Posts Tagged Urban Decay

Operation Reduce: Eyeshadows, Part I

You may have noticed that there have been less makeup reviews on Beauty Obsessed over the past few months. Aside from our big push to save money for a substantial down payment on a new home, I’ve also been in the mood to pare down my makeup (and polish) collections, and adding new items to it at this stage would be a bit counterproductive. While I have made small strides toward this goal, this weekend I finally sat down and really started to do some serious clearing  out. The first up on my hit list were 100+ eyeshadows.

IMG_3311My shadow collection, give or take a few.

As I’ve mentioned time and again, I have fallen a bit out of love with eyeshadow – while I still love all the pretty colours, I tend to favour a minimal eye look day to day, focusing more on bold lips to be the star of the show. I suspect over time my preferences will change, as things go, so rather than get rid of previously loved shades (which I’m sure I’ll love again at some point), I’m turning my eye toward removing any duplicates to decrease the number of shadows I have.

urban decay book 4I don’t even have a pic of my own palette, because as soon as I depotted the shades I turfed it, TOOT SWEET.

I am not a lover of palettes, nor will I ever likely be – all that choice, all those colours in one bulky place! Nah, too stressful for this here gal. And so it was that I began my weed-through there, starting with my oldest palette – Urban Decay’s Book of Shadows III.

Containing 16 shadows, the BoS III was probably the gateway product that turned me into a full-fledge makeup junkie. The buttery textures and variety of richly pigmented shades was impossible to resist. At first, I used it all the time….but over the years, it fell out of grace due to its bulky packaging. On embarking on my pare-down plan, I decided that depotting was the way to go with this beast, and away I went!

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Today I begin with the first five shades from the palette that went through a rigorous swatch- and comparison-fest: Smog (bronze), Haight (bright teal), Rockstar (deep eggplant), Suspect (golden taupe) and Loaded (blackened teal green).

SMOG & HAIGHT

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Smog is a gorgeous bronze shade that leans more brown than reddish or golden. On my skin tone its quite complimentary, and has enough depth and pigmentation to be a one-and-done shade for me. Haight is a bright tropical teal that always draws me in, yet requires a little bit more effort to look appropriate on my darker skin.

IMG_3207Left to right: Smog, Haight

Just for fun, I paired the two together in an eye look to see if Smog could ground Haight and make it more wearable:

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Sorry for the lack of shots capturing the whole picture – I was bound and determine to be a fuzzy-headed slob yesterday, and I didn’t want to subject you to that horror. Suffice to say, with a bit of liner and mascara, the whole look (Haight on the lid, Smog in the crease) came together really well, and I will definitely be repeating it on a day when I actually leave the house. It’s fun and summery without being too bold.

IMG_3231Clockwise from left: Clinique Rum Spice (d), G.Armani #6 Khaki Pulse, Kat Von D Fallen, UD Smog  

Now for the dupe hunt! Starting with Smog, I pulled all of my bronze-like shadows and swatched each one to see how they’d measure up.

IMG_3225Left to right: G.Armani #6 Khaki Pulse, Kat Von D Fallen, UD Smog, Clinique Rum Spice (d) 

While there are similarities between the shades, none of the above are dupes, and as I do tend to favour bronzy shadows, I am keeping all four.

Moving on to Haight, I only had one shadow in my arsenal that resembled the shade – Kat Von D’s Bukowski:

IMG_3234 IMG_3239Left to right: Kat Von D Bukowski, UD Haight

As you can see, these two are extremely similar – if you want to get nit-picky about it, Bukowski is a touch more teal with slightly less shimmer, while Haight is brighter and more blue. Tomato, to-ma-to, they’re close enough for me! As both shades have the same smooth, buttery texture and great pigmentation, I decided to keep Haight over Bukowski because it’s smaller in size (0.8oz as opposed to 1.4oz) since its not a shade I’d wear often. When the time comes (soon!) to depot the Kat Von D palette Bukowski is in (the Spellbinding one from Holiday 2013), it’ll be finding itself a new home somewhere else!

Two down, three to go!

ROCKSTAR, LOADED, AND SUSPECT

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Rockstar is a lovely deep eggplant shade that doesn’t veer too blue or too red, and hence is likely wearable by most skin tones. Loaded is a beautiful blackened teal that is a bit more muted applied, but still gorgeous. Suspect, well-loved as you can see, is a super-wearable light golden taupe-y shade that adds a touch of brightness to the eye area without being very obvious. All three of these shades are right up my alley…but the question was, did I have any similar colours kicking around?

IMG_3205Left to right: Suspect, Loaded, and Rockstar. 

Again, for fun, I did a quick eye look using all three of these shades to see how they played together (Fall prep, methinks!).

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You can see the neat flash of teal green that Loaded provides; paired with Suspect all over the lid and Rockstar in the crease, I think this ended up pretty decent as well. Subtle, but with interest. Next time I’ll be sure to use a primer, which I think will help the shades reach their full, fabulous potential.

I had several contenders for each of the shades above; let’s begin with the most dupable shade, Suspect.

IMG_3271Clockwise from bottom left: NARS Rajasthan duo (golden shade), Laura Mercier Bamboo, MAC All That Glitters, Urban Decay Suspect, Kat Von D Precious

On lighter skintones, I suspect (haha) that the nuances of most of these shades would be readily apparent. However, on my darker skin tone, I find that they lose their uniqueness quite quickly:

IMG_3261Left to right: LM Bamboo, NARS Rajasthan, UD Suspect, MAC All That Glitters, Kat Von D Precious, Kat Von D Galore (I threw that one in for my own comparison purposes but forgot to take pics first, oops!)

Though you can see the graduation from dark to light, there are a lot of similarities here, which happens to me a lot when dealing with sort of champagne-type shades. Ultimately though, only the NARS Rajasthan golden shade is close enough to Suspect, and for me it’s enough to feel likeI don’t need both.  Let’s take a closer look.

IMG_3292Left to right: UD Suspect, NARS Rajasthan

I can’t believe I never noticed how similar these two were! The shade from the Rajasthan duo up close has more nuances than Suspect, and is actually more pigmented as well, so it should be a no-brainer to decide which one to keep. HOWEVER, there are two factors at play here. 1) Suspect has hit pan, and therefore could conceivably be finished in the next few months with diligent use (and who doesn’t like a REAL LIVE MAKEUP EMPTY??) and 2) the other side of the Rajasthan duo is a blackened teal, much like Loaded up there, and so we’ll need to investigate that first before making any decisions.

On, on!

IMG_3278Clockwise from left: NARS Rajasthan duo (teal shade), theBalm Jealous Jordana (depotted), UD Loaded

Next up in the dupe war is Loaded and it’s dark teal goodness. Though I don’t wear it often, I love this kind of shade – so mysterious and sexy ;-)  However, I don’t really need THREE of them. Let’s see how they fare in swatches:

IMG_3295Left to right: NARS Rajasthan, UD Loaded, theBalm Jealous Jordana

All three are definitely in the same vein, with Loaded having the most teal flash of the three. Though the texture of the teal side of the Rajasthan duo leaves me a bit wanting (it’s a little stiff), there’s something to be said for the convenience of having the two shades together. To be sure, I did another set of swatches, this time with the teal Rajasthan shade swatched wet to see if it had more depth of pigment (which is ultimately what matters to me in this case).

IMG_3298Left to right: NARS Rajasthan (swatched wet), NARS Rajasthan (dry), UD Loaded, theBalm Jealous Jordana

Clearly, swatched wet, Rajasthan is a whole different ballgame, and thankfully made the decision easy for me. Bye bye, Loaded & Jealous Jordana! Nice knowing you (no really, it was – we had some good times)!

Urban Decay Rockstar shadow comparisonLeft to right: UD Rockstar, Hourglass Exhibition duo (violet side), Kat Von D Wonderland

Finally, we have Rockstar in all it’s plummy glory. In my head, the shades above were all close matches, but upon pairing them side by side, I can easily see that’s not going to be the case. Eh. Let’s go through the motions anyway to satisfy our curiosity!

IMG_3248Left to right: Hourglass Exhibition, UD Rockstar, Kat Von D Wonderland

Nope, no dupes here – not by a long shot. Rockstar lighter than both the other options and by far more frosty, not to mention much cooler than Wonderland. Looking at these three side by side however, DOES make me like Rockstar a little less – it seems almost gaudy by comparison. For the time being, I’ll hang on to it as it seems I don’t have anything like it…but time will tell if I decide to keep it around or eventually let it go.

O-KAY! So, after today’s endeavours, I’ve managed to decrease my shadow collection by three (counting Kat Von D’s Bukowski when I get around to depotting those shadows). Not too shabby. At the mo, my entire collection (palette shades and all) consists now of 106 shades. My goal is to get this down to at least under 100, and I may not even stop there. One thing about paring down is that you can eventually start making way for new stuff! An activity I am wholly looking forward to, I readily admit.

Are you doing any makeup house-keeping lately? How many eyeshadows do you own?

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

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

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

St. Patty's Day Makeup 2013  (5)

St. Patty's Day Makeup 2013  (7)

St. Patty's Day Makeup 2013  (4)

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

St. Patty's Day Makeup 2013  (2)

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

St. Patty's Day Makeup 2013  (3)

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

St. Patty's Day Makeup 2013

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

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

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

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

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

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Swatching Is Rough (AKA My Eyeshadow Collection)

Eyeshadow Collection (3)

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

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

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

….PHEW!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Did you make it??

Eyeshadow Collection (4)

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

Eyeshadow Collection

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

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

Eyeshadow Collection (2)

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End of Summer Glow with Too Faced Sun Bunny Bronzing Powder

If you’ve been reading for a while, you know that I struggle with bronzers – not necessarily how to wear them, but if they should be worn at all on my dark skin.  The main purpose of bronzer is to fake a ‘faux tan’ and, well…I kind of have that on the regular.  However, they ALSO are used to give one’s skin a healthy glow, and to this end that look is what I’m trying to achieve (I think).  Last year I thought I found ‘THE’ product in NARS’ Laguna Illuminator, however it contains sparkly bits that look unnatural in sunshine and are better left for evening events.  Earlier in the year I snagged MAC’s Refined Golden bronzer (which I think I’ve had before) via swap, but then I went away down South and was too tan for it to do much of anything.  I was hoping to get NARS’ Casino bronzer through another swap, but that fell through.  So all summer long I’ve been sans bronzer, which of course isn’t a big deal when you have 20+ blush to play with instead, but nevertheless, my hunt was not truly over.

A few weeks ago I engaged in a swap for a Too Faced Sun Bunny bronzer, and upon receiving it I was unsure how I’d feel about it.  While I’ve read great reviews about the Too Faced bronzers, they seemed so shimmery and unwearable when I swatched them in-store (hence why I swapped for it!).  I finally had a chance to try it on today, and I was very surprized to find that I really liked it!

ShadeSunFlash

The powder is smooth and finely milled, and feels soft on the skin.  Once on, it actually doesn’t look shimmery but rather imparts a great glow to the face.  I wore the bronze side mainly on the underside of my cheeks, with a light dusting around my temples, and then added a touch of the lighter side on my cheekbones for some extra illumination.  I kept taking photo after photo to see if I could ‘catch’ the shimmer in action, but all that appeared was a natural, warm radiance.

SunlightSunlight

I included an eye makeup shot because I was diggin’ it – UD’s Crash on the top lash line, smudged, and Lise Watier’s Gold Eye Shine underneath – simple and easy!

It’s been a terribly hot and humid summer, and today was no exception.  I applied this late in the morning and it’s still going strong sans primer 6 hours later, without making me look shiny or enhancing my pores.  It’s only slightly muted, and I’m still rockin’ the warm and glowy, without the greasy-shiny.  I’m definitely impressed!  This bronzer is described as a ‘year-round’ shade, and I can definitely see that working – for my skintone as well as others.  Blending the two shades together would create a lighter tone overall that perhaps even the fairest could use; however, it’s *just* deep enough for me, tanned, so it would be more of a highlight to anyone much darker than I (around NC42 for reference).

Flash

I have to admit, I don’t have much experience with Too Faced as a brand, but this bronzer far surpasses my expectations.  I guiltily am affected by packaging, and I find that the line leaves much to be desired – I know some find it whimsical, but I merely find it juvenile.  However, in this instance what you see is definitely not what you get.  The quality of this bronzer is quite lovely and the $36CAD (0.33oz) price tag is fairly easy to swallow, though of course I didn’t pay that price :P   I won’t go so far as to say I’ve found THE bronzer for me (I have commitment issues, OK?), but I’m definitely going to get use out of this product for the rest of the season and beyond!

What is your favorite bronzer?  Do you go for a matte, or a glow (or more obvious shimmer)?  What makeup do you wear to transition into fall?

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Summer Favorites (I Couldn’t Pick Just One!)

G’day to everyone!!  I have been MIA for a while, longer than usual anyway – I have a backlog of photos of products to post, but I can’t seem to get inspired to write anything about them!  Not that they aren’t all great in their different ways, but I guess I’m starting to feel like I’m just pumping out product reviews and not enough substance, you know?  I need some time to do some more FOTD’s with underused products – now THAT was fun :)

I’m also doing an overhaul of my makeup stash and letting go of even more products that I just don’t use.  I’ve been obsessing over my wishlist far too much and it’s getting to the point where I’m almost turned off the whole thing (as in, the buy buy buy! cycle).  I updated my swap list on MUA and have been engaged in several different exchanges, trying to acquire things that I’ve been lemming but are core color products of a brand – I want to save most of my purchases for seasonal items or ‘big-ticket’ purchases that aren’t so easily swapped for.  I’m thinking about doing a blog sale as well, though I don’t know how exciting some of the products may be…thoughts!?

In the meantime, I thought I’d do a ‘Summer Favorites’ rundown, versus my favorite of the month, because there hasn’t been just one thing I’ve been loving in July, but there have been a handful of things I keep returning to over and over!

Even though I love brights in the summer – vivid tropical hues that I never wear the rest of the year – I rarely have opportunities to wear them (I sometimes get ~crazy~ at work but overall I try to keep it appropriate).  Often, my palette includes more natural, glowing hues that highlight my tanned skin and healthy glow, rather than being in-your-face.  It’s one of the few times of the year where wearing less usually works to your advantage, and I like to capitalize on that!

I managed to snag Urban Decay’s ‘Lucky’ 24/7 Eyeliner Pencil in a swap last year, and although I loved how it looked, I didn’t wear it too often.  However, this year in my effort to spread the love throughout my stash, I started playing with it more, and I think I’ve found my go-to makeup look: this, smudged over black eyeliner on both top and bottom lashes, enhances my eyes subtly but with a kind of bad-ass twist.  It’s been a staple in my summer routine many days now, and I absolutely LOVE it.  The metallic nature of this liner and the warm coppery hue, toned down a bit by the black, gives a depth to my makeup that is just perfect.

On days when I’m aiming to look even more natural, or to give a subtle glow to my look, I opt for MAC’s Melon Pigment, also another swap find (yay to being economical!), a peachy-gold metallic.  On fair-medium skin, I hear the peach tones help it look particularly striking, especially on blue-eyed gals.  On my skintone, it looks more golden than peach, and is fairly subtle – though it can be built up if need be, or applied wet.  With just this and a whole lot of black mascara, I can create a wide-open eye that catches the light just so.  I haven’t tried it yet, but I think I could even use this as a highlight on my cheekbones (though this probably only works for darker skinned gals).

The Milani Sunset Beach bronzer is one of the most inexpensive items in my stash, yet I wear this every day – the brownish tone is a slightly warm but overall neutral hue that works fabulously as a contour shade just under the cheekbone.  It’s not too orange or muddy, and it’s got a great pigmentation that’s not heavy but just right to work well in layers if needed.  If I’m in a hurry, buffing this on my temples, bridge of the nose, and just under the jawline as well gives me a great warmth and really makes me look polished with very little effort.

Obviously you’ve already heard all about my love of Chanel’s Inattendu polish – it’s just the perfect nude, especially for summer, when the warmer tones flatter skin so nicely.  And because I wear SO many brights this time of year, it acts as the perfect counter-point.  You really can’t go wrong!

MAC’s Lychee Luxe Lipglass is a glorious coral-pink shade with golden shimmer, and is so pretty on that I forgive it’s sticky texture.  I can wear this with a variety of looks, either bold eyes or more natural, with golds and brights and jewel-tones, and it works for each one of them.  On my somewhat pigmented lips and with my darker skin, it looks warm and juicy, giving my lips just enough color without ever being overwhelming or stealing the show.  While I have decided not to buy any more MAC Lipglasses because of the texture problem mentioned, I’ll be genuinely sad to see this one go – and it’s only got about 1/3 left!

While all of these shades work perfectly for day or night, I’ve generally been wearing only loose powder to lightly even out my skintone during the day.  When I’m headed to an event or out for the evening however, I like to look a bit more pulled together, and I’ve been using Make Up For Ever’s Face & Body foundation* in #18 ($40CAD) – a super lightweight foundation that covers imperfections without feeling heavy or like you’re wearing much of anything.  As it’s water-based, its quite thin and is perfect for the hot, makeup-melting days of summer.  It can also be built up to give extra coverage where needed – and can be used on the body as well (I love me some multi-purpose products!).  #18 (for medium skin with olive undertones) is a very good match for my summer-tanned skin, and is warm, not ashy, which is great.  I’m thinking about mixing a bit of this with my Hourglass Immaculate foundation when the cooler months arrive, as it leans a touch light and grey on me, and I think the two formulations will mix fairly well.

Here are some swatches of all the products above (left to right – MAC Lychee Luxe, MAC Melon, UD Lucky, Milani Sunset Beach, MUFE #18):

Artificial lightWith flash

Honourable mentions go to MAC’s Arena eyeshadow (I’m plugging that shade hard, aren’t I?) and some of my other fave polish shades – Essie’s Bikini So Teeny (can’t get enough), MAC’s Mischievous Mint (the bottle is half-empty – seriously!), China Glaze’s Pink Plumeria (look for an upcoming ‘combo’ post with this shade), and Deb Lippmann’s Daytripper (check it out below!).

Artificial lightWith flash

My mother keeps telling me I should be showcasing my polishes with color-contrasting objects, and I just happened to buy this especially pretty pale aqua throw pillows, sooo…

Pretty, huh?  Initially when picked this up, I was disappointed when I tried it on – it’s more of a jelly texture, which is great, but not what I was expecting.  And in artificial light, the shade fell a bit flat.  However, the next day, I totally turned the other cheek – I couldn’t get enough of how lovely it was!  It’s extremely shiny on it’s own, and so juicy – the jelly texture actually really makes it more than your regular coral polish, it just too this ol’ gal a little longer to see it ;P

What are some of your favorite summer items and looks??  Do share, I’d love to get some more ideas!

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

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Summer Looks, 3 Ways: Cheeks, Lips or Eyes

I have to tell you, I have been having a BLAST creating different looks and playing with products that I already have (versus getting sucked into the never-ending *new-New-NEW!!* vortex) – it has been the absolute best solution I’ve found to control my shopping tendencies and appreciate what I own rather than the lust-buy-forget-repeat cycle I’ve been guilty of in the past.  I’m not knocking picking up new and pretty things – goodness knows there’s a (great!!) time and place for that, and I still am buying more makeup than I’ll ever need – but I also get fed up with myself when I go out and pick up new products before giving the ones I own proper love.  It totally suits my new mentality of making sure everything I have is awesome and that’s it’s getting semi-regular attention.  Anything that’s not floating the Latoya boat is getting booted.  End of story.

My ‘no way, jose’ face lol (or just filler…it looked photo barren here!)

Anyway, I’ve been experimenting a lot lately – way more than I have for YEARS, maybe since I was in university – and it’s amazing the combinations and shades you can come up with when you put your mind to it!  I find I was forgetting the whole reason I started the blog, which was because I loved USING makeup, not just acquiring it, and I’ve been pushing myself out of the box and trying new looks and realizing I have some pretty awesome products!!  Does anyone remember the Canadian cooking show ‘The Urban Peasant?’  He used to always say “Use what you got,” and dammit if I’m not following his lead ;P

Good grief I’m chatty.

Ok, onwards to the looks!  I wanted to do 3 different Summer-themed looks to cover each of the main focal points of the face – cheeks, lips and eyes.  I’ve sort of started following a general rule of thumb when it comes to wearing what kind of looks when: I often wear a bolder lip to work, because hey! – I’m not kissing anyone there, and reapplication at my desk is easy-peasy; a strong eye when going ‘out’ somewhere; and a defined cheek for more laid-back kind of days, as it makes me look polished but isn’t too much and doesn’t require any maintenance.  Of course, any of these combinations can be worn at any time, and you could even pair two of them together for a whole different look, but for the purpose of this post I’m going to give distinction between them.

Look #1 – Focus on Cheeks:

In my first look, I focused on an all-over bronzed glow combined with a more flushed cheek to enhance.  This is a super-quick and easy way to wear makeup in the Summer months, as it just builds upon the warmth the sun naturally bestows upon the skin.  If I’m going for a more casual look, this is usually what I lean toward.  The products I used are below.

Clockwise from left: NARS South Beach Multiple, Illamasqua Tweak, MAC Refined Golden Bronzer, Clinique High Lengths Mascara, MAC Crosswires Lipstick, Milani Sunset Duos in Sunset Beach

Left to right: NARS South Beach Multiple, Milani Sunset Duos in Sunset Beach, Illamasqua Tweak, MAC Crosswires Lipstick

And the resulting look!:

Above – In sunlight; Below – With flash

Capturing the strength of cheek products is tricky; it seems like you need to go more heavy-handed than you normally would in order to get the same effect you’d see in person.  While I wasn’t sporting ‘clown-cheeks’ to be sure, my blush was more noticeable in real life, and I actually quite liked it!  By using Milani’s Sunset Beach (the bronze side) as bronzer and then a bit extra under the cheekbones to contour, NARS South Beach to highlight on top of cheekbones (then blended out toward temples and any residual down the bridge of my nose), and Illamasqua Tweak on the higher point of the apples of my cheeks to emphasize (and blending like crazy to avoid any harsh edges), it just looked like I had been out in the sun all day.  Pretty natural actually with just a touch of glam from the highlight.  To finish I dabbed on MAC’s Crosswires lippie as a stain, and added a touch of clear gloss to give a bit of shine.

Look #2 – Focus on Lips:

My next look took me more out of my comfort zone, as I VERY rarely wear pigmented lip colors plus a glossy finish – a matte bold lip is much more subdued and easier to pull off in most cases.  But I had an inspiration from my lookbook (a photo album full of looks I’ve clipped out of magazines) that came to mind and I really wanted to try it.  In it, the model is wearing a rich coral-red lip that has this insane glossy shine to it, while the rest of the makeup is very subtle with just a beachy glow.  As my lip collection is sort of in transition, I didn’t have the exact shade I was looking for, so I had to get creative:

Clockwise from left: Estee Lauder Illuminating Gelee in Shimmering Sands, theBalm Read My Lips Lipstick in Wanted, Sephora She Sparkles lipgloss, MAC Lychee Luxe Lipglass, Ojon Restorative Mascara

Left to right: theBalm Read My Lips Lipstick in Wanted, MAC Lychee Luxe Lipglass, Sephora She Sparkles lipgloss, Estee Lauder Illuminating Gelee in Shimmering Sands

My interpretation:

By combining a shiny red lip color with a coral gloss and adding extra gloss on top of that, I came close to what I was aiming for – and even though it wasn’t exactly the same, I think it ended up being relatively flattering!  I’d never tried theBalm lip product before, hadn’t even swatched it, but it popped into my head and I figured now was the time to try it out.  MAC’s Lychee Luxe is one of my fave shades of gloss (though truth be told I don’t think I’ll buy any more MAC glosses – I’m SO over the sticky texture!), and the pinky-coral tone kept the red from being too cool and Christmas-y looking.  Plus the gold shimmer of Sephora’s She Sparkles gave it a Summery kick, and that extra dose of shiny I was going for.  By keeping the rest of my makeup extremely simple, the bright glossiness of the lips didn’t seem so obnoxious.

Look #3 – Focus on Eyes:

Lastly, I wanted to showcase a Summer look for eyes.  I do tend to wear more eye makeup than anything else, though this is subtly changing over the past few months – I’m trying to break out of the same old of bold eyes and muted cheeks/lips.  For this look, I pushed myself again to play and experiment more than normal, which actually was quite easy once I determined what shade was going to anchor my look – Make Up For Ever’s Aqua Cream #24, the bold canary yellow I reviewed last week!  After choosing a bright shade like that, everything else seemed easy in comparison :)

Clockwise from left: MAC Arena eyeshadow, Make Up For Ever Aqua Cream #24, Rouge Bunny Rouge Original Skin Blush in Florita, Clinique Brush-On Cream Liner in Black Honey, Urban Decay 24/7 Waterproof Liquid Liner in Perversion, Laura Mercier Full Blown Volume Mascara, Ardene Eyeshadow in 8B, MAC Evolution Revolution Lipglass   

Left to right: Make Up For Ever Aqua Cream #24, Ardene Eyeshadow in 8B, Urban Decay Last Call eyeshadow, Clinique Brush-On Cream Liner in Black Honey, Urban Decay 24/7 Waterproof Liquid Liner in Perversion, Rouge Bunny Rouge Original Skin Blush in Florita, MAC Evolution Revolution Lipglass

Here’s how I made it work:

Above – Sunlight; Below – With flashI applied MUFE Aqua Cream #24 all over the lid, then applied Ardene 8B to the middle of the lid outward.  I added UD’s Last Call to the outer lid and crease, and highlighted the brow and the inner corners of the eye with MAC’s Arena.  Finally I lined the upper lash line with UD’s Perversion liquid liner, and the bottom lash line with Clinique’s Black Honey, and piled on a generous dose of mascara on top and bottom lashes.

As I mentioned in the review, this vibrant matte yellow Aqua Cream is surprizingly easy to use – easy to work with, easy to blend, and didn’t look as garish as I thought it would once applied.  I absolutely ADORED how this look came out overall, it felt SO Summery and warm and fun, and I can see myself recreating this over and over this season, because it was an easy way to inject some color into my palette without being too over the top.  And it got me using another shade that never gets love from me – the Ardene shadow, which by the way has a lovely buttery texture and is probably like $3 at the store.

Also, I can’t deal with how great Florita looked with this combination – it gives the perfect amount of glow for the Summer without being shimmery, which would also compete with the shadows.  Finishing with the pale pink MAC gloss added just the right touch of glossiness and muted quality to my lips to compliment the look best.

All in all, though I think the last look was my favorite out of the three (typical!), I’m going to make every effort to rotate between a focus on eyes, lips and cheeks and continue to experiment with different looks and play with lesser-used shades in order to have more fun with makeup, and be more mindful of what I already own.  I SO enjoyed creating these looks over the past couple weeks, and I truly hope you got some benefit out of them as well!  Its nice to showcase and talk about other products that aren’t brand-spanking new or the most talked-about in the blogosphere.  Sometimes I find I get so saturated with the same old, that when I stumble upon posts that discuss makeup I haven’t heard/thought of, it’s like a breath of fresh air!

…and now I’m done.  Thanks for sticking through this if you made it this far!  Hope you enjoyed!! :D

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27 Comments

FOTD Trial and Errors!

Happy Hump Day everyone!!  Heyyy, February is pretty much over – doesn’t that make you feel like Spring is REALLY on it’s way?  Even though it doesn’t officially start for another three weeks or so, I always feel like March marks the end of Winter and the beginning of good (re: warm) things :)

For the past week, since Lent began, I have been steadfastly putting in an effort to take FOTD shots of my makeup looks every day, but unfortunately for all of us – I have been failing spectacularly.  I just can’t seem to get it right, and it’s frustrating me to no end.  However, fortunately for everyone, I don’t give up easy, and I am going to keep on trying until I am successful!  Embarrassingly, here are some of the shots I’ve taken over the past week:

MUFE Aqua Liner #14 with the purple shade of NARS Habarnera in the crease and along the lower lash line.  I swear in person the shadow was actually noticeable, more than just the hint of shimmer showing here!

This was my getaway look this past weekend – Urban Decay’s Bourbon liner on the upper and lower lashes, Benefit’s Bella Bamba on cheeks, and MUFE’s Star Collection Lab Shine in S4.

I snuck this photo at work while in fear of someone finding me taking pictures of myself lol – I’m wearing Urban Decay’s Bordello eyeshadow (from the BoSIII palette), with UD’s Smog in the crease, theBalm Down Boy blush, and MUFE Lab Shine S4 again.

Tonight, I managed to get a couple shots I was fairly happy with, though I still wish I could get close-ups of eye makeup so that you can see what I’ve done.  But – beggers can’t be chosers, I guess!  Below, I’m not wearing too much – just a touch of the pale shade of Hourglass’ Exhibition shadow duo on the lid, UD’s Crash liner, Benefit’s Bella Bamba on cheeks, and the star of the look – Chanel’s Rouge Allure Laque in Empire.My goal with all of these FOTD shots are to showcase the products that I haven’t been giving enough love to, and figuring out how to make them work on a regular basis.  Chanel’s Empire perplexed me from the start – it was such a gorgeous shade, but I just didn’t see it working on my skintone.  However, now that I’m easing into wearing pretty Spring hues, I find this lippie works PERFECTLY.  It’s just not a Fall/Winter shade on me, AT ALL.  Now that I’ve figured that out, I’m gonna have some serious fun with this color!!  It’s absolutely perfect for pretty much any Spring look I’ll be wearing.

What makes me cringe chuckle when I go back through these pictures, is that my makeup looks almost identical in each – this is one of the frustrating parts, because each look was different, honest!  ~sigh~  Anyway, as I said, I’m going to continue to press on, and *one day* I’ll get it.  At the very least, I’m having a great time wearing different products every day and giving all the neglected items I own a little attention.  Talk about shopping your own stash! :D

Have you rediscovered a product that you weren’t sure about, only to find that you’ve changed your mind and have now fallen in love?

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