But I keep trying! I’ve gotten major spring fever this year and gave a ton of stuff away to family and friends, mostly PR samples or gift items, as I’m getting a lot better at buying shades and products that I really want and that work. I usually have a huge bag full of items up for swap, but there’s nothing left now :)

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Do you have any beauty goals right now? On average how often do you finish makeup items?

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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!

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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!

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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

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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!).

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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!

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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).

Swatchies!

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:

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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!

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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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