Posts Tagged Swatches

Sephora + Pantone Rocks out Radiant Orchid

So we finally bought a car this past weekend, after two weeks of searching and test-driving a handful of used cars around the city! Doesn’t sound like a long time, but it’s a lot of work! My bf searched online for cars for days and hours on end, and it just gets plain tiring looking and hoping one will be worthwhile. Used car shopping is NOT my bag. Interestingly enough, we ended up finding ‘The One’ (a 2005 Toyota Corolla) in the valley, an hour outside the city. It was well worth it though, as it’s in pristine condition with super-low mileage. YAY! Another stressful item off the list :)

My skin is still misbehaving, but in a different way now – the breakouts have all but stopped, but I’ve been left with the gift of MAJOR scarring – clusters on my jawline as well as remnants of the bigger spots on my cheeks and forehead. EFF. My skin texture still isn’t back to normal either, but I’m trying to be gentle and not go hog-wild trying to ‘fix’ everything, so hopefully over time things will ease back into a more normal state. Thankfully, I still have a few photos of products to show you which I took before the “disaster” struck!

Rush Luster Cheek Sweep

Though I gave you a look at the Rush Luster Cheek Sweep ($31CAD) from Sephora + Pantone’s Radiant Orchid collection in my Radiant Orchid FOTD post, I wanted to show you some swatches of the product, because it’s a really great little palette and I think it’s highly worthwhile checking out. You’ve got a beautiful blush in Radiant Orchid, and two luminizers – Bridal Rose and Spanish Villa. The textures are gorgeous and soft, but without sacrificing pigmentation – the only downside is that it can be a *touch* shimmery, so you need to be aware of that if you don’t love that kind of finish, or take into consideration when you wear it (day, night, in sunlight, on a cloudy day, etc.).

Rush Luster Cheek Sweep swatches

Gahh that vibrant orchid is TO DIE.

Venus Lure Lip Balm

I also had a chance to check out the Venus Lure Lip Balm ($19CAD) from the collection. This is a glossy, sheer lip balm inspired by this colour of the moment – I find it lightly hydrating, but it’s got a strange thing going on; it feels very balmy and smooth on the lips, but it wears off quickly and with it goes all traces of moisture. While I sort of like the texture because my lips have been so flaky and dry this winter (and it helps conceal that fact), I find it a bit of a hassle to wear all-in-all – and it’s so balmy and soft that the bullet pushes to the opposite side of the tube when you use it, and I fear it melting big time in the upcoming warmer months. Unless you’re desperate to own the whole collection, I say this is one you could safely skip (go for the full-out Radiant Rush Matte Lipstick, or the Gloss Trio instead!).

Venus Lure Lip Balm swatch Venus Lure Lip Balm swatch

There are several other products in the Sephora + Pantone Radiant Orchid collection that have caught my eye (Tracy has great reviews of the Radiant Rush Matte Lipstick and the Gazing Paint Liquid Eyeliner, the latter which seems like such a tough shade to wear on eye but which she makes me want BADLY), but I *might* be reaching the saturation point when it comes to the shade – I think I’m well-covered and own something in the colour all across the board.

IMG_1877Wearing the Radiant Orchid blush shade and Venus Lure Lip Balm (I SO MISS MY WELL-BEHAVED SKIN! WAHHHHHH!)

Have you tried anything from the Radiant Orchid collection? And have you ever had to go car shopping???

*Products were provided by the PR Company/Brand for my unbiased consideration.

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A full on Radiant Orchid look? Don’t mind if I do!

It’s been a busy week. On Wednesday night, I reconnected with an old friend that I’d lost touch with for 5+ years, and we spent 5 hours chatting – I guess one for each year missed! Then last night a bunch of my favourite people at work got together to say goodbye to one of our much-loved coworkers, who is moving on to bigger and better things. Let’s just say, we had some SERIOUS fun on a school night! ;)

Thankfully, work is at a standstill due to a crash in our system, which happened Tuesday night and won’t be repaired until Sunday. While I spent Wednesday getting tasks done that I’d been putting off for a while, Thursday was a complete waste of a day – we’re in our fiscal year end, and it’s pretty much the WORST time this could happen, because we have SO much do to and can’t do any of it. So, that fact combined with my party-fun-time last night meant that I took the day off today – whoopee! And also, thank goodness because I needed to get this post up today and I was getting rather delinquent…

Radiant Orchid

The lovely ladies of  the Beauty Envy Bags got together and decided it was high time to do a Radiant Orchid-themed post. As you all know my obsession with this shade, this was a no-brainer for me! But which products to pick…? In the end, I decided to go with two more affordable options, just to mix it up, as I tend to have expensive taste!  I showed you Essie’s Splash of Grenadine last month, and professed my undying love for the shade (that feeling still stands – it’s definitely in my top 5!); today I’ll capture in action L’Oreal’s Color Caresse Shine Stain in Stubborn Plum – which looks a lot more like the perfect orchid tone than plum to me!

L'Oreal Color Caresse Shine Stain in Stubborn Plum L'Oreal Color Caresse Shine Stain in Stubborn Plum

I have three of the Shine Stains now, in quite different shades, and they’re one of the few drugstore products I’ll go for – I love the YSL versions, but at $38 a pop, they’re not something I can justify in owning several, and the formulas are close enough that I get my fix through L’Oreal. During my whirlwind spree of acquiring ALL THINGS RADIANT ORCHID, Shoppers conveniently had a ‘Spend Your Points’ event, and I used 40,000 of my points to get $85 worth of product. I was $10 short of my goal, and so Stubborn Plum came home with me.

Radiant Orchid

Sephora sent me a few pieces from their Radiant Orchid Pantone Collection, and the Rush Luster Cheek Sweep* ($31CAD) was the perfect compliment to the lip stain. This cheek palette is really gorgeous! The formula is smooth for all three shades, and the orchid colour makes me drool. I paired it along with the lightest luminizer, and the glow is really something else. In daylight, it borders on shimmertastic, but for this time or year or in the evening (or if you just like to get your glow on!), this trio is great!

Sephora + Pantone Rush Luster Cheek Sweep

For the eyes, I did my usual liner flick, but added depth by using a violet shadow in my crease and on my lower lash line.  I loved the way this turned out – I really should do it more! I’ve gotten quite lazy with my makeup application, and usually just go for the flick and skip shadow, but it makes such a nice impact with a little something extra.  The products/shades I used were: YSL’s Eyeliner Effet Faux Cils in Cherry Black (great and long wear but wish the colour was a bit bolder), Inglot Eyeshadow in #325 (first time I’m wearing this!), and Maybelline’s Volum Express ‘The Rocket’ Mascara (which I’m not sold on).

Radiant Orchid

I snagged a sample of Benefit’s newish Hello, Flawless brightening foundation, in ‘Toasted Beige‘, and I quite like it. It’s got good coverage without being too heavy, a nice consistency, an SPF of 25, and the shade is actually pretty close, which is a challenge for me – I find my skin tone really is *neutral* and most foundations are either too yellow, pink or orange.

Radiant Orchid

Underneath the foundation, I tried out RBR’s Original Skin Primer*, which I got when I tried their new Nocturnal Ink liner. I found it VERY heavy on my slightly oily skin when used with a moisturizer, but used AS the moisturizer, it’s pretty good! It dries to a matte finish and doesn’t feel greasy at all – but it is a thick formula and I can see it being best for those with normal to dry skin.

A couple tools of the trade that I wanted to mention are the MAC #217 (which I bought in NYC, and wish I had gotten on that train sooner!), and the ELF Studio Complexion Brush* ($4.95CAD), which NPC sent for me to try. I was not a fan of the brush initially, thinking it was much too floppy for setting/finishing powders, but one day I tried it with a very pigmented blush, and VOILA! Instant success. I used this with the Sephora + Pantone shades above, and it worked beautifully to buff the shade into the skin and bring out that glow. A steal at $5!

Sephora + Pantone Rush Luster Cheek Sweep L'Oreal Color Caresse Shine Stain in Stubborn Plum

The finished look! I’m overall pretty pleased – as I mentioned, I’ve gotten pretty lazy with my makeup lately and it’s either cat-eyes or bright lips for the most part. It was fun to do the whole 9 yards, with primer and foundation and everything (I rarely wear either). Sometimes you just gotta go all in, ya know? :)

Radiant Orchid

See what the other gals have cooked up in their Radiant Orchid posts!

What do you think of tone-on-tone looks? Do you go all-out with your makeup every day, or save that for special occasions?

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

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Hurry up, spring! My nail polish picks for spring 2014 (plus a dud)

It never fails: as soon as March hits, regardless of the fact that spring doesn’t actually start till the 20th of the month, I move headfirst into ~spring~ mode.  Last night I switched over all my makeup to spring-like colours, and over are the days of dark & moody / icy & cool nail polish colors – bring on the pops of colour and pastels!

Spring 2014 Nail Polish Colors

I went through my nail polish collection this week (which, despite my *efforts* is still increasing in size, rather than hovering around 100 which is my goal :S) and rounded up the shades that most say ‘SPRING!’ to me.  Many of these shades are new acquisitions to my stash, so of course I’m totally enamoured with them.  I think I’m quite covered when it comes to a good array of shades…though I may need a few more metallics, now that I think about it ~always enabling~  I only really own two – the perfect gold, and a striking silver.  I wouldn’t mind throwing a nice rose-gold in the mix somewhere.  Suggestions??

Spring 2014 Nail Polish Colors(Left to right): Dior Bloom, butter London Poole, Essie Splash of Grenadine, Deborah Lippmann I Know What Boys Like, China Glaze Re-Fresh Mint, Chanel Orange Fizz, Zoya Robyn

I’ve noticed a trend over the past couple years, and it’s that spring isn’t just for pastels anymore.  Though I do love all the Easter egg shades that crop up this time of year, I’m enjoying seeing random pops of colour in the spring collections more and more.

Having said that, I am a sucker for any pale aqua or minty green shades that come my way.  Last week at Winners I snagged butter London’s Poole for $12CAD; I had drooled over it last summer but felt that I had several shades similar.  Turns out, indeed I do – but it’s different enough to justify owning it and I love it all the same :)

butter London Poole swatch butter London Poole swatchbutter London Poole, under artificial light

comparison butter London PooleLeft to right: China Glaze For Audrey, Zoya Wednesday, butter London Poole, MAC Mischievous Mint

I also grabbed China Glaze’s Re-Fresh Mint at Winners at the same time (on for $5CAD). Green is NOT my polish colour of choice – unless it’s pale/pastel. I had bought butter London’s Bossy Boots last year for that reason, but I find it’s yellow-leanings don’t do my hands any favours. I’d hoped Re-Fresh Mint with it’s cooler tones might make up for that error….sadly, I dislike it even more than Bossy Boots! UGH this looks terrible on me – it’s like white-out with a drop of green food colouring mixed in (got St Paddy’s Day and green beer on my mind, I guess lol) and aside from it looking awful on my skin tone, the formula leaves much to be desired.  Two thick, gloopy coats are required (actually, it’s the only option – thin coats are impossible as it streaks and balls up on itself in seconds) so if I’d actually wore this as a mani (I only put it on for this swatch) then dry time would be atrocious.  NO THANK YOU :(

China Glaze Re-fresh Mint swatchChina Glaze Re-Fresh Mint, under artificial light

butter London Bossy Boots vs China Glaze Re-fresh Mintbutter London Bossy Boots (left), China Glaze Re-Fresh Mint (right)

In the spirit of Radiant Orchid Madness 2014, I ordered Essie’s Splash of Grenadine from NPC last month, and guys – I cannot tell you HOW MUCH I LOVE THIS COLOR!!!!!  I think it’s the prettiest nail polish colour I own, seriously.  It required three thin coats to reach opacity, but the little bit of extra time is totally worth it!

Essie Splash of Grenadine swatch Essie Splash of GrenadineEssie Splash of Grenadine, artificial light

My photos don’t capture the gloriousness, but trust: this polish is LOVELY.

You may have noticed that I failed to mentioned the beautiful bright pink polish to the far left, Dior Bloom.  Fear not, my dear friends – THAT baby is going to have a separate post all to it’s own ;)

Spring 2014 Nail Polish Colors

What shades do you like to wear in spring?  Are you more of a pastel girl, or do you prefer brights? Do you like / can you wear green nail polish? ~shudders~

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The Colours of Love: Pinks & Reds

This is going to be a post with many pictures and few words.  After a week where I was falling asleep by 9:30pm, now I’ve had insomnia the past few nights so I’m gonna try and get some shut eye early this evening!

With Valentine’s Day right around the corner, I’m all about pushing a huge pink/red theme in all things beauty.  I’ve been rocking a serious pink flush and juicy pink lips every day this week so far, and have a pretty pink mani to boot!  If you’re on the hunt for pink or red makeup and polish this week, look no further – I’ve gotcha covered ;)

Let’s begin with some cool pink blush and lippies:

Warm Pink BlushClockwise from top left: NARS Desire, Illamasqua Unrequited, theBalm Down Boy, Joe Fresh Bloom

Cool Pink Blush SwatchesLeft to right: theBalm Down Boy, Illamasqua Unrequited, NARS Desire, Joe Fresh Bloom

Cool Pink LippiesLeft to right: Kat Von D Backstage Bambi, Illamasqua Divine, Buxom April

Cool Pink lippie swatchesLeft to right: Kat Von D Backstage Bambi, Illamasqua Divine, Buxom April

Though my skin truly leans neutral, I still find that blue-based pinks are my JAM and really pop on my skin tone.  Love ‘em!

Next we have some warm pink cheek and lip colours:

Warm Pink BlushLeft to right: Chanel Blush de Horizon(LE), Illamasqua Hussy, Illamasqua Tweak

Warm Pink Blush swatchesLeft to right: Chanel Blush de Horizon, Illamasqua Hussy, Illamasqua Tweak

Warm Pink LippiesLeft to right: Bite Beauty Quince, Kat Von D Bachelorette (LE), purminerals Vintage Pink (LE), Revlon Sweet Tart, purminerals Pink Crush, Giorgio Armani #606, YSL #8 Pink in Confidence

Warm Pink Lippie swatchesLeft to right: Bite Beauty Quince, Kat Von D Bachelorette, purminerals Vintage Pink, Revlon Sweet Tart, purminerals Pink Crush, Giorgio Armani #606, YSL #8 Pink in Confidence

After doing these swatches, I think I should have swapped the Chanel blush for Illamasqua Unrequited, as the former is more cool and the latter is more warm. Oops ~shrugs~  Some of the ‘warm’ pink lippies are probably more neutral in tone, but you can see they’re not that cool when you compare them to the ‘cool’ lip colour swatches above. It’s all about comparing and contrasting!

Bringing a little more sass and edge, red is a great alternative when you don’t want the sweetness of pink.  Sadly, I do not have a great stash of red blushes (horrors!) but I plan on picking up MUFE’s Scarlet Blush/Eyeshadow in the near future.  I don’t really feel that I need more than 3 reds – one warm, one cool, one neutral – but goodness knows I may change my mind if I find a few good ones.  Red blush seems hard to come by!

Red lips, however, and happily bountiful with SO many options to choose from, it’s just plain crazy.

…Aaaand photos:

Red BlushLeft to right: Becca Papaya, NARS Turkish Red (discontinued)

Red Blush swatchesLeft to right: NARS Turkish Red, Becca Papaya

Red lippiesLeft to right: Make Up For Ever #8, MAC Russian Red, Buxom Provocateur, Make Up For Ever N46, L’Oreal Endless Red

Red Lippie swatchesLeft to right: L’Oreal Endless Red, Make Up For Ever N46, Buxom Provocateur, MAC Russian Red, Make Up For Ever #8

I find my red lippies all look the same in swatches…and in real life, they are quite close.  L’Oreal’s Endless Red is obviously more glossy, and MUFE’s N46 is slightly more blue-based, but overall they’re all close in shade.  Time to diversify, methinks! An orange-red is my next purchase :)

Finally, we have some pretty pink and red polishes for you to peruse!  Though I don’t profess to wear much of either shade, I have a reasonable size stash of both (though again, the red lacks variety):

Pink & Red Nail PolishFront row, left to right: Zoya Kissy, China Glaze Ahoy!, butter London Snog, L.A. Girl Hyper, Essie Muchi Muchi, Rescue Beauty Lounge Poco a Poco
Back row, left to right: China Glaze Ruby Pumps, Essie Limited Addiction, American Apparel Downtown LA, butter London Come to Bed Red

Pink Nail PolishLeft to right: Zoya Kissy, China Glaze Ahoy!, butter London Snog, L.A. Girl Hyper, Essie Muchi Muchi, Rescue Beauty Lounge Poco a Poco

Red Nail PolishLeft to right: China Glaze Ruby Pumps, Essie Limited Addiction, American Apparel Downtown LA, butter London Come to Bed Red

So there you have it! A few ideas to get your mind going (and perhaps your wallet screaming?).  I picked up a couple more pink items this past week which I hope to show you before the 14th. Time to get girly, ya’ll!!

Do you wear pink makeup or nail polish?  Is red a staple colour you wear or do you shy away from it?

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My very own Lipstick Tag!

Yay!!  Danielle of Bloomin’ Beauty tagged me to do a Lipstick Tag, which has been making the rounds in the blogsophere for a while now.  I was desperately jealous of everyone else doing their tags and showcasing their enviable collections, and now I’ve gotten my chance!  Truth be told I was probably just gonna do my own solo post if I didn’t get tagged, but thankfully Danielle saved me from the embarrassment hehe.

Let’s get started, shall we?

1. How many lipsticks do you own?

IMG_1342Top ‘shelf’ is spring shades, bottom ‘shelf’ is fall shades…

A meager 19 lipsticks (in blogger terms)….plus 16 samples. BAH, those samples are the bane of my existence! First off, I hate mini sizes of any makeup, it just annoys me. Second, it makes it seem like I have way more lippies than I do, and so I feel bad about buying anything new.  Ergh.

IMG_1345…this ‘shelf’ is summer shades…

IMG_1349…and current ‘winter’ shades!

IMG_1360Also, shades to use up, STAT.

2. What was your first lipstick?

Absolutely no clue…maybe MAC Freckletone? Though I’m certain I had some sort of drugstore lipstick as my first (ugh maybe one of the super-old-school CoverGirl ones that always turned red on my lips no matter what the colour! ~shudders~)  Anyway, the oldest lipstick in my current collection is MAC Russian Red.  How classic ;)

MAC Russian Red MAC Russian Red

3. What is your favourite lipstick brand?

MAC is what I have the most of, but I think the Buxom Full-Bodied formula is my fave, and those little samples get the most love from me (half because they’re so comfy to wear, the other half because I’m trying to get rid of the damn things so I can buy a full size!).

4. What is your most worn lipstick?

Aside from the aforementioned Buxom samples, MAC Dare You seems to be the most worn.  I’m sort of surprised by this because I don’t feel like I wear it a ton, but I’ve had it a while and it used to be my go-to daytime red (Russian Red used to be for most bold looks…now I just wear it when I feel like it ;)).  Another lipstick that has gone through it’s paces is my Ellis Faas L102 – I wore that a TON last year, though the packaging doesn’t give me any way to know just how much is used.

MAC Dare You MAC Dare You

5. What is your favourite lipstick finish?

A creme finish all the way!  By that I mean, not glossy at all, but just just a touch of moistness.  Lips look luscious and feel great!  I will admit however that I do love a matte when my lips are in shape to pull it off!

6. What was your last lipstick purchase?

When Sephora had their $20 off $50+ late last year, I picked up NARS Velvet Matte Lip Pencil in Dolce Vita, a perfect looks-good-on-everyone shade of reddish-rose.  I wanted to finally try the Velvet Matte pencils, and I also wanted to check out one of the iterations of Dolce Vita from the brand.  It’s a gorgeous colour that gives lips that just bitten look and works in all seasons.  However, my lips are too flaky this winter to wear much of anything more than a balm, which is super-frustrating. I’ll get my chance soon enough I hope! One odd point about this lippie though – does anyone else have a strange issue with the cap where it seems like there’s extra air or something and the top pops off if you don’t push it down very firmly?  So weird…

NARS Dolce Vita NARS Dolce Vita

7. How many lip products are in your bag right now?

One.  Giorgio Armani’s Rouge d’Armani in 606, which I bought in NYC :)  I always rotate out my lip colours each day and bring with me only the shade(s) that are part of my makeup look that day. ANAL MUCH?  Why yes, yes I am ;)

Giorgio Armani Rouge d'Armani 606Giorgio Armani Rouge d'Armani 606

8. What is your favourite red lipstick?

I do love Russian Red, but I think of the handful of reds I own (almost all very similar in tone LOL), I like the way Make Up For Ever’s Aqua Rouge #8 looks the best (and the wear time is unbeatable!).  It’s really the perfect ‘throw on and go with hardly any other makeup on’ kinda colour.

MUFE Aqua Rouge #8 MUFE Aqua Rouge #8

9. How do you store your lipsticks?

Haphazardly until tonight :P  Recently I rearranged my lippies to be seasonally appropriate – so the ‘winter’ shades were in my makeup drawer, and all my other shades were in my train case with the rest of my ‘seasonal’ shadows, blushes, foundations, etc.  But as I’m trying to use up my lip colours  in order to buy new ones (weeeee!) I figured they should all be in one spot.  Behold my new system (for lipsticks, anyway)!

IMG_1352 IMG_1355

10. What lipsticks are your currently lusting after?

I plan on buying Givenchy’s Le Rouge in Carmin Escarpin when the next Sephora sale comes around :)  Other than that, I don’t have any BIG lemmings…a few small ones, but let’s ignore them and hope they go away lol.

Oh dear, now I have to tag people!  Good grief, I’m sure everyone has done it by now!!  How about I just put out the invite to ALL OF THE PEOPLE who would like to share with us their lipstick collections :D :D :D  And if you want, feel free to answer in the comments below too!  In fact, I encourage you in the comments to at least tell me: How many lipsticks do you own?  

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Radiant Orchid, Pantone’s 2014 Color of the Year: My Beauty Wishlist and Top Picks!

Pantone 2014 Radiant Orchid

“A captivating harmony of fuchsia, purple and pink undertones.”  Sounds quite fabulous, no??  I have to admit, every year Pantone piques my interest in their Color of the Year choices, and this year’s selection, Radiant Orchid, is no different.  And it’s so darn wearable!!  I can see this being one of the biggest hits out of the more recent colour selections because anyone can pull this shade off, even the most novice of makeup wearers.

To show you just how easy it can be, I’ve rounded up my top colour picks I plan to incorporate into my own routine!

1. Ilia Beauty Lip Gloss in Love Buzz ($24CAD), a cool pink with a blue undertone.

Ilia Love Buzz lip gloss

2. Benefit Lollitint ($36CAD), a candy orchid shade.

Benefit-Lolli-Tint

3. YSL Rouge Pur Couture Glossy Stain in Pourpre Preview ($36CAD), the perfect orchid.

img-thing

4. Essie Nail Polish in Splash of Grenadine ($7.95CAD), a playful magenta pink.

Essie A Splash of Grenadine

5. Stila Smudge Crayon Waterproof Eye Primer + Shadow + Liner in Pink Violet ($29CAD), a warmed up, medium violet with sparkle.

Stila Smudge Crayon in Pink Violet

 

While I was searching for ideas for products in the colour range, I really tried to stick to the swatch above, as some examples I came across looked far more lilac to me than orchid.  But let me note that I DID start my search first in my own stash to see if I had anything suitable.  I was surprised to find that overall, I really didn’t!  See below my paltry collection of orchid tones:

Radiant Orchid Radiant Orchid swatchesLeft to right: Sephora Disney Collection Ariel Mermaid’s Song Lip Gloss in Dream Girl, Kat von D Spellbinding Lipstick in L.U.V., MAC Pro Longwear Lip Pencil in Fashion Boost, American Apparel Nail Polish in Neon Violet

The A.A. Neon Violet nail polish isn’t really orchid but it’s sort of like the electric version of what I imagine the shade to be (and is MUCH brighter in person than photos).  The rest are closer, though the MAC lip pencil is more fuchsia and the Kat von D lipstick is more purple; the only one I really feel is right on is the Ariel lipgloss.  In any case I clearly need to pump up my orchid-tone makeup and polish, so the list above will definitely be helpful in that task!

Do you get into the ‘Colour of the Year’ fad?  Which shade has been your favourite so far?  Do you have any orchid shades you can already use?

 

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Tom Ford Lacquer, Lip Color and Cheek Color Comparisons!

Here is my Tom Ford comparison post as promised!  I’m pleased to say that I don’t have any ‘dupes’ within my collection, which helps to make more expensive purchases like these much more enjoyable, no matter how fabulous they are ;)

I’ll begin with the polishes:

Tom Ford Bordeaux Lust comparison Left to right: Essie Limited Addiction, OPI Lost on Lombard, Tom Ford Bordeaux Lust, Zoya Anja

In the bottle, it’s clear that none of these are copies of Bordeaux Lust (though you’re not wrong that the Essie and OPI shades are QUITE similar, urgh).  Even after 1 coat, Anja is out of the running.  The 3 other shades however, look strikingly alike.

Tom Ford Bordeaux Lust swatch comparisonLeft to right (1 coat): Zoya Anja, Tom Ford Bordeaux Lust, OPI Lost on Lombard, Essie Limited Addiction

However, after a second and then third coat, the vampiness of Bordeaux Lust becomes readily apparent:

Tom Ford Bordeaux Lust swatch comparison2 coats

Tom Ford Bordeaux Lust swatch comparison3 coats

Though it appears only a touch darker than Lost on Lombard, as a full manicure it’s vamp qualities far surprass the dusty, muted quality of the OPI shade.  Essie’s contender is far too bright to even be in the running.  Win number one :)

The Lacquer in Black Sugar is next on the hit list:

Tom Ford Black Sugar comparisonLeft to right: China Glaze Ingrid, Tom Ford Black Sugar, Sally Hansen Commander in Chic, Chanel Paradoxal

Though the shade is not replicated in my collection, it does comes close, though darker, to Commander in Chic, another fave shade.  Ingrid is too brown, and Paradoxal has too much purple to be a match.  Score number two!

Tom Ford Black Sugar comparison swatchesLeft to right: Chanel Paradoxal, Sally Hansen Commander in Chic, Tom Ford Black Sugar, China Glaze Ingrid

Tom Ford Black Sugar comparison swatches Tom Ford Black Sugar comparison swatches

Following the polish success, I had to check out the Lip Colour in True Coral against my existing red lipsticks.  I suspected it wouldn’t have an equal, but there were 2 shades in particular that I thought may compare.

Tom Ford True Coral comparisonLeft to right: MAC Russian Red, Tom Ford True Coral, Make Up For Ever N46

Russian Red is a very bold red that is almost as stand out as True Coral; MUFE’s N46 leans more blue but in swatches it looks quite close as eell.  Though it’s difficult to see the differences between the 3 shades in swatches (though easily apparent in the photo of the bullets, above), trust me when I say that aside from it’s coral tone, True Coral retains a brightness that makes it quite different than your standard red.

Tom Ford True Coral comparison swatches Tom Ford True Coral comparison swatchesLeft to right: MUFE N46, Tom Ford True Coral, MAC Russian Red

Finally, the item that I felt I would most likely have a comparable facsimile – the Cheek Color in Flush.  Like many blush fiends, coral blush is sort of an obsession, as it just looks so. damn. good.  Surprizingly, I don’t own any shade that is exactly the same, though a few look similar once worn.  Let check them out!

Tom Ford Flush comparisonClockwise from left: NARS Torrid, NARS Boys Don’t Cry, Tom Ford Flush, MUFE First Kiss, LORAC Coral Crush

In the pan, Flush and Boys Don’t Cry look very alike aside from the slightly glowing quality of Flush, while BDC is completely matte.  When worn lightly, the two do look quite similar on the cheek, but in swatches you can see that BDC is much deeper in tone.  I love them both equally, truth be told ;)

Tom Ford Flush comparison swatches Tom Ford Flush comparison swatchesLeft to right: NARS Torrid, LORAC Coral Crush, Tom Ford Flush, NARS Boys Don’t Cry, Make Up For Ever First Kiss

Otherwise, the swatches reveal that none of the shades are quite like Flush, though Coral Crush comes close in the depth of pigmentation and finish – though it’s much more pink.  Happily, I feel entirely justified in owning Flush, though I think I REALLY need to take a break on the coral blushes, eh?  I think I’ve got enough for a few lifetimes, anyway!

When you are a makeup junkie, its always nice to be able to validate your purchase with evidence to prove that you are not, in fact, just purchasing the same shades over and over – a feat that gets harder the more your collection grows.  While I have significantly reduced the amount of makeup I buy and am much more selective in my purchases, replicates are bound to happen – you can only have so many shades, right!?  Nevertheless, I think I did fairly well with my Tom Ford splurge, and am enjoying every item with relish.  Ultimately, that’s what counts, AMIRITE???

What have you splurged on lately?  Do you have a hard time avoiding ‘dupes’ in your collection?

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The Luxury that is…TOM FORD

Sooo….I hope everyone has had a wonderful holiday!!  I have been living it up in a big way, despite the fact that I came down with a wicked cold two days before Christmas :S  Probably why I haven’t yet shaken it a week later, oops!  Nevertheless, I didn’t let it stop me from having a really lovely holiday :D  I hope you all had the same!

I have so many products to write about that it’s kind of criminal.  I feel particularly guilty that I haven’t shared with you the handful of Tom Ford goodies that I picked up while in New York – I mean, it’s TOM FORD guys, probably the ultimate in luxury cosmetics (in no small part due to the price lol).

Tom Ford Beauty

First up, the nail lacquers.  I have been searching for a great deep red polish for a while now, and none were doing the trick for me – either too dark veering on black, or too light.  When I visited the counter at Bergdorf Goodman, I had a plan that I was going to buy a polish, lipstick, and blush from the brand.  As soon as I saw the shade Bordeaux Lust, I knew I had found a winner!

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Bordeaux Lust ($32US) is truly the perfect shade of dark red – it’s clearly not black, but it’s more vampy than your typical red.  It’s got a somewhat sheer, slightly jelly-ish formula which adds to it’s uniqueness – from reviews I know that some dislike this aspect, but I actually like the way it looks, and it’s UBER glossy on it’s own.  Due to the formula it does require 3 coats to avoid streakiness, but again, I’m so pleased with the colour that it *ain’t no thang*

Tom Ford Bordeaux Lust nail polish Tom Ford Bordeaux Lust nail polish Tom Ford Bordeaux Lust nail polish

Sexy, no???  IRL it’s even more fabulous.  All I’m sayin’ is that I LOVE THIS COLOR and I don’t even mind the insane price tag.  Also, the bottle shape with it’s clean lines and dark bronze cap with just a hint of gold is totally up my alley.  This checks all the boxes for me!

Next we have the shade Black Sugar ($32US), which I picked up separate from my initial Tom Ford splurge, at Saks on Black Friday.  I had seen this shade in swatches several times before and it intrigued me with it’s secret red shimmer in a perfect mauve-taupe base.

Tom Ford Black Sugar nail polish Tom Ford Black Sugar nail polish

Of course, as with most secret shimmer, you really can’t capture it once worn on the nail, and in particular with this polish it’s next to invisible altogether, even in sunlight.  Kind of a bummer, but for some reason it doesn’t bother me too much – guess I’m getting used to these kinds of polishes pulling fast one on me.  I’m content to admire the shimmer in the bottle – although I’m hoping that in the more sunshine-y days (of which we have been lacking of late) I’ll get a surprise glimpse here and there.

Tom Ford Black Sugar nail polish Tom Ford Black Sugar nail polish Tom Ford Black Sugar nail polish

The formula of this one was good – two coats here, and easy-peasy application with a great viscosity that allows it to dry in a reasonable amount of time.  It’s not as glossy as Bordeaux Lust, but a top coat would fix that right up.  I really enjoy shades like this and find they work on a variety of skin tones, so another thumbs up here!

Moving right along, we come to the covetable Lip Colour, a creamy lipstick that has a wonderfully opaque finish.  After trying on several ‘nude’ shades at the Bergdorf counter that just didn’t do it for me, the SA Maria (SO great, by the way!) tried out the fabulously bright True Coral ($49US), a punchy coral-red that pretty much forces you to stand out anywhere you go.

Tom Ford Lip Color in True Coral Tom Ford Lip Color in True Coral Tom Ford Lip Color in True Coral

The formula feels great on the lips, creamy but not slippery and long-lasting – it’s such a rich colour that it stains the lips, leaving considerable colour behind so touch-ups are required less frequently.  If you have particularly dry lips, you might want to put a bit of balm on first, as while it’s not drying, its slightly matte and that combined with the outrageous colour can make dry flakes noticeable if your lips are parched.

Tom Ford Lip Color in True Coral swatches Tom Ford Lip Color in True Coral swatches

 It was hard to capture the coral aspect of this shade in photos – it tends to look just like a bright red, but trust me when I say that it’s not nearly that simple.  It has an almost neon quality to it that makes it completely unique to most reds I’ve ever seen!  Its not a shade for the faint of heart, that’s for sure – but if you like bold colour, this is a great bet.

Finally, probably the item you’re most interested in – THE BLUSH.  I present to you the Tom Ford Cheek Color in Flush ($56US).  I’ll let the pictures do the talking.

Tom Ford Cheek Color in Flush Tom Ford Cheek Color in Flush

Pow!!  Look at that colour, will you?  How can you resist a bright, gorgeous coral like this one?  And it obviously compliments the lipstick perfectly, which was actually just a happy accident.

Maria told me that the blush was extremely pigmented and only required the slightest touch of brush to pan to pick up plenty of colour.  How right she is!  The blush packs a serious punch with only a hint of effort.  Its finely milled, super-soft texture blends out beautifully and is a great shade to brighten up the face, stat.  I don’t have a shortage of shades like this, truth be told, but nevertheless this has become one of my go-to’s since purchasing it – which is good because the cost is kind of crippling, hey?  It’s unlikely I’ll be buying anymore Tom Ford blushes, but I’m certainly happy to have this one in my possession nonetheless :)

Tom Ford Cheek Color in Flush swatch Tom Ford Cheek Color in Flush swatch

Below are a couple shots of me wearing the lipstick and blush so you can see them in real time.  I also want to point out that I’m wearing nothing else aside from the Hourglass Ambient Lighting Powders in Dim Light (all over) and Radiant Light (on cheekbones).  I hadn’t seen them in action before in pictures and I am HELLA impressed at how well they blur imperfections!  My skin is in pretty good shape right now due to my organic skincare regime (which I promise to write about soon!), but I still have some unevenness which needs attention.  I’ve been preferring to skip foundation altogether lately to keep a more glowing look to my skin, and these powders have helped that cause immensely.  Oh, and also – no mascara!!  Witness again the amazingness that is XLash growth serum.  I honestly think I might have to buy a barrel of this stuff, I still can’t get over the difference in my lashes.  SO good.

Tom Ford Cheek and Lip Color swatchNatural light

Tom Ford Cheek and Lip Color swatchWith flash

Overall, my first foray into Tom Ford Beauty has been a complete success.  Despite the fact that these 4 purchases did some significant damage to my bank account, I am 100% pleased with them all so the cost doesn’t hurt my heart (much).  In terms of originality, I think Bordeaux Lust and True Coral stand out the most, while Flush is one of many coral blushes on the market and you may find one better suited to your chequebook.  Black Sugar looks original but I’m sure there are similar shades available as well.  Stay tuned for a comparison post for all, just to cover the bases!

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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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