Posts Tagged Swatches

Bold, matte lips on the cheap with Revlon ColorBurst Matte Balms

Continuing with my drugstore makeup affair, a couple weeks ago, Revlon’s ColorBurst Matte Balms were on sale for I think about $6 at Shoppers Drug Mart. I had glanced at them before but ultimately decided against them, mostly because I’m a snob like that and not for any good reason. The packaging is fine (plain, but non-offensive to my frivolous heart), and the colour selection is good – and, from reviews it sounds like they’re a pretty decent product. But I have a hard time resisting a good sale when it comes to beauty products, and I’ve been spending considerably less on cosmetics than usual, so I figured what the heck.

I went big and came home with THREE SHADES!

Revlon ColorBurst Matte Balm

I’m not usually one to buy in ‘bulk’ – I like to have a variety of brands and product types, and rarely buy more than one of anything (MAC products being probably one of the very few exceptions). But after swatching these, I decided to aim for a rounded view of them buy going with three varied shades – a nude (Complex), a bold coral orange (Audacious), and a bright fuchsia (Showy)!

Revlon ColorBurst Matte Balm swatchesIn sunlight, from left to right: Complex, Audacious, and Showy

Revlon ColorBurst Matte Balm swatchesIn shade, from left to right: Complex, Audacious, and Showy

The Matte Balms are a matte (duh) lip colour that has the slip of a balm, but the look of a semi-opaque lipstick. The brighter colours are more pigmented, while Complex (the nude) is a bit more transparent – which I think is a good thing, as an opaque nude can get just plain awful, FAST. While these feel very comfortable on the lips for a matte finish, they do tend to emphasize flakes and dryness if you don’t prep the lips carefully first. I apply a thick balm to the lips for at least 15 minutes before using these, as I almost always have some flakiness to deal with. Having said that, I quite like these (especially the two brighter shades) and I don’t mind the extra steps required in order to wear these well.

Here’s how they look worn:

Revlon ColorBurst Matte Balm in Complex Revlon ColorBurst Matte Balm in ComplexComplex

Revlon ColorBurst Matte Balm in Audacious Revlon ColorBurst Matte Balm in AudaciousAudacious

Revlon ColorBurst Matte Balm in Showy Revlon ColorBurst Matte Balm in ShowyShowy

Out of the three, Showy is the most unique to my lip ‘wardrobe,’ as I usually opt for deeper fuchsia shades. However, I am sort of in love with how this looks, as its slightly white base makes it really pop against my dark skin tone. These cool pinks just plain WORK (on me)!  Audacious is somewhat similar to Tom Ford’s True Coral lipstick that I have, but it’s sheerer nature makes it a bit more wearable, and I’m digging how it looks kind of tropical! Finally, Complex is a nice enough nude – an OK tone for my skin, but a bit flat and dry-looking if I don’t blend it out a fair bit. I think it’ll look a bit better once I’m not quite as tanned – or perhaps with a touch of lipgloss on top (thus defeating the ‘matte’ idea, but that’s OK – whatever works!).

Revlon ColorBurst Matte Balm in AudaciousAudacious matches the colour of my hanging flower basket! Yay for colours found in nature! :D

I was going to save this post and schedule it to come out later in the week, but I’m sort of excited to show you these swatches – 2 outta 3 ain’t bad, and they’re really perfect for summer! They’ve certainly helped me get my beauty ‘fix’ without breaking the bank (or even totalling altogether how much a department store lipstick would cost!), so I’m pleased about that. Liz @BeautyReductionista sounds like she’s also converted (she also has Audacious) so if that doesn’t compel you to at least check these out, well then…STOP RESISTING.

Revlon ColorBurst Matte Balm

Have you tried any of the Revlon Matte Balms? Do you buy drugstore products, or stick to department store finds?

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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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First Summer Polish Combo of the ‘Summer!’

…I know it’s not officially summer yet, but the weather we’ve had the past couple days sure feel like it’s arrived! Of course, we’re supposed to have rain tomorrow ~sigh~ but then it’s gonna be another beauty of a day Wednesday (followed by MORE rain!) so…yea. We take the sunny days when we can get ‘em!

Chanel Sweet Lilac and butter London Poole

Anyway, yesterday I spend a leisurely, glorious day outside doing a bunch of polish swatches, finishing off with a full pedicure in butter London’s Poole, and full mani in my new Chanel :)  I think this is one of the best pairings I’ve done this season – I’ve been doing mani/pedi’s for about a month now, ever since Florida, but I wasn’t totally satisfied with the combinations, hence why you haven’t seen any photos yet. This one is a good’un, though! It’s very feminine and delicate and has a super-chill vibe to it. I think the aqua looks particularly good against my camel & gold thong sandals!

Chanel Sweet Lilac and butter London Poole swatchesChanel Sweet Lilac and butter London Poole swatches

Sp pretty :) The other upside to wearing somewhat softer shades rather than bold brights is that they go with more of your wardrobe choices – I often find I have to choose my outfits based on my polish (or my makeup…I’m serious lol), and it can be a bit limiting. You can TELL I’m not a fashionista, eh? ALL ABOUT THE BEAUTY, baby!

What do you think of this polish combo? What colour combo for mani & pedi’s do you wear most often?

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Duke-ing it out for Chanel’s Le Vernis in Sweet Lilac

On Friday I swung by our local Chanel counter to see if they’d gotten the summer collection yet. For once, my timing was perfect, as they had *just* gotten the line in the day previous. Despite the beautiful-looking collection, the only thing I was really interested in was the nail polish Sweet Lilac – I’ve vowed never to buy another Illusion d’Ombre (I find they get compressed after using them a few times and then it’s a pain to get any shadow out) and the other polishes were really pretty but also pretty dupable, IMO. And all those juicy sweet but ultimately clear glosses! Bah. No thanks!

Chanel Sweet Lilac

Though items sell quickly at our little Chanel counter, they had a bottle of Sweet Lilac left in stock, though it was a narrow window of chance – while trying it out in store, another woman exclaimed how great it looked on me, and proceed to buy a bottle of her own before I had purchased mine. When the SA said ‘that’s the last bottle’ I thought she meant MINE (yes, even though I hadn’t shelled out the cash for it yet, it was MINE) and I literally said ‘Uh, NO.’ LOL Then she clarified to say that the other client was getting the last bottle, AFTER mine had already been pulled. YA DAMN SKIPPY. There would have been a throw-down folks. It woulda been EPIC.

While I kind of would have loved to start a huge cat fight over a bottle of polish (don’t you just wonder if you’d be able to kick ass or not?), either way I’m happy there was enough to go around, because this is a pretty polish. While it’s not outrageously unique, the soft pink shade with a hint of purple is not replicated in my stash, and it’s got that ‘radiant orchid’ tone to it that works really well on my skin. The formula is pretty stellar – two coats to easy perfection, no hard work required. I added a top coat to maximize shine and amp up the almost jelly-like quality, though like many Chanel polishes it is fairly reflective on it’s own.

Chanel Sweet Lilac swatchIn direct sunlight

Chanel Sweet Lilac swatchIn the shade

I did some comparison swatches because that’s the first thing I do before and after I make a purchase these days. Before I had seen Sweet Lilac in person, I wondered if it was close to Zoya’s Marley – the only other lavender-type shade I own. It was a needless concern, as it’s the least like that polish out of the 3 other shades I compared it to.

Chanel Sweet Lilac comparison

You can see that it’s in the same vein as my beloved Essie Splash of Grenadine, but lighter; it’s also along the lines of RBL’s Poco a Poco, though you’d never guess from the bottle. Once I swatched them on the nail however, the similarities were much more apparent, and in some lights they look incredibly close. But the golden shimmer of Poco a Poco gives it a much warmer tone overall.

Chanel Sweet Lilac comparison swatchThumb to pinky: Chanel Sweet Lilac, RBL Poco a Poco, Essie Splash of Grenadine, Chanel Sweet Lilac, Zoya Marley

Chanel Sweet Lilac comparison swatchMy mother really wanted me to take a photo with a contrasting background, hence this second photo!

 My collection of Chanel polishes has now reached 7 bottles, mostly permanent items with a couple of LE ones thrown in there for good measure.  Sweet Lilac is a great addition to my little stash :0) I refuse to buy shades unless I love them, so it’s been a slow-growing process, which I’m entirely OK with. Many of the LE shades don’t wow me, and I have a few of the permanent ones on my radar for pick-up when I’m feeling ‘spendy.’ I think I need to throw a red in there soon, I don’t have a Chanel red and that seems sort of wrong somehow, no?

Did you pick up Sweet Lilac? How many Chanel polishes do you have? Do you have a recommendation for a good Chanel red?

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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!

IMG_2659

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

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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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