Posts Tagged Make Up For Ever

Make Up For Ever’s new HD Blush is PERFECT for spring!

Last week I worked at Sephora for the Clinique kiosk for the first time EVER. Guys, let me tell you – that is one HARD FRIGGIN’ JOB, keeping your hands to yourself and trying to stick to your ‘station.’ DAMN!  The first two shifts were pretty slow, so I had ample time to mosey around and check out the wares…but honestly, I don’t know how they get anything done! (and for the record, pretty much everyone was on the ball, 99.9% of the time. ALL BIZNESS, ALL THE TIME).  Personally, there were so many fun things to look at that it was tough sticking to my ‘area,’ but I made it work.

MUFE HD Second Skin Cream Blush

One of the items that kept catching my eye was the new Make Up For Ever HD Blushes ($31cAD), which I believe replace their old HD *liquid* blushes? These are creams in a pot, whereas the older versions were a pump mechanism. Needless to say, these newer iterations are by far easier to use (though I wish the shade range was as exciting as the old…anyone ever check out #2 or #3, both bright hot pinks? YOWZAAAA). I think the idea is to showcase more natural-looking shades, that suit a variety of skin tones – for example, the 200 series is generally best suited for fair complexions; the 300 series for medium complexions, the 400 series for medium-dark complexions (like mine), and the 3 500 series shades are great for the darkest of skins. The exception is shade #410, a bright coral, which was created with all skin tones in mind.  I guiltily admit however, that I don’t give one iota to all of this info, because….I just WANT THEM ALL.

MUFE HD Second Skin Cream Blush #420 MUFE HD Second Skin Cream Blush #420 MUFE HD Second Skin Cream Blush #420

The shade I was sent to try was #420, described as an ‘Indian Rosewood‘ shade. As I tend to lean toward more bright, obvious blush colours, I figured it was time to opt for a more natural tone that would meld with my skin without effort. #420 does just that.

MUFE HD Second Skin Cream Blush #420MUFE HD Second Skin Cream Blush #420 swatch MUFE HD Second Skin Cream Blush #420 swatch

It almost looks like a warm bronze-y tone once applied to my skin; the reddish-brown hue melds with my skin tone to produce a really wonderfully natural ‘glow.’  I was unsure when I opened the box that this was going to be *my kind of shade* but it’s so foolproof on my skin that I really have to argument against it.  It just plain LOOKS GOOD.  And application is a breeze – just use a stippling brush (my pick is MAC’s #130) to dab it on the cheeks and then blend out; honestly, it was one of the easiest cream products to use and I had zero issues in placement or blending – my kind of product! The finish is reminiscent of Chanel’s new cream blushes, except I actually find the MUFE version a little more dewy and a little bit less cream-to-powder finish, which I personally prefer. It retains a fresh quality that I really like, especially come springtime!

MUFE HD Second Skin Cream Blush #420 swatch brown skin MUFE HD Second Skin Cream Blush #420 swatch brown skin

As you can see, it’s quite natural-looking on, and I admit that I kinda slapped this on haphazardly for these photos because sunlight is fleeting these days. I can already see the absolute necessity of buying several more of these – cream blushes are my new *thing* as I’m all over the natural, glowing skin look, and these are hard to beat. Radiant without being greasy or shiny, and a cinch to use. I’m a goner!

MUFE HD Second Skin Cream Blush #420 swatch

When it comes to blush, what is your preference: powder, or cream (or liquid)? Do you opt for natural tones or more in-your-face brights?

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

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These are {13} of my favourite things (of 2013)

The New Year is almost upon us!  Even though the number 13 conjures up some unsettling feelings, 2013 was kind of a great year for me!  Though it started out a bit rough, with a lot of talking and support it turned around for me (a big thanks to all of you who sent kind words – and a care package! – my way!).  As always, the hardships make the good times feel that much sweeter.  I had the immense pleasure of standing in my friend’s most amazing wedding; I started dating a guy who makes me feel loved and truly content in a way I never have before; I’ve had the opportunity to work in several different positions at my work and found my niche; and I finally got to go to New York City, a long-standing dream of mine!  Not too shabby 2013, not too shabby :)

Over the month of December I’ve been pondering what beauty products in my collection really stand-out and get the most use.  Though I could probably add one or two more, the 13 items below really have rocked my world this year and have been very well-loved.  I would even go so far to say that I would repurchase most of them (and that’s saying something!).

Beauty Favorites of 2013

And so I present to you, my favourite (beauty) things of 2013:

1. Osha Mae Calendula Salve ($15CAD).  On it’s own, without any cortisone products, this can clear up the chronic eczema on my hands overnight – absolutely unheard of!  I first got hooked on a sample of M.J. Herbals Calendula Salve ($15CAD), but when I saw this very similar version at our local market I picked it up, as I always like to support local!

Osha Mae Calendula Salve

2. La Bella Figura Bio Active Healing Mask ($65CAD).  When LBF was introduced on the Clementine Fields website, they had a promotion for 15% off it’s pre-sale.  I ordered this mask as I was looking for something hydrating that could replace the uber-scented derma-e mask that I’d been using for a while (uncomfortably).  I didn’t know what to expect, and was completely bowled over once I tried it – its truly amazing!  It hydrates, it heals, it calms, it brightens…I honestly feel like it’s almost a one-stop shop as a mask, because my skin just looks SO DAMN GOOD after using it.  I attribute it’s awesomeness to it’s inclusion of raw manuka honey (it’s the first ingredient) which is noted for it’s therapeutic, antibacterial and nourishing qualities.  Other ingredients include kaolin clay, rosehip seed oil and calendula extract – be still my heart!  Oh, and it’s also BRIGHT PURPLE (due to the aronia berry).  I want to get my hands on the Purifying ($65CAD) version next.

La Bella Figura Bio Active Healing Mask

3. Lina Hanson Global Body Serum ($64CAD).  I really wish this didn’t cost so damn much because I just want to drown in this fantastically scented body oil for the rest of my life.  As it stands, I’m still trying to ration it, but I still fear it won’t last long as I keep using it every few days because it’s so addictive!

Lina Hanson Global Body Serum

Serge Lutens Un Bois Vanille ($130US).  Yum.  And YUM.  You all know my penchant for vanilla-based scents, so my love for this probably comes as no surprise.  With notes like sandalwood, coconut milk, musk, vanilla and tonk a bean, it’s a gourmand fragrance-lovers paradise.  I was surprised however that it also contains notes like black liquorice (which I hate) and bitter almond – but I suspect they help round out the scent and keep it from being too OTT vanilla, which can get headache-inducing fast.  I have worn this and only this since purchasing it in NYC; the only gripe I have with the fragrance is that I don’t find it lasts on my skin – but I guess that just gives me an excuse to spritz, spritz, spritz!

Serge Lutens Un Bois Vanille

Make Up For Ever Medium Highlighting Brush in #152 ($43CAD).  I didn’t quite understand just how much I would love this brush until I really put it into practice and had a while to play with it.  This brush is absolutely integral in my makeup application – aside from applying cream or powder highlighters like a dream, it also blends all formulas of blush or bronzer perfectly.  I don’t quite know how it does it, but somehow the fibers of the brush, its density, and it’s softness all contribute to a beautifully seamless complexion.  LOVE.

Make Up For Ever Brush #152

Becca Shimmering Skin Perfector in Opal (full-size, $50CAD).  Though I only have a deluxe sample size of this product, you only need the slightest amount to get amazing, glowing skin, so it’s lasted me ages!  I usually pull this out when I am either going for a really ‘natural’ look that focuses on the skin, or if I’m looking to amp up the glow factor for an event.  Though the full-size would probably last me a lifetime – something that doesn’t appeal to a fickle beauty fiend like myself – I still think I’ll repurchase this when I DO run out, because it’s truly the most beautiful yet natural-looking illuminator I’ve ever used.

Becca Shimmering Skin Perfector in Opal (5)

Buxom Full-Bodied Lipsticks (full-size, $26CAD).  My love for this lipstick formula is still going strong.  I use the little sample bullets I’ve got more than any other lipstick I own, and I’m looking forward to the day when they run out – so I can justifiably buy some full sizes!  Just so, so creamy and comfortable to wear, with awesome full pigment.  For the price especially, you really can’t beat ‘em!

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Chanel Le Blush Creme de Chanel in Revelation ($43CAD).  I have been on a cream blush kick for a while now, as I find it just looks so darn natural, which fits my makeup M.O. these days.  The newish Blush Cremes dry to an almost powder-like finish, so they don’t have quite the same effect; nevertheless, this natural-looking apricot shade gets a lot of regular use because it goes with just about every makeup look I wear.  The only downside is that its a touch too light when my skin is tanned – but at the moment it’s just right :)

Chanel Blush Creme in Revelation

MAC Eyeshadow in All That Glitters (pro-pan, $12CAD).  Though I have lessened my use of this shadow recently due to switching up my makeup routine, this baby got some SERIOUS love for months after I bought it early last spring.  It gives my eyes the most subtle yet beautiful sparkle I’ve ever seen, and accompanies a bright lip look beautifully.  The hype is TRUE, you guys.  BUY IT.

MAC All That Glitters

Burberry Sheer Eyeshadow in Trench ($30CAD).  Even after owning this shadow for a year and a half, I’m still amazed at how perfectly it blends and melds on the brow bone to give the perfect level of highlight to the eye.  As I have a lot of shimmering shadows, it keeps them grounded without making me look too ‘show dancer,’ but also isn’t so flat that it looks dull.  On top of all that, it’s HELLA soft.

Burberry Sheer Eye Shadow in Trench (2)

Chanel Stylo Yeux Waterproof in Noir Intense ($29CAD).  I wasn’t big on black pencil eyeliner until I purchased this early in the year – I didn’t have one and thought I should at least have one in my arsenal.  I don’t use it as a traditional liner, but rather as a tightliner on my upper lash line.  It a nice, dark black that gives great definition when I’m doing a more natural look (see a theme here?) and doesn’t budge – in fact, it’s difficult to remove at the end of the day, so keep that in mind.  But as I find a long-wearing liner hard to come by, it’s far from a deal-breaker!

Chanel Eyeliner Noir Intense

MAC Fluidline in Blacktrack ($19CAD).  Black pencil liner may never have been my thing, but I can’t say the same for black cream/gel/liquid formulas, which have always been a staple in my arsenal.  When I ran out of my last black liquid liner, I decided it was about time I tried the cult fave Blacktrack.  It’s nice and dark, and its creamy texture makes creating a winged look (a regular go-to for me) incredibly easy.  I’m not convinced I would repurchase, only because there are several black cream/gel liners that I’d like to try, but it’s been a faithful staple for me since I purchased it.

MAC Fluidline in Blacktrack

XLash Eyelash Enhancer ($59).  You’re all probably sick and tired of hearing me trumpet on and on about my love for this lash serum, but seriously, just get some and then get back to me – I promise you’ll be converted!  I won’t repeat my gushings yet again, but I will say that I am actually planning to buy more of this when I run out (still haven’t!).  SO. GOOD.

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That just about rounds up my year in beauty in a nutshell!  I’ve tried many things, some duds, some *pretty good*, but this collection here have been raised to the level of HG status for me.  As I learn and grow I find my selections have become more and more curated to the point where I rarely have a miss (at least if they’re purchased by me) and I’ve grown quite fond of my collection, to which I’ve whittled and culled to include *almost* only products that are a pleasure to use.  I still have a bit of work to do (which I plan on laying out for you in a future post), but overall I’m quite pleased and have passed the ‘GAH! My-stash-is-overwhelming-OMG-the-anxiety!‘ stage that I was in for a long time since starting the blog.  Which I deem a HUGE success :)

So say farewell to 2013 and welcome in the New Year with a bang!  I appreciate each and every reader of my little beauty haven, whether you’ve been with me or a while, or stumbled upon my ramblings by accident.  You’re the only reason I keep on writing!  I wish all of you a very excellent finale to the year soon past and hope that the very best is yet to come in 2014!!!  Let’s make it all sorts of great, yea? :D

happy-new-year-2014-wishes-2880x1800Image credit: ilovehdwallpapers.com

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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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Working Pantone’s 2014 Color of the Year Early with Stila’s Stay All Day Waterproof Liquid Eyeliner in Cobalt!

I wasn’t originally going to post about this.  Though Stila’s  Stay All Day Waterproof Liquid Eyeliner in Cobalt (limited edition, $26CAD) is, quite frankly, one of my more interesting and awesome purchases of late, still – sometimes writing (and reading!) about eyeliners can be kinda boring.  Aside from discussing the application (which in this case is super-easy, with the thin, medium-firm tip allowing for precise thin lines or thicker lines if so desired) and wear time (which is STELLAR – all day for 10+ hours without fading or smudging, no matter what the situation or weather), there really isn’t much else to say.  However, due to the stunning COLOR of the liner in questionan eye-catching shade of bold medium blue – I had to share with you!  And it just so happens that the Pantone Color of the Year for 2014 is: Dazzling Blue.  How apt :)

Stila Cobalt Liquid Eyeliner swatch

The really cool thing about Cobalt’s color is that while it’s quite bright, it somehow also has a muted, dusty quality to it that makes it more wearable.  If you’re gun-shy about bold eyeliners, I’d still suggest checking it out, as it’s easier to pull off that you might think!

Stila Stay All Day Waterproof Liquid Eyeliner in Cobalt  (2) Stila Stay All Day Waterproof Liquid Eyeliner in Cobalt  (3)

Stila Stay All Day Waterproof Liquid Eyeliner in Cobalt  (5) Stila Stay All Day Waterproof Liquid Eyeliner in Cobalt

See??  Not so bad eh?  With very minimal makeup elsewhere, I actually find this reasonable enough to wear to work!  But SO totally not boring :)

I had one liner in my stash that *kinda* looked like it could be similar to Cobalt – Make Up For Ever’s Aqua Liner in #5.  In the package, they look pretty close:

Stila Cobalt vs MUFE #5 (2) Stila Cobalt vs MUFE #5

However, in swatches, they are nothing alike.  Aside from being shimmery as opposed to Cobalt’s matte finish, Make Up For Ever’s version is quite a bit lighter and much more aqua, whereas Stila’s has no hint of aqua and in fact leans a touch periwinkle.   The wear time is comparable however – both last ages and only come off when you take them off (with a little bit of elbow grease and remover).  Personally, I like Stila’s blue liner better – it’s more striking and complimentary on my eyes.

Stila Liquid Eyeliner in Cobalt Make Up For Ever Aqua #5 Comparison Swatch (3) Stila Liquid Eyeliner in Cobalt Make Up For Ever Aqua #5 Comparison Swatch

Overall, I am absolutely LOVING this Cobalt liner and am looking forward to rocking it out well before 2014 :)  It is one of the easiest ways to make my eyes pop with terribly little effort, and feels appropriate in almost all situation.  The ease of application and the awesome wear time make this a huge YES in my books!

Stila Stay All Day Waterproof Liquid Eyeliner in Cobalt  (4)

Are you a fan of colored liners?  Do you prefer liquid or pencil (or cream)?

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Make Up For Ever’s New Artisan Brushes in #210 and #152

Remember I told you about Make Up For Ever’s new brush line coming out in September?  Well, I received two brushes to try – the #210, a shader brush ($25CAD) and the #152, a highlighter brush ($43CAD) – and I can’t wait to tell you about ‘em, because dudes….these brushes are AMAZEBALLS.

Make Up For Ever Artisan Brushes

First and foremost: they look pretty hot and sexy, don’t they!?!?  I love the wood handles and overall sleek yet somehow earthy design – the fact that they’re expertly handcrafted is really apparent.  And let me just say that those bristles??  Are HELLA SOFT.  Probably the softest in my collection to date!  Even the smudge brush with it’s short bristles feels like a feather against the skin.

There are two types of fibers used in the Artisan collection – wavy, for a more free and light application; and straight, for a precise, controlled application (the brushes I received both have wavy fibers).

The #210 is a small, round shader brush with short and extra dense bristles, best used to apply products to a specific area such as the lash line and eyelids.  The density of the brush means it grabs a generous amount of product, allowing for an intense result.  It can handle both cream products as well as loose and compact powders with ease.  I’ve used it for smudging shadow along the lash line, and it gives the best soft, smoky effect – it makes a more sultry look appear much more lived in and effortless, which can be a challenge with heavier eye makeup.  I had been planning to pick up a brush like this for some time, so I am totally excited about this awesome find!

Make Up For Ever Artisan 210 Brush (2) Make Up For Ever Artisan 210 Brush

The #152 medium highlighter brush has wavy, soft fibers, ideal to impart moderate to high color payoff of highlighters (either on face or body).  It can handle creams, gels, and loose or compact powders – so basically it can do it all!  I have been in desperate need of a highlighting brush so I was particularly stoked about this one.  It’s about the size of a small blush brush – think of a shorter, slightly plumper MAC #109.

Make Up For Ever Artisan 152 Brush (3) Make Up For Ever Artisan 152 Brush (2)

It’s hard to show in pictures, but below is a shot reflective of how flexible the bristles of the #152 are – because they’re a bit shorter, they have good control and accuracy, but they are very soft and supple, with a bit less resilience than maybe your standard blush brush, so it will allow for a soft wash of highlight to targeted areas.  I find it makes the task SO easy, be it powder or cream/liquids, and allows you to place and diffuse the product perfectly.  While it *could* be used for contouring, due to the ‘give’ of the bristles, you may want something a bit less malleable, though it would be great for giving a very soft contouring effect or buffing and blending out any existing makeup to perfection.

Make Up For Ever Artisan 152 Brush

I am well and truly impressed with these brushes, so much so that I can’t wait to get my hands on a few more once they hit stores (Sephora as well as Make Up For Ever boutiques)!  As I mentioned in my previous post, I’ve been obsessed about brushes for months now, and well….I’ve finally found my outlet :D  Everything about these brushes satisfies me – they’re look, feel, and efficacy are all A+ in my books!  Sign me up for about 10 more of these, kay?

Are you planning on getting any of these new Artisan brushesDo you prefer natural or synthetic bristles?

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

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Big News! Make Up For Ever Launching Artisan Brush Collection!

You may not know this, but over the past year or so I’ve been kind of obsessed with makeup brushes.  It’s kind of a weird relationship because even though I keep researching and researching them, I’ve only bought one or two over the course of the year.  It’s one of those things where I’m OVER-researching and can’t decide on which ones are ‘best’ and for which to actually shell out cold hard cash.  Quite annoying really.

HOWEVER.  Make Up For Ever just *might* be coming to my rescue (natch).  The innovative brand, known for their prowess in makeup artistry, is releasing a ramped-up ‘Artisan’ brush collection, which boasts 76 hand-crafted brushes that took 5 years to come to fruition.  How awesome is this!?!? All I could think of when I saw the press release was ‘holy crap.  This is the BEST NEWS EVER.’

MUFE Brushes

Aside from the fact that these brushes LOOK glorious (with a gunmetal ferrule and beech wood handles), I suspect from all the work that went into them that they will feel and work fantastically too.  The construction of the brushes took 25 stages and a total of 30 people from start to finish, for each brush.  Additionally, as a bonus to the more eco-conscious of us out there, the fibers are synthetic (with each brush employing two different textures), and the diameter and type of the bristles for each brush is dependent on it’s use.  Straight fibers are used in brushes that require precision and a more generous application, while wavy bristles allow for a lighter and freer application.

They also have a great numbering system that’s practical and handy:

100s = complexion
200s = eyes
300s = lips
400s = artistic specially designed for professionals

BAM.  How’s that for excitement!?!?  I’m going to have an opportunity to try one or two of these brushes out in the next week or so, and I CANNOT WAIT.  I’ve been stalking the Sephora site but so far they haven’t shown up for purchase yet.  I’ve asked for the launch date so I will update you when I receive that information.  In the meantime….start saving your cash now, because I think these brushes are gonna be worth a nice splurge!  I think this news has made my brush decisions a whole lot easier :)

Are you into makeup brushes?  Do you prefer natural or synthetic bristles?

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Make Up For Ever Smoky Lash Extravagant: A Beautiful Disaster

This review has been a long time coming, but it took me a while to formulate my thoughts on the product. Make Up For Ever’s Smoky Lash Extravagant ($28CAD) is the brand’s newest mascara offering, and I was stoked to try it out when I received it about a month ago.  Before I get to the review, let’s see exactly what the product is all about, shall we?

Make Up For Ever Smoky Lash Extravagant (4)

Described as a ‘precision mascara that adds volume, length, and curl,’ Smoky Lash Extravagant claims to deliver ‘long-lasting wear with no clumping in one stroke.’  Without getting too technical, it is supposed to contain ultra-black pigments, and the cone-shaped brush allows the tip to separate lashes while the rounded base creates ‘extravagant volume.’  The difference between the original version and the Extravagant (aside from the visible differences in the brushes) appears to be the ability of the latter to separate the lashes more effectively, as well as offering even more volume.

Make Up For Ever Smoky Lash Extravagant (3)

Being a pretty serious Make Up For Ever fan, I was eager to try the mascara out right away.  Sadly, my first (and several subsequent) tries with the product were less than ideal.  After application, in which I spent several minutes trying to correct the ‘damage,’ my lashes looked tangled and not all all what I had hoped.  I simply could not get it to work for me with any success.

MUFE Smoky Lash Extravagant failed attemptFirst attempt – see, wonky!

Discouraged, I spoke with the PR rep for the brand about my disastrous experience, and she suggested a few tips (which included applying the original Smoky Lash first and then adding the Extravagant version on top) to see if they would improve the performance.  Happily, I did find success during my second go-around.  While I didn’t find using the original Smoky Lash in combination with the Extravagant effective, I did discover that after a few uses the formula seemed to ‘settle’ somewhat (a phenomenon I’ve noticed with a few mascaras) and it applied fairly nicely to the lashes.  They look separated and yet somehow full, and the brush gives a nice rounded shape to my lashes that I really enjoy.  It’s relatively tenacious and I only notice slight smudging at the outer corners of my eyes (which are leak-prone as it is) on really hot, humid days.

MUFE Smoky Lash Extravagant (2)My apologies for the difference in lighting – the photos were taken on different days.

To be clear, there are still times when I use this mascara that my lashes just do not seem to behave.  If I fuss with it too much, or go in for a second coat, all hell breaks loose.  I don’t know if it’s the shape of the brush or the formula (I think it might dry a little too quickly), but every so often my lashes get bunched up and look a mess.  However, despite that hiccup, I find myself reaching for this mascara the most out of the handful of other ones I own, so clearly I must like it :P  Its a bit tempermental and unpredictable at times, but that can make for the most interesting relationships, no?  ;)

For those interested, here’s the ingredient list (click to enlarge):

MUFE Smoky Lash Extravagant ingredients

Have you had an experience with this mascara?  And does anyone else find that mascaras tend to improve after a few uses?

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

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

Becca Beach Tint Papaya comparison (2)

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

Becca Beach Tint in PapayaBecca Beach Tint in Papaya

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

Becca Papaya Beach Tint (2) Becca Papaya Beach Tint

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

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

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

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

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

Becca Beach Tint Papaya comparison (3)

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

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Can Your Eyeliners Take the Heat?

An interesting thing happened last week after while I was preparing for my alternative bridesmaid post.  I had done swatches for the color story, and afterward I jumped in the shower to get cleaned up.  I noticed as I went about washing my face and conditioning my hair that the MAC Blacktrack Fluidline wasn’t coming off – at all.  Surprised, I rubbed at the line, and it stayed intact.  Now, while I make an effort to buy long-wearing eyeliners – as my outer corners are notorious for smudging – I didn’t really think about that when I purchased this one back in April, and I certainly wasn’t aware that it was waterproof.  I just wanted a nice cream liner!  Of course, when I actually washed my body, the liner came off, but it was particularly tenacious throughout the shower until that point.

Of course, being a (beauty-crazed) blogger, my brain started working, and I decided I wanted to put all the liners I own to the test…so I did  >:-)

Eyeliners - Wear Time (3)

The sampling above is not all of my liners, of course (if you recall…), but all the kinds of liners I own, as I have a few different shades in several types of a brand.  You may notice that almost all of these are designed to be long-wearing and/or waterproof (Chanel Waterproof, Urban Decay 24/7, Make Up For Ever Aqua Eyes, etc.), so I was quite interested to see just how well they’d hold up in the shower test.  YES I swatched each of these on my arm and then hopped in the shower (though not right after the previous shower, I waited until the next day…otherwise that would be a little crazy-town).

Eyeliners - Wear Time (4)Left to right: MAC Fluidline in Blacktrack, Chanel Waterproof Eyeliner in Noir Intense, Laura Mercier Kohl Eye Pencil in Black Violet, Illamasqua Precision Ink in Havoc, MAC Eye Kohl in Prunella, NARS Long Wear Eyeliner in Via Appia, Clinique Cream Shaper in Egyptian, Make Up For Ever Khol Pencil in 4K, Milani Liquif-EYE Eyeliner in Aqua, MAC Pearlglide Eyeliner in Petrol Blue, Make Up For Ever Aqua Eyes in 21L, Make Up For Ever Aqua Liner in #14.

So.  Jumped in the shower and did my usual – conditioned my hair first, then washed my face.  Looked down at my arm – all swatches still intact.  Swiped a hand across the liners with medium pressure, to some very slight smudging of a few shades (which I will detail in a moment).  I continued to clean everywhere else but my arm to see if the water would eventually break down the product(s), fully expecting the warm water plus the humid conditions in my bathroom to do a bit of damage.  Nada.  The most effect I found was that the same few liners that smudged a bit from a pass-over with my hand had faded somewhat, as if they lost some of their pigment – however, none had smeared or ran any more from the longer duration in the shower.  Color me surprised!

However, the moment I took soap and shower pouf to the area, the liners washed away quite quickly, with only 2-3 clinging for dear life before finally getting overcome.  These hangers-on have been consistently the longest wearing off all my liners, so I was unsurprised to see them make the best showing.

Can you guess which were the ‘losers’ of the bunch, and which came out on top???

The key is in the wording (duh!).  Though I didn’t expect them to power through a shower and come out as champions, every single liner I own that is a kohl pencil failed to last (that being: MAC’s Eye Kohl, MUFE’s Kohl Eyeliner, and Laura Mercier’s Kohl Eye Pencil).  This makes sense as kohl pencils are generally designed to be soft and smudgy around the eye (though some wear well on the waterline – go figure).  I sort of knew this, yet without fail I’m frustrated when I wear these and by the end of the day they have migrated under my eyes.  Lesson REALLY learned this time (I swear)!

On the opposite side of things, the cream of the crop were the same two liners that in my experience power through pretty much everything – Make Up For Ever’s Aqua Liners, and Illamasqua’s Precision Liner, which actually edged out MUFE by clinging just that much longer.  Both of these are liquid liners and they absolutely DO NOT COME OFF until you wash them off.  At times I find that Illamasqua’s requires even more elbow grease to get every last bit – though I found that because my skin had been wet for a period of time, it was much easier than usual (when washing it off my face).

Overall, it was a bit of an eye-opening experience for me, mostly to really *get* that different types of liners are designed for different things.  While the majority of my liners are stellar when it comes to long-wear, especially throughout the warmer months, I must take note that kohls are NOT to be used for crisp lines or as a traditional liner – at least if I’m expecting them to stay put.  I think I’ll reserve these for nights out or short trips in which I don’t need something to last hours and hours.  When I need to pull out the big guns, I’ll opt for the various other liners I have in my collection.

Eyeliners - Wear Time

What types of liners are your favorite? 

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Brightening Up for Summer with Make Up For Ever

I’ve been meaning to write this post for a good month now, but with my busy schedule and the infrequent appearance of the sun, it just hasn’t come together!  However, after having a string of gorgeous hot, sunny days here in Hali (and by hot I mean like August weather…SO weird), I’ve managed to simultaneously slow wayyy down for a change – spending the last three days outside from dawn till dusk -  and take a few shots for the blog in all the lovely sunshine.  SCORE.

Make Up For Ever Spring 2013

I find that once the sun comes out, I get so tempted to play even more with makeup, trying out bold colors for eyes, lips and cheeks.  However, when you’re spending entire days outside, I don’t feel comfortable wearing such noticeable makeup, as it somehow feels like I’m resisting the natural, easy-going vibe that comes with warm weather.  Due to this little mini-war I have in my head, I tend to compromise by opting instead for shimmering, golden tones that allow me to feel ‘summery’ while staying relatively low-key.  Two products that work well toward that end are Make Up For Ever’s Aqua Eyes eyeliner in Gold 9L ($23CAD), a metallic yellow, and Lab Shine Star Collection lipgloss in S0 ($22CAD), a pearly nude.

MUFE Aqua Eyes in 9L

In the heat of summer, one of the first things to drop off my makeup routine is eyeshadow.  Though I generally don’t tend to experience excessive creasing, I find that opting for liner only is a quick, easy, and long-lasting way to ensure I look good without looking like I tried too hard.  Gold 9L is a bright metallic true yellow – it doesn’t contain any orange leanings, so it would be a great shade for cooler skintones or for a warmer skintone looking for contrast.  Its the perfect kind of shade to wear on the inner corners of your eyes to brighten them up – if I’m in a rush, or looking for a seriously minimalist look, I’ll opt to wear it this way with very little else.

MUFE Aqua Eyes in 9L (1)

However, if I want to go full-on with this shade, with my neutral skintone it can look a bit stark.  To remedy this, I first apply black liner to my top lashes to define, before tracing the gold above the liner and into my inner corners – then finally add a touch of a sheer, satiny yellow shadow to blend out the gold liner.  Oh, and lots of mascara :)

MUFE Aqua Eyes in 9L (3) MUFE Aqua Eyes in 9L (2) MUFE Aqua Eyes in 9L (4)

As you can see, it’s great for adding a little lightness and brightness to the eye without being too dance-y (aka that inner highlight thing we do when we’re going out on the town) so it’s ideal for day.

Make Up For Ever’s Lab Shine Star Collection lipgloss in S0 is another excellent product that gives a little something extra without being too much under the bright rays of summer sun.  I’ve had another shade in this gloss before and I really like it – its a bit thick so it has good longevity, but it’s not sticky at all and is very smooth and comfortable to wear.

MUFE Lab Shine Star Collection S0 swatches

S0 is a shimmering pale sheer beige that mutes the lipcolor only slightly, which makes it very wearable with a variety of looks.  The non-glittery finish makes it great for day, but it has enough glimmer that it can hold its own against flashier night looks – and it’s translucency makes it ideal for layering.

MUFE Lab Shine Star Collection Gloss in S0  (2) MUFE Lab Shine Star Collection Gloss in S0

Though my natural inclination is to go big and bold in my makeup choices for the most part, I do like to have more subtle, toned down items in my arsenal to turn to if I’m spending the day outside or looking to go low-key – or to compliment a more in-your-face eye or lip look!  While at first glance, these two products might seem too tame for some, I have found myself reaching for them more often than I expected to polish off my summer beauty routine and keep things as fuss-free as possible – all the better to spend every moment I can out in that (rare) sunshine!

Make Up For Ever Spring 2013 (2)

Do you lighten up in the warmer months?

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

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